Nel's New Day

June 6, 2023

June 6, 2023 – Political News

A federal judge will allow the names of people cosigning Rep. George Santos’ (R-NY) $500,000 bond to be made public. Facing 13 criminal charges, Santos was released from jail before the trial because of the bond. The media asked to unseal the identities and relevant information which can now also be shared with the House Ethics Committee. Santos said he would go to jail rather than disclose his “confidential arrangements” for a bond. His next scheduled court appearance is June 30.

A Reagan-appointed judge rejected a request to block Washington state’s new law banning the sale of over 50 types of guns, including AR- and AK-style rifles. People who have them can continue to possess them. The ruling determined that the ban fits the long tradition in the U.S. of regulating dangerous weapons, including colonial-era bans on “trap guns,” long-bladed Bowie knives, and the Thompson submachine (aka Tommy) gun popular with gangsters after World War I.

Florida officials stay silent after a second plane of 20 migrants from Texas since last Friday landed in Sacramento, but California Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to investigate the source of the flights with the possibility of Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis responsible. The arrivals on both flights had documents indicating Florida’s involvement. The GOP legislators gave DeSantis $12 million to fly migrants never in Florida to blue states.

Selective in prosecuting people for what officials call voter fraud, DeSantis arrested 20 former felons who had been told they could vote for casting improper votes, turning their rehabilitated lives upside down. Yet last month, a GOP state attorney refused to prosecute six voter fraud cases in five GOP counties, including sex offenders, who voted in the 2020 general election while DeSantis assured the public that the other 20 former felons would be prosecuted by his special election crimes office.

GOP presidential candidates have been vigorously debating the RNC debates’ rules. Beyond opposition to the requirement that participation requires support of the primary winner, they are fighting about which network will host the debates. Unhappy with the Fox network not being 100 percent on his side, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) refuses to debate on that network. DeSantis, however, wants Fox and won’t debate on either CNN or MSNBC because he thinks they are hostile to Republicans.

DeSantis has a reputation for being hostile to the press. Stories have circulated that his wife, former TV host Casey DeSantis, is working on a positive image for him, but he’s a slow learner. On the campaign trail in New Hampshire, a reporter asked DeSanti why he wasn’t taking questions from his voters, he said he was talking to “people” and snapped, “Are you blind?” In the past, he confined himself to Fox and conservative talk radio, but that tactic doesn’t work outside Florida in a presidential campaign.

Casey DeSantis may not be much more successful than her husband. Several articles pointed out how she’s appears to copy Jackie Kennedy’s fashions from the 60s, and she wore a leather jacket in the Iowa heat with the slogan “where woke goes to die” over a Florida map and alligator, reminiscent of Melania Trump’s jacket sporting “I don’t really care. Do you?” while her husband separated immigrant families at the border. DeSantis garb earned her the moniker “Walmart Melania.” The account Tea Pain tweeted:  

“Behind every Republican man, there’s a Republican woman selling out her sisterhood.”

Florida taxpayers are also paying millions of dollars for DeSantis’ culture (aka religious) wars. The GOP legislature gave him a blank check to attack anyone he wishes in retaliation for anything and anyone he doesn’t like—minorities, students, teachers, authors, Disney, etc. Six months ago, legal costs were at least $16.7 million and growing. DeSantis is paying almost $1,300 an hour in legal fees just searching into how Disney found a loophole blocking his plan to govern Disney World. A Washington, D.C. law firm charges $725 hourly to defend him against his “anti-woke” laws. The state authorized almost $2.8 million for legal services from just that one firm. Medicaid iBudget Florida, a waiver providing disabled Floridians with access to certain services, has a waitlist of more than 22,000 residents because the state underfunds the program at $2 million for the year, compared to the almost $20 million, or more, spent for DeSantis’ “anti-woke” needs.

Bob Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University, said DeSantis litigious behavior matches that of DDT, that they are cut “from the same cloth.” In talking about who is benefiting, Jarvis said, “DeSantis has been God’s gift to lawyers.”

Recognizing its current lack of leverage, the House Freedom Caucus has given up deposing Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)—for now—but 11 conservatives are sabotaging GOP leadership, much to their surprise, by voting against the advancement of two bills blocking prevention of gas stoves.  The 206-220 vote was the first time the House rejected a rule in 21 years. Scheduled for five minutes, the rule vote lasted almost an hour. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), one of the dissidents, also got into an argument with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) when he accused him of blocking his pistol stabilizing brace bill after Clyde opposed the rule on the debt ceiling bill.  

MAGAs have turned on Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) for her devotion to McCarthy and her vote for his debt ceiling bill: they’re calling for her to be primaried by a real MAGA. Another of her offenses was opposition to releasing insurrection footage to the conspiracy-ridden media. DDT ally Laura Loomer, loonier than Greene, is threatening a move to Georgia to primary Greene from Florida where she repeatedly lost congressional primaries. In Greene’s comparing Steve Bannon turning on her with a divorce, she said:

“Steve and I aren’t getting back together. And if he keeps it up, I’ll take the house and kids. I hope you send it to Steve. Because I’m done.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is trying to intimidate academics studying misinformation by accusing them of colluding with the government to suppress right-wing speech. The House Judiciary Committee Chair is demanding records from Stanford University and threatens subpoenas because they withheld some disinformation complaints filed by students. Research includes falsehoods by DDT and other GOP politicians. Jordan claims that the government has suppressed legitimate vaccine risk theories and Covid origins.

Jordan also demands that AG Merrick Garland give him documents from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation of DDT—the unredacted memo of authorization and all supporting documentation.  

In his determination to prove unsubstantiated rumors about President Joe Biden’s “bribery,” House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer still wants to pillory FBI Director Christopher Wray for not giving him a document, instead requiring Comer to read it in a confidential setting. Committee top Democrat Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) asserted the secondhand information didn’t need further assessment after a team assigned by former DDT-appointed AG Bill Barr stated the accusation didn’t warrant followup. The paid “source” was reporting a conversation with someone else. The investigation, finding no criminal activity, was led by DDT-appointed former AG Scott Brady for Pennsylvania.  In a first against an FBI director, Comer plans to hold Wray in contempt if he won’t give him the document.

Comer’s next project is a probe into a supposed coverup of UFOs, aka Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. He claims to have a “whistleblower,” an intelligence officer claiming to have classified information about “retrieved intact and intact and partially intact craft of non-human origin.”

Joseph Cuffari, responsible for the Secret Service’s mass deletion of texts including those surrounding the insurrection, declared he regularly deletes texts because he doesn’t consider them federal records. He added that he uses his government phone to “to conduct business” but “not federal business.” Intentional deletions of federal records violate the law.

According to Nikki Haley’s little-publicized CNN town hall on June 5, transgender issues form the centerpiece of her campaign. Asked to define “woke,” a Black term for social justice, the presidential candidate focused on “biological boys playing in girl sports” and linked it to one-third of teenage girls contemplating suicide last year—with no evidence. The report she cited didn’t list fear of transgenders as a factor but gave these reasons: more sleep deprivation, less face-to-face social interaction, societal polarization, pessimism about the future connected to global warming, and increasing availability of firearms. Of 73 million youth, only 46,000 may be transgender, 0.06 percent. Haley waffled by saying “we wonder,” but Glenn Kessler gave her four Pinocchios for her lie. 

Haley bewailed that “the national media” made the shooting at Mother Emanuel church, when a white supremacist killed nine Black people at a Bible study, “about race.” She did promise, however that she would not execute women who have abortions. Her home state of South Carolina puts women who have in prison, and attempts are being made to charge them with murder.

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-NC) is the only current congressional member backing Haley for president, but he’s a devoted ally of DDT. Every time he stumps for Haley he praises DDT.

CNN’s town hall for Mike Pence is June 7.

June 5, 2023

Problems with China, Sulking Republicans

Arriving late last week to cast her vote against the debt ceiling bill, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) needed three days to figure out an excuse: she was “ticked off” because she wasn’t one of the negotiators. In another story about her, retired pro-wrestler pro wrestler, accused of being Boebert’s father by her mother, proves he isn’t with a DNA test.

The U.S. may be closing in to a conflict with China after warships from the two countries came within 150 yards of each other, less than half the length of the USS Chung-Moon. US accused the Chinese warship of cutting in front of an U.S. taking part in a joint exercise with the Canadian navy in the Taiwan Strait. China’s defense minister Li Shangfu accused the U.S. naval presence of creating chaos in the region. Last week, a Chinese fighter jet conducted an “unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” during an intercept of a US spy plane in international airspace over the South China, according to a U.S. military statement.

At the opening June 2 dinner of the 54-country Shangri-La-Dialogue in Singapore, top defense officials from the U.S. and China clashed, and Gen. Li had no bilateral meeting with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. In the keynote address, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese feared that a “breakdown” in U.S.-China dialogue could trigger a chain of escalation “devastating for the world.” Austin said the U.S. didn’t want “conflict or confrontation” but wouldn’t “flinch in the face of bullying or coercion” while Li complained about the desire for “hegemony” of a certain “big power.” Li also criticized Taiwan for stoking “separatist activities” and asserted the island must be “restored” to the mainland. U.S. and allied naval vessels were not making “innocent passage” through the Taiwan Strait, he declared, adding they were stirring up tensions.

GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley will be trailed by her statement that U.S. forces “need to align” with non-European countries including Russia to enhance global security. Her spokesperson said she “misspoke,” and later Haley called Russia an “enemy” and its president Vladimir Putin a “thug.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has backed away from his statement that stopping Russia’s invasion of Russia isn’t vital to U.S. strategic interests.

DeSantis may be “kidnapping” migrants again: he is suspected of being the instigator in flying over a dozen immigrants from El Paso (TX) to Sacramento and leaving them in front of a Catholic church. First shipped from Texas to Mexico, they are in danger of missing their court dates. California is investigating the situation. Gov. Gavin Newsom frequently criticizes DeSantis’ policies, even visiting New College of Florida where the Florida governor is forcing a conservative conversion. In Texas, a county sheriff asked the DA to bring criminal charges related to the dozens of mostly Venezuelan migrants involuntarily shipped from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard (MA), a flight from Florida’s taxpayer funds.

The evangelical National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) joined other conservative websites to oppose a new California law combatting hate speech on social media platforms by publishing their policies for removing hate speech, disinformation, extremism, harassment, and foreign political interference. They claim transparency allows “First Amendment suppression.” The NRB, over 1,400 member organizations, has lobbied to stop the government from blocking discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter has virulently exacerbated anti-LGBTQ+ slurs in tweets.

Over a decade after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Connecticut governor is preparing to sign a number of gun safety measures. Changes:

  • Ban openly carrying firearms.
  • Prohibit selling more than three handguns within 30 days to any one person, with some exceptions for instructors and others.
  • Expand Connecticut’s current assault weapon ban to include some other similar weapon.
  • Stiffening penalties for possession of large-capacity magazines.
  • Expanding safe-storage rules to more settings.
  • Add some domestic violence crimes to the list of disqualifications for having a gun.
  • Expand the state’s existing prohibition on the retail sale of semiautomatic rifles with capacity greater than five rounds to anyone under the age of 21 to private sales.
  • Mandate all firearms, not just handguns, be sold with a trigger lock.
  • Enforce all long guns to be carried unloaded in a vehicle.

And more

When he was hired as CEO of CNN, Chris Licht was widely known as a hatchet man by the network’s owners to force the board’s conservative bent, but the tipping point of his right-wing failures may have been DDT’s town hall last month. This problem, combined with an unfavorable Atlantic article about him and the drastic drop in ratings and employee morale provided too much negative publicity.

Tim Alberta’s article is behind the Atlantic paywall, but Gary Baum has provided parts of the 15,000-word profile based on almost unlimited access to Licht’s opinions and activities over several months. Baum writes:

“The article portrays a brash manager struggling to lead the news division of a media conglomerate amid widespread distrust among his rank-and-file while also catering to the whims of his own fickle, meddling boss: Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav.”

Licht has hired David Leavy, Zaslav’s confidant, as the network’s new chief operating officer, supposedly allowing Licht to focus on editorial strategy and programming. Zaslav will then have a much better view of CNN happenings.

Joseph Wulfson gloated about the personnel shift at CNN for Fox News, starting with how “veteran CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour blasts Trump town hall during commencement speech.” He also questions whether Licht has any support from his boss, Zaslav, and problems that Alberta had in trying to speak with Zaslav for his article. Souces described Zaslav as a “control freak, a micromanager, a relentless operator who helicoptered over his embattled CNN leader,” adding, “Zaslav’s constant meddling in editorial decisions struck network veterans as odd and inappropriate; even stranger was his apparent marionetting of Licht.”

Insisting that Leavy will get marching orders from Zaslav, not Licht, Puck’s Dylan Byers:

“The move, which Licht characterized as his own decision, was in fact an unequivocal vote of diminishing confidence by the parentco in Licht’s ability to manage a business that has endured substantial ratings declines, revenue losses, and reputational damage since he took over.”

Axios reiterated descriptions of Licht’s bad judgment in which his decisions all backfired. He was obsessed with the press reaction to him. In her perspective of Amanpour’s commentary on CNN and DDT’s town hall, Jennifer Rubin CNN, a former pro-GOP voice, recommend Amanpour to replace Licht. She might be right.

With support from other Asian Americans, four Florida residents are suing Florida against its new law banning Chinese citizens from buying property. The state isn’t unique although other states are blocking only the purchase of agricultural property. Plaintiffs state that the law fuels xenophobia against those who want a better life in the U.S., but the opposition claim the laws are necessary for national security.

A failing Texas bill prohibiting any citizen of China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea was softened with exemptions for U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, and people purchasing a primary residence. Entrepreneurs would be blocked from buying any commercial property. Alien land laws, preventing Asians from purchasing land in the U.S., beginning in 1882, were overturned when the Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional 70 years later in 1952.

The blue state of Oregon is almost five weeks into a hostage situation as state GOP senators walk out of sessions to deny any quorums, angry because they failed to get a majority after their push against abortion and gender-affirming healthcare. After Republicans played the same game in 2019, 2020, and 2021, voters passed a law denying anyone with ten unexcused absences from running in the next election. The ten senators walking out, one-third of the chamber, may be hoping that they can overturn the law. The state GOP reportedly raked in donations for the gimmick from “national GOP donors” like big-time spenders such as billionaire and Nike founder Phil Knight over a bill for these campaign promises.

Originally, Republicans argued they walked out because the bills “were no longer written at an 8th grade reading level,” the requirement of an over 40-year law. State GOP Senator Tim Knopp may have led the walkout because he’s probably can’t be elected. Terms of five walkouts expire next year, and four others aren’t up for reelection until 2026. One of the walkouts announced he won’t seek reelection.

Knopp said:

“Democrat leadership including President Wagner are threatening to shut down the government if they don’t get their way. That is no way to govern.”

Instead of calling on police to force Republicans to return, Oregon legislative Democrats plan to fine them $325 for each time their absence denies a two-thirds quorum. The Senate chair said, “Oregonians work for a living every day, and they don’t get paid when they don’t show up.”

Over 300 bills, including school funding, are waiting for votes, including school funding. Other laws on hold are for panic buttons in all school classrooms for alerts to law enforcement, availability of overdose reversing treatment, honorable burial for unclaimed remains of veterans or their survivors, a veterans home, more accountability for public school academic performance, a pilot program to help homeless students, early literacy, more rapid navigation of regulations for housing developers, and wildfire prevention. a pilot program to help homeless students.

Republicans said they will reappear on June 25, the last day of the session, to pass they bills they want.

June 4, 2023

Sunday’s Report for the Cult of DDT – June 4

Reader Supported News has made available two paywall articles from Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone about the multiple legal problems of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT). The first uses a tongue-in-cheek comparison with three cases to “a televised bass-fishing tournament” dealing with “El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago,” the leader wielding military and political power. Charles Pierce writes about “Team Smith in Washington, and Team James in New York, and Team Willis down there in Georgia.” He’s betting on Team Smith for “total weight” but Team Willis “to land a big one.”

Fulton County (GA) DA Fani Willis is currently investigating the two firms that DDT’s campaign hired to find voter fraud. They both found none, and he buried the findings. The probe goes beyond Georgia’s boundaries toward a RICO prosecution. The state has the most expansive statute in the U.S., permitting racketeering cases of both state and federal law violations and calling for 20 years in prison.

In the second article, Nikki McCann Ramirez points out that earlier in the year Willis’ office had indicated a RICO prosecution with a possible indictment in August. Special counsel Jack Smith is also looking into DDT’s plots to overturn his election loss as well as his hoarding classified documents after he left the White House.

RSN also reprints an article from the paywall Atlantic in which David Graham takes his headline from a James Comey mantra for DDT’s era, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” There are: Smith has an audio recording of DDT talking about his possession of a highly classified document about the U.S. invading Iran, one which neither the government nor DDT’s lawyers can find. On the tape, DDT asserted he knows the material is still classified and that he cannot share it. The tape destroys DDT’s and his current lawyers’ defense that he already declassified the materials in his possession.

The recording was made at DDT’s Bedminster (NJ) golf resort, his summer residence, when two writers working on DDT’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows’ autobiography interviewed DDT. Meadows was not present. The tape is dated after Susan Glasser’s New Yorker story about how Joint Chief of Staff Chair Mike Milley repeatedly argued against striking Iran and feared that DDT “might set in motion a full-scale conflict that was not justified.” Milley told the Joint Chiefs to guarantee DDT issued no illegal orders and Milley be told about any concerns. Furious about the article, DDT claimed that MIlley wanted to attack Iran and the document would prove DDT had stopped it. Reports from multiple sources declared DDT didn’t show them the document because it was classified and they lacked security clearances.

DDT devotes several minutes of the tape expressing regret that he cannot discuss the document because he no longer has presidential power to do so and regrets not having declassified it. His aide, Margo Martin, supposedly made the tape in preparation for books that might be written about him. Despite his voice on the tape, DDT says he knows nothing about it. The federal grand jury hearing evidence about DDT’s handling of classified documents is expected to meet again this coming week.  

Graham writes:

“Throughout his career, Trump has behaved as a person who sees image as more important than law. It’s an outlook that seems to stem not only from his inherent disdain for rule of law and love of publicity, but also from a calculation that when the two conflict, image will triumph. Over and over, he’s managed to wriggle out of potential legal jams with bluster, brazenness, and the occasional large check. That worked as president, too, where he escaped serious consequences from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and his first impeachment by rallying political support. It was not enough to prevent his loss in the 2020 presidential election, but it helped avoid conviction in his second impeachment.”

If Smith actually has the tapes, it’s “game over,” according to Andrew Weissmann, the former lead prosecutor for special counsel Robert S. Mueller. Jennifer Rubin writes:

“Trump’s own words could provide damning evidence of a willful violation of the Espionage Act and of obstruction—and help fix venue in D.C., where the Justice Department almost certainly wants to try the case.”

An analysis from nine former prosecutors on the strength of the special counsel’s case before the tape recording was reported.

Another damning piece is the report from late last month that Evan Corcoran, DDT’s lawyer, was blocked from searching DDT’s Mar-a-Lago office for classified documents after the government issued a subpoena for them. Corcoran then told the federal officials that he conducted a ”diligent search” of the entire property after searching only a basement storage unit, missing almost 100 documents that DDT illegally kept.

Smith also focuses on DDT’s attempts to hide the classified from the federal government, even after officials repeatedly requested them before issuing subpoenas and then using a warrant to search his properties. Videos show DDT having boxes of classified documents moved to other hiding places and an aide asking about the length of time surveillance video was maintained. The question now is how much of DDT’s Teflon remains. He hopes that a successful election in 2024 could close all investigations and prosecutions against him. Or he could just pardon himself. The U.S. has 520 days to determine how successful he will be.

DDT’s aides have been subpoenaed by Smith about their involvement in the firing of DDT’s cybersecurity official Christopher Krebbs after he said the 2020 election was not fraudulent. Five days after Krebbs made his statement, DDT tweeted Krebbs was “terminated” after releasing a “highly inaccurate” statement about the 2020 election. Krebbs testified to the House January 6 committee about “skepticism” among DDT allies about his “loyalty to the president.”

Two-thirds of respondents in a survey think that DDT committed a crime—68 percent of independents—and 59 percent support the decision in the E. Jean Carroll civil suit decision accusing DDT of defamation.

DDT’s ego keeps growing. He now compares himself to the priceless masterpiece Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” because of the crowds at his rallies. He explained that his rants are like “a Broadway play where they will see it 20 times” because he limits himself to the “same 20 subjects” when he talks. “They just want to hear it again and again.” One of his favorites is that he actually won the 2020 election—although Joe Biden actually got more votes.

Some of DDT’s biggest detractors, however, come from his past administration after he denigrated his own appointees. Campaigning in 2016, he said he would pick the very best people; throughout his time in the White House, however, he kept firing them, calling them losers, lightweights, liars, morons, sleazebag, weak, overrated, even “fucking idiot.” His opponent Ron DeSantis delights in describing DDT’s four-year term as a disappointment.

Another DDT rant came after the DOJ exonerated former VP Mike Pence for the classified documents discovered in his home, just before Pence will declare his run for president. DDT’s response to the news:

“That’s great, but when am I going to be fully exonerated, I’m at least as innocent as he is.”

Shyster Roger Stone, longtime DDT associate, now boasts that he manipulated DDT for 40 years. He said that the key is lying to him, convincing him that he created the idea. Stone said:

“It’s time-consuming, but it works. I did it for 30 years.”

DDT pardoned Stone for multiple felonies including his 40-month prison sentence. Stone’s claim was heard in the taping for the upcoming documentary A Storm Foretold by a Danish filmmaker when Stone often forgot he was wearing a mic. The morning after Stone said this, the director said Stone “was really, really anxious about what I had recorded.”

After a “successful” town hall on CNN, Fox network gave Sean Hannity an hour on Premiere Radio Network for DDT to deliver his lies. Hannity promised before the “interview” that he wouldn’t challenge, correct, fact-check, or question whatever DDT said and that his “town hall” wouldn’t “be like fake news CNN.” Some of DDT’s lies  and “alternative realities.”

Other bits:

DDT promises that he will override the Constitution and ban children born in the United States to immigrants from being legal “birthright” citizens. In 1898, the Supreme Court supported the 14th Amendment after a San Francisco-born Chinese man was denied re-entry to the U.S.

The 163-year-old Scottish/British Open Championship won’t be at DDT’s Turnberry Golf Course as he had wished. Organizers felt it could be “a serious security risk due to potential protests,” according to the Telegraph, and probably won’t be for many years.

DDT’s lawyers are turning on each other and believe that one of them might be a snitch.

GOP presidential stumpers in Iowa slammed DDT for his praise of friend Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leaders, for his country’s appointment to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) executive board.

DDT is putting together a hit list of anyone who has investigated him, promising to “immediately” fire them in retaliation if he goes back to the White House. His own appointment, FBI Director Christopher Wray, is at the top of the names.  

DDT’s actions fit the definition of fascism.

June 3, 2023

LGBTQ Community Faces a Rocky Pride Month in 2023

At the beginning of Pride Month, the U.S. is facing increased violence from 268 mass shootings thus far in 2023 with 17,769 gun deaths, the leading cause of childhood death, in the same time period. Conservatives in the legislatures claim that nothing can be done while they have proposed at least 520 anti-LBBTQ+ laws in 2023 and banned at least 1477 books. Over 220 bills target transgender and non-binary people. The 50 anti-LGBTQ laws thus far enacted in 2023 ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth, misgendering of transgender students, and drag performances while censoring school curriculum and creating a license to discriminate.  

In the mid-20th century, a person could be arrested if they weren’t wearing three articles of clothing of the gender they were assigned at birth. The “three-article law” wasn’t on the books, but police used it anyway until the 1969 Stonewall protests when police moved to an anti-masquerade “law.”

The GOP culture war is returning to the “good old days” as “model” legislation (aka identical wording from conservative groups writing bills for state legislatures). Laws from at least 12 states in several of their 25 bills banning or restricting drag performances criminalize “any transvestite [sic] and/or transgender exposure, performances or display” by people exhibiting “a gender identity different” from the person’s gender assigned at birth. If the definition becomes law, trans people cannot even sing karoke in a bar. Arizona’s bill would target Drag Queen Story Hour, when drag performers read to children at public libraries, by removing state funds.  

The most aggressive anti-LGBTQ+ states include Florida, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas with Missouri and Montana not far behind. U.S. people, however, don’t agree with this legislation: 64 percent of likely voters—including 55 percent of Republicans—think there is “too much legislation” aimed at “limiting the rights of transgender and gay people in America.” Majorities also oppose bans on gender affirming care, drag performances, and LGBTQ+ content within schools in their states.

Legislation, both failed and passed, gives more hope. The Louisiana Senate failed to pass a House bill banning gender-affirming medical care for youths by one vote in the Health & Welfare Committee. That one vote was cast by a Republican, a pharmacist in rural Louisiana who believes in “the physician-patient relationship.” Unfortunately, the committee moved the bill to the Judiciary Committee, keeping it on life support. The Democratic governor has not said whether he will sign the bill if it survives. Medicaid data shows only a few dozen Louisiana minors received gender-affirming care, including hormones and puberty blockers, between 2017 and 2021 and no minors received gender-affirming surgeries. Under the age of 18, children in the state must have parental permission for any gender-affirming healthcare.   

At least 18 states have enacted laws restricting or prohibiting gender-affirming care for minors. A federal judge has temporarily blocked the ban in Arkansas, the first state to prohibit this healthcare. A federal judge appointed by former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) declared Tennessee’s anti-drag law unconstitutional on the basis of freedom of speech and discrimination. The decision covers only two Tennessee countries. Tennessee was the first state to block drag performances.

In contrast, Michigan became the first state in three years to pass comprehensive anti-discrimination protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, becoming the 18th state to have these laws. The new legislation forbids discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodation within businesses, government buildings, and educational facilities.

Other countries are exhibiting LGBTQ+ acceptance. Mexico issued its first non-binary passport last month in honor of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, May 17. Over a dozen countries, including the U.S. starting in April 2022, permit national non-binary documents. Latvia, once part of the Soviet Union, has elected the European Union’s first openly gay president. The country of 1.9 million people ranks among the worst places in Europe to be an LGBTQ+ citizen in lack of legal rights.

Businesses are struggling with harassment and violence from people in their store and making decisions unpopular with both sides. Target, for example, has backed down on the placement, and in some cases the sale, of Pride products which has not satisfied conservatives and has offended LGBTQ+ people and their allies. One of the more rabid anti-LGBTQ+ activists, Matt Walsh, summarized the conservative goal to erase rights and support for LGBTQ+ people and perhaps erase their visibility: “The goal is to make ‘pride’ toxic for brands.”

The high visibility of protests advocating discrimination of LGBTQ+ school policies, civil rights, and advertising belies preferences of people in the U.S. A survey of non-LGBTQ+ adults found that 96 percent believe schools should be safe places for LGBTQ+ students, 91 think that LGBTQ+ people should live a life free from discrimination, 84 percent support equal rights for LGBTQ+ people, and 70 percent believe companies should publicly support the LGBTQ+ community through inclusive policies, advertising, and sponsorships.

Thumbing its nose at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Disney released a Twitter drag show with an historical perspective of Bugs Bunny’s decades of crossdressing since 1939. Disney also hired a drag queen greeter at Disneyland in California and invited drag queen Nina West to the world premiere of its new live-action version of The Little Mermaid. (Conservatives are also offended by the highly popular movie because a Black woman was cast in the part of the mermaid.) DeSantis has repeatedly attacked Disney with punitive laws since the company declared its opposition to DeSantis’ “ don’t say gay” laws for schools. Last month, the animated TBS series American Dad! celebrated drag “herstory” in its 350th episode by naming the alien character Roger as a “drag icon.”

Twitter owner Elon Musk has taken the opposite tactic by sharing great quantities of anti-trans content. He apologized for the deletion of Walsh’s “What Is a Woman” film pushing trans intolerance and made the movie available for those who followed The Daily Wire. Musk then shared the video himself with the recommendation, “Every parent should watch this.” His trans daughter has separated herself from her father and changed her name.  

The L.A. Dodgers baseball has flipflopped twice, initially after backlash to its original decision to invited the famous “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” the San-Francisco-founded international “drag nun” activist group famous for its community charitable efforts, to the team’s 10th annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night on June 16. The team is giving the Community Hero Award to the group. After homophobic Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined other groups to complain, the Dodgers “disinvited” the Sisters but received widespread scorn. The L.A. LGBT Center, L.A. Pride, and the local ACLU affiliate all withdrew from the event. The Dodgers responded with an apology and a new invitation, promising to “better educate ourselves.” L.A. Pride has returned to the event.

The Sisters of Perpetual is devoted “to community service, ministry, and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment,” according to their mission statement. According to their statement, they are “not anti-Catholic, but an organization based on love, acceptance, and celebrating human diversity.” They said they dress as nuns to counteract the Catholic Church’s rejection of LGBTQ+ people and other marginalized individuals, especially during the HIV epidemic when the Sisters ministered and fundraised for the sick. The statement added that “children are at less risk in the company of drag queens than clergy.” Currently, the Sisterhood has worked to address homelessness, especially among transgender youth.

Conservatives are even intimidating the military with a ban on drag performances. The shows cost taxpayers nothing; they were privately funded. The GOP philosophy is to keep violent white supremacists in others who also steal and leak classified information but refuse entertainment from law-abiding people. Drag shows have a century-long history in the military; during World War II, the Armed Services publishing information of how to hold these. Republicans are the founders of the “cancel culture.” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s official statement:

“This Pride Month, we honor the service, commitment, and sacrifice of the LGBTQ+ Service members and personnel who volunteer to defend our country. Their proud service adds to America’s strength.”

Just not in drag.

Teens are making a difference. In Walla Walla (WA), a high school junior met with about 40 peers at a student-run social justice club to develop strategies for school library book challenges from community members. They attended a school board meeting in December but felt they were ignored. Collecting $3,500 from a GoFundMe campaign, the girl worked with a local bookseller to buy 40 copies of four different frequently banned titles in the U.S. They gave away the books, and some of recipients discussed them at banned-book meetings. The challenges failed, and student representatives are now included on review committees.

Brooklyn Public Library’s teen focus group Books Unbanned discusses books banned in other parts of the U.S. The library’s Intellectual Freedom Teen Council meets monthly to discuss book challenges in the news, talk about the members favorite banned books, and strategize ways to support and engage with teen activists through the country. It also helped planned the four-part virtual Freedom to Read Advocacy Institute, open to all teens in the country, that addressed intellectual freedom as it pertains to banned books.

High school senior Shiva Rajbandhri successfully ran for the Boise (ID) school board, defeating a hardline conservative campaigning to remove books from the libraries. He said:

“Books create a safe space in the lives of people who don’t have one otherwise.”

These are just a few of the students who protest book removals by writing letters to the editor, posting on social media, speaking at school board meetings, and forming banned-book clubs. They may save the United States.


Biden’s Good News, Problems from the GOP

May added 339,000 new jobs in the U.S., far above the projected 190,000. In 27 months, President Joe Biden added 13.6 million new jobs, over double those in the first three years of former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). And DDT lost all his jobs in his fourth year, bungling management during the Covid pandemic. Republicans will stay silent.

With the dark cloud of default gone, the Dow increased 710 points on June 2, over two percent. S&P went up almost 1.5 percent, and Nasdaq over 1 percent.

The removal of Title 42, the Covid rule keeping immigrants from crossing the southern border, has produced no large influx in migrants. Instead, the number plummeted from 65,000 living in northern Mexico ready to cross into the U.S. now at 20,000. More of them are using the asylum app provided by the U.S. government to book appointments for asylum. 

The Biden administration is tackling racial bias in home valuations that produce lower values for homes owned by people of color. It will also create an easier path for consumers to appeal possibly unbiased valuation. According to VP Kamala Harris, building assets through home ownership is vital, and Black and Latino families’ homes are more the most likely to be undervalued.

A Missouri nonprofit is providing free emergency contraception by mail, legal in the state. Federal Title X funds for family planning programs provide the necessary money. The medication, also known as the morning-after pill and Plan B, can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex to avoid pregnancy by preventing ovulation. Available over the counter, it’s legal in all 50 states. For almost a year, Missouri has outlawed abortion except for medical emergencies.

In Connecticut, two Republican members of the Newtown Board of Education resigned after a book-banning debate in which they voted to restrict two books: Mike Curato’s Flamer, chronicling  a queer Filipino-American teen bullied for his race, his weight and his effeminate presentation, and Craig Thompson’s Blankets, depicting a boy’s struggle with religion, relationships, and sexual abuse. One resigned member cited the need for a better work-life balance and the other, “abhorrent” behavior by people attending public meetings.

The district superintendent and a committee composed of the school principal, medial specialist, two teachers, and an assistant superintendent unanimously agreed to keep the widely-acclaimed books on the shelf. The superintendent said that parents wanting to pull the novels use a double standard, opposing books personally offending them while retaining others possibly bothering people of different identities or political persuasions. He said that parents can choose what their children do and don’t read but shouldn’t impose those preferences on other families.The librarian said the book challenges are the worst since the 1950s Red Scare.

At a June 1 school board meeting, the school board unanimously agreed to keep the books in the library. State lawmakers are proposing subsidies for “sanctuary libraries,” making available challenged or banned books. Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site of a shooting massacre a little over a decade ago, is in Newtown.

Utah’s new book banning bill blocks those with “pornographic or indecent” content, defining the terms so loosely that many age-appropriate books addressing characters’ gender, sexuality, and race have been eliminated. A parent complained about a book including “incest, onanism, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation, fellatio, dildos, rape, and even infanticide”—the Bible. The district banned it from elementary and middle school libraries for containing “vulgarity or violence.” Another parent appealed the removal; the district fill form a committee of three Davis School District’s Board of Education members to make a recommendation  and submit it to the board for a vote.

DDT has another reason to avoid the GOP presidential debates on August 23 and 24: the RNC will require all participants to agree that they will support the primary winner for the general election. Criteria to participate include the number of donations from each state.

In a win for labor union protection with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson dissenting, the high court ruled against unionized drivers who walked off their jobs leaving trucks loaded with wet cement. The 1935 National Labor Relations Act mandates unions take reasonable precautions to protect an employer’s property when workers strike. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson dissented, agreeing with the Washington Supreme Court’s ruling that the complaint should have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board that has the responsibility to decide labor disputes. The three most conservative justices—Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas—wanted to reverse many protections for striker rights. Alito told the plaintiff and other business interests to refile lawsuits against the union.

In an unusual pro-union decision for this court, seven of the nine justices required the Ohio National Guard to deduct payroll union dues. Alito and Gorsuch dissented from the majority.The ruling also confirmed the power of a federal agency, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), over a state government militia. Union opponents view the decision as an opening to intrusive federal power in the workplace.

The decision permits voluntary paycheck dues deductions for “dual-status” civilian members of the National Guard, full-time civilian employees of the Guard who are also part-time uniformed military members. The Supreme Court also allows the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to resolve disputes involving National Guard units that report to both state and federal officials. Claiming that the National Guard wasn’t bound by the labor relations statute, state officials stopped withholding union dues for 89 employees in 2016. 

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who won’t turn over information he gathers for the Judiciary Committee to any Democratic members, is demanding that the DOJ report a breakdown of the number of FBI personnel working on the John Durham case, including whether any have previously investigated DDT.

The end to the default threat revealed previously unknown promises that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) supposedly made to Freedom Caucus members to get their votes for his position. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) sited an agreement refusing bills with more Democratic votes than Republican ones. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) said the GOP members on the Rules Committee had to unanimously vote for bills to be moved to the House floor. Earlier he gave the number as seven. Despite these claims, eight Freedom Caucus members voted for the debt ceiling bill. The Freedom Caucus learned that the House doesn’t need their votes to pass bills. 

Will Saletan calls the obstructionist subset of the Freedom Caucus the Antagonism Caucus. Biggs explained Republicans should vote for bills with Democratic support. Democrats didn’t like the bill’s provisions, but they didn’t want a default. The Antagonism Caucus was willing to send the U.S. into a spiraling default. Rep. Bob Good (R-PA) complained that House GOP has a disgusting habit of associating with Democrats. The Antagonism Caucus also hates approval by moderate—or reasonable—Republicans and acceptance by conservative Bill Kristol. Even Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), formerly considered “reasonable,” follows the AC position. Republicans who claim they want unity oppose anything the other party supports.  

A fact check about McCarthy’s claim that the new law “is the largest cut that Congress has ever voted on, more than $2.1 trillion” garnered three Pinocchios from Glenn Kessler. McCarthy’s statement came from a preliminary Congressional Budget Office estimate leaked by GOP sources assuming caps will remain for the next six years. Only the first two years of caps on discretionary budgets are semi-binding, meaning huge loopholes. Inflation makes McCarthy’s cuts flat for the next two years.

The biggest debt reduction deal in the past four decades was the 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, 1.72 percent of GDP, but the Supreme Court invalidated the law. Three other agreements—those in 1990, 1993 and 2011—exceeded 1 percent of GDP, but many of the cuts were later reversed. McCarthy’s $2.1 trillion, based on savings over ten years that included net interest savings from budget caps over six years, did not account for inflation or a measure of the percentage of GDP.

After the agreement was made, the CBO released its official score: $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years if only the first two years of caps remain in place. That would be the smallest of the seven deficit-reduction deals.

The media praises McCarthy’s great leadership, but Democrats had to bail him out. More of them voted to save the country than Republicans, and Biden orchestrated the entire process. Biden succeeded where DDT failed; the current president negotiated and compromised, a skill DDT said he had before he bullied and got nothing. In 27 months, Biden’s bipartisan achievements were an infrastructure package, CHIPS and Science Act, expansion of veterans benefits in the PACT Act, Respect for Marriage Act, Postal Service Reform Act, and the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act—the first major law addressing gun violence in almost three decades. DDT? Bupkis.  

Wooing the far-right, McCarthy’s surrogate, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), said he is giving full access to the Capitol security footage from the January 6, 2021 insurrection to three conspiracy-peddler “journalists”—John Solomon, Julie Kelly, and “a third outlet.” Solomon was fired from the conservative Hill after he laundered Rudy Giuliani’s theories to claim Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election and the Biden family, not DDT, held up funding to Ukraine. Kelly accused the policeman attacked in the insurrection of being a “crisis actor” and the pipe bombs left near political parties a hoax.

Greene has mysteriously changed her delight in releasing the footage to a warning that their release could “put the security of the Capitol at risk.” She told Real America Voice that left-wing groups could use facial-recognition technology to identify people in the videos and “hand them over” to the FBI and DOJ.

June 1, 2023

Debt Ceiling Solved Until 2025, plus Extras

On June 1, the U.S. had only four days before defaulting on its past debts; Republicans planned to deny these payments if their opposition didn’t pass draconian cuts in the nation’s discretionary budget. President Joe Biden’s “negotiations” led to an agreement going to the House, much to the dismay of the far-right Freedom Caucus members. Passed in that chamber on May 31, the bill moved to the Senate on June 1, and the bill, which included no debt ceiling hostage until January 2025 after the next general election, passed at 10:54 pm on June 1, 63-37, after a fast-track agreement between Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).  

In the Senate, 44 Democrats, 17 Republicans, and 2 independent voted in favor of the bill; four Democrats, 31 Republicans, and 1 independent opposed it. Biden will sign the bill as soon as it reaches his desk. How each senator voted

In the House, the bill passed 314-117 for the 99-page measure, 165 Democrats and 149 Republicans in favor,  46 Democrats and 71 Republicans opposed, and two Republicans highly opposed to the bill, Jim Banks (IN) and Lauren Boebert (CO), showing up too late to vote. How each representative voted—or didn’t. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had claimed over 95 percent of his caucus was excited about the bill: he overestimated them by almost 30 percent.

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), a bill obstructionist, complained about having only three days in which to read 99 pages, double-spaced with large print and margins. He has also voted against protection of child sex abuse victims, refused to wear masks during the height of Covid because he was tired to, denied that January 6 insurrectionists were DDT supporters, urged the Supreme Court to make discrimination against LGBTQ people legal, and pushed DDT’s White House for “marital law” to deploy the military nullifying the 2020 election. He also claimed that children are being aborted after being born. Fox network John Roberts told Norman, “It’s only 99 pages.”

The number of people willing to depose Speaker McCarthy is up to seven. According to new rules, it only takes one.

The House had insisted on an additional work requirement for benefits to cut the national debt. Yet the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that this provision would save only $1 billion a year because of the expansion of those benefits to veterans, unhoused people, and children aging out of foster care. The measure adds 78,000 people a month to food assistance programs.

At the State of the Union speech, Biden pushed Republicans into promising that they would not be cutting Social Security or Medicare, but McCarthy announced on Fox that he is launching a “commission” for budget cuts, including those two areas. Earlier, he had promised that these programs were off the table, but he’s likely trying to return to his wish to strip them. To get Freedom Caucus members on the 15th ballot when he was elected, he offered a House rules change that would allow only one person to propose his being deposed; the number is up to at least seven. McCarthy is likely making an attempt to placate them.

In February, McCarthy rejected any commissions, saying Republicans don’t need one “to tell us we have spent too much.” All the commissions in the past decade, at least seven of them, have failed because the GOP refuses to make concessions on taxes. Both congressional chambers have  budget committees with the responsibility of looking at the “entire budget,” the supposed purpose of McCarthy’s proposed commission.

McCarthy also complained that Biden had “walled off” all except 11 percent of the budget. This is the percentage of the budget after removing Social Security, Medicare, other healthcare, and the military. McCarthy misrepresented his problem of being limited to only non-military discretionary budget funds: the Republicans knew that they would be extremely unpopular if they attacked these parts of the budget.  

Before passing the bill to raise the debt ceiling, the Senate passed a measure to overturn Biden’s student debt relief plan with a 52-46 vote after it passed the House. No filibuster was permitted because it was a Congressional Review Act bill; only 50 votes were required. Biden had promised to veto the bill, but the debt ceiling measure also erases the relief. The Supreme Court should be releasing its decision about the student debt relief within the next three weeks.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-AL) top military adviser, Morgan Murphy, has resigned after publicity that orchestrated Tuberville’s blocking hundreds of military promotions. Murphy called himself just “a staffer.” Tuberville’s blockade could affect Biden’s choices for the Joint Chiefs chair.

Musician Charles Tuberville also criticized his senator brother’s racist remarks, including the one about inner-city teachers being lazy and illiterate and another praising which supremacist in the military. In a Facebook post the brother said:

“Due to recent statements by him promoting racial stereotypes, white nationalism and other various controversial topics, I feel compelled to distance myself from his ignorant, hateful rants.

“What I’m trying to say is that, I DO NOT agree with any of the vile rhetoric coming out of his mouth. Please don’t confuse my brother with me. Thanks, Charles Tuberville.”

Tara Reader, a former Senate staffer and worshipper of Russian President Vladimir Putin who accused Biden of a 1993 sexual assault in 2020, has applied for Russian citizenship. She sat next to a convicted Russian agent released to Russia when she talked with the Russian press outlet Sputnik. Biden denied her accusation. Reade apologized to Russians for the “aggressive stance” from “American elites.”

Charlie Sykes quoted some of a post she has since deleted:

“President Putin’s obvious reverence for women, children and animals, and his ability with sports is intoxicating to American women.

“President Putin has an alluring combination of strength with gentleness. His sensuous image projects his love for life, the embodiment of grace while facing adversity. It is evident that he loves his country, his people and his job.” 

To prove that Biden is innocent, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) tweeted, “I believe Tara Reade.”

The far-right judge known for erasing, at least temporarily, mifepristone, the abortion medication, from the U.S. is going after Planned Parenthood. Matthew Kacsmaryk is hearing a $1.8 billion lawsuit from an anonymous anti-abortion activist that will give most of the money to Center for Medical Progress, an ironic name for an anti-abortion. Texas AG Ken Paxton, now impeached, is backing the suit. The accusation is Planned Parenthood defrauding Texas and Louisiana Medicaid systems. The cost of complying with a federal court order would bankrupt the organization, attacked by an illegal sting, and eliminate the two states’ affiliates despite investigations finding no wrongdoing.

Even the Washington Post can’t tolerate the ultra-conservative columns of its employee Mark Thiessen. After the publication of “The Durham Report is a damning indictment of the FBI—and the media” about former DDT’s former AG Bill Barr’s special counsel, WaPo published a number of the corrections to Thiessen’s disinformation.

“An earlier version of this column incorrectly identified the Trump campaign as the target of an FBI FISA warrant application. The warrant application was for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. It also implied that the FBI’s statements to special counsel John Durham regarding its doubts about the case were made before the investigation started; they were made after it had begun. The earlier version also should have described the respondents to a question about the mainstream media from a New York Times-Siena College poll as “among those who say democracy is under threat. This version has been updated.”

Thiessen had attacked a New York Times article by Charles Savage titled “After Years of Political Hype, the Durham Inquiry Failed to Deliver.” Savage tweeted that the report failed to produce evidence leading to indictments of those accused in a “deep state conspiracy” against DDT. He also detailed Thiessen’s omissions, misrepresentations, factual errors, dishonesty, etc. in a thread of serious distortions in Thiessen’s column. In its series of corrections, the Washington Post agreed with Savage.

Seven months ago, Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion. It is now worth one-third of the purchase price.

The Church of Chick-fil-A has lost its evangelical followers after the anti-LGBTQ fast-food restaurant hired a DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) vice-president. Too “woke,” say the conservatives. They were also offended by the company’s chair Dan Cathy stating in 2020 that white people should speak up against racial injustice toward Blacks. The corporation also claims it will stop anti-LGBTQ donations. The Fox network has played the video of Cathy’s statements, and conservatives are debating whether to boycott Chick-fil-A.  

 During a committee hearing on childcare, Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) furiously described a children’s book explaining race and called for schools to provide books about Jesus Christ instead. He attacked Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for being a “self-declared democratic socialist.” A witness tried to pacify him by answering his question about which book is “better to teach” by saying teaching about Jesus is important, saying “but the reality is—.” Mullin snapped, “I don’t want reality” before he said he “misspoke.”

“I don’t want reality.” What a great slogan for Republicans! 


May 31, 2023

Memorial Day 2023 Memories: Right-wing House, Country’s Mass Shootings

Debt Ceiling Dissension

Memorial Day weekend is over, and the agreement between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to end the debt ceiling went to the Rules Committee on Tuesday to determine if the bill would have a vote on the House floor. Much to the dismay of far-right Freedom Caucus members, the measure passed 7-6—four Democrats and two Republicans, Ralph Norman (R-SC) and Chip Roy (R-TX), voting against the movement of the bill out of the committee.

Some representatives admitted their goal was to kill the economy through defeating the debt ceiling agreement which could put Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) into the White House. Looking forward to more crisis next year, they were furious about having no debt ceiling fight until 2025. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) said that more debt ceiling economic chaos in a year could move a Republican into the Oval Office. Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) also accused Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen of lying about the default deadline of June 5. Rep. Bryon Donalds (R-FL) echoed Perry and called the agreement “crap.”

The right-wingers probably won’t believe that U.S. Treasury cash levels are $38.8 billion, less than the assets of one of 31 billionaires. Bernard Arnault and Elon Musk are each worth $185 billion; Jeff Bezos has $144 billion.

Before the committee vote, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) hoped to nix the agreement by tweeting that McCarthy agreed to a backroom deal that nothing gets out of the Rules Committee without the approval of at seven least GOP members. This stipulation doesn’t appear in the “rules,” but McCarthy may have agreed to get his position, just as he put three right-wing GOP obstructionists on the committee. Seven Republicans voted in favor of moving the deal to the floor creating Roy’s statement moot.

About 25 representatives already said that they won’t vote for the bill, and Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) plans to resign from the House next week.

After McCarthy’s debt ceiling bill, Bishop became the first House member to propose his ousting as Speaker. Bishop was one of 20 members initially refusing to support McCarthy for House leader, members who held out for 15 ballots until McCarthy made huge promises to them. One of these was restoration of the threshold for a “motion to vacate the chair” to just one member, down from a minimum of five put in place under former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). No Speaker has previously been removed with the rarely used motion, last filed by former Mark Meadows (R-NC) in 2015 against against former Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). It was defeated, but Boehner resigned the next year.

McCarthy has been trying to persuade Republicans that he made a good deal because of added work requirements. On Fox, he said:

“In this family we may have a child, able-bodied, not married, no kids, but he’s sitting on the couch collecting welfare. We’re gonna put work requirements on that individual, so he’s going to have work requirements, he’s gonna get a job, and he’s gonna make the life easier.”

The Lever reported that a group funded by conservative dark money pushing looser child labor laws was responsible for Republicans promotion of work requirements to receive government assistance:

“McCarthy’s work requirement proposal and his gripes about dependency come straight from the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), a conservative think tank that recently made headlines for helping secretly draft several state bills to roll back child labor laws.”

Investigations into Joe Biden and His Son Biden:

In a desperate move, James Comer (R-KY), chair of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, plans to bring contempt of Congress proceedings against FBI Director Christopher Wray because he refused the committee’s subpoena. Comer is searching for an unverified tip evidence about foreign countries’ bribing Biden. His committee will need to approve such a decision, and Comer can’t prosecute Wray. AG Merrick Garland is responsible for any legal action.

With no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden, Comer requested a 90-day extension for his investigation. His focus on some LLCs owned by Biden’s family members was questioned because he isn’t investigating DDT and his family who control over 500 LLCs in several different countries. Republicans also won’t tell Democrats any information about an FBI interview in 2020 with an accuser. Comer is depending on the falsehoods from Fox network, mentioning Biden and “bribe” or “bribery” over 100 times since Comer introduced his rumors, to keep the issue alive.

In its search to find damning information about Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, the Senate Finance Committee has lost its IRS “whistleblower” who plans to testify to a GOP-led House panel. The Senate committee had questions about the veracity of the witness’s claims who stated that the DOJ asked for the long-running probe, conducted by a DDT-appointed U.S. Attorney, into Hunter Biden to be “slow-walked.” The witness is newly represented by an attorney who worked for DDT, an involvement that raised “a big red flag” because of allegations that the lawyer’s two “whistleblower” clients lied to the House Judiciary Committee. Information traditionally kept secret was also leaked to right-wing media at the same time it was provided to congressional panels.

Tommy Tuberville’s Absurdity:

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is still responsible for endangering national security by single-handedly blocking over 200 Pentagon promotions since late February. The total will be 650 by the end of the year. After two months, he said the U.S. had too many generals and admirals. The only other time military promotions were held up was by a majority of senators after the 1991 Tailhook conference sexual assaults. On Memorial Day 2023, no senator of either party is supporting Tuberville. Fifteen months ago, Tuberville promised to be “a strong voice” for the military.

After other outrageous statements, he accused inner city teachers of being lazy and probably illiterate in a discussion with Donald Trump, Jr. History scholar Heather Cox Richardson responded:

“This is literally the language former Confederates used about Black Americans during Reconstruction to justify white supremacy.”

Last fall, Tuberville criticized Democrats during a Nevada campaign stop:

“They’re pro-crime. They want crime. They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have. They want reparations because they think the people that do the crime are owed that.”

Tuberville also negatively reacted to removing white nationalists from the military. First, his office said he is “skeptical of the notion that there are white nationalists in the military” despite a report from DDT’s administration documenting the threat of white supremacist in the military. In a press conference, reporters asked him about his “white nationalist” support, and he asked them to define the term. When they explained white nationalists are white supremacists who support some Nazi views, Tuberville disagreed with them. He said, “I look at a white nationalist as a Trump Republican.” He also explained that white nationalism is comparable to a religion.  

About John Durham’s report that recorded nothing prosecutable, Tuberville commented:

“If people don’t go to jail for this, the American people should just stand up and say, ‘Listen, enough’s enough, let’s don’t have elections anymore.”

After a jury found DDT liable in the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial, the angry Tuberville said the verdict “makes me want to vote for him twice” in 2024. Tuberville is a member of the Senate Education Committee and the Armed Services Committee.

Mass Shootings:

U.S. lax gun laws with guns traveling across state lines meant at least 16 people dead and over 80 injured in at least 10 mass shootings to commemorate the weekend for Memorial Day 2023.

  • Hollywood (FL): Nine people injured on the beach Monday evening after an altercation between two people.
  • Chicago: Gunshots but no injuries on North Avenue Beach on Friday afternoon, but nine people killed and over 50 injured throughout the weekend.
  • Baltimore: An argument between two men leading to five injured on Friday.
  • Mesa (AZ): Four murdered people and one injured by one person at multiple locations on Friday and Saturday.
  • Seattle: Shots at Roxbury Lanes Casino with three people injured on Saturday.
  • Red River (NM): Three people killed and five others injured at a motorcycle rally Saturday evening.
  • Garden Grove (CA): Three people injured in a restaurant after an argument on Saturday evening.
  • Atlanta: A teenager killed and another injured at “an unauthorized gathering” at a high school.
  • Washington, D.C.: One person killed after a fight on a Metro train on Sunday.
  • Canal Winchester (OH): Seven people, including two juveniles, injured on Monday.
  • Chester (PA): Eight people injured near a stadium on Sunday.
  • Columbus (MS): One person killed and four other injured in a sports bar late Friday night.
  • Columbus (OH): Seven people injured by a masked shooter where teenagers were spinning “donuts” in a residential area late Sunday night followed by another mass shooting where five people were injured. 
  • Marianna (AR): One person killed and four others injured at a block party in the parking lot of an auto parts store on Saturday night.
  • Dale City (VA): Three people killed and two others injured inside a home on Friday afternoon.
  • Country Club Estates (GA): Five people injured on Friday.
  • Milwaukee (WI): Four teenage girls injured on Friday.

At least another ten mass shootings over the past weekend are listed in the Gun Violence Archive.

The Florida shooting wounded children from ages 1 to 17, and critics pointed out to Gov. Ron DeSantis that a drag show was not responsible for it. The same goes for all the other shootings. As of yet, DeSantis has made no public statement about the shooting. More shootings across the U.S. included the ones in Cleveland (OH), killing two and wounding 23.

May 29, 2023

Russian Invasion of Ukraine on Day 460, Memorial Day 2023

The first “Memorial Day” may have been on May 1, 1865, when newly freed Black slaves gathered outside Charleston (SC) to put flowers on the graves of Union soldiers who helped liberate them. White Southerners attempted to erase the event’s memory, but some documentation remains. The soldiers were buried without coffins at the Washington Race Course turned into an outdoor prison for captured Northerners. White Southerners attempted to erase the event’s memory, but some documentation remains. A parade was led by about 2,800 Black schoolchildren newly enrolled in schools. Since then, the tradition of Memorial Day is the memory of those who died while fighting America’s wars in a country now beset by a movement toward oppression and loss of rights.

Some of the fallen U.S. soldiers to be remembered went to Ukraine as volunteers for their fight for democracy after Russia invaded the country over 15 months ago. Survivors of those fallen say the soldiers who fought in the Ukrainian cause was the same as in the U.S. military: love of liberty and opposition to tyranny. The brave people of Ukraine, fighting for their freedom just as Americans fought against the British in the Revolutionary War, should be commemorated on Memorial Day 2023.

On the last Sunday of May, the people of Kyiv celebrate the founding of their city, and Russians chose this day to launch its biggest drone attack on the city since President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Yet Ukrainians shot down almost all the Iranian-made craft purchased by Russia—52 of 54 Shahed drones sent for several hours.   

The attack on Kyiv came after Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Chechen mercenaries Wagner Group, declared victory in the city of Bakhmut, which has been almost completely destroyed, and turned it over to the Russian soldiers. The mercenaries are responsible for the only two Russian victories in Ukraine since last summer, the other one Bakhmut’s nearby town of Soledar in January.

Throughout the invasion, Prigozhin denigrated Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the commander overseeing the war in Ukraine, Gen. Valery Gerasimov with profanity-laced rants, most recently the lack of ammunition for troops. Former convict Prigozhin, 61, has also talked about a revolution to overthrow Russia’s elitist power, possibly in a move for him to replace 70-year-old Putin who had hired him to cater meals at the Kremlin.

According to the Daily Beast, Ukrainian spies are trying to kill Putin: Russia is blaming Ukraine for an attempted assassination earlier this month after a drone attack on the Kremlin earlier this month. Putin wasn’t present at the time. Russia’s president is also afraid of being killed by his own people, according to Ukrainian intelligence. Ex-Moscow officials claim Putin and his Kremlin are running a “dystopian ‘comedy club’” because the ridicule for their constant mistakes, appearances “that they are just a bunch of ridiculous fools,” according to Putin’s former speech writer Abbas Galyamov.

Prigozhin piled on when he said the battle “was launched for the sake of denazification, and we made Ukraine a nation that is known throughout the whole world. They are like the Greeks or Romans in a period of prosperity.” He added:

“As for the ‘demilitarization,’ if they had 500 tanks at the beginning of the [war], they now have 5,000 of them. If 20,000 fighters skillfully fought then, now there are 400,000. How did we demilitarize it? It turns out that on the contrary, we, who the hell knows how, have militarized Ukraine. We came aggressively, walked all over the territory of Ukraine in our boots in search of Nazis. While we were searching for Nazis, we knocked out everyone we could. We approached Kyiv… screwed up and withdrew. Then on to Kherson, we screwed up and withdrew. And somehow it’s not shaping up for us.”

Criticism of Putin can be deadly; Russian minister Petr Kucherenko, who called the onslaught a “fascist invasion,” fell fatally ill on a flight to Moscow. He is the latest of over 40 high profile Russian elites strangely dying since Putin’s invasion.

Disasters have struck other Russians as paranoia runs rampant across the country with Russian regime crackdowns policing war critics and political dissenters. Parishioners denounce peace-advocating Russian priests. Teachers are fired after children tattle about their war opposition. Neighbors with trivial grudges turn in foes. Workers accuse other employees to bosses or law enforcement. Overheard private conversations and chat groups lead to arrests. All is reminiscent of Joseph Stalin’s repression.

One single women, aged 37, denounced 1,046 people to the FSB (Federal Security Service)—”scientists, teachers, doctors, human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and ordinary people,” according to her bragging. “I feel enormous moral satisfaction when a person is persecuted because of my denunciation: dismissed from work, subjected to an administrative fine, etc.”

Three Russian scientists working on hypersonic missile technology in a Siberia facility have been arrested for treason. One of them is accused of transferring secret data to China, and Ukraine’s air defenses exposed an “apparent vulnerability,” according to a UK intelligence update.

Ukraine claims that Russia plans a “massive” attack at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, currently under Russian control. Russians plan to have rioters simulate an accident at Zaporizhzhia. In early May, Russia evacuated 18 settlements in the area and caused a “mad panic” with traffic jams caused by thousands of people heading the city of Enerhodar. In Melitopol, shops are out of goods, and hospitals are discharging patients into the streets.

Europe’s largest nuclear power station and the surrounding region in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine, the facility has been repeatedly hit by shelling from both sides, each sided blaming the other for the dangerous attacks. The plant once supplied 20 percent of Ukraine’s electricity before stopping power production last September. None of the country’s six Soviet-era reactors has since generated electricity, but Zaporizhzhia is connected to its power grid to cool the plant’s nuclear reactors.

Russian military forces are enhancing defensive positions in the area, causing fear from radiation contamination. To prepare, Russia disrupted the scheduled rotation of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who are based at the plant.

Another nuclear disaster could result from Russa moving nuclear weapons into Minsk, Belarus to give the country and other Russian allies access to them. Rumors have returned about the health of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko, less than a week after he told state TV he was “not going to die.” His opposition leader claimed Lukashenko was in a Moscow hospital in “critical condition” after meeting with Putin.

At the Russian Victory Day celebrations on May 9, he had a bandage on his right hand, looked unsteady, and missed Putin’s lunch. Later that week, he failed to address the annual celebration of National Flag, Emblem, and Anthem Day, one of his traditions. Lukashenko may have been poisoned when he went to Russia. He is the only European leader to have held power longer than Putin.

A week ago, fighting along the Russia-Ukraine border may have been caused by anti-Kremlin militias seeking to liberate Russia from Putin. One of them claimed to be “the same Russians as you [who] no longer wanted to justify the actions of criminals in power.” Despite Russian blame, Ukrainians denied ties to the Russian partisan fighters, saying they act independently from military control. A militia leader said in March that the group conducts repeated attacks inside Russia and last week claimed the militia’s responsibility for major train derailments inside Russia on May 1-2.

President Joe Biden has consented to training pilots on U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets. Ukraine has started its months-long counteroffensive for months with operations including blowing up supply lines and depots. Officials now warn Putin of a revenge attack after the recent missile strikes. In the 16th Russian air attack on Kyiv this month, all the Russian missiles fired at Kyiv on Monday were shot down.

Russian companies face a serious workforce shortage with population decline, wartime exodus, and military losses, the lowest employee availability since the beginning of record-keeping in 1998. Hardest hit were manufacturing, water supply, mining, storage, and transportation industries;  were hardest hit by the workforce shortage; car sales, wholesale trade, and service sectors were least affected.

According to UK intelligence, Russia has become “increasingly reliant on antiquated equipment” in Ukraine. Russian military is mostly comprised of “poorly trained mobilised reservists” and that many of its units are “severely under-strength,” significantly weaker since the invasion began in February 2022. On the other side, Ukraine formed eight new Ukrainian brigades of soldiers, comprising up to 40,000 soldiers. Troops are all volunteers—raw recruits, police, and veterans of previous fighting with Russia.

Owen Matthews pursues the reason behind Putin’s invasion in his book Overreach. He attributes the debacle to Putin’s belief “that Russian-speaking Ukrainians naturally considered themselves ethnically and politically Russian.” The idea was proved false when “millions of Russian-speaking Ukrainians fled from Moscow’s forces, and tens of thousands volunteered to fight against their would be ‘liberators.’”

Putin also seriously underestimates the Ukrainian military, valiantly fighting for over 460 days, as well as the West strongly supporting Ukraine’s fight for democracy. He also overestimated the Russian military, a hollow shell as he now pays people to migrate to Russia as soldiers.

Russian links between ethnonationalism with intolerance and aggression should be a lesson the U.S. that suffers the same problem, resulting in the same extremism of racism and support for Russia over Ukraine.  

MAGA Approves of DDT’s Losses

In a right-wing rush, CNN gave Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) a 70-minute timeframe for a campaign rally, hoping it would raise ratings like Fox network has with its DDT support. The flow of lies and rude statements increased the ratings for that time slot by three times to 3.1 million viewers, but ensuing criticism took the network in a downward spiral. Since DDT’s appearance, the network’s ratings nosedived to its worst since June 2015. CNN averaged 429,000 daily viewers last week, Monday through Friday, under half of MSNBC and Fox. What is CNN’s solution? A “town hall” (aka campaign rally) with presidential wannabe Mick Pence on June 7. The old definition of insanity: expecting different results when doing the same thing over and over.

The town hall may have cost DDT more money. After he continued his defamatory comments against E. Jean Carroll, she said she would update her original lawsuit with a new claim, adding $10 million or more in the $5 million award of punitive damages to her case. A Washington appeals court returned the case to New York where it is pending before the original judge. 

Weeks ago, DDT may have been peaking with a large number of political endorsements, including Florida GOP congressional endorsements. The tide may be turning, however, in favor of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Some influential DeSantis supporters, likely because of DDT’s failures for the past two elections:

  • Ken Cuccinelli: DDT’s DHS acting deputy secretary who turned from vocal DDT supporter to DeSantis, who “never backs down.”
  • Steve Cortes: DDT’s senior adviser on his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns.
  • Chip Roy: Texas representative, highly influential in the House Freedom Caucus.
  • Thomas Massie: the Texas representative, angry because DDT supported the $2 trillion Covid relief package passed at the beginning of the pandemic and DDT interfered in the 2022 primary race.
  • Bob Good: the Virginia representative who thinks that DDT can’t win the presidential election.

New discoveries regarding the classified documents discovered at Mar-a-Lago in June 2022 reveal that two of DDT’s employees moved boxes into a storage area after a May 2022 subpoena to have them relinquished, likely an attempt to conceal them in violation of the subpoena. Even before the subpoena, DDT and his aides had moved sensitive papers that DDT wanted to illegally retain. He kept some of them visible in his office and showed them to visitors with no clearance.

The procedure for moving these documents prove that DDT knew he was breaking the law, according to his previous lawyer Ty Cobb. Proof of this information results in liability, a criminal offense, with showing them to others being a violation of the Espionage Act.

Conservatives have compared the discovery of classified documents in the possession of President Joe Biden and former VP Mike Pence, but both of them cooperated with the investigation, indicating they inadvertently had the materials. DDT has fought to keep classified documents by misleading the government and then, when they were found, falsely claimed that he had the right to have them.  The National Archives provided to special counsel Jack Smith “16 records that show Trump and his top advisers had knowledge of the correct declassification process while he was president.”

A 95-word letter from DDT’s lawyers to Merrick Garland, possibly dictated by DDT, appears to be an attempt to force the AG to order his special counsel to “stand down.” The letter was copied to “representatives of the Congress”:

“We represent Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States, in the investigation currently being conducted by the Special Counsel’s Office. Unlike President Biden, his son Hunter, and the Biden family, President Trump is being treated unfairly. No President of the United States has ever, in the history of our country, been baselessly investigated in such an outrageous and unlawful fashion. We request a meeting at your earliest convenience to discuss the ongoing injustice that is being perpetrated by your Special Counsel and his prosecutors. Thank you for your attention to this matter.”

Garland has not yet responded.

In DDT’s Manhattan criminal trial, prosecutors gave a recording of DDT and an unidentified witness tied to the charges for the case. Prosecutors also have recordings of calls between witnesses and others. The judge issued a protective order banning DDT from publicizing, or even possessing, much of the evidence to be submitted. DDT cannot speak publicly about, or post on social media, any case material not made public. His access to information, such as “Limited Dissemination Materials,” is only in his attorney’s presence. The judge told DDT he can be sanctioned or fined “up to a finding of contempt, which is punishable” if he violates the orders.

DDT’s trial is scheduled for March 25, 2024, after next election’s primaries begin,  He remotely attended the hearing for the trial, earlier this month, and appeared to be angry about the date, three weeks after Super Tuesday, a vital day in the primary season. The announcement of the trial date was the day before Ron DeSantis announced his run for president against DDT. Never before has a person elected as U.S. president faced criminal charges.  

After the hearing, DDT used his personal social platform, Truth Social, to vent his rage, complaining that the “New York County Supreme Court [violated his] First Amendment Rights, ‘Freedom of Speech’” and calling it “ELECTION INTERFERENCE.” Pretrial motions are due by August 29 with October 10 the deadline for DDT’s lawyers to file their responses. The judge said he would rule on the motions on January 4, 2024. DDT will be required to appear in person at that hearing.

Another addition to Smith’s investigation is a subpoena for the Trump Organization regarding details about its real estate licensing and development since 2017 in seven countries: China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman. DDT’s has been boosting the Saudi-backed LIV golf tour to help his golf courses’ losses with strong support for the Saudis despite their appalling human rights record.

The Supreme Court has permitted the Biden administration dispute about congressional Democrats attempt to obtain information from the General Services Administration on documents about DDT’s Washington hotel’s revenue and expenses related to his lease from the government. A district judge had dismissed the case declaring the Democrats lacked standing, but a divided panel of the D.C. Circuit Court reversed the opinion.

Not satisfied with all the lawsuits against him, DDT’s business behind his Truth Social platform filed a $3.78 billion defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post for alleging the company may have committed securities fraud was false and defamatory and posed an “existential threat.” The article described the company’s relationship to a “porn-friendly bank.” Other DDT cases such as his defamation suit against the Post over Robert Mueller’s investigation and the “insidious plot” to obtain his tax records were dismissed. DDT also sued CNN last October for defamation.

DDT begged Texas Republicans not to impeach AG Ken Paxton and praised the reelection of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, adding another four years to two former terms of his authoritarian reign. In addition, DDT accused Ron DeSantis of making Disney into a “Woke and Disgusting shadow of its former self.” Less than 24 hours after DeSantis’ disastrous launch as a presidential candidate, DDT reposted an AI-created video that parodied DeSantis’ Twitter presentation with faked conversations including billionaire George Soros, World Economic Forum chair Klaus Schwab, and former Vice President Dick Cheney. Adolf Hitler, the devil, and the FBI. And Elon Musk.

Every loss that DDT suffers appears to make him more popular with his base, much to the disappointment of Republicans who feel that he cannot win the 2024 election. Robert Tracinski writes that GOP voters’ investment in DDT requires they excuse all his faults as they have always done, starting from smaller failings up to criminal charges. More than that, his supporters want him to fight dirty; they approve of his constant losses. Older societies celebrated honor, but the current conservatives treasure dominant status and victimhood, a characteristic in which DDT delights. DDT’s brand:  

“The more Trump is embroiled in lawsuits, the more he is caught lying, the more seedy revelations emerge from his personal life—then the more he becomes the symbol of a right-wing persecution complex and the more Republicans rally around him.”

Last week, a 19-year-old Missouri man crashed a U-Haul truck into White House security barriers. The Nazi flag in his truck was photographed lying on the ground near the truck after the crash. Donald Trump, Jr. accused the federal government of “creating fake crimes and fake hate.” He said the same thing earlier this month on a podcast that the hundred members of the white nationalist group Patriot Front marching in Washington were all federal employees. Claiming that all the violence from white supremacists is actually enacted by the federal government convinces MAGA folk that they should continue to support DDT. These supporters also claim that very few incidents of this violence occur, or they delude themselves with the belief that they don’t exist at all, thus protecting DDT.  

May 27, 2023

Possible Debt Ceiling Agreement, Paxton Impeached

Filed under: democracy — trp2011 @ 11:34 PM
Tags: , , , ,

With little fanfare, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced a tentative agreement to end the battle over raising the debt ceiling two weeks before the default would begin on June 5. McCarthy is trying to remain Speaker with his announcement:

“I just got off the phone with the president a bit ago. After he wasted time and refused to negotiate for months, we’ve come to an agreement in principle that is worthy of the American people.”

Far-right House members are disagreeing with his semi-positive view of the deal which will require Democratic votes to get the settlement through Congress.

Some of the provisions:

  • Suspend the debt limit through January 2025, after the 2024 presidential election.
  • Cap spending in the 2024 and 2025 budgets at the 2023 levels for one year and increase it by one percent in 2025.
  • Claw back unused Covid funds.
  • Pare back some of the $80 billion for the IRS in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act law. (The exact amount has not been published.)
  • Speed up the permitting process for some energy projects. Changes in the landmark 1970s’ National Environmental Policy Act will designate “a single lead agency” to develop environmental reviews.
  • Add work requirements for food aid programs by extending the age from 49 to 54. The provision exempts veterans and homeless people while sunsetting in 2030.
  • Create no changes in Medicaid and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
  • Include an administrative pay-as-you-go provision requiring Biden to find offsets for rules and regulations increasing federal spending.
  • Slightly increase funding boosts for the military and veterans affairs in line with inflation.
  • Exempt Medicaid from additional work requirements.

McCarthy is giving House members 72 hours to read the legislation, yet to be written, before asking them to vote on it on June 1. Although McCarthy said he has already sent out a fact sheet to House members, he added that more work needs to be done. He expects to post the legislative text on May 28. Ultra-conservative members in the House Freedom Caucus  such as Reps. Bob Good (VA) and Scott Perry (PA) are already complaining, but McCarthy hopes to cover himself by not agreeing to any higher taxes for the wealthy and big business. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) tweeted a vomit emoji about McCarthy getting “almost zippo in exchange” for the debt ceiling hike.

The media of the next couple of weeks will be filled with more details about the “agreement” and the problems involved in passing it. For now, this is a rough summary.

Ken Paxton‘s Impeachment:

In landmark news today, the Texas House impeached AG Ken Paxton by a vote of 121-23 with two were present but not voting, and three who were absent from the chamber after hours of debate.   According to a Texas GOP legislator, Paxton personally called House members before the session to threaten them with political payback if they vote to impeach him. The Senate either remains in Austin after the regular session ends Monday for a trial or set a date in the future; the trial has no deadline.  

Before this vote, only two officials in Texas’s nearly 200-year history had been impeached, both for misuse of public funds: a state district judge in 1975 and the governor in 1917. After the impeachment vote, Paxton tweeted an accusation of House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) and the “corrupt politicians he controls” of colluding with Democrats, the Biden administration, “the abortion industry, anti-gun zealots, and woke corporations.”

Paxton ally Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will schedule and preside over the Senate trial. Members can request documents, witnesses, and testimony; meet privately for deliberations; and exercise “any other powers necessary.” The chamber’s 19 Republicans include Paxton’s wife and Sen. Bryan Hughes, mentioned in the House articles of impeachment for having helped Paxton. Twelve senators are Democrats.

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), a strong supporter of Paxton, posted a video Paxton had used to show Phelan was drunk while presiding over the legislature last week. Phelan’s speech was slurred at the end of a 14-hour session.

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