Nel's New Day

November 12, 2017

‘Family Values’ GOP Protects Sexual Predators

Filed under: Religion — trp2011 @ 8:40 PM
Tags: , ,

Alabama Supreme Court justice, Roy Moore terrorized the LGBTQ community for decades, breaking the law to persecute people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. He compared homosexuality to bestiality and frequently called it a “crime against nature.” Moore used his religious belief to claim that “the transgenders don’t have rights” and the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize marriage equality was “even worse” than its declaration that blacks are property in the Dred Scott case (1857).

The accusation that he had sexually molested at least four teenage girls, one of them below the age of consent, was comparable to dropping a bomb. Massive numbers of women publicly accused their sexual assaulters this past fall, and Republicans have gloated because the predators have been part of the progressive party. Now one of their own is in the hot seat, and the GOP is not happy.

Moore is exactly one month away from the general election on December 12 to pick a U.S. senator, and he says he won’t quit. If he did, his name couldn’t be removed from the ballot. Moore took the primary from incumbent, Luther Strange, appointed to his position by former Gov. Robert Bentley after Jess Sessions became the U.S. AG. Strange was investigating Bentley for sexual relations with a close aide that led to his wife of over 50 years divorcing him. Bentley pled guilty to charges and resigned when the legislature began impeachment proceedings against him. The year before Bentley resigned, Alabama’s house speaker Mike Hubbard was convicted and imprisoned for felony violations of the state’s ethics laws.

Officials have asked the Gov. Kay Ivey (R) to postpone the election, but she has no plans to do this. Moore can’t be replaced because ballots have already been mailed, and state law requires that a replacement nominee be filed at least 76 days before an election. She had earlier changed the date for the election. Bentley said that Strange’s appointment was until 2018, but Ivey changed that to 2017, saying that “people should vote for a replacement U.S. Senator as soon as possible.”

Republicans knew what they were getting with Moore. He was the only judge on the state Supreme Court to exonerate a 17-year-old day-care center worker who sodomized a four-year-old boy at Mama’s Place Christian Academy (Clay, AL).

Moore cited “no evidence in this case of an implied threat of serious physical injury.” People also knew he had been removed from the state Supreme Court twice for violating the U.S. Constitution, in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building and in 2016 for ordering judges to deny marriage licenses to same-gender couples. Now Republicans have heard that Moore promised to watch a 14-year-old girl while her mother attended a custody hearing and then took her to his home, gave her alcohol, took off her outer clothing, and tried to get her to feel his genitals. About the sexual assault, Leigh Corfman said, “I wanted it over with. Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.”

GOP officials are already protecting Moore. The Republican National Committeeman from Alabama, Paul Reynolds, said that he trusts Vladimir Putin more than Moore’s accusers:

“My gosh, it’s The Washington Post. If I’ve got a choice of putting my welfare into the hands of Putin or The Washington Post, Putin wins every time. This is going to make Roy Moore supporters step up to the plate and give more, work more and pray more.”

Reynolds may be right: Moore is now using the publicity to raise funds. Yet he’s lost money from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Sen. Mike Lee (UT) has told him to remove his photo from Moore’s advertising.  Sens. Steve Daino (MT) and Bill Cassidy (LA) have pulled their endorsements. On a Sunday talk show, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) called for Moore to step aside because allegations against him are stronger than his denials.

Justifications for Moore’s behavior have poured out of the party of “family values.” Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler said:

“Take Mary and Joseph. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

According to the Bible, God was Jesus’s father, not Joseph, making him a stepfather. Zeigler’s comparison to Zachariah and Elizabeth didn’t hold water either because they were both old when John the Baptist was born. The next Zeigler excuse was that Moore married a younger woman; he was 38 and his wife was 24. Moore’s victim when he was 32 was 14 years old at the time.

More spins poured out from Republicans:

  • The rape wasn’t “forcible” enough to be a concern.
  • Victims should all be prosecuted for coming forward now.
  • Moore “didn’t really force himself” on the 14-year-old.
  • Fourteen-year-olds don’t make good decisions.
  • The relationship with the 14-year-old girl was “consensual.” (From Sean Hannity who denied he made that statement although it’s on tape and then lost advertisers.)
  • Moore didn’t have “sexual intercourse” with the girl he undressed and touched.
  • The victim is the age of consent now.
  • Only one of the sexual assaults could have been legally problematic because Moore was single. (From Breitbart editor Joel Pollack)
  • “There’s nothing wrong with a 30-year-old single male asking a 16-year-old on a date,” according to Alabama Marion County GOP chair David Hall.
  • “If it is true,” the people who let it continue are the guilty ones,
  • Norms were different back then (Ann Coulter).
  • The favorite one: Moore isn’t a Democrat.

Aside from his unconstitutional rulings and his illegal sexual behavior, Moore has other baggage. He and his family drew over $1 million from their “charity,” The Foundation for Moral Law. One of his sons Caleb, who also worked for the Foundation has been arrested at least nine times on charges including drug use and DUIs.

Roy Moore denies the sexual assault charges and defiantly continues his campaign like Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) did. And like the times when DDT was accused, Moore said he will sue. Republicans were delighted that Harvey Weinstein  was accused of sexual assault because he is a Democrat, but the ball is back in the GOP court with the allegations against Moore. When women accuse liberals of sexual assault and harassment, Republicans automatically believe them; women who accuse Republicans are smeared. Republicans are circling the wagon around their party members, many of them playing the “if it is true” game with the women’s allegations against Moore, missing when women accuse Democrats of sexual assault.

The Palm Beach County (FL) school district’s defense against sexually abused children demonstrates the dangers of publicizing sexual assault. It’s the victims’ fault, according to the school district. In past cases involving children as young as six and a seven-year-old boy with autism, the school’s defense has blamed the children for not reporting the abuse fast enough. One case involving the inappropriate touching of four third-grade students by the teacher dragged on for 12 years although the teacher pled guilty to two of the cases. The district finally settled for $3.6 million a few weeks ago after consistently maintaining that the girls were “old enough to appreciate the consequences of their actions” and “conducted themselves in a careless and negligent manner.” According to the district lawyer, this defense strategy can reduce the amount of damages that the district might be forced to pay. It can be used for a child as young as six years old. It’s just a litigation tactic, the lawyer said.

Women suffer as much as children from slurs against them. Oregon’s Sen. Jeff Kruse, one of many legislators across the country now accused of sexual assault and harassment, was stripped of all his committee appointments for his sexual assault of female colleagues. The Oregon Firearms Federation refuted the allegations because “touching Sara Gelser would only mean he needs an eye test.” Excuses for sexual assault include “boys will be boys,” they were just being friendly, and they don’t understand that times have changed.

And people wonder why girls and woman hesitate a long time about going public about being sexually assaulted.

[Update: The child described as “under 12-years-old” was a four-year-old boy at Mama’s Place Christian Academy in Clay, Alabama.]

 

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November 11, 2017

DDT: Week Forty-Two – Meddling in Foreign Affairs

Today is Armistice Day, a commemoration of world peace. At least it was for 35 years until 1954 until Dwight Eisenhower made it “Veterans Day”—but still for peace. It’s still on November 11, but the peace is gone—just commemorating all those who go to war. Maybe more of them if Dictator Donald Trump (DDT has his way).

The media may be consumed with Alabama’s senatorial candidate, Roy Moore, and his sexual assaults but Robert Mueller continues with his investigation into Russian involvement in the presidential election. Carter Page, one of a small group advising DDT on foreign policy, testified before the House Intelligence Committee last week that he told both DDT’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and current White House communications director Hope Hicks about a July 2016 trip to Moscow to meet with high-placed Russian officials. At that time, Page congratulated DDT’s foreign policy team for their “excellent work” on the “Ukraine amendment” in changing the GOP platform to fit with Russia’s preference.

Also in the transcript from Page’s seven-hour testimony is Page’s email to DDT campaign aides, read aloud by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), that describes “a private conversation” with a high Russian official. Page wrote that he had been provided “incredible insights and outreach” by Russian lawmakers and “senior members” of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration during the trip. Earlier he stated that he had only brief greetings from the official. Page is one of at least nine DDT-connected people who had contact with Russians during the campaign.

Revelations about the exchange of Donald Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya show that they agreed to exchange “dirt” on Hillary Clinton for possibly overturning the Magnitsky law sanctioning Russians for murdering a Russian tax accountant accusing the Kremlin of corruption.

George Papadopolous may have told investigators that he lied about his planned collusion with Russia to protect DDT.

A “modified” gag order has been ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson regarding the criminal case against former DDT campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates. The order seems to be in response to Manafort’s lawyers declaring that the charges are “ridiculous.”  Although statements to the public from lawyers, defendants, and witnesses are not outright banned, they are prevented if they “pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case.” Jackson said, “This is a criminal trial, and it’s not a public relations campaign.”Indictments for former national security advisor Michael Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr. may be upcoming. These two were involved in a plan to kidnap an Islamic mullah seeking refuge in Pennsylvania from Turkey, Fethullah Gülen, for a $15 million payment and turn him over to the Turkish government. Flynn Sr. was working for Turkey while he was a part of the DDT team. VP Mike Pence was behind the selection of Flynn for his short-lived position in the White House.

