Nel's New Day

January 12, 2020

The Messiah Keeps Failing

Televangelist Jim Bakker told his audience that “Trump is a test whether you’re even saved. Only saved people can love Trump.” Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has now been raised to the level of Jesus. Here are a few of this week’s actions connected to the evangelists’ new Messiah.

Taxpayers have funded the DOJ for over two years to investigate the conspiracy theory regarding corrupt in the Clinton Foundation The inquiry to satisfy conservatives is over. The investigation found nothing in contrast to the discovery of massive corruption in DDT’s “charity” foundation. It’s the 1990s all over—nothing there. Now DDT is hoping for “better” results from the DOJ investigation into the origins of the FBI’s 2016 examination into a tie between DDT’ campaign and Russia.

DDT’s fixer, AG Bill Barr, may be the subject of an investigation after the New York City Bar Association asked Congress to investigate Barr for making the DOJ and its prosecutors as “political partisans willing to use the levers of government to empower certain groups over others.” Barr has spoken about the progressives’ “campaign to destroy the traditional moral order” and promised to use the DOJ to resist “forces of secularization.” He criticized DAs from large cities “who style themselves as ‘social justice’ reformers, who spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook, and refusing to enforce the law,” according to a letter from 450 450 former federal prosecutors working in GOP and Democratic administrations.” Barr also misrepresented DOJ reports to protect DDT and manipulated the agency for the same end.

After DDT gave states permission to take Medicaid coverage from people who don’t meet work requirements, several red states took advantage of another way to punish the poor. Now, six states—Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, and Virginia—have reversed or suspended these increased restrictions because of legal challenges and coverage losses. Maine governor Janet Mills said that more people were uninsured with no greater participation in the workforce. Arizona cited “the evolving national landscape.” Kentucky has a new Democratic governor, Andy Beshear, who campaign against the new work plan, protecting health coverage for almost 100,000 low-income state residents. Michigan’s new Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, urged a reversal of the work requirement which could cause up to 183,000 Michiganders to lose coverage because of its highly restrictive statute. Arkansas may be take coverage from people who should be exempt by their law because almost 25 percent of the target population lost coverage in the first seven months and work requirements haven’t helped people find jobs. Federal courts have already vacated work requirement waivers in three states because they fail to meet the central objective of Medicaid.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin wants to keep hiding how taxpayer money is being spend on DDT when he leaves the White House and on DDT’s family—at least after the 2020 election. This agreement with Congress is connected to Mnuchin’s attempt to move the Secret Service DHS to Treasury. DDT complained about the $96 million cost for President Obama’s travel in eight years, an amount possibly equaled during DDT’s first year. The White House has refused to divulge any travel expenses for over two years.

DDT may have been able to pardon possible war criminal retired Army Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn before his murder trial, but Lt. Gen. Francis M. Beaudette, commander of U.S. Army Special Operations, won’t reinstate Goldsteyn’s Special Forces tab. The decision now goes to an administrative panel who will also consider reinstatement of Golsteyn’s Distinguished Service Cross.

E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against DDT after his insults about her charges of sexual assault may continue, and a judge okayed the discovery process. DDT had said he was innocent because Carroll isn’t his “type.”

Gerrymandering is one of the reasons that Republicans have taken over the majority of states and then elected DDT through the Electoral College. Although the Supreme Court sometimes blocks gerrymandering if it’s based on racial reasons, the conservative justices will support gerrymandering if Republicans rig the system for the GOP. One person proving the lengths to which Republicans go has released a cache of computer information to show how her deceased father, Thomas Hofeller, drew a vast quantity of maps to make all districts easier for Republicans to win, often to take voting rights from minorities. Stephanie Hofeller has now posted all the files she has on the website thehofellerfiles.com, linking to a Google Drive of Hofeller’s emails and documents tied to his gerrymandering work.

Some of the files went public earlier through court filings and news reports, and Stephanie Hofeller already released a document connected to DDT’s failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the Census, another method of trying to add GOP districts to control states’ legislatures, House membership, and the presidential election. Hofeller’s 2015 studies shows that adding the question “would be advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.” That discovery caused justices to block the question on the Census.

After Stephanie Hofeller discovered her father had died, she collected his belongings, including hard drives and USB sticks. She gave them to the government watchdog Common Cause that used the information in a North Carolina case about the state illegally drawing districts to favor Republicans. 

Common Cause won its case last fall, a case that may influence anti-gerrymandering lawsuits in other states. Thirteen state Constitutions require elections to be “free and equal,” five more require them to be “free and open,” and eleven others require them to be “free,” offering significant opportunities for other state Constitutional challenges to partisan.” North Carolina legislature is required to redistrict much of the state Senate and House maps with the requirements that they have fairly equal populations, be contiguous and compact, and stick to county groupings. In addition, districts must consider existing municipal boundaries and not consider race. The ruling also mandates compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act.  

Unfortunately, the court told the GOP General Assembly to draw new maps which were still biased for Republicans. Soon after, the Wake County Superior Court ordered the start of candidate filing. Because dates for the primary elections could not be changed, the current gerrymandered districts be used for the 2020 elections.

Losing a question about citizenship on the Census, DDT has persuaded DHS to share government data so that the Census Bureau can get this information for everyone in the U.S. His goal is to redraw districts based on the number of eligible voters instead of residents, as required by the Constitution. This method would also benefit Republicans and non-Hispanic white people. DHS is releasing information that cannot be obtained with the person’s consent or a waiver from the DHS secretary. Latinx community groups are suing the administration because of DDT’s new plan. Another reason for lawsuits is that the process may not produce accurate data.

DDT is still on the campaign trail, and his speeches keep getting longer with more lies. At over two hours, the December 18 speech had 120 fact-free declarations, 67 percent of the total statements. In his most recent speech, DDT focused on lies about Iran and Ohio’s economy. He’s still calling for the audience to chant “lock her up” about Hillary Clinton, apparently not understanding that she is not a 2020 presidential candidate.

DDT is refusing to comply with a court order to release 40 pages of emails between Robert Blair, top aide to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and a member of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, about the freeze on Ukraine’s congressionally mandated military aid package. The 300 pages of emails already released show the growing tension between the Pentagon and the White House in late August and early September.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is calling for changes to the Senate impeachment rules, a pattern that the Republicans have used for all their wins when they are in the majority. Chances of changes are unlikely because 67 votes are necessary for revising rules amenable to Republicans. By now DDT wants to cancel the impeachment trial. His tweets today show that he’s increasingly obsessed with impeachment, moving closer to panic.

Disappointment at the low December job increase of 145,000 caused the stock markets to drop. The average monthly jobs gains for 2019 were 176,000, a drop from 223,000 in 2018. Average hourly earnings rose by a mere 0.1 percent in December to make the annual increase 2.9 percent. This increase is approximately equivalent to inflation, and much of it comes from minimum wage increases in a few states. Economists say wages are not growing as fast as they should be, especially for those who aren’t seeing a boost from state and local minimum wage increases.

More jobs were created in the last 34 months of the Obama Administration (7.7 million or 227,000/month on average) than the first 34 months of the Trump Administration (6.1 million or 178,000/month on average through November 2019. This total is the smallest since 2011.

August 16, 2015

‘End Times’ Guide Religious Direction

Former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is framing the Iran deal in terms of the Bible, claiming that the UN vote to approve the Iran deal fulfills the prophecy of Zechariah 12:3 that all the nations of the world will unite against Israel, “with the United States leading that charge.” According to Bachmann, God and “heaven’s armies” will use groups like AIPAC to defeat the deal in Congress and in doing so “prove to the world His power and His strength.” She added that people are lucky to be living in these dark times because the world will soon come to an end.

John Hagee concurs, explaining fundamentalist Christian love for Israel with the belief  that Israel is connected to the Christian belief of End Times. Like ISIS, these Christians think that we’re nearing the time when the Rapture will take all those faithful up to heaven while the rest of us burn down below. In 2011, Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL), said that if “we stop helping Israel, we lose God’s hand and we’re in big time trouble.” This week, Hagee said:

“God could care less about what we say about Russia, about China, about Iran, but when we as a nation take a stand against Israel, God will take a stand against us.”

A pop-upon Hagee’s website this week states, “Bibi [Netanyahu] Did His Job. Now We Must Do Ours.” Since 2001, his foundation has donated over $58 million to hard-right Israeli organizations, and Christian Zionists have paid millions of dollars for Jews to immigrate to Israel. Over 60 percent of white evangelicals believe that at least half of world Jewry must be in the Land of Israel for the End Times to proceed, and 77 percent of evangelicals think that they are living in the End Times as do 40 percent of all people in the U.S.

Jim Bakker, the televangelist who went to prison for bilking over 152,000 of his flock, is back with a new scam—selling gear and food to survive the End Times. Hoping to instill even more fear from the projected End Times, he advertises:

“New York, Chicago, all of your big cities, will be Hell. The gangs will take what they want. They will kill to take what they want. Then they will start eating bodies of the people they kill.”

This past week he talked about the End Times with Rick Wiles, who has his own issues:

“Add it up: Bird flu is killing tens of millions of chickens and turkeys, a mysterious virus is killing millions of piglets, a mysterious colony-collapse disorder is killing billions of honeybees, California is in the throes of a mega-drought unlike anything seen in over 1,200 years. Why? The answer is very simple: America is in a state of rebellion against almighty God.”

Wiles has had a good talk with God:

“He said, ‘America has dealt treacherously with me as a treacherous wife.’ And He said, ‘She wants what’s beautiful and good and then she began to commit adultery with other men and I forgave her, and she did it again and I forgave her, and she did it again and I forgave her, and she did it again and I forgave her. But now she’s committing homosexual sex with another woman and I cannot look at her anymore.’ He said, ‘I can’t even look at her, she’s not my wife anymore. The divorce is final.’ He told me that on the day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, God went to court too and he got a divorce.”

Bryan Fischer joined Wiles in lambasting same-sex couples through his complaint about their trying to adopt children. Somehow he managed to compare forcing to do things against their will to slavery, ending with the “homosexual lobby” trying to bring “slavery back to the Confederate States of America.” Even if anyone could follow his irrational pretzeling, why would he think that racists in the former Confederacy wouldn’t want a return to slavery?

Rafael Cruz, Christian father of wannabe “Christian” president Ted Cruz is also agonizing about his loss of freedoms. Liberty is important to the elder Cruz because he escaped the Batista regime in Cuba, and he wants everyone here to know how freedom is being taken from us. On the Jan Mickelson show, he listed examples of our lost free will: our ability to buy incandescent light bulbs and our preference of toilet seat is gone. Another myth from Cruz is that the Clean Air Act will regulate the puddles in our own backyard: two mistakes—it’s the Clean Water Act, and it’s not happening. The younger Cruz is equally wacky; he’s claimed that the UN wants to close down all the golf courses in the United States. Racism, uncontrollable gun ownership, healthcare, income inequality, crumbling infrastructure, climate change, lack of food and water aren’t worth a mention, but don’t take away preferred Cruz’s toilet seat.

The War on Christmas has started four months before the actual holiday. Elizabeth Hasselbeck, conservative reject of The View, fired the first salvo from her current position on Fox and Friends when she addressed the story of how people asked for the move of the nativity scene in Belen (NM) from public to private property. The mayor will use taxpayers’ money to go to court because the town is named after Bethlehem. Fox is most likely looking forward to its one-sided “war” after losing the one against Donald Trump.

Outdoing all these ridiculous religious views, however, is this story. The Family Council Action Committee is presenting its first annual “Power of Courage” award to Arkansas state Rep. Justin Harris and another state legislator, Rep. Charlene Fite. Earlier this year Harris “rehomed”—aka gave away—two adopted daughters to a sex offender who then raped the six-year-old daughter. That was after Harris and his wife tried to exorcize the three-year-old and six-year-old girls. FCA’s press release praises the two lawmakers because they “demonstrated courage by standing strong in faith when situations were tough at the State Capitol and they did so with grace. They are consistently models of their Christian values in their homes, their communities, and their churches.” The press release made no mention of Harris’ behavior other than he won’t be seeking reelection.

The Arkansas Times was careful to point out that this news was not satire because it could come straight out of The Onion. The award was to have been presented at an event headlined by GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) until the organizers, the Crawford County Republican Party, asked FCA not to do this at this event.

Despite hate messages from radically-right Christians, the world of religion has some good news this week. Muslim leaders plan to issue a call next week to protect the planet and demand that Islamic followers help the environment. They are taking the same position that Pope Francis has espoused—that humans are stewards assigned to care for the Earth and leave it “a better place than we found it.”

Georgians in the 80th state house district has overturned tradition by electing a Democrat in a district that voted for Mitt Romney by a 56-43 margin. In a special election, Taylor Bennett won the seat over Max Davis by 55 to 45 points, despite spending only one-third as much as his opponent. The winning Bennett ran on his opposition to a proposed “religious freedom restoration act” and talked about his lesbian mother and sister.

The best religious quote of the week comes from Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ):

Cory Booker

Glenn Beck makes me proud to be from Oregon. Number One of the 15 worst cities in the United States (to quote Beck, “avoid like the plague when things go bad”) is Portland. The remainder are, in order, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Phoenix, St. Petersburg (FL), Columbus (OH), Detroit, Boston, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Las Vegas, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Washington, DC, and St. Louis.

[Chuck Todd update: After Todd interviewed Donald Trump on Meet the Press, his conservative panel concentrated on bashing Trump. No one pointed out that the same criticisms, such as Trump not directly answering questions, are also true of other GOP candidates. Or the fact that both Chris Christie and Rand Paul already said that they want to rescind automatic citizenship for everyone born in the U.S. Todd consistently interrupted Trump but treated Ben Carson with great courtesy. Bernie Sanders, another interview subject, had to disabuse Todd of the notion that he and Trump are alike. The husband of a staff member for Democratic candidate Jim Webb, Todd praised Jeb Bush for his speech at the Iowa State Fair but trashed Hillary Clinton, providing the conservative press with several criticisms for the Democratic candidate. Todd is at least consistent in his openness to endorse candidates while trying to keep up a pretense of being a journalist.]

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