Nel's New Day

February 28, 2021

DDT Can’t Escape His History

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) has left the White House and denied access to his favorite communication device, Twitter, but investigations into events during his term in the White House continues to be exposed.  

A recently released report explains how Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was involved in how Jamal Khashoggi, U.S. resident and journalist, was coerced into the Saudi embassy in Turkey for the purpose of torturing him before his murder and dismemberment. DDT consistently covered up MBS’s involvement in the crime for a number of personal reasons. MBS was also a personal friend of DDT’s his son-in-law Jared Kushner. The released intelligence report now fully proves DDT knew about MBS’ involvement in the killing since its occurrence in October 2018 despite his repeated denials.

DDT had been enamored with Saudi Arabia and MBS since his inauguration. His journey to the country was his first foreign trip after he moved into the White House. The media fully covered the visit where he tried to participate in the sword dance and touched  the glowing “orb” along with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and Saudi King Salman. According to MBS, a new book by New York Times reporter Ben Hubbard, DDT was given the orb, but people were afraid the photos people took with it would cause a scandal. Hubbard wrote, “The orb was hidden away in embassy storage.”

DDT’s not-so-secret weapon to derail mail-in voting, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, has reappeared in a congressional hearing. In DeJoy’s first few weeks last June, he cut back workers, overtime, and equipment to drastically slow down first-class mail delivery so much that Congress tried to block him. Despite lost equipment from his beginning, most of the ballots managed to get delivered on time, thanks to the efforts of Democratic legislators. DeJoy has remained in his position because the DDT-appointed board for the postal service is leaving him there. During his hearing last Wednesday, DeJoy showed a high degree of arrogance. When Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) asked him how long he planned to remain as postmaster general, he responded, “Long time. Get used to me.”

In the hearing, DeJoy also promised greater delays in service along with higher prices, including no longer having two-day delivery for first-class mail and limit air transport for it. DeJoy said, “Does it make a difference if it’s an extra day to get a letter?” He didn’t address the fact that some first-class mail isn’t delivered for weeks. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “The Postal Service needs leadership that can and will do a better job.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) joined other Republicans in accusing Democrats of conspiracy theories to create “chaos and confusion” in the information about delayed mail delivery. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) answered Jordan:

“I didn’t vote to overturn an election. And I will not be lectured by people who did.”

During the hearing, President Joe Biden announced his decision to fill the three vacancies on the nine-member USPS board with these nominees: Anton Hajjar, former general counsel for the American Postal Workers Union; Amber McReynolds, chief executive officer of Vote at Homes supporting mail-voting in the 2020 election; and Ron Stroman, a former deputy postmaster general on Biden’s transition team. Stroman quit last year because of DeJoy’s position on delaying the mail. Two of the appointments are Democrats; McReynolds is unaffiliated. She was Denver’s director of elections from 2011 to 2018 where she implemented a complete vote-by-mail elections system for the city. Appointments include two men of color and a woman.

The current DDT-appointed chair, DDT-supporter Ron Bloom, can also be replaced because he took the place of another board member whose term ended in December 2020. All the Republican members on the board are friends of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and, like DeJoy, have donated large sums to both the GOP and DDT. The entire board is composed of wealthy white men with limited postal service

Last week’s hearings included an investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by the House Appropriations Committee. Key moments:

Intelligence reported to the U.S. Capitol Police headquarters about an attack on January 5, but the department’s leadership wasn’t notified, according to former Chief Steven Sund, who resigned after the insurrection. The FBI sent an email the night before the attack about an eminent attack, but Washington’s acting Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department Robert Contee said a late-night evening email was not sufficient to highlight the threat.

The insurrection was coordinated, with prepared people bringing equipment such as climbing gear, explosives, chemical spray, etc. They used hand signals and radio communications when they breached the building. Some rioters claimed they were caught up in the spirit of the event, but members of far-right extremist groups planned the attack for weeks and months, judging by the criminal charges against them. Even DDT’s lawyers claimed the attack was pre-planned during the impeachment trial.

Pentagon officials were either unable or unwilling to rapidly sent National Guard troops, as evidenced by their delay after desperate pleas for help.

Sund said he asked the two former congressional sergeants of arms for an emergency declaration to call in the National Guard, but neither one recalled the request. According to Sund, Paul Irving said he “was concerned about the ‘optics’ and didn’t feel the intelligence supported it.” Irving denied saying that and couldn’t remember talking to Sund although Sund said he made the request at 1:09 pm on January 6.

Phone records prove Irving ignored Sund’s pleas for help, according to Yogananda Pittman, acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, who said Sund called Irving at 12:58 pm to request the National Guard as rioters breached the building. Lawmakers were forced into hiding. Sund called Irving another four times until 1:45 pm.

