Nel's New Day

July 5, 2020

DDT: Week 180 – Failures for the Fourth

 Yesterday, July 4, people in the U.S. celebrated independence: 244 years ago, “colonials” fought against injustice and English oppression. In his speech last Friday, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) campaigned for injustice and white supremacy and against protesters fighting for equal rights. He defended treasonous people, Confederate leaders who fought to overturn the U.S., and dishonored the land in South Dakota where he spoke to people standing closely together without face masks while ordering fireworks dangerous to the land in the extremely dry condition. 

Four years ago, DDT ran on racism, first against Latinx and then against Muslims. This year he replicates his approach, attacking the rights of Black people. His choice of Mount Rushmore for his July 3 speech also expressed his racism regarding Indigenous people. Sixty-foot-tall faces of four white presidents who persecuted Native Americans are on a sacred place to almost 60 tribes. In 1868, the Fort Laramie Treaty determined the Black Hills as part of the Great Sioux Reservation, but the government signing the treaty took land away from the Native Americans after the gold discovery in the 1870s.

The Black Hills still belonged to the Sioux Nation almost 50 years later when a KKK member led the Mount Rushmore project in 1927. In 1980, the Supreme Court ruled the tribes had not received compensation for the land and had not agreed to give it up. In United States v. Sioux Nation, the majority opinion stated, “A more ripe and rank case of dishonorable dealing will never, in all probability, be found in our history.” When indigenous people protested DDT coming on their land without their permission, DDT’s supporters told them, “Go home!”  

DDT lambasted “far-left fascism” and “totalitarianism” despite his own fascist actions. His approach follows that of Richard Nixon in 1964—“law and order” and vows for states’ rights in opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. DDT’s business claims have fallen far short, and he has only a strategy of “white resentment politics.” His message was the importance of Mount Rushmore’s legacies while he ignored the legacy of the Indigenous people.  

In supporting statues, DDT signed an executive order for a National Garden of Heroes, “the greatest Americans to ever live,” and listed those who must be included such as Betsy Ross (who probably didn’t create the flag), Davy Crockett, George Patton, Audie Murphy, and Antonin Scalia. DDT said about Mount Rushmore, “This monument will never be desecrated.” The four faces, only 79 years old, are cracking.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr’s girlfriend, was not present. She has been diagnosed for COVID-19 and joins people sickened at DDT’s campaign rally in Tulsa (OK) such as former presidential candidate Herman Cain, seriously ill in a hospital; up to 15 Secret Service agents who prepared for the rally; and hundreds of people in Oklahoma.

DDT’s speech this weekend is part of his new campaign strategy: he plans to run as the challenger with Joe Biden the incumbent. By doing so, he doesn’t need to search for his non-existent accomplishments since he was inaugurated; he’ll just copy his winning 2016 campaign that pictured him as an outsider.  DDT’s campaign advisor Jason Miller said the campaign will portray Biden as “part of every job-killing, failed policy decision of the past 40 years.”

More DDT failures this week:

The RNC is having trouble raising money for an alternative location in Jacksonville (FL) for DDT to graciously accept the nomination for presidential candidate. Money from Charlotte (VA) won’t be returned, and donors are not happy about shelling out more cash for a place with skyrocketing COVID-19 infections and a majority of residents polling opposing DDT in their city. After the small crowd in Tulsa (OK), DDT may cancel for fear he’ll suffer another failure.

DDT’s supporters funded a private border wall and helped the builder get $1.7 billion in federal contracts. Months after the wall’s completion, it is falling into the Rio Grande River from runoff erosion. The builder denies the problem, claiming the erosion “a normal part of new construction projects.” Submitting the lowest bid, he had his prototype rejected by both the DHS and the Army Corps of Engineers. DDT’s pressure and support from Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) put the builder of the preapproved list. He donated at least $24,000 to Cramer’s 2018 campaign.

This week, DDT, lobbied by Fox network, pardoned 1st Lt. Clint Lorance after he was convicted of second-degree murder for ordering his men to kill three Afghans on a motorcycle. During Lorance’s three-day command, he threatened a farmer, pointed a rifle at a small boy, and ordered one of his NCOs to provide a false report to the Troop TOC (Tactical Operations Center). Since they returned home in 2013, five of the platoon’s three dozen soldiers have died, and at least four others were hospitalized from suicide attempts or addiction. The survivors tell the stories of how Lorance ruined their lives.

Project Airbridge, spearheaded by DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, was to get private companies to rapidly deliver PPE and other medical supplies from Asia. Interviewing corporation executives, the House Oversight Committee found that the months-old idea delivered only 7 percent of PPE supplies distributed since the pandemic’s beginning and had no direction in directing supplies to hot zones. The government also had no restrictions on prices and didn’t require reporting costs. DDT pressured private medical supply companies to buy PPE at inflated prices from Build Your Dreams (BYD), a Chinese electric car and battery company subsidized by the Chinese government. Purchases were delayed because their N95 masks couldn’t be certified until June 8.  BYD has a $1 billion contract for 150 million masks. FEMA refuses to submit any documents about the program to the House.

Last week, DDT failed to give a coherent answer to Sean Hannity’s questions about his priorities during a second term. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told Hannity he was supposed to help DDT get reelected and scolded him for asking such a hard question. This week, Sinclair’s Eric Bolling offered DDT a “retake” at the answer and asked him for his “main focus.” DDT’s response:

“Well, I didn’t hear anybody who was upset with it, but I will tell you, it’s very simple: we’re going to make America great again. We are doing things that nobody could have done.”

He moved on to bragging about first-term “accomplishments”—such as “rebuilding the military” and bringing back manufacturers—which he didn’t do or took credit for President Obama’s achievements. Third time?

DDT also had a press conference to brag about his unemployment rate. At 11.1 percent, it remains higher than during the Great Recession over a decade ago. The added 4.8 million jobs were before states started shutting down and ignored the millions of people filing for unemployment for the same period of time. The number of jobs is currently down 14.7 million, about ten percent, from the beginning of the pandemic recession, and foot traffic to businesses indicate a dip in late June. The spike in infection combined with the end of enhanced unemployment benefits will create less spending, which results in fewer jobs. Without more federal aid, states and localities will continue to lay off more people in addition to the 1.5 million who have already lost their jobs. Also the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the real unemployment rate at one percent higher—12.1 percent.  

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell painted a dark picture of the economy if COVID-19 is not contained. San Francisco Federal Reserve president Mary Daly said, “I would hesitate to call this a recovery.”

Polling shows that more and more people see DDT as a failure:

  • 60 percent disapprove of DDT’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • 65 percent think that the pandemic is getting worse.
  • 51 percent support the Black Lives Matter movement with only 32 percent in opposition.
  • 70 percent think that the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction with only 22 percent disagreeing.
  • 53 percent approve of the Affordable Care Act, and 49 percent want to see it expanded. 
  • 75 percent believe the country is “out of control,” compared to 14 percent who think it’s under control.
  • 81 percent of people ages 65 and older describe the country in a fiasco; 68 percent of those ages 30 to 44 agree.
  • 47 percent approve of DDT’s economy, 16 percent lower than January. This was to have been the lynchpin of his campaign.
  • 12 percent are satisfied with the state of the nation, down from 55 percent in April. Only 19 percent of Republican are satisfied.
  • 39 percent approve of DDT.
  • 37 percent believe DDT has the right experience to be president; 61 percent believe DDT doesn’t have the right experience.
  • 67 percent think Biden has the right experience to be president.

For the first time in over 50 years of polling, more people want more immigration to the U.S. than those who want to cut immigration—34 percent to 28 percent.

The Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index dropped 134 points to +4 for the second quarter, the lowest in almost seven years and the biggest quarterly drop in history.

According to a new study, “Europeans’ trust in Trump’s America is gone.”

On July 4, COVID-19 infections – 2,935,982; deaths – 132,318.

June 27, 2020

DDT: Week 179 – No ‘Law & Order,’ Confusion

This week, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) spent time in the latest COVID-19 hot zones of Arizona, and New Jersey told him he would be quarantined for 14 days if he went to his resort in Bedminster. At first he said he wouldn’t do it but then claimed he had to stay in Washington, D.C. over the weekend to “make sure LAW & ORDER is enforced.” DDT then went to his Sterling (VA) for his 271st round of golf since he was inaugurated.

Here are some “law and order” acts he’s ignoring:

Last March, the U.S. intelligence agencies told DDT a Russian military intelligence unit wanted to pay Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops. DDT kept the information secret and continued to rave about how wonderful Russia.

DDT plans to move 9,500 military members from Germany to Poland because is “delinquent in their payments” to NATO.  Twenty-two GOP members of the House Armed Services Committee oppose moving the troops because it will hurt the military because U.S. bases in Germany provide a stopover for troops headed to worldwide locations. Bipartisan congressional leaders call DDT’s plan shortsighted and dangerous.

The Wall Street Journal reports Chinese nationals paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to get DDT reelected. The RNC provides these Chinese contributors insider insight into its strategy for DDT’s campaign, giving them useful information for controlling him.

