Nel's New Day

September 30, 2022

Russia Invades Ukraine – Day 218

Although he didn’t cite anyone, Russian president Vladimir Putin finally admitted that mistakes were made in his mobilization of 300,000 new recruits to kill more people in his invasion of Ukraine—such as summons to “fathers of many children, or people suffering from chronic diseases, or who those who are already past conscription age.” Nevertheless, people still protest or flee the country, and even his own official supporters, including his state TV hosts, criticize him. By now, over 200,000 Russians have fled the country with about 98,000 of them going into Kazakhstan. Carlines at the Georgia border were over ten miles long, about a two-day wait, despite Putin’s warning to men not to leave the country. Russia plans a station there to serve summons to “citizens of the mobilization age” and is sending forces and armored vehicles to Georgia and other borders such as Kazakhstan and Mongolia to block Russian men from these escapes.  

Putin has also victoriously announced his sham referendum election of about 98 percent win to annex four areas after he either killed or drove off hundreds of thousands of people who might have opposed the annexation. Between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainians may have been forcibly deported to Russia, many of them children. Putin also benefited from sending in armed men with ski masks into homes or placing them at polling stations to mark ballots for people. Russian Parliament will also vote for formal annexation. One consequence could be conscription of Ukrainians within these areas into the Russian army, already in existence in Luhansk and Donetsk which have been controlled by Russia and its proxies since 2014.

Russian newspapers also spread propaganda in referenda areas, trying to create a feeling of normalcy and unity amid the demolished homes and infrastructure, looted stores, and struggling civilians lacking provisions. Cellphone and internet service from the West had been mostly cut. The newspapers were found when Ukrainians took back Izyum. Ukrainians also found ten letters from Russian soldiers in Izyum begging to be dismissed. Dated August 30, they drew a picture of depressed troops desperate for rest and concerned about health and morale because they don’t receive medical care. The ten authors may have banded together to draft the letters which were abandoned as troops fled the city.

Patriotic pageantry was front and center at the gilded Grand Kremlin Palace in Putin’s announcement of the annexation in violation of international law, claiming 40,000 square miles of land, or about 15 percent of all Ukrainian territory. Putin launched the ceremony with long, angry threats about nuclear attacks and promises to “protect” the newly annexed lands “with all the forces and means at our disposal.” Even Italy’s newly-elected far-right prime minister Giogia Meloni said the annexation has no “legal and political value” and that Putin’s move again demonstrated his ” Soviet-style, neo-imperialist vision that threatens the security of the entire European continent.” She called for Western unity.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky responded by a post on Telegram announcing Ukraine is formally applying for “accelerated accession” into NATO. The annexation effectively eliminates a diplomatic resolution to Putin’s war in Ukraine, and Putin will be challenged with his claim to territory that he doesn’t control. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he didn’t know the boundaries of Russia’s new “territory.” He added, “It has to be liberated.” President Joe Biden announced a new round of sanctions against government, military officials, and their families. Some of them restrict Russian access to key technologies and other materials to fuel its war effort.

On the same day, Russia faced new setbacks near Lyman as Ukrainian forces “semi-encirled” the eastern city, a critical logistic route. The thousands of Russians trapped in Lyman are part of the 752nd Guards Motorized Rifle Regiment with a tradition of being cut off, surrounded, and almost destroyed since 1994. Ukrainians’ strategy has been to destroy Russian supply dumps and command centers, starving battalions and disrupting their leadership. East of Kharkiv, Russians abandoned their tanks and fighting vehicles to flee into separatist Luhansk Oblast. Ukrainians split to circle the Russian troops with no way out by the end of the week.

Russia is attempting a partnership with Saudi Arabia after its Kingdom Hold Company invested over $600 million in Russia’s three largest energy companies last spring after sanctions from the West. In the summer, Saudis doubled the amount of fuel oil buying from Russia to free up its own crude for export at elevated prices before they guided OPEC members to reduce output targets in last month to raise global oil prices and give both Russia and Saudi Arabia more profits. Saudis have turned from the U.S. since its fracking production threatens the power of OPEC and Russia.

High-profile Russians keep dying, many in mysterious or bizarre ways. Ten days ago, the former head of a Russian aviation research institute died by falling down stairs. It was announced as “an accident,” but an unnamed source told the newspaper that he fell “from a great height” down several flights of stairs.

The deaths started in January, a month before Putin invaded Ukraine, with first of four men tied to Gazprom, the energy giant owned by Gazprom, the others dying in February, April, and July. Early deaths appeared to be suicides.

  • A Russian billionaire also died in February, again regarded as suicide in addition to a 43-year-old CEO of an energy development company who died of a stroke.
  • March’s death was of a businessman, owner of the medical supply company Medstorm.
  • The second death in April was of a former executive at Novatek.
  • The dead businessman in August was an outspoken Putin critic, supposedly falling in his apartment.
  • Four other high-placed Russians died in September, the first one an energy executive who “fell out of a window” on September 1 after his company, Lukoil, criticized the war six months earlier. Another Lukoil executive had an apparent heart attack on the grounds of a Moscow shaman in May. The aviation director for the same company as February’s death washed up over 100 miles from where he “suddenly fell” from his speeding yacht.  
  • The last September death was of the editor-in-chief of the Russian state newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda, who supposedly had a stroke and suffocated on his way to lunch.

Timelines and further details about the 16 deaths.  

Sweden and Denmark are investigating leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia to Europe. The simultaneous “unprecedented” damage in three lines 70 yards under the surface of the Baltic Sea sparked the possibility of sabotage. One pipe is a major source of gas for Europe with Russia stopping the flow; the other one was blocked by sanctions after Russia invaded Ukraine. Blasts were detected a few miles from the pipelines before the disruption. The attacks on the pipeline are seen by Western countries as precursors to other physical and cyber sabotage of their infrastructures. 

Fox network’s Tucker Carlson is leading the charge that Biden ordered the pipeline to be blown up and has joined the MAGA people’s new mantra, “Blame America First.” He said Putin would have to be a “suicidal moron” to blow up the pipeline. Biden has not directly blamed Russia for the leaks but accused Putin of “pumping out disinformation and lies” and asserted that the leaks are a result of sabotage. At the same time, Putin is blaming “Anglo-Saxons” for the explosions, which Biden does not believe. Russia’s state company Gazprom is the majority shareholder in #1 and the sole owner of #2.

Russia’s denial of the explosions and blame for the U.S. match its false claim that it didn’t shoot down a Malaysian airline over Ukraine with a missile battery in 2014. Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) DDT is also offering to “head up [a] group” to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin to avoid further escalation for his war.

Denmark, Norway, and Poland have celebrated the opening of the Baltic Pipe which will transport natural gas from the Norwegian shelf through Denmark and the Baltic Sea to Poland. The goal is to create more independence from Russian energy. Poland has been cut off from Russian gas supplies since April for not paying in rubles. The pipe should benefit other Baltic states as well as the Danish market.

As Putin puts all his energy into destroying Ukraine to remove its sovereignty, Biden is moving into his turf of mediating the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict with national security adviser hosting “direct and constructive talks” between his counterparts of the two countries. The “road map” to further peace negotiations leads to a meeting in a few days between the countries’ foreign ministers. Both countries had been part of the Soviet Union which dissolved in 1991.

September 29, 2022

Pot-pourri – DDT, Uvalde, Etc.

Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to prevent a government shutdown by 72-25 with only one day remaining before the deadline. The CR succeeded after Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) bill for a pipeline approval was pulled from the measure. Big-oil Republicans opposed it because they are angry with Manchin for supporting the Inflation Reduction Act, and progressive Democrats didn’t want to put fossil fuels over renewable energy. The law would keep the government open for 2.5 months until December 16 before Congress needs to pass a budget. The bill provides $12.4 billion for Ukrainian aid but nothing for COVID or monkeypox assistance. If the House, where GOP leadership is pushing the measure, accepts the bill, congressional members can go home and campaign for their reelections in November.

Nine years ago, the newly-elected congressional member from Florida, Ron DeSantis, voted against a $9.7 billion aid bill for New York and New Jersey because of the disastrous storm, Sandy. He said, “The credit card mentality … puts us almost $17 trillion in debt.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) agreed, claiming that money shouldn’t go to blue states. DeSantis formed the Freedom Caucus to block budget deals, but in October 2017, nearing his gubernatorial campaign, he flip-flopped, voting in favor of a $36.5 billion relief package for Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico.  

This week, DeSantis begged President Joe Biden for funds after Hurricane Ian hit, full federal reimbursement up front for 60 days, and told Tucker Carlson on the Fox network:  

“You know, when people are fighting for their lives, when their whole livelihood is at stake, when they’ve lost everything—if you can’t put politics aside for that, then you’re just not going to be able to.” 

DeSantis lied about the 2013 bill having non-emergency funds and blamed New York for failing to insure buildings. His request for billions of dollars began “Dear Mr. President.” The governor’s spokesman said, “We have no time for politics or pettiness,” unlike earlier when DeSantis flew 48 Texas asylum seekers from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard with no warning. DeSantis is “thankful”—for now—adding, “We all need to work together, regardless of party lines.” Biden’s approval of disaster declaration covers temporary housing, home repairs, and low-cost loans for uninsured property losses.

Floridians are suffering from flood/storm surge insurance. The National Flood Insurance Program, covering almost 1.8 million home and business owners in flood zones is over $20 million debt to the federal treasury, and DeSantis voted against bailouts after Sandy. He also opposed keeping insurance at affordable rates for most homeowners. Homeowner policies typically don’t cover flood damage, primarily insuring for wind damage.

