Nel's New Day

November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving Gratitude for Government Actions

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

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

Elections:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The judge added:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congress:

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

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

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

President Joe Biden:

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

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

Jason Easley and Sarah Jones wrote about gratitude for Biden:

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

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

Easley and Jones described Biden’s leadership:

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

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

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

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

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

September 17, 2022

Loss of Democracy on Constitution Day

September 17, 2022 is the little noticed Constitution Day. The U.S. Constitution was signed in Philadelphia 235 years ago, and leaders swore to uphold this framework for democracy. In the beginning, it protected only white men; almost 200 years were required to give women and minorities more equal rights.

Meant to be limits and protection for the government power, the Constitution divides the rule of the government into three parts to block a monarch or a tyrant. Congress writes laws, levies taxes, borrows money, declares war, pays debts, establishes courts, sets up a postal service, and provides for “the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.” The president can veto laws, but Congress can override the veto. The judicial branch settles disputes between states and guarantees a jury trial.

A major problem after 235 years is the continued belief of some states’ governments that, although they cannot strip people of the right to vote, they can stop citizens from this right, preferably the low-income and minorities who are feared by conservatives to support their rights. At this time, Republicans use threats and violence to destroy the ability of people to participate in the voting process, both in going to the polls and in working to help people carry out their constitutional right to vote.

These attempts to prohibit voting go beyond the 400+ voter suppression bills introduced in 48 states creating barriers to register, vote by mail, and vote along with redistricting, gerrymandering, and mass purges of voter rolls. Repeated requirements of “citizenship papers” intimidate naturalized citizens, and threats of violence against election workers drive them away from what they see as their civic duty. Inside the polling places, watchers can frighten voters by standing close to them, challenging ballots, or brandishing weapons. Outside, bullies can wear military-style garb when confronting voters, write down voters’ license plate numbers, block the polling entrance, aggressive question voter, and follow them.

After the election, Republicans who lose spread the lie that they actually won but the election was rigged—even if they lose to another Republican.

Recent events are threatening U.S. democracy and its foundations:

A judge appointed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) continues to declare DDT above the law because he was elected to the presidency in 2016. She also ignores the importance of national security documents by delaying any resolution to the ones found lying around during the summer break at Mar-a-Lago. Having named DDT’s choice as “special master,” Judge Aileen Cannon denied the DOJ request to pursue an investigation into classified documents while the master looks through the 11,000 records taken with a search warrant. His deadline is November 30, but no earlier deadline was set for the classified documents.

The DOJ asked an appeals court, comprised of six DDT-apppointed judges out of 11, to permit criminal investigators to examine the seized classified materials while the master works on the other records. Its filing wants those “causing the most serious and immediate harm to the government and the public.” It argues that classified documents are by definition the property of the government, not a former president or a private club and not subject to personal attorney-client privilege. DDT has not cited no legal authority to executive privilege keeping the executive branch, to which the DOJ belongs, from reviewing its own records. Cannon was skeptical that these highly classified documents could cause any harm to national security and indicated a lack of “unquestioning trust in the determinations of the Department of Justice.”

DDT has until Tuesday to respond to the DOJ’s filing. He may have a decent lawyer this time. Using private donations to his PAC Save America, DDT paid Chris Klise $3 million up front. DDT also used mob-like innuendo for violence when he told far-right conservative Hugh Hewett in an interview that people would not “stand for it” if he were indicted.  

DDT constantly lies about the documents he stole and stored at Mar-a-Lago, the reason that a search warrant was needed after a DDT lawyer signed an official document lying about all documents being submitted to the DOJ by June 2022. This lie followed DDT’s lie to the National Archives that none of the documents was sensitive or classified. Instead, Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told the archives that DDT had only 12 boxes of “news clippings.” Since Meadows’ claim, officials have recovered 42 boxes of records from Mar-a-Lago, including top-secret U.S. operations and information about a foreign government’s nuclear-defense readiness. Some of the documents had been torn up.

Far right states use parental rights as an excuse to strip bookshelves of books that don’t support heterosexual white supremacism and eliminate all non-white supremacism from the curriculum, but Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has removed the rights of parents who support their trans children. With the help of his AG Ken Paxton, who is scheduled to be deposed for his fraud indictment soon after the November election, Abbott has orchestrated a regulation that identifies any medical care for trans youth as child abuse. Texas has no legal restrictions against trans care.  

Because of Abbott’s and Paxton’s regulation, a 13-year-old trans boy was taken from his class at school and interrogated for an hour about intimate personal details without any parents present. Before he received puberty blockers, he had suffered from depression, suicidal thoughts, and difficulty attending classes. The questioning caused him to have a “meltdown,” according to his mother, and he has started missing school and has anxiety attacks because he no longer sees school as a safe place. State child services is investigating the mother for physical child abuse, calling the boy’s testosterone treatment “illegal.” The boy’s treatment is under the guidance of a pediatrician, endocrinologist, and two therapists. Medical experts widely agree that gender-affirming care is medically necessary, and puberty delay can be reversed.

A state court already ruled against Abbott in the case of one family, but he continued to persecute other families for months. An injunction from a state judge last Friday shielded a group of families because such investigations could cause “probable, imminent and irreparable injury” to the families, including “gross invasions of privacy in the home and school, and the resulting trauma felt” by the family, as well as an increased risk of depression and suicide. The state made an immediate appeal to overrule the judge, and the mother of an 18-year-old trans boy is afraid she’ll lose her job with a child abuse charge.

Montana officials plan to defy a judge’s order to permit trans person’s gender changes on birth certificates, and Virginia now requires transgender students to use school programs and facilities according to sex assigned at birth.  

Abbott sent two more busloads of migrants to the home of VP Kamala Harris, and Florida Gov Ron DeSantis is trying to cover his use of Florida money to fly Venezuelan and Colombian migrants out of San Antonio (TX) to Martha’s Vineyard. He claims that all the migrants planned to go to Florida. He also said they knew their destination, but they thought they would be going to cities, close to public transportation, instead of to an island of 20,000 people. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre compared DeSantis’ actions to those of other traffickers:

“These are the kinds of tactics we see from smugglers in places like Mexico and Guatemala. And for what, a photo op? Because these governors care about creating political theater.”

The GOP has bragged that Hispanics are leaving the Democratic party, but DeSantis may have reversed that trend. The Cuban community, identifying with Venezuelans fleeing communism, compared the move to that of deceased Cuban dictator who relocated Cubans in the early 1960s.

On Constitution Day, U.S. knowledge of basic facts about government declined for the first time in six years:

  • Only 47 percent could name all three branches of government, down from 56 percent last year and the first decline since 2016.
  • One-fourth (25 percent) could not name one single branch of the government.
  • 26 percent could not name any First Amendment freedoms. 
  • Only 24 percent could name freedom of religion, down from 56 percent last year.
  • Only 20 percent could name freedom of the press, down from 50 percent last year.
  • 63 percent cited freedom of speech, down from 74 percent last year; right to assembly 16 percent, down from 30 percent; and right to petition 6 percent, down from 20 percent.
  • 9 percent, tripled from 3 percent last year, put the right to bear arms in the First Amendment instead of the Second Amendment, but 82 percent know the Supreme Court upheld the right to own guns.
  • 78 percent know that the Bill of Rights protects people from illegal searches and seizures.
  • Only 55 percent know that a 5-4 ruling in the Supreme Court makes the decision law, down from 61 percent last year.
  • 76 percent the federal government cannot establish an official religion, and 88 percent know atheists have the same rights as other citizens.

Now if only the Supreme Court would learn these rights.

September 3, 2022

GOP Uses Biden’s Speech as a Shiny Object to Deflect Attention

[Correction in paragraph 3: “military has no allegiance …”]

MAGA and other conservative supporters of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) came out with amazing vitriol and petty bitterness against President Joe Biden’s call for democracy in the United States in his speech on September 1. One complaint was the visual of two Marines standing behind Biden in front of Independence Hall, where the Constitution was signed, produced massive qualities of GOP bile.

It was not a “break with White House traditions,” as Republicans claim: several previous presidents used the presence of troops as a backdrop during notable speeches. And DDT dragged out his Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to walk with him across Lafayette Square when he drove out legally peaceful protesters for a photo-op in front of a church. At one time, Republicans would not have seen the presence of two Marines and the playing of the Marine band as a menace. No more.

The White House stated the Marines showed “respect” for service members. A line from his speech is that democracy must be defended and protected. Top military officials were vital in stopping DDT’s insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2022 as well as maneuvering a peaceful transfer of power while DDT tried to incite violence with lies about election fraud. DDT wanted his control of the military to destabilize democracy, protecting MAGA protesters, and Biden pointed out that the military has no allegiance to a political party of the commander in chief.

