Nel's New Day

September 17, 2022

Loss of Democracy on Constitution Day

September 17, 2022 is the little noticed Constitution Day. The U.S. Constitution was signed in Philadelphia 235 years ago, and leaders swore to uphold this framework for democracy. In the beginning, it protected only white men; almost 200 years were required to give women and minorities more equal rights.

Meant to be limits and protection for the government power, the Constitution divides the rule of the government into three parts to block a monarch or a tyrant. Congress writes laws, levies taxes, borrows money, declares war, pays debts, establishes courts, sets up a postal service, and provides for “the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.” The president can veto laws, but Congress can override the veto. The judicial branch settles disputes between states and guarantees a jury trial.

A major problem after 235 years is the continued belief of some states’ governments that, although they cannot strip people of the right to vote, they can stop citizens from this right, preferably the low-income and minorities who are feared by conservatives to support their rights. At this time, Republicans use threats and violence to destroy the ability of people to participate in the voting process, both in going to the polls and in working to help people carry out their constitutional right to vote.

These attempts to prohibit voting go beyond the 400+ voter suppression bills introduced in 48 states creating barriers to register, vote by mail, and vote along with redistricting, gerrymandering, and mass purges of voter rolls. Repeated requirements of “citizenship papers” intimidate naturalized citizens, and threats of violence against election workers drive them away from what they see as their civic duty. Inside the polling places, watchers can frighten voters by standing close to them, challenging ballots, or brandishing weapons. Outside, bullies can wear military-style garb when confronting voters, write down voters’ license plate numbers, block the polling entrance, aggressive question voter, and follow them.

After the election, Republicans who lose spread the lie that they actually won but the election was rigged—even if they lose to another Republican.

Recent events are threatening U.S. democracy and its foundations:

A judge appointed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) continues to declare DDT above the law because he was elected to the presidency in 2016. She also ignores the importance of national security documents by delaying any resolution to the ones found lying around during the summer break at Mar-a-Lago. Having named DDT’s choice as “special master,” Judge Aileen Cannon denied the DOJ request to pursue an investigation into classified documents while the master looks through the 11,000 records taken with a search warrant. His deadline is November 30, but no earlier deadline was set for the classified documents.

The DOJ asked an appeals court, comprised of six DDT-apppointed judges out of 11, to permit criminal investigators to examine the seized classified materials while the master works on the other records. Its filing wants those “causing the most serious and immediate harm to the government and the public.” It argues that classified documents are by definition the property of the government, not a former president or a private club and not subject to personal attorney-client privilege. DDT has not cited no legal authority to executive privilege keeping the executive branch, to which the DOJ belongs, from reviewing its own records. Cannon was skeptical that these highly classified documents could cause any harm to national security and indicated a lack of “unquestioning trust in the determinations of the Department of Justice.”

DDT has until Tuesday to respond to the DOJ’s filing. He may have a decent lawyer this time. Using private donations to his PAC Save America, DDT paid Chris Klise $3 million up front. DDT also used mob-like innuendo for violence when he told far-right conservative Hugh Hewett in an interview that people would not “stand for it” if he were indicted.  

DDT constantly lies about the documents he stole and stored at Mar-a-Lago, the reason that a search warrant was needed after a DDT lawyer signed an official document lying about all documents being submitted to the DOJ by June 2022. This lie followed DDT’s lie to the National Archives that none of the documents was sensitive or classified. Instead, Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told the archives that DDT had only 12 boxes of “news clippings.” Since Meadows’ claim, officials have recovered 42 boxes of records from Mar-a-Lago, including top-secret U.S. operations and information about a foreign government’s nuclear-defense readiness. Some of the documents had been torn up.

Far right states use parental rights as an excuse to strip bookshelves of books that don’t support heterosexual white supremacism and eliminate all non-white supremacism from the curriculum, but Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has removed the rights of parents who support their trans children. With the help of his AG Ken Paxton, who is scheduled to be deposed for his fraud indictment soon after the November election, Abbott has orchestrated a regulation that identifies any medical care for trans youth as child abuse. Texas has no legal restrictions against trans care.  

Because of Abbott’s and Paxton’s regulation, a 13-year-old trans boy was taken from his class at school and interrogated for an hour about intimate personal details without any parents present. Before he received puberty blockers, he had suffered from depression, suicidal thoughts, and difficulty attending classes. The questioning caused him to have a “meltdown,” according to his mother, and he has started missing school and has anxiety attacks because he no longer sees school as a safe place. State child services is investigating the mother for physical child abuse, calling the boy’s testosterone treatment “illegal.” The boy’s treatment is under the guidance of a pediatrician, endocrinologist, and two therapists. Medical experts widely agree that gender-affirming care is medically necessary, and puberty delay can be reversed.

A state court already ruled against Abbott in the case of one family, but he continued to persecute other families for months. An injunction from a state judge last Friday shielded a group of families because such investigations could cause “probable, imminent and irreparable injury” to the families, including “gross invasions of privacy in the home and school, and the resulting trauma felt” by the family, as well as an increased risk of depression and suicide. The state made an immediate appeal to overrule the judge, and the mother of an 18-year-old trans boy is afraid she’ll lose her job with a child abuse charge.

Montana officials plan to defy a judge’s order to permit trans person’s gender changes on birth certificates, and Virginia now requires transgender students to use school programs and facilities according to sex assigned at birth.  

Abbott sent two more busloads of migrants to the home of VP Kamala Harris, and Florida Gov Ron DeSantis is trying to cover his use of Florida money to fly Venezuelan and Colombian migrants out of San Antonio (TX) to Martha’s Vineyard. He claims that all the migrants planned to go to Florida. He also said they knew their destination, but they thought they would be going to cities, close to public transportation, instead of to an island of 20,000 people. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre compared DeSantis’ actions to those of other traffickers:

“These are the kinds of tactics we see from smugglers in places like Mexico and Guatemala. And for what, a photo op? Because these governors care about creating political theater.”

The GOP has bragged that Hispanics are leaving the Democratic party, but DeSantis may have reversed that trend. The Cuban community, identifying with Venezuelans fleeing communism, compared the move to that of deceased Cuban dictator who relocated Cubans in the early 1960s.

On Constitution Day, U.S. knowledge of basic facts about government declined for the first time in six years:

  • Only 47 percent could name all three branches of government, down from 56 percent last year and the first decline since 2016.
  • One-fourth (25 percent) could not name one single branch of the government.
  • 26 percent could not name any First Amendment freedoms. 
  • Only 24 percent could name freedom of religion, down from 56 percent last year.
  • Only 20 percent could name freedom of the press, down from 50 percent last year.
  • 63 percent cited freedom of speech, down from 74 percent last year; right to assembly 16 percent, down from 30 percent; and right to petition 6 percent, down from 20 percent.
  • 9 percent, tripled from 3 percent last year, put the right to bear arms in the First Amendment instead of the Second Amendment, but 82 percent know the Supreme Court upheld the right to own guns.
  • 78 percent know that the Bill of Rights protects people from illegal searches and seizures.
  • Only 55 percent know that a 5-4 ruling in the Supreme Court makes the decision law, down from 61 percent last year.
  • 76 percent the federal government cannot establish an official religion, and 88 percent know atheists have the same rights as other citizens.

Now if only the Supreme Court would learn these rights.

July 31, 2022

Alito Leads the Christian Nationalists

Last week, Rep. Marjorie Taylor (R-GA), a GOP leader, called on Republicans to rename themselves “The Christian Nationalist Party.” She said, “We need to be the party of nationalism and I’m a Christian, and I say it proudly, we should be Christian nationalists.” In the past, Christian nationalists largely denied its existence or shouted name-calling if accused of the religious white supremacy. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) followed Greene by saying:

“The church is supposed to direct the government, the government is not supposed to direct the church. I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk.”

Christian nationalists believe the myth that the U.S. was created as a “Christian nation,” that framers didn’t believe in neutrality in religion. The purpose of Christian nationalism is dividing the nation into “us v. them” with entitled White Christians controlling all governments and courts. The January 6 insurrectionist was a public example of the violence to obtain this privilege. The 2022 election has expanded the push toward Christian nationalism with candidates such as Doug Mastriano as a candidate for Pennsylvania’s governor.

When Greene ran for Congress in 2019, she attacked Muslim Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), accusing them of trying to impose “Sharia in America” and demanded they “go back to the Middle East.” No religious freedom there. Omar is a naturalized citizen from Somalia, and Tlaib was born in Detroit. Greene’s accusations violate the “freedom of religion” in the U.S. Constitution. Mastriano agrees with Greene in falsely claiming that elected Muslims “practice Sharia law” because they “respect neither the culture nor the rights of the original population.” Neither does he, because Native Americans, America’s indigenous peoples, did not practice Christianity.

Christian nationalism tries to enforce their belief that only White Christians have full rights, and the U.S. Supreme has gained a majority supporting that fascist belief. Justice Samuel Alito is leading the group to force his values on the entire nation. Last Thursday, he gave a political speech in Rome, supposedly about “religious liberty,” but ridiculing national opposition to his opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. In his writing, he went back to rulings from the 1200s to justify the rights of states to block all abortions, even one for a raped 10-year-old girl.

Justices now give faith-based speeches at faith-based events sponsored by faith-based parties who file briefs before the court. They have no obligation to publicize or record their speeches, but the University of Notre Dame released a video of his speech. To Alito, secularism is a threat to religious freedom although authors of the Constitution created a secular government with religious liberty. Alito’s justification for forcing religion on people is that an increasing percentage of the population is rejecting it.

In his speech, Alito attacked world readers to get cheap laughs about people who don’t meet his high “religious” standards. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron expressed disappointment at Alito’s faulty ruling and opinion in eliminating abortion in the U.S., and the European Union’s parliament formally condemned the reversal of protections for this reproductive healthcare after the SCOTUS ruling of Roe v. Wade a half century ago. Alito sarcastically said that Johnson “paid the price” with his criticism by his resignation from the position, which had nothing to do with his comments about the supreme Court ruling.

Alito decried the “growing hostility to religion, or at least the traditional religious beliefs that are contrary to the new moral code that is ascendant in some sectors.” When he complained almost two years ago about safety restrictions precautions during the pandemic, his political speech railed against marriage equality, contraception, reproductive rights, and five Democratic senators. Last fall, Alito criticized U.S. journalists,Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CO) said that “judges turning into political actors, giving speeches attacking journalists, is terrible for the court and terrible for democracy.” 

Instead of a “new moral code,” however, the United States “has more non-Christian people to question the implied, often systemic primacy of Christian values and rules in American society,” wrote Philip Bump. He compared the change to the increase of non-White people who may be skeptical of a society in the U.S. that advantages Whites.  The “new code” which Alito sneers at, is recognition of people long excluded from power. This is the threat to Alito’s “traditional” beliefs.

Since Alito got on the Supreme Court, thanks to George W. Bush, he has followed the evangelical policy of denying rights to women. In 2007, he ruled against Lily Ledbetter’s lawsuit that Goodyear was guilty of pay discrimination by giving men higher wages than women for the same type of job. Ledbetter discovered the discrimination in 1998 and filed an EEOC complaint, and Alito stated that she should have followed the law by filing her claim within 180 days after he first paycheck. She filed as soon as she discovered, after nine years, the disparity, but Alito didn’t care. 

Known for rolling his eyes at female justices during oral arguments, Alito belonged to Concerned Alumni of Princeton, formed from outrage for women being admitted to the university. Appointed to the 3rd Circuit Court by Ronald Reagan, Alito argued that women must tell their husbands before having an abortion, indifferent to the possibility of domestic violence. He used the justification that Justice Sandra Day O’Connor held that position although she joined the ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) that “women do not lose their constitutionally protected liberty when they marry.” Angry about Casey’s reference to “undue burden” permitting abortions, Alito threw out the possibility of any abortions. His argument is that regulating abortion is not a “sex-based classification” of the sort that would trigger heightened constitutional scrutiny merely because it’s a “medical procedure that only one sex can undergo.”

During Alito’s speech, he took umbrage that he witnessed a young boy in Berlin ask who Jesus was, which he described as ignorance about religion. He described it as a “growing hostility to religion, or at least the traditional religious beliefs that are contrary to the new moral code that is ascendant in some sectors.” Thus  he makes Christianity is mandatory although Christians comprise under one-third of the people in the world. Alito’s speech was the emphasis on demanding all people being religious (aka Christian).  Quoting St. Augustine, he said, “Our hearts are restless until we rest in God.”

On the same day as Alito’s speech, Justice Elena Kagan warned that the hard-right majority of justices risks destroying the court’s legitimacy. At a conference in Montana, she said,

“I’m not talking about any particular decision or even any particular series of decisions, but if over time the court loses all connection with the public and with public sentiment, that’s a dangerous thing for a democracy. People are rightly suspicious if one justice leaves the court or dies and another justice takes his or her place and all of sudden the law changes on you.”

After the six Supremes removed women’s right to abortions, confidence in SCOTUS fell to 25 percent in a conservative Gallup poll. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) called Alito’s speech an “embarrassment to the Supreme Court.” Lieu tweeted:

“He doesn’t understand there are different religions in America. What makes America great is that we let you practice your faith, change your faith or have no faith at all. Some religions support abortion, some don’t.”

Norm Ornstein, Emeritus scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, wrote:

“Alito is not just a partisan hack. He is the leader of this partisan and reckless court, and he is a clear and present danger to our basic system of governance and of justice.”

Samantha Marcotte tried to explain how Alito was wrong in why people abandon religion, that it has occurred because of evangelicals’ opposition to expanded rights for all regardless of race, gender, sex, and sexuality:

“If Republicans want to know who is to blame for young people abandoning the church in droves, they should look in the mirror. The more both Republicans and the Christian establishment reject these basic rights, the more they can expect to be rejected themselves, especially by younger people.”

Instead of protecting religious freedom, Alito wants to impose his religion on everyone as a baseline of morality and public policy. He ignores any separation of church and state but instead expresses rage and disgust that society shifts away from the beliefs that he wants to be central to society. His treatment of those presenting cases in his court displays a personal belief that they are all fools or idiots—Republicans in the first group and liberal justices disagreeing with in the second.

Both Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas lead the charge to do away with rights by appearing to keep them—just making them much harder to achieve. In the case of blocking abortion, they turned it into states’ rights with about 60 percent of the states determined to block the procedure and going so far as to prevent pregnant women from cross state lines and perhaps even execute women who obtain abortions. In Miranda, people must still be read their rights—if they know enough to ask for them; people can’t sue police for not receiving a Miranda warning. Criminal defendants can’t challenge convictions for bad legal help with lawyers missing deadlines for appeals.

In the past, sane people held out a hope that Congress could protect them from Christian Nationalists; now the Supreme Court will not be protecting the law.

July 3, 2022

Supreme Court Destroys Constitution, Part III

On July 4, 2022, the day that the Continental Congress official accepted the Declaration of Independence, the Supreme Court is considering more steps from democracy to authoritarianism by hearing Moore v. Harper. Justice Clarence Thomas has threatened to remove constitutional rights, but the slate for next year could completely devastate the democracy if the six Supremes give permanent power for setting election rules to state legislatures even if laws violate state constitutions. The court already permits North Carolina’s gerrymandering for 2022 by postponing a decision; Moore argues for the permanence of maps struck down by the state Supreme Court in a finding that the maps favored “extreme partisan advantage” for the Republican Party. The GOP claims that the U.S. constitution prevents state courts from striking down anti-democratic state laws such as gerrymandering and laws eliminating ballots for arbitrary reasons. Republicans want to remove any governor’s ability to veto new state election laws.

Justice Neil Gorsuch already supported the GOP viewpoint in a concurring 2020 vote about the Wisconsin deadline for casting mail-in ballots by stating that “state legislatures—not federal judges, not state judges, not state governors, not other state officials—bear primary responsibility for setting election rules.” Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh support Gorsuch and Thomas in this position, overruling the Court’s multiple precedents rejecting this “independent state legislature doctrine.” Amy Coney Barrett, who votes Republican, is left to split the vote.

When the Moore case appeared last March on the high court’s “shadow docket,” the majority temporarily turned it away with Kavanaugh explaining the case arrived at the wrong time. Alito’s dissent stated he would immediately reinstate North Carolina’s gerrymandered maps and overrule state court decisions he didn’t like. A ruling for the GOP in Moore would give them complete control of how federal elections are conducted in states with GOP legislatures.

In Davis v. Hildebrant (1916), the Supreme Court rejected this theory by upholding a state constitution provision allowing voters to veto state election laws through a popular referendum. Davis defined “legislature,” per the U.S. Constitution’s relevant provisions, as any individual or body possessing some part of power to make laws within a state—the “legislative power.” Therefore, under Ohio’s constitution, “the referendum was treated as part of the legislative power” and thus “should be held and treated to be the state legislative power for the purpose of creating congressional districts by law.” Legal scholars and brothers Vikram David Amar and Akhil Reed Amar supported this position by writing, “state people and state constitutions are masters of state legislatures,” not the other way around.

States can determine, through its constitution, who belong to the “legislative power,” according to Supreme Court precedent. It can give power to the governor, the state courts, a redistricting commission, or the people themselves through referenda and ballot initiatives. Most state governments function this way. Like the federal constitution, state constitutions usually permit the chief executive to veto law, even election law, and give state courts the power to resolve conflicts arising from interpretation of the constitution and existing laws.

Davis has been upheld multiple times since 2016, most recently in 2015 when the high court upheld the right of Arizona’s bipartisan commission to draw congressional maps in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. According to the ruling, “Our precedent teaches that redistricting is a legislative function, to be performed in accordance with the State’s prescriptions for lawmaking, which may include the referendum and the Governor’s veto.” Three of the four dissenting justices—Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Thomas—still sit on the court. Neil Gorsuch indicates he will join their overturn of election precedence.

Moore is a strange case to use in arguing for “the independent state legislature doctrine”: although North Carolina is trying to overturn the court’s authority, its legislature specifically authorized the state courts to hear the case. North Carolina law provides that lawsuits challenging “any act of the General Assembly that apportions or redistricts State legislative or congressional districts” may be filed “in the Superior Court of Wake County and shall be heard and determined by a three‑judge panel.” This court’s decision may then be appealed to the state supreme court, and the law delineates the specific process to be followed in the courts. With no legitimate legal conflict, the Supreme Court accepted the case for Republicans to overturn its own legislative mandate to put only the legislature into complete control.  

The Supreme Court may have taken the case because a majority of justices already intend to roll back all the precedents for over a past century.

Another clause of the U.S. Constitution states that “each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors.” Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and his supporters used this clause in their effort to keep him in the Oval Office: according to them, GOP state legislatures could ignore the popular vote and send electors to vote the way that the GOP legislatures wish. Five Supreme Court justices could take all the power from secretaries of state and elections commissions. The GOP controls 30 state legislatures, enough to elect Republicans in perpetuity. John Eastman, a leader in persuading state legislatures to negate the popular vote, was a law clerk for conservative judge J. Michael Luttig. In an op-ed, Luttig described the GOP “blueprint” for stealing the 2024 election. He wrote:  

“Trump and the Republicans can only be stopped from stealing the 2024 election at this point if the Supreme Court rejects the independent state legislature doctrine (thus allowing state court enforcement of state constitutional limitations on legislatively enacted election rules and elector appointments) and Congress amends the Electoral Count Act to constrain Congress’ own power to reject state electoral votes and decide the presidency.”

More details on the independent state legislature doctrine and why Moore can be the end of U.S. democracy. 

Ruth-Ghiat, scholar of authoritarianism, finds a relationship between the Supreme Court’s radical decisions and the January 6 insurrections. Thomas has gone even further right in his recommendations for future decisions to do away with federal LGBTQ rights, the ability to have contraception, and freedoms of the press and religion. In reference to the last one, she tweeted:

“Self-protection (and protection for corrupt family members) is a huge driver of authoritarian behaviors. He feels threatened and will try and change the legal order to avoid scrutiny. Radicalized people no longer care about ‘how it looks’ to outsiders.”

Ben-Ghiat noted that Thomas’ interest in overturning New York Times v. Sullivan (1964), protecting freedom of the press, came after the House January 6 investigative committee asked his wife, Ginni Thomas, to testify regarding her role in the coup attempt and her potential conflicts of interest. He is also politicizing the Supreme Court. “Politization of institutions is a major warning sign of creeping authoritarianism,” according to Ben-Ghiat. She continued:

“Societies around the world have gone through the same cycles of disbelief, agitation, anger and fear as things worsen. Since the loss of freedoms looks different in every place and time, we can have trouble acting preventively.”

In October 2017, Ben-Ghiat wrote:

“Authoritarianism is not something presented to us as a fait accompli, but something we help along, step by step, by acquiescing to changes in political climates that start with pronouncements by the leader and slowly move the boundaries of what is possible.”

DDT pushed hard for Thomas’s ideas to remove Supreme Court precedents. He follows the practice of “floating extreme ideas so that they enter the mainstream” as a joke or just “an off-the-cuff remark” so that he can take it back or accuse others of mishearing or misrepresenting him if he wants. He has frequently called the press “the enemy of the people” to pass controls on it, violating the Constitution’s First Amendment. He “joked” about VP Mike Pence’s wanting to “hang gays,” leading to a movement criminalizing LGBTQ people and their rights. Two days after DDT’s “joke,” anti-LGBTQ posters with bodies hanging from a noose appeared on college campuses and in social media.

In January 2016, DDT said he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose followers, and the crowd cheered. The media treated his comment as “just being Trump,” but DDT discovered he could violate civilized norms with impunity. Becoming the GOP candidate convinced him he was above the law. Republicans typically use fear to recruit members to their political party; they promise to exercise law and order and then exacerbate situations to increase crime. The GOP demoralizes people through political and social polarization while promising to fix the problem.

Moore is a continuing departure from democracy to authoritarianism by shredding of voting rights. Hearing the case rejects a five-justice decision three years ago in Rucho v. Common Cause which blocks federal courts from addressing whether extreme partisan gerrymandering violates the Constitution and claiming state courts can handle any violations of a state constitution. Nine years ago, the Supreme Court removed part of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) intended to protect Black voters. A year ago, the court further weakened the VRA by creating greater difficulties in challenging voter regulations disproportionately burdening minority voters.

The justices supporting the “independent state legislature theory” (ISLT) cite history, but this “theory” has no historical basis and no supporting scholarship. If a majority of the high court votes in favor of the case, the chaotic system will result in states not being able to reliably hold unified elections for state and federal offices. Gone will be state constitutional provisions guaranteeing “free,” “free and equal,” or “free and open” elections for federal positions.

February 9, 2021

Impeachment Trial Day One, More DDT Losses

On the first day of the second impeachment trial of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), lawyers used DDT’s favorite defense—victimization. David Schoen vigorously complained the Democrats had impeached DDT only because they hated him. The rest of their argument covered up his incitement of violence and accused Democrats of playing the videos of DDT’s speech followed by the mob at the Capitol only for “blood sport”—a “sport” that DDT loved watching on January 6.

DDT’s lawyers argued he was “horrified” about what was happening and “immediately” moved to stop the attack. Yet a senior official, one of DDT’s former aides talking about DDT’s enjoyment at watching the mob’s attack said DDT was “loving watching the Capitol mob.” Both Republicans and Democrats begged DDT to ask his supporters to stop, but DDT remained silent while watching the tragedy on television. He waited hours to tell the rioters, who he called “special,” to halt and didn’t call for any military help, leaving the responsibility to then VP Mike Pence, whose life was threatened in the coup attempt.

The team of DDT’s two failed attorneys, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, gained a third—Michael van der Veen. None of them is a constitutional lawyer, and van der Veen, a personal-injury attorney, sued DDT last year for “repeated claims” about mail voting being fraudulent “despite having no evidence in support of these claims.” Van der Veen sued DDT and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for decreasing “sufficient access to vote by mail” through operation “delay.” Castor works for a firm founded by van der Veen, well known in Philadelphia for his huckster advertising on a local radio station regarding personal injury representation.

In arguing the constitutionality of an impeachment trial for DDT, Schoen invalidated the second penalty of disqualified the convicted person from future office, “always and only imposed on former officials,” according to Michael Gerson. Schoen believes the word “and” between the two penalties makes them “inextricably entwined” although “and” is a grammatical structure, not a mandate for two elements becoming one.

The vote from 44 GOP senators agreeing with DDT that impeachment is “unconstitutional” matched the consistent failure of Republicans to follow the U.S. Constitution in their effort to protect DDT—and themselves. For example, these GOP members of Congress have ignored the Emoluments Clause in order for DDT to illegally make money from foreign governments. The “yes” votes from 46 Democrats, 6 Republicans, and 2 unaffiliated senators demonstrates the unity which Biden seeks, and a secret vote could let some of the 44 naysayers change their vote. One-third of them are up for re-election in fewer than two years, and DDT has sworn revenge on non-loyalists. Four leading GOP senators—Richard Burr (NC), Rob Portman (OH), Richard Shelby (AL), and Pat Toomey (PA)—have already said they won’t be running; of the remaining 16, only one, Lisa Murkowski (AK), voted that the impeachment is constitutional. (Left: map for 2022 senatorial elections: Blue – Democratic incumbent; Orange – Republican incumbent; Red – Republican retiring; Gray – No election)

Even DDT recognized how bad his attorneys performed on the first day, especially after Bruce Castor traded places with David Schoen to take the opening. Castor explained he went first because “the House managers’ presentation was well done” and he wanted to drop the emotional temperature. His patronizing approach failed as evidenced by criticism from such GOP senators as Texans John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. When Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) was asked in what way DDT’s lawyers did such a bad job, he answered, “Did you watch them?” Even Alan Dershowitz, a former member of DDT’s legal team, told Newsmax he couldn’t figure out what Castor was doing in his opening presentation.

Part of DDT’s fury about his lawyers may have come from Castor’s statement that DDT is no longer a president and that DDT could be criminally charged if he weren’t convicted in an impeachment. In his opening, Castor said:

“After he’s out of office, you go and arrest him. So there is no opportunity where the President Of The United States can run wild in January at the end of his term and go away scot-free. The department of justice does know what to do with such people.”

The quality of DDT’s lawyers, however, may make no difference. It is assumed the fix in in, that over one-third of the senators, all Republicans, will vote against conviction no matter the evidence or pathetic ability of DDT’s lawyers. On Fox, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) claimed DDT deserves a “mulligan” because “everyone makes mistakes.” Like a person elected as president trying to overthrow the government and sending people how to commit violence and kill people in giving him what he wants.

In an article for the conservative Bulwark, Sarah Longwell, active in the Lincoln Project and co-founder of Republicans for the Rule of Law, wrote:

“There is something deeply, cosmically unfair about a group of elites force-feeding voters a lie about a stolen election, bilking them out of their money, demanding with the most overheated rhetoric that they ‘fight’ to save the country—and then avoiding all responsibility while those people are hauled off to jail for doing what they’d been asked to do. Look: the people in mobs are supposed to be held accountable for their actions. That’s the law. But there’s also a whole section of the law which realizes that the creation and instigation of a mob is, itself, a criminal action. And people who do that are supposed to be held to account too.”

Outside the impeachment, DDT keeps losing:

A U.S. District Court judge temporarily halted a massive ConocoPhillips oil project on Alaska’s North Slope in the western part of Arctic Alaska. Based on a lawsuit that DDT’s administration failed to consider environmental impacts, the order stops gravel-related work until February 20, giving time for the 9th Circuit Court to look at the case. The judge’s order permits continued work on ice roads which melt in summer. Biden’s review of DDT’s oil policies includes this project.

A man who took over $38 million in no-bid federal contracts to provide N95 masks for the VA and FEMA; he pled guilty to fraud, theft, and lying after delivering no masks. To get the contract, he said he lied about having the masks when he no plan to find or buy them. The federal government supported price gouging and profiteering by hiring contractors with no experience in finding PPE. The contractor, an Air Force veteran, benefited from the program giving forgivable loans when he provided false tax forms claiming 37 employees instead of his actual nine. He has since repaid most of the $805,000 he received while pleading guilty to taking $261,000 from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program for his personal extravagant spending. He also collected almost $74,000 from VA benefits by lying about being a disabled Marine corporal.

A judge has ordered Herring, the owner of far-right One America Network, to pay Rachel Maddow, host of an MSNBC show, $258,000 for its failed defamation lawsuit against her. Maddow reported an OAN journalist also contributed to Russia-owned news outlet Sputnik and accused OAN of being “paid Russian propaganda.” Herring demanded $10 million in damages from Maddow and plans to appeal while it faces a lawsuit from Dominion voting machines for a two-hour conspiracy video by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell about his baseless claim the 2020 presidential election was rigged.

The federal government could have blocked the Russian hacking of both its agencies and businesses with a free cybersecurity system, in-toto, developed with $2.2 million taxpayer funding. The system was first adopted in 2018 by Datadog, a competitor of SolarWinds which allowed the hacking into its software. Datadog’s customers include Nasdaq, Whole Foods, and Samsung. The hacked SolarWinds has 320,000 customers in 199 countries, including 499 of the Fortune 500 companies, and its Orion products, responsible for the cyberattack, bring the company 45 percent of its over $1 billion revenue.  “We make IT look easy” is SolarWinds slogan.

A big promise from DDT was to eliminate U.S. trade deficit. Last year’s trade deficit was the biggest and worst ever—worsening by six percent at $916 billion. Exports dropped by 13.2 percent to $1.43 trillion, the worst since George W. Bush’s recession in 2010. Goods imports fell by 6.6 percent to $2.35 trillion. Half the decline came from the 38 percent plunge–$120 billion to $80 billion—in petroleum products, the lowest since 2002. More bad news is here. 

The DOJ has dropped a lawsuit against Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend of Melania Trump, for releasing taped conservations between the two women when Trump children’s separation and holiday decorations at the White House. Conservative David Frum called the case “an abusive deployment of state power for personal revenge,” and  Attorney Bradley Moss called Trump “a petulant and tiny person unworthy of the role she held.” Moss also tweeted it was a “stupid lawsuit that was dead on arrival and flew in the face of decades of first amendment precedent.”

According to a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll, 56 percent of people think DDT should be convicted; they also say by a 17 percent margin that the GOP has more radical extremists than Democrats. In a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, 58 percent believe DDT should either “probably” or “definitely” be barred from running for public office in the future. One-third of Republicans want DDT to testify in his impeachment trial.

October 29, 2020

More Voting Decisions Cause Chaos

The U.S. Supreme Court may wait until after Election Day to disenfranchisement voters, but the 8th Circuit Court thought doing it right now was just dandy. Today, just four days before Election Day, two federal judges, George W. Bush’s and DDT’s appointees, changed the date when ballots must be delivered in Minnesota, moving the goalpost up by seven days—a full week. The extension was made almost three months ago because of COVID-19, and it was the understanding of all the voters. The opinion stated, “There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution.” Two of three judges on a panel told voters to make different plans if they haven’t already mailed their absentee ballots. Although the ruling merely ordered the separation of ballots received after Election Day, the intent to remove them is clear. The disenfranchisement comes from deliberate delays in the USPS to suppress the votes. Tim Walz, the state’s governor, said, “It speaks volumes when your goal is to make it more difficult for people to vote.” 

You have to give Republicans persistence. After failing to definitely reduce extension time for returning North Carolina ballots yesterday, they went back to the Supreme Court. The majority again denied the GOP appeal with Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Samuel Alito again dissenting. The 1.4 million voters requesting absentee ballots in the state are seven times more than in 2016, and Democrats are twice as likely as to vote by mail as Republicans.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh had to correct one part of his error-riddled opinion denying Wisconsin its extension time for returning ballots after a Vermont official complained. Kavanaugh had used Vermont to show how “ordinary election rules” were not changed in spite of COVID-19. Earlier in the year, however, Vermont had authorized mailing ballots to all registered voters and processing them before Election Day—just like all the other successful vote-by-mail states do. After Vermont Secretary of State’s office formally requested a correction, Kavanaugh’s new opinion was changed to “ordinary election-deadline rules.” Although a minor change, it shows the sloppiness of Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court statements. In Vermont, mail-in votes are still due by Election Day if dropped off at polling places, but ballots are mailed out at least 45 days before Election Day—plenty of time for the two to three weeks needed for voters to receive and return them even with the GOP-orchestrated USPS delay.

Slate listed other Kavanaugh mistakes, but the most horrifying may be Kavanaugh’s belief that states formally declare elections on the night of the election deadline. He maintained any ballots after that time will “flip the results of an election,” a completely erroneous perspective with no legal standing. Justice Elena Kagan had to remind him, “There are no results to ‘flip’ until all valid votes are counted.” No states “definitively announce the results” on election night, as Kavanaugh declared, no matter how impatient people might be.

In addition, Kavanaugh was wrong when he stated the Supreme Court “has repeatedly emphasized that federal courts ordinarily should not alter state election laws in the period close to an election.” No majority opinion has ever made that rule. Kavanaugh also quoted, out of context, an article New York University law professor Richard Pildes to support his personal opinion about late-arriving ballots causing crisis, an article supporting time extensions for states’ receiving ballots in opposition to Kavanaugh’s position. He also violated his rule that only legislatures have constitutional authority to make voting rules by preserving Alabama’s ban on curbside voting never addressed by the legislature.

No other justice signed on to Kavanaugh’s misguided statements.

Voters at Texas polls had to wear masks for under one day after a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court blocked an order for mask-wearing at the polls. A lower court found the governor’s not requiring masks at the polls violated the federal Voting Rights Act’s disallowance of discriminatory voting practices based on race. The appeals court said the lower court would have jurisdiction to order changes, probably after the election and people already contracted the virus.

Missouri may have the most restrictive laws in the nation for absentee voting. Justification for mail-in voting is narrow, ballots must be mailed and not dropped off (risking not being counted because of GOP-caused postal delays), be received by Election Day, and have a notary authorize the signature. The last item creates a poll tax with the cost of hiring a notary.

Three notable law professors wrote an opinion piece asking federal courts to stay out of state court rulings protecting voting rights under state law. DDT’s judges refuse the federalist argument to honor only decisions from state legislatures and refuse state courts to interpret state law. The conservative “originalists” hope that DDT’s newest justice will give them a comfortable majority to disenfranchise voters across the country although 56 percent of people in the polls want Amy Coney Barrett to recuse herself from any cases connected to DDT’s reelection attempt. Calling Bush v. Gore a disgrace, the authors bluntly state:

“Federal court have no business interfering in state-law matters.”

The Supreme Court rationale moving George W. Bush into the White House was already rejected by Arizona Legislature v. Arizona Redistricting Commission (2015): “legislature” in Article I of the U.S. Constitution means the lawmaking process set up by a state’s constitution. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that nothing in the federal Constitution “instructs, nor has this court ever held, that a state legislature” may regulate “federal elections in defiance of the provisions of the state’s constitution.” This rule also applies to Article II which empowers each state “legislature” to regulate the manner of picking presidential electors but does not empower a state “legislature” to ignore the state constitution creating that legislature, or the state supreme court that authoritatively interprets that state constitution.

A state court interpreting a state election statute to align it with a state constitution is in alignment with the authorization of the federal constitution. States use uniform rules for both state and federal elections; states should not be forced to develop separate rules because of a Supreme Court decision. State legislatures also deputize state courts to oversee elections to conform with state constitutions. One of the authors, Neal Kumar Katyal, is also a former acting U.S. solicitor general.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) began his strategy of voter disenfranchisement through disinformation during the 2016 election. Eric Prince, brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, explained the project, “We merely need to dampen turn out [sic]. … A shift of a few points in the right places can swing this election.” And it did. All it needed was the standard DDT barrage of lies, over-the-edge rhetoric, and disinformation, called “flood the zone with shit,” by DDT’s former adviser Steve Bannon—this year a heavy use of QAnon conspiracy theories. Rolling Stone writer Andy Kroll used “internal documents, tax records, and interviews about [Roger] Stone and Prince’s efforts [to] illustrate how a lax campaign-finance system and an overtly racist voter-suppression effort created the perfect opportunity to follow Bannon’s directive.”

For donations, DDT’s campaign leaders created a front, the Committee for American Sovereignty Education Fund and Project Clintonson, to develop the false scenario of Bill Clinton’s Black son, hoping to smear DDT’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. The Committee used a UPS store for its address, failed to incorporate with California listed as its legal domicile, had no employees or board members, and declared no “direct or indirect political campaign activities” despite its objective to depress the Black vote. DDT bragged to a group of prominent Blacks he won the election because fewer Blacks voted in the 2016 election.

Nine Supreme Court election rulings between April and October 26 were unsigned orders with no explanations, no full briefings, and no oral arguments. Some of these decisions concerned absentee voting during the pandemic in three states and the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of people with felony convictions in Florida. Nicholas Stephanopoulos, a Harvard law professor, compared the decisions to a “shadow docket”:

“If courts don’t have to defend their decisions, then they’re just acts of will, of power. They’re not even pretending to be legal decisions.”

Judge Frank H. Easterbrook wrote in 2000 that explaining is the difference between judges and politicians:

“The political branches of government claim legitimacy by election, judges by reason. Any step that withdraws an element of the judicial process from public view makes the ensuing decision look more like fiat, which requires compelling justification.”

Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, attributed the growth of the shadow docket to DDT’s administration which filed 36 “emergency” applications in three and a half years. Administrations of George W. Bush and President Obama filed only eight of these applications in 16 years.

Three reasons for giving reasons from Rick Hasen:

“Reasons will help lower courts use the right standards in election cases, rather than having to try to read tea leaves from unexplained court orders…

“[Reasons] bolster the legitimacy of the court in the eyes of the public, something especially important in controversial cases, such as election cases…

“[Reasons] may also discipline justices into deciding similar cases alike, regardless of the identity of the parties.”

DDT’s judges are suppressing votes, but he needs every vote he can get to win swing states, all of them hot spots for COVID-19. Pennsylvania, with 20 Electoral College votes, has a 50-percent increase in the past week. The highly infectious zones roll from northern Mississippi to the Canadian border. New U.S. cases in the last 24 hours, 91,530, and 1,047 more deaths that DDT doesn’t find concerning.

June 26, 2020

DDT Uses COVID-19 to Erase Democracy

GOP members of Congress are like the Confederates marching up the hill at Gettysburg in Pickett’s Charge and getting picked off by the thousands: they blindly follow Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to calamity but can’t turn around. Some of them will survive their next elections, but an increasing number of formerly staunch Republican voters grow disillusioned by the leadership’s lack of ethics, moving the United States away from democracy. This week’s abysmal actions representative of autocracy continue GOP behavior under DDT’s fascist direction.

The worst of these may come from courts removing the habeas corpus—the constitutional guarantee of due process for imprisonment in the Suspension Clause (Clause 2) in Article One, Section 9.

“The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.”

Rights include a fair and speedy trial, counsel, trial by a jury of peers, appearance before accusers, and freedom from unlawful and seizure. Habeas corpus was suspended during the Civil War and to put Japanese-Americans into detention camps during World War II. Forty-four years later President Gerald Ford rescinded that executive order, and Japanese-Americans have received an apology and reparations. After 9/11, the Military Commissions Act (2006) reversed habeas corpus for those detained by the U.S. deemed an enemy combatant, and but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the act in Boumediene v. Bush (2008). The far-right is now using the pandemic to void habeas corpus.

A New York State Supreme Court judge denied the release of hundreds of protesters in jail for more than 24 hours, contrary to the law, because of the virus. “All writs are denied,” Justice James Burke wrote. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called it “a suspension of habeas corpus.” Chicago police denied protesters their right to attorneys.

In a 7-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court denied habeas corpus to people seeking asylum in the U.S. The case concerned Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, a member of the minority Tamil population in Sri Lanka, was abducted by unidentified men in his home country and severely beaten. Undocumented immigrants caught within 100 miles of a land border within 14 days of arrival can be deported without a hearing; Thuraissigiam was 25 yards from the border. In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote:

“Taken to its extreme, a rule conditioning due process rights on lawful entry would permit Congress to constitutionally eliminate all procedural protections for any non-citizen the Government deems unlawfully admitted and summarily deport them no matter how many decades they have lived here, how settled and integrated they are in their communities, or how many members of their family are U.S. citizens or residents.”

DDT plans to discontinue the practice of informing Congress about entering into major weapons deals after lawmakers blocked his arrangement to provide Saudi Arabia and UAE with U.S. bomb to kill Yemeni civilians. The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) requires the president to formally notify Congress of major foreign arms sales 30 days in advance, but former State Department officials have given informal notice earlier to allow input from lawmakers.

In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Assistant US AG Aaron Zelinsky described the corrupt pressure on line prosecutors to give DDT’s friend Roger Stone special treatment, including the sentencing override with “a new sentencing memorandum that included statements and assertions at odds with the record and contrary to Department of Justice policy.” Zelinsky said the instructions came down from Acting US Attorney for District of Columbia, Timothy Shea, because Shea was “afraid of the President.” Zelinsky’s “objections were not heeded,” he said, and he resigned from his position, returning to Maryland. His supervisor had told Zelinsky to not follow DOJ guidelines for Stone’s sentencing recommendation.

AG Bill Barr is also subverting the voting process to skew the results:  [visual trump vote cartoon]

  • He exonerates people who helped interfere in the 2016 election.
  • He destroys confidence in the government ‘s ability to protect the 2020 election.
  • He lets people suppressing the vote that he will give them special treatment.
  • He spreads disinformation about the possibility of voter fraud.

Gearing up for a loss in November, DDT spread lies about “the most corrupt election in the history of our country”—stolen ballots, forged by foreigners or kept from GOP voting districts—beliefs totally debunked by the ten percent of the nation legally voting by mail.  

The drastic spike of COVID-19 in Texas did not sway the U.S. Supreme Court to allow people in Texas to vote by absentee if they wish to avoid the virus. The court ruling is for the July 14 primary runoff; the separate request for the November election remains pending.

GOP politicians use mail-in ballots because they’re homeless. DDT already used his club in Florida for his residence address although it’s not his residence. VP Mike Pence and his wife Karen are another case of falsifying their address: they used the Indiana governor’s mansion on April 13. They moved out of the place at the end of 2016 to go to Washington, D.C. The current governor, Eric Holcomb, registered to vote at the same address. 

DDT and Barr continue to blame “antifa” and “anarchists” for violence in the month-long protests, but a WaPo factcheck by Meg Kelly and Elyse Samuels could not find one example of antifa-incited violence. They interviewed witnesses and reviewed arrest records, federal charges, intelligence reports, online conversations and dozens of videos and photos of violent incidents from the early days of protests in Minneapolis for their report through protests in over 140 cities. According to U.S. officials within the joint terrorism task force, most of the violence “local hooligans, sometimes gangs, sometimes just individuals that are trying to take advantage of an opportunity.” At different protests, “some antifa …. stood back, did not engage, certainly not in a violent way.”

The majority of 14,000 arrests in 49 cities since May 27 were for low-level offences such as curfew violation and failure to disperse. Eighty federal charges, including murder and throwing Molotov cocktails at police vehicles, show no evidence of an antifa plot reveal no evidence of an antifa plot; four people among those facing the most serious federal charges identify with the far-right extremist “boogaloo” movement. The Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, which tracks white supremacist and far-right groups, found almost 200 appearances by vigilantes and far-right extremists at protests in the U.S. protests. At the same time, law enforcement is collaborating with white supremacists in many locations where they receive easier charges for their violence.

In his purpose of appearing part of DDT’s “law and order,” anti-protest schtick, Barr is taking over state responsibilities in prosecuting protesters for crimes. Some of these cases may be serious, but two incidents are breaking police car windows. A case of throwing a Molotov cocktail was considered a federal regulation of foreign commerce because the device used an imported bottle of tequila. Constitutional experts declare Barr’s actions are not in keeping with the Constitution’s limited role for the federal government and federal law enforcement. In one case, the federal government arrested protesters on the basis of interstate commerce. They never affected it, but a directive, not followed through, warned drivers of trucks bearing hazardous materials to divert.

Today, DDT signed an executive order telling Barr to prioritize prosecution for anyone who damages federal monuments and religious property. The Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act imposes up to ten years for damage to structures on public property commemorating veterans. The order also permits the dispatch of military to protect these monuments and other property at the request of the secretaries of Interior or Homeland Security or Administrator of General Services. Barr directed the DOJ to form a task force combating “anti-government extremists.” DDT also threatened to remove federal support from state and local governments who don’t protect the monuments.

DDT blamed the virus for canceling H-1B “highly-skilled worker” and H-2B  seasonal non-agricultural laborer visas until the end of the year or longer “as necessary.” About 525,000 people, including cultural and educational exchange worker J visa holders, will be denied entry.

Hate for the World Health Organization (WHO) caused DDT to order U.S. diplomats and health officials justification for any engagement with the WHO as being necessary for national security and public health safety. Disasters with DDT’s disconnect with WHO:

The U.S. has been cut out of developing the seasonal influenza vaccine, and the U.S. could lack access to an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. For example, centers in over 100 countries collect samples from sick people, isolate viruses, and search for new ones as part of the process to choose the flu strains for the annual vaccine. The CDC would no longer have access to data and virus samples protecting U.S. people from deadly strains of flu.

The U.S. could have no knowledge about health threats in another part of the world and initiatives to combat infectious diseases such as the eradication of polio still in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The U.S., without WHO, would need to take on some of its responsibilities, drawing its attention from the response to the virus.

China would fill in the U.S. vacuum and be dominant in the world.

A second term for DDT means the complete end of democracy in the United States, thanks to the Republican party.

April 13, 2020

DDT’s COVID-19 Strategy Gets Worse

Filed under: Health Care — trp2011 @ 10:40 PM
Tags: , , ,

As more than more media outlets publish the failure of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) at handling the COVID-19 crisis from the very beginning, he becomes more and more angry. Today his fury at the press briefing rose as the deaths from the virus continued to rise as reporters asked him about the disaster’s timeline. “Everything we did was right,” claimed DDT in his long rants about the media coverage.

In another false claim, he maintained that he has absolute control over governors’ orders within separate states. Contradicting the U.S. Constitution, he asserted:

“When somebody is president of the United States, your authority is total.”

Stanford University law professor Bernadette Meyler said, “There’s no statutory authority for the president to do that, and there’s definitely no inherent constitutional authority.” She added, “The quarantine power is one of the states’ oldest powers.” Forty-two states have state-ordered lockdown, and three others have with partial stay-at-home measures. Meyler also said that a president has no authority to order governors, mayors, and other local officials to lift their emergency orders. Conservative legal expert at South Texas College of Law Houston, Josh Blackman, said, “I don’t know what it means for the president to ‘open up the states.'” He explained that “the president cannot order the governors to do anything.” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said:

“The governors had to close the economy, which was not politically easy to do. But now the federal government can open it? Well, why didn’t you close it if you can open it?”

To protect their residents, governors on both coasts are forming regional pacts to develop strategies for reopening stay-at-home orders. The coalition on the East Coast composed of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts will have a public health and economic official from each state as well as the governors’ chiefs of staff. The group will study data research and existing experience for “guidelines and parameters to go forward.” The three West Coast states—California, Oregon, and Washington—will also join forces to preempt DDT’s announcements supposedly coming tomorrow from his “Opening the Country” economic task force. Both groups will operate on decisions driven by facts and science from public health professionals, not politicians. All states are welcome to join these pacts.

Thus far, DDT has given May 1 as the date for reopening the country after his Easter deadline idea, but he has no strategy. He also has not addressed the testing problems varying from state to state with the false assertion that the U.S. testing is better than any in the world. Over the weekend, DDT continued to blame governors for faulty testing although CDC didn’t send states test kits and would let them use any other tests for weeks. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has talked with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers about planning together. Walz said that states can open only with widespread testing.

Michigan is launching a huge test for antibodies to determine whether people have been infected with COVID-19. The purpose uses hope that these people will be immune after they recover although South Korea reports that people can be reinfected. Beaumont Health is starting with blood samples from its 38,000 employees plus thousands of additional physicians and affiliates. Michigan has the third-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases of any U.S. state.

Some of DDT’s rage comes from Dr. Anthony Fauci’s statements yesterday that the U.S. “could have saved lives” with earlier actions to stop COVID-19. Recently, Fauci said that he takes a scientific approach and DDT has a “hope, layperson standpoint.” DDT retweeted a post from former GOP congressional wannabe Deanna Lorraine:

“Fauci was telling people on February 29th that there was nothing to worry about and it posed no threat to the US public at large, Time to #FireFauci…”

Asked whether he plans to fire Fauci, DDT denied the message of the retweet, calling Fauci “a trusted adviser.” Fauci, however, has disagreed—sometimes in very political language—with DDT about reopening the country all at one time on an arbitrary timeline that ignores scientific evidence.

DDT-supporters are calling for Fauci’s removal because he is concerned with virus health issues above economic problems. Last weekend, DDT called friends to complain about recent media coverage about his lack of leadership and accused Fauci and HHS Secretary Alex Azar of “trying to make themselves look good.” A source said that DDT has “been fretting about Fauci for a while,” asking why Fauci isn’t “saying nice things about me.”

Defensive and combative in his campaign rally, DDT insulted reporters for asking questions, couldn’t find anything he had done to protect people from COVID-19 except his “Chinese travel ban” which allowed almost 500,000 people into the U.S., and claimed that President Obama’s response to the 2009 H1N1 virus was a failure. DDT’s “leadership” during the health crisis has allowed more people to die in ten days than the 2009 flu killed in over a year. He also aired a doctored three-minute promotional video (aka campaign ad) of the past three months omitting events in February except for the CDC shipping testing kits. In his attempt to prove that he was on top of the crisis, he skipped the flaws in the testing kits, lack of supplies, downplaying the seriousness of the virus, and all his other inept actions. The video, paid for and aired at the cost of taxpayers, also attacked the media. 

Asked by CBS Paul Reid what he did other than the “Chinese ban,” DDT had a classic meltdown and finally sputtered “a lot” before he insulted her.

The results of last week’s Wisconsin election gave Republicans and DDT a big loss: progressive Wisconsin state Supreme Court challenger Jill Karofsky defeated conservative Justice Daniel Kelly. Republican state and U.S. Supreme Courts had supported DDT in forcing people to endanger their lives by going to the polls in order to cast their votes, hoping that Republicans would elect Kelly to rig the state election districts. Karofsky’s election puts the state Supreme Court’s conservative majority at 4-3.

DDT’s “me me me” approach toward the COVID-19 crisis took up most of the news this weekend, but the world had other disasters:

One of the sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt died, and another almost 600 have confirmed COVID-19 cases. The government fired the captain of the ship because he made the infections public after the Defense Department ignored his concerns for over a week. 

At least 60 tornadoes and other storms swept across the South from Texas and Arkansas through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia into the Carolinas and Tennessee. Thus far, 32 people have died, 1.2 million homes and businesses were without power, and hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed.

Elevated radiation readings coming from the wildfires at Chernobyl shifted toward the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv after blowing toward Russia and Belarus for most of a week.

Ash and lava shot from Indonesia’s Anak Krakatau volcano, an offspring of the Krakatau volcano that caused a period of global cooling from its eruption in 1883.

A second wave of locusts, 20 times the size of the first, are arriving in Somalia as seasonal rains have brought fresh vegetation.

Brazil stopped a small study of 81 patients using DDT’s COVID-19 drug of choice, chloroquine, because they developed irregular heart rates. France reported dozens of heart incidents linked to DDT’s drug, hydroxychloroquine, because of 43 cases of heart incidents; experimental drugs in France for the virus have been tied to 100 recorded health incidents and four fatalities split roughly evenly between hydroxychloroquine and HIV antivirals lopinavir-ritonavir. Swedish hospitals have been warned against using DDT’s drug when used for people with existing cardiovascular disease.  DDT is stockpiling millions of dosages of hydroxychloroquine purchased with taxpayer money.

DDT’s new coronavirus task force to force the country open on May Day:

  • DDT’s daughter Ivanka Trump;
  • Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner;
  • Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue who wanted to kick 700,000 people on food stamps two weeks ago and whose brother bought lots of stocks in PPE manufacturing companies after a Senate briefing;Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) wife who has been investigated on ethics charges;
  • Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette who defended the coal bailout;
  • Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia who created policies to keep most unemployed people from getting unemployment;
  • HUD Secretary Ben Carson who works to keep anyone except native whites out of public housing and said that “poverty is a state of mind”;
  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross who praised COVID-19 for bringing jobs back to the U.S. and keeps the public from discovering the contents of DDT’s financial affairs when he isn’t sleeping
  • Acting OMB Director Russell Vought who defended DDT for withholding military aid from Ukraine;
  • Acting CEA Chair Tomas Philipson, health researcher who opposes health insurance for all;
  • Mark Meadows, DDT’s fourth chief of staff who started the conservative House Freedom Caucus;
  • National Economic Council chairman Larry Kudlow, who claimed in July 2008 that the U.S. housing market was healthy as a horse;
  • U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, of trade-war fame;
  • Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who previously ran a company that foreclosed on a 90-year-old woman over 27 cents;
  • White House advisors Chris Liddell, who owns millions in pharmaceutical shares, and Peter Navarro, who lost big time yesterday on 60 Minutes.

No health experts. Not even anyone in the medical profession. Hang on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

On April 13, the U.S. has 587,155 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 23,644 deaths, about 20 percent of the 119,718 deaths in the world, as well as countless other identified cases and deaths. DDT wants restrictions lifted, making the number of hospitalizations and deaths skyrocket. 

January 11, 2020

DDT: Week 155 – Disasters in Iran, Regulations

Another weekend, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) continues his growing series of demented tweets. He’s attacked the FBI for investigating Russian interference in the 2020 election, accused Democrats of defending Qassem Soleimani who he assassinated, claimed that his approval is over 60 percent instead of about the low 40s, and sent a message in Farsi that praises Iranian protesters for trying to overturn the government. DDT claimed, “I’ve stood with you since the beginning,” despite his refusal to allow Iranian immigrants in the U.S. and held Iranian-born U.S. citizens for hours at the Canadian border when they tried to return home after attending a concert in Vancouver. He claims that his killing Soleimani makes people more safe, but a USA Today/Ipsos poll disagree with him by 2-1. A majority in the poll, 52 percent, called DDT’s behavior with Iran “reckless.”   

Since he killed Soleimani, DDT has scrambled to find an excuse for the murder. Initially, DDT told associates that he killed Soleimani to get support from senators in his impeachment trial. By now, DDT has invented “imminent” threats, first an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and then another three unnamed U.S. embassies. These assertions are at odds with intelligence information (agents who DDT calls “dirty cops”) and was not reported in the classified briefings to Congress. Secretary of State supports DDT’s claims, beginning with not knowing location or time of attacks to agreeing with DDT without evidence. Always ready to lie for DDT, VP Mike Pence asserted that DDT has proof of the threats but can’t tell anyone else.

Iran has now admitted to accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet and killing 176 people because of excessive caution after DDT killed Soleimani. DDT’s explanation for the plane crash was that “it was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood.” Despite Pompeo’s claims that people are safer after Soleimani was killed, airlines are changing or withdrawing flights, and Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte is removing all Filipinos from Iraq and Iran.  

Soleimani’s death has not driven the U.S. into war with Iran—yet—but it has dire impacts:

More possible U.S. war deaths in the Middle East: Today the Taliban planted a bomb in southern Afghanistan that killed two U.S. soldiers and injured two others.

More volatility and instability in a warring and explosive area: The Taliban may find links with Iran rather than peace with the U.S., serious conflicts in Yemen may worsen, and Pakistan may be involved in creating violence.  

An increase in ISIS violence and leadership: Soleimani opposed ISIS; his absence may create new divisions.

Iran’s withdrawal from nuclear restrictions: Iran had lived up to its agreement to not enrich uranium until DDT pulled out of the agreement and threatened sanctions and force.

Iraqi rejection of the U.S.: Iraq’s Parliament voted to expel the U.S. military, and young Iraqis may have more power in turning against democracy.

Strengthening hard-line conservative Iranian factions: Reformist president and foreign minister will lose the ability for diplomacy and all trust because their opposition believes that the U.S. wants to destroy Iran.

Loss of U.S. allies: DDT has ignored communication about his violent strategies and dropped out of any cooperation with them, including his past denigration of NATO that is now withdrawing its forces.

Violation of violate international, domestic and Iraqi law: DDT’s illegal actions creates a pattern of more lawlessness in crimes of aggression violating the UN Charter and his threats to attack cultural targets. He also violated the U.S. Constitution by ignoring its requirements for congressional approval for military actions.  

Increase in the U.S. military-industrial complex: Weapon makers have gained great control and power over U.S. policy, especially since George W. Bush’s preemptive attack on Iraq, and their wealth has purchased conservative lawmakers who remove resources for health care, education, and public services.

Destruction of world economy: Asia is dependent on Iraqi oil exports, and an attack already shut down half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production, causing more disruption.

In a 224-to-194 vote, the House approved a bill to keep DDT from taking more military action against Iran through congressional authority as mandated by the constitution. Eight Democrats voted no; three Republicans voted yes, including Florida’s Matt Gaetz who vociferously defended DDT in the past. The bill goes to the Senate where it needs four Republicans to pass before DDT vetoes the bill. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said that even a veto could influence DDT’s actions, for example when he stopped refueling Saudi jets after Congress threatened to stop U.S. support for Saudi’s military campaign in Yemen. DDT’s former press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who may run for Arkansas’ governor, said:

“I can’t think of anything dumber than allowing Congress to take over our foreign policy. The last thing we want to do is push powers into Congress’ hands and take them away from the president.”

Republicans have always claim that they revere the U.S. Constitution and lambast Democrats for ignoring the document from the Founding Fathers. Sanders is completely ignorant of Article I, Section 8, Clause 1:

“The Congress shall have power…[t]o declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.”

In addition, the War Powers Act of 1973 limits the president from sustained military operations without telling Congress within 48 hours.

Another DDT focus is doing away with regulations, a disaster as proved by FAA’s abdication of inspections to airplane manufacturing. The Boeing debacle continues with the knowledge of communications among the company’s employees about the 737 MAX demonstrating lax federal oversight of airplane manufacturers. According to a Politico article, emails showed “Boeing employees bragging about duping airlines, criticizing the MAX’s design as done by “clowns,” and raising concerns about cost-cutting and schedule pressures.” Wide publicity about the Boeing disaster began with 346 deaths in two different crashes of 737 MAX planes, which was rushed into manufacture in competition with Airbus. Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) tried to blame the crashes on inadequate training in other countries, but evidence from emails may “put a little bit of a shadow on that.” Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) is still sticking to his blame on pilot error.

Emails also showed that employees ridiculed their regulator, joked about safety, and “was prioritizing production speed over quality and safety,” according to a former senior factory manager. Last month, Edward Pierson told Congress of “chaos” at the factory where the MAX was built. The FAA permitted the MAX to keep flying despite its finding that, with no changes, the plane would average one fatal crash every two or three years.

Employees described how Boeing hid problems from the FAA during the certification of simulators and training for pilots. Emails showed ridicule for FAA officials when employees described a complicated Boeing presentation for the agency that “was like dogs watching TV.” Employers wanted limited training for airline crews to save money for Boeing, for example offering a $1 million per plane discount to Southwest with a short computer-based training on personal computers or with notebooks for pilots who had flown he 737 NG instead of simulator training. Even after two crashes, Boeing told the FAA that simulator training was unnecessary and didn’t mention this training in the manuals. Boeing didn’t reverse this position until ten months after the 737 MAX’s grounding and a congressional investigation.

Boeing’s indifference to the plane’s structural problems has now cost 2,800 jobs in Kansas at the aircraft parts maker Spirit AeroSystems.

Despite the Boeing disaster, DDT calls regulations a “nightmare.” He proposed removal of environmental reviews for building pipelines, bridges, and roads, a change that will pollute the nation and accelerate the climate crisis. [Think of the recent fires in Australia that killed over 1 billion animals and at least 27 people, destroyed or damaged over 2,000 homes, cost about $5 billion thus far, and reduced Australian 2019-20 GDP by between $2.1 billion and $4.3 billion.] Changes would eliminate a requirement for agencies to consider the “cumulative impacts” of project that has included the study of planet-warming consequences from greenhouse gas. DDT has rolled back 58 separate rollbacks of environmental protection and considering another 37, including removal of clean air and water rules, loosening regulation for oil an gas extraction, and eradication of wildlife protections. 

About his murdering Soleimani, DDT said he was looking for long-term protection, but his environmental policy ignores everything except greater profits for big businesses. Even now, however, worsening particulate pollution from DDT’s regulatory changes shares the blame for 9,700 more people in the U.S. dying from air pollution in 2018 than 2016.

December 18, 2019

Day 1063: Impeachment

Eleven years ago, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “impressive,” defended Bill Clinton, and expressed surprise that Pelosi didn’t aim for George W. Bush’s impeachment after he misled people about Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction. This week he ridiculed Pelosi’s teeth and sent her a six-page letter filled with lies and vile accusations of “declaring open war on American democracy.” That accusation and others were identical to his own actions: abuse of power, violation of the Constitution, and violations of oaths of office. The six pages were a synthesis of his tweets and speeches for the past few months—lies about Pelosi’s statements, attacks on Joe Biden, whining about no due process, calling the impeachment a “coup,” and extolling his excellent economy which may be headed downhill.  

Today, on the 1063rd day of DDT’s first term and one day short of the 21st anniversary of Bill Clinton’s impeachment, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach DDT for abusing his power and obstructing congressional investigations. The vote labeled him a threat to national security and recommended his removal from office. Article I, Abuse of Power, was adopted 230-197, with one member voting present and three not voting. Article II, Obstruction of Congress, was adopted 229-198, with one member voting present and three not voting. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a Democratic presidential candidate, was the only representative to vote “present.” According to the U.S. Constitution, the Senate is now required to have a trial, in which a two-thirds vote would remove DDT from office.

The Senate cannot begin its process until it receives the articles of impeachment. When that will be is not known because the House has not made that determination. McConnell said that he will speak on the Senate floor tomorrow at 9:30 am (EST).

The Judiciary Committee began the week with a report describing DDT’s “multiple federal crimes” including bribery and wire fraud for attempting to leverage military aid to Ukraine and a White House meeting with its president. In exchange, DDT demanded a Ukrainian investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden and another one into DDT’s unfounded conspiracy theory that Ukraine conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

The House Rules Committee then met on the resolution to impeach DDT to determine the parameters–six hours floor time evenly divided between the two parties and led by the House Judiciary Committee leaders followed by another hour of debate before a vote on the two articles of impeachment.

Both the debates in the Rules Committee and on the floor were consumed by GOP common complaints of “shame,” “sham,” “flawed,” etc. Republicans presented no defence of DDT or his actions, instead angrily smearing Democrats with lies. With no evidence for DDT’s innocence, Republicans use these and many more defenses:

  • You can’t impeach a president when the economy is good. (Not that it is!)
  • Impeachment will tear the country apart. (Not that the country is together.)
  • Impeachment is just like foreign election “interference.
  • People elected DDT president so he must stay. (No matter how much he violates the Constitution and his oath of office.)
  • An election is coming soon. (But the U.S. is in international danger.)
  • An impeachment should be nonpartisan. (Yet the GOP impeached Clinton on a partisan basis.)
  • DDT is too incompetent to shake down Ukraine.
  • DDT is only investigating “corruption.” (He said he wanted the Bidens investigated after Joe Biden appeared to be a viable political candidate, and DDT has never investigated any other “corruption.”)

A real investigation into corruption would be into his fake university, fraudulent charity, shady business affairs, prejudiced renting practices, undocumented immigrants’ employment, money laundering through real estate sales, lawsuits with no justification, violation of campaign financing, fraudulent tax evasion, concealment of legal documents, constant lying (including working with mobsters), etc. Many of those, however, are already in court. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spent the week refusing to call “fact witnesses” from the White House, a category they were so desperate to use in the inquiry. He repeated that, as the jury foreman, he was working closely with the defendant, DDT, to guarantee that he won’t be convicted. Along with other senators, he proclaimed that he would violate his legal oath to “do impartial justice” in order to exonerate DDT in the impeachment trial.

The big question now is how Republicans will vote in the (probably abbreviated) trial. Although the assumption that they will all protect DDT, nothing is ever sure. In addition, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has been personally involved in the Ukrainian scandal which should legally force him to recuse himself from any legal trial.

The Constitution requires the Supreme Court Chief Justice to “preside” over an impeachment trial. McConnell, who announced that DDT will be exonerated, might want to check with John Roberts about whether he wants his legacy to be that he would “preside” over a sham trial. McConnell, a juror for the trial, declared, “I’m not impartial about this at all.” He made that statement although the Constitution requires that he swear under oath that to “do impartial justice.”

McConnell thinks that all Republicans support his blind loyalty to DDT despite his crimes. GOP State Sen. John McCollister’s tweet disagrees:

“There are Republicans ALL OVER the country who want you impeached. We don’t fall for some cult of personality. We’ve read the constitution. #RepublicansForImpeachment.” 

DDT may now know how bad the impeachment poll numbers are for him after Brian Kilmeade talked about them on Fox & Friends:

“The Fox poll came out — and I was stunned by this. This says 50 percent of the country want the president impeached. I was stunned to see that that’s the number, because I thought that things were trending away.”

The 50 percent was for people who wanted to see DDT removed from office after impeachment; another four percent wanted him impeached but not removed. In case DDT missed the information on his favorite TV show, Joe Biden tweeted it to him.

DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani is still searching for “dirt” on the Bidens, one of the actions listed in the article describing DDT’s abuse of power. Giuliani said to The New Yorker:

“I believed that I needed [U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie] Yovanovitch out of the way. She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody.”

On Monday night, Giuliani told Laura Ingraham, “I forced her out because she’s corrupt.” Since then, he told CNN that DDT is “very supportive” of his continued efforts to dig up dirt on Democrats in Ukraine. “We’re on the same page,” Giuliani said about DDT.

Giuliani had to get rid of Yovanovitch because she told Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev to resist natural gas projects like the corruption before Ukraine cleaned house of corrupt officials. U.S. businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman worked with Giuliani and then-prosecutor general Yuri Lutsenko to negotiate licensing rights for oil and gas blocks, import LNG from the U.S., and build a gas pipeline from Poland. Yovanovitch, Kobolyev, and the Naftogaz supervisory board blocked the sole-source contract that Parnas and Fruman wanted for supplying LNG to Ukraine. Giuliani’s clients Parnas and Fruman not only lobbied not only DDT but also then-Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) in May 2018 by promising him campaign donations from illegal foreign money. Sessions lost his 2018 election and is denying any connection with foreign campaign funds. Now Parnas and Fruman have been indicted, Giuliani is being investigated, DDT has been impeached, and Sessions’ name is throughout the scandal.

A judge let Parnas walk out of court today and back to home detention despite the discovery that Parnas’ concealed $1 million transferred into his account from a Russian bank account belonging to Dmytro Firtash and another $200,000 of “payment” for work. Firtash is fighting extradition to the U.S. in a bribery case. Prosecutors had argued that Parnas is a flight risk. When he was picked up, he had a one-way plane ticket to Vienna, but the judge said that Parnas probably forgot about the $1 million. Earlier, Parnas pled for a lower bond bail of $200,000, saying that he and his wife had only $450,000 in assets. He has been charged with violating campaign finance laws and additional charges from helping Giuliani find damaging information on Joe and Hunter Biden.

DDT now plans to be even more secretive about his dealings with foreign leaders—fewer people listening and fewer people having access to transcripts of the calls. One official called the change “The Vindman Rule.”

Although conservatives blame Democrats’ “hatred” of DDT for the impeachment, DDT held an even more virulent hate-fest in Michigan tonight, complete with “lock her up” chants about Hillary Clinton and Pelosi, references to the “electric chair” when falsely talking about Hunter Biden, and hitting a new low by saying that Michigan’s former representative John Dingell, a World War II veteran, is in hell because her widow, elected to her husband’s seat, voted for impeachment. DDT won Michigan in 2016 by about 10,000 votes.

August 25, 2019

Recession Looms, Unconstitutional Demand

Filed under: economy — trp2011 @ 10:15 PM
Tags: , , , ,

The use of “dictator” for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) may be a misnomer.  He approvingly retweeted a comment from a radio host that “Jewish people in Israel love him like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God…” He followed that by saying “I am the Chosen One” while looking meaningfully up at the sky. He was supposedly talking about tariffs on China. Earlier in the week, he accused Jews who vote for Democrats (79 percent of them in 2018) of showing “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” meaning to Israel as if U.S. citizens swear fealty to a foreign country.   

DDT panders to evangelical Christians because Jews don’t believe in the second coming. Evangelicals refer to Jews as “uncompleted Christians,” that they still need to come to Jesus.

One response:

“Matthew 24:24 – ‘For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.’”

Self-identified evangelical Jay Lowder did call equating Trump with God “blasphemous and sacrilegious.” He added that the “antagonism” toward evangelicals will increase if they support a double standard for DDT’s “actions, policies, or behaviors” and will be forced “to do the same with the next president.”

DDT’s accelerated tariff fight caused the stock market to go on a roller-coaster ride, the Dow Jones down almost 400 points last week after dropping over 600 points on Friday. The volatility came as DDT increased tariffs onto China, China increased them on the U.S., and DDT ordered private companies not to deal with China. After the stock market closed Friday, DDT again increased the tariff percentage on Chinese goods.

Earlier, DDT delayed new tariffs on Chinese goods from September 1 to December 15 but will raise tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports from 25 percent to 30 percent starting Oct. 1. In addition, tariffs on $300 billion worth of other goods would increase from 10 percent to 15 percent on the December 15 tariff. DDT decided to punish China by withdrawing from the 192-member Universal Postal Union that set international postal rates for over 150 years. If nothing changes by DDT’s deadline in October, mail service will be disrupted for U.S. voters living abroad and cost them $60 to return their ballots.

DDT excluded some tariffs as favors to his base: no bibles although books are fined; no Chinese processing of salmon and cod caught in Alaska although pollock is not protected; no chemicals used for fracking; zirconium for airplanes, even civilian ones; aluminum oxide for steel manufacturers already protected by earlier tariffs on imported steel; shipping containers for big companies like J.B Hunt and CSX. These items were exempted for “health, safety, national security and other factors (aka favoring his voter base).” Legally, DDT can put tariffs on products only for the reason of “national security,” yet his first tariffs were on washing machines to protect “national security” for Whirlpool. Meanwhile U.S. Steel is laying off hundreds of workers the week after DDT bragged about how he had made the company strong.

After 13 failed trade war talks with China, DDT’s Friday tweets were particularly vicious:

“Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.”

Trump also “ordered” the U.S. Postal Service and private companies like FedEx, Amazon, and UPS to search packages from China for fentanyl and refuse delivery. DDT claims that he has the power to force private companies to change their business practices because of the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act that targets rogue regimes, terrorists, and drug traffickers in commerce regulation. Earlier this year, he threatened tariffs on Mexico with the same law because of southern border crossings. By today, he said he had no plan to call a national emergency. (DDT’s Trump Organization has business ties with China; both he and daughter Ivanka Trump have multiple trademarks in China.)  

In its editorial, the conservative Wall Street Journal wrote: 

“Somebody should tell Chairman Trump this isn’t the People’s Republic of America.”

The tariff situation became more confusing today when DDT said that he may be second-guessing his tariff attack on China. Five hours later his press secretary Stephanie Grisham wrote he DDT “regrets not raising the tariffs higher.” G7 Summit leaders reported on DDT’s disastrous trade war, but he said, “Nobody’s told me that.”

The volatile stock market leads to fears of a recession although DDT denies the possibility. He said, “Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut and they’re loaded up with money.” Yet 39 percent of people in the nation don’t have enough cash to cover an unexpected $400 expense. DDT sent Larry Kuklow and Peter Navarro to Sunday talk shows with the intent of misrepresenting the current economic situation and railed about how, despite the facts, a possible recession is a conspiracy against him.  

DDT claims he has a strong, “powerful” economy, but he proposed steps for an extremely weak economy. White House officials first considered a cut in payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security to make up for the tax cut for wealthy and big business that DDT will use to eliminate Medicare and Social Security. Other ideas which might also require Congressional approval were a currency transaction tax weakening the dollar (currency manipulation), rotating Federal Reserve governors to check Powell, and lowering the corporate tax rate to 15 percent to spur more investment. DDT also went back to badgering Powell for a one-percent reduction in interest rates, calling him the same kind of enemy as China’s president Xi Jinping. DDT would save millions of dollars in lowered interest rates. He has already benefited from the decrease in July’s Fed Reserve interest change.

After the Labor Department accurately revised job gains from April 2018 to March 2019, DDT lost over 500,000 jobs. Average monthly job growth dropped to 170,000—9,000 less per month in 2017—with the biggest losses in leisure/hospitality, professional/businesses services, and retail. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the probability of a recession within a year is the highest since the last financial crisis.

Other recession indicators are the skyrocketing deficit (higher even than expected), GDP drop to 2.1 percent in the second quarter, dropping tax revenues, and consumer confidence at a seven-month low. Wealthy buyers are pulling out of expensive housing markets, and RV sales are down over 20 percent. Car sales are drastically dropping, bankruptcy filings are steadily increasing, major retailers shut down more stores, tech companies are cutting costs, and U.S. freight shipment volume has fallen during the past 8 months, threatening a negative GDP by the end of the year. Both credit card debt and late payments are on the rise. The U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 49.9 in August from 50.4 in July, the first time it was below 50 since September 2009, and exports sales fell at the fastest pace since August 2009. Falling exports cause reductions in inventories, cuts in productions, and loss of jobs. The problems ripple across the economy because manufacturing affects every part of it—business services, distribution, transportation, etc. The fall in manufacturing output during the first six months of 2019 entered a “technical recession.”

The Dow looks good, but DDT’s percentage of increase at 32.2 percent is below that of Democratic presidents at the same time of their first term—Clinton at 39.3 percent and Obama at 45.2 percent. DDT’s only accomplishment is a low unemployment rate, but it was headed there when he was inaugurated. A look at DDT’s chaotic response to the financial problems he caused, and a comparison of the DDT and the Obama economy in 15 charts. 

DDT thinks that dropping interest rates will get him re-elected, but they will damage savings and be devastating for blocking a recession. Buying a year or two with lower interest rates would create a massive credit bubble like the subprime mortgage crisis over a decade ago. The current risk comes from huge corporate debt, especially high-yield bonds. Dumping these at one time at low prices would culminate in a disaster, especially if lenders bought corporate bonds with low-interest loans, and lenders may be forced into more debt. With the weak expansion, sellers may have no buyers, and companies won’t be able to service debt.

DDT started out with a solid economy, and everything he does is designed to ruin it. He is damaging not only U.S. economy but also that in other countries with conservative leadership. UK’s Brexit vote preceded DDT’s election by a few months, but Boris Johnson is pushing the nation into disaster with half Britain’s farms poised to fail. Brazil’s new DDT-style leader, Jair Bolsonaro, has made no reforms to pension and tax systems that undercut economic growth. Italy’s enormous debt and annual deficit led to the collapse of its government and the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte after his election 14 months ago—the second election in 18 months.

Frank Rich wrote an excellent article on DDT’s panic about the economy and its destruction because of DDT’s policies. Future generations in the U.S. will have nothing, and DDT cares about nothing except getting re-elected. 

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