Nel's New Day

June 30, 2020

Bittersweet News from SCOTUS, Bad for DDT

Before the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the sometimes “moderate” justice kept women’s rights on life support. His resignation left Chief Justice John Roberts in that position, one he fulfilled today in the 5-4 decision that struck down a Louisiana law created to strike down all except one clinic in the state that performs abortions. The gist of the law was the state mandate requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, almost identical to a case about Texas law SCOTUS overturned just four years ago. In that decision, a 5-4 court determined the unconstitutional law served no benefits to patients but significantly burdened their access to abortion.

Brett Kavanagh, who promised Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) he is pro-Roe v. Wade to get Kennedy’s position, showed he is no Kennedy: he and Justice Neil Gorsuch joined ideologues Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas against women’ reproductive rights. Roberts voted against the majority four years in his desire to keep the Texas law, and he wrote his own opinion to prove he’s still a conservative—just wanted to preserve stare decisis, deference to precedent, and not overturn a former SCOTUS ruling. Because Roberts is the swing vote for this case, opposition to abortions will be the key to future cases, permitting restriction just short of their illegality. He sets a high hurdle to keeping right: benefit is irrelevant, and decision is based on a substantial obstacle.   

Slate’s court reporter Mark Joseph Stern questions the extent of the victory of constitutional rights for pro-choice. In his analysis of the high court’s opinion, Stern maintains Roberts “marks a retreat” from the earlier case declaring the Texas law unconstitutional. Under the new ruling, a woman could be forced to wait a week for an abortion and visit the clinic hundreds of miles away three times to see anti-abortion documentaries—no medical benefit to the patient while imposing burdens. Yet the court could determine this requirement doesn’t meet the level of “a substantial obstacle.” Next year, Roberts could find a way to overturn Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) which prevents laws banning abortion before viability. As Stern wrote, “A chill wind still blows.”

Roberts is not wedded to precedence. He voted with the majority in Citizens United (2010) to overturn long-held principles of campaign finance and in Janus (2018) used the same rationale of free speech to overturn a unanimous 1977 decision allowing public sector labor unions to collect fees against the wishes of employees.

A chill wind also blows for Collins, whose vote is a major reason Kavanaugh is casting far-right votes on SCOTUS. He already voted to deport Dreamers and allow employers to fire LGBTQ people on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Collins said she believed Kavanaugh when he promised not to overturn Roe v. Wade and guaranteed he would respect precedence, “essential to maintaining public confidence. And she’s up for reelection in under five months.

While people cheered for today’s pro-choice rights decision, most of them ignored a disastrous decision in Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, allowing a president to fire the director of the supposedly independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without cause. Again Roberts was the swing vote, this time a conservative 5-4 vote putting other independent agencies at risk. The opinion didn’t go as far as to declaring the entire agency unconstitutional which the plaintiff under CFPB investigation had requested. The law creating the agency specified the presidentially-nominated director, who must be Senate-confirmed, could be fired only “for cause,” specifying “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.” Other agencies with the “for cause” firing limitation include the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission. They may suffer the same fate in loss of independence.

The current CFPB director, financial sector defender Kathleen Kraninger, will likely stay for the next few months because agency investigations have drastically slowed down since the occupation of the Oval Office by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). She may disappear with a Democratic president, however, a loss for Wall Street’s corruption. Between its inception in 2010 and 2016, the CFPB returned $12 billion to defrauded consumers. 

In the dissent by four justices, Elena Kagan wrote the five conservatives failed to respect the high court’s role in allowing the other two government branches, Congress and executive, the decision in structuring the executive branch. She also pointed out the vote removes “independence from political pressure.” Another part of the dissent told originalist justices the constitution has nothing about separation of powers and the president’s removal authority.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who originally envisioned the agency, was more positive, cheering about a conservative SCOTUS recognizing the constitutionality of the agency “and the law that created it.”

In addition to issuing decisions today, the Supreme Court turned down two cases. One, a challenge to AG Bill Barr’s return to the federal death penalty, opens up the possibility of executions next month for the first time since 2003. It also refused to hear a case about waivers of federal laws for border wall construction that kills wildlife and destroys the environment. Lower courts have ruled the waivers don’t violate the separation of powers.

Other big news today pointed out possible cracks in DDT’s Teflon. The discovery that intelligence told DDT about Russians paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops has taken the U.S. by storm. The New York Times initially reported the information on Friday, and within three days, DDT’s stories keep changing. A few facts:

Intelligence knew as far back as January—when DDT was negotiating a peace agreement with the Taliban—and briefed DDT.

The bounty has been linked to deaths of U.S. military members.

In March, DDT learned about the intelligence reports but failed to respond.

In the past few months, DDT has had several friendly phone calls with Vladimir Putin, including five hidden ones in early April after the briefing.

DDT called Putin and Russia friends of the U.S., sent humanitarian aid to Russia, and pushed the other six members of the G7 summit to taken Russia back.

On Saturday, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany claimed DDT knows nothing. Little did McEnany know, her defense of DDT depicted him as ignorant, uncaring, negligent, lazy, and incompetent. And a liar like DDT. Part of her faulty defense was for his tweeting a video advocating “white power” staying up for three hours while DDT was unavailable on the golf course. (The White House claims DDT couldn’t hear the cries for “white power.”)

This timeline shows Russian support for the Taliban, U.S. clashes with Russian mercenaries, “destabilizing [Russian] activity in Afghanistan, three U.S. Marines killed by Taliban, and discovery of $500,000 in a Taliban outpost confirming U.S. intelligence suspicions about Russia paying bounties.

Since the reporting, DDT has said, in this order: (1) he never got any briefings; (2) he hadn’t been briefed because it was bogus; and (3) he was briefed but the intelligence wasn’t credible. According to respected political columnist David Ignatius, Pentagon officials were “pounding on the door” to get DDT to do something about the Russians’ damage.

People are left to decide which of the three is right: (1) DDT knew about the Russian’s paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops and did nothing; (2) intelligence couldn’t tell DDT because they were afraid of him or what he would tell people; or (3) DDT didn’t bother to read vital national security information. Each of the three decisions shows a completely incompetent leader of the free world. In an effort to save his skin, DDT provided Republicans a briefing about the situation today but made Democrats wait until tomorrow. The briefing should have been for both parties at the same time, but DDT wants the GOP to have a one-day advance to prepare a defense for him.

Seven years ago, DDT tweeted: 

Ignorance is inexcusable; it’s the surest way to fail. No acceptable reason exists for not being well informed.”

Yesterday he tweeted:

“Nobody briefed or told me … about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians…. Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us…..”

Because DDT cares only about the election, he’s terrified about voters’ reactions. This TV ad reflects the reaction from VoteVets.

DDT’s problems with COVID-19 aren’t over either. Its new mutations make contagion easier and correlates with far greater cases in younger people. World infections topped 10 million over the weekend (today 10,412,433) with deaths over a half million (508,228). New infections in the U.S. are still soaring—44,734 for June 29—with the total up to 2,681,811 and 128,783 deaths. Federal officials such as HHS Secretary Alex Azar went on Sunday news shows to talk about the virus’s catastrophe while saying it isn’t their problem to fix. And DDT ignores the disease.

June 28, 2020

Law Sometimes on Side of People

For the first time since the agency was created almost two decades ago, DHS has classified white supremacy a domestic terrorist threat because of recent mass shootings. The far-right may protest the decision, but white supremacists committed 39 of 50 extremist-related attacks last year. 

Mississippi lawmakers are moving toward removing the Confederate flag from the state flag, and for the first time Gov. Tate Reeves said he would sign such a bill if it reaches his desk. No other state has the Confederate symbol on its flag.

Judges not siding with Dictator Donald Trump (DDT):

For the second time, a court ruled DDT’s transfer of $2.5 billion into border wall funding illegal. Two of the three-judge 9th Circuit Court panel determined the transfer of military funds an illegal overreach of executive authority because “the U.S. Constitution exclusively grants the power of the purse to Congress.” The lone dissenter on the panel is a DDT appointee. Mexico has paid nothing for the wall, despite DDT’s promises, and DDT has weaseled $15 billion out of U.S. funds for his pet project. When the Supreme Court lifted a lower-court injunction against the transfer, it didn’t rule on its legality. DDT got the money by declaring a national emergency but said there wasn’t any emergency; he did it for convenience. 

A federal judge in Los Angeles ordered migrant children held over 20 days released from the country’s three family detention centers by July 17 because of COVID-19. Some of the 124 children in the facilities as of June 8 tested positive for COVID-19. One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs said the children are living in “horrific conditions.”

A federal judge overruled Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos preventing students with loans from getting their stimulus money. The law paused federal payments, reset the interest rate to 0 percent, and stopped debt collection until October 1, 2020. DeVos ignored the law and kept the stimulus checks from borrowers having overdue debt. When the law stopped her in May, she demanded students receiving emergency assistance through community colleges be eligible for financial aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. Her plan was to eliminate aid for “undocumented, international and DACA recipient students in addition to those with poor grades and previously defaulted student loans.” The assistance helps students with rent, child care, technology, and groceries. The judge ruled withholding these emergency funds would cause irreparable harm and injury during a global pandemic.

