Nel's New Day

June 3, 2017

DDT: Week Nineteen, More Distractions to Russia

The biggest distraction from the collusion between Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and Russia in the past week was his claim that the U.S. is pulling out of the Paris Agreement, a 195-country agreement to cut back on carbon emissions throughout the world. The irony of DDT’s massive lies is that the U.S. emits two-thirds of the carbon gas on the planet. There is much more to be said about this symbolic gesture to pander to his base and satisfy the needs of white supremacist Steve Bannon and climate denier EPA secretary, Scott Pruitt, but in short, DDT merely followed up on his climate-change producing actions in the past few months while abdicating any world leadership throughout the world in politics and economics while alienating all the nation’s allies.

The White House is filled with rumors about which staffers will next hear the famous DDT words, “You’re fired!” Last week was the announcement that Mike Dubke had resigned as White House communications director two weeks earlier but promised he would stay until DDT came back from his offshore visit. Both he and Press Secretary Sean Spicer took the heat for the fallout from DDT’s firing former FBI director James Comey, and DDT was furious with Dubke after he told aides that “there is no Trump doctrine.” Here is a list of top DDT officials who resigned or were fired in just three months.

DDT will need a brilliant communications director to deal with Russian stories keep dribbling out, for example the latest claim from Russians that they have information to use against DDT and his closest associates. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called its president, Vladimir Putin, “the premier and most important” national security threat to the United States, “more so” than ISIS, because of Russian’s influence on elections in the U.S. and France and Putin’s “pressure” applied to Baltic States. About Jared Kushner’s reaching out for back-channel communications with Russia, McCain said:

“I don’t like it. I just don’t. I don’t think it’s standard procedure prior to the inauguration of a president of the United States by someone who is not in an appointed position.”

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly likes “multiple communication lines to any government.” Responsible for national security, Kelly ignored these inappropriate aspects of Kushner’s offer: it occurred before DDT was inaugurated; it was not introduced by a diplomatic official; it went farther than just foreign policy; and it proposed that an adversarial foreign country’s equipment be used.

DDT doesn’t need a back channel: he just hands out his personal cellphone number and asks world leaders to call him directly. Other presidents have always called on secure phone lines because other ones are subject to eavesdropping. DDT ran on criticism of Hillary Clinton’s secure private email server, and now he uses a private phone for official business.

The Russian investigation has expanded to DDT’s close confidant and personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who refused to appear at a congressional hearing until he received a subpoena from the House Intelligence Committee. Cohen has been the king of frivolous lawsuits while working for DDT. Cohen joins four DDT campaign advisers and Jared Kushner as persons of interest based on their interactions with Russians.

DDT’s biggest problem in restructuring the White House staff may be finding candidates, especially those who will be 100 percent loyal to him while he is willing to dump them at a moment’s notice. Michael Steele, former RNC chair, described new candidates “crazy”:

“Nobody wants to step into a situation where you’re flying by the seat of your pants and don’t know whether what you just said will hold up from one news cycle to the next. Nobody is going to be lining up for positions with that much uncertainty.”

Four possible successors have already turned down the White House as Dubke’s replacement, and one GOP operative called the position “career suicide.” Two considerations to join the team came from his early campaign, but David Bossie cited family concerns in not joining DDT. The other, Corey Lewandowski, had earlier been fired after he attacked a reporter at a DDT rally. Current staffers consider Lewandowski’s return “another trainwreck.”

DDT has found nominees for only 117 of the 559 most important Senate-confirmed positions. Russia is delighted because it’s sending ambassadors to take over countries such as Italy where U.S. has not diplomatic representation. It’s possible that DDT can’t even find a candidate to head up the FBI. With no ambassador in key countries, Russia is taking over.

