Nel's New Day

September 27, 2022

News on September 27, 2022, Hearing Canceled Etc.

The House January 6 investigative committee has postponed its September 28, 2022, hearing because of Hurricane Ian, expected to go through Florida the next two days. The upcoming hearing was expected to focus on a declaration of victory for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) despite his loss in the 2020 presidential election. Danish filmmakers filmed DDT’s friend Roger Stone during the months prior to the election showing his prediction of violent clashes with left-wing activists because DDT would use armed guards and loyal judges to stay in power. In one video clip, Stone says:

“F–k the voting, let’s get right to the violence. Shoot to kill. See an Antifa? Shoot to kill. F–k ’em. Done with this bulls–t.”

The committee also has details about Stone’s contacts after obtaining records of Kristin Davis, aka the Manhattan Madam, who was with Stone at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC on the day before and the day of the Capitol attack. Stone also called Enrique Tarrio, head of the Proud boys, before and after the January 6 and contacted the former Oath Keepers chief Stewart Rhodes nine days after the attack. Both are charged with seditious conspiracy.

Other Stone contacts are with prominent Republicans who tried to overturn the 2020 election such as Texas AG Ken Paxton and Donald Trump Jr’s aide Arthur Schwartz. During the 2016 election, Stone was middle-man between Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, and DDT’s campaign. In his book The Breach, Denver Riggleman, former staff member of the investigative committee, describes how DDT’s former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was the center of the efforts to stop the certification of Biden’s electoral college win through his thousands of texts.

According to recent revelations, Secret Service leadership turned over cell phones from 24 agents to DHS Inspector General, DDT-appointed Joseph Cuffari, in July. The House committee had requested texts from the phones almost a month ago. Cuffari knew in December 2021 that the phones had been wiped, but he waited to inform Congress and the National Archives required to retain the records. His own staff called on President Joe Biden to fire Cuffari, and political scientist Norman Ornstein describes Cuffari’s actions a “coverup of treason.”

Paxton, who initiated the persecution of families with trans youth, ran away in a truck to avoid being served with a subpoena for a federal court hearing scheduled for Tuesday. The lawsuit is from nonprofits trying to help state residents pay for out-of-state abortions because of Texas’ vigilante law against the procedure. Paxton claimed he left the premises because he was concerned for his safety although the process server identified himself and held up the subpoena. For the past seven years, the attorney general has been under indictment for securities fraud and faces a lawsuit from former top deputies accusing him of abuse of office. In his reelection primary, Paxton received under 43 percent of the vote as high-profile Republicans tried to unseat him, but he defeated George P. Bush, Jeb Bush’s son, in the runoff. Texas’ voter suppression laws will likely put Paxton into power while he awaits a trial on his indictment.   

DDT’s special master, Raymond Dearie, has postponed the deadline for another week to complete digitizing the 11,000 documents seized from Mar-a-Lago because no vendor will work for him. The government may need to hire a vendor. DDT’s $3 million new lawyer, Chris Kise, has also disappeared from the investigation into the 11,000 documents seized from Mar-a-Lago; he may be moved into DDT’s business legal problems.

Two new books about DDT reported House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called DDT “crazy” and considered a vote to convict DDT in the January 2021 impeachment trial. Now McConnell has endorsed the bipartisan electoral count reform bill to keep future presidents from trying to overturn presidential elections through Congress. The bill would reaffirm that the vice president has only a ceremonial role for the joint session of Congress to count electoral votes and increase the number of congressional members to object to a state’s electors. The Senate bill already has support from 11 GOP senators, more than enough to overcome a filibuster if all Democrats vote for cloture.

McConnell prefers his bill to the House bill passed by 229-203 with support from nine Republicans who will not be returning in 2023. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) was one of the sponsors, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called the bill unconstitutional. The House bill requires at least one-third of the members of both the House and the Senate to object to a state’s electors instead of the current one member from each chamber. McConnell’s preference is for one-fifth of the members from both chamber in the Senate bill.

The electoral bill has been struck from the continuing resolution bill trying to avoid a government shutdown this weekend. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-V) will not support Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) bill because part of the pipeline runs through his state and seizes property from private owners. Kaine said he wasn’t consulted on the language of the bill or given a chance to share his constituents’ “deep concerns” over the project. The bill also changes the legal battle from the 4th Circuit to the D.C. Circuit. Kaine said litigants should appeal instead of changing “federal law to achieve their goal” if they object to the 4th Circuit ruling. If Congress doesn’t soon pass some sort of budget agreement, the government will shut down on October 1.

In a frantic search for the way out of his problems, DDT moved from Hillary Clinton’s missing emails to the “lost” millions of emails in George W. Bush’s White House. In 2008, Democrats claimed the missing emails left an “enormous gap in the historical record“ during a critical period. Newsweek reported in 2016:

“This correspondence included millions of emails written during the darkest period in America’s recent history, when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction, and, later, when it was firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons.”

DDT may have given up on Clinton’s “scandal”: the article states in the first sentence that no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Clinton exists. After his recent—and repeated—claims about Clinton, DDT lied about Barack Obama taking classified secrets and clashing with the National Archives. DDT still can’t find a parallel for his taking classified materials, leaving them lying around in a fancy country club, refusing to return them, and being investigating for obstructing the retrieval process. He’s working on the “what about …” and “everybody does it” defense.  

The party of “law and order” and its leader are still savagely attacking the FBI, the lead agency for enforcing both domestic and foreign crimes. After its investigation into DDT’s alleged crimes, DDT called them “corrupt,” “mobsters,” “vicious monsters,” and “a real threat to democracy” while accusing them of “atrocities.” His allies fell in line, claiming they are politicized, pushing conspiracy theories and calling on the FBI to be defunded—sort of like “defund the police.” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told Fox network viewers that a possible “cabal” within the FBI politicized the agency’s work.

Next year if they gain power, the GOP plans extensive investigations, possibly a select committee, to probe the recovery of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago as well as curbing FBI funding and surveillance permissions. With no visible evidence, the GOP “Commitment to America” claims “more than 14 whistleblowers” have “come forward to publicly raise concerns about the FBI’s politicization,” based on an assertion from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).

The people of the U.S. should be treated like little children, says Arizona’s supposedly Democratic senator Kyrsten Sinema as she praised McConnell and declared she shares GOP values. According to her reasoning, the filibuster needs to be restored to its former glory because parents shouldn’t give children everything they want. MSNBC Chris Hayes described her comparison:

“Sinema and others like her are the Grown Ups. And We The People are spoiled children constantly asking for things.”

Sinema falsely claims the filibuster was “what our forefathers intended.” The first use of the Senate filibuster,however, was in 1837 to keep President Andrew Jackson from a resolution of censure, and it didn’t become popular until the mid-20th century when Southern Democrats used it to fight the Civil Rights Act. Until 1970, a senator could filibuster only by standing on the chamber floor and non-stop talking, but now it requires only a senator effortlessly submitting an intent to filibuster in writing.

MSNBC Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out:

“The number 60 never appears in the Constitution, but it seems to live in Kyrsten Sinema’s imagined version of the Constitution. If a simple majority vote is a dangerous and fickle threshold for governing in a democracy, then why should only five members of the United States Supreme Court get to decide the final interpretation of the law of the land? Why doesn’t Senator Sinema advocate a minimum of a 6-vote threshold in the Supreme Court instead of a mere majority and why is the United States of America the only country that has a 60 percent threshold to win a vote in a national legislative body?”

More news tomorrow.

August 23, 2022

Media Focuses on DDT—His Election Fraud, Stolen Documents

The incompetent legal team for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) has asked a federal judge to stop the FBI review of documents taken with a legal search warrant from Mar-a-Lago until an appointed neutral special master inspects the materials. The federal lawsuit also attacks the search which DDT’s lawyers call a “shockingly aggressive move, overly broad, and maintains that deserves a more detailed description of the seized records. According to the filing, the seizure showed “no understanding of the distress that it would cause most Americans,” indicating a possible threat. It added that the FBI and DOJ treated DDT “unfairly” and “illegally seized.” Again, DDT, who was hiding classified documents, is described as “fully cooperative” although he didn’t respond to a subpoena for them.

The DDT-appointed federal magistrate judge in Florida authorizing the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago stated he “carefully reviewed” the FBI’s sworn evidence before signing off and considers the facts contained in an accompanying affidavit to be “reliable.” Bruce Reinhart included this information in the order unsealing redacted portions of the affidavit giving evidence for the search. He also noted that “neither Former President Trump nor anyone else purporting to be the owner of the Premises has filed a pleading taking a position” on efforts to unseal the affidavit.

The judge said the necessary redactions may make the document “meaningless” to the public. He also suggested the physical description of Mar-a-Lago could hinder the Secret Service’s ability to protect DDT because of access by “private members” to the premises and made suggestions for DOJ’s redactions to address that concern. Other judicial recommendations included protecting witness identities, actual information in the files, and methods of the ongoing investigation. Reinhart refused the request from media and conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch to unseal the entire affidavit because complete disclosure “would detrimentally affect this investigation and future investigations.”

A new report from the New York Times has specific information about documents seized from Mar-a-Lago and the process. The first 150+ documents marked as classified were retrieved last January by the National Archives. The 15 boxes included material from the CIA, the National Security Agency, and the FBI covering a number of topics of national security interest. According to several people, DDT had gone through the boxes himself in late 2021 before giving them to the FBI.  

