Nel's New Day

January 27, 2018

DDT: Week Fifty-three – Judicial, Legislative Protests

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 10:33 PM
Tags: , ,

Today marks the first anniversary of protests against the ban on Muslim immigration by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), and the protest that followed the Women’s March set off a year of opposition to DDT’s oppressive regime. Most recently objections led to the resignation of Steve Wynn as RNC finance chair because of his sexual misconduct. Republicans demanded that the DNC return donations from Harvey Weinstein after the discovery of his sexual misconduct but said nothing about the $2.5 million Wynn donated to the Republican Governors Association, $411,000 to the National Republican Senate Committee, $248,000 to the RNC, $100,000 to the National Republican Campaign Committee, and $729,217 to DDT’s inauguration as well as his hosting the $100,000 a couple fundraising at Mar-a-Lago last weekend for the GOP.

Lawsuits:

In Pennsylvania, the worst gerrymandered state in the nation, a judge blocked the districting map for the 2018 elections. In the last three elections, the vote for the state has been almost 50/50 between the two parties, but Republicans won 13 of the 18 seats in the U.S. House. Lawmakers have until February 9 to draw a map and the governor until February 15 to approve it. If the parties don’t agree on the plan, the court will draw it. The map won’t be ready for the special election on March 15 for a district where Republican Tim Murphy resigned after the public learned that he encouraged a woman to have an abortion following an affair with her. Pennsylvania legislators have appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the decision was based on the state constitution. The only argument is that Article I gives state legislature, not the state courts, the power to set the rules for congressional elections (subject to congressional override).

A U.S. International Trade Commission panel struck down the 300-percent U.S. tariffs against narrow-body Canadian jetliners. South Korean leaders promise to try the new steep tariffs on imported washing machines and solar-panel components at the World Trade Organization.

Fifteen low-income Kentuckians are suing DDT’s administration for the new Medicaid work mandate because eligibility for this health care is based on income.

Advocates for sexual violence victims are suing DDT’s administration after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos eliminated methods of dealing with campus sexual assault under the 1972 Title IX. New guidelines impugn the credibility of women and girls who report sexual violence and do not require schools to investigate sexual violence or issue interim measures to protect victims from more harassment or violence during the proceedings.

Alexis Bortell, 12, is suing AG Jeff Sessions, the DOJ, and the DEA for their threat to vigorously criminalize the use of cannabis. With the use of cannabis, Alexis has been seizure-free for the past two years. Other plaintiffs include former NFL player Marvin Washington.

Also in Colorado, the state Supreme Court ruled that the state’s constitutional ban on using taxpayer dollars for abortion doesn’t stop funding Planned Parenthood for its non-abortion health care services, i.e., breast cancer screenings. Chief Justice Nancy E. Rice wrote that defunding PP “would lead to an absurd result,” reiterating a lower court’s example that a state worker paid with taxpayer money couldn’t donate money to an organization that performs abortions.

Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York plan to sue DDT over the new tax law that costs their residents billions of dollars.

A member of the Satanic Temple is suing Missouri for violating her religious rights with its restrictive abortion laws, including ultrasounds and a 72-hour waiting period. Earlier a plaintiff had been told that she had no standing because she had already had the abortion before he heard the case and therefore wasn’t pregnant. The state solicitor general admitted before the Missouri Supreme Court admitted that the law does not require an ultrasound, only “offers” it.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is suing the EPA for eliminating scientists receiving EPA funding from its advisory boards. The suit states that the directive “portrays legitimate, independent scientists—who provide accurate, evidence-based information backed by verifiable, peer reviewed research in order to inform environmental policy ― as just another interest group seeking to advance an agenda” and violates the 1972 Federal Advisory Committee Act.

A married gay couple is suing the State Department because only one of their 16-month-old twins can legally move to the U.S. When Elad and Andrew Dvash-Banks went to the U.S. Consulate with the twins in 2016 to begin the process for Israeli-born Elad’s green card and the boys’ citizenship, they were required to have DNA tests for proof of the biological father. The couple was forced to reveal the secret that Andrew was Aiden’s biological father and Elad was Ethan’s. Aiden now has a passport, but Ethan’s application was denied. His tourist visa expired in December. The situation would not have happened to opposite-sex couples. Allison  Blixt and Stefania Zaccari, a U.S. citizen and an Italian who married in London before the U.S. recognized marriage equality are facing the same dilemma because each one of them gave birth to one of their children. Act 301 only requires a parent who is a U.S. citizen.

The Center for Biological Diversity may sue DDT for using his wall to waive environmental regulations along the U.S.-Mexico border for clean water, endangered species, historic preservation, and antiquities. DDT also plans 20 miles of wall to replace vehicle barriers between El Paso and Juarez.

DDT’s search for the mythical “voter fraud” is on hiatus as the Department of Homeland Security will supposedly focus on cyberattacks and manipulation of state and voting systems. The disbanded “election integrity” commission targeted Latinx voters in Texas by asking for “Hispanic surname flag notation” on voting registration. The committee’s leader, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, is in trouble with Kansans because he has leaked the last four digits of Social Security numbers on thousands of state employees that includes almost every member of the state legislature and his own SS digits as well as thousands of current and former candidates for office. Unauthorized disclosure of this “personally identifiable information” is illegal under both state and federal laws and puts every one of these people at serious risk for identity theft.

Oregon voters approved taxes to keep health coverage for the state’s low-income people when voters rejected a ballot measure to overturn legislative action. Nine-four percent of Oregonians have health insurance, and the successful measure preserved insurance for 350,000 people. The $320 million provided by the state is matched by almost $1 million, about one-third of one DDT weekend at Mar-a-Lago.

Oregon has introduced a bill to require candidates for president and vice president to reveal their most recent tax return or complete the state’s standard income disclosure form for public officials. Thus far 23 states have introduced similar bills; New Jersey was the first to pass this law, and Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the one passed in California.

Montana is the first state to declare net neutrality rules after Gov. Steve Bullock signed an executive order requiring that state contractor maintain these principles.

DDT is giving other countries the opportunity for leadership by withdrawing from global cooperation. Japan now leads the 11-country Asia-Pacific trade pact, formerly called the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Brunei, and Chile. Around the world, 35 new bilateral and regional trade pacts are under consideration with the U.S. included in only one of them. Phil Levy, economist for George W. Bush, said, “The world just moves on without us.”

Grim geopolitical news since DDT, including his “threats of nuclear war and climate change,” moved the Doomsday Clock 30 minutes closer to the end of humanity to two minutes, the same place as 1953. The clock has moved between two and 17 minutes until doom since its creation in 1947 for atomic scientists from the Manhattan Project.

The Guggenheim Museum refused DDT’s request to borrow Vincent Van Gogh’s Landscape with Snow but said he could have Maurizio Cattelan’s America. The 18-carat toilet is fully functioning “should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House.” Cattelan said that his installation art was in part a recognition of Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 artwork Fountain, a urinal.

Wisconsin Scott Walker must be worried about getting re-elected. He wants to use $200 million of state money to stabilize the Affordable Care Act market.

Democratic Kentucky Rep. Mary Lou Marzian made news in 2016 with her bill to restrict erectile dysfunction drugs as the GOP restricts abortion. Her new bill is in response to others, i.e., one requiring doctors to give women a medical description of images from the mandated ultrasound before women may have abortions. The bill would:

“… require all medical and nursing schools established and assisted financially by the Commonwealth of Kentucky to cease all training of any health care providers and the provision of any health care services; require all medical and nursing schools to refer citizens who are requesting advice or health care services to their state representative or state senator.”

Marzian said:

“It’s obvious that our legislators think that they know more about women’s health than women and their physicians do, so why bother training medical professionals anymore? Let’s just have everyone consult their lawmakers when they get sick. Lawmakers are clearly the ones who know best.”

With DDT, the economic growth slowed to 2.6 percent last quarter, ending in 2.3 percent for the year, below the 3 percent that DDT guaranteed and the 4 percent that he promised. The 2.1 million new jobs in 2017 are lower than the 2.2 in the previous year. The 2017 growth was the third best in the past five years, and economists predict that it won’t have much momentum. Independent economists predict 2.7 percent for 2018.

The “backfire effect,” the study that people become more entrenched in their positions if presented with opposing facts, may be false. Facts matter!

January 26, 2018

DDT: Week Fifty-three – The Second Year Starts

When Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) told White House counsel Don McGahn last June to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller last June, McGahn said he would resign rather than follow that direction. In July, DDT said that he would fire Mueller if he investigated DDT’s finances. DDT called this information “fake news,” but even the Fox network sort of agreed.

DDT’s mistake of the week: DDT has gone back to his position from last June that he is “100 percent” willing to testify to Robert Mueller “under oath” and is even looking forward to the interview. Then he added, “subject to my lawyers” who quashed the idea. Ty Cobb tried to cover for DDT by saying that he was in a hurry and only intended to say that he would meet with Mueller.

