Nel's New Day

November 26, 2018

Conservative Politicians Continue Far-right Activities

Last week, many people vacationed—including Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) vacationed for Thanksgiving, but politicians kept busy.

Sent to the Pacific Rim APEC trade summit last weekend, VP Mike Pence worsened global affairs of 21 nations representing 60 percent of the world’s economy with his refusal to compromise with China. Instead, China continued bonding with North Korea. The conflict was so bad that the group couldn’t even agree on a routine joint statement for the first time in 30 years. DDT frequently asks people if Pence is loyal. The answers have varied from Pence as a committed warrior to ending his usefulness because DDT needs female voters. One of DDT’s concerns might be Pence’s promise of consequences for the Saudis’ killing U.S. journalist Jamal Khashoggi despite DDT’s attempt to cover for the Saudis.

Two days before Thanksgiving, John Kelly, DDT’s chief of staff, signed a “Cabinet order,” a memo allowing U.S. troops, 5,900 active duty members and 2,100 National Guard members, on the Mexico border to use lethal force. DDT had already left town for Mar-a-Lago. This past weekend, ICE agents fired tear gas, a deadly chemical, at mostly Honduran asylum seekers near the Tijuana port of entry.

Hillary Clinton was pilloried for using a secure private server for her emails, but the GOP refused to criticize Ivanka Trump for using her personal email account that she shared with her husband, Jared Kushner, to send hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials, and her assistants, frequently in violation of federal records rules. When she first joined the White House, she claimed all access and perks of the White House with none of the legal responsibilities or constraints. Maybe investigations by the FBI and Congress? Or cries of “Lock her up” and “Crooked Ivanka”?

Lame duck House Republicans subpoenaed former FBI director James Comey and former DOJ AG Loretta Lynch to appear in private hearings this week. Comey said he is willing to appear in an open hearing but not a closed one:

“While the authority for Congressional subpoenas is broad, it does not cover the right to misuse closed hearings as a political stunt to promote political as opposed to legislative agendas.”

DDT’s appointment of lap dog Matthew Whitaker as acting DOJ AG may fail to give him protection. According to an argument in court from the Robert Mueller investigation team:

“The validity of the Special Counsel’s appointment [in May 2017] cannot be retroactively affected by a change in the official who is serving as the Acting Attorney General.”

Two rulings, one by a DDT-appointed judge, have already upheld the constitutionality of Mueller’s appointment. Three Senate Democrats are also suing to have Whitaker removed on constitutional and legal grounds.

The U.S. Supreme Court is taking a case about whether Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’ decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census, an odd move because the case is already being heard in a New York court with closing arguments next week. The Constitution requires an accurate count of the population every ten years, something that will be lost if the estimated 24+ million people avoid the census because of fear. The census is used not only for congressional districting but allocation of federal funds, disaster and epidemic preparedness, and other government support. Ross has skipped the lengthy approval process about new survey questions and lied when he said that the DOJ had requested the addition of a citizenship question to enforce the Voting Rights Act. The Department of Commerce has only six months to submit the information to printers.

More people may not participate in the census after DDT’s proposal that census information be shared with law enforcement, an illegal action under the Census Act of 1879. In 1954, Congress passed a law stating that the Commerce Department cannot share its census data with any other government agency or court with up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines for violation. Only Congress can change this law. When Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) asked acting assistant attorney general John Gore about data being disclosed “for law enforcement or national security purposes,” DOJ attorney Ben Aguinaga answered, “I don’t think we want to say too much there in case the issues . . . or related issues come up later for renewed debate.” In other words, maybe.

DDT may not get the trade agreement similar to and replacing NAFTA that he proudly announced weeks ago. Republican lawmakers are furious about the nondiscrimination protections of sexual orientation and gender identity included by Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Several GOP members of Congress object to the new trade agreement because of this one provision, but it must be passed by the end of the year to avoid the Democratic majority in the House on the first of January. Congress has just 12 days to not only pass the agreement but also agree on the farm bill and keep the government from shutting down on December 7 with DDT threatening to allow this to happen if he doesn’t get his wall.

Farmers hurt by DDT’s tariffs are promised $12 billion say they don’t want to be on the dole, but they’re not even getting the promised welfare. Only $838 million of authorized $6 billion has been paid out because farmers cannot apply until harvests are completed for the season, harvests delayed by bad weather. Soybean sales shrank by 94 percent from last year, and the subsidy covers less than half the farmers’ losses. China pork tariffs that responded to DDT’s steel and aluminum tariffs cost farmers $2 billion. Partners with farmers also get government money; Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) might get $125,000, the subsidy cap. Farmers may permanently lose their foreign countries for crops, and DDT’s tariffs may force the U.S. to keep borrowing money from China to pay for farmers.

For the second year in a row, DDT is skipping the Kennedy Center Honors, again because he doesn’t feel comfortable.

While people in the U.S. complain about Russia interfering with elections, DDT campaign worker and sycophant Steve Bannon played a role in the UK passing Brexit, supporting the nation’s separation from the European Union. Emails dating back to October 2015 reveal that Bannon, former VP of Cambridge Analytic, participated in the campaign to persuade UK voters in supporting the separation from EU. Like the U.S. the UK has laws to stop foreign companies from manipulating UK affairs.

Mississippi votes for a U.S. senator in a runoff tomorrow; the GOP candidate, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, announced last Tuesday that it was on November 22, the day of her announcement, but that was Thanksgiving. After her lauding public hangings, a number of large companies—including Aetna, AT&T, Boston Scientific, Leidos, Pfizer, Union Pacific, and Walmart—asked her to return their donations. DDT, who failed to attending lacked the time to go to Arlington National Cemetery close to the White House or visit military members on Veterans Day, extended his Thanksgiving vacation to give two campaign rallies in Mississippi today for the GOP Senate candidate.

Since the midterm elections when the Senate election to replace Jeff Sessions, who resigned to become AG before he was fired, several revelations have caused concern for Republicans about Hyde-Smith’s success. After she talked favorably about public hangings (aka lynchings), she suggested that black students should not be able to vote. Photos of her posing with Confederate artifacts at the “Shrine of [treasonous] Jefferson Davis” and the caption “Mississippi history at its best!” were accompanied by information that she promoted a measure praising a Confederate soldier’s effort to “defend his homeland” and pushed a revisionist view of the Civil War. She not only attended a private high school to avoid integrated schools but also enrolled her daughter in a “segregation academy.” The daughter graduated in 2017.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), considering a run for president, gave an interview to the New York Times about the reading habits of himself and his family. An analysis of his 33 book recommendations show all were written by white authors. Sasse’s three children, ages 17, 15, and 8, are homeschooled, probably reading no books of people by color.

The Ohio state House argued that “Motherhood is necessary” to ban abortions at six weeks, before a pregnancy appears on an ultrasound which is not medically recommended. The law is unconstitutional unless the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Even if the bill passes the state Senate, it cannot become law without Gov. John Kasich’s signature because Gov.-elect Mike DeVine cannot sign a bill passed by the legislature before he takes office.

On the more positive side, Maine will have Medicaid expansion after the departure of rabidly right-wing Gov. Paul LePage. He had refused to follow orders from the state Supreme Court to obey a vote by the people.

A U.S. district court judge ordered ICE to release over 100 Iraqis from detention centers and jails in Michigan after they had been there for more than a year. They are to be released within 30 days under “orders of supervision” and allowed to return to their homes. The majority of the detainees had been living in the U.S. for decades. Although they committed criminal offenses, they had served their time and been living “peaceably in their respective communities” since then, according to the ruling. The opinion also cites ICE’s refusal to provide documents to detainees’ attorneys, and the judge wrote that he will be issuing sanctions against ICE. Detainees had not been permitted in-person visits from family and friends, and the majority would be persecuted and even murdered if they were forced to return to Iraq because they are Christians.

November 25, 2018

Climate Report Projects Disaster with DDT’s Policies

Filed under: Climate change — trp2011 @ 8:43 PM
Tags:

The U.S. government tried to bury a disastrous government climate report this past week by releasing it the day after Thanksgiving. CNN aided and abetted the debacle by allowing twice-failed presidential candidate Rick Santorum to spread his toxic misinformation about climate change on a network that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) claims is “fake news.” When Santorum speaks, DDT is right.

CNN paid Santorum to accuse scientists knowledgeable about climate change of being “driven by money” and praised DDT for burying the government-funded report. He grins when he is told, “California was literally burning last week. This is not normal.” At least 97 percent of climate scientists agree that the last century’s climate change is “extremely likely” due to human activities, but Santorum collects money for disagreeing.

Every four years, Congress requires the National Climate Assessment—the most comprehensive scientific study thus far, describing the effects of climate change on the U.S. economy, public health, coastlines, and infrastructure. DDT’s political appointees wanted to water down the 1,656-page findings by 300 scientists from 13 federal agencies, but doing so would violate the law. Instead, they released it on Black Friday with the hopes that no one would notice its conclusions.

Climate change can reduce ten percent of the U.S. GDP, over double that of the recession of 2008. Already the growing disaster has increased water scarcity in dry areas, drenching downpours in wet regions, and more recurring severe heat waves and wildfires. To slow down climate change, President Obama’s policy, the Clean Power Plan, tried to cut planet-warming emissions from coal-fired power plants and helped broker the Paris Agreement.

Climate change costs by the end of the century: $141 billion from heat-related deaths, $118 billion from sea level rise, and $32 billion from infrastructure damage by the end of the century. Damaging weather cost the U.S. nearly $400 billion since 2015, and extreme heat could cost over one-half billion labor hours by 2100 in just the Southeast.

Solutions to slow climate change: A price such as taxes or fees on greenhouse gas emissions, government regulations on greenhouse pollution, and government funding on clean-energy research.

Affects on regions: droughts curbing hydropower and increasingly limited water supplies in the Southwest, coastal flooding and erosion from loss of sea ice in Alaska, greater flooding in the Midwest that destroys crops and can shut down nuclear power plants as it did in 2011, more frequent wildfires in the Southeast, saltwater-tainted drinking water in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, death from heat waves, and increased disease outbreaks. This interactive map shows the increase in heat throughout the U.S. Since I was born, the number of days over 90 degrees in my hometown has increased by about 8 percent; by the end of the century, the number will have increased by over another 50 percent.

Trade disruptions: Shuttering factories in the world, including the United States, from extreme weather events caused by import and export prices. For example, extreme 2011 flooding in Thailand doubled hard drive prices from Western Digital, a U.S. company producing 60 percent of hard drives for companies such as Apple, HP, and Dell.

Agricultural risks: Declines in crop yields and quality throughout the world from rising temperatures, drought, wildfires on rangelands, heavy downpours, and extreme heat accompanied by problems with livestock health.

The Guardian quoted these pieces from the report:

“[The] earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities. The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States and are projected to intensify in the future.”

Average sea levels along the US coast have increased by around 9 inches since the early 20th century as the oceans have warmed and land ice has melted.

Fisheries, tourism, human health and public safety are being “transformed, degraded or lost due in part to climate change impacts, particularly sea level rise and higher numbers of extreme weather events.”

Wildfires have burned at least 3.7 million acres in the U.S. in all but three years from 2000 to 2016. “More frequent and larger wildfires, combined with increasing development at the wildland-urban interface portend increasing risks to property and human life.”

More than 100 million people in the U.S. live in places with poor air quality, and climate change will “worsen existing air pollution levels.” Increased wildfire smoke risks heightening respiratory and cardiovascular problems, while the prevalence of asthma and hay fever is also likely to rise.

Major groundwater supplies have declined over the last century, with this decrease accelerating since 2001. “Significant changes in water quantity and quality are evident across the country,” the report finds.

Climate change will “disrupt many areas of life” by hurting the US economy, affecting trade and exacerbating overseas conflicts. Low-income and marginalized communities will be worst hit.

What DDT is doing with climate change:

  • Promotes planet-warming pollution from vehicle tailpipes and power plans.
  • Suppresses alternative renewable energy sources.
  • Pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, supported by almost all countries in the world.
  • Cut back the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Ended the current moratorium on coal mining leases.
  • Fast-tracked new fossil fuel proposals and supported new fossil fuel infrastructure. This includes opening up almost 77 acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling.
  • Eliminated regulations including President Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
  • Dropped a requirement for mining companies to prove they had enough funds to clean up the pollution they cause.
  • Auctioned off land for fracking.
  • Signed legislation to open up Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas drilling,
  • Plans to use taxpayer money to keep coal power stations open.
  • Said that global warming is a hoax invented by the Chinese to attack U.S. manufacturing.
  • Appointed climate change sceptics and denying advisers and Cabinet members from the dirty-energy industry.
  • Ordered the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, an action temporarily stopped by the courts.
  • Ridiculed the idea of climate change because of the Northeastern cold snap. (Think about Jim Inhoff (R-OK) carrying a snowball onto the Senate floor as proof against climate change.)

Over a month ago, DDT was asked about the climate report from the United Nations. He had no answer except for wanting to know “who drew it.” That was the end of any comment from DDT regarding the scientific findings from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. A week later he did comment during a 60 Minutes interview about climate change, “I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again.”

The document states:

“It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”

White House spokesman Raj Shah used the “changing climate” excuse for the upcoming disaster while deputies of former EPA director removed the above conclusions about human influence from its websites earlier this year. The agency removed pages existing for years that provided information about scientific causes of global warming, consequences, and methods of mitigation and/or adaption. The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management no longer provides access to documents assessing the danger that future warming poses to deserts in the Southwest. The U.S. Geological Survey removed the term “climate change” in a press release from its scientists’ article in Nature about the affect of climate change and human population growth on places where rain-fed agriculture could thrive.

Over 25 coastal U.S. cities are suffering from far more flooding: king tides frequently raise the ground water in Miami into the streets because it’s built on limestone. A rise of over eight feet, possible by the end of the century, could inundate the city, and the United States is doing nothing about the problem.

Prior to the release of the report, DDT tweeted:

“Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?”

Like Inhoff and other climate change deniers, DDT confuses weather and climate. Sad.

November 24, 2018

DDT: Week 96 – New ‘Normal’ for Thanksgiving

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 9:03 PM
Tags: , , , ,

Between tweets and personal appearances, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) spent much of his “working” time early Thanksgiving week trying to deflect attention about real issues.

  • Issue: Investigating acting AG Matthew Whitaker; response, reference to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), new Intelligence Committee chairman, as “little Adam Schitt” while DDT’s wife continues her program against cyber bullying.
  • Issue: Concerns from retired Adm. Bill McRaven, the former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, about DDT’s attack on the free press; response, false claim that McRaven is a “Hillary Clinton fan” and didn’t capture Osama bin Ladin in a timely fashion.
  • Issue: The deadliest fire in California history; response, lies about “gross mismanagement of the forests” because they didn’t rake the forest as Finland does. (Fact: Finland has an early warning system, aerial surveillance system, and an extensive network of forest roads; the country also pays local aviation clubs to fly over the most threatened areas of forest so that fires will be found before they go out of control. California is also much warmer and drier than Finland and has vegetation much likelier to catch on fire. During his visit to Paradise, DDT also called the town “Pleasure”—twice.) Next DDT lie: fire mitigation raises 2019 budget by $500,000. Didn’t happen and none of his officials or members of Congress know anything about this.
  • Issue: climate change; response, “I want great climate.”
  • Issue: GOP midterm election losses; response, after claiming that the election was a referendum on him, “I didn’t run. I wasn’t running. My name wasn’t on the ballot.”
  • Issue: Not going to Arlington on Veterans Day; response, “I was extremely busy on calls for the country…. I should have and I did last year.” (DDT had nothing on his schedule, he sent a large number of tweets accusing Florida of rigging the election and Democrats for dropping the stock market, and he was in Asia on Veterans Day 2017.)

Maybe Saudi’s Crown Prince did torture and dismember a U.S. journalist in its Turkish embassy, DDT said, but he’s not going to do anything about the murder. Saudi Arabia is a “great spectacular ally,” according to DDT, meaning that they give DDT lots of money for his personal use and nothing will change in the U.S.-Saudi relationship. DDT also lied about Saudi Arabia investing $450 billion dollars in the U.S. economy, about Saudi’s war in Yemen in response to Iranian intervention, about hundreds of thousands of jobs, and about right-wing smear that the murdered Jamal Khashoggi was a “member of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Facts: Only $14.5 billion in military purchases have been confirmed, and the number of jobs is under 17,500 for a full $110 billion in sales possible. Khashoggi was not part of the Muslim brotherhood. The end of the statement was DDT’s support for a foreign murdering dictator over his own nation’s intelligence that concluded Mohammed bin Salam ordered Khashoggi’s dismemberment and assassination. “It’s a shame, but it is what it is,” DDT said on his way to Mar-a-Lago today.

DDT’s message: He’ll overlook murder if somebody pays him.

DDT continued last Sunday with his long list of lies in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox: his White House runs “like a well-oiled machine”; he “did well in France”; he didn’t know the deputy national security advisor who Melania Trump fired but “she was with me for a long time”; he didn’t know that his new acting AG Matthew Whitaker had any “views on the Mueller investigation” but Whitaker was right in “no collusion”; he won’t meet Robert Mueller as promised and he won’t give written answers about obstruction of justice as promised; he’s not responsible for Democrats elected to the House but did cause Republican elections to the Senate; and he has an “A+” for his presidential ranking.

DDT also said he refuses to hear the Jamal Khashoggi tape while he was tortured and dismembered because it’s a “suffering” tape.

Thanksgiving messages from DDT:

Criticism of a court ruling: “Justice Roberts can say what he wants, but the 9th Circuit is a complete & total disaster.” (Followed by his holiday greetings to the armed forces: “We get a lot of bad court decisions from the Ninth Circuit.”)

Khashoggi’s murder: “It’s a mean & nasty world out there, the Middle East in particular.” (Followed in person by “Maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a vicious place.”)

Four minutes later: “HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!”

DDT’s fury with the 9th Circuit Court came from Judge Jon S.Tigar, not a member of the 9th Circuit Court, who temporarily blocked DDT’s plan to keep asylum seekers out of the United States. Tigar wrote, “Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden.” DDT accused Tigar of being an “Obama” judge although he’s kept silent about his own appointments who ruled twice against him in the last week.

DDT’s failure in this attempt follows others when court injunctions blocked his executive orders for punishment of “sanctuary cities,” denial of DACA protections to Dreamers, and “zero tolerance” separating migrant parents and their children. Other DDT losses include the Keystone XL Pipeline, press access to the White House, and the Emoluments Clause.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (D-IA), 85, may be developing memory loss. In response to Chief Justice John Roberts’ rebuke of DDT for denouncing the 9th Circuit Court, Grassley said that he doesn’t remember Roberts’ criticizing President Obama for his statement that the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United would open the floodgates of wealthy and foreign interests through donations. Roberts praised the “independent judiciary, but President Obama was right in his statements. Roberts did express “concern” for the former’s president’s comments. DDT snapped back at Roberts to claim that there are “Obama” judges; he’s ignoring the recent “Trump justice” who stated a partisan position under oath in a hearing.

DDT displayed more anger at the courts on Friday when a justice from the New York Supreme Court denied his request to dismiss the lawsuit against himself and the Trump Foundation alleging that the so-called charitable foundation violated both state and federal laws for “more than a decade.” The suit claims illegal actions such as improper political activity, “self-dealing transactions,” and refusal to “implement even elementary corporate formalities required by law.”  Justice Saliann Scarpulla rejected the arguments that “a sitting president may not be sued” and that the state court lacks jurisdiction over the president in this case. Her decision means that the case can proceed and may help other cases against DDT in New York and other states, including a defamation case from Summer Zervos.

DDT proved that he controls the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA). The featured speaker for its annual dinner on 4/27/19 is Ron Chernow, biographer of founding fathers Alexander Hamilton and George Washington. Gone are the comedians: DDT didn’t like them. The question is whether anyone else can crack jokes. Another question is how the press will continue to cave. Having gotten rid of the featured comedian at the dinner, DDT said that he might go to the dinner this year, but someone should tell him that the planned speaker called him a “demagogue.”

DDT made $4.2 million for his private businesses from GOP campaign events.

Next week, business as usual. DDT offered to keep the government from shutting down if Congress gives him a wall. Then he went golfing.

DDT kept the Senate in the recent midterm elections, but a conservative publication predicts a substantially slowing economy in the next two years. Goldman Sachs projected the GDP down to 1.8 percent and 1.6 percent in the third and fourth quarters of 2019.

After avoiding service members for 96 weeks, DDT might want to pay them a little visit. His support has fallen in the past two years over two points to under 44 percent while those disapproving of him have gone from 37 percent to over 43 percent. Female service members have a 28 percent approval rating of DDT while males have 47 percent.

This past week, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a safety alert about dangerous E. coli bacteria in romaine lettuce, calling on grocery stores to remove all the produce and restaurants to discard it. Earlier this year, five people died in 210 cases in 36 states.

Thanksgiving is a time to say what you are thankful for, and I always say, “My friends.” Most commanders in chief praise service members in harm’s way; DDT said, “I made a tremendous difference in our country.” In a Coast Guard station, he posed for pictures and told officials that he would give them $100 if they could break par at his golf course. It’s the new normal.

November 20, 2018

Make Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 9:51 PM
Tags: , , ,

A group of conservative Democrats elected to the 116th Congress—some of them new to the House—seem determined to sabotage the possibility of success for their party in a hard-won election. Their goal is to keep Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) from taking the gavel for Speaker of the House; some of them even ran on that promise.

Sixteen House Democrats signed a letter that stated:

“We promised to change the status quo and we intend to deliver on that promise. Therefore, we are committed to voting for new leadership in both our Caucus meeting and on the House floor.”

These are the people who signed the letter. Please note that Ben McAdams is ahead of GOP Mia Love, but the race has not yet been declared.

  • Anthony Brindisi (D-NY)
  • Jim Cooper (D-TN)
  • Joe Cunningham (D-SC)
  • Bill Foster (D-IL)
  • Brian Higgins (D-NY)
  • Stephen Lynch (D-MA)
  • Seth Moulton (D-MA)
  • Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)
  • Kathleen Rice (D-NY)
  • Max Rose (D-NY)
  • Tim Ryan (D-OH)
  • Linda Sanchez (D-CA)
  • Kurt Schrader (D-OR)
  • Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ)
  • Ben McAdams (D-UT)

The media touts these signatories as “moderate Democrats,” but they are conservative. Those already in the House voted at least 20 percent of the time with the wishes of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), and one of them supported DDT over 38 percent of the time. At least four of the eleven sitting representatives are listed as “Blue Dogs,” a caucus of conservative Democrats.

The letter from 16 people, primarily men, shows that they have no alternative for leadership and no goals other than “change.” DDT was elected because people wanted “change.” If Democrats are going to save the nation from the “Trump Party,” they need to operate as a unit. Keeping leadership from a person who has shown great skill at unity and success can guarantee that DDT and his base will destroy democracy.

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), who was suggested as a candidate for Speaker, announced today that she is supporting Pelosi.

Joe Conason wrote the following piece about Pelosi that expresses my feelings. If you agree with Conason’s position below and one of the dissenters is your representative, please contact him or her to give your opinion. I certainly am.

The tiny faction of Democrats who aim to block Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s election as House speaker are only missing two things: a candidate of their own and a rationale that makes sense.

The easier problem is the absence of a candidate, even though the members who have been mentioned so far seem small when measured against Pelosi, who is often described with superlatives such as “formidable” and even “legendary.” And most of her declared opponents within the Democratic caucus are white men, so they may have trouble persuading colleagues that ousting history’s first female speaker to install one of them would be an uplifting change.

Presumably, that is why they have seized upon Rep. Marcia Fudge, a disgruntled Ohio Democrat who has suggested she might challenge Pelosi. But at age 66, Fudge hardly represents “generational change,” as one of her promoters claimed, and she may have trouble explaining why, as a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, its members have shot down her trial balloon. The heroic Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., for instance, says that Pelosi is “a great leader” whom he supports “more than 100 percent.”

Nor has Fudge articulated an inspiring charter for revolution. She calls Pelosi “an elitist,” whatever that may mean, and “a very wealthy person who raises lots of money from other wealthy people.” At the same time, she concedes that Pelosi “has been a very good leader,” and says, “I just think it’s time for a new one.”

But if Pelosi is a very good leader, then why do they need a new one, exactly? The hollow sound of Fudge’s critique echoes in the remarks of her fellow complainants. They say that Democratic leadership needs “new blood” or “new leadership.” They note their pledges to constituents to oppose Pelosi, although the reason behind those pledges has never been made clear either. Is it because Republicans keep smearing her?

The putative leader of the anti-Pelosi faction, Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., used to say that Pelosi had to go because the Democrats were losing elections. (That was sometime after he wrote a gushing letter in June 2016 thanking her for his appointment to the House Armed Services Committee.) Now he grumbles that she is “arrogant” for thinking “she’s the only person who can do this.”

She may not be the only one who can do this — lead the House Democrats against a would-be authoritarian president and his senatorial rubber stamps — but there is no evidence that anyone else available can do it nearly as well.

Forget the obvious fact that against the predictions of critics like Moulton, she led the caucus to a smashing midterm victory. Her qualifications are personal. She is seasoned, cool and not intimidated by any of her avowed adversaries in either party. She knows how to craft legislation and count votes, as she has proved repeatedly since President Trump entered the White House — most notably during last year’s budget negotiations, when she ate the Republicans’ lunch. Any Democrat who thinks replacing Pelosi will advance progressive goals should take a closer look at Moulton and his buddies. Deposing her would most likely deliver the gavel to Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the resolutely centrist minority whip. (He is a year older than she is and not half the leader.)

It is remarkable that in this hour of constitutional confrontation, fomented by a president who violates his oath and endangers national security every day, a rump group of House Democrats insists its most important mission is to overthrow the woman who returned them to power. It is astonishing that this group plans to carry the grudge onto the House floor come Jan. 3, even knowing that it will lose a vote within the caucus by an overwhelming majority. (So far the group has 16 votes out of roughly 235, depending how a few lingering races are resolved.) And it is disturbing that they would ignore their duty to hinder Trump’s depredations, instead rupturing the only institution with the will and authority to oppose him.

There is a good reason that Republicans have sought to demonize this highly effective and determined woman. Unlike most Democrats, she has shown the ability to beat them. And that is the best reason to elect her.

Women were a strong movement behind electing the House majority of Democrats, and UnidosUS, a leading Latinx civil rights organization, has endorsed her as has the International Association of Fire Fighters and nine military veterans serving in the House. Pelosi managed to get the Affordable Care Act passed eight years ago, the issue that may have put the Democrats back into House leadership. Yet 14 men have decided to sign a letter that sends the message that a woman is not good enough for the position. These men should understand that their opposition to Pelosi with no justification may not keep the electorate that they need for the future.

November 19, 2018

Midterm Elections: A Postmortem

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 11:43 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

EPA/CHRIS TODD

The midterm elections of 2018 are winding down. Only two House races are still undecided, a Georgia Republican ahead by 29 votes out of over 280,000 votes and a Utah Democrat with a 739-vote lead with 270,000 votes. Without those two decisions, Democrats gained 38 seats to have the majority of 233 to the 200 GOP seats. Georgia will definitely go to a recount. In the Senate, four Democrats lost their seats, and two Republicans lost theirs. With the determination that Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott took the U.S. Senate seat, the Senate settled in with 52 Republicans out of 100 as it waits for the election in Mississippi on November 27. Usually, that state would automatically pick a Republican, but Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (left) has made a poor showing lately, seeming to laud lynching and criticized the legality of black college students voting.

Now that Republicans won three important races—Florida’s governor and U.S. senator and Georgia’s governor—Scott and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) decided that the elections are not rigged. The question will always be there, however, as the winning GOP Florida candidate for senator and Georgia candidate for governor control the elections that they won.

An opinion piece by Abe Rakov in conservative USA Today states:

“We’re seeing Republican politicians run a political strategy to manipulate who can vote and, ultimately, remake the electorate in their favor. They’re trying to rig our elections because they don’t think they can win any other way. It’s cheating, it’s wrong and it’s anti-democratic.

“Jason Kander and I started Let America Vote in 2017 to create political consequences for politicians who try to stop eligible voters from voting. Over 65,000 people across the country have signed up to volunteer to help us in that effort. Through this November and beyond, Let America Vote is going to fight back against these proposals because our democracy is bigger than politicians who will do anything to win an election.”

Florida GOP Influence over Voting:

Scott kept the painfully inept election supervisor Brenda Snipes in her position after many missteps, one of which took her to court. Kitty Garber, research director and co-founder of the nonpartisan Florida Fair Elections Coalition, said that Snipes’ “behavior has disproportionately harmed Democratic candidates. When absentee ballots go missing in largely Democratic Broward County, you can be sure that most of them belong to Democratic voters.”

Scott also tried to use law enforcement to control the voting process and filed several lawsuits.

Truthout did a detailed analysis of data available in the election to show how computer software can manipulate voter outcome and what happened in Florida.

Absentee ballots may not have been counted if they were locked in a mail facility after the Florida man sent pipe bombs through the USPS.

The pastor of a church posted this sign when it was used as a polling place:

Don’t vote for Democrats on Tuesday and sing, ‘Oh how I love Jesus’ on Sunday.”

Georgia GOP Influence over Voting:

The GOP may use voter suppression in Georgia as a model for future efforts.

Brian Kemp, the candidate for governor and coincidentally state secretary of state, “doxed” 291,164 absentee voters by posting their personal details online for anyone to download. “Doxing” has become a common harassment practice of posting people’s personal information, including addresses, phone numbers, and even Social Security numbers.

Some voters waited over four hours to vote in suburban Atlanta. The state installed only three voting machines in a Fulton County polling place; Atlanta is in Fulton County. In other areas, the voting machines were broken or automatically registered Kemp’s name when voters selected his opponent.

Kemp refused to have any paper trail for the voting machines.

Voters also faced intimidation in several states:

Texas (where Rep. Beto O’Rourke narrowly lost to Sen. Ted Cruz by 220,000 votes out of 8.3 million): An election judge was filmed screaming at a black voter and threatening to call the police when the voter asked where she was supposed to vote. The DHS had planned a “crowd-control” exercise near a Latinx neighborhood in El Paso but decided to cancel the exercise after critics pointed out its intimidation effort.

Virginia: A DDT supporter stood outside a polling place with a German Shepherd that barked at voters. A member of the GOP said that the man is a known, excited DDT supporter who would do no harm.

Idaho: Intimidating signs regarding student voting were posted at polling places.

Tennessee: Five or six men outside a polling place told voters they should not be voting.

Indiana: At least one voting machine refused to accept votes for Democrats.

Arizona: Republicans sued to keep mail-in ballots from being counted because the 15 county recorders done have the same standard for adjusting problems. Two counties being sued allow people to verify their signatures up to five days after the election; both are major Democratic-leaning urban counties. (Democrat Kyrsten Sinema finally won her election for U.S. Senate.)

Those who criticize Democrats for more wins or claim that Republicans are better because the Dems picked up “only” 38 to 40 seats in the House aren’t aware of the control on elections from the GOP gerrymandering. Wisconsin is a classic case. This chart tells it all: Democrats won in all state elections and cast more votes for people in the state legislature while losing almost two-thirds of the seats. State assembly Democratic minority leader Gordon Hintz pointed out the lack of competitive districts, the reason that a district court ruled the legislative maps unconstitutional. The case, Gill v. Whitford, went to the Supreme Court, which sent it back to a lower federal court. These maps

Richard Hasen wrote that Wisconsin’s continued gerrymandering is thanks to retired Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy. Last summer, the court unanimously determine that plaintiffs had not proved they had standing to sue because they didn’t suffer direct injury. In 2004, Kennedy demanding a “workable standard” to decide if partisan decisions on district crossed a constitutional line. The court managed to avoid making any decision about whether the U.S. Constitution forbids gerrymandering and, if so, standards for decisions. The Republicans in Wisconsin draw the districts to favor Republicans so that Republicans can continue drawing districts to favor Republicans.

A contrast in House districts can be found in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. After a court order mandated redrawing districts, Pennsylvania went from solidly GOP to one evenly split. North Carolina stayed overwhelmingly GOP with the Republican-drawn map despite an even split in party votes for the delegation members. Associated Press determined that more states have GOP-tilted districts than Democratic ones.

Karma came to the GOP sponsor of the restrictive North Dakota law mandating that no one (aka Native Americans) could vote if they didn’t have an ID with a street address. A Native American Democrat beat him in the election. And the Georgia secretary of state vote goes into a runoff on December 4.

This election breakdown as of November 16 shows the great diversity of Democrats in the 116th Congress, starting in January 2019. Of the 36 women additions to the House this coming year, one is a Republican.

 

 

November 17, 2018

DDT: Week 95 – ‘Sound & Fury’

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 12:08 AM

The midterm elections changed Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Despite his declaration that the Democratic takeover of the House and many more state elected officials, including governors, the sullen DDT roars like a wounded bear.

