Nel's New Day

June 26, 2020

DDT Uses COVID-19 to Erase Democracy

GOP members of Congress are like the Confederates marching up the hill at Gettysburg in Pickett’s Charge and getting picked off by the thousands: they blindly follow Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to calamity but can’t turn around. Some of them will survive their next elections, but an increasing number of formerly staunch Republican voters grow disillusioned by the leadership’s lack of ethics, moving the United States away from democracy. This week’s abysmal actions representative of autocracy continue GOP behavior under DDT’s fascist direction.

The worst of these may come from courts removing the habeas corpus—the constitutional guarantee of due process for imprisonment in the Suspension Clause (Clause 2) in Article One, Section 9.

“The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.”

Rights include a fair and speedy trial, counsel, trial by a jury of peers, appearance before accusers, and freedom from unlawful and seizure. Habeas corpus was suspended during the Civil War and to put Japanese-Americans into detention camps during World War II. Forty-four years later President Gerald Ford rescinded that executive order, and Japanese-Americans have received an apology and reparations. After 9/11, the Military Commissions Act (2006) reversed habeas corpus for those detained by the U.S. deemed an enemy combatant, and but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the act in Boumediene v. Bush (2008). The far-right is now using the pandemic to void habeas corpus.

A New York State Supreme Court judge denied the release of hundreds of protesters in jail for more than 24 hours, contrary to the law, because of the virus. “All writs are denied,” Justice James Burke wrote. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called it “a suspension of habeas corpus.” Chicago police denied protesters their right to attorneys.

In a 7-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court denied habeas corpus to people seeking asylum in the U.S. The case concerned Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, a member of the minority Tamil population in Sri Lanka, was abducted by unidentified men in his home country and severely beaten. Undocumented immigrants caught within 100 miles of a land border within 14 days of arrival can be deported without a hearing; Thuraissigiam was 25 yards from the border. In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote:

“Taken to its extreme, a rule conditioning due process rights on lawful entry would permit Congress to constitutionally eliminate all procedural protections for any non-citizen the Government deems unlawfully admitted and summarily deport them no matter how many decades they have lived here, how settled and integrated they are in their communities, or how many members of their family are U.S. citizens or residents.”

DDT plans to discontinue the practice of informing Congress about entering into major weapons deals after lawmakers blocked his arrangement to provide Saudi Arabia and UAE with U.S. bomb to kill Yemeni civilians. The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) requires the president to formally notify Congress of major foreign arms sales 30 days in advance, but former State Department officials have given informal notice earlier to allow input from lawmakers.

In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Assistant US AG Aaron Zelinsky described the corrupt pressure on line prosecutors to give DDT’s friend Roger Stone special treatment, including the sentencing override with “a new sentencing memorandum that included statements and assertions at odds with the record and contrary to Department of Justice policy.” Zelinsky said the instructions came down from Acting US Attorney for District of Columbia, Timothy Shea, because Shea was “afraid of the President.” Zelinsky’s “objections were not heeded,” he said, and he resigned from his position, returning to Maryland. His supervisor had told Zelinsky to not follow DOJ guidelines for Stone’s sentencing recommendation.

AG Bill Barr is also subverting the voting process to skew the results:  [visual trump vote cartoon]

  • He exonerates people who helped interfere in the 2016 election.
  • He destroys confidence in the government ‘s ability to protect the 2020 election.
  • He lets people suppressing the vote that he will give them special treatment.
  • He spreads disinformation about the possibility of voter fraud.

Gearing up for a loss in November, DDT spread lies about “the most corrupt election in the history of our country”—stolen ballots, forged by foreigners or kept from GOP voting districts—beliefs totally debunked by the ten percent of the nation legally voting by mail.  

The drastic spike of COVID-19 in Texas did not sway the U.S. Supreme Court to allow people in Texas to vote by absentee if they wish to avoid the virus. The court ruling is for the July 14 primary runoff; the separate request for the November election remains pending.

GOP politicians use mail-in ballots because they’re homeless. DDT already used his club in Florida for his residence address although it’s not his residence. VP Mike Pence and his wife Karen are another case of falsifying their address: they used the Indiana governor’s mansion on April 13. They moved out of the place at the end of 2016 to go to Washington, D.C. The current governor, Eric Holcomb, registered to vote at the same address. 

