Nel's New Day

November 21, 2022

DDT Unpopular, Facing Serious Legal Problems

Sad to say, the media cannot avoid covering Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) with his corruption and lust for the limelight. The last two melded together in his announcement for another run at the presidency in two years during a party at Mar-a-Lago on November 15. Security had to keep people from leaving his speech.

DDT had thought the grand success of GOP elections a week before would give him a triumphant lead-in to his campaign, but it miserably fizzled. Republicans lost the Senate—again—and the GOP has a majority of one in the House while five races are still undecided. Furious with his many losses, DDT attacked House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), convinced weak Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) he could be Speaker and manage all the crazies turned loose, and failed to destroy Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for winning because of his gerrymandering House districts.

The crazies are the only ones left to support DDT; reasonable parts of the right wing have turned against him. National Review’s Dan McLaughlin tweeted, “This is delusional, mental-breakdown stuff.” Fox News contributor Joe Concha called it “unhinged, sophomoric stuff that is completely unprovoked.” From the conservative Wall Street Journal came “Trump Is the Republican Party’s Biggest Loser.” Featuring DDT in its Humpty Dumpty cover visual, the New York Post defined him as “perhaps the most profound vote-repellant in modern American history.”

A lead group of GOP politicians trying to oust DDT are the 2024 wannabe presidential candidates.

DeSantis has bragged about all the members he sent to the Congress (not mentioning it’s because of his gerrymandering); he’s edging out DDT in the polls.

Two-term New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that Republicans “keep losing and losing and losing and that “the reason we’re losing is because Donald Trump has put himself before everybody else.” He continued by saying DDT’s refusal to leave his 2022 defeat is “not what this party stands for” and that “it’s not what it should stand for in the future, and we’ve got to stop it now.”

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said that “candidate quality matters. I got a great policy for the Republican Party: Let’s stop supporting crazy, unelectable candidates in our primaries and start getting behind winners that can close the deal in November.”

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and DDT’s choice to replace McConnell for Minority Leader, complained that “the current strategy of most Republicans in Washington is to only be against the crazy Democrats—and they’re crazy—and never outline any plan what we are for and what we will do. That is a mistake.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who was against DDT until he was for DDT accused Republicans of spending far too much time preaching to the choir when they talk to the same 2.6 million people watching Fox network every night.” He also complained, “Republicans in the Senate don’t fight” and told GOP senators to “pick two or three or four things that matter and say, ‘We believe in it.’”

Mike Pompeo, CIA director and secretary of State under Trump who is considering a presidential run, agreed that he’s “tired of losing.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem called for new leadership.

Outgoing Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, one of the most reasonable governors in his party, argued the GOP is “desperately in need of a course correction” and DDT’s overselling of bad candidates caused significant damage. Like others, he ridiculed DDT’s earlier claim that people will get tired of winning after his election. 

Only one GOP senator, Tommy Tuberville (AL) says he will support DDT; no others openly spoke up for him.

Lindsey Graham (SC), supposedly DDT’s good friend, only said DDT will be “hard to beat.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (UT) said no one raised a hand in a private GOP senators’ meeting when asked if they want DDT to announce he’s running for president. A second senator agreed.

Kevin Cramer (ND) likes Mike Pompeo for a candidate.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) refused to commit, saying that DDT as a candidate is a “theoretical.”

Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) identified DeSantis as the de facto leader of the Republican Party. 

Wealthy donors also bailed on DDT. Hedge fund manager Ken Griffin also plans to support DeSantis, calling DDT a “three-time loser.” Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of private equity giant Blackstone, plans to support DDT’s challenger because “America does better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday.”

Political committees controlled by or closely affiliated with Trump have a total of nearly $112 million in the bank, but only $13.5 million can legally be used for DDT’s campaign. Most of the money was raised by a PAC and committees not officially part of DDT’s presidential campaign. To dodge restrictions, DDT’s PAC transferred $20 million to a new super PAC, MAGA, run by DDT aides although super PACs are legally bound to be independent of candidates. A complaint has been filed for violation of federal law in this transfer.

Before his grand candidacy announcement, DDT called GOP elected officials and demanded they endorse him. He said “those who waited too long” were “not gonna like” their fate when he wins. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was the only congressional member to attend. Even daughter Ivanka wasn’t available despite DDT begging her to come. 

DeSantis also violated state-level fundraising records for this year’s gubernatorial election with about $90 million remaining. Moving that money to a super PAC for his candidacy would also violate federal law.

New special counsel Jack Smith, appointed by DOJ AG Merrick Garland, will investigate DDT, including his likely criminality in Georgia attempting to pressure officials into overturn the state’s vote for Joe Biden in 2020 and DDT’s mishandling of sensitive government documents at Mar-a-Lago. Both these cases have a number of charges. Smith will also focus on “whether any person or entity unlawfully interfered with the transfer of power” on January 6, 2021.

One of the classified documents DDT squirreled away at Mar-a-Lago proves he tweeted a classified image when he sent the detailed photo of the Iranian launch pad where officials failed to launch a purported satellite. The image was photographed by an important U.S. intelligence asset, a classified spacecraft called USA 224 believed to be a multibillion-dollar KH-11 reconnaissance satellite. The image has now been declassified, but DDT lied by saying he declassified the image and had the authority to do so. DDT frequently mishandled national secrets, as shown by a TOP 10 list, and proved himself to be reckless and irresponsible with sensitive information, his accusation against Hillary Clinton regarding her emails during the 2016 campaign and since then.

The prosecution has rested in the Trump Organization tax avoidance fraud trial. Longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg testified for the prosecution to keep his prison sentence shorter. The criminal case implicated DDT and his children, Don Jr. and Eric, because they all signed checks to avoid taxes. DDT authorized the scheme to reduce Weisselberg’s taxable income—and the IRS taxes owned by the company. He is still being paid $640,000 a year, including a $200,000 increase from Eric and Jr. in 2017 after they discovered his tax fraud, plus a $500,000 bonus. 

Alvin Bragg, Manhattan DA, is jump-starting its criminal investigation into DDT regarding his hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels who said she had an affair with DDT. As in all other cases, DDT claims innocence.

Ivanka failed to escape having a court-appointed monitor watch over her financial activity so that she wouldn’t shift assets before legal actions against the Trump Organization. She remains a defendant in the case regarding the shell company haven, Trump Organization II, set up in Delaware on the same day that a $250 million lawsuit against DDT and his businesses.

DDT’s former chief of staff John Kelly refused to use government agencies to investigate or harass individuals DDT identified as enemies such as former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former CIA Director John Brennan, two FBI employees Trump targeted for their involvement in the probe of Russian election manipulation, etc. After Kelly left, Comey was a target of extensive IRS audits, two of 5,000 audits out of 153 million returns filed, a 0.0033 percent chance. McCabe was one of 8,000 audits the next year when 154 million people filed, a 0.0052 percent chance. The “random” claim doesn’t wash.

The Department of Homeland Security ensnared hundreds, if not thousands, of U.S. protesters, in a scam before the 2020 election to push DDT’s false claims about the “terrorist organization” he accused Democrats of supporting. The report, released by Sen. Ron Wyden (R-OR), showed orders given to “senior leadership” requiring them to broadly apply the label “violent antifa anarchists inspired” to Portland protesters unless they had intel showing “something different.” DHS’s acting chief intelligence officer ordered all violence in Portland (OR) to falsely be the work of “Antifa,” and the media went along. The project cost $1.5 billion.

DDT had a grand plan for winning the 2024 presidential election. He would install election deniers in swing states as secretaries of state, and they would declare the election for him even if the majority of people in the state didn’t vote for DDT. After they won the election on November 8, he would declare his presidency after all his candidates won the 2022 midterms. His candidates suffered a rout, and the plan failed. Only four election denying secretaries of state—Alabama, Indiana, South Dakota, and Wyoming—defeated ethical opponents in the red states.

November 12, 2022

Dems Take Senate; Snowflake GOP Whines

Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) has been become the 50th senator, making the Walker/Warnock election in Georgia on December 6 a non-factor in possible losses of GOP bills and votes. Her election follows Sen. Mark Kelly’s (D-AZ) earlier win. His opponent, Black Masters, blames House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his loss because Masters wanted more funding. Masters already received $15 million from gay billionaire Peter Thiel.

As can be expected, GOP sour grapes prevailed. After DDT accused the voting system in Clark County (NV), the state’s most populous county, of being corrupt, county officials fought back to refute his lies. As in 2020, DDT and his allies are attacking any states with Democratic winners of election fraud if their votes weren’t counted by midnight of Election Day—even if the law permitted states to accept ballots several days after Election Day as 18 states do. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) echoed DDT on a Republican conference call hosted by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), chair of the Senate fundraising committee by falsely claiming that there was no “mathematical way” Adam Laxalt could lose to Cortez Masto.

National media finally declared Tina Kotek Oregon’s governor-elect, and her GOP candidate finally managed to concede. Nevada’s GOP candidate Joe Lombardo beat his opponent, but the GOP election denier candidate for secretary of state, Jim Marchant, lost. He had said he would certify the 2024 election for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT. In Arizona, Kari Lake trails Katie Hobbs for governor by 34,000 votes after the last drop from a GOP area of Maricopa County failed to give her a big boost. Another 190,000 ballots with possibly Democratic emphasis are waiting in the wings.

Lake has cried voter fraud because the vote wasn’t completed within a few hours of the end of voting. She called Arizona “a banana republic,” and Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts told Lake to “grow up”:

“Kari Lake was vowing to call the Arizona Legislature into a special session because she didn’t get a balloon drop on election night. Do you need a timeout? That’s what I used to ask my toddler sons when they’d throw themselves onto the floor, kicking and screaming, because they didn’t get their way.”

Lake even promises she would “call the Arizona Legislature into a special session because she didn’t get a balloon drop on election night,” according to Roberts. MSNBC reporter Vaughn Hilliard said Lake alleges fraud but refuses to name what it is or or report anyone to authorities.  

The best satire, close to fact, came from the New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz. It begins:

“The United States of America has become the envy of the world after a ten-billion-dollar expenditure on political advertising changed virtually nothing. People around the globe marvelled at a democracy so robust it could withstand an outlay of cash greater than the gross domestic product of nations such as Tajikistan, Montenegro, and Somalia…

“’When you imagine what you could do with ten billion dollars, you immediately think of building new roads or schools,’ a citizen of Montenegro said. ‘But America’s roads and schools must be in excellent shape, if they can afford to spend ten billion dollars on elections instead.’

“’Ten billion dollars could pay for a lot of solar panels, wind farms, and other measures to mitigate climate change,’ a resident of Somalia said. ‘Thank heavens Americans realized that political advertising is the thing that makes them No. 1 in the world and decided to spend it on that.’”

The Republicans are traumatized by their loss, and DDT faces unprecedented attacks from many in the GOP. Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal called him the GOP’s “biggest lower” and former House Speaker Paul Ryan begged Republicans to move forward in a non-DDT direction. “Trump is a loser,” right-wing pundit Eli Lake on Daily Beast wrote on Twitter. “He’s an albatross, a boat anchor on the party. For three straight elections, he has been a liability for Republicans.” Commentary magazine’s John Podhoretz called DDT a “pathological loser narcissist who has now been humiliated by the American electorate in three separate national contests.” Even DDT’s former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said, “Between being Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis tonight, you want to be Ron DeSantis. Trump is not doing very well.”

Even conservative tabloid New York Post ridiculed DDT. 

While DDT’s inner circle tried to talk him out of declaring a candidacy within the next couple of months or longer, he unleashed his venom on heir apparent Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had a really good night. His gerrymandering of districts in opposition to both Republicans and Democrats in legislature created a number of GOP congressional winners, maybe responsible for the U.S. House win if it happens.

DDT called DeSantis an “average” governor with “great public relations.” In a statement, DDT asserted:

“Ron came to me in desperate shape in 2017—he was politically dead, losing in a landslide. Ron had low approval, bad polls, and no money, but he said that if I would Endorse him, he could win. … When I Endorsed him, it was as though, to use a bad term, a nuclear weapon went off.”

DDT went even farther when he  claimed he “sent in the FBI and U.S. Attorneys” to stop “ballot theft … just prior to them running out of the votes necessary to win” for DeSantis’ 2018 election. In the same Truth Social post, DDT wrote, “I also fixed his campaign.” A legal expert called the action “fraud.” DeSantis’ defeated opponent, Andrew Gillum is already using DDT’s statements in a court filing

NBC News senior reporter Ben Collins tweeted:

“Am I losing my mind? Is this not a gigantic deal? He’s either casually admitting to using federal agents to interfere in a state election or lying about it for some equally inexplicable reason, right? Am I reading this wrong or is this a five-alarmer for the DOJ?”

DDT followed his attacks on DeSantis with rants and slurs against Virginia’s Gov. Glenn Youngkin, another possible presidential candidate in 2024. In a racist comment, DDT said that “Young kin … sounds Chinese” before he took credit for Youngkin’s win. During the election, the governor had tried to separate himself from DDT.

In more tantrums, DDT blames Fox’s Sean Hannity, his former BFF, and casino mogul Steve Wynn for the Election Day losses of his hand-picked candidates. Trying to cover for his failures, DDT insisted he “did a great job” in the midterms and concluded, “Remember, I am a ‘Stable Genius.’” He sticks to his declaration on Election night, “I should get all the credit. If they lose, I should not be blamed at all.” Like all the other whining Republicans, is melting like snowflakes.

The U.S. House is still not a done deal for the GOP. A projection gives Republican a one-person lead over the Democrats, but 19 elections still haven’t been called for the chamber. No matter which way it goes, the GOP is in for a “Bloodbath!” the term Donald Trump Jr. tweeted about Election Day. Republicans have two major issues: what to do about “loser” DDT and who should have the GOP leadership in Congress.    

Republicans are blaming McConnell for not worshipping DDT and for not approving some of his candidates. Conservative senators pushing for Ron Johnson’s (WI) leadership are asking colleagues to postpone votes for GOP leadership elections next week, but the vote is still on schedule. No matter who wins, that person will be Minority Leader.  

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), desperately trying to become the party leader in the House is catering to the collection of crazies who have been elected. As of yesterday, at least 150 election deniers were elected to the House with a few other undecided races such as the queen loonie Lauren Boebert from Colorado. A newbie is gay election-denier George Santos from Long Island who attended DDT’s January 6 “Stop the Steal” rally and said he wrote a “nice check” to help cover the legal fees of some of the rioters. To Santos, abortion is comparable to slavery. McCarthy will do anything to get votes for House Speaker; he already promised Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) banned from committee membership for the past two years, that she can have any committee position she wants.

The far-right House members are campaigning to block McCarthy from leadership. A strategy from the Freedom Caucus is to create an easier process to call for a vote ousting a sitting speaker. The conservatives also wants more representation on selecting committee assignments and aims to delay the legislative by taking more time to review even non-controversial bills. Other demands are launching investigations and impeachments of President Joe Biden and his Cabinet members.

A huge problem of selecting any GOP House leadership is the slim majority, even if Republicans take the House. McCarthy is also in DDT’s pocket, making serious problems for anyone else running for president in 2024.

Inflation was a concern for 31 percent of voters, but democracy was far above at 44 percent. Abortion was also not far behind inflation at 27 percent. Voters over 65 years old preferred Republicans over Democrats by 55 percent to 43 percent, meaning 55 percent of them voted against keeping their benefits. Maybe they think that saving a few dollars on gas will make up for these losses. Pew Research exit polls shows a lengthy selection of other descriptors about how people voted this month—a great read for political junkies.

