Nel's New Day

October 7, 2022

News for the Week – October 6, 2022

Hurricane Ian has passed, and the House January 6 investigative committee has scheduled a hearing for October 13 at 1:00 pm EST. They picked the time because Fox network refuses to film hearings during evening prime time.

Part of the right-wing Proud Boys’ inner circle, Jeremy Bertino of Belmont (NC), a longtime lieutenant of its chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, has pled guilty to seditious conspiracy. He may be a key witness against his five former colleagues, leaders with ties to influential supporters of former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). They face a December trial on charges including plotting to forcibly stop the presidential transition culminating in the January 6 insurrection. Five members of the Oath Keepers are already on trial for the same charge, and four members of the far-right group already pled guilty along with two other Proud Boys. Bertino’s guilty plea and illegal possession of firearms as a convicted felon could be punished by 51 to 63 months in prison. A search of his home revealed six firearms including two semiautomatic AR-15 style rifles with scopes.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), an occasional moderate, is leaving Congress within the next two months to become president of the University of Florida. The state’s GOP governor, Pete Ricketts, can fill the open seat through the 2024 election. Sasse’s term, his second, lasts through 2026, meaning the replacement would have only a two-year term before a reelection.

As in the past, DDT bashed Sasse, one of seven senators voting to convict DDT in his second impeachment. Conservative author Nick Adams posted that DDT should “buy a house in Nebraska and… [Nebraska] Governor Pete Ricketts should appoint President Donald J. Trump to the US Senate to replace Ben Sasse.” DDT has praised DDT for his Adams’ work, Retaking America: Crushing Political Correctness. DDT wrote on Truth Social that he is “looking forward to partnering with Nebraska’s great Republican Party to get a real senator … not another fake RINO.” A new governor in 2023 could appoint the term-limited Ricketts to replace Sasse.

Some of DDT’s gubernatorial candidates are so bad that GOP leaders support their Democratic opponents:

Kansas: Former Gov. Bill Graves is supporting Democratic incumbent Laura Kelly over state AG Derek Schmidt, who worked in Graves administration. Graves joins 160 other Kansas Republicans endorsing Kelly. Schmidt’s relationship with Republicans is so bad that GOP state senator Dennis Pyle is running against him as an independent. Since Kelly became governor, she balanced the budget, funded public schools, restored infrastructure projects, removed the food tax, and cut $1 billion in taxes while shattering records for new business investments and landed major economic development opportunities.

Michigan: Over 150 state Republicans launched a coalition of business leaders, former state lawmakers, and ex-congressman, and top staff from the GOP administrations of Gov. John Engler and Rick Snyder to support Democratic incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s reelection bid. The former head of the Michigan GOP is also part of the group

Pennsylvania: GOP leaders, including former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and former Allegheny County state Rep. Jim Kelly, announced they support AG Josh Shapiro running for governor against Doug Mastriano. Other GOP officials including two former congressmen, a former state House speaker, and a former lieutenant governor, added their endorsements.

In Maryland, Democratic Wes Moore is ahead of DDT’s gubernatorial choice Dan Cox by 32 percent to replace term-limited Republican Larry Hogan.  Massachusetts Dem candidate Maura Healy has a 99-percent chance to beat DDT’s gubernatorial choice, Geoff Diehl, replacing term-limited GOP Charlie Baker. In this year’s gubernatorial races, 17 lean GOP and 16 Democratic with three states in the middle, according to fivethirtyeight.com.  (Interactive map)

Gas prices going up? Blame Saudi Arabia, not President Joe Biden. Not only did OPEC cut oil supplies. but Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Aramco also bought the biggest oil refinery in the U.S. at Port Arthur (TX) in 2017. Aramco has full ownership of 24 distribution terminals and exclusive rights to sell Shell-branded gasoline and diesel in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, the eastern half of Texas and the majority of Florida.

Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, is consuming the media with a “on-again” position of buying Twitter after vacillating so long that he was headed for a trial on October 17 for trying to break the deal. Over six months ago, he offered to buy the company after he discovered he couldn’t make changes as a shareholder, limited to 15 percent of Twitter stocks. Since then he has badmouthed the company, driving down its shares by almost one-third at one time while offering to finalize the deal with a large drop in the original $44 billion he offered.

When the deal when completely sour, Twitter took Musk to court, but he didn’t want to be deposed and went back to the original agreement of $54.20 a share if the social media company dropped all litigation. Musk asked for additional time to put together financing because most of his assets are tied up with other companies such as Tesla. That company’s shares have dropped by one-third in the past six months, and Musk’s financial backers for Twitter have started to back out. The judge gave Musk until October 28 to finalize the deal. Earlier offering to sell for less, Twitter’s lawyers said that Musk’s “proposal is an invitation to further mischief and delay.”

Like DDT with his Truth Social, Musk has grandiose ideas for his business model—an all-purpose app for messaging, shopping, video gaming, and web browsing, similar to China’s WeChat app. He envies TikTok’s algorithm keeping users hooked and wants a creator-friendly platform focusing more on video. He even has a name, X—the everything app. In addition, Musk wants users to pay for each posted tweet with small amounts of the cryptocurrency DogeCoin and plans to allow DDT back on Twitter to move his QAnon conspiracies and calls for violence into the mainstream venue.

This week, Musk tweeted proposals for “Ukraine-Russia Peace”: give Russia the illegally annexed Crimea, stop Ukraine from joining NATO, ensure water supply to Ukraine, and ask the UN to run another set of referenda in eastern Ukraine allowing Russia to overtake the regions if Russia wins. Along with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelinsky, over 60 percent of the more than one million respondents disagreed, but Musk attributed the vote to the “biggest bot attack I’ve ever seen.” Tesla shares dropped 9 percent, and Musk lost $15 billion from his $252 billion but regained most of it after he said he was going through with the sale.

Buying Twitter means Musk takes on a lot of baggage. The company did win a Dutch case at The Hague in its claim that Twitter did enough by deleting lies spread by three men who claimed a Dutch town was the site of a satanic pedophile ring. Dozens of people “flocked to the municipality of 34,000 people to lay flowers and messages in a graveyard of so-called victims after conspiracy theorists latched on to the claims.”

Yet the U.S. Supreme Court will take up a case this term to determine whether tech platforms should be immune from punishment for harmful content posted by users. It regards a woman killed by the Islamic State militant group in Paris during a 2015 attack. She was one of over 100 people killed by ISIS that year, and the family claims videos fed algorithmically on YouTube inspired the extremists. The intent of the SCOTUS case is deciding whether to retain a legal provision of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, Section 230, that protects internet companies from liability for users’ posts. Democrats assert tech companies use Section 230 to avoid accountability for hate speech.

Bits from the White House:

President Joe Biden has pardoned everyone federally convicted of simple possession of cannabis under federal law, over 6,500 people, and urges governors to follow suit. Although states are moving toward legal use of cannabis for medical and recreational use, the substance remains illegal under federal law. Biden also asked Health and Human Services Secretary and the DOJ AG to “expeditiously” review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.

VP Kamala Harris was in a one-car accident when her Secret Service driver hit a curb in a tunnel hard enough that the tire had to be replaced and bringing Harris’ motorcade to a standstill. She was transferred to another vehicle and taken to the White House, but the Secret Service reported only “a mechanical failure” in an alert.

The White House announced a “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights” to hold technology companies accountable for internal biases threatening the civil rights by ensuring AI programs are developed with built-in protections. Examples include discrimination against student loans for those who attend a Historically Black College or University and an algorithm recommending child welfare agencies investigate families of Black children.  

Because of the CHIPS and Science Act, providing $52 billion in public investment in semiconductor manufacture, Micron will spend up to $100 billion during the next 20 years to build up to four plants in upstate New York near Syracuse to manufacture computer chips. The company estimates that the project will create almost 50,000 jobs, with about 9,000 of those in the plants themselves

The GOP complains the loan relief may help Blacks more than Whites because of the racial income gap. Will Republicans then sue to take all benefits away because more Blacks are in poverty than Whites as they reject equal voting rights for Blacks?

Alabama has a gender-based dress code: AL.com reporter Ivana Hrynkiw was told her skirt was too short to view an execution at a prison and open-toe shoes were unsuitable although she had worn the skirt on her job multiple times with no questioning. The prison official approved rain gear—waterproof waders—she borrowed from a photographer and her gym tennis shoes. A judge told a staffer for another judge was told she couldn’t go into the courtroom wearing a pantsuit. And more stories about Alabama sexism!

January 14, 2022

Fear Blocks Education in U.S.

A few years ago, Republicans tried to smear their opposition by accusing them of “cancel culture.” The concept began as a joke in pop culture six or seven years ago but then became a cultural boycott to show disapproval of someone, for example of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) who put her violent and offensive conspiracy theories to work when she was elected to Congress. Republicans used disapproving statements to accuse Democrats of erasing GOP free speech. Then Republicans tried to “cancel”, or change, history that didn’t fit into their conservative ideals.

“Cancel culture” turned out to be too weak to satisfy Republicans so a clever conservative, Christopher Rufo, came up with his own definition of “critical race theory,” that all schools were teaching white kids to feel guilty for racism and hate themselves for prejudice against white people. Rufo started the conspiracy theory as the “perfect weapon” against Democrats.

CRT caught on fire, and parents started verbally and physically attacking school board members, teachers, and principals for teaching any historical information, such as slavery and other racist activities leading to the current systemic racism in the United States. The theory led to people, including school board members, calling for book burning.

States passed laws to ban books in schools beyond those describing racist behavior, moving to banning all books against minorities lawmakers consider undesirable such as LGBTQ people. An example of these lawmakers is Indiana State Sen. Scott Baldwin, co-sponsoring a bill that would require teachers support fascism and Naziism by showing impartiality toward these evils. Baldwin denies being a member of the extremist Oath Keepers whose members were charged this week with seditious conspiracy, but his name is reportedly on their list. Criticism caused the President Pro Tem Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) to announce the bill has been pulled before next week’s vote.

One high school student, Christiane Calixte, disagrees with this “impartiality.” The junior at the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, wrote this op-ed for the Washington Post

“As a Black high school junior, I have to say: The backlash I’ve seen against the teaching of critical race theory is unbelievable.

“In most schools, as has been well established, critical race theory—an approach to analyzing the intersection of race, history and the law, generally reserved for higher education—isn’t even being taught. And yet, since January 2021, according to Education Week, more than 30 states “have introduced bills or taken other steps that would restrict teaching critical race theory or limit how teachers can discuss racism and sexism” in K-12 schools.“These policies are no joke.

“One Tennessee high school teacher, Matthew Hawn, lost his job after showing his students a four-minute video of a poet performing a piece about White privilege. In Texas, James Whitfield was pushed out of his job as a high school principal after accusations that he was promoting CRT.

“Opponents of CRT claim that this academic lens is divisive, anti-White, and anti-American. Many have claimed that its teachings are a means of forcing a political agenda onto children in lieu of focusing on subjects deemed more educational.

“Don’t be fooled, though. The retaliation against CRT shows that parents have no idea what students are learning—and that their protests are less about education and more about a projection of their own biases and fears.

“As one of the few high school students who have actually been taught CRT, I should know.

“At my school, students are often permitted to participate in short workshops on current controversial topics. The one we did on CRT lasted 75 minutes. For students who wish to deepen their understanding of CRT, a semester-long elective—completely optional—is offered during senior year. Material on CRT is by no means replacing instruction in math, science or other core subjects in our curriculum.

“When we discussed CRT in our short workshop, we were taught the basic premise of critical race theory—that the underlying cause of racism within our country is institutional oppression built into American government and law. This structural racism shows up in systems such as the electoral college, which allowed slaveholding states disproportionate representation, and the prison-industrial complex, which upholds forced labor to this day.

“Yes, we discussed White privilege, the fact that because of systems planted hundreds of years ago, “White-identifying people have been given unfair advantages over their non-White counterparts. But this discussion in no way resembled the chaos described by anti-CRT activists who argue that the concept of White privilege will lead to widespread resentment of White people.

“Were we taught that all White people are nothing but racist bigots? No. Were we taught that all White people should feel guilty about events in the past they could not control? No. Were students taught to hate their White friends and teachers?

“Absolutely not.

“CRT does not promote the hatred of White people. Nor does the acknowledgment of White privilege.

All people, regardless of race, can work together to dismantle the systems used to oppress minorities. White people are even encouraged to use their privilege to do so.

“In our discussion, CRT also wasn’t presented as absolute and unchangeable truth. Throughout the lesson, teachers emphasized that all students had the right to agree or disagree with the teachings.Not one of us was crucified for failing to succumb to some “leftist agenda.” My fellow students and I had the opportunity to voice our opinions and explain the reasoning behind them.

“Is this not what learning should look like? Should education not emphasize the critical thinking that students will need to use in future endeavors?

“If the censorship of CRT continues, students across the country will be barred from taking part in similar conversations. Which is exactly what opponents of CRT want.

“Their sentiments are translating to real, sometimes dangerous decision-making. More lawmakers and school officials are hopping on the bandwagon of inhibiting or twisting historical discussions of race, gender and discrimination. In one Texas district, an administrator told teachers, disturbingly, to include books with ‘opposing’ views of the Holocaust to comply with new state legislation mandating that teachers discussing “controversial issues” incorporate “diverse and contending perspectives.”

“CRT isn’t at all what its opponents paint it to be. It’s simply being used as a straw man for those who aim to restrict speech and knowledge—and, in some cases, perpetuate bigoted ideologies.

“The right to discuss and speak up against discrimination has been long fought for. So please, adults, if you’re listening: Don’t reverse centuries of progress in favor of promoting ignorance. If the goal of schools is to create a well-informed populace, then nuanced discussions of historical racism must be held in classrooms. It is the only way young people will learn to think critically about our country’s institutions, and the only way to create an inclusive America for future generations.”

Virginia’s GOP legislators displayed their ignorance for all to see. A bill banning what they called “divisive concepts” of racism and sexism in state schools erroneously listed a debate between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass about slavery during the presidential campaign. The debate was actually against Stephen Douglas, tied to slavery, not the Black activist Frederick Douglass, once a slave who fought for slavery’s abolition. The bill, sponsored by a freshman Republican, demanded the teaching of “the fundamental moral, political and intellectual foundations of the American experiment in self-government” through “founding documents” which included “the first debate between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.”   

By the end of 2021, the conservative use of CRT was moving education back to the nineteenth century. In Texas, state Rep. Matt Krause, aiming for Tarrant County DA, put together a list of 850 books that “might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex.” He left out the part about discomfort was only by white students; minorities, including LGBTQ students, were still subjected to books with only white heterosexual people. Then he demanded that all schools search their schools for these books and get rid of them. “Discomfort” includes any books about the history of lynchings and voter suppression. (Cartoon: Headline reads “26 States Ban Teaching about Race.”)

Oklahoma state Sen. Rob Standridge decided to expand Krauses’s campaign with proposed legislation that parents could collect $10,000 if the “offending” book wasn’t removed within 30 days. School libraries in other states such as Kansas, Virginia, Missouri, Utah, and Florida were also forced to moved books fitting their conservative CRT standards.

Journalist Sophie Whitehead wrote, “All book banning revolves around fear of change.” Because of an unflattering view of the Russian Revolution, Doctor Zhivago was banned in Stalin’s USSR. Accused of Mickey Mouse as an “anti-Red rebel,” his comics were banned by East Germany’ communists in East Berlin. In 1633, the Vatican banned a book by astronomer Galileo Galilei which claimed the Earth rotated around the Sun instead of vice-versa. Dennis Aftergut, a former federal prosecutor, wrote, “The aim of education is opening minds through access to ideas.” He cited the ruling of the Supreme Court’s importance of this concept in Island Trees Union Free School District v. Pico by Pico: access to diverse ideas “prepares students for active and effective participation in the pluralistic, often contentious society in which they will soon be adult members.” Aftergut added, “Fear stifles citizenship and the ability to get ahead.” Even a high school junior understands these concepts.

October 9, 2020

Debate Civil But Sexist: Highlights

Last night’s vice-presidential debate, the second most watched in history, drew 57 million watchers. Ostensibly, the debate had only two participants, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and VP Mike Pence, but the fly who dropped onto Pence’s hair for two minutes and two seconds drew great attention from both serious and comedic commentators. The Biden campaign found the fly useful, not only with the domain name “flywillvote.com” for voter registration but also in its fundraiser request, “Pitch in $5 to help this campaign fly.” The campaign brought in $12 million during the debate. Merchandising also took advantage of flygate, including a commemorative fly swatter with the slogan “truth over flies” for $10.  

Moderator Susan Page of USA Today began the debate sounding firm but, like Chris Wallace with Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in last week’s debate, soon lost control. Ignoring the moderator, Pence frequently interrupted Harris and demanded she answer his questions when he assumed the role of moderator. Harris calmly responded by saying “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking” although she occasionally had to repeat the phrase several times. Pence also didn’t respond to Page’s questions by saying, “I want to return to an earlier issue.” He avoided a question about white supremacy by turning to Harris and asked if she and Biden would “pack the [Supreme] Court.”

Pence’s “performance” was supposed to attract the thirty percent of women who DDT had lost in the past few months. His interruptions, patronizing manner, and controlling manner destroyed that possibility. Before the debate, commentators assumed Pence had the edge over Harris because he had been a radio host. Accustomed to radio and not TV, Pence kept his sour face throughout most of the debate. Harris appeared sincere, directly addressing the people. Her former experience as California attorney general and prosecutor gave her the experience to parry any jabs. She knew how to bring home an argument, especially after Pence said DDT had a health plan but couldn’t cite it. DDT is fighting to take health care from people in a Supreme Court case. Looking into the camera, Harris delivered these lines through Page’s interruptions: 

“If you have a pre-existing condition, heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer — they’re coming for you. If you are under 26 and on your parents’ insurance, they are coming for you.”

Pence lied and deflected his way through 90 minutes, and some media criticized Harris for not being pushier. That behavior, however, would result in negative reactions, and Harris already faced the media’s xenophobic, misogynic treatment. One-fourth of the coverage about her selection as vice-president candidate fit into those categories, including references to the “angry black woman” and DDT’s description of her as “nasty,” “mad,” and “mean.” During a New Hampshire rally, DDT insinuated that Harris rose through the ranks by having sex with men.

This article shows how Pence dodged, denied, and lied because he could not defend DDT. Comprehensive fact-checking skipped Pence’s accusation that Harris “tried to impeach” DDT. The vice-president should know the House did impeach DDT and Harris was part of the jury for the impeachment trial.

Pence’s lies were horrifying enough, but the worst part came at the end with Page’s question: 

“President Trump has several times refused to commit himself to a peaceful transfer of power after the election. If vice president Biden is declared the winner and President Trump refuses to accept a peaceful transfer of power, what would be your role and responsibility as vice president? What would you personally do?”

Pence’s response:

“When you talk about accepting the outcome of the election, I must tell you, Senator, your party has spent the last three and a half years trying to overturn the results of the last election.”

He followed this attack with “buzzwords” such as “spied on . . . my campaign,” “Hillary Clinton” and “no obstruction, no collusion.”

Pence’s and DDT’s failure to commit to the law in peacefully transferring power by accepting election results, combined with their reinforcement of white supremacist violence, bodes poorly for a quiet administrative shift, especially with the GOP record of voter suppression through lawsuits, voter purges, mail delivery slowdown, false fraud accusations, etc.  Pence attacked Democrats for impeaching DDT, repeated conspiracy theories about President Obama’s administration, and smeared Hillary Clinton again. He said he had “confidence” in the election only if DDT won and repeated lies about the rampant fraud of mail-in voting.

Early this morning, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) tweeted

“Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity (sic) are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.”

Diagnosed with COVID-19, Lee may also be on steroids.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) caused another meltdown from DDT with her planned legislation for a “Commission on Presidential Capacity” intended “to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership in the highest office in the Executive Branch of government.” DDT tweeted:

“Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation.”

In his own “crazy” moment, DDT is demanding that his enabler AG Bill Barr indict Joe Biden for imaginary crimes before the election.

In the vice-presidential debate with Harris, Pence denied DDT refused to criticize white supremacists in his own debate the week prior although DDT’s statements are on video tape. DDT has consistently blamed the “antifa” (people opposed to fascism) for all violence, but his own FBI director blames white supremacist extremists for much of the domestic terrorism. For example, this headline in Michigan’s Detroit News about its Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer: “Plans to kidnap Whitmer, overthrow government spoiled, officials say.” 

Earlier this year, members of the Wolverine Watchmen militia, objecting to the public health lockdown of businesses in the state, marched into the state capitol with semi-automatic rifles and closed down the legislature. After the militia’s protests at the capitol in Lansing, DDT tweeted on May 1:

“The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.”

At least two of the men at the capitol participated in the plot to kidnap Whitmer and take her to a remote location to stand “trial” for treason. Some of the militia surveilled Whitmer’s vacation home, the planned location of the crime, by taking videos and considering the demolition of a nearby bridge to slow law enforcement response. They also held field exercises, testing an explosive.

Whitmer declared DDT “complicit” in fomenting extremists:

“Just last week, the president of the United States stood before the American people and refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups like these two Michigan militia groups. ‘Stand back and stand by,’ he told them. Stand back and stand by.

“Hate groups heard the president’s words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry. As a call to action. When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight. When our leaders meet with, encourage, or fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions and they are complicit.”

Thirteen people, all from Michigan except one, were charged for “elaborate plans’ in the kidnapping and instigating a civil war and overthrowing state governments. FBI and state police arrested several of the conspirators at a meeting where they pooled funds for explosives and exchanged gear. In a congressional hearing last July, AG Bill Barr said he didn’t know the militia  protesters in Michigan called for Whitmer “to be lynched, shot and beheaded” because “there are a lot of protests.”  

DDT attacked Whitmer Thursday because she didn’t criticize antifa.

DDT’s next scheduled debate with Joe Biden, October 15, may be canceled. Saying he doesn’t want to waste his time on a virtual debate, determined by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, DDT threatens to be a no-show and claimed he might do another campaign rally. Biden’s response to DDT’s refusal is to organize a town hall appearance for himself.

Still on steroids, DDT expressed his fear of Harris on Fox Business this morning. In an hour-long wandering monologue, DDT’s voice sounded rough, he coughed, and he worked to clear his throat. He called Harris a “monster” twice, and a Communist instead of a socialist. Her pearls, ala Jackie Kennedy and Barbara Bush, proper suit, and classy pumps belie DDT’s view as a “monster.”  [harris monster] DDT attacked FBI Director Christopher Wray, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and even loyalist AG Bill Barr. The 74-year-old, obese man with a number of health issues said, “I’m back because I am a perfect physical specimen and I’m extremely young.” And 48 more head-shaking comments from the man on drugs.

The White House still won’t release the time of DDT’s last negative virus test. Some people surmise he was already positive at “The Rose Garden Massacre” where DDT introduced his new Supreme Court nominee, five days before his announcement of the diagnosis.

At this time, DDT is also blaming Gold Star families for infecting him at his Gold Star Mother’s Day event on the day after the “massacre.” In trying to appear selfless, he said he was unable to stop them from touching him although he knew it was dangerous. The joint chiefs of staff are now in quarantine because two military figures, Coast Guard Vice Commandant Charles W. Ray Adm. Charles W. Ray and Assistant Marine Commandant Gen. Gary Thomas, have tested positive for the coronavirus, but none of the families has indicated any infections—yet.

Harris won the debate by more than 30 points and came in ahead of Pence with men by two points. In the UK Guardian, Jill Filipovic wrote:

“There was no real contest in the vice-presidential debate between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence. Harris wiped the floor with him. Pence ignored, patronized and talked over the two women in the room. Her strategy was cool competence. His was sexist entitlement.”

Pence may not have noticed the fly, but this cat did as did former Republican David Frum. Long live the fly!  

August 29, 2020

The 2020 GOP Platform According to DDT

The “virtual” GOP convention last week was not only bizarre event but also set the 2020 GOP platform designated as anything Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) wants. A few samples from the political platform from the Grand Old Party for the next four years. 

Support for racism and sexism: On the week when others honored the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech and celebrated the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, Abby Johnson delivered her support for racial profiling and allowing only the male head of the household to vote. If the wife disagrees with her husband about the vote, Johnson declared, “In a Godly household, the husband would get the final say.”

Support of violent unrest throughout the nation: DDT’s counselor Kellyanne Conway, leaving the White House because of family conflicts (husband George is a 100-percent anti-DDTer), exulted about the number of votes DDT will get from “chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence” (largely created by the radical right). If the violence isn’t serious enough, DDT sends in his personal militia to make it worse.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Rejection of information—security, scientific, etc.: Massive numbers of lies and misleading statements from all speakers reinforced this part of the platform. “We are focusing on the science, the facts, and the data,” DDT said to a large group ignoring social distancing and mask wearing. The plank ignores the massive number of coronavirus cases to achieve a feeling of “normal”—the pandemic is over. (House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Debbie Meadows, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows support this behavior, waiting for DDT’s speech.) 

Misrepresentation of information: In a video on the first night of the RNC riots and crime in “Biden’s America,” the most striking one of four segments showed protests in Barcelona, Spain, taken from Shutterstock, a source of stock images and videos.

Elimination of public education: A heavy emphasis on “school choice” omitted the issue of children not allowed into private schools avoiding testing requirements and other regulations because they can eliminate “less desirable” students such as the LGBTQ, differently abled, and those less motivated. Republicans use private schools and privately run charter schools to funnel public education funding into religion and for-profit businesses.

Promise of non-functioning government: McCarthy summarized this plank by saying that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are wrong when they think that the election is about the government.

Recognition of DDT’s first term failures: VP Mike Pence distilled the essence of this position when he said, “Make America great again, again.” Gone for DDT is “Keep America Great”: Biden purchased that domain where he posts DDT’s broken promises.

Removal of institutions: The DOJ now works only for the man in the Oval Office, the State Department is trying to make the world Christian, the EPA is taking away all environmental protections, the Department of the Interior turns public land over to private interests, and DDT obsesses about erasing mail delivery. His sole goal is to win the election, either through getting rid of Democratic votes on mail-in ballots or delegitimizing the November election to stay in the White House if he loses. DDT refuses to say whether he’ll leave the White House if he loses the election. Joint Chief of Staffs Mark Milley said the U.S. armed forces will not be involved in a dispute about the vote, but Defense Secretary Mark Esper hasn’t answered a question from congressional members whether he will refuse to follow unlawful orders regarding the election results. 

Disdain for “law and order” so pervasive that a few convention examples will have to suffice: DDT used acting DHS director Chad Wolf, probably illegally in his position, to perform the naturalization of five people who were not informed they would be used to promote DDT’s agenda. Their naturalizations may not be legal because Wolf had performed them.

Subjects in a video intended to smear New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio at the RNC were not told their interviews would be used to support DDT’s campaign. Lynne Patton, DDT’s associate who oversees New York federal housing programs, persuaded four tenants to talk to her by claiming she wanted to discuss conditions in the NYC Housing Authority’s buildings. Three of the four said they didn’t support DDT. Last year Patton violated the Hatch Act, displaying a DDT campaign hat in her office and “liking” political tweets.

Over 80 years ago, Congress passed the Hatch Act, restricting political campaign activities by federal employees except for the president and vice president. This summary was given employees in the Interior Department: 

“The Hatch Act generally prohibits Federal employees from engaging in political activities while on duty, in a Government room or building, while wearing an official uniform, or while using a Government vehicle. Under the Hatch Act, “political activity” is defined as any activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.”

During DDT’s first three years, the Office of Special Counsel issued 134 warning letters to federal employees, disciplined an additional 46 federal workers, told 31 more to withdraw from political races or leave their government jobs to pursue them, and cited at least nine high-level DDT appointees for abusing their government roles to further the DDT’s reelection or disparage his rivals. Former administrations have banned Cabinet members from political activities, but three of them participated in DDT’s political show. Congress is investigating State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo’s speech from Jerusalem for violations. 

The six senators who spoke are primarily vulnerable in this year’s election or running for president in 2024. Seven representatives also spoke as well as four other congressional candidates, one of them a QAnon supporter. A major theme of DDT’s speech, however, was to portray himself as an outsider, to “turn the page” away from “the failed political class.” Half the keynote speeches were assigned to DDT and his family members. Two speakers were given full pardons, Jon Ponder at the event and Alice Johnson the day after.

RNC speakers included six White House aides as well as senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump. Other ways DDT violated the Hatch Act are the use of the National Park Service (NPS) for his campaign fireworks on the National Mall and a video from the Interior Department lavishly praising DDT for new legislation. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said that “nobody outside of the Beltway really cares” about the Hatch Act—which is a U.S. law. It seems the Hatch Act works only for people who criticize DDT.

DDT’s conclusion to his acceptance speech:

“On November 3, we will make America safer. We will make America stronger. We will make America prouder. And we will make America greater than ever before. I am very proud to be the nominee of the Republican Party.”

If he’s the current president, why doesn’t he start now?

Satirist Alexandra Petri described DDT’s message:

“If you think things are bad now under Donald Trump, vote for Donald Trump, who will fix things…

“Any bad things happening now were sent by Joe Biden, from the future. Do not be fooled by the fact that they are happening in the present, when Donald Trump is president…

“Joe Biden has controlled all of government for the past 47 years but, confusingly, he has never gotten through any of the radical policies he really wanted—[for example to] get rid of hamburgers and make cows illegal…

“Joe Biden wants to defund the police, which is why he is advocating not defunding the police.

“Most of all, Joe Biden wants to destroy America’s greatness. (Greatness is what we have right now, under Donald Trump, but also don’t have yet, but will definitely have in the future.) Joe Biden will never create jobs, the way Donald Trump has, by first presiding over the loss of millions of them.

“Under Donald Trump, America has never been safer. It has also never been more dangerous. We must elect Donald Trump to make us safe again, which he has already made us, never more than we are now, although we also aren’t, and won’t be, unless we elect him!

“…Donald Trump is a crusader against nepotism, corruption and the abuse of power for personal gain, wherever it may lurk… He despises people who profit from public office, and the times when he has urged people to stay at Trump properties were just because he gives and gives without thinking of himself…

“In conclusion, Donald Trump has accomplished more than any other president, ever, in his single term, including some accomplishments that did not even happen during his term, like his landmark achievement, the Veterans Choice Bill, passed in 2014 under President Barack Obama. There is no pandemic to speak of, or to put on a mask for; if there ever was one, it was someone else’s fault… Donald Trump does not look at America and see thousands of people needlessly dying and millions losing their jobs — this is what Joe Biden sees. Donald Trump sees greatness!”

So that’s the GOP platform: incessant lying, racism, sexism, and breaking laws. From the beginning of the RNC on Monday night to the end of the event on Thursday night, more people died from COVID-19 in the U.S. than on 9/11. In the past 24 hours, the U.S. has gained another 42,843 COVID-19 cases for a total of 6,139,078. Another 954 deaths bring the total to 186,855. The number seems down, but that usually happens on weekends. 

 

November 13, 2018

Lawyers Winners of Elections, Other Lawsuits

The real winners of the midterm elections and the first 662 days of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in the Oval Office are the lawyers. Nowhere has this been more obvious in the past week than in the South where Georgia and Florida Republican officials—candidates for offices—are screaming “fraud” and charging off to the courts.

During a campaign rally a few days before the 2016 presidential election, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said, “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election—if I win.” He won and accepted the electoral vote although not the popular vote—which he lost. Now he’s losing in at least three states and refusing to accept the midterm election races.

As Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s lead over his opponent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) dwindles, Scott, also the U.S. Senate candidate, has been joined by Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to echo DDT’s cry of voter fraud despite disagreement from the state secretary of state, a Scott-appointed Republican. Scott didn’t object to GOP counties breaking his own emergency order when predominantly GOP Bay County, hit hard by a recent hurricane, allowed voters to illegally cast ballots by email.

Scott filed at least five lawsuits trying to defeat Nelson, including not counting all ballots received after Election Day which disenfranchises all overseas voters including veterans. Florida voters are now suing him for illegally abusing his position as governor to win his race for U.S. senator by stopping the counting of legal votes. Despite Scott’s lawsuits, Florida has started a machine recount of the vote and may have a manual vote if the difference in that election drops below 0.25 percent. Scott is ahead by about 12,000 votes in 8 million plus ballots before all have been counted; Florida’s gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is behind GOP Ron DeSantis by about 40,000 votes.

In Georgia, former Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who resigned when he falsely declared himself governor-elect, has lost a lawsuit to block ballots. In this election of almost four million voters, his Democratic opponent, Stacy Abrams, is behind by about 58,000 votes, but a judge has ruled that provisional ballots must be counted because Kemp, in charge of elections, has not maintained voter information security, increasing the risk that his purge of over 700,000 names on the registered rolls was illegally “manipulated or mismanaged.” The court orders mandated publicity about a website for provisional ballot voters to find information about whether their provisional ballots had been counted and why. The judge stated that the ballots were rejected “through no fault of their own.”

Under Kemp, Georgia voter updates by people getting or renewing state driver’s licenses never moved into the state’s voter database, and they didn’t know that Georgia had illegally failed to register them to vote. State law mandates that provisional ballots are counted only if names are on the voter registration list where they may have been removed because of Kemp’s actions. The Help Americans Vote Act (HAVA) requires the provisional ballots be counted if voters are eligible to vote.

Another judge ordered Georgia to count 5,000 ballots rejected because voters didn’t complete date of birth when signing mail-in ballot envelopes and ordered the state’s vote counting to continue until Friday instead of ending today. As of Sunday, Abrams needed 19,000 more votes to trigger a recount and 21,000 more to force a December runoff. The almost 22,000 provisional ballots plus over 2,000 ballots coming from overseas and military brings the total of uncounted ballots to nearly 29,000.

The November 27 run-off for U.S. Senate pits Mississippi candidates Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) against Mike Espy, behind by 8,000 votes, for the final two years of a senate term because neither candidates garnered 50 percent of the vote. At a campaign rally four days before the midterm elections, Hyde-Smith responded to a man who praised her, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” Mississippi recorded at least 581 lynchings of black people, about 12 percent of the 4,743 between 1882 and 1968 and the most of any state in the country. DDT-supporter Hyde-Smith repeatedly refused to answer questions by saying that she had issued a statement calling the remark an “exaggerated expression of regard.”

DDT already lost the U.S. Senate position in Arizona that went to the Democrat Krysten Sinema. Opponent Martha McSally was gracious in her concession, perhaps because she expects to be appointed to former Sen. John McCain’s position if Jon Kyle leaves in January.

A sour-grapes failed GOP candidate for the Arizona legislature is suing her winning opponent, U.S.-born Latina Raquel Terán, accusing her of not being a U.S. citizen. Alice Novoa already sued Terán in 2012 for the same (non)offense, and the case was dismissed because her attorney provided the birth certificate. Novoa avoided $650 in court fees with her claim that she doesn’t work and has no income.

Nonelection lawsuits:

Maryland opened to door to lawsuits involving DDT’s unlawful appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting AG for Jeff Sessions replacement. Brian Frosh, Maryland AG, asked a federal judge to remove Whitaker from that position because the appointment is unconstitutional. This request is part of the state’s ongoing lawsuit to force DDT to retain a key provision of the Affordable are Act, including protections for people with pre-exiting conditions. Maryland AG Brian Frosh declared that any action Whitaker takes regarding the ACA for the federal government would be invalid because he cannot legally serve as acting AG and asks for an immediate injunction. In 2014, Whitaker maintained that the U.S. Supreme Court’s upholding the ACA was one of the worse rulings in its entire history.

DDT believes that he is protected in Whitaker’s appointment by the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act, stating that a president may temporarily fill a vacancy for a position requiring Senate confirmation with any senior official who has been in the department for at least 90 days. Another statute makes the deputy attorney general next in line at the DOJ. The lawsuit maintains that a more specific law takes precedence over a more general law. The AG also argues that DDT should have less flexibility in replacing the AG because a president under investigation could install a “carefully selected senior employee who he was confident would terminate or otherwise severely limit” the inquiry. Whitaker is justifying his position with an 1898 Supreme Court Case supporting the appointment of the acting U.S. consult in the country that is now Thailand when no one else was available after the Senate-confirmed consult was sick. The argument against this case is that the AG office did not become vacant through an unexpected emergency and several Senate-confirmed DOJ officials are available.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has also called for hearings to address “serious questions” about his appointment because of Whitaker’s outspoken opposition to the Robert Mueller investigation.

In a First Amendment lawsuit, CNN is suing the White House for stripping Jim Acosta’s of his press credentials. Acosta was targeted after false accusations of “laying hands” on a press intern. The accurate video shows her stepping into his space to grab his microphone and his saying, “Pardon me, ma’am.” Also included in the suit are tops aides John Kelly, Sarah Sanders, Bill Shine, the head of the Secret Service, and the officer who took Acosta’s pass. After a complaint was filed, the White House claimed that Acosta lost his credentials because he refused to give up his microphone.

The DOJ has also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop lawsuits in three courts of appeal—the 2nd, the 9th, and the D.C.—to block President Obama’s DACA program where these courts allow the program to continue.

DDT’s administration is also facing a lawsuit accusing Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and a top deputy of sexism in determining their policy decisions. Filed in January, the lawsuit argues against DeVos’ prevention of Title IX guidance on handling campus sexual assault cases; the current filing adds that her decision was impacted by discriminatory and stereotyped views of women, based on evidence obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. These records show that the Department of Education obtained input from sources pushing inflated and widely discredited statistics about false rape allegations. Another source came from Candice Jackson, who provided a book  Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus (Laura Kipnis), that falsely described the Title IX guidance permitting women to seek legal recourse for “awkward sexual experiences” and then ask for protection from “sexual bogeymen.” Jackson also received information from Gordon Finley, part of the National Coalition for Men, who referred to the former Title IX guidance as a “war on men,” and she falsely maintained that 90 percent of sexual assault accusations come from misunderstandings or drunken regrets. Other sources provided prejudicial information to the department’s leaders about claims regarding sexual assault. DDT’s statements and behavior toward women also figure into the lawsuit’s amendment on sexism.

Two weeks ago, DeVos lost her court battle after she tried to end regulations helping defrauded students receive federal loan forgiveness and keep colleges from mandating arbitration for complaint resolution instead of going to court. President Obama’s consumer protections are now in effect.

April 17, 2017

Pence, A Scary Dude

The far-right and even a few liberal pundits had a meltdown a few weeks ago about ridicule and outrage directed toward VP Mike Pence. The subject was the “Billy Graham Rule” of 1948 that banned men from certain social and business situations. A man cannot have dinner alone with another woman: he must take his wife with him. In addition, a man cannot be without his wife if he is with other people where alcohol is served. I don’t know if a man can have coffee alone with a woman; I haven’t read the complete code.

In the 21st century, the United States vice president has a behavioral code that diminishes women to sluts who will all attack a man if they are alone with him at a dinner. And he’s not alone in this belief: females are frequently made responsible for all male transgressions toward them—infidelity, sexual assault, etc. Beyond demeaning women, the “rule” removes women from all professional interactions in networking, mentoring, and one-to-one time. An anonymous 2015 National Journal survey of female staffers in Congress showed that exclusion from one-on-one time with their male bosses was a “huge impediment to moving up.”

For centuries, women have been “protected” from opportunities in education and the job market. The discrimination starts early with school dress codes only for girls. For example, a dress code in a North Carolina public charter school requires girls to wear skirts and bans their wearing pants. The school’s founder, Baker Mitchell, explained that the mandate is “to preserve chivalry and respect among young women and men” and that a woman is “a fragile vessel that men are supposed to take care of and honor.” A school board supported the requirement as preparation for workplaces with gendered clothing, beginning with an example of the restaurant Hooters.

All school dress codes for girls follow Pence’s example—that they are a “distraction” to males: it’s the female responsibility to control men’s “baser urges.” Enforcement is then used to shame and victim-blame girls. Another solution in schools for “protection” is single-sex classrooms, following the Pence Plan. School officials reason that teenage boys are “distracted” from school work by the presence of girls. The program is not intended to teach young people to work together as equals because in a Pence World, there is no need.

A serious disadvantage of the Pence Plan for more secular people is that, as a far-right evangelical Christian, he thinks that everyone should behave in the way that he does. “Religious freedom” allows anyone to deny everyone else anything if the “religious” person disagrees with the beliefs or actions of the other person. If a Muslim, such as Keith Ellison, were to refuse to have dinner alone with a woman not his wife, evangelicals would be grabbing their petitions to prevent Sharia Law. The former CEO of the blog RedState agreed with the Pence Plan saying that his eating alone with woman not his spouse is acceptable only for “planning your spouse’s surprise party or funeral and that is it.” He is a strong supporter of the party that elected the man who rejoiced in his right to grab “pussy” whenever he wished.

Melania Trump, almost invisible in her role as First Lady, said in a speech at the state department’s International Women of Courage Awards:

“We must continue to fight injustice in all its forms, in whatever scale or shape it takes in our lives.”

Yet that same week during Women’s History Month, Press Secretary Sean Spicer ordered reporter April Ryan not to shake her head at him, and Fox host (maybe) Bill O’Reilly, known for his sexual assaults, ridiculed Rep. Maxine Walters’ (D-CA) hair. DDT asked a group of women if they had ever heard of Susan B. Anthony. In Iowa, a legislator wants a pregnant woman to carry her dead fetus to term because it “saves babies’ lives.”

The day after he addressed a “Women’s Empowerment Panel” at the White House, VP Mike Pence cast the 51st deciding vote to stop mandates for states to deliver family planning services to people with low income through Planned Parenthood—about four million patients across the nation. Spicer said that DDT “made women’s empowerment a priority,” but Pence took away women’s empowerment to get contraceptives, well-woman exams, and cancer screenings. Pence, like DDT, has meetings with no or few women present. Far-right males love this position because of their anger about losing their rightful superiority to women and minorities. Their ticket won with the biggest gender gap in a presidential election while men wore “Trump That Bitch” T-shirts. Pence has joined DDT in removing the ability of women to decide their futures—even when or if to have children. The game plan is to win the next election with male-domination.

Those who want to impeach DDT need to think about the fact that DDT is the only person blocking the United States from male Christian domination by the Family or the Fellowship, an evangelical cult with an office on Capitol Hill.  In his book The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, Jeff Sharlett writes:

“The enemy, to them, is secularism. They want a God-led government. That’s the only legitimate government. So when they speak of business, they’re speaking not of something separate from God, but they’re speaking of what, in Mike Pence’s circles, would be called biblical capitalism, the idea that this economic system is God-ordained.”

An example of Pence’s determination to overcome government officials is his hiring a private law firm when Indiana’s attorney general refused to join a lawsuit to overturn President Obama’s executive order about immigrants, charging taxpayers for the cost, and then hiding information about it. When a citizen filed a public records request for the cost and other communications, Pence argued that the courts had no control over what he chose to reveal. An appeals court rejected Pence’s argument but agreed with Pence that the information was privileged attorney-client communication. The basis of the lawsuit, originated by Texas senior official Daniel Hodge, is its attempt to control executive orders—which should be embarrassing for a man who works for a president who constantly signs executive orders. Before DDT, Pence agreed that “the unchecked expansion of executive authority … threatens the constitutional balance of power.” That argument has disappeared with a Republican president. Another Pence problem is the scrutiny regarding his use of a private email account to conduct state business while he was Indiana’s governor. Pence frequently criticized Hillary Clinton for her private email server.

Pence’s issues go far deeper than the problems listed above. Following is my letter published in the Eugene Register Guard:

People who believe that the “scientific method … is in no danger from Vice President Mike Pence’s … religion” should consider his history. As governor of Indiana, he signed a bill into law forcing women to carry non-viable pregnancies to term. Not only anti-abortion in all cases, he also cosponsored legislation to ban common forms of contraception, stem-cell research, and in vitro fertilization. Believing that LGBT people can be made heterosexual, he supported electroshock therapy for LGBT children and fought marriage equality. His opposition to HIV/AIDS programs started a full-blown epidemic in his own state.

In his refusal to believe science, he said “global warming is a myth” and thinks that smoking isn’t harmful to health because only one-third of smokers die from a smoking-related illness. According to Pence, even the smallest quantity of cannabis possession should be a felony rather than a misdemeanor.

Pence refused to comply with federal rules to reduce prison rape, tried to ban state agencies from bringing Syrian refugees into his state, and defended the Iraq War, calling it a “victory.”

Mike Pence is anti-worker, anti-woman, anti-minority, anti-elders, anti-poor, anti-environment, anti-nonChristian, anti-media, anti-science, and pro-war. He is more dangerous than the current president because he is a religious zealot, determined to force everyone in the nation to follow his far-right non-scientific evangelical Christian view of the world. None of his beliefs have any connection with “the scientific method.”

More information about Pence is here and here.

Mike Pence is now playing president in Asia, claiming that “the era of strategic patience is over” with North Korea and that the bombing of Syria and Afghanistan shows our “strength and resolve.” No matter how tough Pence tries to look, he’ll have trouble out-bullying Kim Jong-Un. The result may be another war in Korea—if we don’t expire from nuclear weapons. But then Pence loves a good holy war. At least the military–not Pence or DDT–is making all decisions regarding strikes, bombings, and other warlike activities. Even with all the civilians who they have killed, the Pentagon may have more sense than the two men elected vice president and president.

January 28, 2017

Women’s March Affects Entire World, All Ages

I couldn’t stop laughing! A poll shows that Republican males believe that their lives are harder than those of women. Men make more money for the same work, have a far less chance of rape, don’t have their reproductive rights attacked, and do far more housework than men while holding a full-time job, but white men are the “low people on the totem pole” and “everybody else is above the white man,” according to an 81-year-old retired police captain. He complained that “everything in general is in favor of a woman. No matter what happens in life, it seems like the man’s always at fault.”

In this survey taken after the election, only 41 percent of GOP men think now is a good time to be a man. Although one-third of women feel unsafe because of their gender, only 20 percent of men understand that women feel this way. Thirty percent of women frequently feel sexually objectified, but again only 20 percent of men think that women feel this way. Benevolent sexism–the “negative consequences of attitudes that idealize women as pure, moral, pedestal-worthy objects of men’s adoration, protection and provision”–is rampant among men. With their bias of gender roles, 69 percent of men think that women should be protected, and 47 percent believe that women are more ethical and moral. At least 43 percent of parents reported that the election made them teach their children about sexual assault and consent, something President Donald Trump (PDT) was evidently not taught.

One week ago, millions of people throughout the world marched for women’s rights, and some conservative males weren’t happy.

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel: “So a group of unhappy liberal women marched in Washington DC. We shouldn’t be surprised; almost all liberal women are unhappy. Perhaps there’s a correlation. But I do have a question: if they can afford all those piercings, tattoos, body paintings, signs, and plane tickets, then why do they want us to pay for their birth control?”

Indiana state Sen. Jack Sandlin: “In one day Trump got more fat women out walking than Michelle Obama did in 8 years.”

Nebraska state Sen. Bill Kintner: A retweeting of LA talk show host Larry Elder mocking a photo of three women with signs protesting PDT’s comments about his personal sexual assault was capped by Kintner’s statement, “Ladies, I think you’re safe.”

Texas state Rep. Tony Tinderholt: About his support to make abortion completely illegal, “Right now, it’s real easy. Right now, they don’t make it important to be personally responsible because they know that they have a backup of ‘oh, I can just go get an abortion.’ Now, we both know that consenting adults don’t always think smartly sometimes. But consenting adults need to also consider the repercussions of the sexual relationship that they’re gonna have, which is a child.”

Michael Flynn Jr., son of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to women: “What MORE do you want? Free mani/pedis?”

Atlantic County (NJ) GOP Freeholder John Carman: “Will the women’s protest be over in time for them to cook dinner?”

PDT: “Why didn’t these people vote?”

march-small-compare-2

inaug-small-compare

 

 

 

 

 

According to the New York Times, the women’s January 21, 2017 march on Washington, D.C. had 470,000 people (above left), three times the 160,000 who attended PDT’s inauguration the day before (above right).

inauguration-comparison

Crowd scientists were comfortable with the number for the inauguration, but thought that the number of people attending women’s march could be much larger because it was more sprawling and fluid—maybe as many as one million. They explained that PDT might have assumed that his crowd was larger because he could see only the front third of the crowd. Scientists monitored seven life feeds all day from a variety of perspectives. President Obama’s 2009 inauguration audience (above left) will continue to be the largest history. (Below: women’s march in Washington, D.C.)

Texas-based Southwest Airlines illuminated some of their cabins with a glowing support of the Women’s March. Pink is the “unofficial” color worn and used in support of Planned Parenthood.

 

antarctica-protestThe protest went as far as Antarctica. (right)

march-childEven a four-year-old girl participated.

 

 

 

 

The women’s march was arguably the largest in U.S. history; numbers keep rising up to 5 million—over one percent of the country’s population—which doesn’t count many of the protesters from the hundreds of small cities and towns in every state across the nation.

map-march

In Stanley, Idaho (population of 63), almost half the town—30 people—protested. I’m proud to say that my small town of 10,000 had at least 1,600 people turning out for its “Stronger Together March.”

march-city-hall

And of course, Portland (OR) did us proud. (Photo below by Ann Hubbard)

march-crowd

leaviing-melanie-behindJust as PDT leaves his wife behind, he plans to ignore the women in the United States.

 

Despite claims made by conservatives that women are fat and ugly and shallow, that they don’t need financial help, that white men are at the bottom of humanity, “this is what democracy looks like!” Keep in mind that women make up over half the population in the United States. We think, care, work, and vote.

march-washington-dc

December 2, 2016

U.S. Suffers from White Male Entitlement

A virulent genetic disorder overwhelming the United States continues to pass from one generation to another. Supported by a male monotheistic religion, Christianity has increased the genetic white supremacy during the past half millennium through killing of women accused of being witches, Muslims starting with the crusades, heathens to reform them, etc. Although science identifies no racial differences, skin color has been vital to the control of the nation. “Red” Native Americans were slaughtered and still being persecuted, and “black” captives were and are enslaved and mistreated to create a fortune for the ruling—i.e., white—class. Yet columnist Charles Krauthammer mourns how “the white working class [is] left out in the cold, neglected and condescended to as both our social status and economic conditions decline.” The neglect is  no longer recognizing his “race” as being  superior.

The White Male Supremacy Violence Disease (WMSVD) controlling religion, government, education, media, military institutions, and income was threatened during the past election, and the WMSVDers fought back with a vengeance. The anger built since a black (actually biracial) man moved into the White House with his black wife and children. Hatred for him was commonly displayed in social media, emails, and tweets while the haters kept trying to convince the world that they could not possibly be racists.

Racism has permeated the country since its inception. Slaves were classified as three-fifths of a human in the U.S. Constitution, the persecution of Jim Crow started as soon as the Civil War was over, and Republicans developed the “Southern Strategy” in the late 1960s by appealing to racism in order to dominate the majority of the states in the Union. By the campaign of Donald Trump (DT), the white men’s terror that they were losing their superior entitlement guided the line of attack.

DT’s surrogates such as Rudy Guiliani and white supremacist Steve Bannon have compared his victory to that of Andrew Jackson, a wealthy slave owner nicknamed “Indian Killer”who  massacred thousands of Native Americans and killed more on a death march to clear their land for cotton plantations complete with slaves because, to Jackson, people of color weren’t human. He started the Seminole War and then fabricated “evidence” to get two British men executed in another violation of justice. Yet conservatives in the U.S. became furious when the Secretary of Treasury attempted to replace his image on the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman.

The so-called “neglected” white men who had to put up with a black man in the White House for eight years weren’t about to a woman lead the country. By 2016, 52 percent held a “very unfavorable” view of Hillary Clinton, 20 points higher than their “very unfavorable” view of President Obama in 2012 and 32 points higher than the percentage for this rating of the president in 2008. They delighted in DT calling for shouts of “lock her up” at the GOP convention and ensuing DT rallies–even the one this past week. Journalist Peter Beinart found these messages on merchandise at the convention:

  • Don’t be a pussy; vote for Trump in 2016.
  • Trump 2016: finally someone with balls.
  • Trump that bitch.
  • Hillary sucks but not like Monica.
  • Life’s a bitch: don’t vote for one.
  • KFC Hillary Special: 2 fat thighs, 2 small breasts, left wing.

And more with highly disgusting visuals.

Research reveals that the emasculation that most feared by men  is subordination to women, and women who need traditional gender roles are also afraid of male subordination. Both genders judge women more harshly than powerful men. Males are prized for being ambitious, but ambitious women engender “feelings of moral outrage” such as contempt, anger, and disgust.

Jennifer Berdahl of the University of British Columbia found that women who “deviated from traditional gender roles—by occupying a ‘man’s’ job or having a ‘masculine’ personality” were disproportionately targeted for sexual harassment. The same harassment occurs when women even propose that she might violate traditional gender roles. In southern cities, locations where more men maintain traditional gender perspectives, higher rates of male-on-female murder occur with greater economic equality between men and women.

In the United States, people who “completely agree” that society is becoming “too soft and feminine” were more than four times as likely to have a “very unfavorable” view of Clinton as those who “completely disagree.” And DT’s supporters believed that the U.S. isn’t “tough” enough.

Clinton is highly popular when she isn’t campaigning, when she’s actually in an office. And she was most popular when she played the traditional role of “First Lady” and then serving a male president as Secretary of State. As a president, however, she would have been one of the “illegitimate authorities.” People attacked her for trying, and she became increasingly defensive. Past experience taught her than admitting a mistake armed her enemies, and she became paranoid—probably because people really were out to get her.

People blamed President Obama for increasing racism in the country, but his position gave whites “the perceived moral license to express more critical attitudes about minorities,” according to a study. With Clinton no longer a threat, white men will know that they have again achieved a greater level of superiority.

For 50 years, Clinton worked to achieve her goal to help people by complying with traditional gender norms—changing her last name to match her husband, changing her hair, being more submissive, etc., etc. Yet the media and their readers still focused on her glasses, her pantsuits, her increasing weight, her voice, etc. She worked across the aisle and forgave the criticism, moving forward.

The “common scold” laws punishing only women during the colonial days of America for quarreling have quietly continued into the 21st century. It continues with describing women’s mannerisms as scolding, shrill, slutty, weak—including DT’s references to women as a pig or dog. Any woman who asserts herself—especially when running for president—is too loud or ambitious or brash.

White male entitlement was obvious during the NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum earlier this year. Facilitator Matt Lauer interrupted Clinton far more than DT, asked her more challenging questions, and questioned her answers more often. This behavior follows studies about interruptions in conversations and other negative treatment of women.

Democrats have spent the past three weeks trying to analyze the reasons that Clinton lost—racism, need for jobs, a weak Democratic presidential candidate, problems such as Clinton’s emails, accepting money for speeches from Wall Street, supporting trade deals and the Iraq War in the past, etc. Their primary objections, however, were to her personality, blaming her for being arrogant and not friendly enough. Trump was overwhelmingly arrogant, not friendly, and obnoxious. But he’s a white man.

White males now want to take over the Democratic party because they think women cannot win. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio tried to oust California’s Nancy Pelosi as House Dem leader because he thinks she has the “wrong message.” He wants to concentrate on jobs “because we’re not talking about the kind of things that are on people’s minds.” Ryan says that no one cares about the Zika virus, possibly the next health epidemic, and accuses Pelosi of not being able to talk with the “beer-drinking” union members.

As of today, Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote by 2.5 million despite the constant battering from Congress, the media, and members of her own party. She is the only presidential candidate to be openly opposed by the FBI–the weeks immediately before the election–and the Russian government. She ran against a candidate with no moral compass who lied 80 percent of the time and made promises that he knew he wouldn’t keep the other 20 percent. And she ran in the first presidential election since the Supreme Court wiped out laws to stop voter suppression.

Across the country, GOP-controlled states stopped low-income voters from exercising their freedom to vote: North Carolina would have been hers if the GOP governor had not stopped minority voters in 18 of 100 counties from early voting; Wisconsin would have gone for her if officials had not illegally kept low-income voters from getting IDs; Florida would have been a Clinton state if minorities had not been kept from the polls by intimidation; Texas might have been competitive if officials had not lied to low-income people about their eligibility to vote; etc. And Democrats could have taken over the House if not for the gerrymandering after the 2010 GOP takeover.

Scottie Hughes, Trump surrogate, claims that facts are “an idea of an opinion,” that “there’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts.” During his campaign, DT continually promised that he would keep Carrier in the United States when the Indiana-based air conditioning and heating systems maker threatened to take 1,400- jobs to Mexico. People voted for DT because of his promises, but he said this week that he didn’t remember saying that. He also promised that he wouldn’t pay off companies to stay. Yet Carrier gets $7 million from Indiana’s taxpayers to keep 1,000 jobs—how long no one knows—while Carrier sends another 1,000 to Mexico. Yet DT said that he didn’t really make this promise, that it was “a euphemism.” People voted for DT because he made this “euphemism.”

The United States is a culture of white male entitlement. Those who put up with Barack Obama in the White House decided that they wouldn’t let a female take over when President Obama left. And now the white males of the Democratic party are deciding to throw women under the bus in hopes that they can take back the country.

October 4, 2016

Pence May Be Worse Than Trump, Can’t Defend Him

Democratic Tim Kaine and GOP Mike Pence, vice-presidential candidates, just squared off in the only VP debate of 2016, and the GOP blogged that Pence won—hours before the debate began. The blog soon disappeared, but it does leave all their other opinions open to question. [Photograph: Andrew Gombert/AFP/Getty Images]

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Both candidates have been in Congress and both have been elected to governor, but their future—if they don’t get elected—may follow a different path. Kaine would go back to the Senate if Trump succeeds. Pence jumped at the offer to be Trump’s running mate because he was unlikely to be re-elected for another gubernatorial term in Indiana. If he isn’t elected, Pence would be looking for another job—perhaps back to the U.S. House of Representatives. Reports from closed door meetings showed that Pence may not get a warm greeting from representatives because of Trump’s attitude toward women.

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) said that his daughter had told him that “Trump hates women,” and Pence denied it, claiming that he was improving with women. In a private meeting with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Pence was pressed on his reluctance to denounce former KKK leader David Duke and the Alt-Right movement. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) rebuked Pence and called Russian president Vladimir V. Putin “a thug and a butcher,” referring to Trump’s acceptance of the dictator to be unacceptable.

Trump is well known for his sexist attitude toward women, but Pence has been in a position to make life much worse for women:

  • Pence repeatedly voted for a law to criminalize abortion with no exception for a woman’s health and puts doctors into prison for up to two years.
  • Pence repeatedly cosponsored legislation to not only make abortion illegal in almost all cases but also ban common forms of contraception, stem-cell research, and in vitro fertilization.
  • Pence repeatedly voted to allow hospitals to refuse to provide emergency abortion care, even when a woman’s life is in danger.
  • Pence signed a bill to force women to carry non-viable pregnancies to term.
  • Pence’s Department of Health gave a $3.5 million contract to a “pregnancy crisis center” that lies to pregnant women about their options.
  • Pence signed every anti-abortion bill, including one mandating funerals for aborted or miscarried fetuses. A judge overturned that law as unconstitutional.
  • Pence forced a Planned Parenthood clinic to close in Scott County which led to a huge outbreak of HIV.

In an argument supporting a state law against abortion, Pence claimed that women might get voluntarily raped hoping to get pregnant and avoid work:

“And it gets worse – when you get an abortion, you get several days off of work and whatnot to recover. And there are a lot of crazy people out there. What if women would go out and get raped on purpose just so they could get off work? I mean, Indiana’s economy is struggling as it is, and having thousands of women absent from their jobs would be horrific for the state, I’m telling you. I made the right call and that will be confirmed in the long run.”

Pence is also anti-worker:

  • Pence worked to keep Indiana a “right to work” state by forcing unions to provide grievance and bargaining services to non-members free of charge. Although two judges ruled the law unconstitutional, the state Supreme Court upheld Pence’s law.
  • Pence opposes increasing the minimum wage above $7.25 and signed a bill keeping local governments from raising this amount.
  • Pence signed a law repealing the state’s common construction wage, meaning that local boards cannot allocate wages for publicly-funded construction projects.
  • Pence also supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership because he thinks that his state would “enjoy increased market access and fairly compete on the world stage.” Unions—and Donald Trump—oppose TPP because it hurts manufacturing jobs.

Pence also opposes LGBT rights by signing a “right-to-discriminate” bill against LGBT people fighting the right of gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military. More Pence positions that make Trump proud.

The problem with running for an important office is that past peccadilloes sometimes come back to haunt a candidate. In 1990, Mike Pence, like Marco Rubio, used campaign funds to pay for personal items, in Pence’s case the mortgage on his house, his personal credit card bill, groceries, golf tournament fees, and car payments for his wife. Because it was not illegal, the FEC created rules preventing the use of campaign funds for personal needs. Pence lost his race for the House by 19 points. This fact needs to be pointed out when Pence falsely complains about Hillary Clinton’s expenditures.

Pence may get another black eye from his refusal to pardon an innocent man. A man convicted for an armed robbery served ten years before DNA indicated another man and eyewitnesses recanted their testimony. The new prosecutor in a retrial offered a plea deal for an immediate release, leaving the convicted man no choice but to admit to a crime he didn’t commit in other to keep his family from becoming homeless. Pence’s argument against pardoning the man is that no governor has ever pardoned an innocent man: he obviously knows the man is innocent and won’t pardon him. The prosecutor who got the plea agreement is running for Attorney General of Indiana as a Republican, and a pardon would hurt his campaign.

In the coming week, Pence may also suffer with everyone except far-right voters after his losing a court case. A panel of three conservative judges from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Pence cannot discriminate against Syrian refugees by withholding funding from refugee resettlement organizations promised aid by federal law. Judge Richard Posner, a Ronald Reagan appointee, said that Pence’s unfounded “fear of terrorist infiltration” is not a rationale for discrimination. He added that federal law forbids restricting settlement funding on the basis of national origin and compared it to forbidding black people to come to Indiana because Pence might be afraid of them. As an illustration of how conservative this panel was, another member of the unanimous panel, Diane Sykes, is on Trump’s short list for Supreme Court candidates.

People who watched tonight’s debate saw Kaine attacking Pence and frequently interrupting him. Pence stayed unflappable while making faces as Kaine delivered fact after fact of Trump’s egregious statements. The debate itself will probably be soon forgotten, but Kaine’s statements about Trump will most likely be frequently televised along with Pence’s facial expressions and his frequent shaking his head. For example, Pence claimed that he didn’t call Putin a “strong leader,” but video shows did exactly that. Kaine made points asking about Trump’s tax returns, his praise for Putin, his negative comments about women, and his refusal to apologize.

As Kaine pointed out, Pence couldn’t defend Trump—he could only pivot away from him most of the time. One of Pence’s mistakes was to accuse Hillary Clinton of taking money from the Clinton Foundation because Kaine took the opening to list the ways that Pence had abused the Trump Foundation. Another mistake was to blame Clinton for the Russian aggression in Ukraine because it led to the discussion of Trump’s support of Russia.

In one sense, tonight’s debate may be a prelude to the presidential campaign on October 9. Watch next Sunday for the complaint from Trump that Clinton has released an “avalanche of insults.”  If so, this accusation will come from the man who tweeted his own “avalanche of insults” tonight. Otherwise it was pretty much a non-event.

Bottom line: Confronted by Trump’s statements, Pence said that the candidate didn’t say things that he did, avoided the topic, or looked away.

September 15, 2016

Trump Loses with Blacks, Women

Donald Trump’s appearance at a black church in Flint (MI) yesterday drew a great deal of attention—but what’s new about that! The series of events:

  • After Trump gave Flint’s mayor Karen Weaver only one day notice that he planned to tour the closed water treatment plant because of the lead, she said it was not a good time because the city was still trying to deal with the problems. She was also out of town trying to get help from Congress after the total disaster that Michigan’s businessman turned governor had caused.
  • Trump went anyway, giving his usual “Hillary hate” trash talk in a black church.
  • The pastor of the church, Rev. Faith Green-Timmons, gently stopped him by saying, “Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done for Flint, not to give a political speech,”
  • Trump said, “Oh, oh, OK, OK, OK. That’s good. Then I’m going to go back onto Flint, OK.” The pastor also stopped the heckling from his audience who were bringing up specific examples of Trump’s racial discrimination in housing and employment. Green-Timmons said that Trump “is a guest in my church and you will respect him.”

trump-timmons

A video shows Green-Timmons’ graciousness and Trump’s obsequiousness. Yet Trump lied about the event on Fox and Friends this morning, describing Timmons as being a “nervous mess” and the audience as shouting “Let him speak, let him speak.” He also claimed that Timmons had planned to ambush him.

Yesterday the Senate voted 94-3 to end debate on a bill that includes $220 million in emergency assistance for communities such as Flint as well as $4.9 billion over five years to repair systems related to drinking water. They also voted 85-12 to waive a budget rule complicating the Flint funding that would take money from the Energy Department’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program.

The problem now is the House. It has been suggested that Trump would better spend his time by calling his “friend” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to ask for this bill to be passed in that chamber. At this time, the House waterways bill doesn’t have Flint funding.

Former Michigan epidemiologist Corinne Miller has pled guilty to not reporting to the public dozens of Legionnaires’ disease at the same time that Flint changed its water source, also the cause of the high lead content in the drinking water. The water may have caused at least 91 Legionnaires’ cases, including 12 deaths. The plea deal of no contest on Wednesday to a misdemeanor of willful neglect of duty led to dismissal of felony misconduct and conspiracy charges. Eight people have been charged in the water crisis.

The day before his appearance in Flint, Trump opened up another can of worms showing his sexism. With the help of his daughter Ivanka, the GOP presidential candidate tried to woo women voters with vague promises of “maternity leave” and funding for child care. After people recovered that surprise that a Republican would endorse this action, they learned that his suggestions are not as generous as he promised. His programs favor the rich and target “well-off white women,” according to journalist Joan Walsh.

Trump introduced his program by saying in a high-pitched tone that his daughter told him, “Daddy, Daddy, we have to do this.” Ivanka Trump is under the impression that child care is a brand new idea in the United States, indicating that she hasn’t done her homework. Universal child care existed in the nation from 1943 to 1946 but disappeared until Congress passed a bill in 1971 that GOP President Richard Nixon vetoed.

A 1990 law to help subsidize child care failed during the early 21st century when GOP George W. Bush reduced its funding. Even if Republicans are willing to support child care—unlikely because they think that this increases the “nanny state”—they are always unwilling to pay for it. Parental leave has also been an issue for over two decades—always quashed by the GOP.

In Trump’s plan, “maternity leave”(not parental leave) is only for six weeks, only for women, and only through already cash-strapped unemployment insurance, thereby helping women only in the states where legislatures opt in and providing much less than most women’s salaries. Trump’s plan also requires women to quit their jobs for the “maternity leave” because of unemployment insurance guidelines.

Although Trump uses the term “tax credit” when discussing his policy, the policy on his website indicates that it is a “tax deduction,” a far different proposal. Credit means that people will get the full amount back. Salaries of the working poor are so low that they don’t itemize deductions, leaving them with nothing whereas the wealthy can deduct expensive nannies and private day-care facilities and get 15 to 30 percent return. Trump’s plan would also give stay-at-home mothers credits even if they didn’t need child care to have jobs.

An irony of Trump’s speech is that his business provides neither maternity nor child care. Although Trump and his daughter claimed that he did provide the latter, it was only for wealthy Trump hotel guests. The claim that Hillary Clinton has never had either a “maternity leave” or child care policy and “never will” is also a lie. The only maternity leave provided for Trump employees is the federally-mandated 12-week unpaid leave. Yesterday in a discussion on public radio, Trump’s economic advisor Steven Moore stated that people shouldn’t have children if they can’t afford them.

In the past, Trump has found pregnant women and mothers of newborns “an inconvenience” and more. He said that pregnancy is “an inconvenience for business” because employers get only 84% of their working moms’ brains, according to Trump. He added that women “should” feel like they will be replaced if they do not return to work quickly even if they will not necessarily be replaced. Trump also called an attorney “disgusting” when she needed a break from a deposition to pump breast milk and that working women are bad for marriages. Confronted by Trump’s statements about women in an interview with Cosmopolitan, Ivanka Trump complained about “a lot of negativity in these questions” and cut the interview short.

In contrast to Trump’s proposals, Clinton’s plan provides a paid 12-week “family leave” for fathers and family members caring for a sick relative. The costs would be covered by higher taxes on the wealthy—such as Donald Trump and his family members. Other Clinton suggestions include a wide variety of child-care and preschool programs with costs capped for the middle class at ten percent of their salaries.

No plan can be carried out without congressional legislation. Yet Trump’s plan is regressive and sexist, perhaps because his look on life is regressive and sexist. This is his perspective on men rearing their children:

“I won’t do anything to take care of [my children]. I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids. It’s not like I’m gonna be walking the kids down Central Park.”

The term “maternity leave” not only goes beyond outmoded language, but also its limits to females hold back women, lowering their wages and reducing their hiring. These policies also discriminate against men in gay couples, other men who want to take an active part in rearing newborns, and adoptive individuals and couples.

Basically, Trump is losing white college-educated women who have voted Republican, and he wants them back.

Even with the undesirability of Trump’s plan, Republicans are criticizing Trump’s plan as “an enormous new entitlement that will blow the debt,” as conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote. He further complained about “the government stepping in and telling private industry what to do.”

Be careful of all those headlines and lead paragraphs that Trump has finally admitted that Barack Obama was born in the United States. He still refuses to say those words although his campaign leaders and surrogates are swearing that this is what he believes. Asked if his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is right when she says he has reversed his almost decade-long position that the president was born outside the U.S., Trump said, “It’s okay. She’s allowed to speak what she thinks. I want to focus on jobs. I want to focus on other things.” Before that, Trump had said, “I’ll answer that question at the right time. I just don’t want to answer it yet.”

Trump still hasn’t said that he believes President Obama meets the constitutional requirements to hold the office where he has been for almost two terms. I’m still waiting for Trump to answer the question.

[Update: Trump finally actually said the words! Late yesterday, he said, “President Obama was born in the United States, period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.” Trump is still falsely claiming that Hillary Clinton started the birther rumor that he pushed for the past eight years.]

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