Nel's New Day

May 31, 2022

New Revelations about Uvalde School Mass Shooting, Research about Firearms

News about the mass shooting in Uvalde (TX) on May 24 keeps leaking out. Killed were 19 students under 11 years old in an elementary classroom with their two teachers while 19 law enforcement officers stayed in the hallway and heard shots inside the room. Another 17 people were injured, and the shooter was finally killed after 78 minutes while children kept calling 911 for help and parents begged to get inside to save their children.

Texas was supposedly investigating police mistakes, but the city police and the school district are no longer cooperating with any probe after a press conference on May 27 when DPS Director, Col. Steven McCraw, said delaying policy entry to save the children was “the wrong decision” and contrary to protocol. ISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who ordered law enforcement to wait over an hour, was sworn onto the Uvalde city council on May 31 despite the claim it would wait. He stopped cooperating with state investigators and has not responded to requests for information since Friday, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Police chief and school district spokesperson are not commenting about these events. 

The police had tried to blame a teacher for blocking open a door and allowing the shooter to enter, but their accusation has now been proved wrong by a video showing that the woman slammed the door shut. It was supposed to automatically lock. She ran inside and called 911 but returned to shut the door when she heard someone yelling about the attacker and saw the shooter with a gun jump the fence.

On May 25, a federal judge in New York ruled that manufacturers can be held liable when “a manufacturer or seller of a [firearm] knowingly violated a State or Federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the product.” A New York law permits gun violence victims, their families, and the state of New York “to hold bad actors in the gun industry accountable for their role in fueling the epidemic of gun violence.” The industry has tried to claim the law “unconstitutional.” A 2005 law signed by George W. Bush gave the weapons industry almost complete immunity from charges by victims of their products, preventing them from the lawsuits controlling Big Tobacco.

On May 17, the day after his 18th birthday, the shooter bought two Daniel Defense DDMA V7 rifles, modeled after the military’s go-to rifle the M4 carbine. Each one sells for over $1,870. This rifle has become popular with mass shooters because it shoots a heavier round at much higher velocities. Greater momentum results in greater tissue damage in the body, guaranteeing death if a person is hit in the pelvic area or upper shoulder, unlike being shot by a handgun. The NRA raffled off the Daniel Defense DDMA V7 rifle as part of its conference festivities three days after the murders.

The popular manufacturer of AR-15 style assault rifles has a questionable history of advertising. Days before the shooting, the company posted a photograph of a toddler cradling one of its guns with the verse form Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The NFL refused a Daniel Defense Ad during the 2014 Super Bowl XLVIII. It focused on a man coming home to his wife and baby with this voiceover:

“I am responsible for their protection, and no one has the right to tell me how to defend them. So I’ve chosen the most effective tool for the job.”

Owner Marty Daniel turned the rejection from the NFL into free publicity. He targets younger customers with pop culture icons and video games as well as older people in the U.S. and gun control. On the day of the shooting, Daniel Defense tweeted, “Do you run a DDM4 V7? With a photo of the company’s branded ball cap and vest with the rifle in full view.

After the Uvalde killing, he echoed the GOP standard reaction—“our thoughts and our prayers.” Since then, he has kept a lower profile in not attending the NRA convention. In 2017, the shooter who killed 58 people at an outdoor music festival in Las Vegas had four Daniel Defense semi-automatic rifles. Daniel’s Facebook page used the “thoughts and prayers” message. He thinks God granted “the right to bear arms.” 

Daniel has “hardened” since a mass shooter killed 26 people in the Sutherland Springs (TX) First Baptist Church, and he briefly backed a federal bill to strengthen the nation’s firearms background check. With a domestic violence record, that killer should not have been able to purchase firearms, but the charges weren’t logged into the right database. Congress corrected that problem. Daniel’s customers were furious, and he backed down. About mass shootings, Daniel said:

“The first thing you do is hope your gun wasn’t used. And if your gun was used, you would try to rationalize it. We did everything legal, right? What else could we have done?”

After mass shootings, the media make much of the firearm but almost nothing about the bullets. But bullets in the military-style weapons purchased in Texas with no license can produce so much damage that the dead children could be identified only through DNA. In his online messages, the shooter bragged about his expanding, hollow-point bullets, the most destructive form of ammunition thus far. Their use on the battlefield is a war crime, the Hague Convention bans them, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court bars their use. The 18-year-old teenager bought 375 of these rounds for his rampage. The U.S. has no federal law against stacking these bullets in a high-capacity magazine for weapons of war used by civilians in their mass killings.

Guns now kill more children than car accidents. More children die of gunfire than on-duty police officers and active military members. When the CDC began to examine gun violence in the 1990s as a public health issue, the NRA led opposition to strip the research of funding. By 2020, the rate of deaths from gun injuries was 25 percent higher than those in car crashes. Legislation has made cars safer while many states legislate greater danger from gun ownership. The U.S. has far more guns than industrialized European and Asian countries along with a homicide rate 49 times higher and a firearm suicide rate eight times higher. Assaults with firearms in states with the most guns were 6.8 times more common in 2015 than states with the least guns. Higher gun ownership equates to higher rates of homicide, and having a gun in the home doubles the chance of chance of being killed with a gun. In places where guns or gun dealers open for business, killings increase. When Missouri repealed its permit law, gun-related killings increased 25 percent.

Shootings of over 8 people doubled in frequency in the decade after 2010, according to University of Alabama criminologist Dr. Adam Lankford. They also worsened in number of fatalities and targeted elementary school children. Shootings aren’t random, and shooters learn from each other in contagion copycat effects. In over half the U.S. incidents, the shooter had more than one firearm, and many of them didn’t own any guns until the last year of their attack.

More research about gun ownership:

Last year, a poll showed people wanted to stop people with mental illnesses from purchasing guns by a majority of 87 percent to 12 percent.

The same poll showed people wanting background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows by 81 percent to 18 percent.

Even a majority, 64 percent to 36 percent, favor “banning high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.”

In 2005, California had 9.5 firearms deaths per 100,000 people that year, Florida had 10 and Texas 11. California tightened its gun laws while Florida and Texas loosened them. With one of the ten lowest rates of gun deaths in the nation, California’s rate of gun deaths declined by 10 percent; rates in Texas and Florida climbed 28 percent and 37 percent respectively.

Chicago is often cited for its large number of gun-related homicides, but the vast majority of guns used in these crimes come from neighboring states having lax laws.

The states with America’s lowest rates of gun-related deaths all have strict gun laws; states allowing easy availability of guns have higher rates.

Banning assault weapons in 1994 reduced mass shootings killings by 43 percent; repealing it in 2004 shot it up by 239 percent.

In a move against a Texas law, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked Texas’ mandate preventing large social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from moderating any content. Justice Elena Kagan joined three conservative justices—Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas—in agreeing that posts promising kidnapping, murder, rape, etc. as well as disinformation about COVID, election rigging, ISIS proselytizing, and Russia pro-invasion of Ukraine propaganda should not be blocked. Neither the majority nor Kagan explained their rationale.

Fortunately, the DOJ is also investigating the tragic fiasco in Ulvade, Texas. State officers appear to be too incompetent to carry out the probe. This isn’t the end. 

May 30, 2022

GOP Says Guns Have No Relationship to Shooting Deaths, Injuries

Filed under: Guns — trp2011 @ 10:15 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Once again, conservatives prove they love guns more than life—that of children as well as adults. Memorial Day Weekend saw 11 mass shootings—Chattanooga, Colorado Springs, Fresno, Malabar (FL), Chicago, Port Richmond (PA), Mecosta County (MI), Mesa (AZ), Memphis, Taft (OK), Nevada—shootings that killed at least seven people and 49 injured. Tampa, Atlanta, Baltimore, New York, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia saw other killings during the weekend. 

The “solutions” to mass shootings always begin with conservatives whining about how any criticism of guns is an attempt to “politicize” the tragic event. They stick to “thoughts and prayers” instead of working on safety for people. Guns aren’t responsible all the shootings, according to conservatives talking about last week’s massacre: the killing of 19 children and two teachers in an elementary classroom in Uvalde (TX).  

  • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who lied about his athletes being molested by a doctor while he was at the University of Ohio, lack of faith, family, and freedom is responsible.
  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) supports Jordan by saying that schools don’t have enough “God.”
  • Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) laid the blame on “fatherlessness” as the “root cause” of shootings. He did say there are questions about “glorification of violence” as he and his fellow Republicans glorify the insurrectionists at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
  • Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) accuses ADHD medication for the shootings.
  • Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) blamed killer for being transgender, which he wasn’t. Gosar got the names mixed up, but a trans person was killed after his accusation that went viral throughout the right-wingers.
  • Erich Pratt said gun control is the problem because “killers love gun control.”
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) may have the greatest variety of reasons for the increasing number of mass shootings: “the elites who dominate our culture,” the media, corporate leaders, Hollywood, homelessness, gangs, “radical” district attorneys, “cultural sickness,” despair, isolation, “sick souls,” broken families, absent fathers, lack of “moral values,” declining church attendance, social medial bullying, violent online content, video games, and drugs. Cruz expanded the most on what might be the most serious problem, however—doors. “The problem isn’t that there are too many guns out there, it’s that schools have too many doors—specifically more than one.”

The Uvalde school should have had “one door that goes in and out of the school,” according to Cruz. He didn’t address the number of windows and separate buildings on school campuses, and he didn’t explain how his solution would have stopped the killing of ten shoppers in Buffalo earlier this month. Juliette Kayyem, an expert in security, called the “one door” strategy “bad safety planning.” She tweeted:

“A ‘psychopath’ would then just target the kids backed up in line and waiting for this ‘one door’ to let them through.”

