Nel's New Day

August 9, 2019

DDT: Week 133 – All about Him

Although Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) tried to hide his “performance” during the trips to Dayton and El Paso this past week, leaks continue. On Air Force One, he shouted at aides because he claimed they didn’t defend him, and he ranted about how much larger his audience in El Paso was than the protest one with “crazy” (DDT’s word) Beto O’Rourke. DDT lied about the rally which he hasn’t paid for–$569,204.63—when O’Rourke was followed by thousands of people. And the rally when he falsely claimed that he needed the wall because El Paso’s crime rate is so high. In fact, the crime rate in the city is less than half of the national average, and the annual homicide rate has been less than the number killed by a young white supremacist from the Houston area last weekend. 

DDT insisted that an infant, whose parents were both killed by the El Paso murderer, be brought back to the hospital for a photo op. Note DDT’s happy thumbs up in the shot. The orphan’s fingers were broken when the mother tried to protect him from the shooter. 

Staffers agreed with the public that DDT’s Wednesday visits were not successful because he spend his time attacking local officials. Although DDT gave a positive front about his day, he was furious with the results behind the scenes.

DDT said later that the shooter was a coward because he surrendered and “just gave up.” Among those confused about his statement was the one who asked if DDT wanted to “encourage the next right-wing terrorist to increase the body count and not be taken alive.”

This  article describes AG Bill Barr’s blood-curdling ideology in his equating the concept of justice with vigilante revenge when he talks about the satisfaction people find in movies such as Death Wish and Dirty Harry. The plots revolve around a “hero” executing petty thieves in New York and another “hero” torturing a serial killer. Barr follows DDT’s statement that “we need quick justice and we need strong justice,” which is actually revenge. The figure representing justice is blindfolded to illustrate that the system should be based on facts and evidence but Barr follows DDT’s need to judge everything on feelings. Revenge comes from the belief that violence is the only response to feeling powerless. The criminal justice process, however, follows accurate identification of responsible individuals, fair adjudication, retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, and restoration. For that reason, justice protects people who are innocent until proved guilty, again requiring rules and limitations—several of them in the Bill of Rights. Barr’s open support of operating outside the law follows the actions of his boss.

Barr may be trying to keep DDT’s financial documents from Congress, but the banks—including Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America—are turning them over to House committees. Some of them, especially Deutsche Bank, are cooperating with the New York investigation of the Trump Organization.

DDT’s senior DOJ officials told senior prosecutors investigating problems with Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland to reduce settlements so that the government would get less money. Former AG Rod Rosenstein instructed that charges be changed from criminal to the less serious civil ones in cases that the banks misled buyers of residential mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis. Mortgage losses for RBS securities of $54 billion destroyed customers’ investments. The $2 billion settlement was far less than staff prosecutors had sought in what they considered strong cases. Dictates from DOJ officials in Washington toward U.S. attorney offices are rare.

The arbitrary removal of two research agencies, the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, may be illegal because DDT lacks congressional approval, according to the Agriculture Department’s inspector general. The department may not have the authority to appropriate funds for the move and have violated the Antideficienty Act prohibiting government employees in contracts of obligation of payments before an appropriation.

DDT is still trying to take over Venezuela; during the past two months, he diverted about $30 billion in Venezuelan assets with about $1 billion moved into the accounts of opposition leaders. The confiscation of money from banks at DDT’s request was coordinated by DDT’s choice for president, Juan Guaidó, if DDT’s coup had been successful. Guaidó was assisted by key aids Leopold Lopez and Roberto Marrero. In his goal to starve Venezuela, DDT put new sanctions on the country this week. He also has more plans to get the nation’s legally elected president, Nicolás Maduro, out of power, including an embargo or even a blockade of Venezuela’s coastline. National security adviser John Bolton has threatened retaliation to any country that does business with Maduro. DDT still favors big business: Chevron has a three-month exemption so that it can keep drilling for oil in Venezuela. Guaidó lacks support to seize power, and Maduro maintains support, using the U.S.’s imperialistic meddling as a frequent talking point. 

North Korea has increased leverage over negotiations with the U.S. because DDT refuses to acknowledge the four missile tests from North Korea in two week. As North Korea fires more test missiles, Japan and South Korea continue to feud despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s jovial attempt to mitigate the problems between Taro Kono, Japan’s foreign minister and Kang Kyung-wha, his South Korean counterpart (left). Conflicts developing from other a century ago about Japan’s colonial occupation of Korea and reparations for forced labor and sexual slavery came to a head with Japan’s threats to slow down vital exports for South Korea industries. U.S. needs both countries as protection against China and North Korea but doesn’t want to mend the rift. If tensions escalate and fire on each other, U.S. ships between the two countries could be in danger. 

DDT wants to find Iranian mines in the Persian Gulf to fuel his propaganda against the country, but sonar on the Navy ships is so inadequate that it identifies dishwashers, crab traps, and cars as potential bombs under the water. Companies making spare parts for the ship’s aging sonar equipment are gone, and the Navy moved its priorities to “cool” new equipment, according to one officer. Sailors are not always trained to use the old equipment.

The G7 summit later this month will be tense after DDT falsely accused French President Emmanuel Macron of inviting Iran’s president to the event. DDT also objects to Macron communicating with Iran.

DDT said he’s not ready to make a deal with China about his trade war, and the stock market went down again. He also announced that he’s cutting ties with telecom giant Huawei, the business he blacklisted in May and then reinstated in July. The Dow is down 250 points for the week.

July was the hottest month ever recorded since the record-keeping began over a century ago:

  • Officials in Switzerland and elsewhere painted stretches of rail tracks white, trying to keep them from buckling in the extreme heat.
  • Wildfires raged across millions of acres in the Arctic.
  • A massive ice melt in Greenland sent 197 billion tons of water pouring into the Atlantic Ocean and raised sea levels.
  • Alaska saw startling amounts of greenhouse gases.
  • Germany lowered autobahn speed limits to avoid high-speed motorways.

Rising temperatures are also killing U.S. soldiers, at least 17 during the last decade. Heat strokes or heat exhaustion among active-duty service members went from 1,766 in 2008 and 2,792 in 2018.

Puerto Rico has a new governor, the third in less than a week. The first one resigned, the second one was declared unconstitutional because he hadn’t been confirmed by the Senate, and the third, unpopular former Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez Garced, may stick. After Ricardo Rosselló was caught in a chat room with offensive messages about his opponents and Hurricane Maria victims , Rosselló  pushed Pedro Pierluisi into the next in line secretary of state as a replacement for Luis Rivera Marín who resigned for the same reasons as ? Only the Puerto Rican House approved Pierluisi before he was sworn in as governor last friend, the day that Rosselló’s resignation took effect. They thought that their action was legal because of a 2005-approved law of succession, but Puerto Ricans and the Senate protested. The Supreme Court sided with the Senate, ruling that the 2005 amendment was unconstitutional. Pierluisi’s law firm represents the financial board, headed by his brother-in-law, that oversees the island’s struggling finances. Now top officials from Vázquez’s party is considering a replacement for her. 

DDT’s promise to lower drug prices was popular with both parties, and he’s in full campaign mode working on success in this area. Now conservatives are accusing DDT of socialism in his support to decrease prices by importing drugs from Canada and ban Medicare from paying more than other countries for prescription drugs with an international pricing policy. DDT’s opposition to “global freeloading” has caused him to aim for capping U.S. payments for expensive drugs. Ads from the conservative Freedom Works complain about “socialist-style price controls” and “socialist European drug prices in America.” As usual, opposition from GOP establishment wants no legislation that Democrats would support.

August 8, 2019

Plant a Tree, Hug a Bee

Filed under: Climate change,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 9:03 PM
Tags: , , , ,

The reign of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has badly split Republicans’ belief systems. While much of the media has concentrated on DDT’s enablers, conservative columnist Kathleen Parker has moved to the center since she started her column over 30 years ago in Orlando (FL). This one from late July resonated with me:

Sometimes big problems can be solved simply.

At the moment, our biggest problem — climate change — can be ended by simply planting trees. OK, so a trillion trees, according to a Swiss study published earlier this month in the journal Science. But how hard is that, really?

An equally serious and related problem is disappearing bees. Those cute little black-and-yellow-robed buzzers are essential to our survival, but our pesticides, fertilizers and climate change are killing them along with the insects we hate. Without bees, our ecosystems would collapse, and thus our food supply.

Over the top? Apocalyptic? Let’s just say, no. This is reality, and we have the means to change it: Plant trees, save bees. Since bees also like flowers, let’s go ahead and make America beautiful again. An emerging theory to combat crime in some parts of the country is called “busy streets.” Research has shown how simple cosmetic changes to urban communities — such as planting flowerbeds — can help reduce violence. And improve a city’s aroma to boot.

Saving bees and trees by planting with purpose would kill two birds, so to speak. If this sounds like a modern version of the Emerald City of Oz, I have no problem with that. Bees love poppies, which, though they provide no nectar, are an excellent source of pollen. That’s nothing to sneeze about, by the way.

Most people know that trees are good for them. They absorb CO2 (carbon dioxide), thus purifying the air for our breathing pleasure. Carbon dioxide is also one of the main greenhouse gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere, leading to rising temperatures and climate change.

Estimates are that about 15% of emissions come from deforestation. Trees also curb other harmful gases, such as sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide, again releasing pure oxygen into the air. If the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 150 million hectares of forests were lost, it would generate about three times the world’s total annual emissions in 2012.

But scientists, including Thomas Crowther, a co-author of the trillion-tree study, were quick to point out that planting trees alone wouldn’t work. And how does one go about planting a trillion trees? And where should they be planted?

Although tree-planting is a simple solution — effective and cheaper than any other remedies currently in circulation — it isn’t a simple matter to plant trees helter-skelter. A forest in the wrong place could have detrimental effects by upsetting the ecological balance.

But this seems a relatively easy obstacle to clear.

The countries with the most land available for building forests are Russia, China, Canada, Australia, Brazil — and the United States. The Switzerland-based researchers found that adding 1.2 trillion more trees would reverse 10 years’ worth of harmful emissions. Over the decades, Crowther says those new trees would absorb about 200 billion tons of carbon from the atmosphere.

Several countries have signed up for reforestation, including the United States, which has seen an increase in its forestland, thanks in part to the Forest Service’s tree-planting initiatives. But we have to figure that the wreath of rainforests that fully wrapped around the globe until relatively recently was surely there for good reason. Satellite images show that the Amazon rainforest — the world’s largest — is disappearing at the rate of one and a half soccer-field-sized parcels per minute. What such decimation means to the planet’s future can’t be good — unless ridding the world of humans is Earth’s ultimate survival measure.

No trees, no birds, no bugs, no bees, no food, no humans. That’s pretty simple, too.

This past winter, a record share — 40% — of honey-bee colonies in the United States died, but bees aren’t the only ones disappearing. Forty percent of all the world’s insects are in decline, according to another recent study, leading scientists to declare that Earth is experiencing the Sixth Great Extinction. Nobody likes bugs — until they’re gone and their purposes finally appreciated.

Insects nourish birds and fish, serenade us to sleep. Animals pollinate 87% of flowering plant species. If current trends continue, there may be no insects by 2119, with one likely exception — the indestructible cockroach, whose sole purpose is apparently to recycle our messes, thus guaranteeing its survival after all else is gone.

August 7, 2019

No Clear Path for DDT, GOP about Guns

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) had a very bad day today. Although asked by leaders in Dayton (OH) and El Paso not to visit their cities at this time, he insisted that he would take his entourage to both places. Teleprompter DDT spent a few minutes earlier this week declaring that there is not room for hate in this country.  After four years of spewing racist hatred, DDT solemnly announced:

“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.”

