Nel's New Day

September 15, 2019

Immigration in the U.S.: The Center of Cruelty

Public opinion—aka outrage—about deporting approximately 1,000 seriously ill migrants, primarily children, by denying them any deferred status drew attention before Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) moved Hurricane Dorian to Alabama. Families who must renew their medical deferred status every two years were notified in August that they would be automatically forced to leave the country within 33 days. After a backlash, DDT said he would reconsider the new policy that sends all these migrants to their certain death because they would lack health care, but he hasn’t provided a resolution.

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, failed to appear for an emergency House hearing about the travesty, and Daniel Renaud, the associate director for field operations, said that he just follows orders. USCIS, formerly responsible for processing the deferral requests, handed all non-military requests over to ICE. ICE said it knew nothing about the change, and recipients of the deportation letters were not notified. Now ICE won’t address deferral requests until the subjects have an order of removal. The most recent information comes from American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Those people aren’t the only ones who DDT is killing. Last Thursday, ICE rushed the deportation to Cuba of Yoel Alonso Leal, an asylum-seeker with several serious medical conditions including a lung tumor. Over 100 physicians argued that he stay in the U.S. and warned that he might not even survive the flight. No matter—ICE refused to release him to his U.S. citizen wife and family for more tests and treatment. Leal said that Cuban authorities detained and assaulted him in 2016 and 2018 before he sought asylum. 

DDT already killed a man born in Greece 41 years ago, who legally came to the U.S. at less than a year of age, by deporting him to Iraq where he died without insulin for his diabetes. Jimmy Aldaoud never learned Arabic and was part of Detroit’s Chaldean Catholic community, targeted in Iraq by extremists. He was sent to Iraq because Greece doesn’t recognize birthright citizenship. Other Chaldeans, a conservative group, are also targeted for deportation, one of them for a years-old marijuana conviction that was dropped from his criminal record.

ICE also plans to kill detain immigrants by not vaccinating children for the flu. Despite the claim that detainees are held for only 72 hours, they can remain in detention for over a month. At least three people in government “care” have already died of the flu.

DDT also wants to terminate a program protecting undocumented family members of active-duty troops from deportation. Currently the program allows military family members illegally entering the U.S.—for example, overstaying a visa—who cannot adjust their immigration status to temporarily stay in the U.S. The program avoids distractions coming from worries about a spouse being deported and allows the spouse to apply for a green card. Already ICE doesn’t follow its own policies by deporting former service members and breaking the tradition of giving a path to citizenships for those who serve in the military—almost 130,000 since 2001. Last year, the Pentagon discharged immigrants with special skills recruited under George W. Bush’s program.

A lawsuit against Cuccinelli purports that all his directives are “invalid” because he “lacks the authority to serve as acting director.” Cuccinelli is also unqualified to serve in this position because he describes immigrants as rats although his job is to facilitate legal immigration. His new policies include fast-tracking initial screenings of asylum-seekers from 48 hours to a “full calendar day,” blocking them from preparing for interviews of seeing legal help. Cuccinelli is serving as “acting director” because GOP senators have doubted his appointment.

In another cruel form of current government bureaucracy, 37 asylum seekers accused of illegal entry were all processed at one time and expected to answer questions in unison. Public defendants had under two hours to talk with 41 defendants in one case. Unlike other courts under the judicial branch, immigration courts are under the control of DOJ AG Bill Barr. [Right: “Justice” under the reign of Barr and DDT.]

New tent courts recently established at the southern border will hear thousands of cases for asylum-seekers in closed hearings with no court observers unlike open immigration court proceedings. Attorneys are not allowed to participate although most asylum-seekers can’t get legal representation. Over 42,000 asylum-seekers are forced to wait in Mexico where they have been assaulted, kidnapped, and extorted. Others have let Mexico bus them to the middle of the country or the border of Guatemala. The hearings in the tent court facilities are via video teleconference, a serious problem from faulty equipment with poor video and sound quality that prevent due process. 

Last week, people believing in justice breathed a sigh of relief when a federal judge ruled that DDT cannot require asylum seekers to ask another country for shelter before seeking refuge in the U.S. According to DDT’s coerced agreement with Guatemala, people coming from Central America into Mexico must try and fail to obtain asylum in Guatemala before moving on to go through the same process in Mexico before seeking asylum in the U.S. Mexico had refused DDT’s negotiations, but he still forces the “third-country” asylum rule on that country. A 9th Circuit Court ruling against DDT’s new restriction had been only for the ten states in its jurisdiction, but Jon S. Tigar made that ruling consistent for the entire country to prevent “uneven enforcement.”

The relief ended when DDT’s U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay to that judge’s ruling until the courts settled the cases, a process taking and leaving the Supreme Court as the final decider—or “fixer” for DDT. The lower courts determined that DDT’s policy conflicts with existing immigration statutes, violates the requirements of administrative rulemaking, and completely blocks all asylum for people on the southern border unless they come from Mexico. The decision was not explained.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginzberg submitted a dissent stating that lower court decisions should be respected and a stay overturning a lower court is “extraordinary.” The Supreme Court should not be used for the government to ignore lower court litigation. DDT’s administration has made an “extraordinary” number of requests—20—to bypass normal procedures or lower court actions. In addition to procedural anomalies, the dissent pointed out that the goal of DDT’s asylum policy is acting in bad faith. Facts do not support their arguments and illustrated that the policy puts untold numbers of people in serious danger—which DDT and his co-authors know. The decision overturns a longstanding offer of safe refuge to the persecuted with no input before DDT loses on the case’s merits. The lower court determined that DDT’s new policy broke government rules, violated the law, and lacks justification by being arbitrary and capricious.

One group of immigrants that DDT wants to protect are Venezuelans. He thinks that it might help him win the state of Florida in the 2020 election.

Perhaps the worst part of immigration court is control by the DOJ instead of the judicial branch. DDT’s fixer AG, Bill Barr, promoted the six judges with higher rates of denying immigrants’ asylum to the immigration appeals court that can overturn lower court decisions. Two of them came from courts drawing complaints of unfair proceedings from attorneys and advocates, and a third denies asylum to domestic violence victims. The six comprise over one-fourth of the appellate board, and four are on the DDT-created Board of Immigration Appeals. Barr established a regulation giving himself the ability to make any appellate decision binding. DOJ sent an email to all immigration court employees with a link to an article from the white nationalist website VDare that “directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs.”

The DOJ also filed a petition to decertify the union of immigration judges with the claim that they are “management officials.” The Federal Labor Relations Authority refused this tactic over 20 years ago, but the new FLRA members mostly belong to DDT. Last year, the union fought the new DOJ quota system of completing 700 cases a year and “efficiency” procedures that could damage due process in court. DDT has appointed at least 43 percent of the 440 immigration judges; changing them to “management” would allow him to fire them at his whim.

While DDT torments and kills migrants, the asylum law is now at the center of his immigration battle. The law says: “Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States, whether or not at a designated port of arrival … may apply for asylum.”

Not satisfied with detaining only immigrants, DDT wants to incarcerate the homeless in a federal facility, starting his roundup in California to rile up his base for the 2020 election.

At his speech in Baltimore, DDT used a favorite term, “goddamn,” which the evangelical community hates. Texas megachurch leader and DDT supporter Rev. Robert Jeffress said, “I can take just about everything else, except [taking the Lord’s name in vain.” For evangelicals, cruelty, corruption, killing, abuse, lying, racism all okay, but “goddamn” crosses the line.

August 7, 2019

No Clear Path for DDT, GOP about Guns

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) had a very bad day today. Although asked by leaders in Dayton (OH) and El Paso not to visit their cities at this time, he insisted that he would take his entourage to both places. Teleprompter DDT spent a few minutes earlier this week declaring that there is not room for hate in this country.  After four years of spewing racist hatred, DDT solemnly announced:

“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.”

Less than a day after DDT asked God to protect “those who perished in Toledo” (meaning Dayton), he blamed President Obama for the “32 mass shootings during his reign” including Sandy Hook although Barack Obama’s comments did not mention DDT’s name. Using the definition of mass shootings as at least four fatalities, President Obama averaged 5.1 per year; DDT had two last week, three if the definition covers the death of the perpetrator. DDT’s 17 mass shootings in the first seven months of 2019—one every 12 days. When “mass shooting” is defined as an incident in which four or more people are shot, the U.S. had 251 such incidents in the first 216 days of 2019. 

Away from the teleprompter, DDT blamed the mass media that “contributed greatly to the anger and rage.” Yet, the El Paso murderer used DDT’s language: he posted a 2,300-word essay on a white supremacist messaging board that included DDT’s terms such as incessant warnings about the “Hispanic invasion of Texas” as shown in this videoDDT’s campaign spent at least $1.1 million on immigration-focused Facebook ads between March 30 and July 27 with 2,200 of the ads appearing since May 2018 referring to an “invasion” on the southern border. Fox and Friends’ Brian Kilmeade supported both DDT and the El Paso murderer in the use of the term “invasion.” Kilmeade said:

“If you use the term ‘an invasion,’ that’s not anti-Hispanic. It’s a fact.”

Fox’s Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, and Pete Hegseth also commonly use the term.

Yesterday, DDT retweeted support for white supremacist Kevin Cernekee, who was fired from Google because he kept putting white supremacist messages on employee message boards. Today DDT claimed to want “to stay out of the political fray” immediately before he tried to connect Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren with the Dayton shooter twice, criticized Dayton’s mayor, attacked Beto O’Rourke, and called Joe Biden “a pretty incompetent guy.” DDT also returned to his position from the aftermath to white supremacy attacks and murder at Charlottesville (VA) two years ago about “good guys on both sides” by equating white supremacy with the antifa (anti-fascist) group opposing white supremacists.

In both cities that DDT visited, he avoided the public and then lashed out at their Democratic leaders. Despite complimentary responses from both Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley about his comforting the people he visited, DDT falsely accusing them of “totally misrepresenting” the reception he received at Miami Valley Hospital and alleged that their news conference “was a fraud.” Brown said that he had urged DDT to keep the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid to help people with mental health issues, the problem that DDT gave for mass shootings. In addition, Brown, who met with police officers, said he asked DDT to protect law enforcement by taking “assault weapons” off the street.

Press secretary Stephanie Grisham said that the press corps was not able to view DDT’s encounters with the Dayton victims because the White House didn’t want a “photo op,” but the White House provided photos and a slick video centering on DDT useful for his campaign. El Paso victims still in the hospital refused to see him although they had visited with city and county elected officials as well as Reps. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL). DDT also owes El Paso $569,204.63 for his February anti-immigrant rally as well as millions to at least ten other cities for his 2020 campaign rallies.

Returning to Washington, DC on Air Force One, DDT had time to view Joe Biden’s speech and tweet critical comments about it.

DDT seems lost as to direction. He continues to ignore guns as a problem although he tweeted support for “strong background checks.” At the same time, he wants to pair gun legislation with immigration reform laws, (DDT’s eliminating people of color coming into the U.S.) although the two issues are not connected. Mass shootings are generally done by young white men. Immediately after the Parkland (FL) mass shooting last year, DDT called for strengthened background checks but then threatened to veto any bills with this goal that House Democrats passed. House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said DDT’s connection of gun and immigration laws suggested that “we have to keep guns out of the hands of the invading hordes of less-than-human people coming across our borders.” He added, “It reminds me of the 1930s in Germany.” 

Republicans blamed mass shootings on video games, homelessness and social media, but a few Ohio Republicans are moving away from NRA positions. Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) reversed his NRA support to propose new laws including temporarily disarming people at risk to themselves or others and expanding background checks. Having discovered that his daughter was across the street from the Dayton shooting, Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), strongly NRA supported, also endorsed magazine limits and bans on military-style assault weapons. They are backed by Lt. Governor Jon Husted (R-OH).

Safety from guns depends on where a person lives. In June, a Florida woman was jailed for taking her husband’s guns. After a divorce proceeding, Courtney Irby’s estranged husband, Joseph Irby, rammed his car into her vehicle and ran her off the road. While he was in custody, she took his assault rifle and handgun from his home and turned them not the police department. Arrested for grand theft and burglary, she spent six days in jail. Her husband accused her of aggression and taking a third weapon. Previously, she was denied a temporary injunction against her husband, but a judge had ordered Joseph Irby was not to possess any weapons. Law does not obligate law enforcement to seize the weapons. The prosecutor now says that Irby is lying about trying to protect herself and her children.

New Texas gun laws going into effect in three weeks increase open season on people in the state. The ten bills include the right to open carry long guns in Texas churches, schools, apartment buildings, and disaster zones. Current laws don’t require permits for long guns in unrestricted public areas, have no background check for private sales and no magazine capacity restriction, and don’t allow people who see warning signs to ask a court for temporary prevention to individual access. Closing the gun show loophole was rejected. Gov. Greg Abbott pushes the idea of “mental health” behind mass shootings but makes no accommodations to stop them. 

DDT’s actions on guns since he was inaugurated:

  • Revoked an executive order mandating checks for those with mental illnesses before buying guns. (February 2017)
  • Cut $400,000 from the “Countering Violent Extremism” program backing an anti-white supremacist organization founded by former neo-Nazis.  
  • Disbanded the Domestic Terror Unit of intelligence analysts who focused on domestic terrorism.    
  • Stopped the DOJ from using updated language about a definition for “mentally ill.”
  • Froze a DOJ rule preventing anyone “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to a mental institution” from having access to a gun.
  • Stopped a fix to a loophole in a federal law requiring gun sellers to certify that “gun storage or safety devices will be available at any place in which firearms are sold.” https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/05/26/2016-12364/commerce-in-firearms-and-explosives-secure-gun-storage-amended-definition-of-antique-firearm-and   
  • Blocked free gun locks for all gun owners provided by Cabela’s Outdoor Fundeven.
  • Limited bans buying guns by fugitives from justice to only those who fled a state trying to evade prosecution or were the subject of an “imminent” criminal prosecution. Everyone else with an arrest warrant, about 500,000 people, can buy an assault-style rifle—or any other gun—because their records were deleted from the background check database.
  • Cut the budget for state background check systems just two days before the Parkland (FL) mass shooting, murdering 17 people.

ICE picked the same day that DDT chose to reassure and comfort Latinx people to raid seven Mississippi plants and pick up 680 workers. Once again, children are separated from their parents despite promises from ICE agents that the parents of U.S. citizens will be released. One U.S. citizen was tased when he tried to explain that he was legally in the country. Migrant labor has been chosen to cut, clean, debone, and pack chicken in cold, sometimes dangerous conditions, because, like in other laborious work, most U.S. citizens refuse to do the work. For decades, DDT used undocumented immigrants until he was caught doing it. Once again, DDT’s neo-Nazi aide Stephen Miller is calling for cruelty.

July 28, 2019

DDT: Week 131 – Disastrous Domestic Events

A second day of false and racist tweets from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) about what he calls the “Cumming [sic] district” came from a slanted video by a guest on Fox & Friends who sought out the most struggling, severely impoverished Baltimore neighborhoods. The heavily gerrymandered district has urban, suburban and rural areas ranging from well-off to poor, but the video focused on only one aspect. DDT’s racist rants followed Cummings’ criticism of southern border detention centers, subpoenas for emails and texts of White House aides including Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, and Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony where Cummings asked people to pay attention to activities of DDT and his associates.

Kushner owns thousands of rental units in Baltimore County providing substandard housing to lower-income tenants and cited for hundreds of code violations. His company made repairs only after threats of fines for mice infestations, mold problems, and maggots. DDT wants Cummings to thank him for low unemployment figures for blacks, but most of the drop in unemployment rates for blacks came during President Obama’s terms (16.8 percent to 7.8 percent) and from Democratic policies.

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defended DDT’s racist comments, saying he would have been fired as representative if his district had Cummings’ problems. Compared to Cummings’ district, Mulvaney’s former district, South Carolina’s 5th district, has a lower median household income and a similar poverty rate, 14.9 percent versus 16.6 percent. The Baltimore Sun’s editorial ran with the headline, “Better to have a few rats than to be one.”

Afraid that Congress will see his tax returns, DDT is suing the House Ways and Means Committee, the New York state attorney general, and a New York state tax official to hide state tax returns—although the House has not tried to get the returns. His lawsuit follows a complaint from the House committee to get DDT’s federal tax returns.

A judge also ruled that   a lawsuit against DDT’s alleged deceptive and unfair business practices may proceed. Roberta Kaplan, who successfully argued the Supreme Court marriage equality decision in U.S. v. Windsor, represents the plaintiffs who claim that DDT and three of his children scammed them.

A federal jury convicted Michael Flynn’s former business partner Bijan Rafiekian because of the work that the two men did for Turkish interests during the last months of DDT’s presidential campaign in 2016—acting as an unregistered foreign agent and lying to the DOJ. Flynn was DDT’s national security adviser for 24 days; his sentencing is pending.

Four automakers—Ford, Honda, VW, and BMW—from three continents have a deal with California to sell the state more fuel-efficient cars after DDT rolled back tougher standards.

Election systems in all 50 states were Russian targets, according to the heavily-redacted Senate Intelligence Committee report. Subsequent volumes will report on Russia’s use of social media for influencing the vote. The committee recommended a paper trail for voter machines and backups for registration systems, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has refused to take any action. A new hashtag #Moscow Mitch came from Joe Scarborough who asked, “How can Moscow Mitch keep denying that Vladimir Putin continues to try to subvert American democracy?” Lobbyists for the two largest electronic voting machine vendors that provide 80 percent of the voting machines in the U.S. donated to McConnell’s campaigns. Fourteen states used electronic voting systems with no paper trail in 2018.

DDT thought he was home free after a judge ruled in favor of his new rule requiring asylum seekers to ask for protection in another country before crossing the southern border, but soon after that ruling, another judge blocked DDT’s rule. The second judge stated that the “new Rule is likely invalid because it is inconsistent with the existing asylum laws.”

In the UN, DDT blocked condemnation of Israel’s demolishing Palestinian homes on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Israel claimed that the 10 apartment buildings were a threat to Israeli armed forces, a barrier outlawed by the UN in 2004. Israelis performed the demolishment operation in the night and displaced Palestine refugees, some of them for a second time. https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/07/1042981

This is “who we are” as a country as DDT brings out the worst in people:

Three million more poor people may go hungry, thanks to Minnesota millionaire Rob Undersander who said he managed to get food stamps. Over 250,000 children won’t receive free school meals, no one with $2,000 in savings can receive food stamps, and people are discouraged from working longer, getting a job with better pay, and saving for education or emergencies. The change, claimed to save $2.5 billion, will require expenditures of extra paperwork, staff hours, and other costs.

DOJ’s AG Bill Barr plans to kill people by lifting the 16-year hiatus on federal capital punishment with five executions in December and January. Conviction for one of them has been described as “unreliable.” Twenty-one states abandoned capital punishment, and several others have frozen them.

Pedro Arriago-Santoya is the seventh person to die in ICE custody in the past nine months. At least 25 people have died in ICE custody since DDT was inaugurated, and another 12 have died in federal immigration custody that includes Border Patrol station and youth migrant detention centers.

ICE posted a job from a for-profit company for “lead physician” of a “facility” who will be “philosophically committed to the objectives of the facility” and “based on the company goals, objectives and philosophy.” That company, GEO, “permitted armed men to forcibly remove the fathers [from their children] from their rooms at the Karnes Detention Center by using bulletproof vests, shields, knee pads, boots, helmets, tear gas equipment and guns” and told them “that they would never see their sons again.” That “general practitioner” can make $400,000 a year without board certification.

Francisco Erwin Galicia, the 18-year-old U.S.-born citizen captured in Texas 75 miles from the Mexican border, was imprisoned in a detention center for 23 days. He lost 26 pounds and considered self-deporting just to escape horrific conditions. Locked up with 60 other men in an area so crowded that some of them slept in the toilet area, he was given only a few “HandiWipes” for cleaning—no showers, no clean clothes, no other hygiene. He had his papers, but, according to their own documents, border agents lied about his telling them that he was a U.S. citizen. Galicia was denied a telephone call to his mother for help and released only after Dallas Morning News reporting.

Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley West School District in Pennsylvania sent 1,000 threatening letters to parents, telling them their children could go into foster care if the lunch debt of over $10 wasn’t paid. Rep. Omar Ilhan (D-MN) has co-introduced a bill to stop multiple incidences of lunch debt shaming. Oregon gives free lunches to students up to three times above the poverty level.

Carrizo Springs, the “model” detention center for unaccompanied migrant minors used to show how well migrant children are treated, is closing. Opened last month, the facility has a five-year, $8.8 million lease; BCFS Health and Human Services received a $308 million contract through January 2020 to house up to 1,344 children at a cost of $750 to $800 per child per day. Children will be sent from the non-profit facility to for-profit centers like the already-crowded one in Homestead (FL) where inmates have been abused. 

After McConnell was forced by public decency to allow a vote for the House bill passing by 402-2 that provides health care for 9/11 First Responders, it passed that chamber by 97-2. Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart was instrumental in the bill’s House passage and watched McConnell take the bill to the Senate floor. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), one of the no votes, was furious because of no offset costs for the annual $1 billion expenditure. Paul supported the tax cuts for the wealthy and big business that cost taxpayers $1 trillion ever year.

Like deadbeat DDT, VP Mike Pence isn’t paying his bills, this one $24,000 for security at a fundraiser bringing him $700,000. The event was at the Caribou Club in Colorado owned by a gay couple.

The 40-percent tax cuts for big business failed; private-sector investments dropped for the first time in several years in opposition to GOP promises of increased business investment. Tax cuts aren’t paying for themselves, they aren’t boosting economic growth, and they don’t increase private-sector hiring. Businesses bought back their stocks and gave markets a false short term boost before they sheltered their benefits overseas.

The Equifax settlement promising $125 for each person whose personal data was stolen may be $.21 if all 147 million people apply, and the money won’t hide Social Security numbers. Yet people who do nothing automatically waive any right to take legal action against Equifax. People can check here to see if their data was stolen; the deadline is 1/22/2020. People who settle also waive any right to take legal action. Those who want to keep the option of taking legal action must mail a written “request for exclusion,” postmarked by Nov. 19, 2019, to the settlement administrator. Updates available here.

January 5, 2019

DDT: Week 102 – Shutdown Stalemates, Idiocy Continues

Day 15 of government shutdown: Not much progress was made in shutdown talks between White House officials and congressional aides today although acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney suggested that Democrats would not view a steel wall as a wall. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that the House will start with bills to open departments, beginning with the Treasury so that people can get IRS tax refunds. A meeting is scheduled for tomorrow.

Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, gone this week in a cloud of ethics investigations, transferred public records to a political appointee who had advised the Koch brothers and proposed limiting new Freedom of Information requests by refusing these if they are “burdensome.” He also shortened the public opinion to 30 days, in spite of the shutdown. In that way, no one can determine damage caused by the government shutdown and uncover Zinke’s ethics violations. Even the conservative Heritage Foundation agrees that Zinke’s proposal violates the FOIA because it says nothing about the “vast quantity of material” requested. DOJ is also investigating whether Zinke committed the criminal offence of lying to the Inspector General.

Despite the shutdown, Robert Mueller’s investigation is still funded, and the federal grand jury has been extended for another six months.

Almost 400,000 federal workers are “furloughed” because they aren’t “essential,” and some of them won’t get paychecks when they go back to work because they are employed by a private contractor. Zach Fuentes, one of the lucky ones who keeps getting paid, needs six more months of work to qualify for a Coast Guard early retirement program that expired at the end of 2018. DHS pushed to have the program renewed, but reporters’ questions led legislation for the program to be removed from the House appropriations bill. John Kelly saved the 36-year-old with under 15 years of service by making him his deputy chief of staff. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney wanted another deputy but said that Fuentes will stick around. Mulvaney said, “Zach’s a good man; we’ll find something for him to do productive.” His new title is assistant to the president and senior adviser to the chief of staff. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), chair of the committee with oversight over the White House, has promised an investigation into the Fuentes affair.

The stock of Goldman Sachs, former employer of several DDT appointments, went down 35 percent because Malaysian filed criminal charges against Goldman after country’s Prime Minster Najib Razak, DDT’s friend, took huge amounts of cash from a state investment fund. Malaysia has filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs, demanding $7.5 billion in reparations, and at least ten countries have probes into Goldman Sachs’ business. Before the 2008 recession, Goldman profited in the collapse in subprime mortgage bonds by short-selling subprime mortgage-backed securities. DDT’s White House is known for having employed a large number of Goldman Sachs alumni.

DDT’s rambling comments in a press conference yesterday followed his disastrous 90-minute meeting Wednesday when he offended India by accusing them of only building a small library in Afghanistan. India, which didn’t attack and destroy Afghanistan as the U.S. did, gave $3 billion to Afghanistan which included building the Parliament. DDT also parroted Vladimir Putin’s propaganda in his revisionist history that the USSR collapsed after declaring bankruptcy fighting in Afghanistan in retaliation for its terrorists going into Russia. The statement that “Russia used to be the Soviet Union” ignored the 14 other republics in the USSR, and DDT’s statement that the USSR was “right to be there” conflicted with U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. opposed the USSR in that conflict, the USSR went into Afghanistan to keep communism in the country, the Soviet economy didn’t go bankrupt, and its financial problems came from declining oil prices. DDT’s comments come directly from Vladimir Putin, and he went farther than Putin when he excused Russian aggression.

National Security adviser John Bolton assured Israel that DDT had no timeline for a military pullout from Syria two weeks after DDT declared it eminent. Mulvaney had said that DDT wouldn’t change his mind about the immediate pullout, but Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is taking credit for talking DDT into a “pause situation.” DDT decided to slow down the withdrawal of troops in Syria after tweeting that retired U.S. commander in Afghanistan, retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has “big, dumb mouth” in accord with Fox’s Laura Ingraham’s criticism of McChrystal caution against the pullout.

After George W. Bush’s judge’s ruling that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, the media addressed the possibility of “Medicare for All” (aka universal health care like every other industrialized nation). The judge has now decided that the ACA would stay in effect until the issue moves through the courts because “many everyday Americans would… face great uncertainty during the pendency of appeal”—an obvious conclusion from his first ruling. A coalition of 17 states has appealed the decision, and the House plans to direct its Office of General Counsel to represent lawmakers in any litigation involving the act and authorize hiring of outside counsel.

DDT has starting to chip away at Medicare Part D by cutting some medications provided by Part D of Medicare—specifically those for HIV, depression, schizophrenia, cancer, epilepsy, and immunosuppressant drugs to prevent rejection of organ transplants. Despite DDT’s bragging that he had lowered costs of drugs, pharmaceutical companies raised prices at the beginning of 2019 for hundreds of prescription medications this week. The increases, as high as 133.4 percent, averaged 6.3 percent and included drugs for high blood pressure, pain relievers, and anesthetics.

Facing at least seven major investigations—campaign, transition, inaugural committee, presidency, business, charity, emoluments, and personal finances—DDT is looking at an eighth one about the employment of undocumented immigrants at his Bedminster (NJ) golf resort in New Jersey. Federal and state investigators are looking into the employment records of immigrants after several undocumented immigrants said they were recruited to work at the facility. An employer told Victorina Morales, assured that her immigration status didn’t matter, that she couldn’t do anything about abuse at work because she wasn’t documented and worked for the president. Employers at the club deliberately removed names of undocumented workers so that the Secret Service would not vet them, but the undocumented immigrants kept working.

Video from a privatized government Southwest Key facility for migrant children shows the staff physically dragging, pulling, and slapping children in their care, but Arizona authorities have determined that this abuse is not criminal. Maricopa County closed three cases of child abuse without interviewing staff or minors involved. The place, along with another operated by Southwest Key, had its license canceled two months ago because of faulty employee background checks. Taxpayers gave the company, holding more migrant children than any other corporation, $1.7 billion in the last decade, $620 million just last year. Salary for the owner, Juan Sanchez, was $1.5 million last year.

The IRS has more serious problems than the inability to refund taxes as the GOP guarantees that it fails to collect revenue. Its 9,510 IRS auditors are one third fewer than 2010 and fewer than the 10,000 revenue agents in 1953 when the economy was one-seventh of the present day. Over one-third of IRS employees is eligible for retirement next year. Corporations and billionaires are the biggest beneficiaries of these cuts because their audits require specialized personnel. Instead, the IRS audits the working poor who receive the earned income tax credit the highest priority. GOP policies are losing the United States tens of billions of dollars. Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, also acting chief of staff, failed to pay over $15,000 in taxes for his nanny from 2000 through 2004.

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis left his office on New Year’s Eve with his message for U.S. troops: “Hold Fast.”  With Mattis gone, US Strategic Command (StratCom) tweeted, “We are ready to drop something much, much bigger [than the ball in New York].” StratCom waited three hours to decide that a threat from the “guardians of several thousand nuclear missiles” about “raining death and destruction from above is some kind of joke,” as Derek Johnson, executive director of the anti-nuclear weapons group Global Zero, pointed out. Walter Schaub, former head of the Office of Government Ethics, asked, “What kind of maniacs are running this country?” We’ll learn in the coming months. [visual]

DDT’s ICE celebrated New Year’s Day by teargassing migrants on the Mexico side of the border. They were seeking asylum according to law, lifting toddlers over the fence, but ICE claimed that they were throwing rocks. AP reported that no one threw rocks until after they were teargassed, and Mexico is investigating.

Over two decades ago, then House Speaker Newt Gingrich took money from staff for committees and outsourced policy making to right-wing think tanks and lobbyists. Last summer, DDT believed in a “red wave” and budgeted $129 million for staff “handy for investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails.” On January 3, the new House Speaker, likely Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), took control over that $129 million to hire more personnel for investigations—maybe into DDT’s administration. Welcome to the U.S. House of 2019!

September 17, 2018

Court Rulings Mostly Right Wrongs

Election Day is only 50 days away, and the GOP continues its attempts at voter suppression. In an honest move that may cause them to lose the 2018 North Carolina election, progressive groups Common Cause and the League of Women Voters that won the redrawing of gerrymandered districts said that there was not enough time to complete the task in the next two months. The contortions of district lines caused the state to have 10 of 13 seats in the U.S. House with only 53 percent of the vote.

The majority in a panel of three judges from the 9th Circuit, two appointed by George W. Bush, upheld Arizona laws that prevent anyone except a family member, caretaker, or postal worker from turning ballots into elections officials and blocked out-of-precinct voting. The decision is especially onerous for Native Americans who are many miles from both voting precincts and post offices. As usual, the fake reason for the law is to avoid voter fraud, but the rationale comes from white entitlement and lack of understanding about other cultures and living conditions. The decision will be appealed to the full court but stays in effect for the upcoming election.

A Missouri judge made Republicans happy when he removed a redistricting measure for this fall’s ballot.

Yet not all bodes well for Republicans in court decisions.

Federal prosecutors have postponed their demand that North Carolina state and local elections officials give them well over 20 million ballots, poll books, and voter authorization forms going back almost nine years by September 25. Subpoenas also required photo images of voters, and subpoenas to the state DMV required DMV voter registration documents and those completed in a language other than English from both citizens and people not born in the U.S. Almost 2.3 million absentee ballots could be traced back to individual voters which caused privacy concerns. The subpoenas for these records cited ICE and a grand jury in Wilmington as the source for the demand after U.S. Attorney Bobby Higdon announced charges against 19 non-U.S. citizens for illegal voting. A state audit counted 41 non-U.S. citizens acknowledged voting out of 4.8 million ballots. Higdon hopes to get the documents in January 2019.

A court in North Carolina also ruled in favor of expanding Gov. Roy Cooper’s authority to make certain appointments, ruling that the legislators had overstepped their authority and violated the separation of powers’ requirement. When Cooper was elected, the GOP legislature immediately passed several laws to restrict his abilities compared to that of his GOP predecessor.

For the second time in four years, federal judges struck down the GOP Virginia General Assembly boundaries of 11 electoral districts that pack minorities together so that white candidates in adjacent districts can win elections. Little progress has been made before the October 30 deadline. With the GOP failure to more forward, the governor has asked the GOP speaker of the state house to turn the project over to the courts. The districts will be used for state elections in 2019.

A Virginia judge also removed an independent candidate from the ballot in the 2nd District congressional race because of “forgery” and “out and out fraud” on her petition. Staffers working for the GOP candidate had collected many of the signatures to get her onto the ballot to split the progressive vote and ensure a win for their boss. Of the 377 signatures that five of them put on petitions, at least 146 were false, some of them for people who had died.

Florida Republicans thought they could keep Puerto Ricans who had fled their island after Hurricane Maria from voting if they refused them Spanish-language ballots. A district judge disagreed and ruled that 32 counties across the state had violated the Voting Rights Act. He ordered them to provide bilingual voting materials, including ballots and poll worker support, for Spanish-speaking Puerto Rican voters. According to his ruling:

“Puerto Ricans are American citizens. Unique among Americans, they are not educated primarily in English — and do not need to be. But, like all American citizens, they possess the fundamental right to vote.”

The enactment is on an expedited basis to give Florida officials “ample” time to appeal if “they seek to block their fellow citizens, many of whom fled after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, from casting meaningful ballots,” according to the judge. “It is remarkable that it takes a coalition of voting rights organizations and individuals to sue in federal court to seek minimal compliance with the plain language of a venerable 53-year-old law,” he added.

A federal appeals court has ruled that the so-called “charity” Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Foundation, linked to billionaire Charles Koch, must disclose its donors to California officials. The three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court reversed a lower court ruling from last year.

A grand jury will be convened to investigate whether Republican gubernatorial candidate and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach intentionally failed to register voters in 2016.

The court woes of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) continue. He tried to get out of going to court over paying hush-money for a nondisclosure agreement with Stormy Daniels so that he and former attorney Michael Cohen don’t have to give dispositions. By not contesting the suit, DDT thinks that he has escaped, but Daniels still has a defamation suit against DDT.

The fate of DDT’s IRS returns is still in court, this time the Washington, D.C. Circuit. EPIC’s Freedom of Information Act case is arguing that IRS must release his returns to correct misstatements of fact about his financial ties to Russia in his tweets. At least two-thirds of people want DDT to release the returns. The 98-page financial disclosure that DDT is forced to make public shows that his biggest windfalls come from his property that he frequently visits. For example, he made $37 million from Mar-a-Lago, up from $15 million in 2015, and $20 from his nearby golf club.

A federal judge refused to stop the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, ruling that Texas and six other conservative states couldn’t prove irreparable harm from the program. He also stated that he believed the program is unconstitutional, but the time has passed to rescind it.

Cities can’t prosecute people for sleeping on the streets if they have nowhere else to go because it amounts to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment, according to a 9th Circuit Court ruling in Boise (ID). Six homeless people sued the city in 2009. The judge also wrote:

“A city cannot, via the threat of prosecution, coerce an individual to attend religion-based treatment programs consistently with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”

A federal judge in Boston ruled that ICE should not remove undocumented people in the process of applying for green cards even if they have final orders of removal. The ruling may not require a penalty from the government or apply outside the New England area. Five couples are suing DHS, ICE, DDT, and law enforcement because spouses were detained by ICE when they went for marriage interviews with U.S.-citizen spouses, a requirement for the application process to prove they have legitimate marriages. Emails show coordination between ICE and Citizenship and Immigration Services to coordinate interviews and arrests. The suit began with a woman who was brought from Guatemala when she was three years old and married U.S. citizen Luis Gordillo. They have two children.

A Canadian court unanimously overturned Ottawa’s approval of a pipeline project because the government failed to consider concerns of some First Nations and did not consider the impact of increased tanker traffic. The pipeline, almost 700 miles long, would take bitumen from Alberta to the western ports to ship to Asia. The ship traffic has already had a devastating affect on southern resident orcas which are almost extinct.

Parents of a Sandy Hook victim may continue its defamation lawsuit against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones after his repeated lies that the 2012 massacre killing 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school was a “fraud.” Six other Sandy Hook families also filed a defamation lawsuit against Jones in May. Jones’ Infowars is also facing a lawsuit for misidentifying a person as the shooter at the Parkland (FL) school who killed 17 people and another defamation suit from the person who recorded the vehicular murder of Heather Heyer at the Charlottesville (VA) rally last year. Jones’ law firm is also representing the co-founder of the neo-Nazi, white supremacist website The Stormer.

An arbitrator has denied the NFL request to throw out Colin Kaepernick’s grievance that owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his protests for social injustice. The ruling shows that Kaepernick has sufficient evidence of collusion for a lawsuit. Eric Reid’s grievance for joining the protests is still pending. The NFL had to put on hold its policy that would require players to stand if they are on the sideline during the national anthem because of problems that it classified protests as conduct detrimental to the team.

August 4, 2018

Reunification: Government Fails

The U.S. government claimed it met the July 26 deadline to return migrant children to their parents by declaring that over 700 of them were “ineligible” out of the approximately 2,500 separated children. The judge who ordered reunification didn’t swallow the excuse. He ordered the feds to provide “detailed information” about each one and weekly status reports with telephonic conferences until resolutions.

Then DOJ decided it wouldn’t take responsibility for the crisis it caused. Instead, it wanted to dump their problems onto the ACLU who had sued the government for reunification. Last Thursday, the DOJ told a federal judge that they are not responsible for finding the 400+ parents who they deported and can’t be bothered to find. Instead, the DOJ claims, the court should require the ACLU to “fulfill their obligations to their clients.” And the DOJ wants the ACLU to tell them all information about the located parents. The ACLU had already found 12 deported parents but discovered that they were in contact with the government, which had not shared this information with the ACLU.

Yesterday, a judge called DDT’s plan to turn the work over to the ACLU “unacceptable.” The inability “to track and unite … is 100 percent the responsibility of the administration.” He gave the government an August 10 deadline to provide information on separated families to the ACLU. The judge also clearly stated that parents with minor criminal charges cannot be permanently ineligible for reunification. In addition, the judge ordered the government to “identify an individual or a team” to create and implement a procedure for those kids to be reunified with their families because it appears that the government has no plan for the remaining families.

Government officials in charge of the children are so cavalier or ignorant about the miserable conditions in their prisons that one of them, Matthew Albence, claimed that the centers were like “summer camps. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) asked, “You would send your child to these centers?” Jennifer Higgins, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, stammered, “I—I—it’s—that’s a—that’s a difficult question to answer.” It should be difficult to answer when one considers that the migrant children separated from their parents are physically, emotionally, and sexually abused; starved; dehydrated; underclothed in bitterly cold temperatures; drugged against their will; restrained; and lacking even the toys and other personal belongs that they had brought to the border. When Hirono asked Albence the same question, he sputtered “Again, I think we’re—we’re missing the point.”

At Albence’s “summer camps” in Arizona, two youth care workers were charged with sexually assaulting immigrant teenagers in the most recent claims of abuse at the privatized “shelters” for children taken from their parents at the Mexico border. One of the ex-workers, who is HIV positive, tried to get boys to anally penetrate him. Both centers are operated by the Texas company Southwest Key Programs that received almost $1 billion in taxpayer money to provide services to immigrant children. Allegations against the worker were first reported to Mesa Police Department over a year ago. The other man charged worked at a migrant center that Melania Trump visited.

Another federal contractor kept children in a Phoenix vacant office building until a neighbor reported that she saw ICE taking children into the building. The state failed to take any action about the children being kept in substandard conditions, claiming that the contractor MVM didn’t need a day care license, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. The contractor canceled its lease after city inspectors tried to visit the building five times in one week. MVM, which does not contract for providing shelters, eventually admitted that it lied about not keeping children in the building as a short-term shelter but stated that it “provided notice to both ICE and Arizona officials about the use of this building” and that “ICE approved such use.”

A federal judge has ordered the federal government not to give psychotropic medication to migrant children at Shiloh Residential Treatment Center in Manvel (TX) without parents’ or guardians’ consent except in dire emergencies. She also ordered all children moved out of the facility except for those diagnosed as “risk of harm” to themselves or others by a licensed professional. Government officials denied that medications were only on “an emergency basis,” but children gave testimony that they were given pills “every morning and every night.” Some were forcibly injected with drugs. They suffered nausea, dizziness, depression, and weight gain. The doctor prescribing the drugs lacked board certification for child and adolescent treatment for almost ten years. Shiloh also has a history of other child abuse.

The families designated for reunification faced chaotic situations. Some children in New York were driven from one airport to another to find lights. Mayor Bill de Blasio said that about 100 children remain in New York, “with no end in sight.” Some parents defined as “released” stayed in custody for up to a week with no access to showers, phones, or religious services. Some returned children are sick and beaten, and one child even died soon after she was returned. Others were taken places with no one waiting because parents were deported. Volunteer groups frantically raised funds to help children and parents who were just dropped off with no food or ways to communicate with anyone. Families are afraid to line up for help because the separation happened after promises of assistance to them. Some parents waived rights to be reunified because they could not read the consent form and were told that they could see their children if they signed the form. Even with reunification, some children don’t recognize their parents because they were separated for so long, and others are terrified that the government will take them from their parents again.

The biggest dodge to claim “mission accomplished” for a federal judge were the parents who DHS regarded as “either not eligible, or not yet known to be eligible, for reunification.” Of these, 64 were considered criminals, an overly broad classification because some of them had not been convicted of a crime. Crimes might be a DUI or simply “wanted in El Salvador.” Another 463 parents were “not in the U.S.,” with 411 probably deported. As for the 260 parents requiring “further evaluation,” the government lawyer tried to explain that among those 260 parents, some had already been released from immigration detention and couldn’t be found. Others are children already released to non-parent families in the U.S.

Conservatives praised U.S. agencies for how hard they worked to reunify families. The only reason that they had to manually go through 12,000 records instead of “at the stroke of keystrokes … within seconds,” as HHS Secretary Alex Azar bragged about his ability to “find any child within our care for any parent,” is that not one of the three agencies in charge had any system for returning children to the parents. Azar made that statement in June; he’s been very quiet since then. DDT’s administration never intended to reunify families, and the court ruling requiring them to put migrant children back with their parents came as a shock to them. This article describes the problems and the processes.

Scott Lloyd, a DDT appointment to lead the Office of Refugee Resettlement, set up a roadblock to reunification with his demand that he personally review each request to release migrant children. He made that decision without any agency review and changed it only after the policy was stopped by an injunction last month after a lawsuit challenged Lloyd’s policy. Children are incarcerated for months waiting for him to personally sign releases. In one case, he claimed a 17-year-old boy was a gang member with no proof; the boy lacked the tattoos that Lloyd claimed he saw. He became infamous when he unconstitutionally blocked an abortion for a raped teenage girl and other undocumented teenage girls. His experience for the current job was as a policy worker with the Knights of Columbus that involved research and advocacy for Christians persecuted in Iraq.

To permanently conceal ICE crimes, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) approved ICE’s request to destroy its records related to in-custody deaths, sexual assault, and solitary confinement. ICE also lists only 112 facilities although 203 have been identified. Since January, ICE stripped away due process, privatized detention services to deadly companies, collaborated with local law enforcement to racially target people, gone after domestic abuse victims, doctored documents to detain protected immigrants, and used children as bait to arrest their parents.

Many conservatives, led by the Fox network, consistently minimize the pain of immigrants. Pundits such as Laura Ingraham talk about the “phony concern for the children” by the left. Brian Kilmeade of Fox & Friends, said, “These aren’t our kids…. It’s not like [DDT] is doing this to the people of Idaho or Texas.” According to a recent study, people watching Fox and/or reading Breitbart are more likely to support child/family separation. On The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton, Ann Coulter accused separated migrant children of being “child actors weeping and crying …  being coached, … given scripts to read by liberals.” The same accusation was given for gun safety activists from Parkland (FL).

Conservatives are accused of having “no heart.” It’s not true: conservatives have heart but just for a highly limited number of people within their own small tribe that looks exactly like them—namely white for U.S. conservatives. That’s why they can subscribe to genocide. We’re up past Step 8 (above) in the United States.

 

 

 

 

May 12, 2018

DDT: Weeks 67-68 – While We Paid Attention to Foreign Affairs

The last two weeks have seen monumental decisions by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), including his withdrawal from the Iran deal and his upcoming talks with North Korean president, Kim Jong-Un. Another media focus has been the revelations of “pay to play,” as DDT’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen collected millions of dollars from huge businesses in exchange for access to DDT.

Before these events, however, the media spent several days protecting Sarah Huckabee Sanders after the fundraising correspondents’ dinner, largely maintaining that the media’s comedian Michelle Wolfe had unfairly attacked the White House press secretary. The truth she told about the media being instrumental in electing DDT probably infuriated them.

“He has helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster and now you are profiting from him.”

Not all the media criticized Wolfe;  New Yorker’s Masha Gessen’ critique of the media was as clear as that expressed by Wolfe.

All the warm fuzzy expressions about Sanders disappeared, however, after she protected Kelly Sadler for her vile comment about Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) objection to Gina Haspel, nominee for CIA director, that it was irrelevant because “he’s dying anyway.” Sanders didn’t object to Sadler’s comment–just to the leak. objection was not to the comment, but to a leak. Sadler made her statement three days after Melania Trump kicked off her “Be Best” program, promoting kindness in children.

Chief of staff John Kelly is also taking some heat from the media. Trying to gain DDT’s support after calling him an “idiot,” Kelly went on NRP to lambaste immigrants from Mexico because they are poorly educated, don’t speak English, come from rural areas, and cannot assimilate into society. Unfortunately for Kelly, genealogical researcher Monica Pattangall researched his family tree. Seven of Kelly’s eight great-grandparents immigrated to the U.S., and three of Kelly’s four great-grandfathers were unskilled workers. The fourth was a cooper. They came to the United States because they wanted a better future for themselves and their children. Great-grandfather Giuseppe Pedalino could not read, write, or speak English, and great-grandfather John Marco also did not speak English for at least ten years. Marco and his second wife, who could not speak English for over 30 years, lived with their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren, one of them the chief of staff’s mother. Kelly’s family has all the characteristics that he doesn’t want in immigrants, but he became the top aide to the man elected as president of the United States. Kelly also claims that women are more emotional than men, ironic considering his bosses temperament of his boss, and wanted the ex-wives of then-White House staff Secretary Rob Porter to talking about their abuse.

After almost total silence for other a year, First Lady Melania Trump launched “Be Best,” her program to help the vulnerable children. “Children deserve every opportunity to enjoy their innocence,” Ms. Trump. She expresses a concern about the well-being of children and released a booklet complete with her photograph—that was copied from a 2014 Federal Trade Commission pamphlet by President Obama and his wife, Michelle, called, “Talking to Your Kids.” Melania Trump fought back against the criticism with a statement against what she called “baseless accusations” on “a day meant to promote kindness and positive efforts on behalf of children.

On the same day that she touted kindness to children, AG Jeff Sessions announced that ICE will separate every family who tries to cross the border, including ripping infants and toddlers away from their mothers. Last fall, HHS discovered that they had lost almost 1,500 children that ICE had taken from their parents. As if that wasn’t enough cruelty to children, on the same day DDT asked Congress to shred the $9 billion Children’s Health Insurance Program by $7 billion, removing almost 80 percent of funding earmarked for children living close to poverty in the United States.

Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning has a different perspective on immigrants and took the opportunity of her award acceptance at the White House to hand letters from her students to DDT. She teaches English in Spokane (WA) to refugee and immigrant high school students when they first arrive in the United States. She wrote in her application:

“In the current political climate, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee rhetoric is rampant. As soon as my students arrive, they are afraid they will have to leave. Most of my students come to the U.S. seeking safety, but they don’t always feel safe here. This makes it hard for them to share and learn from others….

I am here for refugee and immigrant students, for the kids in the gay-straight alliance, and for all the girls.”

The letters expressed their feelings of happiness to contribute to their new country and the shame of having from the nation’s leader speaking poorly of them. During her acceptance appearance, Manning wore activist pins for LGBTQ, trans, and women’s rights. In his speech, DDT refuted Manning’s message by talking about the importance of teaching CITIZENS (in all caps on the teleprompter) instead of Manning’s students.

Another ICE tactic is stealing money. Six months ago, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) took over $41,000 in cash without a civil asset forfeiture case from a U.S. citizen who saved the money for years for a medical clinic in Nigeria. They refuse to return the money until she agrees not to sue them for taking her money. Taking money from innocent people is so prevalent that state and local governments take billions of dollars from people without charging them with crimes.

Perhaps DDT should have kept his former HHS Secretary Tom Price. Now Price is agreeing with the CBO that repealing the health care mandate “drives up the cost for other folks within that market.” DDT’s policies are also driving up the number of people without health insurance.

Much was made of the 49 questions that investigator Robert Mueller wanted to asked DDT. DDT tweeted, “No questions on Collusion,” but he ignored the one about cooperation between the Russian government and DDT’s campaign. Largely ignored, however, is that DDT’s lawyer Jay Sekulow wrote them. The questions are listed here.

People may be pleased that Cambridge Analytica, the software company that helped DDT win electoral votes, is no more. The closure, however, can only benefit the company: it registered the new company, Emerdata Limited, last year and now can no longer be sued.

“Trade wars are good and easy to win,” according to DDT, except when they aren’t. Caught up in global hostility toward him, DDT has postponed more tariffs against steel and aluminum. Details here.

DDT’s personal physician Harold Bornstein, fed up with DDT, stated that DDT personally dictated the 2015 letter ostensibly from Bornstein to praise DDT’s fantastic good health. The letter came after DDT consistently attacked his opponent, Hillary Clinton, with the statement that she wasn’t healthy enough to be president because he will do anything to win anything. Borstein told the story after DDT’s longtime bodyguard raided the doctor’s office and took all DDT records with no signed form or request from DDT and told Bornstein to take down a picture of Bornstein and DDT.

DDT’s tweet that threatened to remove credentials from the press came immediately after Fox & Friends said he should do just that. During his campaign, DDT said he would never remove credentials, but his mind now equates negative news with his concept of “fake news.”

Any infrastructure plan has died as all its supporters have left the White House.

Louisiana may start a trend of increasing the number of the homeless by moving old people out of nursing homes. Letters went out to 37,000 Medicaid recipients, 20,000 of them in nursing homes, telling them that they could lose their benefits. The closure of nursing homes could also leave 25,000 people unemployed. In the richest country in the world, the wealthy and huge corporations are gaining trillions of dollars from the GOP tax cut while old people are turned out on the streets.

Only Charlotte (NC) is admitting that it is willing to host the 2020 GOP convention; several of the others have rejected the event because of concerns about violence and security concerns.

Drugs stocks shot upward this past week after DDT broke another campaign promise to lower drug costs. DDT already put a drug company executive in charge of Department of Health and Human Services and now announced that he won’t permit Medicare to negotiate prices. He claimed that he would lower drug costs by encouraging use of generic prescriptions that often don’t work as well as the original, promoting competition in pricing, calling on other countries to increase their prices—in short, doing nothing about skyrocketing prices that are gouging patients. Pharmaceutical companies have benefited from the $26 million they spent last year in lobbying to keep their high prices.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), told Supreme Court justices considering retirement that they should immediately announce so that the current Senate can replace that person before the November midterm election. He seems to be concerned that Democrats would use GOP tactics to hold up confirmation hearings for GOP nominations.

Believe it or not, to be continued!

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