The NRA has more reasons beyond the need for a “good guy with a gun.” Members at the conference three days after the massacre blamed mental illness, evil, no demon control, and the “destruction of our children” from the teachings of the left. Several of the attendees accused the left of setting up conservatives because of the shooting by a teenager on two days before school was released for the summer. Guns aren’t the problem because the shooter “could have walked in there with a baseball bat and possibly killed as many kids,” according to an NRA benefactor.

https://www.alternet.org/2022/05/tucker-carlson-2657394885/?utm_source=123456&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=10535    Fox’s Tucker Carlson asked—in his clever insinuating manner—if COVID lockdown is responsible for mentally-ill teenagers. HuffPo answered Carlson’s question:

“Many countries implemented lengthy and isolating lockdowns during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Australia and New Zealand, which have stricter gun control measures than the U.S., experienced some of the world’s longest lockdowns, yet saw no comparable shootings.”

A Fox guest said that COVID vaccinations were responsible for mass shootings although they didn’t start 18 months ago.

Schools are at fault for mass shootings on their premises, conservatives repeated after the tragedy at Uvalde. They call for “hardening” schools to prevent future massacres. This school, however, already had the security measures they recommend, many of them except for arming all teachers and having only one door.

Uvalde received a grant to upgrade school security two years ago, but no one has clarified how the money was spent. The school has perimeter fencing, security cameras, portable metal detectors, radios for campus communication, locked doors, and other safety best practices, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) requested through a clearinghouse. The school spent $450,000 on security and monitoring services in the 2019-20 fiscal year, up from $200,000 the prior year. There was a school resource officer, but he wasn’t on campus when the shooter appeared and drove by the shooter in response to a 911 call before he approached a teacher who he thought was the criminal.   

New York Times National Correspondent Mike Baker examined Uvalde police active shooter training materials and tweeted how law enforcement conduct contradicted their training:

“In the past two years, the Uvalde school district has hosted at least two active-shooter training days. One of them was just two months ago.

“The trainings included both classroom teachings and role-playing scenarios inside school hallways.

“The Uvalde training session 2 months ago relied on guidelines that give explicit expectations for officers responding to an active shooter.

“The training is clear: Time is of the essence. ‘The first priority is to move in and confront the attacker.’

“But how should officers confront the gunman? With a tactical team? The training says that’s probably not feasible, because the urgency is so high.

“A SINGLE OFFICER, the training says, may need to confront the suspect on their own.

“The guidelines provide sobering clarity: The first officers may be risking their lives. But, it says, innocent lives take priority.

“A first responder unwilling to place the lives of the innocent above their own safety should consider another career field.”

“If you know children are being murdered, why do you wait? Get in there.”

Yet police officials said officers were reluctant to engage the gunman because “they could’ve been shot.” Guidelines explain that if one officer is shot, the second “is expected to go on responding solo.” The 19 officers were outside the classroom for 78 minutes while children kept calling from inside the classroom for help and shots were heard.

In initial press conferences, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott praised law enforcement for “showing amazing courage” and rapid response, but the story changed within a few days as bystanders gave factual information. The on-scene commander, Uvalde chief of police, had told law enforcement to not go into the room because “there were no kids at risk,” that despite hearing shots fired it was not an active-shooter situation. Officers could see the shooter killing children and teachers in the room when they arrived at the school, according to a Public Safety Department member. Initial officers “received gunfire” and failed to go inside because they received gunfire. They called for such additional resources as tactical teams, specialty equipment, body armor, and precision riflemen. Meanwhile, the shooter, who had 1,647 rounds for AR-15s kept firing.

Border patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement waited 50 minutes after they arrived at 12:00 to breach the classroom and kill the shooter. The timeline is here. At 12:15, 35 minutes before the room was breached, “eight or nine students” were still alive, according to a 911 call from a child inside the classroom. One student may have bled out in the time law enforcement took to go into the classroom. One classmate told another to stay quiet, but the police called out, “Yell if you need help.” The student said “help,” and the shooter killed him.

While parents were kept from going into the school to rescue their children, one mother even handcuffed, police officers went into the school and brought out their own children, according to a Texas Department Public Safety spokesman.

Abbott said the shooter had no red flag warning problems, but he threatened kidnap, rape, and killing with photos of guns. On Yubo, he posted images of dead cats and said, “Everyone in this world deserves to get raped.” Yubo never answered complaints about his posts. Texas has just passed a law, permitted by the 5th Circuit Court, to force social media to allow all this language on any platform.

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX), who represents Uvalde, prayed for the 19 dead children two dead teachers. With a perfect NRA score, he proudly voted against any gun safety including expanded background checks and closing some background-check loopholes.

GOP senators sent their thoughts and prayers before running away from Washington for the next two weeks after blocking a domestic terrorism bill, not even allowing debate of questions about hate crimes and gun safety. A small bipartisan group discussed background checks for guns purchased online or at gun shows, red-flag laws to keep guns from people who could harm themselves or others, and programs to bolster security at schools and other buildings. Republicans say that the domestic terrorism bill doesn’t put emphasis on far-left groups because it addresses white supremacists and neo-Nazis groups.

Memorial Day is a commemoration for military members giving up their lives to preserve freedom. It should also commemorate the continuing murders of people, many of them small children, who lose their lives because of the conservatives’ definition of “freedom.”

May 27, 2022

Clarity about U.S. Gun Stalemate from a Foreign Newspaper

[Correction! France has 20 guns per 100 people, compared to 120 guns per 100 people in the U.S.]

In the industrialized countries of the world, the United States is an outlier. When Joe Biden was elected to replace to replace the autocrat that alienated U.S. allies during his four-year term, they hoped for a change. But the recent mass shootings have horrified the allies, and gun-loving Republican congressional members like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) resort to running away from foreign reporters’ queries.

Two editorials in the moderate French newspaper Le Monde explains how the U.S. is viewed after May’s mass shootings. The first one is headed “Texas Shooting: America Is Killing Itself, As the Republican Party Looks the Other Way: A young Texan killed 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Ulvade on Tuesday. In the face of tragedy after tragedy, Republican elected officials continue to oppose any legislation that would regulate the gun market.”

Carnage at an American school, the endless distress of families, a solemn speech from the president, then nothing, until the next one. Americans know this cycle of despair by heart since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012. The one in Parkland, in 2018, changed nothing despite the exceptional activism of students who had escaped. They believed it was possible to bring a country sick of its violence back to its senses and remind elected officials of their responsibilities, but they failed. If there is any American exceptionalism, it is to tolerate the fact that schools in the United States are regularly transformed into bloody shooting ranges.

The unbearable happened this time in the small town of Uvalde, Texas, and took the lives of 19 students and two teachers of an elementary school just two days before vacation. The 18-year-old alleged perpetrator was killed by law enforcement. This tragedy came 10 days after a racially-motivated mass shooting at a New York state supermarket and another at a California church. In each case, the determination of the alleged killers was not met with any legal safeguards that would have complicated access to the firearms used.

Indeed, America is killing itself and the Republican Party is looking the other way, ideologically complicit in one tragedy after another. Decades of brainwashing have meant that its elected representatives no longer need even the iron grip of the main gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, which is riddled with crises, to oppose the slightest legislation that would provide a framework for this particularly lucrative market. The defense of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, understood in its most absolutist sense, has become a quasi-sacred duty that now escapes any questioning. The families of victims must be content with the prayers of elected officials, who are not stingy with them.

Thus, the state that was the scene of the last bloodbath after eight other mass shootings in 13 years found nothing better, just a year ago, than to abolish gun permits for people aged 21 or older. “It’s time” for Texas to align itself with the most lenient states in this area, argued the governor of this solid conservative bastion, Greg Abbott.

More and more guns: This is the only Republican credo. Americans bought nearly 20 million guns in 2021, the second-largest amount in American history. They also had more than 20,000 gun deaths, not counting suicides, which are even more numerous, and 693 shootings resulted in four or more injuries. Republicans are clearly unable to establish a causal link between the two phenomena. One despairs to imagine them expending the same energy to prevent killings, the perpetrators of which are overwhelmingly men, as they expend selflessly to prevent women from having control over their own bodies.

The dictatorship of the minority had already wielded its power after the Sandy Hook massacre when the Senate wanted to pass background checks for gun buyers, a commonsense measure supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans. Elected officials representing 118 million of their fellow citizens were able to defeat those nominated by 194 million. There is every reason to believe that the same would be true today in this country trapped in this madness.

The second editorial is headed “US Is Flooded with Guns: A Justice Department report shows that US firearms production has tripled since 2000, while Americans have been buying automatic assault rifles and 9mm semi-automatic pistols en masse.”

US firearms makers produced over 139 million guns for the commercial market over the two decades from 2000, including 11.3 million in 2020 alone, according to a new government report released on Tuesday, May 17.

Another 71 million firearms were imported in the same period—compared to just 7.5 million exported—underscoring how the country is literally swimming in personal weapons that have stoked a surge in gun violence, murders and suicides, according to the Justice Department report.

The report shows that while Americans have made favorites of semi-automatic assault rifles seen in many mass shootings, they have bought en masse the increasingly cheap, easy-to-use and accurate semi-automatic 9 mm pistols like those that most police now use.

And, the report shows, authorities face a surge in unregistered “ghost guns” made at home with parts that can be bought online and produced with 3-D printer, and pistols and short-barreled rifles that are as powerful and lethal as the semi-automatic assault rifles used in mass shootings.

“We can only address the current rise in violence if we have the best available information and use the most effective tools and research to fuel our efforts,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.

“This report is an important step in that direction. The Department will continue to gather the data necessary to tailor our approach at the most significant drivers of gun violence and take shooters off the streets.

The report came out after a shocking weekend showed how the vast surplus of guns has made its mark on US society.

In Buffalo, New York an 18-year-old white man driven by racist hate used an assault rifle to murder 10 African Americans; in Laguna Woods, California a man shot five people in a church frequented by Taiwanese with a 9 mm pistol; and in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, more than 20 people were wounded in shootings in one evening in the downtown entertainment district.

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of gun deaths in the United States underwent an “historic” increase in 2020.

The US racked up 19,350 firearm homicides in 2020, up nearly 35 percent over 2019, and 24,245 gun suicides, up 1.5 percent.

The firearm homicide rate stood at 6.1 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020, the highest for more than 25 years.

The CDC said the rise might be blamed in part by the stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic and poverty.

The gun industry has rocketed in two decades. In 2000, there were 2,222 registered active manufacturers. By 2020, the number hit 16,936.

Annual commercial gun production likewise surged: 3.9 million in 2000, hitting 11.3 million 20 years later. But that was down from the peak of 11.9 million in 2016.

Of those sold in 2020, almost exactly half were pistols, doubling their share of the market since 2000: the year 2020 saw 5.5 million pistols, and nearly a million revolvers, enter circulation.

Firearms made by official manufacturers must have serial numbers that allow them to be traced by law enforcement.

But officials are increasingly worried about homemade “ghost guns” that have no such markings and are increasingly found in crimes.

In 2021, the report said, officials recovered 19,344 such guns, compared to just 1,758 five years earlier.

In April President Joe Biden announced a crackdown on ghost guns, pushing back at pro-gun advocates who called his ideas “extreme.”

“Is it extreme to protect police officers, extreme to protect our children?… It isn’t extreme, it’s basic, common sense,” Biden said.

The new report was the first in a four-volume study of gun markets and illegal trafficking.

[Note: France has an average of 20 guns per 100 people, compared to the 120 guns per hundred in the U.S. French rate of deaths per 100,000 is 2.42 while the U.S. has a rate of 13.6 guns per 100,000. The Republican position is to vaguely indicate talks to calm people down until they forget these tragedies. Congress has gone home for two weeks after the Senate Republicans unanimously rejected even a domestic terrorism bill.]

May 26, 2022

1/6 Insurrectist Probe Moves Forward

Recent tragic murders have given Republicans a distraction from the possible anti-abortion Supreme Court decision, the new tell-all books about Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), book banning, and all the other negative news about the Party of Trump. But the House has not stopped probing the insurrection on January 6, 2021. This news shows progress in holding people responsible.

The 4th Circuit Court ruled that insurrectionists against the U.S. government can be blocked from being elected to the federal legislative and executive branches. The decision is legally binding for only Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina—states ruled by the 4th Circuit, but it provides a precedent. This ruling overturns one by DDT-appointed Chief District Judge Richard E. Myers II for the Eastern District of North Carolina allowing Rep. Madison Cawthorn to continue his campaign. Cawthorn lost his primary, but the ruling can apply to him in the future and others such as these candidates who admitted taking part in the January 6 insurrection.

  • Derrick Van Orden (Wisconsin)
  • Annie Black (Nevada)
  • JR Majewski (Ohio)
  • Sandy Smith (North Carolina)
  • Gary Leffler (Iowa)
  • Ian Smith (New Jersey)

Cases have also been brought against Republicans Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), two Arizona representatives Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, and Arizona state representative, Mark Finchem.

The Constitution blocks any insurrectionist or anyone giving “aid or comfort to the enemies, thereof” from being elected to the federal legislative and executive branches. The 14th Amendment clause bans participants in coups to overthrow the government from this election. The argument from Cawthorn’s lawyers was that the 1872 Amnesty Act applied only to the past by preventing Confederate insurrectionists from being elected to the U.S. government. The 4th Circuit disagreed.

In other January 6 news, the House investigative committee has scheduled public meetings in June to announce its findings. These sessions begin and end with prime-time hearings on June 9 and 23 with 10:00 am hearings on June 13, 25, 16, and 21. Meetings are scheduled to last between 1.5 and 2 hours in the evening and 2 and 2.5 hours in the morning.

Testimony about January 6 stated that DDT supported the chant to “hang Mike Pence!” Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said DDT complained about Pence being taken to safety. The allocation lacks verification, but it’s backed up by DDT’s anti-Pence tweet accusing him of treachery, and DDT did not reach out to Pence to check on his wellbeing. The two men have been estranged since January 6, and Pence has said he would run for president even if DDT also decided another go at the White House.

In the past nine months, DDT and his allies have filed 25 lawsuits to block the committee, but House members fought only four of them to narrow the focus. An early House win gave them a rich trove of documents from the National Archives. Cases also largely concentrated on Meadows, the Republican National Committee, and John Eastman, attorney architect of DDT’s final attempt to overturn the election, and a last-minute offensive to obtain more sensitive documents.

Key cases:

Trump v. Thompson: DDT tried to block the committee from obtaining his White House records but lost in a January Supreme Court ruling. The documents, including the White House “daily diary” of DDT’s movements and photographs from DDT’s official photographer, keep rolling in.

Eastman v. Thompson: A federal judge kept dismissing the lawyer’s attempt to block his emails from the committee and issued a ruling that Eastman and DDT probably engaged in a criminal conspiracy to overturn the election. From evidence at the hearings, the public found out about excerpts from depositions, and the committee will share more evidence this week.

Meadows v. Pelosi: This case revealed more deposition transcripts, including the text messages between Meadows and other people planning to overturn the election.

Republican National Committee v. Pelosi: Data from internal RNC documents could disclose the extent to which DDT’s fundraising lies were read after the 2020 presidential election and if those misrepresentations helped radicalize the insurrectionists on January 6. Earlier this month, a DDT-appointed judge ruled for the House committee. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals put that ruling on hold until mid-June. A decision overturning the judge’s ruling could be appealed to the full 11-member bench or the Supreme Court which would conceal the information until after public hearings.

Budowich v. Pelosi: In an accidental boon for the panel, the panel found his involvement in the January 6 rally finances through a search of his records from J.P. Morgan. A judge upheld the committee’s validity. The committee was searching for the rally’s source of funding, as much as $3 million with some of it from the heiress to the Publix supermarket chain, and the possibility that Budowich’s company is hiding information and funds about these donations. A judgment against Budowich would allow the government to take back the funds as a “fraudulent transfer.”

Rejects: The committee is now filing motions to dismiss less worthy lawsuits to them, including those filed by a founder of the rally Ali Alexander, the mother of a man entering the Capitol, and Eastman in a separate lawsuit. The panel ignored Phil Waldron, who claimed voting machine irregularities; Amy Harris, photographer tied to Proud Boys; Kelly Meggs, leader of the Oath Keepers; Kelli Ward, chair of the Arizona GOP; and Alex Jones, pro-DDT broadcaster.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) continues to protest against the committee’s requests to speak with GOP members and the subpoenas if they refuse to cooperate. He declared these subpoenas “unprecedented,” ignoring the fact that DDT’s insurrection are unprecedented. The request to Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) came after the discovery that the House member lied about not conducting a tour on January 5, 2021, the day before the attack on the Capitol. One of 147 Republicans voting to overturn the presidential election results, Loudermilk was communicating with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on January 6.

House Republicans threaten to release Capitol Police video to clear Loudermilk of conducting the tours, but they don’t have the footage. Obtaining the external drive could cost as much as $20,000. Capital Police said it has extensively cooperated with the committee and won’t release the footage “while their work is still pending.” Bipartisan members of the investigative group who saw the footage disagreed with the Republicans description showing “no tours, no large groups, no one with MAGA hats on.” Loudermilk said he did give a tour but only to a constituent family, about a dozen people “that we met at church.”

Reps. Scott Perry (PA) and Andy Biggs (AZ) formally objected to House subpoenas. Texts show Perry’s key role in reversing or delaying the election certification, sometimes with the excuse that China hacked Dominion voting machines, and strategizing ways to eliminate electoral votes in states DDT lost. Despite a law requiring records to be preserved for the archives, Meadows burned documents after a meeting with Perry, according to testimony from a former White House aide. Biggs participated in planning meetings at the White House and worked with Meadows to persuade state legislators to overturn the election.

After receiving his subpoena, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), allegedly part of the scheme to overturn Biden’s election, went from his “I have nothing to hide” about the insurrection to refusing cooperation until the committee turns over all the information they have on him. Jordan’s reputation of lying includes denial about being told about his athletes’ sexual abuse while he was assistant wrestling coach at the University of Ohio.

On January 6, 2022, the first anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, this article covered what was known at that time. The hearings will update it:

DDT inspired the attack: He seeded the attack with baseless claims that he continued, no matter the evidence. Then he invited people to attend the “big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild.”

DDT aides and supporters actively sought to overturn the election: The most loyal lieutenants such as former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliana and strategist Steve Bannon set up the plan to overturn the election from suites and rooms in the Willard Hotel with John Eastman guiding their work. Unfortunately for them, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was in charge of the congressional session to count electoral college votes.

The attack was violent: No matter how Republicans try to deny any insurrection, videos and photos depict the assaults and the damage, much of it with weapons intended to wound and possibly kill congressional members and Capitol Police. The images show that the “antifa” were not the insurrectionists and the event was not “staged.”

