Nel's New Day

April 15, 2021

Biden’s Foreign Policy, Domestic Terrorism

While Republicans complain about President Joe Biden’s inaction and lack of lying bombast exhibited by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), Biden is quietly strengthening U.S. foreign policy.

Today Biden sanctioned 40 Russian groups and individuals for the Russian major cyber espionage operation, operations to elect DDT in the past two presidential elections, the massive Russian buildup on the Ukrainian border, and Russia’s ongoing occupation and “severe human rights abuses” in Crimea. He blocked U.S. financial institutions from purchasing bonds from Russia’s Central Bank, National Wealth Fund, and Ministry of Finance after June 14 and from lending money to these institutions. Biden also expelled ten people from Washington’s Russian diplomatic mission and considers sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt. He now proposes a summit where the U.S. and Russia can discuss these problems.

Republicans yell and whine about election fraud, but reports show DDT’s 2016 campaign manager in frequent, covert contact with a Chinese intelligence officer, once his business associate. Paul Manafort passed internal polling data to the operative who asked him to support a proposal to allow Chinese success in the South China Sea territorial disputes. Biden sanctioned the operative Konstantin Kilimnik, identified as a “Russian and Ukrainian political consultant and known Russian Intelligence Services agent implementing influence operations on their behalf.” Manafort promoted the lie, still pushed by GOP congressional members, that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election on DDT’s behalf. The FBI has a reward of $250,000 for Kilimnik’s arrest. DDT pardoned Manafort and freed him from prison. 

Kilimnik’s information from Manafort went through a secret pipeline, perhaps used throughout DDT’s four-year term, directly to Russian intelligence to defeat Hillary Clinton. A Senate Intelligence Committee report, endorsed by Republicans, marked him a “grave counterintelligence threat.” Secretary of State Antony echoed the Senate report by repeating the U.S. intelligence report that Russia “presents one of the most serious intelligence threats to the United States.”

This week, Biden also gave September 11, 2021, as the deadline for removing the last 2,500 U.S. military members from Afghanistan. He selected the 20th anniversary of the foreign terrorist attack on U.S. soil killing 3,000 people which led George W. Bush to start the “military mission” in the Middle East costing U.S. taxpayers almost $7 trillion. Biden said he will not pass the war to a fifth president and is following DDT’s agreement with the Taliban to withdraw troops.

Today Secretary of State Antony Blinken followed Biden’s announcement with a surprise visit to Afghan leaders in Kabul and repeated the U.S. commitment to helping their government. He emphasized counter-terrorism cooperation and “protecting the rights of women and girls,” according to a department announcement.

Biden has also sent an unofficial delegation to Taiwan as “an important signal about the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and its democracy,” according to an official. Last week, the USS John S. McCain went through the Taiwan Strait, and the carrier Theodore Roosevelt went to the South China Sea for “routine operations.” China typically protests the U.S. being in those international waters, especially with its support for Taiwan.

Biden plans to meet Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, hoping for a joint statement supporting Taiwan and discussing China’s treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang and influence over Hong Kong. Japan and the U.S. have not had a joint statement about Taiwan for over 50 years. The meeting prefaces one in May with Biden and South Korea’s President Moon Jae about managing China’s rising power and that of North Korea with the help of the Quad—Australia, India, Japan, and North Korea.

A U.S. negotiating team in Vienna led by Robert Malley is working with Iran representatives to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement. Initially, they are working on the over 700 sanctions imposed by DDT to permanently destroy the deal. In efforts to scuttle any deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed pleasure when opposing Israelis reportedly bombed an Iranian nuclear facility. If Biden succeeds in redeeming the agreement, he plans to “expand and strengthen” the pact by covering Iran’s militant activities and missile program to obtain support from congressional opposition. Iran may hold off until after their elections in June.

Today, Inspector General Michael Bolton testified before the House Administration Committee about the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and argued for a campus security overhaul. He said a deputy assistant chief of police told officers not to use any weapons including stingballs and 40mm launchers, weapons that could have helped them protect the Capitol. Thus far, one task force and over one-half dozen congressional committees have started investigations into why law enforcement failed to prevent the insurrection when hundreds of DDT’s supporters invaded and vandalized the Capitol building to stop the certification of Biden as the legal president.

Bolton, who may have the most complete examination of problems permitting the Capitol Police to be overrun by “deficiencies,” will continue the probe for several more months. He has already provided Congress with two interim reports about the lack of security clearances, personnel, equipment, and training to respond to these attacks. Calling for a “cultural change,” Bolton said law enforcement at the Capitol must move from the “traditional posture of a police department” to “a protection agency” focusing on preventing events like the January 6 riot. Preparation of a supplemental spending package for reforms of campus security will also use an evaluation from retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré requested by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA), in addition to Bolton’s recommendation to invest funding in training. That activity would include gathering, analyzing, and assessing intelligence for responses to future threats.

Following TheDonald.win before the Capitol attack would have made the high danger of violence on January 6 obvious. Participants covered ways to bring guns into D.C., quantity of ammunition, legal weapons such as stun guns and small knives, methods of attacking police officers with flagpoles and other objects, the best type of zip ties to use on congressional members certifying Biden’s election, and discussions of building the most effective gallows for use on disloyal congressional members according to the attackers. “Camarokirk” preferred a guillotine because it’s “more scary.” A dissenter brought up the problem of how “to get that big blade into town,” and the gallows the insurrectionists actually built, intended for VP Mike Pence, cost only $200. Many of the violent ideas on the website came to fruition on January 6 with right-wing domestic terrorists disrupting the presidential vote certification.

DDT encouraged the violence as shown by this tweet on December 19: 

 “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

Website users traded maps, travel information, money, hotel recommendations, and organizations of cross-country caravans. Also available on the website were diagrams of the tunnel systems below the Capitol complex and ways of creating a “wall of death” by pushing the mob forward, forcing police to give up their positions.

A recent report shows that DDT, who told his conservative terrorist Proud Boys to “stand by” in his first presidential debate with Biden, is completely wrong in his obsession about the “left-wing problem” of domestic terrorism. Asked at the debate about white supremacists and fringe militia groups, he saw them as political allies and then pushed the far-left menace as being the danger. According to information from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the new highs of domestic terrorism events are chiefly driven by white-supremacist, anti-Muslim, and anti-government extremists on the far right. The surge is the worst since the 1990s. The WaPo reported:

“Since 2015, right-wing extremists have been involved in 267 plots or attacks and 91 fatalities, the data shows. At the same time, attacks and plots ascribed to far-left views accounted for 66 incidents leading to 19 deaths…. More than a quarter of right-wing incidents and just under half of the deaths in those incidents were caused by people who showed support for white supremacy or claimed to belong to groups espousing that ideology, the analysis shows.”

The most common targets in these far-right events are mosques, synagogues, Black churches, abortion clinics, and government buildings, which have been “threatened, burned, bombed and hit with gunfire over the past six years.”

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) announced his panel would do a “significant dive” into domestic anti-government extremists, including radicalized groups’ possible connections to foreign allies. Earlier, Biden officials announced an overhaul of the government treatment of domestic terrorism with a “comprehensive threat assessment” by intelligence agencies. Former DHS officials from both parties agreed DDT’s failure to focus on “the rise of domestic threats” was among the agency’s problems. According to the NBC News report, these officials agreed:

“[I]t was the four years of inadequately monitoring and communicating the rising threat of right-wing domestic extremists that ultimately led to DHS’ failure to prevent [the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol].”

The New York Times reported that DDT’s administration “diverted” federal law enforcement and domestic security agencies, pressuring officials to “uncover a left-wing extremist criminal conspiracy that never materialized,” even as “the threat from the far right was building ominously.” It added that the FBI, “in particular, had increasingly expressed concern about the threat from white supremacists, long the top domestic terrorism threat, and well-organized far-right extremist groups that had allied themselves with the president.” DDT did not find these issues at all concerning. 

Time to “Build Back Better.”

April 10, 2021

DDT Gathers Faithful As Insurrection Reports Continue

With hundreds of his faithful followers gathering at Mar-a-Lago, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is playing king for the weekend while reaping the financial benefits at his club, struggling since Joe Biden became president 81 days ago. DDT headlines the closed-door event to raise millions for the GOP in the luxury hotel Four Seasons four miles from DDT’s Florida estate, the location for his own fundraising. Participants can hear more lying rants about a “stolen” election wannabes such as Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Dakota’s Gov. Kristi Noem, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton wait for DDT to give up. He also made the event a feeding frenzy against absent Republicans such as former VP Mike Pence, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Elaine Chao.

Fundraising comes at the end of a week when the media described DDT’s scams to rip off poor constituents. His campaign automatically took regular sums of money from donors, many of them poor, unless the victims rescinded this process after reading through the fine print. Outcries caused the campaign to return $122 million—11 percent of his take last fall—to hundreds of thousands of people who discovered they were duped. Many more not be aware of the their losses. For months DDT used the money interest-free.

Instead of backing down, the site now threatens people with being “reported” to DDT as “defectors” if they don’t donate. The NRCC is participating in DDT’s scamming the Republicans through texting a ten-minute chance to join DDT’s “new social media site”—which doesn’t exist—and then using a default box to double their pledge amount and make it recurring.  DDT’s campaign also sent out over 500 fundraising requests since his election. 

DDT isn’t the only GOP scammer. WinRed, the for-profit collecting a percentage of the donations, is now on the websites of GOP committees and congressional Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and McConnell with the same pre-checked boxes at the end of text-heavy messages. The GOP website is based on ActBlue, a non-profit website where Democrats can donate to candidates.

