Nel's New Day

August 29, 2020

The 2020 GOP Platform According to DDT

The “virtual” GOP convention last week was not only bizarre event but also set the 2020 GOP platform designated as anything Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) wants. A few samples from the political platform from the Grand Old Party for the next four years. 

Support for racism and sexism: On the week when others honored the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech and celebrated the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, Abby Johnson delivered her support for racial profiling and allowing only the male head of the household to vote. If the wife disagrees with her husband about the vote, Johnson declared, “In a Godly household, the husband would get the final say.”

Support of violent unrest throughout the nation: DDT’s counselor Kellyanne Conway, leaving the White House because of family conflicts (husband George is a 100-percent anti-DDTer), exulted about the number of votes DDT will get from “chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence” (largely created by the radical right). If the violence isn’t serious enough, DDT sends in his personal militia to make it worse.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Rejection of information—security, scientific, etc.: Massive numbers of lies and misleading statements from all speakers reinforced this part of the platform. “We are focusing on the science, the facts, and the data,” DDT said to a large group ignoring social distancing and mask wearing. The plank ignores the massive number of coronavirus cases to achieve a feeling of “normal”—the pandemic is over. (House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Debbie Meadows, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows support this behavior, waiting for DDT’s speech.) 

Misrepresentation of information: In a video on the first night of the RNC riots and crime in “Biden’s America,” the most striking one of four segments showed protests in Barcelona, Spain, taken from Shutterstock, a source of stock images and videos.

Elimination of public education: A heavy emphasis on “school choice” omitted the issue of children not allowed into private schools avoiding testing requirements and other regulations because they can eliminate “less desirable” students such as the LGBTQ, differently abled, and those less motivated. Republicans use private schools and privately run charter schools to funnel public education funding into religion and for-profit businesses.

Promise of non-functioning government: McCarthy summarized this plank by saying that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are wrong when they think that the election is about the government.

Recognition of DDT’s first term failures: VP Mike Pence distilled the essence of this position when he said, “Make America great again, again.” Gone for DDT is “Keep America Great”: Biden purchased that domain where he posts DDT’s broken promises.

Removal of institutions: The DOJ now works only for the man in the Oval Office, the State Department is trying to make the world Christian, the EPA is taking away all environmental protections, the Department of the Interior turns public land over to private interests, and DDT obsesses about erasing mail delivery. His sole goal is to win the election, either through getting rid of Democratic votes on mail-in ballots or delegitimizing the November election to stay in the White House if he loses. DDT refuses to say whether he’ll leave the White House if he loses the election. Joint Chief of Staffs Mark Milley said the U.S. armed forces will not be involved in a dispute about the vote, but Defense Secretary Mark Esper hasn’t answered a question from congressional members whether he will refuse to follow unlawful orders regarding the election results. 

Disdain for “law and order” so pervasive that a few convention examples will have to suffice: DDT used acting DHS director Chad Wolf, probably illegally in his position, to perform the naturalization of five people who were not informed they would be used to promote DDT’s agenda. Their naturalizations may not be legal because Wolf had performed them.

Subjects in a video intended to smear New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio at the RNC were not told their interviews would be used to support DDT’s campaign. Lynne Patton, DDT’s associate who oversees New York federal housing programs, persuaded four tenants to talk to her by claiming she wanted to discuss conditions in the NYC Housing Authority’s buildings. Three of the four said they didn’t support DDT. Last year Patton violated the Hatch Act, displaying a DDT campaign hat in her office and “liking” political tweets.

Over 80 years ago, Congress passed the Hatch Act, restricting political campaign activities by federal employees except for the president and vice president. This summary was given employees in the Interior Department: 

“The Hatch Act generally prohibits Federal employees from engaging in political activities while on duty, in a Government room or building, while wearing an official uniform, or while using a Government vehicle. Under the Hatch Act, “political activity” is defined as any activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.”

During DDT’s first three years, the Office of Special Counsel issued 134 warning letters to federal employees, disciplined an additional 46 federal workers, told 31 more to withdraw from political races or leave their government jobs to pursue them, and cited at least nine high-level DDT appointees for abusing their government roles to further the DDT’s reelection or disparage his rivals. Former administrations have banned Cabinet members from political activities, but three of them participated in DDT’s political show. Congress is investigating State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo’s speech from Jerusalem for violations. 

The six senators who spoke are primarily vulnerable in this year’s election or running for president in 2024. Seven representatives also spoke as well as four other congressional candidates, one of them a QAnon supporter. A major theme of DDT’s speech, however, was to portray himself as an outsider, to “turn the page” away from “the failed political class.” Half the keynote speeches were assigned to DDT and his family members. Two speakers were given full pardons, Jon Ponder at the event and Alice Johnson the day after.

RNC speakers included six White House aides as well as senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump. Other ways DDT violated the Hatch Act are the use of the National Park Service (NPS) for his campaign fireworks on the National Mall and a video from the Interior Department lavishly praising DDT for new legislation. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said that “nobody outside of the Beltway really cares” about the Hatch Act—which is a U.S. law. It seems the Hatch Act works only for people who criticize DDT.

DDT’s conclusion to his acceptance speech:

“On November 3, we will make America safer. We will make America stronger. We will make America prouder. And we will make America greater than ever before. I am very proud to be the nominee of the Republican Party.”

If he’s the current president, why doesn’t he start now?

Satirist Alexandra Petri described DDT’s message:

“If you think things are bad now under Donald Trump, vote for Donald Trump, who will fix things…

“Any bad things happening now were sent by Joe Biden, from the future. Do not be fooled by the fact that they are happening in the present, when Donald Trump is president…

“Joe Biden has controlled all of government for the past 47 years but, confusingly, he has never gotten through any of the radical policies he really wanted—[for example to] get rid of hamburgers and make cows illegal…

“Joe Biden wants to defund the police, which is why he is advocating not defunding the police.

“Most of all, Joe Biden wants to destroy America’s greatness. (Greatness is what we have right now, under Donald Trump, but also don’t have yet, but will definitely have in the future.) Joe Biden will never create jobs, the way Donald Trump has, by first presiding over the loss of millions of them.

“Under Donald Trump, America has never been safer. It has also never been more dangerous. We must elect Donald Trump to make us safe again, which he has already made us, never more than we are now, although we also aren’t, and won’t be, unless we elect him!

“…Donald Trump is a crusader against nepotism, corruption and the abuse of power for personal gain, wherever it may lurk… He despises people who profit from public office, and the times when he has urged people to stay at Trump properties were just because he gives and gives without thinking of himself…

“In conclusion, Donald Trump has accomplished more than any other president, ever, in his single term, including some accomplishments that did not even happen during his term, like his landmark achievement, the Veterans Choice Bill, passed in 2014 under President Barack Obama. There is no pandemic to speak of, or to put on a mask for; if there ever was one, it was someone else’s fault… Donald Trump does not look at America and see thousands of people needlessly dying and millions losing their jobs — this is what Joe Biden sees. Donald Trump sees greatness!”

So that’s the GOP platform: incessant lying, racism, sexism, and breaking laws. From the beginning of the RNC on Monday night to the end of the event on Thursday night, more people died from COVID-19 in the U.S. than on 9/11. In the past 24 hours, the U.S. has gained another 42,843 COVID-19 cases for a total of 6,139,078. Another 954 deaths bring the total to 186,855. The number seems down, but that usually happens on weekends. 


August 28, 2020

DDT’s ‘America’ on Anniversary of ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech

[Correction from August 27, 2020, post on Nel New Day: DDT [Dictator Donald Trump] did keep his promise to cut down on immigration across the southern border, but he did not mention the process would include abusing and molesting children, sexually assaulting women, separating families, and depriving immigrants of decent healthcare, food, and shelter.] Also, DDT wanted to “maim” and “shoot” immigrants seeking asylum on the southern border. 

Last Tuesday on the second RNC night, a 17-year-old from Antioch (IL) shot three protesters in Kenosha (WI), killing two of them. Two days earlier, police shot unarmed Jacob Blake in the back seven times in front of his three of his small children on the birthday of the oldest. Paralyzed from the waist down, Blake was handcuffed to his hospital bed until a public outcry. Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who spoke to Blake’s father, said:

“His first question after he woke up was, ‘Daddy, why did they shoot me so many times?’ He wept to his father. He has restraints on even though he can’t move his legs.”

Police claim, without witnesses or evidence, they shot Blake because he put them in a headlock and refused to drop a knife he was carrying. Police had no body cameras.

Classmates remember the teenage killer as being short-tempered and easily offended, focused on loving guns, cops, DDT, and “triggering the libs.” They joked about his being a future mass shooter, and one of them said, “I personally believe he went to Wisconsin with the intent to kill.” When the teen joined militia members in Kenosha, the city police thanked him for being there and gave him a bottle of water although he was breaking the 8:00 pm curfew. An hour later, he shot a protester in the head and tried to run away. After he tripped and fell, he opened fire on two protesters chasing him, killing one and injuring the other. Police drove by him as he tried to surrender. The police chief justified law enforcement action by claiming tunnel vision in “high-stress” situations. (A video trail of the police ignoring the teenager killing people.) 

