Nel's New Day

November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving Gratitude for Government Actions

Every year on Thanksgiving, many people express gratitude for what happens in their lives. For me, this means my fabulous partner of over 53 years and our joy in working together. We’re grateful for the friends who contribute to our lives through their love, humor, acceptance, and help whenever we need it. We take delight in our loving standard poodle and our delightful cat. Our home is exactly what we want, and we feel safe in the small town where we live.

Beyond that—because I’m a politics junkie—I have much more to list in my gratefulness because they demonstrate that others share with me my desire for human rights and democracy.

Elections:

After a long 15 days, Alaska has declared the winners of its ranked choice votes. Rep. Mary Peltola (D-AK) returns for a full House term after she won her special election last summer, both elections defeating former VP candidate Sarah Palin. She cares about people, not herself. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will also return to Washington after Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) tried to destroy her for her impeachment vote against him. DDT endorsed opponents of both these winners.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) will be Los Angeles’ first female mayor despite her wealthy opponent outspending her by $91 million.

Two extremely close races flipped the Pennsylvania state House to Democrats for the first time in a decade. The Dems flipped a total of 12 seats in the chamber.

The GOP will likely have 222 members of the House for the 118th Congress, outnumbering Democrats by five. Democrats are suing to overturn districting maps in six states they couldn’t do before 2022 elections: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, and Texas.

Georgia will determine whether Democrats have 50 or 51 Senators in the election on December 6.  Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) leads opponent Herschel 51 percent to 47 percent and has an 11-point lead among women voters plus 12 percent of those with a four-year or more college degree.

The week after DDT announced his 2024 presidential campaign, 57 percent thought it was a bad idea. Only 27 percent approved in the Quinnipiac University poll. Among independents, the disapproval was 58 percent to 32 percent. Forty-four percent don’t want Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to run for president, compared to 37 percent supporting him.

Courts:

The Supreme Court, typically supporting DDT, turned him down in his request to block House Democrats from seeing his tax records. Sought for 42 months, the decision listed no dissenting votes, and the records should be immediately turned over to the House committee.

The Supreme Court rejected appeals from a Virginia public school district and the University of Toledo in Ohio to stop sexual harassment lawsuits by female students using the law prohibiting sex discrimination at schools receiving federal funds.

A federal judge continued to send Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ beloved Stop WOKE Act into the trash pile, starting when he blocked provisions related to regulating private speech. In August, he wrote:

“Normally, the First Amendment bars the state from burdening speech, while private actors may burden speech freely. But in Florida, the First Amendment apparently bars private actors from burdening speech, while the state may burden speech freely.”

DeSantis’ law targeted concepts about race and history that Republicans dislike. In banning any information about critical race theory, DeSantis tried to regulate private businesses’ training sessions with their own private-sector employees. 

The November ruling stopped what the judge called a “positively dystopian” policy restricting how lessons on race and gender can be taught in colleges and universities. DeSantis wants to control what scholars can say in higher education. He quoted George Orwell’s novel 1984:

“’It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,’ and the powers in charge of Florida’s public university system have declared the State has unfettered authority to muzzle its professors in the name of ‘freedom.”

The judge added:

“The law officially bans professors from expressing disfavored viewpoints in university classrooms while permitting unfettered expression of the opposite viewpoints. Defendants argue that, under this Act, professors enjoy ‘academic freedom’ so long as they express only those viewpoints of which the State approves. This is positively dystopian.”

DeSantis will certainly appeal, but this ruling is a start. Other lawsuits are fighting the suppression of education in K-12.

With no comment, the Georgia Supreme Court rejected the GOP request to remove a day of early voting for the U.S. Senate runoff between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Herschel Walker. The GOP knows that it needs to block voting to win, causing the Republicans already passing a large number of voter restrictions including cutting the runoff calendar in half with a ban on Saturday voting after a holiday. Georgia’s runoff early voting now runs from November 27 to December 2.

A three-judge 11th Circuit Court panel, two DDT-appointed judges and one from George W. Bush, appear ready to support the DOJ by rescinding the special master appointment in the Mar-a-Lago documents case made by DDT’s pet judge Aileen Cannon. One of the DDT judges told DDT’s lawyer that sweeping up personal items in a court-authorized search was not unusual. The DOJ has also asked for the return of 13,000 documents to investigators examining if DDT illegally retained highly sensitive documents of national defense information after he left the White House and possibly obstructed justice in their retrieval.  

A judge asked DDT’s lawyer that if he can’t establish the seizure is unlawful, “what are we doing here?” Another judge pointed out that a special master has no relationship to unlawful seizure.

A complaint has been filed against a Greenville (MS) municipal judge who signs no-knock search warrants allowing police to go into a home unannounced and then keeps them instead of turning them over to the clerk. Violating the state’s criminal procedure rules, his process hides warrants from the public and The public has no access to the warrants and prevents people from defending themselves when they are charged with crimes.

Congress:

The Senate unanimously passed legislature to make funding for survivors of gender-based violence more inclusive of the neediest communities. This amendment to the Violence against Women Act increased funding for domestic violence and sexual assault services specifically helping Native Hawaiian survivors who were inadvertently excluded from the funding. Roughly two-thirds of sex-trafficking victims in Hawaii are Native Hawaiian.

Another unanimous Senate vote passed the Safe Connections Act to help survivors of domestic violence and other crimes cut ties with their abusers and separate from shared wireless service plans, useful to monitor, stalk, or control victims. Abused victims and dependents in their care won’t have penalties or other requirements to separate from shared plans, and the FCC must make rules to keep calls or texts on hotlines from appearing on call logs.

Almost 200 years ago, the U.S. agreed to seat a member of the Cherokee Nation in the House as a non-voting delegate. A House vote could make that happen. The House has six non-voting delegates, including from the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, who can introduce legislation and sit on committees but cannot vote on the House floor.

President Joe Biden:

Facing opposition from conservative states to his student loan forgiveness of $20,000 per person, Biden will extend the payment pause on federal student loans until 60 days after the relief plan is permitted.

The price of crude oil has dropped from almost $120 in March to $77.50, plunging over one-third of its cost from this year’s highest point. Shipping prices are lower, and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) drove investment in U.S. battery equipment manufacturing, taking the industry from China.  

Jason Easley and Sarah Jones wrote about gratitude for Biden:

“After four years of feeling like the country was careening out of control, President Joe Biden assumed office and immediately restored stability and normalcy to the country…. Biden got the pandemic under control, oversaw record-setting job growth, and made a huge downpayment on rebuilding America’s infrastructure and helping the planet. Biden has gotten Congress to function in a bipartisan way and has lived up to his promise to try to help people and make their lives better.

“Things have not been perfect. Inflation remains a stubborn and persistent problem. The Senate filibuster has stopped Biden from achieving goals like voting rights reform, an assault weapons ban, and the codification of Roe.”

Easley and Jones described Biden’s leadership:

“You may not appreciate it at the moment, but you’ll know when it is not there.

“The reason why so many Americans will be able to enjoy their Thanksgiving holiday is that a steady hand is again steering the national ship from the Oval Office.

“The feeling that there has been a dark cloud hovering over the nation has passed.”

Footnote for Biden: For many years, Fox network attacked “liberals” for their “War on Christmas.” Evidently that particular war has ended. Fox’s latest complaint is that Biden is “too pro-Christmas,” led by Laura Ingraham on her prime-time show. (The official lighting of the National Christmas Tree isn’t until November 30.) 

And then there’s the scandal about Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito leaking information to evangelical Christians before his announcements of two cases about reproductive rights. But that’s a longer story!

November 7, 2022

One Day to the End of Democracy

Tomorrow will be the turning point for democracy in the United States when ballots are due for the 2022 midterm election. Results will trickle in with slow counts where ballots haven’t been touched until the polls close on November 8, causing conservatives to begin suing for fraud. A few other decisions may dribble on as states requiring a majority have runoffs, maybe the U.S. Senate race from Georgia. The question is whether people are willing to give up their rights and their benefits—like Social Security and Medicare—to get a dollar or two off their gas and hand off democracy to power-hungry Republicans and greedy corporations.

One lie about elections has already been clarified. For six years, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) railed about the “witch hoax” surrounding the Russian interference in elections that helped him win. With a declaration from Russian president Vladimir Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, the “hoax” has been eliminated and the “witch” exposed. The oligarch’s admission, revoking his denial of participation:

“Gentlemen, we have interfered, are interfering and will interfere. Carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do.”

Known as “Putin’s chef” because he caters for the president, Prigozhin earlier revoked his denial about running the Wagner Group mercenary force to claiming he was behind the forces and bragged about its involvement in Russia’s war on Ukraine. Russian law prevents private military contractors, but state media openly reports on Wagner’s forces in Ukraine. In 2018, the U.S. charged Prigozhin, a dozen other Russian nationals, and three Russian companies with operating a covert social media campaign aimed at fomenting discord and dividing American public opinion ahead of DDT’s winning 2016 presidential election as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.

Election deniers still have no evidence of fraud for a “stolen election,” and a judge in the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan concurs by dismissing a lawsuit from Kristina Karamo. The DDT-endorsed nominee for secretary of state, who claims that elites drink blood from abortions tried to disqualify over 60,000 mail-in ballots from Detroit. The plaintiffs had no evidence and couldn’t explain what relief they wanted, the first time in the judge’s 26-year experience. He also blasted the plaintiffs for waiting months after the alleged violations in August to file their suit. He said that disenfranchisement “cannot be permitted.”

