Nel's New Day

September 29, 2020

An Ugly Debate, Hopeful Court Rulings

Today, the first debate between 2020 presidential candidates, Joe Biden and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), started with the announcement that Biden has been nominated for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. Chris Bryant, member of the British Parliament, stated:

“When others have resorted to violent solutions, [Biden] has argued that the best force is the force of argument. Because guns can stop a heart but well-placed words can change many hearts, and many hearts can change a world.”

Any head of state or politician can make nominations. Far-right Norwegian Parliament member Christian Tybring-Gjedde nominated DDT in both 2018 and 2020. The prize has been awarded to four U.S. presidents: Theodore Roosevelt (1906), Woodrow Wilson (1920), Jimmy Carter (2002), and Barack Obama (2009). Russians also nominated Vladimir Putin soon after his opponent Alexei Navalny was released from the hospital following a poisoning, possibly from a Soviet-era nerve agent.

DDT kept looking for reasons Biden was doing so well in speaking and at town halls. His first falsehood was performance-enhancing drugs. After DDT tried to insist on drug tests before the debate, Biden said:

“Vice-President Biden intends to deliver his debate answers in words. If the president thinks his best case is made in urine he can have at it. We’d expect nothing less from Donald Trump, who pissed away the chance to protect the lives of 200,000 Americans when he didn’t make a plan to stop Covid-19.”

DDT’s next idea was Biden getting information with an ear piece and wanted an inspection, and his supporters claimed Biden had the questions ahead of time. Donald Trump Jr picked up on the crazy talk, but watching him makes people wonder about who is taking drugs. For example, the video in which Jr said:

“You think this guy’s gonna be there at 3 o’clock in the morning and you gotta … will he be with it? Are they giving him something…?” 

Even worse is seeing Jr asking people to enlist in the “army” at the polling places. The ad told people to go to DefendYourBallot.com, but the virus protector recommended avoiding it.  

The debate turned out worse than many expected. Within seconds of its beginning, DDT began talking over Biden during his time, and moderator Chris Wallace of Fox network constantly said, “Mr. President” to try to give Biden time while DDT continued to rant and lie whether it was his time or that belonging to Joe Biden. Within 45 minutes, Wallace resorted to yelling before apologizing. The debate had two losers: moderator Chris Wallace who kept begging DDT to let Biden talk and DDT who constantly resorted to personal attacks on Biden. It was a failure. 

In lambasting lies about Biden’s lack of support from law enforcement, DDT said the “Portland sheriff,” presumably the sheriff of Multnomah County (OR), endorsed him today. When asked about the statement, Sheriff Mike Reese tweeted, “I have never supported Donald Trump and will never support him.” I could not identify anything DDT said that was not a lie.

DDT’s concluding lie, after the most disruptive performance—thus far—at any presidential debate, was his poll watchers were blocked from observing the first day of in-person early voting in Philadelphia because the city is corrupt. Elections staff did not allow the public to enter their offices, the city has no open polling place at this time, officials are following COVID-19 safety regulations to limit people, and DDT’s campaign has no approved poll watchers. Voters who cast ballots did so from satellite elections offices where mail ballots can be requested, completed, and submitted. A woman not allowed to enter the offices said she was paid to monitor “the integrity of the election,” but one of the city commissioners who run elections, Al Schmidt, a Republican, said:

“We don’t give someone a poll watcher certificate to … watch somebody fill out their ballot at their kitchen table.”

Throughout the debate, the embarrassing display of performance abuse by the man from The Apprentice demonstrated to the entire world how a bullying authoritarian behaves in a country which started as a democracy.

On a lighter note, Astead Herndon, national politics reporter, tweeted, “There has never been a better advertisement for women candidates.”

DDT blustered and bullied his way through tonight’s train wreck, but courts are ruling against him.

Federal judges have allowed a lawsuit against voter purging in Michigan and paper backup of the electronic pollbook in Georgia.  

Four judges in different jurisdictions from New York to Washington state have ruled that the politically motivated sabotage in crippling the USPS must stop and mail delivery must return to normal. No more empty trucks leaving distribution centers to keep “on schedule.”

A federal judge temporarily stopped DDT from blocking download sales of TikTok, a short-form video app. A federal judge temporarily stopped DDT’s ban of Chinese app WeChat on the basis of First Amendment rights.

Eric Trump may not be able to dodge meeting with investigators much longer: New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ordered him to be deposed by October 7 regarding Trump Organization’s financial practices. The argument against it was his campaign appearances. Engoron found his arguments “unpersuasive.” The judge also ruled the release of documents to the attorney general that DDT’s business were withholding. New York AG Letitia James filed the lawsuit in August regarding a civil probe in which DDT allegedly lied to lenders and tax authorities. DDT and his company also face a criminal investigation by Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr about payments to quiet Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal regarding their affairs with DDT.

A federal judge blocked William Perry Pendley from being DDT’s Bureau of Land Management acting director because Pendley illegally served for 424 days without being confirmed as required by the constitution. Pendley had originally been nominated, but his name was withdrawn this month because the contentious process might have caused trouble for the GOP U.S. senators’ reelection in Montana (Steve Daines) and Colorado (Cory Gardner). The order for his removal will be appealed, but the position is currently empty, per the judge’s ruling. The agency will also have to deal with whether Pendley’s decisions were legitimate, including his land use plans approval in Montana. The state’s governor, Steve Bullock, sued after Pendley opened up 95 percent of the state’s federal land to oil and gas development. DDT has used Pendley to reduce environmental restrictions regarding oil and gas drilling. Before DDT’s appointment to BLM director, Pendley was an industry attorney in Wyoming calling for the government to sell its public lands. Last month, the GAO declared Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli ineligible to be DHS secretary and deputy because they were improperly serving. DDT had claimed those in acting positions didn’t need any confirmation because they were carrying out the duties but not filling the positions. 

A federal judge in California extended the time for counting the census to October 31. DDT plans to appeal. (Following that ruling, Wilbur Ross defied the judge by saying he is shutting down the counting on October 5.)

A U.S. district judge blocked Texas from eliminating “straight-ticket” voting at the polls in November, but an appeal sent the decision to a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court. Voting in Texas begins on October 13.

A panel from the D.C. Circuit Court ruled House Democrats can sue DDT for illegally funneling over $6 billion allocated for other purposes into building his southern border wall.

A federal judge ordered all federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York to read her ruling about their poor handling of evidence in a criminal case about violations of sanctions against Iran after they waited until the middle of a trial to turn over key evidence to the defense. One government attorney talked to colleagues about a plan to “bury” the letter among other evidence. In March, a jury convicted Ali Sadr of five felony counts, but prosecutors tried to abandon the case.

Fox network won a lawsuit against the company, but the corporation had to admit Tucker Carlson lied about the Karen McDougal case. He said about McDougal and Stormy Daniel:

“Remember the facts of the story. These are undisputed. Two women approached Donald Trump and threatened to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn’t give them money. Now, that sounds like a classic case of extortion.”

McDougal sold her story about her affair with DDT to AMI, parent company of National Enquirer, which bought it only to bury it. She sued Fox for Carlson’s defamation of her on his program. Fox “defended” Carlson by testifying he can’t be trusted. The judge found Carlson doesn’t “state actual facts” but instead uses “exaggeration” and “non-literal commentary.” She added, “Fox persuasively argues … that given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ about the statements he makes.”

A World Trade Organization panel ruled the U.S. tariffs on China in 2018 violated international trade rules, including WTO members having equal tariff rates among trading partners.

During the debate, Biden had his best fundraising hour ever. DDT is losing; let’s hope the trend continues.

Election Strategy – Lying about COVID-19

The election strategy for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) surrounding COVID-19: (1) convincing people it is gone; or (2) making scientists release false information. Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC director, is losing patience with the latter. Late last week, an NBC News reporter overheard him talking about Scott Atlas, DDT’s most recent “medical” guru, saying “Everything he says is false.” Atlas opposes the use of masks and social distancing because he believes in “herd immunity”—everyone getting exposed to the virus until they die or get well. He claims he has never recommended this idea to DDT, but he has been promoting it for months in the media and at task force meetings. 

Atlas’ misinformation from Atlas includes the myth that children don’t get sick from COVID-19, a lie that Atlas’ former colleagues at Stanford University medical School denounced. DDT uses Atlas’ lies to push for reopening the schools. Last summer, White House officials used “alternative data” to push the CDC to stay quiet about the danger of opening up schools. Among other attempts, a member of VP Mike Pence’s staff was told to create more charts and reports demonstrating a decline in cases among youth while the number surged.

CDC caved into DDT’s minimizing the virus last March by watering down recommendations and failing to stop the huge spread from Smithfield Foods meatpacking plants in Sioux Falls (SD). On her MSNBC news program, Rachel Maddow reported the shift between the CDC initial investigative report and the final recommendations that Redfield required the team to make. He told them to “remove anything that sounded like a real recommendation, … anything that made it seem like the meat company actually had to do something” to protect their workers. Typically the new recommendations added “if possible to the original ones.

The media barely covered the information in Maddow’s report, and none of the four states bordering the Smithfield plant reported on CDC’s actions. Two days after Maddow’s report, she stated “multiple sources confirmed” her reporting and suggested Redfield was not honest during his congressional testimony when he denied his office communicated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture before he demanded the report’s change. Weakened recommendations may have been partially responsible for the disease’s spread to 17,000 infections and 91 deaths in April and May among workers. The highest number was in departments where employees worked under six feet apart on production lines.

Impatient with the lack of fast breakthroughs in his COVID-19 problems, DDT attacks his scientists and contradicts their public health messaging by downplaying the coronavirus threat. Morale is low, according to a CDC official who said he and his associates “have no confidence in our leadership.” Dr. Deborah Birx told people she is “distressed” with the task force direction and doesn’t know how long she will remain with the group. FDA’s top career officials wrote an op-ed for WaPo claiming the agency’s independence and commitment to science. In a Senate hearing, CDC Director Robert Redfield talked about his disappointment that “people at HHS” accused the CDC of a “deep state.”

Two people of concern, Roger Stone’s protégé Michael Caputo and Paul Alexander, have left their positions, Caputo for 60 days and Alexander permanently after they rewrote CDC materials to satisfy DDT. Before they left, Caputo accused CDC scientists of “sedition,” overturning a country or its leader, for publishing scientific facts. Caputo also spread the lie that left-wing hit squads were preparing for armed insurrection after the election.

Olivia Troye, VP Mike Pence’s former homeland security adviser, described how DDT and the White House undercut and demoralized many of the public health experts. She resigned from her position so she could tell the public about DDT’s unsuitability for his office. Redfield also faces criticism from federal health officials because he caves in to DDT’s lies by reversing scientific positions to satisfy DDT; i.e., removing information from the CDC website about the airborne transmission of the virus.

Robert Cardillo, former deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and ex-director of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, has been expressing his concern about DDT’s failure to protect the U.S., both in television interviews and in a Denver Post op-ed.  After describing his nonpartisan stance throughout the career with six presidents, four Republicans and two Democrats, he wrote:

“Suffice to say that the person you see presiding over COVID-19 press conferences is the same one in the privacy of his office. He has little patience for facts or data that do not comport with his personal worldview. Thus, the conversations are erratic and less than fully thoughtful.”

According to Cardillo, DDT puts more weight on “the word of dictators like [Russian President] Vladimir Putin” than the U.S. intelligence community. DDT also “bases his decisions on his instincts, and his instincts are based upon a personal value proposition — what’s in it for me?” Cardillo’s echos the fears of former DHS chief of staff Miles Taylor concerning advisors’ worry about DDT’s “mental acuity.” 

Known for his dishonesty and unthinking loyalty to DDT, HHS Secretary Alex Azar declared sole authority to sign any new rules about foods, medicines, medical devices and vaccines for all of his 17 agencies including FDA and CDC. This action followed the departure of Caputo and Alexander.

Before Caputo left, he organized a cheery $300 million ad campaign to hype DDT’s handling of the crisis. Celebrities touting DDT’s eradication of the virus include Dennis Quaid, CeCe Winans, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and Garth Brooks. The DDT-requested taxpayer-paid campaign will appear before Election Day. Caputo complained because the “leftist scientists working for the government” oppose his lies. Ten current and former health officials expressed concerns about the scope, goals, and funding for the campaign taking congressionally-appropriated money from CDC ($300 million) and FDA ($15 million). The Ad Council, a nonprofit consortium of advertising companies working with the government on public health and social issues campaigns, was not contacted; Caputo chose his business partner to make the videos. Caputo also excluded the professional messaging staff at CDC. Most of the firms expressing interest in the contract are not well-known.

The ads, to be ready before the election, are intended to “defeat despair and inspire hope,” persuading people to return to work, reopen the economy (odd for a health agency), and use the vaccine when it is available. Half the people in the U.S. declare they won’t use the first vaccine coming out because of its political approval instead of being science-based. Only 14 percent of people are more likely to get vaccinated by a DDT-recommended product. 

Vanity Fair’s investigative journalist Katherine Eban reported on a March meeting at the White House in which DDT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, believes in the private sector’s ability to deal with crises instead of government. “Free markets will solve this,” he said.

DDT commonly brags about how many plants he’s building in the United States in swing states, claiming that they come from his threats of higher tariffs. Three of the states have no new plants, and other plants in Michigan were announced but not started. Even more misleading is the campaign ad showing DDT in a hard hat touring a steel plant. That plant laid off 737 workers in April, just some of U.S. Steel’s 2,700 layoffs. More layoffs and furloughs are threatened. Steelworkers union local president Dan Simmons said, “The relief we got from the 232 [Trump’s steel tariffs] isn’t there now.”

One of DDT’s latest anti-Biden ploys is to accuse him of taking drugs—because he does such a good job in speeches and town halls—and son Jr has picked up the crazy talk. Watching Jr can make people wonder who is actually getting the drugs and listening to him is just as bad:

“You think this guy’s gonna be there at 3 o’clock in the morning and you gotta … will he be with it? Are they giving him something…?” [Video here.]

Even worse is seeing Jr asking people to enlist in the “army” at the polling places. The ad told people to go to DefendYourBallot.com, but my virus protector suggested I not go there.  

Republicans tried to smear and blame Democrats after Brad Parscale, DDT’s former campaign manager, threatened his own life. It turns out that it was a case of Parscale’s alcoholism and abusive behavior toward his wife. Parscale lost his job last summer because of bad leadership and excessive spending. DDT’s campaign funds were down by almost 90 percent by last month.

In only ten states is the virus lessening while it surges in almost half the states, three-fourths of them “red states” and mostly in the Midwest and Plains areas. DDT continues to cheer the number of cases and deaths with his usual claim of “rounding the corner of the pandemic.” He continues to ridicule people wearing masks and social distancing, and polling majorities continue to disapprove of his virus hardline. Within the past few days, governors of Missouri and Virginia and their wives have all been diagnosed with COVID-19. DDT also brags about how soon the vaccine will appear although his experts predict the first generation won’t be ready until next year. 

Tuesday night is the first debate between DDT and Biden. We’ll see what DDT has to say.

September 27, 2020

DDT’s Financial Affairs Prove Him Liar, Cheat, Bully

Filed under: taxes — trp2011 @ 11:39 PM
Tags: , , ,

In the past, weekends were fairly peaceful in the news—just a few Friday dumps from politicians wanting to minimize a disaster. Not with Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Today was a prime example when the New York Times released extensive information about his fraud in income tax filings. He constantly lied about not being able to release the returns while he’s being audited, but this lengthy newspaper article reveals how DDT has freeloaded on the U.S. public and used his position in the White House to make money. During over two decades: 

In 2016 and 2017, DDT, who claims to be unbelievably wealthy, paid only $750 each year in federal income taxes. (The NYT did not obtain his personal tax returns for 2018 and 2019.) Yet he paid $15,598 to Panama, $145,000 to India, and $156,824 to the Philippines.

In ten of the previous 15 years he paid zero taxes by claiming he lost more money than he made. While DDT campaigned on his statement he was “really rich” and had “built a great company,” he paid zero tax for 2014—for the fourth year.

A decade ago, he took a $72.9 million tax refund that could cost him over $100 million if it is found fraudulent. (Check the article for details.)

DDT makes more and more of his money from conflicts of interest with his position in the Oval Office.

A lawyer for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, denied DDT didn’t pay taxes but used the term “personal taxes,” which could be taxes paid for his household employees such as Social Security and Medicare. Garten also stated DDT uses “tax credits” to pay for what he is owed, which isn’t money paid to the U.S.

The tax data shows write-offs of over $2 million in 2016 and 2017 for a criminal defense lawyer to defend DDT from the Russian investigation and problems with his fraudulent charitable foundation now determined illegal. Another tax scam deducted a mansion used as a family retreat. With no explanation, general and administrative expenses at DDT’s Bedminster golf club in New Jersey went up five times from 2016 to 2017. Other write-offs include hair stylists ($70,000), photographer ($210,000), table linens ($109,433)—anything he uses for “promotion.” He also wrote off Ivanka Trump’s $95,464 for a hair and makeup artist. The IRS requires deducted expense be “ordinary and necessary.

DDT claims that his annual financial disclosures tell the entire story about his finances, but they report only revenue, not profit. Most of his main enterprises such as his golf courses and the Washington hotel, lose tens of millions every year. Money from The Apprentice and licensing deals is disappearing, and he sold almost all his stocks. Within the next four years, over $300 million in loans come due.

DDT uses his properties to collect money from lobbyists, foreign officials, and anyone else who wants to curry favor with him. Mar-a-Lago brought him an additional $5 million a year starting in 2015, and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association paid at least $397,602 to him for an event at the Washington hotel.

Although DDT said he would pursue no new foreign deals after he was inaugurated, he made $73 million from abroad in his first two years, several from licensing deals in authoritarian countries or places with dicey geopolitics such as Philippines, India, Turkey, and Philippines.

DDT made $2.3 million from the Moscow Miss Universe in 2016 after the Agalarov family, who helped set up the 2016 meeting seeking dirt on Hillary Clinton, underwrote the event.

In 1995, DDT declared a loss of almost $1 billion, allowing him to avoid federal income taxes for almost two decades, but in 1995 he gained $427.4 million from The Apprentice. He made another $176.5 million in profit from two office buildings. Taxes for the year should have been over $100 million.

