Nel's New Day

September 13, 2020

More Court Cases, Etc. against DDT

The mainstream media gave Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) a walk on his racist, misogynist attacks about Hillary Clinton in his last campaign, but it may be reversing its acceptance during the current one. For example, this comment from the traditionally more conservative Associated Press:

“[T]he racism and sexism underlying Trump’s critique of the first Black woman and person of Asian descent on a major party ticket are part of an aggressive strategy to appeal to white suburban voters.”

In Colorado, a judge ruled the U.S. Postal Service must immediately stop sending disinformation about the voting system to its residents. One of several statements where registered voters automatically receive ballots, the USPS is distributing false postcards to households across the nation, including Colorado. Contrary to USPS directions, Coloradoans:

Do not need to request a ballot at least 15 days before the election. Like other states with automatic mail-in voting, people do not need to request ballots.

Do not need to mail their ballot at least seven days prior to the election. People may also deposit ballots at a drop-box or choose to vote in person up to and including on Election Day. And unlike what DDT says, depositing the ballot does not cause COVID-19.

Are not prevented from voting if they lose their ballot. Voters may request another ballot if the first one is lost.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold had asked the USPS not to send the postcards in Colorado, but they refused her request. Another five states are considering lawsuits about the postcards because they have different rules, deadlines, and requirements from those on the USPS postcards.

With more chaos in multiple Texas court cases, courts have made two rulings in the past few days affecting mail-in voting. A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit upheld the age limit of 65 and older to vote by mail. Democrats had appealed the law on the basis of discrimination against younger voters. This ruling vacated one in a lower court allowing all eligible voters to receive absentee ballots and sent the case back to a lower court. A state judge, however, ruled that Harris County clerk, Chris Hollins, could send absentee ballot applications to all 2.4 million registered voters in the county that encompasses Houston. People who are disabled, ill, or other 65 may vote absentee although concern about COVID-19 doesn’t fit these categories.

In an ongoing Florida dispute, the 11th Circuit Court ruled in a 6-4 vote that felons completing their sentences can vote only after they pay their fees and fines. The panel overturned a federal judge’s decision that this requirement is comparable to an unconstitutional poll tax. Florida residents passed a state constitutional amendment in 2018 giving voting privileges to all felons except those convicted of murder and/or sexual offenses, and the GOP state legislature passed a law in 2019 mandating the payment of felons’ charges to restore their voting rights. The current rule disenfranchises up over 774,000 voters, and DDT won the state by only 113,000 in 2016.

Ironically, surveys have shown that the felons who wish to vote lean toward the GOP. DDT sees Florida as a “must-win” state, and he’s tied there with Biden. DDT’s campaign is almost broke, and Mike Bloomberg just announced he is putting $100 million into Florida’s advertising. Hearing that, DDT said he will spend $100 million of his own money for advertising, but DDT is notoriously cheap.

The Treasury Department has sanctioned Andriy Derkach for being “an active Russian agent for over a decade.” Three other Russians were sanctioned for their part in the Internet Research Agency, Russia’s troll-factory writing and disseminating interference in the 2016 presidential election. Derkach was the go-to guy for DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani when he wanted “dirt” on Joe Biden, and he spread information attacking former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch for her ouster. More recently, Derkach laundered disinformation through Ron Johnson (R-WI) who oversaw a Senate investigation of Biden as well as sent other disinformation to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Both Senators denied received any information from Derkach. Giuliani said he had no idea Derkach was a Russian agent but wouldn’t answer any questions about how he could have been so ignorant. Jonathan Capehart asked:

“You’re a former prosecutor from the Southern District of New York, a former mayor of New York City, you have a national security firm.How could you not know that this person you were talking to was a known Russian agent?“

Giuliani told Capehart to “calm down” and then started talking Robert Mueller’s team “wiping” their cell phones after their investigations, a new DDT theory. Last December, Giuliani met with Derkach to promote the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 election. Capehart asked him why he was pushing conspiracy theories.

Over a month ago, DDT signed a measure allowing companies to defer payroll taxes for Social Security until next year when employees would take a big salary hit to pay it back. His plan was to improve the economy by putting those taxes into the economy before the election. Big business decided delaying the collection was too much trouble. DDT told federal employees they had no choice but to accept the deferral, but he has control for only the Executive branch. Even the USPS decided not to enforce the deferral for their workers. The House told staffers their Social Security payments wouldn’t be deferred. The rest of the federal employees don’t want a deferral: civilian federal employee unions pushed permission to permit workers to opt out of the deferral, and military officers wrote to Congress about how DDT’s plan hurts young enlisted women and men with no financial savvy.

The government has lost one of its ethical people after federal prosecutor Nora Dannehy resigned her position as John Durham’s aide. AG Bill Barr appointed Durham to investigate the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, hoping to destroy the Democrats. As Barr pushed to get the incomplete information out as an “October surprise” before the election, Dannehy sent in her resignation. Her resignation gave no reason, but the Hartford Courant’s Edmund H. Mahony wrote it was partly motivated by Barr using an unfinished report before the election for political reasons.

Barr also wants the report to exonerate Michael Flynn, set to be sentenced for lying twice to the FBI. Two DDT-appointed judges overturned Flynn convictions, but the complete D.C. Circuit Court voted 8-2 for the case to continue. Dannehy’s resignation showed Durham’s inquiry was pre-determined, and Peter Strzok’s recent book, Compromised, showed the Flynn dismissal was based on hoaxes.

A former judge, John Gleeson, assigned to analyze the case before  it continued, said:

“In the United States, Presidents do not orchestrate pressure campaigns to get the Justice Department to drop charges against defendants who have pleaded guilty—twice, before two different judges—and whose guilt is obvious. Yet that is exactly what has unfolded here.”

He concluded the DOJ decision to drop the criminal case against Flynn was a “corrupt and politically motivated favor unworthy of our justice system.”

A few successful court cases:

DDT can’t call off census-taking early at the end of the month after a temporary restraining order from a federal judge in California. A court hearing on September 17 will determine whether counting will continue through the end of October, the date originally chosen by the Census Bureau. A similar hearing for a federal lawsuit in Maryland is set for September 21.

In another census case, a three-judge panel, two of them DDT-appointed, ruled DDT violated federal law when he ordered undocumented immigrants excluded from census data determining the number of seats in Congress for each state. The court also blocked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from including information about citizenship status in the numbers reported to DDT at the end of the count.

After several years, a federal judge told the Saudi Arabia government to make 24 current and former officials available for depositions about the 9/11 airplane attacks. The purpose of the case is to prove Saudi officials aware of or complicit in the kingdom’s support for the hijackers of the U.S. airliners.

Despite the Texas courts opposing mail-in voting, a federal judge ordered voters be given meaningful opportunities to contest decisions for rejected ballots from suspect signatures. The ruling goes into effect for the November election. The method of finding mismatches between the ballot envelopes and the vote-by-mail applications “plainly violates certain voters’ constitutional rights,” according to the judge.

Brian Murphy, the whistleblower reporting how DHS officials concealed information, stated the agency’s risk threat assessment couldn’t be released because it described the threats of white supremacists and Russian influence in the U.S. Ken Cuccinelli ordered Murphy to rewrite the data so white supremacy seemed less severe and the left-wing more prominent to satisfy DDT.  

Three years after DDT praised the “good” white supremacists who beat up people at Charlottesville (VA), workers removed the statue of a Confederate soldier a block away the Robert E. Lee statue protected by deadly clash caused by neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Two cannons and a stack of cannonballs accompanied the soldier’s statue on its trip to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.

October 11, 2018

United States, A Banana Republic

“Banana Republic” is a term to describe governments with countries that suffer from lack of democracy and corruption. How the United States fits the description of a “banana republic”:

An extremely stratified social class with a large impoverished working class and an ultra-rich ruling-class plutocracy with a lack of a middle class and lack of upward mobility: The U.S. has had the highest income inequality and lowest upward mobility of any country in the developed world for several years, and it keeps worsening.

Government’s corrupt connection with big business: As in fascist countries, U.S. conservative politicians have supported the merger of state and corporate power by removing regulations, giving corporations billions of dollars in tax cuts and subsidies, and putting banks and corporations above the law. The person occupying the Oval Office is profiting with millions—possibly trillions—from domestic groups and foreign government encouraged to use his businesses despite his constitutional violation of the Emoluments Clause.

A male business, political, and military elite controlling the nation: In a circular pattern, politicians take money from business for campaigns in exchange for subserviency, and conservative politicians vote for increased military expenses to keep money flowing into their states. Lack of regulations moves wealth offshore while workers suffer. Conservative politicians put white conservative males into control on the courts, protecting only white males and big business and permitting illegal tax evasion. All new DDT judicial nominees are male, recognizing that “we the ruling males” are in charge instead of the constitutional “we the people.” Less than one-third of the U.S. population is white male, but they still control the nation.

Police corruption and expanding police state: The frequent pattern of using military equipment for police actions is like military actions in Iraq, and law enforcement increasingly kill people in “accidents” or badly orchestrated sting operations. Laws since 9/11 permit warrantless wiretapping and other tactics common in dictatorships.

Highest incarceration rate in the world: The 716 prisoners per 100,000 residents in the U.S. far exceed the 114 in Canada, the 79 in German, and even the 162 in Saudi Arabia. Privatized prisons have greatly increased the number of prisoners because the government gets kickbacks from these businesses for their campaigns that keep them the ruling party.

Lack of access to healthcare: Despite the Affordable Care Act, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) created a path to health insurance that doesn’t provide for pre-existing conditions, hospitalizations, maternal care, and other health needs by conning them into believing that they save money. DDT’s newest plan is like a person paying less for a car that doesn’t run. People in the U.S. pay more than most developed countries for healthcare expenses and are reduced to medical bankruptcies but are convinced that universal health care is evil.

Much shorter life expectancy in poor than wealthy: In one West Virginia county, life expectancy for males is 63.9 years compared to 81.6 years, 17.7 years higher, in affluent Fairfax County (VA)—a difference of 27 percent. Bangladesh life expectancy is higher than McDowell County (WV). U.S. women’s life expectancy was #41 in 2010.

Hunger and malnutrition: Banana republics are associated with food insecurity, but the need for food stamps in the U.S. has increased from one in 50 during the 1970s to one in eight with 50 million people, including 12 million children, suffering from food insecurity.

High infant mortality: Fifty-seven countries have a smaller infant mortality rate than the U.S. In first-day death rate, babies dying the day that they are born, the U.S. has the highest rate in the industrialized world, twice as many as in the European Union.

One idealistic view of saving the United States is to vote, and millions of people want to exercise their right to select their representatives in this republic. Yet conservative politicians block the ability for millions to vote. Beyond white males rigging the districts so that a state with a majority of Democrats will elect almost all Republicans for state and federal elected officials, voter ID laws that prevent people from voting. The following states have created these ways to keep people from voting:

Arizona: Secretary of State Michele Reagan won’t be required to update voter registration addresses of 384,000 Arizonans who moved since the last election, even if the Motor Vehicle Division system won’t change addresses until people “opt-in” to update their information in conflict with the National Voter Registration Act. When people show up at the wrong polling place because of Reagan’s inaction, the voter can go to the new address and cast a provisional ballot. The state, however, has a record of destroying these without recording them. Reagan said that she’ll fix the system sometime next year—after the midterm election. Maybe.

Florida: Whether prisoners and released felons can vote is dependent on state law. A few states don’t have restrictions against voting after the felons serve their sentence, but a few rely on “individual petitions.” Of the 6 million people with felony convictions permanently barred from voting, about 1.5 million of them are from Florida, and over 20 percent of them are black. Gov. Rick Scott is in charge of deciding whether each one can be permitted to vote, and he has granted only 8 percent of those requesting the right to vote with a backlog of over 10,000 not yet reviewed.

Georgia: Brian Kemp is the state Secretary of State and in charge of elections. Kemp is also running for governor. He is keeping 53,000 voter applications from being processed because of typographical errors. The list has a disproportionately high number of black voters. Kemp’s opponent is Stacey Abrams, a black woman. Because Kemp is in charge of elections, there is no proof that he legitimately won the primary to become candidate in the general election, especially after indications of voting corruption within the past few years. Kemp is also being sued for using a racially-biased methodology to purge 700,000 voters from the rolls in the past two years and failing to send notices of the removal to voters. That’s ten percent of registered voters. Kemp also kept the state from having a paper trail to its woefully inadequate digital voting system, allowing him more election corruption.

North Dakota: A state law, challenged but approved in court, mandates that all voter IDs have residential addresses. Even the Supreme Court thinks that people without street addresses should not have the right to vote. This law takes voting rights from the homeless and people living on Native American reservations who lack the “residential address.”

Texas: Delivering a letter demanding that Waller County address its problems with rejecting registrations of students at Prairie View A&M resulted in the arrest of the campaign staffer presenting the missive to a clerk. Jacob Aronowitz, a field director for Democratic congressional candidate Mike Siegel, photographed the clerk taking the letter, and the clerk objected. When he was arrested, Aronowitz called Siegal who heard Aronowitz asking why he was being held and telling the detaining officer that his lawyer, Siegel, was running for office. Aronowitz was asked for Siegel’s political party, and the officer kept Aronowitz’s phone with his records when he was released. The county gave students the address to use for registration because all students use one post office box and then refused to accept it on the last day to register, jeopardizing the registrations. The letter demanded that the county update the existing registrations because students had followed the county’s direction. Waller County is uncomfortable with students voting because the student body is 82 percent black while the county is 70.5 percent white. It opposed students’ right to vote until a 1979 case in the U.S. Supreme Court upheld students’ right to register at their college address. The county wouldn’t obey the high court ruling, declaring in 2004 that students were ineligible to vote because they failed to meet the residency requirement. The campus did not get a polling place until 2013. So the county, which does not want the students to vote, gave them the wrong address for registration, refused to accept the address they gave students, arrested a person obtaining verification that he delivered a letter of complaint, lied about his not identifying himself, asked for the political party of the person objecting, and refused to return the arrested party’s possessions when he was released.

Voting could help move the United States from a banana republic—if citizens get the permission to cast a ballot and their ballots are counted. Until that time, the U.S. will remain a banana republic.

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