Nel's New Day

March 31, 2023

DDT’s Indictment, GOP Obstruction

By now, anyone paying attention to the news knows that a grand jury voted to Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s indictment of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) probably for falsifying business records including paying hush money to Stormy Daniel during his campaign for the 2016 presidential election.

The Manhattan grand jury has recessed until the end of April. After that announcement, today’s indictment came as a shock to DDT. Yesterday, DDT, in all capital letters, effusively praised the grand jury—and grand juries in general—for not being “a rubber stamp.” Today, he took the opposite tack in a diatribe available here. He “truthed” that he had been “indicated.” Under seal, the 30+ charges related to business fraud will be revealed in the next few days, and DDT’s lawyers said he will likely be arraigned next Tuesday. 

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida where DDT is a resident, said he will refuse any extradition request for DDT because of “questionable circumstances” because the charges are “un-American.” Specific charges have not yet been released although Republicans are making assumptions about them. DeSantis also called DA Alvin Bragg “this Soros-backed Manhattan prosecutor.” According to Article IV, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution, no state can decline an extradition request from another state. Federal law also requires states to comply with other states’ extradition requests.

The indictment may not have the positive effects that the GOP claims. A majority of people, 57 percent, believe DDT should not be allowed to run for president if he is indicted. That percentage includes 55 percent of independents, and 23 percent of Republicans agree. A majority of people, 55 percent, call accusations against DDT “serious.” Sixty-one percent of people in the U.S. don’t want DDT to be elected president.  About 39 percent have a favorable opinion of DDT, down 3 points from a November poll putting him at 42 percent.

Top GOP Senators oppose DDT’s featuring the video of January 6 rioters’ choir at his Waco (TX) rally, rejecting the MAGA view that they were “peaceful.” Others said it was a bad political strategy when he wanted to make a comeback. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said, “People who violated the law should be prosecuted.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called the January 6 “one of the worst days in American history.” Of those who refused to criticize, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) used the standard response of “I didn’t see it.”  

Tuberville, whose political experience is coaching football, is personally holding up over 150 Pentagon nominees in an extortion to block leave and reimbursements for military members who need to travel for abortions. The Defense Department allows abortions in cases of rape, incest, and endangered health and life of the pregnant woman. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pointed out that the U.S. is facing “one of the most complex times” and Tuberville’s action—or inaction—“makes us far less ready than we need to be. Last week, Tuberville promised to keep the military from being “politicized.” [A “tuber” grows underground.]

A federal judge ordered former VP Mike Pence to testify to a DOJ grand jury about his conversations with DDT leading up to January 6, 2021. He can, however, decline to answer questions related to his own actions on January 6 when he acted as president of the Senate for the reading of the electoral votes. Pence can appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. He refused a subpoena to testify, claiming that he was a member of both Congress and the executive branch.

GOP legacy:

In Texas, a federal judge ruled that employers cannot be required to cover preventative health care services under the Affordable Care Act such as cancer screenings, statins for heart disease, HIV prevention medications, etc.  Over 150 million people are on employer-sponsored health plans. Six people and two Christian-owned businesses argued against coverage of HIV PrEP because it encourages “homosexual behavior.” Judge Reed O’Connor, appointed by George W. Bush, earlier ruled that the ACA was unconstitutional and should be struck down. Plaintiffs also plan to challenge the mandate for contraception.

In a 225-204 vote, House Republicans passed a broad “energy” bill supporting fossil fuels. Four Democrats—Henry Cuellar (TX), Vincente Gonzalez (TX), Marie Guesenkamp Perez (WA), and Jared Golden (ME)—voted in favor of the bill. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) accused Democrats voting against the bill of standing “with China and Russia” instead of “with the American energy worker.” Republican Brian Fitzpatrick (PA) voted against the bill. The Senate will likely not address the bill, and Biden has promised to veto the bill if it were passed.

The bill repeals parts of the Inflation Reduction Act, such as the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to boost clean energy and a fee imposed on oil and gas methane emissions. It also opposes the block on the Keystone XL pipeline, mandates more oil and gas lease sales, and creates difficulty for states to prevent construction of interstate pipelines. Other provisions overhaul rules for reviews in the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act for energy infrastructure from pipelines to clean energy projects and mines with a two-year deadline for major reviews and causing difficulties to stop projects.

The Congress has passed a bill ending the national Covid emergency. The original House bill would have lifted the declaration in February; the current one terminates the emergency when the bill is signed. Although he is opposed to the bill, Biden does not plan to veto it; he had already planned to wind down emergency status on May 11. The Senate 68-23 vote on the measure came after the House voted 229-197 in February, with 11 Democrats joining 218 Republicans in support. Hospitals may no longer screen patients for Covid off-campus, and Medicare Advantage plans are no long required to cover services at out-of-network facilities.

McCarthy’s promised anti-immigration bill hit another roadblock this week after Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) threatened to vote against the GOP plan for federal spending and debt ceiling limits if the House Republicans vote on immigration restrictions that he called “unchristian.”

While House Republicans are facing their constituents, Biden is providing them with individualized fact sheets for each state outlining how GOP suggestions negatively affect their public safety, public health, and other programs. In New York, GOP cuts reduce rail safety inspections, eliminate food assistance, and increase wait times for seniors apply for disability benefits. The information is based on the GOP-proposed 22 percent cuts across the board. Earlier this year, the approximately 40 members of the conservative Freedom Caucus proposed a cut of $131 billion while leaving defense spending at current levels.

McCarthy demanded President Joe Biden meet with him about the debt ceiling, but Biden said he needed to receive GOP budget first. House GOP factions don’t seem to be able to agree on a budget and are leaving for a two-week. Earlier this week, House Budget Committee Chair Jodey Arrington (R-TX) said they they were finalizing the budget proposals under McCarthy’s guidance. Asked about it, however, McCarthy said, “I don’t know what he’s talking about.” After the banking crisis, Arrington had said that banking instability “is the best time” to talk about votes on the debt ceiling that could destroy the U.S. financial status.

During a Senate Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government hearing, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the capacity of the U.S. government to respond to and prop up failing financial markets was “decimated” by DDT’s cutbacks.

Polling shows that the majority of people in the U.S. agree with Republicans in cutting the budget—but not which cuts. Listing priorities, people actually want more government spending on domestic priorities: child care, Medicare, healthcare, help for the poor, infrastructure, education, etc. Of 16 categories, the majority wanted less spending in only one, foreign aid, and that area takes under one percent of the entire budget.

Biden does plan to veto a GOP resolution overturning Washington, D.C.’s major police accountability legislation if it passes. Earlier this year, Biden signed Republicans’ resolution blocking D.C.’s criminal code overhaul that was not supported by Mayor Muriel Bowser. In the current proposal, Biden does not agree with overturning “commonsense police reforms such as: banning chokeholds; limiting use of force and deadly force; requiring the timely release of body-worn camera footage; and requiring officer training on de-escalation and use of force.” Following Biden’s announcement, Republicans may not take a vote on the resolution.

Another train derailment early on March 30 caused the evacuation of 250 people in a small town 100 miles west of Minneapolis (MN). Of the 22 derailed cars, ten carried ethanol; ruptured cars caught on fire. Hazardous materials, including about two-thirds of all the ethanol produced nationwide, account for about 7 percent to 8 percent of the 30 million shipments delivered by rail every year. The BNSF rail company is owned by Warren Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate.

Checks on Twitter accounts will no longer indicate verification status, starting April Fool’s Day. Instead different colored checks will simply mean somebody paid for them: $8 per month ($11 for iPhone and iPad users) for blue and monthly $1,000 grey for governments and gold for companies and nonprofits. The announcement includes the statement that “we’re creating the most trusted place on the internet …”

March 28, 2023

Goverments Try to Control Judiciary, More ‘Thoughts and Prayers’

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu retook control of Israel’s government at the end of 2022, he determined he would control the judicial system as well. Under indictment, he could then protect himself from being convicted. For almost three months, Israelis have protested his actions, gathering by the hundreds of thousands to block his increasing dictatorship. Last weekend he fired his defense minister, Yoav Gallant, the only government official openly opposing Netanyahu’s judicial changes. The largest trade union promised a national strike this week which would close the government. Departing flights were grounded; non-urgent treatments in hospitals and classes at universities were canceled. Military reservists threatened to boycott.

All these protests led to a hiatus in Netanyahu’s plans. He froze the legislation but plans to create a national guard controlled by the far-right leader, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. Earlier he tabled his determination to give the ruling government—his—the ability to override the Supreme Court. Netanyahu will want to pass laws to allow the country’s control religion and nationalism as well as ones to protect himself. Last week, the government passed a law preventing the judiciary from declaring the prime minister unfit for office. Proposed changes would allow the government to pick judges.

Government control over Israel’s courts could remove their authority by international courts, even making Israeli soldiers more liable to be named for war crimes. At the same time, Netanyahu might avoid his trial for three criminal cases alleging corruption. In support of Netanyahu, police used stun grenades and water cannons on protesters. Chances are good that the prime minister is waiting for protests to settle down before he goes back to pass the bills.

In the country of Georgia, protesters fought back against a proposed law classifying non-government and media groups as “foreign agents” if they receive over 20 percent of their funds from outside the country. In Russia and Georgia, the term “agent” means spy and traitor, and the bill’s purpose is to limit press freedom and suppress civil society. The same law in Russia also suppresses Western-funded NGOs, independent media, journalists, and bloggers. At this time, the bill has been withdrawn.

People may not care about the lack of democracy in the rest of the world but should pay attention to the U.S. In Georgia—the state, not the country—the legislature has passed a law allowing them to do away with the state’s local district attorneys who don’t do what conservatives want. The impetus came from Fulton County’s DA Fani Willis’ investigation of the attempted overturn of the state’s 2020 presidential election, causing Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) to file a lawsuit against her for investigating him.  He wants all testimony given to the grand jury thrown out and to bar Willis from continuing to investigate or prosecute DDT.

A new disciplinary board will provide oversight of prosecuting attorneys, including their removal from their elected office. Another DA on the chopping block could be Deborah Gonzalez from Athens-Clarke because she said she would not prioritize low-level marijuana possession charges. The criteria of “willful and persistent failure to carry out their duties” could mean any charges the Republicans wish. The commission will write its own rules.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has a more expedient process: he just fires prosecutors if they don’t do what he wants. DeSantis refuses to reinstate Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren although a judge said the action was illegal. Earlier this month DeSantis threatened attorney for the state’s 9th Judicial Court, Monique Worrell, blaming her for a shooting that killed two people and injured another. Osceola County Sheriff Marco Lopez, a Republican, said no drug trafficking offender arrested in 2022 was prosecuted. She said that 13 drug trafficking cases resulted in a minimum mandatory or higher sentence last year, and some are still pending, requiring months or even years to resolve. Other outcomes came from lack of evidence or testing results; in one, no controlled substance was found.  

Thoughts and prayers have front and center after a 28-year-old woman murdered three nine-year-old children and three staff members in their early 60s at the Covenant School, a private Christian school of about 200 children outside Nashville (TN). The adults worked at the school; they were its head, a substitute teacher, and a custodian. The shooter also died, killed by law enforcement. She was well-prepared with AR-style rifle, an AR-style pistol, a handgun, a handgun, and detailed, hand-drawn maps of the school. The shooter likely gave up a second location in Nashville because a “threat assessment” indicated “too much security.”

On Fox, former FBI agent Nicole Parker, one of Rep. Jim Jordan’s (OH) ignorant so-called whistleblowers testifying to the weaponization subcommittee, said schools should just lock all the side doors. According to the Nashville police chief, the shooter entered through a locked side door by shooting through it.

At least two of the weapons were legally obtained. Tennessee is one of 19 states that don’t require a permit to carry guns. When Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill into law, he thanked the NRA for their work to pass the law. The law doesn’t apply to long guns. The state’s administration estimated the cost of the law bill be at least $20 million annually because of increased crime and officer vulnerability. The law does not require any training for owning guns. This year, Lee signed a bill into law that protects children by banning drag shows.

The shooting at Covenant was the 19th at a school or university in the first 90 days of 2023 and the 128th U.S. mass shooting this year. Numbers of school shootings are increasing, up from 24 each in 2019 and 2018. 

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), proud of her position on the House Oversight Committee, blamed President Joe Biden for the March 27 school shooting before she excoriated the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for trying to take the 2nd Amendment from U.S. citizens. She and other House members obstructed a routine ATF inspection of a Smyrna (GA) weapons retailer. Greene bragged that the ATF abandoned the assignment “after we questioned their motives.” She said:

“We’re members of Congress. I serve on the Oversight Committee.”

Greene added:

“School shootings … will end immediately when our nation’s children are defended the same way Joe Biden is by good guys with guns!!!”

According to a recent report, police responding to the school shooting in Uvalde (TX) on May 24, 2022, waited 77 minutes to intervene because they were afraid of the shooter’s military-style rifle. Some of those waiting for backup from over 60 miles away had the same type of rifle. Twenty-one people, 19 of them students, were killed in the Robb Elementary School. Police in other mass shootings such as those at Florida’s school in Parkland (FL) and the Pulse nightclub in Orlando (FL) also hesitated to confront shooters with AR-15-style rifles, designed for the military. The rifles were first used in mass shootings in 2007; by 2022, they were the choice in 67 percent of the 12 massacres that year. Biden wants to ban the military-style rifles, but Greene and others call him a “gun-grabber.”

Andy Ogles, the U.S. House representative for the Nashville district, stated he was “utterly heartbroken” and “devastated” about the shooting, but his 2021 Christmas car photo shows his love for guns. He did send “thoughts and prayers.” In under three months since he was sworn into Congress, Ogles has built an extensive reputation. Like Rep. George Santos (R-NY), he elaborately inflated his résumé. The almost $25,000 he obtained from crowdfunding for a children’s burial garden after his stillborn baby likely disappeared into his own pocket. Asked about it, he complained, with no evidence, of burdensome government regulations. After more questions, he presented himself as a victim and said he used the money to support other families.

Like Rep. George Santos (R-NY), he elaborately inflated his résumé. No evidence exists in his being an “economist,” having been a law enforcement officer combating international sex trafficking, and running a consulting firm. He also lied about graduating from Vanderbilt’s business school. Ogles called himself as a “nationally recognized expert on tax policy and health care,”; he wrote a few op-eds while a Americans for Prosperity lobbyist. The “economist” got a C in the one economics course he took—at a community college. Ogles entered college in 1990 and got a degree in liberal studies in 2007.  An examination of his work details can’t find most of the businesses he includes.

Washington Post gave him Four Pinocchios, and he had the gall to say this on the campaign trail about “the state of politics in America today”:

“They want power and control so badly that they are willing to say and do anything to get there. If you don’t have the integrity to just be you and run on what you’ve done, then I don’t want you in Congress. And so that’s how I present myself to you.”

A bit of “lightness”: This week, David Pecker, former National Enquirer publisher, testified to the Manhattan grand jury investigation into DDT in exchange for immunity. Stormy Daniels had offered to sell her story to Pecker, but he told DDT to handle it himself. In 2018, tabloids had a good time when it was revealed that Pecker had protected his good friend DDT by  purchasing a story from Karen McDougal, who also had a relationship with DDT, and suppressing the story in a “catch and kill,” following an agreement with DDT.

March 27, 2023

DDT Leads the GOP, Faces Charges

[Breaking news: First Citizens BancShares of Raleigh (NC) is purchasing the commercial segment of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). Its 17 branches will reopen on March 27 under the new name. The purchase price for $72 billion assets was $16.5 billion.  SVB’s private banking business was not included; FDIC is still looking for a buyer. FDIC expects to lose about $20 billion, losses funded by insured banks.]

Thirty years ago, the Waco Branch Davidians declared war on the U.S. government. On February 28, 1993, officers tried to enter the compound in Waco (TX) to arrest its leader for stockpiling illegal weapons, including machine guns. The Davidians shot at them, killing four officers and wounding 16 others. During a 51-day standoff, the FBI tried to negotiate a peace surrender before it raided the compound 51 days later. Occupants set fires inside, and by the conclusion 75 people, including 25 children, died.

Far-right groups have invoked this event to justify anti-government violence. On the second anniversary of the deaths at Waco, April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City, murdering 168 people, including 19 children. Six years later, McVeigh said, “Waco started this war… The only way they’re going to get the message is, quote, with a body count.”

On March 25, 2023, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) flew into the Waco regional airport, stood on the tarmac where he attacked and threatened his opposition, and then flew out. John Santucci, ABC journalist/producer, tweeted:

“I haven’t watched a Trump event in sometime… But here’s the difference between 2015 and now… In 2015 Trump talked about people’s problems… This rally is all of his problems.”

Nothing about the rally was unpredictable: in presenting himself the victim, DDT called himself the “most innocent man in the history of the country” when he assailed investigators and prosecutors of his crimes. He rejected Texas elected GOP officials—Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Greg Abbott, etc.—who have not yet endorsed him. He ridiculed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a possibly opponent for DDT’s candidacy and repeated his story of DeSantis begging for his endorsement in 2018. According to DDT, the investigations into him are “the central issue of our time.” Forget war, crime, inflation, and the other issues that Republicans have run on in the past.

Arguably the most reprehensive part of the rally was the presentation of insurrectionists as heroes in a video of the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol accompanied by rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” sung by the newly incorporated J6 choir, insurrection prisoners in the Washington, D.C. jail.

CNN has an extensive list of DDT’s lies in his speech. One notable statement is that he “completed” the wall on the southern border.

Twenty years ago, people were holding their breath about George W. Bush starting a war. His preemptive attack on Iraq lasted over seven years. This past week, DDT whipped his AGA followers into a frenzy, hoping for another war to support him. He declared, with no evidence, that he would be “arrested” for his part in paying $130,000 to Stormy Daniels to not talk about a relationship with him. Furious, he called his followers to “TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”

All week long MAGA folk raged, but the grand jury meetings were called off until this coming week. The media endlessly addressed the possibilities surrounding a potential indictment with conservative responders defending their leader. House GOP members tried to drag Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg into hearings, and former VP Mike Pence, who previously blamed DDT for his part in the insurrection, flipflopped to echo the Republicans in their declaration that DDT was being persecuted on the basis of politics. DDT called Bragg a “SOROS BACKED ANIMAL” and his former lawyer/fixer a “CONVICTED NUT JOB.”   Artificial intelligence demonstrated its dangers when fake videos of New York cops arrested DDT circulated on the internet. All this with no case but a wonderful device for DDT to raise more money.  

As DDT incites violence among his followers, he personally threatened it himself with a post of him with a baseball bat next to Bragg. Legal expert Norm Eisen tweeted:

“Threatening a prosecutor is a crime in NY. In fact MULTIPLE crimes: Harassment in the first degree NYPL 240.25; menacing in the second degree NYPL 120.14; stalking in the fourth or third degree NYPL 120.45 & 120.50 And that’s just for starters….”

Joe Tacopina, DDT’s lawyer in the case, criticized him for online attacks against Bragg:

“I’m not his social media consultant. I think that was an ill-advised post that one of his social media people put up & he quickly took down.”

The post has been pulled, but the internet has a long memory. Before DDT went to Waco, he warned of “potential death & destruction” if charges were filed against him. Soon afterwards, Bragg received a letter with non-hazardous white powder among other death threats. The postmark was Orlando (FL).

Bragg might not be able to convict DDT in the Stormy Daniels case, only a misdemeanor unless the money is connected to campaign funds. Yet Michael Cohen went to prison for having handed the funds over to her. Robert Costello, DDT loyalist and formal legal advisers, thought he could save DDT by smearing Cohen to the grand jury, and Cohen isn’t the only witness in the case. 

Other cases, however, might be worse for DDT:

In E. Jean Carroll’s rape/defamation cases against DDT, the federal judge has ordered that the jurors be anonymous. He made the decision without a request, stating that this treatment was unusual and “most often” reserved for “terrorism and organized crime cases.” His justification was DDT’s long history of attempting to intimidate courts, witnesses, and even individual jurors. The trial is scheduled for April 25.

The issue with finding classified documents in DDT’s possession looks darker after a judge told his lawyer, Evan Corcoran, that he had to testify because the crime/fraud condition erased the attorney-client privilege. Even worse, Corcoran had to turn over his documents and tapes of conversations with DDT. According to reports, DDT told Corcoran to write the sworn affidavit in June 2022 lying about no more classified documents were at Mar-a-Lago. A judge determined that DDT “intentionally concealed” his having the additional classified documents from Corcoran. Over 100 more documents were found two months later. The charge could be obstruction of justice because DDT blocked the FBI from finding them.

Despite DDT’s attempts to block any charges in Fulton County, the grand jury heard three telephone calls from DDT to Georgia’s elected officials, urging them to overturn the state’s popular vote for the 2020 presidential election in his favor. This case includes racketeering and conspiracy charges used for organized criminals that could carry long prison sentences. DDT has filed a motion to have the county’s DA Fani Willis disqualified.  

Before the House was turned over to Republicans last January, the members of the January 6 investigative committee gave its findings to the DOJ, that has appointed Jack Smith as a special counsel to continue this investigation. A federal judge rejected DDT’s claims of executive privilege and ordered DDT’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows and other officials receiving subpoenas from Jack Smith to testify before the DOJ grand jury. Other subpoenas went to DDT’s former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, his former national security adviser Robert O’Brien, former top aide Stephen Miller, and former deputy chief of staff and social media director Dan Scavino; former DDT aides Nick Luna and John McEntee; and former DHS official Ken Cuccinelli. Meadows was present with DDT for the telephone calls to Georgia officials and in the White House on January 6. DDT will likely appeal the ruling.

And then there are the investigations into Trump’s business behavior in New York and the securities investigation into Truth Social’s merger with DWAC.

The report from the New York Times describes the leader beloved by MAGA:

“In the last 28 months, former President Donald J. Trump has been voted out of the White House, impeached for his role in the Capitol riot and criticized for marching many of his fellow Republicans off an electoral cliff in the 2022 midterms with his drumbeat of election-fraud lies. He dined at home with a white supremacist in November. He called for the termination of the Constitution in December… He vowed to make retribution a hallmark of a second term in the White House in March. He has embraced the QAnon conspiracy theory movement, described President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia as a genius and used a gay joke to mock a fellow Republican. He has become the target of four criminal investigations, including one in New York that he warned might result in ‘potential death & destruction.’”

Twenty years ago, people were holding their breath about George W. Bush starting a war. The war in the U.S. is now all about DDT. David Remnick wrote:    

“Trump lives in a state of constant auto-excitement. If he is not at the center of things, he is dead.”

March 26, 2023

DeSantis, the Force-Feeder

For months, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who still hasn’t declared his presidential candidacy for 2024, appeared to be the new Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). While DDT went down in the polls, DeSantis rose amidst his outrageous stunts. Hubris may have attacked him.

A week ago, DeSantis trailed 39 percent to 47 percent for DDT in a survey of GOP or GOP-leaning independent registered voters, down from his 45 percent to 41 percent lead six weeks earlier. Polls including former VP Mike Pence, not yet declared, and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley dropped DeSantis another seven percent to 32 percent. A Monmouth poll is even worse for DeSantis who has only 27 percent compared to DDT’s 27 percent. Last December, DeSantis led DDT, 39 percent to 26 percent.

DeSantis’ policies are also unpopular: more respondents opposed rather than favored seven out of his eight signature policies from 36 percent support for requiring review of public school books down to 21 percent for “granting political appointees the power to fire tenured faculty members at public colleges and universities at any time and for any reason”). Only 30 percent believe Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a “territorial dispute,” and only 32 percent think “the conflict is none of America’s business.” Other “favorability” for DeSantis’ policies:

  • 35 percent: banning majors or minors in critical race theory and gender studies in public education.
  • 34 percent: banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
  • 32 percent: Banning public higher education from promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • 22 percent: concealed firearm carry without license or safety training.

The backlash to DeSantis’ comment about “territory dispute” in reference to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and polls may have led to his revaluating his strategy and messaging. Part of his problem comes from DDT’s typical vicious attacks against him, including his position to reduce Social Security and Medicare. During an interview with Piers Morgan, DeSantis flipflopped on his support of Russia, calling its president Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” who “should be held to account.”

In a Daily Beast op-ed, conservative columnist Matt Lewis reported how DeSantis will have trouble when he leaves the bubble of his own state where he uses the governor’s mansion as “a form of protectionism” while keeping critics at arm’s length. Lewis thinks DeSantis doesn’t have the killer instinct to vanquish DDT:

“You don’t slay dragons with logic. You need guts, heart, and a razor-sharp sword (or, in this case, tongue).”

DDT has lambasted DeSantis’ Florida being among the worst states for education, crime, and health. Fact checking shows that DDT is wrong, but MAGA folk never worry about facts. DDT’s approach appears to be paying off.

Well known for his “don’t say gay” policy for youth in schools, DeSantis wants to expand the law through high school, blocking any reference about LGBTQ+ people up through the age of 18. His most recent ban, however, has created even more publicity. A Tallahassee charter school principal was fired after parents complained about a photo of Michelangelo’s statue of David was shown to sixth-grade students as part of mandated curriculum about Renaissance art. They claimed the sculpture is “pornographic.” The Tallahassee Classical School states it is committed to “training the minds and improving the hearts of young people through a content-rich classical education in the liberal arts and sciences, with instruction in the principles of moral character and civic virtue.”

Another part of sex education targeted in Florida’s schools is blocking references to menstrual cycles before sixth grade. The legislator who proposed the bill said that children could not have conversations in school before sixth grade although girls sometime typically begin menstruating between the ages of 10 and 15, sometimes earlier. Over half of Florida’s high school seniors have had sexual intercourse, and half of those who are sexually active didn’t use condoms during their most recent sexual encounters. The state promotes only abstinence education.  

The white students who DeSantis wants to protect have become a minority in his state. Sixty-three percent of Florida’s students are minorities.

Columnist Michael Cohen describes the state of the place DeSantis calls “the citadel of freedom”:

“The reality is a policy agenda defined largely by pettiness, cruelty and a disturbing disregard for basic democratic norms. If states are the so-called laboratory of American democracy, then Florida is the meth lab of American democracy.”

Following are bills or laws passed by the party of small government to take freedom from Floridians:

Require all bloggers who write about elected state officials to report who is paying them and register with the state. (Backlash caused DeSantis to say he didn’t support the bill.)

Reverse gun safety laws passed after the school shootings, dropping the minimum age to buy rifles and other long guns back to 18 and allow permitless-carry. The only gun-free zone in Florida is where legislators work.

Force public employers to prioritize work experience over higher education when hiring—except for legislators.

Block drag shows because it “sexualizes” children.

Limit lawsuits unless parents want to sue school districts and workers for violating DeSantis’ Stop WOKE Act and ease up ways to sue the press for defamation. The bill specifically says that publications can’t use truth as a defense in anti-LGBTQ+ statements by citing the person’s “constitutionally protected religious expression or beliefs” or “a plaintiff’s scientific beliefs.”

Override local government environmental regulations to protect springs, rivers, aquifers, and wetlands such as limits on size of ships and number of passengers arriving daily in the Keys.

Guarantee only a conservative education in public schools and higher education. The conservative group Florida Citizens Alliance argued that the state reject 28 of 36 textbooks reviewed by its volunteers because of too many references to slavery in a fifth-grade book and too much “negative” perspectives of Native American treatment in an eighth-grade book.  

Make Florida dumb by eliminating race from education. Only Western civilization can be taught, erasing cultures from most continents.

Allow state courts to take trans minors from parents inside or outside the state if the child receives or is “at risk” of receiving gender-affirming healthcare.

Repeal in-state tuition for Dreamers.

Decertify the Democratic party because it endorsed slavery before the Civil War before the two major parties flipped positions.

Block all government investment decisions based on “environmental, social and governance” (ESG) standards.

Conceal all DeSantis’ travel records as he heads into a presidential campaign.

Individuals and groups are fighting back against DeSantis’ draconian laws.

Grace Linn, 100, went before the Martin School District, to fight the removal of 80 books from the schools and talked about how her husband died in World War II when he was 26 in the fight for the U.S. to protect freedom, including that to read. Fear of knowledge is the reason books are banned or burned, she said. The photograph shows her quilt of covers for books that the district has been trying to ban. The freedom to read, Linn said, is an essential right and duty of our democracy, “even though it is continually under attack.” Ironically, Jodi Picault’s The Storyteller was one of the books with Jewish themes removed from the district. With no sex, the novel is set during the Holocaust. One parent, the head of the Moms for Liberty, was responsibility for all the removals.

Member organizations of the Florida NAACPNAACP passed a travel advisory against visiting or moving to Florida. The proposal now goes to the national NAACP board.  


One of DeSantis actions was to take over Walt Disney’s taxing district and assign his political minions to control it. The company plans to host an annual major conference for the next two years promoting LGBTQ+ rights with executives and professionals from the world’s largest companies in attendance. The Out & Equal Workplace summit, which is expected to draw over 5,000 attendees and is sponsored by companies like Apple, Walmart, and Amazon, markets itself as “​​the preferred place to network and share strategies that create inclusive workplaces.” 

The anti-woke campaign may be failing. A poll from early March shows that 56 percent of people consider the term positive, meaning “to be informed, educated on, and aware of social injustices.” Over one-third of Republicans agree. Majorities of voters also oppose legislative punishment of companies supporting abortion rights and other progressive issues. The GOP calls for “parents’ rights,” but they want rights for only those parents who agree with them. The percentage of evangelicals has also shrunk from 23 percent in 2006 to a little over 13 percent now.

If DeSantis becomes U.S. president, everyone in the nation will be subjected to his dictatorship, eradicating anything that he or other conservatives don’t like and calling it freedom. In his 20s, after DeSantis groomed his students during a year of being a teacher, he became a JAG lawyer and went to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he advocated force-feeding prisoners who had gone on a hunger strike to opposed horrific conditions. Force-feeding has been determined a form of torture. In his memoir, Don’t Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantánamo, Mansoor Adayfi, imprisoned at GitMo for 14 years, describes the force-feeding process and DeSantis watching and smiling. DeSantis advocated imprisonment outside the legal system where few detainees were charged and most were released.

DeSantis is still “force-feeding” Florida, and he wants to do it to the U.S.

March 24, 2023

News of the Past Week – March 24, 2023

Like religious predictions that the world would come to an end, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) was wrong about his being indicted last Tuesday. He wants top booking so here it is. With the hiatus of the grand jury until next week, he’s safe until next week so that he can rant at his Saturday rally in Waco, Texas. More on Sunday.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is heading to jail tomorrow. Don’t get excited: she’s going to the Washington, D.C. jails to show the abuse of insurrectionists, who she calls “prisoners of war.” For the first time, Republicans are concerned about prison conditions. Her nemesis, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) said she’ll be part of the entourage, and a couple of Democrats plan to go along—Reps. Summer Lee (D-PA) and Jasmine Crockett (D-TX).

Of the 1,000 arrested insurrectionists, 20 are being held by the Washington Correction Department; nine of them have been convicted or pled guilty. Rioters who drove a stun gun into a police officer or used a bullhorn to encourage rioters to steal law enforcement guns were held before trial. Of the three being held who aren’t charged with physically assaulting police officers are one considered a flight risk, another convicted for invading the Capitol in military gear, and a third holding an hour-long standoff with law enforcement who went to arrest him. Outside the Capitol, he had a hammer hanging from his belt and gripping a baseball another rioter stole from former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) office. A judge determined he should be held for public safety after he told law enforcement, “Better come in here shooting.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has gotten sloppy—or he just doesn’t care. The Senate Select Committee on Ethics formally admonished him for soliciting campaign contributions for the 2022 Senate runoff race in Georgia during an interview with Fox network in the Russell Senate Office Building. The panel found that Graham “directly solicited campaign contributions” on behalf of GOP Senate candidate Hershel Walker “five separate times” during the nine-minute interview with Fox and concluded he “impermissibly conducted campaign activity in a federal building.” It’s not the first time: he violated Senate standards of conduct in October 2020 when he “directly solicited campaign contributions” for his own campaign committee” during a media interview in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

After his “constant contact” with DirecTV and Newsmax, Oversight Chair James Comer (R-KY) succeeded in his interference with private business to force a deal between the two companies. Justifying his willingness to investigate the dispute, he said, “We’ll all huge fans of Newsmax.” That’s understandable for the ultra-conservatives who search for a worse alternative to the Fox network. DDT had condemned the possibility of DirecTV not carrying Newsmax as “a big blow to the Republican Party,” erasing any notion that Newsmax exhibited any independent journalism. He concluded with the “REPUBLICAN PARTY DEMANDS” Newsmax’s return to DirecTV’s lineup.

Legislators are now concerned if a Chinese-owned social media company endangers the mental health of youth. About U.S.-owned social media? Meh. TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew was grilled by congressional members in a House Energy and Commerce Committee five-hour hearing with the possibility of banning the social network to the 150 million people using it in the U.S. The questioning began with asking about Chinese control over TikTok through ByteDance that lawmakers claim has ties to the country’s Communist Party. Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal reported that China would oppose a forced sale of TikTok, a U.S. solution. Chew said the company would move all U.S. data to domestic servers in Project Texas and delete all U.S. user data backed up to servers outside the country.

In the U.S., 67 percent of teens 13 to 17 say they have used the app, and 16 percent use it “almost constantly.” Tech critics say that other big tech firms raise the same concerns as TikTok. Chew said TikTok’s privacy practices are in line with those of other social media platforms, that the app collects less data than the others. He also pointed out the U.S. bad track record with data, referring to Cambridge Analytica harvesting Facebook users’ personal information for DDT’s campaign. Members seemed to stick with their negative opinion of TikTok throughout the hearing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has gone home after spending three days with Russian President Vladimir Putin and left one message: China owns Russia. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has left his country so weak that he needs Xi; White House member of the National Security Council John Kirby called Putin a “junior partner.” Russia has lost its European energy market and must now rely on China and other Asia customers. In addition, Russia no longer has the ability to lead in space, cyber, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

Xi wants a peace plan; he proposes a cease-fire agreement, freezing Russia’s gains in Ukraine. Ukraine and its allies know that this arrangement would just give Russia an opportunity to regroup before resuming its invasion. U.S. has had a foreign policy goal to separate China and Russia, but Xi is emerging as the leader of a Eurasian bloc.

Before backing down following bad publicity, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested that the U.S. was out of line in supporting Ukraine because it was only a “territory dispute” and opposing Russia is not a “vital national interest.” Conservatives’ attempt to be isolationist mirrors their attitude in the 1930s in a relationship with Nazi Germany. The “America First” group, represented by Republicans such as Sen. Robert Taft, a presidential candidate in 1952, opposed joining NATO or sending U.S. troops to Europe but later supported Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s desire to wage war on “Red China.” The pre-Eisenhower GOP has returned under DDT’s leadership and his love for Putin.

It’s natural that Xi and Putin would develop a relationship: they both run autocratic countries and are both isolated. While world leaders, even President Joe Biden, visit war-torn Ukraine, they avoid Putin except for Xi’s recent visit. Biden has orchestrated multiple China-countering geopolitical groups—the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal, and rejuvenation of the Quad.

The former Florida legislator who sponsored the “don’t say gay” law faces up to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to fraudulently obtaining Covid relief funds. Sentencing is scheduled for July 25. Several other states have copied his bill under the pretense of “protecting our kids.” The legislator obtained over $150,000 from the government by lying on applications to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.  

This week, Biden created national monuments in Nevada and Texas, both areas of religious significance to native Americans. The California site is home to a wealth of bighorn sheep, desert tortoises, and Joshua trees, some over 900 years old. He also initiated a marine sanctuary of over 777,000 square miles southwest of Hawaii in the Pacific.

In contrast, Arkansas will have an anti-abortion monument near the state Capitol after Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a bill permitting it to be built from private funds. The state will oversee the selection of the artist, the monument design, and its location near the Ten Commandments monument installed in 2018. Also in 2018, Tennessee legislators approved a similar monument which has not yet been constructed.

Idaho’s anti-abortion law has led to the closure of birthing services at a healthcare facility in Sandpoint because of a doctor shortage and politicized healthcare environment. The closest facility will now be an hour away. Idaho is one of six states to prosecute doctors performing abortions, even if they might be necessary to provide appropriate healthcare for the pregnant woman.

The financial world has calmed down a bit:

Union Bank of Switzerland has bought Credit Suisse (CS) for $3.23 billion and assume up to $5.4 billion losses. CS wrote down $17 billion of bonds to zero, and shareholders receive 1 UBS share for every 22.48 Credit Suisse shares held.

New York Community Bank will buy 40 branches of Signature Bank for $2.7 billion, including $38.4 billion in Signature’s assets, about one-third of its total when the bank failed. Another $60 billion remains in receivership to be sold off.

S&P Global lowered First Republic Bank’s credit rating although several large banks deposited $30 billion into the bank.

The FDIC plans to relaunch the sale of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).

The stock market has slightly increased despite the Fed increase of 0.25 percent and guarantee of one more.

U.S. intelligence have found proof that Russia interfered in elections for at least the past seven years to elect Republicans. Now Russia is spreading anti-U.S. propaganda about the train derailing at East Palestine (OH) on February, 2023. Pro-Russian accounts have used Elon Musk’s new Twitter verification system to lie about the impact of the chemical spill and the falsehood of Democrats’ indifference to the plight of the people in the small town. Reset, a London-based nonprofit studying social media’s impact on democracy, notified the Associated Press. The report shows that Twitter permits Russia to use its platform like a bullhorn. Twitter boosted the lies with a blue check mark, supposedly indicated verified users for authenticity, but actually sold by the company for $8 per month with no vetting. One account, Truth Puke, belongs to a website of the same name that regularly reposts Russian state media.

March 22, 2023

News outside DDT

After horrific problems with lead in their water, Flint (MI) has settled for $600 million, the largest civil settlement in the state’s history, with an additional $26.25 million from other sources. People who were minors when exposed to contaminated water in the city receive 80 percent of the money; claims for adults and property damage comprise another 18 percent. Another two percent goes to special education services in Genesee County, and business losses receive 1 percent of the money.

Nine years ago, state officials allowed the predominantly-Black city to transfer the drinking water source from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the Flint River. Lack of applying corrosion inhibitors to the water caused lead from aging pipes to leach into the water supply for about 100,000 residents including 6,000 to 12,000 children. The lead contamination was accompanied by a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak killing at least 12 people. Nine officials, including then Gov. Rick Snyder (R) were criminally charged with 41 counts for their part in the crisis. Only one minor conviction came from the debacle, and all other charges were dropped or dismissed. Four government officials resigned, and one was fired.

In her formal approval of the case, the judge capped attorney’s fees at 25 percent after other expenses were subtracted. Flint residents still have several pending multimillion lawsuits, including those against the EPA and two private engineering corporations.  

In another water problem, the Supreme Court heard arguments from the Navajo Nation regarding their rights to water in the Colorado River. For over 20 years, the tribe has fought for access to the lower Colorado River flowing along the reservation’s northwestern border. Almost one-third of its 170,000 people living in the 27,000-square-mile area in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico lack clean, reliable drinking water. The decades-long drought has resulted in acrimony among the seven states with 40 million people competing for Colorado River water.

The Navajos argue that the U.S. government blocks its interests in water disputes. The Navajo Treaty of 1868 promised them a permanent home. The government argues that Navajos should assess their water needs and build water supply infrastructure. Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh appeared to agree with that position. Justices Neil Gorsuch and Elena Kagan indicated that water is part of providing a permanent home. 

Almost two weeks after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) fell after a dinner with fundraisers, three of his GOP colleagues—John Thune (SD), John Cornyn (TX), and John Barrasso—finally heard his voice on the phone. McConnell has been in a rehab center for a week to receive physical therapy. He didn’t say when he would return. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said he didn’t see any change in how the Senate operates with McConnell’s absences.

California may have a solution for obscenely expensive insulin: Gov. Gavin Newsom has a new contract with nonprofit drugmaker Civica Rx for products interchangeable with brand-name insulins. The cost will be no more than $30 for a vial and no more than $55 for a box of five pre-filled pen cartridges. With a vial now selling for $300, patients can save up to $4,000 per year. Republicans have been forced to permit the cost per vial at $35 for Medicare patients but not for anyone else. The governor’s office said the medications will be available nationwide.

Fox is facing another lawsuit connected to the Dominion Voting machines, this one from producer Abby Grossberg. She is suing Fox network for discrimination and a hostile workplace as well as alleging that she was “coerced, intimidated, and misinformed” when Fox prepared her for her deposition in the $1.6 billion case. In addition to the sexism she faced at work, she claims that Fox lawyers told her to make misleading statements and that they were representing Fox, not her.

Formerly producer for Maria Bartiromo, Grossberg said a senior male colleague called the opinion host “menopausal,” “hysterical,” and “a diva.” When Grossberg was asked in a deposition if it’s important to correct falsehoods on the show, she said, “No.” In her lawsuit, she said, “She had been conditioned and felt coerced to give this response.” The resulting negativity about her professionalism gave her anxiety and stress.

Moved to a job as booker for Tucker Carlson’s show, Grossberg complained about the “overtly misogynistic” environment on his production team where “the staff’s distaste and disdain for women infiltrated almost every workday decision.” A superior told her, “This is Tucker’s tone and just the pace of the show.”

Prepping her for her deposition, Fox lawyers told Grossberg to say “I do not recall” and “were displeased with her being too candid.” They worked with her to get her story “in line with [Fox’s] position.” By giving these “false/misleading and evasive answers,” Grossberg worried about committing perjury while “subtly shifting all responsibility for the alleged defamation against Dominion onto her shoulders … rather than the mostly male higher ups at Fox News.” Fox has now put Grossberg on leave.

Fox’s main argument in the Dominion case is that its hosts were just giving opinions, not false information, when they told viewers that the software gave President Joe Biden votes that were actually for candidate Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). The judge appeared skeptical.

Revelations about Tesla may give Elon Musk as many headaches as Twitter. The number of accidents for the “self-driving” car is mounting along with lawsuits, and the cars’ flaws come from Musk’s demands. To bring down the cost of the expensive technology, he took out the cars’ radar sensors and told engineers that the eight cameras on each car would be sufficient for safety. Sensors are designed to detect hazards at long ranges to keep cars from driving into other cars.

Engineers failed to convince Musk that Tesla cameras would suffer from perception errors with rain or bright sunlight. The company disabled radar on cars already on the road, leading to crashes, near misses, and other problems. Recently, Tesla recalled vehicles and suspended the rollout of technology to eligible vehicles because cars ignored the speed limit and stop signs. A car using new “Full Self-Driving” beta software couldn’t drive a route without error. Employees also said they were forced to work at such a fast pace to develop the technology that it went to the public before it was ready.

Without the radar, cars stopped for imaginary hazards, misinterpreted street signs, and failed to detect obstacles such as emergency vehicles. In February, a Tesla was involved in a fatal crash with a firetruck. Cars would also dangerously brake from high speeds. When Musk bought Twitter, he moved dozens of engineers, including those on Autopilot and Full Self-Driving, from Tesla to his new company, setting back the work at the car company. Tesla engineers are also burning out, quitting, and looking for other opportunities. The director of artificial intelligence, who wrote all the Tesla code, moved to OpenAI to work with ChatGPT.

The DOJ requested documents related to Full Self-Driving as part of its probe, and the Securities and Exchange Commission is examining Musk’s role in pushing Tesla’s self-driving claims as part of a larger investigation. A lawsuit filed in February alleges that Tesla made “false and misleading” statements and that Tesla “significantly overstated” the safety and performance of Autopilot and Full Self-Driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has two investigations into Autopilot, one of them an engineering analysis and the other “phantom braking.”

A far-right group from the Proud Boys went to Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood to protest a Drag Queen Story Hour hosted by New York City AG Letitia James; a member who said he “came to help” walked away bloodied. He said he didn’t go there to “get the s*** beat out of me.” A video of him leaving has been watched over two million times.

Another protester wearing a mask to hide his face knocked objects, including cameras, out of the hands of reporters. He was arrested for striking an activist’s face. The program’s supporters outnumbered the protesters. Almost 200 people attended the “four back-to-back Story Hours hosted by the Drag Kings, Queens, and Royalty of Drag Story Hour NYC,” according to a press release. Mayor Eric Adams said:

“We must use stories to educate. The goal is not only for our children to be academically smart, but also emotionally intelligent… Those who are attempting to use Drag Queen Story Hour to stir up controversy and vitriol directed at the LGBTQ community and specifically drag artists should be ashamed of themselves.”

At least 16 states have bills to restrict drag performances this year with the falsehood that drag sexualizes children. Violation of a new Tennessee law leads to prison sentences up to six years. Florida is sending undercover state agents to drag shows in search of “lewd” activity performed in front of children. Even without anything “lewd,” the drag show at the Plaza Live theater in Orlando has received a complaint. Florida wants to shut down the facility by removing its liquor license and claims, with no evidence, that it exposed children to sexual content. Originally, they said that the performance didn’t deviate from what can easily be seen on U.S. television. One woman responded to the complaints:

“I’m almost 60 and it was my first drag show. I had a blast. I thought it was hilarious. Every one of the accusations is false. They’re not exaggerated. They are completely false. It’s gross.”

Since threatening the drag show, Gov. Ron DeSantis has called Florida “the citadel of freedom.”

March 21, 2023

Ukraine after Almost 400 Days

Over a year after he invaded Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first visit to the country he’s trying to add to his country. His surprise visit to occupied Mariupol, 60 miles south of the fighting, came after a trip to Crimea which he illegally annexed in 2014. After Russian troops were forced to retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region and from Kherson city in the south, Mariupol is one of the few occupied regional hubs Putin controls. The front line stayed fairly static during the winter months, and designating the city as the regional capital of the occupied Zaporizhzhia region indicates Russia doesn’t expect any advancements soon

Putin’s tour was the day after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest for alleged war crimes and immediately before this week’s visit from Chinese President Xi Jinping. Putin finds the warrant, partly for the kidnapping of over 1,000 Ukrainian children, unlawful. Putin has lost almost all the West’s support, but he hopes to get help from Xi who still claims China is neutral and willing to be a mediator.

Xi’s meeting with Putin on Monday  lasted over four hours as the two men praised each other, and China wants an improved image as a diplomatic leader. Russia wants military support from China and the view as a world power. Xi’s problem is keeping ties with Russia without alienating European and African countries. The talks will continue for another two days.

With massive sanctions on Russia, Putin wants to use China as a market for energy exports. Trade between Russia and China could get to $200 billion by 2024 with China currently providing 30 percent of Russian exports and 40 percent of Russian imports in 2022.  Yet China wants to be viewed as a peacemaker although its 12-point peace plan to end Putin’s war in Ukraine last month was seen as only symbolic and perhaps a ploy for Russia to stall until he can get more weapons. Xi wants to improve Chinese standing in Western Europe. Cooperation, however, makes Russia dependent on China.

The two countries have different visions. China wants reform and improvement, but Russia wants to reconstruct the international system and its order. That was the purpose of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Cooperation between the two countries, however, makes Russia dependent on China which may allow Xi to force more Chinese access to Arctic naval bases.

Turkey, with an on-again-off-again attitude, now states it will accept Finland’s membership to NATO. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, said he won’t accept Sweden’s membership until it returns it returns over 120 members of Kurdish militant groups. Erdogan calls them terrorists and accuses Sweden of harboring them. Its 810-mil border with Russia has encouraged Finland to be neutral, but Putin’s recent actions have concerned the Finns.

An explosion in Crimea destroyed a shipment of Russian cruise missiles that were being transported by rail. They were intended to supply submarines in the Russian Black Sea fleet. The weapons had a range of over 1,500 miles on land and almost 250 miles against sea targets.

U.S. intelligence has determined that officials at the highest level of the Kremlin approved the destruction of a U.S. drone by two jets over international waters.

European Union countries have accepted a fast-track strategy to provide Ukraine with one million 155-millimeter artillery shells within a year. Eighteen countries are placing joint orders for the ammunition costing $1.1 billion.

Russian conscripts from at least 16 regions are sending Putin videos about their complaints, one of them about not receiving weapons and ammo:

“We ask that our guys be recalled from this assault as they do not possess the necessary training or experience. Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, we are asking you to sort out this situation.”

Soldiers say they are forced to storm Ukrainian positions in Russia’s eastern offensive with insufficient training, ammunition, and weapons. Russian strategy sends waves of inexperienced soldiers to certain death. After they soften up Ukrainian positions, elite, experienced fighters are sent to gain ground. Even pro-Russian war bloggers criticize its effectiveness and the meaningless deaths they call “meat assaults.” It has become more prevalent since Russia lost its initial artillery advantage.

Ukraine has a system for Russian soldiers to surrender because they will be either executed or imprisoned if they desert. The “I Want to Live” surrender hotlines have detailed instructions with professionals who screen applicants for Russian spies. Successful candidates are told to wave a white cloth, take the magazines out of their guns, point the barrels toward the ground, and drop their body armor and helmets. Those with tanks turn the turret in the opposite direction. Paperwork for swapped soldiers report they were captured. 

Having lost 200,000 soldiers to deaths or injuries, Russia is recruiting another 400,000 for three-year stints. In the region of Voronezh, close to Ukraine, residents are receiving subpoenas, mandating updates with enlistment and military registration offices. Volunteer contract soldiers numbered about 400,000 a year ago before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. More Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine, a war Putin said would be over in days, than all its wars  since World War II combined. With the shortage of male recruits, Putin is sending female prisoners to fight in Ukraine. At least 100 of them have been sent although there is not information about whether they are doing so voluntarily.

A drop in Russian population may lead Putin to plunder people from neighboring countries. For 30 years, deaths have outpaced births almost every year, dropping 2 percent of its peak of 148.6 million in 1993. During the Covid pandemic from 2020 to 2023, Russia had 1.2 million to 1.6 million excess deaths, more than the million in the U.S. that has over twice the population. Between 1990 and 2020, the U.S. population grew 33 percent. Russian life expectancy is 71 years; in the U.S. it’s 77 years. Russia’s birthrate is only 1.5 children per woman, below replacement level, and the country has a an unusually high death rate, especially for men, from cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks, strokes, etc.) and injuries (homicides, suicides, accidents). Reasons are bad healthcare, environmental pollution, and high levels of binge drinking and drug addiction, signs of despair.

Since the invasion, 500,000 to 1 million Russians—mostly young and educated—fled Russia. Putin has looked for ways to replace the population, offering financial incentives for childbearing and ways to lure immigrants from Central Asia and NATO countries. He also kidnapped at least 11,000 Ukrainian children.

Putin ally and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov who sent thousands of fighters to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine denied he is ill but didn’t quash rumors that he has terminal kidney disease from poisoning. Footage of Kadyrov with Putin this past week exacerbated the rumors because Kadyrov appeared breathless, bloated, and quivering while he awkwardly read from a large font but said, “My eyesight is 100 percent.” Kadyrov plans to start his own private militia like the Wagner mercenaries, saying that it had achieved “impressive results.” Wagner fighters have already suffered 30,000 casualties in Ukraine, 60 percent of its forces.

For over two months, Ukraine and Russia have been fighting for control of Bakhmut, east of Dnipro and just outside the occupied Donetsk Oblast. Last month, the Russians almost took over the city, attacking from both the southwest and northeast, but Ukrainians blew up a bridge on the highway to the south and then another one on the north. Bakhmut is the opening to a chain of cities with hundreds of thousands of people. In the city, Russians demolish residential areas with artillery where only a few thousand civilians remain from its former 70,000.

Ukrainians, low on artillery ammunition, dig into the most defensible areas of the city to kill as many Russians as possible with as few weapons as possible. Last week, a Ukrainian strike hit a multistory building as Russian troops were leaving. Tens of thousands of Russian and their allied troops have been killed or wounded in and around Bakhmut; Ukrainian casualties were much lower.

An ongoing mystery for six months has been who blew holes in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline carrying Russian oil to Germany. Those accused include Russia, the U.S., the UK, and Ukrainian saboteurs. The last theory may be the most accurate. U.S. journalist Seymour Hersh got a lot of traction with his Substack posting that laid the blame on U.S., but he had only one anonymous source whose information had as many holes as the pipeline. The current suspect is a small group of Ukrainians on the 150-foot yacht Andromeda, owned by two Ukrainians.  

Twenty years ago on March 20, 2003, George W. Bush declared war on Iran with general Republican support. Now they want the U.S. to stay out of Ukraine. Chris Sununu, the GOP governor of New Hampshire, countered this position in a Washington Post op-ed, writing that the invasion is not a “territorial dispute,” as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis calls the war:  

“Russia is engaged in a war against an innocent people, and it must be condemned. The United States of America is the greatest country on Earth, and we must stand with our allies around the globe to fight aggressive and dangerous regimes that threaten freedom wherever they are.”

Sununu added:

“History has taught us that complacency and appeasement benefit our enemies much more than they benefit the United States. Some in the Republican Party have lost their moral compass on foreign policy, as evidenced by former president Donald Trump, who once called Putin’s invasion ‘genius’ and ‘savvy.’”

March 19, 2023

DDT Ideas for U.S., Crimes

With no evidence, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) claims that he’ll be arrested this Tuesday, but he’s scheduled a rally in Waco (TX) next Saturday. Leading officials may be torn about their allegiance; Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) has already endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who hasn’t yet declared his candidacy. DDT endorsed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last year, but he’s keeping quiet. Meanwhile DDT is telling protesters to “take our nation back.” With all the business to be taken care of before an indictment, Tuesday is a very likely time, but Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg is working with law enforcement to orchestrate protection against violence.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said, “I don’t think people should protest this stuff.” He added about DDT’s statements, “He’s not talking in a harmful way.” McCarthy then condemned the investigation into DDT’s possible crimes.

The case is about DDT paying hush money in 2016 to Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about his sexual relationship with her. Even the majority of Republicans, 73 percent, believe a politician running for or in office commits a crime to pay someone money to stay silent about something they think might damage their election’s outcome. More of the GOP respondents, 76 percent, thought failing to report hush money from campaign funds was criminal. Yet when presented with an example, such as DDT’s paying for Daniels’ silence, only 45 percent of Republicans found his doing this was “very” or “somewhat” serious. Over a third of the GOP respondents didn’t consider it serious although doing so was a crime, according to their answers. The conservative media seems to have been successful in suppressing DDT’s payment because 40 percent of Republicans polled said they’d never heard of it.

One glitch for DDT may be his new lawyer, Joe Tacopina.  Viral on the cable media, he has the same brash attitude as DDT. On Ari Melber’s MSNBC program, he tried to grab a paper from Melber with notes from DDT’s claim that he knew nothing about the payoff. With complete confidence, Tacopina assured his audience that a falsehood isn’t a “lie” unless it’s under oath. In the past,he represented such DDT allies as former New York police commissioner, Bernard Kerik, claiming the man’s innocence. Kerik pled guilty to tax fraud and other charges in 2007.

Tacopina consulted with Daniels on the same issue that’s going to court, previously refusing to discuss the matter because he had “an attorney-client privilege that attaches even to a consultation,” which creates a conflict of interest for him. He may have trouble backing down on the claim that Daniels was his “client.” Tacopina’s “defense” of DDT, that he was a victim of extortion, is also problematic, according to former prosecutor Andrew Weissmann in a tweet:

“That is an admission he paid $ (which he had been denying) and the $ was not for legal fees (the cover story). Because the NY criminal case reportedly focuses on the crime of making false business records—his ‘defense’ is a confession.”

If or when DDT is indicted isn’t known, nor are specific charges. Paying hush money is only a misdemeanor, but doing so as part of a political campaign moves the crime up to a felony. The news of the payoff became public in 2018 when DDT admitted he told his lawyer, Michael Cohen, to be reimbursed for the $130,000 given Daniels. DDT was accused of a coverup because the loan to Cohen had not been included in earlier disclosures. Cohen pleaded guilty to charges regarding the payment, implicated DDT as the person behind the payment plot, and went to prison for his guilt.

Last Thursday, DDT again gave his allegiance to Russia in calling the U.S. “the greatest threat to western civilization” and saying Russia is the victim of U.S. aggression. According to DDT, “the State Department, the defense bureaucracy, the intelligence services, and all of the rest need to be completely overhauled and reconstituted.” His goal is to fire everyone who disagree with him. John Bolton, DDT’s former national security director, stated that DDT would have taken the U.S. out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) if he were reelected in 2020. Retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, one of DDT’s former chiefs of staff, said “one of the most difficult tasks he faced with Trump was trying to stop him from pulling out of NATO.” DDT said the U.S. “foreign policy establishment” lied about Russia because wants to “pull the world into a conflict with a nuclear armed Russia.”

In a response to a series of questions from Tucker Carlson, DDT also called for a “regime change.”

Last Friday, a judge ruled that DDT’s attorney Evan Corcoran must provide more testimony about DDT’s handling of classified documents. The lawyer had hoped to escape testifying with the “attorney-client privilege” reason, but the judge said that DOJ prosecutors met the threshold for a crime-fraud exception. Corcoran had prepared a document declaring that no more classified materials were at Mar-a-Lago in June 2022 but directed another of DDT’s lawyers to sign the declaration. Using a warrant, the government found another 100 classified documents two months later.

Corcoran appeared before the grand jury earlier but refused to answer many questions. Last March, a California-based federal judge determined that John Eastman, another of DDT’s lawyers, and DDT likely committed crimes in trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Eastman is currently facing disciplinary action from the state bar which could cause him to lose his law license.

At least two dozen more people from Mar-a-Lago resort staff to DDT’s inner circle have been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury probing DDT’s retention of classified documents. Some of them are staff members seen on security camera footage moving boxes from a storage room with DDT’s aide Walt Nauta. DDT’s entities are paying for counsel for many of the Mar-a-Lago staffers.

Members of the Fulton County (GA) grand jury investigating DDT’s and his allies’ meddling in the 2020 election reported a third telephone call from DDT, this one trying to force then-state House Speaker David Ralston to call a special session intended to reject Georgia’s official election tallies. Ralston died last fall, but jurors heard the audio of the call. In the ten-minute call, DDT asked Ralston who could stop him from holding a special session. Ralston said, “A federal judge, that’s who.” He cut off DDT by saying, “I will do everything in my power that I think is appropriate.”

The federal government is searching for more gifts to the government that DDT and his family kept while he was in the White House. Over 100 gifts worth almost $300,000 weren’t reported to the government in violation of federal law, and two are still missing. They are golf clubs from the Japanese prime minister worth $7,000 and a life-size painting of DDT from El Salvador’s president. A report found the disclosure failures “were much broader than previously known.”

The 15-page report of undisclosed gifts from Democrats on the House Oversight Committee shows many of them came from countries that are not U.S. allies or have a thorny relationship with the U.S. They include 16 gifts from Saudi Arabia worth over $48,000, 17 from India worth over $17,000, and at least five gifts from China. Other gifts could also be missing; DDT reported no gifts during his last year in the White House. DDT told his advisers that all gifts while he was in the White House are his alone and do not belong to the government, despite the law. Any official wishing to keep a gift valued over $415 must pay for its full value, but gifts must still be reported.

DDT may have also violated domestic gifting laws by keeping a $6,000 Mac Pro laptop that Apple CEO Tim Cook gave the federal government. In 2021, one of DDT’s aides said they couldn’t find it, but later he listed the computer among the gifts he kept. The report identified over 100 unreported gifts with a value of over $250,000, finding the disclosure failures “were much broader than previously known.”

The House Oversight Committee, in charge of finding the gifts, has closed an examination of how DDT’s hotels financially benefitted from his election since the Republicans took charge. Previously, the committee reported that foreign government officials spent hundreds of thousands of dollars during a few months in their attempt to influence DDT while staying at his Washington hotel. He also charged Secret Service agents as much as $1,185 per night, almost five times the $240 rate, for 40 hotel trips from 2017 through 2021. The committee chair, James Comer (R-KY), said he’s using the committee’s resources to investigate “money the Bidens received from China,” presumably referencing business deals with President Joe Biden’s son Hunter and brother James.

DDT’s 2020 campaign hired an outside research firm to prove his lies about election fraud but didn’t release the findings because the firm couldn’t find any proof for DDT’s theories that he was the election winner. About a dozen people worked on the project in the last weeks of 2020 before the January 6 insurrection. They looked at undocumented migrants, ballot harvesting, machine tampering, voter turnout anomalies—every conspiracy theory possible. A few states had voting anomalies, but these weren’t significant enough to make a difference in the election winner. The company’s findings didn’t stop DDT and his chief of staff Mark Meadows from claiming that DDT won the election.

Weak U.S. House Struggles

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has a new cause: saving Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) after DDT used Truth Social to call for protests because of his imminent arrest this Tuesday.  McCarthy declared he would “immediately” examine whether federal funds are used to fund investigations into DDT, calling an indictment “politically motivated” and a subversion of “our democracy.”

DDT stated, “WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!” McCarthy said nothing about DDT’s seeming call for violence as he did in his rally leading to the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Even if DDT’s calls for “PROTESTS PROTESTS PROTESTS” result in violence, McCarthy won’t be aware of it. He has a policy of complete ignorance about anything possibly unpleasant—or worse—for his party. DDT accused the Manhattan DA’s office of “illegal leaks,” but the only indication of a possible arrest is law enforcement meeting to discuss security and logistics for any indictment. To rile up its audience, Fox network is accusing law enforcement handcuffing DDT.

The House has had a GOP majority for three-fourths of its first 100 days, a symbolic length of time to accomplish changes, but achieved little of positive notice. The speaker’s election lasted four days and 15 ballots, and the highly publicized GOP “weaponization” subcommittee is weaponizing only Democrats.

In February, GOP House staffers attended a “bootcamp” teaching them to investigate President Joe Biden’s administration sponsored by far-right organizations including the Conservative Partnership Institute, led by Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows. Sessions included “Deposing/Interviewing a Witness” and “Managing the News Cycle.” 

Memorable reactions to the GOP House:

About the energy bill to come before the House in late March increasing fossil-fuel production on federal lands and reducing clean energy, Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) said it will be good for the environment because “nobody makes energy cleaner and more efficiently than the United States.” It’s a disaster for the climate.

In an attempt to prove that China developed Covid in a laboratory, the Oversight Committee brought in a discredited witness, DDT’s director of CDC Robert Redfield, who presented false testimony such as SARS 1 and MERS not spreading person-to-person. Part of his testimony was complaining how Anthony Fauci excluded him from a working group on the origins of Covid although Fauci was not responsible for the people chosen. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) also pointed out that DDT refused to search for Covid’s origins while he praised Chinese President Xi Jinping and presented DDT’s tweets as proof.

Democrats discovered that Oversight Chair James Comer (R-KY) is coordinating with DDT’s lawyers to block his accounting firm, Mazars, from producing evidence about DDT’s taxes. The company had agreed to turn over the documents four years ago, but the GOP-controlled committee told Mazars to stop giving the committee these documents.

Comer is also throwing around his weight to “persuade” DirecTV to include the ultra-conservative Newsmax network. DirecTV called its decision “a typical business dispute that has nothing to do with ideology, politics or censorship” and added the “agreement between parties [is] what the free market is all about.” Comer told DirecTV “to get this worked out—or else.” If not, the GOP majority will “take steps to take action in this.” The committee has characterized DirecTV’s decision as “an attack on members of Congress.”

All 26 Republicans on the Oversight Committee refused to sign a resolution denouncing white supremacy.

A summary by weaponization subcommittee chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) about Twitter ignored key events and contradicted earlier sworn testimony about Hunter Biden. Jordan had promised his weaponization would “frame up the 2024 race when I hope and I think President Trump is going to run again and we need to make sure that he wins.” 

In a second Twitter hearing, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) asked the GOP witnesses, Musk-chosen journalist “proving” the anti-conservative position of the company before Musk purchased it from tweets sent them, what they found about DDT pushing the company to delete tweets he didn’t like. One of them hadn’t heard about DDT doing this although an earlier hearing brought it to public attention, and the other hadn’t seen any email exchanges from the DDT White House. The journalists were given 100,000 tweets out of tens of millions.

Jordan began his failure with the weaponization subcommittee by finding only three “whistleblowers” smearing the FBI instead of the dozens and dozens he promised. They had no direct information about Jordan’s “deep state,” using only information from social media. The Rolling Stone stated that the three existing witnesses “offered contradictory responses, maintained fringe and violent online presences that undermine their credibility, and failed to demonstrate first-hand knowledge of alleged FBI wrongdoing.” More details of the subcommittee here. The 316-page report from Democrats is here.

The Energy and Commerce Committee featured the racist “great replacement” conspiracy theory, lauding a “constitutional sheriff” for “defending our nation’s homeland.” Constitutional sheriffs maintain they are above any government and determine the law by themselves. “Frontman” for one group, Pinal County’s (AZ) sheriff, Mark Lamb, called January 6 rioters “very loving, Christian people” and spoke at a rally attended by Oathkeepers, Proud Boys, and other militia types. 

In a Judiciary Committee meeting, Ken Buck (R-CO) and Dan Bishop (R-NC) attacked Steve Cohen (D-TN) because he wouldn’t support their falsehood that all rights in the U.S. are “God-given,” that they come from God, not the government. Cohen asked why God didn’t give women the right to vote in the 1700s or why he waited until after a war to decide slavery was illegal if He made the decisions.

In an Armed Services Committee hearing, Matt Gaetz (R-FL) used a Chinese propaganda publication as a credible source to criticize U.S. aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion while grilling Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy. Gaetz used the Global Times as evidence about CIA officials “training folks in Ukraine.” Kahl asked, “I’m sorry, is this the Global Times from China?” Gaetz initially said no but then checked the tabloid and asked if that made it untrustworthy. Kahl responded, “As a general matter, I don’t take Beijing’s propaganda at face value.” The Global Times is known as “China’s Fox News,” covering international issues from a Chinese ultranationalistic perspective, controlled by the Chinese government.

Only two House members voted against a resolution to mourn the 50,000+ people who died in the earthquakes affected Turkey and Syria: Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Thomas Massie (R-KY).

The GOP weaponization subcommittee is not popular with the general public. The committee is “just an attempt to score political points,” according to 56 percent of the respondents; 36 percent disagree. Only 28 percent believe that government agencies are biased against conservatives. Two-thirds of the people don’t think conservatives are the focus, and 60 percent think social media doesn’t target conservatives. Only 25 percent opposing continued identification and arrest of the January 6 insurrectionists. Fox found 56 percent of people find the Mar-a-Lago search last summer to be “appropriate.” In a 2-to-1 margin, people think that the FBI investigation of DDT’s administration is just doing its job. Fifty-three percent of people think school boards “truly need extra protection from real threats.” In an average, about 40 percent of the people see “witch hunts” and targets of conservatives with a majority usually disagreeing.

In its newest committee, House Republicans plan to “reinvestigate” the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), who led a tour the day before the attack, will be chair. He has denied that it had anything to do with the insurrection, but one of his followers was filmed taking photographs of the Capitol’s escape routes, and he was seen outside the Capitol the next day yelling,  “There’s no escape, Pelosi, Schumer, Nadler. We’re coming for you. We’re coming to take you out.”  

Loudermilk has also denied that. He said he will “investigate both sides” and “show what really happened on January 6,” possibly in the same way as Tucker Carlson did on Fox. Asked what he meant by “really happened,” Loudermilk said, “Where was the security failure and why were we not ready?” The panel is reviewing two million pages of documents compiled by the 117th Congress investigative committee; Loudermilk complained that they “weren’t categorized very well.”

One of the House members trapped on the chamber’s upper balcony during the insurrection, Norma Torres of California, top Democrat on the panel, said:

“I think it’s obscene to go back and try to re-do the work of a bi-partisan committee that was very focused on learning what happened. It serves no purpose other than if you are an insurrectionist or if you support an insurrectionist and want to portray a different story than what truly happened that day.”

Torres expressed concern that Republicans will deny the true violence and intent of the mob:

“It’s unfortunate that this has become a political theater for them. For them, it is a show. They want a different ending to the movie, to the horror show.”

What the 118th House isn’t doing: tracking federal spending, closing loopholes, strengthening inspectors general system, creating accountable defense spending, demanding ethical leadership, promoting democracy and rejecting authoritarianism, and more. Instead, Republicans focus on their culture wars of anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ rights, anti-diversity, anti-Democrats, anti-truth—pretty much anti-everything except unlimited gun ownership, power and money for themselves, and white supremacy.

After 11 days off, House members return Wednesday for eight days before leaving for another two weeks.

March 17, 2023

Highlighting Republicans

Tucker Carlson keeps claiming that he coordinated with the Capitol Police who approved all the clips that he showed in his attempt to prove the insurrection on January 6, 2021, was “peaceful.” In a court filing, however, the agency stated that Carlson vetted only one of over 40 clips he used. The Fox network host keeps lying.

Republicans have decided that violence is the answer after Tucker Carlson’s lies about the “peaceful” event at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. On social media, right-wingers are threatening politicians making public inquiries into the violence 15-fold after Carlson’s segment than before the Fox broadcast. In the messages, Carlson’s name is referenced in these threats. When he opened his show, Carlson claimed the election was stolen, “a grave betrayal of American democracy,” the lie that he had disavowed under oath in depositions for the Dominion defamation lawsuit against Fox. In a recent deposition, David Clark, overseeing Fox’s weekend programing, said Carlson’s program was not a credible source of news.

Among the areas taken over by lying election deniers in the U.S. is Shasta County (CA) where the Republicans on the election board have been replaced by conspiracists after local militia groups teamed with a conservative millionaire filmmaker living in Connecticut. The county Board of Supervisors gave the top job to a California secessionist movement leader aiming for a 51st state.

A supervisor behind this work met with MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell regarding exchanging the voting machines for hand-counting ballots. Lindell promised to provide all necessary resources for lawsuits related to their actions. Not everyone in the county is pleased; speakers at a 13-hour public meeting during the first week of March called the takeover and rejection of voting machines a “facilitated fraud.” The county of 182,000 people is over one-half Republican and under one-fourth Democrat.

Shasta had better get its money up front. After seeming to have bottomless pockets, Lindell ran out of money trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election. He told Steve Bannon that his company is in debt $10 million because of “voting machine companies”—likely from his incessant slander resulting in defamation lawsuits, one of them for $1.3 billion.

After depositions from Dominion Voting Machines against the Fox network released information about the network’s employees’ duplicity, some viewers are changing their perceptions of the network: over one-fifth of Fox watchers, 21 percent, trust the network less since the release of texts from employees that they were deliberately pushing falsehoods. Yet only 9 percent say they watch the network less than before, and a Fox network official said that no advertisers have dropped or paused their advertisers. At least 13 percent of Fox viewers no longer believe that the 2020 presidential election was stolen after reading the communications from Fox employees, and 16 percent have a less favorable opinion of Fox.

In another poll, 65 percent think Fox should be held accountable after they heard its chair Rupert Murdoch testified that his network’s hosts lied about a stolen 2020 presidential election. Even 41 percent of Republicans want that accountability although there was no definition for the term.

 Other Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) allies are dropping their claim of having evidence that the election was stolen and moving on to just operating off their intuition. DDT’s lawyer Sidney Powell admitted she didn’t have proof, and Jenna Ellis flat-out confessed she lied about it. Even the 63 percent of Republicans who keep talking about a stolen election increasingly confess they have no “solid evidence” for their belief, going from three-fourths of them claiming “solid evidence” to 48 percent asserting “suspicion only”—one-third of all Republicans. The GOP belief that Joe Biden is the legitimate president has gone from 22 percent in January 2021 to 37 percent now. In 2020, 70 percent thought election results were illegitimate; in 2022, only 30 percent believed that.

According to Fulton County (GA) jurors), Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC), DDT’s sycophant, testified under oath that DDT’s voter fraud claims are completely farfetched, comparing them to aliens stealing DDT’s ballots.

Another of DDT’s close allies, Steve Bannon, may be in trouble after his BFF Guo Wengui was indicted for stealing over $1 billion from his fraudulent investment businesses that Bannon endorsed. DDT had pardoned Bannon for stealing a million dollars from a GoFundMe website for a wall on the southern border. Guo’s 12 charges date back to 2018 when he and Bannon announced the launch of their nonprofit businesses in which Guo “provided false and materially misleading information…to defraud” those marks for “investment and moneymaking opportunities.” Together they launched “the New Federal State of China,” which they claimed to be a government-in-waiting prepared to replace China’s rulers.

Also known as Ho Wan Kwok and Miles Guo, the Chinese billionaire had partnered with Kin Ming Je. They sold stock in Guo’s GTV Media Troup, a high-end club. In 2021, GTV settled the Securities and Exchange Commission for illegally selling cryptocurrency. With Guo’s arrest, Bannon has lost his key funder.

Minnesota Senate did pass a bill to give students free school breakfasts and lunches, but one Republican doesn’t believe they are hungry. He said:

“Mr. President, I have yet to meet a person in Minnesota that is hungry. Yet today. I have yet to meet a person in Minnesota that says they don’t have access to enough food to eat.”

He called hunger “a relative term” because he had only “a cereal bar for breakfast” and could be “hungry now.” The state senator represents relatively affluent constituents, but one in six people in the state, 483,000 people, experienced food insecurity in 2021. One in 11 youth experienced food insecurity, an average of two students per classroom. The state senator has $5 million in assets. 

Over a dozen South Carolina GOP legislators want a “pro-life” death penalty, killing anyone who gets an abortion. In recent years, Texas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Arkansas have also introduced similar legislation.

 A “pro-rape” female GOP legislator in Wisconsin opposed the exceptions for rape and incest in the state’s 1849 abortion ban. (The law really does date back almost 175 years.)  She said:

“There can be positive outcomes in rape situations where babies are carried to term.”

For much of this year, people have waited for a decision by DDT-appointed judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Amarillo (TX) about when he will block the abortion medication mifepristone throughout the U.S. The state’s AG Ken Paxton put the case there because he is the only judge, and he is known for being anti-abortion—almost other anti positions. He claims he has the belief that cases shouldn’t be hidden from the public because of “the public’s right to know,” but he wouldn’t announce the time of when he was going to hear it. He also permitted only 19 members of the press and 19 members of the public to attend the hearing. Kacsmaryk also schedules status conference calls and hearings with orders off the public docket and asks parties to not share relevant information with the public. In short, he runs a secret court.

Arizona’s new Superintendent of Education, Tom Horne, has ordered no teaching of race, gender, diversity, or other “social and emotional” topics in Arizona’s classrooms. That includes teaching about Reconstruction’s failures. He set up a hotline for anyone to report the instruction of these issues and talks about it on the Fox network, upset because an elementary school district terminated its teacher internship agreement with Arizona Christian University because of ACU’s anti-LGBTQ policy. Every student enrolled at ACU must follow the belief in heterosexual marriage only. Arizona’s public school system is ranked last in the United States.

Oklahoma Republicans are continuing the practice of using corporal punishment in schools on children with disabilities—slapping, spanking, paddling, and other force—by an educator. According to the World Health Organization, corporal punishment causes “harmful psychological and physiological responses,” but one legislator said the Bible rates higher as an expert on these beatings. He quoted Proverbs 29, “The rod and reproof give wisdom.” Nineteen states permit corporal punishment in schools, over 69,000 students received corporal punishment almost 97,000 times during the 2017-18 school year.   

Lauren Witzke, the Republican who lost his U.S. Senate race in Delaware, has slandered a gay couple by calling them “pedophiles” for hugging their newborn children. She showed a photograph of them holding their premature twins for the first time and accused them of stealing them “from their mothers straight out of the womb” and molesting them. Fewer than one percent of child sex abusers identify as gay or lesbian, meaning the other 99 percent are heterosexual.

Despite a number of problems facing the U.S. and the world, Republicans obsess about drag shows. Florida regulators revoked a liquor license at the Hyatt Regency Miami because minors were present for a touring drag show. The hotel can keep selling alcohol until the department makes a final decision. The business has 21 days to request a hearing. The LGBTQ group Equality Florida asked if movie theaters will be raided if parents take teenagers to see R-rated movies or electronic stores if they buy certain video games for their children. Gov. Ron DeSantis brags about the importance of “parents rights,” even using the term to name his “don’t say bill” law.  

Message from Republicans: We protect kids! We allow child labor, child marriages, gun carrying, gun sales without background checks but ban books, discussions on racism, drag, and free school lunch.

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