The continued presence of law enforcement and a fence remains, according to Pittman because militia groups announced their intention to “blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible” when Biden addresses the Congress.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), responsible in the past for putting Russian disinformation into the Senate record, read  a statement from an observer standing out by the fence that the violence came only after police provoked the protesters and “fake Trump protesters” were at fault. Before the hearing he had said there was no armed insurrection on January 6.

DDT’s financial records including his tax returns for eight years—reportedly millions of pages—are now with Cy Vance, Manhattan’s district attorney, for review after the U.S. Supreme Court refused DDT’s appeal to block the subpoena. The question now is whether DDT can slow the process long enough to get past the statute of limitations, six years in New York. State law, however, now excludes the time when a person charged with a state crime while acting as president, but the question is whether this exclusion is also for criminal conduct predating the law’s passage. If the law holds up, the time for limitations begins on January 20, 2021. Vance also has only ten months left in his current term and doesn’t plan to run for re-election.

Meanwhile, Vance has enlisted outside experts, including a forensic consulting firm, to examine the documents. The accounting records can determine fraud by showing how tax figures were calculated as were done in the Paul Manafort investigation. Manafort was sentenced to over seven years in prison before DDT pardoned him in December. Tax returns can also determine whether other financial records are false.

Despite DDT’s pardon for Steve Bannon, DDT’s former main strategist, DOJ prosecutors won’t dismiss the indictment against him as a matter of record. Bannon allegedly siphoned off over $1 million from GoFundMe donations for building part of DDT’s southern wall. According to Nixon v. United State, a pardon does not erase the grand jury finding probable cause for Bannon’s committing the indictment’s offenses. The prosecutors’ letter explained:

“Were the Court to dismiss the Indictment against Bannon, it could have a broader effect than the pardon itself, among other things potentially relieving Bannon of certain consequences not covered by the pardon.”

Vance’s office has subpoenaed Wells Fargo and GoFundMe for financial records tied to Bannon’s crowd-funding effort. Bannon may face state criminal charges which cannot be pardoned by a president.

DDT may have a parallel with the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City (NJ) which was leveled by an implosion on February 17, 2021. People paid $10 for watching it in person, and a front-row seat cost $575. The building was the first of DDT’s casinos going bankrupt with unpaid contractors and suppliers. During his campaign he bragged about how much money he made in Atlantic City where he put personal debts on the casinos, leaving debts to investors. The eyesore was destroyed as an “imminent hazard” because of falling debris and metal.

October 17, 2020

Town Halls: Same Time, Different Locations

Why did Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) schedule his own town hall on a separate network at exactly the same time as his opponent Joe Biden? It started when DDT refused to do attend the scheduled town hall if it were  virtual. Biden asked to be separated from DDT for the second co-debate because DDT was likely contagious for the first one. He has refused to say whether he had a COVID-19 test on the day of the first debate although both campaigns agreed both candidates would be tested before the event.

DDT also said NBC came to him to do the event, but the media gives the impression DDT has asked for the exposure because he can no longer afford enough advertising. NBC should be lambasted for scheduling the town hall at the same time as Bidens whoever asked for it. The network barely saved its reputation with moderator Savannah Guthrie’s sharp questions showed DDT to be the black hole of truth. His lies, many of them from Fox and the Russians, were typically accompanied by justifications such as “people say” and “I read it someplace” and “That’s what I’ve heard.” His tacit promotion of “herd immunity,” pushing people to contract COVID-19, was demonstrated in supporting the QAnon conspiracy theory about wearing masks causing the virus. Even DDT’s friend, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, told people to wear masks he likely contracted coronavirus from DDT and spent seven days seriously ill in the hospital. 

In his first debate with Biden, DDT wouldn’t disavow his support for white supremacy; in the town hall he’s moved on to endorse the outrageously fake conspiracies of QAnon, the group believing the liberal leadership is involved in a satanic pedophilia ring. DDT’s excuse? “They are very much against pedophilia.” Guthrie pointed out DDT retweeted a QAnon conspiracy theory about Biden’s role in having the SEAL Team 6 killed because they didn’t kill Osama Bin Laden. The former Navy Seal killing bin Laden wrote the QAnon tweet, retweeted by DDT, is a lie. This exchange at the town hall:

Guthrie: “Now, why would you send a lie like that to your followers?”

DDT: “I know nothing about that.”

Guthrie: “You retweeted it!”

DDT: “That was an opinion of somebody… People can decide for themselves.”

Guthrie: “You’re the president! You’re not, like, someone’s crazy uncle who can retweet whatever.” [The “crazy uncle” meme has gone viral.)