Last month, DDT’s beloved human spaceflight hit a glitch after NASA’s head of the program, Doug Loverro, quit one week before a test flight sending astronauts up in a capsule from the private company SpaceX. Astronauts haven’t launched since space shuttles stopped flying in 2011, and DDT wanted people walking on the moon by 2024. Less than six months ago, DDT picked Loverro as acting head of spaceflight after NASA dumped Bill Gertenmaier last year. Loverro’s resigned after he was caught in private conversations with a senior Boeing executive about a bid for a contact worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Using inside information, Boeing tried to amend the contract but failed to win it. Concerned about a breach in ethical and procedural protocols, NASA’s inspector general investigated Loverro’s unauthorized contact with Boeing’s officials.  

Another DDT appointee may cause him headaches. Social Security Administration Commissioner Andrew Saul bought stocks in companies enriched by COVID-19, including Abbott Laboratories, UnitedHealth, thecloud workflow company ServiceNow, and Eurofins, a foreign company manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers. He hasn’t yet submitted his annual financial disclosure form, due May 15.

The stimulus $1,200 checks were sent to over one million people no longer living at a cost of $1.4 million, but IRS counsel determined they did not have the legal authority to deny payments to deceased people who had filed a return last year. The IRS is demanding states claw back checks send to prisoners although the law doesn’t prevent inmates from receiving the money.

To please DDT at the Tulsa rally, his campaign demanded removal of thousands of social distancing “Do Not Sit Here, Please!” stickers from seats despite instructions to the contrary from the BOK Center. The arena purchased 12,000 tickers for the rally for every other seat. DDT’s campaign also banned signs asking for social distancing.

Brad Parscale, former T-shirt salesman, is still hanging onto his job as DDT’s campaign manager after the Tulsa debacle, but sources question how long he’ll stay. Press secretary Kayleigh “I-will-never-lie-to-the-media” McEnany declared DDT wasn’t upset with his campaign rally non-crowd, but others in the White House say he is so furious that heads will roll. The audience of 6,200 was only ten percent of aides’ worst-case scenario of 60,000, and the “overflow” audience for a canceled speech was only 25, the number of women who have accused DDT of sexual assault. In DDT’s last presidential campaign, he replaced manager Corey Lewandowski with Paul Manafort almost exactly four years ago on June 20, 2016; Manafort lasted less than two months to be replaced by Kellyanne Conway. A White House source indicated Parscale may resign and Jared Kushner could be another “casualty.”

In addition to his salary from DDT, Parscale does other campaign work through private firms. His Facebook page claims to be a DDT campaign property and makes money from DDT’s ads, but the only link on “About” directs people to Parscale’s private consulting firm, Parscale Strategy.

Conservative voices initially slammed military leaders for criticizing DDT, claiming they should never say anything negative about the commander-in-chief. DDT’s increasing fascist actions, however, may have silenced the conservatives along with research showing white supremacists instigating violence and only 32 percent disapproval of the protests. As DDT increased his fascist actions, however, the comments changed to criticisms of protesters. Polls show only 32 percent disapproval of the protesting every night for the past month.

Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is the most recent military leader to blast DDT and the first to call him a racist. Sanchez stated he kept quiet while DDT attacked Muslim Gold Star parent, praised white supremacists, tried to deport DACA recipients, etc., but the tipping point came with teargassing peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square for a photo-op with DDT waving an upside-down bible.

The former commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq added his voice in denigrating DDT to retirees Adm. Bill McRaven, the former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command; Navy Adm. James Stavridis; three-star Adm. Joseph Maguire, DDT’s former acting director of National Intelligence; Gen. Tony Thomas; four-star Marine Gen. John Allen; three-star Lt. Gen. Russel Honore; four-star Gen. Michael Hayden; Maj. Gen. Steven Lepper; four-star Gen. Barry McCaffrey; and four-star Gen. John Kelly, DDT’s former White House chief of staff. Three of the last four chairs of the Joint Chiefs (Mark Milley, Martin Dempsey, and Michael Mullen) have openly criticized the actions by DDT and his fixer AG Bill Barr as have the two highest-profile Defense secretaries in the past decade, James Mattis and Robert G. Gates—author of Exercise of Power about the disaster of U.S. leadership. In addition, 280 people signed an op-ed protesting DDT, including 78 Defense Department officials; over 20 retired generals; and four former Pentagon chiefs (two Democrats and two Republicans).

In another response to DDT’s photo-op, Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley apologized for walking to the church with him, regretting his compromising his commitment to separate the military from politics. “As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it.” Milley also said he was “outraged” by the “senseless, brutal killing” of George Floyd. “The protests that have ensued not only speak to his killing but also to centuries of injustice toward African Americans.”

During an interview, Sean Hannity gave DDT a chance to brag about his plans during another four-year term when he asked DDT what his #1 priority would be if he were elected. The answer:

“Well, one of the things that will be really great, you know, the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I’ve always said that. But the word experience is a very important word. It’s an, a very important meaning.”

More of his incoherence. The Wall Street Journal’s response to DDT’s ramblings:

“As of now Mr. Trump has no second-term agenda, or even a message beyond four more years of himself.”

During his three campaign rallies in the last week, DDT consistently used racist terms for COVID-19, and Kellyanne Conway flip-flopped to defend him. Three months ago, she found the racist comments “highly offensive,” “hurtful,” and “wrong,” citing her husband’s Filipino background. In her attack on an Asian-American reporter, she said DDT has an “incredibly important” job to keep China on the hook.

The purpose of VP Mike Pence’s last week press briefing about COVID-19 was to tell people states with surging virus cases, such as Florida and Texas that are closing businesses like bars, are “in a much better place.” Offering no new strategies to stop the spread of the virus, he claimed “all 50 states” are “opening up safely and responsibly”  and called increases among people under age 35 “very encouraging news.” His only strategy to stop the spread of the virus, Pence recommended prayer. Dr. Anthony Fauci said increased testing doesn’t explain the increases, and Deborah Birx asked everyone to wear a mask, something Pence didn’t do at the briefing.

DDT’s strategy is to continue opening businesses and “accept” what happens. On today, June 27, he wants people to accept 43,582 new cases for a total of almost 2.6 million with 128,152 deaths. Or maybe ten times that number. The Dow Jones lost a month’s gain yesterday when it dropped 730 points, about 2.8 percent.  

U.S. residents probably won’t be traveling to Europe for a while: the EU has recommended to its members to create a travel ban from the U.S. to it countries because of the massive COVID-19 infections in our nation. The EU will develop specific criteria this coming week. DDT plans new tariffs on EU products such as chocolates and olives but claims it isn’t retaliation.

June 20, 2020

DDT: Week 178 – Tulsa Rally, Other Controversies

Despite major events of the past week—protests, police brutality, another executive order, two big Supreme Court rulings, COVID-19 killing thousands of people while Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) ignores the virus, and DDT’s determination to infect thousands more at his Tulsa rally—the U.S. government is hiding more corruption.

 The biggest controversy—other than DDT’s Tulsa rally today—came from AG Bill Barr’s late Friday night firing Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and DDT’s replacement appointment of Jay Clayton, SEC chair, who has no prosecutorial experience but was a lawyer for Deutsche Bank. Since DDT’s interim appointment of Berman, he investigated DDT’s hush money payments for two women after affairs with them, leading to a guilty plea from DDT’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and into DDT’s finances. Berman also had cases against DDT lawyer Rudy Giuliani as well as against Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, indicted for funneling Russian money to GOP candidates. A replacement for Berman is unlikely if the GOP refuses to tackle a contentious process in an election year. An excellent insight into DDT’s maneuvers. 

Berman said he wasn’t quitting, Barr said DDT had fired Berman, and DDT told reporters that the ouster was “all up to the attorney general” and he hadn’t become involved in the matter. After Barr appointed Berman’s deputy AG as replacement, Berman quit. The House Judiciary Committee begins an investigation into Berman’s firing this coming week with two DOJ whistleblowers testifying about Barr’s politicizing the DOJ.

DDT’s loans for almost $500 million—or more—come due within four years. He’s also losing enough revenue from the pandemic he can’t even pay rent on his Florida golf course.

  • Deutsche bank, 2012: $125 million for the Doral golf resort, due in 2023.
  • Deutsche bank, 2014: $170 million for Trump Tower, due in 2024.
  • Deutsche bank, 2014: $25 to $50 million for Chicago hotel/complex, due in 2024.
  • Ladder Capital (lender of last resort): $100 million for Trump Tower, due in 2022.
  • Ladder Capital: $13 million for Trump Plaza.

Whistleblowers at the House hearing, Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, a DOJ prosecutor quitting the Roger Stone case after Barr’s political appointees requested a lenient sentence for him, and John W. Elias, an antitrust official, are using a federal law prohibiting reprisals against civil servants giving information to Congress. Barr has refused to testify. A third scheduled witness, Donald Ayer, served as deputy AG when Barr led the department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 1989 and 1990.

According to newly unredacted parts of the Mueller report, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and Michael Cohen told investigators Roger Stone promised the campaign damaging revelations by WikiLeaks. DDT knew in advance WikiLeaks would be releasing these embarrassing documents for Hillary Clinton but denied his knowledge in written testimony for Mueller’s team. Barr misrepresented this information and hid it until a court order forced him to remove the redactation.

The audience for DDT’s big rally comeback in Tulsa filled under two-thirds of the venue holding 19,000. He blamed the shortage of people on peaceful protesters outside. DDT again appealed to his white supremacist base by extolling the virtues of the Confederate heritage, a treasonous act that almost split the United States. DDT canceled a speech for an overflow crowd because almost no one came. Six campaign staffers for the rally tested positive for COVID-19 which is rapidly spiking in the state, especially Tulsa.

