Nel's New Day

September 1, 2019

DDT Violates Law, Opposes Gun Safety

Like Hurricane Dorian, the “mind” of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) can’t stop churning. After watching the Fox this morning—despite his plea for Twitter followers to avoid the network—he tweeted a long rant from former GOP lawmaker Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) about wanting the Supreme Court to hold former FBI Director James Comey in contempt:

“James Comey has been rebuked at the highest level, with much more to come. An IG Report doesn’t get any stronger, calling him dangerous, insubordinate. THANK GOODNESS THAT DONALD TRUMP WAS ELECTED, BECAUSE IF HE WASN’T ELECTED, THESE PEOPLE WOULD STILL BE IN POWER. Two more reports are coming. Comey very vulnerable. But where is the Supreme Court. Where is Justice Roberts? If you lie to a court, you should be held in contempt. So, if you abused the FISA, you must be held accountable. I hope Justice Roberts will take action.” Jason Chaffetz, Fox.”

Earlier, DDT accused Roberts of being “lined up against him” after he ruled against DDT’s proposed citizenship question on the 2020 census and called it inadequately explained and “contrived.”

DDT may have violated the law by his lie about China calling him to discuss the trade war in order to manipulate the stock market.  According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, market manipulation is “intentional conduct designed to deceive investors by controlling or artificially affecting the market,” including “intentional conduct designed to deceive investors.”

Other potential crimes by DDT:

  • Promising pardons to people who break the law in building a wall on the southern border.
  • Pressuring an agency to give a wall-building contract to a donor for a top congressional GOP ally.
  • Obstructing justice on at least ten occasions as identified by Robert Mueller’s investigation.
  • Providing multibillion-dollar tax breaks in his tax law to wealthy people—including himself and his family—by promoting real estate development in areas falsely designating as low-income.
  •  (The Merit Systems Protections Board, which investigates allegations of violations of federal personnel practices, including the Hatch Act, hasn’t had a quorum for over two years.)
  • Refusing to pursue Russian cyberattacks on U.S. elections and eliminating federal experts who help prevent it.
  • Allowing his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars from DDT’s political action committee, legally barred from coordinating with the campaign.
  • Granting waivers for biofuel requirements to ailing refineries that enriched former adviser Carl Icahn.
  • Denying Canadian Muslims entry to the U.S. because of their faith.

And that’s just the beginning. His crimes against immigration will occupy complete books. White House aide Stephen Miller blamed for all toward immigrants, now has a cohort in Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), whose appointment may have circumvented the Federal Vacancies Reform Act with no Senate confirmation to any other position in the administration. 

While Hurricane Dorian bears down on the East Coast, DDT makes the climate worse because his jealousy of President Obama leads DDT to change every positive Obama action. Loosening regulations on methane, the greenhouse gas propelling the climate crisis, through lower standards on oil and natural gas extraction is the 84th EPA destructive action. Even big companies in the industry like Shell oppose the rollback of regulations. Fracking caused a rapid increase in methane in the atmosphere that traps heat, 80 percent more powerful than carbon dioxide. Saying that the methane rollback will save the multibillion-dollar industry between $15 million and $17 million a year, the EPA also plans to eliminate the regulation of methane as a pollutant to restrict future administrations. July was the hottest July in the 140-year tracking; nine of the ten hottest recorded Julys occurred since 2005, and the last five years have been the five hottest.

Climate crises have added to the farmers’ frustration with DDT’s trade war.  Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union that represents 200,000 farms, ranches, and fishing enterprises in 33 states, said that “reputational damage” by DDT will take “decades” to reverse, despite DDT’s $28 billion of welfare to farmers because of his trade war with China. Johnson added that DDT has “offended the leaders of pretty much every ally we have on Earth.”

Once again, a white man took the advice of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. The day before the El Paso mass shooting killing 22 people and wounding another 24 in early August, Abbott told his constituents to “take matters into our own hands” after making racist comments about immigrants. Abbott cried crocodile tears about the seven dead and 24 injured in Midland-Odessa yesterday, but he signed ten bills to loosen the already lax restrictions on gun safety legislation. If unlimited ownership of guns means safety, Texas would be the safest place in the world.

Only two weeks after two mass shootings in one weekend, DDT decided that the country doesn’t need more background checks because of his lie that “we have very strong background checks right now.” Yesterday he took a few minutes out from playing golf to say that background checks would not have prevented any of the mass shootings “over the last five, six, or seven years.” DDT has had several conversations with NRA’s CEO, Wayne LaPierre, since the El Paso mass shooting.

Ivanka Trump tried to cover for her father after the racist El Paso shooting by talking about shootings in Chicago, but those guns were largely brought in from out of state. Using racist language, DDT rails about “rat-infested” cities such as Atlanta (with Rep. John Lewis) and Baltimore (with Rep. Elijah Cummings), but Missouri has the highest rate of black homicides, comprising 80 percent of the 90 people, killed thus far this year in Kansas City—nine times the average rate for the United States. Missouri also has some of the weakest gun laws in the nation—lowered age for concealed carry to 19, “stand your ground” law, bans on local governments to stop open carry, no permits or firearms training for concealed carry.

Firearm safety expert Dr. Garen Wintemute of UC Davis Medical Center refuted the “good guy with a myth” that promotes both unlimited concealed and open carry laws. The Dayton (OH) murderer killed nine people and wounded another 27 in less than one minute, and lax law gun laws in both Ohio and Texas, site of the El Paso shooting, meant that several of the fleeing people would have been carrying. Wintemute said:

“We have this collective adolescent fantasy, if I may, that an armed civilian is going to step up and prevent these events. The data show that that almost never happens.”

Wintemute declared that expanding concealed carry standards across state lines would be “counterproductive” because it lowers standards for issuing licenses across much of the nation. According to data, more homicides come in places with more guns. Right-to-carry handgun laws lead to a significant increase in violent crime, many of them from more guns leading to more misunderstandings between people, accidental discharges, and gun theft.

Dayton (OH) is providing Mayor Nan Whaley 24/7 security after DDT’s angry comments about her brought death threats from his supporters.

DDT started to talk about voter fraud, a clear sign that he’s worried about losing the next election. His polling last week was the worst during his 2020 election cycle. In a Quinnipiac poll, he trailed five different Democratic presidential candidates between nine and 16 points, and his approval/disapproval rating dropped to 38/56, with just 27 percent approving of him strongly and 50 percent disapproving strongly. Only 32 percent of independents, a large voting bloc, indicated approval. For the first time since June 2016, more people say the economy is getting “worse” (37 percent) than getting “better” (31 percent), and slightly more people say DDT’s policies are “hurting” the economy (41 percent) than “helping” (37 percent). DDT’s handling of disasters hasn’t made him very popular either. 

DDT’s attacks on Fox network last week may have been a strategy for more attention to himself and divert attention from his problems. Jack Shafer suggested: 

“Trump’s faux-fight with Fox is designed 1) to add drama and excitement to where there is none; 2) make him the primary focus of events; and 3) temporarily complicate the storyline so viewers keep watching. Fox benefits from Trump’s periodic attacks (remember when he boycotted one of Fox’s 2016 presidential debates because it wouldn’t dump Megyn Kelly from the broadcast). They make the channel look like it’s standing up to the president, and Fox ends up looking more independent and credible.”

Classic DDT statements of the week: National Weather Service had to correct DDT’s tweet that Alabama was in the path of “one of the largest hurricanes ever.” Confusion between the Bahamas and Alabama? He also repeated his common statement that he’s never heard of a Category 5 hurricane. Last year, Category 5 Hurricane Michael killed 59 people in the U.S., cost $25.1 billion in damages, damaged U.S. fighter jets with $6 billion replacement, and created $6.23 billion insurance claims.

August 9, 2019

DDT: Week 133 – All about Him

Although Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) tried to hide his “performance” during the trips to Dayton and El Paso this past week, leaks continue. On Air Force One, he shouted at aides because he claimed they didn’t defend him, and he ranted about how much larger his audience in El Paso was than the protest one with “crazy” (DDT’s word) Beto O’Rourke. DDT lied about the rally which he hasn’t paid for–$569,204.63—when O’Rourke was followed by thousands of people. And the rally when he falsely claimed that he needed the wall because El Paso’s crime rate is so high. In fact, the crime rate in the city is less than half of the national average, and the annual homicide rate has been less than the number killed by a young white supremacist from the Houston area last weekend. 

DDT insisted that an infant, whose parents were both killed by the El Paso murderer, be brought back to the hospital for a photo op. Note DDT’s happy thumbs up in the shot. The orphan’s fingers were broken when the mother tried to protect him from the shooter. 

Staffers agreed with the public that DDT’s Wednesday visits were not successful because he spend his time attacking local officials. Although DDT gave a positive front about his day, he was furious with the results behind the scenes.

DDT said later that the shooter was a coward because he surrendered and “just gave up.” Among those confused about his statement was the one who asked if DDT wanted to “encourage the next right-wing terrorist to increase the body count and not be taken alive.”

This  article describes AG Bill Barr’s blood-curdling ideology in his equating the concept of justice with vigilante revenge when he talks about the satisfaction people find in movies such as Death Wish and Dirty Harry. The plots revolve around a “hero” executing petty thieves in New York and another “hero” torturing a serial killer. Barr follows DDT’s statement that “we need quick justice and we need strong justice,” which is actually revenge. The figure representing justice is blindfolded to illustrate that the system should be based on facts and evidence but Barr follows DDT’s need to judge everything on feelings. Revenge comes from the belief that violence is the only response to feeling powerless. The criminal justice process, however, follows accurate identification of responsible individuals, fair adjudication, retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, and restoration. For that reason, justice protects people who are innocent until proved guilty, again requiring rules and limitations—several of them in the Bill of Rights. Barr’s open support of operating outside the law follows the actions of his boss.

Barr may be trying to keep DDT’s financial documents from Congress, but the banks—including Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America—are turning them over to House committees. Some of them, especially Deutsche Bank, are cooperating with the New York investigation of the Trump Organization.

DDT’s senior DOJ officials told senior prosecutors investigating problems with Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland to reduce settlements so that the government would get less money. Former AG Rod Rosenstein instructed that charges be changed from criminal to the less serious civil ones in cases that the banks misled buyers of residential mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis. Mortgage losses for RBS securities of $54 billion destroyed customers’ investments. The $2 billion settlement was far less than staff prosecutors had sought in what they considered strong cases. Dictates from DOJ officials in Washington toward U.S. attorney offices are rare.

The arbitrary removal of two research agencies, the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, may be illegal because DDT lacks congressional approval, according to the Agriculture Department’s inspector general. The department may not have the authority to appropriate funds for the move and have violated the Antideficienty Act prohibiting government employees in contracts of obligation of payments before an appropriation.

DDT is still trying to take over Venezuela; during the past two months, he diverted about $30 billion in Venezuelan assets with about $1 billion moved into the accounts of opposition leaders. The confiscation of money from banks at DDT’s request was coordinated by DDT’s choice for president, Juan Guaidó, if DDT’s coup had been successful. Guaidó was assisted by key aids Leopold Lopez and Roberto Marrero. In his goal to starve Venezuela, DDT put new sanctions on the country this week. He also has more plans to get the nation’s legally elected president, Nicolás Maduro, out of power, including an embargo or even a blockade of Venezuela’s coastline. National security adviser John Bolton has threatened retaliation to any country that does business with Maduro. DDT still favors big business: Chevron has a three-month exemption so that it can keep drilling for oil in Venezuela. Guaidó lacks support to seize power, and Maduro maintains support, using the U.S.’s imperialistic meddling as a frequent talking point. 

North Korea has increased leverage over negotiations with the U.S. because DDT refuses to acknowledge the four missile tests from North Korea in two week. As North Korea fires more test missiles, Japan and South Korea continue to feud despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s jovial attempt to mitigate the problems between Taro Kono, Japan’s foreign minister and Kang Kyung-wha, his South Korean counterpart (left). Conflicts developing from other a century ago about Japan’s colonial occupation of Korea and reparations for forced labor and sexual slavery came to a head with Japan’s threats to slow down vital exports for South Korea industries. U.S. needs both countries as protection against China and North Korea but doesn’t want to mend the rift. If tensions escalate and fire on each other, U.S. ships between the two countries could be in danger. 

DDT wants to find Iranian mines in the Persian Gulf to fuel his propaganda against the country, but sonar on the Navy ships is so inadequate that it identifies dishwashers, crab traps, and cars as potential bombs under the water. Companies making spare parts for the ship’s aging sonar equipment are gone, and the Navy moved its priorities to “cool” new equipment, according to one officer. Sailors are not always trained to use the old equipment.

The G7 summit later this month will be tense after DDT falsely accused French President Emmanuel Macron of inviting Iran’s president to the event. DDT also objects to Macron communicating with Iran.

DDT said he’s not ready to make a deal with China about his trade war, and the stock market went down again. He also announced that he’s cutting ties with telecom giant Huawei, the business he blacklisted in May and then reinstated in July. The Dow is down 250 points for the week.

July was the hottest month ever recorded since the record-keeping began over a century ago:

  • Officials in Switzerland and elsewhere painted stretches of rail tracks white, trying to keep them from buckling in the extreme heat.
  • Wildfires raged across millions of acres in the Arctic.
  • A massive ice melt in Greenland sent 197 billion tons of water pouring into the Atlantic Ocean and raised sea levels.
  • Alaska saw startling amounts of greenhouse gases.
  • Germany lowered autobahn speed limits to avoid high-speed motorways.

Rising temperatures are also killing U.S. soldiers, at least 17 during the last decade. Heat strokes or heat exhaustion among active-duty service members went from 1,766 in 2008 and 2,792 in 2018.

Puerto Rico has a new governor, the third in less than a week. The first one resigned, the second one was declared unconstitutional because he hadn’t been confirmed by the Senate, and the third, unpopular former Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez Garced, may stick. After Ricardo Rosselló was caught in a chat room with offensive messages about his opponents and Hurricane Maria victims , Rosselló  pushed Pedro Pierluisi into the next in line secretary of state as a replacement for Luis Rivera Marín who resigned for the same reasons as ? Only the Puerto Rican House approved Pierluisi before he was sworn in as governor last friend, the day that Rosselló’s resignation took effect. They thought that their action was legal because of a 2005-approved law of succession, but Puerto Ricans and the Senate protested. The Supreme Court sided with the Senate, ruling that the 2005 amendment was unconstitutional. Pierluisi’s law firm represents the financial board, headed by his brother-in-law, that oversees the island’s struggling finances. Now top officials from Vázquez’s party is considering a replacement for her. 

DDT’s promise to lower drug prices was popular with both parties, and he’s in full campaign mode working on success in this area. Now conservatives are accusing DDT of socialism in his support to decrease prices by importing drugs from Canada and ban Medicare from paying more than other countries for prescription drugs with an international pricing policy. DDT’s opposition to “global freeloading” has caused him to aim for capping U.S. payments for expensive drugs. Ads from the conservative Freedom Works complain about “socialist-style price controls” and “socialist European drug prices in America.” As usual, opposition from GOP establishment wants no legislation that Democrats would support.

August 7, 2019

No Clear Path for DDT, GOP about Guns

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) had a very bad day today. Although asked by leaders in Dayton (OH) and El Paso not to visit their cities at this time, he insisted that he would take his entourage to both places. Teleprompter DDT spent a few minutes earlier this week declaring that there is not room for hate in this country.  After four years of spewing racist hatred, DDT solemnly announced:

“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.”

Less than a day after DDT asked God to protect “those who perished in Toledo” (meaning Dayton), he blamed President Obama for the “32 mass shootings during his reign” including Sandy Hook although Barack Obama’s comments did not mention DDT’s name. Using the definition of mass shootings as at least four fatalities, President Obama averaged 5.1 per year; DDT had two last week, three if the definition covers the death of the perpetrator. DDT’s 17 mass shootings in the first seven months of 2019—one every 12 days. When “mass shooting” is defined as an incident in which four or more people are shot, the U.S. had 251 such incidents in the first 216 days of 2019. 

Away from the teleprompter, DDT blamed the mass media that “contributed greatly to the anger and rage.” Yet, the El Paso murderer used DDT’s language: he posted a 2,300-word essay on a white supremacist messaging board that included DDT’s terms such as incessant warnings about the “Hispanic invasion of Texas” as shown in this videoDDT’s campaign spent at least $1.1 million on immigration-focused Facebook ads between March 30 and July 27 with 2,200 of the ads appearing since May 2018 referring to an “invasion” on the southern border. Fox and Friends’ Brian Kilmeade supported both DDT and the El Paso murderer in the use of the term “invasion.” Kilmeade said:

“If you use the term ‘an invasion,’ that’s not anti-Hispanic. It’s a fact.”

Fox’s Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, and Pete Hegseth also commonly use the term.

Yesterday, DDT retweeted support for white supremacist Kevin Cernekee, who was fired from Google because he kept putting white supremacist messages on employee message boards. Today DDT claimed to want “to stay out of the political fray” immediately before he tried to connect Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren with the Dayton shooter twice, criticized Dayton’s mayor, attacked Beto O’Rourke, and called Joe Biden “a pretty incompetent guy.” DDT also returned to his position from the aftermath to white supremacy attacks and murder at Charlottesville (VA) two years ago about “good guys on both sides” by equating white supremacy with the antifa (anti-fascist) group opposing white supremacists.

In both cities that DDT visited, he avoided the public and then lashed out at their Democratic leaders. Despite complimentary responses from both Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley about his comforting the people he visited, DDT falsely accusing them of “totally misrepresenting” the reception he received at Miami Valley Hospital and alleged that their news conference “was a fraud.” Brown said that he had urged DDT to keep the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid to help people with mental health issues, the problem that DDT gave for mass shootings. In addition, Brown, who met with police officers, said he asked DDT to protect law enforcement by taking “assault weapons” off the street.

Press secretary Stephanie Grisham said that the press corps was not able to view DDT’s encounters with the Dayton victims because the White House didn’t want a “photo op,” but the White House provided photos and a slick video centering on DDT useful for his campaign. El Paso victims still in the hospital refused to see him although they had visited with city and county elected officials as well as Reps. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL). DDT also owes El Paso $569,204.63 for his February anti-immigrant rally as well as millions to at least ten other cities for his 2020 campaign rallies.

Returning to Washington, DC on Air Force One, DDT had time to view Joe Biden’s speech and tweet critical comments about it.

DDT seems lost as to direction. He continues to ignore guns as a problem although he tweeted support for “strong background checks.” At the same time, he wants to pair gun legislation with immigration reform laws, (DDT’s eliminating people of color coming into the U.S.) although the two issues are not connected. Mass shootings are generally done by young white men. Immediately after the Parkland (FL) mass shooting last year, DDT called for strengthened background checks but then threatened to veto any bills with this goal that House Democrats passed. House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said DDT’s connection of gun and immigration laws suggested that “we have to keep guns out of the hands of the invading hordes of less-than-human people coming across our borders.” He added, “It reminds me of the 1930s in Germany.” 

Republicans blamed mass shootings on video games, homelessness and social media, but a few Ohio Republicans are moving away from NRA positions. Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) reversed his NRA support to propose new laws including temporarily disarming people at risk to themselves or others and expanding background checks. Having discovered that his daughter was across the street from the Dayton shooting, Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), strongly NRA supported, also endorsed magazine limits and bans on military-style assault weapons. They are backed by Lt. Governor Jon Husted (R-OH).

Safety from guns depends on where a person lives. In June, a Florida woman was jailed for taking her husband’s guns. After a divorce proceeding, Courtney Irby’s estranged husband, Joseph Irby, rammed his car into her vehicle and ran her off the road. While he was in custody, she took his assault rifle and handgun from his home and turned them not the police department. Arrested for grand theft and burglary, she spent six days in jail. Her husband accused her of aggression and taking a third weapon. Previously, she was denied a temporary injunction against her husband, but a judge had ordered Joseph Irby was not to possess any weapons. Law does not obligate law enforcement to seize the weapons. The prosecutor now says that Irby is lying about trying to protect herself and her children.

New Texas gun laws going into effect in three weeks increase open season on people in the state. The ten bills include the right to open carry long guns in Texas churches, schools, apartment buildings, and disaster zones. Current laws don’t require permits for long guns in unrestricted public areas, have no background check for private sales and no magazine capacity restriction, and don’t allow people who see warning signs to ask a court for temporary prevention to individual access. Closing the gun show loophole was rejected. Gov. Greg Abbott pushes the idea of “mental health” behind mass shootings but makes no accommodations to stop them. 

DDT’s actions on guns since he was inaugurated:

  • Revoked an executive order mandating checks for those with mental illnesses before buying guns. (February 2017)
  • Cut $400,000 from the “Countering Violent Extremism” program backing an anti-white supremacist organization founded by former neo-Nazis.  
  • Disbanded the Domestic Terror Unit of intelligence analysts who focused on domestic terrorism.    
  • Stopped the DOJ from using updated language about a definition for “mentally ill.”
  • Froze a DOJ rule preventing anyone “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to a mental institution” from having access to a gun.
  • Stopped a fix to a loophole in a federal law requiring gun sellers to certify that “gun storage or safety devices will be available at any place in which firearms are sold.” https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/05/26/2016-12364/commerce-in-firearms-and-explosives-secure-gun-storage-amended-definition-of-antique-firearm-and   
  • Blocked free gun locks for all gun owners provided by Cabela’s Outdoor Fundeven.
  • Limited bans buying guns by fugitives from justice to only those who fled a state trying to evade prosecution or were the subject of an “imminent” criminal prosecution. Everyone else with an arrest warrant, about 500,000 people, can buy an assault-style rifle—or any other gun—because their records were deleted from the background check database.
  • Cut the budget for state background check systems just two days before the Parkland (FL) mass shooting, murdering 17 people.

ICE picked the same day that DDT chose to reassure and comfort Latinx people to raid seven Mississippi plants and pick up 680 workers. Once again, children are separated from their parents despite promises from ICE agents that the parents of U.S. citizens will be released. One U.S. citizen was tased when he tried to explain that he was legally in the country. Migrant labor has been chosen to cut, clean, debone, and pack chicken in cold, sometimes dangerous conditions, because, like in other laborious work, most U.S. citizens refuse to do the work. For decades, DDT used undocumented immigrants until he was caught doing it. Once again, DDT’s neo-Nazi aide Stephen Miller is calling for cruelty.

August 4, 2019

DDT: Week 132 – Killings, Cruelty

This morning I facetiously remarked to my partner that I need to check for today’s mass shooting. Yet there is was—nine people killed and 27 wounded in Dayton (OH) in the 250th mass shooting uring the first 216 days of 2019. The shooter, another young white male, did this much damage in 30 seconds before the police stopped him. One of the fatalities is the shooter’s sister.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) wrote that yesterday’s El Paso shooting was an act of “cowardice” and, like the standard GOP line, said that mass shootings must be stopped. Friday, however, he repeated that he could kill ten million people in Afghanistan where 20,000 foreign troops, mainly from the U.S., are stationed. Deaths in Afghanistan have drastically increased with most of the civilian casualties coming from international military forces including the U.S.—83 percent of the 519 civilian casualties. Aerial operations resulted in a 39th percent increase in casualties.

Republicans say that DDT has no responsibility for increased white supremacy despite his rampant racism during the past several years.  The man who spews hateful racist comments toward members of Congress, media personalities, and the general population of color more vigorously than ever now claims that “hate has no place in our country.” DDT’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, made the Sunday news show circuit to claim that only individuals are responsible for the mass shootings because DDT’s comments have no influence on people. Like other Republicans, Mulvaney refused to use the term “domestic terrorism.” Most other Republican leaders went into hiding from Sunday television.  

Public figures and media around the world don’t agree that DDT has no culpability for the rapid increase in gun violence.

  • A spread in the Berlin-based newspaper Taz about the El Paso shootingwith the headline, “The White Danger,” linked the anti-immigrant manifesto to the shooter’s actions.
  • Another German daily, Der Tagesspiegel, published a column by journalist Fabian Löhe arguing that Trump’s “daily racism” has “prepared the intellectual ground” for such violence.
  • Martha Bárcena, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, condemned racism toward “Hispanic communities” in the United States and called for “respectful and compassionate dialogue between our countries and communities.” She tweeted, “Xenophobic and racist discourse breeds hate crimes.”
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that at least three Mexican nationals were among the dead in the El Paso rampage.
  • Dolia Estévez, a prominent Mexican correspondent and commentator wrote about the need for “a non racist, non xenophobic, non divisive, non hateful President. That’s where it all starts.”
  • From the BBC News, “evidence indicates that the El Paso shooting was a calculated political act drawn from the white nationalist rhetoric that has become increasingly prominent in modern US politics.”

If mass shootings in the U.S. aren’t enough for DDT, he has withdrawn from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia with no evidence for his accusations that Russia had violated INF. Now free of any restrictions on nuclear power, DDT he plans to test a new non-nuclear mobile-launched cruise missile developed specifically to challenge Moscow in Europe. The world will become like a Wild West with DDT leading the threats of a nuclear arms race. DDT may have one problem: no NATO appears to “host new US intermediate range missiles.” Even Poland agrees that any deployment in Europe must be approved by all NATO members. 

In other foreign affairs:

After almost two weeks of denial, the U.S. admitted that it violated Venezuelan airspace with surveillance in violation of international treaties. Bolivia showed another U.S. violation of Venezuelan airspace a week later, making a total of 78 thus far in 2019, according to Communication, Tourism and Culture Minister Jorge Rodriguez. 

North Korea fired more short-range ballistic missiles twice in the past week, but DDT doesn’t mind because they’re just “standard” weapons” and it was under control. DDT minimized the testing three times in the past week by calling President Kim Jong-Un a friend with a “great and beautiful vision for his country” who can only achieve his goal if DDT is president.

In escalating tensions with Iran, DDT imposed sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, accusing him of acting like a “propaganda minister” instead of a diplomat. Nuclear sanctions on Iran have been waived for another 90 days so that Russia, China, and Europe can participate in Iran’s civil nuclear program, an agreement in the Iran deal that DDT dropped last year. Sanctions against Javad Zarif include blocking financial dealings with and travel to the U.S., already banned for Iranian officials.   https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/57979-iranians-complain-trumps-sanctions-are-blocking-access-to-vital-medicine  DDT’s sanctions are killing children who can no longer afford medication and medical equipment necessary to treat diseases such as cancer and MS. The U.S. claims that medicines and humanitarian goods are exempt from sanctions, but banks and companies are afraid to do business with Iran because U.S. restrictions on trade may punish them. Banking sanctions block transactions, prevent donations from abroad, and cause money transfers to fail.

DDT’s immigration policies, another way to torment people:

In an attack on Central American asylum seekers, AG Bill Barr has a new rule that being an immediate member of a persecuted family is insufficient grounds for asylum protection. The administration’s position is “that families are not recognized within societies as distinct groups,” according to Anna Gallagher, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, in conflict with a Fourth Circuit decision.

Courts have blocked DDT’s rules to reject migrants illegally crossing the border and to require asylum seekers to pursue safe haven in a third country they travel through on the way to the U.S. Another judge has ordered DDT to accept asylum claims from all eligible migrants at the border.

DDT’s administration has taken almost 1,000 migrant children from their parents at the southern border in the year since a judge ordered the practice stopped. In one case, a Border Patrol agent took a man’s daughter with the claim that he had not changed her diaper. Another loss came from a malicious destruction of property valued at $5. Twenty percent of the separations were for children under five years old, compared to last year’s four percent. Accusations about criminal activities of parents lack details, and many are decades old.

Keeping people of color out of the U.S. is DDT’s goal, but the man behind the procedures, neo-Nazi Stephen Miller, likes to inflict cruelty. After separating children from parents, Miller wants to give power of determining initial asylum claims from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum officers to untrained CBP agents who will act as both police and judge, a fear tactic that ensures the failure of asylum-seekers. These agents are the ones who mock children who cry when they are separated from their parents and grope girls during pat-downs. They can restrict people from toilets and water. It’s the delight in cruelty.

Three-year-old Sofi was separated from her grandmother seeking asylum at a port of entry for 47 days until a court order demanded reunification. During a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Ted Lieu (D-CA) asked Chief of Law Enforcement if the three-year-old posed a criminal or national security threat. Hastings kept repeating that he didn’t know “the background in this case.” He also said that family separation was intended to be permanent, in contrast to the claim of his boss, Kevin McAleenan, that “they were always intended to be reunited.” Hastings also said that children were separated from HIV-positive parents because “it’s a communicable disease.” McAleenan said the opposite during a hearing in the previous week, and HIV was removed from a list of communicable diseases that bar entry in 2010. The day after the hearing, Hastings changed his position about HIV—but he’s still the person in charge of kidnapping children on the border.

DDT has signed an agreement with Guatemalan Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart declaring Guatemala a “safe third country” and requires asylum seekers from Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua to first apply for protection in Guatemala, meaning that travelers from those three countries could be deported to Guatemala if they hadn’t applied in that country. Guatemala signed the agreement to avoid “drastic sanctions” because DDT threatened tariffs, taxes on money immigrants send home, and bans on travel out of the country. Violence in Guatemala make that country as dangerous as the others, and the country tends to grant asylum to few people. The agreement is not final until the Guatemala’s congress approves it. Asylum seekers can avoid Guatemala with more dangerous water routes. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the agreement “illegal” because the law requires “a safe country for refugees and asylum seekers”; Guatemala is not safe. Guatemala’s presidential election in August 11, and both candidates to replace the term-limited current president oppose the deal.

DDT’s government is sending immigration to shelters run by a group home recently shut down by North Carolina because of its “danger to the health, safety and welfare of the clients [requiring] emergency action.” Prohibited from housing children for four years, the place, New Horizon, still received a $4 million grant to house migrant children. Other grant recipients also have histories of abuse and children dying in their care.

February 1, 2019

DDT: Week 106 – Mass Shootings, Corruption

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 9:25 PM
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The shutdown is on hiatus, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) gets to escape the White House this weekend for a retreat to Mar-a-Lago. DDT spent his week causing making Venezuelans people to suffer while gifting Vladimir Putin by lifting sanctions and encouraging him to make as many nuclear weapons as he wants by removing a treaty. Little noticed by the media, however, is the ongoing slaughter of people in the United States by young white men. Three 21-year-olds each murdered at least three people in three different mass shootings last week:

  • Five women killed in a Sebring (FL) SunTrust bank.
  • Three people shot in a Pennsylvania bar, two of them killed, and an elderly man shot dead in a home where the suspect crashed his car and killed himself.
  • A young woman killed with her brother and father before the murderer shot and killed his parents in their nearby Louisiana home.

Media focus on mass shootings now seems to come only from a location such as a school or religious institution and/or massive numbers of dead. Largely ignored in the first month of 2019 were 32 mass shootings—the shooting of at least four or more people. As the media writes about how ISIS radicalized its recruits, it skips over how young white men in the United States are radicalized and committing more and more mass shootings.

Back, however, to the actions of the nation’s tweeter-in-chief who promotes violence in the United States. Before DDT left for his weekend getaway, he gave an 85-minute interview to the New York Times, which he claims to hate, in which he said that he would proceed with “wall” without congressional negotiations because they were a “waste of time.” About House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), DDT said, “I’ve actually always gotten along with her, but now I don’t think I will any more.” He also denied that he worked on his Moscow skyscraper through his election, saying that former fixer Michael Cohen was lying. According to DDT, outgoing deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein, told his lawyers that DDT was not a target of special investigator Robert Mueller.

In a reversal from his temper tantrums how his intelligence leaders had contradicted him, DDT claimed that they told him that the media misinterpreted the testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee. “They said, ‘Sir, our testimony was totally mischaracterized,’” DDT said. “I’m happy with Dan Coats.”

In his intent to take over Venezuela, DDT looks to help from Brazil where 13 Brazilian investors, involved with DDT in a Rio de Janeiro hotel project until 2016, have been arrested and charged with diverting pension money into the scheme. DDT bailed just after his election and just before a criminal investigation into the funding process.

Three of DDT’s children—Ivanka, Eric, and Don, Jr.—are being sued for their endorsement of a fraudulent scam promoted on DDT’s reality show, The Apprentice. The Trumps received millions of dollars in secret payments from 2005 to at least 2015 from ACN persuading people to sell a “doomed” desktop video phone service. The video phone, which connected calls among only ACN customers, lost to Skype and smart phones.

Three House committee chairs have asked for documents surrounding Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s lifting sanctions from Russian companies, giving Vladimir Putin’s oligarchs millions of dollars to spend on election interference. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has also asked about Mnuchin’s possible conflicts of interest with his ties to the oligarchs because he refused to recuse himself from the sanctions discussions.

When Mnuchin took his current government position, he sold his shares in RatPac-Dune Entertainment for $25 million to Len Blavatnik and Oleg Deripaska. Blavatnik co-owns Sual Partners with another sanctioned oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, and Sual “is a major shareholder” of Rusal, one of Deripaska’s companies that benefited from Mnuchin’s lifting the sanctions. Blavatnik, who donated $1 million to DDT’s inaugural fund, formerly served on Rusal’s board. SUAL will own 22.5 percent of Rusal after the restructuring, and the rise in Rusal’s stock price with the lifting of the sanctions increased the value of SUAL Partners’ holding in the company by about $800 million. When questioned earlier about lifting the sanctions, Mnuchin testified in a House committee hearing that legislators should just “trust” DDT.

Part of the agreement to lift the Russian sanctions was for the Rusal to change its board of directors. Now one of DDT’s presidential transition team, Christopher Burnham, sits on Rusal’s board. Burnham is a former official at Deutsche Bank, the financial institution involved in money-laundering scandals with strong ties with DDT’s funding for his projects. The sanctions were quietly lifted last Sunday as Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced her presidential candidacy to a crowd of over 20,000 in Oakland.

Russian oligarchs support U.S. Christian fundamentalists in their fight to make the United States a theocracy. As the keynote speaker for the 2014 National Organization for Marriage gala, Ben Carson mixed with such notables as Alexey Komov, fascist-supporter, anti-Semite, and key employee of sanctioned Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev. In his speech, Carson said that Marxists were “using LGBT rights to destroy American unity and impose the ‘New World Order.’” The process of “Making America Christian” includes partnering with U.S. homeschool organizations and working closely with Christian movie reviewers. Malofeev funded eastern Ukrainian pro-Russian “separatists” who are believed to shoot down Malaysian Air Flight MH17 and kill all 283 passengers and 15 crew members.

Campaign groups connected to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY), instrumental in making sure the sanctions were lifted, received $7 million to elect Republicans, starting with $3.5 million to a PAC connected to McConnell. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also received hefty donations.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), chair of the Armed Services Committee, received $1,000 in “unused campaign funds” from former Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) on the day that a McKeon associate met with an Inhofe staff on behalf of the Saudi Arabians. The Saudis paid McKeon $450,000 three days after they killed U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The House has also directed the Pentagon to complete a report on climate change that ommitted requested details such as specific cost estimates to protect or replace the ten most vulnerable bases from each of the military services. The Pentagon report already released expressed security concerns about climate change although it listed no Marine Corps installations. Four months before the release of the report, Hurricane Florence cost Camp Lejeune, the biggest Marine base on the East Coast, over $3 billion in damages. Also omitted was Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida where Hurricane Michael destroyed 95 percent of the buildings. Patrick Shanahan, former Boeing executive, became acting DOD Secretary after Jim Mattis left.

DDT is sending thousands more troops to the border with Mexico because of the “caravans” coming from the south, and he agrees with the majority of people that a physical barrier will not stop the migrants. Told that the border for much of Texas is the middle of the Rio Grande River, DDT agreed that people just had to “touch the land.” He was wrong when he said that criminals “are released into our country.”

A caravan of millions is actually crossing the Mexico border for health care—but it’s going south. In just Yuma (AZ), 6,000 people cross into Los Algodones every day for healthcare, especially dental care. In the U.S., 74 million people, one-fourth the population, have no dental insurance, and most people with that insurance are not covered beyond regular checkups and filings that have a cap of $1,500. Getting dental work in Mexico saves people between 67 percent and 80 percent. One reason for less cost is lack of student debt: dentists pay the government for tuition with one year of free service. [Below: U.S. cars heading into Tijuana.]

More people are going to need healthcare with DDT’s plans to weaken regulations for beryllium exposure, causing lung cancer and symptoms such as difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, joint pain, cough, and fever. The disease also leads to disability and death.

DDT may be watching too many Star Trek reruns on television. He offered NASA unlimited funding if they can put the U.S. flag on Mars by 2020. An astronaut surprised DDT by reminding him that DDT had already set the timeline for the 2030s. Unhappy with that revelation, DDT suggested that NASA drop all other priorities and focus on a trip to Mars, which is 200 times farther than the moon. Even private efforts for a Mars journey were set back last week after a storm flipped the test vehicle SpaceX in progress at Boca Chica (TX). In his new book Team of Vipers, Cliff Sims described a conversation in the White House when DDT was pushing for a trip to Mars in the coming year.

The Senate passed nonbinding bipartisan legislation objecting to DDT’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Syria. Women in Afghanistan fear control by the Taliban who may subject females to forced marriages, domestic violence, inability to leave their homes without a male relative, and mandatory full-length burqas that cover their faces.

To keep DDT happy, his campaign team used Republicans to poll 10 GOP-leaning House districts that Democrats took in 2018 and supposedly found that a plurality of voters endorsed DDT’s wall. The purpose is to convince DDT that he has a good chance of being re-elected. Unfortunately for DDT’s peace of mind, 56 percent of people say they would “definitely not vote for him.” Majorities of independents (59 percent), women (64 percent), and suburbanites (56 percent) said they won’t support DDT for a second term. It is early to determine his chances, but another shutdown won’t be good for his reputation.

October 28, 2018

The Travesty Doesn’t End

Many of us have given up on any expectations that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) will exhibit any compassion or sympathy for people. He claims he is a nationalist, he supports white supremacists, and he jokes about not going to a campaign rally only hours after a racist white man slaughters people in a place of worship because of a “bad hair day.” Fox network lies about events and either covers up or excuses the bigotry and violence of conservatives. In an attempt to exonerate the connection between DDT’s rhetoric and the suspect who sent the bombs, Fox network blurred the stickers/images on the bomber’s van. Yet some of us hope that the mainstream media might present information in a direct way rather than following DDT’s and Fox’s example.

Chuck Todd dashed that hope on today’s Meet the Press when he decided to blame progressives equally to the conservatives, despite the right-wing violent racist diatribes about immigration, Jews, George Soros—the list goes on. This past week, a Nazi walked into a Pittsburg synagogue and killed as many people as he could before he was captured. The police reported that he still spewed his vicious racist rhetoric while they took him to jail. A white supremacist shot and killed two older black people in a Kentucky supermarket because the church was locked, and he couldn’t get inside. He had wanted to replicate the massacre in Charleston (SC). One of the dead men was accompanied by his 12-year-old grandson because they were buying poster board for the boy’s school project. Last week, people waited in fear to see where the next bombs would be sent and whether they would kill people.

When Todd’s guest Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) blamed the inability to detect fact from fiction in the media on “older people” who cannot “navigate” social media, Todd agreed. No matter what Stivers said to exonerate Republicans, Todd said, “Right.” Or a version of agreeing. Stivers’ pablum included the need to “keep our dialogue civil” while Republicans refuse to so that and his ability to show “moral leadership. When he said that he hoped that DDT would “continue on that path” of moral leadership, Todd said, “Fair enough.” Then Todd equated the attacks on George Soros as a Jew and the lying about his giving money for protests (although he didn’t mention those facts) to Democratic attacks on Koch brothers with no evidence. He also said nothing about voter suppression, the racist connection between conservatives’ murders to the constant false accusations surrounding the caravan from Honduras, and DDT’s incessant lying attacks on people as he supports white supremacy.

Todd’s biggest pandering, however, came when Todd said to conspiracy theorist Erick Erickson, “You’ve had to deal with conspiracy theories on your site.”  The topic was “civility,” and Erickson’s personal conspiracy theories include smearing Christine Blasey Ford who reported Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault, accusing Parkland survivor David Hogg of not being at the school during the mass murder, comparing Planned Parenthood leaders to Nazis, claiming that transgender people are “perverts and the mentally ill,” attacking Muslims by saying that DDT’s ban is “brilliant politics,” stating that gay men in bars wearing certain clothing are asking to be assaulted, and arguing that mass shootings are “so rare.” And more. Yet Erickson claims that it’s the older people who can’t tell fact from fiction in the media.  (Erickson is 43 years old.)

Erickson exonerated DDT in his conclusion is that the blame for increasing violence is “on the American people as a whole…. Society is crumbling around us…. The president’s not the cause, he’s a symptom.” Todd just kept saying, “Right.”

Todd overlooked the fact that the alleged shooter at the Pennsylvania synagogue echoed the lie from DDT and other Republicans that George Soros funded “caravans” of refugees full of ISIS terrorists and called for the same white genocide that DDT and Fox’s Tucker Carlson push. DDT’s white supremacy goes back to his birtherism that led him to the Oval Office. He launched his campaign by calling all Mexican immigrants of being “drug dealers, criminals, rapists” and followed that by promising “a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

The predominant myth regenerating within the next few weeks until the horror of the shootings dies down but reappearing with the next mass shooting is that of the “lone wolf.” Anyone of color who murders people is a “terrorist,” but a white man is assumed to be mentally unbalanced. The right-wing pundits deny responsibility, and Republicans support them while moving toward the next murders. DDT wins his base with hatred and fear, the fuel useful for more and more violence.

Erickson claims that the U.S. has very few mass shootings, buy white supremacist murders more than doubled in DDT’s first year of office. The first terrorist plot connected to DDT occurred the night of his election.    Arun Gupta has listed several of these, and others can be found here.

Other cover came from VP Mike Pence who said that “Everyone has his own style” and that nothing DDT says can be connected to any acts of violence.

The federal government is exacerbating the problem of domestic terrorism. In April 2009, the DHS tried to issue a report titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” GOP politicians attacked the leaked report and forced part of it to be retracted. Parts about tracking and combating domestic terrorists were gutted, including the part of the report that assessed “lone wolves” who hold violent rightwing extremist ideology as “the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States” bent on “committing violent acts.”  The report noted that “white supremacist lone wolves pose the most significant domestic terrorist threat because of their low profile and autonomy.”

Rick Hasen wrote:

“Things with President Trump are different. He has refused to condemn anti-semitism and racism; he has encouraged chants of “lock her up” against his political opponent Hillary Clinton and against others; he has appeared with, and promoted the views of, those who blame George Soros and the Jews for immigration problems; he calls his political adversaries by demeaning names, especially African-American women opponents such as Rep. Waters. He has done these things even as this violence grows. He praised the body slamming of a journalist by Rep. Gianforte. He has shown no interest in bringing the nation together, suggesting that rather than ‘toning it down’ he could ‘really tone it up.’

“He has pursued a political strategy that is aimed at inflaming his base to try to win the election. He has even complained about how the pipe bombs could hurt Republican election momentum.

“And he has brought many Republicans along with him, such as Kevin McCarthy, soon to be leader of Republicans in the House of Representatives. McCarthy, in a now-deleted tweet, accused ‘Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg’ of ‘trying to BUY this election.’ Such anti-Semitic tropes have moved from the fringe right wing to the center of the Republican party.”

Thanks to DDT, the GOP that enables him, and far-right media—including Fox network that gives DDT his talking points promoting violence—the United States is a place where people are no longer safe in even ordinary settings such as shopping, worshipping, attending school, seeing a movie, riding mass transit—in short, going out of their house.

Mainstream media like Meet the Press have become complicit in the lack of freedom in the United States because of the increasing violence. The violence will only grow if nothing is done.

February 20, 2018

Dead Children: A ‘Reprieve,” the Price of Freedom

When Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) visited a visit to Parkland (FL) last Friday, he was all smiles. He never mentioned the word “guns” and largely ignored the victims’ families while focusing on first responders. On Valentine’s Day 2018, a mass shooter killed 17 people at a Florida high school with a legally purchased assault-style rifle. The day after the shooting Florida Republicans tried to loosen background check laws for guns by putting the provision into an agricultural bill. Along with oyster harvesting and water standards in vending machines came granting a concealed weapons permit within 90 days even without a full background check.

The day after the killings, Florida’s GOP Sen. Marco Rubio went to the U.S. Senate floor to explain that they shouldn’t ban the AR-15, the weapon of choice by mass shooters. That’s the conservative mentality for these tragedies. Republicans have had several other mass shootings that they use to choreograph their responses. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) repeated his argument against the “knee-jerk” political response to mass shootings, his same statement after the 2015 San Bernardino shooting killing 14 and the Umpqua Community College (OR) killing of nine the same year. Ryan got $177,000 from the NRA in 2016; his first successful bill last year was rescinding barriers to gun ownership for the mentally ill. Other GOP legislators repeat “knee-jerk” in the midst of their call for “thoughts and prayers.”

Ryan’s “knee jerk” comment did add the possibility of collecting “the facts and the data” that can’t happen because Republicans won’t remove the funding ban for this collecting. removed all funding for getting this information. Two decades ago, gun research in the United States stopped after the GOP threatened to take all funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if it funded research on firearm injuries and deaths. No one has a basis for any gun safety laws. The author of that law, former Rep. Jay Dickey (R-AR), regrets his action, but the NRA hasn’t allowed any changes.

This weekend Ryan was at a fundraiser 50 miles away from the shooting in Key Biscayne. When teacher Maria Thorne criticized him for his response to the killings, he told her he “didn’t want to talk politics.” She was removed from the facility. An activist tweeted a photo of people at the Ritz-Carlton and wrote, “This is @SpeakerRyan’s version of Thoughts and Prayers. Odd, it looks like a donor event in the tropics.”

The White House response to the killing of 17 people was one of relief. Aides said that the tragedy gave them “a distraction or a reprieve” from the media attention on coverups for wife-beating, Cabinet secretaries’ luxury travel, payments for DDT’s paramours, and, most especially, the Russian investigation. [The White House may have more “reprieves”: three of the ten deadliest mass shootings in nation’s history have occurred in the past five months.] DDT hid out at Mar-a-Lago for the long weekend where he hosted a disco party immediately after spending a few minutes with victims of the Parkland shooting. DDT had heavily criticized President Obama for playing after the ISIS beheading of a journalist, but DDT was back on the links Monday at the same time as the funerals just 40 miles away for children killed in the shooting.

Through his speech after the shooting, DDT spread more propaganda and lies. In addition to not mentioning the word “gun,” he talked about “defenseless students and teachers,” a line to support the NRA by encouraging guns in every school. The site of the shooting had armed security personnel who never encountered the shooter. His promise of doing “anything we can … assist in any way we can” is false because communities are asking for closed loopholes on buying guns, background checks, and bans on assault-style weapons. DDT also elevated the “thoughts and prayers” to “we hold on to God’s word in Scripture.” In his commitment “to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools, and tackle the difficult issue of mental health,” he avoids the problem of gun ownership for all. Millions of people suffer from mental health, but they aren’t shooting people. Millions of other people aren’t classified as mentally ill, but they are violent.

DDT’s budget for 2019 eliminates funds for school counselors and violence prevention programs. The $25 million cut, 36 percent of funding for school safety activities, eliminates the Project School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) and Project Prevent Grant programs. DDT’s budget also reduces funding by 16 percent that helps states report domestic and violence crimes for the national background check database for gun purchases. The man who killed 26 people at the Sutherland Springs (TX) church legally purchased his gun because his conviction of domestic abuse had not been entered into this check system. DDT’s constant judicial nominations of gun-happy conservatives will make life for people more dangerous for decades.

The NRA has been praised for its programs teaching young people how to shoot. The teenager who killed 17 people last week sharpened his marksmanship in a NRA-supported school program that received $10,000 from the pro-gun organization in 2016. While he was a member of JROTC, the shooter talked about his AR-15; he was described as “a very good shot” with one of the “air rifles special-made for target shooting.” The NRA gave $2.2 million in grants promoting gun use to schools including “elementary and middle schools” for “youth shooting sports.”

Teenagers refuse to wait to talk about gun safety. The last few days they have been protesting and giving speeches that received national media notice. They also plan these events:

  • March 14: National school walkout
  • March 24: March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C.
  • April 20: National school walkout

Stories from these young people are powerful. Carly Novell, 17, sent this message about herself and her grandfather, Charles Cohen, with this photo:

“This is my grandpa. When he was 12 years old, he hid in a closet while his family was murdered during the first mass shooting in America. Almost 70 years later, I also hid in a closet from a murderer. These events shouldn’t be repetitive. Something has to change.”

In response to conservative claims that the shooting was about mental illness and people, not guns, Carly wrote:

“I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours. It was about guns. You weren’t there, you don’t know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns.”

The conservative New York Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch, has reversed its position on assault-style weapons, now calling for a ban on them. The ten-year ban passed in 1994 banned features on semi-automatic rifles such as large capacity and detachable magazines as well as high-caliber bullets. The New York Daily News also has a cover attacking him.

Al Hoffman Jr., a Florida real estate developer who contributed millions of dollars to Republicans, said that he will no longer donate any money to organizations and candidates who don’t support a ban on selling military-style firearms to civilians. Buying an assault-style gun is easier that getting birth control or purchasing Sudafed.  Every state requires an ID to register to vote, but 39 states, including Florida, permit the sales of these weapons with no ID. At least 40 percent of guns sold in the U.S. are purchased with no ID. People can buy as many guns at one time that they wish, and Florida gun sellers need no license to sell weapons.

Russians again flooded social media with “bot” propaganda, this time opposing any gun safety laws. Much of the propaganda pushed the concept of the crazy lone wolf shooter with possible terrorist connections, a device that blocks action on gun safety laws. The sole purpose of Russian involvement is creating chaos to widen divisions and freeze any action. DDT helped the chaos by first blaming the students for not reporting the shooter’s behavior (they did) and then the FBI for ignoring the tip they got because they concentrated on—according to DDT—the non-existent Russian collusion.

Kali Holloway has the solution for ending mass shootings: arm all black men. As in the past, armed black men would move white conservative legislators to endorse gun control. “Racism [can] move American political mountains,” Holloway wrote. The first gun control law, passed in Virginia in 1640, banned blacks from owning guns, and the 1857 Dred Scott decision banned blacks from citizenship because it conferred the right “to keep and carry arms.” Following the Civil War, “Black Codes” made gun ownership by blacks illegal. Martin Luther King was denied an open carry permit. California under Gov. Ronald Reagan ended public carry when the Black Panther Party for Self Defense patrolled Oakland with weapons, and the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, the first federal gun law in almost 30 years, came after race riots.

This list of congressional legislators shows which ones are profiting from supporting the NRA in its opposition to gun safety laws.

Millions of people throughout the United States demand unlimited gun ownership as their definition of “freedom.” The price of their freedom is dead children.

February 14, 2018

Shooting, Russian Involvement: Demand Action

Filed under: Guns — trp2011 @ 10:20 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Today at least 17 people were killed in a school shooting, taking the public attention from other events. Vice President Mike Pence is especially lucky because most people may not notice that he again blatantly lied in an interview of Axios. He said:

“Irrespective of efforts that were made in 2016 by foreign powers, it is the universal conclusion of our intelligence communities that none of those efforts had any impact on the outcome of the 2016 election.”

Pence lied.

Six U.S. intelligence leaders, including Pompeo, Coats, and Wray, testified that Russia had interfered in the last general election, that they plan to do so in the current election, and that DDT has not given any direction to stop the Russian meddling. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week that the meddling has already started but that there is nothing that the United States can do to prevent any Russian involvement.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said:

“We have seen Russian activity and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycle.”

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said:

“There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.”

The intelligence community concluded that Russia “aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.” Collectively, they made this statement:

“We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.”

The intelligence community made no ruling on the Russian affect on the outcome of the election last year when Donald Trump became the president of the United States. Yet Pence said that “it is the universal conclusion of our intelligence communities that none of those efforts had any impact on the outcome of the 2016 election.”

Donald Trump’s appointed FBI director, Christopher Wray, thinks that Russia believes its maneuvers succeeded in electing Trump as the president.

The Russians hacked and revised emails that resulted in negative press about Hillary Clinton. It distributed massive communications on social media that lied about Clinton and other progressive candidates. The FBI spread doubt about Clinton just days before the election while it failed to release the information about the Russian involvement in Donald Trump’s campaign, knowledge that they had for months before the election. And Donald Trump got over 60 million votes after he lied to the public about protecting the working people.

The same hackers also got into the email accounts of defense contract workers, and nobody is talking about that. Donald Trump refuses to sanction Russia for its interference.

Today witnessed the 18th school shooting in only 31 days of school in 2018, most of the shootings largely unnoticed by the media. Because of the gun industry and the NRA, conservatives take no action. (Although I wonder if they decide to allow all students over the age of five to take guns to school.) Yet GOP legislators give away trillions of dollars to the wealthy and the huge corporations. They plan to spend tens of billions of dollars on a wall to keep out immigrants and hundreds of billions of dollars to start and continue wars throughout the entire world.

The killer’s choice of weapon, at least one AR-15 style rifle and a large number of magazines, was the usual one for the deadliest mass shootings, including the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas massacre and the November 5, 2017 Texas church shooting. The assault-style rifle was developed for military use, but people use the Second Amendment to force its availability for the general population. Florida has no waiting period for anyone, including those on the terrorist watch list, who wish to buy guns, and the U.S. House has passed a bill making concealed-carry permits in one state valid in any other state.

Within hours after the shooting, officials associated the shooting with mental illness and calling them “evil.” Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County said that nothing can be done about shooters if they are determined to kill people. Others are using the standard statement that shooters are “evil.” Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s response was that she would guarantee no “price gouging” for funerals and make sure that the families didn’t have to pay for the funerals of the dead students. Florida Gov. Rick Scott gave his “thoughts and prayers” to the victims.

People who want to think of the United States as exceptional should know that the U.S. has 270 million guns with 90 mass shooters from 1966 to 2012. No other country has more than 46 million guns or 18 mass shooters. In 2009, the gun homicide rate in the U.S. was far higher than other developed countries at 33 per million people. The rate was 5 per million in Canada and 0.7 million in Britain, corresponding with differences in gun ownership. In 2013, Japan had 13 deaths related to guns; U.S. gun-related deaths included 21,175 suicides, 11,208 homicides, and 505 deaths caused by an accidental discharge. The chances per capita of a U.S. resident dying from a gun is 300 times more likely than a Japanese person dying in the same manner, and U.S. gun ownership is 150 times as high as that of Japan. Only three countries—Guatemala, Mexico, and the U.S.—have the assumption that people have an inherent right to own guns.

Gun ownership is the reason for these gun deaths:

  • The U.S. does not reflect a greater problem with mental health issues than any other wealthy country. Only four percent of U.S. gun deaths might be attributed to mental health problems. Other countries with high suicide rates have low rates of mass shootings.
  • People in the U.S. are no more likely to play video games than in any other developed country.
  • European countries show little association between immigration and other diversity with the rates of gun murders or mass shootings.
  • The U.S. is no more prone to crime than other developed countries—just more lethal.
  • Gun control legislation reduces gun murders, according to an analysis of 130 studies from 10 countries.

Britain’s 1987 mass shooting and Australia’s 1996 shooting turned the tide of unregulated gun ownership. The U.S. doesn’t care. British journalist Dan Hodges wrote:

“In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”

These are the 1,607 mass shootings in the U.S. since Sandy Hook.

Broward County Public Schools Supt. Robert Runcie said, “This has been a day we’ve seen the worst of humanity.” He may be right, but the worst is coming from people on the internet accusing the shooter of being a DACA recipient and an ISIS supporter with no evidence. The worst of humanity comes from people who refuse to take any action to stop mass shootings. The shooter will be dehumanized as insane, and the dead will be classified as heroes. And the Republicans will block any sane action. Only a shooting by an immigrant or in the name of a non-Christian religion would bring any action.

In their sanctimonious method of controlling gun safety laws, conservatives always accuse people who want to stop shootings as attempting to “politicize” a tragedy. The only way to stop the growing mass shootings and lack of safety at schools is to stop electing Republicans because they are controlled by the NRA and the gun industry. They have no interest in protecting people; they only want to get elected and grow richer and more powerful. Their demands to not politicize tragedies are to guarantee that gun laws grow more lax.

Happy Valentine’s Day, thanks to your GOP legislators, owned by the gun industry, who think that words like “prayers and condolences” are sufficient action. And Vice-President Pence, your intelligence community didn’t say that Russia had no impact on last year’s election that turned the United States away from democracy and toward authoritarianism.

June 14, 2016

Toxic Masculinity Leads to Killings from Guns

Filed under: Guns — trp2011 @ 10:50 PM
Tags: , , ,

We could never get to the moon. We could not possibly do away with (fill in the name of a disease). We could never build highways across the United States. Planes will never fly. These are some of the statements proved false during the past century. Why, then, do we think that we can’t do away with gun violence? The reason comes from the disease of toxic masculinity controlling gun laws.

Guns are “manly.” Yes, the killer in the recent Orlando shooting suffered from internalized homophobia and he may have tried to blame his action on his religion. But he also loved his guns, having two different concealed carry licenses. The FBI investigated him in 2013 after he made threats to a coworker, and before that he physically abused his wife. He was so controlling that her father had to rescue her. His job at the private security firm, G4S, allowed him to be controlling and dominant. The company is known to be abusive to immigrants, children, and other inmates.

Mention toxic masculinity, and some men whine about feminists condemning all men. Amanda Marcotte explains that the term “toxic” changes the definition of masculinity. She writes:

“It’s a manhood that views women and LGBT people as inferior, sees sex as an act not of affection but domination, and which valorizes violence as the way to prove one’s self to the world.”

Conservatives push disasters like the Orlando shooting as done by either a crazy person or a “radicalized” Muslim. They ignore the self-appointed heavily-armed militia that took over public land in Oregon  and the head of a self-appointed Arizona border patrol who molested five- and six-year-old girls as well as the men who attack and kill people at abortion clinics.

Men suffering from toxic masculinity are terrified of appearing tender or soft—being less than “manly.” The far-right white conservatives, concerned that they might be emasculated by a lack of racist beliefs, developed the term “cuckservative” for anyone who thinks that non-white, non-heterosexual people have the right to live in the United States. “Manly” men aren’t worried about Muslims killing people in the United States; they worry about them—and all other people not in their “manly” group of forming the majority of the population.

Toxic masculinity ends up with a man killing his family because it’s the only way he can control them, to show that he has power over them. And thanks to legislatures controlled by the “manly” men, they have the military weapons to carry out the murders. They argue that they need guns to “protect” themselves, but the “manly” George Zimmerman didn’t need his gun for protection. He stalked Trayvon Martin despite the police telling him not to do it and executed a 17-year-old boy. That’s toxic masculinity.

Just one or two guns for defense isn’t enough. They stockpile more and more of them, taking pride in how much control they give them. And toxic masculinity demands that the guns be capable of shooting 100 or more people. “Manly” men develop an attachment to their guns. They sit and stroke them–and sometimes shoot themselves in the process. Any imagined threat that they can’t buy as many as they want sends them into hysterics. Just thinking about LGBT people sends these “manly” men into more fear and hysteria because they compare non-heterosexual people to be feminine.

The more fear that “manly” men experience, the more they threaten others—sometimes carrying out their threats. Donald Trump is an example of toxic masculinity, shouting for “toughness” and calling for his supporters to beat up protesters. His only strategies are to bomb the enemy—whoever they are—and keep people who don’t look like him out of the country. And to make sure that everyone has enough guns to keep killing innocent people.

The “manly” gun-lovers complain about the gay bar in Orlando being a “gun-free” zone because Florida law doesn’t allow guns in bars. An off-duty police officer hired as armed security at Pulse tried to stop the killer but failed to succeed against the military weapon that the killer brought with him. There was “a good guy with a gun,” that miracle that gun-lovers call for, and the “solution” failed.

“Manly” men say that mass shootings are not that common so there should be unlimited ownership of guns. They’re wrong, and between 2009 and 2012, 40 percent of mass shootings started with a shooter targeting his girlfriend, wife, or ex-wife. Just last year almost one-third of mass shooting deaths was related in some way to domestic violence. The majority of mass shootings in this country take place inside the home where men target the women and children in their intimate life.

Male entitlement makes “manly” men think that violence and coercion are part of romantic relationships. If abusive men were blocked from obtaining guns, the number of killings could shrink. The Orlando killer abused his wife and threatened co-workers–and still got concealed carry permits.

Other shootings from “toxic masculinity”:

Mainak Sarkar killed a professor at UCLA earlier this month. Before his trip to California where he also planned to kill another professor, he climbed through a window to kill his estranged wife in Minnesota.

Cedric Larry Ford killed three co-workers at Excel Industries in Hesston (KS) last February after he was issued a restraining order by someone he had abused. Women in past romantic relationships were afraid of Ford, and one said that he tried to strangle her.

John Russell Houser killed two people in a Lafayette (LA) movie theater last July after his family had talked about his violent behavior. His wife had gotten a temporary protective order against him in 2008.

Robert Lewis Dear killed three people at a Planned Parenthood last fall after a long history of preying on women. Dear’s wife said he pushed her out a window in 1997, and a neighbor took out a restraining order in 2002 after he made “unwanted advances.”

Syed Rizwan Farook, who killed fourteen people in San Bernardino (CA) last December, grew up in a violent home where his father abused his mother.

Elliot Rodger killed six people in Santa Barbara (CA) in a rampage because he claimed that women romantically rejected him. He perceived his virginal state as the fault of women and pledged to “slaughter every spoiled, stuck-up, blond slut I see” inside the “hottest sorority house of UCSB.”

Cho Seung-Huim killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in the second worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Two women had complained that he was stalking them, and Cho left behind a “rambling note raging against women.”

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Florida has some of the nation’s laxest gun laws in its support of NRA’s crusade of guns everywhere:

  • No waiting period except for a handgun.
  • No background check for the sale of weapons between two private parties.
  • No state permit requirement to sell guns.
  • No license requirement for gun ownership.
  • No registration for guns.
  • No regulation on the sales of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles, or large capacity ammunition magazines.
  • No limit to the number of guns a person can buy at one time.

The state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issues concealed carry licenses for applicants who meet basic qualifications.

After two days of silence after the Orlando shooting, NRA broke its silence with “Gun laws don’t deter terrorists” in Rupert Murdoch’s publication USA Today. Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action misrepresented statements from the president, skipped over the common use of the AR-15 assault weapon for mass shooting, and blamed Islamic extremists. Like other conservatives, Cox accused the Obama administration’s “political correctness” for the shooting.

The NRA promotes toxic masculinity through its crusade to put multiple guns in every home:

  • Opposition to background checks;
  • Support for restoration of gun rights to convicted felons;
  • Protecting the arsenals and gun rights of domestic abusers;
  • Making it harder for courts to review—and uphold—gun laws.

As conservatives and their leader, Donald Trump, continue to push toxic masculinity, “manly” men will push their agenda through the NRA, more guns will be sold, and more people will die. If we can go to the moon, cure diseases, build highways, and fly huge plane, we can stop gun violence.

March 13, 2016

Christianity – Good, Bad, Ugly

 

Good:

After over seven years in office, President Obama has decided not to include abstinence-only education programs in his budget. Ronald Reagan began in 1981 to fund these programs that are proved to be failures, and funding “grew exponentially” between 1996 and 2006. In 25 years, taxpayers have been forced to pay over $1.5 billion for these failed programs. One survey showed the doubling of participants in one type of this program who would “probably” have sex during high school. Teen pregnancy has steadily declined in states that require comprehensive-sex education while teen pregnancy in states where abstinence-only sex education is allowed and even mandated stays high.

States with the highest rate of teen pregnancies are New Mexico, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma—places that mandate sex-education programs stress abstinence and “the importance of sex only during marriage.”New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Maine had the lowest numbers of teen pregnancies in the nation during the same time. Teen pregnancy costs the U.S. about $9.4 billion in 2010.

Unlike the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts have long refused to engage in bigotry, a policy that occasionally makes them the target of conservative religious groups. The most recent event comes from a Missouri Catholic archdiocese when St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson urged priests to sever all ties with Girl Scout troops, accusing them of “exhibiting a troubling pattern of behavior.” A week later the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri had raised a record amount of money at its annual fundraiser—over $350,000. In addition, increased sales of Girl Scout cookies has caused shortages, and  several local businesses offered to host cookie booths in their lobbies.

In a possible lessening of Catholic anti-contraception position, Pope Francis said that its use in avoiding infecting fetuses with the Zika virus is better than abortions. He said, “Avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil.” For example, Pope Paul VI permitted African raped nuns to use contraception. The Catholic church’s position on preventing contraception does not hold up in Latin America: 88 percent of Mexicans, 91 percent of Colombians, and 93 percent of Brazilians support the use of contraceptives. Francis also said that Catholic lawmakers are free to vote for same-sex marriage and civil unions in opposition to Pope Benedict XVI’s document in 2003 when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger that explicitly forbid Catholic legislators from voting for same-sex marriage or unions.

Bad:

Good news, bad news. Idaho is getting rid of a law mandating daily Bible readings in schools while allowing Bibles to be used in school classes—including science.

The Rev. Dwight C. Jones, mayor of Richmond (VA), thinks that the First Amendment protects him as he hires people from his church to do volunteer work for the church while being paid by the state’s capital city. Over ten percent of Richmond’s executive-level positions were filled by members of Jones’ church, First Baptist of South Richmond. Head of public works for Richmond, Emmanuel Adediran, was discovered supervising renovation work for First Baptist while on his city’s job. Two contractors also listed Richmond city offices as the billing address for estimates on kitchen equipment for the church. One employee has already been fired, but more are in the pipeline. Jones is asking for respect “for the wall of separation between church and state.”

Many Christians who fear Sharia Law in the U.S. support Christian Law. GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz is one of those according to his wife, Heidi. She claims that her husband is the only one able to provide a “combination of the law and religion.” According to Heidi Cruz, “the God of Christianity is the God of freedom, of individual liberty, of choice and of consequence.” She also calls Christians “loving” and  “nonjudgmental”–the same ones who want to take away rights from people. Cruz is running on a platform that rights in the United States come from God and talks about “Christianity under attack.” He openly supports torture, carpet bombing, distribution of water in Flint only to anti-abortion religious centers, and has connections to which supremacy groups.

GOP presidential candidate John Kasich, who claims to be “small government,” goes beyond pushing Christianity through the United States. He wants an agency to make Christians out of everyone in the world. His proposed tax-payer funded agency would “beam messages around the world about what it means to have a western ethic, to be part of a Judeo-Christian society.” In many ways, Kasich is as dangerous as his GOP competition, but the media gives him as pass as a “moderate Republican.”

Ugly:

God has declared that domestic violence abusers should have the “freedom” to “open carry” guns in order to protect themselves, according to Rep. Jeff Coody in his defense of an Oklahoma bill that passed the House by a large majority. When Rep. Mike Brown asked if the government had a responsibility to protect other people, Coody said, “No.” Since the state passed a concealed carry law, it is at a 10-year high for rapes. This bill also removes any requirement for permits or training before people can buy guns. “If we give people some freedom, people tend to use that responsibly,” Coody said.

Proving that “religious liberty” is only for Christians, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) is furious that President Obama has blocked the sale of a San Carlos Apache sacred site to foreign-owned Resolution Copper. He justifies his actions by alleging that the place has never been sacred, despite testimony from Scientists for the Society for American Archaeology the site has been used for religious purposes since “well before recorded history.” The area had been closed to mining since then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s recognition of the sacred land in 1955. Tribe members have occupied the site since it was sold out to the mining company according to a provision in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act. The sale would mark the first time in history that Native American land would be handed over to foreign interests by Congress.

Just when people thought that the Catholic Church might try to stop child sexual abuse, the church has delivered a different message. The guidelines for training newly ordained bishops state:

“According to the state of civil laws of each country where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds.”

This directive ignores the pope’s statement that “everything possible must be done to rid the church of the scourge of the sexual abuse.”

Girls-are-like-apples-on-trees

In addition, just plain creepy weird:

“Girls are like apples on trees. Their fathers are the farmers, whose job is to care for them. He must protect his apples from pests and disease. He must guard them against thieves who may pick his apples prematurely. Neither those at the top nor those at the bottom can help their location. But, when each reaches peak ripeness, it is the farmer’s job to harvest that fruit and give it to whom he will, to those in need. So there is nothing wrong with the apples still on the tree and nothing wrong with the boys who seek them. But it is the farmer’s duty to provide for both, in due season.”

That comes from Vaughn Ohlman, who thinks that Christian youth aren’t marrying early enough because fathers are too selective about which “boys” they give their “girls” to in marriage. According to Suzanne Titkemeyer, Ohlman is upset because he wanted a girl in his church and the father wouldn’t “give” her to Ohlman.

Mass shootings have increased within the past few weeks across the nation, but the GOP refuses to take any actions for prevention.  Their solution is prayer. Several months ago, the president said, “[T]houghts and prayers are not enough…. It does … nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America, next week or a couple of months from now.” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) responded, “When you are praying, you are doing something about it. You are revealing the presence of God….  That is why prayer should always come first.” No comment on what should come next. For Christian Republicans, solutions are denial and prayer while giving all the resources in the nation to the wealthiest people. This would be worsen under a fundamentalist Christian president.

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