School Board in Southlake, Texas, rejects ‘In God We Trust’ signs featuring rainbows, Arabic lettering!

Carroll ISD declines "In God We Trust" rainbow, Arabic signs |

Dear Commons Community,

When parents in Southlake, Texas, attempted to donate “In God We Trust” signs written in Arabic and others decorated with rainbow colors, the school board president informed him that schools already have enough posters displaying the national motto.

But under a new law, Texas public schools are required to hang posters emblazoned with “In God We Trust” if someone donates a poster or framed copy to a campus.  As reported in The Dallas Morning News.

“We will have to look at what remedies we have so we don’t get excluded from our public schools,” said Southlake parent Sravan Krishna, who requested the trustees take those posters. “We deserve to be included in these efforts as well.”

The Carroll school district earlier this month received a shipment of such signs, with the all-capital letters displayed in white, on a blue background, above the American flag. The posters were donated by Patriot Mobile, a Christian wireless provider tied to a political action committee that spent big money to help elect conservatives to North Texas school board seats.

A student group fighting for change in the district, the Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition, labeled the donations a “blatant intrusion of religion in what should be a secular public institution.”

So coalition members designed an array of alternate posters that included the motto in other languages and with rainbow lettering. Members of the LGBTQ community use the rainbow flag in pride-related events.

Krishna presented the posters — one written in Arabic, the others with rainbows — near the start of Monday night’s meeting.

However, board president Cameron Bryan responded that the district already accepted enough signs to display the national motto at each of Carroll’s campuses and in the administration building.

He said that the district doesn’t have to display more than one copy at a time, so as to not overwhelm campuses.

Krishna pushed back, displaying his posters for the rest of his three-minute allotment during the public comment section. The Texas statute does not mention a limit.

When the Patriot Mobile representatives donated their signs, the Carroll ISD trustees posed for photos with them during their board meeting.

Patriot Mobile’s donation triggered widespread attention and spurred some trolling efforts from across the country. A Florida activist quickly announced plans to raise money to send Texas schools “In God We Trust” signs — written in Arabic.

He’s raised more than $40,000 via a GoFundMe that declares the intent to donate hundreds of signs — in Arabic, Hindi and Klingon and with gay pride symbols — to schools across the state, “flooding the public school system.”

Carroll ISD — an affluent, mostly white district — has been ground zero for the ongoing political fights around how schools should discuss diversity and inclusion. The U.S. Department of Education last fall opened a handful of civil rights investigations into “allegations related to discrimination based on race, color, national origin or sex” within Southlake schools.



Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Reformist Soviet Leader, Is Dead at 91!

Mikhail S. Gorbachev had a profound effect on his time: In little more than six tumultuous years, he lifted the Iron Curtain, transforming the map of Europe and the political climate of the world.

Credit:  Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Dear Commons Community,

Mikhail S. Gorbachev, whose rise to power in the Soviet Union set in motion a series of revolutionary changes that transformed the map of Europe and ended the Cold War that had threatened the world with nuclear annihilation, has died in Moscow. He was 91.

His death was announced yesterday by Russia’s state news agencies, citing the city’s central clinical hospital. The reports said he had died after an unspecified “long and grave illness.” As reported in The New York Times.

Few leaders in the 20th century, indeed in any century, have had such a profound effect on their time. In little more than six tumultuous years, Mr. Gorbachev lifted the Iron Curtain, decisively altering the political climate of the world.

At home he promised and delivered greater openness as he set out to restructure his country’s society and faltering economy. It was not his intention to liquidate the Soviet empire, but within five years of coming to power he had presided over the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. He ended the Soviet debacle in Afghanistan and, in an extraordinary five months in 1989, stood by as the Communist system imploded from the Baltics to the Balkans in countries already weakened by widespread corruption and moribund economies.

For this he was hounded from office by hard-line Communist plotters and disappointed liberals alike, the first group fearing that he would destroy the old system and the other worried that he would not.

It was abroad that he was hailed as heroic. To George F. Kennan, the distinguished American diplomat and Sovietologist, Mr. Gorbachev was “a miracle,” a man who saw the world as it was, unblinkered by Soviet ideology.

But to many inside Russia, the upheaval Mr. Gorbachev had wrought was a disaster. President Vladimir V. Putin called the collapse of the Soviet Union the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” For Mr. Putin — and his fellow K.G.B. veterans who now form the inner circle of power in Russia — the end of the U.S.S.R. was a moment of shame and defeat that the invasion of Ukraine this year was meant to help undo.

“The paralysis of power and will is the first step toward complete degradation and oblivion,” Mr. Putin said on Feb. 24, when he announced the start of the invasion, referring to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Mr. Gorbachev made no public statement of his own about the war in Ukraine, though his foundation on Feb. 26 called for a “speedy cessation of hostilities.” A friend of his, the radio journalist Aleksei A. Venediktov, said in a July interview that Mr. Gorbachev was “upset” about the war, viewing it as having undermined “his life’s work.”

Without a doubt, he was one of the great leaders of our time and a hero for a generation of people!

Below is an excerpt from my memoir, The Computer Wasn’t in the Basement Anymore, describing his visit to New York City in 1988 when he stayed in the Russian embassy across the street from Hunter College.  At the time I was the Vice President for Administration at the College.


“In December 1988, New York City would be hosting a visit by the Soviet Union’s Premier Mikhail S. Gorbachev and his wife Raisa.  Because of the United Nations, New York was adept at  hosting the visits of foreign leaders.  Gorbachev, however, was not just any other foreign leader; he was the United States’ adversary in the Cold War.  In addition, Gorbachev had been hinting he would like to see the relations between the two major powers improve and he appeared willing and able to institute major reforms in the Soviet Union that could lead to true détente and more peaceful involvement with the West.

Hunter College was involved in some of the discussions regarding the logistics of his visit because the Soviet embassy was just across 67th Street from Hunter East. Furthermore, Hunter East was the tallest building on the same block of mostly modest-sized apartment buildings and was a natural place for staging Gorbachev’s security operation  since he would be spending a good deal of time at the embassy. The Hunter Security staff and I met with New York City police as well as representatives from the U.S. Department of State.  We were given a general briefing of Gorbachev’s visit and events. We were asked if the police could take over the roof of Hunter East, a request I granted immediately.  Every day of the visit, I would get a phone call or visit telling me which hours would be most important in terms of Gorbachev’s comings or goings to and from the embassy. We cooperated in any way we could and also posted our own security guards in the stairwells and entrances to the Hunter East roof.  Twice our guards stopped newspaper reporters who were looking to take photographs.

Gorbachev’s visit came off without a hitch and we were proud of the small part we played during his stay.  It should be mentioned that Gorbachev and his wife proved to be incredibly popular among New Yorkers. People lined the streets to see his 45-car motorcade day after day and warmly greeted them.  Gorbachev and his wife, without regard for their own safety, would make impromptu stops on Broadway, at Bloomingdale’s, on Times Square and the World Trade Center.  In the years immediately following this visit, the United States and the Soviet Union enjoyed a period  of cordial relationships culminating with the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in November 1989.”  (pp. 150-151)

Stiffed vendors, huge financial losses, and a trademark denial: Truth Social faces an uncertain future amid concerns over Trump’s dwindling popularity and continued controversies!

Trump-backed Truth Social tops Apple's app store charts

Dear Common Community,

The future of Donald Trump’s 10-month-old social media platform, Truth Social, is on uncertain ground as the app faces huge financial losses and is accused of shorting its vendors.

A planned merger between the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), the business that created the Truth Social platform, and the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Digital World Acquisition Corp, has been postponed indefinitely as the Securities and Exchange Commission investigates the platform’s business dealings. 

SPACs like Digital World are companies formed either to raise funds through an initial public offering or for the purpose of merging with an existing company. SPACs have no other commercial operations. In an SEC filing earlier this month, Digital World said it had “neither engaged in any operations nor generated any revenues to date” as its sole purpose was to prepare to take Truth Social public.

In another filing, Digital World sought shareholder approval to delay the merger, set to take place Sept. 8, until next year, citing concerns over the former president’s reputation potentially impacting business.  As reported by Business Insider.

“If President Trump becomes less popular or there are further controversies that damage his credibility or the desire of people to use a platform associated with him, and from which he will derive financial benefit, TMTG’s results of operations, as well as the outcome of the proposed Business combination, could be adversely affected,” the filing read.

Digital World’s stock has plunged more than 75 percent since its peak in March — from a high of $97.54 a share to $27.52 each — and in a recent SEC filing the company reported it lost $6.5 million in the first half of the year.

This week, Truth Social was dealt another blow as its trademark application was denied on Thursday for being too similar to another social app called “Vero — True Social.”

Further illuminating the social platform’s financial woes, Fox Business News reported on Thursday that Truth Social is locked in a bitter battle with its vendor, RightForge, and is accused of stiffing the hosting service out of $1.6 million in contractually obligated payments.

Three people with direct knowledge of the matter told Fox Business News that Truth Social made just three payments to RightForge for its web hosting services and stopped making payments in March.

Other Trump businesses have faced similar payment battles before, including contractors who claim they were left unpaid for more than $2.98 million after repairs at the Trump International Hotel and a small business owner who said Trump stiffed him $100,000 worth of pianos. Unpaid bills at the Taj Mahal Casino Resort amounted $90 million, while three liens were placed against Trump’s DC hotel after $5 million in contractors fees were left unpaid.

Trump’s companies have filed for bankruptcy at least six times — a fact Digital World noted in SEC filings, The Washington Post reported, saying: “a number of companies that were associated with [Trump] have filed for bankruptcy” and that “there can be no assurances that [Trump’s media company] will not also become bankrupt.”

Representatives for Trump, TMTG, Truth Social and RightForge did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

Another loss for Trump!


Joshua Pruitt, Proud Boys Member, Sentenced to More than Four Years, for January 6th Insurrection!

Assault on Democracy: Paths to Insurrection -

Joshua Pruitt

Dear Commons Community,

Joshua Pruitt, affiliated with the far-right Proud Boys extremist group, was sentenced yesterday to more than four years in prison for storming the U.S. Capitol, where he encountered Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer as his armed security detail led the New York Democrat to safety.

Pruitt, 40, was one of the few Capitol rioters to come face-to-face with a member of Congress during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection by a mob of Donald Trump supporters, according to federal prosecutors. As reported by the Associated Press.

“One look at Pruitt, and the leader of Senator Schumer’s security detail immediately saw the threat and hustled the 70-year-old senator down a hallway, having to change their evacuation route on a dime,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis Loeb wrote in a court filing ahead of yesterday’s hearing.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly sentenced Pruitt to four years and seven months of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release, according to Bill Miller, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia.

Prosecutors had recommended a five-year prison sentence for Pruitt, a Silver Spring, Maryland, resident who has worked as a bartender and personal trainer. They described him as an aspiring Proud Boys member whose intimidating figure made him an “ideal recruit” for the group on Jan. 6.

The leader of Schumer’s security detail told the FBI that their encounter with Pruitt was a harrowing, unforgettable moment. Pruitt was advancing and only seconds from reaching Schumer when the security detail turned and ran with the senator away from an elevator and back down a ramp, detail members said.

“At the end of the ramp, officers closed and locked the doors. The security detail and (Schumer) pursued a secondary evacuation route. Once the doors were being closed, Pruitt turned around and retraced his steps,” Loeb wrote.

Pruitt and other prospects and recruits of the local Proud Boys chapter often used encrypted communications to discuss storming the Capitol, civil war and confrontations with police, according to prosecutors. They said Pruitt wanted to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6.

“He personally forced a 70-year-old Senator to run and find another path to safety. Among all the rioters who stormed the Capitol, it is a notorious distinction,” Loeb wrote.

Defense attorney Robert Jenkins Jr. said Pruitt saw the security detail but didn’t recognize Schumer, now Senate Majority Leader, at the time of the encounter.

“It’s not as though that Mr. Pruitt ran toward the detail or made any threatening posture toward them. He noticed that they were there. They went down a hallway. Mr. Pruitt went in a different direction,” Jenkins said after the sentencing hearing.

Jenkins had sought a three-year prison sentence for Pruitt. The defense lawyer said he believes the 55-month sentence is disproportionately higher than other Capitol rioter cases given that Pruitt wasn’t armed and didn’t assault any police officers.

More than 240 riot defendants have been sentenced, mostly for misdemeanor offenses. Only four of them have received longer prison sentences than Pruitt, and all four of those had been convicted of assaulting or obstructing law enforcement officers.

“He thought that the court would be far more lenient on him,” Jenkins added.

Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes founded the Proud Boys in 2016. Before the Capitol riot, the group was best known for street brawls with antifascist activists at rallies and protests.

Dozens of Proud Boys leaders, members and associates have been charged with Capitol riot-related crimes. Some have been charged with seditious conspiracy for what authorities say was a plot to forcibly oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power.

Prosecutors called Pruitt a “one-man symbol of the angry mob at the Capitol that day.” Many of the police officers guarding the Capitol on Jan. 6 remembered him as an instigator, according to prosecutors.

“Wearing a tactical glove with knuckle pads and a cut-off t-shirt with the logo of the ‘Punisher’ — an antihero known for dispensing violent vigilante justice — Pruitt made a calculated choice to use his thickly muscled appearance to communicate to the police that they faced a dangerous person,” Loeb wrote.

Pruitt was on probation and wearing an ankle monitor on the day of the riot. He initially was arrested on the night of Jan. 6 for violating a curfew imposed by the mayor of Washington, D.C. He has been jailed since a judge ordered his pretrial detention in January 2022.

Pruitt pleaded guilty in June to a felony charge of obstruction of an official proceeding, the joint session of Congress for certifying President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump, the Republican incumbent.

Justice is being served!


FBI Probing Russian-Speaking Fake Heiress Who Infiltrated Mar-a-Lago!

Woman posing as Rothschild heiress infiltrated Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago  home

Inna Yashchyshyn aka Anna de Rothschild with the Donald!

Dear Commons Community,

U.S. officials are investigating a Russian-speaking Ukrainian immigrant and “self-confessed grifter” who pretended to be a wealthy heiress as she infiltrated the highest echelons of Mar-a-Lago.  As reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The startling case underscores the security challenges of Donald Trump’s resort even as the former president stashed top-secret U.S. government files there.  As reported:

Inna Yashchyshyn, who sported a pricey Rolex watch and drove a $170,000 Mercedes, reportedly claimed to members of the private club that she was an heiress of the wealthy European Rothschild banking family and had ties to top real estate developers.

The woman — who went by the name Anna de Rothschild and was actually the daughter of an Illinois truck driver — mingled last year with Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and other close associates of the men during “multiple” trips and at various Mar-a-Lago functions, reported the Post-Gazette, which uncovered the story with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

Woman posing as Rothschild heiress infiltrated Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago  home









“It was the near-perfect ruse and she played the part,” John LeFevre, a former investment banker who met her with other guests around a club pool, told the newspaper.

Yashchyshyn, 33, demonstrated “the ease with which someone with a fake identity and shadowy background” could slip through security at Trump’s club, “one of America’s power centers and the epicenter of Republican Party politics,” noted the Post-Gazette.

The FBI has obtained several records linked to Yashchyshyn as part of its investigation, including copies of two fake passports from the U.S. and Canada, the Post-Gazette reported. Investigators reportedly also have a Florida driver’s license belonging to “Anna de Rothschild” with the address of a $13 million Miami Beach mansion where Yashchyshyn has never lived.

No other details of the investigation were available, and Yashchyshyn could not be reached for comment.

It wasn’t until March of this year that members of Trump’s entourage realized Yashchyshyn was an imposter, the Post-Gazette and OCCRP reported.

In 2019, a Chinese woman with two different passports and who was loaded down with electronic equipment managed to slip past a Secret Service agent by saying she was headed to the Mar-a-Lago pool.

Yujing Zhang received an eight-month prison sentence and was deported to China after being convicted of trespassing and lying to Secret Service agents.

FBI officials early this month seized several boxes of White House material from Mar-a-Lago, including classified documents and some top-secret information that is so sensitive it’s only supposed to be viewed in a secure government facility.”

National security anyone?


New York Times Editorial:  Donald Trump Is Not Above the Law!

Dear Commons Community,

The New York Times Editorial Board updated an opinion piece yesterday entitled, “Donald Trump Is Not Above the Law”, that it published earlier this year regarding the January 6th insurrection and subsequent Congressional hearings.  Given new developments including the recent Mar-a-Lago search for classified documents, the Editorial Board has updated its earlier opinion and concludes:

“If [Attorney General] Merrick Garland decides to pursue prosecution, a message that the Justice Department must send early and often is that even if Mr. Trump genuinely believed, as he claimed, that the election had been marred by fraud, his schemes to interfere in the certification of the vote would still be crimes. And even though Mr. Trump’s efforts failed, these efforts would still be crimes. More than 850 other Americans have already been charged with crimes for their roles in the Capitol attack. Well-meaning intentions did not shield them from the consequences of their actions. It would be unjust if Mr. Trump, the man who inspired them, faced no consequences.

“No one should revel in the prospect of this or any former president facing criminal prosecution. Mr. Trump’s actions have brought shame on one of the world’s oldest democracies and destabilized its future. Even justice before the law will not erase that stain. Nor will prosecuting Mr. Trump fix the structural problems that led to the greatest crisis in American democracy since the Civil War. But it is a necessary first step toward doing so.”

Below is the entire editorial. 

Must reading!



“Donald Trump Is Not Above the Law”

The New York Times Editorial Board

August 28,2022

Over the course of this summer, the nation has been transfixed by the House select committee’s hearings on the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and how or whether Donald Trump might face accountability for what happened that day. The Justice Department remained largely silent about its investigations of the former president until this month, when the F.B.I. searched his home in Palm Beach, Fla., in a case related to his handling of classified documents. The spectacle of a former president facing criminal investigation raises profound questions about American democracy, and these questions demand answers.

Mr. Trump’s unprecedented assault on the integrity of American democracy requires a criminal investigation. The disturbing details of his postelection misfeasance, meticulously assembled by the Jan. 6 committee, leave little doubt that Mr. Trump sought to subvert the Constitution and overturn the will of the American people. The president, defeated at the polls in 2020, tried to enlist federal law enforcement authorities, state officials and administrators of the nation’s electoral system in a furious effort to remain in power. When all else failed, he roused an armed mob that stormed the Capitol and threatened lawmakers.

The Justice Department is reportedly examining Mr. Trump’s conduct, including his role in trying to overturn the election and in taking home classified documents. If Attorney General Merrick Garland and his staff conclude that there is sufficient evidence to establish Mr. Trump’s guilt on a serious charge in a court of law, then they must seek an indictment too.

This board is aware that in deciding how Mr. Trump should be held accountable under the law it is necessary to consider not just whether criminal prosecution would be warranted but whether it would be wise. No American president has ever been criminally prosecuted after leaving office. When President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, he ensured that Nixon would not be prosecuted for crimes committed during the Watergate scandal; Ford explained this decision with the warning that such a prosecution posed grave risks of rousing “ugly passions” and worsening political polarization.

That warning is just as salient today. Pursuing prosecution of Mr. Trump could further entrench support for him and play into the conspiracy theories he has sought to stoke. It could inflame the bitter partisan divide, even to the point of civil unrest. A trial, if it is viewed as illegitimate, could also further undermine confidence in the rule of law, whatever the eventual outcome.

The risks of political escalation are obvious. The Democratic and Republican parties are already in the thick of a cycle of retribution that could last generations. There is a substantial risk that, if the Justice Department does prosecute Mr. Trump, future presidents — whether Mr. Trump himself or someone of his ilk — could misuse the precedent to punish political rivals. If their party takes a majority in the House of Representatives after the midterm elections, some Republicans have already threatened to impeach President Biden.

There is an even more immediate threat of further violence, and it is a possibility that Americans should, sadly, be prepared for. In the hours after federal agents began a court-approved search of Mr. Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, based on a warrant investigating possible violations of three federal laws, including one that governs the handling of defense information under the Espionage Act, his most fervent supporters escalated their rhetoric to the language of warfare. As The Times noted, “The aggressive, widespread response was arguably the clearest outburst of violent public rhetoric since the days leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.”

Mr. Garland has been deliberate, methodical and scrupulous in his leadership of the Justice Department’s investigations of the Jan. 6 attack and the transfer of documents to Mr. Trump’s home. On Friday a redacted version of the affidavit used to obtain the warrant was released, revealing that the Justice Department asked to search the premises to recover documents because of concerns that their disclosure could compromise “clandestine human sources” of intelligence and because it had probable cause to believe it would find “evidence of obstruction” at the premises.

No matter how careful Mr. Garland is or how measured the prosecution might be, there is a real and significant risk from those who believe that any criticism of Mr. Trump justifies an extreme response.

Yet it is a far greater risk to do nothing when action is called for. Aside from letting Mr. Trump escape punishment, doing nothing to hold him accountable for his actions in the months leading up to Jan. 6 could set an irresistible precedent for future presidents. Why not attempt to stay in power by any means necessary or use the power of the office to enrich oneself or punish one’s enemies, knowing that the law does not apply to presidents in or out of office?

More important, democratic government is an ideal that must constantly be made real. America is not sustained by a set of principles; it is sustained by resolute action to defend those principles.

Immediately after the Jan. 6 insurrection, cabinet members reportedly debated privately whether to remove Mr. Trump from power under the authority of the 25th Amendment. A week after the attack, the House impeached Mr. Trump for the second time. This editorial board supported his impeachment and removal from office; we also suggested that the former president and lawmakers who participated in the Jan. 6 plot could be permanently barred from holding office under a provision of the 14th Amendment that applies to any official who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or given “aid or comfort” to those who have done so. But most Republicans in the Senate refused to convict Mr. Trump, and Congress has yet to invoke that section of the 14th Amendment against him. As a result, the threat that Mr. Trump and his most ardent supporters pose to American democracy has metastasized.

Even now, the former president continues to spread lies about the 2020 election and denounce his vice president, Mike Pence, for not breaking the law on his behalf. Meanwhile, dozens of people who believe Mr. Trump’s lies are running for state and national elected office. Many have already won, some of them elevated to positions that give them control over how elections are conducted. In June the Republican Party in Texas approved measures in its platform declaring that Mr. Biden’s election was illegitimate. And Mr. Trump appears prepared to start a bid for a second term as president.

Mr. Trump’s actions as a public official, like no others since the Civil War, attacked the heart of our system of government. He used the power of his office to subvert the rule of law. If we hesitate to call those actions and their perpetrator criminal, then we are saying he is above the law and giving license to future presidents to do whatever they want.

In addition to a federal investigation by the Justice Department, Mr. Trump is facing a swirl of civil and criminal liability in several other cases: a lawsuit by the attorney general for the District of Columbia over payments during his inauguration ceremonies; a criminal investigation in Westchester County, N.Y., over taxes on one of his golf courses; a criminal case in Fulton County, Ga., over interference in the 2020 election; a criminal case by the Manhattan district attorney over the valuation of Mr. Trump’s properties; and a civil inquiry by New York’s attorney general into Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization.

The specific crimes the Justice Department could consider would likely involve Mr. Trump’s fraudulent efforts to get election officials in Georgia, Arizona and elsewhere to declare him the winner even though he lost their states; to get Mr. Pence, at the Jan. 6 congressional certification of the election, to throw out slates of electors from states he lost and replace them with electors loyal to Mr. Trump; and to enlist officials from the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Defense to persuade officials in certain states to swing the election to him and ultimately stir up a mob that attacked the Capitol. The government could also charge Mr. Trump with seditious conspiracy, a serious charge that federal prosecutors have already brought against leaders of far-right militia groups who participated in the Capitol invasion.

The committee hearings make it clear: Mr. Trump must have known he was at the center of a frantic, sprawling and knowingly fraudulent effort that led directly to the Capitol siege. For hours, Mr. Trump refused to call off the mob.

The testimony from hundreds of witnesses, many of them high-ranking Republican officials from his own administration, reveals Mr. Trump’s unrelenting efforts, beginning months before Election Day and continuing through Jan. 6, to sow doubt about the election, to refuse to accept the result of that election and then to pursue what he must have known were illegal and unconstitutional means to overturn it. Many participants sought pre-emptive pardons for their conduct — an indication they knew they were violating the law.

Other evidence points to other crimes, like obstruction of Congress, defined as a corrupt obstruction of the “proper administration of the law.” The fake-elector scheme that Mr. Trump and his associates pushed before Jan. 6 appears to meet this definition. That may explain why at least three of Mr. Trump’s campaign lawyers were unwilling to participate in the plot. People involved in it were told it was not “legally sound” by White House lawyers, but they moved forward with it anyway.

Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to Mr. Trump’s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows, provided powerful evidence that could be used to charge Mr. Trump with seditious conspiracy. In her public testimony at a Jan. 6 committee hearing, she said that Mr. Trump was informed that many in the throng of supporters waiting to hear him speak on the Ellipse that day were armed but that he demanded they be allowed to skip the metal detectors that had been installed for his security. “They’re not here to hurt me,” he said, according to Ms. Hutchinson. “Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.”

If Mr. Garland decides to pursue prosecution, a message that the Justice Department must send early and often is that even if Mr. Trump genuinely believed, as he claimed, that the election had been marred by fraud, his schemes to interfere in the certification of the vote would still be crimes. And even though Mr. Trump’s efforts failed, these efforts would still be crimes. More than 850 other Americans have already been charged with crimes for their roles in the Capitol attack. Well-meaning intentions did not shield them from the consequences of their actions. It would be unjust if Mr. Trump, the man who inspired them, faced no consequences.

No one should revel in the prospect of this or any former president facing criminal prosecution. Mr. Trump’s actions have brought shame on one of the world’s oldest democracies and destabilized its future. Even justice before the law will not erase that stain. Nor will prosecuting Mr. Trump fix the structural problems that led to the greatest crisis in American democracy since the Civil War. But it is a necessary first step toward doing so.


Maureen Dowd:  Women May Propel Democratic Victories in November!

Women's health and civil rights

Dear Commons Community,

New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd, has a piece this morning, describing how women may propel the Democratic Party to victories in the coming November elections.  She comments that:

“It’s nice to see that the Democrats are back on track.

It only took an upheaval turning women into second-class citizens, the possibility that the Orange Menace [Donald Trump] could be re-elected, and an out-of-control Supreme Court.

With all that, the Dems seem to be pulling even.

There’s still a better than even chance that they could lose the House. If they’re lucky, they’ll hold onto the Senate; and for that they would have to thank the Republicans for putting forward horrible candidates.

President Biden’s ratings have gone up, from very bad to not good, with the base cheering on Dark Brandon. But the really positive news is that most Democratic Senate candidates are more popular than he is.

The Democrats have managed to come alive in the last few weeks, actually passing stuff in Congress. After watching the country drown and burn, Joe Manchin freaked out that he would be single-handedly blamed for climate change and made a deal with Chuck Schumer.

But the Democrats are still barely keeping their heads above water.

They just can’t match the Republican crazy. Unfortunately, a considerable chunk of this country is acting insane, believing that Democrats are all pedophiles who are drinking babies’ blood.

Democrats have to stop fighting a conventional war. It’s just not a conventional time.

Ironic that Friday was Women’s Equality Day, designated so by Congress in the ’70s. At a time when women all over the world should be blossoming, we’re seeing stunning setbacks. There’s a bizarre trend of punishing women, Saudi-style, for their sexuality.

Dowd’s conclusion:

“Women who thought that Roe would never really get tossed out, or if it did, it wouldn’t have that much impact, are now realizing what an earthquake this is.

Tudor Dixon, a Donald Trump acolyte who is the Republican nominee for governor in Michigan, told a local Fox station that abortion should be illegal even in the case of minors who are raped. She suggested that having the baby could be “healing.”

Many women are angry and many are registering to vote. Trump seems nervous, but he has wiggled out of a lot of jams. Democrats can’t rely on his spontaneous combustion. Just as women boosted Biden into the White House, now women have to rescue us again, from a bunch of crazy conservatives determining our health care — and how we live our lives.”

Go, women, go!


Charlie Crist Picks Karla Hernández-Mats, the President of the United Teachers of Dade, as his Running Mate!

Who is Charlie Crist's running mate, Karla Hernández-Mats? | Miami Herald

Charlie Crist and Karla Hernández-Mats.  Miami Herald.

Dear Commons Community,

Charlie Crist, the Democratic nominee for Florida governor, named Karla Hernández-Mats, the president of the United Teachers of Dade, as his lieutenant governor running mate yesterday.  Ms. Hernández-Mats,  is a middle school special education science teacher, who Crist described as a passionate parent and advocate ready to govern at his side, despite her lack of experience in elective office.  As reported by The New York Times and Miami Herald.

Ms. Hernández-Mats has “a good heart,” Mr. Crist said in an interview, “That moves me more than anything, always.”

The daughter of Honduran immigrants, Ms. Hernández-Mats taught for a decade in Hialeah, a working class, heavily Cuban American and heavily Republican city northwest of Miami. In 2010, she was named Florida’s teacher of the year. Her mother was a secretary, she said, and her father a farm worker who cut sugar cane and picked tomatoes until he landed a union job as a carpenter.

“It epitomizes the American dream,” Ms. Hernández-Mats said of her life in a separate interview, her first since becoming Mr. Crist’s running mate.

Mr. Crist said he would continue to emphasize how unaffordable the state has become under Mr. DeSantis and how the governor has restricted people’s rights, including by opposing abortion, which is now illegal in Florida after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

But in selecting a teachers union leader, Mr. Crist has ensured, for better or worse, that the governor’s race will remain focused at least in part on matters of education, a topic that Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, has seized as an electoral strength in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. DeSantis, who gained a national following for bucking public health experts and reopening Florida businesses and schools sooner than other states, has made “parents’ rights” a centerpiece of his message. He has waged cultural battles against the teaching of gender identity and racism in schools. And he campaigned for 30 school board candidates, almost all of whom won or made it into runoffs in Tuesday’s primary election. Two of the winners were in Miami-Dade County.

The Republican Party of Florida wasted no time in criticizing Mr. Crist’s pick, saying before the campaign officially named Ms. Hernández-Mats that she represented “another slap in the face to Florida’s parents.”

“It confirms how out of touch Crist is with Florida families,” the party said in a statement on Friday.

Mr. Crist dismissed the notion that voters would agree with the criticism that sharing the ticket with a teachers union chief would somehow put him in opposition to parents.

“I believe that parents being involved is incredibly important, and teachers should also be respected for their expertise,” he said. “They’re not mutually exclusive.”

Democrats argued that Ms. Hernández-Mats could relate to voters as a working mother who understands the challenges inside classrooms. And, as a Spanish speaker, she can reach Hispanic voters whom the party has struggled to win.

“Hispanic voters are obviously immensely critical to building a winning coalition for Democrats,” said Christian Ulvert, a Democratic political consultant in Miami who is Nicaraguan American. “The best way to go toe-to-toe is if you have someone in the community to fight back.”

Good luck to Mr. Crist and Ms. Hernández-Mats!


Key Takeaways From the Affidavit Used to Justify the Search of Mar-a-Lago!

Takeaways from FBI affidavit used to justify raid of Trump's Mar-a-Lago  estate | US News

Dear Commons Community,

New York Times reporter Michael S. Schmidt analyzed the  redacted affidavit used by the Justice Department to justify its search of former President Donald J. Trump’s Florida residence including information that provides greater insight into the ongoing investigation into how he handled sensitive national security documents he took with him from the White House.  Schmidt provides three key takeaways:

The government tried to retrieve the documents for more than a year.

At the beginning, the National Archives and the Justice Department sought to resolve the situation through communication and negotiation, focusing primarily on retrieving and securing sensitive documents and other presidential records.

The affidavit showed that the archives asked Mr. Trump in May 2021, a few months after he left office, for any documents that he might have taken with him that needed to be returned to the federal government under the terms of the Presidential Records Act.

Seven months later, in late December, Mr. Trump’s representatives told the agency that it had a dozen boxes at Mar-a-Lago that were ready to be retrieved. In January, the archives collected what were actually 15 boxes.

The affidavit included a letter from May 2022 that showed that Mr. Trump’s lawyers knew that he might be in possession of classified materials, that the government still wanted them back and that Justice Department was investigating the matter.

Mr. Trump’s aides turned over more documents in June. But the Justice Department was interviewing witnesses about the matter, and came to believe that Mr. Trump was in possession of still more classified materials. It was then that prosecutors went to a federal judge this summer, saying it had probable cause to carry out a search of Mar-a-Lago. The search turned up a trove of highly sensitive documents.

The material included highly classified documents.

The F.B.I. said it had examined the 15 boxes Mr. Trump had returned to the National Archives in January and that all but one of them contained documents that were classified. In all, the agents found 184 documents that were marked classified — 92 of which were marked “SECRET” and 25 of which were marked “TOP SECRET.”

The affidavit did not disclose the contents of any of the documents or specify the subject matter they addressed, and the Justice Department has not addressed what risk there could be to national security if any of the documents were to fall into the hands of rival nations. But the classification markings they carried suggested that some could reveal clandestine human intelligence sources and that others were derived from national security surveillance.

Some materials were marked “NOFORN,” meaning that they cannot be legally shared with a foreign government and others “SI,” an abbreviation for special technical and intelligence information related to surveillance of foreign communications.

Prosecutors are concerned about obstruction and witness intimidation.

To obtain the search warrant, the Justice Department had to lay out to a judge possible crimes, and obstruction of justice was among them.

There is “probable cause to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found” at Mr. Trump’s house, the Justice Department wrote in its request for the search.

In a supporting document, the Justice Department said it had “well-founded concerns that steps may be taken to frustrate or otherwise interfere with this investigation if facts in the affidavit were prematurely disclosed.”

Mr. Trump has had a pattern throughout his presidency of taking actions that raise questions about whether he is trying to interfere with law enforcement investigations of him and his closest allies. Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in the Russia investigation, raised the possibility that Mr. Trump had obstructed justice in that inquiry, though Mr. Trump was never charged. More recently, members of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attacks and what led to them raised questions about whether Mr. Trump or his allies were trying to intimidate witnesses.

Thank you Mr. Schmidt for this analysis!


White House Outs Marjorie Taylor Greene and other Republicans criticizing student debt cancellation after their PPP loans were forgiven!

White House calls out Republican lawmakers who got loans forgivenHypocrite Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene

Dear Commons Community,

The White House hit back at Republicans on Twitter and went after GOP lawmakers who are bashing President Joe Biden’s move to cancel some student debt after they personally benefited from having Paycheck Protection Program loans forgiven during the Covid pandemic.

In a series of tweets, the White House highlighted several congressional Republicans Reps. — Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia,  Vern Buchanan of Florida,  Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, and Markwayne Mullin and Kevin Hern of Oklahoma — who had six- and seven-figure PPP loans forgiven as part of a federal program intended to help those harmed by the coronavirus.  As reported by NBC News.

Like many of their GOP colleagues, the lawmakers have blasted Biden over his student loan decision.

Greene, who said on Newsmax that “it’s completely unfair” for student loans to be forgiven, had $183,504 in PPP loans forgiven, according to the White House.

Kelly, who tweeted that Biden’s move was poised to benefit “Wall Street advisors” at the cost of “plumbers and carpenters,” had $987,237 forgiven, the White House said.

Buchanan, who according to the White House had more than $2.3 million in PPP loans forgiven, tweeted that Biden’s move was “reckless” and a “unilateral student loan giveaway.”

Under Biden’s student debt plan, borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year, or $250,000 for couples who file taxes jointly, will be eligible for up to $10,000 in debt cancellation. Pell Grant recipients, who make up the majority of student loan borrowers, will be eligible for an additional $10,000 in debt relief, for a total of $20,000.

The Paycheck Protection Program was promoted in 2020 as offering loans that could be forgiven if the companies spent the money on business expenses. The requirements for federal student loan forgiveness have been much more stringent over the years.

The White House also highlighted criticism and PPP loan forgiveness amounts from Mullin (more than $1.4 million) and Hern (more than $1 million).

What a bunch of hypocrites!