Nel's New Day

March 2, 2020

DDT: Week 162 – Courts Giveth, Taketh Away

Last week while Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) tried to dodge covid-19 problems and bring up the stock market by lying, lots of other things happened. Here’s a listing:

Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, 67, was been found guilty of two of five charges: criminal sexual act in the first degree (maximum 4 years) and rape in the third degree (maximum 25 years). His legal woes aren’t over: the LA County DA has charged Weinstein with four felony counts of sexual assault. Weinstein was the center of the #MeToo movement that erupted on October 15, 2017.

GOP-appointed judges on the Ninth Circuit Court permits DDT’s “gag rule” which bans federal funding from the low-income Title X program for clinics that inform patients of places where they can obtain abortions. The ruling overturns lower court injunctions in California, Oregon, and Washington. Plaintiffs argued that the rule violates “nondirective” pregnancy counseling and referrals for patients who request them, a 1996 congressional mandate.

Overturning a lower court, the 2nd Circuit Court ruled that DDT can withhold millions of dollars in law enforcement grants to force states to cooperate with U.S. immigration enforcement. The decision requires cities and states to give federal immigration authorities access to jails and advance notice before releasing undocumented immigrants before getting grant money. Federal appeals courts in Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco disagree and uphold lower-court injunctions.

In a blow against the U.S. Constitution, the District of Columbia Circuit Court panel overturned a lower court and ruled that former White House counsel Don McGahn can defy a congressional subpoena for his testimony. The Democrats can appeal the 2-1 ruling.

On the same day, the 9th Circuit Court reversed DDT’s “remain in Mexico” order, ruling that the administration must stop requiring Central American asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico pending US approval. Since DDT’s order, there have been more than 800 reports of kidnapping, rape and other violent crimes against migrants waiting in Mexico. Another 9th Circuit decision also blocked the program but suspended its decision until tonight so that the government could respond. Plaintiffs have until the end of tomorow.

A Portland (OR) jury accepted a climate necessity defense and refused to convict five Extinction Rebellion activists who blockaded a train track use to transport oil. Because one of the six jury members voted to convict, the criminal trespassing cased ended in a mistrial. Multnomah will need to decide whether to re-prosecute the case.

Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, is leading the purge at the White House with the aid of 29-year-old Johnny McEntee. Fired as DDT’s personal aide in 2018 for “serious financial crimes,” he now heads up DDT’s personnel office. Thomas’ group Groundswell sends requests to fire officials classified as “Never Trump” and “Deep State” and recommends the replacements of DDT loyalists, several hired by Fox to tout (aka lie) about DDT’s accomplishments. A top official for McEntee in the Presidential Personnel Office to help him vet employees is a college senior who was earlier HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s confidential assistant. The big purge comes in an administration with 82 percent more turnover in its first three years than any of the previous five presidents. Almost 40 percent of senior positions have two or more replacements.

DDT wants to purge Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. He tweeted that they “should recuse themselves on all Trump, or Trump related, matters!” Paul Waldman wrote:

“In other words: A Supreme Court justice who likes me, whom I appointed, who shares my agenda, who rules in my favor at every opportunity, or whose wife acts as an adviser to my White House? Those justices should absolutely be voting in cases involving me personally and my administration. But any hint of disagreement with me over anything means that a justice should be removed from considering any case in which I’m involved.”

DDT appointed Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) as the new Director of Intelligence to replace Richard Grenell. Ratcliffe was an earlier choice for the job but withdrew his name from appointment because even GOP senators were not pleased with the choice. Ratcliffe falsely took entire credit for a multistate, multiagency operation when he wrote on his website that he “arrested over 300 illegal aliens on a single day.” Prosecutors charged only 45 workers, and six of the cases were dismissed, two of them U.S. citizens. A.J. Irwin, a former immigration investigator involved in planning stages, called the operation “a costly failure, … a waste of money and hype.” In another website claim, Ratcliffe wrote he had tried suspects accused of funneling money to the Hamas terrorist group, but in reality, he investigated side issues related to an initial mistrial but did not prosecute the case. Ratcliffe also promoted a company accused of reprisal against a whistleblower and their cybersecurity efforts in shutting down a critical government cybersecurity office. The company was Ratcliffe’s third-largest campaign donor for his upcoming re-election. DDT tweeted that he “is an outstanding man of great talent.”

House Democrats are looking into why DDT told the VA to “corner the market on a new antidepressant from Johnson & Johnson and whether DDT’s shadow advisory group to VA from Mar-a-Lago have stakes in the company. In 2018, DDT gave the three men influence (aka control) over the VA despite their lack of relevant experience. The drug Spravato was developed as a treatment to stop veterans from committing suicide, but the FDA restricted the drug because of “the risk of serious adverse outcomes” and “the potential for abuse and misuse.” In one trial, six people taking the drug died, including three by suicide. There were no deaths among the patients taking a placebo. The Government Accountability Office is also investigating the Mar-a-Lago trio.

J. Wesley Boyd, a psychiatry professor specializing in bioethics at Harvard Medical School, cited the drug’s similarity to the anesthetic ketamine and said, “[Spravato] was derived from a very inexpensive drug with a minor chemical tweak and then marketed at an outrageously high price.” DDT was reported to say about Spravato:

“I had seen it somewhere, and I’ve read it, regularly, quite a bit about it. I said, ‘Order — corner the market on it and give it to anybody that has the problem.’”

Trump told a crowd at the Economic Club of New York that his daughter Ivanka has personally created 14 million new jobs. From the New York Magazine:

“The entire U.S. economy has created fewer than 6 million new jobs since Trump took office. So Trump is crediting his daughter with having personally created more than 200 percent of all new jobs in the United States. This is like supply-side economics but for authoritarian nepotism. Exactly how she did this remains a subject of some confusion. The mechanism involves the ‘Pledge to America’s Workers,’ in which the chief executives of various firms promise to create some arbitrary number of training and other opportunities … Some of the companies … admitted they had simply credited all real (or, in some cases, hypothetical) job openings to the Ivanka initiative.”

AG Bill Barr and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos attended the National Religious Broadcasters Convention and preached their ideology of making the U.S. into a theocracy. Barr’s speech, sponsored by Save the Persecuted Christians headed by far-right conspiracy theorist and Islamophobe Frank Gaffney Jr, railed against secularism. DeVos called for more government support for religious schools. DDT’s attorney Jay Sekulow, part of DDT’s defense team at the impeachment trial, had to cancel his appearance because of illness.

History may give Stephen Miller an idea to disenfranchise and deport more people. The 1907 Expatriation Act took citizenship from women who married noncitizens; they could become naturalized citizens if their husbands did. This law did not apply to men who married non-citizens. The Supreme Court upheld the law in Mackenzie v. Hare (1915) because women knew the consequence of their marriages. During World War I, U.S. women who married Germans and lost their citizenship were forced to register as enemy aliens. Women’s suffrage in 1920 led to the Cable Act in 1922 allowing women to keep their citizenship if married to men who could become citizens. Married women, however, had to petition the government to regain their citizenship and could be denied if husbands weren’t eligible for citizenship, for example all Asians. Females lost citizenship if married to a non-citizen and living away from the U.S. for two years. In 1931 women kept their citizenship even if they married an Asian although not all Asians gained naturalization rights until 1952. Finally, an act in 1940 provided that all women could regain their citizenship by taking an oath of allegiance, but only if they resided continuously in the U.S. since their marriage.  

August 3, 2019

DDT: Week 132 – Racism, Hatred

After Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) withdrew Rep. John Ratcliffe’s (R-TX) name for intelligence director, Ratcliffe insinuated that he withdrew himself. Whichever it was, DDT blamed the media before he said that he used the media to vet his appointments to save money. The media was actually quite mild about reporting Ratcliffe’s lies by saying that he “padded” or “exaggerated” or “embellished” his credentials.

Ratcliffe falsely took entire credit for a multistate, multiagency operation when he wrote on his website that he “arrested over 300 illegal aliens on a single day.” Ratcliffe’s prosecutors charged only 45 workers, and six of the cases were dismissed, two of them U.S. citizens. A.J. Irwin, a former immigration investigator involved in planning stages, called the operation “a costly failure, … a waste of money and hype.” In another website claim, Ratcliffe wrote he had tried suspects accused of funneling money to the Hamas terrorist group, but in reality, he investigated side issues related to an initial mistrial but did not prosecute the case. Ratcliffe also promoted a company accused of reprisal against a whistleblower and their cybersecurity efforts in shutting down a critical government cybersecurity office. The company was Ratcliffe’s third-largest campaign donor for his upcoming re-election.

VP Mike Pence, who would be president if an impeachment convicted DDT, argued to keep Ratcliffe’s nomination before the Senate.  

Ratcliffe isn’t the only legislator who shills for his donors.  In March, Rep. Chuck Fleischman (R-TN) was asked by his donor Preceptics to ask then Customs and Border Protection director Kevin McAleenan about using license plate reader technology. After emails about the agreement were made public in June, CBP suspended the Preceptics contract for equipment and software.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) held up confirmation for Michael Wooten because senior military officials told him that the senator could not receive U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contracts with sensitive, proprietary information. Cramer had received thousands of dollars in donations from North Dakota-based Fisher Industries to help the business be hired to “build the wall.” Fisher is now suing the government because he was not selected in recent biddings: his company’s design failed to meet requirements and regulatory approvals. DHS said that Fisher’s work in San Diego was late and over budget. Wooten was confirmed for a senior post at the White House Office of Management and Budget, but Cramer is furious because he thinks that the Defense Department didn’t live up to their “deal” with him. He claims that DDT “deputized” him “to work with the Army Corps to ensure their process is fair, transparent, and delivers the best possible deal for the American people.”

Although presidential interference in contracts was rare before DDT, he lobbied for Fisher’s company. Now DDT’s hatred for Jeff Bezos led him to order his new Defense Secretary and Raytheon lobbyist, Mark Esper, to look into a $10 billion cloud-computing bid that might go to Amazon. No other single company has the capacity to provide needs for the infrastructure that shares sensitive intelligence among the armed services branches and incorporate artificial intelligence algorithms. Oracle, a company competing for part of the bid, settled for $100 million after Oregon sued for fraud, filing false claims, and racketeering because of its failed Cover Oregon healthcare project. Last May, DDT lobbied the USPS to double the rate charged to ship packages, but the increase failed to move through Congress. 

Throughout last week, DDT continued a pattern polarizing people in the U.S. by attacking people of color. About civil rights activist Al Sharpton, DDT tweeted that he “hates whites and cops,” that he’s a con man, a troublemaker, always looking for a score.” Sharpton answered:

“If he really thought I was a con man, he’d be nominating me for his cabinet.”

This assault adds to DDT’s racist comments about Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and John Lewis (D-GA); NBA superstar LeBron James; CNN host Don Lemon; Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum; President Barack Obama; and more. In 2015, DDT lambasted President Obama for conditions in Baltimore, and said “I would fix it fast!” if he were president. DDT was inaugurated 924 days ago and has done nothing. DDT plans to speak in September at the House Republicans’ annual private retreat in the city the president just called “the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States.” About Baltimore (MD), DDT said, “No human being would want to live there.”

DDT even gloated over the recent robbery at Cummings’ home and turned the murder rate in Baltimore into a joke at his rally.  

As part of his pattern in calling black people “stupid,” DDT attacked Lemon again after he hosted the first CNN Democratic 2020 presidential debate and asked a question about DDT’s embrace of “racial division.” Despite DDT’s tweet that “I’m the least racist person in the world,” a claim that he repeated to reporters, Twitter responses disagreed. For example, Christopher Zullo wrote:

“Definition of a racist: person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another. Does ‘send her back’ in context of your perceived cultural “superiority” classify as racism?”

The Republicans are still staying largely mum. Despite Cummings defense of Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), co-founder of the rightwing Freedom Caucus, when Meadows thought he was accused of being a racist, Meadows stayed silent until shamed by the media. Then he only said that neither Cummings, who he had called one of his best friends, nor DDT were racists.

This 2020 campaign strategy is called synecdoche which means using one part to represent the whole, for example using four progressive women of color to represent the entire Democratic party. In 2018, the GOP used House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to damage Democrats, and in reverse Democrats used DDT as a symbol for all Republicans—although almost all Republicans do vote on the side of DDT. White House aides are still panicking that DDT’s racist synecdoche may fail. Tim Chapman, executive director of Heritage Action for America, shares this concern because the only GOP agenda at this time is DDT’s xenophobia.

Looking back on her father’s infamously racist 1968 campaign, Kennedy recalled, “The two greatest motivators at (my father’s) rallies were fear and hate. There was no policy solution, just white middle-class anger.”  Peggy Wallace Kennedy, Wallace’s daughter, is now 69 — and she sees a lot of her late father in President Donald Trump. “I saw Daddy a lot in 2016.” DDT’s 2016 campaign reminded her of the 1968 campaign of her father, who infamously declared, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

DDT falsely claimed that his racist attacks on Cummings and Baltimore have increased support from blacks. In another lie, DDT said without evidence that the city’s political leaders, “people like Elijah Cummings,” are stealing and mismanaging federal funds. A Monday poll shows that only six percent of blacks approve of DDT’s job performance and 80 percent think DDT is a racist. Blacks aren’t the only demographic who believe that DDT is racist: they are joined by most independents, which women, and whites with a college degree. That leaves white male Republicans without college degrees. 

Increased racist attacks by DDT may be responsible for two young white men perpetrating two different mass shootings during the past week—today’s murders in El Paso and last Sunday’s murders in Gilroy (CA). Both published white supremacist manifestos that expressed hatred toward Latinx and immigrants before they randomly killed people in crowded areas with ar-47 rifles.  

In his address before a joint assembly of the Virginia legislature, DDT commemorated the 400th anniversary of its legislative body. The date was also the arrival of the first African slaves on American shores. With great hypocrisy, DDT spoke these lines in his speech during a brief hiatus of angry racist rans:

“Our hard-won culture of self-government must be nourished, protected, and constantly preserved.”

“But among all of America’s towering achievements, none exceeds the triumph that we are here to celebrate today. Our nation’s priceless culture of freedom, independence, equality, justice, and self-determination under God.”

DDT’s attack on intelligence agencies, saying that they have “run amok,” may come from the FBI, for the first time, reporting conspiracy theories from DDT’s supporters, including QAnon, as “a domestic terrorism threat.” DDT boosts these theories by supporting them on his Twitter account. QAnon participants are linked to multiple acts and threats of violence, and Ratcliffe also believes in conspiracy theories. Ratcliffe is gone back to the U.S. House, but DDT will stay as Supreme Leader.

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