Nel's New Day

November 23, 2022

‘Thoughts and Prayers’

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and more people will be in mourning, thanks to the U.S. obsession with guns. Mass shootings don’t kill that many people, cry gun fanatics who want no laws for the safety of people in the United States. Although somewhat accurate, every mass shooting creates not only murders and long-lasting injuries but also others who face these losses. Mass shootings occur everywhere that people gather such as festivals, places of worship, schools, hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, concerts, shopping areas, and workplaces—locations frequented by most people in the U.S. Yesterday, it happened again. A Walmart manager in Chesapeake (VA) walked into the break room where he killed 6 people and injured another 6. The shooter is dead.

For the third consecutive year, over 600 mass shootings, defined as at least four people shot at a single accident, have hit people in the U.S. With 39 days remaining in 2022, the number this year is up to at least 602 mass shootings. That number skyrocketed from the 273 mass shootings in 2014 when they were first recorded. The current number is over a dozen each week, and the majority of people in the U.S. say “so sad” and “thoughts and prayers” before they move on to believing they won’t be personally affected. This country is unique: the rest of the world is appalled by the U.S. indifference to the violence.

Questions arise regarding many mass shootings, but there is no doubt why someone attacked an LGBTQ club in ultra-religious Colorado Springs last Saturday, killing five and injuring another 19 people. Colorado Springs, home to the anti-queer hate group Focus on the Family founded in 1977, has been virulently anti-LGBTQ, reflecting the ultra-conservative culture of the area. Anti-LGBTQ hate crimes have drastically increased during the past several years; hate crimes related to sexual orientation almost doubled between 2018 to 2019 and those related to gender identity from 2019 to 2020.

The hatred and violent rhetoric fomented against LGBTQ people by many GOP politicians and other Republicans, led by Fox network Tucker Carlson, and anti-trans troll Matt Walsh, left no doubt about the motivation. Far-right groups have gone into libraries to assault drag queens reading books to small children and vandalized drag shows in bars while police ignore the damage. In just 2022, state legislatures introduced over 300 anti-LGBTQ bills. In the same year, candidates spent at least $50 million on political ads attacking LGBTQ rights and transgender youth.

For a few days after the tragedy, conservatives stayed largely quiet about it or tweeted in general terms like conservative Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin who didn’t mention the word “gun” or “shooter.” Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who just won her deeply red district by only 500 votes after her Democratic opponent graciously conceded, pushed the lie that she’s never criticized LGBTQ people. 

That honeymoon, such as it is, is over. Conservatives are back to attacking LGBTQ people and their allies. More people would have been killed and injured if Richard Fierro, an Army veteran at Club Q with his wife and child, and not tackled and disarmed the shooter. Extremists now question Fierro’s sexuality because he was at a drag show, call him “groomer” and “faggot,” and assert this story is false. Those commenting on Parler, Gab, Truth Social, The Donald, and Telegram have been vicious about Fiero. Jenna Ellis, right-wing lawyer representing Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in his attempts to overturning the 2020 election, said the five murdered people at Club Q showed “no evidence … they were Christians” and therefore are “reaping the consequences of having eternal damnation”—i.e., burning in hell.

Conservatives have more fuel for their fire after public defenders for the killer stated that he, now they, has identified as nonbinary and should be “addressed as Mx. Aldrich.” Much more will be written about this claim than the killer’s criminal background.

The 22-year-old shooter was born two years after Coloradans passed its anti-LGBTQ amendment to the state constitution. It was later overturned as unconstitutional. Yet within the past few years, he hid his violent past by changing his name. People who refuse to recognize the hatred for LGBTQ people will declare, as usually happens with mass shooters, that he was bullied in an attempt to engender sympathy for him.

The question is whether they can cover for his June 2021 arrest when he caused a partial evacuation of a Colorado Springs neighborhood by threatening his mother with “a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition.” Yet he was never prosecuted for charges of kidnapping and felony menacing. That arrest could have kept the shooter from obtaining a weapon under Colorado’s 2019 red-flag law, but the police didn’t follow through. The killer wasn’t stopped from buying an AR-style rifle and a handgun because his records had been sealed. The county sheriff where Colorado Springs is located refused to issue Extreme Protection Orders, and Boebert, who damned drag queen events, cheered him on.

The killer’s maternal grandfather is California state Rep. Randy Voepel, a MAGA supporter of the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Voepel lost his seat this year.

Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter who is driving the company into disaster, is also promoting hate crimes against trans people by returning accounts to influencers who have violated Twitter’s anti-trans harassment policies as well as those banned for breaking rules about the abuse of LGBTQ people. One of them is DDT.

Soon to be master of conservative misinformation, Twitter is facing a world of problems. Musk is beginning to realize the massive problems he caused with his missteps:

  • Hundreds of high-level workers left after Musk’s refusal to allow them to work remotely. He also ordered workers to sign a pledge to work longer hours and reduced staff. They were excused only for family emergency or inability to “physically get to Twitter HQ.” In a third email, he told them to fly to San Francisco to be present in person to see him. Although he backed off on the no-remote policy, employees didn’t return, leaving at least six critical systems with no engineers or skeleton crews. The top Twitter trend became “#RIPTwitter,” followed by names of alternative social.
  • Musk has called for “anyone who actually writes software” at the company to meet him. Decimated departments are finance and accounting after the disappearance of all employees working in payroll, U.S. tax, and financial-reporting.
  • Criticizing Musk is justification for firing, even if it’s in private, according to the new owner who bought the company to promote “free speech.”
  • Sara Fischer writes for Axios, “Waves of layoffs and departures [will cause] an increasing volume of glitches, delays and decay around the edges.” She listed problems such as extensive copyright violations for movies, hacked accounts, faulty security measures, and bad content for advertisers.
  • Musk himself doesn’t seem worried about problems caused by sweeping changes to support teams and products.
  • DDT’s return to Twitter came from a poll, and Musk plans the same system for “general amnesty,” letting everyone back on Twitter. Highly unscientific, Twitter polls are open to all users and can be targeted by fake accounts and bots.
  • Apple and Google can ban Twitter from their mobile app stores over content concerns.
  • Racist comments, including those for the biggest Black World Cup stars are permitted to remain.
  • Twitter employees at its Africa headquarters are accusing the company of “deliberately and recklessly flouting the laws of Ghana” and trying to “silence and intimidate” them after they were fired. They demand Twitter comply with the nation’s labor laws and give them additional several pay and other benefits. 
  • Twitter has opened up to anyone without proof of identity causes security problems for fraud, other market problems, etc.
  • Musk refuses to pay millions of dollars in travel bills generated by Twitter executives before he finalized the purchase of the company, saying he didn’t authorize them. He also also issued an order to slow or stop transfers of funds to Twitter’s vendors and contract services. Corporate credit cards for Twitter employees have also been closed.
  • Shares of Musk’s electric-car maker, Tesla, are down over 50 percent, partly because he pulled over 50 Tesla engineers to work at Twitter.
  • A Tesla shareholder sued Musk for the $50.9 billion pay package given him with the claim that he exploited his control of Tesla and its highly-paid board of directors to obtain the package. The suit also claims that Musk and his board didn’t uphold financial responsibilities to shareholders. Musk still controls 20 percent of Tesla shares.
  • National security may be at risk with Musk’s incompetence because the National Weather Service had joined Twitter and is now subject to parody. Accurate up-to-date information is vital in times of rising floodwaters or rapidly moving tornadoes.

Musk’s 2022 losses top over $101 billion as he loses over $400 million every day. Tesla is hurting because of tightened COVID restrictions in China, a recall of over 321,000 vehicles because of a taillight problem, and a criminal investigation into the car after a dozen crashes, some of them fatal. The current probe examines whether Tesla misled customers, investors, and regulators with unsupported claims. (Left: drawing fro Bulwark) 

Conservatives, however, are ecstatic about Twitter’s changes and think guns are more important than people.

November 8, 2022

Supreme Court Addresses Race, Rights

SCOTUS will hear two more landmark cases this week. The first, on November 8, decides whether over 76 million low-income people in the U.S. could be stripped of Medicaid healthcare. The majority of justices, even some conservative ones, seemed reluctant to gut the program by saying that people couldn’t file a lawsuits for their rights under the law although they may determine that nursing home residents can use only administrative process to enforce the law. At this time, Section 1983 permits lawsuits for the enforcement. Only JusticesClarence Thomas and Samuel Alito might disagree. Justice Amy Coney Barrett seemed to join the three other women while Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh just asked about how Medicaid law should be enforced, appearing to assume that the law is enforceable.

A “conditional grant” program, Medicaid provides money to states, $670 billion in 2020, and funding includes general requirements governing its operation. In Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County v. Talevski, the plaintiffs are suing the Indiana health system for using psychotropic drugs as “convenience” to keep Gorgi Talevski, a dementia patient, docile with psychotropic drugs, a violation of Medicaid law. The health system asks the Supreme Court to remove all ability for patients to bring lawsuits for law violations protecting nursing home patients.

Making Medicaid law unenforceable would remove the legal requirement that patients receive coverage and overturn a half-century of precedents, something the conservative Supremes is comfortable doing, by returning to decisions from the 1800s. A decision against Medicaid leaves patients open to abuse from health providers and state health officials. Three justices have already argued that “the modern jurisprudence permitting [Medicaid] beneficiaries to sue does not generally apply to contracts between a private party and the government.” Technically, any government official, such as Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis could remove health benefits from a class of people, violating federal law but blocking people from suing for their rights.

