Nel's New Day

August 31, 2019

DDT: Week 136 – His Outrageous Storms

DDT avoided an 80th-anniversary World War II commemoration in Poland this week: he’s watching Hurricane Dorian. Maybe collect white paper towels for survivors. He may have dodged a bullet; the storm turned from a direct aim at his resorts, including Mar-a-Lago, to moving long the East Coast. Aides hoped that the Poland trip would avoid criticism if DDT got out of the country to honor World War II veterans and recover from bad publicity about dropping ratings, inappropriate response to mass shootings, negative responses from world powers at the G7 summit, subservience to Russia, etc. No such luck. Even a visit to Poland could be problematic: it is the only EU country without legislature to deal with restitution of Nazi-confiscated private property.

Staying at the White House and then Camp David, DDT kept tweeting. He praised his trade war with China that increased taxes today, disparaged GM, and blasted former FBI Director James Comey. DDT says that he and his supporters should be “given our stolen time back.” The majority of people in the U.S. would probably also want their last 136 weeks back.

DDT’s campaign sent out millions of emails attacking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) after she pointed out that DDT had claimed in 2012 “the electoral college is a disaster for democracy,” a “sham” and a “travesty.” In 2012, DDT called for a “revolution” with his lie that President Obama “lost the popular vote by a lot” to Mitt Romney. President Obama won the popular vote in that year by 65,915,795 to 60,933,504; DDT lost the popular vote by three million ballots in 2016. DDT’s campaign email stated, “This is our country, not theirs,” possibly referring to “Coastal Elites and Liberal Mega Donors” but also meaning Latinx, blacks, women, LGBTQ, Muslims, and Jewish Democrats, to name a few.

Every time DDT gets enough backlash for his outrageous plans, his officials say that he was joking. Are these jokes? 

DDT will kill more children outside detention after three died in his detention process and he won’t be vaccinating detainees against the flu. In a reversal of long-standing policy, he ordered seriously ill people, mostly children, granted special immigration status for medical treatment back to their countries. Families given 33 days to leave the U.S. have Illnesses that include cystic fibrosis, cancer, and muscular dystrophy. Earlier this month, a man with diabetes, brought to the U.S. at six months of age with his Christian parents seeking asylum from Iraq, died after his deportation. During his campaign DDT claimed he would get rid of only criminals. 

DDT declared that children born outside the U.S. to U.S. citizen government employees and military service members, like former presidential candidate John McCain, are no longer U.S. citizens even if they are born in U.S. military hospitals or diplomatic facilities. His new rule, which lacks public notice and comments. could disproportionately affect LGBTQ service members who adopt children and use surrogates, sperm or egg donors or IVF as well as born-abroad children of noncitizen service members naturalizing after they become parents.

DDT promised to pardon federal officials for illegal activities—seizing private land, flouting environmental rules, pushing billion-dollar contracts, etc.—if they build hundreds of miles of border wall before the 2020 election. Last year, he admitted that enforcement and deportation are better than the wall but that his supporters want a wall. DDT’s pardon offer may violate federal bribery laws. Past pardons have been at the whim of DDT with no judicial review, but this corrupt promise flagrantly encourages unlawful behavior.

DDT plans to pull $271 million from DHS—including FEMA’s $155 million and $115 million from the Coast Guard for aviation security—for immigrant detention space and temporary hearing locations for asylum seekers despite lack of congressional approval. The TSA and cybersecurity also lost funds for detention.

DDT’s aides admitted that he lied about getting calls from China for trade war talks to boost the stock market. There were no calls.

DDT accused companies hurt by his trade war of being “badly run and weak” from “bad management.”  

DDT will open Alaska’s 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest—the planet’s largest intact temperate rainforest—to logging, mining, energy, and other corporate development projects.

DDT wants to stop hurricanes by dropping nuclear bombs on them. The idea is worse than other pieces from his vast knowledge of science—after all, his uncle was a scientist (a physicist born in 1907)—such as wind turbine noise causing cancer, climate change being a hoax, cold weather disproving climate warming, rivers not being diverted into the ocean, and raking forests stopping fires. After his frequent repetition of bombing hurricanes, NASA published an explanation about why it won’t work. DDT vigorously denied making the suggestion, but Axios reported that the information came from one of his staff members.

DDT urged his almost 64 million Twitter followers to “start looking for a new News Outlet” because of Fox “heavily promoting the Democrats.” Good idea! People who watch Fox have a less accurate knowledge of current events than those who don’t watch the news. 

DDT plans to move forward with his plan to index capital gains on stock to inflation as a gift to wealthy investors. Investors selling assets could use the inflation-adjusted value of the initial purchase for the sale to pay less tax by reducing taxable income from their sales.

DDT tweeted and praised a video from the anti-Semiitic and white nationalist hate group VDare that includes its lion logo that comes from a quote from Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini that DDT retweeted in February 2016:

“It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.”

Before VDare adoped the lion logo, it was on a website and Twitter account from a group calling itself the Lion Guard, which vowed to protect DDT supporters and “forcefully protect” Trump from threats.

DDT’s included these words with the VDare video:  

 “Trump Pence Keep America Great. Thank you for the support as we MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

The lion logo appeared the following month on a website and Twitter account launched by a group calling itself the Lion Guard, which vowed to protect Trump supporters and “forcefully protect” Trump from threats. The logo soon appeared on VDare’s Twitter account. Larry Kudlow, DDT’s economic adviser, recently invited Peter Brimelow, right-wing English immigrant and VDare founder who called leftists “stupid,” to his birthday party.

DDT had several negative tweets about how Comey “leaked Classified Documents” after the DOJ Inspector General’s findings Comey about giving a memo regarding seven of his conversations with DDT to a friend as security and keeping his personal memos. Benjamin Wittes summarized that the IG “has determined that it is misconduct for a law enforcement officer to publicly disclose an effort to shut down his investigation.” After two years, IG Michael Horowitz discovered that Comey was “straightforward concerning why he wrote the seven memos in question, what he did with them, whom he shared them with and what his motives were in doing so.”

 Horowitz finished his report with ten pages “about how Comey ‘violated applicable policies and his Employment Agreement,’ about his release of ‘official FBI information and records to third parties without authorization,’ and about his failure to ‘immediately alert the FBI’ when he learned that material he had given his lawyers ‘contained six words … that the FBI had determined were classified at the CONFIDENTIAL’ level.”

Comey considered his memos were to be personal, not FBI records; therefore he kept them. Horowitz acknowledges no classified material was ever publicly disclosed. The only new information was the FBI’s process for examining the memos. A court decision ruled that only one of Comey’s redacted words, the name of a country, was confidential. As FBI director, Comey had the authority to judge what was classified. When he left and the FBI changed the classification, Comey was to return the material—which he did. Horowitz’ conclusion is “that a witness to gross misconduct by the president of the United States has a duty to keep his mouth shut about what he saw.”

Regarding classified information, DDT brought Russians into the Oval Office without security, revealed classified information about Israel, and overruled FBI decision to not give a high-level security clearance to son-in-law Jared Kushner. DDT’s most recent classified information leak comes from his tweeted aerial image of an Iranian launchpad, a photo that was most likely highly classified and showed that the U.S. has violated Iran’s airspace by spying on its missile program. In June, DDT declared that a U.S. surveillance drone was in international airspace when Iran shot it down. He almost started a war over the event. A camera flash and a person’s shadow on the image caused speculation that someone took a picture of the image with a cellphone in a classified intelligence briefing where handheld electronics are forbidden. As DDT tweeted, he can release any information he wants, but past presidents have made these decisions after deliberations with U.S. intelligence agencies about potential damage. [visual

DDT monitored Hurricane Dorian while playing golf at his private Virginia club, traveling by helicopter from Camp David. He also tweeted about his endorsement for the North Carolina special congressional election, praise for Fox’s Sean Hannity, and current lawsuits against “various people for violating their confidentiality agreements.” Missing were any thoughts and prayers for the five people killed and the 21 people injured in today’s mass shooting in Texas. He just tweeted that he was being kept informed.

August 27, 2019

DDT Home from G7 after Alienating Allies

Last year, world leaders were surprised when Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) tried to sabotage the G7 Summit in Canada. Robin Wright wrote:

“He fumed over the agenda. He left a day early. He backed out of his pledge to sign the joint communique. And, as his plane flew off, he tweeted that the Canadian host, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, was ‘very dishonest & weak.’”

This year, G7 host and president of France, Emmanuel Macron, was ready for him with no belief in any joint resolution—the second time since the organization began 44 years ago. Macron now refers to the organization as G6+1, with DDT making the U.S. an outlier. DDT even complained that he had to attend last weekend’s G7 summit.  

DDT said he was congenial with the leaders, but he caused trouble by pushing the readmittance of Russia to the group. In heated exchanges over dinner, he rejected other leaders’ position that the G7 should be an association of liberal democracies. DDT evidently pushed harder in private for Putin’s return. As he became more insistent and the pushback became stronger, a senior official decribed his body language as more belligerent with crossed arms and a more combative stance.  [DDT’s appearance with Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau. Below,Jai FLOTUS Melania Trump seemed to have a better relationship with Trudeau.]

Before his bizarre final comments, DDT skipped the discussion on climate and biodiversity that included talks about dealing with the Amazon rainforest fires and ways to cut carbon emissions. After the climate meeting, he said that “we’re having it in a little while” and later lied about missing it to meet with India and Germany leaders. They were at the Climate meeting. The G7 agreed to immediately pay at least $20 million to help fight the Amazon rainforest wildfires and create a long-term global initiative to protect the rainforest and two countries offered more money, bringing the total to $43 million.

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro had complained about lacking funds to fight fires, but he turned down the money, suggesting that Europe could use the money to plant trees on its territory and stop “interfering” with Brazil. Then, with no evidence, he blamed his critics for lighting the ranchers’ fires for illegally clearing land for cattle.  Bolsonaro’s campaign promoted destruction of the rainforest, and he’s keeping his promise. After that, he said he might take the money if Macron apologized about lying that Bolsonaro has no commitment to environmental concerns. Bolsonaro’s flip-flopping earns his nickname as the “Trump of South America.”

White House officials called members of the White House press at the Summit to leak negative comments about Macron, falsely accusing him of filling the summit agenda with “niche” subjects such as climate change and equality with his own domestic audience in mind rather than focusing on global economics and trade. Officials also false reported that DDT forced a session on economics and trade.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday told DDT that there would be no third-party mediation on the Kashmir conflict between his country and Pakistan, ruling out DDT’s participation after DDT had claimed three times that India asked him to play that role.

DDT fought with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe over whether North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un broke international law with recent missile launches and threatened sky-high tariffs on Japanese car manufacturers. For over a year, both Japan and the EU have argued about the illegality of attempts to put an extra 25 percent tariff on their car exports for “reasons of national security.” Part of the U.S. agreement with Japan will supposedly sell U.S. corn to Japan after DDT issued waivers to 85 ethanol plans to not buy four billion gallons of renewable fuel using corn.

Some Iowa ethanol leaders say they no longer support DDT because of these waivers. Fifteen ethanol plants, including one in Iowa, have shut down, and others are cutting production. If gasoline no longer contains ten percent ethanol, farmers will lose sales for 1.4 billion bushels of corn, hurting small rural towns and business the most. Democratic representatives from Iowa Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne are calling for federal investigations into the ethanol exemptions which are now granted to giant businesses such as ExxonMobil and Chevron as well as small, financially distressed oil companies. “They screwed us,” said Iowa’s GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley about granting waivers “to people who really aren’t [experiencing] hardship.” Japan buying corn doesn’t reopen ethanol plants, and the country would buy a small percentage of what China would.  

The “deal” with Japan is not as complete as DDT wants people to think. Takeshi Osuga, press secretary of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denied that it was “an agreement in principle” as DDT claimed and added unresolved issues still exist. A final deal wasn’t assured. Osuga said, “We are calling it a conference of views on the core elements.” Don’t start shipping the corn yet.

After the stock market’s plunge last week, DDT claimed that China had called him about new talks over the trade war, causing the Dow Jones to go up 270 points on Monday. He changed from calling Chinese President Xi Jinping an “enemy” to describing him as a “great leader” and “a brilliant man.” China stated that it knows nothing about any telephone calls to DDT.

Former diplomat and current president of the China Moon Strategies consultancy Jeff Moon said:

“Trump’s contradictory statements and erratic decision-making reflect the fact that he is an undisciplined, tactical thinker who deals with issues and events one-by-one and is guided by no fixed principles or long-term strategic vision.”

DDT also refused to speak Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who came at the invitation of French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian. French officials said that Zarif came to continue efforts to defuse tensions in the Gulf. DDT went so far as to say that he might talk to Iran but also threatened the nation. Macron said that the leaders had agreed at the dinner before Zarif’s arrival that he could be the G7 messenger to Iran, but DDT said he didn’t agree to anything. DDT’s response to questions about Zarif at the Summit was a rare “No comment.”

U.S. terms for an Iranian deal, according to DDT, are “no nuclear weapons, no ballistic missiles, and a longer period of time” on so-called sunset clauses on Iran’s nuclear program. He said, “Very simple. We can have it done in a very short period of time.” Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, had different ideas. He said:  

“First, the U.S. should act by lifting all illegal, unjust, and unfair sanctions imposed on Iran. Washington has the key for positive change. . . . So take the first step. Without this step, this lock will not be unlocked. If someone intends to make it as just a photo op with Rouhani, that is not possible.”

DDT continually repeated his lie that Putin “outsmarted” and “embarrassed” President Obama by annexing Crimea from Ukraine. He accused President Obama of “helping Ukraine” and not stopping Russia’s taking Crimea with the “right whatever.”

One of DDT’s lies in his closing comments joins his falsehood classics. “With respect to North Korea, Kim Jong Un … the first lady had gotten to know Kim Jong Un, and I think she’d agree with me—he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential.” Melania Trump has never met Kim. Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham tried to cover by stating, “While the First Lady hasn’t met [Kim], the President feels like she’s gotten to know him too.”

DDT will select guests next year when he hosts the G7 Summit and wants the Summit to meet at his own Doral resort in Miami. A guest at the resort has settled a lawsuit after the 63-year-old received dozens of bites from bedbugs in a $300-per-night room, and guests have reported bedbug bites in at least six Trump-branded properties. At the Doral, the Summit would meet at a resort in the middle of hurricane territory in the middle of hurricane season. Tropical Storm Dorian is headed for the Florida coast this week.

AG Bill Barr won’t be protecting the constitutional Emoluments Clause that prevents DDT from making money from foreign governments at the summit: his holiday party at DDT’s D.C. hotel will give DDT at least $30,000. Representatives from over 20 countries have already given DDT money at his properties since he was inaugurated, and more properties make money from anonymous shell companies, many of which could be foreign governments.

Money from the Summit would help DDT’s finances. The Doral lost $17 million between 2015 and 2017, supposedly from its “Trump” branding, and income went farther down since his inauguration with income of $76 million in 2018 down from $116 in 2016. timeshare huckster when he glowingly talked about his property in the final press conference to the G7 Summit.

U.S. taxpayers spent millions to send DDT to France where he acted like a high school student—ditching meetings to watch television and showing up late for meetings. German Chancellor Angela Merkel waited two hours for her scheduled one-on-one with DDT. He pushed people around, threatened them, and made himself generally obnoxious. And he came home with no results: no trade deals with China or Japan, no timeline for getting an agreement with the Taliban, and no climate crisis solution. At least he thinks that he’ll make tens of millions of dollars by forcing the next summit participants to pay for staying at his personally owned resort.

DDT continues with his “Art of the Deal”: Negotiate alone, from a position of weakness; be in a big hurry; turn close allies into adversaries.   

August 25, 2019

Recession Looms, Unconstitutional Demand

Filed under: economy — trp2011 @ 10:15 PM
Tags: , , , ,

The use of “dictator” for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) may be a misnomer.  He approvingly retweeted a comment from a radio host that “Jewish people in Israel love him like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God…” He followed that by saying “I am the Chosen One” while looking meaningfully up at the sky. He was supposedly talking about tariffs on China. Earlier in the week, he accused Jews who vote for Democrats (79 percent of them in 2018) of showing “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” meaning to Israel as if U.S. citizens swear fealty to a foreign country.   

DDT panders to evangelical Christians because Jews don’t believe in the second coming. Evangelicals refer to Jews as “uncompleted Christians,” that they still need to come to Jesus.

One response:

“Matthew 24:24 – ‘For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.’”

Self-identified evangelical Jay Lowder did call equating Trump with God “blasphemous and sacrilegious.” He added that the “antagonism” toward evangelicals will increase if they support a double standard for DDT’s “actions, policies, or behaviors” and will be forced “to do the same with the next president.”

DDT’s accelerated tariff fight caused the stock market to go on a roller-coaster ride, the Dow Jones down almost 400 points last week after dropping over 600 points on Friday. The volatility came as DDT increased tariffs onto China, China increased them on the U.S., and DDT ordered private companies not to deal with China. After the stock market closed Friday, DDT again increased the tariff percentage on Chinese goods.

Earlier, DDT delayed new tariffs on Chinese goods from September 1 to December 15 but will raise tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports from 25 percent to 30 percent starting Oct. 1. In addition, tariffs on $300 billion worth of other goods would increase from 10 percent to 15 percent on the December 15 tariff. DDT decided to punish China by withdrawing from the 192-member Universal Postal Union that set international postal rates for over 150 years. If nothing changes by DDT’s deadline in October, mail service will be disrupted for U.S. voters living abroad and cost them $60 to return their ballots.

DDT excluded some tariffs as favors to his base: no bibles although books are fined; no Chinese processing of salmon and cod caught in Alaska although pollock is not protected; no chemicals used for fracking; zirconium for airplanes, even civilian ones; aluminum oxide for steel manufacturers already protected by earlier tariffs on imported steel; shipping containers for big companies like J.B Hunt and CSX. These items were exempted for “health, safety, national security and other factors (aka favoring his voter base).” Legally, DDT can put tariffs on products only for the reason of “national security,” yet his first tariffs were on washing machines to protect “national security” for Whirlpool. Meanwhile U.S. Steel is laying off hundreds of workers the week after DDT bragged about how he had made the company strong.

After 13 failed trade war talks with China, DDT’s Friday tweets were particularly vicious:

“Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.”

Trump also “ordered” the U.S. Postal Service and private companies like FedEx, Amazon, and UPS to search packages from China for fentanyl and refuse delivery. DDT claims that he has the power to force private companies to change their business practices because of the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act that targets rogue regimes, terrorists, and drug traffickers in commerce regulation. Earlier this year, he threatened tariffs on Mexico with the same law because of southern border crossings. By today, he said he had no plan to call a national emergency. (DDT’s Trump Organization has business ties with China; both he and daughter Ivanka Trump have multiple trademarks in China.)  

In its editorial, the conservative Wall Street Journal wrote: 

“Somebody should tell Chairman Trump this isn’t the People’s Republic of America.”

The tariff situation became more confusing today when DDT said that he may be second-guessing his tariff attack on China. Five hours later his press secretary Stephanie Grisham wrote he DDT “regrets not raising the tariffs higher.” G7 Summit leaders reported on DDT’s disastrous trade war, but he said, “Nobody’s told me that.”

The volatile stock market leads to fears of a recession although DDT denies the possibility. He said, “Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut and they’re loaded up with money.” Yet 39 percent of people in the nation don’t have enough cash to cover an unexpected $400 expense. DDT sent Larry Kuklow and Peter Navarro to Sunday talk shows with the intent of misrepresenting the current economic situation and railed about how, despite the facts, a possible recession is a conspiracy against him.  

DDT claims he has a strong, “powerful” economy, but he proposed steps for an extremely weak economy. White House officials first considered a cut in payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security to make up for the tax cut for wealthy and big business that DDT will use to eliminate Medicare and Social Security. Other ideas which might also require Congressional approval were a currency transaction tax weakening the dollar (currency manipulation), rotating Federal Reserve governors to check Powell, and lowering the corporate tax rate to 15 percent to spur more investment. DDT also went back to badgering Powell for a one-percent reduction in interest rates, calling him the same kind of enemy as China’s president Xi Jinping. DDT would save millions of dollars in lowered interest rates. He has already benefited from the decrease in July’s Fed Reserve interest change.

After the Labor Department accurately revised job gains from April 2018 to March 2019, DDT lost over 500,000 jobs. Average monthly job growth dropped to 170,000—9,000 less per month in 2017—with the biggest losses in leisure/hospitality, professional/businesses services, and retail. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the probability of a recession within a year is the highest since the last financial crisis.

Other recession indicators are the skyrocketing deficit (higher even than expected), GDP drop to 2.1 percent in the second quarter, dropping tax revenues, and consumer confidence at a seven-month low. Wealthy buyers are pulling out of expensive housing markets, and RV sales are down over 20 percent. Car sales are drastically dropping, bankruptcy filings are steadily increasing, major retailers shut down more stores, tech companies are cutting costs, and U.S. freight shipment volume has fallen during the past 8 months, threatening a negative GDP by the end of the year. Both credit card debt and late payments are on the rise. The U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 49.9 in August from 50.4 in July, the first time it was below 50 since September 2009, and exports sales fell at the fastest pace since August 2009. Falling exports cause reductions in inventories, cuts in productions, and loss of jobs. The problems ripple across the economy because manufacturing affects every part of it—business services, distribution, transportation, etc. The fall in manufacturing output during the first six months of 2019 entered a “technical recession.”

The Dow looks good, but DDT’s percentage of increase at 32.2 percent is below that of Democratic presidents at the same time of their first term—Clinton at 39.3 percent and Obama at 45.2 percent. DDT’s only accomplishment is a low unemployment rate, but it was headed there when he was inaugurated. A look at DDT’s chaotic response to the financial problems he caused, and a comparison of the DDT and the Obama economy in 15 charts. 

DDT thinks that dropping interest rates will get him re-elected, but they will damage savings and be devastating for blocking a recession. Buying a year or two with lower interest rates would create a massive credit bubble like the subprime mortgage crisis over a decade ago. The current risk comes from huge corporate debt, especially high-yield bonds. Dumping these at one time at low prices would culminate in a disaster, especially if lenders bought corporate bonds with low-interest loans, and lenders may be forced into more debt. With the weak expansion, sellers may have no buyers, and companies won’t be able to service debt.

DDT started out with a solid economy, and everything he does is designed to ruin it. He is damaging not only U.S. economy but also that in other countries with conservative leadership. UK’s Brexit vote preceded DDT’s election by a few months, but Boris Johnson is pushing the nation into disaster with half Britain’s farms poised to fail. Brazil’s new DDT-style leader, Jair Bolsonaro, has made no reforms to pension and tax systems that undercut economic growth. Italy’s enormous debt and annual deficit led to the collapse of its government and the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte after his election 14 months ago—the second election in 18 months.

Frank Rich wrote an excellent article on DDT’s panic about the economy and its destruction because of DDT’s policies. Future generations in the U.S. will have nothing, and DDT cares about nothing except getting re-elected. 

August 24, 2019

DDT: Week 135 – Gone Crazy

August used to be a slow time for federal politics. Congress went back to their constituents, and the president went on vacation. Little happened. Not with Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Jennifer Rubin summarized the past seven days in her Washington Post column:

“In the last week or so, we’ve witnessed President Trump deny there is a threat of recession; blame the Federal Reserve chairman for raising interest rates too high (!); deny, then admit, and then finally reject consideration of cuts to either payroll taxes or a capital-gains taxes. We’ve seen him seriously consider ‘buying’ Greenland, then cancel a trip to Denmark, and then finally insult Denmark’s female prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, whom Trump characterized as ‘nasty’ (his all-purpose insult to women who won’t do his bidding), and claimed that when she says his idea about purchasing Greenland was ‘absurd,’ she is offending the United States. He’s called Jews disloyal on consecutive days and proclaimed himself the ‘chosen one’ (or should it be ‘Chosen One’?), though he still insists the trade deficit means China has ‘sucked’ hundreds of billions of dollars out of our economy. He insists that kicking Russia out of the Group of 8 for its invasion of Ukraine was an overreaction by President Barack Obama (I guess that is what he means) and should be reversed.”

Dana Milbank pointed out that “along the way, he used shooting victims for self-promotion, said he wanted a medal for military valor, and more.” 

DDT also said he might sign an executive order to overturn part of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment guaranteeing U.S. birthright citizenship. For over 150 years, the constitution has declared:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The Supreme Court confirmed the constitutionality birthright in 1898. Despite DDT’s lies, over 30 countries have birthright citizenship.  More details here.

DDT may intend these insane actions as a distraction from publicity about his lies regarding his 2018 filings about the profit and value of his Scotland golf courses by $165 million. He claimed an income of $23.8 million, $31.1 million more than the loss of $6.3 million filed in Edinburgh. Instead of the over $50 million profit filed in the U.S., the balance sheets filed in the UK show debt exceeding assets by $64.8 million. DDT’s U.S. disclosure statement omitted $199.5 million in loans he made to those resorts, $54.9 million from himself personally to Trump International, Scotland in Aberdeenshire and $144.6 million from his trust to Trump Turnberry in Ayrshire. False or incomplete information on the U.S. form violates the Ethics in Government Act punishable by up to a year in jail. Alan Garten, Trump Organization Chief Legal Officer Alan Garten, responded that the two forms are filed under different accounting and legal standards. DDT has consistently filed forms with false and missing information.

After those disasters, DDT flew to France for what French President Emmanuel Macron, leader of the G7 Summit, calls the G6+1 Summit because of DDT’s refusal last year to sign the group’s joint resolution—the first time the group lacked consensus since it was formed in 1975. Macron doesn’t expect a unanimous joint resolution this year, citing “a very deep crisis of democracy” and calling it a “pointless” exercise. Joining DDT and Macron at Biarritz (France) are leaders of Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Much to DDT’s dismay, Russia was removed from the former G8 after he militarily annexed Crimea and continues to support anti-Kiev rebels fighting the Ukrainian government. DDT’s sole goal at the summit is to reinstate Russia despite Russia’s interference in the U.S. elections, past and present. DDT blames President Obama for Russia’s loss of membership “because he got outsmarted.” 

DDT bragged that the EU will give him anything he wants if he threatens to tariff European cars. Earlier this year, DDT made a deal to send U.S. beef to Europe duty-free in an effort to make up for the tariffs for his trade war with China.

According to Macron, a chief issue at the summit will be Brazil’s 85 percent increase in fires, half of them in the Amazon, which he called an “international crisis.” Water vapor from the Amazon rainforest help circulate water and weather patterns around the world, and it provides 20 percent of oxygen in the world. Loss of the rainforest causes acceleration in higher temperatures in the world and huge erradication of species found only there. Many of the 74,155 illegal fires in the rainforest—one new one each minute—are likely caused by cattle-farmers trying to clear more land. An avid deforester, Brazil’s far right president Jair Bolsonaro, called “the Trump of South America,” nicknamed himself “Captain Chainsaw.” Furious about the interference in his fires, he reluctantly said he would send in the military to fight fires for a month after Macron threatened to cancel a major trade deal between European and South American countries. 

While DDT tries to keep his voting base, polls ranking him overall between 36 percent and 43 percent all show an average two-percent reduction in his approval. that his approval is dropping. According to a recent AP poll, he is also underwater in approval about his handling these specific issues:

  • Economy (before his problems the past few days) – 46 percent
  • Immigration – 38 percent
  • Health care – 37 percent
  • Foreign policy – 36 percent
  • Gun policy – 36 percent

Other polls show that fewer racially intolerant people want to vote in the 2020 election that voters who don’t believe that whites are superior to blacks. In the midst of DDT’s racist rants, people in the U.S. are less likely to have feelings of racial anxiety and more likely to empathize with blacks, even among the demographics of white citizens and whites without college degrees. Whites are also 19 percent more supportive of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrations and four percent less supportive of increased deportations than in 2015. Only 29 percent of whites agreed that “America must protect and preserve its White European heritage,” down seven points from August 2017 and nine points down from August 2018. Fewer whites and white Republicans think “white people are currently under attack in this country.”

While DDT causes more problems with his trade war, almost two-thirds of people want free trade now. The 27 percent of people who oppose free trade is down ten points since DDT started his trade war with China in 2017. Only eight percent of voters think DDT kept all his promises. Half of them, including 60 percent of independents think the reason is that he’s “distracted by other unimportant priorities like petty disagreements and Twitter.”

State polls give a darker picture than overall one. His approval rates are below disapproval in at least ten states where he got 189 electoral votes in 2016, several of the difference over ten points. In 2016, DDT took his winning 46 electoral votes in the three states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin where he won by only 77,744 popular votes for all three states. 

DDT’s two main points for his campaign are immigration and the economy. His immigration policies are becoming increasing unpopular, and the economy is headed for serious problem unless he stops his trade war—an unlikely solution for him. He also returns from France to face calls for gun safety legislation. Enthusiastic about fighting mass shootings after two of them in one weekend, he has dropped the idea after several long talks with NRA’s CEO Wayne LaPierre. Over 70 percent of people support laws that would allow the removal of guns if the owners were considered by courts or law enforcement of being in danger of harming themselves or others.

A poll of suburban white women, a demographic that DDT wants back, reveals the following:

  • 72 percent: Gun laws should be stricter. said they think gun laws should be stricter, compared to four
  • 90 percent: Gun sales at gun shows and other private sales should require universal background checks; all gun owners should file with a national firearms registry.  
  • 88 percent: A 48-hour waiting period should be mandated between a firearm purchase and taking possession.  
  • 84 percent: Law enforcement should be permitted to temporarily retain firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves.
  • 76 percent: Purchase and use of semi-automatic assault-style weapons like the AK-47 and the AR-15 should be banned.
  • And 72 percent: Sale and possession of high-capacity or extended ammunition magazines, which allow guns to shoot more than 10 bullets before needing to be reloaded, should be banned.

The 2020 campaign may pick up in the next few months: four Republicans—radio host Joe Walsh, former Arizona senator Jeff Flake, former South Carolina governor and representative Mark Sanford (think Appalachian Trail), and former Ohio governor John Kasich—consider joining former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld in opposition to DDT’s candidacy for the 2020 presidency.

August 19, 2019

Antifa Battles Fascism in Portland

Filed under: protests,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 10:01 PM
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Organizer Joe Biggs of the racist, sexist, xenophobic violent white supremacy/fascist groups including Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer, Three Percenters, and American Guard, some of them wearing body armor and carrying weapons, got what he wanted on the Portland (OR) downtown waterfront last Saturday—national attention for their unpermitted event. They failed in their other goal, to “exterminate” antifa, anti-fascist opposition. Before the event, members, claiming to be non-violent, posted images of beatings, knives slicing throats, and corpses in body bags on social media.

Before the rally, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) sided with white supremacists and called for “naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANIZATION OF TERROR,’” something that doesn’t exist for domestic groups. Earlier in August, he criticized antifa for promoting what he called “supremacy” in its fight against white supremacists. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) proposed a resolution to designate antifa a domestic terrorist group (a designation given to no white supremacist groups). He claims the Rose City Antifa “explicitly rejects the authority of law enforcement officers in the United States.” Cruz will fail because antifa doesn’t kill anyone, and the U.S. uses the designation of “hate groups” for extremist organizations such as the KKK. Members of far-right extremist groups have committed 73 percent of extremist murders in the U.S. between 2009 and 2018, 

The night before the event, Joey Gibson, leader of the fascist Patriot Prayer from across the Columbia River in Washington state, turned himself in for felony rioting outside a Portland cidery but got out on bail in time to join the few hundred fascists. Six men were charged this month for violence at a bar favored by the left, and violence always marks Gibson’s frequent events in Portland. White supremacist groups such as Identity Evropa and the PDX Stormers often support Gibson’s rallies in Portland, but the Proud Boys led he August 17 event. Biggs sent threats to “antifa” after conservative writer Andy Ngo was “milkshaked”—having a drink poured over him—and punched on June 29. A police-generated rumor that the milkshakes contained concrete—a false statement—generated backlash from both right-wing media and traditional media counterparts (notably CNN) in their sympathy for Ngo. After Ngo’s appearance on Fox’s Tucker Carlson, his GoFundMe website raised more than $200,000.

Over 700 law enforcement officers from 15 agencies tried to keep the 1,300 members of opposing groups apart in an effort that cost the city millions of dollars. Outnumbered by over three to one, the fascist groups wandered for about 30 minutes before Portland police, criticized for their friendly relationships with one of he fascist groups, escorted them to a bridge blocked to the public where they marched across the Willamette River. Law enforcement willingness to accommodate groups terrorizing Portland residents for a rally with no permits in a public park may have avoided bloodshed, but it showed support for fascist protesters. The groups stayed for only an hour of their planned five-hour rally.

The counterprotest, organized by the Popular Mobilization (or PopMob) coalition of leftist groups, distributed flyers stating:

“If you oppose racism, white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and the xenophobic, ultranationalist ideologies of the far right (and our current administration), you are an EVERYDAY ANTIFASCIST.

“If you are not a fascist — then you are Antifa.”

The 1,000 counterdemonstrators included local Jewish and Buddhist faith leaders and a marching band in bright yellow banana costumes. Others dressed as unicorns and pandas, blowing giant bubbles and singing along the waterfront.

Biggs said that the Proud Boys will come to Portland monthly to deplete its resources until the mayor rids the city of antifa. The Proud Boys sometimes say that their violence is only self-defense, but Biggs’ videos are violent, such as the one in which he swings a DDT-themed baseball bat that he brags will be “put to good use” in Portland. In his announcement of the rally, Biggs wore a shirt reading “Training to Throw Communists Out of Helicopters” and issued violent threats to his antifa critics:

“You’re not gonna feel safe when you go out in public. Every time you turn your shoulder or your head, you look over, you’re always gonna feel like myself or someone else is gonna be there looking, because that’s what we’re going to do. You’re scum, you’re filth, you’re anti-American socialist fucking pricks, and I’m not gonna let that shit happen in this country.”

Later Biggs tweeted his followers:

“Get a gun. Get ammo. Get your gun license. Get training. Practice as much as you can and be ready because the left isn’t playing anymore and neither should we.”

His supporters responded with memes depicting ISIS-style beheadings of antifascists with large knives. One of them said:

“I fully expect [an] armed conflict to break out on Aug. 17. People may die this is the real deal.”

Republicans have a history of supporting the violent fascist Proud Boys. Almost two years ago, the Metropolitan Republican Club in Manhattan invited former Proud Boys to attend and their leader Gavin McInnes to speak. Following their riot outside, the Club defended the racist group and denied that the speech “was certainly not inciting violence.” Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Devin Nunes (R-CA) posed for photos with Proud Boys on the campaign trail, and Fox talk show host Tucker Carlson posed in a Fox green room with two Proud Boys and GOP operative Roger Stone who used Proud Boys as his security force at an Oregon GOP event after the Proud Boys were well-known for their Portland brawls.

Nine Proud Boys were arrested because of the Metropolitan Republican Club riot, and McInnes quit the group after the FBI classified them as an extremist organization. He said he did it to “alleviate the sentencing” of the arrested members to “show jurors they are not dealing with a gang and there’s no head of operations.” The FBI backed off from its designation because it “does not and will not police ideology.” DDT’s 2020 campaign may cause more Proud Boys violence; they prominently appear at his rallies. Proud Boys have also gone to alt-right researcher Gwen Snyder’s Philadelphia home and threatened her

Scholars of fascism note that fascist skinhead groups pose serious political threats when a mainstream political party endorses them, and they “become functional equivalents of Hitler’s SA and Mussolini’s squadristi.” Conservatives cultivating or tolerating white supremacists as weapons against an eternal enemy such as immigrants raise fascist insurgency to “Stage Two.” Proud Boy lawyer Jason Lee Van Dyke said that the group has been welcomed by DDT’s GOP party. Group umbers grew after the disastrous riots at Charlottesville (VA) caused other groups to dissipate, but the 3,000 membership seems to be shrinking everywhere except in the Pacific Northwest, especially Portland, perhaps because of some police sympathy toward the group.

The white supremacist groups violently invading cities reflect the neo-Nazi skinhead gangs of the 1980s and early 1990s who controlled music venues, bars, and street corners. They recruited disaffected members of the white working class just as groups like the Proud Boys develops its presence by trolling blogs.

The conservative USA Today explains antifa, short for “anti-fascist,” as a movement, not an “organization” as DDT tweeted, because it lacks leadership and structure. The oldest alliance of anti-fascists, the ten-year-old Rose City Antifa in Portland, has been the object of attacks by fascist groups. Antifa’s goal is stopping Neo-Nazis from having its racist, sexist, homophobia public forum by confronting them and protecting counterprotesters. They “dox” fascist group members by spreading private information about them to the public and employers because “the goal of fascism is to exterminate the vast majority of human beings.”

Mark Bray, author of Antifa: The Antifascist Handbook, emphasized the importance of publicizing fascist believes to blunt their growth:

“We should be wary of those who are more distressed about alleged violations of the speech of fascists than the actual violence they perpetrate.”

Bray writes about the importance of stopping fascist groups before they take over countries. Bloodshed could have been avoided by blocking Mussolini in 1919 when his nucleus had only 100 men or the 54 members of German Workers’ Party at Hitler’s first meeting. Earlier intervention might have prevented the murder of heather Heyer at Charlottesville.

A counterprotester said:

“If we ignore fascism, it emboldens fascism, and we must confront fascism with all necessary force, even if that just means showing up and saying, ‘You’re not welcome here.’”

Despite the protesters against fascists outnumbering the opposition over three to one, the fascists declared the event a victory for them—probably because the man they call the president of the United States sided with them and not with opponents of fascism. Counterprotesters might have wanted more fascists to attend the event: they collected pledges of money for each one who attended. Proceeds went to Causa, a local group that helps protect local undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Two days later, the gathering of 300 fascists in Portland seems a flash in the pan as DDT struggles against the reality of a possible recession, angers from farmers loss of income, calls for gun safety legislation, crises around the world, and his disastrous polls.  

August 18, 2019

Oppose Fundamentalist Christian Opposition to Democracy

Much has been said about the connection between mass shooting and white supremacy, but people are more cautious in discussing its connection to Christianity. Activist Sandy Rios, activist for extreme conservative Christianity, claims that criticism of white supremacy is an attack on Christianity. In her radio program, she defended the Nazis for murder of white people because they selected those who didn’t qualify for the superhuman race. She added:
“When the left is talking about white supremacism, they’re talking about the roots of this country. They’re talking about Christianity. They’re talking about hard work, about capitalism and free-market values. They’re talking about everything that has made America what it is. That’s what they mean.”

The Southern Baptist Convention was founded on with the ideology that black slavery and white supremacy are the basis of the Christian faith. The white supremacist Ku Klux Klan has always been a Christian organization. Christians allowed Nazi Germany to take control and murder people because most German Christians supported the Third Reich even in the face of mounting evidence of its evil. Throughout Europe, millions of Christians still support fascist regimes just as early Christian sects were loyal to authoritarian leaders.

Centuries ago, Rome misinterpreted the Gospels to remove blame for Jesus’ crucifixion from Romans and move it to the Jews. Throughout time, the myth that Jews killed Jesus accelerated into Catholic genocide of Jews during the Holocaust. A racist, anti-democracy culture came from people who grew up in strict, pious households disparaging tolerance and free speech. Nazis despised feminism, homosexuality, and abortion while following a patriarchal lifestyle with discipline and conformity. Their elections reflected their belief that an authoritarian strongman would “make Germany great again”; religious Germans repeatedly voted for anti-democracy candidates. As Christians supported Hitler and his policies, he became stronger, and the minority weaker. Not even Hitler’s mandatory sterilizations of minorities and the mentally ill lost his Catholic leaders.

Michael Gerson writes about how Christians find their worship of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in opposition to Jesus’ spiritual education. For example, only 25 percent of white evangelical Christians accept the responsibility to help refugees, compared to 65 percent of those not affiliated with a religion. The majority of conservative Christians promote cruelty, corruption, and hypocrisy, not the people who consider themselves non-Christians. Gerson proposes that these Christians take their talking points from Fox, talk radio, and DDT with a blasphemous worship of political idols. They side with white supremacists, making them difficult to identify as Christians.  

Christian TV host Leigh Valentine claims migrant children in DDT’s concentration camps are “God-haters,” “unclean,” “debased,” and “criminals.”

DDT-supporting West Virginia state senator Paul Hardesty reported that at least three of his constituents called to complain about DDT’s profanity—“using the Lord’s name in vain”—at a recent rally in Greenville (NC). Although many of DDT’s listeners focused on the “send her back” chanting, others were disturbed by his frequent use of “g—damn” and other profanities. Hardesty hasn’t heard back from DDT after he wrote him to “reflect on your comments and never utter those words again.” Hardesty said:

“I think this president needs to be president to all of the people and realize that kids look up to him and adults look up to him. Carrying that type of language from behind the presidential seal is offensive.”

Two pro-DDT pastors expressed dismay about his use of “bullsh—” at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in March. He bragged about going “off-script” and then littered the remainder of his speech with cursing in front of an audience with young people. Yet some evangelicals support DDT despite his multiple divorces, infidelities, and inability to discuss religion. Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. says that DDT’s language is not a deal-breaker despite its front-and-center appearance in his campaign and since his inauguration. Evangelicals who turn against DDT think racism and cruelty are no problem, but his language is offensive. All sin—sexual assault, adultery, rape, murder, corruption, lying, etc.—is forgivable except swearing.

In the 16th century, one Catholic priest, Diego de Landa, destroyed the Mayan language and culture through the forced adoption of the Intolerance Meme that declares worshipping gods other than the primary one is a sin but justifies murder, slavery, forced conversion, racism, destruction of other religions, etc. Furious because the Mayans incorporated the Catholic god into their religion, Lana started the inquisition that tortured and killed Mayans throughout the Yucatan region. By 1720, not one person alive understood the meaning of the Mayan hieroglyphs. Landa was punished by house arrest in Spain, but only for an inquisition without authorization, and then promoted to Bishop of Yucatan in Central America.

DDT is not unique among presidential candidates in his swearing: Joe Biden makes slips, and Beto O’Rourke and Tulsi Gabbard use profanity. But they haven’t been elected to the highest office in the country, and they don’t count on the religious right for votes. In 2016, 80 percent of white evangelicals voted for DDT, and 61 percent of the voting bloc approve of the country’s direction—22 percent higher than the general population in the conservative Rasmussen poll.

According to Melissa Mohr, author of a book on swearing, DDT’s swearing was initially acceptable because his blunt statements gave him a sense of authenticity and came from “a deep well of real feeling.” On the other hand, the use of profanity for shock value, according to one of the pastors, “does raise questions about the president’s respect for people of faith.”

Recent developments show Christian collectively pushing the theocratic “dominionist” ideology in government through unconstitutional state-mandated “religious liberty” policies: 

Six weeks ago, federal prosecutors decided to retry humanitarian aid volunteer Scott Warren for aiding migrants on the southern border after his first trial ended in a hung jury. Following the words of Jesus, Warren gave food, water, clothing, and shelter to people on the Arizona desert, a belief that can put him in prison.

The VA announced new “religious liberty” policies against religious minorities by putting bibles in the public POW/MIA “missing man” displays. As justification, it cited the Supreme Court decision that allowed a cross to represent 49 men from Prince George County (MD) who died in World War I.

Frederick Clarkson reported to the House about Minnesota state legislators threatening to cut the entire budget for the Minnesota Historical Society if they didn’t drop all education and changes that don’t support the Christian nationalist concentration on only their “Judeo-Christian heritage.” Their insistence came from Project Blitz that prepares a package of Christian-only bills at the state level that promote discrimination. The lectures about the myth of the U.S. founded as a “Christian nation” were privately funded, but Project Blitz still wanted to block them.

The dominance of Israel over U.S. legislators has returned with DDT’s attacks on Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), both Muslims. Tlaib also has Palestinian heritage. Christian fundamentalists support Israel, hate Palestinians, and believe that Jews are going to hell if they don’t become fundamentalist Christians. Evangelicals need to eradicate the Palestinians so that Jews can gather on their land and must convert before the beginning of the great millennium, the golden age when Christ reigns on earth. In addition, Christian nationalists want the U.S. to be a white Christian nation. Therefore, the Christian fundamentalist position on Israel is selfishly religious and racist—not political.

Evangelical worship for DDT gives a bad name to all Christians—and all religious people. When Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R-TX) told Fox and Friends that the shooting was a warning from God, Matthew Martin-Ellis wrote a piece for the Christian publication The Relevant describing Patrick’s comment as “logically indefensible.”

A group of at least 17 church leaders, united under the name Christians Against Christian Nationalism, is opposing the Christian nationalists’ attacks on other faiths and attempts to make the U.S. a fundamentalist theocracy. The coalition asserts:

“Whether we worship at a church, mosque, synagogue or temple, America has no second-class faiths. All are equal under the U.S. Constitution.

“Christian nationalism … provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation.

“Christian nationalism seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy. Christian nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the state and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian.”

These leaders warn about the threat to both Christian faith and democracy if church and state don’t remain separate. They reject the idea that being a “good American” requires being Christian and argue against the privilege of Christianity by the State.

August 17, 2019

U.S. Trouble around the World

Anyone questioning whether Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is an autocrat, should consider his directive to Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocking Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from visiting Israel because they support the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement to sanction Israelis over human rights abuses of Palestinians and Israeli’s occupation of the West Bank. DDT tweeted that the two women “hate all Jewish people”—a lie—and added that “it would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit!”

Israeli’s foreign aid from the U.S. is dependent on congressional approval; Omar is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee with oversight over U.S. foreign aid. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said that if Israel doesn’t want U.S. congressional members in the country, they could return the annual $3 billion that Congress allots them for military aid. Even prominent Republicans opposed Israel’s ban on two congressional members taking part in a congressional delegation to the country, a first for the U.S. The day after the ban, Israel said Tlaib could visit her 90-year-old grandmother for the first time in 12 years if Tlaib promised to say nothing about laws punishing public contractors who boycotted Israel for its treatment of Palestinians. When Tlaib refused to go if she were muzzled, DDT accused her of “grandstanding.” Israel’s mandate, like U.S. Republicans who support Tlaib’s suppression, proves Israel as a repressive regime without free speech.

DDT renewed his attacks on Iran by issuing a warrant for the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker detained in Gibraltar, hours after a Gibraltar court ordered the ship released after the British navy intercepted it. The U.S. wants the ship, 2.1 million barrels of oil, and $999,500. The warrant is dated November 16, 2019—not August 19, and Iran is fighting it.   

U.S. officials remain silent about an explosion off the northern coast of Russia on August 8 that spread radioactivity for miles and killed seven people, including scientists. Apparently a test for a cruise missile propelled by nuclear power, the explosion occurred just five days after DDT officially dropped out of a treaty with Russia controlling nuclear weapons. Analysts think that the missile is a prototype of one spreading radioactivity that cannot be stopped because it has an unpredictable path at low altitudes.

Spreading misinformation, Russian officials first denied the radiation leak before confirming it. Three naked injured men wrapped in translucent plastic bags were taken to a regional hospital, but no one notified the hospital staff that the patients were radioactive. Two of the three patients died on the way to the airport on their way to Moscow. Five hospital staff workers, including senior doctors, were required to sign non-disclosure agreements. The staff’s questions were not answered, but the offer to fly them to Moscow for tests was rescinded when one was found with a radioactive isotype, a byproduct of the nuclear fission of uranium-235, in his muscle tissue. Tests were moved to the regional hospital.

Russia also stated that it flew nuclear-capable TU-160 bombers to a far eastern Russian region opposite Alaska to show the country’s long-range ability to launch nuclear weapons into the U.S.

DDT is siding with North Korea’s opposition to U.S./South Korea military exercises against his own military advice after Kim Jong Un wrote him a “really beautiful letter.” Kim wrote that he wants to save the U.S. money by stopping the exercises. North Korea has tested four different new weapons since July, with the most recent yesterday, and threatened continued testing if DDT doesn’t stop the long-planned exercises and lift sanctions. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/17/north-koreas-kim-jong-un-expresses-great-satisfaction-after-test-of-new-weapon   Kim expressed “great satisfaction” about the tests’ “mysterious and amazing success rates” and vowed to build up “invincible military capabilities no one dare provoke.”

At a fundraiser, DDT said Kim “only smiles when he sees me” and “if I hadn’t been elected president, we would be in a big, fat, juicy war with North Korea.” In the same speech, DDT used a fake Japanese accent when he told about a conversation with Shinzo Abe about Abe’s kamikaze pilot father when he asked if kamikaze pilots were drunk or on drugs. Abe said they loved their country; DDT said, “Imagine they get in a plane with a half a tank of gas and fly into steel ships just for the love of their country!” About South Korea, DDT talked about getting rents from tenants:

“It was easier to get a billion dollars from South Korea than to get $114.13 from a rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn, and believe me, those 13 cents were very important.”

DDT mocked the accent of South Korean leader Moon Jae-In, ridiculing him for “caving in” to negotiations and praised his son Don Jr. as a gun expert—seemingly over the FBI, CIA, military generals, U.S. army soldiers, reservists, national guardsmen, and Secret Service.

Thus far, DDT has clearly shown no support for Hong Kong protesters trying to protect themselves from China’s Communists. He explained that China’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen showed that China’s behavior “shows you the power for strength.” DDT’s avoidance of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement has isolated him from Congress, the State Department, European allies, and his hawkish White House advisers. Instead, DDT supports President Xi Jinping.Even Russia-supporter Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tweeted that a violent crackdown on the Hong Kong protesters “would be completely unacceptable.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), usually DDT’s lapdog, tweeted that “30 years after Tiananmen Square all Americans stand with the peaceful protesters in Hong Kong.’’ Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson, co-founder of the Brexit movement, argued that China must respect Hong Kong’s autonomy. In his avoidance of supporting human rights, DDT said nothing about the Moscow mass protests challenging President Vladimir Putin and supports repressive governments of autocracies such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, and Poland.

The election in Guatemala, DDT’s new pawn, is over, and 58 percent of the electorate didn’t show up—the biggest absentee rate in 20 years. Their choice between a right-wing candidate and an extremist right-wing candidate came after the top two contenders were banned from participation. The extremist candidate won. DDT may lose an agreement with Guatemala to block Central Americans from seeking asylum in the United States. The agreement, which needs to be ratified by the Guatemalan congress, would require the country to extend asylum to migrants coming through the country and make some asylum-seekers who pass through Guatemala ineligible for protection in the U.S. President-elect Alejandro Giammattei wants to change the highly unpopular deal, especially after a U.S. judge suspended a separate safe third country accord. The current president signed the agreement after DDT blackmailed him with threats of tariffs and charges on remittances sent to Guatemalans.

Declaring Guatemala a “safe country” has raised deep concerns. In 2016, its murder rate was five times that of the U.S., and people who live in Guatemala fear the high level of crime. Guatemala also has the world’s third-highest rate of femicide, the sixth-highest rate of chronic malnutrition, and an infant mortality rate four times higher than in the United States. DDT and Morales signed the agreement amid a time of violence in Guatemala on the day after two Indigenous community leaders were killed, one of them hacked to death with a machete outside his home and the other hit by a mining company vehicle. The president-elect promises to prohibit marriage equality, criminalize “sodomy” and all education on questions of sexual diversity, and ban abortions under all circumstances.

The coup by U.S. trained and equipped Guatemalan soldiers in 1954 led to 36 years of military rule, still U.S. supported, with genocide razing 600 villages and killing 200,000 people, 83 percent of them ethnic Mayan. Currently, two percent of the Guatemalan population controls 70 percent of arable land. The United Nations-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), expected to shut down next month, has worked with Guatemalan prosecutors to destroy systemic corruption. Asylum-seekers in Guatemala already face threats of murder and physical attacks.

DDT’s sanctions against Venezuela may not have the impact he wants because Panama is still permitting ships through the Canal.

Danish authorities ridiculed DDT’s idea of buying Greenland and its 50,000 citizens. Unfortunately, there is a precedent: in 1917, Denmark sold what is now the Virgin Islands to the U.S. for $25 million. In response to DDT’s suggestion, the huge headline on the cover of New York’s Daily News read: “Fjord to Trump: Drop Dead.” Gerald Ford said a similar headline protesting his lack of assistance for New York City, “Ford to City: Drop Dead,” cost him the 1976 election. The newspaper also echoed a headline after DDT dumped the Paris climate agreement with “Trump to World: Drop Dead.”

Update on DDT’s speech at the Pennsylvania Shell construction site on August 13: Workers were paid overtime to attend the speech and ordered “no yelling, shouting, protesting or anything viewed as resistance.” Those who skipped the speech forfeited all pay for the day and lost all overtime for the week. The new operation may harm the area’s air quality and increase carbon emissions and plastic pollution.

DDT finished his vacation at his Bedminster (NJ) resort during a week of telling lies and facing stalled approval ratings, increased polarization, escalating trade wars in Europe and Asia, war-like tension with North Korea and Iran, an unstable stock market, and a contentious aftermath of two mass shootings last weekend.

 

August 16, 2019

DDT: Week 134 – New Rules Ruin More Lives

Only 14 percent of Republicans approved of President Obama’s executive orders. GOP approval of autocratic orders and rules escalated to 43 percent since DDT was inaugurated. He These rules are from the past week while he is on vacation at his resort in Bedminster (NJ).

The brand-new acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, is living up to the hopes of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). In defending new extreme financial restrictions on immigration, Cuccinelli said that only immigrants who can “stand on their own two feet” are welcome in the United States. In explaining the Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty, he said that the poem referred to European immigrants who came from “class-based societies,” not from poverty. DDT’s new rule will turn down many green card and visa applicants with low incomes of little education who may have used Medicaid, food stamps, or housing vouchers. In a CNN op-ed, Cuccinelli wrote that “self-sufficiency has been a core tenet of the American dream.”

Thirteen states filed a lawsuit against DDT’s rule to deny visas and permanent residency to poor migrants who don’t meet high enough income standards or receive any public assistance. Washington state AG Bob Ferguson said that the rule to take effect October 15 violates the Immigration and Nationality Act by redefining “public charge” in a way unconnected to its original meaning and congressional intent.

While families—including small children—swam in the Rio Grande River at Juarez, border patrol agents fired rubber bullets at them. Rubber bullets, although defined as “non-lethal,” can cause serious injury and harm, especially when randomly shot into a crowd. Israel’s 2000 study revealed that inaccuracy in aim can lead to “substantial mortality, morbidity, and disability,” in particular if people are hit in such vulnerable areas as the head or neck. Matthew Bowen, the border patrol agent who deliberately hit a Guatemalan migrant with his truck, almost running him over, and referred to immigrants as “subhuman” and “mindless murdering savages” was allowed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge. Supposedly he will resign from the Border Patrol.

In an early Christmas present to big business, DDT bulldozed the Endangered Species Act in completing rollbacks to 46-year-old law to pave the way for business development. Hundreds of species, including the wolverines and monarch butterflies, could be gone if DDT succeeds in his goal. Gone, too, will be much of the habitat for threatened wildlife. DDT may be declaring revenge on the bald eagle that was saved by the 46-year-old law. 

The Labor Department has announced a new rule for private contractors allowing the government to more easily fire LGBTQ people and unmarried women who become pregnant—all with the excuse of “religious belief”—because these categories of people are not protected classes. DDT also has asked the Supreme Court ? in a case that it will hear in October. Another rule proposed this week excludes permission for hospitals, health care providers, and insurance companies that receive federal funding to refuse service to LGBT people and people living with HIV. DDT has also asked the Supreme Court to legalize firing workers for being transgender in a case to be heard in October.

DDT also has a new rule allowing states the ability for force drug tests on people receiving unemployment benefits. Required blood tests in other areas such as food stamps have already proved a failure, and the ACLU pointed out that the Fourth Amendment blocks unreasonable government searches.

DDT’s executive orders are always poison, and this one could destroy free speech in the nation. He believes that any criticism of himself is too much progressive speech so he plans an order to give federal agencies the ability to select the acceptability of internet information. According to a draft, the rule asks the FCC for new regulations about how and when the law protects social media websites when they decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms. These new policies would be considered in investigations or lawsuits against companies. DDT has consistently complained that conservative content on social media has been suppressed, ignoring the reasons such as misinformation and calls for violence. His censorship rule would eliminate the rights of private companies and allow the party in power to control speech on the internet.

The DOJ has started to decertify the union representing 440 U.S. immigration judges by filing a petition with the Federal Labor Relations authority defining judges as “management.” Judges are not happy about DOJ’s move. Judge Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, stated:

“We are trial court judges who make decisions on the basis of case specific facts and the nation’s immigration laws. We do not set policies, and we don’t manage staff.” 

In ridiculing the concept of immigrations as management, Tabaddor said, “We don’t even have the authority to order pencils.”

The Department of Agriculture, possibly violating the law by moving its research agency far away from Washington, DC, now avoids the “latest available science” to help farmers by concealing its study on negative affects of climate change on nutritional value of rice. The results show damage of higher CO2 concentration on levels of protein, iron, and zinc levels. After the feds suppressed research from Lewis Ziska, the 25-year veteran of the department left for a job at Columbia University while morale at the EPA has drastically dropped.  

Massive numbers of bankruptcies and foreclosures from DDT’s policies and lack of concern for climate change has caused concern among farmers. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue had an answer for them at a Farmfest in Minnesota when he told a joke about what to call two farmers in a basement: “A whine cellar.” After he was booed, DDT tweeted the falsehood, “Farmers getting more than China would be spending.” DDT’s brief postponement of tariffs won’t help the farmers. Most of DDT’s welfare for farmers has gone to the wealthy, and net farm income dropped in the last five years from $123.4 billion to $63 billion. DDT promised to help them, but farm income is still shrinking. In the Nigerian language, the word MAGA, acronym for “make America great again,” is defined as a pawn in a scheme, a sucker or fraud victim. DDT has suckered in investors and millions of supporters. China refuses to play DDT’s games.

DDT’s trade war was partly to bring jobs back to the U.S., his promise during his campaign. In the first two years after DDT’s inauguration, companies announced the return of only 145,000 factory jobs, and only 30,000 are from his tariffs. Trade policies moved factories to low-cost Asian countries such as Vietnam. Reacting to a backlash toward the new draconian tariffs with China, DDT changed the deadline for “some” tariffs on Chinese imports—about 60 percent of those threatened— from September 1 to December 15. The investors followed his newest promise with their typical sheeple purchase: a day earlier, the Dow Jones dropped almost 400 points after Goldman Sachs told its clients that the trade war would continue until after the 2020 election. The day of the promise, the Dow regained almost all its losses but fell 800 points the next day. Once again, MAGA.

In July, Chinese imports of U.S. goods fell 19 percent from a year earlier while their exports to the U.S. declined 6.5 percent. China has delayed customs clearance for U.S. goods and licenses in finance and other fields. At the same time, other global areas have benefited from more Chinese exports to them after DDT’s tariffs. DDT lost his agreement with China by saying that he would keep the tariffs even if China returned to buying soybeans and other exports from the U.S. The U.S. trade deficit with China has fallen, but the U.S. overall trade deficit increased as U.S. exports remained flat and imports grew. Chief economist Mark M. Zandi for Moody’s Analytics warned that DDT’s trade war is doing economy damage, especially in manufacturing that is “pretty close to recession.”

Aides to DDT say he is “rattled.”  Anxious about the economy because he needs positive views for a re-election, DDT consulted business leaders and financial executives—and the news was not all good for him. The Dow Jones rose over 300 points today, but it is still down almost 300 points for the week after wild fluctuations of over 1000 points. It was a one-day reprieve: the next day the Dow dropped 800 points after the bond market announced the possibility of a recession. DDT is screaming for the Federal Reserve to save him, but is he taking advantage of selling short? At least, DDT may have learned to say the phrase “inverted yield curve.”

The US budget deficit also widened to $867 billion for the first 10 months of the fiscal year, an increase of 27% over this time last year. 

This week, DDT took credit for a major manufacturing complex in western Pennsylvania that was announced in 2012, the year that President Obama campaigned for his successful second term. DDT’s speech was filled with slurs about Democratic presidential candidates. 

DDT’s tax cuts have provided almost no benefit for economic growth, business investment, and worker pay. Half of surveyed corporate chief financial officers expect the economy to shrink by the second quarter of 2020, and two-thirds expect a recession by the end of 2020. Deficits have soared back to the levels of the crisis at the end of George W. Bush’s regime, and only five percent of growth from tax cuts have offset the losses. The interest cut last month was an attempt to counteract the slump in manufacturing and investment. The highly touted salary increase from the tax cuts averaged $28 per worker. That’s the picture of what DDT calls “the strongest economy in the world.”

August 12, 2019

Trump’s Week from Hell – Bill Curry

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 9:09 PM
For 133 weeks, I have posted a summary about Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) actions, but nothing I’ve written can compare with Bill Curry’s overview of DDT’s terrible past week.

After the carnage unleashed on El Paso and Dayton, Trump felt he had to visit both cities despite being welcome in neither….

Trump’s day of mourning began with his usual rage-based tweet fusillade. Of 29 tweets, 20 were attacks: on Joe Biden, Beto O’Rourke, Julián Castro and his twin brother Joaquin, the mayor of Dayton, the Federal Reserve Board, the State of California, others. Of six tweets pertaining to El Paso or Dayton, four were candid photos of Trump caught in the act of being admired. He mentioned the tragedy once (“They’ve been through so much. Sad!”) in a tweet that also bemoaned his suffering at the hands of his critics and rhapsodized over how much Dayton and El Paso loved him.

Trump fumed over a leaked video in which he lied to hospital personnel about the crowd size at an O’Rourke rally, but photos he released on purpose hurt him more. When all eight victims being treated at El Paso’s University Medical Center declined a Trump visit, the hospital lured two discharged patients back for a meet and greet. One of those was a two-month-old infant, whose parents had just died shielding her from gunfire. The pic of a grinning Trump giving thumbs up as Melania held the baby was bizarre and exploitative. (While we’re on the topic, hospital infections are a notorious public health risk. For a hospital to expose an infant to such risk for a mere photo op seems utterly reprehensible.)

As Trump comforted the afflicted, ICE was hauling in 680 undocumented Latinos at seven Mississippi poultry processing plants. Under Trump, ICE has never had a Senate-confirmed director. It has had five acting directors. At the time of the raid, current director Mark Morgan had been on the job for a week. Days later, children had not been reconnected to parents. ICE said the raid was conducted “in the normal course of business,” but it was the biggest in a single state in U.S. history. The agency called the timing a coincidence, but you’d think a president who called off a bomber strike on Iran in mid-flight could postpone a raid on a poultry plant if he thought it served his interests.

Trump thought the raids served his interests. They didn’t. For one thing, the children were not in ICE custody and were thus freer than border children in cages to give press interviews. When 11-year-old Magdalena Gómez Gregorio sobbed convulsively into a camera, “I want my daddy … my dad didn’t do anything … he is not a criminal,” it tore at the hearts of all decent people.

Trump says he prioritizes criminal deportations, but like July’s 10-city ICE “sweep” meant only to rally his base and terrify families, the raids reminded voters outside his base of several things: The people Trump targets do jobs we don’t want for wages we can’t live on; they pay taxes to support programs that benefit us, not them; they’re the very people to whom we want to offer a path to citizenship….

Trump’s PR disaster didn’t end in Mississippi. The night after he flew back from El Paso, the Washington Post broke a story about his company’s use of undocumented landscapers on properties up and down the East Coast. It was the second such exposé this year. The first focused on housekeepers at his resorts who were paid dirt wages and forced to work extra hours without pay.

Trump has been exploiting undocumented workers since long before he began manufacturing ties in China; indeed, since his earliest New York real estate days. Each time his company gets caught, Donald Trump Jr. says he’ll get right on it. The penalty for employing undocumented workers is up to $5,000 and six months in jail per worker. No plant owner was charged last week, and it’s a safe bet Trump won’t indict himself any time soon….

Last Wednesday the Post ran another exposé, this one on the NRA’s alleged attempt to buy a $6 million, 10,000-square-foot lakefront home for CEO Wayne LaPierre. The New York attorney general is looking into the matter. The group has ended the last three years in the red due to internal strife, lost membership and mounting legal fees….

Trump mumbles NRA pieties about guns and mental health. That takes gall. His top priority is repealing Obamacare. His alternative: A GOP plan to let fly-by-night insurers sell policies nationwide that don’t include any mental health coverage. If he got his way on both initiatives, a third of all Americans could see their mental health coverage sharply reduced or vanish altogether.

McConnell is “for gun safety” now because his Senate majority is at greater than advertised risk. With the right platform and candidates, Democrats could put as many as seven Republican Senate seats in play. One of them is McConnell’s in Kentucky. Suburban women won’t tolerate inaction. Neither McConnell nor Trump was moved by the sight of suffering. The only lives they’re trying to save are their own.

Trump’s core strategy is the weaponization of racism and racial fear. El Paso made even that game harder to play….

Last week, Democrats wrestled with a thorny question: Is Trump a racist or a white supremacist? Who’s to say? Does prejudice make you a racist, or must you have a formal theory? Does hatred make you a white supremacist or must you take to the streets? Here’s an easier question: Who’s done more to foster racial fear and hatred in America, David Duke or Donald Trump? Trump by a mile, of course. Last week it got harder to pretend otherwise.

Investigating Trump remains a growing, diversifying industry, comprised of state prosecutors and attorneys general, plaintiffs’ lawyers, opposition researchers, hundreds of reporters and the U.S. House of Representatives, among others. On Thursday. Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York rounded out Trump’s week from hell with this characterization of the House Judiciary Committee’s work:

“This is formal impeachment proceedings … we will … by the end of the year vote articles of impeachment to the House floor or we won’t, but that’s exactly the process we’re in … “

The news in Nadler’s pronouncement is that House Democrats have found a way to pursue impeachment without implicating every freshman caucus member in the decision. If they get their hands on the real impeachment road map—Trump’s tax returns—he’ll look back on weeks like this with fond nostalgia….

Just three weeks ago an aged Robert Mueller shuffled out of his last hearing room. Trump gloated, sure he had slipped the noose. Now he knows better. He bet his re-election on racism, immigrant bashing, the NRA and the Christian right. Racism and immigrant bashing just got harder to sell. If the election is a referendum on gun violence or Roe v. Wade, so much the worse for him.

Trump loves to brag about his coolness under pressure, but as always, the truth is the opposite of whatever he just said. Last week his compulsion and impulsivity were on full display. We expect presidents to console us in times of tragedy, but knowing he can’t even appear outdoors in Dayton or El Paso, he should have stayed home. He should not have taunted his opponents, to say nothing of his hosts, but he truly can’t help himself. Henceforth, his stage-crafted immigration raids will serve mostly to expose his hypocrisy….

Trump bellows about MS-13, but families caught in his sweeps aren’t gang members, they’re hard-working, law-abiding taxpayers, for whom 80% of Americans want a path to citizenship or legal residence. Who do we want arrested? Employers like him who exploit the helpless and mock the law. If it can be proved that Trump knows about his own closely held company’s hiring practices, it ought to be an article of impeachment.

Expanding mental health services won’t cure gun violence, but it’s still a good idea. Republicans who cite mental health after mass shootings also work to destroy Obamacare and circumvent state laws setting minimal mental health care coverage standards. If they win, millions of Americans will lose access to mental health services. The Republicans are running a shell game with no pea. Somebody should call them out on it….

Trump has also given Democrats a chance to forge a new conversation about racial justice. Three weeks ago, it seemed his attacks on “the Squad” might actually work. Then he savaged Rep. Elijah Cummings, most of Baltimore and all of San Francisco. Then came El Paso. Now Democrats have a chance to lay out a vision of racial justice that inspires every decent American. Trump gave us this teachable moment and the perfect teaching tool: himself.

I don’t know if the polls moved a point this week. I do know I saw Trump in trouble, making one wrong choice after another. It gives Democrats the chance to do what he can never do: Unite us.

August 10, 2019

Epstein’s Death May Cover for DDT’s Undocumented Workers

Last week, ICE arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants at seven Mississippi plants on the first day of school, leaving their children homeless and at the mercy of townspeople’s charity. One question raised by ICE’s actions is why employers aren’t arrested. Only five companies have been prosecuted for hiring undocumented immigrants in the past 30 months despite ICE’s fervent attacks on their workers. None of these cases occurred from April 2018 to March 2019 although Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said that making employers comply with immigration and labor laws is a top priority. In 2017, the DOJ began settlements from prosecution with seven, recently a $60,000 civil fine against a strawberry farm in Florida.

One current reason for reluctance in charging companies might be that DDT’s company hires undocumented workers. The investigation from the Washington Post found no evidence of ICE audits or raids at DDT’s properties in the recent past, either before or after he ran for president. The drop in corporate immigration cases has coincided with an overall drop in white-collar enforcement. White-collar crime prosecutions hit a historic low in January and are on track to be down six percent this year than fiscal 2018 and 30 percent below five years ago.

DDT’s company has relied in private on workers without legal immigration status even as Trump denounced such immigrants in public. For almost 20 years, workers who came into the United States illegally have built rock walls, waterfalls, fountains, and other features at his winery and golf courses from New York to Florida. And they are still employed for this work; supervisors tell them how to get false identity documents. Once the word got out last year about how permanent employees at golf courses were undocumented, 18 of them were fired. But the construction crew has stayed the same. The Trump Organization is still not listed for E-Verify for new hires.

According to industry officials, the Trump Organization has an advantage over competitors at a time of low employment because they are less likely to complain or change jobs if they are treated poorly. Some of them are sent hundreds of miles away from their homes for months to different jobs. DDT’s undocumented construction crew was started by stonemason Frank Sanzo when DDT’s bought a country club in foreclosure that required extensive masonry work. Sanzo told the crew to buy false Social Security numbers and green cards to put into the Trump Organization files. When labor union officials visited the construction site, Sanzo told the immigrant crew to hide until they left. 

During DDT’s campaign, one of his executives registered the construction crew under a new legal name, Mobile Payroll Construction. Nothing changed except for the name signing the paychecks. Mobile never scrutinized the workers’ immigration status. The company accepted an “individual Tax Identification Number” from the IRS for proof of legal status, although employers are told that these are insufficient. The government requires immigration and identity documents that “reasonably appear to be genuine.” DDT used in-house workers to avoid permitting costs for projects. Employees also did not receive health insurance, overtime wages, and other benefits.

DDT’s employment of undocumented workers:

  • They have been employed at a minimum of five golf courses, for 17 years at one club.
  • Despite denial, supervisors knew about the workers’ undocumented status.
  • know about their status?
  • DDT may have known about the undocumented status, but the Trump Organization and the White House refuse to answer questions about what he knows. He did say that “probably every club in the United States has [undocumented workers because it’s] a way that people did business.”
  • DDT claims his company is using E-Verify, a voluntary federal system that allows employers to quickly check the immigration status of new hires. Only three of his golf courses were listed as enrolled in E-Verify as of 2019; now all 12 of his golf courses are listed.

The New York state attorney general’s office is collecting information on DDT’s undocumented employees through interviews with a focus on wage-and-labor-law violations. New Jersey is doing the same thing. A wall might not have stopped DDT’s undocumented workers from coming into the country.

Mar-a-Lago‘s large number of foreign cooks, wait people, and housekeepers are legal. DDT claims no one in the United States will do the work, but he fights immigrants coming into the country because they take jobs from U.S. citizens. The fault lies not with the people who come to the country but with the wealthy business owners who exploit workers.

For the second year, farm workers and their supporters marched 14 miles in 90-degree heat through Washington state berry fields in protest to widespread abuse of agricultural labor. DDT is deporting laborers who have lived and worked here for years—like the ones in Mississippi—and replacing them with H-2A visa guest workers in another form of exploitation. That program was popular in 1954 when growers brought in 450,000 temporary workers and the country deported over a million people. It was abolished in 1964, but the H-2A visa was never eliminated.

Workers who can’t pick enough crops to satisfy the ever-needy corporations are threatened with deportation and sometimes don’t receive wages. Marchers held a moment of silence for Honesto Sila Ibarra, an H-2A guest worker who died after he was forced to return to work in the fields after he collapsed. A lawsuit against Ibarra’s employer, Sarbanand Farms, quoted a supervisor as saying that workers were told to work “unless they were on their death bed.”

By law, growers can bring in guest workers only if no local workers are available after the company advertisers. Another lawsuit against a Washington labor recruiter and a large winery charges that H-2A programs replaced local farmworkers after horrible working conditions discouraged locals from employment. Mercer Canyons, the company, settled by paying workers $545,000 and attorneys’ fees.

DDT claims that illegal immigration is a national crisis and lowers wages for people in the U.S. In his State of the Union speech this year, he said:

“Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate. It is cruel.”

DDT’s Labor Department proposed rule changes on July 26 to make the H-2A program cheaper and easier for growers to use because employers would not need to offer jobs to local farmworkers. Proposed rules also allow multiple growers to move workers from job to job in crews that help contractors to avoid local workers. Another advantage for employers—and disadvantage for workers—is for growers to self-inspect housing, which can be terrible. Ten percent of farm workers who are Washington residents live outdoors in a car or tent, and another 20 percent live in garages, shacks, or “in places not intended to serve as bedrooms.”

The new rule would also allow employers to save $80 million a year by forcing H-2A workers to pay for transportation costs from their homes to where they work instead of from the U.S. border. Growers also save millions with a complicated change in calculating minimum wages to not undercut wages of resident farm labor by eliminating standards for piece rates cuts hourly wages by $6.  

Once again the media has been diverted from DDT’s possible crimes with the death of Jeffrey Epstein, 66, in his jail cell. He was incarcerated on charges of sexually abusing dozens of young girls—many of them underage—in the early 2000s, crimes that former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta covered up to stop an FBI investigation. Law enforcement said Epstein was found hanging in his cell in what the Bureau of Prisons called an “apparent suicide.” The New York City ME is investigating the death.

Two weeks ago, Epstein was found unconscious in his cell with marks around his neck, but he was taken off suicide watch after a week. People close to Epstein consider a homicide because he had been in good spirits. The death came less than a day after the court unsealed a large number of documents about his activities and people who may have observed them. The lawyer representing two alleged victims plans to file a civil lawsuit against Epstein’s estate and called for his executors to freeze the estate assets. Epstein stayed in the same federal facility as Paul Manafort, drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, and the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing mastermind Ramzi Ahmed Yousef while they waited for trials.

AG Bill Barr has promised an investigation by his inspector general, in addition to the FBI investigation, into Epstein’s death, guaranteeing more media distraction from DDT’s crimes. At the same time, conspiracy theories are rolling: DDT retweeted a post blaming the death on Hillary Clinton and her husband, President Bill Clinton. The tweeter has no evidence, but these theories trended today.

Another man who preyed on underage girls,  self-described anarchist Cody Wilson, escaped a charge of felony sexual assault by pleading guilty to injury to a child. He stays out of prison but must register as a sex offender for seven years. During that time, he cannot own a firearm. Wilson had downloaded gun designs for 3-D printers to give criminals untraceable weapons. A judge had blocked Wilson from uploading the blueprints, but Wilson distributed his blueprints in other ways such as selling the files with the consumer determining the price. 

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