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BeyondGeography's Journal
BeyondGeography's Journal
June 29, 2023

Key document may be fake in LGBTQ+ rights case before supreme court


The veracity of a key document in a major LGBTQ+ rights case before the US supreme court has come under question, raising the possibility that important evidence cited in it might be wrong or even falsified.

The supreme court is expected to issue a ruling on Friday in 303 Creative LLC v Elenis, which deals with a challenge to a Colorado law prohibiting public-serving businesses from discriminating against gay people as well as any statements announcing such a policy. The suit centers on Lorie Smith, a website designer who does not want to provide her services for gay weddings because of her religious objections.

In 2016, she says, a gay man named Stewart requested her services for help with his upcoming wedding. “We are getting married early next year and would love some design work done for our invites, placenames etc. We might also stretch to a website,” reads a message he apparently sent her through a message on her website. In court filings, her lawyers produced a copy of the inquiry.

But Stewart, who requested his last name be withheld for privacy, said in an interview with the Guardian that he never sent the message, even though it correctly lists his email address and telephone number. He has also been happily married to a woman for the last 15 years, he said. The news was first reported by the New Republic. In fact, until he received a call this week from a reporter from the magazine, Stewart says had no idea he was somehow tied up in a case that had made it to the supreme court.

More at https://www.theguardian.com/law/2023/jun/29/supreme-court-lgbtq-document-veracity-colorado?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
June 17, 2023

The NYPD Commissioner hasn't said why she quit. A fiery speech about sexism may provide some clues.

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell gave an impassioned speech before hundreds of female police officers, months before she announced her resignation, laying bare her professional battles with sexism during her time in the Adams administration.

Speaking at a November 2022 event for the Police Women's Endowment Association, Sewell, the first woman to hold the post, framed her remarks as a letter to the “second woman to be the New York City police commissioner,” and referred to being “second-guessed” and portrayed as “difficult.”

“I write to you having taken stock in the 11th month of my tenure,” she said. She then proceeded to tell her hypothetical successor: “You are different and you will be treated as such.” Although Sewell did not mention the mayor in her speech, she outlined a litany of examples of sexist comments. “You will get free unsolicited personal advice: ‘Your hairstyle is wrong, you look tired, already worn out in less than a year, you should wear different clothes, you’re not qualified, you are in over your head,” she said…”None of this is true,” she added.

…“When you are no pushover, you will be called difficult,” Sewell continued in the speech. “When you do things your own way — ‘You don’t listen, you are paranoid.’ Your very existence is a problem for many. But I, every woman in this room, and every woman with dirt on her face in this arena is counting on you,” Sewell said. “You are no experiment. You are no box checker. This is no social promotion and this was no gift.” During several moments of her speech, women in the audience could be heard erupting into cheers and applause.

More at https://gothamist.com/news/nypd-commissioner-hasnt-said-why-she-quit-a-fiery-speech-about-sexism-may-provide-some-clues

Sewell is a born leader and her departure is a great loss for NYC. If she resurfaced as a challenger to Adams in a couple of years I would line up to support her.
June 16, 2023

Daniel Ellsberg, Who Leaked the Pentagon Papers, Is Dead at 92

Source: NY Times

Daniel Ellsberg, a military analyst who experienced a sobbing antiwar epiphany on a bathroom floor and in 1971 disclosed the secret history of American lies and deceit in Vietnam that came to be known as the Pentagon Papers, died on Friday at his home in Kensington, Calif. He was 92.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, his wife and children said in a statement.

In March, Mr. Ellsberg, in an email message to “Dear friends and supporters,” announced that he had recently been told he had inoperable pancreatic cancer, and said that his doctors had given him an estimate of three to six months to live.

The disclosure of the Pentagon Papers — 7,000 pages of damning revelations about deceptions by successive presidents who exceeded their authority, bypassed Congress and misled the American people — plunged a nation that was already wounded and divided by the war deeper into angry controversy. It also led to illegal countermeasures by the White House to discredit Mr. Ellsberg, halt leaks of information and attack perceived political enemies, a constellation of crimes known as the Watergate scandal, which led to the disgrace and resignation of President Richard M. Nixon.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/16/us/daniel-ellsberg-dead.html?unlocked_article_code=b7lI5NGOP1hJk2psCeBNjYQJ3i74VPFAv7u1K_uMInJ_vLa9z9ac00-aTD2rLlhMzJPnyIT6C3AlfcAmcnuyZ_qBV7Rp8SmzfVR5V72-9k2bd4Z6qug1TJu4HtE-YtkI9j88SxrEfE_-da4LXy6BSCJdDPJmxqO5P70R

A true American hero. “Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers” is the best book I’ve ever read about the futility of that war. It’s timeless.
June 15, 2023

TPM: Trump Has Lots Of Ways To Delay His Trial Until The '24 Election

They include:

-The case has classified information at its center, setting up rigorous rules that parties need to follow to both protect state secrets and determine what can be disclosed for the case.

-Prosecutors will have to decide what classified information is too sensitive to be handed over, and what needs to go to Trump’s defense.

-The laws governing how classified information is handled at trial allow immediate appeals, potentially dragging out the case.

-U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon for the Southern District of Florida has limited experience trying criminal matters, and national security cases in particular. Given that she said in an opinion last year that Trump deserved special treatment as a former President, she may be hostile to the government’s case, which may also slow things down.


Lots of supporting points in the article.

Not a lawyer, but even though Jan. 6 is a more complicated case, the absence of classified information and a better venue would seem make it the more promising one from the POV of the calendar.
June 10, 2023

NYT: It's Cannon's case unless she recuses herself


The criminal case against President Donald J. Trump over his hoarding of classified documents was randomly assigned to Judge Aileen M. Cannon, a court official for the Southern District of Florida said on Saturday.

The chief clerk of the federal court system there, Angela E. Noble, also confirmed that Judge Cannon would continue to oversee the case unless she recused herself.

…Since news of Judge Cannon’s assignment emerged early Friday, observers have speculated that it could only be an initial assignment before being handed to another judge. But Ms. Noble confirmed that no court practice would return the case to be assigned to another judge. In short, Judge Cannon’s assignment is permanent unless she were to step aside.

June 7, 2023

#Prigozhinhelpus...Russians under siege trust the Wagner guy more than Putin


“The situation in Shebekino is bad,” Sergei Apanasenko, a resident, told the Guardian. “I have evacuated 20 people since last week. There is a feeling that people are forgotten and the authorities aren’t helping with evacuations. We have to do everything ourselves.”

…Inside the city, locals have grown so desperate that many are beginning to call for Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Putin-connected warlord, to take over its defence. “Shebekino is destroyed. It feels like Moscow has forgotten that Shebekino is Russia. We would like for Prigozhin to come and help us,” Evgeny, a local who had also shared a post saying #Prigozhinhelpus, told the Guardian.

Prigozhin has increasingly thumbed his nose at the military leadership, ridiculing them for failing to stop last week’s drone attacks against Moscow and for a recent video of the purported destruction of a Leopard tank that he said looked more like a Ukrainian combine harvester. In the biggest sign of a schism, Wagner troops beat and humiliated a serving Russian officer in command of the 72nd Brigade for allegedly ordering his soldiers to fire on a Wagner convoy. The rifts in Russia’s war machine have grown as Wagner has pulled out of positions in Bakhmut after spending eight months to take the city, leaving regular troops to guard the frontlines while his mercenaries may seek to avoid the opening blows of Ukraine’s coming counteroffensive.

“The Russian army will now be properly tested, they won’t be able to hide behind Wagner like they did in Bakhmut,” said Marat Gabidullin, a former Wagner mercenary who knows Prigozhin. He has written a memoir about his time in the paramilitary organisation. “Prigozhin has built a very strong personal brand. He has positioned himself as the leader of the silent majority that isn’t heard. Many trust him more than the defence ministry. They see Prigozhin as their saviour.”


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