Nel's New Day

September 21, 2019

Pieces from DDT’s 139th Week

The media has been consumed for the past week about a potential exchange from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) of $250 military aid to Ukraine for an investigation into DDT’s possible opponent Joe Biden and the Middle East tension from attacks by unknown enemies on the Saudi Arabian oil fields. That wasn’t all.

DDT found a white man to sit around and watch him work, his criteria for a new national security adviser. According to the NYT, Robert O’Brien is known as “an affable, ingratiating personality that has earned him allies throughout the Trump administration, notably including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, both of whom supported his appointment.” NYT also described him as a pleasant John Bolton, because O’Brien’s similar ideology to his predecessor. Like many other people who DDT hires, he has few qualifications for the job other than his lavish praise for DDT. As “hostage negotiator,” O’Brien persuaded Sweden to release rapper A$AP Rocky from jail for a street brawl to improve DDT’s ratings among blacks. The former adviser for Mitt Romney, Scott Walker, and Ted Cruz—all losing their candidacies—now has the job to solve DDT-created disasters in Iran, China, North Korea, and Afghanistan. DDT clearly said that the new adviser won’t be making any decisions because DDT is in charge. Congress is considering a law requiring confirmation for this position that DDT can freely vacate and fill. Meanwhile Bolton is now speaking out against DDT’s policies.

This spring, DHS dumped a dozen high-level officials after he fired John Mitnick, the agency’s fifth general counsel. In his job, Mitnick supervised 2,500 lawyers at the agency, pushed back against policies putting the DHS in a legally dubious position, and stopped DDT from releasing migrants in sanctuary cities in retaliation for their laws.

Two vegan Democratic presidential candidates, Cory Booker and Tulsi Gabbard, are safe from DDT’s reduction of food safety inspectors in pork plants by 40 percent. USDA will use a small number of industry employees with no training for “inspection” and eliminate line speed limits, promoting less cleanliness in both prep and inspection. Peer reviews show that studies used as justification for faulty position that faster line speeds are safer, hidden from the public, are flawed, but the USDA moves ahead because of packing house requests despite 80,000 opposing comments from the public. Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, published over a century ago, describes the unsanitary conditions then and perhaps now. USDA’s IG is investigating the faulty data, lack of transparencies, and other rule irregularities.

In an effort to politically influence the U.S. Supreme Court, 53 Republican Senators signed a letter declaring that Democrats pose “a direct, immediate threat to the independence of the judiciary.” The proposed case has already been settled after New York City repealed a NRA-opposed statute almost a decade ago, proving that the lawsuit is only political. Republicans are still not happy after confirming 150 ultra-conservative judges and two Supreme Court justices, one of the positions blocked for almost a year so that a Republican president could nominate one.

Another Republican action is endangering the lives of U.S. military members, according to the Pentagon. DDT’s moved $3.6 billion to build a border fence through the National Emergencies Act from the military budget designated to solve life-threatening situations such as asbestos in living quarters for troops and their families and storage facilities for ammunition that aren’t fire-resistant or capable of handling explosions. The Pentagon reports that the loss of the funds hurts “military readiness” and damages national security. The lack of funding for a new boiler at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska could be force an evacuation and leave the base frozen and damaged. The main gate at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey is current subject to “hostile penetration … and an increased terrorist threat.” DDT unfunded plans “to deter Russian aggression,” according to an Air Force report. The National Guard training base at Camp Santiago, destroyed when Hurricane Maria went through Puerto Rico two years ago, won’t be rebuilt. Most congressional GOP members refused to stop DDT from taking the money from real military emergencies.

DDT found another black journalist to libel—this one is a woman. As one tweet commented, DDT’s vile comments just sold 50,000 of Joy Reid’s book, The Man Who Sold America: Trump and the Unraveling of the American Story, already on the NYT bestseller list, after he said she had no “talent” and no “’it’ factor.” Reid raised DDT’s fury by saying that he sounded like a “desperate man” at his Baltimore speech and he treated “the gathered Republicans to some smoking hot beauty tips” such as selecting energy inefficient lightbulbs to avoid orange-appearing skin.

Reid responded to DDT by listing a few of his impeachable actions–and that was before the revelation of his extorting Ukraine.  

Last week, highly respected Cokie Roberts died, and DDT tweeted his response:

“I never met her. She never treated me nicely.”

Daughter of prominent U.S. Louisiana representatives for over a half century, Roberts, “called one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting” by ABC, helped pave the way for women in broadcast journalism. About Roberts, noted legal affairs correspondent Nina Tottenberg wrote:

“To know Cokie was to see the personification of human decency…. She was always the voice of people with less power, and the voice of what is right.”

Showing less finesse at a reception at the recent G7 Summit, DDT looked for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi by calling out, “Where’s my favorite dictator?” DDT was greeted with silence. He has not condemned the human rights violations of el-Sisi after he took power through a 2013 military coup against former President Mohammed Morsi. DDT said that el-Sisi is “a good man, and he’s done a fantastic job in Egypt.” At least DDT is right about el-Sisi being a dictator.

In the path of hurricanes, the U.S. military court and prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have cost over $6 billion to operate for almost 18 years; taxpayers are charged over $10 million each day to house 40 prisoners. Although almost 800 people have gone through the prison, only one person was convicted. So much torture has tainted evidence that no more prisoners can be convicted with an appeals processing costing a minimum of $1.5 billion during the next 10 to 15 years. If defendants are found not guilty, the government can imprison them indefinitely. The two men who proposed cost-saving measures were fired. With plans to keep the facilities open for another 25 years, the government will need to pay for geriatric care such as joint replacements. The oldest prisoner is now 71 years old.

Former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, fired hours before his pension would go into effect in April 2018, is still in limbo because the DOJ has refused to tell him for ten days whether a grand jury indicted him for inappropriate media leaks about Hillary Clinton and her foundation. Charges against him require 12 of 23 jurors to agree for probably cause that he committed a crime. In his position, he can declassify anything he wishes so a jury will have trouble finding him guilty. He is accused of lying under oath, but that’s not a problem for Brett Kavanaugh in his confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justice. It’s been said that a grand jury can “indict a ham sandwich”; McCabe may be less guilty than that sandwich.

DDT wants to dump VP Mike Pence from the 2020 ballot because he doesn’t provide enough defense for DDT. Ivanka and Jared Kushner regularly threaten Pence to force him to follow orders, according to a White House official.

Even FLOTUS Melania Trump has become toxic. When she asked ten students from the United Nations International School (UNIS) in Manhattan to join at the New York Stock Exchange to ring the opening bell, parents don’t want their children photographed with her.

DDT consistently promises that he is bringing coal back, but in Wyoming two of the biggest U.S. mines have shut down.  

Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, and Republicans spent seven years trying to repeal it. Democrats took the House in 2018 partly because people were afraid to lose their health care. House Republicans met in 2019 and made plans to repeal people’s health care as the 2020 election nears. That’s all the GOP has?

Attempts by DDT’s National Labor Relations Board to erase a rule making companies more responsible for temps, fast-food-franchise workers, and those who work indirectly for companies may be confounded for a second time because of conflicts of interest by the board—this time its use of temporary staffers. The board hired temporary lawyers and paralegals to review public comments on the rollback of the rule from a company that has a vested interest in the outcome, raising questions about the accuracy of their work.

Thanks to DDT’s trade war with China, the economic OECD, comprised of 36 countries, predicts a world recession. According to the conservative Bloomberg.com, the recession may have already started in some areas such as manufacturing  and farming since DDT started imposing tariffs. In 22 state, the number of people working in factories—members of DDT’s base—fell thus far this year as has truck delivery traffic.

September 11, 2019

U.S., U.K.—Two World Leaders Focus on Themselves

Eighteen years ago today, 2,996 people were killed and more than 6,000 others were injured when 19 men—15 of them from Saudi Arabia—hijacked and crashed four planes on U.S. soil. Since that time, over 1,400 rescuers have died, and toxins at the crash site in New York caused cancer in 1,140 people. Since that time, 24 percent of U.S. population was born, and Republicans started wars costing trillions of dollars and creating chaos that continues to kill people throughout the world.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), inaugurated 964 days ago, multiplied the chaos in the U.S. many hundredsfold as he makes every situation—including a speech on 9/11—about himself. To “honor” the solemn occasion, he tweeted a photograph of himself and Melania Trump. Having done his duty for 9/11, he switched to his common theme of “fake news” after new polling shows him abysmally behind the top five Democratic contenders selected for the survey, and only 36 percent think he deserves re-election. In other rants, he tweeted about his trade war with China and praised himself for rejecting the peace talk with the Taliban after he offered to bring them to Camp David this week. Yesterday, he fired John Bolton because the national security adviser opposed DDT’s almost finishing an agreement with the Taliban.

DDT dishonors the memory of 9/11 with the many lies that he’s told about it, all for his own benefit:

  • He lied about seeing “thousands and thousands of people” on rooftops in New Jersey “cheering as that building was coming down” to reinforce his Muslim ban.
  • He lied about seeing bodies falling from his Midtown apartment four miles away.
  • He falsely blamed Bill Clinton during DDT’s campaign for the crash into the World Trade Center because he “didn’t kill Osama bin Laden.”  
  • He blamed George W. Bush for the disaster because “he didn’t listen to the advice of his CIA” and answered the audience’s boos with false claims that he “lost hundreds of friends” in the attacks. After Lawrence O’Donnell ridiculed the statement, he changed his lie to “many, many people.”
  • He lied about giving money to 9/11 charities.
  • He lied about helping to clear rubble and pay for several hundred workers to help clean up in the 9/11 aftermath.
  • He lied about his own building becoming the tallest building in New York City on the morning that the Twin Towers fell.
  • He lied about needing federal recovery money for small businesses and then admitted that his building had no physical damage. He falsely claimed he got the grant because he allowed people to use his building although the application didn’t specify that provision and he didn’t allow people to stay in his building.

Across the pond, DDT’s lookalike, Boris Johnson, whose sole goal is a no-deal Brexit to separate the UK from the EU, has miserably failed during his fewer than seven weeks term as prime minister. His only temporary success was a suspension of Parliament until October 14 to keep lawmakers from working on a Brexit deal, one of the longest suspensions in decades. Lawmakers did not go peacefully, protesting with signs, chants and attempts to physically restrain the speaker from leaving his chair. They finished with putting a sign reading “Silenced” on the speaker’s empty chairs. 

The validity of the suspension is in question. A Scottish court ruled the suspension illegal because Johnson falsified the reasons for the five-week suspension, perhaps even lying to the queen who had to approve it. Johnson plans to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. Courts in England and Wales ruled that Johnson’s move was legal, and another Scottish judge, meanwhile, determined that courts lack the authority to interfere in the suspension.

Since talking office, Johnson lost six key votes in the House of Commons—two of them to force a snap national election that might have given him control over the Brexit decision. Parliament also voted to force the government to publish details of secret preparations for a no-deal departure and prevent a no-deal Brexit by forcing Johnson to ask the EU for a deadline extension. When 21 members of his party voted against him, Johnson banned them from Parliament and running again. Johnson’s brother was so disgusted by the prime minister’s actions that he quit Parliament

The first winning vote, 328-301, against Johnson by a coalition of the Labour Party, the Scottish Nationalist Party, and other Brexit opponents was to take control of the agenda. Johnson expelled the 21 conservatives, including eight former Cabinet ministers,  who voted with the coalition, including Winston Churchill’s grandson. They will not be able to run for office again. 

The next failures for Johnson were two readings to block his no-deal Brexit and 288 abstentions on a failed vote for a snap general election. The bill, which became law after acceptance of the House of Lords, doesn’t stop a no-deal Brexit, but it legally binds the prime minister to ask the EU for an extension without a Parliament agreement for a deal by October 19. A furious Johnson said he’s rather “be dead in a ditch” than follow that law. 

Johnson may also face condemnation for his sexist description of former Prime Minister David Cameron as a “girly swot.” This week, Johnson called Jeremy Corbyn, leader of his opposition, a “great big girl’s blouse” for refusing to back an immediate general election.   He also secretly ordered the Cabinet Office to turn the government’s public internet service into a platform for “targeted and personalized information” for his no-deal Brexit and a digital revolution in public services, raising legal and ethical questions. The PM would have profiles on everyone’s online interactions with government with no protection for the data.

Johnson became prime minister only five weeks ago with 92,153 votes from Conservative Party members (only 0.002 percent of the UK voters), in the third election in five years, after the resignation of Theresa May as prime minister. Voters were primarily white, male, and over 50 years of age. It was the first time that only party membership elected Britain’s prime minister. Almost 109,000 people registered to vote at the start of the week in two days with 58 percent of them under 34 years old. The deadline for registration would be September 27 for a snap election on October 15. A Johnson aide admitted that Johnson wanted an early date for a general election to keep young people from voting.  

Suspension has left Johnson with only bleak choices:

  • Renegotiate a deal with the EU.
  • Ask for a Brexit delay.
  • Resign and run again.
  • Go to jail for not following the law to negotiate with the EU.

