Nel's New Day

November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving Gratitude for Government Actions

Every year on Thanksgiving, many people express gratitude for what happens in their lives. For me, this means my fabulous partner of over 53 years and our joy in working together. We’re grateful for the friends who contribute to our lives through their love, humor, acceptance, and help whenever we need it. We take delight in our loving standard poodle and our delightful cat. Our home is exactly what we want, and we feel safe in the small town where we live.

Beyond that—because I’m a politics junkie—I have much more to list in my gratefulness because they demonstrate that others share with me my desire for human rights and democracy.

Elections:

After a long 15 days, Alaska has declared the winners of its ranked choice votes. Rep. Mary Peltola (D-AK) returns for a full House term after she won her special election last summer, both elections defeating former VP candidate Sarah Palin. She cares about people, not herself. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will also return to Washington after Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) tried to destroy her for her impeachment vote against him. DDT endorsed opponents of both these winners.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) will be Los Angeles’ first female mayor despite her wealthy opponent outspending her by $91 million.

Two extremely close races flipped the Pennsylvania state House to Democrats for the first time in a decade. The Dems flipped a total of 12 seats in the chamber.

The GOP will likely have 222 members of the House for the 118th Congress, outnumbering Democrats by five. Democrats are suing to overturn districting maps in six states they couldn’t do before 2022 elections: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, and Texas.

Georgia will determine whether Democrats have 50 or 51 Senators in the election on December 6.  Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) leads opponent Herschel 51 percent to 47 percent and has an 11-point lead among women voters plus 12 percent of those with a four-year or more college degree.

The week after DDT announced his 2024 presidential campaign, 57 percent thought it was a bad idea. Only 27 percent approved in the Quinnipiac University poll. Among independents, the disapproval was 58 percent to 32 percent. Forty-four percent don’t want Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to run for president, compared to 37 percent supporting him.

Courts:

The Supreme Court, typically supporting DDT, turned him down in his request to block House Democrats from seeing his tax records. Sought for 42 months, the decision listed no dissenting votes, and the records should be immediately turned over to the House committee.

The Supreme Court rejected appeals from a Virginia public school district and the University of Toledo in Ohio to stop sexual harassment lawsuits by female students using the law prohibiting sex discrimination at schools receiving federal funds.

A federal judge continued to send Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ beloved Stop WOKE Act into the trash pile, starting when he blocked provisions related to regulating private speech. In August, he wrote:

“Normally, the First Amendment bars the state from burdening speech, while private actors may burden speech freely. But in Florida, the First Amendment apparently bars private actors from burdening speech, while the state may burden speech freely.”

DeSantis’ law targeted concepts about race and history that Republicans dislike. In banning any information about critical race theory, DeSantis tried to regulate private businesses’ training sessions with their own private-sector employees. 

The November ruling stopped what the judge called a “positively dystopian” policy restricting how lessons on race and gender can be taught in colleges and universities. DeSantis wants to control what scholars can say in higher education. He quoted George Orwell’s novel 1984:

“’It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,’ and the powers in charge of Florida’s public university system have declared the State has unfettered authority to muzzle its professors in the name of ‘freedom.”

The judge added:

“The law officially bans professors from expressing disfavored viewpoints in university classrooms while permitting unfettered expression of the opposite viewpoints. Defendants argue that, under this Act, professors enjoy ‘academic freedom’ so long as they express only those viewpoints of which the State approves. This is positively dystopian.”

DeSantis will certainly appeal, but this ruling is a start. Other lawsuits are fighting the suppression of education in K-12.

With no comment, the Georgia Supreme Court rejected the GOP request to remove a day of early voting for the U.S. Senate runoff between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Herschel Walker. The GOP knows that it needs to block voting to win, causing the Republicans already passing a large number of voter restrictions including cutting the runoff calendar in half with a ban on Saturday voting after a holiday. Georgia’s runoff early voting now runs from November 27 to December 2.

A three-judge 11th Circuit Court panel, two DDT-appointed judges and one from George W. Bush, appear ready to support the DOJ by rescinding the special master appointment in the Mar-a-Lago documents case made by DDT’s pet judge Aileen Cannon. One of the DDT judges told DDT’s lawyer that sweeping up personal items in a court-authorized search was not unusual. The DOJ has also asked for the return of 13,000 documents to investigators examining if DDT illegally retained highly sensitive documents of national defense information after he left the White House and possibly obstructed justice in their retrieval.  

A judge asked DDT’s lawyer that if he can’t establish the seizure is unlawful, “what are we doing here?” Another judge pointed out that a special master has no relationship to unlawful seizure.

A complaint has been filed against a Greenville (MS) municipal judge who signs no-knock search warrants allowing police to go into a home unannounced and then keeps them instead of turning them over to the clerk. Violating the state’s criminal procedure rules, his process hides warrants from the public and The public has no access to the warrants and prevents people from defending themselves when they are charged with crimes.

Congress:

The Senate unanimously passed legislature to make funding for survivors of gender-based violence more inclusive of the neediest communities. This amendment to the Violence against Women Act increased funding for domestic violence and sexual assault services specifically helping Native Hawaiian survivors who were inadvertently excluded from the funding. Roughly two-thirds of sex-trafficking victims in Hawaii are Native Hawaiian.

Another unanimous Senate vote passed the Safe Connections Act to help survivors of domestic violence and other crimes cut ties with their abusers and separate from shared wireless service plans, useful to monitor, stalk, or control victims. Abused victims and dependents in their care won’t have penalties or other requirements to separate from shared plans, and the FCC must make rules to keep calls or texts on hotlines from appearing on call logs.

Almost 200 years ago, the U.S. agreed to seat a member of the Cherokee Nation in the House as a non-voting delegate. A House vote could make that happen. The House has six non-voting delegates, including from the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, who can introduce legislation and sit on committees but cannot vote on the House floor.

President Joe Biden:

Facing opposition from conservative states to his student loan forgiveness of $20,000 per person, Biden will extend the payment pause on federal student loans until 60 days after the relief plan is permitted.

The price of crude oil has dropped from almost $120 in March to $77.50, plunging over one-third of its cost from this year’s highest point. Shipping prices are lower, and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) drove investment in U.S. battery equipment manufacturing, taking the industry from China.  

Jason Easley and Sarah Jones wrote about gratitude for Biden:

“After four years of feeling like the country was careening out of control, President Joe Biden assumed office and immediately restored stability and normalcy to the country…. Biden got the pandemic under control, oversaw record-setting job growth, and made a huge downpayment on rebuilding America’s infrastructure and helping the planet. Biden has gotten Congress to function in a bipartisan way and has lived up to his promise to try to help people and make their lives better.

“Things have not been perfect. Inflation remains a stubborn and persistent problem. The Senate filibuster has stopped Biden from achieving goals like voting rights reform, an assault weapons ban, and the codification of Roe.”

Easley and Jones described Biden’s leadership:

“You may not appreciate it at the moment, but you’ll know when it is not there.

“The reason why so many Americans will be able to enjoy their Thanksgiving holiday is that a steady hand is again steering the national ship from the Oval Office.

“The feeling that there has been a dark cloud hovering over the nation has passed.”

Footnote for Biden: For many years, Fox network attacked “liberals” for their “War on Christmas.” Evidently that particular war has ended. Fox’s latest complaint is that Biden is “too pro-Christmas,” led by Laura Ingraham on her prime-time show. (The official lighting of the National Christmas Tree isn’t until November 30.) 

And then there’s the scandal about Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito leaking information to evangelical Christians before his announcements of two cases about reproductive rights. But that’s a longer story!

November 23, 2022

‘Thoughts and Prayers’

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and more people will be in mourning, thanks to the U.S. obsession with guns. Mass shootings don’t kill that many people, cry gun fanatics who want no laws for the safety of people in the United States. Although somewhat accurate, every mass shooting creates not only murders and long-lasting injuries but also others who face these losses. Mass shootings occur everywhere that people gather such as festivals, places of worship, schools, hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, concerts, shopping areas, and workplaces—locations frequented by most people in the U.S. Yesterday, it happened again. A Walmart manager in Chesapeake (VA) walked into the break room where he killed 6 people and injured another 6. The shooter is dead.

For the third consecutive year, over 600 mass shootings, defined as at least four people shot at a single accident, have hit people in the U.S. With 39 days remaining in 2022, the number this year is up to at least 602 mass shootings. That number skyrocketed from the 273 mass shootings in 2014 when they were first recorded. The current number is over a dozen each week, and the majority of people in the U.S. say “so sad” and “thoughts and prayers” before they move on to believing they won’t be personally affected. This country is unique: the rest of the world is appalled by the U.S. indifference to the violence.

Questions arise regarding many mass shootings, but there is no doubt why someone attacked an LGBTQ club in ultra-religious Colorado Springs last Saturday, killing five and injuring another 19 people. Colorado Springs, home to the anti-queer hate group Focus on the Family founded in 1977, has been virulently anti-LGBTQ, reflecting the ultra-conservative culture of the area. Anti-LGBTQ hate crimes have drastically increased during the past several years; hate crimes related to sexual orientation almost doubled between 2018 to 2019 and those related to gender identity from 2019 to 2020.

The hatred and violent rhetoric fomented against LGBTQ people by many GOP politicians and other Republicans, led by Fox network Tucker Carlson, and anti-trans troll Matt Walsh, left no doubt about the motivation. Far-right groups have gone into libraries to assault drag queens reading books to small children and vandalized drag shows in bars while police ignore the damage. In just 2022, state legislatures introduced over 300 anti-LGBTQ bills. In the same year, candidates spent at least $50 million on political ads attacking LGBTQ rights and transgender youth.

For a few days after the tragedy, conservatives stayed largely quiet about it or tweeted in general terms like conservative Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin who didn’t mention the word “gun” or “shooter.” Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who just won her deeply red district by only 500 votes after her Democratic opponent graciously conceded, pushed the lie that she’s never criticized LGBTQ people. 

That honeymoon, such as it is, is over. Conservatives are back to attacking LGBTQ people and their allies. More people would have been killed and injured if Richard Fierro, an Army veteran at Club Q with his wife and child, and not tackled and disarmed the shooter. Extremists now question Fierro’s sexuality because he was at a drag show, call him “groomer” and “faggot,” and assert this story is false. Those commenting on Parler, Gab, Truth Social, The Donald, and Telegram have been vicious about Fiero. Jenna Ellis, right-wing lawyer representing Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in his attempts to overturning the 2020 election, said the five murdered people at Club Q showed “no evidence … they were Christians” and therefore are “reaping the consequences of having eternal damnation”—i.e., burning in hell.

Conservatives have more fuel for their fire after public defenders for the killer stated that he, now they, has identified as nonbinary and should be “addressed as Mx. Aldrich.” Much more will be written about this claim than the killer’s criminal background.

The 22-year-old shooter was born two years after Coloradans passed its anti-LGBTQ amendment to the state constitution. It was later overturned as unconstitutional. Yet within the past few years, he hid his violent past by changing his name. People who refuse to recognize the hatred for LGBTQ people will declare, as usually happens with mass shooters, that he was bullied in an attempt to engender sympathy for him.

The question is whether they can cover for his June 2021 arrest when he caused a partial evacuation of a Colorado Springs neighborhood by threatening his mother with “a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition.” Yet he was never prosecuted for charges of kidnapping and felony menacing. That arrest could have kept the shooter from obtaining a weapon under Colorado’s 2019 red-flag law, but the police didn’t follow through. The killer wasn’t stopped from buying an AR-style rifle and a handgun because his records had been sealed. The county sheriff where Colorado Springs is located refused to issue Extreme Protection Orders, and Boebert, who damned drag queen events, cheered him on.

The killer’s maternal grandfather is California state Rep. Randy Voepel, a MAGA supporter of the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Voepel lost his seat this year.

Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter who is driving the company into disaster, is also promoting hate crimes against trans people by returning accounts to influencers who have violated Twitter’s anti-trans harassment policies as well as those banned for breaking rules about the abuse of LGBTQ people. One of them is DDT.

Soon to be master of conservative misinformation, Twitter is facing a world of problems. Musk is beginning to realize the massive problems he caused with his missteps:

  • Hundreds of high-level workers left after Musk’s refusal to allow them to work remotely. He also ordered workers to sign a pledge to work longer hours and reduced staff. They were excused only for family emergency or inability to “physically get to Twitter HQ.” In a third email, he told them to fly to San Francisco to be present in person to see him. Although he backed off on the no-remote policy, employees didn’t return, leaving at least six critical systems with no engineers or skeleton crews. The top Twitter trend became “#RIPTwitter,” followed by names of alternative social.
  • Musk has called for “anyone who actually writes software” at the company to meet him. Decimated departments are finance and accounting after the disappearance of all employees working in payroll, U.S. tax, and financial-reporting.
  • Criticizing Musk is justification for firing, even if it’s in private, according to the new owner who bought the company to promote “free speech.”
  • Sara Fischer writes for Axios, “Waves of layoffs and departures [will cause] an increasing volume of glitches, delays and decay around the edges.” She listed problems such as extensive copyright violations for movies, hacked accounts, faulty security measures, and bad content for advertisers.
  • Musk himself doesn’t seem worried about problems caused by sweeping changes to support teams and products.
  • DDT’s return to Twitter came from a poll, and Musk plans the same system for “general amnesty,” letting everyone back on Twitter. Highly unscientific, Twitter polls are open to all users and can be targeted by fake accounts and bots.
  • Apple and Google can ban Twitter from their mobile app stores over content concerns.
  • Racist comments, including those for the biggest Black World Cup stars are permitted to remain.
  • Twitter employees at its Africa headquarters are accusing the company of “deliberately and recklessly flouting the laws of Ghana” and trying to “silence and intimidate” them after they were fired. They demand Twitter comply with the nation’s labor laws and give them additional several pay and other benefits. 
  • Twitter has opened up to anyone without proof of identity causes security problems for fraud, other market problems, etc.
  • Musk refuses to pay millions of dollars in travel bills generated by Twitter executives before he finalized the purchase of the company, saying he didn’t authorize them. He also also issued an order to slow or stop transfers of funds to Twitter’s vendors and contract services. Corporate credit cards for Twitter employees have also been closed.
  • Shares of Musk’s electric-car maker, Tesla, are down over 50 percent, partly because he pulled over 50 Tesla engineers to work at Twitter.
  • A Tesla shareholder sued Musk for the $50.9 billion pay package given him with the claim that he exploited his control of Tesla and its highly-paid board of directors to obtain the package. The suit also claims that Musk and his board didn’t uphold financial responsibilities to shareholders. Musk still controls 20 percent of Tesla shares.
  • National security may be at risk with Musk’s incompetence because the National Weather Service had joined Twitter and is now subject to parody. Accurate up-to-date information is vital in times of rising floodwaters or rapidly moving tornadoes.

Musk’s 2022 losses top over $101 billion as he loses over $400 million every day. Tesla is hurting because of tightened COVID restrictions in China, a recall of over 321,000 vehicles because of a taillight problem, and a criminal investigation into the car after a dozen crashes, some of them fatal. The current probe examines whether Tesla misled customers, investors, and regulators with unsupported claims. (Left: drawing fro Bulwark) 

Conservatives, however, are ecstatic about Twitter’s changes and think guns are more important than people.

November 21, 2022

DDT Unpopular, Facing Serious Legal Problems

Sad to say, the media cannot avoid covering Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) with his corruption and lust for the limelight. The last two melded together in his announcement for another run at the presidency in two years during a party at Mar-a-Lago on November 15. Security had to keep people from leaving his speech.

DDT had thought the grand success of GOP elections a week before would give him a triumphant lead-in to his campaign, but it miserably fizzled. Republicans lost the Senate—again—and the GOP has a majority of one in the House while five races are still undecided. Furious with his many losses, DDT attacked House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), convinced weak Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) he could be Speaker and manage all the crazies turned loose, and failed to destroy Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for winning because of his gerrymandering House districts.

The crazies are the only ones left to support DDT; reasonable parts of the right wing have turned against him. National Review’s Dan McLaughlin tweeted, “This is delusional, mental-breakdown stuff.” Fox News contributor Joe Concha called it “unhinged, sophomoric stuff that is completely unprovoked.” From the conservative Wall Street Journal came “Trump Is the Republican Party’s Biggest Loser.” Featuring DDT in its Humpty Dumpty cover visual, the New York Post defined him as “perhaps the most profound vote-repellant in modern American history.”

A lead group of GOP politicians trying to oust DDT are the 2024 wannabe presidential candidates.

DeSantis has bragged about all the members he sent to the Congress (not mentioning it’s because of his gerrymandering); he’s edging out DDT in the polls.

Two-term New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that Republicans “keep losing and losing and losing and that “the reason we’re losing is because Donald Trump has put himself before everybody else.” He continued by saying DDT’s refusal to leave his 2022 defeat is “not what this party stands for” and that “it’s not what it should stand for in the future, and we’ve got to stop it now.”

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said that “candidate quality matters. I got a great policy for the Republican Party: Let’s stop supporting crazy, unelectable candidates in our primaries and start getting behind winners that can close the deal in November.”

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and DDT’s choice to replace McConnell for Minority Leader, complained that “the current strategy of most Republicans in Washington is to only be against the crazy Democrats—and they’re crazy—and never outline any plan what we are for and what we will do. That is a mistake.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who was against DDT until he was for DDT accused Republicans of spending far too much time preaching to the choir when they talk to the same 2.6 million people watching Fox network every night.” He also complained, “Republicans in the Senate don’t fight” and told GOP senators to “pick two or three or four things that matter and say, ‘We believe in it.’”

Mike Pompeo, CIA director and secretary of State under Trump who is considering a presidential run, agreed that he’s “tired of losing.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem called for new leadership.

Outgoing Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, one of the most reasonable governors in his party, argued the GOP is “desperately in need of a course correction” and DDT’s overselling of bad candidates caused significant damage. Like others, he ridiculed DDT’s earlier claim that people will get tired of winning after his election. 

Only one GOP senator, Tommy Tuberville (AL) says he will support DDT; no others openly spoke up for him.

Lindsey Graham (SC), supposedly DDT’s good friend, only said DDT will be “hard to beat.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (UT) said no one raised a hand in a private GOP senators’ meeting when asked if they want DDT to announce he’s running for president. A second senator agreed.

Kevin Cramer (ND) likes Mike Pompeo for a candidate.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) refused to commit, saying that DDT as a candidate is a “theoretical.”

Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) identified DeSantis as the de facto leader of the Republican Party. 

Wealthy donors also bailed on DDT. Hedge fund manager Ken Griffin also plans to support DeSantis, calling DDT a “three-time loser.” Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of private equity giant Blackstone, plans to support DDT’s challenger because “America does better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday.”

Political committees controlled by or closely affiliated with Trump have a total of nearly $112 million in the bank, but only $13.5 million can legally be used for DDT’s campaign. Most of the money was raised by a PAC and committees not officially part of DDT’s presidential campaign. To dodge restrictions, DDT’s PAC transferred $20 million to a new super PAC, MAGA, run by DDT aides although super PACs are legally bound to be independent of candidates. A complaint has been filed for violation of federal law in this transfer.

Before his grand candidacy announcement, DDT called GOP elected officials and demanded they endorse him. He said “those who waited too long” were “not gonna like” their fate when he wins. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was the only congressional member to attend. Even daughter Ivanka wasn’t available despite DDT begging her to come. 

