Venezuela is first Andean country to lose of all its glaciers – “A great sadness”

Dear Commons Community,

For the people of the Venezuelan state of Mérida, the glaciated peaks of its Sierra Nevada have been a source of pride since time immemorial: The mountains are part of the regional identity and the origin of various legends in the area that relate them to mythical white eagles.

However, none of the six glaciers that crowned the mountains remain.

The International Climate and Cryosphere Initiative (ICCI), a science advocacy organization, recently declared that the Humboldt Glacier — also known as La Corona, or “the crown” in Spanish — is already “too small to be classified as a glacier.” In March, Venezuelan scientists had warned that the glacier had dramatically shrunk. As reported by NBC News.

“Our tropical glaciers began to disappear since the ’70s and their absence is felt. It is a great sadness and the only thing we can do is use their legacy to show children how beautiful our Sierra Nevada was,” Alejandra Melfo, an astrophysicist at the Universidad de los Andes in Mérida, said in an interview with Noticias Telemundo.

Venezuela had six glaciers in the Sierra Nevada, located about 16,000 feet above sea level. By 2011, five had already disappeared, but the Humboldt Glacier located near the second highest mountain in the country, Humboldt Peak, resisted the onslaught of the weather. Scientists believe its disappearance makes Venezuela the first country in the Americas — and the first country in modern history — to lose all its glaciers.

Glaciers are large masses of ice that have formed due to the accumulation of snow over centuries. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), they typically exist where average annual temperatures reach near-freezing levels and winter precipitation causes significant accumulations of snow.

An important aspect of glacier development is that temperatures during the rest of the year should not cause the complete loss of the previous winter’s snow accumulation, this is how glaciers are maintained and how they grow. And that’s what failed in the Humboldt case.

“In the case of the Humboldt, it’s a process of erosion that has been going on for years without stopping,” Melfo said.

With the increase in global temperatures due to climate change, the melting of large ice masses is a continuous phenomenon that, among other things, contributes to raising sea levels around the world.

“It is the end of a glacial cycle. And in the intertropical zones, basically below 5,000 meters, almost all the glaciers have been disappearing,” said Maximiliano Bezada, a geological researcher at the University of Minnesota. “The case of Humboldt was iconic because it is at 4,800 meters and yet it remained for quite a long time, and that is a climatic anomaly.”

Although the Humboldt Glacier was expected to last at least another decade, scientists had been unable to monitor the area where it’s located due to the country’s political turmoil.

“Venezuela’s glaciers are not the first to disappear, some have disappeared in Colombia and other countries. What happens is that Venezuela had few and all in the Sierra Nevada, I saw how the glaciers of Pico La Concha and Pico Bolívar disappeared. That is why it is the first country to run out of glaciers,” Melfo said.

Due to their large mass, glaciers tend to flow like very slow rivers. Although there is no universal consensus on how large an ice mass must be to be considered a glacier, the USGS states that a commonly accepted standard is about 25 acres.

The case of the Humboldt glacier is not the only one. Glaciers around the world are shrinking, and some are disappearing faster in defiance of scientific projections. A 2023 study analyzed the planet’s 215,000 terrestrial glaciers more comprehensively than previous research and concluded that, if temperatures continue to increase, 83% of the world’s glaciers will be gone by the year 2100.

“Although the end of the glacier was something that was going to happen due to the cycle we are experiencing, there is no doubt that global warming, a product of greenhouse gases, has of course accelerated the disappearance process,” Bezada said.

What little ice remains on Humboldt will continue to melt. Residents of Mérida, including Melfo, say the glacier will continue to exist as long as the white vestiges can be seen from the city — which stopped happening with the other glaciers.

“For the people of Mérida, perhaps the most beloved glacier was that of Pico Bolívar, which since 2012 was a remnant of a glacier. However, people continued to say that it was a glacier until the last bit of ice that could be seen from the city disappeared in 2020,” Melfo said. “I think the same thing is going to happen with the Humboldt: until the last piece disappears, we are going to continue saying that it is a glacier.”

A great sadness indeed


What Nikki Haley donors, voters think about her saying she’ll vote for Trump in November!

Courtesy of MSNBC.

Dear Commons Community,

ABC News did a featured story on whether former Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s supporters are split after she said she will be voting for Donald Trump, some seeing it as a “greenlight” for them to vote for Trump as well, while others are still not convinced.  Here is an excerpt.

After Haley suspended her campaign in March, Trump immediately became the presumptive GOP nominee but was faced with the task of bringing back Haley’s supporters and reuniting the Republican Party without her endorsement, especially after months of bitter rivalry.

Haley’s announcement on Wednesday that she will be voting for Trump appeared to soften the lingering animosity between the two, with Trump himself saying during media interviews on Thursday that he appreciated Haley’s comment – even saying he thinks she’s “going to be on our team,” while not specifying what he meant by “our team.”

The latest comments from the two is a move that could unite their support base, especially for Haley’s donors after earlier this year Trump “permanently barred” them from his MAGA movement, saying, “We don’t want them, and will not accept them,” as the rivalry between the two escalated in the primaries.

“Anybody that makes a ‘Contribution’ to Birdbrain, from this moment forth, will be permanently barred from the MAGA camp,” Trump wrote on his social media platform in January. “We don’t want them, and will not accept them …”

Eric Levine, a New York-based Haley fundraiser who had vowed not to vote for Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol but had recently announced he would be voting for Trump, said: “What was her alternative?”

He told ABC News voting for Biden instead of Trump is not an option right now when the United States needs to “support Israel, confront our enemies and support our allies.” Levine also said that Haley’s public comment — even if it’s not a full endorsement — could persuade a lot of her supporters who felt “lost” inch toward Trump.

“I think this gives a lot of people permission to not just not vote for Joe Biden, but to vote for Donald Trump,” Levine said. “I think this is a very important statement that she made.”

Longtime Haley ally David Wilkins, a former U.S. ambassador to Canada under the Bush administration, also praised Haley’s announcement as “a good move,” saying, “Republicans need to be united as best we can.”

Ozzie Palomo, a lobbyist and prominent GOP bundler who raised money for Haley, echoed that sentiment, saying, “I think it’s the right call.”

“All the statements she made about Trump was during the primary; primaries are over and I think the world has dramatically changed, probably faster and more significantly than anyone anticipated over the last five, six months,” Palomo said, criticizing the Biden administration.

“Her saying she plans to vote for him probably gives cover to a significant portion of those that remain on the fence to feel comfortable enough to do the same,” Palomo said while acknowledging there are still likely people who will not support Trump.

Palomo said her comment that she will vote for Trump is “about as close to a full-out endorsement as you’re gonna get from her at least in the near term.”

“She could have easily said I’m not voting for Biden and left that open ended,” Palomo said. “However, she took the opportunity in a very public format to stress the fact that based on geopolitical matters and other policies like immigration, the economic mess, she’s comfortable to pick one over the other in a clear binary choice.”

Palomo stressed it’s still “incumbent on the former presidential reach out to her supporters and try to lure them back,” but noted the Trump campaign and the Republican Party’s recent fundraising success is a sign that many are already moving toward Trump’s direction — adding he himself has begun supporting Team Trump’s high-dollar joint fundraising operation with the Republican National Committee.

However, another major Haley donor, who spoke under the condition of anonymity to talk freely, told ABC News that Haley’s decision to vote for Trump did not change her mind about writing in her name in November instead of voting for the former president.

“I’m not voting for him — I’ll just tell you that,” the donor said. “I know it’s a binary choice, and I bravo and brava to those who take the binary choice seriously. I’ll be writing in Nikki Haley.”

The donor said the only way she’s voting for Trump is if Haley is picked as his running mate, but the donor said she doesn’t see that happening.

Earlier this month, Trump quickly shut down rumors about his team considering Haley as his running mate, writing on his social media platform, “Nikki Haley is not under consideration for the V.P. slot, but I wish her well!”

Politics make for strange bedfellows!


New Issue of “Academe”: Revisits the Role of Race in AAUP’s History!


Dear Commons Community,

The current issue of Academe examines  the role of race in the AAUP’s history. I found it a most interesting read and highly recommend it.  The seven articles especially those on W.E.B. Du Bois and Angela Davis are illuminating and well-written. The articles are available for a free download at:

Below is an excerpt from the introduction to the issue.



“In a time of backlash against racial reckoning, when the AAUP has become a vocal defender of scholarship and teaching that engage with the history of racism in the United States, the fact remains that the AAUP has not yet fully reckoned with racism in its own past. The Association’s historical contributions to the struggle for racial equity, too, deserve reevaluation, both for the lessons they yield for the AAUP’s ongoing racial equity initiative and for what they reveal about earlier battles over political interference in higher education.

Planning this issue presented challenges. For much of the AAUP’s history, discussion of race was notably absent from the Association’s public work; later, when racial concerns were openly discussed, they still tended to be overshadowed by work in areas that received more resources and attention. This issue thus provides not a comprehensive history but discrete accounts of periods or episodes in which racial issues surfaced. Most of the articles are longer than usual, and all include endnotes—departures from Academe’s usual style that seemed necessary to make the issue as useful as possible.

The issue opens with a pair of articles that discuss W. E. B. Du Bois’s 1945 resignation from the AAUP in protest over a meeting held at a segregated venue. Andrew J. Douglas situates this incident in the context of Du Bois’s “increasingly radical vision” for higher education, suggesting that his conception of a coopera­tive university might point toward an agenda for today’s academic labor movement. Hans-Joerg Tiede fills in additional details about the discriminatory structures that the AAUP’s early membership practices reproduced, including accreditation policies that excluded Black institutions, a system of nomination that created barriers to membership for Black professors, and the practice of sometimes holding meetings in the Jim Crow South.

Moving into the second half of the twentieth cen­tury, Joy Ann Williamson-Lott considers how academic freedom investigations during the Black freedom struggle involved the AAUP in the fight over the role of col­leges and universities in challenging white supremacy. Brian M. McGowan and Edward L. Holt examine the Grambling College investigation, which they connect to the AAUP’s work at other historically Black colleges and universities. This work led to the establishment in 1973 of what is now the AAUP’s Committee on Historically Black Institutions and Scholars of Color, a topic dis­cussed by Marcus Alfred and Kelly Hand. Emily Houh, in the article that follows, revisits the AAUP’s inves­tigation in the Angela Davis case, asking whether the weaponization of academic freedom employed by Davis’s critics “has played a role in creating the existential crises we now face in the academy.” Finally, Risa L. Lieberwitz considers the AAUP’s long-standing support for affirma­tive action and speculates about the future of efforts to achieve a diverse faculty and student body.

We hope that this issue of Academe will open new avenues of inquiry into underexplored areas of the AAUP’s history.

U.S. Supreme Court Allows South Carolina’s Racial Gerrymander to Stand!

Courtesy of Shannon Finney – Getty Images.

Dear Commons Community,

The U.S. Supreme Court ‘s conservative majority yesterday preserved a Republican-held South Carolina congressional district, rejecting a lower-court ruling that said the district discriminated against Black voters.

In dissent, liberal justices warned that the court was insulating states from claims of unconstitutional racial gerrymandering.

In a 6-3 decision, the court held that South Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature did nothing wrong during redistricting when it strengthened Rep. Nancy Mace’s hold on the coastal district by moving 30,000 Democratic-leaning Black residents of Charleston out of the district.  As reported by The Associated Press.

“I’m very disturbed about the outcome. It’s as if we don’t matter. But we do matter and our voices deserve to be heard,” said Taiwan Scott, a Black voter who sued over the redistricting.

President Joe Biden, whose administration backed Scott and the other plaintiffs at the Supreme Court, also criticized the ruling. “The Supreme Court’s decision today undermines the basic principle that voting practices should not discriminate on account of race and that is wrong,” Biden said in a statement.

Mace, reacting to the decision, said, “It reaffirms everything everyone in South Carolina already knows, which is that the line wasn’t based on race.”

The case presented the court with the tricky issue of how to distinguish race from politics. The state argued that partisan politics, not race, and a population boom in coastal areas explain the congressional map. Moving voters based on their politics is OK, the Supreme Court has held.

A lower court had ordered South Carolina to redraw the district after it found that the state used race as a proxy for partisan affiliation in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

Thursday’s decision won’t have a direct effect on the 2024 election. The lower court had previously ordered the state to use the challenged map in the November vote, which could help Republicans as they try to hold on to their narrow majority in the House of Representatives.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, criticized lower-court judges for their “misguided approach” that refused to presume that lawmakers acted in good faith and gave too much credit to the challengers.

Alito wrote that one weakness of the Black voters’ case was that they did not produce an alternative map, which he called an “implicit concession” that they couldn’t have drawn one. “The District Court’s conclusions are clearly erroneous because it did not follow this basic logic,” he wrote.

Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the three liberals, said her conservative colleagues ignored the work of the lower court that found the district had been gerrymandered by race.

“Perhaps most dispiriting,” Kagan wrote, the court adopted “special rules to specially disadvantage suits to remedy race-based redistricting.”

Richard Hasen, an election expert at the University of California at Los Angeles law school, agreed with Kagan, writing in a blog post that the decision “makes it easier for Republican states to engage in redistricting to help white Republicans maximize their political power.”

Janai Nelson, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said in a statement, “The highest court in our land greenlit racial discrimination in South Carolina’s redistricting process, denied Black voters the right to be free from the race-based sorting and sent a message that facts, process, and precedent will not protect the Black vote.”

However, Sen. Thomas Alexander, the president of the South Carolina Senate, praised the ruling. “As I have said throughout this process, our plan was meticulously crafted to comply with statutory and constitutional requirements, and I was completely confident we would prevail,” Alexander said.

The Supreme Court in 2019 ruled that partisan gerrymandering cases could be not be brought in federal courts. Justice Clarence Thomas, who was part of the conservative majority five years ago, wrote separately Thursday to say federal courts should similarly get out of the business of refereeing racial gerrymandering disputes“It is well past time for the Court to return these political issues where they belong—the political branches,” Thomas wrote. No other justice signed on.

When Mace first won election in 2020, she edged Democratic incumbent Rep. Joe Cunningham by 1%, under 5,400 votes. In 2022, following redistricting driven by the 2020 census results, Mace won reelection by 14%. She is among eight Republicans who voted in October to oust Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as House speaker.

The case differed from one in Alabama in which the court ruled last year that Republican lawmakers diluted Black voters’ political power under the landmark Voting Rights Act by drawing just one district with a majority Black population. The court’s decision led to new maps in Alabama and Louisiana with a second district where Democratic-leaning Black voters comprise a substantial portion of the electorate.

In South Carolina, Black voters wouldn’t have been as numerous in a redrawn district. But combined with a substantial set of Democratic-leaning white voters, Democrats might have been competitive in the reconfigured district.

The high court left open one part of the case about whether the map intentionally sought to dilute the votes of Black residents.


Trump Holds Rally In South Bronx – Blah!

Trump Bronx Rally.  Courtesy of The New York Times.

Dear Commons Community,

Donald Trump held a rally in Crotona Park in the South Bronx last evening.  Fox News was the only TV station that carried the event.  According to the New York Post, only 3,500 were permitted to enter the rally, while a group of about 100 protesters chanted anti-Trump slogans outside the rally perimeter.  Here is a brief recap courtesy of The New York Times.

“Miles from the rather somber Manhattan courtroom where he has spent much of the past five weeks as a criminal defendant, former President Donald J. Trump on Thursday stood at a park in the Bronx, surveyed the crowd and acknowledged he had been concerned over how he might be greeted at his first rally in New York State in eight years, and his first ever in the borough.

In front of him was a more diverse crowd than is typical of his rallies, with many Black and Hispanic voters sporting bright red “Make America Great Again” hats and other Trump-themed apparel ordinarily scarce in deep-blue New York City. Still more people stood outside, waiting to get past security.

“I woke up, I said, ‘I wonder, will it be hostile or will it be friendly?’” Mr. Trump said. “It was beyond friendly. It was a love fest.”

As is often the case during Mr. Trump’s speeches, the truth was a bit more complex. As he spoke, more than 100 protesters demonstrated outside the fenced-off area of Crotona Park where he had staged the rally. A wave of elected officials denounced his visit to the city. And his insistence that he would carry New York in November — though perhaps not as laughable as it once might have sounded, judging from at least one recent poll — conveniently disregarded the thumping he took in the state in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

But as heated arguments took place outside his rally, Mr. Trump, who veered occasionally into lengthy New York-focused reminiscences that were lost on his supporters, seemed to relish the chance to appear in his hometown, seize media attention and know that New Yorkers would hear what he had to say, like it or not, one way or the other.

Throughout the rally, Mr. Trump, one of New York’s most famous native sons, who formally made Florida his home in 2019, embraced the chance to demonstrate his support in the city he left behind — and which he swore he still loved, even as he decried it as descending into chaos.

“New York was where you came to make it big. You want to make it big, you had to be in New York,” he said. “But sadly, this is now a city in decline.”

