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Please, For The Love Of God, CNN, Show Soledad O’Brien The Polling On Gay Marriage

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On CNN this morning, Soledad O’Brien hosted a roundtable discussion with actor and conservative activist Stephen Baldwin, LGBT civil rights activist (and icon) Richard Socarides, and a few others. As you can see in this clip, starting around the 1:35 mark, O’Brien not only looks perplexed, but is totally ignorant of the fact that for two years now, in almost every major poll, the majority of Americans have stated they support same-sex marriage. These aren’t outliers, this is a fact.

(In case you aren’t comfortable with this statement, see what the New York Times’ Nate Silver wrote in May of last year.)

How is it a top CNN anchor is totally unaware of this?

While you’re watching the video, you can thank me for not making the title of this post, “Stephen Baldwin: Family Research Council Employees Are “Heavily Armed,” as I had debated, but opted to not add to the violent rhetoric.

Or, “Baldwin suggests Obama is a pimp and broke the law when he worked with interested parties to pass Obamacare.”

Please, CNN, time to boot know-nothing actors like Stephen Baldwin, who has little knowledge of the topics you’re discussing, and, frankly, insufficient intelligence to add to the discussion, and time to get you anchors access to information.

Perhaps there needs to be a knowledge test at CNN?

The panel started to discuss the Brian Brown interview, in which Brown totally politicized the FRC shooting, and without sufficient facts, stooping to the lowest level possible, of course.

 

http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/apps/cvp/3.0/swf/cnn_416x234_embed.swf?context=embed&videoId=bestoftv/2012/08/16/exp-point-stephen-baldwin-politics.cnn

Transcript via CNN:

O’BRIEN: We are going to start with a serious topic which is that shooting that took place in D.C. at FRC. Earlier we had Brian Brown on, and he was — he said this. Let me just play a little bit of his interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Everything points to the fact that this was politically motivated. And it’s totally unacceptable. And groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, which have labeled the family research council, which is a mainstream group, a hate group, that sort of talk, that sort of labeling and attack, it’s totally irresponsible and unacceptable. And I think this incident makes that clear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O’BRIEN: He is the president of the National Organization for Marriage. And it seems we are now learning about the security guard who was injured in the attack. But he seems to have stopped it and really probably saved a lot of lives because this guy was heavily armed. What do you make of what he’s saying, which is there is an irresponsibility in the labeling that goes around the FRC.

BALDWIN: Well, I think that — I know exactly what FRC is. I know the founder of it. And anybody that tries to go in there with a weapon was probably pretty stupid, because those people are —

RICHARD SOCARIDES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Heavily armed?

BALDWIN: Yes, they are heavily armed people. Huh. Exactly. I think it gets back to common sense, regular Joe philosophy. I think that there is a right and a left. And a very conservative perspective about what the future of the country is. And there’s a progressive movement that wants what it wants. And we are now seeing all of these types of differences coming to extreme heads and confrontations.

O’BRIEN: It sounds like you’re saying that the hostility and the tenor and the tone is only going to ratchet-up, right?

BALDWIN: Absolutely.

O’BRIEN: You’re saying harsher this way, harsher that way, and that bubbles into much of a clash and angry rhetoric and worse than angry rhetoric.

BALDWIN: Yes. I mean, obviously we’re seeing more and more violence. Where is that coming from? SOCARIDES: Do you think, though, that maybe we’re seeing more violence on the extremes, but that in the middle, I think the country is coming together around some core principles. We are all in this together. We are all about the same values.

BALDWIN: We should be.

SOCARIDES: We should be, right?

CAIN: What are you saying?

SOCARIDES: I think that there is a consensus around issues like gay rights. The family research council is a big advocate against gay consensus for basic fairness for all.

BALDWIN: Well, there’s a shift.

SOCARIDES: There is a shift.

BALDWIN: In the perception, yes. But at the same time, you have organizations like family research council that say, ok, what about traditional? What about the foundations of what has been the origins and the establishment of this country? It doesn’t mean don’t try to do the right thing. But I believe, you know, listen, Kirk Cameron said something, you know, with Piers Morgan and got in a lot of trouble. And I said during that time, Kirk, it’s not what you say. It’s how you say it. But I supported kirk Cameron for being able to say and stand up for what he believes in.

O’BRIEN: By the way, you have called Vice President Biden a potty mouth. You called the president a gangster. Do you think that the words that people are throwing back and forth are, you know, and I played just a bunch of clips of everybody saying just hostile, nasty things. And I know every couple of years, we say this is the worst ever. Oh, my god, the rhetoric is so bad. But at some point don’t you think it’s ratcheting up?

BALDWIN: Well, Soledad, I call them like I see them. No. Listen, there was a political move by this president to get health care passed that in my perception was criminal, meaning on a common sense level. You don’t go do a deal behind everybody’s back and work the system and, you know, pimp it out so to speak, in order to get your way.

O’BRIEN: So I’m going to guarantee you that the fact you have used the words “pimp it out” is going to —

BALDWIN: Get me in a lot of trouble!

O’BRIEN: Yes, sir.

BALDWIN: I call them like I see them, Soledad.

O’BRIEN: So you are, though, comparing the president to a pimp in those words. Is that what you’re saying?

BALDWIN: No, no. I’m using an — O’BRIEN: No, I’m asking. No, no, I’m literally — that’s what I’m saying. You’re going to get in trouble. That’s the connection people will make, as you know.

BALDWIN: I’m trying to clarify it simply by saying he did something and made a move that most people on a common sense level would say, was that really the right way to get that done? But this president obviously is going to do what he thinks he needs to do to achieve his goals and achieve his agenda.

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News

Santos Campaign Can No Longer Raise or Spend Money After Treasurer Officially Calls It Quits: NYT

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Enmeshed in a web of deceit and possibly under federal criminal investigation, U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) is now apparently unable to lawfully spend money or accept donations via his political campaign, which reportedly now may also be in violation of FEC rules.

On Tuesday the embattled freshman Republican announced he was temporarily stepping down from his committee assignments, reportedly after a conversation with Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Before the end of the day his campaign treasurer filed official paperwork notifying the Federal Election Commission she had resigned.

“Nancy Marks’s resignation effectively leaves the Santos campaign unable to raise or spend money and in seeming violation of federal rules,” The New York Times reports, calling her his “longtime campaign treasurer and trusted aide.”

“Mr. Santos’s financial operations, which are the subject of several complaints filed with the F.E.C. and are being investigated by local, state and federal law enforcement,” The Times adds. “It also leaves the Santos campaign in disarray, effectively rendering it unable to raise or spend money and placing it in seeming violation of F.E.C. rules.”

READ MORE: Another SCOTUS Scandal: Chief Justice’s Spouse Makes Millions Placing Attorneys at Top Law Firms That Argue Before the Court

In fact, FEC rules state: “If a committee’s treasurer is absent, the committee cannot make expenditures or accept contributions unless it has designated an assistant treasurer or designated agent on the committee’s Statement of Organization.”

The resignation comes after last week’s stunning report revealing that Santos, or his campaign, amended FEC filings to indicate the $700,000 he had claimed to have personally loaned his campaign had not actually come from his personal funds.

Unlike political candidates, campaign treasurers are held to an actual standard of truth, and can be personally – and legally – liable if they report false information.

FEC rules also state, “the treasurer can be named and found liable in his or her personal capacity if he or she knowingly and willfully violates the Act, recklessly fails to fulfill duties imposed by the law, or intentionally deprives himself or herself of the operative facts giving rise to the violation.”

READ MORE: Stefanik Was Once ‘Laser Focused on Electing Santos’ – Now She Blames Voters for Electing Him as She Backs Away

Santos may find it difficult to hire a new treasurer: “Even when an enforcement action alleges violations that occurred during the term of a previous treasurer, the Commission usually names the current treasurer as a respondent in the action.”

The Times adds, “The lack of clarity over who, if anyone, is operating as Mr. Santos’s treasurer has already caused confusion. On Tuesday, a joint fund-raising committee associated with Mr. Santos filed paperwork to end its operations. Ms. Marks’s signature was on the paperwork, even though she had resigned as the committee’s treasurer the week before.”

Marks’ resignation also comes after someone affiliated with the Santos campaign falsely listed a well-known Republican treasurer on the official FEC forms as the treasurer for his campaign. As one expert put it, that’s a “big no-no,” and “completely illegal.”

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COMMENTARY

Another SCOTUS Scandal: Chief Justice’s Spouse Makes Millions Placing Attorneys at Top Law Firms That Argue Before the Court

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The highly controversial and highly unpopular U.S. Supreme Court isn’t just facing a historic loss of confidence, it’s now facing yet another ethics scandal that is likely to lower even further public opinion of the far-right institution that in under two decades has seen its approval rating slashed.

Although it will not hear arguments, the issue before the Supreme Court and the American people’s view of it, is, should a Justice’s spouse – in this case the spouse of Chief Justice John Roberts – be able to make millions of dollars recruiting attorneys who are placed into top law firms that argue cases before it?

That’s the latest allegation, and already a spokesperson for the Court has issued a statement denying any ethical violations.

The New York Times reports that “a former colleague of Mrs. Roberts has raised concerns that her recruiting work poses potential ethics issues for the chief justice. Seeking an inquiry, the ex-colleague has provided records to the Justice Department and Congress indicating Mrs. Roberts has been paid millions of dollars in commissions for placing lawyers at firms — some of which have business before the Supreme Court, according to a letter obtained by The New York Times.”

Jane Sullivan Roberts left a law firm where she was a partner after her spouse was confirmed as Chief Justice.

READ MORE: Failed Leak Probe Will ‘Add to Public Distrust’ and ‘Accelerate Partisan Rancor’ Surrounding Supreme Court: Analyst

“Mrs. Roberts, according to a 2015 deposition,” The Times reports, “said that a significant portion of her practice was devoted to helping senior government lawyers land jobs at law firms and that the candidates’ names were almost never disclosed.”

Documents in that case “list six-figure fees credited to Mrs. Roberts for placing partners at law firms — including $690,000 in 2012 for one such match. The documents do not name clients, but Mr. Price recalled her recruitment of one prominent candidate, Ken Salazar, then interior secretary under President Barack Obama, to WilmerHale, a global firm that boasts of arguing more than 125 times before the Supreme Court.”

That case involves “a former colleague of Mrs. Roberts,” Kendal Price, a 66-year-old Boston lawyer, who “has raised concerns that her recruiting work poses potential ethics issues for the chief justice.”

“According to the letter,” sent by Price to DOJ and Congress, which the Times reports it obtained, “Mr. Price was fired in 2013 and sued the firm, as well as Mrs. Roberts and another executive, over his dismissal.”

The Times cites two legal experts, one who sees no ethical concerns with the situation, and one who does.

But critics are expressing great concern over this latest ethics issue, as they have been for years.

Doug Lindner, Advocacy Director for Judiciary & Democracy for the League of Conservation Voters, pointing to the Times’ report,  remarked: “Another day, another ethics concern about another life-tenured conservative justice on the most powerful court in the world, which has no binding ethics rules.”

READ MORE: Marshal ‘Spoke With’ Supreme Court Justices, Excluded Them From Signing Sworn Affidavits in Leak Probe

Indeed, the lack of a Supreme Court code of ethics has been repeatedly condemned for years, including by some of the nation’s top critics.

On Sept. 1, 2022, The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin tweeted out her opinion piece: “Ginni Thomas pressed Wisconsin lawmakers to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory .. just another insurrectionist.”

Norman Ornstein, an emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a contributing editor for the Atlantic, responded:

“Another reminder of how unethical is Justice Clarence Thomas, while Chief Justice Roberts turns a blind eye and continues to resist a code of ethics for a Supreme Court now distrusted by a majority of Americans. This defines the Roberts Court.”

The following month Ornstein slammed the Roberts Court once again.

“It is a stain on the Supreme Court that Chief Justice Roberts refuses to support a Judicial Code of Ethics, and stands by silently while Clarence Thomas flouts ethical standards over and over and over,” Ornstein charged.

Less than one month later he again unleashed on Roberts.

“Roberts is culpable,” he tweeted. “He has resisted over and over applying the Judicial Code of Ethics to the Supreme Court. This is Alito’s court, and it is partisan and corrupt.”

Ornstein is far from the Court’s only critic.

“If Chief Justice Roberts really wanted to address Supreme Court ethics, he would have immediately worked to implement a Code of Conduct after Clarence Thomas failed to recuse from cases involving January 6th despite having a clear conflict of interest,” the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington tweeted a year ago in May. The following month CREW published an analysis titled: “Chief Justice John Roberts is wrong: the American judicial system is facing a major ethics crisis.”

Meanwhile, in late November Politico reported that Democrats in Congress were outraged at the Roberts Court.

“Two senior Democrats in Congress are demanding that Chief Justice John Roberts detail what, if anything, the Supreme Court has done to respond to recent allegations of a leak of the outcome of a major case the high court considered several years ago,” PoliticoJosh Bernstein reported, referring to the leak of the Dobbs decision that overturned the Roe v. Wade decision – itself a massive ethics crisis for the Court.

READ MORE: Revealed: Four Supreme Court Justices Attended Right-Wing Gala — Further Endangering SCOTUS Credibility

“Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) are also interested in examining claims about a concerted effort by religious conservatives to woo the justices through meals and social engagements. They wrote to Roberts on Sunday, making clear that if the court won’t investigate the alleged ethical breaches, lawmakers are likely to launch their own probe.”

Whitehouse and Johnson “also criticized the high court’s response to a letter they sent Roberts in September, seeking information about the court’s reaction to reports in POLITICO and Rolling Stone about a yearslong campaign to encourage favorable decisions from the justices by bolstering their religiosity.”

Nothing has changed.

When the Roberts Court earlier this month announced its lengthy investigation did not find the draft Dobbs decision leaker but also did not include the Justices themselves, Stokes Prof. of Law at NYU Law School Melissa Murray, an MSNBC host, tweeted, “This is a Roberts Court leitmotif–The Chief loves to handle things–even big things–in-house. Ethics issues? No need to get involved, Congress. We’ll sort it out ourselves. Leak needs investigating? No need to call in an actual investigative body, the Marshal will handle it.”

Pulitzer prize winning New York Times  investigative reporter Jodi Kantor, pointing to how the Justices were not thoroughly investigated during the leak probe, in earlier this month said: “Last week the court released statements that confirmed the gap between how the justices and everyone else were treated.”

“The whole situation amplifies a major question about the court: are these nine people, making decisions that affect all of us, accountable to anyone?”

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News

‘Can Be Used Against You’: Trump Took Big Risk Pleading the Fifth 400 Times in Deposition Says Legal Expert

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A newly released video shows Donald Trump pleading the Fifth Amendment hundreds of times in a deposition, and a legal expert explained how that could be used against him in court.

The former president was finally hauled in to testify last year in the $25 million fraud lawsuit filed against the Trump Organization by New York attorney Letitia James, and he exercised his constitutional right against self-incrimination nearly 450 times — but MSNBC legal analyst Andrew Weissmann said the move carried potential risk in a civil case.

“I agree with him on the point of taking the Fifth,” Weissmann said. “It’s important to remember everyone has a right to the Fifth if a truthful answer would tend to incriminate you. In a civil case, it can be used against you, unlike in a criminal case.”

“One other thing I would disagree is when he is saying there’s this witch hunt, he left out jurors,” Weissmann added. “The Trump Organizations went to trial, they had their day in court. They could present all of their evidence, [and] 12 jurors, that’s everyday citizens, found beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a multi-year tax conspiracy that his organizations were involved in, and there was evidence he knew about it as would make sense. That’s one more reason for him to be asserting the Fifth Amendment.”

Watch video below or at this link.

Image via Shutterstock

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