Nel's New Day

March 31, 2018

Census on Front Burner, Legal Decisions Helping People

The worst event in the past week may be the decision to add a question to the census about immigration status. Republicans have eliminated any questions about LGBTQ people, but they plan to add a question that intimidates people to cut down the number of votes for their own purposes. The question hasn’t been asked since 1950 and will start an immense legal and political war. Twelve states are already suing Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to stop the interrogatory question.

The Constitution requires a count of “the whole number of persons in each State” and says nothing about citizens. The SCOTUS ruling in Evenwel v. Abbott (2016) unanimously stated that legislative maps should be on total population, not the number of citizens.

Commerce Secretary is already lying about the necessity for “more effective enforcement” of the Voting Rights Act, but it’s already asked on the longer American Community Survey which is used to enforce civil rights laws. The census determines the drawing of congressional districts, the number of electoral votes, and the allocation of $675 billion from 300 programs in federal funding to states and localities. Undercounts deny federal resources and representation to Latino populations and shift power to white, Republican regions. An undercount of just one percent, for example, could cause Texas to lose $300 million in federal monies for children’s insurance and Medicaid.

Common Cause is suing Cambridge Analytica for using foreign workers to orchestrate U.S. elections. A 2014 C.A. report described its management of the campaign for GOP candidate Art Robinson in his campaign against Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) in violation of the law.

A federal lawsuit in Utah is contesting the state’s decision to prevent a U.S. citizen from Samoa from running for office. The plaintiffs maintain that the 14th Amendment confers citizenship on people born on U.S. soil, whether state, territory, of the District of Columbia.

Three men, DDT supporters, are on trial in Kansas for plotting to bomb a Muslim apartment building to start a holy war. They hoped to slaughter Muslims to inspire other to follow their lead. Despite the political purpose of the plans, the judge refused the claim, and the defense lawyers are attacking the FBI with the claim that FBI entrapment unfairly persuaded the three men to have the terrorist plot. DDT has been silent about the terrorism.

Environmental groups are suing the EPA for removing a policy imposing limits on hazardous air pollutants from factories, plants, and other major polluters.

DOJ’s Solicitor General Noel Francisco has asked to defend Texas gerrymandering maps found by a lower court to be discriminatory. The case goes to the Supreme Court on April 24.

The day after Stormy Daniels’ interview aired on 60 Minutes, she filed a defamation lawsuit against DDT’s personal attorney Michael Cohen for accusing her of lying about an affair with DDT. Demanding a jury trial, the suit also contains the argument that DDT’s non-disclosure agreement is not valid because Cohen’s payment of $130,000 violated federal law and DDT didn’t sign the agreement. A judge has refused to allow a deposition of DDT.

The Federal Trade Commission has opened an investigation into Facebook’s privacy practices.

Legal Decisions:

A federal judge on Friday evening temporarily blocked DDT from stopping abortions for unaccompanied immigrant teenagers who are or will be in federal custody because it violates the girls’ constitutional rights. HHS are not permitted to obstruct access to abortion, counseling, medical appointments, or other pregnancy-related care.

A federal judge refused to permit an ExxonMobil lawsuit intended to stop New York and Massachusetts’ probe into the company’s misleading investors and the public about its knowledge of climate change.

A federal judge refused to allow a conservative group to purge voter lists of eligible voters.

An appellate judge told Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) that he had to hold an election for empty legislative seats in the third ruling this week, and he gave up. Walker attacked Eric Holder and other Democrats on Twitter but set up the special elections for June 12 to fill seats vacated last year.

Washington, D.C. and Maryland may proceed with a lawsuit against DDT, according to a federal judge. The case alleges that DDT’s business dealings violate the constitutional ban on “emoluments,” payments to the president from states and foreign governments.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris told government officials they must consider climate change in mapping out infrastructure and land use in the Wyoming/Montana Powder River Basin that produces 40 percent of the nation’s coal. He told the BLM that they had to work with environmental groups for future development in the area.

A federal judge cited DDT’s “racially charged language” when he ruled that a lawsuit to protect DACA participants may continue. Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis pointed out that DDT’s many “racial slurs” and “epithets” created a “plausible inference” that his ending DACA violated the constitutional equal protection clause.

Firings/Appointments:

This week saw the disappearance of another Cabinet member. Two days after DDT said he wasn’t firing VA Secretary David Shulkin, he did. Pete Hegseth, Fox & Friends co-host, will have to wait for a DDT appointment; DDT says that he has picked Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, his personal physician who said glowing things about DDT, as the replacement for acting secretary. The media is now revealing that Hegseth has a tremendous amount of baggage that could keep him from confirmed.

Shulkin is not going quietly. He wrote an op-ed for the New York Times and has appeared on various television programs about how DDT surrounded him with staffers working to privatize the VA in opposition to the positions of veterans advocacy groups and lawmakers concerned about the influence of the Koch brothers and other far-right people to destroy public healthcare. Shulkin pointed out that private health care can’t even take care of its own clients now, let alone the number of patients and their specialized needs coming from veterans dumped onto the system.

The VA Secretary was ostensibly fired because of his travel expenses, a claim made invalid by the inordinate costs of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt. Pruitt paid $40,000 cost to take seven aides staff and an undisclosed number of protective staff to Morocco about the nation’s interest in importing liquified nitrogen gas. The Department of Energy and that Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are in charge of LNG exports, not the EPA. Last June, Pruitt’s expenses to the G7 environmental summit were $120,000. While there, Pruitt attending one meeting and left early. For much of his first year in Washington, Pruitt lived in a condo owned by co-owned by the wife of a top energy lobbyist which includes LNG exports. He paid about $1,000 a month in the fifth most expensive city in the country and in an area where rentals go for about $5,000 a month.

William Charles “Chad” McIntosh, DDT’s pick to head the EPA office of International and Tribal Affairs, comes from the Ford Motor Company where he failed to stop an industrial spill contaminating groundwater with a carcinogen chemical in a Michigan suburb. McIntosh may be deposed in a lawsuit. He also has a background in rolling back Michigan’s environmental protections.

Hope Hicks may be gone from the White House, but DDT now has Caroline Sunshine (left). The 22-year-old Disney Channel star from Shake It Up is a press assistant. (Remember when DDT said that Stormy Daniels, below, wasn’t his type?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christine Harbin, another anti-clean energy fighter, has been appointed as senior adviser for external affairs in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, primarily dealing with the electricity grid. She worked for the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity since 2012 and, before that, for the Koch-funded ALEC, always in a position to support pollution.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) failed to keep Matthew Masterson on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission despite his cyber abilities to fight Russian meddling in elections, but he’s now been hired for the DHS cyber wing to work on election security. State election officials have praised his ability and leadership.

People are beginning to notice the environment: 59 percent rate quality of environment negatively, 40 percent positively; 61 percent say quality of the environment getting worse, 33 percent say better.

DDT is wasting money by doing away with regulations. In the past decade, the government made from $287 billion to $911 billion each year from regulations while spending from $78 billion and $115 billion to implement them. DDT’s goal is to eliminate 75 percent of the regulations that keep people safe. For years, I’ve asked a Republican friend which regulations she wants to get rid of; she never has had an answer.

Note from yesterday’s post on Laura Ingraham: the conservative host is taking a break from her Fox program, “The Ingraham Angle.” Thus far, at least 16 large companies have dropped their advertising after her attack on the Parkland (FL) survivor, leaving only IBM on Friday night.Now North Carolina Rep. Beverly Boswell (R) used her Facebook page to accuse student protesters at the Washington, D.C. rally of wanting to “murder” gun owners.

January 1, 2018

2017 – A Year of Disasters

Niagara Falls froze, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) lasted four hours and twelve minutes into 2018 before causing an international incident. At 4:12 am on January 1, 2018, he tweeted:

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

This official Twitter assault came after frequent attacks on Iran for “failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration.” One year ago, DDT told the Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that “Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people” and then ignored attacks in the country that killed over 100 people.

To epitomize 2017, the Washington Post asked readers to submit their favorite quote of the year. “Alternative facts,” Kellyanne Conway’s excuse for DDT’s lying, came in first, but “Nevertheless, she persisted” was second. This statement was the complaint that Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gave to argue that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) had violated Senate rules by continuing to speak on the Senate floor. Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year for 2017 is feminism, the word that had the most searches. A definition for the word: “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” “Complicit,” also very popular became popular after Ivanka Trump said she didn’t know what the word meant when interviewer Gayle King asked her if she were “complicit” in White House activities. Complicit: “helping to commit a crime or do wrong in some way.”

Much of the “winning” in the past year came from backlash to horrible actions. For example, great numbers of people focused on nuclear weapons after DDT threatened a war with North Korea. People protested against hate speech and white supremacists after DDT supported Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.

Winners:

Women: Last year Hillary Clinton lost the presidency, but women gained ground through political wins in different states and the #MeToo movement. This increasing strength of unification on the part of women can move further successes into 2018.

Democrats: The blue party performed better in 2017 elections than those in 2016, finding the majority in at least one legislature and picking up an additional seat in the U.S. Senate. Virginia is still undecided, but at this point, it’s only one person away from a majority in the House of Delegates. Although too early to hope, the Democrats are in play for a majority in both congressional chambers.

MSNBC: With its almost 50 percent viewer increase compared to the 2016 campaign cycle, the cable network edged out CNN for the top with viewers ages 18 to 49 this year and became the third most-watched basic cable network in prime time—after Fox and ESPN—up from eighth place. Rachel Maddow is moving ahead of Fox’s Sean Hannity and regularly beating him in the envied demographic of viewers 25 to 54.

Chris Hurst: After his girlfriend, another Roanoke journalist at WDBJ-TV, was shot and killed on the air in 2015, he unseated a GOP incumbent in the Virginia House of Delegates.

LGBTQ candidates: Across the nation, LGBTQ people won seats on state legislature, mayoral seats, city councils, and school boards. 

Winners for the far right:

Conservative judicial system: The GOP confirmed Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court and at least 36 federal judges, most of them young and many unqualified, who oppose human rights.

The wealthy: Despite DDT’s campaign to help the “people,” he managed to pass a tax bill that greatly benefits big corporations and the rich. As he told his wealthy friends at Mar-a-Lago, “You all just got a lot richer.” 

Winners and losers:

Immigrants: Federal judges have been opposing DDT’s Muslim ban, but the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed with the number of lower courts opposing the ban. Immigrants “won” when marchers protested against DDT’s ban but lost with DDT’s executive order to deport the “Dreamers,” young people illegally brought into the U.S. with their parents. DDT’s new anti-immigrant system separates families. At the same time, federal judges are also opposing the DOJ’s opposition to “sanctuary” municipalities and states, the places that say that they will only follow the law and not hunt down undocumented people for ICE.

Losers:

The truth: DDT’s entire base is built on a non-existent alternate reality.

DDT’s lawyers: Afraid of what DDT might say or do, his lawyers are lying to him about how serious Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian collusion will be for the man inaugurated last January, according to reporter Carl Bernstein who helped break the case against Richard Nixon.

Political stability: While DDT argues that any opposing institutions are corrupt and biased, he has instituted a system of corruption and bias through inculcating conspiracy theories around law enforcement, the judiciary, the intelligence agencies, and the media that tries to explain what he is doing.

Roy Moore: The GOP backed a lying pedophile for the U.S. senator from Alabama and lost.

U.S. international leadership: DDT has turned the United States into the laughing-stock of the entire world while he backs out of all coalitions except his inexplicable friendship with Russia and Vladimir Putin. At the same time, he ran on the philosophy of isolationism before he bombed the Syrian government, killed civilians in a number of countries including Iraq, and expanded the U.S. military footprint in Afghanistan while alienating China and Japan, threatening North Korea and siding with Israel against most of the rest of the Middle East. In his spare time, he made an enemy of Europe by backing out of the climate agreement, dunning NATO membership, and declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

The federal government: Tens of thousands of federal employees, most of them valued parts of the structure, have been shed in the past 344 days in keeping with DDT’s promise to shrink the government. Even DDT’s beloved Defense Department has lost one percent—7,811 civilian workers, and the IRS, integral in DDT’s tax plan, lost 6,801 permanent staffers, almost nine percent. The proposed budget will drastically slash more employees—over 30 percent at some agencies–and DDT has promised worse for the following year. Losses from the reduced number of employees include worker and personal safety, technology, defense, transparency, human rights, and education.

The short-term future for the government, according to former DDT advisor Steve Bannon, is “trade, DACA, and the wall — but it’s much beyond that. This is the run-up, the last 20 days before the first anniversary of his inauguration, and it’s all coming to a head: a spending bill of epic proportions, the test of a veto or a government shutdown, the China confrontation and Korea, all the immigration issues, infrastructure funding and welfare reform. All on the table, with their direction uncertain.”

DDT’s economic advisor, Gary Cohn, and Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, are worried about proposed new tariffs on industries such as steel and aluminum that would make consumer goods more expensive. Sources close to DDT claim that his goal of putting “huge tariffs on countries, industries, and product categories … would roil global markets, start a costly trade war, and harm America’s relationships with allies.”

Last year was a time of impulsive but official presidential statements primarily on tweets, a large number of resignations and firing in both the legislative and executive branches, the swinging door at the White House with a 34 percent staff turnover, the immersion of Russia collusion into almost every corner of politics, DDT’s support of racism and misogyny, nepotism, lack of diplomacy, DDT’s unconstitutional profiteering from the White House, more mass shootings and other deaths from guns because of legislative inaction, increased religious control of the government, the swinging door at the White House with a 34 percent staff turnover, the rapid increase in stock value while most people’s salaries stayed almost stagnant, constant conflict and anger, revenge and threats, and what seems an inexorable move toward World War III. All of these political problems overlooked the serious problems from climate change—forest fires, and hurricanes. In addition, 2017 was the warmest year in history without an El Nino.

One hundred years ago, the end of World War I caused the disintegration of some empires while the lines drawn by France and England in the Middle East to determine which of the two countries would control these nations began the bloody, brutal battles for the past century. The U.S. isolationism led to racism and ethnic bigotry exacerbated by vigilante actions and the merciless leadership by the federal attorney general. The nation denied international cooperation and relied on trade protectionism, resulting in the Great Depression. One century later, DDT has launched the U.S. into the same direction. There is not one example of how DDT has thus far championed the “forgotten” working class and sided with consumers over businesses.

The question now is whether the people will fight back.

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