Nel's New Day

April 10, 2021

DDT Gathers Faithful As Insurrection Reports Continue

With hundreds of his faithful followers gathering at Mar-a-Lago, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is playing king for the weekend while reaping the financial benefits at his club, struggling since Joe Biden became president 81 days ago. DDT headlines the closed-door event to raise millions for the GOP in the luxury hotel Four Seasons four miles from DDT’s Florida estate, the location for his own fundraising. Participants can hear more lying rants about a “stolen” election wannabes such as Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Dakota’s Gov. Kristi Noem, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton wait for DDT to give up. He also made the event a feeding frenzy against absent Republicans such as former VP Mike Pence, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Elaine Chao.

Fundraising comes at the end of a week when the media described DDT’s scams to rip off poor constituents. His campaign automatically took regular sums of money from donors, many of them poor, unless the victims rescinded this process after reading through the fine print. Outcries caused the campaign to return $122 million—11 percent of his take last fall—to hundreds of thousands of people who discovered they were duped. Many more not be aware of the their losses. For months DDT used the money interest-free.

Instead of backing down, the site now threatens people with being “reported” to DDT as “defectors” if they don’t donate. The NRCC is participating in DDT’s scamming the Republicans through texting a ten-minute chance to join DDT’s “new social media site”—which doesn’t exist—and then using a default box to double their pledge amount and make it recurring.  DDT’s campaign also sent out over 500 fundraising requests since his election. 

DDT isn’t the only GOP scammer. WinRed, the for-profit collecting a percentage of the donations, is now on the websites of GOP committees and congressional Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and McConnell with the same pre-checked boxes at the end of text-heavy messages. The GOP website is based on ActBlue, a non-profit website where Democrats can donate to candidates.

The relationship between DDT and the RNC became tense last month when his PAC told other Republican groups to “immediately cease and desist the unauthorized use of President Donald J. Trump’s name, image, and/or likeness in all fundraising, persuasion, and/or issue speech.”

Competing with DDT’s event at another of his Florida properties, the Doral golf resort in Miami, is a conference hosted by Women in America First, a group leading the D.C. rally contributing to the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Notable among guests are such GOP rejects as Rep, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), stripped of all her committee assignments only weeks after being sworn in, and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), investigated for several federal charges including sex-trafficking. Gaetz gave the keynote speech.

As DDT is back to doing what he prefers—giving speeches and taking money–documents show how he was MIA on January 6 as his crowd attacked the U.S. Capitol. The media politely called DDT “disengaged” while insurrectionists beat up police and vandalized the U.S. legislative headquarters. He failed to stop the attacks for hours after VP Mike Pence, his life threatened by DDT’s followers, ordered acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller to “clear the Capitol” and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made desperate pleas to military leaders for the deployment of the National Guard.

The Pentagon and DDT wanted to avoid a military presence after ongoing fiascos during the Black Lives movement protests, including the use of helicopters over D.C. attempting to intimidate crowds. The Pentagon didn’t plan to notify Miller until the protesters numbered more than 20,000 at the Ellipse, but participants who went to the Capitol became immediately violent, breaking into the building and assaulting police officers in their way.

Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, now replaced, called the National Guard commanding general William Walker for help at 1:49 pm and repeated his request 20 minutes later. Meanwhile, senators ran from the chamber, and rioters went through their desks while more insurrectionists broke through more Capitol entrances to the House chamber. The troops weren’t activated for at least 75 minutes after the first panicky telephone call from Sund, and they still had to make their way from Andrews to the D.C. Armory before they went to the Capitol. Executing a plan took another two hours, but Pentagon security forces were guarding homes of defense leaders.

Two hours and 28 minutes after the first call, DDT finally tweeted his followers to “go home and go in peace.” Walker didn’t have approval to send the Guard to the Capitol for another 13 minutes. Almost three hours after their first call, Pelosi and Schumer again called Milley and the Pentagon leadership for help. The first contingent of 155 Guard members didn’t arrive for another 50 minutes. The Capitol wasn’t declared safe for over six hours after the Pentagon was told about the insurrection.

Thus far, 377 people have been charged for the Capitol insurrection. Almost 20 percent of them are connected to the military, either currently or in the past, many with dishonorable discharges. A new study of these arrested 377 people by Robert Pape, a specialist in security threats, examines demographics and county characteristics from their homes in 250 counties in 44 states. Some findings about the majority:

  • Most are older and more professional than right-wing protesters from the past.
  • They typically have no ties to current right-wing groups.
  • They are 95 percent White and 85 percent male.
  • Many live near or among Biden supporters in blue and purple counties, 52 percent of them Biden comfortably won.
  • “Counties with the most significant declines in the non-Hispanic White population are the most likely to produce insurrectionists who now face charges.”

Another report reveals law enforcement at the Capitol had expired ammunition, ineffective shields, and warnings from two weeks earlier about a map of the complex’s underground tunnels posted two weeks earlier on a pro-DDT website.  Capitol Police failed to establish standard operating procedures for the Civil Disturbance Unit and had fewer officers at the Capitol day than previously listed. Leadership ordered officers not to use all of its less-lethal options and “operated at a decreased level of readiness.” The intelligence division didn’t require security clearances and had no training program for all employees.

A riot defendant is exchanging a plea for testimony against the far-right extremist Proud Boys, one of the “paramilitary” groups attacking the Capitol.  About two dozen insurrectionists connected with the Proud Boys have been charged with federal crimes. Another rioter is flipping against the Oath Keepers, another extremist group.

After their December attack on a Black church in D.C., the Proud Boys may be short on resources because of a lawsuit for committing acts of terror. The group’s leader, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, has refused to respond, leaving the church close to a default win. Although Tarrio says the group is not a legal entity, leaders are tied to a network of LLCs in Florida and other places, crowdfunding at a Christian site, and at least one online store selling merchandise, some of it on behalf of DDT’s friend Roger Stone.

Documents indicate the violence at the Capitol was orchestrated before January 6 by several groups including the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and QAnon. Their goal was to stop the counting of the electoral college votes. Deputy to Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and two other members guarding Stone were indicted after the discovery of 19 phone calls over three hours during the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Calls indicated coordination of storming the Capitol, likely by Rhodes, along with a previously organized strategy. The total of indicted Oath Keepers for the event is now 12.

DDT escaped conviction at his impeachment trial for inciting the insurrection at the Capitol, but an investigation of his campaign shows his aides took dark money from campaign shell companies to subsidize the rallies—and riots. Women for America First, supposedly separate from DDT’s campaign, listed its staff members on a permit for the January 6 rally. They were directly paid by DDT’s 2020 campaign, and donations to DDT shelled out over $2.7 million to people and groups paying for the rally, one of them Megan Powers who received $290,000 for the campaign’s director of operations.

Fox network’s Tucker Carlson is spreading the fear of the “Great Replacement,” a theory believed by DDT’s supporters. White nationalists purport that mass migrations and low White birthrates supposedly replace White voters, perhaps why the insurrectionists come from counties with fast-increasing non-White populations. DDT spread the same fear almost four years ago by praising neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville (VA) and chanted “Jews will not replace us” before they beat up their protesters.   

Fox network, promoting the “replacement theory” opposing immigrants is run by immigrants: founder and co-chair Rupert Murdoch, born in Australia and living in the UK and the U.S.; co-chair and CEO Lachlan Murdoch, born in London and living in Australia; chief legal and policy officer Viet Dinh, Vietnamese refugee born in Ho Chi Minh City; lead outside director Jacques Nasser, born in Lebanon and grew up in Australia; and Fox director Anne Dias-Griffin, born and educated in France. And Tucker Carlson’s mother was a Lombardi, Italian people who were lynched by white supremacists in the South during the early 20th century. He has replaced a “White” voter.

March 13, 2021

Biden Spends Successful Week

In a paraphrase of Charles Dickens—it was the best of speeches; it was the worse of speeches. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) wanted to appear in control. DDT had blocked testing, but the number of coronavirus case was still at 1,267. For a month, he had compared the deadly disease to the seasonal flu, claiming coronavirus  would just disappear and continued that lie for another seven-plus months as the daily number of U.S. cases rose to over 77,000. 

DDT read from his speech in a monotone when he announced a limit on some world travel, suspending travel from Europe for 30 days which added to bans on parts of Italy and South Korea as well as China and Iran. He exempted the UK, with far more cases than many EU countries, and permitted U.S. citizens to return to the U.S., crowding the airports and spreading infections. DDT said, “The virus will not have a chance against us.”

DDT’s speech misrepresented the administration’s policy in “suspending all travel from Europe” and blocking “tremendous amount of trade and cargo,” which also hadn’t been decided. His boast that the health insurance industry agreed to waive “all co-payments for coronavirus treatments” was also a lie. DDT continued his racist assertion about COVID-19 being a “foreign virus” that “started in China.”

Exactly one year later, March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden’s first prime-time speech excelled in empathy for the U.S. people and hope for the future. He announced all adults will be eligible for the COVID-19 virus by May 1, and his promise of 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days will be achieved by his first 60 days. The increase in vaccinations comes from the purchase of 100 million more doses of the one-time shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Biden also mourned the 545,000+ deaths in the past year from the virus, many of the deaths unnecessary because DDT did little or nothing about stopping the disease.

The far-right frantically searched for ways to criticize Biden’s speech. Tucker Carlson, already in trouble for attacking women in the military, came up with his need for “freedom.” About Biden’s statement that people in the U.S. can safely gather in small groups for Independence Day, Carlson ranted:  

“This is a free people. This is a free country. How dare you tell us who we can spend the Fourth of July with?”

Erik Wemple sarcastically wrote that “only a power-hungry radical would suggest that people hang out with ‘your families and friends’ on a holiday.” 

Biden made the speech on the same day he signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) after its final passage in the House with a 220 to 211 vote. Of the two House Democrats opposing the bill the first time, Jared Golden (ME) voted no the second time while Kurt Schrader (OR) changed his vote to yes.

With the signing a day early before the promised deadline, many of the $1,400 stipends were delivered this weekend. ARPA provides an average tax cut of $3,000 for the low and middle class and a $6,000 cut for families, giving people in this category almost 70 percent of the tax benefits. It will raise after-tax incomes by 3.8 percent. This step is the opposite of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which provided about half the benefits to the top five percent of the population, those who made about $308,000 that year.

Not one Republican voted for ARPA, but at least one of them took credit for it. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi bragged about the approximately $29 billion bailout for the restaurant industry. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “It’s typical that they will vote no and take the dough.” Republicans are now moving forward to repeal the estate tax for the remaining 1,900 people not exempted by the 2017 tax cut bill. The current tax covers only estates worth more than $22 million. Their action doesn’t fit Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) description of the GOP as “the party of steel workers, construction workers, pipeline workers, police officers, firefighters, waiters, and waitresses.”

The 657 wealthiest billionaires in the U.S. could pay for two-thirds of ARPA with the $1.3 trillion they acquired in the past year. Three of them—Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg—made enough to pay for the $250 billion of supplemental unemployment benefits of $300 weekly for the upcoming six months. Musk’s increase of $142 billion, a 567 percent increase in assets, could support farmers, small businesses, bars and restaurants, and other industries. Bezos’ $67 billion could fund assistance to renters, homeowners, and veterans with $8 billion left over. [visual – ARPA chart]

Because of current law, the billionaires $4.2 trillion in wealth won’t be taxed during their lifetimes less they sell the underlying assets at a gain. Other laws allow inheritors to escape taxation on the increase.

Biden and the Dems aren’t resting on their laurels after passing ARPA: their next project will be job-creating packages on climate, broadband, and transportation issues. Pelosi expressed hope a transportation system will let them address more needs such as education, housing, and water systems, some of them over 100 years old. With the Senate filibuster requiring at least ten Republicans to support any bills, Democrats ponder another budget reconciliation process for infrastructure and ways to pay for expenditures. One possibility, bringing GOP opposition, is tax increases on corporations and the wealthy, drastically lowered in the 2017 GOP tax cut bill.

More success for Biden during the week came from the Senate confirmation of three more Cabinet members:

Michael Regan: The vote for EPA Secretary, 66-34, allows him to rebuild an agency losing thousands of employees and rolling back dozens of clean air and water protections during the Trump administration. A former EPA employee, he pledged to change years of funding cuts, industry-friendly policies, and rejection of its scientists. Regan has “a special obligation to the underserved and under-represented.” Soon before he took over the agency, the EPA gave his predecessor a 23-page “letter of concern” to Regan’s predecessor reporting racial discrimination from hog-farm pollution resulting from investigation into a complaint. The EPA has “deep concern about the possibility that African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans have been subjected to discrimination as the result of [North Carolina] DEQ’s operation of the Swine Waste General Permit program.”

 Merrick Garland: The new DOJ Attorney General, confirmed with a 70-30 vote, will begin investigating whistleblower allegations about political DOJ hiring by acting AG Jeffrey Bossert Clark in the last days before Biden’s inauguration. In late December, Clark and DDT allegedly discussed a method of unseating then acting AG Jeffrey Rosen to advance DDT’s plans for overturning Georgia’s election before the congressional certification of electoral votes on January 6. Garland was greeted with a standing ovation when he took his oath and promised everyone will be treated by the same set of rules.

Marcia Fudge: HUD Secretary was confirmed with a 66-34 majority, thanks to GOP support including that of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader.  She needs to overcome the actions of her predecessor, Ben Carson, with his massive exodus of career staff, destruction of fair housing enforcement, and failure to address a nationwide crisis in affordable housing worsened by the pandemic. HUD’s aging issue includes 63 percent of employees eligible to retire, including 50 percent of supervisors and managers.

Although the confirmation of Xavier Becerra for HHS Secretary was blocked in committee, the Senate voted 51-48 to bypass the panel for the entire chamber to consider his nomination. Both Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have announced their support of Becerra.

With southern border shelters freed up from some pandemic restrictions, Biden has reactivated over 200 beds for unaccompanied immigrant children and eliminated DDT’s agreement causing the arrest of sponsors who want to take them. The former administration had given sponsors’ fingerprints and other information to DHS.

In another immigration change this week, a program reinstated permission for parents legally in the U.S. from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to ask for their children to come to the U.S.

On International Women’s Day, Biden signed two executive orders. One orders the review of former Education Secretary DeVos’ regulation in handling the process of sexual assault allegations by higher education institution. New Education Secretary Miguel Cardona was directed to consider “suspending, revising, or rescinding” agency actions violating the policy of non-discrimination “on the basis of sex.”

The other order establishes the White House Gender Policy Council. The Council will help Biden “ensure that every domestic and foreign policy we pursue rests on a foundation of dignity and equity for women.” A special assistant to Biden will focus on “policies to advance equity for Black, indigenous and Latina women and girls of color.” Co-chair Julissa Reynoso, first lady Jill Biden’s chief of staff, said that the full participation of women and girls in society is “essential to the economic well-being, health and security of our nation and the world. This is a matter of human rights, justice and fairness.”

To complete Dickens’ beginning to A Tale of Two Cities:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us …”

And thus we have the description of life before and after January 20, 2021.

 

March 12, 2021

Tucker Carlson’s Misogyny Hits New High

Ratings have been hard on the Fox network in the past year, especially after Deposed Dictator Trump (DDT) largely disappeared into the bowels of Mar-a-Lago. February was particularly brutal for Tucker Carlson when viewers for Rachel Maddow, who provides news on her MSNBC show, outnumbered those watching Carlson’s evidence-free bigotry and hatred.

Monday was International Women’s Day, part of Women’s History Month, and Carlson tried to build his ratings this week by showing the white man’s superiority over women. He presented his warped perspective on his Tuesday program—pregnant women are “feminizing” the military and giving China the opportunity to become more dominant over the U.S. in its world dominance of national defense. 

He also ranted about new updates to Army and Air Force hair regulations:

“So we’ve got new hairstyles and maternity flight suits. Pregnant women are going to fight our wars. It’s a mockery of the U.S. military.”

Part of Carlson’s rage came from President Biden’s Monday nomination of two highly-qualified four-star female generals to lead a combatant command. The pregnant Air Force Capt. Beatrice Horne, serving with the 964th Airborne Air Control Squadron, was selected to vet the flight suit prototype to accommodate pregnancy.

Current and former members of the military, including senior-ranking military officials and members of Congress, were not pleased with Carlson’s denigration of over half the people in the U.S. population and Carlson’s attempt to control military policy. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) sent a strong tweet about Tucker’s insults:

“F–k Tucker Carlson. While he was practicing his two-step, America’s female warriors were hunting down Al Qaeda and proving the strength of America’s women. Happy belated International Women’s Day to everyone but Tucker, who even I can dance better than.”

A retired Army National Guard lieutenant colonel with two daughters, Duckworth lost both her legs while engaging in combat during the Iraq War. Her reference is to Carlson’s brief 2006 appearance on Dancing with the Stars when he was the first contestant to be eliminated. Duckworth is the first sitting senator to give birth while in office and brought her newborn daughter, Maile, to a 2018 Senate floor vote.

Michael Grinston, the top enlisted leader of the Army, tweeted:

“Women lead our most lethal units with character. They will dominate ANY future battlefield we’re called to fight on.”

General Paul Funk, the commanding officer of the Army Training and Doctrine Command, wrote:

“Thousands of women serve honorably every day around the globe. They are beacons of freedom and they prove Carlson wrong through determination and dedication. We are fortunate they serve with us.”

VoteVets tweeted:

“Tucker Carlson doesn’t think women can serve in the military. Pretty bold words from a frozen food heir who couldn’t be bothered to serve himself.”

Tucker Carlson wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but his father stuck one there by marrying Patricia Swanson of the Swanson Frozen Dinner family fortune. He was then able to attend private schools and colleges along with connections to a television career through his father, media executive Dick Carlson who was CEO of The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The family also gained political clout after the marriage from Sen. J. William Fulbright, part of the Swanson family.

VoteVets is accurate about Carlson never serving in the military, and he failed in an attempt to join the CIA.

Travis Akers wrote:

“As a military officer, I am calling for the ban of Fox News being broadcasted in the workplace on all military bases and installations. The values of Fox News are not aligned with those of the United States military, and undermine good order and discipline among the ranks.”

Work on updates to protect women’s health while serving in the military, a maternity flight suit, permission to wear “ponytails” to stop scalp damage from tight buns, and body armor fitting women for injury prevention were initiated during DDT’s term. A former Secretary of Defense, however, did not recommend the nomination of female generals to lead service members into combat because of the concern DDT would reject women for the position.   

Martina Chesonis, spokeswoman for the Service Women’s Action Network, pointed out that pregnant women, not authorized to fly in combat, will still wear flight suits for daily work including training flights.

“It’s just such a lack of understanding of how wars are fought, how deployments are managed, how women contribute in the military. And what’s unfortunate is that [Tucker Carlson] has that platform.”

Pregnant women are not sent “to fight in our wars.” Women in military aviation often plan pregnancies to occur during regularly scheduled, non-operational jobs for every service member such as being instructors or other non-deployable positions.

Carlson wasn’t satisfied with only smearing women in the military on his Tuesday show: he also ridiculed New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz for accounts of online harassment by saying she has “one of the best lives in the country.” For International Women’s Day, Lorenz asked her Twitter followers to “please consider supporting women enduring online harassment.” Carlson complained about “powerful people claiming to be powerless” and compared Lorenz to women accused of pretending victimhood, listing Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

The Times called Carlson’s segment “calculated and cruel,” so he returned to attack Lorenz. She is a “deeply unhappy narcissist,” according to Carlson, and he denied she faces online abuse. One of his guests accused Lorenz of “harassing kids and teenagers.” A defense from a Fox spokesperson stated, “No public figure or journalist is immune to legitimate criticism of their reporting, claims or journalistic tactics.”

The word “legitimate” runs contrary to the network’s defense for Carlson in a defamation lawsuit last summer. Before he called former Playboy model Karen McDougal a “presidential extortionist,” he told 2.8 million viewers, “Remember the facts of the story; these are undisputed.” The network’s attorney excused Carlson from defamation by claiming no reasonable viewer would believe Carlson’s “reporting” was factual. Erin Murphy said:

“It’s a commentary show, It’s a show that markets itself … as opinion and spirited debate. That context matters.”

Carlson’s show aired two days before DDT’s fixer Michael Cohen and prosecutors granted immunity to the National Enguirer’s parent company after the owner, DDT’s friend, admitted it arranged to conceal any stories about women having had affairs with DDT. McDougal had clearly stated she never approached DDT, and the federal court record supports her claim.

The judge, appointed by DDT, dismissed the defamation suit against Carlson with the explanation he doesn’t tell the truth:

“This ‘general tenor’ of the show should then inform a viewer that he is not ‘stating actual facts’ about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in ‘exaggeration’ and ‘non-literal commentary.’ … Given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ …”

Carlson doesn’t attack everyone. A week ago, he called QAnon conspiracy theory believers “gentle people waving American flags.” He was referring to the mob storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6 with the intent of overturning the legal U.S. presidential election in their attempt to retain DDT in the White House. “They like this country,” Carlson said on his show. One of the five people who died at the Capitol because of the mob was Roseanne Boyland, trampled by the mob while carrying a Gadsden flag, the revolutionary era snake and the words “Don’t Tread on Me.” Carlson not only didn’t talk about these victims but also failed to mention the QAnon belief about DDT being the nation’s real leader against the cabal of Satanic Democratic child-killers and pedophiles.

The 800+ mob members running through the Capitol were looking for people to kill and wound after DDT said to “fight like hell”; Carlson ridiculed the fear of people being attacked in the Capitol. Carlson appears to have confused the “American flags” for the Confederate flag, the symbol flown by treasonous people during the Civil War who tried to overturn the United States. Many people in the Capitol were searching for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) with the intent to commit physical violence against her.

Tucker Carlson’s ratings for March will indicate whether larger audiences reward his hatred toward women and call for violence against them. 

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. 

February 16, 2021

Climate Change Creates Havoc in the U.S.

The biggest story in the past few days has been the weather. In just the United States, about 150 million people—almost half the population—was under winter storm warnings. Texas may have been the worst problems across nation with more than 4.2 million customers losing power, many of them for extended periods of time. President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency for the red state so that FEMA can provide help.

On Fox network, anti-Democrat and anti-Biden Tucker Carlson declared wind energy was completely responsible for the electricity shortage because the “windmills froze.” He called wind turbines “fashion accessories” while ignoring their success in freezing areas such as Iowa and Denmark. Wind turbines help power thousands of homes in the interior of Alaska during the winter as well as in the Baltic, northern Scotland, and other cold areas.

Authorities explain that rolling blackouts to spread the power across more customers became necessary after natural gas, a fossil fuel, froze inside pipelines not made for the current weather conditions in Texas. Compressors for the pipelines and coal piles froze as gauges and instruments did at natural gas, coal, and nuclear plants. In some areas such as Dallas, the temperature as low as 4 degrees Fahrenheit was lower than Anchorage (AK). Plummeting temperatures caused spikes in use of electricity, leading to outages for unknown lengths of time. With the severe shortage of power, companies prioritized gas for heating homes and businesses instead of generating electricity, leaving people with electric furnaces, 60 percent of the population, in the cold with no electricity. Pipes will freeze because the shortage of electricity means no running water. Cell phone service is disappearing because backup generators at towers are freezing or running out of fuel or both.”

Meanwhile wholesale prices for natural gas went up as much as 4,000 percent. In northern Texas, the cost of a megawatt-hour went from an average of $18 to $300; Houston saw an increase in megawatt hour from $22 to $9,000. The increase in price was partly responsible for the lack of electricity: power management “shed load”—cut off customers—instead of dealing with the cost spikes.

A serious issue in Texas is its insistence on operating its own power grid, managed by the nonprofit Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), for 90 percent of the state’s electricity serving 26 million customers. Texas is the largest oil, natural gas, and wind energy producer in the country. Outside Texas, power company revenues pay to have generators on call during times of high demand, Texas electricity customers pay only for the power actually provided. Prices are lower during normal times, but the grid reliability suffers during times of spiking electricity demand.

Daniel Cohan, a Rice associate professor of environmental engineering, call ERCOT “an island.” In desperate circumstances, the state has nowhere to go to more energy, and the state hasn’t maintained its grid. Ed Hirs, an energy fellow in the department of economics at the University of Houston, said, “It limped along on underinvestment and neglect until it finally broke under predictable circumstances.”

The map (left) shows the widespread liability of a separate grid with lack of regulation. 

ERCOT’s predictions for the winter, using past winters, assumed it had sufficient resources and expected to lose about 8,600 megawatts in the winter for a peak demand of 58,000 megawatts. Instead, 34,000 megawatts went offline at the same time as a peak of 69,000 megawatts in the storm.

Texas built its own grid after the 1935 Federal Power Act regulated interstate electricity sales. ERCOT operates outside the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and assumes natural gas will always be available. Instead the liquid froze. As of Monday afternoon, over three-fourths of ERCOT’s gigawatts offline were from gas and coal. Yet publicity blames the wind and solar energy while using the current chaos as an excuse to raise utility rates. Ten years ago, when fossil fuel power underperformed, the conservatives falsely called the outages “a direct consequence of the Obama administration’s agenda to lay siege to the coal industry.” In that decade, Texas drillers have burned off massive quantities of natural gas–$750 billion worth in just 2018—instead of using it for the grid.

What Tucker Carlson doesn’t know—or refuses to admit:

  • Wind turbine outages are responsible for less than 13 percent of Texas’ power shortages.
  • ERCOT predicted wind turbines would produce only 10 percent of the state’s winter electricity; less than half the share of 22.9 percent in the summer.
  • Over 80 percent of the power shortfall came from problems at coal- and gas-fired plants.
  • During the power shortage this week, wind turbines exceeded expectations because of the winds generated by the storm spinning the blades faster than usual.

As of Tuesday evening, the weather has killed at least 25 people in the U.S. from tornadoes, fires, car crashes, carbon monoxide poisoning, etc. In Louisiana, a man died after he fell on ice and hit his head. The windchill went from Canada into Mexico, and snow fell on the Gulf of Mexico coastline. Snow covered over 73 percent of mainland U.S., the largest area since records began in 2003. All except three of the 48 mainland states had snow.

Delays in COVID-19 vaccine shipments and deliveries slowed the distribution as did the inability of people to get to vaccination sites. Medical personnel frantically looked for people to vaccinate after power and generators failed. The 2,000 record lows included -26F in Sioux Falls (SD) and -38F in Minnesota, and at least 20 cities experienced their coldest weather in history. More records are expected. 

Over 2,700 U.S. flights were canceled with 800 at Dallas-Fort Worth and 700 in Houston. Another 1,300 flights were delayed. In just Alabama, 100 school systems closed. San Antonio canceled all its flights.

The Dallas Stars postponed a National Hockey League game against the Nashville Predators, and the Houston Chronicle failed to print the paper after the plant lost power, something that didn’t even happen during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Abilene (TX) shut off water services at all three water treatment plants. At -16F, Tulsa (OK) had 113 broken water line since Sunday, and a parked patrol car couldn’t move because of frozen water around its wheels.

In Oregon, the coast stayed warm and wet, but much of the rest of the state was hit. About 330,000 people lost electricity, the largest number in recorded history. Heavy snow and ice brought down trees and branches, and the resulting blocked storm drains may cause flooding. Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order preventing price-gouging in nine Oregon counties because of unusual increases in lodging rates for temporary stays while power is out in homes.

Carlson’s next false claim may be that record low temperatures prove the fallacy of global warming. The rapid heating of the Arctic, however, pushes the North Pole’s cold air further south. It’s all part of climate change. Winter storms have been strongly increasing in the U.S. Northeast since 2008 as Arctic has heated up at a rate over twice the world’s average. Cold air around the North Pole, an area of low pressure tightly circulating during winter like a spinning top, is moving because of interference to the jet stream, strong winds at lower elevations than the polar vortex. Arctic warming causes a shift in the jet stream which then hits the polar vortex. Judah Cohen, the director of seasonal forecasting at Atmospheric and Environmental Research, said, “Where the polar vortex goes, so goes the cold air.” In the past month, Europe has also seen huge gusts of snow.

The storm will likely continue across the nation on Wednesday with a return to average or above-average temperatures within seven to ten days. Wednesday, however, the sun will be out at my house on the Oregon Coast.

One bright spot: The United States no longer blocks assistance from states based on their politics. Biden promised unity, and the red state of Texas was the first to receive federal assistance. He made a call to red state governors Greg Abbott (R-TX), John Bel Edwards (D-LA), Andy Beshear (D-KY), Laura Kelly (D-KS), Bill Lee (R-TN), Tate Reeves (R-MS), and Kevin Stitt (R-OK). The call repeated that his administration is ready to answer requests for federal assistance and deploy federal emergency resources to help people in the storm.

December 16, 2020

WSJ Attacks Women, Education

Filed under: Sexism — trp2011 @ 11:19 PM
Tags: , , , ,

In five weeks, the United States will have a new “First Lady” who replaces a model—sometimes in the nude—who gained entrance to the country, just like her parents, from her husband’s manipulations. Dr. Jill Biden, an educator at a community college, has a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and a doctor of education. While earning three of these degrees, she was pregnant, cared for three children, taught (including adolescents at a psychiatric hospital), and campaigned for her as vice-president and president.

In her “spare time,” Dr. Biden founded the Biden Health Initiative non-profit organization and co-founded the Book Buddies program for low-income families, Biden Foundation, and Joining Forces with Michelle Obama. She is also active in Delaware Boots on the Ground, supporting military families.

Yet Joseph Epstein chose to criticize in the conservative Wall Street Journal, supposedly about finance, about Dr. Biden’s request to use her title instead of “Mrs.” Calling her “kiddo,” Epstein slammed the title as “fraudulent” and “comical.” To Epstein, “Dr.” is used only for medical doctors—those who have “delivered a child.” Technically, Dr. Biden has “delivered a child.” He also denigrated her dissertation, “Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs,” with the descriptor “unpromising.”

Bragging about not asking his students to call him “Dr.” when he was a “lecturer” at Northwestern University, he skipped over his lack of a degree beyond his baccalaureate except an “honorary” doctorate at Adelphi University, not an earned degree. People in the know also commented that Epstein didn’t prevent his students from calling him Dr. Epstein. He also used his attack on Dr. Biden to attack honorary doctorates and higher education. He said that teachers, the same thing he did, were paid handsomely for working only six months a year. He also objected to Black women receiving honorary doctorates.

Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D. and senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University, has a few insights into Epstein in the National Catholic Reporter.

“The world is too connected, and life is too short, for people to keep harping on each other over an election that your husband won. There are other issues: global warming, unemployment, immigration. And, I know I don’t need to tell you, people dying by the minute from COVID-19. Even so, I hope you will address questions about education in the United States soon after you set up your Washington office.

“But, back to The Wall Street Journal and its essay writer, 83-year-old Joseph Epstein. For many years, Epstein taught writing and literature as a visiting lecturer at Northwestern University. Nearly concurrently, he edited the Phi Beta Kappa journal, The American Scholar. At Northwestern, he is said to have ignored and demeaned his female students.

“Writing in The Hudson Review, he memorably called women scholars ‘pit bulls’ and worse. Joyce Carol Oates wrote that his editorial reign was ‘an embarrassment.’”

Zagano added that WSJ’s op-ed editor, Paul A. Gigot, worsened the situation by defending Epstein’s piece. Instead Gigot claimed the outcry came from Biden’s transition team strategy instead of a protest against misogyny. She concludes by addressing Dr. Biden:

“I want you to know that there are many others of us out here who have been treated identically, although perhaps not so in print. Whether our doctorates are 40 years old or newly awarded on Zoom, we have been subject to sniping about our research, our teaching and our university service ever since we stepped into the classroom. We have been given the worst teaching days and times, and we have received some of the silliest classroom evaluations you can imagine. We have also suffered comments, foul jokes and even untoward advances from the senior male faculty members on whom our jobs depended. Sneering comments about using ‘Dr.’ are the least of it.”

Fox’s Tucker Carlson is making sure the discussion stays in the right-wing limelight. Wednesday, he referred to the soon-to-be First Lady as “poor illiterate Jill Biden” and her dissertation “our national shame.” To prove he wasn’t being sexist, Carlson ranted about Joe Biden’s stupidity. According to a rumor Carlson wants to run for president in 2024. (Carlson has a BA but failed to get into the CIA.)

Northwestern University, which employed Epstein in a non-tenured position until 2002, stated it “strongly disagrees with Mr Epstein’s misogynistic views.” The school has removed his name from its website.   

With his former “high-level” position at a university, Epstein ignores the importance of community colleges where one-third of students in higher education attend. Dr. Biden wrote about the diversity and importance of these schools in her dissertation introduction:

“The community college classroom is unlike any other classroom in America. Diversity, rather than homogeneity, is the norm. In an average-sized class of twenty students at Delaware Tech, for example, most of the seats will be filled with young students who have just graduated from high school. The majority of these will be female. At least five seats will be filled with middle-aged men and women who have lost their jobs due to downsizing and/or outsourcing. One or two seats will be filled with students who have graduated from a GED program. Some seats will hold older women whose children have just entered college – now these women are taking the opportunity to earn college degrees themselves. Three quarters of the class will be Caucasian; one quarter of the class will be African American; one seat will hold a Latino; and the remaining seats will be filled with students of Asian descent or non-resident aliens. At least one quarter of the students will have children – most of them will be single mothers. Some will be the first in their families to attend college.”

Even Merriam-Webster, publishing definitions for almost two centuries, entered the Twitter fray:

“The word doctor comes from the Latin word for ‘teacher,’ itself from docēre, meaning ‘to teach.'” 

On Twitter, Merriam-Webster has lots of company in commenting on Epstein’s piece. From Bernice King, the youngest daughter of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr:

“My father was a non-medical doctor. And his work benefited humanity greatly. Yours does, too.”

Chasten Buttigieg, a teacher and Pete Buttigieg’s husband, tweeted:

“The author could’ve used fewer words to just say ‘ya know in my day we didn’t have to respect women.’”

Buttigieg is using Epstein’s attacks to raise money for the community college foundation where Dr. Biden teaches.

Epstein, a Jewish man born in 1937 when Hitler was planning to exterminate all non-straight, non-Aryan people, doesn’t reserve his disdain for women: in a Harper Magazine essay published in 1970, he described gay people as “cursed” and “an affront to our rationality.” He wrote:

“If I had the power to do so, I would wish homosexuality off the face of the earth… nothing [my four sons] could ever do would make me sadder than if any of them were to become homosexual.”

The backlash concerned him about being called a “homophobe” because, according to Epstein, it’s a “stupid word.” 

While Epstein has focused his attack on a woman, he had no complaints about Dr. Henry Kissinger. Epstein’s parting advice to Dr. Biden:

“Forget the small thrill of being Dr. Jill and settle for the larger thrill of living for the next four years in the best public housing in the world as First Lady Jill Biden.”

Epstein sees her glory in something her husband did and not her own accomplishments because she’s the “little woman.”

Former First Lady Michelle Obama, who has a Doctor of Law degree, described Dr. Biden: “a brilliant woman who has distinguished herself in her profession and with the life she lives every day, always seeking to lift others up, rather than tearing them.” Doug Emhoff, the Second Gentleman as of January 20, 2021, tweeted about Epstein’s article:

“Dr. Biden earned her degrees through hard work and pure grit. She is an inspiration to me, to her students, and to Americans across this country. This story would never have been written about a man.”

Hillary Clinton tweeted:

“Her name is Dr. Jill Biden. Get used to it.”

Epstein’s essay may be a boon to Dr. Jill Biden. People who read about it will hopefully know about her accomplishments—apart from being married to the President of the United States.

People could call the controversy a petty issue, but it partly explains why Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) got over 74 million votes—classism, sexism, anti-education, bullying, jealousy, ignorance, and pettiness. Like Dr. Biden, I have a BA, two M.A.s, and an Ed.D. I choose not to use the word “Dr.”—unless people look down on me because I don’t dress elegantly in my retirement on the Oregon coast and I’m a female. Since arriving in my small town home, I had a formal political debate with a man. He was called “Dr.” and I was referred to by my first name. When males consider women as equal, maybe the use of “Dr.” will no longer be an issue.

U.S. daily COVID-19 cases rise: 248,686 new infections; 3,538 deaths.

October 31, 2020

DDT: Week 197 – Violence, Fraud

Armed domestic terrorists carrying flags in support of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) ambushed and attacked a Joe Biden caravan of cars and a bus traveling from San Antonio to Austin on I-35 for a campaign event yesterday. The DDT vehicles surrounded the Biden group, and observers took video of DDT cars attacking ones in the Biden group. A watching police officer refused to help the people being attacked, saying it wasn’t his “jurisdiction” although 911 calls brought other law enforcement to help. The almost 100 vehicles in the attack came from a “Trump Train group,” supporting DDT throughout Texas. People in them yelled profanities and obscenities while blockading the Biden entourage, slowing the group to 20 mph on the interstate highway. On the Biden bus was Texas Congressional candidate and former state senator Wendy Davis. DDT’s tweeted response about the travesty was “I LOVE TEXAS!” with an image of the attack. DDT’s supporters have made threatening actions across the United States to intimidate Biden supporters, but this event escalated the violence.

Other desperate Republican attempts to rig the election in their favor are using the USPS, now led by DDT’s appointee Louis DeJoy, to delay or eliminate mail delivery. Key swing states have the worst mail delivery in the U.S. This past week, on-time rates for ballots in 17 postal districts representing 10 battleground states and 151 electoral votes was 5.9 percentage points lower than the national average; over ten percent ballots are arriving later than the postal service’s maximum three-day delivery time for first class mail. Thanks to Republicans and GOP courts, 28 states refuse to count ballots received after Election Day even if they are postmarked by that time. The Black-predominant Detroit area delivered only 72.8 percent of ballots on time last week, compared to 84.3 percent delivery in the Greater Michigan district. In most of Kentucky, about 20 percent of ballots were delivered outside the three-day promise. Last Wednesday, three-day delivery occurred in Philadelphia for 58 percent of the time; Detroit dropped to 52 percent

The national average is 95 percent, two percent below the former 97-percent on-time delivery. Over 52 million people have voted by mail instead of in person, and over 37 million mail ballots are outstanding. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in the U.S. District Court in D.C. ordered the USPS to provide a written explanation for each district delivering less than 80 percent of ballots on time each day or less than 90 percent of ballots on time for two days in the same week. Wisconsin and Minnesota ballots are not accepted after November 3. Courts have ordered ballots legally arriving within the allotted time after Election Day in Minnesota, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania set aside, setting the scene for courts to exclude these votes from the total. Compounding problems in Minnesota is its ballot tracking system going offline for maintenance today. A video at the Miami-Dade Post Office showed piles of undelivered mail, including ballots both completed and blank, more than a week overdue.

As part of its war on democratic voting, Republicans are suing to invalidate legally cast votes; i.e., over 100,000 votes in Harris County (TX) cast at drive-through voting centers. In Nevada, the GOP lawsuit demands detailed information about workers counting ballots, including their names, party affiliations, and work schedules as well as copies of every signature on mail ballots returned to elections officials and used to authenticate ballots. The hearing is Monday.

DDT’s failures of the past week make him appear more of a failure. His campaign events spread the virus in almost every area he goes and sent people to the hospital with hypothermia (Omaha) and heat stroke (Tampa). In Tampa, at least 17 people needed medical attention, and a dozen of them were taken to the hospital. DDT rescheduled a North Carolina to Monday because of high winds. Again today, he left members of his audience in the dark and cold while waiting two hours for buses at Butler (PA) after sitting outside for four to five hours. At another performance he ridiculed faithful follower Laura Ingraham (Fox network) for wearing a mask. 

Reports released this week covered DDT going easy on a Turkish bank allegedly breaking U.S. sanctions law when the bank funneled money to Iran and helped fund the country’s nuclear weapons program. Turkey provides millions of dollars to DDT for his businesses there. Bolton had said DDT would favor foreign leaders over government regulations to get personal returns from them. To protect DDT, AG Bill Barr had fired U.S. attorney Geoffrey Berman, keeping him from pursuing the case against Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.  

U.S. taxpayers have also given DDT at least $2.5 million for excessive charges at DDT properties in addition to another $5.6 million paid by DDT’s campaign and fundraising committee.

Four years ago, James Comey sank Hillary Clinton’s election chances with a last minute accusation about her emails. This October, Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani tried the same schtick by trying to smear Joe Biden with infamous laptops supposedly containing salacious and damning material from Biden’s son, Hunter. On his Fox show, Tucker Carlson tried to help the scheme by saying UPS “lost” the damning laptop documents when a producer mailed them to Carlson’s home. UPS supposedly found the package, but Carlson complained about a missing flash card. Then he admitted he had copied the documents before he said they were missing. Asked about their contents, he first said he had not yet reviewed them and then said he didn’t want to be “piling on” Hunter Biden. Carlson’s story fell apart after the announcement that a fake “intelligence firm,” Typhoon Investigations, had disseminated the fake 64-page document about China. It was written by a self-identified Swiss security analyst, a fabricated identity with a profile photo created by artificial intelligence.The contents, highly promoted by the New York Post, were available on the internet a month before its article.

Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating Giuliani about potential violation of lobbying laws in dealing with Ukraine and payments from Florida businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, indicted last year for illegally funneling money to Republican political candidates. Bannon was arrested for conspiring to defraud people in the “build the wall” scheme and working with Chinese national to violate securities laws by bilking investors in a private offering. DDT has indicated he will be pardoning Bannon.

Republicans are trying to spin last quarter’s GDP figures into a positive for DDT, but that attempt appears to have fizzled. The 33-percent increase might look good, but economist Jay Shambaugh explained some “basic math”:

“If you own a stock priced at $100 and it drops 30 percent, it is now worth $70. If it gains back 30 percent, it is then worth $91 (the gain is just $21 because 30 percent of 70 is 21).”

Another economist, Dean Baker, explained “the economy would have to grow at a 53.3 percent annual rate in the third quarter to make up the ground lost in the first and second quarters.” Growth this next quarter will be minimal if not minus: the second quarter benefited from stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, and perks for businesses. With a recalcitrant GOP Senate, chances of another stimulus bill after the election are slim to none because they would do it only to help their election prospects. Projections for the 2020 GDP is a minus 3 percent to 4 percent. DDT brags about his 11 million new jobs during the last quarter, but these are only half the 22+ million lost in the previous quarter. DDT has gained absolutely zero new jobs since he was elected.

COVID-19 is a major reason people are giving for their Biden’s votes. Yesterday, the U.S. broke the 100,000 number for new cases, almost 3,000 more than India with its population over twice that of the U.S. Deaths still average almost 1,000 a day, a figure Donald Trump Jr calls “almost nothing.” Hospitalizations have also skyrocketed although accurate numbers are difficult to find since DDT’s administration twisted the data collection system by giving it to a private contractor owned by DDT’s friend. The figures are no longer publicly available for all states.

In DDT’s rabid campaigning, he claims doctors inflate the number of deaths for financial gain. Calling DDT’s lies “malicious” and “completely misguided,” the AMA released a statement about how “physicians, nurses, and frontline health care workers have risked their health, their safety and their lives to treat their patients and defeat a deadly virus. They did it because duty called and because of the sacred oath they took.” AMA President Susan R. Bailey continued by asking people to use “public health steps” based on knowledge instead of following “the dangerous wave of misinformation.”

Data for this interactive map is here. 

 

DDT has also emphasized the “positivity rate” as the gold standard, and Dean Baker’s data shows GOP-governed states have the highest COVID-19 test rates, more than states governed by Democrats. Mississippi has a 100-percent positive rate, the number of positives for the tests.  

Ignore COVID: DDT’s final campaign message.

December 5, 2019

DDT’s Disasters: Impeachment Inquiry, NATO

This week’s news has largely focused on the impeachment inquiry and the NATO conference in London, both of them crazy. Corrupt GOP Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz wants to impeach President Obama—who left the office almost three years ago—for wiretapping Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) which didn’t happen. DDT pretends he’s in charge of the impeachment and tweeted, “Do it now, fast …. We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify.”

When the House Judiciary Committee entered the impeachment inquiry yesterday, three of the constitutional experts were selected by Democrats, and Republicans picked the fourth, Jonathan Turley who had already written op-eds opposing the impeachment. His weak arguments against impeachment included Democrats are acting only out of anger and moving too fast. Turley testified for Bill Clinton’s impeachment because he was a “perjurer” but now finds insufficient evidence despite DDT’s refusal to allow executive employees to comply with subpoenas, threats to deny congressionally approved funding for Ukraine without an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden, lying under oath, attacks and intimidation on impeachment inquiry witnesses, cover-ups of the scheme, setting himself up above the law, etc.

Republicans piled on by supporting Russian propaganda, claiming insufficient information, listing faults of other presidents, and crying “unfair” as well as the argument that Democrats shouldn’t polarize the country with impeachment. Outside the hearing, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) said DDT is just using “the blunt talk of a Manhattan businessman” instead of “smarmy talk of politicians.” Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) said withholding the aid for corruption in exchange for investigating a major political opponent was just a coincidence. He added that changing the term quid pro quo to bribery proves that there are no grounds for an impeachment inquiry. DDT’s latest defense is that the term “do us a favor though” is actually “doing U.S. a favor though.” That one took 130 days to think up. The GOP defenses for DDT are remarkably similar to those for Richard Nixon almost 50 years ago as shown in this Art Buchwald column during Nixon’s impeachment.  [visual Art]

In 2010, Turley defended the most recent person impeached in the U.S., Louisiana federal district court Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr, who was charged with taking a vast sum of gifts while he was a state court judge and lied under oath to the Senate and FBI to be confirmed. Although Turley didn’t disagree that Porteous had taken money and other gifts, he defended his client with claims that Porteous didn’t break any laws, although he may have been guilty of bad judgment; he didn’t act unethically; and his actions were business as usual in New Orleans. Turley described Porteous’ decades-long egregious behavior as mostly personal failings that failed to meet the “high crimes and misdemeanor” standard for impeachment. A super majority of Senators found Porteous guilty of all four counts, one of them with a vote of 96-0. This is the constitutional expert who Republicans hired to present their defense of DDT and who opposes “perjurers.”  

Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) asked House committee chairs to draft articles of impeachment.  

Angered by the House hearings, DDT had a rocky time in London from NATO colleagues. Intending to look like a statesman, he either argued or suffered ridicule. He schmoozed with reporters for over two hours on the first day but escaped more mocking by unexpectedly canceling a press conference on the second day of the 70th anniversary meeting of 29 countries to immediately leave for the U.S. The night before, a secret mike at the Buckingham Palace reception caught Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gossiping with French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. DDT first called Trudeau “two-faced” and then referred to himself as “funny.”

Macron had called out Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for threatening to oppose NATO’s defense plan for Baltic countries if NATO refuses to classify as terrorists anyone Turkey wishes. Then he criticized the lack of U.S. leadership because DDT pulled troops out of northern Syria without warning NATO allies, allowing Turkey to send troops against the Kurds. DDT called Macron’s comments “nasty” and met with Erdogan at NATO, perhaps the only NATO leader who wasn’t upset with him. Up for election on December 12, Johnson avoided photographs with DDT.

NATO leaders have agreed to “a forwarding-looking reflection process … to further strengthen NATO’s political dimension including consultation.” The next meeting is scheduled for 2021 to avoid DDT’s fourth year in office.

While DDT was in London, North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui called him a dotard, a “an old person, especially one who has become physically weak or whose mental faculties have declined,” in his dotage, “the period of life in which a person is old and weak.” DDT had earlier said the U.S. would use force against North Korea if necessary and called President Kim Jong-Un “Rocket Man”–again. Despite DDT saying that North Korea was no problem for the U.S., the hostile country has regularly launched missiles while DDT called off military exercises. Kim’s latest threat is an unwelcome “Christmas gift” for the U.S.

Rudy Giuliani is back in Ukraine this week, meeting with discredited prosecutors Yuri Lutsenko, Viktor Shokin and Kostiantyn Kulyk and still looking for damaging information connected to his conspiracy theories. He’s also working on his documentary series highlighting the same falsehoods. Investigations into Giuliani’s affairs show that a major source of his income may result from selling access to DDT and the DOJ. For example, Giuliani charged Lutsenko $200,000 for a meeting with AG Bill Barr. DDT’s officials indicated irritation and frustration about the trouble that Giuliani may be causing during the impeachment inquiry.

As Giuliani digs deeper and deeper in trouble, DDT distances himself from his private lawyer. DDT told Bill O’Reilly that he “didn’t direct [Giuliani] to go” to Ukraine on his behalf, that he was just one of Giuliani’s clients, in direct contradiction to DDT’s own transcript of the July 25 phone call to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. A few days before that claim, Giuliani declared to Fox that DDT would never “throw me under the bus” but that he has “insurance.”

DDT’s aides dispute the report of Giuliani’s many calls to the White House and the Office of Management and Budget during the freeze on funds to Ukraine. They did not dispute, however, the close contact with DDT while he ran DDT’s shadow Ukraine policy pushing Ukraine’s president to announce investigations that personally benefit DDT politically. And they are refusing to comply with subpoenas to clarify who Giuliani called. Two days ago, Giuliani said that he had nothing to do with withholding aid from Ukraine and talked to the OMB about other subjects. The next day he said he didn’t talk to anyone in OMB. Russian can most likely provide the text of any phone calls to the White House.

Like Giuliani, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may disappear from DDT’s circle. In London, he visited with GOP donors, possibly raising funds for a Senate run in Kansas this coming year. Pompeo is still pushing Russian propaganda that Ukraine interfered in the U.S. election after swearing as CIA director that Russia was totally responsible for the inference.

Republicans like Sen. John Neeley Kennedy (R-LA) still behave like Russian assets by spreading Russian propaganda. Kennedy sees the false claim about Ukraine interfering with the U.S. election as “fact” and Ukrainian expert Fiona Hill’s testimony refuting this conspiracy theory as “opinion.” Senators were briefed on Russian involvement as opposed to the false Ukrainian theory, but Kennedy didn’t attend the briefing. The GOP-run Senate Intelligence Committee found no evidence that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.

Fox’s Tucker Carlson has joined the Russian assets in the United States when he said:

“Why do I care what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia? I’m serious. Why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Which by the way I am.”

Members of DDT’s base proudly wear shirts stating, “I’d rather be Russian than Democrat.” Their position about DDT? All businessmen cheat. So what? 

Get some rest this weekend. The impeachment inquiry continues on Monday with Democratic and Republican counsels to the House Intelligence and House Judiciary committees. It begins just hours before the DOJ release of the internal review of the 2016 Russian investigation origins, predicted to be a bust for AG Bill Barr who wants evidence for his personal conspiracy theories.

September 5, 2013

Fox Network–How Many Lies?!

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 9:18 PM
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Tucker_Carlson_AsleepHave you ever fallen asleep while watching television? Even the scintillating Fox network?  Tucker Carlson did. While he was on air.  Don’t know who Carlson is? He’s a co-host of Fox & Friends, with the self-proclaimed “fair and balanced” perspective toward reporting.

No support from his co-hosts either. They openly ridiculed him before waking him up with “Good to see ya. Welcome to Fox and Friends.” Carlson tried to cover his gaffe by saying, “I know we’re not on television so it doesn’t bother me.” Maybe the camera’s red light alerted him to his mistake when he said, “Are we live? Is this honestly live?”

His excuse was substituting for Sean Hannity the evening before. Even if the program ran overtime, Carlson still had enough time for four to five hours of sleep. Maybe that’s why Fox gets so many things wrong: they just sleep through everything that they report.

Thomas Kersting, therapist and school counselor, wasn’t sleeping on Fox and Friends when he advocated a plan in a New Jersey’s school district to throw away a child’s meal if their parents hadn’t filled out the right paperwork for the Free and Reduce Lunch program. He considered it a “teaching moment” and claimed that the hungry kids aren’t actually punished. He said,

“We have more food than any other nation. You know, no kid is going to starve. You know, if one day a kid doesn’t have lunch, right, maybe that’s a teaching moment when that kid doesn’t have lunch. That may sound harsh saying that, but we’ve got to get people to start being responsible for themselves.”

Last fall, Fox fell asleep throughout all the polling that showed Barack Obama would win a second term and then looked shell-shocked when Ohio’s results came in. Karl Rove had a meltdown, which made me wonder if he had planned something else with the potentially rigged computers. 

Last month, a host on Fox explained that the network Al Jazeera is popular in the Arab world because most of the people there sympathize with Osama bin Laden’s attempts to kill U.S. citizens. Jim Pinkerton, a Fox contributor and writer for American Conservative, agreed, citing Pew surveys. But the survey results show the opposite. In 2011, Pew found that “in the months leading up to Osama bin Laden’s death, a survey of Muslim publics around the world  found little support for the al Qaeda leader.” Al Jazeera America bought Current TV last January and launched in August to almost half of the U.S. homes subscribing to television.

After President Obama called for the expansion of universal early childhood education, Fox accused the plan of being a government handout, “literally, the nanny state,” designed to entice toddlers to vote for him. Fox’s sister station, Fox Business, then called the proposal “immoral” because the country couldn’t afford it. “It’s immoral to put this across as something that’s actually doable, when it’s not.” No education, no dreams.

If statistics don’t match the conservative view, Fox presents charts to make their case, for example, making an unemployment rate of 8.6 percent look higher than 8.9 percent. Fox slept through the Benghazi briefings, claiming that the CIA had denied a diplomat permission to fend off the attack on the embassy. When one coal company laid off employees, Fox frequently ran pieces on the president’s “War on Coal” and its huge layoffs in the industry. At the same time, the industry actually had tremendous growth.

Almost all Fox’s climate coverage is wrong: the Union of Concerned Scientists found that 93 percent of Fox coverage on the topic was “misleading.” According to Fox, wind power causes global warming, carbon dioxide cannot cause global warming because it doesn’t mix well in the atmosphere, and solar energy won’t work in the U.S. because it isn’t sunny like in Germany. They’re wrong on all of these.

If stories don’t fit their conservative philosophy, they ignore them, even if the important ones. For example, Fox did almost no reporting on senatorial candidate Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments, the conflict surrounding the death of teenager Trayvon Martin, and the passage of New York’s marriage equality law.

Fox pushed the falsehood that President Obama gave more “freebies” than any other administration when George W. Bush wins the award for the largest increase in food stamps. Fox pundit Liz Trotta said that military women should “expect” to be raped if they join the service. Geraldo Rivera blamed Trayvon Martin’s murder on what he was wearing—his hoodie. Voter oppression was commonly described on Fox as an “attempt to fight voter fraud.” Conspiracy theorists on Fox claimed that the polls denying Mitt Romney the presidency were wrong—right up to the night of the election.

Even when Fox wakes up, it acts as a bully. Convinced that Attorney General Eric Holder lied during his testimony before Congress in June, they started a petition for his ouster from office. Appearing with Sean Hannity, Bill Cunningham verbally abused another panelist, Tamara Holder, when he demanded that she sign the petition. When she addressed his rudeness, Cunningham delivered a string of sexist remarks after saying, “Wait a minute, you shut up. Know your role and shut your mouth.”

His sexism was in keeping with earlier comments from Fox contributor Erick Erickson, who claimed that science proves that women should be submissive to women and that men should earn more money. That was only part of the Fox’s sexist dismay after a study showed that women are increasingly making the most money in their relationships.

It doesn’t stop there. Last month, Fox “medical expert” Dr. David Samadi (again on Fox & Friends)  declared that Obamacare should drop the “gender equality” requirement because women have breasts, and ovaries, and a uterus. He evidently slept through the class about male reproductive organs. Pregnancy, as a “pre-existing condition,” wouldn’t occur without males.

Even Fox women behave like bullies. Enraged by the Justice Department investigating a Fox reporter, co-host of The Five Andrea Tantaros, ranted:

“Fox said, we’re targets, clearly Media Matters and others have put us on a target list. And they said, ‘Oh, Fox is just crazy! They’re just paranoid!’ Really? Are we? This is what is happening to our press! This is Obama’s America! It’s like the Soviet Union. He said he would change the country. He said it. And a lot of people voted for him.”

Tantaros finished by telling the audience that if her audience finds any of these people who voted for President Obama, “do me a favor, punch them in the face.” When a caller worried that she was sending the wrong message, she explained:

“To be clear, I didn’t say punch Obama in the face. You’re going to get me arrested with this type of government. If someone voted for him! If anyone that you know who voted for President Obama, smack ‘em down.”

And there’s much, much more. Although this article is over a year old, it shows how Fox badly informs its viewers. Here’s a newer one. And a former devoted Fox watcher has devoted his entire blog to Fox lies. We’re all better off if everyone on Fox just sleeps.

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