DDT gave one of the biggest pandemic-related contracts, $618 million, to an almost unknown biodefense company, Emergent BioSolutions, for a yet undeveloped vaccine. With the consolidation of contracts for the company comes “vulnerabilities in the supply chair,” according to WaPo, and inflated costs after DDT’s focus on biodefense instead of pandemics. Before becoming DDT’s assistant HHS secretary for preparedness and response, retired Air Force colonel Robert Kadlec advised Emergent and then started a biodefense consulting company with Emergent’s founder. As aide to Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Kadlec helped draft legislation that created his current position. Over 20 years ago, Emergent, then called BioPort, received a contract for an anthrax vaccine and inflated the price before members of the military receiving the vaccine reported bad reaction. Another company received the contract for a vaccine until Emergent bought the rights to the different vaccine and kept increasing the prices over the cost of its production.

Since COVID-19 hit the U.S., healthcare industry CEOs paid themselves $2.4 billion, 27 million people lost their healthcare coverage, and people have been charged from $400,000 to $1.1 million for treatment as well as $2,000 for testing. The nation is headed into a new recession. During the last one, the Federal Reserve committed $16 trillion to $29 trillion to large financial institutions, passed a bailout of $4 trillion to large corporations, and spent $10 trillion of the Iraq War, military budget, and Bush/DDT tax cuts. Remember these numbers when Republicans try to eliminate healthcare and Social Security.

DDT ordered meat plants to stay open, threatening a catastrophic domestic food shortage if infected workers didn’t stand close throughout the day. In April, the industry sold 129,000 tons of domestic pork to China, a record amount.

The EPA ignored a court order to permit perchlorate, used in fertilizers and explosives like solid rocket propellants, munitions, fireworks, matches, and airbag initiators, in clear water. The poisonous chemical severely reduces IQs in infants and causes disorders such as hypothyroidism.

With no announcement, DDT gave permission for sponsors of retirement plans such as 401(k)s to invest the money into funds managed by predatory private equity firms. The high-risk result can mean huge returns—and huge losses—while firms skim fees off the funds. Private equity millionaires and billionaires are the winners, up to $425 billion from just five percent of these funds available to private equity.

Litigious-happy DDT threatened his niece with a lawsuit if she publishes her “harrowing and salacious” book about him, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, on July 28. He claims that Mary Trump has an NDA that prevented her from repeating anything she knows about him after a 2001 settlement for the estate of her father, Fred Trump.

CIA displayed “woefully lax” security and the worst data loss in its history after one of its officers stole CIA hacking tools. The October 2017 report about publication of these hacking tools by WikiLeaks, submitted as evidence in the trial of Joshua Schulte, was unnoticed until Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) got the public version from DOJ and gave it to the WaPo. According to the report, there was no secrecy among users for sensitive information such as passwords, thumb drives and other removable media, and historical data. Without auditing, the theft wasn’t discovered for a year when WikiLeaks announced it in March 2017. The loss would never have been noticed without a publication. Wyden wants Congress to review the law exempting intelligence agencies from federal cybersecurity requirements.

Iowa Republicans will keep voters from getting absentee ballots by requiring the voter ID pin number on requests, something few voters know. The same bill includes a voter ID requirement for people casting their ballots at county government offices in early voting. Republicans slipped the mandates into a budget bill just before legislature’s adjournment after GOP members promised to remove restrictions from the bill.

Amidst the domestic trauma and the spiking of COVID-19 in the U.S., fights are breaking out throughout the world. A clash on the China-India border high in the Himalayas led to three dead Indian soldiers, the first such killings since 1975. DDT’s BFF Kim Jong-Un blew up the liaison office it opened with South Korea in 2018, functioning like an embassy, and threatened to send troops into the demilitarized zone. The explosion occurred just a few days after the two-year anniversary of his meeting with DDT in Singapore when DDT promised that Kim is “de-nuking the whole place.” Kim has now announced his bolstering the military to counter the U.S.

Make America Great Again Polls:

Rasmussen, DDT’s friendliest and most conservative polling: Joe Biden – 48 percent; DDT – 36 percent

NORC (University of Chicago): 14 percent of very happy people, down from 31 percent with people the unhappiest they have been in 50 years—before the death of George Floyd and the protests. Only 42 percent of people think their children will have a better standard of living, down from 57 percent in 2018 and the lowest ever.

Axios-Ipsos: 81 percent of people worry about a second wave of COVID-19; 64 percent think a return to pre-coronavirus life presents a risk, up from 57 percent a week ago; 40 percent worry about getting sick, up from 32 percent last week; 54 percent fear economic collapse, up from 48 percent last week.

AP-NORC: 63 percent believe the U.S. is heading in the wrong direction; DDT’s approval rating is at 39 percent.

While DDT ignores COVID-19, the number of infections is skyrocketing—33,388 today, June 20, raising the total to 2,330,578; at least 121,980 have died of the virus. At this rate, over 1 percent of the U.S. population will have the virus within three weeks.

June 13, 2020

DDT: Week 177 – Beyond Well-Publicized Disasters

While Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) worries about re-election—his only focus—he has Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to protect him from the International Criminal Court.

Afraid the International Criminal Court will discover U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, DDT signed an national emergency executive order allowing him to threaten economic sanctions and visa travel restrictions on its staff. That includes any foreign person in human rights organizations researching and reporting on criminal activity if it is used by the ICC, for example a Netherlands-based group investigating rape and torture by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and at CIA interrogation sites. Unlike most allies, the United States is not part of the Rome Statute creating the ICC, but Afghanistan is. The U.S. could handle torture internally but has not tried any “rendition program” cases. The current CIA chief, Gina Haspel, ran an agency black site using “interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding. An analysis from David Scheffer, first U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues:

“The argument essentially boils down to the contrarian view that U.S. forces and intelligence personnel can commit atrocity crimes inside any of the 123 states parties of the Rome Statute (including all but one NATO ally, every country of the European Union, all of South America, and much of Africa, East Asia, Central America, and the Caribbean) without accountability before the ICC.”

DDT coordinated the sanctions with Israel during Pompeo’s visit to Jerusalem last month after ICC’s prosecutor opened an investigation about Israel’s alleged crimes in the West Bank and Gaza. Although briefings did not mention the plot, Israeli officials leaked the information. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought Yuval Steinitz, leader of the team countering the ICC investigation, to the meeting, and the two countries continued the secret coordination on the issue since Pompeo’s visit.

Federal officials are hiding information about their distribution of $511 billion taxpayer monies to “small businesses” despite promising in mid-April to make the information public. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin called the data “proprietary” and “confidential information” during a Senate hearing and did not require any proof for need and eligibility from applicants. Eleven news organizations are suing for information about amounts and recipients. 

Congress assigned three bodies to oversee the $2.3 trillion law: a Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR); the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee with inspectors general from the agencies involved in the bill  under the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency; and a congressional oversight commission. After an agreement to the oversight, DDT made a signing statement erasing it in a claim that it violated the separation of powers and the rights of the president.

Often accused of no empathy, DDT’s accusation about the police brutality toward a 75-year-old peace activist went as viral as the police assault on Martin Gugino. DDT got falsehoods from the evidence-free right-wing, Russia-related One America News Network after two police officers in Buffalo shoved the man to the sidewalk and left him bleeding from the head. DDT’s tweet:

“Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN  I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”

Gugino approached a police officer with his cellphone in his right hand, and police yelled, “Push him. Push him.” After nine days, Gugino is out of the hospital but can’t walk because of his skull fracture. The two officers are facing assault charges. Russian national Kristian Rouz, author of the false story, also writes for the Kremlin-owned news outlet Sputnik. Rouz puts Kremlin propaganda into his articles without explaining the “allegations” are hoaxes from Vladimir Putin and associates. 

Vincent D’Andraia, facing multiple charges including misdemeanor assault and menacing against a woman, became the first NYPD officer arrested for police brutality in the protests. The woman said she was peacefully protesting when D’Andraia told her to get out of the street. When she asked why, he pushed her and called her a “stupid f—— b—-” before he hit her cell phone out of her hand and violently shoved her to the ground and into the curb. The woman was hospitalized and treated for a seizure and concussion. Afterward, D’Andraia, his lieutenant, and several other officers who were watching kept on walking.

Minnesota’s Department of Safety and the Anoka County Sheriff’s office admitted troopers and deputies slashed tires on cars during protests in Minneapolis after presented with video reports. The state spin:

“State Patrol troopers strategically deflated tires … in order to stop behaviors such as vehicles driving dangerously and at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement.”

Several journalists found their tires slashed, including Andrew Kimmel, a Los Angeles TV and documentary maker, with cut tires on his rental car. Officers promised to watch the car of New Yorker writer Luke Mogelson. He returned to find his tires cut and the officers “laughing” with “grins on their faces.”

Posts from Lt. Robert Gamin, president of the Brevard (Florida county) Fraternal Order of Police, promoted more police brutality recruiting law enforcement members suspended, fired, or arrested for violent behavior. He deleted the posts and “apologized,” saying he was frustrated.

Congress gave Customs and Border Protection funding for food and medicine after migrants kept dying. The agency spent the funding on dirt bikes and ATVs before trying to conceal it in the wrong budget categories.

Failing to react to DDT’s acceptance and even promotion of police brutality, most GOP legislators use the same policy as the willful blindness from the mythical three monkeys: hear no evil; see no evil; speak no evil. Reporters, tired of legislators expressing ignorance of anything DDT says, printed out DDT’s tweet about Martin Gigino to show Republicans. Most of those asked for responses refused to look at the post and declined to answer as they dashed away.  

Yesterday’s spike in the stock market replaced over one-fourth of its plunge from the day before. Investors bought after Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council, said he’s “not the health expert” but “there is no second spike …. No second wave” of COVID-19. Roughly half the states show significant spikes. My own small county on the Oregon coast went from ten cases less than three weeks ago to almost 200 by today partly from an outbreak from fish processing plant Pacific Seafoods—workers, friends, family, etc. Fourteen months before the current recession starting in February—before COVID-19 hit—Kudlow said he couldn’t see a recession. Kudlow isn’t an economist either. Back in the time of George W. Bush, Kudlow Kudlow denied the housing bubble and said at the beginning of Bush’s recession, “There’s no recession coming.” In early March this year, Kudlow also said the virus was “contained” and the economy “looks sound.” Kudlow isn’t an economist either.

Because of COVID-19, DDT shut down four of his five top-earning hotels and resorts, leading to laying off or furloughing 2,800 employees with the loss of tens of millions of dollars. Revenues weren’t good before the virus, and he couldn’t even pay $20,833 per month rental fee for his golf club in Pine Hill (NJ). The new COVID-19 law keeps him from making up revenue from the government, but Great Britain plans to give him an almost £1m tax rebate for his Scottish golf courses. Both resorts avoided corporation taxes because of heavy losses’ reports, supposedly £155m in 2018. Democrats in the House asked for documents regarding loans and other funds by May 21 regarding the bailout funds as a possible gift from a foreign government but received no responses.

The latest Trump book covers Melania. Among other topics, Mary Jordan’s The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump explains the First Lady waited to move into the White House to negotiate her prenup. Her marital problems are no business of anyone else except for the exorbitant cost to taxpayers. Flights on Air Force jets during the first three months of her 2017 sequestration in New York cost $676,635, and security at Trump Tower expenses averaged between $127,000 and $146,000—a day. Melania didn’t move to the White House for almost five months, and Secret Service received an additional $60 million to protect DDT’s family. A WaPo article describes Jordan’s view of Melania Trump’s mythmaking the media has swallowed, debunked through over 100 interviews with her associates. Jordan said, “She is . . . much more like DDT than it appears.”

Frustrated by CNN’s polling and disappointed by ones from Fox, DDT went to evidence-free OAN promising him one that “looks as though it will be in favor of” the president. After using loaded questions to move approval to DDT, the poll came out a perfect 50-50 split in Florida, a statistical improbability. It also gives a lead to DDT among undecided voters—which makes Joe Biden a lead among decided voters. The poll came out with an article accusing the “deep state” working with Democrats to create polls demoralizing GOP voters.

On June 13, another 25,000+ COVID-19 cases for a total of 2,142,224 with 117,527 deaths.

 

June 11, 2020

You can’t make this stuff up!

Threatened with losing the November election, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has become more and more unhinged, and conservatives are taking advantage of his fascist approach.

On June 19, DDT holds his first “come-back” campaign rally in Tulsa (OK). That date, known as Juneteenth or Freedom Day, commemorates the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston (TX) after Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, brought news the Civil War had ended. The rally is in the same city one of the nation’s deadliest race massacres. On May 31 to June 1, 1921, up to 300 residents were killed and another 800 injured when white supremacists attacked, looted, and burned an affluent black community. Current Tulsa Police Major Travis Yates said the U.S. doesn’t have systemic racism because “we’re shooting African Americans about 24% less than we ought to be based on the crimes being committed.”

DDT ignores COVID-19, opens churches, pushes states to pretend all is normal, tries to drop the GOP convention in a state exhibiting caution, and returns to rallies. Yet anyone attending his rallies must sign a liability agreement that they won’t sue him if they contact the virus. Republicans who go to his rallies must exempt DDT from responsibility for becoming diseased and “assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.” Cases of the virus have recently spiked in Oklahoma.

Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine at George Washington University, tweeted:

“I think it’s insane to hold a political rally during a pandemic. It’s also equally crazy to attend such an event, particularly when the candidate requires you to sign a disclaimer holding him harmless if you get COVID-19. He wants you there but doesn’t care so much what happens.”

Republicans think the rallies are just fine. One Republican said, “If he’s telling the world it’s OK to get back to your life, at some point he has to get back to his life.” The person probably meant getting back to telling lies to crowds, playing golf, and spending weekends at his resorts. In that way, he can avoid the issue of 116,000 dying at a current rate of about 1,000 a day, 21 million people on unemployment, tens of thousands of people daily protesting in the street, and an erratic stock market.   

For another tone-deaf event, DDT plans to accept the presidential candidate nomination in Jacksonville (FL) on August 27, the 60th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday, when a white mob attacked black demonstrators staging peaceful sit-ins to desegregate the city’s lunch counters.  The mob of 200 white people organized by the KKK and joined by police officers chased and beat blacks with ax handles and baseball bats forced to seek sanctuary in a church. A participant in the sit-in 60 years ago had obtained a permit for the commemoration before the RNC officials moved some convention festivities to Jacksonville with a 30-percent black population. Cases of the virus are now spiking in Florida.

DDT did manage to give a speech today at a Dallas megachurch today. Among his comments were that police departments have no problem other than a few “bad apples” and “we’re dominating the streets with compassion.” The event was to discuss race and policing, but those not invited included the Dallas Police Chief, Dallas County Sheriff, and District Attorney. They are all black. The day before DDT went to Dallas, Texas had its biggest one-day occurrence of new COVID-19: at 2,504, the number was over 25 percent higher than the second highest on May 31.

The GOP presidential campaign is off and running as DDT’s message paints a dark picture of the nation—chaos, looters, rioters, antifa, immediate danger for white people.  DDT’s tweets want “LAW & ORDER.” (Savvy people might want to ask what happened after DDT was inaugurated in 2016 with the promise crime would completely stop on that day.) DDT’s playbook follows the last GOP president to be impeached. According to historian Rick Perlstein, Richard Nixon’s “most famous campaign commercial was a montage of riot scenes over a jittery, shrieking electronic soundtrack, the camera lingering on the naked white torso of a mannequin. Then came Nixon’s voice: ‘So I pledge to you, we will have order in the United States.’” In 2020, the far right is already spreading the lies that buses filled with thugs are heading for small towns throughout the United States.

DDT has threatened to “take back” Seattle after protesters camped out around a downtown police station. While he pictures the horrible images of the “ugly Anarchists,” they are holding potlucks, displaying Black Lives Matter paintings, and screening movies. Mayor Jenny Durkan said:

“Lawfully gathering and expressing First Amendment rights, demanding we do better as a society, and providing true equity for communities of color is not terrorism. It is patriotism.”

DDT blames protesters for the violence instead of the police, but Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) reported 13 Chicago police officers, including three supervisors, breaking into his campaign office and then making popcorn, drinking coffee, and sleeping on the couch while nearby businesses were being looted. They were there about four to five hours. Four years ago, police pulled Rush over in a traffic stop but claimed it wasn’t racial profiling.

In the Jewish Journal, Ariel Sobel asked, “Why Does The US Government Consider Antifa Terrorists, But Not The KKK?” Her article refers to DDT’s Twitter declaration, “The United States of America will be designating Antifa as a Terrorist Organization.” Antifa means “anti-Fascism,” and it’s a philosophy, a movement, not an organized group with a leader. It has no bank accounts or assets or infrastructure. Sobel asks why DDT wants to call people against Fascism “terrorists” while not objecting to the domestic terrorist organizations such the Ku Klux Klan “which for decades has used bloodshed, intimidation and crime to terrorize Americans.” White supremacist groups call for assaulting racial and religious minorities, and part of the definition for a terrorist group is attacks with many fatalities—like the mass shootings by white supremacists who have killed over 100 in the past two years. Those who try to identify with antifa attempt to stop the mass violence and have killed no one. DDT has already erased white nationalist violence from the mission of the Countering Violent Extremism program by renaming it to “Radical Islamic Extremism.” The First Amendment protects domestic terrorists who are prosecuted for their crimes under laws other than terrorism.

DDT’s sycophants are trying to make left-wing political activism illegal with a resolution naming “Antifa” as a “domestic terrorist organization” which would block any dissent against racist groups and connect antifa members to organized crime. An antifa activist tweeted the proposed bill “is the road to fascism, and Ted Cruz [GOP senator from Texas] is paving the way.” Cruz’s bill follows other GOP ones to silence dissenters against other issues such as pipelines and the neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville (VA). A member of antifa said, “All leftist activists are by default involved in antifascism.” A person is either for fascism—like DDT—or against that control over people.

Although he may mean the Secret Service, DDT is praising the “S.S.” for their handling of the antifa. SS refers to the notorious Nazi paramilitary organization, the Schutzstaffel, part of the Holocaust.