QAnon also falsely accused President Obama of giving Iran $152 billion to cover up the fake death of bin Laden. That sum frequently appears in radical right writing because part of the Iran agreement was to permit Iran to regain the money already belonging to them. The U.S. Treasury Department reported the amount was actually about $50 billion. The U.S. was also forced by a court to give Iran $1.7 billion after Iran paid the U.S. for military equipment that was never delivered. 

Furious about being asked about QAnon, DDT wanted to know why she wasn’t asking Biden about why he doesn’t “condemn antifa.” She responded, “Because you’re here,” and he muttered, “So cute.” Two days before the town hall, DDT begged suburban women, “Will you please like me?” His poor treatment of Guthrie won’t get him women’s votes.

DDT, who still refuses to release any financial records including his tax returns, claimed the $421 million he owes is “a peanut” compared to his vast wealth. Others more in the know disagree. Forbes estimates his total debt at over $1 billion to several lending sources. (Details here.) When he tried his old lie of not being able to release his returns because he was under audit, Guthrie said he was wrong, making him angrier. As in the first debate, he constantly tried to talk over Guthrie with more lies such as his claim he has a plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act but couldn’t describe what it is.

About the virus surging in most states and the packed hospitals, DDT repeated that the U.S. “was rounding the corner” and “we’re a winner.” Instead, the over 373,000 cases added in the past week—almost 46,000 more than the previous week—is growth not seen since July. The number of cases in the U.S. for the past 24 hours rose to over 70,000. Loudly and defensively, DDT presented a combative stance as he used falsehoods to fight Guthrie; i.e., using nonexistent voter fraud with lies of thousands of ballots thrown into garbage cans as his excuse for not accepting the election results. 

In her MSNBC show following DDT’s town hall, Rachel Maddow topped the hour with an interview with Caroline Giuliani, the daughter of DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, about Caroline’s editorial for Vanity Fair. Caroline urged people to “end Donald Trump’s reign of terror” and vote for Biden and Kamala Harris. She called her father “the president’s personal bulldog” and part of DDT’s collection of corrupt “yes-men.”

U.S. intelligence told DDT that Russia used Giuliani’s interaction with its intelligence to feed Russian propaganda lies about Joe Biden. The U.S. intelligence agencies told DDT that Giuliani was the target of this influence operation through Giuliani’s interaction with Russian intelligence. National security adviser Robert O’Brien tried to protect DDT from “saying something stupid” by warning him that Giuliani’s information from Ukraine would be contaminated by Russia. DDT ignored O’Brien, and Giuliani continued to abet Russia in their propaganda interference in the U.S. election.

This week, Giuliani spread information supposedly from Hunter Biden’s laptop, and the New York Post printed the material although it hasn’t been authenticated. In an op-ed for Hot Air, conservative Ed Morrissey called the publication of Hunter Biden’s private crossing the line and “very creepy,” possibly not even about Hunter Biden. The possibly fake details of how Giuliani obtained the laptop contents are here. Until DDT’s impeachment acquittal, he denied he sent Giuliani to Ukraine for damaging information about Biden. He reversed those lies in a podcast interview with Geraldo Rivera by telling him he told Giuliani to go to Ukraine.

Several reporters commented on the “two planets” of the two town halls, but the best may have come from Bloomberg’s Ryan Teague Beckwith:

“I just switched over from the Trump to Biden town halls and it’s like switching from Ancient Aliens to PBS NewsHour.”

Rachel Maddow spent 20 minutes discussing DDT’s dangerous lies as well as his promotion of conspiracy theories. A fact-check from the New York Times shows the overwhelming difference between DDT’s lies and Biden’s solid statements.

DDT’s town hall was supposed to have an audience of undecided voters, but the “nodding woman” immediately behind DDT is an avowed supporter of DDT who told him after the event, “We have your back! You see, you see, you are the best.”

One advantage of separate town halls, however, is Biden being able to talk with incessant interruptions from DDT seen in the first debate. Because of the difference, Biden was able to answer questions about policy, something DDT never does and tries to block Biden from doing by yelling over him.

The media was convinced before the town halls that DDT’s audience would be much larger than that for Biden. DDT lost to Biden 14.1 million on just one station to 13.1 million on three stations—NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC. NBC received only 10.6 million.

DDT’s polls are so consistently bad that at least seven senators in tight races aren’t using his name in their advertising. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) is more secure in a solidly red state so he decided to appear principled. He set up a telephone town hall with constituents with a rigged question in order to say DDT has “flirted with white supremacists,” mocks Christian evangelicals in private, and “kisses dictators’ butts.” Sasse also criticized DDT’s handling of COVID-19 and accused him of using the White House for personal business benefits. Ben Mathis-Lilley pointed out Sasse’s comments deliberately distanced himself from DDT. About Sasse, Mathis-Lilley wrote, “He got what he wanted, and now he wants to save his reputation and his party’s.” In the past, Sasse has made noises about running for president, and he marches in lockstep with other unethical GOP senators to destroy the country by putting unqualified, radical right judges in the courts.  

DDT marched on with campaigning on Friday, speaking in both Florida and Georgia. Among his other lies was an excuse for not bringing in donations: he said he “could be the world’s greatest fundraiser” but doesn’t want to work or do things for the donations. His new numbers show he’s the first incumbent in modern times to be at a financial disadvantage.

Biden and DDT have their third and final debate on October 22—if DDT shows up.

September 4, 2020

More DDT Failures after Convention

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 12:14 AM
Tags: , , ,

Despite his “reality show” convention last week, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) faces a large number of disasters. Even the convention was not successful: after the DNC convention during the previous week, DDT’s approval rating in an ABC/Ipsos poll dropped to 32 percent. His own convention lost him another one percent. Joe Biden’s favorability among Democrats rose seven points after his convention to 45 percent. Only 37 percent of the population approved of the RNC programming, compared to the 59 percent who disapproved. Sixty-two percent thought the RNC spent too much time criticizing Democrats, compared to 51 percent who said Democrats spent too much time criticizing Republicans at their convention.

Today, the Atlantic article about DDT’s calling military members “losers” and “suckers” if they are wounded, killed, or captured might have more negative opinions about him.

As DDT’s problems pile up, he grows more desperate. Yesterday, the self-proclaimed “law and order” man told North Carolinians to vote twice, once by mail and once in person. Encouraging people to vote more than once is illegal in North Carolina. The next day, DDT claimed he meant for people to check at the polls if the absentee vote had been counted. That’s not what he said, and following his latter recommendation would cause longer lines and more virus transmission.

AG Bill Barr, leader of the highest judicial agency in the U.S., said he doesn’t know if voting twice in the same election against the law in North Carolina. He did, however, repeat his evidence-free allegations about voting fraud. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) said:

“As the attorney general, you are expected not to be an idiot when it comes to basic legal principles. Federal law prohibits voting more than once in the same election. 52 U.S. Code § 10307.”

In the same interview, Barr agreed justice system cases exist in which Black people are treated differently but added, “I don’t think that’s necessarily racism.” And “If anything’s been baked in [to the system] it’s a bias toward non-discrimination.” Huh?

Despite DDT packing the courts for his personal benefit, some judges still provide justice:

A New York judge ordered DDT’s lawyers into court September 23 to explain why he and his son Eric shouldn’t respond to subpoenas in the civil investigation about the Trump Organization falsifying real estate assets for both loans and better tax benefits.

A federal judge blocked DDT’s rule, provided by anti-immigrant Stephen Miller, moving the determination of initial asylum claims from the appropriate agency of Citizens and Immigration Services to the unqualified Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. DDT had lied about agents being “trained comparably.” In just 2019, border agents allegedly sexually and verbally abused detained children wrongfully mailed a U.S. citizen, assaulted migrants, and continued to separate families in violation of a court order.

In an 8-2 vote, the full D.C. Circuit Court ruled a federal judge can examine the DOJ decision to drop a case against Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser convicted for lying twice to the FBI under oath about seeking Russian assistance during President Obama’s second term. This ruling reverses a three-judge panel decision with two DDT-appointed judges ordering the judge to immediately close the case. DOJ’s acting solicitor general, Jeffrey B. Wall, had declared the judge had no authority to look into the administration’s motives in AG Bill Barr’s intervention. Despite statements from the two DDT-appointed judges, the court majority asserted that the judge had exhibited no “bias in connection with the underlying criminal case” and his views came from what he knew from “carrying out his judicial responsibilities.” 

The full DC appeals court may be busy hearing panel decisions. In the same court, a three-judge panel put a hold on allowing Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance from immediately getting DDT’s tax returns. Arguments are scheduled on September 25. The Supreme Court already rejected the idea DDT is above the law. Part of another New York investigation examines a $50 million loan related to DDT’s Chicago hotel and tower project he claims to owe himself. It may be part of DDT’s fraud by inflating the value of the asset for loans before deflating them for taxes. Apparently DDT pays no interest or principal on the loan, which is a type made to credit risk borrowers. The loan may be a tax dodge for a settlement for another loan in 2012.

Another three-judge panel determined White House lawyer Don Gahn does not need to obey a congressional subpoena to testify. In testimony, McGahn could tell Congress about his memo to Chief of Staff John Kelly regarding the need for downgrading Jared Kushner’s security clearance as described in Michael Schmidt’s new book, Donald Trump v. the United States. Kushner received a top-security clearance after DDT demanded he receive one.

A federal judge in Washington state temporarily blocked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from giving private schools more coronavirus funding than Congress intended. The $13.5 billion was targeted for K-12 schools in the March Cares Act, but DeVos said states wouldn’t suffer irreparable economic damage with her rule of distributing money on the basis of students in the school and not the number of poor students as required in the law. Since she was appointed, DeVos has concentrated on giving all the government funding to private schools. Unlike public schools, private schools, some with millions of dollars in endowments, were eligible for PPP funds designated for small businesses.

After almost seven years, a unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court ruled the sweep by the National Security Agency program of data on billions of telephone calls by people in U.S. illegal and possibly unconstitutional. The decision found “bulk collection” of such data violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. George W. Bush started the call-tracking program with no court authorization with a similar program approved and renewed by the FISA court. The panel also determined that U.S. intelligence officials lied about the surveillance.

Backlash is saving children from going hungry. The Department of Agriculture backed off a decision stopping a school meal program after protest educators protested. Free meals to millions of children can be picked up from any convenient school campus in the same program provided during the summer. The government had planned to make families pay for the food and get it from the school where children had attended. Of the 30 million students eating school meals, 22 million live in households qualifying for free and reduced-price meals. That number probably increased over the summer as unemployment continued to create more poverty in U.S. households.

A federal judge ordered the State Department to issue a U.S. passport to the daughter of a married gay couple. DDT’s administration argued the child, born in England, was ineligible for birthright citizenship because she was biologically related to only one of the parents. The State Department’s rule is only for same-sex couples, not heterosexual couples. Both parents, Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg, are U.S. citizens; their daughter was born to a surrogate using one father’s sperm. The argument against birthright citizenship was that she was “born out of wedlock.” The State Department is “reviewing the decision with the Department of Justice.” Oral arguments at the 9th Circuit Court for a similar case appealed by DDT’s administration is scheduled for October 7.

Once again transgender Gavin Grimm has won a court case declaring students can use bathrooms corresponding with gender identity instead of “biological gender.” Grimm began his series of rulings in 2015 while he was a Gloucester County High School (VA) student. In 2017, the case went to the Supreme Court which remanded it to a lower court after DDT rescinded the Education Department’s protections for transgender students under Title IX. A federal judge ruled in favor of Grimm a year ago, and this latest win came from the 4th Circuit Court. In June, the Supreme Court ruled Title VII of the Civil Right Act applies to sexual orientation and gender identity.

People question why DDT wants so badly to get reelected. One answer is “follow the money.” Or more specifically, “follow the prosecution.” Journalist Jason Zengerle writes about Donald Trump Jr’s concern his family face criminal prosecutions if DDT loses to Biden. Almost the entire family has become key in the GOP 2020 operation, and they know about its corruption and fraud. Just as some prognosticators view Rep. Joe Kennedy III’s loss to incumbent Sen. Ed Markey in the Massachusetts Democratic primary as the fading of a dynasty, they see the same decline in the nouveau Trump dynasty.

If the United States had done an average job of fighting the coronavirus like the rest of the world, 145,000 fewer people would have died in the country. But another 1,094 deaths in the past 24 hours—one-third of the 9/11 deaths—added to the U.S. total of 191,058—1,000 every day since the beginning of the deaths in February. The total will hit 200,000 deaths in ten days. The 44,507 new deaths in the U.S. brings that total to 6,335,244. And the man in the Oval Office does nothing except recommend “herd immunity” and less testing to cause more cases and more deaths.

 

July 19, 2020

Week 182 – Hope for the Future

Throughout the week, I save news giving me hope or just making me laugh. Here are those from the past couple of weeks.

Since the Supreme Court declared almost half Oklahoma’s land is under Native American ruling, one-fourth of oil and gas drillers and 60 percent of refinery capacity operate on reservation land. The Keystone XL pipeline also crosses the Indian country. Regulation for all this moves from oil-friendly Oklahoma to federal and tribal governments. The state’s shale fields were already hard hit with a one-third drop in oil prices this year. The Bureau of Indian Affairs may also have authority over clean-air programs and pipeline grants within the reservation.

Chief Justice John Roberts granted permission for New York DA Cyrus Vance to skip the 25-day waiting period to move forward in issuing a subpoena for DDT’s financial records. Roberts did not grant the same privilege to the House for requests to immediately go forward. In last Thursday’s hearing where DDT’s lawyers gave the same failing arguments and seemed unprepared, a federal judge gave DDT until July 27 to file more challenges to the subpoena. To investigate hush money DDT paid two different women with whom he had affairs, Vance asked for eight years of DDT’s personal and business records from he accounting firm Mazars USA. The firm does not object.

The Supreme Court also ruled against DDT on his DACA program, but he illegally rejects applications and hasn’t even filed for a rehearing with the required 25 days. Also, he consistently changed his mind about moving forward: no executive order, signing a bill to “give [Dreamers] a road to citizenship, no permission for “amnesty” but “want[s] to make people happy.” Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of Home Security, refused to remove the website statement that the Supreme Court ruling “has no basis in law.” A federal court has ordered DDT to accept the applications and return the policy to where it was before September 2017.

DDT rescinded his controversial plan to deport all students who are not enrolled in at least one face-to-face class this fall. Lawsuits against DDT had alleged the action violated the Administrative Procedure Act governing rule-making and was a political move to force universities to reopen campuses with classes in person.

After DDT sent his thuggish federal agents to Portland (OR), Oregon’s AG Ellen Rosenblum announced her office will sue federal law enforcement agencies and start a criminal investigation into the agents’ force. She seeks a temporary restraining order stopping them from detaining Portlanders after agents had no probably cause to seize and detain them. Several people destroy DDT’s behavior as “Pinochet-style abducting citizens.” August Pinochet became president of Chile in a junta when he overthrew a democratically-elected leader and became the country’s dictator. Violations of human rights through rape, torture, abduction, murder were common in the 1970s along with Operation Condor, a secret campaign to wipe out the opposition as people were “disappeared.” 

The brutality by federal agents has energized the protest movement and caused protest crowds to grow. On Friday night, a naked woman went up to federal officers line and pointed her finger at them, daring them to shoot. They sprayed pepper balls at the ground inches from her feel. She didn’t move. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said the presence of federal agents is “like adding gasoline to a fire.” [Right: federal agents firing pepper spray.] 

Brown also said the deployment of federal officers is “a mere distraction from the president’s failure to lead this nation through a global pandemic. It is a blatant abuse of power by the federal government. They are inappropriately trained [according to DHS]. Their presence is not needed. And frankly they’re exacerbating an already challenging situation. It is absolutely counterproductive to the work we’re trying to do here.”

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has decided to ban the Confederate flag at military installations by listing flags that can be flown.  With the new policy, the LGBTQ rainbow flag will also be banned. Esper’s memo stated unauthorized flags—like the Confederate flag—are acceptable in museums, historical exhibits, works of art, and other educational programs.

As DDT gives everyone a rosy picture of COVID-19 in the U.S., Senators pass along the opposite image to their constituents—especially vulnerable ones up for re-election such as Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Forty states see surges in infections, and 67 percent of registered voters distrust and disapprove of DDT’s virus information.

During DDT’s first few months, he used the 1996 Congressional Review Act to erase 14 Obama-era regulations, a law used only once previously. According to that law, any regulation not submitted by the agency within 60 legislative days can be fast-tracked.  Thus far this year, DDT signed at least 33 executive orders and plans far more as Democrats eye them for dissolution:  

  • Destroying environmental law signed by Richard Nixon stopping environmental impact requirements for Infrastructure that he has avoided for over years;
  • Preparing another illegal DACA order with the claim the Supreme Court told him to do it;
  • Banning undocumented immigrants from being counted in the census;
  • Eliminating a fair housing regulation designed to block racial disparities in the suburbs;
  • Weakening an Obama-era controls on climate-warming methane pollution.
  • Restricting the type of scientific research to be used to craft environmental and public health regulations;
  • Forbidding retirement investment managers from considering environmental consequences in their financial recommendations;
  • Making asylum even more difficult for migrants;
  • Erasing civil rights protections for transgender patients seeking health care;
  • Allowing homeless shelters to deny transgender people access to single-sex shelters corresponding to their gender identity;
  • Stopping persecution for businesses killing birds “incidentally”;
  • Permitting energy firms to use undersea sonic blasts to search for oil, regardless of the impact on ocean mammals’ health.

As of a year ago, judges have overturned at least 70 executive orders, and the GOP Congress has overturned three more. In three years, Earthjustice filed over 100 lawsuits to defend environmental and health protections. Of the settled 49 lawsuits, Earthjustice won 39. Presidential candidate Joe Biden and Democratic leaders have kept a careful eye on the executive orders for a review. DDT believes he is creating new laws when he signs executive orders, but his orders are only implementations of laws by the Executive branch. Orders cannot overturn U.S. laws, but Congress can overturn DDT’s orders.

Hackers have found almost 300 documents in which police shared detailed reports about the threats in protests from far-right extremists attempting to create chaos and disorder instead of DDT’s myth of the “antifa.” Law enforcement intelligence was politicized, causing danger to both protesters and police, according to the communication, because of sensationalization of antifa threats with no substance, a situation not part of the factual material about the boogaloo documents. The disaster lay with the desire of the intelligence to paint the antifa as threatening as the far right although the latter showed no concrete evidence of serious criminal activity. Details about their communication. The good news would be dissemination of DDT’s government manipulation.

On July 1, several civil rights laws went into effect in Virginia:

  • Removing unnecessary abortion regulations.
  • Preventing driver’s licenses suspension over unpaid court fees.
  • Ending the requirement of principals to report to police misdemeanors committed at school.
  • Limiting to $50 what health insurers can charge for insulin.
  • Extending to aspiring Americans in-state tuition at public colleges and driver privilege cards.
  • Banning discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in employment and housing.
  • Banning the practice of so-called “conversion therapy” on minors.
  • Decriminalizing cannabis possession.

DDT received a sad comeuppance this past week. A week ago, he spent his morning retweeting messages from Chuck Woolery, a conservative former game show host who accused health experts of lying about COVID-19’s seriousness. Woolery wrote:

“Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most, that we are told to trust. I think it’s all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I’m sick of it.”

Woolery continued by claiming there “much evidence, yes scientific evidence, that schools should open this fall.” The next day he sent his last tweet for now:

“Covid-19 is real and it is here. My son tested positive for the virus, and I feel for those suffering and especially for those who have lost loved ones.”

Woolery deactivated his Twitter account on Wednesday; his son is apparently doing well.

World COVID-19 cases, 14,646,706; deaths, 608,978. USA cases, 3,898,550; deaths, 143,289.

Ending with a bit of humor.  After DDT repeatedly told the world the U.S. would have fewer cases of COVID-19 without testing, Dan Rather offered some assistance to DDT: “We can apparently solve the issue of undocumented immigrants by just not counting them.” DDT could save $20 billion.

July 9, 2020

DDT’s Royal Crown in Jeopardy, Final SCOTUS Decisions

A decade ago, the Supreme Court and the electorate moved the United States toward a low point in its democracy: the Supreme Court ruled unlimited donations for political candidates in Citizens United, and Tea Party voters elected corrupt politicians for gerrymandering. The U.S. expanded oligarchical control and picked Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), interested only in personal wealth and self-aggrandizement, who signed hundreds of executive orders benefiting only himself, not the country. For two years, DDT controlled all three branches of government until Republicans lost faith and put Democrats in control of the house in 2018. 

Supreme Court decisions in the past month have not all appeared to be the highly conservative ones DDT expected when he nominated Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the high court. Until this week, Chief Justice John Roberts leaned away from the four conservative justices in an anti-abortion case although he went with them in allowing abuses of the environment, financial oversight, and independent agencies. A majority of the justices ruled states could not discriminate against LGBTQ employees, protected DACA recipients, and let stand victories for gun safety and sanctuary laws.  

Two rulings today moved democracy back on its path. Even Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, who voted against the specific subpoenas for DDT, agreed DDT is not “king of the United States.” DDT lost his claim of complete immunity from the law. One ruling concerns congressional ability to obtain a president’s financial records from third parties, and the other determines whether a president is immune from state criminal investigation. A New York prosecutor can subpoena DDT’s private and business financial records; the second ruling sent the question back to the lower court to match the restrictions placed onto the subpoenas. The wording of the decision means the information will most likely not appear before the November election, but the premise of the U.S. not being a kingdom with a monarch is vital for democracy.

In the majority opinion, Roberts wrote:

“In our judicial system, ‘the public has a right to every man’s evidence.’ Since the earliest days of the Republic, ‘every man’ has included the President of the United States.”

Furious, DDT lied in a tweet about “broad deference” in the past “BUT NOT ME.” In another tweet, he yelled about “PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT.” DDT began railing against the judiciary even before the decisions were released to the public. “Not fair,” DDT cried, about the possibility of releasing his tax returns and financial records. Yet he cannot block subpoenas if his action impedes Congress from carrying out its responsibilities; a lower court must “assess the burdens imposed on the President by a subpoena.” DDT cannot protest that the subpoenas will take too much of his time, because the subpoena is for private companies and not to him.

The permission for New York to obtain records also removes any special, heightened standard of proof. Roberts used the ruling that Thomas Jefferson was not immune from a subpoena for records in a trial with Aaron Burr. Another citation came from U.S. v. Nixon: “The President’s ‘generalized assertion of privilege must yield to the demonstrated, specific need for evidence in a pending criminal trial.’”

The opinion placed these restrictions on subpoenas regarding DDT:

  • Subpoenas cannot be for information searches if other sources are available.
  • Subpoenas cannot be too broad.
  • Lawmakers submitting subpoenas must explain how the information advances potential legislation.
  • Confidentiality does not apply if “executive deliberations” don’t exist. court must “assess the burdens imposed on the President by a subpoena.”

In another win for the people of the United States, the Supreme Court ruled a large portion of eastern Oklahoma, including much of Tulsa, is Indian reservation where state authorities cannot prosecute Native Americans. In the 5-to-4 decision, Gorsuch provided the swing vote. The case, which SCOTUS postponed from last year with a different plaintiff, concerns the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Members of five Indian nations were forced from Georgia, Florida, and Alabama in the 1830s. To take the land for White expansion, the U.S. Army forced-marched the Native Americans on the “Trail of Tears” to the Indian Territory (Oklahoma) where the survivors were promised land. Over 3,000 Indians died on the journey.