During the past ten days:

  • DDT fired Jeff Sessions as DOJ Attorney General.
  • He tried to protect himself from Robert Mueller’s investigation by appointing a possible crrok and “constitutional nobody,” in the words of George Conway, the husband of DDT’s legal counsel Kellyanne Conway.
  • The Wall Street Journal published information about how intelligence found evidence that he personally broke campaign laws.
  • DDT created a war with French president Emmanuel Macron before his trip to Paris.
  • He attacked UK Prime Minister Theresa May who had called him to congratulate him on his “election victory” by telling her that she isn’t doing enough to contain Iran, questioning her work on Brexit, and complaining on trade deals.
  • He couldn’t be bothered to commemorate the dead soldiers that U.S. sent to World War I that ended 100 years ago.
  • DDT didn’t bother to walk with the other 60 leaders attending the Paris Peace Forum but enthusiastically greeted Vladimir Putin.
  • He’s sent hysterical tweets, accusing voter fraud in Arizona and Florida after Democrats narrowed the gap in voters from the Republicans.
  • DDT’s wife fired his deputy national security advisor, John Bolton’s second in command on the National Security Council, over a conflict regarding airplane seats during her Africa trip. FLOTUS’ action has led to a new verb, as in “You’ve been Melaniad.”
  • Kim Jong-Un, who DDT claims sent him “beautiful letters” after the two of them “fell in love” (DDT’s words), keeps building undeclared missile operating bases used to disperse mobile launchers for ballistic missiles, at least 20, after DDT announced they had agreed Kim would not continue.
  • Robert Mueller’s investigation shows increased interest in Dmitri Rybolovlev, the Russian oligarch, who bought Donald Trump’s Palm Beach mansion in 2008 for $95 million and never lived in the mold-infested property after he was detained and questioned in Monaco on charges of corruption.
  • DDT’s national debt just topped $1 trillion, headed to $1.3 trillion for the year—145 percent increase from 2017. This from the man who promised to eliminate the national debt.
  • DDT-appointed Judge Dabney Friedrich refused to drop Mueller’s charges against Russian firm Concord Management and Consulting for attempting to swing public opinion for the U.S. election through social media posts.
  • GM and Honda are ignoring DDT’s proposed rollback of fuel-economy standards and plan to proceed with its zero-emission vehicle sales program instead of manufacturing one type of car for 13 states, including California, with higher standards and another set for the other states.

Fox network is also deserting DDT. Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro did give partisan speeches at a campaign rally before the midterm elections, but last month Fox’s chief anchor Shepard Smith said that the caravan from Central America—which hasn’t been mentioned since the election—isn’t an invasion. He said, “No one is coming to get you.” Ralph Peters, longtime Fox military analyst, quit. He gave the three divisions for the network: those who see DDT as “the new messiah”; cable news opportunists who fell in line; and respectable hosts who are “disgusted by what goes on there.” Fox filed an amicus brief in support of CNN when it sued the White House for pulling press credentials from its reporter, Jim Acosta.

Federal Judge Timothy Kelly, a DDT appointee, ruled that Acosta must temporarily be returned his pass to White House briefings until next week’s decision about the case. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had taken the pass with the lied that he “laid hands” on an intern who was trying to take Acosta’s microphone. Kelly determined that White House procedures likely violated the Fifth Amendment, with the constitutional commitment “of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” suggesting that the White House needed to provide a reason and the opportunity for the reporter to contest the action. The precedent comes from Sherrill v. Knight, in which the Washington editor of The Nation was denied a pass. A judge determined that after the White House must guarantee freedom of the press because it “voluntarily decided to establish press facilities for correspondents who need to report therefrom.” Any refusal required notice and the opportunity to respond. No pass can be denied for “less than compelling reasons” because of the First Amendment. “He’s annoying” is insufficient. The White House used a doctored video for its justification; the judge called the intern claim “likely untrue” and “partly based on evidence of questionable accuracy.”

A huge disaster for DDT is the CIA report that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the torture and dismembering of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its embassy in Instanbul last month. DDT wants to keep MBS’s friendship to keep getting oil from his country and continues to support him. Part of DDT’s strategy to appease Turkey for not punishing Saudi is to return Fethullah Gulen, a 77-year-old ailing religious scholar who has sought asylum for 20 years, to Turkey for possible torture and assassination by President Recep Erdogan. The White House says that he has no plan for this, but the State Department is looking into Gulen’s return—although it’s just a coincidence and has nothing to do with MBS or DDT. The spokesperson for the State Department said that the case is handled by DOJ that says it knows nothing about extraditing Gulen to Turkey.

According to the conservative Wall Street Journal, Michael Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., met with Erdoğan’s associates to plot the kidnapping of Gulen and deliver him to Turkey in exchange for $15 billion. At the time, Flynn was first DDT’s campaign surrogate and then his National Security Advisor.

DDT’s solutions:

  • He threatened to withhold federal funding from the disastrous California wildfires that have now killed over 70 people.
  • He threatened France with tariffs.
  • He blamed aides, especially Deputy White House Chief of Staff Zachary D. Fuentes, for not telling him that he would look bad if he didn’t attend the 100th anniversary of World War I at a cemetery near Paris.
  • His Twitter attacks on France occurred on the anniversary when 130 people were killed in Paris from an extremist attack. He sent no condolences for the tragedy.
  • He encourages his followers to be violent against Antifa protesters.
  • He claimed before the election that he would finish a “very major” new tax cut—that congressional members knew nothing about—but, like the caravan in Mexico, no one talks about it now.
  • He justifies voter ID by saying that no one can buy cereal without an ID.

More DDT problems:

DDT’s “improvement” in the GI Bill is now blocking housing, loan, and tuition for tens of thousands of veterans, a situation further complicated by his closing the VA’s Office of Economic Opportunity and resulting in “dire circumstances” for veterans. Even worse, VA officials testified that they had no idea when the information technology system, also blocking GI Bill benefits, will be updated. With delayed or never delivered payments, some veterans face debt or homelessness. A large number of veterans have been waiting over 60 days. The VA said that they didn’t expect payments to be delayed in the spring—months from now—but veterans may receive the wrong amount of money.

DDT can’t explain—even to the troops—why the military is deployed on the southern U.S. border at a cost of at least $220 million by the end of the year. All Defense Secretary James Mattis could find for an answer is that he’ll get them an answer when they see what happens. Over 5,000 service members are looking for something to do in the southern U.S. while people are need to help with the huge wildfires in California where over 1,000 people are missing.

Almost 14 months after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, causing at least 3,000 deaths and leaving many of the residents without electricity, DDT continues to destroy the U.S. territory. He now lies that its government is using federal disaster funding to pay its debts.

Hate crimes rose 17 percent in 2017 from the year before to 7,106 reported single-bias hate crimes:

  • 59.6 percent were targeted because of the offenders’ race/ethnicity/ancestry bias;
  • 20.6 percent were targeted because of sexual-orientation bias;
  • 1.9 percent were targeted because of gender identity bias;
  • 0.6 percent were targeted because of gender bias.
  • Of 1,679 religious hate crimes reported, 58.1 percent were anti-Jewish and 18.6 percent were anti-Muslim.

A new conspiracy theory from GOP voters: the California fires are caused by “directed energy weapons”—government-directed lasers bent on destroying homes, property, and lives.

Soybeans are a left-wing conspiracy to emasculate men and estrongize their bodies—a recent conspiracy theory from the white supremacists. That follows the belief that juice boxes are feminizing male children by keeping them from handling stress (DDT?), becoming “low energy” (DDT?), and behaving childishly (DDT?). These people need to find a day job.

The latest reason that DDT could not go out in the rain to honor veterans—his hair.

Horror novelist and Hollywood writer-producer Stephen King wrote that DDT’s tweets during the past nine days gives “a “window into an increasingly disordered mind.” He added, “Since we are all to some extent his hostages, I find this dismaying and rather frightening.” As DDT’s power diminishes, his rage grows, endangering the entire United States.

November 13, 2018

Lawyers Winners of Elections, Other Lawsuits

The real winners of the midterm elections and the first 662 days of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in the Oval Office are the lawyers. Nowhere has this been more obvious in the past week than in the South where Georgia and Florida Republican officials—candidates for offices—are screaming “fraud” and charging off to the courts.

During a campaign rally a few days before the 2016 presidential election, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said, “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election—if I win.” He won and accepted the electoral vote although not the popular vote—which he lost. Now he’s losing in at least three states and refusing to accept the midterm election races.

As Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s lead over his opponent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) dwindles, Scott, also the U.S. Senate candidate, has been joined by Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to echo DDT’s cry of voter fraud despite disagreement from the state secretary of state, a Scott-appointed Republican. Scott didn’t object to GOP counties breaking his own emergency order when predominantly GOP Bay County, hit hard by a recent hurricane, allowed voters to illegally cast ballots by email.

Scott filed at least five lawsuits trying to defeat Nelson, including not counting all ballots received after Election Day which disenfranchises all overseas voters including veterans. Florida voters are now suing him for illegally abusing his position as governor to win his race for U.S. senator by stopping the counting of legal votes. Despite Scott’s lawsuits, Florida has started a machine recount of the vote and may have a manual vote if the difference in that election drops below 0.25 percent. Scott is ahead by about 12,000 votes in 8 million plus ballots before all have been counted; Florida’s gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is behind GOP Ron DeSantis by about 40,000 votes.

In Georgia, former Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who resigned when he falsely declared himself governor-elect, has lost a lawsuit to block ballots. In this election of almost four million voters, his Democratic opponent, Stacy Abrams, is behind by about 58,000 votes, but a judge has ruled that provisional ballots must be counted because Kemp, in charge of elections, has not maintained voter information security, increasing the risk that his purge of over 700,000 names on the registered rolls was illegally “manipulated or mismanaged.” The court orders mandated publicity about a website for provisional ballot voters to find information about whether their provisional ballots had been counted and why. The judge stated that the ballots were rejected “through no fault of their own.”

Under Kemp, Georgia voter updates by people getting or renewing state driver’s licenses never moved into the state’s voter database, and they didn’t know that Georgia had illegally failed to register them to vote. State law mandates that provisional ballots are counted only if names are on the voter registration list where they may have been removed because of Kemp’s actions. The Help Americans Vote Act (HAVA) requires the provisional ballots be counted if voters are eligible to vote.

Another judge ordered Georgia to count 5,000 ballots rejected because voters didn’t complete date of birth when signing mail-in ballot envelopes and ordered the state’s vote counting to continue until Friday instead of ending today. As of Sunday, Abrams needed 19,000 more votes to trigger a recount and 21,000 more to force a December runoff. The almost 22,000 provisional ballots plus over 2,000 ballots coming from overseas and military brings the total of uncounted ballots to nearly 29,000.

The November 27 run-off for U.S. Senate pits Mississippi candidates Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) against Mike Espy, behind by 8,000 votes, for the final two years of a senate term because neither candidates garnered 50 percent of the vote. At a campaign rally four days before the midterm elections, Hyde-Smith responded to a man who praised her, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” Mississippi recorded at least 581 lynchings of black people, about 12 percent of the 4,743 between 1882 and 1968 and the most of any state in the country. DDT-supporter Hyde-Smith repeatedly refused to answer questions by saying that she had issued a statement calling the remark an “exaggerated expression of regard.”

DDT already lost the U.S. Senate position in Arizona that went to the Democrat Krysten Sinema. Opponent Martha McSally was gracious in her concession, perhaps because she expects to be appointed to former Sen. John McCain’s position if Jon Kyle leaves in January.

A sour-grapes failed GOP candidate for the Arizona legislature is suing her winning opponent, U.S.-born Latina Raquel Terán, accusing her of not being a U.S. citizen. Alice Novoa already sued Terán in 2012 for the same (non)offense, and the case was dismissed because her attorney provided the birth certificate. Novoa avoided $650 in court fees with her claim that she doesn’t work and has no income.

Nonelection lawsuits:

Maryland opened to door to lawsuits involving DDT’s unlawful appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting AG for Jeff Sessions replacement. Brian Frosh, Maryland AG, asked a federal judge to remove Whitaker from that position because the appointment is unconstitutional. This request is part of the state’s ongoing lawsuit to force DDT to retain a key provision of the Affordable are Act, including protections for people with pre-exiting conditions. Maryland AG Brian Frosh declared that any action Whitaker takes regarding the ACA for the federal government would be invalid because he cannot legally serve as acting AG and asks for an immediate injunction. In 2014, Whitaker maintained that the U.S. Supreme Court’s upholding the ACA was one of the worse rulings in its entire history.

DDT believes that he is protected in Whitaker’s appointment by the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act, stating that a president may temporarily fill a vacancy for a position requiring Senate confirmation with any senior official who has been in the department for at least 90 days. Another statute makes the deputy attorney general next in line at the DOJ. The lawsuit maintains that a more specific law takes precedence over a more general law. The AG also argues that DDT should have less flexibility in replacing the AG because a president under investigation could install a “carefully selected senior employee who he was confident would terminate or otherwise severely limit” the inquiry. Whitaker is justifying his position with an 1898 Supreme Court Case supporting the appointment of the acting U.S. consult in the country that is now Thailand when no one else was available after the Senate-confirmed consult was sick. The argument against this case is that the AG office did not become vacant through an unexpected emergency and several Senate-confirmed DOJ officials are available.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has also called for hearings to address “serious questions” about his appointment because of Whitaker’s outspoken opposition to the Robert Mueller investigation.

In a First Amendment lawsuit, CNN is suing the White House for stripping Jim Acosta’s of his press credentials. Acosta was targeted after false accusations of “laying hands” on a press intern. The accurate video shows her stepping into his space to grab his microphone and his saying, “Pardon me, ma’am.” Also included in the suit are tops aides John Kelly, Sarah Sanders, Bill Shine, the head of the Secret Service, and the officer who took Acosta’s pass. After a complaint was filed, the White House claimed that Acosta lost his credentials because he refused to give up his microphone.

The DOJ has also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop lawsuits in three courts of appeal—the 2nd, the 9th, and the D.C.—to block President Obama’s DACA program where these courts allow the program to continue.

DDT’s administration is also facing a lawsuit accusing Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and a top deputy of sexism in determining their policy decisions. Filed in January, the lawsuit argues against DeVos’ prevention of Title IX guidance on handling campus sexual assault cases; the current filing adds that her decision was impacted by discriminatory and stereotyped views of women, based on evidence obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. These records show that the Department of Education obtained input from sources pushing inflated and widely discredited statistics about false rape allegations. Another source came from Candice Jackson, who provided a book  Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus (Laura Kipnis), that falsely described the Title IX guidance permitting women to seek legal recourse for “awkward sexual experiences” and then ask for protection from “sexual bogeymen.” Jackson also received information from Gordon Finley, part of the National Coalition for Men, who referred to the former Title IX guidance as a “war on men,” and she falsely maintained that 90 percent of sexual assault accusations come from misunderstandings or drunken regrets. Other sources provided prejudicial information to the department’s leaders about claims regarding sexual assault. DDT’s statements and behavior toward women also figure into the lawsuit’s amendment on sexism.

Two weeks ago, DeVos lost her court battle after she tried to end regulations helping defrauded students receive federal loan forgiveness and keep colleges from mandating arbitration for complaint resolution instead of going to court. President Obama’s consumer protections are now in effect.

November 11, 2018

DDT ‘Low Energy’ on 100th Anniversary of World War I

World War I ended at 11:11 am on November 11, 2018—100 years ago today. Thirty-two countries fought in the four-year war that killed nine million combatants and seven million civilians, followed by genocides and the 1918 influenza epidemic, which caused between 50 and 100 million deaths worldwide. One-fifth of the world’s population of under two billion people were infected by the 1918 flu.

In commemoration of the solemn event, French President Emmanuel Macron called over 60 countries together for a three-day Paris Peace Forum, and many world leaders attending commemorative events in France. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went to Canada’s National Memorial in France at Vimy Ridge on Saturday, and Macron went with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) to Compiègne, 80 miles northeast of Paris, where the peace agreement was signed on November 11, 1918. “We owe it to our soldiers,” said Macron about their journey.

Around 1,000 members of the public, including French and German schoolchildren, were invited to the ceremony. Sixteen-year-old Mickaël Arlin, 16, who was visiting World War I commemorative sites, said:

“It has helped us understand what is at stake today and helped us go further than just words.”

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), who flew to Paris for the weekend, cancelled his visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, next to the site of the Battle of Belleau Wood where American Marines stopped a German offensive in 1918. The remains of 2,289 war dead are buried at the Aines-Marne cemetery is home to the remains of 2,289 war dead. DDT, 72, stayed in Paris and watched television, sending Chief of Staff John Kelly, 68, in his place. Winston Churchill’s grandson, Nicholas Soames, tweeted:

 “They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen #hesnotfittorepresenthisgreatcountry.”

David Frum, George W. Bush’s speech-writer and political commentator, tweeted:

“It’s incredible that a president would travel to France for this significant anniversary—and then remain in his hotel room watching TV rather than pay in person his respects to the Americans who gave their lives in France for the victory gained 100 years ago tomorrow.”

A concern from some is that DDT lacked the strength to make the trip to the cemetery. After the adrenalin-pumping events of rallies for almost two months, DDT reportedly seemed distracted and disengaged, according to the WaPo, especially after his losses in the midterm elections and his problems with journalists. During his meeting with Macron, DDT seemed subdued, almost “sullen.” Kelly Magsamen, who served as a high-ranking Pentagon official on Asia affairs, used DDT’s term in a tweet with the description, “It’s real low energy.” That was DDT’s pejorative term for his opponents, and he ridiculed President Obama by calling him feckless and weak on the world stage.

REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Pool – RC17A17FAAE0

The only time DDT looked delighted was seeing Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Arc de Triomphe. DDT had not seen Putin since the Helsinki summit in July. WaPo columnist Brian Klass wrote:

“Putin murders journalists & opponents, recently used a nerve agent to assassinate a dissident on British soil, annexed Crimea, facilitates war crimes, and attacked American democracy. This is how Trump reacted when he saw him.”

David Schneider advised his Twitter followers:

“Find someone who looks at you the way Trump looks at Putin.”

The photo (left) showed part of the warm greeting between the two that included nods, shoulder taps, and thumbs-up. DDT denied that he planned to talk with Putin in Paris, but Putin told Russian news agencies that he did talk with DDT.

DDT skipped the meetings to explore ways for world peace. Instead he flew home today, sending angry tweets about taking federal aid from California because of the current disastrous fires and claiming that counting the ballots in Florida is a “STEAL.”

DDT had become angry with Macron for his statement that Europe must be able to “defend itself alone—and without relying on the United States—in a more sovereign manner.” Macron tried to calm DDT’s anger but claims of “good friends” were not supported by body language. Europe has become increasingly upset with DDT after he has pulled out of accords such as the Paris climate agreement, the Iran nuclear deal, and the Russia nuclear agreement.

Weeks ago, DDT declared himself a “nationalist” in campaigning for Republicans; in Macron’s speech today to over 80 world leaders, he said:

“Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying, ‘Our interests first, who cares about the others,’ we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what gives it grace and what is essential: its moral values.”

DDT has returned from his non-productive 44-hour 3,800-mile trip and faces the same problems he left—viral opposition to his replacement for AG Jeff Sessions, Democratic House members discussion what they will investigate in his administration, spending bills that cannot pass without Democratic approval, the hush money case about women, immigration problems, constitutional concerns of birthright citizenship, and the killing of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi complete with recordings of Saudi Arabians’ murdering him while he wants the Saudis to keep giving his business money. No wonder he’s low energy.

November 10, 2018

Midterm Elections Not ‘Big Victory’ for GOP

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) claims that Democrats want “to steal the election.” His proof? Democrats want to count every vote. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) wants new elections in Florida and Arizona because a continued count of ballots is favoring three Democrats, both governor races and the U.S. Senate race in Florida. GOP lawsuits against continuing to count ballots are flying fast and furious, and Gov. Rick Scott, also candidate for U.S. senator from Florida, wants to use his gubernatorial power to stop counting votes before his opponent gets a majority and at least manages a recount. And Republicans no longer care about the caravan in Mexico that consumed their media before the election.

Gov. Scott tried to stop the votes from being counted with the law enforcement after three-fourths of his lead on Election night disappeared, leaving him only 15,000 votes ahead. Candidate Scott is suing to block counting after accusing “liberal activists” of trying to “steal the election.”

Former Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL), once a Republican, said his absentee ballot was rejected for “invalid signature.” Another voter was told that her signature with her finger on a smart pad at the polling place didn’t match the ID. Cindy McCain, widow of former Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) tweeted about the vote counting issue:

“I am one of those mail in ballots. I was under the impression my vote was always counted.”

While Republicans win, GOP leaders stay quiet; the minute that the vote swings in the opposite direction, they go batsh*t crazy. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who once called Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) a “con man,” joined Scott in coming unglued about Broward County, home to almost two million people, taking longer to count votes than Bay County with 150,000 residents. Broward County leans Democrat, so Rubio alleges that “democrat lawyers” are descending on Florida “to try to steal a seat in the U.S. Senate.” The GOP game plan in Florida is the same as in 2000 when Al Gore supposedly lost Florida by 537 votes: stop the recount and declare Republicans the winner before the discovery that the Democrats have more votes.

With no evidence, DDT and his sort-of lawyer Rudy Giuliani leaped into the fray to portray the Florida counts as rigged, supporting Scott and Rubio in their unfounded claims of voter fraud. Despite lack of legal basis, Giuliani wants to “disqualify [Broward and Palm Beach] votes counted only after all other counties were finished.” He also referred to “[Clinton] Hillary’s lawyers trying to steal Florida election,” probably meaning Nelson’s lawyer Marc Elias who was Clinton’s general counsel during her 2016 presidential campaign. Fox’s Sean Hannity said, ““I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” meaning that he was born after 2000.

Three retired military leaders respond to GOP attempts to stop the voting in three of the 50 states:

“We, the men and women who served under our command, and everyone who served in the Armed Forces swore an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States. Many died, and many were wounded, protecting it, and our sacred right to vote — and see that vote counted.

“It is appalling that Trump Republicans in Florida, Arizona and Georgia are fighting to stop accurately counting all the votes, as they lose ground. It dishonors everything our troops have fought for, and died for.

“We want to be very clear: Taking actions to stop counting votes is not only un-democratic, it is downright un-American.” – General (US Army, Ret.) Wesley K. Clark, Major General (US Army, Ret.) Paul D. Eaton, and Brigadier General (US Army, Ret.) Steven M. Anderson

Despite GOP efforts to suppress the vote, at least 123 women—103 Democrats and 20 Republicans—will be in the 116th Congress beginning in January 2019, and another ten women could join them. Many of the women are “firsts” in congressional records: age, ethnicity, religion, and states that they represent. Barry Blitt celebrated these women for the New Yorker cover.

Six state legislative chambers also flipped from GOP to Democratic.

Democrats may have fewer senators, governors, and state legislatures, but they comprise the majority of state attorneys general. After flipping four seats in Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin from Republicans, the 27 Democratic AGs will continue to protect states and serve as a check to DDT’s executive orders. Another four AGs are in play as governors of Alaska, Hawaii, and Wyoming appoint three of them, and the statehouse in Maine elects one.

Voters in 37 states voted on a total of 157 ballot measures on Election Day; here’s sample of the mostly good news:

North Carolina: Voters blocked constitutional amendments that would have packed a state supreme court to continue more gerrymandering and voter suppression, measures that the courts had failed to stop earlier. A GOP election-rigging scheme blew up and installed a civil rights Democrat in the state Supreme Court that led to a court of five Democrats and two Republicans. Voters in the state did pass the GOP photo voter ID mandate, but the state Supreme Court could hear a lawsuit against it.

Michigan: Voters instated a fully independent redistricting commission, removing the ability of GOP lawmakers to gerrymandering congressional and legislative redistricting. Colorado and Missouri passed redistricting reform, and a similar measure in Utah has a one-point lead. To illustrate the importance of Michigan’s vote to remove gerrymandering, President Obama won the popular vote of the state by almost 60 percent in 2012, the same year that the GOP took over 60 percent of the U.S. representatives. Pennsylvania gained three Democratic seats in the House after the state’s Supreme Court struck down its gerrymandered maps last January. These six states show the effect of gerrymandering. [visual gerrymandering]

Maryland: Voters approved same-day voter registration by two to one. Michigan also passed the same law; 18 states and D.C. now let voters register at the same time that they vote on Election Day. North Carolina voters can register during the early-voting period. Other increased voting accessibility in Michigan include automatic voter registration, removal of the need for an excuse to vote absentee, protection of the straight-ticket voting option, and regular election audits for accuracy. Previously, Michigan Republican legislators had allowed unrestricted absentee voting only to voters 60 or older, the GOP base. Republicans also hate straight-ticket voting because it is more popular with blacks, who largely tend to be Democrats.

Nevada: Voters passed an automatic voter registration while doing business with the DMV. That brings the total of “motor-voter” registration to 13 states and D.C.

Florida: Voters overwhelmingly voted to allow people with felony convictions to vote—1.5 million citizens in the state. Laws like this passed in many states after the Civil War were intended to block black voters. Gov. Rick Scott almost ended clemency to return voting rights for specific individuals (aka non-GOP supporters) in 2011. People in prison, on parole or probation, and with murder or sexual offenses may not vote, allowing another 1.4 million people this right. The remaining question is whether Florida will require a poll tax in the form of repaying all court fines and fees, cutting the number to 840,000 new voters.

Michigan & Colorado: Voters elected Democrats for secretaries of state, positions that Republicans use to purge eligible voters. In New Hampshire, the newly-elected Democrat state legislature can replace longtime Secretary of State Bill Gardner, the Democrat-in-name-only appointed by Republicans. Georgia’s Democratic Secretary of State John Barrow, trailing by only 0.6 percent heads to a December 4 runoff. Arizona has called the position for its GOP candidate for the position, but the Democrat is behind by only 21,000 votes with hundreds of thousands of ballots left to be counted.

Idaho, Nebraska, & Utah: Medicaid expansion passed but failed in Montana.

Missouri & Arkansas: Voters passed minimum wage increases.

Washington: New gun control measures passed.

Missouri & Utah: Voters approved medical marijuana with that ballot measure the most popular one in Missouri. Thirty-three states and D.C. now have some form of legalized medical marijuana, and another 14 have laws allowing cannabis but limiting that THC content. Michigan passed recreational marijuana, bringing the total to ten states. Only North Dakota blocked a cannabis initiative, keeping medical marijuana but not approving recreational marijuana. Former AG Jeff Sessions, who declared a war on cannabis, has been fired.

Massachusetts: Voters stopped discrimination against transgender rights by keeping a 2016 law barring discrimination against transgender people in public spaces.

Oregon: Voters rejected a measure banning public funding for abortions available to low-income women. Alabama and West Virginia voters passed measures to prevent a woman’s right to have an abortion through “personhood,” but the initiative is unconstitutional until the GOP Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

In paranoid North Dakota, voters approved a change to the constitution: instead of “every citizen” can vote, they approved “only a citizen” can vote. And Colorado voted to prohibit slavery, once and for all, despite 35 percent of the voters—26 DDT-supporting counties of 64 in the state—supporting the practice as punishment for a crime.

Midterm elections are not over. Florida and Georgia are still counting votes for governor, and Arizona and Florida are doing the same for the U.S. Senate. Mississippi has a run-off for one of the U.S. senate positions as well as a congressional representative. Another dozen House races in nine states are still up in the air. And those undecided races don’t include the recounts and lawsuits that will emerge.

November 9, 2018

DDT: Week 94 – Midterm Elections a ‘Big Victory’

The past week has not been a success for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), despite what he claims. He did not take the midterm loss of the U.S. House gracefully. George W. Bush called the Dems taking the House in 2006 a “thumping”; President Obama described the GOP taking the House back in 2010 a “shellacking.”  By today, Democrats have taken over at least 32 GOP seats in the House with another possible eight; DDT declared the GOP loss a big victory.

DDT thought he could protect himself by firing AG Jeff Sessions and appointing Matthew Whitaker, but that ploy may also fail. Even Fox’s commentator Judge Anthony Napolitano believes that DDT’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as Acting AG is illegal because he was never confirmed by the Senate. Napolitano said:

“Under the law, the person running the Department of Justice must have been approved by the United States Senate for some previous position. Even on an interim post.”

Napolitano also pointed out that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is next in line for the position. Napolitano’s position adds fuel to the possibility of Whitaker’s direct ethics violations by taking control of Robert Mueller’s investigation after extensive public criticisms and suggestions for subverting Mueller’s work. Interfering with Mueller’s work could put Whitaker under investigation by the person he is supposedly supervising. Napolitano added that a president cannot fire an AG for the purpose of shaking up the leadership of DOJ and interfere with a criminal investigation that the president opposes. In asserting that Mueller has been authorized to investigate only links and coordination between the DDT campaign and the Russian government is wrong.

George Conway, husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, wrote that DDT’s appointment violates the constitution.

I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” DDT said in response to a question about whether he had talked to Whitaker about the Russian investigation. That was four weeks after he told Fox & Friends, “I know Matt Whitaker.” The latter is more likely because he hosted him frequently in the Oval Office—at least over a dozen times—and frequently spoke with him on the phone. In September, a White House aide said that Whitaker has an easy chemistry with DDT. While Sessions’ Chief of Staff, Whitaker also privately advised DDT about how he could pressure the DOJ to investigate people he viewed as his political enemies.

DDT tried to claim that Whitaker doesn’t need to be confirmed to the DOJ because special investigator Robert Mueller wasn’t confirmed. Special counsels aren’t confirmed because the DOJ names and supervises them. Instead, Whitaker has been appointed to supervise the entire DOJ although his only “confirmation” was as a federal prosecutor 14 years ago. Rationale people can find many more reasons that Whitaker isn’t fit for the DOJ AG. One might be that he stated that all judges should be Christians with a “biblical sense of justice,” specifically from the New Testament.  That requirement eliminates two Supreme Court justices.

A big problem for Whitaker moving forward, however, may be his role with World Patent Marketing, accused of fraud by customers and settling for over $25 million. More than just an advisor on the board, Whitaker threatened critics, including customers, of legal action if they continued with their complaints. He refused to respond to an October 2017 from the FTC for his records related to the company, and he refused to pay customers his share of monies that the company bilked from them. Some of these people are veterans who lost their life savings after fraudulent promises convinced them to invest in the company. Whitaker sometimes appeared to act as the company’s attorney, going so far as to emphasizing that he was a former U.S. attorney in his threats. Whitaker also appeared in promotional materials for the company and was named in scripts to persuade wishful inventors to pay as much as $400,000 each.

The FBI and the United States Postal Inspection Service have opened a criminal investigation into the company after concluding that it actively “suppressed” complaints about the company through “threats, intimidation and gag clauses.” A press release noted that the company director used legal action as a threatening cudgel to stop customers from posting negative reviews online or reporting it to the Better Business Bureau. Whitaker used his law firm’s logo and his past position as top federal prosecutor in south Iowa to threaten a man who said he would report the company; four days later the company sued the man with information that Whitaker had intervened in the matter. The parties settled the lawsuit out of court in 2016.

Whitaker’s new position includes the supervision of the FBI and its investigations.

In opposition to Whitaker’s appointment for acting AG, a network of activists called Nobody Is above the Law set up a website where protest organizers could list demonstrations on late afternoon Thursday. Hundreds of cities in the U.S., Canada, and parts of Europe responded. Even my small town of Newport (OR) had over 100 protesters at 5:00 pm yesterday. [Right: Newport.] The name of the protest came from Whitaker’s 2017 interview on The David Webb Show when he stated that a U.S. president can end any federal investigation without obstructing justice. [Below New York.]

Last Wednesday, CNN reporter Jim Acosta lost his White House credentials after DDT had a temper tantrum during a press conference and an intern tried to take Acosta’s microphone from him. One version of the event, complete with video, is that Acosta was raising his hand as the intern approached him, and he accidentally touched her arm. The audio clearly indicates that he said, “Pardon me, ma’am.” But Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders drew more attention to the event when she issued a doctored video, possibly from a right-wing site, that makes the action look aggressive. Professionals who examined Sanders’ version said that the action was speeded up and several duplicate frames were added to achieve the effect that conservatives prefer.

In response to Sanders’ false depiction (aka fake news) of the Acosta event, J.K. Rowling, the famous author of Harry Potter books, tweeted a quote from George Orwell’s book 1984:

“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth.”

Even conservative writer Ben Shapiro disagreed with Sanders’ false claims about Acosta and tweeted:

This is not what happened. You could have banned him simply for refusing to abide by any of the normal rules of the press room. No need to state something happened that didn’t.”

In effect, Sanders libeled Jim Acosta by lying about him with actual malice and an intent to ruin his reputation, leaving her open to a lawsuit.

Evidence shows that DDT was a key player in paying off Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to silence their information about having had affairs with DDT. The U.S. Attorneys Office has evidence of DDT’s role, including multiple meetings with media executive David Pecker who used the National Enquirer tabloid to shut up the two women. Pecker paid off McDougal and was reimbursed by DDT’s legal “fixer” Michael Cohen who was then reimbursed by DDT. Cohen directly paid Daniels after Pecker refused to get involved before DDT reimbursed Cohen. DDT also used Pecker to block negative stories about him during his campaign. DDT cannot be indicted for these wrongdoings, but the DOJ can give the information about personal campaign finance violations to House members for possible impeachment–unless Whitaker blocks that from happening.

As a brief respite for the people in the United States, DDT has gone to Paris for a meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron, but not before he railed at CNN reporter Abby Phillips, calling her question on the Russia investigation “stupid,” and threatened more journalists. DDT tweeted he was insulted by Macron’s call for a “true European army” to guard against the U.S. and other potential adversaries and again demanded that Europe “first pay its fair share of NATO.” Macron was discussing DDT’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear arms INF Treaty that Ronald Reagan negotiated with the former Soviet Union in 1987. Sunday is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. DDT will leave before the Paris Peace Forum, a gathering of 61 countries this weekend to work toward collective decision-making to avoid another world war.

DDT denied Russia’s claim that he will meet with Vladimir Putin but admitted that they will be meeting in Buenos Aires later this month at the G20 meeting.

Another week, another white man, this time a former Marine, murders people. In Thousand Oaks (CA), a 28-year-old white man shot and killed at least 12 people and injured another 21 before turning the gun on himself. Many of the people in the bar had survived the Las Vegas shooting a year ago where 58 people were killed and 852 injured. The shooting marks the 307th mass shooting in the U.S. of 2018 in 312 days, meaning that mass shootings, defined by four or more people, not including the shooter, being “shot and/or killed” at “the same general time and location,” are an almost daily event in the U.S. Over 12,000 people died from gun-related violence in the US so far this year, and another 24,000+ others have been injured. No one has been killed or injured thus far this year in the U.S. by foreign terrorists. DDT referred to the killer as a “sick puppy.”

The people of Thousand Oaks are further traumatized by the fires sweeping across California that have already burned Paradise, a town of 25,000, and killed nine people.

More news about the ongoing election later, but notable is DDT’s tweet that Arizona might have a new election now that Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is 20,000 votes ahead of Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) for U.S. senator. If only we had that choice two years ago after the presidential election!

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