Hurricane Ian may cause more insurance companies to declare insolvency. Since January 2020, at least a dozen insurance companies in the state have gone out of business, six of them in 2022. Almost 30 others are listed on the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s “Watch List” because of financial instability. Other large insurers such as Allstate and State Farm pulled much of their business out of Florida. The state already has the highest insurance premiums in the U.S.

State Rep. Spencer Roach, DDT supporter and author of DeSantis “Don’t Say Gay” bill in the schools, may need Biden’s help. Roach lost his house in Fort Myers.

Deposed Donald Trump’s (DDT) pet judge Aileen Cannon still puts him above the law, negating orders from her appointed “special master” Raymond Dearie who DDT demanded. Dearie told DDT’s lawyers to identify whether documents were planted or declassified, as DDT claimed. Cannon told DDT’s lawyers that they didn’t need to comply with Dearie’s orders which included lawyers state in a court filing whether they believed FBI agents lied about documents seized at Mar-a-Lago. Part of DDT’s strategy is to claim that the FBI had brought documents with them to the search and left them to make him look guilty.

Cannon also supported DDT in his stalling strategy by extending the special master review deadline to December 16, later than her original deadline of approximately Thanksgiving. Both dates are after the Midterm election. Dearie had said he would be finished by October 21. In another contradiction of the special master, Cannon blocked his authority to issue interim reports. Dearie firmly responded to her flip-flopping:

“In the original Appointing Order, the Court directed that ‘the Special Master shall submit interim reports and recommendations as appropriate. Upon receipt and resolution of any interim reports and recommendations, the Court will consider prompt adjustments to the Court’s orders as necessary.’ However, the Court later struck that language as part of its order implementing an unrelated ruling by the Eleventh Circuit. As the language quoted above as to interim reports and adjustments to prior orders is consistent with the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling and the efficient administration of the Appointing Order as amended, the undersigned respectfully recommends that the Court issue an order reinstating that language.”

Dearie made this statement after a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court, two of them appointed by DDT, reversed Cannon’s order blocking the DOJ from access to documents that were marked classified while he reviews unclassified materials.

DDT and his lawyers also lie about Biden orchestrating the probes into DDT. DOJ’s AG Merrick Garland stated:

“I think that the president made clear when he appointed me that he would not interfere with in any way any criminal investigations and he has stood by that. And there has been no White House participation whatsoever.”

This week, DDT’s lawyer Alina Habba told Newmax the FBI “planted” the evidence seized on August 8 at Mar-a-Lago and accused the administration about not “following the law.” DDT’s lawyers also refuse the special master’s order to identify which top-secret documents seized with the warrant were those that DDT insisted he “declassified”—possibly by telepathy.

Over three years ago, DDT denied that he tried to hide the USS John McCain during his visit to Japan because of his antagonism toward the noted senator who died nine months earlier. New information proves the White House Military Office told military to hide the name not put anything in writing. Emails stretched over a month before DDT’s trip in late May 2019 were largely redacted, but one directly states, “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight.” Another reference states the action of covering the ship’s name with a tarp was “NOT instructed” by the 7th Fleet. Paint scaffolding was also used to obscure the name, and the ship’s sailors wearing caps with its name were given the day off during DDT’s visit. 

Text messages sent to former chief of staff Mark Meadows released this week further revealed DDT’s attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Phil Waldron, DDT supporter and retired U.S. Army colonel, sent the texts and circulated a PowerPoint presentation to federal legislators recommending that DDT declare a national emergency over the mythical “fraud” to stay in power. Waldron also helped write a draft executive order to seize voting machines that was never formally issued. On December 23, 2020, Waldron told Meadows that Arizona was the “lead domino,” and they had to move fast. Meadows’ brief responses indicated agreement with the plans.  

Three shooting survivors’ families in Uvalde (TX) are suing the school district, gun maker and store, city officials, and law enforcement officials after the mismanaged massacre of students and teachers on May 24. The lawsuit names ten defendants, including the school district police chief Pete Arredondo who was fired several months after extreme controversy.  Many red flags surrounded the isolated and depressed teenager regarding his potential for this type of violence from fixation on cruelty. Friends often ridiculed the teenage boy for looking like a “school shooter.”

A three-person legislative panel ruled “systemic failures” and “egregiously poor decision making” among all levels of law enforcement involved, the school, the family, and the shooters but found no one responsible. Investigators questioned whether frequent lockdown practices, 50 at the school in three months before the massacre, contributed to the teenager’s success through complacency. Law enforcement sent to the school were also trained to apprehend migrants, not deal with mass shooters. Officers early on the scene thought the threat could be a “bailout,” a term for fleeing suspected migrants because the school’s alert system didn’t specify the threat.

The legislative panel reported that law enforcement prioritized their own lives over those of the children and found excessive problems with lack of security—a faulty lock on classroom doors, “poor Wi-Fi connectivity” delaying alerts of the crisis, and failure of police “to adhere to their active shooter training.” In addition, the 77-page report commented on “the void of leadership” contributing to the loss of life supplemented by lack of “incident command post.” A video showed police as they waited in the hallway for 73 minutes to enter the unlocked room. They fist bumped, texted, and sanitized their hands while hearing gun shots from inside the room. Video and details here.   

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) boycotted a hearing on gun violence focused on victims and survivors of mass shootings in Buffalo (NY) and Uvalde. He said it exploited children and objected to children voluntarily testifying about their experiences.

Six people, two of them were students, were hospitalized after a shooting at an Oakland (CA) shooting at a charter school which might have been gang-related with weapons possibly banned in California. As of this shooting, the U.S. has had 508 mass shootings in the first nine months of 2022 with 545 dead and 2089 injured.

September 27, 2022

News on September 27, 2022, Hearing Canceled Etc.

The House January 6 investigative committee has postponed its September 28, 2022, hearing because of Hurricane Ian, expected to go through Florida the next two days. The upcoming hearing was expected to focus on a declaration of victory for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) despite his loss in the 2020 presidential election. Danish filmmakers filmed DDT’s friend Roger Stone during the months prior to the election showing his prediction of violent clashes with left-wing activists because DDT would use armed guards and loyal judges to stay in power. In one video clip, Stone says:

“F–k the voting, let’s get right to the violence. Shoot to kill. See an Antifa? Shoot to kill. F–k ’em. Done with this bulls–t.”

The committee also has details about Stone’s contacts after obtaining records of Kristin Davis, aka the Manhattan Madam, who was with Stone at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC on the day before and the day of the Capitol attack. Stone also called Enrique Tarrio, head of the Proud boys, before and after the January 6 and contacted the former Oath Keepers chief Stewart Rhodes nine days after the attack. Both are charged with seditious conspiracy.

Other Stone contacts are with prominent Republicans who tried to overturn the 2020 election such as Texas AG Ken Paxton and Donald Trump Jr’s aide Arthur Schwartz. During the 2016 election, Stone was middle-man between Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, and DDT’s campaign. In his book The Breach, Denver Riggleman, former staff member of the investigative committee, describes how DDT’s former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was the center of the efforts to stop the certification of Biden’s electoral college win through his thousands of texts.

According to recent revelations, Secret Service leadership turned over cell phones from 24 agents to DHS Inspector General, DDT-appointed Joseph Cuffari, in July. The House committee had requested texts from the phones almost a month ago. Cuffari knew in December 2021 that the phones had been wiped, but he waited to inform Congress and the National Archives required to retain the records. His own staff called on President Joe Biden to fire Cuffari, and political scientist Norman Ornstein describes Cuffari’s actions a “coverup of treason.”

Paxton, who initiated the persecution of families with trans youth, ran away in a truck to avoid being served with a subpoena for a federal court hearing scheduled for Tuesday. The lawsuit is from nonprofits trying to help state residents pay for out-of-state abortions because of Texas’ vigilante law against the procedure. Paxton claimed he left the premises because he was concerned for his safety although the process server identified himself and held up the subpoena. For the past seven years, the attorney general has been under indictment for securities fraud and faces a lawsuit from former top deputies accusing him of abuse of office. In his reelection primary, Paxton received under 43 percent of the vote as high-profile Republicans tried to unseat him, but he defeated George P. Bush, Jeb Bush’s son, in the runoff. Texas’ voter suppression laws will likely put Paxton into power while he awaits a trial on his indictment.   

DDT’s special master, Raymond Dearie, has postponed the deadline for another week to complete digitizing the 11,000 documents seized from Mar-a-Lago because no vendor will work for him. The government may need to hire a vendor. DDT’s $3 million new lawyer, Chris Kise, has also disappeared from the investigation into the 11,000 documents seized from Mar-a-Lago; he may be moved into DDT’s business legal problems.

Two new books about DDT reported House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called DDT “crazy” and considered a vote to convict DDT in the January 2021 impeachment trial. Now McConnell has endorsed the bipartisan electoral count reform bill to keep future presidents from trying to overturn presidential elections through Congress. The bill would reaffirm that the vice president has only a ceremonial role for the joint session of Congress to count electoral votes and increase the number of congressional members to object to a state’s electors. The Senate bill already has support from 11 GOP senators, more than enough to overcome a filibuster if all Democrats vote for cloture.

McConnell prefers his bill to the House bill passed by 229-203 with support from nine Republicans who will not be returning in 2023. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) was one of the sponsors, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called the bill unconstitutional. The House bill requires at least one-third of the members of both the House and the Senate to object to a state’s electors instead of the current one member from each chamber. McConnell’s preference is for one-fifth of the members from both chamber in the Senate bill.

