Nel's New Day

June 4, 2023

Sunday’s Report for the Cult of DDT – June 4

Reader Supported News has made available two paywall articles from Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone about the multiple legal problems of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT). The first uses a tongue-in-cheek comparison with three cases to “a televised bass-fishing tournament” dealing with “El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago,” the leader wielding military and political power. Charles Pierce writes about “Team Smith in Washington, and Team James in New York, and Team Willis down there in Georgia.” He’s betting on Team Smith for “total weight” but Team Willis “to land a big one.”

Fulton County (GA) DA Fani Willis is currently investigating the two firms that DDT’s campaign hired to find voter fraud. They both found none, and he buried the findings. The probe goes beyond Georgia’s boundaries toward a RICO prosecution. The state has the most expansive statute in the U.S., permitting racketeering cases of both state and federal law violations and calling for 20 years in prison.

In the second article, Nikki McCann Ramirez points out that earlier in the year Willis’ office had indicated a RICO prosecution with a possible indictment in August. Special counsel Jack Smith is also looking into DDT’s plots to overturn his election loss as well as his hoarding classified documents after he left the White House.

RSN also reprints an article from the paywall Atlantic in which David Graham takes his headline from a James Comey mantra for DDT’s era, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” There are: Smith has an audio recording of DDT talking about his possession of a highly classified document about the U.S. invading Iran, one which neither the government nor DDT’s lawyers can find. On the tape, DDT asserted he knows the material is still classified and that he cannot share it. The tape destroys DDT’s and his current lawyers’ defense that he already declassified the materials in his possession.

The recording was made at DDT’s Bedminster (NJ) golf resort, his summer residence, when two writers working on DDT’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows’ autobiography interviewed DDT. Meadows was not present. The tape is dated after Susan Glasser’s New Yorker story about how Joint Chief of Staff Chair Mike Milley repeatedly argued against striking Iran and feared that DDT “might set in motion a full-scale conflict that was not justified.” Milley told the Joint Chiefs to guarantee DDT issued no illegal orders and Milley be told about any concerns. Furious about the article, DDT claimed that MIlley wanted to attack Iran and the document would prove DDT had stopped it. Reports from multiple sources declared DDT didn’t show them the document because it was classified and they lacked security clearances.

DDT devotes several minutes of the tape expressing regret that he cannot discuss the document because he no longer has presidential power to do so and regrets not having declassified it. His aide, Margo Martin, supposedly made the tape in preparation for books that might be written about him. Despite his voice on the tape, DDT says he knows nothing about it. The federal grand jury hearing evidence about DDT’s handling of classified documents is expected to meet again this coming week.  

Graham writes:

“Throughout his career, Trump has behaved as a person who sees image as more important than law. It’s an outlook that seems to stem not only from his inherent disdain for rule of law and love of publicity, but also from a calculation that when the two conflict, image will triumph. Over and over, he’s managed to wriggle out of potential legal jams with bluster, brazenness, and the occasional large check. That worked as president, too, where he escaped serious consequences from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and his first impeachment by rallying political support. It was not enough to prevent his loss in the 2020 presidential election, but it helped avoid conviction in his second impeachment.”

If Smith actually has the tapes, it’s “game over,” according to Andrew Weissmann, the former lead prosecutor for special counsel Robert S. Mueller. Jennifer Rubin writes:

“Trump’s own words could provide damning evidence of a willful violation of the Espionage Act and of obstruction—and help fix venue in D.C., where the Justice Department almost certainly wants to try the case.”

An analysis from nine former prosecutors on the strength of the special counsel’s case before the tape recording was reported.

Another damning piece is the report from late last month that Evan Corcoran, DDT’s lawyer, was blocked from searching DDT’s Mar-a-Lago office for classified documents after the government issued a subpoena for them. Corcoran then told the federal officials that he conducted a ”diligent search” of the entire property after searching only a basement storage unit, missing almost 100 documents that DDT illegally kept.

Smith also focuses on DDT’s attempts to hide the classified from the federal government, even after officials repeatedly requested them before issuing subpoenas and then using a warrant to search his properties. Videos show DDT having boxes of classified documents moved to other hiding places and an aide asking about the length of time surveillance video was maintained. The question now is how much of DDT’s Teflon remains. He hopes that a successful election in 2024 could close all investigations and prosecutions against him. Or he could just pardon himself. The U.S. has 520 days to determine how successful he will be.

DDT’s aides have been subpoenaed by Smith about their involvement in the firing of DDT’s cybersecurity official Christopher Krebbs after he said the 2020 election was not fraudulent. Five days after Krebbs made his statement, DDT tweeted Krebbs was “terminated” after releasing a “highly inaccurate” statement about the 2020 election. Krebbs testified to the House January 6 committee about “skepticism” among DDT allies about his “loyalty to the president.”

Two-thirds of respondents in a survey think that DDT committed a crime—68 percent of independents—and 59 percent support the decision in the E. Jean Carroll civil suit decision accusing DDT of defamation.

DDT’s ego keeps growing. He now compares himself to the priceless masterpiece Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” because of the crowds at his rallies. He explained that his rants are like “a Broadway play where they will see it 20 times” because he limits himself to the “same 20 subjects” when he talks. “They just want to hear it again and again.” One of his favorites is that he actually won the 2020 election—although Joe Biden actually got more votes.

Some of DDT’s biggest detractors, however, come from his past administration after he denigrated his own appointees. Campaigning in 2016, he said he would pick the very best people; throughout his time in the White House, however, he kept firing them, calling them losers, lightweights, liars, morons, sleazebag, weak, overrated, even “fucking idiot.” His opponent Ron DeSantis delights in describing DDT’s four-year term as a disappointment.

Another DDT rant came after the DOJ exonerated former VP Mike Pence for the classified documents discovered in his home, just before Pence will declare his run for president. DDT’s response to the news:

“That’s great, but when am I going to be fully exonerated, I’m at least as innocent as he is.”

Shyster Roger Stone, longtime DDT associate, now boasts that he manipulated DDT for 40 years. He said that the key is lying to him, convincing him that he created the idea. Stone said:

“It’s time-consuming, but it works. I did it for 30 years.”

DDT pardoned Stone for multiple felonies including his 40-month prison sentence. Stone’s claim was heard in the taping for the upcoming documentary A Storm Foretold by a Danish filmmaker when Stone often forgot he was wearing a mic. The morning after Stone said this, the director said Stone “was really, really anxious about what I had recorded.”

After a “successful” town hall on CNN, Fox network gave Sean Hannity an hour on Premiere Radio Network for DDT to deliver his lies. Hannity promised before the “interview” that he wouldn’t challenge, correct, fact-check, or question whatever DDT said and that his “town hall” wouldn’t “be like fake news CNN.” Some of DDT’s lies  and “alternative realities.”

Other bits:

DDT promises that he will override the Constitution and ban children born in the United States to immigrants from being legal “birthright” citizens. In 1898, the Supreme Court supported the 14th Amendment after a San Francisco-born Chinese man was denied re-entry to the U.S.

The 163-year-old Scottish/British Open Championship won’t be at DDT’s Turnberry Golf Course as he had wished. Organizers felt it could be “a serious security risk due to potential protests,” according to the Telegraph, and probably won’t be for many years.

DDT’s lawyers are turning on each other and believe that one of them might be a snitch.

GOP presidential stumpers in Iowa slammed DDT for his praise of friend Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leaders, for his country’s appointment to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) executive board.

DDT is putting together a hit list of anyone who has investigated him, promising to “immediately” fire them in retaliation if he goes back to the White House. His own appointment, FBI Director Christopher Wray, is at the top of the names.  

DDT’s actions fit the definition of fascism.

May 12, 2023

Why Moms Demand Action about Guns

The latest blow to blocking deaths from guns in the U.S. came from an 82-year-old federal judge in Virginia appointed by George H.W. Bush. In a 65-page decision, he invalidated federal restrictions prohibiting people under 21 years old from purchasing handguns from federal licensed firearm dealers. The judge wrote that this law doesn’t comport with “our nation’s history and tradition,” following an invalidation of an almost 30-year-old law prohibiting gun ownership by people subject to domestic-violence restraining orders—again citing history.

The judge’s permission for teenagers to have guns accompanies the false belief that more guns bring fewer deaths from guns. Texas is an excellent example of the fallacy: lawmakers have weakened gun regulations for decades with looser gun restriction laws since 2000 while the death rate from firearms is vastly higher than the 1990s. No licensing, no training for carrying handguns but guns on college campuses, in hotels, etc.—these laws are moving across red states.

In 2021, the 15 deaths per 100,000 people from firearms in Texas is a 50-percent leap from the 10 annual deaths in 1999. The Texas gun rate in 2021 was double that of the 7.5 per 100,000 rate in the U.S. in the same year. And other red states were far worse in 2021 such as over 22.2, over double the U.S. average, in Mississippi. Since that time, firearm-related homicides rose 66 percent and suicides involving firearms 40 percent. GOP Texas legislators insist that the laws, including permitless carry, come from protecting citizens’ rights.

Moms Demand Action is protesting these lax laws on May 13, the day before Mother’s Day, demanding Congress pass an assault weapons ban.   The self-identified white supremacist who killed eight people at the Allen outlet mall brought eight weapons with him—all legal—and had three of them with him. The other five were in his vehicle. He started firing his AR-15-style rifle in the parking lot before going into the complex.

Timothy McVeigh’s dreams are coming true. When he bombed a federal building in Oklahoma City and murdered 168 people almost 30 years ago, he claimed that any government regulation of guns was tyranny that quelled freedom. He wanted to inspire an army declaring war on the government. Republicans echo his insurrectionist beliefs to collect gun arsenals intended to overthrow the government. People in the U.S. own at least 415 million firearms; the purpose of multiple gun ownership is to force others to obey them.

The prevalence of killings at public places—restaurants, bars, grocery stores, retail stores, outlet malls, etc.—is already hurting the economy in the U.S. In addition, gun violence costs $557 billion each year, 2.6 percent of the nation’s GDP. Money goes to medical care, longer term physical and mental health care, lost earnings, criminal justice costs, and loss in the quality of life of victims and their families. Employees pay $534.91 million in direct costs and lose a daily average of $1.47 million in productivity, revenue, and personnel costs.  Shootings reduce local business growth by four percent, take away jobs, and force business owners to purchase costly security systems.

Legislators refuse to permit gun safety, but 61 percent people in a new Fox poll want a ban on assault weapons. Voting for gun safety hurts campaign donations such as the $442,000, Sen. Ted Cruz received in the past decade.

Some Republicans such as Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) promote the sales of AR-15-style rifles such as posing for this photo posted the day after five people, including a nine-year-old child, were murdered in Texas.

In gun deaths of youth ages 1-19, the U.S. is a third world country compared to other industrialized nation as the chart below shows.

 With no medical background, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) blamed antidepressants for mass shootings although psychiatrists find little evidence linking medications with homicidal tendencies.

Two Michigan schools have started banning backpacks in school. One of the districts discovered a loaded gun in a third-grader’s bag—the fourth confiscation this academic year. Three of the four weapons were found in backpacks.


Mass shootings were considered the worst events until stand-your-ground laws permitted people to shoot and possibly kill anyone they “fear”—like a person in car turning around in a driveway, a cheerleader mistaking another car for her own, someone knocking on the door, deliverers of groceries to the wrong address. Former VP Mike Pence excused the killers of people going to the wrong home because they responded to “fear” of a crime wave “coast to coast.” Pence, GOP presidential wannabe, told Robert Costa on CBS:

“Tragedy should not require us to forfeit our liberty, and the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States.”

States with the stand-your-ground laws had a 55 percent increase in homicide-by-firearm rate in the past two years than states without these laws. Many of these states also require no training to use guns. Justified shootings in stand-your-ground, however, are judged by color. When a white person shoots a Black person, the killing is ruled a justifiable homicide 34 percent of the time. In the reverse, a Black person shoots a white, only 3 percent of the homicides are considered justifiable.

Republicans persuaded the public that crime is rising, especially with immigrants and protesters, while violence is actually going down. Fox spotlighted crime 79 percent more often than MSNBC and twice as much as CNN. Homicides and thefts are lower than in the 1990s.

Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis accused New York of “out of control” crime because of George Soros, and DDT calls it one of those “war zones, literal war zones.” Yet Florida and Texas have per capita firearm death rates three to four times higher than New York’s. The chance of dying from a gunshot in coal mining Pennsylvania is half that as in West Virginia coalfields. People living in rural South Carolina run three times the risk of being killed by gunshot than New York’s rural Adirondacks.  Colin Woodard explains the difference by exploring the histories of regional ethnographic, religious, economic, and ideological characteristics. These lead to their beliefs in freedom, honor, and violence. Woodard provides a detailed view of nine large regions to explain the differences.

Gun supporters on the right claim that “an armed society is a polite society”: the NRA features it on banners, buttons, and T-shirts. Despite their claim that the quote comes from Robert Heinlein, its source is the dystopian novel Beyond the Horizon in which the protagonist, a believer in eugenics, shoots people for the slightest infraction. The novel is appropriate for 21st-century United States in which the least transgression is caused for shooting, sometimes killing.

A man started shooting in his yard when children went to get a basketball that accidentally rolled onto his side. The father got his gun and shot back.

A man in Springfield (MO) pulled his gun on a grocery employee to get steaks. The counter was closed, but the customer refused to accept the meat department was not open. Instead, “he held the gun to my throat—pushed it into my throat” to get his way.

In the U.S., 21 percent of people have been threatened with a gun, 19 percent had a family member killed by a gun, and 17 percent saw someone shot in front of them with 54 percent of people or their family members having had one of these experiences. Eighty-four percent of Americans consider how to avoid getting shot when they go out in public.

Five years ago, the founder of the white supremacist Daily Stormer wrote:

“The white race in the United States has lost on: Racial integration, Feminism, Homosexuality, Abortion, Prayer in schools, Pornography, [and] Immigration [but won on] a single issue: guns.

“And that winning is due almost exclusive to the National Rifle Association, a pro-white and anti-Jewish organization intent on protecting our GUNS from the gun-grabbing kikes… It’s time to put your money where your mouth is and join up with the country’s single effective pro-white organization intent on fully SMASHING THE JEW.”

NRA’s CEO Wayne LaPierre listed Jews he viewed as enemies of the nation, including Bernie Sanders, George Soros, Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, and Chuck Schumer. He mentioned no Christian or person of any other religion but blamed Jewish people for repressing citizens and destroying freedom. Before Fox fired Tucker Carlson, he echoed LaPierre by talking about the “Great Replacement” moving Black and Brown people into work and society where white people should be. In their literature, which nationalists fetishize their guns as the tools to cleanse and “purify” America.

The NRA transition from a benign sportsman’s organizations to heavily arming the white population of the U.S. started in 1977. Since then, it has switched to demonizing and threatening Jewish Democrats, racial minorities, and LGBTQ+ people. The day after a mass shooting in a Louisville (KY) bank took the lives of five people, Indiana’s Senate Republicans honored the NRA and Wayne LaPierre at its convention. (The GOP in the chamber is still trying to protect children by banning books.) The GOP refused to be interviewed after it passed the resolution to honor guns. At its convention, the NRA banned firearms, backpacks, glass containers, and umbrellas.

Slaves to the distorted reading of the Second Amendment have entirely overlooked the term “well regulated” in the Founding Fathers’ words. It’s time to consider that part of the amendment. 

March 31, 2023

DDT’s Indictment, GOP Obstruction

By now, anyone paying attention to the news knows that a grand jury voted to Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s indictment of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) probably for falsifying business records including paying hush money to Stormy Daniel during his campaign for the 2016 presidential election.

The Manhattan grand jury has recessed until the end of April. After that announcement, today’s indictment came as a shock to DDT. Yesterday, DDT, in all capital letters, effusively praised the grand jury—and grand juries in general—for not being “a rubber stamp.” Today, he took the opposite tack in a diatribe available here. He “truthed” that he had been “indicated.” Under seal, the 30+ charges related to business fraud will be revealed in the next few days, and DDT’s lawyers said he will likely be arraigned next Tuesday. 

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida where DDT is a resident, said he will refuse any extradition request for DDT because of “questionable circumstances” because the charges are “un-American.” Specific charges have not yet been released although Republicans are making assumptions about them. DeSantis also called DA Alvin Bragg “this Soros-backed Manhattan prosecutor.” According to Article IV, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution, no state can decline an extradition request from another state. Federal law also requires states to comply with other states’ extradition requests.

The indictment may not have the positive effects that the GOP claims. A majority of people, 57 percent, believe DDT should not be allowed to run for president if he is indicted. That percentage includes 55 percent of independents, and 23 percent of Republicans agree. A majority of people, 55 percent, call accusations against DDT “serious.” Sixty-one percent of people in the U.S. don’t want DDT to be elected president.  About 39 percent have a favorable opinion of DDT, down 3 points from a November poll putting him at 42 percent.

Top GOP Senators oppose DDT’s featuring the video of January 6 rioters’ choir at his Waco (TX) rally, rejecting the MAGA view that they were “peaceful.” Others said it was a bad political strategy when he wanted to make a comeback. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said, “People who violated the law should be prosecuted.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called the January 6 “one of the worst days in American history.” Of those who refused to criticize, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) used the standard response of “I didn’t see it.”  

Tuberville, whose political experience is coaching football, is personally holding up over 150 Pentagon nominees in an extortion to block leave and reimbursements for military members who need to travel for abortions. The Defense Department allows abortions in cases of rape, incest, and endangered health and life of the pregnant woman. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pointed out that the U.S. is facing “one of the most complex times” and Tuberville’s action—or inaction—“makes us far less ready than we need to be. Last week, Tuberville promised to keep the military from being “politicized.” [A “tuber” grows underground.]

A federal judge ordered former VP Mike Pence to testify to a DOJ grand jury about his conversations with DDT leading up to January 6, 2021. He can, however, decline to answer questions related to his own actions on January 6 when he acted as president of the Senate for the reading of the electoral votes. Pence can appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. He refused a subpoena to testify, claiming that he was a member of both Congress and the executive branch.

GOP legacy:

In Texas, a federal judge ruled that employers cannot be required to cover preventative health care services under the Affordable Care Act such as cancer screenings, statins for heart disease, HIV prevention medications, etc.  Over 150 million people are on employer-sponsored health plans. Six people and two Christian-owned businesses argued against coverage of HIV PrEP because it encourages “homosexual behavior.” Judge Reed O’Connor, appointed by George W. Bush, earlier ruled that the ACA was unconstitutional and should be struck down. Plaintiffs also plan to challenge the mandate for contraception.

In a 225-204 vote, House Republicans passed a broad “energy” bill supporting fossil fuels. Four Democrats—Henry Cuellar (TX), Vincente Gonzalez (TX), Marie Guesenkamp Perez (WA), and Jared Golden (ME)—voted in favor of the bill. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) accused Democrats voting against the bill of standing “with China and Russia” instead of “with the American energy worker.” Republican Brian Fitzpatrick (PA) voted against the bill. The Senate will likely not address the bill, and Biden has promised to veto the bill if it were passed.