Karamo has company: organized groups in Michigan are disputing voters who requested or cast absentee ballots, promising future litigation. Pennsylvania ruled that mail-in ballots without voter-written dates won’t be counted even if they come before Election Day. A court ruling in Wisconsin blocks ballots if the required witness address is incomplete. Earlier this year, the 3rd Circuit Court ruled failure to count undated mail ballots violates federal civil rights law, but the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the decision as moot because the election was over. Philadelphia voters can cast a replacement ballot at city hall which doesn’t work for disabled voters; they mail in their ballots because they aren’t mobile.

Democrats are suing to count undated or incorrectly dated mail-in ballots be counted in Pennsylvania. The lawsuit maintains that the date requirement is immaterial and enforcing it violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The filing states that the date “has no bearing on a voter’s qualifications and serves no purpose other than to erect barriers to qualified voters exercising their fundamental constitutional right to vote.” Last Friday, civil rights groups filed a similar complaint. The Supreme Court ruled these undated ballots should be counted in a June decision.

A judge in Wisconsin has refused a lawsuit from a Republican state legislator to block all military mail-in ballots to be blocked from the state’s vote because he considered disenfranchising over 1,400 service members a “drastic remedy.” Rep. Janet Brandtjen brought her suit with the conservative Thomas More Society and Michael Gableman, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice who failed to find election fraud in a year-long review of the 2020 election for GOP lawmakers. Gableman requested trying to rescind the state’s election results.

The problem began with Milwaukee’s deputy elections director’s stunt when she sent multiple fake names for military members’ ballots to state GOP Rep. Janel Brandtjen as proof of election fraud. Promoter of lies about elections, Brandtgen received three military ballots under fake names, gave them to the Waukesha County sheriff’s office, and released the information in a news release. The election official has been fired and charged with a felony and three misdemeanors.

Unlike almost all other states, Wisconsin does not require service members to register to vote for casting their ballots, and a state website permits people to order military ballots without providing proof of residency. Election officials have seen no other evidence of ordering absentee fake names, and the problem with three of them was quickly identified.

Last summer, another Republican requested ballots in others’ names to be sent to his home in his attempt to prove problems in Wisconsin’s voting system. He faces criminal charges.

The DOJ will monitor polls in 64 communities within two dozen states on Election Day to protect voters’ rights. In addition, the Civil Rights Division will take complaints regarding alleged violations of voting rights laws at 800-253-3931. Two years ago, the DOJ focused on 44 jurisdictions in 28 states. Attorneys at the agency’s National Security Division, overseeing cases related to foreign interference in elections and violent extremist threats to elections, will work with the FBI and U.S. attorneys’ offices to counter any potential threats.

Priority elections in 2022 will include Florida (GOP Sen. Marco Rubio against Dem. Val Demings for U.S. Senate) and Georgia (Dem. Raphael Warnock against Herschel Walker for U.S. Senate). Other areas are Nevada’s Clark County (Las Vegas) and Arizona’s Pinal County (a bellweather district). In other monitored areas, Yavapai County (AZ) have self-proclaimed militia groups monitoring drop boxes in the past, and Berks County (PA), sheriff’s deputies staffing ballot drop boxes are told to question voters about whether they are returning their own ballot. Five monitored counties in North Carolina have sizable Black populations, two of them experiencing recent racial controversies. Ten of the state’s counties have experienced intimidated or harassed voters and poll workers. In Texas, Harris County (Houston) has been added to the monitoring list. List of locations

Missouri Secretary of State John R. Ashcroft (R) is refusing the monitoring because the federal presence would “bully a local election authority” and could “intimidate and suppress the vote.”

In an amazing move, the Supreme Court refused a GOP challenge to Michigan’s congressional district maps for the 2022 election because the election is underway. A three-judge panel had already upheld the maps last April. Georgia Cobb County’s is also facing an investigation because over 1,000 voters failed to receive absentee ballots requested weeks ago. State law mandates they be sent within three business days of processing applications. A lawsuit also sues for the absentee ballots to be sent overnight.

A Georgia judge extended until November 14 the deadline for election officials receiving absentee ballots and ordered replacement ballots to be sent overnight who haven’t already been sent them. Affected voters can also vote in person or with a federal write-in absentee ballot. The county supported Joe Biden by 14 points in 2020.

The 2020 election will likely set the pattern for culture in the U.S. with the 2022 midterms blowing up into massive violence. The GOP position is that every election in which Republicans lose—even some of those when they win—should be litigated and then followed with violence if the judge doesn’t give Republicans what they want. This ideology can move into all parts of people’s lives. Lost school games from football to speech debates should create lawsuits if the conservative side loses. If the judge disagrees, the losers can buy guns and kill people in mass shootings. In the U.S., everyone must always hold a gun in their hands as losers are excused for violence—just like Republicans claimed that the January 6 insurrectionists at the Capitol were “tourists.”

Conservatives will blame every victim for all violence they experience. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) blamed Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for being beaten up in his own home. He was sleeping in his San Francisco home while his wife was in Washington, D.C. A radicalized MAGA-supporter broke into his home and caused possibly irreparable physical damage by striking him with a hammer. Pelosi may never completely heal from head fractures and injuries to his arm and hand. Instead of sleeping, Pelosi should have “shot his attacker,” according to Greene at a GOP rally. Greene also blames Democrats for every victim in the U.S.

That will be life under Republican authoritarianism because legislators like Greene will be running all the committees, according to wannabe House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

October 26, 2022

DDT’s Gubernatorial Endorsements Dangerous

Thirty-six states will elect governors in November, 20 of them held by Republicans. All nine states are currently held by women, and eight of the races are open. Seven states have only women candidates, and another four have female incumbents.

In Alaska, ranked choice voting voting means races can have four candidates, and Charlie Pierce, a Republican running against the GOP incumbent Mike Dunleavy, has been credibly charged with sexual harassment including unwanted physical touching. The other two candidates are a Democrat and an unaffiliated.

In Maryland, Dan Cox, DDT’s endorsement against existing Gov. Larry Hogan’s preference, was filmed accepting a gift from the Proud Boys, a group storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Cox organized buses to take people to Washington, D.C. on January 6. His website erased prominent references to DDT who held a fundraiser for Cox at Mar-a-Lago. The campaign for Cox’s opponent Wes Moore, has outraised Cox 10-to-1 in the state where Democratic voters outnumber Republicans 2-to-1. In early October, Moore was ahead, 60 percent to 28 percent. 

Two other DDT-endorsed gubernatorial candidates are more frightening.

In Arizona, Kari Lake displays the polish she gained as a TV news personality, and the state may provide enough MAGA crazies to vote her in, with a polling one percent ahead of her opponent, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. She describes her lies as facts, including the falsehood that Joe Biden lost the 2020 presidential election. Despite Arizona Republicans claiming “election integrity” by passing “one of the worst voter suppression laws in the nation” for the purported purpose of “election integrity,” Lake still declares election outcomes should be doubted, and she declines to accept a loss.

Lake also:

  • Threatens to cancel the Super Bowl if the NFL disagree with her immigration policies. She said, “I’m not going to be taking marching orders from the NFL.”
  • Accused China of poisoning people in Arizona with fentanyl in an attempt to “take down civilization,” apparently a reference to the 19th-century opium wars when Great Britain smuggled opium from India into China.
  • Told people not to take any precautions against COVID because “hydroxychloroquine works” and sells a t-shirt with the image of a burning mask.
  • Said that her opponent would be in jail by Election Day and promised she would criminally prosecute journalists who “dupe the public.”
  • Approved an ad from from an anti-Islam and anti-LGBTQ pastor who preaches the “submission of the wife.” 
  •  Thinks low majority votes for President Joe Biden should all be decertified to overturn his 2020 election.
  • Endorsed Oklahoma candidate Jarrin Jackson, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ nationalist extremist saying “Jews will go to hell” and LGBTQ is a “gateway to pedophilia.”
  • Announced her “team is triple-confirming … some really painful hurtful news” about her opponent that would shake up the race. The new, which turned out to be wrong, was that Hobbs fought to keep the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution out of Arizona’s public school classrooms. The 2018 law added the state motto to Lake’s cited documents already permitted to be read or posted in classrooms. Lake and her team can’t read a state statute, and she’s never held any elected office.
  • Used footage of Russian troops marching in a “victory parade” in her political ad when she says she will “stand with Arizona’s border sheriffs.”
  • Said Arizona’s strict anti-abortion1864 law will put more rapists in jail but didn’t explain how.
  • Accepted hundreds in donations from people convicted of serious sex offenses while accusing LGBTQ people of “grooming” children.
  • Worried academicians with threats of “cleaning up show” at Arizona State University.

On Indigenous People’s Day, Lake’s campaign manager compared all Native Americans to bloodthirsty savages who engage in human sacrifice in a tweet with an image of human sacrifice by an ancient Mesoamerican civilization thousands of miles from Arizona.

Arizonans are filing complaints about voter harassment. Two armed and masked men wearing tactical gear staked out a drop box in Maricopa County and left only after the police were called. Local sheriffs tried to intervene in a standoff between the armed men and people observing the watchers, and several voters reported being intimidated at the same location. Mark Finchem, candidate for secretary of state, sent people to “watch all drop boxes” and repeated the lie that voters dropping off ballots were “ballot mules,” from the lies in the movie 2000 Mules, and covering their license plates. People are doing so for personal safety, and the men in masks also covered up their license plates. Writing about Clean Elections USA run by QAnon election conspiracist Melody Jennings, Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans and Voto Latino filed complaints that that “vigilante groups have already turned away voters.”

Lies about election fraud led to anonymous violent threats using vile obscene language targeting Arizona’s election officials. Threatening letters to the Democratic party stated that judges not fully sentencing election fraud will be “dealt with” as a traitor. Letters also threaten to publish personal details of judges and sheriffs. The state is at the top for threats against these officials and poll workers which includes photographing them and following them.

In North Carolina, election officials in at least 15 counties have reported violations of poll watchers harassing voters and trying to get into restricted areas to view confidential voting records.

In Pennsylvania, Doug Mastriano could be even more dangerous as governor because he also selects the secretary of state, in charge of elections. He promised to pick one who would certify DDT. Mastriano is so scary that GOP leaders support his Democratic opponent, Josh Shapiro, and a GOP organization is posting billboards asking people to vote for Shapiro.

Mastriano:

  • Wants to prosecute women for murder if they have abortions.
  • Claims that banning books is “not a book ban.”
  • Calls any book mentioning LGBTQ people “pornographic.”
  • Promises to ban “pole dancing” in the schools “on day one” but can’t name any school teaching pole dancing—because there aren’t any.
  • Plans to fund private schools with public school funding and eliminate school property taxes.
  • Hopes to de-register all approximately nine million registered voters in Pennsylvania and require them to register again.
  • Registered to vote in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania for 11 years.
  • Led a crowd at a rally in a “liberty oath,” swearing they would fight like in the Civil war to experience a “new birth” in Pennsylvania. Days before the January 6 insurrection, he called on fellow DDT supporters to “rise up” and overthrow the government.
  • Sued the House January 6 investigative committee for interviewing him.
  • Asked for “40 days of fasting and prayer” to support his campaign. The Christian nationalist averages 8.6 points behind Shapiro.

At the University of New Brunswick, a U.S. history professor declared Mastriano’s Ph.D. was undeserved and his dissertation about World War II soldier Alvin York atrocious academic work—dishonest, sloppy, fanatical, and tinged with religious zealotry. During his “research,” Mastriano ruined an archeological site in France and then used his degree to deflect criticism for his wearing a Confederate uniform in a faculty photo at the Army War College. The professor said the fanaticism and indifference to facts are apparent in the candidate’s public life. The university hid Mastriano’s 2013 dissertation, even its title, until last August. Some of the “fraudulent” fabrications.

Mastriano holds mostly closed events, keeps reporters away from him at public events, and hires the Christian militia and former Oath Keepers for his security team. Several of them from the Lifegate Church in Elizabethtown (PA) may not have received the training requiring by state law. His church’s mission is to control government by electing their Christians, and the property has political yard signs. Members gained seven seats on the local GOP committee which some describe as “a hostile takeover.” Three days before the January 6 insurrection, a social media post connected to the Pennsylvania Oath Keepers, split from the national group in 2015, alluded to armed veterans violently resisting election results.

“Prophet” Julie Green, head of Green Ministries who receives direct prophecies from God, says she has a “special relation” with Mastriano. Some of her other claims: Biden is not alive, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) drinks “children’s blood”; God will execute political figures; Rep. Ilhan Omar is “a spy”; and several prominent lawmakers who failed DDT will soon die. Green promises not to “forsake” Mastriano.

Back in Georgia, a second woman claims anti-abortion Herschel Walker, the GOP U.S. Senate candidate from Georgia, pressured her to get an abortion. As in the first case, Walker denied the allegation from his ex-girlfriend. He had a six-year relationship with her while he was married. Despite his anti-Christian actions, evangelical voters support him because they only want to take the Senate. Walker, GOP also sent his supporters a flyer urging early voting—with the wrong date. His one debate with opponent Sen. Raphael Warnock showed he is trainable: his comments were less garbled.

Walker has company carrying a fake police badge: MyPillow Chief Executive Officer Mike Lindell brandished his own badge at DDT’s October 21 rally in Texas when he told people not to vote before Election Day. If anyone is accused of already voting, he said, “Go to your local sheriff.” He concluded, “Sheriffs and judges … are gonna bring this country back. They gave me a badge. I’m semi-official.”

October 23, 2022

News – Week Ending October 23, 2022

Update on possibility of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) testifying live to House January 6 investigate committee: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said this won’t happen; DDT won’t be allowed to turn his testimony into a “circus” or a “food fight.” About House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) announcement he may take military aid from Ukraine, Cheney accused him of becoming “the leader of the pro-Putin wing of my party” and added that McCarthy “always chooses to serve his own political purpose.” After McCarthy’s mentor DDT put the U.S. a further $8 trillion into debt, McCarthy said he must “eliminate wasteful spending.”

By now, the resignation of Liz Truss as prime minister after 44 days, the shortest term for any British PM, is old news. The head of lettuce won, lasting longer than she did when the contest began a week earlier. The event ended in a fanfare of colored lights and messages of congratulations for the crowned lettuce as Truss’ photo was laid down to the sound of “God Save the King.” Celebratory alcohol was provided by the lettuce joined by fruit and vegetable friends. Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci for 11 days, 33 days fewer than Truss, praised her after she “outlasted the milk in the refrigerator.”  

Truss’ resignation leaves her with the possibility of $129,000 for any business expenses and another almost $100,000 pension, available to any PM lasting over 42 days, and depending on how well the British pound does after her departure. She can add that to her net worth of almost $10 million. Traumatized by former Prime Minister Liz Truss’ 44 days in office, the British public now must cope with who will assume leadership.

Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin described Truss’ failure in six weeks and concluded:

“If you like what Brexit and Truss have done for the British economy, vote Republican. If you prefer prosperity, then don’t.

Her warning is reminiscent of Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore’s question in 2000 before George W. Bush lowered taxes and started two wars:

“What are you afraid of? Four more years of prosperity?”

Rishi Sunak, who lost to Truss, has again thrown his hat into the ring despite tax scandals for both himself and his wife, Akshata Murty. Together they are worth £730 million, over twice the assets of King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort. Runak and Murty keep their money, he with a U.S. green card until last year promising to become a citizen and paying less taxes and she with her non dom classification, permitting her to pay an annual maximum of £30,000 a year instead of taxes on foreign income. She has saved millions of pounds on taxes for her dividends in her father’s firm, India-based Infosys, which did business with Russia after British sanctions because of the invasion of Ukraine.  

Upsetting senior Tories, former PM Boris Johnson flew back to Britain to drum up support for another win. Without sufficient support, Johnson changed his mind and said that he couldn’t govern with a unified party. In a BBC poll of 357 conservative MPs, only 227 were willing to go public with their support, Johnson came out far below Sunak. The runner-up ran against Truss last time.

  • Rishi Sunak – 146 MPs
  • Boris Johnson – 57 MPs
  • Penny Mordaunt – 24 MPs

Only Mordaunt and Sunak have announced they are running. A candidate requires at least 100 votes from MPs. If over two receive 100 or more votes, the one with the fewest number of votes is eliminated from the race. Conservative MPs then vote their preference between the two, and the candidates are then sent to the conservative party members who vote online. Last time, Truss was selected with 81,326 votes (57.4 percent) in a country with a population of over 67 million.

Fed up with gun violence in Canada, much less than in the U.S., Canada is banning the sale, purchase, and transfer of all handguns within the country and cannot bring them from outside the country. The bill was introduced after 19 children were killed in Uvalde (TX) on May 24, 2022. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said:

“Canadians have the right to feel safe in their homes, in their schools, and in their places of worship.”

A government buyback for assault-style rifles is planned, and further restrictions in Bill C-21 are being debated in the House of Commons.

Those who worry about President Joe Biden running again in 2024 at the age of 81 should consider that the GOP may elect a 90-year-old man to be third in succession for the president in 2022. He could hold that position for the next six years. Chuck Grassley could become President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate, the position held by the most senior senator in the majority party. The current pro tem, 82-year-old Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), is not seeking re-election. Resurgence against Grassley

Alaskan Republicans tried to do away with ranked choice voting in the state after Democrat Mary Peltola won the special election for U.S. House. The state Supreme Court rejected their constitutional challenge.

A Miami judge dismissed one rigged arrest by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis of a man convicted in 1991 who voted in 2020 after a clerk told him he was eligible to register to vote. The other 18 voter prosecutions may meet the same fate. Videos of the arrests show police officers not understanding the offense. A state constitutional amendment restores voting rights to most people with felonies, but Republicans said that they were ineligible until they paid all fines and fees.

Texas state police Capt. Joel Betancourt is under investigation because he ordered his officers to stay out of the school over 70 minutes while 19 children were massacred on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde (TX). State trooper Sgt. Juan Maldonado, the highest ranking officer at the scene at the Uvalde (TX) massacre of 19 children, was fired because he didn’t go into the building although arriving four minutes after the shooting began. He is the third law enforcement and first state police officer to be sacked for lack of response.

The postal service plans to implement “extraordinary measures” delivering ballots for 2022, compared to those measures opposing them two years. These new measures include extra deliveries and collections, special pickups, expanded hours at processing facilities, and fast-tracking ballots to election officials through and bypassing some standard mail processing procedures. Employees are also being trained to speed ballot deliveries. A joint task force between postal unions and management oversees ballot delivery. In a lawsuit settlement last year, the agency agreed to keep these measures for federal elections until at least 2028.

GOP Georgians have challenged 65,000 voter registrations this year regarding voting eligibility, but they can no longer do this with poll workers when voters are trying to cast their votes. About 97 percent of the challenges have been dismissed.  

A North Carolina judge has denied a GOP request to temporarily use signature-matching requirements for mail-in ballots; election officials must could these ballots even if the signature doesn’t exactly match the one on the voter registration record. County election boards will have the discretion to make the determination.

Federal officials will recognize Connecticut pardons as legally valid and stop deporting those pardoned for crimes by a state board. The decision reverses a hard-line stance from DDT’s administration that changed six decades of practice by singling out Connecticut. DDT didn’t reverse the same practice in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, South Carolina, and Utah.

Same-gender spouses can qualify for a higher rate of survivor benefits requiring eight years of marriage even if they didn’t meet the mandate because of being unable to be married before the 2015 Supreme Court decision of Obergefell v. Hodges, according to the VA. The agency now begins the duration of the rights beginning with when the couple established a “marriage-type” relationships including commitment ceremonies, joint banking accounts, or joint purchase of a home. Benefits are now retroactive to October 11, 2022.  

Last week, that Elon Musk told prospective investors in his deal to buy Twitter that he planned to get rid of nearly 75 percent of the company’s 7,500 workers. https://www.reuters.com/technology/twitters-workforce-likely-be-hit-with-massive-cuts-coming-months-report-2022-10-20/      Twitter said it isn’t true, but the current management planned to trim the payroll by $800 million, one-fourth of the workforce.

The EPA plans to investigate allegations of racist federal spending in Mississippi causing the Jackson city’s water system disaster. The state is suffering from another scandal, this one when former NFL player Brett Favre and several other individuals allegedly received tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money intended for low-income families. GOP Gov. Tate Reeves has joked about his preference for whiter Hattiesburg over Jackson, 82 percent Black, while the water crisis in Jackson was dire. Leaders of two congressional committees are also starting a joint investigation into the crisis leaving most homes and businesses in Jackson without running water for several days in late August and early September.  NAACP President Derrick Johnson lives in Jackson with his family,

 Michigan opponents to an anti-abortion ballot proposal, Proposal 3, have found a new way to force child-birth on women by keeping a 1931 law: they falsely claim the measure to retain “reproductive rights” permits transgender minors can get sterilized by repealing parental consent laws.

October 19, 2022

Debates from High-profile GOP Candidates:

Debates from High-profile GOP Candidates:

In Utah, Sen. Mike Lee, being overtaken by unaffiliated Evan McMullin, desperately campaigned for a return to the U.S. Senate with nasty responses to McMullin level and factual presentation about Lee’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election in favor of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). McMullin said:

“Senator Lee, you sought to find a weakness in our system. You advised the White House, find an alternative slate of electors for Trump to overturn the will of the people. That’s what you said [about states sending alternative slates to vote for DDT] …

“You said the president should listen to legal quack Sydney Powell, ‘Please make time for her, let her in,’ you told the White House chief of staff. You told the president that you were working overtime—14 hours a day, I think you said—to unravel this for him, to keep a president who had been voted out of office according to the will of the people in power despite the will of the people. Senator Lee, it is a betrayal of the American republic. You were there to stand up for our constitution, but when the barbarians were at the gate you were happy to let them in.”

Lee answered, “I disagree with everything my opponent just said, including the words ‘but,’ ‘and,’ and ‘the.’”

Lee begged for Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) endorsement on Fox’s Tucker Carlson show, a program that regularly roasts Romney. Pundits with short memories slam Romney for no endorsement, but Lee refused to endorse Romney in 2018 and gained his first Senate term in 2010 by destroying popular GOP senator, Bob Bennett, for not being sufficient right-wing. Again desperate, Lee wrote an op-ed glorifying himself in third person “he.”  

A.B. Stoddard has an excellent piece on Lee’s need for power so great that he faithfully follows DDT after rejecting him in the beginning. 

In Ohio, J.D. Vance, another DDT endorsement, faced off with Tim Ryan for the U.S. Senate in a close battle rife with anger and lies. Ryan pointed out Vance’s praise for Alex Jones as an example of Vance’s extremism. Vance denied he said that “Alex Jones is a far more reputable source of information than Rachel Maddow,” but a screen shot of his tweet proves Ryan was right. A believer in the GOP “replacement theory” that Democrats were trying to replace all white people with minorities, Vance tried to hide behind his biracial child. His wife is Indian American. He frequently connects President Joe Biden’s southern border policies with increased fentanyl trafficking in his state, accusing Biden of trying “to kill a bunch of MAGA voters in the middle of the heartland.”

In the debate, Vance followed the DDT party line, dismissing the House investigation into the insurrection. The attack on Ryan’s voting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) came from Ryan’s statements in the first debate about DDT’s remark regarding Vance’s “kissing my ass” to get his support. Ryan said Vance should move back to San Francisco if he wants to run against Pelosi. 

Vance has joined the crazy QAnon conspiracy theory of kitty litter boxes in schools for “furries, ”the evidence-free belief about students pretending to be cats, and said he wants the school to tell him if his child “identifies as a chipmunk.” Despite multiple claims from losing GOP candidates, only one school districts keeps kitty litter in classrooms: a Colorado school keeps it in “go-to” buckets for children’s use during school shootings.

In another evidence-free claim, Vance said that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “don’t say gay” law is to ban “sexually explicit material that propagandizes and encourages children to take different identities and to engage in sexually explicit acts.” The law highly restricts any discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity.  

More about Vance.  

In Georgia, DDT-endorsed Herschel Walker for U.S. Senate survived one debate telling his lies, including holding up a child’s “Junior Ranger Badge” for law enforcement in violation of debate rules he had signed. He skipped the debate at the Atlanta Press Club. His opponent, Sen. Raphael Warnock, used the extra time to describe Walker’s domestic violence and lies. A former state senator and GOP chair said people took “comfort” about Walker’s “ability to stand up … and look like he’s fundamentally in charge of … himself.”

Immediately after the announcement of the first abortion, a prayer circle hosted by First Baptist Church Pastor Anthony George called for Walker’s divinely anointment. About pointing a gun at his wife’s head and threatening to kill her, he claims to be redeemed. In far-right Christian evangelical lexicon, Walker paid to have his own child murdered, but they abandoned  the teachings of Jesus to control the U.S. Senate. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) called Warnock, a pastor, an “abomination.” 

A third candidate, Libertarian Chase Oliver, participated in the debate. A gay man, Oliver attacked Walker’s anti-LGBTQ stance. If no one receives at least 50 percent of the vote on November 8, a run-off on December 6 between the top two will determine the winner. Republicans moved up the timing since the last Senate election as well as eliminating any new voter registrations between Midterms and the run-off, trying to avoid their problems in 2021 when they lost two Senate seats.

In the past two weeks, Walker admitted he lied about not knowing the ex-girlfriend, mother of one of his illegitimate children, and paying her; denied he urged her to get another abortion two years after the first one; and uses his book, published two years before the ex-girlfriend’s first abortion, to excuse himself because he was saved “by the grace of god.” Walker claimed abortion kills babies but there “was nothing to be ashamed of” if the claims are true.

Perhaps trying to divert the media from the abortions’ stories, Walker claimed his grandmother was “full-blood Cherokee” and his mother “part Native American, a big part.” Walker’s mother said she couldn’t confirm his claims,” and the Cherokee Nation, which keeps excellent records, has no evidence of Walker’s claim. When Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) claimed to have Native American ancestry, she was ridiculed for years; Walker’s lie was barely a blip on the radar.

Walker is the classic deadbeat dad who he claims to hate. He’s a typical poorly-parented adolescent who lies to get out of trouble, tells really bad, pointless jokes like the one on bulls and cows, threatens to beat up or kill people, and runs away from all his responsibilities. DDT didn’t even go to Georgia to support his own candidate. Instead, surrogates Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rick Scott (R-FL) were sent, and Cotton was forced to laugh at transgender servicemembers along with Walker. Although Walker never served in the military, he claimed to do “lots of things in the military,” and his son is gay. Cotton also lied when he claimed to be “a U.S. Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Georgia’s Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said he couldn’t vote for Walker but can’t vote for Warnock. He described himself and “hundreds of thousands of other Republicans here in Georgia … confused. We don’t really have anywhere to go right now.” Mistaking Duncan for a TV pundit, Walker disparaged his statements. Polls are all over the place in Georgia from a two-percent lead for Walker to a 12-percent lead for Warnock. Early voting started last Monday with big crowds.

Joe Scarborough called Walker “the perfect lab experiment on just how low Republican voters are willing to go.” According to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, DDT “wants to show that nothing matters.” The more DDT and MAGAs abolish the rules, the less the rules count.

More about Walker.

Also in Georgia, a debate between Gov. Brian Kemp and Democrat opponent Stacey Abrams in the gubernatorial election drew much less notice, likely because of no buffoon for the policy-based event. and the hour-long event was policy-based. Four years ago, Kemp was able to purge voter rolls and otherwise control the election while he was Secretary of State; this year, he commands the field as an incumbent who has not destroyed the state and can still control some campaign financing to benefit himself.

Abrams presented a list of Georgia’s problems—spiking crime, rising home prices, and Chinese government’s purchase of the state’s farmland. Kemp attacked her on a position of “defund the police,” touting his endorsements, but she pointed out that endorsements are typically related to long-entrenched power in the state. His answer to any question was that Georgia reopened the state’s businesses and schools earlier than any other state in 2020, including those about racial disparities, local economy, expanding Medicaid, and budget surplus.

Kemp also signed a law permitting anyone in Georgia to carry a firearm without a license after the mass shootings in 2021. He claimed he wouldn’t seek any further restrictions in laws or contraception although he secretly expressed an openness to these changes. Georgia already blocks abortions after six weeks before many women are unaware of a pregnancy. Caught on audio, he claimed he was just humoring his audience. He does want a law stopping “divisive concepts” and a “parent’s bill of rights”—meaning white nationalist curriculum and only conservative parents’ “rights.”

In a Wisconsin debate, an audience laughed at Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) when he whined about being “set up” by the FBI to explain why he had to be warned that the Kremlin tried to make him a “Russian asset.” He claimed that the FBI used “a corrupt briefing and then leaked that to smear me.” Johnson blamed the laughter on college students who might have sneaked into the debate because they are “taught leftist propaganda” and called the January 6 insurrection “peaceful” by “people … that truly respect law enforcement [who] would never do anything to break the law.”  

Johnson is paying a law firm connected to a January 6 probe into overturning the 2020 election. The campaign listed expenses as “recount,” indicating he may be getting ready for a loss in three weeks. Johnson also received donations from a DDT attorney accused in the state’s fake elector effort. Asked the usual question to say something positive about his opponent, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Johnson said he wanted to know why “he turned against America.” Johnson was booed.

Other Johnson policies: retirees should go back to work, Social Security and Medicare will disappear if they aren’t voted in every year, and he doesn’t know if he will accept defeat. Johnson is also open to the conspiracy theory that COVID vaccines cause AIDS and wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Plus more.

October 5, 2022

Herschel Walker Hits the Bottom of DDT’s Candidates

The classic candidate of the week is Georgia’s U.S. Senate GOP candidate, Herschel Walker. Inarticulate and ignorant, his biggest problem is his lying—and the inability to pull it off. The biggest one thus far is this October bombshell, trying to cover for urging his girlfriend to have an abortion in 2009 and then paying for it. That from the man who pretends to be completely “pro-life,” no exceptions for abortions even in the case of rape or incest. And the ex-girlfriend comes with receipts: the charge for the abortion, the check from Walker, and the sweet “Get Well” card that he sent her. Walker’s abortion for a girlfriend has been well-known for months in Georgia and among Republicans, but that could have been another abortion. His own team didn’t deny it. Everyone evidently hoped that nothing would appear about this scandal for another five weeks, after the Midterms.

After The Daily Beast released the story, Walker’s early insistence to sue the website for defamation ceased within a day because he would have to back up his denial in court or appear to be bluffing Court appearances would also mean depositionsmwhere he would be forced to tell the truth under oath. Instead, an adviser recommended he downplay the story. He hasn’t succeeded; it’s gone viral, including interviews with Sean Hannity and Brian Kilmeade on the Fox network.

Walker’s defiant denial caused the ex-girlfriend to tell media that she is also raising one of his children. She responded to his claim that he didn’t know who the woman is:

“Sure, I was stunned, but I guess it also doesn’t shock me, that maybe there are just so many of us that he truly doesn’t remember. But then again, if he really forgot about it, that says something, too.”

She explained he isn’t the Christian he claims to be:

“I don’t think there’s anywhere in the Bible where it says ‘have four kids with four different women while you’re with another woman.’ Or where it praises not being a present parent. Or that an abortion is an OK thing to do when it’s not the right time for you, but a terrible thing for anyone else to do when you are running for Senate. He picks and chooses where it’s convenient for him to use that religious crutch.”

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) talked Walker into moving from Texas to Georgia so he would defeat incumbent Pastor Raphael Warnock, and then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) fell into line behind DDT and Walker along with GOP donors and primary voters.

Walker now says that if people in Georgia don’t vote for him, they won’t “be redeemed.” About Warnock, Walker said, “He’s a minister and he doesn’t even believe in redemption.” Warnock is senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church until his assassination. Walker’s latest ad doesn’t deny the abortion story but claims he has “overcome” his mental illness thanks to God. Fox interviewed Newt Gingrich with the headline, “Warnock is running the most vicious and dishonest campaign in Georgia.”

A few of Walker’s scandals and personal flaws Christians must accept to be “redeemed,” in Walker’s definition:

His own campaign team calls him a pathological liar, spouting falsehoods “like he’s breathing.” Like his having served in law enforcement (he didn’t), he has great business experience (he doesn’t), and he gave money to charity (another he didn’t). In another lie, he said he graduated from the University of Georgia in the top 1 percent.     

Walker’s latest lie is that he oversaw “six hospitals around the United States.”

He even lies about his lies, saying he never said them.

His campaign also questions his mental fitness. His wife said Walker allegedly put a gun to her head, and he doesn’t deny it but says his violent behavior came from his mental illness.

Walker said he almost shot and killed another man out of road rage for “messing up my schedule” until he saw a bumper sticker stating, “Honk if you love Jesus.”

During the campaign, Walker had to admit he had three illegitimate children not previously revealed to the public. No one knows how many more he has, and he has no answer for accusations that he fathered children he doesn’t know. He laments about the huge “fatherless problem” in the Black community while saying he’s a good dad.

Although he has one son attracted to men, he wants to stop all same-gender marriages. Trans youth cannot get into heaven because Jesus won’t recognize them, according to Walker.

Walker makes multiple nonsensical statements—when his handlers allow him to speak publicly. Take for example, his complaint about $1.5 billion in the $369 billion Inflation Reduction Act for forestry management, some of it likely to prevent wildfires: “Don’t we have enough trees around here?” That was before he lied about people making under $200,000 paying for the trees. Taxation in the IRA is only on income above $400,000. Even DDT announced the U.S. would join an international effort to plant and restore a trillion trees by 2050.

Asked about stopping mass shootings at schools, he replied, “You know, they talk about doing a disinformation, what about getting a department that could look at young men that’s looking at women that looking at social media.”

His solution for the closure of a large hospital in Atlanta? “So I think what people need to do first is talk to Wellstar, and see what the problem is, then try to solve that problem.”

Walker’s ignorance of science: When U.S. “good air … decides to float over to China,” it’s replaced by China’s “bad air [and] we got to clean that back up.” He also found a “dry mist” that “will kill any covid on your body.” And the existence of apes that have not turned into humans disproves Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

He also has trouble with events during his own time, referring to 9/11 on its 21st anniversary as “uh, on the war with a country that didn’t believe in us.” Fifteen of the 19 men who attacked were from Saudi Arabia.

Reportedly worth over $30 million, he’s made hundreds of thousands of dollars giving speeches while being a candidate, taking money even from non-profits like a Boys & Girls Club in Georgia. Hillary Clinton was lambasted for paid speeches when she was neither in office nor campaigning.

One truth: he was a star football player, but being senator may require other skills.

With half a million followers on Instagram, Walker’s son, Christian Walker, expressed his outrage: 

“Family values, people? He has four kids, four different women, wasn’t in the house raising one of them. I was silent after lie after lie after lie … We were told at the beginning of this he was going to get ahead of his past, hold himself accountable. That would have been fine, go ahead. He didn’t do any of that.”

In another posting, Christian wrote: 

“I know my mom and I would really appreciate if my father Herschel Walker stopped lying and making a mockery of us. You’re not a ‘family man’ when you left us to bang a bunch of women, threatened to kill us, and had us move over 6 times in 6 months running from your violence.”

Desperate to win Georgia, Republicans are attacking the media for smearing a GOP candidate, specifically Walker. RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel accused the publicity as a distraction “from Warnock’s record of failure resulting in rising costs and out of control crime.” Other Republicans advised humility might be better, pushing the story that a celebrity doesn’t always “understand the microscope that accompanies the decision… They are going to try to say anything to rip you apart.” (In this case, that means the truth about the quality of the candidate, which McConnell has already suggested is not necessarily good.) American Conservative Union president Matt Schlapp recommended that he say that candidates don’t think mistakes are anyone’s business, “tell them to flip off, and just stay on message.” Listening to Walker, however, his “message” comes out as gibberish.

The evangelical Christian perspective comes from Ralph Reed, the first executive director of the Christian Coalition during the early 1990s, when he said that the issue is “unlikely to resonate with voters in Georgia. It’s based on an anonymous allegation that is 13 years old.” He immediately attacked Warnock’s record and the senator’s votes with President Joe Biden—like helping people. Conservative columnist Matt Lewis wrote:

“Values don’t matter [to evangelicals]. Pay for abortions. It doesn’t matter what you do. Character doesn’t count. Family values are for suckers.”

It’s hard to believe that this revelation would discourage people from voting for Walker, but the polls have changed from extremely close to a 12-point difference among likely voters, 50 percent to 38 percent by Survey USA with most of the polling completed before the first story about the abortion broke. Men were fairly equally split, but women favored Warnock by a margin of 29 points.

Walker bears a strong similarity to DDT—lying, sex, ignorance, meaningless statements, and complete incompetence for a job in government. DDT’s choice for U.S. senator in Georgia still has time to sink farther before early voting begins on October 17.

Early voting starts in eight more states in the next: October 9 – Maine; October 10 – California; October 11 – Montana, Nebraska, and New Mexico; and October 12 – Arizona, Indiana, and Ohio.

August 21, 2022

Whither GOP Abortion Bans

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 11:07 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Last spring, a leaked draft of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and denying women their reproductive rights spread like wildfire throughout the world. Republicans started to panic because its potential affect on the 2022 midterms but hoped that the new would be as disastrous as it sounded. On June 24, the high court, with the support of six Supremes, released the decision, and the draft, filled with irrational arguments, was official with almost no changes. GOP legislators kept hoping the result wouldn’t be as bad as they feared, but the fallout has been worse than they might have feared.

The polls showed a majority rejected the Supreme Court decision, and the first state initiative supporting Roe, this one in highly-GOP Kansas, followed the strong support for abortion rights on the same day as the August 2 primary with 59 percent voting for rights, despite the lies of the anti-abortionist activists to confuse the vote. With no evidence, anti-abortionists refused to accept the vote: nine of the 105 Kansas counties insisted on a recount of the votes. In eight of these countries, 32 votes were changed in the 543,855 votes supporting abortion rights. Thirteen fewer votes favored tighter abortion restrictions, and 19 fewer votes favored the retention of current rights. One county didn’t meet the August 20 deadline at 5:00 pm.   

Kansas was the first loss after the Roe overturning for anti-abortionists who planned to use ballot measures for their movement, a strategy that they have run since the Roe decision in 1973. In over 50 years, 85 percent of abortion-related measures on state ballots have been proposed by anti-abortion groups. Voters approved only one-fourth of them while accepting 57 percent of abortion rights ballot initiatives, all before 1992. Kentucky, Michigan, California, Vermont, and Montana have abortion rights initiatives on the November ballot. A history of abortion initiatives by year.

While 14 states partially or completely banned telemedicine abortion, used in 54 percent of all abortions, Massachusetts’ new law protects telemedicine abortion providers serving patients in states banning abortions by mailing medication and giving telemedicine abortion care.  Massachusetts providers proving legal abortion care cannot be extradited to another state where the practice is illegal. The law prevents anyone from providing information or help to law enforcement or private citizens against the providers, and they can countersue if they are prosecuted in criminal or civil lawsuits. Their licenses are protected and their malpractice insurance is kept within reach for those who face out-of-state civil lawsuits while providing lawful abortion care in Massachusetts. With no requirement of parental consent, minors ages 16 and 17 can receive care. Other required benefits for these Massachusetts legal abortion providers.

In Nebraska, a 17-year-old girl was criminally charged for an abortion of a fetus over 20 weeks. She will be tried as an adult, and her mother has also been charged. Officials discovered the abortion by investigating the girl’s Facebook messages.

Michigan has been struggling over a 1931 ban on abortion. A state judge finally blocked county prosecutors from enforcing the 91-year-old law after the state Court of Appeals claimed that these prosecutors could enforce the prohibition. Although Republicans previously claimed that doctors and pregnant people getting abortions wouldn’t be charged, the law states both these categories of people, including those using medication for abortions, could be guilty of felonies. An exception to “preserve the life” of the mother is vague. Like other states with GOP legislatures, Michigan didn’t repeal the law after the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973.

Idaho Republicans took only seven days to pass the trigger law banning abortion in 2020. Public testimony wanted the law more restrictive by removing exceptions for rape and incest. With no medical professionals in the discussion, situations such as ectopic pregnancies or other medical problems weren’t even mentioned. Abortions are blocked after six weeks of pregnancy, before women know they are pregnant. Convicted doctors facilitating an abortion after that time face two to five years in prison.

The law needed a federal appeals court to deem a similar law constitutional, which occurred in July. The state Supreme Court refused to temporarily stop these laws during legal challenges; it takes effect on August 25 unless a federal judge intervenes in a fourth lawsuit. Technically the law went into effect on August 12 when the law permitting relatives of an embryo or fetus aborted after six weeks, including the family of a rapist, to sue the doctor in civil court for a minimum of $20,000 for a fetus aborted after six weeks.

A DOJ lawsuit to block the Idaho law asserts it violates a federal law requiring Medicaid-funded hospitals to provide “stabilizing treatment” to patients experiencing medical emergencies. Seventeen states oppose the DOJ case, stating that hospitals can just turn down federal funding.

Twenty states side with the DOJ and claim that their own residents would be at risk for a medical emergency while pregnant and in Idaho. Neighboring states such as Oregon and Washington expressed concern about the “spillover effect” if Idaho patients with ectopic pregnancies or other emergencies are forced to seek out-of-state care. Coalitions of major medical associations, including the American College of Emergency Physicians  and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, also filed briefs in the case because Idaho’s law is too vague and difficult to medically interpret. It would also force health care providers to choose between violating state law and being charged with a crime or violating federal law and facing fines and the loss of federal funding.

People who live in red states with abortion bans can expect even greater problems with such issues as corporations boycotting the state, medical schools failing to recruit, communities unable to enlist doctors including obstetricians and gynecologists. Indiana immediately began to experience this difficulty when pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, one of the state’s biggest employers, said the company would look elsewhere for expansion. Republican legislators in the state are so radical that 35 of them are comfortable with a woman being forced to carry a dead fetus to full term.

In Indiana, 27 percent of the counties are considered maternity care deserts with limited or no access to maternal care, and the state has one of the nation’s highest maternal mortality rates, 52 deaths per 100,000 births—twice the U.S. average. In a recent survey of almost 1,400 residents and fellows at the IU School of the medicine, 80 percent said they are less likely to remain in the state after the abortion ban. Indiana is the home of Dr. Caitlin Bernard, the doctor persecuted by the state’s AG for performing a legal abortion on a ten-year-old girl.

Doctors who have a family practice worry not only about the abortion ban but also potential restrictions on fertility treatment and contraception such as IUDs and Plan B medication. Most Indiana Republicans voted against a measure protecting the right to contraception.

The abortion ban is leaching over into the false belief of “personhood” from fertilization. The myth of an early heartbeat is actually the sound manufactured by the ultrasound machine, an electrical pulse. The heart does not exist as any kind of structure until ten weeks when an embryo becomes a fetus, and the term “heartbeat” is not accurate until 17 to 20 weeks. At six weeks, the embryo develops a tube generating sporadic electrical impulses, according to Dr. Ian Fraser Golding, a pediatric and fetal cardiologist at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego.

Even so, Georgia’s anti-abortion law gives $3,000 state income tax exemption for “any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat” (aka the ultrasound machine). At that point, the embryo “shall qualify as a dependent minor,” according to Georgia law.

Wisconsin anti-abortion law goes back to 1849, predating Michigan’s law by 82 years. The arguments within the GOP, however, demonstrate the party’s struggle to agree. The GOP Assembly speaker Robin Vos, running for another term despite the attempts of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) to vote him out of the primary, wants to reinforce the exception for a woman’s life and adding other exceptions such as rape and incest. Others want to make the law as restrictive as possible. Nine states currently have laws banning abortion from conception, with three more to take effect on August 25.

The red states moving to restrict or ban abortion are the most likely to provide the least care for pregnant women and the children they deliver.

  • Worst maternal and child health outcomes.
  • More difficulty in getting health insurance.
  • Refusal to expand Medicaid.
  • More child poverty.
  • More babies born with low birth weight, indicating serious health problems.
  • Highest infant and maternal mortality rates.
  • Less access to care for pregnant women.
  • Less financial support for families and children.

At this time, 40 percent of single mothers and their children live in poverty.

Despite all the laws, only 16 percent of Republicans say abortion generally should be “illegal in all cases.” Most Republicans said their state should generally allow a pregnant person to obtain a legal abortion if the child would be born with a life-threatening illness (61 percent), the person became pregnant as the result of rape or incest (77 percent) or if the pregnant person’s health is seriously endangered (85 percent). The GOP based insists on total abortion bans; others consider extenuating circumstances.

August 20, 2022

Persecution: The Favorite GOP Strategy

[Drought Update]: Yesterday’s blog post on climate disasters focused primarily on the U.S., but other areas face more calamities. In Europe, one of the worst droughts on record uncovered sunken German warships in the Serbian section of the Danube River, part of a Nazi Black Sea fleet sunk in 1944 while fleeing Soviet troops. Loaded with unexploded ordnance, the ships are a threat to fishing and shipping vessels squeezing by in half the 110-yard stretch of the river. Removal of the over 20 ships and their explosive loads will cost $30 million.

In July, a Roman bridge built during the first century BC was uncovered in the Tiber River, and in August, a village flooded in 1963 to build a dam appeared in the Belesar reservoir in Spain. Other submerged towns and villages in Spain surfaced in February with intact house windows and walls. Almost half of EU is under “warning,” connoting a severe drought and major moisture deficit and threatening shipping routes, food supply, and electricity. The heat wave leaves the Iberian peninsula drier than any time in the past 1,200 years and revealed stones from 5000 BC known as the Dolmen of Guadalperal, the “Spanish Stonehenge.”

The U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t quit its rulings during the summer, this one even in favor of Georgia’s Black voters. Lower courts conflicted in their decisions regarding elections for members of the state’s public service commission. They represent specific districts but are elected in a statewide race, diluting the Black vote, according to one judge. The judge, appointed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) ordered a November election be postponed for two commissioners’ seats so that the state legislature could create a new system. Another judge had allowed the election to proceed although he found the election violated the Voting Rights Act.

The 11th Circuit Court halted the ruling and cited the “Purcell principle,” disallowing changes in elections immediately before an election. The Supreme Court overturned the appeals’ court decision in its finding that the current public service commission election system discriminates against Black voters. The issue isn’t settled yet because the circuit court can continue deliberating about overturning the postponement. Another commission candidate had been refused for not meeting the district’s one-year residency requirement, but a Fulton County judge reinstated her because she had been targeted for exclusion during redistricting based on her residency. Text messages showed that a revision of a new map came after the Republican commissioner responsible for drawing the maps had been sent the candidate’s address.

In another Georgia decision, a judge refused to block the provision in the state’s new voter suppression law banning people giving food and water to voters who may have to wait in line as long as ten hours—if they are low-income and/or minorities. He said he didn’t want to change the process from the primaries.

After undated Pennsylvania ballots have collected dust for over three months since the May primary election, a judge ordered three counties to include them in their certified results for the primary election. Mail-in ballots in the state require a date on the declaration on the return envelope. That ruling can allow hundreds or even thousands of additional votes in future elections. The judge ordered the certified totals by August 24.

Two counties are considering an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and the third one won’t comment. The Department of State pushed the counting of votes, and 64 of the 67 counties did so. Some elections in the three non-compliant counties crossed county lines, leaving the department with either certifying results counted differently across counties or unofficially forcing uniformity. It sued the three counties on July 11.

Earlier this month, it was discovered that a fourth county’s results were certified although it, too, had refused to count undated ballots. Dated ballots were first required in 2020. A federal judge has ruled that rejecting undated mail ballots in last November’s election was a technicality, violating federal civil rights law. The ruling ordered counties to report results both with and without the undated ballots until the case was decided. The state Supreme Court must take an appeal and take action, and the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet decided whether to take the federal case.

In Utah, a state judge gave transgender girls the opportunity to participate in female sports if they pass the scrutiny of a state commission of political appointees. The panel of health professionals and athletic officials will evaluate the child’s height and weight in determining whether a transgender girl would have an unfair advantage. At least 12 states passed laws preventing transgender women or girls from sports, and three more states are in the process of following the discriminatory legislature. In his ruling, the judge said that the families of three transgender student-athletes filing the lawsuits showed they suffered significant distress by “singling them out for unfavorable treatment as transgender girls.” The plaintiffs claim the law violates the Utah Constitution’s guarantees of equal rights and due process.

This week the Utah High School Activities Association revealed it secretly investigated a female athlete as transgender without her or her families knowledge because of complaints from parents of two girls she defeated. The probe into her school records back to kindergarten showed her to be “female.” Association spokesperson David Spatafore claimed the process was hidden to spare the girl and her family embarrassment and “to keep the matter private.”

Gov. Spencer Cox accused the complaint and ensuing investigation of crossing a line. At his monthly news conference, he said:

“My goodness, we’re living in this world where we’ve become sore losers, and we’re looking for any reason why our kid lost.”

Cox added that he was disturbed about “making up allegations.” When he vetoed the law barring transgender girls in sport before it went into effect, he explained his disgust

‘Four kids and only one of them playing girls sports. That’s what all of this is about… “Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few.”

Cox also said that his decision to veto the bill could hurt him politically, but he “tried to do what I feel is the right thing regardless of the consequences.” Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed a similar bill in Indiana for fear of business boycotts in the state.

In Florida, an anti-LGBTQ activist in Moms for Liberty wants all LGBTQ students separated in different classes from straight and cisgender students like those with autism and Down Syndrome. The group also attacked the Trevor Project for trying to prevent LGBTQ teen suicide, called two girls briefly kissing at a school function is “lewd” and “traumatic,” and offered bounties for people turning in teachers who discuss “divisive topics.”

Doctors used to be respected for their medical knowledge; now Republicans want to make them felons. First was the proposal to send medical professionals to prison for performing abortions—even ones necessary to save the lives of the pregnant woman or girl. Now Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has introduced a bill making it a felony to provide over a dozen medical interventions and procedures used to treat gender dysphoria—any gender-affirming medical care including puberty blockers and hormones to transgender youth under 18. The measure would block federal funds for gender-affirming health care, including in Affordable Healthcare Act plans, and bar colleges and universities from offering instruction on gender-affirming care. Greene even found 14 GOP House members to co-sponsor her bill: Mary Miller (IL), Jeff Duncan (SC), Bob Good (VA), Ralph Norman (SC), Matt Gaetz (FL), Tony Gonzales (TX), Diana Harshbarger (TN), Clay Higgins (LA), Burgess Owens (UT), Claudia Tenney (NY), Andrew Clyde (GA), Lance Gooden (TX), Lauren Boebert (CO), and Paul Gosar (AZ). She describes “gender-affirming care” as “child abuse” and “assault.” Violators of her law would face 10 to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. 

Alabama already has a similar law, passed earlier this year, but a federal judge blocked its enforcement, ruling that the state hasn’t provided any credible evidence that this health care is “experimental.”

Greene also wants everyone armed so they can shoot transgender people and drag queens. She tweeted that unlimited gun ownership “will be a tool to disarm any gun owner that wants to stop abortion, the trans agenda on kids, mass illegal migration, & big government oppression suffocating our families, faith & freedoms.” She maintains that without guns, these haters will be persecuted by the media. She concluded by saying “every single Republican must wake up and face this frightening reality” where people who make threats against trans people and drag queens might lose their guns.

The next prosecuted category could be witches, now that the last Salem witch has been exonerated, thanks to an eighth-grade class in Andover (MA). Elizabeth Johnson, 22, was judged guilty but not executed, which eliminated her from exoneration when the state legislature exonerated all those put to death in the trials—in 2001. After an intense lobbying campaign by eighth-grade students, legislation has pardoned the last wrongly convicted Salem witch, but other states may go in a different direction. Perhaps students could also start work on other persecuted categories—like LGBTQ people and pregnant women.

August 15, 2022

Primaries – August 13, 2022 + It’s a Weird Time

Hawaii held their primary elections last Saturday, and almost no one noticed, perhaps because of the shortage of scandals. Tulsi Gabbard is off substituting for Tucker Carlson on Fox, taking her vitriol there, and no one left in the state seems to be vicious. Gabbard was elected four times from 2013 to 2019 as a Democrat, but she increasingly supported GOP policies, even speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference summit last spring.

The last time Hawaiians elected a Republican to federal or statewide office was 2010, and general elections haven’t been competitive since 2014. In November Democrats have a 99 percent chance to win the U.S. Senate seat, governor, and both U.S. House positions. Jill Tokuda, a close ally of progressive Sen. Mazie Hirono, took the Democratic candidacy for Kahele’s House seat with over 57 percent. Incumbents won the Democratic candidacies for the other two congressional elections, Ed Case for the House and Blue Dog Brian Schatz for Senate.

Tuesday has two more primaries on August 16—Alaska and Wyoming where Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) face fierce opposition from Deposed Donald Trump (R-WY).

What’s being ignored during tantrums from Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) regarding the removal of documents he illegally took to Mar-a-Lago:

A new study has mapped the “extreme heat belt” by 2053 where the heat index can reach 125°F at least one day a year. Part of the belt is a three-state swath from Texas to Alabama through Iowa and Illinois into southern Wisconsin. Other parts go north from Florida to southern Pennsylvania, primarily along the coasts and southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico. The interactive map is here. The number of people suffering in this belt will rise to 107 million by 2053, but many coastal areas will have the 125°F by 2030. The states most likely to see the greatest growth in dangerous days are Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Florida with the greatest changes primarily in Florida. Many places currently with heat indices above 100°F for over 20 straight days may have 74 consecutive days by 2053.

Oil prices in the U.S. are falling while China economy is weakening as Saudi Aramco stated it will increase oil input. China’s central bank cut a key interest rate to boost growth. U.S. gas prices have dropped for 30 straight days.

DDT’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani no longer plans to stall his appearance before a Fulton County (GA) grand jury concerning the DDT administration interference in the 2020 presidential election. As a “target,” open to possible criminal charges, he plans to show up and refuse to testify, citing attorney-client privilege. A judge also denied Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) request to dismiss his subpoena in the state prosecutor’s investigation and requires him to testify as a material witness. Graham plans to appeal with the claim that he is a high-ranking government official although his inappropriate questions to the state Secretary of Staff and his staff were not related to his position. Graham’s office asserts cited the Constitution’s speech or debate clause “prevents a local official from questioning a Senator about how that Senator did his job.”

Georgia is one of at least three states in which lawyers tied to DDT directed computer experts to copy sensitive data from elections systems in accessing voter equipment. The forensic firm performing the task charged an upfront retainer fee for each job, in one case $26,000. The other identified states are Michigan and Nevada. A Colorado county clerk, Tina Peters, was indicted on charges connected to an alleged breach of the voting system and leaking sensitive data online. Tightly regulated, voting systems are classified as “critical infrastructure” vital to national security. Officials took the machines out of service in many cases because the chains of custody were disrupted. DDT insiders also sent protesters to Washington, lobbied Congress to reject electoral votes, push former VP Mike Pence to block the voting process.  A WaPo report describes specific illegal activities in these attempts.

The DOJ grand jury has subpoenaed Eric Herschmann, DDT’s former White House legal adviser for documents and testimony. He represented DDT in his first impeachment trial but opposed DDT in his fight against the election results. Present at many important meetings, including the one where most of the DOJ top officials threatened to resign if DDT appointed Jeffrey Clark as AG, who pushed false voter fraud claims, Herschmann also opposed Powell’s and Michael Flynn’s requests for the military to seize voting machines. Testimony by Herschmann, included in public hearings, was quite colorful such as calling Clark’s proposal “nuts” and telling John Eastman, who pushed refusal of the electoral votes, to “get a great F-ing criminal defense lawyer.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has won the contest—for the most hateful tweets since Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. Also on the top ten are Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-TX) and Christina Pushaw, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis former press secretary who has now joined his gubernatorial campaign. Greene’s tweets about the false “grooming” narrative reached almost 18 million viewers.

The far-right is now attacking school counselors, threatening them for “spreading hate and race-baiting” with accusations from Twitter accounts from such organizations as Courage Is a Habit. Fox’s Tucker Carlson also made the evidence-free claim to his TV audience that school shooters are “numbed by the endless psychotropic drugs that are handed out at every school in the country by crackpots posing as counselors.” In addition to helping students with goals for their future, counselors oppose bullying, combat discrimination, teach organizational skills, and support students understanding their sexuality or gender identity.

School nurses are other villains, according to conservatives. Parents confuse the approximately 2,500 health care centers at schools, operating under the local health department, which are completely separate from the school nurses. Parents or guardians must sign a consent form for students to be treated at these health centers, and they don’t provide hormonal therapy, as conservatives accuse them of doing.  

Parents’ opposition to schools began with mask mandates at the beginning of the pandemic and then increased to Republican myths about schools’ teaching systemic racism with demands to stop teaching history. For example, a special education teacher at an Escambia County (FL) public school quit after a staff employee told him to remove a display exhibiting “age inappropriate” racist behavior with photos of Black heroes like Martin Luther King Jr., Harriett Tubman, George Washington Carver, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former President Obama. In a predominantly Black part of the county, the majority of his former students are Black.

Parental discrimination moved on to the LGBTQ school community. A DDT-appointed judge in Tennessee banned two federal agencies from enforcing federal directives in 20 states providing protection for LGBTQ people in schools and workplaces. In 2020, a Supreme Court opinion, Bostock v. Clayton County, ruled 6-3 that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in the workplace.

Some January 6 insurrectionists are promoting businesses, boosting social media profiles, and raising cash from their experiences through selling books, clothing, and even a rap album. Their plans lead prosecutors to ask for tougher punishments, and the DOJ is thinking about taking the money. Federal authorities have seized over $62,000 from a Utah defendant who sold his January 6 footage for $90,000. The man who propped his feet on the desk of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) is selling photos for $100. Anti-vaxxer Dr. Simone Gold raised over $430,000 for her legal expenses from a nonprofit, but she didn’t tell the donors she had already pled guilty to illegally entering the Capitol. A rioter sentenced to three weeks in jail for entering the Capitol and watching insurrectionists beat up on the police helped his father sell clothing with “Back the Blue.”

A Kentucky judge using a lawyer for political purposes to support his reelection campaign accused the state Judicial Conduct Commission of being used for political purposes. In Kentucky’s southwestern Christian County, the county judge, suspended with pay, declared he will “stay the course.”

Almost a month ago, DDT buried his first wife, Ivana, at the first hole at his Bedminster (NJ) golf course, the first one there and requiring consecration of the property for a traditional Catholic burial. (Seventeen wives still have room.) Researchers debunked the idea that it was done for a tax break by saying the cemetery taxes waived only 5,700 square feet of land. One assumption is that DDT did it because he loves northern New Jersey. He’s also interested in burials. In 2007, he got permits for a windowless wedding chapel at the club to be converted into a mausoleum for himself and his families. Later, he planned a cemetery holding over 1,000 graves which morphed into two cemeteries, one selling 284 plots to the public and the other for ten plots next to the first tee from himself and his family.

DDT already gets massive tax breaks at the club, $88,000 annually, with keeping eight goats and raising hay on 113 acres of the property. New Jersey cemeteries avoid taxes, rates, assessments, and personal property taxes as well as business taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, and inheritance taxes. In 2016, the Trump Family Trust has tried to designate a property in Hackettstown (NJ), 20 miles from Bedminster, as a nonprofit company, but it won’t save them money. DDT annually pays $16.35 in taxes on the property, designated as a farm, that he bought for $461,000.

Richard Nixon did a better job honoring his dog, Checkers.

August 12, 2022

Bad to Worse News for DDT

Huge news today—much beyond anything having to do with Deposed Donald Trump (DDT).

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed the House on its way to President Joe Biden’s desk in what Al Gore called a “critical turning point” with the first-ever climate legislation. The package had a completely partisan vote: no Republicans voted for the bill that covered not only a delay to climate change but also lowered costs for seniors’ prescriptions—for which GOP congressional members will undoubtedly take responsibility.

The 220-207 vote concluded an 18-month-long debate after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WY) got enough rewards to support the bill. Like their position on the Affordable Care Act over a decade ago, Republicans promised to roll back the IRA “when” they take over Congress this fall. The new law will make a popular Democratic campaign issue for the next three months; climate-related spending should reduce emissions by 40 percent by the end of the decade. As always, the Republicans lied about the effect of the law.

A major falsehood came from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) tweet that “Democrats’ new army of 87,000 IRS agents will be coming … with 710,000 new audits for Americans who earn less than $75k.” First, the new law doesn’t hire those new agents, and second, the audits will be for those people making over $400,000. The IRS will fund the hiring of 7,000 to 12,000 people added annually to conduct audits, improve informational technology, and enhance customer service. The IRS is down to 82,000 employees from 90,000 in 2012, and about 50,000 of the staff is eligible for retirement in the next five years.  The IRS also lost 40 percent of staff specializing in complex tax audits, down to the level during World War II.

Eighty percent of audits of individuals are written requests for additional information. If the audits do increase by 710,000, that will be 0.06 percent of the population making under $75,000. Higher-income taxpayers will have the greatest increase of audits. Audit rates for that category have dramatically declined: audits for those making over $10 billion in income dropped from 21 percent in 2010 to 3.9 percent by 2019 while lower-income people, identified by those filing the earned income tax credit, are now higher than average, more than half directed toward taxpayers making under $75,000. The Washington Post gave McCarthy Three Pinocchios for his lies.  

Other lies show how crazy Republicans are in trying to smear Democrats:

Sen. Ted Cruz’s all-caps, blood-red graphic highlights the lie that “Biden is building a shadow army of 87,000 new IRS agents to hunt you down and take your money.” As we discussed yesterday, this was as factually wrong as it was unsubtle.

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel tweeted, “How long until Democrats send the IRS ‘SWAT team’ after your kids’ lemonade stand?”

Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) want to impeach AG Merrick Garland.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the 88-year-old running for another six-year term, said on Fox, “Are they going to have a strike force that goes in with AK-15s [sic] already loaded, all ready to shoot some small-business person in Iowa with these?”

Medicare advantages start to begin almost immediately. Mandatory rebates for higher-than-inflation drug price hikes start in October and grow over the next few years. Vaccine cost-sharing will be eliminated in 2023, and catastrophic coverage co-insurance ends in 2024 as does the beginning of expanded eligibility for Part D subsidies and limits on premiums growth begin in 2024. The $2,000 out-of-pocket drug cap goes into force in 2025. Medicare must negotiate the price of 10 certain high-cost drugs in 2026, a number rising to 15 drugs in 2027 and 20 by 2029.

Republicans are wrong in their claim that the pharmaceutical industry will no longer be able to do research and development for new medications. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that new drugs introduced over 30 years will drop by 15, only one percent. Eighty-three percent of all adults “strongly” or “somewhat” favor government price negotiation with drug companies, including 84 percent of adults 65 and older. An equal 83 percent agreed that the cost of prescription drugs is “unreasonable.” After two decades of the GOP blocking this negotiation when George W. Bush’s Medicare D prohibited negotiation for lower drug prices, Democrats have started to knock down the wall between the pharmaceutical industry and the Medicare program.

News about DDT today has shown the new disasters DDT faces. A judge denied the request from Trump Organization to dismiss the criminal case against the business and former CFO Allen Weisselberg regarding a 15-year tax scam that incorporated conspiracy, grand larceny, tax fraud, and falsifying records. Weisselberg claimed that he was being prosecuted because of his relationship to DDT; prosecutors said he violated the law in failing to pay his taxes. In his deposition on Wednesday, DDT pled the Fifth Amendment to not incriminate himself 440 times, only answer the question asking for his name. Until now, he always claimed invoking the Fifth means guilt. 

The district attorney of Fulton County (GA) is scrutinizing DDT about his criminal interference with others in the state’s 2020 presidential election. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), also subpoenaed to appear in the same case, failed to show up for his scheduled appearance this week. He too claimed that the probe is politically motivated. After the election, Graham called Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to talk about whether some ballots had been properly verified, i.e., a way to get them tossed out so that DDT would take Georgia’s election. A judge questioned Graham’s claim that his job as a South Carolina senator was to look into Georgia’s votes.

DDT’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who tried to get the legislature to throw out Biden’s votes, also tried to avoid testifying. He claimed a medical procedure kept him from flying to Georgia, but he bought airline tickets to Rome and Zurich. A judge ordered him to show up next week whether by “train or a bus or Uber” if he can’t fly.

The biggest DDT news this week, however, was the ongoing saga of the FBI search warrant at Mar-a-Lago that discovered highly classified documents, some of them about nuclear weapons, that he illegally took from the government. The government claims the documents are restricted to only a few people; the Republicans claim “no big deal,” going so far as to say that DDT can take anything he wants and call them unclassified because they are in his possession. Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) want to impeach AG Merrick Garland. Republicans were much more incensed before revelations about the search warrant and a list of materials being sought, released by the DOJ after court permission. DDT could have released the information at the beginning of the week, but he reveled in causing more trouble.

DDT tried to worm himself out of his problems by a number of lies that rational people are not buying:

  • The FBI wouldn’t allow anyone to be present during the search. In truth, the agents notified DDT’s lawyer about the warrant and permitted her to be on location.
  • The FBI planted the documents during their search. The agents didn’t take anything into Mar-a-Lago with them, and DDT’s attorney Christina Bobb accidentally told Real America’s Voice that DDT and his family watched the entire search on a live video feed.
  • The government should have just sent a subpoena. It did last June but didn’t get all the documents requested.
  • Biden knew about the search before it happened because Trump did when he was in office, according to his son Eric. Biden wasn’t notified because he knows that the DOJ is an independent agency.
  • The judge was Obama-appointed. Nope, DDT appointed him.
  • The search is only because people are out to get him. No, DDT committed a crime–or more.
  • The government let President Obama take classified documents with him. The National Archives determined what President Obama could take. 

The search on Monday, two months after law enforcement talked to DDT’s team about government documents at Mar-a-Lago, came after an informant said he might still unlawfully have classified records in his possession. According to the Wall Street Journal, FBI agents found and took 11 sets of classified documents, some marked top secret and limited to specific government facilities. The receipt for removed items, signed by DDT’s attorney Christina Bobb, included 20 boxes, binders of photos, a handwritten note, and the grant of clemency for Roger Stone. The search warrant described an investigation into DDT for obstructing justice and violating the Espionage Act. 

DDT has a reputation for careless handling of classified materials, beginning when he gave two Russian officials in the Oval Office highly classified information during his first few months, and cozied up with foreign dictators, some of them U.S. enemies. He also insisted on using his personal cell phone where he was easily heard by foreign spies. His continued closeness with Saudi Arabia, exhibited by his hosting the controversial golf tournament at Bedminister (NJ), may have helped his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, obtain $2 billion for a new business. After the search, Russia expressed its love for DDT.

DDT’s alleged crime of removing classified materials brings an up-to-five-year sentence for a felony because of a 2018 law DDT promoted and former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) introduced to use against Hillary Clinton. Before then, the conviction wasn’t a felony. DDT has always said that it’s the little things that get you. And the suspicion of an unknown informant is driving DDT crazy.

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