Nel's New Day

October 18, 2022

News Bits – October 18, 2022

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is driving the media while President Joe Biden quietly works toward peace in the world. One of his recent accomplishments is negotiating an agreement between Israel and Lebanon to identify their maritime boundary. At war since 1948, the two countries have sometimes had military conflict, most recently in 2006, partly because of their lack of internationally recognized borders on land and on sea, a problem especially because of the large natural gas fields off their coasts. Progress was difficult because the countries’ officials refused to be in the same room, and Lebanon does no recognize Israel as a country.

Amos J. Hochstein, presidential coordinator for energy security, began diplomacy at the beginning of the year, commuting between Tel Aviv to Beirut through a third country because Israel and Lebanon have no direct air of road links.  He used the approach of how both countries could safeguard their vital interests, and both made concessions. Both sides called the deal “historic” as former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, trying to regain power in the November 1 election, said it was a “disgraceful surrender.” DDT’s former negotiator also attacked the agreement. With the countries at war, this agreement was more remarkable than DDT’s Abraham Accord in which three Arab states—the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco—recognized Israel because the three countries weren’t at war with Israel. Proof that diplomacy pays.

The federal website to apply for relief from student debt opened on October 17, an act that could directly help 43 million people in the U.S. and others connected to them as debt relief frees up family resources. Within a day, over 8 million people completed the application requiring five minutes.

Thanks to another Biden action, people can also save as much as $3,000 with hearing aids now available over the counter.

Earlier this month, Biden issued restrictions on selling semiconductors and chip-making equipment to China, blocking them from critical technologies from supercomputing to guiding weapons. The purpose is to delay Chinese military programs for nuclear blasts, hypersonic weapons, and surveillance. Companies selling advanced chips and chip-making equipment will need a special license given out on a case-by-case procedure.

After Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Hondo plans to build a $4.2 billion electric vehicle battery plant forty miles from Columbus (OH), creating 2,200 manufacturing jobs. Since Biden’s inauguration, the U.S. has added 620,000 manufacturing jobs. By August 2020, DDT had lost 237,000 manufacturing jobs among the total 3.1 million jobs that disappeared during his four years.

Republicans voted against Biden’s infrastructure bills, calling them “socialist,” but returned home to take credit for the funding given to their states. Biden’s response: “I didn’t know there were that many socialist Republicans.”

Fox network continually searches for ways to shame Biden. A recent one is Biden’s telling his son Hunter Biden that he loves him when Hunter was struggling with drug addiction. Sean Hannity played a private voicemail Biden left for Hunter in which Biden first expressed his love for his son and then said, “You gotta get some help. I don’t know what to do. I know you don’t either.” Hannity asked people to “imagine how the mob and the media” would cover the situation if DDT expressed the same sentiment. Maybe with some appreciation for the man?

Biden has never tried to hide his son’s addiction and isn’t embarrassed about loving his children. Yet Hannity whines about “attacks” on Herschel Walker, GOP candidate for Georgia’s U.S. Senate, the man who rejected his three illegitimate children, incessantly lied, considered killing a man in road rage, and threatened to kill his wife and another son. Oh yes, and denied paying for his girlfriend’s abortion and claimed not to know her, the mother of one of his children.

New discoveries about the past administration:

In its third installment, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis report specified DDT’s administrative undermining “the scientific integrity of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) coronavirus response in an attempt to serve the former President’s political goals.” The first installment addressed DDT’s attachment to the deadly “herd immunity via mass infection strategy,” and the second gave evidence of his high pressure campaigns on the CDC COVID decision-making and change scientific reasons. Part of Chairman James Clyburn’s (D-SC) statement:

“The previous administration engaged in an unprecedented campaign of political interference in the federal government’s pandemic response, which undermined public health to benefit the former president’s political goals… President Trump and his top aides repeatedly attacked CDC scientists, compromised the agency’s public health guidance, and suppressed scientific reports in an effort to downplay the seriousness of the coronavirus. This prioritization of politics, contempt for science, and refusal to follow the advice of public health experts harmed the nation’s ability to respond effectively to the coronavirus crisis and put Americans at risk.”

The report contains details of the above statement as well as how DDT used the pretense of a virus spread to close the southern border in the Title 42 order and blackmailed CDC into wasting hundreds of millions of dollars from its budget for DDT’s celebrity vanity campaign leading up to the November 2020 election. CDC said that accurate scientific advice to the public would have stopped some of the COVID deaths.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/10/17/trump-secret-service-hotel-rates-records/     Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, has records proving the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service agents assigned to protect him “exorbitant rates”—up to $1,185 per night—to stay at his properties, amounting to $1.4 million over four years. DDT promised that federal employees traveling with him would stay at his properties “free” or “at cost,” but DDT’s business charged the Secret Service over the government rate at least 40 times from January 2027 to September 2021. Some of the charges were for DDT’s family as in the nightly rate of $1,160 at the Washington, D.C. Trump hotel to protect Eric Trump when he promoted a golf tournament at the Trump National Golf Club.

During his term, DDT visited his own properties over 500 times and continues to take security with him after he left the White House. (To make John Malone, DDT supporter and board member of CNN’s parent company Warner Bros, happy, CNN tried to show that Biden took off more time than DDT but deflated DDT’s days off work and playing golf without discussing DDT’s expenditures in the article.) 

Maloney wrote to Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle, demanding a full accounting of what taxpayers have paid DDT’s business in the past and continue to pay. Cheatle replaces DDT-appointee James Murray who retired under a scandal of missing text message during the January 6 insurrection when the 27-year veteran of the agency returned from her job as senior director at PepsiCo North America overseeing facilities, personnel, and business continuity. Since her return, over one million texts and cellphone messages appeared.

In another probe, the House January 6 investigative committee is asking Cheatle about contacts between Secret Service agents and members of the far-right Oath Keepers group. Court testimony has revealed that Oath Keepers, including leader Stewart Rhodes, claimed to be in contact with the agents before the rallies, one of them giving advice on what weapons they could take to the rally.

In the second and last trial by John Durham, the special counsel investigating the special counsel Robert Mueller probing Russian interference into DDT’s 2016 campaign, the defendant has been acquitted of lying to the FBI about his sources. Appointed by AG Bill Barr before the 2020 election, Durham’s claims about private researcher Igor Danchenko for the Steele dossier about DDT’s Russian connections lacked evidence. During the hearing, Durham became confrontational and aggressive with his own witnesses, FBI counterintelligence supervisor and agent, who described Danchenko as a trusted source of information on Russian influence.

Durham’s first trial led also to an acquittal, and no one else is charged from Durham’s probe, his grand jury is inactive, and Durham will likely be pressured to wrap up his work after failing to achieve DDT’s claim of discovering “the crime of the century.”

The FBI promised Danchenko he would be protected by keeping his identity secret, but DDT’s allies exposed him. A witness testified that AG Bill Barr damaged national security when he gave a declassified redacted report of his interview with Danchenko to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who shared it with the world in an attempt to prove the corruption of the Russian investigation.

New Jersey is suing five major oil and gas companies and a leading fossil fuel lobby group for knowingly lying to the public about the existence of climate change and the role their products play in exacerbating human-caused global heating as far back as the 1970s. Dozens of states and cities have already filed similar lawsuits against fossil fuel corporations. New Jersey’s lawsuit is on the tenth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy which killed 38 people in the state and caused about $30 billion in damage.

Two strange stories from last summer. Deutsche Telkom AG, parent company of T-Mobile, trademarked the color magenta, declaring ownership over them and banning any other business from using them, after making them synonymous with a brand. And only 1,867 solid Pantone colors exist, and pink is already taken by Owens-Corning followed by green-gold by Qualitex. Etc. Trademarks must be renewed every ten years. Ohio University has also trademarked the word “THE,” covering “clothing, namely, t-shirts, baseball caps and hats; all of the foregoing being promoted, distributed, and sold through channels customary to the field of sports and collegiate athletics.”

It’s a crazy world.

September 22, 2022

News – September 21, 2022 (DDT Faces More Trouble)

 Aileen Cannon, a judge appointed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), had ruled against the DOJ’s immediately using seized classified documents from Mar-a-Lago on August 8 for an investigation. In one week, however, DOJ appealed; DDT again won Cannon’s approval; DOJ appealed to the 11th Circuit Court for the materials; and a three-judge panel granted a stay on Cannon’s orders in a ruling siding with the DOJ. It may be the fastest judicial action in history. In the temporary victory for national security, the panel said that Cannon “abused” her discretion in requiring outside review of seized classified documents. In a 29-page opinion, the panel wrote:

“For our part, we cannot discern why [Trump] would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings.”

The panel, composed of one judge appointed by President Obama and two appointed by DDT, also unanimously refused to accept the claim from DDT’s legal team that he might have declassified the documents, as did the special master Raymond Dearie, DDT’s choice for special master that Cannon appointed.

“Plaintiff suggests that he may have declassified these documents when he was President. But the record contains no evidence that any of these records were declassified. And before the special master, Plaintiff resisted providing any evidence that he had declassified any of these documents. In any event, at least for these purposes, the declassification argument is a red herring because declassifying an official document would not change its content or render it personal.”

DDT has consistently claimed the documents were not classified because he said they were declassified. On the Fox network, he went farther when he told Sean Hannity by falsely saying that there was no declassification process and he could wordlessly declassify documents:

“You can declassify just by saying “it’s declassified,” even by thinking about it.”

The 11th Circuit Court ruling simplifies Dearie’s work by removing classified documents from his purview; he had said he wanted to avoid reviewing them if possible. The question is whether DDT’s team will appeal the 11th Circuit Court decision.  

Hours before the bad news for DDT from the 11th Circuit, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced she has filed a civil lawsuit against DDT, three of his adult children, and the Trump Organization for $250 million in financial penalties to cover over a decade of fraud when they falsely inflated and deflated their assets to pay lower taxes while getting better insurance coverage. She also asked for a judgment barring DDT and his children in the suit from serving as officer or director of any state-licensed or registered corporation, real estate acquisition in New York, and applications for loans from any financial institution in the state for five years.

The lawsuit comes from a three-year civil investigation with 65 witnesses and reviews of millions of documents. The defendants allegedly conspired to violate state laws, falsifying business records, issuing false financial statements, and committing insurance fraud. Possible federal crimes, including bank fraud have been referred to federal prosecutors and the IRS. DDT supposedly turned the Trump Organization over to his two adult sons in 2017 and serve as executive vice presidents.

Former AG Bill Barr criticized James for trying “to drag the children into this,” referring to adults ages 38 to 44. Yet all three participated in “the fraudulent valuation methods and assumptions.” As usual, DDT claimed that the lawsuit is political by a “failed A.G.” James said:

“There aren’t two sets of laws for people in this nation: former presidents must be held to the same standards as everyday Americans.”

DDT’s fraud related to 23 assets inflated every year between 2011 and 2021, totaling over “200 false and misleading valuations” between 2011 and 2021 is the building at 40 Wall Street owned by the Trump Organization which was valued at $200 million on a tax filing in 2010 that was valued at $524 the following year. In 2015, DDT’s triplex in Trump Tower, 10,996 square feet was three times that size and valued at $327 million. At that time, only one apartment in New York City, housed in a newly built ultra-tall tower, had sold for as much as $100 million. In DDT’s building, the most expensive apartment had sold for $16.5 million. Rental units worth $750,000 were valued at nearly $50 million. DDT claimed his Mar-a-Lago home was worth $739 million, but it was worth one-tenth of that estimate. 

Last month, DDT was deposed for the lawsuit, but he claimed the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination for all questions except his name. Jurors can consider declaration of the Fifth as negative in civil suits. The Trump Organization also tried to settle last month, but James rejected the offer.

The civil lawsuit could have horrendous results for DDT and his children. New York Times reporter Susan Craig said DDT might have to renegotiate crucial loans because of liquidity problems. If liens are called, loans will be extremely hard to get, and values for them will be much lower than DDT had declared. It would be “financial ruin for the company” as well as be disastrous for a 2024 campaign.  

James’ civil lawsuit is separate from the Manhattan criminal case, but they work together on the inquiry. DA Alvin Bragg criminally charged Trump Organization and its longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg for a scheme to not pay taxes on noncash perks. He will have to testify against the business as part of his guilty plea. Weisselberg also described instructions to inflate assets on financial statements. Earlier in 2019, Michael Cohen, DDT’s former lawyer and fixer, habitually inflated and deflated DDT’s assets for financial gain.

Donors who think they are paying for “election integrity” by giving to DDT’s Save America PAC are not only providing DDT’s legal fees but also paying for Melania Trump’s fashion designer. The PAC also gave $650,000 to the Smithsonian Institution for portraits of DDT and former first lady Melania Trump. Two artists have reportedly been commissioned for the two portraits. No spending on any “election fraud” as the PAC advertised. The DOJ is investigating.

DDT faces another New York lawsuit since the state’s new sexual assault survivor’s law went into effect. E. Jean Carroll had accused DDT of raping her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s, but the statute of limitations expired. Now adult accusers have a one-year window to bring civil claims over alleged sexual misconduct no matter how long ago it happened. Carroll’s defamation suit can also proceed. Her attorney Roberta Kaplan wrote that the case will be filed on November 24, 2022. While DDT was in the White House, AG Bill Barr’s DOJ had defended DDT in the defamation suit.

Justice Clarence Thomas may also be in trouble if his wife, Ginni Thomas, honestly testifies to the House January 6 investigative committee. She pushed former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to overturn the election as shown by multiple texts between the election and the January 6 insurrection, and worked with DDT’s election attorney John Eastman for the same purpose. In addition, Ginni Thomas emailed 29 Arizona state lawmakers in late 2020, urging them to overturn the state’s popular vote victory for Joe Biden and put together “fake electors” for DDT. She also emailed two GOP Wisconsin lawmakers with the same intent. In March 2021, Thomas attending a meeting of right-wing activists where the audience was told that DDT remains the “legitimate president.” She has a long history of participating in far-right organizations, many of them with cases before the Supreme Court; her husband has always refused to recuse himself and voted in their favor.

 Lawyers representing asylum seekers allegedly “tricked” into flying from San Antonio (TX) to Martha’s Vineyard are seeking a nationwide injunction to block Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis from luring immigrants to travel across state lines. Taking funds from the $12 million federal COVID money assigned by state legislators to transport undocumented immigrants, DeSantis started with 50 asylum seekers, paying Oregon-based Vertol Systems Company over $1.5 million for “relocation of unauthorized aliens.” Florida paid the company $615,000 on September 8, following by $950,000 on September 19. The chartered planes landed in Massachusetts on September 15. DeSantis accused “opportunistic” activists of using illegal immigrants as “political theater.”

Two state legislators asked the DOJ to investigate the asylum seekers’ involuntary relocation from Texas. The letter explained migrants didn’t know where they were being flown and put on the plane under false pretenses.

A federal bankruptcy judge in Houston ordered new officials to supervise Alex Jones’s bankruptcy of his parent company and probably destroyed Jones’ plans to hide his assets from court orders to pay for court rulings in his all four lost defamation trials regarding the Sandy Hook massacre. The DOJ-appointed trustee monitoring the case has expanded duties. Jones is also under scrutiny for a potential role in the January 6 insurrection.

The House January 6 investigating committee has scheduled its first fall hearing for September 28, 2022, at 1:00 pm EST. Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) announced it might not be the last one but would probably be the only one before the November 8 Midterm elections.

March 5, 2022

Ukraine Fights On: Day Nine

Update on John Eastman:    A judge rejected another stall from the lawyer who helped Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) in his failed attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election on January 6 by falsifying the electoral college votes. A March 8 hearing will not be postponed, and the House investigatory committee will not be required to provide “exculpatory” evidence. The judge informed Eastman that the committee already told him it may invoke the “crime-fraud exception” requiring him to release the emails.

A Russian plane has landed at Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. to pick up 13 expelled Russian spies. It had to follow this flight pattern because Russia cannot fly over EU airspace. 

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Steve Daines (R-MT) jeopardized the life of Russian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday by sharing photos of him in real time during a Zoom meeting. According to Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), the Ukrainian Ambassador asked everyone not to share anything on social media to protect Zelensky’s security. Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), a former Army Ranger, tweeted, “If an embattled wartime leader asks you to keep quiet about a meeting, you better keep quiet about the meeting…. Lives are at stake.” Michael Steele, former RNC chair, wrote, “Why would you risk his safety for a tweet?” Thus far, Zelensky has escaped at least three Russian assassination plots after being warned by anti-invasion Russians from Federal Security Service or FSB.  

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s promise of a five-hour “humanitarian corridor” permitting Mariupol and Volnovakha civilians to evacuate disappeared, and Russians continue shelling the cities. Ukraine’s southeastern port city of Mariupol, population 447,000, is cut off with no food, water, electricity, and heat. Leveling cities is a typical strategy Russia uses to take over countries.  Earlier Russia captured Kherson, an economic hub of 290,000 along the Black Sea and the Dnieper River after the mayor made a deal. Almost 3,000 protesters gathered, despite Russian ruling that no more than two people gather together outdoors.

Ukraine has taken back control of Bucha, a northwest city of 37,000 population. (Left: a Bucha street with destroyed Russian vehicles.) Russians also failed to take the nearby city of Irpin with 60,000. Late Friday, the 40-mile Russian convoy was stalled 15 miles from Kyiv. Ukraine delayed them by blowing up a key bridge and attacking vehicles in the convoy. In an extremely rare occurrence, a sniper killed Russian major general, Andrei Sukhovetsky, in Ukraine, called a “major demotivator” for Russia. He was the commanding general of the Russian 7th Airborne Division. 

Putin’s new law makes “fake” news (actually facts) about the Russian invasion—officially called “special military operation,”—punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Those who publicly call for sanctions can be fined with sentences up to three years in prison or a 1.5 million ruble fine (about $12,000 at this time) for “disseminating “false information.” Using an “official position” to spread this “false information” increases prison time to five to ten years and up to 5 million rubles fine. Imprisonment will be 10 to 15 years “if fake information caused serious consequences.” Foreign media outlets including BBC, Voice of America, and Deutsche Welle are blocked in Russia as are Twitter and Facebook. Bloomberg and CNN no longer broadcast from Russia. Citing “free speech,” Elon Musk plans to continue broadcasting false Russian propaganda on his satellite network Starlink. 

Ian Garner, authority in Russia culture, wrote that the target of Putin’s message is his own country, but it looks “more like World War I—a detached imperial tsar directing his troops in an abstract war against imperial opposition.” He continued that not “even the most war-hungry Russians are buying into Putin’s World War II cosplay dreams.” As in the 1990s, older Russians watch and believe Putin’s state TV, but younger ones know Putin is lying about being forced into war because of social media. Even Putin’s supporters outside Russia are calling the invasion a “mistake.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) brought an angry bipartisan response for calling Putin to be assassinated. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said, “We should not be calling for the assassination of heads of state.” For perhaps the first time, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) agreed that Graham’s statement was outrageous. Calling it “unhelpful,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted, “I really wish our members of Congress would cool it and regulate their remarks as the administration works to avoid WWlll.” About Graham, Ben Rhodes tweeted:

“This guy was the chief apologist and enabler for an autocrat who called Putin a genius on the eve of invasion and sided with Putin over US intelligence over his assault on American democracy.”

Sean Hannity not only agrees with Graham but also wants NATO countries to bomb the 40-mile convoy as Putin sits in Russia with nuclear weapons on “high alert” for any “aggressive statements” from NATO countries. Hannity said he didn’t want a nuclear war, but Putin could give the world—soon vaporized—no choice. 

Putin claims that the invasion is to “denazify” Ukraine, but Andrei Kartapolov, head of the Russian parliament’s defense committee, told state TV that Russian troops were told to seize Ukraine’s nuclear plants so that Ukraine couldn’t build “a dirty bomb” to attack Russia, a false assumption. Earlier this week, Russians shelled the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and started a fire. The fire is out, but Russian soldiers are now in charge, and employees are operating it at gunpoint. New danger comes from both human error because of the stress and workers’ inability to change shifts and power failure from lack of constant electricity after a sustained power grid failure. Russia already captured the Chernobyl nuclear plant and the highly radioactive exclusion area surrounding it and is now heading toward the Yuzhnoukrainsk nuclear power plant, 75 miles north of Mykolaiv near the Black Sea. 

On the TV show, Kartapolov also asserted:

“De facto, we are at war with NATO, because all of Ukraine’s military formations are carrying out NATO’s tasks… NATO is also solving another problem, getting rid of Europe’s excess migrants by sending them to fight in Ukraine. God is not in power, but in truth.”

Kartapolov predicted a land grab of Ukraine, similar to that Russia made in Syria and Chechnya:

“Ukraine will recognize Crimea as the Russian Federation, as well as DPR/LPR [‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’] within their administrative borders. Ukraine will change its social and state system and become a neutral, demilitarized country. That’s it.”

U.S. and several other countries are flying weapons and other military supplies into Ukraine’s border countries for Ukrainian support. From Finland come 2,500 assault rifles and 1,500 anti-tank weapons while Sweden is sending 5,000 helmets, body armor, and 5,000 anti-tank weapons. Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Canada, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia are also shipping anti-armor and anti-aircraft rockets, body armor, helmets, fuel, and hundreds of thousands of packages of field rations. President Joe Biden asked Congress for another $10 billion to support Ukraine and bolster European allies. He already sent 15,000 military members to Eastern Europe. Details on U.S. military support for Ukraine beginning last December.

The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) suspended Russia and Belarus from the council’s activities. Russia was a co-founder of the 12-member CBSS—EU and eleven countries. Belarus was an observer state in the organization to promote regional cooperation.

According to Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, over 60,000 men have returned from abroad to fight the invasion, forming 12 more combat brigades. Ukraine is enlisting civilian drone pilots for surveillance, requesting they donate aircraft and volunteer as pilots, if experienced. To keep the Ukrainian flagship frigate under repair, the Hentman Sagaidachny, the country deliberately sank it to prevent Russian capture.

Ukraine is using every resource it can—even cats that can spot sniper’s laser dots. [visual – Ukraine cat] reason the International Cat Federation banned Russian cats from competition. The Fédération Internationale Féline blocked import and registration of any cat “bred in Russia” as well showing any cat “belonging to exhibitors living in Russia” until May 31 when the organization will reevaluate its restrictions.  

Shell Oil, formerly declaring it was backing out of Russia, admitted it bought “a cargo of Russian crude oil” supposedly for its refineries and chemical plants and plans to continue the practice as needed. The company claims it will donate profits from Russian oil to “alleviate the terrible consequences that this war is having on the people of Ukraine.” Other companies, however, are leaving Russia:

  • In China, known for being Putin’s friends, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is suspending business with Russia and Belarus. One of the founding members of the bank, Russia has a seat on the board Russia with a six percent vote in operations and is the third-largest stakeholder after China and India.
  • S&P Dow Jones Indices are removing Russian stocks.  
  • Samsung’s suspension of shipments to Russia includes not only smartphones but also products from chips to consumer electronics.
  • Ukrainian Airbnb hosts have received almost $2 million from 61,000 bookings for people who don’t plan to use the booking but want to donate to Ukrainians. Airbnb also offered free temporary housing to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and suspended all operations in Russia and Belarus.
  • AMMO, Inc., based in Scottsdale (AZ), has offered to send Ukraine one million bullets if the U.S. government approves.

In the U.S., 83 percent of survey respondents support sanctions, and 69 percent are in favor even if energy prices rise. Even 58 percent of Republicans are willing to pay higher prices. Fifty-two percent approve of Biden’s management of the crisis, up from 34 percent last week. Biden’s approval also rose 8 points last week to 47 percent.

While Ukrainians fight for their democracy, forced to leave their homes and perhaps the country under threat of killing, pro-Putin truckers, stating that vaccinations take away their “freedom,” are each spending thousands of dollars to converge on D.C. to “block the Beltway.” They also demand that the mask requirements, now over, end. They allege the invasion is a cover for a DDT-backed military operation in Ukraine where he is working with Putin to stop bioweapons from being made by Dr. Anthony Fauci. According to their fantasies, the shelling targets these secret laboratories. 

January 13, 2022

January 13: All in a Day’s News

Predictions were accurate: the Supreme Court voted against OSHA vaccination mandates in the private sector by 6-3. Anyone who following the high court doesn’t need the names of justices on each side. According to the majority argument, COVID isn’t a workplace issue, just like crime, clean drinking water, and pollution aren’t. The dissent called the majority decision “perverse,” that it read federal law as “constraining OSHA from addressing one of the gravest workplace hazards in the agency’s history.” It asked who should determine protection for workers:

“An agency with expertise in workplace health and safety, acting as Congress and the President authorized? Or a court, lacking any knowledge of how to safeguard workplaces, and insulated from responsibility for any damage it causes?”

The Supreme Court finds a problem with COVID in their workplace: it has been closed to the public for almost all two years. Everyone on the bench except Neil Gorsuch wears a mask because of contagion. A majority of justices must have seen the danger, too, because two of those blocking vaccination mandates in the private sector, John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh, approved them for all healthcare workers.

The six justices opposing the vaccination mandate applied a faulty rationale. To them, COVID is a danger in the workplace but not a workplace danger by their using the term “occupational” instead of “workplace.” Yet they admitted “COVID–19 can and does spread at home, in schools, during sporting events, and everywhere else that people gather.” Yet both schools and sporting events are “workplaces.” To many people, the workplace is the greatest danger to their health. Over a year ago, meat processing plans showed this danger of the workplace, beginning with huge COVID outbreaks in South Dakota that moved to other states such as Nebraska. Workers in many states have no protections from mandated mask wearing, social distancing, and other health precautions, making lack of vaccinations an occupational hazard. The ruling did state that some places could have what was considered an occupational hazard but feared that the mandate was only a public health requirement.

Right-wingers protecting insurrectionists on January 6, including people writing to my local newspaper, use the excuse that no person just wandering through the Capitol on that day (their description) has been charged with sedition. That changed. Stewart Rhodes, founder of the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers, and ten other alleged insurrectionists have now been charged with seditious conspiracy, the use of violence to hinder the execution of federal law.

Rhodes was arrested for his attempt to use violence in blocking Biden from being sworn in as president that began immediately after Biden’s win in the election. According to the indictment:

“Rhodes and certain co-conspirators … planned to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power by January 20, 2021, which included multiple ways to deploy force. They coordinated travel across the country to enter Washington, D.C., equipped themselves with a variety of weapons, donned combat and tactical gear, and were prepared to answer Rhodes’ call to take up arms at Rhodes’ direction.”

One of ten Rhodes’ arrested associates, 63-year-old Edward Vallejo of Phoenix (AZ), is a new defendant. On the night of January 6, Vallejo wrote, “We got food for 30 days.” “We have only [begun] to fight!” The 48-page, 17-count indictment against the Oath Keepers uses defendants’ own words for the charges of planning for and participating in obstructing Congress, beginning immediately after Biden’s election. Rhodes wrote Oath Keepers leaders:

“We aren’t getting through this without a civil war. Too late for that. Prepare your mind, body, spirit.”

Rhodes’ plan to action issued five days later, “WHAT WE THE PEOPLE MUST DO,” recommended the group follow Servia’s anti-government uprising. Other suggested tactics came from the North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War. On New Year’s Eve, Rhodes wrote, “There is no standard political or legal way out of this.” Yet he claimed after the riot that Oath Keepers in the Capitol were “off mission.” Two Oath Keepers pled guilty to an earlier indictment charging 19 members with conspiracy and aiding and abetting the obstruction of Congress. Defendants have also admitted they put guns in a nearby hotel for a “quick reaction force,” but Rhodes said that was “only if the president calls us up.” Like many other defendants from January 6, Rhodes complained that DDT had abandoned him.

In its latest investigation, the House January 6 committee subpoenaed Twitter, Reddit, and parent companies of Facebook and YouTube, accusing them of failing to provide the committee with complete information about how their social media platforms spread lies promoting the insurrection. Subpoenas earlier this week are for people connected to Donald Trump Jr.—his two close advisers Andrew Surabian and Arthur Schwartz—and DDT’s speechwriter for his January 6 speech, Ross Worthington.  The investigatory committee chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (R-MS), said the panel wanted to know about people connected to the rally including Jr.’s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, DDT’s spokesperson Taylor Budowich, DDT’s adviser Katrina Pierson, Publix heiress and donor to the rally Julie Fancelli, and GOP fundraiser Caroline Wren.

The committee is also consulting with legal council regarding subpoenas for congressional members. Thus far, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Scott Perry (R-PA) have refused to cooperate with the investigation. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), a committee member, accused McCarthy of hiding the truth. She said:

“I wish that he were a brave and honorable man. He’s clearly trying to cover up what happened. He has an obligation to come forward and we’ll get to the truth.”

Sean Hannity is trying to be on both sides of the street, telling the January 6 committee that he’s a journalist with all the First Amendment rights but then lying to his audience. His latest classic performance was a chat—not really an interview—with Paul Manafort, DDT’s campaign manager who DDT pardoned less than a month before Biden’s inauguration. Hannity lied about the Russia probe into the campaign and the reasons for Manafort’s charges and convictions. Philip Bump fills in the truth that almost no Fox watcher will ever read.

On a lighter note, satirist Andy “not-the-news” Borowitz wrote that Sean Hannity said he couldn’t swear “to tell the truth” because it would violate his Fox contract. Hannity explained he must “answer to a higher power: Rupert Murdoch.” He added, “If I am seen [telling the truth] even once, it could destroy my brand.”

GOP denialism in losing elections is running rampant. Last Tuesday, Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick won the special congressional election to replace Alcee Hastings who died last April. The loser, GOP Jason Mariner who received under 20 percent of the vote to Cherfilus-McCormick’s 79 percent majority, said about his defeat that “it does not mean we lost.” He has filed a lawsuit and said, “[W]e’ll have some stuff coming out that we’ve recently discovered.” Last November, the GOP loser for Washington governor by 545,000 votes refused to concede, crying voter fraud. After a Maryland GOP congressional candidate lost by over 40 points, she claimed the race was “stolen” from her. Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) has been the model for the biggest bunch of crybaby sore losers that the U.S. has ever seen. Former Nevada AG Adam Laxalt, GOP Senate candidate, is beginning early to declare foul for his loss—months before ballots are cast for the 2022 election. In addition, former Sen. Dean Heller, gubernatorial candidate, has promised he will get DDT elected in 2024 by changing state laws.

Republicans have railed against Chinese companies, and Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is no different. Within the past month, however, he and his wife bought at least $300,000 in shares from the China-based company Alibaba. Last July, he said he had sold off some shares in the company after he found it was in his portfolio while he was campaigning and failed to file disclosures about it.

Republicans are working on their platform ahead of time. The main plank at this time is revenge or retaliation, but another one is lack of communication. The RNC plans a rule change requiring all GOP candidates to guarantee they will refuse participation in any election debates sponsored by the nonpartisan, nonprofit commission hosting them for almost 40 years. Republicans are upset because moderators have fact-checked candidates. DDT complained that the commission favored Democrats.

The media has loved the story about the 57-year-old man whose life was saved with a transplant of a pig heart. The man was convicted in 1988 of paralyzing a man by stabbing him seven times and served six yeas of his ten-year sentence. The stabbed man lived for 19 years in a wheelchair before having a stroke in 2005. Two years later he died one week before his 41st birthday. The man rewarded with a life-saving procedure had been refused at several other hospitals because he failed to follow doctors’ orders, attend follow-up visits, and consistently take his prescribed medications.

January 5, 2022

Leadup to First January 6 Anniversary

On the day before the first anniversary of the January 6 insurrection, Attorney General Merrick Garland asked Congress to safeguard elections with new powers for the DOJ to protect voting rights. His speech discussed the gutting of the 1966 Voting Rights Act by Chief Roberts’ Supreme Court case, Shelby County v. Holder (2013), allowing the DOJ “to ensure that every eligible voter can cast a vote that counts.” In responding to concerns that he was not acting fast or aggressively enough to prosecute insurrections and their instigators, he guaranteed the federal government will hold all January 6 perpetrators “at any level” accountable—“whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy.”

Previously released were texts from Fox network’s Sean Hannity former chief of staff Mark Meadows on January 6 pleading with him to get Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to stop his followers from attacking the U.S. Capitol. More Hannity text texts have emerged, suggesting he knew about DDT’s complicity in the insurrection. On January 5, 2020, Hannity wrote he was “very worried about the next 48 hours” probably about plans to oppose the electoral vote certification for Joe Biden as president. On December 31, 2020, Hannity wrote Meadows:

“We can’t lose the entire WH counsel’s office. I do not see January 6 happening the way he is being told. After the 6th. [sic] He should announce will lead the nationwide effort to reform voting integrity. Go to Fl and watch Joe mess up daily. Stay engaged. When he speaks people will listen.”

 On January 10, Hannity wrote Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Meadows:

“Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in 9 days. He can’t mention the election again. Ever. I did not have a good call with him today. And worse, I’m not sure what is left to do or say, and I don’t like not knowing if it’s truly understood. Ideas?”

The House January 6 investigation committee has asked Hannity to voluntarily cooperate with them in explaining what he knew about DDT’s and his legal team’s plans for January 6, particularly his communications with DDT, White House staff, and his legal team from December 31, 2020, to January 20, 2021.

Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) also wants VP Mike Pence to tell members about conversations before January 6 and what he witnessed on the day of the insurrection. Another possible witness is Mike Pence’s brother, Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN), who was present when the former VP refused to let Secret Service take him to Joint Base Andrews because he couldn’t complete his job of certifying the electoral votes. Pence had said he didn’t trust the people driving the car. Last July, Greg Pence said, “My brother was being asked to do what we don’t do in this country.”

After the January 6 attack, right-wing social media platform Parler’s bad cybersecurity made all its data public. A year later, New America released findings from the 183 million posts made public in a report, “Parler and the Road to the Capitol Attack” by Candace Rondeaux, Ben Dalton, and Cuong Nguyen. Rondeaux said that Parler’s design “make[s] it easy to run coordinated inauthentic campaigns,” artificially boosting specific content and perspectives on social media platforms like Russia’s methods of influencing U.S. politics and right-wing James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas’ use of altered videos to spread disinformation. She said one user posted “at a rate of 1,000 posts per hour,” mostly QAnon content. More than an “echo chamber,” Parler represents bent and manipulated communication. People in Washington on January 6 likely also posted their attendance at other right-wing rallies in the U.S., using them as a gateway.

Facebook also contributed to the insurrection. A study revealed at least FB 650,000 posts between Election Day and the January 6 insurrection attacking the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s win for president; many of them called for executions and other political violence. These 10,000+ daily posts set up the storming of the Capitol with followers of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) calling for his illegal return to the White House through the use of force. The number is considered a serious undercount because the analysis included only a portion of public groups and did not examine comments and posts in private groups or on individuals’ profiles.

Facebook refuses calls, even from its own Oversight Board, into an internal investigation and will not submit January 6 information requested by the House committee although he company claims it is negotiating with the committee. Posts provide evidence of Facebook’s role in the spread of false narratives inciting the days events; any small effort to stop the disinformation began too late to be effective. Meta, Facebook’s parent company, blames DDT and others who made the posts.

Before the election, Facebook created a task force to police toxic groups focusing on U.S. politics but elimated it after the election it rolled back other enforcement measures. Former employees report that the company prefers to not enforce group posts because groups are important to Meta’s profit margin. Testifying to Congress, Frances Haugen, former member of the company’s Civic Integrity team, said many of the group posts were identified as “harmful non-violating narrative”—content not breaking Facebook rules but causing people to “act in ways which are harmful to themselves, others, or society at large.” The result of these narratives, according to the study, is “substantial negative impacts including contributing materially to the Capitol riot and potentially reducing collective civic engagement and social cohesion in the years to come.”

Before his banishment on January 6, DDT used Facebook to post his lies about the election with unequaled reach to his lies. Only after serious damage, including world disasters, does the company consider enforcement. Facebook resumed enforcement against election disinformation on January 6. The Russia-based Internet Research Agency spread disinformation in support for DDT and other Republicans on Facebook until months after the 2016 election. Myanmar military leaders used Facebook to incite murders, rapes, and forced migrations of minority Rohingya people. 

Last Friday, high-school dropout and convicted felon Bernard Kerik, once the New York City Police commissioner, submitted documents to the House committee, including a plan to overturn the government. “Strategic Communications Plan—Giuliani Presidential Legal Defense Team: We Have 10 Days to Execute This Plan & Certify President Trump” for “swing state Republican senators—AZ, GA, MI, NV, WI,” Repubican [sic] members of the House,” and “Republican members of the Senate” defines ways to pressure congressional members into voting against Joe Biden on January 6, including protests at “weak Members homes.” Also in the plan was recruiting possible QAnon leader Ron Watkins and mobilizing a MAGA Twitter troll for the protests.  Kerik is withholding other documents, perhaps a letter about Michael Flynn’s and Sidney Powell’s plan to “rerun” the 2020 election by declaring martial law and seizing the voting machines.

To provide fodder for the Fox network, House Republicans will release their own report for January 6. Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), rejected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for the legitimate House investigation committee, takes the lead. On January 6, Banks voted against certifying Joe Biden’s electoral college votes and later voted against any investigative committee. His report will purportedly cite security failures at the Capitol on that day and interviews with Capitol Police members, their union, and other officials. Last September, Banks had sent out letters claiming he was the ranking member of the official House committee, and the Indianapolis Star falsely gave him this status last July.

At least 57 people involved in the January 6 events, including some arrested for the insurrection, are running for elected office this year. Last year, at least six protesters were elected to office.

In a flip-flop, DDT canceled his press conference intended to replay his lies about a “stolen” election and defend the rioters who chanted about killing Pence. It had been scheduled at his golf club in Palm Beach (FL) for the same time as the Capitol commemorative services on January 6 with historian Jon Meacham and Doris Kearns, a prayer vigil, a moment of silence, and time for lawmakers to share their experiences on January 6, 2020. DDT’s excuse for the cancelation was the “total bias and honesty” of the media and the House committee. DDT now plans to present the same lies and defense at a January 15 rally in Arizona.

In this cancellation, DDT showed a modicum of sense, but Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) are filling the gap with stupidity. They plan a press conference as “a Republican response.” The funeral of Georgia’s former GOP senator, Johnny Isakson, is also scheduled for the same day.

Adam Kinsinger, a Republican from Illinois on the committee, said that House Minority Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) “made an epic mistake” when he refused to appoint members to the committee because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would not put two possible insurgents on it. “I think part of the reason we’ve gone so fast and have been so effective so far is because we’ve decided and we have the ability to do this as a nonpartisan investigation,” and it would have been “a very different scene” if Trump allies were on the committee, obstructing their work, according to Kinzinger. Politico’s Kyle Cheney said that McCarthy’s decision allowed the committee to “stay relentlessly on message,” describing Liz Cheney as “a singular, and singularly disciplined, force.”

The January 6 committee is considering televised hearings during prime time.   

April 30, 2021

Socialist Republicans Lambast Biden

Last night’s speech to a joint session of Congress by President Joe Biden on his 99th day in office was watched by almost 27 million people not counting those who mainstreamed it. MSNBC, with 4.1 million watchers, came in first for both the speech and the entire primetime (8:00-11:00 pm), beating out both CNN and Fox. 

While other networks broadcast the speech with no reaction, Fox occasionally inserted a live feed with Tucker Carlson in the bottom corner. The network had preempted Carlson’s program for the speech and may have decided to include him in Biden’s delivery. Carlson’s mostly blank stare came and went throughout the hour, appearing after a couple of minutes before disappearing after 30 seconds and then returning another seven minutes before again leaving. During this time and two more appearances, Carlson’s only change in expression came when he raised his eyebrows in response to Biden’s statement that “vicious” racist attacks against Asian-Americans are wrong. The chyron on the bottom of Carlson’s box stated, “Standing Up for What’s Right.”

Sean Hannity delivered a split-personality response to the speech when he brought up his myth of senility—the “who’s in charge” accusation—and saying that the “very weak, very frail, cognitively struggling” Biden delivered a “big bore socialist speech” over an hour long.

According to the CBS News/YouGov Poll, “Eighty-five percent of Americans who watched Mr. Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress overwhelmingly approve of his speech. Fifteen percent disapprove.” The results may have been slightly skewed because the number of Republicans in the survey sample was two percent under the general population, but the results also found Biden’s speech made 78 percent of viewers feel optimistic about America. CNN’s poll found viewers agreed with Biden’s tone and priorities:

“Speech-watchers largely said Biden hit the right notes in terms of ideology and partisanship. Nearly two-thirds (64%) said the proposals he outlined in the speech were about right ideologically, 31% said they were too liberal and just 5% not liberal enough. And 58% said that Biden made the right amount of outreach to Republicans in his speech, while 38% felt he did not go far enough. Only 4% said Biden went too far.”

Like Biden’s speech, Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-SC) strange official rebuttal by the Republican party reverberated throughout the media. One of three GOP Blacks in Congress, Scott asserted that the United States is “not a racist country.” (Democrats have two Black senators and 55 Black representatives.) After this statement, Scott described law enforcement’s racial profiling:

“I have experienced the pain of discrimination. I know what it feels like to be pulled over for no reason. To be followed around a store while I’m shopping… I do not know many African American men who do not have a very similar story to tell—no matter their profession, no matter their income, no matter their disposition in life.”

 In July 2016, after police shot and killed two Black men, Scott spoke about the “deep divide” between communities and law enforcement. He said he was stopped seven times in one year when he was an elected official.

“The vast majority of the time I was pulled over for driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood or something else just as trivial.” 

As a Republicans, Scott is required to say that the United States is “not a racist country.”

Scott talked about the lack of education and opportunity for Black people while ignoring how the fault lay with conservatives who also blocked them from voting. Earlier, he had declared “woke supremacy,” the striving for social justice, was as bad as white supremacy, ignoring the lynchings and other violent murders by white supremacists in contrast to the vast majority of peace protests by the Black Lives Matter movement. In trying to justify this comment he said he was critiquing the left’s “intolerance for dissent.”

After he complained about “progressives” calling him “Uncle Tom,” a description of Black men servile to whites, the hashtag #UncleTim was so prevalent on Twitter that the company removed it. One person using the hashtag was Bishop Talbert Swan, president of the Greater Springfield (MA) chapter of the NAACP. Swan wrote:

“Trotting out sycophantic Black folks who will serve as apologists for white supremacy is a tried-and-true tactic that racists have used for centuries. These are your go-to people for white supremacists to put in front of Black people and say, ‘See, even your own people are saying we’re not racist, that America isn’t racist.’”

From the far-right:

“Federally funded school from age 3 to 20 doesn’t sound like education, it sounds like indoctrination.”—Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene 

“Universal day care” is class war against normal people.”—Hillbilly Elegy author and Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance 

“Universal child care’ is a massive subsidy to the lifestyle preferences of the affluent over the preferences of the middle and working class… It turns out that normal Americans care more about their families than their jobs, and want a family policy that doesn’t shunt their kids into crap daycare so they can enjoy more ‘freedom’ in the paid labor force.”—more Vance

Before the speech, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said that Biden would make Pre-K and community college education mandatory instead of Biden’s proposal that it be available free. Caught up in the lie, her excuse was that she misspoke because she was on “live TV.”

Also on “live TV,” House Minority Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) responded to Biden’s speech on Hannity’s show by repeating the lie that Biden is “going to control how much meat you eat.” Desperate for finding some way to smear Biden, Republicans came up with the illogical syllogism that Biden’s goal of cutting gas emissions will be to ban meat. Fox network had already apologized for the falsehood, but McCarthy may not have been paying attention.

Other than the fake “senility” and meat-banning” accusations, Republicans repeatedly cite that Biden is boring (no hostile tweets or language) and he’s a socialist, complaints they hope will stick. The boredom doesn’t seem to work because much of the country is ready for less angst. As for socialism, Democrats only need to point out that former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) led the GOP into socialism. Neither Biden nor DDT wants to be truly socialist—no nationalizing manufacturing and distribution of goods, no abolishing private property.

Yet DDT favored industries he liked by removing regulations and mandates while crippling others. DDT’s federal debt in 2019 was 14 percent than the one he inherited—and all from GOP approval. Promising to roll back regulations, DDT spend his last two years adding regulations, mostly with trade restrictions and antitrust action against Big Tech. DDT’s technology task force to police Big Tech set up a new socialist precedent.

His tax cuts combined with massive government spending left ballooning deficits and debt for future tax hikes.Last year’s mandate on the use of U.S. products in federal contracting and infrastructure created a tax on people with cost hikes in government projects. 

Major DDT regulations came from the red tape surrounding H-1B visas to prevent foreign professionals from entering the U.S. Yet he kept cheap labor at his own businesses by allowing immigrants to take more menial jobs.

In another socialist move for political purposes, DDT regulated ethanol mandates on domestic oil refiners helping red agricultural states like Iowa. His higher energy costs redistribute wealth from consumers to producers. Giving farmers almost $20 billion to cover his retaliatory tariffs with China is another socialist move. For DDT, socialism supports his nationalist agenda.

With a net positive approval rating of 12 percent from the population, Biden suffers from negative media. Negative stories outnumber positive ones by nine points, even with DDT being somewhat muzzled. Maybe because the mainstream media, even ones that seem progressive, are owned by conservatives. 

November 28, 2020

DDT: Week 201 – The Swamp Gets Swampier

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) may be tootling off to play golf while he stays at Camp David with his family, but he’s still losing. Today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed with prejudice DDT’s attempt to invalidate 2.5 million voter. In Pennsylvania, the fight is over unless the Supreme Court takes the appeal after the 3rd Circuit Court turned him down—highly likely. DDT’s lawyer Jenna Ellis called the situation “a ridiculous political game,” highly accurate because her only evidence of fraud is that people voted for Joe Biden. Yet she isn’t quitting.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to cut a deal between his country and Saudi Arabia, according the conservative Wall Street Journal. MBS backed out because he’s waiting for a Biden administration.

To sabotage any Iran deal, DDT praised the assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Israel blamed him for nuclear weapons and was probably behind the murder although DDT praised the death. Gunmen ambushed Fakhrizadeh’s vehicle near Tehran and killed him; Iranian officials vowed revenge for the attack that they called terrorism and “an act of war.” Former CIA Director John O. Brennan also described the attack as “a criminal act & highly reckless,” recognizing Iran is planning revenge for the “state-sponsored terrorism.” DDT was planning a U.S. attack on Iran a few weeks ago. Iran has not had a nuclear weapons program since 2003 and accepted extensive and intrusive inspections since 2015.

Replacement of DDT’s loyalists for long-term members of foreign policy experts on the Defense Policy Board to advise the Secretary of Defense and his team leaves the new Pentagon leaders ignorant. Gone are former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, serving Democratic President Bill Clinton, and Henry Kissinger, supporter of GOP foreign policy for a half century as well as since the Richard Nixon administration, as well as former leaders of Congress and the Pentagon. Of the 60 department positions requiring Senate confirmation 24 are “acting” DDT supporters.

DDT’s October 21 executive order reclassifying workers and stripping them of job protections may cause mass firings of federal civil servants within the next 53 days. Agencies must finish their reviews for reclassified positions by January 19, the day before Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration. DDT’s goal is to speed employment of political appointees “without regard to merit … including economists, scientists, and data analysts,” according to a letter from 13 Democratic lawmakers. They warn of “a mass exodus” of federal employee before the inauguration, designed to continue the draining of expertise and skills in DDT’s administration. DDT’s Office of Management and Budget wants to reclassify 88 percent of its 425 workers.

In his failure of his pledge to “drain the swamp,” DDT retained special interests while eliminating career federal officials and experts or reducing their influence by undercutting them:

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decimated his department and established a hiring freeze. Successor Mike Pompeo created controversy and deflated the diplomatic corp.

With at least six directors, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) omitted an emphasis on cybersecurity and counterterrorism with DDT’s total concentration on immigration crackdowns on the southern border and deportations, frequently with illegal actions.

Under Secretary Alex Azar, the Department of Health and Human Services, especially the CDC, has lost almost all public confidence.

Other agencies suffer from DDT’s destruction.

People donating their money to the so-called nonprofit National Rifle Association have funded executives’ personal benefit and enrichment for at least four years in addition to paying multimillion-dollar legal bills, according to a New York state lawsuit. Several departed officers are cooperating with the case against NRA. Although executive Wayne LaPierre paid $300,000 back to the NRA for travel expenses, he charged for many other “not appropriate” expenses. The lawsuit aims to shut down the organization suffering from declining membership dues and other revenue. Last year, the NRA had a $12.2 million operating shortfall, compared to $2.7 million the year before. In 2019, legal costs went to $38.5 million from $25 million in 2018. Another lawsuit questions the relationship between the NRA and its charity, NRA Foundation, which may be used to cover NRA deficits.

While DDT’s Supreme Court protects Christian and Jewish religion, his administration plans to give ownership of an Arizona aboriginal religious site to a copper mining company. The San Carlos Apache tribe has prayed and performed ceremonies on the site for centuries. Like many others, the effort is being rushed before DDT leaves the White House in 53 days. Also at the site is an historical cliff memorializing tribal losses from European immigrants. 

Upset with Pennsylvania’s Gov. Tom Wolf closing essential and limiting gatherings’ size—including DDT’s campaigns—he denied FEMA aid to the state for Tropical Storm Isaias disaster in nine counties.

DDT’s Department of Justice is claiming the right to kill U.S. citizens without any judicial review. The DOJ made the claim in the Washington, D.C. circuit court about two journalists claiming they were wrongly targeted as terrorists in Syria. Withholding information, the U.S. has not confirmed if either one poses any threat.

The FAA has cleared the 737 MAX, responsible for 346 deaths, as safe and ready to fly after being grounded for 20 months. Boeing updated the faulty software and added a backup sensor. Documents about the inconclusive investigation are still not released because of an open investigation into the Ethiopian crash. Without information to formulate questions, families cannot depose key company engineers. Following damning information about the 737 MAX, the House passed a bill to reform FAA oversight over airplane manufacturers, but the Senate hasn’t touched it. David Gelles has an analysis of Boeing’s failures with the 737 MAX.

Wealthy North Carolinian Fred Eshelman donated $2.5 million to the far-right Tea Party group True the Vote on November 5 because it promised to “litigate … the fraud in the 2020 general election.” The group dropped four lawsuits, stating on November 17 it needed “to pursue a different path.” Eshelman is suing to get his money returned. In asking for donations, the group had promised lawsuits in seven states, using “sophisticated data modeling and statistical analysis to identify potential illegal or fraudulent balloting.” For 11 years, the Texas-based True the Vote pushed for stricter voter ID laws with false allegations of voter fraud by Democrats.

YouTube has suspended new videos and demonetized current ones from DDT’s favorite network, One America News (OAN), for a week because of its content guaranteeing a cure for COVID-19. The second strike against OAN would be two weeks, and the Google-owned video service would permanently drop OAN after the third strike within 90 days.

This coming week the Supreme Court hears DDT’s case in which he wants to eliminate undocumented immigrants from the U.S. Census. In two different places, the U.S. Constitution declares that the census is of all “persons.” The question is whether the “originalist” justices who follow only the words of the constitution will find a way to assert humans are not “persons.”

DDT won’t concede, but he’s also said he’ll declare his 2024 presidential candidacy before the end of 2020 with campaign rallies up against Biden’s inauguration.  He’s also trying to figure out how to make money for the next five years. Along with trying unsuccessfully to stay in the Oval Office, DDT is trying to take over the Republican National Committee, turning it into his political subsidiary. Success in this endeavor permits DDT to retaliate against whatever legislators who were not 100 percent loyal to him, perhaps the reason Georgia’s Gov. Kemp asked for another hand recount. Part of DDT’s influence in the RNC is the installation of his supporters in state-level party posts. His maneuvers also delay other 2024 presidential wannabes from campaigning. 

DDT apparently plans a new home in Florida. Secret Service agents have been asked about a permanent move to Florida, and the Miami field office is investigating physical reinforcements to Mar-a-Lago. Living quarters for both DDT and his wife Melania are also undergoing renovations. On January 21, the NYPD will work with the Secret Service to reduce law enforcement at Manhattan’s Trump Tower. DDT wants to maintain Florida as his legal residence for voting and other purposes, keeping the Bedminster (NJ) resort and Trump Tower apartment for visits, but he may run into legal problems.

To tax Mar-a-Lago as a private club in 1993, DDT had to promise Palm Beach County he would not use it for his residence. The club’s website states DDT maintains “private quarters” there. His choice may be to keep the club or keep the property as his residence. Wealthy neighbors oppose the residence idea because DDT could then build a large number of condos in the surrounding area, depreciating their property. History of the conflict.

In the midst of a pandemic causing poverty, DDT’s friend Sean Hannity, whose annual salary is $40 million, talks about the misery of the wealthy. A week ago, he said on his show:

“You know, you say, ‘Oh, rich people have it easy.’ There’s nobody that I know that gets through this life without pain, without difficulty, without striving, without suffering, without things being hard. I don’t care what it is, but for whatever it is, we all go through that.”

Hannity probably comforted the almost one million people with no shelter, the 25 million who filed for unemployment, and the 50 million who are food-insecure. 

DDT has a busy schedule tomorrow: he goes from Camp David to the White House.

October 4, 2020

More Judicial News to Infuriate DDT

As the media tells about how Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) destroys the United States, a lot of the news slips through the cracks.

A major issue is how courts keep overturning the rules from DDT and his appointees who want to benefit business above the people of the nation. During President Obama’s administration, Republicans had very few executive orders and rule changes to reject. In under four years since DDT’s inauguration, hundreds of lawsuits have fought back DDT’s proclamations. One ongoing report shows DDT’s successes, 22; DDT’s failures, 116. These are a few recent ones:

A federal judge ruled DOJ inappropriately redacted parts of Robert Mueller’s reports and required release of those sections by November 2, on the eve of Election Day.

A California judge has again ruled that census counting must continue through October 31, 2020 after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross defied her with an announcement the counting would end on October 5—tomorrow. During the most recent hearing, the judge asked for records regarding the October 5 “target date” but was told the only paper trail was a tweet. The judge asked:

 “Are you saying that is enough reason to establish decision-making? A one sentence tweet?”   

The Census Bureau had originally selected October 31 as the deadline after problems with the pandemic and finally acceded to that date last Friday. Two of three judges on a 9th Circuit Court panel confirmed the lower court in extending the 2020 census, and DDT’s judge dissented. Census Bureau career officials, the Commerce Department inspector general’s office, and the bureau’s Census Scientific Advisory Committee oppose a shorter timeline for counting the census.

Following a ruling in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU, the Trump administration will no longer block immigrant teens from accessing reproductive health care, including abortion. Another judge ruled this week against enacting a steep increase in the costs associated with citizenship and immigration application fees.

A federal judge in California temporarily blocked an increase in costs for citizenship and other immigration applications. Citizenship was scheduled to increase 81 percent yesterday, $1,160. Naturalization would go from $725 to $1,170, and asylum applications would cost $50 without fee waivers for low-income applicants. Applying for a deportation suspension or expulsion cancellation would skyrocket from $285 to $1,810.

The judge’s reason for barring the enforcement is Wolf’s possibly illegal appointment for acting head of DHS, according to both a judge and the Government Accountability Office. The appointment of DHS Kevin McAleenan was invalid under the agency’s order of succession, making him lack the authority to amend the order for Wolf’s installation. The lawsuit caused DDT to appoint Wolf for his position which now needs confirmation. Last month, a coalition of 20 state AGs challenged the new restrictive rules for asylum seekers in court. Previously the GAO found Ken Cuccinelli, Wolf’s deputy, was also illegally appointed in an invalid order of succession.

The  A federal judge in Los Angeles overruled limits on visas, (inspired by immigrant-hating Stephen Miller) for hundreds of thousands of foreign workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of companies can return to bringing workers from abroad on visas such as the H-1B for highly skilled employees, guest-worker visas for seasonal employees such as those who DDT hires, and cultural exchange visas for people such as au pairs. Earlier, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. turned the issue over to an appeals court. Plaintiffs include the Chamber of Commerce and several industry giants.

A federal judge in Washington state ruled DDT’s and Barr’s national commission on policing violates federal law by including only 18 law enforcement members and excluding civil rights activists, defense attorneys, or mental health professionals. In addition, the judge blocked Barr from publishing a final report because the commission failed to file a charter, post public meeting notices, and have open meetings. The Federal Advisory Committee Act requires a balanced membership to prevent its recommendations from being “inappropriately influenced by the appointing authority.” Only five the 112 members of working groups were from outside law enforcement, and speakers lacked diversity until after the lawsuit was filed. Last month, a prosecutor resigned from a working group because the commission “was intent on providing cover for a predetermined agenda that ignores the lessons of the past.” DOJ claimed the commission was following the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and could ignore FACA. The W. Bush-appointed judge ruled against that argument.

There was a time when courts claimed they could not make decisions about voting in the months before elections. For example, the Supreme Court will not hear a case from Arizona’s law about “harvesting” ballots, the practice of people returning absentee ballots for other people, until after the election. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/supreme-court-review-arizona-ballot-harvesting-law-73386162 

On the other hand, the lower courts are filled with cases about voting rules to suppress the 2020 vote:

Two federal judges ruled in favor of voting by mail to protect against COVID-19, one upholding a universal postal voting plan in Montana and the other blocking restrictions on absentee ballots in Alabama. Montana’s Gov. Steve Bullock can allow the state’s counties to mail ballots to every voter in an effort to reduce COVID-19 spread at polls. Alabama is banned from absentee ballot requirements putting them at risk such as notarized signatures.

In North Carolina, a judge struck down changes on witness requirements for absentee ballots because the state election board had not kept to court orders. A witness must certify a voter completed an absentee ballot, but the board told election officials they could overlook that requirement if the witness information is missing from the ballot envelope. Voters can just sign an affidavit they had mailed the ballot after the ballot was returned. Last month, the judge had ordered the state to keep all absentee ballots until officials had a statewide process to give voters notice of any errors “such as a signature mismatch or deficient witness contact information.” He also stopped the state from enforcing state law banning nursing home staff from helping voters to fill out ballots and/or mail them. In 2018, the state faced a massive ballet theft scam by a GOP operative.

In one loss for the people, two DDT appointees on a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court overturned a lower federal judge ruling to permit Georgia absentee ballots to be accepted three days after Election Day if postmarked on November 3. The ruling requires ballots must be received by 7:00 pm on November 3. An appeal can only go to the supreme Court.

GOP and DDT’s lawsuits to suppress the vote through restrictions use the lie of corruption, an argument rejected by newly retired top GOP election lawyer Ben Ginsberg. In an op-ed, he writes about the lack of widespread fraud:

“Legions of Republican lawyers have searched in vain over four decades for fraudulent double voting. At long last, they have a blatant example of a major politician urging his supporters to illegally vote twice. The only hitch is that the candidate is President Trump…

“Elections are not rigged.”  

Although DDT has tried to destroy the image of the USPS by making mail delivery unbearably slow, people continue to support the agency that receives no tax money. A majority of Democrats (82 percent) and unaffiliated voters (69 percent) believe the postal service should be operated as a public service, and almost half Republicans (49 percent) agree. In the survey, 72 percent said the USPS was doing an “excellent” or “good” job, a belief almost unchanged from 2014 and 2017 Gallup polls. Two-thirds think election ballots will be delivered in a timely manner.   

In other hopeful news, The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is investigating Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for violating the Hatch Act after her department distributed a Fox network clip of DeVos criticizing Joe Biden. Federal employees are forbidden from political activities on the job.

After NYT piece on DDT’s taxes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) argued that conflicts of interest could invalidate all DDT’s judicial nominations. The sum total of $750 paid in taxes for an entire year for two different years with none for the previous decade has hurt DDT’s campaign. In comparison, DACA recipients—who DDT hates—pay $8.7 billion.

A new court filing from the Manhattan DA suggests a state court investigation into DDT and his businesses for tax and insurance fraud as well as other financial crimes. DDT argued presidents have blanket immunity from criminal investigation, but the Supreme Court ruled against that premise. Because the case is in state court, AG Bill Barr can’t protect him, and no president can pardon him.

Fox network and DDT’s BFF Sean Hannity is being deposed about his promotion of conspiracy theories concerning rumors about the “murder” of DNC staffer Seth Rich. Also deposed are Fox’s business host Lou Dobbs and network staffers about the debunked reporting that Rich’s death came from his leaking Democratic emails to WikiLeaks instead of the Russians. Rich’s parents filed an emotional distress and tortious interference lawsuit against Fox, its reporter Malia Zimmerman, and former guest Ed Butowsky.

As usual, Congress has passed a continuing resolution for the budget instead of a real budget. This one expires on December 11. Signed by DDT, the bill includes both welfare for farmers and $8 billion in food assistance.

June 22, 2019

DDT: Week 126, Threat Balloons Backfire, More Lies

This blog refers to the man inaugurated in 2016 and limited by the U.S. Constitution to two four-year terms as “dictator.” A video from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) shows his interest in being “president for life”—up until the year 10,000.

In his interview with Chuck Todd about the proposed preemptive strike on Iran, to be shown on Sunday, DDT claimed no planes in the air and no final approval. Planes were most likely in the air, however, because the operation required them to go from distant bases hours away from Iran. Unless there was an operation. DDT did declare that his on Iran would be “obliteration like you’ve never seen before.” People in the U.S. could be the ones obliterated. Even Fox network figured out that he is lying: Shep Smith and Chris Wallace both questioned DDT’s statements

Increasingly disenchanted with Fox, DDT also accusing them of “fake news” because of Fox polls showing Biden leading over DDT in several battleground states and disputing the Fox report that DDT spend 30 hours with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos—which he did. Fox’s Sean Hannity, who reportedly has nightly telephone pillow talk with DDT, is not as popular with DDT as shown by DDT’s comment that Hannity is motivated more by ratings than by patriotism. DDT also mocks Hannity’s fawning behind closed doors as dull and unchallenging. DDT may no longer need Hannity Since Paul Manafort is in prison for 7.5 years, DDT may not need Hannity who apparently illegally passed information between Manafort and DDT while Manafort waited in jail for his trial. A judge unsealed hundreds of emails between Hannity and Manafort, some of the time when Manafort was under a gag order not to communicate with anyone except lawyers.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told DDT not to go through with his misbegotten war plans when DDT briefed her, joined in the White House by other congressional leaders Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY). About the 3:00 pm meeting, Pelosi said, “Democratic leaders emphasized that hostilities must not be initiated without the approval of Congress.” DDT supposedly called off the strike at 7:00 pm, about two hours before the scheduled finale. Perhaps DDT obeyed Russia’s president Vladimir Putin who said that a U.S. attack on Iran would be a “catastrophe.” Bully and television performer, DDT loves drama and sends up threat balloons to find a reaction; hopefully the backlash was too much for him.

In another failed threat balloon, DDT defended his plan to deport “millions” tomorrow before tweeting that he was delaying the deportation “for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans” can agree on an (unidentified) resolution for “Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border.” There won’t be a resolution because Republicans don’t want one. Pelosi tweeted, “Families belong together.” DDT disagrees although he lies about his position and blames the non-existent “sanctuary cities.” Houston police chief Art Acevedo in Houston, nowhere near giving sanctuary, tweeted his approval of blocking deportations:

“Rhetoric that causes fear & panic & pushes folks further into the dark places all at risk.”

Even acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who supervises ICE, knows that separating children from their parents is becoming political suicide. That’s the reason that GOP senators are crying “humanitarian” on a bill designed to get more money to separate families and cage children. The bill escaped a committee, but questions have been raised since publicity about the neglect and abuse of children on the southern border. Democrats need to be careful; DDT considers a wall “humanitarian aid.” DDT is good for human smuggling across the southern border. Every time he mentions his wall, more migrants head toward the United States. While DDT pushes billions for a southern border wall because of the illegal drug trade, $1.2 billion worth of cocaine was shipped into a Philadelphia port out of Chile, Panama, and the Bahamas—one of the biggest drug seizures in U.S. history. Although this shipment was discovered, Joaquín Guzman (“El Chapo”) has talked extensively about smuggling drugs through ports of entry.

The Senate is running short on time. Within 40 “working” days, the U.S. is ripe for a shutdown because of no bills for raising the debt ceiling and passing appropriations bills. GOP congressional leaders have a bipartisan deadlock with DDT on budgeting because acting chief of staff and budget director Mick Mulvaney’s agenda disagrees with DDT’s desires. The actions of Mulvaney, formerly a South Carolina GOP representative, are particularly galling to Republicans. During a White House meeting last Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested a one-year stopgap measure that keeps funding at its current levels with a one-year debt limit suspension, unpopular with Democrats. Schumer pointed out that McConnell blocked moving 2020 spending bills under “regular order” to please DDT. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said:

“Mulvaney does not want a deal, and I think that’s the biggest point.”

The group didn’t discuss offsets to pay for the GOP tax cuts for the wealthy and big business, a serious problem because Republicans will want to take money for the bottom 80 percent.

In an interview with Time, DDT lied when he said he never separated children from their parents. He falsely claimed, several times, that President Obama separated families and he (DDT) “ended separation.” A court ruled against DDT’s family separation, but he continued the practice after the court’s decision. DDT repeated his lies to José Díaz-Balart, anchor of “Noticias Telemundo,” in his first interview on a Spanish-language network. The rare occasions when President Obama separated children was for threats to children or adults detained for criminal convictions or felonies such as carrying drugs. In April 2018, the DOJ under former AG Jeff Sessions ordered every illegal entry case to be prosecuted, separating children from parents even if parents only committed a misdemeanor by crossing the border. Children were put in cages and sometimes didn’t recognize their parents after lengthy separations. 

In the Time interview reporters, DDT threatened a journalist with prison after he tried to take a picture of a letter that DDT claimed was “written by Kim Jong Un. It was delivered to me yesterday. By hand.” DDT went off the record for a few minutes, and a reporter later brought up the issue about DDT trying to “limit Mueller’s Russia probe to only future election meddling” and dictating a letter to Corey Lewandowski, “telling him to tell” former attorney general Jeff Sessions “to limit the investigation.” DDT told the journalist that “you can go to prison instead, because, if you use, if you use the photograph you took of the letter that I gave you—” Asked if he was threatening prison for the journalist, DDT went off on a rant, including how Time should make him “man of the year.” They did, just three years ago.

Some of DDT aides think they are above the law, just as DDT does. Kellyanne Conway indicated that the Hatch Act, that prevents all federal employees except DDT and the vice president from campaigning for candidate, doesn’t apply to her. DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is also being investigated about his possible violation of the law preventing federal employees from political activities after the media reported that he is working with DDT’s campaign officials to work on fundraising strategies. Kushner is supposedly “the campaign’s key liaison in the West Wing” and has “multiple daily conversations” with campaign manager, Brad Parscale. In 2016, Kushner’s companies were also flagged for suspicious activity in Deutsche Bank money-laundering reviews. Ivanka Trump’s tweet with DDT’s campaign slogan “Make America Great” and her claim that “the best is yet to come” on her government Twitter account may also violate  the Hatch Act:

“Four years ago today, I introduced my father @realDonaldTrump when he launched a Campaign that would forever change America. Because of his courage, Americans are safer and more prosperous…and the best is yet to come!”

Last week when DDT kicked off his 2020 campaign in Orlando, a place surrounded by swamp, the city’s newspaper Orlando Sentinel, traditionally endorsing Republicans, made its 2020 endorsement: not DDT.

“After 2½ years we’ve seen enough. Enough of the chaos, the division, the schoolyard insults, the self-aggrandizement, the corruption, and especially the lies. So many lies—from white lies to whoppers—told out of ignorance, laziness, recklessness, expediency or opportunity. The nation must endure another 1½ years of Trump. But it needn’t suffer another four beyond that. We can do better. We have to do better.”

The conservative Wall Street Journal editorial wasn’t much more supportive, asking why DDT should be re-elected if he didn’t do anything in his first term. About DDT’s Orlando speech:

“The most striking fact of his speech was how backward looking it was. Every incumbent needs to remind voters of his record, Mr. Trump more than most because the media are so hostile. [The people who aren’t core supporters] want to know why they should take a risk on Mr. Trump and his volatile character for another term.

“On immigration, however, the President missed a chance to strike a deal trading more border security (including his wall) for legalizing Dreamers. On trade, Mr. Trump has disrupted global rules but has put nothing new and stable in their place. Asking voters to believe he’ll do better on these issues in a second term isn’t likely to turn many swing voters his way.”

DDT’s staunch supporter, The Washington Examiner, retracted a story repeating DDT’s lies that a New York Times “fed information” to the FBI about Jared Kushner. The complete story is here.

DDT’s lies and chaos have lost him some right-wing media.

March 3, 2019

GOP Values Reflected in People They Choose

Michael Cohen’s testimony this week uncovers the nature of the man who has been elected president of the United States, but it also clearly shows the nature and values of the people who support Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). During the hearing, Republicans constantly called Cohen a liar—sometimes a “pathological liar”—yet ignored the pathological liar who sits behind the desk in the Oval Office. Republicans said almost nothing to refute what Cohen said but repeated, ad nauseam, that Cohen had admitted to lying to Congress and to committing multiple felonies.

Before the testimony, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who is not a member of the Oversight Committee allowed to question Cohen, sent a threatening tweet that attempted to intimidate Cohen. DDT even called to praise Gaetz for his action, which raises the question of whether DDT fed Gaetz negative information about Cohen. Gaetz, Jim Jordan (R-OH), and other Republicans decided 18 months ago to actively undermine Robert Mueller’s investigation through reinvestigating Hillary Clinton and the origins of the FBI investigation of Flynn and other DDT associates as well as smearing the FBI.

Sean Hannity, Fox propagandist and DDT’s BFF, said that Cohen had told him that DDT had nothing to do with the hush money paid to Stormy Daniels for a secret affair. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) tweeted:

“Sean Hannity is now volunteering himself as a witness. I look forward to his testimony.”

National security lawyer Bradley P. Moss said, “Hannity just made himself a witness in a congressional inquiry and the SDNY [Southern District of New York] probe.”

The people who DDT selects to surround him and who are confirmed by the Republicans in the senate demonstrate their own values. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos continually tries to destroy public education, former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mick Mulvaney wanted to destroy consumer protection, and former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wanted to destroy public lands. Former oil lobbyist David Bernhardt took over from Zinke, and former pharmaceutical executive leads the Department of Health and Human Services. The replacement for former Secretary of Defense James Mattis is former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta has been accused of protecting a sex trafficker who molested teenage girls.

Shannon Lee Goessling, DDT’s pick for director of the Office of Violence against Women at DOJ, is the most recent example of DDT’s desire to select appointees imminently unsuitable for every position. She has fought to keep Alabama’s driver’s license exams only in English, bringing concerns that she would provide domestic violence resources in any non-English languages as well as probability that she could not handle policies for survivors’ immigration statuses and eligibility for public support. Also questionable is her respect for cultural differences in domestic violence. Goessling has also opposed marriage equality and advocates greater gun ownership to prevent violence against women, perpetuating the myth that women with guns can prevent “a completed rape.” According to a study, firearms in the home are more likely to be used against a woman and/or her family than as defense against outside intruders. Victims are five times more likely to be killed if their abusers have access to firearms. Her history is obviously anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, anti-racial justice, and anti-activists opposing sexual violence.

Andrew Wheeler, who became acting EPA director and is now confirmed for a permanent position, came from the coal industry, the largest water polluter responsible for 73 percent of toxic water contamination in the U.S. Last August, Wheeler planned to weaken automobile fuel economy standards before he destroyed a power plant regulation that, according to the EPA, will cause 1,400 more premature deaths each year. Scientists from 13 federal agencies, including the EPA, confirmed findings that U.S. temperatures will be nine degrees higher within less than a century, but Wheeler refused to recognize the study’s validity without reading it. In December, he recommended loosening carbon dioxide emissions reductions at coal-fired power plants and finished 2018 by announcing that he will promote the release of mercury and other dangerous pollutants from coal-fired plants. A recent Wheeler project is to slow down the elimination of toxic, cancer-causing “forever chemicals” contaminating drinking water across the country. Wheeler was confirmed by 52 to 47: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) joined all Democrats except Krysten Sinema (AZ) who did not vote. In 2017, Wheeler had held a fundraiser for John Barrasso (R-WY), who presided over the confirmation.

For the first time in history, the Senate confirmed a federal judge over the opposition of both senators from the appointee’s home state. Eric Miller’s lifetime appointment to the 9th Circuit Court was completed after a brief hearing during a congressional recess with only two GOP committee members present. Miller does not agree with the U.S. Constitution that all children born in the U.S., even those of undocumented immigrants, should have U.S. citizenship and made his name fighting the rights of Native Americans. Two prominent Native American organizations, the National Congress of American Indians and the Native American Rights Fund, objected to Miller’s confirmation—only the third time that either group has opposed a federal judicial nominee. Miller, however, fits both DDT’s requirements: young and bigoted.The Senate was close to this historical first with the nomination of Oregon’s Ryan Bounds until the one black GOP senator, Tim Scott (SC), opposed Bounds because of his previous racist writings. Last November, McConnell said, “Confirmation is a political decision based on who controls the Senate.” To him, party is all and democracy is gone.

As Shanahan comes to the government from Boeing, DDT’s former UN ambassador Nikki Haley goes to Boeing’s board of directors. She joins 19 former high-level military officers hired by Boeing after their retirement. Lockheed Martin, builder of the notoriously dangerous F-35, tries the same strategy: in just 2018, the contractor hired 55 former senior government officials as executives, directors, or lobbyists. Former employees for Lockheed include Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and John Rood, undersecretary for policy at the Pentagon.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who lied about the reasons for and methods of adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, violated his ethics agreement when he inaccurately reported stock holdings on his 2018 financial disclosure form. He reported selling stock that he kept. The refusal to certify Ross’ report has never happened before, but the Ethics Office had earlier warned Ross about his “failure to comply with his ethics compliance agreements.” In 2018, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, asked then-AG Jeff Sessions to review Ross’s disclosures for “potential criminal violations.”

HUD Secretary Ben Carson plans 17 EnVision Centers, as a one-stop place for low-income residents needing social services such as job-placement programs and education. Unfortunately, he didn’t designate any funding for his plan.

Ryan Zinke, who resigned from his Secretary of Interior gig at the end of last year in the hopes of not being investigated, may face a grand jury for lying to federal investigators about not granting commercial casino petitions by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes. The Connecticut tribes’ lawsuit claims that Zinke caved to GOP Nevada legislators, Rep. Mark Amodei and then Sen. Dean Heller who has received large contributions from MGM Resorts International. The government is not commenting on Zinke’s other scandals, including at least 17 ethics probes.

As if one Bill Barr in the administration isn’t bad enough, his son-in-law, Tyler McGaughey, will leave the DOJ to join the White House council where he will “advise” DDT on legal issues—presumably the Russia investigation. The jobs seem to “intersect” (aka provide a conflict of interest). Barr’s oldest daughter, Mary Daly, will leave the DOJ for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to give Dad more heads-up about Russia.

After the military concluded—several years ago—that climate is a serious national security threat, DDT appointed William Happer to lead his Committee on Climate Security to refute his own agencies’ research. Happer claimed that carbon pollution benefits people and compares scientific evidence that carbon dioxide causes global warming to Nazi “propaganda” like “demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler.” He calls science a “cult.” An article from the New York Times lists disasters from climate change in the near future.

DDT found a replacement for Heather Nauert, who resigned as acting ambassador to the UN for illegally hiring a nanny after Nikki Haley resigned. Kelly Knight Craft, Ambassador to Canada and another science denier, has no qualifications to recommend her, but she and her husband donated millions of dollars to DDT’s presidential campaigns. They are also from Kentucky, and Craft has been “highly recommended” by other Kentuckians Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, Elaine Chao, who is also Transportation Secretary.

In selecting the most unqualified ambassadors in modern history, DDT chooses those who donated almost as much money to his campaign as the ambassadors picked by Reagan, both Bushes, Clinton, and Obama in their nine presidential terms.

The only people worse than DDT in his appointments are the Republicans—and a few Democrats—who confirm them for lifetime positions. Their values go from simple reward of incompetence to sinking deep into corruption and fraud.

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