Nel's New Day

September 25, 2022

Elections, Cheats

Sunday’s election in Italy will please Russian President Vladimir Putin and Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) as far-right Giorgia Meloni claimed victory as the prime minister of the third-largest economy in the European Union in the snap national election triggered by party infighting collapsing PM Mario Draghi’s government in July. She is predicted to take 26 percent of the vote, ahead of her closest rival from the center left. Her alliance includes the former PM Silvio Berlusconi’s center right Forza Italia. Italy’s president, however, selects Italy’s next leader, and Meloni’s party comes from dictator Benito Mussolini’s fascists. Her positions include anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, anti-international finance, anti-EU, and pro-natural family.

Italy is a co-founder of the EU and member of NATO, but her rhetoric puts her close to Hungary’s nationalist leader Viktor Orban. Her allies are also close to Russia; Berlusconi claimed that Putin was forced into invading Ukraine. Meloni’s win follows the rise of Sweden’s anti-immigration party with neo-Nazi roots and the shift of France’s political center to the right.

Next Sunday sees Brazil’s election in which Jair Bolsonaro, nicknamed the Trump of South America, faces former president and former trade union leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. One of them must receive over 50 percent of the vote to be declared the new president. Bolsonaro started repeating complaints of election fraud since he was elected soon after DDT started the trend despite no evidence of any election rigging.  The election covers vital issues for the U.S. such as trade, democracy, DDT, and climate change.

Days after a judge reinstated an 1864 Arizona law prohibiting all abortion except for a pregnant woman’s health, Republicans have nothing to say about the ruling, even those like the GOP candidates, Blake Masters for the U.S. Senate and far-right Kari Lake for governor. Masters called abortion “demonic,” and Lake described it as “the ultimate sin.” At the same time, Democrats are urging women to vote for their rights through speeches and television advertising. The anti-abortion law is one of 40 from the “Howell Code” adopted by the 1stArizona Territorial Legislature.

Historian Heather Cox Richardson explained that the anti-abortion law was intended to “rein in a lawless population of men” during the Civil War. The Code discusses “miscarriage in context with other male misbehavior and makes poisoning to “procure the miscarriage” illegal. The law’s purpose preventing dueling and other violent acts was to keep men from damaging others. A judge had already written the blueprint for all the laws passed by the legislature comprised of 18 men in the lower House and nine men in the upper chamber. He was paid $2,500, equal to five years’ salary for a worker at that time.

In their goal of bringing order out of chaos, one of the 40 laws blocked minorities from protecting themselves, their families and their property from Whites:

“No black or mulatto, or Indian, Mongolian, or Asiatic, shall be permitted to [testify in court] against any white person.”

Also:

“All marriages between a white person and a [Black person], shall…be absolutely void.”

Richardson wrote that the Howell Code “defined the age of consent for sexual intercourse to be just ten years old.”

A judge appointed by DDT ruled that Mike Lindell isn’t above the law; the MyPillow CEO who worked with DDT to overturn the election lost his request to stop federal agents from searching his phone. Lindell has sued to get his phone back, alleging the FBI violated his First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments rights. He is being investigated for a 2021 breach of voting systems in Mesa County (CO). Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, companies making voting equipment, are suing Lindell and his company for defamation about his claims that the machines were used to rig the 2020 election. A federal judge denied Lindell’s motion to dismiss the Smartmatic lawsuit that claimed Lindell “intentionally stoked the fires of xenophobia and party-divide for the noble purpose of selling his pillows.”

Questions swirled around the reason that three lawyers for DDT were seen coming out of a federal courthouse last Thursday; CNN may have the answer. Its journalists reported that they are secretly trying to block the federal grand jury from collecting information from close DDT aides about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Grand jury secrecy rules require the legal dispute to be under seal with no public documents. White House counsel Eric Herschmann has already testified to the House January investigative committee because DDT’s lawyers’ directions regarding executive privilege was quite vague. Now he worries about grand jury contempt.

Attorney-client privilege is not in effect if information is shared outside the attorney-client communication and if any of it relates to possible wrongdoing. A federal judge already found email exchanges to and from DDT’s election attorney John Eastman about January 6 that weren’t covered by confidentiality. The DOJ was able to access those and other similar exchanges. Executive privilege might be overturned after a Supreme Court ruling for Nixon’s Watergate tapes because a criminal investigation needed the materials.   

Years before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew innocent migrants from San Antonio (TX) to Martha’s Vineyard, DDT had the same idea but with an even more vicious intent to destabilize cities. In 2019, he laid out his plan to select murderers and rapists among immigrants for transport to metropolitan. He told his staff he wanted to “punish” his political rivals. Former DHS official Miles Taylor said he heard the plan:

“I was in the Oval Office for a meeting in March, 2019 in which [Trump] got more specific than just dump[ing] them in blue states. He said, ‘I want you to get the worst of the worst’—criminals, actual ‘murderers,’ and actual ‘rapists’—who cross the [southern] border, and round them up. He did not want to expel them, which is what you’re supposed to do in those situations. He specifically said that he wanted us to put them on buses … to, and I quote, ‘destabilize’ those sanctuary cities.”

DDT specifically listed Los Angeles, Portland (OR), Chicago, and New York City among the metropolitan areas Trump wanted his administration to target. Another DDT aide remembers he said “we should load buses up with ‘MS-13,” violent gangs rooted in Los Angeles and El Salvador, “and sent them to cities like San Francisco [where Nancy Pelosi lives, and also to] … New York.” Administration lawyers and other officials rejected the idea and told him that bringing in violent people was opposite of his goal to keep “immigrant crime” out of the country.

The property management subsidiary of a real estate business owned by the family of Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law, agrees to pay over $3.25 million to Maryland after the company “victimized” poor tenets who had horrific living conditions. The company also tried to cheat tenants out of money they didn’t owe.

A jury has ruled against Project Veritas, finding it violating wiretapping laws and fraudulently representing itself to a Democratic consulting firm. It was ordered to pay $120,000 to the firm. The group’s founder, James O’Keefe, claimed his people, who used deceptive practices, are journalists. The conservative Veritas group is known for editing film to make the people look guilty of crimes. They first came on the national scene when they destroyed Acorn and then moved on to smearing Planned Parenthood.

In 2016, the project infiltrated Democracy Partners, employed by the DNC for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. An operative pretending to be a wealthy donor named Charles Roth told the co-founder of Democracy Partners he wanted to donate $20,000 to a progressive group also a client of Creamer. The poser said his niece wanted to work in Democratic circles. Creamer offered her an unpaid internship at Democracy Partners after the false Roth wired the money from an offshore account to the group. The supposed niece used a fake name, false email account, and a bogus résumé. O’Keefe wrote in his book, American Pravda, wrote that the “donation certainly greased the wheels.”

The operative, whose real name is Allison Maass, secretly taped conversations and took documents while she worked at Democracy Partners before supplying information to Project Veritas which edited the videos and made them public. Edited videos suggested Creamer and another man were developing a plan to provoke violence by DDT’s supporters at his rallies. The heavy editing and O’Keefe’s commentary produced false conclusions, according to the lawsuit. The case also stated that Creamer lost over $500,000 worth of contracts because of Veritas deceptions. As the lawyer for Democracy Partners said at the trial, Project Veritas was trying to “uncover what they themselves concocted,” the project’s standard MO.

O’Keefe faces other legal problems. Former employees sued in August for a “highly sexualized” work culture with common daytime drinking and drug use while they worked additional hours without pay. Two Florida residents also pled guilty to stealing a diary from Ashley Biden, the president’s daughter, and selling it to Project Veritas under direction by its employee who told them to steal more items. An investigation into that situation is ongoing. The same month, the project was ordered to pay Stanford University about $150,000 in legal fees after a federal judge dismissed the 2021 defamation lawsuit by the group, and Veritas has an ongoing defamation suit against The New York Times. A history of Project Veritas’ deception.

September 24, 2022

Republicans Get Scarier

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is still on the campaign trail, this time trying to ingratiate himself with people at Wilmington (NC) by saying that his beloved daughter in law, Lara, is from the state and that he owns property there. Supposedly attempting to encourage voters to support GOP candidates, he aired his same false grievances which have lots of updates from the past week—the seizing of “his” documents, New York’s “racist,” “raging maniac’ AG Letitia James, and, of course, the “stolen election” in 2020 which he said he actually won.

At last week’s rally in Ohio, DDT promoted J.D. Vance for U.S. senate by saying “JD is kissing my ass.” He also claimed he invented the term “caravans” which he defines as “murderers and rapists.” Derived from Persian in the 1590s from Old French or Medieval Latin, caravan, derived from camel, means a group of travelers through a desert in a long line or a camper with a living area.

The Hitleresque/QAnon salutes and creepy QAnon music, popular last week, returned in his new audience. His Truth Social reposts consistently repeat QAnon messages, and he posted a photo of him wearing a Q pin. “The Storm Is Coming” on the pin refers to the day that QAnon supporters execute all opponents of DDT. The number of DDT’s QAnon posts grows when he feels he’s under attack, now a constant.

The FBI has been investigating QAnon for violent crimes and attacks, and DDT’s rallies will likely incite them to build on that violence. DDT led the crowd in the QAnon gesture although private security guards ask some supporters to put their arms down.

DDT seemed to have trouble reading his teleprompter. At one point, he declared, “We have to keep our country gay.” After a few stutters, he finished by saying “our country [isn’t] great anymore.” Twitter had a great time with his statement, and LGBTQ-friendly groups were already selling merchandise with “Make America Gay Again.”

The flight chartered by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to take 48 legal asylum seekers from San Antonio (TX) to Martha’s Vineyard grows more and more shady. The Vertol Systems Company gave large donations to the governor’s allies and has been legally represented by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and his former partner, Larry Keefe, now Florida’s “public safety czar” in charge of immigration policy. Keefe represented Vertol in dozens of lawsuits between 2010 and 2017.

Developer Jay Odom, responsible for packaging Vertol’s donations to candidates, was convicted and imprisoned in 2013 by an illegal campaign finance scheme for GOP Mike Huckabee’s failed 2008 presidential campaign and later arrested for a scheme with Florida’s House Speaker Ray Sansom in 2009 to build the speaker an airport hangar. In 2019, Vertol contributed $10,000 to Florida’s GOP controlled by DeSantis.

Vertol’s primary business is training pilots for the military and providing helicopters across the globe, not chartering planes. A week before the transport, the company flew its private jet from Florida to San Antonio. DeSantis’ administration refused to reveal the $12 million contract for its part in the “unauthorized alien” program, but the state budget specifies that “unauthorized aliens” are to be flown directly from Florida, not Texas. The migrants on the chartered flight were also not “unauthorized” in the U.S.

A judge in Florida ordered a lawsuit be continued regarding DeSantis’ August 4 removal of elected state attorney in Hillsborough County, Andrew Warren, who said he would not prosecute people for abortions or transgender youth gender transition treatment. Warren claims DeSantis violated his First Amendment rights for political reasons after DeSantis cited Warren’s “woke agenda” for his decision. The judicial ruling could define DeSantis’ ability to purge elected officials who disagree with him. He removed four school board members in Broward County defying his COVID mask mandates but operates selectively with no action against “constitutional” sheriffs who won’t enforce gun laws.

After revealing the GOP “Commitment to America” and then hiding it, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) led over two dozen House Republicans for its big reveal to show what the GOP, if given the congressional majority, will do to people. The party of so-called law and order will protect wealthy people from paying taxes by defunding the IRS. In a return to the past, they will investigate the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, orchestrated by DDT during his term, and continue the search for COVID’s origins, specifically investigating Dr. Anthony Fauci who plans to retire.

Law and order Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who refused to block sexual assault of his athletes at Ohio State University, will look into the “weaponization of the DOJ against American people.” The business activities of Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son, will be a prime focus. Transgender people will be on the firing line, and freedom means parents who agree with conservatives—not the other parents—will be in control of banning books and determining curriculum. Republicans will throw money at law enforcement without any assistance for their needs.

“Longer, healthier lives for Americans” likely destroys healthcare in the popular Affordable Care Act and defends cures from charlatans such as ivermectin. The GOP’s aim to “save and strengthen Social Security and Medicare” means to privatize, reduce, and then eliminate it. In the House, 158 Republicans already signed on to a budget cutting Medicare and Social Security. “Restore the people’s voices” in voting lists restrictions—means just “some people’s voice.”

Missing from their plans before Midterms are controversial terms such as abortion, election denialism, and Trump. Hoping to be elected House Speaker, McCarthy obtained DDT’s approval for the “Commitment” and praised QAnon member Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), probably to get her vote. Yet she wasn’t allowed to answer questions from the audience of 150 local business owners, parents, and local activists.

The presentation included a video, to “celebrate the rich heritage of the American story and the vibrancy of the American Dream,” using footage of a drilling rig in Russia’s Volgograd region. The work of Serg Grbanoff, filmmaker based in Russia, appears in other parts of the video: his clip of a happy boy in a field with a toy airplane over the words “Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” comes from the same Russian area. The attack on Democrats, blamed by the video on Democrats, uses footage from a European grocery story with a Slovak word. The man featured in a Shutterstock contributor, DedovStock, is in Ukraine and the Carpathian Mountains of eastern Europe.

The “Commitment” and its rollout continues the new GOP’s refusal to govern. Republicans hate government and don’t want to put in any effort such as negotiation, compromise, or participation in hearings—the boring stuff. Even in state legislatures, bills are largely written by businesses looking to further their nests. The GOP either has no solutions for problems or knows that their ideas will be unpopular. Being vague and ambiguous, like “protect the lives of unborn children” or “curb wasteful government spending” being their sole “commitments,” is its only way to quell dissension. Republicans state that Democrats have no plan to solve inflation, but Republicans have not come up with them, only the outcomes with no path to them. After all, the GOP has been promising an answer to healthcare for over a decade.

The “Commitment” calls for a safe nation, free future, strong economy, and accountable government—all Democratic aims. Like Biden, the document wants to fight inflation and lower the cost of living, bring down gas prices, make the U.S. energy independent, strengthen the supply chair, and end U.S. dependence on China. Part of the Democratic platform, they have made progress despite Republicans consistent no votes. Legislation, absent almost all GOP votes, caps costs of some prescription medications for seniors, something Republicans promised to overturn the minute they have a majority. 

To combat high gas prices, Biden released reserves, steadily lowering the cost of gas by at least 25 percent during the same two-plus months. A barrel of oil has also dropped over $50 to under $80. Thus far, Biden has avoided a train strike and expanded the number of truck drivers, and the new climate law starts to make the U.S. energy independent. The CHIPS and Science Act reduces dependence on China although almost two-thirds of GOP senators and 187 GOP House members voted against it.

To refresh yourself about how the “Commitment” distorts language, read George Orwell’s 1984. Then House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) shut down the government for 28 days with his 1994 Contract with America. Republicans are now promising to do the same thing next week by refusing to vote for a budget, due September 30.

The MAGA “make America great again” doesn’t give a time limit for how far back Republicans want to “return,” but an Arizona judge has reinstated an 1864 anti-abortion law passed 48 years before the territory became a state. The only exception is if the pregnant person’s life is at risk; those with health risks or impregnated by rape or incest will have forced birth. That’s what electing Republicans will do for people.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) wants to erase not only trans people but apparently women as a gender. In a fundraiser he protested teaching children that “more than one gender” exists. He claims doing so is “against nature, science, and common sense.” Some people aren’t sure which biological sex he plans to eliminate, but it’s unlikely he’s talking about men.

September 22, 2022

More Fraud – September 22, 2022

Special master Raymond Dearie is back in the news on Thursday: he ordered the lawyers of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) to submit a sworn declaration if they believe the FBI planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago during the August 8 search. The declaration must include “a list of any specific items set forth in the Detailed Property Inventory that Plaintiff asserts were not seized from the Premises on August 8, 2022.” DDT recently repeated the accusation of FBI planting materials this week when talking to Sean Hannity on Fox network. Dearie set September 30 for the declaration’s deadline and asked DOJ for declarations about key facts regarding the search. His actions give an opening to hearing testimony about the search and seized materials from “witnesses with knowledge of the relevant facts.

The DOJ was also ordered to submit “copies of all seized materials” except those marked classified to DDT’s lawyers by September 29. DDT’s legal team must finish reviewing all documents for potential executive or attorney-client privilege by October 14 while regularly sending designations during the interim. Reviews and final designations from both sides are due by October 21. Dearie may also send  proceedings to Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who approved the search warrant. Retired federal judge James Orenstein, appointed by George W. Bush, has been hired to help the review with his staff from the Eastern District of New York assisting. Orenstein had served “on the prosecution team in the Oklahoma City bombings trials.” Attorney General Merrick Garland played a leading role earlier in his career in the Oklahoma City investigation. Dearie said he won’t be paid for his work because the government is paying him as a federal judge but proposed that Orenstein be paid $500 per hour covered by DDT, based on an earlier court ruling.

Some of DDT’s faithful GOP senators are abandoning him, especially his ability to declassify documents just by thinking he does. John Thune (SD) said declassification has a process which should be followed and “apply to anybody who has access to or deals with classified information.” Thom Tillis (NC) agreed, and Mike Rounds (SD) called handling of classified documents a “very serious” issue. Other senators dodged the question, like Mike Braun (IN) who claimed ignorance about the “proper methodology.”

DDT made many bizarre comments about the search for government documents at Mar-a-Lago, but one that belies belief is that the FBI thought they could find “the Hillary Clinton emails that were deleted but they are around someplace.” He repeated that to Sean Hannity on Fox this week, trying to gin up rumors by lying about “a lot of speculation” in his alternative reality.   

Past fraud has returned to haunt DDT—his 2014 rivalry with the 1980s metal rocker Jon Bon Jovi to buy the football team Buffalo Bills. In the $250 million fraud civil lawsuit filed by Letitia James in New York, DDT allegedly inflated assets’ valuation to finance a purchase attempt. DDT smeared the New Jersey resident, saying was that he was too Canadian for Buffalo because of Bon Jovi’s coalition of Toronto-based investors. In his $1 billion bid for the team, DDT needed a letter from a bank that he could get $800 million in financing. A Trump Organization executive, Jeffrey McConney, told the bank that DDT’s wealth, reportedly $800 billion, had “no material decrease” since the 2013 personal statement of financial condition, but those valuations were artificially inflated with DDT’s “deceptive strategies.” Although DDT claimed Bon Jovi planned to move the Bills to Toronto, he didn’t get the team and neither did the rocker. The winning $1.4 billion bid came from Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Sabres hockey team.

Conservatives complained that the nation’s unemployment insurance program to help people during the pandemic caused people to quit work and live on the “government dole.” Yet fraudsters skimmed over $45.6 billion from the program, using dead people’s Social Security numbers and identities of prisoners ineligible for aid. That finding could be incomplete because of the focus on “high risk” areas for fraud; billions of dollars may also have been stolen. Thus far,1,000 people have been charged for these crimes, and 190,000 investigative matters have been opened. The program began in 2020 under DDT’s term in the White House.

In another program to help people during the worst of COVID, 47 defendants have been charged with stealing over $250 million from Feeding Our Future to provide free meals for needy children. Other charges involved about $1 trillion in loans and grants intended for small businesses, and GOP governors have used funding from a $350 billion program by making tax cuts and immigration crackdowns—such as Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis shipping migrants from Texas to Massachusetts.

DeSantis has dropped to a new low in cruelty. He lured migrants to a hotel in San Antonio (TX) miles from their shelter with the promise to fly them to jobs, homes, and help in Delaware, only to cancel the flight and abandon the people. An anonymous source close to DeSantis stated that the flight, supposedly scheduled to land about 20 miles from President Joe Biden’s beach home, was to “punk” media and Democratic officials and “put a spotlight on the border.” Migrants were told they could stay in the hotel for the night before the bogus flight if they didn’t talk about the travel plans or who arranged them. The next morning, they were told the flight was canceled. Their recruiters hired a bus them back to San Antonio’s Migrant Resource Center ten miles away which would provide three days of shelter and aid. Some migrants were not told about the bus, and none of them received food after the flight was canceled.

In April, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) sought federal protection for Venezuelan asylum seekers in the U.S.; five months later he accuses them of entering the U.S. “illegally.” He also doesn’t twisted the law, lying that migrants kidnapped by Florida’s governor from Texas and transported across several state lines could not sue for legal recourse. Rubio is only two points ahead of his reelection opponent, Val Deming.   

According to Rubio, health exceptions for the pregnant woman in an abortion ban are also a “massive loophole” and like vehicular manslaughter.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the man who fled the Texas cold during the energy shutdown for the Cancun warmth, is claiming “a great partisan victory!” In a video he took credit for a highway from Laredo to North Dakota that brings jobs and ”tens of billions of dollars” to his state, declaring his pride in the years of hard work for the project. Yet he voted against the bill unlike the other Texas senator, John Cornyn, among 18 Republican senators.

The GOP, party who claims to want transparency, unanimously blocked a Senate bill revealing names of donors giving over $10,000. Republicans need the dark money to get elected.

House Republicans briefly released their policy platform called “Commitment to America” on House Minority Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) website but soon dropped the public’s ability to see the document. Before its disappearance, however, multiple screenshots were taken. It criticizes the Democrats reduction of popular prescription drug costs and “fight inflation and curb the cost of living” through cuts in government spending and taxes, probably for the wealthy as in the 2017 GOP law. Its promise to “save and strengthen Social Security and Medicare” was preceded by a GOP House committee meeting to reduce coverage and cut benefits by “massively” slashing Social Security in its proposed 2023 budget. Another “commitment” is new restrictions on voter access, including mandating voter ID, loosening rules on voter roll purges, and increasing access for observers during elections.

The platform is reminiscent of Newt Gingrich’s 1994 “Contract with America.” McCarthy, however, proposed only one bill promised to get floor votes instead of Gingrich’s ten, a Parental Bill of Rights based on blocking the teaching of “critical race theory.” Deliberately vague, the agenda doesn’t deal in specifics. The one-page document, now removed from McCarthy’s website, is here

McCarthy tried the same grocery store stunt as Pennsylvania’s GOP candidate for U.S. senate, Mehmet Oz, to show the plight of people in the U.S. and failed, just like Oz. In a video with the store as backdrop, McCarthy talked for 15 seconds about financial problems before hellish images and statements about the country’s drugs, inflation, and kids falling behind because of non-existent school closures. He lied about the U.S. being in a recession, and he had no Republican solution, only GOP control of the House.

Claremont, MAGA’s most prominent think tank, is home not only to John Eastman, legal architect of DDT’s plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election, but also the “Sheriff Fellows,” MAGA sheriffs learning the fellowship’s curriculum of two sets of people in the U.S.—communities to be treated as freely and brutally as law enforcement wish and the “real Americans” who are above the law. Sheriffs are a likely target for extremism because the office is vulnerable and can enable vigilantes to exert havoc on society. They have great authority with tanks, helicopters, SWAT teams, battering rams, surveillance technology and guns to terrify community members. Claremont’s curriculum for training these sheriffs is here. Sheriffs are elected; voters should be wary.

And Thomas Barrack, DDT’s close friend, is on trial this week for secretly lobbying DDT on behalf of the United Arab Emirates for personal power and financial gain.

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 7, 2022

Primary – September 6, 2022

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 11:38 PM
Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday’s one largely noncontroversial primary in Massachusetts caused few ripples across the nation although the race for governor may have moved the seat from Republican to Democrat.

Geoff Diehl, Deposed Donald Trump’s (DDT) gubernatorial endorsement, won the GOP primary, much to the dismay of Republicans who fear he will lose to Maura Healey, who was the country’s first openly LGBTQ attorney general, and flip the position to Democratic after Charlie Baker decided to leave. She has sued the DDT administration almost 100 times, and her only opponent in the primary suspended her campaign. In the heavily Democratic state, election denier Diehl defeated the more centrist Chris Doughty. DDT’s recommendation for Diehl was that he would “rule you state with an iron fist.” In 2018, Diehl lost the U.S. Senate by 24 points, and DDT lost Massachusetts in 2020 to Biden by 33 points.

Andrea Campbell, the first Black female president of the Boston City Council, was selected for the attorney general Democratic candidate. Her GOP opponent in November, James McMahon, was uncontested in the primary.

None of the Democratic congressional candidates, all incumbents, had primary challengers.

With 46 states completing their primaries, 196 state GOP nominees of 529 running for state office in November 2022 are dedicated election deniers for 2020, and another 62 raise questions about the results. (Map here.) Opinions of another 112 GOP candidates couldn’t be determined. Seven-two fully accepted the election’s results, and another 87 believe Biden won but fault election integrity. FiveThirtyEight’s estimate finds 118 election deniers and eight doubters having at least a 95 percent chance of winning for the House with several more in competitive races. Only three senatorial election deniers are safe bets to join the seven still in the Senate objected to the certification of the 2020 election, but a few more have a chance to win.   

At least two election deniers and four election doubters will likely become governors next year with two more election deniers possible in Arizona and Pennsylvania.  

Elections of attorneys general and secretaries of state could end democracy in those states and possibly bleed across the United States.  They don’t unilaterally rewrite state election law, but election-denying secretaries of state can remake procedures to fit the Big Lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

GOP candidates for seven GOP AG and 11 secretary candidates in 11 states have questioned, rejected, or tried to overturn these results, including those in three swing states—Arizona, Michigan, and Nevada. These three GOP candidates have joined Pennsylvania’s GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano to form America First Secretary of State Coalition to share conspiracy theories about nonexistent election fraud and ways to reconstruct election systems. The Pennsylvania governor appoints the top election official, and Mastriano is a dedicated election denier. The coalition plans to “eliminate mail-in ballots.” In 35 states and DC, any voter may request a mail ballot.

Secretaries of state might be able to overturn their states’ popular votes by refusing to certify accurate election results. Or they can require all people in the state to re-register, as Mastriano plans to do. Candidates are already campaigning on the changes in rules they would make—greater restrictions to mail voting and ballot drop boxes. Without legal changes, they could change voter registration forms or absentee ballot requests to make them more difficult to use. Arizona candidate, Mark Finchem, filed a federal lawsuit with GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake to block the use of voting machines, but it was dismissed. The Nevada candidate wants to force ballot counting by hand.

Currently 185 state office holders—governors, secretaries of state, attorneys general, and U.S. Senate and House members—are election deniers or doubters.

In the red state of Wyoming, legislators, figuring that the election-denier Republican likely to win secretary of state, hope to strip the responsibilities of that position. A voice vote approved a motion to deny legislation to remove the office’s sole authority to oversee elections with all five top election officials doing this.   

The GOP, the former populist party, has figured out another way to erase the wishes of the majority. For several years, they have ignored their own votes preference in such subjects as voting, gun reform, cannabis use, environmental concerns, and abortion. Now legislators and elected GOP judges are trying to block ballot initiatives created by the people of the state.    

Arizona’s Supreme Court supported a lower court’s ruling to toss 238,000 signatures from a ballot initiative to check the ability of the state legislature to overturn election results. The initiative also included same-day voter registration, restoration of a permanent early voting list that the GOP lawmakers repealed last hear, and prohibition of audits that GOP senators forced on the state after DDT lost the state’s presidential election in 2020. Ballot access required 237,645 Arizona voter signatures, and over 475,000 signatures were collected. Challenges claimed the total ran short by 1,458 signatures. The measure’s opponents include former AG Bill Barr and DDT’s former White Counsel Derek Lyons. Now the people can’t even vote on whether their vote will count in the future. 

Michigan Supreme Court is still trying to decide whether to permit a ballot initiative protecting abortion and contraception that gained over 700,000 signatures. A complaint was that it was difficult to read because the words were too close together. The current anti-abortion law is from 1931. Another ballot initiative being questioned would require the state to accept the popular vote for president. Both measures had over 425,000 signatures.

GOP lawmakers in both Arkansas and Arizona put constitutional amendments on the ballot to create more difficulty in putting citizen initiatives on the ballot. Nebraska restricts ballot initiatives by requiring signatures from at least five percent of registered voters in two-fifths of the state’s 93 counties. A split 8th Circuit Court rejected a challenge to the opposition.

Earlier this summer, South Dakota voters defeated a measure that would have made it harder to pass initiatives on taxes and spending. The measure from the GOP legislature would have required a 60 percent vote for taxes or spending over a certain amount of money.

Only half the states allow ballot measures created by petition signers, and that number is shrinking.

Updates about candidates in other states:

Alaska:

Sarah Palin, candidate for the one U.S. representative and loser in the special election for the next four months’ representative, has gone into full-blown whine. First, she became angry because her GOP opponent in November, Nick Begich, didn’t withdraw from the November general election by Monday’s deadline despite her demand that do so. Then she called on called on all of the U.S. to be angry about her loss because it “harms the entire nation.” The red state of Alaska voted for the ranked-choice system put into effect this summer, but loser Palin claims it is rigged. Maybe she should have attended candidate forums and look interested in the voters she wanted instead of playing celebrity out of state.

Michigan:

GOP governor nominee Tudor Dixon’s pick of Shane Hernandez suits her ultra-conservative cred as DDT’s endorsement. With political roots in the tea party movement, he was named the most conservative state House member in 2017. Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, he killed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to fix roads by raising fuel taxes by 45 cents per gallon, but he lost his run for Congress in 2020. Hernandez is also an election denier, opposes legal abortion, and supports conservatives who wanted to impeach Whitmer for her COVID lockdown. His legislative mentor, former House Speaker Lee Chatfield, is under investigation for campaign finance impropriety and the sexually assault of a minor. Since the GOP appointed him candidate, he had to erase a photo of him with the flag of Three Percenters, a far-right paramilitary group.

Kristina Karamo, DDT’s endorsement for GOP nominee for secretary of state and election denier, threatened to kill herself and her two children if her husband divorced her, he claims in a court record for visitation after the divorce. He testified that she tried to grab the steering wheel and “crash” the car he was driving while their two teenagers were with them. She alleged said, “F**k it, I’ll kill us all.” And it wasn’t the first time she made these threats. In addition, he said for the court that Karamo was “committed to an institution for evaluation due to her efforts at self-harm and suicide.” She was listed as a speaker at a QAnon conference in 2021 and still believes that the insurrectionists on January 6 were “Antifa posing as Trump supporters.”

DDT news won’t stop. The preferential treatment by DDT-nominated judge for delaying the investigation into his stolen classified documents has hit a new low—and a new precedent. Judge Aileen Cannon rejected an amicus brief submitted by seven top GOP legal experts, DOJ and state officials serving in DDT’s administration, which opposes this appointment. No reason, just more evidence that she considers DDT above the law.

September 13 finishes the 2022 round of primaries in Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Only Louisiana doesn’t have a primary before the general election.

August 26, 2022

GOP Obsessed with Banning Books

Republican legislators have decided that substituting knowledge with conservative ideology in education creates more GOP voters and more money from big business for themselves. According to a PEN report

  • Thus far in 2022, proposed educational gag orders have increased 250 percent from all of 2021 with 137 gag order bills in 36 states.
  • Gag orders are now more harsh and punitive—heavy fines or loss of state funding of state funding for educational institutions with termination or even criminal charges for teachers.
  • Most gag order bills started with targeting teaching about race, continuing to do so, they are broadening out to discrimination against LGBTQ+ identities including Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill and 22 other bills in other states.
  • Higher education has been targeted more frequently than in 2021 as bills attack colleges and universities. In 2022, 39 percent of gag order bills are aimed at higher education compared to 30 percent in 2021 while bills blocking diversity trainings at government agencies have decreased. For the first time, bills are also targeting nonpublic schools and universities.
  • GOP legislators overwhelmingly drive educational gag order bills in 2022: only one of the 137 bills has a Democratic legislative sponsor. A few years ago, Republicans sponsored bills protecting free expression on college campuses; now most of them censor the teaching of particular ideas.
  • Conservative groups and educational official broaden interpretations of existing gag order laws, and state boards of education deliver draconian penalties in excess of the laws’ requirements.
  • PEN anticipates the assault of education will continue in 2023 with more gag order bills in states where they failed this year along with an increase in other legislative attacks on education such as “curriculum transparency” bills, anti-LGBTQ+ bills, and bills mandating or facilitating book.

Founded 100 years ago, PEN works to protect free expression. 

In a planned attack on government, militias such as Proud Boys and Three Percenters participating in the January 6 insurrection, are supporting far-right candidates for schools boards, already winning in places such as Sarasota (FL), Sacramento County (CA), and Eatonville (WA).   

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis managed to get 21 people elected to school boards for his far-right agenda. Not satisfied with that success, he suspended four of nine Broward County School Board members, all women, for  “incompetence, neglect of duty, and misuse of authority.” “It is my duty to suspend people from office when there is clear evidence of incompetence, neglect of duty, misfeasance or malfeasance.” His new appointees are all men. In 2019, DeSantis empaneled a grand jury to fire the school superintendent after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting in 2018 who resigned last year. No crime has been proved. DeSantis tried to suspend another female board member, but she reigned last year and was elected to the state Senate.

The majority of people at the school board for Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District spoke against the restrictions instituted by members elected by the conservative Christian wireless company, Patriot Mobile. New policies used faulty definitions of such terms as “gender fluidity” in the board’s attempt to erase its existence. 

Library director Kimber Glidden in Boundary County (ID) resigned after religious and political extremists violently threatened her for LGBTQ books that her libraries don’t carry. The recall group for four of the five library board members was upset because the county belongs to the professional American Library Association.

Northwest High School in Grand Island (NE) eliminated the 54-year-old high school newspaper and journalism program after the year-end issue in May featured a story on the history of LGBTQ rights and editorials on LGBTQ topics.

Jamestown (MI) defunded its library after it refused to remove an LGBTQ book. Two librarians have resigned, one of them the lesbian director who left for fear of her safety.

In Florida, teachers are pulling books off their shelves and removing photos of their same-gender spouses on their desks. Across the nation, one-fourth of the teachers have been told to limit discussions about race and racism.

An Oklahoma teacher faced a disciplinary hearing and was put on leave after she covered all the books in her classroom but gave students the QR code for the Brooklyn Public Library’s “Books Unbanned” site that circulates digital and audio access of books to any student in the U.S. She resigned.

A police officer went to a Texas high school to “investigate” a graphic narrative about a bullied gay teen. A middle school in Texas declared parts of a book by the man for whom the school was named, the grandson of slaves who learned to read when he was 98, to be “inappropriate.”

Virginia’s new law is purging books with ideas and identities, according to the nonprofit EveryLibrary, and one school district sends an email notification every time their child checks out a book. Almost all books eliminated in schools are by LGBTQ and minority authors. According to one policy complying with the law:

“While librarians are trained in selecting materials … the ultimate determination of appropriateness for a minor lies with the parent.”

In Kentucky, politicians control book selection.

An Ohio school stopped Jason Tharp from reading his book It’s Okay To Be a Unicorn although it’s not gay as school administrators claimed. Artwork from the book was also removed from classroom walls. He also wasn’t allowed to read his book It’s Okay to Smell Good about a skunk.

Parents in Virginia have even tried to block Barnes & Noble from selling some titles. In Florida one district says that children can check out books only approved by their parents. Susan Meyers’ Everywhere Babies was banned for a drawing of one man having his arm around another man’s shoulders on one page in her book about numerous families. Another form of “soft censorship” is putting “warning” stickers on books.

One America News (OAN) reporter Kara McKinney showed a photo of Nazis burning books when she called LGBTQ literature “filth” that deserved to be banned. Fox network calls teachers lazy, stupid, anti-White Marxists trying to “groom” students for sexual abuse.

Oklahoma has added a new word to banned topics of race, sex, and LGBTQ people—abortion. Library workers are told not to help patrons locate abortion-related information on computers and could face penalties under the law. 

DeSantis rages against education with the term “woke,” bragging about his “anti-woke” laws. The term originated in African-American English with the dictionary meaning of being “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).” Therefore, DeSantis laws are truly “anti-woke” in that they work to remove knowledge of “important facts and issues.” His goal is ignorance. It assaults and demonizes Blacks and other minorities, anyone considered “other” than the White ruling class if they have different opinions.  

Not all the news is bad. A Minnesota board lifted its gag order preventing staff from talking publicly about issues that could reflect negatively on the district, including its curriculum, after the teachers’ union filed a lawsuit. The district still hasn’t voted on its new curriculum restrictions that teachers believe would prevent students from learning about American history, including racism, and from learning how to think critically and speak civilly about difficult topics.

Proponents of bills argue that they’re supporting “parents,” but conservative ones force their views on everyone. In Granbury (TX), books are taken from school shelves, and the superintendent told employees to “better hide” any non-conservative beliefs. At a school board meeting, however, Adrienne Quinn said:

“I do not want random people with no education background or experience determining what books my child can read, what curriculum they learn, and what clubs they can join. Just because you can get up at every meeting and rant and rave does not give you authority over my child’s education. Your personal religious beliefs, people in this room and on this board, should not have an effect on my child’s education either. Our school are not to be used for personal political agendas and our children are here for education, not religious indoctrination.”

Applause erupted after he speech. The superintendent said nothing.

Last spring, Llano County (TX) citizens group filed a federal lawsuit for unilaterally removing “award-winning books” from public libraries “because they disagree with the ideas within them.”  The filing claimed violation of the First Amendment, including when the library “permanently terminated access to over 17,000 digital books” they could not censor. “Public libraries are not places of government indoctrination,” according to the lawsuit. Some censored books were as innocuous as Maurice Sendak’s classic In the Night Kitchen.

Some students are forming groups to discuss sex education and having “banned book clubs.” In Missouri, students are suing their district to restore eight censored books.

Last February, 87 percent of people in the U.S opposed bans on books that discuss race and slavery. Only 12 percent support banning books concerning “divisive topics,” and 71 percent of voters oppose removing books from public libraries, almost equal between the two major parties.

Articles about the huge shortage of teachers generally cite only the stress of COVID. Journalists need to start examining the effect of the conservative control on curriculum. Reading helps people develop empathy, theory of mind, and critical thinking. Banning books bans this development in young readers. 

August 24, 2022

Primaries – August 24, 2022

With two more Tuesdays of primaries before the general election, Florida voted for all its candidates, New York cleaned up candidates for state and federal districts after the map had to be redrawn, and Oklahoma decided 11 GOP runoffs. No Democratic runoffs were necessary because all those elections had winners with at least 50 percent, and five legislative races were settled because of no competition from another party.  

The primary in the Empire State is the second in just eight weeks because the state Supreme Court ruled the earlier revised maps were unconstitutional. ordered the redrawing of district maps because the revised ones were unconstitutional. On June 28, 2022, New York Democrats voted for Gov. Kathy Hochul to be their candidate this fall, but congressional and state senate decisions were made with the vote on August 23.

In a special election for New York’s 19th Congressional District, voters selected Democrat Pat Ryan despite positive polling for Republican Marc Molinaro. Ryan replaces Rep. Antonio Delgado (D), the new state lieutenant governor, and will run in the fall for a full term in the newly redrawn 18th District. His campaign on access to abortion makes his win “a huge victory” for Democrats in a “bellwether” district,” the first election to use this campaign issue, according to Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman. Ryan also won by over three percent in a district that went for President Joe Biden by only 1.5 percent.

In New York’s conservative 23rd Congressional District, GOP Joe Sempolinski’s win was narrower than expected, 53 to 47 percent, in a district DDT won by 12 points in 2020. Sempolinski will not be running for the full term this fall. 

Florida:

Current Gov. Ron DeSantis, unopposed in the GOP primary, will run against former Gov. Charlie Crist, currently a U.S. representative who changed parties in 2011 after his gubernatorial election in 2007, moving first to unaffiliated and then to Democrat. With almost 60 percent of the vote, Crist defeated three opponents. His victory speech showed his campaign against DeSantis; Crist is running on “fundamental freedom,” including “a woman’s right to choose” in a time of “extremist” Republicans, who “want to turn back the clock on our freedom.” In opposition to DeSantis, Crist said he will make voting easier and reinstate legally elected Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, fired by DeSantis for a declaration he wouldn’t prosecute women seeking an abortion and replaced him with an ally. Another Crist campaign issue is DeSantis’ refusal to call out GOP Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez for suggesting Cubans “illegally” in the state should be bused to Delaware.

Anna Paulina Luna, who brought the most money to the campaign with $1.9 as well as DDT’s endorsement, won Crist’s current 13th Congressional District that he’s leaving to run for governor. The district is predicted to turn red.

Val Demings defeated her three opponents with almost 85 percent of the vote. She faces GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, who was uncontested in his primary. Her former blue district picked Gen Z Afro-Cuban Maxwell Frost, 25, for the Democratic candidate over former Reps. Alan Grayson and Corrine Brown, who had been in prison for mail and tax fraud, as well as seven other candidates. If he wins in the blue district, Frost will be the first Gen Z member of Congress. 

Rep. Daniel Webster won the GOP primary for the 11th Congressional District, setting off histrionics from competitor and self-described “proud Islamophobe” Laura Loomer, 29, who lost by six points. “I’m not conceding, because I’m a winner,” Loomer declared, pushing falsehoods of election fraud against other Republicans. A conspiracy theorist and contributor to Alex Jones‘ far-right conspiracy media platform Infowars, she has been banned by mainstream social networks Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Medium; payment platforms Paypal, Venmo, GoFundMe and Chase; ride-sharing apps Uber and Lyft—even the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC. On Loomer’s Telegram channel, a supporter wrote, “OUR ENEMIES EAT BABIES.” She received over 37,000 votes in a district from Tampa east, including the huge, predominantly GOP retirement development The Villages.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, DDT-endorsed and under investigation for sex trafficking, won the GOP primary in the First Congressional District. His opponent in November is Rebekah Jones, fired from the Department of Health for her unwillingness to falsify COVID numbers.

School boards are where DeSantis won big time in Florida: at least 21 of his 30 hand-picked “parent-centered,” anti-woke candidates won their elections. Nonpartisan school boards are gone. The school district with 45,000 students in Sarasota County flipped to DeSantis’ conservative majority, 4-1. They plan leaving “CRT out of the classroom,” keeping “boys out of girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms,” and “sexual education focused on biology, not pleasure or gender theory.”

Florida’s turnout was light, perhaps 25 percent of registered voters.

New York: 

DDT is now not only endorsing sure candidates but also Democrats, in this case two incumbent representatives running against each other in the same district—Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler—and the lead counsel for his impeachment, Dan Goldman. In all three cases, he lavishly praised the candidates despite his recent attack against Goldman. Maloney leads a House Oversight Committee investigation into DDT’s storage of documents at Mar-a-Lago, and Nadler leads the House Judiciary Committee. DDT won two out of three.

Rep. Jerry Nadler defeated Rep. Carolyn Maloney in the 12th Congressional District, perhaps because of how the map was drawn.

Dan Goldman, the richest candidate in the race for the 10th Congressional District, put $4 million of his own money into the race. Among the dozen candidates, Goldman received over 25 percent of the vote, beating another incumbent from another district, Rep. Mondaire Jones, a Black gay man going to the U.S. House after his win in the last election. Heir to the Levi Strauss fortune, Goldman, an MSNBC analyst, was endorsed by the New York Times.

Rep. Sean Maloney won the Democratic candidacy in the 17th Congressional District where Jones was the incumbent. He was supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former President Bill Clinton while his Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and progressive organizations supported the opponent, state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi. Maloney chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Oklahoma:

Ally Seifried defeated Christian Nationalist Jarrin Jackson for GOP state senate candidate, known for his anti-Semitic statements. Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who claims she “absolutely denounces bigotry in all its forms,” endorsed Jackson. Outrage caused Lake to rescind her endorsement.

Gloria Banister defeated Scott Esk, another bigot, in state House District 87. In 2013, while running in another election, he said “homosexuals” should be executed and repeated his sentiment the next year, using the Old Testament to justify his comments, when he advocated stoning gays. He said his position just “makes me a Christian” to “the voters of House District 87.”

As the counting for one federal House member from Alaska in a ranked-vote voting grinds on, Democrat Mary Pertola is 13,000 votes ahead of two GOP competitors—including former Gov. and VP candidate Sarah Palin. Alaska gave Palin a 37 percent approval rating

According to FairVote, an elections nonprofit, primaries can be divided into three categories: open primaries, in which voters choose any party’s primary no matter their voter affiliation; closed primaries, in which voters are restricted to the primary of their registered party; and semi-closed primaries, in which voters vote in only the primary of their registered parties unless they are unaffiliated and can choose whichever party election they choose. Twenty states have open primaries, and 10 states have closed primaries but some of them allow voters to change their registration on election day. Ten states also require a majority of votes instead of a plurality; without a majority, the top two candidates return for a runoff. Two states, Alaska and Maine, have a ranked-choice vote system.

The Supreme Court announcement that it was overturning Roe v. Wade came almost exactly in the middle of primary season, with 24 primaries after June 24. Since that date, states, especially red ones, have seen a surge in women registering to vote with the numbers far greater than for men registering, especially where reproductive rights are at risk. Kansas women out-registered men by 40 percent with 70 percent of new registrants women. Michigan women out registered men by 8.1 percent, and Wisconsin women have almost doubled that percentage.

Another phenomenon is the shift in support for reproductive rights by Latinx in the U.S. In 2019, only 45 percent favored abortion legalization in almost all cases. In a recent poll, 76 percent of Latinx agreed with this statement:

“No matter what my personal beliefs about abortion are, I think it is wrong to make abortion illegal and take that choice away from everyone else.”

Subgroups of Latinx supported the statement by majorities: Catholics, 76 percent; non-Catholic Christians, 68 percent, Republicans, 55 percent; Latino, 72 percent; and Latina, 85 percent. Nineteen percent listed abortion as one of top important issues, for the first time being one of the top five. Almost 12 million Latinos will likely vote in November 2022, and many of them will be considering their candidates’ positions on women’s reproductive rights.

Two more Tuesdays of primaries: September 6 – Massachusetts; and September 13 – Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

August 21, 2022

Whither GOP Abortion Bans

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 11:07 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Last spring, a leaked draft of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and denying women their reproductive rights spread like wildfire throughout the world. Republicans started to panic because its potential affect on the 2022 midterms but hoped that the new would be as disastrous as it sounded. On June 24, the high court, with the support of six Supremes, released the decision, and the draft, filled with irrational arguments, was official with almost no changes. GOP legislators kept hoping the result wouldn’t be as bad as they feared, but the fallout has been worse than they might have feared.

The polls showed a majority rejected the Supreme Court decision, and the first state initiative supporting Roe, this one in highly-GOP Kansas, followed the strong support for abortion rights on the same day as the August 2 primary with 59 percent voting for rights, despite the lies of the anti-abortionist activists to confuse the vote. With no evidence, anti-abortionists refused to accept the vote: nine of the 105 Kansas counties insisted on a recount of the votes. In eight of these countries, 32 votes were changed in the 543,855 votes supporting abortion rights. Thirteen fewer votes favored tighter abortion restrictions, and 19 fewer votes favored the retention of current rights. One county didn’t meet the August 20 deadline at 5:00 pm.   

Kansas was the first loss after the Roe overturning for anti-abortionists who planned to use ballot measures for their movement, a strategy that they have run since the Roe decision in 1973. In over 50 years, 85 percent of abortion-related measures on state ballots have been proposed by anti-abortion groups. Voters approved only one-fourth of them while accepting 57 percent of abortion rights ballot initiatives, all before 1992. Kentucky, Michigan, California, Vermont, and Montana have abortion rights initiatives on the November ballot. A history of abortion initiatives by year.

While 14 states partially or completely banned telemedicine abortion, used in 54 percent of all abortions, Massachusetts’ new law protects telemedicine abortion providers serving patients in states banning abortions by mailing medication and giving telemedicine abortion care.  Massachusetts providers proving legal abortion care cannot be extradited to another state where the practice is illegal. The law prevents anyone from providing information or help to law enforcement or private citizens against the providers, and they can countersue if they are prosecuted in criminal or civil lawsuits. Their licenses are protected and their malpractice insurance is kept within reach for those who face out-of-state civil lawsuits while providing lawful abortion care in Massachusetts. With no requirement of parental consent, minors ages 16 and 17 can receive care. Other required benefits for these Massachusetts legal abortion providers.

In Nebraska, a 17-year-old girl was criminally charged for an abortion of a fetus over 20 weeks. She will be tried as an adult, and her mother has also been charged. Officials discovered the abortion by investigating the girl’s Facebook messages.

Michigan has been struggling over a 1931 ban on abortion. A state judge finally blocked county prosecutors from enforcing the 91-year-old law after the state Court of Appeals claimed that these prosecutors could enforce the prohibition. Although Republicans previously claimed that doctors and pregnant people getting abortions wouldn’t be charged, the law states both these categories of people, including those using medication for abortions, could be guilty of felonies. An exception to “preserve the life” of the mother is vague. Like other states with GOP legislatures, Michigan didn’t repeal the law after the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973.

Idaho Republicans took only seven days to pass the trigger law banning abortion in 2020. Public testimony wanted the law more restrictive by removing exceptions for rape and incest. With no medical professionals in the discussion, situations such as ectopic pregnancies or other medical problems weren’t even mentioned. Abortions are blocked after six weeks of pregnancy, before women know they are pregnant. Convicted doctors facilitating an abortion after that time face two to five years in prison.

The law needed a federal appeals court to deem a similar law constitutional, which occurred in July. The state Supreme Court refused to temporarily stop these laws during legal challenges; it takes effect on August 25 unless a federal judge intervenes in a fourth lawsuit. Technically the law went into effect on August 12 when the law permitting relatives of an embryo or fetus aborted after six weeks, including the family of a rapist, to sue the doctor in civil court for a minimum of $20,000 for a fetus aborted after six weeks.

A DOJ lawsuit to block the Idaho law asserts it violates a federal law requiring Medicaid-funded hospitals to provide “stabilizing treatment” to patients experiencing medical emergencies. Seventeen states oppose the DOJ case, stating that hospitals can just turn down federal funding.

Twenty states side with the DOJ and claim that their own residents would be at risk for a medical emergency while pregnant and in Idaho. Neighboring states such as Oregon and Washington expressed concern about the “spillover effect” if Idaho patients with ectopic pregnancies or other emergencies are forced to seek out-of-state care. Coalitions of major medical associations, including the American College of Emergency Physicians  and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, also filed briefs in the case because Idaho’s law is too vague and difficult to medically interpret. It would also force health care providers to choose between violating state law and being charged with a crime or violating federal law and facing fines and the loss of federal funding.

People who live in red states with abortion bans can expect even greater problems with such issues as corporations boycotting the state, medical schools failing to recruit, communities unable to enlist doctors including obstetricians and gynecologists. Indiana immediately began to experience this difficulty when pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, one of the state’s biggest employers, said the company would look elsewhere for expansion. Republican legislators in the state are so radical that 35 of them are comfortable with a woman being forced to carry a dead fetus to full term.

In Indiana, 27 percent of the counties are considered maternity care deserts with limited or no access to maternal care, and the state has one of the nation’s highest maternal mortality rates, 52 deaths per 100,000 births—twice the U.S. average. In a recent survey of almost 1,400 residents and fellows at the IU School of the medicine, 80 percent said they are less likely to remain in the state after the abortion ban. Indiana is the home of Dr. Caitlin Bernard, the doctor persecuted by the state’s AG for performing a legal abortion on a ten-year-old girl.

Doctors who have a family practice worry not only about the abortion ban but also potential restrictions on fertility treatment and contraception such as IUDs and Plan B medication. Most Indiana Republicans voted against a measure protecting the right to contraception.

The abortion ban is leaching over into the false belief of “personhood” from fertilization. The myth of an early heartbeat is actually the sound manufactured by the ultrasound machine, an electrical pulse. The heart does not exist as any kind of structure until ten weeks when an embryo becomes a fetus, and the term “heartbeat” is not accurate until 17 to 20 weeks. At six weeks, the embryo develops a tube generating sporadic electrical impulses, according to Dr. Ian Fraser Golding, a pediatric and fetal cardiologist at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego.