DDT wants police to have unlimited immunity from lawsuits, but the 4th Circuit Court vacated a lower court ruling granting five officers qualified immunity for the 2013 murder of Wayne Jones, a homeless black man with schizophrenia. Four officers shot him 22 times in two seconds, mostly in the back and buttocks, while he lay limp and unmoving after Tasing and a chokehold. Jones couldn’t understand their questions and had a small fix-blade knife. The court ruled a jury should be allowed to determine if the 22 shots killing Jones were the use of excessive force.

DDT sues people so often that it rarely hits the news. Among the thousands of lawsuits, or at least threats, are against media outlets, TV stations, authors, politicians, his sexual assault victims, other countries, states, local governments, social media, campaign manager Brad Parscale, whistleblowers, the FBI, even a 92-year-old widow in Scotland—a long list. Last week, he threatened to block his niece from publishing her book, due out a month from today, because she settled an estate dispute with a nondisclosure agreement.

A clinical psychologist, Trump may be well qualified to write Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man., described as “a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse.” DDT left the dirty work of suing to his brother Robert, who has thus far failed. A Queens County (NY) judge said his court lacked jurisdiction in the case where Robert submitted a restraining order request and suggested he take the case to another court. The judge also cited “several improprieties” in Robert’s filing, making it “fatally defective”: it is based on the official disposition of patriarch Fred Trump Sr.’s estate, wrapped up in 2001 and thus for legal purposes “nonexistent.” Robert’s lawyer said he picked Queens County because the family estate was settled there in 2011. He plans to file with the New York Supreme Court. Mary’s book is due to come out a month from today.

More lawsuits to watch:

Judge Emmet Sullivan isn’t rolling over for AG Bill Barr. When two of three judges on a DC Circuit Court panel told the district court judge to dismiss charges against Michael Flynn, Sullivan didn’t follow the order and may ask the entire circuit court to hear the case. Twice, Flynn pled guilty to lying twice to the FBI under oath about his secret conversations with the Russian ambassador during the last few months of President Obama’s second term with the promise DDT would go easy on Russia after his inauguration. In exchange for his testimony and providing information, Flynn also got out of acting as unregistered agent for Recep Erdoğan in a plot to kidnap a U.S. citizen for the Turkish president. When Barr became DDT’s personal lawyer, Flynn saw a way out and reversed his guilty plea.

In a Flynn casualty, the DOJ fired FBI’s top lawyer, Dana Boente, at the end of May. DDT heard Fox network Lou Dobbs accuse Boente of collaborating with FBI Director Christopher Wray to block release of evidence to clear Flynn.  

DDT put Michael Pack in charge of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, responsible for the Voice of America, to turn the independent broadcaster into his own propaganda machine. Immediately after the Senate confirmed Pack, he fired the top executives and advisory boards. A lawsuit filed on behalf of the Open Technology Fund argues Pack lacked the authority to fire staff or board or board members. The suit also claims Pack violates the federal broadcasting law protecting government-funded news outlets from political interference.

Nineteen attorneys general are suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for overturning a rule protecting students from predatory higher education institutions and denying federal funding if their students graduated with disproportionately heavy debt loads and weakened career prospects. California is also suing DeVos for failing to implement the department’s forgiveness program for student loans. Loans were supposed to be forgiven after a decade of on-time payments while the borrower is in a public service for a decade. Between May 2018 and May 2019, however, 99 percent of the applications were rejected.

DDT may be pleased with his filing to do away with the Affordable Care Act, but voters put Democrats into the House at the thought of losing health care. He insists people will keep their preexisting conditions, but the 82-page brief and legal team say the opposite. DOJ’s argument is that Republicans who voted for the tax cuts also voted to destroy the entire ACA. The issue will be huge in the rest of the 2020 campaign because it won’t be settled before November. Almost one-half million people signed up for healthcare plans after losing their jobs through the virus.

Traumatized by the “Black Lives Matter” painted on the renamed street of the same name in front of the White House, DDT went on another rant at the same phrase painted in front of the New York Trump Tower. In a tweet, DDT lied about protesters calling for the killing of police officers, using a 2015 protest shown on Tucker Carlson’s Fox program for his claim. Twitter responded by calling DDT a “snowflake.” Volunteers painted the same slogan on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. 

The following news gets the label “good” for the hope it gives. Mark Zuckerberg promises Facebook will remove posts inciting violence or suppressing voting, even by political leaders and DDT, and label posts violating hate speech or other policies. Zuckerberg’s statement came after major companies pulled ads from Facebook to protest his inadequate action against “hateful lies and dangerous propaganda” in a “#StopHateforProfit” advertising boycott already costing him over $7 billion. The announcement was made on Twitter. A few of the participating companies

Banks are getting close to minimum capital levels because of COVID-19, and the Federal Reserve plans new restrictions for the third quarter to suspend their share buybacks and cap dividend payment at the current level. In addition, banks will be required to resubmit payout plans again this year, possibly every quarter. According to the Fed formula, Wells Fargo has the biggest risk of a dividend cut.

When “small companies” were threatened with investigation, at least 63 public corporations returned $510 million to the federal PPP program intended for struggling companies, probably about 20 percent of public companies borrowing from the program. The remaining 80 percent of public companies have kept over $900 million. The Treasury Department claims any borrower receiving less than $2 million meets “the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith.” Some companies earlier refusing to return money have reversed their position.

DDT speeded up testing a tiny bit by keeping open five of the 13 federal testing sites scheduled for cancelation. All five are in Texas.

Polling for DDT is so bad Fox raised the question of whether he will drop out of the presidential race before the election. Charles Gasparino tweeted an insider “described Trumps current psyche as ‘fragile.’

Today, June 28: New COVID-19 cases of 40,540 bringing the total to 2,637,077; 128,437 deaths—or far more.

June 27, 2020

DDT: Week 179 – No ‘Law & Order,’ Confusion

This week, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) spent time in the latest COVID-19 hot zones of Arizona, and New Jersey told him he would be quarantined for 14 days if he went to his resort in Bedminster. At first he said he wouldn’t do it but then claimed he had to stay in Washington, D.C. over the weekend to “make sure LAW & ORDER is enforced.” DDT then went to his Sterling (VA) for his 271st round of golf since he was inaugurated.

Here are some “law and order” acts he’s ignoring:

Last March, the U.S. intelligence agencies told DDT a Russian military intelligence unit wanted to pay Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops. DDT kept the information secret and continued to rave about how wonderful Russia.

DDT plans to move 9,500 military members from Germany to Poland because is “delinquent in their payments” to NATO.  Twenty-two GOP members of the House Armed Services Committee oppose moving the troops because it will hurt the military because U.S. bases in Germany provide a stopover for troops headed to worldwide locations. Bipartisan congressional leaders call DDT’s plan shortsighted and dangerous.

The Wall Street Journal reports Chinese nationals paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to get DDT reelected. The RNC provides these Chinese contributors insider insight into its strategy for DDT’s campaign, giving them useful information for controlling him.

Last month, DDT’s beloved human spaceflight hit a glitch after NASA’s head of the program, Doug Loverro, quit one week before a test flight sending astronauts up in a capsule from the private company SpaceX. Astronauts haven’t launched since space shuttles stopped flying in 2011, and DDT wanted people walking on the moon by 2024. Less than six months ago, DDT picked Loverro as acting head of spaceflight after NASA dumped Bill Gertenmaier last year. Loverro’s resigned after he was caught in private conversations with a senior Boeing executive about a bid for a contact worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Using inside information, Boeing tried to amend the contract but failed to win it. Concerned about a breach in ethical and procedural protocols, NASA’s inspector general investigated Loverro’s unauthorized contact with Boeing’s officials.  

Another DDT appointee may cause him headaches. Social Security Administration Commissioner Andrew Saul bought stocks in companies enriched by COVID-19, including Abbott Laboratories, UnitedHealth, thecloud workflow company ServiceNow, and Eurofins, a foreign company manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers. He hasn’t yet submitted his annual financial disclosure form, due May 15.

The stimulus $1,200 checks were sent to over one million people no longer living at a cost of $1.4 million, but IRS counsel determined they did not have the legal authority to deny payments to deceased people who had filed a return last year. The IRS is demanding states claw back checks send to prisoners although the law doesn’t prevent inmates from receiving the money.

To please DDT at the Tulsa rally, his campaign demanded removal of thousands of social distancing “Do Not Sit Here, Please!” stickers from seats despite instructions to the contrary from the BOK Center. The arena purchased 12,000 tickers for the rally for every other seat. DDT’s campaign also banned signs asking for social distancing.

Brad Parscale, former T-shirt salesman, is still hanging onto his job as DDT’s campaign manager after the Tulsa debacle, but sources question how long he’ll stay. Press secretary Kayleigh “I-will-never-lie-to-the-media” McEnany declared DDT wasn’t upset with his campaign rally non-crowd, but others in the White House say he is so furious that heads will roll. The audience of 6,200 was only ten percent of aides’ worst-case scenario of 60,000, and the “overflow” audience for a canceled speech was only 25, the number of women who have accused DDT of sexual assault. In DDT’s last presidential campaign, he replaced manager Corey Lewandowski with Paul Manafort almost exactly four years ago on June 20, 2016; Manafort lasted less than two months to be replaced by Kellyanne Conway. A White House source indicated Parscale may resign and Jared Kushner could be another “casualty.”

In addition to his salary from DDT, Parscale does other campaign work through private firms. His Facebook page claims to be a DDT campaign property and makes money from DDT’s ads, but the only link on “About” directs people to Parscale’s private consulting firm, Parscale Strategy.

Conservative voices initially slammed military leaders for criticizing DDT, claiming they should never say anything negative about the commander-in-chief. DDT’s increasing fascist actions, however, may have silenced the conservatives along with research showing white supremacists instigating violence and only 32 percent disapproval of the protests. As DDT increased his fascist actions, however, the comments changed to criticisms of protesters. Polls show only 32 percent disapproval of the protesting every night for the past month.

Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is the most recent military leader to blast DDT and the first to call him a racist. Sanchez stated he kept quiet while DDT attacked Muslim Gold Star parent, praised white supremacists, tried to deport DACA recipients, etc., but the tipping point came with teargassing peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square for a photo-op with DDT waving an upside-down bible.

The former commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq added his voice in denigrating DDT to retirees Adm. Bill McRaven, the former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command; Navy Adm. James Stavridis; three-star Adm. Joseph Maguire, DDT’s former acting director of National Intelligence; Gen. Tony Thomas; four-star Marine Gen. John Allen; three-star Lt. Gen. Russel Honore; four-star Gen. Michael Hayden; Maj. Gen. Steven Lepper; four-star Gen. Barry McCaffrey; and four-star Gen. John Kelly, DDT’s former White House chief of staff. Three of the last four chairs of the Joint Chiefs (Mark Milley, Martin Dempsey, and Michael Mullen) have openly criticized the actions by DDT and his fixer AG Bill Barr as have the two highest-profile Defense secretaries in the past decade, James Mattis and Robert G. Gates—author of Exercise of Power about the disaster of U.S. leadership. In addition, 280 people signed an op-ed protesting DDT, including 78 Defense Department officials; over 20 retired generals; and four former Pentagon chiefs (two Democrats and two Republicans).

In another response to DDT’s photo-op, Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley apologized for walking to the church with him, regretting his compromising his commitment to separate the military from politics. “As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it.” Milley also said he was “outraged” by the “senseless, brutal killing” of George Floyd. “The protests that have ensued not only speak to his killing but also to centuries of injustice toward African Americans.”

During an interview, Sean Hannity gave DDT a chance to brag about his plans during another four-year term when he asked DDT what his #1 priority would be if he were elected. The answer:

“Well, one of the things that will be really great, you know, the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I’ve always said that. But the word experience is a very important word. It’s an, a very important meaning.”

More of his incoherence. The Wall Street Journal’s response to DDT’s ramblings:

“As of now Mr. Trump has no second-term agenda, or even a message beyond four more years of himself.”

During his three campaign rallies in the last week, DDT consistently used racist terms for COVID-19, and Kellyanne Conway flip-flopped to defend him. Three months ago, she found the racist comments “highly offensive,” “hurtful,” and “wrong,” citing her husband’s Filipino background. In her attack on an Asian-American reporter, she said DDT has an “incredibly important” job to keep China on the hook.

The purpose of VP Mike Pence’s last week press briefing about COVID-19 was to tell people states with surging virus cases, such as Florida and Texas that are closing businesses like bars, are “in a much better place.” Offering no new strategies to stop the spread of the virus, he claimed “all 50 states” are “opening up safely and responsibly”  and called increases among people under age 35 “very encouraging news.” His only strategy to stop the spread of the virus, Pence recommended prayer. Dr. Anthony Fauci said increased testing doesn’t explain the increases, and Deborah Birx asked everyone to wear a mask, something Pence didn’t do at the briefing.

DDT’s strategy is to continue opening businesses and “accept” what happens. On today, June 27, he wants people to accept 43,582 new cases for a total of almost 2.6 million with 128,152 deaths. Or maybe ten times that number. The Dow Jones lost a month’s gain yesterday when it dropped 730 points, about 2.8 percent.  

U.S. residents probably won’t be traveling to Europe for a while: the EU has recommended to its members to create a travel ban from the U.S. to it countries because of the massive COVID-19 infections in our nation. The EU will develop specific criteria this coming week. DDT plans new tariffs on EU products such as chocolates and olives but claims it isn’t retaliation.

June 26, 2020

DDT Uses COVID-19 to Erase Democracy

GOP members of Congress are like the Confederates marching up the hill at Gettysburg in Pickett’s Charge and getting picked off by the thousands: they blindly follow Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to calamity but can’t turn around. Some of them will survive their next elections, but an increasing number of formerly staunch Republican voters grow disillusioned by the leadership’s lack of ethics, moving the United States away from democracy. This week’s abysmal actions representative of autocracy continue GOP behavior under DDT’s fascist direction.

The worst of these may come from courts removing the habeas corpus—the constitutional guarantee of due process for imprisonment in the Suspension Clause (Clause 2) in Article One, Section 9.

“The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.”

Rights include a fair and speedy trial, counsel, trial by a jury of peers, appearance before accusers, and freedom from unlawful and seizure. Habeas corpus was suspended during the Civil War and to put Japanese-Americans into detention camps during World War II. Forty-four years later President Gerald Ford rescinded that executive order, and Japanese-Americans have received an apology and reparations. After 9/11, the Military Commissions Act (2006) reversed habeas corpus for those detained by the U.S. deemed an enemy combatant, and but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the act in Boumediene v. Bush (2008). The far-right is now using the pandemic to void habeas corpus.

A New York State Supreme Court judge denied the release of hundreds of protesters in jail for more than 24 hours, contrary to the law, because of the virus. “All writs are denied,” Justice James Burke wrote. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called it “a suspension of habeas corpus.” Chicago police denied protesters their right to attorneys.

In a 7-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court denied habeas corpus to people seeking asylum in the U.S. The case concerned Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, a member of the minority Tamil population in Sri Lanka, was abducted by unidentified men in his home country and severely beaten. Undocumented immigrants caught within 100 miles of a land border within 14 days of arrival can be deported without a hearing; Thuraissigiam was 25 yards from the border. In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote:

“Taken to its extreme, a rule conditioning due process rights on lawful entry would permit Congress to constitutionally eliminate all procedural protections for any non-citizen the Government deems unlawfully admitted and summarily deport them no matter how many decades they have lived here, how settled and integrated they are in their communities, or how many members of their family are U.S. citizens or residents.”

DDT plans to discontinue the practice of informing Congress about entering into major weapons deals after lawmakers blocked his arrangement to provide Saudi Arabia and UAE with U.S. bomb to kill Yemeni civilians. The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) requires the president to formally notify Congress of major foreign arms sales 30 days in advance, but former State Department officials have given informal notice earlier to allow input from lawmakers.

In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Assistant US AG Aaron Zelinsky described the corrupt pressure on line prosecutors to give DDT’s friend Roger Stone special treatment, including the sentencing override with “a new sentencing memorandum that included statements and assertions at odds with the record and contrary to Department of Justice policy.” Zelinsky said the instructions came down from Acting US Attorney for District of Columbia, Timothy Shea, because Shea was “afraid of the President.” Zelinsky’s “objections were not heeded,” he said, and he resigned from his position, returning to Maryland. His supervisor had told Zelinsky to not follow DOJ guidelines for Stone’s sentencing recommendation.

AG Bill Barr is also subverting the voting process to skew the results:  [visual trump vote cartoon]

  • He exonerates people who helped interfere in the 2016 election.
  • He destroys confidence in the government ‘s ability to protect the 2020 election.
  • He lets people suppressing the vote that he will give them special treatment.
  • He spreads disinformation about the possibility of voter fraud.

Gearing up for a loss in November, DDT spread lies about “the most corrupt election in the history of our country”—stolen ballots, forged by foreigners or kept from GOP voting districts—beliefs totally debunked by the ten percent of the nation legally voting by mail.  

The drastic spike of COVID-19 in Texas did not sway the U.S. Supreme Court to allow people in Texas to vote by absentee if they wish to avoid the virus. The court ruling is for the July 14 primary runoff; the separate request for the November election remains pending.

GOP politicians use mail-in ballots because they’re homeless. DDT already used his club in Florida for his residence address although it’s not his residence. VP Mike Pence and his wife Karen are another case of falsifying their address: they used the Indiana governor’s mansion on April 13. They moved out of the place at the end of 2016 to go to Washington, D.C. The current governor, Eric Holcomb, registered to vote at the same address. 

DDT and Barr continue to blame “antifa” and “anarchists” for violence in the month-long protests, but a WaPo factcheck by Meg Kelly and Elyse Samuels could not find one example of antifa-incited violence. They interviewed witnesses and reviewed arrest records, federal charges, intelligence reports, online conversations and dozens of videos and photos of violent incidents from the early days of protests in Minneapolis for their report through protests in over 140 cities. According to U.S. officials within the joint terrorism task force, most of the violence “local hooligans, sometimes gangs, sometimes just individuals that are trying to take advantage of an opportunity.” At different protests, “some antifa …. stood back, did not engage, certainly not in a violent way.”