A new report from the Brennan Center for Justice, “Hidden in Plain Sight,” shows how white supremacist groups or violent far-right militias  infiltrated law enforcement agencies in at least ten states, including my home state of Oregon. In Kenosha, the ACLU has called for the resignations of Police Chief Daniel Miskinis, who blamed protesters for being shot and killed and Kenosha Sheriff David Beth who said Black shoplifters are “a cancer to our society” and “have to be warehoused.” Read the Brennan report here. 

Twitter forced conservative pundit Ann Coulter to delete her tweet calling on the teenager to be her “president.” It followed another tweet recommending the teen be a “bodyguard.” Fox’s Tucker Carlson suggested the teen’s actions were noble. The killer’s first murder was of another White man carrying a skateboard.

A judge is permitting the white teenager, witnessed in killing two people and injuring a third, to stay in Illinois until a September 25 hearing. The purpose of the delay, according to the judge, is for the killer to put together a legal team. The personal lawyer for Fox network’s Sean Hannity, L. Lin Wood, announced he is raising money and coordinating legal representation for the vigilante murderer. A QAnon member, Wood also represented the case against the media by Kentucky teenager, Nick Sandmann, after he was accused to blocking an Indigenous activist at the Lincoln Memorial last year. Sandmann was a speaker for DDT at this week’s GOP convention.

A journalist for Mother Jones described the difference in treatment for Jacob Blake, a Black, and the teenager, a White:

“Jacob Blake was shot several times in the back while walking away from police officers. Kyle Rittenhouse made it all the way home before being arrested. Law and order is only for certain people.”

Conservatives complain about the violence of leftist activists, but radical right counterprotesters are causing violence in cities and towns across the U.S. At a Democratic rally for candidate Hank Gilbert in Tyler (TX) on July 26, Paul Benson tried to protect the speakers from DDT-supporters with military-style rifles who charged into the town of 100,000 population. The rally was intended to oppose deploying federal agents to U.S. cities and register new Democratic voters in conservative east Texas 100 miles southeast of Dallas. Hundreds the radical right pushed and shoved people. A man punched voter deputy registrar Nancy Nichols in the chest, three others held her husband against a war memorial, and Gilbert’s top aid was injured. The thugs blew air horns over the candidate’s speech, shouted and jeered, and pulled the plug on his sound system. Others surrounded the square in military-style defensive formation.

A Tyler councilman connected to Texas Freedom Fighters and Oath Keepers came with an AR-15 and a .45-caliber pistol. He had at least six more guns in his logging truck parked nearby and wants to keep the liberals from unfairly stealing the election from DDT. Police said they held back from the town square because they didn’t want to “escalate the situation.” Supposedly, they moved in after the radical right started the violence. They did file assault charges against three people, including a local businessman. Nichols said she plans to continue appearing at events to register people but said:

“If I see the presence of these goons, I will immediately call the police, the constables, the sheriff, the county judge and anyone else I can think of to make sure there is protection there for everyone.”

In a disturbance at Weatherford (TX) 160 miles west of Tyler, heavily armed counterprotesters, including far-right Texas-based group members, clashed over removing a Confederate statue from the Parker County Courthouse. Tony Crawford, a leader of the Parker County Progressives, talked to the police about having protection, but law enforcement never appeared, despite calls for help, when social media brought busloads from Dallas and Fort Worth, heavily armed, spitting on the rally, throwing water bottles at them, and chasing demonstrators back to their vehicles. The police chief of Weatherford, population 31,000, said city and county law enforcement agencies lacked the ability to police the event.

A week later, hundreds of motorists, many with DDT and Confederate flags, police were called to break up a gathering when hundreds of motorists, many flying Trump and Confederate flags, descended on an historical Black church in Dallas displaying a two-story Black Lives Matter sign.

People marching from Milwaukee to Washington, D.C. for the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington were subjected to slurs, arrests, and gunfire.  On August 28, 57 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the Lincoln Memorial. Last Monday night, the first night of the GOP convention, one of the marchers was shot in the face and side with bird shot in Schellsburg (PA) while the group rested near a salvage yard on U.S. 30, known as Lincoln Highway. The business owner said the marchers refused to leave the parking lot, but the leader said they “never even had a conversation” with him or the shooter. Two marchers were arrested in Indiana, accused of blocking traffic. 

Take America Back Texas, a new group surging to over 10,000 members in less than three months, orchestrates attacks on rallies such as those in Tyler and Weatherford. PR director Wendi Rees, a conservative, White suburban mother in Tyler, repeated the GOP mantra about losing “constitutional rights” although she mentioned only First and Second Amendments.

In the Tyler debacle, other radical right groups joined Take America Back Texas, including Rep. Louie Gohmert’s (R-TX) supporters, members of Texas militia groups, and the white-supremacist Aryan Brotherhood. People who attended compared the event to public lynchings in the square persisting into the 1900s. A Black retired Army nurse who served in Iraq said seeing the people with “lots and lots of weapons” was “devastating.”

White vigilantes and radical-right thugs have shown up to inject violence into Black Lives Matter protests at least 497 times in the three months since George Floyd was killed, according to data collected by Alexander Reid Ross, a doctoral fellow at the Center for Analysis of the Radical Right. Vigilante crimes include driving cars into demonstrators 38 times and firing guns at protesters nine times. Three people died from their wounds. In at least two events, law enforcement approved or supported the vigilantes. A sheriff’s deputy wore a “III Percenters” militia patch while policing a protest, and Portland (OR) police stood and watched the neo-fascist gang the Proud Boys attack peaceful protesters in the street. While the police arrested 22 protesters, they didn’t bother the Proud Boys leader who had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.  

Never mentioning the violence of the radical right, speakers at the GOP convention dwelt on a view of the dark, violent world under Joe Biden. DDT’s approval of the radical right is creating this dark violence during personal crime-ridden administration. 

Today, thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial on the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington to protest the inequalities within the “justice” system. Unlike the RNC, the Black Lives Matter event required temperature checks, masks, and social distancing.

U.S. daily COVID-19 cases are rising—49,601 in the last 24 hours bringing the total to 6,096,235. Deaths remain above 1,000—1,105 with the total at 185,901. Iowa saw a record surge of almost 80 percent positivity rate with 2,579 positive cases from 3,247 tests. 

August 27, 2020

DDT: Promises Made, Promises Broken

Tonight, the Republicans finished their four-day convention with perhaps the greatest number of lies this week. The biggest irony was that speakers incessantly slammed the United States because of its protests, crimes, etc., but Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), in his acceptance speech, smeared the Democrats for depicting problems in the U.S. such as systemic racism while depicting the nation as idyllic with everyone experiencing the “American Dream.” His biggest lie, however, was that he has kept all his promises. These are a few: 

Perhaps the worst promise, hydroxychloroquine and swallowing disinfectant will cure COVID-19. These “cures” have killed people; the North Texas Poison Center reported 46 cases of people swallowing disinfectant just in August.

The funniest? DDT said he wouldn’t be taking any vacations like President Obama did. DDT’s 288 days of golf as of August 22 put him on a path to 745 days if he wins a second term, and by December 2019, he had vacationed 331 of his first 1,075, 31 percent of his time. In eight years, Barack Obama had 328 days of vacation—41 days a year and one-third of DDT’s vacationing.

Mexico will pay for the wall. Nope—taxpayers are doing this, and DDT overpays for his construction by hiring a fraudulent company and not bidding the contracts. He also lied about 300 new miles of new fence: it’s three miles.

“Crime will end the day I take office.” Crime continued, and the number of homicides and aggravated assaults increased in 2019 compared with 2018. During the closing of states because of the COVID-19, crime slightly dropped, but mass shootings began the week after businesses opened again.  

DDT promised the vanquishing of ISIS, peace in the Middle East, and returning troops home. ISIS is growing, the United States has more troops in the Middle East than when he was inaugurated, and Israel is taking over lands granted Palestinians in a treaty. The only peace in the Middle East is DDT’s subservience to dictators like Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and hundreds of thousands of friendly Kurds in Syria were left without U.S. protection because DDT wants to illegally pillage the oil in the nation. 

Wanting his own trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, DDT renegotiated U.S. trade agreement, NAFTA, into a similar version that he gets to rename. Since the signing, he has broken the terms of the agreement by placing aluminum tariffs on Canada resulting in a retaliation.

DDT said tonight he brought manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. Last December, before COVID-19, factory activity was down for the fifth consecutive month, a worse drop than expected, and a concern in the swing state of Pennsylvania. The Institute of Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index logged its lowest level since June 2009 at 47.2. (Anything below 50 denotes a contraction.) Coal jobs also disappeared after he ridiculed Clinton for telling the truth about the problem during her campaign.

DDT did keep his promise to cut down on immigration across the southern border, but he did not mention the process would include abusing and molesting children, sexually assaulting women, separating families, and depriving immigrants of decent healthcare, food, and shelter.

DDT also met his promise of lowering taxes but not for lower- and middle-income—80 percent of the proceeds going to the wealthy and big business. Missing was the promised $4,000 increase for all average household incomes.

As for the Affordable Care Act and healthcare, DDT kept part of his promise. He destroyed part of it to remove tens of millions of people from healthcare insurance, but he didn’t replace it with anything. “We’re going to have insurance for everybody… We’re going to have a healthcare that is far less expensive and far better.” Hasn’t happened.

As for his claim his executive orders lower drug prices over 50 percent, they cover a few drugs entirely for Medicare beneficiaries, 14 percent of the population. 

