Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Bits n’ pieces from east, west and beyond

| June 14, 2024 7:00 AM

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

As reported globally, Donald Trump was recently found guilty by New York jurors of 34 counts of falsifying business records to hide info and illegally influence voters prior to the 2016 election. 

After the presentation of five weeks of evidence and less than 12 hours of jury deliberation, Trump is now the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a federal crime. A list of the counts can be found at

Sentencing is set for July 11. Trump called it a rigged trial. He used the verdict for campaign fundraising, claiming he’s a “political prisoner,” even though he went home to Trump Tower. He also said the conviction means “I’m supposed to go to jail for 187 years.” 

But as a first-time non-violent offender, The Guardian says he’s unlikely to receive any jail time, and instead faces fines, probation, community service or a combination. As a convict Trump nonetheless remains eligible to run for president and to serve if he wins, even if he is incarcerated, The Atlantic wrote.

Several political commentators observed that, while Trump’s lawyers have said he had no chance at a fair trial, and they will appeal his conviction, those same lawyers agreed to the jury selection.

Post-verdict polls show 10% of Republicans less likely to vote for Trump; 54% of registered voters approved of the jury's verdict; 39% disapproved. A former White House advisor to Barack Obama said the impact of the Trump verdict on voters may be minimal, since voters have “short attention spans.”

On-line comments included evangelist Franklin Graham urging followers to pray that jurors would have “wisdom and insight to know the truth.” 

That was countered by Republican George Conway: “Please pray that God restores our right to pay off porn stars to hush them up and create fake records to cover up the payoff. Amen.” 

A “fringe” internet message board advised an army of one million armed men go to Washington and “hang everyone. That’s the only solution.”

On-line extremism trackers saw an uptick in violent rhetoric following the Trump verdict, including sharing names and addresses of possible jurors, CNN reported.

MAGA Republicans predicted a guilty verdict for Trump would crash the stock market. Instead, said the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose, making it their best day of the year so far.

After infiltration, The New Republic has shared messages from a global chat group, Off Leash, composed of 650 wealthy and influential members. Off Leash topics included plans for global fascism, including wars, invasions, coups, assassinations and extermination of enemies. A common topic: the dangers of allowing everyone to vote, and, electing Trump as their path to victory.

A recently proposed plan by President Joe Biden to address the Israeli-Hamas conflict calls for a “complete ceasefire,” a six-week withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza’s populated areas, and an exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners. Biden said “Hamas says it wants a ceasefire,” and now they can prove it. 

A ceasefire would allow more humanitarian aid to Gaza, BBC said, and a “major reconstruction” of the devastated region. Israeli leadership indicated opposition to ending the war as part of a ceasefire deal, but is also cautiously indicating support for Biden’s plan. Since Hamas attacked Israel last fall (1,200 Israelis were killed, with questions about how Hamas managed to so easily invade Israel), Israel’s military has killed over 36,000 people in Gaza.

Two more U.S. officials have resigned over the Biden Administration’s handling of the Israel-Gaza conflict, The Guardian reported. So far nine Biden administration officials have publicly resigned.

Three people who worked on-site told the AP that Palestinians are being treated at a “white tent in the desert.” They say patients are blindfolded, shackled to beds and surgeons do not use adequate painkillers. Human rights groups have reported the same. The Israeli military denies the stories.

The Federal Trade Commission alleges an American oil CEO attempted to collude with OPEC to inflate prices, numerous media reported. The purpose was to boost profits “at the expense of U.S. households and businesses,” the FTC claimed. 

CNN explained that U.S. oil production is supposed to be decided by the free market, and not by coordination with other producers. Will Pioneer’s CEO face charges? The FTC said they have the responsibility to “refer potentially criminal behavior.”

Venezuela has become the first nation in the Americas to lose all their glaciers, Axios wrote.

For over three years Trump’s legal costs have averaged $90,000 a day, according to The New York Times. Recently on CNN the Republican National Committee co-chair, Lara Trump, would not say how much of campaign fundraising is used to help pay Trump’s legal bills.

Blast from the (recent) past: In 2016 Trump accused then-opponent Hillary Clinton of committing crimes, and said it “would create an unprecedented constitutional crisis” to have a sitting president (Hillary Clinton) under felony indictment “and ultimately a criminal trial.” If she were elected, he said, “it would grind government to a halt.” Now that he’s a convicted felon, Trump denies saying he advocated locking up Clinton. But The Atlantic has documented the numerous occasions when he did so.