The government reopened last Monday after 33 members of the Democratic caucus bought Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) line of his “intention” to address the DACA issue either in the next spending bill (due by February) of after that. McConnell has a history of not keeping his promises, and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) doesn’t put anything on the floor that can’t be passed with only Republicans. DDT is holding out for $25 billion for his wall, and the House bill would criminalize and deport any Dreamer who makes less than 125 percent of the poverty level. The reopening reauthorized children’s insurance for another six years, but it ignored funding that ended at the end of September for the Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs (MIECHV), Community Health Centers, and opioid funding as well disaster relief.  DDT sneered at the Democrats for keeping the government open when he tweeted, “Schumer and the Dems caved.” He may be cheering early: the next deadline is in only 13 days.

Mick Mulvaney, maybe acting director of the consumer agency, said, “I found out for the first time last night that the person who technically shuts the government down is me, which is kind of cool.” When a representative in 2013, Mulvaney tried to continue a government shutdown when lawmakers had a deal to end it. Mulvaney’s “new mission” will protect companies from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) originally designed to protect consumers. His first action is to permit payday lenders to prey on their borrowers.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin drove the already weak dollar down, ten percent lower since January 2017, by saying that it is is good for the U.S. because other countries get exports cheaper. Imports to the U.S. become expensive, and buying U.S. equities and U.S. bonds is less desirable.

DDT’s trade war with the world is on, according to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross after DDT slapped tariffs on solar panel and washing machine imports. “There won’t be a trade war,” DDT said. The first 1.2 million imported washers have a 20-percent tariff followed by 50 percent on all imports for two years because of a request from Whirlpool. Solar panel components get a 30-percent tariff, and the solar installation industry predicts a loss of 23,000 jobs each year and a slow-down on the renewable energy movement that DDT hates.

During a Q&A session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, DDT attacked the media, saying:

“It wasn’t until I became a politician that I realized how nasty, how mean, how vicious, and how fake the press can be.”

People booed and jeered. That was after they laughed at him for bragging about his business abilities. Initially, the crowd groaned when WEF Chair Klaus Schwab introduced DDT:

“I’m aware that your strong leadership is open to misconceptions and interpretation so it is so essential for us in the room to listen directly to you.”

Russia:

  • Dutch media warned the U.S. that a Russian hacker group Cozy Bear “launched an attack on the Democratic Party in the United States in 2015.”
  • The fiancé of Russian colluder, George Papadopoulos, said he, like John Dean of Watergate, will provide valuable information to Robert Mueller’s investigation.
  • Mueller interviewed AG Jeff Sessions about Russia, but nobody’s leaking the contents of the discussion.
  • Jared Kushner refused to be interviewed by the Senate Judicial Committee. These might be some of the reasons.
  • After DDT fired James Comey as FBI director, he interviewed Andrew McCabe for the position and asked him who he voted for in the presidential election.
  • Republicans are using emails as a shiny distraction from Russian collusion, messages between two FBI officials who shared political perspectives while having an affair during DDT’s campaign. They criticized far more people than DDT—Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, etc.—but the GOP demanded missing texts between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017, from software upgrade affecting “thousands of FBI devices. Republicans haven’t made any comments since these were found.
  • Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of House Oversight Committee, claimed that a text message, sent as a joke, revealed a “secret society.” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) added that “an informant” told Congress about “a group holding secret meetings off-site,” he backtracked because he had no evidence after embarrassing media coverage and being called “the senator who cried wolf.”
  • The smoke and mirrors GOP distraction from DDT’s collusion with Russia is so complex that reading an entire article is necessary. And more craziness.

Appointments:

  • Hero of the Week: DDT-appointment FBI Director Christopher Wray threatened to resign if the DOJ removes Andrew McCabe.
  • The Senate voted 55-43 to confirm former pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar as health secretary, guaranteeing that drug prices will continue to rapidly escalate.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee sent 17 DDT nominations to the Senate floor, including Thomas Farr who lied to the committee during his hearing about his participation in intimidating black voters during Jesse Helms’s campaign for the 1992 North Carolina Senate seat. Also passed by GOP acclaim was Eric Dreiband to direct the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Earlier he gave testimony against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and opposed LGBTQ rights. When Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) asked opponents if nominees should be disqualified because of causes represented as a lawyer, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said the evaluation of conduct as private citizens is such that future litigants would be apprehensive to come before the judges. Charles Goodwin and Holly Lou Teeter, both receiving the ABA “not qualified” rating, were also advanced for confirmation.
  • Wendy Vitter was one of a dozen new judicial nominations. Currently counsel for the Roman Catholic church of the New Orleans archdiocese, she may be best known for defending her husband when he confessed to being a client of the “D.C. Madam.”
  • Taylor Weyeneth, 24, will leave his senior position of DDT’s Office of National Drug Control Policy after six months after the media publicized his inexperience and “misrepresentation” of his résumés. He was one of three ONDCP employees who was designated as “essential” during the recent shutdown.

(Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Sexual Misconduct:

  • After 150 women testified against Larry Nassar at his sentencing hearing, the judge added 40 to 175 years in prison to his existing 60-year term. Michigan State University’s 13-year president Lou Anna Simon resigned just ahead of a legislative bill calling for her removal.
  • For decades, casino mogul and RNC finance chair Steve Wynn (right) committed acts of sexual misconduct, according to a Wall Street Journal article. These actions include a $7.5 million settlement after forcing a woman to have sex with him in 2005. He blames his ex-wife for the allegations, but a number of women have supported the accusations.
  • Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA), removed from the House Ethics Committee after it became publicly known that he used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment complaint with an aide, will not be running for re-election after he prayed about his situation. He denied any harassment but said that that they were “soul mates” and verbally attacked her when she told him she had a serious partner. Meehan blamed her and the vote on the Affordable Care Act for his actions.
  • Herriman High School officials censored a student newspaper article regarding the firing of a teacher, possibly for sexual misconduct, so the students published a website that included the article. A vice-principal had previously approved the article. The Supreme Court case Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier permits school censorship of newspapers. The students’ article.  Herriman is a small city of over 21,000 in north-central Utah.

Despite DDT’s claim in his inaugural address that “American carnage … stops right now” and AG Jeff Sessions’ claim that the mission has been accomplished, violence is increasing. The national murder rate increased by one percent in the first half of 2017—the time that Sessions addressed. Eleven school shootings in the first 26 days of 2018 include three this week, one of them killing two students. The 52 LGBTQ single-victim hate killings in 2017 is an 86-percent increase from 2016, making 2017 the deadliest year since compilation of these homicides. The actual number of LGBTQ killings is most likely larger because murders may be misclassified and misgendered.

DDT continues to incite people to violence. Brandon Griesemer was arrested after at least 22 threatening calls to CNN’s headquarters toward its cast, anti-Semitic remarks, racial slurs against employees, and the statement that he’s going “to gun you all down” with the claim that he has a whole team and “more guns than you.” In the past, DDT has tweeted videos of himself body-slamming and punching CNN, a “Trump Train” running over CNN, and himself stepping on CNN as an insect.

Slightly better DDT news tomorrow!

January 24, 2018

Bogus DHS Immigration Report Supports White Supremacy

In his campaign against non-white immigration, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is responsible for “an analysis conducted by DHS” concluding that 73% of terrorists were “foreign-born. The report actually came from AG Jeff Sessions’ office that assembled the statistics and led the briefing. DHS career analysts told DOJ that they did not have the data because DHS does not correlate international terrorism data by citizenship or country of origin, that the data DOJ wanted doesn’t exist. DOJ cobbled together fragments for propaganda  to frighten people into supporting DDT’s non-immigration policy. It was issued just before the vote on the spending bill with the intent of funding for the border wall and eliminating legislation for diversity. Republicans refused to help Dreamers, and GOP leaders such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and DDT now call them “lawless,” “illegals,” and “non-citizens.”

The report was also released the same week that DDT’s Muslim ban went on appeal to the Supreme Court. All examples in the report are Muslims although there was no evidence of the severity of conduct or basis of the threat. Five were deliberately selected for coming to the U.S. through family connections, which DDT calls “chain migration.” During the time of the report, however, almost 11 million people came with family relationships. Other examples were the child of someone who won the immigration lottery, a program with almost 750,000 people, and a refugee, one of almost a million.

The claim that the report concentrates on gender-based crimes by foreign nationals is false because the DOJ said that they have no idea how many of the 1.3 non-fatal domestic violence victimizations were “perpetrated by foreign nationals.” Husbands, boyfriends, or former partners kill over 3,000 women each year, another 1,000 of their children, and hundreds more people nearby or involved in the murders. Yet Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) wants people to concentrate on crimes committed by immigrants.

The stated intent of the document is “protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.” AG Jeff Sessions added to the purpose of the report to oppose any immigration from non-white countries:

“This report reveals an indisputable sobering reality – our immigration system has undermined our national security and public safety.”

A huge problem with DDT’s report is its lack of to domestic terrorism, i.e., Dylann Roof’s mass shooting at a black church in Charleston (SC).  Over the past 10 years (2007-2016), domestic extremists of all kinds have killed at least 372 people in the United States. Of those deaths, approximately 74% were at the hands of right-wing extremists, about 24% of the victims were killed by domestic Islamic extremists, and the remainder were killed by left-wing extremists. Yet, as in the case of a white supremacist killing a woman with a car in the Charlottesville (VA) protests, the Department of Justice stated that the U.S. has no criminal law against domestic terrorism. Of 155 people killed in the United States since 1/1/02, 34 were by foreign-born terrorists, and 121 by domestic terrorists. Thus native-born people committed 78 percent of all murders in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, leaving only 22 percent of the murders by foreign-born terrorists. The chance of being murdered by a foreign-born terrorist is about one in 145 million per year; the annual chance of being murdered in a non-terrorist homicide is one in 19,325—about 1,641 times greater.

Yet there are far more problems in the report’s “scientific research”:

It includes people extradited into the United States for prosecution with those who voluntarily moved to the U.S. Sessions describes people involuntarily brought here as “immigrants” just as HUD Secretary Ben Carson referred to slaves brought to America as “immigrants.”

It identifies 549 convictions for terrorism and terrorism-related charges, but the number is for 15 years, an annual average of 35.6. Of those only 26.8 were foreign or foreign born while annual nation-wide murders number over 15,000, totaling 325,000 for the same time as the convictions. The number of convictions by the end of 2015 is 627, a larger number for a year earlier.

It states that “DHS and DOJ do not yet have complete, final information” about the full list of 549 people convicted of the same charges in the same paragraph describing eight people of 402 foreign-born people it claimed were convicted of international terrorism-charges in U.S. federal courts from 9/11/01 and 12/31/16. There is no explanation of the charges levied against these people. Immigration policy analyst Alex Nowrasteh found only 154 cases of foreign-born terrorists convicted of planning or committing a terrorist attack in the U.S. between 1975 and 2015. The supposed analysis also goes through only 2016; natural-born citizens are becoming an increasing percentage of those who are ISIS trained.

It fails to distinguish between terrorism convictions and the fuzzy category of “terrorism-related charges,” people who prosecutors thought would have a connection to terrorism but never charged with a terrorism defense. The Justice Department significantly overstated its “terrorism-related” convictions in 2013, according to the AG. Earlier DOJ numbers show that of 40 convictions (less than three per year) were connected to planned terrorist attacks on the U.S.; 70 percent were for material support which includes donating a small amount of money to someone overseas and translating a document. The U.S. statutes have no definition of “terrorism-related” as a crime but the term is also used for offenses such as fraud or illegal immigration. Half of terrorism prosecutions involve FBI sting operations which encourage people with no criminal history to participate in terrorism. In fact, the report concentrates on “terrorism-related convictions” that includes numerous convictions that have nothing to do with terrorism. In one case, three Middle-Eastern grocers were convicted of stealing boxes of Kellogg’s cereal and ended up on the list of “terrorism-related” cases after a source erroneously said that the men had tried to buy a rocket-propelled grenade.

It demonstrates the DDT administration’s focus on “nationalism” (aka racism) through distinguishing not only between citizens and non-citizens but also between people born in the U.S. and those who were naturalized. The report even tried to identify “the citizenship status of the parents” of those who were born in the U.S., placing more emphasis on ancestry and crime. DDT has long done this, as in the time that he called an Indiana-born federal judge for the lawsuit against DDT’s Trump University as a prejudiced “Mexican.”

It fails to differentiate between encounters and individuals and uses meaningless encounter numbers. The 2,554 encounters with people on the terrorist watch list could be multiple encounters with the same people. Many people on the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database aren’t even terrorists; they can be people in Congress. The FBI fails to update its TSDB. The report has no record of how many of the people on TSDB committed a terrorist attack or were arrested for a terrorism offense. “Encounters” are not necessarily convictions.

It admits that DHS lacks information about “individual radicalization”: “DHS and DOJ lack unclassified, aggregated statistical information pertaining to the timing of individual radicalization.”

A television commercial released in conjunction with the shutdown vote and approved by DDT stated, “Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.” Marc Short, the White House’s legislative affairs director, claimed that the ad came from an “outside group” and not anyone in the White House, but he was caught by Chuck Todd’s question, “Donald J. Trump for President is an outside group?” Short defended the ad because “it’s helpful to continue to raise awareness of the crisis we have.” Short characterized all immigration as a “problem” and a “threat” posed to the United States.

Using the rationale exposed in this ad, Republicans who stand in the way of gun safety will be complicit in every murder committed with a gun.

The GOP’s growing white nationalism (aka racism) has made domestic terrorism far worse since DDT’s campaign and election. White supremacist attacks are growing more frequent, and more young people are involved. A boy who killed two students at his New Mexico school followed the “alt-right,” and a 17-year-old neo-Nazi from Virginia allegedly killed his girlfriend’s parents. A 26-year-old white man who had supported the right-wing protest in Charlottesville (VA) attempted an attack on an Amtrak train in rural Nebraska.

The year 2017 was the fifth-deadliest year for extremist violence since 1970. Concerns have been expressed that the alt-right feels unsuccessful in a lasting political movement and therefore commits random acts of violence.

DDT has breathed life back into white supremacy and energized them with his support. The bogus “DHS report” is just one example of his giving governmental validity to hatred of all non-white people.

January 23, 2018

How DDT Claims to Make U.S. Safe

More news from the last week of Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) of his first year:

DDT’s request for more foreign workers at his winery could benefit from Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) proposed bill deporting all immigrant workers and replacing them with migrant workers who can be exploited by removing benefits such as housing and transportation, gutting protections and drastically lowering wages. Employers could withhold ten percent of wages to deposit them into a U.S. embassy or consulate in the workers’ home countries.

DDT has stopped a program to help health workers and families identify effective substance abuse and behavioral health programs.

Republicans reauthorized the warrantless surveillance act of Section 702 and added warrantless searches of millions of Americans’ online and phone communications. The bill almost failed when DDT heard Andrew Napolitano tell Fox & Friends that Section 702 was responsible for accusing DDT of Russian collusion, and DDT tweeted against it. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) spent 30 minutes on the phone explaining the bill to DDT.

Immigrant-hater Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK), favored by DDT, is threatening dissenting constituents with police action even for written communication.

The Pentagon took climate change from its National Defense Strategy, added in George W. Bush’s 2008 report. The term also disappeared from the list of threats in the National Security Strategy. A 1990 U.S. Naval War College report found that its operations could be greatly affected by global climate change. The world’s largest naval base, Naval Station Norfolk, has routine flooding, even on sunny days, with no plans to fix the problem.

With his new sycophant Mike Mulvaney in charge of the consumer bureau, DDT plans to let the $40 billion payday lending industry prey on the poor after the industry paid $8 million to GOP legislators and part and $1,275,000 to DDT’s inauguration. Mulvaney’s piece to drop payday lending rules got him $55,000 in campaign donations. The Community Financial Services Association of America’s annual conference is scheduled at the Trump National Doral resort in Miami.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) did even better from the new tax bill; he got $1 million–$500,000 from the Koch brothers for saving them 40 percent of their tax bill a special deduction for oil and gas investors and another $500,000 from five other businessmen.

The Supreme Court declared that the redrawing of North Carolina’s GOP-oriented gerrymandered districts on hold during an appeal. In a state with a bare majority for Republicans, they took ten of thirteen House positions in the last election.

A month ago, DDT congratulated the LGBTQ  Log Cabin Republicans on their 40th anniversary and declared them “equal” under the law and the constitution. This week, he continued his persecution of LGBTQ people by promoting the discriminatory practice of healthcare workers denying treatment of LGBTQ patients for moral or religious reasons through a new division of the civil right office. Before President Obama, an ambulance driver’s refusal to take a transgender woman to a hospital led to her death, lesbian couples were denied fertility treatment, and children of same-gender couples were denied health care. The Department of Education is already refusing to hear civil rights complaints from transgender students.

The new guidelines can discriminate against other people, including denying access to abortions, “assisted suicide,” sterilization, in vitro fertilization, contraception, and other “certain health-care services.” Some people have access only to Catholic-based healthcare, which controls over 14 percent of the hospitals in the United States and 40 percent of the hospitals in five states.

The investigation into Russian involvement with DDT still moves forward.

The National Rifle Association is now involved in the Russian connection after the discovery that Russia gave them money in their work to elect DDT. Other suspicious activities are connected to financial activity with Russia during crisis times for that country in Ukraine.

Steve Bannon so infuriated the House Intelligence Committee by saying that the White House wouldn’t let him answer questions that they slapped him with a subpoena on the spot. Only a president can use executive privilege to not answer questions; anyone else must use their 5th Amendment rights. Bannon did slip up and admitted that he talked to Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, and Mark Corallo about Donald Trump, Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with Russians in the Trump Tower. Bannon’s lawyer was on the phone with a White House official during the testimony, possibly an obstruction of justice. Special investigator Robert Mueller also subpoenaed Bannon to testify before a grand jury. Bannon dressed up for his House appearance.

The week’s maybe most bizarre story fits into a thriller novel. Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law, was warned a year ago about his friendship with Wendi Deng Murdoch because she might be using him to promote China’s business interests. Wendi Deng is the ex-wife of Rupert Murdoch, divorced after a purported affair with UK’s former prime minister Tony Blair, and a close friend of Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump. Wendy Deng lobbied for a $100 million Chinese garden fewer than five miles from the Capitol and the White House that included a tower tall enough to be used for surveillance. The Wall Street Journal, owned by Rupert Murdoch, broke the story.

Appointments:

The good news! Because of his vicious racist, sexist, and homophobic statements, Carl Higbie has resigned as nominee for chief of external affairs for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) that manages programs such as AmeriCorps and other volunteer services.