Mark Thiessen, arguably the most conservative Washington Post, claimed that prime-time presidential speeches should focus only on explanations of a military action, a national tragedy, or a major policy initiative. He did try to cover DDT’s prime-time acceptance speech at the GOP from the White House at the GOP convention by calling it “controversial but stuck to his “rule” about presidential speeches.

Some MAGAs went far more overboard by claiming Biden’s red backlighting proves his being part of a satanic cabal of elites who are trafficking children around the world. Former DDT lawyer Jenna Ellis boosted images of Biden with #PedoHitler. Fox’s Tucker Carlson described the visuals as “a blood-red Nazi background,” and another network host and former DDT administration official, Monica Crowley, described the imagery as “almost satanic with the blood red lighting.” Red and blue lights, the colors of the U.S. flag, lighted Independence Hall.

The title of Dana Milbank’s column, “Dear Insurrectionists and Fascists: I’m Sorry I Offended You,” aptly describes the reaction from the “strongmen [who] were so fragile.” Milbank wrote:

“The insurrectionists of Jan. 6 busted into the Capitol, hit police with fire extinguishers, flagpoles, bats, stun guns and pepper spray; they threatened to kill the vice president and tried to overthrow the 2020 election. And now, they want an apology.

“MAGA Republican leaders have fomented violence, attacked the rule of law and deceived tens of millions of people into rejecting the outcome of free and fair elections. And now, they, too, want an apology.”

Milbank continues with sarcastic apologies for the insurrectionists causing themselves pain in their attacks of striking police officers with flagpoles on January 6 and “gouging their eyes.” To others, Milbank wrote he was “sorry you don’t like it when the Justice Department enforces the law and protects national security” and “regret[s] that you’ve taken away women’s rights…, banning books, and censoring history lessons [while] shunning science, expertise, and the truth.”

On the same day that Biden spoke from the Philadelphia location where Founding Fathers signed the U.S. Constitution, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) promised to provide “full pardons with an apology for many” to those convicted for the assault on U.S. democracy on January 6. He also bragged about meeting with insurrectionists and “financially supporting” some of those to defend them from “sick” prosecutors and “nasty” judges. DDT’s latest excuse for the search warrant last month was that the FBI was “looking for Hillary Clinton emails.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)’s pre-rebuttal to Biden’s speech attacked Democrats for destroying democracy and demanded an apology for those in the U.S. he slandered as “fascists.” (Biden never used that term in this speech.) McCarthy was one of 139 House Republicans trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election—and democracy—on January 6. RNC chair Ronna McDaniel, who accused Biden of “disgust and hostility towards half the country,” said the RNC position of supporting fake electors sending false electoral certification to Congress is “legitimate political discourse.”

Anyone who watched the speech would note the difference between Biden and DDT in protesters’ interruptions. When a crowd shouted expletives about Biden and set off sirens, Biden pointed out that democracy permitted they were entitled “to be outrageous.” In contrast, DDT told his security staff to beat up anyone interrupting his speech and throw them out of the venue. Journalist Aaron Rupar used them to prove Biden’s premise about “unhinged and dangerous MAGAs.”

Satirist Alexandra Petri continued Milbank’s sarcasm in her column, “The Non-polarizing Speech President Biden Should Have Given,” directed at MAGA folk furious because they want Biden to “unify” the nation. Snippets:

“My fellow Americans. I am the president of the United States … maybe!…

“To those of you who say that violence is never the answer, and to those of you who say that violence is the answer right now, I say, Yup!

“This is a nation, after all, that honors the Constitution. Or doesn’t, if it doesn’t feel like it! Who am I to say who’s wrong and who is right? Maybe the president, but maybe just some guy!…

“I was told that [if I told people to accept the election it] would alienate a lot of people, so, instead, I want to take that time to just stare intensely out at the audience for a solid minute…

“We have had a democracy for a while, which I personally would like to keep, but some people seem to want us to try something new, and that could be … fine! Maybe 235 years is a good stopping point.”

Journalist John Harwood delivered his last commentary on DDT before he resigned from his position at CNN:

“The core point Biden made in that political speech about a threat to democracy is true. Now, that’s something that’s not easy for us, as journalists, to say. We’re brought up to believe there’s two different political parties with different points of view and we don’t take sides in honest disagreements between them. But that’s not what we’re talking about. These are not honest disagreements. The Republican Party right now is led by a dishonest demagogue. Many, many Republicans are rallying behind his lies about the 2020 election and other things as well. And a significant portion—or a sufficient portion—of the constituency that they’re leading attacked the Capitol on January 6th. Violently. By offering pardons or suggesting pardons for those people who violently attacked the Capitol, which you’ve been pointing out numerous times this morning, Donald Trump made Joe Biden’s point for him.”

Although Harwood technically resigned, Dan Froomkin reported in Press Watch that he had been told last month the day of the commentary was his last day in the midst of Harwood’s multi-year contract. Last month, CNN fired CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter and canceled his show, Reliable Sources. News sources are predicting more purging at the network after orders from DDT-supporter John Malone, a member of the board owning CNN, who wants to make the network support Republicans.

Using his theme for his speech, an existential battle for the “soul of nation,” from an op-ed he wrote for the Atlantic six years ago, Biden continued his condemnation of the philosophy expressed by DDT and his followers, first expressed after the GOP support of white supremacist rioters in Charlottesville (VA). Throughout the speech, Biden clearly stated he was not addressing Republicans as a whole but the violent extremists determined “to take this country backwards … to an America where there is no right to choose no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.”

Republicans are trying to deflect attention from all their recent problems regarding the insurrection, DDT’s theft of official documents, and Biden’s recent successes. The GOP have not only lost two high-profile special elections in the past few weeks but also has watched Biden’s approval ratings go up at the same time, jumping six points to 44 percent after his legislative wins. This rating is higher than several other elected presidents at the same point in their terms in the last half century: DDT, 41 percent; Barack Obama, 43 percent; Bill Clinton, 39 percent; Jimmy Carter, 43 percent; and Ronald Reagan, 41 percent. Wars raised approval for George W. Bush (65 percent) and George H.W. Bush (74 percent).

The GOP is getting desperate about taking back Congress in November and will likely continue to follow the advice from their megadonor Steve Wynn: lie about Democratic tax policies. Republicans don’t stop with taxes; they lie about everything.

Two days after Biden’s speech, DDT followed him to Pennsylvania when he ranted against the FBI, again claimed the 2020 election was stolen, pushed his Truth Social platform, praised leaders of Russia and China, and polished off the evening with a rousing chorus of “lock her up” about Clinton. Just lie.

August 27, 2022

Search Warrant Affidavit – Revelations, DDT Excuses for Having Documents

The judge who issued the order to release the search warrant release for documents taken by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) at Mar-a-Lago said that it would probably be “meaningless” to the public because of the redactions, and the quantity of blacked out content produced jokes. Even with those redactions, however, the affidavit provided a great amount of information, enough that Republicans are backing down after their temper tantrums about the search warrant. DDT-supporter Glenn Youngkin, Virginia governor, said people can’t “draw too many conclusions” after earlier saying the search were “politically motivated actions.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) switched the topic to “border invasions,” and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) moved to the anniversary of the suicide bombing of U.S. service members at the Kabul (Afghanistan) airport, Afghanistan. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) addressed an interview with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Nothing about the affidavit.

Not all Republican legislators protected DDT before the affidavit was released. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), an Intelligence Committee member, wanted more information and said:

“If he had actual Special Access Programs—do you know how extraordinarily sensitive that is? That’s very, very sensitive. If that were actually at his residence, that would be a problem. But we just don’t know that. So let’s find out.”

Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said:

“When you get to compartmentalized classified spaces, it gets more serious.”

The affidavit and search warrant cited three criminal laws from Title 18 of the U.S. Code:

  • Section 793, better known as the Espionage Act, which covers the unlawful retention of defense-related information that could harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary.
  • Section 1519 covers destroying or concealing documents to obstruct government investigations or administrative proceedings.  
  • Section 2071 covers the unlawful removal of government records.

Some revelations from the unredacted portions of the August 5 affidavit, about half the 38 pages: 

The DOJ involvement came after the National Archives sent the agency a criminal referral on February 9, 2022, after the archives had worked to obtain the documents for over a year. The FBI and DOJ coordinated a criminal investigation that led to a subpoena in June for classified material. When that was unsatisfactory, the DOJ submitted an affidavit to a DDT-appointed magistrate judge in Florida for the search warrant.

