Nel's New Day

July 30, 2020

DDT Tries Disastrous Distractions

My plan for the week is one blog post on the weekend to give details about Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). This morning, however, my Inbox was so full I decided to start early to report on DDT’s disastrous and failing distractions.

DDT’s MO, when attempting the outrageous, is to tweet a trial balloon to see how much people object. Today’s completely outrageous tweet:

“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

For 24 years, Oregon has peacefully conducted mail-in elections with almost zero “fraud”—one example being a county clerk completing partially filled-out ballots to favor GOP candidates, something that can happen with any paper ballot system. Four other states will follow Oregon’s vote-by-mail in the 2020 election, and people in all other states are begging for permission to mail in their ballots. DDT, however, watched his plummeting poll ratings and hopes he found a solution by putting off the election. He’s been working up to presenting the idea with his and AG Bill Barr’s lies about fraudulent mail-in voting and their legal machinations to stop it.

DDT tweeted his unconstitutional idea on the same day as the funeral of former Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and the publication of Lewis’ posthumous op-ed, “Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation” about the importance of voting.

Law experts claim DDT cannot change the date for the election because the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to determine the “time, place and manner” of general elections. The 20th Amendment also specifics term endings for the president on March and for members of Congress on January 3. DDT, however, is not a strong believer in the constitution, and Republicans have followed his lead in the past. GOP leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have vigorously disagreed with DDT’s idea, but they are also not known for having a spine. His balloon burst, DDT sent a later DDT tweet about how he managed “to get the very dishonest LameStream Media to finally start talking about the RISKS to our Democracy from dangerous Universal Mail-In-Voting (not Absentee Voting, which I totally support!).” AG Bill Barr, however, said he hadn’t studied whether the president could move the election date. DDT also demanded, “Must know Election results on the night of the Election.”

In April, DDT’s campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh ridiculed Joe Biden for suggesting that DDT might attempt a change in the election date. At that time, DDT said:

“I never even thought of changing the date of the election. Why would I do that? November 3rd. It’s a good number. No, I look forward to that election.”

To please Vladimir Putin, DDT is moving 12,000 military members out of Germany at a cost of billions of dollars. Even Republicans see DDT’s action as a threat to U.S. security: 22 GOP members of the House Armed Services Committee wrote DDT to warn him about encouraging Russian aggression and opportunism. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) called the plan “a gift to Russia coming at a time when we just have learned of its support for the Taliban and reports of bounties on killing American troops.” DDT said the reason for withdrawing troops was that Germany doesn’t pay its NATO fees; Defense Department Secretary Mark Esper said the reason had nothing to do with NATO payments. There are no fees, but DDT’s feelings may have been hurt when Chancellor Angela Merkel wouldn’t come to the G7 summit in the U.S. as COVID-19 surged.

In an interview with Axios’ Jonathan Swan, DDT admitted he had not asked Vladimir Putin about paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in their eight or more calls since DDT was told in late winter about Russia’s plans to murder U.S. soldiers. DDT lied that the intelligence “never reached my desk” although he received a written briefing about it in February and excused Russia for giving military support to the Taliban. With Russia’s continued interference on the part of DDT in the upcoming election, he will benefit by ignoring negative information about the Kremlin’s activities.

On the home front, DDT is sending his personal militia to Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Detroit after having deployed them to Kansas City (MO), Albuquerque, and Chicago. AG Bill Barr stated, “We work together,” but that wasn’t the case in Portland (OR) where violent agents vastly increased the downtown protests where they operated as secret police. Oregon officials announced the feds were withdrawing their troops after they created almost four weeks of havoc in Portland; DDT and acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf disagreed with the deal to replace federal agents with state police officers. Last night after Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced the departure of federal agents on Thursday, their violence because worse than earlier nights.

During his campaign, DDT claimed all crime in the United States would stop on the day he was inaugurated. His term has seen a slight uptick in crime, which he now blames on opponent Joe Biden and Democratic leaders in the cities he targeted.

After DDT overturned the Affirmative Furthering Fair Housing provision of the 1968 Fair Housing Act to eliminate housing discrimination, he tweeted:

“I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood…”

In “Trump Is Dog-Whistling. Are ‘Suburban Housewives’ Listening? Jennifer Weiner points out suburban moms (who DDT calls “housewives”) “are organizing protests and reading groups, posting links to bail funds, discussing antidotes for tear gas. They’re starting groups in their kids’ schools to talk about white privilege and how to continue the fight once the current wave of protests is done. Many feature some version of the sign ‘When George Floyd Called for His Mama, He Summoned All the Mamas.’” [Right: Suburban moms from Aurora, Colorado.] 

In a classic piece of disinformation (aka lying), Rush Limbaugh said:

“There aren’t any mothers. There aren’t any veterans. These are people that are actors — they are paid. They’re antifa. They are Black Lives Matter. And they are all being paid, and they’re putting on different uniforms — different T-shirts and so forth — to look like veterans, to look like mothers. But they are all violent, leftist, anti-American protesters, in association with the Democrat Party.”

DDT will desperately try to hide the bad news about his economy. Instead of running on his earlier projected GDP increase of 4 percent, he faces the 9.5 percent decline during 2020’s second quarter, leading to a 32.9 percent GDP reduction for the year. Since 1937, no other quarter has seen a decline of even three percent; this one was the worst  since at least 1875. Runners up are the third quarter of 1893, after a panic and run on the banks, and the fourth quarter of 1937, when Roosevelt tried to please conservatives with spending cuts. Respective declines were 8.4 percent and 7.2 percent. The one-quarter decline of 2.6 percent in 1958 came during a depression coinciding with a pandemic called the “Asian flu” which has parallels to COVID-19. Republicans who want a smaller stimulus bill this time around should take notice. They want to skip people states and individuals in the current bill while allocating funds to the Pentagon and other non-virus purposes.

For the 19th consecutive week, over one million new unemployment claims were filed, much higher than the worst time of George W. Bush’s recession. The 1.43 million filings last week were the second consecutive weekly increase, partly because the virus surge is causing business closings. Consumer spending dropped 10.1 percent in the second quarter with a fall of 13.3 percent spending on services after a near-total collapse in restaurants and recreation. Patients’ canceling elective procedures and delayed routine care resulted in plunging spending on health care. Goods expenditures rose, however, especially with a nine-percent increase in recreational vehicles and related goods. Other parts of the economy dropping by double digits included business investment, residential construction, and trade—both imports and exports. Federal government did rise by 4.1 percent.

These serious problems come from COVID-19, which DDT does nothing to alleviate, meaning recovery is not imminent. DDT could brag about an increase in personal income of 7.3 percent between the first two quarters, but the money comes from stimulus funds disappearing this month without more infusion. If Congress does nothing to help unemployment payments, something Republicans oppose, tens of millions of people will no longer have places to live except the streets.

DDT’s pettiness shone again this morning when he called reporters to the White House for an unscheduled press briefing at exactly the time President Obama began the eulogy for Rep. John Lewis (R-GA). The ostensible subject was an event with the family of slain Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen. And DDT doesn’t understand why “nobody likes me.”

The U.S. “Trump Virus” (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s term) has sickened at least 4,634,985 and killed 155,285 people.

July 29, 2020

Reopening Schools? Think Twice

Every week, my local newspaper publishes News on the Views, responses to a concern regarding an issue in the community. Today, the topic was reopening schools. Although some of the responses expressed general problems with reopening schools during the pandemic, others wrote that children would not be in danger because of the myth that children have complete immunity—a myth communicated to millions in the United States by conservative media.

One indication children are at risk from COVID-19 infection comes from the plethora of closing summer camps, both sleep-away and day-only, because both youth and their counselors test positive for the coronavirus. Children may not commonly suffer from the more serious symptoms, but no one knows the long-term effects and the extent of infecting others. And as more children contact the virus, the more children have severe symptoms. Lara Shekerdemian, chief of critical care at Texas children’s Hospital in Houston, reports that “in the last three or four weeks our numbers have gone up significantly. The vast majority do really well. There is a proportion who do become sicker than that. Some require life support in the ICU, so there is a whole spectrum.” She also said asymptomatic children have “the biggest danger [because] we don’t know the transmission rate.”

Florida, a state with surging COVID-19 infections, is requiring schools to reopen. The number of children ages 17 and under who test positive for the virus rose from 23,170 on July 16 to 31,150 on July 24—an increase of 34 percent in eight days. At the same time, hospitalizations for children jumped from 246 to 303, a 23 percent increase. Yet children are ordered to return to school in two weeks.

Israel opened schools in May with classes up to 40 as well as no masking or social distancing rules. COVID-19 outbreaks infected 1,335 students and 691 staff in two months; since May, these outbreaks caused Israel to close 125 schools and 258 kindergartens.

Doubting people who talk about reopening schools cite a low death rate among children as a reason for sending them back to school. They ignore potential long-term effects: neurological problems, heart damage, muscle problems, kidney injury, limited lung capacity, blood clots—the list seems endless. No one knows how long these health issues will last or if hey will ever go away.

Teachers are also at risk from returning to school. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one in 4 teachers in the U.S.—almost 1.5 million people—are at increased risk for serious illness by becoming infected. They might be able to protect themselves with social distancing, but working in crowded schools with children crowding around will make this procedure difficult. Because of staff at schools, even more people will be at risk, and 3.3 million adults 65 or older live with school-age children.