DDT’s 2015 campaign promise was to save Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Now he plans to cut Medicare and Social Security programs. His proposal for Medicaid block grants will roll back help for the low-income, elderly, rural communities, differently abled, and treatment for opioid addiction. Yet tonight he promised to help all those people.

To “drain the swamp,” DDT promised “a package of ethics reforms to make our government hones again.” Democrats in the House passed reform legislation, but DDT and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused to touch it. DDT was impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress; dozens of his associates have been convicted or face criminal charges. In the world, the U.S. is “close to a laughingstock” because of its ethics problems. The most reason violation of law from this unethical president was to abet (or coerce) the GOP in holding his 2020 political reelection campaign event at the White House.

After the El Paso and Dayton shootings, DDT promised to promote background checks. He got very quiet, very quickly. Now he’s campaigning on the conservative version of the Second Amendment.

“We will lead our country back to safety, prosperity, and peace. We will be a country of generosity and warmth.” Again, nope. His term represents a developing crisis of U.S. foreign policy alienating all allies and encouraging friendships only with authoritarian regimes, especially Russia. DDT’s corrupt demand in Ukraine providing dirt—real or imagined—on Joe Biden undermined the U.S. credibility in the world.

DDT promised to provide “millions” of jobs by building up the U.S. infrastructure. No infrastructure, no jobs.

DDT no longer has any intention of leaving NATO as he vociferously promised. These are his lies about NATO from late.

Fortunately, DDT failed his promise of approving waterboarding “immediately” and “make it much worse.”

DDT also failed to find a reason for imprisoning Hillary Clinton, despite more conspiracy-fueled investigations into her “missing emails” and donations to the Clinton Foundation. He weaseled out of it by saying he wanted to help her to “heal.”

The “greatest economy in history”? Nowhere near. He inherited a strong economy from a president who struggled out of a Republican recession, but the benefits are for only a few. He promised up to a six-percent GDP growth; this year’s GDP is estimated at a minus 32.9 percent. His economy did not raise wages for most people and resulted in trillion-dollar deficits. Four years ago, DDT promised to erase the U.S. $19 trillion national debt in eight years. During his first three years he averaged almost $1 trillion debt a year, the same amount as March of this year. The tax cut was already scheduled to add $1.9 trillion, according to CBO. Bonuses, small the first year, disappeared after that. After the 2017 tax cut, business investment slowed from 4.6 percent to 3.5 percent. The 4.1 percent unemployment rate fell only 0.5 percent until it skyrocketed to over 15 percent last March. In 22 of 23 weeks, over one million people filed for unemployment each week.

In December, WaPo unveiled another “Trump Promise Tracker” following 60 of 280 campaign promises. DDT kept 35 percent of his promises he issued in his “Contract with the American Voter” he claimed he would fulfill on the first day and the others within 100 days. One of those he has constantly bragged about is providing veterans to receive their private doctor if they want, but he only expanded a law passed by President Obama. A few more promises.

DDT set out to deliberately hurt his base not only in the above but also in his erratic approach to trade and tariffs, against intended to help big businesses. Adding Wall Street bankers to his inner circle, he broke his promise to stop wealthy investment fund managers from “getting away with murder.” Dismantling safeguards put in place after the 2008 crisis, he gave the six biggest banks $100 billion in profits in 2018 plus their $32 billion in tax cuts from the tax law. His administration has a record number of corporate lobbyists who oversee the industries formerly employing them. A major push during the convention was school choice, benefiting DDT’s friends who own the for-profit businesses in charge of these schools.

With the 2020 GOP convention, DDT made the White House into his own palace, instead of the people’s home, and his acceptance speech was a Fidel Castro-esque speech by a monarch. The most disgusting part of his speech was his bragging about being in the White House when talking about Joe Biden and the Democrats: “We’re here and they’re not!” he smirked. Only Trumpers allowed in the “people’s house.” His campaign banners stretched across the lawn of the White House, and the fireworks on the Mall, a federal park, spelled out “Trump 2020.”

The GOP convention obsessed about protest violence in the streets for the past three months with fewer than 20 people dead. Much of the physical violence has been caused by white supremacists although conservatives refuse to recognize their participation. The convention, however, almost completely ignored the deaths and illnesses from COVID-19. In the past 24 hours, 1,143 have died in the U.S. from the unmentioned virus, bringing the total to 184,796 on August 27. The number of cases in the U.S. in the same time, 46,286, raised the total to 6,046,634.

Watch for infections within the government elite after thousands of maskless people gathered within inches each other for over four hours of “celebration” at the White House.

DDT-Supporter Kills Protesters; Anthony Rejects DDT’s Pardon

It’s Night Three of the GOP convention, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) plans to invade Wisconsin. As sending federal agents into Portland (OR), this action worsens the protests. Background on the protesting in Kenosha.

Sunday evening, Jacob Blake was “breaking up a fight between two women” in Kenosha (WI), according to Black’s lawyer. Police arrived, followed Blake to his car where his children were waiting, and shot Blake in the back seven times as he learned into the car. Sunday was the birthday of one of the children. Blake is now paralyzed from the waist down with kidney, liver, stomach, colon, and spinal cord injuries. A man across the street who videoed the tragedy said he heard the women arguing when Blake arrived. Before he was shot, Blake told the police a knife was in the car under the driver’s side mat.

Protests in the town of 100,000 has faced protests for three nights, and last night a 17-year-old has been charged with shooting three people, killing two of them. Kyle Rittenhouse, a self-identified militia member from Antioch (IL), was one of several armed men, but Wisconsin’s open carry law is only for people 18 years and older. On a video, Rittenhouse runs down the street to avoid apprehension, falls, and then shoots at people behind him trying to disarm him. Bystanders yelled at police about the shooter who walked toward them with his hands up, but law enforcement ignored them and drove on. Another video showed law enforcement officials giving water to the group of armed men, apparently encouraging their presence. At a press conference today, Kenosha’s police chief justified Rittenhouse’s killing by saying it wouldn’t have happened if protesters weren’t out after curfew. 

Rittenhouse’s Facebook page, no longer available, displayed photos of Blue Lives Matter pro-police slogans and images including a rifle like the one he used for the shooting. He was also in the front row at a Des Moines (IA) DDT rally earlier this year just feet from DDT. Police believe Rittenhouse was a member of a group of armed men wanting to be deputized. 

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers called in 250 National Guard members to enforce the city’s curfew last night. In a tweet, DDT claimed Evers “agreed to accept federal assistance (Portland should do the same!)…” DDT is lying: the governor’s office responded, “The Governor authorized 500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard. They haven’t requested or accepted federal support…. The President’s tweet is news to them.”

Kenosha Guard, a self-proclaimed militia, used Facebook in advance of the protest for a “call to arms.” The FB page wasn’t removed until this morning although FB users previously reported the event for inciting violence.  A statement from FB asserted it found no connection between the “mass shooting” and the “call to arms.” DDT has not spoken about the shooting of Blake or the far-right killer.

The killing by a 17-year-old far-right DDT-worshipper took place after DDT put two self-professed vigilantes, Patricia and Mark McCloskey, into primetime positions at his convention. The wealthy white couple were praised at the convention for illegally pointing firearms at Black Lives Matter protesters on the sidewalk in front of their house on their way to demonstrate at the home of the St. Louis (MO) home. About militia groups patrolling Kenosha streets this week, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said, “They’re like a vigilante group.”

During a convention when speakers continually warn about how horrible the United States would be under Joe Biden, the mass shooting and a huge double hurricane hitting the north of the Gulf of Mexico has been accompanied by a sports boycott. Beginning with the Milwaukee Bucks’ announcement to not play their playoff game because of Blake’s shooting, the NBA postponed Game 5 of three different playoff series—Bucks vs. Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers. Players from the six teams wore shirts spelling out Blake’s name, locked arms, and knelt. Shortly afterward, three WNBA, five Major League Soccer, and three Major League Baseball games were called off in an act of solidarity. Bucks players called on the Wisconsin Legislature to “reconvene after months of inaction and take up meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform.” They also encouraged people “to educate themselves, take peaceful and responsible action, and remember to vote on Nov. 3.”

Lies “great and small”: that’s the focus of this article in The Guardian about Night Three of the convention

Last week, DDT signed “a full and complete” for Susan B. Anthony—148 years after her “crime” of trying to vote. On August 18, he found some women to gather around him in the Oval Office as a centennial celebration of women’s suffrage in the United States. Today, August 26, actually represents the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote on Women’s Equality Day. DDT found more women, some of them those who worked for him, to give speeches on how much he’s done for women.

With “religious freedom” and stripping the Affordable Care Act, DDT’s discrimination removed women’s reproductive rights and taken their access to contraception. DDT gutted funding for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) for family planning and reproductive services to over 150 countries. In the U.S. he blocked laws to promote equal pay in the workplace and disbanded the White House Council on Women and Girls looking into the impact of new policies on women and girls. Words referencing women and girls were excised from publications of government agencies; i.e., forbidden words included fetus, transgender, and diversity. Lesbian and bisexual women’s resources were eliminated from women’s health website that no longer mention contraception, abortion, and sex education. Title X clinics are also no longer legally required to provide counselling that includes information about prenatal care, delivery, adoption and abortion.

DDT appoints women for under 20 percent of the positions, whether in small groups such as his Cabinet or the appointments for agencies and committees. Fewer than 25 percent of his federal judiciary appointments are women. (Republicans have the same problem: of the 105 women in the congressional House, only 15 were elected by the GOP.)

DDT overlooked a few facts when he preened in a pardon for Anthony:

  1. Anthony didn’t want a pardon. With his ego and patronizing attitude, DDT never thought she would be offended by his action. He should have gotten the hint when he said she helped other women get pardons but “she didn’t put her name on the list.” Her vote on November ?, 1872, violated state law. She argued the 14th Amendment gave her voting rights, but the judge ordered the jury to bring back a guilty verdict. She was fined $100 which someone else paid; she was angry about that favor because she wanted to bring attention to women’s rights. Former Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) tweeted Anthony didn’t want to be pardoned until all women had full equality. A pardon is also seen as representative of guilt. 
  2. Women did not achieve the right to vote on August 18, 1920. That was simply the date that the last state ratified the constitutional amendment passed by Congress. Not until August 26, 1920—100 years ago today—could women vote after the 19th Amendment was certified by U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. That’s the reason Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY) selected August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.” Congress passed the bill in 1973.
  3. Women voted before the 19th Amendment, for example, New Jersey, the first state with women’s suffrage, allowed women to vote from 1776 to 1807. By the ratification of the 19th Amendment, 18 U.S. states allowed some women, including Blacks, could vote in local, state, and federal elections. In 22 states, women could vote in some elections; only eight states disenfranchised all women. At least 3,586 women ran for office, mostly in newer states of the West, in the five decades before 1920. Kansas elected 750 women before 1912.
  4. Women also did not automatically vote after the passage of the amendment because states passed other laws to disenfranchise women and others. To get around both the 15th and the 19th Amendments, states passed requirements for a poll tax or literacy test. Some of them stopped women from voting if they married an immigrant. Intimidation such as lynchings kept people away from the polls. Some registrars refused to process the papers or gave Black women a blank paper. Asian immigrants didn’t have citizenship until 1924, and Native Americans didn’t have the right to vote in Arizona and New Mexico until 1948. Utah Native Americans gained the right to vote in 1957.  The Voting Rights Act of 1965 extended suffrage to many Black, Latinx, and Indigenous Americans, formerly subject to voter suppression, who lived in the southern states and others such as Arizona and South Dakota before the Supreme Court overturned parts of the law’s state oversight in 2013.
  5. DDT probably doesn’t know he pardoned a lesbian, at least according to author Victoria Brownworth who called her the “most famous lesbian in America in the 19th century.” 

The Susan B. Anthony Museum & House rejected the pardon. It suggested a way to honor Anthony was to stand against voter suppression, including his campaign against mail-in ballots. “Enforcement and expansion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would be celebrated,” they wrote. The Museum also urged respect for human rights and the passage of the ERA. Night 3 of the GOP convention conveniently left out that information.

Last night’s speaker Larry Kudlow suggested the pandemic is almost over. In the last 24 hours, the U.S. passed six million COVID-19 infections with 44,637 new cases, and another 1,289 deaths raised the death toll to 183,653. Continuing that death rate puts the number of known deaths in the U.S. over 200,000 in about three weeks.

August 25, 2020

DDT’s Claims False But He’s the GOP Agenda

After Day One of the GOP convention, party lawmakers and strategists asked for more vision and less doom, but the RNC has no values in its platform. It’s sole agenda is Dictator Donald Trump (DDT)—whatever he wants—“the Party’s strong support for President Donald Trump and his Administration.” His campaign page does list 50 points divided into ten categories beginning with new jobs and businesses while cutting taxes and giving more money to large companies. It finishes with hiring more police, being more punitive on immigration, and creating more military strength both here on Earth and in space. Nothing about anti-abortion, religious freedom, or the U.S. Constitution—nothing that DDT used to woo the evangelicals.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) concluded last night’s convention by falsely claiming “our side is working on policy”—unlike the Democrats. The GOP non-platform of 2020 using only catch phrases and no debating or writing proves Scott wrong. Annie Lowrey wrote in The Atlantic, the GOP is “the party of no content,” which has grown “remarkably quiet on how they would govern” and “moved into a queasy post-policy space.” Follow Scott’s claim with questions, What policies? And where are they?”

The four-night production speaks only to DDT’s base. Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), who lost his district in 2018, said that parties only “about the cult of personality don’t so well in the long term.” After his narrow loss to a Democrat in 2018, the two-term Curbelo said DDT wasn’t the future for “a small government, free enterprise party.”

The GOP has the advantage of spinning off the Democrats’ convention. Speakers last night stressed what a lovely person DDT is: kind, compassionate, empathetic, just downright sweet. Certainly not racist, despite references to “Chinese virus,” and much better than his opponent, Joe Biden. Other rosy views included how well DDT did in handling COVID-19—with no numbers of deaths or infections—and his humanitarian treatment in criminal justice. These perspectives, as well as the sunny view of the economy, erased the past seven months. [A round-up of commentary from the Daily Kos.]

Tonight, Eric Trump who professed his love for his father, touted peace in the Middle East, (eradicating any notice of Palestinians), and cited his father’s love for law and order, (ignoring the many arrests of his associates and Eric’s subpoena to appear in a fraud investigation regarding the Trump Organization). If Eric wants to claim the Fifth Amendment, he must appear in court and give that response to every question.

Also discordant was the naturalization ceremony for five people in the White House while DDT is blocking all other naturalizations throughout the U.S. because they must appear in person. For purely partisan purposes, DDT used the White House to present people as props from places he called “sh*thole countries.” 

Another speaker allowed to speak, Abby John, praised the police of being “smart” if they racially-profile her biracial son, saying, “Statistically, my brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons.” 

The speech drawing the biggest controversy was the one from Pompeo who bragged about giving a possibly illegal, and definitely unethical, partisan speech from Jerusalem, where he is on official business. U.S. policy is that the U.S. speaks with one voice overseas and not for one political party. According to updated memos, approved by Pompeo, give this instruction:

“Senate-confirmed Presidential appointees may not even attend a political party convention or convention-related event.”

Pompeo is not exempted, and restrictions are more strict for U.S. diplomats overseas. Last month, he sent the directive to all people on diplomatic and consular posts. State Department employees expressed disappointment in Pompeo, but many were not surprised because of his past partisan activities. Left-learning pro-Israel organizations expressed opposition to Pompeo’s choice of backdrop for his speech because of the partisan U.S.-Israel relationship. Yet he needs DDT’s support for a 2024 presidential run.

My favorite message from many of the speakers is that people in the United States need to think for themselves—as long as they think the way that these same speakers tell them to do.

One of the speakers for the second night of the Republican National Convention was scrubbed from the program for her QAnon tweet telling her 40,000+ followers to investigate an evidence-free Jewish plot to enslave the world. On the same night that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke from Israel, Mary Ann Mendoza, a DDT campaign advisory board member, was supposedly going to speak about her son’s 2014 death caused by a drunk driver illegally in the U.S. The anti-Semitic tweet related lying smears about Jewish banking forces determined to enslave non-Jews and promote world wars as well as Nazi hoaxes. Her tweet described Hillary Clinton as a “Satanic High Priestess” and the smell of sulfur in Barack Obama’s Washington home, relating him to the devil and Hell. Former Utah GOP legislator Sheryl Allen has called for the RNC to remove House candidate Burgess Owens, another Qanon believer, from speaking tomorrow night.

In a disastrous press conference, DDT rolled out  his convention the day before with a “breakthrough” for his new COVID-19 miracle cure. He pushed an emergency use authorization (EUA) of the convalescent plasma transfusion treatment with antibodies with the claim of 35 percent mortality reduction. HHS Secretary Alex Azar said “we dream” of this statistic, and FDA commissioner Steven Hahn glowed about “a 35 percent improvement in survival,” even defending it to a reporter who questioned whether he was over-selling the treatment.

The truth emerged about the “breakthrough” being only hype from incomplete data by a subgroup of hospitalized patients. A scientist from the Mayo Clinic study didn’t know the source of DDT’s figure he attributed to the study. It wasn’t in any material. Dr. Walid Gellad, leader of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh, added, “For the first time ever, I feel like official people in communications and people at the F.D.A. grossly misrepresented data about a therapy.”

In addition, the study, lacking a placebo group, was not a randomized clinical trial,  Duncan Young, a professor of intensive care medicine at the University of Oxford, UK described problems with the EUA:

“We will not know if it works, as the EUA essentially causes clinicians to give the treatment rather than entering patients in clinical trials. There may also be a rationing problem as it may be in short supply.”

Hahn said the criticisms are “entirely justified”; DDT and Azar are keeping mum.

Lawmakers have written Hahn about concerns of politicization. The day before Hahn’s erroneous comments, DDT tweeted an evidence-free accusation of the FDA being part of the “deep state” and creating difficulties in testing “vaccines and therapeutics … hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd.”  The letter cited the announcement as the latest example of politicizing science since the pandemic, i.e., the hydroxychloroquine debacle, criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the White House coronavirus task force sidelining the CDC. Hahn also refused to answer a question about DDT’s evidence-free claim about 99 percent of virus cases being “totally harmless.”

The letter requests information about future vaccine reviews and FDA’s safeguards against political pressure by September 4.

Although the White House denies the information, DDT is considering a EUA to avoid regulatory procedures for vaccines so he can get a vaccine out by Election Day. U.S. health agencies require a trial of 30,000 people; an experimental virus vaccine is being tested in the UK on 10,000 people. HHS stated the FDA won’t issue an EUA before the election, hoping the vaccine will be developed by early 2021. We’ll see: DDT said Sunday, “You’ll be hearing about [vaccines] very soon.” Russia and China bypassed large clinical trials, but only 24 percent of Russian doctors said they would take the vaccine.

Yesterday was another disaster for DDT with the testimony of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy before the House Oversight Committee. Although he felt that DDT’s war against mail-in ballots was “not helpful,” he thinks his only job with the USPS is making the trucks run on time. According to DeJoy, he isn’t responsible for removing the sorting machines, cutting overtime, and slowing down delivery. He doesn’t know who is, and he doesn’t care. And he won’t change them. He doesn’t know how much anything costs in the postal service except for a first-class stamp. He lied about delayed deliveries before he took over, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said she will subpoena his calendar for information about his secret meetings after he said he’d check with counsel to see if he has to submit a public record to Congress. To a question from Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) about his Senate testimony, he said he couldn’t remember what he told them—a problem for a person who lies.

According to internal USPS not available to members of the Senate when DeJoy lied to them, steep declines began when DeJoy started and not in April or May with the pandemic.  He took over in early June; priority mail was delivered over 90 percent of the time in early July but dropped to under 80 percent within a month. Marketing mail experienced an 8.42 percent decline and periodical deliveries, 9.57 percent. DeJoy did not share these documents with Congress. DeJoy said anyone who blamed him for the changes in USPS is lying. Walter Einenkel describes questioning by 30-year postal employee, Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI).  answer—democracy and rights.

For the first time in two days of hate-filled monologues, Melania Trump expressed sympathy for the families and friends of the 182,404 people (or more) who have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. All the hugging, kissing, and closeness of people at the convention may add to the 5,955,728 people in the U.S. known to contract the disease. That figure will top six million before the convention ends.

Darkness of GOP Convention, DDT Dictatorship

The GOP presidential campaign began this morning. Last week, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) had complained the Democratic convention was the “darkest” and “gloomiest” one in history, and he promised to outdo that convention. He succeeded. From his acceptance speech this morning when he raged about mail-in voting to Tim Scott’s about Democrats’ racism, all optimism was abandoned on Day One of the GOP convention. Donald Trump Jr’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, outdid all the other speakers however, especially in volume, when she yelled the message of the evening, “[Democrats] want to destroy this country and everything that we have fought for and hold dear. They want to steal your liberty, your freedom.” (She also lied about being “a first generation American.) “For some unknown reason, the party wanting to erase a free media thinks Democrats want to erase freedom of speech and thought. Cuban American immigrant Maximo Alvarez accused Joe Biden of being like Castro because Biden claims to be a Roman Catholic. (He really is.)

Because DDT has manifested so many racial qualities, speakers both defended DDT and accused all Democrats of being racists and deliberately harming Blacks. Over half of the country thinks DDT is a racist, including 14 percent of Republicans. Also struggling with COVID-19, DDT talked with a few healthcare workers. Videos also showed Democrats downplaying the virus’ severity (back during a time when they were trying to get equipment and supplies from DDT) while he took his one “decisive action”—banning some travel from China.

Although DDT ridiculed the taped speeches at the Democratic convention, all except one speech, that from Guilfoyle, were taped in the same huge hall with flags in the background, giving a stale feeling to the performance. The beginning message was a desire for the “America comeback”—after DDT have been in the leadership role for almost three years and seven months.

New York Times tried to fact check.

A few lies I jotted down:

Charlie Kirk talked about Democrats catering to “faceless corporations.” (That’s the Republicans’ job.)

A teacher praised DDT’s love for the children. (But just the white ones.)

According to a women in Montana, God gave her money from the government for her business. (I thought it was Congress and the taxpayers.)

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) criticized Democrats for their support for “celebrities.” (The Apprentice produced tonight’s event.

Calling herself a “real housewife,” Ronna McDaniel, RNC chair, described DDT as having “deep love for family” and “comforts Americans in times of pain and sadness.” (When?)

Other consistent lies were the “greatest economy the world has ever seen” and efficiency in getting ventilators and supplies to states. (Nope.)

The classic performance came from the Mark and Patricia McCloskey (upper right), St. Louis personal injury lawyers who pulled guns on a group of protesters many of them black who walked on the sidewalk and street in front of the McCloskeys on the way to the mayor’s house to demonstrate. Their sweet earnestness was supposed to represent the suburbs being menaced by the “black hoards” although they live in the middle of the city. (Check out their record in suing people and being bad neighbors to the Jewish synagogue next door.) 

DDT spent last week proving his “dictator” title.

In the midst of 12,000 lightning strikes, California is trying to cope with the worst fires in history. During his speech in Pennsylvania, DDT sounded like a mob boss when he threatened to withhold money from California. ‘

“I said you gotta clean your floors. You gotta clean your forests. Maybe we’re just going to have to make them pay for it, because they don’t listen to us.”

In California, each resident sends $348 more money than the state receives—a total of $13.7 billion. California taxpayers provides about 15 percent of total revenues for the U.S. In addition, the Border Patrol is terrorizing immigrants: agents pretend to be firefighters and then arrest people believed to be undocumented. Ten of the arrested men in California were certified firefighters from Oregon. [Other horrifying photos of a California fire.] 

On the last night of the Democratic convention, DDT called Sean Hannity to make another false tirade about voter fraud. Despite no evidence of any individual voting fraud at the polls, he said he would send law enforcement to pools—sheriffs, law enforcement, U.S. attorneys, “everybody, and attorney generals [sic].” At the same time, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms delivered a tribute to the late civil rights icon John Lewis.

“There are those who are disgracefully using this pandemic to spread misinformation and interfere with voting, forcing many in 2020 to still risk their lives to exercise their sacred right to vote, a right that has already been paid for with the blood, sweat, tears, and lives of so many. So let’s stand up for our children, our children’s children, and for this great democracy that our ancestors worked to build, and let’s vote.”

It wasn’t the first time DDT had made that claim. In Altoona (PA) during his last campaign, he said he’d call in law enforcement, sheriffs, and police chiefs although hadn’t been elected. In a 1981 roadblock, the GOP was barred from dispatching poll watchers for over 30 years after a lawsuit because the RNC used “poll watchers”—off-duty sheriffs and police officers with “National Ballot Security Task Force” armbands—to stand round in polling places of minority precincts and intimidate non-White voters. The ban on that activity expired in early 2018.

DDT pulled the U.S. out of the Iran agreement to not built nuclear weapons, but he still wants control. The sanctions against Iran’s buying and selling conventional weapons expires in October, but DDT wants to reimpose these sanctions in a “snapback.” In a meeting with the UN ambassador from Indonesia, head of the Security Council this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. will veto any move for prohibitions to be lifted.  Russia, France, Germany, and Britain pointed out that the U.S. has no voice in the matter because it dropped out of the deal. DDT, who attacked the UN and unilaterally sanctioned Iran, now try to invoke the agreement he rejected to keep the constraints on Iran. John Bolton, former national security adviser, said, “We’re in the nuclear deal for purposes we want but not for those we don’t.” He added the U.S. veto in the Security Council can be undermined. Lead diplomat of the U.S. sneered at Russia and China, claiming is opposition is “disinformation tactics” before he tore down relationships with Europe by claiming “they chose to side with the ayatollahs.” DDT maintains he has a voice in the deal because the U.S. was a “participant state” in the original agreement. All the countries met their parts of the agreement until DDT announced his intention of dropping out.

DDT’s administration is hiring a private security company secretly keeping migrant children as young as one-year-old at major hotel chains. Instead of stopping additional migration, the policy of closing the border has caused the border crossings to surge because some legal consequences for repeat attempts have been eliminated. Using transportation workers not licensed to provide child care, the process allows abuse of children who have no access to parents or lawyers. No one can guarantee children are provided phones, healthy food, and medical/mental healthcare. Detention is at a Quality Suites (San Diego), Hampton Inns (Phoenix, McAllen and El Paso, TX), Comfort Suits (Miami), Best Western (Los Angeles), and Econo Lodge (Seattle). ICE guards have also been found systematically sexually assaulting immigrants in an El Paso detention facility with about 50,000 immigrants annually at a taxpayer expense of $2.7 billion.

In a “prebuttal” to Barack Obama speaking at the Democratic Convention, VP Mike Pence compared the number of manufacturing jobs he created to those DDT created. He picked the day that DDT called for a boycott on Goodyear because a local Kansas station ran a story about Goodyear diversity training slideshow recommended workers not wear political attire—including MAGA clothing Goodyear stated it did not create, distribute, or use the production. Yet DDT tweeted:

“Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES – They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS. Get better tires for far less! (This is what the Radical Left Democrats do. Two can play the same game, and we have to start playing it now!)”

DDT desperately wants to win Ohio, the home of Goodyear in Akron.

Joe Biden is running this ad in Ohio and North Carolina where Goodyear has a plant near Fayetteville:

“A company with a 122-year history in Akron, Ohio; thousands of American workers, and competitors all over the world; and a sitting president, who’s spinning out of control, would risk American jobs to try to save his own.”

The Lincoln Project, Republicans opposing the reelection of DDT, has this ad. The day after DDT called for the boycott, he said he recognized Goodyear workers could lose their jobs but they could “get another good jobs [sic]”.

A quotation from DDT: “Women—treat ‘em like shit.” DDT has never denied saying this.