The relationship between DDT and the RNC became tense last month when his PAC told other Republican groups to “immediately cease and desist the unauthorized use of President Donald J. Trump’s name, image, and/or likeness in all fundraising, persuasion, and/or issue speech.”

Competing with DDT’s event at another of his Florida properties, the Doral golf resort in Miami, is a conference hosted by Women in America First, a group leading the D.C. rally contributing to the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Notable among guests are such GOP rejects as Rep, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), stripped of all her committee assignments only weeks after being sworn in, and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), investigated for several federal charges including sex-trafficking. Gaetz gave the keynote speech.

As DDT is back to doing what he prefers—giving speeches and taking money–documents show how he was MIA on January 6 as his crowd attacked the U.S. Capitol. The media politely called DDT “disengaged” while insurrectionists beat up police and vandalized the U.S. legislative headquarters. He failed to stop the attacks for hours after VP Mike Pence, his life threatened by DDT’s followers, ordered acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller to “clear the Capitol” and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made desperate pleas to military leaders for the deployment of the National Guard.

The Pentagon and DDT wanted to avoid a military presence after ongoing fiascos during the Black Lives movement protests, including the use of helicopters over D.C. attempting to intimidate crowds. The Pentagon didn’t plan to notify Miller until the protesters numbered more than 20,000 at the Ellipse, but participants who went to the Capitol became immediately violent, breaking into the building and assaulting police officers in their way.

Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, now replaced, called the National Guard commanding general William Walker for help at 1:49 pm and repeated his request 20 minutes later. Meanwhile, senators ran from the chamber, and rioters went through their desks while more insurrectionists broke through more Capitol entrances to the House chamber. The troops weren’t activated for at least 75 minutes after the first panicky telephone call from Sund, and they still had to make their way from Andrews to the D.C. Armory before they went to the Capitol. Executing a plan took another two hours, but Pentagon security forces were guarding homes of defense leaders.

Two hours and 28 minutes after the first call, DDT finally tweeted his followers to “go home and go in peace.” Walker didn’t have approval to send the Guard to the Capitol for another 13 minutes. Almost three hours after their first call, Pelosi and Schumer again called Milley and the Pentagon leadership for help. The first contingent of 155 Guard members didn’t arrive for another 50 minutes. The Capitol wasn’t declared safe for over six hours after the Pentagon was told about the insurrection.

Thus far, 377 people have been charged for the Capitol insurrection. Almost 20 percent of them are connected to the military, either currently or in the past, many with dishonorable discharges. A new study of these arrested 377 people by Robert Pape, a specialist in security threats, examines demographics and county characteristics from their homes in 250 counties in 44 states. Some findings about the majority:

  • Most are older and more professional than right-wing protesters from the past.
  • They typically have no ties to current right-wing groups.
  • They are 95 percent White and 85 percent male.
  • Many live near or among Biden supporters in blue and purple counties, 52 percent of them Biden comfortably won.
  • “Counties with the most significant declines in the non-Hispanic White population are the most likely to produce insurrectionists who now face charges.”

Another report reveals law enforcement at the Capitol had expired ammunition, ineffective shields, and warnings from two weeks earlier about a map of the complex’s underground tunnels posted two weeks earlier on a pro-DDT website.  Capitol Police failed to establish standard operating procedures for the Civil Disturbance Unit and had fewer officers at the Capitol day than previously listed. Leadership ordered officers not to use all of its less-lethal options and “operated at a decreased level of readiness.” The intelligence division didn’t require security clearances and had no training program for all employees.

A riot defendant is exchanging a plea for testimony against the far-right extremist Proud Boys, one of the “paramilitary” groups attacking the Capitol.  About two dozen insurrectionists connected with the Proud Boys have been charged with federal crimes. Another rioter is flipping against the Oath Keepers, another extremist group.

After their December attack on a Black church in D.C., the Proud Boys may be short on resources because of a lawsuit for committing acts of terror. The group’s leader, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, has refused to respond, leaving the church close to a default win. Although Tarrio says the group is not a legal entity, leaders are tied to a network of LLCs in Florida and other places, crowdfunding at a Christian site, and at least one online store selling merchandise, some of it on behalf of DDT’s friend Roger Stone.

Documents indicate the violence at the Capitol was orchestrated before January 6 by several groups including the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and QAnon. Their goal was to stop the counting of the electoral college votes. Deputy to Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and two other members guarding Stone were indicted after the discovery of 19 phone calls over three hours during the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Calls indicated coordination of storming the Capitol, likely by Rhodes, along with a previously organized strategy. The total of indicted Oath Keepers for the event is now 12.

DDT escaped conviction at his impeachment trial for inciting the insurrection at the Capitol, but an investigation of his campaign shows his aides took dark money from campaign shell companies to subsidize the rallies—and riots. Women for America First, supposedly separate from DDT’s campaign, listed its staff members on a permit for the January 6 rally. They were directly paid by DDT’s 2020 campaign, and donations to DDT shelled out over $2.7 million to people and groups paying for the rally, one of them Megan Powers who received $290,000 for the campaign’s director of operations.

Fox network’s Tucker Carlson is spreading the fear of the “Great Replacement,” a theory believed by DDT’s supporters. White nationalists purport that mass migrations and low White birthrates supposedly replace White voters, perhaps why the insurrectionists come from counties with fast-increasing non-White populations. DDT spread the same fear almost four years ago by praising neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville (VA) and chanted “Jews will not replace us” before they beat up their protesters.   

Fox network, promoting the “replacement theory” opposing immigrants is run by immigrants: founder and co-chair Rupert Murdoch, born in Australia and living in the UK and the U.S.; co-chair and CEO Lachlan Murdoch, born in London and living in Australia; chief legal and policy officer Viet Dinh, Vietnamese refugee born in Ho Chi Minh City; lead outside director Jacques Nasser, born in Lebanon and grew up in Australia; and Fox director Anne Dias-Griffin, born and educated in France. And Tucker Carlson’s mother was a Lombardi, Italian people who were lynched by white supremacists in the South during the early 20th century. He has replaced a “White” voter.

April 4, 2021

Voting: States Polarize

When Georgia passed the most anti-voting rights law in over a half century, they likely hoped that the anti-Georgia backlash to authoritarianism would soon disappear. It’s just getting worse for them.

Atlanta has become the business hub of the South, moving the state from a backwoods region to a leader in world economy. At one time, Coca-Cola was the only major business, but the area’s development ballooned into the 10th largest in the country and the 18th in the world. The estimated GDP in 2014 came in over $324 billion, and investments cover the waterfront—finance, media, film and TV, healthcare, manufacturing, education, travel, etc.

Corporate objections to the law quelling voting by minorities and low-income people started slowly but took on momentum after the public backlash. Coca-Cola, a world empire, called the law “unacceptable” and objections from 73 Black business executives included Merck & Co. and American Express. Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, stated the company would have second thoughts about a decision “to invest substantially in Atlanta.” The Major League Baseball removed its July 13, 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta. A list of over 170 companies asking elected officials to protect voting access and oppose voter suppression.

After Delta objected to the new law, the state House tried to punish Delta by removing tens of millions of dollars of tax breaks, but the Senate wouldn’t touch the bill before it adjourned for the year.

MLB’s decision caused loud GOP cries of “cancel culture”—a term deteriorated into “anything the GOP doesn’t like.” Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp complained about MLB and the corporations’ opposition to his law being “woke”—defined as “alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice.” He’s correct, but being “woke” simply means fighting for voting rights. 

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) stated, “Boycott Major League Baseball (MLB), Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, ViacomCBS, Citigroup, Cisco, UPS, and Merck” He ranted about the “rigged” 2020 presidential election before he finished with “Happy Easter.”

Yet the GOP is blaming talk about boycotts on Black activist Stacey Abrams who protested the new Georgia anti-voting law but opposed boycotting Georgia because it hurts minorities and low-income people. Instead she asked corporations to find other ways to support voting rights activists and hold Republicans accountable.

Southern GOP bigotry already cost North Carolina $3.76 billion in lost business after its “bathroom” bill blocked transgender people from using facilities matching their gender identities. In addition, Gov. Pat McCrory lost his re-election attempt in the same year DDT won the state. Kemp, who signed the punitive Georgia bill the same day it passed, is up for re-election in 2022. To win, he will have to convince Georgia should return to the days of the Confederacy.

Georgia is leading the way for anti-voting bills in Arizona, Florida, and Texas, and companies in those states and others are responding with the same opposition as the ones in Georgia. Huge international businesses with headquarters in Texas such as American Airlines (Fort Worth) and Dell Technologies (Round Rock) are criticizing voter suppressions. Southwest Airlines and AT&T have already criticized these restrictive proposals.

After MLB backed out of Georgia, another 193 companies joined in a statement against states’ proposals threatening access to voting in almost all states. Signatures of CEOs include those from Armour, Salesforce, HP, Twitter, Estée Lauder, and Dow. Companies are called upon to testify in legislatures, withdraw financial support from lawmakers supporting anti-voting laws, and back federal election reform legislation.

Arizona temporarily pulled its anti-voting bill because the Republicans lost enough votes to pass it. A concern might be the potential loss of the 2023 Super Bowl, scheduled in Glendale (AZ).

