Nel's New Day

July 19, 2022

Insurrection Hearing Preview, Other News

Tomorrow will be the results from the Maryland primary, the only one in July, and Friday will be the eighth hearing from the House January 6 investigative committee regarding the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. After that a bit of catch up on the week’s happenings. 

Scheduled for 8:00 EST on July 21, the hearing, shown on all major networks except Fox, focuses on Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) as he took no action for 187 minutes during the violent attacks on the Capitol and the people inside. Witnesses include former White House aides.

Matthew Pottinger, a member of DDT’s National Security Council who resigned on the night of January 6, 2021, was in the White House for much of January 6, 2021. Former White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews also resigned soon after the insurrection, saying she “was deeply disturbed by what I saw.” She added, “Our nation needs a peaceful transfer of power.” Pottinger made his decision to quit when he read DDT’s tweet about former VP Mike Pence lacking the courage to do “what should have been done.”

Another person who might provide information about the heated December 18, 2020 White House meeting, Garrett Ziegler, was former aide to then-White House economic adviser Peter Navarro. Once fanatically loyal to DDT, Ziegler connected the White House and a collection of lawyers and conspiracy mongers. He circumvented then Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to bring Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn, and former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne into the White House for the six-hour meeting which turned into a shouting match with proposals such as DDT invoking the Insurrection Act, ordering the National Guard to seize voting machines and re-run elections in states with narrow majorities for Biden. Instead of performing his position’s duties, Ziegler also put together a three-volume, 36-page report for Peter Navarro that manipulated statistics to “prove” DDT couldn’t have lost the 2020 election.

The first seven hearings presented live testimony for over a dozen witnesses and provided clips of recorded depositions from another 40 witnesses, including DDT’s family, former administration officials, GOP officials from key battleground states, and DDT’s legal team. The House committee’s chair, Bennie Thompson (D-MS), cannot attend the eighth hearing in person because he is isolating after testing positive for COVID.

The July 18 hearing was supposedly the last, but information keeps pouring in and more people volunteer testimony. The scheduled final report in September will now be a “scaled-back” interim report, according to Thompson, and more hearings may be scheduled. The hard deadline is January 3, 2023, when the next Congress is sworn in.

The committee has also found DDT’s campaign operative who delivered the January 6 false elector list: Mark Roman gave the names to a House GOP aide, trying to get them to then-VP Mike Pence. Roman gave signed false elector certificates from Michigan and Wisconsin to Rep. Mike Kelly’s (R-PA) chief of staff who deputized a colleague to disseminate copies on Capitol Hill. The lists never got to Pence, and he refused to go along with the scheme.

At the July 12 hearing, millions of people learned about Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) attempting to tamper with a witness, but he has a history of this witness tampering:

After DDT fired FBI Director James Comey, DDT told NBC’s Lester Holt in an interview that he did it to stop the investigation into “this Russia thing,” the ongoing investigations into his campaign’s possible involvement with Russia in the 2016 election.

Comey reported that DDT leaned on him to go easy on Michael Flynn, former national security adviser who pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. DDT said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy.” After Flynn was convicted, DDT pardoned him following his presidential loss in 2020.

DDT’s personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen saved DDT many times in shady activities, including paying off Stormy Daniels for her silence about her sexual relationship with DDT. A DDT lawyer Rudy Giuliani emailed Cohen that he should “sleep well” because “you have friends in high places.” Another DDT lawyer told Cohen he might get a pardon “if he stayed on message.” Cohen flipped and testified to Congress in 2019 about his concern that if DDT loses the 2020 election, “there will never be a peaceful transition of power.”  

No charges came from Robert Mueller’s investigation of DDT’s Russia contacts, but the final report listed ten cases in which DDT tried to interfere with the inquiry, including DDT’s attempts to fire Mueller from the special counsel investigation. DDT’s supporters claimed the investigation showed DDT’s innocence, but Mueller concluded, “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

After permitting Meadows to escape a subpoena from the House committee for months, the DOJ declared the subpoenas for testimony and documents from the DDT’s former White House chief of staff should be executed. A landmark filing states that former advisers to presidents who have left office are not “absolutely immune” from congressional subpoenas after the president they served leaves office based on need and inability to get it anyplace else. Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger III, plans to go to the judge to persuade him he has made a mistake.

Meadows survived his illegal registrations in multiple states, but DDT’s lawyers may make him the “fall guy” for attempts to overturn the 2020 election, according to Rolling Stone. The House committee is also investigating his financial dealings to add to the list of unethical and possibly illegal actions he took for DDT. He’s disliked by other DDT-world veterans; some view him “as a two-faced man prone to double-dealing and simply telling people what they want to hear.” They also hold him responsible for endangering them with his lack of COVID supervision in the White House. DDT himself has moved into comments about how he wasn’t always aware of what Meadows did after the election or Biden’s inauguration, DDT’s version of hardly knowing a person when he is tossing them under the bus. Former DDT lawyer Ty Cobb, who has turned on DDT, believes “criminal prosecutions are possible.”

In amazing bipartisanship, the House passed the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill protecting marriage equality with a vote of 267 to 157 including 47 GOP representatives—over 20 percent of the Republican membership. Several of these seem to be running in redistricted areas that may have a larger population of LGBTQ residents. Legislation repeals the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The law has stayed on the books after a court struck it down. The bill directs the federal government to recognize a marriage valid in a state where it was performed, protecting same-gender marriages in the approximately 30 states prohibiting them. Without this bill, the six Supremes could destroy marriage in these states by overturning Obergefell v. Hodges. Same-gender couples would have legal protections such as giving the attorney general the authority to guarantee all states recognize public acts, records, and judicial proceedings for out-of-state marriages.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said that the bill wasn’t needed, that it was “political messaging.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been leading the charge to overturn marriage equality, and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY called him unhinged. Cruz is likely readying himself for a presidential run in 2024.

In a Delaware courtroom, Twitter requested an order for Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, to finish his promised $44 billion purchase of the company. Musk won a case for Tesla in the same court last year against the company’s shareholders. The Court of Chancery, composed of seven judges appointed by the governor, has jurisdiction over corporate law determining actions, not finances.

DDT may have profited by $300 million through the leaking of a deal regarding DDT’s social media company to an obscure Miami investment firm. The result of the leak was soaring share prices. Federal prosecutors and regulators are investigating the merger between Digital World and Trump Media, and the SEC is considering whether whether to block the merger. A federal grand jury in Manhattan has issued subpoenas seeking information from the Miami firm. Without the deal, Trump Media could lose $1.3 billion.

The owner of Main Street Armory, a New-York based venue, is canceling the “Reawaken America” tour next month because of community concern regarding white supremacists. The tour has already gone through Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas. Far-right- extremist speakers from QAnon groups have included MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, InfoWars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Roger Stone, and former U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Christian leaders stated it “promotes Christian nationalism that pushes ‘anti-democratic, pro-violence and Q-Anon-inspired ideology.'” The two-day sessions focus on DDT’s “Big Lie” and COVID misinformation in Jesus’s name with some of the speakers involved in planning and executing the January 6 insurrection.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has saved Biden from another horrible mistake. Thirty years after Biden led the committee endorsing Clarence Justice for a lifetime Supreme Court position, he offered to make a deal for another lifetime judicial anti-abortion appointee in exchange for Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Senators can block any judicial appointment from their home state, saving Biden from embarrassment when McConnell failed to live up to any agreement with a Democrat.

May 14, 2022

Ukraine Makes Progress against Russia

The U.S. Pentagon has newly captured Russian war plans and documents showing that its president, Vladimir Putin, “is in a corner, not just in Ukraine where his army is failing, but also in facing an existential threat from Europe, now even more united because of his missteps.” It appears “Odesa [Ukraine’s third largest city] is safe from Putin’s army and from coastal landings.” Also abandoned is advancement on Mykolaiv, and Ukraine has slowed Russia’s offensive efforts on the west bank of the Dnieper. Russian reinforcements have little fighting spirit while Ukraine displays high morale and excellent command.

Russia recognizes the possibility of Ukrainian victory both on the battlefield and in its change into a western Army as an expansion of NATO. Ukrainians may have won the “battle of Kharkiv,” blocking Russian troops from encircling and seizing the country’s second largest city. Russians attacking from Popasna in the north have made no progress and lack fresh combat power to offset huge losses. Russians plan to withdraw and return its forces home.

Ukrainians destroyed a Russian tank battalion trying to cross the Donets River on a pontoon bridge with possibly 1,500 Russians dead and up to 70 vehicles either burned or fallen into the water. The surviving 30 vehicles and Russian troops are stranded on the other side of the river in the third Ukrainian attack in three days.

Sean Spoonts, editor-in-chief of the military news outlet SOFREP, estimates Russia will run out of forces and equipment within 90 days. He added that figure could be optimistic. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also believes Putin doesn’t want a direct conflict with NATO.

Putin has appeared ill for several months, and a KGB defector to Britain, Boris Karpichkov, said he suffers from Parkinson’s disease, a stroke, and possibly dementia. At an April 22 meeting, he clung to a small table for over 13 minutes, perhaps to conceal tremors or vertigo. The press recently reported an authenticated audio recording from an oligarch close to the Kremlin describing Putin as “very ill with blood cancer.” The change of his facial appearance from gaunt to puffy is “compatible with steroid use,” according to Ashley Grossman. He explained that steroids are typically prescribed for various kinds of lymphoma or myeloma, cancer of the plasma cells, which “can cause widespread bone disease and definitely affect the spinal column and back.” A Russian coup to replace Putin may be underway.

Even Putin’s allies and state media admit his army is an embarrassment. State Duma member Semyon Bagdasarov called him a pariah fighting a war of aggression:

“Everyone is ashamed to talk about this topic … It’s a crying shame!”

On May 6, analyst Konstantin Sivkov said on Russian State TV show, “The Evening with Vladimir Solovyov” that “current economic market system is unfit to meet the needs of our Armed Forces and of the entire country under these conditions.” He pushed for “military socialism,” putting “all strategic resources—including land and factories—under the direct control of the government to better fund the war.”

Without martial law, Putin cannot force soldiers into his Ukrainian war. Troops refusing to fight can be dismissed but not prosecuted and are looking for advice to stay out of the battle. Using volunteers or conscripts will only increase losses with untrained troops.

On Russia’s 60 Minutes, retired Colonel Mikhail Khodaryonok said that even “mass mobilization in Russia wouldn’t help alter the course of Putin’s stalled invasion of Ukraine.” Fighter aviation would take until New Year’s, and ships require two years. Even tanks can’t be built in fewer than 90 days. Khodaryonok added that nothing would be “equipped with modern weaponry because we don’t have modern weapons and equipment in our reserves … Sending people armed with weapons of yesteryear into a war of the 21st century to fight against global standard NATO weapons would not be the right thing to do.”

U.S.-led sanctions make Russia struggle to find parts for military equipment production. Technology exports from the U.S. have fallen by almost 70 percent. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo reported that some equipment is “filled with semiconductors that they took out of dishwashers and refrigerators.”

According to an intercepted telephone call between two Russians, the authorities in Ukraine’s occupied city of Donetsk are throwing thousands of their dead soldiers in a secret dump and then charging family and friends money to find them. The caller reluctantly explained that a soldier has been found after missing for a month after the dead man’s “sister went to Donetsk, and there, basically, roughly speaking, is a dump”:

“They just toss them there. And then later it’s easier to make as if they disappeared without a trace. It’s easier for them to pretend they are just missing, and that’s it…. There’s nowhere left to place them. It’s a dump. I’m telling you in plain Russian—a dump. It’s as tall as a person. [The site is] fenced off, sealed, they don’t let anyone in.”

Local authorities let the woman find her brother after she paid “good money” and then “they rearranged it until she found [the body.]” Al Jazeera released footage of refrigerated train cars holding unclaimed bodies of Russian troops killed in Ukraine. Putin won’t take the bodies back to Russia to hide the horrific death toll. Russians admit the deaths of only 1,300 military members in its “special military operation”; Ukraine’s estimates Russian death toll at about 26,000.

Ukraine will try a 21-year-old Russian soldier for war crimes, accusing him of killing an unarmed 62-year-old village resident in the northeastern region of Sumy. The man was pushing a bicycle along the road before he was shot in the head and “died on the spot a few dozen meters from his home.” The soldier said he was told his unit would have military exercises in Russia about 200 miles from Ukraine and was later captured in Ukraine when his column tried to take wounded soldiers back to Russia. Ukraine have opened over 5,000 cases connected to war crimes and crimes of aggression and filed charges against ten Russian soldiers in absentia for war crimes in Bucha after discovery of torture and mutilation.

Lithuania is the first country to declare Russia a terrorist country because of genocide. The UN reported accelerating numbers of Russian human trafficking, rape, and other sexual violence in Ukraine. Ukrainians forced into “filtration” camps in Russia endure strip searches, interrogations, and theft of their vital documents. Those suspected of Ukrainian sympathies are tortured and perhaps “disappeared.” On one day, May 13, 8,787 people deported from Ukraine including 1,106 children, according to Russian media.

Putin’s state TV has created more fantasies about the reasons for the invasion: “black magic” practiced by the troops, and President Volodymyr Zelensky’s non-existent drug use. These add to the falsehood of Ukraine’s prevalence of neo-Nazis.

The Finnish Parliament’s defense committee recommended NATO membership, and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin agree in an historical shift of security policy for the traditionally nonaligned Nordic country. NATO will likely pave the way to the year-long process. Russia threatens with “to retaliatory steps.” Neighboring Sweden is also expected to follow Finland’s lead. The expansions would double NATO’s land border with Russia, increasing the military alliance’s frontier to the far north and around the Baltic Sea.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may not block Finland and Sweden from NATO, but the Turkish authoritarian leader isn’t happy about the addition because “Scandinavian countries are guesthouses for terrorist organizations.” All 30 NATO members must approve any additions. Erdoğan is actually upset about Scandinavian support for Kurdish militants who he calls terrorists and because he approved Greece before it took “an attitude against Turkey.”

The U.S. has delivered the first of 11 helicopters as part of its “lend-lease” agreement. The Mi-17 transport aircraft, once earmarked for Afghanistan, are primarily used for personnel transport but can be armed with rockets and cannons for use in close air support situations.

The food shortage in the world has become worse after India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer with about ten percent of the world’s reserves, banned its exports with a few exceptions. Both Ukraine and Ukraine are major suppliers of wheat, but Black Sea fighting and blockades interrupted transport of any existing supplies. China’s drought caused poor harvests there, and the U.S. harvest is hurting from its heat wave and rising temperatures. Large port cities such as Odesa are storing about 25 million tons of staple grains such as corn, wheat, maize, and barley. Destined for the international market, the badly need food is stranded, and Russia has not reacted to pleas for lifting the blockade.

Not to be outdone by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who took a delegation of Democrats to meet in Ukraine with Zelensky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took his own three-Republican delegation for the same purpose. The trip was soon after one of McConnell’s GOP caucus, the other Kentucky senator Rand Paul, blocked the House bill to provide $40 billion in aid to the beleaguered nation. In 2019, Joe Scarborough labeled McConnell “Moscow Mitch.” The then-Senate Majority Leader blocked two bills to stop foreign influence in U.S. elections the day after special counsel Robert Mueller testified that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

According to Fox’s biggest voice, Tucker Carlson, U.S. aid to Ukraine is revenge for Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the 2016 presidential election. Ukrainians “are merely unfortunate pawns,” according to Carlson, and “we arm Ukraine so that we can punish Russia … for stealing Hillary Clinton’s coronation.” He asserted that the U.S. doesn’t want to save lives or protect Ukraine—just create regime change in Russia as “payback.”

Nick Cohen wrote about Carlson’s—and his employer Rupert Murdoch’s—support of Russian atrocities:

“Murdoch is boosting Russian morale and, conversely, undermining Ukrainian resolve by supplying a dictatorship with foreign validation. Do not underestimate its importance. Russians who suspect their TV anchors are state-sponsored bootlickers are more likely to believe foreign commentators who assure them that the lies they are hearing are true.”

Maria Alyokhina, lead singer for Russian feminist arts collective and punk rock band Pussy Riot, escaped from Russia after three years of house arrest for criticizing Putin. The group plans a 19-show European tour to raise money for Ukrainian war victims. Alyokhina took that step after Russia announced she would have to serve 21 days in a penal colony. She said that Russia, not Ukraine, needs de-Nazification.

May 12, 2022

Baby Formula Shortage, Indian Board School Abuse, More

The news keeps rolling in.

First, a bit about the serious shortage of baby formula while the Supreme Court will mandate an increased “domestic supply of infants” (words from Justice Samuel Alito) by overturning Roe v. Wade. Brigid Kennedy cites two reasons: the problematic supply chain and the FDA closure of a major manufacturing plant from recalls of three powdered baby formula brands because of bacterial infections. At least four babies were hospitalized and two died after drinking the products from Abbott Laboratories. The FDA is working with manufacturers to increase production and prioritize product supply lines, but conservatives blame the FDA for not taking action. 

Kennedy skipped a third problem—hoarding. During the shortages in 2020, parents hoarded baby formula. When sufficient supply was manufactured, demand fell while parents used their hoarded product, and manufacturers cut back production. After the hoard disappeared, parents went back to buying baby formula, but the manufacturers weren’t ready for the demand. Canada isn’t a good source because the new U.S. North American trade agreement under Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) discourages formula imports from Canadians.

Conservatives want all the needs of people in the U.S. to be produced within its borders, and President Joe Biden tries to accommodate this demand and support U.S. manufacturing. Yet domestic producers such as Abbott, which had the bacterial infestation, hold buyers captive for prices and availability. Reducing trade with other countries then makes people in the U.S. more vulnerable to emergencies such as baby formula shortages. Narrow trade policies and pandemic hoarding have led to crises in availability of supplies.

Male conservatives are giving solutions after they finally figured out the baby formula shortage is a problem:

Just change brands: (a) that might also not be available; and (b) the host of side effects could cause health problems for an infant.

Use regular milk: cow’s milk before the 12-month mark can lead to serious issues—intestinal bleeding, kidney problems from too many proteins and minerals, and lack of nutrients for thriving infants.  

Shop on Amazon: not really a guarantee in a time of shortages, especially with suddenly canceled or pushed-back shipments, not to mention price-gouging.  

Congressional Republicans lambast Biden for doing nothing—although he is—while they sit back and taken no action. Oh yes, they are having a hearing on the baby formula shortage—in two weeks.

Abbott did well under DDT, able to make a $3 billion buyback of stocks. Last October, a whistleblower reported that its Michigan plant needed repair and claimed Abbott had lax cleaning procedures, falsified records, and hid information from FDA. The FDA issued a recall of Abbott’s product in February 2022. Abbott is one of three baby formula manufacturers largely controlling the industry in the U.S.

“Pro-life” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has an answer for obtaining more baby formula: he demands that Biden withhold it from any migrants in U.S. custody. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) agrees.

After over a half century, the U.S. reports on the hundreds of thousands of Indigenous children taken from their homes for 150 years between 1819 to 1969 and put into Indian boarding schools. Developed by Thomas Jefferson, the racist violent system was intended to assimilate Native Americans and take their territories, according to the Interior Department. Over 500 of these children died in only 19 boarding schools after their kidnapping, and this report is only the first step for Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s Federal Indian Board School Initiative’s investigation.

Included in the report are recommendations for more investigation, additional funding, and a repository for information gathered by federal agencies and private institutions. Also requested is more funding for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), the federal law that regulates the repatriation of Indigenous remains. Haaland also wants to use the report for ways to overcome the trauma of family separation such as mental health services and language revitalization. Recent studies show adults attending the schools when children suffer from much higher rates of physical health problems and passed these issues to their their children, who also are less healthy than the general population.

Never before has the federal government tried to research the tragedy in an attempt to acknowledge the horrors it inflicted on all these children and their families. It has a long way to go to record the deaths, the reasons for them, and the people responsible. Thus far, there is also no apology which tribal leaders have requested for decades, and the report doesn’t ensure any immediate steps to address the devastation. Haaland plans a year-long tour of Indian Country to hear survivors’ stories for a permanent oral history and connect them with support.

At least 408 of the boarding schools were located in 37 states, and the investigation located burial sites, some unmarked, at over 50 of them. School personnel renamed incarcerated students with English names, cut their hair, and denied them their language and cultural practices. Children as young as four years suffered corporal punishment, solitary confinement, flogging, withholding food, whipping, and slapping. According to the report, “rampant physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, disease, malnourishment, overcrowding, and lack of health care in Indian boarding schools are well-documented.” Children were also forced to do manual labor, sawing lumber, making shingles, digging wells and irrigation ditches, and sewing clothing.

At a press conference, Haaland, a citizen of the Laguna Pueblo, said that her grandparents were each eight years old when forced into a boarding school. Holding back tears, she continued:

“Many children like them never made it back to their homes. Each of those children is a missing family member, a person who was not able to live out their purpose on this Earth because they lost their lives as part of this terrible system.”

Indian boarding school historian and Comanche descendent Preston S. McBride said the nation doesn’t even know the number of Indigenous students attending these institutions—and certainly not how many died while kept there. He found over 1,000 deaths at the four former boarding schools he studied, and the number could be as high as 40,000 at the schools. Using a review of historical records, including letters from administrators, parents, and students, he said the reason for the deaths ranged from illness to abuse.  

Media across the nation are reporting the travesties of the Indian boarding schools in their own states as a simple internet search shows. Oklahoma had 79 of these facilities, more than any other state. Testimony from survivors from a House hearing on May 12.

In Congress, Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KA), a citizen of the Ho-Chunk Nation, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have introduced bills for a truth and reconciliation commission on Indian boarding schools, providing a framework for government response to tribal nations and citizens negatively affected by former federal policies. Boarding school survivors can submit testimony until May 26. The legislation would still permit religious organizations, responsible for about half the schools, to opt out. NAGPRA also covers only land under federal control or those receiving federal funding.

The leaks keep coming, and this one from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is a classic. According to a recently discovered tape, Graham said after the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, that Democrat Joe Biden is “the best person” to lead the U.S. Graham was talking to Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns, who taped it for their new book This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future. To the question of whether Biden could bring the country together, Graham said, “Totally.” He added, “He’ll maybe be the best person to have. I mean, how mad can you get at Joe Biden?” In other criticisms about DDT, Graham said:

“He plays the TV game and he went too far here. That rally didn’t help, talking about primarying [the Wyoming representative Liz Cheney]. He created a sense of revenge.”

Graham tried to weasel out of his comments by having his spokesperson blame Biden for his “far-left agenda as president.”

Russia’s congressional assets emerged from the House vote on assistance for Ukraine.  The split for the $40 billion bill to deliver aid to Ukraine came in at 368-57—with all the 57 Republicans. A list of them includes the usual suspects. Part of the funding comes in the form of presidential drawdown authority funding increased to $11 billion so that the U.S. can send military equipment and weapons from U.S. stocks. In the Senate, Rand Paul (R-KY) single-handedly blocked a vote on the House bill in an objection to unanimous consent. He demanded an inspector general to oversee the funding, requiring the bill to be sent back to the House, but refused to make an amendment for his requirement.

Fox’s Tucker Carlson also continues to be a Russian asset. Last night on his show he called on “some billionaire … to fund a primary challenge against every single one of those Republican senators standing by Mitch McConnell” because the House Minority Leader advocates support for Ukraine in the brutal Russian invasion.

April 7, 2022

Jackson Confirmed as Supreme Court Justice

While the media helps the right-wingers destroy President Joe Biden, jobless claims fell to 166,000 last week, the lowest level since 1968. Revised numbers from the previous week were down 31,000 to 171,000. Corrections in numbers attract much less attention than when the original total as crunched by a Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) appointee.

The best news for over half the United States on April 7, 2022 is the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. The vote of 53-47 was comprised of 50 Democrats and three Republicans—Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Mitt Romney (UT). The media blared the announcement of “the first Black woman” on SCOTUS but largely ignored that her high levels of qualification and honor set her above all three of the GOP confirmed appointments by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT).

In his “not the real news” column, however, satirist Andy Borowitz wrote that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) “warned” that the Senate has set a dangerous precedent, “the confirmation of a qualified nominee.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) may be able to block any future “qualified” appointments. Asked if he would move a Biden nomination to the Senate floor if the GOP took over the chamber next year, McConnell refused to answer. He did state that DDT could commit no crime that would keep him from voting for DDT as president.

Most of the drama of in the Judicial Committee hearings and the floor discussions was missing during the vote. Remaining, however, was the passive-aggressive behavior of Republicans. Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) stayed in the closet, appearing only in the doorway to make a thumbs down motion. He was joined in the cloak room by Sen. Jim Hohofe (OK) and much later by Sen. Rand Paul (KY) who held up the vote 25 minutes while he supposedly guided a tour throughout the building. All three of them kept off their ties so that they couldn’t go into the actual Senate chamber.

After the vote, all the remaining Republicans in the chamber walked out, leaving Democrats, reporters, and lone GOP senator, Mitt Romney (UT) standing and clapping in an ovation. They were joined several cheering House members. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) then closed the session for “lack of a quorum.” The senators then all left for a two-week hiatus from Washington, some in exultation and others to sulk.

No justice has been approved for almost 12 years since President Obama appointed Elena Kagan. McConnell blocked Obama’s 2016 appointment, Merrick Garland, for almost a year until DDT was elected.

Most Republicans refusing to vote for her cited her “judicial philosophy” of activism and her sentencing in favor of pedophilia. Some congressional members even used the word “pedophile” for those from both parties who voted to confirm. Objectors were particularly offended by Jackson’s position as a public defender 15 years ago for two and a half years, insinuating that this, alone, shapes her position on all decisions. Marshall, replaced by Clarence Thomas 30 years ago, was the last justice with extensive criminal defense experience. Jackson clerked for a federal judge for two years and was a federal judge for eight years before moving to a circuit court for another year.

In an article for the conservative National Review, conservative author Charles Cooke lambasted Cruz’s declaration that he could never vote for a public defender.

“If we are to have a legal system that allows people, institutions, and governments to defend themselves against charges of illegal conduct—and we should have that system—then we are going to have lawyers who defend their clients to the best of their ability. It doesn’t matter whether the defendant is popular, whether the institution is sympathetic, or whether the law is a good one—none of that is the point. The point is that an adversarial legal system requires advocates who will relentlessly press their case, and, in so doing, force the other side to prove its brief to a high standard.

 “There is nothing wrong with people who are willing to become solicitor generals and defend laws they dislike, or with people willing to become corporate lawyers and defend companies they disdain, or with people who are willing to become public defenders and defend clients they suspect are guilty—and to suggest otherwise betrays an unthinking and opportunistic illiberalism.”

As Texas solicitor general, Cruz defended a Texas law prohibiting sex toys although he thought the law was “stupid.” He said he was doing his job, but he thought Jackson was wrong to do her own job. Cooke pointed out Cruz’s hypocrisy:

“For some reason, Ted Cruz seems to believe that the very act of becoming a public defender indelibly marks a person as being intrinsically favorable toward accused criminals, but that Ted Cruz’s having chosen to be a lawyer for the government for half a decade did not indelibly mark him as a statist. Funny, that.”

Republicans’ objection to Jackson’s sentence record for possession of child pornography is a pack of lies. Her record is shared by 70 percent of federal judges, several of them confirmed by the current screaming senators. Her signature on a 2012 report about sentences being too harsh was one of every member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, including a federal judge approved by the same vicious Republicans. One of the loudest senators against her, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), voted against her without objection although her record has not changed since then.

Accompanying the lies was a huge load of hypocrisy. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) called Jackson a threat to children, but he was “soft on crime” while prosecuting sex crimes as Missouri’s AG from 2017 to 2019. In one case, a county sheriff admitted to sexually abusing a woman. The sentence called for two years in prison, but Hawley released the sheriff, who had a “violent” history with the victim, on probation with no trial. While on probation, the sheriff illegally used a firearm and failed to complete his sex offender counseling. A member of Hawley’s Human Trafficking Task Force said he leveraged publicity with a focus on offenders rather than protecting survivors. Hawley also rejected a lawyer’s request for an investigation of sexual abuse by priests.  National Review columnist Andrew McCarthy said Hawley’s arguments during the hearings are “meritless to the point of demagoguery.”

Republicans support DDT, a friend of sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, and they refused to convict him for crimes during both impeachment trials. They stayed quiet after the discovery that former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) sexually abused boys when he was a coach. Republicans supported pedophile Roy Moore in his campaign for senator from Alabama. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) suffered no repercussions from colleagues about concealing his athlete’s sexual abuse when he coached wrestling. Florida’s GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz faces no Republican rejection, despite evidence of his sex-trafficking. The state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, delayed releasing records connected to former state official Halsey Beshears, part of the federal probe into sex trafficking.

Republicans run candidates accused of domestic abuse like Sean Parnell (Pennsylvania) and Eric Greitens (Missouri). Facing alleged child and spousal abuse, Parnell dropped out, but Greitens returned to run for Senate after he resigned from governor. He allegedly forced a woman “to perform oral sex, undressing, kissing and touching her without her consent, and threatening to release a nude photo of her if she told anyone about their encounter.” Now his ex-wife reported having photos and other evidence proving how Greitens physically abused both her and their children.  In Georgia, DDT’s presumptive GOP Senate nominee, Hershel Walker, admitted to his violent behavior toward his ex-wife.

Republicans’ seeming concern for protecting children is relatively new.  During confirmation hearings for Justice Samuel Alito, only then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (AL) brought up Alito’s support for an illegal strip search of a ten-year-old girl by police officers during a drug raid and his statement that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to minors during a Supreme Court confirmation hearing. Sessions defended Alito and downplayed any trauma from the strip search.

DDT federal judge Trevor McFadden found a January 6 insurrectionist “innocent” with the excuse that police invited him into the Capitol while others were breaking windows and vandalizing the place. The acquitted man had watched McFadden’s earlier trials to see what he should say to get off. Then the McFadden gave a Texas woman her gun back while she was on probation for illegally entering the Capitol on January 6, 2021. He cited the Second Amendment as her right to defend herself. The woman’s Facebook page showed her attacking the police and claiming she was “proud” of her actions, planning to being “proud everything that I’m a part of at the next one.” Last year, the judge permitted her to take a trip out of the country just weeks after the insurrection.

Never mind Jackson’s impeccable qualifications for Supreme Court Justice, that she doesn’t let her religion guide her decisions as Amy Coney Barrett said she would, and has never been accused of any sexual abuse as Brett Kavanaugh credibly was. Or that she’s in no danger of benefitting both politically and financially from decisions like Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginni. To the Republicans, she isn’t a conservative activist justice.

I’ll have more to say about the GOP treatment of Jackson, but for tonight, we’ll rejoice.

January 12, 2022

Politics: Moving into 2022

Congress is back, as the fireworks. A few bits.

The former girlfriend of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is testifying before a federal grand jury, probably under an immunity deal to avoid obstruction of justification. Gaetz is being investigated for having sex with an underage female for money and, with others, transporting people across state lines for the purpose of prostitution, violating the Mann Act. He is also investigated for obstruction of justice. The probe into Gaetz began over a year ago when his former friend and ally, former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, was charged with multiple crimes such as cheating taxpayers in a cryptocurrency scheme, smearing a political rival, sex-trafficking the girl in the Gaetz investigation, and being a pedophile. Greenberg pled guilty to six charges of identity theft, stalking, wire fraud, conspiracy to bribe a public official, and sex-trafficking of a minor.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) again called for Gaetz to be removed from the House Judiciary Committee, tweeting that Gaetz “is entitled to the presumption of innocence but [not to sit on the committee] that has direct oversight over the very Department investigating him for sex crimes.” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) won’t take action on Gaetz because he hopes to be Speaker if the GOP takes the House in 2022.

McCarthy is also refusing to talk to the January 6 investigation committee after earlier having said he would cooperate. Members want to ask McCarthy about his conversations with DDT on January 6 and following days. Previously, McCarthy described his telephone call to DDT after the beginning of the attack as “very heated.” During that call, DDT sided with the rioters, telling McCarthy they were more upset about the election than he was. A Politico article reported McCarthy telling other Republicans that DDT had admitted a level of responsibility for the attack in conversations with him.

On the night of McCarthy’s refusal, the media is playing a video of his speech over a year ago when McCarthy said “the president bears responsibility” for the riot. Yet he opposed any committee investigating the insurrection although 35 other Republicans voted for its formation. In selecting five GOP members for the committee, he chose the greatest obstructors to it and then pulled all his nominations after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to accept two of them.

Seven states were busted for sending identical forged election certificates for DDT before the Electoral College vote count on January 6, part of John Eastman’s plan to overturn the election approved by DDT. Congressional members had sent former chief of staff Mark Meadows text messages and emails about sending alternative elector slates. He responded, “I love it” and then, “Yes. Have a team on it.” Joe Biden won all these battleground states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—in the popular vote. They have a total of 85 electoral votes. Eastman declared the states had competing electors, but DDT electors had no authority in their claim to be electors. Investigators are focusing on possible crimes for the January 6 committee.

In addition to the identical forged certificate, Arizona sent another one with different electors.   Lori Osjecki said “AZ Protect the Vote,” supposedly a group of “sovereign citizens of the Great State of Arizona,” prepared the second fake document and had it notarized after they met with DDT’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The state’s majority vote supported Biden, but they took this action because they thought the state’s governor, Doug Ducey, didn’t support DDT’s efforts. Katie Hobbs, Arizona Secretary of State, said the group used a state seal on its false certificate “to make it look official, which is not a legal activity.”

During testimony about COVID before the Senate, Dr. Anthony Fauci claimed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was making money from “a catastrophic epidemic.” The two have had heated exchanges in the past. Paul accused Fauci of a “smear campaign,” denouncing conservative academics opposing the 2020 shutdown measures, but Fauci pointed out the emails to Fauci’s colleagues were only a link to a Wired article debunking “herd immunity.” Fauci said that Paul’s accusations “kindles the crazies out there” and he receive “threats upon my life, harassment of my family and my children with obscene phone calls because people are lying about me.” He pointed out that Paul uses his diatribes “for political reasons” and “distracts what we’re all trying to do here today—get our arms around the epidemic and the pandemic that we are dealing with, not something that is imaginary.”

Paul’s campaign fundraising has used Fauci’s image with calls to “fire Fauci.” Soon after the hearing, Paul’s campaign sent donors an email with the subject line “Fauci is hysterical” and provided a link for Paul’s supporters to “Chip in if you agree.” Fauci said that Paul’s accusations “kindles the crazies out there” and he receive “threats upon my life, harassment of my family and my children with obscene phone calls because people are lying about me.”

In another Senate hearing, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) harassed DOJ members. He recently became a worshipper of Fox’s Tucker Carlson after the host disapproved of Cruz’s statement about the January 6 riot being an act of “domestic terrorism.” Carlson said that calling the insurrection “terrorism” is “a lie.” To gain Carlson’s approval, Cruz not only reversed his description of the insurrection, but also went full-throated by damning a new DOJ task force dedicated to domestic terrorism, doubling in the past year.

Talking about the new DOJ unit, Cruz used Carlson’s lies to ask questions about January 6, as well as conservative screenshots of an Arizona man, Ray Epps, who was, according to conspiracy theorists, a federal agent involved in the attack. Cruz demanded information about the participation of FBI agents or informants in the crowd who “deliberately encouraged illegal violent conduct on January 6.” He insisted Epps was an informant and wanted to know about other FBI agents or informants in the January 6 crowd, if they participated in criminal activity and encouraged “violent criminal conduct.” He was told the DOJ couldn’t discuss those matters. Talking to Carlson, Cruz had ranted, “They want to paint us as Nazis!” and bragged he was “leading the fight in the Senate against the garbage.”

The January 6 committee already interviewed Epps. He said he has never worked with or for any law enforcement agency and never been an informant for any law enforcement agency including the FBI. Despite facts about Epps’ background to the contrary, Carlson claimed Cruz’s questions proved that “DOJ had some role in the events of January 6.” Carlson has already escaped a lawsuit accusing him of lying on his program after the judge declared he was only entertainment and no one should believe anything he says.

People should definitely not believe Carlson’s latest cure for COVID, the penis-lifting Viagra. Carlson cited a woman in the UK who came out of a coma have being given massive doses of the medication. CNN’s Jim Acosta commented, “I suppose some people will justify those prescriptions with just about anything” and continued that Carlson’s show “really should come with a Surgeon General’s warning for disinformation.” Male overdosing on the medication can cause prolonged erections, known as priapism, nausea, chest pains and irregular heartbeat. The penis can become permanently damaged, causing future erections, if priapism is not treated with 24 hours. A Columbia man had to have his penis amputated from gangrene after he suffered priapism from too much Viagra. https://www.drugwatch.com/viagra/  Using the drug has been linked to vision and hearing loss, heart complications, and melanoma.

Another anti-vaxxer swears by drinking one’s own urine as a cure. Christopher Key claims his idea comes from “tons and tons of research.” The research? Blood goes through the liver which removes toxins, dead cells, and other waste before pumping through the kidneys, which extract excess fluid water-soluble molecules—nitrogen, vitamins, minerals, proteins, antibodies, and other metabolites—before transferring them to the bladder. Urine is not sterile when it leaves the body; the urinary tract hosts bacterial colonies. Believers are the same people who won’t wear masks—and don’t want to put vaccine in their bodies.

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell wants to put “300 million” American people into prison for life because of election fraud. [In 2020, 159 million people voted, and the U.S. census counted 321 million people, including children.] He also repeated his promise that his case is going to the Supreme Court in the next seven months. He said:

“Evil is revealing itself. Evil is popping up like pocket gophers. They pop their heads up, it’s whack-a-mole. It’s everywhere.”

Lindell has spent $25 million since the election to find fraud and is being sued by Dominion voting machines for $1.2 billion. He said he didn’t care if it was a “scrillion.” Lindell reports he’s spending a million dollars a month to support his new election “go-to hub,” spreading DDT’s election lies, and another $250,000 a month for the new election-conspiracy group Cause of America. It’s operated by two women at the Capitol insurrection. The group promises a lawsuit to force a “full forensic audit” of the 2020 election like the one in Arizona.

Lindell had to cancel his Monday night program, the Lindell Report, because of illness.

August 9, 2021

Republicans Caused COVID Surge

All the COVID news from Florida is worse. A week ago, NBC reported, “The state has become the new national epicenter for the virus.” The weekend showed Florida breaking another of its records for new infections, and COVID-related hospitalizations are an all-time high. Fatalities are climbing in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis is fighting the coronavirus by blocking all methods to stop infections—“no to lockdowns, no to school closures, no to restrictions, and no [to] mandates.” He followed that by lambasting public-health officials, President Joe Biden, journalists, and immigrants. 

After officials threatened to disobey DeSantis’ order, his office threatened to withhold salaries of officials, including superintendents and school board members, who mandate masks in schools. DeSantis believes his new surges are “tolerable” and don’t need “a robust response to quell.” He blasted reporters for spreading “hysteria” about the growing number of state infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Not all Republicans, however, agree with him. Yesterday on CNN, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) disagreed with DeSantis and said, “The local officials should have control here.”

DeSantis also lost the battle with the cruise lines. A judge had ruled in favor of his banning Norwegian Cruise Lines from mandating vaccination proof if they dock in Florida. Yesterday, a federal judge issued an order that removed DeSantis’ ban, ruling that the cruise line would be “irreparably injured” by DeSantis’ policy. The cruise line argued that Florida violated the First Amendment and interferes with interstate commerce. Republicans typically tout the rights of private businesses but not with the vaccine.

Travel from 49 states in the U.S. would be banned to Florida if it were a country. Jonathan Reiner, a professor and expert on infectious diseases at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, said only Botswana and the state of Louisiana had “higher” viral loads of COVID.

Some Republicans fight back by blaming the Democrats for not encouraging vaccinations. For example, Sen. John Barasso (R-WY) maintained that his party supports vaccines. He may not have heard Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) comparing vaccine mandates to segregation and calling on people in Biden’s vaccination push to be shot. She laughed when a reporter asked her if she felt responsible for deaths caused by her vaccine disinformation. [Visual – Greene laughing]

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told his state to resist the CDC guidance, saying, “They can’t arrest all of us.” He continued by claiming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) plans to arrest him and his staff. Paul is up for reelection in 2022.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has asked Biden to require the 1.4 million military service members to be vaccinated by waiving the federal law giving people a choice if the vaccine is not fully authorized by the FDA, an action expected by Labor Day. Last month, Biden mandated either vaccinations or frequent testing for federal employees. Over 30 percent of active-duty troops have not been vaccinated. The military requires 17 FDA authorized vaccines for a number of diseases including flu, measles, mumps, polio, tetanus, and yellow fever. The State Department and Pentagon again require indoor mask use.

Texas school districts and a non-profit group are suing Gov. Gregg Abbott for his ban on mask requirements in schools, and Dallas ISD will require masking. Other school districts are considering mandates on masks. On August 8, 254 counties had 2.7 million cases. Joining Florida with one-third of the new infection cases, Texas is in such bad shape that Abbott asked hospitals to delay nonessential procedures and requested medical care from other states.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has also banned mask requirements in schools despite outrage from physicians who wrote Ducey:

“Your prohibition on mask requirements means no Arizona school can provide a safe learning environment,” the group of over 150 doctors wrote. “Each and every one of our students and their educators deserve better.”

A major excuse for vaccine denial is that vaccinated people have breakthroughs, yet only 0.01 percent of fully-vaccinated people have suffered hospitalization or death. That’s 1,507 deaths and 7,101 hospitalizations out of the over 164 million people vaccinated against COVID.

Vaccinations radically slowed down after two-thirds of the population, desperate to receive them, managed to get the shots. After that, vaccine deniers, still known in the media as “skeptics” or “doubters,” took over through conservative and social media. They weren’t even persuaded by the diversity of bribes to protect themselves and others. Worldometer puts the number of infections at over 36 million, today’s new cases at 102,375. Deaths are over 633,000 in the U.S.

Men exhibit more reluctance to protecting themselves and others from COVID—including masks, hand-washing, and vaccinations—than women, and a study shows that men trying to project traditional masculinity represent a larger number of vaccine deniers. Men identifying as the most masculine are more likely to attend gatherings of more than 10 people. The “completely masculine” are almost twice as likely to accuse mask-wearing as “dangerous to the health of the wearer” and three times more likely to be infected with the coronavirus. GOP men also comprise the largest percentage of vaccine deniers; eight times as many Republicans as Democrats refuse to be vaccinated.

Vaccine denial also comes from a variety of conspiracy theories, many of them from Fox network—especially Tucker Carlson. Beyond guests talking about microchips and magnets in the vaccine, Fox has reported about deaths, paralysis, and the lack of need for any vaccine. Carlson has said that wearing masks has “no basis in science.” Very little has been said on Fox network about the vaccine’s safety until recently.

According to John Culhane, an intentional bad act of one allows another to sue for personal injury, property damage, and economic loss caused by the wrongful activity. Deliberate representation is fraud, and viewers may have the right to a claim.

“First, the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant made a misstatement of fact, knowing that it was false or with reckless disregard as to whether it was true or false. (“Reckless disregard” means that the defendant did no investigation at all, but just put the statements out there.) Examples of such misstatements on Fox are abundant… [Samples]

“To prevail on a fraud claim, the plaintiff next has to show that the defendant intended that the injured party rely on the misrepresentation (this can be inferred from the fact that Fox holds itself out as a purveyor of news) and that the plaintiff reasonably relied on the misstatement. Each potential plaintiff would have to allege, and then prove, that they had relied on Fox and the ‘expert’ making the statements that induced them to forgo vaccination. It’s impossible to imagine that at least some of the sickened and killed didn’t count on Carlson, his guests, and the rest of the Fox misinformers, and it would be hard to hear Fox attorneys claim that no one should “reasonably” rely on what their news station puts out. (Ironically, the network has successfully made this argument in court before, but in a case that involved statements by Carlson that might reasonably be seen as hyperbole. It’s a different story when he puts out information—some of it from so-called experts—that makes demonstrably false claims in a case involving hard facts.)

“The final requirement for a successful fraud claim is a showing of economic loss, which would be easy enough. Hospital bills not covered by insurance, lost wages, and even lost income from the deceased, in a wrongful death situation, are some ready examples.

“But one final hurdle remains. Although such a case would look strong when ticking through the requirements of a fraud case, this situation does not look much like a traditional claim, which typically involves a direct out-of-pocket loss that was itself intended by the fraudulent party. More run-of-the-mill cases would include stock fraud, or selling someone a used car the seller represents as safe, but which has a shoddy transmission of which he had knowledge. Yet even though the misstatements in this case seem designed not so much to bilk viewers out of money directly, it could be argued that Fox News intended to pad its bottom line by catering to a particularly conspiracy-minded market by pushing its anti-vaccine garbage.

“Even beyond the potential economic gain to Fox, though, at least some courts have been willing to extend fraud claims to situations where the defendant’s conduct violates a strong public policy—even without demonstrable economic loss…

“In our world of segmented media, Fox News watchers rely heavily on what they hear on the network. They trust Fox to deliver truthful information. No greater breach of that trust can be imagined than relating misinformation designed to keep people away from lifesaving vaccines… How many … people relied on Fox News? Perhaps we will one day find out in court.”

Talking about the vaccine, conservatives claim right to privacy. A question is whether they will stop buying the Apple iPhone now that the company has new tech to search the phones for child pornography. Software can scan all photographs on the phone. Apple’s “Siri” will also “intervene” if it hears an inappropriate question about sexual abuse or child pornography. Microchips in vaccines are fake; Apple’s new search software is real—like technology’s other methods to violate privacy.

June 5, 2020

DDT: Week 176 – Only Wealthy Better off

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is happy. The stock market is going up again, thanks to the many trillions of dollars  the government has made available to big corporations and wealthy people. Lockdowns started on March 18, and the nation’s richest people’s wealth increased over $565 billion while 42.6 million workers filed for unemployment. Those 42.6 million people don’t buy stocks. 

May added 2.5 million jobs, two-fifths of them part time and 1.2 million in the poorly-paid hospitality sector. Yet 21.2 million jobs were lost in March and April, and the 13.3 percent unemployment rate is the worst since World War II. The jobs were also for white people, whose unemployment rate went down from 14.2 percent to 12.4 percent: for blacks, unemployment went up from 16.7 to 16.8 percent. DDT called this “a tremendous tribute to equality.” The CBO forecasts unemployment levels above 10 percent for almost a year and doesn’t reflect self-employed people with serious losses and college graduates who had not started looking for jobs. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pointed out the increase in jobs is propped up by the stimulus money, soon disappearing.

To Yamiche Alcindor, a black woman who reports for PBS NewsHour, who asked him for specifics on a plan to address police violence against blacks, he said, “You are something.” In the above photo, DDT shushes Alcindor.

DDT did, however, put a happy spin about George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer:

“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that is happening for our country. This is a great day for him… This is a great, great day in terms of equality.”

DDT used the word “great” 55 times during his ramblings. mThe White House also rearranged chairs for the press to put them closely together with no social distancing because “it looked better.” Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was right: DDT should stop talking. 

After his campaign rally, DDT headed to another one at a factory in Maine, but all the swabs made during his photo-op there will have to be thrown away. With no mask, he stopped to talk to the workers wearing white lab coats, masks, hair nets and plastic booties. Last month, almost one-third of Maine nursing homes reported they had no nasal swabs for testing, and over 60 percent of the respondents said they had fewer than eight available.  

While in Maine, DDT announced his new task force to crack down on illegally harvested fish and appointed former sexist, racist Gov. Paul LePage as its chair. During the conversation, he asked if the lobsters harvested off Maine are equivalent to those a few miles north off the Canadian coast. And he promised auto tariffs on the EU if it doesn’t lift duties on lobsters imported from the U.S. Tariffs on U.S. lobster, like many other products, came from DDT’s trade wars. DDT also opened a fragile marine conservation area off Cape Cod to commercial fishing, hours after DDT declared himself a “great environmentalist. The change harms the endangered North Atlantic right whale as well as deep-sea coral and sponge gardens thousands of years old. No evidence exists that the conservation area had hurt fishing revenues.

According to a new study, DDT removed protections from almost 35 million acres of public land, about the size of Florida. “President Trump is the only president in U.S. history to have removed more public lands than he protected,” stated the analysis. DDT already removed protections from 16.6 times the land Theodore Roosevelt protected for parks and monuments.

The U.S. Park Police stated it was wrong when he said no tear gas was used to clear protesters so DDT could cross the street.

AG Bill Barr has decided to “flood the zone” by bringing in thousands of unidentified law enforcement to Washington, D.C. Some, found out by wearing shirts and patches, showed they are from two prisons in Texas, one of which has at least five guards with COVID-19 infections. In Washington, DC., they failed to wear masks while close to each other and demonstrators. The Bureau of Prisons confirmed guards dispatched to two cities didn’t wear their uniforms “because they are serving a broader mission.” In a letter to DDT, Washington’s mayor Muriel Bowser wrote:

 “Unidentified federal personnel patrolling the streets of Washington, D.C., pose both safety and national security risks. The deployment of federal law enforcement personnel and equipment are inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans.”

In the Senate, Rand Paul (R-KY) blocked the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which passed the House 410-4, because it was so broad it could include “minor bruises.” The Senate could force the bill to the floor, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the senior senator from Paul’s state up for re-election this year, doesn’t want to bother. According to the bill, “nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in Congress during the first half of the 20th century,” and “between 1890 and 1952, 7 presidents petitioned Congress to end lynching.”

Two Senate committee chairs planned to deliver subpoenas in an investigation of the origins of the Russia probe and allegations of President Obama’s wrongdoing (aka Obamagate, according to DDT). Ron Johnson (R-WI), elected two years ago and chair of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is moving forward with 30 subpoenas determined by a party line vote. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), vulnerable in his current reelection and chair of the Judiciary Committee, said he’ll wait until next week for a vote on 50 subpoenas.  

In a series of angry tweets, DDT declared he pulled the August WeGOP conference out of Charlotte (NC) in August, but the RNC hasn’t given official notification “regarding its intent for the location of the convention.” The state is moving forward toward opening, already in Phase II, but Gov Roy Cooper—a Democrat—won’t promise the facility open to 20,000 Republicans because of social distance. GOP governors are salivating for the gig with offers in Nashville (TN), Jacksonville and Orlando (FL), Phoenix, and Georgia. Las Vegas is also interested, but Dallas has already turned it down. The RNC said DDT will not accept the Republican nomination in Charlotte. Planners are considering a rolling convention in several cities so DDT can say he had the largest convention ever.

Using the “economic emergency,” DDT signed an executive order waiving long-standing environmental laws to speed up federal approval for new mines, highways, pipelines, and other projects by limited state environmental reviews. Thus far, DDT has completed 66 rollbacks of environmental protections, and another 34 of them are in progress, most of them related to air pollution and emissions with 11 about water. Wheeler singled out a recent veto of a natural gas pipeline by New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, to block such impacts as damage to aquatic life, downstream impacts, and climate change. The rule follows DDT’s attempt to remove California’s authority to set its own vehicle emission standards under the Clean Air Act.

DDT is bored with COVID-19; he hasn’t talked to Dr. Anthony Fauci for weeks. Barr plans to solve the health crisis by suspending constitutional rights, among them asking Congress to pass laws allowing people to be indefinitely held without trial. 

The Pentagon is spending most of its $10.6 billion for shipbuilding, submarine launch equipment, missile tube and body armor.

West Point had canceled its in-person graduation this year because of COVID-19 until DDT insisted on giving a commencement address to 1,000 graduates on June 13 in order to perform this ceremony at all service academies. This past week, the Army found asymptomatic infections in 1.5 percent of them. The decision produced protests on the West Point Parents Facebook page.

Unwilling to be seen weak by going to his bunker, DDT has made the White House into a fortress with tall security fencing and concrete barriers for 1.7 miles around the white House. 

On the same day of DDT’s disastrous photo-op at a church, Ivanka Trump, possibly responsible for the tear gas clearing of the Washington, D.C. peaceful protest for her father’s photo-op, tweeted, “Less hate, more love!” for LGBTQ Pride Month. Her responses were less than positive. DDT refuses to issue a Pride proclamation, but his campaign is trying to make money for a MAGA t-shirt with rainbow-colored letters.

DDT, the great opposer of mail-in ballots who always votes by mail, seems to be homeless when it comes to voting. He gave up his home in New York City to declare residency in Florida where he can’t declare Mar-a-Lago as his residence because it’s a club. DDT’s solution was to use the White House as the address for his ballot although he says his residence is in Florida. That’s voter fraud

Barr is so desperate to please his boss he made up a story about foreign countries printing and mailing phony absentee ballots without detection but couldn’t provide evidence. In multiple states, election officials said such a scenario is virtually impossible because of security protections—unique tracking bar codes, tally marks, matching signatures, regulation envelopes, etc.

In the world of COVID-19, the U.S. has 1,965,708 cases and 111,390 deaths on June 5. The small coastal town where I live has picked up 17 new cases since the county began to open and allow tourists. The number is small, but it’s a 170-percent increase over the first three months of cases in the state. Eighteen states have reported spikes in the number of infections.

May 14, 2020

GOP Goal: Destroy Institutions Upholding the Rule of Law

Last Tuesday was a  busy day for the three branches of government: the Supreme Court heard arguments from Dictator Donald Trump’s  (DDT) lawyers that he is above the rule of law; a Senate committee heard testimony about the dangers of DDT’s reopening the nation despite the prevalence of COVID-19; and a federal judge responded to DDT’s fixer AG Bill Barr about dropping a guilty plea for lying about his attempts to negotiate with Russia without government approval while Barack Obama was president—an illegal action. In all three cases, Republicans have tried to exonerate DDT as his actions break the rule of law.

Supreme Court: 

In an electronic session, SCOTUS justices heard almost four hours of arguments about whether DDT is above the law in his lawsuits against releasing subpoenaed information regarding his financial records. DDT’s lawyer Jay Sekulow asserted DDT is “a branch of the government” and therefore cannot be investigated for the IRS’ handling of his tax returns, allegations of foreign interference in the 2016 election, and his falsification of assets for loans and taxes. 

Sekulow also argued that DDT is so busy he cannot take time to deal with the lawsuits because hey would distract from his presidential duties. DDT supposedly watches seven hours of cable TV each day, not going to the Oval Office until noon for his brief daily briefing instead of early in the morning as his predecessors did. In the afternoon he phones some governors and world leaders before his coronavirus press briefings (aka campaign rallies), but most of those briefings have disappeared. DDT rarely attendings the meetings of the coronavirus task force, ignoring the prepared remarks until immediately before he reads them. When DDT is allowed out of the White House, he plays golf and campaigns for his re-election. In responding to Sekulow’s argument that DDT is busy, Rachel Maddow described DDT’s complete schedule for last Monday.  

President Bill Clinton also argued for the Paula Jones’ 1998 lawsuit to be deferred, but the Supreme Court unanimously agreed Jones could pursue her lawsuit. The only dispensation for Clinton concerned when and where he should respond to demands for dispositions and other information. Justice Neil Gorsuch asked for the difference between the two cases. Sekulow replied that allowing the New York investigation would open the floodgates to up to 2,300 local prosecutors instituting probes.

Sekulow alleged that a “criminal process targeting the president” violates the Constitution. Both Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito seemed to side with Sekulow: Kavanaugh compared financial records to medical ones that probably wouldn’t be given to Congress, and Alito wanted a “limit” on the House’s subpoena power to keep from harassment of a president. DDT’s lawyers frequently used the term “harassment,” ignoring the House’s legitimate purpose to determine DDT’s conflicts of interest for the purpose of strengthening laws.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg disagreed with DOJ’s principal deputy solicitor general Jeffrey Wall when he questioned the motives of the Congress and argued that Congress needs to explain what laws it might write in order to substantiate a subpoena. She told Wall:

“To impugn Congress’s motive, even the policeman on the beat, if he stops a car and gives the reason that the car went through a stop sign, we don’t allow an investigation into what the subjective motive really was. So, here, you’re—you’re distrusting Congress more than the cop on the beat.”

Since DDT was inaugurated, he has rejected all subpoenas from the House and told all officials that they should not testify at hearings, the most recently everyone on the coronavirus task force. Justice Elena Kagan said that DDT would “essentially make it impossible for Congress to perform oversight and carry out its functions where the presidency is concerned.” As DDT uses political motivation for all his actions, he accuses others of the same.

DDT has consistently claimed he is above the law because of Article II in the U.S. Constitution, yet the constitution has no language establishing executive immunity. The framers of the document specifically prohibited secret bribes, a directive which requires oversight over the president. In discussing the powers of the presidency, James Madison argued that it be “confined” and warned against the “Evils of Elective Monarchies.” The first Congress in “the decision of 1789” empowered lawmakers as whistleblowers to block an executive’s corruption establishing a “throne on the ruins of your visionary republic” and “secure his election perpetual.” The Judiciary Act of 1789 held executive officials accountable instead of above the law.

Much as I am reluctant to be optimistic about anything connected to DDT, top-notch legal minds think that DDT may lose his crown—and his tax returns. Even conservative justice Clarence Thomas, who spoke during the second case in several years, asked Sekulow if the authors of the Constitution explicitly endorsed total criminal immunity for a president. Sekulow tried the spin that the idea had been “discussed” but finally said “no.” A major theory is that the New York case will be successful but that the House’s subpoenas may fail. The Supreme Court decision is final; DDT will have no higher court for an appeal.

Senate:

At exactly the same time the Supreme Court heard the three cases about DDT’s financial records, the Senate conducted a hearing about COVID-19 with four health experts. Dr. Anthony Fauci made the biggest splash when he testified that the true death toll from the virus is likely higher than reports and that attempts to a return to normal will cause major spikes in infections. Later he contradicted DDT’s assertion of virus being “well contained” by saying, “If you think we have it completely under control, we don’t.” Others testifying were CDC Director Robert Redfield, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, and Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) attacked Fauci for saying that “the consequences could be really serious” if local economies open too quickly. Paul said, “Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end-all.” Fauci answered by saying he “never made myself out to be the end-all,” that he’s “a scientist, a physician, and a public health official.” The senator wants all children to go back to school in the fall and accused Fauci of keeping them out of school. Before the hearing, Fauci had said nothing about schools’ reopening, but he answered Paul with a concern about the symptoms of a mysterious inflammatory syndrome now appearing in children and thought to be linked to COVID-19. DDT said that Fauci’s cautionary approach are “not an acceptable answer.”

Justice Department/Federal Judges:

The third major event on Tuesday occurred when a federal judge blocked AG Bill Barr from dropping the case against Michael Flynn who had confessed to lying to the FBI. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan put the DOJ request on hold until people and organizations can argue about Flynn’s exoneration. Earlier, Flynn repeated that he was guilty of lying, no one had coerced him to plead guilty, and he wouldn’t be taking back his guilty plea. Then he did. Almost 2,000 former DOJ employees representing both political parties who have called for Barr’s resignation may now be involved in the court case, and the proceedings will be public, complete with witnesses and evidence. And just before the November election.

Sullivan also asked John Gleeson, a retired federal judge, to investigate the possibility of Flynn’s perjury. Part of Gleeson’s record is putting John Gotti, a late mob boss, behind bars. Barr, supposedly a prosecutor, will be acting like a defense attorney by claiming that Flynn shouldn’t have been interviewed in an investigation; thousands of former DOJ employees accuse Barr of politicizing the department for DDT’s wishes. Last Monday, Gleeson co-authored a commentary article that states:

“The law provides that the court—not the executive branch—decides whether an indictment may be dismissed. The responsible exercise of that authority is particularly important here, where a defendant’s plea of guilty has already been accepted. Government motions to dismiss at this stage are virtually unheard of.”

The DOJ is part of the Executive branch of government. Former federal prosecutor Randall Eliason said the DOJ “cannot have it both ways.” By saying Flynn didn’t lie to the FBI, it’s saying that he lied to the judge. Perjury is a reason for a new indictment.

Mary McCord, acting assistant AG for national security at the DOJ from 2016 to 2017, wrote a piece for the New York Times titled, “Bill Barr Twisted My Words in Dropping the Flynn Case. Here’s the Truth.” She asserted:

“The F.B.I.’s interview of Mr. Flynn was constitutional, lawful, and for a legitimate counterintelligence purpose.”

The commentary clearly refutes Barr’s spin for his request to drop the Flynn case. She quotes Georgetown law professors Neal K. Katyal and Joshua A. Geltzer’s warning that Barr’s dismissal “embeds into official U.S. policy an extremist view of law enforcement as the enemy of the American people.” McCord points out Barr’s dismissal was far more than protecting Flynn. Instead, DDT “is discrediting the fundamental institutions that establish the rule of law.”

All that in just one day.

World confirmed COVID-19 cases are over 4.5 million and deaths are over 300,000. In the U.S., deaths are 86,912 on May 14, 2020, out of 1,457,593 confirmed cases. Testing is up to 32,000 per one million people in the U.S., an average of under 100,000 tests per day since he CDC developed its test. DDT prefers less testing. 
 
 

August 11, 2018

DDT: Week 81 – On Vacation While Others Work

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 9:35 PM
Tags: , , , ,

Congress is scattered across the nation on vacation, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is watching TV, playing golf, and having dinner with other wealthy people at his resort at Bedminster (NJ). Robert Mueller continues his investigation, and witnesses testify to damning information about Paul Manafort. For example, he offered the position of Army secretary to Federal Savings Bank CEO, Stephen Calk, in trying to get a personal loan from the bank. Long-time friend and colleague Rick Gates reported Manafort shifting money through his offshore accounts.

DDT has bragged about how much more money black people make in wages since he was inaugurated, but he didn’t celebrate Black Women’s Equal Pay Day on August 7, the day representing how long into 2018 a black woman must work to be paid the same wages white males were paid just last year. Black women workers get 66 cents for the dollar that white men make after controlling for education, years of experience, and geographic location.

If DDT had talked about wages for black women, he probably would have lied, just as he did when he bragged that the U.S. is overflowing with “prosperity” despite “exaggerated” claims of widespread poverty. After a U.N. report that 18 million people live in “extreme poverty” in the United States, made worse by DDT’s tax cuts for the wealthy, DDT ignored his own economic analysts in exchange for a report from the far-right Heritage Foundation. One DDT economic adviser recommended that DDT say nothing about poverty because the steady economic growth, “inherited” from President Obama, “will end prob[ably] in 1-2 years.”

People in Missouri understood the importance of fair wages when they struck down a “right-to-work” law earlier passed by the legislature. The 2-1 margin of success for workers came from both urban and rural counties.

Agreeing with Supreme Court justice nominee that the president is above the law and the constitution, AG Jeff Sessions plans to ignore a court ruling to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and completely repeal and rescind DACA on his own prerogative. Sessions called the repeal one of the “lawful directives of Congress”—although that legislative body has passed no law regarding DACA. The judge had said that the government has no justification to stop DACA.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) irritated both congressional GOP members and DDT during his visit to Russia. Once against Vladimir Putin’s takeover of Ukraine and Crimea, Paul is now a full-blown Russia supporter. During his recent trip, he took a letter to Putin, but opinions differ on its contents. Paul explained that the letter highlighted how the U.S. wants to work with Russia on “countering terrorism, enhancing legislative dialogue and resuming cultural exchanges.” White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said that DDT provided only “a letter of introduction” because Paul had requested it. Before Paul came home, he invited Russian lawmakers to visit the U.S. Capitol, but GOP congressional leaders squashed the idea. Spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said:

“Neither Congress nor the leader have invited any delegation from Russia to the Capitol. Senator Paul is the only one that I know who is discussing it.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) followed that up with “That’s not something we’ve discussed.” Both McConnell and Ryan earlier said that Putin would not be welcome at the Capitol if DDT invited him to Washington.

Russia and DDT are also upset about the State Department’s new sanctions on Russia after the Kremlin’s poisoning of a former Russian intelligence officer and his daughter living in England. U.S. company are prevented from exporting items such as gas turbine engines, electronics, and integrated circuits without legitimate purposes, similar to President Obama’s ban on any exports to Russia that might have military purposes. DDT objected, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited a 1991 law that mandated the sanctions. Russia has 90 days to agree to stop all use of chemical weapons and permit inspections before Pompeo exerts further measures such as withdrawal of U.S. bank loans and support for international loans, landing rights for Russian airlines, and diplomatic relations. DDT already stalled for over a month regarding congressional deadlines for other sanctions.

Sanctions against Russia will decrease U.S. exports, adding to the stress caused by DDT’s tariffs. Grifter and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross claimed that “all this hysteria is a lot to do about nothing,” yet BMW told Ross that the tariffs could endanger 45,000 jobs in South Carolina. A ship with $20 million worth of soybeans has circled the waters off the coast of China since July 6 after it failed to beat the new tariff deadline by mere hours, placed in response to DDT’s tariffs. The ship’s $12,500 daily cost comes to over $450,000 by now, and the contents make up a small part of the $12.7 billion in soybeans sent from the U.S. to China last year. In Washington, 6,000 tons of copper are stuck at the port of Vancouver as the ship scheduled to pick it up left after China announced a 25-percent duty on the product. Estimates indicate almost one million jobs in the state could be at risk because of suppliers, port income, and wages.

The North Korea deal becomes more like fish that smells after three days. DDT never had any agreement with denuclearization, and Kim Jung-Un now insists that he will take no action until the U.S. ends the Korean War. Pompeo promises progress but won’t say what, and National Security Adviser John Bolton indicated no steps had been taken. The estimate of North Korean nuclear weapons is growing.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) was secretly taped at a fundraiser for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) giving his plan for impeaching DOJ Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein immediately after the 2018 general election. Most Republicans said that they weren’t going to impeach Rosenstein, but Nunes tells this story to woo donors and voters. DDT may not like some of Nunes’ comments on the tapes such as “sometimes we cringe on the president’s tweets.” Nunes also called releasing stolen emails, like WikiLeaks did with DNC emails, “criminal.” Rodgers won the Washington election to pick the top two candidates by only one percent, warning a serious challenge in the general election.

DDT’s lawyers are running a TV campaign in opposition to Mueller’s investigation by smearing it, claiming that DDT will be forced to lie if he goes into court, and declaring questions that are off limits—such as why he fired James Comey (check with DDT’s interview with Lester Holt) and whether he obstructed justice (check DDT’s tweets). Rudy Giuliani’s craziness continues with his invented DOJ “60-day rule” preventing Mueller from DDT’s investigation in the two months preceding the election and announcing that Mueller must finish by September. DDT is not a candidate in November 2018, and the “60-day-rule” failed to apply to Hillary Clinton when Comey announced an investigation ten days before her election. “Fair and unbalanced” Sean Hannity, as he calls himself on “fair and unbalanced Fox,” turned his three-hour radio show over to DDT’s lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow on Friday.

Tomorrow represents the first anniversary of Unite the Right in Charlottesville (VA) with a march near the White House. This image represents what white supremacists are celebrating in front of the White House and what DDT refused to condemn.

DDT’s diversions of the week:

  • His calls to “suspend” protesting athletes without pay although he is not their employer.
  • Removal legal-resident status from those who use Medicaid and other social safety nets. (Fortunately for his in-laws, they just became U.S. citizens so they’re safe—unless he finds some dirt on them.)
  • A new space force, possibly to conduct space warfare. (Stephen Colbert asked if DDT plans to build a wall to keep “illegal aliens” from coming into the United States.)

The dozen Trumpiest members of Congress: Chris Collins (NY),  indicted for insider trading;  David Perdue (GA), cousin to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue; Orrin Hatch (UT), retiring; Tom Cotton (AR), hawk aiming for Oval Office; Rand Paul (KY), sycophant flip-flopper; Mitch McConnell (KY) majority leader owned by DDT; Matt Gaetz (FL) deep state conspiracist/Alex Jones supporter; Devin Nunes (CA), DDT’s leaker from the House Intelligence Committee; Ron DeSantis (FL), Fox defender; Kevin McCarthy (CA), DDT’s “my Kevin” who sorts candy to give DDT only “reds and pinks”; Mark Meadows (NC), conservative Freedom Caucus leader trying to impeach deputy AG Rod Rosenstein; and Paul Ryan (WI), determined to “normalize” DDT.

Inflation rose 2.9 percent in the last year while wages gained only 2.7 percent. U.S. “real wage” fell to $10.76 an hour last month, 2 cents down from a year ago. To many of us, 2 cents is very little, but over a year, it amounts to $41.60—important to people who make under $23,000 a year. Gas prices increased 23 percent this year, and housing, health care and automobile insurance have all gone up. Now we wait for price increases from DDT’s tariffs. 

Donald Trump Jr. manufactured this visual lie when he Photoshopped “50” over DDT’s actual 40 percent approval rating. In his desperation, he failed to cover up the 40 percent. By now, Jr. removed his “fake news” from Instagram, but the internet never forgets!

March 25, 2017

Health Care Won—At Least for Now

Eighteen days ago, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) talked to reporters about the newly introduced health plan written behind closed doors, probably by aides:

 “We will have 218 votes. This is the beginning of the legislative process. We’ll have 218 when this thing comes to the floor. I can guarantee you that.”

Yesterday, just seven years and one day after the Affordable Care Act was passed, the GOP plan, distorted during the past few days by providing even fewer services than the original, died. House Republicans had entered over 50 bills to kill the ACA, many of them passing after the GOP gained a majority in the chamber, but Ryan was positive that the GOP takeover of both Congress and the executive branch would guarantee his success. Yet the Party of No is helpless in the face of Yes. Their work involved no stakeholders, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) followed his usual pattern of bullying threats instead of actually selling the bill.

Massive loud protests against the repeal of the health plan, steadily growing in popularity, pushed more moderate representatives to vote against the bill for fear of retaliation in their own district from people who would lose coverage. The Koch brothers’ promised to defend anyone voting no when they ran for re-election after DDT said that no voters would lose the next election. By the end of the debacle, only 17 percent of voters supported Ryan’s plan.

DDT blinked and lost the game of chicken. He canceled the vote rather than suffer the embarrassment of losing, but it’s obvious that he lost. With no experience or clout to lead his party, DDT lobbied 120 congressional members, “left everything on the field” in negotiations, and lost. In his ghost-written book The Art of the Deal, DDT claimed, “You have to be very rough and very tough with most contractors or they’ll take the shirt right off you’re back.” He repeats that the negotiator needs “to be willing to walk away or, more precisely, convince the people you’re negotiating with that you are.” DDT didn’t realize that legislators aren’t contractors. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) did a training session for the House Freedom Caucus on DDT’s book, complete with poster.

During his campaign, DDT managed to con voters into believing that he knows “the art of the deal,” that he can be the closer. Ezra Klein explains why DDT as president is a loser:

“Trump is not a guy who makes particularly good deals so much as a guy who makes a lot of deals — many of which lash his name and reputation to garbage products…. He licenses his brand and lets others worry about the details of the products. Trump’s partners often end up going out of business and his customers often end up disappointed, but Trump makes some money, and he gets his name out there, and it’s all good.”

DDT wasn’t alone in the Trumpcare con; he had company from Ryan, who Paul Krugman called “The Flimflam Man.” Ryan lied when he said that Trumpcare would lower premiums, end the “death spiral,” and increase choice. Premiums would have skyrocketed unless people chose junk insurance plans with no coverage, and the extra 24 million people without insurance, along with people who couldn’t afford full coverage, would cause a death spiral. Ryan proposed a tax plan for the rich under the name of health care and failed.

The bill began with a high “age tax”—raising premiums and expenses for older, working adults—and added the “mommy tax” that greatly added expenditures for maternity coverage while diminishing its availability. Asked about people living in a state that doesn’t require maternity coverage in insurance, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said, “Then you can figure out a way to change the state that you live in.” He clarified his statement by saying he didn’t mean move out of the state but to change the law. Republicans also ridiculed other insurance benefits for over half the nation’s population. For example, Alice Ollstein tweeted about her Kansas senator:

“I asked Sen. Roberts if he supports scrapping Essential Health Benefits. “I wouldn’t want to lose my mammograms,” he snarked.”

Ollstein survived breast cancer discovered during a mammogram for preventative care. These are the people–no estrogen and largely white–who met to decide what services should be cut for women.

[A bit of humor….]

Trumpcare was so bad that Ryan’s only solution in getting it passed was speed. The cruel additions to woo ultra-conservatives by eliminating Essential Health Benefits was added only the day before Ryan hoped to call a vote. Among the items as unnecessary health care are maternity and newborn care, emergency room services, hospitalization, prescription drugs, mental illness care, laboratory services and pediatric services.

DDT’s “skill” is to always blame someone else. Finger-pointing shifted so fast that digits blurred. DDT with DDT’s his chief of staff Reince Priebus and Ryan, accusing them of faulty content and bad timing. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price also got blamed because he was put in the job to pass Trumpcare—although DDT assigned that job to Mulvaney. DDT claimed he wanted to start with tax reform that would have been “far less controversial.” (We’ll see!) Ryan was a popular scapegoat on the Fox network. The Wall Street Journal blamed the House Freedom Caucus for their “insisting on the impossible over the achievable,” and DDT took after this group too, telling them that he would tell their constituents that they were voting in favor of Planned Parenthood.

Despite 34 no votes from Republican representatives, DDT ultimately settled on the Democrats publicly when he whined that not one of them voted for Trumpcare, despite his failure to ask them for support. DDT and the GOP will continue to exaggerate any problems of the ACA, and the media will most likely focus on problems rather than the successes because a train-wreck films better than a satisfied person.  The GOP may also try to sabotage efforts to improve the ACA.

DDT is failing in office for the same reason that he succeeded in his campaign—weak party leadership. In a little over a day, he took a bill that no one likes and made it worse while alienating more members of his own party. In addition, he may have broken the law in his last-ditch try to save it. Tweets asking DDT supporters to call their representatives to save Trumpcare were sent by White House social media director Dan Scavino Jr, the official @POTUS account, and DDT’s personal account. The use of federal dollars, including paid White House Staff, in directly lobbying Congress to support or oppose a bill is against federal law. Press Secretary Sean Spicer used the Nixonian approach toward law by saying that the law is “not applicable to the president.” Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, disagrees because of the direct appeal to contact representatives in support of Trumpcare.

Hillary Clinton had a grand time tweeting the victories of people who need and like the “Obamacare” that DDT has daily excoriated in his daily message. Watching her is a reminder of how close the United State was to having a president who could “keep America great.”

DDT, Ryan, and the far-right Republicans aren’t the only losers with the downfall of Trumpcare. The wealthy won’t get their billions in tax cuts, and Wall Street won’t get the wealthy’s extra money. Insurance companies are also the losers, outside keeping funding for Medicaid. Big corporations would rejoice over getting rid of consumer protection rules that would have allowed them to vastly increase sales, marketing, and IRS deductions while selling junk insurance that wouldn’t have those “essential benefits”—like hospitalization.

One winner is DDT because Trumpcare would have lost over 1.2 million jobs—some people say as many as two million—that would have hurt his desire to be seen as the “jobs president.” GOP senators are winners because they don’t have to cast any votes on health care, at least in the immediate future. And constituents of Rep. Greg Walden, leader of the committee trying to destroy health care, are winners. In his rural district comprising two-thirds of Oregon, Trumpcare would have taken health insurance from 64,300 of his 684,200 constituents, almost ten percent of the people he represents. The remaining residents would have had far less access to the rural hospitals that need ACA money to stay open.

The next step is for Democrats to fight DDT’s “tax reform” shifting millions to himself and his wealthy friends. Meanwhile Democrats can introduce bills for improving ACA. The GOP won’t vote for them, but people will see that it can be fixed—and maybe vote blue in the next election.

Next Page »

Mind-Cast

Rethinking Before Restarting

Current

Commentary. Reflection. Judgment.

© blogfactory

Truth News

Civil Rights Advocacy

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

AGR Daily News

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

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

Rainbow round table news

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

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

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

WordPress.com News

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

%d bloggers like this: