Last week, the Journal Sentinel called on Sen. Ron Johnson to resign or be expelled over his repeated election-related lies and conspiracy theories. Johnson wrote in reply to the paper. In response to his reply, the Journal Sentinel footnoted Johnson’s reply with 19 specific refutations.
A few remarks:
If Johnson runs again, the Journal Sentinel won’t decide the outcome of the 2022 race. Still, Johnson’s foolish to think that he can win a back-and-forth debate with the paper. They’re in the publishing business: they can go round after round with him.
It seems Johnson didn’t expect that they might add footnote refutations to his reply, and on Twitter he’s upset that they did. He – or his staff – should have understood that a newspaper that calls for an official’s resignation or expulsion won’t let go. Did he think they’d look at his reply and say oh gosh, you’re right – and we were so very wrong, Mr. Johnson?
Johnson’s Twitter complaint about the footnotes rests on being kept to a 1,000-word reply limit. He contends that if he’d been allowed to reply at greater length, there would have been no need for the Journal Sentinel’s footnotes. The Journal Sentinel added the notations, however, for “additional context so that readers have a fuller understanding of the senator’s actions.”
In effect, they’re calling him a liar, not someone who left out a few trivial details. If Johnson had written at greater length, then he might have found himself facing even more footnotes in refutation.
Thursday in Whitewater will be clear with a high of thirty-four. Sunrise is 7:18 AM and sunset 4:54 PM, for 9h 36m 46s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 56% of its visible disk illuminated.
Good begins with normal: Today is a good day, in the District of Columbia, and across the nation.
On this day in 1954, the first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, is launched in Groton, Connecticut.
After Donald Trump’s “American carnage” inaugural address — essentially declaring war on the whole congressional “establishment” that sat in uncomfortable attendance — former president George W. Bush reportedly commented, “That was some weird s–t.” Biden’s speech was neither. Behind the new president’s words you could almost hear the work crews rebuilding America’s moral and political guardrails. That infrastructure project is a precondition for the return of a politics that is normal and noble.
The address was more authentic to Biden than rhetorically ambitious, objectives that typically diverge. It was clearly intended to give a sense of the president as a man — upbeat, forthright, practical, welcoming. The speech was a rhetorical X-ray. It showed that Biden’s heart is in the right place — something that could not be assumed in Trump’s alien anatomy. It is usually not high praise to say that an inaugural address puts you to sleep. But I will sleep better at night knowing that a man of admirable character holds the presidency.
Haines, a former CIA deputy director, will become a core member of Biden’s security team, overseeing the agencies that make up the nation’s intelligence community. She succeeds John Ratcliffe, a Texas Republican and Trump loyalist who was widely regarded as having too little experience for the position.
Praising Haines, Mark Warner, the Virginia Democrat who will chair the intelligence committee in the new Senate, said: “After being deliberately undermined for four years, the intelligence community deserves a strong, Senate-confirmed leader to lead and reinvigorate it.”
Marco Rubio, the acting outgoing Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said in a statement: “Our adversaries will not stand by and wait for the new administration to staff critical positions, and I am pleased my Senate colleagues joined me in swiftly confirming director Haines to this important post.”
Ron Wyden, a committee Democrat who has regularly criticised spy agency activities, said he voted for Haines after her response to questions, including how spy agencies treat whistleblowers and concerns he raised about how the CIA had spied on committee officials when they were working on a report detailing the agency’s use of harsh interrogation techniques, which critics described as torture.
During an intelligence committee confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Haines said the United States should take an “aggressive stance” toward the threat posed by an aggressive and assertive China.
The Whitewater Common Council met last night, 1.19.21. The agenda for the meeting is available.
A few remarks, on selected items of the agenda —
1.Public Works Buildings. Whitewater plans to update its public works buildings, now scattered over a multi-acre plot near Starin Road. The total estimated price is high for a small town (about $9.3 million) but elements of the project could be updated in stages, with legally-necessary changes (ADA-related) selected sooner. There’s now no fixed plan; selecting among options yet awaits.
2. A Sign Ordinance. Months upon months of work, of city employees, consultants, and elected officials led to updates of Whitewater’s sign ordinance. There has been only one essential purpose to these updates: that they bring the city into compliance with federal law on the limits of content-based sign restrictions. Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 576 U.S. 155 (2015). Everything else has been discretionary only, a series of preferences. In difficult times, as these have been, time spent on discretion over sign restrictions is time spent wastefully. If Whitewater were richer or healthier, then surplus time would have been less wasteful. No one would praise others for wasting food, but saving it. A culture of self-congratulation (look how well this went!) matters when the work is creditable. Only compliance with the law, being necessary, was creditable.
3.A New Water Tower. The city plans to build a new water tower near the Bridge to Nowhere and Well No. 9. There was some concern in town about where this tower might go, but this was always the likely spot. There is much work to do, beginning with an eminent domain claim, before there will be a new tower.
4. The 2020 Annual Report and 2021 Management Plan. Whitewater’s city manager discussed the 2020 Annual Report and 2021 Management Plan, having neither sent a copy of it to the common council nor posted it in the packet online. He claimed a problem with email distribution, but a report could have been completed days ago, and both placed online for the community and sent to council members. (It’s annual, after all, so he would have known long in advance that it was due.)
Repeated apologies during the meeting for the absence of copies focused on what council did not timely receive, but council members are mere representatives of a larger community. It was the community, itself, that should have received the report online before the meeting.
Why it so hard for this city manager to be clear about the cause of these protests, and use Floyd’s name?
Perhaps it’s easier for him to complain about others’ concern over Floyd’s death when outside the city council chambers than it is for him to address the legitimate concern over Floyd’s death when in the city council chambers.
There was the dog-ate-my-homework contention that COVID-19 made addressing some matters harder. Not at all: COVID-19 has not struck this city manager or this local government mute; he and they could and should have spoken plainly and directly. Whitewater is not an autonomous region but a small American city; that which stains the nation stains the city.
Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of thirty-one. Sunrise is 7:18 AM and sunset 4:53 PM, for 9h 34m 46s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 46.9% of its visible disk illuminated.
In the end, Trump was everything his haters feared—a chaos candidate, in the prescient words of one of his 2016 rivals, who became a chaos President. An American demagogue, he embraced division and racial discord, railed against a “deep state” within his own government, praised autocrats and attacked allies, politicized the administration of justice, monetized the Presidency for himself and his children, and presided over a tumultuous, turnover-ridden Administration via impulsive tweets. He leaves office, Gallup reported this week, with the lowest average approval ratings in the history of the modern Presidency. Defeated by Joe Biden in the 2020 election by seven million votes, Trump became the first incumbent seeking reëlection to see his party lose the White House, Senate, and the House of Representatives since Herbert Hoover, in 1932. A liar on an unprecedented scale, Trump made more than thirty thousand false statements in the course of his Presidency, according to the Washington Post, culminating in perhaps the biggest lie of all: that he won an election that he decisively lost.
Yet Republicans—the vast majority, that is, of those who still identify themselves as Republicans—continue to embrace Trump and the conspiracy theories about his defeat that the departing President has spread to explain his loss. This, more than anything, might have been the most surprising thing about Trump’s tenure: his ability to turn one of America’s two political parties into a cult of personality organized around a repeatedly bankrupt New York real-estate developer. And so we are ending these four years having learned not that Donald Trump is a bad man—the evidence of that was already voluminous and incontrovertible before he entered politics—but that there are millions of Americans who were willing to overthrow our constitutional system in order to keep him in power, who would follow Trump’s dark lies rather than acknowledge unwelcome truths.
Back in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden gave a tearful address to his supporters before he traveled to Washington to take up residency at the White House. He paid homage to his home town and issued a message of hope, saying: “I know these are dark times but there’s always light.” The oldest president yet, Biden will take the reins at midday today.
The Whitewater Unified School District’s board will see a contested February primary and a contested April general election. Regrettably, Whitewater has no professional newspaper, print or electronic, to cover that race. A post from today at the Whitewater Banner, entitled “Whitewater Unified School District Returns to In-Person Learning; Tom Ganser Photos Show the Excitement at Lincoln,” is an example of what Whitewater lacks (link at https://whitewaterbanner.com/whitewater-unified-school-district-returns-to-in-person-learning-tom-ganser-photos-show-the-excitement-at-lincoln/, screenshots below).
Of course, people – especially children – should be happy & excited. One hopes children do, and always will, enjoy school. Being back with one’s teachers and friends is understandably important. A publication, however, is not a child, a teacher, or a school – it’s a mere presentation of children, teachers, or schools, and so is responsible for the manner of that presentation.
Some years ago, a local politician began publishing the Banner, a website styled as an online newspaper. The publication is now the property of a local charity (the Whitewater Community Foundation) but has among its editors the current president of the Whitewater Common Council and a candidate for that same public body.
Needless to say, there are no self-described staff writers, reporters, or editors (paid or volunteer) who are also politicians and candidates. None. Indeed, in the entire state (population 5.8 million) there is no other publication, to my knowledge, that presents itself as a news site while politicians, public-body appointed officials, or candidates are editors.
The post in the Banner about the re-opening of our public schools to face-to-face instruction combines a press release of 1.18.21 from the district administrator and photographs from an incumbent school board candidate. The mixture is littered with conflicts or omissions.
The post does not identify the photographer as a member of the school board.
The post does not identify the photographer as a candidate for re-election.
The combination of the district administrator’s press release and the candidate’s photos will invite some readers to wonder if there has been coordination between the appointed administrator and the incumbent candidate.
(N.B.: There is no evidence whatever that the district administrator is responsible for this combined, disclosure-free post. The Banner has done the district administrator no favors. Other than a flop house or a Greyhound Bus terminal, there are few worse places for an administrator to be than in the middle of Whitewater’s school board race.)
The photos are more an incumbent’s campaign ad than news, with the incumbent-candidate board member taking pictures of district employees with welcoming signs, a gesticulating panda mascot, and children’s art.
(A mural, with dogs in masks or a wheelchair, is endearing; it deserves better than inclusion in this admixture.)
I’ve no favored candidates in this race, no preference for anyone, and so no one to endorse. It’s almost certain that some candidates will prove preferable to others. (That’s an understatement.) In any event, the primary is weeks away, and there are weeks more afterward until the April general election; there is time for one to examine candidates’ positions and write as warranted.
Regardless, there are principles at a stake as important as winning a race. Anyone who grew up in a time of strong journalism, from a newspaper-loving family, would see that the Banner’s post isn’t journalism. FREE WHITEWATER is a site of commentary; I’m not and have never wanted to be a journalist. It would be better for this community to create a proper journalistic enterprise or admit that it has none.
Whitewater is, sadly, a news desert. The improvement of a desert, however, is not a mirage, but an oasis of (of definite standards and characteristics).
Tuesday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of twenty-seven. Sunrise is 7:19 AM and sunset 4:52 PM, for 9h 32m 49s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 36.9% of its visible disk illuminated.
The specific ground for Trump’s second impeachment, “incitement of insurrection,” immediately takes off the table two of the core defenses Trump asserted last year when he was impeached for the first time:
1. The conduct alleged against him might have been inappropriate, but it wasn’t a crime; and
2. Crime or no crime, the alleged misconduct didn’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense.
Defense No. 2—that the alleged misconduct doesn’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense—is plainly not available in Impeachment II. The very thought that inciting an insurrection against the United States doesn’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense is laughable. If inciting an insurrection against the United States isn’t an impeachable offense, nothing is.
Defense No. 1—that a specific statutory crime must be alleged and proved to impeach and remove a president—isn’t really a defense at all. Rather, it’s a fringe theory rejected by the vast majority of constitutional scholars.
But even if proof of a statutory crime were required, it would not help Trump escape conviction this time around because Impeachment II does charge Trump with a crime.
Incitement of insurrection is a crime, full stop: 18 U.S.C §2383 states that any person who “incites” or “assists” an insurrection, or “gives aid or comfort thereto,” shall be fined or imprisoned for not more than ten years, “and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”
To think of Mr. Trump as an influencer is to suggest that his message can be contained. That his ideas live and die with him and his ability to broadcast them. To suggest that Trumpism is something bigger — that it is a platform itself — is to argue that Mr. Trump and his followers have constructed a powerful, parallel information ecosystem that is as strong and powerful (one could argue even more powerful) than any system built to oppose it. But anyone plugged into the pro-Trump universe realizes that Trumpism is bigger than the figurehead.
So which is Mr. Trump: the influencer or the platform?
Without Twitter, he won’t be able to speak to his people on an hourly basis, maintaining that affinity and crowding out the other Republicans who might compete for their affection.
He could go to some upstart conservative social media platform, like Gab or Parler (if it gets restored). But those don’t have the mainstream legitimacy he craves, and reporters aren’t on them, so their reach is much more limited.
That means that when new events occur, Trump won’t be able to make himself the core of the story. He won’t be able to constantly remind Republicans that they need to fear him. While many of his supporters will remain loyal, others will drift away, not turning against him but just no longer thinking about him every day.
The Dr. King Holiday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of twenty-seven. Sunrise is 7:20 AM and sunset 4:51 PM, for 9h 30m 55s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 27.9% of its visible disk illuminated.
On Oct. 12, 2020, Fox News agreed to pay millions of dollars to the family of a murdered Democratic National Committee staff member, implicitly acknowledging what saner minds knew long ago: that the network had repeatedly hyped a false claim that the young staff member, Seth Rich, was involved in leaking D.N.C. emails during the 2016 presidential campaign. (Russian intelligence officers, in fact, had hacked and leaked the emails.)
Fox’s decision to settle with the Rich family came just before its marquee hosts, Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity, were set to be questioned under oath in the case, a potentially embarrassing moment. And Fox paid so much that the network didn’t have to apologize for the May 2017 story on FoxNews.com.
But there was one curious provision that Fox insisted on: The settlement had to be kept secret for a month — until after the Nov. 3 election. The exhausted plaintiffs agreed.
Why did Fox care about keeping the Rich settlement secret for the final month of the Trump re-election campaign? Why was it important to the company, which calls itself a news organization, that one of the biggest lies of the Trump era remain unresolved for that period? Was Fox afraid that admitting it was wrong would incite the president’s wrath? Did network executives fear backlash from their increasingly radicalized audience, which has been gravitating to other conservative outlets?
MOSCOW — As international pressure mounted for the release of arrested Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, he was abruptly summoned to a court hearing Monday which he described as “the highest degree of lawlessness.”
His lawyers said they were given just minutes’ notice of the hearing on whether he should be jailed.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Navalny, 44, said in a videoed comment in court, where pro-Kremlin media had been ushered in through a side entrance. “A few minutes ago I was taken from my cell to meet my lawyers and they brought me here to a session of the Khimki city court. There are unknown people in the room, unknown people recording video,” he said in the video released by his press secretary.
The hearing took place at the Khimki police department near Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Alexander S. Pushkin International Airport where he was arrested after flying home to Russia from Germany where he had been receiving medical treatment after from an August poison attack.
[Reporter patsy] Widakuswara posted to Twitter a description of the questioning which allegedly led to her removal from her beat. On 11 January, she wrote, she asked Pompeo “What are you doing to repair [the] US reputation around the world?” and “Mr Secretary, do you regret saying there will be a second Trump administration?”
“The nation’s top diplomat [ignored] my questions,” she wrote.
According to the VOA journalists’ letter, Reilly shouted at Widakuswara: “‘You obviously don’t know how to behave. … You are out of order!’”
Several hours later, the letter said, [Deputy Director] Robbins removed Widakuswara from covering the White House.
At 2:12 p.m. on Jan. 6, supporters of President Trump began climbing through a window they had smashed on the northwest side of the U.S. Capitol. “Go! Go! Go!” someone shouted as the rioters, some in military gear, streamed in. It was the start of the most serious attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812. The mob coursed through the building, enraged that Congress was preparing to make Trump’s electoral defeat official. “Drag them out! … Hang them out!” rioters yelled at one point, as they gathered near the House chamber.
Officials in the House and Senate secured the doors of their respective chambers, but lawmakers were soon forced to retreat to undisclosed locations. Five people died on the grounds that day, including a Capitol police officer. In all, more than 50 officers were injured.
To reconstruct the pandemonium inside the Capitol, The Washington Post examined text messages, photos and hundreds of videos, some of which were exclusively obtained. By synchronizing the footage and locating some of the camera angles within a digital 3-D model of the building, The Post was able to map the rioters’ movements and assess how close they came to lawmakers — in some cases feet apart or separated only by a handful of vastly outnumbered police officers.
Sunday in Whitewater will be overcast with a high of thirty-one. Sunrise is 7:20 AM and sunset 4:49 PM, for 9h 29m 03s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 19.9% of its visible disk illuminated.
As President Trump prepares to leave office in days, a lucrative market for pardons is coming to a head, with some of his allies collecting fees from wealthy felons or their associates to push the White House for clemency, according to documents and interviews with more than three dozen lobbyists and lawyers.
The brisk market for pardons reflects the access peddling that has defined Mr. Trump’s presidency as well as his unorthodox approach to exercising unchecked presidential clemency powers. Pardons and commutations are intended to show mercy to deserving recipients, but Mr. Trump has used many of them to reward personal or political allies.
The pardon lobbying heated up as it became clear that Mr. Trump had no recourse for challenging his election defeat, lobbyists and lawyers say. One lobbyist, Brett Tolman, a former federal prosecutor who has been advising the White House on pardons and commutations, has monetized his clemency work, collecting tens of thousands of dollars, and possibly more, in recent weeks to lobby the White House for clemency for the son of a former Arkansas senator; the founder of the notorious online drug marketplace Silk Road; and a Manhattan socialite who pleaded guilty in a fraud scheme.
Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer John M. Dowd has marketed himself to convicted felons as someone who could secure pardons because of his close relationship with the president, accepting tens of thousands of dollars from a wealthy felon and advising him and other potential clients to leverage Mr. Trump’s grievances about the justice system.
A major donor to the National Rifle Association is poised to challenge key aspects of the gun group’s bankruptcy filing, in an attempt to hold executives accountable for allegedly having defrauded their members of millions of dollars to support their own lavish lifestyles.
Dave Dell’Aquila, a former tech company boss who has donated more than $100,000 to the NRA, told the Guardian on Saturday he was preparing to lodge a complaint in US bankruptcy court in Dallas, Texas. If successful, it could stop top NRA executives discharging a substantial portion of the organisation’s debts.
It could also stop Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s controversial longtime chief executive, avoiding ongoing lawsuits that allege he defrauded the pro-gun group’s members to pay for luxury travel to the Bahamas and Europe and high-end Zegna suits.
But jailing Navalny could create another conundrum for Putin’s government, analysts said. A throng of supporters are expected to greet Navalny at Vnukovo International Airport — more than 2,000 people responded “going” to one Facebook group.
Arresting him would certainly elevate his image as a political martyr among his backers. A response from Western governments, perhaps in the form of more sanctions, is also possible.
Tatiana Stanovaya, head of political analysis firm R. Politik, wrote on the Telegram messaging app that Navanly’s possible arrest would trigger protests that would test “how far [Russian security services] and the most repressive apparatus of the state can go.”
Saturday in Whitewater will be cloudy with occasional light snow and a high of thirty-four. Sunrise is 7:21 AM and sunset 4:48 PM, for 9h 27m 15s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 12.4% of its visible disk illuminated.
The number of workers filing for jobless benefits posted its biggest weekly gain since the pandemic hit last March and the head of the Federal Reserve warned the job market had a long way to go before it is strong again.
The total for the week ended Jan. 9 also was the highest in nearly five months and put claims well above the roughly 800,000 a week they had averaged in recent months.
“We are a long way from maximum employment,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in a webcast hosted by Princeton University, his undergraduate alma mater, an indication that the central bank’s easy-money policies will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
The U.S. labor-market recovery stalled last month with the December jobs report showing the U.S. lost 140,000 payroll positions. The economic recovery’s slowdown has included
“It’s going to take quite a while to turn back what’s been started here,” said Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D), who has participated in joint calls in recent days with other Midwestern governors about the possibility of fresh violence in the aftermath of last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol and an FBI warning about armed far-right extremists gathering across the country this weekend.
The weekly calls began last spring between the governors — mostly Democrats, but some Republicans — as a way to informally coordinate and trade ideas about how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic amid a perceived leadership vacuum by the Trump administration.
But in recent days, the calls — which have included the governors of Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin — have taken on a new urgency as state officials have shared information and advice about how to confront what many believe could be a dark and dangerous period of extended insurgency against state and even local governments.
Overthrowing the government. Igniting a second Civil War. Banishing racial minorities, immigrants and Jews. Or simply sowing chaos in the streets.
The ragged camps of far-right groups and white nationalists emboldened under President Trump have long nursed an overlapping list of hatreds and goals. But now they have been galvanized by the outgoing president’s false claims that the election was stolen from him — and by the violent attack on the nation’s Capitol that hundreds of them led in his name.
“The politicians who have lied, betrayed and sold out the American people for decades were forced to cower in fear and scatter like rats,” one group, known for pushing the worst anti-Semitic tropes, commented on Twitter the day after the attack.