Nel's New Day

July 27, 2022

GOP, DDT Reject Human Rights

After a year, the Senate passed a bill to provide $280 billion for chip manufacturing, design, and scientific research. Seventeen Republicans supported the bill in the 64-33 vote with only one member of the Democratic caucus, Bernie Sanders (I-VT), in opposition because of its weak guidelines. The U.S. has contributed no money to chip manufacturing, compared to the $150 billion that China pays to support the industry. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she had the votes in her chamber for the bill.   

Most of the funding goes toward advanced, rather than basic, chips, the majority currently coming from Taiwan. The U.S. went from making 37 percent of the world’s chips in 1990 to only 12 percent while the nation contributes “nearly nothing” to their manufacturing  compared to China’s $150 billion investment. Even with the advantages to their states, some senators, such as Tommy Turberville (R-AL) ignored the importance of chips, i.e., a critical component for Javelin missiles, manufactured in Turberville’s state.

After Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) joined Republicans to force the removal of tax increases for the wealthy and big businesses from the bill, he failed to vote after testing positive for COVID.

In Congress, Republicans joined Justice Clarence Thomas to make women into baby incubators by removing female rights to travel, contraception access, and marriage to whom they love. Although 47 GOP House members voted for marriage equality, only eight supported the right to contraception, and 205 Republicans voted against women traveling across state lines for an abortion. This dystopian vision of the U.S. comes directly from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The GOP refusal to protect marriage equality and contraception is exactly the same Republicans used to deny protection for Roe v. Wade—their assumption these rights will never be overturned. Yet justices are calling the 2015 marriage equality ruling “undemocratic,” “a problem that only [the court] can fix.”

Sen. Joni Ernst has also blocked a bill legalizing contraceptives; at 52 years old, she probably doesn’t need them. Ernst made her reputation—and may have gotten elected in 2014—with a TV ad about comparing her goals in the Senate to castrating hogs.

Twenty House Republicans also supported human trafficking by voting against a bill to combat the problem. One of them, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), criticized Democrats for doing nothing about protecting victims. Another naysayer, Matt Gaetz (R-FL), is under investigation for sex trafficking at least one underage girl. Pence’s former aide, Marc Short, said about Gaetz’s recent speech to Turning Point USA, a conservative student group, “I’m actually surprised the Florida law enforcement still allows him to speak to teenage conferences like that.”

In his speech to Turning Point, Gaetz said all anti-abortionists were fat and ugly, that they couldn’t get pregnant anyway. After a 19-year-old Texas girl objected, he used her photo to support his lie and sent her a vile insulting tweet. She used his body-shaming abuse to raise $214,000 thus far for an anti-abortion group.  

DDT’s favorite network—no, it isn’t Fox—may disappear after Verizon Fios stopped carrying One America News, removing 3.5 million subscribers. Earlier this year, OAN lost its biggest revenue when AT&T dumped DirecTV off the service in April, losing another 15 million subscribers. Far to the right of Fox, OAN created a haven for pundits who couldn’t get jobs on other channels, those willing to promote conspiracy theories including the “stolen” election.  OAN has admitted Verizon thinks that the channel is not “a credible news organization.”

Perhaps not noticing that CNN’s new CEO is directing the network to the right-wing dark side, DDT threatens to sue the company for defamation going back to his 2016 presidency campaign. DDT is still claiming his 2020 election was “stolen,” as recently as his speech in Washington, D.C. earlier this week. Clarence Thomas has said the Supreme Court should create an easier environment for people to win lawsuits against the media.   

DDT’s speech seems to be winding up to another presidential campaign with the lies about stolen elections and LGBTQ people front and center, especially trans women. For example, he misgendered swimmer Lia Thomas, accusing “him” of having “arms that are 30 feet long” and “seriously injur[ing]” a competitor “because he swam so fast that he gave her major wind burn as he went by.” Thomas also wasn’t named “female athlete of the year” and didn’t break the record “by 38 seconds.” DDT also talked about a transgender weightlifter who doesn’t seem to exist. In his speech, DDT called LGBTQ people “sickos.”

Fifty-five trans candidates running in 2022 have been joined by 20 gender nonconforming candidates, 18 nonbinary candidates, and four Two-Spirit candidates. Some of them are in red states such as Montana and Oklahoma. A total of 1,068 LGBTQ candidates, an increase of 73 percent since 2020, is running this year when legislatures introduced 162 anti-LGBTQ bills before July 1. Congress has 11 elected LGBTQ members.

Witnesses in the House January 6 probe are revealing more of his lies. The Pentagon now supports the many claims that he never called on the National Guard to protect the U.S. Capitol. DDT’s former acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller said DDT never requested the 10,000 troops to secure the Capitol before January 6, a claim made by both DDT and his former chief of staff Mark Meadows. DDT’s former official Mick Mulvaney will also testify before the committee; he says he believe the testimony of witnesses Cassidy Hutchinson and other top former DDT officials,

After eight hearings from the House January 6 investigative committee showing DDT’s involvement in the failed coup at the U.S. Capitol, the DOJ is taking steps to investigate him. Concerns include DDT’s attempt to force former VP Mike President to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential election and DDT’s ties to establishing fake alternate electors in battleground states he lost. In five of seven states, these electors appear to be driven by DDT’s lawyers with DDT also involved. The DOJ interviewed witnesses, seized phone records of his top allies, and searched the home of former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark who enabled DDT in his election-fraud theories. AG Merrick Garland has repeatedly said that no one is above the law, and the Fulton County (GA) criminal investigation into DDT’s efforts to overturn the election is also expanding.

Furious about the investigation, DDT used his Truth Social to repeat his lies and conspiracy theories—“massive and irrefutable” evidence about the “rigged and stolen” election, his “perfect” phone call to Georgia begging for more votes to make him a winner, and more whining about his impeachments and Russia scams. The extensive quotes, complete with excessive capital letters, are here.

The DOJ has a new warrant to search John Eastman’s phone in the continued investigation regarding a criminal conspiracy between DDT and his lawyer to overturn the election, partly through using fake electors. Eastman’s employer, conservative Claremont Institute, is backing off from its staunch DDT support after standing by Eastman before it learned more about his actions. Now they’re lamenting that he decided to jettison the Constitution for DDT’s benefit. The question now is how the think tank can separate itself from Eastman.

The House committee evidence supports charges of obstruction of an official proceeding with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and used against hundreds of insurrectionists along with possibly seditious conspiracy, like charges brought against Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. In a new poll, 79 percent of people think DDT’s actions on January 6 were illegal or unethical with only 21 percent believing he did nothing wrong. Even 55 percent of Republicans agree with either illegal or unethical behavior, the same percentage of Republicans who don’t want DDT as the 2024 candidate. The 69 percent of people who believe the January 6 attack to be a crisis or major problem for American democracy is up from 65 percent earlier this year.

Leaked audio from Steve Bannon, added to his saying that DDT would declare victory on election night even if he lost, are his conspiracy with exiled Chinese mogul Guo Wengui and his associates to spread the lies that Hunter Biden’s computer, Joe Biden’s son, contained proof about salacious crimes. Guo controls pro-DDT media sites spreading far-right disinformation. Before the election, Guo’s associates disseminated videos and photos of Hunter Biden in sexual encounters and drug use.

After paying almost $2 million for DDT’s legal bills, the RNC chair Ronna McDaniel said the money stops if he becomes a 2024 candidate using the weak excuse of its “neutrality policy.” Earlier, DDT backed down when McDaniel made the same threat after DDT said he was creating his own political party. DDT’s leadership PAC, Save America, and his presidential committee-turned-PAC Make America Great Again PAC are paying legal bills for issues related to January 6, raising concerns about his witness tampering.

A Harvard study of almost 500 documents shows primary motivation for 417 Capitol rioters charged for insurrection: support for DDT, 20.6 percent; DDT’s lie about a stolen election, 20.6 percent; “peacefully protest,” 7 percent; and “general interest in violence,” 6.2 percent.  

January 18, 2022

President Biden’s First Year

Thursday is the first anniversary of Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration, and the media have preached doom and gloom for his prospects since Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) turned against the voting act and Build Back Better jobs bill months ago. His average polling at this time is 42 percent, and COVID’s variant Omicron has sent the number of infections and even deaths sky high after Republicans decided they wouldn’t get vaccinated. A higher-than-usual inflation rate, blamed on Biden, also comes from price gouging by big businesses while they pay far less or no taxes than before Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Hurt by storms, lack of manufacturing, and a shortage of labor from the pandemic also attacked the supply chain. Biden was blamed for its problems but given no credit for improvement. 

History, however, shows that serious problems in a president’s first year doesn’t predict defeat. Two-term Ronald Reagan spent his first year in a serious economic recession after disastrous anti-inflationary policies of Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, and the two political parties were fighting about Reagan’s shredding the social safety net. Reagan’s approval fell to 41 percent within 18 months in a far less politically polarized time with no pandemic and no sniping from a former president. His standing improved with his taking credit for a better economy, and he won in 1984 by standing up against the Soviet Union.

Bill Clinton, also two terms, won his second election in 1996 despite problems with the recovering recession during the first year of his first term and a population angered by his health plan. Fifteen months after his first inauguration, his approval rating dropped to 37 percent, and the GOP took over Congress in 1994, shutting down the government in both 1995 and 1996. Voters put the blame on House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the other Republican for the legislative dysfunction. Clinton also received praise for his toughness after the April 1995’s bombing by an extremist in Oklahoma City, and he ended his second term with an approval rating of 66 percent despite his GOP impeachment.

When Barack Obama became president in 2009, the country was in dire economic circumstances from George W. Bush’s wars, tax cuts, and deregulated housing. Conservatives bitterly fought Obama for his Affordable Care Act, worrying people on the left. His approval rating dropped from 68 percent at inauguration to 46 percent 21 months later, and, as is customary, the midterm elections gave House control to Republicans. As usual under Democrats, the economy rebounded even when Republicans threatened catastrophe by fighting an increase in the debt ceiling.  

Republican Jennifer Rubin describes the media’s destructive tendencies toward Biden in her column, “Dear Media, Stop Giving Republicans the Benefit of the Doubt.” In the media’s efforts “to make the authoritarian and often blatantly racist party seem ‘normal,’” it depicted Virginia’s new governor, Glenn Youngkin, as distancing himself from DDT, according to Rubin. “The coverage rarely scrutinized his positions, such as his potentially disastrous proposed tax cuts or his aversion to mask mandates, a critical part of Virginia’s school reopening.” His first day on the job, Youngkin catered to white supremacists by banning critical race theory, not taught in the schools, from the curriculum as well as blocking mask mandates. Rubin continues with more examples and explains:

“This refusal by the media to render judgment on the GOP’s cult leaders has gone on for more than six years. Despite replete evidence of Trump’s inability to distinguish truth from fiction, his self-image of grandiosity and his fixation on conspiracy theories, the mainstream media failed to characterize Trump’s conduct as abnormal.”

In DDT’s Arizona rally last weekend, he insisted on this lie:

“The left is now rationing lifesaving therapeutics based on race, discriminating against and denigrating, just denigrating, White people to determine who lives and who dies. If you’re White, you don’t get the vaccine, or if you’re White, you don’t get therapeutics.”

DDT’s referred to violent insurrectionists on January 6 as “political prisoners”; 200 of them already pled guilty to crimes. Then he bragged about the size of his crowd that day as “the largest crowd I’ve ever spoken before.” Politico covered the crowd cheered “as [DDT] aired complaints about the election and made swipes at the Biden administration.” Rubin asked if he was “airing complaints” or “making positively ludicrous claims.” She concludes:

“Anodyne descriptions that slot Trump’s antics into “politics as usual” mislead news consumers. To make matters worse, interviewers avoid asking Republicans how they can pledge loyalty to someone so bonkers.

“Certainly, the media should avoid rendering a psychiatric evaluation for Trump. But they routinely refuse to convey the abnormality on display before them. This is “the emperor has no clothes” on steroids.

“Unflinching, brutally honest coverage would describe Trump’s behavior accurately, including his syntax and preposterous lies. It would concede this conduct would be disqualifying for any business executive or even a small-town mayor. The media are compelled to level with voters: The two parties are not equivalent, in part because one treats its crackpot leader like a messiah. Unfortunately, there are no signs the media are ready for such candor.”

In a demonstration of Rubin’s criticism of the media, Politico’s daily West Wing Playbook, a summary of the Biden administration, began with “Even JENNIFER RUBIN thinks JOE BIDEN is in trouble,” citing her column, “Biden needs a reset. Here’s how he can do it.” It ignored her commentary on the media. 

A year ago, Biden identified four major issues: COVID, climate, economy, and racial justice. Since then, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin made Ukraine another one, and Republicans added the loss of democracy in the United States.

COVID: Vaccinations went well until Republicans refused them, helping cause first the Delta variant and then the Omicron. His plan to provide free testing, however, took off a day early with federal mailings of tests or insurance companies paying for tests.

Climate: Senate Republicans plus Democratic senators Manchin and Sinema delayed many of his plans, including the Build Back Better bill, although he issued several executive orders to fight global warming. Biden has made several appointments prioritizing climate change, reversed DDT’s anti-environmental policies, and rejoined the Paris climate accords.

Economy: Jobless claims are at a 50-year low, the stock market has hit records, and the nation’s economy is the fastest-growing in the world with 6.4 million jobs added, the most for any first-year president, and unemployment dropped from 6.3 percent to 3.9 percent in a year, the lowest for the pandemic. The GDP grew by seven percent in the last quarter of 2021, and wages rose by 4.7 percent in the past year. With almost no media on these improvement, most people notice only the seven-percent inflation for the year, the most in 40 years from struggles in the supply chain, Middle East oil prices, and unfettered free enterprise allowing businesses to profit by trillions of dollars. 

Racial justice: Biden’s infrastructure law has provided $5 billion for Black farmers, and he named an historically diverse administration. He is still pushing for a voting rights law despite opposition from Republicans and the two Democratic senators.

Russia: Standing firm against Putin’s attempt to take over Ukraine, Biden makes a huge contrast to DDT.

Democracy: In Georgia, Biden made his strongest speech thus far, indicating that he understands he cannot persuade the Republicans to support democracy and instead must fight for it. He has always supported bipartisanship, but by the end of his first year, he understands that the only unity with the majority of the GOP legislature would be to cave in to everything they want. This majority believes their only solution is to follow DDT’s “big lie” of a stolen election, one that supports white supremacy. In the upcoming year, the House January 6 investigation committee will be one of the leading tools to support democracy for the United States.

Journalist Dan Froomkin decries the lack of coverage regarding the erosion of democracy as conservatives promote authoritarianism and fascism. In December, columnist Dana Milbank wrote:

“The country is in an existential struggle between self-governance and an authoritarian alternative. And we in the news media, collectively, have given equal, if not slightly more favorable, treatment to the authoritarians.”

NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen told CNN’s Brian Stelter:

“News organizations have to come out and say, we are pro-democracy, pro-truth, pro-science, pro- evidence, pro-voting. Then they have to figure out for each of those new pros, what practices are we going to retire because they don’t meet that standard, and what are we going to start to do routinely that we didn’t do before?”

Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein called on journalists to “cover democracy like it matters.” And columnist Margaret Sullivan despaired that “news organizations are not making democracy-under-siege a central focus of the work they present to the public.” The Columbia Journalism Review gave more journalistic failings regarding a support for democracy in the press. The Fourth Estate needs to consider democracy in the second year of Biden’s term. 

In addition to fighting the massive far-right media, Biden must push against a selfish criminal who, like many of his supporters, believes himself the legal president of the U.S., and the “mainstream” media, owned by conservatives, searching for excitement, not accuracy. Conservatives view Biden’s politeness as weakness and dementia, and opposition from a political party determined to win at any costs is considered lack of unity. Yet he’s brought the nation a long way in just 365 days.

January 3, 2022

2022: The GOP March to Fascism

A year ago, hopes were high after Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) had to leave the White House after the inauguration of Joe Biden as president. The plan for mass vaccinations was ready to roll, and reasonable people hoped DDT would disappear at Mar-a-Lago. But then came the insurrection on January 6 when DDT’s followers attacked the U.S. Capitol to overturn the election, and the GOP preparation for another coup continued. Despite over 100 judges ruling that the 2020 election had no wide-spread fraud and the failure of even Arizona’s $6 million ballot-counting by a private company, DDT and his followers—including congressional members—lie about a stolen election, inciting more violence. Texas also failed to change votes, and Wisconsin starts a new “audit” every time the old can’t find fraud.

Biden’s economy is far better than during the past four years, but the mainstream and far-right media refuse to publicize positive information. If the bull market, by now with highly overvalued stocks, turns bearish, it can devolve into another depression. The media calls Biden soft while he plays hardball with Vladimir Putin involving Russian threats against Ukraine—ironic DDT ‘s being Putin’s BFF, even allowing Russians to spy inside the Oval Office. China gallops ahead of the U.S. after DDT failed to manage the problems. Congressional hawks cry for blood, threatening world wars, speeding climate warming, and destroying security and economic growth.

The media may beat up on Biden to increase its audience, seriously shrinking without DDT in the White House. It made hay criticizing the withdrawal from Afghanistan and ignored the collapse’s trajectory for 20 years since George W. Bush declared a preemptive war. The media works on the same sensationalism it got from DDT.  

This year’s elections in other countries will help determine the global direction toward democracy or siding with China. South Korea (March 9) and France (April 10 and April 24 runoff) will decide whether to keep a progressive leader while Australia (probably mid-May) will determine whether it has a conservative Parliament. Its decision will determine relationships with the U.S. or China. Sweden’s center-right parties want to take over Parliament (September 11), and Western European far-right is on the rise.

Polls for the presidential election of Philippines (May 9), already leaning toward China, give a strong lead to the son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos with current President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter running for vice-president. In Brazil, leftist leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who governed the country from 2003 to 2011, has a comfortable lead for October’s election after the Supreme Court threw out his conviction of corruption. Right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, known as the Trump of South America, is trailing by 30 percent, and Serge Moro, the judge who help to put Lula into jail, has only six percent.

Before DDT lost his election, he endorsed the authoritarian Bolsonaro, and four days before Poland’s election day last July, he endorsed the winner, incumbent President Andrzej Duda, for his restrictions on the judiciary, media, and civil society. Now he formally supports Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in more opposition to democracy. Because of gerrymandered districts, the election in April or May will likely go to Orbán who consolidated hundreds of media outlets to be controlled by political allies, gamed elections, and expanded his power with the excuse of the pandemic. The title of a Vox report was “How Democracy Died in Hungary.”

Thomas Homer-Dixon, a political science professor at a British Columbia University only 35 miles north of the U.S., wrote an op-ed for Globe and Mail about how the United States could be ruled by a fascist dictator eight years from now. The piece covers implications for Canada, for example if “the U.S. regime demands” the return of “high-profile political refugees fleeing persecution.” The entire piece is here.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), one of two Republicans on the nine-member House investigation committee, said the committee might consider criminal charges against DDT because he did nothing to halt the insurrection for the first 187 minutes. She said, “The Committee has firsthand testimony now that he was sitting in the dining room next to the Oval Office watching the attack on television as the assault on the Capitol occurred.” Twice, he ignored pleas from his daughter Ivanka Trump to go to the nearby briefing room and tell his followers to “stop,” “to stand down,” “to go home.” She added that the committee knows other people, like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), asked DDT to tell his supporters to stop the violence.

According to Cheney, one criminal statute without question is “dereliction of duty,” and the committee must “look at … enhanced penalties for that kind of dereliction of duty.” She declared that DDT is “at war with the rule of law” and if he repeats the lies about a “stolen election,” he does so, knowing that violence will ensue. DDT plans to do exactly that during a press conference on January 6 at exactly the same time as the Capitol prayer service. Cheney called on her Republican party to choose between being “loyal to Donald Trump or … to the constitution.” She concluded, “We cannot be both.”  

Last year, Democrats passed at least a dozen major bills, including a large infrastructure bill and more financial assistance for a country suffering from the disease that DDT permitted to continue as a benefit to his political campaigning. Yet right-wing media, sometimes with the assistance of mainstream media, claim that Biden has accomplished nothing because two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), oppose both the jobs bill, Build Back Better, and the bill to protect voting rights for everyone in red states, both to be addressed during the upcoming year. An appropriations bill must be passed by February 13 to keep the country from shutting down.  

To address the looming monster of the 2022 elections, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he will force a vote by January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to change the filibuster if GOP senators block voting rights legislation. A change requires only 50 votes, but Manchin and Sinema block altering it. Sinema even opposes voting rights reform, a serious problem in many states since 2013 when the Roberts Supreme Court overturned part of the 1966 Voting Rights Act. Democrats may try to make the filibuster more difficult that the current method in which one person can stop debate on a bill by calling in with that request.

Voter reform is vital. At least one state, Georgia, permits the legislature to overturn the legal vote in an election by selecting electoral voters who reject the ballot majority. In one poll, only 13 percent was “very confident” GOP state officials would accept election results if Republicans lose.

DDT and his conservative GOP followers, including legislative leadership, work to create another year of turbulence, but polls reflect they don’t necessarily represent the majority of the people. In an ABC News-Ipsos poll, 72 percent agree that the January 6 rioters threatened democracy, and 58 percent think DDT has a great deal or good amount of responsibility for the insurrection. Only 25 percent think DDT has no responsibility for the attack. The media usually reports only the large percentage of Republicans who refused to recognize Biden as the president, but almost two-thirds of the general population accept Biden as being legitmately elected president. Unfortunately, 68 percent of respondents to a CBS poll expect more violence after January 6, 2021.

The courts are also home to a building storm in the next year. Recently, DDT’s two older children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, refuse to comply with subpoenas from New York AG Letitia James for a civil inquiry into the Trump Organization’s possible inflation of assets value for bank loans and understatements of these values elsewhere to reduce taxes. James already questioned DDT’s younger son, Eric, in her office. She cannot file criminal charges in the case but is involved with Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s criminal investigation into DDT’s business affairs. DDT’s lawsuit against the civil inquiry is based on his opinion of “political animus” and the claim that his testimony could be used against him, violating his Fifth Amendment rights.   

Always litigious, DDT will likely be embroiled in lawsuits until he dies. He does it to intimidate, to stall, to cost people money, to make news, to look impressive—almost any reason except to win. And now they aren’t costing him any money; GOP donors are paying for them. Before the 2020 election, he and his businesses were part of 4,095 lawsuits during three decades, over 2,100 as the plaintiff. Biden won the 2020 election, but DDT is still suing to overturn the election. Now he’s in the middle of lawsuits to secrete his shady—possibly illegal—involvement in overturning the election and his business affairs. Here is an amazing list and description of notable cases occurring or starting while he was in the White House.

There’s much more about upcoming events, but that’s for another time. As Rachel Maddow would say, “Watch this space.”

December 27, 2021

COVID’s Political Problems

President Joe Biden promised to help states with the pandemic but told governors that states need to take the lead in controlling the coronavirus, meaning they will be responsible for infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Thus far, the number of infections per 1 million have varied from 225,108 in North Dakota to 73,293 in Hawaii with deaths per million between 3,494 in Mississippi and 739 in Vermont. Despite heavy criticism for the pandemic handling from conservatives in my state of Oregon, the infection rate is second from the bottom at 98,190 below only six states below Oregon at 1,333 deaths per million.

A major reason for these differences is state administration. At least 19 states created laws this year blocking state or local authorities from public health guards such as wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and promoting or requiring vaccinations. Legislatures in other states are considering similar statutes, all in the name of “individual liberties” and allow people “a voice in public health.” Ohio goes so far as to restrict closing restaurants to protect customers from an outbreak of foodborne disease. Montana doesn’t require vaccinations for anyone working in hospitals or clinics in opposition to a federal order.  

Politics have played a huge part in hospitalizations and deaths because of deaths. The new Omicron variant and the skyrocketing rate of infections and deaths in some states has caused a spate of vaccinations, but blue states have above average rates of vaccinations with red states below average. The vaccination map looks like the election map with battleground states in the middle. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is an example of the Republican attitude when he tweets “Real America is done with #COVID19” and later called the public health protection policies a “two-year attack on our liberties.” Since vaccines became common, states voting for DDT have an over 50 percent higher risk of people dying from the coronavirus. Since February 1, 2021, red states have an average of 116 COVID deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 77 deaths in blue states. Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and West Virginia—all states voting for DDT—have the worst per capita death rates. The difference between red and blue counties is even more pronounced.

The numbers for red states may be less than accurate. The state’s health department found an undercount in two labs of 7,699 COVID cases during nine months this year. Missouri’s incumbent Attorney General Eric Schmitt, also a U.S. Senate candidate, has already declared mask mandates, quarantines, and other public health policies illegal. He also told public health agencies in several counties to stop “announcements of current cases/deaths.”

Five states that refused federal unemployment benefits because of “lazy people not looking for work,” are now rewarding jobless people who refused vaccinations by giving them state unemployment. Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee have passed laws for the benefit and other Missouri, Wisconsin, and Wyoming may follow. Despite protests to vaccines, under five percent of workers have left jobs anywhere because of vaccination mandates.

The media also plays a large part in causing infections and deaths. A study from last year shows that people relying on conservative media and social media are more likely to have inaccurate beliefs about COVID’s seriousness. The poll also agreed with the red-blue state results: Republicans worry less than Democrats that they or family members would be exposed and less likely to consider COVID a major health threat. The same conservatives are also more likely to trust worthless preventions and cures and thought CDC was using the virus to undermine DDT instead of DDT actually undermining CDC. Over a year later, much more is known about the coronavirus, the conservative media is much more likely to lie about the knowledge, and conservatives less likely to believe its dangers.

Among religious groups, the evangelicals have the lowest acceptance of vaccinations—41 percent compared to 60 percent to 72 percent percent of other Christians and Jewish Americans. By now, religious anti-Vaxxers are so hardwired in their beliefs that only one percent self-identified as vaccine refusers said they might change their minds if a religious leader encouraged them to reverse their opinion. Only 11 percent of vaccine hesitant would be vaccinated with persuasion from a religious leader.

Even DDT, their cult leader, cannot convince them after he was negative or lukewarm about vaccinations for over a year. In the midst of his campaign five years ago, DDT claimed he could shoot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue and people would still vote for him. The audience cheered. When he said he had gotten a COVID booster vaccination and said vaccines have “saved tens of millions of lives worldwide,” however, people booed.    

DDT went even farther in an interview with Candace Owens, a conservative talk show host. He told her “the vaccine is one of the greatest achievements of mankind.” She pushed back, and he responded:

“Oh no, the vaccines work. The ones who get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don’t take the vaccine…. If you take the vaccine, you’re protected… I came up with a vaccine, with three vaccines all are very, very good.”

DDT wasn’t the scientist who developed the vaccine, but they went on the market before he left the White House. Right now, he wants the glory while he’s pursued in court by alleged crimes in Georgia, New York, and Washington, D.C. GOP pollster Frank Luntz thought DDT’s claim would cause Republicans to be vaccinated, but the result hasn’t been all positive. Far-right conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich said DDT was “alienating his own supporters to impress people who don’t like him.” Another conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, forced to pay plaintiffs on two different defamation charges, called DDT either “completely ignorant” or “the most evil man who has ever lived to push this toxic poison on the public and to attack your constituents when they simply try to save their lives and the lives of others.”

In what she may have thought was politeness, Owens stuck in the knife during a video on Instagram:

“People oftentimes forget, like, how old Trump is. Like they came from a time before TV, before internet, before being able to conduct their independent research.”

