Nel's New Day

August 31, 2022

No Primaries – August 30, 2022, But DDT News Worse

No primaries this week, but Alaska declared Democrat Mary Peltola the winner of a special election for its one U.S. representative. A Yup’ik, Peltola is the first Alaska Native to win a seat in Congress, the first woman to represent Alaska in the U.S. House, and the first person to win Alaska’s new ranked-choice election process. Defeating GOP candidate Sarah Palin, endorsed by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), Peltola won by three percent after receiving second-choice votes from the primary’s third-runner, Nick Begich, and will serve for four months. She is also competing against Begich and Palin in November 2022 for a two-year term beginning in January 2023. Peltola replaces GOP Don Young, who served for 49 years before he died in March 2022. Only the third representative since Alaska became a state in 1959, Young replaced Democrat Nicholas Begich, the current candidate’s grandfather, after he disappeared on a campaign flight from Anchorage to Juneau in late 1972.

The major news today, however, was information about the DOJ response to DDT’s motion for an independent “special master” to review all documents taken from Mar-a-Lago in an August search warrant. Just before the midnight deadline on August 30, the DOJ submitted its 36-page response with more news about DDT illegally hiding documents from the federal government.

The DOJ filing rebuts DDT’s claims about investigators’ private interactions with DDT and his lawyers. Although DDT’s counsel and other representatives claimed a “diligent search” in June, the FBI’s August search recovered twice as many classified documents in a few hours. The statement, signed by DDT’s lawyer Christina Bobb, may be a legal problem for her because the statement, verifying the “diligent search” for “any and all” remaining and relevant documents, was delivered “on behalf of the Office of Donald J. Trump.” That indicates it was authorized by DDT himself.

DOJ’s filing also asserts that DDT’s attorneys moved so slowly that appointing a special master would be pointless. Investigators have already reviewed all the seized material except items set aside by the filter team. If the judge goes ahead to appoint the third party, DOJ recommends the person review seized records only for potential attorney-client privileged information and be required to have a top-level security clearance sufficient to reviewing classified documents. According to DOJ prosecutors, “even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents.” According to the DOJ, DDT’s motion is only to disrupt the investigation; if one is assigned, the response asks that the work be completed by September 30.

The DOJ may be adding to DDT’s criminal charges. The affidavit stated:

“There is probable cause to believe that additional documents that contained classified NDI [national defense information] or that are Presidential records subject to record retention requirements currently remain at [Trump’s residence].”

To justify its demand, DDT’s response added executive privilege but cited no cases in which former presidents have successfully prohibited sharing documents and made no such claim of priviege before the search. On Truth Social, DDT again claimed he had declassified the documents, but there is no proof he did so, and the law also covers unclassified documents.

DDT’s response to the DOJ states that the special master should decide questions of executive privilege as well as attorney-client privilege. Executive privilege doesn’t exist among one branch of government; the DOJ is part of the executive branch. Previously, the DOJ said that its team examining the seized materials “identified a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information, [and] completed its review of those materials.”

In their response, DDT’s lawyers assured that there was “no cause for alarm” about finding top-secret documents at Mar-a-Lago that dealt with national security. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is conducting a review of recovered materials regarding the potential risk from disclosure of the materials. DDT lawyers also accused prosecutors wh would “impugn, leak and publicize” details of its investigation without a special master. 

The judge has scheduled a hearing on September 1 at 1:00 pm EST to determine whether to appoint a special master.

One of DDT’s lawyers, Alina Habba, complained that the DOJ investigation into DDT’s mishandling classified documents is for “mundane” offences like “espionage,” mundane meaning “commonplace.” In 105 years, only 55 people have been convicted of espionage. Habba also submitted court filings asserting she performed a “comprehensive search” of Mar-a-Lago for a separate case in New York. She’s either lying, breaking the law, or a witness. Either way, she should be ineligible to represent DDT.  

A photo of classified documents scattered on the floor among DDT’s memorabilia has gone viral with a debate about its accuracy. Phillip Bump wrote that the carpet background is typical of Mar-a-Lago, and a post from DDT indicated that was the location. A photo scale (bottom of page) and a small marker, 2A (center right), indicates it is for documentation of materials found in a “leatherbound box of documents” (not shown) with a property receipt of contents. Classified Documents 1 and 2 are dated August 16, 2018, and Document 3 is dated May, 9, 2018, one day after DDT announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement. None of the documents is marked “Declassified.”

The FBI has also newly unsealed a letter from May 25 from DDT’s attorney Evan Corcoran suggesting that the team plans to use the argument that DDT is above the law, trying to persuade the court that a law against keeping U.S. classified information at home doesn’t apply to DDT. According to legal experts, a president out of office is no longer president and becomes subject to laws applying to everyone else. The “good faith” argument that documents were mistakenly taken can be negated by DDT’s refusal to return them earlier and that there may still be more classified information at Mar-a-Lago.

DDT’s desperate attempts to add members to his legal team has been the joke of the media, but he finally found one—former Florida solicitor general Chris Kise. Unfortunately, he’ll have to pay Kise: the RNC has been floating funds for his legal problems but won’t pay for the problem with hiding the documents at Mar-a-Lago. At least he’s stashed most of the tens of millions of dollars donated to sue for the “stolen election” because he never followed through with the plan. Kise, formerly adviser to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ transition team, might want to get paid up front; DDT is known for not paying his bills.

A timeline for those who thus far escaped the ongoing saga of DDT and the stolen classified documents.

Soon after the Mar-a-Lago search, the “what abouts” started with the Clinton “lock her up” trope. The differences:

Federal officials searching Clinton’s emails found 193 with classified information when they were sent. Officials have found over 322 documents with classified information, many of them top secret and some of them in a desk drawer at Mar-a-Lago. Investigators found “a conscious effort to avoid sending classified information, by writing around the most sensitive material.”

Contrary to DDT’s former CIA director Mike Pompeo’s comment, federal investigators obtained Clinton’s materials at her home. The FBI took over 30 devices from Clinton and her aide and received consent for their searches. Evidence center to DDT’s ongoing investigation were never voluntarily turned over despite government requests.

The government could find no evidence that Clinton acted “willfully,” unlike DDT’s behavior.

Clinton’s emails showed no evidence that either she or the recipient was aware that the content was classified. Documents at Mar-a-Lago were labeled with different classified levels with no indication of declassification.

Clinton’s emails, expected to be preserved in other sources and/or acquired from other devices, had been deleted from servers; DDT’s documents were originals and lying around in plain sight.

Columnist Jennifer Rubin points out that GOP candidates are caught in the middle, either defending what is becoming increasingly indefensible or risking votes by cutting loose their cult leader. They also risk ridicule from Democrats who accuse the defense hawks of having flagrant disregard for national security and irrationally strike out at government officials protecting U.S. secrets.

The current solution for Republicans is to go silent. Last weekend, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) threatened “riots in the streets” if anyone prosecute DDT. After backlash, he backed down and said he would never say such a thing. Now he says nothing. When asked about the probe into DDT, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he has “no observations.” Republicans campaigning last week with their rage about the misnamed FBI “raid,” including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have no comment today.

Retirement for DDT means he has time to retweet QAnon accounts on his Truth Social—18 different posts in 12 different accounts within 60 hours. In between, he attacked the DOJ and AG Merrick Garland as well as pushing his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s book, described as “one of the worst political memoirs in recent history.” 

Recent polls: 76 percent are following the news about removal of classified documents; 59 percent think DDT acted inappropriately in taking them; and 64 percent think the allegations are serious.

The next two Tuesdays finish the 2022 primary round with elections in Massachusetts on September 6 and Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island on September 13. Only Louisiana doesn’t hold a primary before the general election.

August 30, 2022

Biden Forgives Some Student Debt, Repubicans Whine

For the past week, the U.S. has focused on two major topics—the documents stolen by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) and, to a lesser extent, President Joe Biden’s order to lessen the debt from student loans. After GOP lawmakers helped trillions to the wealthy and business through lowered taxes, subsidies, and corruption in COVID loopholes, they are outraged at annually giving a few billion to lower-income people for a new lease on life such as the ability to buy a home instead of paying egregious rent.  

According to Biden’s order, borrowers making less than $125,000 may have federal student loan debt forgiven up to $10,000 and Pell Grant recipients up to $20,000. Neither private loans nor Federal Family Education Loans qualify. Graduate loans qualify for the $10,000 but not the Pell Grant provision. The plan also caps interest rate at 5 percent instead of exorbitant rates of 8 percent and above that could not be refinanced at a lower rate. Continuing borrowers will pay only five percent of their income for undergraduate loans and ten percent for postgraduate loans over 10 or 20 years, depending on the debt.  Income is based on either 2020 or 2021 incomes. The student loan payment pause will also be extended for a final time through December 31, 2022. 

Since the 1990s, the average cost for annual tuition and fees at public four-year colleges increased 158 percent from $4,160 to $10,740 and 96.6 percent at private institutions from $19,360 to $38,070. Nationally, 45 million people owe $1.6 trillion in the federal student loans, and Biden’s plan forgives between 23 percent and 39 percent of them. In June, the Education Department canceled $6 billion for 200,000 borrowers who claimed they were misled and defrauded by colleges. Previously, Biden approved $26 billion in loan forgiveness for about 1.3 million borrowers, including defrauded students and public service employees.

Complaints:

The nine student loan servicers paid a small percentage of the loan balance or a fixed monthly fee by the federal government to manage the loan. Paying off the loan could have a long term positive effect although refinancing providers might have more of a negative result.

