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What Would Nellis Say?

September 2022


          After Roe’s End, Women Surged in Signing Up to Vote.
In the first few months of this year, more than half of Kansans who registered to vote were men.  That changed after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade according to an August 25th New York Times report.

In the week after the court’s decision, more than 70 percent of newly registered voters in Kansas were women, according to an analysis of the state’s registered voter list. An unusually high level of new female registrants persisted all the way until the Kansas primary this month, when a strong Democratic turnout helped defeat a referendum that would have effectively ended abortion rights in the state.


The Kansas figures are the most pronounced example of a broader increase in registration among women since the Dobbs decision, according to an Upshot analysis of 10 states with available voter registration data. On average in the month after Dobbs, 55 percent of newly registered voters in those states were women, according to the analysis, up from just under 50 percent before the decision was leaked in early May.


The increase varied greatly across the 10 states — Kansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, Florida, North Carolina, Idaho, Alabama, New Mexico and Maine — with some states showing a pronounced surge in the share of new registrants who were women and others showing little change at all. 


The total number of women registering to vote in those states rose by about 35 percent after the decision, compared with the month before the leak. Men had an uptick of 9 percent.  


The increase offers rare concrete evidence that the Supreme Court’s decision has galvanized female voters, though the data gives little indication of whether the shift will be large enough, broad enough or persistent enough to affect the outcome of the midterm elections in November.


But the increase in registration among women is nonetheless consistent with a broader constellation of evidence suggesting that the court’s ruling has motivated voters, to the advantage of Democrats. 


The party has gained ground in the race for Congress in the wake of the court’s ruling, with polls showing Democrats overtaking Republicans on the generic ballot — a poll question asking voters which party they support for Congress. The party has also outperformed expectations in several special congressional elections since Dobbs. On Tuesday, in a swing-district in New York State, the Democrat Pat Ryan posted a surprising victory after putting abortion at the center of his campaign.


The increased gender gap was particularly large in two states where elections have a direct link to the legality of abortion: Kansas and Pennsylvania, where the governor’s race this fall might determine whether the Legislature, controlled now by Republicans, could enact an abortion ban.

What would Nellis say?

Here, Here! for the millions of brave and disgusted women who registered and voted to stop the first rush in the Evangelical Republican stampede to repeal every personal right granted since the Civil War. 

The support of the ultra-conservative/fascist Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation for their positions on the Supreme Court, guaranteed the six radical right-wing justices would kill Ros vs. Wade and defend corporate destruction of the environment in their first term. 

There is little doubt that during their coming session, they will restrict birth control, eliminate the rights of LGBTQ citizens to love and marry those they love, rescind voting rights for every minority including women, protect the manufacturers of the weapons of war used to kill our children, and champion the political and economic dominance of white men. And they’re just getting started.

The destruction of our democracy is imminent and it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat or moderate Republican or an independent, your vote for every office on every ballot will determine our future. Get informed, take a stand, and vote for freedom and real justice while you can.

A $1.6 billion donation lays bare 

a broken campaign finance system.

One man has donated $1.6 billion to a nonprofit group controlled by a conservative activist who has crusaded, with startling success, to transform the country’s politics. The only reason the public knows about it?  An insider tip-off to the New York Times according to an August 28 Washington Post report.

The Times reported this week that electronics mogul Barre Seid last year gave 100 percent of the shares of surge protector and data-center equipment manufacturer Tripp Lite to a group called Marble Freedom Trust. The group is led by Leonard Leo — who has helped bankroll right-wing advocacy on abortion rights, voting and climate change, among other things. 


His chief focus for a time was reshaping the judiciary as executive vice president of the Federalist Society, including by advising Republican presidents on Supreme Court nominees. The tale of how his group got such a lavish gift underscores the sad state of this country’s campaign finance system.


The Marble Freedom Trust donation, possibly the largest ever to such an advocacy group in U.S. history, manages to encapsulate in a single case the problems with the status quo. The issue isn’t merely the distortion of democracy enabled by 2010′s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. 


That decision allowed for unlimited political spending by corporations and outside groups — to which, in turn, the ultra-wealthy can funnel unlimited funds of their own. The issue is also that the distortion remains, in most cases, invisible. Nonprofits groups registered as 501(c)(4)s, such as Marble Freedom Trust, don’t have to disclose their donors.


Congress should close the tax loophole these donors exploit. And the Disclose Act, some version of which has been languishing in Congress for more than a decade, blocked by GOP filibusters, would at least tell voters who’s trying to buy their votes. The Internal Revenue Service can improve things on its own by collecting donors’ information again, after it stopped in 2018. Unfortunately, without a change in Supreme Court precedent or a constitutional amendment, only marginal improvements are possible.


Adding insult to injury, donors can also use these nonprofits to reduce taxes — in this instance, to the tune of somewhere around $400 million. To sell his company on his own, Mr. Seid would have had to pay capital gains taxes, leaving him with less to bequeath to Marble Freedom Trust. 


But as supposed “social welfare organizations,” 501(c)(4)s are exempt from paying taxes. So instead, he handed his shares over to the trust, which then itself sold Tripp Lite: for the $1.6 billion now in Mr. Leo’s coffers. As a result, dutiful everyday taxpayers essentially finance the extravagant expenditures of the privileged few, who use their know-how to avoid their obligations and twist the political landscape.

What would Nellis Gray say?

The Citizen’s United decision opened the door for corrupt corporations to commandeer our election system and release an avalanche of untraceable funds destined to be distributed to extreme right-wing candidates for every office in the country.

Our current radical Supreme Court will surely open those spickets further unless the Republican stranglehold on Congress is soundly defeated in the coming elections so that laws can be written to restrict those illicit contributions and expose the donors.

The Dark Money cabal has been financing an ongoing and ever-expanding campaign to ensure that the wealthiest of our citizens control the levers of political and economic power since they began organizing in 1958. Their goal is quite simple, the elimination of taxes and regulations that inhibit their ability to accumulate vast wealth without interference or limitation.

In their view, democracy is an inconvenience that should be eliminated in favor an autocracy dedicated to gutting the government, repeal of individual rights and freedoms, and a return to the good ol’ days of 1850 when rich white men owned their women and their slaves.

Unless real Americans vote in droves to throw out the candidates sponsored by these criminals, the future of our democracy is grave danger. Only you can stop American Fascism. Vote as if the future depends on it!

Trump’s Shifting Explanations Follow a Familiar Playbook.

The former president and his allies have given often conflicting defenses of his retention of classified documents, without addressing why he had kept them according to an August 14th New York Times report.

First, he said that he was “working and cooperating with” government agents who he claimed had inappropriately entered his home. Then, when the government revealed that the F.B.I., during its search, had recovered nearly a dozen sets of documents that were marked classified, he suggested the agents had planted evidence.  

Finally, his aides claimed he had a “standing order” to declassify documents that left the Oval Office for his residence, and that some of the material was protected by attorney-client and executive privilege.

Those are the ever-shifting explanations that former President Donald J. Trump and his aides have given regarding what F.B.I. agents found last in a search of his residence at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. 


Mr. Trump and his allies have cast the search as a partisan assault while amplifying conflicting arguments about the handling of sensitive documents and failing to answer a question at the center of the federal investigation: Why was he keeping documents, some still marked classified, at an unsecured Florida resort when officials had sought for a year to retrieve them?

The often contradictory and unsupported defenses perpetuated by Mr. Trump and his team since the F.B.I. search follow a familiar playbook of the former president’s. He has used it over decades but most visibly when he was faced with the investigation into whether his campaign in 2016 conspired with Russians and during his first impeachment trial.

In both instances, he claimed victimization and mixed some facts with a blizzard of misleading statements or falsehoods. His lawyers denied that he had tied his administration’s withholding of vital military aid to Ukraine to Mr. Trump’s desire for investigations into Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter Biden.

When information contradicting that defense emerged in a forthcoming book by Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s lawyers switched to insisting that he hadn’t connected the aid to the investigations, but that if he had, it wouldn’t have been an impeachable offense.  

Of the multiple investigations Mr. Trump currently faces — including a state inquiry in Georgia and two federal grand jury investigations, all related to his efforts to cling to power at the end of his presidency, as well as civil and criminal inquiries in New York related to his company — the federal investigation into his handling of sensitive documents taken from the White House has emerged as one of the most potentially damaging.  

In an appearance on Fox News the right-wing writer John Solomon, one of Mr. Trump’s representatives for interacting with the National Archives, read a statement from the former president’s office asserting Mr. Trump had a “standing order” during his presidency that “documents removed from the Oval Office and taken to the residence were deemed to be declassified the moment he removed them.”

John Bolton, who served as Mr. Trump’s third national security adviser over 17 months, said he had never heard of the standing order that Mr. Trump’s office claimed to have in place. It is, he said, “almost certainly a lie.”

What would Nellis Gray say?

You know, I know, and the world knows that Donald Trump is an illiterate conman who plays the victim whenever he’s caught with his hand in the cookie jar. In this case the biggest question is – what was he doing with those classified documents and what happened to the contents of the 48 empty folders?

After an endless list of crimes that he has yet to be indicted for, one must assume that he kept those secret files to use against his enemies, to profit from sharing with foreign adversaries, or as blackmail to save his own skin.

He absconded with 13,000 documents that belong to the current government, he has no “executive privilege” because he is no longer the president, and he is facing charges in countless investigations into his shady business practices, his attempts to overthrow a free and fair election, and his collection of hundreds of millions of dollars from his scam “legal defense” solicitation to ignorant donors.

The sooner he and his minions are indicted, convicted, and incarcerated, the sooner we can begin to rebuild our democracy. 

Some Capitol rioters try to profit from their Jan. 6 crimes.

              Some Jan. 6 defendants are trying to profit from their participation in the deadly riot, using it as a platform to drum up cash, promote business endeavors and boost social media profiles.

Facing prison time and dire personal consequences for storming the U.S. Capitol, some Jan. 6 defendants are trying to profit from their participation in the deadly riot, using it as a platform to drum up cash, promote business endeavors and boost social media profiles according to an August 14th Associated Press report.

Nevada man jailed on riot charges asked his mother to contact publishers for a book he was writing about “the Capitol incident.”  A rioter from Washington State helped his father hawk clothes and other merchandise bearing slogans such as “Our House” and images of the Capitol building. A Virginia man released a rap album with riot-themed songs and a cover photograph of him sitting on a police vehicle outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Those actions are sometimes complicating matters for defendants when they face judges at sentencing as prosecutors point to the profit-chasing activities in seeking tougher punishments.  The Justice Department, in some instances, is trying to claw back money that rioters have made off the insurrection.

In one case, the federal authorities have seized tens of thousands of dollars from a defendant who sold his footage from Jan. 6.  In another case, a Florida man’s plea deal allows the U.S. Government to collect profits from any book he gets published over the next five years.  And prosecutors want a Maine man who raised more than $20,000 from supporters to surrender some of the money because a taxpayer-funded public defender is representing him.

A few rioters are writing books about the mob’s attack or have marketed videos that they shot during the riot.

A unique provision in Adam Johnson’s plea agreement allows the U.S. government to collect profits from any book he gets published over the next five years.  Images of Johnson posing for photographs with Pelosi’s podium went viral after the riot.  Prosecutors said they insisted on the provision after learning than Johnson intends to write a memoir “of some sort.”

What would Nellis Gray say?

The Capitol suffered millions of dollars in damages, police and security forces were attacked and brutalized by Trump’s troopers, and the organizers of the insurrection have yet to be brought to justice. None of these fascist thugs should be allowed to keep one penny of their profits and all proceeds should go towards paying for the damage they caused.

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