Worried about the highly sensitive nature of the material in the earlier seized boxes, archives officials referred the matter to DOJ which had convened a grand jury investigation. In May, the DOJ issued a subpoena for the missing documents, and in early June, DOJ officials made another visit to Mar-a-Lago. DDT’s lawyer Evan Corcoran went through the boxes to retrieve classified documents for the DOJ and gave them a few dozen documents. He drafted a statement which another DDT lawyer, Christina Bobb, signed. She is supposedly the custodian of the documents, and the statement declared that, to the best of her knowledge, all classified material at Mar-a-Lago had been returned. Corcoran also showed Jay Bratt, the chief of the DOJ counterespionage section of the national security division, the basement storage room and said the remaining material had been kept there.

The question is who is lying with the statement, DDT for hiding documents from his lawyers or Bobb for signing a false statement.

On June 22, the DOJ sent a subpoena to the Trump Organization for Mar-a-Lago’s security footage, including the hallway outside the storage area which is well-trafficked. It revealed people moving boxes in and out of the storage, sometimes changing containers for the documents. The DOJ is now seeking surveillance footage between the first subpoena and August 8, the date of the search. Mar-a-Lago has little control over who comes into the club, even finding a spy who stole electronic items.

Armed with a search warrant two weeks ago, FBI agents removed 26 more boxes of material with over 11 sets of material marked at different levels of classified, including the highest level of classification—top secret/sensitive compartmented information—a total of over 150 records. They were located in the basement storage and in a closet within DDT’s office.

DDT’s allies continue to insist that he had a “standing order” to declassify the material and tried to excuse his taking the boxes because the General Services Administration, not DDT’s staff, packed the boxes with the documents. No documentation has been found to indicate DDT declassified any of the documents, and the alleged crimes identified by the DOJ isn’t connected to the documents’ classification status. White House aides described the chaos in trying to pack up the White House as some records were tossed into burn bags. One source blamed former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for the documents at Mar-a-Lago.

National Archives officials worked to get the material returned throughout much of 2021 because all presidential records material remains government property to be provided to the archives at the end of his term. Some of the missing documents were common knowledge such as DDT’s original letters from North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and the note that President Barack Obama left DDT before he left office. Former White House officials who DDT designated as his representatives to the archives tried to regain the documents for the archives, but DDT described the boxes of documents as “mine.”

Some members of the “Gang of Eight,” House and Senate leaders and leaders of intelligence committees from both parties, want access to documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. Other lawmakers want complete copies of the affidavit also, but the magistrate judge must sign any releases. Not all the “gang” supports the request. 

To overturn Joe Biden’s presidential win, DDT-related attorneys obtained sensitive election system files that they shared with election deniers, conspiracy theorists and right-wing commentators. The lawyers hired a Georgia computer forensics firm to place the files on a server where they were downloaded dozens of times to 10 accounts “associated with a Texas meteorologist who has appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show; a podcaster who suggested political enemies should be executed; a former pro surfer who pushed disproven theories that the 2020 election was manipulated; and a self-described former “seduction and pickup coach” who claims to also have been a hacker,” according to a Washington Post report.

Records obtained through a subpoena include contracts between Atlanta-based SullivanStrickler and DDT-connected attorneys, notably Sidney Powell. Data came from Coffee County (GA) and Antrim County (MI). One of the plaintiffs in a Georgia lawsuit said the recklessly handled files “go far beyond” these two counties.

Previously, Misty Hampton, a Coffee County elections supervisor in 2020, permitted a group into the offices to prove the “election was not done true and correct,” she said. Hampton resigned under pressure last year because she falsified time sheets. Coffee County files were downloaded to at least four people outside the company: Jim Penrose, a cybersecurity consultant who claimed to have worked for the National Security Agency; Doug Logan, operator of the now defunct CyberNinjas that performed the Arizona GOP election review; Conan Hayes, former Hawaii pro surfer; and “Scott T,” claiming to work with Hayes at Allied Security Operations Group that produced a discredited report on Antrim County used by DDT as proof of a stolen election.  

Hayes’ Twitter account has posted conspiracy theory material and images smearing Dominion voting systems in Michigan. He also allegedly worked with Mesa County (CO) officials to copy elections software in May 2021. One of three arrested was Tina Peters who lost a run for secretary of state but claims that the election was rigged.

SullivanStrickler’s work began in Michigan after Matthew DePerno, now the DDT-endorsed GOP candidate for the state attorney general, won a court order in December 2020 to have access to Antrim County’s election systems. The next week, SullivanStrickler employees uploaded dozens of files that were shared with attorneys representing Antrim and Michigan’s attorney general in a lawsuit opposing the county election results for DDT. Later the Antrim files were made available to a larger pool of accounts for people who made false claims about the election and promoted conspiracy theories about election fraud. Data security expert Harri Hursti said that widespread release of server images “lowers the barrier to planning an attack against any election management system running this Dominion software.”

The right wing had hoped to campaign on how horrible the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is, but news about it is barely a blip on the screen with DDT, as usual, sucking up all the time through his possible corruption and attacks to avoid backlash. One theory is that the culture war and DDT are feeding conservative activism so that the GOP can’t weaponize the IRA. The GOP sweep in 2010 came from the GOP attacking Democrats over the Affordable Care Act, but the health care is now popular. Attacking the investment of money in clean energy isn’t a good talking point.

Republicans also set their hopes on campaigning with complaints about the Democrats’ economy, but a new NBC poll gives threats to democracy at the top concern from 21 percent of registered voters. “Cost of living” was five points lower at 16 percent, and third at 14 percent was “jobs and the economy.” In the poll, 57 percent believe investigations into alleged misconduct by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) should continue. Republicans will need to look for more issues

August 11, 2022

Wars on Two Fronts – DDT, Ukraine

On Thursday, AG Merrick Garland announced that the DOJ filed a court request to unseal the search warrant and property receipt for the Mar-a-Lago residence of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) because of massive DDT-engendered lies and violent threats by his allies. One man, who may have participated in the January 6 insurrection, was shot and killed after he tried to storm the Cincinnati FBI office. On Monday, a post on DDT’s Truth Social with the name Ricky Shiffer, the man killed, sent a “call to arms” message:

“People, this is it. Leave work tomorrow as soon as the gun shop/Army-Navy store/pawn shop opens, get whatever you need to be ready for combat. We must not tolerate this one. They have been conditioning us to accept tyranny and think we can’t do anything for 2 years. This time we must respond with force.”

Garland explained the reason for unsealing the search warrant was “the intense public interest” and called out the “unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors.”

“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated patriotic public servants. Every day, they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves. I am honored to work alongside them.”

The government has until 3 p.m. EST (1900 GMT) on August 11 to notify the court whether DDT’s attorneys object to unsealing the warrant. The same judge appointed by DDT who signed the search warrant will hear the case.  

A few hours after Garland’s speech, breaking news revealed that the classified documents illegally stored at Mar-a-Lago concerned nuclear weapons. Mar-a-Lago has extremely lax security, and the documents would be classified at the highest levels, restricted to a small number of government officials because details about them allows adversaries to counter the systems.

Former senior intelligence officials said that DDT’s administration routinely mishandled highly classified intelligence about sensitive topics. Often it went to people who didn’t need to see it or weren’t authorized to read it. Among this information was signals intelligence, intercepted electronic communications such as emails and phone calls of foreign leaders. They needed to be closely guarded because they reveal how the U.S. penetrates foreign governments. This type of information was included in the 15 boxes removed from Mar-a-Lago last January.

Months later, the DOJ subpoenaed DDT for more documents and were given other materials. Officials suspected DDT’s team was not truthful and withheld additional documents. The current search warrant would describe what was being sought at Mar-a-Lago as well as their related crimes. Republicans who reveled in the search because of political benefits now worry about new damaging discoveries.  

In 2019, whistleblowers expressed concern that DDT wanted to provide U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia as his former national security adviser Michael Flynn had suggested. 

While DDT plays his games trying to return to the White House, the Russian war against Ukraine grinds on for almost six months since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. Earlier this week, a Ukrainian attack on a Russian air base in coastal Crimea took out a dozen or more Russian planes used for missile strikes against Ukrainian-controlled territory. The losses would be the largest in a single day for the Russian air force, further reducing its ability to launch missile strikes against Ukraine. The Russian losses would also curtail its long-term ability to control southern Ukraine, especially the nearby province of Kherson, where Ukraine attempts a counteroffensive to retake its territory. Crimea is a Russian transit point for troops, equipment, and ammunition to supply the Kherson area.

Before the loss, Russia assumed it would be unimpeded in its operation instead of being forced to guard another part of Ukraine. At least three explosions at the base also demonstrated to Russia that it’s not invincible. Special forces fighters caused the destruction because HIMARS couldn’t cross the 150 miles from Ukrainian-controlled area to the air base. Russia only admitted damage to civilian structures and denied any destroyed planes, but satellite images showed the extent of the damage.

Russia continues to endanger the world with more shelling of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant which Ukraine lost in early March. An administrative office near the welding area has been hit and several radiation sensors damaged. Russia turned the facility and the surrounding area in southeastern Ukraine along the Dnieper River into a military base and launches attacks from there.

Russia launched an Iranian satellite from southern Kazakhstan after Putin and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pledged to work together against the West. Tehran claims Russia will not use the satellite, named Omar Khayyam after the 11th century Persian poet and philosopher, for intelligence in Ukraine. U.S. officials are concerned that Russia will use the satellite to monitor military in Israel and other parts of the Middle East.  