In the late 19th century, Congress took courts, governments, and laws from the Creek Nation and forced them to change tribal lands into privately-owned allotments for the tribe’s members before selling surplus land to white settlers. Yet Congress never specifically abolished the reservation’s treaty promising the Oklahoma land in perpetuity. In the majority opinion, Neil Gorsuch wrote:

“If Congress wishes to withdraw its promises, it must say so. Unlawful acts, performed long enough and with sufficient vigor, are never enough to amend the law.”

The Oklahoma decision affects almost half of the state’s population. According to the majority ruling, only Congress, not the courts, can modify treaty agreements and change reservation boundaries. Federal officers, not state authorities, will be in charge of prosecuting tribal members for major crimes on the reservation, but the question remains regarding the authority of state and city governments in regulations such as taxation and zoning. The Oklahoma AG and leaders of five tribal groups—Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole nations—are negotiating an agreement for “shared jurisdiction” to submit to Congress. The Native American sovereign nations and the state must also deal with thousands Indian prosecutions for over a century. 

In two other decisions, the Supreme Court reinforced DDT’s Christian rule. DDT’s expansion of birth control exemptions for employers who claim religious and moral reasons in opposition to the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that insurance plans and employers except for religious nonprofits must cover contraception without cost sharing. Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer voted with the conservative majority only because the Executive Branch has the power to make this mandate. The nation’s support for universal health care has been growing, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, and this ruling may enlist more support. Ironically, the Supreme Court opposes abortion while opposing access to abortion prevention. A new president in January could rescind the DHS mandate about employers’ moral perception ruling the lives of women, perhaps guiding some women in their voting choice.  

In another ruling today, religious schools can fire teachers or anyone else supposedly acting as “ministers” to the students. One of the plaintiffs was fired because of her age, the other because she had breast cancer. The two cases leave over 126,000 women without free contraception plus with far more at risk with SCOTUS giving DDT permission for exemptions and tens of thousands of people prevented from suing for job discrimination. An earlier SCOTUS decision forces taxpayers to pay for religious schools, meaning taxpayers must pay for discrimination in education. One of the plaintiffs was demoted because she was 63, the other because she had breast cancer. 

The last decision this week referred to “faithless electors,” voting for their own preference in the Electoral College. That practice is now illegal after the SCOTUS ruling, stating representatives must vote according to their state’s majority vote for president. In the majority opinion, Kagan left wiggle room for 18 states not requiring conformity between the popular vote and the agent in the Electoral College as well as the current initiative passed in 15 states and pending in another ten which pledges electors to the winner of the national popular vote instead of their statewide totals. 

David Farris is making suppositions about Roberts preparing for a Biden presidency. The last two nominations have demonstrated the ugliness of Senate Republicans—first the refusal to consider President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, for almost a year followed by the GOP manipulation of Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. The corruption surrounding the GOP control of the Supreme Court has led to a suggestion that Democrats would enlarge the court if they control the presidency and Senate. Justification might be the appointment of four justices by presidents who lost the popular vote.

Roberts wants to be known for a legitimate court, a difficulty if he needs to vote conservative on an 11-person group of justices. His narrow dance with the Louisiana abortion case kept him from fury about an out-of-control institution from the left although it left him with an unhappy right wing. The end of the 2020 decisions leaves enough liberal victories to quiet those who were highly disappointed with Anthony Kennedy’s disastrous decisions before his 2018 departure. Walking a fine line, Roberts seemed to vote liberal while not really making progressive decisions. Instead, several of the rulings such as DACA and DDT’s financial records merely postponed cases by returning them to lower courts. The abortion ruling invited a conservative assault on women’s rights. Most of the other cases clearly gave control to big business and reinforced voter suppression.

If DDT wins, Roberts can put conservatism into cement; if Biden wins Roberts will continue the veneer of moderation while pushing long-term conservatism, including the overturn of ACA. He’ll copy the last 20 years with one step forward, three steps behind.

COVID-19 in the world on July 9: 12,390,734 cases and 557,416 deaths. And in the United States: 3,219,999 cases and 135,822 deaths. New U.S. cases in the past 24 hours: 61,067.

Mind-Cast

Rethinking Before Restarting

Current

Commentary. Reflection. Judgment.

© blogfactory

Freely reported with that local taste

Civil Rights Advocacy

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

AGR Daily News

Quaker Inspired, Evidence Based, Art And Science Of Sustainable Health Plus Success - How To Create Heaven On Earth - Education For Seventh Generation Rainbow Warriors

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

Rainbow round table news

Official News Outlet for the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: