Nel's New Day

October 1, 2022

Hurricanes – Ian, DDT

The government shutdown has been postponed until December 16 after the House passed Senate legislation by 230-201. All except ten Republicans voted for a shutdown and blocking the $18.8 billion disaster relief for Western wildfires, Kentucky floods, and Southeast hurricanes. GOP House leadership had whipped its members to vote against the continuing resolution (CR) which provides support for a block of six southeastern states with Republican governors. Two Republicans from the impacted red states among the Republican representatives voting yes; the other 43 representatives for the six states voted to provide no aid to their constituents. Voters might want to consider how their representatives voted when they cast their ballots this fall. And thank a Democrat for every dollar they receive.

Democrats also provided funding to support Mississippi’s problem with unsanitary drinking water in its state capitol after mismanagement by the GOP governor. Subsequent funding packages may also add help for devastated Florida from Hurricane Ian. The estimated property losses from Hurricane Ian will exceed $60 billion, according to an estimate from the Insurance Information Institute, which said that would make the storm the second-largest “catastrophe loss event” on record after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Hurricanes like Ian, one of the five worst hurricanes in U.S. history, will become the norm from warmer oceans and air, more water vapor in the atmosphere, and higher sea levels as storms are less likely to churn up colder water. Warmer oceans add fuel to strengthen hurricanes, increasing the average wind speeds of major hurricanes by about 18 mph for each 1.8F of ocean surface warming, a 13 percent increase. Larger storms pile up more water for bigger surges such as the unprecedented 12 to 28 feet Ian produced. With wind of 150 mph, rain as much as 20 inches, and these storm surges, Ian destroyed 90 percent of just one city, Ft. Myers, that has a population of 83,000+.

Despite announced dangers of Hurricane Ian, many people refused to evacuate, believing that it was just another storm. QAnon conspiracy theorists spread lies about the hurricane being fake news.

When Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), was governor, he rejected the concept of “man-made climate change,” overturned all previous initiatives to cut fuel emissions, cut the budget for reducing pollution, and banned agencies from using the term climate change. Three months ago, eight Florida GOP lawmakers, receiving over $1 million for fossil fuel industry donors, pushed federal regulators to stop a requirement for businesses to disclose risks from climate change. Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis has evolved on the need for disaster aid after his “no” vote on help for northeastern states while a U.S. representative in 2013, but last month, he led the drive to ban the state from considering climate risks in investments for pensions of teachers, firefighters, and other government workers. He picked up over $800,000 in donations from the fossil fuel industry.

Firmly believing in aggression, DDT launched a full-scale racist attack against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his wife, DDT’s former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. In a virulent reaction to a few Republicans—including McConnell—passing the CR, he posted a long screed on Truth Social including the statement about McConnell, “He has a DEATH WISH. Must immediately seek help and advise [sic] from his China loving wife, Coco Chow!” MAGA Republicans claim that DDT meant no violence, but Alyssa Farah Griffin, DDT’s former White House Director of Strategic Communications, slammed his statement.

The more DDT loses, the more aggressive he becomes, and his attempts to block the investigation into classified and other government document found at Mar-a-Lago are increasingly turning against him. The DOJ filed an expedited appeal to the 11th Circuit Court after DDT’s pet judge Aileen Cannon delayed the processing of documents seized from Mar-a-Lago, stating it slows efforts to determine how the classified records were transferred and whether they were improperly accessed. Cannon also denied the order from her hand-picked special master for DDT, Rayond Dearie, that lawyers support their statements under oath about FBI-planted materials at Mar-a-Lago.

According to the filing, the DOJ wants Cannon’s order for a special master be overturn because Cannon repeatedly overrules his decisions. Legal experts have wondered if the appeals court will remove Cannon from the case after its stinging rebuke in a recent decision against her.

 

Another DDT problem is infighting among his legal team between his new expensive lawyer and the former ones for the past week. Chris Kise wants to calm everyone down and have DDT willingly give up the classified documents to keep him from being indicted. DDT seems to have joined the other attorneys to keep attacking. The combative filing last week, which Cannon accepted, questioned DOJ’s motives and truthfulness, and Kise did not sign it as he has with previous filings since he was hired.

Three of DDT’s lawyers may face their own days in court with personal legal risks:

Christina Bobb told DDT allies that she is willing to allow the DOJ to interview her about her role in responding to the subpoena.

M. Evan Corcoran was told by colleagues that he should hire a criminal defense lawyer because of his response to the subpoena but keeps insisting it isn’t necessary.

Boris Epshteyn, a long-term DDT adviser, had to give his phone to the DOJ after he was subpoenaed as part of the agency’s investigation into DDT’s fake elector scheme and appeared before a Georgia grand jury probing into DDT’s attempt to overturn the state’s popular vote in favor of himself.

More details about DDT’s attorneys here.

Twenty months after DDT left the office, he and his administration have not yet turned over all its records to the National Archives which will consult with the DOJ about whether “to initiate an action for the recovery of records unlawfully removed,” according to acting archivist Debra Steidel Wall. Missing are “non-official electronic messaging accounts that were not copied or forwarded into their official electronic messaging accounts.” These include DDT’s adviser Peter Navarro’s failure to turn over official White House business he stored in private emails. Thus far, the FBI has recovered over 300 classified documents from Mar-a-Lago thus far in 2022: 184 in a set of 15 boxes in January, 38 handed over by a DDT lawyer in June, and over 100 more documents from the August 8 search after the FBI received a warrant. (Left: Documents found from the August search warrant.)   

 

DDT specializes in lies and exaggerations, and the best one recently is that the FBI took 200,000 pages. Let’s imagine how many boxes that would be. Philip Bump did the math and figured that 200,000 pages was off by a factor of 18. With the search warrant, the FBI removed 26 boxes or containers from the storage room and one box and six collections of documents from DDT’s office. He breaks down the number of each category in his article, but the items included government documents/photos, news articles/clippings, empty folders, books, and clothing/gifts. Nothing was said about digital devices so only paper was taken.

A 500-sheet ream of paper, 8.5” X 11” and two inches deep, will take up at least double the room when it’s gone through the copies. In the photos of material taken, cartons were banker’s boxes which are 10” 12” X 15”, holding about ten reams of paper—5,000 sheets or 27 boxes for 135,000 pages if the paper hadn’t been copied. But it was, and the boxes held much more than paper, using up a great deal of room. The number goes back to about 11,000 documents.

A week ago, the “Truth Rally” for DDT on the steps of the U.S. Capitol fizzled like wet fireworks. Billed as “the biggest to date,” the event drew a few dozen DDT supporters with a few dozen counter-protesters. The supporters couldn’t figure out if rioters were proud of their January 6 insurrection, didn’t do it, and were set up. NBC reported Ben Collins concluded, “The theme is basically: There was no insurrection on January 6th, and we’d do it again.”

A week later on October 1, DDT went to Michigan where early voting started on September 29, ostensibly to support his “stop the steal” candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and attorney general. His speech, however, was the typical litany of grudges. The event was at an expo center at the community college in the Detroit suburb of Warren. It has a 4,000-seating capacity. Gone were the QAnon gestures and creepy music from the last two rallies last month, but DDT satisfied his MAGA folk by ending his speech with his MAGA slogan reminiscent of QAnon.

The mainstream media is tired of DDT; there was little information about his latest rally.

September 29, 2022

Pot-pourri – DDT, Uvalde, Etc.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 27, 2022

News on September 27, 2022, Hearing Canceled Etc.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MSNBC Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out:

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

More news tomorrow.

September 17, 2022

Railroading – Unions, Migrants

The question about the media is when it will start giving President Joe Biden credit for his successes. Averting a catastrophic railroad strike, evenly temporarily, would be a nice way for them to begin. A disaster for the precarious supply chair had already been predicted when a tentative deal was struck with workers, both sides crediting Biden’s administration for the potential success. Constant lobbying for a settlement for the past several weeks argued that the stakes were too high to carry through with the dispute. The strike was put off until two unions with about 60,000 members count their votes, possibly in mid-October. The other unions have already agreed to a deal.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh led 20 hours of talks in the final stretch, and Biden called into the negotiations 27 hours before the strike deadline to argue against the railways’ shutdown, a “crucial” call according to one source. He had frequently called the on both sides. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack were also involved in negotiations.

The strike would have halted transport of grain, fuel, lumber, car parts and other key products—about 30 percent of hauling in the U.S. Congress could have blocked the strike, but a majority vote of pro-union Democrats and recalcitrant Republicans intent on winning the Midterms. This resolution would also hurt labor-friendly Biden. Fox business hosts seemed disturbed that Biden “expressed concern for the workers and their families, not really for the rail companies.”

The tentative deal includes voluntarily assigned days off for workers, an additional paid day off, increases to health care copays and deductibles, protections for two-person crews, and 24 percent raises over five years. The union must ratify the agreement before it goes into effect. The deal helps the U.S. economy and blocks a supply chain crisis.

Freight-rail workers haven’t walked off for 30 years since George H.W. Bush was president. Forty railroads suspended operations, and almost all freight-rail traffic and passenger rail service halted before Congress imposed a settlement. This time 125,000 freight-rail employees are involved, and their strike would make a daily $2 billion hit to the economy. By now, roads has seven major carriers with skyrocketing revenues. The top two gained about 12 percent in 2021, $21.8 billion and $22.5 billion. Freight-rail companies cut 40,000 employees from November 2018 to December 2020 by creating extremely tight schedules, leaving no time for employees to call in sick or go to medical appointments.  

Thirty years ago, then Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) voted against forcing railroad employees to return to work. He said the presidential emergency board was stacked in favor of railroad executives. Now that he’s doing the heavy lifting, the Wall Street Journal editorial board slammed him

“You’d think some $5 trillion in new spending by this Congress, much of which will fatten union bottom lines, would be enough to buy some labor peace. If not, Democrats on Capitol Hill have the power to impose another cooling off period so the two sides can negotiate without a strike. Let’s see if Democrats side with their Big Labor allies, or with the U.S. economy that needs the trains to run on time.”

Biden’s comment? “The trains are running on time.”

 WSJ might want to look at its own union problems. Since the onslaught of COVID, workers have worked remotely except for two days a week. The newspaper now mandates they come into the office at least three days a week, starting November 1, and senior editors and managers were ordered to be in the office full time. The WSJ editor-in-chief told staff that they do their best work while being together physically, but the union director responded that “this company has been very, very successful for the past two plus years.”

Of 40 employees contacting the union about the new requirement, 80 percent were opposed to the additional day per week in the office because of childcare, health and safety from the continuing COVID threat, and the noise of the newsroom. Some staff are also asking for raises to combat inflation. WSJ has only a one-year contract with employees. Readers will see if the newspaper will “run on time.”

Biden’s approval rating jumped to 45 percent from 36 percent in July—and that poll was before the railroads’ tentative agreement. Gas prices dropped 26 percent since June, and many GOP members are unhappy with Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) proposal of a nation-side anti-abortion law.

The latest ploy to get reelected—maybe picked for president—is to send migrants north, without notice and as political pawns. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott paid $12 million, about $1,200 per person, to bus 10,000 migrants north, most recently to VP Kamala Harris’ residence. Two of them had to be hospitalized, one from diabetic shock and the other a baby experiencing health issues. Arizona also bused migrants to Washington, D.C. costing the state $3 million in three months.

Not to be outdone, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew 50 migrants, mostly escaping from Venezuela, to Martha’s Vineyard. The migrants didn’t know where they were until they landed but thought it would be different destinations. Telling the migrants they were going to Boston, a woman who called herself Perla lured them lured onto the planes with the promise of work, housing, and a surprise gift. The planes dumped them at the airport, and they walked two miles to the Community Center after having no food of water all day.

DeSantis proudly took credit after their landing through his spokesperson. He sent a videographer with the migrants and provided exclusive footage for the Fox network. The greatest oddity is that migrants flown with Florida funding started in San Antonio (TX). DeSantis funding for the two charter planes came from $12 million of federal COVID relief monies that Florida set aside to provide “the transport of unauthorized aliens from the state.” States have no restriction on the use of interest from the federal pandemic money. 

Needlessly cruel, these publicity stunts may also be illegal, “designed to prevent [migrants] from complying with federal immigration policies.” Even the administration of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) rejected similar deportations recommended by DDT’s adviser Stephen Miller because of liability concerns. States cannot legally transport migrants not in custody without voluntary and informed consent, and the governors’ actions smack of human trafficking. A state cannot make the decision to move immigration cases from one jurisdiction to another.

Massachusetts officials could charge Texas state officials for fraud or even kidnapping. Migrants might be able to sue DeSantis and his participants in the scheme, resulting in the payment of millions to asylum seekers, as families separated at the border by DDT’s administration are doing. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has already asked the DOJ to investigate federal law violations in these cases.

An Episcopal priest in Martha’s Vineyard said that all migrants sent from San Antonio are individually meeting with lawyers to preserve their rights. The deportation scheme is intended to anger people where migrants are sent, but residents of Martha’s Vineyard mobilized to help them with their needs. Some migrants have been voluntarily transported to Joint Base Cape Cod, a military training facility, for shelter, food, needs assessment, and healthcare access.

Many of the “deported” migrants to northern cities are asylum seekers, legally in the U.S. awaiting the courts’ decisions. A Boston immigration attorney discovered that DHS had registered cases for migrants in Texas to mailing addresses in random homeless shelters across the U.S. Migrants must check in at the office closest to their registered address, some as early as Monday, or risk deportation.

Sixty years ago, Southern White segregationists coerced Blacks into being shipped to the North with promises of work and housing, some of them to Martha’s Vineyard. The 1962 Reverse Freedom Rides were in retaliation for Black and White volunteers riding buses throughout the South in 1961 to support desegregation. In Arkansas, Citizens’ Councils recruited men with criminal records and single mothers with multiple children. One woman was dropped off in Hyannis with her nine children and was told John F. Kennedy would greet her. She took almost nothing for the trip because she was promised all her needs would be provided to them on their arrival.

Then, as now, local committees were formed to provide housing, clothing, and money for the new arrivals. Even “moderate” segregationists were disgusted by the “cynical manipulation” of the poor Blacks, and a New Orleans radio/TV station called the campaign “sick sensationalism bordering on the moronic.” The 1962 transports stopped with 200 people, compared with the 10,000+ migrants sent by three governors in the past year. Sixty years ago, private people funded the deportation; now the money comes from taxpayers.

Lawyers from the DOJ and the Homeland Security Department are considering litigation options regarding the movement of migrants out of state by GOP governors.

September 13, 2022

News – September 13, 2022

Once again, Republicans reinforced their message that they can’t be trusted. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) dropped a bombshell today when he announced for the sixth time that the GOP would pass a national law preventing abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy if Republicans took the Congress in 2022. (The bill actually states “at 15 weeks”—a week less, important when time is of the essence.) When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, the majority assured women that the abortion ban was only state-wide, that they could go to states permitting abortions for the procedure.  

