Nel's New Day

September 25, 2022

Elections, Cheats

Sunday’s election in Italy will please Russian President Vladimir Putin and Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) as far-right Giorgia Meloni claimed victory as the prime minister of the third-largest economy in the European Union in the snap national election triggered by party infighting collapsing PM Mario Draghi’s government in July. She is predicted to take 26 percent of the vote, ahead of her closest rival from the center left. Her alliance includes the former PM Silvio Berlusconi’s center right Forza Italia. Italy’s president, however, selects Italy’s next leader, and Meloni’s party comes from dictator Benito Mussolini’s fascists. Her positions include anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, anti-international finance, anti-EU, and pro-natural family.

Italy is a co-founder of the EU and member of NATO, but her rhetoric puts her close to Hungary’s nationalist leader Viktor Orban. Her allies are also close to Russia; Berlusconi claimed that Putin was forced into invading Ukraine. Meloni’s win follows the rise of Sweden’s anti-immigration party with neo-Nazi roots and the shift of France’s political center to the right.

Next Sunday sees Brazil’s election in which Jair Bolsonaro, nicknamed the Trump of South America, faces former president and former trade union leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. One of them must receive over 50 percent of the vote to be declared the new president. Bolsonaro started repeating complaints of election fraud since he was elected soon after DDT started the trend despite no evidence of any election rigging.  The election covers vital issues for the U.S. such as trade, democracy, DDT, and climate change.

Days after a judge reinstated an 1864 Arizona law prohibiting all abortion except for a pregnant woman’s health, Republicans have nothing to say about the ruling, even those like the GOP candidates, Blake Masters for the U.S. Senate and far-right Kari Lake for governor. Masters called abortion “demonic,” and Lake described it as “the ultimate sin.” At the same time, Democrats are urging women to vote for their rights through speeches and television advertising. The anti-abortion law is one of 40 from the “Howell Code” adopted by the 1stArizona Territorial Legislature.

Historian Heather Cox Richardson explained that the anti-abortion law was intended to “rein in a lawless population of men” during the Civil War. The Code discusses “miscarriage in context with other male misbehavior and makes poisoning to “procure the miscarriage” illegal. The law’s purpose preventing dueling and other violent acts was to keep men from damaging others. A judge had already written the blueprint for all the laws passed by the legislature comprised of 18 men in the lower House and nine men in the upper chamber. He was paid $2,500, equal to five years’ salary for a worker at that time.

In their goal of bringing order out of chaos, one of the 40 laws blocked minorities from protecting themselves, their families and their property from Whites:

“No black or mulatto, or Indian, Mongolian, or Asiatic, shall be permitted to [testify in court] against any white person.”

Also:

“All marriages between a white person and a [Black person], shall…be absolutely void.”

Richardson wrote that the Howell Code “defined the age of consent for sexual intercourse to be just ten years old.”

A judge appointed by DDT ruled that Mike Lindell isn’t above the law; the MyPillow CEO who worked with DDT to overturn the election lost his request to stop federal agents from searching his phone. Lindell has sued to get his phone back, alleging the FBI violated his First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments rights. He is being investigated for a 2021 breach of voting systems in Mesa County (CO). Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, companies making voting equipment, are suing Lindell and his company for defamation about his claims that the machines were used to rig the 2020 election. A federal judge denied Lindell’s motion to dismiss the Smartmatic lawsuit that claimed Lindell “intentionally stoked the fires of xenophobia and party-divide for the noble purpose of selling his pillows.”

Questions swirled around the reason that three lawyers for DDT were seen coming out of a federal courthouse last Thursday; CNN may have the answer. Its journalists reported that they are secretly trying to block the federal grand jury from collecting information from close DDT aides about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Grand jury secrecy rules require the legal dispute to be under seal with no public documents. White House counsel Eric Herschmann has already testified to the House January investigative committee because DDT’s lawyers’ directions regarding executive privilege was quite vague. Now he worries about grand jury contempt.

Attorney-client privilege is not in effect if information is shared outside the attorney-client communication and if any of it relates to possible wrongdoing. A federal judge already found email exchanges to and from DDT’s election attorney John Eastman about January 6 that weren’t covered by confidentiality. The DOJ was able to access those and other similar exchanges. Executive privilege might be overturned after a Supreme Court ruling for Nixon’s Watergate tapes because a criminal investigation needed the materials.   

Years before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew innocent migrants from San Antonio (TX) to Martha’s Vineyard, DDT had the same idea but with an even more vicious intent to destabilize cities. In 2019, he laid out his plan to select murderers and rapists among immigrants for transport to metropolitan. He told his staff he wanted to “punish” his political rivals. Former DHS official Miles Taylor said he heard the plan:

“I was in the Oval Office for a meeting in March, 2019 in which [Trump] got more specific than just dump[ing] them in blue states. He said, ‘I want you to get the worst of the worst’—criminals, actual ‘murderers,’ and actual ‘rapists’—who cross the [southern] border, and round them up. He did not want to expel them, which is what you’re supposed to do in those situations. He specifically said that he wanted us to put them on buses … to, and I quote, ‘destabilize’ those sanctuary cities.”

DDT specifically listed Los Angeles, Portland (OR), Chicago, and New York City among the metropolitan areas Trump wanted his administration to target. Another DDT aide remembers he said “we should load buses up with ‘MS-13,” violent gangs rooted in Los Angeles and El Salvador, “and sent them to cities like San Francisco [where Nancy Pelosi lives, and also to] … New York.” Administration lawyers and other officials rejected the idea and told him that bringing in violent people was opposite of his goal to keep “immigrant crime” out of the country.

The property management subsidiary of a real estate business owned by the family of Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law, agrees to pay over $3.25 million to Maryland after the company “victimized” poor tenets who had horrific living conditions. The company also tried to cheat tenants out of money they didn’t owe.

A jury has ruled against Project Veritas, finding it violating wiretapping laws and fraudulently representing itself to a Democratic consulting firm. It was ordered to pay $120,000 to the firm. The group’s founder, James O’Keefe, claimed his people, who used deceptive practices, are journalists. The conservative Veritas group is known for editing film to make the people look guilty of crimes. They first came on the national scene when they destroyed Acorn and then moved on to smearing Planned Parenthood.

In 2016, the project infiltrated Democracy Partners, employed by the DNC for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. An operative pretending to be a wealthy donor named Charles Roth told the co-founder of Democracy Partners he wanted to donate $20,000 to a progressive group also a client of Creamer. The poser said his niece wanted to work in Democratic circles. Creamer offered her an unpaid internship at Democracy Partners after the false Roth wired the money from an offshore account to the group. The supposed niece used a fake name, false email account, and a bogus résumé. O’Keefe wrote in his book, American Pravda, wrote that the “donation certainly greased the wheels.”

The operative, whose real name is Allison Maass, secretly taped conversations and took documents while she worked at Democracy Partners before supplying information to Project Veritas which edited the videos and made them public. Edited videos suggested Creamer and another man were developing a plan to provoke violence by DDT’s supporters at his rallies. The heavy editing and O’Keefe’s commentary produced false conclusions, according to the lawsuit. The case also stated that Creamer lost over $500,000 worth of contracts because of Veritas deceptions. As the lawyer for Democracy Partners said at the trial, Project Veritas was trying to “uncover what they themselves concocted,” the project’s standard MO.

O’Keefe faces other legal problems. Former employees sued in August for a “highly sexualized” work culture with common daytime drinking and drug use while they worked additional hours without pay. Two Florida residents also pled guilty to stealing a diary from Ashley Biden, the president’s daughter, and selling it to Project Veritas under direction by its employee who told them to steal more items. An investigation into that situation is ongoing. The same month, the project was ordered to pay Stanford University about $150,000 in legal fees after a federal judge dismissed the 2021 defamation lawsuit by the group, and Veritas has an ongoing defamation suit against The New York Times. A history of Project Veritas’ deception.

September 22, 2022

More Fraud – September 22, 2022

Special master Raymond Dearie is back in the news on Thursday: he ordered the lawyers of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) to submit a sworn declaration if they believe the FBI planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago during the August 8 search. The declaration must include “a list of any specific items set forth in the Detailed Property Inventory that Plaintiff asserts were not seized from the Premises on August 8, 2022.” DDT recently repeated the accusation of FBI planting materials this week when talking to Sean Hannity on Fox network. Dearie set September 30 for the declaration’s deadline and asked DOJ for declarations about key facts regarding the search. His actions give an opening to hearing testimony about the search and seized materials from “witnesses with knowledge of the relevant facts.

The DOJ was also ordered to submit “copies of all seized materials” except those marked classified to DDT’s lawyers by September 29. DDT’s legal team must finish reviewing all documents for potential executive or attorney-client privilege by October 14 while regularly sending designations during the interim. Reviews and final designations from both sides are due by October 21. Dearie may also send  proceedings to Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who approved the search warrant. Retired federal judge James Orenstein, appointed by George W. Bush, has been hired to help the review with his staff from the Eastern District of New York assisting. Orenstein had served “on the prosecution team in the Oklahoma City bombings trials.” Attorney General Merrick Garland played a leading role earlier in his career in the Oklahoma City investigation. Dearie said he won’t be paid for his work because the government is paying him as a federal judge but proposed that Orenstein be paid $500 per hour covered by DDT, based on an earlier court ruling.

Some of DDT’s faithful GOP senators are abandoning him, especially his ability to declassify documents just by thinking he does. John Thune (SD) said declassification has a process which should be followed and “apply to anybody who has access to or deals with classified information.” Thom Tillis (NC) agreed, and Mike Rounds (SD) called handling of classified documents a “very serious” issue. Other senators dodged the question, like Mike Braun (IN) who claimed ignorance about the “proper methodology.”

DDT made many bizarre comments about the search for government documents at Mar-a-Lago, but one that belies belief is that the FBI thought they could find “the Hillary Clinton emails that were deleted but they are around someplace.” He repeated that to Sean Hannity on Fox this week, trying to gin up rumors by lying about “a lot of speculation” in his alternative reality.   

Past fraud has returned to haunt DDT—his 2014 rivalry with the 1980s metal rocker Jon Bon Jovi to buy the football team Buffalo Bills. In the $250 million fraud civil lawsuit filed by Letitia James in New York, DDT allegedly inflated assets’ valuation to finance a purchase attempt. DDT smeared the New Jersey resident, saying was that he was too Canadian for Buffalo because of Bon Jovi’s coalition of Toronto-based investors. In his $1 billion bid for the team, DDT needed a letter from a bank that he could get $800 million in financing. A Trump Organization executive, Jeffrey McConney, told the bank that DDT’s wealth, reportedly $800 billion, had “no material decrease” since the 2013 personal statement of financial condition, but those valuations were artificially inflated with DDT’s “deceptive strategies.” Although DDT claimed Bon Jovi planned to move the Bills to Toronto, he didn’t get the team and neither did the rocker. The winning $1.4 billion bid came from Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Sabres hockey team.

Conservatives complained that the nation’s unemployment insurance program to help people during the pandemic caused people to quit work and live on the “government dole.” Yet fraudsters skimmed over $45.6 billion from the program, using dead people’s Social Security numbers and identities of prisoners ineligible for aid. That finding could be incomplete because of the focus on “high risk” areas for fraud; billions of dollars may also have been stolen. Thus far,1,000 people have been charged for these crimes, and 190,000 investigative matters have been opened. The program began in 2020 under DDT’s term in the White House.

In another program to help people during the worst of COVID, 47 defendants have been charged with stealing over $250 million from Feeding Our Future to provide free meals for needy children. Other charges involved about $1 trillion in loans and grants intended for small businesses, and GOP governors have used funding from a $350 billion program by making tax cuts and immigration crackdowns—such as Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis shipping migrants from Texas to Massachusetts.

DeSantis has dropped to a new low in cruelty. He lured migrants to a hotel in San Antonio (TX) miles from their shelter with the promise to fly them to jobs, homes, and help in Delaware, only to cancel the flight and abandon the people. An anonymous source close to DeSantis stated that the flight, supposedly scheduled to land about 20 miles from President Joe Biden’s beach home, was to “punk” media and Democratic officials and “put a spotlight on the border.” Migrants were told they could stay in the hotel for the night before the bogus flight if they didn’t talk about the travel plans or who arranged them. The next morning, they were told the flight was canceled. Their recruiters hired a bus them back to San Antonio’s Migrant Resource Center ten miles away which would provide three days of shelter and aid. Some migrants were not told about the bus, and none of them received food after the flight was canceled.

In April, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) sought federal protection for Venezuelan asylum seekers in the U.S.; five months later he accuses them of entering the U.S. “illegally.” He also doesn’t twisted the law, lying that migrants kidnapped by Florida’s governor from Texas and transported across several state lines could not sue for legal recourse. Rubio is only two points ahead of his reelection opponent, Val Deming.   

According to Rubio, health exceptions for the pregnant woman in an abortion ban are also a “massive loophole” and like vehicular manslaughter.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the man who fled the Texas cold during the energy shutdown for the Cancun warmth, is claiming “a great partisan victory!” In a video he took credit for a highway from Laredo to North Dakota that brings jobs and ”tens of billions of dollars” to his state, declaring his pride in the years of hard work for the project. Yet he voted against the bill unlike the other Texas senator, John Cornyn, among 18 Republican senators.

The GOP, party who claims to want transparency, unanimously blocked a Senate bill revealing names of donors giving over $10,000. Republicans need the dark money to get elected.

House Republicans briefly released their policy platform called “Commitment to America” on House Minority Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) website but soon dropped the public’s ability to see the document. Before its disappearance, however, multiple screenshots were taken. It criticizes the Democrats reduction of popular prescription drug costs and “fight inflation and curb the cost of living” through cuts in government spending and taxes, probably for the wealthy as in the 2017 GOP law. Its promise to “save and strengthen Social Security and Medicare” was preceded by a GOP House committee meeting to reduce coverage and cut benefits by “massively” slashing Social Security in its proposed 2023 budget. Another “commitment” is new restrictions on voter access, including mandating voter ID, loosening rules on voter roll purges, and increasing access for observers during elections.

The platform is reminiscent of Newt Gingrich’s 1994 “Contract with America.” McCarthy, however, proposed only one bill promised to get floor votes instead of Gingrich’s ten, a Parental Bill of Rights based on blocking the teaching of “critical race theory.” Deliberately vague, the agenda doesn’t deal in specifics. The one-page document, now removed from McCarthy’s website, is here

McCarthy tried the same grocery store stunt as Pennsylvania’s GOP candidate for U.S. senate, Mehmet Oz, to show the plight of people in the U.S. and failed, just like Oz. In a video with the store as backdrop, McCarthy talked for 15 seconds about financial problems before hellish images and statements about the country’s drugs, inflation, and kids falling behind because of non-existent school closures. He lied about the U.S. being in a recession, and he had no Republican solution, only GOP control of the House.

Claremont, MAGA’s most prominent think tank, is home not only to John Eastman, legal architect of DDT’s plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election, but also the “Sheriff Fellows,” MAGA sheriffs learning the fellowship’s curriculum of two sets of people in the U.S.—communities to be treated as freely and brutally as law enforcement wish and the “real Americans” who are above the law. Sheriffs are a likely target for extremism because the office is vulnerable and can enable vigilantes to exert havoc on society. They have great authority with tanks, helicopters, SWAT teams, battering rams, surveillance technology and guns to terrify community members. Claremont’s curriculum for training these sheriffs is here. Sheriffs are elected; voters should be wary.

And Thomas Barrack, DDT’s close friend, is on trial this week for secretly lobbying DDT on behalf of the United Arab Emirates for personal power and financial gain.

News – September 21, 2022 (DDT Faces More Trouble)

 Aileen Cannon, a judge appointed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), had ruled against the DOJ’s immediately using seized classified documents from Mar-a-Lago on August 8 for an investigation. In one week, however, DOJ appealed; DDT again won Cannon’s approval; DOJ appealed to the 11th Circuit Court for the materials; and a three-judge panel granted a stay on Cannon’s orders in a ruling siding with the DOJ. It may be the fastest judicial action in history. In the temporary victory for national security, the panel said that Cannon “abused” her discretion in requiring outside review of seized classified documents. In a 29-page opinion, the panel wrote:

“For our part, we cannot discern why [Trump] would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings.”

The panel, composed of one judge appointed by President Obama and two appointed by DDT, also unanimously refused to accept the claim from DDT’s legal team that he might have declassified the documents, as did the special master Raymond Dearie, DDT’s choice for special master that Cannon appointed.

“Plaintiff suggests that he may have declassified these documents when he was President. But the record contains no evidence that any of these records were declassified. And before the special master, Plaintiff resisted providing any evidence that he had declassified any of these documents. In any event, at least for these purposes, the declassification argument is a red herring because declassifying an official document would not change its content or render it personal.”

DDT has consistently claimed the documents were not classified because he said they were declassified. On the Fox network, he went farther when he told Sean Hannity by falsely saying that there was no declassification process and he could wordlessly declassify documents:

“You can declassify just by saying “it’s declassified,” even by thinking about it.”

The 11th Circuit Court ruling simplifies Dearie’s work by removing classified documents from his purview; he had said he wanted to avoid reviewing them if possible. The question is whether DDT’s team will appeal the 11th Circuit Court decision.  

Hours before the bad news for DDT from the 11th Circuit, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced she has filed a civil lawsuit against DDT, three of his adult children, and the Trump Organization for $250 million in financial penalties to cover over a decade of fraud when they falsely inflated and deflated their assets to pay lower taxes while getting better insurance coverage. She also asked for a judgment barring DDT and his children in the suit from serving as officer or director of any state-licensed or registered corporation, real estate acquisition in New York, and applications for loans from any financial institution in the state for five years.

The lawsuit comes from a three-year civil investigation with 65 witnesses and reviews of millions of documents. The defendants allegedly conspired to violate state laws, falsifying business records, issuing false financial statements, and committing insurance fraud. Possible federal crimes, including bank fraud have been referred to federal prosecutors and the IRS. DDT supposedly turned the Trump Organization over to his two adult sons in 2017 and serve as executive vice presidents.

Former AG Bill Barr criticized James for trying “to drag the children into this,” referring to adults ages 38 to 44. Yet all three participated in “the fraudulent valuation methods and assumptions.” As usual, DDT claimed that the lawsuit is political by a “failed A.G.” James said:

“There aren’t two sets of laws for people in this nation: former presidents must be held to the same standards as everyday Americans.”

DDT’s fraud related to 23 assets inflated every year between 2011 and 2021, totaling over “200 false and misleading valuations” between 2011 and 2021 is the building at 40 Wall Street owned by the Trump Organization which was valued at $200 million on a tax filing in 2010 that was valued at $524 the following year. In 2015, DDT’s triplex in Trump Tower, 10,996 square feet was three times that size and valued at $327 million. At that time, only one apartment in New York City, housed in a newly built ultra-tall tower, had sold for as much as $100 million. In DDT’s building, the most expensive apartment had sold for $16.5 million. Rental units worth $750,000 were valued at nearly $50 million. DDT claimed his Mar-a-Lago home was worth $739 million, but it was worth one-tenth of that estimate. 

Last month, DDT was deposed for the lawsuit, but he claimed the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination for all questions except his name. Jurors can consider declaration of the Fifth as negative in civil suits. The Trump Organization also tried to settle last month, but James rejected the offer.

The civil lawsuit could have horrendous results for DDT and his children. New York Times reporter Susan Craig said DDT might have to renegotiate crucial loans because of liquidity problems. If liens are called, loans will be extremely hard to get, and values for them will be much lower than DDT had declared. It would be “financial ruin for the company” as well as be disastrous for a 2024 campaign.  

James’ civil lawsuit is separate from the Manhattan criminal case, but they work together on the inquiry. DA Alvin Bragg criminally charged Trump Organization and its longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg for a scheme to not pay taxes on noncash perks. He will have to testify against the business as part of his guilty plea. Weisselberg also described instructions to inflate assets on financial statements. Earlier in 2019, Michael Cohen, DDT’s former lawyer and fixer, habitually inflated and deflated DDT’s assets for financial gain.

Donors who think they are paying for “election integrity” by giving to DDT’s Save America PAC are not only providing DDT’s legal fees but also paying for Melania Trump’s fashion designer. The PAC also gave $650,000 to the Smithsonian Institution for portraits of DDT and former first lady Melania Trump. Two artists have reportedly been commissioned for the two portraits. No spending on any “election fraud” as the PAC advertised. The DOJ is investigating.

DDT faces another New York lawsuit since the state’s new sexual assault survivor’s law went into effect. E. Jean Carroll had accused DDT of raping her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s, but the statute of limitations expired. Now adult accusers have a one-year window to bring civil claims over alleged sexual misconduct no matter how long ago it happened. Carroll’s defamation suit can also proceed. Her attorney Roberta Kaplan wrote that the case will be filed on November 24, 2022. While DDT was in the White House, AG Bill Barr’s DOJ had defended DDT in the defamation suit.

Justice Clarence Thomas may also be in trouble if his wife, Ginni Thomas, honestly testifies to the House January 6 investigative committee. She pushed former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to overturn the election as shown by multiple texts between the election and the January 6 insurrection, and worked with DDT’s election attorney John Eastman for the same purpose. In addition, Ginni Thomas emailed 29 Arizona state lawmakers in late 2020, urging them to overturn the state’s popular vote victory for Joe Biden and put together “fake electors” for DDT. She also emailed two GOP Wisconsin lawmakers with the same intent. In March 2021, Thomas attending a meeting of right-wing activists where the audience was told that DDT remains the “legitimate president.” She has a long history of participating in far-right organizations, many of them with cases before the Supreme Court; her husband has always refused to recuse himself and voted in their favor.

 Lawyers representing asylum seekers allegedly “tricked” into flying from San Antonio (TX) to Martha’s Vineyard are seeking a nationwide injunction to block Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis from luring immigrants to travel across state lines. Taking funds from the $12 million federal COVID money assigned by state legislators to transport undocumented immigrants, DeSantis started with 50 asylum seekers, paying Oregon-based Vertol Systems Company over $1.5 million for “relocation of unauthorized aliens.” Florida paid the company $615,000 on September 8, following by $950,000 on September 19. The chartered planes landed in Massachusetts on September 15. DeSantis accused “opportunistic” activists of using illegal immigrants as “political theater.”

Two state legislators asked the DOJ to investigate the asylum seekers’ involuntary relocation from Texas. The letter explained migrants didn’t know where they were being flown and put on the plane under false pretenses.

A federal bankruptcy judge in Houston ordered new officials to supervise Alex Jones’s bankruptcy of his parent company and probably destroyed Jones’ plans to hide his assets from court orders to pay for court rulings in his all four lost defamation trials regarding the Sandy Hook massacre. The DOJ-appointed trustee monitoring the case has expanded duties. Jones is also under scrutiny for a potential role in the January 6 insurrection.

The House January 6 investigating committee has scheduled its first fall hearing for September 28, 2022, at 1:00 pm EST. Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) announced it might not be the last one but would probably be the only one before the November 8 Midterm elections.

September 20, 2022

News – September 20, 2022

A few highlights from today:

More Republicans may go down for election fraud after the emergence of surveillance video at the Coffee County (GA) election office. Questioned about unauthorized forensics experts at SullivanStrickler tied to DDT copying sensitive voting machine software and data for eight hours in the county office, former state GOP official and “fake elector” for DDT Cathy Latham swore under oath that she briefly stopped by but stayed in the foyer—five minutes at most—talking about an unrelated matter at the front desk. “I didn’t go into the office,” she said.

According to a video, however, Latham visited the office twice on January 7, 2021, for over four hours beginning at 11:37 am and leaving at 7:40 pm. During that time, she led businessman Scott Hall into a back area to meet forensic experts and local officials as well as going in and out of the area where experts worked. The businessman was “looking into the election on behalf of the President,” according to the state GOP chair. Hall said that the team “scanned all the equipment, imaged all the hard drives and scanned every single ballot,” adding that he had the permission of “basically” the “entire local elections committee.”

Latham (right) watched the forensics team work on the voting machines and even took a selfie with one of the experts while she was in the office. The next day, she exchanged texts with SullivanStrickler’s CEO and updated Coffee County elections supervisor Misty Hampton on the forensics team’s whereabouts. Both Latham and Hampton couldn’t remember what happened, but Hampton’s texts indicated great enthusiasm for Latham’s news.

According to a SullivanStrickler executive, Latham introduced herself as an elections official. Her lawyer said there must have been a misunderstanding because Latham has never held that position. SullivanStrickler’s lawyers described Latham as “a primary point of contact in coordinating and facilitating” the firm’s work in Coffee County, adding: “Ms. Latham was on-site in the Coffee County elections office that day while the work was performed.” In a deposition, the executive said Latham “provided direction on what was required for collection,” and the company believed it had proper authorization to make “forensic images,” or exact copies, from the election equipment in Coffee County. 

Earlier told about the plans, Eric Chaney, a member of the county elections board employing Hampton, originally claimed he was unaware of anyone illegally accessing the server. He did remember finding “people present unknown to me” when he went by the office but said he thought they were from the secretary of state’s office. The video shows him present throughout most of the day and talking with the forensics team and Hall, including when the company’s CEO used a cord to connect poll pads to the team’s laptop. Questioned under oath, Chaney admitted he went to the office on January 7 but cited his Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself to questions about the team copying voting data.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may have violated federal law by lying to migrants in San Antonio (TX) about the aid they would receive in Massachusetts. They received a brochure with lists of what they can expect: “8 months cash assistance,” “assistance with housing,” “food,” “clothing,” “transportation to job interviews,” “job training,” “job placement,” “registering children for school,” “assistance applying for Social Security cards,” and many other benefits—all available on the tiny island of Martha’s Vineyard. Images of the brochure are here.

Sheriff of Bexar County, Javier Salazar, said his office is investigating possible crimes in DeSantis’ removal of migrants from San Antonio and left to fend for themselves after they were told they were going to Boston. Salazar said the migrants were “lured … to staying in a hotel for a few days and then taken to an airplane … under false pretenses of being offered jobs.” He added that the 48 people, in Texas legally, were “exploited and hoodwinked.” The promised benefits are not available on Martha’s Vineyard, the reason that migrants voluntarily moved to another location.

DeSantis’ plan to deport migrants from Texas with Florida money received from the federal government may have run into problems. Salazar reported a flight with migrants scheduled from San Antonio to Delaware, President Joe Biden’s home state, had been postponed at the last minute. Delaware officials had been preparing a welcome for the plane. DeSantis didn’t give any notification of his plans to either Massachusetts or Delaware—or Texas, where he abducted the migrants.

If the law proves fraud or kidnapping, the migrants could be eligible for visas, upsetting DeSantis goal to annoy people. He also claimed migrants signed waivers agreeing to travel to Martha’s Vineyard, but unlawful acts cannot be waived. The island did not provide the advantages DeSantis promised the travelers, and the map was simply an arrow across the U.S. from Texas to Massachusetts. A qualifying crime for a U visa includes “the enticement of travel for a better life or jobs,” which may be difficult to prove in this case. International law also promises “the right to liberty of movement” as well as migrants suffering from deception, coercion, and abuse of power.

A civil rights law firm has filed a class action lawsuit against DeSantis on behalf of the migrants and “similarly situated people who are fraudently induced to travel across state lines by DeSantis and the State of Florida.” The migrants have consistently been called “illegal aliens” or “illegal immigrants,” but they were legally in the U.S. claiming asylum for the Venezuelan regime which DeSantis said “is responsible for countless atrocities.”

DDT is also having a bad day. His handpicked “special master” to investigate the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago, Judge Raymond Dearie, asked DDT to “disclose details about any materials he claims to have declassified before calling them his property.” DDT claims he wants to keep that information secret to defend himself in case of an indictment and his appointed judge, Aileen Cannon, didn’t include that in her order. He also argued that Dearie is moving too fast (because DDT’s purpose was to stall) because Dearie wants both sides to label designations on the documents by October 7, 2022. That’s before the Midterm elections compared to Cannon’s deadline of November 30. Lawyers are also upset regarding Dearie’s request about whether DDT’s Fourth Amendment litigation should be filed with the magistrate judge permitting the search warrant.

DDT’s lawyers have never claimed in filings or court that DDT declassified the documents, they probably figured that saying they might be declassified covered them from committing perjury. In his first meeting as special master with DDT’s legal team and the DOJ, Dearie appeared dissatisfied with DDT’s attorneys about the lack of details regarding whether DDT had declassified documents. He told them that “it’s the end of it” if the lawyers could not definitely state that the records were declassified and the DOJ had evidence they weren’t. “You can’t have your cake and eat it,” Dearie told them. He also pointed out that the legal team might not be able to review the classified documents because they are restricted to those with a need to know. The DOJ had pointed out that some of its own investigators lacked clearances to review the documents. The three statutes used for the search warrant, however, do not require proof that the documents were classified.

After the DOJ failed in its request to Cannon for a stay to immediately examine the classified documents for an investigation, it appealed Cannon’s refusal to the 11th Circuit Court last Friday. The court may be more serious about the national security than Cannon: it required a response from DD by Tuesday noon. Cannon had ruled that extremely highly classified documents lying around at Mar-a-Lago for anyone to see was not a big deal and didn’t deserve an immediate investigation.

Texas AG Ken Paxton, under indictment for fraud, entered the fray by attacking the Biden administration in a federal court brief to the 11th Circuit Court regarding the seizure of records to support Cannon’s ruling. The filing falsely claims widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election and argues that Biden cannot be trusted to appropriately behave in DDT’s case because he disagrees with Biden’s policies. Attorneys general from ten states joined Paxton’s brief

Now watchers await the DOJ response to DDT’s response, the appointment of a three-judge panel by the 11th Circuit (six appointed by DDT of the 11 active judges), and the next scene in DDT’s legal team attempts to walk over Dearie—a highly unlikely event.

White House lawyer Eric Herschmann reported that DDT was told last year he “could face legal liability if he did not return government materials he had taken with him when he left office.” DDT kept tens of boxes of materials that belonged to the U.S. government and lied about having them. The case is about far more than just a “storage dispute” as DDT’s legal team claims.

According to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, DDT’s aides have the responsibility for providing him with “positive reinforcement.” A “cast” of people is “tasked” with surrounding DDT for this purpose, either ones who are paid or former aides who have nothing else to do now. Their job is to recite nice things people write about him on Twitter and other social media platform. Herschmann probably isn’t one of them.

September 17, 2022

Railroading – Unions, Migrants

The question about the media is when it will start giving President Joe Biden credit for his successes. Averting a catastrophic railroad strike, evenly temporarily, would be a nice way for them to begin. A disaster for the precarious supply chair had already been predicted when a tentative deal was struck with workers, both sides crediting Biden’s administration for the potential success. Constant lobbying for a settlement for the past several weeks argued that the stakes were too high to carry through with the dispute. The strike was put off until two unions with about 60,000 members count their votes, possibly in mid-October. The other unions have already agreed to a deal.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh led 20 hours of talks in the final stretch, and Biden called into the negotiations 27 hours before the strike deadline to argue against the railways’ shutdown, a “crucial” call according to one source. He had frequently called the on both sides. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack were also involved in negotiations.

The strike would have halted transport of grain, fuel, lumber, car parts and other key products—about 30 percent of hauling in the U.S. Congress could have blocked the strike, but a majority vote of pro-union Democrats and recalcitrant Republicans intent on winning the Midterms. This resolution would also hurt labor-friendly Biden. Fox business hosts seemed disturbed that Biden “expressed concern for the workers and their families, not really for the rail companies.”

The tentative deal includes voluntarily assigned days off for workers, an additional paid day off, increases to health care copays and deductibles, protections for two-person crews, and 24 percent raises over five years. The union must ratify the agreement before it goes into effect. The deal helps the U.S. economy and blocks a supply chain crisis.

Freight-rail workers haven’t walked off for 30 years since George H.W. Bush was president. Forty railroads suspended operations, and almost all freight-rail traffic and passenger rail service halted before Congress imposed a settlement. This time 125,000 freight-rail employees are involved, and their strike would make a daily $2 billion hit to the economy. By now, roads has seven major carriers with skyrocketing revenues. The top two gained about 12 percent in 2021, $21.8 billion and $22.5 billion. Freight-rail companies cut 40,000 employees from November 2018 to December 2020 by creating extremely tight schedules, leaving no time for employees to call in sick or go to medical appointments.  

Thirty years ago, then Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) voted against forcing railroad employees to return to work. He said the presidential emergency board was stacked in favor of railroad executives. Now that he’s doing the heavy lifting, the Wall Street Journal editorial board slammed him

“You’d think some $5 trillion in new spending by this Congress, much of which will fatten union bottom lines, would be enough to buy some labor peace. If not, Democrats on Capitol Hill have the power to impose another cooling off period so the two sides can negotiate without a strike. Let’s see if Democrats side with their Big Labor allies, or with the U.S. economy that needs the trains to run on time.”

Biden’s comment? “The trains are running on time.”

 WSJ might want to look at its own union problems. Since the onslaught of COVID, workers have worked remotely except for two days a week. The newspaper now mandates they come into the office at least three days a week, starting November 1, and senior editors and managers were ordered to be in the office full time. The WSJ editor-in-chief told staff that they do their best work while being together physically, but the union director responded that “this company has been very, very successful for the past two plus years.”

Of 40 employees contacting the union about the new requirement, 80 percent were opposed to the additional day per week in the office because of childcare, health and safety from the continuing COVID threat, and the noise of the newsroom. Some staff are also asking for raises to combat inflation. WSJ has only a one-year contract with employees. Readers will see if the newspaper will “run on time.”

Biden’s approval rating jumped to 45 percent from 36 percent in July—and that poll was before the railroads’ tentative agreement. Gas prices dropped 26 percent since June, and many GOP members are unhappy with Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) proposal of a nation-side anti-abortion law.

The latest ploy to get reelected—maybe picked for president—is to send migrants north, without notice and as political pawns. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott paid $12 million, about $1,200 per person, to bus 10,000 migrants north, most recently to VP Kamala Harris’ residence. Two of them had to be hospitalized, one from diabetic shock and the other a baby experiencing health issues. Arizona also bused migrants to Washington, D.C. costing the state $3 million in three months.

Not to be outdone, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew 50 migrants, mostly escaping from Venezuela, to Martha’s Vineyard. The migrants didn’t know where they were until they landed but thought it would be different destinations. Telling the migrants they were going to Boston, a woman who called herself Perla lured them lured onto the planes with the promise of work, housing, and a surprise gift. The planes dumped them at the airport, and they walked two miles to the Community Center after having no food of water all day.

DeSantis proudly took credit after their landing through his spokesperson. He sent a videographer with the migrants and provided exclusive footage for the Fox network. The greatest oddity is that migrants flown with Florida funding started in San Antonio (TX). DeSantis funding for the two charter planes came from $12 million of federal COVID relief monies that Florida set aside to provide “the transport of unauthorized aliens from the state.” States have no restriction on the use of interest from the federal pandemic money. 

Needlessly cruel, these publicity stunts may also be illegal, “designed to prevent [migrants] from complying with federal immigration policies.” Even the administration of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) rejected similar deportations recommended by DDT’s adviser Stephen Miller because of liability concerns. States cannot legally transport migrants not in custody without voluntary and informed consent, and the governors’ actions smack of human trafficking. A state cannot make the decision to move immigration cases from one jurisdiction to another.

Massachusetts officials could charge Texas state officials for fraud or even kidnapping. Migrants might be able to sue DeSantis and his participants in the scheme, resulting in the payment of millions to asylum seekers, as families separated at the border by DDT’s administration are doing. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has already asked the DOJ to investigate federal law violations in these cases.

An Episcopal priest in Martha’s Vineyard said that all migrants sent from San Antonio are individually meeting with lawyers to preserve their rights. The deportation scheme is intended to anger people where migrants are sent, but residents of Martha’s Vineyard mobilized to help them with their needs. Some migrants have been voluntarily transported to Joint Base Cape Cod, a military training facility, for shelter, food, needs assessment, and healthcare access.

Many of the “deported” migrants to northern cities are asylum seekers, legally in the U.S. awaiting the courts’ decisions. A Boston immigration attorney discovered that DHS had registered cases for migrants in Texas to mailing addresses in random homeless shelters across the U.S. Migrants must check in at the office closest to their registered address, some as early as Monday, or risk deportation.

Sixty years ago, Southern White segregationists coerced Blacks into being shipped to the North with promises of work and housing, some of them to Martha’s Vineyard. The 1962 Reverse Freedom Rides were in retaliation for Black and White volunteers riding buses throughout the South in 1961 to support desegregation. In Arkansas, Citizens’ Councils recruited men with criminal records and single mothers with multiple children. One woman was dropped off in Hyannis with her nine children and was told John F. Kennedy would greet her. She took almost nothing for the trip because she was promised all her needs would be provided to them on their arrival.

Then, as now, local committees were formed to provide housing, clothing, and money for the new arrivals. Even “moderate” segregationists were disgusted by the “cynical manipulation” of the poor Blacks, and a New Orleans radio/TV station called the campaign “sick sensationalism bordering on the moronic.” The 1962 transports stopped with 200 people, compared with the 10,000+ migrants sent by three governors in the past year. Sixty years ago, private people funded the deportation; now the money comes from taxpayers.

Lawyers from the DOJ and the Homeland Security Department are considering litigation options regarding the movement of migrants out of state by GOP governors.

September 5, 2022

News – September 4, 2022

A few catchups from the past week:

While Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) raves about a rigged election in a Pennsylvania rally, one of his own was convicted for trying to rig a siphoning scam to take votes from a Democratic candidate. The Seminole County (FL) GOP chair was found guilty of using his cousin as a “ghost” candidate,” an increasingly common practice in Florida, through putting a fake candidate on the ballot advertised as a progressive to take votes from the legitimate Democrat candidate. Floridian Republicans have also changed voter registrations from Democratic voters to the GOP without consent, and several Republicans in the retirement Villages voted twice. Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has created state election police, but they are not investigating these election frauds. 

DeSantis’ election force has also not investigated him for another voter fraud, arresting 20 people with one of them dragged to jail in his underwear at 6:00 am. In 2018, Florida voters overwhelmingly supported the right of released felons to vote, but GOP legislators said they had to first pay all their fees and fines. Chaos reigned with no system to let people know if they were ineligible to cast a ballot. DeSantis’ appointees approved the completed registration cards for felons so the duly registered ex-felons didn’t know they were disenfranchised. To convict those charged, prosecutors must prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the arrested people knew their votes were illegal. DeSantis just want to make eligible voters afraid to cast ballots, destroying democracy.

At least 150,000 Jackson (MS) residents continue to lack safe drinking water, and the mayor said they face “a much longer road ahead” before services are fully restored. Relying on bottled water, they can’t take baths, wash dishes, etc. The city said that “all of Jackson should now have pressure,” useless for most personal needs except flushing toilets. After decades of neglect, the Pearl River flooding set off problems at one of two water treatment plants, but residents had already been under a boil-water order when the pumps failed. The crisis is a combination of poor infrastructure, climate change, and systemic racism as a Democratic city government tried to deal with a Republican governor and state legislature.

The governor accused the city of mismanagement two months after the federal EPA system violated the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. In March 2020, the EPA found the potential for bacteria such as E.Coli and issued an emergency order to fix the deficiencies. Jackson residents lost access to clean water for weeks in 2021 when the pipes froze. A fire knocked all five pumps at one treatment plant out of service, and last October lawyers sued for “hundreds if not thousands” of children being poisoned by lead in the water. As white people fled the city, 20,000 between 2000 and 2010, Jackson lost both tax revenue and institutional support as In 40 years, the population of Jackson dropped from 200,000 in 1980 and over from 50 percent white to 80 percent Black.    

The long tentacles of health care provided by the Catholic Church reaches farther than hospitals, as students at Ohio’s Oberlin College discovered last week. Campus student health services would provide contraception only for health problems other than preventing pregnancy, and only victims of sexual assault can receive emergency contraception. Oberlin outsourced the student health services to a Catholic health agency which follows religious directives prohibiting contraception to prevent pregnancy—and blocking gender-affirming care. The college developed an alternative plan to offer reproductive health services to students on campus, but some states’ guidelines are similar to the Catholic Church. About 40 percent of reproductive age women live “in areas with high or dominant Catholic hospital market share,” according to a researcher of data in 2020. Many people don’t realize that the Catholic Church controls their health care because the information is concealed. Options of patients, especially low-income ones, can be disproportionately restricted.

Texas spent $12.7 million to bus migrants to the East Coast–$1,400 per person. A one-way, same-day ticket from El Paso costs $291 to New York City and $324 to Washington, D.C., and same-day flights are under $400. Gov. Greg Abbott is asking for private donations for his project but received only $167,828 as of August 17. His goal is to “incite fear among Americans,” a typical Republican strategy, but busing saves migrants money by taking them closer to their destinations.

After DDT spent months attacking House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), warfare is breaking out between McConnell and Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), chair of the GOP’s Senate campaign arm. Like many other Republicans privately express, McConnell doubts the “quality” of DDT-picked candidates winning primaries, fearing both the Senate and House this year will be lost—again. Scott attacked McConnell in an op-ed for the conservative Washington Examiner, accusing “the very people responsible for losing the Senate last cycle” of “trash-talking our Republican candidates.” Without giving McConnell’s name, Scott’s message was clear, coming two weeks after McConnell expressed concern about the GOP taking back the Senate in 2022. Some of DDT’s infamous candidates for Senate are Blake Masters (AZ), Herschel Walker (GA), and Mehmet Oz (PA). Earlier this year, Scott irritated McConnell by releasing the radically-right “Plan to Rescue America” which alienated many affiliated voters.

Scott is also in trouble for the lack of money in the GOP Senate campaign arm. By the end of July, the committee collected a record $181.5 million but spent over 95 percent of it, $26 million just on texting people to donate. The remaining $23.2 million is less than half of the Democratic committee stash leading up to the November election in two months. Scott is getting blamed for not bringing in money, and his group is canceling bookings for advertising, ones they can’t get back even if they manage to raise the money.

The Senate funding committee decided to not pick anyone in the primaries after DDT’s endorsements. In the past decade, it avoided out-of-the mainstream nominees who might lose in the general election; this year many GOP candidates winning the primaries haven’t run for office before. Their negative, expensive primaries left favorable ratings underwater, and they trail in many battlegrounds with well-funded Democratic opponents. By mid-August, Dems outspent their opponents by four-to-one in Ohio, over double in Arizona, and almost two-to-one in Nevada as well as by $14 million in Georgia.  

Scott gained more notoriety by criticizing President Joe Biden’s Delaware “staycation” while on a luxury yacht in Italy during the Florida primaries. He claimed he had planned his trip to Italy long ago because of a wedding anniversary, but the primaries were also planned well in advance. Presidents typically take off a few weeks in August because of the annual congressional recess for the month, and Scott defrauded the government out of Medicare funds while CEO of a large Florida health system.

After 28 months, litigation about DDT’s financial records going to a House committee has reached a settlement: DDT’s former accounting firm Mazurs must turn over some records to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Records are narrowed to financial ties between DDT or his businesses with foreign countries for 2017-2018 and documents between November 2016 and 2018 for DDT’s company holding the lease with the federal government for the former Trump International Hotel. Earlier this year, Mazurs said it had fired DDT and that the firm’s financial statements prepared to DDT “should no longer be relied upon” because it used DDT’s figures.

Last month, despite DDT’s legal opposition, a three-judge appellate court agreed with a lower court decision that the Treasury Department should provide DDT’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee. DDT’s DOJ allowed former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to block the committee from obtaining the returns with the excuse that Democrats wanted them for partisan reason. The committee successfully renewed the request after Biden’s inauguration, seeking DDT’s tax returns and additional information from 2015 to 2020. 

A Virginia state judge dismissed two cases attempting to bar the public display and sale of two books the plaintiff alleged obscene under an obscure state law. By taking this action, the judge also struck down the law, finding it unconstitutional. Filing by lawyers, presently a GOP state assembly delegate and a former GOP congressional candidate, assert the award-winning graphic memoir Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe and well-reviewed A Court of Mist and Fury by bestselling author Sarah J. Maas were “obscene for unrestricted viewing by minors.” The statute does not allow for a work to be “obscene for minors” and failed to prove that the books are obscene at all. The plaintiffs’ declaration violated both the U.S. and the Virginia constitutions. One of the lawyers, who lost his June 21 primary for Congress by 40 points, tried to build a case for “parental rights.” John Chrastka, executive director of EveryLibrary, said that the plaintiffs tried to weaponize the use of obscenity laws against books that don’t “fit their worldview.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs will begin providing abortions for beneficiaries if the person is endangered by pregnancy or the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest. The VA has made this medical procedure available before but amended its regulations for safety reasons after the Supreme Court and states overturned Roe v. Wade. The rule will be available for a 30-day comment after being published on September 1.

July 15, 2022

News – Week of July 15, 2022

More January 6: The House January 6 investigative committee plans a primetime hearing on July 21. The committee also issued a subpoena to the U.S. Secret Service requesting records that a Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) appointee said were mistakenly erased.

More Musk: Elon Musk thinks he can force Twitter to pay $1 billion when he reneges on his $44 billion deal to buy the company, but his banks have signed a deal with him to put up the acquisition money. Both Musk and the banks may have trouble breaking their commitment letters. Bank of America, Barclays, and Morgan Stanley aren’t responding to questions.

More Antiabortion: Montana state Rep. Brad Tschida (R), a former majority leader now running for state Senate, emailed over 100 legislators that a woman’s womb “serves no specific purpose to her life or well-being.” He expanded his argument to the local media stating that there is only one organ in a woman’s body “that is not there to serve a purpose for her and that is her womb.” 

The media got excited when obstructionist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) might be joining his party policies. As usual it was wrong. Manchin, a millionaire supported by fossil fuel and pharmaceutical industries, followed his pattern of appearing to negotiate before reneging on any agreements. Just like the Republicans for the past decades, he makes promises if Democrats eliminate important provisions and then fails to follow through after they appease him, this time backing down on legislation regarding climate change, tax legislation, lower prescription drug prices, and an extension of enhanced Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsides for two years. Manchin dumped an agreement that would have raised about $1 trillion in revenue by Rolling back 2017 tax cuts for the wealthy and big business could have raised about $1 trillion with half the money shrinking the deficit that DDT raised by $7.8 trillion in just four years. Savings from negotiating down prescription drug prices would fund ACA subsidies.

Immediately after Travis Herzog, a Texas meteorologist, warned his audience about power outages, the studio lights went out from a power outage. The rolling blackout was not planned, but engineers switched to generators to stay on air. State-controlled electricity returned in two hours before another power outage. Herzog was describing the extreme heat causing outages. Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott had a lot to say about the 53 immigrants who died in a tractor trailer after human traffickers abandoned them in San Antonio but about his failing electric power grid, not so much. 

Eighteen months ago, Abbott’s failures with the power source independent of the U.S. killed hundreds of people in the power outage; now the grid operator wants Texans to turn off appliances during the afternoon in the state producing more natural gas than any other in the nation. In a tight re-election race with Beto O’Rourke, Abbott had promised the grid was fixed after 702 people died in the cold but hasn’t mentioned ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) since early February when he went on social media to praise the power organization designed to avoid federal regulations. The Texas governor appoints three of four state Public Utility Commission members which has co-oversight of ERCOT with the GOP-dominated state legislature.

In mid-May, the grid’s operator asked users to conserve energy because six power plants went offline with no explanation amid soaring temperatures. Excuses during the winter were frozen equipment; legislation was directed to making the grid more resilient in the cold. Nine months ago, an investigation by NBC News and the Texas Tribune found a vulnerable grid with new regulations permitting companies to avoid improvements. Nothing has been done to repair the problem of keeping enough natural gas for the electric plants.

ERCOT’s pricing strategy during February 2021 caused Brazos Electric, a cooperative operating four plants, to go bankrupt instead of passing along a $2 million bill for a few days of power to members and consumers. Brazos took the Texas power system to court, and former ERCOT CEO Bill Magness testified that Abbott was responsible for maximum costs days after the system was back in business, $9,000 per megawatt hour, over 150 times higher than the average price, hoping big business would cut back on usage. Stuck with same price, all consumers got the same price, and household bills were well over $15,000 for one month of power. The problem of natural gas shortages was ignored

Record temperatures in the 110s and high humidity, called “extreme” and “dangerously hot,” continue to cover Texas. The 105 degrees in Houston matched its highest July temperature recorded. Solar energy works well under the scorching sun, but stagnant winds under the heat dome limit wind generation to about 10 percent of capacity. Other states suffering from these problems could borrow energy from the rest of the U.S., but Texas’ independence makes it helpless. Led by conservatives such as Fox’s Tucker Carlson, Texans ignore the problems from climate change. 

Abbott has been using his “Operation Lone Star” for his re-election campaign, a state-run border control program, but the DOJ is now investigating it for civil rights violations. He assigned over 10,000 National Guard members to act as federal border agents although they have no authority to apprehend or incarcerate migrants crossing the border without legal documentation. Deployed National Guard members state they are being misused, forced to leave their families and jobs to stay idle. For media attention, Abbott performed actions such as busing migrants to Washington, D.C. from the southern border, much to the appreciation of the migrants. Instead of arrests for border and drug issues, the charges were largely trespassing when officials ordered migrants onto private property and then arrested. Jailed without charges for weeks, some of the migrants have filed a class-action lawsuit.

Republicans are building their fascist reputation by inviting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to open the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas (TX) from August 4-7. Headlining CPAC held in Hungary last May, he outlined the 12 ways leaders can capture and consolidate power, including the control of media’s information. He silenced Hungarian independent media and controls all the nation’s television, newspaper, and online media outlets. Orbán also took control of the judiciary and attacked the few financial institutions not under the control of his far-right Fidesz Party. In Dallas, he will share the stage with Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Fox News host Sean Hannity, and possibly DDT who admires Orbán’s authoritarian leadership style. CPAC stated that Orbán is the “leading voice” in Europe fighting for his people and “everyone who believes in national sovereignty.”

Dominion Voting Systems issued a subpoena to former AG Bill Barr, requiring him to testify in its defamation lawsuit against Fox network. Barr had told the House January 6 investigative committee that he believed the lies about fraud claims regarding Dominion voting machines were “complete nonsense.” Dominion has also subpoenaed DDT’s allies such as attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, also being sued for defamation by Dominion. Fox has claimed that its fraud accusations are protected by the First Amendment but lost its motion to dismiss the case in December 2021. The trial is scheduled for April 2023. Dominion has filed at least eight lawsuits concerning the conspiracy theory after the 2020 election, including Fox’s parent company Fox Corporation after the company refused to give Dominion documents from Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan.

DDT’s former national security adviser John Bolton talked about the work needed to “plan [a] coups d’état” but excused DDT by saying he didn’t really mean to “overthrow the Constitution.” Bolton cited the unsuccessful attempt to remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro when DDT recognized Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, as interim president. Maduro stayed, and Bolton was fired.

Between 1947 and 1989, the U.S. attempted 72 times to change another nation’s government, including 66 covert operations, not including pre-Cold War interventions in Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Cuba.  Obviously, Bolton was too young for those in Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Syria (1949, 1956, and 1957), Cuba (1959), Congo (early to mid 1960s), Vietnam (1964), and Chile (1973) after Bolton was an aide to Spiro Agnew in 1972. In the 1980s, Reagan secretly worked to overthrow the Sandinistas in Nicaragua by supporting the Contras. During George H.W. Bush’s administration, the U.S. invaded Panama to overthrow Manuel Noriega, and in 1991, the U.S. invaded Iraq while Bolton was still in the State Department. He later advocated for Bill Clinton to send troops into Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein and succeeded with George W. Bush in 2003, pushing the myth of WMDs. Bolton would have been involved with military operations in Afghanistan in 2001 and argued after 20 years that Joe Biden should not have pulled out of the country. 

World leaders took note of Bolton’s coup offhand remarks. Evo Morales, former Bolivian president ousted from office in 2019, tweeted Bolton’s remarks showed that the U.S. was “the worst enemy of democracy and life.” Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry, called for an international investigation into Bolton’s statements. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, “This is no surprise. The admission simply shows that interfering in other countries’ internal affairs and overthrowing their governments have become the standard practice of the U.S. government.” Turkish media supportive of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tied Bolton’s coup comments to the failed attempt to overthrow the Turkish government in July 2016.

Now Republicans are trying to overthrow the U.S. government.

March 19, 2022

Courts, Legislation for Spring Equinox 2022

Migrant families experienced a small victory last week when the D.C. Circuit Court said President Joe Biden can remove them under an emergency pandemic rule “only to places where they will not be persecuted or tortured.” Biden has followed a rule instated by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), Title 42, allowing the U.S. to turn back thousands of migrants at its southern border.

Soon after that ruling, however, a one of DDT’s federal judges in Texas ruled against Biden’s exemption of unaccompanied migrant children from DDT’s rule, but CDC terminated the government’ ability to reject these children. Title 42 can still expel single adult migrants and families traveling with children to Mexico or their home countries. CDC said that expulsion of unaccompanied children seeking asylum, established because of COVID, is no longer necessary for health reasons, citing increase of vaccination rates and decrease in cases.

A federal judge ruled that New York illegally took a 2,000-acre plot of land in the northeastern part of the state from the Akwesasne Nation of the Mohawks in the 1800s. After the 1796 Treaty of Canandaigua, the state bought the Hogansburg Triangle in 1824 and 1825 but failed to get federal approval, thus violating the Non-Intercourse Act of 1790. The ruling affects one square mile of Massena, a town of about 13,000 population.

The Second Circuit Court has denied ExxonMobil’s latest try to stop New York and Massachusetts AGs from investigating whether the company lied about how much it knew regarding climate change. To stop the states, ExxonMobil started to sue them in 2016 to keep them from obtaining documents and continuing the probe.

DDT’s campaign must pay over $350,000 in legal fees and expenses for trying to enforce and “unenforceable” nondisclosure agreement against former staffer Alva Johnson. Her case, including claims that he tried to forcibly kiss her, was dismissed by one of DDT’s judges who declared it was merely political. Johnson also asserted she was paid less than comparable workers because she is a Black women. The arbitrator found that the campaign couldn’t invoke a legally unsound NDA. DDT typically uses arbitration to conceal potentially damaging or embarrassing claims from being revealed in court. Two other DDT campaign staffers, Jessica Denson and Omarosa Manigault Newman, won challenges to identical NDAs. In all the cases, the NDA confidentiality and nondisparagement sections were ruled “vague and unenforceable.”

The House of Representatives have passed a bill banning discrimination against hairstyles by 235-189. It “would bar discrimination against locs, braids, Bantu knots, and other hairstyles to make uniform the hodgepodge of state laws against this form of bias, as well as competing court rulings weighing in on bias against specific styles,” according to Bloomberg reporter Paige Smith. The NAACP stated:

“Hair discrimination is rooted in systemic racism, and its purpose is to preserve white spaces. Policies that prohibit natural hairstyles, like afros, braids, bantu knots, and locs, have been used to justify the removal of Black children from classrooms, and Black adults from their employment.”

On the last day of Black History Month (February), 188 Republicans tried to block the bill from a vote. Fourteen Republicans, all from northern or western states, voted yes. The House has 56 Black Democrats and 2 Black Republicans.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who will be 89 by his 2022 re-election try, has told Democrats that they must pass lowered prescription medication costs before Republicans re-take Senate control because the GOP won’t support it. He said that then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sabotaged the legislation in 2019 by telling GOP senators to reject a bill that easily passed the House. The bill never got to the Senate floor. The current bill needs 60 votes to overcome Senate opposition. Democrats are largely in support, perhaps even Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who has fought Biden’s agenda. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) ran on drug-price reform but has opposed it for several months.

Rep. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) teaches a class at Arizona State University on funding campaigns, perhaps explaining this strategy. At a fundraiser, she ridiculed the Democratic president, praised congressional GP members, and called herself “anti-government” and “anti-tax.” Sinema appreciates House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who allows QAnon behavior from his representatives while chastising GOP representatives who tell the truth. About her far-right colleague from Arizona, she said, “I love Andy Biggs.” He believes the election was stolen and denies climate change. Two of his own brothers have called for his removal from Congress for his involvement in the insurrectionist at the Capitol by “attempting to cause uncertainty in the election’s outcome.” Sinema opposed wearing a mask to a meeting with Biden at the White House and told him not to appear in Arizona about the passage of the American Rescue Plan.

Republicans have accused Democrats of wanting to “defund the police” when the argument has been to fund mental health teams in an attempt to stop unnecessary police killings. Denver has a program that does this, a pilot so successful that the Colorado city is expanding it. STAR sends medical and behavioral health clinicians to low-risk calls of trespassing, intoxication, or mental health crises involving poverty, homelessness, or addiction. In its 2,200 calls, the teams have not needed any police back-up for safety issues and saves money for the cities. Other Colorado cities—Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins—are investigating similar programs. Aurora has already duplicated Denver’s model.

North Carolina is investigating DDT’s former chief of staff and former representative Mark Meadows for voter fraud after reports that he registered to vote at a property he had never visited. Meadows and his wife are also registered to vote in two different states. Since DDT lost the 2020 presidential election, Republicans have consistently accused minorities and Democrats of voter fraud and passed punitive laws against them voting in at least 19 states. Meadows has been a leader in the charge in the lie that the 2020 election was “stolen” from DDT. Almost all the identified cases of voter and election fraud involve Republicans, and Meadows’ case is for the most prominent Republican. A Florida probe has discovered Republicans coordinating efforts to change registration from Democrat to GOP with the persons’ consent.

Life expectancy is lower in red states such as West Virginia and Mississippi (74 years) and Alabama (75) compared to 80 years in blue states including California, Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Conservative Jennifer Rubin wrote: 

“A political mindset that prioritizes racial resentment, anti-science zealotry and manufactured cultural wedge issues is not likely to be conducive to long, healthy lives. Indeed, antagonism toward ‘elites’—e.g., experts—often impedes common-sense measures that save lives.”

Stephen H. Woolf, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, explained

“Conservative governors increasingly use preemption, the authority to override local governments, to block liberal health policies—e.g., indoor smoking bans. States have preempted local regulations on nutrition—e.g., menu labeling, food deserts—and as of 2013, 45 states had enacted statutes to limit local firearm regulations.”

These figures of 2019 don’t reflect COVID deaths, but “eight of the ten states with the highest COVID death rates adjusted for age have Republican governors: Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama, Texas, Tennessee, Arizona, Arkansas and Indiana,” according to Rubin. “Nevada and Kentucky are the exceptions, coming in 6th and 10th, respectively.”

Rubin concluded:

“It’s clear the governing philosophy of right-wing states—e.g., low spending; prioritization of cultural wedge issues; anti-elitism—leads to deadly results. Maybe it’s time they stop spending their political energy persecuting gay kids, banning books, outlawing abortion and fanning culture wars. They have plenty of systemic problems they’ve failed to address while busying themselves with MAGA crusades. Red-state voters should look around and see why their states have fallen so far behind in so many categories.”

Republicans also blame Democrats for the crime rate. A few statistics: the homicide rate in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) San Francisco is half that in Bakersfield, McCarthy’s region. In 2020, DDT’s states had a 40 percent higher rate than Biden’s states. And 8 of the 10 states with the highest murder rate in 2020 voted for the GOP candidate in the 21st century. And the GOP stats keep getting worse.

While the U.S. faces the possibility of World War III, the Senate worked on a distraction issue—unanimously passing their all-important bill to keep Daylight Savings Time. It now goes to the House where Democrats are still amazed that the Senate Republicans can accomplish anything. (I confess I’m not real happy about exchanging ordinary time to fake time: success means that the sun won’t come up in the winter until about 8:30 am.)

The lovely bill, the Sunshine Protection Act, would be better named the Business Protection Act: people spend more money if the sun goes down later. People have long known that changing time twice a year causes health problems by disturbing the circadian rhythm, or internal clock. The “social jet lag” almost always results in sleep deprivation with increased risk of mood disturbance, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic dysregulation especially for those in the western areas of any time zone and in northern latitudes. Children have greater safety issues when going to school in the dark.

People grew dissatisfied with the last experiment with permanent DST in January 1974; by February, polling approval dropped to about 30 percent and 19 percent in March. The law lasted only ten months. You can check on your sunrise here.

Consistency can be good, but even when the Senate takes action, it screws it up.

October 16, 2019

Donald of the Thousand Days

Fifty years ago, the popular film Anne of the Thousand Years told the story of Anne Boleyn’s three years of tenure before England’s King Henry VIII had her beheaded so that he could marry another woman. Although she ruled for slightly more than 1,000 days, the title may reflect on the downward spiral of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) during his first thousand days. A few memorable moments from those days.

Last March, DDT wanted to shoot migrants—including asylum seekers—so that they wouldn’t cross the southern border. Told that this was illegal, he wanted to shoot them in the legs to slow them down as Israelis do to Palestinians. His Department of Homeland Security told him that shooting migrants was illegal, starting his purge of over a dozen top officials from the DHS. DDT didn’t quit: he decided that he wanted to electrify his border wall, fortify it with spikes to pierce human flesh, and build a moat (which he spelled “moot”) stocked with snakes and alligators. He even asked aides for a cost estimate of his plans. Peter Singer has created one, available here. Costs: $2.5 billion in set-up costs for snakes and alligators, $1.8 billion for annual operating costs; and several billion dollars for building the moat. DDT’s incessant, punitive and sometimes illegal attack on immigrants is chronicled in Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear.

One of the most humorous episodes of DDT’s 1,000 days is his desire to buy Greenland. He even cancelled his state visit to Denmark because Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said she wouldn’t sell Greenland to him. The Danish newspaper Politiken published a satiric piece in which Kim Kielsen, Premier of Greenland, suggested his government might buy the U.S. back. The author parodied an interview with Kielsen saying Greenland has a prior claim on the U.S. because Leifr “The Lucky” Eiríksson was the first European to settle America. Kielsen said no price had been established, but Greenland would take into consideration the vast U.S. debt and lower the price if DDT were included in the deal. (Technically, Eiríksson, although spending part of his childhood in Greenland and some of his adulthood working for the Norwegian court, was born in Iceland.)

Although DDT tweeted that he didn’t plan to build one of his towers in Greenland, his son Jr. took the photo seriously, cheering that this building could be finished within ten years. 

DDT did joke about trading Puerto Rico for Greenland, and Puerto Ricans are delighted with the possibility. A man tweeted about the improvement of education because “Denmark is the country with the best education in the world.” Nieto, a Puerto Rican podcaster, shared photos of his Danish “Starter Kit” with “Danish Delights” butter cookies, the TV show Vikings, and Danish beer. Others included a Danish-to-Spanish dictionary on their “Starter Kits.” Another tweet added a picture of a “Conversational Danish” reading book. Using the hashtags #DenmarkPR and #DinamarcaPR, Denmark in Spanish, Puerto Ricans claimed the Danish royal family with perks of being a Danish territory, “representation in the Europe [League] and possibly in the World Cup.”

People around the world now know that Greenland isn’t for sale, but tourism searches soared after DDT’s unrequited demand.

DDT already showed Denmark his antagonism when he sent them Carla Sand as the U.S. ambassador. The wealthy widow of a billionaire and climate denier who promotes QAnon conspiracy theories such as a fake video reportedly about blacks hitting a white woman DDT supporter bought her position for under $300,000. The cancellation of his visit less than two weeks before the event—a visit which DDT initiated—was a snub that cost both countries money and provided more reason for the European Union not to trust him to follow through with his promises. Denmark had already organized discussions about increasing investments in the United States. 

Some people speculated that DDT also cancelled his visit to avoid comparison with President Obama, who visit a few weeks after DDT’s aborted visit. DDT has always been jealous of the former president because of how well liked the former president is–and how much better he looks as shown by their visits to England. Or neo-Nazi aide Stephen Miller told DDT to avoid those “globalists” in his campaign term. 

In another baffling episode, delusional DDT told 9/11 First Responders that he had helped at Ground Zero:

“And I was down there also …. I spent a lot of time down there with you.”

Retired New York City Fire Department Deputy Chief Richard Alles stated he never heard of a group of rescuers hired by DDT to assist, as DDT claimed, and that additional help from private responders had not been necessary. Ground Zero was on lockdown by 9/15/01, and a government-issued ID badge was required to access the site. DDT’s claim that he “helped” clear rubble adds to the other lies about his involvement in assistance after the tragedy. One gas station owner went a step farther in promising free gas on any day that DDT “doesn’t say something stupid.” 

DDT told the AMVETS, a volunteer-led veterans service organization, that his aides talked him out of giving himself a Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for acts of military valor. A reminder: during the Vietnam War, DDT avoided the military with five deferments, four for college and one for bone spurs in his heel. He made this comment shortly after he named himself “the Chosen One” in his administration’s trade conflict with China and looked up at the sky to make his point clear. In Australia, he told his audience he gave himself bogus awards all the time, but he wasn’t lying because he received them from himself.

Medals are important to DDT also ordered the Navy Achievement Medals awarded to four prosecutors in the Eddie Gallagher case be rescinded. The Navy SEAL platoon turned Gallagher in for stabbing a captured and wounded teenage fighter repeatedly in the neck and then threatened to kill those who reported him. Yet DDT sold a Medal of “Freedom” to Miriam Adelson for campaign donations. She and her husband, Sheldon, gave $500,000 to a legal fund for DDT’s aides involved in the Russian scandal investigation. This “freedom” donation topped the $30 million DDT received from the Adelsons in late 2016 and the $100 million to GOP candidates and PACs for the 2018 election. They also donated $5 million to DDT’s inaugural committee. In return for their largesse, DDT moved the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. Created by John F. Kennedy, the Medal of Freedom is awarded for “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Sheldon Adelson received $670 million in the first quarter of 2018 because of DDT’s tax cuts for the wealthy and big business, and DDT lobbied Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to allow construction of a casino owned by one of Adelson’s companies. DDT displayed other forms of gratitude for donations. For prolific GOP donor Robert Murray, DDT pressured the Tennessee Valley Authority to save an old, unprofitable coal plant that buys its coal from Murray Energy. EPA Secretary Andrew Wheeler is an ex-lobbyist for Murray. DDT stopped negotiating lower drug prices after Pfizer gave $1 million to DDT’s inaugural fund.

DDT topped off his 1000 days by posting this photograph of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) shut down his insane comments about Syria by saying that “all roads with you lead to Putin.” He thought he could embarrass Pelosi with the caption of “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!” Pelosi now uses the photo of DDT’s personal meltdown on her Twitter account, and the image shows his bewilderment and the ducked heads around the room.  

For the past 1000 days, DDT has run the United States like a Banana Republic for his personal gain:

  • He relentlessly demonizes the press, putting journalists’ lives at risks by calling for violence against them.
  • He undermines a federal criminal investigation and claims that he is above the law, even above any scrutiny.
  • He interferes with election results and voting rights, for example trying to throw out Arizona’s election results when Democrat Kyrsten Sinema received more votes than GOP Martha McSally. 
  • He pardons crimes for ideological reasons, for example when he pardoned Arizona’s former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio in an “endorsement of racism” and “deep disdain for the judiciary,” according to Chiraag Bains, senior fellow at Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program.
  • He shamelessly monetizes the position of president by not divesting from real estate holdings and hiring his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner who also keep running their businesses.

In DDT’s first 1000 days, he spent 310 days at his resorts and 239 days playing golf at his courses. He daily lies, with a total of at least  13,435, and makes “stupid” comments, something that this gas station owner noted.

 

July 28, 2019

DDT: Week 131 – Disastrous Domestic Events

A second day of false and racist tweets from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) about what he calls the “Cumming [sic] district” came from a slanted video by a guest on Fox & Friends who sought out the most struggling, severely impoverished Baltimore neighborhoods. The heavily gerrymandered district has urban, suburban and rural areas ranging from well-off to poor, but the video focused on only one aspect. DDT’s racist rants followed Cummings’ criticism of southern border detention centers, subpoenas for emails and texts of White House aides including Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, and Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony where Cummings asked people to pay attention to activities of DDT and his associates.

Kushner owns thousands of rental units in Baltimore County providing substandard housing to lower-income tenants and cited for hundreds of code violations. His company made repairs only after threats of fines for mice infestations, mold problems, and maggots. DDT wants Cummings to thank him for low unemployment figures for blacks, but most of the drop in unemployment rates for blacks came during President Obama’s terms (16.8 percent to 7.8 percent) and from Democratic policies.

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defended DDT’s racist comments, saying he would have been fired as representative if his district had Cummings’ problems. Compared to Cummings’ district, Mulvaney’s former district, South Carolina’s 5th district, has a lower median household income and a similar poverty rate, 14.9 percent versus 16.6 percent. The Baltimore Sun’s editorial ran with the headline, “Better to have a few rats than to be one.”

Afraid that Congress will see his tax returns, DDT is suing the House Ways and Means Committee, the New York state attorney general, and a New York state tax official to hide state tax returns—although the House has not tried to get the returns. His lawsuit follows a complaint from the House committee to get DDT’s federal tax returns.

A judge also ruled that   a lawsuit against DDT’s alleged deceptive and unfair business practices may proceed. Roberta Kaplan, who successfully argued the Supreme Court marriage equality decision in U.S. v. Windsor, represents the plaintiffs who claim that DDT and three of his children scammed them.

A federal jury convicted Michael Flynn’s former business partner Bijan Rafiekian because of the work that the two men did for Turkish interests during the last months of DDT’s presidential campaign in 2016—acting as an unregistered foreign agent and lying to the DOJ. Flynn was DDT’s national security adviser for 24 days; his sentencing is pending.

Four automakers—Ford, Honda, VW, and BMW—from three continents have a deal with California to sell the state more fuel-efficient cars after DDT rolled back tougher standards.

Election systems in all 50 states were Russian targets, according to the heavily-redacted Senate Intelligence Committee report. Subsequent volumes will report on Russia’s use of social media for influencing the vote. The committee recommended a paper trail for voter machines and backups for registration systems, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has refused to take any action. A new hashtag #Moscow Mitch came from Joe Scarborough who asked, “How can Moscow Mitch keep denying that Vladimir Putin continues to try to subvert American democracy?” Lobbyists for the two largest electronic voting machine vendors that provide 80 percent of the voting machines in the U.S. donated to McConnell’s campaigns. Fourteen states used electronic voting systems with no paper trail in 2018.

DDT thought he was home free after a judge ruled in favor of his new rule requiring asylum seekers to ask for protection in another country before crossing the southern border, but soon after that ruling, another judge blocked DDT’s rule. The second judge stated that the “new Rule is likely invalid because it is inconsistent with the existing asylum laws.”

In the UN, DDT blocked condemnation of Israel’s demolishing Palestinian homes on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Israel claimed that the 10 apartment buildings were a threat to Israeli armed forces, a barrier outlawed by the UN in 2004. Israelis performed the demolishment operation in the night and displaced Palestine refugees, some of them for a second time. https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/07/1042981

This is “who we are” as a country as DDT brings out the worst in people:

Three million more poor people may go hungry, thanks to Minnesota millionaire Rob Undersander who said he managed to get food stamps. Over 250,000 children won’t receive free school meals, no one with $2,000 in savings can receive food stamps, and people are discouraged from working longer, getting a job with better pay, and saving for education or emergencies. The change, claimed to save $2.5 billion, will require expenditures of extra paperwork, staff hours, and other costs.

DOJ’s AG Bill Barr plans to kill people by lifting the 16-year hiatus on federal capital punishment with five executions in December and January. Conviction for one of them has been described as “unreliable.” Twenty-one states abandoned capital punishment, and several others have frozen them.

Pedro Arriago-Santoya is the seventh person to die in ICE custody in the past nine months. At least 25 people have died in ICE custody since DDT was inaugurated, and another 12 have died in federal immigration custody that includes Border Patrol station and youth migrant detention centers.

ICE posted a job from a for-profit company for “lead physician” of a “facility” who will be “philosophically committed to the objectives of the facility” and “based on the company goals, objectives and philosophy.” That company, GEO, “permitted armed men to forcibly remove the fathers [from their children] from their rooms at the Karnes Detention Center by using bulletproof vests, shields, knee pads, boots, helmets, tear gas equipment and guns” and told them “that they would never see their sons again.” That “general practitioner” can make $400,000 a year without board certification.

Francisco Erwin Galicia, the 18-year-old U.S.-born citizen captured in Texas 75 miles from the Mexican border, was imprisoned in a detention center for 23 days. He lost 26 pounds and considered self-deporting just to escape horrific conditions. Locked up with 60 other men in an area so crowded that some of them slept in the toilet area, he was given only a few “HandiWipes” for cleaning—no showers, no clean clothes, no other hygiene. He had his papers, but, according to their own documents, border agents lied about his telling them that he was a U.S. citizen. Galicia was denied a telephone call to his mother for help and released only after Dallas Morning News reporting.

Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley West School District in Pennsylvania sent 1,000 threatening letters to parents, telling them their children could go into foster care if the lunch debt of over $10 wasn’t paid. Rep. Omar Ilhan (D-MN) has co-introduced a bill to stop multiple incidences of lunch debt shaming. Oregon gives free lunches to students up to three times above the poverty level.

Carrizo Springs, the “model” detention center for unaccompanied migrant minors used to show how well migrant children are treated, is closing. Opened last month, the facility has a five-year, $8.8 million lease; BCFS Health and Human Services received a $308 million contract through January 2020 to house up to 1,344 children at a cost of $750 to $800 per child per day. Children will be sent from the non-profit facility to for-profit centers like the already-crowded one in Homestead (FL) where inmates have been abused. 

After McConnell was forced by public decency to allow a vote for the House bill passing by 402-2 that provides health care for 9/11 First Responders, it passed that chamber by 97-2. Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart was instrumental in the bill’s House passage and watched McConnell take the bill to the Senate floor. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), one of the no votes, was furious because of no offset costs for the annual $1 billion expenditure. Paul supported the tax cuts for the wealthy and big business that cost taxpayers $1 trillion ever year.

Like deadbeat DDT, VP Mike Pence isn’t paying his bills, this one $24,000 for security at a fundraiser bringing him $700,000. The event was at the Caribou Club in Colorado owned by a gay couple.

The 40-percent tax cuts for big business failed; private-sector investments dropped for the first time in several years in opposition to GOP promises of increased business investment. Tax cuts aren’t paying for themselves, they aren’t boosting economic growth, and they don’t increase private-sector hiring. Businesses bought back their stocks and gave markets a false short term boost before they sheltered their benefits overseas.

The Equifax settlement promising $125 for each person whose personal data was stolen may be $.21 if all 147 million people apply, and the money won’t hide Social Security numbers. Yet people who do nothing automatically waive any right to take legal action against Equifax. People can check here to see if their data was stolen; the deadline is 1/22/2020. People who settle also waive any right to take legal action. Those who want to keep the option of taking legal action must mail a written “request for exclusion,” postmarked by Nov. 19, 2019, to the settlement administrator. Updates available here.

Next Page »

Mind-Cast

Rethinking Before Restarting

Current

Commentary. Reflection. Judgment.

© blogfactory

Truth News

Civil Rights Advocacy

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

AGR Daily News

Quaker Inspired, Evidence Based, Art And Science Of Sustainable Health Plus Success - How To Create Heaven On Earth - Education For Seventh Generation Rainbow Warriors

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

Rainbow round table news

Official News Outlet for the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: