Nel's New Day

December 15, 2018

DDT: Week 99 – More Highlights

Biggest news today! Ryan Zinke resigned (was fired?) as Secretary of the Interior because the House may investigate multiple allegations of his violating ethics rules. Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, former lobbyist for fossil fuel industries who may be more evil than Zinke in policy-making, will temporarily assume leadership at the agency that oversees federal land, wildlife, and American Indian relations. Will someone still have to fly the agency flag when Bernhardt is in his office, and what will happen to all the commemorative coins with Zinke’s name?

In yesterday’s surprise, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) named Mick Mulvaney, Budget Director and controller of the gelded Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, for his “acting” chief of staff. Mulvaney plans to keep his Budget gig as an escape hatch. Earlier, he indicated he wouldn’t take the position, preferring Treasury or Commerce. DDT may have promised Mulvaney the position he wants after he fires Mnuchin or Wilbur Ross, in trouble for the citizenship question on the 2020 census. A lawsuit against Ross goes to trial on January 7, 2019.

The chief-of-staff job opened after DDT fired John Kelly and Nick Ayers, DDT’s choice, fired DDT. Steve Mnuchin (Treasury) and Robert Lighthizer (Trade), said they liked their jobs, and Chris Christie turned down the gig. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), leader of the House Freedom Caucus, begged for it, but DDT turned him down. AG Matt Whitaker and son-in-law Jared Kushner were possibilities, but they might both be indicted soon. Part of Mulvaney’s new job includes coping with the Russian scandal, handling DDT’s instability, and getting Democrats in the House to do what DDT wants, but House Democrats don’t like the former far-right representative.

At Arlington Cemetery today, DDT praised the Texas judge who ruled that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional—an excellent place to call no health care for people “a great victory.” Concern about health care among voters during the recent election led many GOP candidates to falsely state that they had always supported insurance for people with pre-existing conditions. Republicans will again be in trouble if a health care crisis reappears front and center.

Pandering to his base, DDT issued a directive to stop creating mice with human-like immune systems using human fetal tissue, an order that shuts down HIV research. The mice were ready to be shipped, but HHS called a halt to the delivery. More research can be destroyed if non-NIH labs receiving NIH funding are banned from using the fetal tissue. Scientists at UCLA have used these mice for 25 years; getting the directive immediately reverse still extends any discovery for at least a year.

Department of Energy plans to reclassify high-level radioactive waste residue from producing nuclear weapons to low-level, like hospital wipes and clothes, so that it can be more easily—and dangerously—distributed. Among affected facilities is Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state on the Oregon border, the most highly contaminated area half the size of Rhode Island. Public comment originally stopped on December 10, but Sen. Rn Wyden (D-OR) asked for an extension until January 9.

DDT’s new “Opportunity Zones” for “economically distressed” areas, created in the 2017 tax bill, benefits his own business and those of his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his New York developer friend Richard LeFrak. DDT’s planned developments in Greenville (MS) and New Jersey could be eligible for the tax break as could Kushner’s two Maryland properties. State governors can pick places such as downtown Charleston (SC) and West Palm Beach. Legislation lacks accountability by failure to require that investments benefit the community or collect and report data about investors, kinds of investments, and subjects impacted by the program.

When the government hired Accenture Federal Services $13.6 million to recruit border protection staffing, taxpayers gave the company $13.6 million for two accepted job offers with no records for any other applicants.

Texting, a common form of telecommunication, can now be blocked and censored because DDT’s FCC classified it as an “information service.” People who live in areas with a variety of wi-fi providers can switch to keep their texts from being blocked, but those with limited providers lack the same advantage.

DDT’s coalition with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Russia weakens a UN report on the disastrous climate change through their refusal to endorse the document. He also reaffirmed his removal of the United States from the Paris agreement to reduce fossil fuel emissions. At the G20 summit, only the U.S. refused to endorse a statement affirming the Paris climate accord, signing a document only after language about DDT’s decision to exit the Paris compact. Fifty-eight percent of people in the U.S. agree that human activity accelerates climate change.

VP Mike Pence may have been roundly ridiculed for being a silent bobblehead at DDT’s disastrous meeting with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), but he took time to cast a tie vote in the Senate that put Jonathan Kobes onto the 8th Circuit Court for a lifetime appointment—the first time any VP broke a tie to put a judge on a circuit court. The ABA gave Kobes a “not qualified” rating because he “has neither the requisite experience nor evidence of his ability to fulfill the scholarly writing required of a United States Circuit Court Judge.” Over 200 civil and human rights groups opposed Kobes because he opposes marriage equality and defended crisis pregnancy centers (fake women’s health care centers).

Other “not qualified” nominees to be confirmed are U.S. Circuit Judge Leonard Steven Grasz, “unable to separate his role as an advocate from that of a judge” because of his strong anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion views; U.S. District Judge Charles Goodwin, lacking the ability to fulfill the demands of a federal judge because of his frequent absence from the courthouse as a magistrate judge; and U.S. District Judge Holly Teeter, without trial court experience. DDT and the GOP have seated two Supreme Court justices, 30 circuit judges, and 53 district judges—most of them anti-LGBTQ rights, anti-voting rights, and anti-abortion.

Facing a government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has caved in to a possible vote on a criminal reform bill after DDT’s specifically demand. McConnell had avoided a vote on the bill because of “no” votes from the most conservative senators, according to Whip John Cornyn (R-TX). https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/421328-senate-heads-toward-floor-fight-on-criminal-justice-bill  The Senate may have to stay in session over Christmas instead departing this week as scheduled.

At least 14 DDT associates interacted with Russians during DDT’s campaign and presidential transition, Russians who seemed to take cues from DDT or coordinate with his requests. DDT continues to lie about the cost of Mueller’s investigation, falsely stating an estimate of $40 million instead of the actual $25 million. Ken Starr’s six-year investigation of Whitewater, leading to the president’s impeachment for lying under oath, cost over $70 million, but no one was indicted. During his 18 months’ investigation, Mueller indicted 34 people and three companies while garnering guilty pleas from seven of them including five ex-DDT aides. Mueller has paid for his investigation thus far with fines, penalties, and forfeited real estate properties.

In honor of DDT’s lying, WaPo has created the Bottomless Pinocchio, awarded to politicians who repeat a false claim so many times that they engage in campaigns of disinformation. The claim must receive at least three Pinocchios from the Fact Checker and be repeated at least 20 times. Only DDT, with at least 14 qualifying statements, has thus far achieved the Bottomless Pinocchio, for example: the U.S. spent $7 trillion in the Middle East (36 times); the U.S. pays most of NATO costs (87 times); Democrats colluded with Russia during the election (48 times); Robert Mueller has conflicts of interest (30 times); the U.S. economy is the best in U.S. history (99 times); a wall is necessary to stop drugs from crossing the border (40 times); U.S. steel is building new plants (37 times).

DDT’s lies trickle down to his agencies. After repeated DDT falsehoods about having started to build his wall, DHS announced that it has begun building a 30-foot “border wall,” higher than any ever built. NBC patiently explained “construction on a new section of border barrier has not yet begun and won’t this year.” The DHS is also the agency claiming that they aren’t separating migrant children from parents and that they have returned them. They also tried to conceal the death of a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl from lack of care in their custody before blaming her father.

Last month, DDT told a reporter that he cannot imagine anyone else being Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.” He has always felt it to be an honor instead of “the man, woman, group or concept that has had the most influence on the world during the previous 12 months.” For 2018, Time picked “the Guardians,” journalists who have been persecuted throughout the world, including attacks by DDT, in an ongoing “war on truth.” Four separate covers honor these brave people, including Jamal Khashoggi, tortured and dismembered by Saudi Arabia royalty, and the staff of the Capital Gazette, where five of them were shot dead in their Maryland newsroom. Time has never before selected someone no longer alive for this honor. They did so because his influence grew because of his death. DDT has responded to Time with tweets displaying increased invective against the media.

A Fox poll shows that at this time 55 percent of respondents would definitely/probably vote against DDT. Only 38 percent could vote for him.

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