Yet there is another side to new voting laws. With Gov. Ralph Northam’s signature, Virginia became the first state to approve a voting rights law, protecting state citizens against voter suppression, discrimination, or intimidation. It not only restores but also expands the provisions of the 1965 federal Voting Rights Act overturned by John Roberts and his Supreme Court in 2013. A description of the state law:

“The Voting Rights Act of Virginia prohibits discrimination in elections administration, requires local election officials to get feedback or pre-approval for voting changes, and allows individuals to sue in cases of voter suppression. It requires localities seek public comment or pre-approval from the Office of the Attorney General on any proposed voting changes and empowers voters and/or the Attorney General to sue in cases of voter suppression. Civil penalties awarded as a result of voting discrimination will go towards a newly-established Voter Education and Outreach Fund.

“Additionally, the Voting Rights Act of Virginia prohibits at-large local elections if they dilute the voting power of racial minorities. It also ensures accessibility by requiring local election officials provide voting materials in foreign languages, as needed. The Governor’s minor technical amendments clarify that certain provisions apply to all localities not just “covered jurisdiction(s).”

Other provisions of the new law eliminate witnesses for absentee ballot signatures during public health emergencies, allows 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote for automatic addition to the rolls at the age of 18, permits curbside voting, moves municipal election voting from May to the November elections, and restores voting rights to people on parole or probation for a felony conviction and codify the restoration of rights to those who have fully completed their sentences.

Virginia also has same-day voter registration; a holiday for Election Day replacing one honoring Confederate generals; elimination of an excuse for absentee voting; permission to permanently receive absentee ballots; inclusion of ballots received three days after Election Day if postmarked by Election Day; extension of polling close on Election Day from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm; permission to use non-photo IDs and some out-of-state college IDS for voter identification; permission for municipalities to use instant run-off for local elections; mandatory hand-filled paper ballots or printouts of ballots; a bipartisan redistricting commission with nonpartisan redistricting criteria; and a ban on prison gerrymandering.

For equitable access to voting during the pandemic, Northam signed H.B. 1888 and SB 1245 requiring drop boxes, prepaid return postage, and ability to fix mistakes on envelopes for absentee ballots. Blind or vision-impaired Virginians can also receive the help they need to cast votes.

These laws should be passed in all states to maintain the GOP desire for “election integrity,” the false name for Georgia’s law.

  • Even Kentucky is passing election laws with “integrity”:
  • Three days of in-person voting on Thursday-Saturday before Election Day.
  • Permission to “cure” absentee ballots of problems such as mismatched signature.
  • Reinstitution of an internet system for requesting absentee ballots.
  • Permission for counties to have vote centers where people can turn in absentee ballots.
  • Secure drop-boxes for absentee ballots.
  • Phasing in paper ballots for electronic voting systems.
  • No-excuse early voting although people will again need an excuse for absentee voting.

Washington state automatically restores voting rights of people convicted of felonies after they are released from prison, and Delaware passed a House bill automatically registering voters when they visit the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Georgia has a history of blocking minorities from voting. Blacks attempting to register to vote and Whites attempting to help them were beaten and killed during the 1960s. Perpetrators of the crimes included the Ku Klux Klan and law enforcement officials. The current bills and laws to block ease of voting comes from the GOP evidence-free belief that Republicans cannot win elections if every eligible voter can vote without great difficulty.

Although Republicans have openly given this reason to justify their support of these bills, much of the publicity promotes DDT’s “big lie” about massive election fraud. The 2020 election was the most carefully guarded one perhaps ever, and no one—not DDT’s courts, Department of Justice, elected GOP officials, the FBI—could find systemic fraud. Hundreds of searchers and thousands of hours found under 100 cases of voter fraud among 161 million voters, and most of these were by Republicans.

In his bigoted response to the backlash against the Georgia law, ordained Baptist minister Mike Huckabee tweeted on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, celebrating Christ’s resurrection:

“I’ve decided to ‘identify’ as Chinese. Coke will like me, Delta will agree with my ‘values’ and I’ll probably get shoes from Nike & tickets to @MLB games. Ain’t America great?”

Ain’t religion great?

Today, April 4, is the 53rd anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s death. In Memphis (TN), the Black activist was shot and killed in his fight for Black people to have equal access to the ballot box. At the end of the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, King talked about “the roots of racism and the denial of the right to vote.” In his 1957 “Give us the ballot” speech, he decried the “types of conniving methods” used by Southern elected officials to disenfranchise Black voters. Republicans are forcing the U.S. to come full circle, destroying the rights of all to vote, in little more than a half century.

March 13, 2021

Biden Spends Successful Week

In a paraphrase of Charles Dickens—it was the best of speeches; it was the worse of speeches. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) wanted to appear in control. DDT had blocked testing, but the number of coronavirus case was still at 1,267. For a month, he had compared the deadly disease to the seasonal flu, claiming coronavirus  would just disappear and continued that lie for another seven-plus months as the daily number of U.S. cases rose to over 77,000. 

DDT read from his speech in a monotone when he announced a limit on some world travel, suspending travel from Europe for 30 days which added to bans on parts of Italy and South Korea as well as China and Iran. He exempted the UK, with far more cases than many EU countries, and permitted U.S. citizens to return to the U.S., crowding the airports and spreading infections. DDT said, “The virus will not have a chance against us.”

DDT’s speech misrepresented the administration’s policy in “suspending all travel from Europe” and blocking “tremendous amount of trade and cargo,” which also hadn’t been decided. His boast that the health insurance industry agreed to waive “all co-payments for coronavirus treatments” was also a lie. DDT continued his racist assertion about COVID-19 being a “foreign virus” that “started in China.”

Exactly one year later, March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden’s first prime-time speech excelled in empathy for the U.S. people and hope for the future. He announced all adults will be eligible for the COVID-19 virus by May 1, and his promise of 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days will be achieved by his first 60 days. The increase in vaccinations comes from the purchase of 100 million more doses of the one-time shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Biden also mourned the 545,000+ deaths in the past year from the virus, many of the deaths unnecessary because DDT did little or nothing about stopping the disease.

The far-right frantically searched for ways to criticize Biden’s speech. Tucker Carlson, already in trouble for attacking women in the military, came up with his need for “freedom.” About Biden’s statement that people in the U.S. can safely gather in small groups for Independence Day, Carlson ranted:  

“This is a free people. This is a free country. How dare you tell us who we can spend the Fourth of July with?”

Erik Wemple sarcastically wrote that “only a power-hungry radical would suggest that people hang out with ‘your families and friends’ on a holiday.” 

Biden made the speech on the same day he signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) after its final passage in the House with a 220 to 211 vote. Of the two House Democrats opposing the bill the first time, Jared Golden (ME) voted no the second time while Kurt Schrader (OR) changed his vote to yes.

With the signing a day early before the promised deadline, many of the $1,400 stipends were delivered this weekend. ARPA provides an average tax cut of $3,000 for the low and middle class and a $6,000 cut for families, giving people in this category almost 70 percent of the tax benefits. It will raise after-tax incomes by 3.8 percent. This step is the opposite of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which provided about half the benefits to the top five percent of the population, those who made about $308,000 that year.

Not one Republican voted for ARPA, but at least one of them took credit for it. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi bragged about the approximately $29 billion bailout for the restaurant industry. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “It’s typical that they will vote no and take the dough.” Republicans are now moving forward to repeal the estate tax for the remaining 1,900 people not exempted by the 2017 tax cut bill. The current tax covers only estates worth more than $22 million. Their action doesn’t fit Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) description of the GOP as “the party of steel workers, construction workers, pipeline workers, police officers, firefighters, waiters, and waitresses.”

The 657 wealthiest billionaires in the U.S. could pay for two-thirds of ARPA with the $1.3 trillion they acquired in the past year. Three of them—Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg—made enough to pay for the $250 billion of supplemental unemployment benefits of $300 weekly for the upcoming six months. Musk’s increase of $142 billion, a 567 percent increase in assets, could support farmers, small businesses, bars and restaurants, and other industries. Bezos’ $67 billion could fund assistance to renters, homeowners, and veterans with $8 billion left over. [visual – ARPA chart]

Because of current law, the billionaires $4.2 trillion in wealth won’t be taxed during their lifetimes less they sell the underlying assets at a gain. Other laws allow inheritors to escape taxation on the increase.

Biden and the Dems aren’t resting on their laurels after passing ARPA: their next project will be job-creating packages on climate, broadband, and transportation issues. Pelosi expressed hope a transportation system will let them address more needs such as education, housing, and water systems, some of them over 100 years old. With the Senate filibuster requiring at least ten Republicans to support any bills, Democrats ponder another budget reconciliation process for infrastructure and ways to pay for expenditures. One possibility, bringing GOP opposition, is tax increases on corporations and the wealthy, drastically lowered in the 2017 GOP tax cut bill.

More success for Biden during the week came from the Senate confirmation of three more Cabinet members:

Michael Regan: The vote for EPA Secretary, 66-34, allows him to rebuild an agency losing thousands of employees and rolling back dozens of clean air and water protections during the Trump administration. A former EPA employee, he pledged to change years of funding cuts, industry-friendly policies, and rejection of its scientists. Regan has “a special obligation to the underserved and under-represented.” Soon before he took over the agency, the EPA gave his predecessor a 23-page “letter of concern” to Regan’s predecessor reporting racial discrimination from hog-farm pollution resulting from investigation into a complaint. The EPA has “deep concern about the possibility that African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans have been subjected to discrimination as the result of [North Carolina] DEQ’s operation of the Swine Waste General Permit program.”

 Merrick Garland: The new DOJ Attorney General, confirmed with a 70-30 vote, will begin investigating whistleblower allegations about political DOJ hiring by acting AG Jeffrey Bossert Clark in the last days before Biden’s inauguration. In late December, Clark and DDT allegedly discussed a method of unseating then acting AG Jeffrey Rosen to advance DDT’s plans for overturning Georgia’s election before the congressional certification of electoral votes on January 6. Garland was greeted with a standing ovation when he took his oath and promised everyone will be treated by the same set of rules.

Marcia Fudge: HUD Secretary was confirmed with a 66-34 majority, thanks to GOP support including that of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader.  She needs to overcome the actions of her predecessor, Ben Carson, with his massive exodus of career staff, destruction of fair housing enforcement, and failure to address a nationwide crisis in affordable housing worsened by the pandemic. HUD’s aging issue includes 63 percent of employees eligible to retire, including 50 percent of supervisors and managers.

Although the confirmation of Xavier Becerra for HHS Secretary was blocked in committee, the Senate voted 51-48 to bypass the panel for the entire chamber to consider his nomination. Both Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have announced their support of Becerra.

With southern border shelters freed up from some pandemic restrictions, Biden has reactivated over 200 beds for unaccompanied immigrant children and eliminated DDT’s agreement causing the arrest of sponsors who want to take them. The former administration had given sponsors’ fingerprints and other information to DHS.

In another immigration change this week, a program reinstated permission for parents legally in the U.S. from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to ask for their children to come to the U.S.

On International Women’s Day, Biden signed two executive orders. One orders the review of former Education Secretary DeVos’ regulation in handling the process of sexual assault allegations by higher education institution. New Education Secretary Miguel Cardona was directed to consider “suspending, revising, or rescinding” agency actions violating the policy of non-discrimination “on the basis of sex.”

The other order establishes the White House Gender Policy Council. The Council will help Biden “ensure that every domestic and foreign policy we pursue rests on a foundation of dignity and equity for women.” A special assistant to Biden will focus on “policies to advance equity for Black, indigenous and Latina women and girls of color.” Co-chair Julissa Reynoso, first lady Jill Biden’s chief of staff, said that the full participation of women and girls in society is “essential to the economic well-being, health and security of our nation and the world. This is a matter of human rights, justice and fairness.”

To complete Dickens’ beginning to A Tale of Two Cities:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us …”

And thus we have the description of life before and after January 20, 2021.

 

February 27, 2021

Biden, Democratic Congress Moving Rapidly Forward

The year 2021 marks the 20th year of the U.S. preemptive war in the Middle East, starting with George W. Bush’s attack on Afghanistan. President Joe Biden delivered the latest bombings, seven against two Iran-backed militias smuggling weapons in Syria. The airstrikes hit buildings on a border crossing with Iraq. Iranian state television reported 17 fatalities, but Biden had no exact number. Biden said he intended to “send a message” about the militias’ aggressive actions in Iraq against the U.S. including last week’s rocket attack. Experts have differed on the appropriateness of Biden’s actions, but Biden hopes to keep the path open for renewing an anti-nuclear agreement in Iran.

Years after U.S. intelligence prepared a report on the 2018 torturing and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and journalist, in the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey, the new Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines has declassified and released the document. According to the report, available here:

“Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi… The Crown Prince has absolute control of the Kingdom’s security and intelligence organizations, making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the Crown Prince’s authorization.”

Although Congress mandated the information be made public, former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) had covered up for MBS because of his friendship with Saudi Arabia and took no action about the vicious assault.

On the day before the report’s release, Biden called the 85-year-old Saudi king, instead of his son MBS, the crown prince and heir apparent, who has been giving orders. Biden may have had trouble reaching the king: sources say, “MBS has controlled his father’s switchboard.” The conversation skipped the report, but Biden “affirmed the importance the United States places on universal human rights and the rule of law” and discussed working on “mutual issues of concern.” Biden has eliminated U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

The U.S. does not plan to charge MBS of any crimes, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the “Khashoggi Ban,” restricting visas for people acting on behalf of foreign governments directly engaged in “serious, extraterritorial counter-dissident activities, including those that suppress, harass, surveil, threaten, or harm journalists, activists, or other persons perceived to be dissidents for their work.” The ban can also cover family members and will be applied immediately to 76 Saudis “believed to have been engaged in threatening dissidents overseas, including but not limited to the Khashoggi killing.” The Treasury Department also sanctioned a former Saudi intelligence official, Ahmed Hassan Mohammed al Asiri, and the crown prince’s personal protective detail, the Rapid Intervention Force (aka the “Tiger Squad”). Blinken echoed Biden’s earlier statement that the U.S. wishes to “recalibrate” the relationship with Saudi Arabia “to be more in line with our interests and our values.”

The Treasury Department also replaced sanctions on Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler for corruption in Africa after DDT rolled them with no explanation or announcement during his last few days in the White House. Gertler is a close friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Biden also plans sanctions and other punishments for Russia for the SolarWinds cyber-espionage campaign, interfering in elections, and the Kremlin’s use of a banned chemical weapon against anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny before jailing him.

On Thursday, three Republicans supported the Democratic representatives in a 224-206 vote to expand federal protections for LGBTQ people by prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The Equality Act amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1968 Fair Housing Act to include specific protections for LGBTQ people. The Republicans voting for the bill are John Katko (NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), and Tom Reed (NY); the other Republican support discrimination in the name of religious freedom. The legislation passed the House almost two years ago, but then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ignored it. McConnell has become the minority leader, and the Democrats will likely address the House bill.

Early Saturday morning, the House passed Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan by 219-212 with opposition from all Republicans and two Democrats, Kurt Schrader (OR) and Jared Golden (ME).  Although the Senate parliamentarian refuses to allow the hourly $15 minimum wage in the reconciliation bill permitting a 50-50 vote in the chamber without a filibuster, the House included it in their bill.

As usual with a Democratic president, Republicans are arguing for austerity after driving up the national debt with massive tax cuts for the wealthy and big business. Another false argument is that only a small portion of the $1.9 trillion goes to combating the virus, “actually used to put shots in people’s arms,” according to Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO). He ignores the funding for stimulus checks, school openings, unemployment payments, assistance for small businesses, and other types of expenditures the GOP legislators willingly passed while DDT was in the White House.

Biden insisted on changes in the bill’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans after they went to big businesses in the first bill instead of the mandated small business. He wants to guarantee loans to businesses with under 20 employees and restricts applications from these businesses for 14 days so that lenders can prioritize those businesses. Other changes open up loans to people with non-fraud felony convictions and to non-citizen business owners. In the last round, a large number of loans were flagged for potential fraud. A new mandate tackling “waste, fraud, and abuse across all federal programs” requires approval of PPP loans “contingent on passing [Small Business Association] fraud checks, Treasury’s Do Not Pay database, and public records.”

A proposed bill for a special commission probing the January 6 attack on the Capitol, such as the one which investigated the 9/11 attacks, is struggling because of GOP opposition. Objections started when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wanted a majority of Democrats on the commission. If Republicans approached the situation with a lack of bias, the equality might have worked. Yet Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) believes not only that DDT had nothing to do with the insurrection but also that it was a friendly group of people who were coming into the Capitol until the Capitol Police provoked them. Earlier, he had falsely asserted the seditionists were all on the left side, that all of them were not DDT’s supporters. Some GOP legislators, such as Steve Scalise (LA), second in House minority command, still maintain Biden is in the White House illegally and should be removed.

In addition, almost 150 GOP legislators of the 261 Republicans in Congress voted to overturn the legal votes from the electoral college after the far-right attack on the Capitol to stop the vote—almost 40 percent of the number of Republicans in Congress. All those Republicans have a conflict of interest to be on a commission to investigate the insurrection and would likely sabotage its investigation and reporting.

On the Senate side, Republican Mitch McConnell insists the commission also investigate all Black Lives Matter protests. If not that, then it should concentrate only on Capitol security failures, avoiding any white supremacy terrorism issues. The approaches would be like telling the 9/11 Commission to focus only on planes hitting the World Trade towers without reviewing radical Islamist terrorism or focus on all international violence. The mandate of the 9/11 Commission was to examine “the facts and circumstances relating to the 9/11 terrorist attack . . . including those relating to intelligence agencies; law enforcement agencies; diplomacy; immigration, nonimmigrant visas, and border control; the flow of assets to terrorist organizations; commercial aviation; the role of congressional oversight and resource allocation; and other areas determined relevant by the Commission for its inquiry.”

After DDT’s administration ignored reunification of families who they separated at the southern border, Biden appointed a task force to find the parents of 611 children. In less than a month, 105 children have been returned to their families, and the group is working to reunify the others.

Biden revoked the following presidential orders and memoranda signed by DDT:

  • Cutting funding from cities DDT declared as “anarchist” havens.
  • Mandating all new federal buildings be designed in classical aesthetic.
  • Limiting the ability of federal agency employees to make regulatory decisions.
  • Calling for agency heads to review welfare programs and strengthen work requirements for some recipients.

After a month in the White House, Biden has an overall job approval rating of 56 percent with 54 percent for his handling the economy and 56 percent for foreign affairs. His best rating is 67 percent approval in handling the coronavirus. That rating might go up with the FDA approval of a third vaccine, the one-shot vaccination from Johnson & Johnson. In DDT’s last six weeks, people received 12 million vaccinations. Biden promised 100 million in the first 100 days: in his first five weeks, people have gotten 58 million, 1.6 million a day and rising.

On February 26, 2021, the number of daily U.S. infections is down (80,625), but the daily number of deaths is averaging above 2,000—the most recent number 2,216. Total U.S. infections – 29,136,912; deaths – 523,082.      

February 13, 2021

Impeachment End – Five Days That ‘Will Live in Infamy’

Friday was the 22nd anniversary of the Senate vote to acquit President Bill Clinton for lying about having sex with Monica Lewinsky. After a five-week trial, 50 Republicans voted he was guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors for this act. After the vote, Clinton told the U.S. he was “profoundly sorry” for his actions and the “great burden they have imposed on the Congress and on the American people.” He promised to all people in the nation “to rededicate ourselves to the work of serving our nation and building our future together.”

Saturday, February 13, 2021, 43 GOP senators voted to acquit former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) of any impeachment charges after he spent several months persuading his followers any election not making him president was “rigged” and “stolen.” After the election, DDT’s rhetoric heated up the rising violence in the United States, culminating in his rally on January 6, 2021, encouraging the attending mob to attack people in the U.S. Capitol with the purpose of blocking the Electoral College vote for legally-elected President Joe Biden. After the MAGA mob breached the building with the purpose of assaulting and possibly killing lawmakers, DDT refused to provide any help and encouraged his followers to attack VP Mike Pence. DDT has made no statement about his acquittal.

The vote followed a few hours of closing arguments by both the prosecution and the defense. Michael van der Veen, in a rambling and vague support for DDT, repeated his lies from his earlier presentation to let GOP senators they could vote to acquit. Van der Veen failed to understand that impeachment trials are not bound by constitutional process, but he did reverse his earlier lie about the attack, calling it a “violent insurrection” in his close. He accused Democrats of putting “fabricated evidence” into their “big” four volumes with “little tiny print.” “Shocking” was his conclusion as he said acquittal would start the nation’s “healing.” The defense lawyer also failed to mention jurors in a real judicial proceeding don’t help the defense with its strategy as GOP Sens. Ted Cruz (TX), Lindsey Graham (SC), and Josh Hawley (MO) did throughout the impeachment trial.

According to the acquittal—which may create the law of the land—U.S. presidents are free to say anything they want with impunity. In his opening, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) warned about this privilege, calling it the “January exception”—the time at the end of a president’s term when he is no longer accountable for constitutional offenses.  Raskin said:

“It’s an invitation to the president to take his best shot at anything he may want to do on his way out the door, including using violent means to lock that door. To hang on to the Oval Office at all costs and to block the peaceful transfer of power. In other words, the January exception is an invitation to our founders’ worst nightmare.”

In his brief rebuttal, Raskin answered van der Veen’s assertion about an unprecedented impeachment trial for incitement to violence with the response that any presidential incitement to violence is completely unprecedented. Van der Veen complained DDT’s speech had been “stifled” and his “liberty” denied. Raskin pointed out that DDT’s speech has never blocked. In citing Bond v. Floyd, a Supreme Court case about civil rights activist Julian Bond not allowed to take his oath of office because he protested the Vietnam War, van der Veen drew a parallel with the impeachment trial. Raskin explained the defense’s error, that the court’s ruling meant Bond could take his oath in his newly-elected office while the impeachment trial concerned whether DDT could violate his own oath of office.

Despite the prevalence of evidence against DDT, all the GOP senators voted almost as expected. The six Republicans voting that the constitution permitted the trial after the subject was out of office, as approved for other officials, voted to convict him: Bill Cassidy (LA), Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Mitt Romney (UT), Ben Sasse (NE), and Pat Toomey (PA). The seventh Republican voting for conviction, Richard Burr (NC), had voted no at the previous vote.

House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), hoping for a Senate majority in the 2022 election, tried to ride both sides of the fence during the trial. After saying he was considering conviction, he notified the other GOP senators before the closing statements of his decision to acquit DDT. After this vote, he delivered a speech declaring DDT is guilty of inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and guilty of a “high crime and misdemeanor.” McConnell called DDT’s actions a “disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty” and said DDT is “practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.” Therefore he blames DDT for the deaths on January 6 and for the threat to VP Mike Pence’s life. And he believes Democrats proved their case.

Yet McConnell said he voted to acquit because a trial cannot be held after a president is no longer in office. He alone is responsible for the trial being delayed because he refused to hold it before Biden’s inauguration. The House passed the Article of Impeachment on January 13, seven days before the inauguration. The trial lasted five days.  

Of the 43 GOP senators voting to support DDT, fifteen may be running again in 2022.  Marco Rubio (FL). Rand Paul (KY). Chuck Grassley (IA). Tim Scott (SC). Todd Young (IA). Ron Johnson (WI). Roy Blunt (MO). John Boozman (AR). John Neely Kennedy (LA). John Thune (SD). John Hoeven (ND). James Lankford (OK). Jerry Moran (KS). Mike Lee (UT). Mike Crapo (ID). 

In Vox, Andrew Prokop called DDT a “winner”: acquittal leaves him to create the same chaos in 2024. If DDT wins, he can go back to destroying the country; if he loses, he can gin up the violence to a higher level because he figures no one will stop him. As Kerry Eleveld wrote:

“Trump could do it all over again. He could run the most incendiary, hate-filled, and vitriolic campaign ever seen in the nation’s history with the very intention of losing and then unleashing his dogs on lawmakers and the American public alike in order to violently overthrow the U.S. government.”

Prokpo’s losers:

The U.S. constitutional system: For the first time since George Washington was picked for president in the 17th century, a person in the Oval Office tried to overturn an election to stay in the White House—lies about the election, frivolous lawsuits, demands on state officials to reverse the vote of the people, pressure to eliminate individual and electoral votes, and, when all else failed, a violent insurrection. And he was acquitted.

Mitch McConnell: DDT’s behavior probably lost McConnell the majority in the Senate after two Democrats won senate seats in Georgia, and he may not get it back in 2022. Now he burned his bridges with DDT, in a gamble for the power of the GOP to get a majority GOP Congress in two years.

The House impeachment managers: Deciding not to use witnesses after the Senate voted to do so may seem like a surrender. [Others may not see this as a loss. The Democrats had no idea what witnesses would say—or lie about—if they were called, and it would considerably lengthen the trial, taking time from Biden’s agenda to move the nation forward. It was also part of a deal to put into the congressional record the information about DDT refusing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) plea for help as DDT’s MAGA people were breaking the windows to get into McCarthy’s office. DDT left the lawmakers and their staff to die, and 43 of them voted to acquit him.]

The United States Senate: Instead of considering evidence presented in the trial, senators prioritized leaving town for their recess.

DDT’s attorneys: They had no victory because everyone knew the fix was in, and their threatening, lying, vague performance was pathetically filled with mistakes. About the two-hour, forty-minute defense, Dana Milbank wrote:

“Even in that brief period, they misstated legal precedents. They invented facts. They rewrote history. Trump lawyer Bruce Castor, panned for his rambling opening argument Wednesday, closed the argument Friday by confusing Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.”

The acquittal leads to more fascist actions from Republicans; QAnon conspiracy theory, now tied into Republicanism, parallels Nazi anti-Semitic myths which includes white supremacy and patriarchal misogyny. In DDT’s cult, he is the father of the nation, the “only I” of his campaigning. Fascist propaganda includes a divisive sense of loss and revenge for those considered responsible, a glorification of the past, and a military attitude to overthrow multi-party democracy. DDT’s movie at his “Save America” exalts masculinity and loss from traitors while portraying President Biden, House Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) as weak and completely unworthy because of their Jewish connections in contrast to images showing the military power of DDT.

The clearest message of the video? And the acquittal? The monster could return to the White House—or destroy it trying, thanks to GOP cowardice by 43 U.S. senators.

On Valentine’s Day, the U.S. has over 28 million COVID-19 infections and is about a day from 500,000 coronavirus deaths in one year. Shortly after the first death from the virus, DDT said the disease would disappear in a few days. He spent the rest of his term either ignoring it or trying to cover it up in what may be the biggest leadership mismanagement in U.S. history.

February 12, 2021

Impeachment Day Five, Damning Revelations for DDT

Filed under: impeachment — trp2011 @ 11:47 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

The lawyers for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) lasted under three hours in their weak attempts to defend their client during the second impeachment trial, using about 15 percent of their allotted 16 hours for their task. Part of their presentation was a video with extremely short clips of DDT saying “law and order” and Democrats using the term “fight” taken out of context, some of them played more than once. One defense lawyer, David Schoen, had criticized the videos for Democrats for the same thing although Democrats’ videos used much more context. The videos even had clips of people like Madonna, saying she’s “thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House” following Trump’s election. Michael van der Veen justified these clips by claiming his examples aren’t “whataboutism,” just an attempt to protect “all political speech.” Madonna had followed her statement with “I know that this won’t change anything,” not included in the defense’s clip. 

Excusing the brevity of the defense, Bruce Castor told senators he hoped “you will take back these hours and use them to get delivery of COVID relief to the American people.” According to Bloomberg’s Steven Dennis, the reason for a short defense is that “they think they have the votes.”

The popular view assume Dennis is correct, but reports of an exchange between DDT and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), showing up one of the defense’s statements as a lie, led to consternation. Defense had argued DDT was upset about the attack on the U.S. Capitol and immediately tried to stop it. Details about a yelling match over the telephone during the insurrection belies that myth.

When no help came for the Capitol Police after DDT’s supporters breached the building, the desperate McCarthy called DDT for assistance. At first, DDT said the mob was composed of far-left antifa members, but McCarthy told him the thugs were MAGA people and pleaded with him to call them off. According to McCarthy, DDT answered:

“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”

Furious with DDT’s response, McCarthy shouted that rioters were breaking breaking into his office through the windows and demanded, “Who the f–k do you think you are talking to?” Republicans who reported the event said the interaction proves DDT wasn’t going to stop the rioters, and some called it a dereliction of duty. One of them said, “He is not a blameless observer, he was rooting for them.” Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) first described the telephone call in a town hall earlier this week.

The defense lawyer also lied when he said DDT didn’t know VP Mike Pence was in danger of the mob attack when he attacked Pence with tweets. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), a strong DDT supporter, verified he told DDT about Pence’s being rushed from the mob before DDT’s tweets damning Pence. A source near Pence also declared DDT’s legal team lied when lawyer Michael van der Veen said “at no point” did “the 45th president” know his vice president was in danger. DDT not only didn’t check on Pence during the attack, but he also didn’t contact him for the next five days after the insurrection.

The U.S. people were also at danger when Pence was almost captured. He was carrying the “football,” the black briefcase with nuclear launch codes and encrypted communications equipment, when the mob was fewer than 90 feet away from him. Although capturing it might not have allowed a launch, showing it off would result in chaos and panic as well as giving adversaries knowledge about ways in which the U.S. would respond to a major attack.

Evidence was another area about which DDT’s legal team lied. In DDT’s defense, Schoen tried to use the new footage of the insurrection presented by the House prosecution as a violation of due process with the lie that the defense had not seen it. The prosecution, however, reported, “Every piece of evidence, including new videos, were given to the defense team before the trial.”

Thursday night, Schoen tried to quit DDT’s legal team, but he remained after DDT begged him to stay. Even on Friday morning as the team was scheduled to begin, the team of three lawyers argued about the order of presentations. Eventually, van der Veen led off because Bruce Castor was a disaster in his earlier presentation. Earlier on Thursday, Schoen skipped the House managers’ prosecution to appear on the Fox network, per DDT’s direction to defend him on television.

One defense lawyer wouldn’t even say whether Joe Biden was elected president. In other lies, the defense team:

Skipped all mention of DDT’s defending violence: “Contrast the President’s repeated condemnations of violence with the rhetoric from his opponents.”—Michael van der Veen. Examples of DDT lauding violence: praised a Montana congressional candidate for assaulting a journalist; urged police not to protect suspects’ heads during arrests; expressed wish to punch protester in the face; told supporters to “knock the crap out of” protesters holding tomatoes; covered for a kidnapping plot against Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; approved a false story about a general massacring Muslim terrorists with bullets dipped in the blood of pigs; used the term “beautiful sight” for authorities throwing a journalist to the ground during Minneapolis protest; mocked a reporter shot with a rubber bullet; and cheered his supporters surrounding a Joe Biden campaign bus on the highway and trying to run a following car off the road.

Claimed DDT’s first two tweets during the Capitol attack urged calm: Two later tweets followed DDT’s calling Pence a coward for not protecting “out Country and our Constitution” after the vice president was in danger from DDT’s mob.

Accused Democrats and media of “repeating without any evidence that the 2016 election had been hacked” for four years: Evidence shows the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign were hacked by the Russian government stealing and leaking internal documents and emails, but the entire party and media didn’t push the information for four years.

Asserted rioters didn’t attend DDT’s January 6 incendiary rally because the assault was pre-planned: Rioters who broke into the Capitol started at the rally, and many others heard the speech on their phones. Most of the over 215 criminal cases on arrested insurrectionists show they did not intend to break into the Capitol when they arrived on January 6 until they attended the rally.  

Repeated the lie that Georgia saw a “dramatic drop” in ballot rejection rates: The lawyer argued that DDT’s mandate to the state’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” another 11,780 votes was to lower the rejection rates. Georgia had no “dramatic drop,” according to data, but instead had an increase in proportion to the additional votes, keeping the percentage the same.

Claimed trial violated due process: Due process doesn’t apply to an impeachment inquiry because it is a political process, not a criminal case. The constitution also fails to prescribe a procedures of impeachment proceedings.

Denied the January 6 attack was an insurrection because it didn’t meet the legal definition: Definition – “the act or an instance of revolting, esp. violently against civil or political authority or against an established government ;also the crime of inciting or engaging in such revolt [whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or against the authority of the United States.” It fits.

Maintained January 6 was evitable, no matter what DDT said or did: DDT has been feeding his supporters lies about a stolen election for several months and, at the same time, calling his supporters to take action to make him president.  

Declared DDT’s limitless right to free speech: The team cited Wood v. Georgia and Bond v. Floyd for its claim, but their decisions are narrow.  Wood’s ruling stated officials can freely speak about grand jury proceedings unless it threatens the proceedings, and Bond is about if a politician can be prevented from taking the elected office because of statements about government policy.

Lectured about prosecution missing facts while abusing facts: Falsehoods – one of the first arrested people after January 6 was a leader of antifa, which has no leader, although the person suspiciously subscribes to a number of political movements; and a conviction would negate 75 million votes and “cancel” DDT’s voters although DDT got only 74.2 votes.

While complaining about the impeachment trial process not being constitutional, Bruce Castor threatened GOP senators with primary challengers if they voted to convict DDT.  

Spin from the legal team was at times ridiculous. The House managers referenced the tweet from a DDT supporter, “Calvary is coming,” as misspelling “cavalry.” Schoen argued the tweeter meant “Calvary Hill” where Jesus was crucified. He explained:

“The tweeter promised to bring the calvary—a public display of Christ’s crucifixion, a central symbol of her Christian faith—with her to the president’s speech—a symbol of faith, love and peace.”

The basic defense argument, however, that Democrats sole purpose in the impeachment trial is “hate” for DDT, and lawyers scolded lawmakers, saying “Hate has no place in the American justice system.” It is their fallback position in a case with no merit. The defense team only wants to give GOP senators an excuse to exonerate the man who pulls their strings.

February 11, 2021

Impeachment Day Four, Prosecution Rests

Filed under: impeachment — trp2011 @ 10:55 PM
Tags: , , , ,

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/02/11/us/impeachment-trial#trump-impeachment  On Thursday, the Democratic House managers wrapped up their prosecution to convict Deposed Donald Trump after approximately 11 hours of its 16 allotted hours. The defense attorneys said they might not use their entire 16 hours either.

 Arguments from the prosecution:

“If you think this is not impeachable, what is? What would be? If you don’t find this a high crime and misdemeanor today you have set a new terrible standard for presidential misconduct in the United States of America.”—Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD)

“If anything, Donald Trump’s conduct was an assault on the first amendment [by attempting to remove a fair and free election].”—Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD)

“[In DDT’s comments after the insurrection calling the participants ‘very special’ and saying ‘We love you,’] he issued messages in the afternoon that sided with them. The insurrectionists who left police officers battered, bloodied. He reacted exactly as someone would react if they were delighted.”—Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO)

“We humbly, humbly ask you to convict President Trump for the crime for which he is overwhelmingly guilty of. Because if you don’t, if we pretend this didn’t happen, or worse, if we let it go unanswered, who’s to say it won’t happen again?”—Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO)  

“My dear colleagues, is there any political leader in this room who believes that if he is ever allowed by the Senate to get back into the Oval Office, Donald Trump would stop inciting violence to get his way? Would you bet the lives of more police officers on that? Would you bet the safety of your family on that? Would you bet the future of your democracy on that?”—Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD)

“I’m not afraid of Donald Trump running again in four years. I’m afraid he’s going to run again and lose, because he can do this again.”—Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA)

“[The attackers’] own statements before, during and after the attack made clear the attack was done for Donald Trump—at his instructions and to fulfill his wishes. All of these people who have been arrested and charged, they’re being accountable, held accountable for their actions. Their leader, the man who incited them, must be held accountable as well.”—Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)

 “Impeachment is not to punish, but to prevent. We are not here to punish Donald Trump. We are here to prevent the seeds of hatred that he planted from bearing any more fruit.”—Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)  

According to court records, over two dozen people charged with the attack said they went to the insurrection because DDT told them to gather and fight.  

Raskin’s questions for DDT if he would testify:  

  • Why didn’t Trump try to get his supporters to stop the attack on the Capitol as soon as he learned of it?
  • Why did he wait at least two hours to send help to the Capitol?
  • Why didn’t Trump condemn the violent insurrection on 6 January?
  • If a president did indeed incite a violent insurrection, would that count as a high crime and misdemeanor?

As Republicans deny DDT’s guilt, they lose the self-image of being the party of law and order. DDT has smashed other myths of the GOP policies, including working for families after permanently breaking them apart at the southern border and fiscal conservatism after Republican tax cuts for the wealthy and the huge cost of DDT’s mismanaged pandemic cost taxpayers trillions of dollars. Christopher Cook writes:

“If it was not clear before, the Senate impeachment trial has laid bare and unmasked Republican Party leaders as a group of political cowards who talk tough yet support lawlessness, anti-constitutional mayhem, and anarchy. The barren naked truth, revealed starkly by this trial, is that the Republican Party has no interest in ‘law and order’ or the Constitution… When was the last time the Republican Party leadership accepted even the slightest responsibility or accountability for anything they’ve done?”

As Cook explains, Republicans and DDT want “law and order” only when “policing black and Brown people, poor folks, leftists, and protests they disagree with.” Yet GOP leaders have no law and order for polluters, corrupt and/or bankrupt businesses, and repeat violations of workplace safety laws. After ignoring almost 60 court cases showing no election fraud, Republicans obviously have no respect for the judicial system unless AG Bill Barr is controlling the decisions.

According to Cook:

“If nothing more comes of the impeachment trial, let these truths at least spread far and wide: Trump lied and incited deadly riots; the Republican Party leadership aided and abetted; and when faced with opportunities to own these profoundly grievous acts—to accept responsibility and accountability—they ducked, blinked, and failed. If nothing else comes of this debacle, let us never again hear the words ‘law and order,’ or ‘Constitutional originalism’ from Republican Party leaders’ lips. With their cowardly calculating decision to reject the conviction of Trump, they have forfeited this terrain, perhaps in perpetuity. No great loss there, except to the future of their own lost party.”

To allow themselves votes against conviction, some GOP senators falsely claim that impeaching DD after he left office is unconstitutional. To escape the ire of DDT, they are using the “January defense,” that all presidents can commit all crimes, no matter how heinous, in the last month of their last term with complete impunity.

Conservatives claim the mob, composed of “nice people,” would not hurt Mike Pence or Nancy Pelosi—although the mob mentality might have led to some injuries. In talking about the death toll of the attempted coup, the media rarely mentions how the “nice” people in the mob killed one of their own by trampling her when they stormed the Capitol.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went farther into conspiracy theories than other GOP senators when he asked if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) knew about the planned violence prior to January 6. He also exonerated DDT from any guilt because of the pre-planning. Despite DDT’s frequent requests to his followers that they come to Washington, D.C. for overturning the election, Graham said DDT’s rally on the day didn’t cause the insurrection. Yet the day after the MAGA attack, Graham said, “Enough is enough” and declared “count me out” while saying that Biden was legitimately elected president. Now he maintains the videos of the attempted coup on the Capitol and the timeline presented in the impeachment trial presentation are “offensive and absurd.”

House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told GOP senators to vote their “conscience”; Democrats asked everyone in the Senate to render the “impartial justice” and embrace the “common sense” of the country’s founders.

The House Democratic impeachment managers (left) all lawyers, are led by Jewish Jamie Raskin (MD) and include Latino Joaquín Castro (TX), Asian-American Ted Lieu (CA), and Blacks Joe Neguse (CO) and Stacey Plaskett. Neguse, 36, was born to refugees from Eritrea 40 years ago, and Plaskett, representing the U.S. Virgin Islands, is the first non-voting delegate to the House to be on an impeachment team. The focus of the impeachment trial is the attack of the U.S. Capitol by White supremacists trying to install a president who plans to make the U.S. a White male-oriented nation. Diana DeGette (CO) was born in Japan, David Cicilline (RI) is openly gay, and Madeleine Dean (PA) started a three-woman law firm near Philadelphia. Eric Swalwell (CA) has been a presidential candidate.

All 100 senators are on the jury in a trial to convict DDT: three GOP jury members—Ted Cruz (TX), Lindsey Graham, and Mike Lee (UT)—discussed the defense case with DDT’s team the evening before it presents its arguments. Three of the 44 Christian and primarily male and White heterosexual senators likely voting against accepted interpretations of the law and constitution, they are unswayed by arguments from the nine diverse Democratic prosecutors representing a cross-section of the U.S. in age, gender, race, and religion.

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) blames the impeachment on divisiveness within the nation, but some congressional members refuse to accept Biden as the nation’s legally elected president even three weeks after his inauguration, leading a sizable number of people to agree. Violence may be necessary to achieve Republican goals, including DDT back into the Oval Office, according to 39 percent of the Republicans. Republicans continue to rile up the crowd and block unity. Another 29 percent of Republicans, mostly white evangelicals, believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory that DDT is secretly fighting a cabal of pedophile Democrats, many of them Democrats and the elite. About half of White evangelicals believe antifa, not MAGA followers, attacked the U.S. Capitol although the FBI refutes this lie.

The last time Republicans refused to convict DDT, they said, “He’s learned his lesson.” A year later, DDT had learned the lesson that he can persuade his followers to attack the U.S. Capitol for the first time in 207 years and endanger hundreds of lives.

February 10, 2021

Impeachment Day Two, Horrifying Images

The U.S. House continued its part in the second impeachment of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) on Wednesday with startling new revelations about how close congressional members and staffers in the Capitol came to physically being attacked by the mob on January 6. The case is based on DDT calling people to come to Washington, D.C. on January 6 to block the peaceful counting of votes for the president with his continued claims the election of Joe Biden as U.S. president was rigged. Once his supporters arrived, as DDT told them to do, he ordered them to go to the Capitol and stop the reading of the votes, to “fight” for their country.

DDT has refused to be a witness at the trial, but the presentation of a great number of tweets and videos starring him are front and center, making him a defacto witness in the Democratic prosecution. After Democrats spend one more day defining DDT as “inciter in chief,” the Senate can vote on whether either side will request actual witnesses.

Amidst the newly-released terrifying videos showing how close congressional members and their staffers were to being physically attacked and possibly killed, one of the House Democratic presenters talked about DDT’s order for his violent supporters to go from his rally at the Ellipse south of the White House, where people had a permit to be, and go to the Capitol.  

The rally was a big show, orchestrated by DDT who helped organize the speaking lineup and the music, but the permit for the event included no march. Another rally in Freedom Plaza also specified no march was authorized. After DDT got involved in the rally, the permit included an “activity overview” mentioning movement between the two sites. At his rally, DDT announced the march:

“We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated. I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

The organizer of the original speaking line-up before DDT involved himself, Dustin Stockton, said the plan was “to stay at the Ellipse until the counting of state electoral slates was completed.”

In another revelation, DDT’s tweet attacking VP Mike Pence was posted ten minutes after DDT learned Pence was removed from the Senate floor to save him from DDT’s mob. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) had told DDT about the Pence’s danger when DDT called Tuberville to delay the counting of votes. DDT tweeted:

“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”

Outside the Capitol, the mob built a gallows; inside the mob chanted, “Hang Mike Pence.” At one point, violent mob members were only a few yards away from Pence.

DDT’s campaign and joint fundraising committee provided at least $3.5 million directly to people and organizations participating in the January 6 demonstration, and name of at least three people and a firm paid by DDT’s campaign were on the permits.

Andy Kroll compared DDT’s impeachment trial strategy to QAnon conspiracy theories:

“It is admitted that after the November election, the 45th President exercised his First Amendment right under the Constitution to express his belief that the election results were suspect, since with very few exceptions, under the convenient guise of Covid-19 pandemic ‘safeguards’ states election laws and procedures were changed by local politicians or judges without the necessary approvals from state legislatures. Insufficient evidence exists upon which a reasonable jurist could conclude that the 45th President’s statements were accurate or not, and he therefore denies they were false.”

Because of insufficient evidence to disprove DDT’s unsupported claims about a stolen election, his claims must be true–according to his supporters. DDT and his allies lost more than 60 lawsuits in state and federal courts while winning one minor one. Judges and elected officials from both parties dismissed fraud or corruption. DDT’s own appointee, Judge Stephanos Bibas, wrote, “Calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific  allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”

Like other conspiracy theorists, DDT claims if one cannot fully disprove repeated claims, one cannot say they’re false. Joe Uscinski, a University of Miami associate professor and expert on conspiracy theories, calls his approach the classic defense of the conspiracy theorist. President Obama’s birth certificate never satisfied “birthers” who believed he wasn’t born in the U.S. Conspiracy theorists always claim that denials are tantamount to coverups. Inability to disprove a negative makes people believe their beliefs are true. A prime example: how do you prove Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction if you can’t find any weapons? Some people still believe the weapons existed because no one found them.

The Coup D’etat Project at the University of Illinois’ Cline Center for Advanced Social Research determined the events of January 6 are an “attempted coup d’état [by dissidents]: an organized, illegal attempt to intervene in the presidential transition by displacing the power of the Congress to certify the election.” The center defines “dissidents” as a “small group of discontents that can include former government officials, religious leaders, business owners or civilians.” Coup is a shortened version of “coup d’etat,” a French term that meaning the overthrow of the government beyond the bounds of legality. In 2013, the Cline Center defined a coup d’état as “the sudden and irregular (i.e., illegal or extra-legal) removal, or displacement, of the executive authority of an independent government.”

The three categories of coups:

  • Coup conspiracies: planned but thwarted before they start.
  • Attempted coup: actions taken but unsuccessful.
  • Successful coup – those achieving its goals.

The project’s database includes 426 realized coups, 336 coup attempts, and 181 coup conspiracies with the event on January 6 being an attempted coup. This one is only the second entry in the U.S., the first being a conspiracy in 1948 when members of the Communist Party planned to violently overthrow the U.S. government.

Three characteristics of the January 6 attempted coup:

  • One or more persons posing a credible threat to the legislative power to determine national policy: safety concerns from thousands of people advancing on the Capitol forced lawmakers to stop conducting constitutionally mandated business to be evacuated from the building.
  • Attackers trying to change who controls the government: the focus of “The ‘Save America March’ rally immediately before the attack was changing the results of the 2020 presidential election.
  • Elements of advance organization before the attack: one or more groups “carefully planned, equipped, and organized themselves for violent action.”

If other revelations encompass sitting government officials, the event would be an attempted auto-coup, defined by when “the incumbent chief executive uses illegal or extra-legal means to assume extraordinary powers, seize the power of other branches of government, or render powerless other components of the government such as the legislature or judiciary.”

Much has been said about the pathetic performance of DDT’s first defense lawyer, Bruce Castor, on Day One of the second impeachment trial. Conservative pundit Matthew Walther, however, made these comments about the second speaker:

“The main event from David Schoen was a rant about ‘cancel culture.’ He screamed about due process and insisted that his client, who has refused to take part in the proceedings, deserved the right to be there. He contradicted his partner by invoking the rights of accused persons in the British legal tradition. He used the phrase ‘insatiable lust.’ He insisted that by speeding up the trial process, Democrats were violating some deep but unwritten principles of the same common law that are supposed to be irrelevant here, albeit without noting that the timeline was accelerated with the cooperation of the Senate Republicans who will be voting to acquit Trump. He ended with a poem by Longfellow.”

Unfortunately, too, Schoen read Longfellow’s poem very badly. Walther wrote:

“Trump would have been better served having the My Pillow guy give a two-hour infomercial or having Ted Nugent perform ‘Wang Dang Sweet Poontang’ live on the Senate floor.”

In another backlash from DDT’s long series election lies and misuse of his power, the recently-elected Fulton County (GA) Fani Willis DA has started a criminal probe into DDT’s attempts to overturn the election in that state with grand jury subpoenas to be sent out as soon as March. The investigation comes from DDT’s January 2 conference call to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger when DDT badgered the official into finding 11,780 more votes for him. He wanted to be the winner of the state’s election, but the change would have made no difference in the U.S. presidential election selecting Joe Biden. The complete call was taped, and Raffensperger’s office has its own inquiry, possibly leading to a referral to a prosecutor’s office. DDT had already called Georgia’s GP governor, Brian Kemp, pressuring him to call a special legislative session to flip DDT’s loss to a victory. DDT’s spokesperson Jason Miller claimed that a president’s call to demand more evidence-free votes from state officials  is not “improper or untoward.”

Because of the aftermath of DDT’s long-term mishandling of the COVID-19 disaster, 6,700 people have died from the virus since the impeachment trial began. 

February 9, 2021

Impeachment Trial Day One, More DDT Losses

On the first day of the second impeachment trial of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), lawyers used DDT’s favorite defense—victimization. David Schoen vigorously complained the Democrats had impeached DDT only because they hated him. The rest of their argument covered up his incitement of violence and accused Democrats of playing the videos of DDT’s speech followed by the mob at the Capitol only for “blood sport”—a “sport” that DDT loved watching on January 6.

DDT’s lawyers argued he was “horrified” about what was happening and “immediately” moved to stop the attack. Yet a senior official, one of DDT’s former aides talking about DDT’s enjoyment at watching the mob’s attack said DDT was “loving watching the Capitol mob.” Both Republicans and Democrats begged DDT to ask his supporters to stop, but DDT remained silent while watching the tragedy on television. He waited hours to tell the rioters, who he called “special,” to halt and didn’t call for any military help, leaving the responsibility to then VP Mike Pence, whose life was threatened in the coup attempt.

The team of DDT’s two failed attorneys, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, gained a third—Michael van der Veen. None of them is a constitutional lawyer, and van der Veen, a personal-injury attorney, sued DDT last year for “repeated claims” about mail voting being fraudulent “despite having no evidence in support of these claims.” Van der Veen sued DDT and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for decreasing “sufficient access to vote by mail” through operation “delay.” Castor works for a firm founded by van der Veen, well known in Philadelphia for his huckster advertising on a local radio station regarding personal injury representation.

In arguing the constitutionality of an impeachment trial for DDT, Schoen invalidated the second penalty of disqualified the convicted person from future office, “always and only imposed on former officials,” according to Michael Gerson. Schoen believes the word “and” between the two penalties makes them “inextricably entwined” although “and” is a grammatical structure, not a mandate for two elements becoming one.

The vote from 44 GOP senators agreeing with DDT that impeachment is “unconstitutional” matched the consistent failure of Republicans to follow the U.S. Constitution in their effort to protect DDT—and themselves. For example, these GOP members of Congress have ignored the Emoluments Clause in order for DDT to illegally make money from foreign governments. The “yes” votes from 46 Democrats, 6 Republicans, and 2 unaffiliated senators demonstrates the unity which Biden seeks, and a secret vote could let some of the 44 naysayers change their vote. One-third of them are up for re-election in fewer than two years, and DDT has sworn revenge on non-loyalists. Four leading GOP senators—Richard Burr (NC), Rob Portman (OH), Richard Shelby (AL), and Pat Toomey (PA)—have already said they won’t be running; of the remaining 16, only one, Lisa Murkowski (AK), voted that the impeachment is constitutional. (Left: map for 2022 senatorial elections: Blue – Democratic incumbent; Orange – Republican incumbent; Red – Republican retiring; Gray – No election)

Even DDT recognized how bad his attorneys performed on the first day, especially after Bruce Castor traded places with David Schoen to take the opening. Castor explained he went first because “the House managers’ presentation was well done” and he wanted to drop the emotional temperature. His patronizing approach failed as evidenced by criticism from such GOP senators as Texans John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. When Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) was asked in what way DDT’s lawyers did such a bad job, he answered, “Did you watch them?” Even Alan Dershowitz, a former member of DDT’s legal team, told Newsmax he couldn’t figure out what Castor was doing in his opening presentation.

Part of DDT’s fury about his lawyers may have come from Castor’s statement that DDT is no longer a president and that DDT could be criminally charged if he weren’t convicted in an impeachment. In his opening, Castor said:

“After he’s out of office, you go and arrest him. So there is no opportunity where the President Of The United States can run wild in January at the end of his term and go away scot-free. The department of justice does know what to do with such people.”

The quality of DDT’s lawyers, however, may make no difference. It is assumed the fix in in, that over one-third of the senators, all Republicans, will vote against conviction no matter the evidence or pathetic ability of DDT’s lawyers. On Fox, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) claimed DDT deserves a “mulligan” because “everyone makes mistakes.” Like a person elected as president trying to overthrow the government and sending people how to commit violence and kill people in giving him what he wants.

In an article for the conservative Bulwark, Sarah Longwell, active in the Lincoln Project and co-founder of Republicans for the Rule of Law, wrote:

“There is something deeply, cosmically unfair about a group of elites force-feeding voters a lie about a stolen election, bilking them out of their money, demanding with the most overheated rhetoric that they ‘fight’ to save the country—and then avoiding all responsibility while those people are hauled off to jail for doing what they’d been asked to do. Look: the people in mobs are supposed to be held accountable for their actions. That’s the law. But there’s also a whole section of the law which realizes that the creation and instigation of a mob is, itself, a criminal action. And people who do that are supposed to be held to account too.”

Outside the impeachment, DDT keeps losing:

A U.S. District Court judge temporarily halted a massive ConocoPhillips oil project on Alaska’s North Slope in the western part of Arctic Alaska. Based on a lawsuit that DDT’s administration failed to consider environmental impacts, the order stops gravel-related work until February 20, giving time for the 9th Circuit Court to look at the case. The judge’s order permits continued work on ice roads which melt in summer. Biden’s review of DDT’s oil policies includes this project.

A man who took over $38 million in no-bid federal contracts to provide N95 masks for the VA and FEMA; he pled guilty to fraud, theft, and lying after delivering no masks. To get the contract, he said he lied about having the masks when he no plan to find or buy them. The federal government supported price gouging and profiteering by hiring contractors with no experience in finding PPE. The contractor, an Air Force veteran, benefited from the program giving forgivable loans when he provided false tax forms claiming 37 employees instead of his actual nine. He has since repaid most of the $805,000 he received while pleading guilty to taking $261,000 from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program for his personal extravagant spending. He also collected almost $74,000 from VA benefits by lying about being a disabled Marine corporal.

A judge has ordered Herring, the owner of far-right One America Network, to pay Rachel Maddow, host of an MSNBC show, $258,000 for its failed defamation lawsuit against her. Maddow reported an OAN journalist also contributed to Russia-owned news outlet Sputnik and accused OAN of being “paid Russian propaganda.” Herring demanded $10 million in damages from Maddow and plans to appeal while it faces a lawsuit from Dominion voting machines for a two-hour conspiracy video by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell about his baseless claim the 2020 presidential election was rigged.

The federal government could have blocked the Russian hacking of both its agencies and businesses with a free cybersecurity system, in-toto, developed with $2.2 million taxpayer funding. The system was first adopted in 2018 by Datadog, a competitor of SolarWinds which allowed the hacking into its software. Datadog’s customers include Nasdaq, Whole Foods, and Samsung. The hacked SolarWinds has 320,000 customers in 199 countries, including 499 of the Fortune 500 companies, and its Orion products, responsible for the cyberattack, bring the company 45 percent of its over $1 billion revenue.  “We make IT look easy” is SolarWinds slogan.

A big promise from DDT was to eliminate U.S. trade deficit. Last year’s trade deficit was the biggest and worst ever—worsening by six percent at $916 billion. Exports dropped by 13.2 percent to $1.43 trillion, the worst since George W. Bush’s recession in 2010. Goods imports fell by 6.6 percent to $2.35 trillion. Half the decline came from the 38 percent plunge–$120 billion to $80 billion—in petroleum products, the lowest since 2002. More bad news is here. 

The DOJ has dropped a lawsuit against Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend of Melania Trump, for releasing taped conservations between the two women when Trump children’s separation and holiday decorations at the White House. Conservative David Frum called the case “an abusive deployment of state power for personal revenge,” and  Attorney Bradley Moss called Trump “a petulant and tiny person unworthy of the role she held.” Moss also tweeted it was a “stupid lawsuit that was dead on arrival and flew in the face of decades of first amendment precedent.”

According to a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll, 56 percent of people think DDT should be convicted; they also say by a 17 percent margin that the GOP has more radical extremists than Democrats. In a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, 58 percent believe DDT should either “probably” or “definitely” be barred from running for public office in the future. One-third of Republicans want DDT to testify in his impeachment trial.

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