Assistant director for the Atlantic Council, Doug Klain, wrote that the attack on the Russian air base could be the turning point in the war. Russia has taken great pride in illegally taking Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, an act leading them to believe the Ukrainian invasion would finish within three days. Instead of grinding down a disheartened enemy, Russia faces an enemy achieving daring counteroffensives showing Ukraine able to precisely strike hundreds of miles behind Russian lines. Thanks to the West, Ukraine has up-to-date weapons; Russia is running out of equipment, even stripping commercial jetliners of parts after blocked from components from abroad. The EU has banned Russian coal imports, annually impacting about 8 billion euros worth of Russian exports.

In the Guardian, Nimo Omer writes that the war in Ukraine is entering a new decisive phase. Russia wants to hold out until winter, when Europe will be in an energy crisis and more likely to push for a negotiated agreement. The invaders may also be trying to connect the nuclear facility to the grid in Crimea, for the first time that one country steals a nuclear reactor from another country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin initially wanted to overturn the Ukrainian government and replace it with one of his own. Kyiv didn’t fall so he tried to take the eastern region of Donbas. The artillery onslaught led to Russia occupying the Luhansk province, and Russia wants Kherson as a transport hub with a key river crossing as a barrier from attacks. Russia has more ammunition than Ukraine, but the U.S.-supplied HIMARS partly equalized the battles with its precision-guided artillery aimed at Russian logistics centers, weapons depots, and command points. They also sever some supply lines, decreasing Russian shelling.

Hundreds of Russian soldiers refuse to fight and try to leave the military. Unable to replenish the 80,000 soldiers killed and untold numbers wounded, Russia is recruiting prisoners for replacements. St. Petersburg penal colony prisoners were offered amnesty in return for fighting in Ukraine. Of 11 volunteers, eight died in Ukraine. Russia’s major new ground force, the 3rd Army Corps of “volunteer battalions,” seeks men up to age 50 and requires only a middle-school education. Deployment to Ukraine promises “lucrative cash bonuses,” but complaints in the media indicate Russia isn’t paying off. The Soviet Union used the same tactic during World War II. Supposedly Russia’s shadowy private military force, the Wagner Group, is doing this recruiting.

Kurt Volker, expert in Ukrainian affairs, said that Putin has put himself into a “weak position” because of the widely-condemned war in Ukraine, that he can partner only with vulnerable countries needing financial assistance. These countries will also worry about global sanctions against them like Russia has. Belarus, for example, may suffer from the same sanctions as Russia because it allows Russian troops on and Russian air strikes from its territory while receiving $1.5 billion in return. Even before Russia’s invasion, the U.S., UK, Canada, and Europe sanctioned Belarus in late 2021 for alleged repression of its residents and human rights violations of migrants.

In another Russian difficulty, Finland and Sweden are on their way to becoming NATO’s 31st and 32nd member states following the acceptance of North Macedonia in March 2020. Bosnia, Herzegovina, Georgia, and Ukraine are also interested in joining NATO. All senators except Josh Hawley (R-MO) agreed to the expansion of NATO, and President Joe Biden signed the NATO accession protocols for Finland and Sweden. Putin called the expansion of NATO an imperialistic threat, but it would not have happened if he hadn’t “shattered peace and security in Europe,” as Biden said when he signed the protocols.

Even conservative senators such as Ted Cruz (TX) and Marco Rubio (FL) criticized Hawley for his objection; both of them emphasized NATO’s importance in protection against China. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) pointed out that Hawley had voted to permit Montenegro and North Macedonia into NATO.

Hawley has been mocked since the July 12 House January 6 investigative committee showed him running away from the insurrectionists who he incited. The irony comes from his image of masculinity that he described in his new book. Jonathan Capeheart described Hawley’s message: “if you’re a man, you believe in these things”: patriarchy, opposition to female’s body choice, opposition to marriage equality, aversion to labor organizing. Hawley’s sense of exclusion, and intolerance leading him to vote against other countries joining NATO. To Hawley, masculinity is the prejudice manifested by conservatives in the U.S. who cling to a vision of White America, identical to the beliefs of DDT’s followers.

October 24, 2021

Congress Needs to Shut Down Corruption

Creeping among all the other stories about fraud during the past week was the indictment of Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) for his lying to the FBI about taking $30,000 from Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury, funneled through Californians and distributed to four politicians. Fortenberry alternately expressed shock, surprise, and expectation to be indicted. He resigned from his leadership on the Agriculture Committee but made a lovely video sitting in his vintage pickup with his wife and dog, cornfields in the background, explaining why he had done nothing wrong. His wife, Celeste, stood by her man, also claiming that her husband didn’t lie to the FBI. Fortenberry used the indictment for fundraiser, calling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) a “swamp creature.”

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Central District of California stated a federal grand jury was charging Fortenberry with “concealing information and making false statements to federal authorities who were investigating illegal contributions made by a foreign national to the congressman’s 2016 re-election campaign.” Charges include one count of scheming to falsify and conceal material facts and two counts of knowingly and willingly making false statements and representations to federal investigators. Chagoury has cooperated with the investigation and paid $1.8 million in fines.

It seems that Fortenberry faces at least three false statements charges under 18 U.S.C. § 1001:

  • He was aware after the fundraiser that Chagoury was the real source of the $30,000 he received and were funneled to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), and himself.
  • The fundraiser host began cooperating with the FBI in September 2016, and Fortenberry asked him to host another event in 2018. The informant told Fortenberry several times that Chagoury provided the original funds, violating both the ban on foreign campaign contributions and the ban on straw man donors.
  • Fortenberry also lied by saying he ended the phone call with the fundraiser after he made a “concerning comment”: in fact, Fortenberry asked him to host another fundraiser.

During the term of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), two sitting congressional members, both Republicans, were criminally charged: New York’s Chris Collins for insider trading, and California’s Duncan Hunter for stealing over $250,000 from his campaign donations. Both were re-elected but resigned, both were sentenced to prison, and both were pardoned by DDT. If guilty, Fortenberry faces up to five years in federal prison. 

DDT supported Fortenberry by saying:

“Isn’t it terrible that a Republican Congressman from Nebraska just got indicted for possibly telling some lies to investigators about campaign contributions, when half of the United States Congress lied about made up scams.”

Fortenberry belongs to the secretive political evangelical Christian group, The Family, highlighted in Jeff Sharlet’s book, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. The organization is tied to the Uganda lawmaker who pressured his country to pass legislation called “Kill the Gays.” The Family supports the bill that sentences people committing homosexual acts with the death penalty. In 2014, the text was softened to “Jail the Gays,” sentencing LGBTQ people to life imprisonment, but the Ugandan Supreme Court invalidated the law. Fortenberry’s chief of staff, Andy Braner, is a fellow insider of The Family. The Family has funded Fortenberry’s multiple events overseas connected to the group. 

Another current GOP may be moving toward toward indictment. The FBI has assigned two more two prosecutors to sex-trafficking probe of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one expert in child exploitation crimes and the other a leader in the public corruption unit. The sentencing of Joel Greenberg, a witness against Gaetz, has been postponed until March as, according to prosecutors, Greenberg continues to provide valuable assistance in their investigation. Gaetz not only lost money on his “America First” tour around the country with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) but also paid $613,000 in the third quarter of 2021 to get under $500,000 in donations. It has been reported that, before DDT left the White House, Gaetz “privately asked” administrators “for blanket pre-emptive pardons for himself and unidentified congressional allies.” 

Gaetz can no longer practice law because he failed to pay his license annual dues. For reinstatement he would have to pay the $265, an extra $150 reinstatement fee, and a $50 late fee. In addition, he would need to petition the executive director to be reinstated. Convicted of any felonies, he would be disbarred anyway. 

USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, appointed under DDT, appears intent on running his agency into the ground. He’s raising prices, slowing down delivery, and appears to be steering the government work to his former company. More conflicts of interest have emerged from his and his family’s investments in XPO, where he served as CEO, and 13 other major companies with relationships to the postal services. With a financial interest between $30 million and $75 million in XPO, DeJoy refused to divest himself for months after he was confirmed and has more investments in companies such as AT&T, CVS, Verizon, Lockheed Martin, Discover Financial Services, IBM, and JPMorgan Chase—all with USPS government contracts. Federal law requires government employees, including agency heads, to divest from investments worth more than $15,000 in companies that may be affected by their work.

Also ongoing is a probe into DeJoy’s campaign-finance scandal when he coerced employees to donate to Republican candidates. President Joe Biden cannot fire DeJoy without approval by the USPS governing board, who must also be confirmed by the Senate. Although the board president is a Democrat, he said DeJoy is “the proper man for the job.” Bloom’s tenure on the board expires, however, in December 2021. 

Republicans may give up on DeJoy after he began banking in post offices located in Washington, Baltimore, Falls Church (VA), and the Bronx by accepting paychecks or business checks of up to $500 in exchange for prepaid Visa gift cards. Postal officials plan to expand the program in 2022 with bill-paying services and ATMS in post offices. Republicans still want DeJoy’s campaign donations but don’t like the USPS competing with private financial institutions. In a letter to DeJoy, Reps. James Comer (R-KY) and Patrick McHenry (R-NC) wrote that the program “undermines the trust during your engagements with Congress and raises questions as to whether you worked with us in good faith.”

More corruption, money-laundering on a large scale, has been discovered in the Midwest: federal prosecutors seized $12 million allegedly part of “The Shadow Exchange” between the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates. Some of the money was used to buy armored vehicles for an illegal drug trafficking operation in Michigan. The money origins were hidden with fake invoices and other documents sent to banks, including major ones in the U.S., through wire transfers. Federal authorities obtained the money in December 2020, January 2021, and May 2021.