DDT took inadequate steps to calm the attackers: DDT watched the events unfold with no concern and did nothing for hours despite pleading from his family and other supporters. He even goaded on the insurrectionists by tweeting complaints about Pence.  

Many Republicans and Trump supporters, at least briefly, were appalled: Initially, private texts and public speeches from GOP leaders condemned the attack and DDT’s part in it, calling him responsible.

Capitol Hill security was deficient in part because of concerns about Trump: The National Guard wasn’t deployed in time to save the situation because of the fear that DDT invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act to declare martial law for his complete control of the U.S.

More details are here. In a month, people will hopefully know much more.

May 25, 2022

Primaries – May 24, 2022

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) was up with another round of endorsements for the May 24 primaries in Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas. Candidates not receiving over 50 percent of the vote will have runoffs on June 21. Minnesota also a special primary for one congressional district, and Texas, requiring primary winners receive at least 50 percent of the vote, had a few controversial elections.

Pennsylvania Recount:

Dr. Oz’s race with David McCormick for U.S. Senate goes to a mandatory recount with the difference in Oz’s favor at only 947 votes out of over 1.3 million ballots. The deadline of June 7 will tell Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) if he lost his endorsement for Oz and must scream “rigged election.” Oz is staying quiet while McCormick sues to keep the state to stop them from discarding mail-in ballots lacking handwritten dates. Mail-in ballots favored McCormick over Oz by 32 to 23 percent. Instead of “find the votes” as DDT demanded in Georgia almost 17 months ago, DDT demands, “Stop FINDING VOTES in PENNSYLVANIA! RIGGED?” Pennsylvania’s GOP delayed counting mail-in ballots by blocking any preparation of them before the election. In the chaos, exhausted election officials have quit, leading to more chaos in November.

Oregon Failure:

Kurt Schrader’s battle with Jamie McLeod-Skinner for Democratic candidate in the 5th Congressional District slogs on because of the extreme incompetence of the GOP Clackamas County Clerk Sherry Hall. With 66 percent of the vote counted, McLeod-Skinner is still 18 percent ahead, and Hall has no projection of when results will be announced. She does have a deadline of June 13. Much more about this later!

(X) = DDT’s endorsement lost.

Texas Runoffs:

Incumbent Texas AG Ken Paxton just destroyed the Bush dynasty by defeating George W. Bush, Poppy Bush’s grandson and Jeb’s son, in Paxton’s re-election. The start to the presidency should have been little Bush’s election to land commissioner, but this year’s loss was the end. Since 2015, candidate Paxton has been under indictment for securities fraud while four judges have moved the case from one place to another. A large number of his staff quit in 2020 after Paxton abused his office in helping a campaign donor raided by the FBI. The FBI is investigating Paxton for corruption, and the state bar filed a professional misconduct lawsuit against Paxton for his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections in four battleground states won by President Joe Biden. His election in November is highly possible because of suppression of votes from those opposed to his anti-immigrant, anti-climate, anti-healthcare access, and anti-transgender crusades. Paxton beat Bush 68 to 32 percent.

Incumbent Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar has declared the race for himself, but his opponent Jessica Cisneros hasn’t conceded with only 0.4 percent separating them—175 votes—and votes left to count. Traditional House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), support Cuellar despite his anti-abortion stance, but his reputation suffers from an unexplained FBI raid on his home and campaign office under six weeks before the primary election raised more questions. Automatic recounts in Texas are only in the case of ties; otherwise the requester pays for it. There is no deadline for the completion.

Wayne Christian, friend of Chevron, won another term on the Railroad Commission overseeing the oil with an easy win in the runoff, 65 to 35 percent, despite a $2 million donation to underdog Sarah Stogner. Corruption continues as ranchers continue to get no help.

Rep. Ronny Jackson, who won his second primary unopposed on March 1, faces ethics charges before the general election for inappropriate use of campaign funds. During his first term, the Pentagon inspector general’s office accused him of “inappropriate conduct” while he was DDT’s White House doctor. A Defense Department’s inspector general’s report earlier found that Jackson drank while on duty and abused his staff. Later, the physician called the COVID omicron variant a Democratic conspiracy theory to win 2022 elections. Jackson also faces questions about why Oath Keepers members texted him during the January 6 insurrection and claimed he needed protection.

The Ethics Committee also reported that DDT’s choice and winner of a West Virginia primary, Rep. Alex Mooney, likely accepted an impermissible gift for a vacation in Aruba and violated federal law by using congressional staff to plan the trip on official time and with official resources. Seven current and past employees identified “frequent requests to complete unofficial tasks—ranging from babysitting and car repairs for a personal vehicle to assisting with personal finances and businesses—solely for the personal benefit of Mr. Mooney and his family.”

Georgia: 

DDT suffered two losses important to him in the state where he attempted retaliation against both governor and secretary of state who refused to invent over 11,000 votes for him to win in the 2020 election despite DDT’s consistent begging.  

(X) Gov. Brian Kemp beat DDT’s endorsement for U.S. senator, David Perdue, big time by almost 52 points. In a last-ditch gathering, Perdue said he might not accept the election results and claimed his polls losing to Kemp by big margins were “full of crap.” He smeared Stacey Abrams by saying the Black woman’s statements were “demeaning her own race” and she should “go back to where she came from.” Perdue fought both Democrats and Republicans, including DDT’s former VP Mike Pence. Kemp makes the third primary gubernatorial defeat for DDT—Idaho and Nebraska—with two wins, one of them Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania who Republicans will support in only a lukewarm fashion and Sarah Huckabee Sanders in Arkansas who was a given. Initially reluctant to run, Perdue was pushed by DDT and ran an apathetic campaign. Abrams, who lost the 2018 gubernatorial election when Kemp was controlling the votes, is again the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

(X) Brad Raffensperger defeated DDT’s pick Jody Hice for secretary of state by 19 points with a majority vote, meaning no runoff. Crossover Democratic votes in the open primary may have helped Raffensperger beat his conspiracy “stolen election” believer Hice.  

Burt Jones may have to go to a runoff for lieutenant governor candidate.

(X) John Gordon, DDT’s endorsement for attorney general, lost with only 26 percent of the vote, and (X) Patrick Witt received only 17 percent of the vote for Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner.                             

Herschel Walker did bring in the GOP U.S. Senate primary for DDT to run against incumbent Raphael Warnock, a Black pastor who was elected in a special January 2021 election. The positive part of Walker? He was an NFL star in the last century. Political experience? Nothing. Otherwise? Lying about education and business, corruption, fraud, domestic violence, sexual abuse, murderous urgesconsignorance, illogic, and much more. Asked about Walker’s problems, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, “Every candidate has flaws and assets.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, QAnon Queen of Congress, won her primary by almost 70 percent although the conservative National Review endorsed her opponent Jennifer Strahan, calling Greene “a disgrace to her office and a disservice to her constituents in Georgia’s 14th district.” Another notch for DDT. 

Alabama: 

Mo Brooks, unendorsed by DDT after a spat, came in second for the U.S. Senate primary to Katie Britt, but they’ll face a runoff on June 21. Britt’s exposure as McConnell’s lobbyist didn’t help her get votes. DDT endorsed no other Alabama candidate, but incumbent GOP Gov. Kay Ivey avoided a runoff for her fall candidacy. Brooks is getting ready for the runoff by returning to DDT’s fold. In an interview on the day of his election, he repeated lies about the insurrectionists being “antifa” and the election was “stolen” because of the “800,000 to 1.7 million non-citizens that voted in 2020.” When confronted with lack of evidence, he said that he has proof but won’t give it to the January 6 investigation committee because he doesn’t want it to be “secret.”

Arkansas:

DDT won all three of his state endorsements: Sanders as heir to governor, Tim Griffin for attorney general, and John Boozman for U.S. senator—despite Boozman’s three opponents. One of them, 33-year-old billionaire football star Jake Bequette, criticized Boozman for not challenging the 2020 electoral college count on January 6, 2021, but got only 20 percent of the vote. Boozman also played football—1969-1973.

The Michigan Bureau of Elections named 36 petitioner circulators whose petition sheets contained only invalid signatures and described the current election cycle as having wholesale fraud. The question is whether the disqualified candidates knew about the problem. They cry foul about being eliminated from the race. For the signatures, petition circulators used outdated voter lists with outdated addresses and dead people.  The bipartisan Board of State Canvassers will decide this week whether it will act on the bureau’s recommendation.

No primaries next week, but there will be seven of them on June 7.

 

Right to Life on GOP Terms

The “right-to-life” Republicans in Congress are praying about the recent mass killing—first ten people dead in Buffalo by a teenage killer who targeted Blacks and now a teenager in Uvalde (TX) who killed at least 19 children under ten years old at an elementary school as well as himself and two adults. Before going to the school, he shot his grandmother who is in critical condition. It is the 30th school shooting thus far in 2022 and at least 200 mass shooting. Yet they do nothing.

GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales, who represents Uvalde, wrote, “we have to protect” children but didn’t indicate how. His recent tweets bitterly complained about the “Radical Left” and his strong opposition to any gun control efforts, bragging that he “voted NO on two gun control measures.” As a “proud supporter of the Second Amendment” (meaning unfettered ownership of guns), he “will do everything I can to oppose gun grabs from the far Left.” Now he declares himself “heartbroken” and choked up when he talked about the tragedy.

Three days after the Uvalde school shooting, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will appear at the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) Leadership Forum with Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX). Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) canceled his appearance. Twenty-three years ago, NRA had a conference in Denver shortly after Colorado’s mass shooting at Columbine High School, killing 13 and wounding another 20. During the 2018 election cycle, Cruz received the largest amount of donations from gun rights backers at $311,151.

The NRA is blocking the Second Amendment and banning the presence of any weapons for DDT’s appearance. Attendees will be searched.

No Republicans complain about suspending the Second Amendment in some cases, but GOP legislators and far-right are using the same old canard about politicizing the Buffalo murder with a domestic terrorism bill including white supremacy. Fox’s Tucker Carlson called such a bill “scary,” but Buffalo’s mass shooter wrote he had been radicalized on 4chan and referred to the white supremacist “great replacement” conspiracy theory, fears of whites being replaced through immigration, that Carlson promoted on his program over 400 times. Conspiracy theorist and Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers pushed the lie of the shooting being a “false flag,” staged by Democrats. A Proud Boys group called the bill “the creation of an anti-white secret police.”

Democrats introduced the original version of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act a few weeks after the Jan. 6 insurrection, and Democrats, joined by GOP Adam Kinzinger, passed a newer iteration of the bill after the Buffalo mass shooting. It would create dedicated domestic terrorism departments in the FBI, DOJ, and Homeland Security to monitor, analyze, investigate, and prosecute acts of domestic terrorism. The U.S. has no law against general domestic terrorism, but the addition of “terrorism enhancement” in federal cases can add 15 years to a sentence.

The bill would also establish an interagency task force to investigate white supremacist and neo-Nazi infiltration of uniformed services and federal law enforcement agencies. A special agent in each field office would investigate hate crime events and connections to domestic terrorism. According to FBI Director Chris Wray, the growing threats of domestic terrorism in the U.S. with “racially motivated violent extremism” are the majority of the agency’s domestic terrorism probes. Senate Republicans have promised to block the legislation which would require 60 votes in that chamber.

The far-right Gateway Pundit falsely stated the goal of the bill was to “silence conservatives and those Americans who disagree with them.” Carlson complained the bill doesn’t specifically mention “BLM or antifa” and lied about the bill redefining domestic terrorism to include hate crimes. About three-fourths of voters support the bill

Lachlan Murdoch, CEO and executive chairman of Fox’s parent company, said white supremacy just “comes with the territory” for Fox being “number one.” He shrugged off the increasing polarization of society since Fox was created. Media Matters senior fellow Matthew Gertz believes “Lachlan Murdoch has apparently given up on his obvious lie that Tucker Carlson doesn’t promote ‘replacement theory.’ He is making it quite clear that Fox prioritizes white supremacist content.”

Republican legislators will also be traumatized by the update of the DOJ use-of-force policy, ordering federal agents to intervene if other law enforcement officials use excessive force. Taking effect July 19, the policy does not cover non-federal law enforcement and federal law enforcement agencies outside the DOJ. Federal law enforcement officers must also act if someone needs medical care and repeats current policies that officers should not fire their weapons at people solely because they are fleeing or fire into vehicles to make them stop. Deadly force should not be used “against persons whose actions are a threat solely to themselves or property unless an individual poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others in close proximity.” With new priorities, AG Merrick Garland’s memo tells officers and agents to first select de-escalating confrontations for “voluntary compliance from a subject before using force.”

The current politically conservative Supreme Court majority may decide to overturn the new DOJ policy, just as they overturned existing law this week in order to kill two Arizona men. Six conservative justices used an anti-terrorism law to rule that convicted felons are not allowed to present evidence in federal court about ineffective counsel or present new evidence. Clarence Thomas declared that the two men have no federal standing to sue because the state denied their appeals, writing that this has happened “only rarely.” Despite this violation to Sixth Amendment rights to due process and habeas corpus, Arizona may execute two more men

Justice Sonia Sotomayor called the decision “perverse” and “illogical.”  She wrote:

“The Court’s decision will leave many people who were convicted in violation of the Sixth Amendment to face incarceration or even execution without any meaningful chance to vindicate their right to counsel.”

Legal experts agreed, including University of Texas Law Professor Lee Kovarsky.  He tweeted:

“Since representation in state post-conviction proceedings is a national embarrassment, it means that it’s not a really useful site of Sixth Amendment enforcement.”

One of the men to be executed, Barry Jones, may not have murdered anyone, meaning the so-called “right-to-life” justices are killing an innocent man. A witness said that Jones hit a four-year-old girl who died 12 hours later. Three experts, however, said that the girl could not have died from that supposed injury within that time period. Others, including the girl’s mother and uncle, were suspect. The mother was subsequently convicted of child abuse, and before her death, the girl said a boy had hit her in the stomach with a metal bar. Jones’ lawyer didn’t present any of this evidence at the trial.

In a 1984 ruling (Strickland v. Washington), the Supreme Court determined a “deficient” lawyer’s performance that “prejudiced the defense” can toss out a conviction, but Thomas’ opinion claimed the law restricts federal courts from rejecting state courts’ opinions no matter how poorly they were decided. In essence, the six justices changed the law and “all but overrules” Martinez v. Ryan (2012) and Trevino v. Thaler (2013), according to Sotomayor. Therefore, states can kill people wrongly convicted, and the federal government will not step in despite the Sixth Amendment guaranteeing “criminal defendants the right to the effective assistance of counsel at trial.”

As Ian Millhiser wrote, three justices—the minority—believe “the purpose of a criminal trial is to determine whether or not someone is actually guilty of a crime—and to do so through an adversarial process where both sides are represented by lawyers who can present the best possible legal and factual case for the prosecution and the defense.” Clarence differs, according to Millhiser:

“[Clarence] deems federal habeas proceedings problematic because they ‘override] the States’ core power to enforce criminal law.’ When a federal court deems someone’s conviction constitutionally inadequate, Thomas complains, it ‘overrides the State’s sovereign power to enforce ‘societal norms through criminal law,’” and ‘disturbs the State’s significant interest in repose for concluded litigation.’”

And Arizona will kill two more men after the conservative justices refused to intervene in the killing of Clarence Dixon.

At one time, only Justice Antonin Scalia agreed with Thomas. Now Scalia is dead, and Republican presidents have appointed five justices who agree with Thomas.

Civil war—that’s what DDT thinks is imminent according to his reposting on his personal Twitter-like “Truth Social.” The killings in Buffalo are only the latest example of how irresponsible violent rhetoric can lead to physical violence.

  • Doug Mastriano, Pennsylvania’s newly elected GOP gubernatorial candidate, wrote about a potential “Hitlerian putsch” from the left requiring a civil war with the military fighting back.  
  • The head of the Claremont Institute, a think tank of members such as John Eastman who created the strategy to overturn Biden’s election, said that conservatives must fight against “woke communists,” false meaning all Democrats.
  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-SC) promised “bloodshed”; former U.S. Joseph diGenova told Laura Ingraham on her podcast that the “civil war” requires people to buy guns.
  • Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said that “America is heading in the direction of another Harpers Ferry.” He shared the meme that the right has “8 trillion bullets” and would win a civil war.

GOP “right to life” ends with birth.

May 22, 2022

Conservatives’ Inability to Define ‘Woman’

What is a woman? That was one of the rude questions that Sen. Marsha Blackburn asked Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her confirmation hearing. asked Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her confirmation hearing. When Blackburn asked Jackson the question, Jackson began with “I can’t—” before Blackburn said, “You can’t?” Jackson graciously responded, “Not in this context. I’m not a biologist.” Blackburn criticized her inability to answer the question, and Jackson explained that she addresses disputes, listens to arguments, and looks at the law before she decides. “So I’m not—” she said before Blackburn interrupted her to toss another insult about “the dangers of the kind of progressive education.”

In Tennessee, 80 pastors were so upset with Blackburn’s behavior that they wrote her about her lack of professionalism and emphasis on politics, adding they were “embarrassed by her public behavior.” On of them commented on how her constant interruptions showed her agenda was only to create political sound bites for her base.

How many people can define a woman? What age—13, 18, another time? Chromosomal markers when people with Turner syndrome have only one X chromosome and might not meet the strict definition of two? Matthew Rozsa has provided further scientific background to answer Blackburn’s question. Fox highlighted criticism for Jackson, one of the few parts of the hearing on the “news” network.

Blackburn segued her woman definition question to asking about education at Georgetown Day School, where Jackson sits on the board, telling children “they can choose their gender.” Jackson declined to answer the question about whether “schools should teach children” this concept. Blackburn launched into a lecture on differences between male and female incorporating Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s written opinion that “supposed ‘inherent differences’ are no long accepted as a ground for race or national origin classifications [but] the two sexes are not fungible.” Blackburn asked Jackson if she agreed that there are enduring “physical differences between men and women.” In Ginsburg’s opinion for U.S. v. Virginia, striking down the male-only admission for Virginia Military Institute, she was quoting Ballard v. U.S. (1946) but not necessarily agreeing. As usual, Blackburn interrupted Jackson when she tried to answer.  

