Nel's New Day

August 7, 2019

No Clear Path for DDT, GOP about Guns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DDT’s actions on guns since he was inaugurated:

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

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

August 4, 2019

DDT: Week 132 – Killings, Cruelty

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other foreign affairs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 3, 2019

DDT: Week 132 – Racism, Hatred

After Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) withdrew Rep. John Ratcliffe’s (R-TX) name for intelligence director, Ratcliffe insinuated that he withdrew himself. Whichever it was, DDT blamed the media before he said that he used the media to vet his appointments to save money. The media was actually quite mild about reporting Ratcliffe’s lies by saying that he “padded” or “exaggerated” or “embellished” his credentials.

Ratcliffe falsely took entire credit for a multistate, multiagency operation when he wrote on his website that he “arrested over 300 illegal aliens on a single day.” Ratcliffe’s prosecutors charged only 45 workers, and six of the cases were dismissed, two of them U.S. citizens. A.J. Irwin, a former immigration investigator involved in planning stages, called the operation “a costly failure, … a waste of money and hype.” In another website claim, Ratcliffe wrote he had tried suspects accused of funneling money to the Hamas terrorist group, but in reality, he investigated side issues related to an initial mistrial but did not prosecute the case. Ratcliffe also promoted a company accused of reprisal against a whistleblower and their cybersecurity efforts in shutting down a critical government cybersecurity office. The company was Ratcliffe’s third-largest campaign donor for his upcoming re-election.

VP Mike Pence, who would be president if an impeachment convicted DDT, argued to keep Ratcliffe’s nomination before the Senate.  

Ratcliffe isn’t the only legislator who shills for his donors.  In March, Rep. Chuck Fleischman (R-TN) was asked by his donor Preceptics to ask then Customs and Border Protection director Kevin McAleenan about using license plate reader technology. After emails about the agreement were made public in June, CBP suspended the Preceptics contract for equipment and software.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) held up confirmation for Michael Wooten because senior military officials told him that the senator could not receive U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contracts with sensitive, proprietary information. Cramer had received thousands of dollars in donations from North Dakota-based Fisher Industries to help the business be hired to “build the wall.” Fisher is now suing the government because he was not selected in recent biddings: his company’s design failed to meet requirements and regulatory approvals. DHS said that Fisher’s work in San Diego was late and over budget. Wooten was confirmed for a senior post at the White House Office of Management and Budget, but Cramer is furious because he thinks that the Defense Department didn’t live up to their “deal” with him. He claims that DDT “deputized” him “to work with the Army Corps to ensure their process is fair, transparent, and delivers the best possible deal for the American people.”

Although presidential interference in contracts was rare before DDT, he lobbied for Fisher’s company. Now DDT’s hatred for Jeff Bezos led him to order his new Defense Secretary and Raytheon lobbyist, Mark Esper, to look into a $10 billion cloud-computing bid that might go to Amazon. No other single company has the capacity to provide needs for the infrastructure that shares sensitive intelligence among the armed services branches and incorporate artificial intelligence algorithms. Oracle, a company competing for part of the bid, settled for $100 million after Oregon sued for fraud, filing false claims, and racketeering because of its failed Cover Oregon healthcare project. Last May, DDT lobbied the USPS to double the rate charged to ship packages, but the increase failed to move through Congress. 

Throughout last week, DDT continued a pattern polarizing people in the U.S. by attacking people of color. About civil rights activist Al Sharpton, DDT tweeted that he “hates whites and cops,” that he’s a con man, a troublemaker, always looking for a score.” Sharpton answered:

“If he really thought I was a con man, he’d be nominating me for his cabinet.”

This assault adds to DDT’s racist comments about Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and John Lewis (D-GA); NBA superstar LeBron James; CNN host Don Lemon; Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum; President Barack Obama; and more. In 2015, DDT lambasted President Obama for conditions in Baltimore, and said “I would fix it fast!” if he were president. DDT was inaugurated 924 days ago and has done nothing. DDT plans to speak in September at the House Republicans’ annual private retreat in the city the president just called “the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States.” About Baltimore (MD), DDT said, “No human being would want to live there.”

DDT even gloated over the recent robbery at Cummings’ home and turned the murder rate in Baltimore into a joke at his rally.  

As part of his pattern in calling black people “stupid,” DDT attacked Lemon again after he hosted the first CNN Democratic 2020 presidential debate and asked a question about DDT’s embrace of “racial division.” Despite DDT’s tweet that “I’m the least racist person in the world,” a claim that he repeated to reporters, Twitter responses disagreed. For example, Christopher Zullo wrote:

“Definition of a racist: person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another. Does ‘send her back’ in context of your perceived cultural “superiority” classify as racism?”

The Republicans are still staying largely mum. Despite Cummings defense of Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), co-founder of the rightwing Freedom Caucus, when Meadows thought he was accused of being a racist, Meadows stayed silent until shamed by the media. Then he only said that neither Cummings, who he had called one of his best friends, nor DDT were racists.

This 2020 campaign strategy is called synecdoche which means using one part to represent the whole, for example using four progressive women of color to represent the entire Democratic party. In 2018, the GOP used House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to damage Democrats, and in reverse Democrats used DDT as a symbol for all Republicans—although almost all Republicans do vote on the side of DDT. White House aides are still panicking that DDT’s racist synecdoche may fail. Tim Chapman, executive director of Heritage Action for America, shares this concern because the only GOP agenda at this time is DDT’s xenophobia.

Looking back on her father’s infamously racist 1968 campaign, Kennedy recalled, “The two greatest motivators at (my father’s) rallies were fear and hate. There was no policy solution, just white middle-class anger.”  Peggy Wallace Kennedy, Wallace’s daughter, is now 69 — and she sees a lot of her late father in President Donald Trump. “I saw Daddy a lot in 2016.” DDT’s 2016 campaign reminded her of the 1968 campaign of her father, who infamously declared, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

DDT falsely claimed that his racist attacks on Cummings and Baltimore have increased support from blacks. In another lie, DDT said without evidence that the city’s political leaders, “people like Elijah Cummings,” are stealing and mismanaging federal funds. A Monday poll shows that only six percent of blacks approve of DDT’s job performance and 80 percent think DDT is a racist. Blacks aren’t the only demographic who believe that DDT is racist: they are joined by most independents, which women, and whites with a college degree. That leaves white male Republicans without college degrees. 

Increased racist attacks by DDT may be responsible for two young white men perpetrating two different mass shootings during the past week—today’s murders in El Paso and last Sunday’s murders in Gilroy (CA). Both published white supremacist manifestos that expressed hatred toward Latinx and immigrants before they randomly killed people in crowded areas with ar-47 rifles.  