False claims of fiscal incompetence and lack of “fairness.” These come from the same people who complain about wealthy people being required to pay their legal income taxes and their paying a much lower percentage of taxes than middle-income families because of the GOP 2017 massive tax cuts. Some of these wealthy beneficiaries pay nothing or have a negative tax with the government paying them.

Recipients lacking good moral character. This quality was never investigated in the Bush recession bailout of banks, insurers, and auto companies. Lawmakers overlook their votes to give billions of dollars to farmers badly hurt by DDT’s trade wars, and congressional members personally benefited financially from laws they voted for, for example the forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to businesses paid by lower-wage blue-collar workers.

  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene whined on Newsmax that “it’s completely unfair” for student loans to be forgiven. She had $183,504 in PPP loans forgiven.
  • Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) tweeted the forgiveness was poised to benefit “Wall Street advisors” at the cost of “plumbers and carpenters.” He had $987,237 in PPP loans forgiven.
  • Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) called the forgiveness “reckless” and a “unilateral student loan giveaway.” He had over $2.3 million in PPP loans forgiven.
  • Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) tweeted, “We do not need farmers and ranchers, small business owners, and teachers in Oklahoma paying the debts of Ivy League lawyers and doctors across the U.S.” He had almost $1.5 million in PPP loans forgiven. (And he’s running for U.S. Senate.)
  • Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) lied about the “Party of the People” going after “working class Americans” with the IRS and higher taxes and “forced them to pay for other people’s college degrees.” He had over $1 million in PPP loans forgiven.
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) earlier criticized Biden for the money Congress allotted to help Ukraine during the Russian invasion. He had $482,321 in PPP loans forgiven.
  • Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) sponsored a resolution in 2019 calling “student loan forgiveness” a form of “socialist” proposal and “antithetical to American foundational values of self-responsibility and opportunity.” He had $1,432,400 in PPP loans forgiven.

These handouts total about $8 million dollars, equivalent to 800 “giveaways.”

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) worries about recruitment for the military if young people can afford college:

“Student loan forgiveness undermines one of our military’s greatest recruitment tools at a time of dangerously low enlistments.”

In 2019, Frank Muth, general in charge of Army recruitment, bragged about student debt, then averaging $31,000, playing a major role in exceeding the Army’s recruiting goal for the year. This year, the military has its fewest number of recruits since the end of the draft in 1973. A recent Department of Defense youth poll gave top reasons for not joining the military: fear of physical and psychological wounds, fear of sexual assault, and a growing dislike of the military.

Sitting on the Armed Services Committee overseeing the Department of Defense and U.S. military, Banks has received over $400,000 in donations from defense contractors, weapons manufacturers, and other major participants in the military industrial complex. Committee members have received over $3.4 million from defense contractors and weapons manufacturers during the current election cycle.

Loan forgiveness doesn’t benefit everyone, but neither do national parks people don’t visit, cures for diseases most never contract, schools for people who don’t have children enrolled, streets not used by some people who pay for them. Bankruptcy doesn’t forgive debts for everyone. Only taxpayers who own houses and itemize their income taxes get the mortgage interest deduction for tens of billions annually across every taxpayer.  

A leader in inciting anger among his followers, DDT gave his usual arguments about being too expensive, U.S. “in decline,” etc. His classic statement, however, was his resentment toward “bailing out College Administrators who fleeced students”—his own words.  A major “fleecer,” DDT swore he would never settle a lawsuit against Trump University but paid $25 million for fleecing students. Students ran up their credit cards to pay DDT tens of thousands of dollars, hoping to become wealthy from insider information and instead attended workshops in hotels where salesmen pressured them to pay more money for more courses. No secrets, no one-on-one guidance—just fleecing.

The accusation that Biden and the Democrats are “vote buying” by giving people the forgiveness fits giving money to farmers, the wealthy, and big business who then donate money to GOP candidates. Donations are used to run ads to get votes, sometimes in advertising with atrocious lies.

The conservatives highly incensed when Biden called their philosophy “semi-facist” dragged out the old trope that the modest loan forgiveness plan for people making under $125,000 is a “socialist” giveaway to “elites” and “gender studies” majors, that one from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), accused by dozens of university athletic students for ignoring their complaints about a doctor’s sexual assault. As of 2014-2015, fewer than 1,500 people, out of almost two million receiving bachelor’s degrees, graduated with degrees in women’s studies. Biden said that almost 90 percent of people eligible for relief make under $75,000 per year and pointed out that “85 percent of the benefits of Congressional Republicans’ tax cut went to taxpayers earning more than $75,000.”

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) ranted about the “socialist handout” and “added burden.” The richest senator with possible assets of $500 million, Scott founded and directed a healthcare company charged with defrauding Medicare. During his tenure, the company agreed to pay $1.7 billion in fines and admitted to multiple felonies for offenses.  

Although opposed to Biden’s plan, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) had a few tweaks to student debt, hoping to sound somewhat compassionate. But he didn’t want to appear “liberal” or “socialist.” Rubio said:

“I owed over a hundred thousand dollars in student loans. The day I got elected to the Senate I had over $100,000 still in student loans that I was able to pay off because I wrote a book and from that money, I was able to pay it. If not I would have never, I would still be paying it okay? So it’s not about, I think the student loan thing in America is a big problem and it’s broken and it needs to be fixed and it needs to be reformed and I have bipartisan ideas.”

A solution to student debt? Just write and sell a book.

Recent polls find that 59 percent or 60 percent of respondents believe the federal government should eliminate all or some student loan debt for all borrowers. Half of those who agreed have never had student debt. Forty-five percent of Republicans support federal assistance with student loans, but the rest of them will likely have a meltdown after the Education Department announcement that it will cancel federal student debt for 79,000 borrowers who attended Westwood College from 2002 and 2015 at a cost of $1.5 billion. The for-profit school and its branches, which closed in 2016, engaged in lies, manipulation, and false promises long after its closure.

Republicans will likely sue to overturn Biden’s order, but he can announce any borrower suffering hardship from the pandemic can apply for relief to get their debts canceled. Filing a lawsuit, however, requires “standing,” proof that loan forgiveness creates concrete harm to plaintiffs and then prove that the order’s cancellation can remedy that harm. Borrowers can only wait and see.    

Satirist Alexandra Petria has a brilliant column about the “unfairness” of student loan forgiveness well worth reading  

August 29, 2022

Russian Invasion of Ukraine – Day 188

The U.S. State Department and Yale University have identified at least 21 sites in Donetsk, the eastern part of Ukraine with Russian supporters, where civilians are detained, interrogated, or deported in violation of international humanitarian law. Signs of potential mass graves are also in some of the areas. Sources for their conclusions are satellite imagery and open-source information. Researchers received reports of torture, beatings, lack of water and proper nutrition, unhygienic conditions, and overcrowded cells at the compounds.

Russia is using cluster munitions to kill civilians in Donetsk. The bombs, missiles, rockets, mortar, and artillery shells are designed to open midair to destroy smaller weapons or bomblets detonating on impact. Some of the bomblets are still volatile, capable of exploding later. Over 100 countries ban cluster munitions but not Russia, Ukraine, and the U.S. Hundreds of these munitions have been documented and/or reported in ten Ukrainian official regions, and Ukrainian forces using them at least three times.

Ukraine celebrated August 24, coincidentally the six-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion of its country, as Independence Day for Ukraine’s break from the Soviet Union.  Russians used the celebration to kill 25 people in and around a train station in eastern Ukraine with rockets, one of the deadliest attacks on Ukraine’s railways since April when 50 people were killed in Kramatorsk. Russians also used Ukraine’s Independence Day to fire cluster munitions in northeastern and south Ukraine. Instead of a parade, Ukraine honored their Independence Day by moving heavily damaged Russian tanks, armored personnel carriers, and rocket launchers along Khreshchatyk Street, Kyiv’s answer to New York’s Fifth Avenue.  Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife carry flowers in commemoration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shelling late last week at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power complex damaged power lines, cutting it off from Ukraine’s grid. Much of the concern focuses on the nuclear reactors’ cooling systems that require power to run. Officials said that a power transmission line had fire damage. Of the 17 Ukrainian shells hitting the plants in one day, four struck the roof of a building storing nuclear fuel. Authorities are distributing potassium iodide tablets living near the plant in case of radiation exposure.

The episode followed ongoing concern about a nuclear disaster since the Russian attacks and the establishment of a nearby military base where Russia stores munitions. Inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency have not been able to inspect the nuclear plant because of Russian objections, but a team plans to go to the plant later this week.

Before Thursday’s shelling, Russia had threatened to disconnect the nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, from Ukraine’s power grid, with a catastrophe to its cooling systems if remaining power connections were severed. Then they started the shelling. Three of the four main electricity lines had already been broken during the war, and another two of three back-up lines are also down, according to Petro Kotin, the head of Ukraine’s atomic energy company. A shift between grid systems would require reliance on a back-up diesel-powered generator. There are no other options. Reactors reach a dangerous temperature after 90 minutes without power.

Other Russian threats to nuclear safety are their parking vehicles so tightly parked in turbine halls that firefighters would struggle to reach them in case of fire and violence against workers choosing to stay at the plant. In one turbine hall are 14 trucks and at least six in the other one. Many other military vehicles are lined up under overpasses, built to house pipes and walkways between reactor and turbine complexes. Kotin said that one worker was beaten to death, another injured so severely that he needed three months to recover, and over 200 of them have been detained.

Russian attacks destroyed Ukrainian fuel storage facilities in the Dnipro region supplying Ukrainian forces in the eastern Donbas region, left part of Nikopol without electricity, and damaged residences in Marhanets. Ukraine has a counteroffensive near the city of Kherson. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order to increase the military by 137,000, but the UK defense ministry said it doesn’t know if Russia will be recruiting or increasing conscription. Additional troops may not help because of the tens of thousands lost from death and injury in Ukraine. Conscripts are not required to serve outside Russian territory.  