DDT and Barr continue to blame “antifa” and “anarchists” for violence in the month-long protests, but a WaPo factcheck by Meg Kelly and Elyse Samuels could not find one example of antifa-incited violence. They interviewed witnesses and reviewed arrest records, federal charges, intelligence reports, online conversations and dozens of videos and photos of violent incidents from the early days of protests in Minneapolis for their report through protests in over 140 cities. According to U.S. officials within the joint terrorism task force, most of the violence “local hooligans, sometimes gangs, sometimes just individuals that are trying to take advantage of an opportunity.” At different protests, “some antifa …. stood back, did not engage, certainly not in a violent way.”

The majority of 14,000 arrests in 49 cities since May 27 were for low-level offences such as curfew violation and failure to disperse. Eighty federal charges, including murder and throwing Molotov cocktails at police vehicles, show no evidence of an antifa plot reveal no evidence of an antifa plot; four people among those facing the most serious federal charges identify with the far-right extremist “boogaloo” movement. The Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, which tracks white supremacist and far-right groups, found almost 200 appearances by vigilantes and far-right extremists at protests in the U.S. protests. At the same time, law enforcement is collaborating with white supremacists in many locations where they receive easier charges for their violence.

In his purpose of appearing part of DDT’s “law and order,” anti-protest schtick, Barr is taking over state responsibilities in prosecuting protesters for crimes. Some of these cases may be serious, but two incidents are breaking police car windows. A case of throwing a Molotov cocktail was considered a federal regulation of foreign commerce because the device used an imported bottle of tequila. Constitutional experts declare Barr’s actions are not in keeping with the Constitution’s limited role for the federal government and federal law enforcement. In one case, the federal government arrested protesters on the basis of interstate commerce. They never affected it, but a directive, not followed through, warned drivers of trucks bearing hazardous materials to divert.

Today, DDT signed an executive order telling Barr to prioritize prosecution for anyone who damages federal monuments and religious property. The Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act imposes up to ten years for damage to structures on public property commemorating veterans. The order also permits the dispatch of military to protect these monuments and other property at the request of the secretaries of Interior or Homeland Security or Administrator of General Services. Barr directed the DOJ to form a task force combating “anti-government extremists.” DDT also threatened to remove federal support from state and local governments who don’t protect the monuments.

DDT blamed the virus for canceling H-1B “highly-skilled worker” and H-2B  seasonal non-agricultural laborer visas until the end of the year or longer “as necessary.” About 525,000 people, including cultural and educational exchange worker J visa holders, will be denied entry.

Hate for the World Health Organization (WHO) caused DDT to order U.S. diplomats and health officials justification for any engagement with the WHO as being necessary for national security and public health safety. Disasters with DDT’s disconnect with WHO:

The U.S. has been cut out of developing the seasonal influenza vaccine, and the U.S. could lack access to an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. For example, centers in over 100 countries collect samples from sick people, isolate viruses, and search for new ones as part of the process to choose the flu strains for the annual vaccine. The CDC would no longer have access to data and virus samples protecting U.S. people from deadly strains of flu.

The U.S. could have no knowledge about health threats in another part of the world and initiatives to combat infectious diseases such as the eradication of polio still in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The U.S., without WHO, would need to take on some of its responsibilities, drawing its attention from the response to the virus.

China would fill in the U.S. vacuum and be dominant in the world.

A second term for DDT means the complete end of democracy in the United States, thanks to the Republican party.

November 30, 2011

Senate Removes Constitutional Rights

They actually did it. I didn’t believe they would. And I never thought that I would agree with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). But I’m against it the way he is.

Monday, I wrote about the Senate voting on a bill that would allow the president to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens in prison with no trial. Yesterday they passed that bill. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) wanted an amendment for the bill that would exempt citizens from the “imprison suspected ‘terrorists’ indefinitely with no trial” bill. That amendment failed 60 to 38 after Sen. Robert Menendez (NJ) voted against the amendment and then voted for it.

Udall’s amendment called for U.S. military and intelligence officials to study the plan and offer their own blueprint for how to interrogate and detain alleged extremists. It appears that Senators think that they are more qualified to question and detail “terrorists” than the military and intelligence officials.

The U.S. Constitution protects U.S. citizens from being indefinitely imprisoned. Amendment 5 states, “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Amendment 6 states, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial.” If the House of Representatives, overwhelmed by conservatives, passes it and the President signs it, although he’s promised to veto the bill, then citizens have lost more of their constitutional rights.

Fifteen Democrats and one Independent joined all the Republicans except Paul  and Mark Kirk (R-IL) to defeat the amendment that would exempt citizens from indefinite jail time without trial. “It’s not enough just to be alleged to be a terrorist,” Paul said. “That’s part of what due process is–deciding, are you a terrorist? I think it’s important that we not allow U.S. citizens to be taken.” Paul also stated that the new provisions would not have prevented the failures that led to the 9/11 attacks.

Democrats who opposed citizens’ indefinite time in jail without trial compared this bill to the detention of Americans in internment camps during World War II. “Congress is essentially authorizing the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens, without charge,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). She has another amendment, not yet receiving a vote, to correct this problem. “We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge.”

“The enemy is all over the world. Here at home. And when people take up arms against the United State sand [are] captured within the United States, why should we not be able to use our military and intelligence community to question that person as to what they know about enemy activity?” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said. “They should not be read their Miranda Rights. They should not be given a lawyer,” Graham said.

That’s what they said about Brandon Mayfield, a U.S. citizen in Portland (OR) accused of involvement in the 2004 Madrid train bombings. The FBI secretly broke into his house without probable cause and then held him for two weeks. Eventually an FBI internal review admitted serious errors in their investigation. If this bill is allowed to become law, U.S. citizens like Mayfield could spend their lives in prison.

“It is likely that implementing such procedures would inject significant confusion into counterterrorism operations,” the White House argued in a Nov. 17 statement. Both FBI Director Robert Mueller and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper sent letters to congressional leaders opposing the bill.

The bill handily passed because it was part of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that would authorize defense spending on military personnel, weapons, and war. The “send U.S. citizens to prison indefinitely without charges” bill can still be removed when the Senate bill is merged with a similar House bill allocating $690 billion for the Pentagon.

The 15 senators who voted for the “take constitutional rights from U.S. citizens bill” are Bob Casey (PA), Kent Conrad (ND), Kay Hagan (NC), Daniel Inouye (HI), Herb Kohl (WI), Mary Landrieu (LA), Carl Levin (MI), Joe Manchin (WV), Claire McCaskill (MO), Ben Nelson (NE), Mark Pryor (AR), Jack Reed (RI), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Debbie Stabenow (MI), and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI). Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman (CN) also voted in favor of removing constitutional rights.

Tea Partiers think that the bill does not apply to U.S. citizens. They are wrong. It would (1) explicitly authorize the federal government to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial American citizens and others picked up inside and outside the United States; (2) mandate military detention of some civilians who would otherwise be outside of military control, including civilians picked up within the United States itself; and (3) transfer to the Department of Defense core prosecutorial, investigative, law enforcement, penal, and custodial authority, and responsibility now held by the Department of Justice.

If this bill passes, U.S. citizens have lost the right of habeas corpus from Article 1, Second 9 of the U.S. Constitution that states U.S. citizens cannot be held without their will without just cause. People jailed with no charges can demand these, and the courts must issue a writ of habeas corpus to force those in charge to answer why people are being held. With no good or compelling reason for holding them, these people must be set free. This is the sole liberty considered important enough to be in the original text of the U.S. Constitution.

According to legal experts, the wording of the new National Defense Authorization Act effectively repeals the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C. § 1385), which limits the use of federal military personnel to enforce laws within the United States.  The Act allows for the imposition of martial law only where specifically authorized by the United States Constitution (invasion, insurrection, etc.) or Act of Congress.  Under the provisions of the unamended NDAA, the president will have the power to impose martial law, and thereby suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus, on his own authority.

More than ten years 19 men, 15 of them from Saudi Arabia, attacked the World Trade Center. Many people are still believe that this was an “act of war” on the United States. No country declared war on the U.S., but a conservative government used this tragedy to destroy millions of lives and the culture of other countries through violent acts that brought down revenge on our country.

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

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