DeSantis also violated state-level fundraising records for this year’s gubernatorial election with about $90 million remaining. Moving that money to a super PAC for his candidacy would also violate federal law.

New special counsel Jack Smith, appointed by DOJ AG Merrick Garland, will investigate DDT, including his likely criminality in Georgia attempting to pressure officials into overturn the state’s vote for Joe Biden in 2020 and DDT’s mishandling of sensitive government documents at Mar-a-Lago. Both these cases have a number of charges. Smith will also focus on “whether any person or entity unlawfully interfered with the transfer of power” on January 6, 2021.

One of the classified documents DDT squirreled away at Mar-a-Lago proves he tweeted a classified image when he sent the detailed photo of the Iranian launch pad where officials failed to launch a purported satellite. The image was photographed by an important U.S. intelligence asset, a classified spacecraft called USA 224 believed to be a multibillion-dollar KH-11 reconnaissance satellite. The image has now been declassified, but DDT lied by saying he declassified the image and had the authority to do so. DDT frequently mishandled national secrets, as shown by a TOP 10 list, and proved himself to be reckless and irresponsible with sensitive information, his accusation against Hillary Clinton regarding her emails during the 2016 campaign and since then.

The prosecution has rested in the Trump Organization tax avoidance fraud trial. Longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg testified for the prosecution to keep his prison sentence shorter. The criminal case implicated DDT and his children, Don Jr. and Eric, because they all signed checks to avoid taxes. DDT authorized the scheme to reduce Weisselberg’s taxable income—and the IRS taxes owned by the company. He is still being paid $640,000 a year, including a $200,000 increase from Eric and Jr. in 2017 after they discovered his tax fraud, plus a $500,000 bonus. 

Alvin Bragg, Manhattan DA, is jump-starting its criminal investigation into DDT regarding his hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels who said she had an affair with DDT. As in all other cases, DDT claims innocence.

Ivanka failed to escape having a court-appointed monitor watch over her financial activity so that she wouldn’t shift assets before legal actions against the Trump Organization. She remains a defendant in the case regarding the shell company haven, Trump Organization II, set up in Delaware on the same day that a $250 million lawsuit against DDT and his businesses.

DDT’s former chief of staff John Kelly refused to use government agencies to investigate or harass individuals DDT identified as enemies such as former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former CIA Director John Brennan, two FBI employees Trump targeted for their involvement in the probe of Russian election manipulation, etc. After Kelly left, Comey was a target of extensive IRS audits, two of 5,000 audits out of 153 million returns filed, a 0.0033 percent chance. McCabe was one of 8,000 audits the next year when 154 million people filed, a 0.0052 percent chance. The “random” claim doesn’t wash.

The Department of Homeland Security ensnared hundreds, if not thousands, of U.S. protesters, in a scam before the 2020 election to push DDT’s false claims about the “terrorist organization” he accused Democrats of supporting. The report, released by Sen. Ron Wyden (R-OR), showed orders given to “senior leadership” requiring them to broadly apply the label “violent antifa anarchists inspired” to Portland protesters unless they had intel showing “something different.” DHS’s acting chief intelligence officer ordered all violence in Portland (OR) to falsely be the work of “Antifa,” and the media went along. The project cost $1.5 billion.

DDT had a grand plan for winning the 2024 presidential election. He would install election deniers in swing states as secretaries of state, and they would declare the election for him even if the majority of people in the state didn’t vote for DDT. After they won the election on November 8, he would declare his presidency after all his candidates won the 2022 midterms. His candidates suffered a rout, and the plan failed. Only four election denying secretaries of state—Alabama, Indiana, South Dakota, and Wyoming—defeated ethical opponents in the red states.

November 14, 2022

News Avoiding the Election, Mostly

Great news for Arizona and democracy! Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, endorsed by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), lost her election to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Bad news for Arizona: after the losses of her and two other major DDT candidates, Mark Finchem for secretary of state and Blake Masters for U.S. senator, election liars may try to burn the state down. DDT wants an entire new election for the state because Democrats won some of the races, and some of the losers refuse to concede, saying that they will ensure that they win. With a little over 100,000 ballots still to be counted, Kris Mayes is only 3,000 votes ahead of GOP Abe Hamadeh, another DDT election liar who can bring lawsuits for the state.

In a three-hour face-to-face meeting, President Joe Biden and Chinese President XI Jinping looked for ways to work together. Biden said there will be no “new Cold War” and believes China has no imminent plans to invade Taiwan. The leaders were in Bali for the G20 summit, and the meeting came after months of quiet negotiations. Biden asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken to follow up on the discussion in Beijing as part of a long process to thaw a tense relationship. Biden kept DDT’s tariffs and restricted selling semiconductors and chip-making equipment to China.

For the first time, Xi warned against nuclear weapons in Russia’s war when he met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a clear signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin. A Chinese senior official said on the condition of anonymity:

“I think there is undeniably a discomfort in Beijing about what we’ve seen in terms of reckless rhetoric and activity on the part of Russia. I think it is also undeniable that China is probably both surprised and a little bit embarrassed by the conduct of Russian military operations.”

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was absent for part of the summit after he was taken to the hospital for a heart problem. He said he is fine. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), possibly the biggest liar in the Senate, feels that Biden is compromised by China. No evidence, just a “feeling.”

The House January 6 investigative committee may subpoena the phone records of Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward according to a Supreme Court ruling. She had claimed the request for her phone records violated the First Amendment. The committee requested call records, phone numbers, text messages, and IP addresses communicating with Ward’s number between November 2020 to January 2021 when she was connected to the scam of an Arizona alternate electors’ slate to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.      

Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented from the decision without explanation. Thomas’ wife, Ginni Thomas, had taken part of the attempted coup by writing 29 Arizona lawmakers, urging them to choose “a clean slate of electors” instead of the state electors pledged to Biden in support of the popular vote. Ward and her husband were “fake electors” from Arizona, lying about the 2020 presidential election in their state. Both the state district court and the 9th Circuit Court disagreed with Ward’s arguments, one of the three-judge panel a DDT appointee.

Ginni Thomas is working on another coup, this one to get rid of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for congressional leaders. She joined almost 60 far-right politicians, some of them like Thomas investigated by the House January 6 investigative committee, in signing a letter to delay the choice of GOP leadership in the 118th Congress.  The American Independent’s senior political reporter Emily C. Singer called it a “who’s who of insurrection supporting Republicans.”

A DDT-supported federal judge in the U.S. District Court for D.C. dismissed a year-old lawsuit by Mark Meadows, DDT’s former chief of staff, to block the House investigative committee to subpoena him. He will likely appear and run the clock out to the end of the 117th Congress, but the ruling is a precedent for many other suits in the same court. Meadows was on the telephone when DDT tried to persuade Georgia election officials to “find” sufficient votes for his victory and with DDT on January 6, 2021 when insurrections illegally entered the Capitol.

A federal judge blocked attempts by Rudy Giuliani to dismiss a lawsuit brought by two Georgia election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. Giuliani’s accusation of election fraud by the mother/daughter pair caused serious threats and harassment against them; Freeman even had to leave her home for months. Giuliani had falsified a video for his lies.

The Senate returns next week, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), also elected for that position in the 118th Congress, scheduled a Wednesday vote on the bill to codify the right to same-gender and interracial marriage. Democratic leader Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) said she thinks the bill has the 60 votes to overcome a filibuster and has reached an agreement on “commonsense” changes to protect religious freedom with Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ, and Thom Tillis (R-NC). In July, almost 50 House Republicans joined Democrats to pass the bill.  

When Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) politely protested Elon Musk’s allowing Twitter impersonation of him—and many others—Musk responded by saying Marky’s own account “sounds like a parody.” Marky tweeted back:

“One of your companies is under an FTC consent decree. Auto safety watchdog NHTSA is investigating another for killing people. And you’re spending your time picking fights online. Fix your companies. Or Congress will.”

A fake tweet from Eli Lilly about free insulin in a supposedly verified account brought outrage after Lilly’s “apology” that it was false, including from a parody imitating Lilly:

“We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Lilly account about the cost of diabetic care. Humalog is now $400. We can do this whenever we want and there’s nothing you can do about it. Suck it. Our official Twitter account is @LiIlyPadCo.”

About 37.3 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and 8.4 million need insulin to survive. To manufacture, a vial costs under $10, but Lilly’s list price is $274.70, the generic at $82.41. Most people on insulin require 2-3 vials a month so at least 1.3 million people risk their lives by rationing their insulin. The Inflation Reduction Act caps insulin out-of-pocket costs at $35 per month for Medicare participants, but Republicans blocked all other price caps.  

In the midst of ballot-counting, the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel released the newly declassified summary of a joint interview with George W. Bush and his VP Dick Cheney regarding the September 11 attacks. Members of the 9/11 Commission, did not record the event on April 29, 2004, and the released summary document is the only official record, a “memorandum for the record.”

Bush evidenced no sense about the death and destruction set free by his global war; the interview was at the same time as a massive insurgency in Iraq against a U.S. occupation which would kill thousands of U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Seeing the first plane hit the World Trade Center, he thought what a terrible pilot. When his chief of staff Andy Card told him the U.S. was under attack, he stayed in the classroom where he had been reading My Pet Goat to children. He tried to “collect his thoughts” and decided he should “project calm and strength.”

Communications equipment kept failing, including the secure phone line between Bush and Cheney. Bush couldn’t find Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and complained about not having “good television” on Air Force One. Cheney was responsible for authorizing the military to shoot down civilian aircraft. Bush also claimed he didn’t know anything about Saudi nationals receiving permission to leave the country after 9/11.