GOP Judiciary Committee members failed to answer Blackburn’s question. (Note that she never had an answer either; she just tried to claim that the definition is “fundamental.”) Responses to the question from GOP senators:

  • John Kennedy (LA): “I don’t have anything for you on that.”
  • John Cornyn (TX): “I’m not going to indulge you.” – Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
  • Marsha Blackburn (TN): She dodged the question three times, saying she doesn’t talk to reporters in the hallway. Later, her spokesperson said, “Two X chromosomes.” There was no response to whether women born with one X chromosome could be a woman or if men both with two X chromosomes were actually women.
  • Chuck Grassley (IA): He gave the same answer as Blackburn’s spokesperson.
  • Thom Tillis (NC): “My wife.”
  • Lindsey Graham (SC): He started out by saying a woman is simply someone who is “biologically a woman” and added that most Americans can figure out who’s a woman and who’s a man. “The birds and the bees stuff—it’s been a while, but I think I remember the general gist of the differences. To have a hard time answering that question is kind of odd to me.”
  • Ted Crux (TX): “An adult female human.” He denied he looked it up in a dictionary before answering the question. Then he added, “A Homosapien with two X chromosomes.” 
  • Mike Lee (UT): “An adult female of the human species.”
  • Josh Hawley (MO) center in the photograph talking to reporters: “Someone who can give birth to a child, a mother, is a woman. Someone who has a uterus is a woman. It doesn’t seem that complicated to me.” The question is whether a uterus is mandatory, if a woman stops being a woman after a hysterectomy. Hawley answered by saying, “Yeah. Well, I don’t know, would they?” Later, he said a woman could be a woman without a uterus by saying, “I mean, a woman has a vagina, right?”

About one in 5,000 women is born without a uterus. So much for the approximately 6,700 “people” who aren’t really women. Every year nearly 600,000 women get hysterectomies—probably a total of 20 million “people.”

In an interview, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) first refused to answer before he continued, probably referring to transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, finishing ahead of Anna Kalandadze by 38 seconds:

“A woman is—a woman is somebody that swims at a certain time and doesn’t get beaten by 38 seconds by somebody that wasn’t even a good swimmer as a male.”

DDT didn’t even say Kalandadze is a woman.

At a rally in Georgia, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said:

“I’m going to tell you right now what is a woman. This is an easy answer,” she said. “We came from Adam’s rib. God created us with his hands. We are—we may be the weaker sex… We are the weaker sex. But we are our partner’s, our husband’s wife.”

Monica Hesse wrote that Republicans aren’t giving a biology test when they ask this question. It’s a culture-war test, and conservatives are intent on showing every progressive woman she is failing. Instead, these Republicans are failing. Do they mean wives are not women before they were married as suggested in these definitions? Otherwise, they will be men until a man married them. Greene’s reference to the “weaker sex” is belied by her pride in her sculpted biceps and vigorous workouts. All these definitions come from people who claim that defining a woman is “simple.”  

It’s election year.

The question about defining a woman won’t go away, and the anti-abortion movement has added to the “definitions. This past week, the House Judiciary committee held a hearing addressing the strong possibility that the Supreme Court will probably overturn Roe v. Wade to end the federal right for abortions in the U.S. Testifying about abortion access was Dr. Yashica Robinson, who provides abortions in Alabama and sits on the board of directors of the group Physicians for Reproductive Health. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) tried to divert the topic to the grievance about sharing one’s pronouns to help people avoid misgendering others. Bishop said:

“In your written testimony, I noticed you said that you use she/her pronouns. You’re a medical doctor. What’s a woman?”

When Robinson tried to explain why she used the female pronouns, Bishop asked again, “What is a woman?”

Robinson answered: “I think it’s important that we educate people like you about why we’re doing the things that we do. So the reason I use she and her pronouns is because I understand that there are people who become pregnant that may not identify that way and I think it is discriminatory to speak to people or to call them in such a way as they desire not to be called. It’s important that we respect each individual person.”

Once again, Bishops demanded a definition, and Robinson said, “I’m a woman.” Bishop asked, “Is that as comprehensive of a definition as you can give me?” and Robinson brought him back to the topic, reminding that the hearing was about abortion, not pronouns or definitions of a woman:

“That’s as comprehensive of a definition as I will give you today because I think that it’s important that we focus on what we’re here for, and it’s to talk about access to abortion.”

Some Republicans didn’t do any better with definitions of abortion. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) condescendingly asked Robinson if she would support an abortion of a “child” who was “halfway out of the birth canal.” Robinson answered until he cut her off:

“I can’t even fathom that just like you probably can’t imagine what you would do if your daughter was raped. If it hasn’t happened, it may be difficult for you to—.”

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) addressed the Black doctor as “Ms. Robinson,” and she said, “Yes, my name is Dr. Robinson, and I provide abortion care in Alabama.” He wanted to know how she disposed of “baby parts” removed during dilation and extraction, an extremely rare procedure during the second trimester. When she didn’t specifically answer the question, he accused her of not wanting “to talk about how they’re being stored” and continued by saying they were put “in freezers of Pyrex dishes.” Robinson said she had never seen that happen.

More political sound bites. It’s election year.

While Republicans obsess about defining a woman, they can avoid providing any support for them.

May 21, 2022

Russia Invades Ukraine – Day 88

Joshua Berlinger has an excellent overview of the past three months. Following is my perception.

Russian military, suffering huge losses of soldiers and equipment in at least three attempts to cross the Seversky Donets River with pontoon bridges, plans another try hoping for an offensive at Yampil. The 650-mile-long river starts in Russia and goes through the Donbas area before returning to Russia. Its lakes, floodplains, and swamps create a barrier for Russian armored vehicles. River crossings, inherently dangerous, require favorable terrain, and Ukrainian surveillance drones allow artillery units to see where rounds fall before guiding them onto Russian personnel. Instead of sending small numbers of troops across the river, Russian commanders put them all together. Russians lack the ability to adapt quickly when problems occur.

Putin has taken over ordering troop movements, working closely with the commander of the Russian armed forces, Gen. Valery Gerasimov. His operational and tactical are “at the level of a colonel or brigadier.” Russia’s top-down military style also means generals are closer to the frontline where up to 12 of them have been killed in under three months.  

The mass mutiny from poor morale among Russian soldiers has worsened, as described in their intercepted telephone conversations. Fed up with Putin’s incompetent leadership and lack of battle support, the caller said, “Everyone is planning to take off on the 26th.” He continued “that a battalion commander is leaving with us and even a staff colonel.” In another call, a soldier told his friend to “take someone else’s weapon, a Ukrainian one, and shoot yourself in the legs.” Another soldier said a commander shot himself in the leg to get out of the war—“and he served in Chechnya.” Russia is supposedly planting informants into one of its military regiments to identify and “neutralize” soldiers who refuse to carry out orders.

Russia is attempting to restructure its faltering offensive in Ukraine—firing commanders, dividing combat units into small groups, and increasing reliance on artillery and other long-range weapons. People over 40 years old can also sign up to fight. Russia’s transport minister said that his nation’s transport and shipping logistics are “practically broken.” In recent week, Russia has seized only a little over a mile per day, leaving most of Ukraine to be taken after a year.

No major cities not controlled by Russia in the Donbas region in February have been seized. According to British officials, Russia has lost one-third of the troops it sent to Ukraine. One recent battle was so deadly for Russia that it led to criticism from pro-Russia bloggers. One blogger with 2.1 million followers said he was finally criticizing the Russian military, “the last straw” being the events of the fourth bridge failure  because “due to stupidity—I emphasize, because of the stupidity of the Russian command–at least one battalion tactical group was burned, possibly two.” He continued by describing the shortage of equipment. Another blogger wrote that commanders left so much of their force exposed amounted to “not idiocy, but direct sabotage.” A third posted that Russia’s eastern offensive moved slowly partly because of “these generals” and their tactics.

In a new strategy to take over Ukraine, Russia promised to pay Melitopol residents money for blaming Ukrainian military for destroying housing and killing people. Local radio programming in the city has been replaced by a loop of Putin’s speech. Russia claims only one of the 500 sailors on its flagship Moskva, sunk by Ukraine, was killed but has no answer for families about the missing ones.

With 25 tons of grain stranded in cities along the Black Sea, the U.S. plans to deliver anti-ship missiles which would force Russia to lift its blockade. Without this food, African and Middle Eastern countries are faced with starvation. The U.S. may also send Harpoon missiles and Naval Strike Missiles with a range of 150-180 miles. Harpoon, however, need launchers which have limited availability. The U.S. may remove the system from one of its warships. Twelve to 24 of these missiles could lift the ports’ blockade from Russia’s 20 ships and submarines in the Black Sea. 

Russian ships at Sevastopol are being protected by “military” dolphins on either side of the harbor to keep Ukrainians from sabotaging the fleet underwater. According to reports from the 1990s, Russia outfits dolphins with lethal devices that could inject enemy divers with CO2 and trained the marine mammals to parachute out of helicopters.

Russians have evacuated about 900 Ukrainians from Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant and sent to a prison colony in Russian-controlled territory while 100,000 civilians remain in the occupied southeastern port city. The Ukrainians fighters may be exchanged for Viktor Medvedchuk, godfather to Putin’s daughter. Ukraine recaptured Medvedchuk in mid-April and seized 154 of his assets including a $200 million yacht. Under house arrest, Medvedchuk had been facing between 15 years and life in prison for treason plus aiding and abetting a terrorist organization because he mediated coal purchases for the separatist, Russia-backed Donetsk republic in eastern Ukraine.

A Ukrainian medic provided two weeks of video to AP journalists before she was captured on March 16 and disappeared on March 21. She had saved hundreds of lives. Hidden inside a tampon, the data card was smuggled past 15 Russian checkpoints. Also available are images of the steelworks disaster taken by Dmytro Kozatsky, a member of Ukraine’s military who is now a prisoner of war taken by the Russians.

The first Russian soldier on trial for war crimes in Ukraine admitted to killing a 62-year-old unarmed civilian but said his commander ordered the killing. Ukrainian authorities have brought war crimes charges against two other Russian soldiers, alleging they targeted Ukrainian civilians in the Kharkiv region using a truck-mounted rocket launcher. One defendant allegedly drove the truck while the other operated the rocket launcher to fire at civilians. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has sent 42 investigators, forensic experts, and support staff to Ukraine, the “largest ever single field deployment” since the ICC began in 2003, according to Prosecutor Karim Khan.  

The past week has seen back and forth discussions regarding Sweden’s and Finland’s applications to join NATO. Putin has threatened Finland with retribution, and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is making requirements for his acceptance. All 30 NATO members must agree to accept applications for new members. One of Erdogan’s conditions is that the two countries stop supporting what he calls “terror groups” his country. He refers to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group and the Gulen movement, accused of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt. Erdogan also demanded the lifting of an arms exports embargo by both countries imposed on Turkey after its 2019 incursion into Syria against the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) militia. A NATO member since 1952, Turkey has caused problems for NATO allies because of its decades of bloody conflict with Kurdish insurgents, mainly in the southeast, have often posed problems for NATO allies.

Switzerland, always maintaining neutrality and nonalignment, plans options to bolster its security including joint military exercises with NATO countries and regular meetings between Swiss and NATO commanders.

Putin is losing the faith of some Russian oligarchs who grumble about their losses from sanctions against them and Russia after the Ukrainian. Those speaking out were likely to have made fortunes before Putin took power and who are no longer in Russia. They complained about losing tens of billions of dollars in assets, a situation worsening with President Joe Biden’s decision to sell their assets and give the proceeds to Ukraine. Oligarchs talked about how “in one day” everything “what was built over many years” has been destroyed. “It’s a catastrophe,” one of them said. In anonymous comments, several billionaires and senior bankers and officials explain how they feel blindsided by the isolated Putin who they cannot influence because of a few hardline security officials in his inner circle.  At least four Russian senior officials have resigned and left the country.

Russian oligarchs also aren’t safe. At least seven of them, some with their wives and children, have been found dead this year, five of them connected to large Russian gas companies. The ones called murder-suicide have been questioned. Six of the deaths were after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and one was shortly before.

In addition to selling off Russian oligarchs’ assets, Biden will take innovators from Russia by relaxing visa requirements for highly educated Russians. Putin already has serious problems with lack of ability to climb the ladder to higher ratings among countries. In addition, Russia is making money selling oil to China and India, but sanctions block them from spending the revenue on necessities for both daily life and war.

A new 110-mile pipeline may start removing Europe’s reliance on Russia’s natural gas to generate electricity, fuel industry, and home heating. Completion of the project, ending in Italy, will join the 27-nation bloc to the global gas market. Eight additional interconnectors in Europe could reach as far as Ukraine and Austria.

Putin has more than his invasion of Ukraine to worry about: Siberia’s early season wildfires promise another record-breaker after almost 33,000 square miles burned in 2021. Already burned is an area the size of Rhode Island, and the future looks bleak, especially because firefighting requires military personnel and resources such as helicopters.

May 20, 2022

Republicans Fight Democrats, Each Other

A week after Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) had his time in the sun by single-handedly blocking the $40 billion Ukraine aid package, the Senate passed the House bill by 86-11. Eleven Republicans, 22 percent of the GOP caucus, voted against the bill: Marsha Blackburn (TN), John Boozman (AR), Mike Braun (IN), Mike Crapo (ID), Bill Hagerty (TN), Josh Hawley (MO), Mike Lee (UT), Cynthia Lummis (WY), Roger Marshall (KS), Paul, and Tommy Tuberville (AL). All 57 dissenters to the bill in the House vote 368-57 are Republicans. 

About the serious shortage of baby formula, Republicans claim that President Joe Biden is doing nothing about the problem or women should breastfeed so they don’t need the formula.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), among the House leadership, called Biden and other Democrats “pedo grifters.” She blamed the shortage on Biden’s economic policies instead of mismanagement by one of the four monopolizing manufacturers with dirty conditions and massive expenditures on the company’s stock. Republicans ignore Biden’s actions solving the shortage:

  • Invoking the Defense Production to speed up the production.
  • Authorized the Defense Department to use commercial aircraft to bring more imports for overseas.
  • Requiring suppliers to fulfill orders from baby-formula producers before other customers.
  • Making a deal with Abbott Nutrition for them to manufacture baby formula if they clean up the plant where it’s made.

His ideas seem much better this one from Republicans, introduced by Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott: starve migrant infants so that white infants will have the formula. Or Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), allegedly accused of sex trafficking minors, who wants to deny fomula to infants in poor families and save it for “hard-working Americans.”

The House appropriated $28 million in emergency funds for the baby formula shortage, but only 12 Republicans supported the bill. Stefanik, a new mother who uses baby formula, was not one of them, but she did vote for the Access to Baby Formula Act, temporarily waiving exclusive contracts between states and baby formula manufactures for six million people enrolled in the Women, Infants, and Children program. Nine other Republicans, however, voted against that bill: Andy Biggs (AZ), Laurie Boebert (CO), Matt Gaetz (FL), Louie Gohmert (TX), Paul Gosar (AZ), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Clay Higgins (LA), Thomas Massie (KY), and Chip Roy (TX).  Stefanik’s own bill was for more foreign imports of the product. 

The Senate unanimously passed the Access to Baby Formula Act but didn’t take up the funding bill.  

The U.S. House also passed a bill 217-207 permitting Biden to issue an energy emergency declaration blocking gasoline and home fuel price gouging. Despite the huge hue and cry from the GOP about inflation, no Republicans voted for the bill, and it has little chance of getting the necessary 60 percent of votes in the Senate. Four House Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the bill: Reps. Jared Golden (ME), Lizzie Fletcher (TX), Stephanie Murphy (FL), and Kathleen Rice (NY). 

The partisan vote in the House of 222-203 on the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022 shows how the GOP supports white supremacy.

Republicans hate globalization and want to bring home manufacturing, but Senate Republicans will likely drop a small program to train workers in new careers if they lose jobs from offshoring. GOP legislators say the U.S. is not working on new trade deals with other countries although old trade deals are still in effect. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) stated that Republicans care very little “about people getting laid off because of bad trade deals and tax policy that encourages jobs to go overseas.”

As frustrated as Democrats are with the GOP, Republican splits are causing dissension within the party. Hardline tactics of the highly conservative House Freedom Caucus have forced recorded votes instead of voice votes on what should be noncontroversial bills; legislators forced to stay for the voting can’t leave to do other business. A heated confrontation during a 2.5-hour voting on 13 measures led to raised voices from Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) and caucus members Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Scott Perry (R-PA), the current chair. Witnesses reported that Rogers promised consequences for the Freedom Caucus members if they continue delaying tactics. Beyond virtuous comments about the need to review all legislature, the Freedom Caucus bragged that they slow down the Democrats’ “agenda.” Suspension bills need a two-thirds’ vote to pass, and some are failing because of GOP opposition. One required the VA to provide contraceptives without co-pays. The bill later later passed after the normal rules process. In another bill, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) was the only member of the House to oppose a resolution calling on leaders to condemn anti-Semitism.  

The House January 6 investigation committee is heating up the media with more information about who worked to overturn Biden’s presidential election. With evidence that Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) led a tour of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021, the committee wrote him, asking for his testimony. GOP legislators had claimed that security footage shows “no tours, no large groups, no one with MAGA hats on” in the complex on the days before the insurrection. The committee wants to know about “individuals and groups engaged in efforts to gather information about the layout of the U.S. Capitol, as well as the House and Senate office buildings, in advance of January 6, 2021.”

Both Loudermilk and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IA) denied any tour like that, stating “a constituent family with young children meeting with their Member of Congress in the House Office Buildings is not a suspicious group or ‘reconnaissance tour.’” They added, “The family never entered the Capitol building.” Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) accused Republicans of leading tours to people using them to help interrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. She didn’t provide any names, and Loudermilk called anyone in Congress who made these claims “morally reprehensible and a stain on this institution.” He asked the House Ethics Committee to “take quick and decisive action to ensure this never happens again.” The committee’s evidence contradicts these denials and raises questions about Loudermilk’s tour and its purpose. He is also among those texting former chief of staff Mark Meadows to overturn the election.

Note that Loudermilk and Davis lied with their claim of “no tours” for the past 16 months.

New committee findings include official White House photos from January 6 showing Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) activites on the day. The probe is also targeting DDT’s 11:20 am phone call with then-VP Mike Pence in a final push for him to overturn the election and DDT’s 2:24 pm attack tweet, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.” At that time, the Secret Service was rushing Pence into an underground Capitol loading dock for protection from the mob. The committee perceives this tweet as the driver of the mob’s fury and worst violence as well as DDT’s indifference to it.

Shortly after the 2020 presidential election, billionaire Larry Ellison, co-founder/chair of the Oracle software company and the biggest backer of Elon Musk’s attempted Twitter takeover, participated in a call with Fox’s Sean Hannity, DDT’s lawyer Jay Sekulow, True the Vote’s attorney James Bopp Jr., and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) focusing on strategies for overturning the election. Ellison’s part may have been to assess Sidney Powell’s false claims about voting machines. He has been an active participant in a number of DDT’s conspiracy theories.  

Powell, well-known for her evidence-free claims of election fraud in multiple court cases, is now providing financial support for high-profile insurrectionists through donations to her non-profit, Defending the Republic. One of them, Kelly Meggs, is an Oath Keeper facing seditious conspiracy charges who has a new lawyer after her former one, Jonathan Moseley, was disbarred in Virginia for improper billing practices. In 2009, Virginia suspended his law license for frivolous discovery requests and false statements about the judge in the case. On January 6 he was in a restricted area at the Capitol but said he didn’t notice.

Known as the “Kraken,” Powell is also paying to defend Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and another Oath Keeper, Kenneth Harrelson, from the network of militia-style groups created in 2009 after Barack Obama’s first presidential election. A few dozen face criminal charges for the January 6 insurrection, and 12 of them have been charged with seditious conspiracy for allegedly plotting to use violence to stop the transfer of power to Joe Biden.

Powell was responsible for a far-reaching set of conspiracy theories about the non-existent election fraud from billionaire George Soros to the involvement of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez who died in 2013. The committee subpoenaed Powell, and Dominion Voting Systems is suing her for $1.3 billion. She is also facing disbarment in Texas from allegations that she violated rules of professional conduct prohibiting attorneys from making false statements, using false evidence, bringing frivolous lawsuits, and taking a position that causes “unreasonabl[e] delays” or “burdens” and “engag[ing] in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”

Another DDT shyster lawyer and architect to overturn Biden’s election, Rudy Giuliani, testified to the House committee for nine hours.

Emails show Ginni Thomas, wife of SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas pushing two Arizona state lawmakers to overturn Biden’s win in that state by picking their own electors contrary to the popular vote. The justice is also godfather to the son of Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick, married to one of the lawmakers, and the lawmaker, Shawnna Bolick, is a candidate for the secretary of state. Incestuous? Definitely a loss of democracy for Arizona’s voters if she’s elected.

May 18, 2022

Primaries – May 17, 2022

If it’s Tuesday this summer, there might be primaries. This week they were in my home state of Oregon along with Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Unlike in past years, the former occupant of the White House is trying to control the elections. This year he has pushed 176 far-right candidates thus far, 26 of them this week. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) upped his total by endorsing several candidates who ran unopposed or faced little-known, poorly-known opponents. A few of them haven’t been announced, specifically Mehmet Oz for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat, because Lancaster County ballot barcodes were too poorly printed to be tallied, affecting about 21,000 ballots. That race is so tight that a recount may be needed. Thus far, Oz hasn’t followed DDT’s direction to “declare victory” before all the votes are counted, but court cases will probably ensue.  

Status of the five states voting on May 17:

Idaho:

This state may not be as crazy as I feared: incumbent Brad Little won the GOP gubernatorial race against his DDT-endorsed lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin. She made the media by issuing executive orders the minute he left the state such as sending the state national guard to the Mexico border and rescinding COVID protections, orders that Little had to overturn when he returned. 

Incumbent Rep. Mike Simpson won, claiming DDT’s endorsement, but that one was two years ago. 

Kentucky:

Incumbent Rep. Thomas Massie, one Russian President Vladimir Putin’s staunchest assets in the U.S. for his 16-for-16 anti-Ukrainian votes, won with DDT’s endorsement. Massie overcame DDT’s insults that he should be thrown out of the GOP, calling him a “third rate Grandstander” for trying to stall DDT’s $2.2 trillion COVID aid package. DDT endorsed the state’s other four heavily-favored GOP house members. Massie’s current excuse to not expand healthcare comes from the statistics that 70 percent of people dying of COVID are over the age of 70. He insinuated that Medicare is the reason for all these deaths. He earlier attributed a quote by a neo-Nazi convicted for child porn to Voltaire while trying to smear Dr. Anthony Fauci

North Carolina:

Fellow Republicans wiped out DDT’s endorsement, 26-year-old incumbent Rep. Madison Cawthorn, with the help of billionaire Art Pope. The media attributed the loss to Cawthorn’s myriad scandals, but his big mistake was trying to take a district Pope wanted for another politician. Cawthorn has repeatedly endorsed violence in case of a rigged election (aka one that elects Democrats) and promised to break insurrectionists out of custody. He did, however, concede the election.     

 DDT got himself another 26-year-old, football player Bo Hines, for a congressional district where he doesn’t live. Local conservatives ran ads about his being a carpetbagger, and he raised only $120,000 in the first quarter with no contributions over $50 in the district he wants to represent. The misnamed House Freedom Caucus gave him $2 million, and Club for Growth gave him $1.5 million. The anti-government PAC couldn’t remember what position he wanted, however, running an ad stating he’s a senatorial candidate.

Rep. Ted Budd’s win for U.S. senatorial candidate was buoyed by DDT’s endorsement and $12 million from the Club for Growth. Budd voted to overturn the election after the insurrectionists were removed from the Capitol on January 6.

DDT’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows won’t be voting in the North Carolina primary. He’s been dropped from the rolls after the discovery he registered there illegally because he’s never lived there. At that time, he was also registered in both South Carolina and Virginia. A great believer in “election integrity,” he gave the keynote speaker at a CPI Election Integrity Summit in Atlanta on February 19 and said, “What you’re doing is investing in the future of our country and making sure only legal votes count.”

Pennsylvania:

Doug Mastriano, the Democrats’ pick for the general election GOP candidate, won the gubernatorial GOP primary in Pennsylvania just days after DDT endorsed him.  The state senator has been subpoenaed by the House January 6 investigative committee because of his participation in the plan to provide an alternative slate of electors for DDT instead of the electors selected by the state’s voters. He was also at the Capitol for the January 6, 2021 insurrection, employs 3 Percenters and Proud Boys for security, and has ties to QAnon conspiracy theorists. Later he denied he went into the Capitol although he was filmed going through the breached barricades. The press is banned from his rallies, and even Fox’s Sean Hannity disagreed with DDT’s endorsement. Republicans wanted former Rep. Lou Barletta and are very lukewarm about their new “Christian nationalist” after his win. Mastriano is everything that MAGAites could want and more.

Teddy Daniels, the GOP gubernatorial candidate for the 2022 general election, didn’t get DDT’s endorsement, but he did join the insurrectionists at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. He posted a video 90 minutes after the Capitol was breached and stated, ‘I’m here. God bless our patriots.”

Still unsettled is the GOP race for the U.S. Senate. By Wednesday, Mehmet Oz, DDT’s endorsement, was ahead of wealthy former hedge fund owner David McCormick by about 1,240 votes, waiting for the remainder ones. For a brief time, the third candidate, Kathy Barnette, rose as a competitor because of the smears between the top two. She out-MAGAs both of them with her anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQ bigotry and her being seen with the Proud Boys just before they were at the insurrection. Opposed to Roe v. Wade, Barnette claims she was “the byproduct of rape” after her molested mother was pregnant at the age of 11. Questions to Barnette’s campaign manager about her background went unanswered. Her supporters come from those who think that DDT is not far enough right-wing; her GOP opposition calls her “crazy” and “Pennsylvania’s wackiest candidate.” Barnette lost her 2020 try against Democrat Madeleine Dean in an area heavily won by Hillary Clinton four years earlier but still refuses to concede the race, which she lost by almost 20 percent.

Another carpetbagger, “Dr. Oz” moved to Pennsylvania from New Jersey after DDT lost his first choice for the U.S. senate, Sean Parnell, who resigned after his domestic violence was made public. Oz used his in-laws residence for his address, and DDT’s audience booed his name at a rally. Part of his recommended “cures” on his Oprah-endorsed TV show are hydroxychloroquine for COVID (doesn’t work) and lose-weight-fast methods such as raspberry ketones “the No. 1 miracle in a bottle to burn your fat.” According to Oz, astrological signs “may reveal a great deal about our health,” and umckaloabo root extract relieves cold symptoms. (It doesn’t.) 

Trying to look more MAGA, Dr. Oz held a pro-gun rally with Ted Nugent pro-gun rally less than 24 hours after a teenager killed at least 10 people in Buffalo last weekend. Nugent called for the audience to go “berserk on the skulls of the Democrats.”

If Oz doesn’t win by at least 0.05 percent of the vote, about 7,000, state law requires an automatic recount by June 1, 2022, unless the second-place candidate declines. Second-place McCormick has an antagonistic anti-immigrant position and hired Stephen Miller, DDT’s architect of anti-immigration policies aimed at people of color to advise him.

Oregon:

DDT made no endorsements in the state, but President Joe Biden supported incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader, who has moved to a new district after Oregon needed a new map for an additional House representative. In his former district, Blue Dog Schrader was disliked for his GOP-like votes, and his opponent, Jamie McLeod Skinner, is almost 10,000 ahead with about 21,000 votes outstanding from a bad print job on the barcodes. Deadline for confirmation is June 13. There have also been questions about Schrader’s residency

Money didn’t seem to buy Carrick Flynn a Democratic candidacy in the state’s new congressional district, despite the $13 million support from a cryptocurrency billionaire living in the Bahamas and another $1 million from the House Majority PAC. Of Carrick’s $817,254 itemized individual campaign contributions, 55 percent came from California and New York, with only 2.5 percent from Oregon donors. Flynn’s sunny ads for most of the campaign changed to smears against his winning opponent, Andrea Salinas, in the last few days. Because of the printing problem in Clackamas County, this election has also not been formally announced. Salinas is about 9,000 votes ahead. In the 6th District GOP primary, Mike Erickson has not been declared the winner, and the runner-up, Ron Noble, has not conceded although he is over 7,000 votes behind.  

After Gov. Kate Brown was term-limited, the race was wide open. By the time ballots were mailed, Democrats were down to 15 while Republicans stayed at 19. Democrat Tina Kotek got 58 percent, and GOP Christine Drazen came in at 23.5 percent. The fall election will have a wildcard in a three-race that adds former Democrat Betsy Johnson who frequently voted with the Republicans. She has moved to unaffiliated, and her ads, already running, merely say she will be for all the people in Oregon. Johnson has yet to show up with the approximately 24,000 signatures necessary for her to run, but her war chest is over $8 million, almost one-fourth of it from Nike-founder Phil Knight.  

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