Nel's New Day

June 14, 2019

DDT: Week 125, Part II – Follow-up, Foreign Disasters

Two days after Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said “I’d take it” when asked about foreign clandestine information, he backtracked by saying that he would still look at incriminating information about an election opponent but he would “absolutely” report such an encounter.

In clips from George Stephanopoulos’ interview, DDT accused White Counsel Don McGahn, who DDT told not to comply with a House subpoena, of lying in his testimony with the Mueller investigation “because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer.”

Always antagonistic toward Iran, DDT followed State Secretary Mike Pompeo in declaring Iran as the perpetrator of attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The Japanese owner of one tanker disagreed, saying that it was hit with a “flying object,” possibly an artillery shell instead of a mine. In the past, Pompeo has lied about Iran and Yemen. Pompeo said that the attack would require sophisticated technology that only Iran could provide. He omitted Saudi Arabia and Israel from the criterion. Both are in the region, they have the ability, and they both hate Iran. Iran has no benefit from attacking ships from either Japan or Norway, but DDT does when he uses his attacks against Iran in his campaign rallies.

Over 16 years ago, Colin Powell cited “irrefutable evidence” that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction,” given him by the government. He ignored repeated warnings about the “evidence.” After the discovery that the government was lying, the U.S. was at war—a war that has cost several trillions of dollars and gone on for over 16 years. As George W. Bush said, “Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me, you can’t get fooled again.” Yes, you can.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) may have a reason to single-handedly block a law requiring a candidate to contact the FBI about foreign interference in a campaign. She has close ties to a U.S.-sanctioned Russian politician whose former lawyer, G. Kline Preston IV, represented Blackburn when she was facing allegations of possible campaign finance violations and worked closely with Alexander Torshin, the prominent Russian politician with close ties to Putin who is now under intense scrutiny for allegations he illegally channeled Russian funds through the National Rifle Association in an effort to influence the 2016 election. Blackburn received more NRA money since 2002 than another other Tennessee congressional member. The NRCC also refuses to sign a bipartisan pledge not to National Republican Congressional Committee to make a bipartisan pledge not to use stolen or hacked information in House elections, Blackburn’s political home from 2003 to 2018.

With the GOP refusal to protect the United States from foreign election interference comes their own interference in foreign elections.  may be their willingness to interfere in foreign elections. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Jewish leaders that he would “push” back against Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during Britain’s leadership succession. As in the United States, some calls of anti-Semitism come from a conflict between Palestinian support and Zionist politics. DDT has already come out in support of Boris Johnson for prime minister, legal under the Hatch Act, and Brexit party leader Nigel Farage campaigned for DDT before his election. In Britain, 71 percent of the people disapprove of DDT, meaning DDT’s support may not help the conservatives. 

Despite Kellyanne Conway’s violation of the Hatch Act, DDT said he will not fire her. He told Fox & Friends, “I think she’s a terrific person.” He called her violation of the law, upheld by the Supreme Court in both 1947 and 1973, “free speech.”

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, under scrutiny for her conflicts of interest, claims that she sold stocks in Ingersoll Rand and Vulcan, the latter a highway supply company, and updated her financial disclosures. Dalia Lithwick has an excellent article on GOP nepotism

Despite DDT preening about controlling Mexico with his tariff threat has become a nothing-burger.

In March, Mexico had already pledged to deploy National Guard members in secret talks with former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Mexican Secretary of the Interior Olga Sanchez.

 Last December, Nielsen told the House Judiciary Committee about the Migrant Protection Protocols, an expansion of a program to allow asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their legal cases proceed.

Negotiators failed to get Mexico to accept a “safe third country” treaty to give the United States the legal ability to reject asylum seekers if they had not sought refuge in Mexico first.

Therefore, all three of DDT’s claims are lies: no new curbs on immigrants; no agreement for Mexico “to immediately begin buying large quantities of agricultural product” from American farmers”; and no secret successions. DDT’s negotiating style: cause a crisis, negotiate and get nothing, and declare he’s a success in averting the crisis. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said DDT was turning farmers into “poker chips at one of his bankrupt casinos.”

The tariff crisis is not over: the agreement, which needs to be approved by Mexico’s legislature, gives Mexico 45 days to reduce the number of migrants headed for the U.S. DDT bragged about his “secret agreement” during a Q&A session that he waved around but said he wouldn’t be revealing what was in it. He didn’t need to “reveal” the paper: WaPo photographer Jabin Botsford grabbed a picture of the document, and the sun shining through the paper made most of the text visible. The number of migrants will most likely decrease because fewer immigrants come to the border during the summer. DDT will be declaring success—until cool weather returns. DDT has never worried about the misery he causes for people, but his plans to keep migrants in Mexico will result in more separation of families, restrictions on due process, and increased danger for vulnerable people such as pregnant women, children, and the LGBTQ population.  

North Korea’s president Kim Jung-Un is still successfully flattering DDT with another “beautiful letter” making DDT “think the relationship is very well.” DDT addressed Kim’s murder of his half brother Kim Jong Nam because he may have been “a Central Intelligence Agency source who met on several occasions with agency operatives.” In support of the murder, DDT said that “I would tell [Kim] that would not happen under my auspices, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t let that happen under my auspices,” DDT said in his desire to protect the brutal dictator. He then gushed about the warmth of correspondence from the brutal dictator, his justification for the U.S. not gathering intelligence about the nuclear developments that provide danger to the country that he vowed to protect. DDT declared that Kim “kept his word” about no nuclear testing despite his declaration just three weeks ago that he was his being “not happy” about North Korea’s ballistic missile tests.

DDT thinks he has leverage over China with his fluctuating tariffs, but China has rare earths—and China sharply reduced overseas shipments in 2019. These elements are vital not only in personal technology devices but also for all advanced U.S. military weapons. Because of lower labor costs and fewer environmental regulations, China mines 70 percent of rare earth, making the U.S. dependent on China’s good will for its fighting power. High-end rare earth products are made only in Japan and China, and Japan relies on the raw product from China. With cutoffs to rare earths, China could adversely impact every part of U.S. economy from jet engines to oil refineries. Private firms struggle in the business because Chinese-subsidized firms can sell at or below cost. Last Sunday, 60 Minutes on CBS gave an excellent primer on rare earths. 

The oak tree that France’s president Emmanuel Macron gave DDT to represent “ties that bind us” has died. Macron promised to send another sapling. Poor thing!

Although many people question whether DDT will lose the 2020 presidential election in 17 months, the polls don’t look good for him, especially in battleground states that he won by a few thousand votes in 2016. Even DDT’s personal polling shows him far down, and a Quinnipiac poll has him behind six leading Democratic contenders—including two blacks, two women, and a gay man—in hypothetical general election match-ups. At least 48 percent won’t vote for a candidate over 70; DDT is now 72. DDT now claims that the polls he doesn’t like are “fake.” He expressed gratitude that “we can fight back on Social Media,” which is notoriously “fake.”

DDT didn’t respond to the Quinnipiac poll showing that 69 percent of people think that a sitting president should be subject to criminal charges. That includes 52 percent of Republicans. DDT committed crimes before he took office, according to 57 percent, but a 45-45 split think that he did so after he was inaugurated. Fifty-five percent think that the Mueller investigation did not clear DDT of wrongdoing.

DDT is up to 10,796 lies since he was inaugurated—12 each day.

 

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