Bush said he got no “actionable intelligence” About Osama Bin Laden and preparation for hijackings or other attacks in the U.S. and claimed CIA Director George Tenet said “the threat was overseas.” Cheney criticized congressional oversight of covert operations, especially by the CIA, because it weakened the agency. To make the U.S. less vulnerable to attack, Bush said, “We had to kill them before they kill us.” Working with Putin was important to use U.S. military and intelligence of bases in central Asia.

Inflation dropped to an annual rate of 7.7 percent in October, down a half percent. The biggest inflationary contributors were shelter, gasoline, and food, the first two items raising historic profits for companies. Buyers will find less inflation in used cars prices, household supplies, clothing and accessories, household gas, and some food items.

Biden gave all veterans and Gold Star families lifetime passes to national parks.

New drugs could restore a woman’s period using the same medication as used in medical abortion, misoprostol or in combination with mifepristone. The process might not be classified as abortion because the woman doesn’t know whether she is pregnant. Misoprostol is also used for gastric ulcers in nonpregnant people but have become more difficult to obtain because of its connection to abortions. The courts, however, have described abortion as related to “knowledge of a confirmed pregnancy” or “intent to end a confirmed pregnancy.” Menstrual regulation doesn’t rely on a confirmed pregnancy, and no states ban or restrict this regulation with an unknown pregnancy status.

November 13, 2022

Mistakes Were Made: FTX, Twitter

While the 2022 midterm elections released the majority of its results this past week, two financial disasters ran with a flood of breaking news in crypto currency and Elon Musk’s new toy, Twitter.

Last Wednesday, Dow Jones dropped about 1,000 points, alerting people to the collapse of FTX, a Bahama-based crypto currency exchange. FTX’s founder Sam Bankman-Fried, 30, lost 94 percent of his assets, going from net worth of $15.2 billion to $991.5 million, in one day of stock losses and resigned. He had secretly moved $10 billion of customer funds to his trading company Alameda Research with about 130 affiliated companies, and about $1-2 billion disappeared. A rescue deal with Binance collapsed, and the company filed for bankruptcy.

Major coins prices regained some of its lost value after the bankruptcy filing only to plummet after the discovery of a hack into FTX. Various tokens worth $663 million were drained from FTX’s crypto wallets, $477 million in the suspected theft, with the remainder believed to be put into secure storage by FTX. Those holding their own cryptocurrency can store it “hot,” “cold,” or a combination. “Hot” is attached to the internet permitting easy access; “cold” refers to wallets not internet connected. Many crypto start-ups used FTX because it paid high yields for assets on its platform. Before the collapse, Genesis locked up $175 million in funds with FTX; Pantera Capital, $135 million.

Crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN) fell nearly percent, and MicroStrategy dropped 10 percent. Crypto-focused bank Silvergate (SI) lost 14 percent. The two largest cryptocurrencies, bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) both declined about 6 percent, similar to declines in the crypto sector. Blockchain and Tech ETF dropped 46 percent since their April debut. The wipeout for cryptocurrency was about $5 billion.

On November 11, Bitcoin’s price hovered around $17,000, down from above $20,000 on November 8 and well below the $68,000 a year ago. Except for supposed “stablecoins,” crypto’s value solely depends on what someone is willing to pay for it, like a lottery ticket.

The bankrupt FTX crypto exchange, according to its new CEO, is “in the process of removing trading and withdrawal functionality” and “moving as many digital assets as can be identified to a new cold wallet custodian.” FTX calls the hacking  “unauthorized transactions.” 

Bankman-Fried spent tens of millions of dollars to reconfigure the culture of finance in both the U.S. and the world. As recently as January, his FTX was worth $32 billion. The story of his rise—and fall—is here as he used his charm, trying to manipulate people into believing his company was a trustworthy investment. Money went into naming the Miami Heat arena and its logo on Major League Baseball umpires’ uniforms, Tom Brady and his wife Gisele Bündchen for spokespeople, and comedian Larry David starring in the FTX Super Bowl ad. Bankman-Fried’s partners are fleeing, Miami Heat is terminating its relationship to look for a new naming rights partner.

Having left the U.S., Bankman-Fried may be under supervision in a Bahamas resort with his co-founder, Gary Want, and FTX director of engineering Nishad Singh on his way to non-extradition haven Dubai. The resort is owned by Tiger Woods and Justin Timberlake

A way to avoid banks, cryptocurrency, which isn’t really “currency,” has been quite volatile, but risk-takers have used it in the hope of making a fortune. Melanie Trump used it for her business, and Elon Musk considered requiring bitcoins as payment for participation in his new company, Twitter.

Musk’s recent acquisition of the social media platform has kept the media busy following the constant shifts in what he is doing, starting out with the number of Twitter employees the wealthiest man in the world has fired. He started out with 25 percent of the 7,500 workers as well as almost all the top people in the business. Within a week, that figure expanded to 50 percent, which Jonathan Last called Twitter’s Red Wedding, comparing it to the massacre in The Game of Thrones. Layoffs were particularly extensive in Twitter’s “product trust and safety, policy, communications, tweet curation, ethical AI, data science, research, machine learning, social good, accessibility, and even certain core engineering teams.”

When Musk decided he needed some of them, he called them back, but many refused to return. They have three months salary but will be punished if they talk with any other former employees. (Library computers are probably very busy!) The ones he kept were told they had to report to offices instead of working remotely although that was not the deal when they were hired. Musk also dumped the board of directors and replaced them with his friends while making himself CEO. 

Most executives who weren’t fired walked out—top privacy, security, and safety executives. Axios reporter Sara Fischer tweeted, “Twitter is on life support.” Employees told her “it’s over” because “trust is gone.” According to a spokesperson for the Federal Trade Commission, agents were “tracking recent developments at Twitter with deep concern.” The agency is prepared to take action to require compliance with a consent order established earlier this year. Three of the resignations were part of the FTC mandated data handling practices. With greater restrictions, European countries are carefully watching Twitter problems.

Part of the investigation into Twitter is Saudi Arabia’s partial ownership because Musk said the company must follow the freedom of expression laws by the country in which it operates. Saudi Arabia has the eighth most Twitter users in the world with limited freedom of speech.  

The big tech moguls and financiers buying into Twitter, like Saudi Arabia, may suffer from buyers’ remorse, possibly losing much of their investment at $54.20 per share. The Saudi’s piece is almost $2 billion. Winners are those who bought shares at a lower price; privatizing stocks in the company forces Musk to reimburse shareholders at the buying cost.  Chief Twit, Musk’s self-identified nickname, is threatening bankruptcy after the company loses $4 million a day and could end up with hundreds of billions of dollars in fines. His financial situation worsened after advertisers, providing 90 percent of Twitter revenue, began to suspend their accounts. After losing at least nine major advertisers, Musk begged them to return on “Twitter Space,” an hour-long livestream, with promises of content moderation and account verification while blaming activists for their Twitter boycott.

For over a week, Twitter increasingly lost credibility, and tweeting comedians impersonated Musk in fake accounts. One of them, Kathy Griffin, encouraged encouraging people to vote Democratic before Musk told them to select GOP candidates. Musk tried to charge $19.95 for his verification accounts with a blue check. When people refused to pay the charge, he dropped the cost to $7.99. For this “Twitter Blue,” Musk didn’t even verify the accounts for accuracy, requiring only an Apple ID and phone number. The expedited timeline for Twitter Blue skipped the company’s internal risk evaluation and didn’t make key upgrades to flag problems. [Left: Musk’s tweet pleading for subscriptions.]

Musk paused the product which was flooded with misinformation and permitted neo-Nazi accounts. A fake account from Lilly, for example, announced free insulin. The expedited timeline for Twitter Blue skipped the company’s internal risk evaluation and didn’t make key upgrades to flag problems.  

Within the first week, Musk may have lost a million users, and many of them are going to Mastodon, a decentralized platform founded in 2016 which rose to 1 million users this month, doubling the past number. Users can set their own content moderation rules and uses hashtags, replies, and “boosting” (like retweeting). Unlike Twitter, Mastodon is a nonprofit and has no ads (#omg).

Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion, but its value dropped to $25 billion during its first week. He also has a $1 billion annual interest payment for the huge loan to help pay for the inflated price. In addition, fired workers are suing him for violating California and federal law because of his mass layoffs.

As Jonathan Last wrote, “Elon Musk has turned Twitter from a minimally-functioning company into a distressed asset. And he did it in a week.” Musk promised Twitter would not become “a free-for-all hellscape,” but that’s the perfect description of the social media site inundated with racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic posts accompanied by election disinformation and conspiracy theories—many of them promoted by Musk.

The end of Twitter would lose Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA) tweets. People may remember  “Nancy Pelosi’s gazpacho police” instead of Gestapo. There was “Bill Gates wants you to eat his fake meat that grows in a peach tree dish.” Most recently, Greene wrote, “I’m sure our enemies are quacking in their boots while we are still over here trying to count ballots.” Alex Bollinger wrote, “On Twitter, people were quacking up about Greene’s latest complaint.” Twitter provided many images, including this one. 

Over at Meta, parent of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg may not being doing as well since his name change. The company’s $234 billion fall last February set the record for the biggest one-day value drop in stock market history, more than Apple’s one-day $182 billion loss in September 2020. Over 11,000 Meta employees, about 13 percent of the work force, were fired. Meta’s stock dropped over 50 percent from $200 six months ago before crawling back up to $113.02.

November 12, 2022

Dems Take Senate; Snowflake GOP Whines

Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) has been become the 50th senator, making the Walker/Warnock election in Georgia on December 6 a non-factor in possible losses of GOP bills and votes. Her election follows Sen. Mark Kelly’s (D-AZ) earlier win. His opponent, Black Masters, blames House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his loss because Masters wanted more funding. Masters already received $15 million from gay billionaire Peter Thiel.