The electoral bill has been struck from the continuing resolution bill trying to avoid a government shutdown this weekend. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-V) will not support Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) bill because part of the pipeline runs through his state and seizes property from private owners. Kaine said he wasn’t consulted on the language of the bill or given a chance to share his constituents’ “deep concerns” over the project. The bill also changes the legal battle from the 4th Circuit to the D.C. Circuit. Kaine said litigants should appeal instead of changing “federal law to achieve their goal” if they object to the 4th Circuit ruling. If Congress doesn’t soon pass some sort of budget agreement, the government will shut down on October 1.

In a frantic search for the way out of his problems, DDT moved from Hillary Clinton’s missing emails to the “lost” millions of emails in George W. Bush’s White House. In 2008, Democrats claimed the missing emails left an “enormous gap in the historical record“ during a critical period. Newsweek reported in 2016:

“This correspondence included millions of emails written during the darkest period in America’s recent history, when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction, and, later, when it was firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons.”

DDT may have given up on Clinton’s “scandal”: the article states in the first sentence that no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Clinton exists. After his recent—and repeated—claims about Clinton, DDT lied about Barack Obama taking classified secrets and clashing with the National Archives. DDT still can’t find a parallel for his taking classified materials, leaving them lying around in a fancy country club, refusing to return them, and being investigating for obstructing the retrieval process. He’s working on the “what about …” and “everybody does it” defense.  

The party of “law and order” and its leader are still savagely attacking the FBI, the lead agency for enforcing both domestic and foreign crimes. After its investigation into DDT’s alleged crimes, DDT called them “corrupt,” “mobsters,” “vicious monsters,” and “a real threat to democracy” while accusing them of “atrocities.” His allies fell in line, claiming they are politicized, pushing conspiracy theories and calling on the FBI to be defunded—sort of like “defund the police.” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told Fox network viewers that a possible “cabal” within the FBI politicized the agency’s work.

Next year if they gain power, the GOP plans extensive investigations, possibly a select committee, to probe the recovery of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago as well as curbing FBI funding and surveillance permissions. With no visible evidence, the GOP “Commitment to America” claims “more than 14 whistleblowers” have “come forward to publicly raise concerns about the FBI’s politicization,” based on an assertion from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).

The people of the U.S. should be treated like little children, says Arizona’s supposedly Democratic senator Kyrsten Sinema as she praised McConnell and declared she shares GOP values. According to her reasoning, the filibuster needs to be restored to its former glory because parents shouldn’t give children everything they want. MSNBC Chris Hayes described her comparison:

“Sinema and others like her are the Grown Ups. And We The People are spoiled children constantly asking for things.”

Sinema falsely claims the filibuster was “what our forefathers intended.” The first use of the Senate filibuster,however, was in 1837 to keep President Andrew Jackson from a resolution of censure, and it didn’t become popular until the mid-20th century when Southern Democrats used it to fight the Civil Rights Act. Until 1970, a senator could filibuster only by standing on the chamber floor and non-stop talking, but now it requires only a senator effortlessly submitting an intent to filibuster in writing.

MSNBC Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out:

“The number 60 never appears in the Constitution, but it seems to live in Kyrsten Sinema’s imagined version of the Constitution. If a simple majority vote is a dangerous and fickle threshold for governing in a democracy, then why should only five members of the United States Supreme Court get to decide the final interpretation of the law of the land? Why doesn’t Senator Sinema advocate a minimum of a 6-vote threshold in the Supreme Court instead of a mere majority and why is the United States of America the only country that has a 60 percent threshold to win a vote in a national legislative body?”

More news tomorrow.

September 26, 2022

Early Voting Opens, GOP Candidates Not the ‘Best’

Four states—Minnesota, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming—started early voting this week for the 2022 election culminating in six weeks, and conservative columnist Matt Lewis has a piece on how bad the “crop of Trumpy primary winners” are. He went beyond saying they are not “quality,” as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said about them by writing, “Republicans are not sending us their best.” Lewis then called them “garbage candidates.”

Lewis starts in Michigan with John Gibbs, running for Congress. Gibbs called Democrats the party of “gender-bending,” defended an anti-Semitic Twitter feed, and pushed the theory that Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta participated in a satanic ritual. He also argued against women’s suffrage because the social system of patriarchy “is the best model for the continued success of a society”; women lack “the characteristics necessary to govern and … are commanded not to rule.” Beating first-term GOP incumbent Rep. Peter Meijer, Gibbs won with the endorsement of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) because Meijer voted for DDT’s second impeachment and accepted the election of Joe Biden for president. Meijer replaced Justin Amash, a Republican who voted for DDT’s first impeachment before he became a Libertarian.

Nearby, GOP congressional candidate J.R. Majewski was outed as a liar—shock!—when he claimed to be deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11. He was actually loading planes in Qatar, almost 1,200 miles away. Majewski is known for exaggerations, conspiracy theories, and hopes of violence against the government. DDT praised Majewski because he made a “Let’s Go Brandon” rap video and cut the name “TRUMP” on his farmland. And he was in the Capitol during the January 6 insurrection. Majewski claims his military service was “classified,” but the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) withdrew $1 million worth of ads for him. 

Lewis has just touched the surface of “not sending us their best.” In the upper chamber, McConnell’s super PAC pulled $10 million out of the campaign for Blake Masters, GOP candidate for U.S. Senate. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) withdrew $2 million.   They have a lot of reasons other than Masters’ poor polling. Masters: 

  • Wants to fire all the generals and admirals, because they are “woke” and “left-wing” losers who never won a war, and replace them with “the most conservative colonels.”
  • Claimed he was “100 percent pro-life” until the overturning of Roe v. Wade engendered massive protesting.  
  • Thinks states should be allowed to regulate access to contraception.  
  • Pushes the baseless “great replacement” conspiracy theory narrative.
  • Blames gun violence in America on Black people.
  • Tried to cover up past viewpoints such as privatizing Social Security, support for DDT’s “stolen election, and blame for economic woes on diversity among Federal Reserve leaders by scrubbing his website. 
  • Hired two fake electors for his staff.  
  • Believes in the “replacement theory,” the racist belief that Democrats want to replace Whites with non-White immigrants.
  • Sent emails to his Stanford vegetarian co-op damning democracy such as decrying the “miserably peculiar American diety [sic] called Democracy” and “feudal monarchies” and pushing social classes, describing those lower on the social ladder “human trash.” Masters also advocated articles for an alternative to voting. 
  • Said that Ted Kaczynski’s writings provided “a lot of insight there that is correct” (though he denounced Kaczynski’s terrorist actions).
  • Called for McConnell to be replaced as GOP leader with Sens. Josh Hawley (MO) or Tom Cotton (AR) for the position.

McConnell said that Masters’ major donor, gay billionaire and PayPal founder Peter Thiel, has the money to bankroll his friend. A GOP strategist estimated Masters would need $60 to counteract his opponent, Sen. Mark Kelly, because outside groups pay three times as much for airtime as candidates in the state. Democrats have spent the GOP by 2-1, and Kelly has $24 million in the bank from the $54 million he raised. Two pollsters from DDT and Biden found Kelly leading Masters 50 percent to 42 percent. Masters’ favorability rating at 37 percent (54 percent unfavorable) was unusually negative for a first-time candidate.

Other GOP candidates getting in trouble:

In a New York congressional race, the FBI caught the husband and son of GOP candidate Tina Forte in a drug and gun bust at their family warehouse. Her family members were also arrested for the same thing in 2019. Forte is slamming her opponent, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, for being soft on crime. Forte has shared images of her with the Proud Boys leader, shared QAnon conspiracy theory slogans, and participated in DDT’s January 6 rally. Her campaign pushes her small business credentials with the location where the FBI arrested her husband and son.

Maine’s GOP gubernatorial candidate, Paul LePage, took advantage of tax breaks from Florida legally available only to full-time residents. He and his wife owned the property and filed for the tax breaks while LePage lived in Maine’s governor’s mansion from 2009 to 2015 and again while he campaigns for his old job. They bought two homes in Florida and sold one with the homestead exemption of $8,500 for permanent residents while living in Maine.

Nevada’s GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, Adam Lexalt, dropped assertions of stolen elections and DDT’s endorsement from his website and may be close to taking out Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and changing the Nevada senator to Republican. He also has nothing to say about Sen. Lindsey Graham’s proposed abortion bill although he called Roe v. Wade last June and praised its overturning as “a historic victory.” Laxalt orchestrated several failed lawsuits to block Biden’s presidency after the election and employs an insurrectionist as his senior campaign operative. Now he’s ready to fight the results of the senatorial election—if he loses. He may get support because both his father and grandfather were U.S. senators.

GOP candidates in early voting:

Ted Budd, GOP candidate in North Carolina, made DDT far less prominent on his website, but he still appeared with DDT last week for the Wilmington rally, however, which may not have done him any good. DDT smeared Cheri Beasley, opponent and elected judge, in the midst of a racial rant. And the incumbent U.S. representative was an original co-signer of the GOP national abortion ban. Adding a disclaimer, Budd recently insinuated he would accept the election’s results after months of refusing an answer. Other accusations against Budd are his votes against farmers and a bankruptcy for his family’s agriculture business costing farmers millions of dollars in losses. According the media, he took oil industry donations the day before voting against the gas price-gouging ban and took money from big pharma before voting against lowering drug prices.

Yesli Vega, the GOP candidate in a Virginia swing district against Rep. Abigail Spanberger, is struggling against her statement expressed by Todd Akins that rape rarely leads to pregnancy “maybe because there’s so much going on in the body.” The rapist is doing it “quickly,” or “it’s not something that’s happening organically,” Vega said. She added that as a police officer she worked only one case in which the rape victim became pregnant. Candidate for U.S. senator from Missouri, Akins lost his election. Aligned with a group asking candidates to commit to banning abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest, Vega also said that abortion has been legal “after the point of birth.”

Harriet Hageman, who defeated Rep. Liz Cheney in the primary after DDT’s and McCarthy’s retaliation for her moderate view recently, has been accused by 41 legal professionals of violating the oath of attorney and professional statements about the 2020 election.  

Gov. Kristi Noem, running for re-election in South Dakota, is a high profile candidate facing ethics charges from a state board. They found sufficient information that she may have “engaged in misconduct” by intervening in her daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser license, and “appropriate action” could be taken. Noem, who had hoped to run for president in the future, called the complaints political and sought to get the records sealed. She can publicly defend herself, and results can be reprimand or community service. The law’s solution for making recommendations to the governor would be useless because Noem is the governor.

Noem also faces another charge of illegally costing taxpayers money for the private use of a state airplane. That complaint is before the state’s division of criminal investigation overseen by a county prosecutor. She has used private jets to fly to fundraisers, campaign events, and conservative gatherings, some of them out of state. The 2006 came from the governor at the time, Mike Rounds, who is now the current U.S. senator from the state. He used the plane for such events as his son’s basketball games while on official business.

This week, Illinois and Michigan start their early voting.

And the next hearing from the House January 6 investigative committee is Wednesday, September 28, 2022 at 1:00 pm EST.

 

September 25, 2022

Elections, Cheats

Sunday’s election in Italy will please Russian President Vladimir Putin and Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) as far-right Giorgia Meloni claimed victory as the prime minister of the third-largest economy in the European Union in the snap national election triggered by party infighting collapsing PM Mario Draghi’s government in July. She is predicted to take 26 percent of the vote, ahead of her closest rival from the center left. Her alliance includes the former PM Silvio Berlusconi’s center right Forza Italia. Italy’s president, however, selects Italy’s next leader, and Meloni’s party comes from dictator Benito Mussolini’s fascists. Her positions include anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, anti-international finance, anti-EU, and pro-natural family.

Italy is a co-founder of the EU and member of NATO, but her rhetoric puts her close to Hungary’s nationalist leader Viktor Orban. Her allies are also close to Russia; Berlusconi claimed that Putin was forced into invading Ukraine. Meloni’s win follows the rise of Sweden’s anti-immigration party with neo-Nazi roots and the shift of France’s political center to the right.

Next Sunday sees Brazil’s election in which Jair Bolsonaro, nicknamed the Trump of South America, faces former president and former trade union leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. One of them must receive over 50 percent of the vote to be declared the new president. Bolsonaro started repeating complaints of election fraud since he was elected soon after DDT started the trend despite no evidence of any election rigging.  The election covers vital issues for the U.S. such as trade, democracy, DDT, and climate change.

Days after a judge reinstated an 1864 Arizona law prohibiting all abortion except for a pregnant woman’s health, Republicans have nothing to say about the ruling, even those like the GOP candidates, Blake Masters for the U.S. Senate and far-right Kari Lake for governor. Masters called abortion “demonic,” and Lake described it as “the ultimate sin.” At the same time, Democrats are urging women to vote for their rights through speeches and television advertising. The anti-abortion law is one of 40 from the “Howell Code” adopted by the 1stArizona Territorial Legislature.

Historian Heather Cox Richardson explained that the anti-abortion law was intended to “rein in a lawless population of men” during the Civil War. The Code discusses “miscarriage in context with other male misbehavior and makes poisoning to “procure the miscarriage” illegal. The law’s purpose preventing dueling and other violent acts was to keep men from damaging others. A judge had already written the blueprint for all the laws passed by the legislature comprised of 18 men in the lower House and nine men in the upper chamber. He was paid $2,500, equal to five years’ salary for a worker at that time.

In their goal of bringing order out of chaos, one of the 40 laws blocked minorities from protecting themselves, their families and their property from Whites:

“No black or mulatto, or Indian, Mongolian, or Asiatic, shall be permitted to [testify in court] against any white person.”

Also:

“All marriages between a white person and a [Black person], shall…be absolutely void.”

Richardson wrote that the Howell Code “defined the age of consent for sexual intercourse to be just ten years old.”

A judge appointed by DDT ruled that Mike Lindell isn’t above the law; the MyPillow CEO who worked with DDT to overturn the election lost his request to stop federal agents from searching his phone. Lindell has sued to get his phone back, alleging the FBI violated his First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments rights. He is being investigated for a 2021 breach of voting systems in Mesa County (CO). Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, companies making voting equipment, are suing Lindell and his company for defamation about his claims that the machines were used to rig the 2020 election. A federal judge denied Lindell’s motion to dismiss the Smartmatic lawsuit that claimed Lindell “intentionally stoked the fires of xenophobia and party-divide for the noble purpose of selling his pillows.”

Questions swirled around the reason that three lawyers for DDT were seen coming out of a federal courthouse last Thursday; CNN may have the answer. Its journalists reported that they are secretly trying to block the federal grand jury from collecting information from close DDT aides about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Grand jury secrecy rules require the legal dispute to be under seal with no public documents. White House counsel Eric Herschmann has already testified to the House January investigative committee because DDT’s lawyers’ directions regarding executive privilege was quite vague. Now he worries about grand jury contempt.

Attorney-client privilege is not in effect if information is shared outside the attorney-client communication and if any of it relates to possible wrongdoing. A federal judge already found email exchanges to and from DDT’s election attorney John Eastman about January 6 that weren’t covered by confidentiality. The DOJ was able to access those and other similar exchanges. Executive privilege might be overturned after a Supreme Court ruling for Nixon’s Watergate tapes because a criminal investigation needed the materials.   

Years before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew innocent migrants from San Antonio (TX) to Martha’s Vineyard, DDT had the same idea but with an even more vicious intent to destabilize cities. In 2019, he laid out his plan to select murderers and rapists among immigrants for transport to metropolitan. He told his staff he wanted to “punish” his political rivals. Former DHS official Miles Taylor said he heard the plan:

“I was in the Oval Office for a meeting in March, 2019 in which [Trump] got more specific than just dump[ing] them in blue states. He said, ‘I want you to get the worst of the worst’—criminals, actual ‘murderers,’ and actual ‘rapists’—who cross the [southern] border, and round them up. He did not want to expel them, which is what you’re supposed to do in those situations. He specifically said that he wanted us to put them on buses … to, and I quote, ‘destabilize’ those sanctuary cities.”

DDT specifically listed Los Angeles, Portland (OR), Chicago, and New York City among the metropolitan areas Trump wanted his administration to target. Another DDT aide remembers he said “we should load buses up with ‘MS-13,” violent gangs rooted in Los Angeles and El Salvador, “and sent them to cities like San Francisco [where Nancy Pelosi lives, and also to] … New York.” Administration lawyers and other officials rejected the idea and told him that bringing in violent people was opposite of his goal to keep “immigrant crime” out of the country.

The property management subsidiary of a real estate business owned by the family of Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law, agrees to pay over $3.25 million to Maryland after the company “victimized” poor tenets who had horrific living conditions. The company also tried to cheat tenants out of money they didn’t owe.

A jury has ruled against Project Veritas, finding it violating wiretapping laws and fraudulently representing itself to a Democratic consulting firm. It was ordered to pay $120,000 to the firm. The group’s founder, James O’Keefe, claimed his people, who used deceptive practices, are journalists. The conservative Veritas group is known for editing film to make the people look guilty of crimes. They first came on the national scene when they destroyed Acorn and then moved on to smearing Planned Parenthood.

In 2016, the project infiltrated Democracy Partners, employed by the DNC for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. An operative pretending to be a wealthy donor named Charles Roth told the co-founder of Democracy Partners he wanted to donate $20,000 to a progressive group also a client of Creamer. The poser said his niece wanted to work in Democratic circles. Creamer offered her an unpaid internship at Democracy Partners after the false Roth wired the money from an offshore account to the group. The supposed niece used a fake name, false email account, and a bogus résumé. O’Keefe wrote in his book, American Pravda, wrote that the “donation certainly greased the wheels.”

The operative, whose real name is Allison Maass, secretly taped conversations and took documents while she worked at Democracy Partners before supplying information to Project Veritas which edited the videos and made them public. Edited videos suggested Creamer and another man were developing a plan to provoke violence by DDT’s supporters at his rallies. The heavy editing and O’Keefe’s commentary produced false conclusions, according to the lawsuit. The case also stated that Creamer lost over $500,000 worth of contracts because of Veritas deceptions. As the lawyer for Democracy Partners said at the trial, Project Veritas was trying to “uncover what they themselves concocted,” the project’s standard MO.

O’Keefe faces other legal problems. Former employees sued in August for a “highly sexualized” work culture with common daytime drinking and drug use while they worked additional hours without pay. Two Florida residents also pled guilty to stealing a diary from Ashley Biden, the president’s daughter, and selling it to Project Veritas under direction by its employee who told them to steal more items. An investigation into that situation is ongoing. The same month, the project was ordered to pay Stanford University about $150,000 in legal fees after a federal judge dismissed the 2021 defamation lawsuit by the group, and Veritas has an ongoing defamation suit against The New York Times. A history of Project Veritas’ deception.

September 24, 2022

Republicans Get Scarier

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is still on the campaign trail, this time trying to ingratiate himself with people at Wilmington (NC) by saying that his beloved daughter in law, Lara, is from the state and that he owns property there. Supposedly attempting to encourage voters to support GOP candidates, he aired his same false grievances which have lots of updates from the past week—the seizing of “his” documents, New York’s “racist,” “raging maniac’ AG Letitia James, and, of course, the “stolen election” in 2020 which he said he actually won.

At last week’s rally in Ohio, DDT promoted J.D. Vance for U.S. senate by saying “JD is kissing my ass.” He also claimed he invented the term “caravans” which he defines as “murderers and rapists.” Derived from Persian in the 1590s from Old French or Medieval Latin, caravan, derived from camel, means a group of travelers through a desert in a long line or a camper with a living area.

The Hitleresque/QAnon salutes and creepy QAnon music, popular last week, returned in his new audience. His Truth Social reposts consistently repeat QAnon messages, and he posted a photo of him wearing a Q pin. “The Storm Is Coming” on the pin refers to the day that QAnon supporters execute all opponents of DDT. The number of DDT’s QAnon posts grows when he feels he’s under attack, now a constant.

The FBI has been investigating QAnon for violent crimes and attacks, and DDT’s rallies will likely incite them to build on that violence. DDT led the crowd in the QAnon gesture although private security guards ask some supporters to put their arms down.

DDT seemed to have trouble reading his teleprompter. At one point, he declared, “We have to keep our country gay.” After a few stutters, he finished by saying “our country [isn’t] great anymore.” Twitter had a great time with his statement, and LGBTQ-friendly groups were already selling merchandise with “Make America Gay Again.”

The flight chartered by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to take 48 legal asylum seekers from San Antonio (TX) to Martha’s Vineyard grows more and more shady. The Vertol Systems Company gave large donations to the governor’s allies and has been legally represented by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and his former partner, Larry Keefe, now Florida’s “public safety czar” in charge of immigration policy. Keefe represented Vertol in dozens of lawsuits between 2010 and 2017.

Developer Jay Odom, responsible for packaging Vertol’s donations to candidates, was convicted and imprisoned in 2013 by an illegal campaign finance scheme for GOP Mike Huckabee’s failed 2008 presidential campaign and later arrested for a scheme with Florida’s House Speaker Ray Sansom in 2009 to build the speaker an airport hangar. In 2019, Vertol contributed $10,000 to Florida’s GOP controlled by DeSantis.

Vertol’s primary business is training pilots for the military and providing helicopters across the globe, not chartering planes. A week before the transport, the company flew its private jet from Florida to San Antonio. DeSantis’ administration refused to reveal the $12 million contract for its part in the “unauthorized alien” program, but the state budget specifies that “unauthorized aliens” are to be flown directly from Florida, not Texas. The migrants on the chartered flight were also not “unauthorized” in the U.S.

A judge in Florida ordered a lawsuit be continued regarding DeSantis’ August 4 removal of elected state attorney in Hillsborough County, Andrew Warren, who said he would not prosecute people for abortions or transgender youth gender transition treatment. Warren claims DeSantis violated his First Amendment rights for political reasons after DeSantis cited Warren’s “woke agenda” for his decision. The judicial ruling could define DeSantis’ ability to purge elected officials who disagree with him. He removed four school board members in Broward County defying his COVID mask mandates but operates selectively with no action against “constitutional” sheriffs who won’t enforce gun laws.

After revealing the GOP “Commitment to America” and then hiding it, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) led over two dozen House Republicans for its big reveal to show what the GOP, if given the congressional majority, will do to people. The party of so-called law and order will protect wealthy people from paying taxes by defunding the IRS. In a return to the past, they will investigate the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, orchestrated by DDT during his term, and continue the search for COVID’s origins, specifically investigating Dr. Anthony Fauci who plans to retire.

Law and order Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who refused to block sexual assault of his athletes at Ohio State University, will look into the “weaponization of the DOJ against American people.” The business activities of Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son, will be a prime focus. Transgender people will be on the firing line, and freedom means parents who agree with conservatives—not the other parents—will be in control of banning books and determining curriculum. Republicans will throw money at law enforcement without any assistance for their needs.

“Longer, healthier lives for Americans” likely destroys healthcare in the popular Affordable Care Act and defends cures from charlatans such as ivermectin. The GOP’s aim to “save and strengthen Social Security and Medicare” means to privatize, reduce, and then eliminate it. In the House, 158 Republicans already signed on to a budget cutting Medicare and Social Security. “Restore the people’s voices” in voting lists restrictions—means just “some people’s voice.”

Missing from their plans before Midterms are controversial terms such as abortion, election denialism, and Trump. Hoping to be elected House Speaker, McCarthy obtained DDT’s approval for the “Commitment” and praised QAnon member Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), probably to get her vote. Yet she wasn’t allowed to answer questions from the audience of 150 local business owners, parents, and local activists.

The presentation included a video, to “celebrate the rich heritage of the American story and the vibrancy of the American Dream,” using footage of a drilling rig in Russia’s Volgograd region. The work of Serg Grbanoff, filmmaker based in Russia, appears in other parts of the video: his clip of a happy boy in a field with a toy airplane over the words “Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” comes from the same Russian area. The attack on Democrats, blamed by the video on Democrats, uses footage from a European grocery story with a Slovak word. The man featured in a Shutterstock contributor, DedovStock, is in Ukraine and the Carpathian Mountains of eastern Europe.

The “Commitment” and its rollout continues the new GOP’s refusal to govern. Republicans hate government and don’t want to put in any effort such as negotiation, compromise, or participation in hearings—the boring stuff. Even in state legislatures, bills are largely written by businesses looking to further their nests. The GOP either has no solutions for problems or knows that their ideas will be unpopular. Being vague and ambiguous, like “protect the lives of unborn children” or “curb wasteful government spending” being their sole “commitments,” is its only way to quell dissension. Republicans state that Democrats have no plan to solve inflation, but Republicans have not come up with them, only the outcomes with no path to them. After all, the GOP has been promising an answer to healthcare for over a decade.

The “Commitment” calls for a safe nation, free future, strong economy, and accountable government—all Democratic aims. Like Biden, the document wants to fight inflation and lower the cost of living, bring down gas prices, make the U.S. energy independent, strengthen the supply chair, and end U.S. dependence on China. Part of the Democratic platform, they have made progress despite Republicans consistent no votes. Legislation, absent almost all GOP votes, caps costs of some prescription medications for seniors, something Republicans promised to overturn the minute they have a majority. 

To combat high gas prices, Biden released reserves, steadily lowering the cost of gas by at least 25 percent during the same two-plus months. A barrel of oil has also dropped over $50 to under $80. Thus far, Biden has avoided a train strike and expanded the number of truck drivers, and the new climate law starts to make the U.S. energy independent. The CHIPS and Science Act reduces dependence on China although almost two-thirds of GOP senators and 187 GOP House members voted against it.

To refresh yourself about how the “Commitment” distorts language, read George Orwell’s 1984. Then House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) shut down the government for 28 days with his 1994 Contract with America. Republicans are now promising to do the same thing next week by refusing to vote for a budget, due September 30.

The MAGA “make America great again” doesn’t give a time limit for how far back Republicans want to “return,” but an Arizona judge has reinstated an 1864 anti-abortion law passed 48 years before the territory became a state. The only exception is if the pregnant person’s life is at risk; those with health risks or impregnated by rape or incest will have forced birth. That’s what electing Republicans will do for people.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) wants to erase not only trans people but apparently women as a gender. In a fundraiser he protested teaching children that “more than one gender” exists. He claims doing so is “against nature, science, and common sense.” Some people aren’t sure which biological sex he plans to eliminate, but it’s unlikely he’s talking about men.

September 23, 2022

Vladimir Putin Smells of Desperation

Three days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin broadcast a seven-minute speech for the 1160th anniversary of the country’s statehood announcing a mobilization of 300,000 recruits and the use of nuclear weapons “to defend the country.” The speech was scheduled for 8:00 pm the night before, and he made his audience wait. His decree stopped short of a national draft and calling he invasion a war. To place the blame on the military, he said:

“I find it necessary to support the proposal of the Defense Ministry and the General Staff on partial mobilization.”

Putin’s statements were in response to Ukraine’s surprise counteroffensive that recaptured 3,500 square miles near the eastern city of Kharkiv.

At this week’s UN meeting, President Joe Biden denounced Putin’s “brutal, needless war” and urged world leaders to hold Russia accountable for trying to extinguish “Ukraine’s right to exist as a state.” Other countries equally criticized Russia’s war and his threats of mobilization and a nuclear strike. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told reporters that Putin’s behavior were “acts of desperation.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov repeated the false claim that Kyiv oppressed Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine and called Zelensky a “bastard” before he walked out of the UN Security Council meeting.

A hidden part of the mobilization decree stated that the Ministry of Defense can call up one million people, but Dmitry Peskov, the Russian president’s press secretary, said that was a lie. Yet officials starting mobilizing men before the order and with no directives. Before Putin’s speech, officials pulled students out of classes, went to homes at midnight, and took men into their 50s and others who have never served in the military. A disproportionate percentage of forced conscripts are ethnic minorities, already a disparate percentage of the fighting force and casualties in Ukraine.

Putin’s actions demonstrate a desperate man. Russia is conscripting anti-war protesters as soon as they are arrested, punishing those who refuse by a 15-year prison sentence. Putin offers freedom to convicts if they fight on the front lines. Employees of Surgutneftegas, a Russian oil and gas company in Western Siberia, received lists of people required to show up for a two-week “training session,” and men in several cities have received notices to attend the “training.” Conscripting ignores the guidelines—age, prior experience, number of children, etc. Except in Moscow, reserve servicemen without mobilization orders or a summons cannot leave their district or city.

Russian media announced a run on airline ticket sales after the speech as people left the country. One carrier charged up to $16,000 for a ticket to Dubai, and Russian news announced all planes to visa-free countries were sold out. Those who couldn’t get tickets created miles-long traffic jams at checkpoints to borders with Finland, Mongolia, and Georgia. Former Soviet republic Kazakhstan has seen a large number of arrivals from Russia. Finland plans to eliminate entry from Russia, and the Czech Republic will not issue humanitarian visas to Russian citizens fleeing mobilization. Chatrooms provide updates about availability of border crossings.

A Moscow millionaire temporarily back into the country from Italy said he was afraid he would be stranded in Russia although he isn’t in the military reserve. Spiking internet searches include “how to leave Russia” and “how to break an arm at home.”

Russian Parliament passed a law this week defining “voluntary surrender” as a crime with a sentence of up to ten years. New penalties have been set for mutiny, “using violence against a superior,” and stealing while in uniform. Conscripts have no release time, and all legislation signal poor morale. The call-up for conscripts cannot create Russian air superiority with the country’s loss of 55 combat aircraft—at least four in the past two weeks—and ground forces cannot counter Ukraine’s superior Western-supplied missile artillery which Russia cannot destroy because they cannot find the locations. Intercepted phone calls of Russian contract soldiers show their intent to leave the army at the end of their enlistment. Forcing them to stay until they’re killed or wounded may cause them to refuse to fight, even with penalties. Newly mobilized soldiers may have no basic training.

Russia lacks training or supplies for the hundreds of thousands Putin plans to mobilize. His army looks weak, sanctions created problems for both him and his trading partners who are becoming less tolerant, and Central Asian leaders snubbed him at a summit in Uzbekistan last week. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi rebuked him for the invasion, and Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed “concerns and questions.” The Russian abuse of Ukrainian civilians even caused North Korea to back off, issuing a statement that they didn’t provide any weapons to Russian and have no intention to do so in the future.   

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged Putin to end the war and return all invaded lands, including Crimea, to Ukraine. Alla Pugacheva, a Soviet-era pop star with millions of mainstream followers, proclaimed her patriotism and her opposition to the war. Pro-war nationalist bloggers on social media continue to criticize the war. Protectors high in the security services or heavily armed mercenaries may keep Putin from blocking or arresting the critics.

Across 42 cities, almost 1,400 people were detained just on September 21, some as far away as Novosibirsk in remote Siberia.  The anti-mobilization petition, launched by anti-war activists, has already been signed by over 340,000 people. Protesters have set military registration and enlistment offices on fire and blocked a federal highway.

Putin hopes that four referenda in the Russian-separatist east—Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia—will help his support and nuclear threats create fear. Yet these areas don’t have full Russian military occupation. Zaporizhzhia still has a Ukrainian political administration, and Kherson is returning into Ukrainian control. In Donetsk, the city of Lyman is almost encircled by Ukrainian forces. Officials, however, ban people from leaving some occupied areas until the vote was completed

Lasting four days, they start today. Armed groups go to homes, demanding people tell them how they will vote before marking their ballots and taking them. The election has no independent observers. Yuriy Sobolevsky, the displaced first deputy council chairman of Kherson region, told people in the area to not open their doors. The sham referenda are illegal under international law, but Putin will announce his win in all four districts within a week. Turkey, India and China all indicated disapproval of the referenda.

A strategy of Russia is denial. On August 9, Ukraine’s military hit the Saki air base in Crimea. The next day, deputy chair of the Russian security council Dmitry Medvedev removed his threat on Telegram that any attack in Crimea would precipitate a “judgment day” response “very fast and hard.” The Russian Ministry of Defense denied that an attack occurred at the air base, calling it an “accident,” and didn’t acknowledge the total rout of Russian forces in Kharkiv when Ukrainians reclaimed up to 3,500 square miles of land in the past three weeks as frightened Russian soldiers ran away. [Great interactive maps here!] The Kremlin called it a “regrouping.”

Ukraine has begun artillery strikes against military targets in Russia and Russian officials in cities and towns along the Ukrainian border. Russia is quickly closing schools and evacuating. One hit was at the Russian 3rd Motorized Rifle Division base near Valuyki, nine miles north of the Russian border, one of the dozens of small Russian settlements used as military staging grounds. Russians are unnerved by nighttime explosions, destroyed homes, and some casualties. Ukraine promised not to use U.S.-provided weapons.

Russia and Ukraine had its largest prisoner swap since Russia’s invasion. In exchange for 215 Ukrainian fighters, Russia received 55 Russian prisoners and Viktor Medvedchuk, the father of Putin’s goddaughter. Medvedchuk had been arrested in Ukraine for high treason. Of the 215 returned to Ukraine were 108 members of the Azov Battalion defending Mariupol and its Azovstal steelworks for 80 days, including five military commanders who will stay in Turkey until the war ends. Many of the released prisoners showed signs of brutal torture.

Ten international prisoners received by Ukraine included five British citizens, two U.S. foreign fighters, and people from Croatia, Sweden, and Morocco. Believed to be the first U.S. citizens captured in Ukraine, the two rescued men had been living in Alabama before they volunteered to fight. They disappeared in June near Kharkiv, months before the successful Ukrainian counteroffensive freed the northeastern city from Russian occupation.

Belarusian journalist Tadeusz Giczan tweeted that returning the Ukrainians shows Putin’s “denazifying Ukraine was just a bluff” and his mobilization will inspire “a huge apolitical part of the population” to angrily oppose the war. Giczan said that 9/21/22 may be marked as a key day “in the fall of Putin’s Russia.” He also stated that Putin’s release of the Azov command for his personal friend is “an even bigger blow to Russian nationalists than the Kharkiv retreat because it undermines Putin’s rationale for the invasion.

Putin may not have lost, but right now every day gets worse for him.

September 22, 2022

More Fraud – September 22, 2022

Special master Raymond Dearie is back in the news on Thursday: he ordered the lawyers of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) to submit a sworn declaration if they believe the FBI planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago during the August 8 search. The declaration must include “a list of any specific items set forth in the Detailed Property Inventory that Plaintiff asserts were not seized from the Premises on August 8, 2022.” DDT recently repeated the accusation of FBI planting materials this week when talking to Sean Hannity on Fox network. Dearie set September 30 for the declaration’s deadline and asked DOJ for declarations about key facts regarding the search. His actions give an opening to hearing testimony about the search and seized materials from “witnesses with knowledge of the relevant facts.

The DOJ was also ordered to submit “copies of all seized materials” except those marked classified to DDT’s lawyers by September 29. DDT’s legal team must finish reviewing all documents for potential executive or attorney-client privilege by October 14 while regularly sending designations during the interim. Reviews and final designations from both sides are due by October 21. Dearie may also send  proceedings to Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who approved the search warrant. Retired federal judge James Orenstein, appointed by George W. Bush, has been hired to help the review with his staff from the Eastern District of New York assisting. Orenstein had served “on the prosecution team in the Oklahoma City bombings trials.” Attorney General Merrick Garland played a leading role earlier in his career in the Oklahoma City investigation. Dearie said he won’t be paid for his work because the government is paying him as a federal judge but proposed that Orenstein be paid $500 per hour covered by DDT, based on an earlier court ruling.

Some of DDT’s faithful GOP senators are abandoning him, especially his ability to declassify documents just by thinking he does. John Thune (SD) said declassification has a process which should be followed and “apply to anybody who has access to or deals with classified information.” Thom Tillis (NC) agreed, and Mike Rounds (SD) called handling of classified documents a “very serious” issue. Other senators dodged the question, like Mike Braun (IN) who claimed ignorance about the “proper methodology.”

DDT made many bizarre comments about the search for government documents at Mar-a-Lago, but one that belies belief is that the FBI thought they could find “the Hillary Clinton emails that were deleted but they are around someplace.” He repeated that to Sean Hannity on Fox this week, trying to gin up rumors by lying about “a lot of speculation” in his alternative reality.   

Past fraud has returned to haunt DDT—his 2014 rivalry with the 1980s metal rocker Jon Bon Jovi to buy the football team Buffalo Bills. In the $250 million fraud civil lawsuit filed by Letitia James in New York, DDT allegedly inflated assets’ valuation to finance a purchase attempt. DDT smeared the New Jersey resident, saying was that he was too Canadian for Buffalo because of Bon Jovi’s coalition of Toronto-based investors. In his $1 billion bid for the team, DDT needed a letter from a bank that he could get $800 million in financing. A Trump Organization executive, Jeffrey McConney, told the bank that DDT’s wealth, reportedly $800 billion, had “no material decrease” since the 2013 personal statement of financial condition, but those valuations were artificially inflated with DDT’s “deceptive strategies.” Although DDT claimed Bon Jovi planned to move the Bills to Toronto, he didn’t get the team and neither did the rocker. The winning $1.4 billion bid came from Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Sabres hockey team.

Conservatives complained that the nation’s unemployment insurance program to help people during the pandemic caused people to quit work and live on the “government dole.” Yet fraudsters skimmed over $45.6 billion from the program, using dead people’s Social Security numbers and identities of prisoners ineligible for aid. That finding could be incomplete because of the focus on “high risk” areas for fraud; billions of dollars may also have been stolen. Thus far,1,000 people have been charged for these crimes, and 190,000 investigative matters have been opened. The program began in 2020 under DDT’s term in the White House.

In another program to help people during the worst of COVID, 47 defendants have been charged with stealing over $250 million from Feeding Our Future to provide free meals for needy children. Other charges involved about $1 trillion in loans and grants intended for small businesses, and GOP governors have used funding from a $350 billion program by making tax cuts and immigration crackdowns—such as Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis shipping migrants from Texas to Massachusetts.

DeSantis has dropped to a new low in cruelty. He lured migrants to a hotel in San Antonio (TX) miles from their shelter with the promise to fly them to jobs, homes, and help in Delaware, only to cancel the flight and abandon the people. An anonymous source close to DeSantis stated that the flight, supposedly scheduled to land about 20 miles from President Joe Biden’s beach home, was to “punk” media and Democratic officials and “put a spotlight on the border.” Migrants were told they could stay in the hotel for the night before the bogus flight if they didn’t talk about the travel plans or who arranged them. The next morning, they were told the flight was canceled. Their recruiters hired a bus them back to San Antonio’s Migrant Resource Center ten miles away which would provide three days of shelter and aid. Some migrants were not told about the bus, and none of them received food after the flight was canceled.

In April, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) sought federal protection for Venezuelan asylum seekers in the U.S.; five months later he accuses them of entering the U.S. “illegally.” He also doesn’t twisted the law, lying that migrants kidnapped by Florida’s governor from Texas and transported across several state lines could not sue for legal recourse. Rubio is only two points ahead of his reelection opponent, Val Deming.   

According to Rubio, health exceptions for the pregnant woman in an abortion ban are also a “massive loophole” and like vehicular manslaughter.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the man who fled the Texas cold during the energy shutdown for the Cancun warmth, is claiming “a great partisan victory!” In a video he took credit for a highway from Laredo to North Dakota that brings jobs and ”tens of billions of dollars” to his state, declaring his pride in the years of hard work for the project. Yet he voted against the bill unlike the other Texas senator, John Cornyn, among 18 Republican senators.

The GOP, party who claims to want transparency, unanimously blocked a Senate bill revealing names of donors giving over $10,000. Republicans need the dark money to get elected.

House Republicans briefly released their policy platform called “Commitment to America” on House Minority Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) website but soon dropped the public’s ability to see the document. Before its disappearance, however, multiple screenshots were taken. It criticizes the Democrats reduction of popular prescription drug costs and “fight inflation and curb the cost of living” through cuts in government spending and taxes, probably for the wealthy as in the 2017 GOP law. Its promise to “save and strengthen Social Security and Medicare” was preceded by a GOP House committee meeting to reduce coverage and cut benefits by “massively” slashing Social Security in its proposed 2023 budget. Another “commitment” is new restrictions on voter access, including mandating voter ID, loosening rules on voter roll purges, and increasing access for observers during elections.

The platform is reminiscent of Newt Gingrich’s 1994 “Contract with America.” McCarthy, however, proposed only one bill promised to get floor votes instead of Gingrich’s ten, a Parental Bill of Rights based on blocking the teaching of “critical race theory.” Deliberately vague, the agenda doesn’t deal in specifics. The one-page document, now removed from McCarthy’s website, is here

McCarthy tried the same grocery store stunt as Pennsylvania’s GOP candidate for U.S. senate, Mehmet Oz, to show the plight of people in the U.S. and failed, just like Oz. In a video with the store as backdrop, McCarthy talked for 15 seconds about financial problems before hellish images and statements about the country’s drugs, inflation, and kids falling behind because of non-existent school closures. He lied about the U.S. being in a recession, and he had no Republican solution, only GOP control of the House.

Claremont, MAGA’s most prominent think tank, is home not only to John Eastman, legal architect of DDT’s plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election, but also the “Sheriff Fellows,” MAGA sheriffs learning the fellowship’s curriculum of two sets of people in the U.S.—communities to be treated as freely and brutally as law enforcement wish and the “real Americans” who are above the law. Sheriffs are a likely target for extremism because the office is vulnerable and can enable vigilantes to exert havoc on society. They have great authority with tanks, helicopters, SWAT teams, battering rams, surveillance technology and guns to terrify community members. Claremont’s curriculum for training these sheriffs is here. Sheriffs are elected; voters should be wary.

And Thomas Barrack, DDT’s close friend, is on trial this week for secretly lobbying DDT on behalf of the United Arab Emirates for personal power and financial gain.

News – September 21, 2022 (DDT Faces More Trouble)

 Aileen Cannon, a judge appointed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), had ruled against the DOJ’s immediately using seized classified documents from Mar-a-Lago on August 8 for an investigation. In one week, however, DOJ appealed; DDT again won Cannon’s approval; DOJ appealed to the 11th Circuit Court for the materials; and a three-judge panel granted a stay on Cannon’s orders in a ruling siding with the DOJ. It may be the fastest judicial action in history. In the temporary victory for national security, the panel said that Cannon “abused” her discretion in requiring outside review of seized classified documents. In a 29-page opinion, the panel wrote:

“For our part, we cannot discern why [Trump] would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings.”

The panel, composed of one judge appointed by President Obama and two appointed by DDT, also unanimously refused to accept the claim from DDT’s legal team that he might have declassified the documents, as did the special master Raymond Dearie, DDT’s choice for special master that Cannon appointed.

“Plaintiff suggests that he may have declassified these documents when he was President. But the record contains no evidence that any of these records were declassified. And before the special master, Plaintiff resisted providing any evidence that he had declassified any of these documents. In any event, at least for these purposes, the declassification argument is a red herring because declassifying an official document would not change its content or render it personal.”

DDT has consistently claimed the documents were not classified because he said they were declassified. On the Fox network, he went farther when he told Sean Hannity by falsely saying that there was no declassification process and he could wordlessly declassify documents:

“You can declassify just by saying “it’s declassified,” even by thinking about it.”

The 11th Circuit Court ruling simplifies Dearie’s work by removing classified documents from his purview; he had said he wanted to avoid reviewing them if possible. The question is whether DDT’s team will appeal the 11th Circuit Court decision.  

Hours before the bad news for DDT from the 11th Circuit, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced she has filed a civil lawsuit against DDT, three of his adult children, and the Trump Organization for $250 million in financial penalties to cover over a decade of fraud when they falsely inflated and deflated their assets to pay lower taxes while getting better insurance coverage. She also asked for a judgment barring DDT and his children in the suit from serving as officer or director of any state-licensed or registered corporation, real estate acquisition in New York, and applications for loans from any financial institution in the state for five years.

The lawsuit comes from a three-year civil investigation with 65 witnesses and reviews of millions of documents. The defendants allegedly conspired to violate state laws, falsifying business records, issuing false financial statements, and committing insurance fraud. Possible federal crimes, including bank fraud have been referred to federal prosecutors and the IRS. DDT supposedly turned the Trump Organization over to his two adult sons in 2017 and serve as executive vice presidents.

Former AG Bill Barr criticized James for trying “to drag the children into this,” referring to adults ages 38 to 44. Yet all three participated in “the fraudulent valuation methods and assumptions.” As usual, DDT claimed that the lawsuit is political by a “failed A.G.” James said:

“There aren’t two sets of laws for people in this nation: former presidents must be held to the same standards as everyday Americans.”

DDT’s fraud related to 23 assets inflated every year between 2011 and 2021, totaling over “200 false and misleading valuations” between 2011 and 2021 is the building at 40 Wall Street owned by the Trump Organization which was valued at $200 million on a tax filing in 2010 that was valued at $524 the following year. In 2015, DDT’s triplex in Trump Tower, 10,996 square feet was three times that size and valued at $327 million. At that time, only one apartment in New York City, housed in a newly built ultra-tall tower, had sold for as much as $100 million. In DDT’s building, the most expensive apartment had sold for $16.5 million. Rental units worth $750,000 were valued at nearly $50 million. DDT claimed his Mar-a-Lago home was worth $739 million, but it was worth one-tenth of that estimate. 

Last month, DDT was deposed for the lawsuit, but he claimed the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination for all questions except his name. Jurors can consider declaration of the Fifth as negative in civil suits. The Trump Organization also tried to settle last month, but James rejected the offer.

The civil lawsuit could have horrendous results for DDT and his children. New York Times reporter Susan Craig said DDT might have to renegotiate crucial loans because of liquidity problems. If liens are called, loans will be extremely hard to get, and values for them will be much lower than DDT had declared. It would be “financial ruin for the company” as well as be disastrous for a 2024 campaign.  

James’ civil lawsuit is separate from the Manhattan criminal case, but they work together on the inquiry. DA Alvin Bragg criminally charged Trump Organization and its longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg for a scheme to not pay taxes on noncash perks. He will have to testify against the business as part of his guilty plea. Weisselberg also described instructions to inflate assets on financial statements. Earlier in 2019, Michael Cohen, DDT’s former lawyer and fixer, habitually inflated and deflated DDT’s assets for financial gain.

Donors who think they are paying for “election integrity” by giving to DDT’s Save America PAC are not only providing DDT’s legal fees but also paying for Melania Trump’s fashion designer. The PAC also gave $650,000 to the Smithsonian Institution for portraits of DDT and former first lady Melania Trump. Two artists have reportedly been commissioned for the two portraits. No spending on any “election fraud” as the PAC advertised. The DOJ is investigating.

DDT faces another New York lawsuit since the state’s new sexual assault survivor’s law went into effect. E. Jean Carroll had accused DDT of raping her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s, but the statute of limitations expired. Now adult accusers have a one-year window to bring civil claims over alleged sexual misconduct no matter how long ago it happened. Carroll’s defamation suit can also proceed. Her attorney Roberta Kaplan wrote that the case will be filed on November 24, 2022. While DDT was in the White House, AG Bill Barr’s DOJ had defended DDT in the defamation suit.

Justice Clarence Thomas may also be in trouble if his wife, Ginni Thomas, honestly testifies to the House January 6 investigative committee. She pushed former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to overturn the election as shown by multiple texts between the election and the January 6 insurrection, and worked with DDT’s election attorney John Eastman for the same purpose. In addition, Ginni Thomas emailed 29 Arizona state lawmakers in late 2020, urging them to overturn the state’s popular vote victory for Joe Biden and put together “fake electors” for DDT. She also emailed two GOP Wisconsin lawmakers with the same intent. In March 2021, Thomas attending a meeting of right-wing activists where the audience was told that DDT remains the “legitimate president.” She has a long history of participating in far-right organizations, many of them with cases before the Supreme Court; her husband has always refused to recuse himself and voted in their favor.

 Lawyers representing asylum seekers allegedly “tricked” into flying from San Antonio (TX) to Martha’s Vineyard are seeking a nationwide injunction to block Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis from luring immigrants to travel across state lines. Taking funds from the $12 million federal COVID money assigned by state legislators to transport undocumented immigrants, DeSantis started with 50 asylum seekers, paying Oregon-based Vertol Systems Company over $1.5 million for “relocation of unauthorized aliens.” Florida paid the company $615,000 on September 8, following by $950,000 on September 19. The chartered planes landed in Massachusetts on September 15. DeSantis accused “opportunistic” activists of using illegal immigrants as “political theater.”

Two state legislators asked the DOJ to investigate the asylum seekers’ involuntary relocation from Texas. The letter explained migrants didn’t know where they were being flown and put on the plane under false pretenses.

A federal bankruptcy judge in Houston ordered new officials to supervise Alex Jones’s bankruptcy of his parent company and probably destroyed Jones’ plans to hide his assets from court orders to pay for court rulings in his all four lost defamation trials regarding the Sandy Hook massacre. The DOJ-appointed trustee monitoring the case has expanded duties. Jones is also under scrutiny for a potential role in the January 6 insurrection.

The House January 6 investigating committee has scheduled its first fall hearing for September 28, 2022, at 1:00 pm EST. Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) announced it might not be the last one but would probably be the only one before the November 8 Midterm elections.

September 20, 2022

News – September 20, 2022

A few highlights from today:

More Republicans may go down for election fraud after the emergence of surveillance video at the Coffee County (GA) election office. Questioned about unauthorized forensics experts at SullivanStrickler tied to DDT copying sensitive voting machine software and data for eight hours in the county office, former state GOP official and “fake elector” for DDT Cathy Latham swore under oath that she briefly stopped by but stayed in the foyer—five minutes at most—talking about an unrelated matter at the front desk. “I didn’t go into the office,” she said.

According to a video, however, Latham visited the office twice on January 7, 2021, for over four hours beginning at 11:37 am and leaving at 7:40 pm. During that time, she led businessman Scott Hall into a back area to meet forensic experts and local officials as well as going in and out of the area where experts worked. The businessman was “looking into the election on behalf of the President,” according to the state GOP chair. Hall said that the team “scanned all the equipment, imaged all the hard drives and scanned every single ballot,” adding that he had the permission of “basically” the “entire local elections committee.”

Latham (right) watched the forensics team work on the voting machines and even took a selfie with one of the experts while she was in the office. The next day, she exchanged texts with SullivanStrickler’s CEO and updated Coffee County elections supervisor Misty Hampton on the forensics team’s whereabouts. Both Latham and Hampton couldn’t remember what happened, but Hampton’s texts indicated great enthusiasm for Latham’s news.

According to a SullivanStrickler executive, Latham introduced herself as an elections official. Her lawyer said there must have been a misunderstanding because Latham has never held that position. SullivanStrickler’s lawyers described Latham as “a primary point of contact in coordinating and facilitating” the firm’s work in Coffee County, adding: “Ms. Latham was on-site in the Coffee County elections office that day while the work was performed.” In a deposition, the executive said Latham “provided direction on what was required for collection,” and the company believed it had proper authorization to make “forensic images,” or exact copies, from the election equipment in Coffee County. 

Earlier told about the plans, Eric Chaney, a member of the county elections board employing Hampton, originally claimed he was unaware of anyone illegally accessing the server. He did remember finding “people present unknown to me” when he went by the office but said he thought they were from the secretary of state’s office. The video shows him present throughout most of the day and talking with the forensics team and Hall, including when the company’s CEO used a cord to connect poll pads to the team’s laptop. Questioned under oath, Chaney admitted he went to the office on January 7 but cited his Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself to questions about the team copying voting data.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may have violated federal law by lying to migrants in San Antonio (TX) about the aid they would receive in Massachusetts. They received a brochure with lists of what they can expect: “8 months cash assistance,” “assistance with housing,” “food,” “clothing,” “transportation to job interviews,” “job training,” “job placement,” “registering children for school,” “assistance applying for Social Security cards,” and many other benefits—all available on the tiny island of Martha’s Vineyard. Images of the brochure are here.

Sheriff of Bexar County, Javier Salazar, said his office is investigating possible crimes in DeSantis’ removal of migrants from San Antonio and left to fend for themselves after they were told they were going to Boston. Salazar said the migrants were “lured … to staying in a hotel for a few days and then taken to an airplane … under false pretenses of being offered jobs.” He added that the 48 people, in Texas legally, were “exploited and hoodwinked.” The promised benefits are not available on Martha’s Vineyard, the reason that migrants voluntarily moved to another location.

DeSantis’ plan to deport migrants from Texas with Florida money received from the federal government may have run into problems. Salazar reported a flight with migrants scheduled from San Antonio to Delaware, President Joe Biden’s home state, had been postponed at the last minute. Delaware officials had been preparing a welcome for the plane. DeSantis didn’t give any notification of his plans to either Massachusetts or Delaware—or Texas, where he abducted the migrants.

If the law proves fraud or kidnapping, the migrants could be eligible for visas, upsetting DeSantis goal to annoy people. He also claimed migrants signed waivers agreeing to travel to Martha’s Vineyard, but unlawful acts cannot be waived. The island did not provide the advantages DeSantis promised the travelers, and the map was simply an arrow across the U.S. from Texas to Massachusetts. A qualifying crime for a U visa includes “the enticement of travel for a better life or jobs,” which may be difficult to prove in this case. International law also promises “the right to liberty of movement” as well as migrants suffering from deception, coercion, and abuse of power.

A civil rights law firm has filed a class action lawsuit against DeSantis on behalf of the migrants and “similarly situated people who are fraudently induced to travel across state lines by DeSantis and the State of Florida.” The migrants have consistently been called “illegal aliens” or “illegal immigrants,” but they were legally in the U.S. claiming asylum for the Venezuelan regime which DeSantis said “is responsible for countless atrocities.”

DDT is also having a bad day. His handpicked “special master” to investigate the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago, Judge Raymond Dearie, asked DDT to “disclose details about any materials he claims to have declassified before calling them his property.” DDT claims he wants to keep that information secret to defend himself in case of an indictment and his appointed judge, Aileen Cannon, didn’t include that in her order. He also argued that Dearie is moving too fast (because DDT’s purpose was to stall) because Dearie wants both sides to label designations on the documents by October 7, 2022. That’s before the Midterm elections compared to Cannon’s deadline of November 30. Lawyers are also upset regarding Dearie’s request about whether DDT’s Fourth Amendment litigation should be filed with the magistrate judge permitting the search warrant.

DDT’s lawyers have never claimed in filings or court that DDT declassified the documents, they probably figured that saying they might be declassified covered them from committing perjury. In his first meeting as special master with DDT’s legal team and the DOJ, Dearie appeared dissatisfied with DDT’s attorneys about the lack of details regarding whether DDT had declassified documents. He told them that “it’s the end of it” if the lawyers could not definitely state that the records were declassified and the DOJ had evidence they weren’t. “You can’t have your cake and eat it,” Dearie told them. He also pointed out that the legal team might not be able to review the classified documents because they are restricted to those with a need to know. The DOJ had pointed out that some of its own investigators lacked clearances to review the documents. The three statutes used for the search warrant, however, do not require proof that the documents were classified.

After the DOJ failed in its request to Cannon for a stay to immediately examine the classified documents for an investigation, it appealed Cannon’s refusal to the 11th Circuit Court last Friday. The court may be more serious about the national security than Cannon: it required a response from DD by Tuesday noon. Cannon had ruled that extremely highly classified documents lying around at Mar-a-Lago for anyone to see was not a big deal and didn’t deserve an immediate investigation.

Texas AG Ken Paxton, under indictment for fraud, entered the fray by attacking the Biden administration in a federal court brief to the 11th Circuit Court regarding the seizure of records to support Cannon’s ruling. The filing falsely claims widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election and argues that Biden cannot be trusted to appropriately behave in DDT’s case because he disagrees with Biden’s policies. Attorneys general from ten states joined Paxton’s brief

Now watchers await the DOJ response to DDT’s response, the appointment of a three-judge panel by the 11th Circuit (six appointed by DDT of the 11 active judges), and the next scene in DDT’s legal team attempts to walk over Dearie—a highly unlikely event.

White House lawyer Eric Herschmann reported that DDT was told last year he “could face legal liability if he did not return government materials he had taken with him when he left office.” DDT kept tens of boxes of materials that belonged to the U.S. government and lied about having them. The case is about far more than just a “storage dispute” as DDT’s legal team claims.

According to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, DDT’s aides have the responsibility for providing him with “positive reinforcement.” A “cast” of people is “tasked” with surrounding DDT for this purpose, either ones who are paid or former aides who have nothing else to do now. Their job is to recite nice things people write about him on Twitter and other social media platform. Herschmann probably isn’t one of them.

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