Nel's New Day

November 7, 2022

One Day to the End of Democracy

Tomorrow will be the turning point for democracy in the United States when ballots are due for the 2022 midterm election. Results will trickle in with slow counts where ballots haven’t been touched until the polls close on November 8, causing conservatives to begin suing for fraud. A few other decisions may dribble on as states requiring a majority have runoffs, maybe the U.S. Senate race from Georgia. The question is whether people are willing to give up their rights and their benefits—like Social Security and Medicare—to get a dollar or two off their gas and hand off democracy to power-hungry Republicans and greedy corporations.

One lie about elections has already been clarified. For six years, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) railed about the “witch hoax” surrounding the Russian interference in elections that helped him win. With a declaration from Russian president Vladimir Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, the “hoax” has been eliminated and the “witch” exposed. The oligarch’s admission, revoking his denial of participation:

“Gentlemen, we have interfered, are interfering and will interfere. Carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do.”

Known as “Putin’s chef” because he caters for the president, Prigozhin earlier revoked his denial about running the Wagner Group mercenary force to claiming he was behind the forces and bragged about its involvement in Russia’s war on Ukraine. Russian law prevents private military contractors, but state media openly reports on Wagner’s forces in Ukraine. In 2018, the U.S. charged Prigozhin, a dozen other Russian nationals, and three Russian companies with operating a covert social media campaign aimed at fomenting discord and dividing American public opinion ahead of DDT’s winning 2016 presidential election as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.

Election deniers still have no evidence of fraud for a “stolen election,” and a judge in the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan concurs by dismissing a lawsuit from Kristina Karamo. The DDT-endorsed nominee for secretary of state, who claims that elites drink blood from abortions tried to disqualify over 60,000 mail-in ballots from Detroit. The plaintiffs had no evidence and couldn’t explain what relief they wanted, the first time in the judge’s 26-year experience. He also blasted the plaintiffs for waiting months after the alleged violations in August to file their suit. He said that disenfranchisement “cannot be permitted.”

Karamo has company: organized groups in Michigan are disputing voters who requested or cast absentee ballots, promising future litigation. Pennsylvania ruled that mail-in ballots without voter-written dates won’t be counted even if they come before Election Day. A court ruling in Wisconsin blocks ballots if the required witness address is incomplete. Earlier this year, the 3rd Circuit Court ruled failure to count undated mail ballots violates federal civil rights law, but the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the decision as moot because the election was over. Philadelphia voters can cast a replacement ballot at city hall which doesn’t work for disabled voters; they mail in their ballots because they aren’t mobile.

Democrats are suing to count undated or incorrectly dated mail-in ballots be counted in Pennsylvania. The lawsuit maintains that the date requirement is immaterial and enforcing it violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The filing states that the date “has no bearing on a voter’s qualifications and serves no purpose other than to erect barriers to qualified voters exercising their fundamental constitutional right to vote.” Last Friday, civil rights groups filed a similar complaint. The Supreme Court ruled these undated ballots should be counted in a June decision.

A judge in Wisconsin has refused a lawsuit from a Republican state legislator to block all military mail-in ballots to be blocked from the state’s vote because he considered disenfranchising over 1,400 service members a “drastic remedy.” Rep. Janet Brandtjen brought her suit with the conservative Thomas More Society and Michael Gableman, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice who failed to find election fraud in a year-long review of the 2020 election for GOP lawmakers. Gableman requested trying to rescind the state’s election results.

The problem began with Milwaukee’s deputy elections director’s stunt when she sent multiple fake names for military members’ ballots to state GOP Rep. Janel Brandtjen as proof of election fraud. Promoter of lies about elections, Brandtgen received three military ballots under fake names, gave them to the Waukesha County sheriff’s office, and released the information in a news release. The election official has been fired and charged with a felony and three misdemeanors.

Unlike almost all other states, Wisconsin does not require service members to register to vote for casting their ballots, and a state website permits people to order military ballots without providing proof of residency. Election officials have seen no other evidence of ordering absentee fake names, and the problem with three of them was quickly identified.

Last summer, another Republican requested ballots in others’ names to be sent to his home in his attempt to prove problems in Wisconsin’s voting system. He faces criminal charges.

The DOJ will monitor polls in 64 communities within two dozen states on Election Day to protect voters’ rights. In addition, the Civil Rights Division will take complaints regarding alleged violations of voting rights laws at 800-253-3931. Two years ago, the DOJ focused on 44 jurisdictions in 28 states. Attorneys at the agency’s National Security Division, overseeing cases related to foreign interference in elections and violent extremist threats to elections, will work with the FBI and U.S. attorneys’ offices to counter any potential threats.

Priority elections in 2022 will include Florida (GOP Sen. Marco Rubio against Dem. Val Demings for U.S. Senate) and Georgia (Dem. Raphael Warnock against Herschel Walker for U.S. Senate). Other areas are Nevada’s Clark County (Las Vegas) and Arizona’s Pinal County (a bellweather district). In other monitored areas, Yavapai County (AZ) have self-proclaimed militia groups monitoring drop boxes in the past, and Berks County (PA), sheriff’s deputies staffing ballot drop boxes are told to question voters about whether they are returning their own ballot. Five monitored counties in North Carolina have sizable Black populations, two of them experiencing recent racial controversies. Ten of the state’s counties have experienced intimidated or harassed voters and poll workers. In Texas, Harris County (Houston) has been added to the monitoring list. List of locations

Missouri Secretary of State John R. Ashcroft (R) is refusing the monitoring because the federal presence would “bully a local election authority” and could “intimidate and suppress the vote.”

In an amazing move, the Supreme Court refused a GOP challenge to Michigan’s congressional district maps for the 2022 election because the election is underway. A three-judge panel had already upheld the maps last April. Georgia Cobb County’s is also facing an investigation because over 1,000 voters failed to receive absentee ballots requested weeks ago. State law mandates they be sent within three business days of processing applications. A lawsuit also sues for the absentee ballots to be sent overnight.

A Georgia judge extended until November 14 the deadline for election officials receiving absentee ballots and ordered replacement ballots to be sent overnight who haven’t already been sent them. Affected voters can also vote in person or with a federal write-in absentee ballot. The county supported Joe Biden by 14 points in 2020.

The 2020 election will likely set the pattern for culture in the U.S. with the 2022 midterms blowing up into massive violence. The GOP position is that every election in which Republicans lose—even some of those when they win—should be litigated and then followed with violence if the judge doesn’t give Republicans what they want. This ideology can move into all parts of people’s lives. Lost school games from football to speech debates should create lawsuits if the conservative side loses. If the judge disagrees, the losers can buy guns and kill people in mass shootings. In the U.S., everyone must always hold a gun in their hands as losers are excused for violence—just like Republicans claimed that the January 6 insurrectionists at the Capitol were “tourists.”

Conservatives will blame every victim for all violence they experience. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) blamed Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for being beaten up in his own home. He was sleeping in his San Francisco home while his wife was in Washington, D.C. A radicalized MAGA-supporter broke into his home and caused possibly irreparable physical damage by striking him with a hammer. Pelosi may never completely heal from head fractures and injuries to his arm and hand. Instead of sleeping, Pelosi should have “shot his attacker,” according to Greene at a GOP rally. Greene also blames Democrats for every victim in the U.S.

That will be life under Republican authoritarianism because legislators like Greene will be running all the committees, according to wannabe House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

November 5, 2022

Standard Time Returns Morning Light, DDT Brings Dark

Tomorrow brings a “gift”—an additional hour to the day. The end of daylight savings time “springs back” the time, and people go through another jetlag. Last March, the Senate used a fast-track process to unanimously pass a bill retaining daylight savings year-round, keeping sunrise as late as 9:30 am in some parts of the U.S., according to this map. The House didn’t move the bill. In another 17 legislative days, the Sunshine Protection Act expires with the shift to the 118th Congress.

Nineteen states and more people prefer daylight savings for the norm, sending children to school in the dark but encouraging shoppers in later afternoon light. In 1974, then-President Nixon signed a bill for permanent daylight savings time to save gas; the new law was so disliked that it was overturned nine months later by then-President Ford. No matter how government changes time, Ali Güler, associate professor of biology at the University of Virginia, said it best: “We cannot stretch the day.”   

According to scientists, the healthiest setting for people is standard time using morning light to reset “our whole internal clock with what goes on in the world around us.” That light maintains circadian rhythms, sleep-wake cycles, and overall health, keeping a person permanently aligned. Time-change disturbs cardiac functions, metabolic processes, and hormone fluctuations. An excellent explanation of the importance to health by standard time.

Life is darker for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) as he searches for solutions to his multiple legal problems, the latest protection with a presidential candidacy. Using inflation and rejection of democracy, Republicans may retake Congress in 2022. According to his advisers, DDT hopes to take credit for the GOP win and declare his 2024 campaign on November 14.

Stalling has not worked in one of DDT’s lawsuits. The man who brags about never settling lawsuits has settled one with protesters alleging assault at the Trump Tower in 2015 by security guards. The amount of the settlement was not released, but plaintiffs are satisfied, according to their attorney. Attorneys from both sides stated that “the parties all agree that the plaintiffs in the action, and all people, have a right to engage in peaceful protest on public sidewalks.” DDT did not participate in the physical assault on five New Yorkers of Mexican descent, but plaintiffs alleged he should have known the security guard would have behaved in a “negligent or reckless manner.”

DDT claimed he knew nothing about the protest or his guard’s actions, but his former lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen said he told DDT about the protesters. DDT told his head of security, Keith Schiller, “Get rid of them.” Later Schiller told DDT, “I took the sign. He grabbed me, so I hit him across the side of the head.” DDT said, “Good.” Although he said he knew nothing about what happened, he said that Schiller “did nothing wrong.”  

More of DDT’s legal problems:

The House January 6 investigative committee has refused to change the November 14 date for DDT to testify, according to a subpoena. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said she thinks that DDT isn’t “man enough” to show up. The committee already gave DDT an additional week to provide subpoenaed documents connected to the January 6 insurrection which were due on November 4.

The House Oversight Committee wants the return of more items from DDT—expensive gifts such as golf clubs, diamond earrings, and the infamous soccer ball from Russian president Vladimir Putin, dozens of presents collectively worth over $50,000 and each worth over $415. Over that sum, the giftee must pay for them. DDT is unable to understand that the gifts were official presented to the president of the United States, not the individual Donald Trump.  

The Manhattan DA’s criminal case against the Trump Organization moved ahead for tax fraud because the company allegedly paid executives with gifts and other “off- the books” compensation to avoid paying taxes on the income. A conviction could result in up to $1.6 million in fines and cause creditors and business partners less likely to work with them. DDT’s lawyers blame former CFO Allen Weisselberg, 75, while still paying him part of his $1 million annual salary. If Weisselberg doesn’t cooperate in this trial, he receives an additional decade to his five-month prison sentence after pleading guilty. His benefits included a luxury apartment, several Mercedes Benzes, a city parking place, and his grandchildren’s private school tuition.

During the trial’s opening arguments, the judge sent jurors out of the room for 15 minutes to caution lawyers not to explain the law after they claimed the case was only cheating on personal income taxes. Lawyers tried to confuse jurors by stating that Weisselberg “acted solely for his own benefit.”

A separate pending civil lawsuit by New York AG Letitia James accuses DDT and his business, family members, and associates of fraudulently inflating or deflating the stated value of their assets for financial gain. This lawsuit could cause harsher punishments than the Manhattan case, including business certificates for the business canceled in New York, DDT and his children banned from leading New York businesses, and a $250 million fine. James also referred evidence of alleged criminal activity to the DOJ and IRS for further investigation.

A New York judge blocked the Trump Organization from transferring funds to DDT’s new business, Trump Organization II, established in Delaware to shield the assets from “ongoing fraudulent activity or deceptive activity.” In another order, the judge guaranteed the demand by appointing a monitor. DDT called on his supporters to protest in possibly more violence.

DDT filed his second lawsuit against Letitia James for bias and “great harm” against him although his own lawyers strongly opposed filing the suit, calling it frivolous. Filed in Florida, DDT’s case searches for friendlier judges and accuses James of trespassing on DDT’s right to privacy in Florida. DDT’s complaint in a federal court in New York was already dismissed.

DDT, his two older sons, and his company face a 2018 class action lawsuit for an alleged scam with multi-level marketing company ACN that paid them $8.8 million. The case accuses the Trumps of racketeering, unfair competition, deceptive trade practices, negligent misrepresentation, and dissemination of untrue and misleading business statements.

Other DDT lawsuits and investigations: two DOJ probes regarding his handling of White House documents and efforts to overturn the 2020 election; a Fulton County (GA) probe into DDT’s attempts to overturn that state’s election; E. Jean Carroll’s defamation case based on her accusation of DDT’s raping her; and multiple lawsuits from lawmakers and police offers seeking to hold him liable for the January 6 attack.

The Washington Post, Politico, and other news outlets accessed eight emails from John Eastman, DDT’s former lawyer who orchestrated the overturn strategy of the 2020 election, because public court documents led to an active link to the Dropbox file where they were stored. The emails revealed the scheme persuading SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas to block the 2020 presidential election results by making the public think the results were illegitimate. Although Thomas’ wife was part of overturning the election, Thomas’ involvement is unknown.

The DOJ offered immunity to Kash Patel, DDT’s ally and one-time staffer for Truth Social CEO Devin Nunes, to testify before a grand jury about DDT’s handling of the 11,000 documents seized from Mar-a-Lago last August. A DDT loyalist, Patel won’t intentionally incriminate him at this time, but this agreement requires him to testify under oath about DDT’s claim he “declassified” documents. Patel declared DDT said they were declassified instead of following the legal procedure. In court filings, DDT’s lawyers refused to assert that DDT definitely declassified the documents. In Patel’s October appearance before the grand jury, he used the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination but can no longer do this if he wants immunity. According to John Bolton, DDT’s national security adviser until DDT fired him in September 2019, said, “There was never a standing order to declassify things.”

A top-notch national security prosecutor, David Raskin, joined the DOJ investigation of classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. Raskin already won a guilty plea in the case of a former FBI analyst taking over 300 classified materials to her home, including documents about al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s associate. The DOJ may also unseal DDT’s grand jury filing, deciding by November 15.

DDT shifted $20 million from his Save America leadership PAC to a new DDT-aligned super PAC called Make America Great Again and another pro-DDT super PAC tossed $8.9 million into the MAGA PAC. A former veteran campaign finance lawyer surmised that DDT is avoiding laws preventing him from spending his personal stash on a 2024 presidential run. DDT has to make any transfers before declaring himself a candidate, and the scheme may still be illegal in the end.

After maintaining silence for a few days after the vicious attack on Paul Pelosi, the House Speaker’s husband, DDT smeared him, possibly to divert the media from his own problems. DDT doesn’t even have to make up his own lies; he just uses the ones from the millions of QAnon conspiracy theorists. His details are disproved by the video from the Capitol Police’s security cameras, but that hasn’t stopped him or the other liars.

SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts gave DDT one temporary victory, a temporary stay for providing DDT’s IRS returns to a House committee until the Supreme Court had made a ruling. DDT has stalled since 2019, and the Washington D.C. Circuit Court had ordered him to turn them over.

October 3, 2022

New Supreme Court Term:   Repeal the 20th Century, Part II

The launching of the new Supreme Court term began with a case about the Clean Water Act, whether it covers connections such as creeks and ditches between bodies of water. Two conservative justices, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, had already joined Chief Justice John Roberts in backing a stringent test requiring wetlands to have a “continuous surface water connection.” Another justice, Neil Gorsuch, appeared in favor of building a house on wetlands in Idaho, in opposition to retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom he clerked. In her questioning, new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson appeared to have joined other progressive justices, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor in favor of federal regulation of wetlands under the law. In concern about the “vagueness” of the law, six conservative justices could “shrink” the Clean Water Act, as Ian Millheiser wrote.

In a second SCOTUS case on its first day, the Supremes need to define “money order” in Delaware v. Pennsylvania. States can take possession of unclaimed or abandoned property within their borders, but states argue about “intangible property,” such as uncashed states. In Delaware, MoneyGram is one of its many incorporated businesses providing 8 percent of state revenue in 2021. People buy “official checks” used to transmit funds; if no one cashes the check, it becomes unclaimed property. Similar products such as money orders and traveler’s checks to the state where the item was purchased, according to a 1974 law. Thirty states argue that Moneygram checks are a money order, but Delaware has a narrower definition of money order. Conservative justices seemed to lean toward Delaware.

The Supreme Court also declined to hear three major cases:

The $1.3 billion civil defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell can go forward after he continues to falsely claim that the voting equipment was used to help give the 2020 election to President Joe Biden.

The DOJ can continue its practice of using “filter teams” not assigned to a given case to determine whether classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago are privileged. The 11th Circuit Court had permitted the DOJ use of this process in other situations. At least eight federal circuits had permitted the DOJ to use these teams, also called “taint teams,” but the 4th Circuit Court finally ruled against the DOJ in 2019.

Two challenges to the 2017 federal ban on bump stocks that transform semi-automatic rifles into the ability of machine guns lost as both the 6th and 10th Circuit Courts upholding the ban.

Almost 60 percent of people think the Supreme Court is out of touch with the values and beliefs of most individuals, and 66 percent want term limits on judges including over half the Republicans. A current House bill puts an 18-year term on Supreme Court justices and requires appointments of new justices in the first and third year of every president’s term. After their 18-year term, justices hear cases only if the number of justices falls below nine. With this law, Thomas would immediately lose his active status, and Alito would be retired in another year.

While destroying democracy law year, the Supremes decided the fewest number of cases after oral argument in over 150 years. By early June, justices had issued opinions in only half of these 62 cases, resulting in the least productive court in history. The lack of cases cannot be an avoidance of interference. The Roberts court has created more chaos in the U.S. with rulings across a broad number of issues than most of the courts in the past century.  [visual – Supreme Court unproductive]

 

The court is also the most conservative in 90 years, when Franklin D. Roosevelt considered taking action, and at the same time overly aggressive. Congressional gridlock with the GOP unwilling to compromise has exacerbated the serious problems.

In addition, the Roberts court has also ruled in favor of religious groups over 80 percent in its cases—the most pro-religion since the 1950s—and has the six most pro-religion justices since at least World War II. Taxpayers are increasingly being forced to pay for Christian activities while churches pay no taxes. Two of the most notoriously far-right judges—Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrett—took the seats of justices most advocating religious liberty and human rights when Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were gone.

The U.S. is only 22 percent Catholic, but six of nine Supreme Court justices are Catholic—two-thirds of the total—making decisions for 100 percent of the nation. Episcopalian Neil Gorsuch, raised and educated a Catholic, joins his five Catholic colleagues to make the Catholic majority 78 percent. The other two justices are Jewish and Protestant. The Catholic Church elevates virginity, requires female subservience in marriage, restricts women from controlling their own bodies, and damns LGBTQ people. Evangelical Christians follow the same philosophies.

These personal beliefs will guide the Supreme Court majority decisions of the Supreme Court after Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) Republicans put three highly conservatives on the court to join two others. Chief Justice John Roberts looks almost moderate compared to those five although he frequently votes with them as in banning abortion. Heresy to Catholics is freedom of conscience, general human rights, and the belief that sacredness cannot be found outside organized religion, especially Catholicism.

Amy Davidson Sorkin writes about “a feeling with this Court that the conservative Justices could make a landmark ruling out of almost any case.” Roberts’ denial of court problems bodes poorly for this term as the conservative Supremes try to make their mark with these landmark cases.

Addressing Roberts’ whining about how SCOTUS is legitimate, former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) said GOP senators “destroyed the legitimacy of the court” when they stole two seats—using a fake rule to ignore Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland and then ignoring their own rule by putting Amy Coney Barrett onto the court days before a presidential election.

Dahlia Lithwick, who has reported on the Supreme Court for almost 25 years, wrote, “In the matter of the Supreme Court v. the Supreme Court, it’s safe to say the Supreme Court is most assuredly losing.” She cited some of its disasters: overturning Roe v. Wade, expanding gun ownership in a nation overwhelmed by sheer numbers of them, fetishizing “religious liberty” over basic equality and other freedoms, and a multitude of other problems such as conflicts of interest, internal leaks, and inappropriate speeches.  She left out climate change.  

The court is so anti-disability rights that lawyers don’t file lawsuits that would give the justices the chance to set back rights for disabled people. Twenty-three years ago, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion for Olmstead v. L.C. revolutionary ruling that unjustified segregation of people with disabilities violated the principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Clarence Thomas, the only remaining justice from that 1999 court, wrote the dissent. At that time, Amy Coney Barrett clerked for another dissenter, Antonin Scalia. While on the D.C. Circuit Court, Brett Kavanaugh ruled that the District of Columbia could improperly authorize elective surgeries for women in their care because they “lack …” the mental capacity to make medical decisions.” On the 10th Circuit Court, Neil Gorsuch ruled against a professor receiving six months of paid leave after a cancer diagnosis because it “would turn employers into safety net providers.”

Marc Ash issued the most dire warning: “This Court is dead forever. A new Court must rise.”

The conservative Supremes claim they follow the Founding Fathers statements, their own version of originalism, but Sotomayor pointed out that the Constitution doesn’t allow the Supreme Court having “the last word,” as conservative justices have claimed. Their claims come, not from the Constitution, but from Marbury v. Madison (1803) when the court declared legislative and executive actions unconstitutional. True originalism erases the high court’s superiority over the other two branches of government. In 1868, the court decided that the court’s jurisdiction was subject to congressional limitation, and other justices have agreed in the past century. Even Warren Burger, appointed by Richard Nixon, wrote that Congress could pass simple legislation “limiting or prohibiting judicial review of its directives.”

The Constitution states that the “judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” Article III, Section 2 limits original jurisdiction to “all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party.” Otherwise, “the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.” Additional writings clarity the opinions of some Founding Fathers, but the court has already negated their value as in cases of the separation of church and state.

Thus Congress could deny Supreme Court jurisdiction over a new voting rights act, the right to privacy such as abortion, and other measures. The legislative and executive branches could leave the Supreme Court to adjudicate only insignificant minor matters. Not a good idea for stability but neither is the present court’s majority claim of unchecked power.

Or maybe the new court won’t proceed with its past heedlessness, ignoring its real-world consequences on all minorities and democracy itself. We can only dream.

September 29, 2022

Pot-pourri – DDT, Uvalde, Etc.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 12, 2022

Ukraine’s Progress, DDT Stalls

The 9/11 post about Ukrainian’s counteroffensive to the Russian invasion showed hope that continues. Disguised as locals, abandoned Russian troops fled Zaliznychne, 37 miles east of Kharkiv, on stolen bicycles and cars or any other way they could, leaving their weapons behind. Soldiers pled for rescue with unit commanders, but they were told “you’ve on your own.”

Investigators came from Kharkiv to collect civilian bodies shot by Russians, some lying exposed for months. One investigator repeated vomited over a guardrail as officers picked up the remains of bodies rotting on the floor of a gravel elevator at an asphalt plant which Russians used as a sniper tower.

The day after Russia reported leaving the Balakliya and Izyum area, its Defense Ministry briefing showed forces retreating behind the Oskil River on the eastern edge of the Kaharkiv region. By Sunday, Ukraine reported taking back over 1,100 square miles of territory while advancing to the east, south, and north, penetrating Russian lines up to 42 miles in some places. The report added that Ukrainians “captured more territory in the past five days than Russian forces have captured in all their operations since April.” Later Zelensky added that Ukraine had taken back 3,600 square miles and over 40 settlements since the beginning of September.

Russia still holds about one-fifth of Ukraine and continues heavy shelling in several regions, but Ukrainian soldiers hope this weekend is a turning point. Ukraine’s Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said the nation could not negotiate a peace deal permitting Russian an occupying presence anywhere in Ukraine, even in those such as Crimea and the eastern regions controlled by Russia or Russian-backed separatists for eight years. At the Yalta European Strategy summit in Kyiv on Saturday, Reznikov said, “The point of no return has passed.” Later he told Russia that Ukraine was “not refusing the talks” when Russia planned another round of sham referendums to annex occupied territories, but added that the longer the delay, “the more difficult it will be to negotiate.”

Chechen republic leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who sent his own fighters to Ukraine, said he would have to contact Moscow leadership for an explanation without immediate changes in Russia’s actions in the invasion. Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky didn’t give details about his plans but said they “won’t be standing still.”

Refusing to acknowledge a rout, Russia claimed they were regrouping its troops for deployment. Even Russian social media users scoffed at this weak excuse, calling the pull-out “shameful.” Hawkish Russian war bloggers have turned against Putin, calling the war a “catastrophe.” On state television, a former Duma member blamed unnamed “people who convinced President Putin that the special operation would be effective and swift, that we won’t be hitting the civilian population . . . that the Ukrainians will surrender and run away and ask to join Russia.” He clearly favored peace negotiations to end the “war” instead of using Putin’s term “special operation.” On Saturday, Putin had time to open a new Ferris wheel in Moscow, the largest in Europe. People were stuck as high as 460 feet over the ground, and the wheel closed for “calibration.”  

According to Ukrainian officials, the Russian military has stopped sending new units into Ukraine:

“The current situation in the theatre of operations and distrust of the higher command forced a large number of volunteers to categorically refuse the prospect of service in combat conditions.”

Ukrainians have no place for all their Russian prisoners of war they have captured.

 Energoatom, operator of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, is shutting down the last working reactor at the Russian-controlled plant which had powered the crucial cooling system. It will be cooled and transferred to a safer state after Russians continued its shelling of the area. Shelling can still disconnect the grid, forcing the plant to use emergency diesel generators to avoid a nuclear meltdown, but only ten days of diesel fuel remains. 

Sunday, Russian missile strikes against power stations and other infrastructure left tens of thousands of people with no electricity and running water for several hours. The Kharkiv called the power outage “revenge by the Russian aggressor for the successes of our army at the front, in particular, in the Kharkiv region.” The outages were not related to the reactor shutdowns at the Zaporizhzhia plant.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/12/trump-classified-special-master/    A new filing by Deposed Donald Trump’s (DDT) legal team argues that the documents marked classified aren’t really classified. Like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the attorneys claimed the situation was a “document storage dispute.” The filing is in response to the DOJ’s request that the over 100 classified documents, including military and nuclear secrets of a foreign government, be exempted from the examination. Yet DDT’s lawyers wouldn’t lie under oath to declare that DDT had declassified the documents. They just claim that prosecutors are overstating any national-security concerns and said the government was not being fair.  

While DDT’s Judge Aileen Cannon tries to protect him, the DOJ issued about 40 subpoenas to obtain more information on DDT and his associates regarding the 2020 election and January 6 insurrection. Several of the subjects are still close to DDT including former White House social media director Dan Scavino. Last week, the DOJ seized phones from top advisers Boris Epshteyn and Roman who helped submit fake electoral votes from swing states won by President Joe Biden in 2020. Some of the subpoenas are related to DDT’s fraudulent donation scheme from his Save America PAC falsely claiming the money would to go the non-existent court cases to put DDT back into the White House. At least one subpoena asked for information about members of the executive and legislative branches taking part in blocking the presidential election election. Several congressional members have already been identified

DDT’s filing based its entire legal argument on a reading of the Presidential Records Act (PRA) (1978) which states that the National Archives “shall” become the custodian of presidential records. DDT’s team claims that he doesn’t have to return the classified documents because the law does not state “must.” After the Supreme Court ruled in Gutierrez de Martinez v. Lamagno (1995) that “shall” could mean “may,” much to the surprise of the entire legal world which had defined “shall” as “must,” Congress passed the Plain Writing Act in 2010, requiring the word “must” for mandatory. Originalists, however, must accept the word “shall” as “must” because the PRA was passed 17 years before the Supreme Court ruling.  

According to a new memoir by Geoffrey Berman, fired because he wouldn’t voluntarily resign as the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, former AG Bill Barr is a liar, a bully, and a thug. And stupid.

In Holding the Line: Inside the Nation’s Preeminent US Attorney’s Office and Its Battle with the Trump Justice Department, to be published this week, Berman gave a firsthand account of how Barr tried to orchestrate the prosecution of DDT’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen and the Halkbank investigation about Turkish bankers and government officials helping Iran circumvent the Iran nuclear deal. Berman had been Barr’s adversary during the presidency of George H.W. Bush when Barr protected Bush from legal problems by suggesting that the president pardon the conspirators of the Iran-Contra scandal along with more sleazy actions.

To protect DDT, Barr took “point person” for the Halkbank investigation that was run out of New York. At one meeting, Barr raised his voice when he asked Berman, “Who do you think you are to interfere?” Berman had refused to give people in the case a non-prosecution agreement without disclosing the move and said it would be a “fraud on the court.”

Barr used the same words over the appointment of Audrey Strauss as Berman’s deputy. Berman let himself be fired rather than resign so that she could take over Berman’s position instead of Barr appointing his own person. Another contentious issue between the two men was Berman’s refusal to sign a letter attacking former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, criticizing the mayor’s COVID restrictions to religious services.

Berman’s refusal led Barr ask him for a meeting where Barr said he wanted to “make a change in the southern district.” Berman turned him down and didn’t know if he could be removed by anyone other than judges who appointed him on an interim basis or by a Senate confirmation of a successor. Barr offered Berman more money by leading the DOJ civil division before he threatened to fire Berman before he asked Berman if he wanted to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, “not [Barr’s] to offer.”

Barr said he’d talk to Berman again but issued the press release saying Berman was “stepping down.” Berman followed up with his own press release, stating he hadn’t resigned, and showed up for work the next day. Barr released a letter stating that DDT had fired Berman.

Oddly enough, Barr has made many anti-DDT comments both on television and in interviews with the House January 6 investigative committee—that the 2020 election was legal, DDT has no right to the classified documents, the DOJ has enough information to indict DDT, etc. Yet Barr’s reputation  will follow him.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), running for another six-year term, accused Democrats of having “infilitrated” life in the U.S. by going to church, attending college, and having jobs. He said “this entire election is … fighting for freedom.” (I know: it doesn’t make sense!) 

September 8, 2022

9/8/22 – DDT, More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 6, 2022

Good News, Bad News – Economy, CPAC, Etc.

First, the good news. Employers added 528,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent, the lowest rate since February 2000 and tying for the lowest rate since 1969. The past 19 months saw consistent new job gains since Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) saw none during his four-year term. Increases crossed all sectors; leisure and hospitality led the way with an additional 96,000 jobs.

Despite the good news, Republicans insist the U.S. is in a recession because of negative GDP growth for the past two quarters following massive growth, part of their strategy to defeat Democrats. The Bureau of Economic Research, however, doesn’t use the negative GDP as the only guideline for a recession; it is “a significant decline in economic activity” spread across industries with the most important measures personal income and payroll employment. Both currently show growth. Recessions aren’t determined until several months after the fact with official federal reports on jobs, income, consumer spending, and manufacturing. One Republican, Sen. Roger Marshall (KS) provided his own definition:

“Recession, to me, is when I go back home and the community bankers say, ‘Hey, Doc, what’s going on? Business is slowing down. Why are people afraid to invest?’”

President Joe Biden had other reasons to feel good this week:

  • Congress passed the CHIPS and Science Act to move manufacturing from Taiwan.
  • His strike killed al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s leader.
  • Kansas strongly passed a pro-choice ballot initiative to support women’s reproductive rights.
  • The PACT Act to expand healthcare for veterans suffering from such problems as toxic burn pits.
  • The U.S. 8 percent uninsured rate fell to an all-time low even with 12 states rejecting Medicaid expansion. 
  • Gas prices fell for a straight seventh week.
  • Democrats may be on target to approve the Inflation Reduction Act.

Alex Jones, on the other hand, had a very bad week. He accidentally sent two years of his phone’s contents to the defense attorney in his first Sandy Hook defamation trial and perjured himself on the stand. The jury penalized him $4.1 million in compensatory damages and then added another $45.2 million in punitive damages. Jones’ lawyer hopes that Texas’ limit for $750,000 keeps the total to $1.5 million for the two charges. Using his media, Jones repeatedly lied about the massacre of children and educators and spread conspiracy theories about the victims and their families, calling the tragedy a “hoax” and “staged.” In his testimony, Jones said a jury award of $2 million would financially destroy him, but an economist examining his finances estimated his wealth between $135 million and $270 million hidden in shell companies.

The DOJ, created in 1870 to cover illegal acts that states refuse to prosecute, charged four current and former Louisville (KY) police officers with federal crimes connected to the 2020 law enforcement killing of Breonna Taylor. Her boyfriend fired one shot at the officers when they broke into her apartment in the middle of the night to serve a “no-knock” warrant. The officers shot 22 bullets, hitting Taylor in the chest. Charges against the police, who lied to get the warrant, include civil rights violations, conspiracy, use of excessive force offenses, and obstruction.

The DOJ is also suing Idaho in opposition to its restrictive abortion ban refusing pregnant women lifesaving care if they suffer from unexpected, serious complications. Other states have the same restrictions, but some of them have DDT-packed judges in their appeals courts. Idaho’s appeals court is the less-biased 9th Circuit Court, and the state’s ban is a conventional criminal law instead of the Texas experimental statute designed to evade judicial review.

A conflict between Idaho and federal law comes from the ban stating that the physician can be prosecuted “merely by showing that an abortion has been performed, without regard to the circumstances.” Unlike federal law, health is not a consideration; care can be given only “to prevent the death of the pregnant woman.” According to Idaho law, the physician must choose between losing a patient’s life or risk prosecution—and a medical license. In the 9th Circuit Court, only active judges can vote if a case goes from a three-judge panel to “en banc” with the chief judge and ten other active judges selected at random.

The media complaining about Biden’s low ratings need to keep up with their own news. The latest Monmouth University poll shows an increase in his approval ratings to 38 percent with last week’s USA Today/Suffolk poll at 39 percent among registered voters. In the Monmouth poll, 50 percent of people prefer Democrats controlling Congress as opposed to 43 percent choosing Republicans. The seven-point preference for Democrats is up from June when the two parties tied at 47 percent and May when the GOP four-point lead was 48 percent to 44 percent. 

Speeches at the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) conference this weekend show a panicked GOP. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) called Democrats “the enemy within,” a greater threat to the U.S. than all the war throughout the nation’s existence. “The militant left has now seized control of our economy, of our culture and our country,” he said. In a possible run for 2024 president, Scott issued a 31-page platform that erases transgender people, eliminates any questions about race on government form, and completes DDT’s wall. With no evidence, hse also accused Democrats of trying to silence opponents and redefine the U.S., “destroying just about everything they touch and they’ve got their hands on everything.”

The focus of CPAC in August 2022 was Christian nationalism. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick erased the Founders when he said:

“We’re a nation founded upon not the words of our founders, but the words of God because he wrote the Constitution.”

DDT will speak on Saturday, but Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán may be the linchpin after support for a white-only country. Days earlier, he had spoken against a country of “mixed race,” and a long-time adviser resigned and called it a “pure Nazi speech worthy of Goebbels [the chief propagandist for the Nazi party in Germany].” Orbán’s opposition to immigration, globalism, and gender fluidity match those of the MAGA right, the same messages that he delivered when CPAC went to Hungary in May. Like DDT and MAGA, Orbán finds issues such as separation of church and state, LGBTQ rights, pronouns, drag shows, the 2020 election results, etc. as battlegrounds between good and evil. He assured his audience that “a Christian politician cannot be racist,” lying about the Nazis being anti-Christian. 

Other notables spread their slime at CPAC, but the world had more news:

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) lost his primary for re-election this year, but he seems determined to spend the donations he collected for the general election he won’t have—on himself. The FEC threatened him with legal action for failing to report his campaign’s finances in May so he filed a statement of organization on July 15, declaring himself the treasurer and custodian of records for the campaign. This move leaves him open to personal civil liability for not reporting on time. Cawthorn raised $3.5 million for re-election, but he’s now $220,000 in debt to donors, including campaigns of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and GOP Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and billionaires Bernie Marcus and Steve Wynn as well as far poorer people. He spent the money on consulting fees for his friends, hotel rooms in Florida, alcohol, cigars, and food. Cawthorn’s quarterly financial report is also over two weeks late. Not as bad as trying to get guns onto airplanes and multiple DUIs but still illegal. A political future for the 27-year-old has probably disappeared.

This week, an Aitkin County jury exonerated Minnesota pharmacist George Badeaux after he violated state law by refusing to fill a prescription for the morning-after pill. Also a pastor, he told the woman he was following his “beliefs,” discouraged her from trying another local pharmacy, and failed to provide information about any other availability of the medication. Finding a pharmacy 50 miles from her home willing to help, she made the three-hour round trip in a snowstorm with her 2-year-old son in the car. The jury found that Badeaux didn’t discriminate against her on the basis of her sex. Men can get pregnant? She plans to appeal.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told senators that the agency opened “a number” of investigations into abortion-related violent crime incidents since six justices overturned Roe v. Wade. What he didn’t investigate was Brett Kavanagh after receiving reports of his sexual misconduct—4,500 tips about him. Wray just turned them over to DDT. Thanks to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) for pressing Wray in the hearing despite the FBI director’s attempt to crawl out of answering. Wray also tried to explain that not investigating is the “longstanding process” that “we take direction from the requesting entity,” who he claimed was DDT. Kavanaugh is one of two current justices whose investigations into sexual assault were a sham. Clarence Thomas is still there after 30+ years.

The carcinogenic pesticide Roundup continues to be popular, including in my neighborhood, but a study has found over 80 percent of urine samples from both children and adults contains the chemical. The percentage has increased since the 1990s when Monsanto introduced genetically engineered crops designed to be sprayed directly with the pesticide. U.S. farmers use over 200 million pounds annually of the glyphosate in Roundup sprayed directly on corn and soybeans as well as on non-GE crops such as wheat and oats. Baby food contains glyphosate.

July 28, 2022

Politics – July 28, 2022

January 6, 2021 was a popular time for missing texts. The Secret Service can’t find any because of a “migration,” and messages for acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli are also missing for a period of time leading up to the insurrection. A problem with a “reset” of their phones. Joseph Cuffari, appointed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), didn’t seem concerned about the missing texts, didn’t alert Congress about the problems with its request, and didn’t try to recover the lost data. Wolf was DDT’s favorite DHS Secretary and would likely be called back to work for DDT if he came back to the White House.

In a court filing, DDT’s attorneys asked a judge to grant him total immunity against any civil law lawsuits connected to the insurrection. DDT is attempting to ask all lawsuits to be dismissed. Previously, DDT claimed his January 6 speech was “protected by presidential absolute immunity.” The newer filing said DDT’s “statements were on matters of public concern.” Lawyers insist “impeachment is the only means of punishing a president for abuse and that attempts by Democrats and others to sue Trump after he emerged victorious in his impeachment trial are tantamount to ‘harassment.'” In February, the judge ruled the speech was likely “words of incitement not protected by the First Amendment.” [Right: the man who considers running for re-election in two years.]

The DOJ probe into the insurrection, ongoing since April, is building, and AG Merrick Garland said he may charge DDT. Prosecutors are willing to go to court to get DDT’s White House officials to testify about conversations on and around January 6m, 2021. No former president has ever been criminally charged in U.S. history, but Garland hasn’t ruled out indicting DDT.  

Lawyers passing through DDT’s White House are adding themselves to the vast number of witnesses testifying about the January 6 insurrection, including DDT’s participation in the plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Last week, former VP Mike Pence’s aide Marc Short, a DDT accuser, and Pence’s counsel Greg Jacob testified before the DOJ grand jury investigating these events. Emmet Flood, briefly acting White House counsel, is Short’s lawyer. In 2019, DDT tweeted his “friend” Flood did a “GREAT JOB.”

Ty Cobb, Flood’s predecessor and overseer of the White House’s response to the Mueller investigation, said DDT’s declaration of candidacy “serves no interest but his self-defeating and overwhelming need for relevance, attention and money. Such an announcement also does not inoculate him from criminal investigation.” Cobb also listed DDT’s possible crimes on CNN. Pat Cipollone, DDT’s last White House counsel, confirmed earlier testimony and stated that everyone in the White House except DDT wanted people to leave the Capitol on January 6. At Cipollone’s side during his testimony was Michael Purpura, deputy White House counsel during the DDT’s administration.

Russian State Duma member Evgeny Popov is bragging about a close connection with DDT by calling him “our own Donald Trump” and lamenting the DOJ criminal investigation into DDT’s actions. He insinuated that DDT belongs to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Popov also echoed the lie that the 2020 presidential election was rigged and DDT’s complaints about Joe Biden and the current state of the U.S. The Russian also ranted:

“Didn’t we write a cool speech for Donald Trump? The best is yet to come. It won’t be surprising if DOJ adds Trump’s speech to the materials of their criminal case. Donald says he is an agent of Russia, which is true.”  

In a bipartisan act, the Senate voted 84-14 in favor of the Honoring Our Pact Act (HOPA), passed in the House with a 256-174 vote, that expands health care and benefits to veterans suffering from exposure to unsafe practices, such as “burn pits,” while in the military. The typical conservative senators as well as Mitt Romney (R-UT) criticized the bill for mythical budgetary reasons. The bill moved to the House which supported it by a 256-174 vote and a tweak to make some spending mandatory.  When the bill was returned to the Senate for final approval, 42 Republicans voted against a procedural vote, leaving the bill in question. Jon Stewart gave an impassioned speech about the GOP abandonment of veterans in retaliation for Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) supporting a bill delaying climate change, lowering drug prices, and slightly raising corporate taxes,.

The Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) bill passed the Senate by 64-33 and moved onto President Joe Biden’s desk after a 243-187 vote in the House. Despite more attempts at retaliation for any action by Democrats, 24 House GOP members voted for the bill.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), the biggest joke in the House before the onslaught of QAnon representatives, is irate because Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) put fact-checking articles about GOP lies from the past year into the congressional record, such as the false claims that AG Merrick Garland was investigating parents speaking at school boards and calling them “domestic terrorists.” In response to Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) misrepresentation of a DOJ whistleblower memo, Cicilline read the memo into the record. When Republicans objected, Cicilline asked that “the Republicans were afraid for the document to be in the record.” The incensed Gohmert said Cicilline isn’t permitted “to impugn false statements by this side.” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) laughed at Gohmert, and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) first put his head in his hand and then went to using his cell phone.

Kentucky’s GOP senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, do their constituents a great disservice if they continue to ignore the dire consequences of climate change. In the past week, the catastrophic flooding in the mountainous eastern part of the state has killed at least eight people and left many others missing or trapped. Gov. Andy Beshear said, “We expect double-digit deaths.” He added, “Hundreds will lose their homes.” One county received 11 inches in rain in two days and expects more in the stalled weather front that caused historic flooding in St. Louis last Tuesday from over 12 inches of rain. In Kentucky, the hardest place hit, Hazard with 5,000 population, had over nine inches in 12 hours, and the terrain funnels more water down into the valley towns. Rock and mudslides also cut off populated areas. Heavy rainfall is now 20 to 40 percent more likely in the area than in 1900.

Remember when Republicans opposed regulations? Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis disagrees with his party’s approach. He is notorious for blocking mask mandates during the worst of the pandemic, delaying COVID vaccinations for children, eliminating LGBTQ mention in classrooms while mandating Christian nationalism in the curriculum, countermanding constitutional separation of church and state, preventing protest gatherings of more than two people, removing the right to discuss race in the workplace, redrawing the state’s Congressional map to increase the number of Republicans Florida sends to Congress, establishing his own personal state army with no federal oversight, and permitting bullying of LGBTQ students.

In Florida, teachers are ordered to dedicate 45 minutes of instruction about the suffering of people around the world on November 7, “Victims of Communism Day.” Mandated subjects are Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Fidel Castro along with “poverty, starvation, migration, systemic lethal violence, and suppression of speech” endured under those regimes. Teaching materials will be prepared by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Teachers are fleeing Florida, the state needs 10,000 teachers, and DeSantis accuses elementary school teachers, lying how they “instructed” children they may be transgender and anyone disagreeing with him is “lying.”

DeSantis latest regulation is blocking his administration from investments in “woke” corporations by prohibiting the use of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings for these decisions. Doing so would allow recipients of pensions to receive funds from companies with similar funds. DeSantis said, “The inmates are running the asylum.” Yet the State Board of Administration stated it didn’t use these ratings for overseeing the $250 billion in funds. DeSantis’ revoking Disney’s zoning agreement for criticizing his “Don’t Say Gay” law has already cost Florida taxpayers $1 billion.

In the past, Republicans objected to being surveiled; now they promote it. With the approval of a Supreme Court majority, Texas’ anti-abortion law turns all citizens into vigilantes, reporting anyone supporting abortion and creating a society reminiscent of a totalitarian state. Tennessee and Florida allow students to sue transgender students for using the “wrong” bathroom. Anyone in New Hampshire can sue a school for violating vague rules regarding teaching about race, sex, gender, and other sensitive issues, and teachers lose their licenses. Only Democratic governors in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—up for re-election this fall—protect people from totalitarian surveillance. And only the six Supremes can protect others in the U.S., and they aren’t likely to do so.

Outrage by students at George Washington University has caused Justice Clarence Thomas to cancel his plan to teach a seminar there, something he has done since 2011. Thomas is threatening to overturn a large number of human rights after participating in overturning the constitutional right to abortion in Roe v. Wade.

July 27, 2022

GOP, DDT Reject Human Rights

After a year, the Senate passed a bill to provide $280 billion for chip manufacturing, design, and scientific research. Seventeen Republicans supported the bill in the 64-33 vote with only one member of the Democratic caucus, Bernie Sanders (I-VT), in opposition because of its weak guidelines. The U.S. has contributed no money to chip manufacturing, compared to the $150 billion that China pays to support the industry. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she had the votes in her chamber for the bill.   

Most of the funding goes toward advanced, rather than basic, chips, the majority currently coming from Taiwan. The U.S. went from making 37 percent of the world’s chips in 1990 to only 12 percent while the nation contributes “nearly nothing” to their manufacturing  compared to China’s $150 billion investment. Even with the advantages to their states, some senators, such as Tommy Turberville (R-AL) ignored the importance of chips, i.e., a critical component for Javelin missiles, manufactured in Turberville’s state.

After Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) joined Republicans to force the removal of tax increases for the wealthy and big businesses from the bill, he failed to vote after testing positive for COVID.

In Congress, Republicans joined Justice Clarence Thomas to make women into baby incubators by removing female rights to travel, contraception access, and marriage to whom they love. Although 47 GOP House members voted for marriage equality, only eight supported the right to contraception, and 205 Republicans voted against women traveling across state lines for an abortion. This dystopian vision of the U.S. comes directly from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The GOP refusal to protect marriage equality and contraception is exactly the same Republicans used to deny protection for Roe v. Wade—their assumption these rights will never be overturned. Yet justices are calling the 2015 marriage equality ruling “undemocratic,” “a problem that only [the court] can fix.”

Sen. Joni Ernst has also blocked a bill legalizing contraceptives; at 52 years old, she probably doesn’t need them. Ernst made her reputation—and may have gotten elected in 2014—with a TV ad about comparing her goals in the Senate to castrating hogs.

Twenty House Republicans also supported human trafficking by voting against a bill to combat the problem. One of them, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), criticized Democrats for doing nothing about protecting victims. Another naysayer, Matt Gaetz (R-FL), is under investigation for sex trafficking at least one underage girl. Pence’s former aide, Marc Short, said about Gaetz’s recent speech to Turning Point USA, a conservative student group, “I’m actually surprised the Florida law enforcement still allows him to speak to teenage conferences like that.”

In his speech to Turning Point, Gaetz said all anti-abortionists were fat and ugly, that they couldn’t get pregnant anyway. After a 19-year-old Texas girl objected, he used her photo to support his lie and sent her a vile insulting tweet. She used his body-shaming abuse to raise $214,000 thus far for an anti-abortion group.  

DDT’s favorite network—no, it isn’t Fox—may disappear after Verizon Fios stopped carrying One America News, removing 3.5 million subscribers. Earlier this year, OAN lost its biggest revenue when AT&T dumped DirecTV off the service in April, losing another 15 million subscribers. Far to the right of Fox, OAN created a haven for pundits who couldn’t get jobs on other channels, those willing to promote conspiracy theories including the “stolen” election.  OAN has admitted Verizon thinks that the channel is not “a credible news organization.”

Perhaps not noticing that CNN’s new CEO is directing the network to the right-wing dark side, DDT threatens to sue the company for defamation going back to his 2016 presidency campaign. DDT is still claiming his 2020 election was “stolen,” as recently as his speech in Washington, D.C. earlier this week. Clarence Thomas has said the Supreme Court should create an easier environment for people to win lawsuits against the media.   

DDT’s speech seems to be winding up to another presidential campaign with the lies about stolen elections and LGBTQ people front and center, especially trans women. For example, he misgendered swimmer Lia Thomas, accusing “him” of having “arms that are 30 feet long” and “seriously injur[ing]” a competitor “because he swam so fast that he gave her major wind burn as he went by.” Thomas also wasn’t named “female athlete of the year” and didn’t break the record “by 38 seconds.” DDT also talked about a transgender weightlifter who doesn’t seem to exist. In his speech, DDT called LGBTQ people “sickos.”

Fifty-five trans candidates running in 2022 have been joined by 20 gender nonconforming candidates, 18 nonbinary candidates, and four Two-Spirit candidates. Some of them are in red states such as Montana and Oklahoma. A total of 1,068 LGBTQ candidates, an increase of 73 percent since 2020, is running this year when legislatures introduced 162 anti-LGBTQ bills before July 1. Congress has 11 elected LGBTQ members.

Witnesses in the House January 6 probe are revealing more of his lies. The Pentagon now supports the many claims that he never called on the National Guard to protect the U.S. Capitol. DDT’s former acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller said DDT never requested the 10,000 troops to secure the Capitol before January 6, a claim made by both DDT and his former chief of staff Mark Meadows. DDT’s former official Mick Mulvaney will also testify before the committee; he says he believe the testimony of witnesses Cassidy Hutchinson and other top former DDT officials,

After eight hearings from the House January 6 investigative committee showing DDT’s involvement in the failed coup at the U.S. Capitol, the DOJ is taking steps to investigate him. Concerns include DDT’s attempt to force former VP Mike President to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential election and DDT’s ties to establishing fake alternate electors in battleground states he lost. In five of seven states, these electors appear to be driven by DDT’s lawyers with DDT also involved. The DOJ interviewed witnesses, seized phone records of his top allies, and searched the home of former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark who enabled DDT in his election-fraud theories. AG Merrick Garland has repeatedly said that no one is above the law, and the Fulton County (GA) criminal investigation into DDT’s efforts to overturn the election is also expanding.

Furious about the investigation, DDT used his Truth Social to repeat his lies and conspiracy theories—“massive and irrefutable” evidence about the “rigged and stolen” election, his “perfect” phone call to Georgia begging for more votes to make him a winner, and more whining about his impeachments and Russia scams. The extensive quotes, complete with excessive capital letters, are here.

The DOJ has a new warrant to search John Eastman’s phone in the continued investigation regarding a criminal conspiracy between DDT and his lawyer to overturn the election, partly through using fake electors. Eastman’s employer, conservative Claremont Institute, is backing off from its staunch DDT support after standing by Eastman before it learned more about his actions. Now they’re lamenting that he decided to jettison the Constitution for DDT’s benefit. The question now is how the think tank can separate itself from Eastman.

The House committee evidence supports charges of obstruction of an official proceeding with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and used against hundreds of insurrectionists along with possibly seditious conspiracy, like charges brought against Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. In a new poll, 79 percent of people think DDT’s actions on January 6 were illegal or unethical with only 21 percent believing he did nothing wrong. Even 55 percent of Republicans agree with either illegal or unethical behavior, the same percentage of Republicans who don’t want DDT as the 2024 candidate. The 69 percent of people who believe the January 6 attack to be a crisis or major problem for American democracy is up from 65 percent earlier this year.

Leaked audio from Steve Bannon, added to his saying that DDT would declare victory on election night even if he lost, are his conspiracy with exiled Chinese mogul Guo Wengui and his associates to spread the lies that Hunter Biden’s computer, Joe Biden’s son, contained proof about salacious crimes. Guo controls pro-DDT media sites spreading far-right disinformation. Before the election, Guo’s associates disseminated videos and photos of Hunter Biden in sexual encounters and drug use.

After paying almost $2 million for DDT’s legal bills, the RNC chair Ronna McDaniel said the money stops if he becomes a 2024 candidate using the weak excuse of its “neutrality policy.” Earlier, DDT backed down when McDaniel made the same threat after DDT said he was creating his own political party. DDT’s leadership PAC, Save America, and his presidential committee-turned-PAC Make America Great Again PAC are paying legal bills for issues related to January 6, raising concerns about his witness tampering.

A Harvard study of almost 500 documents shows primary motivation for 417 Capitol rioters charged for insurrection: support for DDT, 20.6 percent; DDT’s lie about a stolen election, 20.6 percent; “peacefully protest,” 7 percent; and “general interest in violence,” 6.2 percent.  

May 25, 2022

Right to Life on GOP Terms

The “right-to-life” Republicans in Congress are praying about the recent mass killing—first ten people dead in Buffalo by a teenage killer who targeted Blacks and now a teenager in Uvalde (TX) who killed at least 19 children under ten years old at an elementary school as well as himself and two adults. Before going to the school, he shot his grandmother who is in critical condition. It is the 30th school shooting thus far in 2022 and at least 200 mass shooting. Yet they do nothing.

GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales, who represents Uvalde, wrote, “we have to protect” children but didn’t indicate how. His recent tweets bitterly complained about the “Radical Left” and his strong opposition to any gun control efforts, bragging that he “voted NO on two gun control measures.” As a “proud supporter of the Second Amendment” (meaning unfettered ownership of guns), he “will do everything I can to oppose gun grabs from the far Left.” Now he declares himself “heartbroken” and choked up when he talked about the tragedy.

Three days after the Uvalde school shooting, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will appear at the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) Leadership Forum with Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX). Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) canceled his appearance. Twenty-three years ago, NRA had a conference in Denver shortly after Colorado’s mass shooting at Columbine High School, killing 13 and wounding another 20. During the 2018 election cycle, Cruz received the largest amount of donations from gun rights backers at $311,151.

The NRA is blocking the Second Amendment and banning the presence of any weapons for DDT’s appearance. Attendees will be searched.

No Republicans complain about suspending the Second Amendment in some cases, but GOP legislators and far-right are using the same old canard about politicizing the Buffalo murder with a domestic terrorism bill including white supremacy. Fox’s Tucker Carlson called such a bill “scary,” but Buffalo’s mass shooter wrote he had been radicalized on 4chan and referred to the white supremacist “great replacement” conspiracy theory, fears of whites being replaced through immigration, that Carlson promoted on his program over 400 times. Conspiracy theorist and Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers pushed the lie of the shooting being a “false flag,” staged by Democrats. A Proud Boys group called the bill “the creation of an anti-white secret police.”

Democrats introduced the original version of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act a few weeks after the Jan. 6 insurrection, and Democrats, joined by GOP Adam Kinzinger, passed a newer iteration of the bill after the Buffalo mass shooting. It would create dedicated domestic terrorism departments in the FBI, DOJ, and Homeland Security to monitor, analyze, investigate, and prosecute acts of domestic terrorism. The U.S. has no law against general domestic terrorism, but the addition of “terrorism enhancement” in federal cases can add 15 years to a sentence.

The bill would also establish an interagency task force to investigate white supremacist and neo-Nazi infiltration of uniformed services and federal law enforcement agencies. A special agent in each field office would investigate hate crime events and connections to domestic terrorism. According to FBI Director Chris Wray, the growing threats of domestic terrorism in the U.S. with “racially motivated violent extremism” are the majority of the agency’s domestic terrorism probes. Senate Republicans have promised to block the legislation which would require 60 votes in that chamber.

The far-right Gateway Pundit falsely stated the goal of the bill was to “silence conservatives and those Americans who disagree with them.” Carlson complained the bill doesn’t specifically mention “BLM or antifa” and lied about the bill redefining domestic terrorism to include hate crimes. About three-fourths of voters support the bill

Lachlan Murdoch, CEO and executive chairman of Fox’s parent company, said white supremacy just “comes with the territory” for Fox being “number one.” He shrugged off the increasing polarization of society since Fox was created. Media Matters senior fellow Matthew Gertz believes “Lachlan Murdoch has apparently given up on his obvious lie that Tucker Carlson doesn’t promote ‘replacement theory.’ He is making it quite clear that Fox prioritizes white supremacist content.”

Republican legislators will also be traumatized by the update of the DOJ use-of-force policy, ordering federal agents to intervene if other law enforcement officials use excessive force. Taking effect July 19, the policy does not cover non-federal law enforcement and federal law enforcement agencies outside the DOJ. Federal law enforcement officers must also act if someone needs medical care and repeats current policies that officers should not fire their weapons at people solely because they are fleeing or fire into vehicles to make them stop. Deadly force should not be used “against persons whose actions are a threat solely to themselves or property unless an individual poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others in close proximity.” With new priorities, AG Merrick Garland’s memo tells officers and agents to first select de-escalating confrontations for “voluntary compliance from a subject before using force.”

The current politically conservative Supreme Court majority may decide to overturn the new DOJ policy, just as they overturned existing law this week in order to kill two Arizona men. Six conservative justices used an anti-terrorism law to rule that convicted felons are not allowed to present evidence in federal court about ineffective counsel or present new evidence. Clarence Thomas declared that the two men have no federal standing to sue because the state denied their appeals, writing that this has happened “only rarely.” Despite this violation to Sixth Amendment rights to due process and habeas corpus, Arizona may execute two more men

Justice Sonia Sotomayor called the decision “perverse” and “illogical.”  She wrote:

“The Court’s decision will leave many people who were convicted in violation of the Sixth Amendment to face incarceration or even execution without any meaningful chance to vindicate their right to counsel.”

Legal experts agreed, including University of Texas Law Professor Lee Kovarsky.  He tweeted:

“Since representation in state post-conviction proceedings is a national embarrassment, it means that it’s not a really useful site of Sixth Amendment enforcement.”

One of the men to be executed, Barry Jones, may not have murdered anyone, meaning the so-called “right-to-life” justices are killing an innocent man. A witness said that Jones hit a four-year-old girl who died 12 hours later. Three experts, however, said that the girl could not have died from that supposed injury within that time period. Others, including the girl’s mother and uncle, were suspect. The mother was subsequently convicted of child abuse, and before her death, the girl said a boy had hit her in the stomach with a metal bar. Jones’ lawyer didn’t present any of this evidence at the trial.

In a 1984 ruling (Strickland v. Washington), the Supreme Court determined a “deficient” lawyer’s performance that “prejudiced the defense” can toss out a conviction, but Thomas’ opinion claimed the law restricts federal courts from rejecting state courts’ opinions no matter how poorly they were decided. In essence, the six justices changed the law and “all but overrules” Martinez v. Ryan (2012) and Trevino v. Thaler (2013), according to Sotomayor. Therefore, states can kill people wrongly convicted, and the federal government will not step in despite the Sixth Amendment guaranteeing “criminal defendants the right to the effective assistance of counsel at trial.”

As Ian Millhiser wrote, three justices—the minority—believe “the purpose of a criminal trial is to determine whether or not someone is actually guilty of a crime—and to do so through an adversarial process where both sides are represented by lawyers who can present the best possible legal and factual case for the prosecution and the defense.” Clarence differs, according to Millhiser:

“[Clarence] deems federal habeas proceedings problematic because they ‘override] the States’ core power to enforce criminal law.’ When a federal court deems someone’s conviction constitutionally inadequate, Thomas complains, it ‘overrides the State’s sovereign power to enforce ‘societal norms through criminal law,’” and ‘disturbs the State’s significant interest in repose for concluded litigation.’”

And Arizona will kill two more men after the conservative justices refused to intervene in the killing of Clarence Dixon.

At one time, only Justice Antonin Scalia agreed with Thomas. Now Scalia is dead, and Republican presidents have appointed five justices who agree with Thomas.

Civil war—that’s what DDT thinks is imminent according to his reposting on his personal Twitter-like “Truth Social.” The killings in Buffalo are only the latest example of how irresponsible violent rhetoric can lead to physical violence.

  • Doug Mastriano, Pennsylvania’s newly elected GOP gubernatorial candidate, wrote about a potential “Hitlerian putsch” from the left requiring a civil war with the military fighting back.  
  • The head of the Claremont Institute, a think tank of members such as John Eastman who created the strategy to overturn Biden’s election, said that conservatives must fight against “woke communists,” false meaning all Democrats.
  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-SC) promised “bloodshed”; former U.S. Joseph diGenova told Laura Ingraham on her podcast that the “civil war” requires people to buy guns.
  • Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said that “America is heading in the direction of another Harpers Ferry.” He shared the meme that the right has “8 trillion bullets” and would win a civil war.

GOP “right to life” ends with birth.

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