November 10, 2022

U.S. Democracy Hangs by a Thread After Non-existent ‘Red Wave’

On November 8, 2022, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) lost. He wasn’t on the ballot, but hundreds of his faithful, election-denying followers were. On the eve of Election Day, he claimed he would make a big announcement on November 15, probably a presidential candidacy for 2024. The grand party at Mar-a-Lago rapidly fizzled, and DDT called the night an “interesting evening.” One of his pets, Ohio’s Senate candidate J.D. Vance, won, but many others went down in flames, especially Pennsylvania’s senatorial candidate Mehmet Oz who lost to John Fetterman despite Tucker Carlson’s (Fox network) vicious, lying claims about the winner’s mental ability.

One GOP insider told Fox News, “If it wasn’t clear before, it should be now: We have a Trump problem.” Fox reported that the GOP should “move on from Trump” because of his “outlandish candidates who turned easy victories into close races, and close races into losses.”

After blindly following DDT during the campaigns leading up to the 2022 midterms, the GOP may openly face the disaster of DDT controlling their party. Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said DDT is “in the rearview mirror” of the GOP and used Gov. Brian Kemp’s re-election as an example after DDT turned on him. Duncan added that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “knew what he’s talking about about [bad] candidate quality” and said, “It’s time to move on with the party.” GOP commentator Erick Erickson agreed, and conservative podcaster Ian Haworth went farther by declaring DDT “politically toxic.” Former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro tweeted:

“Trump picked bad candidates, spent almost no money on his hand-picked candidates, and then proceeded to crap on the Republicans who lost and didn’t sufficiently bend the knee. This will have 2024 impact.”

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Rick Scott (FL) had bragged about a 55-seat GOP majority, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who hopes to be House Speaker, expected 60 more Republicans. If the GOP takes the House, it might be lucky to get an additional six. Since World War II, first-term Democratic presidents have traditionally lost 40 House seats and 5 Senate seats in the midterms with an increase since President Carter in 1978 but not in 2022. Karen Tumlty wrote that the supposed “red wave” turned out to be “a messy puddle.” HuffPost pundits called it a “whimper.”

Far-right columnist Henry Olson ate crow for his mistakes, but DDT blames the losing candidates and refuses to take any responsibility for his hand-picked candidates losing. Journalists reported that DDT was furious and screaming about the losses. He even went farther when he blamed his wife, Melania Trump, for making him pick Mehmet Oz who lost the U.S. Senate election in Pennsylvania.

The brightest spots:

Pennsylvania – GOP gubernatorial and evangelical white nationalist Doug Mastriano lost to Josh Shapiro, and Dem John Fetterman beat Mehmet Oz. (After Oprah Winfrey endorsed Fetterman, he tweeted his #NewProfilePic. Oz’s appearance on Winfrey’s show had made him a celebrity.) Mastriano had worn his Confederate uniform for a faculty photo; the South lost again almost 160 years after the North won at Gettysburg during the Civil War. Oz can take his ignorance about his newly “adopted” state back to New Jersey, that does have an Atlantic Ocean beach. (Oz thinks that Pennsylvania is on the ocean; a map shows how far off he is.)

Abortion rights – Many anti-abortion candidates—Mastriano, Oz, lieutenant governor candidate Carrie DelRosso (PA), Michigan’s gubernatorial Tudor Dixon, and NC’s House Bo Hines—lost. Anti-abortion winners—Govs. DeSantis, Greg Abbott (TX), and Brian Kemp (GA) plus Sen. Ron Johnson (WI) and Sen-elect Vance (OH)—won’t make the same emphasis on removing women’s rights as a “red wave” would have done.

Anti-abortion initiatives in five states all failed. California and Vermont put abortion rights into their constitutions, and Kentucky voted against an amendment blocking the path to overturning its zero-week abortion ban. Despite vicious lies in Michigan, voters enshrined “reproductive freedom” beyond abortion rights to residents’ decisions regarding prenatal care, contraception, sterilization, and miscarriage management. That amendment blocks the 1931 anti-abortion ban. Montana voters rejected increases on doctors not performing aggressive medical interventions on infants, and Alaska refused to open a constitutional convention which could have added anti-abortion amendments.

More Democratic legislatures – Michigan, Minnesota, and possibly Pennsylvania legislatures flipped from Republican—Michigan for the first time in 40 years. In Minnesota, the one GOP legislative chamber blocked the expenditures of a $12 billion budget surplus through gridlock. Arizona is waiting to see if Democrats pick up the two seat majorities in both the state’s House and Senate. All states will be trifectas with Democratic governors; at this time Republicans have 23 trifectas.

Progressives in the House – The outspoken progressive who were elected in the past two terms will be joined by more, including Florida gun violence GenZ activist Maxwell Frost (FL), Democratic Socialists of America member Greg Casar (TX), and three left wing representatives from Illinois, Texas, and Pennsylvania.

Election deniers admitting defeat – Michigan’s Tudor Dixon and Matthew DePerno, secretary of state candidate; Wisconsin’s GOP gubernatorial candidate, Tim Michels; and Pennsylvania’s Oz conceded. (Mastriano, Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial loser, stays mum.) 

Young people voting – As many as 27 percent of GenZ, ages 18-29, may have voted. They comprised over 12 percent of the electorate, and 63 percent preferred Democratic House candidates with only 35 percent backing Republicans. “Don’t underestimate the power of a pissed off generation,” tweeted NextGen America. 

Waiting in the wings – Georgia candidates for the U.S. Senate, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Herschel Walker will face off on December 6 for the seat. With 98 percent of the vote reported, Warnock had 35,000 more votes than Walker, but he has only 49.4 percent of the vote. State law requires the winner to achieve a majority. One theory for the winner is that Republicans will come out to vote for Walker because he could be the key to control of the Senate, but others say that Walker’s votes came on the coattails for Gov. Kemp, who has already won. If the latter idea is correct, Walker may have fewer votes than in the general election.

Midterms 2022 marked several historic firsts:

  • LGBTQ+ candidates ran for office in all 50 states, with an increase of these candidates by 18 percent from 2020. Thus far at least 340 out LGBTQ candidates have won in the midterms, breaking the 2020 record of 336.
  • First women governors elected in Arkansas (Sarah Huckabee Sanders), Massachusetts (Maura Healey), and New York (Kathy Hochul).
  • Democrat Healey, the first elected lesbian government and closely followed by Oregon’s Tina Kotek.
  • Democrat Wes Moore, Maryland’s first Black governor, the only Black governor in the U.S. and the third elected since Reconstruction after the Civil War.
  • Democrat Anthony Brown, Maryland’s first Black attorney general. a longtime political figure in Maryland, will be the state’s first Black attorney general.
  • GOP Markwayne Mullin, the first Native American senator in almost two decades and first Native American senator from Oklahoma in a century.
  • Youngest congressional member and first member of GenZ (ages 18-29), 25-year-old Maxwell Frost from Florida.
  • Becca Balint, first openly LGBTQ person Vermont elected to the House of Representatives and first woman from Vermont sent to the House. Vermont was the last state to send a woman to Washington, behind Mississippi who sent a woman in 2018.
  • Katie Britt, first female senator elected from Alabama.
  • Summer Lee, the first Black woman Pennsylvania elected to the U.S. House.
  • Delia Ramirez, the first Latina elected to Congress from Illinois.
  • Robert Garcia (CA), the first out LGBTQ immigrant elected to Congress and the second out Latino to serve in Congress.
  • Republican Anna Paulina Luna, Florida’s first Mexican-American woman elected to Congress after she flipped a House seat. She joins a dozen Latinx congressional members from Florida.
  • James Roesener (NH), the first openly trans man, and Zooey Zephyr (MT), and the first trans woman to be elected to state legislatures.

Republicans are searching for reasons why the red tsunami didn’t hit the U.S. Fox network hosts during the election breakdown have a simple answer for why Oz lost his race: Fetterman won. Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) complaint sounded like a compliment for Democrats. He agreed with President Joe Biden’s list of successes: “rebuilding America’s roads and bridges,” “lowering prescription drug costs”; “tackling the climate crisis,” and making sure that large corporations begin to pay their fair share in taxes.” Cruz asked, “Why did Democrats do better than expected?” and answered his own question, “Because they have governed as liberals.” Republicans want to destroy government that works for the people’s benefit.

In the aftermath of the election, former VP Mike Pence has finally broken up with DDT. With her usual humor, Bess Levin tells the story for Vanity Fair. Maybe Pence is getting ready to announce his own presidential campaign for 2024. (Right: a discouraged “toxic Trump” waves at all the big names he invited to his Mar-a-Lago party before he left early.)  

More election perceptions—and new wins, if possible—tomorrow.

November 8, 2022

Supreme Court Addresses Race, Rights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomorrow’s topic: whither democracy.

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 6, 2022

2022 Election: Suppression, Money, Lies

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is between a rock and a hard place. He hopes that announcing a 2024 presidential candidacy will block any legal problems, but RNC chair said the GOP will stop paying his legal bills when he declares a run for president. Donations to the party have shelled out DDT’s defense money for probes and lawsuits by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. (D) and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D). The RNC also plans to remain neutral in the 2024 GOP nominating contest.

Only two more days until the United States decides whether it goes forward into a democracy or turns into a full-bloom autocracy. To intimidate voters and suppress their votes, 42 states have attempted to pass 130 laws since 2020 creating new election investigation agencies, establish criminal penalties for election offenses, or further empower law enforcement officials to investigate such crimes. In 20 states, 28 of these130 bills have been passed in these states to increase the law enforcement, including prevention of handing food or water to Georgia voters as they stand up to eight hours in lines. The 35 percent of bills introduced by Democrats criminalized election interference and block harassment and threats. The 65 percent of bills from Republicans came after extensive studies show no widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Results of the extensive study is here.

The right wing is already planning for violence and a coup to overturn to legal elections. Ordinary voter suppression laws hasn’t been enough for Republicans; they have moved to sabotage, vigilantism, violence, and extreme suppression. It’s all a preparation for 2024. A few of the strategies to stop people voting have been slightly controlled, such as the courts slightly restricting Arizona vigilantes who are trying to intimate people from putting their ballots in drop boxes.

Almost two weeks before the election, over 100 lawsuits had been filed, targeting mail-in voting, early voting, voter access, voting machines, voting registration, mismarked absentee ballots, and access for partisan poll watchers. DDT is gearing up in Pennsylvania to play the same game he did in 2020—yell fraud and claim victory of his chosen candidates.

In Nevada, armed saboteurs with anti-Semitic conspiracies have driven election officials from office. Four counties insist on counting ballots by hand, despite judicial rulings. The result will take far more time and cause far more errors. Esmeralda County, Esmeralda, used hand-counting to certify its primary results in June when officials spent more than seven hours counting 317 ballots. Volunteer hand counters require over 30 minutes per ballot—about 15 ballots a day. In one group with mismatched tallies for eight candidates led to different outcomes again in another recount. Reading candidate names aloud while public observers are listening also constitutes “a release of election results in violation of Nevada law.” GOP secretary of state candidate Jim Marchant, in charge of elections if he’s elected, wants hand-counting mandated for all counties for all 3+ million population.

Poll watchers will inundate voting areas, pushed by DDT’s minions including convicted felon Steve Bannon, and used the illegal canvas to raise objections to voters. InfoWars, owned by Alex Jones who owns almost $1.5 billion for lying about the Sandy Hook massacre of children, promotes the stolen election myth. Election workers are fleeing almost everywhere because of intimidation.

Other vigilantes are going door-to-door, harassing possible Democratic voters. Pro-DDT canvassers in Shasta County (CA) wore reflective orange vests and badges reading “Voter Taskforce.” They grilled people in the homes on their voting history and lists of residents in the homes. Michigan door-to-door intimidators intend to use their data to challenge votes. Reuters found similar efforts in at least 23 states with state-wide or local efforts to intimidate voters where some of the door knockers were armed. In all cases, they gave the impression that they worked for the government. In at least one case, local GOP officials were involved: GOP leader of the GOP in Lane County (OR) accused officials of ignored their canvas.  

Twelve years ago, SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts said about the conservative Supremes permitted almost unlimited dark money to political campaigns, in which donors can be hidden, in its ruling of Citizens United that their permission wouldn’t make any difference. In 2022, 465 billionaires gave $881,000,000 to win the 2022 elections—27 times more than before the Citizens United decision. The full report is here. Roberts was wrong.

Three-fourths of that money came from 20 billionaire households, 14 of them Republican, and 62 percent of the donations went to GOP PACs and candidates. Billionaires represent 0.000002% of the U.S. population but account for 7.4% of all political donations so far this cycle. At least 59 Percent went to Republicans. For past donations they get a return. For example:

  • $20 million to get a special tax break provided by Sen. Ron Johnson (WI-R) brought them $80 million in taxes in just 2018.
  • The richest Pennsylvania man got $1 billion in taxes in recent years.
  • In Illinois, $50 million to defeat a ballot initiative making the wealthy pay more than of their fair share in taxes brought one man $51 million a year. He donated $66 million to GOP PACs and candidates thus far this year.
  • And more.

This year’s $881 million thus far is already a 44 percent increase over billionaire contributions of $611 million for the 2018 midterm cycle. Donations to single-candidate super PACs rose from $127.5 million in 2018 to $323.2 million by November 1, 2022, a 150 percent increase. Funding for these PACS, benefitting about 75 percent of all single-candidate super-PACs, comes almost entirely from billionaires. Some of those receiving these funds are Johnson, Blake Masters running for senator from Arizona (Peter Thiel), JD Vance for senator from Ohio (Peter Thiel), and Herschel Walker running for senator from Georgia. Over one-fourth of the billionaire contributions, $243 million, have gone to four congressional super PACs of both parties.

“What Trump showed was that the bigger the jerk you could be, the more the hardcore GOP base would love you.”

This quote from S.V. Dáte, author and senior White House correspondent, applies to almost 300 Republicans running for congressional and state offices who are election deniers. Sixty percent of voters will have at least one election denier on their ballots for the November 8, 2022 midterms. Even without denying that Joe Biden is the legally elected president, candidates are lying with repetitive conspiracy theories.

The National Republican Congressional Committee accused Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) of giving money to criminals, including the Boston Marathon bomber, by voting to send pandemic relief checks. Not true. And Congress voted to do the same thing—twice—while the GOP controlled the executive branch.

The opponent of Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) accused her of voting to hire “87,000 new IRS agents to audit middle-income families and small businesses.” Been debunked; not true.

Arizona’s gubernatorial candidate, Kari Lake, accused her opponent, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, of being “endorsed by radical groups that want to defund our police.” Not true. Hobbs called for “boosting funding for sheriffs and local law enforcement.” Lake also accused Hobbs of being “a twice convicted racist.” Not true. Hobbs wasn’t been charged or convicted, and she hasn’t been a racist.

Republicans in Pennsylvania spent over $800,000 on TV ads claiming Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for Senate, “stands with the far left who want to defund our police.” Not true.

GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance of Ohio accused his opponent, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) of trying to increase immigration to the U.S. so that he can spend government money on “gender reassignment surgeries” for these migrants. The man made wealthy by his book Hillbilly Elegy and received $15 million from Peter Thiel for his campaign called Ryan “the poster board for oligarcy.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, running for re-election, went straight to the top: his wife played decades-old Paul Harvey clips to explain that God has picked DeSantis for another four years—or until he runs for president.

GOP secretary of state candidate in Michigan, Kristina Karamo, has repeated the QAnon conspiracy that abortion is “child sacrifice” and elites drink the blood and “sell body parts” after abortions. She also thinks that insurrectionists at the Capitol on January 6, 2022 were antifa and not DDT supporters.

In New Hampshire, master liar Don Bolduc, another GOP U.S. Senate candidate, deployed his lies despite campaigning claims of the governor, Chris Sununu, that his state is the poster child for perfection in the U.S. with booming economy and business. Everything is going so well that Sununu wants to replace the three Democrats, a U.S. senator and two House members, with Republicans. Don Bolduc tweeted:

“you can’t even buy a house, you can’t even rent property, you can’t even feed your children, you can’t even heat your home.”

Oh yes, and according to Bolduc there’s the serious problem of kitty-litter boxes in schools for all the students who are licking themselves and others. Right-wing activist Joe Rogan said he spread the conspiracy theory about the kitty litter boxes in school when he knew it was a lie. Bolduc also asks if people are better now than they were two years ago—October 2020 with people dying, no COVID vaccine, the stock market 6,000 points lower than now, unemployment rate almost double the current 3.4 percent, jobs down over 10 million from now, etc.  

October 24, 2022

SCOTUS Justice Favors Graham, Other Rulings

British Prime Minister Update: Since yesterday, Penny Mordaunt has dropped out of the race, leaving Rishi Sunak the leader for Britain’s third leader in under two months.

The Supreme Court is not hearing arguments for a couple of week, but justices are making decisions. Justice Clarence Thomas just saved Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) from the horrors of testifying to the Fulton County (GA) grand jury, at least temporarily. The jury is investigating the attempts of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and his allies—including Graham—to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Thomas’ edict reverses a unanimous decision from a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court, two of them DDT appointees; Graham claims that sitting senators are exempt from any questions about the events.

The jury is seeking information about Graham’s phone calls after the election to Georgia Secretary of State and his staff when he talked about absentee ballots and voter fraud. Graham has been dodging the subpoena for his testimony for several months, claiming that his calls to Georgia were part of his job. A district judge ruled that Graham couldn’t be asked about the election certification, but other topics such as the reason for raising the issues and his communication with DDT were acceptable for questioning. Thomas was able to temporarily block the subpoena because he is assigned to the 11th Circuit Court covering Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. A justice can unilaterally act on a stay or submit it to the court for a vote.

Once again, Thomas has proved his conflicts of interest. His wife was part of the plot to overturn the presidential election, the subject of Graham’s subpoena, and Thomas made the decree regarding without support of any other justices. Although the Supreme Court justices have no code of ethics, a justice is legally required to recuse themself for a conflict of interest.

Thomas’ refusal to save DDT in the Mar-a-Lago document fiasco was a flip from his protection of Graham. DDT had delivered a request to the conservative justice, asking the Supreme Court to permit his special master to review 100 classified documents seized from DDT’s club instead of turning them over to the FBI. The 11th Circuit Court overturned the order from DDT’s pet judge Aileen Cannon to give the materials to the special master. Last January, all the justices except Thomas refused to block the disclosure of presidential records from the National Archives to the House January 6 investigating committee.

The Supreme Court vacated the 3rd Circuit Court ruling that Pennsylvania could count undated mail-in ballots. The law requires the voter to put the date on the envelope. The former decision can no longer be used as a precedent in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to permit counting of ballots with such errors. The high court did not deal with permission for voters to go to the Board of Elections to “cure” ballots by adding the date, signing a security envelope, or other provisions.

In November, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Ohio will be using gerrymandered congressional districts that courts have rejected, districts that may be proved illegal at trial. The rationale is supposedly that changing voting rules cannot be changed close to an election after a 2006 Supreme Court case, Purcell v. Gonzalez.

In an extension of the redistricting conflict, Louisiana Republicans want to redefine a Black voter to exclude anyone who identify with another race—a “pure” view of racial identity. In Ardoin v. Robinson, Republican officials argued that Blacks are limited to only those who check just the Black box or both Black and White and do not identify as Latino. Alabama had already dropped the idea before taking their lawsuit to the Supreme Court. GOP success would almost entirely eliminate the use of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to challenge district maps. The topic hasn’t been up for a debate since the 2003 ruling overturning Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and was considered settled.

The Supreme Court refused to hear a case from Rhode Island in which a Catholic group and two women attempted to overturn a lower court’s ruling. The plaintiffs want the state’s abortion-rights law declared unconstitutional because it doesn’t give 14th Amendment legal standing for fetuses. A 2019 Georgia law grants fetal personhood to embryos at six weeks of pregnancy; pregnant women can claim them dependents on tax returns.

SCOTUS permitted the execution last Thursday of a severely mentally ill man in Oklahoma who killed his nine-month-old daughter two decades ago. Benjamin Cole is the second execution of 25 planned executions through 2024, one a month. Although the state has a history of painfully botched lethal injections, that process was used. A 1986 Supreme Court ruling found the execution of the severely mentally ill to be unconstitutional; Oklahoma state law blocks executions of people who are insane. Cole lives in a largely “catatonic” state, not understand legal proceedings, and uses a wheelchair.

The conservative Supremes are preferential toward executions. Recently, they kept Andre Lee Thomas, a 21-year-old Black man, on death row despite his ineffectual defense, racial bias, and a mentally ill defendant. Thomas was declared incompetent to stand trial for 47 days until a psychiatrist stated he suffered from a drug-induced psychosis. Later, the defense attorney said not challenging the letter was a mistake. An all-white jury, four of whom openly opposed interracial relationships, convicted him.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett also declined a request to halt the federal judge’s ruling permitting President Joe Biden’s student loan relief plan to continue. The lower federal court in Wisconsin determined that the plaintiff, the Brown County Taxpayers Association, lacked standing. The judge said that merely paying taxes is not sufficient to challenge federal actions. In St. Louis, another federal judge dismissed a challenge to the program from six GOP-led states, again on the basis that the states lacked standing.

An appeal from the St. Louis case to the 8th Circuit Court brought the program to a temporary halt, however, until the court rules on an emergency request by the six GOP states to block the policy. Briefs regarding the case are due to the 8th Circuit Court by October 24 and 25. The White House asked borrowers to continue to apply, adding to the at least 22 million who have already done so. The process of review applications and preparing them for transmission to loan servicers can take place during the hiatus. Only one of the 11 active judges on the 11th Circuit Court was appointed by a Democratic president, Barack Obama. Of the remaining ten, DDT appointed four, George W. Bush 5, and George H.W. Bush one.  

In a case on October 12, 2022, Helix Energy Solutions Group argued that employee Michael Hewitt, paid by the day, didn’t deserve overtime because he made over $200,00 a year. Exempt from overtime are executives, administrators, and other professional categories. A lower court agreed with Helix, and the 5th Circuit moved to the Hewitt’s side. The six conservative Supremes seemed to oppose the remaining justices in another continued attempt to overturn agency “power.”

On the same day, arguments in Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith debated whether Andy Warhol legally used Lynn Goldsmith’s 1981 copyrighted photograph of Prince for his 1984 screenprints. When Vanity Fair’s image of Warhol’s Orange Prince on a 2017 special issue, Goldsmith wasn’t credited or paid. The Warhol Foundation received $10,000 for its use. In 2021, the 2nd Circuit Court ruled in favor of Goldsmith, overturning a New York federal judge’s ruling in 2019 that Warhol’s series was fair use. The question before the Supreme Court is whether changing the source material’s meaning creates fair use.

