Nel's New Day

October 30, 2022

A Prequel to Halloween 2022

Ah, the joys of living in the rural U.S.: yesterday Spectrum, controlling all our media, shut down just as I was posting the following. A few updates: Elon Musk, now controlling Twitter, thinks the attack is a “false flag.” On the Fox network, Jesse Waters said it wasn’t a problem because “a lot of people get hit by hammers.” Meanwhile, Musk is in Romania at the Bran Castle (aka Dracula’s Castle), associated with legendary ruler of Wallachia Vlad the Impaler, for a Halloween party. 

Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, has a new toy to compete with far-right Parler; he closed his $44 billion deal to purchase Twitter and immediately set out to destroy the company.

If you want to join Musk, do nothing. If, however, you are opposed to the increased hate speech and lies under the guise of “free speech,” here are some alternatives:

  • Reset your privacy settings: Directions.
  • Find other companies: Mastodon or the projected Bluesky, initially created in 2019, from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.
  • Read the news: Put a news aggregation app on your phone’s homepage, including local events. An RSS reader allows you to make your own list of outlets through apps like Feedly, Newsity, or Inoreader.
  • Sign up for newsletters: Many are on Substack, Medium, Patreon, and Ko-fi or other big social media sites such as Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
  • Forge personal relationships: WhatsApp, Signal, or Instagram.
  • Be part of a community: Facebook groups, subreddits, relevant Discord groups, or the app CounterSocial.
  • Get updates in an emergency: Agencies posting disasters on Facebook and pushing alerts to your phone. School or workplace alert systems and local alerts through state, city, or county agencies, many using Nixle.
  • Go to live audio: The audio chatroom app Clubhouse was the model for Twitter.
  • Enjoy nonstop scrolling: TikTok is the best Twitter replacement as are videos on Instagram Reels.
  • Stay safe: Be careful about giving new social networks or apps sensitive information such as your contacts, and check all privacy settings. Sign up with an alias email, strong password, and multi-factor authentication.
  • Staying with Twitter?: Protect your data, back up all your tweets and follow lists, delete sensitive DMs, delete old tweets, and lock down privacy and anti-harassment settings.

Called “Chief Twit,” Musk plans to take Twitter private so that he can transform the platform, including any content moderation policies and financial priorities, with less oversight from regulators and not disclosing performance updates.  The New York Stock Exchange has delisted Twitter shares. On the first full day, the company had been radically changed with expectations celebrated by the far-right and deplored by the left.

Musk has tweeted “Anyone suspended for minor & dubious reasons will be freed from Twitter jail.” Expect a different definition of these “reasons” because abuse has already increased. For example, the use of the n-word increased almost 50 percent in Musk’s first 12 hours. Musk supporters are enjoying the opportunity to tweet profane slurs, racial epithets, and racist, antisemitic, Islamophobic, homophobic, and transphobic hate speech.

Musk’s changes in a day:

  • Cutting key staff: Fired CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and chief legal counsel Vijaya Gadde, costing Twitter $187 million. Twitter’s general counsel Sean Edgett was also fired.
  • Laying off workers: Asked managers to “draw up lists of employees to cut,” up to 75 percent of the 7,500 workforce.
  • Lifting bans: Hasn’t given any names, but Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) will likely switch from his failing Truth Social to spew his hatred and lies on Twitter.
  • Setting up a council to determine decisions.

The New York Post has already fired an employee for posting false and racist content targeting politicians. The tweet and fake news stories called for assassination of President Joe Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Other false tweets claimed GOP gubernatorial Lee Zeldin making violent statements about his opponent Gov. Kathy Hochul and making racial slurs about New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Another false tweet reported Gov. Greg Abbott, running for re-election, intending to “order Border Patrol to start slaughtering illegals.”

General Motors has suspended advertising on Twitter

Atlantic’s Charlie Warzel has laid out Twitter’s future under Musk’s “leadership”:

  • Outside hackers and/or hostile foreign governments focus hacking efforts on Twitter causing catastrophic breaches, loss of personal information, or extended outages.
  • A stripped-down trust-and-safety team cannot cope with government subpoenas or complex law-enforcement requests.
  • The trust-and-safety team cannot block coordinated efforts from fraudsters orchestrating low-level scams and combat or monitor child-sexual-abuse material, sex-trafficking efforts, nonconsensual pornography, and copyright violations.
  • An inexperienced engineer is unable to maintain the site’s functionality with no one to restore it, but the people with expertise in that area of site reliability are not there to help restore it.

General Motors has suspended advertising on Twitter, andsome celebrities are leaving,

Musk claims Twitter will “help humanity, whom I love” and help secure the “future of civilization.”

Even without the extreme push for violence has resulted in threats against election officials, politicians, and their families. Last year, the U.S. Capitol police reported almost 10,000 threats against lawmakers, almost triple of five years ago. Fifteen percent of election officials have reported threatening contact , and 20 percent of election workers are quitting for the same purpose.

On October 28, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) husband, 82-year-old Paul Pelosi, was viciously attacked in their San Francisco home while the Speaker was in Washington, D.C. David DePape broke a window to get into the home in his search for the speaker.The police came in answer to the 911 call and found DePape striking him with a hammer. Depape had wandered throughout the house (maybe like the January 6 insurrectionists) and then tried to tie up his victim. He said he was “waiting for Nancy.” Pelosi underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture and arm injuries.

 DePage’s long rambling blogs exhibited rambling screeds against minorities, politicians, and women with terms such as “pedogate, “great reset,” “voter fraud,” and “da jewbs.”  Like a large number of Republican, DePape is obsessed with lies about a stolen election, trans people, and deadly COVID vaccines. 

Elsewhere, his views strayed in extreme misogyny. In one post DePape wrote, “Woman [sic] are very problematic and should probably be banned from society” and in another argued that, “Children should be take [sic] away from mothers given to fathers and the mothers should be forced to pay child support.” DePape’s strongly anti-Semitic, pro-DDT, and anti-Democrat included pieces from Kanye West and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Friends considered DePape “out of touch with reality” for his beliefs similar to those of at least half the Republican party members. 

President Joe Biden said:

“What makes us think one party can talk about stolen elections, Covid being a hoax, [that it’s] all a bunch of lies, and it not affect people who may not be so well balanced? What makes us think that it’s not going to alter the political climate?”

Internet sites and social media platforms are celebrating or being used as a jumping-off point for more conspiracy theories, including claiming it is a false flag, a lie to promote Democrats’ elections.  Politically weaponizing the attack: DDT’s camp led the GOP charge to politically weaponize the attack on Paul Pelosi. Harmeet Dhillon, DDT’s newest lawyer, tweeted she found it “odd” that he would be vulnerable to assault because of the Pelosis’ security. The House Speaker was in Washington during the attack on her husband in their San Francisco home, and the home had no security. DDT was silent about the attack.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was horrified, but other Republicans were glib about the attack. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin decried violence but said that “we’re going to send [Pelosi] back to be with [her husband] in California,”and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) complained about the lack of sympathy he received from a neighbor he had offended. 

While most far-right politicians stayed largely silent, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green blamed the assault on “rampant” crime and violence “in Joe Biden’s America.” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) tweeted back:

“YOU called for Nancy Pelosi to be executed, @RepMTG. YOU said she should be hung for treason. And now that someone listened, you’re making Paul Pelosi’s attack about YOU. This is what Republicans stand for, America. It’s sick.”

Fox network followed Greene’s theme when Matthew Gertz tweeted the “crime hits everybody” with the blame on Biden who didn’t “bring us together.” Fox spreads lies about crime statistics. Conservatives are convinced of the lie that crime is up in the U.S.—perhaps because it is in red states—but statistics disprove the lie that Fox continues to push. “Violent victimization” is down for the past decade, and property crimes had not significantly increased. The change in percentage is the perception of crime, thanks to GOP lies.

Republicans badly want to blame Democrats for any violence, for example the accusation that a break-in to Secretary of State Katie Hobb’s campaign office for governor. The arrest of the burglar proves that Hobbs’ opponent Kari Lake was wrong.

This last week, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) gave Fox network the Champion of Freedom award from the Senate GOP campaign committee. It resembles a kitchen colander to drain foods and was first given to DDT a few months after the January 6 insurrection for “protecting our Constitution.” Scott may not have noticed that the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), working on privacy in the digital age, handed out the first Champion of Freedom in 2004.

May 13, 2022

5th Circuit Denies 1st Amendment Rights, January 6 Investigation Broadens

With no explanation, two Fifth Circuit judges, one nominated by Ronald Reagan and the other by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), supported a new Texas law to control private business. The dissenting judge, appointed by George W. Bush, is considered a “liberal” compared to the rabidly right circuit court. Republicans retaliated against their misguided liberal bias perception of ”Big Tech” by forcing large social media companies to disseminate objectionable speech such as dangerous misinformation, foreign propaganda, and hateful expression and permitting anyone to file lawsuits combatting content moderation. These corporations have lost their First Amendment rights although H.B. 20 sponsors claim the legislation is vital to keep “West Coast oligarchs” from silencing “conservative viewpoints and ideas.”

The GOP permitted “smaller” conservative platforms such as Parler and Gab to keep their First Amendment rights, but large companies are even blocked from posting warnings on their own websites for subjects with violence, vulgarity, disinformation, etc. Targeted companies must also submit a great deal of information to the state about algorithms, curation, and account suspension. Twice each year they must also provide a “transparency report” with every “action” taken against “content.” Anytime a company “removes content,” it must present a complex process of notice and appeal. Another provision prevents companies from blocking spam on emails, allowing users to daily collect $25,000 for impeding “the transmission of an unsolicited or commercial electronic mail message.”

YouTube will be forced to accept neo-Nazi and KKK videos promoting racism; Twitter will have to accept ISIS fighters’ terrorist advocacy; and Facebook must allow Russian propaganda about Ukraine. Only illegal incitement and “unlawful” speech can be suppressed, a very small percentage of hateful or violent expression because even intimidation and promotion of illegal conduct are allowed under the First Amendment.

Currently, large platforms use automated editorial tools to remove billions of posts and comments every year. They lack resources to review and resolve each appeal, especially within the 14-day limit. Companies can stop monitoring content, but all complaints of “illegal content” must be assessed within 48 hours. And the law prevents social media companies from providing services in Texas.

The ruling is completely against the First Amendment rights guaranteed to social media companies, according to the Supreme Court, especially Citizens United which gave rights to almost unlimited political donations because of free speech. “Editorial control and judgment” is speech shielded by the Constitution even if it discriminates against a specific group. While on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Justice Brett Kavanaugh ruled that the government cannot “tell Twitter or YouTube what videos to post” or “tell Facebook or Google what content to favor.” Also, a government cannot force corporations to disclose information in an “unjustified or unduly burdensome” manner.

Last December, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman blocked the Texas law because social media platforms are not “common carriers” like telephone companies and postal services that “merely facilitate the transmission of speech of others.” Common carriers have far greater regulation because they don’t engage in expression and may hold monopoly power. Those carriers, however, don’t exercise editorial control. Pitman followed U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle’s ruling in Florida on a similar law. Hinkle also ruled that penalizing content moderation violates Section 230, the federal law limiting platforms’ liability over their content.

Judge Edith Jones declared that the plaintiffs, websites, “are not websites.” Although appointed 37 years ago, she’s only 73 and should know better—especially if she’s going to rule on the subject. Judge Andrew Oldham worried that overturning H.B. 20 “would allow phone companies to kick off users.” He formerly clerked for Samuel Alito.

One choice for the tech companies is leaving Texas–except the law prevents them from doing that.

The new Texas ruling immediately lifted an injunction against the law without ruling on its merits, meaning that it can go into effect until future action. Plaintiffs NetChoice and CCIA filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court and asked for amicus briefs. They argue that H.B. 20 is unconstitutional, compelling private businesses to carry speech they would otherwise remove. Chris Marchese, counsel for NetChoice, said:

“The First Amendment prohibits Texas from forcing online platforms to host and promote foreign propaganda, pornography, pro-Nazi speech, and spam. Left standing, Texas HB 20 will turn the First Amendment on its head—to violate free speech, the government need only claim to be ‘protecting’ it.”

Marchese added:

“Texas HB 20 strips private online businesses of their speech rights, forbids them from making constitutionally protected editorial decisions, and forces them to publish and promote objectionable content.”

The request is for the Supreme Court to reinstate the injunction on the law while appeals work through the full Fifth Circuit. Without that happening tech giants such as Meta, YouTube, and Twitter will suffer “irreparable harm.” Justice Clarence Thomas has already said that telephone companies are just like “digital platforms” because they both operate on physical wires. He and the two judges ruling against the tech companies ignore the fact that telephone calls are private; social media messages are designed to be communicated to the world.

The last time the Supreme Court was asked to reinstate an injunction, its “shadow docket” refused to do so, leaving the egregious anti-choice law in place while it is adjudicated. Justice Samuel Alito, liaison to the Fifth Circuit court, is responsible for deciding whether to unilaterally rule or refer the case to the full court.

The Texas case could now be decided on the court’s shadow docket, through which it issues orders without hearing arguments. The decision of whether to take up the case in this way is now up to Justice Samuel Alito, who is assigned to the Fifth Circuit. He will decide whether to rule unilaterally or refer the case to the full court. If the court does take up the case, the decision could come within days.

Did I mention that the law mandates all the social media companies continue to do business in Texas?

The House investigation committee into January 6 insurrection and overturning the election keeps chugging along, and emails from John Eastman, a pet DDT lawyer, reveals more of the corruption. He urged Pennsylvania GOP legislators to recount the state’s vote and trash tens of thousands of absentee ballots to show DDT won. By doing this, legislators would have “some cover” in replacing Biden’s electors with those supporting DDT and overturn the election results. According to his suggestion, GOP legislators could just express a concern with the state’s absentee ballot procedures and use historical data to “discount each candidates’ totals by a prorated amount based on the absentee percentage those candidates otherwise received.” That leaves them “with a significant lead that would bolster the argument for the Legislature adopting a slate of Trump electors — perfectly within your authority to do anyway, but now bolstered by the untainted popular vote.” Joe Biden won Pennsylvania by over 80,000 votes.

The committee obtained Eastman’s emails from the University of Colorado where he was a visiting professor. On December 4, 2020, Eastman wrote Pennsylvania state Rep. Russ Diamond to change the language of his proposed resolution, hiding Eastman’s participation, and explained how to do. Later Eastman said that then-VP Mike Pence could merely refuse to count Biden’s electors on January 6, 2021. The House committee has been in court a number of times trying to get Eastman’s emails sent through another previous employer, Chapman University. 

The House investigative committee has subpoenaed five GOP members: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA), Jim Jordan (OH), Mo Brooks (AL), Andy Biggs (AZ), and Scott Perry (PA). Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said that they learned that these colleagues have relevant information on the January 6 attack “and the events leading up to it.” McCarthy had pulled all his nominations for the committee after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected Jordan.

The DOJ has opened a grand jury investigation into the classified documents that DDT took to Mar-a-Lago when he moved out of the White House and subpoenaed the documents from the National Archives.

In Georgia, fake GOP electors are cooperating with the criminal probe as prosecutors investigate DDT’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Fulton County DA Fani Willis is attempting to determine their connection with a broader, illegal plot to pressure election officials and overturn Biden’s win of over 11,000 votes. DDT has made his loss the basis for GOP primaries there, especially for governor and state secretary of state, and the incumbents running in the election, Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger wouldn’t give in to his begging.

After Vernon Jones, DDT’s endorsement for Georgia’s governor, quit, DDT moved to supporting David Perdue who lost his senate seat last year to Democrat Jon Ossoff. Perdue lost support of law enforcement when he denigrated the state troopers in an awkward attempt to blame Kemp, and DDT is growing disillusioned because Perdue came out 16 points below Kemp in the most recent poll. Thursday a judge dismissed Perdue’s lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results, because his evidence didn’t go beyond “speculation, conjecture, and paranoia.”

In a defiant action, DDT’s former VP, Mike Pence, will hold a rally with Kemp on May 23, the night before Georgia’s primary, with Kemp. Pence called his candidate, who refuses to support the lie of election fraud in a “stolen” election, “one of the most successful conservative governors in America.” Headed toward a presidential run, Pence also criticized DDT for admiring Russian President Vladimir Putin.

February 27, 2022

CPAC, DDT Make GOP Look Worse

Two groups of ultra-conservatives are holding conferences in Orlando (FL) this weekend, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and the America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC).

The first one largely avoided any discussion of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, indiscriminately bombing both military and civilian sites. CPAC’s honored leader Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), like former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, made adulatory words about Putin such as “genius” and “smart.” Since Russia’s murders in the past few days, some Republicans have become less secure about these seditionist approaches. Pompeo and DDT have slightly drawn back on some of their worship of Russia’s leader although DDT still called Putin “smart” in his CPAC speech. Even Fox host Tucker Carlson, who spent the past anti-Ukraine pro-Russia months has drawn back—for the time being. The shift has moved to damning President Joe Biden by saying that Russia was no problem while DDT was in the White House, going so far as to falsely claim that DDT controlled Putin. Their revisionist history leaves out all DDT’s pandering to Russia no matter what Putin wanted.

Even China, the U.S. enemy according to far-right Republicans, was praised. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-SC), in danger of losing his ability to run for re-election because of participation in the January 6 insurrection, cheered on China’s move to instill “great patriotic and masculine values” in its youth through social media.

Attendees at AFPAC, eight miles away, were even farther right with the main attractions of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) appearing on video. Talking about the comparison between Putin and Adolf Hitler, organizer Nick Fuentes said, “They say it’s not a good thing.” Holocaust denier Fuentes had led his white supremacist “Groypers” to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. At one point, the AFPAC crowd cheered, “Putin, Putin, Putin.”

Among all the MAGA items for sale at CPAC is a five-volume set of every tweet DDT made before Twitter banned him after January 6 at a cost of $35 a book. People may need it because they may be the last tweets he makes: DDT’s new platform, “Truth Social,” continues to have serious problems.

After a number of delays, DDT’s copy of Twitter that rolled out on February 21 suffers serious problems from signup error messages, download issues, and a lamentable design and functionality, down for 13 hours. It has only an iPhone app, nothing for Android. Wishful users could not use the platform or create accounts. Signing up requires agreement with the Terms of Service, but the link says it doesn’t exist. A “help” page” misspells the sites own name. Before the app went live, trolls hacked it to create fake accounts for both DDT and former VP Mike Pence.

Now the kickoff deadline is set for the end of March, but the site may be sued by the British green energy business Trailar because the DDT’s logo bears a great similarity to that of Trailer. (Hint: Trailar’s logo is on the left.)  

DDT can’t even get the name on Twitter: another company created @TruthSocial on Twitter in 2010 and posted one tweet that year—none since then. The owners of @TruthSocial also control the truthsocial.com domain name. CEO Devin Nunes picked the Twitter name @TruthSocials.

Suspended for incitement of violence from Twitter after January 6, DDT originally claimed he would “completely redefine the game,” according to former aide Jason Miller, a new “communications platform” stated Fox network, powered by a “digital ecosystem.” DDT’s first attempt disappeared from disinterest. The next attempt came from the newly created Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), led by former Rep. Nunes (R-CA), who knows nothing about technology except to sue people for tweets he didn’t like. While in Congress, Nunes was known for frequently running to the White House as the master leader of his committee classified information.

Other parts of DDT’s new social platform bore strong similarities to other social media. Tweets are “truth,” and retweets are ”retruths”; Truth Social uses almost the same format as Twitter. DDT said Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act should be “completely terminated” because of its protection of tech companies from being sued for posts, but he benefits from those protections. Nunes claims that DDT’s social media will be “family friendly”; toward that end he hired Hive to auto-moderate “hate speech, spam, pornography, and bullying.” Facebook and Twitter use the same technology

Despite DDT’s criticism of social networks’ “wildly aggressive censorship,” his own site bans people from trying to “trick” or “mislead” other users, violating anyone’s “privacy or publicity rights,” or posting messages that “depict violence” or include messages related to “sexual fetishes,” “sugar babies” or “sexually suggestive” phrases. People are also forbidden from posting anything “false,” “indecent,” “misleading,” “profane,” “obscene,” “filthy” or “otherwise objectionable.” DDT’s company blocks anyone from attempting to “disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site.” Already banned is a parody targeting Nunes. This banned “hate speech” not only “disaparage[s]” Trump media but also “annoys” DDT himself. Also banned are “excessive use of capital letters,” a favorite habit of DDT. Thanks to Section 230, DDT can host anti-vaxxers.

DDT’s speech may be “free,” but the use isn’t. Registration requires full name, email address, and mobile phone number with the caveat that the person can “click here” if they choose to donate online without providing a phone number. The link goes to the page for a mandatory donation for reserving a user name, preferably $35.

Nunes said the site is being built “from scratch” for protection, but the code is heavily based on the open-source software Mastodon, which provides free, prebuilt social-networking sites that users can then edit and customize. Truth Social is also based on code from eight other outside development teams to handle text, images, security and other data, according to its own documentation.

Truth Social faces massive competition from mainstream social media platforms. At least seven other social networks promise no censorship—unlike Truth Social—among them Gab, Gettr, MeWe, CloutHub, and Parler, used by Melania Trump as “Her Social Media Home.” Copycat sites have already come out such as “social app for truth” charging $4.99 a month. TMTGSocial, a pro-DDT site registered after DDT’s announcement of his platform, has hundreds of users. This fake site uses WoWonder costing $125 for anyone to build their own social network. These sites actually work.

Germany has another app that works on Android, confusing anyone wishing to test Truth Social on that version. Called “MAGA Hug—Truth Social Trump,” it was at the top of searches last Tuesday for “Truth Social” on the Play Store. It costs $28.99 for a photo-based feed and automatically subscription to a global chat group.  It also has other apps, including “LGBT Hub” and a game incorporating three popular video gams. According to reviews, some users think that this social media is DDT’s platform.

Reuter reported that Truth Social’s holding company is a New York business merged with a shell company Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC) which will get $293 million in cash from a DWAC trust. Private investors gave TMTG another $1 billion in December, 2021.

The launch delay brought down stocks prices by 15 percent on the first day. The stock value is slowly creeping up but not back to pre-launch level. Nunes gave “beta testing as his excuse.

As important to DDT in having his own Twitteresque account is collecting money, but the U.S. Securities and Exchange Committee is investigating the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) behind Trump’s company. DDT’s SPAC has the backing of a questionable Chinese firm, and the SEC could slow DDT’s deal. If SEC allows the deal to continue and stock drops to zero, investors will be hurt.

Praise of Putin, GOP condemnation of the U.S., and DDT’s ongoing failure to even launch a social media network with billions of dollars have made Republicans look even worse last week.

September 11, 2021

Biden Clashes with Conservatives about Protecting People

Millions of people in the U.S. oppose the COVID vaccination because of the disinformation from far-right conservatives, and millions more refuse vaccinations because they think they are sabotaging President Joe Biden. Continuing COVID could wipe out Biden’s economic progress and make him more unpopular. The GOP problem is not that the vaccine won’t work; it’s that it will work.  

According to a new report, unvaccinated people are over ten times more likely to be hospitalized of COVID and 11 times more likely to die of the disease than fully vacinated people. Children comprise almost one-fourth of new cases, largely mild but leaving 15 percent of them with “long-haul” symptoms of fatigue, “brain fog,” pain, depression, and more for weeks and even months. COVID has killed over 675,000 people in the U.S. with about 1,500 average daily deaths for the past eight days—over 2,000 deaths in the U.S. The Delta variant accounts for over 99 percent of new infections. The Moderna vaccine is more effective in preventing hospitalizations than those from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson although all three are collectively 86 percent effective in preventing hospitalization. 

On Thursday, President Joe Biden ordered vaccination mandates on all federal workers, workers at companies with over 100 employees, and 17 million health care workers at facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding—hospitals, home care facilities, and dialysis centers. People can avoid vaccinations by weekly testing, just as the Fox network does. About the 80 million people fueling the virus by not getting vaccinated, Biden said:

“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us. While America is in much better shape than it was seven months ago when I took office, I need to tell you a second fact: We’re in a tough stretch and it could last for awhile.”

Ignoring history, Republicans created a hue and cry about how Biden’s mandate for private businesses is illegal and unconstitutional. On her September 9, 2021 MSNBC show, Rachel Maddow said:

“Why does your car have a seat belt? Maybe the company that made your car, that private entity, didn’t want to put in seat belts. But nevertheless, your car has a seat belt. Why is that? Why is the ground beef you bought for dinner tonight government inspected? Meat producers do, in the private sector, have every incentive to only produce meat that people like and doesn’t make anybody sick, right? We don’t need the government sticking its nose in and telling you that’s actually cow you’re eating and not roadkill. Why is there government inspection of that privately produced product?”

Despite opposition from conservatives, President Lyndon Johnson not only created Medicare but also used it to desegregate 2,000 whites-only hospitals in the South.  used Medicare “to desegregate 2,000 whites-only hospitals in the South overnight.” Biden can give federal contractors orders about vaccinations just as he ordered them to pay $15 minimum wages. GOP President Richard Nixon signed the OSHA law, mandating safety in private companies.

People who concealed the pandemic realities, such as former VP Mike Pence, still want to increase deaths and hospitalizations from COVID by objecting to mandatory vaccinations, a mark of any Republican running for president in 2024. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott demanded “Texans’ right to choose,” but he was talking about vaccinations—not women’s health care. Like other GOP governors aiming for the White House such as Ron DeSantis (Florida) and Kristi Noem (South Dakota), Abbott believes his anti-vaccine approach will get him the 2024 presidential vote. A poll of five swing states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—indicates strong support for vaccination mandates, some of them over two-thirds of the respondents in favor of Biden’s order.

A month before Biden’s order, a governor told his state to get vaccinated. “A bunch of people will die,” he said. “We could have stopped this.” That Republican governor is Jim Justice of West Virginia, where Sen. Joe Manchin is accepting large donations from the fossil fuel industry and blocking help for his people from the infrastructure bill. This week Justice said:

“For God’s sakes a livin’, how difficult is this to understand? Why in the world do we have to come up with these crazy ideas—and they’re crazy ideas—that the vaccine’s got something in it and it’s tracing people wherever they go? And the same very people that are saying that are carrying their cellphones around. I mean, come on. Come on.”

Of the 13,800 public schools and 34,600 private schools in the U.S., problems are evident in at least Mississippi, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee, states with skyrocketing cases and quarantines, search for alternatives to in-person instruction, and school closings regularly noted in the media. During the first month of school, Mississippi has 18,825 children with COVID and another 15,000+ in quarantine. The state has one of the worst vaccination rates in the nation, only 46 percent of people 12 and older.

Wyoming, with a population under 600,000, had 7,358 students and 60 staff testing positive at the end of the first week of school compared to slightly larger Vermont, using public health advice, having only 81 cases in its schools. Vermont has at least 77 percent of its population with at least one dose compared to 30 points less in Wyoming with 47 percent receiving one dose. Almost three times as many youth under age 18 have been vaccinated in Vermont as in Wyoming. Both states have Republican governors.

The courts have gone back and forth about DeSantis ban on mandating masks in school. Two judges appointed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in the 1st Circuit Court overturned a lower judge who reversed his own earlier decision Wednesday. That judge’s newest order was to block DeSantis from banning mask mandates in public schools. After a massive number of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths in Florida, including among children, the lower judge pointed out that children are at risk and said, “We are not in normal times. We are in a pandemic.” DDT’s judges allow the pandemic to rage throughout schools. The Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Education Department is investigating Florida’s possible violation of rights for students with disabilities at greater risk of severe illness because of DeSantis’ ban. The federal government also has probes in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.

The first major school district to issue vaccination mandates, the Los Angeles public schools, ordered all students 12 and older to be fully vaccinated by January in order to enter school campuses. About 80,000 of the district’s 225,000 students in the nation’s second largest district are not yet vaccinated. New York City has ordered its school athletes in high-contact sports to being vaccination before competition. Like Chicago, it also mandates vaccinations for employees.

In another Biden administration decision, the Department of Justice is suing Texas, stating that the state use of vigilantes enforcing the six weeks limit on pregnancy terminations was enacted “in open defiance of the Constitution.” The lawsuit asks a federal judge to declare the law invalid because it violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution putting federal law ahead of state laws. According to the lawsuit, “it is settled constitutional law that ‘a State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability.’” The DOJ seeks an immediate injunction to block the enforcement of the Texas law.  

Another Texas law controls large private social media platforms by mandating they must publish any “political viewpoints,” no matter how false or dangerous. The QAnon obsession with sex-trafficking may have led to an ex-Marine killing four members of a Florida family and seriously wounding another, people he didn’t know, because “God” told him they were sex-traffickers who had kidnapped a girl named Amber.   

Thursday, a federal judge temporarily blocked DeSantis and three Florida sheriffs from enforcing the GOP so-called “anti-riot law” as defined in the new statute because it “encourages arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.” The law enhanced criminal penalties for protests turning violent, even if the person wasn’t being violent, and classified a “riot” as three or more people. The judge stated DeSantis couldn’t “credibly” argue that the definition of a riot was not intended to empower law enforcement officers against anyone who criticized their legal authority. The law’s “vagueness permits those in power to weaponize its enforcement against any group who wishes to express any message that the government disapproves of,” according to the judge. He added about “Floridians who welcome the chilling effect … on the plaintiffs …, next time it could be their ox being gored.”

GOP lawmakers may oppose mandatory vaccinations, but polling from the conservative Gallup poll shows they disagree with the majority of people in the U.S. who support these mandates:

  • 61 percent: flying on airplanes
  • 56 percent: going to work
  • 53 percent: staying in a hotel; dining in a restaurant
  • 58 percent: attending event with large crowds

Of those who oppose vaccinations, 75 percent to 80 percent are unvaccinated, and 71 percent to 79 percent are Republicans.

 

June 1, 2021

QAnon Believes in DDT’s Return, Scandals Continue

Michael Flynn, the national security advisor who DDT fired less than a month after his inauguration, told a QAnon conspiracy conference last weekend he wanted a Myanmar-style coup in the United States to put Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) back into the White House. On video, Flynn stated the coup “should happen here” but later claimed, “I do not and have not at any time called for any action of that sort.” The military coup against the government already killed 800 people. Flynn was convicted after confessing to lying to the FBI, destroying any personal credibility.

Flynn’s false claim is comparable to Washington, D.C. police who stated they didn’t use tear gas to clear peaceful protesters so DDT could walk to the church for his infamous photo-op last June. The police attorney now admits the police used tear gas but described the use as “not unreasonable.”

DDT is telling close associates he will be reinstated in the White House by the end of summer, according to New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman. Sidney Powell, a former lawyer who tried to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential election in court, also told the QAnon group that DDT will triumphantly return. She said, “A new inauguration date is set, and Biden is told to move out of the White House.” Powell is being sued for $1.3 billion for her lies about Dominion voting machines and software. Smartmatic is also asking for $2.7 billion in damages for their defamation suit against Powell. Her legal defense argues that “no reasonable person would conclude that the statements [by Powell about the 2020 election] were truly statements of fact.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is another one of the liars at the QAnon conspiracy conference. About DDT’s supporters attacking the U.S. Capitol, Gohmert criticized an independent review of the insurrection and pushed the myth that “it wasn’t just right-wing extremists” rioting despite federal officials saying that left-wing activists weren’t present. Gohmert also said the event trying to overturn a presidential election wasn’t any big deal, that foreign attacks were much worse. Despite Gohmert appearing in a video, one of his staff members said he didn’t go to the conference. Later, Gohmert told a CBS journalist he doesn’t “know who or what QAnon is.” Earlier this year, Gohmert said in an interview that if the 2020 election isn’t overturned, “it will mean the end of our republic, the end of the experiment in self-government.” After his speech, Gohmert posed with known QAnon conspiracy theorist and podcaster RedPill78, who openly admitted to storming the Capitol building on January 6.  

The typical call to execute Hillary Clinton came from Roger Stone’s social media advisor Jason Sullivan. DDT pardoned Stone after his conviction. Sullivan claimed “80 million followers” for QAnon, but a survey found about 30 million.

DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani was “very useful to me,” according to Andriy Derkach, the Ukrainian politician and businessman described in the Biden and DDT administration as an “active Russian agent.” Derkach fed Giuliani false information on Biden and his son Hunter Biden, leaked tapes to damage Biden’s presidential campaign, and passed along the conspiracy theory to Giuliani and others that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2020 election to get DDT elected.  

A judge approved the DOJ request to appoint an independent supervisor to review materials obtained from Giuliani’s home with a search warrant last month. The ruling also rejected Giuliani’s challenge to the legality of the recent search warrant and the one two years ago as part of his business dealings with Ukraine.

Sen. Joe Manchin (R-WV), surprised about the filibuster requiring 60 out of 100 votes to permit bills to the Senate floor, is “disappointed” because the Republicans he supports have blocked bipartisan legislation to examine the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.  The filibuster requires 60 votes even if senators don’t show up. Only 54 members voted in favor of a commission with 35 votes against it: 39 percent defeated 64 percent. Only in the Senate is the number 35 larger than the number 54. Not present for the vote were nine Republicans and two Democrats, Patty Murray (WA) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ). Manchin said “putting politics and political elections above the health of our Democracy is unconscionable,” but he and Sinema are responsible for keeping the filibuster and blocking democracy. 

Six GOP senators voted to forward the January 6 commission bill for debate: Bill Cassidy (LA), Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Rob Portman (OH), Mitt Romney (UT), and Ben Sasse (NE). Most Republicans oppose the commission for fear its revelations will hurt their election chances in 2022.

Possible paths for a congressional investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol:

The Senate can try again. After all, the 9/11 independent investigative commission wasn’t formalized for 14 months. House Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, “I reserve the right to force the Senate to vote on the bill again at the appropriate time.”

House Democrats have started their own probe of the insurrection with a coalition of seven committees; documents requests have been sent to 16 agencies in the federal government.

Democrats could also create a select House committee without GOP support and undertake steps for accountability as Republicans with Benghazi. The GOP followed six separate GOP congressional investigations with a select committee, all failing to find evidence for the GOP far-right conspiracy theories against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. A select committee, needing only a House majority, has subpoena power, a dedicated staff, and no firm deadline.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), under investigation for a number of criminal offences including sex-trafficking, explained the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

“The Second Amendment is about maintaining, within the citizenry, the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government, if that becomes necessary.”

Gaetz was speaking specifically about his willingness to silence Big Tech, but his listeners will likely use his words to kill anyone.

DDT’s appointments from before Biden’s administration are still haunting the country. An example is retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, who pushed conspiracy theories about George Soros, talked about Europe welcoming “Muslim invaders,” and encouraged deadly force against undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Before leaving the White House, DDT put Macgregor on a West Point advisory board where he announced Biden’s bringing in non-White immigrants in a “grand plan” for them to outnumber White people of European ancestry in the U.S. He also attacked women’s military service in combat. Cleaning house will take Biden a long time.

Rational people aren’t surprised about revelations of corruption in DDT’s administration such as this one. According to EPA scientists, their officials reapproved Monsanto’s pesticide by revising scientific analyses with no evidence. Officials gave scientists an outline for its impact analysis document that removed vital parts of the original. The Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention told scientists to use Monsanto data for reported dicamba damages instead of EPA science data. The senior management decision to use plant height instead of plant injury to measure dicamba’s effects changed scientific conclusions. Other concerns were “numerous inaccuracies” and using studies for controlling weeds on cotton and soybeans genetically engineered to tolerate it instead of crops not engineered to tolerate it which were impacted by its usage. In 2020, dicamba was approved for five years although a study in the International Journal of Epidemiology links dicamba use to cancers. An article for The Hill avoided any mention of Monsanto, but dicamba is a Monsanto product.

When DDT stopped the requirement of payroll taxes to boost the economy during the pandemic, people thought the taxes would be forgiven. The day of reckoning, however, has arrived, and federal employees making under $4,000 per biweekly paycheck owe thousands of dollars because DDT made the delay mandatory. A letter demands payment in full within 30 days before the debt is forwarded to the Treasury offset program for collection. One recipient is incensed about her debt of $1,300. Private sector employers largely refused the payroll tax delay for fear that workers couldn’t pay back the money.

DDT’s lease on his Washington, D.C. hotel in the Old Post Office Pavilion is once again for sale. The first time was in Fall 2019 when the hotel was typically half empty. Property revenue fell by 62 percent last year, and Cyrus Vance’s investigation of DDT’s business affairs may include this hotel. DDT supposedly put $200 million into renovations with a $170 million loan from Deutsche Bank; in 2019, he wanted $500 million for the lease and property.

Update: Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill charging social media platforms $250,000 a day after they ban a politician for longer than 14 days, and NetChoice and the Computer and Community Industry Association are suing him and other state officials. The suit declares First Amendment rights of private online businesses. DeSantis’ battle was always about the culture war.

May 25, 2021

DDT, GOP in Trouble; Arizona Continues Corruption

President Joe Biden’s approval rating has increased to 62 percent, compared to the 45 percent Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) received in May 2017. Most of his ratings—economy, stimulating jobs, administering the government, etc.—are above 60 percent, and his worst rating, the one for handling immigration, is still at 53 percent. Approval of the Democratic Party went up to 55 percent while the approval of the GOP is still below 50 percent at 49 percent. Highly conservative Rasmussen Reports, one of the few polls to give DDT higher than a 50-percent approval rating, infuriated Republicans by finding Biden at 54 percent approval.

A grand jury has been convened to determine whether to indict DDT if Manhattan’s prosecutors present criminal charges in the investigation against the Trump Organization. The jury could also indict the business’s executives and the business itself. The jury will be in session three days a week for six months and may hear information beyond the Trump Organization probe. A major issue is whether DDT lied to lenders and insurance companies about his properties’ values to obtain larger loans and pay lower taxes. The investigation includes Trump Tower, the family estate Seven Springs, DDT’s Chicago hotel, and condo tower, and the hush money paid to shut up Stormy Daniels about her alleged affair with DDT. DDT is again whining, “Witch Hunt!”

Although the DOJ has released part of a memo from former AG Bill Barr, the department is appealing the order to disclose the entire memo. Barr used the 2019 memo from his Office of Legal Counsel to not make charges against DDT based on special investigator Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to DDT’s campaign. Part of the concealed memo provides factual and legal analyses of some incidents of possible obstruction. The judge earlier called Barr “disingenuous” in using the document to conclude DDT had not broken the law. She concluded that Barr used the memo “for a preemptive strike on the Mueller report.” The memo also stated the DOJ should decide whether DDT broke the law. The judge concluded the department’s intent was to legally justify a decision already made by DOJ leaders—to not accuse DDT of a crime.

Even out of office, DDT still claims he’s above the law (aka absolute immunity from civil lawsuits) in a lawsuit filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell of violating federal civil rights and local incitement laws. Donald Trump Jr, Rudolph Giuliani, and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) are also defendants in the case, all of them for speaking at the rally near the White House on January 6 before the insurrectionists moved on to attack the U.S. Capitol. DDT’s defense is that he cannot be sued after being acquitted in an impeachment for the same conduct. DDT’s lawyer declared DDT is protected under the First Amendment. The lawyer stated about the presidency:

“While holding that office, former President Trump was free to advocate for the appointment and certification of electors, just as he was entitled to advocate for the passage or defeat of a constitutional amendment, or the reconsideration of a congressional act over his veto even though the President does not directly participate in those congressional acts.”

The U.S. Constitution declares a president can be subject to criminal or civil actions after leaving office. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) has been joined by ten other congressional members and the NAACP in filing a similar lawsuit based on the Civil Rights Act of 1871, known as the Ku Klux Klan. It permits lawsuits against government officials for claims about conspiring to violate civil rights. That suit alleges DDT and Giuliani conspired with the extremist groups Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.

Gordon Sondland, DDT’s former ambassador to the EU who testified against him during the first impeachment, is suing him and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for $1.8 legal fees, costs from the 2019 impeachment probe. Sondland alleges Pompeo reneged on the State Department covering the fees. Top Pompeo aides supported Sondland’s claim, but Pompeo changed his mind about paying after Sondland’s testimony about the “quid pro quo” that didn’t support DDT. The lawsuit demands payment from the government or from Pompeo personally, claiming the promise was made for Pompeo’s “own political survival.” Sondland also explained high bills by DDT’s restriction of “access to materials essential to his preparation.” DDT fired Sondland two days after his impeachment acquittal.

After fighting a subpoena for years, former White House Counsel Don McGahn will testify to the House Judiciary Committee behind closed doors after the DOJ made a deal for his testimony about DDT’s obstruction attempt against Mueller’s Russian investigation. The committee will release the interview transcript. Members can ask him about events documented in the report about attempts to fire Mueller and block the Russia investigation as well as about the Mueller investigation’s accuracy. McGahn can decline answering questions on other topics.

DDT’s pet Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) went too far with her comparison of required mask wearing to gassing Jews during the Holocaust. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), silent for days, called the statement “appalling,” and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) bravely said he “does not agree with these comments and condemns these comparisons.” McCarthy continued by blaming for anti-Semitism “on the rise in the Democrat [sic] Party” being “completely ignored” by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”

Two years ago, Jewish groups considered comments about Israel from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) as anti-Semitic. Pelosi forcefully demanded an immediate apology, and Omar said she didn’t mean to promote negative stereotypes of Jews with her comments on Israel. Another objection may be protests from some House members about Israeli’s killing Palestinians, driving them out of the homes, destroying their infrastructure, and preventing them from worshipping in their Jerusalem mosque. McCarthy didn’t make any suggestions about actions against Greene.

Greene was not pleased about McCarthy’s statements. She hastily reposted a tweet about McCarthy with her addition but then removed within six minutes:

[Quote from a tweet]: “Look you moron, nobody supported Israel in their recent conflict with Hamas more than MTG. Her analogy may not have been perfect but you seriously need to get a grip you feckless c**t. Pelosi is the villain here.” [Greene’s addition]: “Thank you for seeing the truth and how much I support Israel.”

Even Senate Minority Mitch McConnell (R-KY) openly turned against Greene. Asked by a reporter about whether she should be censured, he said:

“Well, she doesn’t serve in the Senate, but this is one of a frequent outbursts that are absolutely outrageous and reprehensible, but any punishment I assume would have to be administered by the House.”

More news from the Arizona vote counting fiasco: The so-called “audit” has now resumed with “counters” selected by an organization operated by DDT’s wealthy supporter and “stolen” election believer Patrick Byrne, formerly Overstock.com CEO. He is in charge of background checks, non-disclosure agreements, and volunteer agreements of “workers.”

Wake TSI, the Pennsylvania IT company running the audit, came to the end of its contract on May 14 and won’t be back. With little or no experience regarding elections, the company took the job after an Arizona senator, a bit advocate of the “Stop the Steal” movement, asked for it. A Scottsdale (AZ)-based tech company StratTech, possibly with no election or auditing experience, is taking over.

Arizona’s GOP-led House Appropriations Committee stripped legally-elected Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) of her ability to “defend election lawsuits” after she expressed “grave concerns” about the audit. Her responsibilities have been transferred “exclusively” to Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) through the end of the 2023 fiscal year. In further retaliation against Hobbs, the Republicans removed Hobb’s “oversight of the Capitol Museum” after state lawmakers when she “flew a gay pride flag from the building’s balcony” in 2019.

After determined to remain silent for over three weeks, Stephen Richer, the GOP recorder in charge of Maricopa County’s elections, said there was no “legitimate reason that would have prompted this audit.” About former audits, he pointed out that “all the tests came back clean. The parties themselves oversaw the hand-count auditing of 47,000 plus votes.” He also expressed frustration “that some professional, legitimate companies did make bids to the Arizona Senate to do this work and we would have welcomed that.” The county told the Senate to preserve all documents related to the audit administration in a litigation hold, looking into charges of defamation.  

An observer’s report of the audit told to Washington Post editor Sophia Nguyen—including horror of a “counter” who found “cheese powder” on a ballot. 

Will DDT be back on Facebook? Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill, possibly called the Trump Protection (TP) law, which fines social media platforms permanently banning political candidates in the state. A ban is limited to 14 days with a daily $250,000 fine after that. As almost everyone knows, DDT has made Florida’s Mar-a-Lago his residence. The law comes from the party believing in freedom for private business and no regulations. Florida has blocked free speech from private entities, violating the constitution’s First Amendment. Exempt are companies owning theme parks or entertainment venues larger than 25 acres, aka Disney World and Comcast’s Universal Orlando Resort. Another lawsuite in the wind.

Watch for much more about the Grifters’ Old Party. 

 

January 16, 2021

Far-Right Groups Identified, Need Social Media Platforms

As I looked at the news feeds today, I realized that the media seems calmer during the past few days since Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) lost access to social media platforms. According to an analysis, the proliferation of lies and spreading responses has greatly fallen on these sites. Wildly misleading content about the 2020 election dropped by three-fourths on social media following the bans on DDT after the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Inflammatory hashtags about the attack such as #FightforTrump and #HoldtheLine have fallen over 95 percent. Research indicates high-profile influencers using the disinformation system pushed millions of people to spread the lie about election fraud. Just a few accounts have been the source for these lies: only 20 conservative, pro-DDT Twitter accounts were the original source of 20 percent of retweets lying about voting during the election.

Social media platforms banning DDT and others lying and inciting violence:

Twitter: The platform started putting labels on DDT’s false and violent posts over two months ago but didn’t limit his 88 million followers from viewing or sharing them. It also cut over 70,000 QAnon accounts after January 6. After DDT violated a 12-hour trial lockout after the Capitol attack, Twitter permanently banned his account on January 8 and suspended @POTUS and @TeamTrump for DDT’s attempts to avoid his ban. DDT’s former adviser, Steve Bannon, also lost his Twitter account for declaring Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray should be beheaded. Other DDT associates have also been banned.

Facebook and its photo-sharing service, Instagram: On January 6, the platforms suspended Trump for 24 hours after he expressed love for the mob attacking the Capitol. The next day, CEO Mark Zuckerberg banned DDT from them through the inauguration and indefinitely after that time.

YouTube: DDT’s channel was suspended for at least a week last week, and the platform indefinitely disabled comments from his channel. It also announced it would issue strikes to any channel posting videos with false claims violating the platform’s policies. Permanent removal comes from three strikes within three months.

Parler: Amazon Web Services removed Parler after users glorified the Capitol attack. The social media platform had already been removed from Google and Apple app stores. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/01/09/amazon-parler-suspension/   QAnon believers and other conspiracy theorists moved to Parler after Twitter banned them because the platform allows anything, including sex trafficking and porno messages. A hacker downloaded all the public messages from the week of January 6 allowing law enforcement to find many of the mob members and instigators at the Capitol attack.

Snapchat: DDT’s account was permanently disabled on January 15.

Bumble, Tinder, and Match: The accounts of Capitol rioters have been banned, and DDT’s account has an “indefinite suspension.

Reddit: r/The Donald and other pro-DDT pages advocating violent threats and misinformation have been banned. Also gone is subreddit r/DonaldTrump, a hub for “Stop the Steal” conspiracy theorists encouraging armed users to go to the U.S. Capitol.

Twitch: The Amazon-owned video service disabled DDT’s channel indefinitely.

https://www.axios.com/platforms-social-media-ban-restrict-trump-d9e44f3c-8366-4ba9-a8a1-7f3114f920f1.html

TikTok: The platform is removing content violations and redirecting hashtags.

Discord: The Donald is now banned.

Pinterest: Hashtags connected to pro-DDT topics have been limited since the November election.

Stripe: The online handler of payments and transactions will no longer process for DDT’s campaign.

Okta: The manager of user authentication services has terminated Parler’s access to a free trial.

Twilio: The enterprise communications company won’t accept Parler.

LiquidWeb: This cloud and web-hosting company kicked off Oath Keepers, the far-right, self-identified “militia” group of current and former military, police and first responders. The group had told its followers to swarm Washington in “armed, in large groups.”

GoFundMe: Travel fundraising for political events with “risk of violence” has been banned.

Shopify: The Canadian e-commerce platform for online stores banned DDT’s campaign merchandise shop and personal brand.

The solution for seditionists now is Telegram, a Dubai-based chat app, and other services such as MeWe collecting those driven off Parler. Telegram moved from a ranking of 110th to the fifth most-downloaded app in the United States by January 12. When Signal went from 750 to first, its network went down. MeWe rose from below 1,000 to 12; WhatsApp and Messenger have stayed in the top 40 and top 20. An example of a Telegram message after DDT’s video condemning the violence at the Capitol:

“Trump betrayed the patriots by accepting defeat. The only way to save America is war. Full-blown Holy war.”

Far-right groups/symbols:  

Proud Boys: Known for violence and instigating street fights with counterdemonstrators. Garb: black and gold but may change to all black, imitating antifa, and bright orange hats. Founded in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes who separated himself from the organization. Well-known in the Northwest, but DDT raised an awareness of them when DDT told them to “stand by” in his first debate with Joe Biden. 

Hand gesture “OK”: Means “white power” from the W and P formed by the hand. 

Gesture from the Three Percenters, a right-wing anti-government militia group: Outstretched middle, ring, and pinkie fingers to represent the Roman numeral for three, similar to the “OK.” Name comes from myth that only three percent of the population fought against the British.

QAnon: Symbol of Q, representing online conspiracy theory about DDT leading a crusade against a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who encompass a majority of the nation’s elites, including politicians, celebrities, and executives. Their anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ beliefs joined by anti-mask and anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, following cryptic messages and instructions from the anonymous person Q.

Oath Keepers: One of the largest self-described militia groups in the United States which recruits law enforcement and active or former military members. Large presence at such high-profile events as the Nevada Bundy ranch uprising and Ferguson (MO) protests.  Founded in 2009. Yellow logo comes from the U.S. Army Ranger tab.

The letters “AF” (America First) surrounded by a circle: Name of podcast hosted by far-right activist Nick Fuentes appearing at Charlottesville (VA) “United the Right” and taunting protesters of George Floyd’s killing. Racist and anti-Semitic followers called “Groypers,” using the smirking Pepe the Frog imagery sometimes depicted in the uniform like that of Hitler’s military security force.

Kekistan flag: A green and black symbol spelling “kek.” Supposedly a parallel between Pepe the Frog and an ancient deity appearing as a man with a frog head mimicking the German Nazi war flag.

A hanging noose/Day of the Rope: Based on the fictional insurrection, “Day of the Rope,” from white supremacist William Luther Pierce’s 1978 novel, The Turner Diaries, in which white supremacists lynch politicians, journalists, and White people in interracial relationships who they call “race traitors.”  Posts on January 6 referencing hangman knots and hanging “traitors” betraying DDT such as Supreme Court justices and lawmakers. Rioters put up a noose outside the Capitol.

Valknot: The “knot of slain,” three interlinked triangles from Nordic culture and heritage, connected to the afterlife and white supremacy Odinism.

VDARE: Red, white, and blue lion imagery connected to the website associated with Virginia Dare, supposedly the first White child born in the New World.

Confederate flag: Most well-known symbol of white supremacy representing Southern heritage and slavery.

The FBI is investigating donations of over $500,000-valued bitcoin from a French account to 22 far-right organizations and people including VDARE, Daily Stormer, and Nick Fuentes. The transfer was made on December 8, four weeks before the failed January 6 coup. Far-right groups have a tradition of dealing with cryptocurrency and crowdfunding, especially since the deadly Charlottesville (VA) rally in August 2017.

Sunday before the inauguration, hate groups have promised to return to D.C. to commit violence. On Saturday, law enforcement arrested a Virginia man at a checkpoint near the Capitol. He had an “unauthorized” inauguration pass, an unregistered loaded gun, and almost 550 rounds of ammunition. He claimed he was working as a security guard and forgot he was carrying the gun. He also denied having any ammunition. His Ford F-150 pickup displayed stickers such as “Assault Life” and “If they come for your guns Give ‘Em your bullets first.” He was booked for carrying a weapon without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm, and possession of unregistered ammunition.

With little federal support, all 50 state capitols in the nation are preparing for armed attacks on January 20 because of violent threats from seditionists.

Two days ago, acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, the colossal failure in protecting the Capitol on January 6, said he “couldn’t wait” to get out of the job. Yet he’s still sabotaging the government, now ordering the head of NSA Gen. Paul Nakasone to install Michael Ellis as top lawyer at the National Security Agency by 6:00 pm on January 16. Ellis was head counsel to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), master leaker of congressional secrets to DDT; if appointed, Ellis would be a civil servant, not a political appointee, making him harder for a new administration to fire. Nakasone didn’t meet the deadline, and the ball is back in Miller’s court.

Under 80 more hours!

December 13, 2020

DDT: Week 203 – Chaos to Cover Disasters

The past week celebrated huge pieces of news: the certification from 50 states for their presidential choices with Joe Biden receiving 306 votes; the Supreme Court rejection of the Texas case in its lawsuit against voting practices in four other states; and the authorization of the Pfizer vaccine, the first one for COVID-19 approved in the United States following the UK use of the vaccine beginning last Tuesday. Congress also passed the National Defense Authorization Act with a veto-proof vote and a one-week extension of the budget bill to stave off government closure for that time.  

Certification of votes: Biden’s 306 votes were the exact number of votes Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) received four years ago, and the losing lawsuit brings DDT’s losses to almost 60. In one win

The Texas loss from the Supreme Court led the state’s GOP to encourage states to secede from the U.S.:

“Perhaps law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution.” 

Supreme Court Rejection: Texas AG Ken Paxton led an insurrection last week against the legal certification of electoral votes with the support of 17 red state AGs and 126 House Republicans. They all lost when the justices unanimously ruled against overturning votes in four swing states to give the Oval Office to DDT. After he heard about his Supreme Court loss, DDT refused to leave his bedroom to join a White House Christmas party. Earlier, on November 14, he had refused to greet the newly elected GOP House members in the White House after Joe Biden was declared the president-elect.

The GOP keeps filing lawsuits: after a federal judge ruled against election fraud in Wisconsin, the state Supreme Court took a case asking for 221,000 ballots in two counties be thrown out with the false claim the jurisdictions didn’t follow state law. In the unlikely event Biden would lose the majority in the state that he won by 20,000 votes, he would lose only 10 electoral votes, still winning with 296 votes—26 over the necessary 270 to become president. All the 38 GOP-appointed judges who have ruled against DDT’s election fraud myth, the most recent, a federal judge in Wisconsin, was appointed by DDT like some other judges ruling against him.

After 126 members of the U.S. House supported Paxton’s case to put DDT back into the Oval Office, Rep. Brad Pascrell (D-NJ) tweeted:

“The 14th Amendment expressly forbids members of Congress from engaging in rebellion against the United States. Trying to overturn a democratic election and install a dictator seems like a pretty clear example of that.”

He declared the 126 Republicans trying to overturn the election, violating the Constitution, and attempting to “demolish democracy” should not be sworn into office on January 3, 2021. Pascrell also justified his argument on Article I, Section 5 of the 14th Amendment giving each congressional chamber final authority over membership with a two-thirds vote. Pascrell explained:

“These lawsuits seeking to obliterate public confidence in our democratic system by invalidating the clear results of the 2020 presidential election attack the text and spirit of the Constitution, which each member swears to support and defend, as well as violate the rules of our House of Representatives, which explicitly forbid members from committing unbecoming acts that reflect poorly on our chamber.”

He added that the 126 members supporting the Supreme Court case are “seeking to make Donald Trump an unelected dictator.” Pascrell argued their actions “must be repudiated in the strongest possible terms” because this time “may be without parallel since 1860. The fate of our democracy depends on us meeting that moment.”

After the top GOP House leader, Kevin McCarthy (CA), and VP Mike Pence’s brother, Greg Pence (IN), joined 124 other representatives in the attempted coup, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) accused the 126 of “subverting the Constitution” and engaging “in election subversion that imperils our democracy.” In her statement, Pelosi said:

“The 126 Republican Members that signed onto this lawsuit brought dishonor to the House. …The pandemic is raging, with nearly 300,000 having died and tens of millions having lost jobs.  Strong, unified action is needed to crush the virus, and Republicans must once and for all end their election subversion—immediately.”  

The GOP attorneys general who did not join the attempted coup explained that states should be able to govern themselves and expressed concern that a precedent of one state suing another could result in Democratic states forcing their procedures on Republican states. Opposing federalism, Ohio AG Dave Yost said the Supreme Court has no right to tell states how to appoint electors, an ideology from conservatives in the past.

Vaccine Approval:

DDT also tainted the approval of the first virus vaccine by threatening to fire the FDA leader, Stephen Hahn, if the Pfizer vaccine is not approved for emergency authorization by Friday. DDT, who called the FDA “a big, old, slow turtle,” tweeted, “Get the dam [sic] vaccines out NOW, Dr. Hahn @SteveFDA. Stop playing games and start saving lives!!!” The authorization was announced later on Friday.

Dr. Charlotte Kent, a CDC manager, has testified to congressional investigators about the order purported by CDC’s director Robert Redfield to delete an email reporting a spread of coronavirus if children gather together. Redfield claimed he instructed agency staffers to ignore the mail but didn’t order its deletion. By law, federal officials are to retain records. When Kent looked for the email from Paul Alexander and Michael Caputo, now departed from HHS, it was missing.

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA): Some congressional Republicans did turn on DDT when they voted for the $741 million NDAA in sufficient numbers to overturn his threatened veto if all of them repeated their “yes” votes. DDT was upset because it didn’t contain an amendment removing protection for social media platforms. Twitter is currently marking his false tweets as “disputed” and could drop his account when he no longer has the label of a world leader. He wants a law allowing him to sue the company if is doesn’t do what he wants.

DDT also threatened to veto the NDAA if it changes the names of ten military bases honoring Confederate officers, but the bill does make that change. If he takes no action on the bill by the day before Christmas Eve, it becomes law providing Congress is still in session. An congressional adjournment would make the bill defunct. To keep President Obama from appointing people during a recess, Congress held “pro forma” sessions when one lone person, the Presiding Officer, walks into the room, calls the body to order, and immediately dismisses it without transacting any business. They could do the same to get the NDAA passed if DDT doesn’t veto it.

The Senate vote for NDAA was 84-13, the House 335-78. McCarthy voted for the bill but said he wouldn’t vote against DDT’s veto. If enough Republicans follow the Minority Leader’s example, the NDAA would not be passed during the 116th Congress for the first time in 59 years. Washington Post reporter Paul Kane wrote:

 “It’s another destruction of what it means to be a conservative in the Trump era, as support for a strong national security has been a bedrock of party orthodoxy for decades and decades.”

Budget Continuing Resolution: The government stays open until December 11 after Congress passed a “C.R.” to continue funding for most government programs at the same levels as fiscal 2020 through December 18, 2000. The deadline for the omnibus spending package of 12 appropriations bills was last October 1, but a C.R. put it forward until last Friday. It contains no COVID-19 relief, as many congressional members had hoped. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) both said they would agree to the one-week extension but not vote for the bill again without stimulus checks for people. Sanders is asking for $1,200 per person, a repeat of last March. A House vote of 343-67 vote preceded the final Senate voice vote on Friday. DDT signed the bill late Friday

DDT’s chaos is not only in an attempt to win the election. He wants to use it to hide the problems he faces:

COVID-19: The number of daily cases and deaths increased almost 30 percent from two weeks earlier.

Economy: Since corporations received billions of dollars from earlier virus stimulus bills, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocks the current bill because Democrats want $160 billion to help state and local governments and won’t shield businesses from their intentionally-caused coronavirus injuries and deaths.

Control of GOP: DDT plans to keep the power over Republicans with both the funding and the list of supporters for GOP candidates.

Electoral College votes are set to be cast on Monday. Republicans have promised to agree Joe Biden is president-elect if he receives at least 270 votes. We’ll see.

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