Nel's New Day

November 30, 2019

DDT: Week 149 – Trouble around the World

After bad publicity from the impeachment inquiry and pardoning war criminals, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) made a surprise visit to troops in Afghanistan. He’s still in trouble with emerging news.

Much has been said about the shadow government that DDT runs in Ukraine, but he has another one in Turkey, as suggested by former National Security Adviser John Bolton when he talked a “personal or business relationship dictating Trump’s position on Turkey.” Like the “irregular” diplomatic run by the “three Amigos” and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Turkey’s “backdoor diplomacy” has been operated by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak, DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and DDT’s business partner Aydin Dogan’s son-in-law, Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ.

Along with Mehmet’s wife Arzuhan Dogan Yalçındağ and Iranian/Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab, the three sons-in-law circumvented U.S. ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield, who has been in the foreign service since 1980. Zarrab, represented by DDT’s private secretary Rudy Giuliani, was arrested in the U.S. for evading Iranian sanctions. Giuliani also had his finger in the financial pie. Originally, the irregular diplomatic channel resulted in Michael Flynn’s firing from national security advisor, followed by a prison term for lying about being a foreign agent hired by Turkey. This extensive timeline reports the many times that DDT connected with Turkey and the favors that he gave them as he sided with Turkey against objections of advisers to help his substantial business interests in the company.

Since DDT lifted sanctions on Turkey, it began using U.S.-made Viper and F-4 Phantom II fighters to begin tests of radars connected to its new Russian S-400s although the U.S. warned against this “activation” of the surface-to-air missile systems. Turkey’s government announced it will test low and high altitude flights this week. Using the F-35 for these tests can give Russia knowledge about the plane’s capabilities, and NATO, including the U.S., warned that the system can’t be integrated with other allied aid defense networks. It will be unable to detect the difference between friendly and hostile aircraft. The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAASTA) requires the U.S. to take action against Turkey, but DDT is a “fan” of Erdogan, wanting to keep a trade agreement and protect personal financial gain from his two Trump towers in Turkey. Erdogan is also negotiating with Russia about the purchase of Su-35 Flanker-E fighter jets after announcing plans to buy components of the new S-500 air defense system.

Questions: Why did DDT life sanctions against Turkey? Why did DDT let Turks kill U.S. Kurdish allies? What did DDT say to Erdogan in his “diplomatic” dealings? What are DDT’s financial ties? Why does Bolton think that DDT is financially compromised?

DDT also illegally suspended congressionally approved $105 million funding for Lebanon so that it can push back on extremists. Without that aid, DDT allows attacks by Hezbollah and invasion by forces that can hurt the U.S. In this case, the winners are Russia and Iran.

On the home front, the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday sued AG Bill Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross because they refused congressional subpoenas in an investigation into an attempt to put a citizenship question into the 2020 census. Ross said under oath that the DOJ asked for the question, but evidence shows that he lied. The Supreme Court ruled that Ross’ rationale “seems to have been contrived.” A complaint claims that Ross and his aides conspired with DOJ officials to cover up what happened and provide a legal justification for Ross’ demand. Another Ross lie may be that he didn’t communicate with the White House about the event.

Throughout the past week, the fallout from DDT’s pardoning three Navy Seal war criminals continues. Resigned/fired Navy Secretary Richard Spencer sent a letter last week, citing good order and discipline throughout the Navy’s ranks to be “deadly serious business”:

“The lives of our sailors, Marines and civilian teammates quite literally depend on the professional execution of our many missions, and they also depend on the ongoing faith and support of the people we serve and the allies we serve alongside.

“Unfortunately, it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the commander in chief who appointed me, in regards to the key principle of good order and discipline. I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took.

“The rule of law is what sets us apart from our adversaries. Good order and discipline is what has enabled our victory against foreign tyranny time and again, from Captain Lawrence’s famous order ‘Don’t Give up the Ship,’ to the discipline and determination that propelled our flag to the highest point on Iwo Jima. The Constitution, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, are the shields that set us apart, and the beacons that protect us all.”

DDT started lobbying for Eddie Gallagher against the wishes of the Navy Seals after the convicted Seal received positive publicity for him from Fox. Two of Gallagher’s supporters, Bernard Kerik and Marc Mukasey, are two of DDT’s and Giuliani’s friends. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/30/us/politics/trump-seals-eddie-gallagher.html   Like DDT, Gallagher shows great disdain for authority. His goal in the service was “to kill as many people as possible,” and he turned off his locator so his superiors couldn’t find him. Now pardoned, he gave an interview to Fox in which he denigrated Rear Adm. Collin Green, commander of the Navy Seals:

“I just get a feeling of embarrassment for my community that Admiral Green is letting the ego get the best of him at this point. And he’s trying to take my trident because it’s all about retaliation.”

DDT is considering taking his three pardoned war criminals on the campaign trail with him next year.

No matter the spin, conservatives can’t get evidence that the intelligence agencies leaders conducted the investigation into Russian interference from personal bias against DDT. That is the decision of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz although he did find “errors and omissions in documents related to the wiretapping of a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page” and an altered email by a “low-level” attorney in seeking a renewal of the wiretap. The IG concluded that the wiretap application had a legal and factual basis.

DDT lost one of the few people in the White House since his inauguration, deputy chief of staff Daniel Walsh, who planned foreign trips and decided White House aides’ use of government resources. He was an important part in the failed planning to have the G7 summit at DDT’s Doral resort.

While the State Department fires ethical career service people, it hired Frank Wuco as senior adviser at the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance. A conservative talk radio host, he suggested dropping nuclear bombs on Afghanistan after 9/11 and promoted far-right conspiracy theories including President Obama not born in the U.S., former CIA director John Brennan converted to Islam, former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. esd a member of the Black Panthers, and former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Last year, Wuco moved from the Department of Homeland Security. DDT had also considered “using nuclear” in Afghanistan and promoted the false birther theory.

While progressives in the United States try to block foreign interference in the U.S. election, DDT is interfering in the British election on December 12. Anti-Brexit Boris Johnson is trying to keep his leadership in the nation, and DDT called into a radio station on Halloween to say:

“So bad for your country, so bad. [Labour Party head Jeremy Corbyn would] take you in such a bad way. He’d take you into such bad places.”

This coming week, DDT heads to Buckingham Palace while NATO meets in London, and Corbyn maintains that DDT has an arrangement with Johnson that includes the sale of Britain’s popular National Health Service to U.S. pharmaceutical companies. DDT also wants to sell “chlorinated chickens” and hormone-injected beef to Britain that don’t meet their food safety regulations, and Corbyn maintains that he has copies of trade agreements between DDT and Johnson. Over 70 percent of the voters don’t approve of DDT, and DDT is less popular than Vladimir Putin. Johnson knows this, and he’s tried to get DDT to back off. This past week, Johnson said on LBC radio:

“What we don’t do traditionally as loving allies and friends, what we don’t do traditionally, is get involved in each other’s election campaigns.”

In a possibly fraudulent act, DDT reported higher occupancy rates to lenders and lower ones to tax officials over three consecutive years while the Trump Organization refinanced a $100 million loan. 

After the federal government forced 159 BLM employees from Washington to the West, staffers’ wages were reduced. The change was justified by reduced cost of living in the new location. The new location will favor energy interests: the new Grand Junction (CO) office share a building with Chevron. The town is four hours away from a major city and has only a small regional airport with no direct flights to D.C. The move costs $6.6 million, but lawmakers blocked funding for the move in the 2020 budget. The Agricultural Department’s Economic Research Service move to Kansas City (MO) cost them almost 80 percent of its employees.

In an unusual move, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has been bypassed in budget talks as the House tries to meet the December 20 deadline for passing the budget.  

November 29, 2019

The Completion of Thanksgiving

For several weeks, the media has obsessed about Thanksgiving dinner—specifically how to get along with people gathering around the groaning board. Culture since the election of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has made this an all-consuming issue.

With his typical cruelty, DDT’s son Donald Trump Jr has this recommendation: “trigger a liberal” at Thankgiving dinner with the goal of encouraging fights among families at the family gathering. He tweeted, “Trigger a liberal thanksgiving” and offered an autographed copy of his book for winners who send him photos or videos of “something/someone triggered maybe with my book.” Jr is listed as author of Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us:

“This is the book that the leftist elites don’t want you to read — Donald Trump, Jr., exposes all the tricks that the left uses to smear conservatives and push them out of the public square, from…”

Triggered became a best seller after the RNC and the Trump Organizations spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase copies of the book that promotes lies through conspiracy theories and encourages Jr’s social media followers to engage in bad behavior. Conservatives, however, may be more “triggered” by a discussion of the facts and their lack of defense for their beloved leader.

On Thanksgiving Day, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) unexpectedly visited troops in Afghanistan after pardoning three war criminals who were blamed of their crimes by their Navy Seal colleagues. Once again DDT created chaos by announcing peace talks with the Taliban, after dumping the idea just two months ago after a period of negotiations, and demanding a cease-fire that negotiators had already rejected and that the U.S. has no leverage to enact. DDT claimed that the Taliban wants a ceasefire, but he also claimed that Turkey wouldn’t kill the Kurds. The Taliban negotiating team was surprised at DDT’s statements. A member said, “Our positions remain the same.” With DDT removing troops from Afghanistan, the U.S. has even less leverage than earlier.

