Nel's New Day

October 17, 2022

Week’s News – October 9-16, 2022

Breaking news since yesterday’s post on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: 

  • Russia hit a key energy facility near Kyiv, seriously damaging it and seizing the property. 
  • President Vladimir Putin said that of his 29 targets for this weekend, seven weren’t damaged but would be taken out gradually.
  • Police and military officers are grabbing men off Moscow streets, even those disabled, as well as in apartment building lobbies, and throughout places of business including cafes and restaurants. Not fitting Putin’s announced criteria Putin, they will be forced into the Russian army.
  • Iran publicly denies contributing weapons to Russia but has secretly agreed to send more weapons shipments, including more “kamikaze” drones and surface-to-surface missiles, for Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Iran has one of the largest and most diverse arsenals of short- and medium-range missiles in the Middle East although they tend to have reliability problems. Among other attacks today, Russia used these drones on Kyiv.
  • A religious argument may have been why two men from Tajikistan killed 11 other volunteers at a Russian military training. Tajikistan, home to the killers, is Islam; Russian is largely Christian.

After Florida areas were hard hit by Hurricane Ian, Gov. Ron DeSantis eased his own voting restrictions such as extending time for voter registration and early voting days, adding drop boxes for ballots, and allowing voters to submit mail-in ballots from addresses not in voting records—but only in Republican areas. He gave no help to regions with a majority of Democratic voters and claimed he’s using advice from supervisors of elections and written requests from the GOP counties.

Bexar County (TX) Sheriff Javier Salazar certified that the 49 migrants who Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard with Florida money provided by the federal government are victims of a crime. As such, they can get a special visa allowing them to stay in the U.S. otherwise not available to them.

According to a federal judge, DDT-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy harmed mail delivery with his changes in 2020 and placed orders to stop him from doing it again. A lawsuit charged DeJoy with higher rates of mail not being delivered on time impacting states’ abilities to stop the spread of COVID and a reliable alternative to in-person voting. DeJoy’s demands removed postal boxes, cut back on the number of mail sorting machines, and hindered the extra postal trips that would have cost overtime as DDT objected to mail-in ballots. These changes were made without consulting the overseeing regulator agency.

The ruling came out the day before backlash to Deloy’s hiking postcard and stamp prices as part of his proposed 10-year plan to change mail operations. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has not approved the price increases. People ask why the postal service is the only government agency that needs to make a profit, DeJoy’s voiced reason for slashing jobs, closing postal facilities, and raising prices.

Elon Musk thought he could escape problems by offering to go through with his $44 billion purchase of Twitter, but federal authorities are investigating his conduct in the takeover. Attorneys for Musk revealed a “privilege log” of withheld documents, and an October 6 court filing requests an order to share the materials. The FTC is monitoring whether Musk failed to comply with the antitrust reporting requirement related to investor’s intentions of a passive or active shareholder. A trial will be scheduled in November if the deal doesn’t meet the October 28 deadline.

Tesla’s stock prices have badly suffered from Musk’s erratic behavior since he decided to control Twitter. Its latest price drop brought the current value to $204.99 last Friday, almost exactly half the value almost a year ago on November 4–$409.97–$640 billion vanished. Columnist Wolf Richter reports that Tesla shares are “still ridiculously overvalued… Tesla is not a car company, it’s a religion.”

In Alex Jones’ latest civil trial, a Connecticut jury ordered him to pay almost $1 billion in compensatory and punitive damages to 15 plaintiffs, relatives of eight victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting victims. A request had been only $550 million. The judge already ruled that Jones was guilty of defamation, infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy. Jurors will determine how much money he owed each of the plaintiffs.

After the verdict, Jones cheered and begged for donations on his program. He told his audience, “They want to scare us away from questioning Uvalde or Parkland. We’re not going away. We’re not going to stop.”

Major U.S. health insurance companies have made up to $25 billion in profits by fraudulently billing the federal government for nonexistent healthcare changes through the 64 million people using a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, almost half the people eligible for Medicare. Companies—including UnitedHealth, Humana, CVS Health, Kaiser Permanente, and Cigna—falsely report patient ailments, and most of them have been accused of fraud in court. Of the top ten companies, only Centene has not been accused of any fraud. Three companies were accused of paying doctors or nurses more for recording additional diagnoses.

Journalist Natalie Shure explained the scam:

“Privatized Medicare plans cherry-pick healthier enrollees, fudge medical records to make them look as sick as possible, coax doctors into tacking on extra sham diagnoses to bill for, and pay themselves a profit on top of it.”

Shure added that the companies also refuse to provide additional treatment for these allegedly sick patients subscribing to MA. Almost 80 percent of U.S. House members, many of them taking donations from insurance companies, signed onto a letter “to protect the [MA] program from policies that would undermine” its stability. Critics have stated that the MA program is designed to completely privatize Medicare, allowing private insurance companies to extend the fraud for additional billions of dollars. The MA program costs more money per patient than those enrolled in Medicare.

GOP governors tried to look virtuous for their conservative constituents by not pardoning people for simple possession of cannabis, but they made big bucks after the private prison industry ponied up big campaign donations. Major recipients are Greg Abbott (TX), Bill Lee (TN), and Asa Hutchinson (AR). Private prison corporations even report that their profits need harsh drug laws. Florida Republicans also get a large share of private prison industry donations. Thus far, however, Reps. Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Nancy Mace (R-SC) praised Biden for his pardoning people federal convicted of simple Cannabis possession.

Conservatives are so delighted about the revelation that the president of moderate Brookings Institution secretly lobbied for Qatar’s government that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) wants to join Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in proposing a bill requiring think tanks to disclose donors paying for lobbying. The measure likely won’t pass become right-wing think tanks would block it because they would suffer more than others. Center-left groups such as Brookings already share much of its donation sources, but the Heritage Foundation, for example, claims under two percent of its income is from corporations. The Cato Institute is far more libertarian than Heritage, and the Claremont Institute has a strong MAGA bent.

The proposed law would not have affected John Allen at Brookings because his lobbying for Qatar was finished before he took over Brookings and would be covered by the Foreign Agent Registration Act. Grassley said, “Congress, the executive branch, and the American people deserve to know who’s influencing research and public policy in our country.” He may have to change his mind if conservatives attack the bill. At the age of 89, Grassley is only three points ahead of his opponent, the tightest election he has faced since he started running for office in 1958, 64 years ago.

About 200 same-gender Chinese couples have been married in Utah, thanks to a legal loophole from a combination of two state laws. The state doesn’t have residency or citizenship requirements for marriage licenses, and Utah County permits international marriages online. China does not recognize the marriages, but the couples have an essence of a legal union.

Ben Sasse wants to move from the Senate to heading up the University of Florida because he doesn’t like conflict. Students and faculty, however, are already protesting his arrival because of his LGBTQ discrimination and urging the school’s board of trustees to reject him. He tried to claim that marriage equality is the “law of the land,” reminiscent of the lies that Supreme Court justices used to get confirmed. Sasse’s employment will be formally considered on November 1.  

How crazy are DDT’s supporters? Denis Molla burned down his own camper two years ago so that he could blame the antifa. Now the 30-year-old Minnesota man is sorry because he faces up to four years in prison. He pled guilty to wire fraud after trying to cheat an insurance agency and GoFundMe donors of over $300,000. His lawyer said Molla is “a wonderful husband and father.” (Right: Image of Molla’s handiwork; check for Molla’s anti-left graffiti on his garage door.)  

After Kingsview Asset Management CIO Scott Martin claimed on the Fox Business Neil Cavuto show that he spent $28 for a Taco Bell lunch, his host was stunned—and so were the humorous Twitter responses. Kingsview might want to reconsider keeping Martin as the “chief information officer.”

November 19, 2021

Today’s Events: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

The Good:

The House passed President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) Act by 220-213 on its way to an uncertain future in the Senate. Seniors will benefit because Medicare can negotiate lower prices for some medications, saving Medicare $262 billion, and they will have coverage for new hearing aids every five years. Seniors and people with disabilities can also have more home healthcare services, and the bill increases wages and benefits for caregivers.

Drug prices are skyrocketing. Part of the $21.70 increase in Medicare comes from the $10 additional cost from the high price of the new Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, $56,000 a year per patient. People in the U.S. pay almost three times as much for drugs as they would in dozens of other countries. Although critics express concern about less research and development of new drugs, pharmaceutical companies use billions of taxpayer dollars for R&D and spend more on advertising than on R&D. The drug industry is now flooding the media with ads claiming people with serious illnesses can’t get vital medications. Yet 93 percent of people—90 percent of Republicans—believe lowered prices won’t damage the ability to develop drugs.

Other benefits of the bill include free universal preschool for children ages three and four, gives four weeks of family leave (still much shorter than in most of the world), addresses climate change, and increases Pell grants for college tuition. Costs will be covered by increased corporate taxes and IRS enforcement. Other provisions include affordable housing investments and a cap of child care at seven percent of income. (Amounts above are for ten years, not one.)

Maine’s Jared Golden was the only “nay” vote; all Republican representatives voted against the bill.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill will cost about $1.7 trillion in the next decade, $170 billion a year. Funding for IRS reinforcement will decrease the deficit $127 billion by 2031. Lawmakers applauded the bill’s passage, clapping for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and chanting “Nancy, Nancy, Nancy.”

The Bad:

In opposition to the bill, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) spoke—frequently slowly—for eight hours and 28 minutes, the longest continuous speech in the House for over 110 years. His statements, sometimes rambling and incoherent, failed to mention the pandemic except for his perception that China was at fault. Yet he complained about such issues as reasonable costs for insulin, vital to save diabetics’ lives.

McCarthy’s delay means that the vote happened during the day, in much better media time, instead of late in the evening. He claimed he was “talking to the American people.” McCarthy assured “the American people” he would “always fight for you, fight for your family” while he is fighting for higher drug prices, no paid leave, greater housing costs, less health care, higher costs for education and child care, etc. Instead, he talked about Reagan’s missile defense initiative, his friend Elon Musk, and other non sequiturs in addition to a long detour into the painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware River which hangs in his office.  Although he criticized China, he praised the country, saying China wouldn’t force payment of taxes as Democrats did in the BBB bill.

McCarthy was briefly silenced during the speech. When he declared, “Nobody elected Joe Biden to be FDR,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called out, “I did!” Another person said, “Me too.”

When McCarthy finished at 5:04 am (EST) on Friday morning, he yielded the floor to Pelosi who had left the chamber several hours earlier. A few sleepy Republicans applauded his endurance.

McCarthy’s only accomplishment with his speech was to delay the vote a few hours, but he’s working hard to show he deserves to be Speaker if Republicans take over the House in 2022. Mark Meadows, former chief of staff for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), is advocating DDT for that position; the Speaker doesn’t need to be an elected representative. DDT called the idea “very interesting.” He has already made clear that McCarthy hasn’t been his loyal supporter, especially after McCarthy said immediately after January 6 that DDT “bears responsibility” for the insurrection. (McCarthy spent the next nine months trying to walk back that statement.) DDT has repeatedly indicated that GOP leaders aren’t fighting the Democrats. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) praised McCarthy after the speech for his “fight.”

On Steve Bannon’s radio show, however, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) blamed Republicans for the passage of BBB in the House because 13 of them helped pass the earlier infrastructure bill that has now become law. Gaetz described McCarthy’s speech as “a really long death rattle. The outcome was already determined as a consequence of poor leadership and poor strategy.”

House rules permit leaders to talk as long as they want when they are recognized for one minute of floor time. In 2018, Pelosi talked for over eight hours about the Dreamers bill for young undocumented immigrants. Ocasio-Cortez said if McCarthy “wanted to outdo [Pelosi], he should’ve done it in stilettos.”

The Ugly:

Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, walked free of any charges after illegally obtaining an AR-15-style rifle, crossing state lines, and searching for protesters in Kenosha (WI) with militia members when he was only 17. He killed two men, wounded another, and endangered two more in a claim of “self-defense.” Rittenhouse escaped counts of not only two charges of homicide and one of attempted homicide but also two of reckless endangerment for shooting at others, including a videographer.

Supporters, most of them encouraged by conservative media and social media, raised Rittenhouse’s $2 million bail soon after he was indicted. When out of jail, he was seen drinking in a bar and flashing white power signs while being “loudly serenaded” with the Proud Boys anthem. He also moved from one home to another without notifying the court. The bail was provided by hundreds of supporters responding to conservative news sites and social media, as well as from gun activists.

A question about his exoneration is what part the judge, highly sympathetic to Rittenhouse, and the even more supportive conservative media played in the “not guilty” verdict on all counts. The verdict cannot be appealed; it’s a done deal The judge has consistently appeared friendly to Rittenhouse and his defense while critical of the prosecution. After the reading of the verdict, the judge said he “couldn’t have asked for a better jury to work with.”

Rittenhouse escaped counts of not only two charges of homicide and one of attempted homicide but also two of reckless endangerment for shooting at others, including a videographer.

Rittenhouse claimed he was a trained EMT; he wasn’t. As a vigilante, he searched for people hostile to him and his militia group, claiming he was offering medical attention. His only prior experience with the rifle was firing 30 rounds during a weekend before heading to Kenosha. Prosecutors said that Rittenhouse’s self-defense claim was invalid because his use of deadly force was unreasonable.

Rittenhouse has jobs waiting for him: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), under investigation for sex trafficking and other crimes, has offered the killer a congressional internship as has Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), censured by the House this past week for his anime cartoon threatening to kill Ocasio-Cortez and draw swords on Biden. Gosar tweeted he would “arm wrestle” Rep. Matt Gaetz in order to “get dibs for Kyle as an intern.” Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) offered an internship to Rittenhouse on Instagram and is using the verdict to celebrate with guns. He stated, “Be armed, be dangerous, and be moral.” [Right: What a congressional intern looks like.] 

DDT used the verdict in his fund-raising email, praising the acquittal and claiming the trial was “nothing more than a WITCH HUNT from the Radical Left” who “want to PUNISH law-abiding citizens, including a CHILD, like Kyle Rittenhouse, for doing nothing more than following the LAW.”

People can expect more worship of Rittenhouse. Fox network’s host Tucker Carlson sent a film crew to shoot footage for a documentary and plans to interview Rittenhouse next week.

The verdict announcement in favor of racist vigilantism lacked any surprise, even from those opposing Rittenhouse’s actions. He could, however, face federal charges for crossing state lines with the rifle. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) has called on DOJ to investigate the possibility.

And More Ugly: 

Thanks to DDT’s General Postmaster Louis DeJoy, who tried to block mail-in voting by horrible USPS delivery service, shipping will temporarily cost more for the holiday season between From October 3, and midnight Christmas Day, supposedly to cover “extra costs.” Prices go between $0.75 for flat rate boxes and envelopes to $5 more for packages as large as 70 pounds. Last year, the USPS raised costs for commercial customers; this year’s increase is for everyone.

DeJoy’s time in control of the postal service may be short-lived. Biden will not nominate Ron Bloom, the Democrat running the USPS board and DDT-supporter John Barger, for another term after their current ones expire on December 8, 2021. Bloom was surprised he was not re-nominated. The Senate must confirm Biden’s two nominees. When Barger’s and Bloom’s terms expires, the remaining seven board members will have three Biden-appointed members; one of DDT’s four appointments is a Democrat.  

October 27, 2021

Craziness in the Week before Halloween 2021

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) wrote the Wall Street Journal that his former DOJ attorney general Bill Barr rigged the election for Biden in Pennsylvania among 19 other bulleted conspiracy theories about ballot counts. He also falsely claimed Montgomery County showed 98 percent of registered voters participating in the 2020 election; media reported 82 percent. Pennsylvania has four cases of voter fraud among its 9,090,962 votes for the 2020 general election—three of them relatives of dead people and another one attempting to also vote for his son. All four supported Dictator DDT. Audits and courts found no other evidence of voter fraud in Pennsylvania, and Barr was DDT’s faithful lawyer in what should have been an independent agency. 

The debunked material in DDT’s letter in the generally credible conservative publication brought the same backlash as former VP Mike Pence’s op-ed claiming no “Coronavirus ‘Second Wave” because of the “lack of fact-checking and transparency” in the WSJ opinion page. The editorial board then lambasted Pence’s letter as an effort at “cancel-culture pressure.”

GOP senators’ latest attack was against DOJ AG Merrick Garland when they lied about his trying to muzzle protesting parents. Tom Cotton (R-AL) even demanded Garland resign. The attackers’ agenda is to block healthcare mandates surrounding COVID and restrict school education by blocking information about racism, now called critical race theory by ignorant conservatives.

Republicans demanded that Garland retract and apologize for his memo, but Garland said he wished they would read his words which ask federal law enforcement to work with local law enforcement for ways to protect school board members. [Missouri’s Josh Hawley (above right) posed for the camera; photo by Tom Brenner, AP] Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) accused Garland of either being a servant of the White House or “politicizing” the DOJ. Cory Booker (D-NJ) tried to instruct them by reading a list of threats and violence against official from so-called parents, some of whom traveled from state to state to attack school board members.

With DDT’s team of dissidents to overturn Joe Biden’s election as president, John Eastman developed a strategy using vice-presidential duties to put DDT back into the White House if former VP Mike Pence refused to accept the electoral votes. Last week, Eastman declared in an interview with the National Review that the strategy memo with his name “does not accurately represent” his views. He disagreed with his own assertion that the vice-president is the “ultimate arbiter” of deciding to count the Electoral College votes and said that “anybody who thinks that that’s a viable strategy is crazy.”

The day after Eastman’s statements were published, however, he told Lauren Windsor the opposite. An activist journalist known for hidden-camera interviews, Windsor pretends to be a conservative ally to elicit candid comments from the subject. Eastman told Windsor his memo wasn’t “crazy” at all. He bragged that “there’s no question” his memo’s legal reasoning is “solid” and complained that Pence and other Republicans didn’t follow the strategy because they belong to the political “establishment” and enjoy “cushy” lifestyles in Washington. The House January 6 Committee now plans to subpoena Eastman so he can say what he thinks—under oath.

Eastman blamed “FBI plants,” Antifa, and reporters to lure DDT’s supporters into trouble, claiming that the entire insurrection was a “setup” to “trap” DDT’s people into illegal activities. “John Sullivan, Antifa guy, got paid 60,000 bucks by CNN to break in and get video of violence. That is a fact.” Eastman asserted. In another conspiracy theory, he accused FBI agents embedded in right-wing militias Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. “[Militia members] walked into a trap,” he said. As head of Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, Eastman spoke to the activist at the right-wing think tank’s annual gala headlined by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Claremont Institute tried to justify Eastman’s memo. Aaron Black explained:

“Essentially, the [Claremont] statement isn’t disputing that Eastman provided a ready-made procedure for Trump and Pence to get the election overturned—he clearly and unambiguously did so—it’s that he didn’t explicitly say Pence should overturn it himself.”