During The Apprentice, DDT bought 13 golf courses and transformed Washington’s Old Post Office building into a hotel, losing more money. For example, Miami’s Trump National Doral was purchased for $150 million in 2012 and lost $162.3 million in the next six years. Tax records show DDT spent $213 million and has a $125 mortgage due in three years. He reported losing over $315.6 million on his golf courses, including a loss of $63.6 for the two in Scotland and one in Ireland. The Washington hotel shows a loss of $55.5 million, and another loss of $134 million came from his real estate services company.

DDT’s supposed taxable income in 2016 and 2017 included profits from “celebrity status” ($24.8 million) and the loans he didn’t repay ($56.4 million), giving him a tax of $1 million for 2016 and $4.2 million for 2017—amounts disappearing by the time he filed his taxes because he used $9.7 million in business investment credits partly for the hotel renovation. The result was payment of $750 in taxes per year.

Between 2010 and 2018, DDT wrote off $26 million in unidentified consultants’ fees, some of them matched to payments to Ivanka Trump. The amounts were about one-fifth of his income; i.e., $1.1 million for $5 million on a failed hotel deal in Azerbaijan. The recipient was identified through Ivanka’s financial disclosures from 2017. Some businesses have paid IRS penalties for schemes avoid taxes through exorbitant fees to people who are not actually independent contractors. DDT’s father used this scheme to avoid gift taxes on millions he transferred to his children. About the Azerbaijan deal, a Trump Organization lawyer said, “We did not pay any money to anyone.” A person connected to developing two Trump towers in Tukey said it had no consultant, but tax records show consultant fees for $2 million. Ivanka Trump’s website described her role not as consultant but as a senior executive.

The NYT exposé describing DDT’s fraudulent tax practices and his incompetent business abilities follows news about Mary Trump’s lawsuit against him. People voted for DDT because they thought he was a good businessman, but his history shows him as a bully and a cheat as well as a failure. In 1990, he faced personal bankruptcy from creditors and a possible billion-dollar bill in divorcing his first wife, Ivana. DDT failed with his casino empire and the Trump Shuttle airline but got a $100 million line of credit and other money from bankers so they wouldn’t go down with him. As DDT’s debts mounted, Sr funneled $3.35 million into one of DDT’s casinos by paying for 670 gambling chips worth $5,000, but DDT still faced six corporate bankruptcies.

To salvage his financial problems, DDT sent two of his father’s trusted associates, an accountant and lawyer, to force Fred Trump, Sr, into immediately signing a codicil to his will putting DDT completely in charge. At 85, Trump Sr had hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate but faced cognitive issues. The charge is confirmed by a tape recording of DDT’s sister Maryanne Trump Barry, outraged about DDT’s efforts for a will change while his father was “in dementia.” Barry’s husband, a lawyer, said the codicil gave everything to DDT, and she persuaded her father not to follow DDT’s wishes. Mary Trump wrote the change would put his siblings “at Donald’s financial mercy, dependent on his approval for the smallest transaction.” An expert on New York estate law agreed. The codicil to the will would also protect all of DDT’s inheritance from seizure by Ivana and creditors.

The lawsuit by Mary L. Trump, Trump Sr’s granddaughter and DDT’s niece, against Sr’s estate executors DDT, Barry, and the estate of their deceased brother Robert Trump is about their lies concerning the “true value” of what she should have inherited from her grandfather. She and her brother, Fred III, went to court in 2000 to argue their grandfather was not of sound mind when he disinherited them in September 1991, alleging the will was “the product of undue influence and coercion” by DDT and his siblings. A physician wrote Sr had “significant memory impairment” and “early signs of dementia” only a month later. In another four months, a neuropsychological evaluation showed Sr’s mental state to be much worse—below the 15th percentile for a person in his age group. Yet DDT insisted in a deposition he have never seen or heard any evidence of his father’s decline throughout this time.

DDT and Robert threatened to withdraw medical care provided by the Trump Organization for the infant son of Fred III and Mary Trump’s nephew, William, who had cerebral palsy. DDT and his siblings told Fred III he should take a CPR course from the Red Cross and care for William because nursing care for the badly disabled newborn was “expensive babysitting.” Mary and Fred III settled the lawsuit with confidentiality agreements.

Mary said she is no longer bound by secrecy because she learned the estate was worth closer to $1 billion instead of the $30 million claimed by the executors. She only learned about the fraud in October 2018 when the NYT published an investigative report into DDT’s “suspect tax schemes.” New York statute of limitations requires a lawsuit within two years of discovery, making the lawsuit timely.

As Mary Trump’s lawsuit states, fraud for Donald Trump is “a way of life.”

Supreme Court Nominee: Destroy Workers’ Rights, Rig the Election

Today, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) put a radical right Christian cult member on the Supreme Court while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wasn’t even put to rest in her grave at Arlington Cemetery. The pick by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), Amy Coney Barrett, has espoused:

  • Roe v. Wade: an “erroneous decision.”
  • Sexual assault against college students: Barrett’s appellate decision allowing students, mostly male, to ease challenges against university cases in accusations against them. 
  • Legal career: a means to “building the kingdom of God.”  
  • Catholic judges: obligated to “to adhere to their church’s teachings on moral matters.” 
  • Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit: an “assault on religious liberty.”
  • Immigration: supports DDT’s rule blocking green cards if people may need future public assistance.
  • LGBTQ rights: paid a speaking fee by Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit defending forced sterilization for transgender people and been dubbed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. She would not answer a questions about whether she would overturn marriage equality.
  • Brett Kavanaugh: good choice for the Supreme Court.
  • Religious beliefs: member of People of Praise, calling female leaders “handmaids” until the publication of the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, and believing in supernatural occurrences such as prophecy, miraculous healing, and speaking in tongues. Group members swear to uphold so-called “covenants,” are held accountable to advisors, and believe dark forces abound in the world. (Comments from someone who escaped the cult.) 

While much has been said about Barrett taking reproductive, LGBTQ, and healthcare rights from people, DDT has an even darker reason for selecting Barrett—other than her youth. DDT and GOP senators care nothing about abortion and marriage equality, but they use those subjects to push their real agenda, bringing in donations from businesses for campaigning and, in DDT’s case, more money for his businesses. [Explanation for Sauron.]

Businesses can make more money by denying workers’ rights and regulations, and DDT’s judicial appointees will help them. One of his appointments in Pennsylvania used Lochner v. New York to open up all the businesses in the state, despite spreading COVID-19, with the position that the U.S. Constitution has no provision for controlling businesses. Using Lochner, other conservative justices, Barrett and other conservative justices, claiming to be “originalist” and “textualist” unless they prefer the other side, can destroy labor unions, environmental regulations, minorities’ voting rights, safety of food, education, and government health care while allowing the wealthy to purchase politicians with unlimited secret donations. In the future, DDT’s conservative judges can rule to eliminate minimum wages, equal pay, number of hours worked, union rights, etc.

Corporations can return to their golden days of the early 20th century with sweatshops, enforced labor for children, etc. Businesses started plotting in the 1930s after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal” gave workers’ rights and help for the poor. Incomes improved by the 1950s and 1960s. After the 1964 Civil Rights Act women gained more employment rights: companies could no longer choose men over women for jobs just because gender.

In the 1970s, Bob Dole persuaded evangelical Christians to drop its policy of staying out of politics and put them together with corporations. The radical right Christians, enraged by the Supreme Court legalizing abortions, were used by corporations to elect conservatives. Corporations gave conservatives large campaign donations, and candidates used “moral” issues to get elected. By the 1990s, conservatives blasted the conservative Bill Clinton, who managed to bring the country back to a balanced budget for a short time, and in 2000 the Supreme Court chose George W. Bush to it in the Oval Office despite an examination of Florida’s “hanging chads” giving the majority to Gore.

To keep their voters happy, conservative politicians went farther and farther right, and Democrats had to follow along. The political philosophy of Democrats today is the same as that of Republicans in the 1950s, and the Republicans have dropped below the bottom of the charts for conservativism.

DDT, firmly entrenched with about 40 percent of the voters, has total control over GOP congressional members with his vicious habit of retaliation against anyone who disagrees with him. On Trump TV (Fox & Friends) he threatened retribution at the ballot box for anyone who didn’t vote for his choice. DDT doesn’t care about abortion or LGBTQ rights: his only concern is money, and he’ll do anything to make more of it. The same goes for almost all the Republicans in Congress. They can’t afford to give up donations from businesses, and they spout conservative values to keep getting the money for their coffers.

Poll numbers continue to be lower for DDT than those for Joe Biden, and DDT is terrified he will lose the election. The loss means courts can look into DDT’s finances, which are extremely suspicious, and he might even go to prison. At the least, DDT’s adoring public will discover the kind of shyster and con artist he is. For that reason, he is desperate to seat his next Supreme Court nominee before November 3. He will cause so much chaos at the ballot box that the high court may give him another four years.

It’s the GOP rule of thumb: take power at any cost. The GOP senators did that four years ago when they blocked President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, almost eight months before the election and are working on perfecting it now when DDT made his appointment under six weeks before Election Day. David Axelrod called the appointment “a tyranny of the minority.” If DDT’s replacement succeeds, the majority of Supreme Court justices will have been appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote and confirmed by senators who represent under half the country.

A fact-checker about the lies Republicans use to excuse their hypocrisy:

Four years ago when several GOP senators looked for a “rationale” to refuse Merrick Garland as a Supreme Court nominee, they claimed Joe Biden had proclaimed no nominee should be considered in the last year of a president’s term. Biden actually said he might question making a nomination after the primaries began in the last year of a president’s term. DDT’s nomination today came over three weeks after people started voting in the general election. Contrary to the false claim of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) about no justices being appointed in an election year, at least 14 Supreme Court justices were confirmed during an election year with three others nominated in the December lame duck session after the election. 

Four years ago, the Republican senators made a big deal of letting the people decide by voting for the president. Now will of the people makes no difference to Republicans, who discount people having a choice in the process if the Senate majority and the president belong to the same party. Once again, Republicans moved the goal posts to win.

GOP senators are saying they didn’t “block” Garland’s nomination, but most of them, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), refused Garland even the courtesy of meeting with him.

GOP presidents have not always been completely partisan in their selection of justices. In the 1950s, Dwight Eisenhower worked for equal justice when he nominated five Supreme Court justices who opposed discrimination. School desegregation, unanimously determined in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, came in 1953 when Earl Warren was chief justice. (One of DDT’s confirmed judicial appointments, Wendy Vitters, would not agree that Brown was correctly settled.) Other equality decisions included the requirement that state voting districts be roughly equal in population. At that time, Nevada had one district with 127,000 and another with 568 people. Under Warren’s court, the Miranda decision required police to give charged people their rights, Loving v. Virginia decriminalized interracial marriage, and Griswold v. Connecticut legalized birth control for married couples. (Single women couldn’t get birth control pills until seven years later.)

Although Richard Nixon had less interest in people’s rights, the 1973 Roe v. Wade was passed 7-2 with an all-male Supreme Court. Five of the GOP-appointed justices supported Roe.

Evangelical Christians voted for Ronald Reagan, and he frequently complained about “judicial activism,” a problem for conservatives who object to human rights. Right-wingers don’t describe decisions benefiting the radical right as “activism.” Reagan loaded the Supreme Court with appointments he claimed would strictly follow the Constitution with their “family values.” His confirmed nominees of 4 Supreme Court justices and 368 federal court judges is, at this time, an even higher number than DDT, but he had eight years in which to do it.

Republicans became angry when David Souter, appointed by George H.W. Bush, was moderate, but Clarence Thomas, the replacement for civil rights activist Thurgood Marshall, has been much more satisfactory to the anti-civil rights activist GOP. After 29 years, Thomas remains the most conservative justice on the high court.

At this point, it’s a miracle the United States has made any progress in a half century: a majority of justices for the last 50 years have been nominated by Republican presidents who become increasingly conservative. In addition losing individual rights, people will suffer huge losses to feather the nests of big business and the wealthy.

September 25, 2020

DDT Runs against Democracy for His Reelection

Because Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has no accomplishments during his first term to use in campaigning, his only reelection strategy has been to run against the election and impede democracy in the voting process. Republicans began a decade ago by placing draconian restrictions on voters through photo IDs, loss of early voting, elimination of polling places in places with minority voters—even refusal of Sunday voting to prevent black churches to take buses of people to the polls. DDT laid the foundation for the current voting crisis by packing the courts with his radical right followers who perceive the law as far-right Republicans and not obeying the U.S. Constitution.

As Joe Biden rose in the polling and DDT dropped, DDT used his rallies to create an election “emergency,” first through casting doubt on the credibility of mail-in voting and then by slowing down the postal service. Once voting started, DDT’s supporters, reinforced by his refusal to condemn violence from the radical right, intimidated people standing in line to vote. Thanks to DDT, only the Republicans threaten violence, tell others to bring guns to the polls, support law enforcement action for only the radical right—all tactics by the racists in the last century.

DDT and his government loyalists report, without evidence, dirt on opponents and use unsubstantiated personal attacks on them while they compare public health policy to slavery and force federal scientists to reverse public health guidance. To please DDT, agency directors suppress information about Russian interference in the election, support violent radical right members who attack and kill peaceful protesters, and encourage further violence if people protest killings of Blacks who have minor infractions of the law—if any. DDT’s “GREAT PATRIOTS” are those who create chaos to make demonstrators look violent. Any GOP officeholders who dare to disagree with DDT are threatened with retribution at the polling place.

This past week, DDT has moved higher on the scale of being dictator when he talked about a transition of administrations after the election:

Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful—there won’t be a transfer frankly. There’ll be a continuation.”

Fewer than six weeks before the election, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is telling the world he plans a coup to stay in the White House, even if voters award Joe Biden an Electoral College majority, and the steps DDT will take to accomplish it. Cautious, even conservative, publications are writing about his strategy. In The Atlantic, Barton Gellman details the evidence about DDT’s army of lawyers and activists planning every shyster legal maneuver ever considered. Before that, Amanda Marcotte (Salon) described DDT’s scheming, and Slate released another piece by political scientist Richard L. Hasen about DDT’s system in destroying democracy. Nate Silver in fivethirtyeight.com saw a possible coup as ridiculous just hours before DDT said, “Get rid of the ballots.” Silver changed his mind, tweeting, “OK this is real bad tho.”

Ratcheting up the lies about the upcoming election, DDT talked about an ongoing investigation into discarded ballots after AG Bill Barr briefed him about a situation in Pennsylvania. DDT first said “six,” and then followed it by “eight.” Forced into revealing information by DDT’s statements, a U.S. attorney in Pennsylvania reported the discovery of nine ballots in a dumpster cast for DDT but later changed to seven with the other two resealed into the original envelopes. In a press release from the attorney’s office:

“Our investigation has revealed that all or nearly all envelopes received in the elections office were opened as a matter of course. It was explained to investigators the envelopes used for official overseas, military, absentee and mail-in ballot requests are so similar, that the staff believed that adhering to the protocol of preserving envelopes unopened would cause them to miss such ballot requests.”

DDT’s campaign won its suit in Pennsylvania to discard any ballots not enclosed in two separate envelopes, a secrecy envelope within the mailing envelope. Ballots may have been discarded after the ruling in favor of DDT’s campaign to exclude these “naked” ballots. DDT’s campaign falsely tweeted, “Democrats are trying to steal the election.” A temporary independent contractor worker had thrown away the ballots, and all the garbage during her three days working for the county was searched. The county where the ballots were allegedly found wet for DDT by 20 points in 2016.

In order to guarantee the Supreme Court would select DDT to stay in the Oval Office for the next four years, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reneged on his 2016 and 2018 promised to be ethical about not replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court after his “rationale” about not allowing President Obama a chance to put Merrick Garland on the high court. Now he doesn’t understand why his opponent, Jamie Harrison, would receive $100 million in donations when Graham spent only $13 million in his 2014 reelection campaign. Graham whined to Fox network’s Ainsley Earhardt, “This money is because they hate my guts.” The latest poll puts the two candidates at 48 percent each. “I want you to use my own words against me,” Graham said in 2018, and people are following that wish.

In another anti-democratic statement, Graham told Fox network the courts, not the voting public, will decide the presidential election.

“I promise you as a Republican, if the Supreme Court decides that Joe Biden wins, I will accept the result.”

After the debacle about selecting a new Supreme Court justice, people also know that his “promises” are worthless.

Despite some states permitting mail-in-ballots up to 19 days after Election Day, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced legislation requiring every state to report its final results “within 24 hours after polls close on Election Day.” Yet Electoral College members don’t meet until the Monday after the second Wednesday of December; in 2020, the date is December 16—almost six weeks after the election. According to law, the federal government does not oversee elections; they are conducted and certified by local officials according to state law. Scott wrote he wants all states to be consistent, but he shows no concern for laws regarding absentee voting restrictions, photo IDs, etc.

Worried about unfair election procedures within the state, authors of the U.S. Constitution gave Congress permission to “make or alter” state regulations, but the Election Clause (Article I, Section 4) was never intended to create unfair election procedures. The Elections Clause confers power to regulate congressional elections on the “Legislature” of each state, meaning both government and public referendum.

In one more desperate campaign scam, DDT signed an executive order describing his healthcare “plan” after announcing he would do it since his last campaign. About the Affordable Care Act (ACA), he said:

“I’m in court to terminate this really, really terrible situation. If we win, we will have a better and less expensive plan that will always protect individuals with preexisting conditions. If we lose, what we have now is better than the original — the original version of Obamacare, by far. Much better. Much better. Again, we will always protect patients with preexisting conditions.”

DDT was right about one thing: it might be “less expensive.” It won’t be “better,” and it won’t “always protect individuals with preexisting conditions.” Effects of DDT’s “winning” the lawsuit to destroy the ACA will take 20 million people off coverage, increase charges for millions more by removing subsidies for affordable coverage, cost people on Medicare far more by returning its “doughnut hole” in prescriptions, lose insurance for young people who stay on their parents’ insurance, and—vital in the time when COVID-19 is considered a preexisting condition—eradicate protections for people with preexisting conditions. Back to health insurance will be the lifetime cap of payments by insurance companies and permission for them to use much less of the premiums for health care costs and quality improvement activities. More profit for companies and less health care for people.

Yet with all these losses in healthcare for people, DDT’s “plan” has no specifics. Like his rally speeches, he claims it is fantastic before he states it will lower costs and expand access. Paul Waldman compared the order to DDT’s real estate secrets revealed when people give a fortune to enroll at Trump University so that they can learn how to be a billionaire: Step One: Become a billionaire.”

The policy states:

“Sec. 2. Policy. It has been and will continue to be the policy of the United States to give Americans seeking healthcare more choice, lower costs, and better care and to ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions can obtain the insurance of their choice at affordable rates.”

If that’s true, DDT doesn’t need to make changes. 

The full executive order is here.

In addition, DDT promised the government will send cards to all 33 million low-income Medicare beneficiaries for $200 in prescription drug discounts. The $200 won’t cover the loss of cheaper insurance premiums with guaranteed preexisting conditions and no lifetime cap on payments. Last week, he tried to scam the drug industry out of sending these “Trump cards.” They refused, and the deal for cheaper drugs collapsed. Now he’s taking $6.6 billion out of Medicare for a reelection strategy. The Obama/Biden administration lengthened Medicare for a decade; DDT already shortened it by four years.

 

September 23, 2020

Whither the Vote

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 12:30 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

Today celebrates two days. Fall Equinox is the halfway date between the longest and the shortest days of the year; the fourth Thursday in September is National Voter Registration Day in 2012. This year, voter registration is reportedly down, perhaps because of COVID-19 but also from all the red states’ roadblocks. Stephen Colbert, host of A Late Show, has provided an informative website for all voters in the U.S. So popular it crashed within minutes of its debut, the website is now on target and available here.  

At no time in recent history has voting been a larger topic in both the courts and the media. For months, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) ranted about the dangers of fraudulent voting by mail although he used this system in the midst of his rants. When he claimed that Democrats had the advantage with this system, Republicans panicked because many older people want to avoid disease and long lines by mailing in or dropping off their ballots. DDT even told people they would contract COVID-19 by putting their ballots into drop boxes. DDT’s attack on mail-in voting led to 700,000 more Democrats than Republicans requesting absentee ballots in Florida.

When DDT’s disinformation failed to convince people their ballots wouldn’t be counted with mail-in voting, he sued the process and encouraged his GOP followers to do the same. This year has seen an unprecedented number of suits related to elections and voting—over 300 in 44 states.  In 1993, Oregon debuted its statewide vote-by-mail with a 39 percent turnout. Eleven years later, the general election in Oregon, using the same system, more than doubled the turnout at 86 percent. The next three stayed over 80 percent. Yet of the listed 300 lawsuits, only four were in Oregon, three concerning problems with initiatives and one protesting the policy of no gatherings. In Texas, where voting is highly restricted, the last general election turnout was 46.45 percent.

In stressing, with no evidence, the unreliability of the postal service delivery, DDT may encourage courts to extend deadlines for returning ballots. In Wisconsin, a federal judge ruled that absentee ballots can be returned up to six days after the election if postmarked by Election Day. DDT lost similar cases in Michigan and Pennsylvania where courts also extended the deadline to receive ballots. Pennsylvania expanded use of drop boxes, and officials told counties they couldn’t reject a ballot based on an election official believing the signatures on the ballot and in the voter’s file don’t match. Almost 1.9 million people applied for absentee ballots. All three are swing states.

In another victory for Wisconsin Democrats, the state Supreme Court kept the Green Party’s candidate off the ballot. The ruling allows ballots to be mailed on time. The majority on the court, including one conservative, determined that the Green Party candidate waited too long to sue. Over one million absentee ballots were mailed last Thursday.

In Nevada, a federal judge dismissed the DDT campaign lawsuit against the state’s new law in which each eligible voter will receive a ballot on the basis of no standing. DDT’s campaign has 30 days in which to appeal, Election Day is 42 days from today. 

Five days ago, a judge in the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned a law opposing third-party collection of absentee ballots (called ballot harvesting) in the weekend before Election Day and permits ballots to be counted up to two weeks after Election Day if they are postmarked the day before Election Day. DDT vigorously objected to the harvesting although someone else took his primary ballot to Florida. The judge pointed out that the case showed only “rare” cases of “voter fraud and threats to election integrity associated with absent voter ballots.” Yesterday, DDT told people in Michigan to vote early by mail after opposing it for months. Michigan is another swing state.

In still another swing state, an Ohio judge blocked the GOP secretary of state’s decision to limit ballot drop boxes to one per county. Voting begins in two weeks, but the state and the Ohio GOP appealed the ruling. The GOP also accused the judge of colluding with Democrats for his ruling, and a Ohio Supreme Court justice, also a Republican, called the attack on the judge “disgraceful, deceitful.” She wrote:

“The Republican Party’s statement should be seen for what it is: part of a continuing string of attacks against any decision that doesn’t favor a political end, regardless of party, even if that decision may be legally correct and indeed legally required.”

As DDT tried to destroy vote-by-mail, he concentrated on the USPS and appointed Louis DeJoy as postmaster general. DeJoy dismantled equipment, working schedules, even mail boxes on the street. 

In a big change, a federal judge in Washington state in a lawsuit by 13 states issued a temporary injunction against DeJoy’s changes. DeJoy had promised Congress he had improved mail service, but delivery declined in 30 of the 67 USPS districts from August 29 to September 4. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian stated DeJoy and Trump are “involved in a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service” and “this attack on the Postal Service is likely to irreparably harm the states’ ability to administer the 2020 general election.” In the 13-page preliminary injunction, Bastian wrote, “At the heart of DeJoy’s and the Postal Service’s actions is voter disenfranchisement” and cited DDT’s threats about withholding funds and “the actual impact of the changes on primary elections that resulted in uncounted ballots.” He continued that it wasn’t a stretch of the imagination to conclude that the changes were “an intentional effort on the part of the current administration to disrupt and challenge the legitimacy of upcoming local, state and federal elections.”

All election mail must be treated with first-class delivery standards, andBastian’s order included banning DeJoy’s “trucks leave on time” policy which Bastian called a “Leave Mail Behind” policy:

“Plaintiffs have made an extensive showing of irreparable harm that is caused and will be caused by the Postal Service’s ‘Leave Mail Behind’ policy and the Postal Service’s refusal to ensure that election mail will be treated as First Class mail to ensure timely delivery.”

Investigations have proved the drastic reduction of on-time mail delivery—up to 85 million more late deliveries in one week. Every USPS district in the country saw a drop in on-time performance with the worst delays in some key November battleground areas: northern Ohio (20.4 percent), the Ohio Valley (15.8 percent), Detroit (19.1 percent), and central Pennsylvania (17.9 percent). Bastian also blocked the removal of sorting machines, noting 72 percent of the machines were taken from counties supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016. He wrote:

“DeJoy’s actions fly in the face of Congress’s intent to insulate the management of the Postal Service from partisan politics and political influence and acknowledgement that free and fair elections depend on a reliable mail service.”

DeJoy apologized to almost half the secretaries of state in the U.S. about the false information on a postcard sent to people and said he would work with in the future. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who sued DeJoy for the misleading postcards, said “actions speak louder than words.“ DeJoy’s excuse for his changes was to save money, but his salary and those new positions filled with four people from his former company come to about $1 million. He added two senior executive advisers, an executive administrator, and a chief of staff.

American Oversight is suing the USPS because it also refused a Freedom of Information request to see DeJoy’s calendar. He also won’t show it to congressional members. Austin Evers, the organization’s director, asked, “Who has Postmaster General DeJoy been meeting with and why is he trying so hard to keep it a secret?”

Yesterday, a federal judge in New York also ruled against DeJoy’s changes and mandated the USPS treat election mail as a priority. He also ordered USPS permit overtime and extra deliveries as needed by election mail. The USPS must file weekly public reports to the court about its performance. If the two sides who went to court don’t agree on a plan by Friday, the judge will impose his own order.

Looking into DeJoy’s past shows a multitude of unethical, if not downright, criminal behavior. He has a variety of conflicts of interest and promised his employees he will repay them with bonuses for their donations to the RNC to make him look better. He cheated his brother with deceptive financial practices in the family trucking company which may have included theft of mail. The case was settled with a secrecy settlement. An audit found USPS noncompetitive contracts with DeJoy’s former company cost up to $53 million more than if competitively bid and “did not fully meet Postal Service requirements.”

Early voting has already started in eight states, and absentee ballots were mailed out in another 23 states. (See dates). Absentee or mail-in voting is smart because people can avoid intimidation at the polls. This scene from Fairfax (VA) shows the MAGA folks demonstrating in the midst of people waiting to vote. The lines are much longer because of social distancing, beyond the 40 feet where demonstrators are not allowed. Opening up more room inside the government center gave some voters shelter, and officials escorted voters by the group—like escorts at women’s clinics past protesters.

In another danger, DDT has decided he may have his personal federal judges count the votes and the “federal court system” will call the winner hours after the polls close. Never mind that ballots will be coming in after Election Day for at least two weeks. If he doesn’t win, he plans to have his Supreme Court—with the new justice—appoint him for another four-year term. And the radical right is buying lots of ammunition to support DDT’s rigging the election. It’s the DDT way—bully everyone into submission. Happy National Voter Registration Day!

September 21, 2020

A View on RBG’s Replacement

“It’s Not Hypocrisy: Mitch McConnell’s Machinations Are Something Far More Degrading”—Lili Loofbourow, Slate  

I was watching the president of the United States suggest to a mostly maskless crowd that a Democratic congresswoman had married her brother when the news broke that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. The shock of her death sledgehammered a country teetering on an ugly and desperate edge. It came in waves. It wasn’t merely the loss to the country, or the sadness that a champion of equal rights had died. Nor was it the fact that an increasingly corrupt Republican Party is very close to forcing through the judicial supermajority it needs in order to lock in minority rule and overturn American women’s right to reproductive choice. (You will no doubt hear often in the coming weeks that, of the five conservative Supreme Court justices, four were nominated by presidents who had lost the popular vote.) There was a flashback to the contempt and grief Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing aroused in so many appalled onlookers. And then there was the dread of realizing that a citizenry breaking—financially, politically, even cognitively—under five different kinds of instability was going to have to endure more. We have been in a bad way for a long time, but this is the hurricane on top of the wildfire that follows the earthquake.

What’s enraging is that we shouldn’t be here. We have institutions and norms and precedents, so what should happen next is almost absurdly plain. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made his thinking on the subject quite clear back in 2016, when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in February, nine months before the election. “The American people‎ should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” he said. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” There shouldn’t have been any mystery about what Mitch McConnell—of all people—would do when a Supreme Court vacancy opened up six weeks (rather than nine months) before Election Day of 2020.

And there wasn’t. Shortly after Ginsburg’s death was announced, McConnell declared his intentions: Trump’s nominee would receive a vote in the Senate, and though he left the timing slightly unclear, he has no intention of letting the will of the American people (who have already started voting) determine what should happen. He made quick work of the optimists on Twitter suggesting that he surely wouldn’t be so hellbent on total power that he’d risk destroying the country by breaking the precedent he himself had articulated. Wrong. He would. And anyone who took him at his word when he rejected Merrick Garland’s nomination was made a fool when he reversed himself on the question of whether (to quote the man himself) “the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.”

I want to pause here to note, humbly, that it is wounding to watch a public servant reduce those who take him at his word to fools. I mention that not because it “matters” in any sense McConnell would recognize but because it is simply true that this nation’s decline accelerates when the conventional wisdom becomes that believing what the Senate Majority Leader says is self-evidently foolish. The chestnut that politicians always lie is overstated—a society depends on some degree of mutual trust. One party has embraced nihilism, pilloried trust, and turned good faith into a sucker’s failing in a sucker’s game.

Many of us are coping with that lacerating redefinition by knowingly rolling our eyes. Ginsburg’s death hurts, but more than one strain of political grief is operative. This is why so many political reactions at present seem to orbit around the question of whether an unwanted outcome was unexpected. “And you’re surprised?” is a frequent response to some new instance of Trumpian corruption. This brand of cynicism has spread, quite understandably: It’s an outlook that provides some cognitive shelter in a situation that—having historically been at least somewhat rule-bound—has one side shredding the rules and cheering at how much they’re winning. Folks who at one point gave Republican declarations of principle the benefit of the doubt (I include myself) feel like chumps now. Conversely, the cynical prognosticators who used to seem crabbed and paranoid just keep getting proven right. Whatever the worst thing you imagine McConnell doing might be, he can usually trump it.

Just by way of example: A former White House official told the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer for a piece in April that McConnell reassured donors that he would install a Supreme Court justice for Trump regardless of how close to the election Ginsburg’s death might be. He apparently referred to the prospect of replacing Ginsburg in the event of her death as “our October surprise.” In 2019, McConnell gleefully tweeted a photo of some tombstones, one of which had Merrick Garland’s name on it—hours after a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, in which 23 people died. He has said that stopping Garland’s nomination is the proudest moment of his career. It’s uniquely painful that this is the person architecting Ginsburg’s replacement in violation of his own contemptible theories.

I am not saying anything new here. But what I am interested in, because I think it must be understood, and because the stakes of it have never been higher, is what McConnellizing does, affectively, to so many American citizens. What it feels like, in other words. We are overdue for a real reckoning with what it means to be degraded by our own leadership. And make no mistake: It is degrading when people lie to you openly and obviously. Leaving the polity aside for a moment, it’s the kind of emotion we humans aren’t great at coping with. Sometimes we react by snorting at anyone who expects any better (that is again the “you’re surprised?” cynicism). But if you can’t cover it with cynicism, it simply hurts.

Shall we experience being degraded together? Here is the justification McConnell offered shortly after Ginsburg died for violating his own rule:

In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term. We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.

This last sentence—which you will recognize as the heart of McConnell’s argument—is a lie. But before I supply the dull fact proving that it is a lie, I’d like us to pause and notice the extent to which whatever I am about to say will not factor into how you feel reading the above. Whatever I say, it will not provide you relief for me to demonstrate that this tortured reasoning McConnell supplied is horseshit. You are already meant to understand it as horseshit. That’s the insult. That’s where one part of what I guess we could call patriotic pain comes from.

OK, now for the dull facts: What McConnell says in that statement is not true. In 1988 (an election year!), the Democratically controlled Senate confirmed Anthony Kennedy—President Ronald Reagan’s nominee to the Supreme Court. McConnell tried to circumvent this reality by crafting his new rule to exclude any vacancy “that arose” in an election year (Lewis Powell retired in late 1987).

Does an exercise like this leave us anywhere? I think it might. I think we have a habit of misnaming political experiences in ways that help us metabolize loss. I think, for example, that we have a bad habit of calling McConnell’s double standard—which will be devastating to a country already struggling through various legitimacy crises—“hypocrisy.” And sure, step onto Twitter after Lindsey Graham also unabashedly went back on his own word and you’ll see many a person rolling their eyes at anyone pointing out that Republicans are hypocrites, as if it matters. One can sympathize with the eye-rollers—of course hypocrisy doesn’t matter. But that’s mostly because hypocrisy isn’t the word for what this is. Hypocrisy is a mild failing. It applies to parents smoking when they advise their kids not to for their own good; it does not apply to parents lighting the family home on fire for the insurance money while high-fiving each other over how stupid their fleeing children were for thinking anything they told them was true.

When Ginsburg died, those whose rights she championed were caught in a cruel double bind. Raging against the indecent replacement effort feels wrong, because raging before it happens can feel like implicitly conceding. Treating the matter dispassionately, on the other hand, sensibly pointing out that McConnell has stated clearly what should happen, means granting him a good-faith reading he does not deserve. Thanks to the swiftness with which he declared his intentions, we are no longer under any obligation to attempt the latter. All that remains is to let honest anger do what it must.

It will not help to call the leadership we have right now hypocrites; they will not care, and I doubt the charge will motivate the people who need to be motivated much. But insofar as our own reactions are concerned—and while we think about how to counter an obvious and ugly attempt to steal the Supreme Court seat of a feminist champion of equal rights even as Americans have already started voting—it may help to register the lies they tell you as the calculated insults to your intelligence and to your citizenship and to your country that they are. Fully witnessing and registering insults and degradation is more painful than sneering that you aren’t surprised. But I’ll be blunt: People are more willing to fight people who insult and degrade them than they are to fight mere “hypocrites.”

We deserve better than this. I confess I had no personal feelings about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing; my admiration and gratitude were purely professional and civic. But I found this quote—a response to Irin Carmon asking her how she’d like to be remembered—deeply moving: “Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has.”

September 20, 2020

DDT Continues Hubris, Stupidity

Friday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died after a lifetime of fighting for equal rights. Minutes after learning of her death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) announced they would immediately put another radical right justice on the Supreme Court to allow the 6-3 majority take human rights away from the people in the United States. Both DDT and the senators who think that they will make the decision were elected by a minority of the people in the U.S.

One question is how the people of the United States feel about their power-hungry grab. Sunday’s Reuters/Ipsos poll find 62 percent of the voters oppose DDT’s plan to get Ginsburg’s replacement into the court before the next inauguration. Even half the Republicans disagree with DDT’s and McConnell’s plans. Thirty percent said they are more likely to vote for Joe Biden to make the replacement compared to 25 percent of those for another DDT term.

Healthcare is an vital consideration for voters. In 2018, people put a majority of Democrats in the House because they were afraid of losing the Affordable Care Act. In October, the Supreme Court will hear a case from AG Bill Barr to overturn the ACA, and a new justice this fall would definitely vote with other conservatives to do that. Biden said:

“If he succeeds, insurers can once again discriminate or drop coverage completely for people living with preexisting conditions like asthma, diabetes, cancer, and so many other problems. And perhaps most cruelly of all, if President Trump has his way, the complications from COVID-19.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) added:   

“If the president thinks this isn’t about the coronavirus, it is. It’s about health care. So the president is rushing to make some kind of a decision because he — November 10th is when the arguments begin on the Affordable Care Act. He doesn’t want to crush the virus. He wants to crush the Affordable Care Act.” 

DDT and his supporters keep destroying themselves though hubris and stupidity, and this week was full of it.

Earlier this week from black humor came from DDT’s ad asking the people of U.S. to “support our (Russian) troops” to “Make America Great Again.” The image uses a stock photo of Russian-made fighter jets and Russian models dressed as soldiers. It’s not the first time DDT’s campaign has used stock photography from outside the U.S. in its advertising.

Two days ago, DDT collapsed a deal with the pharmaceutical industry to lower drug prices for seniors by trying to force companies to mail $100 cash cards to millions of people on Medicare. Officials don’t want to be seen standing with him in the Rose Garden while he holds up a huge card and gloats over an “October surprise” election boost. Public affairs VP Priscilla VanderVeer of the industry’s biggest trade group said:

“One-time savings cards will neither provide lasting help, nor advance the fundamental reforms necessary to help seniors better afford their medicines.”

Last weekend, DDT signed an executive order claiming to lower Medicare drug prices to match the lowest prices in other nations, but as usual, the order only orders an agency to look into the possibility. When the drug industry backed off of giving DDT the push for election, chief-of-staff Mark Meadows threatened the companies with claiming the industry backed off over sharing costs. Industry officials, however, stated they had reached accord until DDT insisted on the pre-election distribution of cards. DDT is also claiming he can get companies to give away vaccines which he lies about being widely distributed in October, and he extended an offshore oil drilling for Florida, a possibly swing state.

The good news for Puerto Rico is DDT’s claim he will give billions of funding to the territory after frequently calling them “corrupt. Asked why he’s pushing for the aid close to the election, he claimed he’s “been working on it for a long time.” His reversal of attitude may have been inspired by Joe Biden’s introduction of a recovery plan for the island.

The collection of Republicans speaking out for Biden at the Democratic convention and joining the anti-DDT groups include governors, senators, House members, and cabinet secretaries from several GOP administrations. Republicans found a few Democrats for his convention, but none had been elected to either state or federal positions. Now the GOP has created “Democrat Voters against Joe Biden.” The group may be mythical; real Democrats would use the accurate name “Democratic Voters” which Republicans rarely do. The Daily Beast also wrote:

“Those involved, however, do include a Republican operative whose group illicitly funneled millions into political contests, a longtime Trump fan whose son works for the president’s campaign, and a self-described celebrity psychic who’s taught best practices for exorcisms.”

A project of the conservative Americans for Responsible Government, Democrat Voters against Joe Biden is not required to disclose donors. The Facebook page has only 188 followers; one of the few videos was made by Tracy Chavez, a DDT supporter from the 1980s. A website was supposedly set up in July, and the language is similar to the Republican Voters against Trump with Biden’s name substituted for that of DDT.

Republicans have formed another group to defeat DDT—the Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform (REPAIR). The 26 people listed as advisers include conservative former officials of Reagan’s, both Bushes’, and DDT’s administrations as well as an unnamed senior official still in the government. Miles Taylor, co-founder of REPAIR, resigned from being HHS chief of staff in 2019. Adviser Olivia Troye, former homeland security, counterterrorism, and coronavirus adviser to VP Mike Pence for two years, said she will vote for Biden although she voted only Republican until 2016. DDT’s has a “flat out disregard for human life, and his “main concern was the economy and his reelection,” according to Troye who was an active participant in the virus task force. Her interview included details of how DDT ignored discussions in the task force to deliver an opposite message at odds with scientific recommendations or the administration’s own data. An op-ed for the Wall Street Journal minimizing fears of a second virus wave, which she was required to help write, “was ludicrous.” More here.

The growing civil death toll in Yemen has increased the risks of U.S. officials being charged for war crimes for selling bombs and other weapons to Saudi Arabia and their partners. DDT and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have tried to block the International Criminal Court (ICC) as well as conceal the expansion of its Saudi sales to UAE and other Middle East nations as the basis of DDT’s foreign policy. During the past five years, the U.S. has provided material support to the Saudi-led coalition that killed over 127,000 people including 13,500 civilians. The ICC already ruled its prosecutor could investigate U.S. actions in Afghanistan. After a State Department lawyer determined the U.S. could be charged with war crimes from its involvement in attacking Yemen, President Obama blocked the sale of precision-guided bombs. DDT immediately delivered them and looked for more sales of $8.1 billion, including 120,000 bombs and bomb parts to the Saudis and Emiratis. Lawmakers blocked shipments for two years until Pompeo circumvented Congress with an emergency declaration over Iran. The review from Inspector General Steve Linick documented the history of legal worries in a report which can increase legal risks. Linick was fired last spring.

DDT wants “blue states” to not be a part of the U.S.; if so, he would be left with this mess:

  • Highest poverty rates: Mississippi, New Mexico, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Alabama. (Three are controlled by GOP governors, and all except New Mexico voted for DDT.)
  • Least educated states: Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama. (All DDT-supporting states, only Louisiana has a Democratic governor.)
  • Most violent crime per 100,000 residents: Alaska, New Mexico, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Nevada. (Three of the five are DDT states led by Republicans.)
  • Most dependent on federal handouts (the “taker” states): New Mexico, Kentucky, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Montana. (Four of five voted for DDT in 2016, and three have GOP governors.)
  • Highest per capita of COVID-19 cases: Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Iowa, (All went for DDT in 2016, and eight have Republican governors.)

A new study claiming to prove COVID-19 was manufactured in a Chinese lab came from groups created by Steve Bannon, DDT’s former strategist who has been arrested for felony fraud charges. No peer review of the study has been indicated, and virologists disagree with the findings.

Jon Stewart is back on Capitol Hill, this time fighting for veterans’ issues including the affect of toxic fumes from trash burn pits during their Iraq and Afghanistan deployments. Stewart wants a law to make veterans—as many as 3.5 million—eligible for benefits if they suffer from medical conditions tied to burn pits such as cancers, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In the past, Stewart pushed for a law supporting 9/22 emergency responders. Joe Biden has connected these substances to his son’s fatal brain cancer after Beau Biden served in the Iraq War.

DDT continues to fail in managing the COVID-19 crisis. Unemployment last week added over one million if adjusted for the prior method of identifying new unemployment benefit applications, new virus cases rose 33,344 bring the total to over seven million—7,004,76800—and total deaths to 204,118. And he wants people to lose their health care.  

September 19, 2020

DDT: Week 191 – Failing the Nation

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 10:06 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Charlie Pierce wrote this week Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) should resign because he “failed to put his nation’s interests first.” His example was CDC’s “guidance” to not test people without symptoms of COVID-19 even if they were exposed to coronavirus. The directive on CDC website was not written by CDC; it came from DDT’s minions at HHS and placed it into CDC’s website without any scientific review process. DDT’s employees, Michael Caputo and his sidekick Paul Alexander, commonly “fixed” documents so they would match DDT’s comments. After this discovery, Caputo took a 60-day leave and Alexander left HHS, but DDT will find more political hacks to do his bidding. The New York Times has emails proving Caputo and Alexander trying to muzzle CDC

Fortunately, DDT has conservative media, including USA Today, to cover for him. Instead of blaming the pressure from DDT to falsify CDC reports and “rewriting” of CDC reports by Caputo and Alexander, USA Today lays the blame with CDC with only a weak paragraph at the end of a very long article insinuating DDT has the some responsibility.

A few more times revealed last week when DDT failed the nation:

ICE is regularly sterilizing migrant women without their knowledge or permission under their assumption she was being treated for simple problems related to cysts or menses, according to a whistleblower. How many women is not known: nine lawyers have reported the situation, but most immigrants don’t have lawyers. One woman, 30-year-old Pauline Binam brought to the U.S. from Cameroon when she was two, had an ovarian tube removed without her permission. When the situation came to light, Binam was immediately put on a plane to be deported until congressional members got her off the plane. Her lawyer filed an emergency stay. There is yet no evidence of “mass hysterectomies” but even a few unnecessary is too many except for DDT supporters.

People with apps may be receiving DDT’s fear-mongering advertisements after his campaign paid Phunware $4 million for data from ordinary app users.

Still blaming China for his problems, DDT banned any downloading of the popular TikTok app starting tomorrow. Because people can continue to use the apps, they have created a run on downloading the apps. TikTok has been sold to Oracle, and DDT said he approved “in concept” the deal forced by declaring the app a national security threat. The app came on DDT’s radar when young people used it to fake a huge crowd for DDT’s Tulsa (OK) rally that filled less than one-third of his venue. DDT still claims the government is receiving a large cash payment as part of the requirement for his approval, but the “deal” might be illegal. https://www.politicususa.com/2020/09/16/trump-admits-u-s-government-cant-actually-profit-off-tiktoks-sale-to-an-american-company.html   Earlier, DDT admitted the government can’t profit from video app TikTok’s sale to a U.S. company.  Over 100 million young people, most of them in the U.S., have access to TikTok which DDT could then use.

A report from Brown University shows that the U.S. “war on terror” has caused at least 31 million people to flee their homes in six violent wars started by George W. Bush: Afghanistan (5.3 million); Pakistan (3.7 million); Iraq (9.2 million); Libya (1.2 million); and Syria (7.1 million); Yemen (4.4 million). The U.S. has allowed under 1 million of these 31 million refugees since 2002. After DDT bragged about all the troops he pulled out of the Middle East, the Pentagon is now “quietly” sending troops to Syria because encounters between the U.S. and Russia have escalated.

When asked about DDT’s “secret” health plan, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said reporters who want information should “work here at the White House.” It’s apparently so secret that his health officials—assistant HHS secretary Brett Giroir, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response Robert Kadlec, and CDC director Robert Redfield—know nothing about it. McEnany said the new “much better” plan involves a “wide array of people.” Just come “work here at the White House.” Or maybe just follow the solution for COVID-19: leave out the “blue states.”

While DDT promises a non-existent health plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, people could lose everything if DDT puts his person on the Supreme Court. That action would guarantee a Supreme Court ruling against the ACA in the midst of a pandemic to and remove ACA’s valuable provisions including the part of the law mandating insurance companies allow pre-existing conditions. At least half the people in the U.S. have pre-existing conditions, making them potentially uninsurable without the ACA, and the number grows by tens of thousands each day because COVID-19 infections are considered “pre-existing.” Republicans know how important permitting pre-existing conditions for health care is to their voters. Four senators with uncertain reelections try to hide their votes to deny healthcare insures with pre-existing conditions: Steve Daines (MT), Cory Gardner (CO), David Perdue (GA), and Martha McSally (AZ).

Thanks to DDT’s sycophant, AG Bill Barr, an investigation into the finances of International Association of Fire Fighters, the union representing 320,000 firefighters and paramedics throughout the U.S and Canada, after IAFF endorsed Joe Biden.

Venezuela’s government said it had detained eight people, including U.S. citizen Matthew John Heath, planning to blow up power plants and oil facilities. They were traveling with heavy arms, explosives, surveillance footage, and cash to destabilize the government. Last May, two former Green Berets were detained in a plot to oust the duly elected president and sentenced to 20 months in prison.

In another persecution of refugees, a Florida immigration detention center is giving Muslims the choice of eating rotten food in their religiously compliant or halal meals or pork. When Muslims went to a chaplain for help, he said, “It is what it is.”

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court ruled 2-1 that DDT can deport over 300,000 undocumented immigrants with “temporary protected status” from El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Sudan because of disasters such as wars and natural disasters. Despite this ruling, a New York federal judge’s injunction preventing the deportation of Haitians stays in place. The two judges were appointed by DDT and George W. Bush.

A federal judge in western Pennsylvania, appointed by DDT, ruled against the governor’s lockdown of businesses and restrictions in numbers at gatherings to save people’s lives from COVID-19. (A lockdown can reduce the spread of the virus by 70 percent.) To justify his decision, the judge used the Supreme Court ruling Lochner v. New York (1905) in which five justices determined the relationship between businesses and workers is outside government regulators. That case was used for the next 30 years to strike down almost all public policies, including minimum-wage laws, to protect workers: labor laws were an unconstitutional interference into a “liberty of contract.” Therefore, people accepting a job also accept everything coming with the employment—wages, hours, working conditions, etc. If they don’t approve, they should get another job. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Lockner era began to disappear, but justices such as Clarence Thomas want it to reappear.

The judge’s ingenious Lochner idea may allow meatpackers to abuse their workers, force them to work closely together while infected with COVID-19, and endanger public health with contaminated food. The meat industry wrote DDT’s executive order recommending meatpackers to continue production despite these dangers and the widespread number of virus infections in areas with meatpacking facilities. DDT’s order indicated that keeping the meatpacking plants open was far more important than producing hospital supplies and equipment. Two plants with the biggest outbreaks in the country, Smithfield Foods plant in South Dakota and JBS in Colorado, were fined $29,000 for three safety violations. The $13,494 for one of the plants came from at least 1,294 infections, 43 hospitalizations, and four deaths. At least 42,534 meatpacking workers have tested positive and 203 died from the virus in 494 meat plants. Not even these token fines were charged for six months—until six weeks from the election.

Becoming frantic about getting reelected, DDT claimed that the virus wasn’t a problem in the United States if people ignore the “blue states.” First, the office of president is for all the people in the nation, not just the ones preferred by the person in the Oval Office. And second, the nine states with the highest per capita of COVID-19 cases are “red states.” Perhaps he could say the economy is great if without the “red states.”

DDT’s rally on Thursday took him to Marathon County with a population of 135,000. As usual, the rally eschewed masks and social distancing, but the county had 925 positive virus cases by the time of the rally. Fourteen people died there between July 15 and Sept. 7. The day he visited, Wisconsin saw 2,034 new cases. Many of the cases came from college students who also don’t wear masks or observe social distancing. Tomorrow the number of U.S. COVID-19 will exceed 7 million and the say after 204,000 deaths in DDT’s health massacre.

September 18, 2020

A Nation Cries: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies

Filed under: Judiciary — trp2011 @ 10:08 PM
Tags: , ,

Today, September 18, 20202, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died just 46 days before the presidential election on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. Ruth Franklin tweeted:

“According to Jewish tradition, a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah, which began tonight, is a tzaddik, a person of great righteousness.”

Called a “feminist icon,” Ginsburg fought for everyone’s rights. Her decisions from the bench were brilliant. One of them, for example, called for differential treatment between sexes not “create or perpetuate the legal, social, and economic inferiority of women”:

“Inherent differences between men and women, we have come to appreciate, remain cause for celebration, but not for denigration of the members of either sex or for artificial constraints on an individual’s opportunity.”

Yet her writing could be easily understandable. In her dissent to the loss of voting rights in Shelby County v. Holder, Ginsburg wrote:

“Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

In an obituary for Ginsburg, Linda Greenhouse describes Ginsburg’s life and long career, including several of her important rulings.

Ginsburg was dubbed the Notorious R.B.G. in her later years as young women wore costumes representing her and had tattoos of her image. As Yasmir Omar wrote in Harper’s Bazaar wrote in 2019, “she courageously stands her ground in the face of sexism, battling aggressions both micro and macro.”

Throughout the evening, a crowd has gathered at the Supreme Court building in mourning. 

After Ginsburg’s death, the GOP leadership showed little feeling. Told about her death after his Minnesota rally, Trump said, “She just died? I didn’t know that,” before he called her “amazing.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) first response was that the Senate would be voting on a Trump nominee.

In addition to the GOP lack of empathy for Ginsburg’s death, Republicans are on their way to overwhelming hypocrisy. When Justice Antonin Scalia died 11 months before the end of President Obama’s second term, McConnell rejected the nomination of Justice Merrick Garland for the position. GOP senators didn’t even give Garland the courtesy of meeting with a nominee who was so conservative that Democrats were concerned about putting him on the high court. In 1996, McConnell explained the policy he had just created:

“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

In 2018, Sen. Lindsey Graham said:

“If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term and the primary process has started, we’ll wait to the next election. Hold the date.”

Not only did the primary process start over seven months ago, but people have also started voting in the general election. Graham said the same thing two years earlier when he rejected Garland in 2016.

Other senators drew the same line in the sand, calling for voters to decide in November. Graham and McConnell are up for reelection along with the names with asterisks, and some of them face the possibility of losing:

  • *Cory Gardner (CO)
  • *John Cornyn (TX)
  • Ted Cruz (TX), on Trump’s replacement list for Ginsburg
  • *Lindsey Graham (SC):
  • Marco Rubio (FL)
  • *Jim Inhofe (OK)
  • Chuck Grassley (IA)
  • *Joni Ernst (IA)
  • *Thom Tillis (NC)
  • *David Perdue (GA)
  • Tim Scott (SC)
  • Ron Johnson (WI)
  • Pat Toomey (PA)
  • Richard Burr (NC)
  • Roy Blunt (MO)
  • Rob Portman (OH) 

McConnell can afford to lose only four votes in a confirmation, assuming that VP Mike Pence breaks a tie of 47 Democrats plus three Republicans. Martha McSally (R-AZ) was appointed, and her potential loss to a Democrat would mean her opponent would be seated immediately after the November election. Other Republican senators are coming out to oppose McConnell’s position: Lisa Murkowski (AK) said the election is too close to confirm a justice; Susan Collins (ME) said, “That’s too close”; Chuck Grassley (IA) said there should be different rules for Republican and Democratic presidents; Cory Gardner (CO) said the person elected in November should decide; and Mitt Romney (UT) occasionally makes principled decisions.  

When Ginsburg grew up and went to school, women had far fewer rights. We think first about our inability to get legal abortions, but the list goes far beyond that: we could be turned down for jobs because we are female, be denied the right to sit on a jury despite the constitutional right of “jury of peers”; and refused the right to obtain birth control and equal wages. No-fault divorce and damages for sexual harassment in the workplace didn’t exist until the 1980s. Married women couldn’t even get credit cards under their own name in the middle of the 20th century. And women couldn’t legally marry other women in the entire U.S. until 2015. Now Republicans are stripping rights from not only women but minorities, immigrants, and anyone else who isn’t a white U.S.-born male.

In normal times, people would have a few day to mourn the loss of a brilliant jurist, but normal times ended almost four years ago. With the possibility of another radical right nominee turning the Supreme Court to a 6-3 highly conservative decision-making body, controlling all the laws of the nation, we have little time to mourn Ginsburg. We need to keep fighting! Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would understand that.

Omar wrote:

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg is indomitable: she persevered when men tried to hold her back and went on to change the world for the better.”

We can follow her example for all people.

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