CHICAGO — Drew Peterson’s ex-fiancee says the former Bolingbrook police sergeant “got rid of” his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, by putting her in a chokehold and stuffing her body into a blue barrel. “He actually tried to show me the trick (of) how to snap someone’s neck within seconds,” Christina Raines said on Friday’s episode of the new Lifetime network series “Cellmate Secrets,” which was scheduled to air at 9 p.m. in Chicago. Raines said she is sharing her “truth” for the first time — more than a decade after standing by Peterson on national television while he was under suspicion in the 2...
On July 28, the U.S. Department of Justice issued some guidance on post-election "audits" such as the one presently being conducted in Maricopa County, Arizona. Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin, in her July 29 column, argues that this DOJ memo — which is titled "Federal Law Constraints on Post-Election 'Audits'" — could spell trouble for the Maricopa debacle.
The Maricopa County "audit" is not an official bipartisan vote recount of the 2020 election results. After now-President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump in Arizona, official bipartisan recounts were conducted — and they confirmed that Biden legitimately won the state. The Maricopa farce, rather, is being conducted by a Florida-based firm called Cyber Ninjas, whose CEO, Doug Logan, is a far-right conspiracy theorist and a QAnon supporter.
Rubin explains, "The Justice Department stepped up its visibility on the enforcement of voting rights on Wednesday, issuing new guidance on efforts by Republicans to curb access to the ballot and to stage phony election audits. That part on audits is the most intriguing, as it attempts to keep Republicans from undermining or even changing election results."
The Post columnist, who has often been described as a "Never Trump conservative" but believes that Trump supporters have tarnished the word "conservative," notes that the DOJ memo "zeroed in on Section 20701 of Title 52 in the U.S. Code, which requires election officials to maintain custody of all election-related materials for 22 months."
"In a swipe at the unprofessional audit underway in Maricopa County, Ariz.," Rubin notes, "the Department stated: 'Where election records leave the control of elections officials, the systems for maintaining the security, integrity and chain of custody of those records can easily be broken.' It added that the 'risk of the records being lost, stolen, altered, compromised, or destroyed…. is exacerbated if the election records are given to private actors who have neither experience nor expertise in handling such records and who are unfamiliar with the obligations imposed by federal law.'"
Rubin continues, "The Department also made clear it is prepared to enforce criminal penalties for violation of these document retention requirements. That is clearly a shot across the bow of the Arizona Republicans, who have allowed an inexperienced outfit led by conspiracy theorists to rifle through ballots and despoil voting machines. Further, the Department warned against various forms of voting intimidation that violate federal law, again signaling that phony GOP audits, especially Arizona's, are on thin ice."
The DOJ's memo mentions Cyber Ninjas' "proposals to contact individuals face to face to see whether the individuals were qualified voters who had actually voted"—and warned, "This sort of activity raises concerns regarding potential intimidation of voters."
Rubin emphasizes, "The directive is not a lawsuit, but it provides a clear predicate should Arizona or other jurisdictions flout voting laws. Given the uphill climb for new voting rights legislation, aggressive enforcement of existing laws is critical. Attorney General Merrick Garland seems willing to combat fake audits, something not covered by legislation under consideration in Congress."
A unvaccinated Mississippi man is warning others after he contracted COVID-19 and ended up losing a leg -- an event that turned him from vaccine skeptic to vaccine believer, WVUE reports.
"I was unvaccinated," said Bryan Thompson, 43, who added that he was otherwise healthy. "I myself was a little skeptical and I felt it got rushed. I wanted to just make sure it was safe. We were in a low-risk situation. It wasn't like I was a front-line worker somewhere seeing hundreds of people a day. So I figured if anyone can take a little bit of a risk it could be us because of our situation."
"My blood pressure was 71/40, and my oxygen was in the very low 80s. I mean, I was on my way out," he said. "It probably wouldn't have been much longer and I would have died."
But after being discharged from the hospital, Thompson soon realized that his ordeal wasn't over.
"During the night, [the] pain increased to a level I have never experienced," he said. "[The] Worst pain I have ever felt in my life. My foot just... I can't explain it. Like, screaming-out kind of pain."
His wife Audrey rushed him to the hospital, where doctors found several blood clots in his leg.
"It eventually got to the point where there was just no hope to save anything," said Bryan, who pointed out that as a result, his leg had to be amputated just below the knee.
"If anyone can help at all, we would appreciate it. His medical bills will be astronomical, and I might have to take unpaid leave to help him. He is young and healthy and we never would have thought that this would affect our family this way... It's just been a nightmare situation and I urge anyone who has not been vaccinated to reconsider," his wife wrote on a GoFundMe page.
In a Facebook post, Thompson reiterated his newfound vaccine advocacy.
"My COVID bill is in and it is over 50k dollar. Luckily I have insurance and they will cover a great deal, but I still owe right around 20%... This amount does not included the amputation in which I actually expect higher amounts since I am still in the hospital and seeing specialists. Any amount helps. This will be a financial burden on my family, but God willing we will overcome."
Rachael Bade is a political analyst for Politico. Last week, after Nancy Pelosi spiked the appointments of Jim Jordan and Jim Banks to the panel investigating the January 6 insurrection, Bade said the Speaker of the House had given "a gift" to the Republicans. "Pelosi's move to reject GOP picks for the 1/6 panel is going to be a gift to [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy in the long run," Bade wrote. "He wanted this panel to look partisan and political. Now it's definitely going to look partisan and political."
Bade was just doing her job, but she drew a ton of fire. Her "analysis" was precisely the kind that drives everyone crazy—everyone, that is, who is not a total nihilist about the power and promise of American politics. Among the many replies to Bade's tweet, my favorite came from writer and media maven Parker Molloy. "Oh, come on. I know that it's your job to treat politics like sports, but just … for once, can you not? I honestly wouldn't be able to sleep at night if this was what I was putting out into the world."
Bade's critics are correct about the Washington press corps' double standard. While the GOP is expected to act in bloodless self-interest, the Democrats are expected to act selflessly. If they act like partisans, the conventional wisdom tells us, the Republicans have the advantage. So now, when the Republicans accuse the panel in concert of being "Pelosi's partisan pageantry," the accusation will allegedly carry some weight. This presumption, which holds the parties to diametric standards, which actually does give the Republicans the advantage, without the press corps being aware of it, or if it is, it denies having any such effect—this presumption drives people like me up a wall.
For the sake of argument, however, let's accept Bade's silly analysis as true. Let's say that the House select committee is indeed partisan on account of the congressional Republicans saying it is. From this perspective, it would be interesting to think about what partisanship means after Tuesday's testimony by four police officers who were on the front-lines of what each of them described as a battle against more than 9,000 angry and armed insurgents prepared to "stop the steal." It was a battle fought between what Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin called "heroes of the republic" and "fascist traitors." "Partisanship" therefore must take on a new meaning bigger than it normally does, as a word for the parties and their interests. The cops did not begin as partisans. But in the context of Donald Trump's attempted coup d'etat they became partisans. They were unwilling partisans, to be sure. But partisans all the same. The attempted overthrow of the republic made them partisans for the republic.
The conventional wisdom about both parties is right about one thing. The Democrats, especially moderate Democrats, value the public appearance of being "above the fray." There are many reasons for this, most of them mostly good, but this preference takes on greater significance amid an investigation into the sacking and looting of the United States Capitol. The Democrats must get to the bottom of what happened. Justice, democracy and the love of our country demand it. But they have an interest in appearing principled, not partisan in way that word normally implies. They don't want to appear as if they are merely relitigating the 2020 presidential election. They do want to appear as if they're standing up for freedom, democracy and the country itself.
This balancing act is normally healthy. We do not live in normal times, though. If what it takes to hold power is for the Republicans to attack the character of the police officers who risked life and limb to protect everyone, including GOP lawmakers, so be it. If what it takes to hold power is disgracefully appear indifferent to their suffering, so be it. They may be "heroes" from the point of view of Americans with a stake in being "above the fray." But they were "traitors" from the point of view of Donald Trump. They were in fact damned if they did, damned if they didn't. The same can be said for all Americans. The cops swore an oath to put country over party. They honored themselves and the rest of us by living up to it. Make no mistake, though. The moment they honored that sworn oath was the same moment they became partisans.
If a majority of Americans continues to see partisanship as the mere difference between the Republicans and the Democrats, I'd say the Republicans have as good a chance as any in getting a majority of Americans to see the January 6 investigation as merely "Pelosi's partisan pageantry." But I don't think a majority of Americans is going to continue seeing partisanship as the mere difference between the parties. The Republicans won't let that happen. They'll push and push, and they'll keep pushing so hard that even people who'd normally be on their side, like law enforcement officers, have said out loud that they feel betrayed by the party, betrayed enough to say fine. If I'm a partisan, I'm going to be a partisan you'll live to regret—a partisan for America.
Tuesday's testimony, in fact, seemed to suggest the Republicans had finally politicized what it means to be an American such that being an American is now a controversy with two sides. As I said, "one side is for democracy. One side is against it. One is for the Constitution and the principles it enshrines. One is for the GOP and its fuhrer. One side honors duty and sacrifice. One side belittles them. One side sees selfishness, disloyalty and betrayal as fair game. One side has unvarnished contempt for treason."
If partisanship means party over country, then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi probably did give House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy "a gift" when she spiked the appointments of Jim Jordan and Jim Banks to the House select committee investigating the day a sitting president sent paramilitaries to the US Congress.
But if partisanship means country over party, Pelosi did no such thing. It would mean that Kevin McCarthy himself made a grave error. He chose not to have anything to do with it. He chose to smear the committee from the sidelines as "a political sham." But the more you allege partisanship against people trying hard to honor principle, the more people trying hard to honor principle are going to think of themselves as principled partisans—partisans for the United States and everything it stands for. I don't think the Republicans quite understand they are digging their own grave.
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