Nel's New Day

August 10, 2022

GOP Problems – DDT, Flooding, Biden’s Improvement

Democrats are turning the insult of “Let’s go, Brandon” toward President Joe Biden into a campaign cry of “Dark Brandon,” complete with a visual showing him as a superhero, mocking Republicans. The vulgar slur from conservatives started in October 2021 and continued to sell political products. According to the Daily Beast:  

“In Dark Brandon lore, Biden only seemed to be incompetent; underneath the images of stumbling senility is a cold, calculating, sinister Machiavelli.”

Don Caldwell, the general manager of the meme-tracking website Know Your Meme, said:

“It’s revealed that he’s pulling the strings behind the scenes and that everything’s going to plan. Sometimes it’s that he’s appearing to be senile and he’s actually completely with it.”

Conservatives tried to maintain that the eagle behind Biden in one image represents Nazis, but that message hasn’t taken off. And the eagle is the national bird of the United States.

The greater the frustration, the more the fury—and opposition. And the need to hide …

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is losing his refusal to turn over his IRS returns to the House Ways and Means Committee. After DDT appealed a lower court opinion, the three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court ruled that the IRS give them to the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) first made the request in 2019. DDT’s next stop is the U.S. Supreme Court.

The party of “lock her up” is in a rage about the search warrant on DDT’s Mar-a-Lago home. Six years ago, DDT asked Russia to find former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “missing emails” when he campaigned against her for the 2016 election. Within a few months, the crowds started chanting “lock her up” and never stopped.

In November 2016, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said, “Look, there’s a tradition in American politics that after you win an election, you sort of put things behind you … to unite the nation.” Four years later, he sang a different song. Six years ago, Republicans at least pretended to want politicians to disqualify themselves from positions of authority when there was a suspicion of their putting documents at risk. Six years later, Republicans are furious, or silent, about the DOJ and FBI’s audacity in trying to retrieve classified documents, known to be at Mar-a-Lago.

GOP comments in the past day have surpassed the usual irony of criticizing Democrats for actions they themselves perform. Republicans’ new chant, “Defund the FBI” comes from the party campaigning on law and order who were enraged about individuals who wanted to “defund the police.” People with those chants wanted to transfer some law enforcement funds to mental health professionals to stop the police practice of killing unarmed people in the streets.

Sleeping through the past six years, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) claimed that the U.S. had never before used political power to persecute opponents. 

The GOP anger also revealed the truth. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tweeted about the search warrant, “If they can do it to a former President, imagine what they can do to you.” Rep. Elise Stefanik echoed Jordan’s comment. The anger comes from the DOJ position that no one is above the law, not even someone who was elected to the U.S. presidency. Responses to Jordan agreed the position that DDT is not above the law.

“The fact that the law applies to the president, and not just the rest of us, is a feature of democracy, not a bug.” – The Atlantic’s Yair Rosenberg

“Thank you, House Judiciary GOP, for summarizing succinctly the principle of ‘the rule of law’: the law applies to everyone, even a former President.” – Julia Loffe, Puck News

“When I try to overthrow the government, invalidate a free and fair election, illegally steal classified documents, and engage in lavish corruption as President, I’ll expect them.” – Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson

“Yes, if you break the law and steal top secret documents from the White House and commit some of the most heinous crimes in American history, this too can happen to you,” the organization tweeted. “That’s a GREAT precedent! That’s called justice.” – Government watchdog organization Medias Touch

“In which the GOP members of the Judiciary committee take a brave stand against the 4th Amendment. Motherfuckers, do you think any of us thought the FBI *couldn’t* search our homes if they had sufficient probable cause to convince a judge to sign a warrant?” – Reference to how the warrant was likely obtained from a tweet

“If I stole classified documents from the White House (allegedly), I certainly hope they’d do it to me. Please explain why they shouldn’t, a-holes.” – Bob Cessa  

Instead of legislating, the GOP focuses on planning retaliation with multiple congressional committees to put Democrats who oppose DDT in prison.

QAnon followers are delighted with the search warrant; they believe the search at Mar-a-Lago was part of the “plan” that favors DDT. The conspiracy posts told believers to “trust Ray,” interpreting that as FBI Director Christopher Wray. The theory is that “Biden set out to completely destroy the trust and confidence of our country,” and the “raid [has] done just that.” They think DDT will now expose the secret cabal of cannibalistic pedophiles, known to QAnon as Democrats.

Details are slim about the background for the search. DDT issued a 340-word rant but didn’t claim to be innocent. The one person who doesn’t seems to be attacked yet is the magistrate judge who signed the warrant, perhaps because DDT appointed him to the position in 2018.

Texas officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott, joined the hue and cry about the unfairness of the search. The bipartisan Mothers against Greg Abbott trying to oust him from office had an answer for the man behind the state’s draconian anti-abortion law, tweeting, “Try being a woman in Texas.”

The FBI search came from concern that DDT had not produced all the government documents covered by the Presidential Records Act he took from the White House, perhaps ones from the January 2021 insurrection, when he gave up 15 boxes of them in February. Therefore, the FBI removed another twelve boxes from the search. Last February, FBI officials spoke to DDT’s representatives, his appointed loyalists including former chief of staff Mark Meadows and whose job was to keep his records from Congress. In June, the FBI padlocked the storage area where the documents were stored, but DDT had added another padlock which had to be broken.

While Republicans focus on the search of DDT’s home, they ignore the ongoing tragedies in Kentucky from the flooding. Thus far 37 people have died in the disaster, and an 18-year-old boy died after helping flood victims for three days.  Cause of death was not established, but he had no prior health conditions. Rain is due to return with additional flooding. Heavy rains are predicted on August 9 and 10 in central and eastern Kentucky with more flash flooding that will block cleanup.  

The area most hard-hit is also has a large number of low-income families. Only 17,250 Kentucky property owners have federal flood insurance, the vast source of U.S. flood policies, and just 2,485 property owners in the ten counties with recent significant flood damage have this FEMA coverage. That’s 2.3 percent of households in the area. Flood insurance costs about $1,000 a year, and the media household income in Knott County is $32,500, half the national median of $65,000. FEMA maps may have vastly underestimated eastern Kentucky’s flood risk, citing 8.6 million properties in flood Zones instead of 14.6 million properties in reality. Maps are especially inaccurate in eastern Kentucky, three times the number in seven of the ten flooded counties identified by FEMA.

A major cause of the flooding comes from strip mining and the condition of the mines because the areas have been heavily logged and strip-mined for coal during the past decades. First the trees go, then the soil, and finally hundreds of feet of rock are blasted away from the tops and/or sides of mountains to reach underground seams of coal. The result is no water retention, resulting in flash floods. More runoff comes from loggings, gas wells, gas well roads, and power lines along with the climate change. With drainage around valley fills, the ponds and ditches break and more easily carry rocks and trigger dangerous debris flows.

Kentucky also permitted financially unstable or bankrupt mining companies to fall far behind on reclamation requirements, and even fully reclaimed surface mines are significantly likely to have experienced landslides. Yet the anti-regulation Kentucky will probably not even bother to do any studies.

Everything seems to be going wrong for Republicans, which can be a major reason for their anger. They are even discouraged about taking over the Senate next year. Biden has had more successes in less than two years than previous presidents for several decades—major legislation including delaying climate changes and gun reform, the killing of the killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, a booming economy with more manufacturing, and more. Maybe the U.S. is turning around.

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