Nel's New Day

May 7, 2022

New This Week outside the Anti-Abortion Draft Leak

Washington Post has a piece today called “what happened this week besides Roe v. Wade.” My thought exactly, because Republicans want you to skip over all the other news. Here are some of the other happenings.

Former federal official in a variety of capacities while he was sycophant for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) Mike Pompeo held a press conference and expressed national security concerns regarding “Dr. Oz,” DDT’s pick for the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat. Mehmet Oz, a Turkish citizenship, has “close ties to the Turkish government and military,” according to Pompeo. Oz also voted in the 2018 Turkish election. Supporting the hedge fund billionaire opposing Oz for the GOP candidate in the general election, Pompeo stated that if Oz were elected, he would have much less scrutiny for a security clearance as a senator than a civilian applying for a clearance. DDT had a Friday evening rally in Pennsylvania for Oz.

DDT went to Pennsylvania for Friday evening rally to tout Oz, and it did not go well for DDT’s endorsement. In the pouring rain, the MAGA crowd consistently booed DDT’s choice for U.S. senator and groaned when DDT’s stumping began, groans building when DDT begged them to “secure a massive victory” for Oz. Jeers from the audience greeted Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) who tried to persuade them to pick Oz. They weren’t even impressed with DDT’s reason for picking Oz, that he was “in the bedrooms” of women across America. DDT called Oz’s opponent, David McCormick, a “liberal Wall Street Republican,” who had been appointed to Under Secretary of the U.S. Treasury for International Affairs by George W. Bush in 2007. McCormick spent over $6 million on his campaign, twice that of Oz.

Going beyond endorsing his own candidates, DDT is making robocalls for them.  In incoherent rambling, he pushed the election of Rep. Jody Hice in Georgia’s GOP Secretary of State primary. The rambling 1.5 minute schtick immediately with his talking about himself before repeating “stolen” election conspiracies and lambasting Hice’s opponent, incumbent Brad Raffensperger—the guy who wouldn’t hand over almost 11,000 to DDT. A new falsehood he espoused was accusing Raffensperger of “perhaps in collusion with Stacey Abrams, I don’t know if that’s possible, but perhaps.”

President Joe Biden received good economic news today with an additional 428,000 jobs in April after his first shrinking economy during the first 2022 quarter since he was inaugurated. Expectations were much higher than the predicted 400,000 jobs, and unemployment stayed at 3.6 percent. Economists’ reasons were supply chain issues and business purchases of less inventory. This number sets a record 12 straight monthly gains above 400,000 for the first time since statistics started in 1939. In four months of 2022, the economy created over two million jobs, almost one-third the number of DDT’s first three years before the pandemic. The U.S. economy has gained back about 95 percent of its pandemic job losses.

More leaked tapes immediately after January 6, 2021 from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) recorded him saying that the 25th Amendment, a constitutional way to remove a president from office by the vice president and cabinet, “takes too long.” A majority would have to agree DDT was unfit for office.

The war in Ukraine caused by Russia’s invasion is dragging on much longer than expected with greater involvement from Western nations. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), three steps from the presidency, became the highest ranking U.S. official to meet in Ukraine with its president Volodymyr Zelensky. First lady Dr. Jill Biden is currently in Romania.

Business owners need more workers so Biden is extending the time that immigrant workers can stay in the U.S. Work permits, usually for two years before the renewal requirement, can use the existing permits for almost 18 months after expiration.

Uncomfortable with the attempt to defend Samuel Alito’s leaked decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Republicans are concentrating on damning LGBTQ people. Sen. Roger Marshall’s (R-KS) letter to the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board has been signed by four other GOP senators—Mike Braun (IN), Kevin Cramer (ND), Steve Daines (MT), and Mike Lee (UT). The letter demands that all programming with LGBTQ characters be labeled with “sexually-related content” for “mature” audiences only. The letter describes the use of these characters as “modeling behavior,” a term also used for “grooming.” There was no indication whether the demand extends to new programs. 

Rep. Jeff Van Drew introduced a bill requiring written consent from over 50 percent of parents at least 30 days prior to any discussions of LGBTQ people in schools. My Child, My Choice Act (MCMCA) claims schools are “compromising the safety of our young children.” Any school violating the act would lose federal funding, the only control the federal government has over education. States determine whether to provide an education or not and, if deciding to provide one, determine at what level of quality. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees every citizen equal protection under the law.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has a new case for the Supreme Court: overturning the 40-year-old decision requiring states to pay for children’s public education, regardless of citizenship status. Plyler v. Doe (1982) struck down a Texas law refusing to educate some children based on their immigration status. Abbott claims that the state cannot afford to educated undocumented children. In Texas, each student costs $6,160, less than half of the national average in 2018 of $12,600. Last month, Abbott spent $9 billion in ten days to make an anti-immigration statement by blocking traffic at the southern border. He isn’t finished with the expenditure; he took another $500,000 from state Health and Human Services Commission and the Department of Public Safety to continue funding his “inspection” program. The 1982 decision was based on the 14th Amendment equal protection grounds. Abbott demands the federal government, but Texas already receives $1.20 per person from the government for each $1 the person pays.

Abbott’s stunt on the southern border is already making him a loser. Mexico’s trade railway from Mazatlán to Winnipeg, with a connection in Texas, will be rerouted through New Mexico losing international trade for Texas. The ten-day inspection showed up with zero migrants or drugs, but Abbott is having another search because he didn’t like critical remarks from Mexico’s president after massive commercial delays. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard called Abbott’s policy extortion.

Texas leads in many ways, one is persecuting trans youth. Abbott requires that parents who permit their children to be transgender should be investigated by Children’s Services with possible child abuse. With over 300 anti-trans bills introduced in 28 states already in 2022, at least eight states passed laws blocking sports for trans youth and other laws charging doctors with felonies if they providing health care for trans youth. In other states, governors are issuing anti-trans policies. Legislation also attacks trans adults, targeting birth certificates, other legal identifying documents, and more rights.

In 19 states, Democratic legislators are trying to offer safe legal refuge for displaced trans youth and families forced from their homes because of the conservative legislation. A bill introduced in March would make California a refuge state, and Democrats are hoping to follow in West Virginia, Washington, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Michigan, Kentucky, Maine, Kansas, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, Colorado, and Connecticut.

Starting in 2017, more people ages one to 24 have been killed with guns than in car crashes, reversing the decades-long cause of death. Between 2000 and 2020, the rate of firearm-related deaths in this age group increased from 7.3 per 100,000 people to 10.28 per 100,000 while deaths from car crashes decreased from 13.62 to 8.31 per 100,000. The difference comes from the work to prevent deaths in car crashes compared to federal inability to regulate firearms safety, deaths’ tracking, and the interpretation of a government law—the Dickey Amendment—discouraging CDC funding for research in preventing gun injuries until 2018. Federal gun laws allows gun purchases without background checks and shields gunmakers from negligence claims, including when guns fall into the hands of children with deadly results.

Sarah Palin, running for the sole U.S. House position in Alaska against 50 opponents, may know something about her bad chances of winning that others don’t: she’s already claiming voter fraud happened in the election that hasn’t occurred, the one on June 11. For those who haven’t kept up with Palin, she lost the 2008 election when former Arizona Sen. John McCain picked her as his Republican running mate. Less than a year after she lost that election she resigned as Alaska’s governor. Maybe she noticed last October that 56 percent Alaskans view her negatively. Locals say she doesn’t spend any time in the state. Palin told Fox News’ Mark Lewin that she will lose because of mail-in ballots and the Dominion Voting Services tabulation.

Much has been said about GOP candidates, but this one hits a new low—hopefully! In Boone County (IN), Andrew Wilhoite, in jail awaiting his trial for killing his wife, has secured his position on November’s ballot for the Clinton Township Board. Three Republicans ran for three primary seats, and Wilhoite got 60 votes. His wife, who recently completed chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, filed for divorce because Wilhoite had an affair. Her body was found in a creek near their home, and Wilhoite said he hit her with a flowerpot. His trial begins in August. At least, felony convictions prevent people from candidacy and holding office.

And lots more news other than the anti-abortion ruling leak. Maybe tomorrow?

August 29, 2021

Afghanistan: Three More Days

With the deadline to complete withdrawal on August 31, the evacuation brought about 112,000 people in its first two weeks. The 5,400 evacuated U.S. citizens leaves about 350 U.S. citizens still trying to leave the country as of yesterday although some of them may have gotten out. Another 280 wish to stay or haven’t told the State Department their intentions. The U.S. has begun its withdrawal from the airport in Kabul but will continue its operation there “up until the end,” according to Army Maj. Gen. William Taylor. The U.S. destroyed Eagle Base, the last CIA outpost outside the airport, to keep equipment and information from the Taliban.

The U.S. occupied Afghanistan for almost 20 years, compared to the 14 years of the Vietnam conflict. The evacuation from that conflict, 7,500 people, brought out only 1,500 U.S. citizens. Thursday, a suicide bomber from ISIS-K, a terrorist group and enemy of the Taliban, killed 13 U.S. service members, wounded 15 others, and killed approximately 170 others. After the bombing, evacuations continued. President Joe Biden had previously warned the public of attack threats and said there may be more before the evaluation deadline on August 31. 

U.S. military troops conducted an unstaffed airstrike against an ISIS-K planner and may have killed two “high-profile ISIS targets.” Another was wounded. Biden said this airstrike will not be the last and promised to “hunt down” this group that took credit for the attack outside the airport entrance. by one suicide bomber. The Taliban said it arrested two ISIS-K members but didn’t give details.

On the same day of the attack killing almost 200 people, US Marine Corps Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller posted a video on his Facebook page criticizing the handling of the situation. He has been relieved of command. With no solutions, Republicans—politicians, media pundits, letter-writers, etc.—have criticized Biden for the withdrawal. Last week, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said Afghanistan should have no troops; a few days earlier he wanted to keep a military presence and Bagram Air Base. With no evidence, McCarthy claimed the U.S. could have “maintained it safely” with no casualties. McCarthy also lied when he blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for trying to defund the attempt to get more U.S. citizens out of Afghanistan.

The hawks who started the war and those who continued it returned to cable TV, complaining about the withdrawal before the U.S. “won” the war. Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s aide called the withdrawal Biden’s “stain.” John Bolton, who wants regime change around the world, called DDT and Biden “Tweedledee and Tweedledum” in their approaches. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), daughter of Afghanistan architect former VP Dick Cheney, said “the catastrophe … did not have to happen.” Neither she nor her ABC interviewer mentioned her father or his part in the “catastrophe.”

DDT’s officials who offered no objections to DDT’s agreement are now bitterly complaining about it. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who negotiated and attended the agreement signing, said this “debacle … will certainly harm America’s credibility with its friends and allies.” Pompeo turned 5,000 Taliban fighters loose from prison, and now he complains about how they “run free and wild.” DDT’s former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who quit a year before DDT’s idea of befriending the Taliban, said about his “surrender agreement,” “The Taliban didn’t defeat us. We defeated ourselves.”

According to DDT’s deal, signed on February 29, 2020, the U.S. and NATO were to release 5,000 Taliban fighters from prison, reduce military members from 14,000 to 8,600 within 100 days, and leave five military bases. The remainder of the troops would be gone within the next nine months. A U.S. inspector general report summarized DDT’s deal:

“The Taliban views the negotiations as a necessary step to ensure the removal of U.S. and other foreign troops under the U.S.-Taliban agreement, but the Taliban likely does not perceive that it has any obligation to make substantive concessions or compromises.”

Ironically, the same Republicans who whine about how Biden has failed to get refugees out of Afghanistan then scream about not wanting any of them in the U.S. Tucker Carlson leads the pack in claiming Democrats want these “criminals” in the U.S. to vote for their party.

DDT made a campaign promise to take the U.S. out of Afghanistan and started withdrawing thousands of troops. His defense secretary Mark Esper was fired after he disagreed with DDT’s actions. Esper now says that DDT’s withdrawals at that time contributed to current problems in Afghanistan. Despite his promises, DDT lost the election, but by the time Biden was inaugurated, only 3,500 service members remained in Afghanistan. With no leverage, Biden decided to pull the rest of the troops from the country. He said his choice was to follow the deal with a short extension of time and get U.S. forces and allies out safely or replace the troops to continue the participation “in another country’s civil conflict.” The Taliban has not attacked the U.S. during Biden’s withdrawal.

Former Secretary of State and senator Hillary Clinton has paid to charter airplanes, rescuing Afghanistan’s vulnerable women and children. In contrast, wealthy mercenary Erik Prince, brother of DDT’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is charging $6,500 for flights out of Afghanistan—per person. He charges extra to get them from their homes to the airport.

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) keeps delivering his opinions even without wide-spread social media. A few days before the anniversary of the 9/11 attack that George W. Bush used to make himself important, DDT, who declared he defeated “100%” of ISIS, said on the far-right Hugh Hewitt radio program:

“We took out the founder of ISIS, [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi, and then of course [Iranian military leader Qassem] Soleimani. Now just so you understand, Soleimani is bigger by many, many times than Osama bin Laden. The founder of ISIS is bigger by many, many times—al-Baghdadi—than Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden had one hit…”

DDT went on to say that bin Laden wasn’t a “monster.” Bess Levin pointed out bin Laden’s links to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings killing over 200 people and the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole killing 17 U.S. Navy sailors. The “one hit” on 9/11 immediately killed 2,996 people.

Levin also explains how a difficulty in the evacuation came from DDT’s top advisor, Stephen Miller, who slowed down processing of Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) for Afghan interpreters, embassy staff, and other top targets for Taliban assassination. With Miller, DDT refused to follow congressional mandates for time limits and a senior coordinating official for the SIVs along with DDT’s requirement of the “human resources” employer letter. Miller now says no Afghan refugees should enter the U.S. DDT’s agreement with the Taliban also has no method of enforcement, no denunciation of al-Qaeda terrorists, and no demand for the Taliban to stop attacks against Afghan security forces.

The U.S. could have left Afghanistan almost 20 years ago if George W. Bush had taken the unconditional surrender offer from the Taliban. On December 5, 2001, they said they would disband and disarm with no military force. Bush ignored their offer and attacked the Taliban throughout his two terms. Within ten days of taking office on January 20, 2001, Bush also formalized a decision to preemptively invade Iraq—months before 9/11. The goal was access to Iraqi oil and a pipeline right-of-way through Afghanistan for the Unocal Corporation.

Bush ignored another offer from the Taliban in late 2000 to assassinate or surrender Osama bin Laden after the bombing of the USS Cole. The Bush administration refused the offer four times before 9/11 and a fifth time on 9/16. George W. wanted his “war on terrorism” for the pipeline. On November 27, 2001, Bush ordered his defense department to plan the Iraqi invasion, eleven months before Congress authorized it.

The U.S. has failed in the Middle East. Oil companies from Egypt, Italy, Japan, France, Austria, the UK, Canada, Hungary, India, Norway, Russia, and China dwarf the few from the U.S. The U.S. has no oil pipeline in Afghanistan, which boils with violence. U.S. journalist Anand Gopal tells the story in his 2014 book, No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes.

The editors of Commonweal wrote about the “unwinnable war”:

“For Americans, it cost thousands of lives and more than $2 trillion. But the toll for Afghans was far worse: there the war meant not only occupation by a foreign power, but also constant political instability, corruption, drone strikes, civilian deaths, starvation, and displacement… Even Afghans who despise the Taliban may care less about who rules in Kabul than whether they can travel to work, plow a field, or attend a wedding without the constant fear of being shot at or bombed. ‘Give me liberty or give me death’ is heroic, but ‘Give them liberty or give them death’ is obscene.”

In mid-August when the Taliban took over Afghanistan and the withdrawal began, almost two-thirds of people in the U.S. believed the conflict was not worth fighting. Even 57 percent of Republicans saw it as not worthwhile. Another two-thirds of respondents stated the Iraq War that coincided with Afghanistan was a mistake. As usual, however, Republicans in Congress ignore their constituents’ opinions. One of the reasons? Making money from defense contractors’ donations and businesses.

August 17, 2021

Afghanistan–20 Years of Lies, Failure

While Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) was in the White House, he arranged a peace agreement with the Taliban and arranged for 5,000 of their fighters to be released from prison with no involvement from the Afghan government. Now he watches television—as usual—and lambasts President Joe Biden who, DDT said, “ran out of Afghanistan instead of following the plan our Administration left for him.” Four months ago, DDT lauded Biden’s withdrawal plan as “wonderful” and “positive” although he wanted Biden to leave before September 11. Three weeks ago, DDT took credit for the exit at a rally in Ohio.

DDT negotiated a peace treaty with the Taliban and agreed to withdraw all U.S. troops by May 1 if the terrorist group agreed to stop attacking U.S. troops. Afghans were not included in the negotiation, and the Taliban assassinated Afghanistan leaders while not killing any U.S. soldiers until after the deal was signed. Funded by foreign investors, the Taliban took over two-thirds of Afghanistan. 

Almost 20 years ago, the 9/11 hijacking of U.S. jetliners and attacks in the U.S. by a majority of Saudi Arabians, including the Twin Towers, was blamed on al-Qaeda, and the U.S. attacked Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban and kill Osama bin Laden although Bush made little effort to catch the man blamed for the 9/11 attack. The Taliban retreated into rural Afghanistan, and George W. Bush soon declared “Mission Accomplished,” continuing the 20-year-old war in a nation with corrupt, incompetent leadership. Bin Laden and other Taliban leaders settled in Pakistan, and the U.S. refused an unconditional surrender in December 2001. Instead Bush moved toward nation-building in Afghanistan, complete with waste, fraud, and confusion. The Taliban regrouped, and the U.S. ignored Afghan traditions by centralizing the government. U.S. resources then poured into Iraq for a war based on U.S. government lies about “weapons of mass destruction.”

Despite the Osama bin Laden’s killing in 2011 and a timeline to withdraw troops in 2014, Afghan relationships with the U.S. continued to deteriorate especially after U.S. troops maltreatment of Afghans, for example, filming of U.S. Marines urinating on dead Afghans and accusations of Qurans burned at a military base. The Taliban ceased talks after a soldier allegedly shot and killed 17 Afghans, mostly women and children.

An RNC statement from its 2020 campaign, now removed, accused Biden of “a history for pushing for endless wars” and praised DDT for leading historic “peace talks” with the Taliban. DDT’s withdrawal plan, “the best path” for the U.S. was a Fox News commentary on the RNC press release that disappeared. No praise, however, for Biden’s withdrawal which followed DDT’s plan.

A month ago, former Secretary of State and presidential wannabe Mike Pompeo announced he wanted to “applaud” the withdrawal, stating, “I want the Afghans to take up the fight for themselves.” Pompeo took a personal role in DDT’s Taliban deal, directly talking twice with Abdul Ghani Baradar, Taliban cofounder and Afghanistan’s new de facto leader. Baradar, co-Taliban co-founder in the mid-1990s, was captured in 2010 but released in 2018 at DDT’s request, despite he Afghan’s opposition, so Baradar could lead DDT’s peace agreement, essential the U.S. surrender to the Taliban. In 2020, Baradar was the first Taliban leader to speak directly with a U.S. president when he talked with DDT on the phone after signing the initial agreement.

Pompeo, who tweeted this photo of himself with Baradar, now calls the withdrawal “weak American leadership”; President Joe Biden was essential following DDT’s and Pompeo’s pattern for pulling out of Afghanistan. On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace had hard questions for Pompeo, including whether he regretted “pressing the Afghan government to release 5,000 prisoners, which they did, some of whom are now back on the battlefield fighting with the Taliban.” Pompeo claims Biden should “crush those Taliban” after signing a deal with them. Asked about DDT’s administration “giving the Taliban legitimacy,” the former deal-maker attacked “corrupt” Afghan leaders who only wanted money and claimed he and DDT “never trusted the Taliban.” Now Pompeo calls the Taliban “butchers.”

Republicans cheered George W. Bush’s Afghanistan war and endorsed withdrawal during DDT’s term. In cognitive dissonance, the GOP now condemns Biden, blames his administration for Afghan conditions, supports DDT’s position, and avoids a position on the war.

Biden announced the U.S. military would be withdrawing from Afghanistan five weeks ago; today the Taliban took over the country’s capital, Kabul, after taking over almost every major city in Afghanistan. President Ashraf Ghani fled to Tajikistan. The U.S. increased the number of service members from 2,500 to over 5,000 in an effort to evacuate U.S. citizens and Afghan allies. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen blocked the Taliban from accessing Afghan’s billions of dollars in U.S. bank accounts.

In Afghanistan, 2,448 U.S. military members and personnel have been killed and another 20,722 wounded out of than 775,000 deployed military members. Evaluation of the mission’s cost varies between $1 trillion and $4 trillion with multiple trillions of dollars in the companion war in Iraq. By July 2021, 73 percent of people in the U.S. supported withdrawal. The U.S. began withdrawal, and the Afghan military disappeared, leaving the country to the Taliban.

An Afghanistan veteran, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), opposed the withdrawal but tweeted:

“Do not let my party preten[d] to be outraged by this. Both the [Republicans] and [Democrats] failed here. Time for Americans to put their country over their party.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert, GOP QAnon believer from Colorado’s Grand Junction area, tweeted, “The Taliban are the only people building back better.” Tucker Carlson accused the Taliban takeover of its reaction to U.S. “radical gender politics.”  In part of his rant, Carlson complained:   

“Thanks to American-imposed gender quotas, dozens of women ultimately were installed as representatives in Afghan’s parliament. [T]he whole thing was a sham, as always.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) suggested Biden is “paying the Taliban … with weapons, vehicles, Blackhawk helicopters because the Afghan army is handing them over as fast as possible.” She’s right about the Afghans turning over these weapons to the Taliban, but not about that being Biden’s intention. Told that the Afghan was not protecting the country, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), with no evidence, said, “What a bunch of crap!”

While Republicans damn Democrats for not saving Afghan refugees, they bitterly oppose any refugees being brought to the U.S., claiming that the Democrats only want the votes of these “criminals.”

U.S. allies don’t agree with the GOP’s smearing Biden to score points for the next election. The UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace said DDT’s “rushed” deal with the Taliban omitting any involvement from the Afghan government or the international community set up the disaster. Wallace said, “The die was cast when the deal was done by Donald Trump.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg blames Afghan leaders for the government’s collapse because of the refusal to stand up to the Taliban. He follows Biden’s assessment that “what [the U.S.] could not provide [the Afghan forces] was the will to fight for their future.” About 800 NATO civilian personnel are still in Afghanistan for air traffic control and provision of fuel and communication.

Most pundits prefer to write about “who lost Afghanistan,” but Katrina vanden Heuvel addresses how the U.S. got into the seemingly never-ending war. After a few months of defeating al-Qaeda and finding Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush shifted his focus to nation-building to build his importance. Never mind the ignorance of people attempting this effort. Corruption included incompetence, lack of motivation, theft, and drug trade from both U.S. and Afghan military leaders. Every year, inspector generals reported the “war” as a failure. Commanders exaggerated the positive numbers and erased bad ones. Craig Whitlock reported on “explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public” and the distortion of statistics “to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.”

Afghans took bribes to move to the Taliban as soon as the U.S. left gone. After DDT’s deal with the Taliban, Taliban leaders offered money for U.S.-provided weapons and a future of surrenders.  Susannah George writes about the steps leading up to Taliban fighters walking into Kabul, the capital, with no resistance.

Despite the trillions of dollars lost by taxpayers and the ever-ending pain of anyone involved in Afghanistan, stockholders greatly benefited from the 20-year failure. An investment of $10,000 in stock with the U.S. top five defense contractors on September 18, 2001, if consistently reinvested, would now be worth $97,295. These stocks outperformed the stock marked by 58 percent during the past two decades. These contractors are Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics. All but Boeing got their money from the U.S. government. 

George W. Bush, who gave the Taliban over $5 million in May 2021, started the 20-year war, and supported torture, gets to view the events in Afghanistan “with deep sadness” and wish Biden, who got stuck with the buck, would move more quickly to evacuate people. DDT, who bragged in June about setting the withdrawal, now calls on Biden to “resign in disgrace.” And Afghanistan diverts the media from climate warming, voting suppression, COVID, and other disasters directly affecting the United States.

May 25, 2021

DDT, GOP in Trouble; Arizona Continues Corruption

President Joe Biden’s approval rating has increased to 62 percent, compared to the 45 percent Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) received in May 2017. Most of his ratings—economy, stimulating jobs, administering the government, etc.—are above 60 percent, and his worst rating, the one for handling immigration, is still at 53 percent. Approval of the Democratic Party went up to 55 percent while the approval of the GOP is still below 50 percent at 49 percent. Highly conservative Rasmussen Reports, one of the few polls to give DDT higher than a 50-percent approval rating, infuriated Republicans by finding Biden at 54 percent approval.

A grand jury has been convened to determine whether to indict DDT if Manhattan’s prosecutors present criminal charges in the investigation against the Trump Organization. The jury could also indict the business’s executives and the business itself. The jury will be in session three days a week for six months and may hear information beyond the Trump Organization probe. A major issue is whether DDT lied to lenders and insurance companies about his properties’ values to obtain larger loans and pay lower taxes. The investigation includes Trump Tower, the family estate Seven Springs, DDT’s Chicago hotel, and condo tower, and the hush money paid to shut up Stormy Daniels about her alleged affair with DDT. DDT is again whining, “Witch Hunt!”

Although the DOJ has released part of a memo from former AG Bill Barr, the department is appealing the order to disclose the entire memo. Barr used the 2019 memo from his Office of Legal Counsel to not make charges against DDT based on special investigator Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to DDT’s campaign. Part of the concealed memo provides factual and legal analyses of some incidents of possible obstruction. The judge earlier called Barr “disingenuous” in using the document to conclude DDT had not broken the law. She concluded that Barr used the memo “for a preemptive strike on the Mueller report.” The memo also stated the DOJ should decide whether DDT broke the law. The judge concluded the department’s intent was to legally justify a decision already made by DOJ leaders—to not accuse DDT of a crime.

Even out of office, DDT still claims he’s above the law (aka absolute immunity from civil lawsuits) in a lawsuit filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell of violating federal civil rights and local incitement laws. Donald Trump Jr, Rudolph Giuliani, and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) are also defendants in the case, all of them for speaking at the rally near the White House on January 6 before the insurrectionists moved on to attack the U.S. Capitol. DDT’s defense is that he cannot be sued after being acquitted in an impeachment for the same conduct. DDT’s lawyer declared DDT is protected under the First Amendment. The lawyer stated about the presidency:

“While holding that office, former President Trump was free to advocate for the appointment and certification of electors, just as he was entitled to advocate for the passage or defeat of a constitutional amendment, or the reconsideration of a congressional act over his veto even though the President does not directly participate in those congressional acts.”

The U.S. Constitution declares a president can be subject to criminal or civil actions after leaving office. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) has been joined by ten other congressional members and the NAACP in filing a similar lawsuit based on the Civil Rights Act of 1871, known as the Ku Klux Klan. It permits lawsuits against government officials for claims about conspiring to violate civil rights. That suit alleges DDT and Giuliani conspired with the extremist groups Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.

Gordon Sondland, DDT’s former ambassador to the EU who testified against him during the first impeachment, is suing him and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for $1.8 legal fees, costs from the 2019 impeachment probe. Sondland alleges Pompeo reneged on the State Department covering the fees. Top Pompeo aides supported Sondland’s claim, but Pompeo changed his mind about paying after Sondland’s testimony about the “quid pro quo” that didn’t support DDT. The lawsuit demands payment from the government or from Pompeo personally, claiming the promise was made for Pompeo’s “own political survival.” Sondland also explained high bills by DDT’s restriction of “access to materials essential to his preparation.” DDT fired Sondland two days after his impeachment acquittal.

After fighting a subpoena for years, former White House Counsel Don McGahn will testify to the House Judiciary Committee behind closed doors after the DOJ made a deal for his testimony about DDT’s obstruction attempt against Mueller’s Russian investigation. The committee will release the interview transcript. Members can ask him about events documented in the report about attempts to fire Mueller and block the Russia investigation as well as about the Mueller investigation’s accuracy. McGahn can decline answering questions on other topics.

DDT’s pet Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) went too far with her comparison of required mask wearing to gassing Jews during the Holocaust. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), silent for days, called the statement “appalling,” and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) bravely said he “does not agree with these comments and condemns these comparisons.” McCarthy continued by blaming for anti-Semitism “on the rise in the Democrat [sic] Party” being “completely ignored” by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”

Two years ago, Jewish groups considered comments about Israel from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) as anti-Semitic. Pelosi forcefully demanded an immediate apology, and Omar said she didn’t mean to promote negative stereotypes of Jews with her comments on Israel. Another objection may be protests from some House members about Israeli’s killing Palestinians, driving them out of the homes, destroying their infrastructure, and preventing them from worshipping in their Jerusalem mosque. McCarthy didn’t make any suggestions about actions against Greene.

Greene was not pleased about McCarthy’s statements. She hastily reposted a tweet about McCarthy with her addition but then removed within six minutes:

[Quote from a tweet]: “Look you moron, nobody supported Israel in their recent conflict with Hamas more than MTG. Her analogy may not have been perfect but you seriously need to get a grip you feckless c**t. Pelosi is the villain here.” [Greene’s addition]: “Thank you for seeing the truth and how much I support Israel.”

Even Senate Minority Mitch McConnell (R-KY) openly turned against Greene. Asked by a reporter about whether she should be censured, he said:

“Well, she doesn’t serve in the Senate, but this is one of a frequent outbursts that are absolutely outrageous and reprehensible, but any punishment I assume would have to be administered by the House.”

More news from the Arizona vote counting fiasco: The so-called “audit” has now resumed with “counters” selected by an organization operated by DDT’s wealthy supporter and “stolen” election believer Patrick Byrne, formerly Overstock.com CEO. He is in charge of background checks, non-disclosure agreements, and volunteer agreements of “workers.”

Wake TSI, the Pennsylvania IT company running the audit, came to the end of its contract on May 14 and won’t be back. With little or no experience regarding elections, the company took the job after an Arizona senator, a bit advocate of the “Stop the Steal” movement, asked for it. A Scottsdale (AZ)-based tech company StratTech, possibly with no election or auditing experience, is taking over.

Arizona’s GOP-led House Appropriations Committee stripped legally-elected Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) of her ability to “defend election lawsuits” after she expressed “grave concerns” about the audit. Her responsibilities have been transferred “exclusively” to Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) through the end of the 2023 fiscal year. In further retaliation against Hobbs, the Republicans removed Hobb’s “oversight of the Capitol Museum” after state lawmakers when she “flew a gay pride flag from the building’s balcony” in 2019.

After determined to remain silent for over three weeks, Stephen Richer, the GOP recorder in charge of Maricopa County’s elections, said there was no “legitimate reason that would have prompted this audit.” About former audits, he pointed out that “all the tests came back clean. The parties themselves oversaw the hand-count auditing of 47,000 plus votes.” He also expressed frustration “that some professional, legitimate companies did make bids to the Arizona Senate to do this work and we would have welcomed that.” The county told the Senate to preserve all documents related to the audit administration in a litigation hold, looking into charges of defamation.  

An observer’s report of the audit told to Washington Post editor Sophia Nguyen—including horror of a “counter” who found “cheese powder” on a ballot. 

Will DDT be back on Facebook? Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill, possibly called the Trump Protection (TP) law, which fines social media platforms permanently banning political candidates in the state. A ban is limited to 14 days with a daily $250,000 fine after that. As almost everyone knows, DDT has made Florida’s Mar-a-Lago his residence. The law comes from the party believing in freedom for private business and no regulations. Florida has blocked free speech from private entities, violating the constitution’s First Amendment. Exempt are companies owning theme parks or entertainment venues larger than 25 acres, aka Disney World and Comcast’s Universal Orlando Resort. Another lawsuite in the wind.

Watch for much more about the Grifters’ Old Party. 

 

April 18, 2021

Sunday: Religious Numbers Drop, Court Gives Christianity Preference

On Sunday, fewer people than ever are going to a church, synagogue, mosque, or other religious gathering. Pew Research reports that the share of religiously unaffiliated people in the U.S. has been growing across all demographic groups. The “nones”—those who self-identify as atheists, agnostics, or religion as “nothing in particular”—have become 23 percent of the population, almost 50 percent up from 2007 when 16 percent of people were “nones.” At the same time, the number of “Christians” have dropped from 78 percent to 71 percent.

More Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996) self-identify as “nones,” and the median age of unaffiliated adults is currently 36, down from 38 in 2007 and younger than the 46 years of media age of adults in the U.S. More in the older generations, however, are also becoming unaffiliated: 17 percent of Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are now unaffiliated, compared to 14 percent in 2007.

Of people raised as Christian or another faith, 18 percent now have no religious affiliation, compared to the roughly half of the 9 percent of U.S. adults raised without any affiliation now who identify with a religion, mostly Christianity. More men than women are “nones,” but education, race and ethnicity, and income make no difference. Nearly two-thirds of the seven percent of atheists and agnostics are men who are more educated and more White than the general population.

Two years ago, then-VP Mike Pence announced the nation’s religiosity “has remained remarkably consistent.” Yet a Gallup poll reinforced the Pew Research in its finding that only 47 percent belonged to a congregation in 2020, down from 70 percent in 2000. The percentage of people who think religion is important dropped to 48 percent with the number of people regularly attending worship services even lower.

While the general population becomes less religious, the Supreme Court, because of appointments by Deposed Dictator Trump (DDT) and confirmations by GOP senators, gives preference to Christians. Late Friday night, April 9, 2021, in a “shadow docket,” justices made a 5-4 decision in a case not on the docket and had no oral argument. The Tansom v. Newsom ruling determined that religious groups can gather in homes although other groups are still banned from this practice.

With no signature, the ruling changed the constitutional view of “religious liberty that now permits religious exemptions to situations not discriminating against religion. The court’s new rule, “most favored nation” permits any secular exemption to a law permitting a claim for a religious exemption. The decision stated required permission to gather for Bible study just as they would to get haircuts, food, or pedicures. Any time a government grants any exemption to a law for any reason, it has to grant the same exemption to religion—which in the U.S. typically means Christianity.

These conservative justices have gone far beyond the belief of Justice Antonin Scalia, formerly the most conservative judge of the modern era, when he said this type of ruling should be done “sparingly, and only in the most critical and exigent circumstances,” where “the legal rights at issue are indisputably clear.” The new ruling doesn’t fit these criteria because the high court gave a different meaning to the scope and applicability of the free exercise clause. With no explanation for the court’s decision, five justices are trying to bind lower courts to their personal opinion. The current Supreme Court has used its emergency injunctions seven times, all of them in COVID-19 cases. Before last November, the court had not done so for five years.

DDT used emergency relief from the high court 41 times, winning 28 of those appeals. In contrast, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama together went to the court for this relief only eight times in 16 years. Almost all DDT’s cases requested “stays” pending appeals against a lower court ruling, but the current support for a Christian group froze a government policy losing in the lower courts pending appeal. Scalia pointed out that an injunction “grants judicial intervention that has been withheld by lower courts,” unlike a stay, a short-term delay of a proceeding.

This injunction overrides the lower courts instead of the justices’ position from the past of “a court of review, not first view” as an “appellate tribunal.” The action reverses the function of the Supreme Court and exceeds the justices’ statutory authority to issue such relief—for the seventh time since October. As Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her dissent, the majority relied only on “separate opinions and unreasoned orders” to make a new constitutional rule. Conservative justices “using procedural tools meant to help them control their docket to make significant substantive changes in the law, in defiance not only of their own standards for such relief, but of fundamental principles of judicial decision making,” wrote legal expert Stephen I. Vladeck.

Since the new term began last October, the court has used shadow dockets at least 20 times to make secret rulings with no arguments and no identification of how each justice ruled. The new justices, in control of making law over legislatures and lower courts, remove transparency from the process of law.

The recent ruling agrees with an earlier decision that religion should allow people to infect others with COVID-19 by opening church services in California while other public activities are closed. Last December, SCOTUS also put religion over public health by siding with religious groups in Colorado and New Jersey. At that time, the U.S. had almost 400,000 deaths from COVID-19 and 16.5 million infections.

Over five years ago, Jerry Falwell Jr, then president of Liberty University, endorsed DDT for president which gave him the evangelical vote in 2016. The past few years have not been good for Falwell. After a series of failed to gain traction, the photo of him and his wife’s pregnant assistant in an inappropriate pose on a boat was the tipping point. He lost his leadership position at the university but claimed a resurrection comeback on Good Friday with his belief the “community still embraces him.” Denied a contracted $10.5 million severance package, Falwell, worth over $100 million, told the media the dispute was resolved.

Good Friday passed, and Liberty is now suing Falwell for over $40 million in damages, alleging breach of contract and fiduciary duty. The lawsuit states Falwell withheld “scandalous and potentially damaging information from Liberty’s board of trustees, while negotiating a generous new contract for himself in 2019 under false pretenses,” according to journalist Ruth Graham. Some of the scandal included an on-going three-some among himself, his wife, and a former pool boy. (More details about Falwell’s scandals.) 

Employees have been ordered to not communicate with either Falwell or his wife Becki Falwell other than any concerns about their daughter, a student. The university also wants Falwell to return its electronic equipment with confidential information. Their oldest son, Trey Falwell was also forced from his vice-presidency at Liberty, while Jerry Falwell Jr’s brother Jonathan Falwell has taken a bigger role at the school.

Also gone from Liberty University is the name for its political “think tank,” Falkirk Center, named after Falwell and DDT’s former pet, Charlie Kirk. Over 400 Liberty students and recent graduates signed a petition to close down the group because the Center “is trying to undo Liberty’s mission.” They rejected the idea they are “people who were educated to become champions for Trump and Western Civilization in the ‘cultural battlefield.’” They also object to the “fellows” using the Center as a “gateway for … people who claim Christ’s name because it is convenient for their personal or political gain.” The Falkirk Center sank $50,000 into political ads for DDT and other GOP candidates before the election.

The Center did not renew Charlie Kirk as a fellow, and he plans to start his own group called Turning Point Faith. Falkirk is now Standing for Freedom Center but kept its political philosophy and some of its questionable “fellows,” such as conservative commentator Eric Metaxas who punched an unarmed anti-DDT protester in the back of his head last year and continues to spread conspiracy theories about voter fraud.  

Liberty’s direction is shown by two new fellows, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, both wannabe presidential candidates—Huckabee in the past and Pompeo in 2024. Pompeo, claiming he wants “religious freedom, created many federal groups promoting evangelical Christianity around the world including one educating officials that the Bible mandates them to support back right-wing social, economic, environmental, and criminal justice policies. When in Congress, Pompeo worked with anti-Muslim activists to promote Christian nationalism. Pope Francis denied an audience with Pompeo because of his use of “religious freedom” for political gain.

Pompeo’s background as Secretary of State illustrates his lack of ethics. The Inspector General reported Pompeo violated government federal ethics rules in using the agency’s resources by asking its employees to carry out personal tasks over 100 times, as did Pompeo’s wife, Susan. Pompeo said they were just things friends did for friends—like working all weekend “to envelope, address, and mail personal Christmas cards for the Pompeos” with no compensation.

Just a few reasons that the number of religiously unaffiliated grows every year.

 

March 30, 2021

DDT Loyalists: Where Are They Now?

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) can’t quit causing trouble. Recently, he  claimed the election—in which he lost by about 7 million popular votes and 74 Electoral votes (232-306)—was “stolen” from him. Fox network won’t let him spew his lies about the election because of billion-dollar lawsuits so he falsely claimed no danger from the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol killing five people. He told Laura Ingraham:

“Right from the start, it was zero threat… Some of them went in, and they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know? They had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in, and they walked out.”

Among 140 police officers suffering injuries were an eye lost, cracked ribs, smashed spinal discs, concussions, and others from being beaten by a flagpole, sprayed with bear spray, punched, dragged, and trampled. Some officers said that their January 6 experiences were scarier than combat during two tours in Iraq. Almost 400 people have been charged for the attack. DDT, who called on his followers to incite violence in the insurrection, now sits like a deposed king in his Mar-a-Lago club, while his servile political sycophants gather at his feet, planning to bring him—and themselves—back into control. Some of his enablers who fell from power after the election are searching for their own ways to plan the GOP future:

Mike Pompeo went from a Kansas member of the U.S. House to fronting DDT’s “America First” foreign policy, alienating all the nation’s global allies. During his four years with DDT, he served first as CIA director and then as Secretary of State, leading DDT’s antagonistic policies with China. This cartoon from “Dr. Seuss” about the U.S. from 80 years ago well illustrates DDT’s position. In Iowa, Pompeo made his first “campaign event” of his 2024 presidential race in Iowa, over 1,000 days before the election, according to media sources. As usual, he ignores the appearance of political nonpartisanship, traditional for people who leave an administration. While Secretary of State, he hosted invitation-only, taxpayer-funded “Madison dinners” for wealthy GOP elites at the agency’s headquarters. 

Stephen Miller, another “America First” fanatic who created DDT’s inhumane migration policies, emerged from a relatively unknown speechwriter for Jeff Sessions to his powerful role shaping DDT’s policies and messages, starting with DDT’s “American carnage” inauguration speech on January 20, 2016. Currently, Miller is leading the charge to elect DDT-wannabe Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) in his campaign for U.S. Senate. He spends the rest of his time attacking Biden and defending DDT’s cruel immigration record on Fox network. In his spare time, he is creating America First Legal to file lawsuits and organize GOP attorneys general opposing what they see as executive branch abuses. Unlike other far-right legal groups such as Judicial Watch, Alliance Defending Freedom, and the Immigration Reform Law Institute, Miller’s group will broadly focus on administrative law and executive overreach, a conservative type of ACLU. Involved in the project are former DDT stars such as Ken Starr, Gene Hamilton, and Mark Meadows. Other DDT minions, including Larry Kudlow and Russ Vought, participate in groups promoting DDT’s policies.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former White House press secretary and daughter of Mike Huckabee, either alienated journalists or didn’t hold press conferences while trying spin her way out of lying to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team by blaming Democrats. She has long been running for governor of Arkansas, her father’s old job.

Sean Spicer, the first of several White House press secretaries, has followed a diverse path since he was fired, including a bad performance on Dancing with the Stars. He may be most remembered for arguing with the facts, beginning with the size of the crowd at DDT’s inauguration, becoming more famous for Melissa McCarthy’s satire of him on SNL. Since then he’s written a slim-in-content memoir about his eight-month job in the White House and had a few short gigs before hosting Spicer & Co. on the pro-DDT network Newsmax embracing the GOP “big lie” about DDT’s election loss.

Kayleigh McEnany, another White House press secretary, began by saying she would never lie to the media—“you have my word on that”–and then proceeded to spew DDT’s lies throughout the pandemic. Up to Biden’s inauguration, she defended DDT “big lie” that the election was “stolen.” Fox network’s devotion to her words led to her employment as an on-air commentator, allowing her to defend DDT, attack Biden, and delight Twitter followers with her spelling gaffes. For example, the Harvard Law School Graduate wrote that Biden’s “touting the rate of vaccines being administered [was] a feet solely made possible by President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed”—another lie and the reason behind Merriam-Webster explaining the difference between “feet” and “feat.” One charming tweet connected “feet” and “solely.”

Jason Miller, a senior adviser for DDT’s transition team and then for DDT’s 2020 campaign, last appeared in defense of DDT at his second impeachment trial because DDT struggled to persuade lawyers to represent him. Miller’s time with DDT was marked by his lying to columnist A.J. Delgado about being separated from his wife and have her illegitimate child in 2017. In 2019, Miller lied about leaving the strategy firm Teneo after his profane Twitter tirade at Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) so h could stop child support payments to Delgado. He is still DDT’s senior adviser, giving his wisdom to the press and helping with DDT’s, possibly mythical, new social media platform. Newsmax has also taken on Miller as a contributor.

Kellyanne Conway left DDT’s side after her family situation blew up, but she was a major cause in electing DDT and the queen of “alternative facts,” her definition of lying she began using on his inauguration day. Both she and her liberal husband, George Conway, claimed they were leaving politics for the sake of their four children, but conflict between Kellyanne and her 16-year-old daughter continued for months, accelerating to nude, possibly hacked, photographs of Claudia on Kellyanne’s Twitter account. Although they may have reconciled—Kellyanne appeared after Claudia on American Idol—an ongoing investigation is looking into the daughter’s claims of abuse. Kellyanne reportedly signed a deal with over $2 million advance for a tell-all book about her time in the White House with DDT. Kellyanne still defends DDT, and George still lambasts him.

Brad Parscale went from web designer to mastermind of DDT’s 2016 win and then out of a job after supposedly liberating huge amounts of money from DDT’s second campaign for his lavish lifestyle. After being demoted from DDT’s campaign manager, he behaved so erratically with a loaded, cocked gun in his home that his wife called the police. He resigned from the campaign and promised to forego politics, instead flipping houses. Soon after, he reneged on his promise and started Nucleus, a platform for a super PAC to raise—and spend—more unlimited dark money for the 2022 elections of pro-DDT candidates and support DDT’s new social media.

Deborah Birx, a leading member of DDT’s coronavirus task force, is trying to whitewash her part in the hundreds of thousands of U.S. deaths from mismanagement of the pandemic. She now claims they could have been prevented, but a year ago, she effusively praised DDT on the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) by his being “so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data.” While DDT was denying the seriousness of COVID-19 to the public, she added, “I think his ability to analyze and integrate data that comes out of his long history in business has really been a real benefit.” Throughout Birx’s tenure on the task force, DDT refused to listen to science-based health information and disseminated disinformation to keep the economy appearing positive. Birx chose numbers from less-populated states to support DDT’s claims that cases declined in the U.S. while they were actually increasing, and she covered up for bad decisions. She didn’t protest DDT’s suggestion about drinking disinfectant could be a cure for the disease, but DDT turned on her last August when she suggested people should wear masks.

After saying she would like to be on Biden’s coronavirus team, Birx took the job as chief medical and scientific adviser for Texas-based ActivePure Technology (claiming to make air purifiers to kill the coronavirus), joined the George W. Bush Institute as a global health fellow, and became a board member for the biopharmaceutical company Innoviva. About the 400,000 people who died in summer, fall, and winter, she said “it didn’t go as well as it should have.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was more forthcoming about his disagreements with DDT while on the task force, is now Biden’s chief medical adviser.

Mark Meadows, who faithfully lied for DDT while his chief of staff, now works at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI). He may also appear in an Atlanta court for his part in trying to force votes onto DDT’s side as part of the White House attempt to obtain the state’s electoral college votes. Meadows made a late-December trip to Cobb County, hoping to watch the audit of voter signatures with no advance notice, but was blocked from entering the room. His trip was followed by demands by DDT and his allies to “find” the votes DDT wanted. Georgia’s extensive examination of ballots and signatures found no fraud.

Watch for these people and more “Trumpers” to crawl out for the 2022 election.

January 20, 2021

Biden’s Day One: Clearing the Swamp

On January 20, 2021, Dictator Donald Trump, now the Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), left the White House, and President Joe Biden moved in. An eternity ago, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) came to his inauguration in a time of growing prosperity to give a speech about “American carnage” where he promised to “drain the swamp.” During the next four years, DDT:

  • Filled positions with a swinging door of loyalists and family members.
  • Incited violence and hatred from racism, beginning with a ban against Muslim and “brown” immigrants coming into the U.S. and continuing with his praise of white supremacists at the Charlottesville (VA) rally.
  • Drove the U.S. people against legitimate media by calling it “fake” and called the Russian investigation finding Russian interference in the 2016 election a “hoax.”
  • Destroyed the expanding economy but gave a false sense of security by artificially propping up the stock markets.
  • Made the national debt skyrocket by catering to the wealthy and big business, especially with his drastic tax cuts primarily for those two demographics, to over $10 billion before costs of his mismanaged COVID-19 crisis—which he also called a “hoax.” 
  • Became the first president in modern times creating no new jobs for the entire term.
  • Exacerbated the crises in the U.S. by alienating world allies and finished with denying a legal election for president.
  • Faced two impeachments, one for blackmailing a foreign leader and the other for inciting violence leading to domestic terrorists taking over the Capitol, the first time it was breached since the War of 1812.
  • Splintered the GOP.
  • Almost changed the U.S. democracy into an evangelical Christian theocracy.
  • Ignored the pandemic before sabotaging any solutions for the number of cases and deaths in the U.S.
  • Granted almost 200 pardons, many for bribery and corruption (aka “swamp”), finishing with one for Steve Bannon, arrested for defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors to “We Build the Wall” out of millions of dollars. The last, less than an hour before Biden’s inauguration, was for Albert Pirro, GOP donor and ex-husband of Fox network’s Jeanine Pirro, convicted almost 20 years ago on 34 counts of conspiracy and tax evasion for over $1 million in illegal tax write-offs for his business.
  • Led the worsT “transition” in modern history finished by refusing the courtesy of Biden’s flight Washington on a military plane.

DDT left Washington on January 20, 2021, a loser even with Republicans and white supremacists. Former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said DDT “fed lies” to his supporters to incite violence, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) praised Harris to cover up his vote to overturn the election. White supremacist Proud Boys, told by DDT at his first debate with Joe Biden to “stand by,” dumped their former hero. Calling DDT a “shill” and extraordinarily weak,” they told supporters to avoid rallies and protests for DDT and the GOP, stating DDT “will go down as a total failure.” Part of their anger came from the lack of pardons any of the insurgents received for the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

QAnon conspiracy theorists expected DDT would announce The Storm via the Emergency Broadcasting System to round up and arrest Democrats before being declared president. Ron Watkins, former 8kun administrator for QAnon, wrote:

“We gave it our all. Now we need to keep our chins up and go back to our lives as best we are able.”

Conspiracy-debunker Travis View said people making money from the conspiracy theory have difficulty persuading followers to stay with them after this drastically wrong prediction. One said, “If nothing happens I will no longer believe in anything,” and another one dejectedly stated at the beginning of Biden’s inauguration, “We all just got played.” White supremacist groups are absorbing disenchanted QAnon members, targeting Parler users, now back on line after Russia hosts the social medium platform Parler on the same website as Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist political organization. Death threats from conservatives have driven the family of Parler’s CEO into hiding.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The inauguration of Biden as president and Kamala Harris as vice-president, well documented throughout the day, preceded their work after the ceremonies.  At the White House, Biden signed a tall stack of orders left on his desk in the Oval Office. The 15 executive actions and two directives:

  • Halting the building of DDT’s “wall.”
  • Ending the ban on travel from some Muslim-majority countries.
  • Declaring his intent to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization
  • Revoking the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. 
  • Requiring masks and social distancing on federal property and by federal employees.
  • Extending the eviction freeze to help people struggling from the pandemic economy.
  • Continuing a pause on student loan payments until September 30. 
  • Counting non-citizens in U.S. Census again.
  • Restoring the White House’s National Security Council directorate for global health security and defense, eliminated by DDT. The same order creates a COVID-19 response coordinator position with Jeff Zients.
  • Instructing federal agencies to prioritize racial equality and review policies reinforcing systemic racism.
  • Extending protections an additional year for Liberians in the U.S.
  • Releasing the $27.4 billion in funding for 73 world programs as part of December’s spending bill that DDT had frozen.
  • Ordering federal employees to take an ethics pledge committing them to upholding the independence of the Justice Department.
  • Issuing an ethics rule much stricter than the one DDT recently issued, allowing reversing DDT’s recent order telling executive branch employees they can lobby anywhere anytime after they leave the administration.
  • Revoking the newly-released report of DDT’s “1776 Commission” promoting systemic racism through DDT’s definition of “patriotic education.”
  • Fortifying DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
  • Repealing DDT’s ICE arrest priorities making immigration enforcement stricter.
  • Freezing DDT’s last-minute administration regulatory actions.

Biden also called for a review of all regulations and executive actions damaging to the environment or public health and plans dozens of more orders and directives redirecting the country without going through the Senate. In his spare time, Biden swore in dozens of appointees and staffers, telling them to treat each other with respect or he will fire them “on the spot.”

Another swearing-in ceremony made the Senate a Democratic majority with the vote of the vice-president to break a tie. VP Kamala Harris swore in Democrats Jon Ossoff (GA), Alex Padilla (CA), and Raphael Warnock (GA) as the new senators. [Above right: Harris looks very different from all the former VPs.]  

DDT’s National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Peter Robb refused to step down from his position so Biden fired him. Pro-management Robb attempted to reorganize the NLR’s regional offices and make new guidelines for agency investigations. He had great control over cases considered by the board against companies accused of violating the National Labor Relations Act amid conflicts of interest regarding DDT’s board members and their former clients.

Biden also fired Michael Pack, the corrupt head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media who removed its independence, and Kathleen Kraninger, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who persecuted consumers. Gen. Paul Nakasone, director of the National Security Agency, also put Michael Ellis, the NSA top lawyer, on administrative leave after DDT pressured the Pentagon acting-acting DOD Secretary Chris Miller to put him into the job three days before the inauguration.

After the inauguration, China sanctioned former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and 27 other high-ranking DDT officials including former trade adviser Peter Navarro, chief China-hater in the White House; former national security advisers Robert O’Brien and John Bolton with former deputy Matt Pottinger; and pardoned Steve Bannon.

On his last day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, descended from Italian immigrants, said multiculturalism “is not who America is.” He tweeted it “points to one direction—authoritarianism.” Under Pompeo, the foreign service has 8 percent Black and Hispanic diplomats and 7 percent Asian. Hoping to run for president in 2024, Pompeo may have been again attacking the New York Times 1619 Project describing the consequences of slavery and contributions of Black people in the U.S. On Monday’s 35th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, DDT released a commission report from his “1776 Commission” blaming school curriculum for BLM protest violence, stating “the left-wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools.” [Notice Biden revoked the commission and its report.]

Lagging far behind its work in confirming DDT’s appointments four years ago, the Senate approved Biden’s first Cabinet member, Avril Haines, for intelligence director by 84-10. The vote was taken before the new Democratic senators were sworn in, and the ten opposing Haines represent “the Trump Line,” several of them planning to be presidential candidates in 2024. Republicans objecting both initially and later: Marsha Blackburn (TN), Mike Braun, (IN), Ted Cruz (TX), Joni Ernst (IA), Bill Hagerty (TN), Josh Hawley (MO), Mike Lee (UT), Roger Marshall (KS), Rand Paul (KY), and James Risch (ID).

As for the threatened violence from far-right extremists, even throughout the nation’s state capitols, actions could be described as “low energy.” No one reported violence by 4:00 pm on January 20, 2021, and some of the “crowds had fewer than five people, only one at New York’s state capitol. Arizona did get about a dozen. Photos of the different states are available here. With the heavy National Guard force and hundreds of arrests after the attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol, neo-Nazis and terrorists used the social medium Telegram to tell everyone to stay home. They wrote to use alternative sources for future battles.

His final desperate move inviting mass emails for his departure from Andrews Air Force asking everyone to bring five people brought out under 500 people.

From around the world, leaders of democracies praised Biden’s presidency. Their expressions of relief parallel those from many tens of millions of people in the U.S. Biden’s first day was a return to reality when the president works—for the people—and, in Biden’s words, “democracy has prevailed.” As for the rest of the term, Biden’s job, as for many other Democratic presidents, is to clean up the Republicans’ messes. And Biden keeps it up tomorrow with more items on his agenda than DDT has for weeks on end. 

To follow political adventures, I recommend three daily credible political reports—Rantt, Wtf, and Heather Cox Richardson’s blog—in addition to more standard sources. If you find yourself missing DDT, Rantt has an excellent overview of the past four years. Richardson’s analysis of the inauguration.

 

January 16, 2021

DDT: Weeks 207 & 208 – ‘The Big Lies’

Only the legacy of insurrection and sedition left by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) rises above his cruelty and inhumanity. He started his white supremacist campaign on June 16, 2015 when he declared people from Mexico are “rapists” who are “bringing drugs, and he finished it as a cult leader of a white supremacist terror cell attacking the U.S. Capitol.

The DOJ inspector general’s report about DDT’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy for immigrants proves DDT’s incessant cruelty. Interviews and email reviews define DDT’s involvement in the policy of separating separate children from their families with no hope of reunification. Too little too late, former Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein expressed regret, “I wish we all had done better.”

The report’s findings match the 21-month House Judiciary Committee’s investigation accusing DDT’s administration of “reckless incompetence and intentional cruelty.” Last November, 666 children, 20 percent under the age of five, were still not reunited with their families. Children reunified suffered trauma described by doctors as “torture” and “state-sanctioned child abuse” after U.S. officials had told the children they would never see their families again. Only public outrage over such revelations as a breastfeeding baby torn from the mother and a man’s suicide after separation from his wife and child forced the government to slightly modify its policy. The government continued its human rights violation with the removal of reproductive organs from immigrant women in concentration facilities until recently.  

In another cruel act, DDT and his HHS Secretary Alex Azar lied about releasing the “reserve” vaccines to increase the number of people receiving vaccinations.  DDT had claimed he was saving the doses for booster shots, but Azar finally admitted the government started sending out the reserves in December with the final shipment last week. Three years after DDT was inaugurated, he falsely accused President Obama of leaving “a bare cupboard” with no PPP supplies. Yet the “bare cupboard” with no vaccine is exactly what DDT leaves Joe Biden’s administration. Millions of people—teachers, healthcare workers, elders, etc.—expected to receive the vaccinations as soon as this month. Instead, everyone will watch DDT fly away on Air Force One the morning of January 20 for the last time and wonder when they will be vaccinated.

Biden’s transition team has been blocked from access to information or personnel about the production and distribution of the vaccine. Team members were also not briefed on new policies such as offering the vaccine to anyone with high-risk medical conditions, guaranteed to fail because of DDT’s vaccine shortage. Another policy to be put into effect after Biden became president was designed to penalize slower-moving states. Biden has promised to not punish any states. The new administration is developing a real plan for vaccinating the nation while dropping DDT’s name “Operation Warp Speed” for the vaccine.

Azar submitted his resignation letter dated January 12. He blamed DDT’s “actions and rhetoric” for tarnishing the administration’s legacy and touted his own accomplishments, including the COVID-19 vaccine. He omitted his lies to the people exacerbating its disaster with over 400,000 deaths, instead claiming that he saved millions of lives. He also didn’t mention his most recent lie to the states about having reserves for vaccinations or address the 20 million vaccinations he promised by the end of December. The total of doses delivered is currently 10.6 million.

January 15 would have been the 92nd birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr, and DDT is using this anniversary by executing people. The execution on King’s birthday, DDT’s 13th since last summer when AG Bill Barr thought killing people is a good idea, is the third in three days. The first woman to be executed in the U.S. since 1953 was killed January 13; she was seriously mentally ill. Another man, intellectually disabled, was killed January 14. Courts had objected to their executions. The DOJ complained that the U.S. would suffer more harm from the inconvenience of rescheduling private contractors than prisoners would be harmed by their deaths.

The most recent man executed was convicted in Maryland which outlawed the death penalty. Because the Federal Death Penalty Act bans executions for people from states banning the killing of prisoners, DOJ moved the case to Indiana, which does permit executions. Lawyers objected, and the legality of DOJ’s move to Indiana has a hearing on January 27—12 days after DOJ killed him. DOJ also lied about his killing three women: his co-defendant, who actually did the killing, is in prison for life without parole.

Michael Pack, CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, wants to continue propagandizing government-funded broadcasts from Voice of America (VOA) and other networks such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty during the Biden administration. He serves as chair of the networks’ boards and packed them with conservative activists and DDT loyalists. The boards have agreed to binding contractual agreements which supposedly cannot be removed for another two years except “for cause.”

Because of internal objections and objections, the new presidents, appointed by Pack this month, have not yet signed the contracts. The European network reaches over 40 million people in 27 languages across 23 countries, including Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and Ukraine; Radio Free Asia audiences are in China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and North Korea. Some VOA journalists signed a letter demanding Pack and his deputy resign for their use of VOA in a “propaganda event” for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the “sudden and unexplained” reassignments of the chief news editor and White House correspondent. Pompeo told the journalists at the event “to cease critical coverage of the United States.” A VOA journalist who tried to ask Pompeo questions after his speech was taken off the White House beat, and the new chief news editor told her she doesn’t “know how to behave!”

As a lame duck, DDT suffers continued financial losses:

Three banks—Signature, Professional, and Deutsche—stopped doing business with DDT. Signature, where DDT has a $5.3 million loan, closed his personal accounts; Professional in Florida had loaned DDT’s company $11.2 million to buy his sister’s home near Mar-a-Lago; and Deutsche, which holds $400 million in loans for DDT, will no longer lend to him.

Real estate giant Cushman & Wakefield will not work with DDT, including office leasing at Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street as well as retail leasing in Chicago. DDT has lost the real estate broker to sell his hotel in D.C.

Four Trump-branded hotels closed, and his company’s plans for new hotel chains disappeared. Biden is now DDT’s new “landlord” at the D.C. hotel because the government holds the lease.

Decorated chef David Burke left DDT’s D.C. hotel’s BLT Prime restaurant.

DDT’s worldwide 19 golf courses won’t be holding international events—the 2022 PGA at Bedminister (NJ) and the British Open at Turnberry (Scotland). His tax returns show a $315.6 million loss over two decades. Turnberry, Trump International Scotland, and Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Ireland together lost $63.6 million, and Trump National Doral (Miami, FL) lost $162.3 up to 2018.

Shopiify will not host TrumpStore.com.

New York City is considering canceling all contracts with DDT’s company, including operating the Central Park skating rink.

DDT is facing state-level investigations into his financial practices in New York, probably blocking his former business of money laundering and tax fraud. The unconstitutional emoluments will be gone.

And Lehigh University, Robert Gordon University, and Wagner College rescinded and revoked honorary degrees given DDT. He keeps only two honorary degrees from Liberty University.

At least, DDT doesn’t need to look for a new job; his staffers aren’t as lucky. With their negative branding, they are having difficulty. One PR recruiter who took only six of over a dozen staffers as clients couldn’t get interviews for any of them. One recruiter talked about the applicants “narcissistic attitudes, thinking any company” would want to hire them. For the first few couple of months after the election, staffers couldn’t even openly look for a job, afraid that the personnel director would carry through with his threat to fire them.

PR firm Burson Cohn and Wolfe (BCW), with executives from both Clinton and W. Bush administrations, stated it has “no current plans to hire from this administration.” In an op-ed, Forbes wrote it will assume any company or firm hiring current or former press secretaries is always telling lies. Former DDT officials such as Mick Mulvaney and John Bolton want jobs as a television commentator or an academic, but Fox has only so much room and the lying goes for academia. One media executive said:

“We’re not taking people who have no credibility. Very few of them have real value beyond Fox News, [One America News], and Newsmax.”

Recent polls:

  • 76 percent: Voters rating DDT’s conduct since the election as fair or poor, up eight points from November and now 62 percent “poor.”
  • 84 percent: support for another stimulus package, including 56 percent from Republicans.
  • 56 percent: support for Congress to disqualify DDT from future offices.
  • 66 percent: belief DDT acted irresponsibly since election.
  • 71 percent: DDT’s responsibility for the Capitol attack from “a great deal” to “good amount.”
  • 54 percent: in favor of charging DDT for crime of inciting a riot.
  • 69 percent: viewing white supremacists as a serious problem.

Last week, DDT fired Byung Pak, his appointed Georgia U.S. Attorney, after DDT insisted Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “find” another 11,780 votes to swing the state for DDT. Furious because Pak wouldn’t help him change the votes, DDT replaced him with Bobby Christine who brought assistants involved in monitoring election fraud. Christine dismissed two DDT election fraud cases on his first day.

Four more days until the inauguration.  

January 12, 2021

Six Days since Mob Attacks Capitol

As thugs stormed the Capitol on January 6, Rep. Lauren Boebert, newly-elected conspiracy theorist from Colorado, tweeted details about the attack in violation of orders to not make any social posts. Her live tweets included the removal of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) from the chamber, alerting attackers to her location. Before the mob broke into the Capitol, Beobert announced she was the “voice” of those fighting the police, and her former campaign manager praised the Proud Boys, a neo-fascist hate groups attacking the Capitol. Originally Boebert claimed conservatives weren’t in the mob. The conservative National Review called her tweet, “Today is 1776,” “reckless and incendiary.”

A current member of Congress, Boebert has access to highly classified information with no security clearance, a problem if she, along with other conspiracy theorists such as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), decide to indiscriminately reveal what they learn. Until recently, congressional members were considered trustworthy with “allegiance to the U.S. Government and Constitution of the United States at a bare minimum,” as Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) describes the requirement. The maximum penalty for revealing classified information, which requires a two-thirds vote by the House, is expulsion. Concern for clearance, even disqualifying factors, include attempts to overturn a free and fair election, fostering lies to foment insurrection, and stoking a crowd to use force. People who exhibit bad judgment should not be dealing with classified information, according to Steven Aftergood, an expert on government secrecy. Although legal, supporting a vote to overturn an election assists the lie about widespread election fraud, and lawmakers making false congressional and frequently religious messages about combatting fellow lawmakers, who they call corrupt, incite violence.

After congressional members reinforced beliefs in election fraud, they justify their anti-democratic behavior by using vague claims about “voting integrity” or being a “voice” for their constituents’ concerns. Almost all senior GOP members on the Armed Services Committee overseeing national security programs voted to overturn the election, and four Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted for the election’s overturn. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), also on the Armed Services Committee, called on DDT’s crowd at the rally preceding the attempted coup to “fight” against a “godless, amoral, dictatorial, socialist” enemy, meaning his colleagues and the duly elected U.S. president and vice-president. He said:

“Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass. Our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes and sometimes their lives to give us, their descendants, an America that is the greatest nation in world history. So I have a question for you. Are you willing to do the same?”

The Voice of America, the government broadcaster designated as an independent agency, has become DDT’s tool with his appointment of loyalist Michael Pack. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expanded the current use of VOA as a propaganda machine by ordering it to broadcast that the U.S. is “the greatest nation in the history of the world and the greatest nation that civilization has ever known.” His message was broadcast throughout the world on 47 foreign language channels, video streams, its website, and social media after a mandatory virus superspreader event for VOA employees.

Pack fired career managers, put in more loyalists, and dictated news coverage by overriding journalists, in opposition to the organization’s guidelines. Amanda Bennett, who resigned as VOA director soon after Pack’s takeover, said the VOA charter isn’t “intended to promote American exceptionalism.” She added, “It was intended to demonstrate the American value of a free press . . . to model one of our best freedoms, see what happens, and how good it is when you have it.” No journalists, including those from VOA, were permitted to ask questions after Pompeo’s speech. He claimed “wokeness, political correctness … points in one direction—authoritarianism.” According to Pompeo, “it’s time that we simply put woke-ism to sleep.” The slang term “wokeness” means attention to important issues, but the far-right has twisted the meaning to criticize people opposing ignorance. With no evidence, Pompeo also announced that Al-Qaeda has its home base in Iran.

On January 1, Pompeo initiated daily tweets claiming the U.S. is “much safer” now than four years ago because of DDT’s foreign policy. He cancelled this week’s trip to Europe because top officials, including Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, would not meet with him. Pompeo’s schedule had no meetings before the cancellation, and allies were “embarrassed” by Pompeo after the January 6 siege on the Capitol. Asselborn called DDT a “criminal” and a “political pyromaniac.” Pompeo also lost a private dinner with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at his private residence before meeting Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes. The EU opposes the U.S. “America First” policy, and Pompeo gave speeches advising countries to tear up the European Union. The rejection does not bode well for Pompeo’s anticipated presidential candidacy in 2024.

In the wake of impending violence this coming weekend leading up to the inauguration on January 20, military leaders issued a condemnation of the Capitol invasion last week. They reminded service members they were to defend the Constitution and reject extremism, sedition, and insurrection. The statement is highly unusual because the military avoid any political stances. The U.S. Army is working with Secret Service to find National Guard members, responsible for the security during the inauguration, who might have far-right extremist views. Additional training is also provided to service members about reporting inappropriate messages to the chain of command.

This reporting shows DDT’s delight in live TV he created with the help of other Republicans on January 6. The photo shows what a broken democracy could be.

The FBI first said it didn’t know anything about the planned siege on the Capitol and then claimed it didn’t report dangers about violence on January 6 because of concerns about “free speech.” Although willing to issue Special Event Bulletins about ISIS or Al-Qaeda terrorists threats, the FBI doesn’t want to exchange information about domestic terrorism. The agency will also put foreign terrorists under surveillance but not domestic terrorists. The FBI had numerous warnings about the possibility of violence, including from police departments, but claimed at first it had no intelligence. Later the bureau changed its positions to say it had some information about possible violence.

The day before the violence at the Capitol, however, an FBI office in Virginia warned about extremists going to Washington to commit violence and “war.” The internal document told of people sharing a map of the facility’s tunnels and rally points for conspirators in a number of states before traveling to Washington. It reported online calls for violence:

“Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.”

Pantifa is a derogatory term for antifa. The Norfolk FBI shared the information within 45 minutes, including the Washington field office. It was not immediately clear how many law enforcement agencies outside the FBI were told, but the information was briefed to FBI officials at the bureau’s Washington field office the day before the attack, this official said.

Since January 6, law enforcement officials have discussed whether the danger was minimized because most of the involved people were White supporters of DDT. Law enforcement took the position that pro-DDT protesters are not likely to commit violence, overlooking the imminent grave risk. The Pentagon is still calling the mob attack on the Capital a “First Amendment Protest.”

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ), a 75-year-old cancer survivor, tested positive for COVID-19 after sheltering on January 6 with lawmakers refusing to wear masks. Attending physician to Congress and the Supreme Court had warned about exposure to someone with the virus. A video shows GOP congressional members refusing masks and sitting close together during the lockdown in barricaded rooms. Despite her fear of the rioters, Rep. Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) said she had left a secure location because of dangers in contacting the virus from her maskless GOP colleagues. She was right. At least two other Democrats, Reps. Brad Schneider (IL) and Pramila Jayapal (WA), contacted COVID-19 after Republicans’ refusal to wear masks and maintain social distancing because of political reasons. Rep. Susan Wild said half the hundreds of lawmakers in a lockdown refused to wear masks even if they were offered them. In rejecting a mask, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) explicitly refused to take a mask, saying, “I’m not trying to get political here.”

DDT’s speech openly incited violence, according to 63 percent of the people in the U.S. A majority of voters also think GOP lawmakers especially Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), share responsibility to the mob attack on January 6. Over half the people think DDT should be impeached because of his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and inciting riots. The attack on the Capitol dropped DDT’s approval rating to 33 percent. Sixty percent believe DDT is undermining democracy. Thus far, DDT’s low approval rating is higher than only those for Harry Truman and Richard Nixon at the end of their presidencies since F.D. Roosevelt.

Just one week before the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for U.S. president and vice-president, the day’s death rate from COVID-19 was 4,281–10,379 short of 400,000. New infections on January 12, 2021 were 223,628, three days from a total of 24 million.

 

December 13, 2020

DDT: Week 203 – More Firings, Etc.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) keeps on firing people, and one of his targets is suing him. After Chris Krebs was fired as director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in DHS, he accused DDT of the “coordinated campaign of intimidation, retaliation, and threats.” Krebs argues the attacks are to bully any Republicans who disagree the election was rigged or opposed DDT’s attempt to nullify the election in his favor. DDT is up to 59 failures in court but hasn’t stopped, according to his claims and those of his lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

DDT also fired three other senior officials in CISA for claiming no fraud—Matthew  Travis, Bryan Ware, and Matthew Masterson. At the same time, “the big four, Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea” have attempted to steal intellectual property related to the coronavirus vaccine, according to Krebs. He explained that the attempts go beyond vaccine development to “their supply chains, … the distribution channels and public health institutions.” Now Russian hackers have compromised government agencies including the Treasury and Commerce Departments, prompting an emergency National Security Council meeting.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also firing personnel. The department’s acting Inspector General Matthew Klimow is gone after doing his job, in this case investigating travel by Pompeo’s wife, Susan. The IG revealed most of her trips during a two-year period lacked written approval from the State Department but were considered official travel and paid for by taxpayers. Klimow, the third IG to leave during Pompeo’s tenure, was appointed in August to look into waste, fraud, and abuse at the department. Pompeo refused to sit for interviews with the IG and expressed irritation when asked about the investigation. Also the U.S. ambassador to Turkmenistan, Klimow is returning to that position.

The Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal investigative agency, is also looking into Pompeo for potentially violating the Hatch Act forbidding federal employees from political activity while on duty. In 2018, Navy lawyers probed concerns about Pompeo’s request for military housing that raised “factual, legal, fiscal and ethical issues.” Other concerns about abuses of taxpayer funds include using the staff as servants to have them walk the dog, pick up laundry, send personal Christmas cards, and make dinner reservations. Former IG Steve Linick was searching at least five cases of potential wrongdoing when Pompeo asked DDT to fire Linick. The Pompeos also hold dinners in the department’s ceremonial rooms which build his network and donor base instead of for foreign policy.

Tony Pham,  acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, leaves at the end of the month. Also hired in August, he participated in the joint operation of DHS and DOJ to raise standards for asylum-seeking to keep people out of the country. New guidelines bar people from types of immigration relief and deny asylum requests without a hearing. Persecution based on gender or gang violence will no longer qualify people for asylum.

AG Bill Barr is also in trouble with DDT after he stopped acting like DDT’s toady and failed to take part in DDT’s parade of lawsuits regarding election fraud. The last straw for DDT, however, was learning Barr had been investigating Hunter Biden for “tax affairs” since early in the year but had not announced it before the election for DDT to use it against his father, Joe Biden.

DDT is even angrier since Barr described DDT’s tweets as “the deposed king ranting” and “isn’t scared” when DDT calls him a “big disappointment.” Last Friday, DDT talked with aides about firing Barr, but Barr said he’s staying until he thinks he might be fired. Sources say the tension between the two of them feels like a “Cold War.” DDT thinks he might have lost the election because of Barr but is surprisingly calm—for him. One might ask what Barr has on DDT.

What’s good for the goose … DDT won’t concede his loss of 13 percent of the electoral vote and ten percent of the popular vote so other losers are following his path. Five weeks after the election results with all the votes turned in, several losing GOP candidates refuse to admit they lost. Loren Culp, Washington GOP gubernatorial candidate, lost by 13 percent, but he’s demanding an audit of votes. Buzz Patterson, who lost to Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) by over 13 percentage points, complains about voting machines. Errol Webber lost to incumbent Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) by 70 percent, but he won’t “let up until the truth is known.” Maryland GOP candidate for Congress Kimberly Klacik, losing by over 40 points, complains about “irregularities,” and another candidate in Tennessee losing by over 57 percent wants QAnon Sidney Powell to help her complain. Charlotte Bergmann, who failed to unseat Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), said “people couldn’t understand” her loss. A Massachusetts GOP candidate who lost by over 30 percentage points is one of five losing candidates in the state for both state and federal office who jointly filed a lawsuit. A federal judge threw out the case to invalidate the election results.

Just as DDT stiffs contractors, cities, and others by not paying them for services, his Wisconsin legislature allies are doing the same to Dane County. DDT paid the $3 million for the recount in two counties, the Dane County did the recount, and legislatures won’t give the county the money.

A major reason for DDT’s increasing fury and terror at losing the election may be the acceleration of investigations into his financial affairs with the threat of criminal charges after he’s no longer in the White House. State prosecutors in Manhattan are interviewing employees of Deutsche Bank and insurance broker Aon. DA Cyrus R. Vance is still trying to obtain DDT’s personal and corporate tax returns; the Supreme Court will make the decision. On January 21, DDT loses any immunity from criminal prosecution. Even if he pardons himself for all his crimes, he is still liable for all non-federal ones. Court papers show an examination into DDT’s corporate insurance, tax, and bank-related fraud.

Russian state media outlets want DDT to seek asylum in Moscow to dodge prosecution in the U.S. A member of the Defense Ministry’s public council asked DDT to bring his money with him to “finally build his famous Trump City somewhere in our New Moscow.” Referring to Russia’s acceptance of Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych who fled there in 2014, an important host on Russia-1, asked, “Should we get another apartment in Rostov ready?” State media often refers to DDT fondly as “our Donald,” “Trumpusha,” and “Comrade Trump”; it blames the Democrats for DDT’s problems. Many of them recommend DDT pardon himself.  

In another avoidance of reality, DDT is hesitant to pardon the up-to-20 closest allies including his family and closest aides because his inner circle would look like criminals. They are. Some around DDT are concerned the massive pardons would tarnish DDT’s legacy. It already is. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said he didn’t know what DDT would pardon himself for because he has “not been accused of any crime.” Yes, he has. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said DDT pardoned Michael Flynn because he was “railroaded.” No, he wasn’t. Thus far, DDT has granted 28 pardons and commuted 11 sentences.

Pardons can be profitable for DDT. He got $6 million from billionaire Sanford Diller, a real estate mogul, who promised more for the pardon of psychologist Hugh Baras, convicted of tax evasion and theft of government property. The donations to a PAC were not required to be disclosed for DDT’s campaign. Diller died, and Baras never received a pardon. DDT is fond of giving favors for money: the wife of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson received the Medal of Freedom after giving $500,000 to DDT’s campaign legal defense fund. 

DDT is executing federal prisoners instead of pardoning them. If executions proceed as scheduled within the next 39 days, he will execute more people than any other person in the Oval Office during the past century. Last Thursday, Brandon Bernard was killed despite doubts about the death sentence from members of his jury. Four more are scheduled until January 15, 2021, making a total of 13 since July. These executions violate a 130-year precedent pausing executions during the transition period. AG Bill Barr said he may schedule more executions before Biden is inaugurated on January 20, 2021.

Last weekend when the Proud Boys protested election results against DDT at the White House, their leader, Enrique Tarrio, claimed he had been invited to meet with DDT. White House aides claimed he was to be on a tour. At his debate with Biden in September, DDT had told the white supremacist group to “stand by” and flown his helicopter over the weekend march to support them. DDT flew to West Point (NY) and attended half the Army-Navy football game. The protest ended in violence when Proud Boys attacked counter-protesters. A question might be whether Tarrio was really invited and White House aides covered for DDT.  

To the suggestion he should reveal classified secrets, DDT said:

“I have been doing this. I agree!”  

Only 37 days left, but what can happen?

 

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