The bill repeals parts of the Inflation Reduction Act, such as the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to boost clean energy and a fee imposed on oil and gas methane emissions. It also opposes the block on the Keystone XL pipeline, mandates more oil and gas lease sales, and creates difficulty for states to prevent construction of interstate pipelines. Other provisions overhaul rules for reviews in the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act for energy infrastructure from pipelines to clean energy projects and mines with a two-year deadline for major reviews and causing difficulties to stop projects.

The Congress has passed a bill ending the national Covid emergency. The original House bill would have lifted the declaration in February; the current one terminates the emergency when the bill is signed. Although he is opposed to the bill, Biden does not plan to veto it; he had already planned to wind down emergency status on May 11. The Senate 68-23 vote on the measure came after the House voted 229-197 in February, with 11 Democrats joining 218 Republicans in support. Hospitals may no longer screen patients for Covid off-campus, and Medicare Advantage plans are no long required to cover services at out-of-network facilities.

McCarthy’s promised anti-immigration bill hit another roadblock this week after Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) threatened to vote against the GOP plan for federal spending and debt ceiling limits if the House Republicans vote on immigration restrictions that he called “unchristian.”

While House Republicans are facing their constituents, Biden is providing them with individualized fact sheets for each state outlining how GOP suggestions negatively affect their public safety, public health, and other programs. In New York, GOP cuts reduce rail safety inspections, eliminate food assistance, and increase wait times for seniors apply for disability benefits. The information is based on the GOP-proposed 22 percent cuts across the board. Earlier this year, the approximately 40 members of the conservative Freedom Caucus proposed a cut of $131 billion while leaving defense spending at current levels.

McCarthy demanded President Joe Biden meet with him about the debt ceiling, but Biden said he needed to receive GOP budget first. House GOP factions don’t seem to be able to agree on a budget and are leaving for a two-week. Earlier this week, House Budget Committee Chair Jodey Arrington (R-TX) said they they were finalizing the budget proposals under McCarthy’s guidance. Asked about it, however, McCarthy said, “I don’t know what he’s talking about.” After the banking crisis, Arrington had said that banking instability “is the best time” to talk about votes on the debt ceiling that could destroy the U.S. financial status.

During a Senate Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government hearing, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the capacity of the U.S. government to respond to and prop up failing financial markets was “decimated” by DDT’s cutbacks.

Polling shows that the majority of people in the U.S. agree with Republicans in cutting the budget—but not which cuts. Listing priorities, people actually want more government spending on domestic priorities: child care, Medicare, healthcare, help for the poor, infrastructure, education, etc. Of 16 categories, the majority wanted less spending in only one, foreign aid, and that area takes under one percent of the entire budget.

Biden does plan to veto a GOP resolution overturning Washington, D.C.’s major police accountability legislation if it passes. Earlier this year, Biden signed Republicans’ resolution blocking D.C.’s criminal code overhaul that was not supported by Mayor Muriel Bowser. In the current proposal, Biden does not agree with overturning “commonsense police reforms such as: banning chokeholds; limiting use of force and deadly force; requiring the timely release of body-worn camera footage; and requiring officer training on de-escalation and use of force.” Following Biden’s announcement, Republicans may not take a vote on the resolution.

Another train derailment early on March 30 caused the evacuation of 250 people in a small town 100 miles west of Minneapolis (MN). Of the 22 derailed cars, ten carried ethanol; ruptured cars caught on fire. Hazardous materials, including about two-thirds of all the ethanol produced nationwide, account for about 7 percent to 8 percent of the 30 million shipments delivered by rail every year. The BNSF rail company is owned by Warren Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate.

Checks on Twitter accounts will no longer indicate verification status, starting April Fool’s Day. Instead different colored checks will simply mean somebody paid for them: $8 per month ($11 for iPhone and iPad users) for blue and monthly $1,000 grey for governments and gold for companies and nonprofits. The announcement includes the statement that “we’re creating the most trusted place on the internet …”

February 7, 2023

SOTU: Obnoxious GOP in 2023, Biden’s Achievement Since 2022

A new poll shows that only 36 percent of respondents think President Joe Biden accomplished much during his first two years. Seven percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Democrats believe that Biden has achieved either a great deal or a good amount with 32 percent of independents. Fox, the sole source of reporting for many Republicans, and the bragging GOP politicians themselves give the impression of little or no productivity. Analysts, however, who followed Biden’s progress in the past two years consider his achievements the most during any first two years in a presidency for 90 years, the first two years of Franklin D. Roosevelt. These include the $1.7 billion Covid relief package, a $1 trillion infrastructure package, and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) with prescription drug reform and clean energy programs.  

Biden delivered his goals in his second State of the Union (SOTU) speech on February 7.  Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) tried to make a name for herself by calling out “liar” as Joe Wilson did at Barack Obama in 2009. Biden said some of the GOP congressional members wanting to get rid of Social Security and Medicare—not a lie. When he talked about the tragedy of fentanyl, Greeme shouted, “Close the border. It’s coming from China,” and another legislator yelled, “It’s your fault.” Biden stayed in control, and hecklers emphasized Biden’s points instead of letting Biden’s statements just disappear.

For much of the speech, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who had told his caucus to not engage the president during the speech, went from looking stoned and attempting to covertly signal them to be silent. He failed to quiet Republicans, and, according to Lawrence O’Donnell, Biden, in the most confrontational SOTU in modern times, negotiated the budget during his speech.  

A survey found that 65 percent of Americans think the issues of debt payment and federal spending should be handled separately while only 26 percent said Congress should raise the debt ceiling only if Congress agrees to cut spending. 

The networks didn’t report any false statements by Biden; some of them just reported “lacks context”—in a 72-minute speech covering a multitude of topics. Very different from the hundreds of lies in the SOTUs by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT).  

Outcomes of Biden’s 2022 SOTU:  

Biden: “My top priority is getting prices under control.” Last March when Biden gave his SOTU speech, inflation was 8.5 percent; forecasters project a slowing of 5.9 in the fourth 2022 quarter to 2.9 percent in 2023, close to the target of 2 percent.

Biden: “Let’s make sure corporations and the wealthiest Americans start paying their fair share.” Republicans blocked any possibility of the wealthy and big businesses paying fair taxes. Biden did get a 15 percent minimum tax on corporate book income for corporations with average annual adjusted financial statement income exceeding $1 billion for any three consecutive prior tax years. The Tax Foundation estimated an increase of $153 billion over a decade, less if companies figure out how to avoid it.

Biden: “While we’re at it, let Medicare negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, like the VA already does.” George W. Bush signed a law blocking the government from negotiating or setting drug prices in Medicare Part D. IRA gave the HHS secretary the power to negotiate prices for selected drugs starting in 2026.

Biden: “We’ll build a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations.” Biden’s infrastructure bill includes $5 billion for states to build a national charging network and another $2.5 billion for a competitive grant program for communities. All 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico have submitted plans for the charging network.  In August, the administration announced that all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had submitted plans to tap the money for the charging network with the goal of 500,000 charging stations by 2030. Under DDT, infrastructure was a job; under Biden, it’s a reality.

Biden: “Cut energy costs for families an average of $500 a year by combating climate change.” The savings did not come into being.

Biden: “My plan will not only lower costs to give families a fair shot, it will lower the deficit …. By the end of this year, the deficit will be down to less than half what it was before I took office.” Extra Covid relief funds and other new policies added about $500 billion more than originally projected. In Biden’s first full year, the deficit of$1.38 trillion was a $1.40 trillion decrease from the previous year.

Promises Biden kept:

“A dedicated task force to go after the crimes of Russian oligarchs [and taking their] illgotten gains.”

“Our forces are not engaged and will not engage in conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine.”

“Begin to replace poisonous lead pipes, so every child—and every American—has clean water to drink at home and at school.”

“Provide affordable high-speed internet for every American—urban, suburban, rural and tribal communities.”

“When we use taxpayers’ dollars to rebuild America, we’re going to do it by buying American. Buy American products. Support American jobs.”

“It is so important to pass the Bipartisan Innovation Act sitting in Congress that will make record investments in emerging technologies and American manufacturing.” (The bill became the CHIPS and Science Act.)

“Let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month so everyone can afford it.” (But only for those 65 and older on Medicare because Republicans blocked it for everyone else.)

“The American Rescue Plan is helping millions of families on Affordable Care Act plans save $2,400 a year on their health care premiums. Let’s close the coverage gap and make those savings permanent.” (At least through 2025)

“Under my plan, nobody earning less than $400,000 a year will pay an additional penny in new taxes.”

“Confirm my nominees to the Federal Reserve, which plays a critical role in fighting inflation.”

“A crackdown [ocean carriers] overcharging American businesses and consumers.”

“Medicare is going to set higher standards for nursing homes and make sure your loved ones get the care they deserve and expect.”

“Let’s increase Pell Grants and increase our historic support of HBCUs.”

“We’ll strengthen the Violence Against Women Act that I first wrote three decades ago.”

 It is important for us to show the nation that we can come together and do big things.”

“Pass a law to make sure veterans devastated by toxic exposures in Iraq and Afghanistan finally get the benefits and comprehensive health care they deserve.”

“I call on Congress to fund ARPA-H, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health.”

And the 94 clean energy projects in 31 states announced since Democrats passed Biden’s IRA will create over 100,000 green jobs.

Biden didn’t achieve all his goals, but the above is impressive for his second year.

Republicans are frantically trying to spin the Chinese balloon situation into a display of Biden’s weakness, but these are some of his foreign policy wins over China:

The semiconductor embargo on China with the backing of two important semiconductor equipment exporters, Japan and the Netherlands.

Defense and technology partnerships from quantum computing to conventional weapons such as jet engines and artillery that reduce India’s reliance on Russian armaments.

Expansion of military sites from five to nine in the Philippines.

Reinforcement of U.S. global leadership through the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank while Chinese loans to emerging nations may end in debt crises in those countries from bad economic conditions while the U.S. saves them from disaster.

The GOP-chosen respondent to the SOTU was Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The new governor of Arkansas, daughter of former governor who lost two presidential contests, says she wants her “kids to grow up in the same one I did.” MAGA supporters want a return to the fantasy wonderland that they imagine existed in the past. For Sanders, it would not be growing up in poverty and prejudice that so many others in her state did and do. Sanders’ state is almost at the bottom of economic, educational, and health measures. A look at the state governed by a rising GOP star:

The University of Arkansas is 87th in public universities and 187th among all schools. Arkansas State University is 317th. High school graduation is 41st, and the state is 48th in college graduation, 49th in residents with an advance degree.

In both GDP and income per capita, Arkansas is 48th.

Arkansans die earlier; the state is 44th in life expectancy. Average life expectance there is 73.8 years, five years fewer than the average person in the U.S. and the same as a citizen of Kazakhstan, a month more than a Bangladeshi.

The state is 48th in obesity although “only” 39th in childhood obesity.

Sanders talked about her “faith,” and Arkansas is the 5th most religious state but 11th in STD rate with its abstinence-only sex ed approach.

Despite the 70 percent of Arkansans being “deeply religious,” the state has the 5th highest crime rate, 4th highest murder rate, and 2nd highest rape rate.

Arkansas leads the nation in its divorce rate.

Thus far, Sanders has focused on canceling drag queens, banning the official use of “Latinx,” and protecting everyone from anything “woke.”

In a two-minute video taped before the speech, DDT rebutted Biden’s SOTU. 

Unlike the gloom and doom of Republicans, Biden’s speech was upbeat and inspirational. And he said about his new infrastructure legislation:

“And we’re just getting started. I sincerely thank my Republican friends who voted for the law. And to my Republican friends who voted against it but still ask to fund projects in their districts, don’t worry. I promised to be the president for all Americans. We’ll fund your projects. And I’ll see you at the ground-breaking.” 

“The State of the Union is strong.”




January 28, 2023

Catch Up, Happier News

An addendum to the January 6 sentences: the man who pepper-sprayed officer Brian Sicknick and other police was sentenced to prison for almost seven years, 80 months. Sicknick died the next day from two strokes. The sentenced man has already been in jail for almost two years. The man who provided the pepper spray pled guilty and was sentenced to time served. About 140 police officers were assaulted at the Capitol on January 6, and federal prosecutors have arrested over 950 defendants in over two years since the attack.

News about the Supreme Court’s failed search for the leaker of the draft to overturn Roe v. Wade and make abortion almost completely illegal in over half the U.S. reveals another coverup. Selected to independently validate the investigation, so-called expert Michael Chertoff, George W. Bush’s Homeland Security Secretary, has longstanding, undisclosed financial ties with the high court; it privately contracted with The Chertoff Group for security assessments. Chertoff also has personal connections to justices through his Ivy League education, prior judicial clerkships, and positions in two Bush administrations.

Two horrifying videos released this past week showed the attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) in their home while the speaker was in Washington and the vicious beating of Tyre Nichols, an innocent 29-year-old Black man, near his Memphis home by five police officers. Nichols died three days after the beating. For today, however, some more cheerful news from the past week.

The 2.9 percent annualized growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter was better than expected, and consumer spending, about 68 percent of GDP, stayed positive. A slide in housing pulled down the GDP, but private investment and government spending helped growth. Jobless claims fell by 6,000 to 186,000, and durable goods orders increased in December. Inflation, which hit a 41-year high last summer, dropped from receding price increases. The news may stop more Fed interest rate increases. The news may discourage rumors of a recession in 2023.

Before Roe v. Wade was overturned, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that banning abortion would be “very damaging” for the economy because some women couldn’t finish school and increase earning potential. Many women would also not be able to contribute to the workforce at a time when it is short on workers, and they are more likely to live in poverty or need public assistance.

In a speech last week, President Joe Biden said:

“Jobs are the highest in American history, and wages are up, and they’re going faster than inflation. Over the past six months, inflation has gone down every month, and God willing, we’ll continue to do that. Manufacturing jobs continue to grow stronger than any time in the last 40 years. And I don’t think it’s unfair to say that this is all evidence that the Biden economic plan … it’s working.”

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had claimed that Biden is willing to negotiate with him in the debt ceiling fight, but Biden has also said that he won’t negotiate with House Republicans who want drastic cuts to the budget, possibly to Social Security and Medicare. He asked, “Why in God’s name would Americans give up the progress we made for the chaos they’re suggesting?”

During his speech, Biden said:

“If Republicans want to work together on real solutions and continue to grow manufacturing jobs, build the strongest economy in the world and make sure Americans are paid a fair wage, I’m ready. But I will not let anyone use the full faith and credit of the United States as a bargaining chip.

“The very notion that we would default on the safest, most respected debt in the world is mind-boggling. I’m not going to get into the reckless threats that take the economy hostage in order to force an agenda that’s going to only limit American workers and weaken us internationally. I won’t let that happen.”

As Biden pointed out, 25 percent of the current national debt was built during DDT’s administration. Republicans raised the debt ceiling three times during that time.

The DOJ disrupted a cybercriminal group making ransomware attacks on over 1,500 victims worldwide and extorting millions of dollars in payments. The attacks have increasingly affected hospitals, schools, and government services. A court order seized two back-end servers belonging to the Hive ransomware group in Los Angeles and took control of the group’s darknet website. The DOJ has blocked about $130 million to Hive since July. In the past 18 months, FBI personnel have gained access to Hive’s control panels for victims to have keys unlocking their encrypted systems. Hackers tied to some ransomware attacks have been based out of Russia, including those attacking the Colonial Pipeline in 2021 which halted gas supply to the East Coast.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland signed an order closing over 350 square miles of the Superior National Forest in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to mineral and geothermal leasing for 20 years. Although the order is “subject to existing valid rights,” Twin Metals Minnesota, owned by the Chilean mining giant Antofagasta, lost its rights last year when the department rescinded DDT’s decision to reinstate federal mineral rights leases in the northeastern Minnesota region. The area is the most-visited federally designated wilderness area in the U.S., drawing over 150,000 visitors from around the world who paddle its 1,200+ miles of canoe routes. This tourism contributes over $17 million to Minnesota’s economy, and three Ojibwe tribes have treaty rights in the area covered by the moratorium.

A cake is not a form of speech, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled when it turned down an appeal from Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop. In 2021, a judge in Denver determined that Phillips illegally discriminated against Autumn Scardina (left) by refusing to make her a birthday cake because she is transgender. He again used his religious beliefs as rationale as he did in an earlier case that went to the Supreme Court. In its narrow decision, the high court didn’t state that Christians were exempt from anti-discrimination laws. After the 2018 ruling, that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had expressed impermissible hostility to religion, Phillips said he would make a birthday cake for anyone. He agreed to make the pink cake with blue frosting until he discovered Scardina is transgender.

Anyone who thinks the Republicans in the House are not prioritizing important issues isn’t alone. Only 27 percent of adults approve of the new House’s priorities while 73 percent think lawmakers aren’t paying attention to the nation’s most important problems. A 67 percent majority disapprove of GOP House leaders compared to 59 percent disapproval of Democratic leadership. Even 42 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independent are dissatisfied with their own party leaders compared to only 22 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners’ disapproval of their own party leadership in the House. Of those expressing an opinion, two-thirds have a negative view of the new speaker, McCarthy.

Almost half of those polled, 48 percent, give economic issues, especially effects of inflation on housing, food, and gas prices, the most important issue. Instead of working on that, the Republicans passed a bill to limit draws from Strategic Petroleum Reserve which could raise the price of gas. Other top issues include immigration (11 percent), gun violence and crime (6 percent) government spending and taxes (6 percent), and political divisions or extremism (5 percent). Covid was mentioned by only 1 percent of those surveyed. Only 15 percent believe things in the country are going “very badly,” less than half from last summer’s peak of 34 percent and lower than any time since May 2018.

People living in red states should take note of what Biden has done for them: two-thirds of the announced green-energy projects in the Inflation Reduction Act, opposed almost entirely by Republicans, are in GOP-held congressional districts, 21 out of 33. Billions of dollars are devoted to expanding domestic manufacturing in clean energy and reducing dependence on Chinese imports. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who said climate change is “actually healthy for us,” blasted the bill but declared she’s “excited to have jobs” in her district from the bill. She gave credit, however, to Gov. Brian Kemp.

In writing about the rural resentment developing with right-wing extremism, Paul Krugman stated that the shift might reverse if rural lives can be improved with the restoration of rural communities and if these voters will give politicians credit for the improvements. Katherine Cramer attributes this resentment to perceptions that rural areas are ignored by policymakers, don’t get the fair share of resources, and are disrespected by “city folks.” Yet policymakers have always given special treatment to rural people since the New Deal of the 1930s such as farm subsidies which became 40 percent of total farm income under former Dictator Donald Trump. Other benefits are for housing, utilities, and business. Rural areas have more seniors who get Social Security and Medicare, and the “welfare,” Medicaid and food stamps denigrated by Republicans, are more in rural areas where people pay less in federal taxes. If the GOP carried out their plans, they would hurt their own constituents, especially those in the rural areas.   

December 24, 2022

More Trouble for DDT in December

The public can see Deposed Donald Trump’s (DDT) personal tax returns for 2015 to 2020 and business returns for eight years after a vote by the House Ways and Means Committee. All elected presidents since Richard Nixon have voluntarily made public their income taxes, but House members had to struggle in court for several years to obtain those of DDT. The returns will be redacted to protect business people with whom he dealt.

One startling committee revelation is that the required presidential audit of DDT’s taxes failed to occur for two years while he was in office. The first audit was started only after the House members insisted on seeing the returns, but only one person was assigned to the job. The audit was never completed. DDT talked about investigating his enemies with the IRS, and former FBI director James B. Comey and Deputy Director Andrew G. McCabe, who DDT considered enemies, suffered invasive audits.  

The committee also obtained administrative files and paperwork which could include IRS officials’ notes or audits of DDT’s returns to determine the extent of IRS scrutiny and whether it would change after he was elected in 2016. The taxes may ascertain whether DDT had any entanglements impacting his decisions while he was in office. About 1,100 electronic files of these documents show the agency failed aggressive examination of a difficult wealthy taxpayer with complex returns.  

In 2020 and 2017, DDT declared no income; 2019 showed $3 million and 2018, $23 million, provided by an inheritance from his father, Fred Trump. That income came from over $14 million in gains from the sale of his father’s 1970s investment in the Brooklyn housing development of Starrett City.  DDT’s major tax accounting tricks were sheltering his income by declaring losses. In the six years between 2015 and 2020, the self-proclaimed wealthy man paid under $2.5 million in taxes, which includes the $1 million he paid on taxable income of $23 million, a four-percent tax rate

The bipartisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation found dozens of red flags requiring more investigation. In transactions with his children, DDT received tens of thousands of dollars annually in interest income from three of his grown children—Jr., Ivanka, and Eric—described as personal loans to them which could have been “disguised gifts” to evade gift taxes that his children could write off as interest payments to their father. DDT’s may have received insurance proceeds to settle fraud claims against the Trump University, but he deducted $21 million he paid. He also charged personal expenses as business expenses. Other flags were the $26 million in nine years that he wrote off to unidentified consultants. In 2015 DDT declared $76 million loss in his “other income” category helping him end up $30 million in the hole. DDT’s tax returns were filed jointly with his wife, Melania, creating the possibility that she could also be sued for tax fraud.

Ways and Means Committee member Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) said:

“Trump claimed tens of millions of dollars in losses and credits without the type of substantiation an ordinary taxpayer would likely provide.”

The report reveals that DDT lost money on real estate ventures and other businesses with actual income from interest on his investments. Many people said they voted for DDT in 2016 because he was such a good businessman: his tax returns show what a failure he is.

After selling out and doubling in price on the second day of sales, DDT’s SUPERHERO NFT’s have plummeted in value by 72 percent loss in only one week. The number of cards sold on the OpenSea website also dropped from a high of 6,661 on December 17 to 260 on December 23. The failure made DDT claim that the project wasn’t for money, just for fun. 

In another failure, DDT lost his lawsuit attempting to keep New York AG Letitia James from “requesting, demanding, possessing or disclosing” amendments to his trust in connection with her fraud case. U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebooks in Florida wrote:

“The Trump Organization has already been found guilty by a New-York jury of several counts of tax fraud. To now impede a civil Enforcement Action by the New York Attorney General would be unprecedented and contrary to the interests of the people of New York.”

After DDT filed his lawsuit, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ordered a court-appointed monitor to watch over the Trump Organization pending a trial about tax fraud slated for next year. James hopes to bar DDT and the family members in her suit from serving as officer or director in any New York corporation. Despite DDT’s claims of political motivation for lawsuits against him, several courts have denied his claims. Middlebrooks also denied DDT’s motion for a preliminary injunction, asserting he would lose his lawsuit. The judge wrote:

“The rule of law is undermined by the toxic combination of political fundraising with legal fees paid by political action committees, reckless and factually untrue statements by lawyers at rallies and in the media, and efforts to advance a political narrative through lawsuits without factual basis or any cognizable legal theory. Lawyers are enabling this behavior…. Additional sanctions may be appropriate.”

DDT’s Trump Organization was found guilty of all nine counts of tax fraud, and the Trump Payroll Corporation was convicted on another eight counts. Executives received benefits in exchange for untaxed income. DDT was not on trial, but prosecutors tied him to illegal financial activity by pointing out he signed documents for a cut in pay in exchange for plum benefits which should have been taxed. Sentencing is scheduled for January 13.    

To avoid current and future lawsuits, including possible criminal charges from the DOJ, DDT tried to declare presidential immunity but thus far failed. The DC Circuit Court is considering any immunity from liability after a lower judge ruled DDT lacks immunity because his actions are purely political. This civil case concerns three lawsuits filed last year by House members and police officers claiming DDTD prompted his supporters to attack. The appeals court has asked DOJ to weigh in on the issue.

DDT’s attorneys must be getting nervous; they turned in more classified documents in early December found in a private external storage facility in West Palm Beach (FL) near Mar-a-Lago. The documents came from a Washington, D.C. federal office building. In June, one of DDT’s attorneys stated he had no more classified documents before a search warrant uncovered 300 classified documents. Attorneys hired a third party to search four of DDT’s properties for more classified materials.

The classified documents came from a Washington, D.C. federal office building. According to emails, DDT staffers and the federal General Services Administration shipped over 3,000 pounds from Northern Virginia to the Florida storage unit in September 2021. The GSA had helped DDT’s team “secure the storage unit at a private facility in West Palm Beach on July 21, 2021,” 18 months after DDT left the White House.

Attorneys ordered at least three searches after a federal judge pushed them to guarantee they had fully complied with a May grand jury subpoena to turn over all documents with classified markings. The legal team also employed an outside company to search DDT’s Bedminster (NJ) golf club and New York Trump Tower as well as one other property. No classified materials were found in New Jersey and New York. Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell told DDT’s legal team to keep searching but didn’t give directions for the process. DDT has lied to his own attorneys about the contents of boxes taken from Mar-a-Lago.

Part of DDT’s ongoing difficulties may come from his lack of qualified advisers. With no senior aide full time, he uses novice sycophants to praise him and give him positive news articles, online posts, etc. Possibly short of money, his current staff tried unsuccessfully to obtain lifetime rent at Mar-a-Lago for the office he created for himself above the club’s ballroom.

One of DDT’s recent scandals was his dinner on November 22 at Mar-a-Lago with anti-Semitic Kanye West and white Christian nationalist 24-year-old Nick Fuentes. Currently, Fuentes is building a large “incel” group of angry men advocating violence against women. Incel, “involuntary celibate,” is the philosophy of men blaming feminist women for disempowering them and denying them sex. The men’s beliefs have led to a number of murders.

Fuentes advocates “burning women alive” when they’re convicted of crimes and wants to gain control with a return to burning witches as in the medieval period. Women are now casting spells, molesting children in schools, and raping men while falsely accusing them of raping women, according to Fuentes. Almost a year ago, he founded, an “anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-Black, [and] antisemitic” streaming platform that promotes males beating their female partners because females aren’t “as rational as men.” Politicians should spread the incel message among men with the promise to “destroy feminism.”  

DDT has hit a seven-year low in polling with 31 percent favorable views and 59 percent unfavorable opinions. Independents have a 25 percent favorable view compared to 62 percent unfavorable. The 20 percent of Republicans who see DDT unfavorably is the lowest since March 2016.

August 30, 2022

Biden Forgives Some Student Debt, Repubicans Whine

For the past week, the U.S. has focused on two major topics—the documents stolen by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) and, to a lesser extent, President Joe Biden’s order to lessen the debt from student loans. After GOP lawmakers helped trillions to the wealthy and business through lowered taxes, subsidies, and corruption in COVID loopholes, they are outraged at annually giving a few billion to lower-income people for a new lease on life such as the ability to buy a home instead of paying egregious rent.  

According to Biden’s order, borrowers making less than $125,000 may have federal student loan debt forgiven up to $10,000 and Pell Grant recipients up to $20,000. Neither private loans nor Federal Family Education Loans qualify. Graduate loans qualify for the $10,000 but not the Pell Grant provision. The plan also caps interest rate at 5 percent instead of exorbitant rates of 8 percent and above that could not be refinanced at a lower rate. Continuing borrowers will pay only five percent of their income for undergraduate loans and ten percent for postgraduate loans over 10 or 20 years, depending on the debt.  Income is based on either 2020 or 2021 incomes. The student loan payment pause will also be extended for a final time through December 31, 2022. 

Since the 1990s, the average cost for annual tuition and fees at public four-year colleges increased 158 percent from $4,160 to $10,740 and 96.6 percent at private institutions from $19,360 to $38,070. Nationally, 45 million people owe $1.6 trillion in the federal student loans, and Biden’s plan forgives between 23 percent and 39 percent of them. In June, the Education Department canceled $6 billion for 200,000 borrowers who claimed they were misled and defrauded by colleges. Previously, Biden approved $26 billion in loan forgiveness for about 1.3 million borrowers, including defrauded students and public service employees.


The nine student loan servicers paid a small percentage of the loan balance or a fixed monthly fee by the federal government to manage the loan. Paying off the loan could have a long term positive effect although refinancing providers might have more of a negative result.

False claims of fiscal incompetence and lack of “fairness.” These come from the same people who complain about wealthy people being required to pay their legal income taxes and their paying a much lower percentage of taxes than middle-income families because of the GOP 2017 massive tax cuts. Some of these wealthy beneficiaries pay nothing or have a negative tax with the government paying them.

Recipients lacking good moral character. This quality was never investigated in the Bush recession bailout of banks, insurers, and auto companies. Lawmakers overlook their votes to give billions of dollars to farmers badly hurt by DDT’s trade wars, and congressional members personally benefited financially from laws they voted for, for example the forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to businesses paid by lower-wage blue-collar workers.

  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene whined on Newsmax that “it’s completely unfair” for student loans to be forgiven. She had $183,504 in PPP loans forgiven.
  • Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) tweeted the forgiveness was poised to benefit “Wall Street advisors” at the cost of “plumbers and carpenters.” He had $987,237 in PPP loans forgiven.
  • Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) called the forgiveness “reckless” and a “unilateral student loan giveaway.” He had over $2.3 million in PPP loans forgiven.
  • Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) tweeted, “We do not need farmers and ranchers, small business owners, and teachers in Oklahoma paying the debts of Ivy League lawyers and doctors across the U.S.” He had almost $1.5 million in PPP loans forgiven. (And he’s running for U.S. Senate.)
  • Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) lied about the “Party of the People” going after “working class Americans” with the IRS and higher taxes and “forced them to pay for other people’s college degrees.” He had over $1 million in PPP loans forgiven.
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) earlier criticized Biden for the money Congress allotted to help Ukraine during the Russian invasion. He had $482,321 in PPP loans forgiven.
  • Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) sponsored a resolution in 2019 calling “student loan forgiveness” a form of “socialist” proposal and “antithetical to American foundational values of self-responsibility and opportunity.” He had $1,432,400 in PPP loans forgiven.

These handouts total about $8 million dollars, equivalent to 800 “giveaways.”

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) worries about recruitment for the military if young people can afford college:

“Student loan forgiveness undermines one of our military’s greatest recruitment tools at a time of dangerously low enlistments.”

In 2019, Frank Muth, general in charge of Army recruitment, bragged about student debt, then averaging $31,000, playing a major role in exceeding the Army’s recruiting goal for the year. This year, the military has its fewest number of recruits since the end of the draft in 1973. A recent Department of Defense youth poll gave top reasons for not joining the military: fear of physical and psychological wounds, fear of sexual assault, and a growing dislike of the military.

Sitting on the Armed Services Committee overseeing the Department of Defense and U.S. military, Banks has received over $400,000 in donations from defense contractors, weapons manufacturers, and other major participants in the military industrial complex. Committee members have received over $3.4 million from defense contractors and weapons manufacturers during the current election cycle.

Loan forgiveness doesn’t benefit everyone, but neither do national parks people don’t visit, cures for diseases most never contract, schools for people who don’t have children enrolled, streets not used by some people who pay for them. Bankruptcy doesn’t forgive debts for everyone. Only taxpayers who own houses and itemize their income taxes get the mortgage interest deduction for tens of billions annually across every taxpayer.  

A leader in inciting anger among his followers, DDT gave his usual arguments about being too expensive, U.S. “in decline,” etc. His classic statement, however, was his resentment toward “bailing out College Administrators who fleeced students”—his own words.  A major “fleecer,” DDT swore he would never settle a lawsuit against Trump University but paid $25 million for fleecing students. Students ran up their credit cards to pay DDT tens of thousands of dollars, hoping to become wealthy from insider information and instead attended workshops in hotels where salesmen pressured them to pay more money for more courses. No secrets, no one-on-one guidance—just fleecing.

The accusation that Biden and the Democrats are “vote buying” by giving people the forgiveness fits giving money to farmers, the wealthy, and big business who then donate money to GOP candidates. Donations are used to run ads to get votes, sometimes in advertising with atrocious lies.

The conservatives highly incensed when Biden called their philosophy “semi-facist” dragged out the old trope that the modest loan forgiveness plan for people making under $125,000 is a “socialist” giveaway to “elites” and “gender studies” majors, that one from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), accused by dozens of university athletic students for ignoring their complaints about a doctor’s sexual assault. As of 2014-2015, fewer than 1,500 people, out of almost two million receiving bachelor’s degrees, graduated with degrees in women’s studies. Biden said that almost 90 percent of people eligible for relief make under $75,000 per year and pointed out that “85 percent of the benefits of Congressional Republicans’ tax cut went to taxpayers earning more than $75,000.”

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) ranted about the “socialist handout” and “added burden.” The richest senator with possible assets of $500 million, Scott founded and directed a healthcare company charged with defrauding Medicare. During his tenure, the company agreed to pay $1.7 billion in fines and admitted to multiple felonies for offenses.  

Although opposed to Biden’s plan, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) had a few tweaks to student debt, hoping to sound somewhat compassionate. But he didn’t want to appear “liberal” or “socialist.” Rubio said:

“I owed over a hundred thousand dollars in student loans. The day I got elected to the Senate I had over $100,000 still in student loans that I was able to pay off because I wrote a book and from that money, I was able to pay it. If not I would have never, I would still be paying it okay? So it’s not about, I think the student loan thing in America is a big problem and it’s broken and it needs to be fixed and it needs to be reformed and I have bipartisan ideas.”

A solution to student debt? Just write and sell a book.

Recent polls find that 59 percent or 60 percent of respondents believe the federal government should eliminate all or some student loan debt for all borrowers. Half of those who agreed have never had student debt. Forty-five percent of Republicans support federal assistance with student loans, but the rest of them will likely have a meltdown after the Education Department announcement that it will cancel federal student debt for 79,000 borrowers who attended Westwood College from 2002 and 2015 at a cost of $1.5 billion. The for-profit school and its branches, which closed in 2016, engaged in lies, manipulation, and false promises long after its closure.

Republicans will likely sue to overturn Biden’s order, but he can announce any borrower suffering hardship from the pandemic can apply for relief to get their debts canceled. Filing a lawsuit, however, requires “standing,” proof that loan forgiveness creates concrete harm to plaintiffs and then prove that the order’s cancellation can remedy that harm. Borrowers can only wait and see.    

Satirist Alexandra Petria has a brilliant column about the “unfairness” of student loan forgiveness well worth reading  

August 23, 2022

DDT Keeps Monopolizing the News

More news about classified documents at Mar-a-Lago: John Solomon, conservative writer and a designated liaison to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) appointed by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), released a May 10 letter from NARA that the agency and federal investigators “had grown increasingly alarmed about potential damage to national security caused by the warehousing of these documents at Mar-a-Lago, as well as by Trump’s resistance to sharing them with the FBI.” NARA had discovered over 700 pages of classified material, including “special access program materials” which are some of the most highly classified secrets in government, in the 15 boxes recovered from Mar-a-Lago last January.

A major question is why “Team Trump” would release this damaging information that makes DDT look even worse by confirming the large haul of highly classified national security materials illegally taken to DDT’s club. Lawyers have made no mention of DDT’s having declassified the documents, as he claims. Politico’s Kyle Cheney tweeted:

“Trump has been on notice since at least May of the FBI’s efforts to access this material. So his motion to seek a special master following the execution of the search warrant is months—not just weeks— late.”

The letter from National Archivist Debra Wall to DDT’s attorney, Evan Corcoran, also stated that DDT had no executive privilege; only the current executive branch of the government and president can grant this way for DDT to escape. Solomon posted the letter on his website, hoping to cause trouble for Biden. 

A fictional excuse for DDT taking top secret classified documents home with him after permanently leaving the White House is that he gave an order to declassify all the documents. Sycophant Kash Patrel, acting chief of staff to Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller after DDT lost his 2020 election, has been pushing the myth, citing DDT’s tweet from October 6 2020:

“I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!”

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows rejected Patel’s claim in a sworn statement when a judge demanded clarification about the tweet. It was in direct opposition to the White House’s position to not classify the Russia records. Meadows conceded that the tweet was not an order to declassify or release any records. Meadows wrote:

“The president indicated to me that his statements on Twitter were not self-executing declassification orders, and do not require the declassification or release of any particular documents.”

Patel refused to give up on his false assertion and said that he witnessed DDT declassify “whole sets of documents” in December 2020 and January 2021 while he was “on his way out.” Previously, however, Patel said DDT “failed to generate the paperwork to change the classification markings.”

According to protocol, declassification doesn’t happen in secret. Former Obama administration Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson called such a concept “laughable” because “part and parcel of any act of declassification is communicating that act to all others who possess the same information.” In July 2020, the 2nd Circuit Court stated that “declassification, even by the President, must follow established procedures,” according to The New York Times. There is no evidence that DDT even tried to have a “standing order” to declassify everything taken to his home, as he claimed. John Bolton, DDT’s former national security adviser, called the statement “almost certainly a lie.”

DDT’s possession of classified documents opened an investigation to his violation of the Espionage Act, possible obstruction, and removing and destroying official documents.

Thanks to the lies spread from GOP legislative leaders among DDT’s base, The IRS is facing threats to its 600 facilities, comparable to those in 1995 after the Oklahoma City bombing of a federal building that killed 168 people and injured more than 500. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) isn’t spending its annual extra $8 million for the next decade to hire 87,000 new IRS agents, and it isn’t taxing people making under $400,000 a year. No matter. Lies are what the GOP campaigns thrive on, even if they kill people.

Fomenting the fear and hatred, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (D-CA) spread these lies from the House floor about the IRS on August 9:

“They have 80,000 employees. You know what the IRS also has? 4,600 guns. 5 million rounds of ammunition. Why? Democrats want to double its already massive size. With this new power, the IRS will snoop around in your bank account, your Venmo, your small business. Then the government will shake you down for every last cent. In light of [the FBI’s search of Trump’s residence], let me ask: Do you really trust this administration’s IRS to be fair, to not abuse their power?”

McCarthy wasn’t the only person to put these lies into the House record: he was followed by Andrew Clyde (R-GA). Sen. Rick Scott wrote an open letter last week to job seekers discouraging them from applying for IRS jobs. His ire was focused on a posting for an IRS criminal investigator to serve search warrants and make arrests with the insinuation that all the IRS’s new hires will “need to be ready to audit and investigate your fellow hardworking Americans, your neighbors and friends, you need to be ready and, to use the IRS’s words, willing, to kill them.” Fewer than 3,000 of the IRS’ 78,000 employees work in criminal investigations and carry firearms.

Far-right extremist Proud Boys, supported by many Republicans, posted that the new IRS hires had to be “willing to use deadly force.” Other online memes from the white supremacist supporters compared IRS employees to Nazi SS officers and called for a “tea party” to tar and feather tax collectors. Twitter has permanently banned Luis Miguel, a GOP House candidate for Florida’s state legislature primary, for his tweet, “Under my plan, all Floridians will be able to shoot FBI, IRS, ATF, and all other federal troops ON SIGHT. Let freedom ring.” Facebook and Instagram allowed him to continue posting after that statement was removed. Miguel lost the primary to the GOP incumbent, Bobby Payne.

Last week, a three-judge panel from the D.C. Circuit Court ruled that former AG Bill Barr failed to be honest about having a deliberate process after the release of the Mueller report into Russian interference on the part of DDT’s 2016 presidential election. The DOJ must now make public the internal memo prepared by senior lawyers in 2019 about whether ties between DDT’s campaign and Russia consisted of crimes usually charged by prosecutors. A judge said that Barr’s DOJ claim that the memo was part of his decision about prosecuting DDT is inaccurate and that the memo was more like a “thought experiment.” Barr decided DDT would not be charged with a crime before the memo was written.

A federal judge ruled that Arkansas violated the Voting Rights Act with a six-voter limit for those who help people cast ballots in person. He wrote that Congress gave voter their choice of whom they wanted to assist them at the polls other than their employer or union representative.

Justice has finally been served in the planned kidnapping of a public official, namely Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. A jury found two men, part of the far-right anti-government Wolverine Watchmen, guilty of conspiring to kidnap Whitmer in 2020 after a hung jury earlier this year. They were also convicted of conspiring to obtain a weapon of mass destruction in a plan to blow up a bridge as part of the kidnapping. 

 The men also went on “reconnaissance missions” to Whitmer’s vacation home, where they planned to carry out the kidnapping, and collected high-powered guns. Angry about Whitmer’s orders to stop COVID, they were also part of the hundreds of armed men who entered the state Capitol building. Two other men pled guilty and testified for the prosecution, and another two were acquitted in the trial deadlocked on the convicted men.

For years, Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg had pled the Fifth Amendment, invoking his right against self-incrimination. No longer. Now that he has taken a plea deal, he can’t avoid answering questions about DDT’s business dealings. If he tries to back out of the deal, the 75-year-old man faces a 15-year prison term. He can provide valuable information about DDT’s business and person misconduct without cooperating in a criminal probe against DDT.

Rasmussen has long been known as having a conservative bent, but new discoveries about their polling, lowering the average using several polls, show that anti-Biden authors are paying Rasmussen for surveys about Biden as advertising for their books. The company has a history of this problem: President Obama typically received approval numbers about five points lower on Rasmussen than other polls. Part of the problem may be their phrasing of statements to sway the answers for negative responses to Democrats and their actions. For example, August used this one last August:

“It’s always better to cut taxes than to increase government spending because taxpayers, not bureaucrats, are the best judges of how to spend their money.”

Daily Kos blogger Steve Singiser sarcastically asked why Rasmussen didn’t add “how tax cuts regrow hair, whiten teeth, and ensure that your favorite team will win the Super Bowl this year.”

[Note: Something has happened at Rasmussen recently. It’s latest poll for Biden averaging several sources was 47 percent, six points over the average of 42 percent of likely and/or registered voters. 

And tomorrow–primary results from Florida, New York, and New York. 

August 6, 2022

Inflation Reduction Act Heads for a Vote

A Senate vote of 51-50 has sent the climate/healthcare/tax reduction bill for debate and a final vote by Sunday morning with all Republicans opposed. During a rare Saturday vote in the Senate, Democrats want to pass the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) before Republicans head off for over a month at home trying to explain to their constituents why they are voting against the measure. Sad to say, the chamber’s parliamentarian has nixed lower prescription prices for the reconciliation (aka budget) process, and Republicans will be able to charge their constituents much more for medications. That way, GOP politicians can get bigger donations from the pharmaceutical industry. To beat the filibuster, ten Republicans would have to agree that 180 million people deserve fairer prices, and they won’t be doing that in order to deny any win for Democrats.

The parliamentarian’s and GOP decision will mean tens of millions of dollars lost in federal savings because drug prices, some of them paid for by the government, can be increased much higher than inflation as drug companies are doing. Yet this provision of the measure was the only one to fail the “Byrd bath,” so called because of the “Bryd Act” from Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) passed in 1985. Reconciliation must be “germane to the budget” and cannot be considered an “extraneous matter,” confusing to those who see the government saving money with lowered drug prices as part of the budget. Byrd may have set the pattern for Democratic obstructionism from West Virginia.

Otherwise, the provisions in the IRA have passed the parliamentarian’s testing, including its package providing $369 for climate, much of it for tax credits to support clean energy technologies including consumer credits for “home energy efficiency improvements” and electric vehicles. The bill also retained its Medicare benefits by negotiating some prescription drug prices, capping out-of-pocket costs in Medicare drug plans at $2,000, and providing free vaccines through Medicare.

The ability to avoid the filibuster through the reconciliation process comes from the 1974 Congressional Budget Act (CBA) passed over Richard Nixon’s veto. It permits additional spending compared with additional revenue. Both parties have used the process: in 2017, Republicans used it to lose $2 trillion in revenue by cutting taxes for big business and the wealthy. With reconciliation, the CBA limits debate to 20 hours evenly divided between the two parties before the Senate holds a final simple majority vote on the bill.

Last November, the Build Better Bill was on track to pass through the reconciliation process until Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) torpedoed the bill in December. After seven months of dissension, Manchin agreed to a new bill that he renamed the Inflation Reduction Act. With the new bill on the floor, Republicans can offer challenging amendments to strip the main provisions and force Democrats into votes that can politically damage them in midterm campaigns. Even with these amendments, Democrats can erase changes with a final “substitute” known as a “wraparound” amendment if Manchin will vote for it.

Amendments must be germane to the bill and not cost the government additional money unless they strike provisions in the measure. After the 20-hour debate period, amendments can be presented but not debated. Amendments violating the Byrd Act must be approved by 60 percent of the senators. Anyone presenting an amendment must stand and read it to the Senate. The presentation of amendments after the 20-hour debate is called the “vote-a-rama.” 

When (if) the Senate passes the bill, it goes to the House which will hopefully pass it without changes that would require it to go back to the Senate. GOP senators have promised to make the process as difficult as possible, “’like hell,” according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). He added Democrats “deserve” it. Republicans have also spread lies about the bill which conservative media outlets including Fox have told their audiences such as the lie about the proposed law raising taxes on people making under $400,000.

Republicans said their 2017 tax bill, determined through reconciliation, would lower taxes for everyone in the U.S. It didn’t. Only big business and the wealthy got lower taxes. Now they say that the Inflation Reduction Act will raise taxes for everyone. It doesn’t. This disinformation comes from Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) based on the Joint Committee on Taxation which omitted several factors in its analysis, especially the way the new law changes IRS processes. The analysis also overlooks the IRA’s financial benefit to middle-income families. Yet Crapo admits that Ira doesn’t raise taxes on most people.

Graham also claimed the law would make life “more difficult” for people in the U.S., but the opposition is true. In addition to the Medicare benefits, it will:

  • Cut carbon pollution dramatically with emissions in 2030 project at 40 percent below peak levels.
  • Lower energy costs by allowing people to shift to cheaper electricity for home heating, cooking, and driving, a savings of $500 for the average household with total spending on oil down by almost 25 percent over the decade.
  • Create millions of jobs with investment in refurbishing old factories; building new factories; requiring high wages; and mandating apprenticeship training for companies using clean energy tax credits by increasing domestic production of batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, etc.
  • Invest in communities suffering the most from environmental and health hazards that cause health problems and deaths.
  • Crack down on wealthy tax cheats by more fairly enforcing the tax code that has seen income tax audits of households annually earning $5 million or more drop to only two percent in 2019 from over 16 percent in 2010.
  • Fix loopholes allowing wealthy corporations and Wall Street fund managers to avoid paying their fair share in taxes by requiring that each corporation with at least $1 billion worth of profits pay a minimum of 15 percent of their profits in taxes instead of none.
  • Cut inflation and drive down the deficit through fairer taxes; increased supply investing in manufacturing and clean energy; and decreased costs for energy, health care, and prescription drugs.

Ten Republicans were missing for the bill’s first vote, but Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) said he expects they will return for the vote, perhaps hoping the Democrats will lose some votes for the required majority. In a petty attack, Republicans claim that Democrats aren’t testing for COVID to keep their vote number up. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) debunked that claim and pointed out Republicans “wouldn’t wear masks…, wouldn’t test…, tested positive and still showed up?” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) attended the bill’s early votes on Saturday although he tested positive for COVID this week.

Discharged from rehab after an emergency hip replacement, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), 82, is expected to be present in the Senate chamber. The Senate president pro tempore signed the CHIPS and Science Act at the Capitol on July 29.

Long-time holdout Democratic Manchin never does anything for free—that’s why he’s a multi-millionaire. In this case, his payment is legislation streamlining permits for his state’s 303-mile, two-state Mountain Valley Pipeline and removing jurisdiction from a court that keeps ruling against the project. Nearby residents have fought against the construction of the huge natural gas pipeline that may contaminate rural streams and cause erosion or landslides. It can impact water, endangered species, and public forests. The 4th Circuit Court has ruled against the pipeline for years because developers and permitting agencies skirted regulations during DDT’s control. Now the court may assign the case to a new three-judge panel. The outcome, however, is not actually a done deal.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-AZ) willinness to support the IRA came from an obscure tax break called the “carried interest loophole” or “the carry” that taxes private equity and venture capital income at a lower, 15 percent rate, lower than for other taxpayers. It was included in the original IRA, but Sinema’s donors want it removed. And so it was. Instead companies have to pay a new 1 percent excise tax on the amount of stock they repurchase, still reducing the federal deficit by up to $300 billion.

Republicans are working hard to spread lies about IRA’s effects, but they aren’t completely successful. Of the voters, 73 percent, including 52 percent of Republicans, support the bill. Another 64 percent of voters say they are more likely to vote for a candidate supporting the bill.  

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the bill will provide at least a deficit decrease of over $100 billion in the next decade, even as much as $300 billion. The deficit could be even more because the CBO didn’t factor in all the effects of the bill. The $124 billion in revenue from building enforcement of IRS laws was considered a lowball estimate. It’s a win for the vast majority of people in the U.S.

The bill’s resolution should be available by tomorrow afternoon or evening.

Good News, Bad News – Economy, CPAC, Etc.

First, the good news. Employers added 528,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent, the lowest rate since February 2000 and tying for the lowest rate since 1969. The past 19 months saw consistent new job gains since Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) saw none during his four-year term. Increases crossed all sectors; leisure and hospitality led the way with an additional 96,000 jobs.

Despite the good news, Republicans insist the U.S. is in a recession because of negative GDP growth for the past two quarters following massive growth, part of their strategy to defeat Democrats. The Bureau of Economic Research, however, doesn’t use the negative GDP as the only guideline for a recession; it is “a significant decline in economic activity” spread across industries with the most important measures personal income and payroll employment. Both currently show growth. Recessions aren’t determined until several months after the fact with official federal reports on jobs, income, consumer spending, and manufacturing. One Republican, Sen. Roger Marshall (KS) provided his own definition:

“Recession, to me, is when I go back home and the community bankers say, ‘Hey, Doc, what’s going on? Business is slowing down. Why are people afraid to invest?’”

President Joe Biden had other reasons to feel good this week:

  • Congress passed the CHIPS and Science Act to move manufacturing from Taiwan.
  • His strike killed al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s leader.
  • Kansas strongly passed a pro-choice ballot initiative to support women’s reproductive rights.
  • The PACT Act to expand healthcare for veterans suffering from such problems as toxic burn pits.
  • The U.S. 8 percent uninsured rate fell to an all-time low even with 12 states rejecting Medicaid expansion. 
  • Gas prices fell for a straight seventh week.
  • Democrats may be on target to approve the Inflation Reduction Act.

Alex Jones, on the other hand, had a very bad week. He accidentally sent two years of his phone’s contents to the defense attorney in his first Sandy Hook defamation trial and perjured himself on the stand. The jury penalized him $4.1 million in compensatory damages and then added another $45.2 million in punitive damages. Jones’ lawyer hopes that Texas’ limit for $750,000 keeps the total to $1.5 million for the two charges. Using his media, Jones repeatedly lied about the massacre of children and educators and spread conspiracy theories about the victims and their families, calling the tragedy a “hoax” and “staged.” In his testimony, Jones said a jury award of $2 million would financially destroy him, but an economist examining his finances estimated his wealth between $135 million and $270 million hidden in shell companies.

The DOJ, created in 1870 to cover illegal acts that states refuse to prosecute, charged four current and former Louisville (KY) police officers with federal crimes connected to the 2020 law enforcement killing of Breonna Taylor. Her boyfriend fired one shot at the officers when they broke into her apartment in the middle of the night to serve a “no-knock” warrant. The officers shot 22 bullets, hitting Taylor in the chest. Charges against the police, who lied to get the warrant, include civil rights violations, conspiracy, use of excessive force offenses, and obstruction.

The DOJ is also suing Idaho in opposition to its restrictive abortion ban refusing pregnant women lifesaving care if they suffer from unexpected, serious complications. Other states have the same restrictions, but some of them have DDT-packed judges in their appeals courts. Idaho’s appeals court is the less-biased 9th Circuit Court, and the state’s ban is a conventional criminal law instead of the Texas experimental statute designed to evade judicial review.

A conflict between Idaho and federal law comes from the ban stating that the physician can be prosecuted “merely by showing that an abortion has been performed, without regard to the circumstances.” Unlike federal law, health is not a consideration; care can be given only “to prevent the death of the pregnant woman.” According to Idaho law, the physician must choose between losing a patient’s life or risk prosecution—and a medical license. In the 9th Circuit Court, only active judges can vote if a case goes from a three-judge panel to “en banc” with the chief judge and ten other active judges selected at random.

The media complaining about Biden’s low ratings need to keep up with their own news. The latest Monmouth University poll shows an increase in his approval ratings to 38 percent with last week’s USA Today/Suffolk poll at 39 percent among registered voters. In the Monmouth poll, 50 percent of people prefer Democrats controlling Congress as opposed to 43 percent choosing Republicans. The seven-point preference for Democrats is up from June when the two parties tied at 47 percent and May when the GOP four-point lead was 48 percent to 44 percent. 

Speeches at the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) conference this weekend show a panicked GOP. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) called Democrats “the enemy within,” a greater threat to the U.S. than all the war throughout the nation’s existence. “The militant left has now seized control of our economy, of our culture and our country,” he said. In a possible run for 2024 president, Scott issued a 31-page platform that erases transgender people, eliminates any questions about race on government form, and completes DDT’s wall. With no evidence, hse also accused Democrats of trying to silence opponents and redefine the U.S., “destroying just about everything they touch and they’ve got their hands on everything.”

The focus of CPAC in August 2022 was Christian nationalism. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick erased the Founders when he said:

“We’re a nation founded upon not the words of our founders, but the words of God because he wrote the Constitution.”

DDT will speak on Saturday, but Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán may be the linchpin after support for a white-only country. Days earlier, he had spoken against a country of “mixed race,” and a long-time adviser resigned and called it a “pure Nazi speech worthy of Goebbels [the chief propagandist for the Nazi party in Germany].” Orbán’s opposition to immigration, globalism, and gender fluidity match those of the MAGA right, the same messages that he delivered when CPAC went to Hungary in May. Like DDT and MAGA, Orbán finds issues such as separation of church and state, LGBTQ rights, pronouns, drag shows, the 2020 election results, etc. as battlegrounds between good and evil. He assured his audience that “a Christian politician cannot be racist,” lying about the Nazis being anti-Christian. 

Other notables spread their slime at CPAC, but the world had more news:

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) lost his primary for re-election this year, but he seems determined to spend the donations he collected for the general election he won’t have—on himself. The FEC threatened him with legal action for failing to report his campaign’s finances in May so he filed a statement of organization on July 15, declaring himself the treasurer and custodian of records for the campaign. This move leaves him open to personal civil liability for not reporting on time. Cawthorn raised $3.5 million for re-election, but he’s now $220,000 in debt to donors, including campaigns of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and GOP Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and billionaires Bernie Marcus and Steve Wynn as well as far poorer people. He spent the money on consulting fees for his friends, hotel rooms in Florida, alcohol, cigars, and food. Cawthorn’s quarterly financial report is also over two weeks late. Not as bad as trying to get guns onto airplanes and multiple DUIs but still illegal. A political future for the 27-year-old has probably disappeared.

This week, an Aitkin County jury exonerated Minnesota pharmacist George Badeaux after he violated state law by refusing to fill a prescription for the morning-after pill. Also a pastor, he told the woman he was following his “beliefs,” discouraged her from trying another local pharmacy, and failed to provide information about any other availability of the medication. Finding a pharmacy 50 miles from her home willing to help, she made the three-hour round trip in a snowstorm with her 2-year-old son in the car. The jury found that Badeaux didn’t discriminate against her on the basis of her sex. Men can get pregnant? She plans to appeal.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told senators that the agency opened “a number” of investigations into abortion-related violent crime incidents since six justices overturned Roe v. Wade. What he didn’t investigate was Brett Kavanagh after receiving reports of his sexual misconduct—4,500 tips about him. Wray just turned them over to DDT. Thanks to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) for pressing Wray in the hearing despite the FBI director’s attempt to crawl out of answering. Wray also tried to explain that not investigating is the “longstanding process” that “we take direction from the requesting entity,” who he claimed was DDT. Kavanaugh is one of two current justices whose investigations into sexual assault were a sham. Clarence Thomas is still there after 30+ years.

The carcinogenic pesticide Roundup continues to be popular, including in my neighborhood, but a study has found over 80 percent of urine samples from both children and adults contains the chemical. The percentage has increased since the 1990s when Monsanto introduced genetically engineered crops designed to be sprayed directly with the pesticide. U.S. farmers use over 200 million pounds annually of the glyphosate in Roundup sprayed directly on corn and soybeans as well as on non-GE crops such as wheat and oats. Baby food contains glyphosate.

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