In its occupied Ukrainian territories, Russia is planning rigged referendums to bring the regions under Russia control. Already, the occupiers are teaching Russian curriculum in school, encouraging Ukrainian to apply for Russian passports, and rerouting mobile phone and internet connections through Russia’s censored networks, frequently blocking access to independent media sources.

Citigroup is closing 15 branches and laying off or moving 2,300 workers in Russia as it winds down the retail and commercial banking services in the country. The bank started the process before the war began in February 24.

A Ukrainian official in Luhansk told reporters that Russian forces took the region’s entire grain harvest to Russia, at least 200,000 tons of grain. Russia is also selling 500,000 tons of wheat to Bangladesh for $430 a ton. Ukraine is successfully moving its grain out of the country via its Danube ports, 11 ships with 45,000 tons last Saturday. Under a deal with Turkey, 1 million tons of grain and other foodstuffs had been exported from three Black Sea ports. Thus far, 103 ships have gone either to or from Ukraine.

The hardship in Russia is reflected the country trying to recruit professionals because of “dwindling human resources.” According to Daily Beast reporter Julia Davis:

“Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was meant to bring Russia millions of new citizens, as well as the country’s fertile land, flush with mineral and energy resources. Instead, the war has caused monumental losses on the battlefield, and the exodus of the best and the brightest from Russia. Now, dwindling human resources are causing the Kremlin and its pliant mouthpieces to brainstorm about replenishing the gaping holes in Russia’s general population, workforce, and military.”

Davis added that an “exodus of young Russian professionals” has been “forcing employees to work overtime, during weekends, holidays, or their usual days off, as needed.” She explained that recruiting includes creating discontent in other countries and promising “Moscow as a paragon of religious propriety and freedom.”

Ukraine reports Russia’s losses since February: 47,100 troops, 1,947 tanks, 4,269 armored fighting vehicles, 3,188 vehicles and fuel tanks, 1,060 artillery systems, 279 multiple launch rocket systems, 149 air defense systems, 203 helicopters, 234 airplanes, 844 drones, and 15 boats.

A U.S. assessment stated that Ukraine has a “good chance” to retake territory captured by Russia in its initial invasion. Ukraine has taken out “most” of the bridges crossing the Dnipro River, removing Russia’s ability to resupply its troops. HIMARS allow Ukraine to strike behind Russian lines and put them into defensive positions. Putin has already been forced to pull resources from the Donbas where he concentrated most of his forces. Today, Ukraine reported the military killed 82 Russian troops and destroyed at least 30 units of Russian equipment.

After six months of failure and death, Putin understands he doesn’t have an easy win in fewer than six days. Quitting, however, would be humiliating. So what does he do in the face of the weapons sent to Ukraine amounting to tens of billions of dollars from many Western countries?

Putin could declare that the NATO threat is neutralized and propose a settlement allowing him to keep the occupied areas, including Crimea. But Ukraine won’t agree.

Putin could try for a huge battlefield escalation and use Belarus to open a second front north of Kyiv, but Russia is rapidly losing generals, some of them dead and others fired because of competency.

Putin can threaten loss of gas supplies which he has already done. European countries, however, are already planning for this contingency. Die Welt reports that German gas reserves are at 82 percent capacity with 85 percent by early September.

Putin could work to undermine Western unity and staying power. He already has Belarus’ Alexander Lukashenko by supporting his theft of the 2020 election despite nationwide protests. Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, is much closer to Putin’s racist, homophobic ideology than the democratic philosophy of other European Union countries. Italy may move back to far-right control after next month’s elections. Aleksandar Vučić, Serbia’s president, has been called “little Putin.”

Putin’s willingness to unleash radiation from a nuclear plant across the continent shows that he is willing to do anything.

August 27, 2022

Search Warrant Affidavit – Revelations, DDT Excuses for Having Documents

The judge who issued the order to release the search warrant release for documents taken by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) at Mar-a-Lago said that it would probably be “meaningless” to the public because of the redactions, and the quantity of blacked out content produced jokes. Even with those redactions, however, the affidavit provided a great amount of information, enough that Republicans are backing down after their temper tantrums about the search warrant. DDT-supporter Glenn Youngkin, Virginia governor, said people can’t “draw too many conclusions” after earlier saying the search were “politically motivated actions.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) switched the topic to “border invasions,” and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) moved to the anniversary of the suicide bombing of U.S. service members at the Kabul (Afghanistan) airport, Afghanistan. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) addressed an interview with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Nothing about the affidavit.

Not all Republican legislators protected DDT before the affidavit was released. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), an Intelligence Committee member, wanted more information and said:

“If he had actual Special Access Programs—do you know how extraordinarily sensitive that is? That’s very, very sensitive. If that were actually at his residence, that would be a problem. But we just don’t know that. So let’s find out.”

Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said:

“When you get to compartmentalized classified spaces, it gets more serious.”

The affidavit and search warrant cited three criminal laws from Title 18 of the U.S. Code:

  • Section 793, better known as the Espionage Act, which covers the unlawful retention of defense-related information that could harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary.
  • Section 1519 covers destroying or concealing documents to obstruct government investigations or administrative proceedings.  
  • Section 2071 covers the unlawful removal of government records.

Some revelations from the unredacted portions of the August 5 affidavit, about half the 38 pages: 

The DOJ involvement came after the National Archives sent the agency a criminal referral on February 9, 2022, after the archives had worked to obtain the documents for over a year. The FBI and DOJ coordinated a criminal investigation that led to a subpoena in June for classified material. When that was unsatisfactory, the DOJ submitted an affidavit to a DDT-appointed magistrate judge in Florida for the search warrant.

The government is “conducting a criminal investigation concerning the improper removal and storage of classified information in unauthorized spaces, as well as the unlawful concealment or removal of government records.” The probe deals with possibly violating several statutes relating to his illegal retention and storage of official documents containing sensitive secrets.

The storage for the documents had no lock until the government demanded it have one after almost 18 months of requesting the documents be returned. Mar-a-Lago had no “secure location authorized for the storage of classified information,” according to a June 8 letter that DOJ sent to a DDT lawyer. The documents have “not been handled in an appropriate manner.” Surveillance “footage showed that, after one instance in which Justice Department officials were in contact with Mr. Trump’s team, boxes were moved in and out of the room.”

Of 15 boxes of documents redeemed after a year of requesting them, 14 contained highly secret information: “184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked as SECRET, and 25 documents marked as TOP SECRET.” Additional markings included “HCS, FISA, ORCON, NOFORN, and SI,” some of these referring to technology and foreign communication. “HCS,” or human intelligence sources, means information gained from spies. The 184 documents marked as classified contained National Defense information and extremely sensitive top-secret information important to national security, considered among its most valuable and protected secrets.” 

Many of the classified documents, including top secret ones, were mixed in with miscellaneous newspapers, magazines and personal correspondence.

The affidavit indicated “probably cause” of more boxes, with more highly classified documents, still at Mar-a-Lago, many not secured, “that evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation 18 U.S.C. §§ 793(e), 2071, or 1519 will be found at the PREMISES.” (The search on August 8 added many more documents, for a total of over 300 classified documents.)

According to law, “classified information of any designation may be shared only with persons determined by an appropriate United States Government official to be eligible for access, and who possess a ‘need to know.”

In citing 18 USC 793(e), the government asserts that DDT had no legal right to refuse the return or any document “relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation,” according to 18 USC 793(e).

Tabs and markings are removed from declassified documents; the materials found at Mar-a-Lago still had these on the documents. Declassification of some documents must also be approved by the originating agency, something not done for these documents. The affidavit listed statutes criminalizing the mere possession of these documents, whether they are or aren’t classified.

Some of the documents had DDT’s “handwritten notes”; the government is investigating when those notes were made. Other documents were torn. Statute 18 U.S.C. § 1519 criminalizes knowingly altering any government record or document, whether or not classified or relating to the national defense, if a person’s intent is to obstruct not only an investigation but also the “proper administration” of any federal department or agency.

The moving trucks at Mar-a-Lago on January 18, 2021, at least two of them, were also noted in the affidavit because a president typically moves out of his residence by military plane or at least military truck instead of unguarded moving vans—unless trying to avoid attention. The following material to this information is redacted.

Because of threats by DDT supporters against people involved in the affidavit, the names were redacted, but some information was not blacked out. The FBI agent submitting the affidavit was trained in “counterintelligence and espionage investigations” at the FBI Academy in Quantico (VA), and information had come from a “a significant number of civilian witnesses.”

DDT has provided a number of fake defenses: the classified documents belonging to the government are “mine”; he always planned to turn over the right thing to the government; he could just declassify documents by issuing a tweet; DDT took work home with him from time to time; he withheld the documents because he didn’t trust “partisan Democrat appointees” who were “releasing thousands of his White House documents to the January 6 Committee in spite of his lawyers’ claims of executive privilege”; possession of government classified documents is protected by attorney-client and executive privileges; and of course, it’s all about political and “what about ‘Clinton’s emails.’” 

On Fox, Jesse Watters falsely claimed that a “liberal librarian” wanted boxes of materials and that the boxes just had things “like golf balls and Oval Office raincoats.” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) said there was no need for a search warrant because DDT would return any documents; Crenshaw insisted DDT would cooperate—before the affidavit’s pointing out all DDT’s refusals.

DDT’s lawyer Christina Bobb claimed that Mar-a-Lago was secure for classified materials. Yet the facility has no Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), and DDT has no national security clearance. Bobb said the basement door was secure but didn’t say how many people had access to the key. As part of the federal investigation, Avril D. Haines, the director of national intelligence, plans an intelligence community assessment of the “potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure” of documents DDT took to Mar-a-Lago.

Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said no one vetted the guests that come and go from Mar-a-Lago. A current example of that failure is the confidence that DDT and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appear to display in Inna Yashchyshyn before they discovered she was posing as a member of the famous Rothschild banking family. Federal authorities were alerted after a legal dispute exposing her frequent trips to DDT’s Florida club. She previously worked for an adoption agency specializing in helping pregnant Russian women come to the U.S. for their infants’ citizenship.

In a security analysis of Mar-a-Lago, ProPublica quoted a cybersecurity expert who reported hackers could use Mar-a-Lago’s network to remotely turn on the microphones and cameras of devices connected to the network in “typical hotel security.” An attacker could listen to sensitive national security conversations. A Chinese citizen, a part of her name matching a club member, entered Mar-a-Lago bringing four cell phones, an external hard drive, a laptop, and a thumb drive infected with malware while DDT was visiting from the White House. Hearing about the problems, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), running for reelection said that possible felonies aren’t important. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wants the Espionage Act repealed because, to him, leaking classified information isn’t a problem.

DDT reportedly oversaw which documents he wanted to take to Mar-a-Lago. Even his lawyers didn’t know what he packed. And there would be no mess if he had just voluntarily returned the documents. Questions are why DDT insisted on keeping the documents and what he intended to do with these highly secret documents.

At least no one has cried “defund the FBI” since the affidavit was released.

August 26, 2022

GOP Obsessed with Banning Books

Republican legislators have decided that substituting knowledge with conservative ideology in education creates more GOP voters and more money from big business for themselves. According to a PEN report

  • Thus far in 2022, proposed educational gag orders have increased 250 percent from all of 2021 with 137 gag order bills in 36 states.
  • Gag orders are now more harsh and punitive—heavy fines or loss of state funding of state funding for educational institutions with termination or even criminal charges for teachers.
  • Most gag order bills started with targeting teaching about race, continuing to do so, they are broadening out to discrimination against LGBTQ+ identities including Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill and 22 other bills in other states.
  • Higher education has been targeted more frequently than in 2021 as bills attack colleges and universities. In 2022, 39 percent of gag order bills are aimed at higher education compared to 30 percent in 2021 while bills blocking diversity trainings at government agencies have decreased. For the first time, bills are also targeting nonpublic schools and universities.
  • GOP legislators overwhelmingly drive educational gag order bills in 2022: only one of the 137 bills has a Democratic legislative sponsor. A few years ago, Republicans sponsored bills protecting free expression on college campuses; now most of them censor the teaching of particular ideas.
  • Conservative groups and educational official broaden interpretations of existing gag order laws, and state boards of education deliver draconian penalties in excess of the laws’ requirements.
  • PEN anticipates the assault of education will continue in 2023 with more gag order bills in states where they failed this year along with an increase in other legislative attacks on education such as “curriculum transparency” bills, anti-LGBTQ+ bills, and bills mandating or facilitating book.

Founded 100 years ago, PEN works to protect free expression. 

In a planned attack on government, militias such as Proud Boys and Three Percenters participating in the January 6 insurrection, are supporting far-right candidates for schools boards, already winning in places such as Sarasota (FL), Sacramento County (CA), and Eatonville (WA).   

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis managed to get 21 people elected to school boards for his far-right agenda. Not satisfied with that success, he suspended four of nine Broward County School Board members, all women, for  “incompetence, neglect of duty, and misuse of authority.” “It is my duty to suspend people from office when there is clear evidence of incompetence, neglect of duty, misfeasance or malfeasance.” His new appointees are all men. In 2019, DeSantis empaneled a grand jury to fire the school superintendent after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting in 2018 who resigned last year. No crime has been proved. DeSantis tried to suspend another female board member, but she reigned last year and was elected to the state Senate.

The majority of people at the school board for Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District spoke against the restrictions instituted by members elected by the conservative Christian wireless company, Patriot Mobile. New policies used faulty definitions of such terms as “gender fluidity” in the board’s attempt to erase its existence. 

Library director Kimber Glidden in Boundary County (ID) resigned after religious and political extremists violently threatened her for LGBTQ books that her libraries don’t carry. The recall group for four of the five library board members was upset because the county belongs to the professional American Library Association.

Northwest High School in Grand Island (NE) eliminated the 54-year-old high school newspaper and journalism program after the year-end issue in May featured a story on the history of LGBTQ rights and editorials on LGBTQ topics.

Jamestown (MI) defunded its library after it refused to remove an LGBTQ book. Two librarians have resigned, one of them the lesbian director who left for fear of her safety.

In Florida, teachers are pulling books off their shelves and removing photos of their same-gender spouses on their desks. Across the nation, one-fourth of the teachers have been told to limit discussions about race and racism.

An Oklahoma teacher faced a disciplinary hearing and was put on leave after she covered all the books in her classroom but gave students the QR code for the Brooklyn Public Library’s “Books Unbanned” site that circulates digital and audio access of books to any student in the U.S. She resigned.

A police officer went to a Texas high school to “investigate” a graphic narrative about a bullied gay teen. A middle school in Texas declared parts of a book by the man for whom the school was named, the grandson of slaves who learned to read when he was 98, to be “inappropriate.”

Virginia’s new law is purging books with ideas and identities, according to the nonprofit EveryLibrary, and one school district sends an email notification every time their child checks out a book. Almost all books eliminated in schools are by LGBTQ and minority authors. According to one policy complying with the law:

“While librarians are trained in selecting materials … the ultimate determination of appropriateness for a minor lies with the parent.”

In Kentucky, politicians control book selection.

An Ohio school stopped Jason Tharp from reading his book It’s Okay To Be a Unicorn although it’s not gay as school administrators claimed. Artwork from the book was also removed from classroom walls. He also wasn’t allowed to read his book It’s Okay to Smell Good about a skunk.

Parents in Virginia have even tried to block Barnes & Noble from selling some titles. In Florida one district says that children can check out books only approved by their parents. Susan Meyers’ Everywhere Babies was banned for a drawing of one man having his arm around another man’s shoulders on one page in her book about numerous families. Another form of “soft censorship” is putting “warning” stickers on books.

One America News (OAN) reporter Kara McKinney showed a photo of Nazis burning books when she called LGBTQ literature “filth” that deserved to be banned. Fox network calls teachers lazy, stupid, anti-White Marxists trying to “groom” students for sexual abuse.

Oklahoma has added a new word to banned topics of race, sex, and LGBTQ people—abortion. Library workers are told not to help patrons locate abortion-related information on computers and could face penalties under the law. 

DeSantis rages against education with the term “woke,” bragging about his “anti-woke” laws. The term originated in African-American English with the dictionary meaning of being “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).” Therefore, DeSantis laws are truly “anti-woke” in that they work to remove knowledge of “important facts and issues.” His goal is ignorance. It assaults and demonizes Blacks and other minorities, anyone considered “other” than the White ruling class if they have different opinions.  

Not all the news is bad. A Minnesota board lifted its gag order preventing staff from talking publicly about issues that could reflect negatively on the district, including its curriculum, after the teachers’ union filed a lawsuit. The district still hasn’t voted on its new curriculum restrictions that teachers believe would prevent students from learning about American history, including racism, and from learning how to think critically and speak civilly about difficult topics.

Proponents of bills argue that they’re supporting “parents,” but conservative ones force their views on everyone. In Granbury (TX), books are taken from school shelves, and the superintendent told employees to “better hide” any non-conservative beliefs. At a school board meeting, however, Adrienne Quinn said:

“I do not want random people with no education background or experience determining what books my child can read, what curriculum they learn, and what clubs they can join. Just because you can get up at every meeting and rant and rave does not give you authority over my child’s education. Your personal religious beliefs, people in this room and on this board, should not have an effect on my child’s education either. Our school are not to be used for personal political agendas and our children are here for education, not religious indoctrination.”

Applause erupted after he speech. The superintendent said nothing.

Last spring, Llano County (TX) citizens group filed a federal lawsuit for unilaterally removing “award-winning books” from public libraries “because they disagree with the ideas within them.”  The filing claimed violation of the First Amendment, including when the library “permanently terminated access to over 17,000 digital books” they could not censor. “Public libraries are not places of government indoctrination,” according to the lawsuit. Some censored books were as innocuous as Maurice Sendak’s classic In the Night Kitchen.

Some students are forming groups to discuss sex education and having “banned book clubs.” In Missouri, students are suing their district to restore eight censored books.

Last February, 87 percent of people in the U.S opposed bans on books that discuss race and slavery. Only 12 percent support banning books concerning “divisive topics,” and 71 percent of voters oppose removing books from public libraries, almost equal between the two major parties.

Articles about the huge shortage of teachers generally cite only the stress of COVID. Journalists need to start examining the effect of the conservative control on curriculum. Reading helps people develop empathy, theory of mind, and critical thinking. Banning books bans this development in young readers. 

Some News – August 25, 2022

The most dangerous story of the day may be how a Christian fundamentalist company is taking over Texas school boards on its way to control the U.S. for evangelicals. The Texas-based Patriot Mobile markets itself as “America’s only Christian conservative wireless provider,” meaning Christian nationalist/MAGA far right. Electing school board members is the beginning to take over every part of the nation’s political structure with its anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ, anti-feminist, anti-minorities, anti-history, anti-science, anti-nonChristian religion philosophy—and put all that in the school curriculum.

Former DDT adviser Steve Bannon has promoted Patriot Mobile and its “mission from God to restore conservative Christian values at all levels of government—especially in public schools,” according to Mike Hixenbaugh in his article for NBC news. Patriot Mobile created a PAC this year with $600,000 in seed money to spend on school board races in the Fort Worth suburbs. They bought 11 seats in four districts.

The Keller Independent School District pulled 40 books from the library shelves, including a graphic adaptation of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. The company donated framed posters of “In God We Trust” to the Carroll Independent School District, required to display them in each of the school buildings because of a new Texas law. These posters are spreading in schools across Texas after the passage of Senate Bill 797 requiring “a public elementary school or secondary school” to display the motto in a “conspicuous place” if a poster or framed copy of the motto is “donated for display at the school or institution” or “purchased from private donations and made available to the school.” The bill’s co-author tweeted:

“The national motto, In God We Trust, asserts our collective trust in a sovereign God.”

The Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District board voted 4-3 for a set of policies restricting how teachers talk about race and gender, limit the rights of transgender and nonbinary students to use bathrooms and pronouns corresponding with the genders, and simplified a process for parent to ban library books dealing with sexuality. Almost 200 people signed up to speak during public comments, many of them recruited to support the policies but others voluntarily protesting.

Christian fundamentalists must take over all parts of the government in their “Seven Mountains” theology, aka “dominionism,” once a fringe theology.  Pastor Rafael Cruz, Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) father, started weekly Bible studies for employees at Patriot Mobile’s corporate office to be posted on YouTube. Cruz preached that American founders intended a “one-way wall” for religion, banning government from interfering with the church but not stopping the church from controlling the government.

Supporters of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) are fixated on finding negative information about the Biden family, two of them so much that they stole the diary of Ashley Biden, President Joe Biden, during his 2020 campaign. Two defendants pled guilty to stealing the diary and selling it to Project Veritas, the conservative organization pretending to be a news media organization while falsifying videos and other information for negative lies about Democrats. The two thieves received $40,000 for the diary and returned to take more of Ashley Biden’s property. She had written intimate information about herself and her family while she recovered from addition.

The release of a nine-page memo from the DOJ after a court order shows the obfuscation of former AG Bill Barr in covering for DDT after Robert Mueller filed his report about the investigation into the ties between Russian interference and DDT’s campaign in the 2016 presidential election. Barr explained that DDT couldn’t be charged with any crimes because of no conspiracy, different from Mueller’s report. A highly redacted version of the memo was released in 2019; this version is complete. Barr signed and approved the memo on March 24, 2019, the same date he notified Congress of his decision not to prosecute DDT. It ends with a formal recommendation to not charge DDT. Both Mueller and legal analysts criticized the DOJ for being “selective” about items in the report.

Two federal courts concluded that Barr didn’t rely on the memo for legal advice and decided to not charge DDT before he commissioned the memo. A federal appeals court described the memo as an “academic exercise” or “thought experiment” that meant to bolster the public rollout of Barr’s decision against prosecuting Trump. In the memo, Barr’s deputies, the memo’s authors, wrote DDT couldn’t be charged because of lack of precedence and claimed Mueller couldn’t find any comparable cases with “remotely similar circumstances.”

The ”Trump Defense,” according to Barr’s DOJ: DDT’s acts were not criminal because of his thoughts, anger, and ineptitude.

  • DDT’s steps were “not for an illegal purpose” but because he believed the investigation was politically motivated.
  • DDT’s “driving force” was anger over Comey’s refusal to publicly declare that the FBI was not investigating Trump himself rather than an effort by Trump to derail the investigation.
  • DDT’s obstruction was never carried out because people didn’t follow his orders.

The government watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which obtained the memo after a lawsuit, stated the excuses presented a “breathtakingly generous view of the law and facts for Donald Trump.” The group’s statement added:

“It significantly twists the facts and the law to benefit Donald Trump and does not comport with a serious reading of the law of obstruction of justice or the facts as found by Special Counsel Mueller.”

Mueller had pointed out that DDT fired FBI Director James Comey after the former director did not “let this go” in the criminal probe of DDT’s former top adviser Michael Flynn. DDT told his White House counsel, Don McGahn, that he never tried to fire Mueller, but the memo claimed “there is insufficient evidence to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the President sought to induce McGahn to lie.”

In another sticky problem for DDT, one of his appointed judges returned his filing to limit the DOJ review of records seized from Mar-a-Lago with the request that he clarify what he is seeking—why the court has jurisdiction over the dispute and what “precise relief” he wants. Legal observers are already criticizing the suit for being convoluted and failing to ask substantial legal questions. DDT had asked for a special master to review the materials and bar the FBI from examining the documents until the master is appointed. The purpose might be to determine whether the seized documents are protected by attorney-client privilege or any other legalities.

Another potential DDT problem is the release of a redacted version of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit by noon on August 26, per a court ruling. It describes the probable cause for crime, possibly adding more charges against DDT.

More news about documents at Mar-a-Lago came from an email sent by the National Archives chief counsel, Gary Stern to DDT in May 2021. He references two dozen boxes stored in DDT’s White House residence not returned despite the request to give them back. Stern wrote that DDT’s lawyer Pat Cipollone agreed the boxes of official records needed to be returned. For months, DDT repeatedly declined to return the items while his lawyers expressed concerns about his keeping the documents.   

Conservative love to play the victim, and former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, now the GOP candidate for a Montana U.S. House seat by 1,608 votes is no different. He is claiming the DOJ is persecuting him although the agency has refused to bring charges against him for the second time. A report from the Interior Department’s inspector general reveals that Zinke lied and misled his way through an inquiry into possible misdeeds including a casino operating decision following extensive lobbying to bury the project. An earlier investigation into Zinke found he lied about his involvement in a land deal in his hometown of Whitefish (MT), benefitting him personally. He had falsely claimed that his meeting with the developers was “purely social.”

And notably, it’s the second time the Biden DOJ has passed on pursuing Zinke for allegedly lying to investigators. Another IG report released earlier this year found Zinke had allegedly lied about his involvement in a land deal in his hometown of Whitefish, Mont., which he stood to benefit from personally. Zinke claimed his role was minimal and that a meeting he held with the project’s developers at the Interior Department’s headquarters was “purely social.” Yet Inspector General Mark Greenblatt, a DDT appointee, reported that communications proved Zinke had “an extensive, direct, and substantive role in [representing] negotiations” with the developers. Even without any charges for his illegal actions, Zinke called it a “political hit job” by the Biden administration.

The federal government declined to move forward from the investigation of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) until after the general election. In this week’s primary, Gaetz defeated his opponent to be the GOP candidate. Yet the case against Gaetz for sex-trafficking underage girls may be solid, and he could be tied into a massive investigation in corruption throughout central Florida through his connection with an associate, former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg, who is due to be sentenced in December after several extensions. Like Gaetz, some of his charges are for sex-trafficking, but the investigation into ? covers illegal real estate deals, embezzlement of federal COVID relief, Republicans running ghost candidates, and public corruption. An op-ed from Gaetz’s primary opponent wrote about Gaetz using money from his donors intended for conservative causes to pay for his sex-trafficking defense and expressed concern about Gaetz, a member of the Congressional Armed Services Committee who has access to top secret information, is open to blackmail.  

August 24, 2022

Primaries – August 24, 2022

With two more Tuesdays of primaries before the general election, Florida voted for all its candidates, New York cleaned up candidates for state and federal districts after the map had to be redrawn, and Oklahoma decided 11 GOP runoffs. No Democratic runoffs were necessary because all those elections had winners with at least 50 percent, and five legislative races were settled because of no competition from another party.  

The primary in the Empire State is the second in just eight weeks because the state Supreme Court ruled the earlier revised maps were unconstitutional. ordered the redrawing of district maps because the revised ones were unconstitutional. On June 28, 2022, New York Democrats voted for Gov. Kathy Hochul to be their candidate this fall, but congressional and state senate decisions were made with the vote on August 23.

In a special election for New York’s 19th Congressional District, voters selected Democrat Pat Ryan despite positive polling for Republican Marc Molinaro. Ryan replaces Rep. Antonio Delgado (D), the new state lieutenant governor, and will run in the fall for a full term in the newly redrawn 18th District. His campaign on access to abortion makes his win “a huge victory” for Democrats in a “bellwether” district,” the first election to use this campaign issue, according to Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman. Ryan also won by over three percent in a district that went for President Joe Biden by only 1.5 percent.

In New York’s conservative 23rd Congressional District, GOP Joe Sempolinski’s win was narrower than expected, 53 to 47 percent, in a district DDT won by 12 points in 2020. Sempolinski will not be running for the full term this fall. 

Florida:

Current Gov. Ron DeSantis, unopposed in the GOP primary, will run against former Gov. Charlie Crist, currently a U.S. representative who changed parties in 2011 after his gubernatorial election in 2007, moving first to unaffiliated and then to Democrat. With almost 60 percent of the vote, Crist defeated three opponents. His victory speech showed his campaign against DeSantis; Crist is running on “fundamental freedom,” including “a woman’s right to choose” in a time of “extremist” Republicans, who “want to turn back the clock on our freedom.” In opposition to DeSantis, Crist said he will make voting easier and reinstate legally elected Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, fired by DeSantis for a declaration he wouldn’t prosecute women seeking an abortion and replaced him with an ally. Another Crist campaign issue is DeSantis’ refusal to call out GOP Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez for suggesting Cubans “illegally” in the state should be bused to Delaware.

Anna Paulina Luna, who brought the most money to the campaign with $1.9 as well as DDT’s endorsement, won Crist’s current 13th Congressional District that he’s leaving to run for governor. The district is predicted to turn red.

