Nel's New Day

February 29, 2020

Covid-19 Not a ‘Hoax’

The spread of the coronavirus covid-19 around the globe overshadowed other major events such as primaries in 14 states on Tuesday—including California and Texas—and signing of a peace agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban. Earlier this week, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) spent days in India schmoozing with autocratic leader Prime Minister Narendra Modi while violent protests against restrictions on Muslim citizenship in the country killed people and the stock markets began serious declines, the worst week since the recession in 2008.

DDT found himself caught in the middle of the covid-19 crisis with his attempts to minimize its spread in the U.S. while the experts explain how easily it is spread and the possibility of death. His followers claim the virus is a “hoax” to bring down DDT was followed by  acting chief-in-staff Mick Mulvaney telling the lie to his conservative CPAC audience. Last night at his campaign rally, DDT repeated the falsehood that “the Democrats are politicizing” the virus, which is “their new hoax,” but today he had to face questions about his statements during a press conference. His political solution for problems with the virus is to instigate more tax cuts and against lower the interest rate

[Left: DDT’s vision of covid-19.] The first death from covid-19 in King County (WA) was close to the northern border with Canada, and DDT’s solution is to close the southern border to Mexico. Canada has five times the number of virus cases as Mexico. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to answer questions about minimizing the danger when he testified before the House Foreign Relations Committee for a brief two hours before he ran off to attend the CPAC. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) upgraded covid-19’s global risk to the top level of “very high.” Over 60 countries have reported cases, and people in Iran’s healthcare system reported that statistics for illnesses and deaths are much higher than the government indicates—thousands of people attacked by covid-19. At least 86,000 people in the world have been infected, and about 3,000 have died.

Surprising HHS Secretary Alex Azar, DDT made VP Mike Pence the point person for the health crisis. DDT said that an outbreak was not inevitable although the CDC’s director of immunization and respiratory diseases stated that “it’s not a question of if, but rather a question of when and how many people in this country will have severe illness.” During Pence’s first day solving the covid-19 crisis he attended the CPAC, met with Fox’s Sean Hannity and farther-right Sinclair’s Eric Bolling, and put DDT’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow on his “team.” This week, Kudlow claimed that covid-19 was already contained in the U.S.; back in 2007/08, he said that there was no chance of a recession, a message that he’s again repeating. Pence fundraised in Florida the next day.

Pence did take time to meet with his task force to tell them that all statements and public appearances about the virus will go through him. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had said “we are dealing with a serious virus” which may have a higher mortality rate than influenza and “has adapted extremely well to human species.” He said he was told not to say anything else without clearance bu today claimed that he had not been “muzzled.” Pence also appointed Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the director of the United States effort to combat H.I.V. and AIDS, as the coronavirus response coordinator, but DDT said, “Mike will report back to me.” In a confusion of leadership, Azar claimed to be the chairman of the task force, making him the third leader. DDT failed to follow the “clearance” policy by announcing false statistics, reassurances, and accusations at his campaign rally.

The Food and Drug Administration took action in speeding up hospitals’ abilities to test for covid-19 by allowing labs to develop and use coronavirus diagnostic tests before the agency reviews them. The lack of testing in the U.S. has been a disaster: fewer than 500 people were tested at the same time that China tested 320,000 people. The shortage of tests was so severe that a woman in California waited for five days to get CDC permission for testing because she didn’t fit restrictive federal criteria such as travel to China.

The DOD canceled a military exercise with South Korea, restricted access to Army public areas in Italy, ordered ships visiting Pacific region countries to stay at sea for 14 days, and stopped all non-essential travel in the Persian Gulf region.  

Today, DDT bragged about the quick response and preparedness to stop covid-19 from spreading in the U.S. Yet a whistleblower faces retaliation for reporting how the government didn’t provide proper training and protective gear for people required to work with quarantined people. Employees for HHS Administration for Children and Families were ordered to help quarantined people flown in from overseas, some of them having contracted the virus. DDT had already overridden CDC’s recommendation to not return them back to the U.S.

When the group was taken to two Air Force bases in California, staff members were not provided safety-protocol training until five days into their assignment. Exposed staff members went around and off the bases; at least one person stayed at a nearby hotel and left California on a commercial flight. When the whistleblower expressed concerns relayed to her from staff members, she was reassigned. None of the workers was monitored after they worked with the sick returnees. One of the bases, Travis Air Force Base, is ten miles away from Vacaville where a woman contracted covid-19 without travel or known contact with someone testing positive for covid-19.  

At today’s press conference, Pence tried to downplay his part in the Indiana healthcare crisis while he was governor. He cut public health spending and delayed needle exchanges because of his belief that it leads to drug abuse. It doesn’t. After the state’s worst outbreak of HIV, he had to back off and allow needle exchanges—for 30 days until Indiana changed the law. Pence also doesn’t believe in a connection between tobacco use and cancer; he wrote, “Smoking doesn’t kill.” He also said, “Condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases.” Pence’s decisions are based on his evangelical Christian beliefs.

Although DDT announced the first covid-19 death in the U.S. as a “wonderful woman,” the death was that of a man in his 50s. The other two new presumptive cases in the state, meaning not yet verified by testing, include a health care worker and a resident at a long-term care facility in Kirkland (WA). The facility now has 52 people suspected of covid-19, and Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency in Washington.

At least 28 million people in the U.S. are uninsured, and millions more are underinsured with high deductibles. Many employers don’t provide sick leave, and wages can be so low that people can’t stay home if they are sick. Children go to school because parents cannot afford child care. Some of DDT’s promised $2.5 billion for the healthcare crisis comes from other domestic funding, including that for low-income people such as the home-heating program, and $535 million from the program to avoid Ebola, an epidemic that can come to the U.S.

Development of a vaccine to block covid-19’s rapid spread could take a year or longer. While testifying before the House this week, Azar refused to guarantee that a vaccine or treatment developed with taxpayer money would be affordable. He told Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) that “we can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest.” Schakowsky protested that “he’s giving Big Pharma a blank check to monopolize them instead.” While CEO of Elly Lilly, Azar doubled the price of insulin. Under the Affordable Care Act, however, the vaccine would be free for all insured people, like all federally-recommended vaccines. 

Polling among Democrats, independents, and undecideds shows them more anxious about paying for healthcare than for housing, food, and transportation. Two-thirds worry about paying unexpected medical bills, almost 50 percent are concerned about affording insurance deductibles, and 45 percent worried about paying for necessary prescription drugs. Another 40 percent worry about affording insurance premiums. The poll was taken from February 13-18, before anxiety was ramped up by the incidence of covid-19 in the U.S. and the administration’s mixed messages.

February 25, 2020

Coronavirus Hits the Economy

The latest victim to fall to the coronavirus in the United States was the economy: in the past two days, the Dow Jones stock market dropped almost 2,000 points, the worst two-day point drop on record. The three biggest indexes—Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq—each averaged three-percent drops for both yesterday and today. Goldman Sachs, citing the dangerous virus, cut its growth forecast for the U.S. economy to 1.2 percent for the first quarter, well below the 2.3 percent rate in 2019 and nowhere near the 4 to 6 percent that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) promised when he pushed through his massive tax cuts for the wealthy and big business.

DDT largely ignored the coronavirus until the drastic drop in stock markets. That’s when he considered a request from Congress for first $1 billion and then $2.5 billion to ameliorate the disease–and raise the Dow. Asha George, director of the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense, said an immediate package of $3 billion is necessary for funding vaccines and antidotes, stockpiling medical supplies, manufacturing medications, creating and sending diagnostic kits to doctors and hospitals, and planning and guidance. She said that agencies already need the $200 million taken from other programs to fight the disease. HHS has already transferred over $130 million from some of its accounts into combatting the virus, including an emergency infectious disease rapid-response fund. DDT wants to move $535 million from an Ebola preparedness account, a disease killing tens of thousands of people, making people vulnerable to that disease.

DDT attacked Democrats for wanting more money, but they aren’t alone. When HHS Secretary Alex Azar asked Congress for the $2.5 billion, some Republicans agreed that it might not be enough. “If you lowball something like this, you’ll deal with it later,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) told Azar. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said that senators will “decide the final numbers.”

DHS acting deputy secretary, Ken Cuccinelli, demonstrated DDT’s low level of competence in appointments when Cuccinelli frantically tweeted for help in in finding a map showing the coronavirus spread. When he couldn’t locate the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering department’s map showing the latest COVID-19 numbers and locations, he tweeted that it “seems like bad timing to stop helping the world.” Curiosity had caused the site to be overwhelmed, but meanwhile Cuccinelli had publicized his ignorance to the world. The article about his experiences is well worth reading just because of Twitter responses.

Acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf did almost as badly as Cuccinelli during a Senate hearing when he couldn’t accurately state the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., didn’t know how many cases came into the US. from cruise ships, couldn’t explain how the virus is transmitted, and was unaware of mortality rates for both coronavirus and influenza. According to the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu deaths are about 1 in 1,000 people in the U.S. compared to 1 in 50 deaths from coronavirus. Wolf doesn’t know whether the U.S. has enough respirators and masks. His ignorance was made obvious by questioning from Louisiana’s GOP Sen. John Neely Kennedy. Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.).

On her MSNBC news program, Rachel Maddow pointed out how DDT has weakened the U.S. fight against the coronavirus health crisis: In 2018, DDT “fired the government’s entire pandemic response chain of command back in 2018 and never replaced them with anyone,” according to Pulitzer Prize winning science journalist Laurie Garrett. He fired the point person on all global health security matters on the National Security Council and didn’t bother to find someone else for the job. President Obama had one person in charge of the Ebola crisis, but DDT has left the coronavirus response to different agencies with difficulty in cooperation. The National Security Council’s entire global health security unit was shut down, and John Bolton pushed out a similar team from the DHS. Many of the CDC global health section were cut along with a reduction of countries where CDC worked from 49 to only 10. DDT is eroding the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and wants to cut it by 40 percent. In addition, DDT’s cuts to the National Institutes of Health and CDC hurt the possibility for research into the disease.  

DDT has come up with two solutions for the growing pandemic: it will be over in April with warmer weather, and the U.S. is “very close to a vaccine.” The severity of some viruses lessens in spring and summer, but CDC is concerned that the coronavirus may not be one of them. Under optimum conditions, a vaccine for coronavirus might be available between 12 and 18 months. The White House tried to cover for DDT in his mistake with the claim that DDT referred to the Ebola virus in talking about being close to a vaccine.

The CDC opposed putting people with coronavirus on the same plane as those who tested negative to fly them from Japan for quarantine, but DDT’s administration ignored the recommendation. DDT said there wouldn’t be any problem in mixing presumably healthy people with sick ones. Director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy Michael Osterholm called that decision “one of the cruelest human experiments I’ve seen in my entire career.” The administration, however, is protecting DDT. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was told not to go to India with DDT because Mulvaney had a cold.

DDT, supported by his National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, is endangering public health in the U.S. by encouraging people to buy “these dips” in order to make DDT look good before his election while minimizing the danger of a disease that has already killed thousands of people. DDT’s claim that the virus is “under control” has no proof. A public health crisis needs trusted information, something that people will never get from DDT.

Rush Limbaugh, the most recent recipient of DDT’s Medal of Freedom, complained about how “the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump.” Limbaugh has his own alternative fact about coronavirus that he shared with millions of conservatives and says that he’s “dead right on this.” He falsely claims that “coronavirus is the common cold.”

With no evidence for his conspiracy theory, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) maintains that China deliberately created the coronavirus that is killing its citizens and destroying its commerce. Experts debunked Cotton’s theory, but he continues to talk about the proximity of a lab to a market, falsely considered the virus’ starting point. His justification for his myth is “China’s duplicity and dishonesty” and persists in identifying the false “hypothesis” of an engineered virus. According to the highly reputable medical journal Lancet, scientists from several countries outside China conclude that this virus, like many other recently emerging viruses in humans, originated in wildlife

The CDC sent out faulty coronavirus testing kits to U.S. labs, but officials aren’t saying how many of the 200 kits are in that category. These kits, each testing 700-800 specimens, were intended to provide results faster than shipping samples to CDC in Atlanta. Over 30 kits intended for other countries weren’t shipped because of the flaw. One ingredient in the test caused the problem. Mislabeled samples in San Diego allowed a woman with coronavirus to be discharged from a hospital. Tests cannot also identify infected people still in the incubation period.

A few facts about Covid-19, the new strain of coronavirus:

  • Symptoms: Coughs, fever, and breathing difficulties that can lead to pneumonia. Some people who test positive have no symptoms.
  • Cure: Recovery depends on a person’s immune system because antibiotics have no influence on the virus.
  • Transmission: Person to person within six feet through air, coughs, and sneezing.
  • Extent: 80,000 people in 31 countries, the worst being China. China has 2,663 deaths among 77,658 cases. Over 12,000 people in China have recovered. Italy, Japan, and South Korea have hundreds of cases, and deaths have occurred in Hong Kong, Taiwan, France, Iran and the Philippines.
  • Mortality rate: 2 percent in the epicenter of the outbreak.
  • Other coronaviruses: Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).

Market Watch posits that the drop in stocks is more than the effect of the Covid-19 on the world economy. The uncertainty of the virus consequences may be equaled by the uncertainty of the 2020 election outcome. Economists have been waiting almost a year to see when over-valued stocks would “correct” as DDT kept using the high stock markets as an indicator of economic growth. Recession in the U.S. has been a concern for at least a year, and the virus concern may kick these worries into overdrive.

February 23, 2020

‘Zero’ Immigration Hurts Economy

“We are desperate” for immigrants was part of the message by Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), in a speech at Oxford Union while Mulvaney was in England. (That was after he said that Republicans care only about huge deficits when there is a Democratic president. Mulvaney and DDT have managed to increase the national deficit by $3 trillion in three years.)  About the U.S. need for immigrants, Mulvaney said:

“We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we’ve had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants.”

Immigrants contributed 15 percent of U.S. economic growth between 1990 and 2014. They provide taxes to support domestic programs for U.S. children and seniors as well as tending to be better educated. They founded 30 percent of U.S. firms that have gone public and more than 50 percent of startups valued at over $1 billion that have yet to go public. They generally do not speak English as well as native-born citizens so they don’t compete for jobs in communication, concentrating more on scientific and technical employment. Others work in fields sometimes rejected by native-born citizens; immigrants comprise 36 percent of workers in the farming, fishing, forestry, building and grounds cleaning, and maintenance workers; 27 percent of hotel workers; and 21 percent of home health care industry workers. Their mobility fills in gaps for labor market efficiency.

As DDT does in the U.S., Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson (nicknamed BoJo), with the help of his home secretary Priti Patel, is imposing a rigid points-based system to deny most immigrants the right to live and work in Britain. They get their points by proving they speak English, are educated, and have a job offer paying a middle-class wage. BoJo hopes his white nationalism will appeal to older and wealthier conservative voters.  Like in the United States, BoJo’s system will result in a massive shortage of workers in healthcare, home care, lodgings, restaurants, farming, and other areas relying on low-paid employees. The government estimates that 70 percent of immigrants from the EU since 2004 would not have qualified.

DDT is going to be more desperate to find immigrants after his conservative Supreme Court ruled to lift stays on the wealth test—that immigrants even on the path to citizenship will be deported if they receive public benefits for 12 of 36 months. Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated the court was violating its own rules about when to step into the legal process. Until DDT’s election, the Court did not typically grant stays while cases were in the lower courts. Sotomayor pointed out that this “extraordinary act” now seems to be the “new normal.” Of the 23+ applications for “extraordinary” stays since DDT’s inauguration, 12 were this year compared to a total of eight requests during the 16 years of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. DDT’s government also wins two-thirds of the requests, showing that his Supreme Court bends the law in his favor.

“It is hard to say what is more troubling: that the government would seek this extraordinary relief seemingly as a matter of course, or that the court would grant it.”

Sotomayor also argued that “this Court is partly to blame for the breakdown in the appellate process … because the Court … been all too quick to grant the Government’s ‘reflexiv[e]’ requests.”

Immigrants already in the U.S. use public benefit programs less than U.S.-born citizens. In 2013, 32.5 percent of the latter received SNAP benefits compared to 25.4 percent of naturalized citizens and 29 percent of noncitizens. Immigrants also receive lower benefit values. Having jobs such as child care, home care, and fast food employment doesn’t keep people from needing these benefits

The Supreme Court decision impacts millions of immigrants; at least 69 percent of the over 5 million people receiving green cards during the past five years have at least one “negative” factor that could deport them. Even applying for a green card is counted against applicants. Other factors counting against applicants:

  • Not having an income that is 250% of the poverty line ($76,700 for a family of five).
  • Being unemployed.
  • Dropping out of high school.
  • Lacking English fluency.
  • Being older than 61 or younger than 18.
  • Having medical issues, especially if uninsured.
  • Not having private health insurance.
  • Having a mortgage, car loan, or credit card debt.

A missing piece in DDT’s budget, however, seems to reinforce the hiring of undocumented immigrants, perhaps again at his own businesses. The use of E-Verify, a program that checks new hires for undocumented immigrants, is no longer mandatory although it was part of his campaign promises. Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law and adviser, has been working on a 600-page immigration proposal that makes immigration more business friendly, and the budget cuts $3.7 million from E-Verify’s funding.

Big employers don’t use E-Verify “Because I don’t have to,” according to their interviews with Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies.  The Trump Organization didn’t use E-Verify until a scandal about DDT’s undocumented workers erupted over two years after his inauguration. In May 2019, DDT told Fox that his business tried to use E-Verify while building his hotel in Washington, D.C. but the program blocked them from hiring “qualified” people. Florida’s biggest businesses—including agriculture, tourism, and construction—opposed the mandatory use of E-Verify because it was a threat to their workforce. Twenty-four states, including Florida, require E-Verify only for some government employers, but only eight states mandate the program’s use for all businesses.

The shortage of immigrants comes from far-right, racist, anti-immigrant Stephen Miller who persuaded DDT that a white country is a good country. In The New Yorker, Jonathan Blitzer wrote a profile of Miller and his steps to turn the United States white.  

After 9/11, Congress created the Department of Homeland Security, the third largest federal department with a $50 billion budget and a staff of about 200,000 employees, combined a number of protective agencies for disaster recovery, cybersecurity, infrastructure, the Coast Guard, and immigration. Miller’s focus was only on the last one: he ignored policy-making and requires lower-level officials to answer directly to him without the knowledge of their high-up’s.

Under the auspices of Director of Domestic Policy Council, Miller eliminated decades of immigration policies and precedent while using law to reduce legal immigration. His ten-point list includes an “end to catch and release,” “zero tolerance for criminal aliens,” penalties for sanctuary cities, a vow to reverse Obama’s executive orders, and a “big-picture” vision for reforming the immigration system “to serve the best interests of America and its workers”—meaning no one but white. Because of Miller, DDT revoked DACA to rid the U.S. of a “foreign-born” workforce before Miller guaranteed that Congress wouldn’t find a bipartisan solution for its reinstatement.  

Miller led a meeting with DOJ officials to push them into prosecuting border crossers as criminals so that families could be separated. Parents received criminal charges; children were considered unaccompanied minors. DHS wasn’t ready to implement the program and had no system for reuniting families, but Miller forced the agency into taking 2,500 children, including 102 under the age of five, from their parents. Hundreds of parents were deported without their children.  

Almost a year ago, DHS began the great DHS purge, beginning with firing Kristjen Nielsen and moving on to dumping the head of ICE and the DHS top lawyer. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said that DDT “pulling the rug out from the very people that are trying to help him accomplish his goal.” Miller moved in his own loyalists such as Matthew Albence as head of ICE who compared detention facilities to “summer camp.” But Kevin McAleenan, DHS fourth DHS head under DDT quit. He said:

“What I don’t have control over is the tone, the message, the public face and approach of the department in an increasingly polarized time.”

Miller refused to accept the resignation, but McAleenan left anyway. His replacement, Chad Wolf, is another acting appointee not confirmed by the Senate for that position. To get Wolf into that position, DDT pushed him through as Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Strategy, Policy, and Plans. Wolf could not be an agency director without being Senate-confirmed for another agency position.

Although he denied involvement in the “zero tolerance” immigration policy, Wolf helped develop the concept of separating families at the southern border as punishment and said, “My job wasn’t to determine whether it was the right or wrong policy.” He is also architect of the “Remain in Mexico” policy which forces almost 50,000 migrants caught in dangerous conditions while awaiting refugee asylum.

Last fall, hundreds of Miller’s emails exchanged between 2015 and 2016 with Breitbart were made public. They included links to articles on the white-supremacist Web site vdare, as well as an enthusiastic reference to The Camp of Saints, a racist anti-immigration French novel. One email forwards an article arguing that the U.S. should deport immigrants on trains “to scare out the people who want to undo our country.” Miller’s policies have almost completely sealed the southern border and has moved on to ordering DHS to send armed agents from Border Patrol swat teams to so-called “sanctuary cities” such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. He also wans ICE officers to pull children out of school. A senior DHS official told Blitzer that “there’s no one left at DHS to say ‘No’ to Miller anymore.” With Miller, DDT and the United States won’t have the workers they need to grow the economy.

February 22, 2020

DDT: Week 161 – The Chaos Continues

This last week Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) retaliation went beyond firing Director of Intelligence Joe Maguire. In his reign of revenge, DDT fired Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood, who began his federal career under George W. Bush. Rood made the mistake of questioning DDT’s freeze on military aid for Ukraine and warned Defense Secretary Mark Esper that withholding the aid would “undermine our defense priorities with a key partner in the strategic competition with Russia.” Another Rood sin, in DDT’s eyes, was telling Congress that Ukraine was initiating significant reforms to get the funding which undermined one of DDT’s arguments for keeping the congressionally-appropriated money from Ukraine. Rood is the ninth recent DDT-instigated departure from the DOD.

Victoria Coates, deputy national security adviser, was moved to the Energy Department because Peter Navarro, DDT’s trade adviser, thinks—with no evidence—that she is the anonymous author of the book A Warning and of the op-ed criticizing DDT in September 2018. A week ago, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, who hired Coates as his deputy to manage Middle East and North Africa issues, said she would not be moved from the job; a few days ago he confirmed her move. Navarro was given his job with the administration after DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner saw his name while browsing Amazon and seeing the title of his book, Death by China. Many of DDT’s misguided beliefs about trade can directly be traced to Navarro.

DDT is even threatening to get Neil Cavuto fired from the Fox network after the host allowed A.B. Stoddard to say, when she was making the point that Mike Bloomberg’s bad debate performance didn’t damage him:

“Donald Trump had many disastrous debate performances. Many answers were so cringeworthy that you couldn’t believe that he was still standing on the stage, and he’s President.”

DDT spent 15 minutes of his Colorado campaign rally ranting about Cavuto, ending in incoherence about his enemies:

“They want to take you out. They want to change the results. They got caught spying—let’s say it like it is, right?—they got caught spying on our election, fake news. Hey, fake news: take your cameras for a change, and show them the room, and show them behind you.”

DDT told Defense Secretary Mark Esper that he could abolish collective bargaining rights for the Defense Department’s 750,000 civilian workers, a move unions decried as part of the administration’s far-reaching assault on organized labor. “national security” and that, if necessary, collective bargaining rights at the department should be scrapped in the interest of “protecting the American people.” The workers have been guaranteed by law since 1962.

Floridians passed an initiative allowing voting rights to up to 1.4 million people who served sentences for all but the most serious crimes, but the state legislature spent over a year trying to stop them by requiring them to pay all court-related fines and fees in order to register. Florida funds its court system with heavy fines. Disenfranchised blacks are five times the rate of any other state. A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court has upheld a ruling opposing the Republicans’ poll tax for voting for the 17 plaintiffs. The decision opens the door for the remainder of affected people to vote, but a review by the entire court may change the decision because DDT has flipped the court to majority Republican. DDT’s Supreme Court could also overturn the ruling.

A judge has thrown out a lawsuit by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), that leaker/liar to DDT, most recently who got Director of Intelligence Joe Maguire fired for allowing a briefing to the House Intelligence Committee. Last year, Nunes filed a racketeering lawsuit against Fusion private investigation started by a GOP company to discredit DDT during his campaign. The judge not only refused the $9.9 million in damages but also indicated that he would sanction Nunes and his attorney if he pushed the lawsuit. Nunes claimed that he was a victim of “active, coordinated and ongoing corruption, fraud and obstruction of justice” in his efforts to investigate the firm’s role proving stoking DDT’s ties to Russia during his 2016 campaign. He is known for his litigious obsession.

In his budget, DDT has ghosted women to the point of making them invisible. Gone are programs for women in healthcare, family planning, and paid leave while making tax cuts for the wealthy and big business permanent. Almost 40 million women get their health coverage from childbirth and family planning to chronic disease and disability care from Medicaid, which is being erased.

Over half of all women—68 million—have preexisting conditions. These include six million pregnancies each year, considered by insurance companies as a “preexisting condition.” Women also have chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes at higher rates as well as cervical cancer. The budget also eliminates family planning funding for Planned Parenthood and an evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention program. DDT’s paid leave plan ignores 75 percent of workers needing paid leave for their own health issues, care for ill or injured family members, and a military family member’s deployment. Also missing are solutions for sick days for shorter-term illnesses such as flu or care for a sick child.

While reducing domestic spending, DDT increased nuclear weapons spending by 20 percent in both the Defense Department ($28.9 billion) and the National Nuclear Security Administration ($19.8 billion) to a total of $46 billion.

Some people said that the impeachment trial was a waste of time, but DDT’s legal team provided arguments for Democrats suing to obtain DDT’s tax returns. When they asked a judge to lift a stay on the lawsuit, they used statements from Jay Sekulow and Alan Dershowitz who refuted the position “that the House is constitutionally barred from obtaining judicial enforcement of its subpoenas.”

During the impeachment inquiry and trial, DDT’s GOP supporters consistently cited the media as support for their lies about investigations into Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Without using the name of John Solomon, Republicans sourced the misrepresentations using conflicts of interest for opinion pieces in the sometimes-credible conservative publication The Hill. After an investigation into Solomon’s work, The Hill has released an evaluation—too little, too late—of problems in Solomon’s supposedly journalistic work and the changes that they are making as attempts to return “to report the news in a nonpartisan and fair way.” The problem is that this action was not taken before GOP Senators unleashed DDT in a virulent purge of quality career employees throughout the government through an acquittal of his unconstitutional behavior. 

Solomon’s columns guided DDT into demanding investigations of the Bidens, and DDT’s son, Donald Trump Jr, and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani promoted Solomon’s writings through Twitter. Fox’s Sean Hannity also promoted Solomon and his disinformation. Paul Farhi reported:

The Hill said Solomon amplified an inaccurate and one-sided narrative about the Bidens and Ukraine that was fed to him by Giuliani, ‘facilitated’ by businessman Lev Parnas, who was working with Giuliani at the time, and reinforced by Solomon’s own attorneys, who also represented clients embroiled in U.S.-Ukraine politics.”

According to the evaluation of 14 Solomon columns and related videos, The Hill didn’t retract or apologize the articles. Solomon still contributes to Fox.

A U.S. jury awarded a Missouri peach farmer over $265 million for years of crop losses because of drifting dicamba weed killer, produced by Monsanto. The farm, which lost 30,000 trees, didn’t use the herbicide, but Monsanto sold GMO soybeans and cotton seeds to their neighbors without EPA approval. This was the first dicamba legal challenge to go to trial, but it will be followed by many others affected by a destructive and untested product. German chemicals company Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018 and plans an appeal while fighting a multitude of lawsuits alleging that the weed killer Roundup causes cancer, 140 cases related to dicamba, safety risks from its Essure birth control device, and suits regarding PCB-contaminated waterways.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is in trouble after she ignored her staff and kept open a for-profit “accredited” college with neither faculty nor students. Originally tied to the University of Northern Virginia, Reagan National University moved to Sioux Falls (SD) having “among the laxest rules for colleges in the country,” according to a report.

DDT’s BLM is empowering far-right ideological “constitutionalist” theories negating federal government power by allowing local sheriffs to ignore BLM regulations. The current acting director, William Perry Pendley, believes that the federal government has no right to own federal lands. The “constitutional” approach originated with the Posse Comitatus, a racist and anti-Semitic organizations of the 1970s and 1980s and later developed from a Mormon ideologue and the 1990s Militia of Montana and Montana Freemen.

Fans protested because Fox sports didn’t show DDT’s campaign speech last Sunday although it was on Fox “news.” Maybe the sports channel didn’t want to embarrass DDT by showing him following the words on his speech like a beginning reader. Once again DDT broke the law by using taxpayer resources for campaigning during his lap today at Daytona in the presidential limousine. And once again Republicans won’t care.

February 21, 2020

DDT: Week 161 – Russian Interference Denial, Bad Global Diplomacy

Russia is again preferring Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) elected as president in 2020, according to a classified hearing for the House Intelligence Committee about election security. The information is not a surprise, but the ramifications of the intelligence briefing are. DDT became furious after Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) told DDT that only Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who DDT perceives as his arch-nemesis, was told about the release of the information. Nunes has a years-old pattern of running to DDT with information and/or lies. Republicans are accusing the briefers from other agencies of trying to sabotage DDT’s reelection. DDT immediately fired Joe Maguire, acting Director of Intelligence, for telling House members about Russia’s preference. He said that Maguire should not have allowed the briefing and that he should be been told about it if it did happen. In addition, DDT said that Russia wasn’t interfering and called it “Hoax number 7.”  

DDT’s aides have been ordered to identity and remove government officials who don’t defend DDT’s interests so that he can replace them with loyalists. Johnny McEntee, DDT’s new personnel chief, told agencies to expect staffing changes (aka purges), starting with the State Department and the Department of Defense.

Russia should be delighted with DDT after he replaced Maguire with Richard Grenell, U.S. ambassador to Germany. Grenell fits DDT’s criteria: he supports white nationalists, defends DDT on the Fox network and Twitter, and doesn’t believe that Russia isn’t supporting DDT through disinformation and other election interference. Like DDT, the racist, anti-immigrant Grenell has a history of attacking women on Twitter.

Early in Grenell’s ambassadorship, German officials called for his expulsion. Grenell ordered Germany to stop trading with Iran and then said he would work on policy, not diplomacy, to help far-right nationalists take power in Europe. He said he planned to “empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders” and praised Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz, connected to the Freedom Party created in the 1950s by a former Nazi officer. Grenell was described as “an extreme-right colonial officer,” a “total diplomatic failure” who was acting like a “brat.”

The German newspaper Der Spiegel‘s description of Grenell from interviews:

“Almost all of these [30] sources paint an unflattering portrait of the ambassador, one remarkably similar to Donald Trump, the man who sent him to Berlin. A majority of them describe Grenell as a vain, narcissistic person who dishes out aggressively, but can barely handle criticism. His brash demeanor, some claim, hides a deep insecurity, and they say he thirsts for the approval of others.” 

Called upon to explain why Grenell plans to “empower” Europe’s anti-immigrant conservatives at the time, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert forgot that German was not an ally during World War II:

“We have a very strong relationship with the government of Germany….  Tomorrow is the anniversary of the D-Day invasion [when the U.S. helped liberate France from Germany]. We obviously have a very long history with the government of Germany.”

As acting DNI heading up 17 intelligence agencies, Grenell would oversee the intelligence community’s efforts to combat election interference and disinformation, but he has been skeptical of Russia’s role in 2016. He also fails to meet the requirement of federal law that “any individual nominated for appointment as Director of National Intelligence shall have extensive national security expertise.” Before Grenell became ambassador to Germany, he was spokesperson for the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, run a public affairs consultancy, been a Fox News contributor, and, for a few days, was presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s national security spokesperson. Since becoming an ambassador, Grenell became special envoy for negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia.

Grenell, one of DDT’s “best people,” also worked for Moldovan oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, now a fugitive and barred from entering the U.S. because of corruption. Writing articles defending Plahotniuc in 2016, Grenell did not say he was being paid and did not register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Both Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, DDT’s former campaign manager and deputy campaign manager, were convicted of violating this law. Undisclosed work for a foreign politician could block someone from security clearance or a position in a U.S. intelligence agency. A lawyer specializing in security clearances said it’s unclear how Grenell received clearance to become an ambassador.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) gave a weak excuse for Grenell’s complete lack of experience for his new position: Grenell is gay. Gaetz evidently considered Grenell’s sexual orientation as the one requirement for heading up 17 intelligence agencies. Grenell, however, supports homophobia. About VP Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, Grenell said they are “great people, “godly people,” followers of Christ [who] don’t have hate in their heart for anyone.”

Kash Patel, former national security council director of counterterrorism, has become a top adviser in Grenell’s office. As Nunes’ staffer, Patel was a leader in discrediting the Russian interference into the U.S. election. In her testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Fiona Hull expressed concern that Fiona Hill, the National Security Council’s former senior director for Eurasian and Russian affairs, said she believed that Patel was sending information to DDT after becoming improperly involved in Ukraine policy. DDT had identified Patel as the National Security Council’s “Ukraine director,” a position held by one of Hill’s deputies. Patel was lead author of a memo accusing the FBI and DOJ leaders of abusing their power in the Russia investigation.

While DDT was busy firing career government workers, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and some of his U.S. entourage were stunned at the European disapproval of the U.S., DDT, and his policies at the Munich Security Conference. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier opened by accusing the DDT administration of “rejecting the idea of the international community.” He summarized DDT’s policy:

“Every country should fend for itself and put its own interests over all others … ‘Great again’—even at the expense of neighbors and partners.”

Pompeo was unable to convince most countries that “the U.S. is out there fighting for sovereignty and our friends.” After his speech, German and French officials agreed that Pompeo was speaking only to DDT and not the Europeans in the room. Nicholas Burns, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, expressed concern about Macron’s overtures toward Russia in his speech. Many countries at the conference also failed to agree with the position of Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper who spoke about China being a reprehensible force.

Criticism directed toward China for expelling three Wall Street Journal reporters didn’t go well for Pompeo, especially because he told the country that “mature, responsible countries understand that a free press reports facts and expresses opinions.” Earlier, Pompeo had kicked an NPR reporter off his overseas trip in an unwarranted snit at another NPR reporter. Trips to Senegal, Angola and Ethiopia were not diplomatically successful; Africans still remember when DDT called them “sh*thole” countries. DDT also cut aid to Africa and expanded a travel ban affecting about one-fourth of its 1.2 million people.  

In South Africa, Pompeo criticized South African government’s plans to expropriate private land without compensation and said that economies need “respect for property rights.” Pompeo said, “Be wary of authoritarian regimes and their empty promises. They breed corruption, dependency and instability.” Because of the racist apartheid that lasted until 1994, South Africa is one of the world’s most unequal countries. At the present time, DDT is appropriating private land for his wall while desecrating sacred tribal land.  

Saudi Arabia was a more successful stop for Pompeo. He could ignore how they imprison U.S. citizens and kill a U.S. resident and journalist. (Importance of a “free press,” anyone?) After all, DDT makes money from the Saudis, and Jared Kushner is buddies with the Crown Prince.

Those surprised by the reaction to the U.S. at the conference might have benefited from reading the Pew Research results showing attitudes toward DDT and his policies. In 32 countries, 64 percent lack confidence that DDT will do the right thing in world affairs, and Western Europe has the most common anti-DDT sentiments. Overall, DDT has an average of 29 percent. In Mexico, 89 percent lack confidence in DDT. He gets the highest level of confidence from the most autocratic countries and Israel. These results are a year old; 2020 will probably be worse for DDT.

Having lost friendship with democracies, DDT is now being deserted by other autocrats. In the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte declared that “America is very rude” to Filipino friends and moved on to a relationship with China. DDT’s desertion of Venezuela’s president also lost that country for his ally.

Pompeo came home to a lawsuit about his communications with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) about Pompeo’s interest in being the senator from Kansas. American Oversight, a watchdog group, is suing the State Department for records about this relationship. Pompeo says he’s not going to run for the open seat after Pat Roberts retires but keeps meeting with Republicans.

February 20, 2020

Barr, DDT: ‘Because I Can’

Filed under: Judiciary — trp2011 @ 9:05 PM
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Today, the story about the attempt of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), with the help of his fixer AG Bill Barr, to interfere in the sentencing for Roger Stone, convicted of seven felonies including his participation in WikiLeaks release of emails favoring DDT, came to a head with Stone’s sentencing. After a federal judge lambasted Barr’s interference, she sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison, two years’ probation, $20,000 fine, and 250 hours of community service.  Suspension of these punishments until a ruling on Stone’s request for a new trial delays Stone’s serving his sentence. The judge claimed that “the truth still matters,” but Stone left court with a smirk on his face.

Barr had dropped the original request of seven to nine years sentence for Stone to one to two years, but the new prosecutor, John Crabb, said that Stone should have “a substantial period of incarceration.” Federal sentencing guidelines, followed before Stone, recommend a minimum term of almost six years. The situation became so heated that the judge held a broadcasted 12-minute telephone conference with all parties two days before the sentencing.

Facing accusations that Barr followed DDT’s orders instead of running the DOJ, Barr first said that he could not do his job because of DDT’s tweets and then leaked that he might resign. [Don’t believe it!]  Fewer than nine months before the presidential election, Barr’s call for pity resulted in accolades about his “integrity,” “dedication,” service to the “rule of law,” “transparency … without bending to political winds,” etc. from GOP senator.

Over 2,000 former DOJ officials, however, disagreed with the GOP senators, calling on Barr to resign, that he “flouted” the fundamental principle that “political interference in the conduct of a criminal prosecution is anathema to the Department’s core mission and to its sacred obligation to ensure equal justice under the law.” They also claimed that Barr’s doing DDT’s directions caused damage to the DOJ.

The independent Federal Judges Association, a national association of over 1,000 federal judges, called an emergency meeting about DDT’s and the DOJ’s intervention in politically sensitive cases, claiming that the crisis could not wait until the group’s spring conference. The meeting was postponed with no reason given after the rumor that Barr might resign.

One of Barr’s former bosses, Donald Ayer, deputy AG under George H.W. Bush and a former U.S. Attorney, wrote in an Atlantic op-ed that Barr needed to resign:

“In chilling terms, Barr’s own words make clear his long-held belief in the need for a virtually autocratic executive who is not constrained by countervailing powers within our government under the constitutional system of checks and balances. Indeed, given our national faith and trust in a rule of law no one can subvert, it is not too strong to say that Bill Barr is un-American. And now, from his perch as attorney general, he is in the midst of a root-and-branch attack on the core principles that have guided our justice system, and especially our Department of Justice, since the 1970s.”

Barr’s actions in addition to intervening in the cases of Roger Stone and Michael Flynn:

  • “Public whitewashing of Robert Mueller’s report.”
  • Accusing the FBI of “spying” on the Trump campaign.
  • Working with DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani in the Ukraine scandal.
  • Initiating a “second, largely redundant investigation of the FBI Russia probe.”
  • Criticizing the separation of church and state doctrine to make all U.S. institutions be Judeo-Christian.
  • Persecuting Hillary Clinton.
  • Trying to hide the Ukrainian whistleblower report in violation of the law.
  • Ordering the DOJ to block New York prosecutors using state law to demand DDT’s tax returns.
  • Concealing a 2018 federal report about white supremacists being responsible for all race-based domestic terrorism events in that year.
  • Protecting George H.W. Bush by enabling him to pardon all the conspirators of the Iran-Contra Scandal.
  • Arguing that the president is above the law, including the use of military force without congressional authorization.

Over 30 years ago, Barr deposed Panama’s leader Manuel Noreiga and kidnapped him for trial in the U.S. He claimed a DOJ legal opinion permitted his actions, obfuscated the information to satisfy members of Congress, and then convinced the House subcommittee that the material was “confidential.”

Barr also followed DDT’s bidding by trying to block an indictment of a Turkish bank, Halkbank, after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked DDT for help. DDT told Erdogan that Barr and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin would take care of the bank’s problems, according to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). DDT, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Mnuchin met with Turkey’s finance minister and Erdogan’s son-in-law last April. Barr told Halkbank officials how to make a deal, but they didn’t follow through. In October, New York’s U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman charged the bank with fraud, money laundering, and sanctions offenses. Last year, former national security adviser John Bolton complained to Barr that DDT was doing personal favors for the “autocratic” leaders of Turkey and China.

After Fox commentator Andrew Napolitano said that Roger Stone should get a new trial, DDT tweeted that he might sue the “Mueller” prosecutors in Stone’s first trial. Defense lawyers demanded a new trial after DDT accused Tomeka Hart, the jury forewoman in Stone’s trial, of having “significant bias.” DDT claimed:

“If I wasn’t President, I’d be suing everyone all over the place. BUT MAYBE I STILL WILL.”

Hart’s Facebook post stated that she spoke out about the case because “[i]t pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors.” In her post, Hart quoted another juror who write in an op-ed:

“We did not convict Stone based on his political beliefs or his expression of those beliefs. We did not convict him of being intemperate or acting boorishly. We convicted him of obstructing a congressional investigation, of lying in five specific ways during his sworn congressional testimony and of tampering with a witness in that investigation.”

Despite knowledge about Hart’s FB posts and her Democratic bid for Congress, Stone’s lawyers didn’t challenge her for the jury. A DOJ official anonymously reported that prosecutors, supported by Barr, opposed Stone’s request for a new trial.

DDT has now falsely declared himself the “chief law enforcement officer of the country” despite the fact that the Attorney General of the Department of Justice has that role. Perhaps, however, there’s no difference since the current AG does everything that DDT wants. If DDT could speak French, he might say, like Louis XIV, “L’état, c’est moi (The state, it is I: I myself am the nation).”

After DDT complained about the corruption in Ukraine, he pardoned or commuted the sentence of these corrupt criminals in the U.S., white men who could help him or whose supporters could help him. Recommendations came from the Fox network, celebrities, members of conservative media, wealthy donors, and political figures such as former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and DDT’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani.

*Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich tried to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat and withheld state funding from children with cancer until the hospital CEO gave him campaign donations. DDT knew Blagojevich when he was a contestant on The Apprentice. Blagojevich describes himself as a “Trumpocrat” (aka summitting to DDT’s rule). [Sentence commuted.]

*Junk bond king Michael Milken, a wealthy financier with connections to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), political donors Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), pleaded guilty to six felony counts, including securities fraud, mail fraud, and aiding in the filing of a false tax return.

*Bernard Kerik, former New York police commissioner, pleaded guilty to eight felony charges, including tax fraud and lying to White House officials. Kerik is a frequent visitor to DDT’s Mar-a-Lago.

*Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo, Jr. pleaded guilty in bribing former Louisiana governor Edwin W. Edwards for a riverboat casino license.

*David Safavian, a senior official in George W. Bush’s administration, obstructed a federal investigation as part of the scandal surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

*Technology executive Ariel Friedler conspired to hack into the computer systems of two competitors to improve his company’s software development and sales strategy.

*Construction company executive Paul Pogue failed to pay almost $500,000 in taxes, but his brother donated over $200,000 to the Trump Victory Committee beginning in August 2019.

Julian Assange’s lawyer claimed under oath that DDT offered Assange a pardon if he would cover-up Russia’s role in the DNC hack.

As usual, DDT’s pardons bypass the traditional DOJ process. DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and former Florida AG Pam Bondi, who illegally took campaign donations from DDT’s charitable foundation in exchange for dropping a lawsuit against DDT’s Trump University, are now in charge of the pardoning process. Last year the head of the DOJ pardon office quit because of DDT’s dependence on his personal connections or those of his political base for his decisions.

DDT gives pardons and commutations only to those who can personally and politically help him. People ponder if DDT is softening voters for pardons of Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, and even Rudy Giuliani as New York prosecutors edge closer to Giuliani’s relationship with two men indicted in Ukraine’s extortion. Probably not Michael Cohen, but one never knows.

February 17, 2020

Washington’s Birthday 2020

Until Richard Nixon was elected president, people celebrated two holidays in February—Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on the 12th and George Washington’s birthday on the 22nd. Although Washington’s birthday was designated a federal holiday in 1855, it subsumed Lincoln’s birthday when the Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved Washington’s Birthday to the third Monday of February in 1971. For the past few decades, many people have nicknamed this date “Presidents Day,” sometimes putting the apostrophe before or after the last “s.” Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) puts it before the “s,” perhaps because he wants President’s Day to refer only to himself.  Thirteen states don’t celebrate either Washington’s Birthday or Presidents Day as a state holiday, and some Southern states refuse to celebrate any part of Abraham Lincoln.

George Washington, in his 1796 farewell address after two terms in office, was most concerned for the safety of the U.S. Constitution and the unity of government after the rise of factions from political parties. He wrote:

“The Constitution which at any time exists, until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government. All obstructions to the execution of the laws …. are destructive of this fundamental principle.”

In contrast to Washington’s noble image of a new country is DDT’s impression as described by history, documentarian, and filmmaker Ken Burns whose 30+ productions covered two centuries of U.S. achievements. In a 2016 interview, Burns’ prescience came from a discussion of his then new project Defying the Nazis as he explained his reason for public opposition to DDT:  

“I have never in my professional life ever spoken out in this way. I certainly have my own opinions and have a yard sign at elections and make sure I vote. But I spoke out because he represents the greatest threat to American democracy since the Second World War. He is so fundamentally un-American, and not only because he is unqualified, but because he is mentally unsuited. He represents a kind of strong man, narcissistic thing that represents the potential death of the Republic. All of my films are about the United States and all of them are about trying to understand how it works and how it doesn’t work, and I just felt compelled to speak out.”

About DDT’s appeal to his base, Burns said:

“He has tapped a dark unconscious, in which it is easier to vilify the other than to see what you share in common. It’s easier to be afraid than to welcome change. It’s always been there. We had a civil war, you know. We killed 750,000 of ourselves over this issue. He’s appealing to that in the most venal and vulgar ways.”

In his interview, Burns talked about DDT’s full-page ads demanding the death penalty to five young people, the “Central Park Five,” later exonerated for a horrible crime. DDT never backed down on his calls for the death penalty even after the guilty person was found. Asked if DDT is a fascist, Burns said:

“Absolutely. When you talk about having extra-judicial, threatening rivals with jail. You can call it fascistic or you can call it dictatorial. You can call it monomaniacal or imperial. Whatever you want to say, this is not the way that our country works.”

These comments were made over three years ago before DDT was elected as U.S. president.

Three years later, writer for the National Catholic Reporter Michael Sean Winters wrote about DDT’s “seven deadly sins”—greed, lust, gluttony, sloth, envy, wrath, and pride:

“What we see with President Donald Trump and his cast of sycophants and co-conspirators . . . is a rare thing: All seven deadly sins on display at once.”

Winters wrote about how the “deadly sins” spur DDT’s actions:

His unsatiated greed for money and fame during most of his life extends to greed for power.

His lust for women came out before the election in the tape about how he could grab women “by the pussy,” a tape that 63 million voters ignored and enjoyed. By now, his lust for 23 women has been widely politicized, but his base ignores or rejects the possibility that he committed these actions.

Gluttony, obvious that he can never get enough money or power or women, reveals his drive for satisfying only his own needs with no concern for the country that he was elected to lead.  

Sloth is evident in his refusal to read briefing papers and his constant golfing, even during disasters affected the United States. He has no knowledge of history or the ramifications of his actions.

Envy, largely directed at his predecessor, is he cause behind almost every decision DDT makes—eliminating items for budgets, dropping out of treaties, destroying the environment, taking health care from people—anything to erase President Obama’s legacy no matter how much damage it does to the country.

Fury pours out at all his campaign rallies and throughout his tweets; inside sources report his wrath within the White House. Recently, he used the National Prayer Breakfast to rail at people who didn’t show him absolute loyalty. His anger at former opponent Hillary Clinton is still on full display at the rallies, and he always calls for chants of “lock her up.”

Pride for DDT “is the pride of the con man,” according to Winters. “He is proud of his ability to make people think he is a man of abilities when he really is a man of few gifts beyond those we associate with showmanship.” In 2016, David Brooks wrote about DDT:

“[His] vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out. He insults the office Abraham Lincoln once occupied by running for it with less preparation than most of us would undertake to buy a sofa.”

DDT has managed to consistently break all the Ten Commandments:

  1. “I am the Lord thy God who has brought you out of the land of Egypt.” DDT has said that only he can save the people of the U.S.
  2.  “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Evangelical Christians, who have been able to swallow everything else that DDT throws at them, have complained about his taking God’s name in vain.
  3. “Thou shalt have no other gods beside Me. You shall not make for yourself any graven image.” DDT has declared himself the “lord” and puts his name on everything possible.
  4.  “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.” DDT uses his Sabbath for election campaigning.
  5.  “Honor thy father and mother.” Even at his father’s funeral, DDT could not resist making the event all about himself.
  6.  “Thou shalt not kill.” DDT has vastly increased the “collateral damage” from bombings in the Middle East and is indifferent to murdered civilians. He refuses to take any action in mass shootings, and his unadulterated support for Israel is killing thousands of Palestinians.
  7.  “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Breaking this commandment has been one of DDT’s favorite activities. A prime example is that he pled the Fifth for 97 times during his divorce from Ivana Trump to avoid incriminating himself about his public extramarital affair with Marla Maples who he then married before divorcing. 
  8. “Thou shalt not steal.” DDT has stiffed workers by not paying their wages, taken others’ pensions by declaring bankruptcies, and generally cheated everyone possible. He also stole from his own charitable foundation.
  9. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” DDT fits the old joke: How can we tell that he is lying? He opens his mouth. A few months ago, he was past 16,000 lies since his inauguration.
  10. “Thou shalt not covet your neighbor’s house, nor his wife, his man-servant, his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” In addition to the neighbors’ possessions, DDT covets attention, love, glory, power and victory. 

More examples here

DDT fits the description of the conservative Christian anti-Christ, the one who opposes Christ while substituting himself in Christ’s place. Pure evil, DDT is a polarizer, hatemonger, and fearmonger with no understanding of or respect for the nation’s political values and traditions. The one value he seeks in those around him, loyalty, means that he wants only their agreement, not advice.

This Vanity Fair piece by Marie Brenner from 1990 shows that DDT hasn’t changed in 30 years.

After DDT’s weekend vacation at Mar-a-Lago, President Obama managed to drive him into another rage with this tweet on Washington’s Birthday:

“Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history.”

Unfortunately for DDT, his bragging falls short—again. His “greatest economy ever” is only sixth out of the last ten presidential terms—and it’s headed downhill.

Happy “President’s Day!”

February 16, 2020

DDT: Week 160 – More Corruption

DDT wants more money to kill people with military funding, less money to help people in the United States. Pieces of his budget cuts:

DDT’s tariffs dropped farm prices, and his budget slashes crop insurance, used to support corn and soybean farmers for low prices, by 31 percent. Another 10-percent cut would remove incentives for farmers to keep soil in place and reduce water pollution. Last year, farmers faced “soil-destroying mega-storms, export-killing trade wars, low crop prices, and spiking bankruptcies,” reported Tom Philpott. DDT’s $28 billion handout to farmers ended this month, and the coronavirus decimated trade, despite DDT’s bragging about his “deal” with China. Crop prices for corn and soybeans are “treading water right now,” according to University of Iowa agricultural economist Chad Hart. “The trade deals took us one step forward and coronavirus takes us one step back.” Hart said. National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson said:

“As both a presidential candidate and now as president, Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed his appreciation for and dedication to American farmers. Yet year after year, his budget has failed to address the very real economic challenges facing rural communities.”

DDT’s budget continues his efforts to eliminate the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS and all federal funding for libraries. In addition to $23 million in the 2021 budget to close the IMLS, DDT asked for $33.4 million to do away with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and budgeted for the closure of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. [Other programs that DDT wants to eliminate.] Congress opposed these closures in the past: the FY2020 budget increased $10 million for the IMLS budget which included $6.2 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), funding equivalent to two of DDT’s weekend trips to Mar-a-Lago. ALA president Wanda Brown said:

“Eliminating federal funding for libraries is to forego opportunities to serve veterans, upskill underemployed Americans, start and grow small businesses, teach our kids to read, and give greater access to people with print disabilities in our communities.”

DDT’s rally audiences chant “lock her up” about Hillary Clinton and the tragedy at Benghazi, but DDT’s budget cuts the $5 million to honor J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador killed by terrorists at that Libyan diplomatic outpost. Despite 11 GOP hearings exonerating Clinton of any blame for the deaths of four people at Benghazi, State Department secretary Mike Pompeo accuses her of putting “political expediency” ahead of people “on the ground.” Now Pompeo and DDT are being investigated for their treatment of U.S. diplomats. The Stevens Initiative was created to memorialize his dedication to cultivating international exchanges; DDT is trying to eliminate the funding for the third time.

DDT’s budget cuts $4.5 billion, 25 percent, from the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), the military fund offsetting Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. Last year’s reduction was $6 billion and the previous year, $6.5 billion. DDT opposes U.S. programs that provide training, resources, and funding for European foreign governments and takes money from the fund for his wall. The EDI funds are part of the budget category Overseas Contingency Operations, a slush fund for the Pentagon.

DDT’s budget, a political statement, gives his priorities. In these cases, he wants to get rid of the arts, education, and food production while protecting Russia.

In a letter to all 74 federal inspectors’ general, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Minority Leader, is requesting an immediate investigation about the “shameful” and “illegal” White House retaliation against whistleblowers who raise concerns about the misconduct and abuses of power by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). In so doing, Schumer warned of a “dangerous, growing pattern of retaliation against those who report wrongdoing only to find themselves targeted by the president and subject to his wrath and vindictiveness.” He said the attacks included the “attempts to publicly identify the anonymous whistleblower who used the proper legal channels to initially report the president’s attempts to compromise our national security for his personal benefit.”

The impeachment trial may be over, but the Senate Intelligence Committee has shown interest in talking to the whistleblower who set everything in motion. Committee chair Richard Burr (R-NC) is considering a subpoena for the person to testify. Vicechair Mark Warner (D-VA) hasn’t agreed with Burr but said that the person’s anonymity and safety “is a top priority.” Although not a committee member, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has pushed for the whistleblower to testify and called on Burr to investigate the “episode.” Roy Blunt (R-MO), not up for reelection, agrees with Graham; Susan Collins (R-ME), worried about her lack of popularity in her reelection year, is cautious without a “compelling case.”  

With no permit and wearing white face masks, 100 white supremacists marched in Washington, D.C. and shouted “Reclaim America!” Police protected these members of Patriot Front, a group promoting “American Fascism,” while they broke the city law. The organization wants to “reclaim our nation’s capital from Jews, Marxists, and anti-white enemies in government who want to see white Americans erased. We seek to build a fascist homeland in the ashes of a failing democracy.”

Paramilitary groups are trying to join the mainstream by declaring themselves a “non-profit” groups as Washington state’s chapter of Three Percent, part of the “Patriot Movement,” has done. Their racist ideology, however, hasn’t changed.

As white domestic terrorist groups gain power, the FBI created the ability to attack peaceful protesters. Under Director Christopher Wray, the FBI put pro-choice “violence” in the same only one episode of pro-choice-inspired terrorism, a threat in an online comments section. Of 850 current domestic terrorism cases, 50 percent concerned anti-government extremism and 40 percent concerned racist terrorism. The remaining 85 cases concern animal rights, ecological degradation, abortion, and miscellaneous cases.

Wray may want to help the Supreme Court rule against abortion rights. This year’s Louisiana case is almost identical to the Texas law struck down three years ago that demanded doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a state-approved hospital within 30 miles of the clinic. SCOTUS determined that the Texas law provided “few, if any health benefits for women” while being “a substantial obstacle to women” in exercising a constitutional right. Two justices added to the court since then lean anti-abortion. The current case attacks Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) which blocks regulations constituting an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to choose. Without this stipulation, states can make any unreasonable demands regarding women’s rights and abilities to have abortions. The FBI can then block any response from pro-choice activists by accusing them of violent extremism, especially with the help of activist AG Bill Barr.

After DDT said no one was harmed in the dozen rocket attacks by Iraqi militia, the Pentagon announced that 109 service members have traumatic brain injuries. DDT calls them “headaches.”

DDT is running for reelection on criminal reform but praises China for executing drug dealers. He full-throatedly campaigns for the Second Amendment with no restrictions on gun ownership but pushes against freedom of the press in the First Amendment. The only part of the constitution that DDT supports is the Second Amendment.

Most of the publicity about DDT’s retaliation concerned the Vindman brothers marched out of the White House, but DDT’s paranoid policy caused another 50 career professionals to be sent from the White House to their home agencies. Early DDT employees, who resigned or were fired, are now returning.

  • Hope Hicks, the former communications director who DDT looks upon as a daughter, is now his counselor.
  • Johnny McEntee, who lost his security clearance from gambling debts, will oversee the Presidential Personnel Office.
  • Stephen Miller ally Chad Mizelle, another DDT anti-immigrant loyalist, will be the unqualified appointee for DHS general counsel.   
  • Mandy Gunasekara, who pushed DDT to drop the Paris climate agreement, has returned as the EPA chief of staff.  
  • Former DDT chief of staff Reince Priebus and former press secretary Sean Spicer are now members of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. Spicer quit after DDT hired Anthony Scaramucci for communications director; Priebus was fired after six months. Scaramucci had called Priebus a “leaker” and “a f*cking paranoid schizophrenic—a paranoiac.”

In a state of confusion during his speech in New Hampshire, DDT said, “The redemption money is paying for the wall.” He may mean “remittances” that undocumented workers send to their families out of the country, but the plan to collect this money was never enacted. The military funding for base housing, schooling, medical facilities and other improvements are paying for the wall.

More geography gaffes: While speaking in New Hampshire, DDT confused Concord, NH with Concord, MA, giving New Hampshire credit for the Massachusetts involvement in the American Revolution.

A majority of people, 55 percent, believe that DDT was not exonerated by his impeachment acquittal. More than that, 59 percent, think that the trial was conducted unfairly.  

February 15, 2020

DDT: Week 160 – What Corruption Looks Like

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is taking advantage of his removal from constitutional mandates with his usual MO—first deny he did something before saying he did it. DDT now says that he sent his private lawyer Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to look for damaging information on political opponent Joe Biden after earlier claiming that he didn’t do it. DDT’s legal team even lied for him under oath during the impeachment trial in the Senate. Thus far, Giuliani hasn’t found any “dirt,” but he’s still trying. AG Bill Barr has announced that the DOJ is taking any information from Giuliani while a U.S. attorney in New York is investigating Giuliani’s alleged illegal and corrupt activities in Ukraine, including driving out the U.S. ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

DDT is also playing his Ukraine games with states, extorting them to do what he wants. His Wednesday tweet about meeting with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, threatened that the state:

“I’m seeing Governor Cuomo today at The White House. He must understand that National Security far exceeds politics. New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harassment, start cleaning itself up, and lowering taxes. Build relationships, but don’t bring Fredo [DDT’s nickname for the governor’s brother Chris Cuomo, a CNN news host]!”

DDT is now behaving as the Democratic prosecution for the impeachment trial predicted if he were acquitted.

As DOJ prosecutors won’t protect DDT allies from their crimes, AG Bill Barr uses outside prosecutors in attempts to exonerate Michael Flynn and other politically sensitive national-security cases (aka whatever DDT wants). For two weeks—since Barr hired his friend Tim Shea to replace an honest prosecutor—these outside prosecutors are interrogating DOJ prosecutors about investigative steps, prosecutorial actions, and their reasons in both public and not-public cases, about either DDT’s friends and allies or DDT’s critics and adversaries. Barr said that DDT’s tweets made it impossible for him to do his job; it’s obvious that DDT’s bragging is blocking Barr for swinging court decisions for DDT’s side.

Claiming to have “integrity,” Barr lost some credibility after former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was told that he won’t face criminal charges hanging over his head for 18 months because the DOJ couldn’t find any evidence against him. Barr’s problem is not so much that the case was dropped but that the federal judge’s statements were made public. He called McCabe’s case a “banana republic” prosecution. The judge explained:

“I don’t think people like the fact that you got somebody at the top basically trying to dictate whether somebody should be prosecuted ….  I think there are a lot of people on the outside who perceive that there is undue inappropriate pressure being brought to bear. It’s very disturbing that we’re in the mess that we’re in in that regard. Because I think having been a part of the prosecution for a long time and respecting the role that prosecutors play in the system. I just think the integrity of the process is being unduly undermined by inappropriate comments and actions on the part of people at the top of our government. I think it’s very unfortunate. And I think as a government and as a society, we’re going to pay a price at some point for this.”

Last August, McCabe sued the DOJ for being fired because of “Trump’s unconstitutional plan and scheme to discredit and remove DOJ and FBI employees who were deemed to be his partisan opponents because they were not politically loyal to him.”

The Army isn’t in DDT’s pocket—yet. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy announced that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman would not be “investigated.” He could, however, be denied a promotion. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Vindman’s former employer at the NSC, said that the Purple-Heart winner was marched out of the White House because DDT is “entitled to a staff that he has confidence in and that he believes will execute his policy.”

O’Brien claimed that the removal of the Vindman brothers wasn’t retaliation, but DDT called Alexander Vindman a “never-Trumper” and “very insubordinate” for legally responding to a congressional subpoena. He also said that Vindman “reported a false call” without any explanation and that Vindman had been sent “to a much different location” where “the military can handle him any way they want.”

DDT’s former chief of staff John Kelly may be on the chopping block after Kelly defended Vindman’s testimony about DDT’s phone call with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky, criticized DDT’s pardoning Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher for his war crimes, and supported immigrants wanting to come to the U.S. Kelly also had a few choice words about the Fox network, DDT’s almost exclusive source of information:

“If you only watch Fox News because it’s reinforcing what you believe, you are not an informed citizen.”

In another form of retaliation, DDT is sending 100 CBP members, mostly from the SWAT-like Border Patrol Tactical Unit, to nine “sanctuary” cities during the next five months to search out undocumented immigrants instead the troops doing their job, finding drug traffickers on the southern border. These troops have training in sniper certification and advanced weapons. The targeted cities have no greater rates of violent crime, rape, and property crime, but militarization will make them more dangerous. In another study, the almost 2,500 counties that follow federal law but don’t detain unauthorized immigrants for ICE have lower crime rates than the other ones, an average of 35.5 fewer crimes per 10,000, because of better crime reporting and cooperation with law enforcement.

DDT’s cruel “public charge” order has returned, forcing legal immigrants who use public benefits or 12 months within a 36-month period from their paths to citizenship and out of the United States. A judge had declared an injunction against the order until it was heard on appeal because it had no rational basis and “has never been the rule.” The judge wrote that “the rule is simply a new agency policy of exclusion in search of a justification. It is repugnant to the American dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility.” DDT’s order would immediately cause “significant hardship” to “hundreds of thousands of individuals who were previously eligible for admission and permanent residence in the United States.” The 2nd Circuit Court put the appeal on a fast tract, but that wasn’t good enough for our “cruelty-in-chief” leader. He went to his conservative lackeys on the Supreme Court who lifted the injunction until the case might appealed to a future Supreme Court, an indeterminate time in the future. 

Reagan-appointee Judge David Sentelle, considered one of the most conservative judges in the nation and protégé of Sen. Jesse Helm (R-NC), agreed with two other judges on a panel that DDT’s stripping health coverage from Arkansas’ Medicaid beneficiaries is illegal. The ruling was against Arkansas’ new work requirement that lost Medicaid coverage for over 18,000 people in five months and changed congressional objectives for Medicaid. According to the ruling, the law does not allow DDT to use their own opinions on how to improve the health of low-income people, the excuse used for the work requirement. Sentelle wrote that “the principal objective of Medicaid is providing health care coverage,” not to make people find jobs. The unanimous ruling from the D.C. Circuit Court affirms a lower court decision, in which a judge found HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s approval of Arkansas’ work requirements “arbitrary and capricious.” The case may go to the Supreme Court; SCOTUS Justice Neil Gorsuch clerked for Sentelle and considered him a mentor. 

During a Senate hearing, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell rejected an idea suggested by Sen. John N. Kennedy (R-LA) that “the richness of our social programs” makes people less inclined to look for work because they can get a government check for not working. Agreeing with most economists, DDT’s GOP appointee testified that the ability of getting benefits has “actually declined, during this period of declining labor force participation” with mandates of having jobs to receive them since the 1990s. According to Powell, the “declining labor force participation” in the U.S., compared to other industrialized nations, come from lower levels of educational attainment. Powell also warned that $1 trillion budget deficits, as recommended by DDT’s newest budget, are unsustainable.   

In another lie at DDT’s SOTU speech, Tony Rankins didn’t see his life as a homeless, drug-addicted Army veteran turned around because of DDT’s “Opportunity Zone” tax breaks supposedly targeting poor neighborhoods. Rankins did get a job, but he started four months before the publication of the list in a site that wasn’t included. DDT also praised Rankins’ employer, R Investments, but the company has only a storage warehouse in one of the zones. No employees. The “Opportunity Zone” program was supposedly to help struggling neighborhoods, but the ones with the tax breaks had already moved toward gentrification and away from support for poor, black communities.

DDT also used his SOTU speech to demonstrate that the CIA, as well as the DOJ works for him. Director Gina Haspel, who had no reason to attend the speech, especially in a seat of honor, and certainly no right to stand, clapping, when DDT called on Congress to sue sanctuary cities for offenses committed by undocumented immigrants. A former CIA officer pointed out that Joint Chiefs don’t applaud. The Supreme Court justices don’t applaud. The CIA director shouldn’t, either.”

But DDT is the new normal—the time of corruption.

February 13, 2020

Barr, DDT Destroy the ‘Rule of Law’

Tomorrow, Valentine’s Day, is the one-year anniversary of AG Bill Barr’s confirmation, and he’s used his first year to exhibit an amazingly high level of corruption. Chris Smith wrote:

“Attorney General William Barr is on a trajectory to surpass [John] Mitchell, the previous AG corruption champion [for Nixon], who was convicted of conspiracy, perjury, and obstruction of justice, and went to prison for 19 months.”

Barr was immediately charging ahead with his falsehoods and then concealment of Robert Mueller’s investigation about Russian election interference and the campaign of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) last spring. He’s still saying “no collusion” to obfuscate Mueller’s position that collusion was not addressed in the investigation because it’s not a legal term. Barr’s comments were so egregious that the normally reticent Robert Mueller refuted them.

Now Barr is working on a cover-up for his obedience to DDT’s needs by claiming that “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.” He also complained that DDT’s statements and tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors and the department that we’re doing our work with integrity.” Barr is welcome to quit his job if it’s “impossible.”

Barr’s subservience to DDT came to a head when Barr changed the prison sentence recommendation for DDT’s friend Roger Stone after DDT called the seven to nine years for seven felonies “horrible and very unfair.” Four career prosecutors quit the case, one of them resigning from DOJ, at DOJ’s new filing of three to four years. DDT then praised Barr for “taking charge” of the case. Three of the charges against Stone were obstructing Congress, witness intimidation, and lying—actions common to DDT. During the trial, Stone also posted an image an image of the judge’s name, her face, and the crosshairs of a gun sight near her head. Stone said he thought the gun sight was a “Celtic symbol.”  

On the same day that the DOJ filled a more lenient sentence request, Barr accused “progressive DAs” of having “fashioned for themselves a new role of judge-legislator-prosecutor,” that “these self-styled ‘social justice” reformers are refusing to enforce entire categories of law.” According to Barr, “these policies actually lead to greater criminality.” 

DDT also claims that he has absolute power to tell the DOJ who and how it prosecutes and called the sentencing a “horrible abberition (sic).” Not satisfied with attacking the prosecutors and the trial process, he also struck out against the judge in Stone’s case, implying she was biased:

“Is this the Judge that put Paul Manafort in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, something that not even mobster Al Capone had to endure? How did she treat Crooked Hillary Clinton? Just asking!”

Actually, it is not “the Judge” because another judge put Manafort into a VIP suite to protect him. Manafort was also found to be tampering with witnesses in his trial.  A lawsuit against Hillary Clinton connected to the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi (Libya) was dismissed after 11 hearings from the GOP-controlled House, one of them in which Clinton answered questions for almost 12 hours, could find no wrongdoing on her part. 

Minority Senate Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on Chief Justice John Roberts to clarify that DDT’s attacks on a judge “are unacceptable.”

Now free to do whatever he wishes after his impeachment acquittal, DDT went on a diatribe from the Oval Office:

“Where’s [James] Comey? What’s happening to [Andrew] McCabe? What’s happening to Lisa and — to Pete Strzok and Lisa Page? What’s happening with them? It was a whole setup, it was a disgrace for our country, and everyone knows it, too, everyone.”

Asked what lesson he learned from impeachment, DDT said, “That the Democrats are crooked — they’ve got a lot of crooked things going—that they’re vicious, that they shouldn’t have brought impeachment.” He also withdrew Jessie Liu’s nomination for undersecretary of the Treasury Department for terrorism and financial crimes because she oversaw cases involving DDT’s friends Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, and Stone. Once nominated, she lost her job as U.S. attorney for D.C., a top position overseeing economic sanctions. Liu had expected to stay in that position until confirmation, but Barr replaced her last week with his close adviser Timothy Shea, who then overruled the prosecutors in the Stone case by requesting a more lenient sentence.

Barr has a close associate in the office handling cases about Mueller’s investigation, Russian election interference, and Flynn and Stone who are yet to be sentenced. The same office has now filed a request recommending probation for Flynn instead of up to six months in prison. The DOJ’s new filing, effusively describing Flynn’s government service, reads as if it were written by the defense instead of the prosecution. Flynn may have violated the Logan Act against private citizens’ negotiating with foreign governments without proper authority to influence their actions when he met with Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak after DDT’s election while President Obama was still in office to discuss sanctions against Russia. Violation of the Logan Act is a felony, punishable by up to three years in prison. Documents show that DDT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner also directed Flynn to contact foreign government officials and ask them to delay or vote against a UN resolution about Israel settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, in opposition to support from then President Obama and his administration favoring the resolution.

Some GOP senators who said DDT had “learned his lesson” now say that he should not speak out about pending sentences. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), one of the “lesson” senators, described the “chain of events”: “proceeding, a sentencing, a recommended sentence, the president weighs in and all of the sudden Justice comes back, says ‘change the deal.’” She said that “most people … would say ‘hmm, that just doesn’t look right.’ And I think they’re right.” Another “lesson” senator, Susan Collins (ME) said DDT “should not have gotten involved.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) agreed with the two women. All three senators voted against DDT’s impeachment conviction.

U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman, a colleague of the attacked judge on the court in Washington, warned about the consequences of DDT’s attacks. In a speech, Friedman said that DDT “seems to view the courts and the justice system as obstacles to be attacked and undermined, not as a coequal branch to be respected even when he disagrees with its decisions.” 

Joyce White Vance, a former U.S. attorney in the Obama administration, said:

“If a president can meddle in a criminal case to help a friend, then there’s nothing that keeps him from meddling to harm someone he thinks is his enemy. That means that a president is fully above the law in the most dangerous kind of way. This is how democracies die.”

Vance doesn’t need to wait. Barr has already assigned the DOJ to “investigate” President Obama’s intelligence officials to accuse them of hiding evidence or manipulating analysis regarding Russia’s election interference in 2016. The team started with the premise that CIA director John O. Brennan was operating under a preconceived belief about Russia and tried to keep other agencies from information because they might discover he was wrong. 

Out of concern for the DOJ’s decision-making process, the New York City bar has requested “immediate investigations” in a letter to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and chairs and ranking minority-party members of the House and Senate Judiciary committees: Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R-GA), Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The reason for investigations comes from “serious questions about whether the Department of Justice is making prosecutorial decisions based not on neutral principles but in order to protect President Trump’s supporters and friends.” The letter alleges “improper influence” because the DOJ’s change in this appears “from all external circumstances to be an instance of President Trump and Attorney General [William P.] Barr acting in concert to protect Stone from punishment.”

In an op-ed, Harry Litman, former U.S. attorney and current professor of constitutional law, wrote:

 “I have never experienced or even heard of a situation in which a career prosecutor had been ordered to withdraw a sentencing memorandum within the guidelines’ range. The original filing in the Stone case came from two career federal prosecutors and two special assistant U.S. attorneys.”

The DOJ said that changing sentencing requests is common for them, yet it couldn’t come up with an example. In an interview, Barr claimed that he told the prosecutors he was going to override the seven to nine years but they ignored him when they made the filing. It all smells: Barr says he’s overriding his own rule to follow the federal sentencing guidelines at the highest level, prosecutors don’t override the AG, and DDT doesn’t quietly sit back and let someone criticize him. It’s a cover up as protection for DDT’s friends.

DDT’s impeachment acquittal by GOP senators shredded the Constitution; now Barr and DDT are destroying the rule of law in the United States.

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