Nel's New Day

November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving Gratitude for Government Actions

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

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

Elections:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The judge added:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congress:

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

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

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

President Joe Biden:

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

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

Jason Easley and Sarah Jones wrote about gratitude for Biden:

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

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

Easley and Jones described Biden’s leadership:

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

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

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

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

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

November 14, 2022

News Avoiding the Election, Mostly

Great news for Arizona and democracy! Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, endorsed by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), lost her election to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Bad news for Arizona: after the losses of her and two other major DDT candidates, Mark Finchem for secretary of state and Blake Masters for U.S. senator, election liars may try to burn the state down. DDT wants an entire new election for the state because Democrats won some of the races, and some of the losers refuse to concede, saying that they will ensure that they win. With a little over 100,000 ballots still to be counted, Kris Mayes is only 3,000 votes ahead of GOP Abe Hamadeh, another DDT election liar who can bring lawsuits for the state.

In a three-hour face-to-face meeting, President Joe Biden and Chinese President XI Jinping looked for ways to work together. Biden said there will be no “new Cold War” and believes China has no imminent plans to invade Taiwan. The leaders were in Bali for the G20 summit, and the meeting came after months of quiet negotiations. Biden asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken to follow up on the discussion in Beijing as part of a long process to thaw a tense relationship. Biden kept DDT’s tariffs and restricted selling semiconductors and chip-making equipment to China.

For the first time, Xi warned against nuclear weapons in Russia’s war when he met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a clear signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin. A Chinese senior official said on the condition of anonymity:

“I think there is undeniably a discomfort in Beijing about what we’ve seen in terms of reckless rhetoric and activity on the part of Russia. I think it is also undeniable that China is probably both surprised and a little bit embarrassed by the conduct of Russian military operations.”

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was absent for part of the summit after he was taken to the hospital for a heart problem. He said he is fine. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), possibly the biggest liar in the Senate, feels that Biden is compromised by China. No evidence, just a “feeling.”

The House January 6 investigative committee may subpoena the phone records of Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward according to a Supreme Court ruling. She had claimed the request for her phone records violated the First Amendment. The committee requested call records, phone numbers, text messages, and IP addresses communicating with Ward’s number between November 2020 to January 2021 when she was connected to the scam of an Arizona alternate electors’ slate to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.      

Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented from the decision without explanation. Thomas’ wife, Ginni Thomas, had taken part of the attempted coup by writing 29 Arizona lawmakers, urging them to choose “a clean slate of electors” instead of the state electors pledged to Biden in support of the popular vote. Ward and her husband were “fake electors” from Arizona, lying about the 2020 presidential election in their state. Both the state district court and the 9th Circuit Court disagreed with Ward’s arguments, one of the three-judge panel a DDT appointee.

Ginni Thomas is working on another coup, this one to get rid of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for congressional leaders. She joined almost 60 far-right politicians, some of them like Thomas investigated by the House January 6 investigative committee, in signing a letter to delay the choice of GOP leadership in the 118th Congress.  The American Independent’s senior political reporter Emily C. Singer called it a “who’s who of insurrection supporting Republicans.”

A DDT-supported federal judge in the U.S. District Court for D.C. dismissed a year-old lawsuit by Mark Meadows, DDT’s former chief of staff, to block the House investigative committee to subpoena him. He will likely appear and run the clock out to the end of the 117th Congress, but the ruling is a precedent for many other suits in the same court. Meadows was on the telephone when DDT tried to persuade Georgia election officials to “find” sufficient votes for his victory and with DDT on January 6, 2021 when insurrections illegally entered the Capitol.

A federal judge blocked attempts by Rudy Giuliani to dismiss a lawsuit brought by two Georgia election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. Giuliani’s accusation of election fraud by the mother/daughter pair caused serious threats and harassment against them; Freeman even had to leave her home for months. Giuliani had falsified a video for his lies.

The Senate returns next week, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), also elected for that position in the 118th Congress, scheduled a Wednesday vote on the bill to codify the right to same-gender and interracial marriage. Democratic leader Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) said she thinks the bill has the 60 votes to overcome a filibuster and has reached an agreement on “commonsense” changes to protect religious freedom with Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ, and Thom Tillis (R-NC). In July, almost 50 House Republicans joined Democrats to pass the bill.  

When Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) politely protested Elon Musk’s allowing Twitter impersonation of him—and many others—Musk responded by saying Marky’s own account “sounds like a parody.” Marky tweeted back:

“One of your companies is under an FTC consent decree. Auto safety watchdog NHTSA is investigating another for killing people. And you’re spending your time picking fights online. Fix your companies. Or Congress will.”

A fake tweet from Eli Lilly about free insulin in a supposedly verified account brought outrage after Lilly’s “apology” that it was false, including from a parody imitating Lilly:

“We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Lilly account about the cost of diabetic care. Humalog is now $400. We can do this whenever we want and there’s nothing you can do about it. Suck it. Our official Twitter account is @LiIlyPadCo.”

About 37.3 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and 8.4 million need insulin to survive. To manufacture, a vial costs under $10, but Lilly’s list price is $274.70, the generic at $82.41. Most people on insulin require 2-3 vials a month so at least 1.3 million people risk their lives by rationing their insulin. The Inflation Reduction Act caps insulin out-of-pocket costs at $35 per month for Medicare participants, but Republicans blocked all other price caps.  

In the midst of ballot-counting, the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel released the newly declassified summary of a joint interview with George W. Bush and his VP Dick Cheney regarding the September 11 attacks. Members of the 9/11 Commission, did not record the event on April 29, 2004, and the released summary document is the only official record, a “memorandum for the record.”

Bush evidenced no sense about the death and destruction set free by his global war; the interview was at the same time as a massive insurgency in Iraq against a U.S. occupation which would kill thousands of U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Seeing the first plane hit the World Trade Center, he thought what a terrible pilot. When his chief of staff Andy Card told him the U.S. was under attack, he stayed in the classroom where he had been reading My Pet Goat to children. He tried to “collect his thoughts” and decided he should “project calm and strength.”

Communications equipment kept failing, including the secure phone line between Bush and Cheney. Bush couldn’t find Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and complained about not having “good television” on Air Force One. Cheney was responsible for authorizing the military to shoot down civilian aircraft. Bush also claimed he didn’t know anything about Saudi nationals receiving permission to leave the country after 9/11.

Bush said he got no “actionable intelligence” About Osama Bin Laden and preparation for hijackings or other attacks in the U.S. and claimed CIA Director George Tenet said “the threat was overseas.” Cheney criticized congressional oversight of covert operations, especially by the CIA, because it weakened the agency. To make the U.S. less vulnerable to attack, Bush said, “We had to kill them before they kill us.” Working with Putin was important to use U.S. military and intelligence of bases in central Asia.

Inflation dropped to an annual rate of 7.7 percent in October, down a half percent. The biggest inflationary contributors were shelter, gasoline, and food, the first two items raising historic profits for companies. Buyers will find less inflation in used cars prices, household supplies, clothing and accessories, household gas, and some food items.

Biden gave all veterans and Gold Star families lifetime passes to national parks.

New drugs could restore a woman’s period using the same medication as used in medical abortion, misoprostol or in combination with mifepristone. The process might not be classified as abortion because the woman doesn’t know whether she is pregnant. Misoprostol is also used for gastric ulcers in nonpregnant people but have become more difficult to obtain because of its connection to abortions. The courts, however, have described abortion as related to “knowledge of a confirmed pregnancy” or “intent to end a confirmed pregnancy.” Menstrual regulation doesn’t rely on a confirmed pregnancy, and no states ban or restrict this regulation with an unknown pregnancy status.

October 18, 2022

News Bits – October 18, 2022

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is driving the media while President Joe Biden quietly works toward peace in the world. One of his recent accomplishments is negotiating an agreement between Israel and Lebanon to identify their maritime boundary. At war since 1948, the two countries have sometimes had military conflict, most recently in 2006, partly because of their lack of internationally recognized borders on land and on sea, a problem especially because of the large natural gas fields off their coasts. Progress was difficult because the countries’ officials refused to be in the same room, and Lebanon does no recognize Israel as a country.

Amos J. Hochstein, presidential coordinator for energy security, began diplomacy at the beginning of the year, commuting between Tel Aviv to Beirut through a third country because Israel and Lebanon have no direct air of road links.  He used the approach of how both countries could safeguard their vital interests, and both made concessions. Both sides called the deal “historic” as former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, trying to regain power in the November 1 election, said it was a “disgraceful surrender.” DDT’s former negotiator also attacked the agreement. With the countries at war, this agreement was more remarkable than DDT’s Abraham Accord in which three Arab states—the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco—recognized Israel because the three countries weren’t at war with Israel. Proof that diplomacy pays.

The federal website to apply for relief from student debt opened on October 17, an act that could directly help 43 million people in the U.S. and others connected to them as debt relief frees up family resources. Within a day, over 8 million people completed the application requiring five minutes.

Thanks to another Biden action, people can also save as much as $3,000 with hearing aids now available over the counter.

Earlier this month, Biden issued restrictions on selling semiconductors and chip-making equipment to China, blocking them from critical technologies from supercomputing to guiding weapons. The purpose is to delay Chinese military programs for nuclear blasts, hypersonic weapons, and surveillance. Companies selling advanced chips and chip-making equipment will need a special license given out on a case-by-case procedure.

After Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Hondo plans to build a $4.2 billion electric vehicle battery plant forty miles from Columbus (OH), creating 2,200 manufacturing jobs. Since Biden’s inauguration, the U.S. has added 620,000 manufacturing jobs. By August 2020, DDT had lost 237,000 manufacturing jobs among the total 3.1 million jobs that disappeared during his four years.

Republicans voted against Biden’s infrastructure bills, calling them “socialist,” but returned home to take credit for the funding given to their states. Biden’s response: “I didn’t know there were that many socialist Republicans.”

Fox network continually searches for ways to shame Biden. A recent one is Biden’s telling his son Hunter Biden that he loves him when Hunter was struggling with drug addiction. Sean Hannity played a private voicemail Biden left for Hunter in which Biden first expressed his love for his son and then said, “You gotta get some help. I don’t know what to do. I know you don’t either.” Hannity asked people to “imagine how the mob and the media” would cover the situation if DDT expressed the same sentiment. Maybe with some appreciation for the man?

Biden has never tried to hide his son’s addiction and isn’t embarrassed about loving his children. Yet Hannity whines about “attacks” on Herschel Walker, GOP candidate for Georgia’s U.S. Senate, the man who rejected his three illegitimate children, incessantly lied, considered killing a man in road rage, and threatened to kill his wife and another son. Oh yes, and denied paying for his girlfriend’s abortion and claimed not to know her, the mother of one of his children.

New discoveries about the past administration:

In its third installment, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis report specified DDT’s administrative undermining “the scientific integrity of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) coronavirus response in an attempt to serve the former President’s political goals.” The first installment addressed DDT’s attachment to the deadly “herd immunity via mass infection strategy,” and the second gave evidence of his high pressure campaigns on the CDC COVID decision-making and change scientific reasons. Part of Chairman James Clyburn’s (D-SC) statement:

“The previous administration engaged in an unprecedented campaign of political interference in the federal government’s pandemic response, which undermined public health to benefit the former president’s political goals… President Trump and his top aides repeatedly attacked CDC scientists, compromised the agency’s public health guidance, and suppressed scientific reports in an effort to downplay the seriousness of the coronavirus. This prioritization of politics, contempt for science, and refusal to follow the advice of public health experts harmed the nation’s ability to respond effectively to the coronavirus crisis and put Americans at risk.”

The report contains details of the above statement as well as how DDT used the pretense of a virus spread to close the southern border in the Title 42 order and blackmailed CDC into wasting hundreds of millions of dollars from its budget for DDT’s celebrity vanity campaign leading up to the November 2020 election. CDC said that accurate scientific advice to the public would have stopped some of the COVID deaths.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/10/17/trump-secret-service-hotel-rates-records/     Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, has records proving the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service agents assigned to protect him “exorbitant rates”—up to $1,185 per night—to stay at his properties, amounting to $1.4 million over four years. DDT promised that federal employees traveling with him would stay at his properties “free” or “at cost,” but DDT’s business charged the Secret Service over the government rate at least 40 times from January 2027 to September 2021. Some of the charges were for DDT’s family as in the nightly rate of $1,160 at the Washington, D.C. Trump hotel to protect Eric Trump when he promoted a golf tournament at the Trump National Golf Club.

During his term, DDT visited his own properties over 500 times and continues to take security with him after he left the White House. (To make John Malone, DDT supporter and board member of CNN’s parent company Warner Bros, happy, CNN tried to show that Biden took off more time than DDT but deflated DDT’s days off work and playing golf without discussing DDT’s expenditures in the article.) 

Maloney wrote to Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle, demanding a full accounting of what taxpayers have paid DDT’s business in the past and continue to pay. Cheatle replaces DDT-appointee James Murray who retired under a scandal of missing text message during the January 6 insurrection when the 27-year veteran of the agency returned from her job as senior director at PepsiCo North America overseeing facilities, personnel, and business continuity. Since her return, over one million texts and cellphone messages appeared.

In another probe, the House January 6 investigative committee is asking Cheatle about contacts between Secret Service agents and members of the far-right Oath Keepers group. Court testimony has revealed that Oath Keepers, including leader Stewart Rhodes, claimed to be in contact with the agents before the rallies, one of them giving advice on what weapons they could take to the rally.

In the second and last trial by John Durham, the special counsel investigating the special counsel Robert Mueller probing Russian interference into DDT’s 2016 campaign, the defendant has been acquitted of lying to the FBI about his sources. Appointed by AG Bill Barr before the 2020 election, Durham’s claims about private researcher Igor Danchenko for the Steele dossier about DDT’s Russian connections lacked evidence. During the hearing, Durham became confrontational and aggressive with his own witnesses, FBI counterintelligence supervisor and agent, who described Danchenko as a trusted source of information on Russian influence.

Durham’s first trial led also to an acquittal, and no one else is charged from Durham’s probe, his grand jury is inactive, and Durham will likely be pressured to wrap up his work after failing to achieve DDT’s claim of discovering “the crime of the century.”

The FBI promised Danchenko he would be protected by keeping his identity secret, but DDT’s allies exposed him. A witness testified that AG Bill Barr damaged national security when he gave a declassified redacted report of his interview with Danchenko to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who shared it with the world in an attempt to prove the corruption of the Russian investigation.

New Jersey is suing five major oil and gas companies and a leading fossil fuel lobby group for knowingly lying to the public about the existence of climate change and the role their products play in exacerbating human-caused global heating as far back as the 1970s. Dozens of states and cities have already filed similar lawsuits against fossil fuel corporations. New Jersey’s lawsuit is on the tenth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy which killed 38 people in the state and caused about $30 billion in damage.

Two strange stories from last summer. Deutsche Telkom AG, parent company of T-Mobile, trademarked the color magenta, declaring ownership over them and banning any other business from using them, after making them synonymous with a brand. And only 1,867 solid Pantone colors exist, and pink is already taken by Owens-Corning followed by green-gold by Qualitex. Etc. Trademarks must be renewed every ten years. Ohio University has also trademarked the word “THE,” covering “clothing, namely, t-shirts, baseball caps and hats; all of the foregoing being promoted, distributed, and sold through channels customary to the field of sports and collegiate athletics.”

It’s a crazy world.

October 9, 2022

News – October 9, 2022 (Some Hopeful)

Twenty miles from Fort Myers (FL) where multitudes of homes were destroyed, a 4,600-resident model community at Babcock Ranch, a 100-percent solar-powered built-to-code storm-resilient town, suffered only ripped pool coverage, broken fence posts, downed trees, and a few missing shingles. It didn’t even lose power. Structures are on land 25 feet higher on average than surrounding communities, and buildings are specified for Category 4 hurricane winds of 145 mph. Drinking water wasn’t contaminated and never shut off from the water system and wastewater plant deep into an underground aquifer. The 700,000 solar panels owned by Florida Power & Light covering 900 acres suffered little damage. Population of the town is expected to grow to 50,000 with six million square feet of commercial space. Houses can be expensive, but some of them start about $300,000. Sadly, Florida will probably rebuild on the beaches with no regulations, and people will again be destroyed in another hurricane.

President Joe Biden’s administration has reunited 500 children separated by the zero tolerance border policy instated by former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). The number is almost half the goal of over 1,100 separated children returned to their parents. About 200 families are being processed, and another 150 contacted by the government haven’t responded. Reunited families may temporarily stay in the U.S., and parents separated from their children have work permits for three years. The program also provides mental health service through non-profits. Some children have not seen their parents for four years. The cases meet the definition of torture, according to a study, because “U.S. officials intentionally carried out actions causing severe pain and suffering in order to punish and intimidate mainly Central American asylum seekers to not pursue their asylum claims.”

Headlines have lambasted President Joe Biden’s job losses the past month from 315,000 to 263,000 jobs, “the slowest month of hiring in 18 months” (Fox), after his administration created 10 million jobs in the past 20 months. Yet increasing employment edged down to unemployment of 3.5 percent, and real economists are delighted with the overall picture, predicting no recession.

Compare Biden’s record to that of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) who promised 25 million new jobs in a decade but ended up with 3.1 fewer million jobs when he left office than when he came into office. People might blame the COVID problems, but he increased jobs by only 6.6 million in his first three years and then badly mismanaged COVID in his last year. DDT left office with the worst jobs record since Herbert Hoover in 1932. President Bill Clinton created 22.745 million jobs during his two terms followed by George W. Bush with 0.523 million new jobs in two terms.

In the 18 months since Biden’s rescue act, over 8 million people jobless in March 2021 now have jobs. Last year’s economy had its fastest growth since 1984, ending 2021 with a three-percent higher GDP than before the pandemic. Unfortunately, a hot economy also kicked off a higher inflation rate exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine, higher prices for huge big business profits, and now the OPEC’s cut in oil production. People had money, and their purchases drove up prices. The Federal Reserve started to drive down prices by raising interest rates which angered people who want both low prices and low interest rates.

In one way to lower costs for people, Biden is tackling “junk fees,” the hidden costs from overdrafts on a bank account to terminating cellphone contracts early, usually impacting low-income people the most. The project goes through agencies controlling areas in which these fees predominate—banks, credit unions, debt collection, transportation, etc. For example, payments for credit card late fees fun $12 billion. Eliminating some of these fees may help problems with inflation. Some banks such as Capital One and Citibank have already done away with non-sufficient funds and overdraft fees. Wells Fargo dropped NSF fees but kept the overdraw ones after making $1 billion from January through September 2021.

Two states have delayed anti-abortion laws until litigation moves through the courts. One of the blocked laws is the 1864 anti-abortion legislation passed in Arizona passed during the Civil War, 48 years before Arizona became a state. In Ohio, a county judge blocked the state’s “heartbeat law,” eliminating any abortions after the law pretends an ultrasound noise at six weeks is an embryo’s heartbeat.

A dozen hypocritical Florida members of Congress joined both Florida senators and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to beg Republican Kay Granger (TX) for aid after Hurricane Ian despite their “no” votes on providing the assistance. At least one of them still stands by his “no” vote and praised his colleagues in the Florida delegation for the same action. Their objection is that other states could receive disaster assistance.

Republicans have continued their fury with the Democratic opposition to “trickle-down” economics, the theory that cutting taxes for the wealthy would allow them to hire more workers, a philosophy that failed for much of the 20th century and most recently failed in the 2017 GOP tax cuts for big business and the rich that financially benefited only these categories. Unfortunately, the good news of over 10 million jobs created since Biden’s inauguration and the increased buying power from congressional economic stimulus bills led to inflation and lower stock markets because business wasn’t prepared to provide goods and it raised prices for greater business profit.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott may have committed fraud by using federal COVID-19 relief funds for transporting migrants out of the state to northeastern U.S. as part of his anti-immigrant Operation Lone Star. In the 2021 regular session, Abbott persuaded the GOP legislature to approve $1.1 billion for border guards and their supplies but wanted more money. He called a special session to get for another $1.9 billion for another 1,800 guards/troopers and a border wall, Operation Steel Curtain. When Abbott reallocated funds from a number of agencies, he said nothing about using COVID funds and told them that “the agencies’ earlier appropriations have been fully funded with other sources.”

GOP legislators loudly shouted the word “socialism” for the new infrastructure law while grabbing the money and behind the scenes begging for funding before telling their constituents how they, who voted against the laws, are benefiting them. In one of dozens of requests, Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) attacked what he called “President Biden’s multi-trillion dollar socialist wish list” and wrote Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg about his support for the multimillion dollar grant to improve part of Highway 65 in his district. Emmer called it “a social justice measure.” Perhaps the most hypocritical and crazy congressional member, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) bitterly complained about the bill serving “the America Last’s socialist agenda” before writing three separate letters imploring for funding that would enhance quality of life with the projects he wants. Other congressional members—Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Reps. Elvira Salazar and Carlos Giménez (R-FL) Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), Rep. Ashley Hinson (IA), Rep. Marwayne Mullin (R-OK)—took the same approaches to smear the bill and pleading for money.

Republicans almost always take the opposite position of President Joe Biden in anything he does, but in the case of the president’s pardons for federal convictions of cannabis possession, they’ve gone off the radar. From the RNC and the congressional and senate committees, only silence. From Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), nothing. Just a couple of weak tweets about “soft on crime” from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), wannabe presidential candidate, and Fox network’s Laura Ingraham.

Last week for Tesla was the worst week since March 2020 when COVID was announced. Electric vehicle production and delivery numbers didn’t meet analysts’ expectations, over 21,000 short despite two new factories in Brandenburg (Germany) and Austin (TX). That was before Elon Musk posted his controversial solution to the Russian invasion that Ukraine should give them part of the Country that Russian president Vladimir Putin wants. Musk also said he was continuing his deal to buy Twitter but would charge cryptocurrency for posts.

Then Musk took China’s side against Taiwan for “peace reunification” in which China controls Taiwan—sort of like Musk recommended for Russia’s control of Taiwan. The response was the same as from Ukraine: Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to Washington, Hsiao Bi-khim answered, “Taiwan sells many products, but our freedom and democracy are not for sale.” Tesla has a large factory in China.

And an oldie but goodie from August. In McAllen (TX), an anti-LGBTQ church put on an unauthorized performance of the popular musical Hamilton that changed language to make it homophobic with its version of Christianity. One of the pastors lied about how “the Hamilton team” gave the church “the license to perform” their version, but Hamilton’s creators called them out on the falsehood. The pastor then admitted the church didn’t request or receive this permission and promised to destroy all images of the production, never stage it again, and pay damages. The pastor had depicted Alexander Hamilton, the first U.S. Treasury Secretary, as accepting Jesus Christ as his savior, and gave a sermon comparing homosexuality to drug use. Hamilton’s letters indicated his romantic feelings for his closest male friend, and the play’s creator Lin Miranda helped launch an initiative to support Florida’s Hispanic LGBTQ community. The money for damages goes to the South Texas Equality Project, a coalition of LGBTQIA+ organizations.

October 7, 2022

News for the Week – October 6, 2022

Hurricane Ian has passed, and the House January 6 investigative committee has scheduled a hearing for October 13 at 1:00 pm EST. They picked the time because Fox network refuses to film hearings during evening prime time.

Part of the right-wing Proud Boys’ inner circle, Jeremy Bertino of Belmont (NC), a longtime lieutenant of its chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, has pled guilty to seditious conspiracy. He may be a key witness against his five former colleagues, leaders with ties to influential supporters of former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). They face a December trial on charges including plotting to forcibly stop the presidential transition culminating in the January 6 insurrection. Five members of the Oath Keepers are already on trial for the same charge, and four members of the far-right group already pled guilty along with two other Proud Boys. Bertino’s guilty plea and illegal possession of firearms as a convicted felon could be punished by 51 to 63 months in prison. A search of his home revealed six firearms including two semiautomatic AR-15 style rifles with scopes.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), an occasional moderate, is leaving Congress within the next two months to become president of the University of Florida. The state’s GOP governor, Pete Ricketts, can fill the open seat through the 2024 election. Sasse’s term, his second, lasts through 2026, meaning the replacement would have only a two-year term before a reelection.

As in the past, DDT bashed Sasse, one of seven senators voting to convict DDT in his second impeachment. Conservative author Nick Adams posted that DDT should “buy a house in Nebraska and… [Nebraska] Governor Pete Ricketts should appoint President Donald J. Trump to the US Senate to replace Ben Sasse.” DDT has praised DDT for his Adams’ work, Retaking America: Crushing Political Correctness. DDT wrote on Truth Social that he is “looking forward to partnering with Nebraska’s great Republican Party to get a real senator … not another fake RINO.” A new governor in 2023 could appoint the term-limited Ricketts to replace Sasse.

Some of DDT’s gubernatorial candidates are so bad that GOP leaders support their Democratic opponents:

Kansas: Former Gov. Bill Graves is supporting Democratic incumbent Laura Kelly over state AG Derek Schmidt, who worked in Graves administration. Graves joins 160 other Kansas Republicans endorsing Kelly. Schmidt’s relationship with Republicans is so bad that GOP state senator Dennis Pyle is running against him as an independent. Since Kelly became governor, she balanced the budget, funded public schools, restored infrastructure projects, removed the food tax, and cut $1 billion in taxes while shattering records for new business investments and landed major economic development opportunities.

Michigan: Over 150 state Republicans launched a coalition of business leaders, former state lawmakers, and ex-congressman, and top staff from the GOP administrations of Gov. John Engler and Rick Snyder to support Democratic incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s reelection bid. The former head of the Michigan GOP is also part of the group

Pennsylvania: GOP leaders, including former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and former Allegheny County state Rep. Jim Kelly, announced they support AG Josh Shapiro running for governor against Doug Mastriano. Other GOP officials including two former congressmen, a former state House speaker, and a former lieutenant governor, added their endorsements.

In Maryland, Democratic Wes Moore is ahead of DDT’s gubernatorial choice Dan Cox by 32 percent to replace term-limited Republican Larry Hogan.  Massachusetts Dem candidate Maura Healy has a 99-percent chance to beat DDT’s gubernatorial choice, Geoff Diehl, replacing term-limited GOP Charlie Baker. In this year’s gubernatorial races, 17 lean GOP and 16 Democratic with three states in the middle, according to fivethirtyeight.com.  (Interactive map)

Gas prices going up? Blame Saudi Arabia, not President Joe Biden. Not only did OPEC cut oil supplies. but Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Aramco also bought the biggest oil refinery in the U.S. at Port Arthur (TX) in 2017. Aramco has full ownership of 24 distribution terminals and exclusive rights to sell Shell-branded gasoline and diesel in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, the eastern half of Texas and the majority of Florida.

Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, is consuming the media with a “on-again” position of buying Twitter after vacillating so long that he was headed for a trial on October 17 for trying to break the deal. Over six months ago, he offered to buy the company after he discovered he couldn’t make changes as a shareholder, limited to 15 percent of Twitter stocks. Since then he has badmouthed the company, driving down its shares by almost one-third at one time while offering to finalize the deal with a large drop in the original $44 billion he offered.

When the deal when completely sour, Twitter took Musk to court, but he didn’t want to be deposed and went back to the original agreement of $54.20 a share if the social media company dropped all litigation. Musk asked for additional time to put together financing because most of his assets are tied up with other companies such as Tesla. That company’s shares have dropped by one-third in the past six months, and Musk’s financial backers for Twitter have started to back out. The judge gave Musk until October 28 to finalize the deal. Earlier offering to sell for less, Twitter’s lawyers said that Musk’s “proposal is an invitation to further mischief and delay.”

Like DDT with his Truth Social, Musk has grandiose ideas for his business model—an all-purpose app for messaging, shopping, video gaming, and web browsing, similar to China’s WeChat app. He envies TikTok’s algorithm keeping users hooked and wants a creator-friendly platform focusing more on video. He even has a name, X—the everything app. In addition, Musk wants users to pay for each posted tweet with small amounts of the cryptocurrency DogeCoin and plans to allow DDT back on Twitter to move his QAnon conspiracies and calls for violence into the mainstream venue.

This week, Musk tweeted proposals for “Ukraine-Russia Peace”: give Russia the illegally annexed Crimea, stop Ukraine from joining NATO, ensure water supply to Ukraine, and ask the UN to run another set of referenda in eastern Ukraine allowing Russia to overtake the regions if Russia wins. Along with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelinsky, over 60 percent of the more than one million respondents disagreed, but Musk attributed the vote to the “biggest bot attack I’ve ever seen.” Tesla shares dropped 9 percent, and Musk lost $15 billion from his $252 billion but regained most of it after he said he was going through with the sale.

Buying Twitter means Musk takes on a lot of baggage. The company did win a Dutch case at The Hague in its claim that Twitter did enough by deleting lies spread by three men who claimed a Dutch town was the site of a satanic pedophile ring. Dozens of people “flocked to the municipality of 34,000 people to lay flowers and messages in a graveyard of so-called victims after conspiracy theorists latched on to the claims.”

Yet the U.S. Supreme Court will take up a case this term to determine whether tech platforms should be immune from punishment for harmful content posted by users. It regards a woman killed by the Islamic State militant group in Paris during a 2015 attack. She was one of over 100 people killed by ISIS that year, and the family claims videos fed algorithmically on YouTube inspired the extremists. The intent of the SCOTUS case is deciding whether to retain a legal provision of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, Section 230, that protects internet companies from liability for users’ posts. Democrats assert tech companies use Section 230 to avoid accountability for hate speech.

Bits from the White House:

President Joe Biden has pardoned everyone federally convicted of simple possession of cannabis under federal law, over 6,500 people, and urges governors to follow suit. Although states are moving toward legal use of cannabis for medical and recreational use, the substance remains illegal under federal law. Biden also asked Health and Human Services Secretary and the DOJ AG to “expeditiously” review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.

VP Kamala Harris was in a one-car accident when her Secret Service driver hit a curb in a tunnel hard enough that the tire had to be replaced and bringing Harris’ motorcade to a standstill. She was transferred to another vehicle and taken to the White House, but the Secret Service reported only “a mechanical failure” in an alert.

The White House announced a “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights” to hold technology companies accountable for internal biases threatening the civil rights by ensuring AI programs are developed with built-in protections. Examples include discrimination against student loans for those who attend a Historically Black College or University and an algorithm recommending child welfare agencies investigate families of Black children.  

Because of the CHIPS and Science Act, providing $52 billion in public investment in semiconductor manufacture, Micron will spend up to $100 billion during the next 20 years to build up to four plants in upstate New York near Syracuse to manufacture computer chips. The company estimates that the project will create almost 50,000 jobs, with about 9,000 of those in the plants themselves

The GOP complains the loan relief may help Blacks more than Whites because of the racial income gap. Will Republicans then sue to take all benefits away because more Blacks are in poverty than Whites as they reject equal voting rights for Blacks?

Alabama has a gender-based dress code: AL.com reporter Ivana Hrynkiw was told her skirt was too short to view an execution at a prison and open-toe shoes were unsuitable although she had worn the skirt on her job multiple times with no questioning. The prison official approved rain gear—waterproof waders—she borrowed from a photographer and her gym tennis shoes. A judge told a staffer for another judge was told she couldn’t go into the courtroom wearing a pantsuit. And more stories about Alabama sexism!

September 30, 2022

Russia Invades Ukraine – Day 218

Although he didn’t cite anyone, Russian president Vladimir Putin finally admitted that mistakes were made in his mobilization of 300,000 new recruits to kill more people in his invasion of Ukraine—such as summons to “fathers of many children, or people suffering from chronic diseases, or who those who are already past conscription age.” Nevertheless, people still protest or flee the country, and even his own official supporters, including his state TV hosts, criticize him. By now, over 200,000 Russians have fled the country with about 98,000 of them going into Kazakhstan. Carlines at the Georgia border were over ten miles long, about a two-day wait, despite Putin’s warning to men not to leave the country. Russia plans a station there to serve summons to “citizens of the mobilization age” and is sending forces and armored vehicles to Georgia and other borders such as Kazakhstan and Mongolia to block Russian men from these escapes.  

Putin has also victoriously announced his sham referendum election of about 98 percent win to annex four areas after he either killed or drove off hundreds of thousands of people who might have opposed the annexation. Between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainians may have been forcibly deported to Russia, many of them children. Putin also benefited from sending in armed men with ski masks into homes or placing them at polling stations to mark ballots for people. Russian Parliament will also vote for formal annexation. One consequence could be conscription of Ukrainians within these areas into the Russian army, already in existence in Luhansk and Donetsk which have been controlled by Russia and its proxies since 2014.

Russian newspapers also spread propaganda in referenda areas, trying to create a feeling of normalcy and unity amid the demolished homes and infrastructure, looted stores, and struggling civilians lacking provisions. Cellphone and internet service from the West had been mostly cut. The newspapers were found when Ukrainians took back Izyum. Ukrainians also found ten letters from Russian soldiers in Izyum begging to be dismissed. Dated August 30, they drew a picture of depressed troops desperate for rest and concerned about health and morale because they don’t receive medical care. The ten authors may have banded together to draft the letters which were abandoned as troops fled the city.

Patriotic pageantry was front and center at the gilded Grand Kremlin Palace in Putin’s announcement of the annexation in violation of international law, claiming 40,000 square miles of land, or about 15 percent of all Ukrainian territory. Putin launched the ceremony with long, angry threats about nuclear attacks and promises to “protect” the newly annexed lands “with all the forces and means at our disposal.” Even Italy’s newly-elected far-right prime minister Giogia Meloni said the annexation has no “legal and political value” and that Putin’s move again demonstrated his ” Soviet-style, neo-imperialist vision that threatens the security of the entire European continent.” She called for Western unity.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky responded by a post on Telegram announcing Ukraine is formally applying for “accelerated accession” into NATO. The annexation effectively eliminates a diplomatic resolution to Putin’s war in Ukraine, and Putin will be challenged with his claim to territory that he doesn’t control. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he didn’t know the boundaries of Russia’s new “territory.” He added, “It has to be liberated.” President Joe Biden announced a new round of sanctions against government, military officials, and their families. Some of them restrict Russian access to key technologies and other materials to fuel its war effort.

On the same day, Russia faced new setbacks near Lyman as Ukrainian forces “semi-encirled” the eastern city, a critical logistic route. The thousands of Russians trapped in Lyman are part of the 752nd Guards Motorized Rifle Regiment with a tradition of being cut off, surrounded, and almost destroyed since 1994. Ukrainians’ strategy has been to destroy Russian supply dumps and command centers, starving battalions and disrupting their leadership. East of Kharkiv, Russians abandoned their tanks and fighting vehicles to flee into separatist Luhansk Oblast. Ukrainians split to circle the Russian troops with no way out by the end of the week.

Russia is attempting a partnership with Saudi Arabia after its Kingdom Hold Company invested over $600 million in Russia’s three largest energy companies last spring after sanctions from the West. In the summer, Saudis doubled the amount of fuel oil buying from Russia to free up its own crude for export at elevated prices before they guided OPEC members to reduce output targets in last month to raise global oil prices and give both Russia and Saudi Arabia more profits. Saudis have turned from the U.S. since its fracking production threatens the power of OPEC and Russia.

High-profile Russians keep dying, many in mysterious or bizarre ways. Ten days ago, the former head of a Russian aviation research institute died by falling down stairs. It was announced as “an accident,” but an unnamed source told the newspaper that he fell “from a great height” down several flights of stairs.

The deaths started in January, a month before Putin invaded Ukraine, with first of four men tied to Gazprom, the energy giant owned by Gazprom, the others dying in February, April, and July. Early deaths appeared to be suicides.

  • A Russian billionaire also died in February, again regarded as suicide in addition to a 43-year-old CEO of an energy development company who died of a stroke.
  • March’s death was of a businessman, owner of the medical supply company Medstorm.
  • The second death in April was of a former executive at Novatek.
  • The dead businessman in August was an outspoken Putin critic, supposedly falling in his apartment.
  • Four other high-placed Russians died in September, the first one an energy executive who “fell out of a window” on September 1 after his company, Lukoil, criticized the war six months earlier. Another Lukoil executive had an apparent heart attack on the grounds of a Moscow shaman in May. The aviation director for the same company as February’s death washed up over 100 miles from where he “suddenly fell” from his speeding yacht.  
  • The last September death was of the editor-in-chief of the Russian state newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda, who supposedly had a stroke and suffocated on his way to lunch.

Timelines and further details about the 16 deaths.  

Sweden and Denmark are investigating leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia to Europe. The simultaneous “unprecedented” damage in three lines 70 yards under the surface of the Baltic Sea sparked the possibility of sabotage. One pipe is a major source of gas for Europe with Russia stopping the flow; the other one was blocked by sanctions after Russia invaded Ukraine. Blasts were detected a few miles from the pipelines before the disruption. The attacks on the pipeline are seen by Western countries as precursors to other physical and cyber sabotage of their infrastructures. 

Fox network’s Tucker Carlson is leading the charge that Biden ordered the pipeline to be blown up and has joined the MAGA people’s new mantra, “Blame America First.” He said Putin would have to be a “suicidal moron” to blow up the pipeline. Biden has not directly blamed Russia for the leaks but accused Putin of “pumping out disinformation and lies” and asserted that the leaks are a result of sabotage. At the same time, Putin is blaming “Anglo-Saxons” for the explosions, which Biden does not believe. Russia’s state company Gazprom is the majority shareholder in #1 and the sole owner of #2.

Russia’s denial of the explosions and blame for the U.S. match its false claim that it didn’t shoot down a Malaysian airline over Ukraine with a missile battery in 2014. Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) DDT is also offering to “head up [a] group” to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin to avoid further escalation for his war.

Denmark, Norway, and Poland have celebrated the opening of the Baltic Pipe which will transport natural gas from the Norwegian shelf through Denmark and the Baltic Sea to Poland. The goal is to create more independence from Russian energy. Poland has been cut off from Russian gas supplies since April for not paying in rubles. The pipe should benefit other Baltic states as well as the Danish market.

As Putin puts all his energy into destroying Ukraine to remove its sovereignty, Biden is moving into his turf of mediating the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict with national security adviser hosting “direct and constructive talks” between his counterparts of the two countries. The “road map” to further peace negotiations leads to a meeting in a few days between the countries’ foreign ministers. Both countries had been part of the Soviet Union which dissolved in 1991.

September 17, 2022

Railroading – Unions, Migrants

The question about the media is when it will start giving President Joe Biden credit for his successes. Averting a catastrophic railroad strike, evenly temporarily, would be a nice way for them to begin. A disaster for the precarious supply chair had already been predicted when a tentative deal was struck with workers, both sides crediting Biden’s administration for the potential success. Constant lobbying for a settlement for the past several weeks argued that the stakes were too high to carry through with the dispute. The strike was put off until two unions with about 60,000 members count their votes, possibly in mid-October. The other unions have already agreed to a deal.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh led 20 hours of talks in the final stretch, and Biden called into the negotiations 27 hours before the strike deadline to argue against the railways’ shutdown, a “crucial” call according to one source. He had frequently called the on both sides. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack were also involved in negotiations.

The strike would have halted transport of grain, fuel, lumber, car parts and other key products—about 30 percent of hauling in the U.S. Congress could have blocked the strike, but a majority vote of pro-union Democrats and recalcitrant Republicans intent on winning the Midterms. This resolution would also hurt labor-friendly Biden. Fox business hosts seemed disturbed that Biden “expressed concern for the workers and their families, not really for the rail companies.”

The tentative deal includes voluntarily assigned days off for workers, an additional paid day off, increases to health care copays and deductibles, protections for two-person crews, and 24 percent raises over five years. The union must ratify the agreement before it goes into effect. The deal helps the U.S. economy and blocks a supply chain crisis.

Freight-rail workers haven’t walked off for 30 years since George H.W. Bush was president. Forty railroads suspended operations, and almost all freight-rail traffic and passenger rail service halted before Congress imposed a settlement. This time 125,000 freight-rail employees are involved, and their strike would make a daily $2 billion hit to the economy. By now, roads has seven major carriers with skyrocketing revenues. The top two gained about 12 percent in 2021, $21.8 billion and $22.5 billion. Freight-rail companies cut 40,000 employees from November 2018 to December 2020 by creating extremely tight schedules, leaving no time for employees to call in sick or go to medical appointments.  

Thirty years ago, then Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) voted against forcing railroad employees to return to work. He said the presidential emergency board was stacked in favor of railroad executives. Now that he’s doing the heavy lifting, the Wall Street Journal editorial board slammed him

“You’d think some $5 trillion in new spending by this Congress, much of which will fatten union bottom lines, would be enough to buy some labor peace. If not, Democrats on Capitol Hill have the power to impose another cooling off period so the two sides can negotiate without a strike. Let’s see if Democrats side with their Big Labor allies, or with the U.S. economy that needs the trains to run on time.”

Biden’s comment? “The trains are running on time.”

 WSJ might want to look at its own union problems. Since the onslaught of COVID, workers have worked remotely except for two days a week. The newspaper now mandates they come into the office at least three days a week, starting November 1, and senior editors and managers were ordered to be in the office full time. The WSJ editor-in-chief told staff that they do their best work while being together physically, but the union director responded that “this company has been very, very successful for the past two plus years.”

Of 40 employees contacting the union about the new requirement, 80 percent were opposed to the additional day per week in the office because of childcare, health and safety from the continuing COVID threat, and the noise of the newsroom. Some staff are also asking for raises to combat inflation. WSJ has only a one-year contract with employees. Readers will see if the newspaper will “run on time.”

Biden’s approval rating jumped to 45 percent from 36 percent in July—and that poll was before the railroads’ tentative agreement. Gas prices dropped 26 percent since June, and many GOP members are unhappy with Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) proposal of a nation-side anti-abortion law.

The latest ploy to get reelected—maybe picked for president—is to send migrants north, without notice and as political pawns. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott paid $12 million, about $1,200 per person, to bus 10,000 migrants north, most recently to VP Kamala Harris’ residence. Two of them had to be hospitalized, one from diabetic shock and the other a baby experiencing health issues. Arizona also bused migrants to Washington, D.C. costing the state $3 million in three months.

Not to be outdone, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew 50 migrants, mostly escaping from Venezuela, to Martha’s Vineyard. The migrants didn’t know where they were until they landed but thought it would be different destinations. Telling the migrants they were going to Boston, a woman who called herself Perla lured them lured onto the planes with the promise of work, housing, and a surprise gift. The planes dumped them at the airport, and they walked two miles to the Community Center after having no food of water all day.

DeSantis proudly took credit after their landing through his spokesperson. He sent a videographer with the migrants and provided exclusive footage for the Fox network. The greatest oddity is that migrants flown with Florida funding started in San Antonio (TX). DeSantis funding for the two charter planes came from $12 million of federal COVID relief monies that Florida set aside to provide “the transport of unauthorized aliens from the state.” States have no restriction on the use of interest from the federal pandemic money. 

Needlessly cruel, these publicity stunts may also be illegal, “designed to prevent [migrants] from complying with federal immigration policies.” Even the administration of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) rejected similar deportations recommended by DDT’s adviser Stephen Miller because of liability concerns. States cannot legally transport migrants not in custody without voluntary and informed consent, and the governors’ actions smack of human trafficking. A state cannot make the decision to move immigration cases from one jurisdiction to another.

Massachusetts officials could charge Texas state officials for fraud or even kidnapping. Migrants might be able to sue DeSantis and his participants in the scheme, resulting in the payment of millions to asylum seekers, as families separated at the border by DDT’s administration are doing. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has already asked the DOJ to investigate federal law violations in these cases.

An Episcopal priest in Martha’s Vineyard said that all migrants sent from San Antonio are individually meeting with lawyers to preserve their rights. The deportation scheme is intended to anger people where migrants are sent, but residents of Martha’s Vineyard mobilized to help them with their needs. Some migrants have been voluntarily transported to Joint Base Cape Cod, a military training facility, for shelter, food, needs assessment, and healthcare access.

Many of the “deported” migrants to northern cities are asylum seekers, legally in the U.S. awaiting the courts’ decisions. A Boston immigration attorney discovered that DHS had registered cases for migrants in Texas to mailing addresses in random homeless shelters across the U.S. Migrants must check in at the office closest to their registered address, some as early as Monday, or risk deportation.

Sixty years ago, Southern White segregationists coerced Blacks into being shipped to the North with promises of work and housing, some of them to Martha’s Vineyard. The 1962 Reverse Freedom Rides were in retaliation for Black and White volunteers riding buses throughout the South in 1961 to support desegregation. In Arkansas, Citizens’ Councils recruited men with criminal records and single mothers with multiple children. One woman was dropped off in Hyannis with her nine children and was told John F. Kennedy would greet her. She took almost nothing for the trip because she was promised all her needs would be provided to them on their arrival.

Then, as now, local committees were formed to provide housing, clothing, and money for the new arrivals. Even “moderate” segregationists were disgusted by the “cynical manipulation” of the poor Blacks, and a New Orleans radio/TV station called the campaign “sick sensationalism bordering on the moronic.” The 1962 transports stopped with 200 people, compared with the 10,000+ migrants sent by three governors in the past year. Sixty years ago, private people funded the deportation; now the money comes from taxpayers.

Lawyers from the DOJ and the Homeland Security Department are considering litigation options regarding the movement of migrants out of state by GOP governors.

September 8, 2022

9/8/22 – DDT, More

Appealing the ruling for a special master to look through all the seized documents from Deposed Donald Trump’s (DDT) Mar-a-Lago residence risks delay. Not appealing risks delay. The agency has split the problem and perhaps boxed in the young naïve DDT-appointed judge who put DDT above the law with her ruling.

Instead of asking the judge to reverse her order, the DOJ asked to review only the classified documents. DDT can have a “master” to review the remainder of the documents for executive and attorney-client privilege. The DOJ explained that stopping the investigation into classified documents, including the above-top-secret one revealing military and nuclear secrets from a foreign government, was dangerous for national security. If the judge denies the request within a week, the DOJ will appeal the judge’s ruling to the 8th Circuit Court because “the government and the public will suffer irreparable harm absent a stay.”

Judge Aileen Cannon blocked the DOJ and the FBI from looking at the documents and permitted the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to look at the materials. Today she learned that the FBI is part of National Intelligence. The DOJ’s filing stated:

“The Intelligence Community’s review and assessment cannot be readily segregated from the Department of Justice’s (‘DOJ’) and Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (‘FBI’) activities in connection with the ongoing criminal investigation, and uncertainty regarding the bounds of the Court’s order and its implications for the activities of the FBI has caused the Intelligence Community, in consultation with DOJ, to pause temporarily this critically important work. Moreover, the government and the public are irreparably injured when a criminal investigation of matters involving risks to national security is enjoined.”

As David Ignatius wrote, Cannon seems to not recognize national security stakes such as risking lives of CIA agents and compromising techniques of intercepting and decrypting foreign communications. In addition, the DOJ stated that DDT’s team may not have returned all classified records stolen from the White House even after the FBI searched his residence at Mar-a-Lago. The judge has asked both parties clarify their positions by tomorrow. 

DDT also has provided no evidence that he has standing to seek relief in connection with the classified records because they are government property controlled by the Executive Branch. The case before Cannon is appropriately called Donald J. Trump v. The United States of America.

The DOJ has given Cannon an off-ramp from her highly flawed ruling. The question is whether she will take it.

In another major news story today, Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96, just two days after she greeted her new prime minister, Liz Truss. In her 70 years of ruling, the longest for any British monarch, she worked with 15 different prime ministers—Harold  Wilson serving twice—beginning with Winston Churchill when she became queen in 1952. During her time on the throne, the U.S. has had 14 presidents, beginning with Harry Truman. Elizabeth met all of them except Lyndon Johnson. She is followed by her son, King Charles III.

The other major news story of the day is the arrest and indictment of far-right Steve Bannon, DDT’s adviser and strategist, for stealing over $15 million from thousands of people. He and another founder of a funding site to build part of DDT’s wall blocking immigrants took donations for their own pleasure. New York Attorney General Letitia James stated:

“A New York State Supreme Court grand jury indictment charged Mr. Bannon and We Build the Wall with two counts of Money Laundering in the Second Degree, a Class C Felony, two counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a Class E Felony, one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a Class E Felony, and one count of Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor.”

Once the operator of the extremist far-right Breitbart website, Bannon became a member of the board of directors for the now-defunct data-analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, which DDT’s campaign fraudulently used to win the White House. Bannon was federally indicted for the same wall scam but pardoned by DDT days before President Joe Biden was inaugurated. Federal pardons do not cover state crimes, and New York state passed a law in 2019 eliminating its presidential pardon double jeopardy loophole.

Now 68 years old, conspiracy theorist Bannon could serve up to 43 years in prison. Two months ago, he was also convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to honor a subpoena from the House January 6 investigative committee.

Bannon claims innocence, but he told donors that “all the money you give goes to building the wall.” Organizers pledged that the group’s president would taken none of the donations for salary, but Bannon secretly funneled $250,000 to the president, Brian Kolfage. DDT didn’t pardon Andrew Badolato and Kolfage; they pled guilty of charges in April.

DOJ’s federal grand jury has issued subpoenas in its investigation into DDT’s Save America PAC which lied about using donations for legislating against Biden’s election. None of the donated $135 million has gone for that purpose, and just a small amount has gone to candidates in midterm races. Instead, the cash is either hoarded, with $99 million remaining in the bank, or used to help DDT, including his legal fees and businesses, or undermine his enemies. After DDT lost the election, his team appealed to donors up to 25 times each day, claiming that DDT wanted the money for his non-existent “Official Election Defense Fund,” a grift.

Since the DOJ seized classified documents from Mar-a-Lago, DDT has been heavily promoting QAnon through his Truth Social along with CEO and former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and former DDT official Kash Patel through the promotion of an account copying “Q,” the supposed creator of the movement.  Media Matters senior researcher Alex Kaplan said that the accounts promoting QAnon give DDT “praise and reassurances, which I’m sure he likes.”

A leaked membership roll of the far-right extremist Oath Keepers identifies 370 U.S. law enforcement officers, elected officials, and military members in the group playing a large role in the January 6 insurrectionist among the over 38,000 names and infilitrating civil institutions. Founded in 2009 by Stewart Rhodes, Oath Keepers push the belief that the federal government plans to strip citizens of their civil liberties. Fortunately, Rhodes’ arrest after his participation in the January 6 insurrection has lost many members who look upon him as their cult leader.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is investigating DDT for his public use of an unauthorized photo on his social media in which he poses with dozens of Pennsylvania State troopers. The picture was for private use only: Pennsylvania State troopers cannot appear in political photographs while in uniform, and those in the photo could face disciplinary action. Troopers also “shall not use their position for political influence,” and DDT used it to display his strength and anti-crime policy. DDT has removed the photo after it was sent to millions of viewers.

Michigan voters will be able to vote about overturning a 1931 anti-abortion law in November after the state Supreme Court decided in a 5-2 vote to reverse a state board that refused to approve the question in a 2-2 tie vote. Both Republicans had voted against permission. Kansas rejected the anti-abortion legislative measure this summer. Two states, California and Vermont, have measures to put abortion rights into state law while another two, Kentucky and Montana, ask voters to prohibit abortion.  

A leak from the social media giant Snap, connected to the network founded by billionaire Charles Koch, accidentally gave Democratic campaigns and party committees a huge collection of GOP voter date it can use to hone their midterm ads.

DDT’s early trainer in corruption, attorney Roy Cohn, notoriously said,  “Don’t tell me what the law is, tell me who the judge is.” The saying fits not only DDT’s Judge Cannon but also the federal judge in Texas who ruled that companies don’t have to cover the cost of HIV preventative meds because of “religious grounds.” Good way for right-to-lifers to kill people.

With all the DDT-drama this week, the return of Barack and Michelle Obama to the White House for the first time since they left got much less notice. It was also the first time in ten years that portraits of a president and his first lady were unveiled—something that DDT overlooked in his four years. That was the date that President Obama presided at the reveal of George W. Bush’s and Laura Bush’s portraits. At that event, the incumbent president said

“We may have our differences politically, but the presidency transcends those differences. We all love this country. We all want America to succeed. We all believe that when it comes to moving this country forward, we have an obligation to pull together.”

After a four-year hiatus in attitude, the president’s desire for “America to succeed” seems to have returned. Thus far, DDT and his wife don’t seem to have portraits for the White House.

After Biden’s speech discussing democracy in “the soul of the nation,” his increase over DDT in a possible match rose to 48 percent over 42 percent, three points earlier than the week before at 45 percent to 42 percent and four points better than between April and July. In addition, 58 percent of respondents to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, including 25 percent of Republicans, agree DDT’s MAGA movement is threatening U.S. democracy. Sixty percent of Republicans think that the MAGA movement doesn’t represent the GOP majority.

August 10, 2022

GOP Problems – DDT, Flooding, Biden’s Improvement

Democrats are turning the insult of “Let’s go, Brandon” toward President Joe Biden into a campaign cry of “Dark Brandon,” complete with a visual showing him as a superhero, mocking Republicans. The vulgar slur from conservatives started in October 2021 and continued to sell political products. According to the Daily Beast:  

“In Dark Brandon lore, Biden only seemed to be incompetent; underneath the images of stumbling senility is a cold, calculating, sinister Machiavelli.”

Don Caldwell, the general manager of the meme-tracking website Know Your Meme, said:

“It’s revealed that he’s pulling the strings behind the scenes and that everything’s going to plan. Sometimes it’s that he’s appearing to be senile and he’s actually completely with it.”

Conservatives tried to maintain that the eagle behind Biden in one image represents Nazis, but that message hasn’t taken off. And the eagle is the national bird of the United States.

The greater the frustration, the more the fury—and opposition. And the need to hide …

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is losing his refusal to turn over his IRS returns to the House Ways and Means Committee. After DDT appealed a lower court opinion, the three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court ruled that the IRS give them to the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) first made the request in 2019. DDT’s next stop is the U.S. Supreme Court.

The party of “lock her up” is in a rage about the search warrant on DDT’s Mar-a-Lago home. Six years ago, DDT asked Russia to find former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “missing emails” when he campaigned against her for the 2016 election. Within a few months, the crowds started chanting “lock her up” and never stopped.

In November 2016, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said, “Look, there’s a tradition in American politics that after you win an election, you sort of put things behind you … to unite the nation.” Four years later, he sang a different song. Six years ago, Republicans at least pretended to want politicians to disqualify themselves from positions of authority when there was a suspicion of their putting documents at risk. Six years later, Republicans are furious, or silent, about the DOJ and FBI’s audacity in trying to retrieve classified documents, known to be at Mar-a-Lago.

GOP comments in the past day have surpassed the usual irony of criticizing Democrats for actions they themselves perform. Republicans’ new chant, “Defund the FBI” comes from the party campaigning on law and order who were enraged about individuals who wanted to “defund the police.” People with those chants wanted to transfer some law enforcement funds to mental health professionals to stop the police practice of killing unarmed people in the streets.

Sleeping through the past six years, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) claimed that the U.S. had never before used political power to persecute opponents. 

The GOP anger also revealed the truth. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tweeted about the search warrant, “If they can do it to a former President, imagine what they can do to you.” Rep. Elise Stefanik echoed Jordan’s comment. The anger comes from the DOJ position that no one is above the law, not even someone who was elected to the U.S. presidency. Responses to Jordan agreed the position that DDT is not above the law.

“The fact that the law applies to the president, and not just the rest of us, is a feature of democracy, not a bug.” – The Atlantic’s Yair Rosenberg

“Thank you, House Judiciary GOP, for summarizing succinctly the principle of ‘the rule of law’: the law applies to everyone, even a former President.” – Julia Loffe, Puck News

“When I try to overthrow the government, invalidate a free and fair election, illegally steal classified documents, and engage in lavish corruption as President, I’ll expect them.” – Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson

“Yes, if you break the law and steal top secret documents from the White House and commit some of the most heinous crimes in American history, this too can happen to you,” the organization tweeted. “That’s a GREAT precedent! That’s called justice.” – Government watchdog organization Medias Touch

“In which the GOP members of the Judiciary committee take a brave stand against the 4th Amendment. Motherfuckers, do you think any of us thought the FBI *couldn’t* search our homes if they had sufficient probable cause to convince a judge to sign a warrant?” – Reference to how the warrant was likely obtained from a tweet

“If I stole classified documents from the White House (allegedly), I certainly hope they’d do it to me. Please explain why they shouldn’t, a-holes.” – Bob Cessa  

Instead of legislating, the GOP focuses on planning retaliation with multiple congressional committees to put Democrats who oppose DDT in prison.

QAnon followers are delighted with the search warrant; they believe the search at Mar-a-Lago was part of the “plan” that favors DDT. The conspiracy posts told believers to “trust Ray,” interpreting that as FBI Director Christopher Wray. The theory is that “Biden set out to completely destroy the trust and confidence of our country,” and the “raid [has] done just that.” They think DDT will now expose the secret cabal of cannibalistic pedophiles, known to QAnon as Democrats.

Details are slim about the background for the search. DDT issued a 340-word rant but didn’t claim to be innocent. The one person who doesn’t seems to be attacked yet is the magistrate judge who signed the warrant, perhaps because DDT appointed him to the position in 2018.

Texas officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott, joined the hue and cry about the unfairness of the search. The bipartisan Mothers against Greg Abbott trying to oust him from office had an answer for the man behind the state’s draconian anti-abortion law, tweeting, “Try being a woman in Texas.”

The FBI search came from concern that DDT had not produced all the government documents covered by the Presidential Records Act he took from the White House, perhaps ones from the January 2021 insurrection, when he gave up 15 boxes of them in February. Therefore, the FBI removed another twelve boxes from the search. Last February, FBI officials spoke to DDT’s representatives, his appointed loyalists including former chief of staff Mark Meadows and whose job was to keep his records from Congress. In June, the FBI padlocked the storage area where the documents were stored, but DDT had added another padlock which had to be broken.

While Republicans focus on the search of DDT’s home, they ignore the ongoing tragedies in Kentucky from the flooding. Thus far 37 people have died in the disaster, and an 18-year-old boy died after helping flood victims for three days.  Cause of death was not established, but he had no prior health conditions. Rain is due to return with additional flooding. Heavy rains are predicted on August 9 and 10 in central and eastern Kentucky with more flash flooding that will block cleanup.  

The area most hard-hit is also has a large number of low-income families. Only 17,250 Kentucky property owners have federal flood insurance, the vast source of U.S. flood policies, and just 2,485 property owners in the ten counties with recent significant flood damage have this FEMA coverage. That’s 2.3 percent of households in the area. Flood insurance costs about $1,000 a year, and the media household income in Knott County is $32,500, half the national median of $65,000. FEMA maps may have vastly underestimated eastern Kentucky’s flood risk, citing 8.6 million properties in flood Zones instead of 14.6 million properties in reality. Maps are especially inaccurate in eastern Kentucky, three times the number in seven of the ten flooded counties identified by FEMA.

A major cause of the flooding comes from strip mining and the condition of the mines because the areas have been heavily logged and strip-mined for coal during the past decades. First the trees go, then the soil, and finally hundreds of feet of rock are blasted away from the tops and/or sides of mountains to reach underground seams of coal. The result is no water retention, resulting in flash floods. More runoff comes from loggings, gas wells, gas well roads, and power lines along with the climate change. With drainage around valley fills, the ponds and ditches break and more easily carry rocks and trigger dangerous debris flows.

Kentucky also permitted financially unstable or bankrupt mining companies to fall far behind on reclamation requirements, and even fully reclaimed surface mines are significantly likely to have experienced landslides. Yet the anti-regulation Kentucky will probably not even bother to do any studies.

Everything seems to be going wrong for Republicans, which can be a major reason for their anger. They are even discouraged about taking over the Senate next year. Biden has had more successes in less than two years than previous presidents for several decades—major legislation including delaying climate changes and gun reform, the killing of the killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, a booming economy with more manufacturing, and more. Maybe the U.S. is turning around.

August 6, 2022

Good News, Bad News – Economy, CPAC, Etc.

First, the good news. Employers added 528,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent, the lowest rate since February 2000 and tying for the lowest rate since 1969. The past 19 months saw consistent new job gains since Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) saw none during his four-year term. Increases crossed all sectors; leisure and hospitality led the way with an additional 96,000 jobs.

Despite the good news, Republicans insist the U.S. is in a recession because of negative GDP growth for the past two quarters following massive growth, part of their strategy to defeat Democrats. The Bureau of Economic Research, however, doesn’t use the negative GDP as the only guideline for a recession; it is “a significant decline in economic activity” spread across industries with the most important measures personal income and payroll employment. Both currently show growth. Recessions aren’t determined until several months after the fact with official federal reports on jobs, income, consumer spending, and manufacturing. One Republican, Sen. Roger Marshall (KS) provided his own definition:

“Recession, to me, is when I go back home and the community bankers say, ‘Hey, Doc, what’s going on? Business is slowing down. Why are people afraid to invest?’”

President Joe Biden had other reasons to feel good this week:

  • Congress passed the CHIPS and Science Act to move manufacturing from Taiwan.
  • His strike killed al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s leader.
  • Kansas strongly passed a pro-choice ballot initiative to support women’s reproductive rights.
  • The PACT Act to expand healthcare for veterans suffering from such problems as toxic burn pits.
  • The U.S. 8 percent uninsured rate fell to an all-time low even with 12 states rejecting Medicaid expansion. 
  • Gas prices fell for a straight seventh week.
  • Democrats may be on target to approve the Inflation Reduction Act.

Alex Jones, on the other hand, had a very bad week. He accidentally sent two years of his phone’s contents to the defense attorney in his first Sandy Hook defamation trial and perjured himself on the stand. The jury penalized him $4.1 million in compensatory damages and then added another $45.2 million in punitive damages. Jones’ lawyer hopes that Texas’ limit for $750,000 keeps the total to $1.5 million for the two charges. Using his media, Jones repeatedly lied about the massacre of children and educators and spread conspiracy theories about the victims and their families, calling the tragedy a “hoax” and “staged.” In his testimony, Jones said a jury award of $2 million would financially destroy him, but an economist examining his finances estimated his wealth between $135 million and $270 million hidden in shell companies.

The DOJ, created in 1870 to cover illegal acts that states refuse to prosecute, charged four current and former Louisville (KY) police officers with federal crimes connected to the 2020 law enforcement killing of Breonna Taylor. Her boyfriend fired one shot at the officers when they broke into her apartment in the middle of the night to serve a “no-knock” warrant. The officers shot 22 bullets, hitting Taylor in the chest. Charges against the police, who lied to get the warrant, include civil rights violations, conspiracy, use of excessive force offenses, and obstruction.

The DOJ is also suing Idaho in opposition to its restrictive abortion ban refusing pregnant women lifesaving care if they suffer from unexpected, serious complications. Other states have the same restrictions, but some of them have DDT-packed judges in their appeals courts. Idaho’s appeals court is the less-biased 9th Circuit Court, and the state’s ban is a conventional criminal law instead of the Texas experimental statute designed to evade judicial review.

A conflict between Idaho and federal law comes from the ban stating that the physician can be prosecuted “merely by showing that an abortion has been performed, without regard to the circumstances.” Unlike federal law, health is not a consideration; care can be given only “to prevent the death of the pregnant woman.” According to Idaho law, the physician must choose between losing a patient’s life or risk prosecution—and a medical license. In the 9th Circuit Court, only active judges can vote if a case goes from a three-judge panel to “en banc” with the chief judge and ten other active judges selected at random.

The media complaining about Biden’s low ratings need to keep up with their own news. The latest Monmouth University poll shows an increase in his approval ratings to 38 percent with last week’s USA Today/Suffolk poll at 39 percent among registered voters. In the Monmouth poll, 50 percent of people prefer Democrats controlling Congress as opposed to 43 percent choosing Republicans. The seven-point preference for Democrats is up from June when the two parties tied at 47 percent and May when the GOP four-point lead was 48 percent to 44 percent. 

Speeches at the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) conference this weekend show a panicked GOP. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) called Democrats “the enemy within,” a greater threat to the U.S. than all the war throughout the nation’s existence. “The militant left has now seized control of our economy, of our culture and our country,” he said. In a possible run for 2024 president, Scott issued a 31-page platform that erases transgender people, eliminates any questions about race on government form, and completes DDT’s wall. With no evidence, hse also accused Democrats of trying to silence opponents and redefine the U.S., “destroying just about everything they touch and they’ve got their hands on everything.”

The focus of CPAC in August 2022 was Christian nationalism. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick erased the Founders when he said:

“We’re a nation founded upon not the words of our founders, but the words of God because he wrote the Constitution.”

DDT will speak on Saturday, but Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán may be the linchpin after support for a white-only country. Days earlier, he had spoken against a country of “mixed race,” and a long-time adviser resigned and called it a “pure Nazi speech worthy of Goebbels [the chief propagandist for the Nazi party in Germany].” Orbán’s opposition to immigration, globalism, and gender fluidity match those of the MAGA right, the same messages that he delivered when CPAC went to Hungary in May. Like DDT and MAGA, Orbán finds issues such as separation of church and state, LGBTQ rights, pronouns, drag shows, the 2020 election results, etc. as battlegrounds between good and evil. He assured his audience that “a Christian politician cannot be racist,” lying about the Nazis being anti-Christian. 

Other notables spread their slime at CPAC, but the world had more news:

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) lost his primary for re-election this year, but he seems determined to spend the donations he collected for the general election he won’t have—on himself. The FEC threatened him with legal action for failing to report his campaign’s finances in May so he filed a statement of organization on July 15, declaring himself the treasurer and custodian of records for the campaign. This move leaves him open to personal civil liability for not reporting on time. Cawthorn raised $3.5 million for re-election, but he’s now $220,000 in debt to donors, including campaigns of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and GOP Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and billionaires Bernie Marcus and Steve Wynn as well as far poorer people. He spent the money on consulting fees for his friends, hotel rooms in Florida, alcohol, cigars, and food. Cawthorn’s quarterly financial report is also over two weeks late. Not as bad as trying to get guns onto airplanes and multiple DUIs but still illegal. A political future for the 27-year-old has probably disappeared.

This week, an Aitkin County jury exonerated Minnesota pharmacist George Badeaux after he violated state law by refusing to fill a prescription for the morning-after pill. Also a pastor, he told the woman he was following his “beliefs,” discouraged her from trying another local pharmacy, and failed to provide information about any other availability of the medication. Finding a pharmacy 50 miles from her home willing to help, she made the three-hour round trip in a snowstorm with her 2-year-old son in the car. The jury found that Badeaux didn’t discriminate against her on the basis of her sex. Men can get pregnant? She plans to appeal.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told senators that the agency opened “a number” of investigations into abortion-related violent crime incidents since six justices overturned Roe v. Wade. What he didn’t investigate was Brett Kavanagh after receiving reports of his sexual misconduct—4,500 tips about him. Wray just turned them over to DDT. Thanks to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) for pressing Wray in the hearing despite the FBI director’s attempt to crawl out of answering. Wray also tried to explain that not investigating is the “longstanding process” that “we take direction from the requesting entity,” who he claimed was DDT. Kavanaugh is one of two current justices whose investigations into sexual assault were a sham. Clarence Thomas is still there after 30+ years.

The carcinogenic pesticide Roundup continues to be popular, including in my neighborhood, but a study has found over 80 percent of urine samples from both children and adults contains the chemical. The percentage has increased since the 1990s when Monsanto introduced genetically engineered crops designed to be sprayed directly with the pesticide. U.S. farmers use over 200 million pounds annually of the glyphosate in Roundup sprayed directly on corn and soybeans as well as on non-GE crops such as wheat and oats. Baby food contains glyphosate.

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