Nel's New Day

November 8, 2022

Supreme Court Addresses Race, Rights

SCOTUS will hear two more landmark cases this week. The first, on November 8, decides whether over 76 million low-income people in the U.S. could be stripped of Medicaid healthcare. The majority of justices, even some conservative ones, seemed reluctant to gut the program by saying that people couldn’t file a lawsuits for their rights under the law although they may determine that nursing home residents can use only administrative process to enforce the law. At this time, Section 1983 permits lawsuits for the enforcement. Only JusticesClarence Thomas and Samuel Alito might disagree. Justice Amy Coney Barrett seemed to join the three other women while Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh just asked about how Medicaid law should be enforced, appearing to assume that the law is enforceable.

A “conditional grant” program, Medicaid provides money to states, $670 billion in 2020, and funding includes general requirements governing its operation. In Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County v. Talevski, the plaintiffs are suing the Indiana health system for using psychotropic drugs as “convenience” to keep Gorgi Talevski, a dementia patient, docile with psychotropic drugs, a violation of Medicaid law. The health system asks the Supreme Court to remove all ability for patients to bring lawsuits for law violations protecting nursing home patients.

Making Medicaid law unenforceable would remove the legal requirement that patients receive coverage and overturn a half-century of precedents, something the conservative Supremes is comfortable doing, by returning to decisions from the 1800s. A decision against Medicaid leaves patients open to abuse from health providers and state health officials. Three justices have already argued that “the modern jurisprudence permitting [Medicaid] beneficiaries to sue does not generally apply to contracts between a private party and the government.” Technically, any government official, such as Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis could remove health benefits from a class of people, violating federal law but blocking people from suing for their rights.

In another case before SCOTUS this week, justices will decide whether children can be removed from families in the Native American tribes. The government forced Indian children into boarding schools or white families with the purpose to assimilate and Christianize them until blocked by the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Before the law, 25 percent to 35 percent of all Native children had been removed from their family and put into foster homes, adoptive homes, or institutions. They lost their language, culture, and religion.

Three families are arguing against ICWA before the Supreme Court, one of them a white evangelical couple taking a Navajo and Cherokee 10-month-old in 2016 to “rectify our blessings.” They were told they couldn’t adopt the baby because of the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) but went to court a year later to fight ICWA. The tribe finally backed down. Federal law requires all removed children to be placed with family, if at all possible, but a Native Minnesota woman was forced to fight in the courts for years to be allowed to take her grandchild. The Supreme Court could take her child away from her. Cases of children who don’t need to be removed and overlooked relatives as foster placements are common, especially in Black and Indigenous families.

The plaintiffs are supported by wealthy, well-oiled right-wing organizations claiming that keeping Native children with members of their tribes is race discrimination against non-Native parents and an overly intrusive federal government. Native Americans maintain that tribes need their children for their continued existence. The case goes far beyond keeping children in their culture; it could go down the path to remove tribal rights beyond child welfare: water, land, gaming, policing, and Native sovereignty itself. Defendants argue that the case is not about racial discrimination but about political status, that they are “members of quasi-sovereign tribal entities whose lives and activities are governed by the BIA in a unique fashion.” Tribes have their Indian Health Services clinics, courts, elections, and police forces. The right-wing groups could erase these. In short, conservative whites want to eliminate Native American heritage.

Last week, the Supremes discussed stripping any part of race from college admissions. Two key cases concerned policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Republicans have worked toward that end for several decades, and the use of race has been greatly watered down. Both education experts and the public agree that racially diverse college campuses benefit all students, but the public wants it to happen by magic without “discriminating” against whites. Asian Americans support affirmative action to diversity populations, but right-wingers use them as the victims of the practice.

One person who doesn’t believe in diversity is Justice Clarence Thomas, who acknowledges that affirmative action policies helped his entrance into Yale University and called it “the taint of racial preference.” It most likely put him on the Supreme Court in 1991 when he took the position left by Thurgood Marshall. Four other conservative justices received privilige affirmative action, and Barrett was awarded her job with millions of dark money advertising for her appointment and confirmation.

The six conservative Supremes seemed ready to toss the use of race in a factor in college admissions. Barrett said, “Achieving diversity and diverse student populations in universities has been difficult.” Her solution is to not bothering to solve it. Justice Brett Kavanaugh also wants to know how to stop affirmative action. The conservative approach toward racism is to declare it doesn’t exist; Justice Samuel Alito maintains it victimizes white people.

White supremacists want to do away with affirmative action because elite universities are the conduits to leadership in government, politics, and private business as well as higher incomes and economic mobility. Keeping schools white keeps control of these areas white. Of lawyers arguing before SCOTUS, 81 percent are white and three-fourths are male. 

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson recused herself from the Harvard case because she sits on the school’s board but pointed out that students get into schools because of their family ties. She asked why lineage put one student into the school but denied the lineage of the other one because slavery or discrimination prohibited their ancestors were attending.  

This week, Jackson wrote her first opinion on the high court, a two-page dissent over the court’s refusal to hear a death row inmate appeal. She stated the lower court applied the wrong legal standard and should review the case. Names of the refusers are not made public, but court rules means that fewer than four justices voted to hear it. Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined Jackson’s dissent. The man on death row asserted that prosecutors didn’t tell him that their key witness had a serious intellectual disability. Jackson pointed out that the GOP majority of justices doesn’t always bother with existing law and longstanding legal principles.

While hearing cases, justices are also accepting and rejecting appeals:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) must testify before the Fulton County (GA) grand jury regarding criminal election interference about his statements about finding ballots after DDT’s 2020 loss in the state. Thomas gave him a short reprieve in his appeal from his failed decisions from a federal district court and the 11th Circuit Court, but the Supreme Court rejected his request to block the subpoena. Graham may be questioned as soon as November 17; he can invoke the 5th Amendment to avoid self-incrimination, incriminating on its own. The background.

Roberts accepted DDT’s emergency appeal to block a House committee from obtaining his IRS records by creating a temporary hold on the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court ruling that the committee has broad authority to obtain tax returns: the committee has authority over taxation law. Roberts indicated it gives SCOTUS time to weigh the issues. The committee needs to respond by November 10. In 2019, the Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance, obtained DDT’s personal and business tax records as part of a criminal investigation. At that time, the Supreme Court rejected DDT’s arguments of having broad presidential immunity. No other resident of the White House has denied making his tax returns public.

Justice Elena Kagan ordered a temporary block after an emergency appeal from Arizona’s GOP chair Kelli Ward to stop the House January 6 investigative committee from receiving phone and text records until SCOTUS settles the issue. The 9th Circuit Court had confirmed a U.S. district judge’s decision approving the committee receiving the records. Requested records do not include content or location information. Ward and her husband, Michael Ward, served as DDT’s fake electors for the state and talked to DDT and his staff members about Arizona’s election certification. In her testimony before the committee, she invoked her Fifth Amendment rights not to answer questions because her answers would incriminate her.

Last Friday, Barrett declined to block President Joe Biden’s student relief plan—for the second time. This decision leaves student loan forgiveness on hold from a separate challenge brought by six GOP-led states after an 8th Circuit Court judge granted a stay. As of last week, 26 million people applied for the program. Those behind the lawsuits suffer from a lack of standing, proof that the loan relief brings them harm. Private loans are not being canceled, leaving their lenders such as Pacific Legal Foundation with no reason to object. The two Indiana borrowers claiming they would be harmed because the state would make them pay taxes on the forgiveness aren’t required to participate in loan relief, leaving them without standing. Meanwhile applicants must wait for a ruling because six states are also suing.  

Tomorrow’s topic: whither democracy.

October 24, 2022

SCOTUS Justice Favors Graham, Other Rulings

British Prime Minister Update: Since yesterday, Penny Mordaunt has dropped out of the race, leaving Rishi Sunak the leader for Britain’s third leader in under two months.

The Supreme Court is not hearing arguments for a couple of week, but justices are making decisions. Justice Clarence Thomas just saved Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) from the horrors of testifying to the Fulton County (GA) grand jury, at least temporarily. The jury is investigating the attempts of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and his allies—including Graham—to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Thomas’ edict reverses a unanimous decision from a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court, two of them DDT appointees; Graham claims that sitting senators are exempt from any questions about the events.

The jury is seeking information about Graham’s phone calls after the election to Georgia Secretary of State and his staff when he talked about absentee ballots and voter fraud. Graham has been dodging the subpoena for his testimony for several months, claiming that his calls to Georgia were part of his job. A district judge ruled that Graham couldn’t be asked about the election certification, but other topics such as the reason for raising the issues and his communication with DDT were acceptable for questioning. Thomas was able to temporarily block the subpoena because he is assigned to the 11th Circuit Court covering Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. A justice can unilaterally act on a stay or submit it to the court for a vote.

Once again, Thomas has proved his conflicts of interest. His wife was part of the plot to overturn the presidential election, the subject of Graham’s subpoena, and Thomas made the decree regarding without support of any other justices. Although the Supreme Court justices have no code of ethics, a justice is legally required to recuse themself for a conflict of interest.

Thomas’ refusal to save DDT in the Mar-a-Lago document fiasco was a flip from his protection of Graham. DDT had delivered a request to the conservative justice, asking the Supreme Court to permit his special master to review 100 classified documents seized from DDT’s club instead of turning them over to the FBI. The 11th Circuit Court overturned the order from DDT’s pet judge Aileen Cannon to give the materials to the special master. Last January, all the justices except Thomas refused to block the disclosure of presidential records from the National Archives to the House January 6 investigating committee.

The Supreme Court vacated the 3rd Circuit Court ruling that Pennsylvania could count undated mail-in ballots. The law requires the voter to put the date on the envelope. The former decision can no longer be used as a precedent in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to permit counting of ballots with such errors. The high court did not deal with permission for voters to go to the Board of Elections to “cure” ballots by adding the date, signing a security envelope, or other provisions.

In November, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Ohio will be using gerrymandered congressional districts that courts have rejected, districts that may be proved illegal at trial. The rationale is supposedly that changing voting rules cannot be changed close to an election after a 2006 Supreme Court case, Purcell v. Gonzalez.

In an extension of the redistricting conflict, Louisiana Republicans want to redefine a Black voter to exclude anyone who identify with another race—a “pure” view of racial identity. In Ardoin v. Robinson, Republican officials argued that Blacks are limited to only those who check just the Black box or both Black and White and do not identify as Latino. Alabama had already dropped the idea before taking their lawsuit to the Supreme Court. GOP success would almost entirely eliminate the use of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to challenge district maps. The topic hasn’t been up for a debate since the 2003 ruling overturning Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and was considered settled.

The Supreme Court refused to hear a case from Rhode Island in which a Catholic group and two women attempted to overturn a lower court’s ruling. The plaintiffs want the state’s abortion-rights law declared unconstitutional because it doesn’t give 14th Amendment legal standing for fetuses. A 2019 Georgia law grants fetal personhood to embryos at six weeks of pregnancy; pregnant women can claim them dependents on tax returns.

SCOTUS permitted the execution last Thursday of a severely mentally ill man in Oklahoma who killed his nine-month-old daughter two decades ago. Benjamin Cole is the second execution of 25 planned executions through 2024, one a month. Although the state has a history of painfully botched lethal injections, that process was used. A 1986 Supreme Court ruling found the execution of the severely mentally ill to be unconstitutional; Oklahoma state law blocks executions of people who are insane. Cole lives in a largely “catatonic” state, not understand legal proceedings, and uses a wheelchair.

The conservative Supremes are preferential toward executions. Recently, they kept Andre Lee Thomas, a 21-year-old Black man, on death row despite his ineffectual defense, racial bias, and a mentally ill defendant. Thomas was declared incompetent to stand trial for 47 days until a psychiatrist stated he suffered from a drug-induced psychosis. Later, the defense attorney said not challenging the letter was a mistake. An all-white jury, four of whom openly opposed interracial relationships, convicted him.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett also declined a request to halt the federal judge’s ruling permitting President Joe Biden’s student loan relief plan to continue. The lower federal court in Wisconsin determined that the plaintiff, the Brown County Taxpayers Association, lacked standing. The judge said that merely paying taxes is not sufficient to challenge federal actions. In St. Louis, another federal judge dismissed a challenge to the program from six GOP-led states, again on the basis that the states lacked standing.

An appeal from the St. Louis case to the 8th Circuit Court brought the program to a temporary halt, however, until the court rules on an emergency request by the six GOP states to block the policy. Briefs regarding the case are due to the 8th Circuit Court by October 24 and 25. The White House asked borrowers to continue to apply, adding to the at least 22 million who have already done so. The process of review applications and preparing them for transmission to loan servicers can take place during the hiatus. Only one of the 11 active judges on the 11th Circuit Court was appointed by a Democratic president, Barack Obama. Of the remaining ten, DDT appointed four, George W. Bush 5, and George H.W. Bush one.  

In a case on October 12, 2022, Helix Energy Solutions Group argued that employee Michael Hewitt, paid by the day, didn’t deserve overtime because he made over $200,00 a year. Exempt from overtime are executives, administrators, and other professional categories. A lower court agreed with Helix, and the 5th Circuit moved to the Hewitt’s side. The six conservative Supremes seemed to oppose the remaining justices in another continued attempt to overturn agency “power.”

On the same day, arguments in Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith debated whether Andy Warhol legally used Lynn Goldsmith’s 1981 copyrighted photograph of Prince for his 1984 screenprints. When Vanity Fair’s image of Warhol’s Orange Prince on a 2017 special issue, Goldsmith wasn’t credited or paid. The Warhol Foundation received $10,000 for its use. In 2021, the 2nd Circuit Court ruled in favor of Goldsmith, overturning a New York federal judge’s ruling in 2019 that Warhol’s series was fair use. The question before the Supreme Court is whether changing the source material’s meaning creates fair use.

On Fridays, the Supreme Court justices determine which petitions for appeal they will accept, usually rejecting 98 percent of them which leaves lower courts’ decisions intact. At least four justices must agree whether to take the case, and the conservative majority wants to go big, aggressively moving the county in a far-right direction as shown by last year’s overturning Roe v. Wade. The remaining three progressive justices don’t even have the numbers to determine what cases will be heard; they can only dissent. Chief Justice John Roberts prefers small incremental rightward movement, but he’s no longer in charge.

Republicans still slam Democrats for “activist judges,” but the GOP is now responsible for the radical changes to the right. Expectations for the term are to eliminate affirmative action, continue narrowing the Voting Rights Act, and permit discrimination based on “free speech” and “religious freedom.”

The decisions evidence a strong MAGA movement at the current Supreme Court because of its emphasis on white grievances. According to the conservative Supremes, the 14th Amendment to protect minority rights forbids a more equal society and allows them to chip away at the Voting Rights Act. The argument is always “racism is over.” Five more cases are already scheduled for the upcoming docket that can elevate white supremacy, one of them already heard on October 4.

Ruth Marcus wrote, “Never before in the court’s history has the ideological alignment of the justices tilted so heavily to one extreme.”

August 31, 2022

No Primaries – August 30, 2022, But DDT News Worse

No primaries this week, but Alaska declared Democrat Mary Peltola the winner of a special election for its one U.S. representative. A Yup’ik, Peltola is the first Alaska Native to win a seat in Congress, the first woman to represent Alaska in the U.S. House, and the first person to win Alaska’s new ranked-choice election process. Defeating GOP candidate Sarah Palin, endorsed by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), Peltola won by three percent after receiving second-choice votes from the primary’s third-runner, Nick Begich, and will serve for four months. She is also competing against Begich and Palin in November 2022 for a two-year term beginning in January 2023. Peltola replaces GOP Don Young, who served for 49 years before he died in March 2022. Only the third representative since Alaska became a state in 1959, Young replaced Democrat Nicholas Begich, the current candidate’s grandfather, after he disappeared on a campaign flight from Anchorage to Juneau in late 1972.

The major news today, however, was information about the DOJ response to DDT’s motion for an independent “special master” to review all documents taken from Mar-a-Lago in an August search warrant. Just before the midnight deadline on August 30, the DOJ submitted its 36-page response with more news about DDT illegally hiding documents from the federal government.

The DOJ filing rebuts DDT’s claims about investigators’ private interactions with DDT and his lawyers. Although DDT’s counsel and other representatives claimed a “diligent search” in June, the FBI’s August search recovered twice as many classified documents in a few hours. The statement, signed by DDT’s lawyer Christina Bobb, may be a legal problem for her because the statement, verifying the “diligent search” for “any and all” remaining and relevant documents, was delivered “on behalf of the Office of Donald J. Trump.” That indicates it was authorized by DDT himself.

DOJ’s filing also asserts that DDT’s attorneys moved so slowly that appointing a special master would be pointless. Investigators have already reviewed all the seized material except items set aside by the filter team. If the judge goes ahead to appoint the third party, DOJ recommends the person review seized records only for potential attorney-client privileged information and be required to have a top-level security clearance sufficient to reviewing classified documents. According to DOJ prosecutors, “even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents.” According to the DOJ, DDT’s motion is only to disrupt the investigation; if one is assigned, the response asks that the work be completed by September 30.

The DOJ may be adding to DDT’s criminal charges. The affidavit stated:

“There is probable cause to believe that additional documents that contained classified NDI [national defense information] or that are Presidential records subject to record retention requirements currently remain at [Trump’s residence].”

To justify its demand, DDT’s response added executive privilege but cited no cases in which former presidents have successfully prohibited sharing documents and made no such claim of priviege before the search. On Truth Social, DDT again claimed he had declassified the documents, but there is no proof he did so, and the law also covers unclassified documents.

DDT’s response to the DOJ states that the special master should decide questions of executive privilege as well as attorney-client privilege. Executive privilege doesn’t exist among one branch of government; the DOJ is part of the executive branch. Previously, the DOJ said that its team examining the seized materials “identified a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information, [and] completed its review of those materials.”

In their response, DDT’s lawyers assured that there was “no cause for alarm” about finding top-secret documents at Mar-a-Lago that dealt with national security. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is conducting a review of recovered materials regarding the potential risk from disclosure of the materials. DDT lawyers also accused prosecutors wh would “impugn, leak and publicize” details of its investigation without a special master. 

The judge has scheduled a hearing on September 1 at 1:00 pm EST to determine whether to appoint a special master.

One of DDT’s lawyers, Alina Habba, complained that the DOJ investigation into DDT’s mishandling classified documents is for “mundane” offences like “espionage,” mundane meaning “commonplace.” In 105 years, only 55 people have been convicted of espionage. Habba also submitted court filings asserting she performed a “comprehensive search” of Mar-a-Lago for a separate case in New York. She’s either lying, breaking the law, or a witness. Either way, she should be ineligible to represent DDT.  

A photo of classified documents scattered on the floor among DDT’s memorabilia has gone viral with a debate about its accuracy. Phillip Bump wrote that the carpet background is typical of Mar-a-Lago, and a post from DDT indicated that was the location. A photo scale (bottom of page) and a small marker, 2A (center right), indicates it is for documentation of materials found in a “leatherbound box of documents” (not shown) with a property receipt of contents. Classified Documents 1 and 2 are dated August 16, 2018, and Document 3 is dated May, 9, 2018, one day after DDT announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement. None of the documents is marked “Declassified.”

The FBI has also newly unsealed a letter from May 25 from DDT’s attorney Evan Corcoran suggesting that the team plans to use the argument that DDT is above the law, trying to persuade the court that a law against keeping U.S. classified information at home doesn’t apply to DDT. According to legal experts, a president out of office is no longer president and becomes subject to laws applying to everyone else. The “good faith” argument that documents were mistakenly taken can be negated by DDT’s refusal to return them earlier and that there may still be more classified information at Mar-a-Lago.

DDT’s desperate attempts to add members to his legal team has been the joke of the media, but he finally found one—former Florida solicitor general Chris Kise. Unfortunately, he’ll have to pay Kise: the RNC has been floating funds for his legal problems but won’t pay for the problem with hiding the documents at Mar-a-Lago. At least he’s stashed most of the tens of millions of dollars donated to sue for the “stolen election” because he never followed through with the plan. Kise, formerly adviser to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ transition team, might want to get paid up front; DDT is known for not paying his bills.

A timeline for those who thus far escaped the ongoing saga of DDT and the stolen classified documents.

Soon after the Mar-a-Lago search, the “what abouts” started with the Clinton “lock her up” trope. The differences:

Federal officials searching Clinton’s emails found 193 with classified information when they were sent. Officials have found over 322 documents with classified information, many of them top secret and some of them in a desk drawer at Mar-a-Lago. Investigators found “a conscious effort to avoid sending classified information, by writing around the most sensitive material.”

Contrary to DDT’s former CIA director Mike Pompeo’s comment, federal investigators obtained Clinton’s materials at her home. The FBI took over 30 devices from Clinton and her aide and received consent for their searches. Evidence center to DDT’s ongoing investigation were never voluntarily turned over despite government requests.

The government could find no evidence that Clinton acted “willfully,” unlike DDT’s behavior.

Clinton’s emails showed no evidence that either she or the recipient was aware that the content was classified. Documents at Mar-a-Lago were labeled with different classified levels with no indication of declassification.

Clinton’s emails, expected to be preserved in other sources and/or acquired from other devices, had been deleted from servers; DDT’s documents were originals and lying around in plain sight.

Columnist Jennifer Rubin points out that GOP candidates are caught in the middle, either defending what is becoming increasingly indefensible or risking votes by cutting loose their cult leader. They also risk ridicule from Democrats who accuse the defense hawks of having flagrant disregard for national security and irrationally strike out at government officials protecting U.S. secrets.

The current solution for Republicans is to go silent. Last weekend, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) threatened “riots in the streets” if anyone prosecute DDT. After backlash, he backed down and said he would never say such a thing. Now he says nothing. When asked about the probe into DDT, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he has “no observations.” Republicans campaigning last week with their rage about the misnamed FBI “raid,” including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have no comment today.

Retirement for DDT means he has time to retweet QAnon accounts on his Truth Social—18 different posts in 12 different accounts within 60 hours. In between, he attacked the DOJ and AG Merrick Garland as well as pushing his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s book, described as “one of the worst political memoirs in recent history.” 

Recent polls: 76 percent are following the news about removal of classified documents; 59 percent think DDT acted inappropriately in taking them; and 64 percent think the allegations are serious.

The next two Tuesdays finish the 2022 primary round with elections in Massachusetts on September 6 and Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island on September 13. Only Louisiana doesn’t hold a primary before the general election.

August 15, 2022

Primaries – August 13, 2022 + It’s a Weird Time

Hawaii held their primary elections last Saturday, and almost no one noticed, perhaps because of the shortage of scandals. Tulsi Gabbard is off substituting for Tucker Carlson on Fox, taking her vitriol there, and no one left in the state seems to be vicious. Gabbard was elected four times from 2013 to 2019 as a Democrat, but she increasingly supported GOP policies, even speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference summit last spring.

The last time Hawaiians elected a Republican to federal or statewide office was 2010, and general elections haven’t been competitive since 2014. In November Democrats have a 99 percent chance to win the U.S. Senate seat, governor, and both U.S. House positions. Jill Tokuda, a close ally of progressive Sen. Mazie Hirono, took the Democratic candidacy for Kahele’s House seat with over 57 percent. Incumbents won the Democratic candidacies for the other two congressional elections, Ed Case for the House and Blue Dog Brian Schatz for Senate.

Tuesday has two more primaries on August 16—Alaska and Wyoming where Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) face fierce opposition from Deposed Donald Trump (R-WY).

What’s being ignored during tantrums from Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) regarding the removal of documents he illegally took to Mar-a-Lago:

A new study has mapped the “extreme heat belt” by 2053 where the heat index can reach 125°F at least one day a year. Part of the belt is a three-state swath from Texas to Alabama through Iowa and Illinois into southern Wisconsin. Other parts go north from Florida to southern Pennsylvania, primarily along the coasts and southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico. The interactive map is here. The number of people suffering in this belt will rise to 107 million by 2053, but many coastal areas will have the 125°F by 2030. The states most likely to see the greatest growth in dangerous days are Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Florida with the greatest changes primarily in Florida. Many places currently with heat indices above 100°F for over 20 straight days may have 74 consecutive days by 2053.

Oil prices in the U.S. are falling while China economy is weakening as Saudi Aramco stated it will increase oil input. China’s central bank cut a key interest rate to boost growth. U.S. gas prices have dropped for 30 straight days.

DDT’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani no longer plans to stall his appearance before a Fulton County (GA) grand jury concerning the DDT administration interference in the 2020 presidential election. As a “target,” open to possible criminal charges, he plans to show up and refuse to testify, citing attorney-client privilege. A judge also denied Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) request to dismiss his subpoena in the state prosecutor’s investigation and requires him to testify as a material witness. Graham plans to appeal with the claim that he is a high-ranking government official although his inappropriate questions to the state Secretary of Staff and his staff were not related to his position. Graham’s office asserts cited the Constitution’s speech or debate clause “prevents a local official from questioning a Senator about how that Senator did his job.”

Georgia is one of at least three states in which lawyers tied to DDT directed computer experts to copy sensitive data from elections systems in accessing voter equipment. The forensic firm performing the task charged an upfront retainer fee for each job, in one case $26,000. The other identified states are Michigan and Nevada. A Colorado county clerk, Tina Peters, was indicted on charges connected to an alleged breach of the voting system and leaking sensitive data online. Tightly regulated, voting systems are classified as “critical infrastructure” vital to national security. Officials took the machines out of service in many cases because the chains of custody were disrupted. DDT insiders also sent protesters to Washington, lobbied Congress to reject electoral votes, push former VP Mike Pence to block the voting process.  A WaPo report describes specific illegal activities in these attempts.

The DOJ grand jury has subpoenaed Eric Herschmann, DDT’s former White House legal adviser for documents and testimony. He represented DDT in his first impeachment trial but opposed DDT in his fight against the election results. Present at many important meetings, including the one where most of the DOJ top officials threatened to resign if DDT appointed Jeffrey Clark as AG, who pushed false voter fraud claims, Herschmann also opposed Powell’s and Michael Flynn’s requests for the military to seize voting machines. Testimony by Herschmann, included in public hearings, was quite colorful such as calling Clark’s proposal “nuts” and telling John Eastman, who pushed refusal of the electoral votes, to “get a great F-ing criminal defense lawyer.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has won the contest—for the most hateful tweets since Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. Also on the top ten are Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-TX) and Christina Pushaw, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis former press secretary who has now joined his gubernatorial campaign. Greene’s tweets about the false “grooming” narrative reached almost 18 million viewers.

The far-right is now attacking school counselors, threatening them for “spreading hate and race-baiting” with accusations from Twitter accounts from such organizations as Courage Is a Habit. Fox’s Tucker Carlson also made the evidence-free claim to his TV audience that school shooters are “numbed by the endless psychotropic drugs that are handed out at every school in the country by crackpots posing as counselors.” In addition to helping students with goals for their future, counselors oppose bullying, combat discrimination, teach organizational skills, and support students understanding their sexuality or gender identity.

School nurses are other villains, according to conservatives. Parents confuse the approximately 2,500 health care centers at schools, operating under the local health department, which are completely separate from the school nurses. Parents or guardians must sign a consent form for students to be treated at these health centers, and they don’t provide hormonal therapy, as conservatives accuse them of doing.  

Parents’ opposition to schools began with mask mandates at the beginning of the pandemic and then increased to Republican myths about schools’ teaching systemic racism with demands to stop teaching history. For example, a special education teacher at an Escambia County (FL) public school quit after a staff employee told him to remove a display exhibiting “age inappropriate” racist behavior with photos of Black heroes like Martin Luther King Jr., Harriett Tubman, George Washington Carver, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former President Obama. In a predominantly Black part of the county, the majority of his former students are Black.

Parental discrimination moved on to the LGBTQ school community. A DDT-appointed judge in Tennessee banned two federal agencies from enforcing federal directives in 20 states providing protection for LGBTQ people in schools and workplaces. In 2020, a Supreme Court opinion, Bostock v. Clayton County, ruled 6-3 that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in the workplace.

Some January 6 insurrectionists are promoting businesses, boosting social media profiles, and raising cash from their experiences through selling books, clothing, and even a rap album. Their plans lead prosecutors to ask for tougher punishments, and the DOJ is thinking about taking the money. Federal authorities have seized over $62,000 from a Utah defendant who sold his January 6 footage for $90,000. The man who propped his feet on the desk of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) is selling photos for $100. Anti-vaxxer Dr. Simone Gold raised over $430,000 for her legal expenses from a nonprofit, but she didn’t tell the donors she had already pled guilty to illegally entering the Capitol. A rioter sentenced to three weeks in jail for entering the Capitol and watching insurrectionists beat up on the police helped his father sell clothing with “Back the Blue.”

A Kentucky judge using a lawyer for political purposes to support his reelection campaign accused the state Judicial Conduct Commission of being used for political purposes. In Kentucky’s southwestern Christian County, the county judge, suspended with pay, declared he will “stay the course.”

Almost a month ago, DDT buried his first wife, Ivana, at the first hole at his Bedminster (NJ) golf course, the first one there and requiring consecration of the property for a traditional Catholic burial. (Seventeen wives still have room.) Researchers debunked the idea that it was done for a tax break by saying the cemetery taxes waived only 5,700 square feet of land. One assumption is that DDT did it because he loves northern New Jersey. He’s also interested in burials. In 2007, he got permits for a windowless wedding chapel at the club to be converted into a mausoleum for himself and his families. Later, he planned a cemetery holding over 1,000 graves which morphed into two cemeteries, one selling 284 plots to the public and the other for ten plots next to the first tee from himself and his family.

DDT already gets massive tax breaks at the club, $88,000 annually, with keeping eight goats and raising hay on 113 acres of the property. New Jersey cemeteries avoid taxes, rates, assessments, and personal property taxes as well as business taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, and inheritance taxes. In 2016, the Trump Family Trust has tried to designate a property in Hackettstown (NJ), 20 miles from Bedminster, as a nonprofit company, but it won’t save them money. DDT annually pays $16.35 in taxes on the property, designated as a farm, that he bought for $461,000.

Richard Nixon did a better job honoring his dog, Checkers.

August 12, 2022

Bad to Worse News for DDT

Huge news today—much beyond anything having to do with Deposed Donald Trump (DDT).

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed the House on its way to President Joe Biden’s desk in what Al Gore called a “critical turning point” with the first-ever climate legislation. The package had a completely partisan vote: no Republicans voted for the bill that covered not only a delay to climate change but also lowered costs for seniors’ prescriptions—for which GOP congressional members will undoubtedly take responsibility.

The 220-207 vote concluded an 18-month-long debate after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WY) got enough rewards to support the bill. Like their position on the Affordable Care Act over a decade ago, Republicans promised to roll back the IRA “when” they take over Congress this fall. The new law will make a popular Democratic campaign issue for the next three months; climate-related spending should reduce emissions by 40 percent by the end of the decade. As always, the Republicans lied about the effect of the law.

A major falsehood came from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) tweet that “Democrats’ new army of 87,000 IRS agents will be coming … with 710,000 new audits for Americans who earn less than $75k.” First, the new law doesn’t hire those new agents, and second, the audits will be for those people making over $400,000. The IRS will fund the hiring of 7,000 to 12,000 people added annually to conduct audits, improve informational technology, and enhance customer service. The IRS is down to 82,000 employees from 90,000 in 2012, and about 50,000 of the staff is eligible for retirement in the next five years.  The IRS also lost 40 percent of staff specializing in complex tax audits, down to the level during World War II.

Eighty percent of audits of individuals are written requests for additional information. If the audits do increase by 710,000, that will be 0.06 percent of the population making under $75,000. Higher-income taxpayers will have the greatest increase of audits. Audit rates for that category have dramatically declined: audits for those making over $10 billion in income dropped from 21 percent in 2010 to 3.9 percent by 2019 while lower-income people, identified by those filing the earned income tax credit, are now higher than average, more than half directed toward taxpayers making under $75,000. The Washington Post gave McCarthy Three Pinocchios for his lies.  

Other lies show how crazy Republicans are in trying to smear Democrats:

Sen. Ted Cruz’s all-caps, blood-red graphic highlights the lie that “Biden is building a shadow army of 87,000 new IRS agents to hunt you down and take your money.” As we discussed yesterday, this was as factually wrong as it was unsubtle.

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel tweeted, “How long until Democrats send the IRS ‘SWAT team’ after your kids’ lemonade stand?”

Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) want to impeach AG Merrick Garland.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the 88-year-old running for another six-year term, said on Fox, “Are they going to have a strike force that goes in with AK-15s [sic] already loaded, all ready to shoot some small-business person in Iowa with these?”

Medicare advantages start to begin almost immediately. Mandatory rebates for higher-than-inflation drug price hikes start in October and grow over the next few years. Vaccine cost-sharing will be eliminated in 2023, and catastrophic coverage co-insurance ends in 2024 as does the beginning of expanded eligibility for Part D subsidies and limits on premiums growth begin in 2024. The $2,000 out-of-pocket drug cap goes into force in 2025. Medicare must negotiate the price of 10 certain high-cost drugs in 2026, a number rising to 15 drugs in 2027 and 20 by 2029.

Republicans are wrong in their claim that the pharmaceutical industry will no longer be able to do research and development for new medications. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that new drugs introduced over 30 years will drop by 15, only one percent. Eighty-three percent of all adults “strongly” or “somewhat” favor government price negotiation with drug companies, including 84 percent of adults 65 and older. An equal 83 percent agreed that the cost of prescription drugs is “unreasonable.” After two decades of the GOP blocking this negotiation when George W. Bush’s Medicare D prohibited negotiation for lower drug prices, Democrats have started to knock down the wall between the pharmaceutical industry and the Medicare program.

News about DDT today has shown the new disasters DDT faces. A judge denied the request from Trump Organization to dismiss the criminal case against the business and former CFO Allen Weisselberg regarding a 15-year tax scam that incorporated conspiracy, grand larceny, tax fraud, and falsifying records. Weisselberg claimed that he was being prosecuted because of his relationship to DDT; prosecutors said he violated the law in failing to pay his taxes. In his deposition on Wednesday, DDT pled the Fifth Amendment to not incriminate himself 440 times, only answer the question asking for his name. Until now, he always claimed invoking the Fifth means guilt. 

The district attorney of Fulton County (GA) is scrutinizing DDT about his criminal interference with others in the state’s 2020 presidential election. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), also subpoenaed to appear in the same case, failed to show up for his scheduled appearance this week. He too claimed that the probe is politically motivated. After the election, Graham called Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to talk about whether some ballots had been properly verified, i.e., a way to get them tossed out so that DDT would take Georgia’s election. A judge questioned Graham’s claim that his job as a South Carolina senator was to look into Georgia’s votes.

DDT’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who tried to get the legislature to throw out Biden’s votes, also tried to avoid testifying. He claimed a medical procedure kept him from flying to Georgia, but he bought airline tickets to Rome and Zurich. A judge ordered him to show up next week whether by “train or a bus or Uber” if he can’t fly.

The biggest DDT news this week, however, was the ongoing saga of the FBI search warrant at Mar-a-Lago that discovered highly classified documents, some of them about nuclear weapons, that he illegally took from the government. The government claims the documents are restricted to only a few people; the Republicans claim “no big deal,” going so far as to say that DDT can take anything he wants and call them unclassified because they are in his possession. Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) want to impeach AG Merrick Garland. Republicans were much more incensed before revelations about the search warrant and a list of materials being sought, released by the DOJ after court permission. DDT could have released the information at the beginning of the week, but he reveled in causing more trouble.

DDT tried to worm himself out of his problems by a number of lies that rational people are not buying:

  • The FBI wouldn’t allow anyone to be present during the search. In truth, the agents notified DDT’s lawyer about the warrant and permitted her to be on location.
  • The FBI planted the documents during their search. The agents didn’t take anything into Mar-a-Lago with them, and DDT’s attorney Christina Bobb accidentally told Real America’s Voice that DDT and his family watched the entire search on a live video feed.
  • The government should have just sent a subpoena. It did last June but didn’t get all the documents requested.
  • Biden knew about the search before it happened because Trump did when he was in office, according to his son Eric. Biden wasn’t notified because he knows that the DOJ is an independent agency.
  • The judge was Obama-appointed. Nope, DDT appointed him.
  • The search is only because people are out to get him. No, DDT committed a crime–or more.
  • The government let President Obama take classified documents with him. The National Archives determined what President Obama could take. 

The search on Monday, two months after law enforcement talked to DDT’s team about government documents at Mar-a-Lago, came after an informant said he might still unlawfully have classified records in his possession. According to the Wall Street Journal, FBI agents found and took 11 sets of classified documents, some marked top secret and limited to specific government facilities. The receipt for removed items, signed by DDT’s attorney Christina Bobb, included 20 boxes, binders of photos, a handwritten note, and the grant of clemency for Roger Stone. The search warrant described an investigation into DDT for obstructing justice and violating the Espionage Act. 

DDT has a reputation for careless handling of classified materials, beginning when he gave two Russian officials in the Oval Office highly classified information during his first few months, and cozied up with foreign dictators, some of them U.S. enemies. He also insisted on using his personal cell phone where he was easily heard by foreign spies. His continued closeness with Saudi Arabia, exhibited by his hosting the controversial golf tournament at Bedminister (NJ), may have helped his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, obtain $2 billion for a new business. After the search, Russia expressed its love for DDT.

DDT’s alleged crime of removing classified materials brings an up-to-five-year sentence for a felony because of a 2018 law DDT promoted and former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) introduced to use against Hillary Clinton. Before then, the conviction wasn’t a felony. DDT has always said that it’s the little things that get you. And the suspicion of an unknown informant is driving DDT crazy.

July 13, 2022

News – Week of July 13, 2022

Updates: When Twitter gave Elon Musk 53 terabytes of raw user data, the company was concerned that he would use it for building his own social media platform. According to Twitter, Musk had only three plans: “sit on its board, buy it, or build a competitor.” If Musk tries to buy Twitter at a reduced price, his lawsuit could become the “world’s most expensive case of ‘if you break it, you pay for it.’” Delaware have forced other prospective buyers, such as Louis Vuitton maker LVHM in 2020, to comply with signed merger agreements.  

The feud between Musk and Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) continues after Musk tweeted, “It’s time for Trump to hang up his hat & sail into the sunset” after DDT called him “another bullsh–t artist.” DDT’s lengthy response slammed electric, “driverless cars, … rocketships to nowhere,” and more. Tesla laid off 229 employees in its Autopilot team and closed its San Mateo office, transferring other workers to another facility. Musk said he will be firing ten percent of Tesla’s workforce; his net worth has fallen $65 billion in the past three months, largely because of the 24-percent drop in Tesla stock value. In November 2021, Musk was worth $340 billion, but his assets fell 42 percent by May 2022 to $197.1 billion.

Notes about the January 6 debacle:

DDT’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, who may end up being the patsy for all the illegal activities setting up the insurrection, White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah Griffin that she shouldn’t resign after DDT lost the election because he wasn’t leaving the Oval Office.  

DDT’s Islamophobic supporter Brigette Gabriel wanted all January 6 hearings canceled “out of respect” for DDT while he mourns the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. One respondent pointed out that DDT barely knew Abe who was in the same room as DDT only a few times.

Alex Holder, the British director of a documentary film Unprecedented with footage from DDT, his family, and his allies, is under armed protective guard because of threats from DDT’s supporters.

More video footage of the insurrection planning comes from two conservative filmmakers, Jason Rink and Paul Escandon, who filmed footage of DDT’s friend Roger Stone and his protégé organizer of “Stop the Steal” Ali Alexander leading up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol. The documentary is to be called The Steal. Also starring in the film are insurrectionists Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and DDT’s former national security adviser Mike Flynn.  Stone also gave permission for a Danish documentary film crew to record his activities in the Willard Hotel, where DDT’s allies planned the election overturn. The content of the film footage is not known.  

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is really afraid of testifying to a Fulton County (GA) grand jury about his trying to interfere in its state 2020 presidential election: asking a federal court to quash a grand jury subpoena for his testimony in the Fulton County district attorney’s investigation into former President Trump’s efforts to undermine Georgia’s election results.

For the first time in seven years, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will have a director after the Senate confirmed Steve Dettelbach, President Joe Biden’s second nomination after he withdrew David Chipman. The vote was 48-46 with GOP Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Rob Portman (OH) joining Democrats. The NRA called Dettelbach “anti-gun.”

After the six Supremes removed the right to abortion for all women in the U.S., Biden signed an executive order in an attempt to mitigate the removal of reproductive rights. It tries to strengthen existing provisions for medication abortion, emergency care, contraception access, resources, and information. Doctors and hospitals in all states accepting federal funding must provide abortions to women whose lives are at risk through the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). The federal mandate preempts state law that doesn’t permit a woman’s life to be saved.

The story about a raped 10-year-old Ohio girl forced to travel to Indiana for an abortion resulted in great skepticism from conservatives, including Ohio’s Republican AG Dave Yost, who claimed it was fake reporting to push for legalized abortion. The 27-year-old rape suspect was arrested after he confessed to raping the child at least twice at the same time the Wall Street Journal published an editorial doubting the victim’s truthfulness. Ohio GOP Gov. Mike DeWine agreed with Yost that the rape is likely a “fabrication.” Evidencing approval of the arrest, DeWine and Yost did not issue any apologies for their attacks on the girls and her doctor. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) deleted his tweet about the reporting about the rape that ended, “Another lie. Anyone surprised?” The surprise is that anyone reports a rape.

With abortion gone in some states and contraception on the chopping block, some men are getting prepared. Anecdotally, the interest in vasectomies has largely grown since the announcement from the six Supremes in late June. A Kansas City (MO) doctor said his vasectomy consults skyrocketed 900 percent since then, and a Laredo (TX) described a similar uptick. Same for urologists in Idaho and Tampa Bay. According to a research company, searches for “where can I get a vasectomy?” spiked 850 percent. While 18 percent of women use tubal ligation, an invasive surgical procedure, for birth control, only six percent of men in the U.S. have vasectomies.

Suggestions that the pro-forced-birth legislators should help women and children in the future chaos of more births and parental hardship following the six Supremes’ mandate blocking abortions have fallen on deaf ears. Democrats have supported assistance through direct cash or family leave, but Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said that “supporting families and family formation [is] separate and apart from the abortion questions.” No one on the right is disagreeing with them, and many Republicans claim their opposition to more federal assistance means they don’t support children. The U.S. already does enough to support families, according to the GOP.

Only Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) believes in a monthly cash allowance for families. Two other GOP senators, Steve Daines (MT) and Richard Burr (NC), propose “child” tax credit for the fetus until it becomes a baby but say it won’t pass anyway. A few Republicans, like Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) support paid parental leave by taking the money out of later Social Security benefits. GOP ideas come from their philosophy that reducing material hardship removes any desire to have a job.

Republicans are also silent about the new jobs report for June—an additional 372,000. The private sector has recovered all the jobs that DDT lost during the pandemic plus more. During the second quarter of 2022, Biden created more jobs during that period of time in almost 40 years.  For the first half of 2022, 2.63 jobs have been added, more than any full year under DDT even before the pandemic. Despite an additional 9.37 jobs since Biden’s inauguration, the GOP blames Democrats for poor job growth but gives them no credit for job growth.

The media focuses on the annualized inflation being higher than a year ago, but it actually shrank a bit from June 2022 to the previous June. Core inflation in June, excluding gasoline and food, is expected to be the third month of slowing. Retail prices will likely drop because retailers miscalculated some inventories, and container costs of shipping and airlines are falling. The Federal Reserve also plans to peak out prime rate with one more 0.75 percent increase on top of June’s 0.75 percent.  

After whining about inflation, Fox hosts are now upset because gas prices are declining too fast. According to Martha MacCallum, lower gas prices are bad for “mom-and-pop” gas station owners.

The DOJ is suing Arizona to block its law, set to take effect in January, requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Arizona’s proof of citizenship law, and this new law violates the National Voter Registration Act, according to DOJ. State law already requires Arizona voters in state elections to provide proof of citizenship, but this law extends the requirement to federal election. Registering to vote in federal elections requires attesting under penalty of perjury but doesn’t require proof until this new law. County records or election officials who don’t attempt to verify citizenship status and registers voters without documentation can be charged with a felony. Federal statutes do not require this documentation. Arizona already requires attestation of citizenship on the ballot; lying is a crime.

California now has a law modeled after Texas’ law allowing private citizens to sue people enabling abortions. The Supreme Court refused to block the law so California now has a law allowing private citizens to sue gun manufacturers and distributors whose produces cause them harm. When signing the bill, Gov. Gavin Newsom said “that nearly every industry is held to account when their products cause harm or injury, except one: the gun industry.”

Rules require “reasonable controls” to keep guns from people most likely to cause harm such as systems to prevent gun sales to straw purchasers, gun traffickers, everyone legally prohibited from owning firearms, and those whom the business has a reasonable concern might unlawfully harm themselves or others. A 2005 federal law bans state and federal lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dealers, but a clause in that law allows lawsuits if a firearms business “knowingly violated a State or Federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the product” and harm was directly caused because of it.

July 11, 2022

Change in Hearing Times, DDT’s Problems

[Change in January 6 hearings: New information, fear of leaks, and threats on testifying witnesses may have postponed the primetime July 14 hearing, and the July 12 one has been changed to 1:00 EST. Facilitated by Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), the focus of the seventh hearing comes from the involvement of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) with congressional members and violent domestic terrorists intent on overturning the 2020 presidential election. Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, The 1st Amendment Praetorian (Michael Flynn’s paramilitary group), and other activists interpreted DDT’s tweet to come to the “wild” event to act out. After being charged with seditious conspiracy, several of the Oath Keepers are cooperating with the government. Video clips of recent testimony from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and aides’ persuasion will provide additional information.]

After weeks of angst by Twitter employees, Elon Musk is backing out of his $44 billion deal to buy and company, and DDT is rejoicing. His joy at Musk’s withdrawal probably comes from his hopes that people will switch to his personal social media platform, Truth Social. It has two million active users compared to 300 million on Twitter. Yet his joy may be short-lived. DDT, his son Jr., and other Trumpists Kash Patel and Wes Moss slipped off the board of  the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), owner of Truth Social, after SEC and DOJ probes into its merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp. Scott Glabe, the company’s general counsel, and Andrew Northwall, its COO, also disappeared. Truth Social denied the resignations, but the Florida Division of Corporation verified the information. The gang apparently left the board before Digital World’s subpoenas but before the firm’s board of directors received subpoenas from the DOJ. The departure occurred before TMTG got the subpoenas from the SEC and the Manhattan grand jury. The merger, valued at $875 million, may be just one more in a long line of DDT’s failures.

With Musk’s announcement came an 11-percent drop in the company’s stock. The problems for Twitter since Musk said he would purchase the company could raise the question about whether the intent of the far-right, DDT-supporter was to destroy its popular form of communication. The question is who pays the $1 billion separation fee. Musk says Twitter is at fault because of its large number of bots, fake accounts. Twitter blames Musk and hired high-powered lawyers.

For months, Musk has been acting as if he owns Twitter—generally creating chaos. After Musk’s accusations, Texas AG Ken Paxton, running for reelection as the GOP candidate despite his numerous indictments for fraud, began investigating the alleged spam accounts and repeated Musk’s evidence-free assertion that 20 percent of Twitter accounts are fake. Musk’s accusations led to Twitter stocks dropping 25 percent in two weeks, and some of the 7,500 employees updated their résumés or prepared for battle. The company’s CEO Parag Agrawal fired two executives and reduced hiring while three other top officials announced their departures. Employees compared Musk’s behavior to “a dog playing with a toy.”

Twitter users concerned about Musk allowing DDT to tweet are delighted, and some suggest that Musk be banned from Twitter. Musk’s Tesla stock are also tanking at this time because of its internal problems and in his other businesses. 

DDT may be charged with committing a “sleeper wire fraud” scam with other federal charges against DDT’s campaign officials and the RNC. He raised $250 million in donations and falsely claimed the money was for his non-existent legal defense fund to stop election fraud. The House January 6 investigative committee uncovered and explained the scheme. Campaign officials and lawyers testified they told DDT they didn’t believe his claims of election fraud, yet the campaign team continued its bombardment of emails to raise money from claims that officials, by their own admission, knew were false. Former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade, professor at the University of Michigan School of Law, explained:

“If it can be shown that Trump or others sent an email asking for money for one purpose, and then used it for another, that could constitute fraud, regardless of whether it can be proved that they knew the election had not been stolen.”

Partner at Bradley LLP Natalie Adams, experienced in prosecuting wire fraud cases, said:

“You don’t get to say things you know to be false. It’s not whether you know something absolutely for sure. It’s if it’s ‘reasonably foreseeable’ to you that people will believe promises and statements that you either know aren’t true, or are reckless or deceptive, which you are trying to use to get something of value.”

To prosecute the fraud, the DOJ will need to know who designed, approved, and disseminated the solicitations. Adams, however, believes that the committee can dig deeper to build a substantial case that reaches DDT. She explained:

“With conspiracy, you don’t necessarily have to commit an overt act. And jury instructions don’t require proof of a formal agreement, because criminal actors avoid doing that. But if people work together and profit from it, it’s helpful to show who had the access and opportunity to review those communications, and who would be likely to know by virtue of their job what is ‘reasonably foreseeable’ to occur, who are charged with vetting the truth of statements, and so on.”

DDT’s court cases are interfering with his money-making ventures: he was forced to cancel his for-profit North Carolina rally to testify in his New York fraud case. With son Jr. and daughter Ivanka, DDT is scheduled to testify under oath Friday regarding the Trump Organization’s finances. Tickets for the American Freedom Tour ran from $9 to $3,955. Any tickets sold in North Carolina will be honored at other tour events, but only one other event is scheduled, the one on August 20 in Wisconsin. DDT isn’t offering any refunds.

Justin Clark, DDT’s attorney, has also been interviewed by the FBI about the Steve Bannon contempt case set for trial on July 18. Bannon had refused to comply with a subpoena from the House January 6 investigative committee. He changed his mind and decided to testify, but the trial still continues. Bannon’s excuse for a reversal was that DDT had “waived” claims of executive privilege, but DDT never made any such claim. Clark contradicted claims of executive privilege by Bannon and his defense team that they blamed on Clark’s correspondence. Clark also interviewed with the House January 6 committee.

Other DDT problems:

A grand jury in Fulton County (GA) is circling DDT with subpoenas for his inner circle, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), for their attempts to overturn the presidential election in the state. While DDT was begging for just 11,780 more votes in Georgia, Graham twice called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to ask him for a move favorable outcome for DDT by examining “certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia.” Graham said he would refuse to comply with a subpoena because it was “all politics,” but a judge ordered him to obey a subpoena and appear before the grand jury on August 2 as a “necessary and material witness” to the probe.

DDT said he couldn’t find his records in the case about his cheating on taxes and loans through faulty evaluations so a judge imposed a daily $10,000 fine on the New York real estate firm evaluating DDT’s properties. Earlier, a judge ruled the company, Cushman & Wakefield, lied to financially—and possibly illegally—help the Trump Organization.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is investigating the mysterious massive audits of former FBI Director James Comey’s and his deputy director Andrew McCabe’s taxes, both fired by DDT because they criticized him. Audits should be determined randomly, but these two don’t seem to be a coincidence. The term of IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, a DDT appointee, terminates in November 2022. He was commissioner when both Comey and McCabe were chosen for the extensive audits. While touting his coffee table book of photos from the White House, DDT said he fired Comey five months into his term to keep himself out of personal trouble.

DDT’s donors paid him $375, 416.70 in 2021 to “rent” one of his Manhattan tower’s office spaces—for the PAC located in Florida. Save America and related entities don’t have offices there; one person visited the 7,000-square-foot space during the ten months. DDT can’t find legitimate renters for his offices.

he current DOJ will investigate how DDT’s officials seized phone records of leading congressional Democrats. In 2017 and 2018, DDT’s DOJ ordered Apple to release data in his search for who was leaking information about contacts between Russia and DDT’s associates, the subject of congressional investigations. Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) were two of the targets. House Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Judiciary Committee chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) said if former AGs Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr don’t testify they will receive subpoenas. Previously, several media outlets reported DOJ officials secretly obtained journalists’ phone records in 2017.

Despite DDT’s impeachments, he can be charged now as a private citizen for the same offenses. According to a 2000 DOJ memo, impeachment is constitutional, different from criminal charges for private citizens. Therefore, DDT could be charged with an of the ten examples of his potentially obstructive actions during the Mueller/Russia investigation, including Comey’s firing and measures he took during the Ukraine scandal.

July 8, 2022

Conservatives in UK, US: A Study in Opposites

Boris Johnson, elected UK prime minister in December 2019, has been teetering on the edge of being driven out of what he calls “the best job in the world.” On July 7, 2022, he was forced out of 10 Downing Street after his own party no longer tolerated the scandals swirling around him. Johnson finally resigned when almost 60 members of his government quit although he plans to stay as leader until the Conservative Party finds his replacement.

“I’ve tried to persuade my colleagues that it would be eccentric to change governments when we’re delivering so much… and when the economic scene is so difficult domestically and internationally,” Johnson said. But his persuasion failed, and government officials want him out of government as soon as possible.

Roiling the country were the parties at his offices during the COVID lockdown, inappropriately using donor money to refurbish the Downing Street home for prime ministers, and ordering MPs to vote in protection for a colleague breaching lobbying rules. His second ethics adviser recently resigned in under two years. The tipping point was a drunken groping by one of his appointments. The man denied the allegations, but the public learned Johnson kept him in a top government office after knowing about other concerns about the person. His own party members questioned both his judgment and his willingness to be honest.

Esther Webber, a senior U.K. correspondent for Politico Europe, explained that people in the UK hate hypocrisy, the idea that a leader won’t follow the rules. The response to Johnson’s behavior was that they vote for the party and not the person. When Johnson no longer had the party’s support, they thought it was time him to go.

Johnson was known for his similarity to Dictator Donald Trump (DDT)—his early show business career, clownish behavior, and willingness to break the law. Instead of being statesmen, both are showmen, wallowing in the howls of their crowds where they spread their lies. They are both conservatives, but differences lay in Johnson’s intelligence, education, and his family’s political background. A huge difference between Johnson and DDT is that the prime minister’s officials decided not to lie for him. They aren’t willing to destroy their own reputations by defending Johnson.

The biggest difference between DDT and Johnson is that DDT refused to resign after he lost the election because his party enabled him whereas Johnson quit because his party held him accountable. Fifty years ago, GOP finally understood the corruption of Richard Nixon and told him that he didn’t have their support. Testimony against DDT in the past year has been far more damning, and Republicans largely doubled down to lie for him. Even those who considered a confrontation with him immediately after the insurrection on January 6 soon backed down and traveled the sacred trail to Mar-a-Lago to regain his approval. Conservatives in both countries regard their leaders, DDT and Johnson, as liabilities, but in the U.S. the GOP is counting on gerrymandering, voter suppression laws, courts, and a waning base to get them into power at any cost to the nation.

In the United States, GOP legislators are willing to go to any lengths—as far as overturning a presidential election to support DDT. A chief example is Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who is fighting his subpoena from a grand jury in Fulton County (GA) for his complaints to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff about procedures for counting absentee ballots in the 2020 general election. Graham contacted them twice and reviewing the ballots for fraud. That was at the same time when DDT was calling Raffensperger demanding another 11,780 votes, the number he thought he needed to win Georgia. After numerous recounts, however, Joe Biden won by 12,670 votes.  (Above: Graham during confirmation hearings for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.) 

Graham’s lawyers tried to use his position as the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee as a justification, but he wasn’t representing the committee. He was calling as a DDT supporter to overturn the election. Another fake “justification” was the “Speech and Debate” statement in the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 6, Clause 1) to shield congressional members from questions about their legislative activities and their motivations. The Supreme Court had ruled in Gravel v. United States (1972) that lawmaker “errands” not part of their legislative function are not protected by the speech and debate clause. 

The close friendship between Graham and DDT since the death of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) made his reasons for asking Georgia to look into fraud highly questionable. The grand jury also subpoenaed DDT lawyers who worked on behalf of an organized effort to overturn Biden’s election: Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Cleta Mitchell, Jenna Ellis, and Kenneth Chesebro.    

Jacki Pick Deason, another subpoenaed lawyer, presented heavily edited video before Georgia lawmakers in a December 2020 hearing falsely showing election workers producing “suitcases” of illegal ballots, according to court filings. State election officials’ investigation quickly showed the allegation to be false, but the spreading of the lies by Deason, Ellis, and Giuliani led to the massive disruption in the lives to two poll workers, Shaye Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman. who testified at one of the House January 6 investigative committee hearings. Chesebro worked with the local Republican Party to collect 16 fake electors who would then casting their false votes for DDT, part of Eastman’s plot.

Former federal prosecutor Shanlon Wu predicted that Graham’s legal argument to block the subpoena will lose in state court and his lawyers will appeal it to federal court. Wu thinks that the Supreme Court is unlikely to agree that the state of Georgia is a branch of the federal government, but other courts may question this rational position after recent rulings. He did describe Graham’s position as “an arrogant[,] pompous and legally weak argument from Graham [that] should be slam-dunk rejected by any court that hears it.”

In “The Most Pathetic Men in America,” Mark Leibovich uses interviews with DDT’s supporters in Congress for his lengthy essay to be printed in his forthcoming book Thank You for Your Servitude: Donald Trump’s Washington and the Price of Submission, highlighting Graham’s and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) as DDT’s sycophants who denigrated DDT in private and groveled before him in public.

Asked how he could go from being one of DDT’s “most merciless critics in 2016” to crawling to him afterward, Graham used the term “relevance.” McCarthy said that his relationship with DDT was exciting, just the idea that he could get him on the phone any time. Once on the cover of Time as “The Republican Savior,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) predicted a “reckoning” inside the GOP before becoming an avid DDT minion.

Asked about their legacy as a DDT fanatic, Rudy Giuliani, subpoenaed for his part in trying to overturn the 2020 election, said, “Fuck it.” Olivia Nuzzi, working for the New York magazine, said his fly was unzipped at the time, and he was drunk on Bloody Marys. Former AG Bill Barr, responded, “Everyone dies.” McCarthy said nobody was putting up to ethical GOP representatives such as Jeff Flake from Arizona and Mark Sanford from South Carolina. Graham said, “Don’t care,” and then talked about the migrant children separated from their parents and kept in cages, “I don’t care if they have to stay in these facilities for 400 day.”

Leibovich wrote:

“The gap between the public adoration expressed by Trump’s Republican lickspittles and the mocking contempt they voiced for him in private could be gaping. This was never more apparent, or maddening, as in the weeks after the 2020 election. ‘For all but just a handful of members, if you put them on truth serum, they knew that the election was fully legitimate and that Donald Trump was a joke.’”

Republicans kept saying after the election to be patient, and Graham said to give DDT the “space” required for him to come to grips with his losing the majority of the electoral votes. McCarthy said he was trying to “manage” DDT until he accepted reality. A senior GOP official said, “What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time?” That “little bit of time” turned into a mob of DDT’s supporters attacked the Capitol Police, including spearing one of them with a flagpole still attached to the U.S. flag. After DDT moved out of the White House, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) showed up at Mar-a-Lago to personally present him with Scott’s invented “Champion for Freedom” trophy. Susan Glasser quoted a former U.S. ambassador describing former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as “a heat-seeking missile for Trump’s ass.” Pompeo is considering a run for the 2024 presidential candidate against DDT.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), a GOP member of the House investigative committee, said , “McCarthy started all of that.” Asked about her legacy, she looked toward historical biographer David McCullough, delights in spending his days with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and all of the other Founding Fathers. Cheney lamented, “I have to spend my days with Kevin McCarthy.”

Inspirational are the small collection of DDT’s administration and elected official testifying at the House committee’s hearings, suffering intimidation, threats, and smears while telling the truth. Meanwhile, Graham went to Ukraine with Richard Blumenthal (D-CO) to present President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with the resolution adding Russia to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism that the two senators introduced in May.

June 19, 2022

News from June 12-19, 2022

Killings with guns in the U.S.—including mass shootings—are happening more frequently. Recent ones around the nation include three people killed outside an Episcopalian church near Birmingham (AL) at a senior potluck by a 71-year-old gun dealer who had received a warning letter from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in 2018 related to missing gun inventory. Smith “failed to the record the disposition” of multiple firearms, and “failed to record” necessary information like addresses and license numbers in records as required by law.

Mass shootings: June 16, 2022 – One man and another four men and women were wounded outside an Oakland (CA) sports bar. Surveillance cameras caught the shootings on video.

June 18, 2022 – Five people were injured in a Pensacola (FL) nightclub.

June 19, 2922 – At least two people were killed and five others injured in a shooting at a family gathering in San Antonio. A 15-year-old boy was killed and three adults including a police officer injured in Washington, D.C.

The rosy projection of a bipartisan “gun reform” bill has greatly dimmed. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) responsible for the negotiation. He followed his usual MO—pretend a breakthrough while scuttling progress. He clearly stated that restricting guns was “not gonna happen” and supposedly targeted “the problem, mental illness and school safety.” Yet boos were so loud at his speech last week in his home state that he couldn’t continue. Cornyn originally promised ten GOP votes in the Senate for the proposed bill framework, but the ten Republicans on the bill are reneging on two parts of it: closing the boyfriend loophole allowing violent partners to have guns and giving money to states that incorporate the “red flag” law to remove guns from people through a court process if the firearms are a danger to themselves or others. Cornyn complained his own state won’t get money because they will refuse the red flag law, and he can’t figure out what partners will be of danger.

Cornyn also moved the goalposts: now he requires 20 GOP senators to sign off on any gun bill instead of ten. The Juneteenth holiday shortens this week’s schedule before the Senate heads out for a two-week vacation for the July 4th recess. Again Republicans hope that people will forget about ten people killed in Buffalo and another 21 in Uvalde (TX), 19 of them under 11 years old, so they can drop any gun reform ideas. and they can go back to satisfying all the gun-clutchers.

The communications director of the far-right, GOP-funded Moms for Liberty, was caught on tape declaring that her school district’s librarians should “all be plowed down with a freaking gun by now.” She declared the recording was illegally made and edited, but Media Matters maintains her claims are false. A losing U.S. House GOP candidate and DDT’s former “top pastor,” Mark Burns, also wants to execute LGBTQ people for “grooming” children.

Sunday, June 19, is the first annual anniversary of the federal holiday of Juneteenth, the date in 1865 when the last Blacks  were told that they were free although the Emancipation Proclamation freed them 30 months earlier.  One year since Congress established the federal holiday, only 18 states allow state employees a paid state holiday for the event. Some legislators said a day off is not worthwhile because not enough people know about the holiday. Almost 60 percent of people say they know about the holiday, and Blacks have celebrated the day since the late 1800s. This resistance is similar to state objections to the holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday after a federal holiday was passed in 1983. Beginning with Texas in 1980, nine states made Juneteenth a paid state holiday before President Joe Biden signed the bill on June 17, 2021, making it a federal holiday. Legislation passed 148 to 1 in the House and 35 to 1 in the Senate.

June 19, 2022 is also the 50th anniversary of Father’s Day as a national U.S. holiday on the third Sunday of June. First celebrated with a sermon in 1908, the day struggled with popularity because men ridiculed the day’s sentimental celebration for masculinity through flowers and gifts. Efforts to combine Mother’s and Father’s days disappeared in the Great Depression because retailers wanted to commercialize two different days. By the end of World War II, it was used to support the war effort; by now people spent over $1 billion on Father’s Day gifts.

Arizona’s AG Mark Brnovich, a candidate for U.S. Senate, lost his case to lead other states in defending the changes in the “public charge” rule by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). The U.S. Supreme Court supported the 9th Circuit Court blocking states the lawsuit. The rule changes had made it easier to deny green cards to working immigrant families if they are “more likely than not” to use public benefits in the future such food stamps, housing and rental assistance, and Medicaid in 12 months of 36 months. Two of these forms of assistance for one month would count toward two months.

Brnovich also lost his case to order a major rewrite of an almost 300-page document telling Arizona county election officials how to manage the 2022 elections. He had refused an update Election Procedures Manual from Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, but a judge said his complaints were unsupported. The judge ruled that the manual approved by Brnovich, Hobbs, and Gov. Doug Ducey in 2019 would be in effect for the upcoming election. Hobbs provided county officials with guidance on changes on new laws and court rulings that affect that set of rules.

Glyphosate, found in the world’s most widely used herbicide Roundup, may pose a health risk for people exposed to it on farms, yards, roadsides, or food crop residue. The 9th Circuit Court ordered the EPA to reexamine its 2020 finding under DDT that found it to be no danger. Acquiring Roundup in 2018, the pharmaceutical company Bayer faces thousands of lawsuits about its causing cancer. EPA will review the court ruling and determine the “next steps,” and the Supreme Court may hear an appeal from Bayer to close the lawsuits against them. The three-judge panel ruled that EPA’s determination of no risk to human health “was not supported by substantial evidence.”

Parents won its lawsuit against a North Carolina charter school where girls were required to wear skirts because of the co-founder’s belief in “chivalry.” With a vote of 10-6, the entire 4th Circuit Court overturned the dress code—and a three-judge panel of the court—declaring the school violates female students’ constitutional rights. The two DDT-appointed judges on the panel had earlier ruled that the school was not a “state actor” although it receives public funds, is subject to state educational requirements and is called a “public school” in state statutes. Female students between kindergarten and eighth grade said that the dress code kept them from participating in recess and made them uncomfortable in such situations as emergency drills when they had to crawl on the floor. The judge wrote that chivalry is “a code of conduct where women are treated, they’re regarded as a fragile vessel that men are supposed to take care of and honor” and intended to ensure that girls are treated “courteously and more gently than boys,” an impermissible gender stereotype.

Police are receiving death threats after they arrested members of the neo-Nazi Patriot Front heading to an attack on an LGBTQ Pride event in Coeur d’Alene on June 11. Members of the group were charged and then released on bail. Calls to the agency came from as far away as Norway. Threats included publishing personal information of police offices such as their home addresses and telephone numbers. Details about the Patriot Front. More about the Patriot Front, an offshoot of the neo-Nazi group Vanguard America.

One Patriot Front member won’t be going home: his mother, Karen Amsden, kicked the 27-year-old out of her house. Karen Amsden, the mother of a 27-year-old Utah resident, kicked him out of the house. Divorced after her husband defined himself as gay, she said she told her son he could “choose between Patriot Front and your family.” He picked Patriot Front, and she told him to pack and leave. Her son had told him that he was just going camping for the weekend in Idaho and later used the false excuse for the attack that LGBTQ people are “grooming kids.”

A group of five Proud Boys traumatized children attending a Drag Queen Story House at the San Lorenzo library, 25 miles southeast of San Francisco, when the hate group stormed the facility yelling homophobic and transphobic threats. They also accused adult participants of “grooming kids.” State Sen. Scott Wiener received a death threat with hate language and sexual obscenities after he called the incident the “direct result of political attacks on LGBTQ people.”

At the Faith & Freedom conference where DDT attacked Mike Pence—again!—Sen. Lindsey Graham announced, to much applause, the GOP philosophy: “You know what I like about Trump. Everybody was afraid of him.”

The goal of the Republicans is to make everyone afraid of them. Allow everyone to keep guns to terrify people. Use bullying to destroy diplomacy. Employ vigilantes to take away people’s constitutional rights such as voting. Create tantrums accusing people of evidence-free wrong-doing. And never admit you’ve lost—make up lies to get your own way, repeat them over and over, and cheat people to win. It’s the GOP playbook.

June 6, 2022

GOP Definition of ‘Freedom’ Equals Mass Fear

Twelve days ago, 19 children and two teachers died in a Uvalde (TX) classroom while school district police chief Pete Arredondo, with no training in hostage situations, blocked 140 law enforcement officers representing 14 different agencies, including Border Patrol agents, from going into the classroom for 78 minutes. Also blocked was the Uvalde police force, who has active training in these situations and cost the town of 13,000 at least 40 percent of its budget. Motives for the 18-year-old’s shooter include lies by GOP Nevada state treasurer candidate and present Las Vegas city Council member Michelle Fiore who repeated false rumors that the cause was the drugs taken by the shooter because he was “transgendering,” which made his mind “defective.” Earlier Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) lied that the shooter was a transgender. “It’s a transsexual leftist illegal alien. It’s apparently your kind of trash,” he tweeted to a question about the shooter being the type of “trash” who supported Gosar and other of his similar ideological allies such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

A few days after the shooting, all law enforcement and state officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott stopped proving any information or holding press conferences, but AG Ken Paxton has initiated an investigation—into Twitter for possibly deceiving Texans with fake bot accounts. Conservative multi-billionaire Elon Musk, CEO of Texas-based Tesla, threatens to withdraw his offer to purchase Twitter if the social media platform has over the estimated 5 percent bots it claims. Paxton said he had “a duty to protect Texans.”

Arizona GOP legislators are praising the law enforcement mistakes made in the Uvalde massacre. State Sen. Kelly Townsend explained how school shootings can’t be stopped and compared them to abortions, but she wants vigilantes to guard ballot drop boxes in upcoming elections. Her senator colleague Rick Gray, GOP majority leader, said school shootings are because “for decades, we’ve been teaching our children in school that there is no God.” Yet some state Republican lawmakers want teacher licenses pulled if they don’t carry guns in the classroom and teach lessons on religion. Any call for action from Democrats have been ignored. The GOP ignores needs for a stable water supply, mitigation of wildfires, and affordable housing.  

Ohio got on the GOP teacher-with-guns movement. A new law allows teachers to have firearms in their classrooms after completing 24 hours of training. Gov. Mike DeWine said he had “worked with the General Assembly to remove hundreds of hours of curriculum irrelevant to school safety.” The bill was opposed by major law enforcement groups, gun control advocates, and the state’s teachers’ unions. Ohio teachers can lose their licenses, however, if they talk to students about issues of race and ethnicity.

In New York state, where an 18-year-old killed ten people in a Buffalo grocery store ten days before the Uvalde massacre, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed new laws to bolster existing ones and loopholes. New laws

  • Microstamping of bullets and new semiautomatic pistols to help law enforcement solve gun-related crimes.
  • Elimination of grandfathering high-capacity feeding devices.
  • Expansion of the “red flag” law taking guns from people who could be a threat to themselves or others to allow the involvement of more people, including healthcare professionals. It also requirements, not permits, law enforcement to seek an order with credible information.
  • Requirement of a license for purchasing semiautomatic rifles, former mandated only for handguns.
  • Age limit of 21 or higher to purchase semiautomatic rifles.
  • Expansion of a “firearm” definition to include any weapon not defined in the Penal Law that is designed or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by action of an explosive including modified firearms to be shot from an arm brace.
  • Restriction of bullet-resistant vests and armor to people in certain professions.
  • Criminalizing mass harms threats. 
  • Enhanced law enforcement reporting by law enforcement to state and federal gun databases—seized  or recovered guns to the criminal gun clearinghouse, participation in the ATF’s collective data sharing program, and the make, model, caliber, and serial number of the gun entered into the national crime information center.
  • Gun dealers required to enact uniform security and reporting standards and employee training on conducting firearm, rifle, and shotgun transfers, including identification of and response to illegal purchases with State Police inspections every three years.
  • Prohibition of those under 18 who are not accompanied by a parent from entering certain locations of a gun dealer’s premises.
  • Mandate for social media platforms to improve policies in responding to hateful conduct and “maintain easily accessible mechanisms” for public reporting.

Hochul said that the law was passed “in the name of the lives that have been lost, for the parents who will no longer see their children stepping off the school bus.” If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the New York concealed carry law, lawmakers will return to pass a new law to limit those who may be allowed these permits. Because of the state’s tough laws, most violent crimes use handguns, not AR-15 style rifles, from out of state.  

Almost half the Republicans, 44 percent, love their huge caches of guns so much that they prefer dead children to giving up their “freedom.” They say that the violent U.S. just has to live with mass shootings. Of all the people in the nation, however, 62 percent want a nationwide ban on semi-automatic rifles, used in two thirds of the mass shootings during the past three years. Support for “red flag” laws to stop gun purchases by people considered a danger to themselves or others are at 72 percent. In a new poll, 77 percent want the minimum age for buying an assault to be over 18—32 percent at 21 and 45 percent at 25. Support for federal background checks on all gun purchases is at 81 percent. All these percentages are over 60 percent, the number required to pass the Senate, but that 60 percent represents only 43.3 percent of the population—and most of them Republicans.

This 44 percent of Republicans stall with “thoughts and prayers,” using fake excuses such as mental illness and security issues for blame instead of the 400 million guns in the United States. Even without the new gun safety laws, New York’s death rate is 5.3 per 100,000 people, half the U.S. average and 18.5 percent of the 28.6 death rate per 100,000 people in Mississippi which has a 50-percent gun ownership. Red states have the highest rate of gun deaths and gun ownership; blue states have the lowest.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) complained about “elite” gun control advocates in government and media who have “great bulwarks of safety, from gated communities equipped with private security or, at the very least, from safe and expensive neighborhoods protected by high home prices and low crime rates.” In 19 months, Cruz has spent about one-half million dollars to a protection firm; as a Harvard graduate, Cruz belongs to the “elite.” His expenditure on “security” is slightly more than the gun lobby gave him.  

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who refused to traumatize children by requiring them to wear masks protecting them from COVID, wants to bring back veterans with guns to fill classrooms.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) is all for “stopping things before they happen” but not if it means gun safety regulations. No limiting access to deadly weapons, no “red flag” laws,” no keeping guns from “a 19-year-old.”  He claims these ideas are “unconstitutional” although the courts haven’t made that decision. His complaint about removing weapons through “red flag” laws takes away due process, but the procedure uses judicial reviews and court orders. Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is the only recent prominent U.S. politician who wanted to violate due process in connection to guns. After an expelled student killed 17 people and wounded another 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland (FL), DDT said, “Take the firearms first and then go to court.”

In 11 mass shootings this past weekend, at least 17 people died and over 60 were wounded in eight states from Pennsylvania where multiple shooters shot into a crowd enjoying Philadelphia nightlife to Chattanooga (TN) where another 3 people were killed and 14 injured near a nightclub. It was the second mass shooting there in a week. A drive-by shooting hit at least eight people at a graduation party with a 32-year-old woman killed and the others wounded, six or seven age 17 or younger. In Arizona, a 14-year-old girl died, and eight other people were hospitalized. Nearby Mesa (AZ) saw two more people dead and two others injured outside a bar. Texas, Georgia, New York, and Michigan had more mass shootings this week, resulting in a total of at least 246 throughout the U.S. since January 1, 2022—157 days. A mass shooting is defined as “one that injures or kills four or more people.”

The definition of freedom to 44 percent of Republicans is forcing fear on everyone as they walk on the streets, shop, send their children to school, go to a hospital or doctor’s office, honor their religious faith, attend festivals, have a night out on the town, even stay home. The only safe place where Republicans ban guns is at an NRA convention.

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