In another case before SCOTUS this week, justices will decide whether children can be removed from families in the Native American tribes. The government forced Indian children into boarding schools or white families with the purpose to assimilate and Christianize them until blocked by the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Before the law, 25 percent to 35 percent of all Native children had been removed from their family and put into foster homes, adoptive homes, or institutions. They lost their language, culture, and religion.

Three families are arguing against ICWA before the Supreme Court, one of them a white evangelical couple taking a Navajo and Cherokee 10-month-old in 2016 to “rectify our blessings.” They were told they couldn’t adopt the baby because of the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) but went to court a year later to fight ICWA. The tribe finally backed down. Federal law requires all removed children to be placed with family, if at all possible, but a Native Minnesota woman was forced to fight in the courts for years to be allowed to take her grandchild. The Supreme Court could take her child away from her. Cases of children who don’t need to be removed and overlooked relatives as foster placements are common, especially in Black and Indigenous families.

The plaintiffs are supported by wealthy, well-oiled right-wing organizations claiming that keeping Native children with members of their tribes is race discrimination against non-Native parents and an overly intrusive federal government. Native Americans maintain that tribes need their children for their continued existence. The case goes far beyond keeping children in their culture; it could go down the path to remove tribal rights beyond child welfare: water, land, gaming, policing, and Native sovereignty itself. Defendants argue that the case is not about racial discrimination but about political status, that they are “members of quasi-sovereign tribal entities whose lives and activities are governed by the BIA in a unique fashion.” Tribes have their Indian Health Services clinics, courts, elections, and police forces. The right-wing groups could erase these. In short, conservative whites want to eliminate Native American heritage.

Last week, the Supremes discussed stripping any part of race from college admissions. Two key cases concerned policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Republicans have worked toward that end for several decades, and the use of race has been greatly watered down. Both education experts and the public agree that racially diverse college campuses benefit all students, but the public wants it to happen by magic without “discriminating” against whites. Asian Americans support affirmative action to diversity populations, but right-wingers use them as the victims of the practice.

One person who doesn’t believe in diversity is Justice Clarence Thomas, who acknowledges that affirmative action policies helped his entrance into Yale University and called it “the taint of racial preference.” It most likely put him on the Supreme Court in 1991 when he took the position left by Thurgood Marshall. Four other conservative justices received privilige affirmative action, and Barrett was awarded her job with millions of dark money advertising for her appointment and confirmation.

The six conservative Supremes seemed ready to toss the use of race in a factor in college admissions. Barrett said, “Achieving diversity and diverse student populations in universities has been difficult.” Her solution is to not bothering to solve it. Justice Brett Kavanaugh also wants to know how to stop affirmative action. The conservative approach toward racism is to declare it doesn’t exist; Justice Samuel Alito maintains it victimizes white people.

White supremacists want to do away with affirmative action because elite universities are the conduits to leadership in government, politics, and private business as well as higher incomes and economic mobility. Keeping schools white keeps control of these areas white. Of lawyers arguing before SCOTUS, 81 percent are white and three-fourths are male. 

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson recused herself from the Harvard case because she sits on the school’s board but pointed out that students get into schools because of their family ties. She asked why lineage put one student into the school but denied the lineage of the other one because slavery or discrimination prohibited their ancestors were attending.  

This week, Jackson wrote her first opinion on the high court, a two-page dissent over the court’s refusal to hear a death row inmate appeal. She stated the lower court applied the wrong legal standard and should review the case. Names of the refusers are not made public, but court rules means that fewer than four justices voted to hear it. Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined Jackson’s dissent. The man on death row asserted that prosecutors didn’t tell him that their key witness had a serious intellectual disability. Jackson pointed out that the GOP majority of justices doesn’t always bother with existing law and longstanding legal principles.

While hearing cases, justices are also accepting and rejecting appeals:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) must testify before the Fulton County (GA) grand jury regarding criminal election interference about his statements about finding ballots after DDT’s 2020 loss in the state. Thomas gave him a short reprieve in his appeal from his failed decisions from a federal district court and the 11th Circuit Court, but the Supreme Court rejected his request to block the subpoena. Graham may be questioned as soon as November 17; he can invoke the 5th Amendment to avoid self-incrimination, incriminating on its own. The background.

Roberts accepted DDT’s emergency appeal to block a House committee from obtaining his IRS records by creating a temporary hold on the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court ruling that the committee has broad authority to obtain tax returns: the committee has authority over taxation law. Roberts indicated it gives SCOTUS time to weigh the issues. The committee needs to respond by November 10. In 2019, the Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance, obtained DDT’s personal and business tax records as part of a criminal investigation. At that time, the Supreme Court rejected DDT’s arguments of having broad presidential immunity. No other resident of the White House has denied making his tax returns public.

Justice Elena Kagan ordered a temporary block after an emergency appeal from Arizona’s GOP chair Kelli Ward to stop the House January 6 investigative committee from receiving phone and text records until SCOTUS settles the issue. The 9th Circuit Court had confirmed a U.S. district judge’s decision approving the committee receiving the records. Requested records do not include content or location information. Ward and her husband, Michael Ward, served as DDT’s fake electors for the state and talked to DDT and his staff members about Arizona’s election certification. In her testimony before the committee, she invoked her Fifth Amendment rights not to answer questions because her answers would incriminate her.

Last Friday, Barrett declined to block President Joe Biden’s student relief plan—for the second time. This decision leaves student loan forgiveness on hold from a separate challenge brought by six GOP-led states after an 8th Circuit Court judge granted a stay. As of last week, 26 million people applied for the program. Those behind the lawsuits suffer from a lack of standing, proof that the loan relief brings them harm. Private loans are not being canceled, leaving their lenders such as Pacific Legal Foundation with no reason to object. The two Indiana borrowers claiming they would be harmed because the state would make them pay taxes on the forgiveness aren’t required to participate in loan relief, leaving them without standing. Meanwhile applicants must wait for a ruling because six states are also suing.  

Tomorrow’s topic: whither democracy.

August 15, 2022

Primaries – August 13, 2022 + It’s a Weird Time

Hawaii held their primary elections last Saturday, and almost no one noticed, perhaps because of the shortage of scandals. Tulsi Gabbard is off substituting for Tucker Carlson on Fox, taking her vitriol there, and no one left in the state seems to be vicious. Gabbard was elected four times from 2013 to 2019 as a Democrat, but she increasingly supported GOP policies, even speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference summit last spring.

The last time Hawaiians elected a Republican to federal or statewide office was 2010, and general elections haven’t been competitive since 2014. In November Democrats have a 99 percent chance to win the U.S. Senate seat, governor, and both U.S. House positions. Jill Tokuda, a close ally of progressive Sen. Mazie Hirono, took the Democratic candidacy for Kahele’s House seat with over 57 percent. Incumbents won the Democratic candidacies for the other two congressional elections, Ed Case for the House and Blue Dog Brian Schatz for Senate.

Tuesday has two more primaries on August 16—Alaska and Wyoming where Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) face fierce opposition from Deposed Donald Trump (R-WY).

What’s being ignored during tantrums from Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) regarding the removal of documents he illegally took to Mar-a-Lago:

A new study has mapped the “extreme heat belt” by 2053 where the heat index can reach 125°F at least one day a year. Part of the belt is a three-state swath from Texas to Alabama through Iowa and Illinois into southern Wisconsin. Other parts go north from Florida to southern Pennsylvania, primarily along the coasts and southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico. The interactive map is here. The number of people suffering in this belt will rise to 107 million by 2053, but many coastal areas will have the 125°F by 2030. The states most likely to see the greatest growth in dangerous days are Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Florida with the greatest changes primarily in Florida. Many places currently with heat indices above 100°F for over 20 straight days may have 74 consecutive days by 2053.

Oil prices in the U.S. are falling while China economy is weakening as Saudi Aramco stated it will increase oil input. China’s central bank cut a key interest rate to boost growth. U.S. gas prices have dropped for 30 straight days.

DDT’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani no longer plans to stall his appearance before a Fulton County (GA) grand jury concerning the DDT administration interference in the 2020 presidential election. As a “target,” open to possible criminal charges, he plans to show up and refuse to testify, citing attorney-client privilege. A judge also denied Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) request to dismiss his subpoena in the state prosecutor’s investigation and requires him to testify as a material witness. Graham plans to appeal with the claim that he is a high-ranking government official although his inappropriate questions to the state Secretary of Staff and his staff were not related to his position. Graham’s office asserts cited the Constitution’s speech or debate clause “prevents a local official from questioning a Senator about how that Senator did his job.”

Georgia is one of at least three states in which lawyers tied to DDT directed computer experts to copy sensitive data from elections systems in accessing voter equipment. The forensic firm performing the task charged an upfront retainer fee for each job, in one case $26,000. The other identified states are Michigan and Nevada. A Colorado county clerk, Tina Peters, was indicted on charges connected to an alleged breach of the voting system and leaking sensitive data online. Tightly regulated, voting systems are classified as “critical infrastructure” vital to national security. Officials took the machines out of service in many cases because the chains of custody were disrupted. DDT insiders also sent protesters to Washington, lobbied Congress to reject electoral votes, push former VP Mike Pence to block the voting process.  A WaPo report describes specific illegal activities in these attempts.