DDT also tweeted Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) lies about Democrats’ staying silent regarding “defunding the police.” The party’s leadership, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) and presidential candidate Joe Biden, already opposed the defunding. Those supporting the concept want to use specialists for some responsibilities such as working with people with mental issues instead of paying untrained law enforcement.

Taxpayers pay for the Trump family to take 1,000 more trips every year than the Obama family did. Trips frequently promote or support the family business. Last summer Donald Trump Jr’s Secret Service agents, costing $76,859.36, protected him while he killed an Argali sheep, a rare breed of giant sheep noted for their huge horns, with a rifle with a laser sight on a nighttime shoot. He didn’t get a permit until several days after the killing, and he may not have a permit to take his “trophy” home. DDT’s adult children are entitled, but not obligated, to use Secret Service protection. Other trips are a mystery.

Talking about how the D.C. National Guard teargassed peaceful protesters for his photo-op in front of a church, DDT said the troops “could hardly believe how easy it is.” Yup. Teargassing your friends and neighbors is a simple act. DDT also praised the National Guard in his Dallas speech, saying they displaced protesters “like a knife through butter.”

Bigot of the week: Ohio state GOP Sen. Steve Huffman, also a practicing emergency room doctor, suggested“colored people” (his words) suffer more from COVID-19 because they “do not wash their hands as well as other groups.” A reason for higher incidence of blacks with COVID-19 is poor health care. After his comments, Huffman was fired as an ER doctor but stays in the legislature. This statement comes after DDT’s hand-picked officials, including HUD Ben Carson and one of those “colored people,” denied any systemic racism in the U.S. Poor health care is a reason for higher incidence of COVID-19 among blacks.

June 8, 2020

People Who Follow DDT

During the past few weeks, more articles are appearing from people who voted for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and who are now disgusted for what they did. As DDT plans to go out on the campaign trail with rallies—despite the ongoing danger of become infected with COVID-19—he’s hoping  to bring back crowds to make him feel better. This is a commentary to all those DDT worshippers from a blog post entitled “Why Do People Think Trump Supporters Are Stupid?”

Jerry Roberts writes, “Here’s what the majority of anti-Trump voters honestly feel about Trump supporters en masse”:

That when you saw a man who had owned a fraudulent University, intent on scamming poor people, you thought “Fine.”   

That when you saw a man who had made it his business practice to stiff his creditors, you said, “Okay.” 

That when you heard him proudly brag about his own history of sexual abuse, you said, “No problem.” 

That when he made up stories about seeing Muslim-Americans in the thousands cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center, you said, “Not an issue.” 

That when you saw him brag that he could shoot a man on Fifth Avenue and you wouldn’t care, you exclaimed, “He sure knows me.” 

That when you heard him relating a story of an elderly guest of his country club, an 80-year old man, who fell off a stage and hit his head, to Trump replied: “‘Oh my God, that’s disgusting,’ and I turned away. I couldn’t—you know, he was right in front of me, and I turned away. I didn’t want to touch him. He was bleeding all over the place. And I felt terrible, because it was a beautiful white marble floor, and now it had changed color. Became very red.” You said, “That’s cool!”

That when you saw him mock the disabled, you thought it was the funniest thing you ever saw. 

That when you heard him brag that he doesn’t read books, you said, “Well, who has time?” 

That when the Central Park Five were compensated as innocent men convicted of a crime they didn’t commit, and he angrily said that they should still be in prison, you said, “That makes sense.” 

That when you heard him tell his supporters to beat up protesters and that he would hire attorneys, you thought, “Yes!” 

That when you heard him tell one rally to confiscate a man’s coat before throwing him out into the freezing cold, you said, “What a great guy!” 

That you have watched the parade of neo-Nazis and white supremacists with whom he curries favor, while refusing to condemn outright Nazis, and you have said, “Thumbs up!” 

That you hear him unable to talk to foreign dignitaries without insulting their countries and demanding that they praise his electoral win, you said, “That’s the way I want my President to be.” 

That you have watched him remove expertise from all layers of government in favor of people who make money off of eliminating protections in the industries they’re supposed to be regulating and you have said, “What a genius!” 

That you have heard him continue to profit from his businesses, in part by leveraging his position as President, to the point of overcharging the Secret Service for space in the properties he owns, and you have said, “That’s smart!” 

That you have heard him say that it was difficult to help Puerto Rico because it was in the middle of water and you have said, “That makes sense.” 

That you have seen him start fights with every country from Canada to New Zealand while praising Russia and quote, “falling in love” with the dictator of North Korea, and you have said, “That’s statesmanship!” 

That Trump separated children from their families and put them in cages, managed to lose track of 1500 kids, has opened a tent city incarceration camp in the desert in Texas – he explains that they’re just “animals” – and you say, “Well, OK then.” 

That you have witnessed all the thousand and one other manifestations of corruption and low moral character and outright animalistic rudeness and contempt for you, the working American voter, and you still show up grinning and wearing your MAGA hats and threatening to beat up anybody who says otherwise. 

What you don’t get, Trump supporters, is that our succumbing to frustration and shaking our heads, thinking of you as stupid, may very well be wrong and unhelpful, but it’s also…hear me…charitable.

Because if you’re NOT stupid, we must turn to other explanations, and most of them are less flattering.

Current polls show that Joe Biden is ahead of DDT by at least seven percent in the November election—even four percent ahead in traditionally red Arizona. DDT says that he either ignores polls, doesn’t believe them, or has his “own numbers.” Yet he may be getting nervous as this action indicates.  

According to his advisers, DDT is considering a televised national speech on race and national unity. He has to go a long way to convince people. The pro-Biden campaign is targeting seniors in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. One of them uses a Vietnam veteran, a DDT-voter in 2016 who now plans to vote for Biden because Biden has “the good of the country in his heart.” About DDT’s lack of concern for the country and his involuntary lying, the man says, “I wouldn’t bet my life on the next three things that come out of Donald Trump’s mouth.”

Today’s CNN approval poll for DDT from June 2-5 shows a seven-percent drop to 38 percent and a six-percent increase in disapproval to 57 percent in just one month. DDT is also lagging Biden, 55 percent to 41 percent—almost three times the five-point deficit a month ago. The same poll showed Monday’s CNN poll found 63 percent of people disapprove DDT’s handling of race relations compared to 31 percent approval. About DDT’s threat to send active-duty military to “dominate the streets,” 65 percent said that his response made the situation worse while 26 percent considered it helpful. Almost 90 percent of people think racism is a problem in the U.S., and two-thirds say the nation’s criminal justice system favors whites over blacks, up 16 percent from five years ago when only 50 percent thought the system favored whites.

 In a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, voters are more troubled by police brutality than protest violence by a 2 to 1 margin, and 80 percent believe the country is spiraling out of control, versus 15 percent who believe that things are under control.  Even 66 percent of Republicans see things out of control along with 92 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of independents. Reuters reports that 64 percent of adults were “sympathetic to people who are out protesting right now,” while 27 percent said they disapproved.

Unhappy about the polls, DDT hired his personal polling company to debunk the published polls.

In the next two weeks, DDT plans to continue his campaign rallies despite the spikes in cases of COVID-19. He assumes that the proximity of people in the massive protests will protect him from criticism. Since June 1, 14 states and Puerto Rico have recorded their highest-ever seven-day average of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. Most of these are red states. Mississippi also has a rising average daily infection rate.

On June 8, the U.S. has 2,026,493 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 113,055 deaths–not counting all those untested people and lies from Republicans states and municipalities trying to hide how badly DDT is handling the virus.

June 5, 2020

DDT: Week 176 – Only Wealthy Better off

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is happy. The stock market is going up again, thanks to the many trillions of dollars  the government has made available to big corporations and wealthy people. Lockdowns started on March 18, and the nation’s richest people’s wealth increased over $565 billion while 42.6 million workers filed for unemployment. Those 42.6 million people don’t buy stocks. 

May added 2.5 million jobs, two-fifths of them part time and 1.2 million in the poorly-paid hospitality sector. Yet 21.2 million jobs were lost in March and April, and the 13.3 percent unemployment rate is the worst since World War II. The jobs were also for white people, whose unemployment rate went down from 14.2 percent to 12.4 percent: for blacks, unemployment went up from 16.7 to 16.8 percent. DDT called this “a tremendous tribute to equality.” The CBO forecasts unemployment levels above 10 percent for almost a year and doesn’t reflect self-employed people with serious losses and college graduates who had not started looking for jobs. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pointed out the increase in jobs is propped up by the stimulus money, soon disappearing.

To Yamiche Alcindor, a black woman who reports for PBS NewsHour, who asked him for specifics on a plan to address police violence against blacks, he said, “You are something.” In the above photo, DDT shushes Alcindor.

DDT did, however, put a happy spin about George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer:

“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that is happening for our country. This is a great day for him… This is a great, great day in terms of equality.”

DDT used the word “great” 55 times during his ramblings. mThe White House also rearranged chairs for the press to put them closely together with no social distancing because “it looked better.” Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was right: DDT should stop talking. 

After his campaign rally, DDT headed to another one at a factory in Maine, but all the swabs made during his photo-op there will have to be thrown away. With no mask, he stopped to talk to the workers wearing white lab coats, masks, hair nets and plastic booties. Last month, almost one-third of Maine nursing homes reported they had no nasal swabs for testing, and over 60 percent of the respondents said they had fewer than eight available.  

While in Maine, DDT announced his new task force to crack down on illegally harvested fish and appointed former sexist, racist Gov. Paul LePage as its chair. During the conversation, he asked if the lobsters harvested off Maine are equivalent to those a few miles north off the Canadian coast. And he promised auto tariffs on the EU if it doesn’t lift duties on lobsters imported from the U.S. Tariffs on U.S. lobster, like many other products, came from DDT’s trade wars. DDT also opened a fragile marine conservation area off Cape Cod to commercial fishing, hours after DDT declared himself a “great environmentalist. The change harms the endangered North Atlantic right whale as well as deep-sea coral and sponge gardens thousands of years old. No evidence exists that the conservation area had hurt fishing revenues.

According to a new study, DDT removed protections from almost 35 million acres of public land, about the size of Florida. “President Trump is the only president in U.S. history to have removed more public lands than he protected,” stated the analysis. DDT already removed protections from 16.6 times the land Theodore Roosevelt protected for parks and monuments.

The U.S. Park Police stated it was wrong when he said no tear gas was used to clear protesters so DDT could cross the street.

AG Bill Barr has decided to “flood the zone” by bringing in thousands of unidentified law enforcement to Washington, D.C. Some, found out by wearing shirts and patches, showed they are from two prisons in Texas, one of which has at least five guards with COVID-19 infections. In Washington, DC., they failed to wear masks while close to each other and demonstrators. The Bureau of Prisons confirmed guards dispatched to two cities didn’t wear their uniforms “because they are serving a broader mission.” In a letter to DDT, Washington’s mayor Muriel Bowser wrote:

 “Unidentified federal personnel patrolling the streets of Washington, D.C., pose both safety and national security risks. The deployment of federal law enforcement personnel and equipment are inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans.”

In the Senate, Rand Paul (R-KY) blocked the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which passed the House 410-4, because it was so broad it could include “minor bruises.” The Senate could force the bill to the floor, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the senior senator from Paul’s state up for re-election this year, doesn’t want to bother. According to the bill, “nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in Congress during the first half of the 20th century,” and “between 1890 and 1952, 7 presidents petitioned Congress to end lynching.”

Two Senate committee chairs planned to deliver subpoenas in an investigation of the origins of the Russia probe and allegations of President Obama’s wrongdoing (aka Obamagate, according to DDT). Ron Johnson (R-WI), elected two years ago and chair of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is moving forward with 30 subpoenas determined by a party line vote. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), vulnerable in his current reelection and chair of the Judiciary Committee, said he’ll wait until next week for a vote on 50 subpoenas.  

In a series of angry tweets, DDT declared he pulled the August WeGOP conference out of Charlotte (NC) in August, but the RNC hasn’t given official notification “regarding its intent for the location of the convention.” The state is moving forward toward opening, already in Phase II, but Gov Roy Cooper—a Democrat—won’t promise the facility open to 20,000 Republicans because of social distance. GOP governors are salivating for the gig with offers in Nashville (TN), Jacksonville and Orlando (FL), Phoenix, and Georgia. Las Vegas is also interested, but Dallas has already turned it down. The RNC said DDT will not accept the Republican nomination in Charlotte. Planners are considering a rolling convention in several cities so DDT can say he had the largest convention ever.

Using the “economic emergency,” DDT signed an executive order waiving long-standing environmental laws to speed up federal approval for new mines, highways, pipelines, and other projects by limited state environmental reviews. Thus far, DDT has completed 66 rollbacks of environmental protections, and another 34 of them are in progress, most of them related to air pollution and emissions with 11 about water. Wheeler singled out a recent veto of a natural gas pipeline by New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, to block such impacts as damage to aquatic life, downstream impacts, and climate change. The rule follows DDT’s attempt to remove California’s authority to set its own vehicle emission standards under the Clean Air Act.

DDT is bored with COVID-19; he hasn’t talked to Dr. Anthony Fauci for weeks. Barr plans to solve the health crisis by suspending constitutional rights, among them asking Congress to pass laws allowing people to be indefinitely held without trial. 

The Pentagon is spending most of its $10.6 billion for shipbuilding, submarine launch equipment, missile tube and body armor.

West Point had canceled its in-person graduation this year because of COVID-19 until DDT insisted on giving a commencement address to 1,000 graduates on June 13 in order to perform this ceremony at all service academies. This past week, the Army found asymptomatic infections in 1.5 percent of them. The decision produced protests on the West Point Parents Facebook page.

Unwilling to be seen weak by going to his bunker, DDT has made the White House into a fortress with tall security fencing and concrete barriers for 1.7 miles around the white House. 

On the same day of DDT’s disastrous photo-op at a church, Ivanka Trump, possibly responsible for the tear gas clearing of the Washington, D.C. peaceful protest for her father’s photo-op, tweeted, “Less hate, more love!” for LGBTQ Pride Month. Her responses were less than positive. DDT refuses to issue a Pride proclamation, but his campaign is trying to make money for a MAGA t-shirt with rainbow-colored letters.

DDT, the great opposer of mail-in ballots who always votes by mail, seems to be homeless when it comes to voting. He gave up his home in New York City to declare residency in Florida where he can’t declare Mar-a-Lago as his residence because it’s a club. DDT’s solution was to use the White House as the address for his ballot although he says his residence is in Florida. That’s voter fraud

Barr is so desperate to please his boss he made up a story about foreign countries printing and mailing phony absentee ballots without detection but couldn’t provide evidence. In multiple states, election officials said such a scenario is virtually impossible because of security protections—unique tracking bar codes, tally marks, matching signatures, regulation envelopes, etc.

In the world of COVID-19, the U.S. has 1,965,708 cases and 111,390 deaths on June 5. The small coastal town where I live has picked up 17 new cases since the county began to open and allow tourists. The number is small, but it’s a 170-percent increase over the first three months of cases in the state. Eighteen states have reported spikes in the number of infections.

May 31, 2020

Week 175 – Sunday Good News

In the midst of protesting George Floyd’s killing throughout at least 75 cities where police attack and arrest law-abiding reporters, one place in the United States provides a model of reaction to demonstrations. In Flint (MI), a sheriff and his officers put down their riot gear and joined with protesters. Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson (left) told the crowd marching on the Flint Township police station he wanted to hear them. He added he and his officers are in service of their demands and their protest. The leaders talked with Swanson, and law enforcement joined with protesters to “make this a parade, not a protest.”

Local photographer Leni Kei Williams documented the event in a photo essay posted to Facebook. He wrote about the inception of the interaction:

 

“When we reached the police station, the officers were lined up and everyone immediately took a knee. The Sheriff asked one question… ‘We are mad too! What can we do?’ and the crowd responded, ‘Join us.’”

“You got little ones here, you got dogs,” the sheriff said to the crowd in remarks caught on camera. “So listen, I’m just telling you, these cops love you. That cop over there, hugs people. So you just tell us what to do.”

Later, Swanson said:

“We can’t forget on all our police cars across the nation it says, ‘protect and serve.’ That means all people, that means all people deserve the same dignity. If you can’t call out what’s wrong, try to make it right. And that’s the magic we saw tonight. Nobody’s arrested, nobody got hurt. This is how it’s supposed to be.

“This is the way it’s supposed to be—the police working with the community. When we see injustice, we call it out on the police side and on the community side. All we had to do was talk to them, and now we’re walking with them. … The cops in this community, we condemn what happened. That guy [who killed George Floyd] is not one of us.”  

More of Williams’ photographs.

Similar actions happened in Camden (NJ), Coral Gables (FL), Santa Cruz (CA), Norfolk (VA), and probably other areas.

As DDT grows more desperate in his opposition to mail-in ballots, including raving about bands of children stealing ballots from mail boxes to get them signed and mailed in, a large majority of people in the nation, including 57 percent of Republicans, want mail-in ballots. We all feel we can safely cast our votes without long lines or dangers of crowded places. A new Brennan Center poll finds 80 percent of U.S. people, 90 percent of them registered to vote, want all voters to have the option of mail ballots for the 2020 election.  A Reuters poll found 65 percent of Republicans want the mail ballot option. In addition, two-thirds of people in a poll want voting available for as long as two weeks to eliminate long lines. Republicans are also creating organizations supporting mail ballots, for example former Pennsylvania GOP governor Tom Ridge who has co-founded “VoteSafe.” 

Ridge’s definition of democracy differs from Missouri Gov. Mike Parsons who said, “If you don’t [feel safe], don’t go out and vote.” He’s the same guy who passed on the question about who was responsible for the massive crowds at the Lake of the Ozarks who kept gathering because the county said it was the state’s responsibility. With an answer fitting every question, Parsons said, “It is what it is.” And about the tragic death of George Floyd, Parsons said, “It didn’t look too good.” [Parsons may not fit the “good” part of Sunday’s blog post, but his comments are too good to pass up.]

The Texas absentee voting lawsuit is still ping-ponging through the courts. State AG Ken Paxton wants mail-in ballots greatly restricted, but people want to maintain social distancing by voting from home. The latest state Supreme Court ruling is that concern about COVID-19 is insufficient to obtain a mail-in ballot. But the news for people isn’t all bad. The court also decided voters can assess their personal health to see if they have a disability, defined as a “sickness or physical condition” preventing a voter from appearing in person without the risk of “injuring the voter’s health.” Voters are also not required to explain what their disability is; they just check the box on the application form. And Paxton cannot prevent local election officials from sending ballots to voters who cited lack of immunity to the virus.

In an attempt to exonerate Michael Flynn and DDT, Congress released what the media calls “transcripts” of Flynn’s communications with then Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak when Flynn personally negotiated with a foreign country while Barack Obama was president. The conversations followed President Obama’s sanctions on Russia because of the country’s interference in the U.S. 2016 election. Flynn asked Kislyak to be “even-keeled” about the president’s punishment because “we can have a better conversation” about the relationship between U.S. and Russia after DDT’s inauguration. What has been released is enough of a condemnation of Flynn, who lied to the FBI in denying details of the conversation and undercutting a sitting president. Rep. Adam Schiff (R-CA) said the conversations also prove Flynn liked to VP Mike Pence. DDT had fired Flynn for his lies and admitted Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. The released material, however, is only a summary of the interactions with some quotation—transcripts of every part of their conversations. DDT’s allies are still claiming Flynn did nothing wrong, and AG Bill Barr called Flynn’s actions “laudable.”

After protests from media such as The Rachel Maddow Show and legislators including Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Gary Peters (D-MI) and Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Max Rose (D-NY), DDT extended the deployment of over 40,000 National Guard troops fighting COVID-19 through mid-August. He originally removed the deployment on June 24, 89 days, to refuse Guard troops any federal retirement and education benefits. Earlier deployment would also have caused problems for states depending on the Guard in new hot spots caused by reopening economies. Troops help understaffed and underfunded public health agencies with testing, contact tracing and other health services. Deploying on June 24 would have meant troops would leave by Jun 10 to quarantine for two weeks. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and National Guard Chief General Joseph Lengyel endorsed an extension last week, and 42 governors sent DDT a letter demanding continued federal support for the Guard.

Paul Manafort got out of prison because of COVID-19. So did Michael Cohen. But DDT wanted to leave all the other prisoners in danger of infection in place despite a virus hot zone in a federal prison in Ohio. For once, the Supreme Court disagreed—at least temporarily—with DDT. 

Late Friday, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to reject a California church’s challenge to the restrictions intended to protect people’s health. Chief Justice Roberts wrote that Gov Gavin Newsom could impose these restrictions because he didn’t single out specific places of worship. The court also turned down a request for Illinois churches to reopen. Both states had already removed some restrictions and permitted in-person services on last Sunday’s Pentecost, 50 days after Easter.

In the midst of DDT’s fight with Twitter, one of his judges rejected a lawsuit alleging Twitter, Facebook, Apple and Google conspired to silence conservative voices. Right-wingers accused the four companies of stifling First Amendment rights. Washington, D.C. appeals court Judge Trevor McFadden said First Amendment rights regulates the government, not the private sector and the plaintiffs didn’t prove the companies are “state actors.”

Opponents of Keystone XL and other pipelines picked up another victory from the 9th Circuit Court in a ruling that upheld a lower court ruling suspending a federal fast-track permit for the tar sands project. The court’s ruling stated the government and fossil fuel companies behind the project “have not demonstrated a sufficient likelihood of success on the merits and probability of irreparable harm to warrant a stay pending appeal.” This decision followed a U.S. district court in Montana which ruled DDT’s Army Corps of Engineers violated the Endangered Species Act when it used the fast-track “Nationwide Permit 12.”

The League of Women Voters of Michigan has the right to be interveners in a lawsuit attempting to stop the mandate for Detroit to conduct an aggressive purge of voters, some of them most likely eligible because of the questionable and unsubstantiated data used in the process. The purge risks removing voters with similar names and allegedly “deceased” voters who are still alive. The League asserts federal law doesn’t require purges from third parties using questionable data, Detroit meets federal law requirements, and the process would threaten voters’ rights.

Twenty-three U.S. states, four cities, and the District of Columbia are suing DDT’s administration for weakening fuel efficiency standards. The lawsuit also pits auto manufacturers against each other: GM, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, and others support DDT, and Ford, Honda, BMW, and other automakers oppose him.

President Trump’s job approval sank to 42 percent last week in a two-year low from the highly conservative Rasmussen poll. During several days of protesting, DDT’s rating dropped four points from the previous Friday.

DDT: Week 175 – How Much Worse Can the News Be?

During a week marked by a pandemic, unemployment, and riots throughout the United States—all issues that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) seems totally unable to handle, the other news keeps rolling.  

The riots roll across the U.S. as DDT and AG Bill Barr blame far-left groups of protesting and looting without any evidence. Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said that white supremacist organizations may be looting and destroying local businesses. He said that protesters are being traced, and the Minnesota governor said that 80 percent of arrested people are from out of state. DDT is worsening the violence by threatening anyone coming “close to breaching the [White House] fence” with “the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.” Geraldo Rivera, once a DDT supporter, said to Fox about DDT threats against protesters in Minneapolis, “All he does is diminish himself.”

DDT postponed his dream G-7 summit until September after Angela Merkel said she wouldn’t come to the White House for the meeting in June because of the pandemic. He was able to get only two confirmations for the meeting of world leaders—Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The other three from Canada, France, and Italy either declined or were doubtful. Perhaps looking for friendly faces, DDT said he was also going to invite Russia, South Korea, Australia, and India. Russia has been disinvited from the smaller group, then G-8, after Russians invaded Crimea. DDT insists on re-inviting him whereas the other members oppose the idea. The other six of G-7 may not even attend the summit if DDT makes the decision without them. DDT has already invited the additional four countries and wants the meeting before the election. The G-20 is already scheduled for November 21-22 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia—after the election. 

With the Senate on vacation and the GOP leaders trying to persuade older judges to retire to be replaced by younger, more conservative ones, nothing about a fifth coronavirus bill has happened for almost a week. After Republicans gave trillions to their friends in big business, they are dragging their heels about giving individuals, true small businesses, and state/local governments any part of the pie. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wants to wait for a while before taking any action, but senators up for re-election such as Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Susan Collins (R-ME) worry about their states’ response. A major GOP argument is that states don’t deserve any money. Three different times, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) has blocked a bill giving states more flexibility. McConnell also refuses any infrastructure funding, something that Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) want. The red line for McConnell is keeping employees from any liability for mismanaging safety from COVID-19.

While almost one-third of workers in the U.S. lost their jobs and 20 percent of families don’t have enough food to feed their children in April, corporations put away $1 trillion in institutional money market funds, parking money they don’t immediately need. Commercial bank deposits grew from 4.6 percent to 15.8 percent since mid-March. Billionaires personally gained over $500 billion. The amount of cash in the U.S. grew at an annual 42 percent between February 3 to May 4, almost twice the highest rate ever—22.5 percent in 2011—and almost seven percent the average 6.3 percent annual growth in basic money supply since 1976. More cash would have “trickled” to the top without rejection from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Democrats. Companies used their massive tax cuts to buy back stock, and DDT wants to further cut their taxes. In the most recent coronavirus act, people with annual incomes of more than $1 million got 80 percent of the tax saving.

DDT is in trouble with foreign countries. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned the U.S. to stay out of his shipment of oil headed for Venezuela that he’s trading for gold. Rouhani posted a statement on his website the U.S. had created “unacceptable conditions” in different parts of the world, but that Iran would “by no means” be the one to initiate conflict. He added, “We hope the Americans will not make a mistake.” A fourth tanker has reached Venezuela, and a fifth one is on its way. Yet a desperate DDT is threatening anyone—foreign governments, seaports, shipping companies, and insurers—with stiff sanctions if they help the flotilla.   

Earlier this month, DDT vetoed a bill requiring him to get authorization before using military force against Iran, and he’s shown no letup in sanctions killing Iranians. Yet the country is no more repressive than Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle East countries, and keeping an antinuclear treaty with frequent inspections would be safer than turning the country loose. Wealthy U.S. conservatives, however, fund United against a Nuclear Iran (UANI) to help Israel, Saudi Arabia, and UAE spread violence, chaos, and extremism in the Middle East. Despite its supposed goal of searching for extremism and terrorism, UANI chose not to report on the Saudis and UAE. A Saudi Embassy official had provided invaluable assistance to two 9/11 hijackers. Saudi Arabia gave shelter to the Wahhabi Muslims behind Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Muslim terrorists and funded Al-Qaeda forces destroying Syria since 2011. The UAE supplied massive amounts of weapons to Libyan rebels.

DDT told Congress he plans to sell another $478 million of precision-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia, even if lawmakers don’t approve. He will also approve licenses for Raytheon to manufacture more high-tech bomb parts inside the kingdom. DDT had defended the weapons sales as vital for U.S. jobs. Members of both political parties were also furious when DDT bypassed Congress for an $8 billion arm sales to the Saudis and other Middle East countries.

As part of his campaign strategy, DDT wants to take all U.S. soldiers out of Afghanistan before November. Unfortunately for him, the Taliban agreement from last February set a timetable of more than one year for U.S. troop withdrawal. If U.S. military leave before then, the Taliban can see the action as disregarding the agreement. The Taliban will take over Afghanistan again, and the U.S. will get the blame.

Yesterday, DDT arrived 45 minutes late for an announced press conference, spoke for nine minutes attacking China, and refused to answer questions about the man killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. About China, he complained about their actions in Hong Kong, said he would revoke Hong Kong’s special trade status to punish China, and promised to immediately end the U.S. relationship with the World Health Organization. He blamed WHO and President Obama for China’s actions.

China has good reason to ridicule DDT, with large cities on fire every night and his giving authoritarian orders to private businesses such as Twitter. Using executive orders to control private businesses such as social media is practicing socialism.  

DDT had another imaginary conversation, this time with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who supposedly said that he’s not happy with India’s conflict with China. Modi has not talked to DDT since April 4, and Indian officials were “taken by surprise” by DDT’s comment about Modi being not “in a good mood.” Last summer, DDT lied about Modi wanting him to help solve the conflict in Kashmir.

North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is being supported in a multibillion-dollar money laundering scheme by 28 North Korean and five Chinese citizens with 250 shell companies, more proof that DDT can’t stop Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear weapons program with his faulty diplomacy. Kim has said since last year that it would continue testing this year, and DDT said that he didn’t want to meet with Kim until after the November election.

In any other time, DDT’s veto of a bipartisan resolution days after Memorial Day would be considered a conflict of interest; after almost four years since he was inaugurated, it’s just “normal.” Congress recommended overturning a policy creating more problems for students defrauded by colleges to have their education loans canceled. Veterans are one group preyed upon by corrupt schools to take their GI Bill education benefits, thanks to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ regulatory action. The Education Department has received over 300,000 claims for debt relief and for-profits chain college such as Corinthian, ITT Technical Institute, Argosy University, and the Art Institutes closed. Part of DDT’s business has been the now-defunct Trump University, described in the conservative National Review as a “massive scam.” DDT paid $25 million to settle three lawsuits for fraud.

In a cowardly action, DDT is breaking with decades of precedent by not publishing a mid-year economic forecast. The projections come from the director of OMB, chair of DDT’s economic advisers, and the treasury secretary. As comic writer Gerry Conway tweeted:

“Trump figures if he doesn’t tell people they’re out of work, they won’t know they’re out of work.”

Alabama Media Group columnist Kyle Whitmire said:

“It’s like refusing to release a weather forecast that says a hurricane will make landfall tomorrow. Eventually, the truth will tell itself.”

With DDT in the Oval Office, the United States—and the world—are in a mess because officials are afraid of telling him bad news. No one can effectively plan for disasters without getting fired.

May 29, 2020

DDT: Week 175 – Creation of a Banana Republic

Over 100 years ago, U.S. writer O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) coined the term “banana republic” in describing the fictional Republic of Anchuria. A century later, the term expanded from being a small country economically dependent on a single export commodity to one which is poor, corrupt, and badly ruled, typically by a dictator or the armed forces. Since the election of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), the United States, although a large country, has grown closer dto fitting this description, and this week puts the U.S. on the edge of Banana Republic classification.

On Memorial Day, a police officer, now discharged and arrested, killed George Floyd while at least three other police officers watched. The former officer pressed down on Floyd’s neck with his knees for over eight minutes. Floyd cried out “I can’t breathe” until he lost consciousness after a little more than five minutes. He died because he literally could not breathe. Floyd had complied with police requests after he tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes. National protests followed the lack of action regarded the police officer’s crime. Video from the store shows that Floyd did not resist.

This morning, black/Latino CNN reporter Omar Jimenez (left), his producer Bill Kirkos, and his Latino photojournalist Leonel Mendez were arrested by several white Minnesota state police officers while the video was playing live on air. Police claimed crew refused to move when instructed, but the video footage shows only courtesy on the part of Jimenez. Later, the state patrol tweeted an insinuation that they didn’t know the men were reporters. The three men were wearing CNN identification, and Jimenez politely explained to the police that he was standing where they had told him to be. Jimenez said that he would go anyplace that they told him, but they handcuffed him and led him away. The police refused to answer his question about why he was being arrested before they arrested Kirkos and Mendez. The camera, still running, chronicled the arrest

At the same time, white CNN correspondent Josh Campbell was reporting about a block away. He said that the police were “polite” when they asked him the name of his outlet. The arrested men were released about an hour later after the Gov. Tim Walz intervened and apologized to CNN’s president, Jeff Zucker. Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis city council vice-president, told CNN in an interview that the arrest was another example of systemic racism and asked local and state officials to declare racism in Minnesota a public health emergency.

Since his inauguration, DDT has been complaining about the media violating the First Amendment by publicizing facts about him. The arrests of Jimenez, Kirkos, and Mendez are a real violation of the First Amendment.

Yet DDT whines about Twitter stifling his free speech because the company suggested a fact-check on the outrageous lies DDT tweets about mail-in voting. DDT has not talked to Floyd’s family, but he did have time to tweet about the protesters, calling them “THUGS” and blaming the events on “the very weak Radical Left Mayor.” In the same tweet, he threatened to kill protesters: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter responded with a warning that reads:

“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

Twitter followers can read the tweet by clicking on the warning but cannot, like, dislike, or retweet the message. Thus far, DDT seems to have backed down from an attack on Twitter, merely tweeting that looting can lead to shooting. The weekend isn’t over, however.

DDT has a history of glorifying racist protesters, beginning almost three years ago when he called violent white supremacists in Charlottesville (VA) “very good people.” When protesters who tried to open up all business in Michigan carried assault-like rifles and broke into the capitol, DDT told Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to give them what they wanted. He praised them as “very good people.” He may be partially correct about the term “thugs.” Members of the “boogaloo movement”—gun enthusiasts who have found a home with white supremacists—have decided to infiltrate the protests about the killing of George Floyd, perhaps to encourage a race war. The boogaloo-ers were behind the protests in Michigan. Alex Friedfeld, an investigative researcher at the ADL Center on Extremism in Chicago said:

“There’s two versions of boogaloo. There’s the white supremacist burn society down and build a white ethno-stage. And then there’s the anti-government resist tyranny at all costs, and if it creates a civil war, so be it version.”

Yesterday, DDT signed a threatening executive order that may lack any power. It claims to remove immunity from lawsuits against Twitter for removing conservative tweets after Twitter posted a suggestion to fact-check his rabid lies about mail-in voting.  Although studies show he is wrong, DDT firmly believes that mail-in voting favors Democrats and will make all Republicans lose in the fall election. He tweeted:

“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives [sic] voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.”

DDT’s frantic behavior comes from his losing to Joe Biden in the polls. He’s setting up the scene to be the victim if Biden wins the votes in the electoral college to become president. Four years ago, DDT shouted at his rallies that the election was “rigged.” Once he won the electoral votes, he quit mentioning a “rigged” election until his polls looked bad.  DDT’s fixer Michael Cohen said:

“Given my experience working for Mr. Trump. I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power.”

As always, DDT was careful with his language: his order directed federal officials to examine Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. In the same way, the media reported that he opened up all the meatpacking plants when he told Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to tell them to follow OSHA. DDT’s order did state that companies could lose legal protection from lawsuits if they restrict the views that can be expressed on their websites. According to the order, online platforms “are engaging in selective censorship that is hurting our national discourse.”

Legal experts disagree with the order’s premise. Conservative legal UCLA scholar Eugene Volokh said:

“Twitter, Facebook and the like are immune as platforms regardless of whether they edit, including in a politicized way. Like it or not, this was a deliberate decision by Congress.”

The order tells the FCC to draft regulations regarding actions to expose Twitter to liability if it would “restrict speech in ways that do not align with those entities’ public representations about those practices.” About this demand, Eric Goldman, who teaches internet law at Santa Clara University, said:

“The FCC has no authority over this, because Congress hasn’t delegated that authority.”

Goldman added:

“The First Amendment protects those words that Twitter added. It means Twitter can say that there are additional facts that readers should consider.”

Marc Rasch, an expert on internet law at Kohrman, Jackson and Krantz, said websites are private entities and therefore can restrict content in the same way shopping malls can keep out protesters.

DDT’s regulation could backfire if social media protects themselves by deleting posts or blocking users. 

The complaints about Twitter in DDT’s executive order project DDT’s own actions. These objections about Twitter describe the way DDT operates and benefits:

  • “Hand pick the speech that Americans may access and convey on the internet [to] exercise a dangerous power.”
  • “Shape the interpretation of public events; to censor, delete, or disappear information; and to control what people see or do not see.”
  • “Flaunt[ing] his political bias in his own tweets.”
  • “Profiting from and promoting the aggression and disinformation spread by foreign governments.”
  • “Use … power over a vital means of communication to engage in deceptive or pretextual actions stifling free and open debate by censoring certain viewpoints.”
  • “Engage in deceptive or pretextual actions … to stifle viewpoints with which they disagree.”
  • “Problematic vehicles for government speech due to viewpoint discrimination, deception to consumers, or other bad practices.”
  • “Unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.”
  • “Suppress content … based on indications of political alignment or viewpoint.”

DDT’s demands against mail-in ballots may already cause him problems: the Pennsylvania GOP fears offending DDT by promoting mail-in ballots. All people in the state can vote by mail without a reason, and the GOP pushed the practice—until now. As of yesterday, about 1.3 million registered Democrats requested mail ballots for the June 2 primary election, compared with about 524,000 Republicans, only 29 percent of the requests from the GOP that represents 38 percent of registered voters.  

Meanwhile, 104,542 have died of COVID-19, and the number of confirmed cases is spiking, almost at 1.8 million by today, May 29.

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