The majority of 14,000 arrests in 49 cities since May 27 were for low-level offences such as curfew violation and failure to disperse. Eighty federal charges, including murder and throwing Molotov cocktails at police vehicles, show no evidence of an antifa plot reveal no evidence of an antifa plot; four people among those facing the most serious federal charges identify with the far-right extremist “boogaloo” movement. The Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, which tracks white supremacist and far-right groups, found almost 200 appearances by vigilantes and far-right extremists at protests in the U.S. protests. At the same time, law enforcement is collaborating with white supremacists in many locations where they receive easier charges for their violence.

In his purpose of appearing part of DDT’s “law and order,” anti-protest schtick, Barr is taking over state responsibilities in prosecuting protesters for crimes. Some of these cases may be serious, but two incidents are breaking police car windows. A case of throwing a Molotov cocktail was considered a federal regulation of foreign commerce because the device used an imported bottle of tequila. Constitutional experts declare Barr’s actions are not in keeping with the Constitution’s limited role for the federal government and federal law enforcement. In one case, the federal government arrested protesters on the basis of interstate commerce. They never affected it, but a directive, not followed through, warned drivers of trucks bearing hazardous materials to divert.

Today, DDT signed an executive order telling Barr to prioritize prosecution for anyone who damages federal monuments and religious property. The Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act imposes up to ten years for damage to structures on public property commemorating veterans. The order also permits the dispatch of military to protect these monuments and other property at the request of the secretaries of Interior or Homeland Security or Administrator of General Services. Barr directed the DOJ to form a task force combating “anti-government extremists.” DDT also threatened to remove federal support from state and local governments who don’t protect the monuments.

DDT blamed the virus for canceling H-1B “highly-skilled worker” and H-2B  seasonal non-agricultural laborer visas until the end of the year or longer “as necessary.” About 525,000 people, including cultural and educational exchange worker J visa holders, will be denied entry.

Hate for the World Health Organization (WHO) caused DDT to order U.S. diplomats and health officials justification for any engagement with the WHO as being necessary for national security and public health safety. Disasters with DDT’s disconnect with WHO:

The U.S. has been cut out of developing the seasonal influenza vaccine, and the U.S. could lack access to an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. For example, centers in over 100 countries collect samples from sick people, isolate viruses, and search for new ones as part of the process to choose the flu strains for the annual vaccine. The CDC would no longer have access to data and virus samples protecting U.S. people from deadly strains of flu.

The U.S. could have no knowledge about health threats in another part of the world and initiatives to combat infectious diseases such as the eradication of polio still in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The U.S., without WHO, would need to take on some of its responsibilities, drawing its attention from the response to the virus.

China would fill in the U.S. vacuum and be dominant in the world.

A second term for DDT means the complete end of democracy in the United States, thanks to the Republican party.

June 25, 2020

COVID-19 Hits the News After Massive Increases in Infections

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has doggedly avoided the COVID-19 disaster while the pandemic worsens, especially in the United States. On June 24, the U.S. reportedly had its highest number of new infections—45,557 cases—which brings the total number in the nation to almost 2.5 million. The high daily count of over 9,000 more than the second highest number—25 percent more—was traced to southern and western states’ reopening businesses for Memorial Day.

By contrast, the Northeast demonstrated significant decreases in cases using social distancing and mask wearing. To keep the number of infections down, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut require 14-day quarantines for travelers from eight states having spikes in their COVID-19 numbers. DDT plans to violate the new ruling when he goes to his Bedminster golf club this weekend after having gone to Arizona, one of the travel advisory states, earlier this week, where he also violated a city ordinance by not wearing a mask. He claims that he’s “not a civilian.” Only New York will punish violators, specifically with fines beginning at $2,000. The quarantine also applies travelers from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Texas.

In northern Phoenix (AZ), Dream City megachurch, where DDT gave a speech to an audience of 3,000 seated closely together mostly without masks, bragged about the installation of a product killing “99.9% of COVID within 10 minutes. Created by some church members, the technology used bogus advertising: the analysis was on Coronavirus 229E—responsible for the common cold—in empty rooms, not with crowds of 3,000 in proximity shown in this photo. Dr. Philip Tierno, clinical professor of pathology at New York University, responded to the church’s claim:

“You will ABSOLUTELY NOT BE SAFE AND PROTECTED. When you are dealing with hundreds or thousands of people in an AUDITORIUM, some of whom will carry the virus you WILL NOT BE absolutely PROTECTED.”

Evangelical religion is still killing people, and Billy Graham’s son Franklin Graham is promoting these deaths. In an attack on Dr. Anthony Fauci, leading expert on COVID-19 in the U.S., Graham said,

Science isn’t truth. God is.”

Thanks to DDT, the COVID-19 crisis is so horrific in the U.S. that Europe is considering a travel ban from the U.S. this summer because it “has failed to control the scourge” along with visitors from Russia and Brazil.

DDT’s definition of “zero” seems to be 16,600, the number of ventilators “on the shelves” when he was inaugurated. Although DDT also complained how ventilators were obsolete, they couldn’t be used for the epidemic because DDT didn’t pay for their upkeep. Even VP Mike Pence wrote last week that the stockpile had 10,000 ventilators on hand.

States with high spikes are suffering from overwhelming hospital use. Florida, with the worst spike per capita, has only 21 percent for adult intensive care units, and only 12 percent of Arizona’s ICU beds are available.

According to CDC Director Robert Redfield, the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is probably ten times higher than those reported. He added that the recent surge in the South and West is driven by young people. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has promoted the re-opening of his state, announced a pause in the process and suspended elective surgeries in four counties.

Sick workers can’t stay home because 40 percent of essential workers—69.4 million people—aren’t covered by the congressional paid sick leave law passed in March. The number includes 17.7 million healthcare workers. One-third of these healthcare workers are people of color, and 75 percent are women. Thus far, 40 percent of all COVID-19 related deaths—over 50,000—are nursing home residents and workers.

Larry Kudlow is still spreading misinformation by saying he doesn’t expect a second wave of the virus. People “just have to live with” the new hot spots across the country, he said. The day before, virus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci testified that the U.S. is still in the first wave and used the term “disturbing surge” for new cases in states such as Arizona, Florida, and Texas.

Meanwhile, DDT is still pushing the myth that the numbers increased because of “GREAT TESTING,” a theme at his Tulsa rally where he said he told his people to “slow down the testing.” Despite Republicans’ attempt to protect him by saying it was a joke, DDT said it wasn’t. He held up the $14 billion Congress allotted for testing three months ago and removed support from 13 testing sites in five states, including seven sites in Texas. Dr. Anthony Fauci also said the federal government abruptly canceled funding to important research on bat coronaviruses by the National Institutes of Health. The project collaborates with a virologist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. In opposition to conspiracy theorists, scientists claim that the WIV is not the source of COVID-19.

Expert statistician Nate Silver tweeted the positive percentage of infections from testing went up to 5.3 percent on June 21, up from 4.4 percent a week earlier on June 14. Even GOP senators think that more testing is important.

Creative scammers are endangering the health of people in the U.S. For example, a Silicon investor and his business partner hired workers to take Chinese KN95 masks from packages labeled “MEDICAL USE PROHIBITED” and put them into packages without the warning which were then sold to Texas. Masks filter as little as 39 percent of particles, and China was blamed for sending faulty products. Details of the scam are here.

DDT’s determination to expand COVID-19 in Tulsa has been a success. Despite six DDT campaign staffers infected with COVID-19 pulled from attending the rally, another two infected people were in attendance. Now, dozens of Secret Service officers (the ones who DDT calls “SS) are in self-quarantine because of exposure. Two Secret Service agents were among the first six discovered with the virus among the advance staff and ordered to stay away. The day before their diagnosis, they met with dozens of other staff, and another two campaign staffers tested positive. When campaign spokesman said “no COVID-positive staffers or anyone in immediate contact will be at today’s rally or near attendees and elected officials,” he evidently didn’t consider a meeting to be “immediate contact.” Yesterday, four days after DDT’ campaign rally, Tulsa had a new record number of new infections. With no evidence, the city’s GOP mayor said the 259 newly infected people got it from “people going to weddings and funerals and family gatherings and bars and other things like that, that are causing this uptick.” Another week will provide more information.  

In a devastating turn of events for the unemployed and those on furlough, insurance companies don’t have to pay for COVID-19 test required to return to their jobs. DDT signed the Families first Coronavirus Response Act in March which mandates insurers and employer-provide plans cover “Covid-19 testing and related services without cost-sharing.” In April, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stated employers are legally permitted to force employees to take Covid-19 viral tests to determine whether it is safe for them to return to the workplace. The administration’s guidance, however, maintains that the law covers only “medically appropriate” coronavirus screenings, not tests “conducted to screen for general workplace health and safety (such as employee ‘return to work’ programs).” Several states, including New York and New Jersey, require the hot spots of nursing homes to test employees, but these places tried to bill insurance companies because they couldn’t pay for the costs. Some insurance companies refuse.

Last night, DD’s administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court to invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act in an effort to leave more people without insurance. It’s another attempt to destroy health care during a surging pandemic.

For a second day, COVID-19 surged across the U.S. to 40,184 new coronavirus infections and a spike of 2,500 deaths. Texas, Alabama, Missouri and Nevada reported daily highs.