The DOJ grand jury has subpoenaed Eric Herschmann, DDT’s former White House legal adviser for documents and testimony. He represented DDT in his first impeachment trial but opposed DDT in his fight against the election results. Present at many important meetings, including the one where most of the DOJ top officials threatened to resign if DDT appointed Jeffrey Clark as AG, who pushed false voter fraud claims, Herschmann also opposed Powell’s and Michael Flynn’s requests for the military to seize voting machines. Testimony by Herschmann, included in public hearings, was quite colorful such as calling Clark’s proposal “nuts” and telling John Eastman, who pushed refusal of the electoral votes, to “get a great F-ing criminal defense lawyer.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has won the contest—for the most hateful tweets since Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. Also on the top ten are Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-TX) and Christina Pushaw, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis former press secretary who has now joined his gubernatorial campaign. Greene’s tweets about the false “grooming” narrative reached almost 18 million viewers.

The far-right is now attacking school counselors, threatening them for “spreading hate and race-baiting” with accusations from Twitter accounts from such organizations as Courage Is a Habit. Fox’s Tucker Carlson also made the evidence-free claim to his TV audience that school shooters are “numbed by the endless psychotropic drugs that are handed out at every school in the country by crackpots posing as counselors.” In addition to helping students with goals for their future, counselors oppose bullying, combat discrimination, teach organizational skills, and support students understanding their sexuality or gender identity.

School nurses are other villains, according to conservatives. Parents confuse the approximately 2,500 health care centers at schools, operating under the local health department, which are completely separate from the school nurses. Parents or guardians must sign a consent form for students to be treated at these health centers, and they don’t provide hormonal therapy, as conservatives accuse them of doing.  

Parents’ opposition to schools began with mask mandates at the beginning of the pandemic and then increased to Republican myths about schools’ teaching systemic racism with demands to stop teaching history. For example, a special education teacher at an Escambia County (FL) public school quit after a staff employee told him to remove a display exhibiting “age inappropriate” racist behavior with photos of Black heroes like Martin Luther King Jr., Harriett Tubman, George Washington Carver, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former President Obama. In a predominantly Black part of the county, the majority of his former students are Black.

Parental discrimination moved on to the LGBTQ school community. A DDT-appointed judge in Tennessee banned two federal agencies from enforcing federal directives in 20 states providing protection for LGBTQ people in schools and workplaces. In 2020, a Supreme Court opinion, Bostock v. Clayton County, ruled 6-3 that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in the workplace.

Some January 6 insurrectionists are promoting businesses, boosting social media profiles, and raising cash from their experiences through selling books, clothing, and even a rap album. Their plans lead prosecutors to ask for tougher punishments, and the DOJ is thinking about taking the money. Federal authorities have seized over $62,000 from a Utah defendant who sold his January 6 footage for $90,000. The man who propped his feet on the desk of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) is selling photos for $100. Anti-vaxxer Dr. Simone Gold raised over $430,000 for her legal expenses from a nonprofit, but she didn’t tell the donors she had already pled guilty to illegally entering the Capitol. A rioter sentenced to three weeks in jail for entering the Capitol and watching insurrectionists beat up on the police helped his father sell clothing with “Back the Blue.”

A Kentucky judge using a lawyer for political purposes to support his reelection campaign accused the state Judicial Conduct Commission of being used for political purposes. In Kentucky’s southwestern Christian County, the county judge, suspended with pay, declared he will “stay the course.”

Almost a month ago, DDT buried his first wife, Ivana, at the first hole at his Bedminster (NJ) golf course, the first one there and requiring consecration of the property for a traditional Catholic burial. (Seventeen wives still have room.) Researchers debunked the idea that it was done for a tax break by saying the cemetery taxes waived only 5,700 square feet of land. One assumption is that DDT did it because he loves northern New Jersey. He’s also interested in burials. In 2007, he got permits for a windowless wedding chapel at the club to be converted into a mausoleum for himself and his families. Later, he planned a cemetery holding over 1,000 graves which morphed into two cemeteries, one selling 284 plots to the public and the other for ten plots next to the first tee from himself and his family.

DDT already gets massive tax breaks at the club, $88,000 annually, with keeping eight goats and raising hay on 113 acres of the property. New Jersey cemeteries avoid taxes, rates, assessments, and personal property taxes as well as business taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, and inheritance taxes. In 2016, the Trump Family Trust has tried to designate a property in Hackettstown (NJ), 20 miles from Bedminster, as a nonprofit company, but it won’t save them money. DDT annually pays $16.35 in taxes on the property, designated as a farm, that he bought for $461,000.

Richard Nixon did a better job honoring his dog, Checkers.

March 19, 2022

Courts, Legislation for Spring Equinox 2022

Migrant families experienced a small victory last week when the D.C. Circuit Court said President Joe Biden can remove them under an emergency pandemic rule “only to places where they will not be persecuted or tortured.” Biden has followed a rule instated by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), Title 42, allowing the U.S. to turn back thousands of migrants at its southern border.

Soon after that ruling, however, a one of DDT’s federal judges in Texas ruled against Biden’s exemption of unaccompanied migrant children from DDT’s rule, but CDC terminated the government’ ability to reject these children. Title 42 can still expel single adult migrants and families traveling with children to Mexico or their home countries. CDC said that expulsion of unaccompanied children seeking asylum, established because of COVID, is no longer necessary for health reasons, citing increase of vaccination rates and decrease in cases.

A federal judge ruled that New York illegally took a 2,000-acre plot of land in the northeastern part of the state from the Akwesasne Nation of the Mohawks in the 1800s. After the 1796 Treaty of Canandaigua, the state bought the Hogansburg Triangle in 1824 and 1825 but failed to get federal approval, thus violating the Non-Intercourse Act of 1790. The ruling affects one square mile of Massena, a town of about 13,000 population.

The Second Circuit Court has denied ExxonMobil’s latest try to stop New York and Massachusetts AGs from investigating whether the company lied about how much it knew regarding climate change. To stop the states, ExxonMobil started to sue them in 2016 to keep them from obtaining documents and continuing the probe.

DDT’s campaign must pay over $350,000 in legal fees and expenses for trying to enforce and “unenforceable” nondisclosure agreement against former staffer Alva Johnson. Her case, including claims that he tried to forcibly kiss her, was dismissed by one of DDT’s judges who declared it was merely political. Johnson also asserted she was paid less than comparable workers because she is a Black women. The arbitrator found that the campaign couldn’t invoke a legally unsound NDA. DDT typically uses arbitration to conceal potentially damaging or embarrassing claims from being revealed in court. Two other DDT campaign staffers, Jessica Denson and Omarosa Manigault Newman, won challenges to identical NDAs. In all the cases, the NDA confidentiality and nondisparagement sections were ruled “vague and unenforceable.”

The House of Representatives have passed a bill banning discrimination against hairstyles by 235-189. It “would bar discrimination against locs, braids, Bantu knots, and other hairstyles to make uniform the hodgepodge of state laws against this form of bias, as well as competing court rulings weighing in on bias against specific styles,” according to Bloomberg reporter Paige Smith. The NAACP stated:

“Hair discrimination is rooted in systemic racism, and its purpose is to preserve white spaces. Policies that prohibit natural hairstyles, like afros, braids, bantu knots, and locs, have been used to justify the removal of Black children from classrooms, and Black adults from their employment.”

On the last day of Black History Month (February), 188 Republicans tried to block the bill from a vote. Fourteen Republicans, all from northern or western states, voted yes. The House has 56 Black Democrats and 2 Black Republicans.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who will be 89 by his 2022 re-election try, has told Democrats that they must pass lowered prescription medication costs before Republicans re-take Senate control because the GOP won’t support it. He said that then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sabotaged the legislation in 2019 by telling GOP senators to reject a bill that easily passed the House. The bill never got to the Senate floor. The current bill needs 60 votes to overcome Senate opposition. Democrats are largely in support, perhaps even Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who has fought Biden’s agenda. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) ran on drug-price reform but has opposed it for several months.

Rep. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) teaches a class at Arizona State University on funding campaigns, perhaps explaining this strategy. At a fundraiser, she ridiculed the Democratic president, praised congressional GP members, and called herself “anti-government” and “anti-tax.” Sinema appreciates House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who allows QAnon behavior from his representatives while chastising GOP representatives who tell the truth. About her far-right colleague from Arizona, she said, “I love Andy Biggs.” He believes the election was stolen and denies climate change. Two of his own brothers have called for his removal from Congress for his involvement in the insurrectionist at the Capitol by “attempting to cause uncertainty in the election’s outcome.” Sinema opposed wearing a mask to a meeting with Biden at the White House and told him not to appear in Arizona about the passage of the American Rescue Plan.

Republicans have accused Democrats of wanting to “defund the police” when the argument has been to fund mental health teams in an attempt to stop unnecessary police killings. Denver has a program that does this, a pilot so successful that the Colorado city is expanding it. STAR sends medical and behavioral health clinicians to low-risk calls of trespassing, intoxication, or mental health crises involving poverty, homelessness, or addiction. In its 2,200 calls, the teams have not needed any police back-up for safety issues and saves money for the cities. Other Colorado cities—Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins—are investigating similar programs. Aurora has already duplicated Denver’s model.

North Carolina is investigating DDT’s former chief of staff and former representative Mark Meadows for voter fraud after reports that he registered to vote at a property he had never visited. Meadows and his wife are also registered to vote in two different states. Since DDT lost the 2020 presidential election, Republicans have consistently accused minorities and Democrats of voter fraud and passed punitive laws against them voting in at least 19 states. Meadows has been a leader in the charge in the lie that the 2020 election was “stolen” from DDT. Almost all the identified cases of voter and election fraud involve Republicans, and Meadows’ case is for the most prominent Republican. A Florida probe has discovered Republicans coordinating efforts to change registration from Democrat to GOP with the persons’ consent.