Even so, Georgia’s anti-abortion law gives $3,000 state income tax exemption for “any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat” (aka the ultrasound machine). At that point, the embryo “shall qualify as a dependent minor,” according to Georgia law.

Wisconsin anti-abortion law goes back to 1849, predating Michigan’s law by 82 years. The arguments within the GOP, however, demonstrate the party’s struggle to agree. The GOP Assembly speaker Robin Vos, running for another term despite the attempts of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) to vote him out of the primary, wants to reinforce the exception for a woman’s life and adding other exceptions such as rape and incest. Others want to make the law as restrictive as possible. Nine states currently have laws banning abortion from conception, with three more to take effect on August 25.

The red states moving to restrict or ban abortion are the most likely to provide the least care for pregnant women and the children they deliver.

  • Worst maternal and child health outcomes.
  • More difficulty in getting health insurance.
  • Refusal to expand Medicaid.
  • More child poverty.
  • More babies born with low birth weight, indicating serious health problems.
  • Highest infant and maternal mortality rates.
  • Less access to care for pregnant women.
  • Less financial support for families and children.

At this time, 40 percent of single mothers and their children live in poverty.

Despite all the laws, only 16 percent of Republicans say abortion generally should be “illegal in all cases.” Most Republicans said their state should generally allow a pregnant person to obtain a legal abortion if the child would be born with a life-threatening illness (61 percent), the person became pregnant as the result of rape or incest (77 percent) or if the pregnant person’s health is seriously endangered (85 percent). The GOP based insists on total abortion bans; others consider extenuating circumstances.

August 2, 2022

Veterans, Pro-choice Win; Pelosi, Biden Take Heat; ERIC Wins in Missouri

Facing tremendous backlash, Republicans in the Senate caved to vote for legislation expanding healthcare for veterans fighting diseases related to toxic exposure, including from burn pits that burned hazardous materials. After blocking the PACT Act with 42 votes last week, senators voted 86-11 for the bill with the support of 49 Democrats and 37 Republicans. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) missed the vote because of a recent hip-replacement.

Over 3.5 million veterans will benefit from easier access to health and disability benefits. An amendment by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) failed 7-90 that would have eliminated all funding except to Israel for the U.S. Agency for International Development during the next 10 years. Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s (R-TN) amendment would have privatized VA health services for these veterans through private practice, but Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) disagreed with her argument that the VA lacks the resources. Her amendment fell short of the 60-vote filibuster by 48-47.

The 11 Republicans against expanded health care for veterans also voted “no” on the bill in June: Mike Crapo (ID), James Lankford (OK), Mike Lee (UT), Cynthia Lummis (WY), Rand Paul (KY), James Risch (ID), Mitt Romney (UT), Richard Shelby (AL), Thom Tillis (NC), Pat Toomey (PA), and Tommy Tuberville (AL). Paul spoke objected to the PACT Act because too many veterans would receive care; he wanted stricter guidelines. Blackburn said she voted against the bill to retaliate against Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Democrats running for election. Her odd opposition was to “make certain that [veterans] have access to the care that they need,” which is what the bill does. In Tennessee, 7.4 percent of veterans live in poverty, and the unemployment rate is 4.7 percent. The state ranks among the top ten with the least access to healthcare; 11.4 percent of residents lack health insurance.

Kansas held the first election about reproductive rights after the Supreme Court eliminated reproductive rights in Roe v. Wade and overwhelmingly rejected legislative suppression of abortion by 58.8 to 41.2 percent with 95 percent of the votes in. This vote to protect reproductive rights came despite confusion in the text of the initiative: voting “yes” on the ballot issue meant the state legislature could take away abortion rights; voting “no” will protect women under the Kansas constitution that permits abortions through the 22nd week of pregnancy.

To make things worse, text messages sent to voters lied about the effect of voting yes, legal in Kansas that does not prevent disinformation in political messages for constitutional ballot measures. Texts were created by a PAC led by Tim Huelskamp, hard-line former GOP congressman from Kansas, and sent from phone numbers leased from Alliance Forge in Sparks (NV) by Twilo, a San Francisco-based communications company. Huelskamp’s PAC sent the message with no reference to himself or Alliance Forge.

Legislators may also have tried to suppress the vote by putting it on the primary, hoping for a lack of turnout, perhaps 36 percent of voters participating. Instead about 50 percent of the people turned out with returned advance mail ballots 46 percent GOP, 39 percent Democrat, and 15 percent unaffiliated. Republicans outnumber Republicans outnumber Democrats 2-1 in the state. 

The vote was created as a special election at the same time as primaries in which only party-affiliated votes can participate. Legislators may have hoped that unaffiliated voters—29 percent of the electorate—may not have known they could vote on the issue, and lawmakers passed tighter restrictions to create difficulties for registering new voters.

Since the announcement of erasing Roe, over a dozen GOP-led states moved to ban or further restrict abortion. Kansas legislators claim that a new amendment won’t mean a total ban on abortion, but they previously said they are ready for an all-out ban in the January legislative session. Amendment 2, as the initiative is known, does not ban abortion, but it allows the highly conservative legislature to do so.

Anti-abortion activists complained that Kansas had 13 percent more abortions over the past two years, but much of the increase came from closures of clinics in Oklahoma and Texas. The past year saw a 60 percent increase of out-of-state patients in Trust Women, a Wichita abortion clinic during the past year.

In non-election news, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) went to Taiwan and met with President Tsai Ing-wen and other lawmakers despite GOP anger that she didn’t follow China’s directions to not go the country that the Chinese won’t recognize. China’s opposition comes from its Communist Party ideology, objecting to support for pro-independence groups and refusing to see Taiwan as a sovereign nation. Pelosi is the first House Speaker to go to Taiwan since Newt Gingrinch (R-GA) went there in 1997.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) was the first U.S. president to talk to the Taiwanese president since 1979, the year that the U.S. established relations with China, when he talked with Tsai on December 2, 2016, soon after his election. At that time, Republicans were highly supportive of relations with Taiwan. Reince Priebus, DDT’s chief of staff, visited Taiwan in 2011 and 2015 with a GOP delegation, and Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lee called Priebus a friend of Taiwan. Longtime former president of the Heritage Foundation, Edward J. Feulner, had extensive ties with Taiwan. The RNC platform in July 2016 reaffirmed support for Ronald Reagan’s 1982 six key assurances to Taiwan.

During her visit, Pelosi will meet with the chair of Taiwan’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), to discuss the new U.S. law, CHIPS and Science Act, which provides $52 billion of subsidies for U.S. chip factories. TSMC is building a chip factory in Arizona with potential plans for additional factories at the same site.

President Joe Biden orchestrated the killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Republicans either criticize him or describe it as a nothing-burger.

Fox’s Tucker Carlson led the crowd by saying, “Feel safer? Of course you don’t.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) claimed Biden’s departure from Afghanistan caused the “possible re-emergence of Al Qaeda.” McCarthy wants a briefing about terrorist threats to America, probably foreign ones and not the serious problems of domestic terrorism.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said, “Joe’s victory is ridiculous”—after she left the Saudi Arabian LIV golf tour at DDT’s resort in Bedminster (NJ). As with all Biden’s accomplishments, she calls it a distraction from the rising inflation rate.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) blamed Biden for making Afghanistan a “safe haven” for terrorism by withdrawing troops and lambasted him for “a proxy war with Russia that’s just killing more people.” Graham claimed no one was worried about an al Qaeda-attack because of the “Democrats big tax hike coming soon”—meaning the one on businesses making over $1 billion.

Except for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who posted this on his website:

“This is an important accomplishment. All Americans will breathe easier today knowing Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al-Qaeda, has been eliminated. This strike should be a message to terrorists near and far: if you conspire to kill Americans, we will find and kill you.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) called Fox host Harris Faulkner a liar when she claimed that the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will tax people making under $400,000 a year, something Biden said he wouldn’t do. After repeating telling Faulkner she was wrong with her accusation, Manchin pointed out savings of $288 billion for Medicare and from lower gas prices. Faulkner lost her cool when Manchin asked her, “Are you scared that we’re going to do something good that will help our country?” 

August 2 saw primaries in five states on August 2: Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington. Tennessee primaries are on Thursday, August 4. Most results won’t be in until tomorrow—or even several more days—because of the lag in counting votes and waiting for mail-in ballots. Tennessee primaries are on Thursday, August 4.

DDT did win one of his endorsements, ERIC, his pick for the Missouri GOP candidate for the U.S. senate. DDT gave no last name for his endorsement, hedging his bets between Eric Schmitt and Eric Greitens for U.S. Senate. In fact, a third ERIC ran for U.S. Senator, comedian Eric McElroy who had no visible campaign.

The winner, Eric Schmitt, might be slightly better than Eric Greitens who resigned from the state’s governor’s seat after accusations of his violence against a mistress and was recently charged by his ex-wife of domestic abuse against herself and their young son. Greitens said enemies recognize “our campaign is a threat to business as usual,” but Schmitt got at least twice as many votes as he did. The state’s GOP U.S. senator Josh Hawley, master of masculinity who ran away on January 6, backed the second in the race, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who was condemned by DDT. Schmitt runs against Trudy Busch Valentine, an heir to the Anheuser-Busch fortune.

Schmitt used his position as attorney general in an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election by filing an amicus brief to AG Ken Paxton’s (R-TX) lawsuit before the Supreme Court to eliminate legal electoral voters. Head of the only agency opposing the release of an innocent man, Schmitt twice delayed hearings to release Kevin Strickland, imprisoned for 42 years. The state gave Strickland no money for 42-year imprisonment, but donors collected $1.6 million for him.

More about the primaries tomorrow!

July 30, 2022

Udates, News on July 30, 2022

News from the past week have led to extensive updates:

Ukraine: The 12 HIMARS sent from the U.S. are stopping Russia from gaining air superiority in its invasion, according to the Pentagon, and British defense officials said Ukraine has successfully repelled small-scale Russian attacks in the Donbas region. Ukraine announced that its fighting in the Kherson area destroyed over 100 Russian soldiers and seven tanks as well as stopping rail traffic across the Dnipro River, cutting off Russian forces west of the river from supplies out of Crimea and further east.

Missing January 6 texts: Department of Homeland Security Inspector General James Cuffari, appointed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), refused to collect agency phones in an attempt to recover deleted Secret Service texts. After a senior forensics analyst in Cuffari’s office collected the phones, Cuffari’s told investigators to not take the phones and not seek any data from them. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Judiciary Committee chair, asked the DOJ to intervene in the investigation of the missing texts.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a statement Friday calling the missing messages “an extremely serious matter” and said he would ask the Justice Department to intervene. Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), chair of the House January 6 investigative committee, and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) have asked that Cuffari be replaced in the investigation. Text messages from former acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf and acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli, both appointed by DDT, are missing for a key period leading up to the Jan. 6 attack, but both of them said their phones had the texts when they gave their phones to DHS. Secret Service Director James Murray, another DDT-appointed official in the missing text scandal, will need to delay his retirement at the end of July for a job at Instagram because of the investigations.

The PACT Act: GOP senators scuttled a bill they had already approved expanding VA healthcare for seriously ill military veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits of waste. Immediately before Republicans voted against support for veterans, they tweeted their admiration for the veterans. After their negative votes, Ted Cruz (TX), Steve Daines (MT), and others gloated with joyful fist bumps and handshakes on the chamber floor in a video that has gone viral. Republicans complained the bill’s change in the House would allow Democrats a “slush fund,” but it kept other agencies from siphoning off the healthcare funds. Democrats threaten delaying the August recess with 15 Republicans needing to campaign for the 2022 election. Bill advocate Jon Stewart’s response to the happy GOP senators.

Kentucky’s flooding:  Kentucky’s death toll from flooding has gone to at least 25 with “still a lot of people unaccounted for,” according to Gov. Andy Beshear. Since the beginning of heavy rainfall last Wednesday, almost 300 people have been saved, but more rain is forecast for Sunday. The historic flooding follows the deadliest tornadoes in its history killing over 70 in December 2021.

More Florida regulations: Gov. Ron DeSantis has attacked a Miami restaurant hosting drag shows in the presence of children by threatening to pull its liquor license. DeSantis consistently approves of parental decisions—if they do what he wants. Parents criticize the accusation that the drag show violates the state statute opposing anything “injurious to people’s morals and manners.” DeSantis says that drag shows will “sexually abuse” young people. A state representative pointed out that DeSantis doesn’t mind children going to Hooters restaurants, that he thinks “it’s only sexually explicit if it’s LGBTQ+.” DeSantis doesn’t mind hurting trans children. He told schools to ignore federal guidelines protecting transgender youth, threatening repercussions if they follow Title IX guidelines.

Gaetz donations for abortion access:  Misogynistic rants by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) about how anti-abortionists are too ugly to “impregnante” raised over $1 million for abortion access within 72 hours after he personally attacked Olivia Julianna, a member of Gen Z for Change. By late Saturday, July 30, the fund had about $2 million to provide access for this “critical reproductive health care.” Gen Z is defined as people born between 1997 and 2012. Representing one-tenth of the electorate thus far, the racially-diverse Gen Z grew up with technological expertise and are more pragmatic and financially-minded after watching their parents take huge hits in this area. Although similar to Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, Gen Z is more progressive on social issues and believe the government should take a bigger role in solving problems, including climate change which they attribute to human activities.  

And a bit of more news:

High oil prices are causing inflation and tremendous ire from people in the U.S., but major gasoline companies are raking in huge profits.  The three largest Western oil companies—Chevron, Exxon, and Shell—made a record $46 billion in total profits last quarter, with $17.9 billion going to just Exxon. It’s profit of $2,245.62 comes to more than four times as much as the same time period in 2021. The Wall Street Journal wrote:

“Exxon’s oil and gas production was up about 4% from the same period last year. Chevron’s oil-and-gas production declined globally about 7.4% compared with the same period a year ago, largely due to the end of projects in Thailand and Indonesia, though its production rose in the U.S. by about 3.2%.”

One word for that practice is “profiteering.” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), said, “The oil companies are ripping Americans off.”

Following DDT’s goal of keeping immigrants out of the U.S., he required fingerprinting and extensive background check for every household member, instead of only the sponsor, where an unaccompanied child would live. Before DDT’s order, this practice was followed only because a safety concern. Children spent weeks and sometimes even months longer in custody. DDT’s office said the practice was unworkable but continued it without any further information that children were at risk. Thanks to a lawsuit, the U.S. will now establish fingerprinting deadlines for parents and sponsors trying to get unaccompanied immigrant children out of government custody, seven days for appointments and ten days for completion of processing with tracking reports.

n Austin (TX), podcaster Alex Jones is facing his first Sandy Hook defamation trial and not doing well in defending his accusation that the mass shooting of 22 children and six educators was a hoax. His attorney, Andino Reynal, flipped off opposing counsel Mark Bankston inside the courtroom. Producer Daria Karpova, defense-selected representative for Jones’ network Infowars, characterized his 2017 interview with Megyn Kelly, then on NBC, as about the Sandy Hook shooting, allowing the plaintiffs to play the 17-minute segment in open court. In the video, Jones said that the images of children fleeing Sandy Hook “looked like a drill” and admitted his “research” came from internet articles. He had refused to apologize for any of his statements. Karpova then talked about the stress of representing Jones because people told horrific lies about him when testifying about the man who called the Sandy Hook massacre a hoax involving actors and trying to increase gun control.

Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, Jones’ media company Free Speech Systems filed for bankruptcy on Friday. Plaintiffs are asking for $150 million to the family of one child killed in the 2012 mass shooting. Last April, Jones’ company Infowars and two more of his business entities filed for bankruptcy, which delayed the trial until now. His lawyers said the current bankruptcy filing won’t delay the current trial, expected to conclude this coming week. Courts in Texas and Connecticut already found Jones liable for defamation in default judgments against Jones without trials because he failed to respond to court orders and turn over documents. In court records, Jones claimed he was $20 million in debt, but he made over $165 million between 2015 and 2018 in sales of nutritional supplements and survival gear. He also asked his Infowars listeners for donations.

A federal judge dismissed a $195 million lawsuit from a Catholic school student against six national media outlets for defamation after reporting on Nicholas Sandmann’s actions while he was in Washington, D.C. for an anti-abortion rally in 2019. A combined $1.25 billion came from the inclusion of lawsuits against seven other media organizations in the suit. Reports of Sandmann’s interaction with Native American rights activist Nathan Phillips at the Lincoln Memorial included videos, indicating racial motivation. The judge said the reporting of Phillips’ statement that Sandmann “blocked him and wouldn’t allow him to retreat” was the activist’s opinion for which the media couldn’t be sued. The quote couldn’t be proved true or false. Three other media outlets had previously settled with Sandmann. Depicting himself as a 16-year-old victim, Sandmann plans to appeal in a case which the majority of Supreme Court justices could use to overturn the constitutional freedom of the press.

DDT is in trouble with voters for supporting Saudi Arabia by hosting the LIV golf tournament, the Saudi’s attempt to eliminate the historic PGA tour, at his resort. He may also be breaking federal law by using the presidential seal on items such as towels and golf carts at the Bedminster (NJ) golf course.

People who get more spam in your email can blame the Republicans. GOP fundraising dropped off so Republicans attacked Google for putting fundraising emails into spam despite no evidence. Google may be forced into exempting campaign emails from spam detection.

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