The government is “conducting a criminal investigation concerning the improper removal and storage of classified information in unauthorized spaces, as well as the unlawful concealment or removal of government records.” The probe deals with possibly violating several statutes relating to his illegal retention and storage of official documents containing sensitive secrets.

The storage for the documents had no lock until the government demanded it have one after almost 18 months of requesting the documents be returned. Mar-a-Lago had no “secure location authorized for the storage of classified information,” according to a June 8 letter that DOJ sent to a DDT lawyer. The documents have “not been handled in an appropriate manner.” Surveillance “footage showed that, after one instance in which Justice Department officials were in contact with Mr. Trump’s team, boxes were moved in and out of the room.”

Of 15 boxes of documents redeemed after a year of requesting them, 14 contained highly secret information: “184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked as SECRET, and 25 documents marked as TOP SECRET.” Additional markings included “HCS, FISA, ORCON, NOFORN, and SI,” some of these referring to technology and foreign communication. “HCS,” or human intelligence sources, means information gained from spies. The 184 documents marked as classified contained National Defense information and extremely sensitive top-secret information important to national security, considered among its most valuable and protected secrets.” 

Many of the classified documents, including top secret ones, were mixed in with miscellaneous newspapers, magazines and personal correspondence.

The affidavit indicated “probably cause” of more boxes, with more highly classified documents, still at Mar-a-Lago, many not secured, “that evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation 18 U.S.C. §§ 793(e), 2071, or 1519 will be found at the PREMISES.” (The search on August 8 added many more documents, for a total of over 300 classified documents.)

According to law, “classified information of any designation may be shared only with persons determined by an appropriate United States Government official to be eligible for access, and who possess a ‘need to know.”

In citing 18 USC 793(e), the government asserts that DDT had no legal right to refuse the return or any document “relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation,” according to 18 USC 793(e).

Tabs and markings are removed from declassified documents; the materials found at Mar-a-Lago still had these on the documents. Declassification of some documents must also be approved by the originating agency, something not done for these documents. The affidavit listed statutes criminalizing the mere possession of these documents, whether they are or aren’t classified.

Some of the documents had DDT’s “handwritten notes”; the government is investigating when those notes were made. Other documents were torn. Statute 18 U.S.C. § 1519 criminalizes knowingly altering any government record or document, whether or not classified or relating to the national defense, if a person’s intent is to obstruct not only an investigation but also the “proper administration” of any federal department or agency.

The moving trucks at Mar-a-Lago on January 18, 2021, at least two of them, were also noted in the affidavit because a president typically moves out of his residence by military plane or at least military truck instead of unguarded moving vans—unless trying to avoid attention. The following material to this information is redacted.

Because of threats by DDT supporters against people involved in the affidavit, the names were redacted, but some information was not blacked out. The FBI agent submitting the affidavit was trained in “counterintelligence and espionage investigations” at the FBI Academy in Quantico (VA), and information had come from a “a significant number of civilian witnesses.”

DDT has provided a number of fake defenses: the classified documents belonging to the government are “mine”; he always planned to turn over the right thing to the government; he could just declassify documents by issuing a tweet; DDT took work home with him from time to time; he withheld the documents because he didn’t trust “partisan Democrat appointees” who were “releasing thousands of his White House documents to the January 6 Committee in spite of his lawyers’ claims of executive privilege”; possession of government classified documents is protected by attorney-client and executive privileges; and of course, it’s all about political and “what about ‘Clinton’s emails.’” 

On Fox, Jesse Watters falsely claimed that a “liberal librarian” wanted boxes of materials and that the boxes just had things “like golf balls and Oval Office raincoats.” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) said there was no need for a search warrant because DDT would return any documents; Crenshaw insisted DDT would cooperate—before the affidavit’s pointing out all DDT’s refusals.

DDT’s lawyer Christina Bobb claimed that Mar-a-Lago was secure for classified materials. Yet the facility has no Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), and DDT has no national security clearance. Bobb said the basement door was secure but didn’t say how many people had access to the key. As part of the federal investigation, Avril D. Haines, the director of national intelligence, plans an intelligence community assessment of the “potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure” of documents DDT took to Mar-a-Lago.

Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said no one vetted the guests that come and go from Mar-a-Lago. A current example of that failure is the confidence that DDT and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appear to display in Inna Yashchyshyn before they discovered she was posing as a member of the famous Rothschild banking family. Federal authorities were alerted after a legal dispute exposing her frequent trips to DDT’s Florida club. She previously worked for an adoption agency specializing in helping pregnant Russian women come to the U.S. for their infants’ citizenship.

In a security analysis of Mar-a-Lago, ProPublica quoted a cybersecurity expert who reported hackers could use Mar-a-Lago’s network to remotely turn on the microphones and cameras of devices connected to the network in “typical hotel security.” An attacker could listen to sensitive national security conversations. A Chinese citizen, a part of her name matching a club member, entered Mar-a-Lago bringing four cell phones, an external hard drive, a laptop, and a thumb drive infected with malware while DDT was visiting from the White House. Hearing about the problems, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), running for reelection said that possible felonies aren’t important. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wants the Espionage Act repealed because, to him, leaking classified information isn’t a problem.

DDT reportedly oversaw which documents he wanted to take to Mar-a-Lago. Even his lawyers didn’t know what he packed. And there would be no mess if he had just voluntarily returned the documents. Questions are why DDT insisted on keeping the documents and what he intended to do with these highly secret documents.

At least no one has cried “defund the FBI” since the affidavit was released.

August 26, 2022

Some News – August 25, 2022

The most dangerous story of the day may be how a Christian fundamentalist company is taking over Texas school boards on its way to control the U.S. for evangelicals. The Texas-based Patriot Mobile markets itself as “America’s only Christian conservative wireless provider,” meaning Christian nationalist/MAGA far right. Electing school board members is the beginning to take over every part of the nation’s political structure with its anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ, anti-feminist, anti-minorities, anti-history, anti-science, anti-nonChristian religion philosophy—and put all that in the school curriculum.

Former DDT adviser Steve Bannon has promoted Patriot Mobile and its “mission from God to restore conservative Christian values at all levels of government—especially in public schools,” according to Mike Hixenbaugh in his article for NBC news. Patriot Mobile created a PAC this year with $600,000 in seed money to spend on school board races in the Fort Worth suburbs. They bought 11 seats in four districts.

The Keller Independent School District pulled 40 books from the library shelves, including a graphic adaptation of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. The company donated framed posters of “In God We Trust” to the Carroll Independent School District, required to display them in each of the school buildings because of a new Texas law. These posters are spreading in schools across Texas after the passage of Senate Bill 797 requiring “a public elementary school or secondary school” to display the motto in a “conspicuous place” if a poster or framed copy of the motto is “donated for display at the school or institution” or “purchased from private donations and made available to the school.” The bill’s co-author tweeted:

“The national motto, In God We Trust, asserts our collective trust in a sovereign God.”

The Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District board voted 4-3 for a set of policies restricting how teachers talk about race and gender, limit the rights of transgender and nonbinary students to use bathrooms and pronouns corresponding with the genders, and simplified a process for parent to ban library books dealing with sexuality. Almost 200 people signed up to speak during public comments, many of them recruited to support the policies but others voluntarily protesting.

Christian fundamentalists must take over all parts of the government in their “Seven Mountains” theology, aka “dominionism,” once a fringe theology.  Pastor Rafael Cruz, Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) father, started weekly Bible studies for employees at Patriot Mobile’s corporate office to be posted on YouTube. Cruz preached that American founders intended a “one-way wall” for religion, banning government from interfering with the church but not stopping the church from controlling the government.

Supporters of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) are fixated on finding negative information about the Biden family, two of them so much that they stole the diary of Ashley Biden, President Joe Biden, during his 2020 campaign. Two defendants pled guilty to stealing the diary and selling it to Project Veritas, the conservative organization pretending to be a news media organization while falsifying videos and other information for negative lies about Democrats. The two thieves received $40,000 for the diary and returned to take more of Ashley Biden’s property. She had written intimate information about herself and her family while she recovered from addition.

The release of a nine-page memo from the DOJ after a court order shows the obfuscation of former AG Bill Barr in covering for DDT after Robert Mueller filed his report about the investigation into the ties between Russian interference and DDT’s campaign in the 2016 presidential election. Barr explained that DDT couldn’t be charged with any crimes because of no conspiracy, different from Mueller’s report. A highly redacted version of the memo was released in 2019; this version is complete. Barr signed and approved the memo on March 24, 2019, the same date he notified Congress of his decision not to prosecute DDT. It ends with a formal recommendation to not charge DDT. Both Mueller and legal analysts criticized the DOJ for being “selective” about items in the report.

Two federal courts concluded that Barr didn’t rely on the memo for legal advice and decided to not charge DDT before he commissioned the memo. A federal appeals court described the memo as an “academic exercise” or “thought experiment” that meant to bolster the public rollout of Barr’s decision against prosecuting Trump. In the memo, Barr’s deputies, the memo’s authors, wrote DDT couldn’t be charged because of lack of precedence and claimed Mueller couldn’t find any comparable cases with “remotely similar circumstances.”

The ”Trump Defense,” according to Barr’s DOJ: DDT’s acts were not criminal because of his thoughts, anger, and ineptitude.

  • DDT’s steps were “not for an illegal purpose” but because he believed the investigation was politically motivated.
  • DDT’s “driving force” was anger over Comey’s refusal to publicly declare that the FBI was not investigating Trump himself rather than an effort by Trump to derail the investigation.
  • DDT’s obstruction was never carried out because people didn’t follow his orders.

The government watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which obtained the memo after a lawsuit, stated the excuses presented a “breathtakingly generous view of the law and facts for Donald Trump.” The group’s statement added:

“It significantly twists the facts and the law to benefit Donald Trump and does not comport with a serious reading of the law of obstruction of justice or the facts as found by Special Counsel Mueller.”

Mueller had pointed out that DDT fired FBI Director James Comey after the former director did not “let this go” in the criminal probe of DDT’s former top adviser Michael Flynn. DDT told his White House counsel, Don McGahn, that he never tried to fire Mueller, but the memo claimed “there is insufficient evidence to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the President sought to induce McGahn to lie.”

In another sticky problem for DDT, one of his appointed judges returned his filing to limit the DOJ review of records seized from Mar-a-Lago with the request that he clarify what he is seeking—why the court has jurisdiction over the dispute and what “precise relief” he wants. Legal observers are already criticizing the suit for being convoluted and failing to ask substantial legal questions. DDT had asked for a special master to review the materials and bar the FBI from examining the documents until the master is appointed. The purpose might be to determine whether the seized documents are protected by attorney-client privilege or any other legalities.

Another potential DDT problem is the release of a redacted version of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit by noon on August 26, per a court ruling. It describes the probable cause for crime, possibly adding more charges against DDT.

More news about documents at Mar-a-Lago came from an email sent by the National Archives chief counsel, Gary Stern to DDT in May 2021. He references two dozen boxes stored in DDT’s White House residence not returned despite the request to give them back. Stern wrote that DDT’s lawyer Pat Cipollone agreed the boxes of official records needed to be returned. For months, DDT repeatedly declined to return the items while his lawyers expressed concerns about his keeping the documents.   

Conservative love to play the victim, and former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, now the GOP candidate for a Montana U.S. House seat by 1,608 votes is no different. He is claiming the DOJ is persecuting him although the agency has refused to bring charges against him for the second time. A report from the Interior Department’s inspector general reveals that Zinke lied and misled his way through an inquiry into possible misdeeds including a casino operating decision following extensive lobbying to bury the project. An earlier investigation into Zinke found he lied about his involvement in a land deal in his hometown of Whitefish (MT), benefitting him personally. He had falsely claimed that his meeting with the developers was “purely social.”

And notably, it’s the second time the Biden DOJ has passed on pursuing Zinke for allegedly lying to investigators. Another IG report released earlier this year found Zinke had allegedly lied about his involvement in a land deal in his hometown of Whitefish, Mont., which he stood to benefit from personally. Zinke claimed his role was minimal and that a meeting he held with the project’s developers at the Interior Department’s headquarters was “purely social.” Yet Inspector General Mark Greenblatt, a DDT appointee, reported that communications proved Zinke had “an extensive, direct, and substantive role in [representing] negotiations” with the developers. Even without any charges for his illegal actions, Zinke called it a “political hit job” by the Biden administration.

The federal government declined to move forward from the investigation of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) until after the general election. In this week’s primary, Gaetz defeated his opponent to be the GOP candidate. Yet the case against Gaetz for sex-trafficking underage girls may be solid, and he could be tied into a massive investigation in corruption throughout central Florida through his connection with an associate, former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg, who is due to be sentenced in December after several extensions. Like Gaetz, some of his charges are for sex-trafficking, but the investigation into ? covers illegal real estate deals, embezzlement of federal COVID relief, Republicans running ghost candidates, and public corruption. An op-ed from Gaetz’s primary opponent wrote about Gaetz using money from his donors intended for conservative causes to pay for his sex-trafficking defense and expressed concern about Gaetz, a member of the Congressional Armed Services Committee who has access to top secret information, is open to blackmail.  

August 23, 2022

Media Focuses on DDT—His Election Fraud, Stolen Documents

The incompetent legal team for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) has asked a federal judge to stop the FBI review of documents taken with a legal search warrant from Mar-a-Lago until an appointed neutral special master inspects the materials. The federal lawsuit also attacks the search which DDT’s lawyers call a “shockingly aggressive move, overly broad, and maintains that deserves a more detailed description of the seized records. According to the filing, the seizure showed “no understanding of the distress that it would cause most Americans,” indicating a possible threat. It added that the FBI and DOJ treated DDT “unfairly” and “illegally seized.” Again, DDT, who was hiding classified documents, is described as “fully cooperative” although he didn’t respond to a subpoena for them.

The DDT-appointed federal magistrate judge in Florida authorizing the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago stated he “carefully reviewed” the FBI’s sworn evidence before signing off and considers the facts contained in an accompanying affidavit to be “reliable.” Bruce Reinhart included this information in the order unsealing redacted portions of the affidavit giving evidence for the search. He also noted that “neither Former President Trump nor anyone else purporting to be the owner of the Premises has filed a pleading taking a position” on efforts to unseal the affidavit.

The judge said the necessary redactions may make the document “meaningless” to the public. He also suggested the physical description of Mar-a-Lago could hinder the Secret Service’s ability to protect DDT because of access by “private members” to the premises and made suggestions for DOJ’s redactions to address that concern. Other judicial recommendations included protecting witness identities, actual information in the files, and methods of the ongoing investigation. Reinhart refused the request from media and conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch to unseal the entire affidavit because complete disclosure “would detrimentally affect this investigation and future investigations.”

A new report from the New York Times has specific information about documents seized from Mar-a-Lago and the process. The first 150+ documents marked as classified were retrieved last January by the National Archives. The 15 boxes included material from the CIA, the National Security Agency, and the FBI covering a number of topics of national security interest. According to several people, DDT had gone through the boxes himself in late 2021 before giving them to the FBI.  

Worried about the highly sensitive nature of the material in the earlier seized boxes, archives officials referred the matter to DOJ which had convened a grand jury investigation. In May, the DOJ issued a subpoena for the missing documents, and in early June, DOJ officials made another visit to Mar-a-Lago. DDT’s lawyer Evan Corcoran went through the boxes to retrieve classified documents for the DOJ and gave them a few dozen documents. He drafted a statement which another DDT lawyer, Christina Bobb, signed. She is supposedly the custodian of the documents, and the statement declared that, to the best of her knowledge, all classified material at Mar-a-Lago had been returned. Corcoran also showed Jay Bratt, the chief of the DOJ counterespionage section of the national security division, the basement storage room and said the remaining material had been kept there.

The question is who is lying with the statement, DDT for hiding documents from his lawyers or Bobb for signing a false statement.

On June 22, the DOJ sent a subpoena to the Trump Organization for Mar-a-Lago’s security footage, including the hallway outside the storage area which is well-trafficked. It revealed people moving boxes in and out of the storage, sometimes changing containers for the documents. The DOJ is now seeking surveillance footage between the first subpoena and August 8, the date of the search. Mar-a-Lago has little control over who comes into the club, even finding a spy who stole electronic items.

Armed with a search warrant two weeks ago, FBI agents removed 26 more boxes of material with over 11 sets of material marked at different levels of classified, including the highest level of classification—top secret/sensitive compartmented information—a total of over 150 records. They were located in the basement storage and in a closet within DDT’s office.

DDT’s allies continue to insist that he had a “standing order” to declassify the material and tried to excuse his taking the boxes because the General Services Administration, not DDT’s staff, packed the boxes with the documents. No documentation has been found to indicate DDT declassified any of the documents, and the alleged crimes identified by the DOJ isn’t connected to the documents’ classification status. White House aides described the chaos in trying to pack up the White House as some records were tossed into burn bags. One source blamed former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for the documents at Mar-a-Lago.

National Archives officials worked to get the material returned throughout much of 2021 because all presidential records material remains government property to be provided to the archives at the end of his term. Some of the missing documents were common knowledge such as DDT’s original letters from North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and the note that President Barack Obama left DDT before he left office. Former White House officials who DDT designated as his representatives to the archives tried to regain the documents for the archives, but DDT described the boxes of documents as “mine.”

Some members of the “Gang of Eight,” House and Senate leaders and leaders of intelligence committees from both parties, want access to documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. Other lawmakers want complete copies of the affidavit also, but the magistrate judge must sign any releases. Not all the “gang” supports the request. 

To overturn Joe Biden’s presidential win, DDT-related attorneys obtained sensitive election system files that they shared with election deniers, conspiracy theorists and right-wing commentators. The lawyers hired a Georgia computer forensics firm to place the files on a server where they were downloaded dozens of times to 10 accounts “associated with a Texas meteorologist who has appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show; a podcaster who suggested political enemies should be executed; a former pro surfer who pushed disproven theories that the 2020 election was manipulated; and a self-described former “seduction and pickup coach” who claims to also have been a hacker,” according to a Washington Post report.

Records obtained through a subpoena include contracts between Atlanta-based SullivanStrickler and DDT-connected attorneys, notably Sidney Powell. Data came from Coffee County (GA) and Antrim County (MI). One of the plaintiffs in a Georgia lawsuit said the recklessly handled files “go far beyond” these two counties.

Previously, Misty Hampton, a Coffee County elections supervisor in 2020, permitted a group into the offices to prove the “election was not done true and correct,” she said. Hampton resigned under pressure last year because she falsified time sheets. Coffee County files were downloaded to at least four people outside the company: Jim Penrose, a cybersecurity consultant who claimed to have worked for the National Security Agency; Doug Logan, operator of the now defunct CyberNinjas that performed the Arizona GOP election review; Conan Hayes, former Hawaii pro surfer; and “Scott T,” claiming to work with Hayes at Allied Security Operations Group that produced a discredited report on Antrim County used by DDT as proof of a stolen election.  

Hayes’ Twitter account has posted conspiracy theory material and images smearing Dominion voting systems in Michigan. He also allegedly worked with Mesa County (CO) officials to copy elections software in May 2021. One of three arrested was Tina Peters who lost a run for secretary of state but claims that the election was rigged.

SullivanStrickler’s work began in Michigan after Matthew DePerno, now the DDT-endorsed GOP candidate for the state attorney general, won a court order in December 2020 to have access to Antrim County’s election systems. The next week, SullivanStrickler employees uploaded dozens of files that were shared with attorneys representing Antrim and Michigan’s attorney general in a lawsuit opposing the county election results for DDT. Later the Antrim files were made available to a larger pool of accounts for people who made false claims about the election and promoted conspiracy theories about election fraud. Data security expert Harri Hursti said that widespread release of server images “lowers the barrier to planning an attack against any election management system running this Dominion software.”

The right wing had hoped to campaign on how horrible the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is, but news about it is barely a blip on the screen with DDT, as usual, sucking up all the time through his possible corruption and attacks to avoid backlash. One theory is that the culture war and DDT are feeding conservative activism so that the GOP can’t weaponize the IRA. The GOP sweep in 2010 came from the GOP attacking Democrats over the Affordable Care Act, but the health care is now popular. Attacking the investment of money in clean energy isn’t a good talking point.

Republicans also set their hopes on campaigning with complaints about the Democrats’ economy, but a new NBC poll gives threats to democracy at the top concern from 21 percent of registered voters. “Cost of living” was five points lower at 16 percent, and third at 14 percent was “jobs and the economy.” In the poll, 57 percent believe investigations into alleged misconduct by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) should continue. Republicans will need to look for more issues

August 11, 2022

Wars on Two Fronts – DDT, Ukraine

On Thursday, AG Merrick Garland announced that the DOJ filed a court request to unseal the search warrant and property receipt for the Mar-a-Lago residence of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) because of massive DDT-engendered lies and violent threats by his allies. One man, who may have participated in the January 6 insurrection, was shot and killed after he tried to storm the Cincinnati FBI office. On Monday, a post on DDT’s Truth Social with the name Ricky Shiffer, the man killed, sent a “call to arms” message:

“People, this is it. Leave work tomorrow as soon as the gun shop/Army-Navy store/pawn shop opens, get whatever you need to be ready for combat. We must not tolerate this one. They have been conditioning us to accept tyranny and think we can’t do anything for 2 years. This time we must respond with force.”

Garland explained the reason for unsealing the search warrant was “the intense public interest” and called out the “unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors.”

“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated patriotic public servants. Every day, they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves. I am honored to work alongside them.”

The government has until 3 p.m. EST (1900 GMT) on August 11 to notify the court whether DDT’s attorneys object to unsealing the warrant. The same judge appointed by DDT who signed the search warrant will hear the case.  

A few hours after Garland’s speech, breaking news revealed that the classified documents illegally stored at Mar-a-Lago concerned nuclear weapons. Mar-a-Lago has extremely lax security, and the documents would be classified at the highest levels, restricted to a small number of government officials because details about them allows adversaries to counter the systems.

Former senior intelligence officials said that DDT’s administration routinely mishandled highly classified intelligence about sensitive topics. Often it went to people who didn’t need to see it or weren’t authorized to read it. Among this information was signals intelligence, intercepted electronic communications such as emails and phone calls of foreign leaders. They needed to be closely guarded because they reveal how the U.S. penetrates foreign governments. This type of information was included in the 15 boxes removed from Mar-a-Lago last January.

Months later, the DOJ subpoenaed DDT for more documents and were given other materials. Officials suspected DDT’s team was not truthful and withheld additional documents. The current search warrant would describe what was being sought at Mar-a-Lago as well as their related crimes. Republicans who reveled in the search because of political benefits now worry about new damaging discoveries.  

In 2019, whistleblowers expressed concern that DDT wanted to provide U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia as his former national security adviser Michael Flynn had suggested. 

While DDT plays his games trying to return to the White House, the Russian war against Ukraine grinds on for almost six months since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. Earlier this week, a Ukrainian attack on a Russian air base in coastal Crimea took out a dozen or more Russian planes used for missile strikes against Ukrainian-controlled territory. The losses would be the largest in a single day for the Russian air force, further reducing its ability to launch missile strikes against Ukraine. The Russian losses would also curtail its long-term ability to control southern Ukraine, especially the nearby province of Kherson, where Ukraine attempts a counteroffensive to retake its territory. Crimea is a Russian transit point for troops, equipment, and ammunition to supply the Kherson area.

Before the loss, Russia assumed it would be unimpeded in its operation instead of being forced to guard another part of Ukraine. At least three explosions at the base also demonstrated to Russia that it’s not invincible. Special forces fighters caused the destruction because HIMARS couldn’t cross the 150 miles from Ukrainian-controlled area to the air base. Russia only admitted damage to civilian structures and denied any destroyed planes, but satellite images showed the extent of the damage.

Russia continues to endanger the world with more shelling of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant which Ukraine lost in early March. An administrative office near the welding area has been hit and several radiation sensors damaged. Russia turned the facility and the surrounding area in southeastern Ukraine along the Dnieper River into a military base and launches attacks from there.

Russia launched an Iranian satellite from southern Kazakhstan after Putin and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pledged to work together against the West. Tehran claims Russia will not use the satellite, named Omar Khayyam after the 11th century Persian poet and philosopher, for intelligence in Ukraine. U.S. officials are concerned that Russia will use the satellite to monitor military in Israel and other parts of the Middle East.  

Assistant director for the Atlantic Council, Doug Klain, wrote that the attack on the Russian air base could be the turning point in the war. Russia has taken great pride in illegally taking Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, an act leading them to believe the Ukrainian invasion would finish within three days. Instead of grinding down a disheartened enemy, Russia faces an enemy achieving daring counteroffensives showing Ukraine able to precisely strike hundreds of miles behind Russian lines. Thanks to the West, Ukraine has up-to-date weapons; Russia is running out of equipment, even stripping commercial jetliners of parts after blocked from components from abroad. The EU has banned Russian coal imports, annually impacting about 8 billion euros worth of Russian exports.

In the Guardian, Nimo Omer writes that the war in Ukraine is entering a new decisive phase. Russia wants to hold out until winter, when Europe will be in an energy crisis and more likely to push for a negotiated agreement. The invaders may also be trying to connect the nuclear facility to the grid in Crimea, for the first time that one country steals a nuclear reactor from another country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin initially wanted to overturn the Ukrainian government and replace it with one of his own. Kyiv didn’t fall so he tried to take the eastern region of Donbas. The artillery onslaught led to Russia occupying the Luhansk province, and Russia wants Kherson as a transport hub with a key river crossing as a barrier from attacks. Russia has more ammunition than Ukraine, but the U.S.-supplied HIMARS partly equalized the battles with its precision-guided artillery aimed at Russian logistics centers, weapons depots, and command points. They also sever some supply lines, decreasing Russian shelling.

Hundreds of Russian soldiers refuse to fight and try to leave the military. Unable to replenish the 80,000 soldiers killed and untold numbers wounded, Russia is recruiting prisoners for replacements. St. Petersburg penal colony prisoners were offered amnesty in return for fighting in Ukraine. Of 11 volunteers, eight died in Ukraine. Russia’s major new ground force, the 3rd Army Corps of “volunteer battalions,” seeks men up to age 50 and requires only a middle-school education. Deployment to Ukraine promises “lucrative cash bonuses,” but complaints in the media indicate Russia isn’t paying off. The Soviet Union used the same tactic during World War II. Supposedly Russia’s shadowy private military force, the Wagner Group, is doing this recruiting.

Kurt Volker, expert in Ukrainian affairs, said that Putin has put himself into a “weak position” because of the widely-condemned war in Ukraine, that he can partner only with vulnerable countries needing financial assistance. These countries will also worry about global sanctions against them like Russia has. Belarus, for example, may suffer from the same sanctions as Russia because it allows Russian troops on and Russian air strikes from its territory while receiving $1.5 billion in return. Even before Russia’s invasion, the U.S., UK, Canada, and Europe sanctioned Belarus in late 2021 for alleged repression of its residents and human rights violations of migrants.

In another Russian difficulty, Finland and Sweden are on their way to becoming NATO’s 31st and 32nd member states following the acceptance of North Macedonia in March 2020. Bosnia, Herzegovina, Georgia, and Ukraine are also interested in joining NATO. All senators except Josh Hawley (R-MO) agreed to the expansion of NATO, and President Joe Biden signed the NATO accession protocols for Finland and Sweden. Putin called the expansion of NATO an imperialistic threat, but it would not have happened if he hadn’t “shattered peace and security in Europe,” as Biden said when he signed the protocols.

Even conservative senators such as Ted Cruz (TX) and Marco Rubio (FL) criticized Hawley for his objection; both of them emphasized NATO’s importance in protection against China. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) pointed out that Hawley had voted to permit Montenegro and North Macedonia into NATO.

Hawley has been mocked since the July 12 House January 6 investigative committee showed him running away from the insurrectionists who he incited. The irony comes from his image of masculinity that he described in his new book. Jonathan Capeheart described Hawley’s message: “if you’re a man, you believe in these things”: patriarchy, opposition to female’s body choice, opposition to marriage equality, aversion to labor organizing. Hawley’s sense of exclusion, and intolerance leading him to vote against other countries joining NATO. To Hawley, masculinity is the prejudice manifested by conservatives in the U.S. who cling to a vision of White America, identical to the beliefs of DDT’s followers.

August 8, 2022

The News Doesn’t Stop – Search for DDT, More CPAC, Alex Jones, Toilets

When I started writing this blog over 11 years ago, a wise friend advised me not to put everything in the first few posts so I wouldn’t run out of material. Since then, Barack Obama was in office for eight years. But then came four years of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) after over a year of his campaigning. News has so filled the media that no one can ever run out information for any political blog. Today, I told my partner that the news might settle down this month because Congress went home to persuade people to vote for them. Yes, there are a few more primaries, but then Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) broke more news.

The FBI received a warrant to search DDT’s resort in Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach (FL) while he summers at his northern home at his Bedminster (NY) residence and awaits a deposition for a lawsuit in his apartment at New York City’s Trump Tower. “They even broke into my safe,” DDT said. “My beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.”

DDT made his announcement the day after he teased a 2024 run for the president at the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) summit. In a hypothetical matchup for the presidency, DDT trailed Biden, 41 percent to 44 percent, and 75 percent of Democrats prefer Biden not run for another term in 2024.Conviction of the federal crime to wrongly remove classified documents can keep the person from running for public office.

Currently, the DOJ has active investigations regarding DDT—wire fraud, attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and the mishandling of classified documents, subject of the search. DDT took documents with him, some of them classified, after President Joe Biden’s inauguration and stored them in Mar-a-Lago’s basement. Previously, the National Archives reported that at least 15 boxes of White House records had been recovered from Mar-a-Lago, some of them classified, but more may still be there.

A search warrant, requiring two branches of the government, is issued when criminal investigators need to move quickly because sensitive materials might be moved, concealed, altered, or destroyed. It can be for a person’s residence, business, car, or other property.

Forty-eight years ago this day, Richard Nixon resigned his presidency. A month earlier, he visited Mar-a-Lago after he left the office, considering a move there.

Desperate to be re-elected—and possibly regain the House leadership—Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) threatened Attorney General Merrick Garland for the search on DDT’s property. “I’ve seen enough.” McCarthy tweeted. “Preserve your documents and clear your calendar.” As usual, the party that claims to be the one of “law and order” accused attempts to find criminal actions to be “political” but still comparable to harassment of everyday citizens in Third World Countries, or “Banana Republic” as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis accused. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) compared the search to the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said nothing.

To compound DDT’s problems, Cushman & Wakefield, DDT’s real estate appraiser, turned over 36,000 documents after being held for contempt of court for refusing a subpoena. The judge lifted the $10,000-a-day fine for not complying. State AG Letitia James’ office reported “serious problems” with some of Cushman’s appraisals for the Trump Organization over the years, including 40 Wall Street, his Seven Springs property in New York, and his Los Angeles golf club. Earlier this year, the judge found DDT in contempt for refusing to provide information but lifted the charge after DDT convinced the court he couldn’t find the information and paid $110,000 in fines.

While the FBI searches for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, photos purportedly of more documents in toilets have emerged. The information about DDT trying to flush these down toilets at the White House have been circulating for six months, but the photos create a greater sense of reality for a completely absurd—but perhaps true—situation. Images on Axios show folded paper with DDT’s handwriting using a Sharpie submerged in various toilet bowls. The book Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America by Maggie Haberman, New York Times White House correspondent, will have the images and more information when released in October. If true, the document dumps violate the Presidential Records Act.

Haberman reported DDT used these disposals many times at the White House and on at least two foreign trips. Haberman wrote that the toilet dumps are “an extension of Trump’s term-long habit of ripping up documents that were supposed to be preserved under the Presidential Records Act.” Her book also reveals she was told that DDT has kept contact with North Korean president Kim Jong-un. One legible name in the photo, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), is a possible running mate for DDT in 2024. [Left, White House; right, overseas trip.]  

Topping off a really bad week for Alex Jones after he was found guilty of defamation regarding the Sandy Hook massacre and ordered to pay almost $50 million, the House January 6 investigative committee has his cellphone contents for the past three years. Those are the same contents he mistakenly sent to the plaintiffs’ attorney. According to the attorney, Mark Bankston, the texts include “intimate messages with Roger Stone,” DDT-aligned operative. Stone has several connections with the Oath Keepers, the far-right militia charged with orchestrating the violent plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election. A major election-denier, Jones already sued the committee to block a subpoena for communications about his meeting the rally-goers intent on marching on the Capitol. Bankston said that “several law enforcement agencies” have also requested the phone data and intends to “immediately” comply with the requests. Roger Stone may be preparing a criminal defense or at least an excuse by claiming that Jones’ lawyer set him up.

The August 2022 CPAC has concluded, three days bracketed by two fascists, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and DDT. Orbán managed to outlie DDT, quite a feat considering DDT’s record. His false claims:

Zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, but he opposes race-mixing, and many of his close associates are anti-Semitic.

Stopped illegal migration with a wall that happens to be a wire fence and uses the “illegal migrants” to stir up fear so that he continues his control. Criminals can stay in the country if they purchase residency permits from his friends.

Prohibition of migration and sex education supported by Hungarians through referendums which were actually a simple questionnaire with loaded questions, ultimately invalid. Binding referendums must have 50 percent participation in an official vote.

Lower taxes in Hungary than in the remainder of Europe although the sales tax is 27 percent as well as thousands of small fees and other taxes for almost every economic transaction.

Support for families by six percent of the GDP, but really 1.3 percent, down from 2.5 percent in 1995.

CPAC’s memory will reverberate, however, through its political melodrama. Inside a cage, a barefoot man, dressed in orange jumpsuit and red MAGA hat, cried all day long in the Dallas convention center booth imitating a prison cell. Bluetooth headphones with the word “silence” were available for attendees who could listen to audio accounts from jailed January 6 defendants. Responders wept, threw money into the cage, and gave words of comfort and support to the man who wrote unhappy slogans on a blackboard, such as “Where Is Everyone?” 