Life expectancy is lower in red states such as West Virginia and Mississippi (74 years) and Alabama (75) compared to 80 years in blue states including California, Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Conservative Jennifer Rubin wrote: 

“A political mindset that prioritizes racial resentment, anti-science zealotry and manufactured cultural wedge issues is not likely to be conducive to long, healthy lives. Indeed, antagonism toward ‘elites’—e.g., experts—often impedes common-sense measures that save lives.”

Stephen H. Woolf, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, explained

“Conservative governors increasingly use preemption, the authority to override local governments, to block liberal health policies—e.g., indoor smoking bans. States have preempted local regulations on nutrition—e.g., menu labeling, food deserts—and as of 2013, 45 states had enacted statutes to limit local firearm regulations.”

These figures of 2019 don’t reflect COVID deaths, but “eight of the ten states with the highest COVID death rates adjusted for age have Republican governors: Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama, Texas, Tennessee, Arizona, Arkansas and Indiana,” according to Rubin. “Nevada and Kentucky are the exceptions, coming in 6th and 10th, respectively.”

Rubin concluded:

“It’s clear the governing philosophy of right-wing states—e.g., low spending; prioritization of cultural wedge issues; anti-elitism—leads to deadly results. Maybe it’s time they stop spending their political energy persecuting gay kids, banning books, outlawing abortion and fanning culture wars. They have plenty of systemic problems they’ve failed to address while busying themselves with MAGA crusades. Red-state voters should look around and see why their states have fallen so far behind in so many categories.”

Republicans also blame Democrats for the crime rate. A few statistics: the homicide rate in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) San Francisco is half that in Bakersfield, McCarthy’s region. In 2020, DDT’s states had a 40 percent higher rate than Biden’s states. And 8 of the 10 states with the highest murder rate in 2020 voted for the GOP candidate in the 21st century. And the GOP stats keep getting worse.

While the U.S. faces the possibility of World War III, the Senate worked on a distraction issue—unanimously passing their all-important bill to keep Daylight Savings Time. It now goes to the House where Democrats are still amazed that the Senate Republicans can accomplish anything. (I confess I’m not real happy about exchanging ordinary time to fake time: success means that the sun won’t come up in the winter until about 8:30 am.)

The lovely bill, the Sunshine Protection Act, would be better named the Business Protection Act: people spend more money if the sun goes down later. People have long known that changing time twice a year causes health problems by disturbing the circadian rhythm, or internal clock. The “social jet lag” almost always results in sleep deprivation with increased risk of mood disturbance, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic dysregulation especially for those in the western areas of any time zone and in northern latitudes. Children have greater safety issues when going to school in the dark.

People grew dissatisfied with the last experiment with permanent DST in January 1974; by February, polling approval dropped to about 30 percent and 19 percent in March. The law lasted only ten months. You can check on your sunrise here.

Consistency can be good, but even when the Senate takes action, it screws it up.

December 29, 2020

Biden Waits, DDT Sabotages

Ignoring security for the United States, the lame-duck administration of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and the GOP continues its roadblocks against the new Biden/Harris administration, depriving people in the U.S. of safety, including members of the military.

Vital information about budgets, U.S. military forces, troop withdrawal, and the Russian cyber espionage is being withheld from the transition team of President-elect Joe Biden. The result, the most contentious presidential transition in decades, means danger for U.S. interests in both domestic and foreign issues. DDT frequently talked about his conversation with President Obama about sensitive national security matters but refuses to meet with Biden and anyone from Biden’s transition team for the same purpose.

A senior Pentagon official admitted the Defense Department is deliberately keeping budgetary data from Biden, who said he needed “a clear picture” to “deter our enemies.” Although saying that the Pentagon had been “completely transparent … on fiscal 2021 budget” and “topline information on the fiscal 2022-2026 program,” a spokesperson said the Office of Management and Budget hasn’t authorized the release of the full details of the FY22-26 program.” Answers to follow-up questions from the transition team demand a lengthy process. Biden also said the Defense Department refused to brief the transition team on last week’s huge cyberattack on government agencies and private U.S. companies. The department also continues to “deny and delay” meetings with transition members.

DDT’s officials admit they don’t want to give Biden any help in dealing with DDT’s priorities, such as building a wall on the southern U.S. border. Biden has vowed to stop the building of the wall upon his inauguration as DDT has charged ahead to damage and degrade the land with little planning. McAllen (TX) has more illegal crossings than other regions but almost no construction because ranchers and other landowners oppose the wall impacting their property. DDT brags about the miles of wall he has built, but only 40 of the 440 miles is new barrier. The remainder replaces or upgrades existing fences and bollards. No one know if DDT’s fence blocks migrants, but they are destroying natural habitats and species, some of them endangered. Biden’s plan to stop wall construction saves the nation $2.6 billion after about $700 million winds up current construction contracts. The funding can be returned to building projects on U.S. military bases.

At least a dozen existing construction contracts in Texas are on land the government doesn’t own, costing the government $1.6 million while contractors wait around. In this area, the administration planned 110 miles but finished only 15 miles. The Army Corps of Engineers won’t award contracts until it has the land, but high-level decision can override the agency. After the government awards the contract on land it doesn’t own, it goes to court to demand the land because it’s being penalized for not beginning construction. The court must give permission before building begins. In Texas, 70 condemnation cases have been filed since September; 53 are in one county where the government filed 25 lawsuits since Election Day. Much of the property has been in the families for generations. One owner came into the U.S. over 40 years ago as an undocumented immigrant on the same property he bought 30 years ago after he became a legal U.S. resident. His ranch would be behind the wall on the Mexican side.

After the inauguration, Biden faces other crises such as the slowing global economy, dangerous climate change, and accelerating racial problems, especially with DDT’s increasing promotion of domestic terrorism by white supremacists. DDT has played down the cyber attack, refusing to admit it could be by Russians because his entire focus has been on the mythical election fraud and developing strategies to overturn the nation’s majority win for Biden.

In opposition to the upcoming administration, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia completed regulations allowing federal contractors to discriminate against racial and religious minorities, women, and LGBTQ people by calling the rules “religious liberty.” The new regulations affect about 4 million employees and follow Scalia’s refusal to protect employers from infection and death in the COVID-19 crisis. By removing language from statutes and court decisions, Scalia classifies almost all contractors as “religious, permits them to discriminate based on the employers’ belief in “religious tenets,” and removes the ability to identify lawbreaking. The contractors can select employees based on their religion, also breaking the law.

Throughout his past three years, DDT also wants to consider mandating agencies to delineate policy goals and show progress in the achievement for budgeting purposes to restrict Biden from his own budget processes. Circular A-11, a thousand-page document, must be used to justify funding requests. It would, however, remove strategic planning and performance measures from budget guidelines as required in a 1933 congressional law. The same order mandating Circular A-11 also permits a new classification of federal employees who aren’t permitted civil service protections. Federal employee unions are suing to stop the new class of workers.

Other DDT infiltration of Biden’s administration is filling multi-year positions left empty for years with DDT’s loyalists. 

DDT also continues his plan to overturn the election. Following DDT’s strategy, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is suing VP Mike Pence, demanding he not count electoral votes from states DDT wants to exclude. The Constitution does not permit Gohmert’s demand, but Gohmert and his Arizona cohort Kelli “Chem Trail” Ward got the idea from a meeting with Pence and DDT last week to plot keeping DDT in the Oval Office. The case was filed with DDT-appointed Judge Jeremy Kernodle in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The text of the Twelfth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

“The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted.”

Steve Benen wrote about the party that ran on following the U.S. Constitution and appointing “textual originalists” to the Supreme Court bench:

“In 2020, an elected member of Congress not only believes a vice president should have the unilateral power to decide the outcome of a presidential election, that same lawmaker expects the federal judiciary to make it happen. We are now watching people who call themselves conservatives argue that vice presidents should have unilateral power to decide presidential elections.”

DDT becomes increasingly angry with judges, especially Supreme Court justices, who refuse to overturn the election in his favor. Yesterday, he called the three he appointed “totally incompetent and weak” as well as chicken-hearted. A look at the rulings against DDT’s evidence-free election fraud claims.

With under ten percent of the promised 20 million vaccinations before the end of the year just two days before the deadline, Biden has been warned about delays for mass distribution, already experienced, worsening after his inauguration. One concern is whether DDT’s team has provided unrealistic expectations and no organization after Biden is inaugurated. DDT failed to order additional doses beyond the original one million earlier this year; a new order of 100 million doses for 50 more million people won’t be available until July 31, 2021. 

Biden is delivering difficult news either ignored or denied by DDT. Unable to take charge for another three weeks, Biden passes along the same news as many governors and medical experts about “this dark winter of the pandemic.” Last week, he said, “Our darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us, not behind us.” Tuesday, he described the months ahead as “a very tough period for our nation” and asked people to make sacrifices to destroy the virus. Biden said, “It’s going to take all the grit and determination we have as Americans to get it done.” Yet he has a plan to give 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days

Almost 70 percent of people in the U.S. support a mask-wearing mandate on federal property, and 72 percent want masks required in public places. Two-thirds of the respondents believe masks should be required with anyone outside the household. The poll shows a majority for both Democrats and Republicans.

