Nel's New Day

September 17, 2018

Court Rulings Mostly Right Wrongs

Election Day is only 50 days away, and the GOP continues its attempts at voter suppression. In an honest move that may cause them to lose the 2018 North Carolina election, progressive groups Common Cause and the League of Women Voters that won the redrawing of gerrymandered districts said that there was not enough time to complete the task in the next two months. The contortions of district lines caused the state to have 10 of 13 seats in the U.S. House with only 53 percent of the vote.

The majority in a panel of three judges from the 9th Circuit, two appointed by George W. Bush, upheld Arizona laws that prevent anyone except a family member, caretaker, or postal worker from turning ballots into elections officials and blocked out-of-precinct voting. The decision is especially onerous for Native Americans who are many miles from both voting precincts and post offices. As usual, the fake reason for the law is to avoid voter fraud, but the rationale comes from white entitlement and lack of understanding about other cultures and living conditions. The decision will be appealed to the full court but stays in effect for the upcoming election.

A Missouri judge made Republicans happy when he removed a redistricting measure for this fall’s ballot.

Yet not all bodes well for Republicans in court decisions.

Federal prosecutors have postponed their demand that North Carolina state and local elections officials give them well over 20 million ballots, poll books, and voter authorization forms going back almost nine years by September 25. Subpoenas also required photo images of voters, and subpoenas to the state DMV required DMV voter registration documents and those completed in a language other than English from both citizens and people not born in the U.S. Almost 2.3 million absentee ballots could be traced back to individual voters which caused privacy concerns. The subpoenas for these records cited ICE and a grand jury in Wilmington as the source for the demand after U.S. Attorney Bobby Higdon announced charges against 19 non-U.S. citizens for illegal voting. A state audit counted 41 non-U.S. citizens acknowledged voting out of 4.8 million ballots. Higdon hopes to get the documents in January 2019.

A court in North Carolina also ruled in favor of expanding Gov. Roy Cooper’s authority to make certain appointments, ruling that the legislators had overstepped their authority and violated the separation of powers’ requirement. When Cooper was elected, the GOP legislature immediately passed several laws to restrict his abilities compared to that of his GOP predecessor.

For the second time in four years, federal judges struck down the GOP Virginia General Assembly boundaries of 11 electoral districts that pack minorities together so that white candidates in adjacent districts can win elections. Little progress has been made before the October 30 deadline. With the GOP failure to more forward, the governor has asked the GOP speaker of the state house to turn the project over to the courts. The districts will be used for state elections in 2019.

A Virginia judge also removed an independent candidate from the ballot in the 2nd District congressional race because of “forgery” and “out and out fraud” on her petition. Staffers working for the GOP candidate had collected many of the signatures to get her onto the ballot to split the progressive vote and ensure a win for their boss. Of the 377 signatures that five of them put on petitions, at least 146 were false, some of them for people who had died.

Florida Republicans thought they could keep Puerto Ricans who had fled their island after Hurricane Maria from voting if they refused them Spanish-language ballots. A district judge disagreed and ruled that 32 counties across the state had violated the Voting Rights Act. He ordered them to provide bilingual voting materials, including ballots and poll worker support, for Spanish-speaking Puerto Rican voters. According to his ruling:

“Puerto Ricans are American citizens. Unique among Americans, they are not educated primarily in English — and do not need to be. But, like all American citizens, they possess the fundamental right to vote.”

The enactment is on an expedited basis to give Florida officials “ample” time to appeal if “they seek to block their fellow citizens, many of whom fled after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, from casting meaningful ballots,” according to the judge. “It is remarkable that it takes a coalition of voting rights organizations and individuals to sue in federal court to seek minimal compliance with the plain language of a venerable 53-year-old law,” he added.

A federal appeals court has ruled that the so-called “charity” Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Foundation, linked to billionaire Charles Koch, must disclose its donors to California officials. The three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court reversed a lower court ruling from last year.

A grand jury will be convened to investigate whether Republican gubernatorial candidate and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach intentionally failed to register voters in 2016.

The court woes of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) continue. He tried to get out of going to court over paying hush-money for a nondisclosure agreement with Stormy Daniels so that he and former attorney Michael Cohen don’t have to give dispositions. By not contesting the suit, DDT thinks that he has escaped, but Daniels still has a defamation suit against DDT.

The fate of DDT’s IRS returns is still in court, this time the Washington, D.C. Circuit. EPIC’s Freedom of Information Act case is arguing that IRS must release his returns to correct misstatements of fact about his financial ties to Russia in his tweets. At least two-thirds of people want DDT to release the returns. The 98-page financial disclosure that DDT is forced to make public shows that his biggest windfalls come from his property that he frequently visits. For example, he made $37 million from Mar-a-Lago, up from $15 million in 2015, and $20 from his nearby golf club.

A federal judge refused to stop the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, ruling that Texas and six other conservative states couldn’t prove irreparable harm from the program. He also stated that he believed the program is unconstitutional, but the time has passed to rescind it.

Cities can’t prosecute people for sleeping on the streets if they have nowhere else to go because it amounts to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment, according to a 9th Circuit Court ruling in Boise (ID). Six homeless people sued the city in 2009. The judge also wrote:

“A city cannot, via the threat of prosecution, coerce an individual to attend religion-based treatment programs consistently with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”

A federal judge in Boston ruled that ICE should not remove undocumented people in the process of applying for green cards even if they have final orders of removal. The ruling may not require a penalty from the government or apply outside the New England area. Five couples are suing DHS, ICE, DDT, and law enforcement because spouses were detained by ICE when they went for marriage interviews with U.S.-citizen spouses, a requirement for the application process to prove they have legitimate marriages. Emails show coordination between ICE and Citizenship and Immigration Services to coordinate interviews and arrests. The suit began with a woman who was brought from Guatemala when she was three years old and married U.S. citizen Luis Gordillo. They have two children.

A Canadian court unanimously overturned Ottawa’s approval of a pipeline project because the government failed to consider concerns of some First Nations and did not consider the impact of increased tanker traffic. The pipeline, almost 700 miles long, would take bitumen from Alberta to the western ports to ship to Asia. The ship traffic has already had a devastating affect on southern resident orcas which are almost extinct.

Parents of a Sandy Hook victim may continue its defamation lawsuit against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones after his repeated lies that the 2012 massacre killing 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school was a “fraud.” Six other Sandy Hook families also filed a defamation lawsuit against Jones in May. Jones’ Infowars is also facing a lawsuit for misidentifying a person as the shooter at the Parkland (FL) school who killed 17 people and another defamation suit from the person who recorded the vehicular murder of Heather Heyer at the Charlottesville (VA) rally last year. Jones’ law firm is also representing the co-founder of the neo-Nazi, white supremacist website The Stormer.

An arbitrator has denied the NFL request to throw out Colin Kaepernick’s grievance that owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his protests for social injustice. The ruling shows that Kaepernick has sufficient evidence of collusion for a lawsuit. Eric Reid’s grievance for joining the protests is still pending. The NFL had to put on hold its policy that would require players to stand if they are on the sideline during the national anthem because of problems that it classified protests as conduct detrimental to the team.

September 8, 2018

More Pieces from DDT’s 85th Week

While Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) creates chaos to stop people from noticing reasons for his indictment, the news keeps churning.

Twitter, who tried to claim its lack of bias in not banning conspiracy-theorist Alex Jones and his InfoWars website when other social media did, has “permanently suspended” Jones and his website for violating policies against abuse, including attacks on a reporter outside Kavanaugh’s congressional hearing.

DDT tweeted in mid-August that he was revoking the clearance for John Brennan, but Brennan hasn’t received any notice about the loss of his clearance. This lack of follow-through seems to be a pattern:

  • June: DDT said he “instructed” officials “not to endorse” an official G-7 communique negotiated by member nations diplomats. Nothing happened.
  • April: DDT tweeted that Russia should “get ready” for his military offensive in Syria. Nothing happened.
  • February: DDT asked Defense Secretary James Mattis for military options for Iran. Mattis “refused.”
  • Last summer: DDT tweeted that transgender people were banned from military service. The Joint Chiefs ignored him.

Benjamin Wittes, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and editor in chief of the blog Lawfare, noted that unlike all other administrations, saying, “there is an almost total disconnect between what the president says in public and the actions of the executive branch.” Or maybe his aides really are taking papers off his desk.

With a prediction of a “blue wave,” Republicans have gone beyond their usual fraudulent efforts to win the election such as restrictive voter ID laws, gerrymandering, false statements about candidates, and maneuvers to put someone on the ballot to benefit themselves, and lying about their credentials. Now they’ve moved on to stolen materials, as in the example of Abigail Spanberger, candidate for Virginia’s 7th House district, who is running against Rep. Dave Brat, who replaced House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.  Brat is as unpopular as Cantor was , and the district is considered a toss-up between the two parties.

A GOP SuperPAC connected to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released all the private information from a job application completed by Spanberger, including her Social Security number. The Postal Service said that it released Spanberger’s application in error and asked that it be returned, yet the GOP PAC spun the information into lies about Spanberger.

A polling company asked voters if they would be less likely to support the Democratic candidate “if she knew that the candidate had taught at a school funded by the Saudi royal family that had ‘numerous students arrested for terrorism,’” and the GOP put this information into a “news release.” Spanberger substituted at a prep school for a wealthy school after she finished her MA with no record of any students connected to terrorism in any way. The problems cited by the GOP occurred long after Spanberger left the school. Then someone put up fake posters claiming that Spanberger promises to impeach DDT, open the U.S. borders, and abolish ICE—issues when Spanberger opposes.

In Texas, Democrat Rep. Beto O’Rourke is even in the polls with Sen. Ted Cruz for the general election. Now about 1,000 of O’Rourke’s supporters are receiving false texts that he is “in search of volunteers to help transport undocumented immigrants to polling booths so that they will be able to vote.” The messages came from his campaign by a first-time volunteer who signed up under a false name and were not authorized.

Racist robocalls sent from Idaho went to Florida residents where Andrew Gillum, a black man, is the Democratic candidate for governor against Trumper Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). The message starts with “I is Andrew Gillum” in a minstrel performer voice to background sounds of drums and monkeys before the voice rambles on about mud huts and unfair policing. The recording claims to be provided by the Road to Power, a website with white supremacist and anti-Semitic content.

Other GOP attacks are against veterans—ridiculing tattoos on a Maine candidate who served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming that a Colorado candidate who was an Army Ranger and Bronze Star recipient was responsible for VA problems, and saying that a Kentucky ex-fighter pilot deals in “execution” instead of “ideas.”

With no accomplishments or positive plans for the future, the GOP has devolved into the Party of Trump. It had hoped to run on their tax cuts, but the Pennsylvania special election proved that a failure. All they have are smear campaigns. This past week, congressional Republicans refused to negotiate on a pact banning both parties from using hacked or stolen materials in campaigning. Republicans said that Democrats had violated an agreement not to publicly talk about the negotiations.

The speeches from DDT and President Obama this past week show the serious difference between the two parties. One speaker introduced and praised candidates with personal anecdotes and plans for what they can accomplish if they are elected. The other one barely mentioned a candidate’s name, instead talking about himself and how people must vote for members of his party to keep him from being impeached. DDT tried to play down any concern about president Obama’s speech, but insiders says that it added to his paranoia.

Hurricane Florence, due to hit the East Coast by the end of next week, can bring disaster back to the United States, but not everyone has forgotten DDT’s inability to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria’s destruction of Puerto Rico. Last Thursday, House Democrats accused GOP members of failing to investigate DDT’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in order to protect DDT. Even after the report that 2,965 people died because of the hurricane, almost triple those in Hurricane Katrina, DDT said that he did a “fantastic job.” Republicans held only one hearing on Maria, compared to the nine that they had about federal response to Katrina. They also asked for no records from the White House although they obtained over 500,000 documents from George W. Bush and within five months prepared 569 pages about the government’s failures and suggestions for improvement.

DDT blames Puerto Rico for the deadliest U.S. disaster in almost 100 years despite the refusal of the United States to support its territory. He called its power plant “dead” before the hurricane although it was still functioning and said that delivering aid was difficult because Puerto Rico is an island. The death rate could be as high as 4,645 because emergency responders didn’t provide help in many areas for days. DHS failed to immediately waive the Jones Act for Puerto Rico which prevented the island from getting aid and supplies from non-U.S.-flagged ships out of the U.S., and a hospital ship didn’t arrive for nine days. The assistance to Puerto Rico was minimal compared to mainland assistant, $6.2 million on the island and $141.2 million for Texas. Under pressure from U.S. officials, Puerto Rico hired a two-employee company in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hometown that had once employed his son to repair its electrical grid. The company overcharged for its services before it failed, and much of Puerto Rico was without power for several months. In short, DDT and the U.S. failed Puerto Rico.

Even Israeli military hardliners object to DDT’s removal of funds for Palestinian refugees’ healthcare and schooling plus $200 million in economic aid as they far greater conflict instead of peace. DDT’s new level of hostility toward Palestinian was symbolized last May when Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the UN, walked out of a Security Council meeting to avoid hearing a speech by the Palestinian envoy, going beyond appointing David Friedman, funder of the illegal West Bank settlements, as ambassador to Israel. Christian evangelicals and donors such as Sheldon Adelson want the elimination of Palestinians, but DDT is creating a backlash from a people who have nothing to lose.

A neuroscientist suggests that DDT may be suffering from “narcissistic injury” because of his growing loss of power and control. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders explains that “criticism may haunt these individuals [suffering from this disorder] and may leave them feeling humiliated, degraded, hollow, and empty.” The reaction is to angrily blame others, as DDT is against Bruce Ohr, Jeff Sessions, John Brennan, etc. “Narcissistic rage” causes much higher levels of bully, threats, and erratic behavior with the sole intent of punishing others.

Just 36% say they approve of the job President Trump is doing, a 5-point drop from last month, according to the latest IBD/TIPP poll. Fifty-six percent disapprove of Trump’s job performance, up from 53% the month before.  Good photo  The broader IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index plunged 11.6% to 40.4. That’s one of the biggest monthly drops since IBD started tracking this index in January 2000. Trump is also net negative among male voters for the first time in 2018, and has no advantage among voters over 65 for the first time since the election.

December 2, 2017

DDT: Week Forty-five – Closer to Collusion

The man who led the cry against Hillary Clinton to “lock her up” at the GOP convention is now a convicted felon, and his statement “if I had done one-tenth of what she did” falls flat. The admission of former national security adviser Michael Flynn may have been the biggest bombshell to hit Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) this week when Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI on January 24, 2017, two days after he was sworn in, about his communications with Russia. He may testify that DDT “directed him to make contact with the Russians.” Two top transition officials, one of them DDT’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, told Flynn to contact Russia to influence the vote. Flynn’s lies include his claim that he didn’t ask Russia on December 22, 2016 to “delay a vote on or defeat” a U.N. Security Council resolution. A week later and the day after President Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S., Flynn promised Russian officials that DDT would reverse the Obama sanctions against Russia for its election meddling. The next day, DDT tweeted, “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!” Flynn also forwarded a client’s memo to his National Security Council staff and told them to “fashion it into a policy for President Trump’s approval” to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East.

Flynn’s flip caused chaos for the White House as Mueller digs deeper into DDT’s inner circle. DDT canceled a scheduled press event and said that Flynn had previously worked for President Obama, that Flynn was DDT’s advisor for only a month. In fact, President Obama had fired Flynn and warned DDT against hiring him, the only advice about a  person that he gave DDT. Flynn was closely involved with DDT before the national RNC, and DDT seriously considered him for the vice president slot.

DDT’s tweet that Flynn had lied to the FBI may also mean that DDT knew about the collusion. If so, his request to former FBI director James Comey to “let this go” also is evidence of an obstruction of the investigation—and justice. Revealing emails from K.T. McFarland, a transition advisor to DDT, may cause him more problems.

DDT knew last summer he was in trouble with his possible collusion with Russia when he asked GOP senators to either end or convince their colleagues to end the investigation. Joyce Vance, a former U.S. Attorney, said this pressuring was “potentially obstruction of justice.” The White House admitted the influence but claimed it was not “undue.”

Conservative Christians may be in the middle of Russian collusion: that Rick Clay, fundamentalist activist from West Virginia, was a go-between a “backdoor overture and dinner invite” to DDT from the Russians. Jared Kushner turned it down, but Clay still made the attempt. The offer was shortly before Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin who might provide damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

During testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, AG Jeff Sessions refused to answer the question about whether DDT had told him to block the Russian investigation although he didn’t invoke executive privilege—which he can’t do because only the president can do this. Sessions typically doesn’t admit wrongdoing until it has been made public.

Donald Trump Jr. will meet with the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on December 6. The question now is when VP Mike Pence is asked to submit documents and testimony about his knowledge of the Russian collusion.

Earlier this week, DDT failed to even honor the Navajo code talkers whose work saved the United States from Germany during World War II. Instead DDT delivered a partisan slur against Native Americans and Elizabeth Warren, “We have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”  Navajos protected the U.S. despite being prevented from voting until 1965 after they were killed, denigrated, and pushed onto reservations for over centuries. DDT’s photo-op was in front of the portrait of Andrew Jackson, who removed Native Americans from their lands.

DDT’s lap dog Mike Pompeo, CIA Director, may replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Chief-of-staff John Kelly has been orchestrating this as well as replacing Pompeo with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) who wants extensive surveillance and waterboarding. Cotton orchestrated a letter signed by most GOP senators and sent to Iranian leaders, warning them against the nuclear agreement with President Obama. Retired Major Gen. Paul D. Eaton described the letter, signed by most GOP senators, as “mutinous.”

The government will shut down this coming week without a budget, but DDT wants a shutdown because he thinks it will help him politically.

DDT may declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Internationally, the city is not recognized as belonging to Israel and has holy places for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Allowing Israel to control the city, which is not part of Israel, would create serious problems throughout the Middle East as well as all Islamic-majority countries.

Earlier this year, Congress used the death of Kate Steinle in 2015 to make punishment more severe for convicted and deported criminals who re-entered the U.S., based on the assumption that Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an undocumented immigrant, had deliberately killed Kate Steinle in 2015. A jury has found Zarate not guilty of murder, but DDT is using the trial to lambast sanctuary cities.

James Schultz, a lawyer tackling ethics and financial disclosures issues in the White House, has given up and is heading back to Philadelphia.

The Koch brothers are buying one-fourth of Time magazine through their company, Meredith.

With the departure of Richard Cordray from the watchdog consumer bureau protecting U.S. consumers, DDT appointed Mike Mulvaney as interim director despite a law putting the deputy director—in this case Leandra English—in the position. Mulvaney hates the bureau and has called it a “sad, sick joke.” Nevertheless, U.S. District Timothy Kelly, a DDT appointee, ruled in favor of Mulvaney for the position. English will continue a court case against the appointment of Mulvaney, who told Fox that his “authority really should frighten people.”

Soon after DDT’s inauguration, he tried to drive out legitimate journalists from the press corps and embed questionable far-right representatives. One of these, Lucian Wintrich from hoax-ridden Gateway Pundit, was arrested after grabbing a woman during his speech, “It’s OK to Be White,” at the University of Connecticut.

The trial against the inauguration protesters continues with the DOJ using video footage from discredited James O’Keefe who just tried a fake sting on the Washington Post regarding coverage of Roy Moore after many other fraudulent videos.

The egregious tax bill has passed the Senate after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused to give senators any time to read the bill before the vote. (Far more about the bill later!)

DDT’s tweets:

About the killing of over 300 Muslims in an Egyptian mosque: “Need the Wall” that will keep Muslims from coming in from Mexico.

About DDT’s retweets from a British neo-fascist  of videos lying about Islam, British lawmaker David Lammy wrote, “The President of the United States is promoting a fascist, racist, extremist hate group whose leaders have been arrested and convicted. He is no ally or friend of ours.”

About criticism from Prime Minister Theresa May, DDT fired back an angry tweet which targeted Theresa May Scrivener, a British “mum” who has only six Twitter followers.

About Joe Scarborough: DDT asked if MSNBC would terminate “low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the ‘unsolved mystery’ that took place in Florida years ago?  Investigate!” The unsubstantiated accusation concerned the death of Scarborough’s intern who collapsed of an un-diagnosed heart condition and hit her head on the side of a desk, causing a fatal blood clot. DDT also demanded an investigation into Andy Lack, NBC news chair, for “fake news.”

About negotiating with top Democrats Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Chuck Schumer (NY) to keep the government open and working, DDT tweeted: “I don’t see a deal!” They cancelled the meeting.

When you think that the world can’t get crazier, listen to Alex Jones on Info Wars. He claims that liberal lesbians are abusive to women and want to eat their victims’ brains. DDT has appeared on Jones’ show and told him, “Your reputation’s amazing. I will not let you down.” They reportedly communicate regularly. Their joint conspiracy theories are chronicled here.

Corey Lewandowski’s new book co-authored with David Bossie, Let Trump Be Trump, will immediately hit the best-seller list with its description of DDT on the campaign trail. Although Lewandowski may not have intended his portrait to be a slam, his descriptions of DDT’s violently unreasonable temper are sure to support recent allegations of an unstable mind. The tales of infighting, including Lewandowski’s dislike for his replacement Paul Manafort, will provide conversation for months.

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