Since he was inaugurated almost three years ago, DDT had previously made no trips to Afghanistan and only one to a war zone, a secretive trip to Iraq almost a year ago. That time, plane spotters saw Air Force One crossing Britain; this time, he took a military plane with only five people, including Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). DDT ate with Barrasso and a commander based at Bagram.

DDT demonstrated his obsession with impeachment during the traditional ceremony of pardoning a turkey. The two fowl, Bread and Butter, will not reside on a table but instead safely live out their natural lives because of the selection. DDT’s statement:

“Thankfully, Bread and Butter have been specially raised by the Jacksons to remain calm under any condition, which will be very important because they’ve already received subpoenas to appear in Adam Schiff’s basement on Thursday. It seems the Democrats are accusing me of being too soft on turkey, but Bread and Butter — I should note that, unlike previous witnesses, you and I have actually met.”

DDT added that the news media would find the pardon “very popular” because “turkeys are closely related to vultures.”

Although both turkeys were saved, only Butter received a “pardon.” One joke was that Butter received the pardon because Bread got more votes.

Although the DDT base may have found humor in the comments about impeachment, satirist Andy Borowitz gave another perspective about the pardon in his humor column, “Trump Refuses to Pardon White House Turkey After Accusing It of Working for Soros”:

“In a startling break with Thanksgiving tradition, Donald J. Trump refused to pardon the White House turkey after claiming that it was working as a secret operative of the billionaire George Soros.

“A group of fourth graders from Bethesda, Maryland, who had gathered on the White House lawn for the annual turkey-pardoning ceremony appeared unprepared for the anti-Soros outburst that Trump unleashed on the Thanksgiving bird.

“’That turkey was sent by Soros to spy on me,’ Trump said, angrily turning on the fowl. ‘A lot of people are saying this.’

“While the oblivious turkey pecked desultorily at the ground, an increasingly enraged Trump spewed a stream of conspiracy theories linking the feathered animal to global élites, election fraud in Florida, and Jim Acosta.

“Trump attempted to lead the fourth-grade class in a chant of ‘Lock It Up,’ apparently directed at the Thanksgiving delicacy, but the students slowly backed away from him in silence.

“Tracy Klugian, one of the children who witnessed Trump’s meltdown, said that he found it ‘sad.’

“’I get that he’s upset about Mueller and the midterms, but he shouldn’t take it out on a turkey,’ he said.”

Background on the turkey pardon: residents of the White House typically ate the donated turkeys until 1989 with the exception of Abraham Lincoln giving the turkey in 1863 to his son Tad and President Kennedy’s refusal to eat the turkey in 1961. Richard Nixon freed the turkey but gave no pardon. George H.W. Bush began the official presidential turkey pardon tradition. The pardon got attention in 2007 when the turkey found back during the ceremony of H.W.’s son, W.

As my vegetarian friend said, maybe next year’s turkey could be named “Tofu.”

And now the conservative Christians can launch into their mythical persecution and their fantasy of the “war on Christmas.” If you get together with conservatives at the winter holiday dinner, here are some talking points. Just change the title.

November 26, 2019

Impeachment Worsens for DDT Despite False Defenses

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) pardoned his turkey and left town for Mar-a-Lago, but the impeachment inquiry goes on. The House Judiciary Committee holds its first hearing about the impeachment inquiry on December 4, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and his lawyer have been invited to attend and question witnesses. They have until December 1 to respond.

Last week, DDT said he seriously considered answering written questions about the inquiry, and he has complained about what he perceived as House leaving him out of the process. His excuse for blocking all current and past aids and officials from subpoenaed testimony and documents is to protect future presidents. Using documents from the White House’s office of Management and Budget, the House Budget Committee prepared a timeline showing that the military aid was withheld while DDT pressured Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. Details about the committee’s report is here.

Mark Sandy, the only OMB official to testify in the impeachment inquiry, said that two OMB officials resigned over concerns about DDT’s freezing the aid to Ukraine. One who worked in the legal division disagreed with OMB’s decision because of the Impoundment Control Act limiting the executive branch from changing congressional spending decisions. Sandy said he also expressed concerns about OMB following the law so DDT’s political appointee signed the documents holding up the money for Ukraine.

In other testimony, Sandy said that acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney emailed him on July 12, telling him that DDT ordered a freeze on Ukraine’s military aid. EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland also testified that DDT told him and other administration officials to keep pressure on Ukraine. In addition to holding the money so that it would not be released before the end of the fiscal year, DDT also refused to give Congress a formal rescission notice which would provide the reason for withholding congressionally approved funds.

DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani has also gotten into more trouble. When he met with Zelensky’s top aid in August during a trip to Madrid with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Giuliani stayed with Venezuelan energy executive Alejandro Betancourt López in a luxurious estate, purchased through money laundering and bribery. A month later, Giuliani helped represent López in a meeting with the head of DOJ’s criminal division and other federal attorneys, arguing that he should not face criminal charges for his $1.2 billion money-laundering case in Florida. According to the complaint, López and other top officials of the state-owned oil company conspired with business leaders and bankers to steal from the Venezuelan company and launder the money through Florida real estate.

Giuliani has other problems. In late 2018, Judith Nathan’s court filings in her divorce from Giuliani stated that he paid Maria Rosa Ryan, his also married mistress, $286,536 over six months. In that time, he also spent $447,938 on activities “for his own enjoyment” and $165,165 on travel.

A judge has ruled that Don McGahn, former White House top lawyer, must testify to Congress about his time with DDT. In a scorching decision, U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said that McGahn cannot hide behind DDT’s false claim of “absolute immunity.” House Democrats will move closer to new testimony concerning Robert Mueller’s evidence about obstruction of justice if the appeals don’t block them. Jackson wrote that DDT is not a king and doesn’t have unchecked powers. According the ruling, no one is above the law.

Jackson’s opinion can help the impeachment inquiry investigation because it removes DDT’s claim of absolute immunity. Former national security adviser John Bolton and his deputy Charles Kupperman have suggested that they will obey subpoenas if a court so orders. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney also said he would go to court to see if he had to testify. Other officials may decide to disobey DDT’s orders to ignore subpoenas with this court ruling. Executive privilege may still allow witnesses who refuse to answer questions.

In recent protection for DDT, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wants an investigation into Joe Biden and son Hunter. He tweeted:

“If a Republican was in the same position, they’d certainly be investigated!”

Several people, including Sen. Sean Maloney (D-NY), is taking Graham up on his offer. Maloney responded that he was delighted “to talk about how the kids of powerful people benefit from their parents’ officeholding,” including “Donald Trump Jr., Eric, Jared and Ivanka.” Others chimed in with names such as Andrew Giuliani, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Bush offspring, and Bill Barr’s daughter and son-in-law.

Anti-impeachment advocates are pleased by a recent CNN poll showing that only half the country thinks that DDT should be not only impeached by the House but also removed from office by the Senate. In 1998, the highest polling to remove Bill Clinton from being president was 29 percent, and the House GOP majority voted to impeach that year. Twenty percent more of the population think that DDT should be removed. The percentage of people wanting Richard Nixon removed didn’t climb to 57 percent until the Supreme Court ordered him to give up his audio tapes. 

Only recently have a few documents about DDT’s actions toward Ukraine begun to dribble out. Republicans, many of them terrified to cross DDT, repeat Russian propaganda even when some Fox news hosts correct them. They continue to stand by their false defenses for DDT’s criminal actions of bribery and extortion. 

1. Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president was appropriate.—Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH)

2. There was no quid pro quo.—Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) although all the testimony to the House disagreed

3. The July 25 call was inappropriate but not impeachable.—Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) who also said that DDT commits these kinds of actions all the time 

4. Trump was expressing his opinion on the July 25 call.—Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)

5. Even if there was a quid pro quo, it wasn’t a “corrupt” quid pro quo.—Sen. John Neeley Kennedy (R-LA) who also echoes Russian propaganda arguing points.

6. Even if there was a quid pro quo, this happens in foreign policy.—Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who ignored that the “quid pro quo” was for DDT’s personal benefit and not for that of the United States

7. Trump was unaware of the quid pro quo.—Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) although the testimony showed he is wrong

8. Trump is incapable of a quid pro quo.—Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC), a position that he got from the Wall Street Journal editorial board

9. Trump’s public call for Ukraine and China to investigate the Bidens was not serious.—Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) although DDT didn’t say he was “joking”

10. Interpreting Trump’s actions amounts to “differences of opinion.”—House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

11. The whistleblower complaint was based on hearsay.—Graham, despite all the first-hand testimony

12. The whistleblower complaint was inaccurate.—House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), despite testimony from people who heard the July 25 call

13. The whistleblower has a political bias.–Scalise

14. The whistleblower is part of the “deep state.”—Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) although the intelligence IG declared it credible.