Ukrainian banking oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky bought a disintegrating factory Harvard (IL), population 9,281, much to the delight of the depressed community. He did nothing with the factory, originally built in the late 1990s by Motorola before the business failed, and the U.S. has hit him with sanctions for “significant corruption” in Ukraine for overseeing Ponzi schemes. Before Kolomoisky, a Miami investor, Chaim Schochet, purchased the facility on behalf of Optima International, a company buying commercial real estate throughout the Midwest. Both Schochet and Kolomoisky used laundered money and fraudulent loans to buy property and then let it rot. They paid no property taxes, starving the communities, and in 2016 Kolomoisky sold the Harvard property to a Chinese Canadian businessman. After spreading dreams throughout the community for a year, Canadian authorities charged the new owner of a money laundering scheme, and New Zealand detailed how he led a “multi-national pyramid scheme.”   

Money laundering moved to the Midwest from urban areas because they have no laws against anonymous real estate purchases, unlike cities like New York City, Dallas, and Seattle. Desperate for help, places suffering from economic decline are also ripe for this kind of corruption. When Kolomoisky bought up many downtown Cleveland buildings, the Ohio city was helpless when he let them fall apart. Last year, Congress banned anonymous shell company formations, overriding DDT’s veto, and will be debating the Transnational Repression Accountability and Prevention Act to counter authoritarian regimes targeting journalists in democratic countries—if Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) permits.  

In an unusual coalition, four members of the House—Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Joe Wilson (R-SC)—are introducing the Establishing New Authorities for Business Laundering and Enabling Risks to Security (ENABLERS) Act closing loopholes foreign kleptocrats use to launder money in the United States. Financial institutions are required to report suspicious transactions; ENABLERS expands that requirement to others such as law and public relations firms, accountants, investment and real estate advisors, and art dealers who allow the secrecy of origins through shell companies, trusts, and other investment vehicles. The four representatives founded the Caucus Against Foreign Corruption and Kleptocracy recently leading the charge to anti-corruption legislation in the House’s national defense bill.

Now the country needs ten good Republicans in the Senate to fight corruption.

October 9, 2021

Reversing DDT’s Policies

Today in Iowa, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) ranted about his lost election, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who condemned DDT less than a year ago, stood beside him, hoping to be re-elected next year at the age of 89. Meanwhile, the U.S. is quashing DDT’s push to destroy protections for U.S. residents.

Twenty state attorneys general have filed a joint complaint against DDT’s Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for his new crippling rules to delay mail delivery including elimination of working hours, slower first-class mail delivery, and removal of equipment, delaying delivery of prescriptions, bills, Social Security checks, rent payments, etc. DeJoy’s 10-year plan to use trucks for hauling mail instead of airplanes would be accompanied by changing post office locations and increase postal rates. Thirty percent of standard mail delivery would drop from a 3-day maximum to five days, increase the cost of every piece of mail an addition three percent to nine percent, and not reduce the USPS budget deficit. AGs maintain the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), providing independent oversight of the USPS, permitted the new harmful plans to go into effect without appropriate review. The independent postal services is the only federal agency required to be self-sustaining.

DeJoy is making money off a $120 million contract between XPO Logistics, which he led, and USPS. Former White House chief ethics lawyer testified to Congress that DeJoy probably violated federal conflict of interest rules “unless he has recused from so many matters at the USPS that he is not fully functioning as Postmaster General.” DeJoy also bought stocks in Amazon at a lower price with options, another conflict of interest because of the company’s shipping arrangement for the USPS. The FBI is also investigating DeJoy for potentially pressuring his former employees at XPO Logistics to donate to GOP candidates before using his company funds to reimburse them.

Wisconsin is heading into a fake “audit” of the 2020 presidential election ballots with no evidence of any fraud. No Cyber Ninjas this time—instead GOP legislators picked former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, a “Stop the Steal” activist, to oversee the probe. Gableman went not only to Arizona to look at the event but also to South Dakota to attend the “symposium” run by conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell, My Pillow’s CEO. At the same time Gableman is subpoenaing mayors and elections for readily available information, he announced he has no “understanding” of how elections should run. The subpoenas are for “all documents contained in your files and/or in your custody, possession,” millions of pages from the state and its five biggest cities. Wisconsin taxpayers are $680,000 for ignorance and failure for Gableman’s “audit.”

Lindell also caused the audit of three Idaho counties which he claimed had fraudulent votes. Idaho Chief Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck is billing Lindell for the $6,500 cost. Lindell accused all 44 Idaho counties of “electronic manipulation,” but at least seven counties don’t use this method. He also declared votes in every county in Idaho, which supported DDT by 31 percent, and every county in the nation was off by 8.4. The audit found a 0.1 percent of margin of error in all three counties. Alabama dismissed a Lindell’s claim that the state had 100,000 votes switched from DDT to President Joe Biden.

The Education Department will relax rules retroactively for its Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan, allowing student loans for 22,000 people to be automatically erased. Another 27,000 borrowers could have debts erased if they prove they worked in public service when making payments previously declared ineligible. In the past, loan payments were disqualified for either being received late or slightly different from the required amount, even by a few cents. Different payment plans will also count toward forgiveness because of misleading information from the federal government and loan companies. Over 550,000 borrowers may now fast-forward their path to loan forgiveness.

After a Senate hearing, the Department of Justice is reviewing two former FBI agents accused of mishandling the sexual abuse investigation into former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar against at least 330 girls and women. Four famous female gymnasts testified to the FBI’s lack of accountability and inaction. It is highly unusual for the DOJ to consider reopening a case without charges, but the department’s Inspector General found major missteps by the FBI in 2015 which permitted Nassar to victimize scores more patients before state authorities arrested him the next year. According to the report, Supervisory Special Agent Michael Langement, fired a month ago, lied to the inspector officer’s officer in interviews during 2020 and 2021. W. Jay Abbott, the head of the FBI’s Indianapolis office, also talked to Stephen Penny, the president of the USA Gymnastics, about getting a job with the Olympic Committee during the Nassar allegations in late 2015. Later Abbott lied to the inspector general about seeking the job, and Penny resigned from his job and was charged with evidence-tampering regarding sex abuse. The FBI also failed to alert state authorities about Nassar’s possible sex crimes against children. Nassar, 58, was sentence to 40 to 175 years in prison.  

DDT kept trying to drop salaries for federal employees, but Biden plans to raise wages an average of 2.7 percent on January 1 and signed an executive order directing federal contractors to pay employees a minimum wage of $15 by March 30, 2022.

Changes by the Federal Emergency Management Agent (FEMA) will ease the method for verifying ownership for disaster relief applicants who lack certain legal documents for inherited property. The former system discriminated against Blacks in the Deep South who need help to rebuild after catastrophic storms such as Hurricane Ida. Many Blacks informally inherited property without written wills, a process known as heirs’ property, previously denied under FEMA rules. FEMA will now send inspectors to people without the documentation for property ownership. In majority-Black counties, FEMA’s denial rate regarding “title issues” is twice the national average. Other people suffering from FEMA’s former rules include Native Americans, people in Appalachia, and those in communities near the U.S.-Mexico border.

By the end of the year, the Commerce Department will shut down its 15-year-old security unit illegally making criminal investigations and collecting information on hundreds of its employees and other citizens. With no oversight, the 13-person Investigations and Threat Management Service (ITMS) opened cases against people who simply wrote innocuous letters to the department’s top official. Because almost no case was closed, people in almost 2,000 cases continued to be classified as still under scrutiny. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) called the ITMS a “rogue, unaccountable police force” that “opened frivolous investigations on a variety of employees without evidence suggesting wrongdoing.” The unit covertly searched offices at night, ran broad key word searches on emails, and examined social media accounts for critical comments about the census.

A federal judge tossed DDT’s rule scaling back protections for streams, marshes, and wetlands, saying that it could lead to “serious environmental harm.” The ruling from the District of Arizona applies nationwide and protects drinking water for millions of people and thousands of wildlife species depending on U.S. wetland acreage. Since a 1972 law prohibited the pollution of “waters of the United States” without a permit, courts and agencies have debated which waterways. Agencies will now return to water protections of the 1980s, less restrictive than those of President Obama but far more expansive than DDT’s guidelines. The judge’s ruling requires a permit for strip-mining for titanium in Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp.  

Four years ago DDT reduced Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent and Grand Staircase in half, the biggest reversal of U.S. land monument protections in history. Biden restored Bears Ears to 1.36 million acres and Grand Staircase to 1.87 million acres, both areas having cultural and religious importance for Native American tribes. A lawsuit by environmental and tribal leaders against DDT has been on hold since Biden issued an executive order in January to examine the matter. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, threatens to sue Biden for his action.

Biden has also announced his plan to restore climate change protections to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and return the requirement for federal agencies to “evaluate all the relevant environmental impacts of the decisions they are making” for projects such as highways, mines, gas pipelines and water infrastructure. DDT’s removal of these mandates caused confusion and litigation.

In another reversed DDT rule, Biden will no longer prevent clinics receiving Title X family planning aid from advising people about terminating their pregnancies starting November 8. Under DDT’s rule preventing information about abortions, Title X grants served 2.4 fewer patients. The Hyde Amendment blocks federal money from directly paying for abortions, but DDT stopped clinics from sending patients where they can receive abortions. Biden also lifted the “Mexico City Policy” preventing worldwide nonprofit organizations from receiving any U.S. global family aid if they perform or promote abortions. DDT had expanded the ban to all U.S. international aid.

The Bureau of Land Management is returning to Washington, D.C. DDT’s decision to move the agency’s headquarters to Grand Junction (CO), causing almost 90 percent of the 328 former headquarters staff to retire, quit, or leave for other jobs. Ultimately, only three people relocated to the West, leaving 80 vacancies.  

The Washington, D.C. District Court ordered the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to take action by the end of the month on complaints against the NRA for its shell companies coordinating campaign spending with federal candidates. In the past, Republican FEC board members blocked the commission from asking the FBI to look into the NRA laundering Russian money into DDT’s campaign.

September 18, 2021

Constitution Day Caps Week of Constitutional Abuses

Yesterday was Constitution Day, the 244th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution ratification, and many people wish the Republicans would read the document they claim to follow. For example, the youngest representative in the U.S. House, North Carolina’s 26-year-old Madison Cawthorn, ranted on Newsmax against the possibility of restricting air travel in the U.S. for those who are unvaccinated. He called it “a constitutional violation because you have a constitutionally predictive right to free restricted travel within the United States of America.” MSNBC’s Brian Williams responded:

“Perhaps you are wondering as we did, who’s going to tell him? We checked the constitution, no mention that we could find of airlines, increase legroom, tray tables, carry on bags, peanuts, none of it.”

Cawthorn wants the government to control private business, long opposed by the GOP.

Encouraging insurrectionists, 26-year-old Cawthorn admires Hitler and called for “bloodshed” earlier this month in reference to the September 18 white supremacist rally in at the U.S. Capitol. Still lying about DDT being the real U.S. president because of an evidence-free “stolen” election, Cawthorn also claims his governor Roy Cooper lost the election although Cooper defeated his opponent by 250,000 votes. Insurrectionists arrested in the January 6 attack on the Capitol are “political prisoners,” according to Cawthorn, and he plans to “try and bust them out.” The transcript of his remarks.  

Today, far-right Matt Braynard, a former campaigner for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) in 2016, organized the rally, “Justice for J6,” to protest treatment of over 600 insurrectionists, 63 of them in jail, who the group calls “political prisoners.” These are the people who broke into the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and attacked lawmakers and law enforcement, wounding and killing them, in an effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election, thus keeping DDT in the White House. This group is part of a large number of Republicans who think the insurrectionists on the right didn’t harm a large number of people at the Capitol and didn’t vandalized the place while calling the atttackers “tourists.” In 2017, Braynard created a one-issue literary magazine, glorifying a far-right ultranationist Japanese 17-year-old who assassinated a legislator and chair of the Japan Socialist Party at a televised election debate, Braynard compared the killer, Otoya Yamaghuchi (left with samauri sword), to George Washington.

Despite DDT’s strong support for the rally to defend the charged January 6 “being persecuted so unfairly,” the event brought only about 450 people to Washington. Unlike “J6,” today’s rally had a high level of security and no current lawmakers present to encourage the participants to violent action. Because of the arrests regarding January 6, many people were afraid of another performance; those who wanted violence would have been disappointed because the leader pushed a non-violent protest. Hundreds of officers from eight agencies were present, and the congressional halls were almost completely deserted. Long line of trucks parked along Third Street served as security baricades. DDT wasn’t there to deliver rants encouraging the small group to attack the Capitol. People on the far-right called the event a “trap,” accusing the government of luring them to Washington for arrest.

DDT’s legislative supporters found the rally an embarrassment, avoiding it in speech and participation although a few far-right 2022 candidates handpicked by DDT came to speak. Even Rep. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who gave a fist pump to the January 6 crowd, didn’t attend. Republicans struggle with DDT’s leadership: they want him to turn on the base, but he alienates the general electorate when he does.

The current time is particularly bad for the GOP because of the revelations in Robert Costa and Bob Woodward’s book Peril, describing the debacle of DDT’s last days in the White House. Details in that book have taken the media away from President Joe Biden’s struggle with evacuating Afghanistan last month. California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s overwhelming win thus far—63.5 percent to retain him with 85 percent of the vote counted—has caused more problemsfor DDT supporters, especially because of the strong similarity between DDT’s policies and those of the losing candidate, Larry Elder. Newsom partially won because he made the election about DDT.

Author Jason Miciak wrote a humorous description of the rally for Political Flare under the title, “The ‘Justice for J16’ Rally Was a Complete and Total Failure, With Cops Outnumbering Protestors”:

“We suppose that it’s just not as much fun if you cannot ransack the Capitol, threaten to hang various people, wear horns, and break windows to get in. Without any of that stuff, well, you’re not much more than a BLM protest, peacefully asking for a redress of grievances. What white person wants to do that?”

A Supreme Court justice used the day before Constitutional Day to lambast the Supreme Court, saying:

“The court was thought to be the least dangerous branch, and we may have become the most dangerous.”

He continued:

“When we [go beyond longstanding limitations], and we begin to venture into political, legislative or executive branch lanes and resolving things that are better left to those branches—where people actually have some input and some opportunity to participate in the electoral process as to who those leaders are. Those of us, particularly in the federal judiciary with lifetime appointments, are asking for trouble.”

Thomas, a Catholic, was among the majority in retaining the Texas vigilante law against abortion until it could be legislated and has called on the overturn of Roe v. Wade, extending abortion rights. Legal experts and political commentators are criticizing Thomas for blasting courts when they do exactly what he does. Keith Boykin, a CNN commentator whose law degree comes from Harvard, said:

“Clarence Thomas didn’t seem too worried about ‘destroying our institutions’ when he cast the deciding vote to make Bush president in 2000 or to gut the Voting Rights Act in 2013 or when he sat silently from 2017-2021 as Trump trashed our institutions.”

Thomas’ personal political actions includes speaking at the far-right Heritage Foundation and using Supreme Court facilities to meet with the Foundation’s staff and interns. His activist wife, Ginni Thomas, praised the demonstrators for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) on January 6 who later attacked the U.S. Capitol in their attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s electoral votes.

Calling himself an originalist or “textualist,” Thomas keeps trying to persuade he follows the exact wording of the Founding Fathers but says oral arguments “almost never” changed his mind.

Another justice might be in trouble this week when FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee about what Charles Pierce calls the “shake-and-bake investigation” by the FBI into Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation in 2018. The FBI cover-up is an 11-year-old Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that the FBI said limited their abilities in the investigation. The FBI claimed the MOU blocked them from further investigation without specific directions from the White House.

According to an examination by The Guardian of the 2010 MOU, signed by then AG Eric Holder and then White House counsel Robert Bauer, doesn’t make this restriction. DDT’s White House did not have control over process parameters on any investigation. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has been birddogging unresolved issues surrounding Kavanaugh’s confirmation, including the magical disappearance of his heavy personal debts.

The Kavanaugh hearing comes this coming week after four Olympic gymnasts testified before the same committee about how the FBI ignored their information about sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. A 2012 Summer Games gold medalist McKayla Maroney said:

“[The FBI] allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year and this inaction directly allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue. What is the point of reporting abuse if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer?”

The four young women testified that FBI not only ignored their allegations in 2015 but also lied about their testimony and covered up the evidence. A few months before the 2016 election, former Director James Comey was busy announcing a new investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. In 2018, Nassar was convicted on multiple counts of sexual abuse of minors and was sentenced to a federal penitentiary for the rest of his life. [U.S. gymnasts: Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Maggie Nichols – Saul Loeb, AP]

May 6, 2021

Giuliani’s Disaster; Update on Arizona’s ‘Fraudit’

While Republicans fight about loyalty tests regarding lies about a stolen presidential election, Rudy Giuliani, former personal lawyer for Deposed Dictator Trump (DDT), faces more legal problems after the FBI seized his electronic equipment from his apartment and office. As DDT’s loyal defender, Giuliani allegedly committed criminal acts in Ukraine in trying to derail Joe Biden’s presidential campaign by smearing his son, Hunter Biden.

The probe evolved from arrests of former Giuliani business partners Lev Parnas and Igor Furman who were indicted on four counts of conspiracy regarding foreign donations in elections and lying to the Federal Election Commission. Warrants are investigating Giuliani’s role in the 2019 firing of Marie Yovanovitch, DDT’s former ambassador to Ukraine, at DDT’s request. She then testified in DDT’s first impeachment trial. Her insistence on following government protocol in meetings between Ukrainian and U.S. law enforcement officials stood in the way Giuliani finding disinformation on the Bidens.

At least one of the search warrants for Giuliani’s devices specifically stated that investigated crimes included violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Charges could result from proof that Giuliani tried to influence foreign policy for his associates’ interests. Another FBI warrant was for the phone of Victoria Toensing, a lawyer and collaborator of Giuliani in his Ukrainian investigations. If Giuliani solely represented DDT and didn’t work for Ukraine, he might not have broken the law. 

One warrant searching for ties between Giuliani and Ukrainian officials specified former president Petro Poroshenko and former top prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, regarding hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees to “Giuliani Partners,” supposedly to recover Ukrainian assets. Giuliani had asked Lutsenko to inquire into Hunter Biden when he was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company and wanted help from Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash, under indictment in the United States and represented by Toensing.

Giuliani now says he’s innocent of any wrongdoing, but two years ago, he bragged about how he ran a foreign operation against Yovanovitch. He had support from corrupt Ukrainian officials because of Yovanovitch’s anti-corruption policy.

In December 2019, Giuliani traveled to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv to meet with a lawmaker called “an active Russian agent” who was sanctioned for running an “influence campaign” against Biden. That operation involved other Ukrainian officials and political consultants acting as Russian proxies to block U.S. support for Ukraine as well as smearing Biden. The conservative One America News accompanied Giuliani on his trip to Ukraine and made a documentary of the events of unproved allegations about Hunter and Joe Biden by Ukrainian officials. After Giuliani’s visit to Kyiv, the U.S. sanctioned Andriy Derkach for being the Russian agent “for over a decade” and maintaining “close connections with Russian intelligence services.” 

