Nel's New Day

November 6, 2022

2022 Election: Suppression, Money, Lies

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is between a rock and a hard place. He hopes that announcing a 2024 presidential candidacy will block any legal problems, but RNC chair said the GOP will stop paying his legal bills when he declares a run for president. Donations to the party have shelled out DDT’s defense money for probes and lawsuits by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. (D) and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D). The RNC also plans to remain neutral in the 2024 GOP nominating contest.

Only two more days until the United States decides whether it goes forward into a democracy or turns into a full-bloom autocracy. To intimidate voters and suppress their votes, 42 states have attempted to pass 130 laws since 2020 creating new election investigation agencies, establish criminal penalties for election offenses, or further empower law enforcement officials to investigate such crimes. In 20 states, 28 of these130 bills have been passed in these states to increase the law enforcement, including prevention of handing food or water to Georgia voters as they stand up to eight hours in lines. The 35 percent of bills introduced by Democrats criminalized election interference and block harassment and threats. The 65 percent of bills from Republicans came after extensive studies show no widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Results of the extensive study is here.

The right wing is already planning for violence and a coup to overturn to legal elections. Ordinary voter suppression laws hasn’t been enough for Republicans; they have moved to sabotage, vigilantism, violence, and extreme suppression. It’s all a preparation for 2024. A few of the strategies to stop people voting have been slightly controlled, such as the courts slightly restricting Arizona vigilantes who are trying to intimate people from putting their ballots in drop boxes.

Almost two weeks before the election, over 100 lawsuits had been filed, targeting mail-in voting, early voting, voter access, voting machines, voting registration, mismarked absentee ballots, and access for partisan poll watchers. DDT is gearing up in Pennsylvania to play the same game he did in 2020—yell fraud and claim victory of his chosen candidates.

In Nevada, armed saboteurs with anti-Semitic conspiracies have driven election officials from office. Four counties insist on counting ballots by hand, despite judicial rulings. The result will take far more time and cause far more errors. Esmeralda County, Esmeralda, used hand-counting to certify its primary results in June when officials spent more than seven hours counting 317 ballots. Volunteer hand counters require over 30 minutes per ballot—about 15 ballots a day. In one group with mismatched tallies for eight candidates led to different outcomes again in another recount. Reading candidate names aloud while public observers are listening also constitutes “a release of election results in violation of Nevada law.” GOP secretary of state candidate Jim Marchant, in charge of elections if he’s elected, wants hand-counting mandated for all counties for all 3+ million population.

Poll watchers will inundate voting areas, pushed by DDT’s minions including convicted felon Steve Bannon, and used the illegal canvas to raise objections to voters. InfoWars, owned by Alex Jones who owns almost $1.5 billion for lying about the Sandy Hook massacre of children, promotes the stolen election myth. Election workers are fleeing almost everywhere because of intimidation.

Other vigilantes are going door-to-door, harassing possible Democratic voters. Pro-DDT canvassers in Shasta County (CA) wore reflective orange vests and badges reading “Voter Taskforce.” They grilled people in the homes on their voting history and lists of residents in the homes. Michigan door-to-door intimidators intend to use their data to challenge votes. Reuters found similar efforts in at least 23 states with state-wide or local efforts to intimidate voters where some of the door knockers were armed. In all cases, they gave the impression that they worked for the government. In at least one case, local GOP officials were involved: GOP leader of the GOP in Lane County (OR) accused officials of ignored their canvas.  

Twelve years ago, SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts said about the conservative Supremes permitted almost unlimited dark money to political campaigns, in which donors can be hidden, in its ruling of Citizens United that their permission wouldn’t make any difference. In 2022, 465 billionaires gave $881,000,000 to win the 2022 elections—27 times more than before the Citizens United decision. The full report is here. Roberts was wrong.

Three-fourths of that money came from 20 billionaire households, 14 of them Republican, and 62 percent of the donations went to GOP PACs and candidates. Billionaires represent 0.000002% of the U.S. population but account for 7.4% of all political donations so far this cycle. At least 59 Percent went to Republicans. For past donations they get a return. For example:

  • $20 million to get a special tax break provided by Sen. Ron Johnson (WI-R) brought them $80 million in taxes in just 2018.
  • The richest Pennsylvania man got $1 billion in taxes in recent years.
  • In Illinois, $50 million to defeat a ballot initiative making the wealthy pay more than of their fair share in taxes brought one man $51 million a year. He donated $66 million to GOP PACs and candidates thus far this year.
  • And more.

This year’s $881 million thus far is already a 44 percent increase over billionaire contributions of $611 million for the 2018 midterm cycle. Donations to single-candidate super PACs rose from $127.5 million in 2018 to $323.2 million by November 1, 2022, a 150 percent increase. Funding for these PACS, benefitting about 75 percent of all single-candidate super-PACs, comes almost entirely from billionaires. Some of those receiving these funds are Johnson, Blake Masters running for senator from Arizona (Peter Thiel), JD Vance for senator from Ohio (Peter Thiel), and Herschel Walker running for senator from Georgia. Over one-fourth of the billionaire contributions, $243 million, have gone to four congressional super PACs of both parties.

“What Trump showed was that the bigger the jerk you could be, the more the hardcore GOP base would love you.”

This quote from S.V. Dáte, author and senior White House correspondent, applies to almost 300 Republicans running for congressional and state offices who are election deniers. Sixty percent of voters will have at least one election denier on their ballots for the November 8, 2022 midterms. Even without denying that Joe Biden is the legally elected president, candidates are lying with repetitive conspiracy theories.

The National Republican Congressional Committee accused Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) of giving money to criminals, including the Boston Marathon bomber, by voting to send pandemic relief checks. Not true. And Congress voted to do the same thing—twice—while the GOP controlled the executive branch.

The opponent of Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) accused her of voting to hire “87,000 new IRS agents to audit middle-income families and small businesses.” Been debunked; not true.

Arizona’s gubernatorial candidate, Kari Lake, accused her opponent, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, of being “endorsed by radical groups that want to defund our police.” Not true. Hobbs called for “boosting funding for sheriffs and local law enforcement.” Lake also accused Hobbs of being “a twice convicted racist.” Not true. Hobbs wasn’t been charged or convicted, and she hasn’t been a racist.

Republicans in Pennsylvania spent over $800,000 on TV ads claiming Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for Senate, “stands with the far left who want to defund our police.” Not true.

GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance of Ohio accused his opponent, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) of trying to increase immigration to the U.S. so that he can spend government money on “gender reassignment surgeries” for these migrants. The man made wealthy by his book Hillbilly Elegy and received $15 million from Peter Thiel for his campaign called Ryan “the poster board for oligarcy.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, running for re-election, went straight to the top: his wife played decades-old Paul Harvey clips to explain that God has picked DeSantis for another four years—or until he runs for president.

GOP secretary of state candidate in Michigan, Kristina Karamo, has repeated the QAnon conspiracy that abortion is “child sacrifice” and elites drink the blood and “sell body parts” after abortions. She also thinks that insurrectionists at the Capitol on January 6, 2022 were antifa and not DDT supporters.

In New Hampshire, master liar Don Bolduc, another GOP U.S. Senate candidate, deployed his lies despite campaigning claims of the governor, Chris Sununu, that his state is the poster child for perfection in the U.S. with booming economy and business. Everything is going so well that Sununu wants to replace the three Democrats, a U.S. senator and two House members, with Republicans. Don Bolduc tweeted:

“you can’t even buy a house, you can’t even rent property, you can’t even feed your children, you can’t even heat your home.”

Oh yes, and according to Bolduc there’s the serious problem of kitty-litter boxes in schools for all the students who are licking themselves and others. Right-wing activist Joe Rogan said he spread the conspiracy theory about the kitty litter boxes in school when he knew it was a lie. Bolduc also asks if people are better now than they were two years ago—October 2020 with people dying, no COVID vaccine, the stock market 6,000 points lower than now, unemployment rate almost double the current 3.4 percent, jobs down over 10 million from now, etc.  

October 30, 2022

A Prequel to Halloween 2022

Ah, the joys of living in the rural U.S.: yesterday Spectrum, controlling all our media, shut down just as I was posting the following. A few updates: Elon Musk, now controlling Twitter, thinks the attack is a “false flag.” On the Fox network, Jesse Waters said it wasn’t a problem because “a lot of people get hit by hammers.” Meanwhile, Musk is in Romania at the Bran Castle (aka Dracula’s Castle), associated with legendary ruler of Wallachia Vlad the Impaler, for a Halloween party. 

Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, has a new toy to compete with far-right Parler; he closed his $44 billion deal to purchase Twitter and immediately set out to destroy the company.

If you want to join Musk, do nothing. If, however, you are opposed to the increased hate speech and lies under the guise of “free speech,” here are some alternatives:

  • Reset your privacy settings: Directions.
  • Find other companies: Mastodon or the projected Bluesky, initially created in 2019, from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.
  • Read the news: Put a news aggregation app on your phone’s homepage, including local events. An RSS reader allows you to make your own list of outlets through apps like Feedly, Newsity, or Inoreader.
  • Sign up for newsletters: Many are on Substack, Medium, Patreon, and Ko-fi or other big social media sites such as Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
  • Forge personal relationships: WhatsApp, Signal, or Instagram.
  • Be part of a community: Facebook groups, subreddits, relevant Discord groups, or the app CounterSocial.
  • Get updates in an emergency: Agencies posting disasters on Facebook and pushing alerts to your phone. School or workplace alert systems and local alerts through state, city, or county agencies, many using Nixle.
  • Go to live audio: The audio chatroom app Clubhouse was the model for Twitter.
  • Enjoy nonstop scrolling: TikTok is the best Twitter replacement as are videos on Instagram Reels.
  • Stay safe: Be careful about giving new social networks or apps sensitive information such as your contacts, and check all privacy settings. Sign up with an alias email, strong password, and multi-factor authentication.
  • Staying with Twitter?: Protect your data, back up all your tweets and follow lists, delete sensitive DMs, delete old tweets, and lock down privacy and anti-harassment settings.