Nationwide, 60 percent in polling support abortions in all or most cases, up from 55 percent in March, according to the Wall Street Journal. Graham said that he chose 15 weeks because “unborn child” (a fetus) the fetus can then feel pain. Studies show that the sensation of pain doesn’t occur until after 24 weeks. Advocates of the bill refer to 15-week abortions as “late-term,” a term used for pregnancies after at least 21 to 24 weeks. Asked about Graham’s proposal, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said most GOP senators prefer abortion to be under state law rather than a national restriction.

On May 3, Graham said that each state deciding the legality of abortion “and on what terms … is the most constitutionally sound way of dealing with this issue.” On August 7, 2022, Graham said, “I’ve been consistent. I think states should decide…the issue of abortion.” Yet he proposed a national abortion restriction less than two months before an election largely focused on the loss of women’s rights.

Graham’s press conference announcing his proposed federal anti-abortion bill covered the other big news of the day, the Dow Jones dropping over 1,200 points because of the 0.1 percent August inflation increase. Food and gas continued to drop in prices, but some tech stocks lost up to ten percent. The biggest increase in prices for August was in medical services, a problem that the Inflation Reduction Act is intended to address. Rising rents were also responsible for the inflation increase.  

Another commentary on the filing by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) to keep government-owned classified documents in the National Archives instead of in DDT’s unlocked desk drawers while he is gone for months: DDT’s attorneys compared those documents to tapes found in “the Clinton sock drawer,” when describing personal tapes from Bill Clinton’s interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch as part of a memoir about Clinton’s views on the issues of the day. Branch made follow-up tapes of his impressions, and the resulting book, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President, came out in 2009. A 2012 ruling from a case filed by the conservative Judicial Watch demanding they have access to the recordings established the difference between a private record and a Presidential Records Act document in post-presidency. According to the ruling by U.S. district judge Amy Jackson, the Presidential Records Act identifies Clinton’s tapes as personal records, “purely private or nonpublic,” not official presidential materials such as the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.  

House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney has asked that the National Archives review DDT administration’s presidential records in a search for “presidential records … outside the agency’s custody and control. She sent this request after the archives staff told the committee that “the agency is not certain whether all presidential records are in its custody.” Maloney also asked the archives “seek a personal certification from Donald Trump that he has surrendered all presidential records that he illegally removed from the White House after leaving office.”

Kenneth Starr has died at the age of 76, after complications from surgery. Widely accused of political bias, the GOP investigator spent most of Bill Clinton’s two terms pursuing the president for investment questions, which never resulted in any evidence, and then followed by impeachment after Clinton’s affair with an intern. Starr’s appointment as Baylor University president in 2010 ended six years later after a sexual assault scandal in which women alleged campus leaders bungled or ignored their complaints. A review noted that administrators, under Starr, possibly accommodated a “hostile environment against the alleged victims. In 2020, Starr took part in DDT’s defense for his second impeachment. Over 20 years earlier during Clinton’s impeachment, DDT called Starr “a total wacko” and “totally off his rocker.”

September 13 is the last day in 2022 for primaries in the U.S. determining candidates in Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. (Commentary on winners—and losers—tomorrow.) The count in Sweden’s Sunday vote still hasn’t determined whether the extremists in the far-right Democratic party will take over the nation. But one vote has been determined: Twitter shareholders accepted Elon Musk’s purchase of the company.

At the same time, Musk is working hard to get out of the $44 billion takeover, and Twitter’s stock opened on Tuesday at under $41 per share, almost 25 percent under the deal price. Musk has sent three letters to Twitter in his effort to void the agreement, the last time just days ago citing the $7.75 million severance payment the company made to whistleblower and former head of security Peter Zatko. The contract for the purchase supposedly promised no severance payments outside “past practice.” This letter followed another with Musk’s accusations of Twitter’s misrepresenting the number of spam and fake bot accounts on its platform. Twitter sued, but Zatko, a renowned hacker, testified to the Senate about alleged security and privacy vulnerabilities. The Musk-Twitter trial is scheduled for October 17.

In early August, Musk sold almost $7 billion of his Tesla shares in preparation for a forced purchase of Twitter. Openly criticizing government spending, Musk has taken $7 billion in government contacts with billions more in tax breaks, loans, and other subsidies, making the difference between profit and loss. Last summer, studies showed that Tesla vehicles running on Autopilot software had 273 crashes for the previous year, almost 70 percent of the 392 crashes reported in that time. His 18-year-old trans daughter has also filed legal documents to drop her last name of Musk and cut off any association with her father. Musk has seven children, sharing five with his ex-wife Justine Wilson and the others with ex-girlfriend Grimes.

Sample MAGA views from the third National Conservatism conference in Miami on September 11-13:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said tech companies “cannot be viewed as private entities” because “we know without a shadow of a doubt they are doing the regime’s bidding when it comes to censorship.”

A breakout session called for mandatory military service for anyone making over $250,000 a year.

Not one MAGA hat was seen at the meeting, and DDT was at his golf club in Virginia at that time after a mystery flight into Washington, D.C. Yet most 2024 presidential GOP wannabees, mostly governors and congressional members, were present: Mike Pence, Larry Hogan, Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, Mike Pompeo, and Liz Cheney.

After a judicial order to pay $49.3 million in his first defamation trial because of conspiracy theories regarding the Sandy Hook massacre, Alex Jones heads into the second trial by plaintiffs Jones claimed were “crisis actors” who lied about the children’s deaths. Parents’ and others’ cyberstalking and threatening harassment came from his encouragement for his audience to “investigate.” Plaintiffs have also asked the court to remove its current management after it filed bankruptcy in August which Jones said would keep Infowars on the air and keep him from “paying any judgements as he appeals.” Jones also uses the court decision to advertise his supplements and forthcoming book.

Jones’ ex-wife, Kelly Jones, also plans to subpoena her ex-husbands phone records, inadvertently given to the plaintiff’s attorney. Given custody of their three children in 2017 after she filed for divorce in 2013, she maintains their father forced the children to lie about her in court and has been non-compliant about court orders. Phone records also show that Jones has been secretly surveilling both Kelly Jones and his current wife, Erika Wulff Jones, through what could be called a “spy ring.” He also had one of his security team follow his wife.

According to his financial records, highly conservative China-hater Ron Johnson, running for a third senatorial term from Wisconsin, made $57 million in the last decade from a company closely aligned with China. He purportedly sold his shares in the company but still receives up to $1 million annually from rent and royalties as owners of its building. His campaign ads have bragged about the jobs he created as a manufacturer, and his company sued the U.S. government for softer trade relations with Beijing. Johnson threatens to start an investigation into President Joe Biden’s alleged relationships with Chinese businesses. 

Ronny Jackson was first known for being DDT’s White House doctor who said DDT could live to be 200 years old. Jackson left because of drinking on the job and inappropriate interactions with subordinates, including sexual and denigrating statements, to be elected U.S. House representative from Texas. Now he’s so excited about royalty that he wants DDT to be crowned the U.S. “MAGA King.” Maybe he didn’t know that Biden’s reference to DDT as “the great MAGA king” was a joke.  

September 8, 2022

9/8/22 – DDT, More

Appealing the ruling for a special master to look through all the seized documents from Deposed Donald Trump’s (DDT) Mar-a-Lago residence risks delay. Not appealing risks delay. The agency has split the problem and perhaps boxed in the young naïve DDT-appointed judge who put DDT above the law with her ruling.