In his address before a joint assembly of the Virginia legislature, DDT commemorated the 400th anniversary of its legislative body. The date was also the arrival of the first African slaves on American shores. With great hypocrisy, DDT spoke these lines in his speech during a brief hiatus of angry racist rans:

“Our hard-won culture of self-government must be nourished, protected, and constantly preserved.”

“But among all of America’s towering achievements, none exceeds the triumph that we are here to celebrate today. Our nation’s priceless culture of freedom, independence, equality, justice, and self-determination under God.”

DDT’s attack on intelligence agencies, saying that they have “run amok,” may come from the FBI, for the first time, reporting conspiracy theories from DDT’s supporters, including QAnon, as “a domestic terrorism threat.” DDT boosts these theories by supporting them on his Twitter account. QAnon participants are linked to multiple acts and threats of violence, and Ratcliffe also believes in conspiracy theories. Ratcliffe is gone back to the U.S. House, but DDT will stay as Supreme Leader.

July 28, 2019

DDT: Week 131 – Disastrous Domestic Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 27, 2019

DDT: Week 131 – Racism Fuels Campaign, Covers Global Disasters

Filed under: Donald Trump,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 9:14 PM
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Expanding his racist comments from female congressional members to males, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) attacked Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), chair of the Oversight Committee that has subpoenaed White House officials and DDT’s family for emails, accusing him of being a “brutal bully” and his mostly black district as being a “disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess.” DDT’s tweet included the accusation that “no human being would want to live” in Cummings’ district. Cummings had criticized DHS Director Kevin McAleenan for his treatment of children in southern border detention centers. DDT continued his hostile, racist tweets throughout the day while he played golf at his own resort at Potomac Falls (VA).

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), 2020 presidential candidate, said that DDT is worse than a racist because he uses race as a weapon. Like Democratic segregationist Alabama governor and presidential candidate George Wallace, DDT uses “racist tropes and racial language for political gains … to divide our national against itself,” Booker said, comparing DDT to the “Know Nothing Party, which was trying to stop Irish and German immigrants” and McCarthyism.

DDT-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the majority of the 100 domestic terrorism arrests thus far this year came from “white supremacist violence,” an increase from last year during DDT’s promotion of racism. Wray also said in his testimony that Russia is determined to interfere in the 2020 election. Canada is adding white supremacists and neo-Nazis to its list of terrorist organizations, but DDT refuses to do the same. The U.S. pursues only foreign people of color on theirs. Both DDT and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refuse to take any action against Russia.

A systematic series of racist comments may not benefit DDT’s campaign: he “crossed the line” with his racist remarks, according to 63 percent of people—in a Fox poll. DDT slammed his former favorite network again after another Fox poll showed Joe Biden ahead of DDT for the presidential race.

Although DDT’s approval ratings went up in 11 Southern states after his racist comments, Charlotte (NC), the city hosting the Republican National Convention next year, passed a resolution, 9-2, condemning DDT’s “racist and xenophobic comments.” The infamous rally audience chanting “send her back” in Greenville (NC) is only 220 miles from Charlotte, the site of the white supremacist rally in 2017 that caused DDT to defend the supremacists. The RNC was accepted with a narrow 6-5 vote. Charlotte probably can’t afford to back out of hosting the GOP, but officials are receiving a number of angry communications about staying with the Republicans.

More bad news for DDT came from the government report that the three-percent GDP growth in 2018 was false. The 1.1 percent growth in the first quarter of 2019 is the slowest movement since President Obama’s second term. Bloomberg reports slower business investment and exports growth because of instability caused by DDT’s tariffs and a steep drop in exports. DDT had promised increases between three and four percent because of tax cuts for the wealthy and big business. Despite their tax cuts, corporations profits fell $18.6 billion in the last quarter of 2018.  

North Korea is still firing short-range ballistic missiles although DDT had consistently declared about his BFF Kim Jong-Un, “[T]here’s no missile testing, there’s no nothing.” In June, John Bolton, DDT’s national security adviser, determined that there’s “no doubt” the North Korean missile launches violated U.N. Security Council resolutions. Pat Shanahan, DDT’s then-acting Defense secretary, agreed. DDT is back in his alternate reality trying to convince people during his campaign that his foreign policy has been successful. And DDT lies about North Korea sending back the remains of fallen service members from war.

After DDT permitted the formerly blacklisted Chinese company Huawei Technologies Co. to sell to the United States, it was discovered that Huawei, the world’s largest telecom equipment manufacturer, secretly helped North Korea to build and maintain the country’s commercial wireless network in possible violation to U.S. sanctions. DDT had blacklisted the company in May but lifted the listing after China gave him right to brand 38 businesses with his name. 

The UK has refused DDT’s request for a multi-national effort to protect non-Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf. Yet the U.S. is not supportive of the UK: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the responsibility “falls to the United Kingdom to take care of their ships.” DDT is left with only autocratic nations for “allies.” His “America First” makes all former U.S. allies afraid of getting involved with the United States in a military conflict. Former British Foreign Secretary Jeffrey Hunt said that his country “will not be part of the U.S. maximum pressure policy on Iran because we remain committed to preserving the Iran nuclear agreement.” New Defense Secretary Mark Esper has figured out that it’s “America Alone” after France and Germany failed to provide military strength in the Gulf.

DDT supports China about the violent mobs beating up Hong Kong protesters opposing a proposal to more easily extradite people to mainland China as a way to target Chinese political opponents. At the recent G20 meeting, DDT promised Chinese President Xi Jinping that he would say nothing about Beijing’s attacks on Hong Kong’s already limited freedoms, and Pompeo stopped a speech by the outgoing U.S. consul general for Hong Kong offering support for protesters on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Ignoring images of the violence, DDT called the protests “relatively nonviolent.” In the United States, DDT damns socialism, but for Hong Kong he supports Communism.

Among his hand-picked journalists, DDT also prefers Communists. Kristian Brunovich Rouz, a reporter for the San Diego-based, DDT-endorsed One America News Network, also works for Russia’s official propaganda outlet, Sputnik, that participated in Russia’s 2016 election interference. Rouz’s reports include fabrications of Hillary Clinton secretly bankrolling antifa, George Soros’ collaboration with Nazis when he was 14 and secretly funding migrant caravans, and other hoaxes. OAN Network, a home for viewers too conservative for the Fox network, is dedicated to conspiracy theories and fake news, especially support of Russia’s global agenda.

DDT started with the claim that Mexico will pay for his wall. He moved on to explain that Mexico will pay for it some day. The next lie was that he was already building the wall, but he has been forced to admit that every inch of “new wall” is to repair the old ones. DDT’s handpicked Supreme Court now ruled 5-4 that he could use $2.5 billion in military funds for his wall, not on the merits but because the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to bring the case. Congress already passed a law that taxpayers will not pay for the wall, their constitutional right.

Another huge DDT whopper this week came from his claim in the Oval Office to Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked DDT to “be a mediator or arbitrator” in the 70+ year dispute between the two countries regarding the Kashmir region. India’s foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar denied DDT’s assertion after members of the Indian parliament demanded Modi to respond. The issue can be resolved only in direct talks with Islamabad, according to India. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, apologized to Jaishankar for DDT’s statement.

In his meeting with Khan, DDT also roiled Afghanistan by saying he could win the war there in a week but he didn’t want to kill ten million people.

“If I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth. It would be gone. It would be over in—literally, in 10 days.”

Afghanistan has demanded an explanation of DDT’s statement. DDT said that Pakistan would help the U.S. to “extricate ourselves” from the war in Afghanistan, and former President Hamid Karzai said DDT had insulted all Afghans. Karzai added that DDT’s comments confirmed suspicions that the U.S. made “secret deals” with Pakistan to undermine Afghanistan’s sovereignty. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, national security adviser for Karzai, said that DDT’s words were “a terrible, racist political message.” The U.S. State Department is not saying anything about DDT’s comments.

DDT vetoed three bills blocking arms sales to Saudi Arabia after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo failed to bypass congressional review in declaring a national security emergency. The Saudis are embroiled in controversy after its conflict in Yemen causing the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis and its murder of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The U.S. sells more weapons to Saudi Arabia than any other country and provides logistical support in Yemen that is starving ten million people. Only a two-thirds majority in both congressional chambers can override DDT’s vetoes. The House may be able to find the votes to block the veto, but the Senate would need a dozen Republicans. Senate Republicans are also at odds with DDT, who wants to protect Turkey after it bought a Russian antimissile system by waived mandatory sanctions.

And that’s DDT’s destruction of foreign policy for the week; domestic issue come next.

July 20, 2019

DDT: Week 130 – Ethical Moves Backward from Space Race

Tweets from Republicans show how they think, and this one from Diamond and Silk, Fox Nation hosts and vloggers, have a doozey:

“Nancy Pelosi said the WORDS that the President used were racist. But those same words are in the Dictionary. Does that mean that the Dictionary is now racist? Should all Dictionaries be banned since Democrats are offended by words?”

When the sisters, strongly supported by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), saw Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) eating chicken to mock AG Bill Barr’s cowardice in not testifying before the House, they called him “racially insensitive.” Ladies, the word “chicken” is in the Dictionary (sic), and one white man was ridiculing another white man. In another foray into stupidity, D&S lambasted Beto O’Rourke for opposing a wall on the southern border because he lives in a house with walls

Dumbness predominates in about 16 million people in the U.S. who don’t believe that two U.S. men walked on the moon 50 years ago. Some of them go farther in a belief that the earth is a flat disc with the Arctic in the center and a 150-foot-tall wall of ice in the Antarctica surrounding the rim. NASA employees guard the wall to keep people from falling off. And gravity is an illusion.

While DDT diverted people with his racism:

The EPA will not ban a pesticide associated with developmental disabilities and other health problems in children, a pesticide banned before DDT was inaugurated. Now permitted for agricultural food use, chlorpyrifos was banned from residential use in 2000 because of causing memory problems, lower IQs, reduced breathing capacity, and increased risks of children born with autism as shown by a study of children living in California. The negative effects are permanent. Last year, a federal court said there was “no justification” for such a decision.

DDT rolled back programs to detect weapons of mass destruction by canceling training exercises and driving out scientists and policy experts. U.S. citizens now face greater risks from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks since DDT appointed James McDonnell as director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office before he was promoted to lead the new Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office. Over 100 people who raised concerns about lack of readiness were taken out of their areas of expertise. Disbanded programs helped law enforcement officials detect potential threats and worked to detect foreign states trying to provide radiological or nuclear material to terrorists.

Not satisfied with getting rid of 80 percent of scientists in two USDA agencies by moving them to Kansas City, DDT has exiled one-fifth of the Interior Department, most of the Bureau of Land Management’s D.C. workforce further from Washington, D.C.—to west of the Rockies where they will be more susceptible to pressure from the fossil fuel industry. DDT is also trying to get rid of the government’s human resources agency, the Office of Personnel Management, planning to “furlough” up to 150 employees if Congress refuses to follow his orders.

The Pentagon tripled its presence on the southern border by sending 1,100 active-duty troops and 1,000 Texas National Guard soldiers to join 2,500 active-duty and 2,000 National Guard troops already there.

AG Bill Barr gave $51,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee immediately before his Senate confirmation hearings for attorney general. Before that, Barr had only occasionally donated to the GOP.

The Agriculture Department blocked the release of a multiyear plan on how to respond to climate change finalized in the early days of the Trump administration. It showed ways for farmers to understand, adapt to, and minimize the effects of climate change.

A defense contractor employee with access to sensitive information threatened to kill Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) because she supported a bill to vaccinate school children. 

The Washington Post has a report on its investigation into how acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is working to create a fiefdom in his goal of deregulating the government. His primary goals are immigration and health care in his work to force out chiefs of staff in these departments. One senior official said that only economic advisor Larry Kudlow and national security adviser John Bolton are not under Mulvaney’s control. He is behind permission for health-care providers, insurers, and employers to refuse coverage for medical services with the excuse of religious and/or moral beliefs, including banning taxpayer-funded clinics from making referrals for abortions.

DDT’s immigration expands its cruelty. When Border Patrol separated parents in a Honduran family, sending one to Mexico and leaving the other in the United States, three-year-old Sofia, who has a heart condition even after surgery, was asked to pick which parent she wanted. The family had already been sent back twice to Mexico. The girl’s mother had seen her mother killed; her sister-in-law, also a witness, was later kidnapped, tortured, and murdered to keep her from testifying.  

U.S. citizen children—at least those appearing to be Latinx—can’t go anywhere without a danger of being kidnapped by the U.S. government.

Thirteen-year-old Heydi has died after hanging herself because her father was turned away from asylum three times. Her father was finally reunited with her daughter after she lay brain-dead in the hospital. 

This is in what some people call the greatest nation in the world. 

GOP quandaries:

DDT has claimed that the U.S. military shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz, but Iran claims that all its drones returned to their home bases. Iran suggests that the U.S. might have shot down one of its own drones. Considering DDT’s history of lying, people might be more likely to believe Iran. The question might be whether DDT is ginning up a war after his week of criticism on his racist attacks.

Democrats took the House partly because they supported health care for people. After spending almost a decade trying to overturn the Affordable Care Act, Judge Richard Leon of D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that ACA doesn’t have to provide for pre-existing conditions. Watch for the Democrats’ campaign ads—and the GOP candidates lying about their positions as Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) in her last campaign when she told people that she voted for pre-existing conditions. Democrats will likely appeal Leon’s decision. Wonder what Republicans will do.

After the House passed a bill by 402 to 12 that made permanent a compensation program for 9/11 responders who contracted diseases linked to exposure, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has tried to block presenting the bill with 75 co-sponsors in the Senate and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) demanded that all cost should be offset by cuts in spending. Paul called the bill’s supporter Jon Stewart, formerly of the The Daily Show, a “guttersnipe” and the legislation a “completely irresponsible” measure with support only because senators are “overwhelmed” by the comedian’s celebrity. The senator said, “If Jon Stewart could read, maybe he’d read the bill and say, ‘Oh my God, who would vote for a bill that doesn’t have a dollar amount in it?’ ” Bad press may have led McConnell to declare that a vote will take place next week. 

The Senate may need to deal with another bill passed by the House that raises the minimum wage to $15 over the next six years and takes between 27 million and 33 million people out of poverty. Accounting for inflation, the wage peaked at $11.79 per hour in 1968

Things for Republicans to deal with:

Texas may gain three to four congressional seats after the census, but only with an accurate count. The state is refusing to fund the census; just a one-percent undercount could cost Texas $300 million in federal funding a year. California, with a population of 40 percent more than Texas, is spending $154 million. Texas can lose billions of dollars with its short sightedness. 

A few positive things:

The House voted to block the sale of billions of dollars of arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirate. DDT had tried to use emergency powers to sidestep Congress for 22 deals worth more than $8 billion.

The 10th Circuit Court has upheld a lower court’s decision that San Juan County (Utah) had violated constitutional rights of residents with racially gerrymandered districts and affirmed the new court-imposed districts. Anglos were upset with new districts that gave the ability of Navajos to be elected after whites had put most of the Navajo residents, 52 percent of the county’s population, into one of the three districts. One of the whites plans to appeal to the entire circuit court.

DDT is at his Bedminster resort with no keepers. Tomorrow may be more tweet-filled. 

July 3, 2019

Reverberations from Dem Debates, G20 Summit

Last week, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) made news overseas while 20 Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential election debated on two different nights. While people have questioned why the debates are almost 18 months before the final election and why so many people debated, the polls show how the four hours of debate may have changed the playing field. Former VP Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) went into the events as clear leaders. Biden came out still ahead but about 12 points down in some polls, and Sanders placed fourth in the latest Quinnipiac poll. Pundits declared Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) clear winners for the two nights.

In a Quinnipiac poll, Harris moved from 7 percent last month to 20 percent, almost tying with Biden who plummeted eight points to 22 percent. An earlier poll from CNN/SSRS showed Harris again in second place with 17 percent, and a Suffolk University/USA Today poll put Warren in third at 13 percent, four points ahead of Sanders. Even worse news for Biden and Sanders came from a Focus on Rural America poll in Iowa putting Warren and Harris at the top with 20 and 18 percent while Biden had 17 percent and Sanders with 12 percent in fourth place.

In last week’s debates, the six women were clearly prepared; they waited for their turn while the men continually interrupted them. On the first night, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said, “I am the only candidate here who has passed a law protecting a woman’s reproductive rights in health insurance and the only candidate who passed a public option.” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) corrected him, “I want to say there are three women up here who fought pretty hard for a woman’s right to choose.”

The biggest loser among the candidates was Biden when he tried to defend his anti-busing position while he was in Congress. After Harris talked about her accomplishments possibly coming from her being in the first class bussed to her school, Biden tried to gloss over his anti-busing votes by defending states’ rights—not a Democratic position—and explaining that she was able to go to another school because local and state governments passed bussing ordinances and laws. The man who justifies his touching women because he wants to comfort them ignored Harris’ pain from her childhood experiences. Biden flat-out lied when he said he didn’t oppose busing in the 1970s and that the Department of Education had ordered it. The Department of Education didn’t exist until 1979; in a 1975 interview, Biden said: 

“I oppose busing. It’s an asinine concept, the utility of which has never been proven to me. I’ve gotten to the point where I think our only recourse to eliminate busing may be a constitutional amendment…. You take people who aren’t racist, people who are good citizens, who believe in equal education and opportunity, and you stunt their children’s intellectual growth by busing them to an inferior school … and you’re going to fill them with hatred.”

At the end of his justification, Biden said, “Anyway, my time is up. I’m sorry.” The comment may refer to his campaign. The day after the debate, he addressed his anti-busing position in a speech at Jesse Jackson’s annual Rainbow PUSH Coalition conference, complaining that “30 seconds to 60 seconds on a campaign debate exchange can’t do justice to a lifetime commitment to civil rights.”

Biden was also hurt by his boasting about working with racist members of Congress, losing him campaign donors. Billionaire Tom McInerney has “pulled back” his support for Biden because of his working with segregationist senators, long supporting the Hyde Amendment, and his weak performing at the first debate. Other wealthy Silicon Valley potential donors ignore Biden because of his age. Earlier in June, DDT-supporting New York supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis turned down Biden’s request for financial help.

The debate featured a serious group of people having a real debate over things that matter. DDT was bored. Asked about the court-order busing solution for segregation, a confused DDT said, “There aren’t that many ways you’re going to get people to schools.”

For several pundits, the biggest loser in the second debate was questioner Chuck Todd who tried to make a name for himself by baiting the participants. None of the candidates took his bait, but he still talked more than six of them, despite being present for only half the debate time. If only he would take the same tack with Republicans on Meet the Press.

The other person who sucked the oxygen out of another important event was Ivanka Trump, who tried to insert herself into every part of the G20 summit. CNN stated that she acted like an “unofficial Secretary of State,” and national security lawyer Carrie Cordero, in a WaPo op-ed, wrote that Trump “broke new ground” even by the low standards of DDT’s administration. Among obvious offenses were her attempts to replace real, qualified diplomats in meetings, her participation in the visit with Kim Jong-Un, her appearance at  Osan Air Base on a visit to troops with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and  the painfully embarrassing effort to interrupt a conversation with UK Prime Minister Theresa May. 

The last episode went viral with a video clip released by the French showing Trump trying to take part in the conversation with May, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and International Monetary Fund Chair Christine Lagarde. May said, “As soon as you start talking about the economic aspect of it though, a lot of people start listening who wouldn’t otherwise listen.” Trump, with her minimal knowledge about women’s empowerment, responded, “And the same with the defense side I think, in terms of the whole ecosystem, it’s been very male dominated.” Lagarde’s expression shows that Trump has made no sense.

The internet exploded with #UnwantedIvanka and tsunamis of parodies photoshopping Trump into classic images from ancient Egypt to the World War II conference in Yalta and the landing with Allied forces on D-Day. She’s even on the moon landing. Tim O’Brien collected many of the tweets. When DDT called her onto the stage and promised that “she’s going to steal the show,” he didn’t know how she would do it.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that “being someone’s daughter actually isn’t a career qualification” and U.S. diplomacy should be left to diplomats instead of handbag designers, and Piers Morgan tried to take on the member of Congress. He answered:

“Could be worse… Ivanka could have been a bar-tender 18 months ago.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s response:

 “Actually, that would make government better – not worse. Imagine if more people in power spent years of their lives actually working for a living. We’d probably have healthcare and living wages by now.”

When Trump wasn’t interrupting people, she gave a talk on “women’s empowerment.” The last time she spoke to the G20, at Berlin in 2017, she was “put on the spot about her father’s attitudes toward women, booed and hissed at by the crowd, and grilled by the moderator about what, exactly, her role is in President Donald Trump’s administration.”  She stated that “we must continue to prioritize women’s economic empowerment and place it at the very heart of the G20 agenda.” Since then, Trump’s father has put a gag rule on the United States as well as the rest of the world that denies women reproductive health care and kills them. He stripped women of protections in the workplace and appointed judges who will carry out his anti-women policies.

Trump noted the male domination of the defense industry while her father denied a UN request for the FBI to investigate Saudi Arabia’s torture and dismemberment of a U.S. journalist and resident because it would jeopardize U.S. weapons sales to the Saudis. The same week that Trump extolled women’s empowerment in the rest of the world, E. Jean Carroll presented a credible claim about DDT’s sexual assault; she is the 24th woman to openly accuse him of sexual misconduct.

DDT’s long history of sexism, reducing women to body parts and following his belief of treating them “like sh*t,” establishing a pattern of behavior for other men. His change in definitions of domestic violence and sexual assault to only physical harm rolled women’s rights back to the mid-20th century and empowers domestic abusers. After 25 years to decreasing, domestic violence murders are on the rise, now four women a day instead of three. Ivanka Trump may enjoy the attention she gets on the stage walking about “women’s empowerment” but her father is destroying it in the United States.

Missing from the G20 Summit was National Security Adviser John Bolton, fond of regime changes, who was instead sent to Mongolia. Really! Instead, Fox network’s Tucker Carlson accompanied DDT to North Korea along with DDT’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband Jared Kushner.

Ivanka called her walk into North Korea “surreal.” This photograph—not photoshopped—shows the surreal (bizarre and freakish) nature of her takeover at the G20 Summit. Is DDT grooming Ivanka for the president of the United States? 

March 7, 2019

23 House Republican Votes Support Prejudice

A House anti-hate resolution passed today with a large majority; only 23 Republicans voted against it, and Rep. Steve King (R-IA), stripped of his committee assignments after his most recent remarks, voted “present.” One Democratic representative was absent. From the initial rebuke of Rep. Olhan Omar (D-MN), the measure was widely broadened, even including a mention of prejudice against sexual minorities.

Republicans supporting prejudice: Andy Biggs (AZ), Mo Brooks (AL), Ken Buck (CO), Ted Budd (NC), Michael Burgess (TX), Liz Cheney (WY), Doug Collins (NY), Mike Conaway (TX), Rick Crawford (AR), Duane Duncan (CA), Louie Gohmert (TX), Paul Gosar (AZ), Tom Graves (GA), Peter King (NY), Doug LaMalfa (CA), Thomas Massie (KY), Steven Palazzo (MA), Mike Rogers (AL), Chip Roy (MD), Greg Steube (FL), Mark Walker (NC), Ted Yoho (FL), and Lee Zeldin (NY). Conservatives are slamming Democrats for supporting anti-Semitism while they protect their own racists and Islamophobes.

RESOLUTION

Condemning anti-Semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values and aspirations that define the people of the United States and condemning anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minorities as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contrary to the values and aspirations of the United States.

Whereas the first amendment to the Constitution established the United States as a country committed to the principles of tolerance and religious freedom, and the 14th amendment to the Constitution established equal protection of the laws as the heart of justice in the United States;

Whereas adherence to these principles is vital to the progress of the American people and the diverse communities and religious groups of the United States;

Whereas whether from the political right, center, or left, bigotry, discrimination, oppression, racism, and imputations of dual loyalty threaten American democracy and have no place in American political discourse;

Whereas white supremacists in the United States have exploited and continue to exploit bigotry and weaponize hate for political gain, targeting traditionally persecuted peoples, including African Americans, Native Americans, and other people of color, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, immigrants, and others with verbal attacks, incitement, and violence;

Whereas the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., taught that persecution of any American is an assault on the rights and freedoms of all Americans;

Whereas on August 11 and 12, 2017, self-identified neo-Confederates, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and Ku Klux Klansmen held white supremacist events in Charlottesville, Virginia, where they marched on a synagogue under the Nazi swastika, engaged in racist and anti-Semitic demonstrations and committed brutal and deadly violence against peaceful Americans;

Whereas a white nationalist murdered nine African American worshipers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on the evening of June 17, 2015, in the hopes of igniting a nationwide race war;

Whereas on October 27, 2018, the perpetrator of the deadliest attack on Jewish people in the history of the United States killed 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue building in Pittsburgh and reportedly stated that he ‘‘wanted all Jews to die’’;

Whereas anti-Semitism is the centuries-old bigotry and form of racism faced by Jewish people simply because they are Jews;

Whereas in 2017 the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported a 37 percent increase in hate crimes against Jews or Jewish institutions and found that attacks against Jews or Jewish institutions made up 58.1 percent of all religious-based hate crimes;

Whereas there is an urgent need to ensure the safety and security of Jewish communities, including synagogues, schools, cemeteries, and other institutions;

Whereas Jews are the targets of anti-Semitic violence at even higher rates in many other countries than they are in the United States;

Whereas it is a foreign policy priority of the United States to monitor and combat anti-Semitism abroad;

Whereas anti-Semitism includes blaming Jews as Jews when things go wrong; calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or extremist view of religion; or making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotyped allegations about Jews;

Whereas Jewish people are subject in the media and political campaigns to numerous other dangerous anti-Semitic myths as well, including that Jews control the United States Government or seek global, political, and financial domination and that Jews are obsessed with money;

Whereas scapegoating and targeting of Jews in the United States have persisted for many years, including by the Ku Klux Klan, the America First Committee, and by modern neo-Nazis;

Whereas accusing Jews of being more loyal to Israel or to the Jewish community than to the United States constitutes anti-Semitism because it suggests that Jewish citizens cannot be patriotic Americans and trusted neighbors, when Jews have loyally served our Nation every day since its founding, whether in public or community life or military service;

Whereas accusations of dual loyalty generally have an insidious and pernicious history, including—

(1) the discriminatory incarceration of Americans of Japanese descent during World War II on their basis of race and alleged dual loyalty;

(2) the Dreyfus affair, when Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish French artillery captain, was falsely convicted of

passing secrets to Germany based on his Jewish background;

(3) when the loyalty of President John F. Kennedy was questioned because of his Catholic faith; and

(4) the post-9/11 conditions faced by Muslim-Americans in the United States, including Islamophobia and false and vicious attacks on and threats to Muslim-Americans for alleged association with terrorism;

Whereas anti-Muslim bigotry entails prejudicial attitudes towards Muslims and people who are perceived to be Muslim, including the irrational belief that Muslims are inherently violent, disloyal, and foreign;

Whereas Muslims and people perceived to be Muslim are subjected to false and dangerous stereotypes and myths including unfair allegations that they sympathize with individuals who engage in violence or terror or support the oppression of women, Jews, and other vulnerable communities;

Whereas in 2017, mosques were bombed in Bloomington, Minnesota, and burned in Austin, Texas, Victoria, Texas, Bellevue, Washington, and Thonotosassa, Florida, and mass attacks on Muslim communities were planned against communities in Islamberg, New York, in 2019, Jacksonville, Florida, in 2017, and Garden City, Kansas, in 2016;

Whereas the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that hate crimes against Muslims or Muslim institutions in the United States increased by over 99 percent between 2014 and 2016;

Whereas attacks motivated by bigotry against those who are Muslim or perceived to be Muslim have substantially increased since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks;

Whereas the violation of an individual’s civil rights based on his or her actual or perceived membership in a particular religious group clearly violates the Constitution and laws of the United States; and

Whereas all Americans, including Jews, Muslims, and Christians and people of all faiths and no faith, have a stake in fighting anti-Semitism, as all Americans have a stake in fighting every form of bigotry and hatred against people based on religion, race, or place of birth and origin:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) rejects the perpetuation of anti-Semitic stereotypes in the United States and around the world, including the pernicious myth of dual loyalty and foreign allegiance, especially in the context of support for the United States-Israel alliance;

(2) condemns anti-Semitic acts and statements as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States;

(3) reaffirms its support for the mandate of the United States Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism as part of the broader policy priority of fostering international religious freedom and protecting human rights all over the world;

(4) rejects attempts to justify hatred or violent attacks as an acceptable expression of disapproval or frustration over political events in the Middle East or elsewhere;

(5) acknowledges the harm suffered by Muslims and others from the harassment, discrimination, and violence that result from anti-Muslim bigotry;

(6) condemns anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against all minorities as contrary to the values of the United States;

(7) condemns the death threats received by Jewish and Muslim Members of Congress, including in recent weeks;

(8) encourages law enforcement and government officials to avoid conduct that raises the specter of unconstitutional profiling against anyone because of their race, religion, nationality, political, or particular social group, including the assignment of blame or targeting members of an entire religious group for increased suspicion, based on the conduct of a single individual or small group of individuals; and

(9) encourages all public officials to confront the reality of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry, as well as historical struggles against them, to ensure that the United States will live up to the transcendent principles of tolerance, religious freedom, and equal protection as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the first and 14th amendments to the Constitution.

Now the House needs to determine whether policy discussions, such as the U.S.-Israel relationship, can be defined as anti-Semitism.

February 2, 2019

How Facebook Damages Our Future

Love it or hate it, Facebook is ubiquitous around the world—making Mark Zuckerberg a multi-billionaire and helping elect Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to the highest office in the United States. On Monday, February 4, it celebrates its 15th anniversary. With over 2.2 billion active users, Facebook has devastated people through the ability to “defriend” others and been the cause of millions of cyberattacks, especially among teenagers. A prevalence of violence, hate speech, and fake news has caused concerned people to look for solutions, but no one, not even creator Zuckerberg, knows how to counteract the negative aspects of Facebook.

Zuckerberg’s early use of social media was well known when he attended Harvard University, according to a piece by Claire Hoffman published ten years ago in Rolling Stone. In 2002, sophomore Zuckerberg got drunk after his girlfriend dumped him and hacked into the university websites. He downloaded female classmates’ photographs and put them next to ones of farm animals for people to rate which ones were more desirable. Pleased with himself, he blogged the process along the way. More than 450 people signed up before Harvard tracked the source and shut off Zuckerberg’s web access. In a hearing, he was accused of violating student privacy and downloading school property without permission. The praise he gained from his peers taught him a lesson that he recorded in a deposition:

“People are more voyeuristic than what I would have thought.”

After Zuckerberg launched Facebook, three classmates sued him, arguing that he stole their invention of a social-networking site after they hired him to code their creation. Zuckerberg liked the idea but dragged his heels in completing his agreement, finally telling them that they should get another programmer. He claimed that he probably didn’t start his own Facebook until after that, but he used his classmates prototype for Facebook. Zuckerberg also failed to tell his former employers that he officially registered the original Facebook site with his web provider before he told the three employers that he couldn’t finish the project. A fourth classmate said that he had already invented an online facebook. On his launch of his Facebook on February 4, 2004, he described himself as “Founder, Master and Commander [and] Enemy of the State.”

In Silicon Valley, Zuckerberg continued to take advantage of people. Former suite-mate Eduardo Saverin gave him $20,000 as a co-investor in Facebook but stayed in New York while Zuckerberg played and worked in Palo Alto. When they had a falling out, Zuckerberg sued Saverin, claiming that he froze Facebook’s bank accounts. Saverin sued, claiming that Zuckerberg never matched his $20,000 and that he used Saverin’s money for personal expenses. Zuckerberg transferred all intellectual-property rights and membership interests to a new version of the company in Delaware, unhinged Saverin’s stock from any further Facebook growth, and fired Saverin as an employee. Then, as now, Zuckerberg let no one stand in his way.

In 2007, Zuckerberg did lose one round—with his users. He sold advertisers Beacon, a program allowing them to put information about users’ purchasers on their Facebook identity. The ensuing revolt made him back off. At the same time, those close to him started to leave him. Lawyers accused Zuckerberg of hiding the code to create Facebook, and key data was missing when the hard drives were final found.

In 2015, a DDT-supporting data company, Cambridge Analytica, took personal data from tens of millions of Facebook profiles without their consent to collect voting patterns, supposedly at the request of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and for support of DDT during the 2016 presidential campaigns. Once again, Zuckerberg apologized for the “leak” that occurred when Facebook allowed a Cambridge University researcher to persuade users to share both their own and their friends’ user data. He said that Facebook stopped letting app creators access data about “friends” without their authorization, but the damage was done, damage that wasn’t discovered until after the 2016 election.

As users burgeoned, Zuckerberg used his “social media” to promote conspiracy theories and pass along misinformation, some of which greatly influenced voters. A Russian company bought Facebook ads for the 2016 presidential election. Zuckerberg enabled hate groups to proselytize, for example his selling ads targeting Facebook users self-identified as “Jew Haters.” Zuckerberg excused himself by claiming that users are self-reporting the data, seemingly ignoring his claim that his algorithms can detect and eliminate hate speech.

In one example of dangerous conspiracies promoted on Facebook, “Pizzagate” made up a story before the 2016 election that Hillary Clinton was running a child trafficking operation out of a Washington, D.C. pizza place. One believer showed up at the restaurant, waving a gun and demanding the children. The ridiculous and thoroughly debunked claim recently reemerged with an act of arson in the restaurant. Facebook’s mechanisms can radicalize users to support these conspiracy groups. Like gravitates to like, as Renée DiResta, a researcher of disinformation online, explains:

“Facebook’s recommendation engine says, ‘If you like pseudoscience, I’ll show you chemtrails and flat earth.’ Because of the increase of ominous conspiracies, you’re seeing groups around these conspiracy theories like QAnon or pizzagate being referred to people who would never search for them in the first place.”

Facebook’s “Suggested Groups” includes “Pizzagate Reports,” with this vivid photo-shopped image. From there, people are encouraged to move to groups such as “Real UFO Sightings & Strange Phenomenon,” “Official Flat Earth & Globe Discussion,” and “Q Angels.” While condemning misinformation and “fake news,” Zuckerman defends these groups, as well as Infowars, on his powerful social media. He said he would not ban Infowars although it shares “conspiracy theories or false news” and said that “there are things that different people get wrong—I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong.” He plans to leave up offensive or deliberately inaccurate posts but downgrade them so that algorithms show them to fewer people. Although Zuckerberg claims that he’ll take down misinformation that incites violence, Pizzagate is still up, and the restaurant is still being threatened with posts on Facebook bragging about frightening the owner to readers’ praise.

Last year, investigators discovered that Facebook uses “ethnic affinity” (aka race) that then permitted advertisers to target or exclude users based on this category. This Facebook characteristic allowed advertisers to deny opportunities for housing and employment. Zuckerberg claimed that he couldn’t see the impact of this category, and backlash caused Facebook to stop using this category—supposedly. Facebook’s abetting racism is profitable because every user is a possible source of revenue for the corporation. The more users, the more ads, and the more user insight to generate money for Facebook.

As Zuckerberg promises to fix one Facebook scam, he creates another. Facebook is secretly paying people to install a “Facebook Research” VPN allowing the company to obtain all the user’s phone and web activity, like Facebook’s Onavo Protect app that Apple banned in June. That one was removed in August. The new Facebook approach may violate Apple policy because the social network can decrypt and analyze the users’ phone activity. Since 2016, Facebook paid users ages 13 to 35 up to $20 per month and more in referral fees to install this iOS or Android app. To hide its involvement with “Facebook Research,” Facebook documented the app as “Project Atlas” and administers the program through beta testing services Applause, BetaBound and uTest. Instagram and Snapchat ads for VPN run by uTest targeted teens 13-17 years old for a “paid social media research study” and promise compensation.

Apple blocked the app the day before Facebook promised to voluntarily pull it from Apple but continue to run the Android version. Collected data includes private messages in social media apps, chats from in instant messaging apps, photos/videos sent to others, emails, web searches, web browsing activity, and ongoing location information from tracking apps. It works whether users’ screens and the VPN are on or off. Facebook claimed that the program is to learn how people use their phones and other services. The spokesperson said, “We don’t share this information with anyone.”

Zuckerberg plans to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, originally independent companies. The result may be more privacy issues because WhatsApp currently doesn’t require a person’s identity, just a telephone number. It also doesn’t store messages and keeps minimal user data. Disturbed by the change, employees at all these companies are leaving. Facebook will also have additional problems in finding and stopping illicit activity and disinformation. WhatsApp blocked disinformation before the Brazilian presidential election by limiting the number of times a message could be forwarded.

In the past, I’ve worried about negative effects of Facebook usage, especially on teens. Studies show problems with self-esteem, feelings of envy, dissatisfaction, narcissism, antisocial behavior, and aggressiveness. Those concerns have moved to fears about radicalization of the far-right and control of elected officials. And Zuckerman just keeps apologizing and raking in the billions with new scams.

January 14, 2019

H.R. 1:  Imagine If the Swamp Really Got Drained

Day 24 of the government shutdown: A record-breaking snowfall has shut down Washington while Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) left on a trip to New Orleans to speak at the National Farm Bureau Federation. He told them he liked farmers and that everything would be fine with the shutdown before he launched into a gory description of a woman attack at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Fox network cut away from the speech after DDT began talking about how undocumented immigrants appear at court hearings are “not smart.” Demonstrators outside the convention center chanted “lock him up.” Earlier DDT tweeted that his speech was in Nashville (TN). [Left: The Korean War Memorial, Kevin Ambrose]

In a Washington Post-ABC News poll, a majority of people opposes the wall (54 percent) and blames DDT and the GOP for the shutdown (53 percent). The new CNN poll is higher—56 percent opposing a wall and 55 percent blaming the GOP. Opposition to the declaration of a national emergency to build a wall is at 66 percent, but only 24 percent believes DDT’s description of a “crisis” at the Mexico border.

Those who claim that DDT is not a racist should note how he made his case for wall with his tweet touting Pat Buchanan’s recent column:

“The more multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual America becomes—the less it looks like Ronald Reagan’s America—the more dependably Democratic it will become. The Democratic Party is hostile to white men, because the smaller the share of the U.S. population that white men become, the sooner that Democrats inherit the national estate.”

Nothing says GOP like the color white.

My favorite shutdown story of the week: Today Kate Brown, elected twice for Oregon governor, was sworn in. Three days ago, she tweeted the story of how her husband, Dan Little, recently cleaned up a bathroom at the Mt. Hood National Forest Sno-Park southeast of Portland. This photo shows what the public does to public spaces if there is no staff to clean up after them. Little cleaned up the bathroom, hauled off the trash, and then sent a bill of $28 for “Trash Removal” to DDT. Like other national parks, Sno-Park is still open with the public leaving trash and human waste everywhere. The story is an example of how people care about their surroundings even if others don’t mind making them into a pigsty.

Instead of working to open the federal government, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) scheduled a third week trying to give states the right to discriminate against companies that boycott Israel. McConnell is sticking to his program of not putting forward any bills that DDT doesn’t like.

DDT may be backing off on his suggestion of declaring a “national emergency” to get his wall. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) always echoes DDT’s approach. A few days ago, he said “Build a wall!” Last Sunday, he went to the “last option” statement. The House conservative Freedom Caucus also opposes the emergency excuse because of legal standoffs and the strategy leading to tactics for Medicare for all or other progressive “emergency” ideas. Meanwhile DDT sat in the White House last weekend and waited for Democrats to come to him and give him his wall while legislators in both parties went home for the weekend. The House has already approved four funding bills to reopen parts of the government.

Two more weeks of the shutdown will cost the U.S. economy more than building the DDT’s vanity wall. If the government shutdown lasts another two weeks, the total cost to the U.S. economy would exceed the price of building the proposed border wall. In this estimate, S&P Global Ratings included lost productivity by furloughed workers and dropping sales for government contractors. No paychecks for 800,000 federal workers or IRS tax refunds equals at last $2 billion per week, according to Wells Fargo analysts. The 16-day shutdown in 2013 cut 0.4 percent from the fourth quarter GDP that year.

During DDT’s campaign, people believed his lie that he wants to help the working people. The shutdown is another example of how he has no concern for the plight for the workers; he’s ruining federal workers in the same way that he has spent decades cheating the people who worked for his business by refusing to pay for their work. He claims that he needs to keep his promise to get the wall—skipping the part of the promise about Mexico paying for the wall—but he has broken his promise to coal miners who have lost health protections, safety, wages, and even their jobs, just to mention a few ways that he has cheated his base.

Although Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) accuses the Democrats of inaction, the House has already passed four bills to open the government and fund several of the agencies. In addition, the House added these new rules to its operations: a ban on members serving on corporate boards, a requirement that members take ethics training every year, and a ban on employment discrimination against LGBTQ staffers and jobseekers. In the first few days, the House also created For the People Act, H.R.1, the number given to the bill considered the most important of the session. Provisions of this bill are intended to overcome the travesties of GOP actions in the 21st century–i.e., to “drain the swamp.” DDT’s and the GOP behavior has given an extensive list of ideas for reform. Following are some of the bill’s provisions:

Voting Rights

Access:

  • Removes barriers to the ballot box such as difficult registration systems and limited voting hours.
  • Creates nationwide automatic voter registration.
  • Restores voting fights to people who complete felony sentences.
  • Expands voting by mail.
  • Mandates a minimum of two weeks for early voting with locations accessible by public transportation.
  • Eliminate postage for absentee ballots.
  • Guarantees that ballots cast in the wrong precinct but within the home county will be counted.
  • Requires all provisional ballots to be counted.
  • Prevents states from imposing restrictions on voting by mail.
  • Creates options for same-day and online registration.
  • Designate colleges and universities as registration agencies.
  • Make Election Day a holiday for federal workers.

Integrity:

  • Affirms congressional right to restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which granted the Justice Department veto power over jurisdictions with histories of voting discrimination.
  • Confirms the federal government’s power to protect Native American voting.
  • Prohibits voter roll purges by overturning a 2018 Supreme Court ruling that put the onus on voters instead of government to keep registrations up to date.
  • Ends partisan gerrymandering by requiring a nonpartisan redistricting commission in every state.

Security:

  • Eliminates involvement in elections by foreign countries.
  • Pays for modernized voting systems.
  • Supports voting system security including paper ballots.
  • Increases oversight over election vendors.

Campaign Finance

Disclosure:

  • Requires super PACs and other organizations involved in political activity to disclose donors giving more than $10,000.
  • Mandates that large digital platforms maintain a public archive of all political ads and prevent foreigners from directly or indirectly buying ads.
  • Requires government contractors and presidential inaugural committees to disclose their political spending.

Empowerment:

  • Creates a multiple matching system for small donations.
  • Reaffirms congressional authority of regulation of money in politics.
  • Asserts that Citizens United was wrongly decided by the Supreme Court and Congress has authority to regulate campaign contributions and expenditures.

Oversight: 

  • Bans the use of shell companies that funnel foreign money into U.S. campaigns and campaign contributions from corporations with significant foreign ownership.
  • Calls for the IRS to create new rules for non-profit political spending.
  • Defines a “coordinated” expense among political allies.

Enforce existing laws:

  • Tightens rules on super PACs.
  • Restructures the Federal Election Commission to break gridlock and enhance its enforcement mechanisms.
  • Repeals Senate riders that prevent government agencies from requiring commonsense disclosure of political spending.

Ethics and Accountability

Fortification of Ethics Law:

  • Expands conflict of interest law and divestment requirements.
  • Prevents members of Congress from serving on corporate boards
  • Requires presidential candidates to disclose ten years of tax returns.

Greater Ethics Enforcement:

  • Overhauls the Office of Government Ethics.
  • Provides sufficient resources to watchdogs to enforce the law.
  • Creates a code of ethics for the Supreme Court to govern conflicts of interest and recusals.
  • Requires that ethics waivers be publicly disclosed.
  • Governs possible conflicts of interest from previously received political contributions.
  • Gives the director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) final approval over executive branch recusals, exemptions, or waivers from ethics laws or regulations.
  • Allows the OGE to investigate violations of ethics laws and author to provide remedies.
  • Limits the President’s ability to remove the director of OGE only for cause.

Foreign lobbying:

  • Closes registration loopholes for lobbyists and foreign agents.
  • Gives the OGE authority to levy civil fines for offenders.

Reading through this wish list of reforms, people will claim that Republicans will never agree—and they are right. The GOP of the 21st century knows that they cannot elect their candidates if everyone votes. That’s the reason that they violate ethics, codes of conduct, conflicts of interest, fair voting practices, transparent donations—in short, cheat to get their own way. Republicans no longer believe in democracy; they just want to get their own way. [Caveat: if the GOP embrace these ideas, I will profusely apologize.]

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