As usual, DDT backed down on some of his declarations. Last week the White House  and OMB director, Mick Mulvaney, refused to provide information about lobbyists in the administration to the U.S. government’s ethics agency. This week, Mulvaney said he wasn’t really refusing to do this. (It’s part of the trifecta GOP excuses: I don’t remember, I didn’t say that, and I didn’t mean that.) After backlash, DDT also changed his 95-percent budget cut to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to assist in opioid abuse to a five-percent cut. It still drops the ONDCP office from 75 FTE to 66.

DDT wants the Senate to drop the filibuster so that he will have s a better chance of passing his legislation. His only two projects of the health plan and tax cuts for wealthy, however, require only 50 votes because they operate under the reconciliation process. With an eye on a possible majority in the Senate in 75 months, Majority Leader (R-KY) has said that he won’t do it.

Conflicts of interest with DDT’s business continue to increase. Eric Trump meets with his father weekly to report on business while DDT sons Donald Jr., Eric, and his wife Lara met privately with GOP leaders. Even some GOP members question the appropriateness of DDT’s family business leaders’ involvement in the party’s strategy and resources. The family wants GOP officials to work harder to “help reignite [DDT’s] political base.”

DDT called his recent trip away from the U.S. a “home run,” a description as wrong as George W. Bush’s “mission accomplished” three months into the 14th year of the war in Iraq. On Air Force One, a senior official “implored” reporters to “tell the story back home about what an unprecedentedly and historically successful trip this was by an incredible leader and an amazing man.” Last Sunday German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that “the last few days” had shown her that Europe “really must take our fate into our own hands” and the time when Europe could count on others was “over to a certain extent.”

In just nine days, DDT sided with Sunnis over Shiites, lectured NATO members, abandoned U.S. leadership in climate change, and generally supported autocrats over democratic leaders. Plus he shoved other officials aside, displayed ignorance of basic geography, and committee a variety of other gaffes. And that was before DDT came home and snubbed over 190 countries by dropping out of the Paris Agreement.

On a field trip from New Jersey, 100 8th graders refused to be photographed with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) because they “didn’t want to be associated with a person who puts his party before his country,” in the words of one student. Another student, Matthew Malespina, said, “I can’t take a picture with someone who supports a budget that would destroy public education and would leave 23 million people without healthcare.”

In a defeat of big business, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a small business, Impression Products, that buys used printer ink cartridges overseas and refills them for sale in the United States. Lexmark International sued on the basis of patent law but lost because the product was sold out of the country. The decision can go far beyond computer ink especially if it applies to big pharma.

Russia is riled about a House bill putting sanctions on North Korea, claiming that H.R. 1644 violates its sovereignty and constitutes an “act of war.” The bill, passed with only one no vote, increased the president’s power to impose sanctions on anyone in violation of UN Security council resolutions regarding North Korea, specifically in the areas of “slave labor,” terrorism, and use of international transit ports. Russia’s problem is that the bill, if passed into law, would give the U.S. “inspection authorities” over shipping ports and major airports in China, Russia, Syria, and Iran. Any ship, airplane, or conveyance that had been in North Korean waters, air space, or sea ports/airports could be subject to “seizure and forfeiture.”

DDT claimed that he’s taking the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement to keep the nation from being the “laughingstock” of the world. It’s DDT who is the laughingstock. For example, five prime ministers—Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Finland—did a photo shoot mocking the “magic orb” that DDT pressed in Saudi Arabia. [visual] Three of those countries pledged additional money for family planning after DDT refused to pay the U.S. share of funding to any worldwide groups that provided information on abortion and pulled funding from the UN Population Fund. Last year, U.S. funding helped 27 million women access contraceptives that prevented six million unwanted pregnancies. Nicholas Kristof writes about DDT’s war on women in weakening efforts to prevent cervical cancer both around the world and in the U.S, which has one of the lowest cervical cancer survival rates within developed countries.

The week ended with continuing ridicule of DDT regarding his use of “covfete” (maybe coverage?) in a tweet that took him six hours to correct after he maintained the word had a hidden meaning. The tweets ridiculing DDT kept coming. Companies are selling Covfefe food, coffee, clothing, mugs, games, and more.

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