Nel's New Day

June 6, 2023

June 6, 2023 – Political News

A federal judge will allow the names of people cosigning Rep. George Santos’ (R-NY) $500,000 bond to be made public. Facing 13 criminal charges, Santos was released from jail before the trial because of the bond. The media asked to unseal the identities and relevant information which can now also be shared with the House Ethics Committee. Santos said he would go to jail rather than disclose his “confidential arrangements” for a bond. His next scheduled court appearance is June 30.

A Reagan-appointed judge rejected a request to block Washington state’s new law banning the sale of over 50 types of guns, including AR- and AK-style rifles. People who have them can continue to possess them. The ruling determined that the ban fits the long tradition in the U.S. of regulating dangerous weapons, including colonial-era bans on “trap guns,” long-bladed Bowie knives, and the Thompson submachine (aka Tommy) gun popular with gangsters after World War I.

Florida officials stay silent after a second plane of 20 migrants from Texas since last Friday landed in Sacramento, but California Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to investigate the source of the flights with the possibility of Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis responsible. The arrivals on both flights had documents indicating Florida’s involvement. The GOP legislators gave DeSantis $12 million to fly migrants never in Florida to blue states.

Selective in prosecuting people for what officials call voter fraud, DeSantis arrested 20 former felons who had been told they could vote for casting improper votes, turning their rehabilitated lives upside down. Yet last month, a GOP state attorney refused to prosecute six voter fraud cases in five GOP counties, including sex offenders, who voted in the 2020 general election while DeSantis assured the public that the other 20 former felons would be prosecuted by his special election crimes office.

GOP presidential candidates have been vigorously debating the RNC debates’ rules. Beyond opposition to the requirement that participation requires support of the primary winner, they are fighting about which network will host the debates. Unhappy with the Fox network not being 100 percent on his side, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) refuses to debate on that network. DeSantis, however, wants Fox and won’t debate on either CNN or MSNBC because he thinks they are hostile to Republicans.

DeSantis has a reputation for being hostile to the press. Stories have circulated that his wife, former TV host Casey DeSantis, is working on a positive image for him, but he’s a slow learner. On the campaign trail in New Hampshire, a reporter asked DeSanti why he wasn’t taking questions from his voters, he said he was talking to “people” and snapped, “Are you blind?” In the past, he confined himself to Fox and conservative talk radio, but that tactic doesn’t work outside Florida in a presidential campaign.

Casey DeSantis may not be much more successful than her husband. Several articles pointed out how she’s appears to copy Jackie Kennedy’s fashions from the 60s, and she wore a leather jacket in the Iowa heat with the slogan “where woke goes to die” over a Florida map and alligator, reminiscent of Melania Trump’s jacket sporting “I don’t really care. Do you?” while her husband separated immigrant families at the border. DeSantis garb earned her the moniker “Walmart Melania.” The account Tea Pain tweeted:  

“Behind every Republican man, there’s a Republican woman selling out her sisterhood.”

Florida taxpayers are also paying millions of dollars for DeSantis’ culture (aka religious) wars. The GOP legislature gave him a blank check to attack anyone he wishes in retaliation for anything and anyone he doesn’t like—minorities, students, teachers, authors, Disney, etc. Six months ago, legal costs were at least $16.7 million and growing. DeSantis is paying almost $1,300 an hour in legal fees just searching into how Disney found a loophole blocking his plan to govern Disney World. A Washington, D.C. law firm charges $725 hourly to defend him against his “anti-woke” laws. The state authorized almost $2.8 million for legal services from just that one firm. Medicaid iBudget Florida, a waiver providing disabled Floridians with access to certain services, has a waitlist of more than 22,000 residents because the state underfunds the program at $2 million for the year, compared to the almost $20 million, or more, spent for DeSantis’ “anti-woke” needs.

Bob Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University, said DeSantis litigious behavior matches that of DDT, that they are cut “from the same cloth.” In talking about who is benefiting, Jarvis said, “DeSantis has been God’s gift to lawyers.”

Recognizing its current lack of leverage, the House Freedom Caucus has given up deposing Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)—for now—but 11 conservatives are sabotaging GOP leadership, much to their surprise, by voting against the advancement of two bills blocking prevention of gas stoves.  The 206-220 vote was the first time the House rejected a rule in 21 years. Scheduled for five minutes, the rule vote lasted almost an hour. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), one of the dissidents, also got into an argument with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) when he accused him of blocking his pistol stabilizing brace bill after Clyde opposed the rule on the debt ceiling bill.  

MAGAs have turned on Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) for her devotion to McCarthy and her vote for his debt ceiling bill: they’re calling for her to be primaried by a real MAGA. Another of her offenses was opposition to releasing insurrection footage to the conspiracy-ridden media. DDT ally Laura Loomer, loonier than Greene, is threatening a move to Georgia to primary Greene from Florida where she repeatedly lost congressional primaries. In Greene’s comparing Steve Bannon turning on her with a divorce, she said:

“Steve and I aren’t getting back together. And if he keeps it up, I’ll take the house and kids. I hope you send it to Steve. Because I’m done.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is trying to intimidate academics studying misinformation by accusing them of colluding with the government to suppress right-wing speech. The House Judiciary Committee Chair is demanding records from Stanford University and threatens subpoenas because they withheld some disinformation complaints filed by students. Research includes falsehoods by DDT and other GOP politicians. Jordan claims that the government has suppressed legitimate vaccine risk theories and Covid origins.

Jordan also demands that AG Merrick Garland give him documents from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation of DDT—the unredacted memo of authorization and all supporting documentation.  

In his determination to prove unsubstantiated rumors about President Joe Biden’s “bribery,” House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer still wants to pillory FBI Director Christopher Wray for not giving him a document, instead requiring Comer to read it in a confidential setting. Committee top Democrat Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) asserted the secondhand information didn’t need further assessment after a team assigned by former DDT-appointed AG Bill Barr stated the accusation didn’t warrant followup. The paid “source” was reporting a conversation with someone else. The investigation, finding no criminal activity, was led by DDT-appointed former AG Scott Brady for Pennsylvania.  In a first against an FBI director, Comer plans to hold Wray in contempt if he won’t give him the document.

Comer’s next project is a probe into a supposed coverup of UFOs, aka Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. He claims to have a “whistleblower,” an intelligence officer claiming to have classified information about “retrieved intact and intact and partially intact craft of non-human origin.”

Joseph Cuffari, responsible for the Secret Service’s mass deletion of texts including those surrounding the insurrection, declared he regularly deletes texts because he doesn’t consider them federal records. He added that he uses his government phone to “to conduct business” but “not federal business.” Intentional deletions of federal records violate the law.

According to Nikki Haley’s little-publicized CNN town hall on June 5, transgender issues form the centerpiece of her campaign. Asked to define “woke,” a Black term for social justice, the presidential candidate focused on “biological boys playing in girl sports” and linked it to one-third of teenage girls contemplating suicide last year—with no evidence. The report she cited didn’t list fear of transgenders as a factor but gave these reasons: more sleep deprivation, less face-to-face social interaction, societal polarization, pessimism about the future connected to global warming, and increasing availability of firearms. Of 73 million youth, only 46,000 may be transgender, 0.06 percent. Haley waffled by saying “we wonder,” but Glenn Kessler gave her four Pinocchios for her lie. 

Haley bewailed that “the national media” made the shooting at Mother Emanuel church, when a white supremacist killed nine Black people at a Bible study, “about race.” She did promise, however that she would not execute women who have abortions. Her home state of South Carolina puts women who have in prison, and attempts are being made to charge them with murder.

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-NC) is the only current congressional member backing Haley for president, but he’s a devoted ally of DDT. Every time he stumps for Haley he praises DDT.

CNN’s town hall for Mike Pence is June 7.

June 3, 2023

Biden’s Good News, Problems from the GOP

May added 339,000 new jobs in the U.S., far above the projected 190,000. In 27 months, President Joe Biden added 13.6 million new jobs, over double those in the first three years of former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). And DDT lost all his jobs in his fourth year, bungling management during the Covid pandemic. Republicans will stay silent.

With the dark cloud of default gone, the Dow increased 710 points on June 2, over two percent. S&P went up almost 1.5 percent, and Nasdaq over 1 percent.

The removal of Title 42, the Covid rule keeping immigrants from crossing the southern border, has produced no large influx in migrants. Instead, the number plummeted from 65,000 living in northern Mexico ready to cross into the U.S. now at 20,000. More of them are using the asylum app provided by the U.S. government to book appointments for asylum. 

The Biden administration is tackling racial bias in home valuations that produce lower values for homes owned by people of color. It will also create an easier path for consumers to appeal possibly unbiased valuation. According to VP Kamala Harris, building assets through home ownership is vital, and Black and Latino families’ homes are more the most likely to be undervalued.

A Missouri nonprofit is providing free emergency contraception by mail, legal in the state. Federal Title X funds for family planning programs provide the necessary money. The medication, also known as the morning-after pill and Plan B, can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex to avoid pregnancy by preventing ovulation. Available over the counter, it’s legal in all 50 states. For almost a year, Missouri has outlawed abortion except for medical emergencies.

In Connecticut, two Republican members of the Newtown Board of Education resigned after a book-banning debate in which they voted to restrict two books: Mike Curato’s Flamer, chronicling  a queer Filipino-American teen bullied for his race, his weight and his effeminate presentation, and Craig Thompson’s Blankets, depicting a boy’s struggle with religion, relationships, and sexual abuse. One resigned member cited the need for a better work-life balance and the other, “abhorrent” behavior by people attending public meetings.

The district superintendent and a committee composed of the school principal, medial specialist, two teachers, and an assistant superintendent unanimously agreed to keep the widely-acclaimed books on the shelf. The superintendent said that parents wanting to pull the novels use a double standard, opposing books personally offending them while retaining others possibly bothering people of different identities or political persuasions. He said that parents can choose what their children do and don’t read but shouldn’t impose those preferences on other families.The librarian said the book challenges are the worst since the 1950s Red Scare.

At a June 1 school board meeting, the school board unanimously agreed to keep the books in the library. State lawmakers are proposing subsidies for “sanctuary libraries,” making available challenged or banned books. Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site of a shooting massacre a little over a decade ago, is in Newtown.

Utah’s new book banning bill blocks those with “pornographic or indecent” content, defining the terms so loosely that many age-appropriate books addressing characters’ gender, sexuality, and race have been eliminated. A parent complained about a book including “incest, onanism, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation, fellatio, dildos, rape, and even infanticide”—the Bible. The district banned it from elementary and middle school libraries for containing “vulgarity or violence.” Another parent appealed the removal; the district fill form a committee of three Davis School District’s Board of Education members to make a recommendation  and submit it to the board for a vote.

DDT has another reason to avoid the GOP presidential debates on August 23 and 24: the RNC will require all participants to agree that they will support the primary winner for the general election. Criteria to participate include the number of donations from each state.

In a win for labor union protection with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson dissenting, the high court ruled against unionized drivers who walked off their jobs leaving trucks loaded with wet cement. The 1935 National Labor Relations Act mandates unions take reasonable precautions to protect an employer’s property when workers strike. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson dissented, agreeing with the Washington Supreme Court’s ruling that the complaint should have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board that has the responsibility to decide labor disputes. The three most conservative justices—Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas—wanted to reverse many protections for striker rights. Alito told the plaintiff and other business interests to refile lawsuits against the union.

In an unusual pro-union decision for this court, seven of the nine justices required the Ohio National Guard to deduct payroll union dues. Alito and Gorsuch dissented from the majority.The ruling also confirmed the power of a federal agency, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), over a state government militia. Union opponents view the decision as an opening to intrusive federal power in the workplace.

The decision permits voluntary paycheck dues deductions for “dual-status” civilian members of the National Guard, full-time civilian employees of the Guard who are also part-time uniformed military members. The Supreme Court also allows the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to resolve disputes involving National Guard units that report to both state and federal officials. Claiming that the National Guard wasn’t bound by the labor relations statute, state officials stopped withholding union dues for 89 employees in 2016. 

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who won’t turn over information he gathers for the Judiciary Committee to any Democratic members, is demanding that the DOJ report a breakdown of the number of FBI personnel working on the John Durham case, including whether any have previously investigated DDT.

The end to the default threat revealed previously unknown promises that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) supposedly made to Freedom Caucus members to get their votes for his position. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) sited an agreement refusing bills with more Democratic votes than Republican ones. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) said the GOP members on the Rules Committee had to unanimously vote for bills to be moved to the House floor. Earlier he gave the number as seven. Despite these claims, eight Freedom Caucus members voted for the debt ceiling bill. The Freedom Caucus learned that the House doesn’t need their votes to pass bills. 

Will Saletan calls the obstructionist subset of the Freedom Caucus the Antagonism Caucus. Biggs explained Republicans should vote for bills with Democratic support. Democrats didn’t like the bill’s provisions, but they didn’t want a default. The Antagonism Caucus was willing to send the U.S. into a spiraling default. Rep. Bob Good (R-PA) complained that House GOP has a disgusting habit of associating with Democrats. The Antagonism Caucus also hates approval by moderate—or reasonable—Republicans and acceptance by conservative Bill Kristol. Even Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), formerly considered “reasonable,” follows the AC position. Republicans who claim they want unity oppose anything the other party supports.  

A fact check about McCarthy’s claim that the new law “is the largest cut that Congress has ever voted on, more than $2.1 trillion” garnered three Pinocchios from Glenn Kessler. McCarthy’s statement came from a preliminary Congressional Budget Office estimate leaked by GOP sources assuming caps will remain for the next six years. Only the first two years of caps on discretionary budgets are semi-binding, meaning huge loopholes. Inflation makes McCarthy’s cuts flat for the next two years.

The biggest debt reduction deal in the past four decades was the 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, 1.72 percent of GDP, but the Supreme Court invalidated the law. Three other agreements—those in 1990, 1993 and 2011—exceeded 1 percent of GDP, but many of the cuts were later reversed. McCarthy’s $2.1 trillion, based on savings over ten years that included net interest savings from budget caps over six years, did not account for inflation or a measure of the percentage of GDP.

After the agreement was made, the CBO released its official score: $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years if only the first two years of caps remain in place. That would be the smallest of the seven deficit-reduction deals.

The media praises McCarthy’s great leadership, but Democrats had to bail him out. More of them voted to save the country than Republicans, and Biden orchestrated the entire process. Biden succeeded where DDT failed; the current president negotiated and compromised, a skill DDT said he had before he bullied and got nothing. In 27 months, Biden’s bipartisan achievements were an infrastructure package, CHIPS and Science Act, expansion of veterans benefits in the PACT Act, Respect for Marriage Act, Postal Service Reform Act, and the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act—the first major law addressing gun violence in almost three decades. DDT? Bupkis.  

Wooing the far-right, McCarthy’s surrogate, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), said he is giving full access to the Capitol security footage from the January 6, 2021 insurrection to three conspiracy-peddler “journalists”—John Solomon, Julie Kelly, and “a third outlet.” Solomon was fired from the conservative Hill after he laundered Rudy Giuliani’s theories to claim Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election and the Biden family, not DDT, held up funding to Ukraine. Kelly accused the policeman attacked in the insurrection of being a “crisis actor” and the pipe bombs left near political parties a hoax.

Greene has mysteriously changed her delight in releasing the footage to a warning that their release could “put the security of the Capitol at risk.” She told Real America Voice that left-wing groups could use facial-recognition technology to identify people in the videos and “hand them over” to the FBI and DOJ.

May 19, 2023

Default Nears, DeSantis Creates Prototype for U.S.

As of late afternoon on Friday, debt ceiling talks resumed after Republicans earlier walked out. Retirement accounts and other assets related to the stock market had taken another hit during the day after Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), assigned negotiator, walked out of talks in the morning, branding Democrats “unreasonable,” just 12 days before the default deadline. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) spokesperson had reported that talks are on “pause” hours after President Joe Biden cut short a dinner with UK’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and other G7 leaders to focus on saving the world’s economy and controlling China. The entire argument comes from the GOP unwillingness to pay the debts, one-fourth of them added while Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) was in the White House.

After a few hours, the talks broke off again with no future meeting scheduled and GOP “negotiators” reporting no progress. Republicans are adamant about sharp cuts without closing loopholes in taxation for the wealthy or any replacement of taxes for big business and the rich that Republicans put into effect in 2017.

Republicans, who want the U.S. to be dominant over China, are damaging U.S. supremacy in the world. Biden’s visit to Asia was to boost the message that the U.S. is a leader, but Biden was forced to pull out of two important stops and the Quad summit on his journey to the G7 summit in Japan, missing important diplomatic interactions. China and other anti-U.S. countries are delighted because a coalition against China’s military and economic aggression was a key agenda item at the summit.

A goal was to determine that the U.S. “is a reliable, stable, credible partner in this part of the world … and to give people alternatives to the coercion and intimidation that the Chinese tend to demonstrate.” Chinese media can describe the U.S. as an unreliable partner, suffering from serious domestic upheaval that leaves its allies without help. The trip cancellation appears to lessen the U.S. commitment to the Pacific, allowing China to defeat the U.S. in influence. Republicans demonstrate lack of commitment to the U.S. being superior to China.

Biden’s stop at Papua New Guinea would have been the first for a U.S. president. Chinese President Xi Jinping went to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2018, spending a week there for a state visit to met with leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum. Jinping has been expanding diplomatic, economic, and military relationships with Pacific Island nations while saving the U.S. from the GOP has distracted the U.S. for over two years.

McCarthy said the resolution is “easy”: Democrats just need to agree to across-the-board discretionary domestic cuts between 28 percent and 33 percent. McCarthy said that “we can’t be spending more money next year,” but the debt ceiling has nothing to do with future debts. That’s the purview of the budget, which House Republicans have been unable—or unwilling—to formulate.

On Thursday, McCarthy expressed optimism that the two sides could reach a deal to go to a vote next week, but the highly conservative Freedom Caucus told him to quit before a deal could be reached. Instead, McCarthy should work on the Senate to pass their bill. The conservative caucus stated on Thursday:

“There should be no further discussion until the Senate passes the legislation.”

The Freedom Caucus essentially wrote the extortion bill; McCarthy said he and his team “just picked up the House Freedom Caucus plan and helped us convert it into the legislative text.” The GOP House never intended to find an “agreement” and a “deal” to save U.S. from an economic catastrophe. On Twitter, the Freedom Caucus ordered:

“No more discussion on watering it down. Period.”

The MAGA House members are following the orders of their leader, DDT, issued last week in his CNN town hall and repeated on Truth Social on Friday:


Previously, DDT had praised Democrats for not creating debt ceiling crises while he was in the White House. It appears that DDT and his followers all want a world disaster because they love chaos.

While DDT promotes devastation, Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis uses his state as a prototype of the U.S. if her were elected president. Right now, however, he’s on a losing streak. Because of his petty personal retributions toward Disney, the company stopped plans for a $1 billion employee campus in Lake Nona (FL) and no longer require over 2,000 California-based employees to relocate to Florida. Employees who moved to Florida may be able to return to California. Average salary for those employees would be about $120,000—a total of $240 million coming into the state.

DeSantis tried to cover his new problem by blaming the loss on Disney’s poor finances and “declining stock price,” but he failed. GOP Miami mayor said the governor took a “winning issue [of] parental rights” and moved on to “potentially a personal vendetta” costing the state 2,000 jobs. Former VP Mike Pence slammed “woke Disney” but said “the business of America is business” with the cancellation “only going to harm people in the Orlando and Florida area.”

Latinx people, who comprise an important part of workers in the state, are thinking about moving away from Florida and Texas because of persecution in those states. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is also issuing a travel advisory in Florida, only the second time they have done this in a state after Arizona’s profiling law against migrants. Florida will no longer recognize driver’s licenses issued out of state to undocumented immigrants and prohibit Florida counties from issuing ID cards to them. A new law also requires the use of the inaccurate E-Verify for hirings; of 48 million job applicants, only 525,000 were listed as unauthorized with 60,000 of those proving a legal right to work in the U.S.

Florida criminalizes anyone associating with undocumented migrants, including giving them transportation. Even the Catholic Church rejected this law. Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski accused Florida Republicans of trying to “demonize” vulnerable people, making a good Christian’s actions illegal by preaching the gospel.

New Florida laws remove “parental rights.” DeSantis used the slogan to claim he gave parents rights when he banned any rules for wearing masks during the pandemic that would protect people from the health emergency, but he’s moved on to mandate what parents can and cannot do. A new law permits the government to take transgender children who receive gender-affirming are from their families even if the children live out of state with a custodial parent. Parents and doctors cannot provide any gender-affirming care for minors, as decreed by people with no medical training. DeSantis lied when he with his justification in preventing teachers from educating students in acceptance of their LGBTQ+ classmates and students with LGBTQ+ family members.

In another bizarre Florida law, the bathroom regulations go beyond requiring people over the age of 18 to use the facilities matching their sex at birth. Anyone can be charged if they don’t leave a bathroom when someone else asks them to do so—even if their sex matches the one from birth. Basically, it legalizes harassment in public bathrooms if a person considers another to not being feminine enough for women’s restrooms or masculine enough for the designative men’s facilities.  

Other DeSantis’ bans and restrictions for the U.S.:

  • Control curriculum and books in libraries, keeping them from an well-rounded education. 
  • Defund diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at Florida’s state colleges and universities.
  • Ban state officials from making investment decisions based on “environmental, social, governance” goals.
  • Allow healthcare providers and insurers to deny patients medical care on the basis of religious, moral, or ethical beliefs
  • Execute child rapists.
  • Allow only eight of 12 jurors to determine the death penalty.
  • Let people carry concealed firearms with no permit or training.

DeSantis’ latest stunt is to probably to lose public employees retirement funds for his own benefit. He moved $1 billion from safe investments to high-fee, poor-performing hedge funds, private equity, venture capital, and real estate firms managed by major GOP donors who promise to bankroll his campaign. DeSantis’ “investments” already lost about $10 billion retirement funds for teachers, police officers, and other state employees. A new bill could move another $18 billion from traditional stocks and bonds.

Florida public pensioners receive benefits well below the national norm, just $23,712 per year in 2020 compared to the national average of $29,132. Between 2019 and 2021, however, pension fees for investment managers increased by 11 percent, costing the pension $54 million in additional fees in 2022. 

DeSantis’ move is illegal according to anti-pay-to-play laws, but other governors have used the same tactic with donations to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) that move to indiviual gubernatorial campaigns. The RGA gave DeSantis over $21 million for his reelection campaign in 2022.  

Using this system to get presidential campaign funds would be more difficult. A decade ago, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Texas Gov. Rick Perry both considered the idea, but Christie’s top adviser admitted that “there is no way around it and there are no loopholes.” The rule proved so strict that it reportedly deterred Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney from putting Christie on the ticket in 2012, because Romney knew it would complicate his Wall Street fundraising. The GOP failed to overturn the rule in court.

People in Florida, like those in Russia, live in fear. Ridiculed for his claim that he makes Florida “free,” however, DeSantis now declares Florida the “citadel of normalcy.” This is the “normal” he wants to being to all 50 states.

May 14, 2023

Activism on Mother’s Day

May 14, 2023, is the day that the U.S. celebrates Mother’s Day, created as a time of activism—women’s suffrage, antislavery, climate, reproductive rights, social change. Today’s blog post celebrates the positive movements toward democracy to improve humanity in the nation.

My reaction to the following is that pigs may be able to fly. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of a trans woman who fled sexual assault and death threats in Guatemala to seek asylum in the U.S. Deported in 2008, she spent most of the following decade in Mexico where a Mexican gang raped and assaulted her. She has another chance to argue that immigration officials and the 5th Circuit Court were wrong in rejecting her bid to stay in the U.S. after she came back in 2018. 

Despite the noisy opposition to a transgender woman promoting Bud Light, 53 percent of U.S. beer drinkers approve of brands hiring a transgender spokesperson. In addition, 61 percent support brands hiring more inclusive advertising talent, including almost half the GOP respondents. The RNC has deleted criticism of the company in its “anti-woke” campaign. Anheuser-Busch is also one of the biggest GOP donors and sells over 100 brands of beer in the U.S.

Earlier this year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took over a liberal arts school, New College of Florida, for a conservative overhaul. Students had protested his action to no avail so they plan their own commencement. The GOP Senate has already rejected one of DeSantis’ six conservative appointments for the college’s board of trustees. Eddie Spiers’ conspiracy theories about Covid vaccines appear to be too much, even for Florida Republicans. He has already voted with the board to fire the former college president and deny tenure to professors.   

More legal decisions:

The Supreme Court has refused to address a new California law prohibiting the in-state sale of pork, eggs, and veal derived from creatures “confined in a cruel manner,” leaving the law in place. In the 5-4 decision, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that plaintiffs National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation tried to “fashion two new and more aggressive constitutional restrictions on the ability of states to regulate goods sold within their borders.” On the other side, Justices John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Ketanji Brown Jackson wanted to return the case to a lower court for more work. The law establishes space requirements for the animals. 

The Minnesota legislature made the state a refuge for youth seeking gender-affirming care. New laws also banned “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ+ youth and provided protection for those seeking out-of-state abortions and abortion providers. According to the author of one bill, “people should be free” and “have the right to self-determination.”  

A judge in Arizona has struck down a restraining order against a journalist by a conspiracy-theorist, election-denier state senator after the journalist knocked on the doors of two of the senator’s homes. The journalist was investigating whether the senator was residing in the district where she was elected and now plans to seek attorneys’ fees and costs from the senator. Previously, a Flagstaff judge had granted the restraining order with notification to the journalist or the opportunity for her to speak in her own defense.

Two women suing the Springfield (MO) for its mandatory racial equity training must pay the district’s legal fees. They claimed the requirement violated their constitutional rights. A U.S. federal judge said the women, who still work for the district, could not show any harm in the training and that their lawsuit was to draw the district into a political dispute rather than to seek damages for actual harm.

The 4th Circuit Court ruled that jurors can be required to be vaccinated through the circuit court area. A married couple found guilty of trafficking heroin and cocaine challenged their convictions because unvaccinated people were excluded from the jury pool, making if not a “jury of their peers.” According to the ABA, a majority of courts permitted the exclusion of unvaccinated jurors during the pandemic. 

A county judge in Michigan ruled that a health officer should keep her job until a trial as county commissioners try to replace her. The newly-elected far-right board had tried to fire her because of her pandemic safety measures, not incompetence or misconduct. She is also seeking economic and compensatory damages from the commissioners’ actions. She said:

“I’m not a Democrat, I’m not a Republican, I’m not a libertarian, I’m not any of those things and your health officers shouldn’t be. They should not be practicing politics in their role. They should be following good science, and they should be protecting everyone in the community, not just specific people.”

The board had tried to replace the health officer from the service manager of a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems company.  

A federal investigation determined that two hospitals refusing to provide an emergency abortion for a pregnant woman whose life was in danger violated federal law. The hospitals are in Joplin (MO) and Kansas City (KS), but a woman was turned away from three Oklahoma hospitals. Her molar pregnancy would never become a fetus but could cause cancer if it progressed. At the third hospital, she was told to stay in the parking lot until she is “crashing” or near a heart attack. She and her husband drove three hours to a Kansas clinic to get her uterus emptied of the non-viable tissue.

Vermont now has a law prohibiting the owning or operating paramilitary training camps in the state. Violators face up to five years in prison or a $50,000 fine or both. Twenty-six states now prohibit fire-arms training for anti-government paramilitary activity. With the sixth-highest number of extremist incidents in the U.S., Oregon is also considering the nation’s most comprehensive law against paramilitary activity.

 Voting rights groups in Jacksonville (FL) settled with the city council which agreed stop gerrymandering and continue using maps ordered by a federal court providing fair representation to Black communities. The maps will be retained through the first redistricting cycle after the 2030 Census.

Media on both right and left has been predicting chaos on the southern border after President Joe Biden lifted Title 42, DDT’s rule that asylum-seekers would be turned away because of the pandemic. Not so, said an official who said there was no “major influx” of migrants and the emergency public health order expired. The number of migrants is actually shrinking since then. El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said the city has moved from Title 42 to Title 8, stiffer penalties on illegal border crossing. Other border cities, such as McAllen (TX), have reported fewer-than-anticipated migrants.

At the same time, house costs are increasing because the industry has 2 million fewer immigrants workers. In the past, foreign-born people comprised 30 percent of construction workers, with those entering the workforce dropped from 67,000 new workers in 2016 to 38,900 in 2020. The one-third drop of new immigrant workers in DDT’s first year in office was the first decline in six years.

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is begging for help after he spent over $40 million to overturn the 2020 election and losing another $5 million in his bet, “Prove Mike Wrong.” Lindell’s deal is allowing people to buy stock in his company.

Mother Nature stopped DDT’s rally at the Water Works Park in Des Moines (IA) on Saturday after a tornado warning. Without announcing his campaign, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was fundraising in other Iowa locations.

Sheila Swinford provided this version of an old Native American legend by Luisa Morando:

“One day there was a big fire in the forest. All the animals fled in terror in all directions, because it was a very violent fire. Suddenly, the jaguar saw a hummingbird pass over his head, but in the opposite direction. The hummingbird flew towards the fire!

“Whatever happened, he wouldn’t stop. Moments later, the jaguar saw him pass again, this time in the same direction as the jaguar was walking. He could observe this coming and going, until he decided to ask the bird about it, because it seemed very bizarre behavior.

“’What are you doing, hummingbird?’” he asked.

“’I am going to the lake,’ he answered, ‘I drink water with my beak and throw it on the fire to extinguish it.’ The jaguar laughed. ‘Are you crazy? Do you really think that you can put out that big fire on your own with your very small beak?’

“’No,’ said the hummingbird, ‘I know I can’t. But the forest is my home. It feeds me, it shelters me and my family. I am very grateful for that. And I help the forest grow by pollinating its flowers. I am part of her, and the forest is part of me. I know I can’t put out the fire, but I must do my part.’

“At that moment, the forest spirits, who listened to the hummingbird, were moved by the birdie and its devotion to the forest. And miraculously they sent a torrential downpour, which put an end to the great fire.

“The Native American grandmothers would occasionally tell this story to their grandchildren, then conclude with, ‘Do you want to attract miracles into your life? Do your part.’

“’You have no responsibility to save the world or find the solutions to all problems—but to attend to your particular personal corner of the universe. As each person does that, the world saves itself.’”

On Mother’s Day, we can all think about doing our part, no matter how small it might seem.

May 10, 2023

May 9 – Overwhelmed by DDT, GOP

Yesterday the meeting at the White House looked like the major news story for May 9, but it may have fallen to the bottom.

Deliberation among the nine jury members in E. Jean Carroll’s civil trial for the attack by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) 27 years ago lasted under three hours before a unanimous guilty plea against DDT for battery and defamation, awarding Carroll $5 million damages—$2 million for sexual abuse count and almost $3 million for defamation, for branding her a liar. They did not find that DDT raped her.

DDT still claims he has no idea who Carroll is although photographs show him with her. Defending himself on his Truth Social and at his rallies, refusing to testify at the trial. His lawyers, especially Joe Tacopina, believed that they could win by battering Carroll in court.

In the two-week trial, the judge kept jury members anonymous to keep them from being persecuted. He recommended they maintain their anonymity and not reveal their identities of other jury members. Before jury deliberations, DDT lied on his Truth Social that he was “not allowed to speak or defend” himself in the trial, but he voluntarily avoided it, even when given the opportunity to return from Ireland to testify after he said he would.

The verdict is the first time a person elected as president of the U.S. has been legally branded as a sexual predator. The judge said that DDT subjected Carroll to sexual contact without consent by use of force for the purpose of sexual gratification.

Republicans who want to “dump Trump” wonder what effect the verdict will have on his 2024 election chances. Alyssa Farah Griffin, DDT’s former White House communications director, tweeted that the GOP “must walk away from this man. It is beyond morally indefensible.” GOP strategist and former DDT campaigner Brian Seitchik wrote that the guilty verdict “won’t help among the suburban women that were with Trump in 2016, but abandoned him in 2018, 2020 and 2022.” Only 44 percent of women voted for DDT in 2020.

One of DDT’s election opponents, Vivek Ramaswamy said the verdict seemed like “just another part of the establishment’s anaphylactic response against its chief political allergen: Donald Trump.” (Whatever that means.) Another opponent, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said:

“Over the course of my over 25 years of experience in the courtroom, I have seen firsthand how a cavalier and arrogant contempt for the rule of law can backfire. The jury verdict should be treated with seriousness and is another example of the indefensible behavior of Donald Trump.”

Other Republicans were on the opposite side, claiming that the verdict won’t have any impact. Keith Naughton, however, pointed out that DDT’s reaction will make the difference and said that when DDT “goes on appeal … it could make it worse.”

After DDT was indicted on 34 charges for falsifying business records to provide $130 million hush money to Stormy Daniels, his poll numbers went up. Whether DDT suffers from the verdict may depend on the intelligence of his avid followers.

Media attention may move to DDT’s indictment. He ignored the judge’s caution to curb his comments about that criminal case so he has been barred from publicizing evidence and other material about the case available. DDT can’t even see the evidence except in the presence of his lawyers and can’t copy any of it. The order was based on concern that he would “inappropriately” use the material or post the information on social media or elsewhere. A prosecutor called the risk “substantial.” Assistant DA Catherine McCaw wrote:

“Donald J. Trump has a longstanding and perhaps singular history of attacking witnesses, investigators, prosecutors, trial jurors, grand jurors, judges, and others involved in legal proceedings against him, putting those individuals and their families at considerable safety risk.”

The judge also said that names and identifying information of DA employees in the case other than sworn law enforcement, assistant Das, and expert witnesses will not be revealed until after the jury selection begins.

The next news for the day was that federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against Rep. George Santos (R-NY). Specific charges are under seal, but he is expected to appear before a federal court in New York as soon as May 10. Returning to New York, Santos skipped House votes on Tuesday evening. His collection of lies and fabrications are astonishing, even in a political world filled with corruption. Democrats called on Santos to resign, but Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) kept him because of the narrow GOP margin in the House.

According to a CNN article, Santos, in the House for a few days over four month “has been accused of breaking campaign finance laws, violating federal conflict of interest laws, stealing cash meant for an Iraq War veteran’s dying dog, masterminding a credit card fraud scheme, and lying about where he went to school and worked. Santos has admitted to making some misleading claims about his education and financial status, but continues to deny the more serious allegations.” (And these are just a few accusations.) Santos blamed his Democratic candidate for crime and inflation in the New York suburbs.

Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT), who lost his position as Secretary of the Interior during DDT’s term after misusing his position, said he was “surprised [Santos] made it as long as he did.” Rep. French Hill (R-AR) said a congressional member charged with a federal crime should resign. McCarthy has a hard decision to make. Conviction from crimes resulting in two or more years in prison prevents a member of Congress from voting on the floor or in committee.

Harlan Crow, Justice Clarence Thomas’ munificent billionaire benefactor, has written to the Senate Finance Committee, telling them he will not provide them with a list of gifts he bestowed on Thomas. Crow’s lawyer, Michael D. Bopp wrote:

“The Supreme Court has explicitly stated that Congress has no authority to engage in law enforcement investigations or to conduct investigations aimed at exposing citizens private affairs for the sake of exposure.”

The refusal is separate from the investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee that also requested a complete list of the gifts valued at more than $415 from Crow to Thomas and other Supreme Court justices.

Biden met with congressional leaders to discuss raising the debt ceiling. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the only person at the meeting who wants draconian cuts for a miniscule debt ceiling increase after Republicans spent much of the money, has a choice: destroy the nation—and perhaps the world—or destroy his own career with the far-right wing. “I didn’t see any new movement,” McCarthy told reporters after he left the White House. He continued to insist on serious spending cuts, and President Joe Biden demanded Congress raise the debt ceiling unconditionally to pay previous debts and avoid a default.

Aides will meet through the week, and leaders will reconvene on Friday to discuss spending levels for next year. The House has still not presented a budget. Biden said that the U.S. will pay his debts. He’s “prepared to begin a separate discussion about my budget and spending priorities but not under the threat of default.” Although he wants Biden to compromise with McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, “The United States is not going to default.” Biden and McCarthy did agree to dismiss the idea of a short-term debt ceiling increase for more discussions. McCarthy said that they need a deal by next week to pass legislation by the early June deadline.

Biden is now considering the possibility of bypassing Congress to pay debts on his own under a provision of the 14th Amendment that states “the validity of the public debt of the United States” authorized by law “shall not be questioned.” He noted that Laurence H. Tribe, longtime Harvard Law School professor, now believes a president has such power. Because the solution must be litigated, the U.S. can still be in trouble.

A union of federal workers has also filed a lawsuit to block the debt ceiling enforcement, declaring it unconstitutional. The lawsuit claims that the Treasury Department is forced to pay interest on debt because of the constitutional requirement to meet obligations to bondholders.

Scheduled to attend the G7 summit in Japan next week, Biden said he might have to curtail or skip the trip. He met with reporters and answered questions for about 20 minutes after the meeting. In his lengthy meeting with reporters McCarthy accused the White House of lying about cuts to the veterans’ programs which the House has not yet protected. In his answers, Biden talked about the ambiguous nature of the discretionary spending cuts in the Republican debt limit bill. The impasse continues to disturb financial markets in fear of default.

That’s the major news for May 9. The next day will surely bring more, including CNN’s hour-long “townhall” with DDT—if anyone wants to hear him repeat his lies.

May 8, 2023

Around the U.S. – May 8, 2023

First the encouraging news: Eight years ago, no state had automatic voting registration; Minnesota just made the 23rd state to adopt the policy. The legislation allows 16- and 17-year-olds to preregister to vote and automatically sends a ballot for every election to everyone on an absentee voter list. Whoever interacts with a state agency is automatically registered; people can withdraw from the system without penalty. 

On the federal level, Republicans in the obscure Administration Committee, the parent of the Subcommittee on Elections, named an Arizona fake elector, Thomas Lane, to direct voter suppression beginning with a hearing titled “American Confidence in Elections: State Tools to Promote Voter Confidence.” A witness, Hans von Spakovsky, participated in bogus voter-fraud investigations and prosecutions since 2007 to working with attempts by former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to overturn the 2020 presidential elections.

Coordinating with Lane is Cleta Mitchell, part of the attempted election coup in 2020, who sits on the advisory board of the Election Assistance Commission, an independent government agency providing voluntary election guidelines for states. She said she’s delighted to “educate volunteers and citizens activists.”  Another of her present goals is how GOP state legislatures should be changing voting laws to “combat” voting on college campuses. Taxpayers are giving Lane an annual salary of $155,000 to subvert voting rights and problems a commensurate amount to Mitchell for the same purpose.

The jury in E. Jean Carroll’s civil trial will begin deliberation on May 9 after a few hours of closing arguments about her alleged rape by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT). Both sides repeated statements from the trial—testimony from Carroll’s witnesses, some also assaulted, plus a damning deposition from DDT and, on the other side, DDT’s denial. One of Carroll’s lawyers summarized the defense from DDT that visualizes “the perfect rape victim.” Kate Christobek wrote that Carroll’s attorney described this victim as “one who never goes back to where she was raped, burns whatever clothes she was wearing, never again has success in her career, never looks at her rapist again, never flirts, and screams when being assaulted.” An hour-by-hour summary of closing arguments is here.

The competition between DDT and Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis is building with articles about the lack of DeSantis’ popularity and reasons for the polling on DDT’s side. Wall Street money people, still never-Trumpers, are nevertheless soured on DeSantis as well, according to a Politico piece. His battle with Disney has made him anti-business, making Nikki Haley and Tim Scott more appealing.  

Bess Levin has a long list of DeSantis’ negative issues:

  • Lets DDT attack him without response.
  • Has history of inappropriate relationships with high schools girls while he was a teacher.
  • May have cried while begging DDT for a 2018 gubernatorial endorsement.
  • Continues his vendetta with Disney.
  • Signed a massively restrictive six-week abortion ban stopping some of his former GOP donors.  
  • Obsessively attacks LGBTQ+ community.
  • Ruins people for political retribution.
  • Unable to develop relations with other politicians.

According to a former college teammate:

“Ron is the most selfish person I have ever interacted with. He has always loved embarrassing and humiliating people. I’m speaking for others—he was the biggest dick we knew.”

This week, Disney expanded its lawsuit against DeSantis, accusing him of signing legislation to void Disney’s development deals by targeting its monorail system. It blocks any “development agreement” with three months of a law “modifying the manner of selecting members” of that special district’s governing body—meaning the law applies only to Disney. According to DeSantis, Florida is “free”—unless he is opposed—which doesn’t bode well if DeSantis were to become president.

Despite some GOP legislators saying they’re finished with the “cancel culture” war, they reinstated Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo for a second two-year term after he lied about the affects of the Covid vaccine. DeSantis hand-picked choice discarded the conclusions from the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics by declaring the lies about health risks for males from 18 to 39 he said were endangered by the Covid vaccines. After his announcement last fall, patients, doctors, public health experts, vaccine advocates, and abortion providers expressed fear about another Ladapo term, according to the Miami Herald. Surgical oncologist wrote:

“This is the first time that we’ve seen a state government weaponize bad science to spread anti-vaccine disinformation as official policy.”

Ladapo’s former supervisor at UCLA said he relies on his opinions rather than scientific evidence that “created a stressful environment for his research and clinical colleagues and subordinates,” some of whom believed the doctor “violated the duty in the Hippocratic Oath to behave honestly and ethically.” One UCLA source expressed gratitude on behalf of many people at UCLA because of the embarrassment he caused for him.

Eleven states are buying child ID kits with fingerprinting to help find missing children with no evidence that the product has any benefit. The Waco-based National Child Identification Program is the brainchild of former NFL player Kenny Hansmire with a long line of failed business ventures. He pled guilty to cattle theft in 1988 and theft by check in 1993 plus being convicted of drunken driving. His companies were sued at least four times in the 1990s. In 2015, Hansmire was ordered by the Connecticut Department of Banking to stop seeking investments and pay an undisclosed amount in restitution after defrauding investors in violation of the state’s securities law. In 2022, he and his wife had over $2 million in outstanding tax liens.

Although similar kits are free, states are spending millions of taxpayer dollars for their purchase. Hansmire used his deep connections in professional and college football for his support from elected officials, promising to honor them at high-profile events. One of his strongest supporters is Texas AG Ken Paxton. Hansmire claims the advantage of his kits is less mess because they use a colorless chemical solution. The 24-year-old claim of 800,000 children missing each year has also been debunked.

Despite the high number of mass shootings in Texas and the rejection of any gun safety laws, a state House panel astonishingly approved a bill raising the age for purchasing semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21. Almost a year ago, 19 children were killed in a Uvalde classroom by a murdered who bought two AR-15-style rifles days after his 18th birthday. The bill prohibits selling, renting, leasing, or giving a semi-automatic rifle with a caliber greater than .22 that is capable of accepting a detachable magazine to a person younger than 21 years old. The full legislature will likely kill the measure, but it’s a start.

Over 40 percent of baby boomers (ages 59 to 68) are close to retirement with no retirement savings. At this time, a 65-year-old can expect to live, on average, another 20 years; with no retirement, they will have only Social Security. The average monthly check is $1,800. To live in comfort, a retiree would need about $1.1 million savings, but the average retirement account held just over $100,000 at the end of 2022. The median baby boomer household retirement savings was $134,000 in 2019. Retirees’ average savings account shrank from $192,000 to $171,000 in 2022, and the number of retirees with no savings rose from 30 percent to 37 percent. In 2021, the poverty rate among seniors rose to 10.3 percent, the highest in two decades.

A man in Texas has expanded the Little Free Library concept to the “Little Banned Library.” Inside the bars are books that have been challenged and/or banned in the state’s public schools, usually dealing with racism and gender identity/sexuality.  This one is the first, but, like the first tiny libraries, it has the potential for expansion. Behind the bars are classics such as George Orwell’s 1984, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and Maya Angelou’s And I Still Rise.

In Oklahoma, the state superintendent of public schools wants the Bible to be taught in history classes, ignoring the fact that it isn’t history. Previously, he pushed the lie of schools providing litter boxes for students identifying as cats, called teachers’ unions as “terrorist organizations, and tried to unilaterally ban LGBTQ” books and transgender bathroom access in schools. Opposed to “graphic pornography” and “sexualized content” in school libraries, he wants to teach Bible stories:

  • Two daughters get their father drunk to have sex with him so that they can become pregnant.
  • A woman remembers her lover having “the penis like a donkey and a flood of semen like a horse.”
  • Men lie about their marital status so their wives join other men’s harems.
  • Women encourage their husbands to have sex with young women.
  • A married woman rips the clothes off an attractive young foreigner.
  • Men marry or have sex with their half sisters, daughter-in-law, one of his father’s wives, etc.

Oklahoma’s governor refused to sign a bill to fund OPB because it could over-sexualize children.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill allowing prosecution of book publishers, sellers, and distributors for providing “obscene” written materials to state’s public schools. The new law carries one to six years in prison and a minimum $10,000 fine, increased to $100,000 for a new offense. The definition of “obscene” is determined by an average person applying contemporary community standards, no doubt the conservative person objecting to it.

The law is one of 119 considered in state legislatures this year to limit children’s access to written materials. Texas wants to mandate age ratings on the covers of all books sold to public and charter schools. Louisiana wants its AG to investigate publishers and distributors of materials “harmful to minors.”  

May 3, 2023

Carroll’s Trial, Debt Ceiling Crisis, Supreme Court Hearing in Senate

Big news for today starts with the resolution of the mass shooting in Cleveland (TX) last Friday. After four days, the man who allegedly murdered five of his neighbors after they asked him to stop shooting an AR-15-style weapons has been arrested in Montgomery County, 17 miles from the massacre. A tip led authorities where he was hiding under laundry in a closet. The home belonged to one of his relatives. The undocumented migrant possessed at least five guns, the victims’ family reported deputies were slow to respond, and the FBI published the wrong photo and spelling of his name. The 38-year-old Mexican national had been deported from the U.S. four times since 2009. His mass shooting was the 180th one in the first 120 days of 2023. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had called the victims “illegal immigrants,” but at least one of them was not undocumented. The nine-year-old boy may be a citizen if he was born in the U.S.

E. Jean Carroll’s trial continued on Monday after the judge failed to agree with multiple requests from Joe Tacopina, attorney for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), for a mistrial based on the judge’s “pervasive unfair and prejudicial rulings.” The 18-page complaint included such issues as Tacopina’s courtroom table being larger than the one for Carroll’s lawyers. Failing to understand during his cross examination that part of Carroll’s memoir was satire, like that of 18th-century author Jonathan Swift, Tacopina claimed that the judge and Carroll belong to a kind of elite culture that excludes him.  Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance said that DDT’s lawyers are establishing arguments for an appeal if DDT loses.

On Tuesday, a longtime friend of Carroll’s testified about the contents of a telephone call from the plaintiff in the lawsuit minutes after the rape, and Tacopina said DDT would not be appearing to take the stand. Because the case is civil, he does not need to appear in court, but he is one of only two defense witnesses listed by his attorney. Carroll’s attorney plans to play part of DDT’s testimony from his deposition in October. Another member of DDT’s legal team, W. Perry Brandt, cross-examined her.

Jessica Leeds, an 81-year-old retired stockbroker, also testified about DDT groping her on an airplane in the late 1970s after he moved her up to first class. She did not know who he was when he made the offer to upgrade her seat. She said that after she had to fight off his attempts to kiss her and grab her breast, she returned to her seat in coach.

According to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the U.S. will fail to pay all its obligations starting on June 1 because of April’s lower-than-expected revenue if the det ceiling is not raised. Without a congressional vote to raise the debt ceiling, the country and the world will be in dire financial problems. The House is gone for this week, leaving it in session for only 12 days before June 1. President Joe Biden will be in Australia and Japan for two weeks in May.

Republicans are upset about a fact sheet from the Department of Veterans Affairs describing the results of the House GOP bill cutting the department’s budget by 22 percent:  

  • Over 6,000 staff eliminated.
  • 30 million fewer Veteran outpatient visits.
  •  81,000 jobs lost in the VA causing veterans unable to obtain healthcare including wellness visits, cancer screenings, mental health services, and substance use disorder treatment.
  • 134,000 disability claims put in a backlog.
  • Stop construction on VA healthcare facilities. (The median time a VA hospital was built is almost 60 years ago compared to 13 years in the private sector.)
  • $565 million loss for construction projects including clinical upgrades to hospitals and clinics.
  • 500 staff eliminated in VA’s National Cemetery Administration including the delay of five new national cemeteries to serve almost 1.6 million veterans and eligible family members.

Outside the VA but affecting veterans:

  • Eliminate funding for Housing Choice Vouchers for up to 50,000 veterans, increasing their risk of homelessness.
  • Increase food insecurity for 1.3 million veterans relying on SNAP.
  • Deprive veterans of mental health, substance sue, and other health services.
  • Deprive veterans of mental health, substance use, and other health services.
  • Stop job training and other support for 4,200 homeless veterans.

When Republicans claimed they didn’t make these cuts, Biden provided them with a diagram to show they did.

Question: “Did you vote for a bill that cuts domestic spending by 22%?”

If answer is yes – question: “Did the bill say, ‘This does NOT apply to veterans benefits?'”

If the answer is no – statement: “You voted to cut veterans benefits.”

With the bill’s growth cap at one percent per year exempting military spending, Social Security, and Medicare, cuts must be at least 22 percent across the board, perhaps 28 percent. If veterans’ care isn’t cut, everything else must be cut by one-third in 2024, increasing to 59 percent in 2033.

Republicans have vowed not to raise taxes, but 218 GOP House members voted to do exactly that. Their bill repeals clean-energy tax credits created last year, raising taxes on manufacturers, car buyers, etc. by $300 billion in the next decade. Republicans simply believe, however, that this tax doesn’t exist.

A large number of current Republicans in the House were not present for the last crisis in 2011, and their level of incompetence is stunning. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN), in his second term, thinks that September is the “actual drop-dead rate, so we’re good.” In only his third term, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) said the Senate could “take the heat for shutting [the government] down.” A default is far more than a simple “shutdown.” Coming into Congress in 2012, Rep. Tom Massie (R-KY) still hasn’t learned that the Federal Reserve is an independent agency. And others, including House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-IN) who is in his fourth term, think that the debt-limit bill used a process known as the “committee of the whole,” meaning devised on the chamber floor during discussion, although the bill came from a secret backroom deal.​

Predictably, the GOP threat of a debt default is driving the stock market down. The pain to investers and the destruction of the economy can help Republicans in 2024—or so they think. The House GOP insists it will crash the economy on purpose unless its radical demands are met, and Democrats refuse negotiations with threats of deliberate harm to people in the U.S. Emmer declined to say whether the U.S. would default.

In addition, a default will increase the debt, even temporarily, because it will cause the relatively low interest on current debts to skyrocket. Global investors may also look for alternatives because the U.S. would no longer be considered a safe asset.  

Biden has invited the four congressional leaders—Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)—to the White House on May 9 for discussions about the House’s bill. Of the five, only one, McCarthy, is charging toward default, and presently he is out of the country telling Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Biden is wrong about the U.S. foreign policy. Schumer has begun the Senate process of both a clean debt ceiling bill to suspend the limit for two years and one to consider the House bill for future budget negotiations.

Heather Cox Richardson wrote about whether the constitution requires the government to pay its bills whether Congress actually raises the debt ceiling or not. She quotes the fourth section of the Fourteenth Amendment:

“The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

Richardson’s explanation of the GOP lawmakers adding this section to the constitution after the Civil War:

“When Republican lawmakers wrote the Fourteenth Amendment in 1866, they recognized that a refusal to meet the nation’s financial obligations would dismantle the government, and they defended the sanctity of the commitments the government had made. When voters ratified that amendment in 1868, they added to the Constitution, our fundamental law, the principle that the obligations of the country ‘shall not be questioned.’”

The other big news of the day is a rancorous Senate hearing about the Supreme Court justices’ ethical problems. Democrats want a code of ethics, either from the justices themselves or, if they refuse, from Congress. Republicans say everything is just fine and that the Democrats are being political, just like the “liberal media.” For 32 years, the Supreme Court admits it is bound under federal financial disclosure rules—although they don’t follow them—but no other code of judicial conduct. Minority ranking member Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went so far as to accuse Democrats of encouraging assassination attempts against conservative justices. Other dialog disagreed about whether Congress could take action with authorities on both sides.    

Noted conservative J. Michael Luttig, a former appeals court judge, wrote that the constitution gives Congress the power “to enact laws prescribing the ethical standards applicable to the non-judicial conduct and activities of the supreme court of the United States” although it cannot mandate that the court “prescribe such standards for itself.”

Michael Mukasey, a former attorney general under George W. Bush, said “the public is being asked to hallucinate misconduct,” ignoring the evidence of unethical and inappropriate “record-keeping” by some of the justices.

Over half the people in the United States don’t trust the Supreme Court—and for good reason. Three of them—Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas—think a man should be executed without permission for DNA testing that could prove his innocence.

Out of room for today—more about the Supreme Court tomorrow!

April 27, 2023

Trials, GOP Extortion, Supreme Court,

President Joe Biden announced his run for a second term on the first day of his major opponent Deposed Donald Trump’s (DDT) civil trial for allegedly raping E. Jean Carroll 27 years ago. Carroll, the second witness, described the assault’s trauma and the disastrous aftermath that destroyed her ability to have intimate relationships. Furious, DDT posted smears of her and her attorney on social media. The trial judge warned DDT’s attorneys to tell their client to stop the posting with the possibility of a contempt of court ruling or other legal consequences if he continued and said that DDT appeared to be trying to influence the jury.

DDT’s first posting, that LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman was paying Carroll’s legal team, violated a previous order from the judge who ruled that Hoffman’s involvement should not be mentioned in front of the jury. Another post demanded that the DNA on her dress be considered although DDT waited until past the deadline to submit a DNA sample. The judge also barred any mention of the DNA. DDT’s lawyer Joe Tacopina struggled in court because he had already argued that the DNA be excluded. He told the judge he would talk to his client about restraining himself in his posts “to the degree that I have an ability to,” sounding meeker than during his hostile opening statements on April 25 attacking Carroll’s account.

Former U.S. attorney and MSNBC legal analyst Joyce Vance stated:

“Trump can’t be bothered to be in the court room & has said he won’t testify–probably afraid of cross ex. It’s easier to take cheap, untrue shots on social media.”

Former VP Mike Pence must testify before the DOJ grand jury probing the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, according to the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court. DDT sued to block the testimony and then appealed after he lost.

The Supreme Court has returned the fate of mifepristone, an abortion medication, to the 5th Circuit Court. The Biden administration has filed an appeal to overrule the ruling by federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Texas to outlaw the drug in the entire U.S. Plaintiffs have until May 8 to respond to the government’s filing; the appeals court will hear arguments on May 17.

The bill designed to strip millions of people in the U.S. of assistance to give a small amount increasing the national debt for a few months passed the House in a squeaker—217 Republicans to a total of 215 nays from all Democrats and GOP Reps. Andy Biggs (AZ), Ken Buck (R-CO), Tim Burchett ((TN), and Matt Gaetz (FL). Burchett realistically pointed out that the bill will “cut the rate of growth [and] actually add to the deficit over 10 years.”

Despite his win, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), needing the bill to keep his position, doesn’t look pleased with himself as he meets with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Biden. His only hope is that passing the bill will force the president to “negotiate” with him over its terms although McCarthy repeatedly said that he will not negotiate anything in the bill. The measure has no hope in the Senate, according to Schumer.

Biden said he would meet with McCarthy but not give in to his demand for negotiations. Deciding whether the debt limit gets extended is “not negotiable.” Biden has always been open to talking about the GOP budget, but the House cannot come up with one. A White House official said that the bill is “not a real budget, but they’ve now put forward a plan.”

Biden’s meeting will also not be with only McCarthy; it will include the top four House and Senate leaders and possibly top appropriators.

“I will not change the [debt ceiling] bill,” McCarthy had said and then changed the bill at 2:00 in the morning to get enough votes, caving into Midwestern GOP congressional members demanding the measure include ethanol tax credits. It also accelerated the time for work requirements for benefits to October. The bill cuts Medicaid and food stamps recipients with stricter limits for work requirements, especially difficult in rural areas, predominantly GOP. SNAP already requires able-bodied adults without dependents to spend 20 hours a week in employment or training, a mandate which states could waive during the pandemic from a DDT bill.

Even without the GOP bill, benefits have been cut this year for millions of people. Over 16 million households have seen shrinking amounts for food through the supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). Seniors receiving an increase two years ago from the pandemic saw their allotment go from $295 a month to as little as $23. Up to 15 million individuals are soon losing Medicaid since the change in the pandemic policies that now requires continuous rechecking of eligibility.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) summarized what the GOP vote means:

“In tax cuts in 2017 passed by the other side of the aisle, we see wonderful tax cuts for yacht owners and private jets. But in order to balance our budget now, we’re talking about cuts to SNAP, to food out of babies’ mouths.”

Ocasio-Cortez was referring to the GOP tax cuts that gave massive benefits to the wealthy and big businesses. McCarthy and his tribe refuse to even consider any partial replacement of those cuts.

McCarthy lied when he said “a no-strings-attached debt-limit increase cannot pass,” according to Jonathan Chait. A bill to raise a clean debt ceiling would require very few Republicans to join the Democratic caucus. “Republicans say their least conservative members might be willing to raise the debt ceiling without concessions, but they are afraid of what the craziest Republicans would do to them,” Chait wrote.  McCarthy needed the bill for a ransom in his extortion plan.

Republicans are following the same pattern as they have for decades: the GOP automatically raises the debt ceiling when they control the government, but House Democrats don’t use the same extortion against a Republican president. The GOP is playing a game of chicken, risking the global economy, and Biden won’t pay the ransom.

In the Senate, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has refused an invitation from Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) to testify at a hearing about the high court’s ethics rules and potential reforms. Roberts indicated that doing so would threaten judicial independence because it is a separate branch. The Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate aspects of the court’s structure and procedures. One of these categories is “Judicial Ethics.”

In a letter to Roberts, Durbin stated, “It is time for Congress to accept its responsibility to establish an enforceable code of ethics for the Supreme Court.” Roberts responded with a restatement of court’s ethics, principals, and practices. He called the requested testimony “exceedingly rare” for what he called “mundane matters.”

Roberts’ attitude indicates that all is well with his court, far from the truth. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) requested a full account from Harlan Crow of extravagant undisclosed trips, gifts, and payments he gave Justice Clarence Thomas as well as evidence that Crow complied with federal tax law. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) is the second senator to call for Clarence Thomas’ resignation.

In a bipartisan action, Sens. Angus King (I-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) are introducing legislation requiring the high court to create its own code of conduct within a year and publish the code on its website to be available to the public. The court would name someone to handle complaints of code violations and give the court authority to initiate investigations for conduct by justices or staff affecting the administration of justice or violating federal laws or codes of conduct.  

Ocasio-Cortez declared:  

“Under Roberts, the Supreme Court has unraveled constitutional rights and seen several justices engage in corrupt financial arrangements. Now he is refusing to answer questions. How does Roberts expect SCOTUS to maintain authority if they reject accountability themselves?”

In June, only 25 percent in a Gallup poll found people having “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the Supreme Court, a drop from the 36 percent of respondents who said so in 2021. 

Thomas justified his actions by claiming Crow had not had cases before the court, but he was wrong—or lied. In January 2005, when Thomas stopped disclosing Crow’s gifts, the Crow family had a “non-controlling interest in a commercial real estate development company sued by an architecture firm for more than $25 million. Thomas did not recuse himself in the court decision declining to hear an appeal from the architecture firm. Crow’s company said tenant protections threatened its profits so Thomas voted to end them—twice. 

In another Supreme Court ethics problem, Justice Neil Gorsuch made as much as $500,000 on a real estate sale of $1.825 million but didn’t mention it was from the chief executive of law firm Greenberg Traurig with business before the high court. The offer was made for the property a few days after DDT nominated Gorsuch on January 31, 2017, eleven days after DDT was inaugurated and almost a year after the position had been vacated. Then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) held it open until DDT could name the nomination. The firm has been involved in at least 22 cases at the court; in 12 cases, Gorsuch voted for the firm eight times.

April 24, 2023

DDT’s Desperate Moves Usually Fail

After a win from the 2nd Circuit Court, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has reached a settlement with Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) Judiciary Committee to allow it to interview former Mark Pomerantz who investigated former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Bragg’s general counsel will be present during the interview that Jordan wants in his struggle to protect Deposed Donald Trump (DDT).

DDT’s latest attack is on the Wall Street Journal, owned by Fox network owner Rupert Murdoch. While pleased with the WSJ report that polls show him defeating Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the primaries by over 20 points, it also stated that DeSantis has a better chance of defeating than DDT by 41 percent to 31 percent.

A leading antiabortion group, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America (SBA), may not support DDT after his campaign said abortion policies should be decided at the state level. SBA said his position is “morally indefensible.” The group also called this claim “a completely inaccurate reading of the Dobbs decision” although the opinion clearly makes this statement.

In mid-January 2021, DDT’s legal team texted with two men hired to breach the voting machine in Coffee County (GA) about whether to use its data to decertify the state’s pending runoff results electing Jon Ossoff to the U.S. Senate. DDT’s lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell orchestrated the breach to put the Senate into GOP control. Considering a racketeering case, Fulton County (GA) DA Fani Willis has subpoenaed several people in the breach, including Giuliani, Powell, and the two men hired by DDT’s legal team.

At a December 18, 2020 White House meeting prior to the breach, Giuliani had recommended the accessing of voting machines as an alternative to ordering the military of DHS to seize voting machines.  Witnesses said DDT attended what aides and allies described as a lengthy and acrimonious meeting in the Oval Office which one of them called “the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency.” DDT presided over the meeting while his advisers argued about whether they should have federal agents seize voting machines. Giuliani suggested the access would be “voluntary.”

Surveillance photos show a fake DDT elector walking operatives into the county elections office before the voting machine breach. The data has not yet been recovered, raising concerns about how it could be used to disrupt future election results, and has been “shared covertly with an unknown number of election deniers,” according to a senior advisor for election security.  

The use of breached voting data to give GOP control of the Senate may have broken more laws than DDT’s calls to Georgia officials demanding they change Georgia votes to change the state popular vote for Biden. The unauthorized access to privileged computer data is a conspiracy to obtain and distribute the data, “interfering with the rights of the people of Georgia to have a free and fair election,” according to former prosecutor Michael Zeldin.  

DDT is denying any problem with stealing classified documents by declaring that the Presidential Records Act (PRA) requires him “to negotiate with NARA, the National Archives and Records Administration… There is no criminality,” he maintains, calling the situation “the boxes hoax.” According to a fact check, the law which he referenced was passed in 1978 after former president Richard Nixon tried to keep millions of documents and White House tapes exposing the Watergate affair.

Collections of presidential papers were lost before the PRA was passed because presidential records were considered private property. That guideline ended in 1981 when the PRA declared that “complete ownership, possession, and control” would rest with the public once the president left office. The law defines “presidential records” as documentary materials received by the president, his immediate staff, or members of the executive office “to advise or assist the President, in the course of conducting activities which relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President.” Only during his presidency can he “negotiate” with NARA about what records are personal; that right ends the minute the next president is inaugurated.

In a March 27 interview with Sean Hannity, DDT claimed the right to documents and said that Nixon got $18 million for his records. Nixon left office in 1974, seven years before the PRA went into effect. Because of a 23-year lawsuit culminating in 2000, the lawyers got all except for the $90,000 that went to Nixon’s family six years after he died. DDT also accused George W. Bush of taking “millions and millions of documents to a former bowling alley pieced together with what was then an old and broken Chinese restaurant” and that there was “no security.” In fact, NARA kept the documents there while Bush’s presidential library was being built, with protection from uniformed guards, closed-circuit monitors, and sophisticated electronic detectors on walls and doors.

DDT also claimed that Bill Clinton “kept classified recordings in his sock” and “took millions of documents from the White House to a former car dealership in Arkansas.” The tapes were of Clinton’s personal conversations with author Taylor Branch for an oral history of his presidency, which NARA determined were his own records as defined under the law, and Clinton leased a former Oldsmobile dealership while his library was being built. DDT also accused President Obama of keeping “33 million pages of documents, much of them classified,” but NARA has possession of these documents.

The PRA has no criminal enforcement provision, but a judge ruled during the lawsuit about Clinton’s tapes that the Federal Records Act grants NARA the authority to initiate “action through the Attorney General for the recovery of records wrongfully removed and for other redress provided by law.” The FBI’s search warrant cited statutes related to three possible offenses: one, willfully retaining national defense information and failing to deliver it to the proper official; two, willfully and unlawfully concealing or removing a document filed with a public officer of the United States; and three, criminal violation of laws regarding the destruction of evidence in obstruction of certain federal investigations or proceedings.

For his false claims, Glenn Kessler gave DDT Four Pinocchios. 


DDT’s lawyer, Evan Corcoran, has recused himself from DDT’s legal problems regarding the stolen government documents because he claimed that DDT had no more materials after the search warrant discovered hundreds of them, many of them classified. A new lawyer, Joe Tacopina, may lose his place in the DDT’s indictment because of a conflict of interest. Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has asked the judge to order Tacopina to open up his law firm’s files for his legal involvement with Stormy Daniels who had asked Tacopina for possible representation. In a 2018 CNN interview, he told Don Lemon that he had “an attorney-client privilege that attaches even to a consultation.” Later he denied that was true because he refused the case.

In the E. Jean Carroll rape case, the judge is not requiring DDT to attend the trial, but he cannot tell jurors he will be absent to protect New York City from “alleged burdens.” The trial is expected to begin on April 25; two days later DDT is scheduled to be at a New Hampshire campaign rally. According to Carroll, DDT’s deposition already has damaging admissions, including his confusion between her and his ex-wife Marla Maples in a photo after he said Carroll wasn’t his “type.

Tacopina has already lost several filings both to delay the Carroll trial and to know the identities of the jurors, declared anonymous by the judge. The four-week “cooling off” period requested was unnecessary, according to the judge who said that DDT had caused much of the publicity surrounding his April 4 indictment and that the request was a “delay tactic.” He also pointed out that the trial for 79-year-old Carroll has been pending for three years, and she deserves a fair trial.

Tacopina’s first request for the jurors’ identities requested their names, employment, and 38 other pieces of information on a questionnaire submitted to him. DDT’s lawyers have been preparing questions for screening the jurors. A few of them:

  • List every social platform you are on.
  • What cable news network do you watch?
  • Have you ever used the hashtag #BelieveAllWomen when discussing sexual assault?
  • Do you think that the #metoo movement has gone too far?
  • Are you familiar with the allegations made against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh before he was confirmed to the Court?

Carroll’s lawyer argued against any delay, saying that DDT faces other criminal investigations such as the one in Fulton County (GA) and one by a federal special counsel regarding the January 6, 2021 insurrection and the theft of the federal documents.

Happiest in court, DDT is suing his former lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen for $500 million, accusing him of breaching confidentiality and “spreading falsehoods” about DDT. His complaint not only gave evidence of his involvement in the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels but also will reveal more secrets about DDT in the discovery process. The accusation that Cohen lied to Congress inadvertently concluded that he did it to protect DDT’s covert business dealings with Russia and a reliable source for special counsel Robert Mueller. And possibly no one knows more about DDT than Cohen.

Election-denier Adam Laxalt, who lost his candidacy for U.S. Senate from Nevada last year despite DDT’s support, has now transferred his allegiance to Ron DeSantis.

April 20, 2023

McCarthy Makes Debt Ceiling Fight Front and Center

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 11:45 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) finally has a plan (proposal?) for managing the debt ceiling and wants his caucus to pass it next week. When he and other radical Republicans have declared they won’t pass an increase in the debt ceiling to the national debt, they completely ignore the fact that a debt ceiling is paying past bills. Without paying bills, the U.S. goes into default which causes financial disaster for both the nation and the world.

The proposal is actually a budget, which the House Republicans have been unable, or unwilling, to prepare. It’s just a way to remove $130 billion from the sliver of the national budget for domestic projects such as education, healthcare, etc. That $130 billion is almost 20 percent of discretionary funding. The other piece of the proposal is to increase the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion until March 31, 2024, before shutting down payment of debts again in the midst of the 2024 campaigns until another deal is made. The real goal of the proposal is to create votes for Republicans.  

The White House pointed out that supporters of McCarthy’s bill vote “to cut education, veterans medical care, cancer research, meals on wheels, food safety, and law enforcement.” They also support offshore manufacturing, take healthcare from people, threaten food for older people, increase energy bills, raise taxes, and “protect wealthy tax cheats.” They also vote to offshore America manufacturing, take health care away for Americans, threaten food assistance for older Americans, increase energy bills, raise taxes, and “protect wealthy tax cheats.”

McCarthy says his plan will create $4.5 trillion in cuts, but this is the same party that claimed tax cuts for the wealthy and big business would bring the U.S. about $1.8 trillion. Instead, the 2017 GOP tax cuts is losing $1.7 trillion; the loss of that revenue has caused the debt ceiling to increase. Corporations used their largess to buy back stocks instead of investing money in their businesses and creating more jobs. McCarthy’s idea, even if the U.S. doesn’t default, will trigger a recession in 2024, cost the economy up to six million jobs, and push unemployment to up to nine percent, according to Moody’s economists. Interest rates can skyrocket and $15 trillion in household assets can be wiped out. The GOP sees this as a win.

When Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) came into office, the national debt was $19.9 trillion; on his departure, it was $27.7 trillion. He promised to get rid of the debt but added almost 40 percent to it. Republicans don’t care about the debt. They just want to destroy Democrats by causing chaos.  Republican presidents run up the deficit with their bad ideas, and Democrat presidents have to reverse the problem. Obama’s first two years were so bad because of W. Bush’s tax cuts, wars, and housing bubble leading to a serious recession. 

Some pieces in McCarthy’s 320-page proposal:

  • Revert funding for fiscal 2024 to fiscal 2022 levels.
  • Limit spending growth to 1 percent annually over the next decade. (Hopes for inflation are keeping it down to 2 percent.)
  • Roll back student loan actions, including the ongoing loan repayment pause, implemented by DDT, and plan for forgiveness.
  • Boost oil and gas production by cutting time to greenlight energy projects. (McCarthy said the legislation targets “green giveaways,” (his term for green energy tax credits).
  • Eliminate tax credits for electric vehicles along with credits for solar and wind infrastructure.
  • Increase work requirements for food stamps for people between 50 to 56 years old and Medicaid.
  • Take back unobligated coronavirus funds approved in March 2021.
  • Remove $70 billion in an IRS funding increase at a revenue loss of $180 billion.
  • Eliminate tax credits for electric vehicles along with credits for solar and wind infrastructure.

McCarthy didn’t list specific cuts, but House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) asked agencies what would happen with his ideas to reduce 2024 discretionary, non-defense spending. Examples:

  • Shut down 125 air traffic control towers.
  • Eliminate nutrition services for 1 million senior citizens.
  • Lose house assistance for 1.1 million families.
  • Impact 6.6 million students relying on Pell Grants.
  • Lessen support for 1.2 million women, infants, and children receiving WIC.
  • Take 200,000 children from Head Start.
  • Remove 100,000 children from childcare.

McCarthy insisted that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and President Joe Biden “come to the table” and negotiate. Biden and congressional Democratic leaders call for a “clean” debt limit bill with separate negotiations on a budget. On the Senate floor, Schumer said:  

“With a default approaching, Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy yesterday capitulated to the MAGA right and rolled out a partisan wish list masquerading as legislation. This MAGA wish list has no chance of moving forward in the Senate, and it doesn’t move us any closer than we were yesterday to avoiding default.”

Biden said his budget would save $3 trillion in the next decade and added:

“Take default off the table, and let’s have a real serious, detailed conversation about how to grow the economy, lower costs and reduce the deficit.”

From far-right Scott Perry (R-PA) to “moderate” Nancy Mace (R-SC) with gadfly Matt Gaetz (R-FL) in between, Republicans are critical of McCarthy’s “Limit, Save, Grow” proposal for the same reason that Biden is—it’s not a plan. Their comments also demonstrate a distrust in the Speaker: after McCarthy walked Republicans through the proposal in a closed meeting, Perry said, “I don’t think that’s the entire package.” Mace said that “the debt ceiling vote without a plan [doesn’t] bode well for the outcome.” Gaetz added that McCarthy’s bill “couldn’t possibly have 218 votes because it doesn’t even exist.”

Arguments come from legislators who want to be more punitive; conservatives, including Rep. Chip Roy (R-MD) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), want to raise the mandatory number of work hours for benefits to 30 a week. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) also criticized the bill because it didn’t go through committees of jurisdiction although McCarthy had agreed to move most legislation through regular order so that he could be elected Speaker. Biggs was one of the hardline conservatives who had demanded that change. Roy told Biggs, “Most of it’s just cutting a bunch of things.”

Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), who has been deeply involved in creating the bill, admitted that they must do more work to get enough support. McCarthy assigned Garret Graves, on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Natural Resources Committee, to be instrumental in preparing the proposal, overlooking involvement from Reps. Jodey Arrington (R-TX), budget committee chair, and Steve Scalise (R-LA), in preparing the proposal.  Arrington’s name will still be on the bill. 

Behind the scenes, McCarthy has said he has “no confidence” in Arrington and called his TV appearances “unhelpful.” McCarthy also regards Arrington “as incompetent.” Comments by McCarthy about Scalise:

“McCarthy has told colleagues and allies that he cannot rely on Mr. Scalise, describing the majority leader as ineffective, checked out and reluctant to take a position on anything.”

Both Arrington and Scalise wanted to be Speaker instead of McCarthy.  Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) recognizes that the House Republicans may vote for the bill when he said that nothing unites the GOP more than “helping rich people cheat on their taxes.” He called it “a centerpiece of the ransom Speaker McCarthy has cobbled together as he threatens to trigger a catastrophic default.” To protect their wealthy friends, GOP legislators have repeatedly described armed IRS agents descending on small businesses and homes of ordinary U.S. people. Without intervention, the traditional IRS dodging by the wealthy may cost the government over $7 trillion in the next decade. The richest 1 percent of U.S. households don’t report 21 percent of their income while the working class pay their fair share of taxes.

The first bill passed by Republicans in the 118th Congress was to remove IRS funding. For decades the IRS has been underfunded, but the last decade has been the worst, with the enforcement budget dropping by almost 25 percent. In 2017, the under 10,000 revenue agents were the same number as in 1953 when the IRS annually handled 100+ million fewer individual income tax returns. Antiquated IRS technology is at least 25 years old with obsolete programming languages and lack of vendor support, training, and maintenance support. Instead of the mythical “gun-toting enforcement agents” that Republicans claim will be hired, the IRS needs employees to process refunds and answer phone calls. Increased audits with new funding will be used only for those annually earning over $400,000.

Thirteen years ago, a similar debt ceiling crisis resulted before President Obama agreed to a sequester imposing tough caps on discretionary spending. Under GOP control of Congress of both Congress and the White House, however, the spending caps set in 2011 were ignored, and discretionary spending increased by 16 percent. Now the Republicans are demanding a massive reduction with a Democratic president, waiting until they get a Republican back into the White House. To smear Biden, McCarthy is releasing doctored videos from 2011 with mixes of clips from 2011 taken out of context.

McCarthy’s timing for trying to pass his bill may be a bit off. With Fox and Dominion Voting Systems having settled, the media focus can return to the problems with settling the debt ceiling which must be finished by June before the U.S. runs out of money.

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