August 23, 2020

Week 187: DDT Faces More Crises

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has had a hard few days this week with the backlash to his post office sabotage and the successful Democratic convention. He’s had other vexing problems too.

In the courts:

A federal judge in New York denied DDT’s request to stop a grand jury subpoena for his tax returns from taking effect after dismissed DDT’s attempt for a grand jury subpoena requesting eight years of DDT’s financial documents. DDT wanted time to appeal to the federal appeals court which agreed to a September 1 hearing while refusing an emergency stay on the subpoena. Jay Sekulow, DDT’s personal lawyer, said he will go to the Supreme Court for a stay.

A court ordered DDT to pay Stormy Daniels’s legal fees of $43,000, tied to the 2016 payoff agreement.

“It is not only a sin to kill a mockingbird, it is also a crime.” A federal judge referenced Harper Lee’s classic novel to uphold the 102-year Migratory Bird Treaty Act and block DDT’s order to permit people and corporations to unintentionally kill scores of birds. Oil companies have paid the majority of fines for the act’s violation; i.e., BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill killed an estimated one million birds.

Despite the Supreme Court declaring people are covered “on the basis of sex” for nondiscrimination laws, DDT had declared trans people are covered by the Affordable Care Act on the basis of “biological birth.” A federal judge blocked doctors’ permission from DDT to discriminate against trans people on the day it was to go into effect, stating the administration acted “arbitrarily and capriciously.” He added a major decision by the Supreme Court could benefit from “pause and reflect” on its impact. “Since HHS has been unwilling to take that path voluntarily, the Court now imposes it.”

At least 21 states plan lawsuits this week against the new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, to block service changes intended to block mail-in ballots. DeJoy’s promises to keep delivery rolling has not affected the intent from attorneys general who said they want binding action to reverse DeJoy’s actions.

Salmon and steelhead in Oregon’s Willamette River won their case when a judge found the Army Corps of Engineers violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to ensure their survival and recovery for over a decade. Dams on four key tributaries of the Willamette River block between 40 and 90 percent of spawning habitat because small fish can’t surmount the heights to swim downstream and adults can get upstream. Parties will provide a briefing schedule within 14 days for determining a remedy.

A county circuit judge determines the title for the new GOP redistricting plan, attempting to overturn the two-year-old voters’ Clean Missouri ballot measure, “misleading, unfair, and insufficient” because it doesn’t state it would eliminate a law passed by voters. An amendment in the new law creating a nonpartisan state demographer replacing two partisan legislative commissions to map out new legislative districts.

In the federal government:

The HHS are changed direction in collecting data about COVID-19: hospitals will again report information to the CDC instead of DDT’s secret private information service.

The House Ethics Committee unanimously admonished Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a speaker at the RNC convention, for his attempt to intimidate Michael Cohen shortly before his testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Later, Gaetz apologized. A Florida Bar review panel also told Gaetz he was “unprofessional, reckless, insensitive, and demonstrated poor judgment” in his tweet at Cohen. Last month, apparently in violation of House rules, it was revealed that Gaetz may have violated House rules when he paid $28,000 to a speechwriter who worked for Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller and was reportedly fired by the White House after he attended a white nationalist conference.

In the states:

The Kentucky Board of Elections has agreed voters will benefit from early voting for six days a week, absentee ballots, and drop boxes. They can also sign a document explaining why they couldn’t get an ID because of COVID-19—closed county clerk’s office or fear of contracting the virus—and cast their ballots. Kentucky was the only state this year to make voting more restrictive by requiring IDs, despite the closure of state offices. With New York moving to no-excuse absentee voting for this fall, only ix six states don’t permit all voters to vote by mail: IN, MS, SC, TN, TX, WV.

After six years, Michigan is paying $600 million to Flint victims of lead-contaminated drinking water. Eighty percent goes to residents younger than 18 years when they were exposed with almost half that amount to children younger than six—between 18,000 and 20,000 children and adolescents. The other 20 percent goes for issues such as property damage, loss of revenue, and diseases like Legionnaires.

DDT’s grand plan to have Kanye West siphon off Biden’s votes is failing. West missed the deadline for the Wisconsin ballot, and was rejected by Ohio’s secretary of state because the signature and information on West’s nominating petition and statement of candidacy did not match the documents used for petitions signed by voters. 

Jared Kushner has been talking almost daily with West, and his involvement in West’s campaign could be a violation of federal law for Kushner. If Kushner asked West to spend money on West’s candidacy to siphon votes from Biden, he is soliciting in-king contributions from West to DDT in excess of the $2,000 contribution limit. Every dollar West spends on his campaign with Kushner’s encourage is in-kind. Even worse, Kushner is taking advantage of West’s mental instability.

And in other areas:

Top businesses stated they are unlikely to defer employees’ payroll taxes, and 30 industry groups called DDT’s executive action “unworkable.”

DDT appealed to the Commission on Presidential debates to hold the presidential debates sooner: Joe Biden refused. A letter from Rudy Giuliani to the commission claimed Biden might not appear at debates after the first one.

The most delicious irony this week was the arrest of former DDT campaign manager and adviser Steve Bannon by the postal service for fraud and money laundering with a GoFundMe site for DDT’s wall. It brings together both DDT’s scandals—the USPS and the border wall perhaps the most visible investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), functioning for over 100 years to protect employees, the public, and infrastructure “from fraud and other illegal activity.” Prosecutors for the case are led by Audrey Strauss, Southern District of New York’s acting AG who DDT’s fixer AG Bill tried to fire when he got rid of her boss, Geoffrey Berman. Brian Kolfage coordinated the con to rip off thousands of DDT’s wall-loving base and took over $350,000 for luxuries and tax payments. Bannon skimmed over $1 million from the donations. 

As always, DDT tried to separate himself from the project, but his son had described the project as “private enterprise at its finest.” DDT’s associate Kris Kobach said DDT had given the project his “blessing.” DDT added, “You can tell the media that.” Another of the “We Build the Wall” team who DDT can’t remember is Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater and sister of Education Secretary Betsy Devos along with other shady characters.

DDT claims to be the “law and order” president; Bannon is his third campaign manager to be arrested. Cory Landowski’s assault charge was dropped, and Paul Manafort is in prison. Three other campaign workers have been charged, as have close friend Roger Stone and fixer Michael Cohen as have four men close to the campaign along with 24 Russians and two companies. Charges include money laundering, false tax returns, conspiracy against the U.S., obstruction of justice, lying under oath, bank fraud, tax evasion, identity theft, and more.    The Manhattan District Attorney’s office also wants to reindict Manafort for a yearlong residential mortgage fraud.

Leading up to the RNC convention, quotes from former Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, DDT’s sister:

“The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying. Holy sh-t.” (about his administration since DDT was elected)

“He has no principles. All he wants to do his appeal to his base.”

“He doesn’t read.”

“Donald is cruel.”

“He was a brat.” (about Barry doing DDT’s homework and his paying someone to take his SAT exams for him)

“You can’t trust him.” (about his six bankruptcies)

“It was all about him. Donald was the only one who didn’t speak about Dad,” (about DDT’s speech at their father’s funeral)

Get some sleep—the Republican convention starts tomorrow!

August 22, 2020

DDT’s Sabotage of USPS to Suppress Voting

Filed under: Elections,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:29 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

California: Tehachapi – Crates of mail in the post office that should have been delivered the night before. Santa Clarita – Automated sorting machines disabled and padlocked so that employees couldn’t plug them in for use and first-class packages taking ten days for delivery instead of one. South Los Angeles – Gnats and rodents around containers of rotted fruit and meat with dead baby chicks inside their boxes. Sacramento – At least five high-speed mail machines removed from processing plant as well as two more in Santa Ana, six in San Diego, and seven in one Los Angeles facility—machines serving over 1,000 post offices, some of them in rural addresses. Machinery gutted, dismantled, or trashed in places where employees worked six days a week, struggling to keep up—before the loss of the equipment. Delivery delays forced them to shift most shipping business to FedEx. Cutting schedules back to five days per week caused chaos. The parking lot was filled with semi-trailers piled high with unsorted mail because inside warehouses were packed wall to wall with mail and few employees in sight.

These are a few of the problems caused by Louis DeJoy, a major GOP donor, who has become the servant of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) with the title of Postmaster General. FEC records shows how much he has donated to Republican committees and congressional candidates—especially those in tight races—meaning that they either verbally support him or stay quiet.

Ignoring the huge conflicts of interest because of the tens of millions of dollars he has in a competing company to the post office and stock options in Amazon, the government also accepted the way he may have got the job through the influence of another big GOP donor, USPS board member John Barger. DeJoy was not part of a pool of candidates vetted by a non-government firm hired to fill the job. The only qualification DeJoy seems to have is slowing down mail delivery.

According to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin participated in DeJoy’s hiring through meetings with the USPS board. In a meeting with the Congressional Progressive Caucus, former USPS board member David Williams related details about Mnuchin’s influence on mail operations and finances. It has been known how Mnuchin withheld the congressional funding for the USPS, first threatening to remove its collective bargaining and then to find confidential contracts. Williams reported on Mnuchin’s “illegal” demands of officials and demanded members receive Munchin’s “blessing” before confirmation. Describing DeJoy, Williams said, “Corruption, plain and simple.” The removal of USPS mailboxes was ordered by Mnuchin. In his interviews, DeJoy had to be coached as Barger would “finish a number of sentences where he got stuck” and “explained to the board what Mr. DeJoy meant during the presentation.”

Williams reported removing mailboxes and mail-sorting equipment will save no money despite the claim from DeJoy, Mnuchin, and DDT. Breaking down the machines costs millions. Mnuchin wants higher prices for USPS to enable FedEx and UPS to raise their prices. The USPS charter states it is an independent, apolitical organization, making Mnuchin’s or DDT’s involvement in postal service decisions a violation of its charter.

Every day adds to the new rules for the post office appearing to be creating chaos and confusion. The first noticed step was the dismantling and removal of mail-sorting machines as well as the elimination of overtime for mail delivery. What doesn’t get done one day can be done the next—or in several weeks or months—according to the directives. The most recent “efficiency” directive prohibits all workers on duty from signing mail-in ballots as witnesses while on duty, a requirement in seven states including the swing state of Wisconsin. In Alaska, a postal worker can be an “authorized official” to act as a voter’s witness.

Yesterday, DeJoy lied under oath in testimony to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Check the first paragraph above for some of his false claims:

There have been no changes to how election mail gets handled.

Limiting extra trips by postal workers to retrieve mail has no impact on delivery. DeJoy had to back down after shown a chart of drastic drop-off in delivery speeds.  

He has “no intention” of returning mail-sorting machines because they are “not needed” but “there have been significant service slowdowns.” 

He answered Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) question whether he took steps to “eliminate” or “curtail” overtime with “No.” (Agency memo: “Overtime will be eliminated.”)

He didn’t know about the removal of mailboxes and sorting machines until public uproar—but he won’t return them.

Shortly after DeJoy promised to suspend his policy changes, Kevin Couch, a director of maintenance operations at USPS, emailed postal workers “not to reconnect/reinstall machines that have been previously disconnected without approval from HQ Maintenance, no matter what direction they are getting from their plant manager.” The same day DeJoy said he was suspending his changes to slow delivery, mail-sorting machines were being dismantled in Grand Rapids (MI). The video is here. 

After the election, DeJoy intends to raise package rates, especially in rural areas; charging more for service in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico; reducing discounts for nonprofits; requiring first-class postage for ballots; and leasing space in USPS facilities to companies and government agencies. JPMorgan Chase, the biggest U.S. bank, wants ATMs in post offices, killing any public postal bank system providing revenue for the USPS and expanding services for the unbanked. Another significant change would be transporting first class mail on trucks rather than airplanes.

AARP, whose members comprise a goodly percentage of DDT’s base, called on DeJoy to not reduce service. The letter was accompanied by a petition from 111,717 members.

The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) is suing DeJoy, DDT, and Mnuchin for violation of the Hatch Act prohibiting executive officials from political activity for “interfering with or affecting the result of an election.”

President Obama’s administration ran the USPS more efficiently and cheaper than DDT: it paid less overtime because it had more employees—5,000 career employees more than under DDT for total mail-processing workforce. The doubling of USPS overtime in fewer than six months under DDT is higher than the total overtime increase during Barack Obama’s second term. DeJoy plans to create a task force.

Rural voters have become upset about DDT’s plan to destroy the post office. Sen. Jon Tester (R-MT) received 4,800 complaints in a state of about one million population. Facing a popular Democratic governor, the state’s GOP senator, Steve Daines, is vulnerable for his reelection in November. Daines refused to discuss the post office problem. Maine, where GOP Sen. Susan Collins faces an uphill reelection this year, has suffered from receiving dead chicks. Collins is responsible for the law requiring the fund of 50 years of pension for the USPS which put it in debt. Shipments of lily bulbs from South Carolina are experiencing deadly delays. Skewing conservative, a bipartisan group of likely rural voters said they were less likely to vote for a candidate who reduced the budget for USPS or privatized the agent.

Showing how far out of touch DDT is with the people of the United States, DDT and his staffers were amazed by the backlash to his destroying a 275-year-old institution. DDT should know better; he sent all of us letters at no cost to him telling us that the $1,200 we received came from him. 

Today, the House voted 257-150 for legislation to provide $25 billion to the USPS and stop DDT’s equipment destruction and operational changes disenfranchising people casting votes. DDT has promised to veto the bill, meaning that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) won’t touch the bill. And thousands of people attend protests today to “Save Our Post Office!”

Without evidence except for a few cases by Republicans, DDT said voting by mail is fraud: he voted by mail. Without evidence, DDT said “harvesting” ballots is fraud: he had a “representative” take his ballot to Florida. DDT didn’t start complaining about voter fraud from mail-in ballots until his polling numbers began to shrink. He’s using it to excuse a loss in November, sort of “See? I didn’t lose.”

Monday, DeJoy is scheduled to testimony under oath before the House Oversight Committee.

Republicans React to the DNC Convention

Filed under: Education — trp2011 @ 12:10 AM
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Since the end of the Democratic presidential convention yesterday, Republicans are performing a postmortem for the four-day event. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) declared it the “darkest and angriest and gloomiest.”  VP Mike Pence said, “I didn’t watch much of it and, frankly, I couldn’t watch much of it. There was so much negativity, nothing but ad hominem attacks.” (Nothing like judging something you didn’t see.)

Yet other Republicans saw a different convention. In The Bulwark, Charlie Sykes wrote:

“This wasn’t the convention Trump promised us. For weeks, we had been told that this would be the Antifa Convention, headlined by Senile Joe, who couldn’t string together a coherent sentence. We were told that Biden Democrats were virulent Marxists who hated God and America, and wanted to destroy all things good and beautiful.

“The Democrats not only did not screw up their convention: they ended on an impressive note. Contra Trump’s predictions, it was a patriotic celebration of empathy, and decency, wrapped in a devastating indictment.

“[About Hunter Biden’s appearance] It was a signature move for a man who isn’t about to sacrifice his family for his politics. Maybe that’s what made it so jarring for the cynics.”

Kathleen Parker, columnist who sometimes comes up with extremely far-right positions, hit the ball out of the park in her analysis, headlined “The Party of Trump Is Already a Convention of Ghoulish Clowns”:

“It’s hard to imagine a starker contrast than Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

“The Democratic National Convention, as tightly choreographed as a Broadway production, was a four-day anthem to decency, empathy and reason, framed with heartfelt stories and a seriousness of purpose. I can’t recall a more-solemn Barack Obama, who exchanged his hope-and-change template for one of direness and urgency.

“In another role reversal, vice-presidential nominee Kamala D. Harris traded her more-familiar prosecutorial assassin persona for the private face of ‘Momala,’ the brightly smiling daughter of an immigrant mother and stepmom whose daughter testified to her family-focused bona fides. Harris’s dazzling smile betrayed an almost girlish giddiness at what seemed to be her delight in her own presence at this unprecedented intersection of aspiration and history.

“Decency, empathy and reason are, of course, the opposite of what one sees or expects from the incumbent president. Trump’s indecent dog whistles to America’s underbelly, his winks at racists and misogynists (Charlottesville and grab’m); his utter lack of empathy (migrant children torn from their parents and housed in glorified cages); his rejection of reason and science regarding covid-19 (or anything else that runs counter to his singular purpose of self-aggrandizement and the satisfaction of his rapacious narcissism) — all point to a man who never should have become president of the United States in the first place.

“And, yet, he did — and he could win again if Democrats fail to recognize the reasons he won: His supporters didn’t feel that Hillary Clinton or the Democrats had their backs. Trump saw them, heard them and promised to fight for them. It’s as simple as that.

“Biden, to his great credit, extended an olive branch to those who might not vote for him, saying, ‘While I will be a Democratic candidate, I will be an American president.’ Trump has never made any such gesture. He prefers to divide and conquer. When Clinton said that she wished Trump could have been presidential, I thought: I wish he could have been human.

“Republicans now get their turn at the virtual convention, which reportedly will feature more live voices and possibly some semblance of a real crowd. I imagine an array of circus acts involving non-Hollywood performers jumping through hoops of inflammatory rhetoric. You know, regular folks such as the Pillow Man, a.k.a. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who recently surfaced to hawk the potentially toxic coronavirus ‘cure,’ oleandrin. When you no longer trust Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s most revered infectious-disease expert, who else would you turn to, what with witch doctors in such short supply these days?

“Next, I foresee QAnon candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene, who just won the Republican primary in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. The fact that QAnon is way off the grid — a conspiracy-theory-generating, anonymous online group that believes Trump is fighting a ‘deep state’ group of Satan worshipers who traffic children for sex — doesn’t bother the president because, as he said: ‘They seem to like me.’ The president also tweeted that Greene is a ‘future Republican Star’ who is ‘strong on everything and never gives up — a real WINNER!’

“Finally, Trump recently reported conferring with God about the economy, mostly telling God what a great job he (Trump) had done, to which God allegedly replied, ‘now we’re going to have you do it again,’ according to Trump’s retelling at a small Minnesota rally last week. I expect a deus ex machina of some sort, perhaps a papier-mâché replica of Trump himself, posing as Zeus hurling thunderbolts across the stage, or, perhaps, Plutus, the Greek god of wealth, tossing gold coins and plastic beads into the roaring crowd.

“And, of course, members of The Family will make appearances, though I don’t expect video reels of grandchildren testifying to Trump’s warmth or his empathy. Think of those moments as product placements. Trump clearly believes he is creating America’s Next Top Political Dynasty (either as a reality show or just plain reality) and the convention may give us a clue about whether that idea is still stuck in development or moving closer to production.

“It’s a terrible time to be a conservative, in other words. You hate the Democratic platform, but you can’t abide the president. Which party keeps the best company? Biden with his protesters and climate-change dreamers? Or Trump, who embraces QAnon, white supremacists and skinheads?

“Unless Trump pulls a covid-19 vaccine from his sleeve Thursday, I’m placing my bets on the goodness of the American people. My wager is that most would prefer a guy from Scranton, Pa., whose moral compass has been forged through suffering and humility, to a quack from Queens, whose moral compass is a wheel of fortune, where the needle always lands on Me.”

And a few one-liners from the DNC convention:

“We are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate triple.”—Bill Clinton [Actually, it quadrupled.]

“My dad was a healthy 65-year-old. His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that he paid with his life.”—Kristin Urquiza, who lost her father to COVID-19 because he followed DDT by not wearing a mask in his home state of Arizona

“I know a predator when I see one.”—Kamala Harris covertly referring to the man in the Oval Office after she talked about fighting “for children and survivors of sexual assault”

“Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Trump golfs.”—Bernie Sanders, describing an incompetent authoritarian

“If we all vote, there’s nothing Facebook, Fox News and Vladimir Putin can do to stop us.”—Julia Louis-Dreyfus

“Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.”—Michelle Obama

“Do not let them take away your power. Don’t let them take away your democracy.”—Barack Obama

On August 21, the Saturday before the RNC convention when DDT will try to convince people of his successes, COVID-19 has infected 5,796,727 people in the U.S. (50,455 in the last 24 hours) and killed 179,200 with another 1,170 in the last day in its usual 1,000 plus deaths—one-third of the people killed on 9/11. At this time, projections indicate 310,000 deaths by the end of the years–one-hundred times the number of people killed on 9/11.

August 21, 2020

2020 Democratic Convention Wraps Up, DDT Moves toward Authoritarianism

The 2020 Democratic convention is finished, a truly “feel-good” experience with clips and speeches emphasizubg unity, family, and a positive future. A highlight from Night 4 before Joe Biden’s acceptance speech was 13-year-old Braydon Harrington reading about his experience with Joe Biden. A stutterer himself, Biden taught the boy how to overcome his speech impediment. Braydon still sometimes struggled, but he has developed the bravery to speak to at least 20 million people. Compare this visual to the video of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) from his campaign when he mocks Serge Kovaleski, a reporter with arthrogryposis (a congenital syndrome affecting the joints). People have ridiculed Biden for his verbal gaffes, but the reason might be traced back to his own stuttering as a child.

President Obama expressed the greatest fear when he talked about the possibility the United States could lose its democracy under another four years of DDT. Barack Obama’s memorable line: “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.” Earlier Hillary Clinton  said this about her former opponent: 

“Remember in 2016 when Trump asked: ‘What do you have to lose?’ Well, now we know: our health, our jobs, even our lives. Our leadership in the world and, yes, our post office. As Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders warned us on Monday: If Trump is re-elected, it will get even worse.”

A person commented Clinton could have skipped the speech, leaned back with a glass of wine, and said, “I told you so.”

A contrast to the GOP message is “Vote!” Many of the speakers encouraged voting as early as possible in contrast to the fear-mongering from Republicans led by DDT.

Perhaps because Fox network refused to show more than one hour each night, its ratings were far lower than other cable networks. MSNBC came out on top each of the first three nights: Monday, 5.2 million; Tuesday, 5.3 million; and Wednesday, 6.3 million. At Fox: Monday, 2 million; Tuesday, 3.1 million; and Wednesday, 2.169. MSNBC also set a precedent with three women—Rachel Maddow, Joy Reid, and Nicolle Wallace—running the show prior to and during the two-hour convention segments.

MSNBC was the only cable news network to increase its number of watchers from the 2016 DNC, up 16 percent on the first night. Although the number of watchers dropped from 2016, but live streaming and watching unique clips the next day may have put the number higher than four years ago. And the total number increased from under 19 million on the first night to 23 million on the third night.

Next week’s Republican convention? Get ready for fear and hatred for eight hours next week to follow up DDT’s vitriolic tweets and speeches he gave around the country in an aborted effort to upstage the Democrats. DDT is determined to outdo this week’s virtual convention. He plans most of it on the White House lawn and the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium close to DDT’s hotel, finished by fireworks on the National Mall if he can get National Park Service permission. With COVID-19 restrictions, the auditorium cannot hold more than 100 people and may have only 30. DDT also plans to travel next week to Charlotte (NC), the former site DDT rejected because of restrictions surrounding the virus.

RNC speakers include the St. Louis couple who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter people walking on the sidewalk in front of their home and the Catholic high school student who tried to intimidate a Native American protester at the Lincoln Memorial. The couple was charged with “unlawful use of a weapon.” VP Mike Pence will speak from Fort McHenry in Baltimore. And Ivanka Trump is slated to introduce her father at the White House next Thursday. Prime-time speeches will be live, risking technical problems which can’t be edited out. Other speakers include Richard Grenell, in the midst of the Ukraine scandal; Nikki Haley, an Indian woman who was suggested as vice-president; Andrew Pollack, father of a Parkland shooting victim; anti-abortionist Abby Johnson; South Dakota Gov. Kirsti Noem, who refused to shut down the state or the meat plant despite the surging number of COVID-19 cases; and Alice Johnson, pardoned federal criminal at the request of Kim Kardashian West. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), whose election is in question because of her closeness to DDT, will speak on Monday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), also facing a close election, will send a taped presentation.

Polling may be causing fear in the conservative branch. After the disasters of DDT’s first term, non-voters in 2016 may emerge—and 52 percent of them claim they’ll vote for Biden. Only 32 percent support DDT. Biden also has an 11-point lead among voter who supported a third-party candidate in 2016—41 percent for Biden compared to 30 percent for DDT. The other 28 percent still plan to vote for a third-party candidate. DDT is keeping 88 percent of his 2016 voters, but 8 percent of them plan to vote for Biden.

One news item receiving short-shrift this week is the poisoning of Vladimir Putin’s anti-corruption opponent, Alexei Navalny, on a flight back to Moscow. He had called the vote to extend Putin’s terms and other constitutional changes a “coup” and a “violation of the constitution.” Navalny is in a coma on a ventilator. In 2017 Navalny suffered a serious chemical burn to his right eye from an assault with antiseptic dye; in July 2019, Navalny became ill, possibly from poison, while completing a 30-day jail term. Navalny and his allies had been trying to increase support for their candidates in next month’s Russian regional elections.

Some people survived assaults. Journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza alleged he was poisoned twice by Russian security services. Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia recovered from the 2018 poisoning by a nerve agent in England.

Other Putin victims were not as fortunate. In 2017, WaPo reported on ten Putin critics who died in violent and suspicious circumstances.

  • Denis Voronenkov, former Russian Communist Party member, shot in Kiev after fleeing Russia in 2016: he was a key witness in a treason case against former President Viktor Yanukovich.
  • Boris Nemtsov, Russian opposition leader leading massive street rallies to protest election results, shot in February 2016 after urging public to march against Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine.
  • Boris Berezovsky, Russian oligarch who had a falling out with Putin and accused the Kremlin of killing Alexander Litvinenko, found dead in a locked bathroom at his UK home with a noose around his neck in 2013.
  • Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova, human rights lawyer representing Chechen civilians against Russian military and journalists critical of Putin and a journalist from Novaya Gazeta, fatally shot in 2009.
  • Anna Politkovskaya, Novaya Gazeta reporter, slain in 2006.
  • Sergei Magnitsky, investigator in massive tax fraud case for a British-American businessman, brutally beaten and denied medical care while in police custody in 2009.
  • Natalia Estemirova, journalist and rights activist investigating abductions and murders in Chechnya by pro-Russian security forces, kidnapped and shot in 2009.
  • Anna Politkovskaya, Russian reporter for Novaya Gazeta whose book Putin’s Russia accused him of turning the country into a police state, shot in an elevator in her apartment building in 2006.
  • Alexander Litvinenko, former KGB agent, poisoned with polonium-210 at a London hotel in 2006 by Russian agents acting on Putin’s orders.
  • Sergei Yushenkov, former army colonel looking for evidence that Putin was behind an apartment bombing in 1999, gunned down outside his Moscow home in 2003.
  • Yuri Shchekochikhin, author writing about crime and corruption in the former Soviet Union and investigating the apartment bombing, died suddenly from mysterious illness in 2003.

DDT largely ignored Navalny’s death; 12 hours after reports emerged, DDT said he “haven’t seen it yet.” The State Department chose not to comment. No decrying of assaults on democracy or offering necessary support. Former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said:

“What troubles me right now is our voice is missing … President Trump is not only indifferent to democracy, he embraces Putin the autocrat and makes excuses for him. He assigns moral equivalency between the United States of America and Putin’s Russia. And when you do that … you are enabling this kind of behavior.”

DDT has openly defended Putin for five years and wrote Putin in 2007 to tell him what a fan he was of the Russian authoritarian—just like he stays a fan of Mohammed bin Salman after the Saudi Crown Prince ordered the torture and dismemberment of WaPo journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi. And DDT stays a fan of North Korean Kim Jong-Un. Imagine life in the U.S. if the country loses its democracy with the reelection of DDT, and DDT decides to literally kill off his opposition.

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