Two GOP leaders, Massachusetts GOP leader Tom Mountain and Rep.-elect Luke Letlow (R-LA), suffered from their lack of masks. Mountain now recognized his mistake of attending a White House Hanukkah Party where the 100+ mingled closely, mostly without masks. He spent days in the hospital, close to needing a ventilator, and still suffers after over two weeks. His wife, who wisely didn’t attend the party, still contracted coronavirus along with Mountain’s son, daughter-in-law, and mother-in-law. Letlow, 41, died after testing positive for COVID-19 eleven days ago. Married, he had two young children.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 400,000 deaths in the U.S. before Biden’s inauguration in three weeks. Past deaths in the U.S.: 100,000, May; 200,000, four months later; 300,000 in three months. Weekly deaths are expected to rise through January 16, 2021. By tomorrow, the number of infections will go above 20 million and deaths about 350,000. December 29, 2020: new cases in U.S. – 194,460; new deaths – 3,398.

July 9, 2020

DDT’s Royal Crown in Jeopardy, Final SCOTUS Decisions

A decade ago, the Supreme Court and the electorate moved the United States toward a low point in its democracy: the Supreme Court ruled unlimited donations for political candidates in Citizens United, and Tea Party voters elected corrupt politicians for gerrymandering. The U.S. expanded oligarchical control and picked Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), interested only in personal wealth and self-aggrandizement, who signed hundreds of executive orders benefiting only himself, not the country. For two years, DDT controlled all three branches of government until Republicans lost faith and put Democrats in control of the house in 2018. 

Supreme Court decisions in the past month have not all appeared to be the highly conservative ones DDT expected when he nominated Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the high court. Until this week, Chief Justice John Roberts leaned away from the four conservative justices in an anti-abortion case although he went with them in allowing abuses of the environment, financial oversight, and independent agencies. A majority of the justices ruled states could not discriminate against LGBTQ employees, protected DACA recipients, and let stand victories for gun safety and sanctuary laws.  

Two rulings today moved democracy back on its path. Even Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, who voted against the specific subpoenas for DDT, agreed DDT is not “king of the United States.” DDT lost his claim of complete immunity from the law. One ruling concerns congressional ability to obtain a president’s financial records from third parties, and the other determines whether a president is immune from state criminal investigation. A New York prosecutor can subpoena DDT’s private and business financial records; the second ruling sent the question back to the lower court to match the restrictions placed onto the subpoenas. The wording of the decision means the information will most likely not appear before the November election, but the premise of the U.S. not being a kingdom with a monarch is vital for democracy.

In the majority opinion, Roberts wrote:

“In our judicial system, ‘the public has a right to every man’s evidence.’ Since the earliest days of the Republic, ‘every man’ has included the President of the United States.”

Furious, DDT lied in a tweet about “broad deference” in the past “BUT NOT ME.” In another tweet, he yelled about “PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT.” DDT began railing against the judiciary even before the decisions were released to the public. “Not fair,” DDT cried, about the possibility of releasing his tax returns and financial records. Yet he cannot block subpoenas if his action impedes Congress from carrying out its responsibilities; a lower court must “assess the burdens imposed on the President by a subpoena.” DDT cannot protest that the subpoenas will take too much of his time, because the subpoena is for private companies and not to him.

The permission for New York to obtain records also removes any special, heightened standard of proof. Roberts used the ruling that Thomas Jefferson was not immune from a subpoena for records in a trial with Aaron Burr. Another citation came from U.S. v. Nixon: “The President’s ‘generalized assertion of privilege must yield to the demonstrated, specific need for evidence in a pending criminal trial.’”

The opinion placed these restrictions on subpoenas regarding DDT:

  • Subpoenas cannot be for information searches if other sources are available.
  • Subpoenas cannot be too broad.
  • Lawmakers submitting subpoenas must explain how the information advances potential legislation.
  • Confidentiality does not apply if “executive deliberations” don’t exist. court must “assess the burdens imposed on the President by a subpoena.”

In another win for the people of the United States, the Supreme Court ruled a large portion of eastern Oklahoma, including much of Tulsa, is Indian reservation where state authorities cannot prosecute Native Americans. In the 5-to-4 decision, Gorsuch provided the swing vote. The case, which SCOTUS postponed from last year with a different plaintiff, concerns the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Members of five Indian nations were forced from Georgia, Florida, and Alabama in the 1830s. To take the land for White expansion, the U.S. Army forced-marched the Native Americans on the “Trail of Tears” to the Indian Territory (Oklahoma) where the survivors were promised land. Over 3,000 Indians died on the journey.

In the late 19th century, Congress took courts, governments, and laws from the Creek Nation and forced them to change tribal lands into privately-owned allotments for the tribe’s members before selling surplus land to white settlers. Yet Congress never specifically abolished the reservation’s treaty promising the Oklahoma land in perpetuity. In the majority opinion, Neil Gorsuch wrote:

“If Congress wishes to withdraw its promises, it must say so. Unlawful acts, performed long enough and with sufficient vigor, are never enough to amend the law.”

The Oklahoma decision affects almost half of the state’s population. According to the majority ruling, only Congress, not the courts, can modify treaty agreements and change reservation boundaries. Federal officers, not state authorities, will be in charge of prosecuting tribal members for major crimes on the reservation, but the question remains regarding the authority of state and city governments in regulations such as taxation and zoning. The Oklahoma AG and leaders of five tribal groups—Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole nations—are negotiating an agreement for “shared jurisdiction” to submit to Congress. The Native American sovereign nations and the state must also deal with thousands Indian prosecutions for over a century. 

In two other decisions, the Supreme Court reinforced DDT’s Christian rule. DDT’s expansion of birth control exemptions for employers who claim religious and moral reasons in opposition to the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that insurance plans and employers except for religious nonprofits must cover contraception without cost sharing. Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer voted with the conservative majority only because the Executive Branch has the power to make this mandate. The nation’s support for universal health care has been growing, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, and this ruling may enlist more support. Ironically, the Supreme Court opposes abortion while opposing access to abortion prevention. A new president in January could rescind the DHS mandate about employers’ moral perception ruling the lives of women, perhaps guiding some women in their voting choice.  

In another ruling today, religious schools can fire teachers or anyone else supposedly acting as “ministers” to the students. One of the plaintiffs was fired because of her age, the other because she had breast cancer. The two cases leave over 126,000 women without free contraception plus with far more at risk with SCOTUS giving DDT permission for exemptions and tens of thousands of people prevented from suing for job discrimination. An earlier SCOTUS decision forces taxpayers to pay for religious schools, meaning taxpayers must pay for discrimination in education. One of the plaintiffs was demoted because she was 63, the other because she had breast cancer. 

The last decision this week referred to “faithless electors,” voting for their own preference in the Electoral College. That practice is now illegal after the SCOTUS ruling, stating representatives must vote according to their state’s majority vote for president. In the majority opinion, Kagan left wiggle room for 18 states not requiring conformity between the popular vote and the agent in the Electoral College as well as the current initiative passed in 15 states and pending in another ten which pledges electors to the winner of the national popular vote instead of their statewide totals. 

David Farris is making suppositions about Roberts preparing for a Biden presidency. The last two nominations have demonstrated the ugliness of Senate Republicans—first the refusal to consider President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, for almost a year followed by the GOP manipulation of Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. The corruption surrounding the GOP control of the Supreme Court has led to a suggestion that Democrats would enlarge the court if they control the presidency and Senate. Justification might be the appointment of four justices by presidents who lost the popular vote.

Roberts wants to be known for a legitimate court, a difficulty if he needs to vote conservative on an 11-person group of justices. His narrow dance with the Louisiana abortion case kept him from fury about an out-of-control institution from the left although it left him with an unhappy right wing. The end of the 2020 decisions leaves enough liberal victories to quiet those who were highly disappointed with Anthony Kennedy’s disastrous decisions before his 2018 departure. Walking a fine line, Roberts seemed to vote liberal while not really making progressive decisions. Instead, several of the rulings such as DACA and DDT’s financial records merely postponed cases by returning them to lower courts. The abortion ruling invited a conservative assault on women’s rights. Most of the other cases clearly gave control to big business and reinforced voter suppression.

If DDT wins, Roberts can put conservatism into cement; if Biden wins Roberts will continue the veneer of moderation while pushing long-term conservatism, including the overturn of ACA. He’ll copy the last 20 years with one step forward, three steps behind.

COVID-19 in the world on July 9: 12,390,734 cases and 557,416 deaths. And in the United States: 3,219,999 cases and 135,822 deaths. New U.S. cases in the past 24 hours: 61,067.

March 1, 2020

DDT Goes to India, Woos Taliban

Last week before Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) came home to the worst decline in the stock market since 2008 and the possibility of an epidemic in the U.S., he spent two happy days with another authoritarian. Jealous of the 50,000 audience for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Houston, DDT was promised a much bigger crowd during his stay on a trip to India. At a rally, 100,000 attendees cheered DDT before over one-third of them walked out of the cricket stadium during his speech. Another third left during Modi’s speech. In Ahmedabad, a city of six million, Modi failed to come up with the 10 million along the motorcade path, but he did provide costumed musicians, dancers, and a marching band on camels. [Visual Trump India]

During press conferences, DDT avoided Modi’s international condemnation for revoking the statehood of Muslims and establishing a religious test for new migrants to make India a Hindu nation and drive out the 200 million Muslims. DDT was supposed to talk “about our shared tradition of democracy and religious freedom” but instead skipped the subject. While police used tear gas and smoke grenades to disperse crowds in New Delhi, DDT spoke of India as a place where different faiths “worship side by side in harmony.” He ignored both the violence and the anti-Islam law. 

DDT may have hoped that his visit to the state of Gujarat would help him get donations and votes from influential Indian-Americans, It’s also the place where Modi tacitly supported the killing of over 1,000 people in 2002 in sectarian violence, almost 80 percent of them Muslims killed by Hindu mobs. George W. Bush banned Modi from visiting the U.S. because of his actions until he became prime minister in 2014. Like today’s sectarian violence, police didn’t intervene and sometimes joined in that attacks. Last week, over 30 people were killed in protests. George W. Bush banned Modi from visiting the U.S. because of his actions until he became prime minister in 2014. Both DDT and Modi achieved political power through inciting hatred of Muslims. The Delhi riots bear a strong resemblance to the ethnic pogrom in Gujarat almost two decades ago.

Modi, hurt by a steep economic downturn, can’t fulfill campaign promises on job creation. DDT imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from India that raised penalties on agricultural goods and restrictions on U.S. medical devices. DDT retaliated by removing India from a decades-old preferential trade program.

Michael Fuchs wrote:

“The leaders of the world’s two biggest democracies are pursuing dangerous, nationalist visions at odds with their countries’ founding values.”

Both DDT and Modi achieved political power through inciting hatred of Muslims. The Delhi riots bear a strong resemblance to the ethnic pogrom in Gujarat almost two decades ago.

Yasmeen Serhan echoed Fuchs’ statement about democracies moving to autocracies

“As the leaders of the world’s two largest democracies, their shared disregard for norms, disdain for dissent (from the media and elsewhere), and dedication to strengthening their own executive power at the expense of state institutions designed to curb it have made them emblematic of the democratic deterioration that has been taking place in recent years.

“A mainstay of autocratic rule is the consolidation of executive power…. Trump’s bid to extend his presidential authority in the U.S. has steadily increased over time, from his attempts to defy Congress and the Constitution over his hardline immigration policies to his impeachment-spurring efforts to withhold congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine. In both cases, Trump’s rationale was largely the same: to invoke presidential privilege or, in autocratic speak, to declare himself constitutionally above the law. White House withholding press briefings and attacking news outlets and journalists perceived as critical.

“But perhaps the most common trait among burgeoning autocrats in recent years is the growing appeal to populist and nationalist sentiment. This has been most pronounced in India through Modi’s efforts to transform the country from a secular democracy into a theocratic, nationalist one that dominates its minorities. In the U.S., Trump has made his nativist rhetoric about immigration a hallmark of his administration.”

In praising Modi, DDT may have thought he was criticizing China, but he described his own approach to ruling the U.S.:

“There is all the difference in the world between a country that seeks to claim power through coercion, intimidation and aggression, and a country that seeks to grow by setting its people free, and unleashing them to chase their dreams, and that is India.”

Protests have come from the Indian 2019 Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which grants amnesty to non-Muslim immigrants from three nearby Muslim-majority countries—Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh—who came to India before 2015 in an expansion of the 1951 National Register of Citizens. Assam, which borders Bangladesh, has been registering “Indian” citizens since the 1951 census but now works to expel Muslims as “foreigners.” To stay in the country, Muslims, unlike those of any other religion, must provide proof that their families migrated to India before 1971, the year that Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan and created a refugee crisis. Generations of Indian Muslims born and raised in India must produce their grandparents’ legal documents, which in many cases no longer exist, or leave.

Under DDT, the U.S. stripped Latinx of citizenship even if they were born in the U.S. and have birth certificates. Officials demand documents such as baptismal records and ask questions such as “Do you remember when you were born?” Some had passports revoked, put in deportation proceedings, and barred from returning to the U.S. if they visited Mexico. The project began on the southern border but moved north to central states. DDT’s Muslim bans also draw parallels to Modi’s driving Muslims out of India.

AG Bill Barr created a new office to denaturalize citizens who committed any crimes. The new section replaces the one investigating cases about revoking citizenship for those convicted of terrorism, war crimes, human rights violations, and sex offenses. Under President Obama, the office focused on people who falsified applications and committed major crimes. Since 2008, 228 denaturalization cases have been filed, 40 percent of them since 2017. In three years, case referrals have increased 600 percent. Under DDT, the process may be used against people who make misstatements on the application.

Human rights lawyer Arjun Sethi called DDT and Modi the “worst kind of fascists.”

“Both Modi and Trump have criminalized minority communities, championed fake news and persecuted dissent, promoted supremacist ideologies, and played on the racism and anxiety of dominant communities.”

DDT’s visit to India also brought up his business ventures, the most in any country except the U.S. His India ventures include four luxury residential projects and an office tower branded with the Trump name under licensing deals. Since DDT’s last visit to India in 2014, one of DDT’s business has been accused of massive fraud, and the other faces a funding crunch. Both of them have close ties to Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. 

The week concluded by the U.S. and the Taliban signing an agreement that would begin the complete withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign troops from Afghanistan over 14 months after over 18 years, the longest war on foreign soil. The text is here. Estimates of that war cost for the U.S. is almost $8 trillion by 2050. Secretary of State Pompeo said that the Afghans need to determine the future of their country, but no Afghans were at the table for the negotiation. It was entirely one-sided by the Taliban with the U.S. running the show.

According to the agreement, the Taliban will break off ties to terror groups, but nothing was said about human rights—oppression of females and harsh punishments exacted against anyone for petty offenses. The Taliban agreed that Afghan soil will not be used by terrorists to attack the United States or its allies, but it does not have control over areas outside Afghan hands. Several factions, including ISIS, control areas and could grow stronger without U.S. troops. Former national security adviser John Bolton wrote:

“Legitimizing Taliban sends the wrong signal to ISIS and al-Qaeda terrorists, and to America’s enemies generally.”

The deal stipulates that the badly-split Afghan government must organize a negotiating team to begin talks with the Taliban by March 10. On the same day, before any talks, thousands of Taliban prisoners held by Afghans must be released in exchange for 1,000 Taliban-held members of the Afghan security forces. Twenty-two GOP lawmakers have issued a warning letter to Pompeo and DOD Secretary Mark Esper that the Taliban has “a history of extracting concessions in exchange for false assurances.” 

Under DDT, the U.S. signed an agreement with an officially listed terrorist group, the Haqqani Network, which has a campaign of suicide bombings. The Network’s leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is the Taliban’s deputy leader and military commander. A day before the signing ceremony, the Taliban’s multimedia chief described it as a historic landmark for proclaiming “the defeat of the arrogance of the White House in the face of the white turban.” Pompeo indicated that he doesn’t trust the Taliban to live up to the agreement; DDT said he wants to meet with them.

We have ten days to see any success. 

December 25, 2019

Christmas by DDT, GOP

The purpose of Christmas, December 25, is to commemorate the birth of Christ—although he was likely born in spring. (December doesn’t have any lambs.) Those who celebrate the birth of Jesus glorify a refugee family of color fleeing fear of persecution as described in the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew about the “flight into Egypt” from Bethlehem (Mt 2:12-15) to escape the infant’s slaughter by King Herod.  Later Jesus said that welcoming the stranger means welcoming Jesus (Matt. 25), a religious superseding of any laws designed to hinder, prevent, or outlaw care and compassion for refugees and migrants. He also told people to feed the hungry, sell possessions, and give the money to the poor while treating people with the love, generosity, and kindness that he modeled.

Oliver Willis with Media Matters tweeted:

“If only we had a seasonally appropriate story about middle eastern people seeking refuge being turned away by the heartless.”

[Check out Jesus and refugees on the internet to see conservatives blowing up at the very mention of this connection!]

On Christmas Day 2019, some people celebrate the refugee family, others the day’s culture of exchanging gifts and eating large meals. Yet millions of people in the United States lack the privileges of secure housing, food, and employment. Those who are safe might think of the disadvantages and misery caused by GOP lawmakers for almost two decades.

 

GOP policies have two major characteristics: give to the rich and take from anyone else because they are considered sub-human.

Adam Serwer’s 2018 essay “The Cruelty Is the Point,” published in The Atlantic, uses photographs of lynchings to illustrate shared pleasure from other people’s suffering. White men surrounding the hanging people enjoyed what they saw, just as lawmakers are pleased with their own cruelty from punitive laws toward those they view as “others.” People who don’t receive aid often resent those on programs such as food stamps, accusing them of being lazy and weak. The U.S. saves only $1.1 billion a year with the new rules taking food stamps from hungry people compared to the $1.3542 trillion expenditure for the military. has a minimal cost, compared to the wealth accruing to the top percentage of people in the U.S. from the tax cuts.

The first year that the tax cut for the wealthy and big business went into effect, businesses spent over $1 trillion in stock buybacks and dividend payment, more than one-hundred times the savings from making people go hungry. The explosive budget deficit from these tax cuts makes GOP lawmakers complicit with Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to take even more from the poor with the excuse of balancing the budget.

On the southern border, the federal government tear gasses refugees and drives them back to Mexico to be raped and killed. Before the courts prevented family separation, the government separated families with no records of how to reunite them and put children in cages where they might be sexually assaulted. These are refugees like Jesus and his parents.

Because the conservatives on the Supreme Court made the Medicaid expansion from the Affordable Care Act optional for states, they can reject the provision that gave 90 percent of the expansion funding to states from the federal government. ACA funding allows states to reduce aid to hospitals for uncompensated costs and raises state tax revenues from a boosted economy. Yet 14 GOP-controlled states, several of them the poorest in the nation, turned down the neutral or even net positive expansion. Some of these states want to limit Medicaid even more with stringent work requirements, another action costing states money. The goal isn’t to make money; it’s to punish people by making their lives worse.