On Fridays, the Supreme Court justices determine which petitions for appeal they will accept, usually rejecting 98 percent of them which leaves lower courts’ decisions intact. At least four justices must agree whether to take the case, and the conservative majority wants to go big, aggressively moving the county in a far-right direction as shown by last year’s overturning Roe v. Wade. The remaining three progressive justices don’t even have the numbers to determine what cases will be heard; they can only dissent. Chief Justice John Roberts prefers small incremental rightward movement, but he’s no longer in charge.

Republicans still slam Democrats for “activist judges,” but the GOP is now responsible for the radical changes to the right. Expectations for the term are to eliminate affirmative action, continue narrowing the Voting Rights Act, and permit discrimination based on “free speech” and “religious freedom.”

The decisions evidence a strong MAGA movement at the current Supreme Court because of its emphasis on white grievances. According to the conservative Supremes, the 14th Amendment to protect minority rights forbids a more equal society and allows them to chip away at the Voting Rights Act. The argument is always “racism is over.” Five more cases are already scheduled for the upcoming docket that can elevate white supremacy, one of them already heard on October 4.

Ruth Marcus wrote, “Never before in the court’s history has the ideological alignment of the justices tilted so heavily to one extreme.”

October 18, 2022

News Bits – October 18, 2022

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is driving the media while President Joe Biden quietly works toward peace in the world. One of his recent accomplishments is negotiating an agreement between Israel and Lebanon to identify their maritime boundary. At war since 1948, the two countries have sometimes had military conflict, most recently in 2006, partly because of their lack of internationally recognized borders on land and on sea, a problem especially because of the large natural gas fields off their coasts. Progress was difficult because the countries’ officials refused to be in the same room, and Lebanon does no recognize Israel as a country.

Amos J. Hochstein, presidential coordinator for energy security, began diplomacy at the beginning of the year, commuting between Tel Aviv to Beirut through a third country because Israel and Lebanon have no direct air of road links.  He used the approach of how both countries could safeguard their vital interests, and both made concessions. Both sides called the deal “historic” as former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, trying to regain power in the November 1 election, said it was a “disgraceful surrender.” DDT’s former negotiator also attacked the agreement. With the countries at war, this agreement was more remarkable than DDT’s Abraham Accord in which three Arab states—the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco—recognized Israel because the three countries weren’t at war with Israel. Proof that diplomacy pays.

The federal website to apply for relief from student debt opened on October 17, an act that could directly help 43 million people in the U.S. and others connected to them as debt relief frees up family resources. Within a day, over 8 million people completed the application requiring five minutes.

Thanks to another Biden action, people can also save as much as $3,000 with hearing aids now available over the counter.

Earlier this month, Biden issued restrictions on selling semiconductors and chip-making equipment to China, blocking them from critical technologies from supercomputing to guiding weapons. The purpose is to delay Chinese military programs for nuclear blasts, hypersonic weapons, and surveillance. Companies selling advanced chips and chip-making equipment will need a special license given out on a case-by-case procedure.

After Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Hondo plans to build a $4.2 billion electric vehicle battery plant forty miles from Columbus (OH), creating 2,200 manufacturing jobs. Since Biden’s inauguration, the U.S. has added 620,000 manufacturing jobs. By August 2020, DDT had lost 237,000 manufacturing jobs among the total 3.1 million jobs that disappeared during his four years.

Republicans voted against Biden’s infrastructure bills, calling them “socialist,” but returned home to take credit for the funding given to their states. Biden’s response: “I didn’t know there were that many socialist Republicans.”

Fox network continually searches for ways to shame Biden. A recent one is Biden’s telling his son Hunter Biden that he loves him when Hunter was struggling with drug addiction. Sean Hannity played a private voicemail Biden left for Hunter in which Biden first expressed his love for his son and then said, “You gotta get some help. I don’t know what to do. I know you don’t either.” Hannity asked people to “imagine how the mob and the media” would cover the situation if DDT expressed the same sentiment. Maybe with some appreciation for the man?

Biden has never tried to hide his son’s addiction and isn’t embarrassed about loving his children. Yet Hannity whines about “attacks” on Herschel Walker, GOP candidate for Georgia’s U.S. Senate, the man who rejected his three illegitimate children, incessantly lied, considered killing a man in road rage, and threatened to kill his wife and another son. Oh yes, and denied paying for his girlfriend’s abortion and claimed not to know her, the mother of one of his children.

New discoveries about the past administration:

In its third installment, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis report specified DDT’s administrative undermining “the scientific integrity of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) coronavirus response in an attempt to serve the former President’s political goals.” The first installment addressed DDT’s attachment to the deadly “herd immunity via mass infection strategy,” and the second gave evidence of his high pressure campaigns on the CDC COVID decision-making and change scientific reasons. Part of Chairman James Clyburn’s (D-SC) statement:

“The previous administration engaged in an unprecedented campaign of political interference in the federal government’s pandemic response, which undermined public health to benefit the former president’s political goals… President Trump and his top aides repeatedly attacked CDC scientists, compromised the agency’s public health guidance, and suppressed scientific reports in an effort to downplay the seriousness of the coronavirus. This prioritization of politics, contempt for science, and refusal to follow the advice of public health experts harmed the nation’s ability to respond effectively to the coronavirus crisis and put Americans at risk.”

The report contains details of the above statement as well as how DDT used the pretense of a virus spread to close the southern border in the Title 42 order and blackmailed CDC into wasting hundreds of millions of dollars from its budget for DDT’s celebrity vanity campaign leading up to the November 2020 election. CDC said that accurate scientific advice to the public would have stopped some of the COVID deaths.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/10/17/trump-secret-service-hotel-rates-records/     Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, has records proving the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service agents assigned to protect him “exorbitant rates”—up to $1,185 per night—to stay at his properties, amounting to $1.4 million over four years. DDT promised that federal employees traveling with him would stay at his properties “free” or “at cost,” but DDT’s business charged the Secret Service over the government rate at least 40 times from January 2027 to September 2021. Some of the charges were for DDT’s family as in the nightly rate of $1,160 at the Washington, D.C. Trump hotel to protect Eric Trump when he promoted a golf tournament at the Trump National Golf Club.

During his term, DDT visited his own properties over 500 times and continues to take security with him after he left the White House. (To make John Malone, DDT supporter and board member of CNN’s parent company Warner Bros, happy, CNN tried to show that Biden took off more time than DDT but deflated DDT’s days off work and playing golf without discussing DDT’s expenditures in the article.) 

Maloney wrote to Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle, demanding a full accounting of what taxpayers have paid DDT’s business in the past and continue to pay. Cheatle replaces DDT-appointee James Murray who retired under a scandal of missing text message during the January 6 insurrection when the 27-year veteran of the agency returned from her job as senior director at PepsiCo North America overseeing facilities, personnel, and business continuity. Since her return, over one million texts and cellphone messages appeared.

In another probe, the House January 6 investigative committee is asking Cheatle about contacts between Secret Service agents and members of the far-right Oath Keepers group. Court testimony has revealed that Oath Keepers, including leader Stewart Rhodes, claimed to be in contact with the agents before the rallies, one of them giving advice on what weapons they could take to the rally.

In the second and last trial by John Durham, the special counsel investigating the special counsel Robert Mueller probing Russian interference into DDT’s 2016 campaign, the defendant has been acquitted of lying to the FBI about his sources. Appointed by AG Bill Barr before the 2020 election, Durham’s claims about private researcher Igor Danchenko for the Steele dossier about DDT’s Russian connections lacked evidence. During the hearing, Durham became confrontational and aggressive with his own witnesses, FBI counterintelligence supervisor and agent, who described Danchenko as a trusted source of information on Russian influence.

Durham’s first trial led also to an acquittal, and no one else is charged from Durham’s probe, his grand jury is inactive, and Durham will likely be pressured to wrap up his work after failing to achieve DDT’s claim of discovering “the crime of the century.”