From Leana S. Wen comes this perspective of how reopening schools could look:  

“The novel coronavirus is spreading uncontrolled in more than 20 states.  Let’s say that the prevalence of the virus in a community is 1 in 100. A school with 1,000 students could have 10 people walk in on day one who are unknowingly infecting others.

“Many who favor on-time reopening cite a recent large study from South Korea that found that children younger than 10 are half as likely to spread the coronavirus as adults. But half of a lot of transmission is still a lot. And the same study found that kids older than 10 transmit the virus at the same rate as adults. If one person spreads it to two or three others who then spread it to contacts at school and at home, there will almost certainly be outbreaks within a matter of weeks.

“How would these outbreaks be detected? Asymptomatic cases wouldn’t be — a concern because   40 percent of people with covid-19 don’t have symptoms. Yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asymptomatic people are 75 percent as infectious as those with symptoms.

“Let’s say that a student does show symptoms — perhaps he develops a fever while at school. The right protocol is to promptly isolate and test him. If he tests positive, everyone he has recently had close contact with should quarantine and get tested, too.

“The problem is multifaceted: Given the backlog of testing, results could take 14 days. Should his entire class stay home for two weeks while awaiting this one student’s test result? Symptoms for covid-19 include cough, diarrhea, headaches, runny nose and sore throat. If any of these symptoms prompts testing and quarantining, multiple classes could be out simultaneously while awaiting test results.

“This prompts additional questions: Will kids truly quarantine at home, especially if this scenario were to recur again and again? Would their siblings also need to stay home? What about their parents — how can they return to work with this much uncertainty? If parents are also asked to quarantine, will some break protocol because they need to earn a living?

“At some point, school administrators may decide that there isn’t enough testing to go around. Children don’t get that sick even if they’re infected, the reasoning would go, so we can’t close down for every sniffle. This thinking, combined with limited contact-tracing capabilities, could mean that outbreaks aren’t detected until numerous adults — teachers, cafeteria workers, janitorial staff, and parents and other relatives of pupils — fall ill.

“I’m worried about schools taking shortcuts in an effort to reopen quickly. Reducing classroom capacity, limiting student mobility and wearing masks can substantially reduce risk. Yet President Trump has bemoaned how the CDC guidelines are “very tough,” and Vice President Pence has said that the guidelines should not prevent schools from reopening. Never mind the backward logic here (the problem is not the guidelines themselves but the inability to meet them). The issue is whether school administrators will buckle to political pressure and neglect critical safety measures, just as many governors did in cutting corners to reopen their states.

“Steps can be taken now to avoid this dystopian scenario. States where infections are escalating need to revert to an earlier phase and close bars, restaurants and other indoor gathering spots. As for schools, they should begin instruction virtually and hold off on in-person plans until October; it will take at least three to four weeks for the new restrictions to have an effect and a few more weeks to ensure that the trend holds.

“States with fewer infections may be able to proceed with in-person instruction if they implement proper safeguards. Many districts have thoughtful plans to bring back younger students and children with special needs first, while providing full online instruction. What about those unable to take online classes from home or who depend on schools for food and other social needs?   Setting up “safe centers for online learning” in schools and other empty community spaces, as some have proposed, could be useful.

“Nationally, it is beyond time to have a testing strategy that ensures that rapid tests are widespread and accessible. The CDC must also provide far more explicit guidance, including exact criteria that communities need to meet to be considered low-risk: such as test positivity of less than 5 percent, 80 percent of tests returned within 48 hours and a 14-day decline in number of cases. And Congress needs to pass an emergency education package that gives local jurisdictions funding to upgrade buildings, buy personal protective equipment and make other necessary changes.

“All of these steps are hard. They require strong leadership and substantial resources. But if we don’t take these actions and schools reopen prematurely, we will effectively have an uncontrolled experiment with students and teachers as the guinea pigs. Banks and airlines have been bailed out. Surely, we can dedicate the necessary resources to help our schools, too.”

David Von Drehle wrote:

“The United States had a chance to get covid-19 under control. Other countries are doing it. But with transmission unfettered and the traditional start of school drawing near, it looks as if we’ve blown the opportunity and failed our kids. Their anger and depression will be justified if their classrooms are empty again this fall. I only hope they learn a lesson from our failure.”

The U.S. now has a total of 4,568,037 cases, 66,921 in the past 24 hours. Adding to the 153,840 deaths from COVID-19 are the 1,485 from the past 24 hours, almost double that of several days ago. While Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is declaring martial law and pushing fake fixes for COVID-19, his lack of leadership is killing people.


July 28, 2020

Barr: ‘Not That I Remember’

Filed under: Executive action — trp2011 @ 11:38 PM
Tags: , , , ,

In today’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, AG Bill Barr confirmed to the free world that the United States is well on its way toward becoming an authoritarian nation. The U.S. attorney general supposedly supports the people of the United States, but his testimony further guaranteed he sees his sole purpose is protecting Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and the Department of Justice is no longer an independent agency.

The British publication Independent summarized Barr’s misconduct:

“Barr misrepresented the Mueller report; refused to pursue the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community’s Trump-Ukraine criminal referral; interfered in the criminal cases of President Trump’s allies; fired the US Attorney at the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman; ordered the brutal clearing of peaceful protestors at Lafayette Square for Trump’s bible-holding photo op; and made some controversial remarks about racism in America…

“He falsely called the “Russiagate” scandal ‘bogus,’ falsely claimed President Trump has never interfered in his work (Trump has done so publicly), defended unleashing brutality on protestors, and denied systemic racism in policing. As Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) would later say in this hearing, the statement ‘read like it was written by Alex Jones or Roger Stone.’”

Barr’s testimony was marked by obfuscation, delaying, lying, and the repeated statement, “Not that I Remember.” [Horrible memory for a person who runs one of the most important agencies in the United States!] Samples of the hearing:

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) asked about the right-wing protesters occupying the Michigan Capitol where they “carried guns, Confederate flags, and swastikas, and call for the governor of Michigan to be beheaded and shot and lynched.” Barr said he didn’t know anything about it. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) pointed out Barr’s selective objections to protesting: the AG doesn’t mind when the protesters are armed right-wingers belligerently objecting to stay-at-home orders.

Barr claimed violent clearing of peaceful protesters in DC’s Lafayette Park was to move the perimeter, not for DDT’s photo-op. He also denied tear gas was used despite proof to the contrary.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) asked if Barr had ever recommended a reduced sentence for anyone other than DDT’s friends. Barr couldn’t remember anyone. Swalwell followed by asking why the DOJ told DDT’s former fixer Michael Cohen he would go back to solitary in prison if he didn’t sign an agreement to not write a book or speak to the media. Barr said he didn’t know anything about it.

Rep. Jackson Lee (D-TX) asked about systemic racism. Barr denied it existed.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) asked about excessive use of force primarily against Black people. Barr said that more Blacks were killed by other Blacks than by police officers.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) asked if president’s accepting or soliciting foreign assistance in an election is appropriate. Barr first said it “depends” on the assistance. Cicilline said “any kind”; Barr struggled and finally said no.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) questioned Barr about DDT’s response to the COVID-19 CRISIS. Barr said he needed “to see the context” when Jeffries quoted Barr describing DDT’s guidance as “superb.” About DDT’s suggestion that people treat the virus by swallowing disinfectants, Barr said, “That’s not what I heard.” He also repeated the debunked claims that President Obama had not replaced the PPE although DDT had three years and sent much of the supplies to other countries at the beginning of the pandemic.

Jeffries also asked Barr what he would do if DDT loses the election but refuses to leave office. Barr said, “If the results are clear, I will leave office.” He added he was “not familiar” with DDT’s comments on the issue.

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) questioned Barr about his lying in April when he said that “the White House fully cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation.” Barr answered, “Mm-hmm” before he said he meant only “the supplying of documents.” Neguse said that Barr knew when he made the statement DDT had not agreed to be interviewed by the special counsel, and Barr became visibly uncomfortable.  

Neguse continued with questioning Barr’s claim that former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman had “stepped down” from his position. Barr laughed and answered, “He may not have known it, but he was stepping down. He was being removed!” Neguse told Barr he lied because the statement didn’t say Berman was being removed or fired.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) asked about the legality of advanced surveillance techniques—cell-site simulators, facial recognition, and sweeping surveillance of internet activity—on protesters. Barr answered, “I really can’t speak to those instances if they’ve in fact occurred.” The question was raised about whether Barr thinks DDT can have mass surveillance of protesters without congressional authorization. On July 21, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) wrote Barr and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe asking them to confirm that federal agencies stopped surveillance operations authorized under the now-expired FISA provisions.

Some of Barr’s statements attempting to defend his actions:

Referring to shortening Roger Stone’s sentence for lying under oath: “Do you think it’s fair for a 67-year-old man to be sentenced to prison for seven to nine years?”

About the acceleration of protesting in Portland (OR) by sending in untrained, violent federal agents: “What unfolds nightly around the courthouse cannot reasonably be called a protest; it is, by any objective measure, an assault on the government of the United States.”

Defending police killing of unarmed Black people: Barr said studies show “police are less likely to shoot at a black suspect, a little more likely to shoot at a white suspect.”

A fact-check on Barr’s statements from the conservative Oregonian:

Barr: There have been two months of violent protests and rioting in Portland. Both attendance and the level of violence have waxed and waned since May 28, and no one has consistently described the nightly groups as riots. The vast majority of the gathering is peaceful, and the federal courthouse became a target only when federal agents (aka DDT’s militia) were sent to Portland in early July. The protests escalated after a federal agent shot peaceful protester Donovan La Bella in the head.

Barr: Antifa is active in the Portland demonstrations. A variety of left-wing groups have participated in the protests, but they don’t collaborate. Recently large groups of mothers, dads, teachers, healthcare workers, lawyers, and veterans have identified themselves by their garb. Violence has come from far-right extremists, dressing in traditional antifa-appearing clothing.

Barr: Protests are being hijacked by violent demonstrators whose primary aim is to injure federal officers. Although federal agents disperse crowds without discrimination or warning, they seem to focus on volunteer medics. Protesters, including La Bella, have received high-profile injuries without provocation.

Barr: There are less than 100 federal officers deployed in Portland. The count is at least 114 federal agents, and several FBI agents are investigating protesters’ alleged criminal activity.

Six mayors from Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Washington DC, Albuquerque, and Kansas City (MO) sent a letter to Congress requesting legislation to block DDT’s “unacceptable, un-American, and unconstitutional” use of force. They wrote, “This provocation is resulting in direct physical harm to our communities and must end.” [Below: federal and local law enforcement collaborate.] 

Other cities are discovering the violence from right-wing extremists as DDT sends his militia across the country. Richmond (VA) police arrested six right-wing saboteurs carrying pro-BLM signs and breaking windows at downtown businesses. Boogaloo members wearing Hawaiian shirts to signify their push for a racial war have appeared in Minneapolis, Salisbury (NC), Bentonville (AR), Seattle, and Los Angeles. One of the members, arrested at a Denver protest, had a large arsenal in his car’s trunk. A fake flyer in Olympia falsely offered $200 per individual to act as “paid protesters,” supposedly paid by George Soros and the Open Society Foundation. The white nationalist Evropa organization spread a hoax on Twitter advocating violence, tweets which Donald Trump Jr used to support his father’s blame on antifascists for violence.

Meanwhile, protesters are losing their constitutional rights. Federal agents are arresting protesters for such minor offenses as “failing to obey” an order to get off a sidewalk on federal property. At least 12 of those arrested were released from jail only if they agreed to not attend protests, some of them anywhere in Oregon—a violation of their First Amendment rights. The order was signed by a federal magistrate in Portland.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said the federal government’s authoritarian behavior poses an “enormous” threat to democracy, and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) described the tactics as “an all-out assault in military-style fashion.” Military control of the U.S. was last imposed in the U.S. after the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.

A sliver of hope comes from talks between Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown and the federal government to reduce federal agents if the state increases its own enforcement. There is no agreement, but DDT may realize that his militia’s violence isn’t getting him votes.

July 26, 2020

DDT Pushes Chaos with His Militia in U.S. Cities

Not satisfied with causing unrest in Portland (OR) with his federal militia, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) moved on to create chaos in other cities. This week, protests in cities across the nation turned violent: police and protesters clashed in Seattle, Los Angeles, Richmond, Omaha, and more as law enforcement attacked people with tear gas and pepper spray. A man in Austin was shot and killed, and a Jeep in Denver injured a protester by speeding through people marching on an interstate. In Seattle, a U.S. District judge permitted pepper spray, rubber bullets, flash grenades, and blast balls, earlier banned by a city council ordinance. A “Wall of Moms” has been formed in the city, modeled after the one in Portland, to protest the arrival of DDT’s militia.

Portland is DDT’s prototype to take over U.S. cities. The following is a first-hand report from a medical doctor who has attended the Portland demonstrations since early July when DDT sent in his personal militia. A general surgeon, the protester retired as Chief Medical Officer of a Vancouver (WA) hospital and just finished his term as Chairman of the Washington Medical Commission (the state agency licensing and overseeing all doctors in the state). A community leader and intelligent, educated, informed person, he is not one to exaggerate or spread misinformation. These are his observations:

“1. The protests are confined to a two-block radius around the courthouse, and if you’re four blocks away, you can’t tell anything has been happening. There is nothing going on outside of that region, and Portland is functioning as normally as the pandemic will allow. It is not burning, nor is it out of control.

“2. The protesters are absolutely peaceful at the protests that I have been part of, and with the exception of graffiti, are completely within their constitutional rights to protest. The protests involve singing, chanting, and “white walls” to block whites who are trying to disrupt or corrupt the protests. Yes, cursing is rather commonplace. More than one-half of the protesters are white. All are protesting for Black Lives Matter, although the entrance of the federal paramilitary force has brought out a lot of people, including myself, who are incensed at the use of unregulated federal force against law abiding citizen and against the will of the state and local governments.

“3. ALL of the protesters are wearing masks to minimize transmission of CoV-2. However, as at times there are 1000 or more of us, it is hard (though not impossible) to maintain social distancing. When the federal paramilitary force is deployed, it becomes impossible.

“4. The police responds were unprovoked and brutal, but nothing like the paramilitary force. There is a court order that forbids the police to use teargas. I was not there when it was just the police.

“5. At the protests I have attended, I did not witness any unlawfulness on the part of the protesters.  Each time, the federal paramilitary personnel launched an apparently unprovoked attack. There have been no “riots.” The federal paramilitary force has no training in crowd control, has no oversight, was not invited to Portland by local leadership, does not have any form of identification, do not wear name badges, and wears military camo. They are heavily armed with flash-bang grenades, less-lethal bullets, pepper bullets, pepper spray, and tear gas. They pull goggles off of protesters and spray pepper spray into their eyes. They used a baton to beat a US Navy vet, broke his hand, and sprayed pepper spray in his eyes because he asked why they weren’t honoring their vow to protect the constitution. During the assault, he stood still and did not resist until blinded by the pepper spray when he turned around and walked away. The “line of mothers” on Sunday was gassed and shot with less-lethal bullets for chanting Black Lives Matter. At least one was pregnant. A protester holding a sign up with both hands was shot in the head with a “non-lethal” bullet and will likely have permanent brain damage. While I have not personally seen this, there are videos of people being kidnapped into unmarked vans by the federal paramilitaries as they left the protests, held for a couple of days, interrogated, then released without charges or explanation. At this time, re-read my first two points. The protests are no threat to Portland and only encompass a two-block area. They have been peaceful, with graffiti as the only illegal activity.  They are well controlled and supported by a cross section of Portlanders. There is no reason for the federal government to be involved, and the excessive force being used appears to be nothing more than a political show of force against US Citizens by the Trump administration. 

“6. About 3000 protesters showed up last night (July 21); all with masks, very well behaved. Certainly no chaos, no violence on the part of the protesters. I left at 10:30, the paramilitary attacked at 12:30. I spent an hour talking to the medics. They say they are being targeted by the paramilitary personnel.  They are often the first to be shot at and tear gassed. When they try to help an injured protester, the paramilitary personnel throw flash-bangs and tear gas at them (they carry gas masks). One of them was beaten, dragged away from the injured person they were treating and arrested. They are from OHSU as well as Portland Fire.

“7. The Elk statue was taken down by the Police to “protect” it, but the Elk statue was a favorite of the protesters because it was uncontroversial; so they got a blow-up elk and put it where the real statue used to stand. It’s sort of a rallying point.”

“This should concern, if not terrify, all of us. This is an unidentified and unaccountable federal police presence attacking American citizens who are not violating any federal laws. This is literally how the ‘secret police’ in other authoritarian regimes began. The comparison to the early stages of Nazi Germany is NOT AN EXAGGERATION anymore.”

“Silence is complacency. Please share this post. Please spread this information. Please get involved. Do not allow or condone this conduct by our federal government. I don’t care which political party you support, this is an affront to the U.S. Constitution and the founding principles of our nation.”

 Legal lawsuits regarding law enforcement brutality against protesting:

Federal judge Michael Simon barred federal officers from using force, threats, and dispersal orders against journalists and legal observers for two weeks. He wrote:

“The free press is the guardian of the public interest, and the judiciary is the guardian of the press.”

Simon’s order is similar to the one he issued against Portland police, but it allows for liability against individual federal officers or their supervisors for any “willful violation” of his order. He also disagreed with the federal argument that journalists don’t have a right to stay, observe, or document when federal agents “close” public streets. He noted:

“Federal Defendants are not the entities that ‘close’ state public streets and parks; that is a local police function.”

He also wrote a job of journalists and legal observers is to determine if “the ‘closing’ of public streets (e.g., declaring a riot) is lawfully originated and carried out.” The lawyer opposing Simon’s decision admitted federal officers have no evidence of crimes by journalists or legal observers during demonstrations. Police and federal agents cannot arrest, threaten to arrest, or use force against a person “who they know or reasonably should know” is a journalist or legal observer. Officers cannot seize their cameras, audio or videotaping equipment, or press passes unless they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, the order says. This restraining order against local police doesn’t expire until October 30.

Denis Vannier, senior deputy city attorney, said the city backed the restriction of federal officers because of “the disconnect between the federal defense’s legal position and really the facts on the ground.” He reminded the court Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was tear gassed in explaining the use of force by federal officers is disproportionate to the threat they face. The problems are “happening despite the city’s repeated request” for them to stay inside the courthouse and ultimately leave Portland altogether. When Simon asked about federal officers’ crowd-control training, the federal lawyer said he didn’t know about specialized training. The judge made reference to the baton-battering of the Navy veteran who didn’t threaten anyone, the assault on 26-year-old Donavan LaBella shot in the head for holding a music speaker above his head across the courthouse, and federal officers’ picking people up off the street.