Called “Chief Twit,” Musk plans to take Twitter private so that he can transform the platform, including any content moderation policies and financial priorities, with less oversight from regulators and not disclosing performance updates.  The New York Stock Exchange has delisted Twitter shares. On the first full day, the company had been radically changed with expectations celebrated by the far-right and deplored by the left.

Musk has tweeted “Anyone suspended for minor & dubious reasons will be freed from Twitter jail.” Expect a different definition of these “reasons” because abuse has already increased. For example, the use of the n-word increased almost 50 percent in Musk’s first 12 hours. Musk supporters are enjoying the opportunity to tweet profane slurs, racial epithets, and racist, antisemitic, Islamophobic, homophobic, and transphobic hate speech.

Musk’s changes in a day:

  • Cutting key staff: Fired CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and chief legal counsel Vijaya Gadde, costing Twitter $187 million. Twitter’s general counsel Sean Edgett was also fired.
  • Laying off workers: Asked managers to “draw up lists of employees to cut,” up to 75 percent of the 7,500 workforce.
  • Lifting bans: Hasn’t given any names, but Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) will likely switch from his failing Truth Social to spew his hatred and lies on Twitter.
  • Setting up a council to determine decisions.

The New York Post has already fired an employee for posting false and racist content targeting politicians. The tweet and fake news stories called for assassination of President Joe Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Other false tweets claimed GOP gubernatorial Lee Zeldin making violent statements about his opponent Gov. Kathy Hochul and making racial slurs about New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Another false tweet reported Gov. Greg Abbott, running for re-election, intending to “order Border Patrol to start slaughtering illegals.”

General Motors has suspended advertising on Twitter

Atlantic’s Charlie Warzel has laid out Twitter’s future under Musk’s “leadership”:

  • Outside hackers and/or hostile foreign governments focus hacking efforts on Twitter causing catastrophic breaches, loss of personal information, or extended outages.
  • A stripped-down trust-and-safety team cannot cope with government subpoenas or complex law-enforcement requests.
  • The trust-and-safety team cannot block coordinated efforts from fraudsters orchestrating low-level scams and combat or monitor child-sexual-abuse material, sex-trafficking efforts, nonconsensual pornography, and copyright violations.
  • An inexperienced engineer is unable to maintain the site’s functionality with no one to restore it, but the people with expertise in that area of site reliability are not there to help restore it.

General Motors has suspended advertising on Twitter, andsome celebrities are leaving,

Musk claims Twitter will “help humanity, whom I love” and help secure the “future of civilization.”

Even without the extreme push for violence has resulted in threats against election officials, politicians, and their families. Last year, the U.S. Capitol police reported almost 10,000 threats against lawmakers, almost triple of five years ago. Fifteen percent of election officials have reported threatening contact , and 20 percent of election workers are quitting for the same purpose.

On October 28, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) husband, 82-year-old Paul Pelosi, was viciously attacked in their San Francisco home while the Speaker was in Washington, D.C. David DePape broke a window to get into the home in his search for the speaker.The police came in answer to the 911 call and found DePape striking him with a hammer. Depape had wandered throughout the house (maybe like the January 6 insurrectionists) and then tried to tie up his victim. He said he was “waiting for Nancy.” Pelosi underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture and arm injuries.

 DePage’s long rambling blogs exhibited rambling screeds against minorities, politicians, and women with terms such as “pedogate, “great reset,” “voter fraud,” and “da jewbs.”  Like a large number of Republican, DePape is obsessed with lies about a stolen election, trans people, and deadly COVID vaccines. 

Elsewhere, his views strayed in extreme misogyny. In one post DePape wrote, “Woman [sic] are very problematic and should probably be banned from society” and in another argued that, “Children should be take [sic] away from mothers given to fathers and the mothers should be forced to pay child support.” DePape’s strongly anti-Semitic, pro-DDT, and anti-Democrat included pieces from Kanye West and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Friends considered DePape “out of touch with reality” for his beliefs similar to those of at least half the Republican party members. 

President Joe Biden said:

“What makes us think one party can talk about stolen elections, Covid being a hoax, [that it’s] all a bunch of lies, and it not affect people who may not be so well balanced? What makes us think that it’s not going to alter the political climate?”

Internet sites and social media platforms are celebrating or being used as a jumping-off point for more conspiracy theories, including claiming it is a false flag, a lie to promote Democrats’ elections.  Politically weaponizing the attack: DDT’s camp led the GOP charge to politically weaponize the attack on Paul Pelosi. Harmeet Dhillon, DDT’s newest lawyer, tweeted she found it “odd” that he would be vulnerable to assault because of the Pelosis’ security. The House Speaker was in Washington during the attack on her husband in their San Francisco home, and the home had no security. DDT was silent about the attack.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was horrified, but other Republicans were glib about the attack. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin decried violence but said that “we’re going to send [Pelosi] back to be with [her husband] in California,”and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) complained about the lack of sympathy he received from a neighbor he had offended. 

While most far-right politicians stayed largely silent, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green blamed the assault on “rampant” crime and violence “in Joe Biden’s America.” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) tweeted back:

“YOU called for Nancy Pelosi to be executed, @RepMTG. YOU said she should be hung for treason. And now that someone listened, you’re making Paul Pelosi’s attack about YOU. This is what Republicans stand for, America. It’s sick.”

Fox network followed Greene’s theme when Matthew Gertz tweeted the “crime hits everybody” with the blame on Biden who didn’t “bring us together.” Fox spreads lies about crime statistics. Conservatives are convinced of the lie that crime is up in the U.S.—perhaps because it is in red states—but statistics disprove the lie that Fox continues to push. “Violent victimization” is down for the past decade, and property crimes had not significantly increased. The change in percentage is the perception of crime, thanks to GOP lies.

Republicans badly want to blame Democrats for any violence, for example the accusation that a break-in to Secretary of State Katie Hobb’s campaign office for governor. The arrest of the burglar proves that Hobbs’ opponent Kari Lake was wrong.

This last week, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) gave Fox network the Champion of Freedom award from the Senate GOP campaign committee. It resembles a kitchen colander to drain foods and was first given to DDT a few months after the January 6 insurrection for “protecting our Constitution.” Scott may not have noticed that the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), working on privacy in the digital age, handed out the first Champion of Freedom in 2004.

August 11, 2022

Wars on Two Fronts – DDT, Ukraine

On Thursday, AG Merrick Garland announced that the DOJ filed a court request to unseal the search warrant and property receipt for the Mar-a-Lago residence of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) because of massive DDT-engendered lies and violent threats by his allies. One man, who may have participated in the January 6 insurrection, was shot and killed after he tried to storm the Cincinnati FBI office. On Monday, a post on DDT’s Truth Social with the name Ricky Shiffer, the man killed, sent a “call to arms” message:

“People, this is it. Leave work tomorrow as soon as the gun shop/Army-Navy store/pawn shop opens, get whatever you need to be ready for combat. We must not tolerate this one. They have been conditioning us to accept tyranny and think we can’t do anything for 2 years. This time we must respond with force.”

Garland explained the reason for unsealing the search warrant was “the intense public interest” and called out the “unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors.”

“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated patriotic public servants. Every day, they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves. I am honored to work alongside them.”

The government has until 3 p.m. EST (1900 GMT) on August 11 to notify the court whether DDT’s attorneys object to unsealing the warrant. The same judge appointed by DDT who signed the search warrant will hear the case.  

A few hours after Garland’s speech, breaking news revealed that the classified documents illegally stored at Mar-a-Lago concerned nuclear weapons. Mar-a-Lago has extremely lax security, and the documents would be classified at the highest levels, restricted to a small number of government officials because details about them allows adversaries to counter the systems.

Former senior intelligence officials said that DDT’s administration routinely mishandled highly classified intelligence about sensitive topics. Often it went to people who didn’t need to see it or weren’t authorized to read it. Among this information was signals intelligence, intercepted electronic communications such as emails and phone calls of foreign leaders. They needed to be closely guarded because they reveal how the U.S. penetrates foreign governments. This type of information was included in the 15 boxes removed from Mar-a-Lago last January.

Months later, the DOJ subpoenaed DDT for more documents and were given other materials. Officials suspected DDT’s team was not truthful and withheld additional documents. The current search warrant would describe what was being sought at Mar-a-Lago as well as their related crimes. Republicans who reveled in the search because of political benefits now worry about new damaging discoveries.  

In 2019, whistleblowers expressed concern that DDT wanted to provide U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia as his former national security adviser Michael Flynn had suggested. 

While DDT plays his games trying to return to the White House, the Russian war against Ukraine grinds on for almost six months since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. Earlier this week, a Ukrainian attack on a Russian air base in coastal Crimea took out a dozen or more Russian planes used for missile strikes against Ukrainian-controlled territory. The losses would be the largest in a single day for the Russian air force, further reducing its ability to launch missile strikes against Ukraine. The Russian losses would also curtail its long-term ability to control southern Ukraine, especially the nearby province of Kherson, where Ukraine attempts a counteroffensive to retake its territory. Crimea is a Russian transit point for troops, equipment, and ammunition to supply the Kherson area.

Before the loss, Russia assumed it would be unimpeded in its operation instead of being forced to guard another part of Ukraine. At least three explosions at the base also demonstrated to Russia that it’s not invincible. Special forces fighters caused the destruction because HIMARS couldn’t cross the 150 miles from Ukrainian-controlled area to the air base. Russia only admitted damage to civilian structures and denied any destroyed planes, but satellite images showed the extent of the damage.

Russia continues to endanger the world with more shelling of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant which Ukraine lost in early March. An administrative office near the welding area has been hit and several radiation sensors damaged. Russia turned the facility and the surrounding area in southeastern Ukraine along the Dnieper River into a military base and launches attacks from there.

Russia launched an Iranian satellite from southern Kazakhstan after Putin and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pledged to work together against the West. Tehran claims Russia will not use the satellite, named Omar Khayyam after the 11th century Persian poet and philosopher, for intelligence in Ukraine. U.S. officials are concerned that Russia will use the satellite to monitor military in Israel and other parts of the Middle East.  

Assistant director for the Atlantic Council, Doug Klain, wrote that the attack on the Russian air base could be the turning point in the war. Russia has taken great pride in illegally taking Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, an act leading them to believe the Ukrainian invasion would finish within three days. Instead of grinding down a disheartened enemy, Russia faces an enemy achieving daring counteroffensives showing Ukraine able to precisely strike hundreds of miles behind Russian lines. Thanks to the West, Ukraine has up-to-date weapons; Russia is running out of equipment, even stripping commercial jetliners of parts after blocked from components from abroad. The EU has banned Russian coal imports, annually impacting about 8 billion euros worth of Russian exports.

In the Guardian, Nimo Omer writes that the war in Ukraine is entering a new decisive phase. Russia wants to hold out until winter, when Europe will be in an energy crisis and more likely to push for a negotiated agreement. The invaders may also be trying to connect the nuclear facility to the grid in Crimea, for the first time that one country steals a nuclear reactor from another country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin initially wanted to overturn the Ukrainian government and replace it with one of his own. Kyiv didn’t fall so he tried to take the eastern region of Donbas. The artillery onslaught led to Russia occupying the Luhansk province, and Russia wants Kherson as a transport hub with a key river crossing as a barrier from attacks. Russia has more ammunition than Ukraine, but the U.S.-supplied HIMARS partly equalized the battles with its precision-guided artillery aimed at Russian logistics centers, weapons depots, and command points. They also sever some supply lines, decreasing Russian shelling.

Hundreds of Russian soldiers refuse to fight and try to leave the military. Unable to replenish the 80,000 soldiers killed and untold numbers wounded, Russia is recruiting prisoners for replacements. St. Petersburg penal colony prisoners were offered amnesty in return for fighting in Ukraine. Of 11 volunteers, eight died in Ukraine. Russia’s major new ground force, the 3rd Army Corps of “volunteer battalions,” seeks men up to age 50 and requires only a middle-school education. Deployment to Ukraine promises “lucrative cash bonuses,” but complaints in the media indicate Russia isn’t paying off. The Soviet Union used the same tactic during World War II. Supposedly Russia’s shadowy private military force, the Wagner Group, is doing this recruiting.

Kurt Volker, expert in Ukrainian affairs, said that Putin has put himself into a “weak position” because of the widely-condemned war in Ukraine, that he can partner only with vulnerable countries needing financial assistance. These countries will also worry about global sanctions against them like Russia has. Belarus, for example, may suffer from the same sanctions as Russia because it allows Russian troops on and Russian air strikes from its territory while receiving $1.5 billion in return. Even before Russia’s invasion, the U.S., UK, Canada, and Europe sanctioned Belarus in late 2021 for alleged repression of its residents and human rights violations of migrants.

In another Russian difficulty, Finland and Sweden are on their way to becoming NATO’s 31st and 32nd member states following the acceptance of North Macedonia in March 2020. Bosnia, Herzegovina, Georgia, and Ukraine are also interested in joining NATO. All senators except Josh Hawley (R-MO) agreed to the expansion of NATO, and President Joe Biden signed the NATO accession protocols for Finland and Sweden. Putin called the expansion of NATO an imperialistic threat, but it would not have happened if he hadn’t “shattered peace and security in Europe,” as Biden said when he signed the protocols.

Even conservative senators such as Ted Cruz (TX) and Marco Rubio (FL) criticized Hawley for his objection; both of them emphasized NATO’s importance in protection against China. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) pointed out that Hawley had voted to permit Montenegro and North Macedonia into NATO.

Hawley has been mocked since the July 12 House January 6 investigative committee showed him running away from the insurrectionists who he incited. The irony comes from his image of masculinity that he described in his new book. Jonathan Capeheart described Hawley’s message: “if you’re a man, you believe in these things”: patriarchy, opposition to female’s body choice, opposition to marriage equality, aversion to labor organizing. Hawley’s sense of exclusion, and intolerance leading him to vote against other countries joining NATO. To Hawley, masculinity is the prejudice manifested by conservatives in the U.S. who cling to a vision of White America, identical to the beliefs of DDT’s followers.

July 21, 2022

January 6, 2021 Hearing – July 21, 2022

The eighth hearing from the House January 6 investigative committee lasted 135 minutes and covered 187 minutes while supporters of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) followed following his orders to violently destroy the orderly process of announcing electoral votes for the next president of the United States, Joe Biden. For that entire time, congressional members, their staff, and others were hiding from the insurrectionists while the Capitol Police tried to protect them. The Secret Service, who also feared for their lives and made goodbye calls to their loved ones, smuggled VP Mike Pence out of the Capitol and into safety from the mob chanting “Hang Mike Pence” because he didn’t follow their demands.

Complainers about how the hearings’ information has already been in the news are, in part, correct, but witness testimony verifies what was formerly called hearsay. DDT attacked a Secret Service driver when he demanded he was going to the Capitol for the insurrection and had to be forced back to the White House where he sat in his dining room and watched Fox reporting on the insurrection. For almost three hours he refused to take any action, despite begging from family, friends, and advisers; as Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-OH) said, “He chose not to act.” DDT would not allow any photographs and legal record-keeping of his communications during that time. 

Committee Vice-chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) facilitated the session, and Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS), isolated after testing positive for COVID, spoke by video at the beginning and end of the hearing. Kinzinger and Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) led the questioning of witnesses Matthew Pottinger, former National Security Council official, and Sarah Matthews, DDT’s deputy white House press secretary. Matthews, a House GOP staffer, has already been attacked as a liar and a pawn for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on the House GOP account from the office of Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY). Jeremy Adler, one of Cheney’s top aide, shamed Stefanik’s team because Matthews is “doing her patriotic duty.” The tweet was then deleted. A second tweet calling tonight’s hearing “heresy,” perhaps meaning hearsay, was also deleted.

Clips at the beginning and end of the hearing play speeches immediately after January 6 by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) given on their chamber floors. McCarthy said, “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters” because he didn’t act “immediately.” McConnell said, “It was obvious that only President Trump could end this” because people were acting on Trump’s behalf and blamed DDT for using false voter-fraud claims to inflame supporters.   

The committee revealed more hearings are planned for September after Congress returns from its August hiatus. More people are volunteering testimony to support the proof DDT’s dereliction of duty and violating his oath to protect the U.S. Constitution.

Showing DDT’s dereliction of duty, White House counsel Pat Cipollone gave a detailed timeline on DDT’s January 6 activities during the insurrection, beginning as early as 2:00 pm when Cipollone and several others pushed for a statement to call off rioters. After a long pause, he answered a question by adding that everyone in the White House wanted the insurrectionists to leave except DDT.

Outtakes of DDT’s videos to—reluctantly—stop the mob’s violence and his follow-up speech the next day demonstrate his refusal to include any mention of peace and vilification of the insurrectionists (which Republicans still call “tourists”). He also couldn’t say, “The election’s over.” DDT did not call any agency—not Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, or any other—for a response to the attack. That was left of to Pence while he was in hiding. Then White House chief of staff Mike Meadows told Gen. Mark A. Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to say that DDT had called him, not Pence, in an attempt to make him look as if he were in control. Earlier, DDT refused to take a call from the Pentagon that was seeking to “coordinate on the response to the attack.” Adviser Eric Herschman told Cipollone that “the president didn’t want anything done.”

DDT wasn’t through after the failed insurrection. His personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani made calls reinforcing support for the plan of overturning the election to such congressional members as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC), Josh Hawley (R-Mo), and Ted Cruz (R-TX). A voicemail for Tuberville laid out the scheme: “just slow [this hearing] down.”

DDT left his dining room for his White House residence at 6:27 pm on January 6 after his last tweet of the day, a love note to his followers:

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide victory is so unceremoniously, viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly, unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love and peace.”

The last thing DDT said on January 6 was “Mike Pence let me down.” Herschmann said everyone left the White House because they were “drained.”

At the Capitol, congressional members came out of hiding, resumed the electoral vote counting about 8:00 pm, and then finished their job at 3:41 am EST on January 7, 14 hours and 41 minutes after they started. The counting must be done in a session beginning son January 6 unless Congress passes a law changing it.

Senate staff had saved the paper Electoral College ballots when the chamber was evacuated because the mob was breaking into the building.

A lasting video of the eighth hearing is Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) running in terror through the halls and down steps. This was after he thrust his fist in the air in support of the protesters and adding fuel to the violence while he was behind the barricades.

Three days after the insurrection, texts from DDT’s campaign officials and loyalists Tim Murtaugh and Matthew Wolking show their disgust and rage with DDT when he didn’t even acknowledge the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick on the night of January 7. Wolking wrote, “Everything [DDT] said about supporting law enforcement was a lie.”