During his career, Eastman clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas, worked at the law firm with Ken Starr, and collaborated with Hugh Hewitt on his nationally syndicated radio program. Chair of the board for the National Institute for Marriage fighting marriage equality, he is director with the Public Interest Legal Foundation, created to use frivolous lawsuits to attack elections.

At the age of 17, Kyle Rittenhouse stole a semiautomatic rifle resembling an AR-15 and crossed a state line to shoot and kill two protesters and wound another in Kenosha (WI), but the judge for his trial won’t permit them to be called “victims” because the word is “loaded” with prejudgment. He didn’t object to using “rioters,” “looters,” and “arsonists” for them. The wounded man carried a gun but has not been charged with a crime and had his hands in the air when he was shot. Rittenhouse, who was walking the streets with a group of armed men, is claiming self-defense. In Kenosha, protesters marched because a white police officer shot a Black man seven times in the back.

The judge also prevented the prosecutor from asking about Rittenhouse’s ties to the white supremacist Proud Boys who incite violence at protests. Although Rittenhouse flashed one their hate symbols and posed for photographs with Proud Boys at a Wisconsin Bar, the judge said the connections to the right-wing group weren’t relevant to the case. Known for cruel and capricious rulings, the judge had ordered a 28-year-old woman convicted of shoplifting to announce her criminal record to the store management wherever she went. An appeals court overruled that order. A backlog of cases comes from hundreds of defendants formally requesting a different judge.

Most conservative members of Congress call the January 6 insurrection a “protest” or “innocent tourists” visiting the Capitol, but Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), chief QAnon conspiracy theorist in Congress, admits it’s a riot, as in “just a riot.” The insurrection differed from the racial-justice protests that was “an attack on innocent American people.” She summarized the reason for the Capitol “riot”:

“And if you think about what our Declaration of Independence says, it says to overthrow tyrants.”

The classic statement of today came from a question at a Turning Point USA event in Idaho when DDT-supporter Charlie Kirk was speaking. “When do we get to use the guns?” the audience member queried. The crowd applauded, and the man continued:

“That’s not a joke… I mean, literally, where’s the line? How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?”

Obviously taken aback, Kirk tried to quell the discussion of killing people, not because it was wrong but because it would get the group into trouble. No debunking of a “stolen” election or the errors of violence—just the assertion that people had to stay out of trouble until the United States rejected federalism. He did reassure the audience that “we are going to name the name [of those who] pulled this off in the 2020 election.” (Right: Kirk, another angry leader.)

Like other Republicans, including DDT and others planning the January 6 insurrection, Kirk has fanned the flames of violence. Last summer he said Biden was sending “goons DOOR-TO-DOOR to make you take a covid-19 vaccine.” One of Turning Point’s ads for donations shouted, “LOCK YOUR DOORS, KIDS!!” Kirk’s Arizona chapter brought almost $40 million in donations for the last fiscal year, and he made $330,000 from Turning Point and related organizations. The non-profit claims it “educates students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets and capitalism.”

In Texas, state GOP Rep. Matt Krause requires the state’s public school superintendents to scour school libraries for books on a list of 850 titles dealing with issues like race, gender and sexuality. He also demanded to know the cost to the school in buying them and their availability for checking them out. Any books that “contain material that might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex or convey that a student, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously” must be reported to him, according to his letter. Books on the list include not only award-winning authors such as The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron but also ones on “sexuality” such as LGBT Families by Leanne K. Currie-McGhee. Krause is a candidate for the state’s attorney general.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, DDT’s appointee, must go. Now he has suspended first-class package and priority mail services to Australia and New Zealand. No more gifts to the grandkids, art sales, online shopping, etc. because of “freight air capacity issues.” 

And then there’s the insanity of Facebook revelations and the promotion of COVID infections by anti-vaxxing Republican leaders. Plus the games of so-called Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) to destroy the jobs (aka infrastructure) bill.

October 24, 2021

Congress Needs to Shut Down Corruption

Creeping among all the other stories about fraud during the past week was the indictment of Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) for his lying to the FBI about taking $30,000 from Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury, funneled through Californians and distributed to four politicians. Fortenberry alternately expressed shock, surprise, and expectation to be indicted. He resigned from his leadership on the Agriculture Committee but made a lovely video sitting in his vintage pickup with his wife and dog, cornfields in the background, explaining why he had done nothing wrong. His wife, Celeste, stood by her man, also claiming that her husband didn’t lie to the FBI. Fortenberry used the indictment for fundraiser, calling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) a “swamp creature.”

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Central District of California stated a federal grand jury was charging Fortenberry with “concealing information and making false statements to federal authorities who were investigating illegal contributions made by a foreign national to the congressman’s 2016 re-election campaign.” Charges include one count of scheming to falsify and conceal material facts and two counts of knowingly and willingly making false statements and representations to federal investigators. Chagoury has cooperated with the investigation and paid $1.8 million in fines.

It seems that Fortenberry faces at least three false statements charges under 18 U.S.C. § 1001:

  • He was aware after the fundraiser that Chagoury was the real source of the $30,000 he received and were funneled to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), and himself.
  • The fundraiser host began cooperating with the FBI in September 2016, and Fortenberry asked him to host another event in 2018. The informant told Fortenberry several times that Chagoury provided the original funds, violating both the ban on foreign campaign contributions and the ban on straw man donors.
  • Fortenberry also lied by saying he ended the phone call with the fundraiser after he made a “concerning comment”: in fact, Fortenberry asked him to host another fundraiser.

During the term of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), two sitting congressional members, both Republicans, were criminally charged: New York’s Chris Collins for insider trading, and California’s Duncan Hunter for stealing over $250,000 from his campaign donations. Both were re-elected but resigned, both were sentenced to prison, and both were pardoned by DDT. If guilty, Fortenberry faces up to five years in federal prison. 

DDT supported Fortenberry by saying:

“Isn’t it terrible that a Republican Congressman from Nebraska just got indicted for possibly telling some lies to investigators about campaign contributions, when half of the United States Congress lied about made up scams.”

Fortenberry belongs to the secretive political evangelical Christian group, The Family, highlighted in Jeff Sharlet’s book, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. The organization is tied to the Uganda lawmaker who pressured his country to pass legislation called “Kill the Gays.” The Family supports the bill that sentences people committing homosexual acts with the death penalty. In 2014, the text was softened to “Jail the Gays,” sentencing LGBTQ people to life imprisonment, but the Ugandan Supreme Court invalidated the law. Fortenberry’s chief of staff, Andy Braner, is a fellow insider of The Family. The Family has funded Fortenberry’s multiple events overseas connected to the group. 

Another current GOP may be moving toward toward indictment. The FBI has assigned two more two prosecutors to sex-trafficking probe of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), one expert in child exploitation crimes and the other a leader in the public corruption unit. The sentencing of Joel Greenberg, a witness against Gaetz, has been postponed until March as, according to prosecutors, Greenberg continues to provide valuable assistance in their investigation. Gaetz not only lost money on his “America First” tour around the country with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) but also paid $613,000 in the third quarter of 2021 to get under $500,000 in donations. It has been reported that, before DDT left the White House, Gaetz “privately asked” administrators “for blanket pre-emptive pardons for himself and unidentified congressional allies.” 

Gaetz can no longer practice law because he failed to pay his license annual dues. For reinstatement he would have to pay the $265, an extra $150 reinstatement fee, and a $50 late fee. In addition, he would need to petition the executive director to be reinstated. Convicted of any felonies, he would be disbarred anyway. 

USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, appointed under DDT, appears intent on running his agency into the ground. He’s raising prices, slowing down delivery, and appears to be steering the government work to his former company. More conflicts of interest have emerged from his and his family’s investments in XPO, where he served as CEO, and 13 other major companies with relationships to the postal services. With a financial interest between $30 million and $75 million in XPO, DeJoy refused to divest himself for months after he was confirmed and has more investments in companies such as AT&T, CVS, Verizon, Lockheed Martin, Discover Financial Services, IBM, and JPMorgan Chase—all with USPS government contracts. Federal law requires government employees, including agency heads, to divest from investments worth more than $15,000 in companies that may be affected by their work.

Also ongoing is a probe into DeJoy’s campaign-finance scandal when he coerced employees to donate to Republican candidates. President Joe Biden cannot fire DeJoy without approval by the USPS governing board, who must also be confirmed by the Senate. Although the board president is a Democrat, he said DeJoy is “the proper man for the job.” Bloom’s tenure on the board expires, however, in December 2021. 

Republicans may give up on DeJoy after he began banking in post offices located in Washington, Baltimore, Falls Church (VA), and the Bronx by accepting paychecks or business checks of up to $500 in exchange for prepaid Visa gift cards. Postal officials plan to expand the program in 2022 with bill-paying services and ATMS in post offices. Republicans still want DeJoy’s campaign donations but don’t like the USPS competing with private financial institutions. In a letter to DeJoy, Reps. James Comer (R-KY) and Patrick McHenry (R-NC) wrote that the program “undermines the trust during your engagements with Congress and raises questions as to whether you worked with us in good faith.”

More corruption, money-laundering on a large scale, has been discovered in the Midwest: federal prosecutors seized $12 million allegedly part of “The Shadow Exchange” between the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates. Some of the money was used to buy armored vehicles for an illegal drug trafficking operation in Michigan. The money origins were hidden with fake invoices and other documents sent to banks, including major ones in the U.S., through wire transfers. Federal authorities obtained the money in December 2020, January 2021, and May 2021.

Ukrainian banking oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky bought a disintegrating factory Harvard (IL), population 9,281, much to the delight of the depressed community. He did nothing with the factory, originally built in the late 1990s by Motorola before the business failed, and the U.S. has hit him with sanctions for “significant corruption” in Ukraine for overseeing Ponzi schemes. Before Kolomoisky, a Miami investor, Chaim Schochet, purchased the facility on behalf of Optima International, a company buying commercial real estate throughout the Midwest. Both Schochet and Kolomoisky used laundered money and fraudulent loans to buy property and then let it rot. They paid no property taxes, starving the communities, and in 2016 Kolomoisky sold the Harvard property to a Chinese Canadian businessman. After spreading dreams throughout the community for a year, Canadian authorities charged the new owner of a money laundering scheme, and New Zealand detailed how he led a “multi-national pyramid scheme.”   

Money laundering moved to the Midwest from urban areas because they have no laws against anonymous real estate purchases, unlike cities like New York City, Dallas, and Seattle. Desperate for help, places suffering from economic decline are also ripe for this kind of corruption. When Kolomoisky bought up many downtown Cleveland buildings, the Ohio city was helpless when he let them fall apart. Last year, Congress banned anonymous shell company formations, overriding DDT’s veto, and will be debating the Transnational Repression Accountability and Prevention Act to counter authoritarian regimes targeting journalists in democratic countries—if Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) permits.  

In an unusual coalition, four members of the House—Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Joe Wilson (R-SC)—are introducing the Establishing New Authorities for Business Laundering and Enabling Risks to Security (ENABLERS) Act closing loopholes foreign kleptocrats use to launder money in the United States. Financial institutions are required to report suspicious transactions; ENABLERS expands that requirement to others such as law and public relations firms, accountants, investment and real estate advisors, and art dealers who allow the secrecy of origins through shell companies, trusts, and other investment vehicles. The four representatives founded the Caucus Against Foreign Corruption and Kleptocracy recently leading the charge to anti-corruption legislation in the House’s national defense bill.

Now the country needs ten good Republicans in the Senate to fight corruption.

October 9, 2021

Reversing DDT’s Policies

Today in Iowa, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) ranted about his lost election, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who condemned DDT less than a year ago, stood beside him, hoping to be re-elected next year at the age of 89. Meanwhile, the U.S. is quashing DDT’s push to destroy protections for U.S. residents.

Twenty state attorneys general have filed a joint complaint against DDT’s Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for his new crippling rules to delay mail delivery including elimination of working hours, slower first-class mail delivery, and removal of equipment, delaying delivery of prescriptions, bills, Social Security checks, rent payments, etc. DeJoy’s 10-year plan to use trucks for hauling mail instead of airplanes would be accompanied by changing post office locations and increase postal rates. Thirty percent of standard mail delivery would drop from a 3-day maximum to five days, increase the cost of every piece of mail an addition three percent to nine percent, and not reduce the USPS budget deficit. AGs maintain the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), providing independent oversight of the USPS, permitted the new harmful plans to go into effect without appropriate review. The independent postal services is the only federal agency required to be self-sustaining.

DeJoy is making money off a $120 million contract between XPO Logistics, which he led, and USPS. Former White House chief ethics lawyer testified to Congress that DeJoy probably violated federal conflict of interest rules “unless he has recused from so many matters at the USPS that he is not fully functioning as Postmaster General.” DeJoy also bought stocks in Amazon at a lower price with options, another conflict of interest because of the company’s shipping arrangement for the USPS. The FBI is also investigating DeJoy for potentially pressuring his former employees at XPO Logistics to donate to GOP candidates before using his company funds to reimburse them.

Wisconsin is heading into a fake “audit” of the 2020 presidential election ballots with no evidence of any fraud. No Cyber Ninjas this time—instead GOP legislators picked former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, a “Stop the Steal” activist, to oversee the probe. Gableman went not only to Arizona to look at the event but also to South Dakota to attend the “symposium” run by conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell, My Pillow’s CEO. At the same time Gableman is subpoenaing mayors and elections for readily available information, he announced he has no “understanding” of how elections should run. The subpoenas are for “all documents contained in your files and/or in your custody, possession,” millions of pages from the state and its five biggest cities. Wisconsin taxpayers are $680,000 for ignorance and failure for Gableman’s “audit.”

Lindell also caused the audit of three Idaho counties which he claimed had fraudulent votes. Idaho Chief Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck is billing Lindell for the $6,500 cost. Lindell accused all 44 Idaho counties of “electronic manipulation,” but at least seven counties don’t use this method. He also declared votes in every county in Idaho, which supported DDT by 31 percent, and every county in the nation was off by 8.4. The audit found a 0.1 percent of margin of error in all three counties. Alabama dismissed a Lindell’s claim that the state had 100,000 votes switched from DDT to President Joe Biden.

The Education Department will relax rules retroactively for its Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan, allowing student loans for 22,000 people to be automatically erased. Another 27,000 borrowers could have debts erased if they prove they worked in public service when making payments previously declared ineligible. In the past, loan payments were disqualified for either being received late or slightly different from the required amount, even by a few cents. Different payment plans will also count toward forgiveness because of misleading information from the federal government and loan companies. Over 550,000 borrowers may now fast-forward their path to loan forgiveness.

After a Senate hearing, the Department of Justice is reviewing two former FBI agents accused of mishandling the sexual abuse investigation into former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar against at least 330 girls and women. Four famous female gymnasts testified to the FBI’s lack of accountability and inaction. It is highly unusual for the DOJ to consider reopening a case without charges, but the department’s Inspector General found major missteps by the FBI in 2015 which permitted Nassar to victimize scores more patients before state authorities arrested him the next year. According to the report, Supervisory Special Agent Michael Langement, fired a month ago, lied to the inspector officer’s officer in interviews during 2020 and 2021. W. Jay Abbott, the head of the FBI’s Indianapolis office, also talked to Stephen Penny, the president of the USA Gymnastics, about getting a job with the Olympic Committee during the Nassar allegations in late 2015. Later Abbott lied to the inspector general about seeking the job, and Penny resigned from his job and was charged with evidence-tampering regarding sex abuse. The FBI also failed to alert state authorities about Nassar’s possible sex crimes against children. Nassar, 58, was sentence to 40 to 175 years in prison.  

DDT kept trying to drop salaries for federal employees, but Biden plans to raise wages an average of 2.7 percent on January 1 and signed an executive order directing federal contractors to pay employees a minimum wage of $15 by March 30, 2022.

Changes by the Federal Emergency Management Agent (FEMA) will ease the method for verifying ownership for disaster relief applicants who lack certain legal documents for inherited property. The former system discriminated against Blacks in the Deep South who need help to rebuild after catastrophic storms such as Hurricane Ida. Many Blacks informally inherited property without written wills, a process known as heirs’ property, previously denied under FEMA rules. FEMA will now send inspectors to people without the documentation for property ownership. In majority-Black counties, FEMA’s denial rate regarding “title issues” is twice the national average. Other people suffering from FEMA’s former rules include Native Americans, people in Appalachia, and those in communities near the U.S.-Mexico border.

By the end of the year, the Commerce Department will shut down its 15-year-old security unit illegally making criminal investigations and collecting information on hundreds of its employees and other citizens. With no oversight, the 13-person Investigations and Threat Management Service (ITMS) opened cases against people who simply wrote innocuous letters to the department’s top official. Because almost no case was closed, people in almost 2,000 cases continued to be classified as still under scrutiny. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) called the ITMS a “rogue, unaccountable police force” that “opened frivolous investigations on a variety of employees without evidence suggesting wrongdoing.” The unit covertly searched offices at night, ran broad key word searches on emails, and examined social media accounts for critical comments about the census.

A federal judge tossed DDT’s rule scaling back protections for streams, marshes, and wetlands, saying that it could lead to “serious environmental harm.” The ruling from the District of Arizona applies nationwide and protects drinking water for millions of people and thousands of wildlife species depending on U.S. wetland acreage. Since a 1972 law prohibited the pollution of “waters of the United States” without a permit, courts and agencies have debated which waterways. Agencies will now return to water protections of the 1980s, less restrictive than those of President Obama but far more expansive than DDT’s guidelines. The judge’s ruling requires a permit for strip-mining for titanium in Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp.  

Four years ago DDT reduced Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent and Grand Staircase in half, the biggest reversal of U.S. land monument protections in history. Biden restored Bears Ears to 1.36 million acres and Grand Staircase to 1.87 million acres, both areas having cultural and religious importance for Native American tribes. A lawsuit by environmental and tribal leaders against DDT has been on hold since Biden issued an executive order in January to examine the matter. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, threatens to sue Biden for his action.

Biden has also announced his plan to restore climate change protections to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and return the requirement for federal agencies to “evaluate all the relevant environmental impacts of the decisions they are making” for projects such as highways, mines, gas pipelines and water infrastructure. DDT’s removal of these mandates caused confusion and litigation.

In another reversed DDT rule, Biden will no longer prevent clinics receiving Title X family planning aid from advising people about terminating their pregnancies starting November 8. Under DDT’s rule preventing information about abortions, Title X grants served 2.4 fewer patients. The Hyde Amendment blocks federal money from directly paying for abortions, but DDT stopped clinics from sending patients where they can receive abortions. Biden also lifted the “Mexico City Policy” preventing worldwide nonprofit organizations from receiving any U.S. global family aid if they perform or promote abortions. DDT had expanded the ban to all U.S. international aid.

The Bureau of Land Management is returning to Washington, D.C. DDT’s decision to move the agency’s headquarters to Grand Junction (CO), causing almost 90 percent of the 328 former headquarters staff to retire, quit, or leave for other jobs. Ultimately, only three people relocated to the West, leaving 80 vacancies.  

The Washington, D.C. District Court ordered the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to take action by the end of the month on complaints against the NRA for its shell companies coordinating campaign spending with federal candidates. In the past, Republican FEC board members blocked the commission from asking the FBI to look into the NRA laundering Russian money into DDT’s campaign.

June 4, 2021

The Men in DDT’s Life

Furious with being mocked, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) killed his “social-media platform” (aka blog) after only 29 days. Another problem with From the Desk of Donald J. Trump was almost no engagement, probably because people had to donate to him to make for responses. Senior DDT aide Jason Miller said the blog “will not be returning.” That’s the tip of the iceberg for DDT ridicule.

Comments by DDT’s main man, Russian President Vladimir Putin, at an economic forum today echoed GOP lies about the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. “They came with political demands,” Putin said, because they were justifiably angry with the election results. Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) described the violent riot as “a normal tourist visit,” and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) referred to the attack as a largely “peaceful protest.” Three days ago, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov accused the U.S. of violating attackers’ human rights and said these people faced “persecution.” President Joe Biden plans to meet Putin on June 16 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Former VP Mike Pence, quiet about the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol for almost five months, has finally spoken out. He said he and DDT may never “see eye to eye” on the event, which he called “a dark day in the history of the United States,” but “I will always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years.” Pence is definitely running for president in 2024.

After stalling two years, former White House counsel testified before the House Judiciary Committee about DDT’s attempts to block a federal investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said McGahn’s appearance “vindicates the congressional subpoena right” and “McGahn was clearly distressed by President Trump’s refusal to follow his legal advice, again and again.” Nadler added the testimony “shed new light on several troubling events” although DDT has repeatedly said, “I never suggested firing Mueller.”

Both Jim Jordan (R-OH), accused of permitting a doctor to sexually abuse athletes while he was an assistant coach at OSU, and Mat Gaetz (R-FL), under FBI investigation for a number of crimes including sex-trafficking, considered the hearing a waste of time. A transcript of the hearing will be publicly released within a week.

Getting rid of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy seemed difficult, even after President Joe Biden replaced three USPS board members, but an FBI investigation may speed DeJoy’s exit. The probe involves campaign fundraising activity before he left his former business when he allegedly pressured employees to attend political fundraisers and contribute to GOP candidates before being reimbursed with bonuses. In 14 years, 124 employees gave over $1 million to federal and state GOP candidates, many of the donors giving for the first time. DeJoy may escape charges because straw-donor schemes have a five-year statute of limitations, and the donations were made before 2015.

DeJoy is the fourth and last of the 2016 RNC finance team leadership to face DOJ investigations:

Steve Wynn: Sexual misconduct allegations forced him to resign, and last week the Wall Street Journal reported DOJ examinations into Wynn’s 2017 efforts in support of Chinese officials when he wasn’t registered as a lobbyist.

Elliott Broidy: Faced with multiple controversies, he pled guilty to federal charges of illegal lobbying. DDT pardoned him earlier this year.

Michael Cohen: The center of many DDT-related scandals, DDT’s former attorney/fixer was sentenced to prison before he turned against DDT.

Mike Lindell, MyPillow CEO, announced he is filing a lawsuit to force the Supreme Court to declare the 2020 election null and void, thus returning DDT to the White House. Lindell’s defamation-RICO-libelslander suit for $2 billion damages against Dominion Voting systems and its competitor Smartmatic wasn’t approved by MyPillow, and the company immediately fired the attorney representing Lindell when it heard about the case. Oddities in the case:

A civil rights claim that voting machine vendors are the government and that communication from Dominion to Lindell requesting he stop the lie about the voting machine company stealing the election for Joe Biden violates Lindell’s Free Speech rights.

A claim of conspiracy between competitors Dominion and Smartmatic although Smartmatic didn’t sue Lindell. In addition, Lindell wants a DDT-appointed judge in Minnesota to rule the Washington, DC case against him is abuse of process, ergo defamation.

The RICO claim that Dominion, Smartmatic, and Dominion’s lawyer Thomas Clare formed an association to stop people saying that the companies stole the election. Protecting a brand isn’t illegal unless the government tries to suppress free speech.

Former DDT lawyer Rudy Giuliani, currently under investigation for a number of crimes, worked during DDT’s first year in the White House for the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv through his consulting firm Giuliani Security & Safety. Giuliani has always maintained he worked only for DDT and not foreign countries. Journalists Asawin Suebsaeng and William Bredderman reported:

“The deal was reportedly the result of the local influence of the Ukrainian-Russian real estate developer Pavel Fuks, an ally of the town’s Moscow-friendly mayor. Fuks was previously engaged in negotiations to construct the never-realized Trump Tower Moscow.”

Giuliani’s failing reputation dropped even farther after he hawked MyPillow products on his Common Sense podcast. He got the most excited about the “slippers!” Giuliani also faces a lawsuit from Dominion and Smartmatic for his lies about the 2020 election. 

FEC is fining American Media, tabloid publisher owning the National Enquirer, $187,500 for its hush money payment to Karen McDougal concealing DDT’s affair. According to the FEC, the company’s CEO David Pecker, DDT’s friend, “knowingly and willfully” violated campaign finance laws in conjunction with DDT’s campaign officials and his lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen, instrumental in the affair’s coverup. In 2018, American Media agreed to a deal by admitting the hush money was to influence the 2016 general election but declared that silence is not a “thing of value.” FEC called the payment “an in-kind contribution to Trump and the Trump Committee” and declared “the violation was knowing and willful.”

The latest problem for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), after the sex-trafficking probe, is the problem into his possible obstruction of justice for a phone call with a witness in his sex-crimes investigation. Both the witness—an ex-girlfriend—and Gaetz’s former friend Joel Greenberg are cooperating with the FBI about Gaetz’s alleged crimes that include drug use, pay for sex with women under 18, and requests for pardons from DDT through Roger Stone.

One person, Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), is keeping Palestinians from receiving any U.S. aid approved by DDT despite their homes and infrastructure being destroyed. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) led 145 Democrats calling on him to lift the hold on assistance for the humanitarian disaster.

During his time in the White House, DDT broke Facebook rules with impunity, but the social media platform will stop protecting politicians from policies removing other users. The independent FB Oversight Board, an independent group costing $130 million to review FB guidelines, criticized special treatment for politicians, recommending the “same rules should apply to all users.” The system of strikes on users will no longer be secret: users will be made aware of strikes in violating rules possibly leading to suspension. FB will also move toward disclosure of special newsworthy exemptions to keep content from politicians and others otherwise violating its rules. Since 2019, FB employees have asked the company to no longer have a list of political accounts not subject to fact-checking and content-moderation for other users. Internal research shows people are more likely to believe lies when shared by elected officials. Under new FB rules, posts made by politicians won’t be fact-checked but are open to enforcement of other rules such as bullying. The new guidelines might have prevented DDT’s messages to create division after George Floyd’s murder and praise violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last January.

Facebook has banned DDT from its social media platform until January 2023 after the independent Oversight Board forced FB to make a decision. Another evaluation about DDT’s risk to public safety will be done at that time according to Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs. This evaluation of “external factors” includes “instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest.” The decision blocks DDT from posting to FB or Instagram for the 2022 election cycle and raises questions about Florida’s ability to fine FB for the ban after 14 days because of its new law.

Like DDT, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is losing his position. Israel’s parliament system uses that legislative body to select its PM, requiring a majority vote of 61 in the 120-member body next week. The new governing coalition of 13 parties, still largely right-wing, picked Yair Lapid and his main coalition partner, Naftali Bennett. Lapid brought eight diverse parties from left-wing to hard-line right with his centrist party, as well as the United Arab List, a small Islamist party, joining the governing coalition for the first time. All coalition parties share animosity to Netanyahu.

According to the agreement, Bennett will serve for two years, followed by Lapid for the final two years—unless the vulnerable coalition crashes and burns before then. The decision stopped a fifth election in under 27 months; the last four all ended in deadlock. Knesset, the parliament, must approve the decision before it’s finalized, but Netanyahu’s 12-year record run appears to be over. Like DDT, Netanyahu is still fighting to keep his office because of the 2019 indictments for fraud, breach of trust, and accepting bribes.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis bitterly opposed COVID funds, but he pandered to would-be voters with bonuses for them created with $9 billion stimulus monies in his $100 billion budget.

And DDT starts his summer speeches tomorrow at the North Carolina GOP state convention.

February 28, 2021

DDT Can’t Escape His History

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) has left the White House and denied access to his favorite communication device, Twitter, but investigations into events during his term in the White House continues to be exposed.  

A recently released report explains how Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was involved in how Jamal Khashoggi, U.S. resident and journalist, was coerced into the Saudi embassy in Turkey for the purpose of torturing him before his murder and dismemberment. DDT consistently covered up MBS’s involvement in the crime for a number of personal reasons. MBS was also a personal friend of DDT’s his son-in-law Jared Kushner. The released intelligence report now fully proves DDT knew about MBS’ involvement in the killing since its occurrence in October 2018 despite his repeated denials.

DDT had been enamored with Saudi Arabia and MBS since his inauguration. His journey to the country was his first foreign trip after he moved into the White House. The media fully covered the visit where he tried to participate in the sword dance and touched  the glowing “orb” along with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and Saudi King Salman. According to MBS, a new book by New York Times reporter Ben Hubbard, DDT was given the orb, but people were afraid the photos people took with it would cause a scandal. Hubbard wrote, “The orb was hidden away in embassy storage.”

DDT’s not-so-secret weapon to derail mail-in voting, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, has reappeared in a congressional hearing. In DeJoy’s first few weeks last June, he cut back workers, overtime, and equipment to drastically slow down first-class mail delivery so much that Congress tried to block him. Despite lost equipment from his beginning, most of the ballots managed to get delivered on time, thanks to the efforts of Democratic legislators. DeJoy has remained in his position because the DDT-appointed board for the postal service is leaving him there. During his hearing last Wednesday, DeJoy showed a high degree of arrogance. When Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) asked him how long he planned to remain as postmaster general, he responded, “Long time. Get used to me.”

In the hearing, DeJoy also promised greater delays in service along with higher prices, including no longer having two-day delivery for first-class mail and limit air transport for it. DeJoy said, “Does it make a difference if it’s an extra day to get a letter?” He didn’t address the fact that some first-class mail isn’t delivered for weeks. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “The Postal Service needs leadership that can and will do a better job.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) joined other Republicans in accusing Democrats of conspiracy theories to create “chaos and confusion” in the information about delayed mail delivery. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) answered Jordan:

“I didn’t vote to overturn an election. And I will not be lectured by people who did.”

During the hearing, President Joe Biden announced his decision to fill the three vacancies on the nine-member USPS board with these nominees: Anton Hajjar, former general counsel for the American Postal Workers Union; Amber McReynolds, chief executive officer of Vote at Homes supporting mail-voting in the 2020 election; and Ron Stroman, a former deputy postmaster general on Biden’s transition team. Stroman quit last year because of DeJoy’s position on delaying the mail. Two of the appointments are Democrats; McReynolds is unaffiliated. She was Denver’s director of elections from 2011 to 2018 where she implemented a complete vote-by-mail elections system for the city. Appointments include two men of color and a woman.

The current DDT-appointed chair, DDT-supporter Ron Bloom, can also be replaced because he took the place of another board member whose term ended in December 2020. All the Republican members on the board are friends of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and, like DeJoy, have donated large sums to both the GOP and DDT. The entire board is composed of wealthy white men with limited postal service

Last week’s hearings included an investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by the House Appropriations Committee. Key moments:

Intelligence reported to the U.S. Capitol Police headquarters about an attack on January 5, but the department’s leadership wasn’t notified, according to former Chief Steven Sund, who resigned after the insurrection. The FBI sent an email the night before the attack about an eminent attack, but Washington’s acting Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department Robert Contee said a late-night evening email was not sufficient to highlight the threat.

The insurrection was coordinated, with prepared people bringing equipment such as climbing gear, explosives, chemical spray, etc. They used hand signals and radio communications when they breached the building. Some rioters claimed they were caught up in the spirit of the event, but members of far-right extremist groups planned the attack for weeks and months, judging by the criminal charges against them. Even DDT’s lawyers claimed the attack was pre-planned during the impeachment trial.

Pentagon officials were either unable or unwilling to rapidly sent National Guard troops, as evidenced by their delay after desperate pleas for help.

Sund said he asked the two former congressional sergeants of arms for an emergency declaration to call in the National Guard, but neither one recalled the request. According to Sund, Paul Irving said he “was concerned about the ‘optics’ and didn’t feel the intelligence supported it.” Irving denied saying that and couldn’t remember talking to Sund although Sund said he made the request at 1:09 pm on January 6.

Phone records prove Irving ignored Sund’s pleas for help, according to Yogananda Pittman, acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, who said Sund called Irving at 12:58 pm to request the National Guard as rioters breached the building. Lawmakers were forced into hiding. Sund called Irving another four times until 1:45 pm.

The continued presence of law enforcement and a fence remains, according to Pittman because militia groups announced their intention to “blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible” when Biden addresses the Congress.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), responsible in the past for putting Russian disinformation into the Senate record, read  a statement from an observer standing out by the fence that the violence came only after police provoked the protesters and “fake Trump protesters” were at fault. Before the hearing he had said there was no armed insurrection on January 6.

DDT’s financial records including his tax returns for eight years—reportedly millions of pages—are now with Cy Vance, Manhattan’s district attorney, for review after the U.S. Supreme Court refused DDT’s appeal to block the subpoena. The question now is whether DDT can slow the process long enough to get past the statute of limitations, six years in New York. State law, however, now excludes the time when a person charged with a state crime while acting as president, but the question is whether this exclusion is also for criminal conduct predating the law’s passage. If the law holds up, the time for limitations begins on January 20, 2021. Vance also has only ten months left in his current term and doesn’t plan to run for re-election.

Meanwhile, Vance has enlisted outside experts, including a forensic consulting firm, to examine the documents. The accounting records can determine fraud by showing how tax figures were calculated as were done in the Paul Manafort investigation. Manafort was sentenced to over seven years in prison before DDT pardoned him in December. Tax returns can also determine whether other financial records are false.

Despite DDT’s pardon for Steve Bannon, DDT’s former main strategist, DOJ prosecutors won’t dismiss the indictment against him as a matter of record. Bannon allegedly siphoned off over $1 million from GoFundMe donations for building part of DDT’s southern wall. According to Nixon v. United State, a pardon does not erase the grand jury finding probable cause for Bannon’s committing the indictment’s offenses. The prosecutors’ letter explained:

“Were the Court to dismiss the Indictment against Bannon, it could have a broader effect than the pardon itself, among other things potentially relieving Bannon of certain consequences not covered by the pardon.”

Vance’s office has subpoenaed Wells Fargo and GoFundMe for financial records tied to Bannon’s crowd-funding effort. Bannon may face state criminal charges which cannot be pardoned by a president.

DDT may have a parallel with the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City (NJ) which was leveled by an implosion on February 17, 2021. People paid $10 for watching it in person, and a front-row seat cost $575. The building was the first of DDT’s casinos going bankrupt with unpaid contractors and suppliers. During his campaign he bragged about how much money he made in Atlantic City where he put personal debts on the casinos, leaving debts to investors. The eyesore was destroyed as an “imminent hazard” because of falling debris and metal.

February 14, 2021

Biden’s Work Leads to Popularity

Republicans are still wreaking havoc from Saturday’s acquittal of Deposed Dictator Trump (DDT): instead of declaring any victory, they are damning the seven GOP senators who voted to convict DDT for inciting violence in his unrelenting attempt to overturn the election—and democracy. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) explained best the reason for votes for conviction—“he is guilty.” His op-ed in the Baton Rouge newspaper covers the facts that DDT’s cult followers refuse to recognize.

For those who question the Democrats’ wisdom in not calling witnesses after the Senate voted in favor it, another reason has emerged. Republican senators threatened to filibuster every Biden nominee, every piece of legislation, in short everything Democrats brought to the Senate. Attempting to get 60 votes for everything with only 50 Democrats in the Senate was not worth the risk. As Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), lead prosecutor for the trial, said:  

‘We could have had 500 witnesses and it would have not have overcome the kinds of arguments being made by Mitch McConnell and other Republicans who were hanging their hats on the claim that it was somehow unconstitutional.”

DDT issued a statement about his victory and insinuated he could return in some fashion. President Joe Biden set the tone for the future of the United States. He stated the impeachment trial showed the charge against DDT is not in dispute and quoted House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who voted to acquit but still believes DDT is guilty of a “disgraceful dereliction of duty” and “practically and morally responsible for provoking” violence at the U.S. Capitol, directly killing five people:  

“This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile. That it must always be defended. That we must be ever vigilant … Each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.”

Contrasting DDT’s life in the White House with family events of the Bidens, this video shows a casual-looking Biden couple wandering the White House lawn with their two dogs looking at the Valentines that Dr. Biden had arranged to honor the day.

Conservative pundits accused Biden of avoiding the impeachment trial by working, ignoring his busy schedule which was so different from DDT’s obsession with watching television and being admired. These are a few of his accomplishments in the past week while the media focused on impeachment.

Biden reinstated the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, greatly changed and unstaffed during the previous administration. Melissa Rodgers, First Amendment lawyer and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, will head up the agency with goals including help for disadvantaged communities, advancement of global humanitarian work, and protection for “church-state separation and freedom for people of all faiths and none.”

Before the impeachment trial, nominees for secretaries of the Education Department and the Labor Department were passed out of committee with the customary few naysayers.

Biden will rescind the ability of states to mandate work requirements for Medicaid coverage. Because of DDT’s request for these rules, some states require residents work for 20 or more hours a week in jobs, job search, community service, or taking classes. Judges have already struck down some of these requirements.

Protections under the Fair Housing Act now cover LGBTQ people, allowing the government to investigate discrimination complaints based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This executive order follows an earlier one prohibiting the same discrimination in employment. Last summer, then HUD Secretary Ben Carson stripped protections for transgender people to go to federally funded homeless shelters, a policy set to go into effect in two months until Biden reversed it.

Biden said his climate-change executive order combined with “Buy American” would help create one million new jobs in the automobile industry.

The 9th Circuit Court revoked an earlier general permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ authorizing most of commercial shellfish aquaculture in Washington’s Puget Sound seriously harming the environment.  

The government has finalized deals for another 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine by summer, half from Pfizer and half from Moderna, bringing the total to 300 million. 

Biden told Congress he terminated DDT’s national emergency order diverting billions of military appropriations DDT used to build part of the southern wall. DDT issued the order because Congress refused to allocate the money. Part of Biden’s direction was to divert no more taxpayer dollars to construct a border wall and review “all resources appropriated or redirected to that end.”

The president also plans to ask Congress to eliminate $40 billion in taxpayer subsidies for the oil industry. Last year, progressive lawmakers in both chambers introduced legislation to end federal subsidies and loopholes.  

Biden has “indefinitely” shelved DDT’s deal for Oracle and Walmart buying much of the Chinese-owned video app TikTok. DDT had claimed “national security” but was really upset because the young people on the app had first ordered unused tickets for his Tulsa (OK) rally and then advertised the Georgia senatorial runoff election for younger voters in favor of the Democrats.

The DOJ notified the Supreme Court it does not regard the Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional and considers it legal as the high court considers a challenge to the law by Texas and other GOP states. California and other Democratic states are defending the law. Although the Supreme Court earlier upheld the individual mandate in the law, some justices have been replaced by DDT’s appointments.

After the February 1 military coup in Myanmar, aka Burma, Biden announced sanctions on the leaders who deposed and detained its elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and others until it relinquishes power and releases prisoners. Biden will also freeze U.S. assets of up to $1 billion benefiting the Burmese government. Like the attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, the coup was intended to destroy the nation’s democracy.

While the House works on the stimulus bill, Biden is working on a $2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package to create jobs and rebuild transportation networks, both growing the economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In an opening meeting, four members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, two from each party, joined both Biden and VP Kamala Harris in the White House. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg participated by video while he is quarantining after exposure to COVID-19. They agreed new infrastructure must be built in both urban and rural areas. More meetings with congressional members are planned. Biden pointed out China is advancing high-speed-rail projects. Sen. Shelley Capito (R-WV) called the meeting productive. Biden has said he doesn’t support increasing the gas tax, but it has had no changes for 24 years while inflation and better gas mileage has taken its purchasing power. The current federal surface transportation expires in Fall 2021.

With Ron Bloom the new chair of the postal service board, the leadership has changed although the former RNC chair, Mike Duncan, remains as a Governor. Bloom plans to “revitalize” the USPS and restore its functionality, badly needed since DDT’s choice of the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was intended to destroy the agency before the election. Working on the automobile industry bailout over a decade ago, Bloom was a senior adviser to the Treasury Secretary. Getting rid of DeJoy may be difficult, especially because he wants to stay, because the conservative majority of the board hired DeJoy. Biden could fill the three openings on the board, but Congress would need to confirm them.

DeJoy apologized to the board for problems with delivery and promised to do better, but his vision for the future includes even deeper service cuts, more expensive postage and services, and lower delivery commitments. Already one-time delivery of non-first class mail last month dropped to 38 percent, half of the same month in the previous year. Without DeJoy, the USPS could come back, especially if Congress passes its legislation rescinding the law requiring the agency to pre-fund 75 years’ worth of retiree benefits—something no other government agency requires. This mandate is responsible for putting the USPS billions of dollars in debt giving DeJoy and the GOP leverage for their changes. Democrats have also been pushing an expansion into postal banking to both provide more revenue and give over 7 million unbanked Americans with options for checking and savings accounts, bill payments, small loans, and low-fee ATMs instead of usurious payday lenders and check-cashing businesses.

Since the election, the favorability of the GOP has seriously dropped, completely because of changes from Republicans. For the first time in eight years, the Democrats are more favorable than Republicans by double digits. In 25 states, the only ones making voter registration available, 140,000 registered voters have dropped the GOP in the first month after the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Only 20 percent of voters think the GOP idea about the stimulus bill being “too much” is right, whereas 79 percent believe the COVID-19 relief package is either “about right” or too small.

And many Republicans, such as state GOPs and several congressional members, continue to sabotage anything Biden does.

December 22, 2020

No Government Shutdown, Little Funding

The threat of the holiday 2020 government shutdown has been averted if Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) signs the $2.3 trillion budget bill. Included in the bill is $900 billion for coronavirus relief. Congress already passed the $741 billion defense bill which DDT has not yet signed and promised to veto. He has until Wednesday before it goes into law unless he vetoes it in that time.

The House passed the budget by 359-53, the Senate by 92-6. The White House said DDT will sign the measure. The six GOP senators voting against the bill: Marsha Blackburn (TN), Rand Paul (KY), Rick Scott (FL), Ron Johnson (WI), Mike Lee (UT), and Ted Cruz (TX).  

DDT has signed a one-week Continuing Resolution to give time for the budget’s paperwork preparation.   

Last May, the House passed a $3 billion stimulus bill; it passed another one for $2.2 trillion in October. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused to go above $1.1 trillion but finally settled on $900 billion in his attempt to get two GOP incumbent senators re-elected in Georgia on January 5. Arguments about the contents of the bill included the inclusion of stimulus checks, extended unemployment, and assistance for state and local governments—all opposed by Republicans. The GOP wanted no liability for lack of safety from COVID-19 and the elimination of any programs to use money from the Treasury Department rainy-day fund to save the country from financial crisis. Republicans lost both of these as well as financial help for states. The 5,593-page measure probably has lots of mystery items because lawmakers had only a few hours to consider it. A few openers:

  • $1.375 billion for 56 miles of DDT’s border wall;
  • $5 million for a database to track police misconduct;
  • $153 million for programs to better community relations with police;
  • 3 percent pay raise for military;
  • 1 percent pay raise for the civilian federal workforce.

Critics have pointed out that the “stimulus” bill is quite skimpy, especially the direct aid: 

  • $166 billion: the federal unemployment insurance supplement of $300 a week, extended for 11 weeks;
  • $120 billion: direct aid checks of $600 a person making under $75,000;
  • $284 billion: forgivable loans for businesses paying for rent and workers;
  • $15 billion: live venues, movie theaters, and other entertainment;
  • [several billion]: other Small Business Administration programs;
  • $82 billion: colleges and schools with $54 billion going to public schools;
  • $69 billion: vaccines ($22 billion – testing and tracing, $20 billion – vaccine procurement, $9 billion – vaccine distribution);
  • $45 billion: transportation, including $15 billion for the airline industry;
  • $25 billion: rental assistance and an extension of the moratorium on evictions;
  • $20 billion: Economic Injury Disaster Loans;
  • $13 billion: food-assistance programs, increasing the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit by 15 percent;
  • $10 billion: childcare assistance.

States and cities have a full year to use funding from last March’s Cares Act bill. In another measure, health providers must work with insurers for a fair price in case of unexpectedly out-of-network care to avoid massive bills. Republicans get a tax break on “three-martini lunch” because Democrats wanted expanded tax credits for low income families and the working poor. DDT lobbied for that benefit. Lawmakers claim this bill is only a starter for help, but McConnell will almost surely not allow another one. The GOP firmly believes in austerity when a Democrat is president.

Oregon hit national news when about 300 heavily armed white supremacists, including Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer, broke into the state capitol during a one-day special legislative session. The far-right protesters attacked police with spray chemical agents, broke glass in the doors, and tore tarps from vandalized marble reliefs on the front steps. Streets around the capitol were closed, and residents were told to avoid the area. DDT has gone silent about any protesters, including the Antifa, because of the white supremacists’ unprovoked attacks on people. [Left: a protester at the Oregon capitol.]

Arizona’s GOP Chair Kelli Ward wants DDT to “cross the Rubicon,” the illegal action Julius Caesar took to change the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire through civil war and require people to swear fealty to him and not their country.

Caught up in a conspiracy theory, air-conditioner installer David Lopez-Zuniga was going to work in a small cargo truck filled with parts last October when a SUV deliberately struck his truck and forced him to the edge of the highway. Feigning an injury, Mark Aguirre, a former Houston police officer who believed the truck had 750,000 fraudulent ballots, ordered Lopez Zuniga to the ground and pointed a gun at his head. Aguirre claimed “Hispanic children” were used to sign ballots because their fingerprints weren’t in any databases. Steven Hotze, head of a conservative nonprofit, hired Aguirre as one of 20 investigators looking into Texas ballot fraud—conspiracy theories fed by DDT and his court cases. Aguirre was fired from the Houston police force in 2003 for ordering the arrest of 300 people in a retail store parking lot, some of them shopping. He claimed drag racing, and the city paid almost $1 million to settle multiple lawsuits. Aguirre refused to say why he picked Lopez-Zuniga and called the charges a “political prosecution.”  

AG Bill Barr has until Wednesday in office, and he opposes special investigators for both Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, and election fraud. He also thinks DDT is wrong with his rejection that Russia is behind the current cyber espionage; he said the hacking “certainly appears” to be from the Kremlin. On Monday, DDT told a tea party conference he won in a landslide and wants the Justice Department to back him in overturning the election. Barr also said there is no reason for seizing voting machines, something Sidney Powell talked about with DDT Sunday at the White House. DDT’s campaign had fired Powell because of her history of false claims. 

Boeing’s 737 MAX is back in the air after being grounded for 21 months ago, but a bipartisan Senate report describes how the company and the FAA manipulated its recertification tests after the two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019. Boeing “inappropriately coached” FAA test pilots for the airplane’s desirable outcome with some tests on simulators not equipped to recreate the same conditions as the crashes. The FAA also retaliated against whistleblowers, blocking the investigation, didn’t hold senior managers accountable, and permitted Southwest Airlines to operate dozens of falsely certified planes.

The post office is again failing to deliver packages on time. This time the reason is heavy e-commerce and COVID-19 infections/exposures among almost 20,000 employees. DDT’s Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s sabotage of USPS delivery, especially of ballots, worsened the situation by trashing sorting machines and cutting back on overtime. Georgia’s election, with a deadline on January 5, has a request for 1.3 million mail-in ballots.

Last August, Russians poisoned Vladimir Putin’s opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Almost dying, Navalny tricked the Russian assigned to tail Navalny into explaining the method of poisoning: the lethal nerve agent Novichok was planted inside the crotch of his underpants. Konstantin Kudryavtsev believed he was being debriefed by a senior official from Russia’s National Security Council and talked about traveling to Siberia to clean up the evidence. Navalny probably lived because his flight was diverted to Omsk where he was treated within minutes of landing. When Kudryavtsev got the clothing, he applied solutions to destroy any evidence of poison, according to directions from Stanislav Makshakov, the official in charge of the toxin team.

Russia’s four-year ban from international sports competition may be cut in half, but the country will still miss the next two Olympics and the World Cup. No flag, no anthem, no presence at next summer’s Tokyo Olympics, 2022 Winter Games (Beijing), and other competitions such as the FIFA World Cup, the Youth Olympic Games, Paralympics, and other world championships. Russian athletes can compete but not under the Russian flag. The court ruling for Russian doping also requires Russian government representatives, including Putin, cannot attend a major international event for the next two years. Russia must pay $1.27 million to the World Anti-Doping Agency for covering the costs of its investigation and turn over data from its Moscow laboratory.

With the addition of a Moderna vaccine, the CDC is planning more vaccinations with the next tier going to essential workers and people 75 and over. The first group was comprised of healthcare workers and people in nursing homes along with “older” members of Congress. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), 49, joined the “older” group to get vaccinated, becoming one of the 32,000 Floridians in a state with a population of 21,480,000, mostly people over 65 and an enormous nursing home population.

Grifters are making money off the grifter in the White House. Reggie Skyrock and Ashley Weiss selling bus tickets to Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2021, for $40—no refunds. Yes, you read that right. It’s posted on Event Brite. And the announcement was still there a few hours even after The Bulwark outed them.  

December 5, 2020

DDT: Week 202 – More Losing

The day after states certified 279 Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris, making Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) officially the loser, DDT begged Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to call a special session for the state legislature to switch the electors’ votes to DDT. He also wants Kemp to order an audit of absentee ballot signatures although Kemp had told DDT he lacked that authority. Last week, DDT trashed Kemp and said he was sorry he had supported him. Five states still need to certify electoral votes—Hawaii, Colorado, and New Jersey bringing Biden to a total of 306 plus Missouri and West Virginia to give DDT his 232 votes.

After 32 days with no rally, DDT traveled to Georgia, ostensibly to persuade people to vote for the two GOP incumbent senators in January 5’s runoff. He had a few scripted lines about this race being “the most important congressional runoff probably in American history” before running true to form by making people question whether they should vote in a “rigged” election. DDT started out by stating he won the election and rambled for most of the speech, whining and lying.  

In five hours Friday, DDT lost court cases throughout the nation’s six swing states when judges, several of them conservative, either refused the cases or ruled against him. In a Douglas County (GA) machine count, GOP mandated, Biden netted another two votes.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito stalled one case until December 9, the day after the “safe harbor deadline” for certified votes to the Electoral College. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) wants the high court to nullify all his state’s votes and turn over the electoral decision to the GOP state legislature. Alito’s date most likely won’t allow a decision before the final vote on December 14. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court makes the final decision regarding violations of the state constitution, not the U.S. Supreme Court. Also the state’s General Assembly cannot call itself into session until January 5 and lacks authority to overturn the popular vote or its own slate of electors, according to the 1937 Pennsylvania Election Code requiring the popular vote selecting electors.

Forty-six days before Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) leaves the White House, he filled the Pentagon’s assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs with another totally unsuited loyalist. Scott O’Grady will oversee military relationships with NATO members and countries in the Middle East and Africa. His qualifications are claims that DDT won the election in “landslide fashion,” millions of votes were stolen from DDT, and DDT should declare martial law to take the majority of votes. O’Grady also condemned former Defense Secretary James Mattis as a “traitor” and accused Hillary Clinton and George Soros of involvement in a foreign plot against elections. Add to that his support for Sidney Powell, lawyer who can’t even file lawsuits against Biden’s election without massive misspellings and other mistakes. O’Grady joins DDT’s recent acquisitions in the Pentagon such as Michael Flynn’s foreign aide Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) former Russia naysayer aide Kash Patel.

These faithfuls have prevented President-elect Joe Biden from meeting with U.S. intelligence officials of agencies controlled by the Pentagon, including the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence, and other military-run spy services with classified budgets and global espionage platforms. Biden was cleared for these meetings two weeks ago. A Defense Department spokesperson claimed no meetings had been denied before saying the requested meetings could happen next week—over a month after the election allowed DDT’s team to contact intelligence agencies with multibillion-dollar budgets, satellite networks, and vast surveillance authorities. With the delay, the president-elect lacked information about espionage operations regarding Iran, China, Russian, and other of the nation’s adversaries from weapons proliferation to foreign interference in U.S. elections. The CIA gave not only extensive access to senior members of Biden’s transition team but also the agency’s computer system and office space in its area used for visiting VIPs.

DDT also purged the more than a dozen members on the advisory Defense Business Board. Two former secretaries of state, Madeline Albright and Henry Kissinger, were replaced with Cory Lewandowski and David Bossie. Former DDT campaign manager Lewandowski was fired after he became violent with press members; Bossie, DDT’s deputy campaign manager in 2016 and insider on the network Newsmax hosting QAnon, currently runs DDT’s legal efforts to award electoral votes to DDT. Other removed members include retired Adm. Gary Roughead, former chief of naval operations and onetime ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, and Rudy De Leon, a former chief operating officer at the Pentagon considered by then-Defense Secretary James Mattis for a high-level policy role. 

What DDT wants from his new Defense Department leadership:

Continued removal of troops from the world: DDT’s order to take almost all the 700 special-ops military members from Somalia means no guard against terrorists. The removed troops aren’t coming home, however; they’ll go someplace else in Africa.   

Sale of $23 billion in arms and F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates: Congress may vote against the sale with a bipartisan concern the UAE may provide U.S. technology to Russia and China. Joint resolutions, up for vote next week, also point out the sale’s risks to Israel.

Leasing the Pentagon airwave spectrum to a private company: Republicans are backing Rivada Networks to create a nationwide 5G network, but career Pentagon officials stated Rivada may lack the knowledge and the plan may be illegal.

Other supposed DDT loyalists are drifting away. DDT accused both the FBI and his former fixer DOJ AG Bill Barr of election fraud to get Joe Biden elected with crazy claims of people receiving up to four ballots and dead people applying for ballots. Barr had told the public he found no widespread evidence of election fraud.

John Ratcliffe, appointed as director of intelligence to supervise 17 agencies because of his loyalist attitude, said—reluctantly—foreign governments are “amplifying” DDT’s false election fraud claims. He said  their goal is “to undermine public confidence in our democratic processes.”

Citing the Russia-connected OAN network, DDT claims the USPS, led by his loyalist Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, “is responsible for tampering with hundreds of thousands of ballots” because the agency is “a Democratic stronghold.” With 99.9 percent of ballots sent on time, DeJoy’s sabotage on the part of DDT may still have disenfranchised 25,000 to 50,000 ballots by delaying voters’ ballots. The problem might have been much worse without congressional hearings for DeJoy’s postal service and lawsuits against his slowing down the first-class mail.

While DDT pushes to stay in the White House, he only has the false claim of election fraud. Gone is his lie about “best economy in history,” especially after November added only new 245,000 jobs. Unemployment shrank from 6.9 percent to 6.7 percent because people stopped looking for work, but only the well-off bounced back.

Most of the populace is struggling. Employment rate for people making $60,000+ is up, and low-wage jobs are down by almost 20 percent. The Dow Jones went over 30,000 last month—a “sacred number,” according to DDT—while car lines at food banks stretch for miles. Of the 3.4 million leisure and hospital jobs lost in the past nine months, only 31,000—under one percent—returned last month. With surging cases of COVID-19 and little hope for a sizeable stimulus package, layoffs are on the horizon. Airlines are down 81,749 employees in nine months, and Southwest Airlines plans to furlough another 6,800 workers, about 12 percent.

Consumer spending, measured by credit and debit card data, began to fall by the end of October. Thirteen percent of households with children report food insecurity, and one-third of people have difficulty paying household expenses. And November’s job report was based on the pay period through November 12 and surveys of households through November 14—before the coronavirus surge.  

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wants the stimulus bill included in the must-pass budget measure to keep the government open after December 11. A bipartisan plan for $908 billion:

  • $180 billion: unemployment benefits ($300 per week on top of existing state unemployment).
  • $288 billion: assistance for U.S. businesses.
  • $160 billion: state and local governments.
  • $82 billion: schools.
  • $45 billion: hard-hit transit agencies including airlines, airports, and Amtrak.
  • $25 billion: housing and rental assistance.
  • $10 billion: U.S. Postal Service.
  • $10 billion: childcare.

Also included is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s line in the sand, a liability shield to protect companies against coronavirus-related lawsuits.

Another line in the sand for McConnell is not bringing a new House bill to the Senate floor, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act. Passed by 228 to 164 with only four Republicans and one independent joining all but six Democrats, the law would remove marijuana from the Federal Controlled Substances Act and expunge many prior convictions for its possession. The government’s five-percent sales tax on cannabis products would go toward grant programs to help people find work, re-entry services, and legal aid if they have been negatively impacted by the War on Drugs. Forty-four states have decriminalized, legalized for medical use, or fully legalized the substance. In a Gallup poll, 68 percent of adults, the highest percentage every recorded, support cannabis legislation; this year, both red and blue states voted to legislate cannabis.

December 5, 2020: DDT still refuses to discuss the huge cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. (208,790) and deaths (2,251). Numbers typically shrink on the weekend because of less reporting. Infections will go over 15 million tomorrow, and deaths will hit 300,000 within a week.

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