U.S District Judge Michael Mosman denied a lawsuit from Oregon’s AG Ellen Rosenblum for federal agents to identify themselves when seizing protesters and stop arrests without probable cause. He also ruled Oregon lacks standing to bring a suit on behalf of protesters or others targeted by federal officers. Rosenblum is concerned Oregon may have no recourse on behalf of the state.

A county judge in Seattle ordered media outlets to turn photographs and video footage of a May 30 demonstration over to police.

DDT’s militia has been accused of war crimes and violating the Geneva Convention and the International Criminal Court statutes for destroying medical equipment during the Portland protests when they pepper sprayed medical supplies in medics’ tents. Article 19 of the 1949 Geneva Convention states:

“Fixed establishments and mobile medical units of the Medical Service may in no circumstances be attacked, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict.”

A lawsuit alleges federal agents “brutally attacked” volunteer medics in violation of First and Fourth Amendment rights. 

Inspectors general at the DOJ and DHS claim they will investigate the federal agents’ behavior in Portland. At DHS, Joseph Cuffari, DDT’s minion, has proved so incompetent that not much can be expected from him. Michael Horowitz at the DOJ has a better reputation.  

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said he wished DDT attacked the coronavirus half as hard as he is attacking the city of Portland.

Photographer Mathieu Lewis-Rolland reported on the federal agents’ brutality including directly pointing their weapon at him although he was well marked with the word “press” on his helmet, T-shirt, and backpack. He also wraps his camera in fluorescent tape. Federal agents still shoot at him with “less-than-lethal” munitions, hard plastic bullets filled with lead, causing serious injuries to others.  

An overview of Monday night’s protest in cities across the nation.

DDT: Week 183 – Oval Office War on U.S. People

As his polling numbers shrink, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) spent his week backing down on earlier positions in a desperate attempt to woo voters. He maintained that COVID-19 is getting worse—despite Sean Hannity saying it’s better—and backed off from having the GOP convention in Jacksonville (FL) with his false claim that he’s doing it to protect the “safety” of the people. Behind the scenes, his officials have considered scrapping the event for months.

 Unfortunately for his ratings, DDT still stands his ground on forced opening of schools with threats of taking money away from those being more cautious. He won’t make any points with forced school openings. According to a recent AP-NORC poll, only 8 percent think daycare centers, preschools, and K-12 schools should open without restrictions; 46% want major adjustments, 14 percent believe in opening schools with minor adjustments, and 31 percent flatout reject the opening.  After weeks, DDT said he would send his son Barron back to school, but it isn’t opening. The “updated” guidelines are fairly useless—mostly detailed information of using masks and keeping children at home if they are sick. Although CDC posted the guidelines, DHS wrote them.

This week DDT returned to press briefings, daily campaign speeches Joe Scarborough calls the “Clorox Variety Show.” An advantage of these is a much greater brevity, the first one on Tuesday 27 minutes, and the last one on Thursday came in at 11 minutes. Friday he made remarks about his executive orders that vaguely may have suggested lowering drug prices. There were no experts, no information, and almost no truth. Dr. Anthony Fauci said he wasn’t “invited” to the briefings, and DDT said that Dr. Deborah Birx was “outside” for the first two. Worn out by today, DDT spent today at one of his golf courses for the 262nd day, costing taxpayers $140 million, while Hurricane Hanna hit the hottest virus spot in the hot COVID-19 zone of Texas.

DDT used his briefings to justify his attacking U.S. cities with his new militia and his repetition on two different days in wishing sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell “well.” She may be the first woman he’s ever spoken nicely about. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) called DDT’s comment about Maxwell “unacceptably obtuse.” DDT blamed the virus spikes on protests, increased travel, and migrant but told the truth about having no strategy for handling the virus. He said, “We are in the process of developing a strategy …”

Fauci and Birx earlier blamed the current surge on states opening too early. Birx secretly warned leaders of 11 cities of imminent danger from COVID-19 without immediate “aggressive” action, according to a leaked telephone call. She warned a wait of “another three or four or even five days” will result in “a dramatic increase in cases.” Less than a week ago, 18 states were secretly notified their dangerous situation regarding the virus without action. Political leaders are being told about the problems instead of health departments. When the U.S. hit 4 million reported coronavirus cases, infections doubled in just six weeks with a quarter of the total count is just two weeks.   

Part of DDT’s new strategy for “handling” the virus is blaming Republican governors for opening up their states too early. Last Wednesday, White House advisor Kellyanne Conway said:

“Some of these states blew through the phases, blew through our gated criteria, blew through our phases, and they opened up some of the industries a little too quickly, like bars. Remember, the governors wanted complete latitude over when they would open their states. They pushed back heavily, handsomely, Republicans and Democrats, when it was falsely rumored that the president was going to be in charge of opening the states.”

A reporter pointed out DDT “encouraged them to open,” but Conway denied it. DDT did tell Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp he should wait a bit longer, but DDT’s statement was a reversal from earlier pushing to open the country. DDT also threatened to “override” all governors who didn’t permit religious services to resume in places of worship.

Early in the pandemic, DDT declared himself a war-time president but stopped making the claim when he failed. Now he’s become a war-time president with his own militia used against the people of the United States. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” After the Pentagon refused to give DDT the U.S. military troops he wanted for his attack on the U.S. people, he created his personal militia from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration, and Customs and Border Protection.  These civilian enforcement agents were trained to patrol the borders with Mexico and Canada (locking up children in cages), check travelers at airports for contraband in their carry-ons (perhaps quantities of shampoo larger than three ounces), and inspect shipments of imported goods from foreign countries.

DDT’s action is considered by members of both parties as legal but not right. Republican Tom Ridge, the George W. Bush’s appointment as first DHS chief of the Department of Homeland Security, said the agency was established the protect people in the U.S. from terrorism abroad, not “the president’s personal militia.” DHS acting chair and militia leader Chad Wolf isn’t legally the head of the agency. Not only has he not been confirmed, but he’s also been in the position longer than allowed as acting. The images from Portland are so graphic that Fox cut away from them when Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany  showed a video. Wolf claims his men are in Portland to protect federal property, but his unidentified thugs drive the streets in unmarked vans to grab people by themselves. They are taken to the federal courthouse for several hours without being allowed to make any telephone calls. Sometimes the militia does not fill out any paperwork. Yet DDT plans to send up to 75,000 agents into a large number of U.S. cities with Democratic mayors.

After two weeks of DDT’s militia shooting and tear gassing protesters, many of them not at federal property, Bev Barnum put together a small group called the “Wall of Moms” to protect protesters. One of their first actions was to put sunflowers on the fence around the federal courthouse. The group of 30 moms grew to hundreds and was joined by PDXDadPod who brought leaf blowers to disperse the tear gas. DDT wants to be a war-time president so badly that he’s declared war on the people of the United States. Now a group of veterans has come to protect the constitutional rights of protesters after federal agents beat on a disabled Navy veteran, Chris David, who asked about the agents not living up to the oath to the constitution. Agents also directly sprayed pepper spray into his face as he passively stood in front of them. Agents took Jennifer Kristiansen, a “mom” and a lawyer, into the courthouse for several hours without giving her permission to make a telephone call. She had put her arm in front of another women after an agent started beating on her breast with his baton.

Some DHS employees expressed concern that the agents’ behavior will damage the reputation of the agency. It’s a bit late for that.

The federal government has sent an air force special ops surveillance plane, the DO-328 “Cougar” from an Ohio air base, to spy on Portland during the protests. The Air Force told Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) the tight circles over Portland were to look at environmental conditions. The plane left the Portland area after Wyden’s request for information, but the Air Force has not answered his questions about “what data it is collecting and who approved the mission.”

Although Portland police denied any coordination with marauding federal agents, evidence shows collaboration between local and federal law enforcement. An independent journalist has reported all the law enforcement working together multiple times to clear the streets and a Portland police arrest at the request of DHS.  On July 22, the City Council unanimously banned Portland police from working with federal law enforcement, the same day federal agents unleashed “massive” clouds of tear gas on protesters which local police can no longer do.

To people who complain about wearing masks, consider the difference between preserving public and health and the secret police in Portland and other cities.  

DDT’s fascist war on people in the U.S. will have little effect on the majority of its population. While his militarized agents snatch people off the streets and charge protesters with harsh federal crimes, using graffiti as an excuse, most people following their usual agendas, many of them complaining about fighters for democracy. The Pentagon refused to send their trained troops to attack cities—Portland, Albuquerque, Kansas City, Seattle, etc.—so DDT sent untrained agents—up to 75,000 of them—for photo ops of chaos.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., 149,398, will assuredly hit 150,000 tomorrow, July 26. New cases of 67,413 in the past 24 hours brought the U.S. total to 4,315,709 with an anticipated five million in ten days.

July 22, 2020

DDT’s ‘Law & Order’ Tries to Distract from the Real Crisis–Public Health, Economy

On the website Bulwark, Jonathan Last pointed out the problems of DDT’s latest ad. Brad Parscale was fired as DDT’s campaign manager after advertising about DDT protecting a statue of Jesus—in Rio de Janeiro. Parscale’s replacement, Bill Stepien, has this ad on Facebook promoting DDT as the “law and order” candidate.”

Problems with this image of protesters beating up a police officer:

The photo comes from 2014.

In Ukrainian.

As the protesters are pro-democracy. Beating up a member of the riot police protecting the authoritarian president Viktor Yanukovych who tried to use extralegal means in his attempt to make Ukraine a one-party state.