Instead of asking the judge to reverse her order, the DOJ asked to review only the classified documents. DDT can have a “master” to review the remainder of the documents for executive and attorney-client privilege. The DOJ explained that stopping the investigation into classified documents, including the above-top-secret one revealing military and nuclear secrets from a foreign government, was dangerous for national security. If the judge denies the request within a week, the DOJ will appeal the judge’s ruling to the 8th Circuit Court because “the government and the public will suffer irreparable harm absent a stay.”

Judge Aileen Cannon blocked the DOJ and the FBI from looking at the documents and permitted the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to look at the materials. Today she learned that the FBI is part of National Intelligence. The DOJ’s filing stated:

“The Intelligence Community’s review and assessment cannot be readily segregated from the Department of Justice’s (‘DOJ’) and Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (‘FBI’) activities in connection with the ongoing criminal investigation, and uncertainty regarding the bounds of the Court’s order and its implications for the activities of the FBI has caused the Intelligence Community, in consultation with DOJ, to pause temporarily this critically important work. Moreover, the government and the public are irreparably injured when a criminal investigation of matters involving risks to national security is enjoined.”

As David Ignatius wrote, Cannon seems to not recognize national security stakes such as risking lives of CIA agents and compromising techniques of intercepting and decrypting foreign communications. In addition, the DOJ stated that DDT’s team may not have returned all classified records stolen from the White House even after the FBI searched his residence at Mar-a-Lago. The judge has asked both parties clarify their positions by tomorrow. 

DDT also has provided no evidence that he has standing to seek relief in connection with the classified records because they are government property controlled by the Executive Branch. The case before Cannon is appropriately called Donald J. Trump v. The United States of America.

The DOJ has given Cannon an off-ramp from her highly flawed ruling. The question is whether she will take it.

In another major news story today, Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96, just two days after she greeted her new prime minister, Liz Truss. In her 70 years of ruling, the longest for any British monarch, she worked with 15 different prime ministers—Harold  Wilson serving twice—beginning with Winston Churchill when she became queen in 1952. During her time on the throne, the U.S. has had 14 presidents, beginning with Harry Truman. Elizabeth met all of them except Lyndon Johnson. She is followed by her son, King Charles III.

The other major news story of the day is the arrest and indictment of far-right Steve Bannon, DDT’s adviser and strategist, for stealing over $15 million from thousands of people. He and another founder of a funding site to build part of DDT’s wall blocking immigrants took donations for their own pleasure. New York Attorney General Letitia James stated:

“A New York State Supreme Court grand jury indictment charged Mr. Bannon and We Build the Wall with two counts of Money Laundering in the Second Degree, a Class C Felony, two counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a Class E Felony, one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a Class E Felony, and one count of Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor.”

Once the operator of the extremist far-right Breitbart website, Bannon became a member of the board of directors for the now-defunct data-analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, which DDT’s campaign fraudulently used to win the White House. Bannon was federally indicted for the same wall scam but pardoned by DDT days before President Joe Biden was inaugurated. Federal pardons do not cover state crimes, and New York state passed a law in 2019 eliminating its presidential pardon double jeopardy loophole.

Now 68 years old, conspiracy theorist Bannon could serve up to 43 years in prison. Two months ago, he was also convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to honor a subpoena from the House January 6 investigative committee.

Bannon claims innocence, but he told donors that “all the money you give goes to building the wall.” Organizers pledged that the group’s president would taken none of the donations for salary, but Bannon secretly funneled $250,000 to the president, Brian Kolfage. DDT didn’t pardon Andrew Badolato and Kolfage; they pled guilty of charges in April.

DOJ’s federal grand jury has issued subpoenas in its investigation into DDT’s Save America PAC which lied about using donations for legislating against Biden’s election. None of the donated $135 million has gone for that purpose, and just a small amount has gone to candidates in midterm races. Instead, the cash is either hoarded, with $99 million remaining in the bank, or used to help DDT, including his legal fees and businesses, or undermine his enemies. After DDT lost the election, his team appealed to donors up to 25 times each day, claiming that DDT wanted the money for his non-existent “Official Election Defense Fund,” a grift.

Since the DOJ seized classified documents from Mar-a-Lago, DDT has been heavily promoting QAnon through his Truth Social along with CEO and former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and former DDT official Kash Patel through the promotion of an account copying “Q,” the supposed creator of the movement.  Media Matters senior researcher Alex Kaplan said that the accounts promoting QAnon give DDT “praise and reassurances, which I’m sure he likes.”

A leaked membership roll of the far-right extremist Oath Keepers identifies 370 U.S. law enforcement officers, elected officials, and military members in the group playing a large role in the January 6 insurrectionist among the over 38,000 names and infilitrating civil institutions. Founded in 2009 by Stewart Rhodes, Oath Keepers push the belief that the federal government plans to strip citizens of their civil liberties. Fortunately, Rhodes’ arrest after his participation in the January 6 insurrection has lost many members who look upon him as their cult leader.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is investigating DDT for his public use of an unauthorized photo on his social media in which he poses with dozens of Pennsylvania State troopers. The picture was for private use only: Pennsylvania State troopers cannot appear in political photographs while in uniform, and those in the photo could face disciplinary action. Troopers also “shall not use their position for political influence,” and DDT used it to display his strength and anti-crime policy. DDT has removed the photo after it was sent to millions of viewers.

Michigan voters will be able to vote about overturning a 1931 anti-abortion law in November after the state Supreme Court decided in a 5-2 vote to reverse a state board that refused to approve the question in a 2-2 tie vote. Both Republicans had voted against permission. Kansas rejected the anti-abortion legislative measure this summer. Two states, California and Vermont, have measures to put abortion rights into state law while another two, Kentucky and Montana, ask voters to prohibit abortion.  

A leak from the social media giant Snap, connected to the network founded by billionaire Charles Koch, accidentally gave Democratic campaigns and party committees a huge collection of GOP voter date it can use to hone their midterm ads.

DDT’s early trainer in corruption, attorney Roy Cohn, notoriously said,  “Don’t tell me what the law is, tell me who the judge is.” The saying fits not only DDT’s Judge Cannon but also the federal judge in Texas who ruled that companies don’t have to cover the cost of HIV preventative meds because of “religious grounds.” Good way for right-to-lifers to kill people.

With all the DDT-drama this week, the return of Barack and Michelle Obama to the White House for the first time since they left got much less notice. It was also the first time in ten years that portraits of a president and his first lady were unveiled—something that DDT overlooked in his four years. That was the date that President Obama presided at the reveal of George W. Bush’s and Laura Bush’s portraits. At that event, the incumbent president said

“We may have our differences politically, but the presidency transcends those differences. We all love this country. We all want America to succeed. We all believe that when it comes to moving this country forward, we have an obligation to pull together.”

After a four-year hiatus in attitude, the president’s desire for “America to succeed” seems to have returned. Thus far, DDT and his wife don’t seem to have portraits for the White House.

After Biden’s speech discussing democracy in “the soul of the nation,” his increase over DDT in a possible match rose to 48 percent over 42 percent, three points earlier than the week before at 45 percent to 42 percent and four points better than between April and July. In addition, 58 percent of respondents to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, including 25 percent of Republicans, agree DDT’s MAGA movement is threatening U.S. democracy. Sixty percent of Republicans think that the MAGA movement doesn’t represent the GOP majority.

September 5, 2022

News – September 4, 2022

A few catchups from the past week:

While Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) raves about a rigged election in a Pennsylvania rally, one of his own was convicted for trying to rig a siphoning scam to take votes from a Democratic candidate. The Seminole County (FL) GOP chair was found guilty of using his cousin as a “ghost” candidate,” an increasingly common practice in Florida, through putting a fake candidate on the ballot advertised as a progressive to take votes from the legitimate Democrat candidate. Floridian Republicans have also changed voter registrations from Democratic voters to the GOP without consent, and several Republicans in the retirement Villages voted twice. Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has created state election police, but they are not investigating these election frauds. 

DeSantis’ election force has also not investigated him for another voter fraud, arresting 20 people with one of them dragged to jail in his underwear at 6:00 am. In 2018, Florida voters overwhelmingly supported the right of released felons to vote, but GOP legislators said they had to first pay all their fees and fines. Chaos reigned with no system to let people know if they were ineligible to cast a ballot. DeSantis’ appointees approved the completed registration cards for felons so the duly registered ex-felons didn’t know they were disenfranchised. To convict those charged, prosecutors must prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the arrested people knew their votes were illegal. DeSantis just want to make eligible voters afraid to cast ballots, destroying democracy.

At least 150,000 Jackson (MS) residents continue to lack safe drinking water, and the mayor said they face “a much longer road ahead” before services are fully restored. Relying on bottled water, they can’t take baths, wash dishes, etc. The city said that “all of Jackson should now have pressure,” useless for most personal needs except flushing toilets. After decades of neglect, the Pearl River flooding set off problems at one of two water treatment plants, but residents had already been under a boil-water order when the pumps failed. The crisis is a combination of poor infrastructure, climate change, and systemic racism as a Democratic city government tried to deal with a Republican governor and state legislature.

The governor accused the city of mismanagement two months after the federal EPA system violated the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. In March 2020, the EPA found the potential for bacteria such as E.Coli and issued an emergency order to fix the deficiencies. Jackson residents lost access to clean water for weeks in 2021 when the pipes froze. A fire knocked all five pumps at one treatment plant out of service, and last October lawyers sued for “hundreds if not thousands” of children being poisoned by lead in the water. As white people fled the city, 20,000 between 2000 and 2010, Jackson lost both tax revenue and institutional support as In 40 years, the population of Jackson dropped from 200,000 in 1980 and over from 50 percent white to 80 percent Black.    

The long tentacles of health care provided by the Catholic Church reaches farther than hospitals, as students at Ohio’s Oberlin College discovered last week. Campus student health services would provide contraception only for health problems other than preventing pregnancy, and only victims of sexual assault can receive emergency contraception. Oberlin outsourced the student health services to a Catholic health agency which follows religious directives prohibiting contraception to prevent pregnancy—and blocking gender-affirming care. The college developed an alternative plan to offer reproductive health services to students on campus, but some states’ guidelines are similar to the Catholic Church. About 40 percent of reproductive age women live “in areas with high or dominant Catholic hospital market share,” according to a researcher of data in 2020. Many people don’t realize that the Catholic Church controls their health care because the information is concealed. Options of patients, especially low-income ones, can be disproportionately restricted.

Texas spent $12.7 million to bus migrants to the East Coast–$1,400 per person. A one-way, same-day ticket from El Paso costs $291 to New York City and $324 to Washington, D.C., and same-day flights are under $400. Gov. Greg Abbott is asking for private donations for his project but received only $167,828 as of August 17. His goal is to “incite fear among Americans,” a typical Republican strategy, but busing saves migrants money by taking them closer to their destinations.

After DDT spent months attacking House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), warfare is breaking out between McConnell and Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), chair of the GOP’s Senate campaign arm. Like many other Republicans privately express, McConnell doubts the “quality” of DDT-picked candidates winning primaries, fearing both the Senate and House this year will be lost—again. Scott attacked McConnell in an op-ed for the conservative Washington Examiner, accusing “the very people responsible for losing the Senate last cycle” of “trash-talking our Republican candidates.” Without giving McConnell’s name, Scott’s message was clear, coming two weeks after McConnell expressed concern about the GOP taking back the Senate in 2022. Some of DDT’s infamous candidates for Senate are Blake Masters (AZ), Herschel Walker (GA), and Mehmet Oz (PA). Earlier this year, Scott irritated McConnell by releasing the radically-right “Plan to Rescue America” which alienated many affiliated voters.

Scott is also in trouble for the lack of money in the GOP Senate campaign arm. By the end of July, the committee collected a record $181.5 million but spent over 95 percent of it, $26 million just on texting people to donate. The remaining $23.2 million is less than half of the Democratic committee stash leading up to the November election in two months. Scott is getting blamed for not bringing in money, and his group is canceling bookings for advertising, ones they can’t get back even if they manage to raise the money.

The Senate funding committee decided to not pick anyone in the primaries after DDT’s endorsements. In the past decade, it avoided out-of-the mainstream nominees who might lose in the general election; this year many GOP candidates winning the primaries haven’t run for office before. Their negative, expensive primaries left favorable ratings underwater, and they trail in many battlegrounds with well-funded Democratic opponents. By mid-August, Dems outspent their opponents by four-to-one in Ohio, over double in Arizona, and almost two-to-one in Nevada as well as by $14 million in Georgia.  

Scott gained more notoriety by criticizing President Joe Biden’s Delaware “staycation” while on a luxury yacht in Italy during the Florida primaries. He claimed he had planned his trip to Italy long ago because of a wedding anniversary, but the primaries were also planned well in advance. Presidents typically take off a few weeks in August because of the annual congressional recess for the month, and Scott defrauded the government out of Medicare funds while CEO of a large Florida health system.

After 28 months, litigation about DDT’s financial records going to a House committee has reached a settlement: DDT’s former accounting firm Mazurs must turn over some records to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Records are narrowed to financial ties between DDT or his businesses with foreign countries for 2017-2018 and documents between November 2016 and 2018 for DDT’s company holding the lease with the federal government for the former Trump International Hotel. Earlier this year, Mazurs said it had fired DDT and that the firm’s financial statements prepared to DDT “should no longer be relied upon” because it used DDT’s figures.

Last month, despite DDT’s legal opposition, a three-judge appellate court agreed with a lower court decision that the Treasury Department should provide DDT’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee. DDT’s DOJ allowed former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to block the committee from obtaining the returns with the excuse that Democrats wanted them for partisan reason. The committee successfully renewed the request after Biden’s inauguration, seeking DDT’s tax returns and additional information from 2015 to 2020. 

A Virginia state judge dismissed two cases attempting to bar the public display and sale of two books the plaintiff alleged obscene under an obscure state law. By taking this action, the judge also struck down the law, finding it unconstitutional. Filing by lawyers, presently a GOP state assembly delegate and a former GOP congressional candidate, assert the award-winning graphic memoir Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe and well-reviewed A Court of Mist and Fury by bestselling author Sarah J. Maas were “obscene for unrestricted viewing by minors.” The statute does not allow for a work to be “obscene for minors” and failed to prove that the books are obscene at all. The plaintiffs’ declaration violated both the U.S. and the Virginia constitutions. One of the lawyers, who lost his June 21 primary for Congress by 40 points, tried to build a case for “parental rights.” John Chrastka, executive director of EveryLibrary, said that the plaintiffs tried to weaponize the use of obscenity laws against books that don’t “fit their worldview.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs will begin providing abortions for beneficiaries if the person is endangered by pregnancy or the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest. The VA has made this medical procedure available before but amended its regulations for safety reasons after the Supreme Court and states overturned Roe v. Wade. The rule will be available for a 30-day comment after being published on September 1.

September 1, 2022

News Bits – September 1, 2022

Deposed Donald Trump’s (DDT) lawyers tried to stall DDT’s problems from stealing classified documents by claiming that taking them was like having overdue library books, and President Joe Biden gave a speech in Philadelphia about preserving democracy that infuriated Republicans. More about that later while the judge decides whether to assign a “special master” for DDT but meanwhile lots of other news.

In the Alaska’s first ranked-choice election, Democrat Mary Peltola’s win by three percent came from half the people voting for GOP Nick Begich refusing to put Sarah Palin for their second choice—29 percent picked Peltola, and 21 percent didn’t vote for anyone. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), presidential wannabe, tweeted that the GOP-created ranked-choice voting process “is a scam to rig elections.” Peltola’s win was an 18-point overperformance for Democrats in a red state. In special elections since March 2021, Republicans were two percent over the estimated leaning for the winners before Roe v. Wade was overturned; after that, Democrats had an 11-percent lean.

Tony Ornato, DDT loyalist and deputy chief of staff for operations, retired two days before a scheduled interview with Inspector General investigators after stalling for two months. A top Secret Service official, Ornato may have tried to send VP Mike Pence to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 6, 2022, so that the presidential counting of votes would be delayed. Pence refused to get into the car. Ornato also told DDT’s White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson DDT demanded to be taken to the Capitol on January 6 after the rally and lunged for the steering wheel when Ornato refused to drive him there. Having met with the House January 6 investigative committee twice about Pence’s location, Ornato said he will meet with the Inspector General investigators, but, as a private citizen, he cannot be required to do so with a testimonial subpoena.

The House committee has asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for an interview regarding his communications with DDT’s senior advisers, including Jason Miller and Jared Kushner, about television advertising claiming lies about fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) wrote that Gingrich was part of the fake elector plot to persuade Pence and congressional members affecting the outcome of vote counting on January 6. Committee investigators interviewed witnesses during much of August and continue to receive many new documents while they work to recover missing texts from the Secret Service and Defense Department that the agencies wiped from phones of former and current officials.

Members are exploring identification of documents that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows burned in his office fireplace and other mishandling of documents. After the FBI served a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago on August 8, Meadows made arrangements to return records to the National Archives.

The committee also interviewed some of DDT’s Cabinet secretaries including Mike Pompeo, Steven Mnuchin, Robert O’Brien and Elaine Chao about their conversations after the insurrection in connection with invoking the 25th Amendment, the removal of a president on grounds of incapacitation, mental health or physical fitness. These discussions could show the serious problems of DDT’s behavior.

Former DDT White House lawyers Pat Cipollone and Pat Philbin have been subpoenaed by the federal grand jury investigating the January 6 insurrection.

New information about Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, may contribute to the January 6 investigation. She pushed state lawmakers in Wisconsin as well as Arizona to overturn Biden’s 2020 election win. Emails show emails to at least two Wisconsin state lawmakers appear to be pre-generated by Thomas, mirroring form letters she sent to 29 Arizona legislators asking them to interfere in the state’s slate of presidential electors. She told them to unilaterally choose a “clean” slate of presidential electors and “consider what will happen to the nation we all love if you do not stand up and lead.”

Thomas’ push to overturn the election received scrutiny because of her husband’s refusal to recuse himself in a case about the House’s January 6 investigation. He was the only justice to publicly dissent from the Supreme Court’s move not to block a court order permitting House investigators to see DDT’s White House documents. Thomas also exchanged texts with Meadows in 2020 to persuade him in continuing the fight to overturn Biden’s win. Meadows gave these texts to the House select committee. Thomas has also openly opposed House investigation, calling on the two Republican members of the committee to be removed from the GOP caucus.

Owners of Fox network are defending itself in a defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems with the position that media sources shouldn’t be punished for lying about the 2020 election. Dominion asks for $1.6 billion in damages and has moved into discovery with Fox hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Jeanine Pirro being deposed. According to the Fox argument, the First Amendment allows news organizations to lie about public figures if it’s not done knowingly and has no reckless disregard for the truth. A Delaware judge denied the motion to dismiss the suit last year and stated that the case should proceed and that “the Court can infer that Fox intended to avoid the truth.”  

On the flip side of the coin, Lachlan Murdoch, Fox CEO and founder Rupert Murdoch’s son, is suing an Australian news outlet, accusing it of lying about Fox and its news about the election. Lachlan Murdoch contends an article calling the Murdoch family “unindicted co-conspirators” in the January 6 insurrection and the preceding election lies caused him to be “gravely injured in his character, in his personal reputation, and his professional reputation.” Crikey, the independent outlet, had stated that if DDT is indicted, “the Murdochs and their slew of poisonous Fox News commentators are the unindicted co-conspirators of this continuing crisis.” The First Amendment protects the statement in the U.S., but Australia has no such protection.

The Murdochs will want to avoid discovery because opposing counsel has access to emails and other internal communication. Concern about discovery caused Fox to settle a suit with the family of Seth Rich, the DNC staffer who Fox falsely accused of leaking emails to WikiLeaks during the 2016 election after Rich was shot and killed. In the Dominion lawsuit, Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch may be forced to join their hosts in being deposed. The owners claim they don’t make day-to-day decisions on programming or tell hosts what to say or not to say, but text messages prove the opposite.

A three-judge panel of the conservative 8th Circuit Court temporarily blocked Arkansas’ law banning gender-affirming medical care for trans children and teens. The court ruled that the ban would cause “irreparable harm” to trans young people and their loved ones and prohibit “medical treatment that conforms with the recognized standard of care.” Last year, over 200 anti-trans bills were introduced in over 30 states, and many of them have passed. Lies sent about trans people include trans children receiving gender-confirming surgery. Conspiracy theorists have attacked Boston Children’s Hospital for its Gender Multispeciality Service program treating children with gender dysphoria, including a bomb threat this week.

A KKK plaque is installed at the entrance of Bartlett Hall, the U.S. Military Academy’s science center in West Point (NY). It depicts a person in a hood, holding a weapon, with the words “Ku Klux Klan” on a triptych titled “One Nation, Under God, Indivisible.” The KKK was founded by Confederate veterans at the end of the Civil War.

Florida is rejecting donations of dictionaries after a freeze on new books in its libraries and classrooms so that parents have more control of school materials. In Sarasota, officials declined hundreds of dictionaries from a Venice Rotary Club’s donations. The group has donated over 4,000 dictionaries to the city’s elementary schools for almost 15 years in partnership with a nonprofit called the Dictionary Project. The law requires all “reading material” be “selected” by a certified education media specialist, but the district has none.

Texas loves God, as long as he’s straight, Christian, and English-speaking. A new law requires schools to display donated posters with “In God We Trust” in a prominent place. So parent Sravan Krishna tried to present a sign with the national motto in Arabic to a school district, and they refused after they tried to keep him from speaking. Muslims are the fifth-largest religious group in the state, and Texas has the largest population of Muslims in the U.S. The law has no requirement for English, but the school board said they had enough signs. (The law also makes no requirement for the number of signs.)  In addition to presenting posters in Arabic, Krishna donated another one with “God” in rainbow colors. Although a lawyer has said that the motto must be in English, the colored one didn’t pass muster either. About 20 percent of youth in the U.S. identify as LGBTQ+.  

[Note the U.S. and Texas flag on the sign. According to the law, the sign must include them and only the words “In God We Trust”–nothing more.]

Despite GOP attempts to kill unions, their approval is at the highest point since 1965 at 71 percent. And just before Labor Day!

August 26, 2022

Some News – August 25, 2022

The most dangerous story of the day may be how a Christian fundamentalist company is taking over Texas school boards on its way to control the U.S. for evangelicals. The Texas-based Patriot Mobile markets itself as “America’s only Christian conservative wireless provider,” meaning Christian nationalist/MAGA far right. Electing school board members is the beginning to take over every part of the nation’s political structure with its anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ, anti-feminist, anti-minorities, anti-history, anti-science, anti-nonChristian religion philosophy—and put all that in the school curriculum.

Former DDT adviser Steve Bannon has promoted Patriot Mobile and its “mission from God to restore conservative Christian values at all levels of government—especially in public schools,” according to Mike Hixenbaugh in his article for NBC news. Patriot Mobile created a PAC this year with $600,000 in seed money to spend on school board races in the Fort Worth suburbs. They bought 11 seats in four districts.

The Keller Independent School District pulled 40 books from the library shelves, including a graphic adaptation of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. The company donated framed posters of “In God We Trust” to the Carroll Independent School District, required to display them in each of the school buildings because of a new Texas law. These posters are spreading in schools across Texas after the passage of Senate Bill 797 requiring “a public elementary school or secondary school” to display the motto in a “conspicuous place” if a poster or framed copy of the motto is “donated for display at the school or institution” or “purchased from private donations and made available to the school.” The bill’s co-author tweeted:

“The national motto, In God We Trust, asserts our collective trust in a sovereign God.”

The Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District board voted 4-3 for a set of policies restricting how teachers talk about race and gender, limit the rights of transgender and nonbinary students to use bathrooms and pronouns corresponding with the genders, and simplified a process for parent to ban library books dealing with sexuality. Almost 200 people signed up to speak during public comments, many of them recruited to support the policies but others voluntarily protesting.

Christian fundamentalists must take over all parts of the government in their “Seven Mountains” theology, aka “dominionism,” once a fringe theology.  Pastor Rafael Cruz, Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) father, started weekly Bible studies for employees at Patriot Mobile’s corporate office to be posted on YouTube. Cruz preached that American founders intended a “one-way wall” for religion, banning government from interfering with the church but not stopping the church from controlling the government.

Supporters of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) are fixated on finding negative information about the Biden family, two of them so much that they stole the diary of Ashley Biden, President Joe Biden, during his 2020 campaign. Two defendants pled guilty to stealing the diary and selling it to Project Veritas, the conservative organization pretending to be a news media organization while falsifying videos and other information for negative lies about Democrats. The two thieves received $40,000 for the diary and returned to take more of Ashley Biden’s property. She had written intimate information about herself and her family while she recovered from addition.

The release of a nine-page memo from the DOJ after a court order shows the obfuscation of former AG Bill Barr in covering for DDT after Robert Mueller filed his report about the investigation into the ties between Russian interference and DDT’s campaign in the 2016 presidential election. Barr explained that DDT couldn’t be charged with any crimes because of no conspiracy, different from Mueller’s report. A highly redacted version of the memo was released in 2019; this version is complete. Barr signed and approved the memo on March 24, 2019, the same date he notified Congress of his decision not to prosecute DDT. It ends with a formal recommendation to not charge DDT. Both Mueller and legal analysts criticized the DOJ for being “selective” about items in the report.

Two federal courts concluded that Barr didn’t rely on the memo for legal advice and decided to not charge DDT before he commissioned the memo. A federal appeals court described the memo as an “academic exercise” or “thought experiment” that meant to bolster the public rollout of Barr’s decision against prosecuting Trump. In the memo, Barr’s deputies, the memo’s authors, wrote DDT couldn’t be charged because of lack of precedence and claimed Mueller couldn’t find any comparable cases with “remotely similar circumstances.”

The ”Trump Defense,” according to Barr’s DOJ: DDT’s acts were not criminal because of his thoughts, anger, and ineptitude.

  • DDT’s steps were “not for an illegal purpose” but because he believed the investigation was politically motivated.
  • DDT’s “driving force” was anger over Comey’s refusal to publicly declare that the FBI was not investigating Trump himself rather than an effort by Trump to derail the investigation.
  • DDT’s obstruction was never carried out because people didn’t follow his orders.

The government watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which obtained the memo after a lawsuit, stated the excuses presented a “breathtakingly generous view of the law and facts for Donald Trump.” The group’s statement added:

“It significantly twists the facts and the law to benefit Donald Trump and does not comport with a serious reading of the law of obstruction of justice or the facts as found by Special Counsel Mueller.”

Mueller had pointed out that DDT fired FBI Director James Comey after the former director did not “let this go” in the criminal probe of DDT’s former top adviser Michael Flynn. DDT told his White House counsel, Don McGahn, that he never tried to fire Mueller, but the memo claimed “there is insufficient evidence to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the President sought to induce McGahn to lie.”

In another sticky problem for DDT, one of his appointed judges returned his filing to limit the DOJ review of records seized from Mar-a-Lago with the request that he clarify what he is seeking—why the court has jurisdiction over the dispute and what “precise relief” he wants. Legal observers are already criticizing the suit for being convoluted and failing to ask substantial legal questions. DDT had asked for a special master to review the materials and bar the FBI from examining the documents until the master is appointed. The purpose might be to determine whether the seized documents are protected by attorney-client privilege or any other legalities.

Another potential DDT problem is the release of a redacted version of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit by noon on August 26, per a court ruling. It describes the probable cause for crime, possibly adding more charges against DDT.

More news about documents at Mar-a-Lago came from an email sent by the National Archives chief counsel, Gary Stern to DDT in May 2021. He references two dozen boxes stored in DDT’s White House residence not returned despite the request to give them back. Stern wrote that DDT’s lawyer Pat Cipollone agreed the boxes of official records needed to be returned. For months, DDT repeatedly declined to return the items while his lawyers expressed concerns about his keeping the documents.   

Conservative love to play the victim, and former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, now the GOP candidate for a Montana U.S. House seat by 1,608 votes is no different. He is claiming the DOJ is persecuting him although the agency has refused to bring charges against him for the second time. A report from the Interior Department’s inspector general reveals that Zinke lied and misled his way through an inquiry into possible misdeeds including a casino operating decision following extensive lobbying to bury the project. An earlier investigation into Zinke found he lied about his involvement in a land deal in his hometown of Whitefish (MT), benefitting him personally. He had falsely claimed that his meeting with the developers was “purely social.”

And notably, it’s the second time the Biden DOJ has passed on pursuing Zinke for allegedly lying to investigators. Another IG report released earlier this year found Zinke had allegedly lied about his involvement in a land deal in his hometown of Whitefish, Mont., which he stood to benefit from personally. Zinke claimed his role was minimal and that a meeting he held with the project’s developers at the Interior Department’s headquarters was “purely social.” Yet Inspector General Mark Greenblatt, a DDT appointee, reported that communications proved Zinke had “an extensive, direct, and substantive role in [representing] negotiations” with the developers. Even without any charges for his illegal actions, Zinke called it a “political hit job” by the Biden administration.

The federal government declined to move forward from the investigation of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) until after the general election. In this week’s primary, Gaetz defeated his opponent to be the GOP candidate. Yet the case against Gaetz for sex-trafficking underage girls may be solid, and he could be tied into a massive investigation in corruption throughout central Florida through his connection with an associate, former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg, who is due to be sentenced in December after several extensions. Like Gaetz, some of his charges are for sex-trafficking, but the investigation into ? covers illegal real estate deals, embezzlement of federal COVID relief, Republicans running ghost candidates, and public corruption. An op-ed from Gaetz’s primary opponent wrote about Gaetz using money from his donors intended for conservative causes to pay for his sex-trafficking defense and expressed concern about Gaetz, a member of the Congressional Armed Services Committee who has access to top secret information, is open to blackmail.  

August 20, 2022

Persecution: The Favorite GOP Strategy

[Drought Update]: Yesterday’s blog post on climate disasters focused primarily on the U.S., but other areas face more calamities. In Europe, one of the worst droughts on record uncovered sunken German warships in the Serbian section of the Danube River, part of a Nazi Black Sea fleet sunk in 1944 while fleeing Soviet troops. Loaded with unexploded ordnance, the ships are a threat to fishing and shipping vessels squeezing by in half the 110-yard stretch of the river. Removal of the over 20 ships and their explosive loads will cost $30 million.

In July, a Roman bridge built during the first century BC was uncovered in the Tiber River, and in August, a village flooded in 1963 to build a dam appeared in the Belesar reservoir in Spain. Other submerged towns and villages in Spain surfaced in February with intact house windows and walls. Almost half of EU is under “warning,” connoting a severe drought and major moisture deficit and threatening shipping routes, food supply, and electricity. The heat wave leaves the Iberian peninsula drier than any time in the past 1,200 years and revealed stones from 5000 BC known as the Dolmen of Guadalperal, the “Spanish Stonehenge.”

The U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t quit its rulings during the summer, this one even in favor of Georgia’s Black voters. Lower courts conflicted in their decisions regarding elections for members of the state’s public service commission. They represent specific districts but are elected in a statewide race, diluting the Black vote, according to one judge. The judge, appointed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) ordered a November election be postponed for two commissioners’ seats so that the state legislature could create a new system. Another judge had allowed the election to proceed although he found the election violated the Voting Rights Act.

The 11th Circuit Court halted the ruling and cited the “Purcell principle,” disallowing changes in elections immediately before an election. The Supreme Court overturned the appeals’ court decision in its finding that the current public service commission election system discriminates against Black voters. The issue isn’t settled yet because the circuit court can continue deliberating about overturning the postponement. Another commission candidate had been refused for not meeting the district’s one-year residency requirement, but a Fulton County judge reinstated her because she had been targeted for exclusion during redistricting based on her residency. Text messages showed that a revision of a new map came after the Republican commissioner responsible for drawing the maps had been sent the candidate’s address.

In another Georgia decision, a judge refused to block the provision in the state’s new voter suppression law banning people giving food and water to voters who may have to wait in line as long as ten hours—if they are low-income and/or minorities. He said he didn’t want to change the process from the primaries.

After undated Pennsylvania ballots have collected dust for over three months since the May primary election, a judge ordered three counties to include them in their certified results for the primary election. Mail-in ballots in the state require a date on the declaration on the return envelope. That ruling can allow hundreds or even thousands of additional votes in future elections. The judge ordered the certified totals by August 24.

Two counties are considering an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and the third one won’t comment. The Department of State pushed the counting of votes, and 64 of the 67 counties did so. Some elections in the three non-compliant counties crossed county lines, leaving the department with either certifying results counted differently across counties or unofficially forcing uniformity. It sued the three counties on July 11.

Earlier this month, it was discovered that a fourth county’s results were certified although it, too, had refused to count undated ballots. Dated ballots were first required in 2020. A federal judge has ruled that rejecting undated mail ballots in last November’s election was a technicality, violating federal civil rights law. The ruling ordered counties to report results both with and without the undated ballots until the case was decided. The state Supreme Court must take an appeal and take action, and the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet decided whether to take the federal case.

In Utah, a state judge gave transgender girls the opportunity to participate in female sports if they pass the scrutiny of a state commission of political appointees. The panel of health professionals and athletic officials will evaluate the child’s height and weight in determining whether a transgender girl would have an unfair advantage. At least 12 states passed laws preventing transgender women or girls from sports, and three more states are in the process of following the discriminatory legislature. In his ruling, the judge said that the families of three transgender student-athletes filing the lawsuits showed they suffered significant distress by “singling them out for unfavorable treatment as transgender girls.” The plaintiffs claim the law violates the Utah Constitution’s guarantees of equal rights and due process.

This week the Utah High School Activities Association revealed it secretly investigated a female athlete as transgender without her or her families knowledge because of complaints from parents of two girls she defeated. The probe into her school records back to kindergarten showed her to be “female.” Association spokesperson David Spatafore claimed the process was hidden to spare the girl and her family embarrassment and “to keep the matter private.”

Gov. Spencer Cox accused the complaint and ensuing investigation of crossing a line. At his monthly news conference, he said:

“My goodness, we’re living in this world where we’ve become sore losers, and we’re looking for any reason why our kid lost.”

Cox added that he was disturbed about “making up allegations.” When he vetoed the law barring transgender girls in sport before it went into effect, he explained his disgust

‘Four kids and only one of them playing girls sports. That’s what all of this is about… “Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few.”

Cox also said that his decision to veto the bill could hurt him politically, but he “tried to do what I feel is the right thing regardless of the consequences.” Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed a similar bill in Indiana for fear of business boycotts in the state.

In Florida, an anti-LGBTQ activist in Moms for Liberty wants all LGBTQ students separated in different classes from straight and cisgender students like those with autism and Down Syndrome. The group also attacked the Trevor Project for trying to prevent LGBTQ teen suicide, called two girls briefly kissing at a school function is “lewd” and “traumatic,” and offered bounties for people turning in teachers who discuss “divisive topics.”

Doctors used to be respected for their medical knowledge; now Republicans want to make them felons. First was the proposal to send medical professionals to prison for performing abortions—even ones necessary to save the lives of the pregnant woman or girl. Now Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has introduced a bill making it a felony to provide over a dozen medical interventions and procedures used to treat gender dysphoria—any gender-affirming medical care including puberty blockers and hormones to transgender youth under 18. The measure would block federal funds for gender-affirming health care, including in Affordable Healthcare Act plans, and bar colleges and universities from offering instruction on gender-affirming care. Greene even found 14 GOP House members to co-sponsor her bill: Mary Miller (IL), Jeff Duncan (SC), Bob Good (VA), Ralph Norman (SC), Matt Gaetz (FL), Tony Gonzales (TX), Diana Harshbarger (TN), Clay Higgins (LA), Burgess Owens (UT), Claudia Tenney (NY), Andrew Clyde (GA), Lance Gooden (TX), Lauren Boebert (CO), and Paul Gosar (AZ). She describes “gender-affirming care” as “child abuse” and “assault.” Violators of her law would face 10 to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. 

Alabama already has a similar law, passed earlier this year, but a federal judge blocked its enforcement, ruling that the state hasn’t provided any credible evidence that this health care is “experimental.”

Greene also wants everyone armed so they can shoot transgender people and drag queens. She tweeted that unlimited gun ownership “will be a tool to disarm any gun owner that wants to stop abortion, the trans agenda on kids, mass illegal migration, & big government oppression suffocating our families, faith & freedoms.” She maintains that without guns, these haters will be persecuted by the media. She concluded by saying “every single Republican must wake up and face this frightening reality” where people who make threats against trans people and drag queens might lose their guns.

The next prosecuted category could be witches, now that the last Salem witch has been exonerated, thanks to an eighth-grade class in Andover (MA). Elizabeth Johnson, 22, was judged guilty but not executed, which eliminated her from exoneration when the state legislature exonerated all those put to death in the trials—in 2001. After an intense lobbying campaign by eighth-grade students, legislation has pardoned the last wrongly convicted Salem witch, but other states may go in a different direction. Perhaps students could also start work on other persecuted categories—like LGBTQ people and pregnant women.

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