Nel's New Day

August 5, 2020

‘We’ve Lost the War for Truth’

Yesterday at least 100 people died, 4.000 were injured, and 250,000 were left homeless in Beirut (Lebanon) from an explosion of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, primarily used as an agricultural fertilizer. Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the unsecured chemical storage had been unsupervised after it had been taken in 2014 from a leaky Russian ship making an unscheduled stop at Beirut where it was abandoned. At the beginning of his press briefing (aka campaign speech), Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) started a conspiracy theory by calling the tragedy a “terrible attack” with no evidence. DDT’s own officials won’t confirm DDT’s theory, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the explosion was likely an accident, and the U.S. is not increasing protections for U.S. troops in the region. A welder working nearby may have caused a fire behind the disaster that killed less than ten percent of the people who daily die in the U.S. from COVID-19.  [visual – Beirut]

That’s how conspiracy theories start: an irresponsible person makes a comment, and conservatives glom onto it for their personal advantage. Current conspiracy theories, especially those about COVID-19, are killing people. While other countries are closer to controlling COVID-19, the U.S. gets worse and worse as conservative media infect the nation with lies and lunacy. Former presidential candidate Herman Cain, who didn’t believe masks were of any use against COVID-19, was tested positive nine days after he attended DDT’s Tulsa (OK) campaign rally where he wore no mask and sat close to the people next to him. Before Cain announced his diagnosis on July 2, he praised DDT for not mandating masks at the July 3 Mt. Rushmore event. He tweeted, “PEOPLE ARE FED UP!” Cain spent most of July in a hospital and died on July 30 from COVID-19.

Just last week:

Saturday: Ultra far-right Sinclair Broadcasting, requiring its outlets to run pro-DDT commentary and reaching 40 percent of the U.S. through 200 stations including the ABC outlet in Portland (OR), interviewed conspiracy theorist Judy Mikovits about her belief that infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci had created COVID-19 in a lab from a monkey and “shipped the cell lines to Wuhan, China.” Social media banned a video featuring her because of its dangerously falsehoods such as keeping beaches open for the “healing microbes” in the water. Mikovits also accused Fauci of ordering a murder as “part of a cover-up burying Mikovits’ research.” Interviewer Eric Bolling made no attempt to refute her false assertions other than calling them “hefty.” Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) has promoted her in a House hearing as an expert on the virus. Sinclair decided to “delay” the episode’s airing but received a great deal of attention on the interview with no correction, including on Bolling’s Facebook page where it was viewed thousands of times before being pulled.

Monday: DDT retweeted a video from so-called doctors asserting masks are unnecessary and pronouncing hydroxychloroquine a “cure for COVID.” It features Dr. Stella Immanuel who purports that “reptilians” and other aliens run the government as well as claiming that having sex with demons can cause illnesses like cysts and endometriosis. According to Immanuel, space alien DNA is used in medical treatments, and scientists are developing a vaccine to keep people from being religious. DDT retweeted Immanuel’s recommendation of using hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19.  [visual Misinformation]

Tuesday: Twitter temporarily suspended accounts of Donald Trump, Jr. and Kelli Ward, former doctor and the chair of the Arizona GOP, for sharing the Immanuel video, and DDT defended her at his press conference (aka campaign rally). Asked about his approval and recommendations of her, DDT said, “I thought she was very impressivebut I don’t know anything about her.”

Wednesday: Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), a Fox favorite who tested positive for the virus, is so doubtful about transmitting the disease that he insisted on telling his staffers in person inside the House’s office building had “berated” his staff for wearing masks, according to one of his aides. He blamed wearing a mask for his infection.

For the first time ever, Facebook has deleted DDT’s misinformation about COVID-19, a clip from an interview with Fox network in which DDT said that children have almost complete immunity to the virus. FB stated the post contained “harmful Covid misinformation,” and U.S. public health advice stated that children have no immunity. Twitter froze the @TeamTrump account until the same posting, “in violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation,” was removed.

Facebook is likely to include DDT’s campaign misinformation: its fact-checker is Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller, which also works for GOP campaigns and publishes false stories and content written by white supremacists.

QAnon is one of the most dangerous conspiracy theory groups, and DDT has retweeted at least 90 times from 49 QAnon accounts in the few months since the beginning of the pandemic. He has moved his fringe base into the mainstream with their beliefs that he is trying to take down the Satanist, child-trafficking “deep state.” Desperate for voters, DDT panders to this group of extremists.

In Tuesday’s Arizona primary, Daniel Wood became the 16th QAnon candidate for Congress, facing incumbent Rep. Raúl Grijalva in the 3rd Congressional District. The FBI has listed QAnon under “conspiracy theory-driven extremists.” Michael Flynn has started using QAnon slogans. Lauren Beobert, QAnon GOP candidate for Colorado’s the 3rd Congressional District, refused to shut down her bar to dine-in patrons until the courts forced her to do it. [Left: Boebert speaking at a watch-party on the night of her winning primary.] Other states have QAnon congressional candidates: Illinois (2); California (5), New Jersey (1); Florida (1); Oregon (1); Georgia (2); Ohio (1); and Texas (1).  Media Matters found almost 60 congressional candidates who follow some QAnon beliefs.

Jo Rae Perkins, running for the U.S. senate, wanted martial law in Oregon two months ago to fight the nonexistent antifa activists bused to rural towns such as Klamath Falls and Bend after the fake anti-Semitic news about George Soros paying them to destroy the towns. Only crowds of heavily armed white supremacists showed up. She also prayed to God for his “warring angels to protect the cities.”

People who get their news from social-media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are more likely to believe false theories about the virus and avoid remedial practices such as social distancing and mask wearing. They also tend to be more ignorant and misinformed than people who use sources of print, news websites, or network television.

DDT uses social media in his war on traditional media to sow confusion and chaos. In The Atlantic, McKay Coppins cites work from political theorist Hannah Arendt who warned “totalitarian leaders are able to instill in their followers “a mixture of gullibility and cynicism.” DDT is killing people with misinformation; with COVID-19, most Republicans have lost their grip on reality. 

A mid-July study shows Fox network spreading misinformation about COVID-19 253 times in five days. In 115 times, hosts and speakers challenged scientific consensus and undermined official government recommendations. Part of the misinformation was to push reopening businesses and schools—over 12 times per Laura Ingraham show on Primetime for a total of 63 times. Fox & Friends came in second place with 45 instances; Hannity and Tucker Carlson Tonight almost tied for third with 21 and 20 instances.  One-third came from “news” programs led by Martha MacCallum’s The Story with 20 claims. Remember this all happened in five days. The network politicized the pandemic with 51 claims that regulations requiring masks and closing businesses were rooted in politics.

According to studies, the wider the audience for Sean Hannity, the higher the rates of infections and deaths from COVID-19. Hannity watchers had 32 percent more cases on March 14 and 23 percent more on March 28 than Tucker Carlson watchers who warned about dangers of the virus in early February.

Margaret Sullivan writes about DDT’s promoting Stella Immanuel and hydroxychloroquine in “This was the week America lost the war on misinformation”:

“America has waved the white flag and surrendered… We’ve not only lost the public-health war, we’ve lost the war for truth. Misinformation and lies have captured the castle. And the bad guys’ most powerful weapon? Social media—in particular, Facebook…

“A low point, certainly, in a long series of them over the past few year—all happening even as congressional Republicans tried to turn Wednesday’s appearance by four titans of tech at a landmark antitrust hearing into a politicized rant about how social media doesn’t give conservatives a fair shot.

“This is patently untrue, also.”

Sullivan repeated Arendt’s quote in Coppins’ Atlantic article in her conclusion:

“People are conditioned to ‘believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true.’ And then such leaders can do pretty much whatever they wish.

“We should be afraid.”

August 5: U.S. COVID-19 cases – 4,973,568; deaths – 161,601.

June 28, 2020

Law Sometimes on Side of People

For the first time since the agency was created almost two decades ago, DHS has classified white supremacy a domestic terrorist threat because of recent mass shootings. The far-right may protest the decision, but white supremacists committed 39 of 50 extremist-related attacks last year. 

Mississippi lawmakers are moving toward removing the Confederate flag from the state flag, and for the first time Gov. Tate Reeves said he would sign such a bill if it reaches his desk. No other state has the Confederate symbol on its flag.

Judges not siding with Dictator Donald Trump (DDT):

For the second time, a court ruled DDT’s transfer of $2.5 billion into border wall funding illegal. Two of the three-judge 9th Circuit Court panel determined the transfer of military funds an illegal overreach of executive authority because “the U.S. Constitution exclusively grants the power of the purse to Congress.” The lone dissenter on the panel is a DDT appointee. Mexico has paid nothing for the wall, despite DDT’s promises, and DDT has weaseled $15 billion out of U.S. funds for his pet project. When the Supreme Court lifted a lower-court injunction against the transfer, it didn’t rule on its legality. DDT got the money by declaring a national emergency but said there wasn’t any emergency; he did it for convenience. 

A federal judge in Los Angeles ordered migrant children held over 20 days released from the country’s three family detention centers by July 17 because of COVID-19. Some of the 124 children in the facilities as of June 8 tested positive for COVID-19. One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs said the children are living in “horrific conditions.”

A federal judge overruled Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos preventing students with loans from getting their stimulus money. The law paused federal payments, reset the interest rate to 0 percent, and stopped debt collection until October 1, 2020. DeVos ignored the law and kept the stimulus checks from borrowers having overdue debt. When the law stopped her in May, she demanded students receiving emergency assistance through community colleges be eligible for financial aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. Her plan was to eliminate aid for “undocumented, international and DACA recipient students in addition to those with poor grades and previously defaulted student loans.” The assistance helps students with rent, child care, technology, and groceries. The judge ruled withholding these emergency funds would cause irreparable harm and injury during a global pandemic.

DDT wants police to have unlimited immunity from lawsuits, but the 4th Circuit Court vacated a lower court ruling granting five officers qualified immunity for the 2013 murder of Wayne Jones, a homeless black man with schizophrenia. Four officers shot him 22 times in two seconds, mostly in the back and buttocks, while he lay limp and unmoving after Tasing and a chokehold. Jones couldn’t understand their questions and had a small fix-blade knife. The court ruled a jury should be allowed to determine if the 22 shots killing Jones were the use of excessive force.

DDT sues people so often that it rarely hits the news. Among the thousands of lawsuits, or at least threats, are against media outlets, TV stations, authors, politicians, his sexual assault victims, other countries, states, local governments, social media, campaign manager Brad Parscale, whistleblowers, the FBI, even a 92-year-old widow in Scotland—a long list. Last week, he threatened to block his niece from publishing her book, due out a month from today, because she settled an estate dispute with a nondisclosure agreement.

A clinical psychologist, Trump may be well qualified to write Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man., described as “a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse.” DDT left the dirty work of suing to his brother Robert, who has thus far failed. A Queens County (NY) judge said his court lacked jurisdiction in the case where Robert submitted a restraining order request and suggested he take the case to another court. The judge also cited “several improprieties” in Robert’s filing, making it “fatally defective”: it is based on the official disposition of patriarch Fred Trump Sr.’s estate, wrapped up in 2001 and thus for legal purposes “nonexistent.” Robert’s lawyer said he picked Queens County because the family estate was settled there in 2011. He plans to file with the New York Supreme Court. Mary’s book is due to come out a month from today.

More lawsuits to watch:

Judge Emmet Sullivan isn’t rolling over for AG Bill Barr. When two of three judges on a DC Circuit Court panel told the district court judge to dismiss charges against Michael Flynn, Sullivan didn’t follow the order and may ask the entire circuit court to hear the case. Twice, Flynn pled guilty to lying twice to the FBI under oath about his secret conversations with the Russian ambassador during the last few months of President Obama’s second term with the promise DDT would go easy on Russia after his inauguration. In exchange for his testimony and providing information, Flynn also got out of acting as unregistered agent for Recep Erdoğan in a plot to kidnap a U.S. citizen for the Turkish president. When Barr became DDT’s personal lawyer, Flynn saw a way out and reversed his guilty plea.

In a Flynn casualty, the DOJ fired FBI’s top lawyer, Dana Boente, at the end of May. DDT heard Fox network Lou Dobbs accuse Boente of collaborating with FBI Director Christopher Wray to block release of evidence to clear Flynn.  

DDT put Michael Pack in charge of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, responsible for the Voice of America, to turn the independent broadcaster into his own propaganda machine. Immediately after the Senate confirmed Pack, he fired the top executives and advisory boards. A lawsuit filed on behalf of the Open Technology Fund argues Pack lacked the authority to fire staff or board or board members. The suit also claims Pack violates the federal broadcasting law protecting government-funded news outlets from political interference.

Nineteen attorneys general are suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for overturning a rule protecting students from predatory higher education institutions and denying federal funding if their students graduated with disproportionately heavy debt loads and weakened career prospects. California is also suing DeVos for failing to implement the department’s forgiveness program for student loans. Loans were supposed to be forgiven after a decade of on-time payments while the borrower is in a public service for a decade. Between May 2018 and May 2019, however, 99 percent of the applications were rejected.

DDT may be pleased with his filing to do away with the Affordable Care Act, but voters put Democrats into the House at the thought of losing health care. He insists people will keep their preexisting conditions, but the 82-page brief and legal team say the opposite. DOJ’s argument is that Republicans who voted for the tax cuts also voted to destroy the entire ACA. The issue will be huge in the rest of the 2020 campaign because it won’t be settled before November. Almost one-half million people signed up for healthcare plans after losing their jobs through the virus.

Traumatized by the “Black Lives Matter” painted on the renamed street of the same name in front of the White House, DDT went on another rant at the same phrase painted in front of the New York Trump Tower. In a tweet, DDT lied about protesters calling for the killing of police officers, using a 2015 protest shown on Tucker Carlson’s Fox program for his claim. Twitter responded by calling DDT a “snowflake.” Volunteers painted the same slogan on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. 

The following news gets the label “good” for the hope it gives. Mark Zuckerberg promises Facebook will remove posts inciting violence or suppressing voting, even by political leaders and DDT, and label posts violating hate speech or other policies. Zuckerberg’s statement came after major companies pulled ads from Facebook to protest his inadequate action against “hateful lies and dangerous propaganda” in a “#StopHateforProfit” advertising boycott already costing him over $7 billion. The announcement was made on Twitter. A few of the participating companies

Banks are getting close to minimum capital levels because of COVID-19, and the Federal Reserve plans new restrictions for the third quarter to suspend their share buybacks and cap dividend payment at the current level. In addition, banks will be required to resubmit payout plans again this year, possibly every quarter. According to the Fed formula, Wells Fargo has the biggest risk of a dividend cut.

When “small companies” were threatened with investigation, at least 63 public corporations returned $510 million to the federal PPP program intended for struggling companies, probably about 20 percent of public companies borrowing from the program. The remaining 80 percent of public companies have kept over $900 million. The Treasury Department claims any borrower receiving less than $2 million meets “the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith.” Some companies earlier refusing to return money have reversed their position.

DDT speeded up testing a tiny bit by keeping open five of the 13 federal testing sites scheduled for cancelation. All five are in Texas.

Polling for DDT is so bad Fox raised the question of whether he will drop out of the presidential race before the election. Charles Gasparino tweeted an insider “described Trumps current psyche as ‘fragile.’

Today, June 28: New COVID-19 cases of 40,540 bringing the total to 2,637,077; 128,437 deaths—or far more.

May 29, 2020

DDT: Week 175 – Creation of a Banana Republic

Over 100 years ago, U.S. writer O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) coined the term “banana republic” in describing the fictional Republic of Anchuria. A century later, the term expanded from being a small country economically dependent on a single export commodity to one which is poor, corrupt, and badly ruled, typically by a dictator or the armed forces. Since the election of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), the United States, although a large country, has grown closer dto fitting this description, and this week puts the U.S. on the edge of Banana Republic classification.

On Memorial Day, a police officer, now discharged and arrested, killed George Floyd while at least three other police officers watched. The former officer pressed down on Floyd’s neck with his knees for over eight minutes. Floyd cried out “I can’t breathe” until he lost consciousness after a little more than five minutes. He died because he literally could not breathe. Floyd had complied with police requests after he tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes. National protests followed the lack of action regarded the police officer’s crime. Video from the store shows that Floyd did not resist.

This morning, black/Latino CNN reporter Omar Jimenez (left), his producer Bill Kirkos, and his Latino photojournalist Leonel Mendez were arrested by several white Minnesota state police officers while the video was playing live on air. Police claimed crew refused to move when instructed, but the video footage shows only courtesy on the part of Jimenez. Later, the state patrol tweeted an insinuation that they didn’t know the men were reporters. The three men were wearing CNN identification, and Jimenez politely explained to the police that he was standing where they had told him to be. Jimenez said that he would go anyplace that they told him, but they handcuffed him and led him away. The police refused to answer his question about why he was being arrested before they arrested Kirkos and Mendez. The camera, still running, chronicled the arrest

At the same time, white CNN correspondent Josh Campbell was reporting about a block away. He said that the police were “polite” when they asked him the name of his outlet. The arrested men were released about an hour later after the Gov. Tim Walz intervened and apologized to CNN’s president, Jeff Zucker. Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis city council vice-president, told CNN in an interview that the arrest was another example of systemic racism and asked local and state officials to declare racism in Minnesota a public health emergency.

Since his inauguration, DDT has been complaining about the media violating the First Amendment by publicizing facts about him. The arrests of Jimenez, Kirkos, and Mendez are a real violation of the First Amendment.

Yet DDT whines about Twitter stifling his free speech because the company suggested a fact-check on the outrageous lies DDT tweets about mail-in voting. DDT has not talked to Floyd’s family, but he did have time to tweet about the protesters, calling them “THUGS” and blaming the events on “the very weak Radical Left Mayor.” In the same tweet, he threatened to kill protesters: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter responded with a warning that reads:

“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

Twitter followers can read the tweet by clicking on the warning but cannot, like, dislike, or retweet the message. Thus far, DDT seems to have backed down from an attack on Twitter, merely tweeting that looting can lead to shooting. The weekend isn’t over, however.

DDT has a history of glorifying racist protesters, beginning almost three years ago when he called violent white supremacists in Charlottesville (VA) “very good people.” When protesters who tried to open up all business in Michigan carried assault-like rifles and broke into the capitol, DDT told Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to give them what they wanted. He praised them as “very good people.” He may be partially correct about the term “thugs.” Members of the “boogaloo movement”—gun enthusiasts who have found a home with white supremacists—have decided to infiltrate the protests about the killing of George Floyd, perhaps to encourage a race war. The boogaloo-ers were behind the protests in Michigan. Alex Friedfeld, an investigative researcher at the ADL Center on Extremism in Chicago said:

“There’s two versions of boogaloo. There’s the white supremacist burn society down and build a white ethno-stage. And then there’s the anti-government resist tyranny at all costs, and if it creates a civil war, so be it version.”

Yesterday, DDT signed a threatening executive order that may lack any power. It claims to remove immunity from lawsuits against Twitter for removing conservative tweets after Twitter posted a suggestion to fact-check his rabid lies about mail-in voting.  Although studies show he is wrong, DDT firmly believes that mail-in voting favors Democrats and will make all Republicans lose in the fall election. He tweeted:

“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives [sic] voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.”

DDT’s frantic behavior comes from his losing to Joe Biden in the polls. He’s setting up the scene to be the victim if Biden wins the votes in the electoral college to become president. Four years ago, DDT shouted at his rallies that the election was “rigged.” Once he won the electoral votes, he quit mentioning a “rigged” election until his polls looked bad.  DDT’s fixer Michael Cohen said:

“Given my experience working for Mr. Trump. I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power.”

As always, DDT was careful with his language: his order directed federal officials to examine Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. In the same way, the media reported that he opened up all the meatpacking plants when he told Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to tell them to follow OSHA. DDT’s order did state that companies could lose legal protection from lawsuits if they restrict the views that can be expressed on their websites. According to the order, online platforms “are engaging in selective censorship that is hurting our national discourse.”

Legal experts disagree with the order’s premise. Conservative legal UCLA scholar Eugene Volokh said:

“Twitter, Facebook and the like are immune as platforms regardless of whether they edit, including in a politicized way. Like it or not, this was a deliberate decision by Congress.”

The order tells the FCC to draft regulations regarding actions to expose Twitter to liability if it would “restrict speech in ways that do not align with those entities’ public representations about those practices.” About this demand, Eric Goldman, who teaches internet law at Santa Clara University, said:

“The FCC has no authority over this, because Congress hasn’t delegated that authority.”

Goldman added:

“The First Amendment protects those words that Twitter added. It means Twitter can say that there are additional facts that readers should consider.”

Marc Rasch, an expert on internet law at Kohrman, Jackson and Krantz, said websites are private entities and therefore can restrict content in the same way shopping malls can keep out protesters.

DDT’s regulation could backfire if social media protects themselves by deleting posts or blocking users. 

The complaints about Twitter in DDT’s executive order project DDT’s own actions. These objections about Twitter describe the way DDT operates and benefits:

  • “Hand pick the speech that Americans may access and convey on the internet [to] exercise a dangerous power.”
  • “Shape the interpretation of public events; to censor, delete, or disappear information; and to control what people see or do not see.”
  • “Flaunt[ing] his political bias in his own tweets.”
  • “Profiting from and promoting the aggression and disinformation spread by foreign governments.”
  • “Use … power over a vital means of communication to engage in deceptive or pretextual actions stifling free and open debate by censoring certain viewpoints.”
  • “Engage in deceptive or pretextual actions … to stifle viewpoints with which they disagree.”
  • “Problematic vehicles for government speech due to viewpoint discrimination, deception to consumers, or other bad practices.”
  • “Unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.”
  • “Suppress content … based on indications of political alignment or viewpoint.”

DDT’s demands against mail-in ballots may already cause him problems: the Pennsylvania GOP fears offending DDT by promoting mail-in ballots. All people in the state can vote by mail without a reason, and the GOP pushed the practice—until now. As of yesterday, about 1.3 million registered Democrats requested mail ballots for the June 2 primary election, compared with about 524,000 Republicans, only 29 percent of the requests from the GOP that represents 38 percent of registered voters.  

Meanwhile, 104,542 have died of COVID-19, and the number of confirmed cases is spiking, almost at 1.8 million by today, May 29.

July 11, 2019

DDT’s Failures—Citizenship Question, Environment

“We are not backing down,” Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) announced in the Rose Garden yesterday when he backed down from putting a citizenship question into the 2020 census. This morning, he declared that he would sign an executive order to include the question, despite the Supreme Court and three lower courts ruling against it. This afternoon, he issued an executive order requiring federal departments to provide records about resident noncitizens to the Commerce Department, an action easily done without one of his “executive orders.” Although the monthly American Community Survey, which asks the citizen question, is sent to about one percent of the population each year, but this data cannot be used for legislative and congressional redistricting.

Earlier this week, the DOJ tried to trade out its legal team to argue the case, a first for the DOJ. The judge rejected a new team, calling the request “patently deficient” because the government had provided “no reasons, let alone ’satisfactory reasons,’ for the substitution of counsel.” He required the government to show that replacing the team won’t add further delay to the suit and mandated each of the 11 lawyers now on the case to submit a signed and sworn affidavit giving “satisfactory reasons” for the request. The plaintiffs also have a pending motion to sanction the government for false testimony for the motivation behind the question. New York Attorney General Letitia James said:

“Despite the president attempting to fire his lawyers, this is not an episode of The Apprentice.”

AG Bill Barr, DDT’s fixer, gave an impressive speech declaring victory for DDT after they both backed down. Barr said that they would win if they kept fighting but that they had too little time.  DDT’s “victory” means taking the option that he rejected over a year ago. Earlier this week, Barr had said that he had a way to put the question on the census forms but wouldn’t tell anyone. Before the House leaves for its August recess, members plan to vote to hold both AG William P. Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas tied to the citizenship question.

DDT’s kerfuffle about the citizenship question eclipsed today’s social media summit with conservative online commentators to complain about what they perceive as censorship from big tech companies. DDT tweeted that topics will be “the tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression practiced by certain companies.” Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were not invited. DDT’s goal was to distract the media and his supporters from his and his Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein child sex-trafficking scandal. At his meeting in the East Room, DDT attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) rather than Joe Biden, indicating that he sees Warren as a greater opponent than Biden.

A few special guests DDT invited to his “troll party”:

James O’Keefe, who doctors videos to embarrass progressives including faking negative accounts of ACORN, Planned Parenthood, and Medicaid, got caught trying to pull a sting on Washington Post’s reporting about child molester Roy Moore during his last run for U.S. Senate.

Carpe Donktum publishes doctored videos to support DDT that sometimes cause him to be blocked from Twitter.  

Ali Alexander (aka Akbar) tried to start a racist birther-like campaign by tweeting that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is not an “American Black,” a post quote-tweeted by Donald Trump, Jr. Alexander’s earlier Twitter ban this year came after he lied to followers about buying bitcoin, ammo, and guns because of a non-existent impending civil war.

Jim Hoft created the blog Gateway Pundit with such falsehoods as Hillary Clinton having a serious gum disease, E. Jean Carroll getting her DDT rape allegation for Law & Order, and Parkland shooting survivors being “crisis actors.”

Tim Pool claims to support progressive causes and policies but promotes right-wing rumors.

Benny Johnson, once a BuzzFeed writer, moved up the conspiracy chain to Daily Caller to complete DDT obsession after a series of plagiarism accusations.

Minds, an “anti-Facebook” and “Crypto social network,” rewards contributors in bitcoins, giving haven to violent neo-Nazi groups such as Atomwaffen, which has been linked to several murders in the U.S., and Feuerkrieg Division, which has made death threats against tech CEOs and politicians. Those two groups were banned, but other white supremacist accounts remain.

Bill Mitchell, a promoter of the bizarre conspiracy movement QAnon, tells his radio show listener that “Q is trying to do is motivate and encourage the base” by opposing media coverage critical of Trump.  

Michael Morrison was recently suspended from Twitter for closely copying Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter account in what he called a parody.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), under ethics charges for threatening witness Michael Cohen, praised Infowars, castigated the “deep state,” and introduced a resolution to force investigator Robert Mueller to resign.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) blocked a bill requiring political campaigns to report offers of foreign assistance to the FBI. DDT has already said he would welcome negative information about opponents in the 2020 election. Accepting help from a foreign entity or power is already illegal, but the bill would mandate reporting any offers. Blackburn said that mandatory reporting would pose an “overbroad” burden. At a recent conference, Israeli government minister Gilad Erdan bragged that Israel was responsible for laws in 27 U.S. states that blocked free speech supporting the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign targeting Israel. Russia isn’t the only country controlling U.S. elections.

Plus a few more GOP members of Congress and Cabinet members. Despite DDT’s refusal to include the major tech companies, he must have faith in them. His campaign spent over $5 million on Facebook ads just this year.

DDT declared himself an environmental president this week came after polls showed him week in this area with millennials and suburban women. He repeated his bizarre statement that forest fires can be blocked by cleaning “dirty floors.” Yet he allowed timber companies to cut more trees, usually the big, more fire-resistant trees while leaving combustible piles of low-value tinder that exacerbate forest fires and bragged about “being good stewards of our public land,” reducing carbon emissions, and promoting the “cleanest air” and “crystal clean” water. In truth, DDT opened up public lands to drilling, signed off on the biggest rollback of federal land protection, and lifted a moratorium on new coal mining leases on public lands. The EPA is rolling back clean-water regulation of pollution in streams and wetlands, and DDT proposed opening up the U.S. coastline to offshore oil and gas drilling. Carbon emissions have declined in the U.S. but only half that of a dozen other country. DDT falsely cited the high cost of the Dems’ Green New Deal, not yet determined, and omitted the 3.1 percent increase in 2018 when taking credit for the decline in carbn emissions since 2000. DDT left out the part that he pushes coal plants that increase carbon dioxide emissions. Joining DDT for his speech were two Cabinet secretaries, former lobbyists for the coal and oil industries who oversee energy and environment issues.

Shortly before the speech, Washington, DC floods [left] from rain shut down part of a nearby subway station and created pools of water in the White House basement. New Orleans [right] faces an unprecedented problem, possibly worse than the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, with the Mississippi River at record flooding, 16 feet instead of the usual six to eight feet in midsummer. Tropical Storm Barry, the season’s first tropical system, could cause a storm surge of two to three feet at the river mouth for a crest of 20 feet, not seen since February 1950 and 2.3 feet short of the April 1922 record. Evacuations of almost 200 offshore oil facilities has cut off more than half the region’s oil output. An EPA report had warned of effects from the climate crisis, but DDT buried the information.

DDT’s White House pastor preaches that environmentalism is radical and foolish, because God put natural resources on earth for people to use up. EPA director Andrew Wheeler took credit for falling air pollution from 1970 to cover up the 3.1 percent increase in carbon emissions in 2018. DDT called himself “a believer in solar energy,” but he put huge tariffs on solar panels in 2018, eliminating thousands of solar installation jobs, and made deep cuts in solar funding. Although claiming credit for fighting Florida’s toxic algae problem, he failed to allocate sufficient funds to restore the Everglades and reduce polluted water discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

The one subject DDT left out of his speech on the environment? Climate change—or as it’s now called, climate crisis. He might want to reconsider this omission. He’s unpopular on a number of key issues such as health care, gun violence, foreign policy, immigration, and abortion, but his bottom rating—29 percent approval—is for his handling of climate change. In only one issue, the economy, is he over 50 percent approval—at 51 percent.

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