Nel's New Day

January 16, 2022

Republicans Love Manchinema for Fighting Filibuster

“We have but one democracy. We can only survive, we can only keep her, if we do so together.” That was one statement in Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-AZ) speech announcing that she was “together” with the Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WY) to oppose the filibuster and destroy the possibility for passing the voting rights bill to protect democracy. She was already “together” with Republicans—and Manchin—in opposing jobs and other benefits for people in the United States through the Build Back Better bill. 

Sinema’s speech was less than 45 minutes before President Joe Biden came to ask all 50 Democratic senators to change Senate rules for only allowing the voting rights legislation. She concluded:

“I am committed to doing my part to avoid toxic political rhetoric, to build bridges, to forge common ground, and to achieve lasting results for Arizona and this country.”

Her aim is for personal bridges and common ground with Republicans but not Democrats plus authoritarianism in both “Arizona and this country.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is ecstatic about this victory with Manchin and Sinema, which he thinks could lead him back to being Senate Majority Leader in 2023. Therefore, McConnell is working harder to lie in his hypocrisy and threats to destroy Democrats if they change the filibuster. After pandering to the behavior of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) for over four years, McConnell called Biden “profoundly unpresidential” in his Georgia speech about voting rights. McConnell’s first favor for DDT was to hold up the nomination for Supreme Court justice with no hearing for 293 days so that DDT could nominate Neil Gorsuch, who justified his wiping out a vaccine mandate with ignorance about the extent of the pandemic danger. McConnell then pushed the confirmation of Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s replacement to eight days before the election that DDT lost and Biden won—after declaring four years earlier that “the people should decide.” McConnell declared, “Major changes need major buy-in.

The most prominent anti-abortion group is leading the charge to keep the filibuster, from the Dutch word for pirates. Toward that end, the Susan B. Anthony List co-founded the misnamed Election Transparency Initiative to block the federal voting rights bill. Allowing all eligible people would permit them to vote for reproductive rights. Anti-abortionists’ need for the filibuster is not a call for a legislative tradition—just rigging laws for the conservatives. And their advertising praises Manchin and Sinema. The group also opposes the addition of seats to the supreme Court because they already have six conservatives to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade, permitting abortion for the first trimester.

McConnell wields the filibuster as a political tool that he controls; after January 6, he used it to block an independent bipartisan commission. GOP senators would have voted for either one of the voting rights bills, but McConnell didn’t allow even a debate on either one. He claimed the end of the filibuster would cause a takeover, but he’s already done that with the help of two Democratic senators. 

Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner published evidence against the GOP arguments for keeping the filibuster that blocks legislation:

With the increased use of the filibuster, the Senate has become increasingly partisan.

The use of the filibuster blocks collaboration: Republicans are now evading any responsibility to shape bills on education, climate change, taxes, immigration, war, etc.  

The filibuster permits senators to hide from voting on any bills, and thus hide sharing their political positions from the voters.

The U.S. public becomes more and more angry about congressional gridlock, and the filibuster promotes it.

Like Republicans, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WY) either knows nothing about the filibuster or flat-out lies about it. Recently, he touted the “tradition” of the practice for “232 years.” The Founding Fathers, however, were opposed to supermajorities and didn’t not put the filibuster into the 232-year-old U.S. Constitution. “Father of the Constitution” James Madison wrote that the requirement for supermajority would reverse “the fundamental principle of free government,” transferring the power to the minority. Alexander Hamilton called it a “poison” and wrong “to subject the sense of the greater number to that of the lesser… [If] a pertinacious minority can control the opinion of a majority,” [the result would be] “tedious delays; continual negotiation and intrigue; contemptible compromises of the public good.”

The filibuster requires only 41 senators to block any bill from moving forward. Those 41 Republicans represent only 21 percent of the U.S. population for the voting rights bill supported by 67 percent of the population. The only issues requiring a supermajority by the Founding Fathers is impeachment, expulsion of members, overriding a presidential veto, ratification of treaties, and constitutional amendments. True textualists in the Supreme Court instead of the faux ones sitting on the bench would overturn the filibuster.

For almost a century after the Civil War, the filibuster, first used in 1841, was primarily used to block rights for Blacks such as voting and anti-lynching. In 1917, Woodrow Wilson’s Senate ended filibusters with a two-thirds vote, and the number was dropped to 60 in the 1970s. At that time, the rules also didn’t require non-stop talking to continue the filibuster: it just needed 41 votes. When the Democrats took the Senate and McConnell became Senate Minority Leader in 2007, the Republicans began using the filibuster with excessive frequency. In 2009 when Barack Obama became president, the GOP minority blocked every significant piece of legislation because of the 60-vote requirement. The 67 filibusters that year were double the two decades between 1950 and 1969. The next year added another 60 filibusters.

Sinema’s fake flowery speech came after the House passed a bill with new voting rights protections with a party line vote of 220 to 203. The bill came from a combination of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act with a measure covering NASA. The Senate can then be brought directly to the floor for debate without a filibuster although Republicans can block it from the final vote.

One important provision of the voting bill, which Republicans find offensive, was the restoration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 provision requiring permission for new election laws by states with histories of voting rights violation. When the Supreme Court struck down that provision in 2013, Chief Justice John Roberts recommended Congress replace the provision with a law. Republicans also find no voter suppression in the 33 laws already passed by 19 states since the 2020 election, laws that highly restrict access to submitting ballots.  [visual: voting Reich voting poster]

Other provisions of the House voting rights bill:

  • Fifteen days of early voting.
  • Easier voter registration, including online registration and automatic registration at state motor vehicle agencies.
  • Same-day and automatic registration.
  • Removal of election officials without justification made more difficult.
  • Protection of election workers and records, making it a federal crime to intimidate, threaten, or coerce election officials, poll workers, and election volunteers doing their jobs.
  • Voters going to court ensuring their votes are’t eliminated made easier.
  • Ability to vote by mail for any reason.
  • National standard of forms with wide range of identifying documents and electronic copies for states requiring voter ID.
  • Election Day a national holiday
  • Keep voting lines to 30 minutes or fewer.
  • Creation of or increased penalties for intimidating and deceiving voters with disinformation about elections.
  • Restoration of federal voting rights to people with felony convictions after their release from prison.
  • Outlawing of partisan gerrymandering for congressional maps with neutral redistricting standards and transparency in the process.
  • Protection of election workers and records, making it a federal crime to intimidate, threaten, or coerce election officials, poll workers, and election volunteers doing their jobs.
  • Requirements and regulations keeping election materials from use in partisan ballot reviews.
  • Disclosure of donations by doors spending over $10,000 in one election reporting cycle.
  • New rules to separate super PAC operations from campaigns.
  • Small-donor matching program for House candidates who opt in.
  • Federal Election Commission permitted to be less dependent on a majority of members for new investigations by allowing the commission’s general council to investigate and issue subpoenas.
  • Addition of Native American Voting Right Act to make it easier for voters on tribal lands such as polling sites and voter registration on tribal lands.

Despite the rule of the filibuster, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) may have an alternative to the requirement for 60 votes to even debate the voting rights bill. A process called “messages between the houses” moves bills back and forth between the two congressional chambers. It has been used for both of them to agree on the final bill’s language. Usually done for amendments, these “messages” can be put before the Senate without debate. Attaching the voting rights bill to the NASA bill, already passed several times between the chambers, can remove the filibuster for the voting rights bill. This process may not get the 50 necessary votes to pass the Senate, but it forces naysayers to openly vote against rights for people.  [visual: voting nice sticker]

October 17, 2021

Manchin Determined to Destroy West Virginia

In the past, I have complained about how a Republican senator blocked confirmation of a nominee or an entire bill because of Senate rules. With a Democratic “majority”—meaning 50 Democrats plus a swing voter of Democratic VP Kamala Harris—a “Democrat” has decided to block any possibility of slowing down the climate warming.

Last week, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) refused to consider any infrastructure program that includes clean electricity to replace the U.S. coal- and gas-fired power plants with wind, solar and nuclear energy, a provision costing only $15 billion a year. Manchin makes millions from fossil fuels, including the coal company he owns, other coal companies that pay him, and campaign donations. The legislation is now being rewritten without the clean electricity provision just to please one senator. The provision would have been the strongest climate change policy enacted in the nation and drastically reduce greenhouses gasses heating the planet, according to experts. Manchin falsely claimed he didn’t want to pay companies to do something they are already doing, but they aren’t.

In two weeks, President Joe Biden participates in a major UN climate change summit in Glasgow and will be forced to face this setback.  The U.S. is the biggest emitter of planet-warming pollution, and Biden promised to cut its emissions 50 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) made the countries of the world uncertain about any U.S. commitment in attacking global warming after he ridiculed climate change science and pushed policies for more drilling and use of fossil fuels.

Yet a scientific report released in August described the increasing catastrophes of severe drought, heat waves, water shortages, storms, and rising seas recently experienced. Knowing this, other Democrats said they will withdraw their votes if the infrastructure bill is rewritten in this fashion to satisfy Manchin. Manchin originally supported the clean electricity provision but has now changed his opinion. The infrastructure bill still includes $300 billion extending tax credits for utilities, commercial businesses and homeowners using or generating electricity from zero-carbon sources, $13.5 billion for electric car stations, and $9 billion to update the electric grid. That would cost under $45 billion a year, three times the eliminated provision.

Manchin took umbrage at Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) pointing out how the proposed infrastructure bill, which Manchin blocks, would help Manchin’s constituents. Last Friday, Manchin called Sanders an “independent socialist” and wrote:

“This isn’t the first time an out-of-stater has tried to tell West Virginians what is best for them despite having no relationship to our state.”

West Virginia has a high number of people in poverty and desperately needs Medicare expansion and drug pricing reforms. The proposed bill has a high popularity rating, including in Manchin’s state, and over two-thirds of the U.S. wants tax increases on wealthy people and big business.

The wealthy West Virginia senator, whose daughter is a wealthy pharmaceutical officer, has taken at least $1.5 million for his campaign from businesses and trade groups at the forefront of blocking Biden’s Build Back Better infrastructure bill.  

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America donated $1,525,700 to Manchin for him to shave $2 trillion off his party’s legislation. The Chamber of Commerce, another Manchin donor, has members from ExxonMobil, Pfizer, and Facebook—all determined in the failure of Biden’s domestic policy initiatives, and other leadership boards of big corporations such as Shell Oil, Microsoft, and Honeywell donated $565,700 to Manchin. Twelve corporations from the Business Roundtable gave $245,500 to Manchin, and leading corporate members of the National Association of Manufacturers gave him $487,000.

In response to Manchin’s insistence on removing a key part of the infrastructure bill, House and Democrats are considering a tax on carbon dioxide pollution. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said he’s been waiting for three years to present a carbon pricing bill. Unfortunately, industries would pass their higher costs to customers. The tax would be on coal mining companies, large natural gas processing plants and oil refiners, but oil refiners would not be charged for producing gasoline, protecting pump prices. Revenue would go for tax rebates or checks for poor and work-class people, especially those employed by fossil fuel industries.

Manchin has told colleagues that he will support only one of three family-related proposals: extended child tax credit, paid family leave, or funding for childcare. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that conservative Democrats want to “to either feed your kid, recover from your c-section, or have childcare so you can go to work — but not all three. All three makes you entitled and lazy.” Rep. Jamaal Boman (D-NY) wrote, “Responsible governing isn’t about pitting women, children, and families against each other.”

Dropping $2 trillion from the infrastructure bill, making it $150 billion a year for the next decade, would lose almost two million jobs than the $3.5 trillion bill would have, cutting them from every 435 congressional district in the 50 states. West Virginia alone would lose 900 manufacturing jobs, 400 construction jobs, and 3,800 healthcare and social assistance jobs while not being any better off with more jobs in fossil fuel industries. Arizona would lose 35,564 jobs if Democratic Sen. Krysten Sinema, who represents the people in the state, wins her crusade to remove $2 trillion from the bill.  

The argument Manchin gives for not spending the $3.5 trillion is its high cost because he wants to support “essential social programs, like Social Security and Medicare.” Yet the annual $350 billion that the bill costs covers “social programs” such as Medicare, childcare, etc. Manchin has always voted in favor of the military, including an additional $24 billion raise last year. In the last decade of Manchin’s votes, he has endorsed at least $9.1 trillion in 2012 dollars.

The highly entitled Manchin also argues against the infrastructure bill on grounds that he doesn’t want an “entitlement mentality.” Thirteen years ago, as West Virginia governor, he pushed for a huge Wall Street bailout funneling hundreds of billions of dollars from taxpayers to banks after they self-created financial crisis destroyed the global economy and brought over 15,000 foreclosures to West Virginia as well as $350 million in lost equity throughout the state. The same banks paid themselves massive government-subsidized bonuses and later bankrolled Manchin’s political campaigns. Manchin and then-Gov. Rick Perry of Texas wrote senators demanding Congress deliver the cash to bank executives:

“There is a time for partisanship and there is a time for getting things done. No one likes the hand they’ve been dealt, and now is not the time to assign blame. Americans across the country and in every demographic are feeling the pinch. If Congress does not act soon, the situation will grow appreciably worse. It’s time for leadership. Congress needs to act now.”

Newspapers wrote that the letter helped create momentum for the Senate to immediately pass the measure. A few years after Manchin helped effect the bailout, his wife was named to the board of a mortgage bank which had received $10 billion from his promoted bailout. Manchin also demanded the preservation of special tax subsidies for the fossil fuel industry which returned the favor of hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations. While Manchin was governor, the state’s Public Service Commission bailed out the power plant buying waste coal from Manchin’s family coal brokerage, Enersystems. Although the company is currently in a blind trust, he and his wife each hold between $1 million and $5 million in Enersystems that brought $1.1 million last year.

While Manchin scuttles the climate portion of the infrastructure bill, West Virginia is going underwater—literally. Homes in his hometown of Farmington (WV), known for the 1968 Mine Disaster, are being inundated by storms swelling Buffalo Creek that also overwhelms the town’s sewage treatment systems. More frequent and intense rainfall comes from warmer air allowing it to hold more moisture. No state in the lower 48 states is more exposed to flood damage than West Virginia. Jim Hall, married to Manchin’s cousin, told about when rescue workers used a rope to get him and his wife from their house in 2017. This flood and others like it are omitted from FEMA’s flood maps because they come from creeks and streams. [Right: This summer’s flooding in Tunnelton, 44 miles from Farmington.]

First Street Foundation estimated the upcoming risks in West Virginia:

  • 61 percent of the power stations, the highest nationwide and over twice the average.
  • 46 percent of the roads being inundated.
  • 57 percent of fire stations, the highest number in the U.S.
  • 50 percent of police stations.
  • 38 percent of schools.
  • 37 percent of commercial properties.

Creeks and rivers are less able to hold large volumes of water because surface mining for coal removed soil and vegetation and stream corridors have filled with sediment and debris. Near Farmington, Morgantown, home of Manchin’s alma mater West Virginia University, received two inches of rain in less than an hour in June. Floods turning the main street, Patteson Drive, into a river reversed the sewers and pushed waste into basements. The same thing happened in July, only with over three inches an hour. The stories of disaster continued, especially after Hurricane Ida.

Manchin’s fear of entitlement for the afflicted won’t save them from the cataclysm. Instead, he’s determined to contribute to the destruction.   

October 16, 2021

Oddities of the Past Week – October 16

Scott Pio, a DDT pick for the Virginia state legislature, has—“just a thought, not a statement”—to lower the sea level: take “all the boats out of the water” and tweeted an illustration from of ships in the Pacific Ocean. Pio formerly worked with a task force to get support for DDT when he golfs in Virginia. An engineer explained that the impact of each boat on the sea level is “about six microns, which is slightly more than the diameter of a strand of spider silk.” The oceans rise about .13 inch each year from global warming, and removing all ships from the ocean would cover a one-day gain. Surging sea levels come from human-caused climate warming—additional water from melting ice sheets and glaciers and seawater expansion from warming.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, is known for her quick answers to reporters who try to throw her off-guard, but one of her best is the answer to a question concerning President Joe Biden’s decision to release records connected to the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The reporter was checking for any concern that a future president would release records to weaponize Biden. White House Counsel Dana Remus justified the “unique and extraordinary circumstances” presented by the worst attack on America’s legislature since Major General Robert Ross led the British Army’s burning of Washington in 1814. 

Reporter: Has there been any concern about what might happen one day when the shoe is on the other foot?

Psaki: I can assure you that this President has no intention to lead an insurrection on this nation’s Capitol.

White House Counsel Dana Remus attributed the release of papers to the “unique and extraordinary circumstances” presented by the worst attack on the U.S. legislature since Major General Robert Ross led the British Army’s burning of Washington in 1814. She wrote that Biden had “determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States” because the committee “is examining an assault on our Constitution and democratic institutions provoked and fanned by those sworn to protect them, and the conduct under investigation extends far beyond typical deliberations concerning the proper discharge of the President’s constitutional responsibilities.”

Michael Angelo Riley, a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police force, has been indicted for obstruction of justice after repeatedly warning a person on Facebook to take down the photos and accounts of being in the Capitol on January 6. One message read:

“[I’]m a capitol police officer who agrees with your political stance. Take down the part about being in the building they are correctly investigating and everyone who was in the building is going to be charged. Just looking out!”

Once he got caught, he took down his warnings, but they had already been copied. He knew the “friend,” referred to as “Person 1,” only through their FB exchanges. The man is Jacob Hiles, a Virginia fishing charter boat operator who already pled guilty to “illegally parading in the Capitol” although he wrote he didn’t think he did anything wrong. Riley finally wrote him that a video showed him that Hiles’ excuse getting “pushed in the [Capitol] with no other choice now seems not only false but a big lie. I feel like a moron believing you.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Josh Renaud thought he was doing the state a favor when he notified it that the website from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education had published over 100,000 teacher, counselor, and administrator Social Security numbers. All anyone had to do was press the link for “View Sources.” The paper notified the state government, and the glitch was fixed. Yet Missouri Gov. Mike Parson threated to prosecute Renaud for “hacking” the website to “steal personal information and harm Missourians.” Parson referred the “case” to a prosecutor and asked the state highway patrol to investigate.

Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), who teaches a class in fundraising at Arizona State University, is practicing on a trip to London and Paris. Asking for foreign donations there is legal as long as only U.S. citizens make contributions. Sinema, who said she wanted to be a maverick like former Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), is a favorite of Republicans because she blocks funding for climate change and family assistance in the Democratic infrastructure bill. Against several hypothetical opponents in a 2024 primary Democratic contest, Sinema would get no more than 25 percent of the votes.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has gone off on a rant about 40,000 Brazilians “headed for Connecticut wearing designer clothes and Gucci bags.” In August, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol reported San Diego agents encountered about 7,300 Brazilian nationals—nothing about designer clothes, Gucci bags, and an extra 32,700 Brazilians. Last year, he was proudly photographed with a leader of the white supremacist Proud Boys at a restaurant, and a year earlier he was pictured with far right wing politician Geert Wilders, “a controversial Dutch parliamentary leader with anti-Islam and anti-immigrant views.”

Bill Pryor, a George H.W. Bush-appointed judge on the 11th Circuit Court serving Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, has a new clerk with a racist past. In late 2017, Crystal Clanton, conservative Turning Point USA national field director, sent a text to her co-workers:

“I hate Black people. Like fuck them all.… I hate blacks. End of story.”

No one at the 11th Circuit, including Pryor, is answering requests for comment. Federal clerks write opinions making law and affecting litigants as well as move on prestigious law careers, including the federal bench.

DDT supporters are teaching children many expletives that teachers and parents may not appreciate. Protesters gathering outside politicians’ homes yell extreme profanity so loudly and constantly that children can clearly understand the words. Last Friday, protesters collected close enough to a Connecticut child development center where President Joe Biden went to speak with children that the objectionable language was clearly understood by the little ones. They repeatedly chanted “F**k Biden” and waved flags with the same message for older children who could read. Mainstream media ignored the hecklers’ comments although the local Fox station called protesters a “loud crowd.”

On October 3, 2021, a woman woke up in Golden, BC (Canada) after an explosive bang and debris scattered over her while she was in bed. She leaped up and turned on a light. A 2.8-pound rock about the side of a fist was between the pillows next to where her head had been. A nearby construction company reported “a bright light in the sky that had exploded and caused some booms.” On the same night, other Canadians heard two loud booms and saw a fireball streaking across the sky. Some of them filmed the phenomenon. The conclusion was the rock had come from space as do thousands of space rocks striking the Earth as meteorites. 



Conservative lies about a “war on Christmas” have taken a new stance this year. Always searching for mythical complaints against Democrats, Republicans are attacking Biden for holiday gifts not arriving on time because the supply chain delays. They say that Christmas will be ruined without all those things people want to buy. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the ex-wrestling coach who refused to report sexual abuse against his athletes, tweeted that presents were always on time during DDT’s term. Princeton historian Kevin Kruse added to Jordan’s tweet with a copy of the December 24, 2020, headline, “More than one million packages will not reach their destinations this Christmas.” It’s not even Halloween yet, but the Fox network has mentioned Christmas at least 106 times in one day, not including reruns.

The Wisconsin ballot count may be an even bigger farce than the one in Arizona. The former Supreme Court justice, Michael Gableman, has already proved his own claim that he doesn’t have “any understanding of how elections work,” but the mistakes build. He sent a subpoena to an official who doesn’t oversee elections and misspelled a Latin phrase demanding records and testimony. Then he backed off his subpoenas before telling a radio host that the officials would still be required to testify. In Michigan, DDT is pushing rallies to advocate for ballot counts, and Republicans have replaced election officials believing in the “stolen” election lie for 8 of the 11 largest counties.

DDT made news this last week when he issued this statement:

“If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.”

The obvious reason is undermining faith in democracy and elections, but DDT runs the risk of his followers doing what he says—as they always have. Maybe gerrymandering, new anti-voting laws, and DDT’s followers running local elections might help the Republicans, but those who want to get voted are going into a panic. So are his followers who split about whether they will vote next year. Meanwhile, DDT is now sticking to endorsing candidates; his advisers may have gotten to him. It will be a long 14 months until the 2022 elections.

June 1, 2021

QAnon Believes in DDT’s Return, Scandals Continue

Michael Flynn, the national security advisor who DDT fired less than a month after his inauguration, told a QAnon conspiracy conference last weekend he wanted a Myanmar-style coup in the United States to put Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) back into the White House. On video, Flynn stated the coup “should happen here” but later claimed, “I do not and have not at any time called for any action of that sort.” The military coup against the government already killed 800 people. Flynn was convicted after confessing to lying to the FBI, destroying any personal credibility.

Flynn’s false claim is comparable to Washington, D.C. police who stated they didn’t use tear gas to clear peaceful protesters so DDT could walk to the church for his infamous photo-op last June. The police attorney now admits the police used tear gas but described the use as “not unreasonable.”

DDT is telling close associates he will be reinstated in the White House by the end of summer, according to New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman. Sidney Powell, a former lawyer who tried to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential election in court, also told the QAnon group that DDT will triumphantly return. She said, “A new inauguration date is set, and Biden is told to move out of the White House.” Powell is being sued for $1.3 billion for her lies about Dominion voting machines and software. Smartmatic is also asking for $2.7 billion in damages for their defamation suit against Powell. Her legal defense argues that “no reasonable person would conclude that the statements [by Powell about the 2020 election] were truly statements of fact.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is another one of the liars at the QAnon conspiracy conference. About DDT’s supporters attacking the U.S. Capitol, Gohmert criticized an independent review of the insurrection and pushed the myth that “it wasn’t just right-wing extremists” rioting despite federal officials saying that left-wing activists weren’t present. Gohmert also said the event trying to overturn a presidential election wasn’t any big deal, that foreign attacks were much worse. Despite Gohmert appearing in a video, one of his staff members said he didn’t go to the conference. Later, Gohmert told a CBS journalist he doesn’t “know who or what QAnon is.” Earlier this year, Gohmert said in an interview that if the 2020 election isn’t overturned, “it will mean the end of our republic, the end of the experiment in self-government.” After his speech, Gohmert posed with known QAnon conspiracy theorist and podcaster RedPill78, who openly admitted to storming the Capitol building on January 6.  

The typical call to execute Hillary Clinton came from Roger Stone’s social media advisor Jason Sullivan. DDT pardoned Stone after his conviction. Sullivan claimed “80 million followers” for QAnon, but a survey found about 30 million.

DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani was “very useful to me,” according to Andriy Derkach, the Ukrainian politician and businessman described in the Biden and DDT administration as an “active Russian agent.” Derkach fed Giuliani false information on Biden and his son Hunter Biden, leaked tapes to damage Biden’s presidential campaign, and passed along the conspiracy theory to Giuliani and others that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2020 election to get DDT elected.  

A judge approved the DOJ request to appoint an independent supervisor to review materials obtained from Giuliani’s home with a search warrant last month. The ruling also rejected Giuliani’s challenge to the legality of the recent search warrant and the one two years ago as part of his business dealings with Ukraine.

Sen. Joe Manchin (R-WV), surprised about the filibuster requiring 60 out of 100 votes to permit bills to the Senate floor, is “disappointed” because the Republicans he supports have blocked bipartisan legislation to examine the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.  The filibuster requires 60 votes even if senators don’t show up. Only 54 members voted in favor of a commission with 35 votes against it: 39 percent defeated 64 percent. Only in the Senate is the number 35 larger than the number 54. Not present for the vote were nine Republicans and two Democrats, Patty Murray (WA) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ). Manchin said “putting politics and political elections above the health of our Democracy is unconscionable,” but he and Sinema are responsible for keeping the filibuster and blocking democracy. 

Six GOP senators voted to forward the January 6 commission bill for debate: Bill Cassidy (LA), Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Rob Portman (OH), Mitt Romney (UT), and Ben Sasse (NE). Most Republicans oppose the commission for fear its revelations will hurt their election chances in 2022.

Possible paths for a congressional investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol:

The Senate can try again. After all, the 9/11 independent investigative commission wasn’t formalized for 14 months. House Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, “I reserve the right to force the Senate to vote on the bill again at the appropriate time.”

House Democrats have started their own probe of the insurrection with a coalition of seven committees; documents requests have been sent to 16 agencies in the federal government.

Democrats could also create a select House committee without GOP support and undertake steps for accountability as Republicans with Benghazi. The GOP followed six separate GOP congressional investigations with a select committee, all failing to find evidence for the GOP far-right conspiracy theories against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. A select committee, needing only a House majority, has subpoena power, a dedicated staff, and no firm deadline.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), under investigation for a number of criminal offences including sex-trafficking, explained the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

“The Second Amendment is about maintaining, within the citizenry, the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government, if that becomes necessary.”

Gaetz was speaking specifically about his willingness to silence Big Tech, but his listeners will likely use his words to kill anyone.

DDT’s appointments from before Biden’s administration are still haunting the country. An example is retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, who pushed conspiracy theories about George Soros, talked about Europe welcoming “Muslim invaders,” and encouraged deadly force against undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Before leaving the White House, DDT put Macgregor on a West Point advisory board where he announced Biden’s bringing in non-White immigrants in a “grand plan” for them to outnumber White people of European ancestry in the U.S. He also attacked women’s military service in combat. Cleaning house will take Biden a long time.

Rational people aren’t surprised about revelations of corruption in DDT’s administration such as this one. According to EPA scientists, their officials reapproved Monsanto’s pesticide by revising scientific analyses with no evidence. Officials gave scientists an outline for its impact analysis document that removed vital parts of the original. The Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention told scientists to use Monsanto data for reported dicamba damages instead of EPA science data. The senior management decision to use plant height instead of plant injury to measure dicamba’s effects changed scientific conclusions. Other concerns were “numerous inaccuracies” and using studies for controlling weeds on cotton and soybeans genetically engineered to tolerate it instead of crops not engineered to tolerate it which were impacted by its usage. In 2020, dicamba was approved for five years although a study in the International Journal of Epidemiology links dicamba use to cancers. An article for The Hill avoided any mention of Monsanto, but dicamba is a Monsanto product.

When DDT stopped the requirement of payroll taxes to boost the economy during the pandemic, people thought the taxes would be forgiven. The day of reckoning, however, has arrived, and federal employees making under $4,000 per biweekly paycheck owe thousands of dollars because DDT made the delay mandatory. A letter demands payment in full within 30 days before the debt is forwarded to the Treasury offset program for collection. One recipient is incensed about her debt of $1,300. Private sector employers largely refused the payroll tax delay for fear that workers couldn’t pay back the money.

DDT’s lease on his Washington, D.C. hotel in the Old Post Office Pavilion is once again for sale. The first time was in Fall 2019 when the hotel was typically half empty. Property revenue fell by 62 percent last year, and Cyrus Vance’s investigation of DDT’s business affairs may include this hotel. DDT supposedly put $200 million into renovations with a $170 million loan from Deutsche Bank; in 2019, he wanted $500 million for the lease and property.

Update: Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill charging social media platforms $250,000 a day after they ban a politician for longer than 14 days, and NetChoice and the Computer and Community Industry Association are suing him and other state officials. The suit declares First Amendment rights of private online businesses. DeSantis’ battle was always about the culture war.

March 7, 2021

COVID Relief Bill Passes Senate

Business in Congress is suddenly booming. While the GOP was in charge, most bills reaching the floor renamed buildings. In the two months since Congress went into session, the House passed at least 70 bills and resolutions. The Senate passed nine bills and resolutions, carried out an impeachment trial, and confirmed 13 Cabinet and Cabinet-level appointments. They also took a week’s vacation before President Joe Biden’s inauguration and worked to restructure the Senate after two elected Democratic senators in Georgia created a 50-50 split in the chamber.

Remarkably, the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, called the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, passed the Senate despite obstruction from Republicans and, occasionally, a few Democrats. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), trying to decide whether to run for re-election in 2022, tried to get GOP support. Known for his purveying Russian propaganda disinformation, especially while chair of the chamber’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, he forced the entire 628-page bill to be read aloud before debate.  

Passed by Democrats in the House, the modified bill lost the hourly $15 minimum wage before a unanimous vote by the 50 Democratic senators. With Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) absent, the remaining 49 Republicans lost the vote without VP Kamala Harris needing to break a tie. The bill returns to the House for a vote on the minor changes before it goes to Biden for a signature. He promised the bill would be passed before March 14 when the federal portion of the unemployment expires, and he may have succeeded. The increase of 379,000 new jobs last month—Biden’s first complete month on the job—may partly come from an optimism about the bill’s passage, but the U.S. has 9.5 million more unemployed workers than before the attack of COVID-19 who need the bill.

Unemployment benefits caused dissension among Democrats when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) threatened for nine hours to join GOP senators in lessening the bill’s weekly benefits. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) told Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), “The party that claims to want to help workers on their taxes won’t lift a finger.” Earlier in the year, House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had tried to paint Democrats as “anti-worker.” Then Democrats destroyed dozens of GOP amendments to drastically cut spending and assistance for local government. Republicans didn’t plan to vote for the bill; they only wanted to stall the process as they did over a decade ago with the Affordable Care Act. They also accused Democrats of not wanting unity, but the Dems declared unity with the 76 percent of people, including 60 percent of Republicans, who want the bill.  

Johnson’s ploy backfired at the end of staff members’ reading the bill until 2:00 am on Friday morning. The few Democrats still present passed Sen. Chris van Hollen’s (D-MD) motion to cut the debate time from 20 hours to only three; no Republicans were present to object, and votes on the amendments began Friday morning instead of 17 hours later.

Most Senate bills require 60 votes if someone calls for the filibuster, but Senate rules allow one bill each year under reconciliation for each of three categories: spending, revenue, and the federal debt limit. ARPA was passed under this rule. The filibuster requirement for the remainder of bills, mandating 60 instead of 50 votes, has been so watered down that senators use it for almost all bills. The Founding Fathers were opposed to more than a majority required to pass a bill, but the filibuster, or cloture, was formed with a Senate vote over a century ago when Woodrow Wilson wanted to arm merchant vessels in 1917. For decades, filibustering senators had to continue speaking on the Senate floor to stall bills: then-Sen. Strom Thurmond (D-SC) set the record with 24 hours and 28 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957 although the bill finally passed. By 1975, the filibuster rule was almost completely diluted: no 60 percent vote to agree on a filibuster, no talking on the Senate floor, almost no effort.

By the 21st century, one person can continue a filibuster without even being present until 60 senators vote against the filibuster. That’s the reason the number of annual filibusters has gone from about one to hundreds per year.

Contents of the bill:  

  • $1,400 checks per person for individuals making under $75,000 and couples under $150,000.
  • Federal unemployment benefits until September 6 at $300 per week with the first $10,200 of benefits for households earning under $150,000.
  • Extension of a 15 percent increase in food stamp benefits from June to September.
  • Rent aid for low-income households.
  • Increase in federal premium subsidies for Affordable Care Act policies.
  • Provision of $8.5 billion for rural hospitals and health care providers in financial trouble.
  • Child tax credit of $3,000 for each child ages 6-17 and $3,600 for each child under age 6.
  • Designation of $350 billion for states, cities, tribal governments, and U.S. territories.
  • Tens of billions of dollars for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and vaccine distribution and supply chains.
  • $130 billion for reopening schools.

Added provisions to the House bill:

  • $510 million for the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program to support homeless services providers for overnight shelter, meals, one month’s rent and mortgage assistance, and one month’s utility payments.
  • Expansion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit for start-up companies and other businesses hit by the pandemic.
  • Increase in the federal COBRA health insurance program from 85 percent to 100 percent.
  • A $10 billion infrastructure program to help local governments continue crucial capital projects.
  • Coronavirus-related student loans tax-free.
  • Increase of $200 million for Amtrak relief funding.
  • Education funding of $1.25 billion for summer enrichment, $1.25 billion for after-school programs, and $3 billion for education technology

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) quickly corrected Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) complaining lies about undocumented immigrants receiving money from ARPA. Refusing to yield the floor back to Cruz, Durbin said:

“The statement of the senator from Texas is just plain false… In case you didn’t notice, they didn’t qualify in December when 92 of us voted for that measure, and they don’t qualify under the American Rescue Plan. Nothing has changed, and for you to stand up there and say the opposite is just to rile people up over something that’s not true.”

 Debunking other false claims:

Nothing for schools: As can be seen above, hundreds of billions of dollars are being sent to schools, helping them take CDC steps to safely return youth to schools. The amount is six times what Republicans offered in their version of a bill.

Only 9 percent for health care: The largest parts focus on the pandemic’s economic impact, related to health. At least seven percent is directly related to coronavirus and might be closer to ten percent, depending on the GOP definition of “the health care space,” including the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. Items such as free lunches for students no physically in school are connected to the COVID crisis. Stimulus checks, government assistance, and unemployment benefits are necessary because of the pandemic. The $140 million originally designated the BART extension, outside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) district, brought bitter complaints, but that sum, 0.0007 of the bill’s amount, has been deleted. Only $30 million for transportation for systems suffering from fee revenue, remains. Airlines alone received $25 from Republicans in the CARES act.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) drew attention to herself with two graceless gestures during the vote for ARPA. One of eight Democrats voting against the hourly minimum wage of $15, she made a dramatic thumbs-down movement similar to that of former Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) when he voted against killing the Affordable Care Act. The difference was clear: Sinema voted against low-income people, and McCain supported them. Seven years ago, she tweeted:

“A full-time minimum-wage earner makes less than $16k a year. This one’s a no-brainer. Tell Congress to #RaiseTheWage!”

Sinema’s other action accompanying her rejection of raising the minimum wage brought up the supercilious remark “Let them eat cake” about 17th and 18th century European peasants living in poverty who had no bread about European peasants living in poverty. She brought a large chocolate cake into the Senate chamber supposedly for staffers forced to read the entire ARPA. The connection between the cake and her thumbs-down for the poor made poor optics for her. Sinema also wants to preserve the filibuster to keep Republicans in control. As an Arizona paper wrote, “Sinema is holding progress hostage.” Sinema complained that criticism about her flamboyant gesture was sexist.  

For the past two years, the Democratic House passed hundreds of important bills and sent them to the boneyard of the GOP Senate. People knew Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate majority leader for those two years, would ignore the bills, which he knew would expire when a new Congress was sworn in. One advantage of having those bills from the 116th Congress, however, is that the 117th Congress can re-pass them much more quickly. Under the “McGovern rule,” bills brought to the House floor by April 1 can skip over markups if the previous Congress passed them. Two major results of this “rule” are H.R. 1 to return democracy to voting through government and elections reform by 220 to 210 and and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act with a vote of 220 to 212. Although both bills have moved on to the Senate, the filibuster may hurt their progress.

The daily cases of COVID-19 and resulting deaths in the U.S. are dropping—58,228 infections and 1,515 deaths yesterday—but the number per capita for cases is above other industrialized nations for cases and still eleventh for deaths.

February 5, 2020

Profiles in Courage

Only one Republican senator voted to convict Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in one of the two articles of impeachment, abuse of power. When Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) gave a speech on the floor of the Senate to explain his vote, only three Democrats and two Republicans, one of them there to preside over the Senate, were present. Yet the transcript and video of Romney’s have gone viral. DDT was so upset by both the vote and his speech that he disinvited reporters to join him in a meeting with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

Mitt Romney’s speech about his vote against DDT:

The Constitution is at the foundation of our Republic’s success, and we each strive not to lose sight of our promise to defend it. The Constitution established the vehicle of impeachment that has occupied both houses of Congress for these many days. We have labored to faithfully execute our responsibilities to it. We have arrived at different judgments, but I hope we respect each other’s good faith.

The allegations made in the articles of impeachment are very serious. As a Senator-juror, I swore an oath, before God, to exercise “impartial justice.” I am a profoundly religious person. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the President, the leader of my own party, would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced. I was not wrong.

The House Managers presented evidence supporting their case; the White House counsel disputed that case. In addition, the President’s team presented three defenses: first, that there can be no impeachment without a statutory crime; second, that the Bidens’ conduct justified the President’s actions; and third that the judgement of the President’s actions should be left to the voters. Let me first address each of those defenses.

The historic meaning of the words “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the writings of the Founders and my own reasoned judgement convince me that a president can indeed commit acts against the public trust that are so egregious that while they are not statutory crimes, they would demand removal from office. To maintain that the lack of a codified and comprehensive list of all the outrageous acts that a president might conceivably commit renders Congress powerless to remove a president defies reason.

The President’s counsel noted that Vice President Biden appeared to have a conflict of interest when he undertook an effort to remove the Ukrainian Prosecutor General. If he knew of the exorbitant compensation his son was receiving from a company actually under investigation, the Vice President should have recused himself. While ignoring a conflict of interest is not a crime, it is surely very wrong.

With regards to Hunter Biden, taking excessive advantage of his father’s name is unsavory but also not a crime. Given that in neither the case of the father nor the son was any evidence presented by the President’s counsel that a crime had been committed, the President’s insistence that they be investigated by the Ukrainians is hard to explain other than as a political pursuit. There is no question in my mind that were their names not Biden, the President would never have done what he did.

The defense argues that the Senate should leave the impeachment decision to the voters. While that logic is appealing to our democratic instincts, it is inconsistent with the Constitution’s requirement that the Senate, not the voters, try the president. Hamilton explained that the Founders’ decision to invest senators with this obligation rather than leave it to voters was intended to minimize—to the extent possible—the partisan sentiments of the public.

This verdict is ours to render. The people will judge us for how well and faithfully we fulfilled our duty. The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the President committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a “high crime and misdemeanor.”

Yes, he did.

The President asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival.

The President withheld vital military funds from that government to press it to do so.

The President delayed funds for an American ally at war with Russian invaders.

The President’s purpose was personal and political.

Accordingly, the President is guilty of an appalling abuse of the public trust.

What he did was not “perfect”— No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security interests, and our fundamental values. Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.

In the last several weeks, I have received numerous calls and texts. Many demand that, in their words, “I stand with the team.” I can assure you that that thought has been very much on my mind. I support a great deal of what the President has done. I have voted with him 80% of the time. But my promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and biases aside. Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented, and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience.

I am aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters, I will be vehemently denounced. I am sure to hear abuse from the President and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?

I sought to hear testimony from John Bolton not only because I believed he could add context to the charges, but also because I hoped that what he said might raise reasonable doubt and thus remove from me the awful obligation to vote for impeachment.

Like each member of this deliberative body, I love our country. I believe that our Constitution was inspired by Providence. I am convinced that freedom itself is dependent on the strength and vitality of our national character. As it is with each senator, my vote is an act of conviction. We have come to different conclusions, fellow senators, but I trust we have all followed the dictates of our conscience.

I acknowledge that my verdict will not remove the President from office. The results of this Senate Court will in fact be appealed to a higher court: the judgement of the American people. Voters will make the final decision, just as the President’s lawyers have implored. My vote will likely be in the minority in the Senate. But irrespective of these things, with my vote, I will tell my children and their children that I did my duty to the best of my ability, believing that my country expected it of me. I will only be one name among many, no more or less, to future generations of Americans who look at the record of this trial. They will note merely that I was among the senators who determined that what the President did was wrong, grievously wrong.

We’re all footnotes at best in the annals of history. But in the most powerful nation on earth, the nation conceived in liberty and justice, that is distinction enough for any citizen.

Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) denied that his vote to convict DDT was a “profile in courage,” but he is running for reelection this year in a very red state. He said, “It is simply a matter of right and wrong. Doing right is not a courageous act.”

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) explained her vote against DDT to the Arizona Republic:

“The facts are clear — security aid was withheld from Ukraine in an attempt to benefit the president’s political campaign. While White House attorneys claim this behavior is not serious, it is dangerous to the fundamental principles of American democracy to use the power of the federal government for personal or political gain.”

The irony of her statement is that at least ten GOP senators agree with her first sentence, but they still voted to acquit with a variety of justifications for DDT. One excuse will come back soon to bite them–that he’s learned his lesson. Proponents of this flawed argument include Sens. Lamar Alexander (TN), John Boozman (AR), Mike Braun (IN), Sherry Capito (WV), Susan Collins (ME), John Cornyn (TX), Joni Ernst (IA), James Lankford (OK), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Rob Portman (OH), and others expressed concern about DDT’s actions.  [A few hours after her vote to acquit, Collins admitted she was probably wrong.] DDT has learned his lesson–that he can do anything and Republicans will cover for him. These senators, part of what Chief Justice John Roberts called “the greatest deliberative body in the world,” will go down in history with their profiles of cowardice. 


January 6, 2019

Christians Lead the Way to Making DDT King

Day 16 of the government shutdown: On the day that the debacle caused by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) ties for the third-longest shutdown in history, U.S. lawmakers on the Mexico border are rejecting DDT’s wall in favor of technology and staffing at legal ports of entry for improved security and crossing times. DDT offered $400 million for these purposes but still demands $5 billion for his wall.

Part of Mike Pence’s job as vice president is to swear in newly-elected senators, and the far-right Christian evangelist is the first VP to swear in an openly pagan and bisexual person for the chamber. Even more horrifying for Christian conservatives was Kyrsten Sinema’s use of the Constitution for her swearing in. When she saw the photo marking for “spouse,” Sinema asked, “Can we get a spouse?”

People who think that the Constitution begins with the Second Amendment—skipping freedom of press, religion, assembly, etc—were resentful when they thought Rashida Tlaib, the new representative from Michigan, who they claimed was sworn into office on a Koran once owned by Thomas Jefferson. One person wrote a concern that Muslims will “both receive a security clearance given to congress members.” Another one sputtered in a tweet:

“This is a disgrace of epic proportions. It is also unlawful. I am disgusted for every soldier who ever gave their life to protect our Constitution!!! I feel sick.”

Not much has changed since the fury of then Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) carrying the same Koran during his swearing when he became the first Muslim in Congress.

Representatives, unlike senators, simply raise their hands while swearing to support the Constitution of the United States. The House member with the longest continuous service, in the 116th Congress Don Young (R-AK) with 46 years of service, swears in the duly-elected Speaker who then swears in the other members en masse. A book of choice, whether it be a bible or koran, is used for photographs with the Speaker after the general swearing in.

Although many conservatives claims America only for Christians, Islam came to the continent in the 17th century with the West African slaves. Thomas Jefferson bought a Koran when he was 22 years old, 11 years before drafting the Declaration of Independence. He criticized Islam as well as Catholicism for “stifling free enquiry” because both religions tied religion to government, yet he supported the rights of believers. His private notes paraphrase the English philosopher John Locke’s 1689 “Letter on Toleration”:

“(He) says neither Pagan nor Mahometan (Muslim) nor Jew ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the commonwealth because of his religion.”

Jefferson copied Locke’s ideas in writing the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom:

“(O)ur civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions.”

Drafted in 1777, the Statute became law in 1786 and thus the basis for the U.S. Constitution’s “no religious test” clause and the First Amendment.

In Jefferson’s 1821 autobiography, he affirmed that the failure to add the words “Jesus Christ” to his legislation’s preamble proved the application of his Statute to be “universal.” Therefore religious liberty and political equality cannot be exclusively Christian but protect “the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan [Muslim], the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination.” “Universal” includes every one of every faith or non-faith.

Jefferson also welcomed the first Muslim ambassador, one from Tunis, to the White House in 1805. Because it was a time of Ramadan, Jefferson changed the time for the state dinner from 3:30 pm to be “precisely at sunset” to recognize the ambassador’s religious beliefs.

The month of Ramadan celebrates when Prophet Muhammad is believed to have first received revelations from God by fasting from sunrise to sunset. Each year, the event begins ten or eleven days earlier than the previous year, beginning on May 6 in 2019. Beginning in 1966, the White House commemorated Ramadan for two decades with an iftar dinner that broke the fast at night; DDT chose to ignore Ramadan in the first year after his inauguration.

While DDT’s supporters completely reject the Islam religion, they compare his election to the anointing of King Cyrus by God, a nonbeliever used by the faithful, as told by Mark Taylor, a former firefighter in The Trump Prophecy. Evangelical author Lance Wallnau, also in the film, said, “I believe the 45th president is meant to be an Isaiah 45 Cyrus,” who will “restore the crumbling walls that separate us from cultural collapse.”

DDT’s anti-Christian and anti-democratic attitudes make him popular with Christian nationalists who claim to follow the constitution and Founding Fathers while preferring autocrats and kings. Ralph Drollinger, the White House evangelist leading Bible study groups, has made “king” into a verb, i.e., “Get ready to king in our future lives.” DDT follows King Cyrus by making himself above the law, for example his most recent claim that he will build the wall with no authority from Congress. DDT’s evangelical followers also want only a king—no queens. Drollinger maintains that the Bible allows only “male leadership.” Even people who question his sexual language and behavior think that he’s a miracle sent from Heaven to lead the United States to God. To them, resisting DDT is resisting God. The current leading Christian movement in the U.S. today is unbending, authoritarian, patriarchal, and paranoid; it is an attack on democracy.

A sample of the far-right Christian sects and movements supporting DDT:

POTUS Shield: Televangelist Frank Amedia, leader of these self-described “warriors, worshippers, and watchmen,” insists that God visited him before DDT’s inauguration to ask him for a protective shield of prayer around DDT because he was sent to create a Christian fundamentalist takeover of the government. Members are Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council, and Lou Engle, promoter of the Ugandan “kill the gays” bill—among other hate policies. One of their goals is doing away with Islam.

People of Praise: Predominantly Catholic, the group incorporates Pentecostal practices such as speaking in tongues, and requires members to swear an oath of loyalty to the group. Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who sits on the 7th Circuit Court and on DDT’s short list for a Supreme Court justice appointment, belongs to this group believing that women must submit to male authority. The terms “handmaid” and “handmaiden” to describe women are reminiscent of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale, popularized in the 1990 film and 2017/2018 television series.

Quiverfull: This movement within fundamentalist Protestant Christianity claims that preventing a pregnancy is a sin and that all contraceptives are tools of the Devil. Christian wives, who must be submissive to their husbands, should have as many children as possible. Author Nancy Campbell called the womb a “weapon against Satan.” Kathryn Joyce wrote:

“If just eight million American Christians began supplying more ‘arrows for the war’ by having six children or more, they propose that the Christian Right ranks could rise to 550 million within a century.”

Wives are not allowed to have bank accounts or email addresses with their husbands’ permission, and they are to be always sexually available to their husbands.

Project Blitz: This coalition of Christian fundamentalist activists floods state legislatures with bills promoting a theocracy with the hope that a few may succeed in passing. Model bills come from the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation (CPCF) playbook under the guise of “religious freedom.” Five states have passed “In God We Trust” bills mandating that the phrase be on public buildings, schools, and public vehicles include police cars. Other bills could provide proclamations that move religious teachings into schools through something like a Christian heritage week, followed by anti-LGBTQ bills to promote “biblical values concerning marriage and sexuality.” Christians are to rule the United States with their far-right vision, according to Project Blitz; all other people are second-class citizens.

WallBuilders: Founder David Barton, also active in Project Blitz, is a former chairman of the Texas Republican Party and director of Keep the Promise PAC that supported Sen. Ted Cruz’ 2016 presidential campaign. A history revisionist, he teaches that separation of church and state is unconstitutional and that the government should be based on strict biblical law.  Barton has advised Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Sam Brownback, and Mike Huckabee and regularly appeared on Glenn Beck’s Founders Fridays radio broadcasts. God established national borders, according to Barton, who opposes any immigration. In 2010, he tried to keep Martin Luther King, Jr. from Texas textbooks because “only majorities can expand political rights.”

Through the National Prayer Breakfast, far-right Christians connected with Russia to maintain the GOP leadership of the United States. Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, explained the background for the National Prayer Breakfast and its connection to Russia:

“It’s run by a private, sectarian, fundamentalist organization called The Fellowship and The Family that believes in precisely this kind of action. In fact, the long-time leader of the organization has called it quiet diplomacy, back channel, back door interactions between international leaders, that they use the prayer breakfast to bring them together. As recently as a year ago, the current leader, Doug Burleigh, was predicting alliance between [President Donald] Trump and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. He predicted that at a Russian prayer breakfast.”

Russian Maria Butina, recently admitted to being a Russian spy, allegedly sought to influence U.S. officials not only through organizations such as the National Rifle Association, but also by exploiting the National Prayer Breakfast. Butina was denied entry into the United States until the NRA pushed through a visa for her. The affidavit stated that she intended to use the prayer breakfast to “establish a back channel of communications” between influential Russians in the U.S. with power U.S. citizens. This year, the Breakfast had the biggest group of any country. One of the Russians formally invited was sanctioned two months after the prayer breakfast.

Christian evangelicals are leaders of the movement to involve Russia in making DDT king of the United States with his support from Pence and the GOP base.


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