DDT told CIA Director Mike Pompeo to meet with a conspiracy theorist advocating the belief that the hack during the presidential campaign was an inside job and not by the Russians. Bill Binney, former code-breaker at the National Security Agency, is a frequent guest on Fox News and Russia’s state propaganda RT. Intelligence agencies, including Pompeo’s CIA, already know that Russian agents hacked into the U.S. elections. DDT sees himself as the CEO of intelligence agencies, and the political Pompeo is comfortable with that position.

After DDT talked with Vladimir Putin, he said that Putin stated in a “very, very strong” way that Russia didn’t meddle in the election so DDT’s intelligence agencies are wrong. Russian officials said that Putin didn’t talk with DDT about the election. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) slammed DDT for believing Putin over his own intelligence agencies. (America Second after Russia.) McCain also criticized DDT for not addressing human rights during his stop in Vietnam.

DDT has been in Asia for over a week, touting his personal properties and claiming “America First.” His visit to his property in Hawaii marked the 97th day in 287 days since his inauguration that he spent at a Trump-owned business. In Japan, he hawked U.S. military gear before he bragged about how other countries had underestimated the United States. “It was not pleasant for them, was it?” he finished. In Seoul, DDT bragged about the Women’s U.S. Open being held at his golf club in Bedminster (NJ). The visit came the day after USA Today reported that DDT “has installed at least five people who have been members of his clubs to senior roles in his administration.” The article added, “[N]ever in modern history has a president awarded government posts to people who pay money to his own companies.”

Fog kept DDT’s helicopter grounded, aborting his visit to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, but South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, had no trouble driving there to wait for him.

In Bejing, DDT told business leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Danang, Vietnam. “I am always going to put America first, the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first.” President Xi Jinping of China supported globalization, saying relations among countries should be “more open, more inclusive, more balanced, more equitable and more beneficial to all.” Hours after DDT gave his “America First” speech to the business leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, eleven countries put together the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Now it’s “America Outside.”

DDT bragged about the $250 billion deal with China buying into the United States. These are not done deals, but pledges—just like most of DDT’s “promises.”

In a first among presidents, DDT did not answer questions from the press while in China. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that China wouldn’t let him. “America Submissive.”

More ignorant DDT statements from his trip.

DDT and his family may have participated taken a part in the purge of Saudi royals by the new Crown Prince. DDT sent his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to Riyadh to talk with the new prince, and both DDT and his son Donald Trump Jr. praised the purge. Subjects of the purge, possibly facing criminal charges, include princes, senior ministers and the former head of Saudi’s military; one of them had disagreed with DDT on Twitter. The prince is now freer to block Iranian influence in Syria and Qatar. The Lebanese prime minister has resigned, claiming fear for his life from Iran, but possibly forced by Saudis. Lebanon accused Saudi Arabia of detaining its prime minister, while Saudi Arabia has ordered its citizens to leave Lebanon. Kushner, assigned to create peace in the Middle East, has fanned “the fires of sectarian conflict and terror” in an attempt to obtain contracts of over $380 billion for military gear. The possible instability in the Middle East from Saudi’s actions may have a negative affect on the stock market.

In the year of leaks, the Paradise Papers, a release of over 13 secret million documents, may reign supreme. Thus far, people have learned about ways that multinational companies such as Apple and Nike conceal their money offshore as well as how Russian investments helped fuel the rise of Facebook and Twitter and how DDT’s inner circle, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, is connected to Russian oligarchs. The Paradise Papers also shows how multi-billionaire Robert Mercer not only avoided a 39-percent tax on profits from his foundation but also used his money to publicize falsities about the Clintons, including the promotion of the Uranium One scandal that DDT is trying to use in order to veer attention from his involvement with Russia.

DDT’s departure from the Paris climate agreement leaves the U.S. totally isolated since Syria, the final holdout other than the U.S., announced its plans to sign the accord.

The Senate Commerce committee just approved Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) for NASA chief with all 13 Democrats objecting. If senators approve him, a non-partisan science research agency will be led by a conservative climate denier with almost no scientific or technical experience.

The DOJ finally dropped its prosecution of Desiree Fairooz, a retired children’s librarian who laughed during the confirmation hearing of AG Jeff Sessions. Her second trial was set for next week after a judge overturned the jury’s conviction, ruling that “laughter is enough, standing alone” is not enough for a conviction.

Last June, DDT told Native American tribes to start drilling on their reservations in violation of federal regulations, according to a new report.

After a line installed by Whitefish Energy failed, Puerto Rico is down to 18 percent power 50 days after Hurricane Maria. Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, the Pentagon’s liaison to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), announced that relief efforts is moving from crisis to recovery with federal troops leaving the island because of the expense.

Next week returns to the GOP tax cuts primarily benefiting the wealthy.

November 10, 2017

DDT: One Year In

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 10:31 PM
Tags:

 This week marks the one-year anniversary of shock and aargh of a presidential election after Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) promised to give the United States back to the people. He promised infrastructure projects, vast growth of the economy, and “common ground, not hostility.” Just hours after his win, DDT declared, “I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me.”

As with his oath to defend the U.S. Constitution, DDT has failed.

United Nation:

  • Constant attacks on Hillary Clinton give the impression that she is the president.
  • DDT has banned almost everyone who criticized him from his administration.
  • Any criticism of him has resulted in DDT’s vicious attacks against the media, intelligence agencies, Republicans, a Broadway show, minority athletes, and even the widow of a soldier killed in Niger.
  • Executive orders promote racism—bans on people from Muslim countries, vastly increased deportation of undocumented immigrants who have no criminal record, withdrawal of DACA.
  • Other orders and speeches favor white males.

Infrastructure/Economy:

  • No plans have been introduced for either of these, and his budget cuts funds for the infrastructure.
  • Tax cuts will damage the economy.
  • DDT said that he would eliminate the federal debt in eight years while his tax plan raises the deficit by trillions of dollars.
  • DDT falsely equates a rising stock market with an improving economy.

Support for Working People:

  • Failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act led to DDT’s orders to weaken health care and renege on his promise to provide health “insurance for everybody.” The result is higher premiums joined by a larger number of uninsured people.
  • His budget slashes affordable housing, education, college financial aid, and Head Start while he wants to give massive tax cuts to the wealthy.
  • DDT’s budget cuts $473 to Medicare and over $1 trillion to Medicaid after he promised not to cut either one of them.
  • DDT promised to keep jobs in the U.S., but in the first three months after he was inaugurated at least 11,934 U.S. jobs either moved abroad or were ready to leave. No agency keeps accurate figures, so the number is surely higher. His tax cut bill will incentivize companies to further offshore their jobs. Meanwhile DDT is hiring foreign workers for his resorts.

Foreign Policy:

  • DDT promised to renegotiate the Iran deal but instead decertified it to help Saudi Arabia and Israel create an impending war in the Middle East.
  • DDT bragged that he would renegotiate the Paris climate agreement, but the United States is now the only country not participating after Syria joined into the deal.He has become the “cheese” in the singing game “The Farmer in the Dell” in which only the cheese remains after everyone else has found someone.
  • The international conference to defeat ISIS does not exist. Nor does the peace between Israel and Palestine that he promised would be brokered by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Drain the Swamp:

  • DDT has brought more billionaires into his administration than any president before him.
  • After promising to stop the pharmaceutical industry from “getting away with murder,” DDT chose an FDA director who got millions of dollars from pharmaceutical corporations and opposing lower drug prices.
  • DDT deregulated Wall Street institutions that illegally lost homes, jobs, and life savings for people after his promise to “stop Wall Street from getting away with murder.”
  • Sessions and DDT (above) let Citigroup-owned Banamex USA get away with six years of illegal activity with a mere $140 million and no jail time for anyone involved.
  • Less than three weeks before the election, DDT released a five-point plan for ethics reform to restrict lobbying. The swamp he promised to drain is now a sinkhole that he’s rapidly filling. Most of the plans haven’t been carried out, and many Washington lobbyists say business is better than ever.

DDT criticized President Obama for signing executive orders, but DDT signed more executive orders in his first 100 days than any other president since 1945—because he can’t get anything legislated. By now he has signed almost twice as many orders as President Obama in the same time frame.

After criticizing President Obama for lack of transparency, DDT has concealed the visitors coming to the White House, stopped any taping of press briefings, refused completion of ethics forms to identify conflicts of interests by staffers, failed to release his tax returns, and otherwise attempted to hide all his actions.

Despite constitutional mandates, DDT has retained interest in his businesses and financially profited from being elected president.

Leonard Pitts described other reversals of DDT’s promises:

“The guy who once said he would be working so hard he would seldom leave the White House spends more time on golf courses than a groundskeeper.

“As credible accusations of treason, obstruction, collusion, and corruption swirl about this White House, the GOP has been conspicuous in its acquiescent silence. It seems the elephant has laryngitis.”

What promises has DDT kept? About ISIS, he said he “would just bomb those suckers.” He assigned the task to Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis who stated that civilian casualties were to be expected. In the first six months after DDT was inaugurated, U.S.-led airstrikes killed over 2,200 civilians in Iraq and Syria, about the same number as died during the last two years of President Obama’s second term. Finding any record of casualties since then is almost impossible under the opaque DDT regime.