As can be expected, GOP sour grapes prevailed. After DDT accused the voting system in Clark County (NV), the state’s most populous county, of being corrupt, county officials fought back to refute his lies. As in 2020, DDT and his allies are attacking any states with Democratic winners of election fraud if their votes weren’t counted by midnight of Election Day—even if the law permitted states to accept ballots several days after Election Day as 18 states do. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) echoed DDT on a Republican conference call hosted by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), chair of the Senate fundraising committee by falsely claiming that there was no “mathematical way” Adam Laxalt could lose to Cortez Masto.

National media finally declared Tina Kotek Oregon’s governor-elect, and her GOP candidate finally managed to concede. Nevada’s GOP candidate Joe Lombardo beat his opponent, but the GOP election denier candidate for secretary of state, Jim Marchant, lost. He had said he would certify the 2024 election for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT. In Arizona, Kari Lake trails Katie Hobbs for governor by 34,000 votes after the last drop from a GOP area of Maricopa County failed to give her a big boost. Another 190,000 ballots with possibly Democratic emphasis are waiting in the wings.

Lake has cried voter fraud because the vote wasn’t completed within a few hours of the end of voting. She called Arizona “a banana republic,” and Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts told Lake to “grow up”:

“Kari Lake was vowing to call the Arizona Legislature into a special session because she didn’t get a balloon drop on election night. Do you need a timeout? That’s what I used to ask my toddler sons when they’d throw themselves onto the floor, kicking and screaming, because they didn’t get their way.”

Lake even promises she would “call the Arizona Legislature into a special session because she didn’t get a balloon drop on election night,” according to Roberts. MSNBC reporter Vaughn Hilliard said Lake alleges fraud but refuses to name what it is or or report anyone to authorities.  

The best satire, close to fact, came from the New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz. It begins:

“The United States of America has become the envy of the world after a ten-billion-dollar expenditure on political advertising changed virtually nothing. People around the globe marvelled at a democracy so robust it could withstand an outlay of cash greater than the gross domestic product of nations such as Tajikistan, Montenegro, and Somalia…

“’When you imagine what you could do with ten billion dollars, you immediately think of building new roads or schools,’ a citizen of Montenegro said. ‘But America’s roads and schools must be in excellent shape, if they can afford to spend ten billion dollars on elections instead.’

“’Ten billion dollars could pay for a lot of solar panels, wind farms, and other measures to mitigate climate change,’ a resident of Somalia said. ‘Thank heavens Americans realized that political advertising is the thing that makes them No. 1 in the world and decided to spend it on that.’”

The Republicans are traumatized by their loss, and DDT faces unprecedented attacks from many in the GOP. Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal called him the GOP’s “biggest lower” and former House Speaker Paul Ryan begged Republicans to move forward in a non-DDT direction. “Trump is a loser,” right-wing pundit Eli Lake on Daily Beast wrote on Twitter. “He’s an albatross, a boat anchor on the party. For three straight elections, he has been a liability for Republicans.” Commentary magazine’s John Podhoretz called DDT a “pathological loser narcissist who has now been humiliated by the American electorate in three separate national contests.” Even DDT’s former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said, “Between being Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis tonight, you want to be Ron DeSantis. Trump is not doing very well.”

Even conservative tabloid New York Post ridiculed DDT. 

While DDT’s inner circle tried to talk him out of declaring a candidacy within the next couple of months or longer, he unleashed his venom on heir apparent Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had a really good night. His gerrymandering of districts in opposition to both Republicans and Democrats in legislature created a number of GOP congressional winners, maybe responsible for the U.S. House win if it happens.

DDT called DeSantis an “average” governor with “great public relations.” In a statement, DDT asserted:

“Ron came to me in desperate shape in 2017—he was politically dead, losing in a landslide. Ron had low approval, bad polls, and no money, but he said that if I would Endorse him, he could win. … When I Endorsed him, it was as though, to use a bad term, a nuclear weapon went off.”

DDT went even farther when he  claimed he “sent in the FBI and U.S. Attorneys” to stop “ballot theft … just prior to them running out of the votes necessary to win” for DeSantis’ 2018 election. In the same Truth Social post, DDT wrote, “I also fixed his campaign.” A legal expert called the action “fraud.” DeSantis’ defeated opponent, Andrew Gillum is already using DDT’s statements in a court filing

NBC News senior reporter Ben Collins tweeted:

“Am I losing my mind? Is this not a gigantic deal? He’s either casually admitting to using federal agents to interfere in a state election or lying about it for some equally inexplicable reason, right? Am I reading this wrong or is this a five-alarmer for the DOJ?”

DDT followed his attacks on DeSantis with rants and slurs against Virginia’s Gov. Glenn Youngkin, another possible presidential candidate in 2024. In a racist comment, DDT said that “Young kin … sounds Chinese” before he took credit for Youngkin’s win. During the election, the governor had tried to separate himself from DDT.

In more tantrums, DDT blames Fox’s Sean Hannity, his former BFF, and casino mogul Steve Wynn for the Election Day losses of his hand-picked candidates. Trying to cover for his failures, DDT insisted he “did a great job” in the midterms and concluded, “Remember, I am a ‘Stable Genius.’” He sticks to his declaration on Election night, “I should get all the credit. If they lose, I should not be blamed at all.” Like all the other whining Republicans, is melting like snowflakes.

The U.S. House is still not a done deal for the GOP. A projection gives Republican a one-person lead over the Democrats, but 19 elections still haven’t been called for the chamber. No matter which way it goes, the GOP is in for a “Bloodbath!” the term Donald Trump Jr. tweeted about Election Day. Republicans have two major issues: what to do about “loser” DDT and who should have the GOP leadership in Congress.    

Republicans are blaming McConnell for not worshipping DDT and for not approving some of his candidates. Conservative senators pushing for Ron Johnson’s (WI) leadership are asking colleagues to postpone votes for GOP leadership elections next week, but the vote is still on schedule. No matter who wins, that person will be Minority Leader.  

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), desperately trying to become the party leader in the House is catering to the collection of crazies who have been elected. As of yesterday, at least 150 election deniers were elected to the House with a few other undecided races such as the queen loonie Lauren Boebert from Colorado. A newbie is gay election-denier George Santos from Long Island who attended DDT’s January 6 “Stop the Steal” rally and said he wrote a “nice check” to help cover the legal fees of some of the rioters. To Santos, abortion is comparable to slavery. McCarthy will do anything to get votes for House Speaker; he already promised Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) banned from committee membership for the past two years, that she can have any committee position she wants.

The far-right House members are campaigning to block McCarthy from leadership. A strategy from the Freedom Caucus is to create an easier process to call for a vote ousting a sitting speaker. The conservatives also wants more representation on selecting committee assignments and aims to delay the legislative by taking more time to review even non-controversial bills. Other demands are launching investigations and impeachments of President Joe Biden and his Cabinet members.

A huge problem of selecting any GOP House leadership is the slim majority, even if Republicans take the House. McCarthy is also in DDT’s pocket, making serious problems for anyone else running for president in 2024.

Inflation was a concern for 31 percent of voters, but democracy was far above at 44 percent. Abortion was also not far behind inflation at 27 percent. Voters over 65 years old preferred Republicans over Democrats by 55 percent to 43 percent, meaning 55 percent of them voted against keeping their benefits. Maybe they think that saving a few dollars on gas will make up for these losses. Pew Research exit polls shows a lengthy selection of other descriptors about how people voted this month—a great read for political junkies.

November 10, 2022

U.S. Democracy Hangs by a Thread After Non-existent ‘Red Wave’

On November 8, 2022, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) lost. He wasn’t on the ballot, but hundreds of his faithful, election-denying followers were. On the eve of Election Day, he claimed he would make a big announcement on November 15, probably a presidential candidacy for 2024. The grand party at Mar-a-Lago rapidly fizzled, and DDT called the night an “interesting evening.” One of his pets, Ohio’s Senate candidate J.D. Vance, won, but many others went down in flames, especially Pennsylvania’s senatorial candidate Mehmet Oz who lost to John Fetterman despite Tucker Carlson’s (Fox network) vicious, lying claims about the winner’s mental ability.

One GOP insider told Fox News, “If it wasn’t clear before, it should be now: We have a Trump problem.” Fox reported that the GOP should “move on from Trump” because of his “outlandish candidates who turned easy victories into close races, and close races into losses.”

After blindly following DDT during the campaigns leading up to the 2022 midterms, the GOP may openly face the disaster of DDT controlling their party. Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said DDT is “in the rearview mirror” of the GOP and used Gov. Brian Kemp’s re-election as an example after DDT turned on him. Duncan added that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “knew what he’s talking about about [bad] candidate quality” and said, “It’s time to move on with the party.” GOP commentator Erick Erickson agreed, and conservative podcaster Ian Haworth went farther by declaring DDT “politically toxic.” Former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro tweeted:

“Trump picked bad candidates, spent almost no money on his hand-picked candidates, and then proceeded to crap on the Republicans who lost and didn’t sufficiently bend the knee. This will have 2024 impact.”

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Rick Scott (FL) had bragged about a 55-seat GOP majority, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who hopes to be House Speaker, expected 60 more Republicans. If the GOP takes the House, it might be lucky to get an additional six. Since World War II, first-term Democratic presidents have traditionally lost 40 House seats and 5 Senate seats in the midterms with an increase since President Carter in 1978 but not in 2022. Karen Tumlty wrote that the supposed “red wave” turned out to be “a messy puddle.” HuffPost pundits called it a “whimper.”

Far-right columnist Henry Olson ate crow for his mistakes, but DDT blames the losing candidates and refuses to take any responsibility for his hand-picked candidates losing. Journalists reported that DDT was furious and screaming about the losses. He even went farther when he blamed his wife, Melania Trump, for making him pick Mehmet Oz who lost the U.S. Senate election in Pennsylvania.

The brightest spots:

Pennsylvania – GOP gubernatorial and evangelical white nationalist Doug Mastriano lost to Josh Shapiro, and Dem John Fetterman beat Mehmet Oz. (After Oprah Winfrey endorsed Fetterman, he tweeted his #NewProfilePic. Oz’s appearance on Winfrey’s show had made him a celebrity.) Mastriano had worn his Confederate uniform for a faculty photo; the South lost again almost 160 years after the North won at Gettysburg during the Civil War. Oz can take his ignorance about his newly “adopted” state back to New Jersey, that does have an Atlantic Ocean beach. (Oz thinks that Pennsylvania is on the ocean; a map shows how far off he is.)

Abortion rights – Many anti-abortion candidates—Mastriano, Oz, lieutenant governor candidate Carrie DelRosso (PA), Michigan’s gubernatorial Tudor Dixon, and NC’s House Bo Hines—lost. Anti-abortion winners—Govs. DeSantis, Greg Abbott (TX), and Brian Kemp (GA) plus Sen. Ron Johnson (WI) and Sen-elect Vance (OH)—won’t make the same emphasis on removing women’s rights as a “red wave” would have done.

Anti-abortion initiatives in five states all failed. California and Vermont put abortion rights into their constitutions, and Kentucky voted against an amendment blocking the path to overturning its zero-week abortion ban. Despite vicious lies in Michigan, voters enshrined “reproductive freedom” beyond abortion rights to residents’ decisions regarding prenatal care, contraception, sterilization, and miscarriage management. That amendment blocks the 1931 anti-abortion ban. Montana voters rejected increases on doctors not performing aggressive medical interventions on infants, and Alaska refused to open a constitutional convention which could have added anti-abortion amendments.

More Democratic legislatures – Michigan, Minnesota, and possibly Pennsylvania legislatures flipped from Republican—Michigan for the first time in 40 years. In Minnesota, the one GOP legislative chamber blocked the expenditures of a $12 billion budget surplus through gridlock. Arizona is waiting to see if Democrats pick up the two seat majorities in both the state’s House and Senate. All states will be trifectas with Democratic governors; at this time Republicans have 23 trifectas.

Progressives in the House – The outspoken progressive who were elected in the past two terms will be joined by more, including Florida gun violence GenZ activist Maxwell Frost (FL), Democratic Socialists of America member Greg Casar (TX), and three left wing representatives from Illinois, Texas, and Pennsylvania.

Election deniers admitting defeat – Michigan’s Tudor Dixon and Matthew DePerno, secretary of state candidate; Wisconsin’s GOP gubernatorial candidate, Tim Michels; and Pennsylvania’s Oz conceded. (Mastriano, Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial loser, stays mum.) 

Young people voting – As many as 27 percent of GenZ, ages 18-29, may have voted. They comprised over 12 percent of the electorate, and 63 percent preferred Democratic House candidates with only 35 percent backing Republicans. “Don’t underestimate the power of a pissed off generation,” tweeted NextGen America. 

Waiting in the wings – Georgia candidates for the U.S. Senate, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Herschel Walker will face off on December 6 for the seat. With 98 percent of the vote reported, Warnock had 35,000 more votes than Walker, but he has only 49.4 percent of the vote. State law requires the winner to achieve a majority. One theory for the winner is that Republicans will come out to vote for Walker because he could be the key to control of the Senate, but others say that Walker’s votes came on the coattails for Gov. Kemp, who has already won. If the latter idea is correct, Walker may have fewer votes than in the general election.

Midterms 2022 marked several historic firsts:

  • LGBTQ+ candidates ran for office in all 50 states, with an increase of these candidates by 18 percent from 2020. Thus far at least 340 out LGBTQ candidates have won in the midterms, breaking the 2020 record of 336.
  • First women governors elected in Arkansas (Sarah Huckabee Sanders), Massachusetts (Maura Healey), and New York (Kathy Hochul).
  • Democrat Healey, the first elected lesbian government and closely followed by Oregon’s Tina Kotek.
  • Democrat Wes Moore, Maryland’s first Black governor, the only Black governor in the U.S. and the third elected since Reconstruction after the Civil War.
  • Democrat Anthony Brown, Maryland’s first Black attorney general. a longtime political figure in Maryland, will be the state’s first Black attorney general.
  • GOP Markwayne Mullin, the first Native American senator in almost two decades and first Native American senator from Oklahoma in a century.
  • Youngest congressional member and first member of GenZ (ages 18-29), 25-year-old Maxwell Frost from Florida.
  • Becca Balint, first openly LGBTQ person Vermont elected to the House of Representatives and first woman from Vermont sent to the House. Vermont was the last state to send a woman to Washington, behind Mississippi who sent a woman in 2018.
  • Katie Britt, first female senator elected from Alabama.
  • Summer Lee, the first Black woman Pennsylvania elected to the U.S. House.
  • Delia Ramirez, the first Latina elected to Congress from Illinois.
  • Robert Garcia (CA), the first out LGBTQ immigrant elected to Congress and the second out Latino to serve in Congress.
  • Republican Anna Paulina Luna, Florida’s first Mexican-American woman elected to Congress after she flipped a House seat. She joins a dozen Latinx congressional members from Florida.
  • James Roesener (NH), the first openly trans man, and Zooey Zephyr (MT), and the first trans woman to be elected to state legislatures.

Republicans are searching for reasons why the red tsunami didn’t hit the U.S. Fox network hosts during the election breakdown have a simple answer for why Oz lost his race: Fetterman won. Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) complaint sounded like a compliment for Democrats. He agreed with President Joe Biden’s list of successes: “rebuilding America’s roads and bridges,” “lowering prescription drug costs”; “tackling the climate crisis,” and making sure that large corporations begin to pay their fair share in taxes.” Cruz asked, “Why did Democrats do better than expected?” and answered his own question, “Because they have governed as liberals.” Republicans want to destroy government that works for the people’s benefit.

In the aftermath of the election, former VP Mike Pence has finally broken up with DDT. With her usual humor, Bess Levin tells the story for Vanity Fair. Maybe Pence is getting ready to announce his own presidential campaign for 2024. (Right: a discouraged “toxic Trump” waves at all the big names he invited to his Mar-a-Lago party before he left early.)  

More election perceptions—and new wins, if possible—tomorrow.

November 8, 2022

Supreme Court Addresses Race, Rights

SCOTUS will hear two more landmark cases this week. The first, on November 8, decides whether over 76 million low-income people in the U.S. could be stripped of Medicaid healthcare. The majority of justices, even some conservative ones, seemed reluctant to gut the program by saying that people couldn’t file a lawsuits for their rights under the law although they may determine that nursing home residents can use only administrative process to enforce the law. At this time, Section 1983 permits lawsuits for the enforcement. Only JusticesClarence Thomas and Samuel Alito might disagree. Justice Amy Coney Barrett seemed to join the three other women while Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh just asked about how Medicaid law should be enforced, appearing to assume that the law is enforceable.

A “conditional grant” program, Medicaid provides money to states, $670 billion in 2020, and funding includes general requirements governing its operation. In Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County v. Talevski, the plaintiffs are suing the Indiana health system for using psychotropic drugs as “convenience” to keep Gorgi Talevski, a dementia patient, docile with psychotropic drugs, a violation of Medicaid law. The health system asks the Supreme Court to remove all ability for patients to bring lawsuits for law violations protecting nursing home patients.

Making Medicaid law unenforceable would remove the legal requirement that patients receive coverage and overturn a half-century of precedents, something the conservative Supremes is comfortable doing, by returning to decisions from the 1800s. A decision against Medicaid leaves patients open to abuse from health providers and state health officials. Three justices have already argued that “the modern jurisprudence permitting [Medicaid] beneficiaries to sue does not generally apply to contracts between a private party and the government.” Technically, any government official, such as Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis could remove health benefits from a class of people, violating federal law but blocking people from suing for their rights.

In another case before SCOTUS this week, justices will decide whether children can be removed from families in the Native American tribes. The government forced Indian children into boarding schools or white families with the purpose to assimilate and Christianize them until blocked by the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Before the law, 25 percent to 35 percent of all Native children had been removed from their family and put into foster homes, adoptive homes, or institutions. They lost their language, culture, and religion.

Three families are arguing against ICWA before the Supreme Court, one of them a white evangelical couple taking a Navajo and Cherokee 10-month-old in 2016 to “rectify our blessings.” They were told they couldn’t adopt the baby because of the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) but went to court a year later to fight ICWA. The tribe finally backed down. Federal law requires all removed children to be placed with family, if at all possible, but a Native Minnesota woman was forced to fight in the courts for years to be allowed to take her grandchild. The Supreme Court could take her child away from her. Cases of children who don’t need to be removed and overlooked relatives as foster placements are common, especially in Black and Indigenous families.

The plaintiffs are supported by wealthy, well-oiled right-wing organizations claiming that keeping Native children with members of their tribes is race discrimination against non-Native parents and an overly intrusive federal government. Native Americans maintain that tribes need their children for their continued existence. The case goes far beyond keeping children in their culture; it could go down the path to remove tribal rights beyond child welfare: water, land, gaming, policing, and Native sovereignty itself. Defendants argue that the case is not about racial discrimination but about political status, that they are “members of quasi-sovereign tribal entities whose lives and activities are governed by the BIA in a unique fashion.” Tribes have their Indian Health Services clinics, courts, elections, and police forces. The right-wing groups could erase these. In short, conservative whites want to eliminate Native American heritage.

Last week, the Supremes discussed stripping any part of race from college admissions. Two key cases concerned policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Republicans have worked toward that end for several decades, and the use of race has been greatly watered down. Both education experts and the public agree that racially diverse college campuses benefit all students, but the public wants it to happen by magic without “discriminating” against whites. Asian Americans support affirmative action to diversity populations, but right-wingers use them as the victims of the practice.

One person who doesn’t believe in diversity is Justice Clarence Thomas, who acknowledges that affirmative action policies helped his entrance into Yale University and called it “the taint of racial preference.” It most likely put him on the Supreme Court in 1991 when he took the position left by Thurgood Marshall. Four other conservative justices received privilige affirmative action, and Barrett was awarded her job with millions of dark money advertising for her appointment and confirmation.

The six conservative Supremes seemed ready to toss the use of race in a factor in college admissions. Barrett said, “Achieving diversity and diverse student populations in universities has been difficult.” Her solution is to not bothering to solve it. Justice Brett Kavanaugh also wants to know how to stop affirmative action. The conservative approach toward racism is to declare it doesn’t exist; Justice Samuel Alito maintains it victimizes white people.

White supremacists want to do away with affirmative action because elite universities are the conduits to leadership in government, politics, and private business as well as higher incomes and economic mobility. Keeping schools white keeps control of these areas white. Of lawyers arguing before SCOTUS, 81 percent are white and three-fourths are male. 

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson recused herself from the Harvard case because she sits on the school’s board but pointed out that students get into schools because of their family ties. She asked why lineage put one student into the school but denied the lineage of the other one because slavery or discrimination prohibited their ancestors were attending.  

This week, Jackson wrote her first opinion on the high court, a two-page dissent over the court’s refusal to hear a death row inmate appeal. She stated the lower court applied the wrong legal standard and should review the case. Names of the refusers are not made public, but court rules means that fewer than four justices voted to hear it. Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined Jackson’s dissent. The man on death row asserted that prosecutors didn’t tell him that their key witness had a serious intellectual disability. Jackson pointed out that the GOP majority of justices doesn’t always bother with existing law and longstanding legal principles.

While hearing cases, justices are also accepting and rejecting appeals:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) must testify before the Fulton County (GA) grand jury regarding criminal election interference about his statements about finding ballots after DDT’s 2020 loss in the state. Thomas gave him a short reprieve in his appeal from his failed decisions from a federal district court and the 11th Circuit Court, but the Supreme Court rejected his request to block the subpoena. Graham may be questioned as soon as November 17; he can invoke the 5th Amendment to avoid self-incrimination, incriminating on its own. The background.

Roberts accepted DDT’s emergency appeal to block a House committee from obtaining his IRS records by creating a temporary hold on the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court ruling that the committee has broad authority to obtain tax returns: the committee has authority over taxation law. Roberts indicated it gives SCOTUS time to weigh the issues. The committee needs to respond by November 10. In 2019, the Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance, obtained DDT’s personal and business tax records as part of a criminal investigation. At that time, the Supreme Court rejected DDT’s arguments of having broad presidential immunity. No other resident of the White House has denied making his tax returns public.

Justice Elena Kagan ordered a temporary block after an emergency appeal from Arizona’s GOP chair Kelli Ward to stop the House January 6 investigative committee from receiving phone and text records until SCOTUS settles the issue. The 9th Circuit Court had confirmed a U.S. district judge’s decision approving the committee receiving the records. Requested records do not include content or location information. Ward and her husband, Michael Ward, served as DDT’s fake electors for the state and talked to DDT and his staff members about Arizona’s election certification. In her testimony before the committee, she invoked her Fifth Amendment rights not to answer questions because her answers would incriminate her.

Last Friday, Barrett declined to block President Joe Biden’s student relief plan—for the second time. This decision leaves student loan forgiveness on hold from a separate challenge brought by six GOP-led states after an 8th Circuit Court judge granted a stay. As of last week, 26 million people applied for the program. Those behind the lawsuits suffer from a lack of standing, proof that the loan relief brings them harm. Private loans are not being canceled, leaving their lenders such as Pacific Legal Foundation with no reason to object. The two Indiana borrowers claiming they would be harmed because the state would make them pay taxes on the forgiveness aren’t required to participate in loan relief, leaving them without standing. Meanwhile applicants must wait for a ruling because six states are also suing.  

Tomorrow’s topic: whither democracy.

November 7, 2022

One Day to the End of Democracy

Tomorrow will be the turning point for democracy in the United States when ballots are due for the 2022 midterm election. Results will trickle in with slow counts where ballots haven’t been touched until the polls close on November 8, causing conservatives to begin suing for fraud. A few other decisions may dribble on as states requiring a majority have runoffs, maybe the U.S. Senate race from Georgia. The question is whether people are willing to give up their rights and their benefits—like Social Security and Medicare—to get a dollar or two off their gas and hand off democracy to power-hungry Republicans and greedy corporations.

One lie about elections has already been clarified. For six years, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) railed about the “witch hoax” surrounding the Russian interference in elections that helped him win. With a declaration from Russian president Vladimir Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, the “hoax” has been eliminated and the “witch” exposed. The oligarch’s admission, revoking his denial of participation:

“Gentlemen, we have interfered, are interfering and will interfere. Carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do.”

Known as “Putin’s chef” because he caters for the president, Prigozhin earlier revoked his denial about running the Wagner Group mercenary force to claiming he was behind the forces and bragged about its involvement in Russia’s war on Ukraine. Russian law prevents private military contractors, but state media openly reports on Wagner’s forces in Ukraine. In 2018, the U.S. charged Prigozhin, a dozen other Russian nationals, and three Russian companies with operating a covert social media campaign aimed at fomenting discord and dividing American public opinion ahead of DDT’s winning 2016 presidential election as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.

Election deniers still have no evidence of fraud for a “stolen election,” and a judge in the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan concurs by dismissing a lawsuit from Kristina Karamo. The DDT-endorsed nominee for secretary of state, who claims that elites drink blood from abortions tried to disqualify over 60,000 mail-in ballots from Detroit. The plaintiffs had no evidence and couldn’t explain what relief they wanted, the first time in the judge’s 26-year experience. He also blasted the plaintiffs for waiting months after the alleged violations in August to file their suit. He said that disenfranchisement “cannot be permitted.”

Karamo has company: organized groups in Michigan are disputing voters who requested or cast absentee ballots, promising future litigation. Pennsylvania ruled that mail-in ballots without voter-written dates won’t be counted even if they come before Election Day. A court ruling in Wisconsin blocks ballots if the required witness address is incomplete. Earlier this year, the 3rd Circuit Court ruled failure to count undated mail ballots violates federal civil rights law, but the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the decision as moot because the election was over. Philadelphia voters can cast a replacement ballot at city hall which doesn’t work for disabled voters; they mail in their ballots because they aren’t mobile.

Democrats are suing to count undated or incorrectly dated mail-in ballots be counted in Pennsylvania. The lawsuit maintains that the date requirement is immaterial and enforcing it violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The filing states that the date “has no bearing on a voter’s qualifications and serves no purpose other than to erect barriers to qualified voters exercising their fundamental constitutional right to vote.” Last Friday, civil rights groups filed a similar complaint. The Supreme Court ruled these undated ballots should be counted in a June decision.

A judge in Wisconsin has refused a lawsuit from a Republican state legislator to block all military mail-in ballots to be blocked from the state’s vote because he considered disenfranchising over 1,400 service members a “drastic remedy.” Rep. Janet Brandtjen brought her suit with the conservative Thomas More Society and Michael Gableman, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice who failed to find election fraud in a year-long review of the 2020 election for GOP lawmakers. Gableman requested trying to rescind the state’s election results.

The problem began with Milwaukee’s deputy elections director’s stunt when she sent multiple fake names for military members’ ballots to state GOP Rep. Janel Brandtjen as proof of election fraud. Promoter of lies about elections, Brandtgen received three military ballots under fake names, gave them to the Waukesha County sheriff’s office, and released the information in a news release. The election official has been fired and charged with a felony and three misdemeanors.

Unlike almost all other states, Wisconsin does not require service members to register to vote for casting their ballots, and a state website permits people to order military ballots without providing proof of residency. Election officials have seen no other evidence of ordering absentee fake names, and the problem with three of them was quickly identified.

Last summer, another Republican requested ballots in others’ names to be sent to his home in his attempt to prove problems in Wisconsin’s voting system. He faces criminal charges.

The DOJ will monitor polls in 64 communities within two dozen states on Election Day to protect voters’ rights. In addition, the Civil Rights Division will take complaints regarding alleged violations of voting rights laws at 800-253-3931. Two years ago, the DOJ focused on 44 jurisdictions in 28 states. Attorneys at the agency’s National Security Division, overseeing cases related to foreign interference in elections and violent extremist threats to elections, will work with the FBI and U.S. attorneys’ offices to counter any potential threats.

Priority elections in 2022 will include Florida (GOP Sen. Marco Rubio against Dem. Val Demings for U.S. Senate) and Georgia (Dem. Raphael Warnock against Herschel Walker for U.S. Senate). Other areas are Nevada’s Clark County (Las Vegas) and Arizona’s Pinal County (a bellweather district). In other monitored areas, Yavapai County (AZ) have self-proclaimed militia groups monitoring drop boxes in the past, and Berks County (PA), sheriff’s deputies staffing ballot drop boxes are told to question voters about whether they are returning their own ballot. Five monitored counties in North Carolina have sizable Black populations, two of them experiencing recent racial controversies. Ten of the state’s counties have experienced intimidated or harassed voters and poll workers. In Texas, Harris County (Houston) has been added to the monitoring list. List of locations

Missouri Secretary of State John R. Ashcroft (R) is refusing the monitoring because the federal presence would “bully a local election authority” and could “intimidate and suppress the vote.”

In an amazing move, the Supreme Court refused a GOP challenge to Michigan’s congressional district maps for the 2022 election because the election is underway. A three-judge panel had already upheld the maps last April. Georgia Cobb County’s is also facing an investigation because over 1,000 voters failed to receive absentee ballots requested weeks ago. State law mandates they be sent within three business days of processing applications. A lawsuit also sues for the absentee ballots to be sent overnight.

A Georgia judge extended until November 14 the deadline for election officials receiving absentee ballots and ordered replacement ballots to be sent overnight who haven’t already been sent them. Affected voters can also vote in person or with a federal write-in absentee ballot. The county supported Joe Biden by 14 points in 2020.

The 2020 election will likely set the pattern for culture in the U.S. with the 2022 midterms blowing up into massive violence. The GOP position is that every election in which Republicans lose—even some of those when they win—should be litigated and then followed with violence if the judge doesn’t give Republicans what they want. This ideology can move into all parts of people’s lives. Lost school games from football to speech debates should create lawsuits if the conservative side loses. If the judge disagrees, the losers can buy guns and kill people in mass shootings. In the U.S., everyone must always hold a gun in their hands as losers are excused for violence—just like Republicans claimed that the January 6 insurrectionists at the Capitol were “tourists.”

Conservatives will blame every victim for all violence they experience. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) blamed Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for being beaten up in his own home. He was sleeping in his San Francisco home while his wife was in Washington, D.C. A radicalized MAGA-supporter broke into his home and caused possibly irreparable physical damage by striking him with a hammer. Pelosi may never completely heal from head fractures and injuries to his arm and hand. Instead of sleeping, Pelosi should have “shot his attacker,” according to Greene at a GOP rally. Greene also blames Democrats for every victim in the U.S.

That will be life under Republican authoritarianism because legislators like Greene will be running all the committees, according to wannabe House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

November 6, 2022

2022 Election: Suppression, Money, Lies

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is between a rock and a hard place. He hopes that announcing a 2024 presidential candidacy will block any legal problems, but RNC chair said the GOP will stop paying his legal bills when he declares a run for president. Donations to the party have shelled out DDT’s defense money for probes and lawsuits by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. (D) and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D). The RNC also plans to remain neutral in the 2024 GOP nominating contest.

Only two more days until the United States decides whether it goes forward into a democracy or turns into a full-bloom autocracy. To intimidate voters and suppress their votes, 42 states have attempted to pass 130 laws since 2020 creating new election investigation agencies, establish criminal penalties for election offenses, or further empower law enforcement officials to investigate such crimes. In 20 states, 28 of these130 bills have been passed in these states to increase the law enforcement, including prevention of handing food or water to Georgia voters as they stand up to eight hours in lines. The 35 percent of bills introduced by Democrats criminalized election interference and block harassment and threats. The 65 percent of bills from Republicans came after extensive studies show no widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Results of the extensive study is here.

The right wing is already planning for violence and a coup to overturn to legal elections. Ordinary voter suppression laws hasn’t been enough for Republicans; they have moved to sabotage, vigilantism, violence, and extreme suppression. It’s all a preparation for 2024. A few of the strategies to stop people voting have been slightly controlled, such as the courts slightly restricting Arizona vigilantes who are trying to intimate people from putting their ballots in drop boxes.

Almost two weeks before the election, over 100 lawsuits had been filed, targeting mail-in voting, early voting, voter access, voting machines, voting registration, mismarked absentee ballots, and access for partisan poll watchers. DDT is gearing up in Pennsylvania to play the same game he did in 2020—yell fraud and claim victory of his chosen candidates.

In Nevada, armed saboteurs with anti-Semitic conspiracies have driven election officials from office. Four counties insist on counting ballots by hand, despite judicial rulings. The result will take far more time and cause far more errors. Esmeralda County, Esmeralda, used hand-counting to certify its primary results in June when officials spent more than seven hours counting 317 ballots. Volunteer hand counters require over 30 minutes per ballot—about 15 ballots a day. In one group with mismatched tallies for eight candidates led to different outcomes again in another recount. Reading candidate names aloud while public observers are listening also constitutes “a release of election results in violation of Nevada law.” GOP secretary of state candidate Jim Marchant, in charge of elections if he’s elected, wants hand-counting mandated for all counties for all 3+ million population.

Poll watchers will inundate voting areas, pushed by DDT’s minions including convicted felon Steve Bannon, and used the illegal canvas to raise objections to voters. InfoWars, owned by Alex Jones who owns almost $1.5 billion for lying about the Sandy Hook massacre of children, promotes the stolen election myth. Election workers are fleeing almost everywhere because of intimidation.

Other vigilantes are going door-to-door, harassing possible Democratic voters. Pro-DDT canvassers in Shasta County (CA) wore reflective orange vests and badges reading “Voter Taskforce.” They grilled people in the homes on their voting history and lists of residents in the homes. Michigan door-to-door intimidators intend to use their data to challenge votes. Reuters found similar efforts in at least 23 states with state-wide or local efforts to intimidate voters where some of the door knockers were armed. In all cases, they gave the impression that they worked for the government. In at least one case, local GOP officials were involved: GOP leader of the GOP in Lane County (OR) accused officials of ignored their canvas.  

Twelve years ago, SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts said about the conservative Supremes permitted almost unlimited dark money to political campaigns, in which donors can be hidden, in its ruling of Citizens United that their permission wouldn’t make any difference. In 2022, 465 billionaires gave $881,000,000 to win the 2022 elections—27 times more than before the Citizens United decision. The full report is here. Roberts was wrong.

Three-fourths of that money came from 20 billionaire households, 14 of them Republican, and 62 percent of the donations went to GOP PACs and candidates. Billionaires represent 0.000002% of the U.S. population but account for 7.4% of all political donations so far this cycle. At least 59 Percent went to Republicans. For past donations they get a return. For example:

  • $20 million to get a special tax break provided by Sen. Ron Johnson (WI-R) brought them $80 million in taxes in just 2018.
  • The richest Pennsylvania man got $1 billion in taxes in recent years.
  • In Illinois, $50 million to defeat a ballot initiative making the wealthy pay more than of their fair share in taxes brought one man $51 million a year. He donated $66 million to GOP PACs and candidates thus far this year.
  • And more.

This year’s $881 million thus far is already a 44 percent increase over billionaire contributions of $611 million for the 2018 midterm cycle. Donations to single-candidate super PACs rose from $127.5 million in 2018 to $323.2 million by November 1, 2022, a 150 percent increase. Funding for these PACS, benefitting about 75 percent of all single-candidate super-PACs, comes almost entirely from billionaires. Some of those receiving these funds are Johnson, Blake Masters running for senator from Arizona (Peter Thiel), JD Vance for senator from Ohio (Peter Thiel), and Herschel Walker running for senator from Georgia. Over one-fourth of the billionaire contributions, $243 million, have gone to four congressional super PACs of both parties.

“What Trump showed was that the bigger the jerk you could be, the more the hardcore GOP base would love you.”

This quote from S.V. Dáte, author and senior White House correspondent, applies to almost 300 Republicans running for congressional and state offices who are election deniers. Sixty percent of voters will have at least one election denier on their ballots for the November 8, 2022 midterms. Even without denying that Joe Biden is the legally elected president, candidates are lying with repetitive conspiracy theories.

The National Republican Congressional Committee accused Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) of giving money to criminals, including the Boston Marathon bomber, by voting to send pandemic relief checks. Not true. And Congress voted to do the same thing—twice—while the GOP controlled the executive branch.

The opponent of Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) accused her of voting to hire “87,000 new IRS agents to audit middle-income families and small businesses.” Been debunked; not true.

Arizona’s gubernatorial candidate, Kari Lake, accused her opponent, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, of being “endorsed by radical groups that want to defund our police.” Not true. Hobbs called for “boosting funding for sheriffs and local law enforcement.” Lake also accused Hobbs of being “a twice convicted racist.” Not true. Hobbs wasn’t been charged or convicted, and she hasn’t been a racist.

Republicans in Pennsylvania spent over $800,000 on TV ads claiming Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for Senate, “stands with the far left who want to defund our police.” Not true.

GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance of Ohio accused his opponent, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) of trying to increase immigration to the U.S. so that he can spend government money on “gender reassignment surgeries” for these migrants. The man made wealthy by his book Hillbilly Elegy and received $15 million from Peter Thiel for his campaign called Ryan “the poster board for oligarcy.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, running for re-election, went straight to the top: his wife played decades-old Paul Harvey clips to explain that God has picked DeSantis for another four years—or until he runs for president.

GOP secretary of state candidate in Michigan, Kristina Karamo, has repeated the QAnon conspiracy that abortion is “child sacrifice” and elites drink the blood and “sell body parts” after abortions. She also thinks that insurrectionists at the Capitol on January 6, 2022 were antifa and not DDT supporters.

In New Hampshire, master liar Don Bolduc, another GOP U.S. Senate candidate, deployed his lies despite campaigning claims of the governor, Chris Sununu, that his state is the poster child for perfection in the U.S. with booming economy and business. Everything is going so well that Sununu wants to replace the three Democrats, a U.S. senator and two House members, with Republicans. Don Bolduc tweeted:

“you can’t even buy a house, you can’t even rent property, you can’t even feed your children, you can’t even heat your home.”

Oh yes, and according to Bolduc there’s the serious problem of kitty-litter boxes in schools for all the students who are licking themselves and others. Right-wing activist Joe Rogan said he spread the conspiracy theory about the kitty litter boxes in school when he knew it was a lie. Bolduc also asks if people are better now than they were two years ago—October 2020 with people dying, no COVID vaccine, the stock market 6,000 points lower than now, unemployment rate almost double the current 3.4 percent, jobs down over 10 million from now, etc.  

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