GOP lawmakers want to take Medicaid from everyone and cause others to lose health care—at least 20 million people by eliminating the ACA. People who lose health care can lose their work because of poor health and then their homes from bankruptcies through unreasonable expenses, causing less tax revenue. Without the ACA, older people will pay far more for prescriptions and health care premiums. Part of the ACA is to eliminate fraud and corruption in Medicare and Medicaid–$4 billion in its first year of 2011—but GOP lawmakers want continued corruption to benefit their big business donors.

DDT’s open hatred makes cruelty more acceptable. He doesn’t like Puerto Rico so his followers accept his refusal to send them aid appropriated by Congress. He wants the money sent instead to Texas and Florida, states that added to his electoral college total. DDT wants to support Russia, who interferes in U.S. elections on the part of Republicans so he threatens Ukraine by withholding military aid that would help Ukraine fight Russia. His followers echo DDT’s lying excuse of fighting “corruption” while accepting the massive corruption that DDT has brought to the federal government.  

DDT accepts indiscriminate killing and violence, whether in the U.S. or foreign countries. He refused to criticize Saudi Arabia for torturing and dismembering a U.S. resident and journalist and pardoned war criminals to use on his campaign trail. In his speeches and tweets, he encourages violence against his opposition, pretending surprise when his supporters carry out the violence and killing.

In its incessant worship of mammon, a greedy search for gain, DDT’s government kills people by eliminating regulations for greedy big businesses. Developed by the Nazis as a nerve gas, the pesticide chlorpyrifos causes brain damage in children, Parkinson’s disease, and forms of cancer.  Yet the EPA allows the chemical on fruits and vegetables, a chemical also dangerous for farmworkers and rural communities. Judges ordered a ban on chlorpyrifos in 2018, but chemical companies have EPA permission to keep making it—and money—as long as the case is in the courts. Actions from other agencies in favor of big business are equally destructive for humanity.

DDT not only rejects any thought of fighting climate change but also ridicules children who want to save the world for their future. He and his followers have been particularly vicious about the protests of Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old leader who ignores the GOP lawmakers’ push to give to the rich at any cost to everyone else.

Well-known for ridiculing disabled people, DDT mocks them at his rallies, and his sycophants follow suit. Highly religious Sarah Huckabee Sanders, hoping to be Arkansas’ governor, made fun of Joe Biden when he tried to explain the suffering of people who stutter. A GOP proposed rule change would take disability benefits from hundreds of thousands of people through further complicating Social Security eligibility payments. Ronald Reagan’s similar benefit cut took earned benefits from 200,000 people; he reversed the attack after public outcry protesting human suffering and death. The addition of a fourth disability category affecting 4.4 million recipients, many of them children and people 50-65 with poor health and no income, requires reviews every two years although health issues worsen with age.  

Throughout his almost three years, DDT has turned on LGBTQ people, literally making them sick. A meta-analysis of 300 scientific studies in the U.S. shows overwhelming evidence that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity damages the health of LGBTQ people. Mental health problems include depression, anxiety, suicide, and PTSD while physical problems include substance use, heart disease, and high blood pressure. In states implementing “license to discriminate” laws, “the proportion of sexual minority adults reporting mental distress increased by 10.1 percentage points.” These effects are “compounded” for LGBTQ people of color, queer youth, and transgender people. Again, poor health takes from tax revenue and adds to costs for care. Poor health from discrimination will also affect immigrants, people of color, the poor, and everyone else suffering from discrimination.

Laughter at cruelty is rampant among DDT’s followers—his mocking Puerto Rican accents after thousands were killed by Hurricane Maria, women talking about sexual abuse, calls to “lock her up,” ridicule of opponents’ Christian faith—there seems to be no low bar for DDT’s abuse of humanity and his supporters admiration of his cruelty. Cruelty is the new norm for DDT’s supporters.

People who defend DDT worship him because “he tells it like it is.” On Christmas Day 2019, this is “like it is.” It’s Christmas Day: Jesus was an immigrant refugee and person of color who wouldn’t like the way that Republicans are running the United States. As DDT’s acting chief of staff would say, “Get over it.” And maybe try to do better.

In Charles Dickens’ “The Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge had an epiphany after visits from the ghost of his former business partner and three spirits—Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come. On Christmas 2019, we can only hope for a similar epiphany in 2020.

 

November 2, 2019

DDT: Week 145 – More GOP Destruction One Year before 2020 Election

Republicans got their wish: the House voted 232-196, mostly along party lines, for impeachment. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the Intelligence Committee, said that testimony transcripts will be released and open hearings televised as soon as possible. He’s waiting for testimony from eight more witnesses, some of whom have refused. More damaging information against DDT emerged from his possibly extorting Ukraine earlier in a Rudy Giuliani-brokered deal to block support for Robert Mueller’s investigation into Paul Manafort. 

After the death of Abu Bakr Baghdadi from a U.S. raid, ISIS has named a replacement for its leadership, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi. The statement also announced the death of Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, al-Baghdadi’s close aide, in a joint U.S.-Kurd operation hours after al-Baghdadi’s death. The new leader is identified as a scholar, warrior, and “emir or war.”

Documents about the FBI search into Brett Kavanagh before his hearings for Supreme Court justice reveal that only superficial information was provided because FBI discoveries were “unquestionably private” and “could subject Judge Kavanaugh and others to harassment or embarrassment in their private lives.” The FBI made the decision about whether the information would “concern the performance of his public duties.”

Kavanaugh may have set the MO for crying during confirmation hearings. Lawrence VanDyke broke down after hearing an evaluation of him from the American Bar Association that he is “arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules…. [He] lacks humility, has an “entitlement” temperament, does not have an open mind, and does not always have a commitment to being candid and truthful.” Republican senators responded by attacking the ABA. 

DDT planned to sign a first-step trade deal with China at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Santiago in mid-November. President Sebastián Piñera has canceled this summit and another one on the environment with other 100 international delegations, however, because of protest demonstrations opposing inequality. China has not agreed with DDT’s view of the deal, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is leading the U.S. delegation to two summits in Bangkok next week.

Macroeconomist Greg Mankiw, chair of George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers and the most recent defector of “the party of Trump,” criticized congressional Republicans who “are willing, in the interest of protecting their jobs, to overlook Trump’s misdeeds.” He plans to vote for a “center-left” Democratic presidential candidate to prevent DDT’s reelection.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), a prominent House leader, became the 21st GOP member of Congress, not including Pennsylvania’s Tom Marino who left after two weeks, to announce that he will not run for reelection, compared with just seven Democrats. One of 17 GOP House members forgoing candidacy, Walden is one of five Republicans in a senior committee position to announce retirement. The current GOP bailout loses women and minorities along with the Texas exodus—called the Texodus. One of the two departing GOP women from the 13-female contingent in the House is responsible for GOP’s House candidate recruitment for 2020.

In the 115th Congress, two dozen GOP congressional members quit. Almost 40 percent of the 241 Republicans in office in January 2017 are gone or leaving because of election losses, retirements, or resignations.  

“Impeachment has become a terrible, terrible thorn in the side of the American democracy and the conduct of American government since Watergate,” Ken Starr said before he complained that DDT “is being held to a remarkable standard” in which we are “over-criminalizing the conduct of the business of government.” For four years, Starr investigated Clinton for the House Judiciary Committee and prepared a report that provided the catalyst for Clinton’s the impeachment for lying about oral sex in a civil deposition. Starr accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of having a conflict of interest in wanting to be president although Starr said nothing about Newt Gingrich who was in charge of impeaching Clinton. Since Starr’s resignation from public life, he has supported perpetrators in sexual scandals. 

First DDT wanted to get rid of insurance; now he’s eradicating protections for diseases. Under George W. Bush, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) created Predict, a program to track and research deadly diseases such as Ebola, the H5N1 bird flu, and HIV. In 14 years, Predict cost $207 million to collect over 100,000 samples and find almost 1,000 novel animal-originating viruses. This identification can reduce disease transmission and reveal precursors of a new illness to prevent another pandemic. Researchers warn that a flu like the 1918 outbreak could kill 50 million to 80 million people. As the resurgence of measles demonstrates, diseases know no national borders. Under DDT, the program “collapsed.”

DDT is celebrating National Adoption Month by discriminating against LGBTQ people. HHS proposed rule will allow adoption and foster care agencies to reject LGBTQ families as well as permit them to refuse organizations receiving taxpayer money to refuse to serve LGBTQ people. The rule change would also permit all HHS grant recipients to discriminate, including public health ones such as HIV, STI, and opioid addiction programs. Other programs receiving taxpayer funding permitted to discriminate are youth homelessness, human trafficking, and pre-K education.

In Missouri, Randall Williams, director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, keeps a spreadsheet of the times of menstruation for women who terminated their pregnancy at the state’s one remaining abortion clinic. His information comes from medical records obtained during the state’s annual inspection, including dates of medical procedures. Earlier this year, Missouri passed a law, temporarily blocked in the courts, forbidding abortions after the eighth week of pregnancy with no exception for rape or incest. Missouri refuses to track opioid prescriptions and gun ownership because of privacy. The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement also tracked the length of pregnancies and requests for abortions although a court ordered the department to stop blocking abortions for minors.

DDT promised GOP senators campaign money—specifically Joni Ernst (IA), Cory Gardner (CO), and Thom Tillis (NC)—if they oppose his impeachment. Next week, he’s hosting a fundraiser for David Perdue (GA). Richard Painter, George W. Bush’s lead ethics lawyer, calls it felony bribery.

The Keystone Pipeline, approved by DDT in 2017, spilled 383,000 gallons of oil in North Dakota. 

DDT has given immigration agents access to classified information from U.S. intelligence agencies, but migrants and others denied entry cannot see this evidence used against them.

The U.S. Army refuses to explain why they are discharging immigrant recruits who joined the military with the promise of an expedited path to citizenship.

DDT is again physically threatening “the left” by saying that he has “the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump” who will “play it tough” if they get “to a certain point. Then it would be very bad, very bad.” DDT may not know that today, International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, his State Department called for “an end to violence against media professionals.”

In possibly a new low for Fox, Tucker Carlson blamed the California fires on blacks and LGBTQ people hired by the utility PG&E, saying that the state is “not civilized anymore.”

People are sawing through DDT’s new border walls with a reciprocating saw costing about $100 while others are climbing the wall with makeshift ladders.

DDT promised to save the coal industry, but Murray Energy Corp., the largest underground coal mining company in the U.S., became the ninth coal producer to declare bankruptcy during DDT’s first 145 weeks.

Twitter will ban all ads about political candidates, elections and hot-button policy issues such as abortion and immigration; Mark Zuckerberg plans to make billions from GOP lies in publishing their lying advertisements.

One year from Election Day 2020, some polling:

Only 26 percent of voters think that DDT doesn’t need to comply with subpoenas. 

81 percent of Republicans think that soliciting foreign interference is wrong

Only 26 percent of suburban women, a strong DDT support in 2016, approve of him, and 88 percent of them, ten percent more than in 2016, plan to vote in 2020.

47 percent of likely voters, including 51 percent of independent voters, plan to vote against DDT.  

Only 74 percent of Republicans, down 13 points in three months, approve of DDT.

49 percent of people think that DDT should be impeached and removed from office; 47 percent say not.

38 percent of people approve of DDT while 58 percent disapprove of his job performance.

DDT filed paperwork request the change of his permanent residence from New York to Florida that has no state income tax or inheritance tax. Moving won’t stop the New York lawsuits into his alleged tax fraud. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “It’s not like Mr. Trump paid taxes here anyway. He’s all yours, Florida.”

A Daily Mail reporter documented the filth and other dismaying conditions of DDT’s Doral resort in Miami. It’s for those with a strong stomach who are not eating while seeing the photographs. Acting chief of staff claimed that of the ten places considered for the G7 Summit in 2020, that the Doral was the “best option.” One shudders to think about the conditions of the other ones.

March 8, 2019

Think Equal: International Women’s Day

On March 8, International Women’s Day, 28 members of the world champion United States women’s soccer team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit regarding the lack of pay equity and working conditions. According to the lawsuit, discrimination against the women athletes not only leaves them with much less than pay than men in the soccer field but also restricts their place of play, training, medical treatment, coaching, and even travel accommodations.

The women, stars for over a decade, head to France this summer to defend the Women’s World Cup that they won almost four years ago. Since their third win of the contest in summer of 2015, they have made some gain—doubled prize money pool for the upcoming tournament, the disappearance of artificial turf, and even a chartered flight. Female soccer teams in other countries such as Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Norway have made a few gains since protests by the U.S. women’s team.

FIFA, pro soccer teams’ employer, still favor the men by give a pool of $400 million to 32 men’s teams compared to $30 million for 24 women’s teams. According to pay schedules for players participating in 20 games a year, men get an average of $263,320 while women get a maximum of $99,000. That’s after the $17 million more in profit for 2016 that women made over the men. Although the male team lost the 2014 World Cup in Round 16, their bonuses were $5.375; after winning the Cup in 2015, women received $1.725 for bonuses.

Women suffer far worse inequities around the world than lack of pay. Poverty, lack of justice and rights, abuse, poorer health, discrimination in education—all these are just a few of the ways that women are wanting in gender equality. But sports is one area that symbolizes the subjection of women to male values. A recent example occurred in a cycling race in Switzerland. In the annual Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, men started two minutes before women—because women are faster. No matter—Nicole Hanselmann took a big lead over the men’s field, that is, before she was told to sit by the side of the road to “neutralise the women’s race in order to restore the gap between” the men and women’s groups. Maybe the men should have had a five-minute head start so that they could win.

Women ride the Tour de France through traffic and without media on the day before men get the attention, and the women’s Olympic race is half the length of the men’s race. Olympic cycling events for women didn’t exist until 1984, the same year that events included a women’s marathon but almost a century after the modern Olympic revivals in 1896 included these events for men.

Bobbi Gibbs entered the Boston Marathon in 1966 without an application after being told that was told that “women are not physiologically able to run a marathon.” She beat over half the field in 3 hours, 21 minutes. The next year, Kathrine Switzer entered the marathon under her initials and beat her boyfriend. Her time of 4 hours, 20 minutes might have been better if the race co-director had not physically attacked her during the race. Not until 1972 did the AAU allow women to run more than a mile and a half.

Other sports still have the  gender restrictions: women play two out of three sets in tennis, but men play three out of five. Men said that the rules are meant to protect women’s “reproductive organs” from undue endurance. In the beginning, women’s cycling threatened men because women gained independence with their own transportation. The lack of chaperones caused people to refer to bicycles as “prostitution on wheels.” The reason for gender inequality is to show women that we are inferior.

Other inequalities in sports:

In the U.S., 40 percent of sportspeople are women, but only six to eight percent of the total sports media coverage is devoted to them. Women-only sports stories comprise just 3.5 percent of all sports stories in the four major US newspapers.

Each year, male athletes get $179 million more in athletic scholarships—50 percent more—than female athletes receive.

Colleges and universities spend only 24 percent of their athletic operating budgets on female sports and just 16 percent of recruiting budgets for women.

Coaches for college women’s team sports earn 63 cents for every dollar earned by head coaches of men’s teams.

The 2015 Women’s World Cup soccer final was the most watched soccer match—male or female—but its players were far less compensated than male soccer players. In professional soccer, the National Women’s Soccer League has a pay ceiling per player of just $37,800 compared to an average of more than $300,000 and a median of about $100,000 for men’s Major League Soccer. Each team in the NWSL has a salary cap of just $265,000—compared to more than $3 million for men.

Of total commercial investment, 0.4 percent goes into women’s sport.

People who discriminate against women in sports claim that they won’t receive any attention, that the public wants to watch only men play. This attitude, however, comes from the top. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) makes news with male championship sports teams, either being rebuffed by them or feeding them fast foods like hamburgers and pizza. Yet he has not invited one female championship team to the White House to honor them on a solo visit—not the 2018 women’s NCAA basketball champions Notre Dame, not the 2017 WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx, nor the 2018 WNBA champion Seattle Storm. The latest invitation, however, was a men’s lower-division NCAA football championship team, the first one invited since Bill Clinton’s time. Every other president going back to Ronald Reagan invited the women’s NCAA basketball champions. Here’s President Obama with the 2016 NCAA winners.

Politics this year has brought out the worst—thus far—in conservative misogyny. From the minute that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was elected a Democratic U.S. representative from New York, journalists stalked her, intent on photographing her from behind, questioning how much she pays for her clothes, why she took an Uber instead of the subway. A Texas city council member called her a “bimbo,” and one of her congressional colleagues yelled “Go back to Puerto Rico!”  Conservative pundits call her a “little girl” and fantasize about dating her. On The View, Meghan McCain said she was “really surprised” that Ocasio-Cortez had asked an intelligent question at Michael Cohen’s House hearing. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has the same political views, but it’s the conservatives who cried at CPAC that Ocasio-Cortez wants to “take your hamburgers” and replaced incessant smears of Hillary Clinton to those directed at Ocasio-Cortez.

The hatred and sexism directed toward Ocasio-Cortez moved to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) after she criticized the control of Israel over U.S. policy. For decades, GOP congressional members and conservative media protected rampant racism from colleagues and now fail to call out their racist president while becoming livid about Omar’s suggestion that candidates receive millions of dollars to oppose Palestine and support Israel. The attacks didn’t start with her supposed anti-Semitic remarks used to revile her; threats against her began before she was sworn into the 116th Congress also because of her Islam religion. Every word she uses, even “hypnotize,” is classified as an “anti-Semitic trope” while DDT and other white male GOP congressional members escape any criticism. Yet 23 of them voted against all expressions of prejudice such as racism, Islamophobia, and anti-LGBTQ rights except for anti-Semitism. Omar is even being blamed for the spike in anti-Jewish hate crimes that began with DDT’s election.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish, said that while anti-Semitism is a “hateful and dangerous ideology,” it must not be confused with criticism of Israel’s government under the right-wing leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) joined Sanders in defending Omar because they, too, have suffered from the misogyny, especially since the women declared their candidacies for the 2020 presidential election. After condemning Hillary Clinton for being too “icy,” pundits slam Warren for being “aloof” and Harris for connecting with audiences “too much.” For weeks, opinionists agonized over whether the women presidential candidates were “authentic” and found stories to show that they are phonies. Warren’s oral history of Native American background from the 1980s appears again and again—and again. (The same people overlook DDT’s 9,000 lies.) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was attacked for talking about how to eat fried chicken, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar is “mean.” Authenticity for women is being a secretary or staff member.

The theme for the 2019 International Women’s Day is “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change.” Almost half the Democrats running for president in 2020 are women, and a pro sports team is suing for equality. Ocasio-Cortez and Omar are making changes in Congress along with the other 108 Democratic women plus their allies. These changes plus millions of others may bring women into the 21st century.

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