Viewers see the hearings as building a criminal case against DDT and his enablers of seditious conspiracies in overthrowing the government and forcibly opposing its authority. The DOJ can use the committee’s work. Just as important, however, is “to stop Trump’s continuing attack on American democracy,” according to Robert Reich who lists six ways through the hearings:

Be crystal clear that the continuing attempted coup is based on a lie through repeatedly playing DDT’s former AG Bill Barr stating:  

“I saw absolutely zero basis for the allegations [of voter fraud], but they were made in such a sensational way that they obviously were influencing a lot of people, members of the public, that there was this systemic corruption in the system and that their votes didn’t count and that these machines controlled by somebody else were actually determining it, which was complete nonsense. And it was being laid out there, and I told them that it was—that it was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time on that. And it was doing a grave disservice to the country.”

Showing the battle between democracy and authoritarian is non-partisan with all the GOP witnesses who worked for DDT, GOP legislators, GOP-appointed judges, GOP-elected state officials, etc. They are all citizens disgusted by and worried about DDT’s attempted coup.

Appealing to Republican lawmakers to stop supporting DDT’s continuing attempted coup in stressing oaths to defend the U.S. Constitution. 

Explaining how average people fell for DDT’s treachery with disastrous results with witnesses such as Stephen Ayers representing the ordinary “family man and a working man” who took part in the insurrection because he thought DDT wanted him there.  

Reminding people of their duties to democracy as Committee chair Thompson said in the seventh hearing:

“We settle our differences at the ballot box. Sometimes my choice prevails, sometimes yours does, but it’s that simple. We cast our votes. We count the votes. If something seems off with the results, we can challenge them in court, and then we accept the results. When you’re on the losing side, that doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it. And in the United States, there’s plenty you can do and say so. You can protest. You can organize. You can get ready for the next election to try to make sure your side has a better chance the next time the people settle their differences at the ballot box. But you can’t turn violent.”

Presenting DDT’s attempted coup as ongoing like Cheney did when she described DDT’s attempts at witness tampering.

The hearings are making a difference. Without them, DDT’s popularity would increase as people lack information and forget. Instead, the 57 percent of people say DDT has, at least, a good amount of blame for the January 6 insurrection, up from 53 percent six months ago. Half the people think DDT should be charged with crimes based on the evidence presented in the hearings. At least 58 percent of people in the U.S. are paying either a lot of attention (25 percent) or some attention (33 percent) to the hearings.

The drip, drip, drip accumulation about a corrosive DDT provided by the hearings is eroding support for him, shown in polling, focus groups, and fundraising. Part of DDT’s problem is that he won’t stop litigating the 2020 election, which some describe as “Trump fatigue.”

And new evidence will be back in September hearings!

 

June 28, 2022

January 6, 2021 Hearing – June 28, 2022

The sixth hearing by the House January 6 investigative committee provided only one witness in person, Cassidy Hutchinson. As top deputy to the chief of staff Mark Meadows for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) during the insurrection and its leadup, she was in a position to know the palace intrigues: she kept the calendar, attended many meetings, and was on a first-name basis with a majority of the primary players. Before Hutchinson came to the White House, she interned for Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the current GOP whip, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Republicans argue that she is nothing but a “low-level staffer,” but Alyssa Farah, former White House communications director, explained her position in the White House as seeing everything and “always on Air Force One.” Her office is next to that of Meadows and only yards from the Oval Office.

Hutchinson knew that DDT was aware of impending violence days before January 6, approved of it, and ordered his armed supporters to head to the Capitol after the rally. He planned to meet them there despite protests from his aides and Secret Service detail. Denied this opportunity, he tried to get his own way through physical means and protect rioters who chanted “hang Mike Pence” because Pence didn’t follow DDT’s orders to overturn the election.

Today’s testimony moved into the uncharted territory of DDT’s temper and the way he exhibited and approved violence. It threw out the DDT’s claim that the insurrection was “a simple protest that got out of hand.” A chronology of events in Hutchinson’s testimony:

January 2, 2021: DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani mentioned to that “we are going to the Capitol, it’s going to be great, the president is going to be there.” When she asked Meadows what Giuliani meant, her boss warned that “things might get real, real bad on January 6.” Intelligence agencies warned in the next few days that the rally could turn violent, but DDT and Meadows did nothing. Meadows supported DDT’s plan to lead his marchers to the Capitol.  According to Hutchinson, Cipollone said that DDT’s going to the Capitol on January 6 would cause legal problems in crimes such as “obstructing justice” and “defrauding elector count.”

Although Hutchinson didn’t know what was said, Meadows talked with Roger Stone and Michael Flynn on the night of January 5 at DDT’s urging. She said she advised Meadows to go to the Willard Hotel “War Room” that evening. He didn’t go, but “dialed in.” On the morning of January 6, Cipollone told Hutchinson that if DDT marched on the Capitol with his supporters “we’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.”

January 6, 2021—the rally: Disturbed by empty spaces at his rally at the Ellipse, DDT told aides to let them in. Former deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato told DDT that the crowd was armed, but DDT said that he didn’t “f***ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f***ing mags away,” meaning magnetometers scanning for weapons. Audio of law enforcement before the January 6 rally relayed reports of attendees carrying AR-15 rifles and Glock pistols as well as brass knuckles, knives, tasers, and other weapons confiscated when the crowd passed through the magnetometers. Knowing about the weapons, DDT said, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol.”

January 6, 2021—after the rally: Furious by being told he couldn’t go to the Capitol to join the rioters, DDT “reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel” and then used his free hand to lunge towards “the clavicles” of his Secret Service agent. DDT was not in a Suburban instead of the large limo called “The Beast.” DDT said, “I’m the f***ing president! Take me up to the Capitol now!” Yet the driver took him to the White House.

January 6, 2021—at the White House: Still in a fury, DDT hurled his lunch at the wall, leaving his valet to clean up the streaming ketchup. Meadows and Cipollone met with him about the chants to hang Pence, but DDT refused to do anything to stop the rioters. Hutchinson said both Meadows and DDT seemed indifferent to the threats. Cipollone told Meadows they needed to stop it, but Meadows answered, “You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.” Her statements confirm other testimony that DDT made this comment as well as testimony that DDT believed that insurrectionists assaulting police officers and ransacking the Capital were doing nothing wrong.

Hutchinson paints a picture of DDT as approving the intentional, not accidental, violence of the day because he wanted the violent mob to attack the Capitol for his benefit, use the violence to disrupt the electoral votes certification, and illegally keep him in the Oval Office—a coup. This evidence could be the basis for criminal charges such as seditious conspiracy against DDT. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Meadows that Cabinet secretaries were considering invoking the 25 Amendment to remove DDT from the Oval Office.

In her testimony, Hutchinson also said that Meadows burned papers after a meeting with Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), advocating for DDT to stay in power by replacing DOJ leadership. Destroying public records is illegal. Meadows also tried to get a presidential pardon after the insurrection, the highest-ranking official seeking this privilege. Giuliani had also indicated an interest in a pardon. Meadows encouraged language about pardons for the rioters in a January 7 speech, but White House lawyers blocked the language.

DDT’s aides called Hutchinson’s testimony a “bombshell” with potentially huge repercussions for Trump. One adviser said, “For the first time since the hearings started, no one is dismissing this.

Even Fox’s chief political correspondent Bret Baier called Hutchinson’s testimony “stunning and compelling” especially because she was in a “proximity of power” to know what was happening. “Nervous” and “blindsided” by the news of Hutchinson’s cooperation, DDT engaged in what his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen described as “distance, disparage, and destroy.” DDT began his negative statements with his usual separation from any person, stating, “I hardly know who this person Cassidy Hutchinson is” and then accused her of being angry because he wouldn’t allow her to join his staff at Mar-a-Lago. About DDT’s rebuttal to the testimony, Baier pointed out that Hutchinson was “under oath” and DDT was “on Truth Social.”

Baier also praised the Republicans who testified before the committee and called them “patriots.”  Fox anchor Martha MacCallum described hearings’ testimonies laying out a “huge, stunning and clear moment” showing a lack of evidence to support Trump’s claims of an unfair election in 2020. Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade said that DDT’s lawyers never found evidence of voter fraud and called DDT “unhinged.”  

In addition to other charges, participants in the coup may face charges of witness tampering. At the sixth hearing, committee members expressed their concern that DDT’s allies are trying to intimidate witnesses who cooperate with the special House panel. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the committee’s vice-chair said the committee asks all witness if they have been contacted by any former DDT administration or campaign officials “who attempted to influence or impact their testimony.” Thus far, the committee has found at least two examples of potential witness intimidation.

A January 6 witness described receiving a phone call:  

 “What they said to me is as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I’m on the team, I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect, you know, I’ll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World.”

“And they have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just to keep that in mind as I proceeded through my depositions and interviews with the committee.”

A second witness described receiving another phone call:

“[Someone] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he’s thinking about you. He knows you’re loyal and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.”

Mick Mulvaney, former DDT top official, tweeted that reports of witness tampering could be a serious problem for DDT:

“The Press is going to focus on some sensational revelations from today:  guns, grabbing a secret service agent, etc. But the real bomb that got dropped was the implied charge of witness tampering. If there is hard evidence, that is a serious problem for the former President.”

In February, committee member Rep. Pete Aguilar (R-CA) accused DDT of trying to sway testimony by offering pardons if he’s re-elected as president. He consistently repeats this claim at his rallies related to January 6.

The committee, with the House approval, has already made criminal recommendations for people refusing to comply with subpoenas. Thus far at least 30 people have failed to appear after receiving the committee’s subpoenas, an illegal action. During its yearlong work, the committee interviewed over 1,000 witness and explored over 140,000 documents while following up on 471 tips.

June 21, 2022

January 6, 2021 Hearing – June 21, 2022

The fourth hearing from the House January 6 investigative committee began at 1:00 pm EST on June 21, 2021, but before those bombshells started dropping, the Supreme Court came out with a major ruling. Six justices violated the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment by requiring Maine to give taxpayer funding to religious schools for tuition. In a dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the ruling, in connection with other recent court rulings to put religion above rights, dismantled “the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build.” She added the majority was “embracing arguments from prior separate writings and ignoring decades of precedent affording governments flexibility in navigating the tension between the Religion Clauses.” She continued:

“As a result, in just a few years, the Court has upended constitutional doctrine, shifting from a rule that permits States to decline to fund religious organizations to one that requires States in many circumstances to subsidize religious indoctrination with taxpayer dollars.”

Background information about the Supreme Court case, Carson v. Makin

The June 21 hearing from the House January 6 investigative committee, the fourth one since June 6, focused on the pressure by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) on state officials to prove election and voting fraud for the purpose of gaining voters and creating a slate of “alternative electors” who would illegally send DDT back to the White House for another four years. The hearing outlined DDT’s unrelenting campaign directed at state and local officials–many of them Republicans–that created physical danger for anyone to refused to overturn the 2020 presidential election. In his drive to get the illegal votes to win, DDT stirred up his followers who spread menace and violent threats but was indifferent to the high level of violence perpetrated on those who opposed his push to return to the White House, as described by the hearing’s witnesses.

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R) testified DDT’s supporters invaded a state legislative building mobbed his home with videos, calling the highly-religious conservative a pedophile and pervert. Bowers said that his gravely-ill daughter was disturbed; in fact, her illness was terminal, and she died weeks after the invasion of Bowers’ neighborhood. He also testified that Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) called him on the morning of January 6, 2021 asking him to overturn the presidential election. Bowers’ testimony began with refuting a message DDT sent immediately before the hearing in which DDT falsely declared Bowers had told him in November 2022 that he knew the election was rigged.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperg described how DDT’s supporters broke into his daughter-in-law’s home where she lived with her two children. She is a widow after Raffensperger’s son died of cancer in 2018. Raffensperger also testified to the violence threats he and his family received as well as the “disgusting”, “sexualized” texts to his wife. 

COO of Georgia’s Secretary of State office Gabriel Sterling said he “lost it” after he learning about the death threats with a noose sent to a young first-generation U.S. citizen working for Dominion Systems that accused him of “treason.”

Election worker Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss gave the most painful testimony of the day in describing how she and her mother Ruby Freeman are isolated, having no place to feel safe after DDT falsely accused them of fraud while counting votes on election night in Georgia. They were forced to leave their homes for safety, and DDT supporters barged into the home of Moss’ elderly grandmother, shouting they were making a “citizen’s arrest.” Using a doctored video in a hearing with Georgia state legislators, DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani compared Moss and Freeman to drug dealers, called for their homes to be searched, and urged that they be criminally charged. Earlier testimony videos from Freeman, who DDT accused 18 times of election fraud in his telephone call to Raffensperger begging for 11,800 more Georgia votes, said:

“Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you? The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American, not to target one. But he targeted me. I have lost my name and I have lost my reputation. All because a group of people starting with number 45 and his ally Rudy Giuliani decided to scapegoat me and my daughter.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) leader of the June 21 hearing summarized the consequences of DDT’s lies on Moss and Freeman:

“If the most powerful person in the world can bring the full weight of the presidency down on an ordinary citizen who is merely doing her job, with a lie as big and heavy as a mountain, who among us is safe?”

Other revelations from the hearing:

Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, testified that Trump himself called to ask for the party’s help organizing the false elector strategy.

Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Mark Meadows, testified by video that Giuliani, Meadows, and congressional members planned after the 2020 election to organize fake electors in states that Joe Biden won.

A staffer for Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) tried to deliver certificates signed by DDT’s fake electors in Michigan and Wisconsin to VP Mike Pence and the National Archives on January 6, 2021, after Pence had already refused them, along with fake certificates from Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, Nevada, and Pennsylvania prepared on January 4. Pence’s staffer refused the ones from Johnson. The senator denied that he tried to make the delivery, saying someone, he didn’t know who, asked him to do it.

Former DDT campaign staffer Robert Sinners who helped gather fake electors to overturn the election said he felt like a “useful idiot” after participating in the scheme and he’s now “angry.”

In one conversation when Giuliani asked Bowers to set up fake electors, DDT’s lawyer claimed, “We’ve got lots of theories—we just don’t have the evidence.” He never provided any evidence.

According to DDT’s campaign documents, his advisers knew the fake-elector plan was useless and using Pence to overturn the election was illegal.

Schiff’s introduction:  

“When state elections officials refused to stop the count, Donald Trump and his campaign tried to put pressure on them. When state executive officials refused to certify him the winner of states he lost, he applied more pressure. When state legislators refused to go back into session and appoint Trump electors, he amped up the pressure yet again. Anyone who got in the way of Donald Trump’s continued hold on power after he lost the election was the subject of a dangerous and escalating campaign of pressure.

“This pressure campaign brought angry phone calls and texts, armed protests, intimidation, and, all too often, threats of violence and death. State legislators were singled out. So too were statewide elections officials. Even local elections workers, diligently doing their jobs, were accused of being criminals, and had their lives turned upside down.

“As we will show, the president’s supporters heard the former president’s claims of fraud, and the false allegations he made against state and local officials, as a call to action.”

Schiff gave credit to the people who refused to follow DDT’s demands despite the abuse they suffered: “The system held, but barely…”

At the next hearing on June 23, documentary filmmaker Alex Holder will testify, and the committee will show footage of DDT and his aides that he submitted to the investigation committee because of a subpoena. Holder had multiple interviews with DDT, his children, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and VP Mike Pence between September 2020 until after the election. Also subpoenaed is raw footage from January 6 and “discussions of election fraud or election integrity surrounding the November 2020 presidential election.” Senior campaign officials did not approve of the film project, but DDT’s people secretly agreed to be filmed. The completed documentary, Unprecedented, will be released this summer.

The Thursday hearing, beginning at 1:00 EST, will focus on DDT’s attempts to suborn the judiciary. Rep. Bennie Thompson called then-president Trump’s “attempt to corrupt the country’s top law-enforcement body, the Justice Department, to support his attempt to overturn the election.”

The hearings are making a difference in public opinion. After the first full week of hearings, 58 percent of respondents to a survey think that DDT should be charged with a crime for his part in the insurrection, up from 52 percent in early May. The same percentage believes that DDT bears “a great deal” or a “good amount” of responsibility for the insurrection. Sixty percent believe the committee is conducting a fair and impartial investigation, according to the poll. The committee has not yet determined whether it should recommend a criminal charge to the DOJ, but a few months ago, a federal judge concluded that DDT “likely attempted to obstruct the joint session of Congress” on January 6, meaning a crime.

May 25, 2022

Right to Life on GOP Terms

The “right-to-life” Republicans in Congress are praying about the recent mass killing—first ten people dead in Buffalo by a teenage killer who targeted Blacks and now a teenager in Uvalde (TX) who killed at least 19 children under ten years old at an elementary school as well as himself and two adults. Before going to the school, he shot his grandmother who is in critical condition. It is the 30th school shooting thus far in 2022 and at least 200 mass shooting. Yet they do nothing.

GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales, who represents Uvalde, wrote, “we have to protect” children but didn’t indicate how. His recent tweets bitterly complained about the “Radical Left” and his strong opposition to any gun control efforts, bragging that he “voted NO on two gun control measures.” As a “proud supporter of the Second Amendment” (meaning unfettered ownership of guns), he “will do everything I can to oppose gun grabs from the far Left.” Now he declares himself “heartbroken” and choked up when he talked about the tragedy.

Three days after the Uvalde school shooting, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will appear at the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) Leadership Forum with Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX). Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) canceled his appearance. Twenty-three years ago, NRA had a conference in Denver shortly after Colorado’s mass shooting at Columbine High School, killing 13 and wounding another 20. During the 2018 election cycle, Cruz received the largest amount of donations from gun rights backers at $311,151.

The NRA is blocking the Second Amendment and banning the presence of any weapons for DDT’s appearance. Attendees will be searched.

No Republicans complain about suspending the Second Amendment in some cases, but GOP legislators and far-right are using the same old canard about politicizing the Buffalo murder with a domestic terrorism bill including white supremacy. Fox’s Tucker Carlson called such a bill “scary,” but Buffalo’s mass shooter wrote he had been radicalized on 4chan and referred to the white supremacist “great replacement” conspiracy theory, fears of whites being replaced through immigration, that Carlson promoted on his program over 400 times. Conspiracy theorist and Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers pushed the lie of the shooting being a “false flag,” staged by Democrats. A Proud Boys group called the bill “the creation of an anti-white secret police.”

Democrats introduced the original version of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act a few weeks after the Jan. 6 insurrection, and Democrats, joined by GOP Adam Kinzinger, passed a newer iteration of the bill after the Buffalo mass shooting. It would create dedicated domestic terrorism departments in the FBI, DOJ, and Homeland Security to monitor, analyze, investigate, and prosecute acts of domestic terrorism. The U.S. has no law against general domestic terrorism, but the addition of “terrorism enhancement” in federal cases can add 15 years to a sentence.

The bill would also establish an interagency task force to investigate white supremacist and neo-Nazi infiltration of uniformed services and federal law enforcement agencies. A special agent in each field office would investigate hate crime events and connections to domestic terrorism. According to FBI Director Chris Wray, the growing threats of domestic terrorism in the U.S. with “racially motivated violent extremism” are the majority of the agency’s domestic terrorism probes. Senate Republicans have promised to block the legislation which would require 60 votes in that chamber.

The far-right Gateway Pundit falsely stated the goal of the bill was to “silence conservatives and those Americans who disagree with them.” Carlson complained the bill doesn’t specifically mention “BLM or antifa” and lied about the bill redefining domestic terrorism to include hate crimes. About three-fourths of voters support the bill

Lachlan Murdoch, CEO and executive chairman of Fox’s parent company, said white supremacy just “comes with the territory” for Fox being “number one.” He shrugged off the increasing polarization of society since Fox was created. Media Matters senior fellow Matthew Gertz believes “Lachlan Murdoch has apparently given up on his obvious lie that Tucker Carlson doesn’t promote ‘replacement theory.’ He is making it quite clear that Fox prioritizes white supremacist content.”

Republican legislators will also be traumatized by the update of the DOJ use-of-force policy, ordering federal agents to intervene if other law enforcement officials use excessive force. Taking effect July 19, the policy does not cover non-federal law enforcement and federal law enforcement agencies outside the DOJ. Federal law enforcement officers must also act if someone needs medical care and repeats current policies that officers should not fire their weapons at people solely because they are fleeing or fire into vehicles to make them stop. Deadly force should not be used “against persons whose actions are a threat solely to themselves or property unless an individual poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others in close proximity.” With new priorities, AG Merrick Garland’s memo tells officers and agents to first select de-escalating confrontations for “voluntary compliance from a subject before using force.”

The current politically conservative Supreme Court majority may decide to overturn the new DOJ policy, just as they overturned existing law this week in order to kill two Arizona men. Six conservative justices used an anti-terrorism law to rule that convicted felons are not allowed to present evidence in federal court about ineffective counsel or present new evidence. Clarence Thomas declared that the two men have no federal standing to sue because the state denied their appeals, writing that this has happened “only rarely.” Despite this violation to Sixth Amendment rights to due process and habeas corpus, Arizona may execute two more men

Justice Sonia Sotomayor called the decision “perverse” and “illogical.”  She wrote:

“The Court’s decision will leave many people who were convicted in violation of the Sixth Amendment to face incarceration or even execution without any meaningful chance to vindicate their right to counsel.”

Legal experts agreed, including University of Texas Law Professor Lee Kovarsky.  He tweeted:

“Since representation in state post-conviction proceedings is a national embarrassment, it means that it’s not a really useful site of Sixth Amendment enforcement.”

One of the men to be executed, Barry Jones, may not have murdered anyone, meaning the so-called “right-to-life” justices are killing an innocent man. A witness said that Jones hit a four-year-old girl who died 12 hours later. Three experts, however, said that the girl could not have died from that supposed injury within that time period. Others, including the girl’s mother and uncle, were suspect. The mother was subsequently convicted of child abuse, and before her death, the girl said a boy had hit her in the stomach with a metal bar. Jones’ lawyer didn’t present any of this evidence at the trial.

In a 1984 ruling (Strickland v. Washington), the Supreme Court determined a “deficient” lawyer’s performance that “prejudiced the defense” can toss out a conviction, but Thomas’ opinion claimed the law restricts federal courts from rejecting state courts’ opinions no matter how poorly they were decided. In essence, the six justices changed the law and “all but overrules” Martinez v. Ryan (2012) and Trevino v. Thaler (2013), according to Sotomayor. Therefore, states can kill people wrongly convicted, and the federal government will not step in despite the Sixth Amendment guaranteeing “criminal defendants the right to the effective assistance of counsel at trial.”

As Ian Millhiser wrote, three justices—the minority—believe “the purpose of a criminal trial is to determine whether or not someone is actually guilty of a crime—and to do so through an adversarial process where both sides are represented by lawyers who can present the best possible legal and factual case for the prosecution and the defense.” Clarence differs, according to Millhiser:

“[Clarence] deems federal habeas proceedings problematic because they ‘override] the States’ core power to enforce criminal law.’ When a federal court deems someone’s conviction constitutionally inadequate, Thomas complains, it ‘overrides the State’s sovereign power to enforce ‘societal norms through criminal law,’” and ‘disturbs the State’s significant interest in repose for concluded litigation.’”

And Arizona will kill two more men after the conservative justices refused to intervene in the killing of Clarence Dixon.

At one time, only Justice Antonin Scalia agreed with Thomas. Now Scalia is dead, and Republican presidents have appointed five justices who agree with Thomas.

Civil war—that’s what DDT thinks is imminent according to his reposting on his personal Twitter-like “Truth Social.” The killings in Buffalo are only the latest example of how irresponsible violent rhetoric can lead to physical violence.

  • Doug Mastriano, Pennsylvania’s newly elected GOP gubernatorial candidate, wrote about a potential “Hitlerian putsch” from the left requiring a civil war with the military fighting back.  
  • The head of the Claremont Institute, a think tank of members such as John Eastman who created the strategy to overturn Biden’s election, said that conservatives must fight against “woke communists,” false meaning all Democrats.
  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-SC) promised “bloodshed”; former U.S. Joseph diGenova told Laura Ingraham on her podcast that the “civil war” requires people to buy guns.
  • Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said that “America is heading in the direction of another Harpers Ferry.” He shared the meme that the right has “8 trillion bullets” and would win a civil war.

GOP “right to life” ends with birth.

April 14, 2022

‘Grooming’: The New GOP Attack on Any Opponents

In the past few months, Republicans have developed a fascination with pedophilia, especially the concept of “grooming” children. Until Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis’ spokesperson used the term, the definition referred to sexual abuse, “the manipulative behaviors that the [sexual] abuser uses to gain access to a potential victim, coerce them to agree to the abuse, and reduce the risk of being caught.”   

This explanation from the non-profit RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) continues: the process of isolating a selected victim, developing trust with gifts and requirement that the relationship be kept secret, and ends with touching, at first apparently harmless and then sexual contact. The accusations by Republicans starting out toward LGBTQ people, moved on to claims that all Democrats and all teachers are pedophiles.

The word “grooming” is tossed at anyone showing acceptance of people and maintains that children are “introduced too early to sexually explicit material, to the existence of transgender people, and to non-heterosexual sexual orientations,” according to Olga Khazan in her Atlantic article. “Sexually-explicit” has been used for a teacher’s off-hand naming her same-gender partner. On Fox, writer David Mamet said to Mark Levin that male teachers are “inclined” to pedophilia and “we have to take back control.”

Using DeSantis’ new law as red meat for Republicans, at least a dozen other states are copying his “don’t say gay” law that prevents teachers from discussing gender identity and gender orientation. These states follow the tweet by DeSantis’ spokesperson Christina Pushaw:

“If you’re against the Anti-Grooming Bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children.”

The result of this false explanation of “grooming” goes far beyond the possibility of votes for Republicans; the “moral panic” is causing threats of violence. The QAnon followers use destructive emotion against lies of sex-trafficking against Democrats although they never mention Republicans who molest children, like their former House speaker, or object to the proposed Tennessee law with no age limit for marriage. It was Democrats who had to stop that from passing.

Comprehensive sexual education, according to Khazan has beneficial effects. It helps prevent bullying, have “healthier relationships of all kinds, improves their communication skills, and even boosts their media literacy.” Studies show that sex ed reduces teen pregnancy and child abuse, the “exact opposite” of grooming. Pedophilia bloom with the subject’s ignorance. Because 93 percent of child sexual-abuse victims know their abusers, sexual education can teach children about inappropriate touching, “the difference between ‘tattling’ and keeping unsafe secrets, and how to identify abusive situations.”

Learning correct names for their genitalia gives young people a sense of empowerment, and “pedophiles are less likely to select a child who can accurately talk about those body parts,” according to experts. Young people are less likely to victimize others, and this knowledge is “associated with lower rates of physical and sexual dating violence four years later,” according to a study. Kindergartners are not too young to understand their body parts and protect themselves from unwanted touching. A program for kindergartners and first-graders called “Rights, Respect, and Responsibility,” the “3Rs,” focuses “on preventing bullying, setting boundaries about touching, and learning what types of things make babies.” The curriculum explains, “This is your body and you have a right to know what the different parts are called.”

First graders can be taught they are “perfectly normal” even if they “feel like a girl” although they may have “’boy’ parts.” Talking about sex makes some conservatives uncomfortable, but it’s not “grooming” or “molestation.” Those who pretend children don’t know about sex at an early age are wrong. Many years ago, I was talking about transgender issues with my progressive niece and her husband. Their children aged 9 and 11 were in the room, and I was groping for words as my nephew-in-law looked uncomfortable. The younger niece piped up and asked her her older sister about one of their friends. “Do you remember when [friend] was in kindergarten and her aunt became an uncle?” The parents briefly looked at them in amazement, not knowing how knowledgeable their children were, and we all moved on.

Khagan wrote:

“Between 2 million and 4 million American children are being raised by a non-straight parent. Some children might either be transgender themselves or have a parent who is. Advocates of this type of curriculum say these concepts can be explained more accurately in school, and help make kids who are not straight or cisgender feel welcomed.”

Sex ed, however, depends on community values. Most Texas school districts taught abstinence-only, if they taught anything. Gender identify and sexual orientation isn’t taught in Florida schools despite it being a target of the new law. European countries, most of which provide comprehensive, mandatory, and blunt sex ed, have “lower teen pregnancy rates, lower rates of sexual abuse, and lower STD rates among young people.”

Parents in Europe “don’t see these types of lessons as ‘giving children ideas’ about sex and sexuality. After all, adults openly do things—drink alcohol, use the stove, drive—that kids can’t. Kids understand when an activity is for adults only. [They] reject the notion that telling kids about different sexual orientations or gender identities ‘turns’ kids gay or gender-nonconforming.” In fact, the U.S. has a higher percentage of LGBTQ people than European countries. Hiding LGBTQ information doesn’t seem to make any difference.

Teaching children about these issues opens up “lines of communication [with] responsible adults.” Treating sex as an ordinary topic keeps young people from doing their own searches and finding  misinformation. In her 2018 book Beyond Birds and Bees, Bonnie Rough wrote that only one-fourth of “U.S. public schools report that students practice communication, decision making, goal setting, or refusal skills as part of sex ed.” Instead children in the U.S. often get their sex ed from porn, experimenting, and being abused, keeping their victimized secret.

Conservatives’ inappropriate use of the term “grooming” is hurting sexual abuse victims. Instead of connecting the term to this abuse, they use the word to mean “any set of circumstances in which a young person could safely come out as queer.” Both the words “groom” and “pedophile” lose any real meaning in the conservative desire to support anti-LGBTQ legislation. Journalist Jude Ellison S. Doyle wrote:

“There is the violence being done to language itself; the way survivors become easier to trivialize and dismiss when the terminology of sexual violence is weaponized against us. I was a pre-teen and he was a teenage youth counselor at my church; I was a college freshman and he was a professor. I need to talk about the ways those predators used my youth, my ignorance, my need for acceptance and validation from authority figures; I need to talk about how their age and authority pre-conditioned me to let them overstep certain boundaries—it wasn’t my place to object, I was probably making a big deal over nothing, I might offend them by complaining—and how that allowed them to isolate me in a place where violent things could happen.

“I cannot talk about that when the word ‘grooming’ means ‘trans people existing’ or ‘gay people teaching at public schools.’ Those of us who protest sexual violence and rape culture are already accused of being hypersensitive, hysterical, of making a big deal over nothing. How much easier will it be to ignore us when most left-wing people automatically tune out mentions of molestation and child abuse?”

For Donald Trump Jr., who could be a presidential candidate in a few years, groomers are easy to spot because they have “blue, green, purple hair,” but he worries about the others who are “under camouflage” because they look like anyone else. He said “literally trying to indoctrinate and groom these children” is the only reason for tolerant learning environments, opposition to anti-LGBTQ bullying, and acceptance. His rant came after Vice’s article about online conservatives doxxing tolerant teachers by posting their home phone numbers and addresses. 

Members of Patriots.win promised body bags for these “groomers” after a false report from the Christian website TownHall that schools were handing out puberty blockers without parental consent. A response was “Straight to the woodchipper for them,” and the reply, “…literally beat them to an inch of their life.”

In March, Fox’s Tucker Carlson called for anyone talking about sex to kindergartners to “be beaten up.” He continued by asking “where the men are…. You know, some teacher’s pushing sex values on your third grader. Why don’t you go in and thrash the teacher?”

Robert Foster, a former Mississippi state representative, is calling for political opponents who support the rights of trans people to be executed by firing squad.

A gay couple with children five and six years old were accosted by a man on their family Amtrak train ride along the California coast. The terrified children sobbed as he yelled at them about their stealing the children and called them “pedophiles.” The six-year-old said that the man had yelled the same things in the bathroom. Having taken pride in going to the nearby bathroom by himself, he is now afraid to go alone.

TikTok suspended the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for using the word “gay” in a comment. The next raft of bills will be to ban LGBTQ teachers. It’s the McCarthy era of the 1950s all over again, exchanging the term Communists for “pedophiles” and “groomers.” And all from the party that protects child molesters. 

February 7, 2022

Protest, Discrimination Dominate News

On Monday, the news from Washington keeps pouring in. Some pieces and updates from the past few days:

The worst news of the day may be that the Supreme Court overturned a three-judge panel by permitting the Alabama redistrict map to violate Section 2 of the Voter Rights Act while the case is adjudicated. Gerrymandering allows Black voters in only one of seven congressional districts to elect a candidate of their choice although the state is 27 percent Black. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the three progressive justices in dissent to the majority that determined they will consider the legitimacy of the 1965 law, partially rejected by the high court in 2013.

The fallout from the RNC censure of two of their House members, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger (IL), received reactions on the Sunday talk shows. Like Democrats, a few Republicans condemned the resolution exonerating the insurrectionists on January 6: Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young, Arkansas’ Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and Utah’s Sen. Mitt Romney. Others avoided the topic or put a spin on the resolution: Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) switched to saying former VP “Mike Pence did his constitutional duty” on January 6, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said people “who committed crimes … should be prosecuted” but that wasn’t the responsibility of the House committee, “a partisan scam.” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) used the RNC line from Chair Ronna McDaniel that the resolution was only for “legitimate protesters” although it wasn’t restricted.   

An editorial from the conservative National Review called the censure “both morally repellent and politically self-destructive” as well as “an indefensible disgrace.”

On the Fox network, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) smeared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Fox network, saying that the Chinese government has something “strong” on her and promising an investigation into Pelosi and President Biden’s families being compromised by their interests. All Republicans except one voted against almost $300 billion to build U.S. competition against China in a bill passed by the Housem and Pelosi has repeatedly criticized human rights in China from the Tiananmen massacre of 1989 to the current maltreatment of Uyghurs.

Last week, a big story about Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) was aides taping together the documents that DDT illegally tore up while he was in the Oval Office. Some were sent to the Archives in pieces. This week, the story moved on to how the National Archives had to rescue 15 boxes of official documents from DDT’s Mar-a-Lago home, including letters from Barack Obama and Kim Jong Un and national security sensitive records. The Presidential Records Act requires all written communications from a president’s official duties such as memos, letters, notes, emails, and faxes be preserved. Records personnel called the preservation of DDT’s documents the most challenging since President Richard Nixon tried to hide official materials almost a half century ago. DDT may illegally have more records. 

Former White House staffers said that they frequently sent documents in “burn bags” to the Pentagon to be incinerated, choosing what would be destroyed. Presidential historian Lindsay Chervinsky said DDT’s behavior “reflects a conviction that he was above the law.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) abandoned his constituents without electricity during bitter cold last winter with a trip to Cancun, even leaving the family dog alone in his ice-cold house. This year, the man vehemently opposed to any “lockdowns” during the pandemic crisis wants to starve people because the Vancouver (British Columbia) mayor told truckers protesting COVID vaccination mandates that they should stay away. Truckers in the so-called “Freedom Convoy” have protested for almost two weeks in Ottawa against the requirement that they be vaccinated before permission to drive across the border into the U.S. About 90 percent of truck drivers are already vaccinated.

 Canada isn’t following Cruz’s idea to clear off grocery store shelves. Ottawa police have declared an emergency in the country’s capital and are arresting demonstrators, issuing over 500 tickets, and seizing vehicles and fuel after protesters shot off fireworks, blared horns, and blocked streets. Over 60 investigations have been opened into thefts, hate crimes, and property damage. Other violations are lack of vehicle insurance and obstruction of license plates as well as defacing national monuments and dancing on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Staff members at the soup kitchen Shepherds of Good Hope were “harassed” and verbally assaulted with racial slurs. A GoFundMe website, which had given protect leaders one million dollars shut down and returned the rest of the money, and organizers are turning to a Christian crowdfunding site.

The convoy also faces a $9.8 million class-action suit for Ottawa citizens in blasting air horns 16 hours a day while jamming streets. Protesters also harass residents and shoppers, even assaulting some of them and ripping off their masks. They are moving to Toronto, Winnipeg, Quebec City, and other provincial capitals in what Ottawa’s police chief calls a “siege.” A man was arrested in Winnipeg for a hit and run when he drove into the protesters and injured four people outside of Manitoba legislature. Another convoy supporter in Toronto threw feces at someone. Demonstrators in Vancouver threw eggs and rocks, kicked cars, and placed nails along roadways; five people were arrested. Convoy supporters block the Canada-U.S. border between Alberta and Montana with cars, trucks, and tractors.

While a winter storm blasts his Texas constituents and the energy grid hasn’t been repaired, Cruz is taking up the cause of the poor trucker protesters in Canada. (After all, he was born there!) He plans an investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission into the removal of the GoFundMe site (a private and not a public entity), declaring the shutdown of funding “theft.” The site claims the money will be returned within 7 to 10 days because of COVID disinformation about vaccines. Cruz called the Canadian truckers “heroes” and “patriots.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, in a state with 5,677,802 COVID cases and 66,007 deaths, has joined Cruz’s bandwagon, both of them aiming toward president, as has Donald Trump Jr. demanding GOP AGs to investigate. Those in Louisiana, Texas, and West Virginia agree with Jr. Other complainers include Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), currently being investigated by the House January 6 committee, and Elon Musk, head of Tesla.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance and the Ontario Trucking Association disavow the protest, and University of Ottawa associate criminology professor Michael Kempa said the movement is organized and funded by an autocratic political agenda, including U.S. interests, and to undermine Canadian rule of law and democracy. “They’re not interested in the … liberal system we have here in Canada,” Kempa said.

The trucker convoy may embolden more violence in the United States. DDT supporter Steve Lynch, a GOP candidate in Pennsylvania, talked about opposition to mask mandates in front of a crowd at the state capitol in Harrisburg:

“Forget going into these school boards with freaking data. You go into these school boards to remove them. I’m going in with 20 strong men and I’m gonna give them an option—they can leave or they can be removed.”

Other similar interventions across the nation include physical assaults and verbal racial slurs.

Two other GOP wishful presidential candidates are also in trouble with Republicans. The Texas National Guard is criticizing its governor, Greg Abbott, for their deployments with only days notice to the Mexican border last fall. According to complaints, they lost money when they had to leave college, jobs and businesses to sit around for perhaps a year. Their Guard pay is either late, incorrect, or nonexistent, and at least 20 percent of the 6,500 in the “operational force” suffer from lack of critical equipment such as cold weather gear, medical equipment, and plates for ballistic vests while they rarely see any migrants. Deployment is typically a federal call with the state doing so only in short deployments for natural disasters or civil disturbances. Abbott is also taking heat for his mismanagement of the COVID crisis and the collapse of the state’s power grid, leaving millions without electricity or heat for days in below freezing temperatures.

In South Dakota, GOP lawmakers are getting fed up with Gov. Kristi Noem because of her possessive attitude toward bills and budgets instead of giving credit to legislators. Political observers think she may even have trouble winning a re-election. A strong DDT supporter, Noem is being investigated for her extensive use of state airplanes to attend out-of-state conservative political gatherings, trips she has tied to keep secret. Another of her scandals was a push for the state to give her daughter a real estate appraiser license. According to state Sen. Reynold Nesiba, “She’s not very good at being a governor.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has another reason why he wants to destroy the Build Back Better jobs bill that would help a vast majority of people in the U.S., especially those in his own state: it didn’t go through committee. Never mind that he helped write the bipartisan bill with GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK). He left out the part that GOP megadonors are giving him hundreds of thousands of dollars for his campaign as long as he blocks the

“We are suffering because the Senate could find trillions in less than two years for corporations but can’t protect voting rights and invest a few trillion over 10 years in the people.”

And Congress needs to pass a budget in order to prevent a government shutdown on February 19. As usual, they are negotiating a stopgap bill for another short term, “as short as you can,” according to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO).  

December 1, 2021

COVID Kills, HIV/AIDS Ignored

Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day, a day set aside to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic. The first case was reported in June 1981, and for the next decades, activists fought to get help from the government and the medical community, both largely ignoring the virus which they considered a “gay” disease. The first AIDS Day was in 1988.

Consider the difference between than and now to work for a vaccine. In 2021, the conservative community fights against any governmental and medical assistance. By last October, more people died of COVID in the U.S. since its discovery 20 months earlier than the 700,000 people dying of AIDS in the U.S. during the past 40 years. In 20 months, over 800,000 people have died of COVID in the U.S., widely believe an under-estimation, and almost 50 million have been infected, again probably with tens of millions more people having asymptomatic or unreported cases. The deaths averaging about 1,000 a day continue because people won’t get vaccinated against the disease. In two weeks, about the same number of people in the U.S. will die of COVID as the annual death rate for people with HIV (the cause of AIDS)—although the nation has not found a vaccine for HIV in 40 years. Yet tens of millions of people who are terrified of being around people with HIV/AIDS behave in a cavalier fashion regarding COVID.

Some insanity surrounding the recognition of COVID as a deadly disease: 

Judges appointed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) lied as they block any protective mandates for vaccinations: A three-judge panel in Texas blocked the mandate implementation for healthcare workers in hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid payments, and a federal judge in Missouri blocked all mandates for any healthcare workers in ten states, ones with the lowest vaccination rates and highest rates of COVID deaths. A judge in Louisiana blocked vaccination mandates for healthcare workers nationwide, and a Kentucky-based federal judge blocked mandates for federal contractors in three states. Vaccine mandates work. Instead of walking off the job, most of the people get vaccinations. Only 34 of 35,000 New York City police took unpaid leave by failing to meet vaccine deadlines. At United Airline, at least 99 percent of the employees got vaccinated. Houston Methodist hospitals went from 75 percent vaccinated to 99.4 percent vaccinated after the mandate.

[One sane justice: Stephen Breyer rejected a request for the Supreme Court to block the vaccine mandate at the large Massachusetts hospital system, Mass General Brigham.]

Republicans are financially rewarding unvaccinated people: Last spring, GOP states cut off extra unemployment assistance to force people back to work. It didn’t work. Now, beginning with Iowa’s Gov. Kim Reynolds, they have started to tell unemployed workers who refuse to get vaccinated that they will receive unemployment benefits if they lose their job for that reason. Reynolds is being joined by Florida, Kansas, and Tennessee. Until now, people who voluntarily quit their jobs haven’t not gotten these benefits.

GOP political leadership spreads lies about vaccinations and the lack of COVID danger: A prime example is Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), who was DDT’s White House doctor for a few years. One of his predictions was that DDT was so healthy he could live for 200 years, perhaps because he drank on the job, according to the Department of Defense inspector general. After the new variant, Omicron, was announced, Jackson tweeted that Democrats had created the virus to “push unsolicited nationwide mail-in ballots.” He concluded, “Democrats will do anything to CHEAT during an election—but we’re not going to let them!”

Conservative pundits join politicians in their fantasy world: Fox hosts, all of whom must be vaccinated but won’t admit it, blame Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for new variants: Rachel Campos-Duffy blames Buttigieg for creating variants to stop people complaining about the supply chain issue. She said Omicron is promoting his running for president in 2024.

Conservative religious leaders also push anti-vaccine positions: Televangelist Marcus Lamb, founder of the right-wing Christian Daystar Television network, not only pushed lies about vaccinations on his network but also invited others to appear on his network to promote unproven drugs as COVID treatment. Lamb died of COVID on November 30; his wife said that he had followed “many of the protocols talked about here on Daystar” for his treatment and he “100 percent believed in everything we’ve talked about here on Daystar.” Two weeks before Lamb’s death, his son called his illness “a spiritual attack from the enemy.”

Conservatives incite violence to stop vaccinations: On Fox Information, Donald Trump Jr referenced the riots in Europe as a way to obtain “freedom.” He said that the U.S. media is keeping people in the U.S. from hearing about them and turning them into “sheep.” He called the riots “excellent.”

Conservative politicians and pundits pander to supporters by denigrating science: For over a year, Dr. Anthony Fauci, respected in the public health sector for over 50 years and advised the past seven U.S. presidents, has been the chief scapegoat for every GOP politicians in their smear campaign against science, especially the men who aim to be elected president in 2024. Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) sneer at him for being a mere “bureaucrat,” and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted criticism about him over 20 times in one day, again with the label of bureaucrat. On Fox network, host Lara Logan compared him to the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele who performed experiments on Auschwitz prisoners during the Holocaust. Her colleague, Tucker Carlson, compared Fauci to World War II dictator Benito Mussolini.

Republicans plan to use the high COVID death rates to sabotage Biden in the 2022 election. Their new meme is that he failed in his promise to cut back the pandemic. Never strong on logic, followers may believe their false claims, but these tweets explain where they again fail reasonable thought:  

The GOP: Joe Biden promised he would shut down the coronavirus. He failed.

Andrew Wehrman, historian at Central Michigan U. and author of The Contagion of Liberty: Smallpox in the American Revolution: Let me get this straight. It’s Biden’s job to stop the coronavirus, but it’s also unconstitutional for him to try to stop it?  

Republicans are dying because of no vaccinations, and their religion and politics are the reason. An analysis by county based on votes for either President Joe Biden or DDT show that DDT’s counties are much harder hit since the vaccination was available. Counties voting most strongly for Biden are vaccinated at a 40-percent higher rate than those that voted most strongly for DDT. Conservative politicians and religious leaders are killing their constituents.  

Investigation show that an additional 400,000 people may have been killed by COVID because DDT stalled the CDC efforts to warn people about the pandemic. He shut up Nancy Messonnier, a senior CDC health expert, after she warned in a February 25, 2020, news briefing about the serious nature of COVID. CDC was permitted no press briefings for most of the following March. Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House COVID task force coordinator, recently reported how the White House blocked these briefings, including one in April to emphasize the need for wearing masks to contain the spread of the virus. Radiologist Scott Atlas, DDT’s former adviser and current adviser for Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis, told CDC to recommend testing only on symptomatic people. He also advocated for herd immunity by letting everyone be infected.  

According to DDT’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, DDT was so indifferent about the danger of COVID that he went to a debate with Joe Biden despite having been tested positive for the virus three days earlier. DDT lied about his diseased status and refused to take the mandated test immediately before the debate. While he exposed everyone in the room to COVID but downplayed the pandemic during the debate. His refusal to be tested broke the debate rules, but Moderator Chris Wallace, a Fox host, told DDT’s campaign they were joining the debate “on the honor system.” While carrying the virus, DDT met with Gold Star families to talk about the “value of sacrifice.” DDT went to the hospital seriously ill with COVID three days after the debate.  

Forty years after the first AIDS case was reported in the U.S.—and perhaps almost 60 years after it arrived in the nation—HIV/AIDS may have a vaccine, thanks to the development of those for COVID. Although Dr. Fauci worked in this area, the vaccine was not actively pursued because of the public’s belief that AIDS and HIV were plagues for immoral people. Scientists working on an HIV/AIDS vaccine now hope that the mRNA technology for COVID vaccines could help find an HIV/AIDS vaccine. Meanwhile, the 33rd anniversary of World AIDS Day passed almost completely unnoticed by the media as the United States struggles to cope with the spread of COVID by the unvaccinated.

In the past 24 hours, at least 1,633 deaths from COVID in the U.S. have been reported.

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