DDT has constantly supported Brexit, even telling Johnson to default on the $47 billion that the UK owes the EU. Pence told Ireland how he supports Brexit that would be “deeply disruptive” to peace between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Fed chair Jerome Powell has warned that a no-deal Brexit and “rising tensions in Hong Kong” could unravel U.S. expansion. Brexit could cause the dollar to go even higher and thus make U.S. goods more expensive for foreign buyers and depress U.S. exports. DDT wants open trade with the UK but can’t have it until the end of Brexit. The UK objects to DDT’s demands to open the National Health Service to U.S. drugmakers, allow genetically modified seeds on UK farms, and accept “chlorinated chicken,” as Johnson calls imports from the U.S. EU trade with the UK is over $800 billion compared to the $262 billion commerce with the U.S.

Brits have long been highly concerned about the departure with no agreement to regulate trade, border security, and other critical issues. They could face food and medicine shortages, and farms will fail. After three years of threatened Brexiting, Europeans are getting fed up with the UK’s decisions—or non-decisions. EU leaders might accept a delay beyond the Halloween deadline because a no-deal Brexit would be economically destabilizing, but negotiators worry about consequences of continued uncertainty and the destructive poison of the UK being inside the union. A major advantage of Brexit is that the other 27 countries in the EU, having watched the insanity in UK, have no interest in repeating it.

Like DDT, Johnson wants to break the system for his own purposes. After Parliament consistently voted against him, he’ll tell people that politics are rigged against them. He will question the legitimacy of the judicial system, already insinuating that the Scottish ruling against him is illegitimate. And he plans to break the law for his own means. The country will move farther toward cynicism and gridlock—like in the United States. If Johnson wins with only the Conservative vote, 30 percent of the country, he’ll be backed by under one-third of the country, a catastrophic situation like DDT. The four nations in the United Kingdom may decide to separate, especially with Northern Ireland already isolated and no way to leave except by air or sea. A no-deal Brexit would keep them from freely crossing the border to the Republic of Ireland.

MP Ian Murray wrote:

“Boris Johnson lied about Brexit, lied to the Queen about suspending parliament, politicised the police, derided judges and disregarded the law. Everyone must be concerned that his Government is moving dangerously close to a dictatorship.”

Boris Johnson is blustering, ruthless, racist, homophobic, sexist, boastful, divisive, Islamophobic—consumed with white male privilege. Does that sound familiar?

 

August 27, 2019

DDT Home from G7 after Alienating Allies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 12, 2019

Trump’s Week from Hell – Bill Curry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 9, 2019

DDT: Week 133 – All about Him

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 2, 2019

Federal Appointment Replacements Worse for Democracy

Former Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has left the White House for Arkansas after holding fewer briefings than during any of the previous five presidents’ terms—probably an average of one every other month. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) told her last January not to bother to meet with press conferences. New Press Secretary, Stephanie Grisham, will do the job of not meeting with the press while staying on as spokesperson for Melanie Trump and becoming Communications Director, formerly Bill Shine.

Grisham cut her chops at the Korean DMZ Freedom House in an episode called “an all out brawl” with “body blows” as she elbowed and pushed a North Korean security guard. Her elegant diplomacy matches that of her employer when DDT pushed aside Montenegro’s Prime Minister Dusko Markovic at the 2017 NATO summit. 

Lying is another of DDT’s characteristic that Grisham emulates. She claimed that Melania Trump’s jacket stating “I really don’t care. Do U?” was just a jacket with no meaning before the First Lady said that it was “a message.” Trump said she wore it “for the people and for the left-wing media who are criticizing me. And I want to show them that I don’t care.” In July 2018, Grisham supported DDT’s false claim that he arrived in the UK on June 23, 2016, the day of the Brexit referendum, where he predicted the vote outcome. DDT wasn’t there until the next day. In his report, Robert Mueller documented Grisham’s serial lying.

Grisham has a strong anti-press background. As spokeswoman for the Arizona House of Representatives GOP, she implemented the policy banning reporters from the legislative floor if they “would not consent to extensive background checks.” The policy focused on Arizona reporter Hank Stephenson after he provided evidence that House Speaker David Gowan used state-owned vehicles for his congressional campaign and forced Gowan to return over $12,000 to the state. Misdemeanor trespassing was one reason for barring reporters because Stephenson pled guilty to the charge in 2014. Her policy lasted only a few days because some Republicans expressed concern and no member of the Phoenix press corps would sign the form. While a member of DDT’s transition team, Grisham did no work for Arizona but stayed on the state’s payroll.

In September 2018, Grisham was reprimanded for violating the Hatch Act that prevents White House employees from party-political activities. DDT promoted her with a raise in salary. 

In the EPA, one fossil fuel industry shill was traded for another. Bill Wehrum, formerly a lobbyist trying to destroy President Obama’s safeguards on polluters, could more easily do the job when he oversaw fossil fuel pollution regulations. Wehrum was confirmed with no Democratic votes to focus on “climate change, smog, and power plants’ mercury pollution.” Like his corrupt predecessor Scott Pruitt, Wehrum resigned after 19 months in the midst of a congressional investigation into his improperly helping his former industry clients after the media shined a light on his inappropriate activities. He slowed fuel-efficiency requirements for cars and trucks as well as rewriting methods of calculating costs and benefits to favor fossil fuel requirements. He also wrote the way that more coal-fired power plants could open.

Wehrun’s lack of ethics followed those of other Cabinet members who resigned—EPA’s Schott Pruitt, HHS’ Tom Price, Interior’s Ryan Zinke, and VA’s Davi Shulkin—and FEMA’s William “Brock” Long.” Other current ethics investigations include Interior’s new Secretary David Bernhardt plus six current or former top appointees for behavior like that of Wehrum.

Although at least one climate activist literally danced after Wehrum’s departure, the replacement has not brought joy. Anne Idsal, Wehrum’s deputy assistant, will continue EPA’s destruction and fall in line with DDT’s deregulation. She belongs to the dark ages belief that “climate has been changing since the dawn of time” and has strong ties to the Bush-Cheney administration. Her family owns the ranch where VP Dick Cheney shot a friend in the face while hunting ring-necked pheasants. Her connections extend to George P. Bush, George W. Bush’s nephew, who cleared out 11 top staffers of the General Land Office after he was elected in 2014 to manage Texas’ oil and gas resources. Idsal was one of 29 people hired for Bush’s Land Office without the jobs being posted, and she has ties to industry associations and Exxon Mobil.

Having lost with Herman Cain and Stephen Moore, DDT plans to appoint Christopher Waller and Judy Shelton for the two empty Federal Board seats. Both conservatives want to lower interest rates, and DDT’s close friend and Fed-hater Shelton wants to return to the gold standard, abandoned by Richard Nixon almost 50 years ago.

With White House aide and neo-Nazi Stephen Miller in charge of DHS, chaos continues to reign in the department, designed to protect U.S. security, supports DDT’s politics. Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders for two months leaves after publicity of squalid living conditions for children at border stations that provide no child care, bedding, and hygiene items while submitting the children to sleep deprivation. Yet Sanders was fired because he wasn’t aggressive enough in blocking asylum seekers. In the past three months, DHS has also done away with its secretary (Kirstjen Nielsen), acting ICE chief (Ron Vitiello), acting deputy secretary (Claire Grady), and Citizenship and Immigration Services director (Lee Cissna). The House Oversight and Reform Committee ordered testimony on July 12 from DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan and acting Customs and Border Protection Commission Mark Morgan about the deplorable conditions for children held at the southern border. 

Hardliner Morgan, who claims that he can predict future gang members by looking into the eyes of children, left ICE after five weeks to replace Sanders. While head of ICE, Morgan pushed for raids to deport undocumented families. Earlier, McAleenan had opposed Miller’s directive to appoint Morgan head of Customs and Border Protection but caved under pressure. When Morgan disagreed with his boss, McAleenan, he circumvented him by going directly to DDT. Matthew Albence, ICE’s deputy director who was noted for saying that family detention centers are “more like a summer camp,” is now acting director of the agency. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/hamedaleaziz/ice-director-matthew-albence-trump-immigration-enforcement

DDT loves officials to be “acting.” Dana Milbank explains: 

“Without stature or protection of Senate confirmation [for officials] … allows Trump to demand absolute subservience from appointees. Because he can replace them at will, they don’t contradict him. But this tentative status also means they lack authority within their agencies and the stature to stand up to Trump when he’s wrong.”

An ”acting” official leads every major border- and immigration-related agency in DHS. DDT said, “I do burn out on people, I do.” McAleenan may be close to DDT’s burnout because of his more reasonable approach toward enforcing immigration, for example opposition to mass ICE raids rounding up migrant families, although he supported DDT’s separation of families.

DDT prefers Ken Cuccinelli, former Virginia AG who lost his run for governor, as acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services with his record of climate crisis denial, anti-LGBT discrimination, opposition to women’s reproductive rights, censorship for safe sex information, obstruction to the Catholic Church’s care for vulnerable populations, blocks to all gun violence reduction efforts, and anti-immigration. Cuccinelli matches Miller in lack of human decency, for example blaming the man who died with his toddler daughter in the Rio Grande River because he wouldn’t wait for the asylum process. After waiting two months in Mexico for asylum, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez became desperate because of the punitive months-long waiting period.

The union representing federal works with asylum seekers criticizes DDT’s policies, specifically the one returning migrants seeking refuge to Mexico until decisions are made on their applications. In a court filing, the union wrote:

“By forcing a vulnerable population to return to a hostile territory where they are likely to face persecution, the [Migrant Protection Protocols] abandons our tradition of providing a safe haven to the persecuted and violates our international and domestic legal obligations.”

Less compassionate are the 9,500 current and former members of the Border Patrol who joke about the deaths of migrants on a secret Facebook group and share derogatory comments about Latinx lawmakers visiting a detention facility. Calling them “scum buckets” and “hoes,” agents joke about throwing burritos at them and posted a drawing of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) having oral sex with a detained migrant. Revelations about these agents, including at least one supervisor, follow an investigation into the hundreds of active-duty and retired law enforcement officers connected to extremist Facebook sources, including white supremacist and anti-government groups. House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) requested information from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the Border Patrol agents secret Facebook group with vulgar sexist and racist content mocking immigrants and congressional members.

After Ocasio-Cortez left one of the facilities, she said that she did not feel safe from the officers. Border Patrol Chief of Operations Brian Hastings said, “Agents are under a great deal of stress.” After the Border Patrol agents’ Facebook group asked for protesters to come abuse legislators, Ocasio-Cortez needed an escort back to her vehicle. Border agents feel comfortable threatening everyone, including elected members of Congress. 

Welcome to the United States of America under DDT. 

April 26, 2019

DDT: Week 118 – Dementia from Stress?

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 10:18 PM
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Many people think the wandering speeches and tweets from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) are used to provide diversion for the many lawsuits and investigations in all facets of his life. Yet his mental problems seem to be growing. His demented paranoia was on full display when Sean Hannity allowed him to host the Fox show last night—raving about the “coup” of the Mueller report to “overthrow the United States government,” the corrupt “top people” at the FBI, and the ways that Hillary Clinton “destroyed the lives” of people on DDT’s campaign. He proved himself an authoritarian, a dictator, operating outside the law, the Constitution, and the government. “I could have fired everybody. I could have fired Mueller. I could have fired anybody that I wanted to fire,” DDT said. He may even believe that about elected members of Congress.

Wednesday he gave a 40-minute speech at the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit that meandered into praise about dogs as one of two acceptable pets, Melania Trump’s dress on the day he announced his campaign, the “rigged system,” and his traditional diatribe about immigration.

This last week, Mexico described the actions it was taking in its commitment to immigration control of the border; the next day DDT said, despite no communication with the Mexican government, he was closing the southern border if they don’t do more. He also threatened to send “ARMED soldiers” to the border—despite his already sending soldiers there. The Pentagon resolved the situation in which Mexican soldiers stopped ICE agents and U.S. soldiers south of the border fence—that the Mexicans thought they were on Mexico land—but DDT won’t accept the decision. Attacks on Mexican soldiers would violate the Posse Comitatus law and be an act of war which only Congress can declare. DDT also told reporters that only he is in charge of immigration after asked if the neo-Nazi White House aide Stephen Miller would be the new DHS director.

For over two years, DDT has been desperate for a state visit to Britain despite disapproval from over 70 percent of the country’s population. This week he got his wish for an invite in June—the day before he retweeted the same type of message that lost him an earlier visit accusing “United Kingdom Intelligence of helping Obama Administration Spy on the 2016 Trump Presidential Campaign.” The conspiracy theory came from DDT watching an interview with Larry Johnson on One America News Network, more extremely right-wing than the Fox network. DDT’s tweet caused George Conway, husband of White House official Kellyanne Conway, to use his hashtag #DerangedDonald” in response to DDT’s conspiracy theory.

DDT insisted that people always obey his orders at the White House Easter Roll, the same time that he explained to small children that he got more funding for the military, the economy is good, and DACA is bad. Yet people are fully aware that he was rescued from stronger cases of obstruction of justice because his officials refused his commands to kill Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, attack the Mueller probe, and other times his officials ignored DDT.

In a “secret” meeting with Twitter CEO, DDT protested the loss of Twitter buddies after the company shut down over 5,000 accounts connected to bots denouncing Robert Mueller’s investigation and lauding Saudi Arabia. Targeted to the U.S. audience, the fake accounts focused on hashtags such as #RussiaGate used by Sean Hannity and other far-right DDT supporters. DDT wants more followers because he has less than 60 percent of President Obama’s 100 million. Before the meeting, DDT tweeted an accusation that Twitter was playing “political games” with his follower count and called for congressional intervention against the company. DDT is fortunate that Twitter doesn’t ban white supremacist content the way it does most ISIS propaganda. Twitter cannot control this content because some of it comes from GOP politicians.

On Easter morning, DDT tweeted about the people killed in the Sri Lanka bombings and referred to the terrorist attacks “that have killed at least 138 million people.” That number is almost ten times the entire population of Sri Lanka and far more than the 207 people killed in the disaster.

In just 90 minutes last Tuesday, he tweeted at least eight angry insults at Nobel-prize winning Paul Krugman, New York Times, Democrats, CNN, Joe Scarborough, tariffs on Harley-Davidson, and Twitter itself. The night before, he retweeted 24 items from 15 people in 30 minutes.

DDT ordered his officials to boycott the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, scheduled for April 27. He is the first president to command officials to not attend the dinner and the first person to not attend since his inauguration except for Ronald Reagan who missed the event in 1981 while he recovered from an assassination attempt. DDT will be rallying his troops in Green Bay (WI) during the dinner. After DDT was upset about Michelle Wolff’s comedy last year, the press organization decided to use biographer Ron Chernow for a blander featured speaker in an effort to pander to DDT.

 (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP/Getty Images)

DDT has a lot to upset him:

Deutsche Bank is sending its financial records about loans made to DDT and his business to New York state’s attorney general. That probe started after DDT’s former fixer Michael Cohen testified that DDT inflated his assets and gave copies of financial states provided to Deutsche Bank.

DDT’s best friends Kim Jong-Un and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin are meeting in Russia without DDT at a time when the North Korean president has cooled off on DDT. (They look happy together.) Another accusation against DDT comes from a $2 million bill that the U.S. received for the healthcare of Otto Warmbier, the captive who died soon after his release, who was unconscious for 15 of the 17 months of his imprisonment. Warmbier’s father said that the charge might be a ransom.

The House Judiciary and Oversight committees is investigating DDT’s purge of the DHS to determine if DDT’s neo-Nazi aide Stephen Miller orchestrated it. Former Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen offended Miller and DDT by pointing out legal barriers to the continuing family separation plan. House Democrats are asked acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan to give them communications about the officials’ departures and with Miller. DDT has already told Miller not to testify before a House hearing.

The news about the White House blocking former DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen from organizing cabinet secretaries for a strategy combating election interference in 2020 hit the headlines this week. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told her not to talk about the situation around DDT because it makes him feel bad although he denied doing so later. John Bolton’s reorganization of the National Security Council dropped the position of U.S. cyber-security czar.

Recently de-classified documents show that 32 years ago Australia turned down DDT’s bid to build a casino there because of his connections to “organized crime,” according to recently de-classified papers. The bid was also rejected for being “not financially viable.”

A federal court invalidated unconstitutionally partisan districts in Michigan and gave the legislature until August 1 to redraw the maps that must be used in the 2020 election.

A federal judge, who said that “lies went on for months,” told Flint (MI) residents they can sue the EPA for waiting too long to do something about the city’s water crisis.

A federal judge ruled DDT’s Interior Department acted illegally in trying to life a coal mining moratorium on public lands. Former Secretary Ryan Zinke failed to provide adequate environmental effects of mining in 2017. Within the coming months, the judge will issue another legal decision about reinstating the mining ban. The judge’s decision followed other rulings giving the EPA 90 days to decide whether to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to brain damage and overturning DDT’s executive order to life oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic coast.

DDT continues to babble about “no collusion” and “no obstruction,” but Congress doesn’t need crimes and demeanors to impeach him. He pretends he is innocent because Robert Mueller did not indict him, but the report states that he was not indicted only because of current DOJ guidelines for not indicting presidents.

DDT bragged about his 3.2 percent growth in GDP for the first quarter of 2019, he ignored February’s addition to the national debt of $234 million, the largest one-month deficit in history.

Joe Biden’s candidacy announcement featuring the neo-Nazi protest at Charlottesville (VA) in 2017 caused DDT to again defend white supremacists by claiming that they were just Civil War enthusiasts who “felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general.” Lee was indicted for treason after he led a war against the United States. DDT did defend the white supremacists although he denied doing so. Biden didn’t get a lot of points from Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer who was killed by a neo-Nazi at the protest; he didn’t bother to tell Bro that he was using her daughter in his launch video. Bro said, “I don’t think we’ve seen him in town. It was just sort of a feeling of, ‘Well, here we go again.’”

[Note: Those who wish to read more about the news above and/or factcheck the material may wish to use the links.]

February 27, 2019

U.S. House Keeps Busy Despite Jim Jordan’s Complaints

For people who have been watching the situation with former fixer Michael Cohen for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), his testimony today before the House Oversight Committee held few surprises. Points from today:

  • Republican committee members did not try to refute anything he said; they just tried to smear him.
  • The GOP smears against Cohen—that he’s a “pathological liar”—can also be said about DDT, the man who Republicans were defending.
  • Cohen said that he had tried to cover for DDT during the past ten years in the same way that Republicans are doing now.
  • With this comment about protection, he added, “The more people that suffer Donald Trump, as I did blindly, are going to suffer the same consequences that I did.”
  • Reporters following DDT in Vietnam for his meeting with North Korea president Kim Jong-Un were banned from his presence after asking questions about the Cohen testimony.

Pieces of Cohen’s testimony that many people already assumed:

  • DDT is a “racist,” “conman,” and “cheat.”
  • Cohen quoted DDT as saying that black people were “too stupid” to vote for him and during a drive through a poor section of Chicago said that “only black people could live that way.” Cohen added, “The country has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots. You have heard him call poorer countries ‘shitholes.’ “In private, he is even worse.”
  • Cohen has checks (which he produced), evidence “as part of a criminal conspiracy of financial fraud,” directed by his son and the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization Allen Weisselberg, to quiet a former adult film actor.
  • DDT told Cohen to lie about his affair with the actor to his wife, Melania.
  • Cohen said he presided over “several” “catch-and-kill” arrangements between David Pecker and DDT for the National Enquirer to purchase exclusive rights for stories damaging to DDT and then suppress the stories.
  • DDT inflated his wealth to appear on lists of rich people rich lists and falsely reduce it to avoid paying taxes.
  • To a question from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Cohen said that DDT’s tax returns would be helpful in showing how DDT sharply reduced his tax costs by undervaluing his parents’ real estate holdings.
  • Cohen believes that DDT’s tax returns were not being audited in 2016 although that’s what DDT claimed.
  • DDT told Cohen that he didn’t release his tax returns because he might get audited and face big taxes and penalties.
  • Roger Stone communicated with WikiLeaks for the release of hacked Democratic party emails during the 2016 presidential election.
  • DDT knew about the June 2017 Trump Tower meeting among members of his campaign with a Russian lawyer connected to the Kremlin to get “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
  • DDT used his charity’s money to pay for portrait of himself after driving up the price to impress people.

Cohen finished his testimony by saying:

“Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power.”

Cohen’s described DDT as a mobster-like president, who told Cohen to shortchange suppliers, keep schools from releasing his student grades by threatening them, and deal with negative media about DDT’s Vietnam War draft dodging. Cohen said he had probably threatened a person because of DDT’s instructions at least 500 times. “Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not make his country great,” said Cohen. “He ran to market himself and build his wealth and power.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is under investigation by the Florida Bar because of a tweet that appears to be an attempt to intimidate DDT’s former fixer Michael Cohen the day before he started his open testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. Gaetz’s tweet:

“Hey @MichaelCohen212 – Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…”

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), a former DA and federal prosecutor, asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate Gaetz’s tweet because it “clearly defines witness tampering and intimidation.” Her request that could lead to an official investigation and possibly a reprimand, censure or fine. An expulsion would require a two-thirds majority of the House. Asked about why he wrote the tweet, Gaeta said, “The tweet speaks for itself.” Later he deleted the tweet and apologized for sending it.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) attacked Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) during the hearing, falsely accusing him of using his first hearing to start removing DDT from office. Cummings ended the session by talking about the committee’s earlier hearings. The first hearing was on January 29, 2019 concerned the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs; Cummings noted that a young man had died because of these escalating costs. He also told Jordan that they had a hearing on H.R. 1, which was about voter suppression and executive branch ethics. That one was on February 6, 2019. “We can do more than one thing,” Cummings said. “And we have got to get back to normal.” The GOP House was notable for not having hearings before votes.

Credibly accused of ignoring sexual abuse of athletes while he was assistant coach at Ohio State University, Jordan’s accusations of Cohen’s lying and lack of remorse rang hollow to many watchers. Jordan claimed that Cummings had “stacked the deck against the truth” and ranted about Hillary Clinton conspiracies, calling Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis a “Clinton operative.” Then he raged about Democrats doing what Tom Steyer tells them and that Steyer had organized a town hall in Cummings’ Maryland district.

Asked if he believed Cohen, Cummings referenced his history with the law when he said he found him “credible” and that it “appears” that DDT committed a crime. Cummings added, “I think that there are still a number of shoes to drop.”

The House has been far busier than Republicans might like. This week, representatives passed a resolution to overturn DDT’s emergency declaration that takes money for various sources to build his wall without congressional approval. Thirteen Republicans voted with Democrats in the 245-182 vote. According to law, the Senate will be required to vote on the House resolution within 18 days, a March 18 deadline. Three GOP senators—Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Thom Tillis (NC)— have indicated they will vote for the House bill, and others are questioning the sensibility of the national emergency, especially if a future president is a Democrat. Two more GOP votes are needed for a simple majority if all Democrats and independents vote in favor of it. A veto from DDT for any bill passed requires two-thirds support in each congressional chamber.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), ranking member of the Committee on Rules, read a complaint about the lack of time for representatives to review the 70-word bill although Republicans passed the $1.5 trillion, 1,097-page tax bill a few hours after it was completed.

The House also passed a bipartisan bill requiring all gun sellers to conduct background checks on firearm sales by a 240-190. With five GOP co-sponsors, the bill received eight GOP votes and lost two Democrat votes. It expands background checks on private sales, including those at gun shows, on the internet, and through classified ads. The bill is the first significant gun control vote since the Senate failed to pass similar bipartisan legislation in 2013. Another bill is due for a vote that would extend the review period on gun sales.

Yesterday, the House Oversight Committee voted to subpoena the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services for documents about the separation of families at the southern border. Cummings said that the documents submitted to the committee were not sufficient and failed to answer committee questions. Two Republicans, Justin Amash (MI) and Chip Roy (TX), voted with Democrats for the subpoenas. Again Jordan attacked Cummings, saying: “You just wanted to be first.” Cummings pointed out that the request was the same as the bipartisan request from eight months ago.

Other House actions:

The House is doing a lot to make Jim Jordan angry.

February 20, 2019

First Amendment Contorted by Love for Saudi Arabia, Clarence Thomas

Remember Jeff Bezos? For a week, the media focused on his “junk,” his battle with the National Enquirer, and his search for the person who ripped off his photos and documents such as texts and emails. Turns out that the guilty person is Bezos’ girlfriend’s gay brother. Then Bezos generated more media buzz when he pulled the Amazon headquarters from New York City, much to the disgust of some and delight of others.

The Bezos scandal highlighted the tie between the Enquirer and the Saudi government through Bezos’ letter to AMI, the owner of the tabloid. In its mandate that Bezos state he had “no knowledge” that the Enquirer’s coverage of his affair was “politically motivated or influenced by political forces,” people guessed that the issue was Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). David Pecker, AMI’s owner and DDT’s close associate, had an immunity deal with the DOJ for their criminal suppression of stories about DDT during his campaign, paying people for stories and then not printing them. Karen McDougal’s alleged affair with DDT was one of these articles that were killed before the election.

But Pecker may wanted the Washington Post, owned by Bezos, to stop printing negative news about Saudi Arabia. Pecker used his ties with DDT to cultivate Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) for business opportunities, including borrowing money to buy major publications such as Sports Illustrated, Time Magazine, Fortune, and Money.  magazine. AMI’s 97-page glossy propaganda about Saudi Arabia and featuring MBS on the cover sold at Walmarts across the nation as part of Pecker’s pandering.

Jamal Khashoggi, U.S. resident and journalist, worked for the WaPo, and his writings were highly critical of MBS. Before the Saudis tortured and dismembered Khashoggi, MBS had said that he would use a “bullet” on Khashoggi if he got the chance, according to WaPo reporting. On the same day the Wall Street Journal wrote that MBS was actively enlisting U.S. media outlets to remake his image in the West and met with Vice Media co-founder Shane Smith on a yacht to discuss “an international media empire to combat the kingdom’s rivals and remake its image in the West.”

“For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve,” Bezos wrote. Former longtime Enquirer editor Jerry George said that Pecker was using Bezo’ damaging photos and documents as bargaining chips. As the story unraveled, Pecker failed because Bezos refused to give into blackmail. George cited AMI’s pro-Saudi propaganda as “suspicious” because the company was “cash poor” and “suddenly” got an “influx of cash.” He suggested that “there’s another shoe to drop,” referring to Robert Mueller’s investigation into “the Saudis’ role in all of this.” A restriction of AMI’s immunity included the company staying out of politics, and WaPo revealed that the company may not have lived up to its promises.

Last year, AMI contacted the DOJ to see if the company should register as a foreign agent but said that it didn’t get any Saudi funding for their Saudi propaganda. The DOJ said probably not, but AMI wrote that a Saudi adviser submitted content for its publication and then made changes to the final version after receiving an early draft. AMI’s extortion of Bezos has brought its relation to the Saudis has brought the issue back into visibility.

DDT, who denied his own intelligence showing that MBS was responsible for Khashoggi, now faces an investigation by House Democrats about DDT’s illegal push to sell nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia over objections by national security officials and attorneys, a plan that may have directly benefited his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Despite warnings of “potential conflicts of interest, national security risks and legal hurdles” in 2017, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and other DDT employees push for the sales. DDT plans to bypass Congress with an illegal technology transfer that can spread nuclear weapons throughout the Middle East.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pled guilty of lying to the FBI, was an early advocate for these sales after DDT’s inauguration and recommended that Barrack, who raised $107 million for DDT’s corrupt inaugural committee, be a special representative to carry out his nuclear plan. Appearing to be from DDT, a memo told federal agencies to do Barrack’s bidding.

The House reports Flynn’s working with retired military officers to circumvent U.S. law. After he resigned, the National Security Council continued with its plan in opposition to advice from its own ethics counsel. The next adviser, H.R. McMaster, said that the illegal work must stop, but McMaster left almost two months ago. Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation has examined the possibility of Middle Eastern monarchies financially influencing DDT’s political activities, starting with his presidential campaign. Congress has not look at claims about the nuclear sales until this year because of GOP control.

In more First Amendment issues, the Covington Catholic High School (KY) teenager who appeared to harass Nathan Phillips, a Native American elder and veteran, is suing WaPo for $250 million. The defamation lawsuit alleges that the newspaper “engaged in a modern-day form of McCarthyism” and “wrongfully targeted and bullied” the “innocent child” Nick Sandmann. According to his lawyers, Sandmann is suffering from “the pain and destruction its attacks would cause to his life.”

The lawsuit reads like a political polemic:

“[The Post wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump (“the President”) by impugning individuals perceived to be supporters of the President…. [The Post’s coverage was] in furtherance of its political agenda … carried out by using its vast financial resources to enter the bully pulpit by publishing a series of false and defamatory print and online articles which effectively provided a worldwide megaphone to Phillips and other anti-Trump individuals and entities to smear a young boy who was in its view an acceptable casualty in their war against the President.”

Earlier this month, the Sandmann lawyers sent letters warning litigation to over 50 media organizations, celebrities, and politicians. As the wealthiest man in the world, WaPo owner Jeff Bezos has the most money and is considered DDT’s biggest media enemy, and the $250 million is the same amount that Bezos paid for the Post in 2013. Nick’s parents, Ted and Julie Sandmanns, say they want to “teach the Post a lesson it will never forget.” They argue that Nick is not a public figure, lowering the bar for winning their lawsuit.

While Nick was described as a “child,” the lawsuit calls Nathan Phillips “a phony war hero” who “targeted and bullied” Sandmann. Phillips said that Sandmann and his peers from Covington surrounded him after he tried to stop possible violence between them and a few Hebrew Israelites. About Sandmann’s comment on the Today show, Phillips used the terms “insincerity, lack of responsibility”—“coached and written up for him.” About the encounter, Phillips said that he was trying to get out of an ugly situation. “That guy in the hat [Sandmann] stood in my way, and we were at an impasse.” Phillips added, “Then I went to go pray about it …. I forgive him.”

The Sandmanns may find support in their war on freedom of the press from Supreme Court Clarence Thomas. He hopes to attack the media through his proposal to reconsider the 1964 case New York Times v. Sullivan which determined that public figures must have greater proof to claim libel. Thomas’ “roadmap” to  helping DDT’s change in libel laws permitting him to sue news organizations came after Thomas and his far-right activist wife Ginni Thomas had dinner with DDT and his wife Melania Trump. Trump’s pledge to change libel laws so he can sue news organizations for their reporting.

Last Tuesday, Thomas expressed concern about the high court’s refusal to hear an appeal from Katherine McKee, who claimed Bill Cosby’s lawyer leaked a letter that distorted her background and damaged her reputation after she claimed that Cosby raped her. Lower courts cited the Times v. Sullivan precedent in dismissing her case with the justification that disclosing her accusation required her to meet a higher libel standard of malice that applies to public figures. The decision to not take the case was unanimous, but Thomas wrote a sole opinion that the 1964 case was wrongly decided.

Since 1964, public officials can sue for libel only if the person responsible for the statement knows that the statement is false or if the person recklessly disregarded its falsehood. Subsequent Supreme Court cases have added all public figures to public officials to protect journalists and media organizations from intimidation by wealthy and/or powerful public figures wishing to exploit minor errors in reporting. That Supreme Court decision protect the media reporting on Thomas sexual harassment by Anita Hill. Thomas, who claims to be an originalist, following only the word of the U.S. Constitution and not its meaning, said, “We should carefully examine the original meaning [of the First Amendment.]” An early interpretation of this right, as shown by the first Sedition Act in 1798, was that the government could punish any published story, and the Sedition Act still exists. If the Supreme Court supports Thomas, the First Amendment could disappear.

February 16, 2019

DDT: Week 108 – On Top of ‘Wall’

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 9:20 PM
Tags: , , ,

Throughout all the kerfuffle about passing the budget and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) declaring a national emergency to build his wall, the confirmation of Bill Barr for DOJ AG mostly slipped under the media radar. Although the vote was postponed a week, the GOP determination to scuttle the Russia investigation made the decision a given. Along with 51 Republicans, three Dems voted in favor of Barr: Doug Jones (AL), Joe Janchin (WV), and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ).

Barr has consistently refused to guarantee that he will release Mueller’s report to the public and/or Congress without redactions and that he will not recuse himself from the investigation’s oversight on recommendation from the DOJ ethics counsel. He wrote a memo opposing the investigation and stating that the president is above the law. After the confirmation, Matt Schlapp, whose wife works in the White House, cheerfully tweeted, “Mueller will be gone soon.” Barr has been clear that Rod Rosenstein, the deputy AG who appointed special investigator Robert Mueller “will be gone soon.” In 1992, Barr’s support of six pardons, including Reagan’s Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger for lying to Congress, helped George H.W. Bush escape his involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, thereby ending the investigation into U.S. support of terrorists in Nicaragua and sale of arms to Iran.

Those of us who thought that Barr’s taking over the DOJ gets rid of acting AG Matt Whitaker are destined to be disappointed: he’s now a senior counselor. Maybe he’ll help people with patents to make toilets for men with 14-inch penises as he did in the past. (Information about 5 minutes, 50 seconds into the video.)

DDT is still battling to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census. A federal district judge in Manhattan ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), that Ross’ decision was arbitrary and made in spite of evidence that the question would unconstitutionally depress census response rates. The judge considered only the 1,320 pages filed by the Commerce Department but noted that other evidence illustrates that Ross acted in bad faith. California and Maryland have other cases, independent from this one, and Ross is scheduled to testify before the House Oversight Committee on March 14. The Supreme Court has agreed to consider citizenship question case, which has not appeared on decennial census forms for 70 years.

The search for the “leaker” of DDT’s schedule showing wide swaths of “Executive Time” seems to have lost traction while another four days of schedules were leaked with DDT spending 50 percent of his time television watching, idle phone calling, etc. DDT said that he’s “generally working, not relaxing” during this time, that he works “more hours than any past president” because the country was “a mess” when he moved into the White House. Later he said that “no president ever worked harder than me.” DDT’s new toy for his “Executive Time,” a room-sized golf simulator costing $50,000, lets him play 18 virtual holes while staying inside, useful during the shutdown while he bragged about staying off golf courses for 69 days.

If you want to destroy an institution, appoint a person who hates it. That’s what DDT did when he picked David Malpass to lead the World Bank after Jim Yong Kim abruptly quit in January. Chief economist for Bear Stearns when it collapsed from the subprime crisis in 2007 and 2008, Malpass wrote a few months before the recession that “neither the economy nor job growth has been dependent on housing.” He criticizes the World Bank because it creates “mountains of debt without solving problems.” Fortunately, the World Bank members, not the U.S., select the head of the organization.

Another way to destroy an agency is to for no one to serve on it. When the head of the Merit Systems Protection Board, which holds hearings for federal employee appeals of firings, demotions, suspensions, and alleged misconduct, leaves this month, the Board will have no members. Although courts can adjudicate cases, the Board can’t decide appeals. Last year, Congress passed a special statute allowing one person to grant relief in whistleblowing cases, but even that person will be gone. One suggestion is for the staff to make decisions without a board.

For the director of NOAA, DDT has re-appointed Barry Myers, the nonscientist who owned the for-profit AccuWeather, after the Senate didn’t confirm him last year. AccuWeather just paid $290,000 to partly settle charges of sexual harassment and hostile work environment for women. NOAA oversees the National Weather Service, which compiles data used by AccuWeather that previously limited what the Weather Service could make public so that they could make more money for the company to provide that information. In 2005, Myers donated to then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) who introduced legislation to curtain government competition with private weather services. Myers also lobbied to privatize the National Weather Service.

DDT nominated lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to replace the corrupt Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA, and Wheeler Energy, run by Bob Murray, cancelled its contract with Wheeler’s former lobbying firm. Murray may think he no longer needs a lobbyist; DDT pressured a public energy to keep its Kentucky power plant, Paradise #3, open although it is considered too expensive to operate. The plant gets its coal from Murray, a generous donor to Republicans. The TVA board, with four of seven members appointed by DDT, voted to close Paradise #3 with a 6-1 vote. At the same time, Wheeler is not necessarily a shoe-in for EPA director. Five GOP senators questioned Wheeler’s willingness to bend to oil industry interests over the Renewable Fuel Standard and waivers for small refineries. Wheeler can afford to lose only three of those senators.

The Fox reality show White House has added Lea Gabrielle to head the Global Engagement Center which fights foreign efforts to meddle in U.S. elections while exposing and countering disinformation from Russia and other governments. With no experience in information warfare, she fits with DDT’s other appointments and is perfectly poised to protect Russia. She may be going it alone because DHS has gutted two teams that were preparing to block Russia from its planned onslaught on the 2020 elections.

FEMA director Brock Long has quit with a “more time with his family” excuse, but bitter feuds with DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen may have been the reason. Nielsen may be grateful to see him gone so that she rip off more millions from FEMA for her deportations. Long may also have been avoiding an investigation into his misuse of government vehicles he used to travel to his North Carolina home.

Heather Nauert, assigned by DDT to be the UN ambassador without having her name formally submitted for confirmation, also quit after two months because of a former nanny who was or wasn’t in the country legally but was paid in cash and didn’t pay her taxes until Nauert insisted. She described her past two months as “grueling.”

Republicans are furious with the Democrats’ attempt to make a president’s tax return public. Is it possible that the GOP knows that DDT broke the law?

GOP members are also attacking Democrats for reducing voter suppression, complaining about what they called “radical ideas” such as automatic voter registration, restoration of voting rights for ex-felons, and public financing of campaigns. Almost one-third of the states have automatic voter registration and some form of public financing of campaigns; only 20 percent of the states refuse voting rights for ex-felons. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also described the idea of making Election Day a paid holiday as a “power grab”—unlike building a wall with a fake national emergency.

After DDT’s trade war with China, Midwest farmers are declaring bankruptcy at record rates because of DDT’s trade war—almost double in 2018 as in 2008.

Wealth concentration has returned to the levels of a century ago: the 400 wealthiest people in the U.S. have assets equal to 150 million people in the bottom 60 percent. These same 400 people have tripled their wealth in the past 30 years while the share of wealth held by the bottom 60 percent dropped from 5.7 percent in 1987 to 2.1 percent in 2014.

Energy Transfer brought a $900 million racketeering and defamation lawsuit against Greenpeace and others who fought the company’s pipeline projects. A federal judge just threw out the case and wrote, “Posting articles written by people with similar beliefs does not create a RICO enterprise,” and “Donating to people whose cause you support does not create a RICO enterprise.” Last month, another judge dismissed another similar case against Greenpeace by Resolute Forests Products.

DDT’s selection of a doctor for his physical this year was somewhat more circumspect than last year’s effusive Ronny Jackson, but the new one may also be covering for DDT. This year’s doctor is a “little concerned” about DDT’s inability to remember words, but the results of an accurate cognitive test probably won’t appear until many of us are long gone.

Joseph Trump, Melania Trump’s specially invited guest who claims that classmates bullied him because of his name, took some “Executive Time” at DDT’s State of the (Dis)Union Speech.

Holiday retail sales were the worst in nine years—since the last recession.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 60% of Americans oppose major new construction of walls along the U.S.-Mexico border, and 81% support a path to citizenship for immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

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