The FBI promised Danchenko he would be protected by keeping his identity secret, but DDT’s allies exposed him. A witness testified that AG Bill Barr damaged national security when he gave a declassified redacted report of his interview with Danchenko to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who shared it with the world in an attempt to prove the corruption of the Russian investigation.

New Jersey is suing five major oil and gas companies and a leading fossil fuel lobby group for knowingly lying to the public about the existence of climate change and the role their products play in exacerbating human-caused global heating as far back as the 1970s. Dozens of states and cities have already filed similar lawsuits against fossil fuel corporations. New Jersey’s lawsuit is on the tenth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy which killed 38 people in the state and caused about $30 billion in damage.

Two strange stories from last summer. Deutsche Telkom AG, parent company of T-Mobile, trademarked the color magenta, declaring ownership over them and banning any other business from using them, after making them synonymous with a brand. And only 1,867 solid Pantone colors exist, and pink is already taken by Owens-Corning followed by green-gold by Qualitex. Etc. Trademarks must be renewed every ten years. Ohio University has also trademarked the word “THE,” covering “clothing, namely, t-shirts, baseball caps and hats; all of the foregoing being promoted, distributed, and sold through channels customary to the field of sports and collegiate athletics.”

It’s a crazy world.

October 12, 2022

Ohio Struggles with Flawed Candidates, Oppressive Voting Systems

More states are opening up to early voting, including Ohio where J.D. Vance debated Tim Ryan for U.S. Senate on October 10. A new study shows Ohio 41st in access to voting. Of the tren categories, the two most important are ease of registration and early voting availability. New Hampshire has the most difficult ranking but still has the seventh-highest turnout rate in 2020. Oregon is easiest in voting with the sixth-highest turnout. Ohio turnout ranked 27th. “Early voting” in Ohio requires going to the local county board of elections.

Although Ohio remains almost evenly split between the two major parties, gerrymandering turned its political control red with GOP supermajorities in both state House and Senate. That advantage allowed the passage of an abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest after six weeks when many women don’t know they are pregnant. Fifty-two percent of the state’s voters object to this law, but legislators said they intend a more restrictive ban after they are elected along with highly restrictive voting laws.

Legislators also ignored a series of 4-3 rulings from the state Supreme Court that their gerrymandering is unconstitutional. They waited out the calendar with several new variations not repairing the problems and then moved forward with their own map for November. The Princeton Gerrymandering Project gave Ohio an “F” for manipulation achieving “significant” partisan advantage. In 2021, Ohio also purged almost 98,000 voters from the registration rolls, forcing them to re-register to vote. An appeals court ruled in 2016 that the purges violate federal law, but the conservative Supreme Court overturned the lower court in 2018.

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) continues to lie about voter fraud, but the GOP Secretary of State Frank LaRose determined that only 0.0005 of the 5.9 million registered voters casting ballots in 2020 were fraudulent. Yet LaRose directed the 88 county boards of elections to increase security requirements and set up a website where people can submit anonymous tips about election fraud. Conspiracy theorists are inundating county boards of elections with records request about 2020. Last August a man went into a polling place at an elementary school and threatened to shoot up the voting machines.

LaRose was overturned in his refusal to put a Democratic House candidate on the November ballot. The court ruled that the state Secretary of State “acted in clear disregard of this court’s case law and created an impermissible legal absurdity based on the anomalous primary election held on August 2.” LaRose said there was enough time for the candidate’s name to go on ballot. Last month another state Supreme Court ruling overturned LaRose’s to keep an unaffiliated candidate, an election denier, off the ballot for Secretary of State to run against himself and a Democrat.  

Ohio is one of 30 states to elect state Supreme Court justices this year; three of the four Republicans on the court will be determined in November. One of them is the retiring Chief Justice who leaves because of age limits and has frequently broken with others in her party during redistricting cases this year, joining the three Democrats. For the first time this year, the candidates will have their party listed with their names on the ballot, indicating the political nature of the Ohio judiciary.

One of the most publicized races in Ohio is the one for U.S. Senate between Tim Ryan and DDT-endorsed J.D. Vance. Polling is all over the place from Ryan having a sizeable lead to being tied with Vance; the question is whether Ohio has enough MAGA voters to follow DDT and if his baggage bothers Republicans. 

A Cleveland Plain Dealer profile of Vance pointed out that he has praised Curtis Yarvin, a self-proclaimed monarchist calling to a Julius Caesar to take power in the U.S. Vance referenced the era before Caesar’s dictatorship in his explanation:

“We are in a late republican period. If we’re going to push back against it, we’re going to have to get pretty wild, and pretty far out there, and go in directions that a lot of conservatives right now are uncomfortable with.”

The host on the interview agreed and discussed “extra-constitutional” remedies to be taken “if we want to re-found the country” and called voting an “ineffectual way” to “rip out this leadership class.” Vance stated he had been “radicalized” by “malevolent and evil” political opponents, wanting to purge them with “de-Nazification.” (Vladimir Putin, anyone?) After his election in 2024, DDT should fire all civil servants and replace them with “our people,” defy court orders blocking such an illegal action, and then “do what Viktor Orban has done,” according to Vance. The Hungarian “president” controls the media, judiciary, school curriculum, etc.

Vance’s 90-minute interview was on a podcast with John Goldman, who calls himself Jack Murphy and runs a secret men’s organization claiming all major U.S. institutions—higher education, media, government, unions, professional organizations, nonprofits, and corporations—have been “infiltrated, corrupted, demoralized” and aim to “control you forever.” Murphy wrote:

“Feminists need rape… It is our duty as men to save feminists from themselves. Therefore, I am offering rape to feminists as an olive branch.”

Together Vance and Murphy lamented U.S. culture and compared the Democrats to Nazis in Germany during the early 20th century. Once totally anti-DDT, calling him “America’s Hitler,” he justified his change by saying he had “lost sight” of “true American values” until his transformation.

Worried about taking the Senate, its GOP Leadership Fund dropped $28 million into radio and TV ads starting in September, which may have led to the tightening of the polling. The primary race for Vance, venture capitalist and author of Hillbilly Elegy, was largely financed by billionaire and PayPal founder Peter Thiel who had previously employed Vance. Ryan had outraised Vance by 4 to 1 in the 2022 second quarter.

Using the GOP style of hypocrisy, Vance has been campaigning with the pretense of being an anti-opiod China hawk who wants to control the drug industry and return jobs to the U.S. Yet he worked for a law firm representing several Chinese companies and lobbied for Purdue Pharma that manufactured OxyContin. His nonprofit, “Our Ohio Renewal,” had to be closed down after the public discovered he hired an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) resident who used Purdue-funded studies to minimize overprescribing painkillers in the opioid crisis. She also let Purdue vet her articles. Purdue donated at least $800,000 to AEI. Protect Ohio Values (POV), a Super PAC raising millions for Vance’s campaign, posted a “vulnerability analysis” online about Vance’s weaknesses.

Now virulently anti-LGBTQ, despite his major donor being gay, he slammed the “conservative legal movement” in 2020 and supported the Supreme Court’s ruling to block firing LGBTQ workers for their gender identity or sexual orientation. Vance also blasts Big Tech after getting $15 million Thiel.

Vance is also another carpetbagger, still claiming a homestead exemption for his Washington, D.C. on a home worth $900,000 in 2018 before moving into a Cincinnati mansion the next year. Now he targets education institutions as the enemy of conservatives, but took tens of thousands of dollars to using a network of higher education to promote his 2016 book through lectures, graduation speeches, and political talks. Then he called “education in America … the key to opportunity. Now he quotes President Richard Nixon, “The professors are the enemy.”

Writing about the Ryan/Vance debate, GOP columnist Mona Charon pointed out that Ryan had cut to Vance’s weakness, also exhibited by other DDT pets using the “rituals of alpha dominance and beta submission.” She elaborated:

“In the process of strutting as cock of the walk, Trump has emasculated every other Republican. He may look strong, but he demands that every other Republican become weak in his service. That satisfies (or partially satiates) Trump’s need for obeisance. But it presents a problem for the toadies who want to be considered leaders too.

“Men like Kevin McCarthy, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio have abased themselves to remain in Trump’s good graces. Cruz performed one of the most humiliating kowtows, tamely accepting insults to his wife’s appearance to say nothing of Trump’s lunatic assertion that Cruz’s father had a role in the Kennedy assassination. They all hold their manhoods cheap. And because Trump is vindictive, petty, and cruel, he couldn’t resist reminding an Ohio audience last month that J.D. Vance, the candidate he had come to support, but who had once been a Trump critic, was ‘kissing my ass’…

“Ryan [reminded views that … even after Trump had ‘taken his dignity away from him,’ Vance had returned to the stage to shake Trump’s hand and smile for the camera. Hitting the everyman theme, Ryan offered, almost with pity, that ‘I don’t know anyone I grew up with, anyone I went to high school with, who would allow someone to take their dignity like that and then get back on stage.’

“Ryan thus simultaneously elevated his own alpha status while reinforcing Vance’s weakness. Every Republican who has bent the knee to Trump—male or female—is vulnerable in this way.”

Yesterday was the election for the fattest bruin in Alaska’s Katmai National Park. Winner Brown Bear 747 topped out at 68,105 votes over Bear 901 at 56,876 votes. The winner received its second crown, despite election fraud from spamming the Fat Bear Week poll and stuffing the ballot box.  

October 10, 2022

Indigenous Peoples Day/Columbus Day – 2022

On the second Monday of October, the U.S. and many states celebrate Christopher Columbus Day, repeating the myth that the Italian “discovered” America in 1492. Children have been taught this false story for over a century, and banks and the post office have been closed on that day since it  was declared a national holiday in 1934. As usual, most people ignore the history: a sailor on Columbus’ ship, Rodrigo Bernajo, was the first European to sight the Bahamas archipelago and then the island named Hispaniola, now divided into Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Columbus took credit for the sighting and claimed the island for the King and Queen of Spain although it was already populated. He called the people on the island “Indians” because he thought he had reached the Indies. Instead of going to what is now the U.S., he headed south to Central and South America. In another journey, he thought Cuba was Japan. Dying in 1506, he had made conditions at Hispaniola so bad that Spanish authorities sent a new governor and arrested him, returning him to Spain and stripping him of his titles. His model of conquering Native Americans began centuries of Europe colonizing the American continents and exploiting of native American populations.

A year ago, President Joe Biden signed the first presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples Day, an event beginning in 1977 to honor Native American history and culture. The second Monday of October has been a national holiday for close to a century, but this will be only the second year that Indigenous Peoples Day has nationally held that designation. Starting in 1989 with South Dakota calling the second Monday in October Native American Day, over 13 states and the District of Columbia changed the name of this day to Indigenous Peoples Day, and at least 130 local governments officially recognize this day instead of Columbus Day.

Almost 500 years before Columbus’ first voyage, Leif Eriksson may have been the first European to land on North American land when he and his sailors searched for a new world. The single-sail Viking boat left Norway, either going off course on his way back to Greenland or deliberately searching for North America after hearing about it from Icelandic trader Bjarni Herjolfsson who saw land from afar.

Eriksson may have landed on Baffin Island, east of the Prince of Wales province, before going to the northern tip of Newfoundland. He called the area Vinland because the wild grapes were suitable for wine. In the spring, Eriksson returned home to Greenland to stay, but other Vikings traveled to Vinland for at least the next decade. In 1960, archeologists found Viking artifacts dating back to AD 1000 and the remains of a Norse village on the northernmost tip of Newfoundland at L’Anse aux Meadows. Leif Eriksson got his own day in 1964 when President Lyndon Johnson signed a proclamation honoring him, his crew, and the country’s Nordic-American heritage. The date was chosen because of the 1825 arrival in New York of the ship Restauration, carrying the first organized band of Norwegian immigrants to the United States.

Greenland brings back the story of then Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) trying to buy the island from Denmark in 2018 and the background for his attempt. A new book by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021, describes how Estée Lauder heir Ronald S. Lauder, longtime friend of realtor DDT, offered to negotiate a trade of Puerto Rico for Greenland. Or the U.S. could buy Greenland outright by taking federal money from Puerto Rico because DDT found it “dirty” after visiting after Hurricane Maria in 1917. Denmark refused, and DDT created a rift with the country with his demands. 

Aides supposedly used ideas like this to keep him from far more bizarre and reckless paths. Still, the aides tried to keep the delusional Greenland story from leaking out, and DDT’s second chief of staff, John Kelly, bought a best-selling book written by psychiatrists about DDT’s mental health. He told others it was a helpful guide for the pathological liar whose inflated ego came from a deeply insecure person.

Kelly’s stories about DDT’s ignorance regarding history and inability to absorb information were humorous, but DDT’s flawed judgment shook Kelly. He decided DDT’s problem was not that he didn’t know right from wrong but that “he always does the wrong thing.” When DDT refused to lower the flag after Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) death, Kelly told him,

“If you don’t support John McCain’s funeral, when you die, the public will come to your grave and piss on it.”

In “normal” times, the stories in the book would be only a reflection of the past and how lucky the U.S. was to escape. At this time, however, DDT is leading the GOP by its nose and heading for a possible reelection in two years—a world disaster. And the Greenland story provided great fodder for late night show jokes while taxpayers paid for months of internal studies.

Home to almost 58,000 people, Greenland is the biggest island in the world, and 80 percent of its 811,000 square miles, three times the size of Texas, are ice-capped. The island’s residents are Danish, but they have governed by self-rule since 1979. Fishing and tourism drive the island’s economy, but it has coal, zinc, copper, iron ore, and rare minerals. Since 1943, Thule Air Base, the northernmost U.S. Air Force base, has operated on Greenland with a ballistic missile early warning system and satellite tracking system. Greenlanders have expressed horror. One Greenlander Else Mathiesen, told local media about DDT’s attempt to colonize Greenland:

“You can’t just buy an island or a people. This sounds like something from the era of slavery and colonial power.”

Before the GOP term “cancel culture” developed glitz by being called “critical race theory,” Fox network had a discussion about Indigenous Peoples Day. Host Rachel Campos-Duffy claimed, “Christopher Columbus, by the way, is the first victim of cancel culture” and added that Native Americans “were just as brutal” as Columbus and other European colonizers. Jesse Watters responded, “Yeah, they’re just going to try to send more slush funds to the reservations and make them out to be victims.” (Right: From Florida, the land of revisionist history.)

Some conservatives justify Columbus by calling him “flawed” and “complex,” but he was basically a murdering, raping, thieving thug who enslaved the people who had lived for thousands of years where he landed. Soon after he took control of Hispaniola, 95 percent of the Taino living there were dead, many of them from diseases brought by Columbus and his men.

If the New York Latin Culture organization is correct, however, the day originally had a positive purpose: the U.S. celebration was founded in the 1890s to stop white supremacist Confederate Southerners from lynching Italian Americans. The Italians migrating to the U.S. from southern Italy had mixed with Africa, only 100 miles away. They did work formerly done by Blacks and lived in and married into African communities. Violent racism led to victimization of Italian men, women, and children with lynchings, murders, rapes, maimings, burnings—any form of inhumanity imaginable. After a massacre of Italian Americans in New Orleans, Italy forced the U.S. to pay reparations to the dead Italians’ families.

The article concluded:

“America’s Italian community can choose its own icons, but why would anyone want to be represented by such a flawed character who stands for unspeakable crimes against humanity? We can do better.”

More about Christopher Columbus and his day: 2015; 2018; 2019; and 2021. 

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