Nel's New Day

November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving Gratitude for Government Actions

Every year on Thanksgiving, many people express gratitude for what happens in their lives. For me, this means my fabulous partner of over 53 years and our joy in working together. We’re grateful for the friends who contribute to our lives through their love, humor, acceptance, and help whenever we need it. We take delight in our loving standard poodle and our delightful cat. Our home is exactly what we want, and we feel safe in the small town where we live.

Beyond that—because I’m a politics junkie—I have much more to list in my gratefulness because they demonstrate that others share with me my desire for human rights and democracy.

Elections:

After a long 15 days, Alaska has declared the winners of its ranked choice votes. Rep. Mary Peltola (D-AK) returns for a full House term after she won her special election last summer, both elections defeating former VP candidate Sarah Palin. She cares about people, not herself. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will also return to Washington after Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) tried to destroy her for her impeachment vote against him. DDT endorsed opponents of both these winners.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) will be Los Angeles’ first female mayor despite her wealthy opponent outspending her by $91 million.

Two extremely close races flipped the Pennsylvania state House to Democrats for the first time in a decade. The Dems flipped a total of 12 seats in the chamber.

The GOP will likely have 222 members of the House for the 118th Congress, outnumbering Democrats by five. Democrats are suing to overturn districting maps in six states they couldn’t do before 2022 elections: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, and Texas.

Georgia will determine whether Democrats have 50 or 51 Senators in the election on December 6.  Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) leads opponent Herschel 51 percent to 47 percent and has an 11-point lead among women voters plus 12 percent of those with a four-year or more college degree.

The week after DDT announced his 2024 presidential campaign, 57 percent thought it was a bad idea. Only 27 percent approved in the Quinnipiac University poll. Among independents, the disapproval was 58 percent to 32 percent. Forty-four percent don’t want Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to run for president, compared to 37 percent supporting him.

Courts:

The Supreme Court, typically supporting DDT, turned him down in his request to block House Democrats from seeing his tax records. Sought for 42 months, the decision listed no dissenting votes, and the records should be immediately turned over to the House committee.

The Supreme Court rejected appeals from a Virginia public school district and the University of Toledo in Ohio to stop sexual harassment lawsuits by female students using the law prohibiting sex discrimination at schools receiving federal funds.

A federal judge continued to send Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ beloved Stop WOKE Act into the trash pile, starting when he blocked provisions related to regulating private speech. In August, he wrote:

“Normally, the First Amendment bars the state from burdening speech, while private actors may burden speech freely. But in Florida, the First Amendment apparently bars private actors from burdening speech, while the state may burden speech freely.”

DeSantis’ law targeted concepts about race and history that Republicans dislike. In banning any information about critical race theory, DeSantis tried to regulate private businesses’ training sessions with their own private-sector employees. 

The November ruling stopped what the judge called a “positively dystopian” policy restricting how lessons on race and gender can be taught in colleges and universities. DeSantis wants to control what scholars can say in higher education. He quoted George Orwell’s novel 1984:

“’It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,’ and the powers in charge of Florida’s public university system have declared the State has unfettered authority to muzzle its professors in the name of ‘freedom.”

The judge added:

“The law officially bans professors from expressing disfavored viewpoints in university classrooms while permitting unfettered expression of the opposite viewpoints. Defendants argue that, under this Act, professors enjoy ‘academic freedom’ so long as they express only those viewpoints of which the State approves. This is positively dystopian.”

DeSantis will certainly appeal, but this ruling is a start. Other lawsuits are fighting the suppression of education in K-12.

With no comment, the Georgia Supreme Court rejected the GOP request to remove a day of early voting for the U.S. Senate runoff between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Herschel Walker. The GOP knows that it needs to block voting to win, causing the Republicans already passing a large number of voter restrictions including cutting the runoff calendar in half with a ban on Saturday voting after a holiday. Georgia’s runoff early voting now runs from November 27 to December 2.

A three-judge 11th Circuit Court panel, two DDT-appointed judges and one from George W. Bush, appear ready to support the DOJ by rescinding the special master appointment in the Mar-a-Lago documents case made by DDT’s pet judge Aileen Cannon. One of the DDT judges told DDT’s lawyer that sweeping up personal items in a court-authorized search was not unusual. The DOJ has also asked for the return of 13,000 documents to investigators examining if DDT illegally retained highly sensitive documents of national defense information after he left the White House and possibly obstructed justice in their retrieval.  

A judge asked DDT’s lawyer that if he can’t establish the seizure is unlawful, “what are we doing here?” Another judge pointed out that a special master has no relationship to unlawful seizure.

A complaint has been filed against a Greenville (MS) municipal judge who signs no-knock search warrants allowing police to go into a home unannounced and then keeps them instead of turning them over to the clerk. Violating the state’s criminal procedure rules, his process hides warrants from the public and The public has no access to the warrants and prevents people from defending themselves when they are charged with crimes.

Congress:

The Senate unanimously passed legislature to make funding for survivors of gender-based violence more inclusive of the neediest communities. This amendment to the Violence against Women Act increased funding for domestic violence and sexual assault services specifically helping Native Hawaiian survivors who were inadvertently excluded from the funding. Roughly two-thirds of sex-trafficking victims in Hawaii are Native Hawaiian.

Another unanimous Senate vote passed the Safe Connections Act to help survivors of domestic violence and other crimes cut ties with their abusers and separate from shared wireless service plans, useful to monitor, stalk, or control victims. Abused victims and dependents in their care won’t have penalties or other requirements to separate from shared plans, and the FCC must make rules to keep calls or texts on hotlines from appearing on call logs.

Almost 200 years ago, the U.S. agreed to seat a member of the Cherokee Nation in the House as a non-voting delegate. A House vote could make that happen. The House has six non-voting delegates, including from the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, who can introduce legislation and sit on committees but cannot vote on the House floor.

President Joe Biden:

Facing opposition from conservative states to his student loan forgiveness of $20,000 per person, Biden will extend the payment pause on federal student loans until 60 days after the relief plan is permitted.

The price of crude oil has dropped from almost $120 in March to $77.50, plunging over one-third of its cost from this year’s highest point. Shipping prices are lower, and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) drove investment in U.S. battery equipment manufacturing, taking the industry from China.  

Jason Easley and Sarah Jones wrote about gratitude for Biden:

“After four years of feeling like the country was careening out of control, President Joe Biden assumed office and immediately restored stability and normalcy to the country…. Biden got the pandemic under control, oversaw record-setting job growth, and made a huge downpayment on rebuilding America’s infrastructure and helping the planet. Biden has gotten Congress to function in a bipartisan way and has lived up to his promise to try to help people and make their lives better.

“Things have not been perfect. Inflation remains a stubborn and persistent problem. The Senate filibuster has stopped Biden from achieving goals like voting rights reform, an assault weapons ban, and the codification of Roe.”

Easley and Jones described Biden’s leadership:

“You may not appreciate it at the moment, but you’ll know when it is not there.

“The reason why so many Americans will be able to enjoy their Thanksgiving holiday is that a steady hand is again steering the national ship from the Oval Office.

“The feeling that there has been a dark cloud hovering over the nation has passed.”

Footnote for Biden: For many years, Fox network attacked “liberals” for their “War on Christmas.” Evidently that particular war has ended. Fox’s latest complaint is that Biden is “too pro-Christmas,” led by Laura Ingraham on her prime-time show. (The official lighting of the National Christmas Tree isn’t until November 30.) 

And then there’s the scandal about Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito leaking information to evangelical Christians before his announcements of two cases about reproductive rights. But that’s a longer story!

October 13, 2022

Dark Clouds for DDT

October 13 gave Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) at least three huge blows.

In one sentence with no dissent, DDT’s handpicked Supreme Court denied DDT’s pet judge Aileen Cannon’s order permitting special master to review classified documents that FBI seized at Mar-a-Lago using a warrant. 

New York AG Letitia James asked a state court to freeze Trump Organization assets to keep them from being transferred outside of the state.  

The House January 6 investigative committee culminated its hearing, the last if the GOP takes the house, with a unanimous vote to subpoena DDT for testimony and documents from his administration. The subpoena expires at the end of 2022.

All nine committee members made presentations during the 153-minute hearing, some of it recaps. New video provided videos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) desperately calling high-level officials for help when DDT rejected her pleas to call off his violent supporters. The hearing also replayed congressional speeches by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) explaining that DDT was responsible for the January 6 insurrection.

Other testimony added pieces of the puzzle:

The Secret Service knew DDT-supporters’ threats and plots of violence much earlier than they had previously admitted but provided no warning or cautionary strategy for protecting congressional members and the vice-president from the armed protesters.

Months before DDT’s losing election, video and social media posts from DDT’s allies such as Roger Stone and Steve Bannon prove they instructed DDT to proclaim he won the election if he loses because “possession is nine-tenths of the law.” They also knew about DDT’s plans to have his supporters storm the U.S. capitol.

Knowing he lost the election, DDT signed a flurry of military orders, requiring “the immediate withdrawal of troops from Somalia and Afghanistan.”  

Evidence shows that DDT knew Joe Biden won the presidency despite his public lies and DDT approved of the insurrection.

The committee will recall witnesses who already testified under oath to see if they lied about DDT’s actions on January 6.

More on DDT’s problems:

As DDT’s rallies shrink in size, they increase in hatred, anti-science, and bigotry. The Mesa (AZ) event last weekend was in a dirt field; DDT still owes the city almost $65,000 for a previous event as well as outstanding debts to Phoenix and Tucson.  

From the Nevada and Arizona rallies:  

  • Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) said that all Blacks commit crimes and that only God changes the climate. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) defended Tuberville’s bigotry.
  • Jim Marchant, DDT’s endorsement for Nevada’s secretary of state, said that he’ll put DDT back into the White House and “take our country back” when we “get all our Secretaries of State elected.”
  • State GOP chair Michael McDonald claimed the “fake electors” were just standing up “for the rights of Nevadans.”
  • DDT demanded that Ukrainians immediately stop trying to destroy the Russian army invading their country.
  • And of course, “Lock her up!”

DDT’s legal fees are rapidly mounting, but they’re being picked up by donors through his Save America PAC and the RNC while he fails to fund GOP candidates as he promised. His incessant appeals is contributing to burnout with small donors, but the organizations are funneling large sums of money to DDT’s businesses and nonprofits created by former White House, including DDT’s chief of staff Mark Meadows.

New revelations:

DDT’s former lawyer Christina Bobb told the DOJ that another lawyer, Evan Corcoran, told her to sign the supposedly complete list of documents although she didn’t do the search. She signed the statement as a custodian rather than a lawyer which means she may not be subject to attorney-client privilege protections.  

DDT threatened to expose identities of confidential government sources from his first impeachment and still obsesses about this revenge fantasy, according to a Rolling Stone report by Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley. After the insurrection, he waved papers and complained about redactions, saying that people should see who “did it” to the president, and he continues to talk about getting “the names” into the public record.

When chances of overturning the election reduced, DDT and Meadows pushed the DOJ to declassify the binder with records of the FBI’s 2016 Russian investigation. Recently, DDT wanted to tell the Archives he would trade “his” documents for information on the Russian investigation, but his aides didn’t follow through. Blackmail is always the name of the game for DDT.  

A DDT aide told the FBI that DDT directed his moving White House records from storage to his apartment, a statement supported by surveillance tapes. Since his campaign in 2016, DDT has repeatedly demanded lengthy prison sentences for people who he believed mishandled classified materials, starting with Hillary Clinton, and promised “to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information.” He added, “No one will be above the law.”

At his Arizona rally, DDT said he had “a small number of boxes,” but they were his. Legal experts have said that he is admitting a crime. Documents dated after DDT left the White House may be mixed in with the other ones, indicating that DDT has handled the documents after he left office.

Without naming DDT, the National Archives refuted his claims that past presidents had mishandled White House records with the help of the agency. At his Nevada and Arizona rallies, DDT made these claims about former presidents of both parties from Reagan to Obama. He even invented the lie that George H.W. Bush’s records were stored in a combination Chinese restaurant and bowling alley “with no security and a broken door.” The Archives declared temporary storage always “met strict archival and security standards and have been managed and staffed exclusively by NARA employees.” Any insinuations that records were stored in substandard conditions “are false and misleading.” DDT also accused President Clinton of losing nuclear codes.

Assigned by AG Bill Barr, special counsel John Durham’s almost four-year investigation into Robert Mueller’s investigation, which DDT promised to be a bombshell, dribbles to an end with the trial of Igor Danchenko. Durham claims that the researcher fed information to former British spy Christopher Steele with allegations about DDT’s ties to Russia in 2016. The judge appeared skeptical about the charge. 

DDT’s wealthy investor friend Tom Barrack is on trial for his lobbying between DDT and the United Arab Emirates for DDT’s profit. Barrack also worked with Paul Manafort, who pled guilty to fraud and conspiracy, and met DDT through their association with sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein. Influencer of Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, made Barracl a foreign agent, but he failed to register for this role as required by U.S. law.

DDT’s defamation suit against CNN accuses them of comparing him to the Nazis and Hitler as well as the “malice” of using the term “Big Lie” for his massive lying about a stolen election. As a public figure, he may have trouble proving his case against the media, especially with the precedent from a DDT-appointed judge who ruled that Fox network’s Tucker Carlson didn’t engage in slander because of the opinionated nature of his show.

In another defamation suit by E. Jean Carroll, DDT will be deposed on October 19. She claimed he raped her, and DDT denied it, calling her “a liar” and “not my type.” He said this libel and slander was part of his presidential duties. Two judges on a 2nd Circuit panel said Carroll couldn’t sue DDT for defamation but asked the D.C. Circuit Court to rule on whether DDT acted “outside the scope” of his position when he defamed Carroll by casting doubt on her credibility and demeaning her personal appearance. Carroll will bring a civil suits against DDT for a sexual assault because a recent New York law changes the statute of limitations.

A federal judge denied DDT’s motion to pause Carroll’s defamation suit. He also ruled that DDT couldn’t show a meaningful threat of irreparable injury if a stay is not put in place but that Carroll would suffer irreparable injury with a stay. Twenty months ago, the judge denied DDT’s request that the United States be substituted for DDT in the lawsuit.

The special master assigned to the Mar-a-Lago case about DDT’s stolen documents gave DDT until October 20 to prove why the seized unclassified materials are covered by executive privilege. The reason has to go beyond “I thought so.” 

One of DDT’s ongoing associates while he was in the White House is Chinese businessman Tao Liu, a fugitive from China and mastermind of a conspiracy defrauding thousands of investors with connections to Chinese and Latin American organized crime. His crimes cover the world.  The FBI monitored Liu because he allegedly worked with Chinese spies to buy access to U.S. political figures. The Secret Service didn’t screen Liu at Bedminster where he wandered in and out, and the government kept their encounters secret. In 2021, Liu was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty in a federal pled guilty in a federal conspiracy to bribe a U.S. official in a passport sting and money laundering.

This list of DDT’s legal problems is two months old but gives an excellent summary up to August 21, 2022.  

In an Atlantic article, Franklin Foer explains why Merrick Garland will likely indict DDT.

Remember! DDT said, “Nobody is above the law.”

 

September 29, 2022

Pot-pourri – DDT, Uvalde, Etc.

Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to prevent a government shutdown by 72-25 with only one day remaining before the deadline. The CR succeeded after Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) bill for a pipeline approval was pulled from the measure. Big-oil Republicans opposed it because they are angry with Manchin for supporting the Inflation Reduction Act, and progressive Democrats didn’t want to put fossil fuels over renewable energy. The law would keep the government open for 2.5 months until December 16 before Congress needs to pass a budget. The bill provides $12.4 billion for Ukrainian aid but nothing for COVID or monkeypox assistance. If the House, where GOP leadership is pushing the measure, accepts the bill, congressional members can go home and campaign for their reelections in November.

Nine years ago, the newly-elected congressional member from Florida, Ron DeSantis, voted against a $9.7 billion aid bill for New York and New Jersey because of the disastrous storm, Sandy. He said, “The credit card mentality … puts us almost $17 trillion in debt.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) agreed, claiming that money shouldn’t go to blue states. DeSantis formed the Freedom Caucus to block budget deals, but in October 2017, nearing his gubernatorial campaign, he flip-flopped, voting in favor of a $36.5 billion relief package for Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico.  

This week, DeSantis begged President Joe Biden for funds after Hurricane Ian hit, full federal reimbursement up front for 60 days, and told Tucker Carlson on the Fox network:  

“You know, when people are fighting for their lives, when their whole livelihood is at stake, when they’ve lost everything—if you can’t put politics aside for that, then you’re just not going to be able to.” 

DeSantis lied about the 2013 bill having non-emergency funds and blamed New York for failing to insure buildings. His request for billions of dollars began “Dear Mr. President.” The governor’s spokesman said, “We have no time for politics or pettiness,” unlike earlier when DeSantis flew 48 Texas asylum seekers from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard with no warning. DeSantis is “thankful”—for now—adding, “We all need to work together, regardless of party lines.” Biden’s approval of disaster declaration covers temporary housing, home repairs, and low-cost loans for uninsured property losses.

Floridians are suffering from flood/storm surge insurance. The National Flood Insurance Program, covering almost 1.8 million home and business owners in flood zones is over $20 million debt to the federal treasury, and DeSantis voted against bailouts after Sandy. He also opposed keeping insurance at affordable rates for most homeowners. Homeowner policies typically don’t cover flood damage, primarily insuring for wind damage.

Hurricane Ian may cause more insurance companies to declare insolvency. Since January 2020, at least a dozen insurance companies in the state have gone out of business, six of them in 2022. Almost 30 others are listed on the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s “Watch List” because of financial instability. Other large insurers such as Allstate and State Farm pulled much of their business out of Florida. The state already has the highest insurance premiums in the U.S.

State Rep. Spencer Roach, DDT supporter and author of DeSantis “Don’t Say Gay” bill in the schools, may need Biden’s help. Roach lost his house in Fort Myers.

Deposed Donald Trump’s (DDT) pet judge Aileen Cannon still puts him above the law, negating orders from her appointed “special master” Raymond Dearie who DDT demanded. Dearie told DDT’s lawyers to identify whether documents were planted or declassified, as DDT claimed. Cannon told DDT’s lawyers that they didn’t need to comply with Dearie’s orders which included lawyers state in a court filing whether they believed FBI agents lied about documents seized at Mar-a-Lago. Part of DDT’s strategy is to claim that the FBI had brought documents with them to the search and left them to make him look guilty.

Cannon also supported DDT in his stalling strategy by extending the special master review deadline to December 16, later than her original deadline of approximately Thanksgiving. Both dates are after the Midterm election. Dearie had said he would be finished by October 21. In another contradiction of the special master, Cannon blocked his authority to issue interim reports. Dearie firmly responded to her flip-flopping:

“In the original Appointing Order, the Court directed that ‘the Special Master shall submit interim reports and recommendations as appropriate. Upon receipt and resolution of any interim reports and recommendations, the Court will consider prompt adjustments to the Court’s orders as necessary.’ However, the Court later struck that language as part of its order implementing an unrelated ruling by the Eleventh Circuit. As the language quoted above as to interim reports and adjustments to prior orders is consistent with the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling and the efficient administration of the Appointing Order as amended, the undersigned respectfully recommends that the Court issue an order reinstating that language.”

Dearie made this statement after a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court, two of them appointed by DDT, reversed Cannon’s order blocking the DOJ from access to documents that were marked classified while he reviews unclassified materials.

DDT and his lawyers also lie about Biden orchestrating the probes into DDT. DOJ’s AG Merrick Garland stated:

“I think that the president made clear when he appointed me that he would not interfere with in any way any criminal investigations and he has stood by that. And there has been no White House participation whatsoever.”

This week, DDT’s lawyer Alina Habba told Newmax the FBI “planted” the evidence seized on August 8 at Mar-a-Lago and accused the administration about not “following the law.” DDT’s lawyers also refuse the special master’s order to identify which top-secret documents seized with the warrant were those that DDT insisted he “declassified”—possibly by telepathy.

Over three years ago, DDT denied that he tried to hide the USS John McCain during his visit to Japan because of his antagonism toward the noted senator who died nine months earlier. New information proves the White House Military Office told military to hide the name not put anything in writing. Emails stretched over a month before DDT’s trip in late May 2019 were largely redacted, but one directly states, “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight.” Another reference states the action of covering the ship’s name with a tarp was “NOT instructed” by the 7th Fleet. Paint scaffolding was also used to obscure the name, and the ship’s sailors wearing caps with its name were given the day off during DDT’s visit. 

Text messages sent to former chief of staff Mark Meadows released this week further revealed DDT’s attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Phil Waldron, DDT supporter and retired U.S. Army colonel, sent the texts and circulated a PowerPoint presentation to federal legislators recommending that DDT declare a national emergency over the mythical “fraud” to stay in power. Waldron also helped write a draft executive order to seize voting machines that was never formally issued. On December 23, 2020, Waldron told Meadows that Arizona was the “lead domino,” and they had to move fast. Meadows’ brief responses indicated agreement with the plans.  

Three shooting survivors’ families in Uvalde (TX) are suing the school district, gun maker and store, city officials, and law enforcement officials after the mismanaged massacre of students and teachers on May 24. The lawsuit names ten defendants, including the school district police chief Pete Arredondo who was fired several months after extreme controversy.  Many red flags surrounded the isolated and depressed teenager regarding his potential for this type of violence from fixation on cruelty. Friends often ridiculed the teenage boy for looking like a “school shooter.”

A three-person legislative panel ruled “systemic failures” and “egregiously poor decision making” among all levels of law enforcement involved, the school, the family, and the shooters but found no one responsible. Investigators questioned whether frequent lockdown practices, 50 at the school in three months before the massacre, contributed to the teenager’s success through complacency. Law enforcement sent to the school were also trained to apprehend migrants, not deal with mass shooters. Officers early on the scene thought the threat could be a “bailout,” a term for fleeing suspected migrants because the school’s alert system didn’t specify the threat.

The legislative panel reported that law enforcement prioritized their own lives over those of the children and found excessive problems with lack of security—a faulty lock on classroom doors, “poor Wi-Fi connectivity” delaying alerts of the crisis, and failure of police “to adhere to their active shooter training.” In addition, the 77-page report commented on “the void of leadership” contributing to the loss of life supplemented by lack of “incident command post.” A video showed police as they waited in the hallway for 73 minutes to enter the unlocked room. They fist bumped, texted, and sanitized their hands while hearing gun shots from inside the room. Video and details here.   

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) boycotted a hearing on gun violence focused on victims and survivors of mass shootings in Buffalo (NY) and Uvalde. He said it exploited children and objected to children voluntarily testifying about their experiences.

Six people, two of them were students, were hospitalized after a shooting at an Oakland (CA) shooting at a charter school which might have been gang-related with weapons possibly banned in California. As of this shooting, the U.S. has had 508 mass shootings in the first nine months of 2022 with 545 dead and 2089 injured.

September 22, 2022

More Fraud – September 22, 2022

Special master Raymond Dearie is back in the news on Thursday: he ordered the lawyers of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) to submit a sworn declaration if they believe the FBI planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago during the August 8 search. The declaration must include “a list of any specific items set forth in the Detailed Property Inventory that Plaintiff asserts were not seized from the Premises on August 8, 2022.” DDT recently repeated the accusation of FBI planting materials this week when talking to Sean Hannity on Fox network. Dearie set September 30 for the declaration’s deadline and asked DOJ for declarations about key facts regarding the search. His actions give an opening to hearing testimony about the search and seized materials from “witnesses with knowledge of the relevant facts.

The DOJ was also ordered to submit “copies of all seized materials” except those marked classified to DDT’s lawyers by September 29. DDT’s legal team must finish reviewing all documents for potential executive or attorney-client privilege by October 14 while regularly sending designations during the interim. Reviews and final designations from both sides are due by October 21. Dearie may also send  proceedings to Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who approved the search warrant. Retired federal judge James Orenstein, appointed by George W. Bush, has been hired to help the review with his staff from the Eastern District of New York assisting. Orenstein had served “on the prosecution team in the Oklahoma City bombings trials.” Attorney General Merrick Garland played a leading role earlier in his career in the Oklahoma City investigation. Dearie said he won’t be paid for his work because the government is paying him as a federal judge but proposed that Orenstein be paid $500 per hour covered by DDT, based on an earlier court ruling.

Some of DDT’s faithful GOP senators are abandoning him, especially his ability to declassify documents just by thinking he does. John Thune (SD) said declassification has a process which should be followed and “apply to anybody who has access to or deals with classified information.” Thom Tillis (NC) agreed, and Mike Rounds (SD) called handling of classified documents a “very serious” issue. Other senators dodged the question, like Mike Braun (IN) who claimed ignorance about the “proper methodology.”

DDT made many bizarre comments about the search for government documents at Mar-a-Lago, but one that belies belief is that the FBI thought they could find “the Hillary Clinton emails that were deleted but they are around someplace.” He repeated that to Sean Hannity on Fox this week, trying to gin up rumors by lying about “a lot of speculation” in his alternative reality.   

Past fraud has returned to haunt DDT—his 2014 rivalry with the 1980s metal rocker Jon Bon Jovi to buy the football team Buffalo Bills. In the $250 million fraud civil lawsuit filed by Letitia James in New York, DDT allegedly inflated assets’ valuation to finance a purchase attempt. DDT smeared the New Jersey resident, saying was that he was too Canadian for Buffalo because of Bon Jovi’s coalition of Toronto-based investors. In his $1 billion bid for the team, DDT needed a letter from a bank that he could get $800 million in financing. A Trump Organization executive, Jeffrey McConney, told the bank that DDT’s wealth, reportedly $800 billion, had “no material decrease” since the 2013 personal statement of financial condition, but those valuations were artificially inflated with DDT’s “deceptive strategies.” Although DDT claimed Bon Jovi planned to move the Bills to Toronto, he didn’t get the team and neither did the rocker. The winning $1.4 billion bid came from Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Sabres hockey team.

Conservatives complained that the nation’s unemployment insurance program to help people during the pandemic caused people to quit work and live on the “government dole.” Yet fraudsters skimmed over $45.6 billion from the program, using dead people’s Social Security numbers and identities of prisoners ineligible for aid. That finding could be incomplete because of the focus on “high risk” areas for fraud; billions of dollars may also have been stolen. Thus far,1,000 people have been charged for these crimes, and 190,000 investigative matters have been opened. The program began in 2020 under DDT’s term in the White House.

In another program to help people during the worst of COVID, 47 defendants have been charged with stealing over $250 million from Feeding Our Future to provide free meals for needy children. Other charges involved about $1 trillion in loans and grants intended for small businesses, and GOP governors have used funding from a $350 billion program by making tax cuts and immigration crackdowns—such as Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis shipping migrants from Texas to Massachusetts.

DeSantis has dropped to a new low in cruelty. He lured migrants to a hotel in San Antonio (TX) miles from their shelter with the promise to fly them to jobs, homes, and help in Delaware, only to cancel the flight and abandon the people. An anonymous source close to DeSantis stated that the flight, supposedly scheduled to land about 20 miles from President Joe Biden’s beach home, was to “punk” media and Democratic officials and “put a spotlight on the border.” Migrants were told they could stay in the hotel for the night before the bogus flight if they didn’t talk about the travel plans or who arranged them. The next morning, they were told the flight was canceled. Their recruiters hired a bus them back to San Antonio’s Migrant Resource Center ten miles away which would provide three days of shelter and aid. Some migrants were not told about the bus, and none of them received food after the flight was canceled.

In April, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) sought federal protection for Venezuelan asylum seekers in the U.S.; five months later he accuses them of entering the U.S. “illegally.” He also doesn’t twisted the law, lying that migrants kidnapped by Florida’s governor from Texas and transported across several state lines could not sue for legal recourse. Rubio is only two points ahead of his reelection opponent, Val Deming.   

According to Rubio, health exceptions for the pregnant woman in an abortion ban are also a “massive loophole” and like vehicular manslaughter.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the man who fled the Texas cold during the energy shutdown for the Cancun warmth, is claiming “a great partisan victory!” In a video he took credit for a highway from Laredo to North Dakota that brings jobs and ”tens of billions of dollars” to his state, declaring his pride in the years of hard work for the project. Yet he voted against the bill unlike the other Texas senator, John Cornyn, among 18 Republican senators.

The GOP, party who claims to want transparency, unanimously blocked a Senate bill revealing names of donors giving over $10,000. Republicans need the dark money to get elected.

House Republicans briefly released their policy platform called “Commitment to America” on House Minority Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) website but soon dropped the public’s ability to see the document. Before its disappearance, however, multiple screenshots were taken. It criticizes the Democrats reduction of popular prescription drug costs and “fight inflation and curb the cost of living” through cuts in government spending and taxes, probably for the wealthy as in the 2017 GOP law. Its promise to “save and strengthen Social Security and Medicare” was preceded by a GOP House committee meeting to reduce coverage and cut benefits by “massively” slashing Social Security in its proposed 2023 budget. Another “commitment” is new restrictions on voter access, including mandating voter ID, loosening rules on voter roll purges, and increasing access for observers during elections.

The platform is reminiscent of Newt Gingrich’s 1994 “Contract with America.” McCarthy, however, proposed only one bill promised to get floor votes instead of Gingrich’s ten, a Parental Bill of Rights based on blocking the teaching of “critical race theory.” Deliberately vague, the agenda doesn’t deal in specifics. The one-page document, now removed from McCarthy’s website, is here

McCarthy tried the same grocery store stunt as Pennsylvania’s GOP candidate for U.S. senate, Mehmet Oz, to show the plight of people in the U.S. and failed, just like Oz. In a video with the store as backdrop, McCarthy talked for 15 seconds about financial problems before hellish images and statements about the country’s drugs, inflation, and kids falling behind because of non-existent school closures. He lied about the U.S. being in a recession, and he had no Republican solution, only GOP control of the House.

Claremont, MAGA’s most prominent think tank, is home not only to John Eastman, legal architect of DDT’s plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election, but also the “Sheriff Fellows,” MAGA sheriffs learning the fellowship’s curriculum of two sets of people in the U.S.—communities to be treated as freely and brutally as law enforcement wish and the “real Americans” who are above the law. Sheriffs are a likely target for extremism because the office is vulnerable and can enable vigilantes to exert havoc on society. They have great authority with tanks, helicopters, SWAT teams, battering rams, surveillance technology and guns to terrify community members. Claremont’s curriculum for training these sheriffs is here. Sheriffs are elected; voters should be wary.

And Thomas Barrack, DDT’s close friend, is on trial this week for secretly lobbying DDT on behalf of the United Arab Emirates for personal power and financial gain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 20, 2022

News – September 20, 2022

A few highlights from today:

More Republicans may go down for election fraud after the emergence of surveillance video at the Coffee County (GA) election office. Questioned about unauthorized forensics experts at SullivanStrickler tied to DDT copying sensitive voting machine software and data for eight hours in the county office, former state GOP official and “fake elector” for DDT Cathy Latham swore under oath that she briefly stopped by but stayed in the foyer—five minutes at most—talking about an unrelated matter at the front desk. “I didn’t go into the office,” she said.

According to a video, however, Latham visited the office twice on January 7, 2021, for over four hours beginning at 11:37 am and leaving at 7:40 pm. During that time, she led businessman Scott Hall into a back area to meet forensic experts and local officials as well as going in and out of the area where experts worked. The businessman was “looking into the election on behalf of the President,” according to the state GOP chair. Hall said that the team “scanned all the equipment, imaged all the hard drives and scanned every single ballot,” adding that he had the permission of “basically” the “entire local elections committee.”

Latham (right) watched the forensics team work on the voting machines and even took a selfie with one of the experts while she was in the office. The next day, she exchanged texts with SullivanStrickler’s CEO and updated Coffee County elections supervisor Misty Hampton on the forensics team’s whereabouts. Both Latham and Hampton couldn’t remember what happened, but Hampton’s texts indicated great enthusiasm for Latham’s news.

According to a SullivanStrickler executive, Latham introduced herself as an elections official. Her lawyer said there must have been a misunderstanding because Latham has never held that position. SullivanStrickler’s lawyers described Latham as “a primary point of contact in coordinating and facilitating” the firm’s work in Coffee County, adding: “Ms. Latham was on-site in the Coffee County elections office that day while the work was performed.” In a deposition, the executive said Latham “provided direction on what was required for collection,” and the company believed it had proper authorization to make “forensic images,” or exact copies, from the election equipment in Coffee County. 

Earlier told about the plans, Eric Chaney, a member of the county elections board employing Hampton, originally claimed he was unaware of anyone illegally accessing the server. He did remember finding “people present unknown to me” when he went by the office but said he thought they were from the secretary of state’s office. The video shows him present throughout most of the day and talking with the forensics team and Hall, including when the company’s CEO used a cord to connect poll pads to the team’s laptop. Questioned under oath, Chaney admitted he went to the office on January 7 but cited his Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself to questions about the team copying voting data.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may have violated federal law by lying to migrants in San Antonio (TX) about the aid they would receive in Massachusetts. They received a brochure with lists of what they can expect: “8 months cash assistance,” “assistance with housing,” “food,” “clothing,” “transportation to job interviews,” “job training,” “job placement,” “registering children for school,” “assistance applying for Social Security cards,” and many other benefits—all available on the tiny island of Martha’s Vineyard. Images of the brochure are here.

Sheriff of Bexar County, Javier Salazar, said his office is investigating possible crimes in DeSantis’ removal of migrants from San Antonio and left to fend for themselves after they were told they were going to Boston. Salazar said the migrants were “lured … to staying in a hotel for a few days and then taken to an airplane … under false pretenses of being offered jobs.” He added that the 48 people, in Texas legally, were “exploited and hoodwinked.” The promised benefits are not available on Martha’s Vineyard, the reason that migrants voluntarily moved to another location.

DeSantis’ plan to deport migrants from Texas with Florida money received from the federal government may have run into problems. Salazar reported a flight with migrants scheduled from San Antonio to Delaware, President Joe Biden’s home state, had been postponed at the last minute. Delaware officials had been preparing a welcome for the plane. DeSantis didn’t give any notification of his plans to either Massachusetts or Delaware—or Texas, where he abducted the migrants.

If the law proves fraud or kidnapping, the migrants could be eligible for visas, upsetting DeSantis goal to annoy people. He also claimed migrants signed waivers agreeing to travel to Martha’s Vineyard, but unlawful acts cannot be waived. The island did not provide the advantages DeSantis promised the travelers, and the map was simply an arrow across the U.S. from Texas to Massachusetts. A qualifying crime for a U visa includes “the enticement of travel for a better life or jobs,” which may be difficult to prove in this case. International law also promises “the right to liberty of movement” as well as migrants suffering from deception, coercion, and abuse of power.

A civil rights law firm has filed a class action lawsuit against DeSantis on behalf of the migrants and “similarly situated people who are fraudently induced to travel across state lines by DeSantis and the State of Florida.” The migrants have consistently been called “illegal aliens” or “illegal immigrants,” but they were legally in the U.S. claiming asylum for the Venezuelan regime which DeSantis said “is responsible for countless atrocities.”

DDT is also having a bad day. His handpicked “special master” to investigate the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago, Judge Raymond Dearie, asked DDT to “disclose details about any materials he claims to have declassified before calling them his property.” DDT claims he wants to keep that information secret to defend himself in case of an indictment and his appointed judge, Aileen Cannon, didn’t include that in her order. He also argued that Dearie is moving too fast (because DDT’s purpose was to stall) because Dearie wants both sides to label designations on the documents by October 7, 2022. That’s before the Midterm elections compared to Cannon’s deadline of November 30. Lawyers are also upset regarding Dearie’s request about whether DDT’s Fourth Amendment litigation should be filed with the magistrate judge permitting the search warrant.

DDT’s lawyers have never claimed in filings or court that DDT declassified the documents, they probably figured that saying they might be declassified covered them from committing perjury. In his first meeting as special master with DDT’s legal team and the DOJ, Dearie appeared dissatisfied with DDT’s attorneys about the lack of details regarding whether DDT had declassified documents. He told them that “it’s the end of it” if the lawyers could not definitely state that the records were declassified and the DOJ had evidence they weren’t. “You can’t have your cake and eat it,” Dearie told them. He also pointed out that the legal team might not be able to review the classified documents because they are restricted to those with a need to know. The DOJ had pointed out that some of its own investigators lacked clearances to review the documents. The three statutes used for the search warrant, however, do not require proof that the documents were classified.

After the DOJ failed in its request to Cannon for a stay to immediately examine the classified documents for an investigation, it appealed Cannon’s refusal to the 11th Circuit Court last Friday. The court may be more serious about the national security than Cannon: it required a response from DD by Tuesday noon. Cannon had ruled that extremely highly classified documents lying around at Mar-a-Lago for anyone to see was not a big deal and didn’t deserve an immediate investigation.

Texas AG Ken Paxton, under indictment for fraud, entered the fray by attacking the Biden administration in a federal court brief to the 11th Circuit Court regarding the seizure of records to support Cannon’s ruling. The filing falsely claims widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election and argues that Biden cannot be trusted to appropriately behave in DDT’s case because he disagrees with Biden’s policies. Attorneys general from ten states joined Paxton’s brief

Now watchers await the DOJ response to DDT’s response, the appointment of a three-judge panel by the 11th Circuit (six appointed by DDT of the 11 active judges), and the next scene in DDT’s legal team attempts to walk over Dearie—a highly unlikely event.

White House lawyer Eric Herschmann reported that DDT was told last year he “could face legal liability if he did not return government materials he had taken with him when he left office.” DDT kept tens of boxes of materials that belonged to the U.S. government and lied about having them. The case is about far more than just a “storage dispute” as DDT’s legal team claims.

According to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, DDT’s aides have the responsibility for providing him with “positive reinforcement.” A “cast” of people is “tasked” with surrounding DDT for this purpose, either ones who are paid or former aides who have nothing else to do now. Their job is to recite nice things people write about him on Twitter and other social media platform. Herschmann probably isn’t one of them.

September 12, 2022

Ukraine’s Progress, DDT Stalls

The 9/11 post about Ukrainian’s counteroffensive to the Russian invasion showed hope that continues. Disguised as locals, abandoned Russian troops fled Zaliznychne, 37 miles east of Kharkiv, on stolen bicycles and cars or any other way they could, leaving their weapons behind. Soldiers pled for rescue with unit commanders, but they were told “you’ve on your own.”

Investigators came from Kharkiv to collect civilian bodies shot by Russians, some lying exposed for months. One investigator repeated vomited over a guardrail as officers picked up the remains of bodies rotting on the floor of a gravel elevator at an asphalt plant which Russians used as a sniper tower.

The day after Russia reported leaving the Balakliya and Izyum area, its Defense Ministry briefing showed forces retreating behind the Oskil River on the eastern edge of the Kaharkiv region. By Sunday, Ukraine reported taking back over 1,100 square miles of territory while advancing to the east, south, and north, penetrating Russian lines up to 42 miles in some places. The report added that Ukrainians “captured more territory in the past five days than Russian forces have captured in all their operations since April.” Later Zelensky added that Ukraine had taken back 3,600 square miles and over 40 settlements since the beginning of September.

Russia still holds about one-fifth of Ukraine and continues heavy shelling in several regions, but Ukrainian soldiers hope this weekend is a turning point. Ukraine’s Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said the nation could not negotiate a peace deal permitting Russian an occupying presence anywhere in Ukraine, even in those such as Crimea and the eastern regions controlled by Russia or Russian-backed separatists for eight years. At the Yalta European Strategy summit in Kyiv on Saturday, Reznikov said, “The point of no return has passed.” Later he told Russia that Ukraine was “not refusing the talks” when Russia planned another round of sham referendums to annex occupied territories, but added that the longer the delay, “the more difficult it will be to negotiate.”

Chechen republic leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who sent his own fighters to Ukraine, said he would have to contact Moscow leadership for an explanation without immediate changes in Russia’s actions in the invasion. Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky didn’t give details about his plans but said they “won’t be standing still.”

Refusing to acknowledge a rout, Russia claimed they were regrouping its troops for deployment. Even Russian social media users scoffed at this weak excuse, calling the pull-out “shameful.” Hawkish Russian war bloggers have turned against Putin, calling the war a “catastrophe.” On state television, a former Duma member blamed unnamed “people who convinced President Putin that the special operation would be effective and swift, that we won’t be hitting the civilian population . . . that the Ukrainians will surrender and run away and ask to join Russia.” He clearly favored peace negotiations to end the “war” instead of using Putin’s term “special operation.” On Saturday, Putin had time to open a new Ferris wheel in Moscow, the largest in Europe. People were stuck as high as 460 feet over the ground, and the wheel closed for “calibration.”  

According to Ukrainian officials, the Russian military has stopped sending new units into Ukraine:

“The current situation in the theatre of operations and distrust of the higher command forced a large number of volunteers to categorically refuse the prospect of service in combat conditions.”

Ukrainians have no place for all their Russian prisoners of war they have captured.

 Energoatom, operator of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, is shutting down the last working reactor at the Russian-controlled plant which had powered the crucial cooling system. It will be cooled and transferred to a safer state after Russians continued its shelling of the area. Shelling can still disconnect the grid, forcing the plant to use emergency diesel generators to avoid a nuclear meltdown, but only ten days of diesel fuel remains. 

Sunday, Russian missile strikes against power stations and other infrastructure left tens of thousands of people with no electricity and running water for several hours. The Kharkiv called the power outage “revenge by the Russian aggressor for the successes of our army at the front, in particular, in the Kharkiv region.” The outages were not related to the reactor shutdowns at the Zaporizhzhia plant.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/12/trump-classified-special-master/    A new filing by Deposed Donald Trump’s (DDT) legal team argues that the documents marked classified aren’t really classified. Like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the attorneys claimed the situation was a “document storage dispute.” The filing is in response to the DOJ’s request that the over 100 classified documents, including military and nuclear secrets of a foreign government, be exempted from the examination. Yet DDT’s lawyers wouldn’t lie under oath to declare that DDT had declassified the documents. They just claim that prosecutors are overstating any national-security concerns and said the government was not being fair.  

While DDT’s Judge Aileen Cannon tries to protect him, the DOJ issued about 40 subpoenas to obtain more information on DDT and his associates regarding the 2020 election and January 6 insurrection. Several of the subjects are still close to DDT including former White House social media director Dan Scavino. Last week, the DOJ seized phones from top advisers Boris Epshteyn and Roman who helped submit fake electoral votes from swing states won by President Joe Biden in 2020. Some of the subpoenas are related to DDT’s fraudulent donation scheme from his Save America PAC falsely claiming the money would to go the non-existent court cases to put DDT back into the White House. At least one subpoena asked for information about members of the executive and legislative branches taking part in blocking the presidential election election. Several congressional members have already been identified

DDT’s filing based its entire legal argument on a reading of the Presidential Records Act (PRA) (1978) which states that the National Archives “shall” become the custodian of presidential records. DDT’s team claims that he doesn’t have to return the classified documents because the law does not state “must.” After the Supreme Court ruled in Gutierrez de Martinez v. Lamagno (1995) that “shall” could mean “may,” much to the surprise of the entire legal world which had defined “shall” as “must,” Congress passed the Plain Writing Act in 2010, requiring the word “must” for mandatory. Originalists, however, must accept the word “shall” as “must” because the PRA was passed 17 years before the Supreme Court ruling.  

According to a new memoir by Geoffrey Berman, fired because he wouldn’t voluntarily resign as the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, former AG Bill Barr is a liar, a bully, and a thug. And stupid.

In Holding the Line: Inside the Nation’s Preeminent US Attorney’s Office and Its Battle with the Trump Justice Department, to be published this week, Berman gave a firsthand account of how Barr tried to orchestrate the prosecution of DDT’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen and the Halkbank investigation about Turkish bankers and government officials helping Iran circumvent the Iran nuclear deal. Berman had been Barr’s adversary during the presidency of George H.W. Bush when Barr protected Bush from legal problems by suggesting that the president pardon the conspirators of the Iran-Contra scandal along with more sleazy actions.

To protect DDT, Barr took “point person” for the Halkbank investigation that was run out of New York. At one meeting, Barr raised his voice when he asked Berman, “Who do you think you are to interfere?” Berman had refused to give people in the case a non-prosecution agreement without disclosing the move and said it would be a “fraud on the court.”

Barr used the same words over the appointment of Audrey Strauss as Berman’s deputy. Berman let himself be fired rather than resign so that she could take over Berman’s position instead of Barr appointing his own person. Another contentious issue between the two men was Berman’s refusal to sign a letter attacking former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, criticizing the mayor’s COVID restrictions to religious services.

Berman’s refusal led Barr ask him for a meeting where Barr said he wanted to “make a change in the southern district.” Berman turned him down and didn’t know if he could be removed by anyone other than judges who appointed him on an interim basis or by a Senate confirmation of a successor. Barr offered Berman more money by leading the DOJ civil division before he threatened to fire Berman before he asked Berman if he wanted to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, “not [Barr’s] to offer.”

Barr said he’d talk to Berman again but issued the press release saying Berman was “stepping down.” Berman followed up with his own press release, stating he hadn’t resigned, and showed up for work the next day. Barr released a letter stating that DDT had fired Berman.

Oddly enough, Barr has made many anti-DDT comments both on television and in interviews with the House January 6 investigative committee—that the 2020 election was legal, DDT has no right to the classified documents, the DOJ has enough information to indict DDT, etc. Yet Barr’s reputation  will follow him.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), running for another six-year term, accused Democrats of having “infilitrated” life in the U.S. by going to church, attending college, and having jobs. He said “this entire election is … fighting for freedom.” (I know: it doesn’t make sense!) 

September 11, 2022

Russian Invasion of Ukraine – Day 200, DDT’s ‘Special Master’

Russian lawmakers in both St. Petersburg and Moscow called for President Vladimir Putin to be removed from power, dangerous because dissent results in prison or—even worse—being killed. They not only called for Putin’s removal but also a charge of high treason for the invasion. Deputy Dmitry Palyuga of the Smolninsky District Council in St. Petersburg called Putin’s decision “detrimental to the security of Russia and its citizens.” Smolninsky councilors had urged Putin to stop the war in March. Moscow lawmakers accused Putin of sending “our country back into the Cold War era.” Police told the lawmakers they face legal charges “due to actions aimed at discrediting the current Russian government.” 

Ukrainian successes caused Russia to pull out of two formerly occupied areas in Ukraine’s eastern Kharkiv region. The Russian Defense Ministry said its troops will be regrouped to the Donetsky region in eastern Ukraine and repeated its goal “to liberate Donbas” which it keeps violating by destroying all of Ukraine, trying to take over the entire country.

The Institute for the Study of War estimates Ukraine has taken back 965 square miles in its eastern counteroffensive. More Russian positions can be collapsed around Izyum by severing Russian ground lines of communication north and south of town. According to Ukraine, Russians have no food or fuel for troops in the area. The military claimed only 386 square mils this week. Kzyum is an important command and supply hub.   

In the northeastern Kharkiv region, a Ukrainian counteroffense forced invading Russian troops to evacuate from a city they occupied, Kupiansk. As part of the counteroffensive, Ukraine took over the northeastern railway hub in the city, trapping thousands of Russian troops.According to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine retook the eastern town of Balakliia near Kharkiv. Video showed Russians had abandoned trucks, artillery, and ammunition. A pro-Russian official told Russian state television that the city remains in Russian control.

Russian forces will be stretched between that area and the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the southeastern Kherson region. A major Russia objective is to keep Crimea. Yet Ukrainian troops have also had some success in cutting off and isolating Russian troops west of the Dnipro River while attacking Russian supply lines. 

Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War theorize that Russians are struggling after redeployment in the face of Ukraine’s “tactical surprise.” Russian military bloggers suggest the surprise “is likely successfully demoralizing Russian forces.” Britain added the eastern advance on Bakhmut in Donbas to possibility Ukrainian successes.  

On the scary side, Russia won’t stop shelling the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warns the risk of a nuclear accident has “significantly increased” because of the ongoing fighting. It might force the shutdown of the last of six reactors, setting a chain of events to intensify the nuclear crisis. The plant not only provides electricity for consumers but also feeds the plant’s grid to protect the safety and cooling systems. Water must be constantly pumped through the cores with pumps requiring electricity for a long time during a cool-down. Depleted fuel and/or damaged generators can cause a meltdown.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said he thought power lines were deliberately targeted to cause these problems. Another problem is the strain on the plant’s almost 1,000 operators living in a nearby town where water, sewage, and electrical supplies are disrupted by the same fighting that damages the lines around the plant. The Moscow Times reported that Russians killed two power plant staff members by beating them and abused dozens of others in a regime of personnel harassment.

The mayor of Energodar, location of the power plant, reported that electricity and water were restored to his city after the IAEA team inspected Zaporizhzhia.

The U.S. has sanctioned Iranian firms for their drone transfers to Russia, both in manufacturing and transportation. Russian strategies:

  • Drones attacking Ukrainian forces from so high in the sky that targets cannot hear the vehicles buzz.
  • Tanks leaving newly built cement shelters to fire on Ukrainian targets before going back under its cover for protection from mortars and rockets.
  • Counter-battery radars permitting Russian forces to target Ukrainian artillery.
  • Hackers taking over Ukrainian drones.

Turkey plans to build a drone factory in Ukraine. The Baykar’s Bayraktar TB2 drone, popular in Ukraine, has helped destroy many Russian artillery systems and armored vehicles. Russia has complained to Turkey about its sale of drones to Ukraine.

While Ukraine fights for democracy, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) fights against it. In Florida, his appointed judge Aileen Cannon is mulling over the DOJ appeal to DDT’s request that a “special master” examine all seized documents from Mar-a-Lago because, as the judge ruled, DDT is above the law. The appeal asks that the intelligence community—including the FBI and DOJ—examine all classified materials and continue with an investigation while the special master examine the other documents for non-existent executive and attorney-client privileges.

If the DOJ had not appealed, the judge might have given DDT highly sensitive classified documents because the court treated DDT’s request as the return of property, documents with such danger if exposure that the government had to make a full-scale intelligence community damage assessment. DDT not only mishandled the documents that the FBI found but also may have passed some of them to other people, even foreign governments. The appeal was also vital because the FBI is not separate from the intelligence community and must help with the review, as the FBI pointed out in the appeal because the DDT-appointed judge didn’t understand the government hierarchy. She said only the Office of National Intelligence, of which the DOJ and FBI are part, could evaluate the classified documents.

According to Alan E. Kohler, assistant director of the FBI Counter Intelligence Division, FBI work is vital to find what happened to items such as those missing from dozens of empty folders with classified markings that the FBI located during the search at Mar-a-Lago. Kohler explained that the use of grand jury subpoenas, search warrants, and other criminal investigative tools” could be necessary and “could lead to evidence that would also be highly relevant to advancing the FBI’s criminal investigation.” Judge Aileen Cannon blocked these steps by the FBI. Kohler noted:

“The FBI is the only IC [(Intelligence Community)] element with a full suite of authorities and tools to investigate and recover any improperly retained and stored classified information in the United States.”

The judge may be considering her way out of her mistakes: she ordered parties to consider the government motion for relief on the classified documents in their filing for the recommendations for special masters and the order of operations. Part of the DOJ request for a stay is permission to continue using the classified documents in its criminal investigation in addition to an appeal to the 11th Circuit Court. That strategy of parallel legal actions can save time.

Friday, both DDT and the DOJ each submitted two names for the judge-mandated special master:

DOJ: two retired federal judges, former US district court judge Barbara Jones, who previously served as a special master; and Thomas Griffith, a former US appeals court judge for the DC Circuit and a lecturer at Harvard Law School. Jones examined materials seized with warrants from Rudy Giuliani’s home and office and from Michael Cohen. Both men were DDT’s lawyers when DOJ investigated them. 

DDT:  former U.S. district court chief judge Raymond Dearie, one of four judges who authorized a wiretap on former DDT’s 2016 campaign aide Carter Page; and former Florida deputy attorney general Paul Huck. Appointed by Ronald Reagan, Dearie is a senior judge after he retired in 2011 and served seven years on the FISA court. Huck now has his own law firm but was a partner at the Jones Day law firm representing DDT’s 2016 campaign and a contributor to the conservative Federalist Society. DDT’s newest lawyer, Chris Kise, worked with Huck in the Florida AG’s office. Huck’s wife, a judge on the 11th Circuit Court where DOJ is filing an appeal, was on DDT’s short list to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the Supreme Court.

The judge makes the choice for the special master.

In addition to disagreeing on the identity of the special master, the two parties also failed to reach consensus on most of the key issues connected to the scope of the work and the responsibility for the added expense.

Disagreements:

DOJ: special master should not review documents with classified markings or subject them to executive privilege; DDT: all documents should be reviewed.

DOJ: the agency wants to review proposed protection designations before documents goes to the special master; DDT: documents retain designations to protect the process.

DOJ: the agency wants to see DDT’s lawyers’ categorizations before sending documents to the special master to save time if they agree; DDT: the special master should review all the seized materials.

DOJ: the plaintiff should pay for the cost of the special master’s work; DDT: the costs should be evenly divided.

DOJ: The deadline should be October 17; DDT: he should have a 90-day window for examining the materials after details have been worked out.

Agreements:

The 21-day period for reviewing and objecting on the special master’s eventual recommendations should be shortened.

The special master should be able to have help from a support staff.

Thus Ukraine fights for democracy, and the former leader of the U.S. fights against democracy.

September 6, 2022

Russian Invasion of Ukraine – Day 195, More DDT

[Update for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago: A good day would be one without news for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT); once again this is not a good day. Like the judge who put DDT above the law in permitting him a special master to delay an investigation regarding his theft of government documents, the public now knows that at least one of these documents described an unidentified foreign government’s nuclear military defenses. The material is so secret that even senior officials in President Joe Biden’s administration are not authorized to see them, so closely guarded that a “designated control officer” is assigned to monitor the documents in its location. Only the president and a few Cabinet or near-Cabinet level officials could authorize other government officials to view them. Over two weeks ago, DDT had lied when the seized documents were harmless and he had nothing related to nuclear secrets. A question now is whether Republicans continue to cover for DDT, such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) who said the investigation concerned only a mere records issue, “a fight over storage of documents.”

Judge Aileen Cannon’s opinion explained she ordered temporary halt to an investigation because of DDT’s status as a former president. In 2016, DDT promised his administration would “enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information” because “no one is above the law.” He even strengthened the law while he was in hte White House. Yet DDT refused to voluntarily give up the nuclear document voluntarily after classified documents were subpoenaed; it was found only when the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, largely deserted for the past months for the summer. The judge may also have violated the code preventing conflict of interest when she ruled in favor of the man who appointed her to her position. Ian Millheiser has a thorough explanation of how bogus the judge’s ruling is.]

And now returning to a country fighting to preserve democracy. The news from Ukraine regarding Russia’s invasion of the country has focused on two major subjects for the past week: the disaster of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the hope that Ukrainians are taking back land and populated areas.

At Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, a fire shut down the last working reactor hours before the UN atomic inspectors was scheduled to brief the Security Council on conditions there. With Russia’s military base nearby, its troops continue catastrophic shelling that they blame on the Ukrainians. Of the six reactors operating before Russians seized the plant after the invasion, only two were operating until last Saturday when shelling disconnected one of them. In the fire eliminating the last one, a backup power line was damaged but could be restored. Russia occupies the plant, but Ukraine is responsible for operating the facility, the largest in Europe.

Since Ukraine has been disconnected from the power plant grid, over 600,000 people are without electricity in the country, more than 80 percent in the eastern area of Donbas and the remainder in Mykolaiv to the south and Kharkiv to the northeast. About 235,000 people remain without natural gas supplies. Energoatom, the country’s nuclear agency, is working to restore the connection to the Ukrainian grid. The problem doesn’t seem to be a crisis because a power unit is working to cool the remainder of the nuclear reactors. 

A team of 14 from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited the power plant last week, and two members of the team will stay permanently at the plant for purposes of monitoring it. The shelling near the plant presents “a constant threat to nuclear safety and security,” according to IAEA. Despite the discovery of Russian troops and equipment at the plant, including military vehicles in turbine halls, Moscow denies it used the plant as a shield. The IAEA said, “Ukrainian staff operating the plant under Russian military occupation are under constant high stress and pressure, especially with the limited staff available.” Damaged areas of the plant are a building housing nuclear fuel, a facility storing radioactive waste, and a building housing an alarm system. The plant has also been frequently cut off from offsite power supplies critical to safe operation.

After the team reported to the UN, its Secretary-General Antonio Guterres laid out specific steps for both sides to demilitarize the area and refrain “from military activity in and around the plant.” They should also agree “on a demilitarized perimeter,” including “a commitment by Russian forces to withdraw all military personnel and equipment from that perimeter, and a commitment by Ukrainian forces not to move into it.” Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia claimed his country’s forces were defending the plant.  

Artyom Bardin, the Russian-installed commandant of the Zaporizhzhia region, was critically injured from his car exploding in Berdiansk, an Azov Sea port of about 100,000 people in southern Ukraine. Eleven days earlier, the city’s deputy chief of traffic police died from a bomb blast, and another Russian-back official in the Kherson region, former Ukrainian lawmaker Alexei Kovalev, was shot dead.

The biggest Western economies, the G7 countries, agreed to cap Russian oil prices and ban services allowing transportation of its crude oil and petroleum products above the cap, including insurance cover or finance for oil shipments. Russia’s energy giant Gazprom closed down gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, claiming an oil leak. It put the blame on sanctions keeping machinery for repairs. Russia had already stopped the supply of gas to Germany which sent European gas prices skyrocketing.

In another disaster for the second largest Russian oil company, LUKOIL, its chair Ravil Maganov died after he supposedly fell from a sixth-story balcony or window after going to an elite clinic for a heart condition. No video exists because cameras were turned off for repairs. Since the Russian invasion, six businesspeople with ties to the nation’s energy industry have mysteriously died, but none of them is classified as a murder. Russia considers the deaths suicides.  LUKOIL had criticized the invasion and publicly called for a ceasefire one week after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared his “special military operation.”

Ukraine has expressed optimism about its counteroffensive in the south, and the Luhansk regional governor stated early signs of “good news” in the “de-occupation of our region” on Monday after two villages were retaken. The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S.-based think tank, reported that “Ukrainian forces are advancing along several axes” to the west of the Kherson region, and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said, “Ukrainian flags are returning to the places where they should be by right.” Russia has “paused” a referendum in Kherson that would force Ukrainians to become Russians after Ukrainians destroyed the storage warehouse for the referendum ballots, including all printed materials.

Ukraine is keeping its strategy quiet while trying to take back the first important city taken by Russia in late February; it is part of Putin’s “land bridge” to Crimea. For the first time in the invasion, reporters have been barred from front-line access. Russia claims Ukraine is failing, but its forces are thin in some of those areas with “severe manpower shortages,” according to a recent U.S. intelligence finding.

Ukraine did claim shooting down five Russian cruise missiles on September 6, most of them in the south. Witnesses reported fighting around Balakliia, an eastern town of 27,000 people between Kharkiv and Russian-held Izyum where Putin’s forces rely on a major railway hub for supplies., Ukraine military earlier said it repelled Russian offensives, pushing the armies back in a number of eastern Ukrainian settlements. The Ukrainian artillery also destroyed an important Russian ammunition depot with S-300 missiles used to fire on the city of Kharkiv. In addition, Ukrainian officials reported unsuccessful Russian advances in southwestern Ukraine where Ukrainians destroyed Russian command centers, pontoon bridges, and eight ammunition depots.

Over six months into the invasion, UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Russia “has yet to achieve any of its strategic objectives.” Their forces have missed several deadlines and are advancing only 0.6 miles a week in the area where they have the most success. He added that Russia “continues to lose significant equipment and personnel,” losses that will have a lasting impact on its future combat effectiveness. Wallace estimates over 80,000 soldiers dead, injured, or deserted because of morale and discipline issues from combat fatigue, high casualties, and problems with not being paid. He explained:

“The Russian military has consistently failed to provide basic entitlements to troops deployed in Ukraine, including providing appropriate uniforms, arms, and rations, as well as pay. This has almost certainly contributed to the continued fragile morale of much of the force.”

In late August, U.S. and Western officials said that Ukraine has become more evenly matched with Russian forces because of advanced Western weaponry and the Ukrainian’s advantage of morale, unit cohesion, tactical acumen, and a superior ability to improvise on the fly.

A week ago, Russia picked up scores of Iranian combat drones to use against Ukraine, but they suffered several failures. Russian drones are made with Western electronics which Russia can’t obtain for repair. Although Russia has between 1,500 and 2,000 surveillance drones, it has almost no attack drones while Ukraine has Turkish-made combat UAVs when it has used to attack Russian, armor, trucks, and artillery since the beginning of the invasion. Russian new drones have not been tested against Ukraine’s sophisticated electronic jamming and antiaircraft systems.

According to U.S. intelligence reports, Russia is buying millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea, indicating that Russia has “severe supply shortages in Ukraine.”

September 5, 2022

DDT’s ‘Special Master,’ Biden’s Wins on Labor Day 2022

The Florida judge appointed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has ruled in favor of appointing a third party attorney “special master” from outside the government to review his documents, an act that DDT’s former AG Bill Barr called a “crock of s**t.” Her rulings:

  • The FBI must stop examining the documents until after the review or another court order.
  • The classification review and intelligence assessments conducted by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence may continue.
  • Both sides have until September 9 to nominate candidates and duties.
  • The review is reviewing “seized property for … claims of attorney-client and/or executive privilege.”
  • DDT hasn’t proved his “constitutional rights” were disregarded.
  • The FBI had obtained DDT’s medical and tax information.

DDT responded to the court ruling by writing that the FBI and DOJ should “change the results of the 2020 Presidential Election.” Heather Cox Richardson has an excellent analysis of the flaws in the judicial decision.

On to the good news for Labor Day 2022, “a celebration of workers and of their dignity,” according to Eugene Robinson. We’ve come a long way in the past decade since Paul Ryan, then House Majority Leader and vice-presidential candidate, gave a speech on how Labor Day celebrated business management and CEOs because business owners were the only Americans working hard and taking risks to make “this country grow.” He went on to lose, become House Speaker, and  turn into a professional board member for several companies, including Fox.

Union organizers at a Staten Island warehouse defeated Amazon in its attempt to overturn the employee vote at a federal labor board hearing. Employees’ decisive vote last April created the first unionized Amazon facility in the U.S. Amazon claimed fraud by organizers and the agency overseeing the election. The company even failed to make the hearing secret. It will appeal with September 16 the deadline to file exceptions. Amazon will likely take the case into federal court, a practice to thwart labor victories.

At Google, a 300,000-member union of hotel and food service workers has helped unionize 90 percent of food service workers in 23 of the company’s cafeterias proving free food for programmers and product managers. Last week, workers moved into Atlanta where workers presented managers at Sodexo with plans to unionize and gained an agreement that a majority vote would rule. Tens of thousands more workers voted to join unions in the first half 2022 than the same time period in 2021. For the first time, Chipotle, Trader Joe’s and the recreation equipment maker REI have unionized from concerns about safety and low wages along with 230 Starbucks locations and Apple Store.

Google in North Carolina may have the next union after workers protest the company dropping their salaries. With $257.6 billion in revenue during 2021, Google’s profits rose 41 percent from 2020. Google said it’s move to the South was for diversity, but that area has the lowest salaries in the nation.

Unions won more representation elections in 2022 than they have in nearly 20 years, going from a slightly above 50 percent win rate in 2000 to 76.6 percent thus far this year. [visual – union win rate]

Republicans won’t admit that Biden’s economy has rapidly recovered from the COVID devastation, regaining all net private sector jobs lost from the pandemic since his inauguration. Yet the 9 million jobs he added in his first 17 months was the highest number for any president in that time. Without Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) the unemployment would have been seven percent in summer 2021 and stay higher after that instead of sliding to 5.4 percent and then shrinking to 3.5 percent a year later.

Despite GOP spreading fears of a recession, the International Monetary Fund predicts the U.S. can “narrowly avoid a recession” in 2022 and 2023, and net domestic investment is at an all-time high. New manufacturing facilities construction is up 116 percent over last year as more companies move supply chains back to the U.S. from foreign countries. June 2022 manufacturing jobs exceeded those in February 2020.

To combat inflation, gas prices have dropped about 25 percent from a high of $5 in some places. Freight shipping costs have decreased along with shipping container costs reducing by half and transit times by 35 percent. The past month have seen prices for raw materials such as wheat, corn, and copper trending downward.

August gained 315,000 jobs, totaling 3.5 million new jobs for the year; the unemployment rate rose to 3.7 percent because 786,000 new people entered the workforce. Last month, the share of adults in the workforce jumped from 62.1 percent in July to 62.4 percent, and the 82.8 percent of people aged 25-54 in the workforce was slightly below pre-pandemic levels. Average wages were up 5.2 percent from a year ago.

ARPA assistance with the expanded child tax credit in 2021 took 3.7 million children out of poverty. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) blocked its continuance in the Inflation Reduction Act, but another possibility for tax credits at the end of the year during negotiations for extensions on expiring business tax breaks. The overturn of Roe v. Wade has also encouraged more relief for family benefits with three Republican senators introducing a proposal for credit although it has a work requirement for parents.  In addition, 29 states have programs to compensate for the lack of federal child credits with an additional three next year.

While the attention was largely focused on DDT since Joe Biden was inaugurated, the new president has been on a roll. He came into the presidency with three major goals—investing in the U.S. unraveling infrastructure, taking action against climate change, and expanding the social safety net.

For the past few months, Biden has had other successes—helping average people instead of the GOP focus on special interests. He took out the top al-Qaeda leader, put the first Black female justice on the Supreme Court, expanded NATO by unifying European support for Ukraine after Russia’s invasion, and passed the first gun reform law in almost 30 years.

During his first 17 months, Biden’s accomplishments echo themes and priorities from the major initiatives of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Reagan. He signed the Inflation Reduction Act, the American Rescue Plan, the infrastructure law, the gun law, the Chips law, the PACT burn pits act, and the anti-Asian hate crimes as well as updating and reauthorizing the Violence against Women Act. In addition, Biden addressed climate change, offshore wind projects, and mitigation funds for drought, wildfire, and flooding. And he reduced the federal budget deficit, required publicly traded corporations to pay a modest one-percent excise tax on stock buy-backs, required corporations with over $1 billion in earnings to pay a minimum 15 percent income tax, and greatly eased student loan debt

Biden came into the presidency with three major goals—investing in the U.S. unraveling infrastructure, taking action against climate change, and expanding the social safety net. Republicans minimized Biden’s November 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) but took credit for it with their constituents after they voted against it. The joke during the term of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) was “it’s infrastructure week,” every week, but DDT failed to accomplish in that area. Biden ‘s bill invests $1.2 trillion into U.S. infrastructure: surface transportation, public transit and rail, water, and broadband internet infrastructure. It also invests in renewable energy and electric vehicles. And supports over 770,000 jobs in during the next decade.  

Two Democratic senators blocked another major bill for several months and reduced its amount, but Congress passed the $750 billion Inflation Reduction Act last month. It reduces energy, health care, and prescription drug costs for American families; invests $370 billion over a decade for clean energy and climate programs; and allows Medicare to negotiate lower prices and reduce Medicare out-of-pocket costs for drugs. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, once Sen Manchin (D-WV) renamed it and gained a few personal perks. U.S. production of crude oil during Biden’s first year was higher than in DDT’s first year, and he issued more drilling permits on federal land than DDT did in his first three years.

The Economic Policy Institute also has a detailed view of Biden’s work for low- and middle-income families in his work to address equity and racial justice through over 90 agencies, a director of racial equity, and $738 million to minority-owned businesses. He also rescinded DDT’s punitive orders against equity. The article also lists how Biden rescinded DDT’s punitive orders to block achievements for anyone except wealthy white people. Xenophobic policies in the workplace during DDT’s term allowed employees to cheat workers out of wages and force them into sub-standard work conditions. Biden also strengthened protections for collective bargaining, due process, and labor representatives that DDT had weakened. 

Biden’s wins are almost as long as crimes by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) whose only domestic policy change was a tax cut for the wealthy and big business that increased the national debt, skyrocketing by $7.8 trillion during DDTD’s four years. Republicans complain about inflation, but they have blocked ways to block it and support corporations raising prices sky high to make profits. Congressional GOP members voted against negotiating drug prices, putting a $35 a month cap on insulin cost, investigating high gas prices while the industry makes huge profits, etc. 

And on Labor Day 2022, unions are coming back.

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