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Conservatives in Chaos

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 17/01/2021 - 8:30am in

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GOP in anarchy? Republicans in shambles? Something like that …

As President Trump prepares to leave office with his party in disarray, Republican leaders including Senator Mitch McConnell are maneuvering to thwart his grip on the G.O.P. in future elections, while forces aligned with Mr. Trump are looking to punish Republican lawmakers and governors who have broken with him.

The bitter infighting underscores the deep divisions Mr. Trump has created in the G.O.P. and all but ensures that the next campaign will represent a pivotal test of the party’s direction, with a series of clashes looming in the months ahead.

The friction is already escalating in several key swing states in the aftermath of Mr. Trump’s incitement of the mob that attacked the Capitol last week. They include Arizona, where Trump-aligned activists are seeking to censure the Republican governor they deem insufficiently loyal to the president, and Georgia, where a hard-right faction wants to defeat the current governor in a primary election.

In Washington, Republicans are particularly concerned about a handful of extreme-right House members who could run for Senate in swing states, potentially tarnishing the party in some of the most politically important areas of the country. Mr. McConnell’s political lieutenants envision a large-scale campaign to block such candidates from winning primaries in crucial states.

But Mr. Trump’s political cohort appears no less determined, and his allies in the states have been laying the groundwork to take on Republican officials who voted to impeach Mr. Trump — or who merely acknowledged the plain reality that Joseph R. Biden Jr. had won the presidential race.

Republicans on both sides of the conflict are acknowledging openly that they are headed for a showdown.

“Hell yes we are,” said Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump.

Mr. Kinzinger was equally blunt when asked how he and other anti-Trump Republicans could dilute the president’s clout in primaries: “We beat him,” he said.

The highest-profile tests of Mr. Trump’s clout may come in two sparsely populated Western states, South Dakota and Wyoming, where the president has targeted a pair of G.O.P. leaders: John Thune, the second-ranking Senate Republican, and Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican.

“I suspect we will see a lot of that activity in the next couple of years out there for some of our members, myself included,” said Mr. Thune, adding that he and others would have to “play the hand you’re dealt.”

He may face less political peril than Ms. Cheney, who in voting to impeach Mr. Trump said that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president.” The Wyoming Republican Party said it had been inundated with calls and messages from voters fuming about her decision.

Mr. Trump has talked to advisers about his contempt for Ms. Cheney in the days since the vote and expressed his glee about the backlash she is enduring in her home state.

Privately, Republican officials are concerned about possible campaigns for higher office by some of the high-profile backbenchers in the House who have railed against the election results and propagated fringe conspiracy theories. Among those figures are Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Andy Biggs of Arizona. All three states have Senate seats and governorships up for election in 2022.

Just as striking, a number of mainline conservatives in the House are speaking openly about how much Mr. Trump damaged himself in the aftermath of the election, culminating with his role in inspiring the riots.

“The day after the election, that question of leadership was unquestionably in one person’s hands, and each week that has gone past, he has limited himself, sadly, based off his own actions,” said Representative Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, who predicted that rank-and-file voters would come to share his unease after they fully absorbed the Capitol riot.

I don’t make predictions so I have no idea how this is going to come out. A lot depends upon what happens to Trump legally and whether or not he decides that politics is the best way to save his tattered business and fortune. The lack of social media platforms and the loss of focus by the mainstream media that’s about to happen will have an effect as well. But there’s no doubt that the Republican death cult is still alive and well and isn’t going anywhere. Whether they will still have the numbers to dominate the GOP after Trump is still unknown.

They created this problem for themselves. They helped it happen and enjoyed watching their political rivals scream into the void, trying to warn the country about the threat. Now it’s come for them. Good luck.

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Vacuous Fascist

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 17/01/2021 - 7:06am in

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This interview with Madison Cawthorn by Olivia Nuzzi shows that he’s both stunningly shallow and stupid but also has his finger on the pulse of the right wing. In other words he’s one of the true heirs to the Death Cult:

Cawthorn won his primary by 30 points. “Madison had decent name ID because he became a local hero after his accident, and people love a hero overcoming adversity,” the Meadows aide said with casual cynicism. By the time Cawthorn won the general election, he looked, to liberals, almost like a mini-Trump, adept at owning the libs and racking up liabilities that would have ended most political careers. He visited the U.S.-Mexico border and appealed to QAnon with a claim that children were being kidnapped and sold into sex slavery across the Rio Grande; he was accused of sexual misconduct (Cawthorn maintains he did nothing wrong) and of spreading a lie that, if not for his car crash, he would have attended the Naval Academy (he was rejected prior to the accident). His campaign launched a racist attack against a member of the press; he posted a photo at Hitler’s vacation home with a caption about how seeing where “the Führer” (umlaut and everything) went to decompress had been on his “bucket list.” And on and on.

Cawthorn’s ideology is an almost convincing patchwork of conservative slogans and concepts, expressed with a child actor’s poised delivery — designed to charm elders and scare off peers. But it is shallow and contradictory. In one breath, he proposes a retreat from identity politics. In the next, he cites Trump’s appointing an openly gay Cabinet official as proof that he is one of the greatest presidents ever. He describes his version of “America First” foreign policy as humanitarian dovishness: “We should be leading with wells, not warheads.” Then he says he wants to cut foreign aid, the less than one percent of the budget that theoretically goes toward well digging.We advised him, ‘Keep your head down for the first year,’ ” says one former aide. “ ‘Don’t try to be a celebrity. It rarely works out.’ 