Kenneth Marcus’ nomination to head up the Office for Civil Rights will have a full vote after the party-line vote of the Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee. Over 200 civil rights organizations opposed his confirmation after his statement that he could not think of any situation in which he would disagree with DDT’s positions on women’s rights or civil rights. Marcus opposes affirmative action and equal opportunity, stating that evidence of racial disparities in student discipline, i.e., black students suffering harsh discipline at much higher rates than white students, comes from paperwork errors. He also supports the reversal of guidance on campus sexual assault and opposes the Commission on Civil Rights’ investigation of human rights violations against the LGBTQ community. The Office for Civil Rights is responsible for protecting students from discrimination.

Ten of 12 members of the National Park Service Advisory Board quit after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke failed to meet with the committee. Created in 1935, the board helps preserve American heritage by designating historic or natural landmarks. Zinke previously disbanded the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council and the Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science.

Sexual Misconduct:

Another woman, Alana Evans, has claimed that DDT offered her money to “party.” Recent revelations of cover ups show that DDT is willing to lie about his sexual affairs (a given), making him vulnerable to blackmail and extortion. DDT’s lawyer Michael Cohen paid porn queen Stormy Daniels through a shell company that he created in Delaware.

The Missouri GOP governor in trouble for blackmailing a woman after having an affair with her and then taking nude photographs of her under duress is in more trouble. Eric Greitens refused to resign, despite bipartisan pressure, and used a state-paid lawyer to try to make the problem go away. A GOP state senator tweeted, “Stick a fork in him.”

Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) has been removed from the Ethics Committee after it was reported he used thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to settle a misconduct complaint by a decades-younger former staffer. The Ethics Committee will investigate Meehan.

Tennessee megachurch pastor Andy Savage chuckled through his description of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old congregant and called it consensual and “flirtatious.” His congregation had previously applauded his “confession,” but his publisher pulled his book and he’s on a leave of absence from his pastor position.

Almost 140 girls and women have given testimony against Larry Nassar, USA Gymnastics medical coordinator, in a sentence hearing about his sexual assaults conviction. Nassar, 54, already has a 60-year federal sentence for a child pornography conviction and pled guilty to several state sexual assault charges. An NCAA investigation is exploring why Michigan State refused to address repeated reports of sexual abuse by their former university faculty member and practicing physician at the school’s sports medicine clinic from 1997 until he was fired in 2016. A cross country runner was told that he “knew what he was doing” when he penetrated her vagina for a hamstring “treatment.” All other complaints were dismissed.

The GOP supporting “family values” has gotten rid of one “bad hombre”: Jorge Garcia, brought to the U.S. involuntarily 29 years ago, is married to a U.S. citizen, has two U.S. citizen kids, and has no criminal record. He regularly reported to his ICE check-in and spent $125,000 trying to legally stay in the country. This week ICE deported him on Martin Luther King Jr Day. And he’s not the first in that situation to be separated from his family.

Another loss is Lukasz Niec, 5 years old when his parents brought him and his sister legally to the United States from Poland in 1979, two years before the country’s authoritarian communist government declared martial law. He is married to a U.S. citizen and has visited Poland only once when he was a teenager. With a green card, Niec became a legal permanent resident and a doctor, like both his parents. ICE arrested the 43-year-old man at his home and detained him in a county jail. As a teenager, he had two misdemeanor convictions of malicious destruction of property under $100 and receiving and concealing stolen property over $100. The second offense had been expunged from his criminal record.

DDT: Make our country safe.

January 22, 2018

DDT: Week Fifty-two – Opposition Builds

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 8:33 PM
Tags: , , ,

Four to five million women in over 400 U.S. locations marched in protest to Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) last weekend, he cheered them on: “Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March. Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!” Note: the unemployment rate for women aged 20 and other fell throughout President Obama’s second term.]

Either he didn’t understand what he tweeted or he didn’t understand that it was protest against him.

The day before the Women’s March, “Power to the Polls,” DDT addressed the anti-choice protesters at the March for Life and told them, “We are with you all the way.” He also said:

“Right now in a number of states the law allows a baby to be born from his or her mother’s womb in the ninth month. It is wrong. It has to change.”

He might have meant “torn,” but there was no correction.

The White House lied about the number of people attending last year’s anti-choice “March for Life.” Like this year, it was tens of thousands, not the inflated number announced.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), candidate for senate reintroduced an anti-choice bill based on bad science: the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” uses the lie that “born alive” infants after abortions are murdered by abortion providers. It would allow murder charges for abortion providers and clinicians.

“S…holes” has become part of common language since DDT’s vulgarities, and the base loves his vulgarities. Neo-Nazis website The Daily Stormer and white supremacist leader Richard Spencer have liberally praised DDT’s statements. More “genteel” folk either have amnesia or deafness regarding DDT’s comments about non-white countries. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen combined both approaches before she said in a Senate hearing that she Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stuck to his guns and defended Sen. Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) account and said that his “memory had not evolved.”

DDT had a few failures last week:

Charges were dropped against 129 people swept up in mass arrests in Washington, D.C. on the day of DDT’s inauguration. Another 59 will still go to trial after the government failed to convict the first six people.

DDT’s chief of staff, John Kelly, tried to cover for his boss by saying that he doesn’t intend to build the wall because he was going through “an evolutionary process” on immigration policy. DDT slapped down Kelly’s statements by saying that Kelly is wrong, that his opinion on the wall has “never changed or evolved.”  Kelly also managed to cause last Friday’s government shutdown. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he left the White House with a DACA agreement from DDT, and Kelly called him later to tell him that the deal was off. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is blaming DDT’s aide Stephen Miller.

The shutdown may have ended today, but DDT and the GOP still look bad. Four years ago, DDT blamed President Barack Obama for failing to “lead,” “get everyone in a room,” and “make a deal.” This year, DDT sits in the Oval Office and blames the Democrats after he refuses to negotiate.

China has downgraded its rating for the U.S. loans of $1.06 trillion from A- to BBB+, citing the tax cuts that “directly reduce the federal government’s sources of debt repayment.” U.S. is now on the same level as Peru, Columbia, and Turkmenistan.

Scientists who were kicked off the U.S. climate advisory committee last August have reinstated their research with financial support from the State of New York and Columbia University Earth’s Institute. They plan to complete the report and deliver the committee’s recommendations to work with climate change. In 2017, natural disasters, most of them worsened by climate change, cost $306 billion in damage, making 2017 the most expensive year on record. Sixteen events cost over $1 billion each, and hurricanes were responsible for almost 85 percent of the total. The year 2017 was the second-hottest year in 123 years of records, following 2016. Seventeen of the 18 hottest years on record have all occurred since 2001.

DDT thinks that terrorist attacks can save the GOP in the 2018 elections, raising the question of whether he is trying to protect the United States.

Meanwhile, the Democrats continue to win red state legislative seats, the most recent in Wisconsin where Patty Schachtner, a county medical examiner, (left) took a seat by 11 points that a Republican won with 63 percent only one year ago. DDT won that district by 17 points last year.

During Barack Obama’s first term, the use of “Barack” for newborns shot up. This past year, the popularity of “Donald” for babies dropped by 50 percent.

Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury has company on the best-seller list. Those interested in reading more about DDT might want to go to David Frum’s Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic (Harper) and David Cay Johnston’s It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America (Simon & Schuster), both released on January 16, 2018.  Johnston has followed DDT for 30 years, and Frum, an Atlantic senior editor, was a Canadian speechwriter for George W. Bush who has become disillusioned with the GOP. Howard Kurtz’s book, Media Madness: Donald Trump, The Press, And the War Over The Truth, should be released in another week.

DDT is still bragging about how hard he works—although he kept a very low profile last week after his “s…hole” comments and the government shutdown. His “work” for last week, based on his calendar: met with president of Kazakhstan; honored former Sen. Bob Dole at the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony; met with senior military at the Pentagon; and gave speech at a March for Life event. That’s it. He even missed his inauguration anniversary party at Mar-a-Lago because the government shutdown.

A poll praising the current economy would be a good thing for DDT, but a majority of the people gave the credit to President Obama. Also, 57 percent of the respondents think that continuation of the Affordable Care Act is a good thing, compared to the 35 percent who disagree. Sixty percent think that DDT has done nothing or very little in his first year.

Despite DDT’s apparent inertia, Dr. Ronny (Ronnie?) Jackson gave a glowing commentary on DDT’s health. [According to an email from Jackson released by the White House, he misspelled his first name.] With a cholesterol level of 223 after medication (normal being under 200) and borderline obesity, DDT has “excellent health,” according to his doctor. The doctor also glowed about DDT’s cognitive skill after administering the Montreal Cognitive Assessment for dementia and neurodegenerative. DDT can draw a clock, identify the similarity between an orange and a banana, and name three animals (lion, hippopotamus, and camel) from drawings. You can check out the rest of the questions.

Tomorrow, DDT heads to the four-day World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, following a government shutdown and plummeting trust in U.S. institutions. His repetitious denouncing of the judiciary and the media have dropped confidence in those institutions, and faith in government fell 14 points to 33 percent, the first drop not linked to catastrophic events. At the same time, China’s government saw an eight-point increase to 84 percent. Loss of confidence in U.S. institutions among the “informed public”—college-educated people who earn above-average incomes and regularly follow the news—dropped from sixth in the 28 countries surveyed to 28th, at last place below Russia and South Africa.

DDT will probably still have a good time at the Forum because the focus is on the wealthiest leaders in government, business, and foreign policy. He plans to give a speech describing how sensible he is to prioritize U.S. interests above all other countries. The year’s theme is “creating a shared future in a fractured world.” Neither George W. Bush nor President Obama attended the annual event. The 15-person entourage heading to Davos with DDT, including seven cabinet members, has a joint private worth of billions of dollars.

Neither Ivanka nor Melania Trump is included in the trip. Melania has not made a public statement in the ten days since the Wall Street Journal published news about his payoff to porn queen Stormy Daniels. She also did not appear with DDT at his two evening dinners at Mar-a-Lago.

 

As always, the question is which DDT will show up in Switzerland this week.

January 21, 2018

Evangelical Racism in America

[Note on government shutdown: a GOP talking point against the shutdown is that Democrats are holding the military hostage by refusing to pay them from the shutdown. VP Mike Pence lied to an audience of U.S. soldiers that the Democrats were at fault: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) immediately attempted to introduce a bill to pay all military-connected employees after the shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) shut her down.]

American evangelicals has a long history of racism:

  • New England Puritans waged war against indigenous people in the 1600s resulting in best-selling fiction about innocent white women forced to live in the forests with men who scalped their children.
  • Ulster Scots in the middle and southern British American colonies in the 1700s viewed the Creeks, Cherokees, and Shawnees the same as the savage Irish infidels they escaped.
  • American Founders considered themselves superior to non-white people in the American “nation,” the term from Latio natio, birth. Thomas Jefferson called black people a hostile nation.
  • Future president Andrew Jackson told volunteers in the War of 1812 that they were free to wipe out indigenous communities and runaway slaves south of the Tennessee River like Israelites waged holy war for “their” land west of the Jordan.
  • Whites believed they were endangered and had the right to vengeance in the 19th and 20th centuries: the KKK lynched black men who they accused of raping women in the 1890s, and the KKK of the 1920s attacked Jews and Catholics because of “racial purity.”
  • White nationalism was manifested in the mid-20th century with communism as the enemy.
  • Southern and western evangelical mega-churches became a political force during the 1970s and 1980s.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has ridden the wave of white supremacy since he was sued in 1973 for trying to keep black people out of his rentals. In 1989, he called for killing five men of color who were accused of raping a white woman in Central Park and continue to declare their guilt ten years after DNA proved them innocent in 2006. His white supremacist following increased in 2011 when he started the “birther” movement, claiming that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen. DDT has never personally retracted his accusation. Andrew Jackson was his model when he came to the White House, and his racist rants have increased. The religious right has now adopted DDT and his racist beliefs.

Evangelicals have defended both DDT’s sexual assaults on women and his “s**thold” statement. Robert Jeffress, one of DDT’s Evangelical Advisory Council, said:

“What a lot of people miss is, America is not a church where everyone should be welcomed regardless of race and background. I’m glad Trump understands the difference between a church and country. I support his views 100 percent.”

Samuel Rodriguez described DDT’s remarks “a distraction,” and Mark Burns justified DDT’s comments with 1 Timothy 5:8:

“A man that does not take care of his own home, his own home, their own people, is worse than an infidel. We have somehow forgotten that in America.”

In his inability to understand that the bible doesn’t make law for the U.S., Jeffress also said that DDT has the religious authority to kill the leader of North Korea:

“The Bible gives President Trump the moral authority to use whatever force necessary including assassination, or even war to take out an evildoer like Kim Jong-un.”

Steve Strang, founder of the Christian magazine Charisma, compared DDT to the Messiah while touting his new book, God and Donald Trump.

“Here he was, the promised Messiah, and these are the people who practice Jewish law better than anyone else and they just had a mindset against him and couldn’t see the truth. A lot of people get a mindset, they think a certain way politically … and they just think that way and they don’t think for themselves.”

According to Strang, people who don’t support DDT are like the “Pharisees in Jesus’s day” who conspired to sabotage Jesus. Dissenters will not be tolerated. Strang compared opposition to DDT with other “Christians throughout history who have twisted facts.”

Strang did get one strong dissent to him in an article reporting these beliefs. Ernst Loehl Sr. (Expeditor at Freelance Entrepreneur) shouted this in an email:

“SO JESUS WAS AN ADULTERER, LIAR, PERVERT AND SEXUAL PREDATOR by his own words ????? A THIEF, CHEAT, DISCRIMINATOR, AND A RACIST????? HAD FIVE CHILDREN BY THREE DIFFERENT WOMEN AND DIVORCED TWICE??? THAT’S THE COMPARISON YOUR ANALOGY PURPORTS TO SUPPORT !!!  … YOUR CONTENSION IS NOT ONLY DISGUSTING AND UNTRUE,, ITS EVIL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Televangelist Jim Bakker, convicted criminal for accounting fraud and accused of rape, exonerated DDT’s alleged sexual relationship with porn queen Stormy Daniels by saying that DDT was sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with her and the $130,000 that DDT secretly gave Daniels was “to help rescue her from the destructive adult film industry. What a man of God!”

The religious right may start trying to ban people of color in the judicial system just as they want to prevent LGBTQ judges. Mat Staver, head of the far-right legal group Liberty Counsel, has said gay judges cannot make fair rulings in LGBTQ rights and his “religious freedom.” He protested the nomination of Andrew McDonald as chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court who could be the first openly gay chief justice of any state court. McDonald has been on the court since 2013. Staver accused McDonald of being a sexual deviant by comparing him to Alex Kozinski, the 9th Circuit Court judge accused of sexual misconduct by six women. According to Staver, gay judges “identifies as someone based upon his sexual practices” but heterosexual judges don’t. It would be appropriate, however, to nominate a judge whose identity is wrapped up in religious beliefs such as Thomas Nielsen who defended Prop 8 in California that banned marriage equality.

One pastor lambasted DDT for his racist comments about Haiti and African countries when Vice President Mike Pence listened to him from the front row. Pence and his wife, Karen, attended the Metropolitan Baptist Church, an historic black church in Largo (MD) when Maurice Watson told the congregation that God led him to speak against DDT’s “dehumanizing” and “ugly” comments. Watson said that many of his congregants had come from those countries and added:

“Whoever made such a statement, whoever used such a visceral, disrespectful, dehumanizing adjective to characterize the nations of Africa, whoever said it, is wrong. And they ought to be held accountable.”

The congregation clapped, and Pence’s face turned red. The next day Pence failed to appear at a public Martin Luther King Jr. Day ceremony although his name was listed on the program. He had taken photos of himself laying a wreath at the King memorial in private the day before and tweeted something about “all men … created equal.” Comedian Samantha Bee of Full Frontal took him to task, referring to Pence flying across the country to walk out of a NFL game after players knelt in protest during the National Anthem:

“Three months ago, you walked out of an event in disgust because of a non-violent protest by black athletes.”

The pastor of Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach (FL) left the GOP because of its failure to denounce white supremacists and child molester Roy Moore. Former DDT supporter Reverend O’Neal Dozier said he can no longer tell black voters to support Republicans. He had hoped, like the “white people from the ’60s and ’70s,” DDT would “reverse his views concerning black people” but “saw after he was elected that he has not changed,” Dozier said. “He is always attacking people of color.” Calling DDT “the great divider in chief,” Dozier said, “He hates everybody except the white supremacists.” (Dozier still hates “homosexuality.”) Dozier’s letter to the South Florida Times.  

Evangelicals are becoming polarized like the rest of the country. Roger E. Olson, theology professor at Baylor University in Texas, asked his colleagues to stop enabling DDT’s language and actions.

“My fellow evangelicals who continue to support and even defend Trump in spite of everything he has said about the weak and vulnerable people of the world: It is time to admit you have been wrong and stop defending the indefensible.”

Olson pointed out that the poverty in the countries that DDT denigrated often comes from “European and American colonialism and exploitation.”

To further polarize the nation, DDT created an agency promoting health workers to deny services to people for any reason that they consider “moral” or “religious.” It’s an authoritarian method permitting the dehumanization of all groups of people except white Christian men—the same process used in other countries to eliminate all “undesirables.” DDT started the process immediately after his inauguration by almost entirely selecting far-right Christian white men for the judiciary and the executive departments and continued it with a “fake” report that demonizes immigrants. The new agency advancing discrimination furthers his purpose to “Make America White Again.”

We cannot forget the poem by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller protesting the Nazi movement and the inattention by other Germans that begins “They came for the …” and ends “Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” We are in a time when the government has started coming for one segment before moving on to another. If we are not careful, there will be no one left “to speak for me”–or you.

January 20, 2018

DDT’s First Year: The Government Shutdown

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 4:09 PM
Tags: ,

The greatest achievement for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) may be that he hasn’t yet dragged the United States into a worldwide nuclear war. Otherwise his major accomplishments are to put a put a justice in the Supreme Court after the GOP held it open for a year and then changed the voting rules, pass a tax bill that increased the deficit by $1.5 trillion and gave almost all the money to the rich and big corporations, lost U.S. global leadership by alienating a majority of countries in the world, received the lowest approval rating (32 percent according to a recent poll and never over 45 percent) of any modern president, made tens of millions for his personal businesses, and shut down the government. Following are many more DDT’s actions that affected the people in the U.S.:

A Border Wall: Mexico still isn’t paying for DDT’s wall, and he’s made little progress in building it other than paying millions for prototypes.

Healthcare: DDT’s executive orders are wounding the Affordable Care Act, but it still exists, stronger for poor and middle-class people than for those who receive no government help.

Regulations: Most of the overturned regulations or new unconstitutional regulations have ended up in court, for example the Muslim ban. DDT has also failed to penalize “sanctuary” cities and states that strictly follow federal law but don’t donate local law enforcement to perform federal duties.

Immigration: The conservative AP reported that illegal border crossings may be at an historic low, but they started going down before he came into office. DDT has continually alienated people and nations with his insulting comments about people of color, most recently his vulgar racist comments about Haiti, El Salvador, and all African countries.

Alienation: DDT has declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel, praises authoritarian leaders, and decries democratic ones. Every speech he makes in a foreign country includes his position of “Make America First.”

Trade: The U.S. withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but it was headed that way already. DDT failed to negotiate NAFTA and backed off his threat to penalize Chinese imports after China gave him a large number of patents. He promised to bring companies back to the United States, but his new tax law gives corporations greater incentive to stay offshore.

Environment/Energy: DDT approved pipeline permit that are now back in the courts. He removed the U.S. from the Paris climate-change agreement but now says that he may go back into it. He gave permission for fossil fuel drilling along the coasts and in other areas but backed off in Florida where he owns Mar-a-Lago. The drilling and his shrinking public lands are also in the courts. 

Foreign Affairs: ISIS was temporarily fought back, but the number of militants is rapidly growing. Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, is so dangerous that diplomats and soldiers from the United States must fly the two miles between the airport and the U.S. headquarters instead of drive. The Afghan president will no longer release statistics on casualties and said that his government would collapse in six months if the U.S. stopped providing the 90 percent of his defense budget.

Infrastructure: DDT vaguely promised $1 trillion to rebuild the crumbling roads, bridges, airports, etc., but nothing has been done, especially after adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit and promises large increases to the military budget. His solution may be requiring states to pay or allowing privatization that would mandate tolls for people using any new roads and bridges.

Veterans: The only legislation is to more easily fire VA employees for misconduct.

LGBTQ People: DDT promised to protect this minority but then ordered a ban on all transgender people from the military, supported for discrimination against LGBTQ people in Supreme Court arguments, signed an executive order to discriminate against LGBTQ rights, and permitted healthcare workers to deny services to LGBTQ people.

Cannabis: DDT broke his promise to give states’ rights to laws legalizing cannabis and supports the DOJ’s crack-down on any use of cannabis.

Hard Work: DDT spends less time on his job than any other modern president and goes to his personal property almost every weekend, most of the time to golf. He broke his promise to never take a vacation while serving as president.

Boasts: DDT bragged about have signed the biggest number of bills during his first year, but his 96 new laws put him last when compared to those from all presidents elected for their first terms: George W. Bush, 102; Bill Clinton, 209; George H.W. Bush, 242. John F. Kennedy signed 684 bills in his first year.

DDT may not want credit for some exceptional numbers during his first year:

The worst year in mass shootings: According to the well-paid Republicans, these 345 mass killings resulting in 574 deaths are not related to guns.

The death of over 1,052 U.S. people in Puerto Rico: Indifference, ineptitude, and cupidity led to unnecessary struggles after Hurricane Maria. Four months after the disaster, half of the people in the U.S. territory are still without electricity.

A three-year high in coal miner deaths: The 15 deaths during DDT’s first year is almost double that of eight in 2016. Mining regulators are considering the elimination of safety rules against black lung disease, and miners are losing their jobs, double the number of jobs gained after DDT’s promises that helped him get votes. As utilities change to natural gas, at least six plants using coal are closing with another 40 projected during DDT’s term in an industry that employs only 50,000 people. DDT blamed the coal miners for getting black lung because they won’t leave the mines.

Soaring hate crimes: Perpetrators are giving DDT as their inspiration for bias crimes. One of the worst years for Islamophobic attacks was 2017, and the number of anti-Semitic attacks was higher in the first nine months of 2017 and in all of 2016. Hate crimes in Phoenix (AZ) were up by 46 percent last year over 2016.

A rise in schoolyard bullying: Ninety percent of K-12 educators said that racist bullying rose after DDT’s election, and 80 percent reflected increased student anxiety and concern about the impact of election. In another survey, “more than 20 percent of teachers reported heightened polarization on campus and incivility in their classrooms…[and] 27.7 percent of teachers reported an increase in students making derogatory remarks about other groups during class discussions.” Several teachers interviewed “described how the political environment ‘unleashed’ virulently racist, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, or homophobic rhetoric in their schools and classrooms.”

Reduced international travel to the U.S.: In the “Trump Slump,” international travel to the U.S. dropped four percent last year over 2016.

How DDT Harms People:

Civil rights and courts: Voter suppression; loss of protection in the courts from fewer DOJ positions and nominations of white male judges, most of them bigoted; cuts in Legal Aid.

Climate, environment, and public lands: damaged health from loss of protection from environmental hazards; plans to repeal the clean Power Plan; damaged water supply from pipeline breaks.

Criminal justice: return of military weapons to law enforcement accompanied by no training and supervision; demand for harshest drug sentences possible; expanded private prisons; cuts to tribal law enforcement.

Economic opportunity: weakening of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; elimination of monitoring discriminatory practices for government contractors. loss of pay data to determine discriminatory wages.

Wages: loss of pay data to determine discriminatory wages; elimination of overtime program that raised wages $1.2 billion a year and created new jobs; gift of tips by restaurant waitpeople (perhaps $5.8 billion) to owners; increased difficulty in unionizing.

Education: removal of funding from public schools; frozen Pell Grant awards; cuts in Federal Work-Study program; attacks on affirmative action; loss of education through tax supported Christian charter schools.

Housing: cuts in subsidized housing.

Immigration: loss of the DACA program; deportation of longtime resident non-criminals.

More broken promises:

“Bring down drug prices” by making deals with drug companies. – DDT says he can’t do it.

 “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.” – DDT is making plans to recoup his $1.5 trillion deficit by cutting these programs.

“Six weeks of paid maternity leave to any mother with a newborn child whose employer does not provide the benefit.” – No money after corporations get their $1.5 trillion.   

Won’t bomb Syria. – He did that a long time ago.

Many women who accused him of sexual misconduct “will be sued after the election is over.” – Hasn’t happened because they could make information public in court.

Protect steel workers. – Steel imports went up 19.4 percent in the first ten months of 2017.

Release his taxes. – Ha!

The casualties of DDT’s first year are truth, science, education, health, environment, communications, human rights, women’s reproductive freedom, non-Christian religions, income equality, and all people who aren’t wealthy.

For more angst, The Hill has provided a blow-by-blow account of DDT’s first year.

January 19, 2018

Polis Addresses Women’s March, Government Shuts Down

Filed under: Congressional legislation — trp2011 @ 11:03 PM
Tags: , ,

Each week, Vice.com has a one-sentence report on the past week of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) followed by details about the events:

“President Donald Trump denied that he said anything ‘derogatory’ after he called El Salvador, Haiti, and African countries ‘shitholes’; underwent his first physical as president, was declared healthy by the White House physician, even as independent doctors claimed Trump has a common form of heart disease; stayed mum about allegations of paying former porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about their affair; called himself the ‘least racist person’; urged Americans to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day by getting involved in their communities; spent MLK Day golfing at Mar-a-Lago; lambasted Democrats over DACA, which he deemed ‘probably dead’; reportedly refused to sit down with the Congressional Black Caucus’ leaders; tweeted out a broken link to his highly anticipated ‘Fake News Awards’; more than halved U.S. aid money to Palestinians; traveled to Pennsylvania to campaign for Rick Saccone; and tweeted that his stance on the border wall has never changed right after his chief of staff said it had ‘evolved.’”

Tomorrow morning, DDT intended to go to Mar-a-Lago for his celebration party costing $100,000 per couple; $250,000 will get couples not only the dinner and photograph with DDT for the lower price plus a round-table discussion with him. He has changed his plans and will stay in Washington, highly upset because the shutdown keeps him from “my party.” [Just wait for the tweets!]

Tomorrow, people will also be protesting DDT in the second Women’s March. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), married to Marlon Reis, will march in Denver after his participation in last year’s Washington, D.C. event. Below is his letter to their three-year-old daughter. The couple also has a son, six-year-old Caspian Julius.  [An interview with Polis (left) from last April.]

Cora,

It’s already been one year — and almost a third of your life so far! — since we participated in the big Women’s March in Washington D.C. I’m excited to have the opportunity to march with you again this year in Denver!

I know at the age of three, you’re only just beginning to sense the importance of the fellowship we shared with millions of civic activists around the country last year, and that we will share again tomorrow. And while I’m sad that the first President you will know is not only an unacceptable role model but in many ways a representative of the past that we thought we’d left behind, I am heartened by how our community is responding and resisting.

