Nel's New Day

June 26, 2020

DDT Uses COVID-19 to Erase Democracy

GOP members of Congress are like the Confederates marching up the hill at Gettysburg in Pickett’s Charge and getting picked off by the thousands: they blindly follow Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to calamity but can’t turn around. Some of them will survive their next elections, but an increasing number of formerly staunch Republican voters grow disillusioned by the leadership’s lack of ethics, moving the United States away from democracy. This week’s abysmal actions representative of autocracy continue GOP behavior under DDT’s fascist direction.

The worst of these may come from courts removing the habeas corpus—the constitutional guarantee of due process for imprisonment in the Suspension Clause (Clause 2) in Article One, Section 9.

“The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.”

Rights include a fair and speedy trial, counsel, trial by a jury of peers, appearance before accusers, and freedom from unlawful and seizure. Habeas corpus was suspended during the Civil War and to put Japanese-Americans into detention camps during World War II. Forty-four years later President Gerald Ford rescinded that executive order, and Japanese-Americans have received an apology and reparations. After 9/11, the Military Commissions Act (2006) reversed habeas corpus for those detained by the U.S. deemed an enemy combatant, and but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the act in Boumediene v. Bush (2008). The far-right is now using the pandemic to void habeas corpus.

A New York State Supreme Court judge denied the release of hundreds of protesters in jail for more than 24 hours, contrary to the law, because of the virus. “All writs are denied,” Justice James Burke wrote. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called it “a suspension of habeas corpus.” Chicago police denied protesters their right to attorneys.

In a 7-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court denied habeas corpus to people seeking asylum in the U.S. The case concerned Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, a member of the minority Tamil population in Sri Lanka, was abducted by unidentified men in his home country and severely beaten. Undocumented immigrants caught within 100 miles of a land border within 14 days of arrival can be deported without a hearing; Thuraissigiam was 25 yards from the border. In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote:

“Taken to its extreme, a rule conditioning due process rights on lawful entry would permit Congress to constitutionally eliminate all procedural protections for any non-citizen the Government deems unlawfully admitted and summarily deport them no matter how many decades they have lived here, how settled and integrated they are in their communities, or how many members of their family are U.S. citizens or residents.”

DDT plans to discontinue the practice of informing Congress about entering into major weapons deals after lawmakers blocked his arrangement to provide Saudi Arabia and UAE with U.S. bomb to kill Yemeni civilians. The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) requires the president to formally notify Congress of major foreign arms sales 30 days in advance, but former State Department officials have given informal notice earlier to allow input from lawmakers.

In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Assistant US AG Aaron Zelinsky described the corrupt pressure on line prosecutors to give DDT’s friend Roger Stone special treatment, including the sentencing override with “a new sentencing memorandum that included statements and assertions at odds with the record and contrary to Department of Justice policy.” Zelinsky said the instructions came down from Acting US Attorney for District of Columbia, Timothy Shea, because Shea was “afraid of the President.” Zelinsky’s “objections were not heeded,” he said, and he resigned from his position, returning to Maryland. His supervisor had told Zelinsky to not follow DOJ guidelines for Stone’s sentencing recommendation.

AG Bill Barr is also subverting the voting process to skew the results:  [visual trump vote cartoon]

  • He exonerates people who helped interfere in the 2016 election.
  • He destroys confidence in the government ‘s ability to protect the 2020 election.
  • He lets people suppressing the vote that he will give them special treatment.
  • He spreads disinformation about the possibility of voter fraud.

Gearing up for a loss in November, DDT spread lies about “the most corrupt election in the history of our country”—stolen ballots, forged by foreigners or kept from GOP voting districts—beliefs totally debunked by the ten percent of the nation legally voting by mail.  

The drastic spike of COVID-19 in Texas did not sway the U.S. Supreme Court to allow people in Texas to vote by absentee if they wish to avoid the virus. The court ruling is for the July 14 primary runoff; the separate request for the November election remains pending.

GOP politicians use mail-in ballots because they’re homeless. DDT already used his club in Florida for his residence address although it’s not his residence. VP Mike Pence and his wife Karen are another case of falsifying their address: they used the Indiana governor’s mansion on April 13. They moved out of the place at the end of 2016 to go to Washington, D.C. The current governor, Eric Holcomb, registered to vote at the same address. 

DDT and Barr continue to blame “antifa” and “anarchists” for violence in the month-long protests, but a WaPo factcheck by Meg Kelly and Elyse Samuels could not find one example of antifa-incited violence. They interviewed witnesses and reviewed arrest records, federal charges, intelligence reports, online conversations and dozens of videos and photos of violent incidents from the early days of protests in Minneapolis for their report through protests in over 140 cities. According to U.S. officials within the joint terrorism task force, most of the violence “local hooligans, sometimes gangs, sometimes just individuals that are trying to take advantage of an opportunity.” At different protests, “some antifa …. stood back, did not engage, certainly not in a violent way.”

The majority of 14,000 arrests in 49 cities since May 27 were for low-level offences such as curfew violation and failure to disperse. Eighty federal charges, including murder and throwing Molotov cocktails at police vehicles, show no evidence of an antifa plot reveal no evidence of an antifa plot; four people among those facing the most serious federal charges identify with the far-right extremist “boogaloo” movement. The Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, which tracks white supremacist and far-right groups, found almost 200 appearances by vigilantes and far-right extremists at protests in the U.S. protests. At the same time, law enforcement is collaborating with white supremacists in many locations where they receive easier charges for their violence.

In his purpose of appearing part of DDT’s “law and order,” anti-protest schtick, Barr is taking over state responsibilities in prosecuting protesters for crimes. Some of these cases may be serious, but two incidents are breaking police car windows. A case of throwing a Molotov cocktail was considered a federal regulation of foreign commerce because the device used an imported bottle of tequila. Constitutional experts declare Barr’s actions are not in keeping with the Constitution’s limited role for the federal government and federal law enforcement. In one case, the federal government arrested protesters on the basis of interstate commerce. They never affected it, but a directive, not followed through, warned drivers of trucks bearing hazardous materials to divert.

Today, DDT signed an executive order telling Barr to prioritize prosecution for anyone who damages federal monuments and religious property. The Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act imposes up to ten years for damage to structures on public property commemorating veterans. The order also permits the dispatch of military to protect these monuments and other property at the request of the secretaries of Interior or Homeland Security or Administrator of General Services. Barr directed the DOJ to form a task force combating “anti-government extremists.” DDT also threatened to remove federal support from state and local governments who don’t protect the monuments.

DDT blamed the virus for canceling H-1B “highly-skilled worker” and H-2B  seasonal non-agricultural laborer visas until the end of the year or longer “as necessary.” About 525,000 people, including cultural and educational exchange worker J visa holders, will be denied entry.

Hate for the World Health Organization (WHO) caused DDT to order U.S. diplomats and health officials justification for any engagement with the WHO as being necessary for national security and public health safety. Disasters with DDT’s disconnect with WHO:

The U.S. has been cut out of developing the seasonal influenza vaccine, and the U.S. could lack access to an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. For example, centers in over 100 countries collect samples from sick people, isolate viruses, and search for new ones as part of the process to choose the flu strains for the annual vaccine. The CDC would no longer have access to data and virus samples protecting U.S. people from deadly strains of flu.

The U.S. could have no knowledge about health threats in another part of the world and initiatives to combat infectious diseases such as the eradication of polio still in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The U.S., without WHO, would need to take on some of its responsibilities, drawing its attention from the response to the virus.

China would fill in the U.S. vacuum and be dominant in the world.

A second term for DDT means the complete end of democracy in the United States, thanks to the Republican party.

July 19, 2018

DDT Sinks to Terrifying Low

For almost two years, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has claimed that he knows nothing about Russia meddling in the presidential election and the search into the issue is a “witch hunt.” The New York Times has now reported that DDT received highly classified intelligence including texts and emails from Russian military officers showing Vladimir Putin personally ordered cyberattacks to move the election toward DDT. CIA Director John O. Brennan, National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper Jr., and National Security Agency Adm. Michael S. Rogers briefed DDT at Trump Tower on January 6, 2017. At that time, Rogers was also commander of the U.S. Cyber Command. Almost a dozen people, including FBI Director James Comey, either attended the meeting or were later briefed on it. After the briefing, Comey privately told DDT about the “Steele dossier,” that contained sensational stories about DDT’s visit to Moscow.

One source to the evidence was so sensitive that Brennan kept the reference to the person from the Presidential Daily Brief and instead sent reports from the source separately to President Obama and a few top national security aides.

Despite this information, DDT finished his meeting with Putin last Monday by standing next to him at a press conference and again saying that he believes Putin’s denial of Russian interference in the U.S. election. Public outcry caused him to revise his statement, but he continued to support the Russian leader.

Also in January 2017, DDT was briefed about how the same Russians who meddled in the election, including the hacking and release of DNC emails, had been involved in cyberattacks on the State Department and White House unclassified email systems in 2014 and 2015 as well as an attack on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After the briefings, DDT issued a statement blaming “Russia, China and other countries, outside groups and countries” for cyberattacks against the U.S. government, businesses, and political organizations. He added, “There was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election.”

Brennan and Clapper left the government on the day that DDT was inaugurated. He portrayed them as political hacks who had twisted intelligence as an excuse for Hillary Clinton’s election loss. According to evidence, however, Russia is still aggressive meddling despite his acceptance of Putin’s denial of interference. DDT has spent his 545 days in office shifting the topic of Russian meddling to Clinton’s computer server, promoting the false belief that she has broken the law. He claims that Russia is so good at cyberattacks that hackers could never be caught and denigrated the intelligence about the interference.

When cornered, DDT repeats,  “I have been much tougher on Russia than Obama, just look at the facts.”

The facts:

  • DDT constantly refuses to address Russia’s cyberattacks and election meddling, praises Vladimir Putin for his strong leadership, indicates warmth and trust toward Russia and Putin, and says that he is helpless because Putin denies any interference.
  • DDT continues to say that his intelligence agencies are wrong until cornered.
  • DDT only signed a congressional bill calling for new sanctions against Russia because it was veto-proof.
  • DDT failed to follow through on the sanctions.
  • DDT’s agencies and Congress forced DDT to fund for the European Reassurance Initiative, release a missile attack against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, approve arms sales to Ukraine, and put new sanctions on five Russians and Chechens because of their human rights abuses.

President Obama expelled Russian diplomats in December 2016, closed Russian compounds, and criticized Russia and Putin.

The GOP reflects DDT’s corruption. When David Klion wrote about the recent indictment of 12 Russians, he highlighted the allegation that on August 15, 2016, they “received a request for stolen documents from a candidate for the U.S. Congress” and that they “sent the candidate stolen documents related to the candidate’s opponent.” No names were available from the indictment, but Klion connected it to a Washington Post transcript of a June 2016 conversation among the House GOP leadership. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) stated that “the Russians hacked the DNC and got the opp research that they had on Trump” and speculated “there’s two people, I think, that Putin pays: [Representative Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump.” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) insisted that the discussion stay in the room and added, “What’s said in the family stays in the family.” When the comments were made public, Ryan claimed they were joking.

Klion pointed out that Rohrabacher wasn’t the only feasibility in the indictment but that the GOP leadership knew about the possibility, thought it was humorous, and failed to do anything about their knowledge. They appreciated Russia’s support for electing Republicans. In September 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) threatened to claim a public announcement of Russian interference as partisan politics. His blocking the publicity led to massive tax cuts for the rich—including himself—and a far-right Supreme Court majority. The GOP corruption has given Republicans the total control of the federal government.

This week, Russian national Maria Butina was indicted, arrested, and jailed without bail for operating as a foreign agent to gain influence in GOP political circles. Butina’s ties with the National Rifle Association and conservative religious organizations allows her to be the financial backbones of the congressional GOP. She is able to do with the elimination of campaign-finance laws, begun in Citizens United and furthered by DDT’s new guidelines for political donations. He eliminated the IRS rule requiring some nonprofit organizations to identify big donors—including the NRA and the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity. The dark money in politics has gone completely black.

Former Republican George Will infuriated Fox far-righters such as Laura Ingraham when he wrote about DDT’s collusion with Russia. In DDT’s convoluted excuse for agreeing with Putin with a tortured explanation of saying “would” instead of “wouldn’t”—which may have caused the White House lights to cut out—he omitted the part of his script that he had “full faith and support for America’s intelligence agencies.” Crossed out on DDT’s script was the statement that “anyone involved” in the attack would be brought “to justice.” In saying that he believed his intelligence evidence that Russia interfered, he added, “it could be other people also.” Scribbled across the script in broad felt pen was “There was no colusion [sic].”

About DDT’s performance in Helsinki, Will wrote:

“Collusion with Russia is hiding in plain sight. We shall learn from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation whether in 2016 there was collusion with Russia by members of the Trump campaign. The world, however, saw in Helsinki something more grave—ongoing collusion between Trump, now in power, and Russia. The collusion is in what Trump says (refusing to back the United States’ intelligence agencies) and in what evidently went unsaid (such as: You ought to stop disrupting Ukraine, downing civilian airliners, attempting to assassinate people abroad using poisons, and so on, and on).”

Today, a reporter directly asked, “Is Russia still targeting the U.S.?” DDT said “No” and moved on to the next question. Later Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied, as shown in a video, when she claimed that he was saying “no” to more questions. Then the White House claimed that DDT was responding to a different question. DDT’s next excuse was that he blamed Putin personally, but indirectly, “because he’s in charge of the country.”

DDT is also continuing his practice of doctoring official White House transcripts, official records. In this case, he deleted the part of the Helsinki press conference in which Putin said that he wanted DDT to defeat Clinton and possibly said that he had sent people to make that happen. Reuters reporter Jeff Mason’s asked:

“President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?”

Putin’s translated broadcast answer:

“Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”

Although this exchange is available on video, it’s missing in the White House version.

In DDT’s attempt to “Make Russia First,” two serious problems have emerged. No announcements were made in the United States about agreements in the meeting that has no record, but Russian officials declared “important verbal agreements,” including preservation of New Start and INF agreements, major bilateral arms control treaties, and a new arrangement or proposal about Syria. Senior military officials know nothing about DDT’s “agreements.” Spokeswoman Marina Zakharova at the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the unknown summit agreements implementation has begun:

 “Relevant instructions are being carried out, and diplomats are beginning to work on the outcomes.”

A horrifying result of the meeting is DDT’s suggestion that he might accept Putin’s offer to turn over U.S. citizens, including former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, for questioning in “illegal activities.” Today, Huckabee Sanders reported that DDT “said it was an interesting idea … He wants to work with his team and determine if there is any validity that would be helpful to the process.” Russia has released a list of 11 U.S. government members to be questioned.

In a terrifying authoritarian move, DDT is actually considering getting rid of people who criticize him by turning them over to Russia although there is no indication of wrongdoing.

January 16, 2018

Orwell’s ‘Newspeak’ Precursor to Today’s Fascism

The most popular expression in 2017, according to the Washington Post, was “fake news,” and Merriam-Webster announced that “feminism” was the term with the most internet searches. Cambridge Dictionary highlighted “populism” because Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) claimed to support the working people, and Dictionary.com selected “complicit.” The real Word of the Year might be #, as in hashtag, such as the #MeToo movement. A term for current politics could be “faux populism” or “nationalism” because of the mushrooming acceptance of white supremacists in the United States. Gone are terms such as “diversity” and “togetherness.” The President’s Challenge Coin even lost the term “E pluribus unum,” the U.S. motto meaning “out of many, one.”

Throughout foreign affairs this past year, up is down and war is peace. “Normalization” used to mean making the abnormal conform to the standard perception, but DDT has changed it to acceptance of deviancy as the new normal. “Pivot” once meant turning but now means a pretense. The biggest reversal may be the word “fake.” Defined as “counterfeit” until the time of DDT, its meaning is now “I deny your reality” or “hoax.” Evidence and reason are now “fake science” or “fake news.” Those who lack any support or background for their arguments simply assert “fake …” to make facts vanish or “alternative facts,” introduced by Kellyanne Conway in an attempt to cover DDT’s lies.

Conservatives know how words can hurt their causes. A theme of the ruling class in George Orwell’s novel 1984, is “ignorance is strength.” The phrase “climate change” disappeared from the White House website minutes after DDT was inaugurated, and accurate science, climate, energy, and environment information has been erased on federal websites. References to rising sea levels, worsening wildfires, and threatened wildlife have disappeared. The Interior Department eliminated links to 92 national parks’ climate action plans.

EPA officials are ordered to eradicate the term “climate change” in grant solicitations and funding for initiatives. Public communications information also cannot use “climate change.” Colorado College environmental science professor Miroslav Kummel was told that he would need to revise his syllabus for his class, “Introduction to Global Climate Change” at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument because “all references to [climate change] in future documents, orientation talks, etc. will not be allowed.”

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention distributed a “language guidance” document to employees and contractors listing words and phrases to be avoided and accompanied by acceptable alternatives. For example, “underserved youth” are now “all youth.” “Substance abuse disorder,” no longer a disease, was replaced with “substance abuse issue.” Youths who have committed crimes are defined only as “offenders.” Last year, a request for grants to mentor child victims of sex trafficking specifically cited LGBTQ youths, one-third of the trafficked population; this year the requrest does not mention LGBTQ.

Providing more censorship, DDT’s administration is stopping the use of such words as “vulnerable, “entitlement,” and “diversity” in the Department of Health and Human Services budget. During a meeting, CDC employees were told to avoid “fetus,” “transgender,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.” Only the last two terms were given an alternative: “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.” “Abstinence-only” programs are being rebranded as “sexual risk avoidance” to acquire government funds. The government knows that these programs fail to work. Violence Against Children surveys from eleven countries “showed that an average of 1 in 3 young women had a first sexual experience that was forced or coerced,” according to a State Department report.

Humpty Dumpty told Alice, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean.” Alice asked him how a word can have so many definitions, and Humpty Dumpty replied, “The question is which is to be master, that’s all.” Centuries later, Orwell agreed when he wrote that meaning is about power. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once defined truth as “the majority vote of that nation that could lick all others.”

Many of the words popularized in the new administration, including DDT’s latest vulgar term “shithole countries,” smack of authoritarianism supporting white supremacy and ethnic cleansing evidenced by fascist dictators leading up to World War II. They gained their power through suppression of the media just as DDT is trying to do. He is also using the one-party system in Washington and the tactics of Hitler’s Nazis and Mussolini’s Fascists to control the nation.

Words that reveal injustices and encourage critical analyses disappear when people who use them are punished. Orwell’s “Newspeak” in 1984 has gone from fiction to the GOP standard operating procedures, especially since all scientific evidence and dissent is regarded as “fake news.” According to DDT, the critical media is the “enemy of the American people.” He maintains that he is the only person who can “Make America Great Again,” the only one who can save the nation. Repetition of these positions has led to almost a third of people in the nation believing that the media—except the Fox network and other more conservative sources—are false. DDT now declares Fire and Fury a “fake book.”

Authoritarianism expert Ruth Ben-Ghiat noted that fascism starts with words. Language normalizes brutality and cruelty with metaphors of racial purity, expulsion, war, and dehumanization. In The Third Reich in Power, Richard J. Evans wrote:

“The German language became a language of superlatives, so that everything the regime did became the best and the greatest, its achievements unprecedented, unique, historic and incomparable …. The language used about Hitler … was shot through and through with religious metaphors; people ‘believed in him,’ he was the redeemer, the savior, the instrument of Providence, his spirit lived in and through the German nation…. Nazi institutions domesticated themselves [through the use of a language] that became an unthinking part of everyday life.”

Adolf Hitler banned words, books, and authors while he made people disposable. The GOP goal is to destroy ways to protect vulnerable people and plunder the world’s resources for their personal gain.

DDT’s initial statement in his campaign on June 16, 2015, described the people coming into the United States as human garbage, the same message that he has repeated during the past two and a half years. In a speech to FBI graduates in December, he described immigrants coming by lottery as the “worst people …. the worst of the worst.” With no outrage from people, he normalized evil, just as authoritarianism does, in his statements about how immigrants (except those from Norway) despoil the (white) United States by raping and killing (white) women. Nobody was shocked until he used the word “shithole”; for many people it is only the word and not the policy behind it that is heinous.

Gina Apostel wrote, “When norms shift, one of the first things to change is language. In a fascist world, shocking neologisms become everyday speech.” She continued in a description about her experiences when Philippines’ late dictator Ferdinand Marcos decreed martial law in 1972 and compared that to today’s life under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who killed more people in his first year of martial law than Marcos did in a decade. “Extrajudicial killings” is a polite term for being killed by the police, and being “ka-DDS,” meaning “fellow-Davao Death Squad” rallies Duterte’s supporters, just as DDT’s supporters adopted the term “deplorables.” A new eatery north of Manila has a menu that includes “handcuffed pork belly” and “tortured pork chops,” referring to the people who Duterte kills. Another item is “the ham that fought back” because police can kill any suspect who resists arrest.

DDT praised Duterte for doing an “unbelievable job” in combating the illicit drug trade. Duterte called reporters “spies” when he met with DDT. Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 novel It Can’t Happen Here about the rise of an authoritarian fascist leader in the U.S. parallels DDT’s admiration dictators around the world.

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” In this way, DDT uses words that make this passage from 1984 as the theme of his administration.

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