Friday’s star was Brandon Straka, a 45-year-old self-proclaimed former liberal who founded #WalkAway, sponsor of the booth, a social media campaign encouraging Democrats to ditch their party for the GOP.  A gay man, the vocal “Stop the Steal” activist found himself in trouble with the government when he filmed himself on the steps of the Capitol on January 6 and encouraged the angry crowd to steal a police officer’s shield. He pled guilty to disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to 90 days of home detention, $5,000 fine, and three years probation. The public learned through mistakenly unsealed court documents that he had extensively cooperated with prosecutors and provided information to authorities about other Stop the Steal activists, including Ali Alexander, a leader in the movement.

Before putting himself in the cage, Straka berated Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on a panel, saying that he and the GOP didn’t do enough to help January 6 defendants. Riled audience members heckled and booed Biggs. The icing on Straka’s cake was the “jail guards” unlocking the cage to allow Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) inside where she hugged him and fell to her knees in front of him. They held hands and prayed.

Because of his plea deal, Straka didn’t spend any time in prison. The judge appreciated his “willingness to assist the government by providing complete and truthful information,” including at least one incriminating voicemail message he received from another conservative activist.

Straka may be back in a prison cell for real. The judge found Straka’s public comments made last week “inconsistent” with his statements in court. The DDT-appointed judge said Straka was “losing more and more credibility by the moment” and putting himself at risk of prosecution over possible lies to investigators.

And tomorrow is primary day in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Ten more states to go, with Louisiana have a free-for-all on November 8. Races not resulting in one person achieving over 50 percent of the vote return on December 10 for the run-off between the top two in the race.

I haven’t run out of ideas for the blog yet.

January 2, 2021

DDT: Week 206 – Sabotage, Blocking Change

President-elect Joe Biden continues to face sabotage from the far-right loyalists of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), and Dana Milbank lays much of the responsibility in the hands of DDT’s budget director, Russell Vought. During Vought’s two years in the office, the national debt increased by $6 trillion while predicting a 2.8 percent GDP growth last February, just before the economy’s collapse. Milbank writes:

“But what Russ Vought is very good at is sabotage. He’s sabotaging national security, the pandemic response and the economic recovery — all to make things more difficult for the incoming Biden administration… He has blocked civil servants at OMB from cooperating with the Biden transition, denying President-elect Joe Biden the policy analysis and budget-preparation assistance given to previous presidents-elect, including Barack Obama and Trump himself. Transition figures warn that it will likely delay and hamper economic and pandemic relief and national security preparation (the Pentagon is the other key agency resisting transition cooperation with the incoming administration).”

Milbank tells about Vought’s past:

“He was the author of a Sept. 4 memo attacking critical race theory and canceling racial sensitivity programs, which he called ‘divisive, anti-American propaganda.’

“Vought was also the mastermind of Trump’s executive order that attempts to reclassify tens of thousands of civil servants who work in policy roles so they can be easily fired…

“He was a key figure in the Ukraine imbroglio, freezing military aid to the country as Trump pushed for Ukraine’s president to announce a probe of Joe and Hunter Biden and the Democrats… Vought also ignored a subpoena during the impeachment inquiry.

“[In] a 2016 article … he wrote: ‘Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ, his Son, and they stand condemned.’

“Vought spent seven years on the vanguard of conservative extremism as a senior official at Heritage Action, the political wing of the Heritage Foundation…

“Before Heritage, Vought worked for the right-wing House Republican Study Committee whose job, he said, ‘is to push leadership as far to the right as is possible and flat out oppose it when necessary.’

“At an antiabortion rally, he claimed credit for blocking Planned Parenthood’s funding. He infuriated Democrats by refusing to share projections with Congress…

“He ran the botched White House response to the 2019 government shutdown, issuing legally dubious decisions and, as one Republican budget expert told The Post, ‘making up the rules as they go along.’ It became the longest-ever shutdown and ended in Trump’s surrender.”

Now Vought is in charge of destroying the transition—and the U.S. along with it.

The Secret Service is planning changes in its protection for Biden because of existing white House agents’ loyalty to DDT. While working for DDT, some agents told colleagues not to wear masks during trips, perhaps the reason over 130 agents tested positive for COVID-19 or were quarantined because of exposure to the virus. In addition, former agent detail leader Anthony Ornato also worked as DDT’s chief of staff. Ornato helped coordinate the photo op when DDT walked through the cleared Lafayette Square to pose with a Bible and his people attacked peaceful protesters with tear gas.

One country nervous about Biden’s upcoming administration, Saudi Arabia, departs the golden years of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). For four years, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam committed human rights abuses and even killed a U.S. journalist with no objection from DDT who promoted the sale of huge quantities of weapons to the Saudis used to kill large numbers of people in the Middle East, including Yemeni civilians. DDT sided with Saudi Arabia over Qatar where the U.S. has a military base. In possible steps to appease the new administration, the Saudis are considering the release of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Haltoul, sentenced in 2018 to almost six years in prison for defying the country’s ban on women driving, and a resolution to its four-year blockade of Qatar.

This week, Biden made three appointments to the Department of Defense.

Kathleen Hicks, nominated for deputy secretary of defense, has a history of posts in the office of the Secretary of Defense.

Colin Kahl, another former Pentagon official overseeing Middle East Affairs, has been appointed for undersecretary of defense for policy.

Kelly Magsamen, former principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs now at the Center for American Progress, has been named Pentagon chief of staff.

Meanwhile DDT continues his “scorch the earth” policies and killings. He headed home early from Mar-a-Lago before the large New Year’s Eve party where he had promised to appear. Those who attended still managed to make it a grand superspreader event with mask-less proximity and kept Mar-a-Lago fiscally afloat by paying over $1,000 a ticket each. Before he left the club, DDT had a tantrum about his wife’s renovations of his living quarters and demanded the removal of the white marble and dark wood.  

Trying to get the heat off Russia’s paying bounties to the Taliban to attack U.S. troops, DDT declassified unconfirmed information about China paying people in Afghanistan to attack U.S. soldiers. Months ago, news reports revealed Russians gave bounties to Taliban militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

DDT also completely ignored the Nashville (TN) explosion taking out AT&T communication from Georgia to Kentucky. The alleged perpetrator was a 63-year-old white man who supposedly died in the explosion. According to reports, the man believed in conspiracy theories such as “aliens and UFO’s began attacking the earth” on 9/11, and the world is controlled by reptilians and lizard people masquerading as humans. The man’s girlfriend told the police over a year ago he was building bombs, but police discounted her information and didn’t follow up on it.

Three federal executions will be DDT’s way of honoring the 91st anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s birthdate; one of the killings is of a mentally-disturbed woman

DDT extended the ban on some immigrant work visas for three months, including the diversity visa lottery allowing people from underrepresented countries to come to the U.S, the H-1B tech program, and the H-2B non-agricultural seasonal workers.

Customs and Border Protection are illegally expelling newborn U.S. citizens from the country with their migrant mothers without giving any citizenship proof. CBP is lying about the women, asylum seekers, voluntarily leaving the U.S.

Although DDT cannot defund foreign aid, he plans to freeze it for the last 18 days. 

The sinking ships are still leaving the rat. One resignation came from U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania David Freed, who fueled DDT’s claim of widespread voter fraud when he told him about nine discarded mail-in ballots in Luzerne County. The election worker had made a mistake, she was fired, and the ballots were retrieved. Yet Freed improperly made a public declaration, and DDT turned a preliminary investigation into a conspiracy theory.

Texas owes Pennsylvania’s Lt. Gov. John Fetterman $3 million because of its bounty on cheating voters, and he isn’t letting them forget. Fetterman claims Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick—the man who suggested old people should die of coronavirus to open up businesses—should pay him the money because of Fetterman’s proof of voter fraud, all three cases against Republicans. Fetterman also pointed out that his legal case is far stronger than the false one for election fraud Texas sent to the Supreme Court.

After the deaths of 346 people in the 2018 and 2019 crashes, the Boeing 737 Max was grounded for 20 months until the FAA permitted the plane style to return to the skies. Within 34 days, an engine issue in a 737-8 Max forced the plane to divert to Tucson (AZ) four days ago.

DDT is transferring up to $700 million from low-paid wage earners to their employees by giving tips for waiters and waitresses to back-of-the-house employees. That money can then be used for minimum wages. With the change, tipped people can be required to do non-tipped work for their minimum wage, as low as $2.13 an hour and under the federal minimum wage in half the states. Employers can then fire some of the regular minimum wage employees.

The favorite bankers of DDT and Jared Kushner at Deutsche Bank, Rosemary Vrablic and Dominic Scalzi, have unexpectedly resigned after the Manhattan DA’s office and New York AG subpoenaed Deutsche Bank about its lending relationship with the Trump Organization.  DDT owes Deutsche Bank about $330 million, and the loans come due in 2023 and 2024. If he doesn’t repay the bank, it can collect on his personal assets. Last year, the bank’s anti-money-laundering specialists recommended DDT’s and Kushner’s transactions be reported to the Treasury Department’s financial crimes watchdog, but executives failed to follow through.

As the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths skyrockets, so does the number of hospitalizations. The total ratcheted up to over 125,000, up from 100,000 five days earlier. Although totals drop from lack of recording on weekends and holidays, new infections in the U.S. for the second day of 2021 are 232,227. Deaths are 2,107.

December 19, 2020

Biden Organizes, DDT Hides

In the White House, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) hides out, working about 20 to 30 minutes a day, if that long, tucked in between whiny telephone calls and television watching. At the same time, President-elect Joe Biden works with his transition team and VP-elect Kamala Harris. Both of them have interviewed each Cabinet candidate and exchanged notes about their conclusions.

Biden started carefully forming his Cabinet much earlier than DDT did when he paraded people through the lobby of his Trump Tower to his apartment or to his Bedminster golf course four years ago after he fired Chris Christie as head of his transition team. Soon after Election Day, DDT dumped Christie along with his vetting process, detailed schedule, and 30 volumes of transition documents to replace him with DDT’s three oldest children and his son-in-law, an indication of the power they would wield over him. DDT’s criterion became whether people looked the part for the job, meaning white, well-dressed males. By Election Day, Biden had a database of 9,000 potential administration hires, and about 2,500 had already been vetted. His database now has over 45,000 entries. Officials say at least one minority candidate has been considered for each position. 

To vet the agencies, the transition team examined how it was historically run and which leadership style (executive, budget expert, or a regulatory specialist) worked best. Biden’s highest value was crisis management. Because of the damage to the government workforce during the past four years, Biden chooses extensive government service and general abilities for his picks, for example Xavier Becerra for HHS and Denis McDonough for Veterans Affairs.

An incoming president needs to make about 4,000 appointments for the executive branch, a task in which DDT miserably failed. Of those, over 1,250 require Senate confirmation, and 736 have no nominees. Thus far, Biden has announced 20. The most recent:

  • Chairman, Council on Environmental Quality: Brenda Mallory, expert in environmental law and regulation.
  • EPA Secretary: Michael Regan, the head of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality who managed a difficult multibillion-dollar settlement over a coal ash cleanup with Duke Energy, established an environmental justice advisory board, and worked with the state’s Republican legislature.
  • Department of the Interior Secretary: Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), who would be the first Native American in that position. The interior is in control of over 20 percent of the land in the U.S.; the secretary would be in charge of Biden’s goal to stop all new oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters.

Many people see Biden as a softie, ready to give everything up to the Republicans. His interview with Stephen Colbert indicates differently. Asked if he can “patch it up” and work with former friend Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Biden dodged the question instead of giving a positive response:

“Lindsey’s been a personal disappointment, because I was a personal friend of his. But look, I think I can work with Republican leadership in the House and the Senate. I think we can get things done. And I think once this president is no longer in office, I think you’re going to see his impact on the body politic fade, and a lot of these Republicans are going to feel they’ve got much more room to run and cooperate.”

When Biden is protesting the hacking of federal agencies, possibly the Defense Department, and private companies, the Pentagon stopped meetings with his transition team. Friday’s meetings were “rescheduled” until after the new year—over two weeks from now. The Pentagon claimed the change was a “mutually agreed” pause; Yohannes Abraham, Biden’s transition executive director, expressed concern about “an abrupt halt in the already limited cooperation there.” Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller evidently stopped the meetings according to DDT’s wishes, but he said Defense officials were too busy to meet with the man who will be president in a month.

Biden has promised to stop building DDT’s wall, saving about $2.6 billion, according to government estimates. While DDT built more wall, the number of detentions increased to the highest totals in 20 years.  

What happens to the ousted White House officials and aides?

VP Mike Pence, who hasn’t owned a home since he became Indiana governor in 2017, is looking for some digs in the Washington suburbs, a possible indication he aims at a 2024 presidential run. Pence even uses his former residence at the governor’s residence for his voting address.

Chief of Staff Mark Meadows plans a consulting firm with other White House aides and allies—after he has screwed up the White House for almost nine months.

Larry Kudlow, DDT’s financial adviser who failed to predict the last two recessions, will return to broadcasting as a financial analyst.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have bought a $30 million property on a secluded island near Miami, according to the New York Post; Ivanka’s posts focus on pictures looking backward and her children at Washington places such as the Lincoln Memorial.

Derek Lyons, staff secretary, and Alyssa Farah, communications director, have already left.

DDT is finding places for his loyalists: fundraise Brian Ballard to the Kennedy Center, Kellyanne Conway to the U.S. Air Force Academy Board, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie to the Defense advisory board, and White House aides Nicholas Luna and Andrew Giuliani (Rudy Giuliani’s son) to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. DDT also appointed his Advisory 1776 Commission, designed to revise history, with presidents of conservative private colleges, a retired political scientist who compares the Black Lives movement to the KKK, a worker at Newt Gingrich Productions, a former Mississippi GOP governor, a conspiracy theorist spread the lie Hillary Clinton is part of a Satanic cult, the former president of the Palm Beach Republican Club, and DDT’s worshipper Charlie Kirk, who has no college degree. No historians included.

Friday, DDT met with Giuliani, Meadows, Michael Flynn, and White House lawyer Pat Cipollone about declaring martial law to rerun the election. Cipollone and Meadows disagreed. He’s also gearing up for a fight to live at Mar-a-Lago after he leaves the White House. White House aides report that they haven’t convinced DDT he’s leaving the White House by January 20, 2021, the last day of his term. An adviser said, “He’s throwing a f***ing temper tantrum.”

In 2015, DDT agreed with National Review’s Rich Lowery: “I am the most fabulous whiner. I do whine because I want to win. And I’m not happy if I’m not winning. And I am a whiner. And I’m a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win.” He still operates with a one-note tune: “I won!”

Neighbors of Mar-a-Lago neighbors don’t want DDT living there, and they may have a way to get rid of him. A group sent a letter to Palm Beach officials and the Secret Service declaring his agreement in 1993 prevents him from living at Mar-a-Lago after he changed the place from a private residence to a public club. The agreement bans club members from spending more than 21 days and seven consecutive days a year at the facility. In 1993, DDT promised he would not live at Mar-a-Lago and failed to change the agreement. In a case of voter fraud, DDT has already used an out-of-state address to register to vote in Florida. 

DDT also deeded development rights to the National Trust for Historic Preservation with the promise to “forever” use it for “any purpose other than club use.” The controversy may block the Secret Service from preparing Mar-a-Lago as DDT’s home. The neighbors’ letter pointed out, “Palm Beach has many lovely estates for sale, and we are confident President Trump will find one which meets his needs.” DDT won’t even need to buy a place: he owns three other houses near the club, which he has used as rental properties and extra guest suites.

Between the virus and the growing dislike for DDT, Mar-a-Lago isn’t making as much money as in the past. The dozens of charity galas and luncheons during Palm Beach’s winter social season grew fewer after DDT extolled the “very fine people” among white supremacist protesters at Charlottesville over three years ago. Events went from 49 in winter 2014-2015 to nine scheduled this year.

Jared Kushner may find a home behind bars if he’s convicted of campaign fraud. He created a shell company laundering almost $700 million from DDT’s campaign fund, about half the donations. The company, American Made Media Consultants, secretly paid DDT’s family members, illegally spent funds, and siphoned off money for DDT’s family while avoiding disclosure laws. Eric Trump’s wife, Lara; VP Mike Pence’s nephew John Pence; and DDT’s campaign CFO Sean Dollman were on the company’s board as president, vice-president, and treasurer. “Nothing was done without Jared’s approval,” a former 2016 campaign adviser said. The Campaign Legal Center has threatened to sue the FEC, now with three new DDT appointees, if they fail to take action on Kushner’s illegal scheme.

In another scam since DDT lost the election, he collected at least $260 million for his election appeals and re-elections for Georgia senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. Of those donations, at least $60 million went into DDT’s Save America PAC; the senators didn’t get one cent for their campaigns. DDT can spend the money for rallies, staff, groundwork for a 2024 candidacy and other personal expenses.

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have reached 18 million, and DDT has 32 more days.

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