Sixty percent of Jacksonville (FL) residents don’t want DDT to bring the GOP convention there in late August, and 61 percent, including a majority of Republicans, believe that doing this will cause a new coronavirus outbreak. A newer poll from the University of North Florida surveying Duval County voters upped the concern to 71 percent who are “very or somewhat concerned” the convention would result in COVID-19 transmission.

Two months ago, VP Mike Pence, then head of the coronavirus task force, predicted that the epidemic will be “largely past” by Memorial Day weekend. It isn’t. Pence will lead the first press briefing in almost two months tomorrow afternoon at HHS. With the November election looming, DDT wants to distance himself as much as possible with his failure in managing the epidemic.

June 25: number of COVID-19 cases – 2,504,588; number of COVID-19 deaths – 126,780. Or more.

June 22, 2020

Week 178 – Glimmers of Hope for the Future

The media has been consumed today with how Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), who wanted to be the comeback kid, failed in Tulsa yesterday. Fire marshals estimated his crowd at 6,200 after DDT bragged that he has requests for over 1 million tickets. Reporters wrote about how teenage TikTok users and Korean pop music fans (aka K-pop stans) quietly spread the news to Snapchat and Instagram users to order tickets from false accounts and telephone numbers as a prank.  

DDT was furious with the small turnout and the publicizing of six campaign workers infected with COVID-19. The result was a low-energy event, especially when he returned home shown by this video of his return to Washington. People question if he will be explaining by the end of the week he was only inspecting the inside of BOK Center.

Missing from his 123-minute speech: references to tragic deaths of Black people, anything about Juneteenth and the end of slavery, the number of people who have died from COVID-19, the unemployed tens of millions, and any sense of compassion or empathy for suffering people. Important stuff that DDT shared in his speech with lots of lies: 15-minute detail of how well he can walk, a demonstration of how he can drink with one hand instead of two hands (causing the crowd to go wild with cheering), horrible, radical “rioters” in the streets, and his order to “my people”:

“When you do more testing to that extent, you are going to find more people, you will find more cases. I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’”  

This week, DDT heads to Arizona, speaking at a megachurch with a capacity of 3,000. When Students for Trump rented the Dream City Church auditorium in northern Phoenix, the church didn’t know the purpose was DDT’s campaign rally. It stated online, “facility rental does not constitute endorsement of the opinions of its renters.” Phoenix now has a mask ordinance. DDT also plans to look at his border wall at Yuma, among the hardest hit locations in the state which has become a hot spot for COVID-19. 

After refusing to reveal any information about which businesses received the $600 billion from the CARES $2.3 trillion act, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin caved into the protests and announced he will announce general information. Loans of under $150,000, about 25 percent of the total, will be lumped together into categories of industry, business type, and demographics with no names. The remainder will be groped by amount: $150,000-$350,000, $350,000-$1 million, $1 million to $2 million, $2 million to $5 million, and $5 million to $10 million. Demographics are vital because the agency gave no guidance to lenders about prioritizing rural, minority, and women business borrowers who may not have received loans guaranteed by legislation.

 In California, a district judge stopped enforcement of the Education Department’s rules preventing undocumented students at the state community colleges from getting a portion of the state’s $580 million from CARES funds for pandemic relief. The law does not restrict types of students eligible for aid.

A U.S. district judge in New York blocked ICE from making civil arrests at courthouses. A federal judge in Massachusetts make the same ruling last year; the appeal is pending.

The U.S. Soccer Federation repealed the league’s three-year-old ban on kneeling during the national anthem, and the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association apologized to its “players—especially our Black players—staff, fans, and all who support eradicating racism.”

After DC Circuit Court judge Lawrence Silberman called renaming U.S. bases honoring Confederate officers “mad,” a Black law clerk responded in this brilliant way, when he wrote about his slave ancestors.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) cannot order the 11 Confederate statues removed from the capitol, but she can take down four portraits of previous House Speakers who served in the Confederacy. One of them, Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter (left) who was expelled from the U.S. Senate for supporting the Confederacy, became the Confederate Secretary of State. The last House Speaker portrait to be removed was that of former Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL). In 2015, then Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) took it off the wall after Hastert pled guilty to breaking banking laws when he obtained hush money concealing molestation of young boys while he was a wrestling coach.

An investigation from a panel created by the National Academy of Public Administration panel found that NOAA violated its scientific integrity policy in “Sharpiegate,” NOAA’s backing of DDT’s falsifying Hurricane Dorian’s path last September. After DDT mistakenly identified the Hurricane going into Alabama, NOAA contradicted its own meteorologists, and DDT changed Dorian’s path on a map with his Sharpie pen. According to the report, NOAA’s acting administrator Neil Jacobs and former NOAA deputy chief of staff and communications director Julie Kay Roberts twice violated agency codes through their involvement in the Sept. 6 statement. Jacobs is still claiming that DDT was correct in his ignorance that Alabama “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” Jacob’s problems continue: The Commerce Department’s inspector general, responsible for NOAA, and the House Science Committee both plan to release reports. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatened to fire NOAA’s top employees if they didn’t endorse DDT’s fake claims. 

A three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court upheld the dismissal of a defamation lawsuit against former British spy Christopher Steele, center of the publicity surrounding the Mueller report. Russian investment giants, owners of the country’s Alfa Group, claimed Steele’s reports had defamed them.

The FDA withdrew the emergency use authorization for DDT’s COVID-19 drugs of choice, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, because of health problems they may cause.

The King County Labor Council, the largest labor group in the Seattle area, expelled the city’s police union because it fails to address racism. The vote was two days after the city council unanimously voted to ban police use of tear gas, pepper spray, etc. after law enforcement used them on primarily peaceful demonstrators. Among other police attacks on protesters, an officer deliberately pepper-sprayed a seven-year-old and then arrested Evan Hreha, who videoed the episode, with no evidence of any wrongdoing by Hreha.   

White supremacists, DDT’s base, have infiltrated protests to cause a race war. Steven Ray Baca, 31, opened fire against protesters trying to pull down a statue of Spanish conquistador and tyrant Juan de Oñate outside a museum in Albuquerque (NM), leaving a person in critical condition. Heavily armed people in military-style garb calling themselves a “civil guard” circled Baca for protection. Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Carrillo, an avid far-right extremist “boogaloo boy,” killed a sheriff’s deputy in Santa Cruz County and an Oakland courthouse guard. A peaceful protest of 200 in small Bethel (OH) was overtaken by over 700 heavily-armed menacing people circling them like snipers. And more. DDT ignores the violence from the far-right while ranting against the far-left.

Facebook finally started deactivating DDT’s lying, hate-filled campaign ads, beginning with one using a Nazi symbol for political prisoners on protesters he falsely calls the Antifa and “far-left groups.” Along with the red inverted triangle, ads labeled peaceful protesters “Dangerous MOBS.” The campaign presented 88 ads, a significant number representing “Heil Hitler” in white supremacist code.

Earlier, FB took down ads with misleading references to U.S. Census and more recently one from DDT with copyrighted materials. The company proclaims, however, that it has a “light touch,” defending Holocaust deniers, claiming he did not believe “they were intentionally getting it wrong.”

Twitter marked a DDT campaign ad “manipulated media” to deceive viewers before the ad was removed because of copyright infringement. DDT’s campaign used an video from last year that went viral showing a white toddler chasing his best friend, a black toddler, to hug him and ran a fake CNN chryon, “TERRIFIED TODLER (sic) RUNS FROM RACIST BABY.” The ad used its fake chryon to accuse CNN of faking poll numbers. Facebook also removed the ad for copyright infringement. 

CNN’s Jim Acosta asked press secretary Kayleigh McEnany about DDT’s fake ad:

“So you’re saying it’s okay to exploit two toddlers hugging one another on a sidewalk to make some sort of political point? You — I mean, as you know, the President has described members of the press as ‘fake news’ during the course of this administration. When you share fake videos like that, doesn’t that make you fake news?”

McEnany tried to call DDT’s ad a satire “that was quite funny,” but Costa called her out, “What’s funny about these two toddlers … hugging one another?” The argument continued, and McEnany came out second in the exchange.

On its advertising platform, Google banned ZeroHedge, a far-right website trafficking in conspiracy theories after policy violations from comments about Black Lives Matter protests. The server also took the same action against The Federalist after a three-day warning. Google said that both websites violated its policy against monetizing content that “promotes hatred, intolerance, violence or discrimination based on race.” Having created a culture of monopolies, conservatives are complaining about how they behave.

June 20, 2020

DDT: Week 178 – Tulsa Rally, Other Controversies

Despite major events of the past week—protests, police brutality, another executive order, two big Supreme Court rulings, COVID-19 killing thousands of people while Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) ignores the virus, and DDT’s determination to infect thousands more at his Tulsa rally—the U.S. government is hiding more corruption.

 The biggest controversy—other than DDT’s Tulsa rally today—came from AG Bill Barr’s late Friday night firing Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and DDT’s replacement appointment of Jay Clayton, SEC chair, who has no prosecutorial experience but was a lawyer for Deutsche Bank. Since DDT’s interim appointment of Berman, he investigated DDT’s hush money payments for two women after affairs with them, leading to a guilty plea from DDT’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and into DDT’s finances. Berman also had cases against DDT lawyer Rudy Giuliani as well as against Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, indicted for funneling Russian money to GOP candidates. A replacement for Berman is unlikely if the GOP refuses to tackle a contentious process in an election year. An excellent insight into DDT’s maneuvers. 

Berman said he wasn’t quitting, Barr said DDT had fired Berman, and DDT told reporters that the ouster was “all up to the attorney general” and he hadn’t become involved in the matter. After Barr appointed Berman’s deputy AG as replacement, Berman quit. The House Judiciary Committee begins an investigation into Berman’s firing this coming week with two DOJ whistleblowers testifying about Barr’s politicizing the DOJ.

DDT’s loans for almost $500 million—or more—come due within four years. He’s also losing enough revenue from the pandemic he can’t even pay rent on his Florida golf course.

  • Deutsche bank, 2012: $125 million for the Doral golf resort, due in 2023.
  • Deutsche bank, 2014: $170 million for Trump Tower, due in 2024.
  • Deutsche bank, 2014: $25 to $50 million for Chicago hotel/complex, due in 2024.
  • Ladder Capital (lender of last resort): $100 million for Trump Tower, due in 2022.
  • Ladder Capital: $13 million for Trump Plaza.

Whistleblowers at the House hearing, Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, a DOJ prosecutor quitting the Roger Stone case after Barr’s political appointees requested a lenient sentence for him, and John W. Elias, an antitrust official, are using a federal law prohibiting reprisals against civil servants giving information to Congress. Barr has refused to testify. A third scheduled witness, Donald Ayer, served as deputy AG when Barr led the department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 1989 and 1990.

According to newly unredacted parts of the Mueller report, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and Michael Cohen told investigators Roger Stone promised the campaign damaging revelations by WikiLeaks. DDT knew in advance WikiLeaks would be releasing these embarrassing documents for Hillary Clinton but denied his knowledge in written testimony for Mueller’s team. Barr misrepresented this information and hid it until a court order forced him to remove the redactation.

The audience for DDT’s big rally comeback in Tulsa filled under two-thirds of the venue holding 19,000. He blamed the shortage of people on peaceful protesters outside. DDT again appealed to his white supremacist base by extolling the virtues of the Confederate heritage, a treasonous act that almost split the United States. DDT canceled a speech for an overflow crowd because almost no one came. Six campaign staffers for the rally tested positive for COVID-19 which is rapidly spiking in the state, especially Tulsa.

DDT gave one of the biggest pandemic-related contracts, $618 million, to an almost unknown biodefense company, Emergent BioSolutions, for a yet undeveloped vaccine. With the consolidation of contracts for the company comes “vulnerabilities in the supply chair,” according to WaPo, and inflated costs after DDT’s focus on biodefense instead of pandemics. Before becoming DDT’s assistant HHS secretary for preparedness and response, retired Air Force colonel Robert Kadlec advised Emergent and then started a biodefense consulting company with Emergent’s founder. As aide to Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Kadlec helped draft legislation that created his current position. Over 20 years ago, Emergent, then called BioPort, received a contract for an anthrax vaccine and inflated the price before members of the military receiving the vaccine reported bad reaction. Another company received the contract for a vaccine until Emergent bought the rights to the different vaccine and kept increasing the prices over the cost of its production.

Since COVID-19 hit the U.S., healthcare industry CEOs paid themselves $2.4 billion, 27 million people lost their healthcare coverage, and people have been charged from $400,000 to $1.1 million for treatment as well as $2,000 for testing. The nation is headed into a new recession. During the last one, the Federal Reserve committed $16 trillion to $29 trillion to large financial institutions, passed a bailout of $4 trillion to large corporations, and spent $10 trillion of the Iraq War, military budget, and Bush/DDT tax cuts. Remember these numbers when Republicans try to eliminate healthcare and Social Security.

DDT ordered meat plants to stay open, threatening a catastrophic domestic food shortage if infected workers didn’t stand close throughout the day. In April, the industry sold 129,000 tons of domestic pork to China, a record amount.

The EPA ignored a court order to permit perchlorate, used in fertilizers and explosives like solid rocket propellants, munitions, fireworks, matches, and airbag initiators, in clear water. The poisonous chemical severely reduces IQs in infants and causes disorders such as hypothyroidism.

With no announcement, DDT gave permission for sponsors of retirement plans such as 401(k)s to invest the money into funds managed by predatory private equity firms. The high-risk result can mean huge returns—and huge losses—while firms skim fees off the funds. Private equity millionaires and billionaires are the winners, up to $425 billion from just five percent of these funds available to private equity.

Litigious-happy DDT threatened his niece with a lawsuit if she publishes her “harrowing and salacious” book about him, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, on July 28. He claims that Mary Trump has an NDA that prevented her from repeating anything she knows about him after a 2001 settlement for the estate of her father, Fred Trump.

CIA displayed “woefully lax” security and the worst data loss in its history after one of its officers stole CIA hacking tools. The October 2017 report about publication of these hacking tools by WikiLeaks, submitted as evidence in the trial of Joshua Schulte, was unnoticed until Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) got the public version from DOJ and gave it to the WaPo. According to the report, there was no secrecy among users for sensitive information such as passwords, thumb drives and other removable media, and historical data. Without auditing, the theft wasn’t discovered for a year when WikiLeaks announced it in March 2017. The loss would never have been noticed without a publication. Wyden wants Congress to review the law exempting intelligence agencies from federal cybersecurity requirements.

Iowa Republicans will keep voters from getting absentee ballots by requiring the voter ID pin number on requests, something few voters know. The same bill includes a voter ID requirement for people casting their ballots at county government offices in early voting. Republicans slipped the mandates into a budget bill just before legislature’s adjournment after GOP members promised to remove restrictions from the bill.

Amidst the domestic trauma and the spiking of COVID-19 in the U.S., fights are breaking out throughout the world. A clash on the China-India border high in the Himalayas led to three dead Indian soldiers, the first such killings since 1975. DDT’s BFF Kim Jong-Un blew up the liaison office it opened with South Korea in 2018, functioning like an embassy, and threatened to send troops into the demilitarized zone. The explosion occurred just a few days after the two-year anniversary of his meeting with DDT in Singapore when DDT promised that Kim is “de-nuking the whole place.” Kim has now announced his bolstering the military to counter the U.S.

Make America Great Again Polls:

Rasmussen, DDT’s friendliest and most conservative polling: Joe Biden – 48 percent; DDT – 36 percent

NORC (University of Chicago): 14 percent of very happy people, down from 31 percent with people the unhappiest they have been in 50 years—before the death of George Floyd and the protests. Only 42 percent of people think their children will have a better standard of living, down from 57 percent in 2018 and the lowest ever.

Axios-Ipsos: 81 percent of people worry about a second wave of COVID-19; 64 percent think a return to pre-coronavirus life presents a risk, up from 57 percent a week ago; 40 percent worry about getting sick, up from 32 percent last week; 54 percent fear economic collapse, up from 48 percent last week.

AP-NORC: 63 percent believe the U.S. is heading in the wrong direction; DDT’s approval rating is at 39 percent.

While DDT ignores COVID-19, the number of infections is skyrocketing—33,388 today, June 20, raising the total to 2,330,578; at least 121,980 have died of the virus. At this rate, over 1 percent of the U.S. population will have the virus within three weeks.

June 19, 2020

DDT Runs Afoul of Executive Orders, COVID-19

For eight years, the Republicans hated presidential executive orders–until they elected Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Their opposition to these orders stay in the GOP platform because Republicans decided to retread the 2016 platform citing their hatred of President Obama. DDT loves signing orders because he gets to look important.

Eight years, ago, President Obama signed an order for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program allowing undocumented young adults who were brought to the United States as children to apply for protection from deportation. In 2017, DDT signed his own order ending the program, telling almost 800,000 young people they should immediately be deported. After lawsuits against the order wandered the courts for almost three years, the Supreme Court ruled, 5-4 with Chief Justice John Roberts the swing vote, against DDT’s order, calling it “arbitrary and capricious.” The decision didn’t state DDT was wrong, just that he didn’t provide sufficient justification.

The executive order was sent back to the Department of Homeland Security, and, after a day of tantrums, DDT declared the high court wanted him to rewrite the order for reissuing.  

Damon Linker wrote about the decision:

“Presidents and their appointees can’t simply do anything they want, even when the aim falls within their purview. They need to abide by the rule of law in taking action…. It’s what separates a nation governed by law from one ruled by the whims of a malicious despot and his obsequious enablers.”

BuzzFeed’s Zoe Tillman wrote:

“This outcome is similar to what happened in the census citizenship question case — in both cases, Roberts wrote for the majority of the court that the Trump admin could in theory do what they were trying to do, but that officials had gone about it in an unlawful way.”

Law professor Steve Vladeck commented about the ruling:

“It’s not that Chief Justice Roberts is a closet progressive. He’s not. It’s that the Trump administration is really bad at administrative law.”

Steve Benen continued with the theme of his new book, The Imposters:

“Many of the White House’s recent failures are the result of its indifference to the substance of governing.

“Earlier this week, North Korea literally blew up a diplomatic office, in part because Trump launched a risky gambit for public-relations purposes, failed to do his due diligence, never bothered to formulate a specific plan or policy, and sat helpless as his half-hearted effort failed.

“Soon after, the political world was confronted with revelations from John Bolton’s new book, in which the former White House national security advisor describes the president as, among other things, a man who doesn’t care about governing, doesn’t know how government works, and prioritizes politics over policy.

“Meanwhile, Trump’s plan to hold a risky campaign rally in Tulsa is becoming increasingly controversial in ways his political operation may not have anticipated. Those who take governing seriously care about data, evidence, and expertise — and in this case, the coronavirus data out of Oklahoma is awful and getting worse; the evidence points to an enclosed venue where the virus can spread easily and quickly, and the experts are telling anyone who’ll listen that this is a bad idea.

“But because Trump and his allies are no longer members of a governing party, and have instead become leaders of a post-policy party, these developments are sadly predictable.”

Being able to legally work and attend school in the U.S. has made DACA recipients productive. About five percent of them contribute to healthcare work during the danger of COVID-19. Over 90 percent of DACA recipients are employed, and 45 percent of them attend school. In January 2018, 87 percent of people said DACA recipients should be allowed to stay if they work or attend school.

DDT believes Roberts wants another executive order, but a new attempt on his part could address whether the original DACA order was illegal or lacking in “sound policy.” This issue was not addressed in this week’s ruling and could last another three years or more in the courts. It could also be problematic in an election year.

Since the DACA executive order, DDT has learned to write ones totally without substance while making exaggerated statements about their effects. For example, he said he was keeping meat plants open during the pandemic, but the order told Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to work with OSHA to make decisions.

DDT used the same approach when he signed his “law enforcement reform” order earlier this week. He said his order banned chokeholds, except “when an officer’s life is at risk.” The order actually states chokeholds are permitted wherever law allows them.  

DDT described his order as “pretty comprehensive.” These are his “orders”:

Police brutality has occurred.

Congress will pass policing-related legislation. (Congress started working on reform before he wrote the order.)

DOJ funding will pay police departments to provide federally-approved training programs. (An example of the huge loopholes is money only for departments prohibiting the use of chokeholds “except in those situations where the use of deadly force is allowed by law.”)

The HHS Secretary should encourage police departments to improve law enforcement handling of mental health crises, addiction, and homelessness. (No explanation how.)

A national database should track police misconduct.

No policies, no orders, but DDT can use his statement to veto anything from Congress with a lie that he’s already created “reform.”  He’s already demanded law enforcement officers keep their immunity and described his appreciation for police brutality. People want “law and order,” according to DDT, although “some of them don’t even know that’s what they want, but that’s what they want.”

When Barack Obama was president, DDT stated President Obama “signs executive orders because he can’t get anything done. I’ll get everybody together.” Then he moved on to complaining about the few times President Obama golfed. With his own ability to sign these orders, however, DDT holds up his signature, pointing to it like a toddler pointing out his toilet-training achievement.

DDT’s favorite part of signing orders comes from the speech he gives afterwards. In this case, he extolled the virtues of police officers, returning to the idea that the massive police brutality, even more obvious during the past three weeks, is from a few bad apples. He called school choice, which means using taxpayer funds to support religious groups, as the “civil rights statement of the year, of the decade, and probably beyond.” (Not voting rights of equality in justice—just taxpayers paying for religious instruction.)

Although DDT claimed to have met with families of nine victims of police or racially motivated killings, none was in his audience for his signing. His photo-op showed himself surrounded by male cops, only one of them black. “We have to break old patterns of failure,” DDT said. 

Meanwhile, DDT is pushing VP Mike Pence, the evangelical, to tell governors to lie to their people so they will think COVID-19 has disappeared after a backlash to his rally tomorrow. With spikes in the virus throughout over half the states, Pence told governors to tell people the virus has disappeared. DDT claims the only reason the number of cases could go up would be more testing. Dana Milbank compared this reasoning to people believing they aren’t gaining weight if they don’t weigh themselves. DDT and Pence are willing to kill hundreds of thousands to win an election.

Predictions show the U.S. COVID-19 death toll to over 200,000 by early October, up from 170,000 deaths, because of states lifting lockdowns and ignoring safety measures to prevent the virus. Florida insisted on opening the state and keeping it open, but yesterday, it was one of four states—Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas—with almost half the 33,000+ new cases for the day although they have about 20 percent of the nation’s population. Pence also lied to reporters about the new virus spike in Oklahoma, its highest one-day total since the pandemic began in the state on March 6, by calling it a “flattening” curve.

Pence also wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed about “overblown” reports of a “second wave” while DDT is “winning the fight.” A factcheck about Pence’s piece, however asserted he “overstated the amount of coronavirus-related medical equipment distributed by a Trump administration program on multiple occasions, according to public data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.” The amount of masks, shields, and other PPE was far less than Pence stated, especially the 1.5 million N95 masks instead of the 143 million Pence declared.

As both DDT and Pence call for a “celebration” to the current end of COVID-19, people need to remember their comments earlier this year before over 120,000 people died of the virus in the United States.

June 15, 2020

High Court Gives LGBTQ Victory

On the first Mondays of June, the Supreme Court releases surprises, and today’s decision is the greatest reward for LGBTQ people since the high court ruled for marriage equality almost exactly five years ago. By a 6-3 vote, employment discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity is now illegal. The ruling goes back to 1964 when segregationist southern Democrat Howard Smith (V) put the word “sex into the Civil Rights Act as a joke to make the bill fail. Instead the bill passed, giving rights to women—and now LGBTQ people.

Three cases were joined in the court appeal, two against gays and a third against a transgender woman. Two of the three plaintiffs have died, Donald Zarda in 2014 and Aimee Stephens in mid-May this year. Gerald Bostock, fired because he joined a gay softball league, has recovered from prostate cancer and will return to court in Clayton County for issues such as his job reinstatement and back payment.

AG Bill Barr and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) fought the Supreme Court decision, claiming “the ordinary meaning of ‘sex’ is biologically male or female; it does not include sexual orientation.” In a dissent, DDT’s justice Brett Kavanaugh claimed the law is based on the “ordinary meaning,” not the literal definition. Kavanaugh had been handpicked by his predecessor, Anthony Kennedy, who voted in favor of LGBTQ rights. The ruling is in keeping with public opinion, however, even Republicans who support it by 74 percent. Over 200 major corporations filed a brief supporting the gay and transgender employees in the cases. This ruling means all 50 states cannot use LGBTQ status, or perceived status, to fire employees instead of the 21 states protecting residents from firing until the decision. Seven more states protect LGBTQ public employees.   

Most exciting about the victory is that DDT’s conservative appointment to the court, Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion. The term “sex” in Title VII, the anti-discrimination law applying to workforces of 15 or more people, doesn’t use the words “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.”  Gorsuch, however, stated:

“It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”

Another surprise was a vote from Chief Justice John Roberts to support the ruling after he was on the losing side when the high court voted in favor of same-gender marriage. Two years later, however, Roberts voted with five other judges to overrule the Arkansas Supreme Court in Pavan v. Smith to treat same-gender married couples the same as heterosexual couples when listing parents on birth certificates.

A question about the ruling is whether it applies to military service because DDT has banned transgender people from serving. Legal and Policy Director Peter Perkowski for the Modern Military Association of America stated:

“Make no mistake: the Supreme Court has ruled that discrimination against LGBTQ people is discrimination based on sex. That truth applies regardless of context.”

I can understand the joy people feel about today’s ruling removing LGBTQ job discrimination. Throughout our teaching careers of over 30 years, both my partner and I lived in fear we would lose our jobs. Although we never openly discussed our sexual orientation, most people were aware of our relationship. We could have been fired at any time with no justification other than our being lesbians.

The current ruling opposing LGBTQ discrimination in employment, upholding findings from lower courts identifying sexual orientation discrimination as sex discrimination, is unique because no other court has decided on the violation of a statute. Instead, they have focused on liberty, dignity, or hatred. This new decision can open the floodgates to LGBTQ lawsuits in other areas.

Last Friday, DDT finalized a rule banning sexual orientation and gender identity from being covered by the 2010 Affordable Care Act prohibiting discrimination on sex. Joshua Block, a litigator at the ACLU’s LGBT Project, tweeted:

“It’s hard to overstate how much this administration has staked its anti-LGB-and-especially-T agenda on its misreading of Title VII. It’s now an achilles heel in built into almost every terrible regulation and enforcement action for past 4 years.”

DDT’s ban on transgender people in the military is challenged in Karnoski v. Trump. Last year, the Supreme Court allowed the ban to continue while the case awaits a hearing in the 9th Circuit Court or moves to the high court. Aaron Belkin, director of an organization researching military personnel policy, stated:

“Today’s ruling makes the military, so often a successful leader in ending discrimination in American life, an outlier amidst a national consensus that arbitrary discrimination is harmful and wrong. With transgender workers protected by federal law in all other sectors, the military’s transgender ban is now even harder to defend.”

That military issue uses different legal issues from today’s decision, but Justice Samuel Alito Jr stated in his dissent the decision “may exert a gravitational pull in constitutional cases,” citing the military ban challenge.

Litigation on Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 uses the definition of the word “sex” regarding to equal treatment in education and sports. David Flugman, a civil rights litigator at law firm Selendy & Gay, said:

“That line of case law is going to immediately be bolstered by this case. I think this case will be helpful in a number of ways, and just like Title VII itself, we’ll see this decision used in a number of ways we can’t predict.”

Single-sex homeless shelters can also discriminate against transgender people, HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced today.

A victory last month for transgender people is the refusal of the Supreme Court to hear an appeal from Idaho to refuse gender confirmation surgery for a transgender woman in prison. In a 7-2 decision, the high court sided with a 9th Circuit Court ruling for Adree Almo, in prison since 2012, to receive the surgery. Last year, the 5th Circuit Court ruled against a Texas inmate to get the same surgery.

Same-gender couples also scored a victory from a federal judge order to pay Social Security benefits to surviving partners of same-gender couples denied the ability to marry sooner because of state marriage bans. In Arizona, James A. Taylor, committed partner of Michael Ely, died six months after the couple was married in 2014 following the Supreme Court legalization of marriage equality. Ely was denied federal survivor benefits because they had been married only six months, and the law requires nine months for qualification. U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Macdonald wrote that “reliance on an unconstitutional law” perpetuated an “unconstitutional infringement on Ely and Taylor’s fundamental right to marriage.” He ordered Social Security benefits paid to every person denied benefits because of same-gender marriage ban. For almost 25 years, Taylor worked as a jet mechanic for Bombardier in Tucson (AZ), and Ely took care of their home. Now Ely, 67, can receive the same benefits as any heterosexual surviving spouse. [Right: Ely with a photo of his husband, “Spider” Taylor.] 

More victories today came from cases the Supreme Court didn’t take today. It passed on ten challenges to federal and state gun control laws, despite the dissent of two justices, Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas. Left in place are restrictions on the right to carry weapons in public in Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey; Massachusetts’ ban on some semi-automatic firearms and large-capacity ammunition magazines; a California handgun control law; and a half-century-old federal law banning interstate handgun sales. 

Wisconsin’s bid to reinstate a state law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals was put on hold while being litigated.

Although justices Thomas and Alito objected, the remaining seven judges refused DDT’s challenge of California’s so-called sanctuary law limiting local cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Left intact, the 2017 California law creates policies barring the use of state and local resources to help federal enforcement efforts.

And the next two Mondays? Decisions on subpoenas for DDT’s tax returns and financial records, continuation of the DACA program to allows immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to apply for protection, women’s right to abortions by outlawing TRAP laws, religious control of government, and the right of DDT to fire independent agency directors. Have a good week waiting!

June 14, 2020

Weekly Good News Begins with Defeating Confederacy

The biggest publicity this past week surrounded the possibly removal of Confederate monuments and other symbols of treason throughout the United States. Last week Marines banned displays of Confederate, followed by a Navy ban. The controversy when the Army considered renaming its bases such as Bragg and Benning, two of at least ten major Army installations named for traitors who led Confederate troops. In a tweet-fit protecting his white supremacist base, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) wrote

“My Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”

For once not every GOP member of Congress fell in line behind DDT. In a voice vote, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a provision in the Pentagon’s spending bill to rename the Army bases honoring Confederate traitors. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) said:

“If we’re going to have bases throughout the United States, I think it should be with the names of individuals who fought for our country.”

Retired U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus pointed out “most of the Confederate generals for whom our bases are named were undistinguished, if not incompetent, battlefield commanders.” Fort Bragg (NC) is named after the one of the most bumbling commanders in the Civil War who was relieved of command after losing the battle for Chattanooga in 1863. Benning, who lost at Antietam and Gettysburg, complained that abolition would lead to “black governors, black legislatures, black juries, black everything. Is it to be supposed that the white race will stand for that?” The bases got Confederate names because the military needed states to provide the land and allowed locals to pick the names.

House Democrats continued the momentum by pushing to remove the 11 Confederate statues on Capitol Hill. Four of them are being removed, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) introduced legislation to eliminate the rest of them. Most of the Confederate statues came in with the Jim Crow laws in the early twentieth century. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), who chairs the panel overseeing the statues, said even a move to hide them in storage without states’ say “would violate the agreement with the states, which is contractual and legislative in nature.”

Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS), both senior CBC members, introduced legislation giving Congress the ability to remove all of the Confederate statues in the collection within 120 days. States could reclaim their statues, or they could be given to the Smithsonian. Rep. Will Hurd (Texas), the only black Republican in the House, said Capitol Hill is the wrong place to remember the leaders of the Confederacy. He said:

“The bottom line for me is [if] someone didn’t want to be part of this great country, then why would we want to have their statue on the Capitol?”

Many protesters and local governments aren’t waiting for the federal and state governments to take action because they move slowly. For example, a bronze statue of Confederate Edmund Kirby Smith still stares at visitors to the Florida capitol despite the two-year-old law to replace him with civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune. Confederate-backer Uriah Milton Rose and white supremacist James activist Daisy Gatson Bates. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam endorsed removing Confederate army commander Robert E. Lee from the Capitol, but a Richmond (VA) circuit judge temporarily blocked its removal pending a lawsuit against the action. The lawsuit claims Virginia promised to “faithfully guard” and “affectionately protect” the statue in 1890 when the state annexed its location. Fredericksburg (VA) has already taken out an 800-pound slave auction block, and Alexandria (VA) no longer has a statue commemorating Confederate soldiers. Richmond did get rid of Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham.

Mississippi, the only remaining state with the Confederate emblem on the flag, requires a two-thirds vote in the GOP legislature for a new flag, and GOP Gov. Tate Reeves wants the people to decide. The most popular design for a new flag was designed by a segregationist senator, producing more controversy.

Although 57 Confederate monuments and another 143 symbols celebrating the Confederacy have been removed from public grounds in five years, another 773 Confederate monuments still stand among almost 1,800 Confederate symbols in the U.S. With Confederate monuments being taken down in states such as Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, and Virginia, activists want systems of white supremacy also taken down—police and judicial systems disproportionately affecting blacks.

In other good news, the former federal judge appointed to review the DOJ’s motion to dismiss criminal charges against Michael Flynn said the request should be denied because of a “gross abuse” of prosecutorial power. John Gleeson said the government “has engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the President.” Flynn twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States while explaining DDT would remove sanctions after he became inaugurated. Gleeson stated prosecutors’ arguments to dismiss the case were “riddled” with legal errors. He also wrote Flynn had clearly committee perjury and should be punished.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who appointed Gleeson for a recommendation, will make the decision that could go to an appeals court. In an argument before the appeals court, the DOJ prosecutor argued the case should be dropped because it would be a political spectacle. Two of the three judges appeared doubtful about dropping the case; the third judge is a DDT appointee.

Peaceful protesters wounded by being violently cleared from the area for DDT’s photo-op at the church are suing AG bill Barr and other federal officials. The lawsuit demands restitution for “trauma and injuries” and a court order blocking officials from repeating the action. DDT first denied any use of tear gas, but officials later used the term in a statement. Reporters collected canisters of tear gas agents at the scene, and Barr is being sued in both his official and his personal capacity.

CBS polling shows an overwhelming bipartisan support for DACA recipients. As the country waits for the Supreme Court to announce its decision regarding the retention of the program, approval comes from 95 percent of Democrats, 84 percent of independents, and 73 percent of Republicans. DDT terminated the program, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refuses to take up legislation regarding the issue.

A coalition of farming and conservation groups asked the 9th Circuit Court to hold EPA chief Andrew Wheeler in contempt for defying its order to immediately suspend use of dicamba, a poisonous weed-killer notorious for its tendency to drift and destroy nearby crops.

After studies showing facial recognition from photos fails the accuracy test with both minorities and women, IBM will stop selling the product, and Amazon declared a one-year pause. For example, Amazon had identified 28 members of Congress with people who had been arrested.

Several White House aides, disturbed by DDT’s tweets, are avoiding them by turning off their notifications.

A book from national security adviser John Bolton is due out on June 23, but the White House claims it still has classified information. Good news is pending.

Another DDT “tell-all” book is due out on August 11, this one from DDT’s niece, his deceased brother’s daughter. Too Much and Never Enough from Mary Trump supposedly includes her part in the NYT revelations about DDT’s taxes, his “fraudulent” tax schemes, and the $400 million in today’s dollars he received from his father’s real-estate empire.

Former Joint Chiefs of Staff James Mattis said, “We can unite without DDT.” Polling agrees.  

  • 53 percent support: Black Lives Matter (up from 37 percent in early 2017).
  • 74 percent support: protests after George Floyd’s killing.
  • 69 percent belief: Floyd’s killing indicative of larger problems in law enforcement (up from 43 percent after 2014 police killings of unarmed black men).

Approval of the Black Lives Matter movement has been shown by the popularity of this photo of the street mural from space.  

Florida’s former top coronavirus data scientist, Rebekah Jones, was fired because she refused to manipulate the data to show fewer COVID-19 infections in the state than fact. She is now publishing the data on her own website, indicating a considerable difference—today’s 83,720 instead of the state’s tally of 75,568 on June 14. Data comes from the state health department, hospitals, and a volunteer organization mapping virus testing sites. She also concluded the 

The state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, is also stuck with 980,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine, assumed not effective to treat COVID-19, after ordering 1 million doses in April. Even with doctoring the figures, Florida hit 1,900 cases last Friday, breaking its previous record.  That number was almost ten percent of all new cases in the U.S. on a day and now total 2,162,144 by June 14. The number of deaths has reached 117,853.

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