Less than a day after DDT asked God to protect “those who perished in Toledo” (meaning Dayton), he blamed President Obama for the “32 mass shootings during his reign” including Sandy Hook although Barack Obama’s comments did not mention DDT’s name. Using the definition of mass shootings as at least four fatalities, President Obama averaged 5.1 per year; DDT had two last week, three if the definition covers the death of the perpetrator. DDT’s 17 mass shootings in the first seven months of 2019—one every 12 days. When “mass shooting” is defined as an incident in which four or more people are shot, the U.S. had 251 such incidents in the first 216 days of 2019. 

Away from the teleprompter, DDT blamed the mass media that “contributed greatly to the anger and rage.” Yet, the El Paso murderer used DDT’s language: he posted a 2,300-word essay on a white supremacist messaging board that included DDT’s terms such as incessant warnings about the “Hispanic invasion of Texas” as shown in this videoDDT’s campaign spent at least $1.1 million on immigration-focused Facebook ads between March 30 and July 27 with 2,200 of the ads appearing since May 2018 referring to an “invasion” on the southern border. Fox and Friends’ Brian Kilmeade supported both DDT and the El Paso murderer in the use of the term “invasion.” Kilmeade said:

“If you use the term ‘an invasion,’ that’s not anti-Hispanic. It’s a fact.”

Fox’s Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, and Pete Hegseth also commonly use the term.

Yesterday, DDT retweeted support for white supremacist Kevin Cernekee, who was fired from Google because he kept putting white supremacist messages on employee message boards. Today DDT claimed to want “to stay out of the political fray” immediately before he tried to connect Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren with the Dayton shooter twice, criticized Dayton’s mayor, attacked Beto O’Rourke, and called Joe Biden “a pretty incompetent guy.” DDT also returned to his position from the aftermath to white supremacy attacks and murder at Charlottesville (VA) two years ago about “good guys on both sides” by equating white supremacy with the antifa (anti-fascist) group opposing white supremacists.

In both cities that DDT visited, he avoided the public and then lashed out at their Democratic leaders. Despite complimentary responses from both Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley about his comforting the people he visited, DDT falsely accusing them of “totally misrepresenting” the reception he received at Miami Valley Hospital and alleged that their news conference “was a fraud.” Brown said that he had urged DDT to keep the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid to help people with mental health issues, the problem that DDT gave for mass shootings. In addition, Brown, who met with police officers, said he asked DDT to protect law enforcement by taking “assault weapons” off the street.

Press secretary Stephanie Grisham said that the press corps was not able to view DDT’s encounters with the Dayton victims because the White House didn’t want a “photo op,” but the White House provided photos and a slick video centering on DDT useful for his campaign. El Paso victims still in the hospital refused to see him although they had visited with city and county elected officials as well as Reps. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL). DDT also owes El Paso $569,204.63 for his February anti-immigrant rally as well as millions to at least ten other cities for his 2020 campaign rallies.

Returning to Washington, DC on Air Force One, DDT had time to view Joe Biden’s speech and tweet critical comments about it.

DDT seems lost as to direction. He continues to ignore guns as a problem although he tweeted support for “strong background checks.” At the same time, he wants to pair gun legislation with immigration reform laws, (DDT’s eliminating people of color coming into the U.S.) although the two issues are not connected. Mass shootings are generally done by young white men. Immediately after the Parkland (FL) mass shooting last year, DDT called for strengthened background checks but then threatened to veto any bills with this goal that House Democrats passed. House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said DDT’s connection of gun and immigration laws suggested that “we have to keep guns out of the hands of the invading hordes of less-than-human people coming across our borders.” He added, “It reminds me of the 1930s in Germany.” 

Republicans blamed mass shootings on video games, homelessness and social media, but a few Ohio Republicans are moving away from NRA positions. Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) reversed his NRA support to propose new laws including temporarily disarming people at risk to themselves or others and expanding background checks. Having discovered that his daughter was across the street from the Dayton shooting, Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), strongly NRA supported, also endorsed magazine limits and bans on military-style assault weapons. They are backed by Lt. Governor Jon Husted (R-OH).

Safety from guns depends on where a person lives. In June, a Florida woman was jailed for taking her husband’s guns. After a divorce proceeding, Courtney Irby’s estranged husband, Joseph Irby, rammed his car into her vehicle and ran her off the road. While he was in custody, she took his assault rifle and handgun from his home and turned them not the police department. Arrested for grand theft and burglary, she spent six days in jail. Her husband accused her of aggression and taking a third weapon. Previously, she was denied a temporary injunction against her husband, but a judge had ordered Joseph Irby was not to possess any weapons. Law does not obligate law enforcement to seize the weapons. The prosecutor now says that Irby is lying about trying to protect herself and her children.

New Texas gun laws going into effect in three weeks increase open season on people in the state. The ten bills include the right to open carry long guns in Texas churches, schools, apartment buildings, and disaster zones. Current laws don’t require permits for long guns in unrestricted public areas, have no background check for private sales and no magazine capacity restriction, and don’t allow people who see warning signs to ask a court for temporary prevention to individual access. Closing the gun show loophole was rejected. Gov. Greg Abbott pushes the idea of “mental health” behind mass shootings but makes no accommodations to stop them. 

DDT’s actions on guns since he was inaugurated:

  • Revoked an executive order mandating checks for those with mental illnesses before buying guns. (February 2017)
  • Cut $400,000 from the “Countering Violent Extremism” program backing an anti-white supremacist organization founded by former neo-Nazis.  
  • Disbanded the Domestic Terror Unit of intelligence analysts who focused on domestic terrorism.    
  • Stopped the DOJ from using updated language about a definition for “mentally ill.”
  • Froze a DOJ rule preventing anyone “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to a mental institution” from having access to a gun.
  • Stopped a fix to a loophole in a federal law requiring gun sellers to certify that “gun storage or safety devices will be available at any place in which firearms are sold.” https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/05/26/2016-12364/commerce-in-firearms-and-explosives-secure-gun-storage-amended-definition-of-antique-firearm-and   
  • Blocked free gun locks for all gun owners provided by Cabela’s Outdoor Fundeven.
  • Limited bans buying guns by fugitives from justice to only those who fled a state trying to evade prosecution or were the subject of an “imminent” criminal prosecution. Everyone else with an arrest warrant, about 500,000 people, can buy an assault-style rifle—or any other gun—because their records were deleted from the background check database.
  • Cut the budget for state background check systems just two days before the Parkland (FL) mass shooting, murdering 17 people.

ICE picked the same day that DDT chose to reassure and comfort Latinx people to raid seven Mississippi plants and pick up 680 workers. Once again, children are separated from their parents despite promises from ICE agents that the parents of U.S. citizens will be released. One U.S. citizen was tased when he tried to explain that he was legally in the country. Migrant labor has been chosen to cut, clean, debone, and pack chicken in cold, sometimes dangerous conditions, because, like in other laborious work, most U.S. citizens refuse to do the work. For decades, DDT used undocumented immigrants until he was caught doing it. Once again, DDT’s neo-Nazi aide Stephen Miller is calling for cruelty.

August 6, 2019

Indicators Show Slowing Economy

Stock markets finished yesterday with the worst drop this year as Asian markets also badly slipped. As investors look for places to hide, gold prices jumped, and Japanese yen and Swiss franc advanced. They retreated to the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond with a 1.725 percent return while the volatility index temporarily leaped to 30 percent. During the last two weeks, the Dow Jones, down for five consecutive points, fell over six percent since its high on July 15. All 30 Dow stocks and all 11 market sectors went down yesterday, and tech-heavy Nasdaq plummeted 3.47 percent for the fifth worst session ever.

“The losers are anybody with big exposure to China,” said Ivan Feinseth, chief investment officer at Tigress Financial Partners. After Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said he would levy more tariffs on almost all Chinese goods, China responded by allowing the yuan to slump below to its lowest exchange rate in 11 years on Monday to level the playfield. Chinese rationale is that a weakened currency will offset DDT’s new ten-percent tariffs on all the other Chinese goods already at 25 percent by making the goods more affordable to the world and U.S. exports more expensive for the Chinese. DDT is blaming China and the Federal Reserve for what he calls “currency manipulation.” Last month, DDT tried to manipulate the currency: he asked his aides to find a way to weaken the U.S. dollar to boost the economy ahead of the 2020 election. He also asked about this issue when interviewing Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller for the Federal Reserve Board in another attempt to control the supposedly independent agency.

DDT blames economic problems on the Feds’ not cutting the interest rate, but the Dow Jones dropped almost 300 points after he announced new tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports—taxing everything that people in the U.S. buy from China. New tariffs bring additional annual purchasing costs for the average U.S. family to about $1,000. His tariff announcement polished off two days of trade talks between the two countries. https://time.com/5642373/china-countermeasures-trump-tariffs/  China promised “countermeasures” because DDT violated the agreement with President Xi Jinping, and the global stock markets turned red. DDT’s trade adviser Peter Navarro, who Jared Kushner found on Amazon.com, said, “We love tariffs. Tariffs are a wonderful thing.”

Farmers, frustrated by their severe losses after DDT’s trade war are turning against him. They’ve already received $16 billion, but DDT is promising them more welfare. His growing unpopularity, however, may come from the fact that over half of DDT’s welfare to farmers after the tariff debacle went to ten percent of recipients: 82 farming operations each received over $500,000 through last April from the $8.5 billion in payments. DeLine Farm Partnership of Charleston (MO) already got $2.8 million. The top one percent of farmers received an average of $188,000 compared to the average of under $5,000 for the bottom 80 percent. Anyone can receive payments if they make “management decisions” even if they don’t live or work on a farm, and thousands of them live in the nation’s biggest cities. A searchable database covered only direct payments to farmers and not other programs, including commodity purchases and export promotion assistance, that was part of the $12 billion payoff after DDT’s tariff program.

DDT had promised farmers that China would buy more U.S. farm products, but he has now admits that agreement never existed. There never was a record of Chinese purchases of U.S. soybeans, meaning far more losses on this year’s crop as well as the ones in reserve that survived last spring’s flood. Farmers face record foreclosures, and former DDT economic adviser said that DDT’s tariffs do more harm to the U.S. than China, who now buys its soybeans from Russia.

Following DDT’s 25 percent tariff on metal imports last year, US Steel idled two furnaces and lost $5.5—70 percent—of its market value. Last March, GM closed its Lordstown (OH) car plant after union workers gave up an annual $118 million to save the plant 18 months earlier. Negative ripples through Ohio’s economy included the closure of Falcon Transport.

Today, the Dow gained back about 20 percent of the 1,500 points it lost since last Tuesday, but it’s still lower than DDT’s initiation of his trade war in early 2018. Economic problems disprove DDT’s arrogant and ignorant claim 17 months ago that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” All DDT’s advisers except China-hating Peter Navarro opposed the tariffs, and China is determined to project strength by not backing down. Late last week, DDT the bully said “it would be fine with me … and save a lot of money” if China doesn’t trade with the U.S., but he’s failing.

DDT’s goal to postpone a possible recession until after the 2020 election may not succeed. As the Treasury notes dropped to 1.7 percent, Bloomberg published its concern under the headline, “Yield Curve Blares Loudest U.S. Recession Warning Since 2007.” The temporary drop of 32 basis points less than three-month bills led to the biggest yield-curve inversion since the introduction to the 2008 crisis. In good times, the bond’s yield of interest after full term is bigger in longer terms. An inversion means that a three-month yield can be higher than a ten-year yield. This situation is not a cause of a recession; it can be a predictor of nervous investors and devastation of the economy.

The Republicans constantly tout current economy as the best it’s ever been, but DDT insists on interest rate cuts, a practice reserved for economic emergencies, and got a .25 percent reduction in the interest rate—the first one in the real 2008 emergency. Near-zero interest rates are an emergency measure, but the Federal Reserve may cut rates because they’re afraid that they’ll be a target during the 2020 campaign if the economy starts to suffer—as many economists predict. Anti-Fed sentiment could then cause its elimination. Cutting rates is a safe position for the Feds. Even so, DDT sulked about how small the cut was last Wednesday, and the Dow Jones market dropped by 333 points on the same day. Fed Chair Jerome Powell did not promise “a long series of rate cuts, and DDT blames him for not stimulating the economy after DDT caused problems with his trade war. DDT wants an artificial boost in the economy for his campaign next year. After that he doesn’t care.

Last week, DDT said he was waiting for a trade deal until after the 2020 election, but a few days later he tweeted he would be tougher with China if they waited and that he might never agree to any deal. Economists agree that DDT’s trade war is dragging down growth; it stops business investing and drives up costs, removing any advantage from tax cuts.

DDT will keep getting his prime interest cuts to benefit his personal loans. Trade wars weaken the economy, the Feds will cut the interest to help the economy, DDT will step up the trade war, and it all goes in a circle. The steep and steady decline in U.S. share of international travel from the trade war is expected to last until at least 2022.

Congress has passed a two-year budget bill that raises the debt ceiling for at least two years, which DDT claims “gets us past the Election. Go for it Republicans, there is always plenty of time to CUT.” That comes from the man who has increased the national debt by $2 trillion—20 percent—in his first two years. During President Obama’s two terms, Republicans constantly complained about expenditures, but they returned to former VP Dick Cheney’s position during GOP control that “deficits don’t matter.” In the Senate vote of 67-28 for the bill, 23 Republicans and five Democrats voted “no.” The House vote for the DDT-supported bill was 284-149 with one independent, 16 Democrats, and 132 Republicans voting against it. Now members of Congress can leave town for several weeks, knowing that they are saddling their children and grandchildren with more debt. In the new law, the gap between revenue and expenditures remains about $1 trillion a year.

People shouldn’t give a sigh of relief that a shutdown isn’t eminent. Because Congress is gone until September, it will have only two weeks to pass 12 government funding bills or a continuing resolution (CR) to extend the time limit. The House has passed 10 of these bills, but GOP senators may oppose them. The first markup is due on September 12 for the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the12 bills may have thousands of pages for argument. And DDT’s wall may come back into play.

The 164,000 extra jobs in July looked good, but revised figures for May and June came out with 41,000 fewer jobs, lowering the total number of the year. Plus industries dropped the workweek from 34.4 to 34.3, back to September 2017 which made the number of new jobs almost zero. GDP also fell to 2.1 percent in the second 2019 quarter from 3.1 percent in the first. The prediction for the third quarter is 1.9 percent annualized rate–far below DDT’s rediction of 3 percent to four percent. 

Far-right Steve Bannon falsely claimed that the large number of people to be killed in the El Paso Walmart proved how great DDT’s economy is. Connecting a mass shooting to the economy is evil, and Bannon is wrong. People were shopping back-to-school items. After this, the threat of mass shootings may move them online for purchases.

 

 

August 4, 2019

DDT: Week 132 – Killings, Cruelty

This morning I facetiously remarked to my partner that I need to check for today’s mass shooting. Yet there is was—nine people killed and 27 wounded in Dayton (OH) in the 250th mass shooting uring the first 216 days of 2019. The shooter, another young white male, did this much damage in 30 seconds before the police stopped him. One of the fatalities is the shooter’s sister.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) wrote that yesterday’s El Paso shooting was an act of “cowardice” and, like the standard GOP line, said that mass shootings must be stopped. Friday, however, he repeated that he could kill ten million people in Afghanistan where 20,000 foreign troops, mainly from the U.S., are stationed. Deaths in Afghanistan have drastically increased with most of the civilian casualties coming from international military forces including the U.S.—83 percent of the 519 civilian casualties. Aerial operations resulted in a 39th percent increase in casualties.

Republicans say that DDT has no responsibility for increased white supremacy despite his rampant racism during the past several years.  The man who spews hateful racist comments toward members of Congress, media personalities, and the general population of color more vigorously than ever now claims that “hate has no place in our country.” DDT’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, made the Sunday news show circuit to claim that only individuals are responsible for the mass shootings because DDT’s comments have no influence on people. Like other Republicans, Mulvaney refused to use the term “domestic terrorism.” Most other Republican leaders went into hiding from Sunday television.  

Public figures and media around the world don’t agree that DDT has no culpability for the rapid increase in gun violence.

  • A spread in the Berlin-based newspaper Taz about the El Paso shootingwith the headline, “The White Danger,” linked the anti-immigrant manifesto to the shooter’s actions.
  • Another German daily, Der Tagesspiegel, published a column by journalist Fabian Löhe arguing that Trump’s “daily racism” has “prepared the intellectual ground” for such violence.
  • Martha Bárcena, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, condemned racism toward “Hispanic communities” in the United States and called for “respectful and compassionate dialogue between our countries and communities.” She tweeted, “Xenophobic and racist discourse breeds hate crimes.”
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that at least three Mexican nationals were among the dead in the El Paso rampage.
  • Dolia Estévez, a prominent Mexican correspondent and commentator wrote about the need for “a non racist, non xenophobic, non divisive, non hateful President. That’s where it all starts.”
  • From the BBC News, “evidence indicates that the El Paso shooting was a calculated political act drawn from the white nationalist rhetoric that has become increasingly prominent in modern US politics.”

If mass shootings in the U.S. aren’t enough for DDT, he has withdrawn from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia with no evidence for his accusations that Russia had violated INF. Now free of any restrictions on nuclear power, DDT he plans to test a new non-nuclear mobile-launched cruise missile developed specifically to challenge Moscow in Europe. The world will become like a Wild West with DDT leading the threats of a nuclear arms race. DDT may have one problem: no NATO appears to “host new US intermediate range missiles.” Even Poland agrees that any deployment in Europe must be approved by all NATO members. 

In other foreign affairs:

After almost two weeks of denial, the U.S. admitted that it violated Venezuelan airspace with surveillance in violation of international treaties. Bolivia showed another U.S. violation of Venezuelan airspace a week later, making a total of 78 thus far in 2019, according to Communication, Tourism and Culture Minister Jorge Rodriguez. 

North Korea fired more short-range ballistic missiles twice in the past week, but DDT doesn’t mind because they’re just “standard” weapons” and it was under control. DDT minimized the testing three times in the past week by calling President Kim Jong-Un a friend with a “great and beautiful vision for his country” who can only achieve his goal if DDT is president.

In escalating tensions with Iran, DDT imposed sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, accusing him of acting like a “propaganda minister” instead of a diplomat. Nuclear sanctions on Iran have been waived for another 90 days so that Russia, China, and Europe can participate in Iran’s civil nuclear program, an agreement in the Iran deal that DDT dropped last year. Sanctions against Javad Zarif include blocking financial dealings with and travel to the U.S., already banned for Iranian officials.   https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/57979-iranians-complain-trumps-sanctions-are-blocking-access-to-vital-medicine  DDT’s sanctions are killing children who can no longer afford medication and medical equipment necessary to treat diseases such as cancer and MS. The U.S. claims that medicines and humanitarian goods are exempt from sanctions, but banks and companies are afraid to do business with Iran because U.S. restrictions on trade may punish them. Banking sanctions block transactions, prevent donations from abroad, and cause money transfers to fail.

DDT’s immigration policies, another way to torment people:

In an attack on Central American asylum seekers, AG Bill Barr has a new rule that being an immediate member of a persecuted family is insufficient grounds for asylum protection. The administration’s position is “that families are not recognized within societies as distinct groups,” according to Anna Gallagher, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, in conflict with a Fourth Circuit decision.

Courts have blocked DDT’s rules to reject migrants illegally crossing the border and to require asylum seekers to pursue safe haven in a third country they travel through on the way to the U.S. Another judge has ordered DDT to accept asylum claims from all eligible migrants at the border.

DDT’s administration has taken almost 1,000 migrant children from their parents at the southern border in the year since a judge ordered the practice stopped. In one case, a Border Patrol agent took a man’s daughter with the claim that he had not changed her diaper. Another loss came from a malicious destruction of property valued at $5. Twenty percent of the separations were for children under five years old, compared to last year’s four percent. Accusations about criminal activities of parents lack details, and many are decades old.

Keeping people of color out of the U.S. is DDT’s goal, but the man behind the procedures, neo-Nazi Stephen Miller, likes to inflict cruelty. After separating children from parents, Miller wants to give power of determining initial asylum claims from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum officers to untrained CBP agents who will act as both police and judge, a fear tactic that ensures the failure of asylum-seekers. These agents are the ones who mock children who cry when they are separated from their parents and grope girls during pat-downs. They can restrict people from toilets and water. It’s the delight in cruelty.

Three-year-old Sofi was separated from her grandmother seeking asylum at a port of entry for 47 days until a court order demanded reunification. During a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Ted Lieu (D-CA) asked Chief of Law Enforcement if the three-year-old posed a criminal or national security threat. Hastings kept repeating that he didn’t know “the background in this case.” He also said that family separation was intended to be permanent, in contrast to the claim of his boss, Kevin McAleenan, that “they were always intended to be reunited.” Hastings also said that children were separated from HIV-positive parents because “it’s a communicable disease.” McAleenan said the opposite during a hearing in the previous week, and HIV was removed from a list of communicable diseases that bar entry in 2010. The day after the hearing, Hastings changed his position about HIV—but he’s still the person in charge of kidnapping children on the border.

DDT has signed an agreement with Guatemalan Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart declaring Guatemala a “safe third country” and requires asylum seekers from Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua to first apply for protection in Guatemala, meaning that travelers from those three countries could be deported to Guatemala if they hadn’t applied in that country. Guatemala signed the agreement to avoid “drastic sanctions” because DDT threatened tariffs, taxes on money immigrants send home, and bans on travel out of the country. Violence in Guatemala make that country as dangerous as the others, and the country tends to grant asylum to few people. The agreement is not final until the Guatemala’s congress approves it. Asylum seekers can avoid Guatemala with more dangerous water routes. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the agreement “illegal” because the law requires “a safe country for refugees and asylum seekers”; Guatemala is not safe. Guatemala’s presidential election in August 11, and both candidates to replace the term-limited current president oppose the deal.

DDT’s government is sending immigration to shelters run by a group home recently shut down by North Carolina because of its “danger to the health, safety and welfare of the clients [requiring] emergency action.” Prohibited from housing children for four years, the place, New Horizon, still received a $4 million grant to house migrant children. Other grant recipients also have histories of abuse and children dying in their care.

August 3, 2019

DDT: Week 132 – Racism, Hatred

After Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) withdrew Rep. John Ratcliffe’s (R-TX) name for intelligence director, Ratcliffe insinuated that he withdrew himself. Whichever it was, DDT blamed the media before he said that he used the media to vet his appointments to save money. The media was actually quite mild about reporting Ratcliffe’s lies by saying that he “padded” or “exaggerated” or “embellished” his credentials.

Ratcliffe falsely took entire credit for a multistate, multiagency operation when he wrote on his website that he “arrested over 300 illegal aliens on a single day.” Ratcliffe’s prosecutors charged only 45 workers, and six of the cases were dismissed, two of them U.S. citizens. A.J. Irwin, a former immigration investigator involved in planning stages, called the operation “a costly failure, … a waste of money and hype.” In another website claim, Ratcliffe wrote he had tried suspects accused of funneling money to the Hamas terrorist group, but in reality, he investigated side issues related to an initial mistrial but did not prosecute the case. Ratcliffe also promoted a company accused of reprisal against a whistleblower and their cybersecurity efforts in shutting down a critical government cybersecurity office. The company was Ratcliffe’s third-largest campaign donor for his upcoming re-election.

VP Mike Pence, who would be president if an impeachment convicted DDT, argued to keep Ratcliffe’s nomination before the Senate.  

Ratcliffe isn’t the only legislator who shills for his donors.  In March, Rep. Chuck Fleischman (R-TN) was asked by his donor Preceptics to ask then Customs and Border Protection director Kevin McAleenan about using license plate reader technology. After emails about the agreement were made public in June, CBP suspended the Preceptics contract for equipment and software.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) held up confirmation for Michael Wooten because senior military officials told him that the senator could not receive U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contracts with sensitive, proprietary information. Cramer had received thousands of dollars in donations from North Dakota-based Fisher Industries to help the business be hired to “build the wall.” Fisher is now suing the government because he was not selected in recent biddings: his company’s design failed to meet requirements and regulatory approvals. DHS said that Fisher’s work in San Diego was late and over budget. Wooten was confirmed for a senior post at the White House Office of Management and Budget, but Cramer is furious because he thinks that the Defense Department didn’t live up to their “deal” with him. He claims that DDT “deputized” him “to work with the Army Corps to ensure their process is fair, transparent, and delivers the best possible deal for the American people.”

Although presidential interference in contracts was rare before DDT, he lobbied for Fisher’s company. Now DDT’s hatred for Jeff Bezos led him to order his new Defense Secretary and Raytheon lobbyist, Mark Esper, to look into a $10 billion cloud-computing bid that might go to Amazon. No other single company has the capacity to provide needs for the infrastructure that shares sensitive intelligence among the armed services branches and incorporate artificial intelligence algorithms. Oracle, a company competing for part of the bid, settled for $100 million after Oregon sued for fraud, filing false claims, and racketeering because of its failed Cover Oregon healthcare project. Last May, DDT lobbied the USPS to double the rate charged to ship packages, but the increase failed to move through Congress. 

Throughout last week, DDT continued a pattern polarizing people in the U.S. by attacking people of color. About civil rights activist Al Sharpton, DDT tweeted that he “hates whites and cops,” that he’s a con man, a troublemaker, always looking for a score.” Sharpton answered:

“If he really thought I was a con man, he’d be nominating me for his cabinet.”

This assault adds to DDT’s racist comments about Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and John Lewis (D-GA); NBA superstar LeBron James; CNN host Don Lemon; Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum; President Barack Obama; and more. In 2015, DDT lambasted President Obama for conditions in Baltimore, and said “I would fix it fast!” if he were president. DDT was inaugurated 924 days ago and has done nothing. DDT plans to speak in September at the House Republicans’ annual private retreat in the city the president just called “the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States.” About Baltimore (MD), DDT said, “No human being would want to live there.”

DDT even gloated over the recent robbery at Cummings’ home and turned the murder rate in Baltimore into a joke at his rally.  

As part of his pattern in calling black people “stupid,” DDT attacked Lemon again after he hosted the first CNN Democratic 2020 presidential debate and asked a question about DDT’s embrace of “racial division.” Despite DDT’s tweet that “I’m the least racist person in the world,” a claim that he repeated to reporters, Twitter responses disagreed. For example, Christopher Zullo wrote:

“Definition of a racist: person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another. Does ‘send her back’ in context of your perceived cultural “superiority” classify as racism?”

The Republicans are still staying largely mum. Despite Cummings defense of Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), co-founder of the rightwing Freedom Caucus, when Meadows thought he was accused of being a racist, Meadows stayed silent until shamed by the media. Then he only said that neither Cummings, who he had called one of his best friends, nor DDT were racists.

This 2020 campaign strategy is called synecdoche which means using one part to represent the whole, for example using four progressive women of color to represent the entire Democratic party. In 2018, the GOP used House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to damage Democrats, and in reverse Democrats used DDT as a symbol for all Republicans—although almost all Republicans do vote on the side of DDT. White House aides are still panicking that DDT’s racist synecdoche may fail. Tim Chapman, executive director of Heritage Action for America, shares this concern because the only GOP agenda at this time is DDT’s xenophobia.

Looking back on her father’s infamously racist 1968 campaign, Kennedy recalled, “The two greatest motivators at (my father’s) rallies were fear and hate. There was no policy solution, just white middle-class anger.”  Peggy Wallace Kennedy, Wallace’s daughter, is now 69 — and she sees a lot of her late father in President Donald Trump. “I saw Daddy a lot in 2016.” DDT’s 2016 campaign reminded her of the 1968 campaign of her father, who infamously declared, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

DDT falsely claimed that his racist attacks on Cummings and Baltimore have increased support from blacks. In another lie, DDT said without evidence that the city’s political leaders, “people like Elijah Cummings,” are stealing and mismanaging federal funds. A Monday poll shows that only six percent of blacks approve of DDT’s job performance and 80 percent think DDT is a racist. Blacks aren’t the only demographic who believe that DDT is racist: they are joined by most independents, which women, and whites with a college degree. That leaves white male Republicans without college degrees. 

Increased racist attacks by DDT may be responsible for two young white men perpetrating two different mass shootings during the past week—today’s murders in El Paso and last Sunday’s murders in Gilroy (CA). Both published white supremacist manifestos that expressed hatred toward Latinx and immigrants before they randomly killed people in crowded areas with ar-47 rifles.  

In his address before a joint assembly of the Virginia legislature, DDT commemorated the 400th anniversary of its legislative body. The date was also the arrival of the first African slaves on American shores. With great hypocrisy, DDT spoke these lines in his speech during a brief hiatus of angry racist rans:

“Our hard-won culture of self-government must be nourished, protected, and constantly preserved.”

“But among all of America’s towering achievements, none exceeds the triumph that we are here to celebrate today. Our nation’s priceless culture of freedom, independence, equality, justice, and self-determination under God.”

DDT’s attack on intelligence agencies, saying that they have “run amok,” may come from the FBI, for the first time, reporting conspiracy theories from DDT’s supporters, including QAnon, as “a domestic terrorism threat.” DDT boosts these theories by supporting them on his Twitter account. QAnon participants are linked to multiple acts and threats of violence, and Ratcliffe also believes in conspiracy theories. Ratcliffe is gone back to the U.S. House, but DDT will stay as Supreme Leader.

August 1, 2019

Biggest Loser in Democratic Presidential Debates: CNN

Filed under: Elections,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:50 PM
Tags: ,

The Democrats have finished with the second round of presidential debates, two nights with 20 candidates. Eric Swalwell is gone, and Steve Bullock has arrived.

CNN framed the debates as a Trumpian reality show with loaded questions that baited participants into CNN’s perception of good television watching. The approach appeared to be more suitable for the Fox network than for the one which Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) despises. Moderators began with attacks on progressive health care that led to promoting Delaney’s attacks on Sanders and Warren with the premise that people would pay more and lose their private insurance—the Republican talking point. John Delaney, who has a net worth of $65 million from the health care industry, was rewarded with extra opportunities to give his GOP policies such as criticism for “free stuff for everyone.” No questions addressed the excessively high drug prices, and none asked about “out of pocket costs.” Moderators constantly shut down Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the midst of explaining their policies. More of the worst questions.

Joshua Benton, who runs Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, described the debate:

“An obsession with conflict over explanation, forcing complex policies into soundbites, above-it-all savviness that only makes sense if you spend all your time on Politics Twitter or in DC.”

CNN’s moderators concentrated on strict time limitations, avoiding any substance in responses and searching for short soundbites. Pollster Matt McDermott summarized the debate on Twitter:

“Why does your health care plan screw the middle class? Why are you taking health care from hard working Americans? Why are you for open borders? Imagine CNN asking in a Republican debate: ‘Democrats want to ensure health care for all Americans. You want to kill people. Care to respond?’ ”

Subject areas totally ignored: voting rights—gerrymandering, citizenship questions, etc.; democracy; DDT’s march to war in the Middle East while he loves North Korea and Russia; Russian election interference; faulty election software/equipment; abortion; and several more.  

While six white men bickered on the first night, Pete Buttigieg talked about his own positions instead of attacking other candidates. One prize Buttigieg quote:

“It is time to stop worrying about what the Republicans will say. It’s true that if we embrace a far-left agenda, they’re gonna say we’re a bunch of crazy socialists. If we embrace a conservative agenda, you know what they’re gonna do? They’re gonna say we’re a bunch of crazy socialists. So let’s just stand up for the right policy, go out there and defend it.”

Occasionally, the three women—Amy Klobuchar, Warren, and Marianne Williamson—tried to bring order. Warren said, “I don’t understand why someone goes to the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really shouldn’t do or can’t fight for.” In another statement directed at Delaney, she brought candidates back to talking about what Democrats want to hear, not what Republicans don’t want to hear. The crowd applauded Warren after she told Sanders and Delaney to “stop using Republican talking points about health care!” Klobuchar pointed out about the debate, “We’re more worried about winning an argument than winning an election.” Marianne Williamson defended free college education against conservative Democratic protests:

“I almost wonder why you’re Democrats. You think there’s something wrong about using the instruments of government to help people. That is what government should do.”

Sanders did get in a great line, responding to Ryan’s attack that Sanders didn’t understand the Medicare for All bill. Sanders roared back, “I do know. I wrote the damn bill!”

By Wednesday night, CNN had learned a part of their lesson from their critics. Kristin Gillbrand was allowed to finish her anecdote although questioner had tried to shut up Warren the night before. Answers were much longer.  Wednesday night featured far fewer one-percenters like the white male naysayers from the first night.

Although some pundits thought that Joe Biden survived the evening unscathed, not everyone agreed. Between his first informal comment to Kamala Harris of “Go easy on me, kid!” to his flubbing donation information at the end as he stumbled over the simple “Go to Joe 30330,” he frequently invoked Barack Obama as the reason should make him the candidate, sort of “you should pick me because Obama likes me.” In trying to cover up his past Republican positions, Biden said, “[Barack Obama] chose me and said it was the best decision he made,” or “That was a long time ago.” Adding to his GOP talking points, he said, “If you have a PhD, we want to keep you in this country!”  He also said that the country couldn’t take “8 more years of Donald Trump.”

Barack Obama ran on a slogan of “Yes we can!” CNN made the Democratic position largely appear to be “No we can’t.”

The New York Times gave the average score and comments from commentators for each participant. The use of conservative views flattened the ratings. First night. Second night

The rest of the media was little better than CNN in its obsession with “winners and losers” as if debates are horse races. For some, Delaney was a “winner” although Warren wiped him out. Tulsi Gabbard was another “winner,” perhaps because no asked her about her meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who she refused to denounce. 

Suggestions for better debates:

Shorten the opening with no statements, no singing, no video, no commercials for the host network which permits more time for substantive answers to questions and responses to the other candidates. Topics and questions sourced entirely from voters and gathered in advance to address issues from the public and not the network’s desire for higher ratings.

Comparison graphics about candidates’ positions offered in real time.

No framing in coverage of the debates with phrases that evoke prizefighting: marquee matchups, winners and losers, and explosive faceoffs.

One relief for the next debate on September 12-13 is that only seven people have thus far qualified for the stricter qualifications. With few than ten candidates, the debate will be only one night. Candidates need 130,000 unique donors and get at least two percent support in four polls before August 28 to reach those benchmarks. Those who have managed these criteria: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. Three others are close: Julián Castro, Amy Klobuchar, and Andrew Yang. Beyond these ten, only three candidates have even one poll with at least two percent: Tulsi Gabbard (1), John Hickenlooper (1), and Tom Steyer (2). The other 11 have no qualifying polls.  

DDT went to Cincinnati tonight to run against all the Democratic candidates for president. He even ran against Hillary Clinton, invoking the “lock her up” chant, perhaps to avoid the more racist “send her home” from his last rally. Asked if he would stop the racist chant, DDT said he didn’t know how to do that. That from the supposedly leader of the “free world.”

From early reports, DDT’s rally may have been as dull as the presidential debates during the past two nights.

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