Val Demings defeated her three opponents with almost 85 percent of the vote. She faces GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, who was uncontested in his primary. Her former blue district picked Gen Z Afro-Cuban Maxwell Frost, 25, for the Democratic candidate over former Reps. Alan Grayson and Corrine Brown, who had been in prison for mail and tax fraud, as well as seven other candidates. If he wins in the blue district, Frost will be the first Gen Z member of Congress. 

Rep. Daniel Webster won the GOP primary for the 11th Congressional District, setting off histrionics from competitor and self-described “proud Islamophobe” Laura Loomer, 29, who lost by six points. “I’m not conceding, because I’m a winner,” Loomer declared, pushing falsehoods of election fraud against other Republicans. A conspiracy theorist and contributor to Alex Jones‘ far-right conspiracy media platform Infowars, she has been banned by mainstream social networks Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Medium; payment platforms Paypal, Venmo, GoFundMe and Chase; ride-sharing apps Uber and Lyft—even the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC. On Loomer’s Telegram channel, a supporter wrote, “OUR ENEMIES EAT BABIES.” She received over 37,000 votes in a district from Tampa east, including the huge, predominantly GOP retirement development The Villages.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, DDT-endorsed and under investigation for sex trafficking, won the GOP primary in the First Congressional District. His opponent in November is Rebekah Jones, fired from the Department of Health for her unwillingness to falsify COVID numbers.

School boards are where DeSantis won big time in Florida: at least 21 of his 30 hand-picked “parent-centered,” anti-woke candidates won their elections. Nonpartisan school boards are gone. The school district with 45,000 students in Sarasota County flipped to DeSantis’ conservative majority, 4-1. They plan leaving “CRT out of the classroom,” keeping “boys out of girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms,” and “sexual education focused on biology, not pleasure or gender theory.”

Florida’s turnout was light, perhaps 25 percent of registered voters.

New York: 

DDT is now not only endorsing sure candidates but also Democrats, in this case two incumbent representatives running against each other in the same district—Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler—and the lead counsel for his impeachment, Dan Goldman. In all three cases, he lavishly praised the candidates despite his recent attack against Goldman. Maloney leads a House Oversight Committee investigation into DDT’s storage of documents at Mar-a-Lago, and Nadler leads the House Judiciary Committee. DDT won two out of three.

Rep. Jerry Nadler defeated Rep. Carolyn Maloney in the 12th Congressional District, perhaps because of how the map was drawn.

Dan Goldman, the richest candidate in the race for the 10th Congressional District, put $4 million of his own money into the race. Among the dozen candidates, Goldman received over 25 percent of the vote, beating another incumbent from another district, Rep. Mondaire Jones, a Black gay man going to the U.S. House after his win in the last election. Heir to the Levi Strauss fortune, Goldman, an MSNBC analyst, was endorsed by the New York Times.

Rep. Sean Maloney won the Democratic candidacy in the 17th Congressional District where Jones was the incumbent. He was supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former President Bill Clinton while his Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and progressive organizations supported the opponent, state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi. Maloney chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Oklahoma:

Ally Seifried defeated Christian Nationalist Jarrin Jackson for GOP state senate candidate, known for his anti-Semitic statements. Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who claims she “absolutely denounces bigotry in all its forms,” endorsed Jackson. Outrage caused Lake to rescind her endorsement.

Gloria Banister defeated Scott Esk, another bigot, in state House District 87. In 2013, while running in another election, he said “homosexuals” should be executed and repeated his sentiment the next year, using the Old Testament to justify his comments, when he advocated stoning gays. He said his position just “makes me a Christian” to “the voters of House District 87.”

As the counting for one federal House member from Alaska in a ranked-vote voting grinds on, Democrat Mary Pertola is 13,000 votes ahead of two GOP competitors—including former Gov. and VP candidate Sarah Palin. Alaska gave Palin a 37 percent approval rating

According to FairVote, an elections nonprofit, primaries can be divided into three categories: open primaries, in which voters choose any party’s primary no matter their voter affiliation; closed primaries, in which voters are restricted to the primary of their registered party; and semi-closed primaries, in which voters vote in only the primary of their registered parties unless they are unaffiliated and can choose whichever party election they choose. Twenty states have open primaries, and 10 states have closed primaries but some of them allow voters to change their registration on election day. Ten states also require a majority of votes instead of a plurality; without a majority, the top two candidates return for a runoff. Two states, Alaska and Maine, have a ranked-choice vote system.

The Supreme Court announcement that it was overturning Roe v. Wade came almost exactly in the middle of primary season, with 24 primaries after June 24. Since that date, states, especially red ones, have seen a surge in women registering to vote with the numbers far greater than for men registering, especially where reproductive rights are at risk. Kansas women out-registered men by 40 percent with 70 percent of new registrants women. Michigan women out registered men by 8.1 percent, and Wisconsin women have almost doubled that percentage.

Another phenomenon is the shift in support for reproductive rights by Latinx in the U.S. In 2019, only 45 percent favored abortion legalization in almost all cases. In a recent poll, 76 percent of Latinx agreed with this statement:

“No matter what my personal beliefs about abortion are, I think it is wrong to make abortion illegal and take that choice away from everyone else.”

Subgroups of Latinx supported the statement by majorities: Catholics, 76 percent; non-Catholic Christians, 68 percent, Republicans, 55 percent; Latino, 72 percent; and Latina, 85 percent. Nineteen percent listed abortion as one of top important issues, for the first time being one of the top five. Almost 12 million Latinos will likely vote in November 2022, and many of them will be considering their candidates’ positions on women’s reproductive rights.

Two more Tuesdays of primaries: September 6 – Massachusetts; and September 13 – Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

August 23, 2022

DDT Keeps Monopolizing the News

More news about classified documents at Mar-a-Lago: John Solomon, conservative writer and a designated liaison to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) appointed by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), released a May 10 letter from NARA that the agency and federal investigators “had grown increasingly alarmed about potential damage to national security caused by the warehousing of these documents at Mar-a-Lago, as well as by Trump’s resistance to sharing them with the FBI.” NARA had discovered over 700 pages of classified material, including “special access program materials” which are some of the most highly classified secrets in government, in the 15 boxes recovered from Mar-a-Lago last January.

A major question is why “Team Trump” would release this damaging information that makes DDT look even worse by confirming the large haul of highly classified national security materials illegally taken to DDT’s club. Lawyers have made no mention of DDT’s having declassified the documents, as he claims. Politico’s Kyle Cheney tweeted:

“Trump has been on notice since at least May of the FBI’s efforts to access this material. So his motion to seek a special master following the execution of the search warrant is months—not just weeks— late.”

The letter from National Archivist Debra Wall to DDT’s attorney, Evan Corcoran, also stated that DDT had no executive privilege; only the current executive branch of the government and president can grant this way for DDT to escape. Solomon posted the letter on his website, hoping to cause trouble for Biden. 

A fictional excuse for DDT taking top secret classified documents home with him after permanently leaving the White House is that he gave an order to declassify all the documents. Sycophant Kash Patrel, acting chief of staff to Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller after DDT lost his 2020 election, has been pushing the myth, citing DDT’s tweet from October 6 2020:

“I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!”

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows rejected Patel’s claim in a sworn statement when a judge demanded clarification about the tweet. It was in direct opposition to the White House’s position to not classify the Russia records. Meadows conceded that the tweet was not an order to declassify or release any records. Meadows wrote:

“The president indicated to me that his statements on Twitter were not self-executing declassification orders, and do not require the declassification or release of any particular documents.”

Patel refused to give up on his false assertion and said that he witnessed DDT declassify “whole sets of documents” in December 2020 and January 2021 while he was “on his way out.” Previously, however, Patel said DDT “failed to generate the paperwork to change the classification markings.”

According to protocol, declassification doesn’t happen in secret. Former Obama administration Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson called such a concept “laughable” because “part and parcel of any act of declassification is communicating that act to all others who possess the same information.” In July 2020, the 2nd Circuit Court stated that “declassification, even by the President, must follow established procedures,” according to The New York Times. There is no evidence that DDT even tried to have a “standing order” to declassify everything taken to his home, as he claimed. John Bolton, DDT’s former national security adviser, called the statement “almost certainly a lie.”

DDT’s possession of classified documents opened an investigation to his violation of the Espionage Act, possible obstruction, and removing and destroying official documents.

Thanks to the lies spread from GOP legislative leaders among DDT’s base, The IRS is facing threats to its 600 facilities, comparable to those in 1995 after the Oklahoma City bombing of a federal building that killed 168 people and injured more than 500. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) isn’t spending its annual extra $8 million for the next decade to hire 87,000 new IRS agents, and it isn’t taxing people making under $400,000 a year. No matter. Lies are what the GOP campaigns thrive on, even if they kill people.

Fomenting the fear and hatred, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (D-CA) spread these lies from the House floor about the IRS on August 9:

“They have 80,000 employees. You know what the IRS also has? 4,600 guns. 5 million rounds of ammunition. Why? Democrats want to double its already massive size. With this new power, the IRS will snoop around in your bank account, your Venmo, your small business. Then the government will shake you down for every last cent. In light of [the FBI’s search of Trump’s residence], let me ask: Do you really trust this administration’s IRS to be fair, to not abuse their power?”

McCarthy wasn’t the only person to put these lies into the House record: he was followed by Andrew Clyde (R-GA). Sen. Rick Scott wrote an open letter last week to job seekers discouraging them from applying for IRS jobs. His ire was focused on a posting for an IRS criminal investigator to serve search warrants and make arrests with the insinuation that all the IRS’s new hires will “need to be ready to audit and investigate your fellow hardworking Americans, your neighbors and friends, you need to be ready and, to use the IRS’s words, willing, to kill them.” Fewer than 3,000 of the IRS’ 78,000 employees work in criminal investigations and carry firearms.

Far-right extremist Proud Boys, supported by many Republicans, posted that the new IRS hires had to be “willing to use deadly force.” Other online memes from the white supremacist supporters compared IRS employees to Nazi SS officers and called for a “tea party” to tar and feather tax collectors. Twitter has permanently banned Luis Miguel, a GOP House candidate for Florida’s state legislature primary, for his tweet, “Under my plan, all Floridians will be able to shoot FBI, IRS, ATF, and all other federal troops ON SIGHT. Let freedom ring.” Facebook and Instagram allowed him to continue posting after that statement was removed. Miguel lost the primary to the GOP incumbent, Bobby Payne.

Last week, a three-judge panel from the D.C. Circuit Court ruled that former AG Bill Barr failed to be honest about having a deliberate process after the release of the Mueller report into Russian interference on the part of DDT’s 2016 presidential election. The DOJ must now make public the internal memo prepared by senior lawyers in 2019 about whether ties between DDT’s campaign and Russia consisted of crimes usually charged by prosecutors. A judge said that Barr’s DOJ claim that the memo was part of his decision about prosecuting DDT is inaccurate and that the memo was more like a “thought experiment.” Barr decided DDT would not be charged with a crime before the memo was written.

A federal judge ruled that Arkansas violated the Voting Rights Act with a six-voter limit for those who help people cast ballots in person. He wrote that Congress gave voter their choice of whom they wanted to assist them at the polls other than their employer or union representative.

Justice has finally been served in the planned kidnapping of a public official, namely Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. A jury found two men, part of the far-right anti-government Wolverine Watchmen, guilty of conspiring to kidnap Whitmer in 2020 after a hung jury earlier this year. They were also convicted of conspiring to obtain a weapon of mass destruction in a plan to blow up a bridge as part of the kidnapping. 

 The men also went on “reconnaissance missions” to Whitmer’s vacation home, where they planned to carry out the kidnapping, and collected high-powered guns. Angry about Whitmer’s orders to stop COVID, they were also part of the hundreds of armed men who entered the state Capitol building. Two other men pled guilty and testified for the prosecution, and another two were acquitted in the trial deadlocked on the convicted men.

For years, Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg had pled the Fifth Amendment, invoking his right against self-incrimination. No longer. Now that he has taken a plea deal, he can’t avoid answering questions about DDT’s business dealings. If he tries to back out of the deal, the 75-year-old man faces a 15-year prison term. He can provide valuable information about DDT’s business and person misconduct without cooperating in a criminal probe against DDT.

Rasmussen has long been known as having a conservative bent, but new discoveries about their polling, lowering the average using several polls, show that anti-Biden authors are paying Rasmussen for surveys about Biden as advertising for their books. The company has a history of this problem: President Obama typically received approval numbers about five points lower on Rasmussen than other polls. Part of the problem may be their phrasing of statements to sway the answers for negative responses to Democrats and their actions. For example, August used this one last August:

“It’s always better to cut taxes than to increase government spending because taxpayers, not bureaucrats, are the best judges of how to spend their money.”

Daily Kos blogger Steve Singiser sarcastically asked why Rasmussen didn’t add “how tax cuts regrow hair, whiten teeth, and ensure that your favorite team will win the Super Bowl this year.”

[Note: Something has happened at Rasmussen recently. It’s latest poll for Biden averaging several sources was 47 percent, six points over the average of 42 percent of likely and/or registered voters. 

And tomorrow–primary results from Florida, New York, and New York. 

Media Focuses on DDT—His Election Fraud, Stolen Documents

The incompetent legal team for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) has asked a federal judge to stop the FBI review of documents taken with a legal search warrant from Mar-a-Lago until an appointed neutral special master inspects the materials. The federal lawsuit also attacks the search which DDT’s lawyers call a “shockingly aggressive move, overly broad, and maintains that deserves a more detailed description of the seized records. According to the filing, the seizure showed “no understanding of the distress that it would cause most Americans,” indicating a possible threat. It added that the FBI and DOJ treated DDT “unfairly” and “illegally seized.” Again, DDT, who was hiding classified documents, is described as “fully cooperative” although he didn’t respond to a subpoena for them.

The DDT-appointed federal magistrate judge in Florida authorizing the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago stated he “carefully reviewed” the FBI’s sworn evidence before signing off and considers the facts contained in an accompanying affidavit to be “reliable.” Bruce Reinhart included this information in the order unsealing redacted portions of the affidavit giving evidence for the search. He also noted that “neither Former President Trump nor anyone else purporting to be the owner of the Premises has filed a pleading taking a position” on efforts to unseal the affidavit.

The judge said the necessary redactions may make the document “meaningless” to the public. He also suggested the physical description of Mar-a-Lago could hinder the Secret Service’s ability to protect DDT because of access by “private members” to the premises and made suggestions for DOJ’s redactions to address that concern. Other judicial recommendations included protecting witness identities, actual information in the files, and methods of the ongoing investigation. Reinhart refused the request from media and conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch to unseal the entire affidavit because complete disclosure “would detrimentally affect this investigation and future investigations.”

A new report from the New York Times has specific information about documents seized from Mar-a-Lago and the process. The first 150+ documents marked as classified were retrieved last January by the National Archives. The 15 boxes included material from the CIA, the National Security Agency, and the FBI covering a number of topics of national security interest. According to several people, DDT had gone through the boxes himself in late 2021 before giving them to the FBI.  

Worried about the highly sensitive nature of the material in the earlier seized boxes, archives officials referred the matter to DOJ which had convened a grand jury investigation. In May, the DOJ issued a subpoena for the missing documents, and in early June, DOJ officials made another visit to Mar-a-Lago. DDT’s lawyer Evan Corcoran went through the boxes to retrieve classified documents for the DOJ and gave them a few dozen documents. He drafted a statement which another DDT lawyer, Christina Bobb, signed. She is supposedly the custodian of the documents, and the statement declared that, to the best of her knowledge, all classified material at Mar-a-Lago had been returned. Corcoran also showed Jay Bratt, the chief of the DOJ counterespionage section of the national security division, the basement storage room and said the remaining material had been kept there.

The question is who is lying with the statement, DDT for hiding documents from his lawyers or Bobb for signing a false statement.

On June 22, the DOJ sent a subpoena to the Trump Organization for Mar-a-Lago’s security footage, including the hallway outside the storage area which is well-trafficked. It revealed people moving boxes in and out of the storage, sometimes changing containers for the documents. The DOJ is now seeking surveillance footage between the first subpoena and August 8, the date of the search. Mar-a-Lago has little control over who comes into the club, even finding a spy who stole electronic items.

Armed with a search warrant two weeks ago, FBI agents removed 26 more boxes of material with over 11 sets of material marked at different levels of classified, including the highest level of classification—top secret/sensitive compartmented information—a total of over 150 records. They were located in the basement storage and in a closet within DDT’s office.

DDT’s allies continue to insist that he had a “standing order” to declassify the material and tried to excuse his taking the boxes because the General Services Administration, not DDT’s staff, packed the boxes with the documents. No documentation has been found to indicate DDT declassified any of the documents, and the alleged crimes identified by the DOJ isn’t connected to the documents’ classification status. White House aides described the chaos in trying to pack up the White House as some records were tossed into burn bags. One source blamed former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for the documents at Mar-a-Lago.

National Archives officials worked to get the material returned throughout much of 2021 because all presidential records material remains government property to be provided to the archives at the end of his term. Some of the missing documents were common knowledge such as DDT’s original letters from North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and the note that President Barack Obama left DDT before he left office. Former White House officials who DDT designated as his representatives to the archives tried to regain the documents for the archives, but DDT described the boxes of documents as “mine.”

Some members of the “Gang of Eight,” House and Senate leaders and leaders of intelligence committees from both parties, want access to documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. Other lawmakers want complete copies of the affidavit also, but the magistrate judge must sign any releases. Not all the “gang” supports the request. 

To overturn Joe Biden’s presidential win, DDT-related attorneys obtained sensitive election system files that they shared with election deniers, conspiracy theorists and right-wing commentators. The lawyers hired a Georgia computer forensics firm to place the files on a server where they were downloaded dozens of times to 10 accounts “associated with a Texas meteorologist who has appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show; a podcaster who suggested political enemies should be executed; a former pro surfer who pushed disproven theories that the 2020 election was manipulated; and a self-described former “seduction and pickup coach” who claims to also have been a hacker,” according to a Washington Post report.

Records obtained through a subpoena include contracts between Atlanta-based SullivanStrickler and DDT-connected attorneys, notably Sidney Powell. Data came from Coffee County (GA) and Antrim County (MI). One of the plaintiffs in a Georgia lawsuit said the recklessly handled files “go far beyond” these two counties.

Previously, Misty Hampton, a Coffee County elections supervisor in 2020, permitted a group into the offices to prove the “election was not done true and correct,” she said. Hampton resigned under pressure last year because she falsified time sheets. Coffee County files were downloaded to at least four people outside the company: Jim Penrose, a cybersecurity consultant who claimed to have worked for the National Security Agency; Doug Logan, operator of the now defunct CyberNinjas that performed the Arizona GOP election review; Conan Hayes, former Hawaii pro surfer; and “Scott T,” claiming to work with Hayes at Allied Security Operations Group that produced a discredited report on Antrim County used by DDT as proof of a stolen election.  

Hayes’ Twitter account has posted conspiracy theory material and images smearing Dominion voting systems in Michigan. He also allegedly worked with Mesa County (CO) officials to copy elections software in May 2021. One of three arrested was Tina Peters who lost a run for secretary of state but claims that the election was rigged.

SullivanStrickler’s work began in Michigan after Matthew DePerno, now the DDT-endorsed GOP candidate for the state attorney general, won a court order in December 2020 to have access to Antrim County’s election systems. The next week, SullivanStrickler employees uploaded dozens of files that were shared with attorneys representing Antrim and Michigan’s attorney general in a lawsuit opposing the county election results for DDT. Later the Antrim files were made available to a larger pool of accounts for people who made false claims about the election and promoted conspiracy theories about election fraud. Data security expert Harri Hursti said that widespread release of server images “lowers the barrier to planning an attack against any election management system running this Dominion software.”

The right wing had hoped to campaign on how horrible the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is, but news about it is barely a blip on the screen with DDT, as usual, sucking up all the time through his possible corruption and attacks to avoid backlash. One theory is that the culture war and DDT are feeding conservative activism so that the GOP can’t weaponize the IRA. The GOP sweep in 2010 came from the GOP attacking Democrats over the Affordable Care Act, but the health care is now popular. Attacking the investment of money in clean energy isn’t a good talking point.

Republicans also set their hopes on campaigning with complaints about the Democrats’ economy, but a new NBC poll gives threats to democracy at the top concern from 21 percent of registered voters. “Cost of living” was five points lower at 16 percent, and third at 14 percent was “jobs and the economy.” In the poll, 57 percent believe investigations into alleged misconduct by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) should continue. Republicans will need to look for more issues

August 21, 2022

Whither GOP Abortion Bans

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 11:07 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Last spring, a leaked draft of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and denying women their reproductive rights spread like wildfire throughout the world. Republicans started to panic because its potential affect on the 2022 midterms but hoped that the new would be as disastrous as it sounded. On June 24, the high court, with the support of six Supremes, released the decision, and the draft, filled with irrational arguments, was official with almost no changes. GOP legislators kept hoping the result wouldn’t be as bad as they feared, but the fallout has been worse than they might have feared.

The polls showed a majority rejected the Supreme Court decision, and the first state initiative supporting Roe, this one in highly-GOP Kansas, followed the strong support for abortion rights on the same day as the August 2 primary with 59 percent voting for rights, despite the lies of the anti-abortionist activists to confuse the vote. With no evidence, anti-abortionists refused to accept the vote: nine of the 105 Kansas counties insisted on a recount of the votes. In eight of these countries, 32 votes were changed in the 543,855 votes supporting abortion rights. Thirteen fewer votes favored tighter abortion restrictions, and 19 fewer votes favored the retention of current rights. One county didn’t meet the August 20 deadline at 5:00 pm.   

Kansas was the first loss after the Roe overturning for anti-abortionists who planned to use ballot measures for their movement, a strategy that they have run since the Roe decision in 1973. In over 50 years, 85 percent of abortion-related measures on state ballots have been proposed by anti-abortion groups. Voters approved only one-fourth of them while accepting 57 percent of abortion rights ballot initiatives, all before 1992. Kentucky, Michigan, California, Vermont, and Montana have abortion rights initiatives on the November ballot. A history of abortion initiatives by year.

While 14 states partially or completely banned telemedicine abortion, used in 54 percent of all abortions, Massachusetts’ new law protects telemedicine abortion providers serving patients in states banning abortions by mailing medication and giving telemedicine abortion care.  Massachusetts providers proving legal abortion care cannot be extradited to another state where the practice is illegal. The law prevents anyone from providing information or help to law enforcement or private citizens against the providers, and they can countersue if they are prosecuted in criminal or civil lawsuits. Their licenses are protected and their malpractice insurance is kept within reach for those who face out-of-state civil lawsuits while providing lawful abortion care in Massachusetts. With no requirement of parental consent, minors ages 16 and 17 can receive care. Other required benefits for these Massachusetts legal abortion providers.

In Nebraska, a 17-year-old girl was criminally charged for an abortion of a fetus over 20 weeks. She will be tried as an adult, and her mother has also been charged. Officials discovered the abortion by investigating the girl’s Facebook messages.

Michigan has been struggling over a 1931 ban on abortion. A state judge finally blocked county prosecutors from enforcing the 91-year-old law after the state Court of Appeals claimed that these prosecutors could enforce the prohibition. Although Republicans previously claimed that doctors and pregnant people getting abortions wouldn’t be charged, the law states both these categories of people, including those using medication for abortions, could be guilty of felonies. An exception to “preserve the life” of the mother is vague. Like other states with GOP legislatures, Michigan didn’t repeal the law after the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973.

Idaho Republicans took only seven days to pass the trigger law banning abortion in 2020. Public testimony wanted the law more restrictive by removing exceptions for rape and incest. With no medical professionals in the discussion, situations such as ectopic pregnancies or other medical problems weren’t even mentioned. Abortions are blocked after six weeks of pregnancy, before women know they are pregnant. Convicted doctors facilitating an abortion after that time face two to five years in prison.

The law needed a federal appeals court to deem a similar law constitutional, which occurred in July. The state Supreme Court refused to temporarily stop these laws during legal challenges; it takes effect on August 25 unless a federal judge intervenes in a fourth lawsuit. Technically the law went into effect on August 12 when the law permitting relatives of an embryo or fetus aborted after six weeks, including the family of a rapist, to sue the doctor in civil court for a minimum of $20,000 for a fetus aborted after six weeks.

A DOJ lawsuit to block the Idaho law asserts it violates a federal law requiring Medicaid-funded hospitals to provide “stabilizing treatment” to patients experiencing medical emergencies. Seventeen states oppose the DOJ case, stating that hospitals can just turn down federal funding.

Twenty states side with the DOJ and claim that their own residents would be at risk for a medical emergency while pregnant and in Idaho. Neighboring states such as Oregon and Washington expressed concern about the “spillover effect” if Idaho patients with ectopic pregnancies or other emergencies are forced to seek out-of-state care. Coalitions of major medical associations, including the American College of Emergency Physicians  and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, also filed briefs in the case because Idaho’s law is too vague and difficult to medically interpret. It would also force health care providers to choose between violating state law and being charged with a crime or violating federal law and facing fines and the loss of federal funding.

People who live in red states with abortion bans can expect even greater problems with such issues as corporations boycotting the state, medical schools failing to recruit, communities unable to enlist doctors including obstetricians and gynecologists. Indiana immediately began to experience this difficulty when pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, one of the state’s biggest employers, said the company would look elsewhere for expansion. Republican legislators in the state are so radical that 35 of them are comfortable with a woman being forced to carry a dead fetus to full term.

In Indiana, 27 percent of the counties are considered maternity care deserts with limited or no access to maternal care, and the state has one of the nation’s highest maternal mortality rates, 52 deaths per 100,000 births—twice the U.S. average. In a recent survey of almost 1,400 residents and fellows at the IU School of the medicine, 80 percent said they are less likely to remain in the state after the abortion ban. Indiana is the home of Dr. Caitlin Bernard, the doctor persecuted by the state’s AG for performing a legal abortion on a ten-year-old girl.

Doctors who have a family practice worry not only about the abortion ban but also potential restrictions on fertility treatment and contraception such as IUDs and Plan B medication. Most Indiana Republicans voted against a measure protecting the right to contraception.

The abortion ban is leaching over into the false belief of “personhood” from fertilization. The myth of an early heartbeat is actually the sound manufactured by the ultrasound machine, an electrical pulse. The heart does not exist as any kind of structure until ten weeks when an embryo becomes a fetus, and the term “heartbeat” is not accurate until 17 to 20 weeks. At six weeks, the embryo develops a tube generating sporadic electrical impulses, according to Dr. Ian Fraser Golding, a pediatric and fetal cardiologist at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego.

Even so, Georgia’s anti-abortion law gives $3,000 state income tax exemption for “any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat” (aka the ultrasound machine). At that point, the embryo “shall qualify as a dependent minor,” according to Georgia law.

Wisconsin anti-abortion law goes back to 1849, predating Michigan’s law by 82 years. The arguments within the GOP, however, demonstrate the party’s struggle to agree. The GOP Assembly speaker Robin Vos, running for another term despite the attempts of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) to vote him out of the primary, wants to reinforce the exception for a woman’s life and adding other exceptions such as rape and incest. Others want to make the law as restrictive as possible. Nine states currently have laws banning abortion from conception, with three more to take effect on August 25.

The red states moving to restrict or ban abortion are the most likely to provide the least care for pregnant women and the children they deliver.

  • Worst maternal and child health outcomes.
  • More difficulty in getting health insurance.
  • Refusal to expand Medicaid.
  • More child poverty.
  • More babies born with low birth weight, indicating serious health problems.
  • Highest infant and maternal mortality rates.
  • Less access to care for pregnant women.
  • Less financial support for families and children.

At this time, 40 percent of single mothers and their children live in poverty.

Despite all the laws, only 16 percent of Republicans say abortion generally should be “illegal in all cases.” Most Republicans said their state should generally allow a pregnant person to obtain a legal abortion if the child would be born with a life-threatening illness (61 percent), the person became pregnant as the result of rape or incest (77 percent) or if the pregnant person’s health is seriously endangered (85 percent). The GOP based insists on total abortion bans; others consider extenuating circumstances.

Next Page »

Mind-Cast

Rethinking Before Restarting

Current

Commentary. Reflection. Judgment.

© blogfactory

Truth News

Civil Rights Advocacy

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

AGR Daily News

Quaker Inspired, Evidence Based, Art And Science Of Sustainable Health Plus Success - How To Create Heaven On Earth - Education For Seventh Generation Rainbow Warriors

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

Rainbow round table news

Official News Outlet for the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: