Nel's New Day

June 27, 2022

SCOTUS Continues Disastrous Rulings, CNN Goes Conservative

Mass Shootings: Last weekend, seven people were killed and 46 injured in 10 shootings of four or more people. Locations were Tacoma (WA); Blakely (GA), San Antonio (TX), Brooklyn, Patterson (NY), Winona (TX), Sutherlin (VA), Minneapolis, Hopewell (VA), and Houston.

Breaking news! The House January 6 investigative committee has scheduled an unexpected hearing on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at 1:00 pm EST after announcing none until the week of July 11. The sixth hearing comes after “recently obtained evidence.” No one knows that the “evidence” or the new witness is. One guess is that that rush comes to keep Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) and his allies from suppressing the revelation.

One new bit of information is that federal agents used a warrant from the DOJ’s inspector general to seize the phone of DDT’s former lawyer John Eastman, instrumental in developing the illegal plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election. U.S. District Court Judge David Carter had called the “likely” criminal conspiracy between DDT and Eastman “a coup in search of a legal theory.”

A federal grand jury in New York issued subpoenas to Digital World Acquisition Corp., the special purpose acquisition company merging with Trump Media & Technology Group, and its board members. The investigation can delay the merger and caused the company’s stock to drop ten percent, making this year’s loss over half its value.

Kennedy v. Bremerton School District: The current Supreme Court continued its unanimous list of decisions against separation of church of state by ruling that a football coach could kneel to pray after games, possibly coercing his players into following his Christian religion. Writing for the six Supremes, Neil Gorsuch, stated lower courts should no longer follow the “Lemon test” from Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), criticized by religious conservatives, about whether the government’s action might look to a reasonable observer as government endorsement of religion. Overturned is 60 years of the Supreme Court position that the government cannot organize and promote prayer in public schools. Previously the high court had also limited speech rights of on-duty public employees.  Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissent:

“This Court consistently has recognized that school officials leading prayer is constitutionally impermissible. Official-led prayer strikes at the core of our constitutional protections for the religious liberty of students and their parents … The Court now charts a different path.”

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State stated:

“Today, the court continued its assault on church-state separation, by falsely describing coercive prayer as ‘personal’ and stopping public schools from protecting their students’ religious freedom.”

Gorsuch’s opinion shows that the six Supremes swallowed the lies of Kennedy’s lawyer. Joined by many people, Kennedy wasn’t “offer[ing] his prayers quietly while his students were otherwise occupied,” but the decision was based on “private” and “quiet” prayer.” The coach inserted “motivational” prayer into his coaching which resulted in a presentation on the 50-yard line, shown in photographs. He also went on a media tour bragging about being a coach who “made a commitment with God” and inviting everyone to come pray with him on the field in what a federal appeals court called a “stampede.” The school principal “saw people fall,” and the district was unable “to keep kids safe.” Crowds knocked down members of the school’s marching band. Gorsuch claimed that only the opposing team players joined Kennedy—which makes no difference.

Other pro-Christian opinions from the six Supremes are mandating states to include religious private schools in public tuition grants, access of a spiritual adviser for a person being executed, and the requirement that Boston fly a Christian flag at city hall if secular groups have that privilege. In banning abortion, Alito said that states should have the rights to make their own laws, but their decisions in religion and gun safety are opposite to this statement.

Ruan v. United States and Kahn v. United States:  Doctors may now overprescribe drugs after the government is forced to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the doctor knew or intended to prescribe drugs in an unauthorized manner. The ruling overturned the conviction of two physicians accused of operating opioid “pill mills” in Alabama. Xiulu Ruan made over $4 million in four years when he dispensed almost 300,000 prescriptions, many of them for opioids, in a pharmacy connected to his medical clinic. Practicing in Arizona and Wyoming, Shakeel Kahn operated mostly on a cash-only basis and accepted property for payment including firearms. The convictions were returned to the lower courts for review. Samuel Alito, who voted for the decision, wrote that the court’s “radical new course” may cause “confusion and disruption.”

Clarence Thomas dissented from the Supreme Court’s refusal to revisit New York Times v. Sullivan (1964) that creates a higher bar for public figures to claim libel. He opposes the rights of the media “to cast false aspersions on public figures with near impunity.” Earlier Neil Gorsuch had also urged justices to revisit the decision. Public figures such as Thomas must show “absolute malice” to succeed in a libel dispute against people or the media. Thomas ranted against the Southern Poverty Law Center calling Coal Ministries a “hate group” because it claims “homosexuals say yes” to pedophilia and promotes other anti-LGBTQ lies, called the SPLC position a “blatant falsehood.” He wrote that the group “has nothing but love” for homosexuals despite the leader emphasizes literature that pushes LGBTQ people to be executed.  

The six Supremes justify overturning Roe by saying “the law offered no protection to the woman’s choice in the 19th century.” That could be the justification for overturning everything—desegregation, biracial marriage, mandatory sterilization, male ownership of wives—the list could be endless. Declaring precedents “egregiously wrong,” the six Supremes are making the United States into a place with rights only for adult straight Christian conservative white men. Everybody else is screwed.

Judges in Louisiana and Utah temporarily blocked the states’ anti-abortion “trigger laws,” those immediately going into effect to block abortions. Louisiana has passed multiple trigger laws since 2006, and which ones go into effect or what conduct is prohibited is not clear. In Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, and Texas, trigger laws are also being challenged. Mississippi AG Lynn Fitch had already certified the state’s trigger law, meaning that all abortions, except to save the pregnant woman or in a confirmed case of rape, will be illegal.

The high court has four more cases to announce this term, one determining clean water and the power of agencies. The others are President Joe Biden’s overturning DDT’s border policy “Remain in Mexico,” refusing immigrants entry from Mexico; EPA regulation of carbon emissions from existing power plants; and weakened work protections for veterans with disabilities.

Note: CNN used to be a useful alternative to MSNBC for a take on the news—until Chris Licht was hired to replace Jeff Zucker as the head of CNN. Licht said he wants CNN to be “a beacon … by being an organization that exemplifies the best characteristics in journalism.” Friends with GOP former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA), Licht watched the Super Bowl with GOP pollster Frank Luntz and wants to showcase more conservative guests.

After Roe was overturned, CNN immediately aired commentary from these “experts:

  • Mary Szoch, the director of the center for human dignity at the anti-abortion rights and anti-LGBTQ rights Family Research Council who talked about how “American needs to reckon with” the “60 million unborn children’s lives taken by the abortion industry.”
  • Jeffrey Toobin, who exposed his penis during a Zoom meeting with colleagues at The New Yorker and masturbated.
  • Democrats for Life, that “seeks to elect anti-abortion Democrats,”—not a major player in the political world.

Licht told producers to stop referring to DDT’s accusations of a stolen election as the “big lie,” its common nickname. A CNN insider said:  

“It’s worrisome that we’re being told how to talk about one of the worst things that ever happened to American democracy. We have to call lies, lies, whether they’re small lies or big lies. Is there any lie bigger than that lie?”

Reporters such as Brian Stelter and Jim Acosta will be forced out if they don’t keep to Licht’s “less partisan coverage.” The influence seems to come from parent company Warner Bros. Discovery with DDT-donor John Malone calling the shots. Instead of raising ratings, Licht wants to generate revenue by sponsored segments inserted in news broadcasts, meaning the “news” comes from big business, and a paywall for part of CNN’s website, reducing CNN’s audience.

Not a blueprint for a “beacon.”

June 24, 2022

SCOTUS Religion Consumes U.S., Destroys Women

[Mass Shooting: June 23, 2022 – In Philadelphia, two men were killed, another went to the hospital in critical condition, and a fourth suffered non-fatal leg wounds.]  

According to the website of the U.S. Supreme Court, “the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law.” This court is failing. The six Supremes (SS) overturned Roe v. Wade (1973), possibly the worst decision since Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), which ruled that Blacks cannot be citizens even if they are “free.” After almost 50 years of moderate freedom, all women able to become pregnant can be childbearing slaves, incubators for the males who impregnated them—even molesters and rapists.  

The Supreme Court bucked popular opinion in only three major rulings during the past 60 years: permitting flag burning in Texas v. Johnson (1989), the 1966 court ruling for Miranda requiring law enforcement to inform suspects of their rights to be silent and seek an attorney in Miranda v. Arizona (1966), and supporting mandated integration busing of Black children to white schools in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education (1971). Congress immediately passed the Flag Protection Act, overturning the Supreme Court, and on June 23, 2022, the SS overturned Miranda by removing the ability to sue law enforcement by not reading them these rights.

All three of these unpopular decisions expanded the rights of people; these SS vastly shrink people’s rights, favoring the U.S. minority of evangelical Christians, big business, and law enforcement—although police prefer not to have unfettered concealed carry of weapons. In the 21st century, the majority of Supreme Court justices uses religion and politics, not the law or constitution, to determine their decisions. Their inexcusable rational for “no” is “it’s not in the constitution” and the reverse for “yes.” 

Technically, Chief Justice Roberts only voted to uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, but he’s still complicit in the plot against women’s rights because he said Roe should be overturned. Within hours after the ruling, abortion is illegal in 10 states, another seven will soon join the ban, and four more within weeks. The number changes minute by minute. (The map is from early June 24, 2022.) Other states will charge into legislation to take the rights from women in their states, resulting in women losing their rights in half the “united” states. Women’s health will be dependent on where they live, how much money they have, and who their supporters are, exaggerating the current problems of healthcare which also ties into their race.

Roe prevented states from banning abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy and limited the ability to regulate abortion during the second trimester. In 1992, the high court ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey changed the trimester guideline to fetal viability. Samuel Alito, who wrote the decision, claimed the right to abortion doesn’t exist in the U.S. Constitution. As in his opinion, he repeated his ignorance of history demonstrated in the leaked draft by stating that the right to abortion “was entirely unknown in American law” until the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment of 1868 as a fake excuse that “the Constitution and the rule of law demand” the question of abortion return to the states. And his “historical rationale” for overturning Roe from directions by a medieval judge and a 17th-century witch-burner,

Alito has wrongly argued that contraception could prevent almost all unplanned pregnancies. He complained about nonexistent “barbaric” medical procedures but refers only to the fetus and not the pregnant woman who will die without an abortion or who is carrying a dead fetus. For emotional reasons, anti-abortionists uses the term “baby” for any embryo, zygote, and fetus to create a sense of guilt.

Brett Kavanaugh, who violated the law as a judge when he tried to prevent an undocumented girl incarcerated at the southern border from obtaining an abortion, tried to appear “moderate.” He claimed that today’s ruling “does not outlaw abortion throughout the United States.” The SCOTUS majority hates precedent, however, and this ruling, joined by a concurring opinion from Clarence Thomas, endangers federal rights to contraception and marriage equality, words also not used in the constitution. He didn’t mention biracial marriage, but with a White wife, Thomas won’t go there. (Thomas’ wife leads the SS.)

Alito argued that no other rights are at risk, that abortion is unique because it deals with “potential life.”  The religious view that contraception is a type of abortion, as five justices granted in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores (2014), makes all rights to contraception easy pickings for the SS. Roe is also based on Griswold v. Connecticut, which granted a federal right for married women right to birth control. The SS have claimed that privacy isn’t included in the constitution; all rulings remove that right—unless it deals with a leaked draft of a Supreme Court ruling.

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) says Roe’s overturn “will work out for everybody.” Praised for his choice of three justices, he answered, “God made the decision.” Former VP Mike Pence, a 2024 presidential hopeful, wants a national ban on abortion, and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, another presidential wannabe, is enthusiastically calling for abortion restrictions in her state.

The dissent from Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor explains that, according to the ruling, “from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs.”

In the New Yorker, Jia Tolentino wrote how much worse women’s lives will be than before Roe:

“We have entered an era not of unsafe abortion but of widespread state surveillance and criminalization—of pregnant women, certainly, but also of doctors and pharmacists and clinic staffers and volunteers and friends and family members, of anyone who comes into meaningful contact with a pregnancy that does not end in a healthy birth. Those who argue that this decision won’t actually change things much—an instinct you’ll find on both sides of the political divide—are blind to the ways in which state-level anti-abortion crusades have already turned pregnancy into punishment, and the ways in which the situation is poised to become much worse…”

Tolentino describes many of the ways women have already been criminally charged and the lengths to which fanatical anti-abortionists will go to hurt women.

“Search histories, browsing histories, text messages, location data, payment data, information from period-tracking apps—prosecutors can examine all of it if they believe that the loss of a pregnancy may have been deliberate. Even if prosecutors fail to prove that an abortion took place, those who are investigated will be punished by the process, liable for whatever might be found.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) described overturning Roe “one of the darkest days our country has ever seen.” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) called a hearing in the judiciary committee next month “to explore the grim reality of a post-Roe America.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talked about how the most recently nominated conservatives—three of whom overturned Roe—swore under oath that they “respected authority” and the “precedent of the court, that they respected the right of privacy in the Constitution.” In the past two days, Pelosi said, the court contradicted itself in its rulings. In overturning a 1913 New York law, the same SS ruled that states cannot make laws “governing the constitutional right to bear arms,” Pelosi said. “Today, they’re saying the exact reverse, that the states can overturn a constitutional right for 50 years, a constitutional right for women having the right to choose.”

She concluded, “Their hypocrisy is enraging, but the harm is endless.”  

About the ruling, Virginia’s Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) praised the SS who “rightfully returned power to the people and their elected representatives in the states.” That description doesn’t fit a myriad of other decisions that force Supreme Court rulings on all the states. Recently, the SS ordered that state courts can order the execution of innocent people and that states must pay tuition at religious schools. 

Youngkin’s “power of the people” didn’t appear in the religious decision. A May CNN poll showed 66 percent of people don’t want a complete overturn of Roe compared to 34 percent who do. Back to 1989, no more than 36 percent have wanted the ruling overturned. Seven in 10 people think the decision to have an abortion should be left up to a pregnant person and their doctor rather than being regulated by law.

Both Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) expressed disappointment in Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, saying they trusted what the two justices said during the confirmation. Manchin further said that, although a Catholic and pro-life, he has “come to accept that my definition of pro-life may not be someone else’s definition of pro-life.” These senators, however, are not known for following through.

Republicans have what they said they wanted. Now they head into a vast swamp of problems they created—high infant mortality, lack of care for women and children, increased need for prisons by criminalizing all connected to any abortion, expensive health and life care for fetuses unable to permanently function without ventilators and other needs, more divorces, greater crime, need of support for child care, the growth of poverty, and increased need for foster care as Republicans take children from mothers because of GOP-legislated child abuse. Texas already has a law criminalizing parents who allow transgender children any medical care connected to their gender dysphoria. The GOP’s pattern of dealing with these problems: nothing and whining nonstop about lazy people who won’t work and women who have children only to get undeserved taxpayer money.

Rejoicing Republican women may not want to be in jail when their miscarriages are assumed to be a self-inflicted abortion. Or lacking medication for after a miscarriage from a doctor’s refusal to prescribe it because it’s same as the one causing an abortion. Or their names on data bases the minute anyone knows about the pregnancy to make sure they won’t get an abortion. Rachel Maddow has more on her program. 

Much more will be written about this Supreme Court travesty in upcoming days, but that’s it for me on “a day that will live in infamy.” 

The U.S. beacon of democracy is extinguished.

May 18, 2022

 Sad Events of the Week

Monday the Supreme Court legalized bribery—again. A 6-3 vote struck down another McCain-Feingold campaign finance act provision, eliminating the restriction on candidates’ ability to collect donations post-election to pay off personal loans to their campaigns. The winning case by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) permits lawmakers to give political favors to donors who put money directly into their bank accounts. In her dissent, Justice Elena Kagan wrote the decision will “bring this country’s political system into further disrepute.” Cruz, who put over half the justices onto the high court, still hadn’t paid back $545,000 of the $1 million plus he loaned his campaign.

Cruz opposed the law limiting the $250,000 payoff with money raised more than 20 days after the election. It used the rationale that donations after the election don’t go toward political speech but only line candidates’ pockets. Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion stated that the law fails even lenient constitutional scrutiny because it “burdens core political speech without proper justification.” Yet after-the-fact donations don’t fund any “electoral speech.” Kagan condemned the practice as “sordid bargains” and “dirty dealings,” but Roberts called “influence and access.” Wealthy political candidates (aka Republicans) won’t have to suffer “non-existent” burdens, but the Supreme Court will force real burdens on pregnant women searching for legal abortions—at least legal in some states after SCOTUS finishes with them.

Mark Joseph Stern writes:

“Kagan and Roberts’ disagreement runs much deeper than the facts of this one case. It is, at bottom, a dispute about the government’s authority to safeguard democracy by outlawing the kind of self-dealing that makes lawmakers responsive to a small set of oligarchs rather than the people. [Kagan] provided multiple examples of these contributions facilitating corruption: In Ohio, the governor handed out more than 200 state contracts to his postelection donors. In San Diego, three city council members voted to benefit lobbyists who raised money to retire their campaign debts. In California, a congresswoman raised donations from lobbyists to pay off her personal campaign loans—at 18 percent interest. There’s nothing to stop politicians from using postelection contributions to pay off interest payments, allowing them to ‘turn a tidy profit,’ in Kagan’s words.

“There is an undercurrent of disgust in Kagan’s opinion, an evident revulsion toward the majority’s endorsement of a captured democracy. Her previous dissents in campaign finance cases evince outrage over the damage inflicted by the court; in Cruz, she sounds not just angry but horrified and sickened by what her colleagues have wrought. Our political system, she suggests, is already in ‘disrepute,’ and Monday’s decision will only ‘further’ its collapse by granting First Amendment protections to bribery.”

Scientific American has a piece by Wendy E. Parmet on how the Supreme Court has become bad for people’s health:

“For most of American history, courts treated the protection of health as an important aspect of the social contract, one that is implicitly woven into our laws. This centrality of public health to law—encapsulated by the legal maxim salus populi suprema lex (the health and well-being of the public is the highest law)—was widely accepted in 19th- and 20th-century state and federal court decisions. The most famous constitutional case evincing health’s centrality was the Supreme Court’s 1905 decision in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, which upheld a Cambridge (MA) vaccination mandate. In it, Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote, ‘There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good. On any other basis organized society could not exist with safety to its members.’”

In a 1987 case about whether a school could legally fire a teacher with tuberculosis, the high court adopted the legal test from the American Medical Association and stated, “In making these findings, courts normally should defer to the reasonable medical judgments of public health officials.” Gone, however, are the days of using medical information. Now the conservatives’ anti-science aggression rules the court with no concern for health or expertise, especially after Amy Coney Barrett joined the four ultra-conservative justices.

They ignored OSHA’s “vaccine or test” mandate although agreeing it would avoid 65,000 deaths. Some justices said that preventing deaths from COVID may not be a compelling state interest. In his draft opinion overturning Roe, Samuel Alito ignored any harm to women’s health. Gone is any attention to evidence of scientific experts; now conservative justices use their “intuition.” In the Roe argument, Roberts even said “put that data aside” about scientific evidence. Alito based his opinion on the practice of law before 1868 back to medieval times instead of the 21st century position that abortion is safe and critical to women’s health.

In his statements about the killings of ten and wounding another three, most of them Black and over 50 years of age, President Joe Biden condemned the action by an 18-year-old White man in Buffalo as “domestic terrorism.” He and the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, visited Buffalo and met with first responders and victims’ families on Tuesday. In his brief address, he talked about the hate coming from the “great replacement” theory running “through the media and politics, the internet [that] “has radicalized angry alienated, lost and isolated individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced.” That theory supported by half the Republicans is Democrats are deliberately replacing “white Americans” with minorities, especially immigrants. In calling on people to “condemn those who spread the lie for power, political gain and for profit,” Biden said, “White supremacy is a poison … running through our body politic.”

The Israel army admitted they “might” have killed journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, but it didn’t stop police from attacking mourners of the beloved woman when they tried to carry her casket on their shoulders. Abu Akleh was fatally shot while covering an Israeli raid on a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.  Fellow journalists witnessing the shootin said Israeli forces had fired on them. Israel’s prime minister and other senior officials initially tried to blame Palestinian militants. At an East Jerusalem hospital, mourners were beaten with clubs, horrifying viewers watching it on live television. To support its claim that mourners waved Palestinian flags and changed nationalist slogans, Israeli police edited drone video to remove the police first charging the mourners and then slowed down footage of a man waving his arms in frustration to claim he was throwing objects at the police. 

Thousands of people joined the procession to a funeral at a Catholic church in Jerusalem’s Old City. Latin Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, top Catholic clergyman in Israel, condemned the beatings and accused authorities of violating human rights and disrespecting the Catholic Church. When Abu Akleh was killed, the Palestinian-American, Catholic reporter who worked 25 years for the Al Jazeera satellite channel wore a blue vest clearly marked “Press.” The international researchers at the Dutch Bellingcat supported witness accounts that Israeli fire killed Abu Akleh.

If you face price gouging at the gas pump, thank a Republican. Along with other GOP legislators, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) slammed the investigation of oil companies making excessive profits as “socialism” like in “Soviet Russia.” (Never mind that Russia stopped being “Soviet” over 30 years ago.) A week ago, she blamed Biden for the high prices and tweeted it’s time to “get these prices under control” because they are “taking a devastating toll on the pocketbooks of families.” Thanks to Rodgers and her colleagues, huge oil company profits—which they call free enterprise—take precedence over families—and maintaining higher inflation will get them re-elected. The bill didn’t set price caps; it just permitted the Federal Trade Commission to look into the possibility of price gouging. Republicans on the House Rules Committee blocked the advancing of H.R. 7688, the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act; the GOP calls it the “Socialist Energy Price Fixing Act.” Wait until Republicans take over the house and then decide to investigate—maybe even block—price gouging. Voila! Republicans reduce inflation!  

Fox’s Tucker Carlson again gets an award for being the most disgusting host on the network. In another program for appearance on Russian state TV, he called Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) “Eyepatch McCain” because Crenshaw criticized congressional members voting against aid for Ukraine. Crenshaw said:

“People are saying ‘we can’t put baby formula on our shelves, but we are sending money to Ukrainians? My response to that is, do you know how much baby formula you can buy with $40 billion? None, because it is not a money issue, it is a manufacturing issue.” 

Crenshaw wears an eyepatch because he was hit by an IED in Afghanistan during the Navy Seal’s third tour there. In a medically-induced coma, Crenshaw was sent to Germany where the remains of his right eye were scraped out and a copper wire was removed from his other eye, requiring two years for complete recovery. After treatment, he deployed to Bahrain and South Korea. Crenshaw said that a glass eye is “very distracting to people” and makes him feel “self-conscious.” He wears the patch primarily when he meets strangers or appears at political events.

Born in 1969, Carlson was a child during the later years of the Vietnam War, ending in April 1975. The military draft ended two years earlier, and the U.S. created an all-volunteer force. Carlson never got closer to the military than criticizing it during his talk shows.

One really bizarre story! Nick Fuentes, the 23-year-old far-right founder of group for the principles of American Nationalism, Christianity, and Traditionalism (aka bigotry), also leads the unofficial “Groypers,” who think extreme right-wingers aren’t far enough right. Sometimes considered gay because he doesn’t have a girlfriend, he said:

“I think if anything—if anything—it makes me less gay. If anything, it makes me not gay—as opposed to less gay, not that there’s any gay, but it makes me not gay.”

He continued by saying that never having a relationship or sex with a woman makes a man more heterosexual because “dating women is gay.” Hmmm. The question is why right-wingers, including Christian evangelicals, are so obsessed with sex.

May 15, 2022

Republicans: The Cult of Death

David Barnhart, a pastor in Alabama, wrote the following about the anti-abortion, so-called “right-to-life” movement banning abortions:

“’The unborn’ are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or the chronically poor; they don’t resent your condescension or complain that you are not politically correct; unlike widows, they don’t ask you to question patriarchy; unlike orphans, they don’t need money, education, or childcare; unlike aliens, they don’t bring all that racial, cultural, and religious baggage that you dislike; they allow you to feel good about yourself without any work at creating or maintaining relationships; and when they are born, you can forget about them, because they cease to be unborn. You can love the unborn and advocate for them without substantially challenging your own wealth, power, or privilege, without re-imagining social structures, apologizing, or making reparations to anyone. They are, in short, the perfect people to love if you want to claim you love Jesus, but actually dislike people who breathe. Prisoners? Immigrants? The sick? The poor? Widows? Orphans? All the groups that are specifically mentioned in the Bible? They all get thrown under the bus for the unborn.”

The anti-abortion movement—actually the anti-choice movement because they don’t want to give rights to people—calls itself the “right to life,” but it’s actually only rights for the human zygote, embryo, or fetus. Conservatives’ respect for life by conservatives disappears at the instant a fetus emerges from the uterus. From then on, they embrace death:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants to starve migrant babies held in custody for crossing the southern border because selfish baby formula manufacturers have caused a shortage.

New state anti-abortion laws block treatment for ectopic pregnancies in the fallopian tube, cervix, abdominal cavity, ovary or scar from a cesarean section instead of in the uterus. They never result in a birth and are guaranteed to kill the pregnant woman without surgery. A Louisiana bill would permit the charge of murder for anyone who miscarries or needs surgery for ectopic pregnancies. An Ohio bill would mandate doctors to “reimplant” an ectopic pregnancy, medically impossible. An Oklahoma state senator disagreed with permitting surgeries for these pregnancies. Texas law does not define exceptions for medical emergencies, and a doctor denied a woman treatment for her ectopic pregnancy before she was rejected at an emergency room. At least one pharmacy refused to fill prescriptions for this condition. Ignorant legislators create these bills which are then supported by more ignorant people. If laws allow ectopic pregnancies, the confusion may keep women from seeking help. In some states, medical students receive limited education about abortion which means they also don’t know how to care for patients who have had miscarriages. The women who die don’t have the “right to life.”

The Supreme Court supporting “right to fetuses” opposed life for Clarence Dixon, a schizophrenic executed in Arizona last week. His lawyers said he didn’t understand why he was being put to death and suffered for over 25 minutes during the procedure. Age 66 and blind, Dixon is the first execution since Joseph Wood was given 15 doses of a two-drug combination over two hours, repeated gasping until he died. Witnesses reported that prison had trouble finding a vein for the lethal injection, and Dixon was in pain for 25 minutes until they injected him in the groin. An AP journalist said, “They did have to wipe up a fair amount of blood.” Arizona also has a gas chamber which uses hydrogen cyanide, the same gas used at Auschwitz during the Holocaust. Arizona can still kill another 112 people on death row. Supreme Court decisions determined justices shouldn’t meddle in state lethal injections so Arizona can handle the situation any way it wants.  

Republicans virtuously permit people with COVID to infect and kill others with the ridiculous claim of needing freedom from wearing masks. Studies have shown over and over that social distancing, vaccinations, and masks will block the transmission of the disease killing people in a little over two years. Even those who refuse all these precautions have learned how their loved ones have died the hard way, and many of them have admitted this fact. 

In another way to kill people, Republicans block any kind of sex education for young people so that they can protect themselves. Without that knowledge, girls employ myths to avoid pregnancy, myths that don’t work. Their solution is sometimes self-induced abortions, killing the young girls.

In 2008, before President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, over 26,000 people died because they lacked health insurance. Since it passed in 2010, the Republicans have tried non-stop to block health insurance for the poor. Even ten years after the law passed, 45,000 people are still dying each year from lack of health insurance. Even if they don’t die, 25 percent of people in the U.S delay health care for serious illnesses.

GOP hatred for LGBTQ people also promote violent deaths by those with anti-LGBTQ fear and loathing with the attitude that they are following God’s will.   

The deaths of at least ten people in a Buffalo story also shows how cavalier conservatives are permitting mass shootings through the freedom to buy guns. An 18-year-old who had previously threatened a school shooting and posted a “manifesto” on the website murdered people peacefully shopping because they were black. The GOP party line will be that he was a “lone wolf” although the persuasion to stop white people from being “replaced” by minorities has come for the far-right media, especially Fox’s Tucker Carlson, and GOP leaders. This mass shooting was #198 in the first 19 weeks of 2022.

Deliberate income inequality in which Republicans ensure that the wealthy and big business collect the vast majority of assets while people in poverty die from lack of resources.

The conservative anti-science aggression is also causing hunger and starvation by refusing to recognize climate change. Republicans also permit toxic chemicals and other pollution to kill people—if they are poor—to benefit big business.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), possibly the biggest liar in the Senate, said the loss of abortion rights won’t bother most voters although it “might be a little messy for some people.” He blithely commented that women can just drive across state lines for the procedure. No worry about lack of resources, distances from blocks of states banning choice, laws blocking getting an abortion in another state, prosecution for getting an abortion at all. Republicans want to have it both ways—get rid of all abortions while persuading the 70 percent of pro-choice voters that he’s not really against women having reproductive rights. The GOP just wants the discussion to disappear before the 2022 election.

House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agrees with Johnson that voters for congressional members don’t really care. And Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that “angry leftists … don’t even know that overturning Roe means.” They haven’t noticed that 26 percent of respondents to a Monmouth University poll rated their top concern, only one percent below the economic policy. That’s far above the nine percent of them rating abortion policy as the top concern a year ago. McConnell also tries to persuade people that getting an abortion won’t be any problem because it’s up to the states. People who have seen their rights disintegrate won’t believe that either.

In Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked draft of the ruling that overturns Roe, he bases part of his opinion on the “great” and “eminent” legal authority, Sir Matthew Hale. The English judge and lawyer who died in 1676 at the age of 67, he presided over a witchcraft trial in which he sentenced two “witches” to death.  His “History of the Pleas of the Crown,” published posthumously in 1736, stated that authorities should distrust women who claimed to have been raped, a position still popular in the second half of the 20th century and used even in the 21st century. He wrote the marital rape exemption protecting a man from prosecution if he raped his wife because marriage means the woman has put her body under her husband’s permanent dominion “which she cannot retract.” In the U.S., no state could prosecute a man for raping his wife—even brutally—until 1970. At the current time, 21 states are still more lenient toward marital rape than rape outside the marriage. Men will cling to a legal system in which men complete control their wives.  

His claim about the “deep roots” of history ignores common law in the first decades of the United States that did not regulate abortion before “quickening”—the first feeling of fetal movement occurring as late as 25 weeks into pregnancy. Alito ignored Hale’s description declaring abortion as a crime “if a woman be quick or great with child.” And he uses as his justification the man who sentences women to death as witches, knows women are liars, and believes women own their wives’ bodies.

Blocking abortion will lead to preventing other human rights such as contraception, same-gender relationships and marriage, biracial marriage, transgenderism, etc. All these rights will be blocked by Republican legislators and their activist partisan judges in a huge government overreach eliminating freedom and liberty for half the people in the country. The GOP has claimed they objected to this practice with Democrats but are now allowing only Christian evangelical laws.  

May 11, 2022

Abortion Update, DDT’s Endorsements

As expected, the Democratic bill to preserve reproductive rights for women went down 51-49 in the Senate. The 50 Republicans were joined by West Virginia’s “Democrat” Joe Manchin. Nebraska’s Ben Sasse had the gall—or naivety or stupidity—to suggest that GOP could use the refusal of these rights for the chance to expand social safety nets for children and mothers. He obviously hasn’t been observing his own party—or his own votes. In another classic argument against the bill, Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) compared women to sea turtles, saying women’s rights should be overturned because of the penalty in destroying sea turtle eggs. If the issue, killing women and losing rights, were not so serious, the responses would be hysterically funny. Like this tweet:

“IF WE COULD LAY EGGS OUTSIDE OUR BODY, WE WOULDN’T BE HAVING THIS CONVERSATION YOU PIECE OF SHIT.”

Mike Frog explained:

“The human race is not endangered, only white Americans are and they know it. That’s what this is all about.”

There was no hope from the beginning because of the 60-percent mandate for passing and Senate legislation, but 49 Democrats tried. Even Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), usually siding with the Republicans, voted in favor of the bill, but the conservative big business giving her donations, including the pharmaceutical industry, supports women’s reproductive rights, knowing that they spend a lot of money.

Another Supreme Court leak, the fourth one about overturning Roe v. Wade, reports that conservative justices siding with Samuel Alito in removing women’s reproductive rights have switched their votes. Before Alito’s rough draft was leaked, the Wall Street Journal gave behind-the-scenes details about discussion regarding Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that could lead to the elimination of Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) claim that he’s not a “moron” when he says the leak comes from someone on the left, but the two most recent links show conservatives are likely the sieve. An attorney close to several conservative justices said about Chief Justice John Roberts’ earlier decisions supporting the Affordable Care Act:

 “There is a price to be paid for what he did. Everybody remembers it.”

Despite the hue and cry about leaks being an assault on the court, the conservative justices are assaulting the people of the United States.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) pointed out that one of Roe’s opponents, Brett Kavanaugh, had not been properly vetted before the confirmation because the FBI was blocked from conducting a proper background after accusations of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is suffering from more “chalk attacks” written on the sidewalk in front of her home and has again called the Bangor police. The city has removed the writing with the notation of a complaint of “graffiti on public property.”

Election season is upon the U.S. for over six months, and endorsements by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) has added to the heartburn suffered by Republicans. Yesterday, they dodged a bullet in Nebraska when serial Christian evangelist groper Charles Herbster missed a GOP primary win for governor. Despite multiple women from both parties witnessing and experiences Herbster’s unwanted advances, DDT, who also sexually assaulted women, told people to vote for him. DDT said, “He’s the most innocent human being … the last person to do any of this stuff.” Herbster, who had hired two DDT campaign leaders, Cory Lewandowski and David Bossie, conceded the election but told his audience to watch Rigged, Bossie’s movie with lies about DDT’s “stolen” election. The term-limited incumbent governor endorsed winner Jim Pillen, whose win probably puts another Republican into the governor’s mansion. The moderate conservative also lost.

All 13 state senators, including five Republicans, pushed back at Herbster’s denial of the “highly credible, corroborated allegations.” With no political experience, Herbster carried other baggage. He declared himself a fifth-generation Nebraska cattle rancher but dropped out of the 2014 governor’s race with allegations that the $18,000 house was not his residence. He owned a $435,000 house he owns in Kansas City (MO) and donated almost $9 million of his own money to his campaign, almost all of it gone.         

Even Kellyanne Conway, who worked for Herbster, knew about the allegations almost a year before the story broke, but she assumed the bipartisan group was just lying. The race was still fairly tight with Herbster picking up almost 80,000 votes at 30.2 percent of the GOP total number and Pillen getting 33 percent.

DDT also lost his favorite in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional district, Steve Kuehl, although he didn’t make an endorsement. At his May 1 rally, DDT denounced incumbent Don Bacon, saying, “I hope you vote like hell against that guy.” Bacon voted for the first infrastructure bill and defeated Kuehl by 44 points. Kuehl came in at 14,000 votes, 23 percent of the total. Incumbent Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen handily defeated his two opponents who pushed DDT’s message about “election security.

Nebraska voters also didn’t send Rep. Jeff Fortenberry back to Congress after he was convicted of lying to federal investigators about illegal campaign contributions of $30,000. He had resigned after the conviction but stayed in the race. Despite his legal problems, Fortenberry got almost 10,000 votes at 12 percent of the total. At DDT’s May 1 rally, he defended Fortenberry, saying it was “very unfair” that Fortenberry might end up “in jail for a tiny amount of money.” The former congressman will be sentenced in June for three felonies.  

DDT did come up victorious in the West Virginia congressional race between two incumbents after the state lost one of its seats. Voters preferred the farther right one, Alex Mooney, despite his opponent, David McKinley, voting against massive funds for the state in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Mooney is being investigated for possible use of campaign funds for personal expenses. GOP Gov. Jim Justice supported McKinley. Republicans are hoping to take over the House. If they do, West Virginia should expect less federal money for their impoverished population, crumbling infrastructure, and lack of health care.

Tuesdays are busy. Here’s a calendar of 2022 primaries for all the 435 House members, 34 U.S. Senators, 36 governors, and thousands of state legislators. Five states are up next Tuesday, May 17.

Last week, DDT won his endorsement of J.D. Vance for the GOP U.S. Senate candidate from Ohio after the author of Hillbilly Elegy completely reversed his revulsion for DDT and campaigning on sinking to greater lows that DDT. Before DDT won in 2016, Vance wrote that DDT is either a “cynical asshole” or “America’s Hitler.” In October 2016, he called DDT “noxious,” “reprehensible,” and an “idiot.” Last summer, he told Molly Bang that to get the Republican vote he needed “to just suck it up and support” DDT.

Some Vance “winning” positions:

Vance is backed by the Mercer family, who formerly funded DDT, and venture capitalist Peter Thiel as well as supported by planners of overturning the election, including Steve Bannon.  Fox’s Tucker Carlson also helped Vance’s campaign by telling DDT that the supporter of Vance’s opponent, Club for Growth President David McIntosh, has an embarrassing and “chronic” sexual habit and was at odds with DDT’s position on China and trade. The opponent’s sexual habits were also questioned. DDT picked Vance. It didn’t even matter than DDT couldn’t remember Vance’s initials—or his last name when he endorsed “JP Mandel” at a rally.

Vance’s desperation showed last week when he accused President Joe Biden of intentionally allowing deadly drugs such as fentanyl to come into the U.S. with Biden’s purpose to kill DDT’s supporters in the “heartland” of the country. Yet in Biden’s first year, he captured 50 percent more fentanyl than DDT did in his last year. Deaths from drug overdoses during DDT’s four years increased 45 percent. The rate under Biden is slower. As for targeting “MAGA voters,” overdose deaths increased most among people of color, primarily Black men, not DDT’s typical voter. The highest increase between 2019 and 2021 was also in teenagers age 14 to 18, youth too young to vote. Glenn Kessler, a tough judge, award Vance’s lie with four Pinocchios, the highest number possible. Vance had zero evidence for his false claims.

In 2018, DDT tweeted a wholehearted endorsement for Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) in his re-election campaign, writing he “has done a great job. He has my complete and total Endorsement!” Facing sexual misconduct claims, Reed has resigned. Last year, he said he considered running for New York governor but now has no election plans this year. Instead, he has joined a lobbying firm.

Outside the U.S., Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of the late dictator whose family stole billions of dollars from the Philippines, is now the new president by a landslide. A revolution threw out his father. Jr. takes over from the brutal Rodrigo Duterte, whose daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio, is the next vice president. One-fifth of the population is below the poverty line. Jr. plans to shield Duterte from any prosecution at the International Criminal Court. What else he plans is uncertain because Jr. avoided debates and interviews.  

May 5, 2022

Overturning ‘Roe v. Wade’: The Bombshell

Monday, May 2, 2022, Politico dropped a bombshell: a 98-page draft, supposedly from an initial majority vote for Supreme Court justices and authenticated by Chief Justice Roberts, overturning the 50-year-old decision Roe v. Wade giving women the right to have abortions during the first third of the pregnancy. The article provides extensive information, including Alito’s caustic, non-caring language, and the draft. An analysis of the draft. The biggest leak in SCOTUS’ history, ramifications are overwhelming. 

Republicans who have long sought this action don’t want to talk about the substance of the draft. Instead, they focus on the leak to distract the nation from their corruption of the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Chief Justice John Roberts initiated an investigation, but Republicans demand a DOJ criminal investigation. According to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the leak has done irreparable harm to the nation—as if the court isn’t already doing that.

GOP accusations don’t hold much water: the draft lacks national insecurity information, meaning that a prosecution is unlikely. Republicans, however, manage to play the victim despite the possibility that a conservative is behind the action. Yet their feeling of victimization isn’t the loss of a human right; it’s the act of a leak illustrating this loss. Following the old adage “be careful of what you wish for,” overturning the right to abortion loses GOP political funding. Even worse for Republicans, the GOP could lose the election because 69 percent of the people want to keep Roe.

Samuel Alito, author of the leaked draft, may be avoiding the public eye now. He canceled his appearance at the 5th Circuit Court judicial conference in New Orleans. Both Justice Clarence Thomas and Roberts were also to speak at the 11th Circuit’s judicial conference in Atlanta this week, but no one knows if they will appear.

With Roe overturned, women and children impregnated by rape will be forced to carry the fetus to full term in over half the country, mostly in the South and midwestern states. After the announcement of overturning Roe on Monday, Democrat Carol Glanville defeated GOP Robert “RJ” Regan in a special Michigan House election for a seat always been occupied by a Republican. He received only 40 percent of the votes with almost 8 percent going to write-ins. About rape, Regan said he told his daughters to “just lie back and enjoy it.”  He also called feminism a “Jewish program to degrade and subjugate white men” and the Russian invasion of Ukraine a “fake war just like the fake pandemic.” State GOP leaders denounced his comments but didn’t call on him to withdraw because they were positive any Republican could win the election. 

Another male misogynist, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) who is being investigated for sex-trafficking of minors and other crimes accused women protesting against the anti-abortion draft of being “under-loved millennials” and “no Bumble matches.” The term refers to a location-based dating app using Tinder’s “swipe right or left” format. He said the women “who sadly return from protests to a lonely microwave dinner with their cats.” One protester said, “I’ll take my cats over a man like this ANY day. Because they aren’t trying to take away my rights.” He’s up for re-election this fall.

According to the Turnaway Study, denial of an abortion can have negative effects with both health and financial impacts. The research compares women who received an abortion with women denied them because they were just past the legal gestational cutoff.

Issues for those denied abortions:

Worse mental health. These include anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, giving up life goals and staying with an abusive partner. This bad mental health can lead to chronic pain.

Greater health risks for carrying pregnancies to full term. (Two women in the study doing so died after giving birth.) Banning abortion will lead to a 21-percent increase in pregnancy-related deaths, jumping to 33 percent among Black women. Maternal mortality rates have skyrocketed to an all-time high and the U.S. has the highest maternal death rate among developed nations. States with the greatest restrictions on abortions have the highest maternal mortality rates.

Poor credit. Women seeking abortions having the same credit scores before pregnancy suffered far more financial problems after denial.

Debt and bankruptcy.

Children more likely to live in poverty. Women forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term have a four times greater chance of being below the federal poverty level.

Children less likely to achieve developmental milestones.

When women have abortions to wait, their children do better than those of women denied abortions in terms of emotional bonds between mother and child, economic well-being, and less poverty. The current anti-abortion decision is based only on ideological reasons because Roberts specifically ordered justices to ignore data. Dr. Jennifer Kerns, associate professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, said the leaked document illustrates how the court is no longer a neutral group, “It really lays bare how out of touch their rulings are with people’s lives.”

Michele Norris addressed the issue that most of the media—and Republicans—ignored: What about the children? She wrote:

“The sanctity of human life is all-important right up to the point when that flesh-and-bone child enters a world where programs designed to support women, the poor or households teetering toward economic ruin are being scaled back by a party that claims to be about family values.”

Many states with the most restrictive bans on abortion spend the least for health and economic benefits for expecting mothers and children once they’re born. Evidence comes from state rankings on maternal morbidity, infant mortality, premature birth, child poverty, birth weight, access to health care, day care, food stamps and housing. The Mississippi case, basis for Alito’s draft, ranks dead last in preterm births, neonatal mortality and overall child well-being. George Carlin’s acerbic comic routine is going around the internet. As he says at the finish, “If you’re pre-born, you’re fine, if you’re preschool, you’re f*cked.”

Tanya Lewis concludes the Scientific American article:

“For people who are unable to get their abortion because the Supreme Court just lets states ban abortions, we’re going to see worse physical health, greater economic hardship, lower achievement of aspirational plans, kids raised in more precarious economic circumstances, and people’s lives upended.”

People have misconceptions about abortions. The facts:

Abortions are safe and effective; complications from all types of abortions are rare. Abortion barriers and restrictions passed by health-ignorant lawmakers jeopardize the health of women.

Some state laws require doctors to lie to patients, for example the falsehood that abortions cause cancer, infertility, and mental health issues.

Many women feel relief after an abortion so mental health issues may come from forced pregnancies. Unwanted pregnancies can cause significant and long-lasting maternal depression and parenting stress which can last for decades.

Avoiding pregnancy is not easy. Birth control is not 100-percent effective.

So-called anti-abortion “heartbeat bills” are based on falsehoods. The electrical activity which people call a heartbeat at six weeks doesn’t indicate a functioning heart which doesn’t form until 16-18 weeks of development. Even cardiac activity doesn’t equate to fetal survival.

Anti-abortion Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has a concern—her loss of privacy because of COVID contact tracing on cell phones. Trump’s administration started the program two years ago to anonymously track individual’s exposure to the coronavirus. Subscribed users could opt out from notifications that they were at risk of contracting COVID based on proximity to infected people. The CDC did no tracking and bought the program from a company bankrolled by Peter Thiel, DDT’s ally and one the biggest donors to his 2016 campaign. Blackburn appears to have ignored Alito’s draft of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe. It states that neither privacy nor self-determination exists in the Constitution because they are “not deeply rooted in history.”

Barbara Quade, former U.S. attorney general, theorizes that conservatives may have leaked the draft, hoping the release might dull the roar in late June when the actual ruling is released. A leak might also lock in the ruling, with the hope that those voting for the majority won’t have the courage to reverse their opinions which would give the impression “they are caving to public pressure.”

People told Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) that she could not trust Brett Kavanaugh’s promises to her during his confirmation that Roe was settled law. She got re-elected despite voting to confirm a person accused of sexual assault for a life-time SCOTUS justice. Now she just can’t understand how both Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch could have lied to her and under oath in hearings. She did point out that the final vote hasn’t come out yet. Will she be stunned about her “betrayal” then?

Roberts’ rogue court will go down in history—not only for denying women their reproductive fights but for erasing many voting rights and letting the wealthy control the election of candidates—such as Peter Thiel donating $10 million to elect J.D. Vance in the GOP Ohio primary. With the overturning of Roe, Roberts’ court can then move on to block any rights to contraception and marriage equality for biracial couples and same-gender couples.

Not satisfied with the Supreme Court destroying reproductive rights for about half the women in the nation, Republicans are laying plans to ban abortion everywhere after six weeks, before most pregnant women are aware of their status. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) would introduce the legislation in the senate—a good look to have a woman take on the task. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) already introduced anti-abortion bills in the House.  

October 1, 2021

Another Conservative Justice Whines about Criticism

Samuel Alito, one of the biggest partisan hacks on the Supreme Court, is furious about being called a partisan hack. In a speech at the University of Notre Dame, he defended the use of the “shadow docket,” a procedure with no oral hearings, arguments, reviews, decision rationales, and signed opinions to make significant decisions and claims critics want to “intimidate” and “damage” the court. His excuses don’t hold water as these statements and the refutations demonstrate:

Criticism comes only from disagreeing with the result. Questions about the propriety of making unsigned rulings in the middle of the night, however, come from whether these decisions lack due diligence, inconsistency, and methods which go farther than they should. A major objection is permitting the Texas anti-abortion law that violates the Constitution to go into effect because it is seen in any court. Another one is the frequency of the shadow docket from eight in 16 years, four presidential terms, to 41 in the four-year term of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT). Alito admitted that DDT received far more responses in shadow dockets but excused this by saying it was necessary because “a number of the President’s important initiatives were enjoined by a district court judge.” In 2020, the high court granted 10 of 11 emergency requests from DDT and 10 of 15 from religious groups but only one-third of state and other government groups’ requests, and none from private parties. Recent shadow dockets have obviously been more substantial and favorable to the political right.

“Shadow docket” is a loaded political term created by the left. The person who brought the term into common use is William Baude, Chief Justice John Roberts’ former clerk. In 2015, Baude pointed out that lawyers can’t know the legal standards in re-litigating the issue in the future with no opinions or whether justices are principled and consistent from case to case. This need applies to both conservative and progressive lawyers. Even far-right legislators such as Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) want names and viewpoints on Supreme Court rulings. Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas called the shadow docket denying a request to stop same-gender marriages in Alabama “indecorous” because it could be “a signal of the Court’s intended resolution of that question.” Thomas disagreed with this process being “the proper way to discharge our Article III responsibilities.”

The court didn’t nullify Roe v. Wade in its shadow docket ruling. In the Atlantic, Adam Serwer used the term “nullify,” not “overturn,” when criticizing the high court’s actions with no oral arguments. In fact, the court permitted the unconstitutional anti-abortion law to go into effect on a technicality. The conservative justices impeded women from obtaining legal abortions—nullifying the protection of a legal right.

Rulings on what Alito calls “emergency applications” don’t create precedents. In April, the Supreme Court chastised the federal appeals court in California for not following its earlier “emergency applications” rulings about restrictions on religious gatherings during the pandemic.

The unconstitutional permission from five conservative Supreme Court justices to flout Roe v. Wade did receive a scornful dissent from another justice, Sonia Sotomayor:

“The court silently acquiesced in a state’s enactment of a law that flouts nearly 50 years of federal precedents. The act is a breathtaking act of defiance—of the constitution, of this court’s precedents, and of the rights of women seeking abortions throughout Texas.”

Justice Elena Kagan may have been milder in her response but no less critical of the shadow docket when she wrote that the unsigned order “illustrates just how far the court’s ‘shadow docket’ decisions may depart from the usual principles of appellate process. Without full briefing or argument, and after less than 72 hours’ thought, this court greenlights the operation of Texas’ patently unconstitutional law banning most abortions.” According to Kagan’s dissent, the ruling was of “great consequence” but had only been “hastily” considered by the court, the majority decision “emblematic of too much of this Court’s shadow docket decisionmaking—which every day becomes more unreasoned, inconsistent, and impossible to defend.” 

Shadow decisions for DDT include the travel ban directed at Muslim nations, prohibition of transgender people in the military, and asylum decisions. Since Biden became president, shadow decision have blocked the CDC prevention of evictions, reinstated DDT’s “Remain in Mexico” policy putting asylum seekers in extreme danger south of the U.S. border, and the unconstitutional violation of Roe v. Wade. Basically five Supreme Court justices are setting both domestic and foreign policy, the constitutional prerogatives of Congress and the president. Missing in the current court is its deferential approach toward the executive branch’s setting the foreign policy which they cited in DDT’s cases.

In the past, Alito has also freely given his opinions about how he will rule. Last fall, in another speech before the highly conservative Federalist Society which selected most of DDT’s “partisan hacks,” he bitterly complained about the pandemic’s public-safety restrictions, marriage equality, reproductive rights, and five sitting Democratic U.S. senators. After his most recent speech, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) responded to Alito’s most recent complaints:

“Judges turning into political actors, giving speeches attacking journalists, is terrible for the court and terrible for democracy.”

University of Baltimore law professor and former federal prosecutor Kim Wehle wrote:

“Unscrupulously biased, political, and even angry. I can’t imagine why Alito did this publicly. Totally inappropriate and damaging to the Supreme Court.”

Adam Serwer wrote:

“The shadow docket has begun to look less like a place for emergency cases than one where the Republican-appointed justices can implement their preferred policies without having to go through the tedious formalities of following legal procedure, developing arguments consistent with precedent, or withstanding public scrutiny…

“The justices in the majority argued in their unsigned opinion that because the case presented ‘complex and novel antecedent procedural questions,’ their hands were tied… This ruling is less a description of a complex legal challenge than a road map. As Mary Ziegler writes, the Texas law was strategically designed to evade legal restrictions, and the majority read the script that was handed to it. Republican-run legislatures now know that they can pass such laws and the Supreme Court will pretend to be unable to block them…

“Five conservative justices invalidated the constitutional right to an abortion simply because they could, because they felt like it, and because they don’t believe anyone can stop them.”

And those same five justices will stop anything else that doesn’t fit into their world picture.

Despite the Supreme Court’s permission to continue vigilantism and unconstitutional law in Texas, the DOJ fought the new law in federal court today during a three-hour virtual hearing. The district court judge agreed with DOJ attorney Brian Netter that the purpose of the vigilante enforcement was to protect the Texas government from any legal challenge and questioned why the state went “to such great lengths” to hinder judicial review.

Texas attorney Will Thompson claimed the empowerment of private individuals to enforce state law in state courts was not at all unprecedented. Thompson also told the judge he couldn’t issue an injunction because no one is responsible for enforcing the law. Texas AG Ken Paxton used the same argument and asserted challenges must come in state court after a lawsuit by a private citizen against the person getting an abortion.

During the hearing, Thompson said he didn’t know what he would do if the judge issued an order against the state because of no streamlined state access to track lawsuits under the law. Netter suggested the judge could issue an injunction to stop proceedings begun under the law. Thus far, three cases from private citizens have been filed under the Texas law that went into effect on September 1. An injunction could not definitely protect people from the vigilante law: if it is later dissolved on appeal, lawsuits can be brought retroactively up to four years after the abortion.

The bill’s concept has started to spread across the nation. In Illinois, a state representative introduced a bill allowing any resident to sue someone who “causes an unintended pregnancy” or commits domestic assault. It also allows lawsuits against anyone who “aids or abets” the pregnancies. Like the Texas law, a successful litigant suing the person “causing” the unwanted pregnancy will get $10,000, but half the money, however, would be put in a state fund paying for abortions for people denied abortions in Texas.

Brett Kavanaugh has become the second Supreme Court justice to contract COVID after testing positive the day before the 2021 session begins. Amy Coney Barrett had the coronavirus last summer.

September 1, 2021

GOP Fights Privacy, Liberty

Vigilante law is alive and well now in Texas, thanks for the GOP majority on the state legislator and the GOP Gov. Greg Abbott. The political party claiming “it’s my body” about mandates on vaccines and privacy and who shouts “small government” now permits anyone, even a priest or pastor, who has the slightest connection to a woman having an abortion after six weeks—even listening to her talk about the possibility—can be sued by anyone in the world. Texas knows that its new law would be overturned as unconstitutional if it were enforced by government officials so the state turned the work over to the general public. And the lawsuit can be in any Texas jurisdiction.

Defendants must pay each winner of civil lawsuits against them $10,000 and legal costs for any case against them. The anti-abortion Texas Right to Life established a website for people to anonymously report rumors of illegal abortions and allow volunteers to launch cases as plaintiffs. Anyone can sue, even if they don’t have firsthand knowledge of the abortion in the lawsuit they can file up to four years after the supposed violation of the law.

Abortions after six weeks are legal in cases of medical emergencies but not for rape or incest. Legal defenses prevent abortion providers from arguing the law is unconstitutional. Plaintiffs have nothing to lose by filing lawsuits because they have no charges. The result will be endlessly streaming allegations.

The law went into effect at 12:01 am September 1 after the Supreme Court, known for many immediate emergency actions to keep people infecting others in churches, briefly ignored an emergency appeal. Later in the day, five conservative justices—three of them belonging to Deposed Donald Trump (DDT)—refused to block the law during a legal battle. A U.S. district court judge had set a hearing for September 6 to consider blocking the law, but the 5th Circuit Court called it off. Chief Justice John Roberts, joining the three progressives, called the Texas law “not only unusual but unprecedented.”

In a “shadow docket” decision with no briefs or arguments, the Supreme Court has also recently ended a national ban on evictions to help people in the pandemic and set immigration policy by ordering the current administration to reinstate DDT’s policy forcing asylum seekers to stay outside the U.S. borders.

The Texas law prevents abortions after cardiac activity in the fetus, as early as six weeks after conception and before women know they are pregnant. This statute doesn’t help prevent unplanned abortions, support children and pregnant women, or provide any resources to families. It simply drives desperate women to obtain dangerous, illegal abortions.

Even before this law went into effect, Texas required useless sonograms, explanations by abortion providers about the image, and a state-mandated booklet with falsehoods about fetal development and adoption. The patient must then wait another 24 hours before the procedure because the males who introduced, voted for, and signed the law believe women are too emotional to make appropriate decisions. The new law banning abortion after six weeks will also force women to leave the state for their medical help, making it available only to those wealthy enough to arrange the travel.

Throughout the U.S., GOP-led state legislatures have enacted restrictive laws, many of them blocked. In the fall, the Supreme Court will consider Mississippi’s ban on most abortions after 15 weeks in an attempt to overturn Roe. As indicated on the map, many states passed “trigger bills” to immediately outlaw all abortions in their jurisdictions if Roe is overturned.  

The new law may have greater ranging impacts than just blocking abortions. The 1973 Roe v. Wade, stating women have the right to have abortions, upholds personal decisions with the ruling that the state does not uphold a specific ideology. If the Texas law is not overturned, it sets a precedent for state-level regulation of these personal and private decisions. Ending an unwanted pregnancy does not cause others any physical, financial, and social harm as refusal to wear a mask can.

Roe v. Wade is an example of individual and/or family decisions permitted by the government; i.e., disability rights, opportunity to send children to religiously affiliated schools or homeschool them, and contraceptive use. The anti-vax and anti-mask movement will not benefit if the government can take over their privacy. The abortion-right Supreme Court decision protects privacy and liberty under the 14th Amendment’ Due Process Clause, interpreted as privacy as a part of liberty. It also mandates the ideology that only one theory of the beginning of life can be legal in the United States although religions and individuals differ in this belief. 

Jewish law purports a fetus is not alive and abortion is health care, both psychological and physical.  Presbyterians, who admit they don’t know when life begins, ask followers to make their own decision, and pro-choice Unitarians believe in the value of both life and the quality of life. During most of its history, the Catholic Church declared “quickening,” the first time the pregnant woman feels a fetal movement at about 18 weeks, as the beginning of life. Overturning abortion removes the right to plan a family, and the Texas law could lead to reversing the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut, upholding the right of married couples to obtain contraceptives.

The purpose of the Texas law is to save a fetus. This philosophy could lead to the law mandating the saving of other lives, possibly those who need an organ transplant. The government might allow people to sue if they heard about a person who refused to donate a kidney or a sliver of a liver to save another person’s life.

Texas Republicans also passed a draconian anti-voting bill this past week. Satirist Andy Borowitz combined both anti-freedom laws in one column, “New Law Requires Texans to Have Counselling Before Being Allowed to Vote”:

Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law a bill requiring all Texans to submit to counselling before being allowed to vote.

The law mandates a counselling session and a twenty-four-hour waiting period before a voter is permitted to cast a ballot, Abbott explained.

“Many people who think that voting is something they have to do haven’t gotten all of the information available to them,” he said. “There are many alternatives to voting, including not voting.”

“Sometimes, a person is upset with their situation and thinks that voting is the only answer,” the Governor said. “A counsellor can sit with them, pray with them, and help them make the right choice.”

Answering critics who claim that the twenty-four-hour waiting period is designed to keep voters from casting their ballots in a timely fashion, Abbott said, “All we’re trying to do is make sure that voting is the right decision for them. Every day, I hear from people who voted for me who say that they’ll regret that decision for the rest of their lives.”

A third Texas GOP law permits people to carry guns without either permits or training. Law officials are concerned the statute will increase crime rates and endanger police. Among Texas voters, 59 percent oppose the new law.

After violating privacy and liberty in a Texas law, other Republicans are threatening big business if they don’t do what the GOP wants. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has threatened any of the 35 tech and telecom firms complying with a request to preserve information related to the January 6 attack on the Capitol. He said:

“If these companies comply with the Democrat order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States. If companies still choose to violate federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable under the law.”

He didn’t explain which law would be violated if they keep the information. Rep. Eric Swalwell called for a DOJ investigation into McCarthy’s threats, describing them “a clear obstruction of justice.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) created the January 6 investigation committee after McCarthy and other Republicans blocked an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the attack and attempt to overturn the election. Requested information includes “metadata, subscriber information, technical usage information, and content of communications for the listed individuals.” The committee also asked for preservation of information about people “involved in organizing, funding, or speaking” at January’s “Stop the Steal” rallies and those “potentially involved with discussions of plans to challenge, delay, or interfere” with the electoral certification process.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) amplified McCarthy’s message by declaring companies will be “shut down” if they give the Republicans’ data to the January 6 commission. Both Greene and McCarthy may appear in the data. Promising to close down private businesses for preserving these records, Republicans on conservative media called the request an authoritarian overreach. Promises to punish businesses for something GOP lawmakers don’t like moves the party toward big government and its own authoritarianism by eliminating liberty for private companies and individuals.

Admiration for the Taliban is growing among DDT’s supporters as they plan use the group’s ability to take over Afghanistan as a model for the GOP extremists to take over the United States.

And so the GOP’s big government opposes liberty and freedom.

February 22, 2019

DDT: Week 109 – Disregard from Allies, Corruption

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has lost—again. In VP Mike Pence’s attempt to turn Europeans against the 2015 Iran anti-nuclear deal at the 55th annual Munich Security Conference, he faced stony silence, starting when he said he brought greetings from DDT. Joe Biden received cheers for his speech. The French foreign minister asked why DDT can be so firm about opposing Iran while pulling troops out of Syria that helps Iran.

Like U.S. intelligence agencies, European nations have found no indication of Iran building nuclear weapons. Last month, Europe created a plan to purchase Iranian energy, stopping damage from U.S. sanctions, while not suffering U.S. financial reprimands. Even anti-Iran countries in the Middle East couldn’t agree at the meeting because of the Saudi-operated boycott of Qatar. With war-hungry national security adviser John Bolton, DDT wants a war with Iran, but his only follower may be Israel, whose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for “war with Iran.” The blasts against DDT came at the heels of a failure in a U.S.-led meeting about Iran in Warsaw where European nations sent only low-level delegations, if anyone.

No longer is Roe v. Wade being chipped away; it’s being chopped away with a hatchet. DDT’s newest rule takes Title X funds from family planning clinics that provide abortions, refer patients for abortions, or promote or support abortion for family planning. Funds will be directed to religious places, such as phony Crisis Pregnancy Centers, for women seeking reproductive health care—care which many CPCs promise but don’t provide. Title X covers reproductive health care for 4 million women every year at a cost of $286 million.

Former FBI deputy Andrew McCabe is providing the public with news about his conversations with DDT. A major revelation is that DDT believes that North Korea’s missiles can’t reach the U.S., despite intelligence to the contrary, because “[Vladimir] Putin had told him that the North Koreans don’t actually have those missiles.” On the day before its release, McCabe’s The Threat was #1 on the bestseller list.

Earlier this week, North Carolinian Baptist pastor Mark Harris, who paid a contractor to request and pick up absentee ballots that were either marked Republican or destroyed if for Democrats, said he knew nothing about what his employee was doing in an attempt to get seated in the U.S. House. Harris’ son said that he had told him about what was happening, but Harris said he ignored his son, a federal prosecutor, because he was only 27 years old at the time. The father described his son as a “very judgmental” person who “has a taste of arrogance.” A quantity of incriminating emails between Harris and his employee of them show that he lied about his ignorance. That issue seems to be the tipping point: Harris has asked for a new election. Harris excused himself by saying that he is recovering from an infection that led to sepsis and two strokes and therefore cannot deal with the “rigors” of the state election board hearing. The “rigors” of the election will start all over, beginning with a primary.

Most of DDT’s former Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, including VP Mike Pence, stayed silent about this fraud after their attempts to suppress poor and minority voters. The only GOP response came from election lawyer J. Christian Adams who scolded fellow commission member Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlop for a WaPo op-ed, “Why Doesn’t the ‘Voter Fraud’ Crowd Care about What Happened in North Carolina?” In a tweet, Adams called Dunlop a “charlatan.”

DDT deflected questions about the North Carolina  fraud by mentioning California and Texas. Told that these accusations had been disproved, he moved on. At the same time, DDT has been highly vocal about the revelation that Jussie Smollett allegedly paid two brothers $3,500 to fake a racist attack on him. Also missing from DDT’s prolific tweets is commentary on the arrest of a Coast Guard lieutenant, Christopher P. Hasson, for a domestic terrorist plot to kill prominent Democrats, CNN and MSNBC journalists, and “almost every last person on earth.” The self-identified white nationalist (aka supremacist), obsessed with neo-fascist and neo-Nazi views, has stockpiled weapons and ammunition since 2017 to sow destruction and chaos. He also planned biological attacks targeting the food supply. Hasson got many of his ideas from books by Harold A. Covington, whose books, along with other white supremacist polemics, are  available on Amazon. Covington, who popularized the concept of a white ethnostate in the Pacific Northwest, died in 2017.

Federal authorities concealed the arrest for five days until a private citizen discovered information in a documents search about extremism. Another Coast Guard member was reprimanded and removed from the response to Hurricane Florence after the public complained that he flashed a white-supremacy sign last September during a televised interview with another officer.

The current cultural and political climate will most likely result in punitive measures for Smollett, concerns about the mental state of Hasson, and exoneration for Harris.

One DDT game is which Cabinet secretary is the next to go. Maybe Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta? Eleven years ago, Acosta, then U.S. Attorney for southern Florida, was sued for giving Jeffrey Epstein federal immunity on child molestation and trafficking charges, blocking an FBI probe into Epstein who may have trafficking young girls in Florida but also from other states and Europe. For his leadership in abusing scores of underage girls, Acosta received only 13 months of prison time, most of it on work release and the rest in a special suite separate from other prisoners. Epstein’s lawyers, including Ken Starr who led Bill Clinton’s impeachment for lying, were largely allowed to set the terms of their client’s plea deal. Acosta had this evidence but complained that he would have trouble convicting Epstein.

The Miami Herald has been working on the story for months and reported yesterday a judicial ruling that Acosta and federal prosecutors “broke the law when they concealed a plea agreement from more than 30 underage victims who had been sexually abused by wealthy New York hedge fund manager Jeffrey.” The judge wrote that prosecutors not only violated the Crime Victims Rights Act when they didn’t tell the victims but also misled the victims into believing that the case, secretly closed after the plea bargain was sealed, was ongoing. For the first time, a judge has ruled that Acosta illegally hid the agreement from Epstein’s victims although the only follow-up is that the victims have 15 days to settle the issue with the government. Acosta was so convincing during his confirmation hearings—even calling the Epstein deal a “point of pride”—that he gained the votes of all the GOP senators plus 8 Democrats and one independent.

Asked about Acosta, DDT said:

“I really don’t know too much about it. I know he’s done a great job as labor secretary and that seems like a long time ago.”

Sex trafficking in DDT’s mind exists only as a device to get votes through his wall on the southern border.

DDT doesn’t mind troops in Syria—he just thinks they shouldn’t be from the U.S. After he announced his pullout of the U.S. military, he asked Europe to send in more soldiers to replace them, raising questions of whether he thinks that Syria is safe enough to be left on its own. EU allies refused DDT’s request. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), separated himself from DDT by shouting at the DOD acting secretary Patrick Shanahan who supports the pullout by April 20. “That’s the dumbest f—ing idea I’ve ever heard,” Graham yelled. he said that ISIS would return, Turkey would attack Kurdish forces, and Iran would have the advantage. Shanahan agreed with Graham but said he would do what DDT wants. Maybe DDT listened to Graham: today he plans to keep 400 soldiers on the ground in Syria, up from the 200 that Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced yesterday.

The leakiest White House in history has mandatory non-disclosure agreements for all employees—at least for now. Former DDT staffer Jessica Denson is suing to nullify the NDAs, claiming that their broadness allows retaliation against employees with legitimate workplace grievance. The lawsuit describes the NDAs as “unenforceable” and “unconscionable.” The class-action suit covers thousands of DDT’s employees and volunteers, including for his campaign, that prevented them from making any disparaging comments about DDT, the campaign, and his family.  Staffers aren’t even allowed copies of the NDAs that they sign that include a $10 million penalty for each infraction.

Roger Stone groveled after he sent out a tweet incorporating a gun target symbol with a photo of his judge and his criticism of her, but his abject apology wasn’t enough. She just placed a full gag order on him.

Spin—twisting negative events to make them sound positive—has reached an artistic high in a conservative Wall Street Journal editorial. Attorney David Rivkin and “legal theorist” Elizabeth Foley purported that criminal allegations against DDT are so many that he should not be investigated. One concern was taking time away from DDT’s “work”—aka “Executive Time.” Investigating DDT’s money laundering and other business fraud might take away from the unscheduled calls he makes to GOP legislators to talk about his television watching or golf or whatever.

February 8, 2019

DDT: Week 107 – Temper Tantrums, Threats

A wild week—Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) delivered his usual lies in the State of the Union speech and the House committees began its investigative hearings. Tweets from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) have the stench of fear, with a recent example of a tirade about how investigations of his scandals not being “allowed” finished by how “Dems and their committees are … even stealing people who work at White House.” An unnamed staffer guided a CNN reporter to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the Intelligence Committee, for an explanation. Schiff has hired former National Security Council members, who DDT had dumped, to work in the investigation into DDT’s finances and foreign connections. In an inverse act, Kashyap Patel, former staffer for former House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), to join the National Security Council.

Acting AG Matt Whitaker joined Republicans in responding with the same fear as DDT. Whitaker rudely responded to Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee hearing today, even telling the chair that his time for questioning was up. Whitaker said, “I’m here voluntarily,” but he might not be so fortunate at his next hearing. He refused to answer questions while disrespecting House Democrats. GOP committee members repeated conspiracy theories including the lie about the FBI tipping off CNN for the Roger Stone arrest. After he pounded the table and yelled at chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) tried to shut down Eric Swalwell (D-CA) when he questioned Whitaker about taking donations from foreign groups. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) attacked Whitaker for the redactions in a memo from Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein to Robert Mueller about the investigation. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) asked Whitaker to get DOJ employees to be loyal to DDT, despite the oath that they take to be loyal to the U.S. Constitution. Vox has a good rundown of the event.

Because the Senate still has a GOP majority, Richard Burr (R-NC), chair of its Intelligence Committee, is dragging his heels in any investigation of Russia collusion, but DDT still had to lie when he said that the committee had finished its investigation and had found “NO COLLUSION.”

The shutdown came about—and may return—because Congress has not provided a budget that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) will sign. At the same time, however, DDT has failed to comply with the law. It is his legal obligation to send a budget to Congress by the first Monday in February—February 4, 2019–which he has not done.

Yesterday was National Black HIV Awareness Day, and Tuesday DDT announced that he will end the HIV epidemic by 2030. Here’s the male white crowd who plan to carry out the plan.

The Supreme Court released both conservative and not-quite-so-conservative opinions. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal wing in striking down Louisiana’s restrictive anti-abortion law—at least for now—but moved to the conservative side in refusing a Muslim any religious support during his execution in Alabama. The Supreme Court had already found the Louisiana law unconstitutional when the same one was passed in Texas, but DDT has added two conservative justices since 2016 when Roberts had dissented from overturning the Texas law. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), up for reelection next year, is taking criticism when she supported Brett Kavanaugh for the high court because she believed his promise that he would not overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade, legalizing some abortions.

AMI, owner of the National Enquirer which helped elect DDT with its suppression of news, may have lost its immunity from Robert Mueller. If the publishing company cooperates and avoids committing crimes, it won’t face prosecution for paying off a woman who had an affair with DDT. Upset about news published in the WaPo, AMI tried to extort Jeff Bezos, the newspaper owner, by threatening to publish more embarrassing material about his sexual affair.

Instead of being coerced, Bezos published the extortion message and his response in which he defined the extortion terms:

“In the AMI letters I’m making public, you will see the precise details of their extortionate proposal: They will publish the personal photos unless Gavin de Becker and I make the specific false public statement to the press that we ‘have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.’”

Bezos’ documents can be read in entirety here. The National Enquirer’s final paragraph in the blackmail note reads:

“If [Jeff Bezos] agrees to cease and desist such defamatory behavior [meaning reporting in the Washington Post], we are willing to engage in constructive conversations regarding the texts and photos which we have in our possession. Dylan Howard stands ready to discuss the matter at your convenience.”

Bezos indicated that the reason for National Enquirer’s may be WaPo’s coverage of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve,” wrote the world’s richest person.

DDT has refused to submit a requested report from Congress regarding White House findings on whether Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is personally responsible for the torture and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. U.S. intelligence determined that the premeditated murder was almost certainly from orders by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but DDT said he would retain relationships with Saudi Arabia even if the rulers were responsible for the killing. Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, has claimed that the killing was a “rogue operation.” A bipartisan Senate group is considering asking the White House to lay sanctions against anyone considered “responsible.” A bill might include a refusal to sell Saudi Arabia certain military arms.

ICE may have hit a new low. Ordered last summer by the Supreme Court to give specific hearing dates, ICE agents issued “dummy” dates with threats that people would be deported if they didn’t attend. Immigrants crossed the country to comply with the orders only to find that the fake scheduled hearings didn’t exist. Chaos ensured as the photo to the left shows. Court administrators tried to help the immigrants by double-checking addresses and promising that they would soon receive hearing notices.

Because DDT has pulled out of a nuclear treaty with Russia, Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s military to develop new ground-launched hypersonic missiles with an intermediate range and to convert previously sea-based cruise missiles for ground launch.

U.S. Central Command (Centcom) Commander Gen. Joseph Votel, the top U.S. general in charge of military operations in the Middle East, testified that he was not consulted before DDT’s announcement of all 2,000 troop withdrawal from Syria. He also testified that taking pressure off ISIS will permit it to regroup and have “renewed vigor.”

The GOP and DDT’s tax cuts for the wealthy and big business may raise the deficit trillions of dollars, but many DDT’s supporters are discovering that it doesn’t help them. Here’s one of the angry responses:

“The @GOP tax bill cost my family THOUSANDS of dollars this year on our return due to changes, thereby hitting us with the LARGEST tax increase of our lives. We are middle-class homeowners, and you raised our taxes. Infuriating!”

IRS accounting deception to keep people unaware of how little tax cuts would help them—at least until after the midterm elections—may have added to their frustration. Instead of telling people that the tax “reform” wouldn’t give much relief to most people, the IRS changed withholding guidelines that would give more money back to workers in each paycheck by reducing the amount of taxes withheld throughout 2018. In the past, people tended to get refunds, but the new system means much smaller refunds or even the requirement to send more money to the IRS. Discovering that corporations are getting even more of a break than they were promised will undoubtedly result in more rage, especially if they find out that companies get a much larger tax break fi they move their profits overseas—about half as much tax responsibility.

Maybe some people have already learned their lesson: over three-fourths of registered voters want the wealthiest people in the U.S. to pay higher taxes. Even a Fox poll shows that 70 percent of people want increased taxes for those earning more than $10 million.

Other polls are also not favorable for DDT. He went into the Oval Office with a growing economy, but two years later, 56 percent of people in the U.S. believe that the economy is slowing down or worse. Seventeen percent think that the economy is in a recession or depression. Sixty-seven percent of Americans believe interest rates will go up in the next six months, including 20 percent who believe they will go up “a lot.” Likewise, a majority (61 percent) see inflation rising in the near future, including 17 percent who say it will increase a lot.

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