Nel's New Day

March 27, 2021

Georgia:   Republicans Opposed to ‘Cancel Culture” Decides to ‘Cancel Voting’

People who know nothing about the new voter-prevention law in Georgia are either hiding under a rock or watching Fox network. Passing legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp in one day, state GOP legislators included a large number of provisions, all designed to destroy democracy and elect only Republicans. Yet they claim to try to prevent the non-existent fraud which could not be found by multiple investigations and court cases, many of them by Republicans.

The so-called “Election Integrity Act of 2021,” two pages long in addressing absentee votes, grew to 96 pages in the hour before the voting. Some provisions:

  • Allows state lawmakers to take over local election boards—meaning Republicans can eliminate votes they don’t like with their ability to certify results if Democrats win close race—something DDT failed to do in 2020.
  • Gives GOP-controlled legislature to appoint a majority of members to the State Election Board.
  • Removes the authority of Georgia’s secretary of state from any control over the election (because Brad Raffensperger wouldn’t find 11,000 for Dictator Donald Trump [DDT] to win the state.
  • Criminalizes photographing one’s own ballot.
  • Eases ability to challenge vote eligibility.
  • Prevents anyone from giving even water to people standing in voting lines even if they are forced to be outside for up to ten hours before casting their votes.
  • Blocks counties from having almost all ballot drop boxes during early voting, allowing them only inside early voting locations during business hours.
  • Removes drop boxes during last four days before an election, a time when mail-in ballots are most likely not receive in time.
  • Disqualifies provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct. 
  • Makes counties responsible for deciding Sunday voting but permitted only twice.
  • Moves runoffs to four weeks after general elections with early voting reduced to one week.
  • Eliminates mobile voting vans to alleviate long lines in heavily Democratic Fulton County.
  • Sets up hotline to report election activities in the attorney general’s office.
  • Mandates certification of votes within six days instead of ten days.
  • Requires election voters to count ballots without stopping until they finish.

The only piece missing in the final bill was ending no-excuse absentee voting, a system allowing Republicans to win the elections until the past few months, but the stricter requirements for voter ID with these ballots again creates more problems for minorities and low-income people. Absentee ballots will be verified based on driver’s license numbers or other documentation instead of voter signatures. The law did reduce the time in which voters can request an absentee ballot to 11 days before Election Day and complicated the request process.

The Georgia legislature now permits the kind of voter fraud DDT demanded. In addition to begging Raffensperger for enough votes to win, he earlier asked Raffensperger’s lead investigator, Frances Watson, to find fraud in specific counties, promising she would “be praised” by finding “the right answer.” The GOP search for voter fraud was investigated only in states where President Joe Biden won. DDT pushed Watson to keep looking for votes in his favor until January 6, 2021, when Congress certified the presidency for Biden.

Georgia made more history when state troopers handcuffed state Rep. Park Cannon (D-Atlanta) and charged her with a felony for knocking on the governor’s door while he signed the law in the midst of six other white men. (Right: Cannon – Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Biden called the law an “atrocity” and said the DOJ is taking a look at it. He added:

“If you want any indication that it has nothing to do with fairness, nothing to do with decency—they passed a law saying you can’t provide water for people standing in line while they’re waiting to vote.”

The law directly attacks Black voters.They are more likely to vote remotely and less likely to have the required identification for an absentee vote, formerly allowed through signature-matching. Over 200,000 Georgia voters have no driver’s license or state ID number. The average wait time to vote in Black communities is also far more than in predominantly White communities.

Groups immediately began to file lawsuits against the new law, calling it an effort to impose “unconstitutional burdens on the right to vote.”

Historian Heather Cox Richardson wrote: 

“The United States defeated the Confederacy, outlawed human enslavement except as punishment for crime, declared Black Americans citizens, and in 1867, with the Military Reconstruction Act, began to establish impartial suffrage. The Military Reconstruction Act, wrote Maine politician James G. Blaine in 1893, ‘changed the political history of the United States.’

“Today, as I looked at the photograph of Governor Kemp signing that bill, I wondered just how much.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is responsible for the draconian voting law in Georgia and probably other states. Eight years ago, he authored the majority opinion of 5-4 in Shelby County v. Holder which trashed the Voting Rights Act protecting voting procedures from discrimination. Roberts wrote, “Things have changed dramatically [in the South].” He may be right—the South may be able to make discrimination against Democratic voters much worse.

Georgia’s new law is one of 253 measures in 43 states designed to keep the GOP in complete control no matter what. With Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WY) determined to refuse any bills not supported by Republicans, H.R. 1, For the People Act, won’t be able to defend democracy through people’s right to vote.

Journalist Bonnie Kristian points out that a conservative (a real one!) should oppose Georgia’s law. Her definition of conservative is “someone who wants to preserve tradition and institutional stability, to thicken the thin veil that separates our society from chaos.” She quotes psychologist Jonathan Haidt as conservatives have five moral values: Harm/Care; Fairness/Reciprocity; In-Group/Loyalty; Authority/Respect; and Purity/Sanctity. Liberals have only the first two—care and fairness—because they value diversity over in-group loyalty and question authority and traditional notions of social and sexual purity. Georgia’s law fails in-group loyalty in self-governance, lying about trying to stop voter fraud; authority, by diminishing moral authority necessary in popular government; and fairness, the law being a dishonorable act. It is “shameless, disgraceful, a poor loser’s move … changing the rules of the game instead of putting in the work to win it as-is or accepting victory isn’t possible.” Now, someone needs to explain this position to the “conservatives.”

Republicans are working hard to get the subject back to what they see as Biden’s failure of immigration at the southern border. Toward that end, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took 17 friends, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in armored patrol boats along the Rio Grande for a midnight visit to prove abuse of migrant children. They were also looking for human traffickers taunting border agents across the “open border” and, hopefully, chaos and lawlessness. All they could say was that VP Kamala Harris, now in charge of the immigration situation, should come down to the border as well instead of working on a solution.  

As a British newspaper describes, the 18 mostly White, male Republicans left “Anzalduas Park Mission, on four Texas Highway Patrol power boats, bristling with machine guns, and armed officers.” A woman said she had been birdwatching in the same location where the tour created a false danger with “fancy camo gear and [a] ride in boats with guns,” according to writer Annie Hartnett. Asked about the U.S. being a nation of immigrants, Cruz bragged about his father coming to the county in 1957. Graham bailed him out by telling journalists they should talk to border patrol officers instead of politicians. Sister Norma Pimentel, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, said DDT’s promise to build a border wall caused a jump in crossings.

Next time, Cruz and his far-right colleagues might want to get protection from the birdwatchers. And they aren’t getting the focus off voting rights.

March 1, 2021

2021 CPAC: From Idolatry to Nazism

This year’s CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) had an extremely limited set of policies—easy to remember: the election was rigged, and liberals are trying to “cancel culture.” There were no surprises. The hate-filled, fear-mongering event loved Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), and the majority wants him elected president in 2024 for the “third time” after what they falsely maintained was a rigged election in 2020. DDT plans no new party; he assumes he’ll win with the current one. Basically, the attendees spent four days whining.

On Sunday, the last day of CPAC, the DDT-worshipping cult soaked up 90 minutes of their religious leader’s words after admiring his golden statue for four days and pledging their allegiance to them. Reminiscent of the Bible’s golden calf, DDT’s graven image was associated with Moses’ brother, Aaron, who gave into pressure from the Israelites who gave up hope that Moses would bring their Lord’s law down from Mt. Sinai. Aaron collected all the people’s jewelry and melted it down to create an idol to another god. Worshipping the golden calf, possibly the Canaanite fertility god Bael, is considered apostasy, a rejection of a once confessed faith. Throughout the entire conference, the faithful to DDT, once following white evangelical Protestantism (WEP), obediently supported his lies.

Evangelicals revere violence to obtain the ends and honored the people who physically attacked police officers in their way when breaching the U.S. Capitol. The uniform strategy for DDT’s GOP encourages violence against and exclusion of everyone who refuses to completely follow their position.

Created by artist Tommy Zegan, the golden DDT, 200 pounds and over six feet tall, was made in Mexico where Zegan is a resident. It perfectly represents the GOP and DDT’s adoration of wealth and their willingness to abandon all principles for its acquisition. evangelicals exchanged their belief in emulating Christ to adoring a serial sexual assaulter whose only goal was to make more money.

In the biblical story about the golden calf, Moses became so furious with the idol that he burned it, put its ashes into water, and made Israelites drink it. God (Yahweh) was so angry he was responsible for 3,000 men killed the day Moses returned. He “blotted” the others out of his book and sent them to die in the wilderness for idolatry.

Right Side Broadcasting, a conservative media outlet founded in 2015, was streaming CPAC when it used a disclaimer to cut away during a panel discussion presenting the lie that DDT won the 2020 election. A host told viewers:

“There’s a lot of sensitive topics being talked about right now. We want everyone to do their own research in regards to what they’re talking about in this discussion right now—anything with the election, anything like that. It’s important to do your own research.”

The host’s colleague echoed the sentiment because voting technology companies are suing people and media outlets for billions if they present debunked conspiracy theories as facts and falsely accuse these companies of stealing the election for Biden. A Right Side host interrupted MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell when he claimed, “You stub your toe, and they say ‘Oh, you’ve got COVID!” The host warned Lindell that YouTube could “shut down” the media platform “if we talk about vaccines.” Lindell had called the vaccine the “mark of the beast,” a sign for those who worship the antichrist.

Almost two dozen GOP representatives gave proxy votes against the stimulus bills using “the ongoing health emergency” as the excuse before they headed off to CPAC. At least ten of them were CPAC speakers. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) first spoke at CPAC’s extremist alternative America First Political Action Committee (AFPAC), also meeting in Florida. Gosar’s speech followed that of former Rep. Steve King (R-IA), stripped by Republicans of committee assignments for racist positions before he failed to be re-elected. AFPAC’s organizer, Nick Fuentes, has been banned from YouTube for his hate speech. After Gosar’s AFPAC speech, Fuentes blamed Black Lives Matter activists of wanting “a new racial caste system in this country, with Whites at the bottom.” Fuentes called the January 6 insurrection “awesome.” 

This proxy is Gosar’s third since January 21 after lambasting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for permitting House members to vote by proxy because of health concerns. On February 2, Gosar deleted his tweet from 35 weeks earlier stating, “Pelosi’s ‘proxy voting’ scheme is shameful and constitutional.” At CPAC, Gosar denied he is a racist and tried to distance himself from AFPAC. 

CPAC speech samples:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) threw his constituents under the bus when he tried to overlook abandoning them by escaping to a warmer clime while they suffered and sometimes died from the failure of the Texas power grid:

“I got to say, Orlando is awesome. It’s not as nice as Cancún—but it’s nice!”

His “cancel culture” speech ridiculed the left and the media, telling them to “lighten up” about issues such as wearing masks and protests of police brutality. He explained Houston had no protests because of “what the people of Texas think about the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.” Another brunt of his ridicule was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for being afraid when a mob of 800 broke into the Capitol to kill congressional members.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who received DDT’s Medal of Freedom for leaking House committee secrets to the White House, claimed President Obama stole the election for Joe Biden in 2020 with a conspiracy to have absentee voting. Nunes omitted any mention of expanding mail-in vote because of the pandemic when he talked about the idea in “April or May.” [At that time, DDT discouraged people voting by mail.] Deroy Murdock, a conservative writer, blamed judges for the January 6 riots who rejected the frivolous lawsuits about the election.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), the man photographed with his fist raised in the air indicating solidarity with DDT’s mob readying to attack the U.S. Capitol, returned after the insurrection and voted to overturn the election on January 6. At CPAC, he accused politicians, historians, and academicians describing slavery and white supremacy in American history of hating the country and its culture. An editorial from his hometown newspaper didn’t let him get away with it. The Kansas City Star wrote: [find photo]

“We didn’t so much start with nothing as we stole what was here before we got here from Native Americans. And when we did end slavery, after a war in which the Confederacy—whose heroes Hawley defends—fought to preserve it, we were awfully late coming around. And then did everything possible, through Jim Crow laws, to keep things as inequitable as they had been. This doesn’t mean we hate America; it means we recognize reality, and see the need to learn from it.”

The editorial board also wrote about the GOP-maligned Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), saying Hawley and others’ cries for “America First” parallels Nazi sympathizers  in the 1930s. Cheney has been attacked for declaring that “it’s very important, especially for us as Republicans, to make clear that we aren’t the party of white supremacy.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), another presidential wannabe who came in second only to DDT in CPAC’s presidential candidate straw vote, promised conservatives would never return to “the failed Republican establishment of yesteryear.” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said, “We represent the pro-Trump, America-first wing of the conservative movement.” Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) vowed to “never bend the knee to a politically correct mob,” meaning protesters and not insurrectionists. 

Speakers pledged to “fight,” but no one knew exactly for what.

DDT’s speech was chockfull of lies. A few oddities: 

“[The Supreme Court] didn’t have the guts or the courage to make the right decision.”

“[The Republican Party] is becoming the party of love. Just look outside.”

One remarkable moment at CPAC came when a woman asked about fixing voting machines that “switched thousands and thousands of votes.” GOP attorney Charlie Spies told her, “There is just zero evidence that’s true.” The audience heckled him.

The conference with a theme of “America Uncanceled” that embraced racism did cancel one scheduled speaker, announcing his “reprehensible views [had] no home with our conference or our organization.” The person, Young Pharaoh, espouses anti-Semitic views popular with QAnon talking points. On his late night show, Stephen Colbert mockingly ridiculed CPAC for the cancelation, saying that “conservatives don’t want to be associated with anyone like that. It could sully the good name of the mob with aluminum bats trying to murder Mike Pence.”

One person not canceled was Hiroaki “Jay” Aeba, “the political head of a Japanese religious cult that promotes nationalism, xenophobia and the belief that its leader is the reincarnation of an alien from Venus who created life on earth millions of years ago,” according to David Gilbert. As leader of Happy Science, Aeba believes he is the Messiah and sells “miracle cures” for COVID-19. Like Scientology, the cult is focused on making money; “cures” can cost up to $400. The group’s aim, however, is political, worldwide, with CPAC part of its method to achieve its goal.

CPAC’s stage design matches its neo-Nazi inclination with a depiction of the Norse othala, or odal, rune used by Nazis during World War II adopted to “reconstruct a mythic ‘Aryan’ past,” according to the Anti-Defamation League. The rune also appeared at the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville (VA) that include anti-Semitic chants.

February 18, 2021

Faulty GOP Governance Destroying Texas, Killing People

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) carries his luggage at the Cancun International Airport REUTERS/Stringer

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) went to the top of the news on Thursday, and not in a good way. His trip to the sunny, warm Ritz-Carlton in Cancún ($309 per night) roiled his constituents, many of whom were freezing—sometimes literally to death—in Texas with below-freezing temperatures and no electricity or water. Cruz claimed he was being “a good father” by taking his children on a well-deserved vacation because of a “tough week”; his wife’s texts give a different story of escape from their “FREEZING” house. Heidi Cruz invited friends to come along on their getaway. Not until photos of Cruz and stories of his runaway dominated the media did he decide to return on Thursday. Critical hashtags included “#FlyinTed” and “#FledCruz,” and he was called Ted “Cancún” Cruz. Winning his 2018 election against Beto O’Rourke with under 51 percent of the vote, Cruz has indicated a goal of again become a presidential candidate in 2024. Opponents will have lots of material for response.

Because of regulations at the private school where Cruz’s daughters attend, they are not permitted into the classroom for a week after international travel unless they take a COVID-19 test three to five days after returning. Either way, they cannot go back to school next week. Before Cruz left on his trip, he said as many as 100 people could die this week. His advice before his departure:  

“This storm is dangerous, and there’s a second storm expected to hit this week, which will make things even worse, so if you can, stay home. Don’t go out on the roads. Don’t risk the ice… We could see up to 100 people lose their lives this week in Texas. So don’t risk it. Keep your family safe and just stay home and hug your kids.”

Cruz also commandeered Houston police to get him to and through the airport as he headed out on his vacation.

Exhibiting the attitude among millions of far-right Republicans, Tim Boyd, the now-resigned mayor of Colorado City (TX), posted on Facebook about people with no power:

“The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING! I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn handout!… If you are sitting at home in the cold because you have no power and are sitting there waiting for someone to come rescue you because your lazy is direct result of your raising! [sic]…. This is sadly a product of a socialist government where they feed people to believe that the FEW will work and others will become dependent for handouts…. I’ll be damned if I’m going to provide for anyone that is capable of doing it themselves!… Bottom line quit crying and looking for a handout! Get off your ass and take care of your own family!” “Only the strong will survive and the weak will parish [sic].”

After loss of electricity and running water came boiling advisories for seven million Texans, empty grocery shelves, and canceled deliveries to food banks and schools. According to Austin resident Jeff Goodell, “People wandering around with handguns on their hip adds to a sense of lawlessness.” Lack of power made ranchers and farmers destroy tens of millions of dollars of goods. Fruit and vegetables have frozen in the Rio Grande Valley, and dairy farmers daily pour $8 million worth of milk down the drain because they can’t get the milk to dairies. Hospitals face deadly horrific conditions, and last Monday, Harris County, including Houston, reported over 300 carbon monoxide poisonings.

Even with a thaw in Texas, which isn’t happening for a few days, people will suffer from lack of running water. Disruption in about 590 public water systems in almost 60 percent of the state’s counties affect almost 12 million people of the state’s population of 29 million. Houston asked people to not run water because “it is needed for hospitals and fires,” according to the city’s mayor. Earlier in the week, people were told to leave faucets dripping to keep pipes from freezing, but now they are asked to turn them off, leaving pipes to burst. Only 135 labs in the state can test water to determine when people should stop boiling it, if they are fortunately enough to have power to boil water.

For losing presidential candidate Rick Perry, death is better than have federal government involved. He reassured people that “the sun will come out.” Texas conservatives find regulation unacceptable, but they asked for charity from U.S. taxpayers for the disasters they personally cause. President Joe Biden sent generators, diesel, blankets, and water to Texas “at their request,” according to Jen Psaki, Biden’s press secretary.

Publicity probably forced Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to stop blaming the loss of wind power—seven percent of the missing energy from the big freeze. Of the total power shortfall of over 30,000 megawatts, only 2,000 came from wind. Instead, Abbott moved on to attacking his own energy department who maintain the missing energy comes from lack of winterizing power-generating systems, primarily from fossil fuels. The state refused to provide any fiscal incentives to power plant operators in preparation for winter: the state’s power companies get more money if they don’t weatherize all their plants and shut down some of them in winter.  

According to Texas Democratic Party chair Gilberto Hinojosa, Abbott is following a “pattern” of “lack of foresight and inability to manage.” Hinojosa cited lack of action for displacements during Hurricane Harvey, no planning for the coronavirus crisis, and “abysmal” handling of vaccine distribution. The loss of energy supply is being compared to the fallout from Hurricane Katrina. Lack of deregulation, i.e., mandating electrical equipment upgrades or weatherization, comes from reliance on free markets.

Deregulation in the 1990s created a grid emphasizing cheap prices instead of good service. Last summer, Cruz said California couldn’t “perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity.” Now he tried to run away from the disaster in a state with the highest rate of uninsured, double the U.S. average in child poverty, and a greater unemployment rate than the federal rate.

Mayors in Texas cities are lobbying for the Democratic stimulus plan, writing Congress about “budget cuts, service reductions, and job losses. Sadly, nearly one million local government jobs have already been lost during the pandemic. … The $350 billion in direct relief to state and local governments included in President Elect Biden’s American Rescue Plan would allow cities to preserve critical public sector jobs and help drive our economic recovery.” Cruz opposes “blue-state bailouts” even for his red state and voted in December against the stimulus package.

Texan GOP leadership so adamantly refuses any involvement with Democrats that the 60 generators and fuel stays at the airport because Republican officials refuse to distribute them.

Proving that governments can manage reliable energy with regulation, the ten percent of the state not under the control of the mis-named GOP-appointed Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has had minimal outages despite also being hit by the storms. For example, El Paso, at the extreme left side northwest of Alpine, had about 3,000 outages, 1,000 of them for about five minutes. Outside ERCOT, regions invested in cold-weather upgrades after the 2011 big freeze while ERCOT assumed that cold weather wouldn’t return. The GOP control in Texas opposes regulations, but almost 70 percent of people in El Paso voted Democratic.

Fox network’s Tucker Carlson was an early spreader of the lie about Texas being “totally reliant on windmills” because “the Green New Deal came to Texas.” The much maligned “Deal” was only a proposal pushed to a 2019 vote in the Senate by Republicans so they could vote it down. Carlson may end up in court over his falsehoods: Bloomberg News is calling for lawsuits like the ones for Fox’s lies about the 2020 election.

More information about the Texas debacle. 

January 11, 2021

Backlash to Attempted Insurgency at Capitol

Since last week, the battleship of disaster may be reversing its direction as Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) looks more and more like a sinking ship. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who led the charge to overturn the election on January 6 even after the attempted coup, said, “The president’s language and rhetoric crossed the line, and it was reckless.” Of course, he would benefit in a run for the 2024 presidency if others voted to disqualify DDT. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who also wants to be in the 2024 running, excused rioters because they were “lied to by politicians.” Nothing Rubio said before the travesty tried to counter what he now calls lies, nor did he object to DDT’s incitement to violence on Twitter. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) claimed he had nothing to do with his campaign using the lies about Democrats “stealing the election” for fundraising but didn’t correct the team’s report that he “stands with President Trump.”

The federal government has failed to tell the public about the attempted coup. Washington, D.C.’s mayor Muriel Bowser gave a press conference on January 6, but the federal government stays dark—no official briefings from Capitol Police, DHS, the FBI, White House, etc. Although Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) initially asked if they were Iranians, perpetrators were DDT’s followers, not foreigners, called to violence by the man in the Oval Office after Republicans spent years pushing party members into believing Democrats should be removed from all power by any means.

In a video, Arnold Schwarzenegger, California’s former GOP governor, compared the event to Germany’s Kristallnacht, the night of broken windows and glass initiating the Nazis’ “Final Solution” to “exterminate” Jewish people.  He said:

“The mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol, they shattered the ideas we took for granted. They did not just break down the doors of the building that housed American democracy. They trampled the very principles on which our country was founded.” 

According to the 14th Amendment, anyone who “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States “or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” cannot serve in Congress. Last week, the biggest newspaper in Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) home state called for his expulsion; this week two large Texas newspapers, including one from his hometown, called for dropping Cruz from the Senate. Both editorials in the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle want either his expulsion or resignation because of the part he played in fueling the insurrection at the Capitol with his lies about voter fraud.

Even in the siege’s lockdown, no one talked to Hawley, and Chad Sweet, Cruz’s friend and chair of his 2016 presidential campaign, said Cruz had abetted an “assault on our democracy.” Sen. Pat Toomey (PA) called both of them “complicit in the big lie.” About 7,000 law students and lawyers called for both Hawley and Cruz to be disbarred, especially after Hawley’s gesture of support to the crowd attempt to overturn the election.

The New York State Bar Association is investigating whether to revoke DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s membership after his violent language before his followers stormed the Capitol. According to the association, the blame “lies first and foremost” with DDT, but he “did not act alone.” At the rally with DDT, Giuliani advocated for “trial by combat.” The group’s bylaws prevent any member “who advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States, or of any state, territory or possession thereof, or of any political subdivision therein, by force or other illegal means.” Elimination from membership leaves Giuliani able to practice law in his home state of New York unless the grievance committee of the Appellate Division of the state’s court system takes action.

Emily Rainey, head of Army PsyOps at Fort Bragg who led 100 conservatives to Washington, D.C. on January 6 to protest election fraud, had resigned last September but a resignation can take up to six months. She had twice torn down caution tape at a North Carolina playground closed by COVID-19 restrictions. In the military, her responsibility was to use information and misinformation to favorably shape the emotions, decision-making, and actions of foreign adversaries.

The search to identify seditionists at the Capitol on January 6 discovered off-duty members of at least five police departments and fire departments throughout the U.S., including in New York City and Florida, who used their badges to enter the Capitol for the attempted insurgency. Some came from as far away as Seattle.

At least 12 Capitol police officers, perhaps as many as 17 at this time, are suspended or being investigated for their cooperation with the insurgents—taking selfies with them, wearing a MAGA hat, showing them around the building, letting them into the building, etc. Capitol Police officers were reportedly sent home early on January 6 just before the mob onslaught and not recalled to help stop the attack.

Chad Wolf, illegally performing as acting DHS Secretary, has resigned, blaming “ongoing litigation.” His announcement makes the third Cabinet member to leave after the attempted coup. Two days ago, Secretary Chad Wolf called for DDT to condemn the violence at the Capitol, describing the actions of DDT supporters “tragic and sickening.” DDT immediately withdrew Wolf’s nomination to lead the Homeland Security Department. Wolf said he would stay until Biden’s inauguration for an “orderly transition.”

At least 150 large firms—Blue Cross, Marriott, Morgan Stanley, Dow, AT&T, BP, ConocoPhillips, etc.—will not be donating to campaigns for any congressional members voting to overturn the U.S. election.  Others such as Microsoft, Citibank, and Facebook took the easy way out by blocking political donations to members of all parties. Hallmark Cards even asked Hawley and another dissident, Sen. Roger Marshall, (R-KS) to return their contributions. Stripe also stopped processing DDT’s online campaign donations, refusing business with “high risk” businesses including those that “engages in, encourages, promotes or celebrates unlawful violence or physical harm to persons or property.”

The CEO of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) resigned because his group made robocalls telling people to come to the Capitol on January 6. Dark money behind RAGA helped organize the attack on the Capitol. Its so-called nonprofit Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF) was listed as “participating in the March to Save America” along with Stop the Steal, Turning Point Action, Tea Party Patriots, and others. Donors to RAGA include the Koch industries, Walmart, Home Depot, Chevron, the NRA, Monsanto, Exxon, and Fox.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said there are no procedures to bring impeachment to his chamber until after Joe Biden’s inauguration when the Senate reconvenes. In 2004, however, the Senate gave the majority and minority leaders the power to bring back the Senate in a time of emergency if the two leaders agree. Soon-to-be Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is willing so McConnell will be making the decision.

Created by the Mercers who donated big to DDT’s first campaign, Parler, the major communication source of seditionists, may have disappeared, but someone downloaded about 90 percent of its contents—messages videos, users’ location data, even deleted material—passed along during the Capitol siege.  How the hackers succeeded.

According to Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, DDT is like Jefferson Davis, the secessionist president of the Confederacy, because DDT “has taken his movement and himself out of the equation of the legitimate governance of the United States of America.” Bernstein added DDT “seceded himself and his movement from who we are as a country. That’s what the meaning of that attack is.” He said DDT’s followers are “in another country … apart from the rest of the United States.”

After five days, at least one conservative media site removed an op-ed denying the sacking of the Capitol. An op-ed on RedState website originally accused the attempted insurrection as exaggeration and distortion with the headline “Enough! There Was No Riot, Insurrection or ‘Storming!'” Retired infantry officer Mike Ford called the insurgents “concerned Americans.” RedState only commented the retracted op-ed had some material that was “incorrect or inappropriate.”

Atlanta-based Cumulus Media and its syndicate Westwood One is blocking conspiracy theories about election fraud on AM talk radio. Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino are among many far-right radio hosts affected by the ban, but Rush Limbaugh is still safe on Premiere networks.

Bill Belichick, New England Patriots coach, has refused the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. With the past week, DDT has given the award to three golfers and two dissident congressional members.

My favorite hero story of January 6: While Capitol Police officers opened the gates to let the insurrectionists enter, one Black officer, Eugene Goodman, used himself as bait to lure the white rioters away from the Senate chamber after they chased him up the stairs. Without him, congressional members could have been killed or at least badly wounded. [visual – Eugene Goodman]

DDT is less upset about his impending second impeachment than PGA’s termination of the agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey. According to the statement, it would be “detrimental” to its “brand.” Expect DDT to sue them. And maybe rage about it tomorrow during his visit to southern Texas tomorrow. Nine more days until the inauguration!

December 8, 2020

DDT’s Continues Losing Tactics As Deadline Nears

Today’s Transition: President-elect Joe Biden may select retired Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III as his Secretary of Defense. If confirmed, Austin would be the first Black Pentagon chief. The four-star Army general retired in 2016 as chief of U.S. Central Command, overseeing military operations in the Middle East for three years. Confirmation would require a waiver from the law mandating a service member be out of uniform for a minimum of seven years before eligibility for defense secretary. Jim Mattis received this waiver in 2017 with a large number of Democrats in opposition. Austin supervised U.S. operations withdrawal from Iraq.

Georgia’s second recount shows the “I won” Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) losing the state by 12,670 votes of approximately five million votes cast there. Voter signatures have also been checked twice, and no more audit can be done because privacy laws required the separation of ballots and signatures. Georgia law requires electoral college representatives be selected according to the statewide vote; anything else would be illegal. Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, both Republicans, made these points after DDT demanded Kemp call a special session of the legislature so that Republicans could change the electoral votes to DDT.

Brad Raffensperg, Georgia’s secretary of state, recertified the state’s votes reaffirming President-elect Joe Biden’s majority. He said that “the results remain unchanged” after three counts of “legally cast ballots.” A federal judge also tossed Sidney Powell’s lawsuit to overturn Biden’s victory. (Scroll down to the Introduction to see how disgusted the judge is with the case.) On December 8, the “safe harbor deadline,” states must resolve all election-related disputes. Any votes certified on this date cannot be questioned. Last Friday, DDT’s campaign filed another challenge in Georgia, asking the state to order a new vote after vacating the certification.

In Michigan, a federal judge denied the request for an injunction against vote certification from DDT’s electors filed the day before Thanksgiving. She wrote:

“This lawsuit seems to be less about achieving the relief Plaintiffs seek—as much of that relief is beyond the power of this Court—and more about the impact of their allegations on People’s faith in the democratic process and their trust in our government. Plaintiffs ask this Court to ignore the orderly statutory scheme established to challenge elections and to ignore the will of millions of voters.  This, the Court cannot, and will not, do.”

The Michigan sheriff who attempted to whitewash the threat to kidnap the state’s governor by calling it a “citizens’ arrest” has filed an evidence-free lawsuit alleging voter fraud. The plotters had threatened to execute the governor and other Democratic leaders throughout the United States.

Rudy Giuliani, now in the hospital with COVID-19, had a big influence on Arizona: the legislature shut down for a week because of lawmakers’ exposure to him. He spent over ten hours discussing his evidence-free election fraud theories with at least 13 current and future state legislators as well as two Arizona GOP representatives in the House, Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs. Giuliani wore no mask, flouted social distancing guidelines, and posed for photos before private meetings with GOP lawmakers and legislative leaders the next day. Representatives-elect exposed more legislators and Capitol staff by attending an orientation later in the week. DDT’s team stated Giuliani tested negative before going to Arizona, but negative tests can happen early in the disease’s incubation period of 3-14 days.

DDT’s attempt to have the Supreme Court pick him for the Oval Office comes from Rep. Mike Kelly’s (R-PA) appeal to block all Pennsylvania‘s votes. With no reason given, Justice Samuel Alito, who set the day for his response on the day after the “safe harbor deadline,” has moved the date up one day to December 8. Even if Kelly perseveres, the move affects only 20 electoral votes, leaving Biden with 16 more than he needs to be president and DDT with 18 fewer than he needs to stay in the Oval Office. With Giuliani hospitalized, DDT has appointed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) as a litigator to address the Supreme Court if the case goes there. Cruz wants the high court to reject all Pennsylvania votes.

Today, in another fury, DDT called the U.S. “a third world nation.” He also—again—attacked Georgia’s GOP governor. Last week, DDT twice called the speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, asking for help in changing the electoral votes from Biden to DDT. The state legislators aren’t changing the electoral college vote but have asked their congressional representatives to challenge the state’s vote on January 6. GOP Rep. Scott Perry said he would do that.

DDT’s lawyer Jenna Ellis also acts as special counsel to the Thomas More Society, a conservative legal organization challenging election results in five states through the new Amistad Project, which employs a coordinated effort to overwhelm courts with repetitive and frivolous lawsuits. Lawyers in the Amistad group include Phil Kline, a former Kansas AG disbarred because of professional misconduct, and a Minnesota attorney wanting to restrict the number of non-Christian and non-Jewish people in the U.S. DDT’s campaign gave $2.4 million to Proactive, the company handling Amistad’s media for communication and videos.

The Thomas More Society focuses on “religious liberty” and appears in the Southern Poverty Law Centers’ “Hatewatch” for its unchristian views toward everyone except straight white Christians. The Amistad Project supports voter suppression, ironic because its name is taken from the ship where kidnapped Africans revolted before they were illegally sold as slaves in Cuba in 1839. Part of the Amistad lawsuits tried to stop county election officials from accepting federal grants for safe elections. Even AG Bill Barr rejected the group’s “voter fraud” evidence.   

As if he’s still running for office, DDT has a huge “vaccine summit” planned for the White House on Tuesday with all the movers and shakers. Pfizer and Moderna, leaders in the vaccine research at this time, won’t attend because they see it only as a PR event to give DDT credit for vaccine development. Another motive for the event may be pressuring the FDA to authorize the Pfizer vaccine, set to publicly examine data later this week. Earlier, DDT alienated Pfizer by accusing the company of deliberately withholding vaccine information until after the election. Other companies involved in distribution such as FedEx, UPS, CVS, Walgreens, and McKesson may send lower-ranking executives.

Like much of the other COVID-19 management bungling, the shortage of vaccine in the U.S. is DDT’s fault. Last summer, Pfizer offered DDT the opportunity to lock in up to 500 million doses beyond the 100 million doses for 15 percent of the population from the government’s $1.95 billion deal. DDT never made the deal, and Pfizer took it to other countries. Now DDT plans an executive order to block other nations from receiving U.S. vaccine supplies until people in this country are inoculated. He probably can’t. Britain starts mass vaccination on Tuesday, and the European Union gets 200 million doses.

Another event on Tuesday is a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing about coronavirus treatments. Chair Ron Johnson’s (R-WI) lead witness Jane Orient, purveyor of conspiracy theories, is head of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, “a group that opposes government involvement in medicine and views federal vaccine mandates as a violation of human rights.” Opposed to federally required vaccinations, she promotes the use of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine for the coronavirus. A few weeks ago, Johnson chaired another committee hearing about his suspicions that federal “bureaucrats” are blocking access to the drug, by relying on “disinformation” and “scaremongering.” He derided people opposed to its use for COVID-19 because it “hasn’t been proven effective” and opposes the effective use of mask wearing and social distancing.

Dozens of armed people surrounded the home of Michigan’s Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson demanding she overturn the state’s presidential election results. Their “shouting obscenities and chanting into bullhorns” began soon after Benson and her four-year-old son had finished decorating the house for the holidays. Benson, who supports free speech, said:

“There is a line crossed when gatherings are done with the primary purpose of intimidation of public officials who are carrying out the oath of office they solemnly took as elected officials.”

Rush Limbaugh, supposedly dying of lung cancer and recipient of DDT’s Medal of Freedom, cheered the prospect of violence, referring to Benson as “Michigan’s sex-cretary.” About Benson and the lack of evidence surrounding any election fraud, a demonstrator complained about her decision “to completely ignore all of the credible, credible, fraudulent evidence that has been continually pointed out.”

Today, the 89th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, led to U.S. involvement in World War II. The nation continues its upswing of COVID-19 and downslide from democracy. First Lady Melania Trump commemorated the day by announcing that her new tennis pavilion is ready for play, calling it her “legacy project.”

DDT and his wife may have little chance to use her legacy. The couple plans to spend the holidays at Mar-a-Lago, and people question whether they will return to the White House before the end of his term. His only end-of-term priorities, other than suing to return to the Oval Office, appear to be decisions about who to pardon.

August 19, 2019

Antifa Battles Fascism in Portland

Filed under: protests,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 10:01 PM
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Organizer Joe Biggs of the racist, sexist, xenophobic violent white supremacy/fascist groups including Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer, Three Percenters, and American Guard, some of them wearing body armor and carrying weapons, got what he wanted on the Portland (OR) downtown waterfront last Saturday—national attention for their unpermitted event. They failed in their other goal, to “exterminate” antifa, anti-fascist opposition. Before the event, members, claiming to be non-violent, posted images of beatings, knives slicing throats, and corpses in body bags on social media.

Before the rally, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) sided with white supremacists and called for “naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANIZATION OF TERROR,’” something that doesn’t exist for domestic groups. Earlier in August, he criticized antifa for promoting what he called “supremacy” in its fight against white supremacists. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) proposed a resolution to designate antifa a domestic terrorist group (a designation given to no white supremacist groups). He claims the Rose City Antifa “explicitly rejects the authority of law enforcement officers in the United States.” Cruz will fail because antifa doesn’t kill anyone, and the U.S. uses the designation of “hate groups” for extremist organizations such as the KKK. Members of far-right extremist groups have committed 73 percent of extremist murders in the U.S. between 2009 and 2018, 

The night before the event, Joey Gibson, leader of the fascist Patriot Prayer from across the Columbia River in Washington state, turned himself in for felony rioting outside a Portland cidery but got out on bail in time to join the few hundred fascists. Six men were charged this month for violence at a bar favored by the left, and violence always marks Gibson’s frequent events in Portland. White supremacist groups such as Identity Evropa and the PDX Stormers often support Gibson’s rallies in Portland, but the Proud Boys led he August 17 event. Biggs sent threats to “antifa” after conservative writer Andy Ngo was “milkshaked”—having a drink poured over him—and punched on June 29. A police-generated rumor that the milkshakes contained concrete—a false statement—generated backlash from both right-wing media and traditional media counterparts (notably CNN) in their sympathy for Ngo. After Ngo’s appearance on Fox’s Tucker Carlson, his GoFundMe website raised more than $200,000.

Over 700 law enforcement officers from 15 agencies tried to keep the 1,300 members of opposing groups apart in an effort that cost the city millions of dollars. Outnumbered by over three to one, the fascist groups wandered for about 30 minutes before Portland police, criticized for their friendly relationships with one of he fascist groups, escorted them to a bridge blocked to the public where they marched across the Willamette River. Law enforcement willingness to accommodate groups terrorizing Portland residents for a rally with no permits in a public park may have avoided bloodshed, but it showed support for fascist protesters. The groups stayed for only an hour of their planned five-hour rally.

The counterprotest, organized by the Popular Mobilization (or PopMob) coalition of leftist groups, distributed flyers stating:

“If you oppose racism, white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and the xenophobic, ultranationalist ideologies of the far right (and our current administration), you are an EVERYDAY ANTIFASCIST.

“If you are not a fascist — then you are Antifa.”

The 1,000 counterdemonstrators included local Jewish and Buddhist faith leaders and a marching band in bright yellow banana costumes. Others dressed as unicorns and pandas, blowing giant bubbles and singing along the waterfront.

Biggs said that the Proud Boys will come to Portland monthly to deplete its resources until the mayor rids the city of antifa. The Proud Boys sometimes say that their violence is only self-defense, but Biggs’ videos are violent, such as the one in which he swings a DDT-themed baseball bat that he brags will be “put to good use” in Portland. In his announcement of the rally, Biggs wore a shirt reading “Training to Throw Communists Out of Helicopters” and issued violent threats to his antifa critics:

“You’re not gonna feel safe when you go out in public. Every time you turn your shoulder or your head, you look over, you’re always gonna feel like myself or someone else is gonna be there looking, because that’s what we’re going to do. You’re scum, you’re filth, you’re anti-American socialist fucking pricks, and I’m not gonna let that shit happen in this country.”

Later Biggs tweeted his followers:

“Get a gun. Get ammo. Get your gun license. Get training. Practice as much as you can and be ready because the left isn’t playing anymore and neither should we.”

His supporters responded with memes depicting ISIS-style beheadings of antifascists with large knives. One of them said:

“I fully expect [an] armed conflict to break out on Aug. 17. People may die this is the real deal.”

Republicans have a history of supporting the violent fascist Proud Boys. Almost two years ago, the Metropolitan Republican Club in Manhattan invited former Proud Boys to attend and their leader Gavin McInnes to speak. Following their riot outside, the Club defended the racist group and denied that the speech “was certainly not inciting violence.” Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Devin Nunes (R-CA) posed for photos with Proud Boys on the campaign trail, and Fox talk show host Tucker Carlson posed in a Fox green room with two Proud Boys and GOP operative Roger Stone who used Proud Boys as his security force at an Oregon GOP event after the Proud Boys were well-known for their Portland brawls.

Nine Proud Boys were arrested because of the Metropolitan Republican Club riot, and McInnes quit the group after the FBI classified them as an extremist organization. He said he did it to “alleviate the sentencing” of the arrested members to “show jurors they are not dealing with a gang and there’s no head of operations.” The FBI backed off from its designation because it “does not and will not police ideology.” DDT’s 2020 campaign may cause more Proud Boys violence; they prominently appear at his rallies. Proud Boys have also gone to alt-right researcher Gwen Snyder’s Philadelphia home and threatened her

Scholars of fascism note that fascist skinhead groups pose serious political threats when a mainstream political party endorses them, and they “become functional equivalents of Hitler’s SA and Mussolini’s squadristi.” Conservatives cultivating or tolerating white supremacists as weapons against an eternal enemy such as immigrants raise fascist insurgency to “Stage Two.” Proud Boy lawyer Jason Lee Van Dyke said that the group has been welcomed by DDT’s GOP party. Group umbers grew after the disastrous riots at Charlottesville (VA) caused other groups to dissipate, but the 3,000 membership seems to be shrinking everywhere except in the Pacific Northwest, especially Portland, perhaps because of some police sympathy toward the group.

The white supremacist groups violently invading cities reflect the neo-Nazi skinhead gangs of the 1980s and early 1990s who controlled music venues, bars, and street corners. They recruited disaffected members of the white working class just as groups like the Proud Boys develops its presence by trolling blogs.

The conservative USA Today explains antifa, short for “anti-fascist,” as a movement, not an “organization” as DDT tweeted, because it lacks leadership and structure. The oldest alliance of anti-fascists, the ten-year-old Rose City Antifa in Portland, has been the object of attacks by fascist groups. Antifa’s goal is stopping Neo-Nazis from having its racist, sexist, homophobia public forum by confronting them and protecting counterprotesters. They “dox” fascist group members by spreading private information about them to the public and employers because “the goal of fascism is to exterminate the vast majority of human beings.”

Mark Bray, author of Antifa: The Antifascist Handbook, emphasized the importance of publicizing fascist believes to blunt their growth:

“We should be wary of those who are more distressed about alleged violations of the speech of fascists than the actual violence they perpetrate.”

Bray writes about the importance of stopping fascist groups before they take over countries. Bloodshed could have been avoided by blocking Mussolini in 1919 when his nucleus had only 100 men or the 54 members of German Workers’ Party at Hitler’s first meeting. Earlier intervention might have prevented the murder of heather Heyer at Charlottesville.

A counterprotester said:

“If we ignore fascism, it emboldens fascism, and we must confront fascism with all necessary force, even if that just means showing up and saying, ‘You’re not welcome here.’”

Despite the protesters against fascists outnumbering the opposition over three to one, the fascists declared the event a victory for them—probably because the man they call the president of the United States sided with them and not with opponents of fascism. Counterprotesters might have wanted more fascists to attend the event: they collected pledges of money for each one who attended. Proceeds went to Causa, a local group that helps protect local undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Two days later, the gathering of 300 fascists in Portland seems a flash in the pan as DDT struggles against the reality of a possible recession, angers from farmers loss of income, calls for gun safety legislation, crises around the world, and his disastrous polls.  

September 30, 2018

U.S. House: On Recess But Not Forgotten

The House of Representatives may be in recess to campaign for the next six weeks, but GOP members are still up mischief. Their vote to pass another round of tax cuts just before the November midterms gives an additional $3 trillion to the wealthiest people in the U.S. The vote of 220-191 included three Democrats; last year’s tax bill had no Democratic support. Part of the House tax plan costs come from the “Universal Savings Accounts” that has no limit for participation and permits withdrawal of funds before retirement. The shift of savings from taxable accounts primarily benefits the wealthy, the top one-percent of the population who can shift, on average, $9.5 million into tax-free accounts. The average 60 percent of people has $16,000 to shift.

After the last tax cuts, Republicans began to threaten slashing or even eliminating Medicare and Social Security because of the escalating deficit; this will cement that deal. The Republicans can’t campaign on the last tax cut: people believe the law benefits “large corporations and rich Americans” over “middle-class families” by a 2-to-1 margin, 61 percent to 30 percent. With 42 percent of people reporting that they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports the GOP tax plan, compared to 36 percent in favor of those candidates, only 1,039 GOP TV campaign spots, under 12 percent of all GOP TV ads this year, mentioned the new tax bill. That bill was the only GOP accomplishment.

The House has departed at the same time that the Violence against Women Act lapses. Two weeks ago, the spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) reported negotiations with the Senate, but nothing has come of her promise. Even if the House took action, the GOP senate might oppose it. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the most unhinged supporter of Kavanaugh, is one of six GOP white men on judiciary committee who voted against VAWA in 2013. Graham’s state has the highest rate of women killed by men in 2014, twice the national U.S. average, with 92 percent of the female murder victims knowing their killer and 62 percent having been in an intimate relationship with the murderer. The leniency of court sentencing allowing the attackers back out on the street in a short time is one factor for South Carolina’s high rate of violence against women.

In addition to attempts to starve people by highly restricting food stamps, the farm bill awaiting House members’ return contains three climate and fiscal disasters for the United States:

  • Stop localities from regulating pesticides: This interactive map shows some of the places in danger.
  • Permit wealthy farmers to get crop subsidies: The new bill allows people making over $900,000 annually could give a loophole to exempt partnership, joint ventures, and other corporate farms.
  • Eliminate funding for the Conservation Stewardship Program: Gone would be offsets for some farmer costs such as crop coverings to keep soil and fertilizer in place over the winter, buffer strips that prevent severe soil erosion from storms, and hedgerows as habitat for wild bees and other beneficial insects.

Dark horse Rep. Beto O’Rourke (R-TX) is closing the gap between him and incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the race for Cruz’s position. While the senate was forced to stay in session most of August, O’Rourke was crossing the state, going to all 99 counties, and again Cruz is stuck in Washington, D.C. while the House is in recess. In the last debate, O’Rourke pointed out his opponent’s absences:

“Within months of being sworn to service, your senator Ted Cruz was not in Texas. He was in Iowa. He visited every single one of the 99 counties of Iowa. He went to New Hampshire, South Carolina. He went to the Republican presidential primary states instead of being here. He shut down your government for 16 days in 2013. Too many people were getting too much health care in the United States of America.”

O’Rourke told the crowd that Cruz missed one-fourth of the vote in 2015 and one-half the votes in 2016 and finished by saying, “Tell me, who can miss half the days at work and be rehired for the same job going forward?” Cruz was so positive that the senate would vote on Kavanaugh over the weekend that he canceled a debate with O’Rourke today. After the week’s hiatus before a vote, Cruz tried to reinstate the debate, but O’Rourke said that he was already booked. Donations were double for O’Rourke than Cruz as of June 30, another bad sign. Cruz’s campaign was based on ridiculing O’Rourke, but every attempt backfired.

Not satisfied with just smearing his opponent, Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Ted Cruz is scamming older people to get campaign funds. Sean Owen wrote that his 88-year-old grandmother received what appears to be a summons from Travis County but is asking for donations to Cruz. He has a pattern of scamming people to get elected. To get people to the Iowa caucuses in 2012, Cruz sent mailers headed “VOTING VIOLATION” with a warning about “low expected voter turnout.” It purported to print the person’s voting scores, not available to the public in that state, and included a chart with false voting “grade” and “score” for the recipient and neighbors. The warning ended with the ominous statement: “A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses.””

Incumbent candidate Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and his wife have been indicted on 60 charges related to fraudulent use of $250,000 in campaign funds in 200 incidences of lavish vacations and dinners, conspiracy, wire fraud, and filing false campaign-finance reports.  Included in the information are at least five of Hunter’s “personal relationships” with photographic evidence. Hunter has denied the charges while he runs racist, anti-Muslim advertising against his opponent. He describes himself as a Christian conservative and committed family man.

New York voters may also get another chance to elect a potential criminal: Rep. Chris Collins, charged with insider trading, decided he will run for re-election this fall after claiming that he wouldn’t. He has an 80 percent chance of winning in the conservative district, according to fivethirtyeight.com.

DDT slammed the DOJ for indicting these two representatives before the mid-term elections. Long live the swamp!

Fearing rough competition to his race to become Florida’s governor, former Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) quit four months early to campaign—over 16 percent of the term that his voters expected him to serve. He might use the time to speak at more white supremacist conferences after the four times he addressed ones organized by the David Horowitz Freedom Center audiences. The organizer has said that blacks owe their freedom to whites and that the nation’s “only serious race war” is against white people. He told them that he admires “an organization that shoots straight … and is standing up for the right thing.” DeSantis started campaigning for the general election with the use of “monkey this up” when talking about his black opponent, Andrew Gillum. Tony Ledbetter, Volusia County GOP chair and paid employer for DeSantis’ campaign, posted a demand to move “animals … from our country.” Speakers at Horowitz conferences have made more disgusting comments about minorities, especially blacks. DeSantis resigned as administrator for a racist and Islamophobic Facebook group laden with conspiracy theories immediately after his affiliation was made public. Virginia GOP Senate candidate Corey Stewart remained as administrator.

Thanks to the laxness of the FEC, Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) violated election rules by keeping money raised for her primary campaign although she faced no challenge. Questioned about her actions, Love said she would keep the money and reclassify it later.

Taxpayers are still ponying up the money to pay for congressional members’ sexual assault settlements because Congress cannot agree on a law to stop it. Congressional workplace misconduct has cost taxpayers almost $15.2 million from 1997 to 2014. Does the Supreme Court have this arrangement to pay victims of sexual assault?

One wealthy donor is fed up with Republicans. Les Wexner, owner and CEO of L-Brands in Ohio, said he is “no longer a Republican” and spoke warmly about President Obama and his theme of bipartisan civility. Wexner said, “I was struck by the genuineness of the man; his candor, humility and empathy for others.” A year ago, Wexner had told his employees that he felt “dirty” and “ashamed” because of DDT’s response to violence at the Unite the Right rally that killed a person in Charlottesville (VA).

In the NYT, Timothy Egan wrote about the bargain that the GOP made with DDT:

“Republicans would get tax cuts for the well-connected and a right-wing majority on the Supreme Court, and in turn would overlook every assault on decency, truth, our oldest allies and most venerable principles. They expected Trump to govern by grudges, lie eight times a day, call women dogs, act as a useful idiot for foreign adversaries, make himself a laughingstock to the world….

“A lifetime of Republican pieties, put forth by the bow-tied best and brightest, has gone up in a poof. Free trade? It’s been swamped by America First. Balanced budgets, living within our means? Get to love the trillion-dollar deficit, courtesy of those tax cuts.”

GOP congressional members are willing to sell out every Republican value in a sycophancy to DDT including a belief in their party over country.

July 20, 2016

GOP Platform Goes Back to 19th Century

Republicans love to talk about the importance of following the U.S. Constitution being the party of Lincoln. Judges and legislation are bound by the Constitution. This year the platform of the self-proclaimed party of Lincoln has seven pages—ten percent of the content—in a section called “A Rebirth of Constitutional Government” (aka revisionist constitutional theory).

This section of the GOP platform proclaims that government exists to protect “God-given, natural rights”; in any difference of opinion, God wins. One of these God-given “inalienable right that predates the Constitution” is “the right of individuals to keep and bear arms” as “a natural inalienable right that predates the Constitution.” Another God-given rights are “to devote resources to whatever cause or candidate one supports” (such as influencing elections), influence elections), to “set their own membership standards” free from anti-discrimination laws, and the “freedom of Americans to act in accordance with their religious beliefs” often when those beliefs call for defiance of the law, as examples of rights that are “not given to us by the government but are rights we inherently possess.”

The platform gets worse by completely invalidating  the U.S. Constitution. “The government cannot use subsequent amendments to limit First Amendment rights.” Thus the GOP repudiates the way that legislators and judges are bound by the Constitution. Republican position is that Congress cannot propose and states cannot ratify, for example, a constitutional amendment overruling the Supreme Court’s campaign finance decision in Citizens United v. FEC, the Republican Party’s position is that this amendment would be null and void.

“Inalienable” means “impossible to take away or give up.” Therefore Republicans state that rights that they consider inalienable cannot be changed through constitutional process and no more amendments with the slightest connection to the First Amendment—religion, free speech, and financing—can be made.  Also “the unborn child” has an “inalienable right to life … which cannot be infringed.”

Stephen Rosenfeld has culled these excerpts from the 2016 GOP platform.

  1. Tax cuts for the rich.
  2. Bank deregulation.
  3. Elimination of consumer protection.
  4. Repeal of environmental laws.
  5. Shrinking unions and union labor.
  6. Privatization of federal railway service.
  7. Freezing or elimination of federal minimum wage.
  8. Cuts in government salaries and benefits.
  9. Appointment of only anti-choice Supreme Court justices.
  10. Appointment of only anti-LGBT and anti-Obamacare justices.
  11. Legalization of anti-LGBT discrimination.
  12. Christianity as a national religion.
  13. Greater campaign finance loopholes and dark money.
  14. Eliminate gun controls nationwide.
  15. An anti-choice constitutional amendment.
  16. Elimination of federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
  17. Permission to states in closure of abortion clinics.
  18. Opposition to stem cell scientific research.
  19. Condemnation of executive branch policy making.
  20. Retention of the electoral college.
  21. Requirement of citizenship documents for voter registration.
  22. Drawing congressional districts without consideration of undocumented immigrants.
  23. No labeling of GMO ingredients in food products.
  24. Work requirements for welfare recipients and cuts in food stamps.
  25. More oil and gas drilling on U.S. shores.
  26. Completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
  27. Expansion of fracking and burying nuclear waste.
  28. No tax on carbon products.
  29. Disregard of global climate change agreements.
  30. Privatization of Medicare.
  31. State administration of Medicaid.
  32. No increase of Social Security benefits by taxing the rich.
  33. Repeal of Obamacare.
  34. Monopoly control by internet service providers.
  35. English as the official U.S. language.
  36. No amnesty for undocumented immigrants.
  37. Wall along U.S./Mexico border to keep immigrants out.
  38. Government verification of citizenship of all workers.
  39. Penalties for cities giving sanctuary to migrants.
  40. Puerto Rico a state but not Washington DC.
  41. Support of traditional marriage but no other families.
  42. Privatization of government services to fight poverty.
  43. Mandatory bible study in public schools.
  44. Replacement of public schools with privatized options.
  45. Permission of abstinence-only approaches in sex education.
  46. Privatized student loans without lowering interest rates.
  47. Restoration of the death penalty.
  48. Dramatic increase in the Pentagon budget.
  49. Cancelation of Iran nuclear treaty and expansion of U.S. nuclear arsenal.
  50. Reaffirmation support for Israel and elimination of sanctions movement as anti-Semitic.

And that’s just a few of the issues covered in the platform. The GOP shows itself to be pro-rape, pro-gold standard, and pro-“right-to-work” while being anti-national parks and anti-mass transit.

The less rabid members of the Republican party who don’t follow all these positions blithely say that no one reads the platform or pays any attention. Yet the platform is the wish list of GOP leaders for Congress; it’s what they think they want to do to the United States. This platform calls for a drastic military buildup when a large percentage of taxes already goes to the Pentagon. This policy, combined with the massive tax cuts that they call for, follows the first term of George W. Bush which led to trillions of dollars in deficit and a recession that still hurts the nation’s economy.

In his speech tonight, GOP VP candidate, Mike Pence, called for the appointment of Supreme Court justices who will uphold the constitution, but the platform calls for justices who follow the GOP platform. During the convention, speakers consistently maintained that there is nothing progressive about the Democratic party, that it is the GOP that wants to move forward. In many ways, however, the platform resembles the conservative position of the mid-1800s except conservatives 150 years ago didn’t oppose abortion and immigration.

The theme of Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) speech tonight is that “freedom matters.” He’s right, but his party’s platform wants to take away freedom for many people in the United States—no freedom for LGBT people to have the same rights as heterosexual people, no freedom for women to have reproductive health care, no freedom from poverty and illness, no freedom to have clean water and air, no freedom for equal internet use, no freedom for people with any skin color to travel safely wherever they want, no freedom for people other than strict “Christians.” In short, no freedom for all—just the entitled.

Of course, Cruz was booed at the end of his speech for not endorsing  Donald Trump after he said that people should not stay away from the election in the fall and that they should vote their conviction. Then Cruz’s wife, Heidi, was escorted from the floor for her own safety. So much for GOP unity. Or maybe the entire situation was a set-up so that Cruz would make Mike Pence, who followed Cruz, look good.

As far as the platform and Donald Trump, however, anyone with sense knows that Trump won’t even read it—and he certainly won’t pay any attention to it. He only wants a wall between the United States and Mexico.

June 13, 2016

Orlando Aftermath: Lots of GOP Talk, No Action

Filed under: Guns — trp2011 @ 8:56 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

As the people in the United States try to cope with the killing of 49 people in an Orlando gay bar early yesterday morning, the craziness of a polarized country goes on. President Obama “has become the greatest terrorist hunter in the history of the presidency,” according the nonliberal Jeffrey Goldberg, but Donald Trump is calling for the president’s resignation “in disgrace” if the president doesn’t use the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” Conservatives fail to remember that the presidential position that “we ought to avoid the language of religion” goes back to George W. Bush’s “Counterterrorism Communication” guidelines. They’s just happy attacking all Muslims–and of course, they think that President Obama is one.

Donald Trump’s drive for attention led to his making increasingly insane comments during the past 36 hours. He started out yesterday by patting himself on the back in wanting to ban Muslims from the United States and by this morning insinuated that the president may be colluding with terrorists. “There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable,” he said in Trumpese. As Politico’s Blake Hounshell summarized, “This morning, Trump implied President Obama is a terrorist sympathizer.” Politico’s Jake Sherman added, “The Republican Party’s nominee for president seems to be saying it’s possible the POTUS is in cahoots with terrorists.”

In this case, Trump isn’t the only Republican to criticize for the belief. Within the past few weeks, GOP leaders have started falling in line behind their presumptive presidential candidate. As Michael Gerson wrote, “Since Trump now owns [Republican leaders], they now own his prejudice.”

Trump is not alone in stupidity; he has lots of company in Congress. Whether the killer has ever been on a terrorist watch list is still in question, but, thanks to the GOP, being on this list would not prevent him from legally buying a gun. Although people on the list are not legally permitted to purchase plane tickets in the U.S., they can legally purchase guns, including the assault rifle that the killer used. Last December, Republicans defeated a measure to prohibit those on the terrorist watch list from legally purchasing guns. Senate Republicans up for reelection this year—including vulnerable candidates Kelly Ayotte (NH), Ron Johnson (WI), Pat Toomey (PA), and Rob Portman (OH)—voted with the NRA to gun rights for the suspected terrorists’ gun rights.

Florida’s Marco Rubio, whose term is up and who may be running again although he promised not to do so—has strongly argued that guns had nothing to do with the killings. It was the ideology. The man who said that he hated being in the Senate and rarely showed up for votes indicated that the Orlando shooting may have inspired him to run. Hugh Hewitt urged Rubio to run, citing his “foreign policy” knowledge. That must include his opposition to opening trade with Cuba and his determination to destroy any agreement with Iran. Rubio’s foreign policy is very scary.

Terrorists are well aware that the United States is a candy store of guns for them. For at least five years, they have encouraged their followers to purchase assault-style weapons and shoot people in the United States made easy with the extremely lax gun laws in many of the nation’s states. An al Qaeda spokesperson said in that 2011 video:

 “America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?”

From 2002 to 2014, 85 percent of people killed by terrorists in the U.S. were killed from guns. Every terrorist attack in the U.S. last year when someone other than the perpetrator was killed involved guns. Building a bomb isn’t easy, and hijacking airplanes has become almost impossible, but accessing guns is quite simple, thanks the GOP support for terrorists purchasing guns. Yesterday, Santa Monica (CA) police stopped a white man from Indiana, who had an NRA symbol on his license plate, on his way to a gay pride parade with “assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, ammunition and chemicals used to make explosives” in his car. Nothing was said, however, about his ideology.

Always direct with its covers, the NY Daily News has one placing the blame for the Orlando shootings square on the NRA. The organization makes millions and millions of dollars from the gun manufacturing industry and then uses the money to lobby legislatures for more lax gun laws that will allow the industry to sell more and more guns. The marketing strategy is brilliant: when men aren’t buying enough guns, advertising is directed to women. When that market seems saturated, guns sales for small children are pushed. Not one person can figure out a reason why private individuals have a need to own an assault-style weapon other than to kill as many people as possible in as short of a time as possible–but the U.S. lets them buy these military weapons.

Daily News cover

Ted Cruz may be the only Republican leader who openly recognized that the killer targeted the LGBT community. His purpose in doing so, however, was to call on Democrats “to speak out against an ideology that calls for the murder of gays and lesbians.” He defined the killers as members of “ISIS and the theocracy in Iran (supported with American taxpayer dollars).” In other words, he wants the Democrats to join the Republicans in banning all Muslims—and probably other immigrants—from the United States.

Aside from the fact that the U.S. does not send “taxpayer dollars” to Iran, Cruz ignores the Christian ideology that promotes the execution of gays. At least one of these Christian leaders who wants to kill gays is Cruz’s colleague, Kevin Swanson, who spoke immediately before Cruz in Des Moines (IA) where Swanson hosted a “National Religious Liberties Conference.” Swanson did say that homosexuals should not be sentenced with a death penalty until they’ve had time to repent.

Speakers at the same conference were other Christian supporters for killing gays–Phillip G Kayser, pastor of Dominion Covenant Church in Nebraska, and Joel McDurmon, president of the Christian Reconstructionist organization American Vision. McDurmon criticized Uganda for backing off the death penalty in its anti-LGBT legislation.  Rafael Cruz, Ted’s father and a strong campaigner for Ted’s presidential candidate, is a preacher in the Dominion Church. Ted Cruz follows many of that church’s beliefs.

Congress called today for a moment of silence regarding the killings. That’s what they do best—silence in adversity. My hero for the day is Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) who refused to participate in today’s moment of silence and walked off the House floor after calling them “obnoxious expressions of smug incompetence.”

In an interview with Slate, Himes said:

“’Thoughts and prayers’ are three words that cost you nothing. I’m sick of it. Show some courage. There’s an array of pathetic arguments with the ideologues you hear, that we can’t ever end gun violence. That’s true. We’re not going to end polio or cancer, either, but we can take some huge strides.”

After Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) held the pro forma moment of silence, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) tried to ask the Speaker when he would consider bills curbing gun use. Before he finished, Ryan ruled his question out of order and directed the House to move to the next vote. Democrats responded by shouting, “Where’s the bill?” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters Democrats have “had enough” of moments of silence after mass shootings when Congress does not act to tighten gun laws.

People talk and write a great deal about the killer being “radicalized.” This may be true. But what is the term for Christians who kill? Will we ever talk about Christians who want to kill innocent people being “radicalized”? If Christians kill innocent people, can we call it “domestic terrorism”? Or “radical Christian terrorism”? And will there ever be enough brave people to stand up and say that the killings couldn’t happen without guns?

May 10, 2016

Trump Wins; GOP Falls Apart

Filed under: Presidential candidates — trp2011 @ 9:03 PM
Tags: , , ,

Tonight Donald Trump won West Virginia—not difficult because he has no competition. He actually told people they shouldn’t bother to vote despite the hundreds of people and issues on the state’s ballot. Less than a week ago, Trump’s majority in the Indiana primary finished the GOP candidacy Waterloo for his 16 competitors. Within 24 hours, the last two—Ted Cruz and John Kasich—were gone. It was not done peacefully.

Cruz seemed to survive former House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) description of him a “Lucifer” and the “most miserable son of a bitch.” Cruz tried to cover the problem by saying that he had only “met the man two or three times.” Yet, Cruz was Boehner’s lawyer in 1998 when he sued Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) for violating wiretapping laws after McDermott released a tape of a 1996 call between Boehner and then-Speaker Newt Gingrich to the New York Times. Cruz used the publicity for fundraising and bragged to the Tea Party about taking down a Democrat.

What broke Cruz was Trump’s discussion of a tabloid photograph showing Rafael Cruz, Ted’s father, with Harvey Oswald, who assassinated John F. Kennedy. Cruz called Trump an “amoral pathological liar,” a “narcissist,” and a “serial philanderer” and predicted that “this country could well plunge into the abyss” if Trump were elected. These sound bites will be very useful for Democratic ads this fall as Cruz moved 180 degrees opposite from praising Trump last fall, for example, “I have been glad to praise Donald Trump for speaking out boldly and brashly….”

cruz daughterNothing Cruz did helped him survive in Indiana, not claiming that John Kasich had dropped out of the race or reminding people that Trump defended Tyson when he was convicted of raping a woman in Indiana in 1992. Naming the highly disliked Carly Fiorina as his vice president didn’t help at all. The Internet delighted in putting Cruz’s gaffes front and center—calling a basketball rim a “ring,” ignoring Fiorina when she fell off the stage in front of him, hitting his wife in the face with his elbow when he turned around to hug the man behind him, threatening to spank a boy who yelled “You suck!” (He had also threatened to spank Hillary Clinton a few months ago.) Heidi Cruz said on camera that “Ted is an immigrant.” Even Cruz’s daughter doesn’t want him to hug her.

Cruz ignored the fact that his own party despises him and blamed the media—particularly Fox News—for Trump’s rise. “Network executives have made a decision to get behind Donald Trump. Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes at Fox News have turned Fox News into the Donald Trump network.”

He might be grateful that the upcoming campaign won’t deal with his fight to put people into prison if they sell dildos in Texas. Badly-worded legislation could have sent a women to jail for up to two years because she sold other women vibrators in her living room. As the state’s solicitor general, Cruz headed a team in 2007 that provided a 76-page rationale for the law, asking the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the decision jailing people for selling sex toys. The lower ruling was struck down 2-1, including the judge’s disbelief that selling dildos is comparable to soliciting sex.  As usual, Cruz kept at the case, trying to take the case to the Supreme Court. He should have quit: Craig Mazin, Cruz’s former college roommate, tweeted:

“Ted Cruz thinks people don’t have a right to ‘stimulate their genitals.’ I was his college roommate. This would be a new belief of his.”

Samantha Bee has mixed fact with satire in her goodbye video to Ted Cruz.

With only Trump left on the GOP side and Democrats concentrating on Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the religious far-right has no candidate for the third presidential election in a row. John McCain didn’t appeal to them in 2008, and many fundamentalists questioned Mitt Romney’s Mormon religion. Ainsley Earhardt, a host on Fox & Friends, suggested that people should pray instead of voting “and God will pick the right candidate.” It’s the best idea that I’ve heard from conservatives in this election cycle.

Cruz has gone back to the Senate—much to the dismay of his GOP colleagues–and the Republican establishment has to deal with the fallout from Reince Priebus’ declaring that Donald Trump is the party’s “presumptive nominee.”  After that annointment, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), one of the two congressional GOP leaders, said he isn’t ready to support Trump as nominee. Trump’s retort was “I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda.” Later Trump was stumped when he kept telling people that he would force Ryan to step down as the leader of the GOP convention only to have Ryan announce that he would do that if Trump wanted.

Once Trump was established as heir “presumptive,” half the GOP started spending their energy guessing who he would pick for VP. Trump has indicated that the short list includes Chris Christie, former candidate and current New Jersey governor, although Christie is already heading the transition team as Trump heads for the White House. Another candidate, Ben Carson, said he wouldn’t do it because he would be a “distraction” so he’s on the vetting committee. Rick Perry said he’d be delighted to be chosen even after he earlier referred to Trump as a “cancer.” Another name tossed around is Newt Gingrich, a failure for presidential candidate four years ago.

A possibility is that Trump may play the “woman’s card” by selecting a woman. Govs. Nikki Haley (SC) and Susana Martinez (NM) are running away from him, but Mary Fallin (OK) and Jan Brewer, former Arizona governor, would be delighted. John McCain, who loosed Sarah Palin on the nation, wants Trump to pick pig-castrating Sen. Joni Ernst (IA), and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, leading the anti-Planned Parenthood committee aiming to out all people with any relationship to working with fetal tissue by subpoenaing them, has been suggested as a possibility. When asked about Sarah Palin as a choice, Trump said that she is a “terrific” person but very much a “free agent,” aka “loose cannon.”

Those who aren’t guessing about the VP position are looking for people to run against Trump in the general election. According to the conservative Beltline newspaper, The Hill, these ten names lead the crowd: Mitt Romney, who accepted Trump’s endorsement four short years ago; Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), who has made the most noise about a third person run; General John Kelly; former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who is the likely Libertarian Party nominee and thinks that a Libertarian who wants to legalize marijuana can beat both Trump and a Democrat; Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI, a Rand and then a Cruz follower; former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK, who resigned his senate position because of cancer; Nikki Haley, who is way too smart to do this; and Rand Paul, who already unsuccessfully ran for the job.

Paul Ryan has said that a third-person run in the upcoming presidential election would be disastrous for the party. Others ask if things can get worse. Even more “interesting” would be if the GOP runs a third person, and Bernie Sanders decides to go out on his own if he doesn’t get the Democratic nod in July. And it’s only been one week!

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