Politifact has tracked a large number of DDT’s promises and where they stand at this time. As has NBC. 

During his first year, DDT has promoted a culture of cruelty, incivility, corruption, ignorance, authoritarianism, racism, misogyny, bullying, worship of money, and disdain for science.

A striking revelation for DDT supporters who have paid attention to DDT’s first year is his inability to make a deal. “Deals are my art form,” he bragged, but he has no proof for his claim. DDT inherited his money, cheated people out of money, and hired clever lawyers for bankruptcies—none of which required skill in negotiation. Every large piece of legislation this year has thus far failed, partly due to DDT’s inept impatience and flip-flopping, and the current center piece, tax cuts, may be struggling. DDT’s MO is to shout orders and threats from ignorance while giving away leverage.

DDT’s first year has been marked by infighting, firings and resignations, and conflicts around the world as DDT threatens, bombs, and generally destroys any possibility of diplomacy. Divisions within the United States come from DDT’s support of white supremacy and his opposition to all ethnic, religious, and gender minorities. The Republicans may have taken over Congress, but their infighting has stopped any significant legislation thus far. All they can point to as a success is putting a justice on the supreme Court, and the Senate had to change the rules by lowering the number of votes need to vote him in. Rational Republicans, many of them past leaders, have fled the party.

DDT threatens independent agencies such as the DOJ and intelligence agencies with revenge if they don’t follow his orders and left top positions empty. He issues mandates by tweets, many of which he has to take back, and his governing style is controlled by insults, tantrums, and lies. His followers have fled: business leaders after he supported neo-Nazi violence at Charlottesville, GOP senators who wouldn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act, Alabama GOP voters who supported a sexual predator for senator instead of the appointed incumbent, NFL owners angry over DDT’s definition of patriotism. The investigation into DDT’s connections with Russian collusion regarding the presidential election is moving forward while people connected with DDT are falling like bowling pins.

States are taking over the nation’s leadership in environment. Automakers and other corporations must follow California’s regulations to see to 12 percent of the U.S. population. Federal courts have struck down many of DDT’s orders, including three versions of his travel ban, unconstitutional voter ID laws, and police profiling and harassment. Grassroots’ efforts are getting out the vote to reclaim democracy, fight Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ attempt to privatize the nation’s educational system, and EPA director Scott Pruitt’s crusade against science.

The world is now waiting for the 2018 elections to see if the United States can be saved from the man elected as president a year ago.

November 8, 2017

A Very Different Kind of Election Day

Just one year ago today, the presidential election created a nation of either depressed or angry—or both—people. Yesterday was another election, and a day of firsts for people of color, LGBTQ people, women, and Democrats.

Virginia is the poster state for the most wins. DDT supporters who ran on the “nationalistic” agenda of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) lost in droves starting with the governor. Democrat Ralph Northam was supposedly even with GOP Ed Gillespie going into the election but came out winning by nine percent.  Democrats Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring beat conservative Republicans for lieutenant governor and attorney general by over five percent and almost seven percent respectively. Fairfax’s opponent sponsored a bill to force women to have vaginal ultrasounds before having abortions, and Herring’s opponent fought his refusal to defend Virginia’s ban on marriage equality.

Republicans worked hard to move Ed Gillespie into the position of governor. DDT’s robo calls supporting Ed Gillespie (VA) went out to voters all day before his loss. Sour grapes from the loss, however, caused DDT to tweet that Gillespie “did not embrace me or what I stand for.” Gillespie’s loss was also one for white supremacist and former DDT aide Steve Bannon who had stated before the election:

“I think the big lesson for Tuesday is that, in Gillespie’s case, Trumpism without Trump can show the way forward. If that’s the case, Democrats better be very, very worried.”

While those robo calls were going out to voters in Virginia, DDT’s son, Donald Trump Jr., tweeted to his 2.2 followers that they should vote for Ed Gillespie today, not yesterday on Election Day, and did it twice—once in his initial tweet and the second time in his “correction.”

More impressive than Northam winning the governor’s seat, however, was the turnover in Virginia’s House of Delegates, one of two chambers in the state’s General Assembly. Republicans went into the election with a majority of 66-34. Thus far they have lost at least 15 seats, and another five of them are in play. Of the 15 lost seats by white men, eleven of them have been replaced by women with great diversity and firsts—the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, two Latinas, an openly lesbian, and the first openly transgender person to win a state legislative office in the nation. Danica Roem defeated self-proclaimed “chief homophobe” Bob Marshall who promoted the “potty police” law which would have banned Roem from using the women’s bathroom.

Another of the 15 Democratic winners for Virginia’s House of Delegates is Chris Hurst who ran for the office after his girlfriend was shot and killed on live television two years ago. He ran on a pro-commonsense gun reform campaign against someone with an A+ rating from the NRA.

Next year gives Democrats a chance to pick up more members in the House of Delegates if a court challenge of legislative district maps requires special elections, and all 100 seats are on the ballot again in 2019. All the seats are also up for grabs in 2019 in the Senate where the GOP has a 21-19 majority. Even if Democrats fall short of taking control of the chamber this year, they see a potential for additional pickups next year, if a court challenge of legislative district maps forces special elections, and in 2019 when all 100 seats are on the ballot again.

New Jersey saw another gubernatorial win for Democrats after Philip D. Murphy defeated Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who ran on a platform of cutting property taxes. Guadagno’s boss, Gov. Chris Christie, has an approval rating of 14 percent. Each chamber of the solidly Democratic New Jersey legislature may have added at least one member and perhaps more. New Jersey and Washington now make seven states that have both Democratic governors and legislatures. Maybe Virginia will add the eighth.

Other states benefiting from a Democratic sweep:

  • Washington: Manka Dhingra won a special election which flipped the state Senate to Democrat. With that change, all three states on the west coast—California, Oregon, and Washington—have blue governors and legislatures.
  • Georgia:  Democrats flipped three GOP-held legislative seats which broke the GOP super-majority in the state Senate.
  • New Hampshire:  Erika Connors became the fourth New Hampshire Democrat to flip a Republican seat blue in special elections this year.

Other achievements yesterday:

  • Andrea Jenkins is now the first openly trans woman of color elected any public office in the U.S. after her victory to become a Minneapolis city councilor.
  • Democrat Ashley Bennett won a seat as a freeholder in Atlantic County, New Jersey. She ran because the incumbent joked about whether the Women’s March would be “over in time for them to cook dinner.” 
  • Sheila Oliver has become New Jersey’s first woman black lieutenant governor.
  • Vi Lyles defeated a Republican to be the first woman black mayor of Charlotte (NC).
  • Ravinder Bhalla became the city’s first Sikh mayor in Hoboken (NJ) despite the smear campaign calling him a terrorist.
  • Wilmot Collins is the first black mayor in Montana’s history; he came to Helena 12 years ago as a refugee from Liberia.
  • Tyler Titus’ win for a seat on the Erie School Board makes him the first openly transgender person to be elected in the state of Pennsylvania.
  • Melvin Carter has been elected the first black mayor of St. Paul (MN).
  • Jenny Durkan became the first out lesbian elected mayor of Seattle (WA) as well as the first woman to take that position in 96 years. She takes over on November 28 after the resignation of Ed Murray, a gay man who was accused of sexually abusing younger men. Durkan won by 61 percent.
  • Women took all six appeals court seats in Pennsylvania that were on the ballot.
  • Maine voters chose to expand Medicaid to 70,000 of the state’s residents with a 59-percent majority in the first state to bring the Affordable Care Act to a state with a referendum. (Maine Gov. Paul LePage is threatening to block the vote.)
  • And more!

Satirist Andy Borowitz wrote about how Northam and Murphy were “unfit” for their new offices because of their lack of reality-show experience.

Republicans deny that yesterday’s elections create any problems for GOP elections, but their feeling of desperation is manifested in an increasingly frantic attempt to pass the tax bill that favors the rich and penalizes everyone else. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that the blue wave makes passing legislation even more urgent. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) said,  “If you don’t get [tax reform] done, you’re guaranteed a bad midterm.” [Photo: AP/Scott Applewhite – Cole above right with Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)] Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) said that the largest number of Democratic votes yesterday came from the suburbs, the same place that will suffer the most from DDT’s tax cuts.

The House has spent three days tweaking the bill and plan to continue tomorrow because the scoring shows a $1.7 trillion deficit. An amendment created a $74 billion hole by reversing a 20-percent excise tax on transactions between subsidiaries of multinational corporations. The Senate also plans to come out with its own bill tomorrow before the House has a chance to vote on a bill that doesn’t yet exist to keep from needing 60 votes to pass the bill.

At least two senators and 18 representatives have declared that they will not be running for re-election next year. All are Republicans. Get ready for November 6, 2018.

November 5, 2017

DDT’s Attempts to Cripple the Nation

More shoes are dropping off the centipede of Robert Mueller’s special investigation into Russian connections with Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and Russia. One is the formerly undisclosed business ties between Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Putin-connected oil company located in Bermuda. Ross is currently with DDT in Tokyo to work on trade deals. Also referenced in the new documents are Gary D. Cohn, the chief economic adviser, and  Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson. In addition, Mueller has sufficient evidence to charge Michael Flynn, former national security adviser, and his son Michael J. Flynn Jr.

The United States went into Korea in 1950 after North Korea invaded South Korea. Although an armistice was signed, there was no peace treaty, meaning that the war may be ongoing. The U.S. may return: top Pentagon official Rear Adm. Michael J. Dumont has stated that the only way to destroy North Korea’s nuclear weapons program would be through a ground invasion.

As dire as circumstances are after the summer’s hurricanes, advance knowledge saved lives despite the fact that many people ignored the information. They may start paying attention to how a warmer, wetter atmosphere threatens lives and property with more supercharged storms, intense droughts, massive wildfires, and widespread flooding. Yet DDT is cutting the budget to drastically cut back satellite programs and other forecasting tools along with forecasters. The 18 jobs lost at National Center for Atmospheric Research are some of the only scientists in the U.S. who can prepare a system for predicting disasters. The climate deniers leading to “weather deniers” are causing deaths and costing billions of dollars.

Rep. Al Green (D-LA) not only exposed the excessive ignorance of DDT’s pick for HUD director, Ben Carson, HUD director, but also explained objections to the inexcusably drastic cuts Carson supports for people in poverty:

“Mr. Carson, there seems to be a belief of among the ranks of those who have opportunities to help others, who have been blessed themselves. They seem to think that the rich need more, that the poor can do more with less, but the rich will have to have more to do more. Mr. Carson, if poor people could do more with less, there would be no poor people.”

Over 300,000 immigrants from Central America and Haiti legally living in the U.S. for almost two decades may be thrown out of the U.S. because Rex Tillerson claims that the reasons for allowing this arrangement are gone. They are here under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Congress to protect foreign nationals from being returned to their countries because of instability and precarious conditions caused by natural disasters or armed conflict.

DDT’s 12+ day trip to Asia has almost no backup help from the State Department because he sees no need to fill vacancies. In a recent interview he announced, “I’m the only one that matters.” He blamed the Democrats for obstructing his nominees immediately before he said, “We don’t need all of the people.” The nation is missing about three-fourths of personnel to fill 600 positions requiring Senate confirmation. Half the State Department positions are empty. The U.S. has no ambassadors to Australia, Austria, Ireland, South Africa, and Sweden in addition to Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, or Venezuela. Also empty are positions for combatting trafficking, war crimes, global women’s issues, and even the chief financial officer.

Saying “I’m the only one that matters” makes a leader sound like a dictator—or maybe just a despot.

A recent Time cover shows DDT as a wrecking ball with an article title, “How Trump’s cabinet is dismantling government as we know it.” DDT responded with the retort that describes his own appointments:

“The federal government is a broken, lobbyist-infested cesspool of corruption that abuses its power, cooks deals for crooked politicians, and despises hardworking Americans.”

Likely pick of Penny Young Nance, president and CEO of the Christian organization Concern Women for America, for ambassador-at-large for women’s issues reflects DDT’s negative feelings about women. She opposes abortion and LGBTQ rights and condemned the Disney animated movie Frozen for undermining masculinity. Concerned Women’s mission includes “protecting and supporting the Biblical design of marriage,” “protecting the sanctity of human life,” “ending sexual exploitation by fighting all forms of pornography, obscenity, prostitution, and sex trafficking,” and “defending religious liberty.” Nance opposes reauthorization of the Violence against Women Act, told Hollywood to feature more strong male leads, and joined the DOJ in their imprisonment of a teenage girl to keep her from getting an abortion. The position considered for Nance oversees the State Department program to end gender-based violence and empower women and girls in the world.

Eric Dreiband, awaiting confirmation for the top DOJ civil rights job, specializes in defending companies accused of discrimination. One spectacular case was from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that rescinded a job offer to a Muslim woman on the basis of her religion. Dreiband won with the argument that “Congress had failed to specifically mention that the commission would be subject to congressional rules, it was free from the civil rights laws that govern entities in the legislative branch.” That oversight has been corrected, and the case was later settled in favor of the woman by making the change retroactive.

Stephen Akard, an associate of Vice President Mike Pence, has been appointed to director general of the foreign service to keep it from political issues. The job typically goes to experts in diplomacy instead of someone with little diplomatic experience who instead served as an executive for an economic development company.

Some appointments, including the above, can be done away with, but DDT’s judicial appointments are forever. The Republican Senate is rapidly confirming and/or considering far-right judges after ignoring President Obama’s nominees:

  • Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the 7th Court of Appeals. With no judicial experience, she strongly opposes reproductive and LGBTQ rights.
  • Joan Larsen was confirmed to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. She was one of 21 people suggested by far-right Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation for the Supreme Court seat that Neil Gorsuch has. Larson once refused an appeal from a lesbian mother for parental visitation rights from an ex-spouse and objected to Lawrence v. Texas that stuck down sodomy laws and de-criminalized consensual same-sex relations.
  • Steve Grasz gave testimony to be on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. The American Bar Association unanimously rated him “not qualified” to serve as federal judges, only the third such rating since 1989, because of his bias to push his conservative social agenda. Board member of the anti-LGBTQ Nebraska Family Alliance, Grasz claimed that marriage equality is a “threat” to society, advocates conversion therapy, and opposes legal protections for LGBTQ people.
  • Mark Norris also provided testimony for a federal judgeship in Tennessee. His beliefs are similar to those of Grasz, and he voted for his state’s law permitting mental health providers to refuse service to LGBTQ clients. He advocates strict voter ID laws, opposes the removal of Confederate monuments, and supports bills that increase difficulty for workers to pursue compensation claims in Tennessee. His history includes discrimination against Muslims and people of color.

DDT is replacing Janet Yellen with Jerome Powell as Federal Reserve chair. Concerned about rising interest rates, the bond market flattened its yields between 2-year and 10-year yields, the same as in 2007 and a possible precursor to recession.

The sentence for former Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured and held prisoner for five years after he left his post in Afghanistan has traumatized DDT. Bergdahl was sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, fine of $10,000, and reduction of rank to private. DDT called him a “traitor” at least 45 times and called for his execution, saying that he should be “thrown out of an airplane without a parachute.” The judge considered DDT’s comments a mitigating factor in Bergdahl’s receiving a fair trial. DDT is now spreading the same inflammatory language by calling for the execution of the man who recently killed eight people in New York by deliberately driving a truck into a bicycle lane.

On November 1, DDT declared November National Native American Heritage Month; on November 3, DDT again referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as “Pocahontas.” DDT’s tweet was one of ten enraged statements after DDT’s Twitter account was shut down for 11 minutes by a departing company employee.

Two pieces from Week Forty:

Scott Pruitt, EPA director, may be getting ready for nuclear bombing: he has a new “guideline” stating that excessive exposure, up to ten times the current level, to radiation is safe. A result of this document could be weakening radiation safety levels, perhaps even unravelling them.

DDT continued alienating the UK by falsely claiming that “radical Islamic terror” was causing a crime wave in that nation. He ignored the reasons: increase in gun- and knife crime, a 29-percent rise in hate crimes, and the loss of 20,000 police officers from conservative fiscal cuts.

In a new poll, 65 percent, up from 56 percent at his 100-day mark, described DDT’s accomplishments between “little or nothing” to “not much.” The 65 percent is the same range as DDT’s inability “to serve effectively as president,” call him dishonest and untrustworthy, and think that he “doesn’t understand their problems.”

[Note: Much has been said from all sides of the Hillary Clinton about the hacked emails, most of it negative. They need to consider that those emails were changed in content before they were released.]

November 4, 2017

DDT: Week Forty-One – Distractions Won’t Work

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 8:58 PM

In a frantic attempt to distract people from the progression of Robert Mueller’s investigation into the collusion with Russia, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has been madly tweeting for the Department of Justice to investigate Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. DDT said he is “not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department [and] the FBI,” followed by his interviews and six tweets within 24 hours demanding an investigation. He also insisted on the  death penalty for the man suspected of killing eight people in New York with a truck which may cause problems in the investigation and criminal charges. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) called DDT’s actions “totally inappropriate” because they “undermine our justice system.”

The media, however, keeps reporting on the charges against Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and George Papadopoulos. Although the connections between DDT and the first two are currently tenuous, Papadopoulos has told about his attendance at a “national security meeting” on March 31, 2016, with “Trump and other foreign policy advisers for the campaign.” At that time, Papadopoulos said that he could arrange a “Trump-Putin” meeting. DDT has said that he didn’t remember much about the meeting, but a photograph shows him sitting at the head of the table. Former DDT campaign adviser J.D. Gordon said that DDT listened to Papadopoulos’ idea about a meeting with Vladimir Putin.

Papadopoulos lied to FBI investigators about talking to anyone with Russian connections on January 27, 2017, the same day that DDT asked former FBI director James Comey for his “loyalty.” Since his pleading guilty to lying on July 27, Papadopoulos has been a “proactive cooperator,” meaning that he may have worn a wire for his conversations since then.

The March 31 meeting could also sink AG Jeff Sessions, who repeatedly testified under oath that he knew nothing about any collusion with the Russians. One testimony in answer to a question from Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) was that he was “unaware of any of those activities,” referring to “evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign.” In addition, Papadopoulos kept several campaign officials—one of whom could have been Sessions—about a possible meeting. Just two weeks ago, Sessions testified that he was “not aware of” any “surrogates from the Trump campaign” having “communications with the Russians.” Sessions attending the March 31 meeting.

Although his lack of qualifications may not have ruined the career of Sam Clovis, his involvement with the Russians through Papadopoulos may have accomplished that. The climate denier with absolutely no science background had been nominated for the “chief scientists” of FDA. During DDT’s campaign, Clovis told Papadopoulos to arrange a meeting with “Russian leadership to discuss U.S.-Russia ties under President Trump.” Clovis said that he would “work it through the campaign.” He withdrew his name from the nomination a few days after that information became public.

Mueller’s actions toward Manafort, Gates, and Papadopoulos caused fear in the White House. A senior Republican said, “The walls are closing in…. Everyone is freaking out.” DDT’s claim that he picks “the best people” is increasingly in doubt, despite his false denials that he barely knows any of the people charged. VP Mike Pence may be one of those in trouble; he was selected for the position only because of Manafort’s persuasion.

Another attempted diversion from DDT was his immediate politicization of an ISIL follower killing eight people in New York City. DDT blamed his former BFF Sen. Charles “Chuck” Schumer (D-NY) for the Diversity Visa Program bringing the killer into the United States. That information is confidential, and DDT may have been making it up. In addition, the purpose of the Diversity Visa Lottery Program was to provide visas to more Europeans. Former Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), not Schumer, sponsored the final bill signed by George H.W. Bush. The law followed a one-time lottery in 1986 during Ronald Reagan’s second term. Schumer was also part of the “Gang of 8,” a bipartisan group of senators who tried to overturn the law in 2013; Republicans rejected the immigration reform. DDT has called for more extreme vetting but provided no specifics. Vetting for people coming into the country is already “extreme” as shown by its results:

  • The U.S. visa vetting system is one of the world’s toughest.
  • Only 0.39 percent of all murders in the U.S. from 1975-2015 were perpetrated by foreign-born terrorists, and almost all of these, 98.6 percent, occurred on September 11, 2001.
  • Cases involving the statistically rare attacks by foreign-born persons usually involve people who developed the violent inclinations a long time after they came to the U.S.
  • Counterterrorism research has not found traits to identify people who may commit these acts.
  • Former high-level national security officials have found that “broad, ham-handed policy responses based on stereotypes and intuitions rather than evidence harm the ‘strategic and national security interests of the United States,’ corrode relationships with allies, and reinforce terrorist propaganda, according to those same officials.
  • Citizenship is an unreliable indicator of terrorism threat, according to the current Department of Homeland Security.

DDT’s Mar-a-Lago resort is bringing in 70 foreign workers this winter.

Puerto Rico rescinded the shady contract with Whitefish Energy, a tiny business in the hometown of Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke, but another deal has surfaced, a $200 million one with the Oklahoma business Mammoth Energy Services’ Cobra Acquisitions LLC to repair power poles and power lines in and out of San Juan. Again the contract prevents “government oversight of the agreement,” according to a letter from the House Energy committee. Cobra was formed a few months ago, and the parent company has expertise only in drilling and fracking, not electrical. Because FEMA has not authorized reconstruction aid for Puerto Rico for long-term grants, Puerto Rico doesn’t need to follow federal procurement rules under guidelines for emergency services. FEMA did endorse the Cobra contract.

Despite concern about DDT shrinking national monuments established by previous presidents, but he has no power to revoke one. The Constitution grants management of federal lands to Congress, not the president. Constitution not to the president but to Congress. The Antiquities Act of 1906 gives the president power to designate national monuments, not to eradicate them. An attorney told Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 that he could not abolish a national monument, the basis for congressional reorganization of federal land management in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. That law “would also specifically reserve to the Congress the authority to modify and revoke withdrawals for national monuments created under the Antiquities Act.” Members of the Natural Resources Committee claim that a president may “diminish” a national monument’s size, but doing so would be a partial revocation—not in presidential power.

In another failure for DDT, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington has temporarily blocked DDT’s order barring transgender people in the military. She ruled that transgender members of the military who had sued over the change were likely to win their case and stated that DDT’s announcement via Twitter played a part in her decision. Funds for gender reassignment surgery, however, can still be banned.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh is investigating a business owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, about alleged questionable debt collection practices and poor maintenance at several of its properties in that state.

DDT’s minions may refuse to recognize human involvement in climate change, and DDT’s EPA pick, Scott Pruitt, may try to muzzle his employees. Yet DDT’s administration has issued a new report that climate change is driven almost entirely by humans. Findings include the possibility of an eight-foot sea-level rise within the current century and current climate damage from the increase of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit in the past century. The U.S. is already experiencing more acute heat, rainfall, and wildfires in the West and flooding in cities. High temperatures can cause an annual loss of $160 billion to workers and “almost 1.9 billion labor hours across the national workforce” by 2090. Other tens of billions of dollars could annually be lost from damage to roads, rail lines and electrical infrastructure, the report finds.

Conservatives may try to impeach Hillary Clinton. Most people in the nation know that she isn’t the president, but former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski called for a scrutiny on “the continued lies of the Clinton administration.” Two days later, Sean Hannity referred to “President Clinton” in reference to Hillary, not Bill.

Fox network may be frightening advertisers: the last year has a 17-percent drop in spending on advertising on its news programming compared to a two-percent increase at MSNBC.

In a new poll, almost 60 percent state that DDT’s presidency is making the U.S. political system more dysfunctional. Eighty-seven percent agree that congressional legislators “do whatever is need to win reelection” instead of operating on core values. “Money in politics” is to blame, according to at least 60 percent of the people, and only 33 percent of people in a Gallup poll approve of DDT’s job performance.  Even Fox had him at 38 percent a week ago, down four points in one month. Support from white adults without a college degree fell from 58 percent to 51 percent. Fifty-nine percent disapprove of DDT’s attacks on protesting NFL players.

 

More about DDT’s past week tomorrow.

November 3, 2017

Tax Cuts: Who Matters to Republicans in Congress

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 11:26 PM
Tags: , ,

The big GOP tax plan was to be released on November 1, but problems delayed it–perhaps because it wasn’t written and because Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) insisted it be called “The Cut Cut Cut Act.” As Stephen Colbert pointed out, at least he didn’t spell the bill with three Ks. So far, the name has been DDT’s only contribution to the tax “reform” bill; all the other disasters come directly from GOP legislators. Most Republicans and all Democrats were left out of the process that had $5.5 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade while adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit. The proposed bill emerged on November 2 to more publicity than the fast-developing investigation into DDT’s connection to Russia.

As always, DDT was largely ignorant about the nuts and bolts, but he loved the idea of filing taxes on post-card sized papers. DDT was so excited that he kissed the form, but like other relationships, it rapidly disappeared. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said that people won’t be filing taxes on the card. DDT will need to go back to his love affair with the flag.

At the very end of 429-page document is a roll-back of a 1954 law that prevents the endorsement of political candidates in tax-exempt houses of worship, but the GOP pride of the bill is a permanent corporate tax rate reduction from 35 percent to 20 percent to benefit companies’ owners. Stockholders will become wealthier without taking any action. Only half the people own stock, and most households own very little. Households in the top 1 percent get 36 percent of their income from financial assets, and the 400 wealthiest households get almost 75 percent of their income from capital gains and dividends. The bottom half of the population will enrich the top half, especially the top 1 percent.

Lowering corporate tax rates also leads to increasing CEO pay and stock buybacks. Profits were not used in either investment or increasing wages and hiring. George W. Bush’s “repatriation” of stashed offshore profits went to shareholder payouts. Today’s enormous deficit comes from Bush’s tax cuts and war—which DDT plans. The corporate cut will cost almost $7 trillion in the next two decades with only $1.4 trillion offset from individual taxpayers.

When Bill Clinton raised taxes on top earners from 31 percent to 39.6 percent in 1993, the economy boomed. It created 23 million jobs and grew the economy for 32 straight quarters, at that time the longest expansion in history.

Winners:

  • The maximum rate for small business is lowered to 25 percent, giving a huge advantage to real estate companies, hedge funds, and private equity funds.
  • Eighty-five percent of this tax cut goes to the top 1 percent of earners because true small businesses don’t make enough to be taxed more than 25 percent.
  • The repeal of the estate tax over $11 million saves the wealthy $170 billion and comprises about 11 percent of the cuts. Estates grow when stock prices increase because of a drop in corporate tax.
  • Taxes owed on $2.6 trillion in profits are cut from 35 percent to 12 percent.
  • Fully three-fourths of tax cuts are directed at businesses and large estates.
  • The top 1 percent, those earning at least $733,000 a year, will each annually receive $130,000.

Losers:

  • The special low tax rate for lobbyists, corporate lawyers and wealthy business owners isn’t available for people who work for a salary or hourly wage.
  • Education, job training, and social services lose $200 billion.
  • The loss of jobs comes from wealthy corporations encouraged to outsource jobs in the U.S. and shift profits offshore through slashed tax rates on foreign profits.
  • The slightly expanded child tax credit from $1,000 to $1,600 expires after five years, followed by increases in taxes, whereas the 20-percent corporate rate is permanent.
  • Even Republicans who tend to “spin” advantages of their bills can’t promise that taxes won’t be increased on middle-class families.
  • Deductions for mortgage interest on new homes stops at $500,000 instead of $1 million. Two heavy hitters, the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of REALTORS, oppose this provision.
  • Deductions for property taxes ends at $10,000.
  • State income taxes won’t be deducted, causing double taxation.
  • Raising the “standard deduction” $11,300 to $24,000 for married couples while eliminating personal exemptions hurts families with multiple children.
  • Itemized deductions on charitable contributions will continue, but others disappear: property and casualty losses, student loans, the adoption tax credit, teachers’ $250 out-of-pocket expenses for the classroom, alimony payments, and medical expenses. Because the medical deduction doesn’t start until costs over ten percent of income, poor people are the biggest losers, especially because they can no longer deduct nursing home costs.
  • People with disabilities will face more barriers: small businesses will no longer receive a credit for making their businesses more accessible or hiring disabled people.
  • People who earn less than $23,700 a year might expect a tax cut of only $80 a year.
  • About 13 million filers making under $100,000 will have tax increases, a number that will grow as benefits are phased out.
  • The repeal of credits for drug companies to develop new treatments hurts people with rare diseases.
  • Other repealed credits are for electric vehicles and rehabilitation of old or historic buildings, that created 2.4 million jobs and returned $1.20 for every taxpayer dollar.
  • Over one-third of taxpayers have incomes below their standard deduction and personal exemptions.
  • DDT has also pulled any DACA solution from the bill.

Flaws in GOP tax cuts:

  • Giving unearned benefits to people who own or inherit financial assets is not good for growth or productivity. Allowing companies to write off the full value of new capital investments instead of spreading it over years gives a one-time jolt without future growth. The deficit of $1.5 trillion could fund all federal education spending, job training, the threatened Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department, homeless assistance, and welfare many times over.
  • The supply-side economics giving cuts to businesses to create jobs may have worked during the Reagan administration when the highest tax rate was 70 percent—twice what they are now. Now corporations won’t add jobs for products until there is a demand, and giving the bulk of the tax cuts to the wealthy doesn’t create that demand.
  • The growth can also be hurt by an increase in U.S. debt because investors get concerned when the debt-to-GDP-ratio is over 100 percent. That concerns translates into higher interest rates on bonds. The increased debt also takes money from building infrastructure and other job-creation uses.
  • The more than $100 billion in tax cuts to the top 1 percent of earners could fund food stamps (SNAP) and other federal nutrition programs.

The biggest debate about the tax bill may be dropping the corporate tax rate. Although less than half of the people think that taxes on businesses are too high, 60 percent of them want to lower corporate taxes. The going current rate for these taxes may be 35 percent, but most of them don’t pay more than 15 percent. Some examples of corporate tax cheats.

 

DDT blatantly threatened Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and economic adviser Gary Cohn for any glitches in passing the tax cuts. Before he left on his 12-day trip to Asia, DDT said that they will be staying back from the trip to Asia to remain vigilant and making sure the tax cuts pass. So if I have any problems, I will be blaming Mnuchin and Cohn. Believe me, they’ll be hearing from me.” He gave the same spiel about former HHS Secretary Tom Price who is not longer with the administration. Cohn’s arguments will be interesting; he’s already told people that they can use their $1,000 savings to remodel their kitchens or buy new cars.

“Conservative leaders would have slammed this Big-Government Budget under Pres. Obama. Now, they demand Republicans in Congress vote for it,” tweeted Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI). “2011-2016: Principles! 2017: End justifies the means.” The “ends” are getting back donations that dried up after the GOP continually failed to pass any major bills.

A huge winner from the bill is the man who can sign it into law. John Cassidy described how DDT can benefit in three ways:

  • The proposed bill eliminates the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) legislated to stop the very rich from abusing loopholes. In 2005, DDT paid $31 million because of the tax on his income of $152.7 million. Without the AMT, he would have paid $7.1 million—five percent of his taxable income at an 80-percent reduction.
  • The proposed flat rate for pass-through income would benefit DDT in his hundreds of unincorporated businesses. His $67.4 million in income from these businesses in 2005 would have been subject to the 39.6 percent rate, but his unexplained losses have probably disappeared by now. The proposed bill drops his tax rate to 25 percent.
  • Abolishing the estate tax would eliminate a possible $800 million that his heirs would have to pay from his potential $2 billion of unsheltered assets. When DDT promised people a “big, beautiful Christmas present,” he meant that the gift would be for himself.

Republicans are still tweaking the tax bill. One idea is repealing the individual mandate to purchase health care. The other cuts $81 billion from tax breaks for individual taxpayers by changing the way that the bill measures inflation and move taxpayers into higher-tax brackets more quickly. Again, the proposal would hurt middle-class taxpayers and leave the wealthy to collect their money. Kevin Brady said that more changes would come next week.

Kansas proved that the GOP tax plan won’t work. Children paid for that disaster in the state; they will pay for the disaster in the United States if the bill passes.

October 30, 2017

Russia, Puerto Rico, Budget

Luckily for the Republicans, Dictator Donald Trump is leaving the country Friday. His Asia trip removes him from tweeting about what he will give away in the tax reform legislation. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that it’s an advantage that DDT is a half world away and then tried to explain his comment away by saying that he was joking. At home, however, the problems continue.

The first charges from Robert Mueller’s investigations led today’s media. Twelve counts against DDT’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort include conspiracy against the United States, tax evasion, and money laundering related to his work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine. His longtime deputy, Rick Gates, is also charged. DDT responded with anger to charges against Manafort but said nothing about a greater danger to him, his campaign advisor George Papadopoulos’s confession to colluding with Russia and agreeing to provide more information about the situation. Roger Stone’s tweets were so far over the top that Twitter suspended his account. A detailed timeline of the DDT/Russia affair.

DDT is now lying about having any connection with Cambridge Analytica, a shady British data firm providing data for his campaign, that asked WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange for help in “finding” Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. The desired distraction is the Uranium One deal during Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State by accusing her of allowing Russia to buy a Canadian company. The agreement, which was not controlled by Clinton, does not allow removal of U.S. uranium from either Canada or U.S. without U.S. permission. False allegations about bribery connections come from Breitbart author Peter Schweizer in Clinton Cash.

Another attempted distraction is an attempt to blame a dossier about DDT’s lewd and illegal behavior on Hillary Clinton for a dossier on him. Facts about the 35-page research document prepared by former British spy Christopher Steele:

  • The conservative Washington Free Beacon funded the project before DDT became the GOP candidate when Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, through Democratic lawyer Marc Elias of the law firm Perkins Coie, took over. (Mother Jones reported this information a year ago, but DDT pretends it’s new.)
  • Former FBI director briefed DDT about the contents of the dossier after his election.
  • Unverified ones are under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
  • U.S. intelligence agencies stated that the dossier was not their source and confirmed additional information, including Russian interference in U.S. elections through email hacking and disinformation campaigns.

GOP Republicans want to save money by stopping Mueller’s investigation despite their expensive three-year investigation into Clinton’s Benghazi and emails, bringing the cost of “getting” Clinton over $100 million. Earlier, Kenneth Starr’s investigation into “Whitewater” cost $70 million, and Bill Clinton’s impeachment cost about $60 million. Only the DOJ can block these funds for Mueller’s investigation, however, unless Congress passes a separate law.

Fox and Friends concentrated on where the lettuce should go in a cheeseburger, and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders talked about reporters going out for beers and having to pay taxes.

DDT bragged about his “success” in Puerto Rico, calling it a “10,” but 39 days after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, 77 percent of Puerto Rico is still without electricity. Without energy to power wastewater disposal and clean water delivery systems, their pumps won’t work, and sewage builds up while residents can’t get clean drinking water. People suffer from dehydration and become infected from low-quality water sources. Without electricity, people can’t know where to get supplies.

No one knows how to use the gigantic government hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, and only 33 of its 250 beds were being used a week ago. Many of those who know about the facility can’t get to the port because of impassable roads or fuel. A donation from Tesla has provided a solar power system for a children’s hospital in San Juan, but doctors in other facilities have only the light from cellphones to perform surgery.

DDT prided himself on the low death rate in Puerto Rico, but over 900 bodies have been scheduled for cremation on the island since Hurricane Maria hit. Officials will not know whether they are directly connected to the disaster. These deaths were marked as being from “natural causes,” but many of them died from failing dialysis and oxygen machines after the island had no electricity. Bodies must be sent to the Institute of Forensic Sciences in San Juan for an autopsy to be included in the official death count.

The scandal of Whitefish Energy rebuilding the island’s power grid continues after Gov. Ricardo Rossello finally pulled the plug on a $300 million contract awarded by the island’s power. The board ignored mutual aid from larger experienced power companies which provided workers from U.S. public utility companies after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma this year and instead chose the two-person, two-year-old non-utility Whitefish Energy, located in the small Montana hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. He claims that he had nothing to do with the choice, but his son had worked for the company.

Whitefish’s previous experience was to replace 4.8 miles of transmission line in Arizona for $1.3 million; Puerto Rico has 2,400 miles of critically important transmission lines and tens of thousands of miles of distribution lines across the island. The company relies on subcontractors; they have paid $462 per hour for a supervisor and $319 for a lineman. Each person is daily paid $332.41 for accommodations and $79.82 for food.

According to the contract, Puerto Rico was not allowed to “audit or review the cost and profit elements,” and the government was prohibited from making “any claim against Contractor related to delayed completion of work.” The “contractor will not be subject to compliance with any performance specification during the duration of this reconstruction work.” Although the Whitefish contract states that FEMA approved the deal, the disaster agency said it was not involved in the selection of the company and has “significant concerns” about the decision. The fishy agreement may have been worse than the fraud during the clean-up after Hurricane Katrina in 2006.

Financing for Whitefish comes from the Texas-based private-equity firm HBC Investments, founded by Joe Colonnetta. He and his wife, Kimberly, donated over $80,000 to DDT and RNC campaigns and have associations with Ben Carson, DDT’s secretary of housing and urban development, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, according to photos on her Facebook page.

Last week, Congress passed a disastrous budget with a House vote of 216-212 (20 GOP representatives voting no) and a Senate vote of 51-49 (Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky only GOP saying no) for the next decade:

  • A $1.5 trillion deficit to finance tax cuts with almost 80 percent of them going to the top 1 percent.
  • Cuts to all non-Medicare health programs of $1.3 trillion, almost 30 percent.
  • Cuts of $473 billion to Medicare.
  • Cuts of $653 (13 percent) to mandatory programs in the “income security” spending category including food stamps; Supplemental Security Income (SSI, an anti-poverty program that gives cash to seniors and disabled people); the earned income tax credit (EITC) for people too poor to pay taxes; and unemployment insurance; both military and civilian federal employee pensions.
  • “Mystery” cuts of $800 billion from “non-defense discretionary spending”—funding for the FBI, the National Institutes of Health and other biomedical research, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State Department and Environmental Protection Agency and Treasury Department, etc. More specific cuts include slashing medical research and gutting State and the EPA especially.
  • GOP’s plan to eliminate deductions for state and local taxes adversely affecting one-third of households. (Without that change the deficit would be $2.4 trillion. A proposed tax credit for property taxes would increase the deficit by $700 billion.)
  • Cuts of 93 percent for federal programs that aid survivors of sexual and domestic violence from $460 million to $30 million, the equivalent of a few weekends for DDT at Mar-a-Lago.

Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz said that House Republicans were “asked to vote for a budget that nobody believes in so that we have the chance to vote for a tax bill that nobody’s read.”

Republicans are willing to fund tax cuts for the wealthy with a deficit but demand an offset to pay for healthcare for nine million children in poverty. CHIP ended on October 1, but Republicans won’t renew it until Democrats agree to cut the Affordable Care public health fund, reduce the grace period for enrollees who fail to make the premium payments, repeal the law’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, and make cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. The same people are working to cut off abortions at six weeks because they “love children.”

DDT is demanding the tax cuts (for wealthy) bill on his desk by Thanksgiving—about a dozen work days for the House—but keeps killing ideas on making money for the wealthy. This week he promised to allow people to continue deducting $18,000 for their 401(k) retirement accounts instead of $2,400 but withdrew the statement after the House included the change in the bill. The government will get the taxes no matter what, but the GOP wants it this year, costing $2 trillion in the next decade. The bill will supposedly be released in two days.

Republicans further voted against DDT’s base by forbidding class action consumer lawsuits against banks or credit card companies. VP Mike Pence broke the tie in the Senate. More advantage for the wealthy!

October 29, 2017

DDT: Week Forty – Problems Continue

So much has happened during the past week that it seems forever since the beginning of last week when Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) accused Myeshia Johnson, the Gold Star widow of La David Johnson, of being a liar.Everything he does follows this MO as described by the Washington Post: “Make it a fight, use controversy to elevate the message and never apologize.”

DDT’s latest word on the deaths of four U.S. soldiers in Niger: “I didn’t [authorize the mission]. But I have great generals ….” As with the death in a Yemen mission after his inauguration, the un-commander-in-chief blames the generals. “This was something that was, you know, just, they wanted to do …. and they lost Ryan.” A few years ago, the coward-in-chief wrote, “Leadership: Whatever happens, you’re responsible. If it doesn’t happen, you’re responsible.” No longer.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), once a DDT supporter, continued expressing his concerns about the man inaugurated as president last January:

“I don’t know why he lowers himself to such a low, low standard, and debases our country in a way that he does, but he does.”

Corker, head of the Foreign Relations Committee, also said that DDT “has great difficulty with the truth” and that “world leaders are very aware that much of what [Trump] says is untrue.” As Josh Chafetz, Cornell Law School professor, recently: “Politics is, among other things, a discursive practice. Words are actions.” In response, DDT ridiculed Corker’s physical short stature.

Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) announcement that he won’t run for re-election in 2018 brought out DDT’s ire after Flake’s 17-minute speech about DDT’s “reckless, outrageous and undignified” behavior. Flake’s decision went from a “chem-trail” Kelli Ward (so called because she thinks that the government is poisoning people with the jet trails) being a slam-dunk in the GOP primary to chaos in a state that is slowly turning purple.

The rest of the GOP has a position about DDT’s fitness—nobody cares and don’t tell anybody about it. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said, “I don’t think the American people care about that. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said Republican senators worried about DDT’s fitness should keep their fears “private” and talk about it “within the family.” Republican patriotism.

Deaths from the opioid overdose crisis have hit the same level as HIV during the 1980s and 90s, but DDT has declared it an “emergency,” not a “crisis,” with no additional funding. (Maps of its growth here.) DDT’s solution? “Just say no,” just like the failures of Nancy Reagan.

Claiming that it refuses to “facilitate” abortions, DDT’s administration imprisoned a girl who had crossed the border into the United States and wouldn’t allow her to see a lawyer or visit a doctor for a month until the administration quit appealing the judgments of four courts in her favor. Immigration took her to a Christian “pregnancy center” that told her why she should carry the fetus to full term and keps stalling in the hope that she would go beyond 20 weeks before the case was settled. After Washington D.C. appeals court voted 6-3 in her favor, she had the procedure last Wednesday at 16 weeks. Federal officials also violated a court order when they told the girl’s mother she was pregnant. The girl had said that she didn’t want her parents to know because they beat an older sister who was pregnant to cause a miscarriage. In control of the girl was E. Scott Lloyd, the former attorney for the Knights of Columbus and a fierce opponent of abortion who heads up the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

DENVER, COLORADO – OCTOBER 26:  (Photo by Daniel Brenner/Special to the Denver Post)

Over 100 women—“handmaids”—marched and protested against the GOP’s attack on women’s reproductive rights in Denver when VP Mike Pence came for a state GOP fundraiser. The image comes from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel A Handmaid’s Tale inspired by Ronald Reagan’s restrictions on women. In the book, women were forced to become pregnant and bear children. House Republicans introduced a bill preventing doctors from performing abortions after six weeks, usually before women know they are pregnant. The 20-week ban has passed the House and gone to the Senate.

Prototypes for DDT’s “wall” are up, and the New York Magazine asks which one is the “worst.” Your choice of “soothing slat design,” “light-toned wood,” an abandoned “project,” “monolith from 2001,” “experimental,” “vulnerable to breach by Slenderman,” iInfected rusty comb,” and “straight-up boring.” Matt Novak discovered how easily a drone can take drugs from Mexico to the U.S. USA Today described the fiasco of the bidding and building process based on emails with contractors.

The U.S. Air Force is reportedly preparing to put nuclear bombers on 24-hour notice, a position not taken since the Cold War.

The U.S. tried to prove that that Kabul was safe because of this week’s visit by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, but they lied about his location. Tillerson never got off the Bagram air base.

From Ron Paul: The U.S. occupies 53 out of 54 African nations.

When DDT ran for president, he said he would eliminate crime on his first day. What he’s done is to eliminate crime statistics.

The majority of Houston Texans players knelt during the national anthem despite the comment from owner Bob McNair that “we can’t have the inmates running the prison.” He later apologized to the players, saying that he didn’t mean them.

The Trump administration wants to as much as triple the fees to visit 17 National Parks — including Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone. Families would have to pay $70 during peak season. The fee increase won’t happen until after a public comment period ending on November 23. Ben Schreiber, Senior Political Strategist for Friends of the Earth, said:

“The Trump administration is turning our National Parks into an exclusive playground for the rich. Secretary Zinke has given our public lands to oil companies, slashed budgets, and attacked the regulations that ensure taxpayers receive a fair price for their natural resource.”