His remarks largely followed familiar patterns as he railed against the Biden administration and made explicit overtures to Black and Latino voters. He lamented the surge of migrants across the southern border and criticized President Biden’s economic policies as disproportionately hurting people of color, whose support he is eager to win from Democrats.”

As I watched him talk about his accomplishments in New York City,, there was not one mention of anything he ever built or constructed in the South Bronx. He did mention the failed Trump Golf Course in Ferry Point but that in no way can be considered the South Bronx. I listened to Trump for about thirty minutes but felt compelled to turn the TV channel to Jeopardy. 

As an aside, Crotona Park, the  site of the rally, has a special place in my family’s heart.  My grandfather, Donato DeMichele, was a “parkie” there in the 1930s.


Nikki Haley Will Vote for “Unhinged” Trump for President!

Dear Commons Community,

Nikki Haley said yesterday that she will be voting for Donald Trump in the general election, a notable show of support given their intense and often personal rivalry during the Republican primary calendar.    Haley previously made her feelings on Trump well known while campaigning against him, calling him “unhinged and unstable.”

But Haley also made it clear that she feels Trump has work to do to win over voters who supported her during the course of the primary campaign and continue to cast votes for her in ongoing primary contests.  As reported by The Associated Press.

“I will be voting for Trump,” Haley, Trump’s former U.N. ambassador, said during an event at the Hudson Institute in Washington.

“Having said that, I stand by what I said in my suspension speech,” Haley added. “Trump would be smart to reach out to the millions of people who voted for me and continue to support me and not assume that they’re just going to be with him. And I genuinely hope he does that.”

The comments in her first public speech since leaving the race are another signal of the GOP’s virtually complete consolidation of support behind Trump, even from those who have labeled him a threat in the past.

Haley shuttered her own bid for the GOP nomination two months ago but did not immediately endorse Trump, having accused him of causing chaos and disregarding the importance of U.S. alliances abroad as well as questioning whether Trump, 77, was too old to be president again.

Trump, in turn, repeatedly mocked her with the nickname “Birdbrain,” though he curtailed those attacks after securing enough delegates in March to become the presumptive Republican nominee.

Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Haley’s announcement.

President Joe Biden’s campaign, meanwhile, has been working to win over her supporters, whom they view as true swing voters. Biden’s team is quietly organizing a Republicans for Biden group, which will eventually include dedicated staff and focus on the hundreds of thousands of Haley voters in each battleground state, according to people familiar with the plans but not authorized to discuss them publicly.

Despite Haley’s announcement Wednesday, the Biden campaign made it clear they would continue to court voters who backed her in Republican primaries this year.

“Nothing has changed for the millions of Republican voters who continue to cast their ballots against Donald Trump in the primaries and care deeply about the future of our democracy, standing strong with our allies against foreign adversaries, and working across the aisle to get things done for the American people — while also rejecting the chaos, division and violence that Donald Trump embodies,” Michael Tyler, the campaign’s communications director, said in a statement. “Only one candidate shares those values, and only one campaign is working hard every day to earn their support — and that’s President Biden’s.”

Meanwhile, Haley made several criticisms of Biden’s foreign policy and handling of the U.S.-Mexico border in her speech Wednesday at the Hudson Institute, a conservative Washington think tank she recently joined as she reemerges in the political realm.

Earlier this month, Haley huddled in South Carolina with some of her donors, an event characterized as a “thank you” to her top supporters and not a discussion about Haley’s future political plans or intended to push her backers toward any other candidate.

If she runs for president again, Haley will likely need to win over former Trump supporters in a Republican primary. But her support for him now risks offending moderates and anti-Trump conservatives.

She could have been a contender but now she has become another Trump toadie!



Another Far-Right Flag Was Flown Outside Sam Alito’s House!

An “Appeal to Heaven” flag seen outside the Alito home in New Jersey in August, 2023.    Google Street View

Dear Commons Community,

A second flag carried by rioters during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the U.S. Capitol was displayed outside a home owned by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, according to a report in The New York Times.

The newspaper published photos from neighbors and from Google Street View that show an “Appeal to Heaven” flag flying outside the justice’s beach house in Long Beach Island, New Jersey.

The flag, featuring a green pine tree on a white background, dates to the Revolutionary War, but is now linked with Christian nationalists and those who support former President Donald Trump.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) displayed the flag in his office last year after he was elected to the post.

A Google Maps image taken in August 2023 shows the “Appeal to Heaven” flag flying outside a beach home the Times identified as Alito’s.

The Supreme Court did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The latest report comes after a New York Times investigation found an upside-down American flag — used as a symbol for Trump’s “Stop the Steal” movement” — was flown outside the justice’s home in Alexandria, Virginia, on Jan. 17, 2021. That was just over a week after the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol — and as the nation’s high court was hearing cases about the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.

Alito issued a brief statement about the upside-down flag, saying he was not responsible for its display outside his home and that it linked to a dispute his wife was having with neighbors at the time.

“I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag,” he told the Times. “It was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs.”

The dual flag reports have prompted many Democrats to call on Alito to recuse himself from cases involving the Jan. 6 attack, with some House members saying the symbols create, “at minimum, the appearance of improper political bias.” Even Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the decision to fly the upside-down flag did not display “good judgement.”

Two cases are currently pending before the court related to Jan. 6, including Trump’s claims he is immune to all prosecution linked to his duties while in the White House.

What a guy!


Ex- NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and ten others plead not guilty to felony charges in Arizona election interference case

From left, Mark Meadows, Boris Epshteyn and Rudy Giuliani.

Dear Commons Community,

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani pleaded not guilty yesterday to nine felony charges stemming from his role in an effort to overturn Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss in Arizona to Joe Biden.

Ten others, including former Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward, also pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, forgery and fraud charges related to the case. Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom. His and Ward’s trials are scheduled for Oct. 17, about three weeks before the U.S. election.

The indictment alleged Giuliani spread false claims of election fraud in Arizona after the 2020 election and presided over a downtown Phoenix gathering where he claimed officials made no effort to determine the accuracy of presidential election results.

It also accused him of pressuring Maricopa County officials and state legislators to change the outcome of Arizona’s results and encouraging Republican electors in the state to vote for Trump in mid-December 2020. As reported by The Associated Press.

During his remote appearance, Giuliani said he did not have an attorney, and that he felt capable of handling the arraignment himself.

Giuliani said he received a summons but did not have a copy of the indictment. He said he is familiar with the charges, though, by reading about them.

Arizona authorities tried unsuccessfully over several weeks to serve Giuliani notice of the indictment against him. He was finally served Friday night as he was walking to a car after his 80th birthday celebration in Florida.

On Tuesday, prosecutors requested a $10,000 cash bond after outlining efforts by Arizona authorities since April 23 and the difficulties they faced. The judge instead required Giuliani to post a secured appearance bond of $10,000 as well as appear in Arizona within the next 30 days for booking procedures. A cash bond would have meant Giuliani would have to pay the court $10,000, while a secured appearance instead lets him offer up a security worth $10,000 to post bond. “He has shown no intent to comply with the legal process in Arizona,” prosecutor Nicholas Klingerman said in asking for the bond.

Investigators weren’t allowed to go up to Giuliani’s New York residence, a doorman at the building refused to accept the documents and voicemails left for Giuliani weren’t returned, Klingerman said.

The prosecutor said before the notice was delivered, Giuliani mentioned the Arizona case on a podcast, telling listeners he found it hilarious that Arizona investigators were having difficulty finding him. “This is perfect evidence that if they’re so incompetent (that) they can’t find me, they also can’t count votes correctly,” he said, according to Klingerman.

Giuliani responded that he hadn’t been hiding from Arizona authorities, saying he has strict rules about who can walk up to his residence given he’s been the target of death threats and doesn’t have security personnel. He also called the indictment political.

“I do consider the indictment to be a complete embarrassment to the American legal system,” Giuliani said. Moments later Court Commissioner Shellie Smith, who was presiding over the hearing, tried to interrupt Giuliani but he kept talking.

After Tuesday’s arraignments, Giuliani spokesperson Ted Goodman said the former New York City mayor looks forward to being vindicated.

“These charges are essentially a cut and paste version of what they’re attempting to use to interfere with the 2024 Election and to take down President Trump and anyone willing to take on the permanent Washington political class,” Goodman said.

Arizona authorities unveiled the felony charges last month against Republicans who submitted a document to Congress falsely declaring Trump, a Republican, had won Arizona. The defendants include five lawyers connected to the former president and two former Trump aides. Biden, a Democrat, won Arizona by more than 10,000 votes.

The indictment alleges Ward, a former state senator who led the GOP in Arizona from 2019 until early 2023, organized the fake electors and urged then-Vice President Mike Pence to declare them to be the state’s true electors. It says Ward failed to withdraw her vote as a fake elector even though no legal challenges changed the outcome of the presidential race in Arizona.

Last week, attorney John Eastman, who devised a strategy to try to persuade Congress not to certify the election, was the first defendant in the case to be arraigned, pleading not guilty to the charges.

Trump himself was not charged in the Arizona case but was referred to as an unindicted co-conspirator.

Arizona is the fourth state where allies of the former president have been charged with using false or unproven claims about voter fraud related to the election.

The 11 people who claimed to be Arizona’s Republican electors met in Phoenix on Dec. 14, 2020, to sign a certificate saying they were “duly elected and qualified” electors and asserting that Trump carried the state. A one-minute video of the signing ceremony was posted on social media by the Arizona Republican Party at the time. The document was later sent to Congress and the National Archives, where it was ignored

The other people who pleaded not guilty Tuesday included Tyler Bowyer, an executive of the conservative youth organization Turning Point USA; state Sen. Anthony Kern; Trump attorney Boris Epshteyn; Greg Safsten, a former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party; Robert Montgomery, a former chairman of the Cochise County Republican Committee; Samuel Moorhead, a Republican precinct committee member in Gila County; Nancy Cottle, who in 2020 was the first vice president of the Arizona Federation of Republican Women; Loraine Pellegrino, past president of the Ahwatukee Republican Women; Michael Ward, an osteopathic physician who is married to Ward; and attorney Christina Bobb.

Two other defendants — attorney Jenna Ellis and and Michael Roman, who was Trump’s 2020 director of Election Day operations — were scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday, but ultimately didn’t appear at the hearing. Their lawyers had requested postponements. It’s unclear from the court record whether the judge had ruled on that request.

Arraignments are scheduled for June 6 for state Sen. Jake Hoffman; on June 7 for former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows; and on June 18 for Boris Epshteyn and for James Lamon, another Republican who claimed Trump carried the state.

What a collection of  would-be destroyers of our democracy!


Truth-Challenged Trump Refuses to Testify in His Hush Money Trial

Dear Commons Community,

Donald Trump refused to testify in his own defense yesterday in his hush-money trial.  This was no surprise given that Trump is incapable of telling the truth about anything. Here is an analysis of his decision courtesy of The Huffington Post.

Making Mexico pay for a border wall, creating a “big, beautiful healthcare plan” to replace Obamacare, balancing the federal budget and avoiding Minnesota if he lost the 2020 election have new company on the lengthy list of broken Donald Trump promises: his vow to testify in his New York City hush money trial.

Despite repeated pledges to take the witness stand to proclaim his innocence, Trump had his lawyers rest their case yesterday after calling only two witnesses, neither of them the coup-attempting former president.

Trump refused to answer shouted questions as to why he didn’t testify as he left the lower Manhattan courtroom after the brief morning session. In recent months, he has on many occasions said he was eager to tell his side of the story in the business records falsification case that could send him to prison for as long as four years.

“Yeah, I would testify, absolutely,” he told reporters just three days before the trial began five weeks ago. “I’m testifying. I tell the truth, I mean, all I can do is tell the truth.”

Even his lawyers suggested it was possible Trump could testify — last week, Todd Blanche told Judge Juan Merchan it was a decision that had not yet been made — before essentially admitting Monday in open court that it would not happen.

Legal experts and observers, of course, said they were not in the least surprised that testimony ended without hearing from Trump.

“He was never going to testify,” said Ty Cobb, a former top lawyer in the White House when it was under Trump and who is now a Trump critic.

“If he had taken the stand, they would have cross-examined him for three days with every lie he has told about E. Jean Carroll, maybe January 6th, the classified documents, Stormy ― does Stormy, a … porn star, pole dancer really remind you of your own daughter ― McDougal, his real estate tax fraud cases, his taxes and more to show he is a darker version of Michael Cohen.”

Cohen is Trump’s former lawyer and fixer who ended up in prison in part because of his involvement in a payoff to Stormy Daniels. Daniels is the adult film actor and director who testified she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 and received $130,000 from Cohen to remain quiet about it in the days leading up to the 2016 election. McDougal is the former Playboy model who received $150,000 from American Media Inc. not to reveal the affair she claimed she had with Trump. Carroll is the writer whom Trump owes $88 million to after a federal jury found he sexually abused her and then defamed her.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all 34 counts against him and denied having had sex with either Daniels or McDougal.

Cobb said that had he been the prosecutor doing Trump’s cross-examination, he would not only have poked holes in Trump’s version of what happened but also made sure the jury understood what a prodigious liar Trump is.

“Credibility is always relevant and no one is more exposed on that point than Trump,” Cobb said.

“It would have been glorious. Alternating gusts of incoherence, egoism, anger, insolence and prevarication,” said Mac Stipanovich, a lawyer and longtime Republican political consultant in Florida. He added that he would have had a field day as the prosecutor doing Trump’s cross-examination.

“I would have goaded him about the tawdry details of the Stormy Daniels encounter, his business practices, his relationship with Cohen, and then just stepped back and let him go,” Stipanovich said. “Whenever he slowed down, I would goad him again.”

An informal adviser to Trump said the feeling that Cohen did poorly under cross-examination last week led to Trump’s ultimate decision not to take the stand.

“I think he really wanted to until Cohen crashed,” the adviser said on condition of anonymity.

The adviser also conceded it would not have been in Trump’s best interests, saying, “It would have been crazy for him to.”

One former Trump White House lawyer with experience practicing criminal law who remains sympathetic to Trump agreed that having a defendant testify is always risky — particularly one as undisciplined as Trump.

“A big risk,” he said on condition of anonymity, explaining that even a small misstep can lead to answering all kinds of damaging questions on cross-examination. “You say the wrong thing or say it in the wrong way, and the prosecution can say, ‘Judge, he opened the door.’”

The prosecution in Trump’s case wrapped up on Monday afternoon. Trump’s defense finished Tuesday morning, and Merchan spent the afternoon working with both sides to hash out what instructions he would give to the jury. Closing arguments are scheduled to take place on May 28, the day after the long Memorial Day weekend.

If Trump winds up regretting his decision not to testify, though, he may have at least three more chances to do so in other trials.

Trump is facing federal charges in Washington, D.C., based on his actions leading up to his Jan. 6 coup attempt and in South Florida for his refusal to turn over top secret documents he took with him to his Palm Beach country club upon leaving the White House.

He also faces felony charges in Georgia for his attempts to overturn his election loss there.

If convicted in any of the other jurisdictions on these charges, he could receive decades in prison.


Trump Media lost $327.6 million in the first quarter of the year on revenue of just $770,500.

Courtesy of The Associated Press.

Dear Commons Community,

Trump Media & Technology Group (DJT), the parent company of Donald Trump’s Truth Social platform, disclosed a net loss of $327.6 million in the first quarter of the year, with total revenue at $770,500, according to its earnings report, filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  As reported by NBC News, The Associated Press  and the New York Post.

The report is one of the first measures of company’s true financial health since it debuted as a public company on the Nasdaq stock exchange in March, after completing a merger with a shell company, Digital World Acquisition Corp.

DJT shares were relatively flat in post-market trading following the release of the earnings report, which had not been highly publicized prior. The stock was down 5% at market close, with a share price of $48, giving it a total value of about $6.6 billion.

Since going public, the DJT stock has whipsawed on what experts say is a meme stock trajectory, sometimes rising or falling dramatically, without any significant news to account for the swing.

TMTG CEO Devin Nunes said that the company is exploring “a wide array of initiatives and innovations to build out the Truth Social platform including potential mergers and acquisitions activities” in a statement on Monday.

“We are particularly excited to move forward with live TV streaming by developing our own content delivery network, which we believe will be a major enhancement of the platform,” Nunes added.

In April, the company announced that Truth Social would launch a TV streaming platform in three phases, the first for Android, iOS, and Web. The second would roll out as stand-alone apps for phones, tablets and other devices. The last phase would launch for home television.

In its Q1 report, TMTG said it has signed contracts with its first data center partner, which would host the TV platform, and a hardware vendor to provide equipment.

The company told the SEC last week that it would delay its quarterly filing, after the agency charged its former auditor, BF Borgers CPA, with “massive fraud” of hundreds of companies, raising red flags about the accuracy of the financial information that the firm had audited.

Another failed Trump venture!