During an interview with the columnist John Solomon (famous for spreading Ukrainian-themed conspiracy theories ahead of the first Trump impeachment), Cawthorn described his new station in magical terms. “You think of a Harry Potter or a Gandalf in one of these great works of fiction,” he said. “They’re handed a wand. And you as the viewer, you don’t exactly know what they can do with that wand, but you know it holds incredible power. That’s a lot what it’s like coming into Congress, because there’s really no limitations onto what you can and cannot do in Congress. Aside from what the Supreme Court will allow you to do.”

“You almost can’t help, with him, doing some armchair psychoanalysis,” said Tom Fiedler, the Miami Herald journalist who derailed Gary Hart’s 1988 presidential campaign and three decades later retired to Asheville and found himself covering the rise of Cawthorn for a local nonprofit. After Fiedler reported critically on aspects of Cawthorn’s biography, the campaign created a racist website to highlight that the journalist, who is white, “quit his academia job in Boston to work for non-white males, like Cory Booker.” Fiedler said, “He has a very Trump-like quality: He sees himself as charismatic and able to persuade everyone to come to his side. He feels he is the anointed one.”

In Washington, Cawthorn’s ambition is to replicate on the right what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has achieved on the left. (When we spoke in his office, Cawthorn said he considers her a “genius.”) As he understood things, that meant being famous, even if it required disregarding the wisdom of his elders. “We advised him, ‘Keep your head down for the first year,’ ” the former Meadows aide said. “ ‘Don’t try to be a celebrity. It rarely works out.’ ”

Now, with Cawthorn’s fame tied up in accusations that he helped incite a violent insurrection and with opponents calling for him to be expelled from the House after just days on the job, basic survival instincts are kicking in. I asked him about a tweet sent just after his election — “Cry more, lib” — that had helped make him a right-wing star. “That’s the thing I regret most,” he said. Wait a minute — isn’t this the party of “Don’t retreat, reload?” Of never admitting any wrongdoing so that you never have to be accountable? Cawthorn said many Republicans have encouraged him to hold the line. “I get so many texts from a lot of people who feel like they’re great advisers, saying, ‘Never apologize! We never back down! We never do this!’ ” he said, raising his voice.

But that’s not going to work for him anymore, not in the environment he feels forming in the void left by Trump. “I think that’s bad for the country,” he said. “I really think that us just saying whatever the fuck we want to say and then — please don’t quote the ‘fuck’ — just saying whatever we want to say and then never apologizing for it, never saying, ‘Oh, you know what? That was wrong. This is actually wrong because this is actually not factual; here, let me fix that.’ I think that hurts our party, and it hurts us as humans and Americans because it makes people just so angry and aggressive toward one another. I don’t think it makes you weaker to apologize.”

To be clear, Cawthorn is talking about contrition in theory; he is not saying he is sorry for his participation in Trump’s rally. In fact, he thinks his speech to the mob may have saved his colleagues’ lives. “Maybe my remarks that day led to a thousand less people, or ten less people, who didn’t storm the Capitol,” he told me. “Maybe that number would’ve been enough to breach the House floor, and congressmen could have died or more police officers could have died. I think my comments there led to less violence.”

Here, Cawthorn is almost certainly in uncharted waters, which is his analogy, not mine. “I feel a lot like Magellan,” he said. “You know — the great explorer during the Age of Exploration.”

I fear he will go far in the Republican Party. He’s got it all.

If you can, read the whole article. There’s a lot more…

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DeBunking the bunk

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 17/01/2021 - 5:30am in

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Here is one about why Amazon took down Parler:

Click here for a thorough debunking of the election fraud lies — from a right wing election site. If you have any Trumpish relatives, this might be a good link to send them. I don’t know what it will take to deprogram all these people but it’s probably a good idea to at least have the facts at hand.

Let’s just say that none of the accusations of fraud stand up to scrutiny. They just don’t. And, by the way, Trump and his people knew it from the beginning. Axios’s Jonathan Swan reports:

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

“Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”

President Trump was almost shouting. He directed his son-in-law and his senior strategist from his private quarters at the White House late on election night. He barked out the names of top Fox News executives and talent he expected to answer to him.

“And anyone else — anyone else who will take the call,” he said. “Tell these guys they got to change it, they got it wrong. It’s way too early. Not even CNN is calling it.”

As the clock ticked over into the first minutes of Nov. 4, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani ranted to top campaign aides: “There’s no way he lost; this thing must have been stolen. Just say we won Michigan! Just say we won Georgia! Just say we won the election! He needs to go out and claim victory.” Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien later told associates: “That was fucking crazy.”

For weeks, Trump had been laying the groundwork to declare victory on election night — even if he lost. But the real-time results, punctuated by Fox’s shocking call, upended his plans and began his unraveling.

Trump had planned for Americans to go to bed on Nov. 3 celebrating — or resigned to — his re-election. The maps they saw on TV should be bathed in red. But at 11:20 p.m. that vision fell apart, as the nation’s leading news channel among conservatives became the first outlet to call Arizona for Joe Biden. Inside the White House, Trump’s inner circle erupted in horror.

Over the next two months, Trump took the nation down with him as he descended into denial, despair and a reckless revenge streak that fueled a deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol by his backers seeking to overturn the election. This triggered a constitutional crisis and a bipartisan push to impeach Trump on his way out the door, to try to cast him out of American politics for good.

But in four years, Trump had remade the Republican Party in his own image, inspiring and activating tens of millions of Americans who weren’t abandoning him anytime soon. He’d once bragged he could shoot another person on Fifth Avenue and not lose his voters. In reality, many of them had eagerly lined up to commit violence on his behalf.

As Trump prepared for Election Day, he was focused on the so-called red mirage. This was the idea that early vote counts would look better for Republicans than the final tallies because Democrats feared COVID-19 more and would disproportionately cast absentee votes that would take longer to count. Trump intended to exploit this — to weaponize it for his vast base of followers.

His preparations were deliberate, strategic and deeply cynical. Trump wanted Americans to believe a falsehood that there were two elections — a legitimate election composed of in-person voting, and a separate, fraudulent election involving bogus mail-in ballots for Democrats.

In the initial hours after returns closed, it looked like his plan could work. Trump was on track for easy wins in Florida and Ohio, and held huge — though deceptive — early leads in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

But as Bill Hemmer narrated a live “what if” scenario on his election telestrator from Studio F of Fox’s gargantuan Manhattan headquarters, the anchor sounded confused. “What is this happening here? Why is Arizona blue?” he asked on camera, prodding the image of the state on the touch screen, unable to flip its color. “Did we just call it? Did we make a call in Arizona?” Because of a minor communication breakdown, Hemmer’s screen had turned Arizona blue before he or the other anchors, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, found out that Fox’s Decision Desk had called it.

Trump was steaming and he wanted to see his top aides immediately. His son-in-law Jared Kushner, chief of staff Mark Meadows, campaign manager Stepien, senior strategist Jason Miller, and data cruncher Matt Oczkowski took the elevator up to the third floor of the residence at the White House. They met Trump and the first lady halfway between his bedroom and the living room at the end of the hall. Trump peppered them with questions. What happened? What the hell is going on at Fox?

Oczkowski told Trump that based on the campaign’s modeling he thought Fox was wrong and “we’re going to narrowly win” by maybe 10,000 votes or less, “razor close.” But the reality was, hundreds of thousands of votes were outstanding in Maricopa County and the picture was too cloudy to be sure. Then Trump told Kushner to call the Murdochs.

The team had been cautiously optimistic that they were watching a repeat of Trump’s poll-defying 2016 victory. In the West Wing, mid-level staffers congregated in the hallways buzzing with nervous excitement and anticipation. At the residence about 200 guests — donors, Cabinet secretaries, White House physician Sean Conley, TV boosters Diamond and Silk, and other VIPs — gathered for the official election night party. They munched on beef sliders. Most did not wear masks. “You knew in real time that you were in a superspreader event,” said one attendee.

Giuliani was stationed at a table amid the party, laptop open, watching the results come in, as if he were Command Central. His son, White House official Andrew Giuliani, sat at his right. Trump’s tight inner circle — children Don Jr., Eric, Ivanka, plus his long-time adviser Hope Hicks, White House deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino and a few others — gathered separately in the Old Family Dining Room to watch the returns on TV. Trump’s core campaign team monitored precinct-level results from down in the Map Room on the ground floor, the same room where FDR had once tracked fighting during World War II.

Trump had spent a bellicose summer and early autumn railing against mail-in ballots. After a toxic Sept. 29 election debate with Biden, Trump’s internal poll numbers nose-dived. He started choreographing election night in earnest during the second week of October, as he recovered from COVID-19.

His former chief of staff Reince Priebus told a friend he was stunned when Trump called him around that time and acted out his script, including walking up to a podium and prematurely declaring victory on election night if it looked like he was ahead.

White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller’s speechwriting team had prepared three skeleton speeches for election night for all the possible scenarios: a clear victory, a clear loss, and an indeterminate result. But the speechwriters knew that if Trump was facing anything other than a resounding victory, the words would be his alone. This president would never admit defeat or urge patience.

The top officials tried to force Fox to retract its call. Kushner called Rupert Murdoch, who said he would see what was going on. Hicks, a former Fox executive, texted current Fox executive and ex-White House staffer Raj Shah. Hicks also gave Fox News president Jay Wallace’s phone number to top Trump campaign officials. The Trump campaign’s senior-most officials aggressively texted anchors MacCallum and Baier. Throughout the night, a number of Fox commentators friendly to Trump — including Tucker Carlson — questioned the Arizona call on the air. But the call stood.

Making the situation even more awkward, several high-profile Fox News personalities, including “Judge” Jeanine Pirro, were at the White House while their own network spoiled what was supposed to be a victory party.

It was shortly after 1 a.m. on Nov. 4 when Trump finally came down from his living quarters to the main corridor on the second floor of his private residence. His inner circle met him halfway. This was the first time most of them had seen the president that night. About a dozen aides and relatives huddled around Trump as he dictated an improvised speech. Stephen Miller sat on a couch furiously typing the president’s stream-of-consciousness thoughts. Aides rushed to print out screenshots of cable news graphics showing Trump’s illusory early leads in the key Midwest states. By 2 a.m., Trump wanted to know why he couldn’t he just say he had won and be done with it.

The speechwriters sent a draft to Trump’s longtime teleprompter operator, stationed at his laptop in a small room adjoining the East Room. The draft did not include the words that became the most infamous line of his speech: “Frankly, we did win this election.”

At 2:20 a.m., maskless aides and supporters in the East Room held up cellphones to record Trump, the first lady, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife walking out to waiting cameras as “Hail to the Chief” played. Dozens of American flags lined the backdrop behind them.

Trump declared victory — and announced that Democrats were perpetrating a giant fraud on the American people.

Both claims were lies.

Trump has lied as easily as he breathes his whole life. But the election fraud was The Big Lie that drove tens of thousands of people to the Capitol and turned them into marauding animals.

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Fooled by randomness

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 17/01/2021 - 4:57am in

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from Lars Syll A non-trivial part of teaching statistics to social science students is made up of learning them to perform significance testing. A problem yours truly has noticed repeatedly over the years, however, is that no matter how careful you try to be in explicating what the probabilities generated by these statistical tests — […]

The crazies turn on each other… and possibly Trump himself

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 17/01/2021 - 4:00am in

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NBC News:

QAnon adherents, who believe Trump is secretly saving the world from a cabal of child-eating Satanists, have identified Inauguration Day as a last stand, and falsely think he will force a 10-day, countrywide blackout that ends in the mass execution of his political enemies and a second Trump term.

Several QAnon supporters were arrested after storming the Capitol last week, including Jacob Chansley, whose lawyer said his client believed he was “answering the call of our president.”

QAnon believers have spent the last week forwarding chain letters on Facebook and via text message, often removing the conspiracy theory’s QAnon origins, in an effort to prepare friends and family for what they believe to be the upcoming judgment day.

According to researchers who study the real-life effects of the QAnon movement, the false belief in a secret plan for Jan. 20 is irking militant pro-Trump and anti-government groups, who believe the magical thinking is counterproductive to future insurrections.

Travis View, who hosts the QAnon-debunking podcast QAnon Anonymous, said Q supporters are waiting for a “miracle that prevents Biden from being inaugurated,” and it is beginning to grate on those anxious for more real-world conflict.

“I have seen some Trump supporters chastising people promoting QAnon-like conspiracy theories,” he said. “It seems some Trump supporters are reassessing their coalition and laying judgment on the QAnon wing.”

The split has become apparent on extremist forums like TheDonald, from which QAnon adherents have fled to an identical sister site due to constant pillorying for their fantastical thinking on the original site. The new website is named after The Great Awakening, the mythical judgment day of mass arrests and executions.

It is also apparent on viral TikToks and Facebook posts on the more mainstream parts of the web.

“I can’t believe the number of the gullible people who are still out there saying Q is going to run to the rescue in the next five days and you’re going to see military tribunals,” a user in one viral TikTok video said. “Look, I’m a full Trump supporter and I enjoyed reading all the stuff about the deep state and I believe most of it.”

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has frequently quibbled with QAnon supporters, also lashed out at believers of the conspiracy theory in a viral video earlier this week.

QAnon supporters have predicted blackouts for years, citing posts from “Q,” the false digital prophet at the center of the conspiracy theory. Q frequently posted about routine outages of major services, alluding to them as potential warning signs of the Great Awakening. In August 2018, Q posted three times about outages on the video game service Xbox Live, wondering “Anybody have problems with their X-Box Live accounts?” to the conspiracy theory’s followers.

While several specific doomsdays have passed without any prophecies coming true, experts who study QAnon believe another failed prophecy on Inauguration Day could further decimate the movement.

Fredrick Brennan, who created the website 8chan where “Q” posts and has spent the last two years attempting to have the site removed from the internet for its ties to white supremacist terror attacks, said he believes reality may devastate the movement on Inauguration Day.

“This week has been hugely demoralizing so far and that will be the final straw,” he said. “Even though Q is at the moment based on Donald Trump, it is certainly possible for a significant faction to rise up that believes he was in the deep state all along and foiled the plan.”

Oh my. This is just perfect,

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Worst of the worst

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 17/01/2021 - 2:30am in

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Image: Reuters.

Donald J. Trump’s “career average approval rating is the lowest for any president in modern polling, back to 1939, and he is the first president in that time never to achieve majority approval at any point,” finds a poll commissioned by ABC News:

Nine in 10 Americans oppose the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, seven in 10 say Donald Trump bears at least some responsibility for it and a majority in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll – 56% – favors efforts in Congress to bar him from holding elected office again.

Fifty-four percent in the national survey also say Trump should be charged criminally with inciting a riot for having encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol. More, 66%, say he has behaved irresponsibly, more broadly, in his statements and actions since the election.

Trump had help, of course, not that he needed help being utterly out of his depth. He appointed family members to White House posts who were way out of theirs. Trump’s chiefs of staff also were far less than stellar.

Rep. Mark Meadows takes the prize for the worst of them, Chris Whipple writes in the Washington Post:

In a secure tent on the Ellipse last week, as President Trump prepared to incite an angry mob ahead of its assault on the U.S. Capitol, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, smiling from ear to ear, mugged for a video with Donald Trump Jr., as Laura Branigan’s 1982 hit “Gloria” blared in the background.

For Trump’s glad-handing chief of staff, it was just another day of dutifully holding the president’s coat while the boss took a hammer to democracy. This will be the defining image of Meadows, for which he has earned the title of worst chief of staff in history.

Meadows “has raised sycophancy to an art form,” Whipple adds. Had Trump won reelection, Meadows might have found that title challenged by his NC-11 replacement, Republican Madison Cawthorn. And by Sen. Lindsey Graham, and by Rep. Matt Gaetz and others among the Republican House caucus. The competition is fierce.

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ROPE: Development Economics: Aptly Or Wrongly Named?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 17/01/2021 - 1:56am in

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ROPE: Development Economics: Aptly Or Wrongly Named?

Underdevelopment is rooted in a specific connexion, created in a particular historical setting, between an internal process of exploitation and an external process of dependence.

– Celso Furtado, 1973, republished in ROPE, Volume 33, 2021, Issue 1.

The latest issue of Review Of Political Economy is about how the idea of development economics to emulate the west has failed.

How can it work, as the liberal international order works for the “north” at the expense of the “south”.

The issue includes two articles by Celso Furtado from the 70s but unpublished before.

[The title is the link]

Only A Corrupt Lord Advocate Stands Between Peter Murrell and Prison

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 17/01/2021 - 1:37am in

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Following Robin McAlpine’s excellent article, some responded by asking where is the hard evidence of a conspiracy against Alex Salmond? Well, here is some of it, not public before.

My trial for contempt of court is now fixed for 27 January. This is an extract from my lawyers’ latest submission requesting disclosure of documents which the Crown Office is hiding, both from my trial and from the Holyrood Inquiry:

QUOTE

4. The information in question is:
(a) A series of written communications involving Peter Murrell, Chief Executive Officer
of the SNP, and Sue Ruddick, Chief Operating Officer of the SNP. They discussed
inter alia a pub lunch or similar occasion between Ian McCann, a SNP staff member
working for them, and xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, one of the complainers in the HM Advocate
v Salmond trial. At the lunch, Mr Murrell and Ms Ruddick expected xxxxxxxxx to firm
up her commitment to giving evidence against Alex Salmond, and to discuss
progress on bringing in others to make complaints. They expressed dissatisfaction at
Mr McCann for his performance in achieving these objectives and expressed doubt as
to his commitment to the cause.

(b) A communication from Ms Ruddick to Mr Murrell in which she explained to
Mr Murrell that progress on the case was being delayed by Police Scotland and/or
the COPFS’s saying there was insufficient evidence, and in which communication
she expressed the sentiment that, if the police/Crown would specify the precise
evidence needed, she would get it for them.

(c) Text messages from Mr Murrell to Ms Ruddick stating that it was a good time to
pressure the police, and that the more fronts Alex Salmond had to fight on the better.

(d) Communications from Ms Ruddick about her visits to a number of locations,
including the Glenrothes area, and including in conjunction or discussion with
xxxxxxxxxxxxx. These communications detail their unsuccessful attempts to find
witnesses who would corroborate allegations of inappropriate behaviour against
Alex Salmond. They include a report of a meeting with young people who were
small children at the time of the incident they were seeking to allege, who did not
provide the corroboration sought.

(e) A message from xxxxxxxxxxxx stating that she would not attend a meeting if
xxxxxxxxxxx were also present as she felt pressured to make a complaint rather than
supported.

(f) Messages in the WhatsApp group of SNP Special Advisers, particularly one saying
that they would “destroy” Alex Salmond and one referring to Scotland’s ‘Harvey
Weinstein moment’, employing the #MeToo hashtag.

5. The respondent saw this information before he published the articles and tweets that
are the subject of these proceedings. The respondent considers that the information
in question would materially weaken the Lord Advocate‘s case and materially
strengthen his case because: (i) it materially strengthens the respondent’s case on
Article 10; and (ii) it materially weakens the Lord Advocate’s case, and materially
strengthens the respondent’s case, on the alleged breach of section 11 of the
Contempt of Court Act 1981

END QUOTE

You can see the full application from my lawyers pub2101131230 DISCLOSURE APPLICATION (1) 

To which the Lord Advocate yesterday replied:

QUOTE

4. In respect of the first question, it is understood that the material referred
to in paragraphs 4a – 4f of the disclosure application are private
communications. As such they can have no bearing on the question of
the degree of likelihood of the disclosure of the complainers’ identities
by the publishing of the articles detailed in the Petition and Complaint
and Submissions for the Petitioner.

5. In respect of the second question, the Respondent asserts in his answers
and submissions that a finding of contempt would be contrary to his
Article 10 rights. The material is not relevant to the court’s consideration
of the Respondent’s Article 10 rights. Further, the disclosure of the
material may constitute a breach of the Article 8 rights of the parties to
those private communications.
Advocate

END QUOTE

You can see the Lord Advocate’s reply in full here 20210114 Answers to Disclosure Request (3). Note the Lord Advocate acknowledges the existence of these messages (which the Crown Office holds) but argues they are private, and irrelevant.

On the face of it, these messages are evidence of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. They refer to pressuring the police, to pressuring a witness, to highly improper encouragement of “evidence”. To reveal them would breach Peter Murrell and Sue Ruddick’s right to private communication? If, dear reader, you ever feel the urge to conspire to commit a crime, be sure to do it by text message, then the Lord Advocate will ensure that it is all kept nice and secret.

It is important to state that the woman in para (a) to whom Ian McCann was sent to screw her courage to the sticking point, was Woman H. She was vital as her allegation was the most serious of all. She was the most active perjurer in the Salmond trial, the woman who was not even present on the occasion she claimed to have been the victim of attempted rape. This is my report of the defence evidence about Ms H at the time, not reported in any detail anywhere else but on this blog:

The first witness today was Ms Samantha Barber, a company director. She had known Alex Salmond since 1994 when she was working for the SNP as a research assistant for the Euro elections. She had thereafter been employed by the European Parliament, and in 2007 become the Chief Executive of Scottish Business in the Community, a post she still held in 2014. She is now a director of several companies.

In the seven years Alex Salmond was First Minister she had several times been a guest at Bute House for dinner. She had a positive and respectful relationship with Alex Salmond but they were not personal friends outside of business.

She had been a personal friend of Ms H, the accuser who alleged attempted rape, for some years by 2014. They remain friends. She had been invited to the evening reception of Ms H’s wedding. She testified she is also a friend of Ms H’s current husband.

Ms H had telephoned her to invite her to the dinner at Bute house with the (not to be named) actor on 13 June 2014. Ms H in inviting her had stated she (Ms H) was not able to be there. In fact Ms H had indeed not been at the dinner. Ms Barber had arrived that evening at around 7pm. She had been shown up to the drawing room. The actor was already there and they had chatted together, just the two of them, until about 7.15pm when Alex Salmond had joined them. The three of them had dinner together. It was friendly and conivivial. At first the actor’s career had been discussed and then Scottish independence. Nobody else was there. Asked if any private secretaries had been in and out during dinner, Ms Barber replied not to her recollection. Nobody interrupted them

One bottle of wine was served during dinner. She had left after dinner around 9 and the actor had stayed on as Alex Salmond offered to show him around the Cabinet Room.

Defence Counsel Shelagh McCall QC asked her if Ms H had been there? No. Did you see her at any point during the evening? No.

[Ms H had claimed she was at this dinner and the attempted rape occurred afterwards. Alex Salmond had testified Ms H was not there at all. A video police interview with the actor had tended to support the idea Ms H, or another similar woman, was there and they were four at dinner.]

Prosecution counsel Alex Prentice then cross-examined Ms Barber. He asked whether she had received a message from the police on 29 January. She replied yes she had, and called them back on 3 February. Prentice asked whether they had then told her they wanted a statement, and whether she had replied she needed to take advice first. Ms Barber agreed.

Prentice asked why she would need legal advice to give a statement to police. Ms Barber replied she had never been involved in any judicial matter and wanted to understand the process she was getting into before she did anything. She had not said she wanted legal advice first, just advice.

Prentice asked again “why would you need legal advice before talking to the police”? Ms Barber again replied she wanted to understand the process she was getting into.

Prentice asked again, twice more, “why would you need legal advice before talking to the police?”. He got the same answer each time. You will recognise from yesterday’s report of his cross-examination of Alex Salmond, that it is a rhetorical trick of Prentice, to constantly repeat the same question in order to throw an unreasoned suspicion on the veracity of the answer. On this occasion he was stopped by the judge, who had enough.

Lady Dorrian pointedly asked him “Is a citizen not entitled to take advice, Mr Prentice?”, in a Maggie Smith tone of contempt.

Prentice then asked whether Ms Barber had already been at another Bute House dinner in May. Ms Barber replied not that she could recall. Prentice then asserted that the dinner on 13 June was with the actor, Ms H, and Alex Salmond. Ms Barber replied no, she genuinely had no recollection at all of Ms H being there.

The defence counsel Shelagh McCall QC then resumed questions. She asked if the police had put to Ms Barber that Ms H was there. Ms Barber replied that they had, and she had told them exactly what she had told the defence and now told the court, that Ms H had not been there.

The next witness was Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, who swore on the Koran. She had joined the SNP in 2000 and been appointed national Women and Equalities Convenor in 2011. From 2015 to 2017 she was MP for the Ochil Hills.

Shelagh McCall QC asked if she knew Ms H. She replied for some years, and more frequently from 2012. Ms H had been involved in the Yes campaign. They had a good relationship, and in 2014 Ms H had asked her advice on standing for the SNP national executive committee.

McCall asked her if she remembered the date of the 13 June 2014 dinner. Tasmina responded yes, that was the day her father had died. She had received a message he was taken very ill that morning and had set off for London. At Carlisle they learnt he had died. (At this point the witness broke into tears.)

Before leaving Scotland with her husband she had messaged the First Minister’s office to say she would not be able to attend the Scottish women’s international football match the next day. (The point of this evidence is it contradicts Ms H’s evidence of her interaction with Ms Ahmed-Sheikh over the football.)

 

Given the nonsense that was Woman H’s allegation, given the context of a new policy for complaints against ex-ministers which has been shown beyond doubt to be designed from the origin to trap one single man, given the frantic attempts to boost, invent or shore up complaints, given that the complainers were all from a tight coterie at the heart of Scottish government, given that the complaints fell apart when exposed to examination in court, I have no doubt that what we have here amounts to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

In addition to which, Peter Murrell very plainly committed perjury when appearing on oath before the parliamentary inquiry into this matter, when he denied the existence of the hoard of text messages detailed above which are the subject of my latest disclosure application. Here is the evidence of his committing, firstly desperate obfuscation, then perjury.

But this is a straight lie. There is a lot more material. There is precisely the material detailed above that I have requested disclosure of for my court case and which the Crown Office refused to release as they are “private messages”. As you can see, it is precisely what Ms Baillie was asking for. The Crown Office has withheld this material from the Holyrood Inquiry. The Crown Office have also written to Alex Salmond – three times – to tell him that he will be prosecuted if he releases this material to the committee or provides any detail of its content.

There can be no doubt whatever that the Lord Advocate is now corruptly protecting Peter Murrell from a charge of perjury by keeping this material secret. I am aware that the Crown Office has received a letter from lawyers pointing out this perjury, and in response the Crown Office have tendentiously focused purely on one single question.

The Crown Office has rejoined that all of the undisclosed text messages in the series to which Jackie Baillie was referring are purely between Sue Ruddick and Peter Murrell. No other party official was involved, so Peter Murrell was not lying in this answer, which was specifically to a question of whether there were messages to any other party official.

But taking the totality of the exchanges, it is crystal clear that Baillie was not referring solely to texts to officials other than to Sue Ruddick. This is plain throughout but crystal clear here:

That is plainly a straight lie by Murrell. There is a great deal more material, as detailed in my application above and admitted by the Crown Office in their reply that these are “private messages”. It is plainly perjury by Murrell to say there is nothing else.

The Crown Office is lying to protect Murrell from perjury charges, and it has lied to protect Murrell before. The  only two texts from the voluminous Murrell/Ruddick exchanges that have been leaked and have been published, to which Jackie Baillie refers, read as follows. They are from Murrell, instructing his junior Ruddick:

“TBH the more fronts he is having to firefront on the better for all complainers. So CPS action would be a good thing.”

“Totally agree folk should be asking the police questions. Report now with the PF on charges which leaves the police twiddling their thumbs. So good time to be pressuring them. Would be good to know Met looking at events in London.”

Yet in correspondence with Kenny Macaskill MP, Lindsey Miller of the Crown Office – who were sitting on these messages – denied the existence of these specific messages before they were leaked. This is an extract from a letter to Macaskill from Ms Miller, deputy Crown Agent – who remember was in possession of the texts listed immediately above.

 

I defy anybody to state that they honestly believe that Murrell’s message to Ruddick instructing her: “Totally agree folk should be asking the police questions. Report now with the PF on charges which leaves the police twiddling their thumbs. So good time to be pressuring them.” can be characterised as “no evidence” that Murrell put pressure on the police, directly or indirectly. Miller was lying. You might say it is not conclusive evidence – though it is pretty damning. But you cannot say it is no evidence. It is strong, prima facie evidence.

Macaskill having next quoted the precise texts she was hiding to her, this was then Ms Miller’s response:

Yet again, the amount of sophistry involved in protecting Peter Murrell, and the care for his private messages, is in sharp contrast to the gung-ho attitude of the Lord Advocate and the Crown Office to the prosecution of anyone who exposes the conspiracy against Alex Salmond, of which the Crown Office is a part.

My friend and colleague Mark Hirst has been triumphantly acquitted last week on the ridiculous charge of threatening behaviour to which he had been subjected for saying that those who conspired against Alex Salmond would “reap the whirlwind”. The Court found, entirely sensibly, that this was plainly in a political context and there was no case to answer. The Crown Office had instituted an obviously ridiculous charge – found “no case to answer” – out of pure political malice.

Readers of this blog will recall they helped substantially, with £10,000 from my own defence fund having been transferred to Mark.

But Mark’s life has been turned upside down. He lost his employment as a journalist as a result of the charge. His life has been wrecked and he is now having to earn a living working very hard, for a lot less money, in a completely different field from that he is qualified in. I trust he will not mind my saying the whole experience hit him very hard. Remember his home was raided by five officers from the Police Scotland “Alex Salmond team” and all his electronic equipment confiscated, while his name was dragged through the mud on both social and mainstream media.

The same “Alex Salmond team” still exist, are working on my prosecution, and are currently still engaged in a painstaking investigation as to who leaked two of the Murrell messages to Kenny Macaskill. Both the Crown Office and Police Scotland effectively now operate as the private enforcement arm of the Murrells, protecting them from consequences of their wrongdoing and persecuting their perceived political enemies .

That is what Scotland has become.

It is also worth noting that the perceived political enemies are not unionists – in my own case, dozens of MSM journalists who much more plainly committed jigsaw identification than I are not being prosecuted – but Independence “fundamentalists”.

There is much more evidence that the Crown Office is hiding, apart from the Murrell/Ruddick messages and the SNP Special Advisers whatsapp group. The Crown has also refused to release for my trial, or to the Holyrood Inquiry, the following documents:

  • The text exchange between two complainants containing the phrase “I have a plan and means we can be anonymous but have strong repercussions…” referred to in the trial proper proceedings.
  • An e mail from SNP official and defence witness Ann Harvie alleging a “witch hunt” and the emails from Sue Ruddick to which she was replying. This was referred to in the trial proper but this evidence was not admitted before the jury after objection from the Advocate Depute.
  •  Scottish Government documents produced as part of the Judicial Review hearings which support Mr Ronnie Clancy QC assertion of conduct on the part of Scottish Government officials “bordering on encouragement”. This was referred to in open court in the Court of Session proceedings of January 8th 2019. This should include the relevant “One Notes” of the Scottish Government Investigating Officer.
  • Documents relevant to the circumstances in which details of a Scottish Government complaint was leaked to the Daily Record newspaper in August 2018.  The matter of the circumstances in which this information appeared in the public domain was referred to in the evidence of Chief Inspector Lesley Boal in the criminal trial.
  • Documents relevant to the circumstances in which the Scottish Government sources briefed the Sunday Post newspaper in August 2018 that matters were referred to the police on the advice of the Lord Advocate and whether there is documentation demonstrating that such advice was also revealed to complainants by Scottish Government officials or others as a means of persuasion

All of which is still only the tip of the iceberg. The extent to which the Crown Office colludes to keep the Holyrood Inquiry in the dark is truly a disgrace to Scotland.

My own trial starts on 27 January, which is now confirmed. It s going to be “virtual” – nobody will be in a courthouse, not even the judges nor me. I shall be sending out information on how you may follow it live shortly. I plead with you to do so – a political persecution is bad enough, I certainly do not want it to operate in the dark. Put 27 and 28 January in your diary!

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The post Only A Corrupt Lord Advocate Stands Between Peter Murrell and Prison appeared first on Craig Murray.

“I do feel a little wronged”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 17/01/2021 - 1:00am in

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”Window at the capital (sic). And if the news doesn’t stop lying about us we’re going to come after their studios next,” Jenna Ryan wrote in a since-deleted tweet.

Jenna Ryan deserves better. She knows it in her heart.

It is unlikely any Black Lives Matter supporters near The Mall on Jan. 6 screamed “GET A JOB!” at Ryan or at the crowd of nice, white insurrectionists on their way to storm the Capitol on a weekday afternoon. It might have happened. But not likely.

White conservatives are usually the ones screaming at browner, leftier demonstrators. Because if Black people are out in the streets on a weekday, white hecklers assume they are lazy, feckless, and unemployed. Not decent, hard-working Real Americans™.

What is more likely is had the angry crowd on Jan. 6 been overwhelmingly Black instead of overwhelmingly white, the security planning for the “situation” would have been dramatically more muscular. That much we know from law enforcement’s treatment of BLM protesters in Washington, D.C. and across the country last summer. Law enforcement would have given a Black crowd a much more hostile reception.

Mistreatment of peaceful BLM demonstrators by NYPD officers last summer prompted a lawsuit this week from New York state Attorney General Letitia James. “As the demonstrations continued, the very thing being protested — aggressive actions of law enforcement — was on public display,” James told a news conference.

Police shootings of unarmed Black men, BLM protest coverage, and cell phone video have begun revealing to nice, white people the very different, more-hostile world non-white Americans inhabit. A kind of parallel universe exists alongside the orderly one middle-class white Americans assume everyone nonwhite lives in too. A New Yorker cartoon decades ago satirized this in depicting two white women atop a ski slope. One says, “I wonder where the poor people ski?”

“White privilege” makes people like Jenna Ryan bristle. How dare you suggest they did not achieve their level of comfort through anything more than their Protestant work ethic? Or that they started on third base and think they hit a triple? Or that they do not deserve everything they have in life? Of course, they do. If you don’t believe Adam Smith, well, the Prosperity Gospel tells them so.

 Texas realtor took private jet to storm DC - Real Talk Time

The occasion for this riff on white privilege (not my first) is a video posted Friday night of Texas realtor Jenna Ryan, the woman who with several friends hired a private plane to fly them to Donald Trump’s overthrow-the-government party. The FBI arrested Ryan on Friday — “They’re very professional” — without her being pepper-sprayed or thrown to the curb, one presumes.

No, I don’t mean the video Ryan filmed of herself (below) participating in insurrection against the United States government, the video in which she takes a break from the revolution to promote her real estate business.

This video. Caution: swallow your coffee first.

After her arrest, Ryan tells CBS 11 (Dallas-Fort Worth):

“I just want people to know I’m a normal person. That I listen to my president who told me to go to the Capitol. That I was displaying my patriotism while I was there and I was just protesting and I wasn’t trying to do anything violent and I didn’t realize there was actually violence,” Ryan said. “I’d just like to apologize for all of the families that are affected by any of the negative environment and I’d just like to say I really love people and I am not a villain that a lot of people would make me out to be, or people think I am, because I was a Trump supporter at the Capitol.”

[…]

“I don’t feel a sense of shame or guilty from my heart. I feel like I was basically following my president. I was following what we were called to do. He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there. So I was doing what he asked us to do,” Ryan said. “I do feel a little wronged in this situation because I’m a real estate agent and this has taken my company. This has taken my business. I am being slandered all over the internet, all over the world and all over the news and I’m just like a normal person.”

Ryan is the victim here. She wants you to know she trusts Jesus and believes she does not deserve a prison sentence for her actions. In fact, “we all deserve a pardon” from Donald Trump. She will also need a job.

Ryan’s presumtion of blamelessness has nothing whatsoever to do with her being white.

UPDATE: It was “poor people” in the cartoon. Corrected.

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Open Thread

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/01/2021 - 10:03pm in

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