Crooked Media - What A Day: Worse for Merr

Friday, November 18, 2022
BY JULIA CLAIRE, BRIAN BEUTLER & CROOKED MEDIA

Twitter CEO Elon Musk, as the company he arsoned burns around him

Editor's note: We will be off next week for the holiday, but back in your inbox on Monday, November 28. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving; do yourself a favor and log the hell off!!

Merrick Garland vs. Donald Trump! It’s like David vs. Goliath, except David keeps asking for regulatory approval to use his slingshot. 

  • In a head-scratching but foreshadowed move, Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed longtime federal prosecutor Jack Smith (you gotta wonder if he chose the guy with the most generic name of all-time on purpose) to oversee the Department of Justice’s criminal investigations of the disgraced former president. Specifically, Trump’s theft of classified documents and his incitement of the January 6 insurrection. Garland said it was “in the public interest” to appoint a special counsel given that Trump has announced his candidacy for president and that President Biden plans to run again in 2024. So Garland is giving Trump exactly what he wanted. Is this another one of those fun examples in which a Democrat wants so badly to be seen as “impartial” that they end up completely acquiescing to Republican demands?
     
  • The best-case outcome here is that the appointment accomplishes nothing, without harming much. It won’t stop Republicans from declaring the investigations politically motivated and there’s no reason to think a special counsel will have better judgment than regular federal prosecutors. It does seem to create a special system of justice for Trump, who will now be investigated by a largely unaccountable figure simply because he chose to announce his presidential candidacy. (Hillary Clinton would like a word.) In other words, it’s totally unnecessary and could end terribly. The appointment will almost certainly slow the ongoing investigation, despite Garland’s assurances that it won’t, when time is not on the side of accountability.
     
  • The good news, if there is any here, is that Smith is “well regarded.” Then again, so were James Comey, Rod Rosenstein, Robert Mueller, and Garland! He has been working at the International Criminal Court in The Hague in recent years prosecuting war crimes, and will return to the U.S. for this role. Former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller says Smith “won’t be cowed by anyone.” Then again (again), he previously called the idea of appointing a special counsel, “unnecessary, inadvisable, and hopefully not under serious consideration.” Turns out it was under serious consideration!

In better Justice Department news…

  • DOJ has spent the last two years trying to ramp up antitrust enforcement, which has gone fallow under previous administrations, resulting in more de-facto corporate monopolies across many industries. DOJ has recently mounted challenges against several major mergers, successfully persuading a judge to block publishing giant Penguin Random House from purchasing other publishing giant Simon & Schuster. But they’ve lost other cases as well. Today, lawyers for major airlines and the Justice Department provided dramatically different pictures of what a “partnership” between American Airlines and JetBlue would mean for consumers, in what will be one of the biggest tests of the Biden DOJ antitrust division. The government argued that the partnership will cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars per year in higher fares. DOJ’s case is intuitive: two major airlines working together instead of competing will reduce consumer choice and raise fares.
     
  • DOJ has also opened an antitrust investigation into Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation Entertainment, which is focused on whether or not the company has abused its power over the multibillion-dollar live music industry. According to sources close to the matter, the investigation predates the company’s botched handling of Taylor Swift ticket sales for her forthcoming “Eras” tour. The inquiry is broad and explores the company’s practices, and seeks to determine whether the company maintains a monopoly over the industry. (Hint: it does!) DOJ approved the merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster in 2010. 
It’s good to see DOJ’s antitrust enforcers unleashed. It would be better still if Garland weren’t reaching into the criminal-investigation realm to insulate Trump from swift justice—or, worse, justice of any kind.

Mother Country Radicals is back with a special crossover episode! Zayd sits down with his mom, Bernardine Dohrn, along with Jamie and Karen Zelermyer of Wonder Media Network’s I Was Never There to look back at the process of making a show so deeply rooted in personal family history. Jamie and Zayd interview their mothers to learn how they felt reliving their radical pasts and what it was like to make a podcast with their children. And in a time that feels so politically similar to the turbulent decades Karen and Bernardine lived through - how do they find hope?

Listen to this bonus episode and binge Mother Country Radicals now, wherever you get your podcasts.

In other injustices, the Biden administration has asked a federal judge to grant Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Biden sovereign immunity from a civil lawsuit filed by the widow of Jamaal Khashoggi, the Saudi Washington Post columnist who was assassinated in Turkey on MBS’s orders. Officials insist that the recommendation is purely a matter of course—that the U.S. grants foreign government officials protection from legal proceedings here, so that American officials don’t face them abroad. But the decision falls against an unflattering backdrop, as Biden and his administration have sought to placate the Saudi royal family in an unrequited effort to increase global oil production, and MBS has adopted the title of “prime minister” in what many see as a cynical effort to gain pretextual cover for seeking sovereign immunity.

 

Even before the reprehensible Dobbs decision, the United States had a spiraling reproductive health-care inequality problem, one that’s particularly acute in rural areas. Nationwide, about 700 people die in the U.S. each year of complications from pregnancy. The deceased are disproportionately racial minorities, who remain at higher risk of complications and death even when socioeconomic factors are held constant. Those inequalities transcend geographic divides as well, because of higher poverty levels and financially insolvent hospitals in rural areas, leaving rural women 60 percent likelier than urban women to die of pregnancy complications. In some communities, health-care professionals have tried to narrow this gap by removing obstacles to integrating reproductive care into primary care in a single clinical setting. The providers spearheading this work, though, face both regulatory obstacles and—because this is rural America we’re talking about—public resistance. Because reproductive health care includes abortion.

Cariuma is the sustainable sneaker worn by skaters and surfers from the company reimagining classic sneakers with you and the planet in mind.

Cozy season’s in full swing, and CARIUMA is making the cool, seriously comfortable shoes you need right now.

People love the best-seller OCA Low, and with over 20,000 five-star reviews and a waitlist of over 77,000, it's no secret. But the wait is over! The OCA comes in organic cotton canvas or ultra-soft, responsibly sourced suede. Low tops are a given, but the OCA family includes a padded high-top silhouette, for a cozier fit. CARIUMA also gave us a little insight into their top-selling colors this season: check out their Rose, Grey, and Off-White canvas styles, or treat yourself to a pair of Navy or Camel suede. The classic look means you need only one pair, but try them on and you might wonder if one is enough…

But the biggest difference between these sneakers and the others? Beyond premium materials and handcrafted quality, OCA is seriously comfortable. And we all know comfort comes first, whether you’re running to catch the train or an early morning swell.

They never go on sale (even for cyber week) but What A Day readers can get 15% off with code WHATADAY

 

The House January 6 committee interviewed former President Donald Trump’s lead Secret Service agent during the January 6 insurrection.

A federal judge has nixed parts of a Florida law that restricts conversations about race in public colleges in universities, the so-called “Stop WOKE Act” signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL)

. . . . . .


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