Russians gave Giuliani false information to politically hurt Joe Biden. The FBI planned to warn Giuliani and alert congressional members such as Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and OAN how they were being used in Russia’s plan to influence the election’s outcome but never briefed Giuliani. The FBI also warned the White House about Giuliani being a target of false Russian propaganda and his ties to people connected to Russian intelligence. Then-national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien cautioned DDT about the contamination of Giuliani’s information from Ukraine. Yet Giuliani again met with Derkach in New York in early 2020 when Derkach spread lies about U.S. funds to Ukraine either misused or missing during Biden’s vice-presidency when interviewed by Giuliani on a podcast.

Last summer, the FBI briefed Johnson about the Russian actions. Johnson said he felt the cautionary message had no substance, that it was a “defensive briefing” on his statements, all negative, about Biden family’s foreign business ventures. He said he thought the briefing was “to offer the biased media an opportunity to falsely accuse me of being a tool of Russia despite warnings.” Also warned, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told the FBI it wasn’t their place to tell lawmakers what to investigate. GOP senators’ investigations haven’t found any affect of Hunter Biden’s board membership on U.S. foreign policy.  

Since Biden’s victory, the National Intelligence Council, part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, reported on Russia’s attempt to influence the 2020 election by Derkach spreading disinformation about Biden among people close to DDT. Officials confirmed one of them was Giuliani. Russia’s false narrative alleged corrupt ties dating back to at least 2014 between Bidens and Ukraine. Johnson claimed he’s never talked with Derkach, but he met with former Ukrainian diplomat Andriy Telizhenko who passed along the lie that Ukraine instead of Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. Telizhenko also met several times with Giuliani, appeared on his podcast, and facilitated Giuliani’s December 2019 trip to Ukraine. Johnson claimed Telizhenko’s information was accurate, but at the end of DDT’s administration the Treasury Department sanctioned Telizhenko for attempting to influence the 2020 election.

Suffering from burgeoning legal bills, Giuliani considers tapping DDT’s campaign war chest of $250 million with charges for his work in overturning the 2020 election in DDT’s favor. Beyond the FBI searches of the lawyer’s electronic devices, he faces defamation suits by two voting machine companies. One of Giuliani’s defenders, former NYPD commissioner Bernard Kerik, called for DDT to pay Giuliani because he “worked for the campaign and the RNC and … should be compensated instead of being ignored.” An RNC spokesperson said, “Rudy Giuliani has never worked for the RNC and he has never acted at our direction.” DDT made no comment. Convicted for taking unreported bribes, Kerik was pardoned by DDT two days before Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Being close to either DDT or Giuliani may not be safe. DDT faces 29 lawsuits and three investigations while the Manhattan DA, working to flip the Trump Organization employee knowing about all its affairs, has DDT’s tax returns. Raids on Giuliani’s apartment and office leave DDT’s allies “feeling uneasy about what could come next.” People question whether Giuliani will turn on DDT and his family, as Michael Cohen, DDT’s former fixer, maintains. At the age of 76, Giuliani won’t like prison, and former AG Bill Barr is no longer in the DOJ to protect him. DDT no longer has any power to pardon Giuliani. According to Cohen, Giuliani developed the same tactics now used against him when he led the Southern District 30 years ago to use against others.

Before DDT left the White House, his DOJ delayed search warrants for Giuliani’s electronic records requested by New York federal prosecutors. Senior officials claimed it was too close to the election, but in late October 2016, 11 days before the election, then-FBI director James Comey announced he was reopening an investigation about Hillary Clinton’s emails as Secretary of State. His action may have caused her to lose the 2016 election to DDT. Political employees at the DOJ still refused to sign off on warrants for Giuliani after the election, claiming that he and DDT were still trying to overturn election results in several states. Career DOJ officials believed enough evidence of a crime existed to issue the warrant.  

Part of the evidence may have been a transcript from a 40-minute telephone call when Giuliani pressured Ukraine to investigate the Biden family, reminiscent of the DDT’s telephone call leading to his first impeachment. The call to two Volodymyr Zelensky aides came on July 22, 2019, three days before DDT’s call to Zelensky himself. One of the officials sent the transcript to Time magazine to repair Ukraine’s relationship with the Biden administration. Before Biden’s inauguration, Zelensky closed three Ukrainian media networks accused of spreading Russian disinformation about the Bidens during the U.S. presidential campaign.

During the series of trials before Biden’s inauguration when Giuliani kept trying to overturn Biden’s election, he was supposedly charging $20,000 a day, but DDT refused to pay as he became angrier with Giuliani’s failures. DDT wouldn’t even take Giuliani’s calls. Ken Frydman, Giuliani’s press secretary during the 1990s, commented:

“Lay down with dogs. Wake up with fleas and without $20,000 a day.”

Giuliani also shares part of DDT’s blame for inciting violence on January 6 when he called for “trial by combat.” He also faces a disbarment complaint in New York. And he didn’t get a pardon.

Last year, Giuliani’s payroll company received between $150,000 and $350,000 in taxpayer funds in the stimulus law’s PPP to save employees. The company, which lists Giuliani as CEO, has no employees and didn’t save any jobs. The money was given by DDT’s “go-to” bank, Signature.

Stories about the Arizona ballot-counting fraudit keep dribbling out despite the requirement that observers sign a non-disclosure agreement. (They observe to maintain integrity but can’t tell anyone if integrity is violated.) Because of the QAnon conspiracy theory about Southeast Asia delivering 40,000 ballots to swing the election to Biden, the team is now searching for bamboo in the paper’s fiber. Ballots are left unattended on counting tables, and laptop computers—open, unlocked, and unmonitored, sit abandoned. A court has ordered independent oversight, security for voter information, and publicize audit policies and procedures. About ten percent of the ballots have been counted in the first two weeks, and the fraudit has to leave the coliseum by May 14. Now that the integrity of the ballot count is completely compromised, the DOJ expressed concerns about all the problems—way past time. More specifics about the craziness.

March 23, 2021

Mass Shootings Cover Up Good News from Biden Administration

The focus of the news for the past week has been mass shootings—first the eight in Georgia primarily of Asian-American women and then another ten people killed at a grocery store/pharmacy in Boulder (CA). In these seven days, however, were five other mass shootings, defined as one with four or more wounded or dead casualties, in the U.S.: March 17, Stockton (CA) – five people preparing a vigil shot in a drive-by shooting with no life-threatening injuries; March 18, (Gresham (OR) – four victims taken to the hospital; March 20, Houston (TX) – five people shot inside a club, one in critical condition; and March 20, Philadelphia – one person killed and five injured at an illegal party where 150 people fled for their lives. The U.S. keeps no centralized system or database for firearm victims and mass shootings so no one knows whether an average daily mass shootings is typical. In 2019, almost 40,000 people were killed in firearm-related events.

A county judge revoked a ban on assault-style weapons in Boulder only ten days before ten people were killed, and the perpetrator bought his gun only six days earlier. As usual, Republicans opposed even the most popular remedies such as universal background checks, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced the Democrats are to blame for the shootings because they want control to prevent them. 

White supremacists and the extreme right, DDT’s base of voters, celebrated the Georgia mass shooting, including the murder of six Asian-American women, with posts dehumanizing people of Asian descent and praising the killer. Posts on a neo-Nazi Telegram site advocated for violence against Asian Americans, calling the murders “always a good thing.” A Proud Boys media group ridiculed protests against anti-Asian violence and promoted anti-Asian racism. Users of the main 8chan/pol successor forum also praised the attack, one person hoping the violence would force non-Whites to leave Europe and the U.S. A white supremacist strategy spreads footage of violence against people of Asian descent to brainwash Whites, “especially the youth.” White supremacists also celebrated the second anniversary of the March 15 Christchurch terrorist attack by posting the video of the attack, praises of the 51 murders in mosques, and calls for violence against Muslims.  

Georgia’s GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene had no statement on the mass shooting in her state. Earlier, she had verbally attacked David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland (FL) school shooting killed 17 people and wounding another 17 people for his gun control activism. Greene had also said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) deserves “a bullet to the head.” Colorado’s GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert, who produced a video advertisement with a gunshot at the end, sent prayers in a fundraising email two hours after the killings that encourages people to “tell Joe Biden … HELL NO” to gun control. 

Anyone who believes Boebert’s lie about her reason for carrying a gun needs the true story. She claims a man was beat to death outside her restaurant “by another man’s hands,” and she needs to carry a gun “to protect everyone.” The truth: a man involved in a fight with another man with a prosthetic leg ran from the scene, three blocks away from Boebert’s restaurant. A teenager helped the second man get his leg back, and the second man said the fight was about a woman. The first man ran several blocks away and was discovered after his fall with a glass pipe containing methamphetamine residue. Police saw no blood or other evidence of any deadly fight, and the autopsy report gave “methamphetamine intoxication” as the reason for death.

The news of the two worst mass shootings of the week concealed good news coming out of the White House:

The Affordable Care Act special enrollment period is extended to August 15, 2021, allowing people use the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) with benefits such as the decrease of premiums after advance payment of increased tax credits up to $50 per person per month and $85 per policy per month. Four of five enrollees (up from 69 percent pre-ARPA) can find a plan for $10 or less per month after tax, and over 50 percent (up from 14 percent pre-ARPA) can find a Silver plan for $10 or less per month. One-fourth of ACA enrollees can pay the same or less than formerly to get better out-of-pocket costs. Consumers can use increased premium tax credits on high quality health care plans by enrolling through HealthCare.gov.

President Joe Biden reversed a policy by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) by cancelling about $1 billion in student debt for those defrauded by their colleges. The loan forgiveness to 73,000 people eligible for this relief was reduced by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who gave only part forgiveness by changing the cancellation calculation. DeVos had also postponed over 200,000 borrower defense claims for four years by refusing to allow those in debt to hear whether they were eligible for relief.

Biden’s new Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona, also granted Puerto Rico immediate access to $912 million in federal funds made unavailable to students in public and private schools by DDT’s restrictions. Funds included $302 million provided by the CARES Act a year ago for COVID-19 relief; other aid came from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund. All fiscal year 2019 department program grant funds withheld by DDT totaled $522 million. Puerto Rican schools are now beginning to open.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is withdrawing DDT’s rule barring graduate students from joining a union: DDT had declared these students were not employees even if they were paid for teaching or research. DDT’s regulation took collective bargaining rights from 57,500 unionized graduate students and prevented another 1.5 million graduates from unionizing. In 2000, the NLRB gave graduate students at private universities the right to unionize and then reversed the decision in 2004. Twelve years later, the Board ruled graduate students were employees under the National Labor Relations Act and could thus join unions after students from Columbia University petitioned the NLRB. Graduate students can make as little as $20,000 a year, giving their employers the impression they aren’t workers.

In an ongoing GOP attempt to smear Biden, Republicans are running a campaign pushing the recent immigrant “border crisis” as his personal disaster. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) went so far as to say that the reason behind the attempts to migrants to cross the border comes from the current administration’s decision to treat them “humanely.” Conservative Bill Kristol begs to differ: he describes the situation as a recurring problem made worse by DDT. The history of these surges shows decades-old issues, and Biden inherited DDT’s huge mess after DDT dismantled the asylum system. 

A combination of John Oliver’s piece on Last Week Tonight and the murder of Asian-American women may have awakened Meghan McCain, daughter of deceased Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), to the understanding that words matter. After Oliver’s segment on the vast increase on the abuse of Asian Americans, McCain, often delivering her opinions on The View, apologized for repeating DDT’s racist rhetoric about the coronavirus’ relationship to Chinese people while he refused to contain the pandemic in the U.S.  McCain had said that DDT’s reference to “the China virus” was a clever strategy to win votes. When McCain tweeted last week about ending anti-Asian violence, Oliver clearly pointed out her hypocrisy. On his show, Oliver said:

“Oh good! Meghan McCain doesn’t have a problem with it. Listen, not to the scores of Asian Americans telling everyone that the term is dangerous and offensive. Instead, gather around and take the word of a white woman who’s dressed like she’s about to lay off 47 people over Zoom.”

In response, McCain said:

“I condemn the reprehensible violence and vitriol that has been targeted towards the Asian-American community. There is no doubt Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric fueled many of these attacks, and I apologize for any past comments that aided that agenda.”

The U.S. intelligence community has released a report that the U.S. election infrastructure in 2020 stayed secure despite Russian President Vladimir Putin promotion of DDT and Iran’s work to denigrate DDT. The U.S. has no evidence that any foreign actor tried to change any voting technology, “including voter registration, casting ballots, vote tabulation, or reporting results.” Intelligence did discover Putin’s authorization to “influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US.” These included lies to undercut Biden.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has asked new AG Merrick Garland to examine how thoroughly DDT’s FBI looked into Brett Kavanaugh for a background check before Republicans confirmed him for the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault and several other misconduct allegations, but the four-day investigation was extremely incomplete. One concern was that witnesses wanting to share the accounts were rejected by the FBI, which had not assigned anyone to accept or gather evidence. Whitehouse also said senators were not given any information about processing or evaluating allegations on a “tip line.” In addition, DDT’s FBI Director Christopher Wray would not answer questions about the investigation.

And there’s more good news! Stay tuned in the next few days.

January 12, 2021

Six Days since Mob Attacks Capitol

As thugs stormed the Capitol on January 6, Rep. Lauren Boebert, newly-elected conspiracy theorist from Colorado, tweeted details about the attack in violation of orders to not make any social posts. Her live tweets included the removal of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) from the chamber, alerting attackers to her location. Before the mob broke into the Capitol, Beobert announced she was the “voice” of those fighting the police, and her former campaign manager praised the Proud Boys, a neo-fascist hate groups attacking the Capitol. Originally Boebert claimed conservatives weren’t in the mob. The conservative National Review called her tweet, “Today is 1776,” “reckless and incendiary.”

A current member of Congress, Boebert has access to highly classified information with no security clearance, a problem if she, along with other conspiracy theorists such as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), decide to indiscriminately reveal what they learn. Until recently, congressional members were considered trustworthy with “allegiance to the U.S. Government and Constitution of the United States at a bare minimum,” as Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) describes the requirement. The maximum penalty for revealing classified information, which requires a two-thirds vote by the House, is expulsion. Concern for clearance, even disqualifying factors, include attempts to overturn a free and fair election, fostering lies to foment insurrection, and stoking a crowd to use force. People who exhibit bad judgment should not be dealing with classified information, according to Steven Aftergood, an expert on government secrecy. Although legal, supporting a vote to overturn an election assists the lie about widespread election fraud, and lawmakers making false congressional and frequently religious messages about combatting fellow lawmakers, who they call corrupt, incite violence.

After congressional members reinforced beliefs in election fraud, they justify their anti-democratic behavior by using vague claims about “voting integrity” or being a “voice” for their constituents’ concerns. Almost all senior GOP members on the Armed Services Committee overseeing national security programs voted to overturn the election, and four Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted for the election’s overturn. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), also on the Armed Services Committee, called on DDT’s crowd at the rally preceding the attempted coup to “fight” against a “godless, amoral, dictatorial, socialist” enemy, meaning his colleagues and the duly elected U.S. president and vice-president. He said:

“Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass. Our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes and sometimes their lives to give us, their descendants, an America that is the greatest nation in world history. So I have a question for you. Are you willing to do the same?”

The Voice of America, the government broadcaster designated as an independent agency, has become DDT’s tool with his appointment of loyalist Michael Pack. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expanded the current use of VOA as a propaganda machine by ordering it to broadcast that the U.S. is “the greatest nation in the history of the world and the greatest nation that civilization has ever known.” His message was broadcast throughout the world on 47 foreign language channels, video streams, its website, and social media after a mandatory virus superspreader event for VOA employees.

Pack fired career managers, put in more loyalists, and dictated news coverage by overriding journalists, in opposition to the organization’s guidelines. Amanda Bennett, who resigned as VOA director soon after Pack’s takeover, said the VOA charter isn’t “intended to promote American exceptionalism.” She added, “It was intended to demonstrate the American value of a free press . . . to model one of our best freedoms, see what happens, and how good it is when you have it.” No journalists, including those from VOA, were permitted to ask questions after Pompeo’s speech. He claimed “wokeness, political correctness … points in one direction—authoritarianism.” According to Pompeo, “it’s time that we simply put woke-ism to sleep.” The slang term “wokeness” means attention to important issues, but the far-right has twisted the meaning to criticize people opposing ignorance. With no evidence, Pompeo also announced that Al-Qaeda has its home base in Iran.

On January 1, Pompeo initiated daily tweets claiming the U.S. is “much safer” now than four years ago because of DDT’s foreign policy. He cancelled this week’s trip to Europe because top officials, including Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, would not meet with him. Pompeo’s schedule had no meetings before the cancellation, and allies were “embarrassed” by Pompeo after the January 6 siege on the Capitol. Asselborn called DDT a “criminal” and a “political pyromaniac.” Pompeo also lost a private dinner with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at his private residence before meeting Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes. The EU opposes the U.S. “America First” policy, and Pompeo gave speeches advising countries to tear up the European Union. The rejection does not bode well for Pompeo’s anticipated presidential candidacy in 2024.

In the wake of impending violence this coming weekend leading up to the inauguration on January 20, military leaders issued a condemnation of the Capitol invasion last week. They reminded service members they were to defend the Constitution and reject extremism, sedition, and insurrection. The statement is highly unusual because the military avoid any political stances. The U.S. Army is working with Secret Service to find National Guard members, responsible for the security during the inauguration, who might have far-right extremist views. Additional training is also provided to service members about reporting inappropriate messages to the chain of command.

This reporting shows DDT’s delight in live TV he created with the help of other Republicans on January 6. The photo shows what a broken democracy could be.

The FBI first said it didn’t know anything about the planned siege on the Capitol and then claimed it didn’t report dangers about violence on January 6 because of concerns about “free speech.” Although willing to issue Special Event Bulletins about ISIS or Al-Qaeda terrorists threats, the FBI doesn’t want to exchange information about domestic terrorism. The agency will also put foreign terrorists under surveillance but not domestic terrorists. The FBI had numerous warnings about the possibility of violence, including from police departments, but claimed at first it had no intelligence. Later the bureau changed its positions to say it had some information about possible violence.

The day before the violence at the Capitol, however, an FBI office in Virginia warned about extremists going to Washington to commit violence and “war.” The internal document told of people sharing a map of the facility’s tunnels and rally points for conspirators in a number of states before traveling to Washington. It reported online calls for violence:

“Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.”

Pantifa is a derogatory term for antifa. The Norfolk FBI shared the information within 45 minutes, including the Washington field office. It was not immediately clear how many law enforcement agencies outside the FBI were told, but the information was briefed to FBI officials at the bureau’s Washington field office the day before the attack, this official said.

Since January 6, law enforcement officials have discussed whether the danger was minimized because most of the involved people were White supporters of DDT. Law enforcement took the position that pro-DDT protesters are not likely to commit violence, overlooking the imminent grave risk. The Pentagon is still calling the mob attack on the Capital a “First Amendment Protest.”

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ), a 75-year-old cancer survivor, tested positive for COVID-19 after sheltering on January 6 with lawmakers refusing to wear masks. Attending physician to Congress and the Supreme Court had warned about exposure to someone with the virus. A video shows GOP congressional members refusing masks and sitting close together during the lockdown in barricaded rooms. Despite her fear of the rioters, Rep. Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) said she had left a secure location because of dangers in contacting the virus from her maskless GOP colleagues. She was right. At least two other Democrats, Reps. Brad Schneider (IL) and Pramila Jayapal (WA), contacted COVID-19 after Republicans’ refusal to wear masks and maintain social distancing because of political reasons. Rep. Susan Wild said half the hundreds of lawmakers in a lockdown refused to wear masks even if they were offered them. In rejecting a mask, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) explicitly refused to take a mask, saying, “I’m not trying to get political here.”

DDT’s speech openly incited violence, according to 63 percent of the people in the U.S. A majority of voters also think GOP lawmakers especially Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), share responsibility to the mob attack on January 6. Over half the people think DDT should be impeached because of his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and inciting riots. The attack on the Capitol dropped DDT’s approval rating to 33 percent. Sixty percent believe DDT is undermining democracy. Thus far, DDT’s low approval rating is higher than only those for Harry Truman and Richard Nixon at the end of their presidencies since F.D. Roosevelt.

Just one week before the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for U.S. president and vice-president, the day’s death rate from COVID-19 was 4,281–10,379 short of 400,000. New infections on January 12, 2021 were 223,628, three days from a total of 24 million.

 

February 16, 2020

DDT: Week 160 – More Corruption

DDT wants more money to kill people with military funding, less money to help people in the United States. Pieces of his budget cuts:

DDT’s tariffs dropped farm prices, and his budget slashes crop insurance, used to support corn and soybean farmers for low prices, by 31 percent. Another 10-percent cut would remove incentives for farmers to keep soil in place and reduce water pollution. Last year, farmers faced “soil-destroying mega-storms, export-killing trade wars, low crop prices, and spiking bankruptcies,” reported Tom Philpott. DDT’s $28 billion handout to farmers ended this month, and the coronavirus decimated trade, despite DDT’s bragging about his “deal” with China. Crop prices for corn and soybeans are “treading water right now,” according to University of Iowa agricultural economist Chad Hart. “The trade deals took us one step forward and coronavirus takes us one step back.” Hart said. National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson said:

“As both a presidential candidate and now as president, Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed his appreciation for and dedication to American farmers. Yet year after year, his budget has failed to address the very real economic challenges facing rural communities.”

DDT’s budget continues his efforts to eliminate the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS and all federal funding for libraries. In addition to $23 million in the 2021 budget to close the IMLS, DDT asked for $33.4 million to do away with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and budgeted for the closure of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. [Other programs that DDT wants to eliminate.] Congress opposed these closures in the past: the FY2020 budget increased $10 million for the IMLS budget which included $6.2 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), funding equivalent to two of DDT’s weekend trips to Mar-a-Lago. ALA president Wanda Brown said:

“Eliminating federal funding for libraries is to forego opportunities to serve veterans, upskill underemployed Americans, start and grow small businesses, teach our kids to read, and give greater access to people with print disabilities in our communities.”

DDT’s rally audiences chant “lock her up” about Hillary Clinton and the tragedy at Benghazi, but DDT’s budget cuts the $5 million to honor J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador killed by terrorists at that Libyan diplomatic outpost. Despite 11 GOP hearings exonerating Clinton of any blame for the deaths of four people at Benghazi, State Department secretary Mike Pompeo accuses her of putting “political expediency” ahead of people “on the ground.” Now Pompeo and DDT are being investigated for their treatment of U.S. diplomats. The Stevens Initiative was created to memorialize his dedication to cultivating international exchanges; DDT is trying to eliminate the funding for the third time.

DDT’s budget cuts $4.5 billion, 25 percent, from the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), the military fund offsetting Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. Last year’s reduction was $6 billion and the previous year, $6.5 billion. DDT opposes U.S. programs that provide training, resources, and funding for European foreign governments and takes money from the fund for his wall. The EDI funds are part of the budget category Overseas Contingency Operations, a slush fund for the Pentagon.

DDT’s budget, a political statement, gives his priorities. In these cases, he wants to get rid of the arts, education, and food production while protecting Russia.

In a letter to all 74 federal inspectors’ general, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Minority Leader, is requesting an immediate investigation about the “shameful” and “illegal” White House retaliation against whistleblowers who raise concerns about the misconduct and abuses of power by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). In so doing, Schumer warned of a “dangerous, growing pattern of retaliation against those who report wrongdoing only to find themselves targeted by the president and subject to his wrath and vindictiveness.” He said the attacks included the “attempts to publicly identify the anonymous whistleblower who used the proper legal channels to initially report the president’s attempts to compromise our national security for his personal benefit.”

The impeachment trial may be over, but the Senate Intelligence Committee has shown interest in talking to the whistleblower who set everything in motion. Committee chair Richard Burr (R-NC) is considering a subpoena for the person to testify. Vicechair Mark Warner (D-VA) hasn’t agreed with Burr but said that the person’s anonymity and safety “is a top priority.” Although not a committee member, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has pushed for the whistleblower to testify and called on Burr to investigate the “episode.” Roy Blunt (R-MO), not up for reelection, agrees with Graham; Susan Collins (R-ME), worried about her lack of popularity in her reelection year, is cautious without a “compelling case.”  

With no permit and wearing white face masks, 100 white supremacists marched in Washington, D.C. and shouted “Reclaim America!” Police protected these members of Patriot Front, a group promoting “American Fascism,” while they broke the city law. The organization wants to “reclaim our nation’s capital from Jews, Marxists, and anti-white enemies in government who want to see white Americans erased. We seek to build a fascist homeland in the ashes of a failing democracy.”

Paramilitary groups are trying to join the mainstream by declaring themselves a “non-profit” groups as Washington state’s chapter of Three Percent, part of the “Patriot Movement,” has done. Their racist ideology, however, hasn’t changed.

As white domestic terrorist groups gain power, the FBI created the ability to attack peaceful protesters. Under Director Christopher Wray, the FBI put pro-choice “violence” in the same only one episode of pro-choice-inspired terrorism, a threat in an online comments section. Of 850 current domestic terrorism cases, 50 percent concerned anti-government extremism and 40 percent concerned racist terrorism. The remaining 85 cases concern animal rights, ecological degradation, abortion, and miscellaneous cases.

Wray may want to help the Supreme Court rule against abortion rights. This year’s Louisiana case is almost identical to the Texas law struck down three years ago that demanded doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a state-approved hospital within 30 miles of the clinic. SCOTUS determined that the Texas law provided “few, if any health benefits for women” while being “a substantial obstacle to women” in exercising a constitutional right. Two justices added to the court since then lean anti-abortion. The current case attacks Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) which blocks regulations constituting an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to choose. Without this stipulation, states can make any unreasonable demands regarding women’s rights and abilities to have abortions. The FBI can then block any response from pro-choice activists by accusing them of violent extremism, especially with the help of activist AG Bill Barr.

After DDT said no one was harmed in the dozen rocket attacks by Iraqi militia, the Pentagon announced that 109 service members have traumatic brain injuries. DDT calls them “headaches.”

DDT is running for reelection on criminal reform but praises China for executing drug dealers. He full-throatedly campaigns for the Second Amendment with no restrictions on gun ownership but pushes against freedom of the press in the First Amendment. The only part of the constitution that DDT supports is the Second Amendment.

Most of the publicity about DDT’s retaliation concerned the Vindman brothers marched out of the White House, but DDT’s paranoid policy caused another 50 career professionals to be sent from the White House to their home agencies. Early DDT employees, who resigned or were fired, are now returning.

  • Hope Hicks, the former communications director who DDT looks upon as a daughter, is now his counselor.
  • Johnny McEntee, who lost his security clearance from gambling debts, will oversee the Presidential Personnel Office.
  • Stephen Miller ally Chad Mizelle, another DDT anti-immigrant loyalist, will be the unqualified appointee for DHS general counsel.   
  • Mandy Gunasekara, who pushed DDT to drop the Paris climate agreement, has returned as the EPA chief of staff.  
  • Former DDT chief of staff Reince Priebus and former press secretary Sean Spicer are now members of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. Spicer quit after DDT hired Anthony Scaramucci for communications director; Priebus was fired after six months. Scaramucci had called Priebus a “leaker” and “a f*cking paranoid schizophrenic—a paranoiac.”

In a state of confusion during his speech in New Hampshire, DDT said, “The redemption money is paying for the wall.” He may mean “remittances” that undocumented workers send to their families out of the country, but the plan to collect this money was never enacted. The military funding for base housing, schooling, medical facilities and other improvements are paying for the wall.

More geography gaffes: While speaking in New Hampshire, DDT confused Concord, NH with Concord, MA, giving New Hampshire credit for the Massachusetts involvement in the American Revolution.

A majority of people, 55 percent, believe that DDT was not exonerated by his impeachment acquittal. More than that, 59 percent, think that the trial was conducted unfairly.  

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