Nel's New Day

October 30, 2018

Voters: ‘Don’t Take the Bait’

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) came up with a new diversion today. He doesn’t want people to notice that the Republicans plan to get rid of pre-existing conditions on health plans and eviscerate Social Security and Medicare. He doesn’t want people to notice that the national debt is ballooning and the deficit is rapidly increasing because he is giving money to the wealthy and big business that he had promised to use for help to the other 80 percent. And he certainly doesn’t want people to know—right before the midterm elections—that they will suffer from his new policies. His strategy is to tell them that he is taking care of the non-existent immigration problem.

Today he told today that he plans to sign an executive order to overturn an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to strip people in the United States of their citizenship. The Fourteenth Amendment that specifically stated that almost everyone born in the U.S. automatically becomes a citizen was to erase the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford that blacks are “regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

People are “subject to the jurisdiction” of the U.S. if they are bound by its laws. Removing citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants would make these children immune to U.S. law altogether: the federal government could not arrest, detain, or deport them.

A decision in United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898) gave a “limited exemption” that excluded children of members of Indian tribes, children born of alien enemies in hostile invasion and occupation, and children of diplomatic representatives of a foreign state—the latter two already exempted from citizenship by earlier law. Wong Kim Ark, a laborer, was born in the United States to “persons of Chinese descent, and subjects of the emperor of China.” The Supreme Court ruled that he was a citizen.

DDT’s appointee to the federal bench, Judge James Ho, may be the most conservative person to reach that position via DDT. His first judicial opinion ruled all campaign contribution limits unconstitutional, railed against the Affordable Care Act on an originalist basis, and laments—in his terms—the “moral tragedy of abortion.” Even this judge firmly from the lunatic fringe agrees with the 14th Amendment and not DDT. Or at least he did in 2011.

Even a racist Supreme Court rejected the idea over a century ago; the question is what the current GOP Supreme Court will do. Is allowing a president to arbitrarily overturn the constitution a bridge too far for Chief Justice John Roberts?

Republicans fought President Obama in any change of federal immigration law. That, however, may not block DDT’s power over immigration policy. They will probably agree with DDT that his position on citizenship is good campaign fodder.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is back to cozying up with his buddy DDT with his announcement that he will introduce a bill to replicate DDT’s executive order for ending birthright citizenship. Success for Graham requires two-thirds majorities in both congressional houses and ratification by three-fourths of the states. DDT has announced—wrongly, as usual—that an act of Congress can overturn the constitution and maybe even an executive order can accomplish that goal. Despite DDT’s lies, most countries in the Western Hemisphere, including Mexico and Canada, have forms of birthright citizenship.

VP Pence followed his claim that “we all cherish” the 14th Amendment by saying:

“The Supreme Court of the United States has never ruled on whether or not the language of the 14th Amendment subject to the jurisdiction thereof applies specifically to people who are in the country illegally.”

Axios, which tries to give the appearance of a mainstream internet media source, is in DDT’s pocket. That’s the reason that DDT gave Axios’ Jonathan Swan his press release about his new non-existent plan to change the constitution with an executive order. Like Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, Swan passively nods to every crazy GOP idea designed to hurt people. DDT delivers his wacko message, and Swan says, “Exactly.” Swan did tell DDT that his plan is “very much in dispute.” No, it is completely unconstitutional. But Swan tweets:

“Excited to share with you the first snippet from our interview with President Trump yesterday, ahead of the launch of Axios’ HBO show this Sunday evening.”

For Swan, it’s all about the ratings through enabling DDT, not the horrifying possibilities of DDT’s plan.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) urged voters not to “take the bait.” She added:

“He’ll say anything before the election. Don’t take the bait. Focus on ending the hate. Hug a kid. Be nice to someone you don’t know or agree with. And vote. Please vote.”

Klobuchar is right about not being distracted and being sure to vote. DDT uses his craziness to club people over the head with his immigration distractions. At the same time, he encourages white supremacy throughout the United States and puts everyone of color into great danger. He promotes his racist hatred to incite violence and killing, to reinstate the white genocide of the 19th century in the United States and promoting the election of only Republicans who will protect no one except wealthy white people.

The FBI concluded a year ago that white nationalists are as threatening to the U.S. as ISIS and that the threat of white nationalists will only grow. White supremacists have carried out three times as many attacks in the United States as people associated with ISIS, but the government holds no congressional hearings on white nationalist attacks. For the first 20 months after his inauguration, DDT protected and supported white nationalists; this past month he moved forward to declare that he is one of them by calling himself a “nationalist.” DDT has affiliated himself with white supremacists to help them drive everyone of color out of the United States. He follows his belief that he can do anything he wants without losing any support.

DDT claims that his self-identification of “nationalist” isn’t racist, yet his speech excoriating people of color overcomes this false claim. He also claims that he has nothing to do with any of the increasing violence in the nation; people are just doing it on their own without attention to his words, according to DDT. If his words mean nothing, why does he keep talking? Why does he keep attacking women and people of color? Because he loves the control and knows that some of the people will follow his “dog-whistles” to commit violence in his name.

If you want to protect democracy, if you want to keep the United States from being an armed battleground where no one is safe either inside or outside homes, don’t be discouraged by the GOP voter suppression that tries to keep everyone except the Republican base from casting ballots.

Vote! (And the deadline is November 6, no matter what Republicans tell you.)

October 29, 2018

DDT: Week 92, Part II – Jamal Khashoggi, GOP’s Promotion of Violence

The tragic events in the U.S. have taken front and center over the vicious murder of U.S. resident and WaPo reporter Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabians in their Turkish embassy, but the Saudis continue to contrive a number of explanations for the horrific event since October 2, 2018.

Robbie Gramer, Diplomacy/National Security Reporter, tweeted a “tongue-in-cheek” sequence of events listing Saudi’s “official” positions since Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi embassy in Turkey to get papers so that he could marry his fiancé:

  • He’s not dead; he left the consulate; we have evidence.
  • OK, he has disappeared.
  • OK, he may be dead.
  • OK, he’s dead but we didn’t do it.
  • OK, he’s dead, but it was a rogue group who worked for us.
  • OK he’s dead and we did it, but it was only because a 1 vs. 15 fight broke out.

That tweet is ten days old, and more has happened since then:

  • OK, so we thoroughly cleaned and painted the embassy, but we’re tidy.
  • OK, one of the killers dressed up like him and wandered the streets to confuse people.
  • OK, it was premeditated, but rogue officials did it.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) keeps trying to cover up what he called a “cover-up” while Jared Kushner orchestrates DDT’s responses to the innocent man’s torture, dismembering, and murder.

Other events since Gramer’s tweet:

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam (MBS) called his BFF Jared Kusher to ask, “Why the outrage?”
  • Turkish police found an abandoned Saudi consulate car in Istanbul.
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin uncanceled his attendance at an economic conference in Saudi so that he could hobnob with MBS.
  • Foreign investors sold off $4 billion from the already faltering Saudi stock market, causing it to drop five percent before it slightly rose today.

Both Canada and France plan to continue their arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and DDT continued to insist on the sales that must be approved by Congress. He has kept escalating the number of jobs for his yet non-existent arms deal—from 40,000 six months ago to over one million jobs now. DDT fabricated over one million jobs in an industry that currently has 355,000 jobs, 0.5 percent of the total U.S. labor force if the number includes every job connected to the sale or production of airplanes, tanks, bombs, and services for the entire U.S. military. The Saudis have signed commitments for only $14.5 billion in U.S. weapons, not $110 billion, since DDT was inaugurated, but no contracts have been signed. Congress may pass the sales, but the jobs won’t last: Saudi Arabia plans to start manufacturing its own arms. The U.S. won’t get Saudi money, but DDT and his businesses will.

In a piece called “It Takes a Village to Make a Hate Crime,” Dan Doubet wrote about the events leading up to the slaughter of innocent people at a place of worship last weekend. The suspect gave his reasons which were directly related to the GOP and right-wing hysterical conspiracy theories about invasion from poor people, mostly women and children, fleeing the violence of Honduras.

  • The GOP Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate, Scott Wagner, called George Soros a “Hungarian Jew” who has a “hatred for America” and a menacing conspirator in his opponent’s reelection bid.
  • Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) reiterated the Soros’ myth as a “fact” on Sunday’s Meet the Press, and host Chuck Todd not only failed to correct his lie but also compared it to the Democrat’s factual statements about the Koch brothers.
  • Meghan McCain, the daughter of former POW prisoner and Arizona senator, compared the bombs sent to a dozen U.S. leaders to Republicans being “heckled at restaurants.”
  • Kellyanne Conway, DDT’s counselor, blamed “antireligiosity” for the killing in the synagogue because late-night commedians are “making fun of people who expresses[sic] religion.” She compared this hate crime toward Jews to the hate crime toward blacks in a South Carolina, also calling it anti-faith. No one on Fox & Friends questioned her analysis of a hate crime toward a specific religious or ethnic group. (Her husband, George Conway, tweeted a quote from a WaPo op-ed by Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan’s daughter: “This president will never offer comfort, compassion or empathy to a grieving nation. It’s not in him. When questioned after a tragedy, he will always be glib and inappropriate. So I have a wild suggestion: Let’s stop asking him. His words are only salt in our wounds.”
  • Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that DDT is merely “showing contrast.”
  • DDT continues to blame the media and uses it as an excuse for not limiting his violent language:

“I’d have a much different tone frankly if the press was evenhanded. If the press was fair, I’d have a much different tone all the time. But I’m fighting the media, I’m fighting – the media is not being honest and I’m fighting that lack of honesty so I have to have that tone. Otherwise I’ll never get my points across, we’ll never get what we have to get across, and we are making America great again.”

Conservative Max Boot describes the “tone” that DDT continues to use that brings out violence in his followers:

“Trump calls Democrats ‘evil’ and ‘crazy.’ He accuses them of being ‘treasonous’ and ‘un-American.’ He claims they are in league with MS-13 gang members. He says they are trying to open our borders to criminals and to turn America into Venezuela—a bankrupt socialist dictatorship. He denounces the media as ‘the enemy of the people.’ He applauds a congressman who assaulted a reporter and calls for his political opponent to be locked up. He singles out minorities such as Waters for opprobrium, and he promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that hold George Soros responsible for everything from the Central American caravan to protests against Brett M. Kavanaugh.

“When Trump talks about ‘globalists’” the far right hears ‘Jews.’ When Trump says there were ‘fine people’ on both sides in Charlottesville, the far right hears official approval….

“And Trump continues his incendiary rhetoric even after the tragic consequences have become clear. On Friday, after a pro forma denunciation of political violence, Trump laughed as a group of black conservatives at the White House chanted ‘Fake News!’ He echoed their chants of ‘Lock him up!’ about Soros. Hours later, he presided over a rally in Charlotte, where supporters chanted ‘CNN sucks.’ Asked by reporters whether he would tone down his hateful rhetoric, he defiantly replied, ‘I could really tone it up.’ Asked if he bore any responsibility for what is happening, he answered, ‘There’s no blame. There’s no anything.’”

One GOP congressional members admits the GOP connection to white supremacy. Rep. Steve King (R-IA), known for his bigotry and enamored with Austria’s far-right party founded by a former Nazi SS officer, said:

“If they were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans.”

The former leader of this neo-Nazi party called “Freedom Party,” Heinz-Christian Strache, was forced to resign after the discovery that he led a fraternity using a songbook joking about murdering Jewish people. King, who also endorsed a Toronto mayoral candidate who promoted a book calling for the “elimination” of Jewish people, is expected to win his upcoming election for the ninth time although his conservative newspaper has endorsed his opponent for the first time. The Sioux City Journal wrote that King “holds up this district to ridicule.”

The uncle of DDT’s anti-immigrant strategist Stephen Miller, retired neuropsychologist Dr. David Glosser, again repudiated his nephew’s practices:  “It is absolutely unacceptable to utilize hatred, bigotry to advance your political ends. This is a shallow, shabby expression of ambition. It’s poisonous to the country, destructive to society, and a complete repudiation of your own background and your own past.”

Miller grew up in a Jewish family. His mother’s family escaped the anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia during the 1900s when they immigrated to the United States.

Over 35,000 people from Pittsburgh signed an open letter to DDT asking him to not come to the city until he denounced white nationalism and stops targeting minorities. Yet DDT insisted on going to the city tomorrow as the funerals of the 11 slaughtered people begin. Pittsburgh’s mayor asked DDT to come later because of sensitivity issues and the lack of security resources for both him and the people attending the funerals, but DDT ignored all these requests. He plans to go where and when he’s not welcome.

DDT continued to attack three recipients of the pipe bombs in his rallies since the explosives were sent. When asked about toning down his rhetoric, he said, “Rallies are meant to be fun” and that “You have to go on with your lives.”

Even Fox network is tired of his attacking a caravan far away that may never get to the border. In response to adding 5,200 military members on the Mexico border by the end of the week with more in the future in addition to the 2,000 National Guard members, Shep Smith accused DDT of exploiting the people fleeing violence for political gain in the election eight days away.

“Tomorrow the migrants, according to Fox News reporting, are more than two months away, if any of them actually come here. But tomorrow is one week before the midterm election, which is what all of this is about. There is no invasion. No one’s coming to get you. There’s nothing at all to worry about.”

DDT displays his insensitivity, his promotion of killing by covering for Saudi Arabia, and his inciting violence, for example today tweeting that the media is “the true Enemy of the People” and attacking opponents. He won’t stop.

October 28, 2018

The Travesty Doesn’t End

Many of us have given up on any expectations that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) will exhibit any compassion or sympathy for people. He claims he is a nationalist, he supports white supremacists, and he jokes about not going to a campaign rally only hours after a racist white man slaughters people in a place of worship because of a “bad hair day.” Fox network lies about events and either covers up or excuses the bigotry and violence of conservatives. In an attempt to exonerate the connection between DDT’s rhetoric and the suspect who sent the bombs, Fox network blurred the stickers/images on the bomber’s van. Yet some of us hope that the mainstream media might present information in a direct way rather than following DDT’s and Fox’s example.

Chuck Todd dashed that hope on today’s Meet the Press when he decided to blame progressives equally to the conservatives, despite the right-wing violent racist diatribes about immigration, Jews, George Soros—the list goes on. This past week, a Nazi walked into a Pittsburg synagogue and killed as many people as he could before he was captured. The police reported that he still spewed his vicious racist rhetoric while they took him to jail. A white supremacist shot and killed two older black people in a Kentucky supermarket because the church was locked, and he couldn’t get inside. He had wanted to replicate the massacre in Charleston (SC). One of the dead men was accompanied by his 12-year-old grandson because they were buying poster board for the boy’s school project. Last week, people waited in fear to see where the next bombs would be sent and whether they would kill people.

When Todd’s guest Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) blamed the inability to detect fact from fiction in the media on “older people” who cannot “navigate” social media, Todd agreed. No matter what Stivers said to exonerate Republicans, Todd said, “Right.” Or a version of agreeing. Stivers’ pablum included the need to “keep our dialogue civil” while Republicans refuse to so that and his ability to show “moral leadership. When he said that he hoped that DDT would “continue on that path” of moral leadership, Todd said, “Fair enough.” Then Todd equated the attacks on George Soros as a Jew and the lying about his giving money for protests (although he didn’t mention those facts) to Democratic attacks on Koch brothers with no evidence. He also said nothing about voter suppression, the racist connection between conservatives’ murders to the constant false accusations surrounding the caravan from Honduras, and DDT’s incessant lying attacks on people as he supports white supremacy.

Todd’s biggest pandering, however, came when Todd said to conspiracy theorist Erick Erickson, “You’ve had to deal with conspiracy theories on your site.”  The topic was “civility,” and Erickson’s personal conspiracy theories include smearing Christine Blasey Ford who reported Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault, accusing Parkland survivor David Hogg of not being at the school during the mass murder, comparing Planned Parenthood leaders to Nazis, claiming that transgender people are “perverts and the mentally ill,” attacking Muslims by saying that DDT’s ban is “brilliant politics,” stating that gay men in bars wearing certain clothing are asking to be assaulted, and arguing that mass shootings are “so rare.” And more. Yet Erickson claims that it’s the older people who can’t tell fact from fiction in the media.  (Erickson is 43 years old.)

Erickson exonerated DDT in his conclusion is that the blame for increasing violence is “on the American people as a whole…. Society is crumbling around us…. The president’s not the cause, he’s a symptom.” Todd just kept saying, “Right.”

Todd overlooked the fact that the alleged shooter at the Pennsylvania synagogue echoed the lie from DDT and other Republicans that George Soros funded “caravans” of refugees full of ISIS terrorists and called for the same white genocide that DDT and Fox’s Tucker Carlson push. DDT’s white supremacy goes back to his birtherism that led him to the Oval Office. He launched his campaign by calling all Mexican immigrants of being “drug dealers, criminals, rapists” and followed that by promising “a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

The predominant myth regenerating within the next few weeks until the horror of the shootings dies down but reappearing with the next mass shooting is that of the “lone wolf.” Anyone of color who murders people is a “terrorist,” but a white man is assumed to be mentally unbalanced. The right-wing pundits deny responsibility, and Republicans support them while moving toward the next murders. DDT wins his base with hatred and fear, the fuel useful for more and more violence.

Erickson claims that the U.S. has very few mass shootings, buy white supremacist murders more than doubled in DDT’s first year of office. The first terrorist plot connected to DDT occurred the night of his election.    Arun Gupta has listed several of these, and others can be found here.

Other cover came from VP Mike Pence who said that “Everyone has his own style” and that nothing DDT says can be connected to any acts of violence.

The federal government is exacerbating the problem of domestic terrorism. In April 2009, the DHS tried to issue a report titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” GOP politicians attacked the leaked report and forced part of it to be retracted. Parts about tracking and combating domestic terrorists were gutted, including the part of the report that assessed “lone wolves” who hold violent rightwing extremist ideology as “the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States” bent on “committing violent acts.”  The report noted that “white supremacist lone wolves pose the most significant domestic terrorist threat because of their low profile and autonomy.”

Rick Hasen wrote:

“Things with President Trump are different. He has refused to condemn anti-semitism and racism; he has encouraged chants of “lock her up” against his political opponent Hillary Clinton and against others; he has appeared with, and promoted the views of, those who blame George Soros and the Jews for immigration problems; he calls his political adversaries by demeaning names, especially African-American women opponents such as Rep. Waters. He has done these things even as this violence grows. He praised the body slamming of a journalist by Rep. Gianforte. He has shown no interest in bringing the nation together, suggesting that rather than ‘toning it down’ he could ‘really tone it up.’

“He has pursued a political strategy that is aimed at inflaming his base to try to win the election. He has even complained about how the pipe bombs could hurt Republican election momentum.

“And he has brought many Republicans along with him, such as Kevin McCarthy, soon to be leader of Republicans in the House of Representatives. McCarthy, in a now-deleted tweet, accused ‘Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg’ of ‘trying to BUY this election.’ Such anti-Semitic tropes have moved from the fringe right wing to the center of the Republican party.”

Thanks to DDT, the GOP that enables him, and far-right media—including Fox network that gives DDT his talking points promoting violence—the United States is a place where people are no longer safe in even ordinary settings such as shopping, worshipping, attending school, seeing a movie, riding mass transit—in short, going out of their house.

Mainstream media like Meet the Press have become complicit in the lack of freedom in the United States because of the increasing violence. The violence will only grow if nothing is done.

October 27, 2018

DDT: Week 92 – Continued Incitement to Violence

Republicans, including VP Mike Pence and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, express “thoughts and prayers” after a white 46-year-old man killed at least 11 people and wounded another six at a synagogue in Pennsylvania. The killer was heard to shout “all Jews must die” during his slaughter and earlier posted on Gab, a social media source for alt-right activists and white nationalists, that the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), liked to bring “invaders in that kill our people.” He also wrote, “There is no #MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation.”

Dictator Donald Trump’s first statements (DDT) after the shootings criticized the synagogue for not having security guards and said that all churches and synagogues should have this armed “protection.” Later, the self-avowed “nationalist,” made a comment about being surprised that such an anti-Semitic act would happen in “this day and age,” perhaps after his staff recommended the statement. In 2017, DDT’s first year in office, anti-Semitic events increased almost 60 percent over the previous year, in the largest single-year increase on record and the second-highest number reported since these events were first tracked in 1979.

Having called for “unity” in the United States after bombs were sent to at least a dozen high-profile Democrats in the United States, DDT said after the Pennsylvania shooting that “something has to be done.” Yet he refuses to accept any responsibility for the pervasive conservative anger resulting in violence and blames the “fake news” despite his frequent targeting CNN and people who were sent explosives. DDT false attacked the first victim of the bombs, George Soros, by saying that he paid people on the caravan going from the Honduras to the United States. After the capture of the person suspected of sending the bombs, a white male U.S. citizen living in Florida, DDT whipped the crowd into changing “CNN Sucks!” at a rally, the same image on the suspect’s van.

DDT also accused Democrats of sending the bombs to make Republicans look bad and was annoyed that this domestic terrorism detracted from his Medicare drug price announcement, a campaign “promise” that he has been making for several years. DDT also told a black audience that Democrats had betrayed them and encouraged them to chant “Fake News!” and “Lock him up!” about Soros. Before the Pennsylvania shooting, DDT told reporters that he doesn’t plan to tone down his rhetoric, saying, “I could really tone it up.” He described the suspect accused of sending the pipe bombs as “a person that preferred me over others.” The person who “preferred” DDT lived with his mother because he had lost his home in a “dodgy” (aka illegal) foreclosure by the bank owned by Steve Mnuchin, DDT’s Treasury Secretary.

Only ten days ago, a Montana audience cheered DDT when he talked about GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte who had physically assaulted a Guardian reporter the night before Gianforte’s election: “Any guy that can do a body slam — he’s my guy.” (The physically attacked reporter is considering suing Gianforte after the representative started lying to the newspaper about what happened.) Since people called on DDT to stop the hateful rhetoric, he has said such things at his rallies as “I’m gonna be nice tonight” before he reverts to his showman behavior to reassure his base that he isn’t changing.

Tony Schwartz, DDT’s ghostwriter (and probably real author) of his 1987 autobiography, said that DDT has a “fascination of violence”; his two obsessions are football and boxing. Schwartz added, “He loved black people to commit violence against other black people—while he watched.” DDT just didn’t want to be in the middle of the violence. Rage is the reason behind this obsession, according to Schwartz:

“He’s in the business of being aggrieved, and he’s using that in these 10, 12 days leading up to the midterms in trying to bring it out in all the people that are possibly going to vote on the Republican side in this next phase.”

The mailed bombs and today’s killings in Pennsylvania are two more examples of how DDT is pushing unstable people toward increasing levels of violence. Neuroscientist Bobby Azarian pointed out that DDT and his far-right propaganda media targets “mentally vulnerable people with their heated and divisive rhetoric, as well as their outlandish conspiracy theories. These theories describe nefarious plots by the ‘deep state,’ a cabal of Left-wing politicians and powerful co-conspirators that is trying to undermine President Trump, while running child sex trafficking rings on the side.” Perpetrators who follow DDT’s direction don’t need to be “delusional”; they only need to be “suggestible.” A trigger pushes them over the edge, and DDT refuses to take any responsibility while fueling more hatred and copycat attacks from his supporters. People criticizing DDT put their lives at risk.

With Election Day only 10 days away, self-identified “nationalist” DDT upped the ante this past week with his press releases and comments to reporters by declaring “Congressional Democrats Want to Take Money from Hardworking Americans to Fund Failed Socialist Policies” and other fake claims about Democrats:

  • Make Venezuela is the “model.”
  • Destroy the economy.
  • Support Karl Marx.
  • Give undocumented immigrants free cars.
  • Turn America “into a giant sanctuary for criminal aliens and the MS-13 killers.”
  • “Impose socialism” on America.
  • “Take away your health care.” [The first item on the GOP Senate agenda after midterms is to repeal healthcare.]
  • Destroy Americas borders.
  • Turn the nation over to “deadly drugs and ruthless gangs.”
  • Destroy the military.
  • “Launch an assault” on the sovereignty of our country and the safety of citizens.

DDT also described non-existent “riots” at his campaign rallies and falsely accuses “mobs” of “rioting” against “sanctuary cities.” The real “mobs” that DDT doesn’t mention include those by the violent “Proud Boys,” supported by Republicans, who are beating up protesters and verbally assaulting Democrats such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) who was in southern Florida for a campaign event.

DDT plans to deploy 800 military members to the border to illegally stop anyone from seeking asylum in the United States. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen promised they won’t shoot the members of the caravan—at least not right away. The border patrol may shoot them first. The National Patrol Council, the union representing BP agents, is featured in a new video, “Killing Free Speech,” including white nationalists and anti-Muslim extremists that the union has endorsed. Shown to agents throughout the country, the video describes Democrats as “dark and evil” and correlates gang rapes, Islam, and immigration. Also featured in the documentary are members of the Proud Boys, a white supremacist, misogynist, anti-Muslim hate group. It also attacks the mainstream media that “will stop at nothing to … demonize those who risk their lives protecting America’s borders.” The video’s director created the same message in “Killing Europe” and plans “Killing Canada.”

The union represents 90 percent of the almost 20,000 BP agents in the field. Within 100 miles of any U.S. border, agents can enter private property, set up highway checkpoints, and profile people for stopping, questioning, and detaining them. That  “constitution-free zone” contains 65.3 percent of the U.S. population.

Over 500 employees of the border patrol agency have been charged with drug trafficking, accepting bribes, and other crimes during 2016 and 2017, according to a report from Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Human Resource Management and its Office of Professional Responsibility. Some of the most heinous of these crimes in 2018 include the ten-year agent accused of killing four women and assaulting a fifth, two of them U.S. citizens, in two weeks and the BP agent who shot and killed a 19-year-old woman illegally crossing the border near Laredo.

VP Mike Pence, self-identified fundamentalist Christian, continues to follow the liar-in-chief to be vice-liar-in-chief. With no evidence, he cites the apprehension of “more than 10 terrorists or suspected terrorists” at the U.S. southern border and claims that “people of Middle Eastern descent” (aka Muslims) could be on the caravan still 1,000 miles from the United States. DHS says that most people stopped from entering the country try to come on airplanes, and being on a watch list isn’t the same as being a terrorism suspect. Pence’s religion is to win votes for GOP candidates through fear-mongering from lying.

In a display of how little concern DDT has for the slaughtered people at the Pennsylvania synagogue, he proceeded with a campaign rally today, using the excuse that his friend, Dick Grasso, opened the New York Stock Exchange the day after the 9/11 attacks. But he didn’t: the exchange was closed for three trading days after the disaster. When he asked his audience if he could “tone it down a bit,” they yelled in disapproval. He continued to stir up the crowd to yell “Lock her up” about Hillary Clinton and then denigrated the conservatives who don’t support him, calling them “very stupid” and “losers.” A member of the crowd called out “Pocahontas” when he referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and he false said she had “no Indian blood.” He added, “I can’t call her Pocahontas anymore, but I think I will anyway. Do you mind?” The crowd continued to cheer every one of DDT’s personal attacks. DDT continues to incite violence.

Part II: Jamal Khashoggi update.

 

 

October 22, 2018

GOP Can Defeat Democrats Only by Cheating

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:36 PM

The midterms are two weeks from tomorrow, and Democrats are working hard to get people to the polls. Gerrymandering isn’t enough to keep Republicans winning; the GOP has to keep voters from casting ballots to elect candidates. They know that an honest election would elect many Democrats, so the principal GOP tactic to preserve white supremacy in a party comprised of 90 percent white people in a country of 60 percent white people is to prevent voting.

In just the past year, 31 state legislatures introduced 99 bills to keep voters from the polls. These are mostly legal because the GOP Supreme Court justices largely eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in its majority opinion of the 2013 Shelby v. Holder case. Texas waited only an hour after that ruling to begin the flood of voter suppression bills that added to the prevention of six million people with past convictions from voting—20 percent of eligible age blacks.

At one time, registering voters was a positive goal. Now in Texas, a group calling itself “True the Vote” expressed horror that “counties are being buried under hundreds of thousands of incoming voter registrations, all being strategically submitted in mass [sic].” Co-founder and Tea-Partier Catherine Engelbrecht retaliated against Houston Votes when it ran a voter registration campaign by accusing the group of being affiliated with the extremist Black Panther Party. State officials seized Houston Votes equipment during an armed raid. No evidence of voter fraud was found, but the group was forced to close. In the 2010 election, white poll watchers harassed black voters, one of them Gloria Alred who was disabled by a stroke who was being helped by her son who had been sworn in by poll workers.

New laws support claims that the removal of a provision in the Voting Rights Act puts burdens on people in the South to keep them from voting, but northern states such as Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Iowa follow the patterns of the South. For example, The Ohio Voter Integrity Project targeting 1077 Hamilton County residents of poor black neighborhoods, telling them that “your right to vote has been challenged by a qualified elector.”

Many states restrict voters by race and income by mandates on voter IDS, refusal to recognize voter registrations, shorter times for early voters, failure to put places to vote in locations such as Native American reservations, elimination of student voting until sued, denial of names different on birth certificates even on identification for married women, shortage of voting polls, lack of addresses changes as mandated by federal law—even intimidating people attempting to vote. Arizona’s polling places are far from many of people living on the reservations and doesn’t let non-family members take ballots to the drop-off places; North Dakota mandates street addresses for voting although they may not be available on the reservation. States such as North Carolina eliminate times for voters so that hourly-wage workers cannot get to polls, and the Supreme Court refuses to rule on lawsuits that would reinstate voters’ rights.

Barriers to the ballot box include purging large numbers of voters from the polls—which the GOP Supreme Court accepts. This practice is easily done in states with Republicans in charge of elections, especially when they are running for office as in Kansas and Georgia. About 16 million voters were removed from registration with three years of Shelby–about ten percent of registered voters. Other methods of keep people from registering are closing DMV offices in places with large minority populations, cutting early and absentee voting, pushing for provisional ballots that won’t be counted, and blocking students from voting.

A bogus software program called Interstate Crosscheck has been used to purge 14 million registered voters—almost ten percent. The majority of these purges are for people of color, young and elderly voters, residents of Democratic-majority areas, and those with ethnic-sounding last names. The same program doesn’t cause serious problems for white voters.

Republicans, desperate from fear that these underhanded tactics won’t work, now have moved on to a system of not processing registration forms, especially in Arizona, Missouri, and Georgia. Arizona broke the federal law by not forwarding change of addresses for 384,000 people getting driver’s licenses. That’s over ten percent of the 3.6 million voters in the state. Missouri is doing the same thing to 200,000 updated voter records in a state where the GOP senate opponent to incumbent Claire McCaskill is ahead in the polls by only 10,000 votes. Georgia has a simpler process: Secretary of State Brian Kemp put 53,000 registration forms—over 90 percent of them from blacks—into a drawer as he waits for white people to vote for him in his gubernatorial run at the midterms. Last year, Kemp purged 668,000 voters from the registration lists, and this year he rejected 8.5 percent of early absentee ballots. On the first day of early voting in Georgia, voting computers failed to work at libraries in Fulton County, with a population over 1 million. Tennessee has rejected half of 36,000 voter registration forms as invalid but refuses to explain why.

County officials in a rural Georgia county ordered largely black senior citizens in rural Georgia headed for voting polls off a bus provided by the nonpartisan Black Voters Matter. A county administrator said that the trip was “political activity” and that he “felt uncomfortable with allowing senior center patrons to leave the facility in a bus with an unknown third party.” These were adults who had met at the center for a meeting; they weren’t residents. The bus had already been approved, but someone called to complain. The Senior Center bus to transport voters was also cancelled. Like the middle of the 20th century in the South, white people prevent blacks from getting on a bus.

The term “get out of Dodge” truly applies to Dodge City (KS) where the one polling place for 13,000 voters has been moved out of town, over a mile from the closest bus stop. Kansas has an average of 1,200 per polling place which are typically within the city limits. With meat-packing the majority industry, the town of 27,000 people has a majority of Latinx, but whites run the city. Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is running for governor, also runs the election.

Locations of voting places can influence the way that people vote. Churches make people more likely to vote conservative. People in the U.S. object to the use of mosques for polling places.

Republicans have expanded their fraudulent tricks to restrict elections of progressive candidates:

  • Fake flyers in Washington state that appear to be sent by the Democratic party claim that progressive candidates aren’t far enough left and people should write in other names to solve that problem. Conscience of the Progressives is largely funding by a conservative pack whose biggest donor is Peter Zieve, an anti-Muslim aerospace entrepreneur who gave $1 million to DDT’s presidential campaign.
  • The Missouri Republican Party sent mailers to 10,000 voters with incorrect information about the deadline for absentee ballots, claiming that it was a week earlier than the election date of November 6. When they were caught, they said that it was just a mistake.
  • At least 1,500 Twitter accounts from a pro-DDT group gave the date of Election Day on the day after November 6, the real Election Day.
  • Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) sent out a mailer giving the wrong date—after Election Day—for the absentee ballot deadline for the past two consecutive election years.
  • John Whitmer, GOP lawmaker supporting Kris Kobach for governor, tweeted that Republicans vote on November 6 and Democrats vote on November 8. Whitmer won’t be back next year; he lost his primary last summer.

DDT joined the voter suppression movement with this threatening tweet:

“All levels of government and Law Enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD, including during EARLY VOTING. Cheat at your own peril. Violators will be subject to maximum penalties, both civil and criminal!”

At the same time, the DOJ has filed not one case to enforce the limping Voter Rights Act and refuses to protect minority voters’ rights.

Some of us are entitled voters—no one tries to block our vote, we have easy transportation, white people have far shorter voting lines, we have easy access to voter ID because of our birth situation and wealthy, and many of us have an easier time getting to the polls. In Oregon where I live, we don’t even have to go to the polls: since the mandatory vote-by-mail law was passed in 1998, voter turnout of registered voters was under 70 percent only one year when it was 69 percent. In presidential elections it has been over 80 percent since then except for the 79.8 percent in 2000.

Some critics claim that people are too lazy to vote or just don’t care. Looking at the barriers to voting in the United States, I think it’s a miracle that any minority or low-income person casts a ballot.

October 21, 2018

Why Atheism

Filed under: Religion — trp2011 @ 7:45 PM
Tags: , , ,

Author Greta Christina has an excellent blog about questions that people ask of atheists.  Many people ask routine questions of minorities that reveal offensive assumptions or simple ignorance. They may not intend to be rude, but the inquiries may reflect a bigoted marginalization—or just bad manners. They may ask blacks if they can touch their hair or Latinx if they are in the U.S. legally. “Where do you come from” can be questions of other people of color. LGB people are asked, “How do you have sex?” and transgender people suffer even more abusive questions about biology.

Christina lists nine of these offensive questions to atheists—and provides answers.

1: “How can you be moral without believing in God?”

Answer: Atheists have the same compassion and sense of justice as Christians—or at least as Christians are characterized as having. As social animals, humans evolved with core moral values hardwired in the brain—fairness, loyalty, concern for others who are harmed. Christina asks the question of religious believers whether they would lose all sense of morality without a sense in a god. She points out that these same believers often reject some parts of their holy book while accepting other parts. How many Christians support the stoning of adulterers—for example, the man sitting in the Oval Office—or not planting different crops in the same field? God is not responsible for whether people are good. Take Pat Robertson, for example, who doesn’t mind that a U.S. reporter was killed in a Saudi embassy in Turkey and wants to sell arms to Saudi Arabia so that they can kill more people. Being moral is a fundamental part of being human; saying that it comes from fear of punishment and desire for reward insults religious believers.

2: “How do you have any meaning in your life?” Or, “Don’t you feel sad or hopeless?” Or even, “If you don’t believe in God or heaven, why don’t you just kill yourself?”

Answer: All people find joy and meaning in the same things—family, friendship, work, nature, art, learning, love, kittens, cookies. Religious believers just tack on “making my god or gods happy and getting a good deal in the afterlife.” A belief that life is finite gives it more meaning, not less, because every moment must matter.

3: “Doesn’t it take just as much/even more faith to be an atheist as it does to be a believer?”

Answer: No. Atheism is not “100% certainty that God does not exist, with no willingness to question and no room for doubt.” It means “being reasonably certain that there are no gods,” or, “having reached the provisional conclusion, based on the evidence we’ve seen and the arguments we’ve considered, that there are no gods.” The question makes the assumptions that atheists don’t bother to think about their beliefs and that people are unable to come to conclusions by evidence, reason, and thinking instead of the “faith” in believing what someone else says.

4: “Isn’t atheism just a religion?”

Answer: No. Unless a definition of “religious” is “any conclusion people come to about the world,” or, “any community organized around a shared idea.” A belief of religion that includes atheism will also include Amnesty International, the Audubon Society, heliocentrism, the acceptance of the theory of evolution, the Justin Bieber Fan Club, and the Democratic Party. Claiming atheism as a religion changes it to a “faith-based” belief, not one from rational thought.

5: “What’s the point of atheist groups? How can you have a community and a movement for something you don’t believe in?”

Answer: Back to humans being social animals. People enjoy time with others who share interests, values, and goals. Like LGBTQ people, atheists sometimes lose friend and family support, which causes the creation of other communities. Then religious believers sometimes accuse atheism as being just another religion. See #4 above.

6: “Why do you hate God?” Or, “Aren’t you just angry at God?”

Answer: People cannot be angry with something that they believe does not exist—like gods and Santa Claus. This question comes from an assumption that non-belief is insincere, an emotional trauma, and/or rebellion. It’s just non-belief by people who see the world differently from religious believers.

7: “But have you [read the Bible or some other holy book; heard about some supposed miracle; heard about a religious experience]?”

Answer: Most likely. Atheists tend to be better educated about religion and its tenets than most religious believers. Reading the Bible may have led atheists to a decision in non-belief. Religion is so pervasive that it’s impossible to ignore; religious privilege permeates the culture through the arts, economic and political life, the media—everywhere.

8: “What if you’re wrong?” Or, “Doesn’t it make logical sense to believe in God? If you believe and you’re wrong, nothing terrible happens, but if you don’t believe and you’re wrong, you could go to Hell!”

Answer: Or that if believers are wrong about Allah? Or Vishnu? Or Zeus? Or whether God is the wrathful jerk who hates gay people, or the loving god who hates homophobes? What if you’re wrong about whether God wants you to celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday? What if you’re wrong about whether God really does care about whether you eat bacon? As Homer Simpson put it, “What if we picked the wrong religion? Every week we’re just making God madder and madder!” Climate disasters bring out religious believers who blame anyone not supporting their personal religion. What if God isn’t personally managing nature to attack atheists, LGBTQ people, and other minorities? Religious believers who bet on their personal god or gods are betting against the thousands of other gods. Is that safe? The assumption behind this question also wants atheists to fake believe in a god against their personal intelligence and values to take on a convenient idea. Is that belief?

9: “Why are you atheists so angry?”

Answer: In Christina’s book Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, she writes that not all atheists are angry about religion—and those of us who are angry aren’t in a constant state of rage. She pointed out that some anger comes from the terrible harm being done by religion to both atheists and religious believers. The question assumes that atheists are “bitter, selfish, whiny, unhappy, because we lack joy and meaning in our lives, because we have a God-shaped hole in our hearts. The people asking it seem to have never even considered the possibility that atheists are angry because we have legitimate things to be angry about.” Christina continues:

“This reflexive dismissal of our anger’s legitimacy does two things. It treats atheists as flawed, broken, incomplete. And it defangs the power of our anger. (Or it tries to, anyway.) Anger is a hugely powerful motivating force—it has been a major motivating force for every social change movement in history—and when people try to dismiss or trivialize atheists’ anger, they are, essentially, trying to take that power away.

“And finally: The people asking this question never seem to notice just how much atheist anger is directed, not at harm done to atheists, but at harm done to believers. A huge amount of our anger about religion is aimed at the oppression and brutality and misery created by religion, not in the lives of atheists, but in the lives of believers. Our anger about religion comes from compassion, from a sense of justice, from a vivid awareness of terrible damage being done in the world and a driving motivation to do something about it. Atheists aren’t angry because there’s something wrong with us. Atheists are angry because there’s something right with us. And it is messed-up beyond recognition to treat one of our greatest strengths, one of our most powerful motivating forces and one of the clearest signs of our decency, as a sign that we’re flawed or broken.”

In a recent example of religious harms, the “prayer of the day” email that Tony Perkins, leader of the Family Research Council, sent to his millions of followers begs God to elect people who will harm LGBTQ children by trying to make them straight. He wants to reinstate “conversion therapy” that causes suicidal thoughts and psychologically damaging guilt from prayer and other quack rituals.

Christina adds other questions that people shouldn’t ask atheists:

  •  “How can you believe in nothing?”
  • “Doesn’t atheism take the mystery out of life?”
  • “Even though you don’t believe, shouldn’t you bring up your children with religion?”
  • “Can you prove there isn’t a god?”
  • “Did something terrible happen to you to turn you away from religion?”
  • “Are you just doing this to rebel?”
  • “Are you just doing this so you don’t have to obey God’s rules?”
  • “If you’re atheist, why do you celebrate Christmas/ say ‘Bless you’ when people sneeze/ spend money with ‘In God We Trust’ on it/ etc.?”
  • “Have you sincerely tried to believe?”
  • “Can’t you see God everywhere around you?”
  • “Do you worship Satan?”
  • “Isn’t atheism awfully arrogant?”
  • “Can you really not conceive of anything bigger than yourself?”
  • “Why do you care what other people believe?”

She—and I—urge people to research questions that reflect dehumanization and religious privilege. And people should do the same to avoid bigotry and a sense of superiority when asking questions of other minorities.

Factoid: Ten percent of people in the United States don’t believe in God—that’s ten times as many as in 1944.

October 20, 2018

GOP, DDT Try to Pull Cons

As midterm election fever ramps up, the Republicans become more desperate with the thought of losing. Because over half the population supports the Affordable Care Act, GOP candidates and their leader Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) have decided to pretend that they support coverage of pre-existing conditions on all health insurance.

Last Thursday, DDT tweeted:

“All Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, and if they don’t, they will after I speak to them. I am in total support. Also, Democrats will destroy your Medicare, and I will keep it healthy and well!”

These GOP candidates claiming to supported coverage of pre-existing conditions voted against the Affordable Care Act, and some of them are involved in legal challenges to the law. With his executive order to change the ACA, DDT already permitted insurance companies to not allow pre-existing conditions. In addition, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that the GOP plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act after the midterms and reduce Medicare to cover ballooning deficits from deep tax cuts for the wealthy and big business. The underlying GOP goal is to strip almost everyone in the United States of any safety net while taking all power and giving the nation’s resources to the wealthiest and big business.

In another serious problem for DDT, the horrific scandal of a reporter’s murder in Turkey won’t disappear. Saudi Arabia commonly kills dissidents, but the murder of Jamal Khashoggi is unique: he was a U.S. resident who was tortured, dismembered, and murdered in an embassy on foreign soil. DDT is also supporting Saudi Arabia in its fantasy explanation of the murder, appearing to act as a PR person for the Saudi royalty. Vali R. Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, said:

“This is a drastic break from American practice. It signals a very different foreign policy that does not hold governments accountable for things that are outside normal legal or ethical parameters. In effect, the U.S. is setting a new standard for itself.”

Vladimir Putin is well aware of the new standard for the U.S. that represents a double standard—punish Russia for its killing of a Russian but reward Saudi Arabia for its killing of a U.S. resident. DDT has been very clear, however, that he won’t hold foreign countries accountable for human rights, and now that lack of concern impacts a murdered U.S. resident with three U.S. citizen children. Not addressing Khashoggi’s murder removes the U.S. from the high ground when China tells the West to stop its false regard for human rights.

In addition to taking Saudi’s assurance that Khashoggi’s death came from a “fist-fight,” DDT is accepting Putin’s guarantee that Russia didn’t interfere in U.S. elections and Kim Jong-Un’s pledge that North Korea will denuclearize. Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said that the U.S. policy of “trust but verify” has been changed to “trust but look away.”

Conservative commentator Max Book wrote about DDT:

“This is the president who said it’s “great” that Xi is declaring himself ruler for life, praised Duterte for the ‘unbelievable job’ he was doing ‘on the drug problem,’ congratulated Recep Tayyip Erdogan for winning a rigged referendum that spelled the death of Turkish democracy, and declared his ‘love’ for Kim Jong Un of North Korea. When confronted by Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes about Kim’s catalogue of crime — ‘repression, gulags, starvation’ — Trump was dismissive. ‘I get along with him really well,’ Trump said. ‘I have a good energy with him.’ He was equally blasé when Stahl asked him about reports that Putin is involved in ‘assassinations’ and ‘poisonings.’ He probably is, Trump conceded — but ‘it’s not in our country,’ so who cares? Britain can deal with Russian hit teams on its own.”

Boot concluded:

“This is a good time to be a dictator — and a dangerous time to be a dissident. Trump has given every despot on the planet a license to kill without worrying about the American reaction.”

Saudi Arabia has been paying for positive PR in the U.S. since 15 of 19 plane hijackers in the attack on the U.S. were Saudi nationals, but the amount of money poured into its effort escalated in 2017 to $27.3 million in lobbying alone after DDT’s inauguration to $27.3 million in lobbying alone. More money was given to universities, think tanks, and over 100 people registered as Saudi foreign agents in the U.S. who contacted media outlets over 500 times. The Saudis also had 45 contracts with FARA-registered firms. Agents contacted officials at the State Department almost 100 times in 2017 and over 200 congressional members with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) the most contacted. These congressional members received $390,496 for campaigns. In 2018, Saudi lobbyists fought to defeat a House bill that would end U.S. support for the Saudi war in Yemen, asking them to ignore the 10,000 civilians who were killed in Yemen.

DDT has been very upfront about how he is selling himself and the U.S. to gain money from the Saudis. And he has the blessing of fundamentalist Christians. Televangelist Pat Robertson wants people to “cool” it about the torture, dismemberment, and killing of Jamal Khashoggi because he’s just “one journalist.” What would Jesus do, according to Robertson? Profit from that probably nonexistant $100 billion of arms sales to Saudi Arabia so that they can kill thousands more civilians.

One reason that people voted for DDT was their belief that he is a great businessman. The New York Time researched proved that claim to be a myth, but he’s still bragging about his wonderful economy. Despite his cheerleading, cracks are appearing—the lowest housing sales in three years, retail sales down for the past two years, a volatile stock market, an increase in trade market deficits—some of the same signs that led to the deep recession of 2008, especially the falling housing prices that were the first evidence. George W. Bush failed to see the warning signs in 2006, just as DDT’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow thinks that the U.S. is booming. A few months before everyone became well aware of the 2008 recession, Kudlow said, “There is no recession coming.” Four months later, he wrote “The Therapeutic Power of Recessions.”

That recession didn’t have the problem of tariffs. A trade war with the U.S. already prompted luxury-car makers BMW AG and Daimler AG to warn about lower profits while Chinese consumers staying away from showrooms forced Jaguar Land Rover to temporarily shut a factory. Sales to Chinese dealerships fell for a third month in September. Steve Man, senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong, said that this slump may be the biggest that auto manufacturers experienced in China, the world’s largest car market. GM, VW, and Honda are also decreasing in deliveries, and carmakers may have to close factories.

DDT promised to balance the budget in one year. He didn’t. The deficit blew up to $898 billion in the 11 months through August, exceeding the Congressional Budget Office’s forecast for the first full fiscal year after DDT was inaugurated. DDT’s deficit for the 11 months was one-third higher than the $674 billion for the same time during the previous year. While revenue gained one percent to about $3 trillion, spending rose by seven percent to almost $3.9 trillion. Thanks to the new COP tax cut law, revenue from corporations dropped $71 billion from a year before to $163 billion. The annual budget for President Obama’s last three years was $500 billion. Thanks to the GOP and DDT’s law and policies, the nation’s debt is growing out of control.

DDT’s family con jobs seem to have trickled down to son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has paid almost no income tax from 2009 to 2016 while quintupling his assets to almost $324 million. For example, in 2015, he made $1.7 million but declared $8.3 million in losses from his self-identified “significant depreciation” on real estate because the law allows scams with decline values on the books as properties appreciate. DDT, however, participated in illegal fraud to hide his and his family’s fortune from taxes.

DDT is so unpopular that the Trump name has been removed from a seventh building since DDT’s election, this one a condo tower at 200 Riverside Boulevard in Manhattan. Almost 70 percent of owners voted to take down the name after they were threatened with legal action 18 months ago when they made the decision. A judge ruled that the signage could go that’s what the residents wanted.

The Trump Ocean Club Panama also ripped DDT’s name off its sign after it evicted the Trump Organization. Ivanka Trump had lied about the number of units sold although the involvement of shell companies created difficulty in identifying why buyers had backed out. DDT’s family made millions on just this one project, an example of their system to lure investors into building projects and then walk away with the money when the projects collapse.

With his gullible base, DDT treats the United States like one of his scams, but most of us have no solution when he takes the money and leaves us bankrupt. And Congress will let DDT carry out his plans unless the electorate stops the GOP from controlling Congress. During the past half centuries, all the recessions have occurred while the president was a Republican with a supportive Congress.

October 19, 2018

DDT: Week 91 – Violence against Reporters Acceptable

After passing a tax cut for big business and the wealthiest, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) decided that the ballooning deficit is “disturbing.” The GOP solution is to reduce “entitlement programs”—the ones that taxpayers funded and the Republican legislators siphoned off to pay for the military and huge tax cuts for the wealthiest. Voters might want to consider this plan when they vote.

DDT has threatened to protect the Mexican border with military and overturn his shiny new trade agreement with the country if they don’t stop a caravan of Honduran immigrants crossing Mexico. He also plans to cut off foreign aid to Honduras, saving the United States a grand $127 million, equivalent to about a year of DDT’s weekend getaways. The differences of opinion in the White House led to a fight between Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser John Bolton when Bolton dared to criticize DHS director Kirstjen Nielsen’s inability to keep immigrants from crossing the border.

Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and WaPo reporter, wrote about the importance of freedom of the press, the Saudis murdered him, and DDT is protecting Saudi Crown Prince MBS. After denying his death for weeks, Saudi Arabia claimed that he got in a “fist-fight”—presumably with the 15-person death squad sent with a bone saw into the Saudi embassy—and sadly died. DDT called the assumption “credible.” Photos show that members of the murder squad have close ties to Mohammed, including four of them who served as his guards during his visit to the U.S. last March–this 59-year-old man against 15 strong men possessing a bone saw. Here is the piece of trash that Saudi Arabia released. DDT lamented, “This one has caught the imagination of the world, unfortunately.” Everytime he is asked about Khashoggi’s death, DDT says that he doesn’t want to lose $100 billion of arms sales. Now one of the murder squad of 15 has mysteriously died in a car crash.

DDT has restricted access to any information about the murder of Khashoggi by refusing to share any of this information with the Senate. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) described the situation “disappointing.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was derisive about the Saudi story, but most Republicans are covering for DDT by smearing Khashoggi’s reputation using conspiracy theories spread by the radical right-wing press that falsely accuse him of being sympathetic to Islamic terrorism. The GOP support for Saudi Arabia has even erased their memory that 15 of the 19 hijackers attacking the U.S. on 9/11 were Saudis. Saudi Arabia went so far as to claim that 9/11 was an Israeli plot.

Only after Saudi Arabia delivered $100 million to DDT as support for stabilization in northeastern Syria, did DDT agree that Khashoggi was probably dead. The State Department denied any relationship between the money and Mike Pompeo’s discussions with the Saudis about Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia has followed a pattern for paying off countries to support its foreign policies, and it may pay off Turkey for a joint investigation into the murder. Saudi Arabia is looking more and more like ISIS

In his rally this past week, DDT entertained his audience by praising Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) for his physical assault on a Guardian reporter. For the first time, DDT openly cheered a violent act against a journalist in the United States when he expressed his approval of Gianforte because he “body-slammed a reporter.” Gianforte pled guilty to the charge of assault and was sentenced to four days in jail which was changed to 40 hours of community service and a mandated anger-management course. The Guardian US editor, John Mulholland, said:

“The president of the United States tonight applauded the assault on an American journalist who works for the Guardian. To celebrate an attack on a journalist who was simply doing his job is an attack on the first amendment by someone who has taken an oath to defend it.

“In the aftermath of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, it runs the risk of inviting other assaults on journalists both here and across the world where they often face far greater threats. We hope decent people will denounce these comments and that the president will see fit to apologize for them.”

A bizarre continuing story this week focused on the Interior Department where the IG, in the midst of four separate investigations into its secretary, Ryan Zinke, seemed to be fired. HUD Director Ben Carson emailed information about her replacement with Suzanne Israel Tufts, one of his own employees who is a DDT political appointee with no experience in government work. After a report was released showing that Zinke violated his department’s policy on travel, White House officials said they knew nothing about these personnel transactions. Interior Department spokeswoman said that Carson’s email “had 100 percent false information” and the long-term IG is staying.

Zinke permitted his wife to travel in government vehicles while she was assisting in a campaign for a political candidate, tried to make her a “volunteer” to justify his actions, told the department’s top lawyer to lie to the public about the situation, and ordered his security detail to drive an associate to the airport. His decision to take an unarmed security detail on his overseas vacation cost taxpayers $25,000. Other investigations include Zinke’s involvement in a Montana land deal and two Connecticut tribes’ application to open a new casino. Interior Department officials also objected to the new political appointee as the Interior’s IG.

The story didn’t end there, though.  HUD said that the information was just a “mistake” and that Tufts had a job interview for IG elsewhere in the government. She didn’t show up for the appointment and then resigned her HUD position. Although she hadn’t come to her HUD job for the past two months, she had been regularly paid. All of this drama and revelation in less than a week.

More drama came from the First Lady’s self-pity party when she called herself “the most bullied person” in the world during an interview. In 2009 Minnesota GOP Senate candidate Karin Housley compared then-First Lady Michelle Obama to the chimpanzee from 1951’s movie Bedtime for Bonzo. And Michelle Obama did not parade in a cheap “I really don’t care” jacket like Melania Trump did. The GOP has a decade-long record of describing the Obama family as simians. (BTW, Trump also said that her jacket was a putdown on the press.)

Senate Democrats have again learned that they cannot trust their GOP counterparts. They agreed to quick confirmation of 15 more DDT judicial nominees so that they could recess for campaigning. Republicans stayed in Washington to hold hearings on more nominees and claimed that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) had agreed to these hearings. She didn’t. The handful of Republicans attending Wednesday’s hearing moved them forward.

Last Sunday, DDT’s 60 Minutes interview addressed the people he does and does not trust. Here’s a summary:

Asked about climate change, DDT again dragged out his Uncle John and their conversations to prove that he knew best. John Trump, who died in 1985, worked in electronics and X-ray machines. DDT said that he didn’t talk about his uncle about climate change, but he has “a natural instinct for science.”

Farmers—DDT’s base—have a better instinct about climate change, and they are concerned. They may not need to worry about tariffs stopping them from shipping soybeans; almost a foot of rain has turned their crops into a bog. Their fertilizer is running off into the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico to create a dead zone the size of New Jersey that destroys the shrimping industry. Soil is annually disappearing at two to three tons an acre but regenerates at only a half-ton each year. Less soil means less protein in a kernel or pod, and corn becomes higher in starch. Corn yield can also drop by one half within 50 years. Des Moines Water Works faces $100 million in improvement costs because of toxic agricultural chemicals. Minnesota crops are either washed out or weedy. Kansas now requires 100 acres of prairie grass for a calf instead of 40 acres. The huge Ogallala Aquifer, vital to cattle feedlots, is down 150 feet at Dodge City in a little over a half century and may be gone in 20 years. Corn can’t be grown in western Kansas because of the heat.

More people in North Carolina are accepting the fact of climate change after two overwhelming hurricanes in rapid succession. While DDT hosted an insane rant from Kanye West in the Oval Office, needy people are without food, water, and electricity. FEMA director Brock Long told them to be patient, and Florida’s governor Rick Scott, running for U.S. Senate, said that “everyone just needs to help each other.”

Once again, the Republicans have failed, and midterm elections are 18 days away.

October 17, 2018

DDT, Kavanaugh – Liars Running the U.S.

Filed under: Judiciary — trp2011 @ 9:06 PM
Tags: , , ,

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), known for his lies, has concentrated on trying to exonerate Saudi Arabia in its killing of the U.S. reporter Jamal Khashoggi.  First DDT appeared to think that the “problem” would blow over if he just ignored the entire event. Backlash caused him to call the Saudi king about the killing and report that the king doesn’t know anything about it. (DDT has a tendency to support world dictators by appearing to believe their denials, just as he did with Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election.)

In the face of escalating anger from the people of the United States and members of Congress, including Republicans, DDT used the same excuse for exonerating his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh: Khashoggi may have been murdered, but the Saudi royalty isn’t to blame. Somebody else did it. “These could have been rogue killers,” DDT said. He ignored the group of 15 Saudis, one of them a specialist in autopsies and bringing a bone saw, who arrived in Turkey on a private jet about 3:00 in the morning before the murder. Someone tried to maintain that they were “tourists,” but they left the same day—after Khashoggi disappeared into the embassy—as diplomatic pouches left the Saudi embassy in Turkey. Two planes returned the murder squad to Saudi Arabia. When Turkey gained access to the embassy for an investigation, a cleaning crew had preceded them, and some places in the embassy had been freshly painted.

Saudi’s dictator oversaw 48 beheadings in 2018’s first four months; he would have found a single dismembering to be simple. If Saudi Arabia decides to take DDT’s lead in blaming someone not connected with the government, whoever they finger will be killed. DDT can then claim the murdering as proof of “rogue killers.”

DDT maintains that he has “no financial interests” in Saudi Arabia, but he loves Saudis because they give him money. Even Fox network reported on his fiscal involvement. Saudis launder their money by purchasing his apartments in inflated prices, they may give him permits to build his desired hotel in Jeddah if he behaves, a Saudi royal billionaire, Prince Alwaleed bin-Talal bailed out DDT in the 1990s by buying his yacht and a stake in New York’s Plaza Hotel, and they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to stay at his hotel in Washington.

In an attempt to smooth over the problem, DDT sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to tell the Saudi Crown Prince how much DDT loves the prince. Pompeo said that “we need to make sure we are mindful” of the important US-Saudi ties to conclude what happened to Khaghoggi. Every time that reporters ask DDT about Khashoggi, DDT brags about the giant–and possibly non-existent–arms deal with Saudi Arabia. He cannot make the deal on his own, however; Congress must approve the sale of weapons that Saudi Arabia uses to kill civilians in the Middle East. DDT says he’s awaiting the “investigation,” probably as effective as the one into Brett Kavanaugh, and Jared Kushner, the Saudi prince’s BFF is hiding from the situation.

In another continuing lie, DDT constantly makes a big and offensive deal about Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for her comment that she has Native American heritage, going so far as to say that he would donate $1 million to her selection of a charity if she took a DNA test proving her claim. After his usual slur of calling her “Pocahantas,” he said at a rally, “I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian [sic],” he announced. She did, but he now says, “I didn’t say that.” Maybe he doesn’t have the money.

DDT tried to convince Lesley Stahl during an interview on 60 Minutes that he “didn’t really make fun” of Kavanaugh’s victim, Christine Blasey Ford. After Stahl pointed out that he did mock her, and he defended himself by saying that without his ridicule “we would not have won.” DDT continued by stating that he is “bringing people together” in the country instead of the polarization under President Obama immediately before he complained how “horribly” Democrat senators behaved during Kavanaugh’s hearings. Questioned about the “unity” of this action, DDT said he bashed Democrats because they “don’t wanna be healed.” He also dodged questions about why he refuses to accept that Russia meddled in the election and why he has never said anything negative about Putin. DDT did acknowledge that Putin might be involved in assassinations, but that wasn’t criticism about him because assassinations in another country don’t trouble DDT.

DDT and the White House lied about Democrats leaking information about the name of the person who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault. When the media obtained the information, only Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the FBI, and the White House had a copy of the letter. DDT’s theory was that Kavanaugh’s “poor treatment” would help Republicans in the midterm election.

Kavanaugh’s penchant for lying parallels that of DDT. The only difference between the lies by these two men is that Kavanaugh incessantly lied under oath. Here’s a sample, much of it from his last angry testimony when he treated Democrats with great rudeness and showed that he lacks the demeanor to be any judge, let alone a life-time term for the U.S. Supreme Court:

  • Kavanaugh’s grandfather was a Yale graduate, negating his claim that he had no family connections with the school and got in by hard work.
  •  Kavanaugh was not of legal age to drink in high school; he lied about when the law for the drinking age was changed to 18. He also wasn’t of legal drinking age during at Yale during his first couple of years.
  • Witnesses did not “refute Ford’s testimony, a common law from both Kavanaugh and other Republicans: his friends said that they didn’t “remember.”
  • Kavanaugh’s claim that he did not drink to excess was refuted by a large number of classmates who saw him belligerent and stumbling drunk.
  • ”Boofed” refers to anal sex, not flatulence.
  • ”Devil’s Triangle” is a sexual act among two men and one woman, not a “drinking game.” (By now it also describes a disaster!)
  • Kavanaugh’s social group associated with Ford, as indicated by multiple members of his class at Georgetown Prep.
  • Kavanaugh lied about his ignorance of a sexual assault claim against him before a NYT story was released; text messages show that he and his team knew it earlier.
  • Kavanaugh said that he didn’t know if he was “Bart,” but he wrote a letter that he signed Bart.
  • Kavanaugh did not rule in favor of environmental controls “many times,” as he claimed: almost 90 percent of his rulings opposed any attempt to control climate change, and DDT praised him for overruling federal regulators “75 times on cases involving clean air, consumer protections, net neutrality and other issues.”
  • Kavanaugh lied about violating secrecy laws governing grand juries during Bill Clinton’s Ken Starr investigation when he claimed that a Chris Ruddy, peddler of conspiracy theories, gave him information “off the record,” something that doesn’t apply to grand jury secrecy, and then lied to the Senate under oath about having committed this crime.
  • In 2004, Kavanaugh lied about his handling of the controversial nomination of federal Judge William Pryor as emails now show.
  • Kavanaugh lied about his involvement to steal Democratic staff emails connected to judicial confirmations.
  • In 2006, Kavanaugh lied about his involvement in the controversial nomination of federal Judge Charles Pickering and his role in nominating William Haynes, the Pentagon general counsel involved in creating the Bush administration’s interrogation policies.

All the above were lies that Kavanaugh told under oath; he frequently perjured himself. He also lied when he assured Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) that  Roe v. Wade is “settled law”: within the last year he tried to prevent an immigrant girl from getting an abortion by imprisoning her in an ICE facility.

Juries are always directed to follow this instruction:

“If a witness is shown knowingly to have testified falsely about any material matter, you have a right to distrust such witness’ other testimony and you may reject all the testimony of that witness.”

Thus neither DDT nor Kavanaugh can be believed in anything that they say, and they control two of the three branches of government.

October 14, 2018

Persecuting Evangelicals Play the Victim Card

Evangelical Christians are expressing their dismay with the “grotesque caricature” of their faith as they worship Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), a viciously cruel man who ridiculed the victim of sexual assault so that he could “win” and has a long history himself of sexual assaults, even during his three marriages. At a meeting on the campus of conservative Wheaton College, leader Doug Birdsall lamented that the term “evangelical” has negative associations, including its connection with racism and white supremacy. He would like to see the term used for “a person who believes in the authority of the Bible, salvation through Jesus’ work on the cross, personal conversion and the need for evangelism.” Instead, “evangelical” refers to a selfish, power-hungry political movement that takes the side of the devil to be victorious.

In 2008, John McCain described evangelicalism as “agents of intolerance,” and that image has only worsened in the past decade as 80 percent of self-identified evangelical voters support DDT. Thus the image has become the reality as this 80 percent overlook any of DDT’s sins for political expediency. Little has changed since Jerry Falwell’s time of the Moral Majority that was also devoted to political control; it’s just become far more obvious—a distressing position for evangelicals who want people to think that they are Christians, i.e., “like Christ.” Following the Bible, evangelicals concentrate not only on caring for the poor and oppressed but focusing on the Old Testament’s calculating self-centeredness and self-preservation despite evangelicals’ anti-Semitism.

While evangelicals fight their representation at the same time clinging to its manifestation, they falsely play the victim. In a recent survey, white evangelical Christians in the U.S. see themselves experiencing more discrimination that Jews, Muslims, atheists, Latinx, and blacks. No one is burning their churches, beating them up, and taking away their rights, but they claim victimization. Their churches and wealthy leaders aren’t taxed, they get federal funding for Christian schools and repairs of churches, and they control of politics, yet they claim to be victims. At the same time, unarmed black youth are killed, LGBTQ people are exempted from jobs and housing, women are denied reproductive rights, Muslims are physically persecuted, Latinx legally in the country are being deported—the list goes on and on.

Alan Nobel, professor at Oklahoma Baptist University, writes about privileged evangelicals using the Bible to support their persecution complex of victimization. From the beginning of Christianity, believers emulated themselves as persecuted, just like Jesus was, in their glorification of suffering caused by outsiders. The victimized evangelicals operate just as DDT does in bullying others. One young man was told how to behave if he caused a car accident. He should immediately yell at the other person to put them on the defensive. “Maybe the police will believe you,” the young man’s father told him. Republicans falsely attack everyone in their craving for control.

Those who present themselves as being wronged can never see that they are also committing wrongs. They also stop the ability to improve situations by becoming helpless victims. Evangelicals who believe themselves to be victims cannot accept that they strike out at others first; instead they believe only that their faith causes any hardships they face, expecting persecution whether it doesn’t exist.

Evangelicals also get assistance from their belief in an all-powerful God, typically blaming a population such as the LGBTQ community, for all disasters—9/11, hurricanes, etc. The latest blame-game came after Hurricane Michael’s devastation across five states from the Florida panhandle to Virginia. To blame this time, according to Christian “prophet” Mark Taylor, are the Democrats, who are so powerful that they created this destruction because Kavanaugh is now on the Supreme Court.

A semi-secret evangelical society, the Council for National Policy (CNP), are hoping that Kavanaugh will reduce their imaginary persecution by achieving their goal of a theocracy and protect the “religious liberties” that they think is under attack in schools. Members at the celebratory even included Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife, Ginni Thomas; recently retired U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley; former senator and former president of the Heritage Foundation, Jim DeMint; pollster and man who teaches Republicans to twist words to their benefit, Frank Luntz; and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), striver for House Speaker who allegedly did not report the sexual molestation of athletes at Ohio State University.

A new film, Trump Prophecy, is pumping up DDT’s religious image in an adaption of a book co-authored by Mark Taylor, who claimed that he received the message from God in 2011 that the presidency is divinely ordained. The movement, called Independent Network Charismatic (INC) Christianity, believes that anyone who condemns DDT and his election are Satan’s servants. Its leaders, called “apostles,” are popular independent religious entrepreneurs with close ties to such politicians as Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Perry. INC seeks “to bring heaven or God’s intended perfect society to Earth by placing ‘kingdom-minded people’ in powerful positions at the top of all sectors of society.” DDT has cited Norman Vincent Peale, who believes in pro-Christian nationalism (aka white supremacy) and the INC beliefs, as his “major religious influence.”

INC is patterned after the 19th-century New Thought movement that led to the prosperity gospel—religious faith leads to material wealth. The popularity of evangelical Christianity developed when immigrants caused Protestants to lose their control over schools and ability to teach religion in taxpayer public institutions. They tried to institute an amendment proposed during the Civil War to put evangelical Protestant language in the U.S. Constitution, including references to God and Jesus while declaring the Bible “the supreme rule for the conduct of nations.” Like Jeff Sessions, Justice William Strong wanted public acceptance of evangelical Christianity and warned that the Constitution must be made “explicitly Christian” to keep his religion from being “obliterated.”

Fortunately, Strong was opposed by the minister Washington Gladden, religious editor of the New York Independent. Although the publication was evangelical, it did not endorse government support of the religion and argued for “equal footing” instead of special protection. Gladden wrote that a religion that need government protection had no right to exist:

“If our Christianity is of such a flimsy texture that nothing but a constitutional amendment will save it, the sooner it is obliterated the better for the land.”

When Christian leaders began to understand that support for the amendment was a sign of weak faith, they refused to back the Christian amendment. They began to understand that demands for special treatment were averse to both U.S. and Christian values. The United States will be destroyed if a group with this belief does not oppose the evangelical control of the federal government.

Evangelicals may be of help to keep democracy: evangelical Christians who oppose DDT are on a cross-country bus tour to break the GOP control of Congress in the upcoming election. Believing that GOP legislators fail to advocate for Christian values, the “Vote Common Good” bus tour is headed for over 30 congressional districts in 14 Midwestern and Southern states with the hope that Democrats can unseat GOP incumbents. Minneapolis pastor Doug Pagitt said:

“What we’re doing is trying to give courage to people whose hearts are already opened, whose beliefs have already shifted, to say that they can vote and act according to their own beliefs.”

Participants compare the rallies to “revival” meetings with Christian authors, ministers, and activists. They preach voting for issues of concern to Christians such as immigration, health care poverty, and care for the environment. Vote Common Good website encourages people to vote “with religious, racial, and gender minorities” and against policies and politicians who “promise special privileges for any religion, including our own.” Arkansas pastor Robb Ryerse said that he thinks “people are more important than party.” The organization’s support for the Democratic Party is tied to this year’s goal—to shift congressional power away from the GOP as “a reaction to the policies, actions, and tone of the Trump administration and Congress in recent years.”

Nuns on the Bus is also holding rallies during the month of October. I wish both of these efforts luck in overturning the movement to ignore Christian teachings.

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