Women are responsible for sexual assault, according to Carl Gallups, a right-wing pastor and conspiracy theorist who spoke at Trump campaign rallies during the 2016 election. It’s because women dress provocatively. In an interview with Mike Shoesmith, Gallups agreed with Shoesmith’s statement:

“Men are visually stimulated and unwanted stimulation should meet the basic definition of assault. Women who dress in a suggestive manner are] guilty of indecent visual assault on a man’s imagination, which does cause mental anguish and torment. When a man sees a naked or partially dressed woman, a chemical reaction happens in his brain. Neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin are released, giving him an involuntary surge of pleasure. Notice the word ‘involuntary’ … “

DDT continues to make horrifying appointments. The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Thomas Farr with a vote of 11-9 to the federal District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. After George W. Bush first nominated him in 2006, the Senate didn’t advance his name and then blocked President Obama’s new nomination for his two terms. The Congressional Black Caucus wrote, “It is no exaggeration to say that had the White House deliberately sought to identify an attorney in North Carolina with a more hostile record on African-American voting rights and workers’ rights than Thomas Farr, it could hardly have done so.”

Another worst of the week, confirmed to manage tax policy at the Treasury Department with a 26-0 vote, is David Kautter, who will be acting head of the IRS starting on November 12. Through his 30 years of work with work with Ernst & Young, Kautter developed skill in helping clients avoid taxes. In his confirmation hearing, he said he wasn’t involved in these tax shelters and said he felt bad about not preventing the scheme. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said that Kautter promised “he would maintain the highest level of ethical and professional standards if he is confirmed.” Robert Mercer, who paid at least $20 million for DDT’s election, is $7 billion in income tax arrears from his tax-avoidance scheme. Wyden can now find out whether his trust in Kautter is misplaced.

Kelly Knight Craft, wife of coal billionaire Jon Craft and DDT’s new ambassador to Canada, says she believes in both sides of the climate warming question. She finished her statement about the world’s environment to Canadian media by saying that the U.S. is interested in what’s best for the United States.

The acting administrator for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration—who doesn’t need confirmation—is connected to a company that makes money from the sale of oil spill equipment.

The New Yorker has another cover of DDT that he can post at his golf courses.

The White House is so embarrassed about DDT’s golf-playing that it’s trying to hide his activities—like his 75th day of golf last weekend In 280 days of office. Yesterday DDT was on his Virginia golf course for the fourth weekend in a row.

Too much for one blog post! More coming.

October 25, 2017

DDT’s Obstruction of Justice

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 10:29 PM
Tags: , , ,

Can Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) be convicted of obstruction of justice? That’s the question that the Senate Judiciary Committee has been investigating, and there may never be an answer. The committee seems to have blown up, and each party will likely submit its own report. The Senate Intelligence Committee has said that it will no longer be investigating anything about DDT’s firing of former FBI director James Comey. Committee chair Richard Burr (R-NC) said, “Future questions surrounding Comey’s firing are better answered by the [special] counsel or by the Justice Department.”

Obstruction of justice is a charge for attempts to influence, obstruct or impede a federal investigation or a judicial process. Steven Harper has written about how DDT taken a number of actions that could be considered obstruction of justice.

Jan. 27, 2017: One week after the inauguration, acting Attorney General Sally Yates talked to White House counsel Don McGahn about her concerns regarding national security adviser Michael Flynn. During DDT’s campaign, Flynn was frequently in contact Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. VP Mike Pence and press secretary Sean Spicer denied that Flynn talked about Russian sanctions in December, but Yates told McGahn that U.S. intelligence agencies knew these statements were false. If Flynn lied, Russians could blackmail him because they knew the truth. That was the same day that DDT called Comey to a private dinner at the White House and told him, “I need loyalty.”

Feb. 14, 2017: DDT asked Comey to stay for a private conversation after DDT’s advisers left. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” DDT told Comey in private.

Mar. 20, 2017: Comey testified before Congress that the FBI was investigating DDT’s campaign connections to Russia.

March 22, 2017: DDT asks National Intelligence Daniel Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo to stay in the Oval Office after a briefing with senior officials. DDT complains to them about Comey’s handling of the Russia investigation and asks them to intervene with Comey to get the FBI to stop investigating Flynn. During later Senate testimony, Coates and Pompeo refuse to answer questions about this meeting without offering an explanation of any legal basis for doing so. A few days later, DDT asked Coats, Pompeo, and Director of National Security Mike Rogers to deny publicly “the existence of any evidence of coordination between his campaign and the Russian government.” Deputy Director of the NSA Richard Ledgett wrote an internal NSA memo documenting DDT conversation with Rogers, including DDT’s questioning the accuracy of the IC Assessment that Russia had interfered with the election. Senior White House officials also “sounded out top intelligence officials about the possibility of intervening directly with Comey to encourage the FBI to drop its probe of Michael Flynn.”

Mar. 30, 2017 and Apr. 11, 2017: DDT asked Comey to “lift the cloud” of the Russia investigation. DDT repeatly urged Comey to tell the public that DDT is not under investigation. Comey later testified to the Senate that the FBI and DOJ were reluctant to make a public statement that they did not have an open case on Trump “for a number of reasons, most importantly because it would create a duty to correct, should that change.”

Apr. 25, 2017:  DDT sent Flynn a message to “stay strong.”

May 2, 2017: DDT added witness intimidation to his series of “Russia hoax” tweets on the night before Comey’s scheduled testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee: “FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds! The phony…”

May 6-7, 2017: DDT had spent the past few days ranting about Comey’s Senate appearance on May 3. With the help of aide Stephen Miller, DDT drafted a four-page letter to Comey that outlined his reasons for firing Comey.

May 8, 2017: DDT continued his witness intimidation before Sally Yates testified about her January conversations with Don McGahn regarding Mike Flynn: “Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel.” DDT read the draft of his letter firing Comey to advisers, including White House counsel Don McGahn and VP Mike Pence. DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, then-chief of staff Reince Priebus, Pence, and drafted talking points about Comey’s planned firing while DDT asked AG Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for a memo outlining their problems with Comey. DDT used their statements as recommendations for his firing Comey.

May 9, 2017: DDT fired Comey while DDT’s subordinates, including, publicized the falsehood that Rosenstein had called for Comey’s termination.

May 10, 2017: DDT told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak in the Oval Office that he fired Comey because of “Russia.” DDT told them, “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job … I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off … I’m not under investigation.”

May 11, 2017: DDT repeated the real reason, “Russia,” for firing Comey in an interview with Lester Holt on NBC.

May 12, 2017: The New York Times reported DDT’s “loyalty dinner” with Comey on January 27, and DDT sent another tweet to intimidate a witness: “James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

May 18, 2017: DDT answered a question about whether he had ever asked Comey to close or back down on the investigation into Mike Flynn with the curt response: “No. No. Next question.”

May 18, 2017: Rosenstein testifies before a closed-door Senate briefing, reportedly saying that he knew DDT wanted to fire Comey before he wrote his letter justifying Comey’s removal. Rosenstein also said that DDT asked him to write the letter and that he knew on May 8 that DDT was planning to fire Comey.

June 6, 2017: The Washington Post reported that DDT was considering live-tweeting during James Comey’s upcoming Senate testimony.

June 7, 2017: DNI Coats and NSA Director Rogers both refused to testify about their personal interactions with DDT and whether DDT asked them to intervene in the Russia investigation at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

June 8, 2017: Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that DDT had repeatedly asked him about Russia and that he understood DDT’s expressed “hope” about “letting Flynn go” as an order.

June 9, 2017: DDT called Comey a liar and accused him of leaking classified information.

July 8, 2017: DDT helped his son Donald Trump Jr. write a misleading statement about the son’s campaign meeting on June 9, 2016 with his top advisers and three Russians who promised to provide “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

July 19, 2017: After incessant attacks on special investigator Robert Mueller, DDT talked about limitations to Mueller’s examination of the DDT-Russian connections.

July 21, 2017: The Washington Post reported that Trump had “asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe.” Such pardons might constitute obstruction of justice or an abuse of power.

July 26, 2017: About whether Mueller’s job was safe, DDT said, “No, we’re going to see.”

As Harper wrote:

“[DDT] lied about Comey’s firing, persisted in efforts to intimidate key witnesses, inserted himself into misleading statements about his campaign advisers’ meetings with Russians offering to help him win the election, and held the sword of Damocles over the special counsel investigating him? Behind any effort to obstruct justice is a fear of the truth.”

Barry H. Berke, Noah Bookbinder, and Norman Eisen have outlined the case against DDT in a detailed 108-page factual and legal analysis for the Brookings Institution. As Harper stated, “Trump’s actions have always been rational in a key respect: Trump does what is best for Trump, regardless of the consequences. If that means obstructing justice, so be it.”

Whenever DDT finds himself in trouble, he distracts. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) claimed that DDT’s current distraction from Russia’s election meddling and potential obstruction of justice is DDT’s attention to the 2010 Uranium One deal. The member of the Senate Judiciary Committee said:

“The president has done everything he can — calling the investigation a hoax, bringing distracting issues to deflect attention from the potential obstruction of justice by his administration and possibly by himself into the investigation on Russian meddling, and Trump’s alleged collusion with that meddling.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Judiciary chair, has called on the DOJ to appoint a special counsel to investigate the agreement giving a Russian-owned company partial control of U.S. atomic energy resources in 2010. Last week the committee said that it is opening an inquiry into the deal, and the House wants a joint investigation. The next GOP lie and the next shiny thing: Hillary Clinton benefited from the deal.

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