Nel's New Day

September 13, 2022

News – September 13, 2022

Once again, Republicans reinforced their message that they can’t be trusted. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) dropped a bombshell today when he announced for the sixth time that the GOP would pass a national law preventing abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy if Republicans took the Congress in 2022. (The bill actually states “at 15 weeks”—a week less, important when time is of the essence.) When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, the majority assured women that the abortion ban was only state-wide, that they could go to states permitting abortions for the procedure.  

Nationwide, 60 percent in polling support abortions in all or most cases, up from 55 percent in March, according to the Wall Street Journal. Graham said that he chose 15 weeks because “unborn child” (a fetus) the fetus can then feel pain. Studies show that the sensation of pain doesn’t occur until after 24 weeks. Advocates of the bill refer to 15-week abortions as “late-term,” a term used for pregnancies after at least 21 to 24 weeks. Asked about Graham’s proposal, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said most GOP senators prefer abortion to be under state law rather than a national restriction.

On May 3, Graham said that each state deciding the legality of abortion “and on what terms … is the most constitutionally sound way of dealing with this issue.” On August 7, 2022, Graham said, “I’ve been consistent. I think states should decide…the issue of abortion.” Yet he proposed a national abortion restriction less than two months before an election largely focused on the loss of women’s rights.

Graham’s press conference announcing his proposed federal anti-abortion bill covered the other big news of the day, the Dow Jones dropping over 1,200 points because of the 0.1 percent August inflation increase. Food and gas continued to drop in prices, but some tech stocks lost up to ten percent. The biggest increase in prices for August was in medical services, a problem that the Inflation Reduction Act is intended to address. Rising rents were also responsible for the inflation increase.  

Another commentary on the filing by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) to keep government-owned classified documents in the National Archives instead of in DDT’s unlocked desk drawers while he is gone for months: DDT’s attorneys compared those documents to tapes found in “the Clinton sock drawer,” when describing personal tapes from Bill Clinton’s interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch as part of a memoir about Clinton’s views on the issues of the day. Branch made follow-up tapes of his impressions, and the resulting book, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President, came out in 2009. A 2012 ruling from a case filed by the conservative Judicial Watch demanding they have access to the recordings established the difference between a private record and a Presidential Records Act document in post-presidency. According to the ruling by U.S. district judge Amy Jackson, the Presidential Records Act identifies Clinton’s tapes as personal records, “purely private or nonpublic,” not official presidential materials such as the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.  

House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney has asked that the National Archives review DDT administration’s presidential records in a search for “presidential records … outside the agency’s custody and control. She sent this request after the archives staff told the committee that “the agency is not certain whether all presidential records are in its custody.” Maloney also asked the archives “seek a personal certification from Donald Trump that he has surrendered all presidential records that he illegally removed from the White House after leaving office.”

Kenneth Starr has died at the age of 76, after complications from surgery. Widely accused of political bias, the GOP investigator spent most of Bill Clinton’s two terms pursuing the president for investment questions, which never resulted in any evidence, and then followed by impeachment after Clinton’s affair with an intern. Starr’s appointment as Baylor University president in 2010 ended six years later after a sexual assault scandal in which women alleged campus leaders bungled or ignored their complaints. A review noted that administrators, under Starr, possibly accommodated a “hostile environment against the alleged victims. In 2020, Starr took part in DDT’s defense for his second impeachment. Over 20 years earlier during Clinton’s impeachment, DDT called Starr “a total wacko” and “totally off his rocker.”

September 13 is the last day in 2022 for primaries in the U.S. determining candidates in Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. (Commentary on winners—and losers—tomorrow.) The count in Sweden’s Sunday vote still hasn’t determined whether the extremists in the far-right Democratic party will take over the nation. But one vote has been determined: Twitter shareholders accepted Elon Musk’s purchase of the company.

At the same time, Musk is working hard to get out of the $44 billion takeover, and Twitter’s stock opened on Tuesday at under $41 per share, almost 25 percent under the deal price. Musk has sent three letters to Twitter in his effort to void the agreement, the last time just days ago citing the $7.75 million severance payment the company made to whistleblower and former head of security Peter Zatko. The contract for the purchase supposedly promised no severance payments outside “past practice.” This letter followed another with Musk’s accusations of Twitter’s misrepresenting the number of spam and fake bot accounts on its platform. Twitter sued, but Zatko, a renowned hacker, testified to the Senate about alleged security and privacy vulnerabilities. The Musk-Twitter trial is scheduled for October 17.

In early August, Musk sold almost $7 billion of his Tesla shares in preparation for a forced purchase of Twitter. Openly criticizing government spending, Musk has taken $7 billion in government contacts with billions more in tax breaks, loans, and other subsidies, making the difference between profit and loss. Last summer, studies showed that Tesla vehicles running on Autopilot software had 273 crashes for the previous year, almost 70 percent of the 392 crashes reported in that time. His 18-year-old trans daughter has also filed legal documents to drop her last name of Musk and cut off any association with her father. Musk has seven children, sharing five with his ex-wife Justine Wilson and the others with ex-girlfriend Grimes.

Sample MAGA views from the third National Conservatism conference in Miami on September 11-13:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said tech companies “cannot be viewed as private entities” because “we know without a shadow of a doubt they are doing the regime’s bidding when it comes to censorship.”

A breakout session called for mandatory military service for anyone making over $250,000 a year.

Not one MAGA hat was seen at the meeting, and DDT was at his golf club in Virginia at that time after a mystery flight into Washington, D.C. Yet most 2024 presidential GOP wannabees, mostly governors and congressional members, were present: Mike Pence, Larry Hogan, Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, Mike Pompeo, and Liz Cheney.

After a judicial order to pay $49.3 million in his first defamation trial because of conspiracy theories regarding the Sandy Hook massacre, Alex Jones heads into the second trial by plaintiffs Jones claimed were “crisis actors” who lied about the children’s deaths. Parents’ and others’ cyberstalking and threatening harassment came from his encouragement for his audience to “investigate.” Plaintiffs have also asked the court to remove its current management after it filed bankruptcy in August which Jones said would keep Infowars on the air and keep him from “paying any judgements as he appeals.” Jones also uses the court decision to advertise his supplements and forthcoming book.

Jones’ ex-wife, Kelly Jones, also plans to subpoena her ex-husbands phone records, inadvertently given to the plaintiff’s attorney. Given custody of their three children in 2017 after she filed for divorce in 2013, she maintains their father forced the children to lie about her in court and has been non-compliant about court orders. Phone records also show that Jones has been secretly surveilling both Kelly Jones and his current wife, Erika Wulff Jones, through what could be called a “spy ring.” He also had one of his security team follow his wife.

According to his financial records, highly conservative China-hater Ron Johnson, running for a third senatorial term from Wisconsin, made $57 million in the last decade from a company closely aligned with China. He purportedly sold his shares in the company but still receives up to $1 million annually from rent and royalties as owners of its building. His campaign ads have bragged about the jobs he created as a manufacturer, and his company sued the U.S. government for softer trade relations with Beijing. Johnson threatens to start an investigation into President Joe Biden’s alleged relationships with Chinese businesses. 

Ronny Jackson was first known for being DDT’s White House doctor who said DDT could live to be 200 years old. Jackson left because of drinking on the job and inappropriate interactions with subordinates, including sexual and denigrating statements, to be elected U.S. House representative from Texas. Now he’s so excited about royalty that he wants DDT to be crowned the U.S. “MAGA King.” Maybe he didn’t know that Biden’s reference to DDT as “the great MAGA king” was a joke.  

May 25, 2022

Primaries – May 24, 2022

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) was up with another round of endorsements for the May 24 primaries in Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas. Candidates not receiving over 50 percent of the vote will have runoffs on June 21. Minnesota also a special primary for one congressional district, and Texas, requiring primary winners receive at least 50 percent of the vote, had a few controversial elections.

Pennsylvania Recount:

Dr. Oz’s race with David McCormick for U.S. Senate goes to a mandatory recount with the difference in Oz’s favor at only 947 votes out of over 1.3 million ballots. The deadline of June 7 will tell Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) if he lost his endorsement for Oz and must scream “rigged election.” Oz is staying quiet while McCormick sues to keep the state to stop them from discarding mail-in ballots lacking handwritten dates. Mail-in ballots favored McCormick over Oz by 32 to 23 percent. Instead of “find the votes” as DDT demanded in Georgia almost 17 months ago, DDT demands, “Stop FINDING VOTES in PENNSYLVANIA! RIGGED?” Pennsylvania’s GOP delayed counting mail-in ballots by blocking any preparation of them before the election. In the chaos, exhausted election officials have quit, leading to more chaos in November.

Oregon Failure:

Kurt Schrader’s battle with Jamie McLeod-Skinner for Democratic candidate in the 5th Congressional District slogs on because of the extreme incompetence of the GOP Clackamas County Clerk Sherry Hall. With 66 percent of the vote counted, McLeod-Skinner is still 18 percent ahead, and Hall has no projection of when results will be announced. She does have a deadline of June 13. Much more about this later!

(X) = DDT’s endorsement lost.

Texas Runoffs:

Incumbent Texas AG Ken Paxton just destroyed the Bush dynasty by defeating George W. Bush, Poppy Bush’s grandson and Jeb’s son, in Paxton’s re-election. The start to the presidency should have been little Bush’s election to land commissioner, but this year’s loss was the end. Since 2015, candidate Paxton has been under indictment for securities fraud while four judges have moved the case from one place to another. A large number of his staff quit in 2020 after Paxton abused his office in helping a campaign donor raided by the FBI. The FBI is investigating Paxton for corruption, and the state bar filed a professional misconduct lawsuit against Paxton for his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections in four battleground states won by President Joe Biden. His election in November is highly possible because of suppression of votes from those opposed to his anti-immigrant, anti-climate, anti-healthcare access, and anti-transgender crusades. Paxton beat Bush 68 to 32 percent.

Incumbent Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar has declared the race for himself, but his opponent Jessica Cisneros hasn’t conceded with only 0.4 percent separating them—175 votes—and votes left to count. Traditional House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), support Cuellar despite his anti-abortion stance, but his reputation suffers from an unexplained FBI raid on his home and campaign office under six weeks before the primary election raised more questions. Automatic recounts in Texas are only in the case of ties; otherwise the requester pays for it. There is no deadline for the completion.

Wayne Christian, friend of Chevron, won another term on the Railroad Commission overseeing the oil with an easy win in the runoff, 65 to 35 percent, despite a $2 million donation to underdog Sarah Stogner. Corruption continues as ranchers continue to get no help.

Rep. Ronny Jackson, who won his second primary unopposed on March 1, faces ethics charges before the general election for inappropriate use of campaign funds. During his first term, the Pentagon inspector general’s office accused him of “inappropriate conduct” while he was DDT’s White House doctor. A Defense Department’s inspector general’s report earlier found that Jackson drank while on duty and abused his staff. Later, the physician called the COVID omicron variant a Democratic conspiracy theory to win 2022 elections. Jackson also faces questions about why Oath Keepers members texted him during the January 6 insurrection and claimed he needed protection.

The Ethics Committee also reported that DDT’s choice and winner of a West Virginia primary, Rep. Alex Mooney, likely accepted an impermissible gift for a vacation in Aruba and violated federal law by using congressional staff to plan the trip on official time and with official resources. Seven current and past employees identified “frequent requests to complete unofficial tasks—ranging from babysitting and car repairs for a personal vehicle to assisting with personal finances and businesses—solely for the personal benefit of Mr. Mooney and his family.”

Georgia: 

DDT suffered two losses important to him in the state where he attempted retaliation against both governor and secretary of state who refused to invent over 11,000 votes for him to win in the 2020 election despite DDT’s consistent begging.  

(X) Gov. Brian Kemp beat DDT’s endorsement for U.S. senator, David Perdue, big time by almost 52 points. In a last-ditch gathering, Perdue said he might not accept the election results and claimed his polls losing to Kemp by big margins were “full of crap.” He smeared Stacey Abrams by saying the Black woman’s statements were “demeaning her own race” and she should “go back to where she came from.” Perdue fought both Democrats and Republicans, including DDT’s former VP Mike Pence. Kemp makes the third primary gubernatorial defeat for DDT—Idaho and Nebraska—with two wins, one of them Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania who Republicans will support in only a lukewarm fashion and Sarah Huckabee Sanders in Arkansas who was a given. Initially reluctant to run, Perdue was pushed by DDT and ran an apathetic campaign. Abrams, who lost the 2018 gubernatorial election when Kemp was controlling the votes, is again the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

(X) Brad Raffensperger defeated DDT’s pick Jody Hice for secretary of state by 19 points with a majority vote, meaning no runoff. Crossover Democratic votes in the open primary may have helped Raffensperger beat his conspiracy “stolen election” believer Hice.  

Burt Jones may have to go to a runoff for lieutenant governor candidate.

(X) John Gordon, DDT’s endorsement for attorney general, lost with only 26 percent of the vote, and (X) Patrick Witt received only 17 percent of the vote for Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner.                             

Herschel Walker did bring in the GOP U.S. Senate primary for DDT to run against incumbent Raphael Warnock, a Black pastor who was elected in a special January 2021 election. The positive part of Walker? He was an NFL star in the last century. Political experience? Nothing. Otherwise? Lying about education and business, corruption, fraud, domestic violence, sexual abuse, murderous urgesconsignorance, illogic, and much more. Asked about Walker’s problems, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, “Every candidate has flaws and assets.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, QAnon Queen of Congress, won her primary by almost 70 percent although the conservative National Review endorsed her opponent Jennifer Strahan, calling Greene “a disgrace to her office and a disservice to her constituents in Georgia’s 14th district.” Another notch for DDT. 

Alabama: 

Mo Brooks, unendorsed by DDT after a spat, came in second for the U.S. Senate primary to Katie Britt, but they’ll face a runoff on June 21. Britt’s exposure as McConnell’s lobbyist didn’t help her get votes. DDT endorsed no other Alabama candidate, but incumbent GOP Gov. Kay Ivey avoided a runoff for her fall candidacy. Brooks is getting ready for the runoff by returning to DDT’s fold. In an interview on the day of his election, he repeated lies about the insurrectionists being “antifa” and the election was “stolen” because of the “800,000 to 1.7 million non-citizens that voted in 2020.” When confronted with lack of evidence, he said that he has proof but won’t give it to the January 6 investigation committee because he doesn’t want it to be “secret.”

Arkansas:

DDT won all three of his state endorsements: Sanders as heir to governor, Tim Griffin for attorney general, and John Boozman for U.S. senator—despite Boozman’s three opponents. One of them, 33-year-old billionaire football star Jake Bequette, criticized Boozman for not challenging the 2020 electoral college count on January 6, 2021, but got only 20 percent of the vote. Boozman also played football—1969-1973.

The Michigan Bureau of Elections named 36 petitioner circulators whose petition sheets contained only invalid signatures and described the current election cycle as having wholesale fraud. The question is whether the disqualified candidates knew about the problem. They cry foul about being eliminated from the race. For the signatures, petition circulators used outdated voter lists with outdated addresses and dead people.  The bipartisan Board of State Canvassers will decide this week whether it will act on the bureau’s recommendation.

No primaries next week, but there will be seven of them on June 7.

 

December 1, 2021

COVID Kills, HIV/AIDS Ignored

Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day, a day set aside to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic. The first case was reported in June 1981, and for the next decades, activists fought to get help from the government and the medical community, both largely ignoring the virus which they considered a “gay” disease. The first AIDS Day was in 1988.

Consider the difference between than and now to work for a vaccine. In 2021, the conservative community fights against any governmental and medical assistance. By last October, more people died of COVID in the U.S. since its discovery 20 months earlier than the 700,000 people dying of AIDS in the U.S. during the past 40 years. In 20 months, over 800,000 people have died of COVID in the U.S., widely believe an under-estimation, and almost 50 million have been infected, again probably with tens of millions more people having asymptomatic or unreported cases. The deaths averaging about 1,000 a day continue because people won’t get vaccinated against the disease. In two weeks, about the same number of people in the U.S. will die of COVID as the annual death rate for people with HIV (the cause of AIDS)—although the nation has not found a vaccine for HIV in 40 years. Yet tens of millions of people who are terrified of being around people with HIV/AIDS behave in a cavalier fashion regarding COVID.

Some insanity surrounding the recognition of COVID as a deadly disease: 

Judges appointed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) lied as they block any protective mandates for vaccinations: A three-judge panel in Texas blocked the mandate implementation for healthcare workers in hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid payments, and a federal judge in Missouri blocked all mandates for any healthcare workers in ten states, ones with the lowest vaccination rates and highest rates of COVID deaths. A judge in Louisiana blocked vaccination mandates for healthcare workers nationwide, and a Kentucky-based federal judge blocked mandates for federal contractors in three states. Vaccine mandates work. Instead of walking off the job, most of the people get vaccinations. Only 34 of 35,000 New York City police took unpaid leave by failing to meet vaccine deadlines. At United Airline, at least 99 percent of the employees got vaccinated. Houston Methodist hospitals went from 75 percent vaccinated to 99.4 percent vaccinated after the mandate.

[One sane justice: Stephen Breyer rejected a request for the Supreme Court to block the vaccine mandate at the large Massachusetts hospital system, Mass General Brigham.]

Republicans are financially rewarding unvaccinated people: Last spring, GOP states cut off extra unemployment assistance to force people back to work. It didn’t work. Now, beginning with Iowa’s Gov. Kim Reynolds, they have started to tell unemployed workers who refuse to get vaccinated that they will receive unemployment benefits if they lose their job for that reason. Reynolds is being joined by Florida, Kansas, and Tennessee. Until now, people who voluntarily quit their jobs haven’t not gotten these benefits.

GOP political leadership spreads lies about vaccinations and the lack of COVID danger: A prime example is Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), who was DDT’s White House doctor for a few years. One of his predictions was that DDT was so healthy he could live for 200 years, perhaps because he drank on the job, according to the Department of Defense inspector general. After the new variant, Omicron, was announced, Jackson tweeted that Democrats had created the virus to “push unsolicited nationwide mail-in ballots.” He concluded, “Democrats will do anything to CHEAT during an election—but we’re not going to let them!”

Conservative pundits join politicians in their fantasy world: Fox hosts, all of whom must be vaccinated but won’t admit it, blame Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for new variants: Rachel Campos-Duffy blames Buttigieg for creating variants to stop people complaining about the supply chain issue. She said Omicron is promoting his running for president in 2024.

Conservative religious leaders also push anti-vaccine positions: Televangelist Marcus Lamb, founder of the right-wing Christian Daystar Television network, not only pushed lies about vaccinations on his network but also invited others to appear on his network to promote unproven drugs as COVID treatment. Lamb died of COVID on November 30; his wife said that he had followed “many of the protocols talked about here on Daystar” for his treatment and he “100 percent believed in everything we’ve talked about here on Daystar.” Two weeks before Lamb’s death, his son called his illness “a spiritual attack from the enemy.”

Conservatives incite violence to stop vaccinations: On Fox Information, Donald Trump Jr referenced the riots in Europe as a way to obtain “freedom.” He said that the U.S. media is keeping people in the U.S. from hearing about them and turning them into “sheep.” He called the riots “excellent.”

Conservative politicians and pundits pander to supporters by denigrating science: For over a year, Dr. Anthony Fauci, respected in the public health sector for over 50 years and advised the past seven U.S. presidents, has been the chief scapegoat for every GOP politicians in their smear campaign against science, especially the men who aim to be elected president in 2024. Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) sneer at him for being a mere “bureaucrat,” and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted criticism about him over 20 times in one day, again with the label of bureaucrat. On Fox network, host Lara Logan compared him to the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele who performed experiments on Auschwitz prisoners during the Holocaust. Her colleague, Tucker Carlson, compared Fauci to World War II dictator Benito Mussolini.

Republicans plan to use the high COVID death rates to sabotage Biden in the 2022 election. Their new meme is that he failed in his promise to cut back the pandemic. Never strong on logic, followers may believe their false claims, but these tweets explain where they again fail reasonable thought:  

The GOP: Joe Biden promised he would shut down the coronavirus. He failed.

Andrew Wehrman, historian at Central Michigan U. and author of The Contagion of Liberty: Smallpox in the American Revolution: Let me get this straight. It’s Biden’s job to stop the coronavirus, but it’s also unconstitutional for him to try to stop it?  

Republicans are dying because of no vaccinations, and their religion and politics are the reason. An analysis by county based on votes for either President Joe Biden or DDT show that DDT’s counties are much harder hit since the vaccination was available. Counties voting most strongly for Biden are vaccinated at a 40-percent higher rate than those that voted most strongly for DDT. Conservative politicians and religious leaders are killing their constituents.  

Investigation show that an additional 400,000 people may have been killed by COVID because DDT stalled the CDC efforts to warn people about the pandemic. He shut up Nancy Messonnier, a senior CDC health expert, after she warned in a February 25, 2020, news briefing about the serious nature of COVID. CDC was permitted no press briefings for most of the following March. Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House COVID task force coordinator, recently reported how the White House blocked these briefings, including one in April to emphasize the need for wearing masks to contain the spread of the virus. Radiologist Scott Atlas, DDT’s former adviser and current adviser for Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis, told CDC to recommend testing only on symptomatic people. He also advocated for herd immunity by letting everyone be infected.  

According to DDT’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, DDT was so indifferent about the danger of COVID that he went to a debate with Joe Biden despite having been tested positive for the virus three days earlier. DDT lied about his diseased status and refused to take the mandated test immediately before the debate. While he exposed everyone in the room to COVID but downplayed the pandemic during the debate. His refusal to be tested broke the debate rules, but Moderator Chris Wallace, a Fox host, told DDT’s campaign they were joining the debate “on the honor system.” While carrying the virus, DDT met with Gold Star families to talk about the “value of sacrifice.” DDT went to the hospital seriously ill with COVID three days after the debate.  

Forty years after the first AIDS case was reported in the U.S.—and perhaps almost 60 years after it arrived in the nation—HIV/AIDS may have a vaccine, thanks to the development of those for COVID. Although Dr. Fauci worked in this area, the vaccine was not actively pursued because of the public’s belief that AIDS and HIV were plagues for immoral people. Scientists working on an HIV/AIDS vaccine now hope that the mRNA technology for COVID vaccines could help find an HIV/AIDS vaccine. Meanwhile, the 33rd anniversary of World AIDS Day passed almost completely unnoticed by the media as the United States struggles to cope with the spread of COVID by the unvaccinated.

In the past 24 hours, at least 1,633 deaths from COVID in the U.S. have been reported.

November 11, 2019

DDT’s Record about Veterans Belies Speech about Them

In a normal world, the United States would be honoring the veterans on the day set aside to commemorate their service, and the commander-in-chief would join in the appreciation for their service. We no longer have a “normal world”: Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is sitting in the Oval Office.

DDT abused veterans even during his campaign. In January 2016, DDT boycotted a debate other GOP presidential candidates over a feud with Fox’s Megyn Kelly and held his own rally at the same time, ostensibly to raise money for veterans. According to DDT, it was wildly successful, and he claimed he got $6 million. He promised the money to 20 different groups, but a little less than half the money was donated to veterans’ charities, much of it directly from donors to the groups instead of funneled through DDT. The other $3 million apparently stayed with DDT. 

Almost four years later, a few days before Veterans Day, a judge in New York ordered DDT to pay $2 million for misuse of his “charitable” foundation after DDT admitted that his fundraiser for veterans was designed “to further Mr. Trump’s political campaign,” according to Judge Saliann Scarpulla. DDT, however, issued a statement that he was not sorry or wrong after tweeting in June 2018, “I won’t settle this case!” DDT also confessed that he used the charity’s donated money to settle $100,000 in legal claims over an 80-foot flagpole at Mar-a-Lago, $158,000 to resolve a lawsuit over a contest at his golf course, $5,000 for ads promoting his hotels, and more money buying sports memorabilia and his portrait for his personal use. Eight organizations receiving DDT’s fine and the disbanded charity’s funds include Citymeals on Wheels, the United Negro College Fund, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The veterans are still missing their $3 million.

Any other president of the United States would have been pilloried for this fraud, especially targeting veterans. For DDT and his supporters, it’s just another day.

DDT is also trying to undermine the Uniform Code of Military Justice that details non-judicial punishment, Article 15. After Navy Chief Edward Gallagher was charged on ten criminal counts with fellow Navy SEALS as witnesses, DDT took up his cause, claiming that he should be exonerated. In the end, one witness changed his story after not being charged for a crime, and Gallagher lost his trial on one minor charge. For that, he was reduced in grade to E-1. Chief of Naval Operations has now reduced his grade but not his pay grade by keeping him a petty officer first class. In other cases which also either convicted or charged soldiers for violating the military’s rules of engagement and war crimes, DDT plans to “take action” for two convicted war criminals. He has been asked to disapprove findings in one case and dismiss the charges in the other. Any action from DDT will undermine the chain of command and the military justice system. Law-abiding veterans will be insulted if DDT dismisses charges, restores rank, and pardons war criminals.

During his campaign, DDT continued to denigrate honored veterans. He slammed then Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), repeatedly saying, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Gold Star family Khizr and Ghazala Khan were frequent objects of DDT’s attacks after Khizr Khan spoke at the Democratic convention. Their son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, was killed in 2004 while he served in Iraq.

Two years ago, he called Myeshia, wife of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson with condolences after Johnson was killed in an ambush in Niger following his being missing for 48 hours. Myeshia said that DDT didn’t even know her husband’s name.

Last year on Veterans Day, DDT traveled to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. He was a no-show at a key ceremony because he didn’t want to go in the rain. He has visited the troops overseas only once in almost three years, finding it not “overly necessary,” according to his statement. After Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified to the House about DDT’s July 25 phone call to the Ukrainian president, DDT tried to smear Vindman and called him a “Never Trumper.”  

DDT promised to improve the VA, but he made decisions that hurt the agency. One of them was his vaunted whistleblower protection office that deliberately put whistleblowers at risk. The agency’s inspector general reported that the office not only outed whistleblowers but also kept poorly performing senior officials and didn’t investigate issues in an accurate or unbiased manner. DDT’s political appointments have scorned career employees, according to the report, and acted in ways that demonstrated a lack of respect for people they considered “career” whistleblowers.

In 2017, DDT put three of his Mar-a-Lago buddies as shadow rulers for the VA who threatened health care of veterans: a Palm Beach doctor who provides “concierge” medical care for the wealthy, the chair of Marvel Entertainment, and a lawyer. None of the three has ever served in the U.S. military or the government, and they operated in private with no transparency, accountability, or oversight. Taxpayers provided for the cost of officials’ travel to visit with the triumvirate at Mar-a-Lago. One of the beliefs of the “Mar-a-Lago crowd” was privatization of health care, known to be dangerous for veterans’ wellbeing. They were responsible for the appointment of David Shulkin as VA director and then told him what to do.

Once Shulkin was fired in 2018, DDT wanted to appoint Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the military doctor who gave him the glowing report including the possibility that DDT could live to be 200 years old.  for another 200 years. Any appointment disappeared after allegations that Jackson provided an excessive amount of an opioid to a White House staff member, wrote himself prescriptions for the same medication, distributed the sleep aid Ambien to White House and media members on overseas trips followed by prescriptions for wakefulness, got drunk and “wrecked a government vehicle” after a Secret Service going away party, and demonstrated workplace misconduct. After investigations into his behavior, including an issue with VP Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, and her doctor, Jackson faded away. Now Jackson is back, thinking about a run for the U.S. House after DDT-supporter Texan Mac Thornberry declared it quits for the 2020 election.

Another DDT attack on veterans is to end the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program (FWVP) that helps reunited Filipino veterans and their families while they wait for federal decisions about their visas. These elderly veterans from World War II need support from family members. Over 250,000 Filipino soldiers enlisted in the U.S. army, but fewer were permitted to move to the U.S. and become citizens. Despite their service and sacrifice in World War II, they lack full benefits afforded to military veterans and their families in the states. Japan occupied Manila after they attacked the Philippines on December 7, 1941. The U.S. and Filipino resistance lasted for months, and the Bataan Death March of 60,000-100,000 U.S. and Filipino prisoners of war, leading to death of thousands, was decried as a war crime. During Japan’s occupation of Japan for the entire war, the Philippines suffered almost 60,000 casualties.

Thus far this year, the U.S. House passed 56 bills for veterans, 25 of them bipartisan, after 32 hearings. These include VA mental health funding and suicide prevention, inequitable taxes on military families, and “expanded benefits for Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange,” according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has not allowed any of these bills to move through the Senate.

Today, DDT went back to the state he rejected in favor of Florida and gave his first speech in New York City. He had wanted to be Grand Marshall for the Veterans Day parade there for almost 25 years, but that honor goes only to people who served in the military. This Veterans Day is the third one in which he did not follow the presidential tradition of going to Arlington Cemetery.

According to news reports, DDT put on his pretend-president hat and sounded presentable. He listed specific American military victories, recounted stories of individual veterans, and told Gold Star families that he will “stand by your side forever.” The event included a moment of silence and a wreath-laying ceremony honoring fallen soldiers.

DDT’s speech was not uneventful. Like sporting events that he attended, he was greeted with chants of “lock him up” and “impeach and remove.” Signs in the buildings surrounding him in Madison Square including “Convict” and “Impeach” in a Murdoch building. Several dozen people holding banners reading “Traitor, criminal, lock him up!”, “Sexist in chief” and “Impeach Trump” gathered close to Madison Square Park in downtown Manhattan ahead of his speech.

Now that DDT has had the attention he craves, he can continue to send soldiers into places around the world to protect other authoritarians and create more disabled veterans.

April 28, 2018

DDT’s Swinging Door, Legal Issues Continue

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 8:07 PM
Tags: , , , ,

The people in the world of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) keep coming and going.

Mike Pompeo, confirmed as Secretary of State with a vote of 57-42, lost votes from eight of the 14 Democrats who voted to approve him for CIA Director. Tillerson’s hiring freeze in the State Department left Pompeo several openings—eight of nine staff positions, 60 ambassadorships, and ten of 22 assistant secretary positions—leaving the Senate busy with many more confirmation hearings. He will be headed to Brussels for a NATO meeting with foreign ministers tomorrow, help DDT determine whether to close the Iran deal by May 12, and get the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, overwhelmingly condemned by the UN, open on May 14. Newly elected Doug Jones (D-AL) joined five Democrats running this year in red states.

It’s a guarantee that Pompeo will continue to eliminate reproductive rights from the annual report on human rights practices throughout the world. The 2017 report, used for decision-making, skipped such areas as “the ability of couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children.” It was replaced with “coercion in population control.” Asked about the omission, State Department officials replied, “There’s still a long section on women.”

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), head of the so-called religious freedom party, finally forced someone out of his job in the House–Chaplain Patrick Conroy. Two possible reasons are that Conroy favored the Democrats and that conservatives were upset because Conroy asked a Muslim to give an opening prayer. A third reason might be that Conroy wasn’t conservative enough: Ryan has assigned two evangelical representatives, both pastors, to find a replacement who must be elected by the House members.

After months of postponement by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Richard Grenell, a gay Republican, has been confirmed as ambassador to Germany with mostly GOP support. The GOP Log Cabin Republicans blasted Democrats for opposing a gay man for this position, despite gay ambassadors nominated by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Among the Democratic argument against the former Fox contributor and aide to John Bolton is his derogatory tweets about prominent women such as comparing Rachel Maddow to Justin Bieber. He claims that he finds his comments to be “funny”; the question is whether he will try out his “humor” on Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel while he is a “diplomat” there—or continue to scold the nation for not bombing Syria.

Dr. Ronny Jackson, DDT’s White House doctor, has withdrawn from his nomination as VA Secretary after a number of concerns about his professional ethics. The last straw, even beyond his nickname as the “Candyman” for his distribution of prescription drugs to unauthorized patients, may have been the report that he was drunk when he “wrecked a government vehicle.” (Allegations against Jackson by colleagues and former colleagues.) Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) is to be commended for bringing up concerns about Jackson before a difficult re-election campaign in a red state, especially because DDT is going after him. Jackson is DDT’s 24th failed nominee in 15 months. Half the top aides who arrived at the White House with DDT are gone, usually in painful ways. Paul Waldman asked, “Is there a single Trump aide or official who will leave the service of this president with their reputation enhanced, or at least not diminished?”

Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), who had declared he wouldn’t run for re-election, walked off the job to avoid the House Ethics probe into his secret settlement to a staffer accusing him of harassment. Gov. Tom Wolf will need to determine whether to hold special elections for his position and the one that Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) is leaving before the end of his term.

Brand new NASA director Jim Bridenstine tweets that he’s “committed to lunar exploration” with “an expanded lunar surface campaign,” but NASA canceled its only lunar rover currently in development. Nobody seems to know why.

On the legal side, bars can legally refuse service to people wearing “Make America Great Again” hats, according to a Manhattan Supreme Court Justice ruling. The plaintiffs tried to justify their lawsuit by claiming religious discrimination because they had been “paying spiritual tribute to the victims of 9/11.” The judge ruled that supporting DDT is not a form of religion. The bar owner said that he was asked to leave because he was “verbally abusive to our staff.” Only in MAGA world. (And no, this really happened!)

Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit against DDT’s lawyer Michael Cohen has been postponed for 90 days. The judge said that the lawsuit might endanger Cohen’s constitutional rights if it proceeds while he is under criminal investigation.

Activists who shut off valves on the Enbridge oil pipelines may argue their case of “necessity defense” in court. A judge had approved the request last year, but prosecution had appealed. Testimony will include the serious danger of global warming. Last month, 13 protesters arguing the same defense after arrested for blocking construction by sitting in hopes dug for a pipeline were not responsible for civil disobedience.

Seattle is vacating every misdemeanor cannabis conviction for 542 people from the past 30 years after Washington state legalized recreational cannabis. Philadelphia is also stopping crimination prosecutions for cannabis possession to focus on solving homicides.

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) has filed an official complaint against Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and director of the Office of Management and Budget. In a speech to banking industry executives, he encouraged them to pay for lobbying efforts to persuade Congress to alter its funding source for the CFPB so that Congress and the banking industry take control of the agency. Mulvaney told the audience that he met only with lobbyists who contributed to his campaign. Eight years ago, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion of Citizens United allowing almost unlimited donations to campaigns that “there is only scant evidence that independent expenditures even ingratiate.” Mulvaney proves Kennedy wrong. POGO maintains Mulvaney’s speech violates federal anti-lobbying laws dating back to 1919 preventing executive officials from urging people to contact Congress in support of or opposition to pending legislation.

POGO is just one of the groups fighting back against DDT’s and the Republicans’ authoritarian behavior. Max Boot writes:

“If there is any silver lining to this dark cloud hanging over our democracy, it is that Trump’s outrageous behavior is provoking opposition from a growing number of good-government groups. Both the center-left and ­center-right are mobilizing and—best of all—they are cooperating, because they realize that their policy differences fade into insignificance at a time when our core institutions and norms are under assault.”

He follows that statement by listing several of these organizations including a new one, Renew Democracy Initiative. Help for those who want another way to join the resistance!

A dark decision from the judiciary comes from a three-judge 5th Circuit panel reversing a lower court ruling that a voter photo ID law from 2011 intentionally discriminated against black and Hispanic voters. Plaintiffs had argued that the requirement constituted a poll tax because of its expenditures, but the defense maintained that the law had been fixed because voters could vote without the ID with an alternative and swore to a “reasonable impediment,” that could include transportation, disability or illness. Dissenting Judge James Graves Jr. wrote, “A hog in a silk waistcoat is still a hog.” The decision might keep Texas from federally-mandated preclearance according to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but the Supreme Court is hearing another Texas election problem in gerrymandering.

Most of the news after the Supreme Court decision on Sessions v. Dimaya focused on DDT’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch, voting with the progressive justices. Another issue, however, deals with the cases that have been held back until the Supreme Court makes its ruling. Most of the time, this “relist,” as they are called, amounts to very few, but in the Dimaya case, the number is at least 42. Details here.

DDT was so pleased with his disastrous monolog on Fox & Friends that he’ll do it “once a month and as news breaks,” according to his counselor Kellyanne Conway. Steve Doocy (left) had the fastest reaction time to look pleased at the announcement.

An Oxford University study shows that DDT supporters read and share more “junk” news from sites containing “propaganda and ideologically extreme, hyper-partisan and conspiratorial political information” than any other group. Ninety-six percent of DDT supporters had “strong connections to one of 10 groups” identified in this area, and 91 percent of “hard conservatives” shared “junk” information on Facebook. The results are not a surprise, but they do explain the difficulty in having reasonable conversations with DDT supporters.

DDT skipped tonight’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner for the second time since he was inaugurated. Parts of it were hilarious, including comedian Michelle Wolf. Last year, DDT went to Pennsylvania for love from his followers; this year he was in Michigan. In addition to attacking the usual people, DDT called for a government shutdown in September if he doesn’t get his border wall. What a patriot!

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