Matt Gaetz Voted Against (?) Revenge Porn Bill As FL Lawmaker

Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida
Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks to reporters (screen capture)

Considering he’s currently being investigated for possibly having sex with a minor, this report on Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) being one of only two votes against a bill outlawing sharing sexually explicit photos of ex-partners (‘revenge porn’) is probably not a good look for Gaetz right now.

From the Washington Post:

Six years later, with the now-congressman accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and sharing photographs of nude women with fellow lawmakers, the sponsor of the Florida legislation says Gaetz opposed it because he believed recipients of such images could use them however they wanted.

Tom Goodson, a Republican who retired from the Florida state House in 2018, told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday that Gaetz was the leading opponent of the nonconsensual pornography bill he spent years trying to pass.

He described a meeting in which Gaetz said that if a person gives an intimate photo to a romantic partner, the image becomes the property of the recipient.

Read the full article here.

In related news, Donald Trump dispatched a quick missive today saying reports that Gaetz had sought an all-inclusive blanket pardon from the Donald during his last days in office are inaccurate.

It’s important to note that Trump says “Gaetz never asked me for a pardon.” The reporting is that Gaetz “privately asked the White House for blanket pre-emptive pardons.”

The Trumpster added, “It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him.”

News Round-Up: February 10, 2021

Funnyman Michael Henry is down because he doesn't have a boo for Valentine's Day
Funnyman Michael Henry is down because he doesn't have a boo for Valentine's Day
Michael Henry is down about Valentine’s Day (screen capture)

Some news items you might have missed:

Yahoo News: Ryan Williams, 24, was beaten until he lost consciousness by Brandon Forrester, 19, in 2019. Forrester pleaded guilty to causing bodily harm and was sentenced to a nine-month term. But due to the COVID pandemic and “previous good character,” his sentence was suspended and was allowed to walk free. “After court he started laughing at my mum’s face, he showed no remorse,” said Williams.

Instinct Magazine: The U.K. has experienced a record number of HIV tests recently and many attribute the increase to the popular new AIDS-era drama, It’s A Sin. HIV advocacy group Terrence Higgins Trust says there has been a “four-fold increase” on HIV Testing Week stats compared to earlier years.

YouTube: Funnyman Michael Henry (top image) throws a wrench into plans to shoot a ‘quarantine cruising’ clip with his buddy ‘Terry’ because he’s down about not having a boyfriend for Valentine’s Day.

Boy Culture: Matt Rettenmund remembers Larry Flynt, the controversial publisher of Hustler Magazine who championed free speech (smutty or not). Flynt died today due to heart failure at the age of 78.

The Daily Beast: During an appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Wednesday Twitter’s CFO Ned Segal told viewers that Donald Trump will never be allowed on the social media platform.

The Atlantic: Soon after the November election, a business colleague of Donald Trump’s close ally Corey Lewandowski offered a whistleblower and convicted ex-banker an expensive deal: In exchange for a $300,000 fee up front—plus another $1 million if successful—the two men would push the then-president for a pardon.

HBO Max: Check out the trailer for the new HBO documentary There Is No ‘I’ In Threesome premiering on February 11. Ollie Lucks is the director of the new doc film that explores his bisexual, polyamorous identity alongside his girlfriend Zoe. Hoping to expand their sexual horizons, the couple decided to open up their relationship before getting hitched.

News Round-Up: January 19, 2021

L-R Actor/model Nyle DiMarco and President-elect Joe Biden (image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

Out: Model, actor, and activist Nyle DiMarco (above) has something in common with President-elect Joe Biden – they both have new gigs. The America’s Next Top Model champ is one of a group of stars to appear in V Magazine’s 2021 calendar.

Mediaite: Turner Classic Movies has scheduled an “All Joe” Inauguration Day lineup of films to celebrate incoming President Joe Biden, while not-so-subtly trolling Trump. The lineup includes: Ode to Billy Joe (1976), Polo Joe (1936), The Fabulous Joe (1947), The Story of G.I. Joe (1945), Joe Smith, American (1942), A Guy Named Joe (1943), Pal Joey (1957) and Mighty Joe Young (1949).

CBS News: Signaling a continued break with President Trump the day before he leaves office, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed Mr. Trump in part for the assault on the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, saying the pro-Trump mob that overran the building was “provoked by the president and other powerful people.”

CNN: Donald Trump has reportedly been talked out of issuing presidential pardons for himself and his family as well as certain Republican lawmakers said to be nervous about their legal vulnerability for their part in the U.S. Capitol insurrection.

The Hill: From Trump’s inauguration day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose from 19,827 to 30,930 on Tuesday, a 56 percent increase. That increase is below the 73.2 percent rise the Dow saw in Obama’s first term, or the 105.8 percent increase under Clinton’s first term. A similar trend was true for the S&P 500, which gained 67.8 percent under Trump. It gained 84.5 percent in Obama’s first term, and 79.2 percent in Clinton’s first term.

LA Times: The 232-bed Vignes Street development has shattered the axiom that homeless housing takes years to build and is exorbitantly expensive. From start to finish in under five months and at a cost of about $200,000 per bed, it has shaved years and hundreds of thousands of dollars off a traditional homeless housing project.

White House: Donald Trump issued a pre-recorded farewell address today. #ByeGurl

Trump Pardoning Himself Is Very Unpopular With Americans

August 13 was not #ReinstatementDay
A large majority of Americans oppose Donald Trump pardoning himself before leaving office
Donald Trump (screen capture)

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows two-thirds of Americans approve of how President-elect Joe Biden is handling the weeks leading up to his inauguration.

According to the survey, 67% of those polled approve of Biden’s handling of the presidential transition while only 25% disapprove.

Additionally, 49% are confident Biden will make the right decisions. Four years ago, only 35% believed  Trump would make good decisions.

And speaking of the Donald…

A large majority – 68% – oppose Trump pardoning himself versus 28% who support the move.

Also – 54% of those polled feel Trump should be charged with a crime for inciting the riot that took place at the U.S. Capitol building on January 6.

By an almost 2-1 margin, Americans believe Biden won the presidential election. While 32% are naysayers, 62% believe Biden had a clean win.

A clear majority of Americans – 58% – support Twitter’s decision to permanently suspend Trump’s account. Forty-one percent oppose the idea. Almost half, 48%, strongly support the decision, while 36% strongly oppose it.

My thoughts: count on Trump pardoning himself before he boards Marine One on the 20th.

You can find the full results of the survey here.

Graham: Pardons For Rioters Would ‘Destroy’ Trump

Sen. Lindsey Graham says rioters should not be pardoned
Sen. Lindsey Graham says rioters should not be pardoned
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

As news outlets begin reporting arrested insurrectionists are planning on asking Donald Trump to pardon them for invading the U.S. Capitol, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sends a message to Trump: No pardons for rioters.

Graham fears Trump handing out pardons to the folks who violently attacked the Capitol would “destroy” the Donald.

Speaking to Fox News host Maria Bartiromo, Graham said:

“There are a lot of people urging the president to pardon folks who participated in defiling the Capitol, the rioters.

“I don’t care if you went there and spread flowers on the floor, you breached the security of the Capitol, you interrupted a joint session of Congress. You tried to intimidate, assault, you should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and to seek a pardon of these people would be wrong.

“I think it would destroy President Trump and I hope we don’t go down that road. They chose to go into that Capitol, defile the Capitol. President Trump never said, ‘Go into the Capitol and try to interrupt a joint session of Congress.’”

I completely agree that if Trump were to issue presidential pardons for rioters it would just make him look that much more guilty.

Graham also flipped the script and attempted to place the blame for the assault on the Capitol building on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

News Round-Up: January 7, 2021

Russell Todd
Russell Todd
Russell Todd (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: My buddy, the ever-handsome Russell Todd (above), has been sharing photos lately and I couldn’t be happier. Sometimes, we just want to look at nice things, no? p.s. Russell is totally the nice guy you’d hope he’d be…

Politico: Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration later this month. But Donald Trump has declined to say whether he plans to attend the swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol. Trump reportedly told staff he doesn’t expect to be there, according to a former Trump aide who remains close to the White House.

AP: The top federal prosecutor for the District of Columbia said Thursday that “all options are on the table” for charging members of the violent pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol — including sedition charges. More than 90 people have been arrested by police in Washington and more arrests are likely.

 

Washington Post: U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund announced his resignation effective Jan. 16, a decision that came hours after Pelosi publicly called on him to step down over the department’s handling of the violent pro-Trump siege of the Capitol. Sund confided to colleagues he felt responsible for letting down his troops.

NY Times: Donald Trump has suggested to aides he wants to pardon himself in the final days of his presidency, a move that would mark one of the most extraordinary and untested uses of presidential power in American history. No president has ever pardoned himself.

NPR: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says he plans to fire the Senate sergeant-at-arms, Michael Stenger, the highest-ranked law enforcement officer in the Senate, once Democrats regain control of the upper chamber.

Twitter: The rats are jumping ship as Donald Trump’s presidency burns to the ground. In the past 24 hours, numerous high-level officials in the Trump administration – from Cabinet members to the White House social secretary – have resigned (profiles in courage, I tell you) after Trump incited violence on the U.S. Capitol.

 

News Round-Up: December 30, 2020

Pro rugby player Devin Ibañez with his boyfriend Fergus

Some news items you might have missed:

• Outsports: Devin Ibañez (above), who played professionally in Major League Rugby, has come out as gay in social media posts, saying he has “decided to embrace what I once felt embarrassed of and be proudly and shamelessly myself.”

PBS: Canada will soon require that air travelers test negative for COVID-19 before arrival, federal ministers said on Wednesday after social media images of maskless tourists prompted a call for stricter measures to curb the virus.

NewNowNext: Marcus D’Amico — who brought the beloved Tales of the City character Michael “Mouse” Tolliver to life in the original 1993 PBS miniseries — died from pneumonia on December 16 at the age of 55.

Marcus D’Amico on the right (image via PBS)

The Hill: The United States on Tuesday broke its record for the most number of coronavirus-related deaths in a single day with 3,725 reported, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. As of Wednesday evening, the U.S. has now recorded a total of 342,312 deaths due to COVID-19.

Reuters: Donald Trump’s pardon of four American men convicted of killing Iraqi civilians while working as contractors in 2007 may have violated U.S. obligations under international law. The Geneva Conventions oblige states to hold war criminals accountable for their crimes, even when they act as private security contractors, the U.N. experts said.

Twitter: As the death toll from the coronavirus passes 341,000+ dead Americans, Donald Trump is back on the golf course today.

Axios: Trump Could Issue ‘Wave Of Pardons’ Today

Donald Trump (photo: public domain)

Axios reports there could be a flurry of presidential pardons issued today by Donald Trump.

Trump has been considering pardons for friends and allies, as Axios reported, interrupting conversations with associates to spontaneously suggest he add them to his pardon list. He already pardoned his former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Sen. Rand Paul called on Trump to pardon Edward Snowden in an article for The Federalist on Thursday. A source with direct knowledge of the planning said they did not expect Trump to follow through with a Snowden pardon.

Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are said to be in the mix for consideration.

Trump Considering ‘Preemptive’ Pardons For As Many As 20 Allies

The list of possible “preemptive” pardons from Donald Trump is apparently even longer than originally thought.

From Politico:

President Donald Trump is considering preemptively pardoning as many as 20 aides and associates before leaving office, frustrating Republicans who believe offering legal reprieves to his friends and family members could backfire.

Trump’s strategy, like much of his presidency, is nontraditional. He is eschewing the typical protocol of processing cases through the Justice Department. And he may argue that such preemptive pardons for his friends and family members are necessary to spare them from paying millions in legal fees to fight what he describes as witch hunts.

Those up for clemency include everyone from Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to several members of his family — all people who haven’t been charged with a crime.

The Donald is reportedly concerned that pardoning these folks ‘would look like an admission of guilt.’

Which, by the way, is what it would be.

Shocker: Trump Pardons Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn (photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

As I’ve predicted practically since time began, Donald Trump has pardoned former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn.

Flynn pleaded guilty (twice!) to charges of lying to the FBI about his conversations with a Russian diplomat.

From the New York Times:

It came to light that Mr. Flynn was lying to his colleagues about conversations he had in December 2016 with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak.

In the calls, Mr. Flynn urged Moscow not to escalate in response to sanctions imposed by the departing Obama administration over Russia’s covert election interference to help Mr. Trump, and raised the possibility that the incoming Trump administration would work more closely with Russia.

The pattern of lying raised new suspicions about Mr. Flynn. The F.B.I. sent agents to interview him at the White House even though deliberations with the Justice Department about whether to first tell Mr. Trump’s new White House counsel were not yet resolved.

Notes from a meeting related to that interview suggest a purpose of the interview may have been to see whether Mr. Flynn would lie again to the F.B.I. agents — as he did.

Despite Flynn pleading guilty to the eventual charges, Trump – who fired Flynn in 2017 for lying to Vice President Mike Pence and the FBI about his conversation with Russia’s ambassador – continually said Flynn was “treated terribly” by the Intelligence community.

As many have noted, a presidential pardon requires admitting guilt. In doing so, Flynn would lose any 5th Amendment protections regarding being called to testify on the issues.

In related news, NBC News reports that prosecutors in New York City are seeking to have the state’s highest court revive mortgage fraud charges against Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

“A four-judge panel in the intermediate court ruled Oct. 22 that the DA’s office failed to demonstrate that the state charges warranted an exception to state double jeopardy protections. That echoed trial court judge Maxwell Wiley’s finding last December that the state charges against Manafort mirrored the federal case that landed him behind bars.”

Expect Manafort to receive a pardon in regard to his federal case as well. A new case brought by the Manhattan DA would be exempt from Trump’s pardon powers as state charges can’t be resolved by a presidential pardon.