I hope that as you grow up, you look back on these marches the same way I look back on the equal rights and anti-war rallies I attended with your grandparents when I was a kid. I hope tomorrow’s march helps open the door for you to a lifetime of joining with others to fight for a better, kinder, more equal world.

For all the great things about the world you were born into, there is still a lot of work to do. We still live in a state where a woman earns 81 cents to a man’s dollar. We still live in a nation where a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions is under attack. We still live in a place where sexual harassment and assault happen, and people blame the victim.

I entered public office because I believe in the power of public policy, changing the laws to reflect our values and create a better future. But policy is not the only thing that matters. Many of the problems we face today will not be solved through legislation or by politicians. They’ll be solved by people from all walks of life coming together to break stereotypes, break cultural barriers, and break glass ceilings.

That’s why we marched last year. That’s why we’re planning on marching tomorrow.

Despite the challenges and uncertainty of this moment in our history, there are reasons for hope all around you. From Susan B. Anthony to Rosa Parks to Dolores Huerta, to Colorado’s own Florence Sabin, we’re inspired by the strong women before you that have paved the path toward equality and justice. I’m proud you can look to your own family including your “Gramma” Susan Polis Schutz, who shattered the societal norms of her time to become a successful business woman and bestselling poet, even if she does feed you ice cream when she’s not supposed to.

This is just the start for you. I look forward to you living your life and building the future you desire. Hopefully the glass ceilings will be shattered by the time you get there. But if not bring a hammer.

Love,

Dad

The main Women’s March, on the anniversary of DDT’s inauguration, has moved from D.C. to Las Vegas with a Sunday event called “Women’s March Anniversary: Power to the Polls” to follow this year’s success in electing women across the nation.

Tonight the government will shut down until Congressional members can pass a spending bill. The first government shutdown since October 2013, this one makes history; it is the first shutdown when one party controls Congress and the White House and the first time that a president of the United States has explicitly called for a shutdown. During the last possibility of a shutdown in November, DDT had said privately that a good government shutdown would help him politically. Earlier in May, DDT tweeted, “Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!” Shutdown threats under DDT are a little like facing someone with a gun who keeps threatening to kill you. Finally, you give up and tell the person to just shoot.

Republicans already postponed the spending bill for the past several months while trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act to take health care from people and pass its tax bill to benefit the wealthy and big business. In addition, DDT’s blow-up with obscene language about non-white countries cut down on the compromise that included a way for DACA youth to not be deported. Everyday that no bill passes about the Dreamers, hundreds of them are in danger. Democrats had given into Republicans on a number of issues, but the negotiations were unsuccessful after DDT rejected the bipartisan agreement.

To gin up more fear, DDT continues to lie about a shutdown being “devastating to our Military.” A federal law generally bars agencies from continuing to work at taxpayer expense during a shutdown, but that law provides major exceptions for military and intelligence operations, national security, and emergencies. During the 2013 GOP shutdown, Congress unanimously passed a law guaranteeing continued pay for military personnel. Yet Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) object to Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) proposal to continue paying military personnel.

Shortly after midnight, the vote of 50-49 against the spending bill officially shut down the government. Following the vote, McConnell blamed the Democrats for hurting the military, ignoring people with addiction, and denying children with insurance while saying that he cared about DACA. He said that DACA doesn’t affect anyone until March although hundreds of young people are being deported daily. Only when Republicans want to get their own way does McConnell claim to care about programs that he has postponed for at least four months.

McConnell declared that he would keep calling for votes until Democrats voted for the continuing resolution until after Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) talked about the Democratic compromises were willing to accept, including funding for the wall, that were also accepted by the president–until he left the White House and the chief of staff called to say that the deal was off. At that point McConnell proposed a continuing resolution on February 8, conveniently after DDT’s State of the Union address on January 30 and turned down a three-day continuing resolution. McConnell’s postponement may fail because DDT said he won’t negotiate on DACA while the government is closed.

Tomorrow will be filled with conservative news blaming the Democrats for the shutdown. Over four years ago, DDT said that the president of the United States is at fault for any government shutdown. Four Republicans, including the senior Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) voted the bill, opposing short continuing resolutions in exchange for a long-term spending bill.

DDT will want a continuing resolution for the spending bill because it gives him the ability to change funding for intelligence priorities. The House bill sent to the Senate dropped a long-standing law that keeps the person in the Oval Office from spending unauthorized money on intelligence activities until a long-term bill passes and puts DDT in charge of these expenditures.

Tomorrow the women are marching, and the government is in shutdown. Happy anniversary, DDT!

[DDT’s 52nd week will be chronicled next week.]

 

January 17, 2018

Say No to Medicaid Work Requirements

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 10:32 PM
Tags: , , ,

While the media obsesses about the coarse language of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), the GOP has found ways to destroy the health and lives of people throughout the United States. Republicans claim that they don’t have enough money for nine million children’s health care in the CHIP program after they gave over $1 trillion to big corporations and the wealthy. A growing number of people are going uninsured after DDT’s work to ruin the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Now they want work requirements and payment for Medicaid, a program created in 1965 to help people with limited income obtain health benefits that includes nursing home care. The only eligibility for participation was the level of income. The last few years of expanded Medicaid in some states has shown remarkable advantages to everyone–$3.4 billion of reduced unpaid bills in its first two years. Healthier people are better able to pay more taxes, and the increased treatment for substance abuse greatly reduced rates of robbery, aggravated assault, and larceny theft.

A major problem for tens of millions of people in the past week is the decision to allow states to impose a work requirement for people on Medicaid, primarily minorities. Seema Verma, the person in charge of this plan, helped design the Indiana Medicaid expansion that required recipients to make monthly payments. The basis for this decision is not to improve health—although that is the claim—but to siphon more money from the poor to the wealthy. Behind this plan are the Koch brothers, the Mercers, the Ricketts, and other multi-billionaire families, already benefiting from millions of dollars after the GOP tax plan.

These decision-makers ignore the fact that at least half of all non-disabled adults with Medicaid already work, and 80 percent of them live in households where at least one adult works. Of those who don’t work, 36 percent are ill or disabled; 30 percent are caregivers; 15 percent are students; and nine percent are retired. Of all the Medicaid recipients, only one-third are non-elderly adults and spend under twenty percent of total costs.

The new guidelines make “suggestions” for these classifications other than the “able-bodied adult” but don’t mandate them. To continue getting health care, these people, many of whom have trouble navigating the system, will be forced to get a doctor’s letter proving that they are within the requirements for exemptions. Doctors are responsible for deciding who lose their insurance in many cases because they must determine who is “medically fragile.” As for pay, those who cannot meet the monthly payments will then lose their coverage.

DDT’s administration announcement about the loss of Medicaid based on lack of “work” was preceded by the Treasury Department’s proposal to reduce federal rules requiring banks to provide mortgage financing in minority neighborhoods. Rules will be expanded to businesses and infrastructure projects that don’t serve the poor.

Ten states have already applied for waivers: Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. Kentucky was the first to be accepted. Until Kentuckians elected a GOP governor, its Medicaid program was a shining example for the nation, and people loved it. The state’s adult uninsured rate fell from 18.8% in 2013 to 6.8% in 2015. Unfortunately, voters didn’t connect the program with “Obamacare” and rejected the Democrats in the 2014 election, much to their current disappointment. The result is this Medicaid proposal with these mandates:

  • Monthly charges from $1 to $15 that increase in the third year, as much as four percent of income;
  • Loss of insurance with a six-month hiatus before requesting enrollment following failure to pay for two months unless the person completes a financial or health literacy course;
  • Disenrollment for not timely reporting changes to income or employment or making false statements regarding work for six months unless the person completes a health or financial literacy course;
  • Requirement of 20 hours weekly of employment activities for most adults;
  • Waiver of non-emergency medical transportation for adults;
  • Addition of a high deductible health savings account (funded by the state) to existing capitated managed care coverage with an incentive account to purchase extra benefits by specified health-related or employment activities (aka quitting smoking, losing weight, and/or exercising);
  •  and/or up to half of any remaining annual deductible funds;
  • Mandatory Medicaid premium assistance to purchase cost-effective employer sponsored insurance after the first year of Medicaid enrollment and employment for adults and their Medicaid and CHIP-eligible children;
  • Use of federal Medicaid matching funds for short-term Institution for Mental Disease (IMD) services for non-elderly adults in certain counties;
  • Removal of a proposed expansion of presumptive eligibility sites to county health departments and certain safety net providers.

If, like me, your eyes have glazed over at the complexity of these mandates, you will understand that the waiver’s goal is to greatly decrease the number of people on Medicaid and manage their personal behavior, not to make their health better. The huge cost of administering such convoluted regulations puts the money into administration instead of helping people with no money for the government to help pay for program administration.

Kentucky expects to save almost $500,000 a year with the new program, but that comes from making 95,000 people uninsured. Those are the people who will get their health care in hospital emergency rooms that will cost the state more than they save. In typical GOP doublespeak, Verma said, “We see moving people off Medicaid as a good outcome because that means they do not need the program anymore and have transitioned to a job or can afford insurance.” In the same way, the Clinton administration said changes to welfare would encourage “needy” people to find work, move out of poverty, and up the economic ladder. None of those advantages happened. TANF assistance dropped, and more people moved into poverty.

Gov. Matt Bevin said that he will drop 400,000 people off Medicaid if he doesn’t get his way to require work for the health insurance plan for the poor. Kentucky is already one of the unhealthiest states in the nation, ranking worst in cancer death rates, the second-highest smoking rate, and seventh highest obesity rate. Eight of the 13 counties in the U.S. with the largest declines in life expectancy are in Kentucky.

People who support the waivers staunchly declaim that only “able-bodied” people will be affected. Yet the exception in the new rules apply only to those who have gone through the rigorous and restrictive process of obtaining Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Their definition of disability:

“The inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”

Seriously disabled people who fail this stringent definition are considered healthy and able to work, according to Republicans. Left out of the disabled definition are people with cancer, substance abuse, mental health disabilities, and other health issues. Last year, 10,000 people died while they waited for their appeals to be processed. The waivers would stop any Medicaid help for wheelchairs and other medical equipment, caregivers, and—of course—“non-emergency medical transportation.”

White people will benefit from the waivers because states can provide exemptions from work requirements in areas of high unemployment. Thee areas tend to be rural, more likely populated with white people, because they have fewer job opportunities, less reliable transportation, and fewer social services. Black people living in cities will be more burdened in the waivers.

Moms Rising listed more serious problems in a work requirement for Medicaid, a program that composed of 62 percent female and one-third children:

“This misguided policy punishes the most vulnerable members of our society and has the potential to cause millions of people to lose their health coverage just when they need support the most. It will perpetuate poverty and inequality, jeopardize the health of families, disproportionately harm women, undermine our economy, and do little to help anyone find or keep a job.

“[Work requirements] push people to accept low-paying, short-term jobs that provide no long-term stability, and they punish seasonal and hourly workers who may lose health coverage if their hours change suddenly….

“Ultimately, the only outcome of implementing work requirements will be that tens of thousands of low-income people will lose access to health care, making it that much harder for them to find jobs. Not to mention that this is just the first of many anticipated cuts to Medicaid and other essential programs that Republicans in Congress and the White House will put forward to pay for their outrageous tax law….”

As with most DDT dictates, the waivers will face court cases because the goal of the Medicaid program is to encourage work. The argument that “work promotes health” is as twisted as the German statement “Arbeit macht frei” (“work sets you free”) above the entrances to Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps.

January 16, 2018

Orwell’s ‘Newspeak’ Precursor to Today’s Fascism

The most popular expression in 2017, according to the Washington Post, was “fake news,” and Merriam-Webster announced that “feminism” was the term with the most internet searches. Cambridge Dictionary highlighted “populism” because Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) claimed to support the working people, and Dictionary.com selected “complicit.” The real Word of the Year might be #, as in hashtag, such as the #MeToo movement. A term for current politics could be “faux populism” or “nationalism” because of the mushrooming acceptance of white supremacists in the United States. Gone are terms such as “diversity” and “togetherness.” The President’s Challenge Coin even lost the term “E pluribus unum,” the U.S. motto meaning “out of many, one.”

Throughout foreign affairs this past year, up is down and war is peace. “Normalization” used to mean making the abnormal conform to the standard perception, but DDT has changed it to acceptance of deviancy as the new normal. “Pivot” once meant turning but now means a pretense. The biggest reversal may be the word “fake.” Defined as “counterfeit” until the time of DDT, its meaning is now “I deny your reality” or “hoax.” Evidence and reason are now “fake science” or “fake news.” Those who lack any support or background for their arguments simply assert “fake …” to make facts vanish or “alternative facts,” introduced by Kellyanne Conway in an attempt to cover DDT’s lies.

Conservatives know how words can hurt their causes. A theme of the ruling class in George Orwell’s novel 1984, is “ignorance is strength.” The phrase “climate change” disappeared from the White House website minutes after DDT was inaugurated, and accurate science, climate, energy, and environment information has been erased on federal websites. References to rising sea levels, worsening wildfires, and threatened wildlife have disappeared. The Interior Department eliminated links to 92 national parks’ climate action plans.

EPA officials are ordered to eradicate the term “climate change” in grant solicitations and funding for initiatives. Public communications information also cannot use “climate change.” Colorado College environmental science professor Miroslav Kummel was told that he would need to revise his syllabus for his class, “Introduction to Global Climate Change” at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument because “all references to [climate change] in future documents, orientation talks, etc. will not be allowed.”

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention distributed a “language guidance” document to employees and contractors listing words and phrases to be avoided and accompanied by acceptable alternatives. For example, “underserved youth” are now “all youth.” “Substance abuse disorder,” no longer a disease, was replaced with “substance abuse issue.” Youths who have committed crimes are defined only as “offenders.” Last year, a request for grants to mentor child victims of sex trafficking specifically cited LGBTQ youths, one-third of the trafficked population; this year the requrest does not mention LGBTQ.

Providing more censorship, DDT’s administration is stopping the use of such words as “vulnerable, “entitlement,” and “diversity” in the Department of Health and Human Services budget. During a meeting, CDC employees were told to avoid “fetus,” “transgender,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.” Only the last two terms were given an alternative: “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.” “Abstinence-only” programs are being rebranded as “sexual risk avoidance” to acquire government funds. The government knows that these programs fail to work. Violence Against Children surveys from eleven countries “showed that an average of 1 in 3 young women had a first sexual experience that was forced or coerced,” according to a State Department report.

Humpty Dumpty told Alice, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean.” Alice asked him how a word can have so many definitions, and Humpty Dumpty replied, “The question is which is to be master, that’s all.” Centuries later, Orwell agreed when he wrote that meaning is about power. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once defined truth as “the majority vote of that nation that could lick all others.”

Many of the words popularized in the new administration, including DDT’s latest vulgar term “shithole countries,” smack of authoritarianism supporting white supremacy and ethnic cleansing evidenced by fascist dictators leading up to World War II. They gained their power through suppression of the media just as DDT is trying to do. He is also using the one-party system in Washington and the tactics of Hitler’s Nazis and Mussolini’s Fascists to control the nation.

Words that reveal injustices and encourage critical analyses disappear when people who use them are punished. Orwell’s “Newspeak” in 1984 has gone from fiction to the GOP standard operating procedures, especially since all scientific evidence and dissent is regarded as “fake news.” According to DDT, the critical media is the “enemy of the American people.” He maintains that he is the only person who can “Make America Great Again,” the only one who can save the nation. Repetition of these positions has led to almost a third of people in the nation believing that the media—except the Fox network and other more conservative sources—are false. DDT now declares Fire and Fury a “fake book.”

Authoritarianism expert Ruth Ben-Ghiat noted that fascism starts with words. Language normalizes brutality and cruelty with metaphors of racial purity, expulsion, war, and dehumanization. In The Third Reich in Power, Richard J. Evans wrote:

“The German language became a language of superlatives, so that everything the regime did became the best and the greatest, its achievements unprecedented, unique, historic and incomparable …. The language used about Hitler … was shot through and through with religious metaphors; people ‘believed in him,’ he was the redeemer, the savior, the instrument of Providence, his spirit lived in and through the German nation…. Nazi institutions domesticated themselves [through the use of a language] that became an unthinking part of everyday life.”

Adolf Hitler banned words, books, and authors while he made people disposable. The GOP goal is to destroy ways to protect vulnerable people and plunder the world’s resources for their personal gain.

DDT’s initial statement in his campaign on June 16, 2015, described the people coming into the United States as human garbage, the same message that he has repeated during the past two and a half years. In a speech to FBI graduates in December, he described immigrants coming by lottery as the “worst people …. the worst of the worst.” With no outrage from people, he normalized evil, just as authoritarianism does, in his statements about how immigrants (except those from Norway) despoil the (white) United States by raping and killing (white) women. Nobody was shocked until he used the word “shithole”; for many people it is only the word and not the policy behind it that is heinous.

Gina Apostel wrote, “When norms shift, one of the first things to change is language. In a fascist world, shocking neologisms become everyday speech.” She continued in a description about her experiences when Philippines’ late dictator Ferdinand Marcos decreed martial law in 1972 and compared that to today’s life under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who killed more people in his first year of martial law than Marcos did in a decade. “Extrajudicial killings” is a polite term for being killed by the police, and being “ka-DDS,” meaning “fellow-Davao Death Squad” rallies Duterte’s supporters, just as DDT’s supporters adopted the term “deplorables.” A new eatery north of Manila has a menu that includes “handcuffed pork belly” and “tortured pork chops,” referring to the people who Duterte kills. Another item is “the ham that fought back” because police can kill any suspect who resists arrest.

DDT praised Duterte for doing an “unbelievable job” in combating the illicit drug trade. Duterte called reporters “spies” when he met with DDT. Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 novel It Can’t Happen Here about the rise of an authoritarian fascist leader in the U.S. parallels DDT’s admiration dictators around the world.

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” In this way, DDT uses words that make this passage from 1984 as the theme of his administration.

Next Page »

AGR Daily 60 Second News Bites

Transformational News In 60 Seconds; What Works For Seven Future Generations Without Causing Harm?

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

GLBT News

Official news outlet for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of ALA

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Central Oregon Coast NOW

The Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW)

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: