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Source: Cary Martynuik

Much of both the #prosecution brief and the defense challenge focuses on #economic issues related to whether the civil disorder law violates the #Constitution by exceeding federal power.

03/15/2021 10:49 PM EDT
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While defense lawyers argue that Congress could only regulate activities that have a “substantial” impact on interstate commerce, prosecutors say a minimal impact on commerce from the civil unrest is sufficient to employ the law and the individual defendant’s actions don’t have to have had any direct impact on commerce.

Prosecutors left themselves an out that minimizes the impact of the motions on the Capitol cases: The Justice Department said that even if a court ruled the protest Phomma was involved in had too little connection to commerce to involve the federal courts, he could be re-indicted based on the protest’s impact on operations in a federal building. That’s the clause in the law that prosecutors in Washington have seized on to use the statute against those who stormed the Capitol in January.

Prosecutors stressed that none of those charged with violating the civil disorder law were merely exercising their First Amendment rights and they rejected as “remote at best” defense arguments that the law could be read to cover activities such as yelling at police during a disturbance.

“No one involved in the Portland riots was arrested and charged with violating [the civil disorder law] for participating in a peaceful protest, even if that protest blocked traffic or impeded commerce,” prosecutors wrote. “No one was charged under [the law] for shouting or chanting ‘All Cops Are Bastards.’ Instead, the arrests were all aimed at those individuals who proactively assaulted police officers or fire fighters after a civil disorder had been declared and at a time when the civil servants were actively attempting to maintain peace and order.”

One of the first of last year’s wave of civil disorder cases to reach sentencing was that of Abdimanan Habib, a Fargo, N.D., resident who admitted to throwing rocks at police and attempting to ignite an alcohol-filled bottle during unrest that followed racial justice protests in that city last May.

Habib was arrested last October and pleaded guilty in January. When Habib came up for sentencing in February, the judge released him with a sentence of time served.

The U.S. attorney in North Dakota at the time, Drew Wrigley, issued a press release touting Habib’s four-month sentence. The statement did not mention that it amounted to the time Habib had already spent in jail. The following day, Wrigley announced his resignation as part of the wave of such departures requested by the Biden administration.

In addition to the bear spray, #prosecutors say Phomma also had a three-inch dagger in a sheath on his waist during the confrontation last August.

03/15/2021 10:49 PM EDT
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Defense attorneys, led by the federal public defenders’ office in Portland, have noted that the 1968 civil disorder law was dubbed the “Civil Obedience Act” by its main proponent, avowed segregationist Sen. Russell Long of Louisiana. The title appears to have been a deliberate swipe at civil rights leaders urging civil disobedience, such as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Because Senator Long believed that criticism of white supremacy and demands for racial justice were bound to cause riots, he proposed the Civil Obedience Act as a tool to suppress such expression,” defense motions filed in several cases earlier this year argued.

The prosecution brief dismisses Long’s racial comments as “stray remarks from a Louisiana senator who sponsored the Civil Disorder bill.”

The Justice Department’s new brief also makes some inflammatory suggestions about last year’s racial justice protests, including an assertion that demonstrations across the country involved “people receiving payment to participate in protests.” The filing cites a police chiefs group’s report that 29 percent of major city law enforcement agencies reported paid protesters. The claim appears to go beyond the widely reported solicitation of bail funds for people arrested during those demonstrations.

In their initial responses to motions filed in various cases across the country challenging the law, prosecutors said that the Justice Department needed to vet and approve a coordinated response. The request led to the postponement of at least one scheduled trial last month, for a woman in Alabama accused of breaking a police car window during a racial justice protest.

It’s unclear whether Friday’s filing, submitted by lawyers from the office of the acting U.S. Attorney in Portland, Scott Asphaug, received such approval. Justice Department spokespeople did not respond to several requests Monday for comments on the brief.

Legal experts said the defense motions face long odds, but might be successful at prompting a Justice Department led by Biden appointees to take a closer look at the slew of criminal cases filed by federal prosecutors last year stemming from protest-related activity.

“I just don’t get it, Chris, why they don’t want to get #vaccinated,” #Fauci added.

MARCH 15, 2021
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Wallace went on to show a public service announcement that features all living former presidents and their wives calling on Americans to get inoculated. However, the PSA doesn’t feature Trump, the only former president to have led the effort with Operation Warp Speed in cultivating the conditions for the creation of three vaccines in record time, that all his predecessors are touting in the ad.

The Fox News Host asked Fauci why does he believes Trump “didn’t participate in the PSA” and received the COVID “vaccine in private.”

Despite Fauci urging Trump to call on his supporters to get the vaccine, the now-chief medical advisor to President Biden called the former president remaining silent an “intrinsic contradiction.”

“It’s puzzling to me I mean clearly Operation Warp Speeds started in the Trump administration. It was very successful in getting us the vaccines we have right now, it seems like an intrinsic contradiction,” Fauci said. “The fact that you had a program that was started during his [presidency] and he’s not out telling people to get vaccinated I wish he would, he has such an incredible influence over people in the Republican Party, it would really be a game-changer if he did.”

Who wore it better? Comedian Celeste Barber sets the #internet alight with her hilarious parody of Cardi B’s #bikini-clad strut through her lavish mansion

PUBLISHED: 19:14 EDT, 13 October 2020
UPDATED: 20:32 EDT, 13 October 2020
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Her posts mocking celebrities and Instagram culture has earned her more than seven million followers.

And this week, Celeste Barber set her sights on rapper Cardi B with another hilarious parody.

The comedian, 38, recreated a recent viral video of the WAP hitmaker strutting through her mansion in a skimpy bikini.

While Cardi carried a designer handbag in her video, Celeste replaced it with a pink Aldi bag for comedic effect.

The clip was watched more than 4.3 million times in 24 hours and received thousands of gushing comments, including some from celebrities.

‘I needed that today. I’ve been crying all day, thanks for the smile,’ wrote Married At First Sight star Clare Verrall.

‘Oh man, this is brilliant. Love you,’ wrote former Gogglebox star Yvie Jones.

‘Nailed it, you absolute minx!’ added The Project host Lisa Wilkinson, who followed her comment up with a string of emojis.

Earlier this year, Celeste went viral for her parody of supermodel Bella Hadid.

She copied a photo that Bella had posted of herself in a white unbuttoned shirt with no bra underneath.

She further intimidated Bella’s outfit by wearing black high-waisted pants, unbuttoning them at the front.

‘Just an FYI – not all feminists want to free the nip,’ Celeste captioned the image.

Most importantly, the death rate hovers around 1 per day:

By Larry Johnson
Published March 15, 2021 at 9:55pm
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Patients hospitalized since outbreak began: 2,191 (2,188 yesterday)

Patients treated/discharged: 2,548 (2,543 yesterday) {outpatients treated in the ER but not hospitalized and inpatients who have been treated and discharged or cleared by infection control but not yet discharged}

Patient deaths: 226 (no change from yesterday)

It is not just the New York Times working overtime to paint Florida as a horror show. The Los Angeles Times jumped into the act as well:

California has a lower rate of deaths than Florida
If California had Florida’s COVID-19 death rate, roughly 6,000 more Californians would be dead. And if Florida had California’s death rate, roughly 3,000 fewer Floridians would be dead from COVID-19.

For every million residents of California, 1,385 Californians have died of COVID-19. But for every million residents of Florida, 1,538 Floridians have died of COVID-19.

But this is a case of lying with statistics. Consider the following. Florida has a larger number of people over the age of 65 (4.4 million) compared to only 1.8 million in California. We know that the age group most likely to succumb to Covid are the senior set, i.e., 65 and up. You would expect more people would die in Florida given that dramatically larger number of senior citizens running around, especially given that Florida is open for business. But that did not happen. Total deaths in California (as of this writing) is 54,892 dead compared to Florida’s 32,285.

What separates Ron DeSantis from the Governors of New York, California, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts is that our Governor protected the seniors inhabiting nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The Governors of those blue states allowed Covid infected people to be housed in senior facilities. Cuomo reportedly has the blood of more than 13,000 on his hands as a result of his insane policy.

New York’s nursing-home death toll from COVID-19 may be more than 50 percent higher than officials claim — because Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration hasn’t revealed how many of those residents died in hospitals, state Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday.

As time goes on the policy to battle Covid in Florida will vindicate Governor DeSantis and expose the folly and recklessness of former blue-state darlings like Cuomo and Newsom.

#Covid test results are falling as well:

By Larry Johnson
Published March 15, 2021 at 9:55pm
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7-Day SMH positivity rate: 2.6% (3.4% for week ending March 1)

Patients who have tested positive (excludes repeat positives): 3,080 *

Patients who have tested negative: 60,356 *

#Covid is not overwhelming #hospital resources in Sarasota:

By Larry Johnson
Published March 15, 2021 at 9:55pm
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Hospital / ICU Capacity
Today’s patient census: 757

Today’s COVID-positive patients total: 32 (34 yesterday)

Today’s ICU census: 58 (64 yesterday)

COVID-positive patients in ICU today: 8 (no change from yesterday)

Total hospital beds: 839

ICU bed capacity: 72

Only 13% of the patients in ICU are there because of Covid. Compare that to November 19, 2020–one out of four (i.e. 25%) of the patients were battling Covid. Total Covid patients as of Friday, March 12? Thirty two. That’s a significant decline from December 15, when there were 78 Covid patients in the hospital.

No Speedy Trials

By Julie Kelly
March 15, 2021
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How will federal prosecutors convince a judge someone like Christopher Worrell, who never entered the building to try to stop Congress’s certification, had a “criminal state of mind” and wasn’t simply exercising his constitutional right to protest his own government?

What Worrell and others did—those who didn’t commit crimes such as assault a police officer or vandalize property—is wholly American and well within the protections of the First Amendment.

Perhaps that explains why thousands of protestors who occupied the Hart Senate Office building in October 2018 to interrupt the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh didn’t face “obstruction of an official proceeding” charges. Ditto for those who surrounded and banged on the doors of the Supreme Court. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was not accused of inciting an insurrection after she fired up the crowd that later stormed the Senate building and harassed U.S. senators.

Trump-hating thugs who tore up the nation’s capital during his 2017 inauguration also did not face extra charges for “obstruction of an official proceeding.” In fact, nearly all of the charges eventually were dropped by the same U.S. attorney’s office in D.C. now overseeing the Capitol riot investigation.

The burden of proof, to the extent it matters in the hyperpartisan Beltway justice system, is high. Nonetheless, it appears the Justice Department is having trouble building its cases, including “obstruction of an official proceeding” charges.

Last week, the government asked for permission to violate the Speedy Trial Act and grant a 60 day continuance in its case against nine defendants, alleged members of the Oath Keepers, all charged with obstructing an official proceeding among other offenses. The lawyers insist they need more time to assemble all the evidence. “[T]he ends of justice served by granting a request for a continuance outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendants in a speedy trial.”

The judge agreed.

Convicting any of the Capitol defendants on charges of obstructing an official proceeding will cross a dangerous line—a line government prosecutors and federal judges clearly feel undeterred to cross. This isn’t about justice, it’s about partisan retribution and revenge. And the consequences will be disastrous.

Stretching the Law

By Julie Kelly
March 15, 2021
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Garland’s explanation, however absurd it sounds to the majority of Americans, bolsters one of the Justice Department’s most widely-used allegations in its Capitol investigation. More than 75 protestors now face one count of “obstruction of an official proceeding.”

The temporary disruption of Congress’ attempt to certify the Electoral College results, a task completed 13 hours after the chaos began, is repeatedly cited in charging documents as evidence of wrongdoing: “It [is] a crime to corruptly obstruct, influence, or impede any official proceeding—to include a proceeding before Congress—or make an attempt to do so,” several affidavits read.

But the government’s attempt to apply this vague law to defendants in the Capitol case is a stretch, to say the least. In several instances, it represents an enhancement charge to add a felony to mostly misdemeanor offenses.

Further, there’s no indication the law pertains to a proceeding before Congress. Here’s the exact text from the statute prosecutors cite: “Whoever corruptly . . . otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

The provision is part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, signed into law in 2002 as a congressional response to the Enron and WorldCom scandals. Corporate bad actors—not regular citizens protesting the actions of their elected officials in a public government building paid for by taxpayers—are the proper targets of that law.

In his signing statement, President George W. Bush explicitly rebuked any intention to use the law against Americans. “To ensure that no infringement on the constitutional right to petition the Government for redress of grievances occurs in the enforcement of section 1512(c) . . . which among other things prohibits corruptly influencing any official proceeding, the executive branch shall construe the term ‘corruptly’ in section 1512(c)(2) as requiring proof of a criminal state of mind on the part of the defendant,” Bush said in July 2002.