15. The impeachment inquiry is a secret and unfair process.—Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) about the process passed by Republicans in 2015

16. Trump has no due-process rights.—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) although impeachment does not guarantee these rights and DDT hasn’t been charged with anything

17. Ukraine said there was no pressure.—Rep Jim Jordan (R-OH) about a country afraid of not receiving vital aid

18. Ukraine did not agree to any investigations.—Jordan ignoring the facts

19. Ukraine did not know the security aid was held up.—Jordan, disproved by testimony and documents

20. Ukraine ultimately got the security aid.—Scalise refuting the fact that attempted actions are impeachable

21. Impeachment is a coup d’etat.—McCarthy about constitutional procedures

22. Democrats wanted to impeach Trump as soon as he was inaugurated.—Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-OH) lying about the fact that a majority of House Democrats didn’t support impeachment until after the July 25 call

23. Sondland never directly heard Trump mention Ukrainian security aid.—Turner, despite Sondland’s testimony that there was a quid pro quo

24. It’s the media’s fault.—Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), ignoring DDT’s actions

25. It’s Obama’s fault.—Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) although President Obama gave Ukraine hundreds of millions of dollars in military support 

26. DDT told Giuliani to run a shadow policy team because he’s “ a great crime fighter” and a “friend.”—DDT  

DDT said he fired Marie Yovanovitch as ambassador to Ukraine because she “wouldn’t hang my picture in the [U.S.] embassy [in Ukraine].” Her legal team explained, “The Embassy in Kyiv hung the official photographs of the president, vice president, and secretary of state as soon as they arrived from Washington, D.C.” A report in 2017 stated that pictures of DDT and Pence weren’t being displayed because the Government Publishing Office did get images from the White House. The White House said that DDT and Pence hadn’t decided when to sit for the portraits.

The two major “fake” defenses: the impeachment isn’t fair, and DDT isn’t impeachable.

November 25, 2019

More Impeachment News

Although the impeachment inquiry may be moving onto writing articles of impeachment, the bad news for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) continues to pour out.

Lev Parnas, associate of DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani, has given the House Intelligence Committee audio and video recordings and photographs. Giuliani used Parnas to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Parnas said he acted as translator as part of a “team” regularly meeting in Washington’s Trump International Hotel about spreading conspiracy theories among key Ukrainians. Team members included Giuliani, journalist John Solomon who spread the conspiracy theories through such media as The Hill, and married attorneys Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing who appeared on Fox for the same purpose.

Joseph Bondy, Parnas’ lawyer, said that his client worked for over a year with Giuliani to find damaging information about the Bidens while DDT and GOP members of Congress pushed false information that Joe Biden intervened in a Ukrainian criminal investigation and Ukraine meddled to the 2016 election to help Hillary Clinton. After the 2018 election, while Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) was still chair of the Intelligence Committee but before the Democrats took over the House, he visited former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in Vienna who promoted the conspiracy theories. Because they would have to tell House Intelligence Adam Schiff (D-CA), Nunes’ aides called off this year’s trip to Ukraine where he planned to interview two former Ukrainian prosecutors about evidence helping DDT’s reelection campaign. Instead, Parnas set up the meetings with the two men over phone and on Skype.

Nunes is the first congressional member thus far who is directly implicated in the Ukrainian scandal. He first denied any meetings and then said he didn’t want to talk about the situation. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), chair of the Armed Services Committee, said that Nunes may face an ethics investigation about the possibility of this meeting. Nunes says that he will file a lawsuit against CNN and The Daily Beast for their articles about his alleged meeting. Mark Sumner has a timeline of Nunes’ sycophantic behavior since DDT’s inauguration.

Western leaders, including then-VP Joe Biden, ousted Shokin in 2016 because Shokin wouldn’t pursue corruption cases. No evidence exists that the Bidens acted inappropriately or that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.

Almost a year ago at DDT’s Hanukkah party in the White House, DDT met with Giuliani and associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman and asked them to undertake “a secret mission” to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Parnas and DDT have had at least eight meetings since 2014, including photo-ops and attendance at high-dollar fundraisers.

Giuliani’s recent subpoenas list allegations of money laundering as well as obstruction of justice, conspiracy to defraud the United States, making false statements to the federal government, serving as an agent of a foreign government without registering with the Justice Department, donating funds from foreign nationals, making contributions in the name of another person, allowing someone else to use one’s name to make a contribution, mail fraud, and wire fraud. His involvement with Kremlin-connected Russian oligarchs, Dmitry Firtash and Ihor Kolomoisky, led to DDT’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, perhaps the catalyst for DDT’s impeachment inquiry. Energy tycoon Firtash offered to find dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for fighting extradition to the U.S. on bribery and racketeering. The convoluted relationships among people involved in promoting conspiracy theories is available here. Executives of the Ukrainian state-run gas company are cooperating with Giuliani’s criminal investigation.

Anticipating DDT trying to save himself by rejecting his private lawyer, Giuliani plans to protect himself. For the second time, Giuliani has bragged about having “insurance”:

“I’ve heard things written like he’s going to throw me under the bus. When they say that, I say he isn’t, but I have insurance.”

Giuliani tried to cover up his statement by claiming humor or another type of evidence against the Bidens, but his statement sounds like a threat.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may also be in trouble after newly released documents implicate him in connection with Giuliani regarding the Ukrainian bribery scam. Almost 100 pages show repeated contacts between Giuliani and Pompeo starting last spring. A lawsuit forced the release of the records showing that Pompeo had at least two phone calls with Giuliani in March during the time that DDT’s private lawyer was trying to oust Yovanovitch. The next month, Pompeo ordered her removal. According to the documents, the State Department sent congressional members a deliberately misleading reply about her departure that “reveals a clear paper trail from Rudy Giuliani to the Oval Office to Secretary Pompeo to facilitate Giuliani’s smear campaign against a U.S. ambassador,” according to Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight. Earlier, EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified, “Everyone was in the loop.”

A federal judge has ordered the Pentagon and White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to release records about DDT’s withholding military aid to Ukraine. The 211 pages include communications between the Pentagon, its comptroller, and OMB. The first half are due by December 12, and the second by December 20.

When DDT became confused about who he should fire on the reality show The Apprentice, producers would engage in “retroactive narrative construction” to justify DDT’s statements. Now his staffers and agency officials face the same dilemma for his actions caused by his alternative realities, recently freezing the military aid to Ukraine with no legal rationale. Hundreds of documents show a frantic search for after-the-fact justification about the legality of the funds’ freeze. 

In Fox, Ken Starr, chief investigator of President Clinton for his impeachment, said:

“We now know that the president in fact committed the crime of bribery…I think articles of impeachment are being drawn up if they haven’t already been drawn up…. I think we’ve known that, it was just confirmed today [on Wednesday].”

Starr also said he wondered if senators would ask DDT to resign “in light of what we’ve heard today” from Sondland.

DDT’s biggest problem with Ukraine is the election of Volodymyr Zelensky for president last spring. The losing candidate, incumbent Petro Poroshenko, had agreed to drop investigations into DDT’s former campaign manager in exchange for anti-tank missiles, the Javelins, from the U.S. Before the Ukrainian election and accompanied by associates Parnas and Igor Fruman, Giuliani met with key Poroshenko official, prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko, at least twice. Poroshenko agreed to announcing investigations into the Bidens and Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election for electoral help with a state visit to the U.S. John Solomon started writing articles with false information from Lutsenko in March with these claims and a smear campaign against Marie Yovanovitch, then-ambassador to Ukraine.

Poroshenko lost in a landslide on April 21, and DDT had to find an alternative route for his goals. DDT attacked Zelensky because he thought the new president might really oppose corruption instead of pretending to do so in an effort to please DDT. Without corruption by Poroshenko and Lutsenko, DDT needed a new game plan.

DDT’s latest strategy has been to bribe his jurors, an illegal practice in courts throughout the United States. He started out by transferring money from his campaign to those of four vulnerable GOP senators up for reelection. Then top White House officials secretly met with GOP senators to strategize the limiting of the impeachment trial, comparable to juries meeting accused criminals in their trials. They may have agreed to two weeks, long enough to look honest but short enough to not damage DDT. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already promised that DDT would be acquitted. Jury tampering also includes free lunches, specifically with Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) who have sometimes been critical about DDT’s actions. Romney went so far as to describe DDT’s asking foreign countries to investigate Joe Biden as “wrong and appalling.”

Upping the ante, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and other officials hosted over 40 GOP House members for overnight stays at the presidential retreat Camp David before any impeachment vote—at taxpayers’ cost. DDT doesn’t like the rustic setting so he avoided the hiking, bowling, skeet shooting, campfires, and friendly talk, but he called in during the dinners to compliment them. The representatives were impressed. DDT has met with or reached out to over half the GOP House members since the launch of the impeachment inquiry and given 50 of the 53 senators lunch with him.

With the goal of discouraging people who think that DDT should be impeached, Republicans are quoting new polls indicating that the majority doesn’t support his impeachment. Fivethirtyeight.com, which has conservative results, posted that 56.8 percent think that DDT committed an impeachable offense. Even more, 77.3 percent think that DDT asked Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, and 63.5 percent think that the action is inappropriate. Almost 60 percent believe that DDT tried to cover up his actions with Ukraine.

November 24, 2019

More Week 148: Catching Up

Filed under: Donald Trump,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 9:58 PM

After days of mixed information about the resolution of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to reinstate Navy Seal Edward Gallagher after his conviction, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer has been fired by Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Before DDT appointed Esper to his position, he was vice president of government relations at the major U.S. defense contractor Raytheon. Esper was upset that Spencer went to DDT with the proposal to follow the directions of a review board regarding Gallagher’s wish to retire as a Navy Seal that Esper carried out.

Navy Seals reported that Gallagher committed war crimes by killing a defenseless teenager in Iraq and then taking photographs of himself with the corpse. He escaped a murder charge after a “witness” also violating the law was given immunity for saying that it didn’t happen. DDT pardoned not only Gallagher but also Clint Lorance, convicted in 2013 for killing two unarmed men in Afghanistan, and Matthew Goldsteyn, facing a murder trial next year. According to DDT, his pardon for Goldsteyn would remove any effect of the investigation. The difference in opinion between DDT and Spencer was automatically reinstating Gallagher’s rank, removed after his conviction. Esper believes that military justice and disciplinary reviews should be allowed to play out “objectively and deliberately” but let Gallagher keep his rank. There was no statement about whether other Seals in the Gallagher affair—Robert Breisch, Jabob Portier, and Thomas MacNeil—would keep their Tridents, showing that they are Navy Seals.

New information shows that DDT decided to withhold military aid from Ukraine with no legal justification and left his staffers to figure out how to cover up what he had done.

DDT is still having a temper tantrum about not holding a profit-making (for him) G7 summit meeting at his filthy, disgusting Doral resort in Miami.

Afraid that his staffers are spying on him, DDT goes to the White House residence to “work” instead of staying in the Oval Office. 

After DDT backed off from negotiating drug prices for Medicare, he bashed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) for trying to do what he promised.

Earlier this month, DDT claimed that daughter Ivanka had created 14 million jobs in two and a half years. He may be talking about pledges from companies that will never happen or education and training opportunities, many for existing employees and planned before the pledge. In his first 31 months, DDT created 1.5 fewer jobs than President Obama did in his last 31 months when there was no recession. That’s about 50,000 fewer new jobs a month for DDT despite the economic sugar high he hoped from greatly reduced taxes for corporations.

DDT’s trade wars are killing farmers. In 2017, farm owners and workers were three to five times as likely to kill themselves on the job, and anecdotal evidence shows that farmer suicides are increasing with the rising number of calls too suicide hotlines from farmer country.

Despite DDT’s attempts to destroy Planned Parenthood, the organization won a $2 million lawsuit against David Daleiden, his employees, and the Center for Medical Progress for its doctored video about the falsehood that PP profited from fetal tissue donations. Daleiden and co-defendant Sandra Merritt go to trial in early December on 14 counts each of invasion of privacy. They claim they are undercover journalists. The release of the videos led to criminal investigations in at least 15 states as well as three congressional inquiries. PP donates fetal material for medical research.

After the deadly chemical explosion at a fertilizer plant in West (TX) that killed 15 people including 12 first responders and injuring 160, President Obama strengthened rules to stop its recurrence. DDT’s EPA rolled back the protections this week.

Accuracy in weather predictions will suffer serious risks if DDT and other autocratic world leaders get their way to have 5G technology. The technology interferes with transmissions from polar-orbiting satellites used to gather weather data, making forecasts much less reliable. With no constraints, equipment in the 24 GHz frequency band bleeds into the NOAA and NASA satellite sensors frequency detecting water vapor in the atmosphere. NOAA reported a loss of 77.4 percent of data from these microwave sounders. Europe and the UN argue for stricter interference limits.

According to Ruth Marcus’ new book Supreme Ambition: Brett Kavanaugh and the Conservative Takeover, former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy asked DDT to pick Brett Kavanaugh as his replacement during a secret meeting.

On DDT’s trip to the plant assembling Apple’s Mac Pro computers in Austin (TX), he bragged about “opening” the “new” facility to bring high-paying jobs to the U.S.—the “beginning of a very powerful and important plant.” President Obama opened the plant in 2013, and Apple has not built any U.S. plants since DDT’s election. Most of its products are made overseas. DDT also said that Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, wouldn’t “have to worry about tariffs,” but Cook pays tariffs on the Mac Pro parts imported from China to be assembled in Texas. The new tariffs starting on December 15 may affect the cost of Apple products, including iPhones.

DDT claimed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “closed Congress” last Wednesday, but the House kept working on other projects during testimony before one committee. The Senate also addressed missing and murdered Native American women. The bill had been addressed in 2018, but Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) had blocked it in the Judiciary Committee. He is no longer in Congress. The Senate bill is in the hands of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Pete Hegseth is pushing for-profit colleges to enroll more veterans which would bring them much more money through a legal loophole. The colleges can’t receive more than 90 percent of their revenue from federal education funds, but veterans’ benefits, such as GI Gill stipends, don’t fit in this category although they come from federal funds. According to the “90/10 loophole,” schools can admit nine more students on federal loans for each veteran. All these students end up with debt and useless degrees if schools lose their accreditation or go out of business. Paid for his speeches, Hegseth said that he can’t be interviewed because he works for Fox. He does publish op-eds to defend for-profit colleges and attack veterans’ groups against the 90/100 loophole although he doesn’t disclose his work for these colleges.

In another DDT scam, billionaires are benefiting from a federal tax break supposedly to bring investment to designated low-income areas called opportunity zones. The wealthy get tax break by building such projects as a luxury condominium at a “superyacht marina.” The loophole comes from permission to build in areas adjacent to low-income neighborhoods, 56 percent of the nation’s census tracts according to the Treasury Department. Secretary Steve Mnuchin is able to overturn rulings that an area is too affluent to qualify.  

DDT is defending his top aide Stephen Miller from his newly exposed links to white nationalism by claiming that repeating his own words back to him is anti-Semitic, saying that reporting on Miller’s emails promoting white nationalist garbage “is clearly a form of anti-Semitism to levy these attacks against a Jewish staffer.” Miller is behind the racist immigration policies.

At a private Morgan Stanley global investment event, former National Security Adviser John Bolton suggested that DDT uses his personal financial interests to make his foreign policy decisions.

Newly uncovered emails reveal that the RNC demanded that DDT’s nominee for the U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas, Doug Manchester, donate $500,000 before his Senate confirmation hearings. RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel asked him for more money when his confirmation had stalled, indicating that he had earlier paid money. Manchester withdrew his name after waiting over two years. 

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported that states taking Medicaid expansion “saved the lives of at least 19,200 adults aged 55 to 64 over the four-year period from 2014 to 2017.” The flip side is that 15,600 older adults died prematurely in the states that didn’t accept the expansion in those years.

An unidentified Louisiana rape survivor rejected State District Judge Bruce Bennet’s offer of $150,000 at the sentencing of her attacker. She would have gotten $150,000 from the man who raped her, Sedrick Hills, in exchange for reducing his 12-year sentence.

JoDe Goudy, a tribal leader of the Yakama Nation in Washington state, was refused entry to a U.S. Supreme Court hearing because he refused to remove his traditional headdress. The case questioned whether the Yakama Nation may avoid state taxes on off-reservation commercial activities that make use of public highways, under the Yakima Treaty of 1855.

DDT will deny free lunches to almost one million children under his proposed restrictions for food stamps.

The United States spent more on subsidizing fossil fuels in recent years than it has on defense spending, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF found that direct and indirect subsidies for coal, oil and gas in the U.S. reached $649 billion in 2015. Pentagon spending that same year was $599 billion.

The merger of Gannett and Gatehouse, creating the biggest newspaper company in the United States, means that 20 percent of the daily papers have the same owner. The control of these newspapers guarantees an efficient business-driven policy from these conservative companies with a shortage of local news.

November 23, 2019

DDT: Week 148 – Misery Beyond Impeachment

The people of the United States had one victory this past week during the impeachment inquiry: the government didn’t shut down. Without a new budget—or an extension of the existing one—the situation would have returned to the same as December 22, 2018, almost a year ago. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) signed an extension until December 20 that passed the Senate by 74 to 20 (all Republicans) and the House by a mostly party-line vote of 231 to 192. The question is whether he will sign a new budget if it doesn’t have the $8.6 billion that he wants for his wall. Republicans want $5 billion for the structure, and Democrats include no money in all the spending bills they passed. Of the 12 annual spending bills required to fund military and federal agencies, lawmakers have agreed on not one of them. An alternative is to keep funding at current levels through the end of 2020, something that neither side wants. The passed extension includes a 3.1 percent military pay raise and funding for the census.

The bad news for people in the U.S. is that ISIS is rebounding after DDT’s actions causing greater instability in the Middle East by taking assistance from the Kurds. According to a Pentagon report, Turkey’s launch of a military operation caused by DDT’s actions has boosted ISIS ability to go abroad for attack. Despite Turkey’s claims about fighting the terror group, neither Turkey nor its proxy forces will carry through with its promises. The U.S. has stopped training “for commando teams, prison guards, counter-IED techniques, and other specialty skills” that the Kurds lack. DDT had moved the troops in northern Syria only to “protect the oil.” The report states that the Syrian forces joining the Turkish incursion “had not carried out any counterterrorism operations against ISIS since the start of the offensive and were unlikely to do so.” Instead, some of the Turkish-back militias that smuggled ISIS fighters into the area “probably maintain low-level ties to ISIS.” The “ceasefire” is also in name only with these militias engaging in murder and violence.

Last week, DDT insisted, “The ceasefire continues to hold” during his press conference with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “I’m a big fan of the President,” DDT said about Erdogan. The Pentagon sent questions about the ceasefire to the State Department which didn’t respond. Christian genocide-survivors near Tal Tamr are also threatened by militia attacks.

Turkey is also sending ISIS fighters to their “home countries,” beginning with one to the U.S., another to Britain, and seven others to Germany. Erdogan said that he is sending thousands of ISIS-affiliated people in Turkey’s custody back to “their countries of origin.”

DDT sides against democracy and human rights in Hong Kong because he wants a good deal with China. This past week, the House on Wednesday passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act by a vote of 417 to 1 (Thomas Massie, R-KY). The day before, the Senate unanimously approved the measure. DDT’s deference to Xi Jinping resembles that of his devotion to Vladimir Putin.

Last weekend, the media discussed the reason that DDT made an unscheduled trip to Walter Reed Medical Center. He said that it was to start his annual exam earlier; his last one was nine months ago. Yet the visit wasn’t on either his White House or personal calendar. The press secretary claimed he went because he had a free day, but the visit was on Saturday when DDT typically plays golf. The “routine checkups” described for the visit could easily be done at the White House, but results of drug combinations—amphetamines, phenylnephrine, and caffeine—would need more sophisticated equipment.

Press secretary Stephanie Grisham went on Jeanine Pirro’s show to report DDT’s fantastic health despite the fact that he works from 6:00 am to “very, very late at night” something his schedule doesn’t show. Pirro described DDT as “almost superhuman.” Grisham, the press secretary who has never had a press conference, said it was “dangerous for the country” for anyone to challenge the veracity of her claims.

With the world focused on the impeachment inquiry, the news has largely ignored a second whistleblower, this one who reported that at least one political appointee at the Treasury Department may have tried to interfere with an audit of DDT’s or VP Mike Pence’s tax returns. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), chair and ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee are now looking into the complaint with credible allegations of “evidence of possible misconduct,” specifically “inappropriate efforts to influence” the audit of Trump’s materials. The House Ways & Means Committee is also considering obtaining a deposition from the whistleblower and discussing whether to interview the person in a committee executive session.

Earlier this month, DDT’s campaigning failed to elect GOP governors in Kentucky and Louisiana. Now he has worse news: Louisiana’s GOP failed to get a supermajority in its legislature to override the Democratic governor’s veto. The census will bring legislative redistricting in 2020, and the GOP can no longer control the process.   

Clarence Mason Weaver, a new DDT pick for DDT’s advisory board for the reelection campaign device “Black Voices for Trump,” said that women are not equal to men and women should act like “handmaidens” rather than “queens.”

For DDT’s first five months in office, U.S. taxpayers paid his businesses $2,000 a day—over $250,000—for DDT’s Secret Service. He keeps his businesses, visits them with aides and security, and then charges the government for all their expenses. This unconstitutional act violates the Emoluments Clause which DDT calls “silly” and blames on Democrats.   

For the past four years, DDT has used Hillary Clinton’s secure private server as a weapon with constant cries “lock her up.” Yet no Republican has paid attention to Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the UN, after she sent sensitive and classified information through unsecured channels before she resigned as ambassador. Haley couldn’t find her secure password so on July 4, 2017, she used her unsecured BlackBerry 10 smartphone to send “confidential” information so her aides could “clean it up.” The subject was North Korea’s test of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting Alaska. Haley communicated information about the danger of nuclear war with North Korea. DDT’s pressure to investigate Clinton’s email was probably a factor in her losing, and he continued to investigate everyone surround the issue up through this year.

Back in September when people were mysteriously dying from vaping, DDT supported a national ban on flavored vaping products and claimed, “We can’t allow people to get sick, and we can’t have our kids be so affected.” Regulators cleared the ban, and only DDT’s sign-off was needed. Big business got to him, however, and DDT backed down before a press conference on November 4. He thought the job losses would cause him political problems. Yesterday, he decided that maybe it would be okay if he raised the vaping age to 21. Although some of the deaths are for those under 21 years of age, the median age is 53 with patients’ ages ranging from 13 to 78. And DDT hasn’t signed off on anything about vaping.

Over the objections of the Army Corps of Engineers and Customs and Border Protection officials, Jared Kushner and other officials plan to live-stream DDT’s wall building. Contractors don’t want their techniques available to smugglers who have already sawed through new sections of DDT’s wall. Officials are also concerned that cameras will show work crews violating Mexican sovereignty as they wander south of the border with their vehicles and heavy equipment. U.S. costs will include building web connectivity and keeping people available to reposition the cameras. Kushner has called meetings every two weeks to push for faster construction. So far, DDT has replaced 81 miles of barrier.

Arrested for giving humanitarian aid to two young men from Central America in the Arizona desert, Scott Warren has been exonerated of two felony charges in his second trial. The first one ended in a mistrial with a hung jury. Warren had faced 20 years in prison if prosecutors had proved criminal intent instead of humanitarian aid.

AG Bill Barr said he was going to start executing federal inmates after 16 years of no capital punishment, but a U.S. District Court judge blocked the executions intended to be done by a single drug instead of a mix of three.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr is looking into the Trump Organization’s CFO Allen Weisselberg as part of its criminal investigation into DDT’s business affairs. The question is whether DDT recorded the hush-money reimbursements for DDT’s sexual affairs as “legal expenses,” with sham invoices. Weisselberg’s earlier immunity deal applied only to federal proceedings. Vance’s charges has remained on hold for almost a year until federal prosecutors said that their investigation was “effectively concluded.” The two-year statute of limitations for misdemeanor false-records charges ends on December 5, 2019. Vance is still waiting from the Supreme Court to see if they will hear DDT’s request for blanket immunity from criminal investigation. If the case is not heard, Vance will receive DDT’s tax returns by the end of the year.

November 22, 2019

GOP, DDT Acting like Russian Assets

Impeachment testimony has concluded—perhaps. Republicans argue that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) had to investigate “corruption” in Ukraine because they were responsible for meddling in the 2016 election. Testimony refuted this conspiracy theory, but Republicans cannot give up support for this falsehood that was created by the Russians

Today, the public discovered that Republicans have known that Russia has pushed the “fictional narrative” of Ukraine’s responsibility for meddling since early 2017—and that senators were briefed on the Russian security services’ disinformation campaign by Russian security services. Ukraine didn’t do the hacking during the 2016 election: Russia did. Russia’s aim was to increase discord among adversaries, and Russia succeeded. Russia’s intelligence officers told prominent Russians and Ukrainians, who then told U.S. political figures and journalists unaware of the origin. U.S. intelligence agencies told senator about this campaign, and the Republicans ignored the information. Reporters Julian E. Barnes and Matthew Rosenberg wrote:

“That muddy brew worked its way into American information ecosystems, sloshing around until parts of it reached Mr. Trump, who has also spoken with Mr. Putin about allegations of Ukrainian interference. Mr. Trump also brought up the assertions of Ukrainian meddling in his July 25 call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, which is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into whether he abused his power by asking for a public commitment to investigations he stood to gain from personally.”

Despite information that their conspiracy theories about Ukraine are false, GOP House members insisted on bringing it up in questioning with no evidence to support their false theories. In his call to Fox and Friends this morning, DDT again pushed the Russian propaganda. Even those ultra-conservative hosts looked and sounded dubious, one of them asking if DDT is sure of the debunked theory that the FBI gave a Democratic server to what DDT falsely called a Ukrainian-owned company. The hosts of Fox and Friends didn’t look pleased by their interaction with DDT. 

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry/fact-check-trump-s-false-claims-about-ukraine-dnc-server-n1089596   DDT falsely claimed, “[The FBI] gave the server to CrowdStrike … which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian.” CrowdStrike is the California-based cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC to investigate a breach. The investigation showed that it was a Russian hack to create chaos, discord, and disruption of the 2016 election. Publicly traded on the Nasdaq, Crowdstrike’s biggest shareholder is Warburg Pincus who has personal ties to DDT. One of CrowdStrike’s founders, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a Russian-born U.S. citizen, who often consults with the U.S. government on cybersecurity. Common practice in investigations is to digitally copy physical servers to preserve the information as evidence. The DNC has decommissioned 140 servers and rebuilt 11, related to 2016. The RNC also used CrowdStrike after it was hacked. This falsehood from DDT was one of many during his 53-minute commentary on Fox and Friends. 

During his colloquy, DDT admitted that he shook down Zelensky for the military aid:

“We’re looking for, why should we be giving hundreds of millions of dollars to countries when there’s this kind of corruption?”

Congress passed the law with the military aid, and DDT signed it. DDT admitted he wants to prove that Russia didn’t interfere in the 2016 election to help his reelection campaign. To help DDT’s re-election, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appears to be initiating an investigation into Joe Biden.

During her testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Fiona Hill, formerly a Russia expert from the National Security Council, spoke about the false GOP fringe notion:

“Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country—and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves. I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternative narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine—not Russia—attacked us in 2016.”

With their refusal to accept the truth and their continued claim that Ukraine was the meddler in the U.S. election, Republicans are joining DDT as Russian assets, weakening Ukraine and the U.S. while strengthening Russia. The right wing tried to slime her because of her British accent—she’s a coalminer’ daughter. She told them that she comes from the same area as George Washington’s ancestors. Accused of being a “Never Trumper,” she nevertheless defended him whenever possible. Sondland described Hill as “emotional,” but her demeanor during the hours-long questioning debunked his attempt to destroy her testimony. The GOP lawyer Steve Castor ended up in a trap with more damning testimony against DDT when he accused her of just being upset. While GOP representatives became more enraged at her during her testimony, she calmly sat there waiting for them to finish. Tim Miller is right by calling her Queen Fiona for her testimony. His full account is well worth reading. 

Earlier in the week, Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the EU and one of the “three amigos” on DDT’s shadow policy team to circumvent official appointees for Ukraine, saved himself and testified against the concept of a “rogue diplomacy” with Ukraine. Fox’s Chris Wallace summarized Sondland’s testimony:

 “[Sondland] took out the bus, and he ran over President Trump, Vice President Pence, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani, Mick Mulvaney—he implicates all of them.”

Sondland said that he followed DDT’s orders when he talked to Ukraine about investigations, that there was a quid pro quo, and that “everyone was in the loop.” Pence tried to deny any knowledge, but Sondland testified that weeks before the July 25 phone call he specifically told Pence he “had concerns” about how the military aid to Ukraine “had become tied” to the investigations. Sondland also said that he had no choice but to work with DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. DDT spent the day denying Sondland’s testimony, repeating “I want nothing.” He even wrote a speech about it with his Sharpie in case he forgot the words. DDT then refused to take any questions from reporters. Pence’s office said Sondland lied. More details about Sondland’s testimony this week.

About Sondland, Hill testified, “He wasn’t coordinating with us because we weren’t doing the same thing that he was doing. He was being involved in a domestic political errand. And we were being involved in national security foreign policy.”

Pentagon Ukraine-Russia expert Laura Cooper testified that Ukraine met all of legal corruption elimination thresholds months before DDT froze the military aid and that the DOD had certified the funds before May. A claim is that DDT doesn’t want to send money to corrupt countries—at least those that don’t personally benefit him—but the military aid for Ukraine had built-in conditions to prove it has undertaken anti-corruption reforms.

The right also smeared Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the fired NSC specialist on Ukraine, after he testified that DDT’s July 25 call to Zelensky by DDT was inappropriate. Vindman heard the call. Republican attacks on Vindman are so severe that the Army is considering the need to protect Vindman and his family on a military base.

DDT complains about not having any witnesses, but two GOP witnesses testified this week. Tim Morrison, former NSC official, testified that he immediately went to NSC lawyer John Eisenberg after he heard the call and said the transcript should be restricted to hide it from the public. Morrison suggested that DDT’s July 25 call be restricted because of the “political” ramifications” if people knew about it. After White House lawyer John Eisenberg hid the transcript—which has not been completely released—in the highest classified system, Morrison said Eisenberg said that this placement was a “mistake … and administrative error.” Later Morrison said that Eisenberg told him “I gave no such direction.” Former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, the other GOP witness, changed his earlier testimony to say that he now remembered Sondland had brought up the Burisma/2016 election investigations at the July 10 meeting in the White House with a Ukrainian delegation.

Takeaways from Week Two:

  1. President Trump was directly involved in directing the investigations into Ukraine.
  2. Contrary to what Mulvaney stated in the White House briefing room, it is virtually unheard of for the president’s political interests to have an effect on foreign aid.
  3. Interfering in aid to Ukraine may have put Ukrainian lives at risk and strengthened Russia’s hand in the region.
  4. Ukraine knew in May that DDT was pressuring them. 
  5. Pompeo refuses to defend the people who work for him in the State Department. 
  6. Leading federal GOP officials and lawmakers continue to act as assets for Russia to protect them despite their knowledge that Russia, not Ukraine, meddled in DDT’s election.
  7. Giuliani is still bragging about working on the same investigations in Ukraine. 
  8. Pompeo’s and Mulvaney’s refusal to testify make DDT look even guiltier.  

November 18, 2019

Open Impeachment Inquiry Hearings: Week One

Open House impeachment inquiry hearings, instigated by a whistleblower, began last week with new revelations about the attempts of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to use his office for his personal benefit. 

Highlights of the week:

DDT’s furious tweets impugning witnesses Marie Yovanovitch and Jennifer Williams that DDT calls “free speech” but resemble witness tampering, a conviction for Roger Stone: Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, described DDT’s smear and intimidation campaign  against her for the past six months, one which made her seek safety in the U.S. and which DDT continued in tweets at the same time that she testified. His goal was to replace her in Ukraine with someone who would carry out his investigation into conspiracy theories to destroy a political opponent. DDT tweeted nothing about George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Bill Taylor, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, instead falsely attacking only two women. While GOP representatives readied themselves to leave the hearing, Yovanovitch (center right) left to thunderous applause and a standing ovation. DDT claimed he “mostly never heard of” Williams, VP Mike Pence’s special adviser on Europe and Russia, although he called her a “Never Trumper.” She heard DDT’s phone call, but he told her to read the transcript. Williams, a career foreign service official, called DDT’s requests to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky unusual and inappropriate, especially when he specifically referred to investigations into the Bidens and mentioned the Burisma gas company.

Direct knowledge of DDT’s corruption in closed-door hearings: After Republican attacked the testimony of Bill Taylor and George Kent for mere hearsay, more witnesses testified about direct knowledge of DDT’s demands for investigation and holding up military aid. Taylor’s staffer David Holmes overheard DDT talk about the investigations in a Kiev restaurant where Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the DU, called DDT on his cell phone. The call began with Sondland’s comment to DDT that Zelensky “loves your ass” and continued with DDT asking if Zelensky was “gonna do the investigation.” Sondland answered in the affirmative and said that Zelensky will do “anything you ask him to.” Holmes heard DDT’s end of the conversation because he was so loud that Sondland held the phone away from his ear. After the call, Sondland said that DDT didn’t “give a sh*t about Ukraine,” only the “big stuff” that benefits himself such as the “Biden investigation” that Giuliani was pushing. Holmes also told about being asked to take notes for a meeting with Sondland and Zelensky’s aide Andriy Yermak before he was not allowed in the room because they didn’t want any note-taker.

Another staffer, Suriya Jayanti, also reported overhearing Sondland’s phone conversation with DDT. Bill Taylor had testified that the reference was to the Bidens and that Sondland told DDT that the Ukrainians “were ready to move forward.”

Senior White House budget official Mark Sandy also testified last week about DDT freezing the military aid to Ukraine. Laura Cooper, the Defense Department official who oversees military aid to Ukraine, had already testified that a senior OMB official had announced this hold on July 18 after all departments and agencies except OMB had signed off on the aid. Receiving no reason for the freeze, Sandy was told to sign the first of several letters freezing the funds for Ukraine, starting on July 25, the same day as DDT’s call with Zelensky. All the other letters were signed by Sandy’s boss, political appointee Michael Duffey, who said he wanted to learn more about the apportionment process. Duffey said on July 26 that the hold “relates to the President’s concerns about corruption.”

Release of new transcripts: Advisers to U.S. envoy Kurt Volker, Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, testified that DDT pushed his shadow foreign policy to pressure Ukraine into investigating political opponents. Laura Cooper added that Volker demanded an investigation into specific U.S. citizens, a violation of civil liberties because it’s not based on a suspected crime but pushed by a politician. DDT went beyond an investigation into insisting on prosecutions even if evidence did not warrant them. The testimony shows that, contrary to Volker’s claims, he knew about the links of the quid pro quo as well as the Ukrainians knowing about the ultimatum before Sondland delivered it.

The transcript of Tim Morrison’s testimony describes Sondland’s actions and statements, confirming Sondland’s amendment to his original testimony after he decided he should tell the truth. Gordon Sondland, EU ambassador, operated at DDT’s request and talked to a Ukrainian about exchanging military aid for political investigations to benefit DDT. He told Yermack that if his country did not announce the investigations into the Bidens that DDT would withhold the military aid. Immediately after his conversation with Yermack, Sondland told Morrison that the prosecutor general should publicly announce he was opening the Burisma investigation. Hunter Biden had served on the company’s board while his father was working on Ukraine policy for the Obama administration. Morrison said that he didn’t remember the name “Burisma” mentioned in the July 25 phone call, but Williams, who heard the July 25 call, said that Zelensky referenced the name of the gas company. Morrison said that he told the administration to “restrict access to the package” after hearing the call between DDT and Zelensky but moving the call transcript to a highly classified system was a “mistake.”

Williams’ transcript filled in some details of Pence’s involvement in which she reported on DDT’s phone call with Zelensky and Zelensky’s concern about DDT’s withholding the military aid. She also told Pence about how DDT’s demands would benefit him far more than the country.

Today, the House released two more transcripts, those from David Holmes and David Hale, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. 

Trying to look innocent, DDT released a transcript of his first phone call with Zelensky, which Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), read into the House record. It illuminates more of DDT’s lies. The readout of the call: DDT promises to work with Zelensky to “implement reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and root out corruption.” The call: DDT’s brief congratulation for Zelensky’s election followed by a discussion of DDT’s ownership of Miss Universe and a vague invitation to the White House. Missing: Mention of general “corruption” or anti-corruption efforts and a time for the invitation. DDT refused to attend Zelensky’s inauguration, instead sending Energy Secretary Rick Perry to cut a business deal benefiting GOP donors in the U.S.

Federal prosecutors are investigating DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani for potential campaign-finance violations; failure to register as a foreign agent; crimes with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman who are charged with conspiracy, falsification of records, and lying to the FEC about political donations; participation in removing Yovanovitch from Ukraine because she obstructed Giuliani’s efforts to investigate Biden; and maybe other crimes. Giuliani is also in the midst of a divorce with his wife of 15 years, Judith Giuliani, who said, “I’m sad to know that the hero of 9/11 has become a liar.” A trial is set for January because Giuliani is concealing his income.

An overview of Republicans’ attempts—and lies—to defend DDT:  

  • Ukraine interfered to help Democrats in the 2016 election.
  • Ukraine eventually got the military aid so there was no crime.  
  • Joe Biden is a bad person.
  • Witnesses aren’t credible because they don’t have firsthand information, but they want the whistleblower who didn’t have firsthand information.
  • The direct testimony isn’t related to the inquiry.
  • The impeachment is only about the July 25 phone call, and there’s nothing there.
  • Public hearings are a “sham.”
  • Hearings are boring.
  • The hearings are too hard to understand
  • The Mueller investigation was a fraud. 
  • DDT is too dumb to carry out the corruption.

Nothing on the substance of the inquiry. 

Witnesses in the upcoming week’s open hearings: Gordon Sondland, Jennifer Williams, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman (top National Security Council expert on Ukraine), Kurt D. Volker, Tim Morrison, Laura Cooper, David Hale, and Fiona Hill (a former National Security Council official with expertise in Russia). Mark Sandy will testify if he receives a subpoena. Russell Vought, acting OMB director, and Michael Duffey, OMB’s national security chief, refuse to appear of turn over documents as does acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

Unhappy with State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo for months, DDT is now furious because the people Pompeo hired are testifying against DDT. A new Cabinet member may be on the horizon.

Today DDT said that he will “strongly consider” testifying in writing as part of the impeachment inquiry. If DDT can’t tell the truth, he should stay quiet: House investigators are looking into whether he lied to Robert Mueller in his written responses.  

November 16, 2019

DDT: Week 147 – Problems Past Impeachment Inquiry

In the trial of Roger Stone, close associate of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), a jury of his peers has unanimously determined his guilt in seven felony counts, including lying to Congress and witness tampering as liaison between WikiLeaks and DDT’s campaign. The last of Robert Mueller’s indictments to be tried, he is the sixth DDT aide or adviser to be convicted. Stone presented his actions as “not intentionally dishonest” and politics as usual; he said that the truth—including revealing DDT’s lies in his written responses to Mueller—would embarrass DDT. On Fox, Stone’s daughter asked DDT to pardon her father. After hearing of the conviction, DDT demanded that several federal officials past and present, including Hillary Clinton and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), be sent to prison.

Lawyers are calling for the impeachment of AG Bill Barr after his speech to the right-wing judicial activist group The Federalist Society in which he attacked “the left” and called on king-like powers for DDT:

“The fact of the matter is: that in waging a scorched earth, no holds-barred war of resistance against this administration, it is the left that is engaged in the systemic shredding of norms and undermining the rule of law.”

A month ago, Barr attacked “radical secularists” in a speech at Notre Dame Law School. Barr, who published his philosophy that the president is above the law with his “unitary executive theory” of unfettered control over the executive branch, is working on a report smearing the U.S. intelligence agencies and refuting the Mueller investigation by talking to leaders of foreign governments.   

The Circuit Court for the District of Columbia Congress upheld a lower court and ruled against DDT’s immunity by permitting Congress to get eight years of DDT’s tax returns. Three of the 11 appeals judges voted to return the decision to a lower court—two DDT judges and one appointed by George H.W. Bush. The court put the ruling on hold for seven days while DDT appeals to the Supreme Court. In addition to these two court rulings, two earlier cases, United States v. Nixon (1974) and Clinton v. Jones (1997), unanimously ruled against presidential immunity.

Other DDT’s lawsuits that could reach the Supreme Court include congressional demand for accessing redacted portions of Mueller’s investigation and violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause. New York wants records regarding hush money for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to see if they have been falsified.

Another lawsuit charges DDT and his son-in-law/senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner, with violating the law when they failed to keep records of meetings with foreign officials including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, and top Saudi officials. DDT had at least five meetings with Putin with no notetaker and confiscated a State Department interpreter’s note from another meeting with Putin. No record came from DDT’s private meeting in Vietnam. Kushner recently met with top Saudi officials with no State Department officials and no record.

The Trump Organization has agreed to pay $290,000 to the Scottish government, ending a multiyear legal battle in which Donald Trump tried and failed to block an offshore wind farm from being built in view of one of his Scottish golf courses. In the beginning of his fight with Scotland, DDT wrote, “I am going to fight [Scottish first minister Alex Salmond] for as long as it takes—to hell if I have to—and spend as much as it takes to block this useless and grotesque blot on our heritage.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan killed U.S.-allied Kurds and displaced 200,000 more from Syria after he promised not to do so, and his staff beat up U.S. resident protesters in Washington, DC the last time that he visited. This week, Erdogan visited again, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) gave the Turkish autocrat the same inducements DDT promised in a deal that Erdogan failed to follow: a $100 billion trade deal and a way to avoid U.S. sanctions over Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system. Last month, the House overwhelmingly voted to impose sanctions on Turkey over its assault into Syria, and a bipartisan group of senators who introduced a similar bill. DDT calls Erdogan, who commits war crimes, “a friend” who “deserves respect.” 

During a press conference, Erdogan denied the Armenian genocide, and DDT said nothing. From 2014 to 1923, the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire, which became Turkey, systematically exterminated and expelled 1.5 million ethnic Armenians, starting with wholesale killing of males through massacre. Two weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 405 to 11 in favor of a resolution to recognize the killing of 1.5 million Armenians more than a century ago as a genocide. While Erdogan was in the Oval Office, he showed a film depicting Kurds as terrorists to DDT and several Republicans, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (SC), Ted Cruz (TX), and Rick Scott (FL). Graham blocked the House resolution after the meeting. DDT repeated his falsehood, “We’re keeping the oil.” His officials know that taking oil out of Syria for the financial benefit of the U.S.—or DDT—clearly violates the law.

Before DDT was elected to the Oval Office, he said that he had “a little conflict of interest” in Turkey because of his two Trump towers in Istanbul. Former National Security Adviser John Bolton said that DDT’s foreign policy about Turkey comes from personal and financial interest.

DDT made tens of millions of dollars in profits by allowing Colombian drug cartels and other groups to launder money through the hotel in Panama that formerly carried his brand. Drug cartels bought hotel unit to conceal sources of money earned through drug trafficking and other criminal activities. In investigating conflicts of interest, the Sunlight Foundation found over 600 for DDT and 1,100 for the First Family.

After a recanvass of election results, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin conceded his race for reelection. Democrat Andy Beshear had defeated Bevin by over 5,000 votes. In Louisiana, Democratic John Bel Edwards won a second term by over two percent. DDT had vigorously campaigned for GOP gubernatorial candidates in both Kentucky and Louisiana.

DDT had an unannounced physical today after his regular annual exam last February. In the past, he had his physical performed by a doctor who was drunk on the job, wrote a letter himself that his doctor signed about how great his health is, provided zero test results from his physicals,and faked all of his other health data. The exam was not on DDT’s personal schedule yesterday.

A federal judge ruled that Florida cannot automatically put DDT’s name first on the ballot for presidential candidates. Three other states have had the same archaic law—Arizona, Georgia, and Texas.

Over 900 leaked emails from white supremacist and DDT’s aide Stephen Miller to Breitbart News show how he shaped its ideology through articles and talking points from white nationalist websites and a book about “white genocide” praised by white nationalists and neo-Nazis. He complained about the removal of Confederate flags after a white supremacist killed nine blacks were killed in a Charleston (SC) church and talks about only crimes that are committed by non-whites. He pushes against non-white immigrants and supports policies praised by Hitler. Miller worked on a “fast track” proposal with Gordon Sondland, EU ambassador and witness in impeachment inquiry, to boost immigration to the U.S. of skilled and wealthy Europeans. Seventeen Jewish groups and elected officials have called for Miller’s firingDDT is defending his white supremacist aide.

Donald Trump Jr.’s book Triggered  is #1 on the NYT book list because of bulk sales to political groups such as the RNC and DDT’s campaign. But he still faces problems on his advertising tour. MAGA conservatives drove him out of a two-hour appearance after 20 minutes because he and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle would answer questions. The first protesters in the crowd of 450 people were America Firsters, but the hubbub worsened. University of Florida student body president, Michael Murphy, may be impeached because he used $50,000 of student tuition fees to bring Jr, GOP activist Guilfoyle, and RNC official Tommy Hicks, to speak. Student funds cannot pay for events either supporting or opposing “a political party at any level.” In a New York bookstore, unknown people moved Jr.’s book into the Young Adult section with the title Daddy, Please Love Me: How Everything I Do Is to Earn My Father’s Love.

DDT may wonder about his future. In a speech before 400 Orthodox Jews in the U.S., DDT suggested that he could go to Israel to be “prime minister” of Israel “if anything happens here”: polarization in Israel is preventing the selection of someone for this position. On the other hand, fraudulent voting may put him back into office. The federal government restricts balloons and colored pencils—and many other ordinary consumer products—much more than the nation’s voting machines which are “largely free” from government supervision according to the Brennan Center for Justice. The three companies that dominate the voting technology industry—Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Dominion, and Hart InterCivic—have all had trouble with accuracy and accusations of miscounts.

November 11, 2019

DDT’s Record about Veterans Belies Speech about Them

In a normal world, the United States would be honoring the veterans on the day set aside to commemorate their service, and the commander-in-chief would join in the appreciation for their service. We no longer have a “normal world”: Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is sitting in the Oval Office.

DDT abused veterans even during his campaign. In January 2016, DDT boycotted a debate other GOP presidential candidates over a feud with Fox’s Megyn Kelly and held his own rally at the same time, ostensibly to raise money for veterans. According to DDT, it was wildly successful, and he claimed he got $6 million. He promised the money to 20 different groups, but a little less than half the money was donated to veterans’ charities, much of it directly from donors to the groups instead of funneled through DDT. The other $3 million apparently stayed with DDT. 

Almost four years later, a few days before Veterans Day, a judge in New York ordered DDT to pay $2 million for misuse of his “charitable” foundation after DDT admitted that his fundraiser for veterans was designed “to further Mr. Trump’s political campaign,” according to Judge Saliann Scarpulla. DDT, however, issued a statement that he was not sorry or wrong after tweeting in June 2018, “I won’t settle this case!” DDT also confessed that he used the charity’s donated money to settle $100,000 in legal claims over an 80-foot flagpole at Mar-a-Lago, $158,000 to resolve a lawsuit over a contest at his golf course, $5,000 for ads promoting his hotels, and more money buying sports memorabilia and his portrait for his personal use. Eight organizations receiving DDT’s fine and the disbanded charity’s funds include Citymeals on Wheels, the United Negro College Fund, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The veterans are still missing their $3 million.

Any other president of the United States would have been pilloried for this fraud, especially targeting veterans. For DDT and his supporters, it’s just another day.

DDT is also trying to undermine the Uniform Code of Military Justice that details non-judicial punishment, Article 15. After Navy Chief Edward Gallagher was charged on ten criminal counts with fellow Navy SEALS as witnesses, DDT took up his cause, claiming that he should be exonerated. In the end, one witness changed his story after not being charged for a crime, and Gallagher lost his trial on one minor charge. For that, he was reduced in grade to E-1. Chief of Naval Operations has now reduced his grade but not his pay grade by keeping him a petty officer first class. In other cases which also either convicted or charged soldiers for violating the military’s rules of engagement and war crimes, DDT plans to “take action” for two convicted war criminals. He has been asked to disapprove findings in one case and dismiss the charges in the other. Any action from DDT will undermine the chain of command and the military justice system. Law-abiding veterans will be insulted if DDT dismisses charges, restores rank, and pardons war criminals.

During his campaign, DDT continued to denigrate honored veterans. He slammed then Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), repeatedly saying, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Gold Star family Khizr and Ghazala Khan were frequent objects of DDT’s attacks after Khizr Khan spoke at the Democratic convention. Their son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, was killed in 2004 while he served in Iraq.

Two years ago, he called Myeshia, wife of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson with condolences after Johnson was killed in an ambush in Niger following his being missing for 48 hours. Myeshia said that DDT didn’t even know her husband’s name.

Last year on Veterans Day, DDT traveled to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. He was a no-show at a key ceremony because he didn’t want to go in the rain. He has visited the troops overseas only once in almost three years, finding it not “overly necessary,” according to his statement. After Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified to the House about DDT’s July 25 phone call to the Ukrainian president, DDT tried to smear Vindman and called him a “Never Trumper.”  

DDT promised to improve the VA, but he made decisions that hurt the agency. One of them was his vaunted whistleblower protection office that deliberately put whistleblowers at risk. The agency’s inspector general reported that the office not only outed whistleblowers but also kept poorly performing senior officials and didn’t investigate issues in an accurate or unbiased manner. DDT’s political appointments have scorned career employees, according to the report, and acted in ways that demonstrated a lack of respect for people they considered “career” whistleblowers.

In 2017, DDT put three of his Mar-a-Lago buddies as shadow rulers for the VA who threatened health care of veterans: a Palm Beach doctor who provides “concierge” medical care for the wealthy, the chair of Marvel Entertainment, and a lawyer. None of the three has ever served in the U.S. military or the government, and they operated in private with no transparency, accountability, or oversight. Taxpayers provided for the cost of officials’ travel to visit with the triumvirate at Mar-a-Lago. One of the beliefs of the “Mar-a-Lago crowd” was privatization of health care, known to be dangerous for veterans’ wellbeing. They were responsible for the appointment of David Shulkin as VA director and then told him what to do.

Once Shulkin was fired in 2018, DDT wanted to appoint Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the military doctor who gave him the glowing report including the possibility that DDT could live to be 200 years old.  for another 200 years. Any appointment disappeared after allegations that Jackson provided an excessive amount of an opioid to a White House staff member, wrote himself prescriptions for the same medication, distributed the sleep aid Ambien to White House and media members on overseas trips followed by prescriptions for wakefulness, got drunk and “wrecked a government vehicle” after a Secret Service going away party, and demonstrated workplace misconduct. After investigations into his behavior, including an issue with VP Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, and her doctor, Jackson faded away. Now Jackson is back, thinking about a run for the U.S. House after DDT-supporter Texan Mac Thornberry declared it quits for the 2020 election.

Another DDT attack on veterans is to end the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program (FWVP) that helps reunited Filipino veterans and their families while they wait for federal decisions about their visas. These elderly veterans from World War II need support from family members. Over 250,000 Filipino soldiers enlisted in the U.S. army, but fewer were permitted to move to the U.S. and become citizens. Despite their service and sacrifice in World War II, they lack full benefits afforded to military veterans and their families in the states. Japan occupied Manila after they attacked the Philippines on December 7, 1941. The U.S. and Filipino resistance lasted for months, and the Bataan Death March of 60,000-100,000 U.S. and Filipino prisoners of war, leading to death of thousands, was decried as a war crime. During Japan’s occupation of Japan for the entire war, the Philippines suffered almost 60,000 casualties.

Thus far this year, the U.S. House passed 56 bills for veterans, 25 of them bipartisan, after 32 hearings. These include VA mental health funding and suicide prevention, inequitable taxes on military families, and “expanded benefits for Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange,” according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has not allowed any of these bills to move through the Senate.

Today, DDT went back to the state he rejected in favor of Florida and gave his first speech in New York City. He had wanted to be Grand Marshall for the Veterans Day parade there for almost 25 years, but that honor goes only to people who served in the military. This Veterans Day is the third one in which he did not follow the presidential tradition of going to Arlington Cemetery.

According to news reports, DDT put on his pretend-president hat and sounded presentable. He listed specific American military victories, recounted stories of individual veterans, and told Gold Star families that he will “stand by your side forever.” The event included a moment of silence and a wreath-laying ceremony honoring fallen soldiers.

DDT’s speech was not uneventful. Like sporting events that he attended, he was greeted with chants of “lock him up” and “impeach and remove.” Signs in the buildings surrounding him in Madison Square including “Convict” and “Impeach” in a Murdoch building. Several dozen people holding banners reading “Traitor, criminal, lock him up!”, “Sexist in chief” and “Impeach Trump” gathered close to Madison Square Park in downtown Manhattan ahead of his speech.

Now that DDT has had the attention he craves, he can continue to send soldiers into places around the world to protect other authoritarians and create more disabled veterans.

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