Worse, Yanukovych used a specialized federal internal police force answering only to him and used to assault his political opponents and tamper with elections. Yanukovych locked up his opponent, former Prime Minister Yulia V. Tymoshenko.

Worst. The photo was taken eight days before 338 of 447 Parliament members voted to remove Yanukovych from office. Three days later Yanukovych sought asylum in Moscow because he was Vladimir Putin’s puppet. The Ukrainian people filled charges of treason against Yanukovych and convicted him in absentia of “high treason.” Ten years earlier, Yanukovych had employed Paul Manafort to help his party.

The Bulwark may classify itself a Republican center-right publication, but it’s got lots of interesting stuff! Like this article by Mona Charen. She writes about how DDT is correct about a current crisis—injured people, property damage in the millions, fear, lack of control, a need for federal response because local governments can’t handle the situation, desecration of sacred things, a psychological cost, a toll on the national spirit. Charen’s point: “If it requires the full mobilization of federal forces to deal with the crisis, that’s what we should do.”

The crisis Charen describes is an emergency requiring “sustained attention, comprehension, and teamwork”—public health and the economy. DDT has done nothing for the economy and damaged the former. His economy was merely an extension of the expansion beginning in 2009: the average annual GOP growth rate for DDT’s first three years was only 0.2 percent higher than that of President Obama which includes the last few months of his inherited Great Recession.

“Stewardship of the economy requires more than signing a tax cut bill and discouraging over-regulation. It requires peering out over the bow and spinning the wheel hard when you see an enormous iceberg. Trump saw the iceberg. Or at least he should have: It was included in his security briefings for weeks. His first officer was mumbling nervously about it. But Trump refused to take action to save the ship. He told the crew it wasn’t an iceberg, just an ice floe. He said it would go away.”

The only two actions DDT can cite for his COVID-19 solution are restricting travel to and from China and to and from Europe. Even those bans didn’t include everyone. Otherwise, DDT ignored the pandemic, discouraged a systematic departmental/agency approach, and said governors had to fix the problem. At the same time, he stole their medical supplies before blaming them for the shortages. Several months later, DDT repeats testing is responsible for the huge number of infections.

DDT is responsible for the mask politicizing, convincing his voting base rejecting mask-wearing and social-distancing is masculine and brave. By the time the CDC got around to adding mask guidelines for staying healthier, DDT had convinced most Republicans to not protect themselves and others. To the GOP brain, “freedom” is getting physically close to everyone and avoiding masks.

As a distraction, DDT sends unidentified goons to cities, beginning with Portland (OR) where protesters sprayed graffiti, started fires, and three objects at policy. His personal unidentified militia beats people, shoots them, and snatches them off the street with no provocation. DDT claims, “We’re not going to let this happen to our country.” At the same time, over 4 million people have contracted COVID-19 and almost 150,000 people, probably far more, have died of the disease, and he lets “this happen to our country.”

Gregg Hurwitz followed Charen’s piece with “Income Injustice: The problem isn’t creeping socialism. It’s creeping oligarchy.”

“When Democrats rail against income inequality, that doesn’t mean they believe all incomes should be equal, in spite of what Trump and some Republicans want you to think. No Democrat—not Nancy Pelosi, not AOC, not any of them—believes that. What they are talking about is income injustice. They’re talking about:

  • “Wage growth for workers at the bottom of the income ladder growing 1 percent in the last 40 years, while income for the top earners rose by 347 percent.
  • “The 40 percent of Americans today who could not handle a $400 emergency.
  • “The 1-in-6 Americans who experience food insecurity daily—which amounts to 49 million of our fellow citizens, including over 16 million kids.
  • “All while Trump and his Senate enablers give a $1 trillion to the richest Americans in a tax cut; while Trump bails out a private jet company owned by one of his donors to the tune of $27 million; while the deficit reaches the highest percent of GDP since World War II; while Trump charges the American people hundreds of thousands of dollars to hold events at his private properties.

“None of this represents a free market. None of this has anything to do with the American values of innovation, hard work, and competition. It is simply a transfer of wealth: from the poor and middle-class to the rich. And the transfer happened not because the rich worked harder or created more value, but because they had more money to give to lobbyists and politicians.

“Every time a corporation gets bailed out with American tax dollars and uses it for stock buybacks or corporate bonuses, we are watching the market become less free, and capitalism continue its slide into oligarchy.

“The American Dream is about opportunity. It’s about making a fair wage that pays for food and medicine for your family, or having fair access to loans to create your own small business or sustain your family’s farm. The American Dream is a baseline of opportunity for all of us to have a shot to work hard and create a life for themselves and their families—which turns us into taxpayers and consumers, who in turn contribute to and benefit from our wonderful system of capitalism.

“It’s time to admit that the past 40 years has seen the system increasingly rigged and corrupted under both Republican and Democratic leadership. We can all agree on that, whether you’re a libertarian, a Bernie Bro, or a proud worker hoping to MAGA—whether you’re part of the white working class or a person of color struggling to get fair access to a loan or basic healthcare, whether you’re a suburban liberal or a country-club Republican.

“But it’s time to cut through the noise designed to distract and confuse you. There are no socialists in the 2020 election. Only people who want a fair version of capitalism, and oligarchs.”

Hurwitz’s statistics don’t take into account the impending huge disaster during the past couple of months—and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) finds the situation humorous. The $1,200 sent to millions of people is long gone: 12 million people didn’t even get the check although they were eligible. Unemployment for almost 30 million people runs out this week while DDT insists the elimination of payroll taxes be part of the bill and opposes an unemployment benefit extension. DDT wants the payroll tax eliminated to give more money to corporations and slash Social Security and Medicare benefits in the future. And the unemployed get nothing out of the deal. Republicans have been coasting on another stimulus bill since the House passed it in May. Asked if a bill will be passed to help the unemployed people to pay August’s rent, McConnell just laughed. And Congress vanishes for over a month beginning in early August.

Meanwhile, DDT wants to take the United States back two centuries to when the constitution had a “three-fifths clause,” making Blacks less than a full person. He wants to dehumanize undocumented immigrants by skipping them in the ten-year census population count, the basis for seats per state in the House of Representatives. This last week, DDT issued a “memorandum” announcing “the policy of the United States (aka DDT): not all people count. The Three-Fifths Clause was repealed by the 14th Amendment declaring the numbers of a state were “the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed.” The amendment also used the term “inhabitants.” DDT’s “policy” asserts undocumented immigrants are not “persons” under the 14th Amendment, instead equivalent to “visiting” diplomats, tourists, and businessmen. Immigrants, however, are members of their communities who established their presence in the U.S. DDT also argues a count of these immigrants will be “encouraging violations of Federal law.” As dictator, he believes he, personally, can determine who is a “person.”

The House may not accept DDT’s census count, and states can sue him. And DDT will avoid the real crisis—public health and economy.

July 21, 2020

DDT’s Agenda of ‘Things,’ Concern about New Campaign Strategy

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) now uses the White House as his campaign grounds. Last week, he presented his second-term agenda when he explained he was planning “things.”  “Things are coming back,” he said. “Things related to trade.”

“Exciting things … things that nobody has even contemplated, thought about, thought possible, and things that we’re gonna get done, we have gotten done, we started in most cases… We have, uh, we’re taking on immigration, we’re taking on education, we’re taking on so many aspects of things …”

DDT’s campaign for 2016 had hundreds of rallies, but COVID-19 took these away. He had ten in January and February before disease stopped them, and his comeback in Tulsa (OK) was a bust. After this disaster, campaign manager Brad Parscale was replaced by Bill Stepien, named in the 2013 “Bridgegate” scandal several lanes of the George Washington Bridge for then Gov. Chris Christie to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich. Christie fired Stepian because of the scandal.

DDT has kept both Eric Trump’s wife and Donald Trump Jr’s girlfriend on the campaign, paying each a $180,000 annual salary and also rakes in campaign money: $380,000 for two days rental/catering at Mar-a-Lago, $37,000 a month rent to New York’s Trump Tower although the headquarters is in Rosslyn—part of the $4 million campaign donor money given to DDT’s businesses. DDT is not happy about GOP’s audit of campaign spending starting with Parscale’s lavish spending.

DDT moved the RNC convention to Jacksonville (FL) at the beginning of the state’s virus surge. A majority of people living there don’t want the convention, and the GOP sheriff of the county says he can’t find security for the convention because of a lack of clear plans, adequate funding, and enough law enforcement officers. The GOP won’t pay enough for the security after stiffing other cities for DDT’s security expenses.

Part of DDT’s campaigning four years ago was the spread of disinformation through social media. Now Facebook is restricting political advertising and marking disinformation as such. DDT is already prevented from lying on Twitter without markers. DDT is using Facebook, however, for his “tele-rallies,” phone calls to different states, so he can still tell his lies.

Through inaction, GOP senators have permitted Russia to provide election support for DDT, and his campaign is openly appearing on Russia-funded TV network RT where U.S. intelligence agencies report a role in undermining U.S. democracy. Top DDT campaign adviser Jenna Ellis defended DDT’s handling of the pandemic and battered U.S. media—even Fox—as “propagandist activist media.” She now plays the part that Michael Flynn did for DDT in 2016 when RT paid him $34,000 for delivering a speech.

A current DDT campaign strategy tells voters to forget DDT’s six months of failing at managing the pandemic and the economy. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) said Republicans will win “because people remember how good their lives were in February.” Tillis is also up for re-election this year.

DDT is developing new strategies with Joe Biden double digits ahead of him. Four years ago, Latinx, whether undocumented or legal U.S. residents, were the enemy; this year, every Democrat and independent voicing disapproval of him is the target of his fury. He used this strategy at his July 3 campaign speech at Mt. Rushmore when he lied about peaceful protesters for social justice being “angry mobs” pursuing “far-left fascism” with no mention of the white supremacists’ murders and other violence or black victims of police brutality. His warnings of “violent mayhem” in cities run by “liberal Democrats” then morphed to sending violent federal agents to push energize protesters in Portland (OR) as local officials had started to calm the crowds.

Four years ago, DDT ran on a platform of “law and order,” and he may be trying the same tactic this year through fear and intimidation. His dropping polls in suburbs may be a cause for accusing peaceful protesters in downtown Portland of being violent thugs running wild on the city streets. Brutality by DDT’s federal agents have backfired: the protesters are growing more and more mainstream with the “Wall of Moms” protecting protesters and the PDXDadPod bringing leaf blowers to return the tear gas to the agents. One woman who performed naked in front of the feds caused the unidentified people in camo and heavy riot gear to melt away. [Both Dave Killen and Donovan Farley photographed “Naked Athena”; images went as far as Russia’s state television network.] 

Losing some of his core supporters, white supremacists, DDT also moved into a heavily racist campaign. A non-stop push to save the Confederacy, honoring its flag, generals—anything to do with the memory of the treasonous warriors against the United States. “Cancel culture” is the new term when people refuse to celebrate Confederate “heroes,” remove their statues, and rename government buildings. Repetition of the term, cancel culture, is DDT’s way to retain a power structure dominated by his base, white males.

DDT’s constant attacks on Biden’s record as senator and vice-president is in keeping with the new campaign strategy: Biden is already the president, and DDT is challenging him because DDT hasn’t accomplished anything during his first term. For example, DDT blames Biden for crime although DDT has supposedly been in control for almost four years.

Kellyanne Conway said DDT’s approval rating went down when his coronavirus press briefings (aka White House campaign speeches) disappeared so summer brought them back. Last March, he took these from VP Mike Pence because he saw how the daily performances increased Pence’s popularity. They disappeared after his speech about people swallowing disinfectant to clean the virus out of their bodies. Today, DDT spoke information-free for almost 30 minutes and answered a few questions. No one else appeared; Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert, said he wasn’t invited. DDT said Dr. Deborah Birx was in the “next room.” The speech was an almost exact repeat of lies from campaign briefings four months ago:

Claim: The U.S. has “done much better than most.” No it hasn’t. Daily new cases have gone from 10,000-20,000 in the U.S. to 65,000-70,000—perhaps only ten percent of the real number of infections. Today, the U.S. surpassed 4 million infections and about 145,000 deaths, about five days away from 150,000. Tenth from the top in cases per million, the U.S. has more than any other major country.  

Claim: The U.S. has conducted “over 50 million tests.” Far more people are infected than tested, i.e., one-fourth of Arizona tests are positive.

Claim: “Our case fatality rate has continued to decline” and is lower than “almost everywhere else in the world.” This disinformation spin is not only false but ignores the U.S. mortality rate, one of the highest in the world.

Claim: “We’re closely monitoring hospital capacity” in states with surging cases. “All of the governors we’ve spoken with say they have enough bed capacity.” U.S. hospital capacity is strained in all states with surges.

Claim: “We again have tremendous amounts of supplies, we’re in very good shape, and we can move them quickly.” Internal documents shows he federal government lacks PPE supplies for medical professionals.

Claim: The Trump administration inherited “very, very empty cupboards.” During the early days of COVID-19, DDT sent the necessary supplies to other countries and failed to replace them. Plus the virus didn’t appear until three years after DDT was inaugurated.

Claim: “Governors are getting everything they want.” No they aren’t.

Claim: “We’re working very hard.” DDT has ignored the virus for months.

Claim: “I’ve always agreed with social distancing.” DDT rejected the idea until he was in great trouble with polling. He still doesn’t follow mask-wearing and social distancing as shown by video from a DC fundraiser

Claim: They “do a good job” in Texas and Florida. Surges in Florida keep rising—today 13 percent of new cases and 16 percent of deaths in the U.S.—while the governor has made no requirements for masks and social distancing. Virus-related deaths in Texas are up 33 percent over the last 10 days. 

Another strategy DDT may have dropped is hoping that people will grow number to all the COVID-19 deaths and just accept them. That idea was not proposed during his campaign speech today.

DDT polished off his campaign speech today by praising sex trafficker and procurer of underage girls for Jeffrey Epstein and his friends. About Ghislaine Maxwell, DDT said he knew her from their time together in Palm Beach (FL) and had met her “numerous times.” In the only time he has spoken kindly about a woman, he said, “I just wish her well.” There may be a presidential pardon coming her way.

July 19, 2020

Week 182 – Hope for the Future

Throughout the week, I save news giving me hope or just making me laugh. Here are those from the past couple of weeks.

Since the Supreme Court declared almost half Oklahoma’s land is under Native American ruling, one-fourth of oil and gas drillers and 60 percent of refinery capacity operate on reservation land. The Keystone XL pipeline also crosses the Indian country. Regulation for all this moves from oil-friendly Oklahoma to federal and tribal governments. The state’s shale fields were already hard hit with a one-third drop in oil prices this year. The Bureau of Indian Affairs may also have authority over clean-air programs and pipeline grants within the reservation.

Chief Justice John Roberts granted permission for New York DA Cyrus Vance to skip the 25-day waiting period to move forward in issuing a subpoena for DDT’s financial records. Roberts did not grant the same privilege to the House for requests to immediately go forward. In last Thursday’s hearing where DDT’s lawyers gave the same failing arguments and seemed unprepared, a federal judge gave DDT until July 27 to file more challenges to the subpoena. To investigate hush money DDT paid two different women with whom he had affairs, Vance asked for eight years of DDT’s personal and business records from he accounting firm Mazars USA. The firm does not object.

The Supreme Court also ruled against DDT on his DACA program, but he illegally rejects applications and hasn’t even filed for a rehearing with the required 25 days. Also, he consistently changed his mind about moving forward: no executive order, signing a bill to “give [Dreamers] a road to citizenship, no permission for “amnesty” but “want[s] to make people happy.” Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of Home Security, refused to remove the website statement that the Supreme Court ruling “has no basis in law.” A federal court has ordered DDT to accept the applications and return the policy to where it was before September 2017.

DDT rescinded his controversial plan to deport all students who are not enrolled in at least one face-to-face class this fall. Lawsuits against DDT had alleged the action violated the Administrative Procedure Act governing rule-making and was a political move to force universities to reopen campuses with classes in person.

After DDT sent his thuggish federal agents to Portland (OR), Oregon’s AG Ellen Rosenblum announced her office will sue federal law enforcement agencies and start a criminal investigation into the agents’ force. She seeks a temporary restraining order stopping them from detaining Portlanders after agents had no probably cause to seize and detain them. Several people destroy DDT’s behavior as “Pinochet-style abducting citizens.” August Pinochet became president of Chile in a junta when he overthrew a democratically-elected leader and became the country’s dictator. Violations of human rights through rape, torture, abduction, murder were common in the 1970s along with Operation Condor, a secret campaign to wipe out the opposition as people were “disappeared.” 

The brutality by federal agents has energized the protest movement and caused protest crowds to grow. On Friday night, a naked woman went up to federal officers line and pointed her finger at them, daring them to shoot. They sprayed pepper balls at the ground inches from her feel. She didn’t move. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said the presence of federal agents is “like adding gasoline to a fire.” [Right: federal agents firing pepper spray.] 

Brown also said the deployment of federal officers is “a mere distraction from the president’s failure to lead this nation through a global pandemic. It is a blatant abuse of power by the federal government. They are inappropriately trained [according to DHS]. Their presence is not needed. And frankly they’re exacerbating an already challenging situation. It is absolutely counterproductive to the work we’re trying to do here.”

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has decided to ban the Confederate flag at military installations by listing flags that can be flown.  With the new policy, the LGBTQ rainbow flag will also be banned. Esper’s memo stated unauthorized flags—like the Confederate flag—are acceptable in museums, historical exhibits, works of art, and other educational programs.

As DDT gives everyone a rosy picture of COVID-19 in the U.S., Senators pass along the opposite image to their constituents—especially vulnerable ones up for re-election such as Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Forty states see surges in infections, and 67 percent of registered voters distrust and disapprove of DDT’s virus information.

During DDT’s first few months, he used the 1996 Congressional Review Act to erase 14 Obama-era regulations, a law used only once previously. According to that law, any regulation not submitted by the agency within 60 legislative days can be fast-tracked.  Thus far this year, DDT signed at least 33 executive orders and plans far more as Democrats eye them for dissolution:  

  • Destroying environmental law signed by Richard Nixon stopping environmental impact requirements for Infrastructure that he has avoided for over years;
  • Preparing another illegal DACA order with the claim the Supreme Court told him to do it;
  • Banning undocumented immigrants from being counted in the census;
  • Eliminating a fair housing regulation designed to block racial disparities in the suburbs;
  • Weakening an Obama-era controls on climate-warming methane pollution.
  • Restricting the type of scientific research to be used to craft environmental and public health regulations;
  • Forbidding retirement investment managers from considering environmental consequences in their financial recommendations;
  • Making asylum even more difficult for migrants;
  • Erasing civil rights protections for transgender patients seeking health care;
  • Allowing homeless shelters to deny transgender people access to single-sex shelters corresponding to their gender identity;
  • Stopping persecution for businesses killing birds “incidentally”;
  • Permitting energy firms to use undersea sonic blasts to search for oil, regardless of the impact on ocean mammals’ health.

As of a year ago, judges have overturned at least 70 executive orders, and the GOP Congress has overturned three more. In three years, Earthjustice filed over 100 lawsuits to defend environmental and health protections. Of the settled 49 lawsuits, Earthjustice won 39. Presidential candidate Joe Biden and Democratic leaders have kept a careful eye on the executive orders for a review. DDT believes he is creating new laws when he signs executive orders, but his orders are only implementations of laws by the Executive branch. Orders cannot overturn U.S. laws, but Congress can overturn DDT’s orders.

Hackers have found almost 300 documents in which police shared detailed reports about the threats in protests from far-right extremists attempting to create chaos and disorder instead of DDT’s myth of the “antifa.” Law enforcement intelligence was politicized, causing danger to both protesters and police, according to the communication, because of sensationalization of antifa threats with no substance, a situation not part of the factual material about the boogaloo documents. The disaster lay with the desire of the intelligence to paint the antifa as threatening as the far right although the latter showed no concrete evidence of serious criminal activity. Details about their communication. The good news would be dissemination of DDT’s government manipulation.

On July 1, several civil rights laws went into effect in Virginia:

  • Removing unnecessary abortion regulations.
  • Preventing driver’s licenses suspension over unpaid court fees.
  • Ending the requirement of principals to report to police misdemeanors committed at school.
  • Limiting to $50 what health insurers can charge for insulin.
  • Extending to aspiring Americans in-state tuition at public colleges and driver privilege cards.
  • Banning discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in employment and housing.
  • Banning the practice of so-called “conversion therapy” on minors.
  • Decriminalizing cannabis possession.

DDT received a sad comeuppance this past week. A week ago, he spent his morning retweeting messages from Chuck Woolery, a conservative former game show host who accused health experts of lying about COVID-19’s seriousness. Woolery wrote:

“Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most, that we are told to trust. I think it’s all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I’m sick of it.”

Woolery continued by claiming there “much evidence, yes scientific evidence, that schools should open this fall.” The next day he sent his last tweet for now:

“Covid-19 is real and it is here. My son tested positive for the virus, and I feel for those suffering and especially for those who have lost loved ones.”

Woolery deactivated his Twitter account on Wednesday; his son is apparently doing well.

World COVID-19 cases, 14,646,706; deaths, 608,978. USA cases, 3,898,550; deaths, 143,289.

Ending with a bit of humor.  After DDT repeatedly told the world the U.S. would have fewer cases of COVID-19 without testing, Dan Rather offered some assistance to DDT: “We can apparently solve the issue of undocumented immigrants by just not counting them.” DDT could save $20 billion.

July 18, 2020

DDT: Week 182 – COVID-19 a New Low, More

Monday, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) again bragged the U.S. has “one of the lowest mortality rates anywhere.” Or maybe “the lowest mortality.” He lied about it at least 17 times during the past three months. Excluding countries with fewer than 1,000 COVID-19 cases, the U.S. has the seventh highest mortality rate in the world—and three of those have no deaths today whereas the U.S. has over 25,000 before the day is over.

To keep DDT happy, White House officials twisted statistics, as noted in this article, to justify DDT’s lies, and they’ll continue to cook the books because DDT took charge on the COVID-19 data. He ordered hospitals to bypass CDC and send all COVID-19 information directly to a central database in Washington. The man who has told over 20,000 lies since his inauguration is now in charge of patient information accuracy and wants governors to send National Guard members to hospitals for data collection about patients, medical supplies, and capacity.

The DHS Secretary Alex Azar, responsible for disseminating the information, came from Eli Lilly, where he cheated diabetics by gouging their insulin costs. Azar’s ability to lie matches that of DDT as he needs to hide the fastest growing number of cases and deaths in the regions where DDT hopes to find votes. By lying, DDT will set into motion a circular effect of deaths: tell people things are better so that they contract the disease so more of them die so that DDT can tell them that fewer people are dying so …. In The Great Influenza about the 1918 influenza pandemic, John M. Barry wrote, “When you mix science and politics, you get politics.”

Fears about DDT’s order were warranted: the day after his order, the data disappeared from the CDC website. A loud clamor led to its return the next day, but no one knows if it is accurate.

Taxpayers are paying $10.2 million to TeleTracking, a private firm, for a six-month contract although CDC has its own 15-year-old data-tracking process, the National Healthcare Safety Network. The collected information goes to a new federal program, HHS Protect, with a system developed by Palantir Technologies. Co-founded by DDT-supporter Peter Thiel, Palantir gets most of its money from government contracts, including the system separating families for ICE but no putting them back together. The huge data-mining corporation, while staying fairly opaque, has been important in destroying privacy in the U.S.

The CDC has been criticized for the necessity of manual entry, but TeleTracking has a similar process.   Medical personnel will need to learn an entirely new system in the midst of a surging pandemic while hospitals overflow.

In another disaster, repairing the flawed U.S. COVID-19 testing will cost $75 billion, according to a bipartisan Rockefeller foundation committee of industry experts, investors, scientists, and former federal health officials.  The U.S. testing has increased to about 4.5 million a week, but results require up to a month, especially in Arizona. And testing is vital because contagion is the highest with asymptomatic cases. In addition, the nation needs to do up to 30 million antigen tests a week for less than $10 per test.

DDT’s re-election campaign is the only reason that he needs to falsify data. The economy isn’t quite enough for a win; DDT needs to make the country appear completely normal, and one of the ways is to send children back to schools even if they sicken and/or die. He is so terrified of CDC guidance about reopening the schools that he has banned CDC officials from testifying before the House.

Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, “The science should not stand in the way of [completely opening schools this fall].” DDT, however, will not commit to sending his 14-year-old son, Barron, to school this fall. But he is so desperate to send everyone else’s children to school that he said he would take away decisions from parents if they decide to not send their children to school. Children’s infections are rising, comprising 6.4 percent of all infections even without information on one million cases: ten percent in California, one-third of tested Florida children infected, 11 percent on those under 20 in Arizona and Washington, and 4.5 percent of those under 11 and 11 percent of those ages 11 to 20.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos supports DDT’s reopening the schools 100 percent. After an Arizona schoolteacher died of COVID-19—despite following best practices of avoiding the virus—Secretary Education Betsy DeVos said she should have used “good hygiene.” DeVos refuses to answer any of these parents’ questions. Without schools following CDC guidelines, 71 percent of parents—53 percent of Republicans—see the openings as very or moderately risky. Internal documents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned the full reopening of K-12 schools and higher education would be the “highest risk” for the spread of coronavirus. DDT called CDC “liars.”

VP Mike Pence echoed the DDT party line by telling a Louisiana audience to send their children back to school, as did CDC Director Robert Redfield—both of them ignoring CDC guidelines. Pence said, “We don’t want CDC guidance to be a reason why people don’t reopen their schools.”

Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh also supports the need for people to “adapt” to the virus with the example of the 1847 Donner Party, pioneers who turned to cannibalism while unable to get out of the snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Note to Limbaugh: the horror of the story led Congress to support Army guides on the California/Oregon route for safety.

Two states with huge virus surges don’t have state-side mask-wearing directives—Arizona and Florida. Florida’s emergency operations center, a clearinghouse for disaster-related information and a command center of sorts for the pandemic response, shut down because of the number of positive COVID-19 cases. Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, has banned any cities or countries from requiring the wearing of masks. He is suing Atlanta for its mask requirement. The mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, has tested positive for the virus. Thus far, 28 states have mask mandates.

This last week could also be described as DDT’s war on infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has refused to lie about COVID-19. The White House went so far as to list ways in which Fauci was wrong in his statements during the six months that scientists attempted to understand the rapidly developing virus. DDT publicly claimed that he has a “very good relationship” with Fauci but privately approved a hit piece by Peter Navarro, the trade advisor DDT calls “my Peter,” a collection of such lies that the conservative USA Today apologized for publishing it because it “did not meet [the publication’s] fact-checking standards.”       

Fauci said his habit of telling the truth is the reason he’s not on television. DDT tried to muzzle him.

Other disasters for the U.S.:

DDT’s new U.S. postmaster general, GOP-donor of over $2 million Louis DeJoy, has made changes to slow down mail delivery. For example, “if the plants run late, they will keep the mail for the next day,” a deterrent for time-sensitive vote-by-mail ballots which DDT opposes. An early coronavirus relief bill authorized $10 billion for USPS emergency operations, but Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin blocks the funding. The Senate hasn’t taken up a House measure for another $25 billion emergency USPS aid package.   

A DDT judge was the swing vote on a 2-1 decision from the DC Circuit Court to allow cheap, useless health insurance with no coverage for pre-existing conditions or basic benefits such as prescriptions. DDT touted the plans as “much less expensive health care at a much lower price.” People who make too much money for subsidies from the Affordable Care Act can buy these plans for up to six months.

ICE is inviting civilians to a six-week “Citizens Academy,” one day each week, on training in “defensive tactics, firearms familiarization, and target arrests.” According to an ICE Chicago Field Office director, “the goal is to build bridges with the community” [aka vigilante militias]. ICE did not alert any lawmakers before the rollout of its program to encourage profile community members.

In his campaign speech at the White House, DDT claimed that the Confederate flag is “free speech” but has said the “Black Lives Matter” mural in New York City is a “symbol of hate” and would “denigrate” the surrounding area which includes the Trump Tower. He also minimized the deaths of Blacks from police brutality by saying police kill more white people. Police killings per million: Blacks – 31, Latinx – 23, White – 13, and other – 4.  In the past five and a half years, police have killed 1,301 Blacks and 2,495 white people, but the U.S. population is 76 percent white.

A Texas federal judge ruled for an in-person state GOP convention in Houston despite a spike in coronavirus cases.

In the next COVID-19 recovery bill, DDT opposes testing, contact tracing, the CDC, and addressing the pandemic. He also insists on benefiting the wealthy with tax cuts for capital gains and weaken Social Security and Medicare by eliminating payroll taxes until after the election.  

DDT’s personnel office is subjecting health officials and other political appointees to “loyalty” interviews in a search for people insufficiently loyal to DDT.  

After the Supreme Court overturned a lower court, the DOJ killed its third federal inmate in a week after a 17-year hiatus.The mother of a victim of the first executed man, who lay strapped to a gurney for four house, said his killing dirtied her daughter’s name. The second executed man, 68, suffered from schizophrenia and dementia. AG Bill Barr has been secretly stockpiling drugs for his killings.

HHS Inspector General reported Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief Seema Verma violated federal contracting rules, wasting taxpayer dollars in sending millions of taxpayer dollars to GOP-aligned communications consultants. 

U.S. COVID-19 cases on July 18: 3,833,271 cases; 142,877 deaths.

July 17, 2020

DDT Sends His ‘SS’ to Instigate Violence in Portland, Oregon

The closer the 2020 election comes, the crazier (literally!) Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) becomes. Refused the military for breaking up protesters, he sent “federal agents” to Portland (OR) where a peaceful protester stood on the street. Donovan LaBella, 26, (right) kicked a can of tear gas away from him and raised a speaker above his head; DDT’s thugs fired “less lethal” munitions at the man’s face, leaving him hospitalized with a fractured skull as shown in this video.  

In a June tweet, DDT thanked the “SS” for tear gassing peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C. The reference to Nazi SS is appropriate for stormtroopers DDT used to turn Portland into a Third-World culture. During nightly protests, similar to those in other cities, these federal agents, supposedly protecting “federal property,” drive city streets in unmarked minivans, far from federal property, and abduct people not involved in criminal activity. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf refers to protesters as “a violent mob” putting Portland “under siege” as “local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city.” He listed “lawless destruction and violence” from these “violent anarchists”—primarily graffiti. DDT praised the agents’ Third World authoritarian actions while ignoring the violence of his white supremacist followers who kill and wound people, including viciously driving cars into groups of protesters.

When Mark Pettibone and Conner O’Shea were walking home, people wearing camouflage and body armor jumped out of an unmarked vehicle. Shea said he ran and hid from a second unmarked van. Pettibone said he “was basically tossed into the van. And I had my beanie pulled over my face so I couldn’t see and they held my hands over my head.” He added he was driven around downtown and then unloaded inside a building which he discovered after his release was the federal courthouse. Searching his belongings, one of the men said, “This is a whole lot of nothing.” In a cell, Pettibone was read his Miranda rights and asked if he would waive rights and answer questions. He asked for a lawyer and was released about 90 minutes later with no paperwork, citation, or arrest record.

None of the people in the van identified themselves, and both Pettibone and O’Shea said they only attend protests—no vandalism. Pettibone said:

“I have a pretty strong philosophical conviction that I will not engage in any violent activity. I keep it mellow and try to document police brutality and try to show up for solidarity.”

Any federal arrests away from federal property may not hold up because local officials did not give permission for the agents’ presence. DDT is using 40 U.S. Code 1315 to take over the city. The U.S. is a federal system with states’ rights, and protesting is a First Amendment right:

“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech … or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Oregon officials lack authority to tell federal agents to leave the city. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler told Wolf: either keep his agents inside the buildings they claim to protect or take them from the city. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said DDT had sent in the agents for political purposes in an appeal to his base. Wheeler told DDT on his social media his agents make the situation worse. The federal agents can use tear gas; a state law blocks the police from its use except to quash riots, an excuse they are using more often.

The U.S. Marshals Service refused to comment about unmarked vehicles, at least one of them locally rented, but asserted, “Our agency did not arrest or detain Mark James Pettibone.” OPB submitted questions regarding the episode to DHS; the response was only that Wolf was in Portland during the day. Acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan called the protesters criminals.

Portland police cleared two Portland parks yesterday and put fences around them. Of the nine people the police arrested, three cooked free food at the barbecue stand Riot Ribs. Chef Lorenzo named the tent stand Riot Ribs because police accused him of starting a riot by giving away food. Law enforcement tear gassed the tent six times when he started on July 4, but he stayed after medics treated his eyes. City officials told him to get a permit, but the city code declares tents in parks are not “structures.” Beans, a volunteer, said the group has one bulletproof vest and donated gas masks. A volunteer stays on the grill when police rush the park.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon ruled the Oregon ACLU can add the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshals Service as defendants in a lawsuit alleging police are targeting journalists and legal observers covering ongoing protests in Portland. His decision allows the ACLU to file a temporary restraining order through the end of October against federal law enforcement, with restrictions already placed on Portland police such as barring the police from arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force against journalists or legal observers unless they “reasonably know” that person has committed a crime.

Federal agents fired on at least two independent journalists wearing clothing with “press” in large block letters who were trying to document a protest on July 11. One was hit in the back with a tear gas canister and repeatedly shot with pepper bullets and other munitions while trying to film the tear gassing. The other was shot with enough force to tear his shirt. Portland police also attacked journalists while knowing they were with the press.

“I think Portland is a test case,” Zakir Khan, a spokesman for the Oregon chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said. “They want to see what they can get away with before launching into other parts of the country.”

Tess Riski in the Willamette Weekly:

“The sight of armed federal officers—who look dressed for overseas combat or the U.S. border they are trained to protect—is an alarming one for many citizens. The image summons memories of other moments of civil unrest in U.S. history: National Guardsmen shooting college students at Kent State in 1970, or federal troops responding to the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in 1992….

“On July 13, Trump boasted that his agencies curbed an uprising in Portland that local cops couldn’t control. ‘We’ve done a great job in Portland,’ Trump said. ‘Portland was totally out of control. We very much quelled it, and if it starts again, we’ll quell it again very easily. It’s not hard to do, if you know what you’re doing.’”

The protests increased after his statement.

Riski’s statistics:

  • 17: Days federal officers actively patrolled Portland.
  • 4*: Number of agencies patrolling Portland—Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals Service, Federal Protective Service, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC). *The FBI assists with investigative follow-up on select arrests.
  • 19: Minimum number of protesters federal officers have arrested since July 3.
  • 10: Years in prison from maximum sentence.
  • 4: Number of people charged after shining a green laser in officers’ eyes.
  • 120: Feet from which a man shined a green laser at officers.
  • $50,000: Monetary damage at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse which agencies were sent to protect.
  • 2.5: Width in feet of a “flimsy” plastic shield a protester carried before her arrest.

Tom Dickinson provides an excellent overview of Portland’s past and present struggles with police brutality.

Dana Milbank was right: “Whenever you are asked to name the lowest moment of the Trump presidency, one answer is almost always correct: Tomorrow.”

Desperate to look competent after the COVID-19 debacle, DDT has failed. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows voters backing Joe Biden over DDT 52 percent to 37 percent, up from 49 percent to 41 percent from a month ago.   Independents support Biden over DDT 51 percent to 34 percent, compared to 43 percent to 40 percent for Biden’s favor last month. DDT’s approval rating dropped six points to 36 percent in the past month, and approval of his handling of the economy almost reversed, now 44 percent approval and 53 percent disapproval from June’s 52 percent approval to 45 percent disapproval.

Governors used to have more approval in handling COVID-19 than DDT. On an average, Democratic governors keep that approval, but the 26 GOP governors are losing it. The biggest drops are in Arizona and Florida, but GOP governors in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Ohio have high approvals. Specifics are available here.

In other polling:

  • 66 percent: DDT should release his present and past tax returns.
  • 68 percent: Voters have the right to see presidential candidates’ financial records before the election.
  • 50 percent: DDT doesn’t release records because it will make his re-election more difficult.
  • 26 percent: DDT’s taxes contain “incriminating evidence against him.
  • 7 percent: DDT won’t release tax returns because he’s being audited.
  • 65 percent: DDT shouldn’t cut federal funding for schools not normally opening.
  • 53 percent: Voters are somewhat or strongly opposed to fully opening day cares of K-12 schools.
  • 38 percent: DDT is handling the virus (down from 46 percent in May and 51 percent in March).
  • 60 percent: Voters disapprove of the virus outbreak (up from 53 percent in May and 45 percent in March).
  • 63 percent: Controlling the virus spread is more important even if the economy is hurt (up from 57 percent in May).

White House official Kellyanne Conway explained DDT’s polls dropped because he wasn’t giving daily COVID-19 “updates.”

COVID-19 in the U.S.: 3,770,012 cases; 74,987 new cases in last 24 hours; 142,064 deaths.

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