Nel's New Day

February 27, 2022

Putin’s Christian Empire Including U.S.?

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has polarized the world with the majority of countries opposing him. On the other hand, he still has U.S. Nationalists on his team, many of them claiming to be Christians. Lauren Witzke, Delaware GOP 2020 candidate for U.S. Senate, claims, “I identify more with … Putin’s Christian values than I do with Joe Biden’s.” Former adviser to Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) agreed by asserting in approval, “Putin ain’t woke.” Tucker Carlson praised Putin for not “teaching my children to embrace racial discrimination” (which the U.S. doesn’t), “making fentanyl” (which the U.S. federal government doesn’t), and “trying to snuff out Christianity” (again something the U.S. doesn’t do). Russian state-TV played Carlson’s full declaration because Carlson skipped the part about Putin jailing and murdering dissidents and LGBTQ people.

Carlson ignored some of Putin’s history. He passed a 2016 law criminalizing evangelical efforts outside church walls, targeting Christians for public displays of faith. In 2019, a Baptist pastor was arrested in Russia for his “illegal” missionary activity in leading a Baptist worship service, and two other Baptists got into trouble for handing out religious material at a bus stop. Jehovah’s Witnesses are often persecuted, facing up to ten years in prison.

In Russia, anyone sharing a religious faith must also have a permit. The year after Putin’s law was passed, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom put Russia on its list of countries most hostile to the expression of faith, and Russia stayed there along with Syria, India, and Vietnam perpetuating “systematic, ongoing, and egregious” violations of religious liberty. The Soviet Union of Putin’s earlier years, firmly atheistic, used secularism to have state worship. It failed at that time so Putin is working back toward this position.

Putin claimed his invasion is to “denazify” Ukraine, the country with an elected Jewish president receiving 70 percent of the popular vote, because, according to Putin, Russian Christians were the real victims of the Holocaust. Ukraine has a far-right group with the Azov battalion, a far-right nationalist group, but all democratic countries suffer from the same problem, the U.S. perhaps more than many. The Ukrainian far-right received only two percent of the vote in the 2019 election, again far less than the far-right vote for DDT in 2020.

The fascism of Russia and eastern Europe targets Jews as a corrupt stateless race seeking global domination and excusing its violence to protect its perception of a pure religious and national identity from liberals. In the West, fascism is inextricably tied to Christian nationalism with its defense of European Christianity and opposition to Muslim migration.

Fascism justifies its violence by offering to protect a supposedly pure religious and national identity from the forces of liberalism. In the West, fascism presents itself as the defender of European Christianity against these forces, as well as mass Muslim migration. Thus it is increasingly hard to distinguish from Christian Nationalism. Putin’s goal to “denazify” Ukraine fits the myth that the real agents of violence are a global cabal of Jews trying to destroy Russian Christians by attacking the Christian faith and the Russian nation. He uses this lie to persuade Russians who oppose his preemptive invasion of Ukraine.

Concerned about the growing Christian Nationalist movement in the U.S., the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty released a report on the growing nationalism leading up to Christian insurrectionists at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The report went public only two weeks before Putin used Christian Nationalism in a false rationale to invade Ukraine. The main points of the report:

White Christian nationalism supports the same kind of “sharia law” used to damn Muslims. For those who have forgotten about this excuse for discrimination, bigots warned about how Islamic religious law could rule governments, preventing constitutional law and statutes to govern the people in the United States. In the years from 2010 to 2017, state legislatures introduced 201 anti-Sharia law bills and enacted 14 of them in a non-existent problem. They didn’t want extremist religious fanatics using their version of God to run the nation—like the Christian Nationalists now want to do with legaling their military theocracy through their “Christian” fatwas and jihads.  

Christians need to condemn the distorted versions of “Christianity” just as they demanded Muslims do the same after the 9/11 attacks. Even now, people who look like Muslims, speak like them, read their religious book, and call God by the name they use face suspicious; they’re told to clearly state, “That’s not us. White Christians need to disavow Christian Nationalists who support a military religion and want to use it for dominating all other people.

“Every robber or oppressor in history has wrapped himself in a cloak of patriotism or religion, or both,” said Eugene V. Debs. In another version, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.” Just like the flags and crosses at the insurrection, Putin is using his flag and religious excuses to justify taking over an independent democracy.

In 1981, Billy Graham said, “The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.” “God’s Law” has existed since the formation of the U.S., and the nineteenth-century Manifest Destiny—the idea that only white Christians can control the U.S.—was an excuse for either eradicating indigenous peoples or putting them on small plots of undesirable plots of land while continuing the subjugation of any other minorities. Thanks to big corporations and Republicans controlling Ronald Reagan, Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority began to take over the U.S., piece by piece, pushing Christian nationism in the last part of the twentieth century. The twentieth-first century George W. Bush and Donald Trump increased the movement’s control over government and the judiciary.

The Baptist report called for a nonviolent countermovement centered in the Jesus of the Bible. As the authors declared, Christian Nationalism is growing support from places such as the Republican National Committee that adopted a resolution calling Christian Nationalists attacking the Capitol “ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.” Millions of people, joined by more millions of people, will believe in how the insurrection began a holy war. These people have the financial support of wealthy, powerful people who can arm the Christian Nationalists.

Like Vladimir Putin and DDT, millions of people in the U.S. are pushing the idea of a Christian Nationalist takeover—not for Christianity but for power.

Like Lauren Witzke, conservatives have a history of worshipping Putin. During President Obama’s administration, right-wing Christian leader called him a “savior of Christian civilization,” and two-time presidential loser Pat Buchanan said Putin was “a God-and-country Russian patriot” and champion of Christianity “against the Western progressive vision of what mankind’s future ought to be” during DDT’s time in the White House.

Christian Nationalists love Putin’s oppressive regime because he promotes “traditional” views of family, sexuality, and gender while working to prevent and reverse international recognition of reproductive rights or the equality of LGBTQ people. The International Organization for Families (IOF), working against marriage equality and adoption by same-gender couples, obtained funding from Putin’s oligarchs and political operatives through leadership by Brian Brown. A major funder of IOF’s parent company World Congress of Families, billionaire Konstantin Malofeev, wants to reestablish the Russian monarchy with Putin as tsar. In 2013, Malofeev stated that “Christian Russia can help liberate the West from the new liberal anti-Christian totalitarianism of political correctness, gender ideology, mass-media censorship and neo-Marxist dogma.”

Among far-right Christian leadership, evangelist Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son, praised Putin as the hero taking “a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda” even as “America’s own morality has fallen so far on this issue.” Bryan Fischer called Putin a “lion of Christianity” and asked U.S. lawmakers to adopt similar speech prohibitions like Putin did. Matt Barber extolled Putin for being able to “out-Christian our once-Christian nation.” Sam Rohrer called Putin “the moral leader of the world,” and far-right Christian activist Scott Lively admired Putin for “championing traditional marriage and Christian values.”

Conservatives have delivered many lies about DDT’s strength and Biden’s weakness. Radical conspiracy theorist Alex Jones praised Putin for promoting “masculine men” and homeschooling. To Christian Nationalists, destroying democracies through violence and force is the manly thing to do.

Religious historian Diana Butler Bass described Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “a new version of an old tale—the quest to recreate an imperial Christian state, a neo-medieval ‘Holy Roman Empire’—uniting political, economic, and spiritual power into an entity to control the earthly and heavenly destiny of European peoples.” In 2013, Putin spoke about Euro-Atlantic countries “denying their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilization.” He attacks secularism, communist China, and Islam in a desire for “a coalition to unify religious conservatives into a kind of supra-national neo-Christendom.” The partnership will be among U.S. evangelicals, traditional Western Catholics, and Orthodox peoples under the auspices of the Russian Orthodox Church to complete the Third, and final, Roman Empire, predicted in Christian prophetic books. 

Putin’s invasion won’t stop at the Ukrainian border.

CPAC, DDT Make GOP Look Worse

Two groups of ultra-conservatives are holding conferences in Orlando (FL) this weekend, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and the America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC).

The first one largely avoided any discussion of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, indiscriminately bombing both military and civilian sites. CPAC’s honored leader Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), like former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, made adulatory words about Putin such as “genius” and “smart.” Since Russia’s murders in the past few days, some Republicans have become less secure about these seditionist approaches. Pompeo and DDT have slightly drawn back on some of their worship of Russia’s leader although DDT still called Putin “smart” in his CPAC speech. Even Fox host Tucker Carlson, who spent the past anti-Ukraine pro-Russia months has drawn back—for the time being. The shift has moved to damning President Joe Biden by saying that Russia was no problem while DDT was in the White House, going so far as to falsely claim that DDT controlled Putin. Their revisionist history leaves out all DDT’s pandering to Russia no matter what Putin wanted.

Even China, the U.S. enemy according to far-right Republicans, was praised. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-SC), in danger of losing his ability to run for re-election because of participation in the January 6 insurrection, cheered on China’s move to instill “great patriotic and masculine values” in its youth through social media.

Attendees at AFPAC, eight miles away, were even farther right with the main attractions of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) appearing on video. Talking about the comparison between Putin and Adolf Hitler, organizer Nick Fuentes said, “They say it’s not a good thing.” Holocaust denier Fuentes had led his white supremacist “Groypers” to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. At one point, the AFPAC crowd cheered, “Putin, Putin, Putin.”

Among all the MAGA items for sale at CPAC is a five-volume set of every tweet DDT made before Twitter banned him after January 6 at a cost of $35 a book. People may need it because they may be the last tweets he makes: DDT’s new platform, “Truth Social,” continues to have serious problems.

After a number of delays, DDT’s copy of Twitter that rolled out on February 21 suffers serious problems from signup error messages, download issues, and a lamentable design and functionality, down for 13 hours. It has only an iPhone app, nothing for Android. Wishful users could not use the platform or create accounts. Signing up requires agreement with the Terms of Service, but the link says it doesn’t exist. A “help” page” misspells the sites own name. Before the app went live, trolls hacked it to create fake accounts for both DDT and former VP Mike Pence.

Now the kickoff deadline is set for the end of March, but the site may be sued by the British green energy business Trailar because the DDT’s logo bears a great similarity to that of Trailer. (Hint: Trailar’s logo is on the left.)  

DDT can’t even get the name on Twitter: another company created @TruthSocial on Twitter in 2010 and posted one tweet that year—none since then. The owners of @TruthSocial also control the truthsocial.com domain name. CEO Devin Nunes picked the Twitter name @TruthSocials.

Suspended for incitement of violence from Twitter after January 6, DDT originally claimed he would “completely redefine the game,” according to former aide Jason Miller, a new “communications platform” stated Fox network, powered by a “digital ecosystem.” DDT’s first attempt disappeared from disinterest. The next attempt came from the newly created Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), led by former Rep. Nunes (R-CA), who knows nothing about technology except to sue people for tweets he didn’t like. While in Congress, Nunes was known for frequently running to the White House as the master leader of his committee classified information.

Other parts of DDT’s new social platform bore strong similarities to other social media. Tweets are “truth,” and retweets are ”retruths”; Truth Social uses almost the same format as Twitter. DDT said Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act should be “completely terminated” because of its protection of tech companies from being sued for posts, but he benefits from those protections. Nunes claims that DDT’s social media will be “family friendly”; toward that end he hired Hive to auto-moderate “hate speech, spam, pornography, and bullying.” Facebook and Twitter use the same technology

Despite DDT’s criticism of social networks’ “wildly aggressive censorship,” his own site bans people from trying to “trick” or “mislead” other users, violating anyone’s “privacy or publicity rights,” or posting messages that “depict violence” or include messages related to “sexual fetishes,” “sugar babies” or “sexually suggestive” phrases. People are also forbidden from posting anything “false,” “indecent,” “misleading,” “profane,” “obscene,” “filthy” or “otherwise objectionable.” DDT’s company blocks anyone from attempting to “disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site.” Already banned is a parody targeting Nunes. This banned “hate speech” not only “disaparage[s]” Trump media but also “annoys” DDT himself. Also banned are “excessive use of capital letters,” a favorite habit of DDT. Thanks to Section 230, DDT can host anti-vaxxers.

DDT’s speech may be “free,” but the use isn’t. Registration requires full name, email address, and mobile phone number with the caveat that the person can “click here” if they choose to donate online without providing a phone number. The link goes to the page for a mandatory donation for reserving a user name, preferably $35.

Nunes said the site is being built “from scratch” for protection, but the code is heavily based on the open-source software Mastodon, which provides free, prebuilt social-networking sites that users can then edit and customize. Truth Social is also based on code from eight other outside development teams to handle text, images, security and other data, according to its own documentation.

Truth Social faces massive competition from mainstream social media platforms. At least seven other social networks promise no censorship—unlike Truth Social—among them Gab, Gettr, MeWe, CloutHub, and Parler, used by Melania Trump as “Her Social Media Home.” Copycat sites have already come out such as “social app for truth” charging $4.99 a month. TMTGSocial, a pro-DDT site registered after DDT’s announcement of his platform, has hundreds of users. This fake site uses WoWonder costing $125 for anyone to build their own social network. These sites actually work.

Germany has another app that works on Android, confusing anyone wishing to test Truth Social on that version. Called “MAGA Hug—Truth Social Trump,” it was at the top of searches last Tuesday for “Truth Social” on the Play Store. It costs $28.99 for a photo-based feed and automatically subscription to a global chat group.  It also has other apps, including “LGBT Hub” and a game incorporating three popular video gams. According to reviews, some users think that this social media is DDT’s platform.

Reuter reported that Truth Social’s holding company is a New York business merged with a shell company Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC) which will get $293 million in cash from a DWAC trust. Private investors gave TMTG another $1 billion in December, 2021.

The launch delay brought down stocks prices by 15 percent on the first day. The stock value is slowly creeping up but not back to pre-launch level. Nunes gave “beta testing as his excuse.

As important to DDT in having his own Twitteresque account is collecting money, but the U.S. Securities and Exchange Committee is investigating the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) behind Trump’s company. DDT’s SPAC has the backing of a questionable Chinese firm, and the SEC could slow DDT’s deal. If SEC allows the deal to continue and stock drops to zero, investors will be hurt.

Praise of Putin, GOP condemnation of the U.S., and DDT’s ongoing failure to even launch a social media network with billions of dollars have made Republicans look even worse last week.

February 24, 2022

Russia Invasion: Day One

Filed under: War — trp2011 @ 11:40 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

President Joe Biden was right: the Russians have invaded Ukraine. By land, air, and sea, Russia began the biggest attack against one European state by another since World War II with 75 heavy and medium bombers and began by launching 100 missiles, primarily short-range ballistic missiles. Medium-range missiles came from the Black Sea to the south of Ukraine. Two other invasions are from Belarus toward Ukraine’s two largest cities, Kyiv and Kharkiv. Ukraine experienced new cyber attacks on its government and banks, and many residents in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, have lost internet access. Troops took over the Chernobyl nuclear exclusion zone, about 60 miles east of Kyiv, and are holding the staff hostage. The radioactive area resulted from the 1986 nuclear explosion at the Soviet-era plant. Russians hope to install its own governance in Ukraine after destroying that of the country. (Map: strikes as of 2/24/22, 10:30 EST)  

A Russian assault aircraft crashed in eastern Ukraine. Russians claim “pilot error,” but Ukrainians state their military has shot down at least six Russian planes and two helicopters as well as destroying dozens of armored vehicles. A Ukrainian military plane was shot down on Thursday and five people were killed. The military said the “enemy was stopped” in Chernihiv in Northern Ukraine, while “heavy” fighting continues in the direction of Kharkiv where Ukrainian troops destroyed four Russian tanks. Ukrainian troops regained control of the cities of Mariupol and Schastia where about 50 Russian soldiers were killed.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry claimed 800 Russian casualties since the invasion began but didn’t say how many were killed. The ministry also said over 30 Russian tanks were destroyed. Ukraine has regained control of its airport 25 miles outside of Kyiv after it was seized by Russian forces. A Russian platoon from the 74th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade surrendered to Ukrainian forces; members said they didn’t know they were being sent to kill Ukrainians.

After the invasion, Ukrainian President VolodymyrZelensky declared martial law and cut diplomatic ties with Russia. He declared a state of emergency and called up reservists. All Ukrainian males between 18 and 60 were told not to leave the country. Zelensky also recalled all Ukranians from Russia.  

Biden announced Thursday that he would be sending “thousands” of additional U.S. troops to Germany and Poland to bolster NATO’s defenses in reaction to Russia launching its assaults on Ukraine. He did not specify how many forces would be deployed, but the Defense Department put 8,500 troops on high alert. The U.S. is also positioning two F-35s each in Estonia, Lithuania and Romania.

Up to a million Ukrainians are fleeing to Poland. Lithuania, a NATO member, has declared a state of emergency and ordered its army along the borders because of Russia forces in Russia and Belarus. Moldova says borders are open for fleeing Ukrainians. Slovakia is sending troops to the Ukrainian border to help refugees and increase the number of border crossings. Hungary is prepared to take Ukrainian refugees. Finland is considering a request for NATO membership.  

Russia has tried to justifiy its invasion by falsely claiming it is purging the country of Nazis. According to Zelensky, the nation lost over 8 million lives fighting Nazism, and the Jewish president said that his grandfather fought in the Soviet Union infantry during World War II and died as “a colonel in independent Ukraine.” Russian Pesident Vladimir Putin also falsely claimed Ukraine may develop nuclear weapons. In exchange from guarantees in Russia’s Budapest Memorandum, Ukraine gave up nuclear weapons in 1994.

Russia issued an eight-point demand to stop the invasion, stating failure to meet these would cause a “military response” like the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. The sum total of these gives Russia control over Europe: NATO must remove all troops and weapons from countries entering the alliance after 1997, most of the countries in eastern Europe; the alliance stops further expansion, especially Ukraine; and NATO will not hold drills in eastern Europe without Russian permission.

A win by Russia won’t be as easy as in 2014 when Putin took over Crimea with almost no resistance or in 2008 when fewer than 100 Russian soldiers were killed in Georgia. Russians already oppose taking over Ukraine, and the sight of dead young soldiers will only make Putin’s problems worse. Over 4,000 Russians have been killed in eastern Ukraine during the past few years, for example after opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s arrest and the 2014 Maidan revolution when pro-Russian president Victor Yanukovych was overthrown. Therefore the army travels with mobile crematoria, hoping to control Russian protests. Opposition to Russia is already coming from hackers Anonymous, who disabled several Russian government websites which includes the state-controlled “Russia Today” news service, Kremlin’s major propaganda outlet and Putin’s “personal propaganda tool.”

At least 1,700 Russians have been arrested for opposing war against Ukraine, chanting “No to war.” Russia’s stock market is in free fall down 33 percent after a 45 percent loss cause the market to briefly close.  

The Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline’s certification process is stopped, according to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The pipeline, worth up to $15 billion to Russia, cannot operate without this certification. Other European Union sanctions target Russia’s financial, energy and transport sectors, visa policy, and export controls and export financing bans. The purpose is “maximum impact on the Russian economy and political elite,” according to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. She said financial sanctions targeted 70 percent of the Russian banking market and key state-owned companies, increasing Russia’s borrowing costs and raising inflation to “gradually erode Russia’s industrial base.” Russian elites will no longer be able to conceal their assets in Europe. The export ban affects Russia’s oil sector and prevent the sale of all aircraft spare parts and equipment to Russian airlines. Diplomats, related groups, and businesspeople will no longer have privileged access to the EU, she added.

Biden also announced sanctions against the company behind the pipeline. He plans to sanction major Russian banks holding a combined $1 trillion in assets, including VTB Bank, and impose export controls to block Russian high-tech imports. The banks will no longer be able to process payments through the U.S. financial system. These sanctions are on top of Russia’s fifth-largest bank connected to the Russian military. Other sanctions are against five oligarchs and their families, one in charge of Russia’s biggest social media network, VK, listed on the London Stock Exchange. Other sanctions on Russia’s debt cut off the country’s access to financing in the West.

Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan, and UK also plan to sanction Russia.

Last week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) blocked congressional sanctions against Ukraine, instead sending a letter against invasion with no penalties on Russian officials and entities. Funding to help Ukraine is limited because the Pentagon is restricted by DDT’s 2020 budget policies. 

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is praising Putin’s actions, calling them “genius.” In addition, DDT wants Putin to send Russian troops to the southern border of the U.S. as another “peacekeeper mission” because Putin is so “savvy.” He followed up these statements with the claim that Putin is retaliating for the U.S. “rigged” election and then calling Putin “smart” for invading his neighbor. Present for DDT’s comments at Mar-a-Lago, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on the Fox network that he missed DDT’s strength. Shortly after DDT’s inauguration in 2017, he tried to lift sanctions on Russia, returned their diplomatic compounds removed by President Obama, and invited Russian diplomats into the Oval Office to give them highly classified information for no reason. When Putin expelled 755 people from the U.S. embassy and consulate staff in Russia, DDT thanked him, saying he “greatly appreciated” the removal. In Helsinki, DDT excoriated U.S. people and said Putin was more reliable than U.S. intelligence before he lifted Russian sanctions. Throughout his four years in office, DDT satisfied Putin’s needs while destroying relationships with all U.S. allies.

Last month, DDT’s former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a presidential wannabe, called Putin “a very talented statesman” with “lots of gifts” who “knows how to use power.” He said the U.S. “should respect that.”

Fox evening hosts are still taking Putin’s side and attacking Zelensky. Laura Ingraham intimated that Putin’s actions are his answer to the probe into DDT’s ties to Russia. Tucker Carlson continued his nightly praise of Putin. William Saleton compared pro-Russian “Father Carlson” to Father Charles Coughlin who, 80 years ago, “belittled democracy, defended the Nazis, and opposed America’s entry into the war … a conspiracy on behalf of a sinister minority: Jews.” Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and Blackwater founder Erik Prince are delighting in Putin’s persecution of LGBTQ+ people.

DDT used Russia and Putin to first get elected in 2016 and then run for re-election in 2020. The Republicans who support him want only to regain personal power at the loss of U.S. democracy and people’s rights. Right-wingers are on the wrong side of history: polling shows that 74 percent of people in the U.S. view Russia as a foe and that includes 67 percent of Republican voters. 

It’s morning now in Kyiv, and they report large explosions. Another day of Russia’s ongoing war against the Ukrainians who only want democracy and freedom from Russia. 

February 21, 2022

Russian Danger Accelerates

The possibility of war caused by Russia invading Ukraine hourly grows more possible. Today, Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine after he recognized the independence of two eastern Ukrainian regions, Donetsk and Luhansk, with separatist populations. Putin called his move a “peacekeeping” effort, but both his actions are provocations with a pretext to invade Ukraine, destroying a cease-fire agreement from 2015.

Putin claims “Ukraine has never had its own authentic statehood”: the region he declared independent has heavy mining and steel-producing capacity as well as big coal reserves. He also claims that the people of the region want to be a part of Russia, but separatists control only one-third of the areas, about 6,500 square miles. Mass protests in 2014 overturned the pro-Kremlin president of Ukraine, and Russia invaded and illegally annexed Ukraine’s peninsula, Crimea, on the bottom of Ukraine. Kremlin-supported separatists then took over the eastern industrial areas of Donetsk and Luhansk on the Russian border, seizing government buildings and proclaiming “people’s republics.” They declared independence from Ukraine, likely using Russian troops and weapons. Since 2014, fighting in the area has taken 14,000 lives, and over two million people fled the area. About 2.3 million and 1.5 million people, respectively, remain in the areas.

Russia and Ukraine agreed on the Minsk peace deal in 2015, brokered by France and Germany to stop the conflict between Ukraine and its Russian-supported separatists. Ukraine agreed to give Donetsk and Luhansk special status and certain autonomy to regain Ukrainian control of its border with Russia. With almost 200,000 soldiers along its border with Ukraine, Russia claims territory beyond their agreement with Ukraine, in regions controlled by the Ukrainian army. Separatist leaders called for civilian evacuation to Russia; over 60,000 evacuees were in Russia by today.

Putin declared Ukraine is operated by a “puppet regime” which the U.S. and the West controls. “They are a part of our culture,” he asserted, and threatened Ukraine for removing some Soviet-era statues. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called Putin’s actions a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, probably a unilateral withdrawal from the Minsk agreements to end war in the Donbas area.

Biden followed up yesterday’s call with Putin by blocking U.S. investment and trade in the Ukrainian breakaway regions and sanctions who operates in those areas. Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated:

“We have anticipated a move like this from Russia and are ready to respond immediately. To be clear: these measures are separate from and would be in addition to the swift and severe economic measures we have been preparing in coordination with Allies and partners should Russia further invade Ukraine.”

Biden also talked with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. They talked about how to continue their coordinated response. The U.S. congressional delegation to the Munich Security Conference pledged to “work toward” emergency legislation that “will best support our NATO allies and the people of Ukraine, and support freedom and safety around the world.” Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) led the bipartisan group. Zelensky plans a relocation to Lviv, 50 miles from the Polish border in west Ukraine.

Before Putin took these aggressive actions, Biden had agreed to meet with him “in principle” if Russia did not invade Ukraine. Russia didn’t rule it out, but U.S. intelligence found that Russian military officials were ordered to proceed with an invasion. Last Friday Biden had declared that Putin already determined an invasion of Ukraine. Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he would meet Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Geneva on Thursday; Blinken said the meeting would not happen if Russia invades Ukraine.

Putin’s massive military drills along Ukraine’s borders, rescheduled from this coming October, were to end Sunday, but Russia extended the ones in Belarus, a Russian ally, to Ukraine’s north. The Belarus Defense Ministry reported Russian troops, as many as 30,000 and the most since the end of the Cold War, may stay there indefinitely until NATO forces pull back from countries near Russia and Belarus. Shellings in residential Ukraine, cease-fire violations, have accelerated in false-flag operations as an excuse for Russian invasion.

The U.S. notified Michelle Bachelet, UN high commissioner for human rights in Geneva about a Russian list of Ukrainian citizens to be killed or sent to detention camps after its invasion and occupation. These are people opposed to Russian actions—journalists, anti-corruption activists, ethnic and religious minority members, LGBTQ people, and dissidents from Russia and Belarus living in Ukraine.

Russia could invade one of three ways: one huge attack, bites to dismantle Ukraine, or a python-style squeeze. The last could use the Russian troops in Belarus and save moving tanks into Ukraine. A single blow, believed most likely by U.S. military and intelligence official, could be the biggest and most violent war for European territory since the 1945 Nazi surrender.

The crisis is expected to create havoc for Russian, Ukrainian, and wider global stock markets on Tuesday, after Vladimir Putin upped the ante in a crisis the West fears could unleash a major war. Russians and Ukrainians have already lost tens of billions of dollars in assets, beginning a worse disaster. Ruble value dropped 3.3 percent. Moscow’s dollar-denominated RTX index stock markets plunged 13.2 percent, and the ruble-based MOEX lost 10.5 percent. Current tensions also caused higher oil prices, over three percent. West Texas Intermediate is up to about $94 a barrel, and the global Brent benchmark is about $96 after flat prices last week.

The current situation parallels that of the 1930s when conservatives supported Hitler. In 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, a conservative, permitted Adolf Hitler to annex part of Czechoslovakia to “protect” ethnic Germans there with Hitler’s promise of peace. Chamberlain kept his policy of “appeasement” for another year until Hitler took the rest of Czechoslovakia.  

Under the leadership of Fox network host Tucker Carlson, formerly fringe and now leading Republicans believe Putin’s disinformation and favor him, once again trailing after Deposed Donald Trump (DDT). Every night Tucker sings his praise of Putin, and far-right GOP congressional members typically use Russian talking points in communications and hearings. Carlson is so pleasing to Russians that he is featured on the country’s state-TV. “[Putin] just wants to keep his western borders secure,” Carlson asserted. As for Ukraine, “it’s run by a dictator who’s friends with everyone in Washington.” All lies but Russians are ecstatic.

On his website Bulwark, Republican Charlie Sykes wrote about “the ultimate stooges,” quoting Fiona Hill, former senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council.

Carlson pulled in former Democratic representative and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard who has moved far right. She echoed Carlson’s Ukrainian dictator lies by falsely claiming Zelensky is anti-democracy when he “arrests political opposition, throws them in jail, shuts down TV stations that are critical to him.”

Fox “stooge” Maria Bartiromo, a “conspiracy maven formerly known as the ‘money honey,’” insists the possible Russia invasion was created to distract from Hillary Clinton and “from what she did.” She linked Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, to Clinton as her former campaign senior policy adviser. Bartiromo falsely accuses Sullivan of “peddling this Russia collusion lie.”

Laura Ingraham, part of the Fox conspiracy team, claims that Biden uses Russia to get the media “off the raging crime, raging COVID, raging inflation story.”

Columnist A.J. Delgado, formerly caught up in a scandal when she became pregnant by DDT’s aide Jason Miller who gave her an abortion pill without telling her, came out with huge support for Russia and Vladimir Putin:

“If Putin wants to throw some cold water on American expansionism and interventionism, for whatever reason, that’s a good thing. We’re overly aggressive sometimes and NEED another bully on the world stage, to check our worst impulses.”

“Why am I supposed to despise Putin so much? Does he have firing squads? (Nope. Meanwhile, Castro did you and you Dems spent DECADES ‘both sides”ing him.) Does Russia have freedom of movement, free enterprise, etc? Yes. Are women stoned? No. Are dogs tortured for festivals? No.”

Other right-wing commentators beat the same drums: Sohrab Ahmari smearing Ukrainians as anti-Semitic fascists, ignoring the anti-Semitic fascist Russians and Candace Owens wanting the U.S. to invade Canada to protect the trucker convoy.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) lied about Ukraine being Hillary Clinton’s top donor for her campaign. Foreign governments cannot legally donate to U.S. candidates. The list of Clinton donors, none of them from Ukraine. 

Former never-Trumper but now faithful MAGA Ohioan JD Vance, working hard to be elected to the Senate, said, “I don’t really care what happened to Ukraine one way or another.”

GOP Rep. Paul Gosar wrote the U.S. shouldn’t go to Ukraine after “we just lost Afghanistan to sandal-wearing goat herders.” He also opposed Ukraine joining NATO before denigrating the organization.

Chuck Todd, self-identified Democrat and host of Meet the Press, joined Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in presenting false Russian talking points that Democrats and Biden are responsible for Russia’s imminent invasion of Ukraine.

Other Republicans criticized Biden: Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) joined other Republicans to evacuate Americans from Ukraine if they don’t voluntarily leave on their own, and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) says Biden should do something instead of just talking. Both moves would incite Putin to action.

Like DDT and his far-right followers, Putin wants to break up NATO, keep dictators in power, remove democracy, and centralize power with Republicans, achieved by causing the nation to fail. Luckily for the world, DDT is no longer in the White House.

Additional information from scholar Heather Cox Richardson. 

February 19, 2022

What Happens with Putin’s Chess Game in Ukraine

For the past several weeks, the convoluted new about Ukraine-Russia conflict brings confusion. Sometimes Stephen Colbert’s comedy on The Late Show brings clarification, and his interview with Margaret Brennan, the CBS News Chief Foreign Affairs correspondent and Face the Nation host, gave an excellent overview of the situation as of Thursday. These are the perspectives from two different segments of the program, what’s happening and projected economic sanctions.

This week the 39th annual Munich Security Conference (MSC) topics included pandemic strategies, climate change, and cryptocurrency, but the crisis in Ukraine and possible war loomed large over the meeting. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the world has the greatest precarious security situation since the Cold War. Over 100 ministers and 30 heads of state and government are attending; Russia refused to send representatives.

One prediction was the start of the war on Wednesday, and naysayers tried to point out that the attacks had not begun. As Brennan stated, however, Russia’s movement toward war began with Tuesday’s cyber-attacks, specifically ones targeting Ukraine’s defense ministry and major banks, connected to Russian military intelligence officers. Described as the worst in the country’s history, these disruptions can be the beginning of Russia’s attacks.    

Russia’s reason for attacking Ukraine is that the U.S. will not agree to demands for binding security guarantees, including a permanent NATO ban for Ukraine and Georgia, according to Russia. The country “will be forced to respond, including through the implementation of military-technical measures,” the Kremlin said. The U.S. refuses this demand. Ukraine is not yet on a formal track to become a NATO member soon, but Russian President Vladimir Putin, with 150,000 troops surrounding Ukraine, wants a definitive denial of Ukraine’s NATO membership immediately. Experts maintain Putin’s position is based on his ambition to not only regain the Soviet Union but also go beyond in his control of European countries. Putin says he’s pulled troops, but satellite images show no withdrawal. Russian forces also seem to be building military hospitals near the Ukrainian border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest aggression is his order for his military to begin nuclear drills with ballistic and cruise missile launches along with nuclear-capable bombers and warships from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. These drills continue Putin’s extensive military exercises along Ukraine’s border, in the Black Sea, and in neighboring Belarus during the recent weeks. Earlier this month, Russia flew two Tu-22M3 nuclear-capable bombers over Belarus. Russia has over 6,000 nuclear warheads; it launched hypersonic missiles on Saturday to show its military strength.

Russian troops in Belarus may not leave after the exercise on Sunday, causing more danger from Putin got Ukraine from its separation from Belarus. Concerned of an imminent Ukrainian offensive, Russian-backed separatists controlling part of eastern Ukraine told 700,000 women and children to evacuate the region and called on all military-age men to register to fight. 

Ukrainians have been worried about false-flag incidents that can create a ruse for invading Ukraine. One may be an explosion on a gas pipeline in eastern Ukraine and explosions in the city of Luhansk. Sputnik News connected these to Ukrainian shelling, quoting someone who declared “sabotage.” These were reported on pro-Russian channels and circulated on separatist Telegram accounts. President Joe Biden has warned of Russians misinformation campaign with no evidence.

Pro-Russian forces shelled a kindergarten in eastern Ukraine, wounding three adults but no students. A howitzer shell blowing a hole through one wall scattered bricks, toys and soccer balls across the room, and an impact crater landed near a play area. The 32 artillery rounds landing in the village disrupted electricity for half the population. Two soldiers and a woman at a bus station were wounded.

Ukraine reported the killing of two of its soldiers and wounding of four others in eastern Ukraine by artillery shells fired by Russian-backed separatists. Reuters reported “the Ukrainian military … recorded 70 ceasefire violations by separatists since the start of the day compared with 66 cases over the previous 24 hours.” Since 2014, around 14,000 people have been killed in fighting between the separatists and Ukrainian government forces. According to an embedded Fox network foreign correspondent, Ukrainians did not return fire; other Ukrainian troops returned fire to other attacks only “within the confines of the [Minsk] Agreement,” which banned heavy weapons from the front.

Russian media claimed Ukrainians fired artillery over the border. Lt. General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the head of Ukraine’s armed forces, stated the alleged shelling exceeded the reach of its artillery in the region. He said the invaders “undermine infrastructure in the occupied territories, carry out chaotic shelling of settlements and deliberately produce false reports.”

In another pretext for invasion, Russia claims Ukraine is committing “crimes against humanity” in separatist regions of the country’s east, one of them Donbas. One of the accusations is genocide, but Russia fails to provide evidence or explanation.

If Russia invades Ukraine, it will “target prominent political opponents, anti-corruption activists, and Belarusian and Russian dissidents living in exile,” according to U.S. intelligence. Foreign Policy wrote:

“Russia has drafted lists of Ukrainian political figures and other prominent individuals to be targeted for either arrest or assassination in the event of a Russian assault on Ukraine. These acts, which in past Russian operations have included targeted killings, kidnappings/forced disappearances, detentions, and the use of torture, would likely target those who oppose Russian actions, including Russian and Belarusian dissidents in exile in Ukraine, journalists and anti-corruption activists, and vulnerable populations such as religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons.”

On Saturday, Germany and France on Saturday urged their nationals to immediately leave Ukraine and warned support for Germany nationals in Ukraine would be limited in case of invasion. France recommended people not travel to the north or east of the country and called on French citizens to leave Ukraine if they did not have a “compelling motive” to stay. The U.S., UK, and other countries had already told citizens to leave Ukraine, and Biden had said he could not get U.S. citizens out of the country if they didn’t leave at this time. At least five embassies, including the one for the U.S., have left the capital, Kyiv, for Lviv, the city farthest from Russia.

Lufthansa is the most recent airline to suspend flights to Odessa and Kyiv. Earlier ones were Austrian, owned by Lufthansa, the Dutch carrier KLM, and Norwegian. Of the 35 airlines flying into Ukraine, others have been stopped from flying by their insurers.

Economic instability is hitting the global stock markets as stocks plummet from fear of war. The Dow Jones has dropped by 1,600 points in ten days. The next few days will be the turning point between the West’s attempt at diplomacy and all-out war by a small man who wants to reinstate his Soviet regime.

Pundits still question whether Russia will actually attack Ukraine; Russia is much larger and more powerful than Ukraine, but Western allies will fund forces fighting Russia. Finland and Sweden, currently not NATO members, may change their position, and the sanctions on Putin’s oligarchs may make him unpopular with his current supporters. Other sanctions could deny Russia critical supplies such as semiconductors, causing severe economic pain.

Weather could deter Russian invasion as the 100,000 square miles of wetlands in the north thaw in March, making roads into bottlenecks. The 1,000-square-mile zone of Chernobyl, just 60 miles north of Kyiv and 240 miles south of the Belarus border is restricted because of radioactivity from the nuclear disaster. South of the Belarius border, invaders face crossing the Dnieper River, and Black Sea is the south border of Ukraine which Russia need for supplying military presence in Syria and moving ships to and from the Mediterranean. The Carpathian Mountains provide a natural barrier in Ukraine’s western region.

Putin may find himself cornered. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) pandered to him for four years and alienated U.S. allies, denigrating NATO and rewarding corruption. Since Biden’s election, Republicans have opposed his every move, and many of them even supported Russia against Ukraine. A decade ago, Russia employed DDT’s campaign manager Paul Manafort to guarantee Ukraine didn’t join NATO and suffer economic and political instability.

Pro-DDT congressional members oppose U.S. military involvement in Ukraine. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) said, “The last thing you ever want to do is have troops at risk.” He wants to first shut down the Nord Stream pipeline scheduled to send natural gas to western Europe. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) doesn’t want U.S. involvement in new foreign military entanglements. Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) said U.S. “escalation … is not good for anybody concerned.” Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) said, “I think we need to carefully weigh the strategic interests that the U.S. has with relation to Ukraine.”

Yet Biden’s work to unify NATO and play hardball in phone calls with Putin, including threats against Putin’s pipeline, have clearly shown his determination to protect Ukraine. According to Biden, the U.S. will maintain a united front with European allies opposed to Russia invading Ukraine. At the Munich conference, VP Kamala Harris called U.S. support for the NATO alliance “sacrosanct” with “unprecedented” economic penalties in the case of an invasion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) also told the conference that an attack on Ukraine would be “an attack on democracy.” Both the U.S. and EU are providing Ukraine with emergency medical equipment. Biden is making the U.S. a world leader. 

 

February 18, 2022

Switch to 4G Cuts Off Electronics; DDT’s Very Bad Week

A few months ago, our cell phone server notified us the 3G phones would stop working. We updated our phones and went on our way, ignorant of other changes we need to make. The same problem applies to landlines, tablets, watches, burglar alarms—even medical devices. AT&T says it’s through with 3G on February 22. After that, landlines won’t even make calls. T-Mobile shuts down the 3G network by July 1 and Verizon, originally scheduled to shut down in 2019, in December. Sprint, purchased by T-Mobile, has a deadline at the end of March. 

Lobbyists for the alarm industry estimate 1.5 million customers need to upgrade their fire or burglar alarms, and about 500,000 people have 3G medical alert devices. The fire alarm will still go off, but it won’t notify the fire department. Zonar, providing GPS and other services for buses and trucks, said trucks not upgraded can’t be used if drivers cannot electronically log their hours, mandate by federal law. Tens of thousands of vehicles can be affected. School districts may lose the ability to locate buses, and drivers cannot use GPS for directions.

Q&A on the changeover from 3G and a list of some devices that will or won’t work after the changeover. 

On another subject, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is having a rough week. On Friday, he received news that multiple civil lawsuits allegedly accusing him of legal responsibility for the January 6, 2021, insurrection won’t be dismissed. The judge wrote that evidence shows DDT assembled the crowd and told them to march on the U.S. Capitol when he knew some of his audience had violent and destructive elements. The ruling also stated DDT’s tweets during the violence about then VP Mike Pence suggested a ”tacit agreement” with that violent element that forced Pence and others to flee for safety. This decision can cause another storm of subpoenas for witnesses and documents. DDT claims his rally was part of his presidential responsibilities, but the judge said he used the rally in his attempt to stay in the White House for another term. The judge stated:

“After all, the President’s actions here do not relate to his duties of faithfully executing the laws, conducting foreign affairs, commanding the armed forces, or managing the Executive Branch. They entirely concern his efforts to remain in office for a second term. These are unofficial acts, so the separation-of-powers concerns that justify the President’s broad immunity are not present here.

The judge continued:

“President Trump’s January 6 Rally Speech was akin to telling an excited mob that corn-dealers starve the poor in front of the corn-dealer’s home. He invited his supporters to Washington, D.C., after telling them for months that corrupt and spineless politicians were to blame for stealing an election from them; retold that narrative when thousands of them assembled on the Ellipse; and directed them to march on the Capitol building—the metaphorical corn-dealer’s house—where those very politicians were at work to certify an election that he had lost.”

Multiple lawsuits by 12 Democratic congressional members and several Capitol Police officers injured by the violence accuse DDT of a civil conspiracy with such groups as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. The judge wrote, “The President’s regular use of the word ‘we’ is notable” and gave examples. He added that sending “thousands to the Capitol” during the Capitol during the voter certification was only the idea of DDT and his campaign and not part of the planning specified in the permit.

In another loss for DDT, a judge ruled that he and his two oldest children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., must testify in New York state’s civil investigation about his business because of subpoenas they were issued. Their depositions must be complete within 21 days. DDT will certainly appeal the decision. If he loses the appeal, he is left with the choices to answer questions or claim the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, something he said only criminals do. Whatever DDT says in a civil disposition can be used against him in the criminal investigation by the Manhattan DA. In 2020, the same judge ordered DDT’s son Eric to testify after his lawyers canceled a deposition. Eric Trump invoked the Fifth almost 500 times as did Alan Weisselberg, Trump Oranization CFO.

The judge used DDT’s accountant, Mazars firing him as a client as part of the evidence for his decision. A letter from Mazars stated no one could rely on the accuracy of the company’s reports based on financial materials DDT gave the company. Revelation of Mazars’ letter came on the heels of statements from Letitia James, New York’s AG, about DDT and his business using “fraudulent or misleading” valuation of his properties for loans and tax benefits,” DDT’s golf clubs, skyscrapers and other properties to get loans and tax benefits. The judge ordered Weisselberg, charged with collecting over $1.7 million in off-the-books compensation, to sit for a limited deposition in connection with a lawsuit against DDT’s inaugural committee for gross overspending at DDT’s Washington, D.C. hotel to enrich DDT and his family.

DDT’s lawyer Alina Habba created a circus atmosphere with her behavior and accusations. She asked if she was “gonna go after Hillary Clinton for what she’s doing to my client.” Habba continued with the lie that Clinton “spied at Trump Tower in your state.” The judge replied, “The Clintons are not before me.” NPR host Peter Sagal described her behavior to the judge as “an opponent on a cable news panel.” The court clerk had to tell Habba to quit talking while the judge was speaking. Habba also accused James of “doing this because he was a former president, and because he sits on the other side of the fence.”

The investigation would disappear if he didn’t run for president, Habba claimed, and called DDT a “protected class” but couldn’t explain how, only referencing his “political speech.” The judge and the clerk pointed out that protected classes include race, religion and sex. The judge added, “He’s just a bad guy.”

Habba, a relatively inexperienced lawyer, met DDT while frequenting his Bedminster (NJ) resort. She is willing to take on lawsuits sometimes considered frivolous that high-profile attorneys won’t tackle. For example, a few months ago she sent a “demand letter” to the interim administrator of Pulitzer Prizes threatening to sue the board unless if it didn’t “strip” the New York Times and Washington Post of its 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.” Then she sued James to stop the civil investigation into DDT’ financial affairs. Habba is known for her appearances on the highly conservative network Newsmax and repeatedly calls Biden an “illegitimate president.” In a threat, she said James might soon have “a bunny boiling in a pot,” referring to an act of revenge in the movie Fatal Attraction.

In the conference before the judge, criminal defense attorney Ron Fischetti failed in his demand for “immunity for what he says, or he says nothing.” Alan Futefas, attorney for DDT’s children, also demanded grand jury immunity as witnesses.

In another possible problem for DDT, a House committee has asked the General Services Administration to terminate DDT’s lease on the Washington, D.C. hotel, citing the Mazars’ letter as evidence that information used to obtain the lease is bogus. The committee cited “new information” that he “may have submitted inaccurate financial information to the federal government to obtain this lease and that he stands to reap millions in profit from selling the lease, reinforce the serious ethical and legal concerns previously raised by the Committee.” Last year Mazars showed DDT said he lost over $70 million at the hotel while he was in the White House. DDT wants to sell the lease for $375 million, netting him at least $76 million, but cannot if the GSA terminates it.

After DDT received so much bad news—including the National Archives confirmation he had stolen top secret documents and hidden them at Mar-a-Lago—he turned to a report by John Durham, who he called Robert Durham, as a diversion. DDT’s AG Bill Barr had assigned Durham to dig up dirt on Robert Mueller’s special investigation. In two years, the only indictment was cybersecurity attorney Michael Sussmann for allegedly lying to the FBI. Durham misspoke when he said Sussmann was working for Hillary Clinton during her 2016 campaign, and a week ago the right-wingers launched into the lie that Durham had proof the Clinton’s operatives “spied on” the former president.

Durham has backed off the right-wing claims, especially after the facts show the data, available without any “spying,” appeared during the Obama era. Durham neglected to include the timeline so the GOP and conservative media made wrong assumptions. These comments didn’t stop Fox from their massive coverage, but Clinton’s speech may have helped. She indicated the Fox coverage might be described as “actual malice,” grounds for a lawsuit. Before her tweet, Fox made 219 comments about the situation in six days; afterwards the mention went to once in 11 hours. That was after DDT falsely accused Clinton of breaking into the White House and his New York apartment, saying her actions should be “punishable by death.”

DDT’s next rally, a fundraiser for David Perdue in Georgia on March 16, will try to help Perdue’s failing campaign for governor against incumbent Brian Kemp. DDT seeks revenge for Kemp not overturning the state election for DDT, but Perdue is doing poorly in both fundraising and polling. 

February 14, 2022

Just on Monday: DDT’s Finances, Sarah Palin’s Lost Lawsuit, Trucker Convoy

The rats are leaving the sinking Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) ship. His tax firm, Mazars Accounting, fired the Trump Organization as its client and stated that last decade’s statements “should no longer be relied upon.”  AG Letitia James, investigating DDT’s financial affairs for a civil suit, had already described his valuation process as often inaccurate or misleading when compared with the supporting data and documentation that the Trump Organization submitted to its accounting firm.” DDT greatly low-balled the property valuations for taxation purposes while inflating them to get loans.

Last year, James obtained DDT’s personal and corporate tax returns back to 2011. Mazars refuse finish this year’s tax returns, due February 15, 2021, including personal returns for Melania Trump and Donald Trump Jr. The taxes have unresolved information regarding the apartment of Matthew Calamari Jr., son of DDT’s security director, who was called to testify in a separate case about a tax fraud scheme for employees receiving untaxed payment including cars and apartments.

Mazars executive and accountant Donald Bender has helped prepare DDT’s financial statements since at least 2002. The company’s departure is joined by banks, law firms, and consulting firms refused to do business with the Trump Organization. The Trump Organization statement declared there were no “material discrepancies.” James’ examination of DDT’s statements to banks and insurers between 2004 and 2020, however, revealed numerous discrepancies between the properties’ condition and DDT’s assertions about them on those such as his Seven Springs estate (Westchester County, NY), his triplex in Trump Tower, his Scotland golf resort, his Westchester golf club, Trump Park Avenue in Manhattan, and his 40 Wall Street office building.

James’ office found inaccuracies in the Trump Organization statements to the IRS and General Services, holding the federal lease to DDT’s D.C. hotel. The attorney general is working with Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg in his criminal investigation. DDT’s son Eric, who oversees the Trump businesses, and the Trumps’ lawyers, claim James has a political bias.

Last fall, DDT was $1.3 billion in debt, including an additional $200 million after he left the White House. Over $730 million is owed in the next three years, part of it $100 million on Trump Tower in September 2022 and $285 on a New York skyscraper million in November 2022. Another $353 million comes due in 2023 and 2024.  By 2020, DDT was down to $93 million in liquid assets, $200 million less than in 2015, and could owe between $100 million and $300 million or more in back taxes, restitution, and penalties. None of DDT’s businesses makes a profit, and his legal fees of $1.6 million are rapidly increasing. 

DDT’s holdings may be worth $2.1 billion, but that’s about two-thirds of their value before the pandemic. Before his father died, DDT declared bankruptcy and got more millions from his father, no longer possible. His only guaranteed income is an annual pension of about $200,000 for having been elected president, and his move toward “poverty” could be dangerous for the United States. DDT’s wealth of information, especially if he’s receiving classified briefings, will be valuable to foreign governments when he seeks help from them. Without help from domestic banks, foreign loans are his only resort. His biggest need, however, would be to be elected president to regain that clout.

To divert from from attention from Mazurs’ letter that he was likely cheating on his taxes and other financial statements, DDT promoted the evidence-free claim that Hillary Clinton “spied” on him during his campaign by hacking him. He called for Clinton to be executed, and sycophant Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) echoed the call to kill Clinton for the non-existent crime. Jordan said, “We’ve never seen anything like this in history …, truly unprecedented,” failing to acknowledge that most of what DDT does is “truly unprecedented.”

Jordan also has a reason for diverting the media into a new direction: he’s been called before the House January 6 investigative committee to explain his personal role in the insurrection—another “truly unprecedented” action. Michael Edison Hayden with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s intelligence project referenced Jordan and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) when he said, “Some of these politicians sound more like 8chan posters, or Daily Stormer commenters, than leaders.” Among other inflammatory declarations, DDT failed to condemn white supremacists, promoted the extremist Proud Boys, and told January 6 insurrectionists “we love you” in his video address after the attack on the U.S. Capitol.  

DDT accused former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann of working for Clinton in his investigation into a “covert communications channel” between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, tied to the Kremlin. Sussman actually represented Tech Executive-1. An examination of Special Investigator John Durham’s report shows no direct connection between the Clinton campaign and the Alfa Ban investigation, and Durham didn’t use the term “infiltrate” as Fox asserted.

These claims came from DDT’s former staffer Kash Patel who focuses on protecting DDT. He allegedly pushed intelligence agencies to release classified secrets, hoping to prove unfair prosecution of DDT and illegally disclosed classified information. Close to heading up the CIA, he was also suspected of controlling U.S. intelligence and military command centers to keep DDT in the White House. Patel was apppointed as Pentagon chief of staff in November 2020 and blocked President-elect Joe Biden’s transition from access to information and officials.

During the past six years, DDT has a history of non-fact accusations about being “wire tapped,” starting out with President Obama as the false perpetrator. With Patel, DDT entered another chapter.

After a decade-long battle, Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate, again lost her libel case against the New York Times this time when a judge plans to dismiss the lawsuit. He said she didn’t meet the high legal standard of “actual malice” in a 2017 editorial with an inaccurate claim about her and would formally issue the ruling after the jury verdict. It was the first libel suit against the NYT to go to trial almost 20 years.  Palin may appeal the ruling to a higher court. The trial had been delayed because of Palin’s positive COVID results although she ate out twice in New York restaurants during that time without wearing a mask.

The newspaper editorial connected the 2011 shooting of then-Rep. Gabby Giffords, along with the wounding of 13 others and the deaths of six, to the map on Palin’s website from her PAC showing crosshairs on several districts, including that of Giffords. After the NYT apologized for the error of the connection, a judge initially dismissed the case, but a federal court took it. The New York Times v. Sullivan case (1964) ruled that a public figure must prove an outlet operated with “actual malice” in publishing defamatory information.

The battle is not yet finished; the case could end up with the conservative Supreme Court that tends to rule against First Amendment rights. If the high court were to overturn the 1964 decision, right-wing media outlets could be in worse trouble than mainstream sources.

On the flip side, a federal judge, appointed by DDT, has ruled that federal agencies cannot base decisions on the global “social cost of carbon.” In Louisiana, James Cain stated that the guideline “directly causes harm” for state revenue from the oil and gas lease sales.

The trucker convoy in Canada to stop mandatory vaccinations for Canada-U.S. crossings is temporarily halted, and traffic again flows on Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit (MI) daily carrying $360 million in cargo, about 25 percent of the trade between the two countries. The seven-day blockade caused just the auto industry to face losses as high as $988 million. The cost of the blockades so far has been estimated at $300 million a day. Plants from Ford, GM, Stellantis, Honda, and Toyota have all been idled, and hundreds of thousands of workers without pay are accompanied by a shortage of new cars, once again forcing up prices.

Protesters are still choking traffic in Ottawa and crossings in Emerson, Manitoba, and Coutts, Alberta. Canada’s capital is still paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional daily policing. Over half the Canadians, 53 percent, oppose the protests, and 59 percent disapprove of the truckers’ tactics. The numbers are rising as the protests continue.

Evidence of U.S. support from conservatives came after hackers found the 92,845 donors to the Christian fundraising site GiveSendGo and put them online. Vice grabbed the data: 56 percent of donors came from the U.S. although the 29 percent of Canadians outraised them, $4.3 million to $3.6 million. Hackers also diverted the website, still offline, to GiveSendDone.wtf that shows a video from Disney’s film Frozen with a statement comparing donors to insurrectionists. GiveSendGo provides a platform for extremists—the Proud Boys, QAnon followers, and families of January 6 insurrectionists in prison. A Canadian judge froze the $8.7 million from the Christian site, and the GoFundMe website was closed down after $10 million, returning all but $1 million to the donors.  

Rep. Rand Paul (R-KY) is just one GOP congressional member calling for big trucker protests in the United States to “clog things up” and incidentally destabilize the nation’s economy. Their promotion failed at the Super Bowl so now they’re hoping to blockade Biden’s State of the Union speech on March 1. The GOP, the new party of protest.  

February 13, 2022

Christian Nationalists Take Over U.S.

Last fall, Mike Flynn, the first National Security Adviser for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) who was fired in less than three weeks, said, “We have to have one religion. One national under God, and one religion under God.” Company at the “Reawaken America Tour” included Alex Jones (“the devil’s reign on this planet is coming to an end”), MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, DDT-pardoned Roger Stone, and the incessant “Let’s go, Brandon” chant.

Ohio’s GOP Senate candidate Josh Mandel declared, “We should be instilling faith in the classroom, in the workplace, and everywhere in society.” Fired by DDT because he wouldn’t overturn the 2020 election, former AG Bill Barr received an award from the Catholics and blamed all the ills of society on the nation for not being Christian. The rejection of separation of church and state has joined the radicalization of violence as those searching for a theocracy supports a ”Holy War,” just like Islam jihadists.  

In the past year, Republicans, pushed by far-right Christians have rewritten the history of the January 6 insurrection, according to a report from the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. Journalists and researchers found the Christian nationalism behind the January 6 insurrection drives the rewrite. Christian nationalist support for the insurrectionists doubled in the past year with support for prosecuting rioters declining by 20 percent, leading to “future potential violence.” According to Christian nationalists, the United States was created as a Christian nation with its founding documents divinely inspired. “True Americans” are “white, culturally conservative, natural-born citizens.” Almost half the people in the U.S. want to fuse Christianity and civil life.

The report explains that the movement of Christian nationalism into the mainstream came from the “Holy War” coding of the “War on Terror” after 9/11. The insurrection was filled with Christian symbols and multiple statements about God’s hand or voice leading them to break into the Capitol. Proud Boys prayed in the street as “God’s warriors.” At DDT’s rally on January 6, a group of young men, followers of White nationalist Nick Fuentes, waved “America First” flags and chanted, “Christ is King!” Fuentes’ followers use this chant at anti-vax and anti-abortion protest while holding up crucifixes as well as at the America First conference when Fuentes said America will no longer be America “if it loses its faith in Jesus Christ.” He called the U.S. “a Christian nation.” During the U.S. attack on the Capitol, insurrectionists, including Fuentes’ followers, prayed and waved banners reading “Proud American Christian.” Their philosophy includes racism, anti-Semitism, and passionate nationalism.

From believers in Christian nationalism come the lies that Antifa or Black Lives Matter caused the violence on Jan. 6 and DDT is blameless. They believe that the 2020 election was rigged, violence is necessary to save the country, and Democrats are involved in “elite child trafficking.”

A study published last September in Political Psychology shows that Republicans change their moral values to be congruous with DDT. Researchers said:

“Political leadership is moral leadership. Many voters revise even their fundamental views of what they describe as right and wrong based on their perceptions of the candidates they support. Ideas and positions that might have seemed out of bounds can become normalized very quickly if they receive support from political leaders.”

This shift can be a reason for intractable partisan conflict blocking debate: “voters from each party may not even share a common understanding of the candidates in question.” Although the study was for the 2016 election, follow-up work shows even greater polarization for Biden supporters, and “anti-democratic attitudes among Trump supporters.”

Christian nationalists are indoctrinating their students in public schools. In Huntington (WV), students were taken to an assembly during school where they were told to close their eyes, raise their arms in prayer, and turn their lives over to Christ to save themselves from eternal damnation. A Jewish student asked to leave, and the teacher told him he couldn’t because the classroom was locked. Learning of their rights, about 100 students walked out of school in protest.

Oklahoma has a pending bill permitting parents to sue teachers who provide instruction opposing the “closely held religious beliefs of students.” Parents can also demand any book on school shelves with LGBTQ content be removed. Each incident is worth $10,000—like the anti-abortion law in Texas—with a $10,000 charge for every day the book stays on the shelf. Teachers must pay the money “from personal resources” without “any assistance from individuals or groups.” Any teacher who cannot pay will be immediately fired without the right to teach in the state for five years. An offence could be teaching evolution if any students believes in creationism or forms of birth control if a student believes in abstinence. Or correctly explaining the mix of religious and non-religious Founding Fathers.  

Evangelicals have been joined by libertarian billionaires who think tax money should not be wasted on improving “the underclasses” that they “worked so hard to earn.” Put people in these two categories with white supremacist militia leaders who want to expand their white membership by “taking on authorities” and Fox propaganda makes the issue of book burning and anti-teaching a winner. Within the past few months, they have all created a non-existent moral panic leading to hundreds of GOP bills in double-digit numbers of red states to censor books and school curricula.

Accompanying those bills, many of them turned into punitive laws, is the movement to completely privatize public education like the one fighting segregation after the 1954 Brown v. Topeka Supreme Court decision ended racial segregation in public schools. Counties responded by closing their schools and opening “Christian academies,” meaning White only. These schools morphed into Ronald Reagan’s charter schools which began to dominate public education. Washington, D.C. has as many for-profit charter schools as public schools.

Former Secretary of Education and billionaires Betsy DeVos wants to destroy unionized public education because she believes any “reform” is impossible:

“Because wokeness is the left’s religion, ‘banning’ critical race theory or the 1619 Project won’t fix the problem. The liberal education establishment will simply rename, rebrand, or repackage these insidious ideas to get around so-called bans.”

Republicans specialize in creating panics: Islamophobia, birther claims against President Obama, migrant caravans heading to the southern border, “bathroom hysteria” against trans students, etc. The only losers in the current crisis are minorities and youth, and almost all students can’t vote.

The new panic against “history” and education is being twisted into “parental rights,” a strategy that Glenn Youngkin, worth $440 millionaire, used to drop himself into the Virginia gubernatorial seat. Right-wingers, especially Christian fundamentalists, don’t want young people to think for themselves; that’s why they are discouraged from attending higher education. Intellectual curiosity tends to separate from the church that wants them to be obedient to whatever the leadership claims. The “biblical parenting” movement starting in 1970 from James Dobson’s book Dare to Discipline promotes a believe in “the enforced submission of children to absolute authority.” Children are to be “trained,” not educated. Striking children is outlawed in 63 countries but “legal in all 50 states.”

The Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation led the promotion of the term “critical race theory” that outrages some parents in curriculum about racism in history and literature classes. A hate group behind the movement, the white supremacist International Organization for the Family, pushes the authoritarian and patriarchal definition of family. Originally called the World Congress of Families, it excludes any families except a married man and woman with their biological children; the man is the head of the household and the woman the bearer of children. All families must follow this pattern to prevent the “demographic winter,” caused by women in the workplace, abortion, homosexuality, and any other deviations from the “natural family.”

All these mandates are lumped under “parental rights,” a term that blocks education about history, critical thinking skills, literature and art, health education including information about sexuality and gender orientation/identity. Eliminating these elements in education removes young people’s right to expand their horizons and grow up to become healthy adults. The Christian right, however, doesn’t want children to think for themselves, even when they become adults.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the “replacement” for the brilliant jurist Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is leading the conservative majority on the Supreme Court to turn the U.S. into a theocracy. Less than a month after her confirmation, she led the decision in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, permitting churches to spread COVID throughout the congregation in the name of “religious liberty” instead of complying with state directives for all large gatherings.     

In an earlier case Chief Justice John Roberts had stated that “an ‘unelected federal judiciary’ … lacks the background, competence, and expertise to assess public health and is not accountable to the people.” No longer. As shown in the overruling of vaccine mandates, ignorant conservative justices believe they know all. And the same rulings will occur for book selection and school curricula. Gone is “a neutral law of general applicability” requiring “religious liberty” followers to follow the same laws and rules as everyone else. Religious cases are now being heard in the high court far more often than previously, many of them in shadow dockets without argument—and the rules are weighted in favor of conservatives, especially the Christian right. Thus, conservative religious objectors get exceptions, disfavored groups including “lesser” religions get fewer rights, and the separation of church and state is crumbling.

February 12, 2022

Updates: DDT, Protests, RNC, Abbott

The story of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) and his theft of gifts and federal documents may never end. This article is for people who want to claim DDT’s innocence. And other updates from stories earlier this week:  

Canadian Truck Convoy Protest:  

A judge gave permission to clear a primary crossing from Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit (MI), and Canadian police cleared the vehicles. Other protesters still prevented access from going south on the crossing with about 180 remaining late Saturday, February 12. That crossing is the busiest between the two countries, carrying about 25 percent of the trade.

Demonstrators blocked the Ambassador Bridge for the past five days claiming they objected to a vaccination mandate to cross the border. Protests began on January 29.  Lack of parts forced Ford to temporarily stop work at an Ohio assembly plant in Ohio, and General Motors and Toyota announced production cuts, costing up to $700 million. This crossing is one of at least three closed to commerce by truckers, the others into Montana and North Dakota.  

The Toronto-Dominion has frozen two protester group’s personal bank accounts  of $1.1 million deposited by different crowdfunding sites, now blocked, one of them by the Canadian Superior Court of Justice. Much of the money came from the United States. 

The protesting truckers are not representative of Canadian truckers or population. The Canadian Trucking Alliance disavowed the participants, saying that most of them “have no connection with the trucking industry.” Over 84 percent of the Canadian population is vaccinated, compared to 64 percent of people in the U.S., and two-thirds of Canadians oppose the protest. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, representing 1.4 million people in the U.S. Canada, and Puerto Rico, also opposes the blockade at the border, stating it “continues to hurt workers and negatively impact our economy. The livelihood of working Americans and Canadians in the automotive, agricultural, and manufacturing sectors is threatened by this blockade.”

France and Belgium are banning road blockades, but reports in the U.S. indicate demonstrations affecting Super Bowl on Sunday and the State of the Union address next month. Paris police fired tear gas at demonstrators on the Champs Elysees avenue after a convoy of protesters against COVID restrictions moved into the French capital.

The Fox network leads the U.S. media charge in supporting the protest following the show hosts’ objections to vaccination despite their employer’s requirement they have them.  The network has spent over ten airtime hours for the story with over an hour each for Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, and at least 14 protest participants have been hosted on Fox. In the past month, Fox News has mentioned the truckers or Ottawa 2.5 times as often as CNN and five times as often as MSNBC. The network praises protesters just as they did the insurrectionists on January 6, 2021, calling them “freedom fighters” and more.

Participation in the convoy protest comes from a coordination between anti-vax and anti-government organizations, many of them QAnon conspiracy theorists. Popular among the protesters are the Confederate and neo-Nazi flags as well as QAnon logos. Fake accounts on social media connected to content mills in Vietnam, Bangladesh, Romania, and other countries have pushed popularity with the right wing, including lawmakers Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) as well as DDT. Right-wingers convinced Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) that the truckers had overturned the Canadian government, and Joe Rogan, in trouble on Spotify for his lies and racism, claimed there were “like 50,000 trucks” protesting instead of the highest estimate thus far of 18,000. Other lies were the resignation of “50 percent of the Ottawa police force” in support and Canada blocking hotels from renting to convoy protesters.

Teamsters General Jim Hoffa explained the support is to disrupt the supply chain causing economic stabilization and weakened government in power. It follows the CIA’s destabilizing Chile’s government run by democratically elected Salvador Allende with a truckers’ strike in 1972. Allende was soon overthrown by right-wing dictator General Augusto Pinochet. 

RNC Censure Resolution: 

Most GOP congressional members have completely separated themselves from the RNC after their voice vote to censure Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), members of the January 6 investigative committee. On Bulwark, Willliam Saletan compiled the dizzying spin of cultish Republicans as they excuse their censure of Cheney and Kinzinger for taking ethical action and called the January 6 insurrection, a “legitimate political discourse.”

  • They voted to impeach DDT—the second time.
  • They are taking part in a plot to sabotage the GOP. Cheney voted for DDT 93 percent of the time and Kinzinger 90 percent.
  • Republicans say: We’re not on the committee; it’s their business.
  • Nikki Haley doesn’t want “Republicans going against Republicans.”
  • Republicans aren’t responsible for the RNC, and Chris Christie, who wanted to be the RNC chair, says the resolution is irrelevant.
  • According to Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Cheney is on her own with Wyoming voters.
  • Cheney and Kinzinger are losers because Cheney was removed from House TOP leadership and will probably lose her primary. Kinzinger isn’t running for re-election.
  • The January 6 investigation is illegitimate because it’s an attack on DDT, his family, friends, and “all the people he fought for,” claimed Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
  • The investigation is illegitimate because it’s partisan after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “rejected [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy’s appointees.” She only refused two, one of them who might be subpoenaed and both who suggested they will sabotage the committee. McCarthy pulled all of his nominees.
  • The investigation is illegitimate because it goes beyond the events of January 6 that led up to the attack: coercion of state officials, recruitment of fake electors, threats to seize voting machines, etc. The GOP wanted to know everything about the attack on the Benghazi diplomatic outpost killing four people but nothing about what led to January 6.
  • The investigation is illegitimate because it goes beyond security failures.
  • Nobody cares about January 6.
  • DDT is right to question the election, from Republicans who pander to the cult leader.

A self-appointed House “committee,” including DDT supporters Jordan, Banks, Rodney Davis (IL), Kelly Armstrong (ND), and Troy Nehls (TX), is investigating the Capitol Police to blame them for the January 6 attack. A bipartisan Senate report has found that intelligence agencies didn’t sufficiently warn law enforcement before the riot; senior officials in charge of the Capital Police didn’t receive a January 5, 2021, FBI memo warning of a brewing “war” in Washington. Lacking subpoena power, the shadow House group relies on voluntary interviews.  

After the RNC censure resolution, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) repeated his assertion that January 6 was a “violent insurrection” intended to “prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election.” DDT reacted:

“Mitch McConnell does not speak for the Republican Party, and does not represent the views of the vast majority of its voters. He did nothing to fight for his constituents and stop the most fraudulent election in American history.”

McConnell’s popularity is 25 percent, but the number of conservatives who identify as “supporters of Trump” versus “supporters of the Republican Party” shrank to 36 percent from 46 percent. Conservative Sen. Kevin Kramer (ND) accused the RNC of getting “caught up in its own bubble” with “a complete lack of understanding or awareness of the people they’re supposed to be representing.”

According to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll, 68 percent of registered voters think the January 6 insurrectionists should not be pardoned as DDT suggested he might do: 81 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of unaffiliated, and 54 percent of Republicans. Only 20 percent of registered voters want them pardoned despite DDT’s offer to do it at his Texas rally.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

The problems Abbott has after indefinitely assigning 6,500 National Guard members to the Mexico border worsened after the sixth soldier died from an accidental shooting by a fellow soldier. The 19-year-old was handing a personal weapon to another soldier in the backseat of a parked vehicle, and the gun’s discharge hit him in the back. He died at the scene. All six deaths were from personal weapons, four of them suicides since October when they were hastily mobilized. A ruse for arresting asylum seekers at the border is for law enforcement to order them to a particular location and then charging them with trespassing.

A progressive Lincoln Project ad lambasted Abbott for failing Texas a year ago when millions of Texas faced freezing temperatures without heat or electricity. Several people died in their homes from the cold. Abbott faces primary challenges on March 1 from other Republicans. The ad points out the millions in campaign cash Abbott received from “big power and energy companies.”

A federal judge temporarily blocked Texas counties from criminally charging public officials for encouraging the use of mail ballots for the March 1 primary election. The new state voting law includes this provision in trying to prevent mail-in ballots used by over one million Texas voters in the 2020 election. The new law also permits heavy restrictions on who can mail their ballots and violates their privacy by demanding they include their driver’s license or partial Social Security number on the envelope. Thousands of mail ballots have been flagged for possible rejection, including 40 percent of those received in Harris County with about 2.5 million registered voters.

And then there’s the unraveling Russia-Ukraine problem. Too much news these days!

February 11, 2022

Why DDT Had Trouble Flushing His Toilets – It’s Classified

How many ways did Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) get rid of official documents while he was in the White House? People have known for years that he illegally tore them up when they should go into the National Archives. Reports a week ago, revealed he sent them off to be burned and took more—at least 15 boxes of them and perhaps more—to his post-White House residence at Mar-a-Lago. But more information keeps leaking out.

Since that time, reports have been issued about DDT not only chewing up documents but also trying to flush them down the toilet. Years ago, he repeatedly announced at his rallies that he would have to flush toilets ten to fifteen times to get them to work. After Maggie Haberman explained DDT’s process of getting rid of important White House records in her book  Confidence Man, to be released in October, the reason is clear.  Engineers had to be repeatedly called to clear toilets. According to former White House officials, DDT is “terrified” of the discovery he tried to flush papers down a toilet. In an appearance on The View, former White House communications aide Alyssa Farah said DDT is frightened of the information in Haberman’s book. “He’s scared of that. He is mortified,” Farah said. Haberman has covered DDT since 2011.

A question is whether DDT can be convicted of any crimes, but the 15 boxes of federal materials thus far rescued have classified information, documents marked Top Secret, defined as those that “could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage” to national security if disclosed without authorization. The president of the United States can declassify information, but it has to be done before he leaves the office. Otherwise, the documents are still classified.

DDT faces another problem, serious gaps in the official White House telephone logs, especially on January 6. The House January 6 committee investigating the insurrection found few calls regarding DDT. It is common knowledge that DDT ignored appropriate channels of presidential communication by using his personal cell phone and those of his aides. Yet DDT cried “lock her up” and declared “worse than Watergate” about Hillary Clinton using a private server for email because it was more secure than the government one.  

In his attempt to defend himself, DDT returned to his accusations that the Clintons stole White House furniture and concealed 30,000 classified emails, a debunked claim. He did rant about “two legal standards, one for Republicans and one for Democrats,” correct because the Republicans are being silent about DDT’s crimes. Thank to media and governmental support for DDT, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election was destroyed ten days before voting when the FBI and the New York Times spread the insinuation that Clinton’s emails might be on a laptop already examined. The Times was only continuing its hype of the emails story throughout the entire campaign, always claiming that her carelessness was of grave national importance. The Clinton emails story was political because of no criminal evidence; evidence clearly demonstrates DDT’s criminal behavior.

Aides found preserving records difficult because DDT preferred handwritten notes and printed documents to email correspondence. He also added calendar items without notifying proper channels and sometimes failed to have a stenographer and representative from the White House Communications Agency record interviews or videos for social media. Former White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster on Friday said National Security Council staffers had a “foolproof” system for their own record keeping, but he left the White House in 2018.

The National Archives began searching for DDT’s missing documents in May 2021 when employees noticed important items were not found such as DDT’s correspondence with Kim Jong-Un and the map that DDT altered with a Sharpie pen during Hurricane Dorian after he mistakenly said the 2019 cyclone was going to Alabama. After a failed resolution with the person designated as the records contact person, one of DDT’s impeachment defense attorneys, the archives lawyer went to another DDT attorney last fall. DDT claimed “the papers were given easily and without conflict and on a very friendly basis,” but the situation has “not been fully resolved” because DDT still has documents belonging to the Archives. The Archives told DDT’s team that it would alert Congress and the DOJ if not quickly resolved.

Aides found preserving records difficult because DDT preferred handwritten notes and printed documents to email correspondence. He also added calendar items without notifying proper channels and sometimes failed to have a stenographer and representative from the White House Communications Agency record interviews or videos for social media. Former White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster on Friday said National Security Council staffers had a “foolproof” system for their own record keeping, but he left the White House in 2018.

The job of leading the National Archives and Records Administration should be fairly peaceful—and it may have been until authoritarian Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) moved into the White House. David Ferriero, scheduled to retire in a few weeks, has had the position since 2009 in overseeing the agencies three dozen facilities across the nation that contain over 13 billion pages of documents. In a statement, Ferriero said:

“The Presidential Records Act mandates that all presidential records must be properly preserved by each administration so that a complete set of presidential records is transferred to the National Archives at the end of the administration. NARA pursues the return of records whenever we learn that records have been improperly removed or have not been appropriately transferred to official accounts.”

House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has initiated a probe into the 15 boxes of records obtained from Mar-a-Lago, asking for information about its contents and DDT’s actions “to destroy or attempt to destroy (presidential records), and any actions NARA has taken to recover or preserve these documents.”

NARA has asked the DOJ to look into DDT’s treatment of White House records because the National Archives has no enforcement mechanism. The person destroying government records commits a crime only if the person knows it is breaking the law. DDT knew he was breaking the law. While in the White House, its counsel Donald McGahn had explained the Presidential Records Act to DDT as had two of his chiefs of staff Reince Priebus and John Kelly. An internal 2017 memo also warned that the destruction of presidential records is a crime. Starting early in his 2016 presidential campaign, DDT accused Hillary Clinton of breaking the law by supposedly mismanaging emails.  As early as 2017, a study revealed the Times the same number of cover stories about Clinton’s emails as “all the policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to the election.” But Fox network now largely ignores DDT’s criminal activity in contrast to how it would treat the same behavior from President Joe Biden. Public Notice’s Aaron Rupar tweeted:  

“If two prominent reporters broke news that Joe Biden was flushing documents down White House toilets, [Fox News Channel personality Sean] Hannity would anchor special Fox News coverage that would last through 2024. Trump flushing documents down WH toilets has been mentioned twice on Fox News today, once in passing.”

DDT’s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has worked hard to cover up DDT’s crimes. Appearing on the far-right Newsmax, his spin on the situation turned him into a whirligig. “We were very diligent in making sure that we preserved those documents, and ultimately I think the record will show that,” Meadows told Newsmax anchor Rob Schmitt. He continued:

“When the staff secretary prepares documents, actually those documents got reviewed in the West Wing, they got signed in the West Wing. The staff secretary was very diligent in making sure that those documents were preserved for the federal records. To suggest that somehow now that this should be news is just hard to imagine.”

Meadows ridiculed the notion that ripped-up papers requiring tapping back together “show some nefarious purpose.” He moved on to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) ripping up a photocopy copy of DDT’s last State of the Union speech at the end of his performance. DDT had given Pelosi the copy before he started speaking. Meadows claimed  that “those documents,” meaning the president’s speech put onto teleprompter, couldn’t be found and “somehow she got a pass.” The “documents” actually belonged to the White House because it was DDT’s speech.

Meadows also asserted that Hillary Clinton committed the real scandal in which she “destroyed documents.” DDT’s response to Pelosi’s ripping his speech in half proves he knows the law when he declared “it’s illegal” to tear up “an official document.” He concluded, “She broke the law.” Actually, she didn’t, but he did.

A warning for DDT: Patrick Garner of Cardinal Plumbing, Heating & Air in Northern Virginia said that “computer paper” caught in a toilet if DDT tries to flush it “can maintain legibility.” Maybe back to a bonfire.

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