In the video, Owens, 32, also pushed colloidal silver to fight off the coronavirus, saying she takes a “teaspoon a day” or “more when I’m sick.” With no medical support for this purpose, colloidal silver, possibly causing organ failure, permanently turns the user’s skin a bluish-gray color, an irreversible syndrome called argyria.

The question is whether DDT’s vaccine promotion will regain suburban voters, as Joe Scarborough said he’s trying to do, while keeping his lunatic fringe. Known for his Christmas greetings from his family all holding semi-automatic guns, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) said his voters and others like those who supported Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) “weren’t voting for libertarian ideas—they were voting for the craziest son of a bitch in the race. And Donald Trump won best in class, as we had up until he came along.” And DDT may be trying to keep his voters alive until 2024.

Hypocrisy runs rampant among Republicans. Georgia’s Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has pandered to every anti-health policy—vaccinations, wearing masks, etc.—and even owed $60,000 in fines for not wearing a mask on the House floor by mid-November. She also owns stocks in three different companies manufacturing COVID vaccines. Conservative Christians endanger people around them by using the “religious freedom” claim as a “get-out-of-vaccination-free” card even if they had to pay clergy to sign for religious exemptions. Then they used the claim for everything else they don’t like—abortion, although Jewish people state life beings at birth, not conception; travel from Muslim countries; LGBTQ rights; etc.

According to medical experts, neurological effects from COVID can create the inability to think clearly which includes headaches, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, and vivid dreams as well as strokes and seizures with over 80 percent of COVID patients encountering complications. Even mild cases can alter brain activity analogous to mild cognitive impairment. And conservatives won’t get vaccinated.

People fighting vaccinations don’t realize that COVID can stay in the body’s organs—heart, brain, etc.—for at least up to eight months, according to autopsies up to 230 days after patients first reported symptoms. Disseminating during early infection, the disease infects cells throughout the entire body, widely in the brain as well as in eyes, muscles, skin, peripheral nerves, and tissues in the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and lymphatic systems. This research explains why long COVID exists in people with either mild or asymptomatic infections.

Deaths from COVID in the U.S. = 839,605 with over 1,000 a day. 

October 24, 2021

Evangelical Congregation Collapse

Until the 1970s, evangelical Christians stayed out of politics and concentrated on their religion, helping people and supporting family values. When big business and Bob Dole decided evangelicals could elect Ronald Reagan as president, religious leaders such as Jerry Falwell loved the power of politics and led their flocks with them. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) began campaigning in 2015, and they spread hatred of government assistance for the needy, repeating Jerry Falwell Sr. accusation that the “giveaway programs” are “developing a breed of bums and derelicts.

In the Atlantic, Peter Wehner, George W. Bush’s speechwriter, described DDT’s influence over evangelical Christians through insistence on politics in churches, a position that shredded congregations. For example, three elders failed to get 75 percent of the vote for installation in a Northern Virginia megachurch because church members were told the candidates would sell the building to Muslims to convert it into a mosque. A small group of parishioners had already accused the conservative church’s minister of “wokeness” and “left of center.” According to them, he pushed a “social justice” agenda and promoted critical race theory plus attempts to “purge conservative members.”

The situation at McLean Bible Church is not uncommon. Targeted by right-wing elements of the Southern Baptist Convention, theologian Russell Moore and Bible teacher Beth Moore left the church. Wehner wrote:

“The root of the discord lies in the fact that many Christians have embraced the worst aspects of our culture and our politics. When the Christian faith is politicized, churches become repositories not of grace but of grievances, places where tribal identities are reinforced, where fears are nurtured, and where aggression and nastiness are sacralized. The result is not only wounding the nation; it’s having a devastating impact on the Christian faith.”

Historian George Marsden said:

“When Trump was able to add open hatred and resentments to the political-religious stance of ‘true believers,’ it crossed a line. Tribal instincts seem to have become overwhelming.” [Trump’s Christian followers] have come to see a gospel of hatreds, resentments, vilifications, put-downs, and insults as expressions of their Christianity, for which they too should be willing to fight.

Wehner wrote:

“For many Christians, their politics has become more of an identity marker than their faith. They might insist that they are interpreting their politics through the prism of scripture, with the former subordinate to the latter, but in fact scripture and biblical ethics are often distorted to fit their politics. The former president normalized a form of discourse that made the once-shocking seem routine. Russell Moore laments the ‘pugilism of the Trump era, in which anything short of cruelty is seen as weakness.’ The problem facing the evangelical church, then, is not just that it has failed to inculcate adherents with its values—it’s that when it has succeeded in doing so, those values have not always been biblical.”

Tim Schultz, the president of the 1st Amendment Partnership and advocate for religious freedom, predicted a reckoning for evangelicalism, “held together by political orientation and sociology more than by common theology.” Pastor Timothy Keller called evangelicals some of the most “anti-institutional” religious believers, making them more prone to “insider abuse.” Media, not the church, develop evangelical beliefs, making them unrooted—“susceptible to political idolization, fanatical ideas, and conspiracy theories.” James Ernest, editor at the religious publisher Eerdmans, said:

“The evangelical Church in the U.S. over the last five decades has failed to form its adherents into disciples. So there is a great hollowness. All that was needed to cause the implosion that we have seen was a sufficiently provocative stimulus. And that stimulus came.”

Alan Jacobs, a professor of humanities at Baylor University, spoke about the media influence:

“What all those media want is engagement, and engagement is most reliably driven by anger and hatred. They make bank when we hate each other. And so that hatred migrates into the Church, which doesn’t have the resources to resist it. The real miracle here is that even so, in the mercy of God, many people do find their way to places of real love of God and neighbor.”

In her book Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, Calvin College history professor Kristin Kobes Du Mez argued that DDT fulfilled many of the White evangelicals’ values. She wrote that they wanted to replace the biblical Jesus with a ruggedly masculine person supporting Christian nationalism, “the belief that America is God’s chosen nation and must be defended as such.” The nationalism encapsulates evangelical attitudes on non-Christians, immigration, race, and guns. Du Mez explained:

“Evangelicals are quick to label their values ‘biblical. But how they interpret the scriptures, which parts they decide to emphasize and which parts they decide to ignore, all this is informed by their historical and cultural circumstances. More than most other Christians, however, conservative evangelicals insist that they are rejecting cultural influences when in fact their faith is profoundly shaped by cultural and political values, by their racial identity and their Christian nationalism.”

Evangelicalism also defines the role of gender, according to Du Mez, depicting men and women as opposites during the past half century:

“They believe God ordained men to be protectors and filled them with testosterone for this purpose. Men … are to exhibit boldness, courage, even ruthlessness in order to fulfill their God-appointed role.”

In contrast, women, the nurturers, must display the feminine virtues of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.” Men, however, are to fight secular humanism, LGBTQ rights, feminism, radical Islam, elected Democrats, and critical race theory. Evangelical leaders stoke fear in their followers for personal power and interests with a militant response. According to Cherie Harder, Trinity Forum president, “fear and grace … are incompatible”; she quoted the New Testament: “Perfect love drives out fear.” Survival may require some fear, but constant fear is dangerous: “stoking it, cultivating it, and dwelling within it … distorts and deforms.”

The conflagration of fear and polarization within congregations has led to pastors resigning, not only from their churches but also from the ministry. Pastor Scott Dudley said:

“They have concluded that their church has become a hostile work environment where at any moment they may be blasted, slandered, and demeaned in disrespectful and angry ways, or have organized groups of people within the church demand that they be fired.”

Conflicts are not doctrinal but political, stirred up by DDT, the lies about the 2020 election, the January 6 insurrection, protests surrounding George Floyd’s murder and critical race theory, and COVID discord—masks, vaccinations, and lockdowns blocking in-person worship.

In Mark Noll’s new preface to his 1994 book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, to be rereleased, he argues that “white evangelicals appear as the group most easily captive to conspiratorial nonsense, in greater panic about their political opponents, or as most aggressively anti-intellectual.” He warned that “the broader evangelical population has increasingly heeded populist leaders who dismiss the results of modern learning from whatever source.”

 The extreme anti-vaccine position of evangelicals supporting DDT, sometimes compared to the MAGA suicidal “death cult,” was expressed by Christian fundamentalist Joy Pullmann on The Federalist website on the day of Collin Powell’s death. She argues about the benefit of COVID:

“For Christians, death is good. Yes, death is also an evil—its existence is a result of sin. But thanks be to God, Jesus Christ has redeemed even death. In his resurrection, Christ has transformed death into a portal to eternal life for Christians…. The Christian faith makes it very clear that death, while sad to those left behind and a tragic consequence of human sin, is now good for all who believe in Christ.”

To Pullmann, social distancing is sinful because she translates keeping the Sabbath day holy in the Third Commandment as going to church. She also stated that “our Christian heritage also rejects the avoidance of death at any cost” doesn’t venerate “the millions of martyrs.”

In Robert P. Jones’ White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity, he writes about his evangelical childhood, experiencing the “seemingly icy surface of guilt and culpability [over] a deeper current of innocence and entitlement. Individually, I was a sinner, but collectively, I was part of a special tribe. Whatever our humble social stations might be, we white Christians were God’s chosen instruments of spreading salvation and civilization to the world.”

Results of a survey from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), the non-profit he founded, from White evangelical Protestants:

  • 61 percent: the 2020 presidential election was stolen from DDT.
  • 68 percent: DDT is a “true patriot.”
  • One-third: “because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country.”
  • Over seven in ten: denial that the history of slavery and discrimination in the U.S. has any bearing on economic inequalities between white and Black Americans today.
  • One-fourth: QAnon conspiracy believers.

The faculty at the small nondenominational Christian Cornerstone University may give some hope to evangelical thought; 46 of 62 voted no confidence in the incoming president, Gerson Moreno-Riaño, with 14 abstaining. His history of opposing diversity, equity, and inclusion through a culture of fear caused his firing and dissenting staff and professors with little or no warning. Staff may not use any language related to anti-racism, including “micro-aggressions,” “privilege,” and “unconscious bias,” and official documents censor this language. An intercultural studies lecture series was abruptly canceled. Evangelicals need more open dissent like this.

April 2, 2021

Former GOP Leader Calls Republicans ‘Morons’ Controlled by Media

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 9:06 PM
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John Boehner was a GOP U.S. House representative for almost 30 years and his party’s leader for eight of them, the last four years the House Majority Leader. Following are excerpts from Boehner’s new book, On the House: A Washington Memoir:

“[In] the 2010 midterm election … you could be a total moron and get elected just by having an R next to your name—and that year, by the way, we did pick up a fair number in that category.”

About trying to teach the 87 people “who’d never sat in Congress [about] governing”: “I had to explain how to actually get things done. A lot of that went straight through the ears of most of them, especially the ones who didn’t have brains that got in the way. Incrementalism? Compromise? That wasn’t their thing. A lot of them wanted to blow up Washington. That’s why they thought they were elected.”

“Some of them, well, you could tell they weren’t paying attention because they were just thinking of how to fundraise off of outrage or how they could get on Hannity that night. Ronald Reagan used to say something to the effect that if I get 80 or 90 percent of what I want, that’s a win. These guys wanted 100 percent every time. In fact, I don’t think that would satisfy them, because they didn’t really want legislative victories. They wanted wedge issues and conspiracies and crusades.

“A lot of them wanted to blow up Washington. That’s why they thought they were elected…

“By 2011, the right-wing propaganda nuts had managed to turn Obama into a toxic brand for conservatives. When I was first elected to Congress [in 1990], we didn’t have any propaganda organization for conservatives, except maybe a magazine or two like National Review. The only people who used the internet were some geeks in Palo Alto. There was no Drudge Report. No Breitbart. No kooks on YouTube spreading dangerous nonsense like they did every day about Obama…

“And of course the truly nutty business about his birth certificate. People really had been brainwashed into believing Barack Obama was some Manchurian candidate planning to betray America. Mark Levin was the first to go on the radio and spout off this crazy nonsense. It got him ratings, so eventually he dragged Hannity and Rush to Looneyville along with him… Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News … got swept into the conspiracies and the paranoia and became an almost unrecognizable figure…

“[Ailes went] on and on about the terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, which he thought was part of a grand conspiracy that led back to Hillary Clinton. Then he outlined elaborate plots by which George Soros and the Clintons and Obama (and whoever else came to mind) were trying to destroy him.

“’They’re monitoring me,’ he assured me about the Obama White House. He told me he had a ‘safe room’ built so he couldn’t be spied on. His mansion was being protected by combat-ready security personnel, he said. There was a lot of conspiratorial talk. It was like he’d been reading whacked-out spy novels all weekend… And it was clear that he believed all of this crazy stuff…

“I have no idea what the relationship between Ailes and [Fox owner Rupert] Murdoch was like, or if Ailes ever would go off on these paranoid tangents during meetings with his boss. But Murdoch must have thought Ailes was good for business, because he kept him in his job for years.

“Places like Fox News were creating the wrong incentives. Sean Hannity was one of the worst. I’d known him for years, and we used to have a good relationship. But then he decided he felt like busting my ass every night on his show…

“Besides the homegrown ‘talent’ at Fox, with their choice of guests they were making people who used to be fringe characters into powerful media stars. One of the first prototypes out of their laboratory was a woman named Michele Bachmann … who had represented Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District since 2007 and made a name for herself as a lunatic ever since…

About his refusal to put Bachman on the powerful Ways and Means Committee: “This wasn’t a request of the Speaker of the House. This was a demand. Her response to me was calm and matter-of-fact. ‘Well, then I’ll just have to go talk to Sean Hannity and everybody at Fox,’ she said, ‘and Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and everybody else on the radio, and tell them that this is how John Boehner is treating the people who made it possible for the Republicans to take back the House.” I wasn’t the one with the power, she was saying. I just thought I was. She had the power now.

“She was right, of course…

“In January 2011, as the new Republican House majority was settling in and I was getting adjusted to the Speakership, I was asked about the birth certificate business by Brian Williams of NBC News. My answer was simple: ‘The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That’s good enough for me.’ It was a simple statement of fact. But you would have thought I’d called Ronald Reagan a communist. I got all kinds of shit for it—emails, letters, phone calls. It went on for a couple weeks. I knew we would hear from some of the crazies, but I was surprised at just how many there really were.

All of this crap swirling around was going to make it tough for me to cut any deals with Obama as the new House Speaker…

“Under the new rules of Crazytown, I may have been Speaker, but I didn’t hold all the power. By 2013 the chaos caucus in the House had built up their own power base thanks to fawning right-wing media and outrage-driven fundraising cash. And now they had a new head lunatic leading the way, who wasn’t even a House member. There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless asshole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Senator Ted Cruz. He enlisted the crazy caucus of the GOP in what was a truly dumbass idea. Not that anybody asked me.”

Paul Waldman uses Boehner’s perceptions to describe the conservative world today in which “the media tail came to wag the political dog”:

“Today, conservative media isn’t just a locus of power on the right. Its own needs, preferences and incentives set the party’s agenda to a greater extent than ever.

“That’s why so many of the key voices in the Republican Party today are concerned not primarily but entirely with their next media appearance, rather than the work of lawmaking. While there have always been ‘show horses’ in Congress, the party is now oriented almost entirely toward whatever keeps the Fox viewers from changing the channel.

“So while Democrats pass trillions of dollars in new spending, Republicans spend all their time whining about ‘cancel culture’ and trying to make life miserable for transgender kids. Instead of conservative media amplifying the party’s message, it’s the other way around…

“What Boehner calls ‘the crazy caucus of the GOP’ was already taking over when he was speaker, foreshadowing their increased dominance when the ultimate performative politician—Donald Trump—became president.

“And so, with complete GOP control of Washington in 2017, you didn’t see the emergence of serious conservative policy wonks making lasting and consequential change. While it might have happened here and there—Stephen Miller succeeded at making immigration policy as racist and cruel as possible—for the most part the crazy caucus was still in charge.

“Who were the dominant Republican figures of the era, beyond Trump himself? People like Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), known for their endless Fox appearances and maniacal loyalty to Trump. They weren’t concerned with how to use power to create change; they just wanted to Own the Libs.

“Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), the party’s leader in Congress and nobody’s idea of a telegenic presence, turned out to be an absolute dud as a legislator. After easily passing a tax cut for the wealthy and corporations (not exactly hard to do), he managed no further legislation of consequence.

“In many ways, you can draw a straight line between Newt Gingrich, the central Republican figure of the 1990s, through the tea party, then through Sarah Palin, then through Trump, and finally to the Jan. 6th rioters and far-right extremists like Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.). Boehner shows us how this through line really started to unravel.

“All those figures wanted to make politics as coarse and bitter as possible, and define Democrats as not just wrong but evil. The conflict between the right and the left, Gingrich once told a conservative audience, ‘has to be fought with a scale and a duration and a savagery that is only true of civil wars.’

“…And along the way, the destruction will continue piling up.”

Today the destruction was the killing of one Capitol Police officer and serious wounding by another because right-wing politicians—and media—demanded the outside protective fence around the U.S. Capitol be removed. 

March 20, 2020

DDT: Week 165 – Beyond the Covid-19 Pandemic

With daily press briefings about the state of the country after going without them for almost a year, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is trying to appear somber, knowledgeable, and presidential. Yet he loses his temper and rants against the reporters, and he can’t get out more than one or two sentences without telling a lie. Although almost everything that happens now is tainted by the growing number of cases of covid-19 and the resulting deaths, he still has time to lead the U.S. back into the last century.

In an update from earlier this week, Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) aren’t the only members of Congress who have enriched themselves through the threat of covid-19. Others are Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), James Inhofe (R-OK), and Ron Johnson (R-WI). Johnson, who compared deaths from the virus to those in vehicle accidents, sold all his stock in his family’s company for between $5 million and $25 million. Inhofe has done this before when he purchased shares in the defense contractor Raytheon in 2018 after lobbying Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to increase defense spending. Once that transaction became public, he canceled it. 

George Conway points out, “There is no new Trump.” DDT is still lying to the U.S. population with only one goal—get reelected. And DDT won’t stop lying.

On Wednesday, after Joe Biden beat Bernie Sanders in all three states that voted, DDT smeared Biden at a press briefing. Asked about his lack of credibility, DDT cut off a reporter and railed:

“Who are you asking that question—I see that [ratings are] very high. 95% of the Republican party. We just had a poll that was done by a very reputable group where I’m beating sleepy Joe Biden by a lot in Florida, in the state of Florida and in other states. I don’t really know who you’re talking about.”

By Thursday, DDT was delivering a long rant against the media, and on Friday, DDT attacked Peter Alexander who asked DDT for a message “to Americans who are scared.”  

DDT continued his purge of career professionals by firing Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Travers took the position last August when Joseph Maguire was moved up to director of intelligence. Maguire was recently replaced by unqualified DDT-loyalist Richard Grenell. Travers was reluctant to fire people as Grenell wanted. Acting deputy of the Center, Peter Hall, is supposedly moving back to the National Security Agency. The theory behind fewer people at the Counterterrorism Center is that ISIS and al-Qaeda are much less of a threat.

Dale Cabaniss abruptly left her job as director of the U.S. Government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM), in charge of human resources policy and security clearances, after five months on the job because of DDT’s new head of the Presidential Personnel Office. John McEntee, DDT’s 29-year-old former body man, was fired by former chief of staff John Kelly because McEntee’s gambling habit and allegations of financial crimes caused him to fail a security clearance. Kelly is gone, and DDT-loyalist McEntee has returned into a position of power. He’s hiring his friends, including at least college seniors, to surround him.

With McEntee in control of her staffing, Cabaniss couldn’t send clear, timely messages to agency managers about responses to the health crisis. Guidance about staff teleworking was delayed and vague although health officials wanted people to work from home. Respected for her experience, Cabaniss was seen as restoring moral to her agency with a mission of administering federal health insurance policies, retirement claims, benefits, and workforce policy.

Instead of passing a new surveillance law giving DDT unwarranted spying powers, the Senate unanimously approved a 75-day reauthorization of three provisions. On recess, the House has yet to pass the bill. DDT is considering a veto because he wants to look into “the illegal attempted ‘coup’ of the duly elected President of the United States, and others!” Two senators objected to the lack of privacy that the proposed bill sent them from the House. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has threatened the staff and their family members of the International Criminal Court that is investigating alleged war crimes by U.S. military forces in Afghanistan.

The increase of restrictions around the world is leaving grocery shelves more and more empty, but the growing number of infected people isn’t the only problem that people in the U.S. will have with food shortages. Farmers warn that DDT’s limits on seasonal workers from Mexico will exacerbate the surging problem. Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue’s new policy will lose 60 percent of the necessary laborers. Grain harvesting is largely automated, but farmers need fruit and vegetable pickers.

In another disaster, DDT is threatening dozens of endangered species in the Southeast by proposing genetically engineered crops on wild public lands. The increase of glyphosate and other pesticides harms bees, butterflies, and other pollinators necessary to humans’ food supply and other species in the wildlife refuges. DDT recommends pesticides on 131 refuges in ten states, the Virgin Island, and Puerto Rico—about four million acres.  

The EPA is moving farther away from science by restricting research to be used in public health protection decisions and scientific assessments. It removes thousands of scientific papers by public health scientists keeping data from being public for privacy reasons. Experts fighting covid-19 by treating patients, researching vaccines, and educating the public will have no involvement in stopping the pandemic in the U.S. Members of national health organizations will also need to stop their work with the virus to write comments of protest to the proposal because the EPA gives only 30 days for a response. The proposal covers decisions about vehicle emissions, clean air standards, and clean water protections as well as EPA’s own “state-of-science reports, technology assessments, weight-of-evidence analyses, meta-analyses, risk assessments, toxicological profiles of substances, integrated assessment models, hazard determinations, exposure assessments, or health, ecological, or safety assessments.” The idea for the proposal comes from tobacco lobbyists in the past that helped them control government decisions.

Amid all the virus noise, the media largely overlooked the rocket attack on an Iraqi base housing U.S. troops. Two of them were seriously injured. Last week, the U.S. retaliated against militia blamed for the deaths of one British and two U.S. service members, killing a number of Iraqis. Officials in Iraq have asked the U.S. to stop its unilateral military actions and work with Iraq. Under the shelter of coronavirus news, DDT is pulling troops out of three western Iraqi bases in a retreat from the Iraqi militia. Troops left one base this week with others planned soon.

The Pentagon blames Iran for killings by Iraqi militias, and the U.S. announced more sanctions against Iran.

Early sanctions have denied Iranians medication and supplies as thousands of people are dying from the virus. Iran lacks sufficient testing kits, ventilators, antiviral medicine, and other life-saving supplies.

A major requirement for keeping a job in DDT’s administration is open admiration. VP Mike Pence displays this every day at the press briefings. Another mandate is covering for all DDT’s lies and mistakes. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin gamely tried to explain away DDT’s disastrous Oval Office speech on a Sunday news show when Jonathan Karl asked him about why the market reacted negatively to DDT’s misleading and false statements.

About the market, Mnuchin said, “The stock market is going to go up, it’s going to go down.” In the last month, the Dow has gone down over 10,000 points—one-third of its value and about 650 points above its value on DDT’s inauguration day. As for all the information that DDT got wrong, Mnuchin said, “I don’t think in an Oval Office address you can address every single issue as you’re discussing it….” Asked why he got “things wrong about his own proposals,” Mnuchin replied, “I don’t think he got things wrong at all.” Mnuchin continued to spin.  

DDT is now trying to convince people that he doesn’t care about careening stock markets, but he wants to preserve his former low unemployment rate as a reelection talking point. With businesses rapidly being closed to protect people from the virus, the number of unemployment claims have skyrocketed. DDT asked state labor officials to delay letting anyone know the numbers, to only “provide information using generalities to describe claims levels” until next week. It’s a follow-up to DDT’s saying he wanted to leave all the people on the ship because “I like the numbers where they are.” With DDT, it’s all about numbers that make him look good. Politico calls it “scoreboard obsession”—always keeping score.

In one of the biggest monthly drops, economic confidence dropped from 41 to 22, down almost 20 points. Even the Republicans’ confidence went down 11 points.

United States covid-19 cases: 19,772 with 389 new ones today; deaths: 279 with 23 more today.

May 24, 2019

DDT: Week 122 – One Track Trump

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has had what might be his worst week since he was inaugurated. In retaliation, he has expanded the powers of his fixer AG Bill Barr to use the entire intelligence for investigation of his investigation and declassify any information within the intelligence communityhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/barr-could-expose-secrets-politicize-intelligence-with-review-of-russia-probe-current-and-former-officials-fear/2019/05/24/58f822f8-7e2f-11e9-8bb7-0fc796cf2ec0_story.html?utm_term=.aa26591d6ba7  Barr is comfortable being selective about the release of information to put anyone in a bad light if they don’t 100-percent support DDT, and the end result can be the deaths of people in the U.S. intelligence world as Barr outs them to garner favor with DDT. The man in the Oval Office has proved that he cannot keep important information secret.

In another dangerous move, DDT plans to destroy the media with charges of treason under the Espionage Act against Julian Assange. Two prosecutors involved in the case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He would be charged for publishing information about the actions taken by the U.S. government, until now protected by the First Amendment. Almost 50 years ago, a Supreme Court case protected the press in the Pentagon Papers, but DDT wants to overturn that. In its charges, the U.S. is trying to interpret the Espionage Act as any form of communication. https://truthout.org/video/julian-assanges-attorney-decries-espionage-charges-as-threat-to-press-freedom/  Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union said,

“For the first time in the history of our country, the government has brought criminal charges against a publisher for the publication of truthful information.”

If Assange is convicted guilty under the Espionage Act, I could be convicted of reprinting information that the government considers negative to them.

DDT’s week included two big losses in court when two separate judges permitted his tax returns and some of his financial information to be given to the House because of its subpoenas. Last Monday, accountants at Mazars USA were ordered to turn over eight years of DDT’s tax returns to the House Oversight Committee. In the past, Mazars flagged DDT’s financial statements because of his flagrant lies including ten non-existent stories to Trump Tower and 800 acres at his Virginia vineyard. If DDT appeals the ruling within seven days, the case goes to the D.C. Circuit Court led by Chief Judge Merrick Garland, the same judge who McConnell prevented from any hearings for almost a year after President Obama nominated him for the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, another judge ruled that Deutsche Bank and Capital One should turn over financial documents related to DDT and his businesses after House Democrats’ subpoenas. The judge disagreed with DDT’s argument that the demands for documents lacked a legitimate legislative purpose and declared that the subpoenas “are clearly pertinent.” Wells Fargo and TD Bank, two of nine subpoenaed institutions, have already turned over information to the House Financial Services Committee. Others are Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase.

New York State legislature passed a law to turn over DDT’s state tax returns—similar to his federal ones—to the House Ways and Means Committee, Senate Finance Committee, and Joint Committee on Taxation for any “specified and legitimate legislative purpose.” Richard Neal, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, still wants DDT’s federal returns to investigate “the mandatory presidential audit program at the I.R.S.” The New York law is broad enough that DDT may not be able to successfully fight it.

Another New York bill passed in its General Assembly could hamper DDT: state prosecutors would be permitted to pursue people convicted of federal crimes who receive presidential pardons for federal crimes for the same crimes in the state. These crimes could involve DDT through his Foundation, bank dealings, NRA’s money laundering from Russia for DDT’s campaign, and other DDT donors. DDT is also connected to several other scandals when a private citizen in New York.

By Thursday morning, DDT had a meltdown, refusing to have a previously-planned meeting about infrastructure with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In a press conference, DDT claimed that he called off the meeting because Pelosi was talking about “the i-word,” but the conference looked preplanned because of the optics. Pelosi had met with the Democratic caucus to talk them out of impeachment. He became more enraged after Pelosi said that he was “engaged in a coverup.” A day later, Pelosi called for a family intervention and said that “he flipped yesterday” because he was “crying out for impeachment.”

DDT furiously declared he will not work with Democrats on any legislature while investigations of his campaign, finances and foreign ties continue. According to DDT, he varies from former presidents by being incapable of running the United States while he is being investigated. As Stephen Colbert described his blackmailing comment, “My way or no highways.” In the midst of his anger, he admitted he knew about the Trump Tower meeting in which a Russian lawyer offered Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign members “dirt” on Hillary Clinton to help DDT’s campaign, confessing that he had lied about his ignorance.

In his angry speech, DDT warned that a Republican Congress might impeach a Democratic president and followed up with the statement that “we can’t allow that to happen.” That actually happened 20 years ago—impeach being an investigation. While Bill Clinton was investigated for almost eight years with an impeachment trial in 1998-99, he continued to negotiate in good faith with Republicans throughout the entire process. Later he called up all his aides in front of the television cameras and ordered them to testify to his calmness.

Because conservatives cannot attack House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on any credible issues, they smear her through such methods as distorting video of her—in this case, slowing down a video 75 percent to make her speech sound slurred. After media outlets, including Fox, reported on the doctored video, DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani described Pelosi as having a “bizarre” speech pattern immediately before he called for “the integrity of … government.”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin continues to maintain the IRS is not required to give up DDT’s tax returns, but a confidential IRS legal memo declares that the House is entitled to receive these unless DDT declares executive privilege in hiding them. The memo states that Mnuchin cannot withhold the information is “statutory conditions are met.” The 10-page document explains who and why Congress can access tax returns and how the provision has been interpreted throughout the decades. Even executive privilege may not be sufficient for DDT to hide his tax returns.

The latest DDT associates to receive subpoenas from House Democrats are his former communications adviser Hope Hicks, who said she told “white lies” for DDT, and White House counsel assistant Annie Donaldson. These subpoenas came on the heels of White House counsel Don McGahn’s refusal to comply with his subpoena

By mid-May, DDT was facing at least 29 investigations: 10 federal criminal investigations, 8 state and local investigations, and 11 House investigations.

The DOJ has also offered to give up more of the redacted Mueller report and underlying information to the House Intelligence Committee in exchange for its not enforcing a subpoena against Barr although there is no timeline.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson secretly appeared for seven hours before the House Foreign Affairs Committee last Tuesday to give voluntary testimony. His statements included Russian President Vladimir Putin “seized every opportunity to push what he wanted” and far out-prepared DDT for the meeting in Germany. DDT has always bragged about the lack of importance to prepare for meetings. Tillerson also discussed the inadequacy of DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has aligned himself with the murderous Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to negotiate for peace between Palestine and Israel. Asked to describe Trump’s values, Tillerson said, “I cannot.” http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trump-isnt-helping-himself-his-latest-shot-tillerson?cid=eml_mra_20190523  In refuting Tillerson’s statements, DDT said:

“I don’t think Putin would agree. Look how the U.S. is doing!”

DDT looks to Putin for validation and brags about how the U.S. is doing with its foreign policy—verging on war with Iran and Venezuela, in opposition to Russia, while failing to denuclearize North Korea.

During eight months beginning on the day of DDT’s election, Michael Cohen, DDT’s former fixer, communicated 1,180 times through telephone and text with Andrew Intrater, the CEO of  U.S. money-management firm Columbus Nova LLC controlled by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. Reports show that Columbus paid Cohen over $500,000 after the election. He also exchanged communication and was paid $300,000 on a $1.8 million contract to help Kazakshstan’s BTA Bank JSC. An investigation show that Cohen was involved in persuading White House officials to lift sanctions on Russians in exchange for payment through Essential Consultants, LLC, a company he set up in October 2016.

Tomorrow, DDT retreats to Japan for some positive attention after the stress of his past week. Officials said that the trip is light on substance while DDT is wined (Coked?) and dined. One of DDT’s problems is his rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership while Japan moved ahead to liberalize the market access for beef, pork, and other agricultural products for Australians, Canadians, and the EU through the Eu-Japan trade deal. That means higher tariffs for U.S. exports. At least DDT has the “Trump Cup,” a new trophy he will award to the winner of the first Sumo wrestling tournament of the new Japanese imperial era.

August 18, 2018

DDT: Week 82 – ‘Full of Sound & Fury’

The feeling of being besieged has driven Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to lash out in all directions with increasingly virulent tweets, statements, and orders. Seething with the report that his beloved military parade would cost $90 million, he accused the Washington, D.C. of inflating the cost before canceling the project. Instead he plans to attend one in Paris. The Pentagon had already postponed the parade until next year because it would have to pay half the price of the parade, scheduled for this November. Instead of putting money into more healthcare for veterans, DDT promised to “buy some more jet fighters.” Lockheed has the F-35s on sale for $91.1 million, giving DDT about $900,000 left over after he gets one “jet fighter.”

As social media tries to control the false information that it spreads, DDT, perhaps worried that lack of false information will affect the fall election, tweeted:

“Let everybody participate, good & bad, and we will all just have to figure it out!”

DDT opposes the decision to suspend Alex Jones’ program for his hate speech. Jones, a good friend of DDT, is known for his conspiracy theories, including the false accusation that no one died at Sandy Hook Elementary School because the dead children were actors.

A huge frustration for DDT during the past week came from the media focus on Omarosa Manigault Newman after the release of her new book, Unhinged,  and the beginning of her releasing damning tapes made during her time with DDT. Furious with Omarosa, DDT called on AG Jeff Sessions to arrest her although he didn’t cite any broken laws. That demand came after DDT’s campaign sued Omarosa, asserting that her new book broke her 2016 confidentiality agreement. He forced people who worked for his campaign or in his White House to sign the NDAs to not “demean or disparage publicly” DDT, his company, or any member of his family. Omarosa has been been accused of a lack of ethics for taping her conversations, especially the one when Chief of Staff took her into the situation Room to fire her, but no one questions that her information is inaccurate.

DDT’s daughter-in-law, Eric’s wife Lara, tried to persuade Omarosa to work for the campaign for a monthly salary of $15,000 if she stopped publication of her book and said only positive things about her time with DDT. The “offer,” which Omarosa taped, raises the question of whether campaign donations can be used to quiet people if it appears to be attached to a job. The DDT campaign has a pattern of this hush money, including employees such as former White House aide John McEntee and Keith Schiller, who got $15,000 a month. Even Fox & Friends thinks that Omarosa has come out on top of the battle. Host Brian Kilmeade claimed that Omarosa “outsmarted” DDT, but he hasn’t said anything about the betrayal of the Fox network. DDT did produce an outrage on the media when he called Omarosa a “dog” and “a crazed, crying lowlife.”

DDT’s biggest war this week came from weaponizing the removal of security clearances. Following threats to strip these clearances from others, even those who don’t have them such as James Comey and Andrew McCabe, DDT took the clearance from former CIA director John Brennan, revealing the information through Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ briefing. She read DDT’s announcement that the reason was Brennan’s “risk posed by his erratic conduct and behavior,” but DDT changed his story by saying that he attacked Brennan because of the “witch hunt” about the Russian scandal. DDT had no justification for revoking the security clearance other than retaliation and the feeling of power that it gave him.

The order from DDT was signed on July 26, 2018, meaning that DDT waited almost three weeks until he used it for a diversion. In this case it was a combination of Omarosa’s book and the Paul Manafort trial that went to the jury this past week. Now he’s “eager” to strip more clearances, according to White House officials, beginning with current Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Although DDT cannot easily fire people, his removal of security clearances makes people unable to complete the job’s responsibilities. In essence, people who criticize him can lose their jobs.

The conservative press supports DDT’s actions—as it does his other actions—in this case because Brennan has openly criticized DDT’s actions, but current and past officials support him. Retired Navy admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden called DDT’s stripping security clearances “McCarthy-era tactics.” He wrote that he would “consider it an honor” if DDT would also revoke his clearance. Sixty former CIA station chiefs, analysts and operations officers as well as a former director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center wrote “that the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.” That follows the declaration from 11 former directors and deputy directors of the CIA and one director of national intelligence who called DDT’s action “a political tool.”

DDT also came out in anger against the over 300 newspaper organizations that wrote editorials in opposition to his frequent “mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current US administration are the ‘enemy of the people,’” as the Boston Globe wrote. It continued, “[In his first year,] he used the word “fake”—as in “fake news,” “fake stories,” “fake media” or “fake polls”—more than 400 times.” Since then, DDT has accelerated his use of these terms. This week, he tweeted about “collusion,” that the media is “pushing a political agenda.” One tweet read, “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY.”

Outraged at newspapers fighting back against DDT’s constant abuse of the media, conservatives, including former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, accused the newspapers of a double standard because they criticize Sinclair media for carrying the same message on all its stations. Sinclair forces all its stations to carry identical pro-DDT messages whereas the participating editorials expressing support for free press acted voluntarily.

Also this week, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution sponsored by Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “condemning attacks on the free press.”

The defense in the trial for Paul Manafort, facing 18 charges of tax and bank fraud, rested this week without any witnesses, and the jury began deliberations on Thursday. Angry about the trial, DDT claimed that Manafort “happens to be a very good person” although he repeatedly tried to distance himself from his former campaign manager who worked for him for six months. Two years ago, the news broke about Manafort lobbying to move U.S. opinion toward Russians on behalf of Ukraine’s rulers, and DDT said he had “a crook running my campaign.” At that time, he ordered him fired, in an allegation by Corey Lewandowski. Judge T.S. Ellis III is being guarded by deputy U.S. marshals because he faces death threats. He said, “A thirsty press is essential to a free country.”

In DDT’s war on regulations to give more money to big business, he funded corporations through taking money from people with student loans, failing to protect people from dangerous chemicals, stripping people’s wages by reducing overtime pay rights, putting teenagers into dangerous jobs with long hours, and charging people more money with weakened banking regulations. The primary beneficiaries of these lax regulations are the wealthiest one percent who own 40 percent of the stock market; the top ten percent owns 80 percent. DDT’s latest money-making scheme for the wealthy would permit new uses for the carcinogenic asbestos, such as the out-of-date roofing felt. Russia, the world’s largest asbestos producer is delighted. Russian asbestos producer, Uralasbest, tweeted:

“Donald is on our side! … He supported the head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, who stated that his agency would no longer deal with negative effects potentially derived from products containing asbestos. Donald Trump supported a specialist and called asbestos ‘100% safe after application.’”

The Russian company stamped their product a seal that included DDT’s image and the words “Approved by Donald Trump.” DDT wrote in 1997 that anti-asbestos efforts were “led by the mob” and tweeted in 2012 that the World Trade Center wouldn’t have burned down in the 9/11 attacks if the “incredibly powerful fire retardant asbestos” had not been replaced with “junk that doesn’t (cont).”

DDT failed to effective contribute to the touching tributes to Aretha Franklin after her death this week. In a statement during a Cabinet meeting, DDT introduced his comments by saying that Franklin had “worked for me.” She performed a few times at a DDT casino, but he made her sound like his servant. Others provided a loving respectful homage to Franklin and her achievements. Fox network tried to honor Aretha Franklin, but the station used a photo of Patti LaBelle.

DDT’s latest Gallup poll is 39 percent approval—the same as his average since he was inaugurated. Among Republicans, his approval is 82 percent, down seven points from last week.

August 3, 2018

DDT: Week 80 – Lies, Disagreements, Attacks

As Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) becomes more unhinged, his administration disagrees with him:

  • DDT promotes a government shutdown this coming fall if he doesn’t get his border wall. Both congressional leaders, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), say there will be no shutdown.
  • DDT says he’ll talk to Iranian leaders any time with no conditions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out the conditions for any talks with Iran.
  • DDT says he’s doing fine with Kim Jong-Un, but Pompeo says North Korea is far from denuclearization and still violates UN Security Council resolutions. GOP congressional members doubt that DDT made a good deal with North Korea. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) pointed out that “these guys cheated on every single agreement,” and the nation is building at one or two intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) from his classified materials. Satellite images show North Korean construction of missiles.
  • DDT upped his trade war on China, increasing tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of goods because China wouldn’t do what he wanted. In order to impose tariffs, DDT must prove that they concern national security, according to a 1962 law because the U.S. Constitution put Congress in charges of tariffs. Some of the products in the tariff are dog food and furniture. A bipartisan group of senators led by Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced legislation to restrict presidential power to impose tariffs.
  • White House officials announced that Russian meddling in U.S. elections is serious and ongoing, DDT said it’s all a “witch hunt” and “hoax,” and GOP congressional members are trying to ignore the whole issue by refusing to provide funding to stop it. House members are gone for five weeks, and McConnell is fixated on approving Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court justice.

While Paul Manafort’s trial for money laundering and fraud finished its fourth day this week, Roger Stone’s longtime former aide Andrew Miller will be required to testify before Robert Mueller’s grand jury after losing his appeal and produce subpoenaed documents. DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani gives DDT illogical arguing points to add to his ranting about witch hunts. He contends that obstruction of justice must be secret because no one would obstruct justice out in the open and that collusion is not a crime because the law doesn’t use that word. “Conspiracy to defraud the United States” and “Contributions and donations by foreign nationals” are crimes. This week, Giuliani obsessed between the words “should” and “must,” that DDT didn’t order AG Jeff Sessions to end Mueller’s investigation because DDT’s tweet said “should.”

DDT started waging war on the Koch brothers, maintaining “I never sought their support because I don’t need their money….” At the same time, he considers making them wealthier with his unilateral plan to cut $100 billion in taxes mostly for the rich by allowing people to figure their capital gains by adjusting the original price to inflation. The Koch brothers won’t support anyone who supports DDT. Two reasons: either they don’t like the possibility of a recession from DDT’s tariffs or they think that Democrats will win in the fall and are hedging their bets. Or both. In the last tax cut, no one got DDT’s promised $4,000 raise in wages, and his tariffs are destroying the economy for farmers.

During the last couple of week, DDT accelerated his war on the media, perhaps because of his new hire and confidante Bill Shine. Last week, Shine banned CNN Kaitlan Collins from a press conference because she asked questions—a reporter’s job—and then said that he had only “disinvited” her.

Fox network president, Jay Wallace, stated:

“We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press.”

DDT’s attacked the New York Times after he misrepresented a July 20 conversation its publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, after the White House told the publisher not to tell anyone about the meeting. Sulzberger set the record straight about the conversation in this article, and DDT became furious.

This week, CNN’s Jim Costa appeared to be threatened at one of DDT’s rallies where he added a few “fakes” to his statement about “fake media.” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended DDT’s treatment of the media, although she claimed it wasn’t violent, and lied about their reporting regarding Osama bin Laden. DDT also retweeted his “like” for a video showing Acosta’s mistreatment.

DDT hates CNN so much that he was furious at Melania Trump turning the television on Air Force One to the network. He ordered two additional televisions on the airplane with a streaming device that will permit himself and the first lady to watch TV in their separate hotel rooms when they travel. DDT’s television must be automatically turned to Fox; the first lady watches “any channel she wants,” according to her spokesperson.

Requests using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reveal past cracks in DDT’s administration. Last fall then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke that DDT’s cancelation of Temporary Protected Status for 300,000 Central American immigrants would “likely drive increased illegal migration to the United States and the growth of MS-13 and similar gangs.

Other newly released emails from FOIA expose Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ lies when she said that DDT had told the Pentagon about his red line for Syria last summer. He failed to communicate with the Pentagon before it issued a statement about a possible Syrian chemical attack.

A FOIA filing followed by a lawsuit disclosed that DDT lied to the public in an official speech to Congress in February 2017 when he claimed that the DOJ provided data that “the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.” The DOJ has no corroborating data.

DDT’s rallies are rapidly adding his daily average of lies, now up to 7.6. The increase of 978 in the past two months brought the total for his 558 days to 4,229 as of July 31, 2018. Immigration and trade top the subjects of lies, followed by taxes and NATO spending.

Despite media complaints, the White House failed for nine days to correct its “official record” of the Helsinki press conference to include the part in which Putin answered “yes” to questions about whether he directed officials to support DDT in his campaign. At least, the media nagged the White House into the correction; the Russian version left that part out.

Finished being a tool for right-wing union busters, Mark Janus, the central figure in a Supreme Court case, quit his job days after the decision was announced in late June that all workers receive union support whether or not they pay fees. Janus falsely claimed that his fees to the union, that protected his rights, would go to political activism. The ruling overturned the 1977 SCOTUS decision Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. 

The White House will no longer keep any record of DDT’s phone calls to foreign leaders.

The next time you hear that 80 or 90 percent of the Republicans support something—like DDT—remember that Republicans comprise only 24 percent of the nation, down almost 10 percent in a year. Ninety percent of the Republicans means under 22 percent of the nation. “Three-fourths” of Republicans means only 18 percent of the people in the U.S. Of the 42 percent independents in the U.S., only 36 percent approve of DDT, down seven points from June. The independents also prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress by over 20 points, 48 to 26 percent. This article gives a number of charts showing the increase of disapproval for DDT and the GOP by the large voting block of independents. The GOP may like the idea of $1 trillion deficit this year with only 21 percent disapproving, but 56 percent of people disapprove the handling of budget deficit—81 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of independents.

The one piece of good news for DDT is the job market. Although July’s job increase was only 157,000, which was 37,000 under predictions, the Labor Department upgraded job additions for May and June to make the three-month average at 224,000. Wage growth, however, is still at 2.7 percent, and most of the jobs added are in low-wage sectors.

Good news for others is that the National Rifle Association has been unable to renew its media liability insurance which could force the group to close its TV network, NRATV, and a number of print publications. Lack of insurance would also mean that it “cannot maintain its physical premises” or “convene off-site meetings and events.” The NRA blames New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo for pressuring insurers. The state levied over $8 million in fines against the insurance companies supporting the NRA’s “Carry Guard” self-defense program in New York State by insuring participants for legal fees and liabilities caused by self-defense shootings. The NRA ended 2016 with a $43 million debt and an additional 40 million in pension liabilities because people are no longer afraid of federal gun control, and the NRA counted on “Carry Guard” to bail them out of their fiscal problems.

Best DDT quote of last week: “Just remember: what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

Best quote of this week: In a GOP senators’ press conference whining about Democrats wanting to see paperwork on Brett Kavanaugh, Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said, “Frankly, we didn’t treat their candidates for these positions the way [Democrats are] treating ours.” In one way, he’s right: Democrats are willing to talk with DDT’s nominee for Supreme Court justice; Republicans wouldn’t even speak to President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, let alone consider him for a hearing.

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