Nel's New Day

October 4, 2022

News: Supreme Court, DDT Plus More

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) head to Mesa (AZ) on October 9 for another rally so supposedly campaign for his endorsed candidates Kari Lake (governor) and Blake Masters (U.S. Senate). No mention of another far-right GOP candidate Mark Finchem for Secretary of State. The day before, October 8, he’ll be at the Minden-Tahoe (NV) Airport for Adam Laxalt (U.S. Senate), Joe Lombardo (governor), and “the entire Nevada Trump ticket.” At DDT’s rally last week, people started leaving after 15 minutes, almost two hours early, from the facility not filled to capacity. 

As befits their ideology, six conservative justices appear to lean on their second day toward narrowing voting rights by permitting racial gerrymandering even after a Circuit Court three-judge panel, two of them DDT appointees, ruled the racial discrimination violated the Voter Rights Act (VRA). Justice Samuel Alito went the farthest, possibly willing to make the legal challenges against racial gerrymander even more stringent by “revisiting” Thornburg v. Gingles (1986), in which a unanimous vote blocked North Carolina from partisan racial gerrymandering.  

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson brilliantly defended the VRA, at least the small piece left after Roberts court destroyed an important part of it in Shelby County v. Holder (2013) to permit racial discrimination and opened the South to voting oppression laws.

For years, conservative justices have driven poor decisions through SCOTUS through their personal views of originalism of WWTFFD—What Would the Founding Fathers Do. Conservative justices have insisted that the Constitution is “colorblind,” allowing them to allow racial discrimination by saying it wasn’t discriminatory. Jackson refused to give in to them. In the arguments on Merrill v. Mulligan to determine the Alabama districting case, the theory emerged again from conservatives. Jackson tutored them and Alabama’s lawyer in the purpose of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments: “provide equal opportunity for formerly enslaved people, using color-conscious remedies whenever necessary to put them on the same plane as whites,” according to Mark Joseph Stern. She added that drilling down in the Constitution shows “that the Framers themselves adopted the equal protection clause, the 14th, the 15th Amendment, in a race-conscious way.”

Alabama Republicans argue that protecting Black citizens’ voting power would violate the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. Jackson may lose, but she won’t give up without a fight.

In other business, the Supremes declined to hear Costello v. Carter, challenging Pennsylvania’s court-approved congressional map after the GOP legislature deadlocked with the Democratic governor, an issue with the high court’s upcoming arguments on Moore v. Harper. Perhaps they figure a ruling to give state legislatures carte blanche would render the case moot. Tragically, the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and strong supporter of voting rights, Max Baer, died last Friday. The governor appoints his replacement until an election in 2023, but the legislature may not confirm the current governor’s choice. If extremely far-right Doug Mastriano gets elected in five weeks, the replacement can be a disaster for all rights in the state. In Pennsylvania, the governor also appoints the Secretary of State, who manages elections.

The Supreme Court has another chance to take on a gun issue, this time from Mexico. Alejandro Celorio, the country’s lead attorney, wants to sue U.S. gun manufacturers.  Last year, a judge dismissed a $10 million lawsuit against eight companies making and selling weapons favored by drug cartels with a law giving U.S. companies immunity from liability for guns illegally used by criminals. The lawsuit asserts 70 to 90 percent of guns recovered at Mexican crime scenes are illegally trafficked from the U.S. with the eight companies making over two-thirds of those weapons.    

DDT didn’t waste time sending his appeal to overturn the ruling from the 11th Circuit Court to allow the DOJ to start examining classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago on August 8; he went directly to Justice Clarence Thomas. He wants the court to give the documents back to his special master. Thomas can refer DDT’s request to the full court, but the question is whether he will.   

Another question is whether anyone will trust DDT with classified documents after 14 of his officials reported on his four-year failure to follow guidelines for handling sensitive government documents. One adviser still seeing him regularly describes him as a “pack rat” and a “hoarder.” Some classified documents could be seen by anyone walking by him, and he didn’t always have them for official purposes.  

This week, DDT was directly connected to withholding federal documents when he asked Alex Cannon, a former DDT lawyer, to lie to the National Archives last February and tell the agency that DDT returned everything the archives wanted. Now DDT is accusing the Archives, as well as the FBI, for planting documents at Mar-a-Lago.  

There’s also DDT’s problems with his social media platform. After months of hype about Digital World, the company behind Truth Social, over three dozen disillusioned investors want a way out of the $1.3 billion to take the startup public. Last October, Digital World’s stock skyrocketed from $10 to $175 but dropped to $17.10 this week, ten percent of its high. A year later, the company faces the threat of liquidation, and backers had to pony up another $2.9 million in September to extend a deadline until December 8 for finalizing the deal. Digital World already moved from luxurious office space to a UPS store.

Bad news has piled up: a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into illegal stock trading, a lawsuit by a scorned business partner against going public, investors promising $138 million have already pulled out, and reports that the social media platform isn’t paying its bills. Truth Social’s web host, RightForge, threatens legal action with claims that it is owed $1.6 million after the social platform paid for only three months since Truth Social inception in February 2021. In response to questions about the financial viability of Digital World, DDT said, “I don’t need financing. I’m really rich!” He just doesn’t pay his bills.

Investors may be unnerved by the trend for Truth Social to run QAnon advertising explicitly referencing a coming storm and including Q in the logo. The ads follow DDT sharing posts from over 100 QAnon accounts with images of DDT wearing a Q lapel pin. This week, he promoted QAnon and its predisposition of violence by tagging its image of a burning Q on top of the U.S. flag. Recent DDT’s and Truth Social’s promotion of QAnon has occurred at the same time as an increase in QAnon-linked violence. In June, Kash Patel, former DDT official and Truth Social board member, said, “We try to incorporate [QAnon] into our overall messaging scheme to capture audiences. Analysts state the social platform’s biggest problem is its narrow audience, lacking diversity of opinion and content—an echo chamber for DDT’s followers. 

DDT has twice endorsed Jair Bolsonaro for his last Sunday’s election, but the “Trump of the Tropics” lost his election by over five points. Unfortunately, his opponent, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was short of 50 percent by 1.2 percent. The runoff is on October 30.

After VP Kamala Harris said that North Korea has a “very important relationship” with the U.S., DDGT called her a “North Korea sympathizer.” This from the man who “fell in love” with Kim Jong-Un.

Eager for more attention, DDT is suing CNN for defamation; he wants $475 million. He claimed the network used its influence to defeat him politically.

More clarity has come out about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ use of federal monies authorized for Florida use to ship 48 migrants from San Antonio (TX) to Martha’s Vineyard after lying to them about their advantages and destination. Migrants were lured onto the flight with lies from a woman calling herself “Perla.” Her last name is Huerta, and she is allegedly a “former combat medic and counterintelligence agent” discharged after two decades in the U.S. Army that included several deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. She was sent from Tampa to Texas to help execute DeSantis’ plot. Migrants suing DeSantis plan to name Huerta as a defendant in the civil suit, leaving her open to deposing her for details about Florida administration’s potential involvement in the deception. Under immigration law, the asylum seekers aren’t “unauthorized aliens” as DeSantis claims.

Possibly to put the GOP back into control of the U.S. government, OPEC may cut oil production at a Wednesday meeting, driving up the price of gas in the U.S. Since June, gas prices have dropped by one-third from $120 to $80 a barrel, easing inflation. OPEC countries want to have greater control over the world’s oil production as the U.S. became a bigger player in the oil market. OPEC also blames the dollar’s rising strength for decreasing revenues.

Another Republican violated his state’s voting laws by creating a fake ID and using it to vote in multiple elections, this one Alabama’s GOP chairman John Wahl. The state government never issued him an ID, and he wasn’t on any state list of employees. Wahl claimed State Auditor Jim Zeigler gave him permission to make the ID himself, but Secretary of State John Merrill said he told Wahl it is not a valid voter ID. Although Wahl blamed poll workers for forcing him to use the ID through harassment, he also had a driver’s license that he could have used for a legal ID when voting. And he lied about not having made the ID himself.  

October 3, 2022

New Supreme Court Term:   Repeal the 20th Century, Part II

The launching of the new Supreme Court term began with a case about the Clean Water Act, whether it covers connections such as creeks and ditches between bodies of water. Two conservative justices, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, had already joined Chief Justice John Roberts in backing a stringent test requiring wetlands to have a “continuous surface water connection.” Another justice, Neil Gorsuch, appeared in favor of building a house on wetlands in Idaho, in opposition to retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom he clerked. In her questioning, new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson appeared to have joined other progressive justices, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor in favor of federal regulation of wetlands under the law. In concern about the “vagueness” of the law, six conservative justices could “shrink” the Clean Water Act, as Ian Millheiser wrote.

In a second SCOTUS case on its first day, the Supremes need to define “money order” in Delaware v. Pennsylvania. States can take possession of unclaimed or abandoned property within their borders, but states argue about “intangible property,” such as uncashed states. In Delaware, MoneyGram is one of its many incorporated businesses providing 8 percent of state revenue in 2021. People buy “official checks” used to transmit funds; if no one cashes the check, it becomes unclaimed property. Similar products such as money orders and traveler’s checks to the state where the item was purchased, according to a 1974 law. Thirty states argue that Moneygram checks are a money order, but Delaware has a narrower definition of money order. Conservative justices seemed to lean toward Delaware.

The Supreme Court also declined to hear three major cases:

The $1.3 billion civil defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell can go forward after he continues to falsely claim that the voting equipment was used to help give the 2020 election to President Joe Biden.

The DOJ can continue its practice of using “filter teams” not assigned to a given case to determine whether classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago are privileged. The 11th Circuit Court had permitted the DOJ use of this process in other situations. At least eight federal circuits had permitted the DOJ to use these teams, also called “taint teams,” but the 4th Circuit Court finally ruled against the DOJ in 2019.

Two challenges to the 2017 federal ban on bump stocks that transform semi-automatic rifles into the ability of machine guns lost as both the 6th and 10th Circuit Courts upholding the ban.

Almost 60 percent of people think the Supreme Court is out of touch with the values and beliefs of most individuals, and 66 percent want term limits on judges including over half the Republicans. A current House bill puts an 18-year term on Supreme Court justices and requires appointments of new justices in the first and third year of every president’s term. After their 18-year term, justices hear cases only if the number of justices falls below nine. With this law, Thomas would immediately lose his active status, and Alito would be retired in another year.

While destroying democracy law year, the Supremes decided the fewest number of cases after oral argument in over 150 years. By early June, justices had issued opinions in only half of these 62 cases, resulting in the least productive court in history. The lack of cases cannot be an avoidance of interference. The Roberts court has created more chaos in the U.S. with rulings across a broad number of issues than most of the courts in the past century.  [visual – Supreme Court unproductive]

 

The court is also the most conservative in 90 years, when Franklin D. Roosevelt considered taking action, and at the same time overly aggressive. Congressional gridlock with the GOP unwilling to compromise has exacerbated the serious problems.

In addition, the Roberts court has also ruled in favor of religious groups over 80 percent in its cases—the most pro-religion since the 1950s—and has the six most pro-religion justices since at least World War II. Taxpayers are increasingly being forced to pay for Christian activities while churches pay no taxes. Two of the most notoriously far-right judges—Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrett—took the seats of justices most advocating religious liberty and human rights when Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were gone.

The U.S. is only 22 percent Catholic, but six of nine Supreme Court justices are Catholic—two-thirds of the total—making decisions for 100 percent of the nation. Episcopalian Neil Gorsuch, raised and educated a Catholic, joins his five Catholic colleagues to make the Catholic majority 78 percent. The other two justices are Jewish and Protestant. The Catholic Church elevates virginity, requires female subservience in marriage, restricts women from controlling their own bodies, and damns LGBTQ people. Evangelical Christians follow the same philosophies.

These personal beliefs will guide the Supreme Court majority decisions of the Supreme Court after Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) Republicans put three highly conservatives on the court to join two others. Chief Justice John Roberts looks almost moderate compared to those five although he frequently votes with them as in banning abortion. Heresy to Catholics is freedom of conscience, general human rights, and the belief that sacredness cannot be found outside organized religion, especially Catholicism.

Amy Davidson Sorkin writes about “a feeling with this Court that the conservative Justices could make a landmark ruling out of almost any case.” Roberts’ denial of court problems bodes poorly for this term as the conservative Supremes try to make their mark with these landmark cases.

Addressing Roberts’ whining about how SCOTUS is legitimate, former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) said GOP senators “destroyed the legitimacy of the court” when they stole two seats—using a fake rule to ignore Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland and then ignoring their own rule by putting Amy Coney Barrett onto the court days before a presidential election.

Dahlia Lithwick, who has reported on the Supreme Court for almost 25 years, wrote, “In the matter of the Supreme Court v. the Supreme Court, it’s safe to say the Supreme Court is most assuredly losing.” She cited some of its disasters: overturning Roe v. Wade, expanding gun ownership in a nation overwhelmed by sheer numbers of them, fetishizing “religious liberty” over basic equality and other freedoms, and a multitude of other problems such as conflicts of interest, internal leaks, and inappropriate speeches.  She left out climate change.  

The court is so anti-disability rights that lawyers don’t file lawsuits that would give the justices the chance to set back rights for disabled people. Twenty-three years ago, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion for Olmstead v. L.C. revolutionary ruling that unjustified segregation of people with disabilities violated the principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Clarence Thomas, the only remaining justice from that 1999 court, wrote the dissent. At that time, Amy Coney Barrett clerked for another dissenter, Antonin Scalia. While on the D.C. Circuit Court, Brett Kavanaugh ruled that the District of Columbia could improperly authorize elective surgeries for women in their care because they “lack …” the mental capacity to make medical decisions.” On the 10th Circuit Court, Neil Gorsuch ruled against a professor receiving six months of paid leave after a cancer diagnosis because it “would turn employers into safety net providers.”

Marc Ash issued the most dire warning: “This Court is dead forever. A new Court must rise.”

The conservative Supremes claim they follow the Founding Fathers statements, their own version of originalism, but Sotomayor pointed out that the Constitution doesn’t allow the Supreme Court having “the last word,” as conservative justices have claimed. Their claims come, not from the Constitution, but from Marbury v. Madison (1803) when the court declared legislative and executive actions unconstitutional. True originalism erases the high court’s superiority over the other two branches of government. In 1868, the court decided that the court’s jurisdiction was subject to congressional limitation, and other justices have agreed in the past century. Even Warren Burger, appointed by Richard Nixon, wrote that Congress could pass simple legislation “limiting or prohibiting judicial review of its directives.”

The Constitution states that the “judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” Article III, Section 2 limits original jurisdiction to “all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party.” Otherwise, “the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.” Additional writings clarity the opinions of some Founding Fathers, but the court has already negated their value as in cases of the separation of church and state.

Thus Congress could deny Supreme Court jurisdiction over a new voting rights act, the right to privacy such as abortion, and other measures. The legislative and executive branches could leave the Supreme Court to adjudicate only insignificant minor matters. Not a good idea for stability but neither is the present court’s majority claim of unchecked power.

Or maybe the new court won’t proceed with its past heedlessness, ignoring its real-world consequences on all minorities and democracy itself. We can only dream.

October 2, 2022

New Supreme Court Term: Repeal the 20th Century (Part I)

The U.S. Supreme Court launches the 2022/23 year of conservative decisions this coming week, and scandals grow as more information comes out about both justices and their spouses. (Above: President Joe Biden and Vice-president Kamala Harris, center, with Supreme Court justices; below left: illustration by João Fazenda) )

The best known may be Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Thomas Justice, who still declares that the 2020 presidential election was overturned, even to the House January 6 investigative committee. With extensive work to overturn the elections through texting and other contacts with both federal and state officials and legislators, she has political connections with over half the anti-abortion organizations lobbying the justices and operates a consulting business including conservative activist groups with interest in Supreme Court decisions as clients. She hides names of clients and how much money she gets from them but maintains she never talks to her husband about the court while he votes in her favor.

More information came out this summer about the beer-swilling, Hillary Clinton-hating, sobbing caricature regarding the complete lack of vetting for the lifetime term to tell everyone in the U.S. how to behave. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) was pushing his hand-picked agencies to get Brett Kavanaugh confirmed and ignored 4,500 comments about him, many of them about his sexual assault, were sent into a tip line about him. None of them was investigated because DDT-appointed FBI director Chris Wray sent them to DDT and claimed that the FBI lacked authority to further investigate Kavanaugh. Yet Wray used “proof” that doesn’t clearly state any restrictions.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, who earlier ruled a trucker driver must die because leaving his rig in the cold was illegal, was so eager to push “religious freedom” that he ruled for a praying football coach based on the lies that a lawyer told the high court. He also ignored testimony about the coach coercing players into joining the prayers. Gorsuch declared that prayer is protected by “free speech,” making it “doubly protected,” two clauses against one. He sees himself protecting Christians against a government “hostile” to religion.  

Justice Samuel Alito used religion to outlaw abortion using religious opposition to abortion by a 13th-century judge and a 17th-century Puritan judge who burned witches and supported marital rape. Alito calls secularism “secular orthodoxy” with anti-Catholic prejudice.

The background of Justice Amy Coney Barrett is steeped in the tiny, rigid Catholic group People of Praise rejecting homosexuality, practicing ecstatic Christian traditions like speaking in tongues and called a “covenant community.” She’s so secretive about her husband’s work that she redacted his business name in her most recent disclosures. In contrast, her husband prominently displays his wife’s name on the website of the boutique firm advertised as a “white-collar criminal defense, internal investigations, and complex commercial litigation [across] virtually every industry.” The justice objected to any guidelines for spouses because they wouldn’t “be very happy.”

Even the wife of Chief Justice John Roberts, Jane Roberts, is active in the political world as a legal head-hunter at Macrae representing high-powered attorneys looking for jobs in wealthy firms. A former managing partner at a firm hiring her said the firm hoped for a benefit from employing her to share networks. Jane Roberts also represented top government officials at federal agencies with direct interests in court business.  

Justices have great latitude in what they must include on their disclosure forms, a way to conceal conflicts of interest, and some of them omit expensive dining and access to luxurious vacation homes. The religious organization Faith and Action bragged about using wealthy couples to “wine and dine” conservative Supremes, helping them to feel “more secure” in pushing a faith-based legal agenda. None of these expensive meals, club visits, and plush vacation properties appears on the justices’ disclosure forms. An excuse is the pitiful salaries for justices–$274,200 for associates and $286,700 for the chief—compared to millions for elite attorneys in private practices.

Despite multiple efforts, the only law regarding conflicts of interest for justices in the past decade has added the requirement for judges and justices to report stock trades on their disclosures. Previously, Roberts was upset about the problems in federal courts’ ethics practices after conflicts of financial interest in almost 700 instances over nine years and suggested more “rigorous” ethics training programs. Now he declares the high court hasn’t lost its legitimacy, it’s just that the public disagrees with what they’re doing.

Roberts spent part of the summer trying to convince people that he was part of—certainly not leading—a legitimate court, but the GOP Senate clarified that SCOTUS is a political group by ignoring President Obama’s nominee and pushing through DDT’s picks from the Federalist Society. The five justices follow GOP guidance; Roberts just trails along with them.

Justices greet the all-time low court’s ratings, according to conservative Gallup polling, with defiance. Only 40 percent approve of its job performance, down nine points from last year, with 58 percent disapproving while conservative justices say they should ignore any public opinion. Dropping 20 percent from two years ago, only 47 percent cite “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the government’s judicial branch—the lowest ever rating by six percent. Plus 42 percent find the court too conservative, up 22 points from 2016 before DDT and the GOP Senate added Barrett, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh.

Justice Elena Kagan tried to explain the problem with the high court:

“If, over time, the Court loses all connection with the public and with public sentiment, that is a dangerous thing for democracy… The very worst moments have been times when judges have even essentially reflected one party’s or one ideology’s set of views in their legal decisions. The thing that builds up reservoirs of public confidence is the Court acting like a court and not acting like an extension of the political process.”

Alito, in essence, told her to shut up, saying that “implying that the Court is becoming an illegitimate institution or questioning our integrity crosses an important line.”

After taking away women’s reproductive rights, the Supremes plan high-profile cases this year to turn the country into a far-right theocracy and remove democracy. They’ve already taken away women’s reproductive rights and maintain that Congress can’t make laws. Issues thus far this year:

Voting Rights: Using the earlier overturning of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, districts with predominantly Black voters are disappearing, and the Supremes will increase the trend by legalizing racial gerrymandering and doing away with Black legislators. Equally—or more—dangerous, a major case this year could turn over all election decisions to state legislatures, eliminating any involvement from judges, governors, state supreme courts, even voter initiatives. The court could permit legislators to give electoral votes to a candidate of a candidate who lost the state’s popular vote.

Clean Water/Environmental Protections: The Clean Water Act doesn’t define “waters of the United States” in prohibiting discharges of pollutants so the high court can permit polluting wetlands bordering a river or lake and connections between two bodies of water such as creeks and ditches. In a less conservative court, the last case on the subject, Rapanos v. United States (2006), had no majority and thus no decison.

Affirmative Action: Another two cases can forbid universities to completely consider race in student admissions, possibly even overturn race-based hiring initiatives at private companies. Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) ruled that universities can take limited account of race to block an inferior educational experience for all students, but the new Supremes love to overturn recent cases while looking to decisions from the 17th century.

Medicaid: With current law, the federal government funds much of poor people’s healthcare if states and health providers comply with patient protection guidelines. The lawsuit, which could erase these rules, is from a woman who wants a nursing home to give her husband, who has dementia, “powerful and unnecessary psychotropic medications for purposes of chemical restraint,” currently against the federal Medicaid law.

Cultural Genocide of Native Americans: In the past, the U.S. used the Constitution to “Christianize” supposed “heathens” and removed Native children from their homes to erase their cultural knowledge. To stop these practices, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in 1978 requires that children removed from their homes must be placed with an American Indian family, preferably with the child’s extended family or at least their own tribe. In the lawsuit, plaintiffs in three red states don’t want to comply with ICWA’s requirements. The current court sees established precedents as optional and sometimes a nuisance/ A ruling could upend relations between the government and federally recognized tribes.

Immigration: The Supremes wants to overturn federal law and remove control of immigration enforcement policies from the Department of Homeland Security after a conservative Texas judge said that would be okay. Even if the Supremes rule in favor of federal law, they have already taken the right from the DHS secretary and support a GOP excuse for impeaching Biden by accusing him of focusing on only migrants deemed a “threat to public safety.”

LGBTQ Rights: Religious conservatives also want to erase LGBTQ people. Two SCOTUS rulings favoring discrimination have been narrow, but the current court prefers a shotgun—or an AR-17—approach. The court returns to wedding cakes—specifically designing them. The question is whether the new court will rule that all “religious liberty” is good even if it broadly discriminates. Sensing a friendly high court, Melissa Klein and her husband are also asking the Supremes to take an Oregon case charging them a $135,000 fine for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple who had been together for ten years. Online funding brought them almost $500,000, and now they complain about being poor. The high court could also overturn the 2013 Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing marriage equality, and 35 states still have laws banning same-gender marriage. A May 2022 Gallup poll revealed that support for same-sex marriage is at 71% – an all-time high.

And the Supremes have just started; their docket has more room. They also might take a few minutes here and there to make a ruling in a shadow docket, not bothering with any arguments or testimony. 

More in Part II.

October 1, 2022

Hurricanes – Ian, DDT

The government shutdown has been postponed until December 16 after the House passed Senate legislation by 230-201. All except ten Republicans voted for a shutdown and blocking the $18.8 billion disaster relief for Western wildfires, Kentucky floods, and Southeast hurricanes. GOP House leadership had whipped its members to vote against the continuing resolution (CR) which provides support for a block of six southeastern states with Republican governors. Two Republicans from the impacted red states among the Republican representatives voting yes; the other 43 representatives for the six states voted to provide no aid to their constituents. Voters might want to consider how their representatives voted when they cast their ballots this fall. And thank a Democrat for every dollar they receive.

Democrats also provided funding to support Mississippi’s problem with unsanitary drinking water in its state capitol after mismanagement by the GOP governor. Subsequent funding packages may also add help for devastated Florida from Hurricane Ian. The estimated property losses from Hurricane Ian will exceed $60 billion, according to an estimate from the Insurance Information Institute, which said that would make the storm the second-largest “catastrophe loss event” on record after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Hurricanes like Ian, one of the five worst hurricanes in U.S. history, will become the norm from warmer oceans and air, more water vapor in the atmosphere, and higher sea levels as storms are less likely to churn up colder water. Warmer oceans add fuel to strengthen hurricanes, increasing the average wind speeds of major hurricanes by about 18 mph for each 1.8F of ocean surface warming, a 13 percent increase. Larger storms pile up more water for bigger surges such as the unprecedented 12 to 28 feet Ian produced. With wind of 150 mph, rain as much as 20 inches, and these storm surges, Ian destroyed 90 percent of just one city, Ft. Myers, that has a population of 83,000+.

Despite announced dangers of Hurricane Ian, many people refused to evacuate, believing that it was just another storm. QAnon conspiracy theorists spread lies about the hurricane being fake news.

When Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), was governor, he rejected the concept of “man-made climate change,” overturned all previous initiatives to cut fuel emissions, cut the budget for reducing pollution, and banned agencies from using the term climate change. Three months ago, eight Florida GOP lawmakers, receiving over $1 million for fossil fuel industry donors, pushed federal regulators to stop a requirement for businesses to disclose risks from climate change. Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis has evolved on the need for disaster aid after his “no” vote on help for northeastern states while a U.S. representative in 2013, but last month, he led the drive to ban the state from considering climate risks in investments for pensions of teachers, firefighters, and other government workers. He picked up over $800,000 in donations from the fossil fuel industry.

Firmly believing in aggression, DDT launched a full-scale racist attack against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his wife, DDT’s former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. In a virulent reaction to a few Republicans—including McConnell—passing the CR, he posted a long screed on Truth Social including the statement about McConnell, “He has a DEATH WISH. Must immediately seek help and advise [sic] from his China loving wife, Coco Chow!” MAGA Republicans claim that DDT meant no violence, but Alyssa Farah Griffin, DDT’s former White House Director of Strategic Communications, slammed his statement.

The more DDT loses, the more aggressive he becomes, and his attempts to block the investigation into classified and other government document found at Mar-a-Lago are increasingly turning against him. The DOJ filed an expedited appeal to the 11th Circuit Court after DDT’s pet judge Aileen Cannon delayed the processing of documents seized from Mar-a-Lago, stating it slows efforts to determine how the classified records were transferred and whether they were improperly accessed. Cannon also denied the order from her hand-picked special master for DDT, Rayond Dearie, that lawyers support their statements under oath about FBI-planted materials at Mar-a-Lago.

According to the filing, the DOJ wants Cannon’s order for a special master be overturn because Cannon repeatedly overrules his decisions. Legal experts have wondered if the appeals court will remove Cannon from the case after its stinging rebuke in a recent decision against her.

 

Another DDT problem is infighting among his legal team between his new expensive lawyer and the former ones for the past week. Chris Kise wants to calm everyone down and have DDT willingly give up the classified documents to keep him from being indicted. DDT seems to have joined the other attorneys to keep attacking. The combative filing last week, which Cannon accepted, questioned DOJ’s motives and truthfulness, and Kise did not sign it as he has with previous filings since he was hired.

Three of DDT’s lawyers may face their own days in court with personal legal risks:

Christina Bobb told DDT allies that she is willing to allow the DOJ to interview her about her role in responding to the subpoena.

M. Evan Corcoran was told by colleagues that he should hire a criminal defense lawyer because of his response to the subpoena but keeps insisting it isn’t necessary.

Boris Epshteyn, a long-term DDT adviser, had to give his phone to the DOJ after he was subpoenaed as part of the agency’s investigation into DDT’s fake elector scheme and appeared before a Georgia grand jury probing into DDT’s attempt to overturn the state’s popular vote in favor of himself.

More details about DDT’s attorneys here.

Twenty months after DDT left the office, he and his administration have not yet turned over all its records to the National Archives which will consult with the DOJ about whether “to initiate an action for the recovery of records unlawfully removed,” according to acting archivist Debra Steidel Wall. Missing are “non-official electronic messaging accounts that were not copied or forwarded into their official electronic messaging accounts.” These include DDT’s adviser Peter Navarro’s failure to turn over official White House business he stored in private emails. Thus far, the FBI has recovered over 300 classified documents from Mar-a-Lago thus far in 2022: 184 in a set of 15 boxes in January, 38 handed over by a DDT lawyer in June, and over 100 more documents from the August 8 search after the FBI received a warrant. (Left: Documents found from the August search warrant.)   

 

DDT specializes in lies and exaggerations, and the best one recently is that the FBI took 200,000 pages. Let’s imagine how many boxes that would be. Philip Bump did the math and figured that 200,000 pages was off by a factor of 18. With the search warrant, the FBI removed 26 boxes or containers from the storage room and one box and six collections of documents from DDT’s office. He breaks down the number of each category in his article, but the items included government documents/photos, news articles/clippings, empty folders, books, and clothing/gifts. Nothing was said about digital devices so only paper was taken.

A 500-sheet ream of paper, 8.5” X 11” and two inches deep, will take up at least double the room when it’s gone through the copies. In the photos of material taken, cartons were banker’s boxes which are 10” 12” X 15”, holding about ten reams of paper—5,000 sheets or 27 boxes for 135,000 pages if the paper hadn’t been copied. But it was, and the boxes held much more than paper, using up a great deal of room. The number goes back to about 11,000 documents.

A week ago, the “Truth Rally” for DDT on the steps of the U.S. Capitol fizzled like wet fireworks. Billed as “the biggest to date,” the event drew a few dozen DDT supporters with a few dozen counter-protesters. The supporters couldn’t figure out if rioters were proud of their January 6 insurrection, didn’t do it, and were set up. NBC reported Ben Collins concluded, “The theme is basically: There was no insurrection on January 6th, and we’d do it again.”

A week later on October 1, DDT went to Michigan where early voting started on September 29, ostensibly to support his “stop the steal” candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and attorney general. His speech, however, was the typical litany of grudges. The event was at an expo center at the community college in the Detroit suburb of Warren. It has a 4,000-seating capacity. Gone were the QAnon gestures and creepy music from the last two rallies last month, but DDT satisfied his MAGA folk by ending his speech with his MAGA slogan reminiscent of QAnon.

The mainstream media is tired of DDT; there was little information about his latest rally.

September 30, 2022

Russia Invades Ukraine – Day 218

Although he didn’t cite anyone, Russian president Vladimir Putin finally admitted that mistakes were made in his mobilization of 300,000 new recruits to kill more people in his invasion of Ukraine—such as summons to “fathers of many children, or people suffering from chronic diseases, or who those who are already past conscription age.” Nevertheless, people still protest or flee the country, and even his own official supporters, including his state TV hosts, criticize him. By now, over 200,000 Russians have fled the country with about 98,000 of them going into Kazakhstan. Carlines at the Georgia border were over ten miles long, about a two-day wait, despite Putin’s warning to men not to leave the country. Russia plans a station there to serve summons to “citizens of the mobilization age” and is sending forces and armored vehicles to Georgia and other borders such as Kazakhstan and Mongolia to block Russian men from these escapes.  

Putin has also victoriously announced his sham referendum election of about 98 percent win to annex four areas after he either killed or drove off hundreds of thousands of people who might have opposed the annexation. Between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainians may have been forcibly deported to Russia, many of them children. Putin also benefited from sending in armed men with ski masks into homes or placing them at polling stations to mark ballots for people. Russian Parliament will also vote for formal annexation. One consequence could be conscription of Ukrainians within these areas into the Russian army, already in existence in Luhansk and Donetsk which have been controlled by Russia and its proxies since 2014.

Russian newspapers also spread propaganda in referenda areas, trying to create a feeling of normalcy and unity amid the demolished homes and infrastructure, looted stores, and struggling civilians lacking provisions. Cellphone and internet service from the West had been mostly cut. The newspapers were found when Ukrainians took back Izyum. Ukrainians also found ten letters from Russian soldiers in Izyum begging to be dismissed. Dated August 30, they drew a picture of depressed troops desperate for rest and concerned about health and morale because they don’t receive medical care. The ten authors may have banded together to draft the letters which were abandoned as troops fled the city.

Patriotic pageantry was front and center at the gilded Grand Kremlin Palace in Putin’s announcement of the annexation in violation of international law, claiming 40,000 square miles of land, or about 15 percent of all Ukrainian territory. Putin launched the ceremony with long, angry threats about nuclear attacks and promises to “protect” the newly annexed lands “with all the forces and means at our disposal.” Even Italy’s newly-elected far-right prime minister Giogia Meloni said the annexation has no “legal and political value” and that Putin’s move again demonstrated his ” Soviet-style, neo-imperialist vision that threatens the security of the entire European continent.” She called for Western unity.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky responded by a post on Telegram announcing Ukraine is formally applying for “accelerated accession” into NATO. The annexation effectively eliminates a diplomatic resolution to Putin’s war in Ukraine, and Putin will be challenged with his claim to territory that he doesn’t control. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he didn’t know the boundaries of Russia’s new “territory.” He added, “It has to be liberated.” President Joe Biden announced a new round of sanctions against government, military officials, and their families. Some of them restrict Russian access to key technologies and other materials to fuel its war effort.

On the same day, Russia faced new setbacks near Lyman as Ukrainian forces “semi-encirled” the eastern city, a critical logistic route. The thousands of Russians trapped in Lyman are part of the 752nd Guards Motorized Rifle Regiment with a tradition of being cut off, surrounded, and almost destroyed since 1994. Ukrainians’ strategy has been to destroy Russian supply dumps and command centers, starving battalions and disrupting their leadership. East of Kharkiv, Russians abandoned their tanks and fighting vehicles to flee into separatist Luhansk Oblast. Ukrainians split to circle the Russian troops with no way out by the end of the week.

Russia is attempting a partnership with Saudi Arabia after its Kingdom Hold Company invested over $600 million in Russia’s three largest energy companies last spring after sanctions from the West. In the summer, Saudis doubled the amount of fuel oil buying from Russia to free up its own crude for export at elevated prices before they guided OPEC members to reduce output targets in last month to raise global oil prices and give both Russia and Saudi Arabia more profits. Saudis have turned from the U.S. since its fracking production threatens the power of OPEC and Russia.

High-profile Russians keep dying, many in mysterious or bizarre ways. Ten days ago, the former head of a Russian aviation research institute died by falling down stairs. It was announced as “an accident,” but an unnamed source told the newspaper that he fell “from a great height” down several flights of stairs.

The deaths started in January, a month before Putin invaded Ukraine, with first of four men tied to Gazprom, the energy giant owned by Gazprom, the others dying in February, April, and July. Early deaths appeared to be suicides.

  • A Russian billionaire also died in February, again regarded as suicide in addition to a 43-year-old CEO of an energy development company who died of a stroke.
  • March’s death was of a businessman, owner of the medical supply company Medstorm.
  • The second death in April was of a former executive at Novatek.
  • The dead businessman in August was an outspoken Putin critic, supposedly falling in his apartment.
  • Four other high-placed Russians died in September, the first one an energy executive who “fell out of a window” on September 1 after his company, Lukoil, criticized the war six months earlier. Another Lukoil executive had an apparent heart attack on the grounds of a Moscow shaman in May. The aviation director for the same company as February’s death washed up over 100 miles from where he “suddenly fell” from his speeding yacht.  
  • The last September death was of the editor-in-chief of the Russian state newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda, who supposedly had a stroke and suffocated on his way to lunch.

Timelines and further details about the 16 deaths.  

Sweden and Denmark are investigating leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia to Europe. The simultaneous “unprecedented” damage in three lines 70 yards under the surface of the Baltic Sea sparked the possibility of sabotage. One pipe is a major source of gas for Europe with Russia stopping the flow; the other one was blocked by sanctions after Russia invaded Ukraine. Blasts were detected a few miles from the pipelines before the disruption. The attacks on the pipeline are seen by Western countries as precursors to other physical and cyber sabotage of their infrastructures. 

Fox network’s Tucker Carlson is leading the charge that Biden ordered the pipeline to be blown up and has joined the MAGA people’s new mantra, “Blame America First.” He said Putin would have to be a “suicidal moron” to blow up the pipeline. Biden has not directly blamed Russia for the leaks but accused Putin of “pumping out disinformation and lies” and asserted that the leaks are a result of sabotage. At the same time, Putin is blaming “Anglo-Saxons” for the explosions, which Biden does not believe. Russia’s state company Gazprom is the majority shareholder in #1 and the sole owner of #2.

Russia’s denial of the explosions and blame for the U.S. match its false claim that it didn’t shoot down a Malaysian airline over Ukraine with a missile battery in 2014. Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) DDT is also offering to “head up [a] group” to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin to avoid further escalation for his war.

Denmark, Norway, and Poland have celebrated the opening of the Baltic Pipe which will transport natural gas from the Norwegian shelf through Denmark and the Baltic Sea to Poland. The goal is to create more independence from Russian energy. Poland has been cut off from Russian gas supplies since April for not paying in rubles. The pipe should benefit other Baltic states as well as the Danish market.

As Putin puts all his energy into destroying Ukraine to remove its sovereignty, Biden is moving into his turf of mediating the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict with national security adviser hosting “direct and constructive talks” between his counterparts of the two countries. The “road map” to further peace negotiations leads to a meeting in a few days between the countries’ foreign ministers. Both countries had been part of the Soviet Union which dissolved in 1991.

September 29, 2022

Pot-pourri – DDT, Uvalde, Etc.

Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to prevent a government shutdown by 72-25 with only one day remaining before the deadline. The CR succeeded after Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) bill for a pipeline approval was pulled from the measure. Big-oil Republicans opposed it because they are angry with Manchin for supporting the Inflation Reduction Act, and progressive Democrats didn’t want to put fossil fuels over renewable energy. The law would keep the government open for 2.5 months until December 16 before Congress needs to pass a budget. The bill provides $12.4 billion for Ukrainian aid but nothing for COVID or monkeypox assistance. If the House, where GOP leadership is pushing the measure, accepts the bill, congressional members can go home and campaign for their reelections in November.

Nine years ago, the newly-elected congressional member from Florida, Ron DeSantis, voted against a $9.7 billion aid bill for New York and New Jersey because of the disastrous storm, Sandy. He said, “The credit card mentality … puts us almost $17 trillion in debt.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) agreed, claiming that money shouldn’t go to blue states. DeSantis formed the Freedom Caucus to block budget deals, but in October 2017, nearing his gubernatorial campaign, he flip-flopped, voting in favor of a $36.5 billion relief package for Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico.  

This week, DeSantis begged President Joe Biden for funds after Hurricane Ian hit, full federal reimbursement up front for 60 days, and told Tucker Carlson on the Fox network:  

“You know, when people are fighting for their lives, when their whole livelihood is at stake, when they’ve lost everything—if you can’t put politics aside for that, then you’re just not going to be able to.” 

DeSantis lied about the 2013 bill having non-emergency funds and blamed New York for failing to insure buildings. His request for billions of dollars began “Dear Mr. President.” The governor’s spokesman said, “We have no time for politics or pettiness,” unlike earlier when DeSantis flew 48 Texas asylum seekers from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard with no warning. DeSantis is “thankful”—for now—adding, “We all need to work together, regardless of party lines.” Biden’s approval of disaster declaration covers temporary housing, home repairs, and low-cost loans for uninsured property losses.

Floridians are suffering from flood/storm surge insurance. The National Flood Insurance Program, covering almost 1.8 million home and business owners in flood zones is over $20 million debt to the federal treasury, and DeSantis voted against bailouts after Sandy. He also opposed keeping insurance at affordable rates for most homeowners. Homeowner policies typically don’t cover flood damage, primarily insuring for wind damage.

Hurricane Ian may cause more insurance companies to declare insolvency. Since January 2020, at least a dozen insurance companies in the state have gone out of business, six of them in 2022. Almost 30 others are listed on the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s “Watch List” because of financial instability. Other large insurers such as Allstate and State Farm pulled much of their business out of Florida. The state already has the highest insurance premiums in the U.S.

State Rep. Spencer Roach, DDT supporter and author of DeSantis “Don’t Say Gay” bill in the schools, may need Biden’s help. Roach lost his house in Fort Myers.

Deposed Donald Trump’s (DDT) pet judge Aileen Cannon still puts him above the law, negating orders from her appointed “special master” Raymond Dearie who DDT demanded. Dearie told DDT’s lawyers to identify whether documents were planted or declassified, as DDT claimed. Cannon told DDT’s lawyers that they didn’t need to comply with Dearie’s orders which included lawyers state in a court filing whether they believed FBI agents lied about documents seized at Mar-a-Lago. Part of DDT’s strategy is to claim that the FBI had brought documents with them to the search and left them to make him look guilty.

Cannon also supported DDT in his stalling strategy by extending the special master review deadline to December 16, later than her original deadline of approximately Thanksgiving. Both dates are after the Midterm election. Dearie had said he would be finished by October 21. In another contradiction of the special master, Cannon blocked his authority to issue interim reports. Dearie firmly responded to her flip-flopping:

“In the original Appointing Order, the Court directed that ‘the Special Master shall submit interim reports and recommendations as appropriate. Upon receipt and resolution of any interim reports and recommendations, the Court will consider prompt adjustments to the Court’s orders as necessary.’ However, the Court later struck that language as part of its order implementing an unrelated ruling by the Eleventh Circuit. As the language quoted above as to interim reports and adjustments to prior orders is consistent with the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling and the efficient administration of the Appointing Order as amended, the undersigned respectfully recommends that the Court issue an order reinstating that language.”

Dearie made this statement after a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court, two of them appointed by DDT, reversed Cannon’s order blocking the DOJ from access to documents that were marked classified while he reviews unclassified materials.

DDT and his lawyers also lie about Biden orchestrating the probes into DDT. DOJ’s AG Merrick Garland stated:

“I think that the president made clear when he appointed me that he would not interfere with in any way any criminal investigations and he has stood by that. And there has been no White House participation whatsoever.”

This week, DDT’s lawyer Alina Habba told Newmax the FBI “planted” the evidence seized on August 8 at Mar-a-Lago and accused the administration about not “following the law.” DDT’s lawyers also refuse the special master’s order to identify which top-secret documents seized with the warrant were those that DDT insisted he “declassified”—possibly by telepathy.

Over three years ago, DDT denied that he tried to hide the USS John McCain during his visit to Japan because of his antagonism toward the noted senator who died nine months earlier. New information proves the White House Military Office told military to hide the name not put anything in writing. Emails stretched over a month before DDT’s trip in late May 2019 were largely redacted, but one directly states, “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight.” Another reference states the action of covering the ship’s name with a tarp was “NOT instructed” by the 7th Fleet. Paint scaffolding was also used to obscure the name, and the ship’s sailors wearing caps with its name were given the day off during DDT’s visit. 

Text messages sent to former chief of staff Mark Meadows released this week further revealed DDT’s attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Phil Waldron, DDT supporter and retired U.S. Army colonel, sent the texts and circulated a PowerPoint presentation to federal legislators recommending that DDT declare a national emergency over the mythical “fraud” to stay in power. Waldron also helped write a draft executive order to seize voting machines that was never formally issued. On December 23, 2020, Waldron told Meadows that Arizona was the “lead domino,” and they had to move fast. Meadows’ brief responses indicated agreement with the plans.  

Three shooting survivors’ families in Uvalde (TX) are suing the school district, gun maker and store, city officials, and law enforcement officials after the mismanaged massacre of students and teachers on May 24. The lawsuit names ten defendants, including the school district police chief Pete Arredondo who was fired several months after extreme controversy.  Many red flags surrounded the isolated and depressed teenager regarding his potential for this type of violence from fixation on cruelty. Friends often ridiculed the teenage boy for looking like a “school shooter.”

A three-person legislative panel ruled “systemic failures” and “egregiously poor decision making” among all levels of law enforcement involved, the school, the family, and the shooters but found no one responsible. Investigators questioned whether frequent lockdown practices, 50 at the school in three months before the massacre, contributed to the teenager’s success through complacency. Law enforcement sent to the school were also trained to apprehend migrants, not deal with mass shooters. Officers early on the scene thought the threat could be a “bailout,” a term for fleeing suspected migrants because the school’s alert system didn’t specify the threat.

The legislative panel reported that law enforcement prioritized their own lives over those of the children and found excessive problems with lack of security—a faulty lock on classroom doors, “poor Wi-Fi connectivity” delaying alerts of the crisis, and failure of police “to adhere to their active shooter training.” In addition, the 77-page report commented on “the void of leadership” contributing to the loss of life supplemented by lack of “incident command post.” A video showed police as they waited in the hallway for 73 minutes to enter the unlocked room. They fist bumped, texted, and sanitized their hands while hearing gun shots from inside the room. Video and details here.   

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) boycotted a hearing on gun violence focused on victims and survivors of mass shootings in Buffalo (NY) and Uvalde. He said it exploited children and objected to children voluntarily testifying about their experiences.

Six people, two of them were students, were hospitalized after a shooting at an Oakland (CA) shooting at a charter school which might have been gang-related with weapons possibly banned in California. As of this shooting, the U.S. has had 508 mass shootings in the first nine months of 2022 with 545 dead and 2089 injured.

September 27, 2022

News on September 27, 2022, Hearing Canceled Etc.

The House January 6 investigative committee has postponed its September 28, 2022, hearing because of Hurricane Ian, expected to go through Florida the next two days. The upcoming hearing was expected to focus on a declaration of victory for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) despite his loss in the 2020 presidential election. Danish filmmakers filmed DDT’s friend Roger Stone during the months prior to the election showing his prediction of violent clashes with left-wing activists because DDT would use armed guards and loyal judges to stay in power. In one video clip, Stone says:

“F–k the voting, let’s get right to the violence. Shoot to kill. See an Antifa? Shoot to kill. F–k ’em. Done with this bulls–t.”

The committee also has details about Stone’s contacts after obtaining records of Kristin Davis, aka the Manhattan Madam, who was with Stone at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC on the day before and the day of the Capitol attack. Stone also called Enrique Tarrio, head of the Proud boys, before and after the January 6 and contacted the former Oath Keepers chief Stewart Rhodes nine days after the attack. Both are charged with seditious conspiracy.

Other Stone contacts are with prominent Republicans who tried to overturn the 2020 election such as Texas AG Ken Paxton and Donald Trump Jr’s aide Arthur Schwartz. During the 2016 election, Stone was middle-man between Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, and DDT’s campaign. In his book The Breach, Denver Riggleman, former staff member of the investigative committee, describes how DDT’s former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was the center of the efforts to stop the certification of Biden’s electoral college win through his thousands of texts.

According to recent revelations, Secret Service leadership turned over cell phones from 24 agents to DHS Inspector General, DDT-appointed Joseph Cuffari, in July. The House committee had requested texts from the phones almost a month ago. Cuffari knew in December 2021 that the phones had been wiped, but he waited to inform Congress and the National Archives required to retain the records. His own staff called on President Joe Biden to fire Cuffari, and political scientist Norman Ornstein describes Cuffari’s actions a “coverup of treason.”

Paxton, who initiated the persecution of families with trans youth, ran away in a truck to avoid being served with a subpoena for a federal court hearing scheduled for Tuesday. The lawsuit is from nonprofits trying to help state residents pay for out-of-state abortions because of Texas’ vigilante law against the procedure. Paxton claimed he left the premises because he was concerned for his safety although the process server identified himself and held up the subpoena. For the past seven years, the attorney general has been under indictment for securities fraud and faces a lawsuit from former top deputies accusing him of abuse of office. In his reelection primary, Paxton received under 43 percent of the vote as high-profile Republicans tried to unseat him, but he defeated George P. Bush, Jeb Bush’s son, in the runoff. Texas’ voter suppression laws will likely put Paxton into power while he awaits a trial on his indictment.   

DDT’s special master, Raymond Dearie, has postponed the deadline for another week to complete digitizing the 11,000 documents seized from Mar-a-Lago because no vendor will work for him. The government may need to hire a vendor. DDT’s $3 million new lawyer, Chris Kise, has also disappeared from the investigation into the 11,000 documents seized from Mar-a-Lago; he may be moved into DDT’s business legal problems.

Two new books about DDT reported House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called DDT “crazy” and considered a vote to convict DDT in the January 2021 impeachment trial. Now McConnell has endorsed the bipartisan electoral count reform bill to keep future presidents from trying to overturn presidential elections through Congress. The bill would reaffirm that the vice president has only a ceremonial role for the joint session of Congress to count electoral votes and increase the number of congressional members to object to a state’s electors. The Senate bill already has support from 11 GOP senators, more than enough to overcome a filibuster if all Democrats vote for cloture.

McConnell prefers his bill to the House bill passed by 229-203 with support from nine Republicans who will not be returning in 2023. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) was one of the sponsors, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called the bill unconstitutional. The House bill requires at least one-third of the members of both the House and the Senate to object to a state’s electors instead of the current one member from each chamber. McConnell’s preference is for one-fifth of the members from both chamber in the Senate bill.

The electoral bill has been struck from the continuing resolution bill trying to avoid a government shutdown this weekend. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-V) will not support Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) bill because part of the pipeline runs through his state and seizes property from private owners. Kaine said he wasn’t consulted on the language of the bill or given a chance to share his constituents’ “deep concerns” over the project. The bill also changes the legal battle from the 4th Circuit to the D.C. Circuit. Kaine said litigants should appeal instead of changing “federal law to achieve their goal” if they object to the 4th Circuit ruling. If Congress doesn’t soon pass some sort of budget agreement, the government will shut down on October 1.

In a frantic search for the way out of his problems, DDT moved from Hillary Clinton’s missing emails to the “lost” millions of emails in George W. Bush’s White House. In 2008, Democrats claimed the missing emails left an “enormous gap in the historical record“ during a critical period. Newsweek reported in 2016:

“This correspondence included millions of emails written during the darkest period in America’s recent history, when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction, and, later, when it was firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons.”

DDT may have given up on Clinton’s “scandal”: the article states in the first sentence that no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Clinton exists. After his recent—and repeated—claims about Clinton, DDT lied about Barack Obama taking classified secrets and clashing with the National Archives. DDT still can’t find a parallel for his taking classified materials, leaving them lying around in a fancy country club, refusing to return them, and being investigating for obstructing the retrieval process. He’s working on the “what about …” and “everybody does it” defense.  

The party of “law and order” and its leader are still savagely attacking the FBI, the lead agency for enforcing both domestic and foreign crimes. After its investigation into DDT’s alleged crimes, DDT called them “corrupt,” “mobsters,” “vicious monsters,” and “a real threat to democracy” while accusing them of “atrocities.” His allies fell in line, claiming they are politicized, pushing conspiracy theories and calling on the FBI to be defunded—sort of like “defund the police.” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told Fox network viewers that a possible “cabal” within the FBI politicized the agency’s work.

Next year if they gain power, the GOP plans extensive investigations, possibly a select committee, to probe the recovery of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago as well as curbing FBI funding and surveillance permissions. With no visible evidence, the GOP “Commitment to America” claims “more than 14 whistleblowers” have “come forward to publicly raise concerns about the FBI’s politicization,” based on an assertion from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).

The people of the U.S. should be treated like little children, says Arizona’s supposedly Democratic senator Kyrsten Sinema as she praised McConnell and declared she shares GOP values. According to her reasoning, the filibuster needs to be restored to its former glory because parents shouldn’t give children everything they want. MSNBC Chris Hayes described her comparison:

“Sinema and others like her are the Grown Ups. And We The People are spoiled children constantly asking for things.”

Sinema falsely claims the filibuster was “what our forefathers intended.” The first use of the Senate filibuster,however, was in 1837 to keep President Andrew Jackson from a resolution of censure, and it didn’t become popular until the mid-20th century when Southern Democrats used it to fight the Civil Rights Act. Until 1970, a senator could filibuster only by standing on the chamber floor and non-stop talking, but now it requires only a senator effortlessly submitting an intent to filibuster in writing.

MSNBC Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out:

“The number 60 never appears in the Constitution, but it seems to live in Kyrsten Sinema’s imagined version of the Constitution. If a simple majority vote is a dangerous and fickle threshold for governing in a democracy, then why should only five members of the United States Supreme Court get to decide the final interpretation of the law of the land? Why doesn’t Senator Sinema advocate a minimum of a 6-vote threshold in the Supreme Court instead of a mere majority and why is the United States of America the only country that has a 60 percent threshold to win a vote in a national legislative body?”

More news tomorrow.

September 26, 2022

Early Voting Opens, GOP Candidates Not the ‘Best’

Four states—Minnesota, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming—started early voting this week for the 2022 election culminating in six weeks, and conservative columnist Matt Lewis has a piece on how bad the “crop of Trumpy primary winners” are. He went beyond saying they are not “quality,” as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said about them by writing, “Republicans are not sending us their best.” Lewis then called them “garbage candidates.”

Lewis starts in Michigan with John Gibbs, running for Congress. Gibbs called Democrats the party of “gender-bending,” defended an anti-Semitic Twitter feed, and pushed the theory that Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta participated in a satanic ritual. He also argued against women’s suffrage because the social system of patriarchy “is the best model for the continued success of a society”; women lack “the characteristics necessary to govern and … are commanded not to rule.” Beating first-term GOP incumbent Rep. Peter Meijer, Gibbs won with the endorsement of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) because Meijer voted for DDT’s second impeachment and accepted the election of Joe Biden for president. Meijer replaced Justin Amash, a Republican who voted for DDT’s first impeachment before he became a Libertarian.

Nearby, GOP congressional candidate J.R. Majewski was outed as a liar—shock!—when he claimed to be deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11. He was actually loading planes in Qatar, almost 1,200 miles away. Majewski is known for exaggerations, conspiracy theories, and hopes of violence against the government. DDT praised Majewski because he made a “Let’s Go Brandon” rap video and cut the name “TRUMP” on his farmland. And he was in the Capitol during the January 6 insurrection. Majewski claims his military service was “classified,” but the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) withdrew $1 million worth of ads for him. 

Lewis has just touched the surface of “not sending us their best.” In the upper chamber, McConnell’s super PAC pulled $10 million out of the campaign for Blake Masters, GOP candidate for U.S. Senate. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) withdrew $2 million.   They have a lot of reasons other than Masters’ poor polling. Masters: 

  • Wants to fire all the generals and admirals, because they are “woke” and “left-wing” losers who never won a war, and replace them with “the most conservative colonels.”
  • Claimed he was “100 percent pro-life” until the overturning of Roe v. Wade engendered massive protesting.  
  • Thinks states should be allowed to regulate access to contraception.  
  • Pushes the baseless “great replacement” conspiracy theory narrative.
  • Blames gun violence in America on Black people.
  • Tried to cover up past viewpoints such as privatizing Social Security, support for DDT’s “stolen election, and blame for economic woes on diversity among Federal Reserve leaders by scrubbing his website. 
  • Hired two fake electors for his staff.  
  • Believes in the “replacement theory,” the racist belief that Democrats want to replace Whites with non-White immigrants.
  • Sent emails to his Stanford vegetarian co-op damning democracy such as decrying the “miserably peculiar American diety [sic] called Democracy” and “feudal monarchies” and pushing social classes, describing those lower on the social ladder “human trash.” Masters also advocated articles for an alternative to voting. 
  • Said that Ted Kaczynski’s writings provided “a lot of insight there that is correct” (though he denounced Kaczynski’s terrorist actions).
  • Called for McConnell to be replaced as GOP leader with Sens. Josh Hawley (MO) or Tom Cotton (AR) for the position.

McConnell said that Masters’ major donor, gay billionaire and PayPal founder Peter Thiel, has the money to bankroll his friend. A GOP strategist estimated Masters would need $60 to counteract his opponent, Sen. Mark Kelly, because outside groups pay three times as much for airtime as candidates in the state. Democrats have spent the GOP by 2-1, and Kelly has $24 million in the bank from the $54 million he raised. Two pollsters from DDT and Biden found Kelly leading Masters 50 percent to 42 percent. Masters’ favorability rating at 37 percent (54 percent unfavorable) was unusually negative for a first-time candidate.

Other GOP candidates getting in trouble:

In a New York congressional race, the FBI caught the husband and son of GOP candidate Tina Forte in a drug and gun bust at their family warehouse. Her family members were also arrested for the same thing in 2019. Forte is slamming her opponent, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, for being soft on crime. Forte has shared images of her with the Proud Boys leader, shared QAnon conspiracy theory slogans, and participated in DDT’s January 6 rally. Her campaign pushes her small business credentials with the location where the FBI arrested her husband and son.

Maine’s GOP gubernatorial candidate, Paul LePage, took advantage of tax breaks from Florida legally available only to full-time residents. He and his wife owned the property and filed for the tax breaks while LePage lived in Maine’s governor’s mansion from 2009 to 2015 and again while he campaigns for his old job. They bought two homes in Florida and sold one with the homestead exemption of $8,500 for permanent residents while living in Maine.

Nevada’s GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, Adam Lexalt, dropped assertions of stolen elections and DDT’s endorsement from his website and may be close to taking out Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and changing the Nevada senator to Republican. He also has nothing to say about Sen. Lindsey Graham’s proposed abortion bill although he called Roe v. Wade last June and praised its overturning as “a historic victory.” Laxalt orchestrated several failed lawsuits to block Biden’s presidency after the election and employs an insurrectionist as his senior campaign operative. Now he’s ready to fight the results of the senatorial election—if he loses. He may get support because both his father and grandfather were U.S. senators.

GOP candidates in early voting:

Ted Budd, GOP candidate in North Carolina, made DDT far less prominent on his website, but he still appeared with DDT last week for the Wilmington rally, however, which may not have done him any good. DDT smeared Cheri Beasley, opponent and elected judge, in the midst of a racial rant. And the incumbent U.S. representative was an original co-signer of the GOP national abortion ban. Adding a disclaimer, Budd recently insinuated he would accept the election’s results after months of refusing an answer. Other accusations against Budd are his votes against farmers and a bankruptcy for his family’s agriculture business costing farmers millions of dollars in losses. According the media, he took oil industry donations the day before voting against the gas price-gouging ban and took money from big pharma before voting against lowering drug prices.

Yesli Vega, the GOP candidate in a Virginia swing district against Rep. Abigail Spanberger, is struggling against her statement expressed by Todd Akins that rape rarely leads to pregnancy “maybe because there’s so much going on in the body.” The rapist is doing it “quickly,” or “it’s not something that’s happening organically,” Vega said. She added that as a police officer she worked only one case in which the rape victim became pregnant. Candidate for U.S. senator from Missouri, Akins lost his election. Aligned with a group asking candidates to commit to banning abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest, Vega also said that abortion has been legal “after the point of birth.”

Harriet Hageman, who defeated Rep. Liz Cheney in the primary after DDT’s and McCarthy’s retaliation for her moderate view recently, has been accused by 41 legal professionals of violating the oath of attorney and professional statements about the 2020 election.  

Gov. Kristi Noem, running for re-election in South Dakota, is a high profile candidate facing ethics charges from a state board. They found sufficient information that she may have “engaged in misconduct” by intervening in her daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser license, and “appropriate action” could be taken. Noem, who had hoped to run for president in the future, called the complaints political and sought to get the records sealed. She can publicly defend herself, and results can be reprimand or community service. The law’s solution for making recommendations to the governor would be useless because Noem is the governor.

Noem also faces another charge of illegally costing taxpayers money for the private use of a state airplane. That complaint is before the state’s division of criminal investigation overseen by a county prosecutor. She has used private jets to fly to fundraisers, campaign events, and conservative gatherings, some of them out of state. The 2006 came from the governor at the time, Mike Rounds, who is now the current U.S. senator from the state. He used the plane for such events as his son’s basketball games while on official business.

This week, Illinois and Michigan start their early voting.

And the next hearing from the House January 6 investigative committee is Wednesday, September 28, 2022 at 1:00 pm EST.

 

September 25, 2022

Elections, Cheats

Sunday’s election in Italy will please Russian President Vladimir Putin and Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) as far-right Giorgia Meloni claimed victory as the prime minister of the third-largest economy in the European Union in the snap national election triggered by party infighting collapsing PM Mario Draghi’s government in July. She is predicted to take 26 percent of the vote, ahead of her closest rival from the center left. Her alliance includes the former PM Silvio Berlusconi’s center right Forza Italia. Italy’s president, however, selects Italy’s next leader, and Meloni’s party comes from dictator Benito Mussolini’s fascists. Her positions include anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, anti-international finance, anti-EU, and pro-natural family.

Italy is a co-founder of the EU and member of NATO, but her rhetoric puts her close to Hungary’s nationalist leader Viktor Orban. Her allies are also close to Russia; Berlusconi claimed that Putin was forced into invading Ukraine. Meloni’s win follows the rise of Sweden’s anti-immigration party with neo-Nazi roots and the shift of France’s political center to the right.

Next Sunday sees Brazil’s election in which Jair Bolsonaro, nicknamed the Trump of South America, faces former president and former trade union leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. One of them must receive over 50 percent of the vote to be declared the new president. Bolsonaro started repeating complaints of election fraud since he was elected soon after DDT started the trend despite no evidence of any election rigging.  The election covers vital issues for the U.S. such as trade, democracy, DDT, and climate change.

Days after a judge reinstated an 1864 Arizona law prohibiting all abortion except for a pregnant woman’s health, Republicans have nothing to say about the ruling, even those like the GOP candidates, Blake Masters for the U.S. Senate and far-right Kari Lake for governor. Masters called abortion “demonic,” and Lake described it as “the ultimate sin.” At the same time, Democrats are urging women to vote for their rights through speeches and television advertising. The anti-abortion law is one of 40 from the “Howell Code” adopted by the 1stArizona Territorial Legislature.

Historian Heather Cox Richardson explained that the anti-abortion law was intended to “rein in a lawless population of men” during the Civil War. The Code discusses “miscarriage in context with other male misbehavior and makes poisoning to “procure the miscarriage” illegal. The law’s purpose preventing dueling and other violent acts was to keep men from damaging others. A judge had already written the blueprint for all the laws passed by the legislature comprised of 18 men in the lower House and nine men in the upper chamber. He was paid $2,500, equal to five years’ salary for a worker at that time.

In their goal of bringing order out of chaos, one of the 40 laws blocked minorities from protecting themselves, their families and their property from Whites:

“No black or mulatto, or Indian, Mongolian, or Asiatic, shall be permitted to [testify in court] against any white person.”

Also:

“All marriages between a white person and a [Black person], shall…be absolutely void.”

Richardson wrote that the Howell Code “defined the age of consent for sexual intercourse to be just ten years old.”

A judge appointed by DDT ruled that Mike Lindell isn’t above the law; the MyPillow CEO who worked with DDT to overturn the election lost his request to stop federal agents from searching his phone. Lindell has sued to get his phone back, alleging the FBI violated his First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments rights. He is being investigated for a 2021 breach of voting systems in Mesa County (CO). Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, companies making voting equipment, are suing Lindell and his company for defamation about his claims that the machines were used to rig the 2020 election. A federal judge denied Lindell’s motion to dismiss the Smartmatic lawsuit that claimed Lindell “intentionally stoked the fires of xenophobia and party-divide for the noble purpose of selling his pillows.”

Questions swirled around the reason that three lawyers for DDT were seen coming out of a federal courthouse last Thursday; CNN may have the answer. Its journalists reported that they are secretly trying to block the federal grand jury from collecting information from close DDT aides about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Grand jury secrecy rules require the legal dispute to be under seal with no public documents. White House counsel Eric Herschmann has already testified to the House January investigative committee because DDT’s lawyers’ directions regarding executive privilege was quite vague. Now he worries about grand jury contempt.

Attorney-client privilege is not in effect if information is shared outside the attorney-client communication and if any of it relates to possible wrongdoing. A federal judge already found email exchanges to and from DDT’s election attorney John Eastman about January 6 that weren’t covered by confidentiality. The DOJ was able to access those and other similar exchanges. Executive privilege might be overturned after a Supreme Court ruling for Nixon’s Watergate tapes because a criminal investigation needed the materials.   

Years before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew innocent migrants from San Antonio (TX) to Martha’s Vineyard, DDT had the same idea but with an even more vicious intent to destabilize cities. In 2019, he laid out his plan to select murderers and rapists among immigrants for transport to metropolitan. He told his staff he wanted to “punish” his political rivals. Former DHS official Miles Taylor said he heard the plan:

“I was in the Oval Office for a meeting in March, 2019 in which [Trump] got more specific than just dump[ing] them in blue states. He said, ‘I want you to get the worst of the worst’—criminals, actual ‘murderers,’ and actual ‘rapists’—who cross the [southern] border, and round them up. He did not want to expel them, which is what you’re supposed to do in those situations. He specifically said that he wanted us to put them on buses … to, and I quote, ‘destabilize’ those sanctuary cities.”

DDT specifically listed Los Angeles, Portland (OR), Chicago, and New York City among the metropolitan areas Trump wanted his administration to target. Another DDT aide remembers he said “we should load buses up with ‘MS-13,” violent gangs rooted in Los Angeles and El Salvador, “and sent them to cities like San Francisco [where Nancy Pelosi lives, and also to] … New York.” Administration lawyers and other officials rejected the idea and told him that bringing in violent people was opposite of his goal to keep “immigrant crime” out of the country.

The property management subsidiary of a real estate business owned by the family of Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law, agrees to pay over $3.25 million to Maryland after the company “victimized” poor tenets who had horrific living conditions. The company also tried to cheat tenants out of money they didn’t owe.

A jury has ruled against Project Veritas, finding it violating wiretapping laws and fraudulently representing itself to a Democratic consulting firm. It was ordered to pay $120,000 to the firm. The group’s founder, James O’Keefe, claimed his people, who used deceptive practices, are journalists. The conservative Veritas group is known for editing film to make the people look guilty of crimes. They first came on the national scene when they destroyed Acorn and then moved on to smearing Planned Parenthood.

In 2016, the project infiltrated Democracy Partners, employed by the DNC for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. An operative pretending to be a wealthy donor named Charles Roth told the co-founder of Democracy Partners he wanted to donate $20,000 to a progressive group also a client of Creamer. The poser said his niece wanted to work in Democratic circles. Creamer offered her an unpaid internship at Democracy Partners after the false Roth wired the money from an offshore account to the group. The supposed niece used a fake name, false email account, and a bogus résumé. O’Keefe wrote in his book, American Pravda, wrote that the “donation certainly greased the wheels.”

The operative, whose real name is Allison Maass, secretly taped conversations and took documents while she worked at Democracy Partners before supplying information to Project Veritas which edited the videos and made them public. Edited videos suggested Creamer and another man were developing a plan to provoke violence by DDT’s supporters at his rallies. The heavy editing and O’Keefe’s commentary produced false conclusions, according to the lawsuit. The case also stated that Creamer lost over $500,000 worth of contracts because of Veritas deceptions. As the lawyer for Democracy Partners said at the trial, Project Veritas was trying to “uncover what they themselves concocted,” the project’s standard MO.

O’Keefe faces other legal problems. Former employees sued in August for a “highly sexualized” work culture with common daytime drinking and drug use while they worked additional hours without pay. Two Florida residents also pled guilty to stealing a diary from Ashley Biden, the president’s daughter, and selling it to Project Veritas under direction by its employee who told them to steal more items. An investigation into that situation is ongoing. The same month, the project was ordered to pay Stanford University about $150,000 in legal fees after a federal judge dismissed the 2021 defamation lawsuit by the group, and Veritas has an ongoing defamation suit against The New York Times. A history of Project Veritas’ deception.

September 24, 2022

Republicans Get Scarier

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is still on the campaign trail, this time trying to ingratiate himself with people at Wilmington (NC) by saying that his beloved daughter in law, Lara, is from the state and that he owns property there. Supposedly attempting to encourage voters to support GOP candidates, he aired his same false grievances which have lots of updates from the past week—the seizing of “his” documents, New York’s “racist,” “raging maniac’ AG Letitia James, and, of course, the “stolen election” in 2020 which he said he actually won.

At last week’s rally in Ohio, DDT promoted J.D. Vance for U.S. senate by saying “JD is kissing my ass.” He also claimed he invented the term “caravans” which he defines as “murderers and rapists.” Derived from Persian in the 1590s from Old French or Medieval Latin, caravan, derived from camel, means a group of travelers through a desert in a long line or a camper with a living area.

The Hitleresque/QAnon salutes and creepy QAnon music, popular last week, returned in his new audience. His Truth Social reposts consistently repeat QAnon messages, and he posted a photo of him wearing a Q pin. “The Storm Is Coming” on the pin refers to the day that QAnon supporters execute all opponents of DDT. The number of DDT’s QAnon posts grows when he feels he’s under attack, now a constant.

The FBI has been investigating QAnon for violent crimes and attacks, and DDT’s rallies will likely incite them to build on that violence. DDT led the crowd in the QAnon gesture although private security guards ask some supporters to put their arms down.

DDT seemed to have trouble reading his teleprompter. At one point, he declared, “We have to keep our country gay.” After a few stutters, he finished by saying “our country [isn’t] great anymore.” Twitter had a great time with his statement, and LGBTQ-friendly groups were already selling merchandise with “Make America Gay Again.”

The flight chartered by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to take 48 legal asylum seekers from San Antonio (TX) to Martha’s Vineyard grows more and more shady. The Vertol Systems Company gave large donations to the governor’s allies and has been legally represented by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and his former partner, Larry Keefe, now Florida’s “public safety czar” in charge of immigration policy. Keefe represented Vertol in dozens of lawsuits between 2010 and 2017.

Developer Jay Odom, responsible for packaging Vertol’s donations to candidates, was convicted and imprisoned in 2013 by an illegal campaign finance scheme for GOP Mike Huckabee’s failed 2008 presidential campaign and later arrested for a scheme with Florida’s House Speaker Ray Sansom in 2009 to build the speaker an airport hangar. In 2019, Vertol contributed $10,000 to Florida’s GOP controlled by DeSantis.

Vertol’s primary business is training pilots for the military and providing helicopters across the globe, not chartering planes. A week before the transport, the company flew its private jet from Florida to San Antonio. DeSantis’ administration refused to reveal the $12 million contract for its part in the “unauthorized alien” program, but the state budget specifies that “unauthorized aliens” are to be flown directly from Florida, not Texas. The migrants on the chartered flight were also not “unauthorized” in the U.S.

A judge in Florida ordered a lawsuit be continued regarding DeSantis’ August 4 removal of elected state attorney in Hillsborough County, Andrew Warren, who said he would not prosecute people for abortions or transgender youth gender transition treatment. Warren claims DeSantis violated his First Amendment rights for political reasons after DeSantis cited Warren’s “woke agenda” for his decision. The judicial ruling could define DeSantis’ ability to purge elected officials who disagree with him. He removed four school board members in Broward County defying his COVID mask mandates but operates selectively with no action against “constitutional” sheriffs who won’t enforce gun laws.

After revealing the GOP “Commitment to America” and then hiding it, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) led over two dozen House Republicans for its big reveal to show what the GOP, if given the congressional majority, will do to people. The party of so-called law and order will protect wealthy people from paying taxes by defunding the IRS. In a return to the past, they will investigate the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, orchestrated by DDT during his term, and continue the search for COVID’s origins, specifically investigating Dr. Anthony Fauci who plans to retire.

Law and order Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who refused to block sexual assault of his athletes at Ohio State University, will look into the “weaponization of the DOJ against American people.” The business activities of Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son, will be a prime focus. Transgender people will be on the firing line, and freedom means parents who agree with conservatives—not the other parents—will be in control of banning books and determining curriculum. Republicans will throw money at law enforcement without any assistance for their needs.

“Longer, healthier lives for Americans” likely destroys healthcare in the popular Affordable Care Act and defends cures from charlatans such as ivermectin. The GOP’s aim to “save and strengthen Social Security and Medicare” means to privatize, reduce, and then eliminate it. In the House, 158 Republicans already signed on to a budget cutting Medicare and Social Security. “Restore the people’s voices” in voting lists restrictions—means just “some people’s voice.”

Missing from their plans before Midterms are controversial terms such as abortion, election denialism, and Trump. Hoping to be elected House Speaker, McCarthy obtained DDT’s approval for the “Commitment” and praised QAnon member Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), probably to get her vote. Yet she wasn’t allowed to answer questions from the audience of 150 local business owners, parents, and local activists.

The presentation included a video, to “celebrate the rich heritage of the American story and the vibrancy of the American Dream,” using footage of a drilling rig in Russia’s Volgograd region. The work of Serg Grbanoff, filmmaker based in Russia, appears in other parts of the video: his clip of a happy boy in a field with a toy airplane over the words “Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” comes from the same Russian area. The attack on Democrats, blamed by the video on Democrats, uses footage from a European grocery story with a Slovak word. The man featured in a Shutterstock contributor, DedovStock, is in Ukraine and the Carpathian Mountains of eastern Europe.

The “Commitment” and its rollout continues the new GOP’s refusal to govern. Republicans hate government and don’t want to put in any effort such as negotiation, compromise, or participation in hearings—the boring stuff. Even in state legislatures, bills are largely written by businesses looking to further their nests. The GOP either has no solutions for problems or knows that their ideas will be unpopular. Being vague and ambiguous, like “protect the lives of unborn children” or “curb wasteful government spending” being their sole “commitments,” is its only way to quell dissension. Republicans state that Democrats have no plan to solve inflation, but Republicans have not come up with them, only the outcomes with no path to them. After all, the GOP has been promising an answer to healthcare for over a decade.

The “Commitment” calls for a safe nation, free future, strong economy, and accountable government—all Democratic aims. Like Biden, the document wants to fight inflation and lower the cost of living, bring down gas prices, make the U.S. energy independent, strengthen the supply chair, and end U.S. dependence on China. Part of the Democratic platform, they have made progress despite Republicans consistent no votes. Legislation, absent almost all GOP votes, caps costs of some prescription medications for seniors, something Republicans promised to overturn the minute they have a majority. 

To combat high gas prices, Biden released reserves, steadily lowering the cost of gas by at least 25 percent during the same two-plus months. A barrel of oil has also dropped over $50 to under $80. Thus far, Biden has avoided a train strike and expanded the number of truck drivers, and the new climate law starts to make the U.S. energy independent. The CHIPS and Science Act reduces dependence on China although almost two-thirds of GOP senators and 187 GOP House members voted against it.

To refresh yourself about how the “Commitment” distorts language, read George Orwell’s 1984. Then House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) shut down the government for 28 days with his 1994 Contract with America. Republicans are now promising to do the same thing next week by refusing to vote for a budget, due September 30.

The MAGA “make America great again” doesn’t give a time limit for how far back Republicans want to “return,” but an Arizona judge has reinstated an 1864 anti-abortion law passed 48 years before the territory became a state. The only exception is if the pregnant person’s life is at risk; those with health risks or impregnated by rape or incest will have forced birth. That’s what electing Republicans will do for people.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) wants to erase not only trans people but apparently women as a gender. In a fundraiser he protested teaching children that “more than one gender” exists. He claims doing so is “against nature, science, and common sense.” Some people aren’t sure which biological sex he plans to eliminate, but it’s unlikely he’s talking about men.

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