Donald Trump, the former president who is testing his political capital by endorsing large numbers of GOP candidates to bolster his own personal brand, is expected to endorse J.D. Vance, a far right Christian conservative who last year was accused of antisemitism. Vance, a venture capitalist, is running to replace retiring Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman.
Some are suggesting financial gain.
A Trump endorsement in the tight six-way GOP primary could shake up the race. Despite tremendous name recognition Vance has been lagging way behind, currently in third place with just 11%. That’s about half the share of the leading candidate, businessman Mike Gibbons who is averaging 20 percent, according to Real Clear Politics. Far right extremist Josh Mandel, the state’s former Treasurer, is in second place with 18.7 percent.
NBC News broke the story, reporting that the “Mandel people hit the roof,” citing “one Republican with knowledge of the discussions.” That Republican told NBC News U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan “tried to dissuade Trump on behalf of Mandel, whom the congressman supports.”
Before Trump was elected President, Vance, the author of the once-popular but now often derided memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” attacked him as “reprehensible.” He apologized in 2021 as he launched his Senate campaign.
Vance has endorsed Trump’s “Big Lie.” Last year CNN reported that “Vance, the most well-known of the candidates, blatantly lied about 2020, claiming that the tech industry had worked with Democrats to rig the election.”
“That’s why we have the disaster we have instead of a second term of Donald Trump,” he said.
Vance, or a pro-Vance super PAC, is being bankrolled by Peter Thiel, the Big Tech billionaire conservative libertarian political activist and PayPal co-founder.
Thiel, as The Washington Post reported earlier this year, “invested $10 million in a political action committee in March [of 2021] to bolster Vance’s candidacy should he run. A few months later, Vance, a former employee of Thiel’s, made it official.”
Former federal prosecutor and former Republican turned Democratic activist, Ron Filipkowski, did not mince words in his opinion of what’s behind the anticipated Trump endorsement.
“Trump held out for a while to get a bigger check out of Peter Thiel,” says Filipkowski. “This means Blake Masters (AZ) will get the endorsement soon, and it wasn’t buy one, get one free either.”
Masters, who is president of the Thiel Foundation, is running for the U.S. Senate from Arizona.
It’s not the first time Filipkowski has suggested Trump is being paid by Thiel an endorsement. This from February:
I’m putting the over/under for Peter Thiel’s check to Trump for the JD Vance and Blake Masters endorsements at $2 million.
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) February 11, 2022
In February The New York Times reported that “Thiel, one of Donald J. Trump’s biggest donors in 2016, has re-emerged as a prime financier of the Make America Great Again movement.”
Professor Donald Moynihan, the Chair at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, last year offered an opinion on why Thiel is getting so political.
“As Thiel accumulates massive wealth, he reinvests some of it into the political system, backing people like Trump and JD Vance, culture warriors who will keep you distracted while expanding a system that allows Thiel to accrue massive wealth w/o taxes.”
As some have also noted, in 2009 Thiel wrote: “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.”
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‘Tarnished Image’: Gallup Releases Devastating SCOTUS Poll – as Conservative Justices Snipe at Kagan’s Warning
Ever since December of 2021, when the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case that six months later would overturn Roe v. Wade, a 49-year old precedent – “settled law,” Americans were assured by the Court’s Justices in their confirmation hearings – ensuring women have the constitutional right to abortion, Chief Justice John Roberts has been accused of losing control of his justices.
On Thursday, just days before the high court begins its new term, as one of the Justices’ spouses delivers testimony on her role in the coordinated efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, amid sniping by the Chief Justice and a conservative justice at their liberal colleague, and anger across the nation so virulent the midterm elections appear to be rapidly swinging back to Democrats, the right-leaning Gallup organization has released a new poll that’s absolutely devastating for the Chief Justice and the Court he was entrusted to lead – not to mention American democracy itself.
“Supreme Court Trust, Job Approval at Historical Lows,” Gallup’s damning headline reads.
“47% trust the judicial branch; previous low was 53%,” “40% job approval of U.S. Supreme Court is tied for record low,” and “Record-high 42% say Supreme Court is too conservative.”
Translated, that means the legitimacy of the court is in question, despite entreaties from Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the Dobbs opinion that discarded nearly five decades of settled law to achieve a desired goal: rescinding the constitutional right to abortion, and with it, quite possibly not far down the road, the constitutional right to contraception, same-sex intimacy, and same-sex marriage.
“‘Less than half of Americans say they have ‘a great deal’ or ‘a fair amount’ of trust in the judicial branch of the federal government, representing a 20-percentage-point drop from two years ago, including seven points since last year,'” Politico reports, quoting an advanced copy of Gallup’s findings.
“This represents a 20-percentage-point drop from two years ago,” Gallup’s own report reveals, “including seven points since last year, and is now the lowest in Gallup’s trend by six points. The judicial branch’s current tarnished image contrasts with trust levels exceeding two-thirds in most years in Gallup’s trend that began in 1972.”
Respect for the Supreme Court was such a non-question that from 1976, when Americans’ “trust and confidence” in the nation’s highest court stood at 63%, Gallup, it appears, did not even ask the question again in polls again until 1997, when the answer came back at 71%.
Today, under Chief Justice Roberts, it is a mere 47%.
Also today, Ginni Thomas, the far right wing activist spouse of one of the Court’s most right-wing jurists, Clarence Thomas, is testifying before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack regarding her role in efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
This week Justice Alito, also a far-right conservative, delivered a thinly-veiled attack against Justice Elena Kagan, a liberal, in a rare public forum.
So did the Chief Justice, just weeks earlier.
“The very worst moments [in the court’s history] have been times when judges have even essentially reflected one party’s or one ideology’s set of views in their legal decisions,” Justice Kagan said recently, sparking anger from the right. “The thing that builds up reservoirs of public confidence is the court acting like a court and not acting like an extension of the political process.”
“Judges create legitimacy problems for themselves when they don’t act like courts,” she also said, and “when they instead stray into places that looks like they are an extension of the political process or where they are imposing their own personal preferences.”
“If, over time, the court loses all connection with the public and with public sentiment, that is a dangerous thing for democracy,” Kagan warned.
Chief Justice Roberts later delivered a terse retort.
“Simply because people disagree with an opinion is not a basis for questioning the legitimacy of the court.”
Bloomberg Law columnist Vivia Chen, citing the well-respected constitutional scholar and retired Harvard Law professor of law, Laurence Tribe, recently wrote: “Chief Justice Roberts Is Officially Irrelevant.”
“Having had both John Roberts and Elena Kagan as my brilliant students in constitutional law, and having watched each of their careers unfold, I can’t help thinking that one of them, Justice Kagan, has grown into her role as a wise jurist,” Tribe told Chen in response to the Roberts-Kagan flap.
“Chief Justice Roberts has dwindled in stature as his cliches have lost their power and even their relevance,” Tribe added.
Justice Alito entered the sparring match this week, telling The Wall Street Journal: “It goes without saying that everyone is free to express disagreement with our decisions and to criticize our reasoning as they see fit. But saying or implying that the court is becoming an illegitimate institution or questioning our integrity crosses an important line.”
It was a clear swipe at Justice Kagan.
“It’s embarrassingly obvious that recent decisions rendered by the conservative supermajority hew to a certain political agenda,” Bloomberg’s Chen noted, asking: “where does one start? I guess Dobbs was a biggie because it destroyed almost 50 years of reproductive rights for women.”
“Then,” she added, “there’s the decision that crippled New York’s gun-control law and the one that severely cut back climate change regulations. And let’s not forget how the court keeps siding with religion, as if the separation of church and state is an optional part of the Constitution.”
“That the Supreme Court lurched so far to the right in less than a year is breathtaking,” Chen observes. “It’s like we’re suddenly transported to a country where Wayne LaPierre, Christian fundamentalists, corporate polluters, and the ghost of Phyllis Schlafly are calling the shots.”
(For those looking fore even more justification of how the Supreme Court is undermining its own legitimacy, this video clip offers an additional answer.)
All this turmoil, turbulence, and trouble comes days before the Court begins its new term.
“The Supreme Court will return to work on the first Monday of October, after a three-month summer break, with all the determination of a Renaissance-era explorer looking for new lands to conquer,” snarked – or warned – The Nation‘s Elie Mystal. “Last term, the court’s conservative supermajority showed it was willing to ignore precedent (overturning Roe v. Wade), reality (issuing rulings that will lead to more gun violence and climate pollution), and facts (making up evidence in the praying-football-coach case) to arrive at its preferred judicial outcomes.”
“This term, the high court will cement its grip on political life in America, overturning affirmative action and other critical protections along the way,” he says.
“The conservative Supreme Court has been willing to suppress the vote or let Republican-controlled state legislatures gerrymander district maps to the point where the popular vote is all but meaningless, but so far, the court has been unwilling to throw away enough votes after the fact to change the outcome of an election. We’ll see if there’s a first time for everything.”
How bad could it be?
A picture’s worth a thousand words.
Affirmative Action. Tribal Sovereignty. LGBTQ+ Rights. Voting Rights. They’re all on the chopping block this coming Supreme Court term—and this is just what we know so far. In this essential SCOTUS preview, @ElieNYC lays out what’s at stake this term. https://t.co/i3C1vHntmY
— The Nation (@thenation) September 29, 2022
Barr Blasted for Defending Trump and Claiming ‘Children’ Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka Should Not Be Part of Fraud Case
Former Trump Attorney General Bill Barr is defending Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump after New York Attorney General Tish James announced she is suing them, the family business, and other people associated with their business in a massive civil fraud case.
James says she expects to be able to stop Trump from engaging in certain business operations in the state of New York, after alleging he fraudulently inflated and deflated the value of his assets based on if it would help or hurt him.
Barr, who gained a brief moment of praise from Americans for making clear Trump should not have stolen classified government documents and should have returned them, is being equally criticized after going to bat for the Trump family.
Despite years of investigations from James’ Office and other investigations, like out of the Manhattan DA’s office, Barr called the filing of charges a “political hit job” and “gross overreach,” while suggesting the actual case against Trump and his family is meritless.
“It’s hard for me not to conclude that this is a political hit job,” Barr said Wednesday on Fox News. “I’m not even sure that she has a good case against Trump himself, but what ultimately persuades me that this is a political hit job is that she grossly overreaches when she tries to drag the children into this.”
It was that phrase, “the children,” that angered many.
Donald Trump, Jr. is 44, Ivanka Trump is 40, and Eric Trump is 38.
Barr, who has a history of using cherry-picked information focused on one aspect of James’ massive 220-page, $250 million lawsuit.
Barr complained, “this is [Trump’s] personal financial statement, prepared by the CFO, accounting firms were involved in it.”
“The children aren’t going to know the details of that, nor are they expected in the real world to do their own due diligence and have it reviewed independently.”
Those “children” were or still are officers of The Trump Organization, and other Trump businesses. Given that Trump has created his empire as “pass-through” businesses, some have said they had an obligation to know what the valuations of the businesses were — and certainly once Trump became president, Eric and Don Jr., some might say, had a greater responsibility since their father told the American people he was stepping away from the business.
Bill Barr tells Fox that NYAG Letitia James “grossly overreaches when she tries to drag the children into this” because Eric, Don Jr., and Ivanka, are not “expected in the real world to due their own due diligence.” pic.twitter.com/dIyFhe9XrO
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) September 21, 2022
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes did not hold back in his criticism of Barr, tweeting, “‘drag the children’ is an amazing phrase for grown-ass adults.”
“These ‘children’ were senior executives who ran the company,” reminds Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor. “Eric, for example, is 38 years old and took the Fifth over 500 times in his deposition in this matter.”
“When it’s infants being taken from their parents at the border, it’s ‘Oh well, sucks for them, shouldn’t’ve broken the law,’ but when it’s a 44yo, a 40yo and a 38yo doing white-collar crimes, it’s ‘HOW CAN THESE PRECIOUS CHERUBS POSSIBLY BE EXPECTED TO KNOW HOW THE WORLD WORKS?’,” tweeted journalist Bonnie Stiernberg.
“Bill Barr claimed on Fox News that it was a ‘gross overreach’ for AG James to sue Trump’s children,” says attorney and political commentator Dean Obeidallah. “Those ‘kids’ are currently Trump corporate officers in case of Don Jr/Eric while Ivanka is a former officer. They were personally involved in the wrongdoing. They HAD to be sued.”
“It’s amazing how white people can remain children well into their 40’s but black children are adults as soon as they can reach the counter,” responded author Patrick S. Tomlinson.
Attorney Dave Johnson sums it all up.
“N.Y. Bus. Corp. Law §715(h): ‘An officer shall perform his duties as an officer in good faith and with that degree of care which an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would use under similar circumstances.’ Barr is indisputably and intentionally lying to the public.”
Watch above or at this link.
Critics Slam Reporters Over Obsession With Biden Flying to Vote in Delaware: ‘Desperate for a Scandal’
Fascism and right wing extremism, the cost of rent and groceries, power outages, and voter registration in response to the Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade are all on the rise, but White House reporters and the mainstream media Tuesday night were obsessed not with those issues facing Americans but with one question: Why did President Joe Biden fly to Delaware that evening to vote in his state’s primary election?
And they’re paying the price, at least from critics angered at what they see is the nationwide mainstream media desperate for a Biden scandal that does not exist, forcing them to try to create one out of thin air.
Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Business were among the most obsessed with what many on social media felt was a non-story.
“President Biden, who depended on mail-in votes to win office in 2020, unexpectedly flew Air Force One to his home state of Delaware on Tuesday to cast a primary election ballot in-person,” Bloomberg Business Executive editor for U.S. Government news Mike Shepard wrote in a tweet promoting Bloomberg News White House Correspondent Jordan Fabian’s report: “Biden Jets to Delaware to Vote Instead of Using Mail Ballot.”
Melody Murphy, the chief brand officer for Louisville, Kentucky’s Metro United Way, responded by summing up what many others were saying: “This is not news. Thankful for a President that exercises his right to vote as all of us should. So many other things to report on.”
Susan Bordson, a communications consultant also responded to Shepard’s tweet, saying, “Desperate for a scandal, eh?”
“I smell desperation from some of the DC Beltway newsrooms that primarily market themselves as *DC insider gossip* publications to have a scandal. They’re SCRAPING,” she added.
How big a story did the media want this to be?
Politico’s White House Bureau Chief Jonathan Lemire, an MSNBC host and frequent commentator, was among the first to report the news, kicking off the rush to report with a very incomplete tweet.
“NEW,” Lemire wrote for maximum attention. “President Biden and the First Lady are leaving the White House to make an unannounced trip to Wilmington, Delaware.”
NEW: President Biden and the First Lady are leaving the White House to make an unannounced trip to Wilmington, Delaware
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) September 13, 2022
To the average American that easily could sound like a crisis. Was the president sick?
25 minutes later Lemire added this tweet, explaining, finally, that the President was off to vote:
Biden confirms that he is taking Air Force One to Delaware to vote in the state’s primary – and ignores question as to why he did not vote absentee pic.twitter.com/Uc1GDsslNZ
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) September 13, 2022
CBS News senior White House and political correspondent Ed O’Keefe posted four tweets Wednesday morning about the President’s trip to vote, reporting on questions the White House press secretary was forced to field.
“Aboard AF1 to Detroit, @PressSec pressed by reporters on why @POTUS and @FLOTUS flew back to Delaware Tues. for primary day and didn’t vote early in person or absentee,” O’Keefe tweeted.
“In response, @PressSec said the president has maintained a busy schedule and ‘It worked out best for him to vote on Tuesday. He thought it best for him’ to vote in person. (But the president was home in Delaware Saturday and had nothing on his schedule besides afternoon mass.),” he added.
His last tweet on the topic reads: “Should add: @PressSec said @POTUS and @FLOTUS Biden wanted to vote in person in part to thank election officials and poll volunteers, who’ve been the subject of scrutiny and harassment in recent years like never before.”
Responses to O’Keefe’s Twitter thread were angry.
One read: “You realize that the President was modeling democracy and showcasing the importance of everyone engaging in the civic process of voting, correct? Jesus. This country is in the grave political peril that is because of the national media and rubes like this.”
Blomoberg’s Jennifer Jacobs, one of the most prolific reporters during the Trump years, frequently serving up important scoops, was also among those focused on President Biden’s travels, posting several tweets about the news.
Biden didn’t answer when asked why he hadn’t simply requested and returned an absentee ballot. Delaware also offered in-person early voting on Saturday, when Biden was at his home in Wilmington.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) September 14, 2022
Daily Kos’ political director David Nir responded, “On top of everything else wrong with this tweet, there *was* a very important statewide primary for auditor. The incumbent was convicted of corruption in July and got ousted tonight. So this tetchy complaint isn’t even accurate.”
Economist David Rothschild, a frequent commentator, added: “(1) Good example to vote in all elections (2) Previous president flew masses of US employees each weekend to his resorts, then charged US millions to house and feed them.”
National security and civil liberties journalist Marcy Wheeler also weighed in, blasting Jacobs:
“Jennifer Jacobs’ big scoops about Trump were that he and several other people in the White House were lying about COVID Dxes. Her big scoop about Joe Biden is that he did his civic duty.”
Attorney Eugene Freedman also served up criticism of Jacobs’ tweets.
“The extremist takeover of school boards is based on this mentality that they are not high-profile elections, so they’re not worth voting. It’s why books are banned. It’s why state legislatures are gerrymandering state & Congressional districts. All elections are important!”
Will Stancil, a policy researcher at the University of Minnesota, responded to one of Jacob’s tweets, saying: “The last president tried to hold G8 at his private resort, moved White House operations to his other private resort for half the year, and regularly charged the government for stays at his corruption hotel, and you’re gonna complain about Biden using government resources to VOTE?”
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