Nel's New Day

January 12, 2020

The Messiah Keeps Failing

Televangelist Jim Bakker told his audience that “Trump is a test whether you’re even saved. Only saved people can love Trump.” Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has now been raised to the level of Jesus. Here are a few of this week’s actions connected to the evangelists’ new Messiah.

Taxpayers have funded the DOJ for over two years to investigate the conspiracy theory regarding corrupt in the Clinton Foundation The inquiry to satisfy conservatives is over. The investigation found nothing in contrast to the discovery of massive corruption in DDT’s “charity” foundation. It’s the 1990s all over—nothing there. Now DDT is hoping for “better” results from the DOJ investigation into the origins of the FBI’s 2016 examination into a tie between DDT’ campaign and Russia.

DDT’s fixer, AG Bill Barr, may be the subject of an investigation after the New York City Bar Association asked Congress to investigate Barr for making the DOJ and its prosecutors as “political partisans willing to use the levers of government to empower certain groups over others.” Barr has spoken about the progressives’ “campaign to destroy the traditional moral order” and promised to use the DOJ to resist “forces of secularization.” He criticized DAs from large cities “who style themselves as ‘social justice’ reformers, who spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook, and refusing to enforce the law,” according to a letter from 450 450 former federal prosecutors working in GOP and Democratic administrations.” Barr also misrepresented DOJ reports to protect DDT and manipulated the agency for the same end.

After DDT gave states permission to take Medicaid coverage from people who don’t meet work requirements, several red states took advantage of another way to punish the poor. Now, six states—Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, and Virginia—have reversed or suspended these increased restrictions because of legal challenges and coverage losses. Maine governor Janet Mills said that more people were uninsured with no greater participation in the workforce. Arizona cited “the evolving national landscape.” Kentucky has a new Democratic governor, Andy Beshear, who campaign against the new work plan, protecting health coverage for almost 100,000 low-income state residents. Michigan’s new Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, urged a reversal of the work requirement which could cause up to 183,000 Michiganders to lose coverage because of its highly restrictive statute. Arkansas may be take coverage from people who should be exempt by their law because almost 25 percent of the target population lost coverage in the first seven months and work requirements haven’t helped people find jobs. Federal courts have already vacated work requirement waivers in three states because they fail to meet the central objective of Medicaid.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin wants to keep hiding how taxpayer money is being spend on DDT when he leaves the White House and on DDT’s family—at least after the 2020 election. This agreement with Congress is connected to Mnuchin’s attempt to move the Secret Service DHS to Treasury. DDT complained about the $96 million cost for President Obama’s travel in eight years, an amount possibly equaled during DDT’s first year. The White House has refused to divulge any travel expenses for over two years.

DDT may have been able to pardon possible war criminal retired Army Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn before his murder trial, but Lt. Gen. Francis M. Beaudette, commander of U.S. Army Special Operations, won’t reinstate Goldsteyn’s Special Forces tab. The decision now goes to an administrative panel who will also consider reinstatement of Golsteyn’s Distinguished Service Cross.

E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against DDT after his insults about her charges of sexual assault may continue, and a judge okayed the discovery process. DDT had said he was innocent because Carroll isn’t his “type.”

Gerrymandering is one of the reasons that Republicans have taken over the majority of states and then elected DDT through the Electoral College. Although the Supreme Court sometimes blocks gerrymandering if it’s based on racial reasons, the conservative justices will support gerrymandering if Republicans rig the system for the GOP. One person proving the lengths to which Republicans go has released a cache of computer information to show how her deceased father, Thomas Hofeller, drew a vast quantity of maps to make all districts easier for Republicans to win, often to take voting rights from minorities. Stephanie Hofeller has now posted all the files she has on the website thehofellerfiles.com, linking to a Google Drive of Hofeller’s emails and documents tied to his gerrymandering work.

Some of the files went public earlier through court filings and news reports, and Stephanie Hofeller already released a document connected to DDT’s failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the Census, another method of trying to add GOP districts to control states’ legislatures, House membership, and the presidential election. Hofeller’s 2015 studies shows that adding the question “would be advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.” That discovery caused justices to block the question on the Census.

After Stephanie Hofeller discovered her father had died, she collected his belongings, including hard drives and USB sticks. She gave them to the government watchdog Common Cause that used the information in a North Carolina case about the state illegally drawing districts to favor Republicans. 

Common Cause won its case last fall, a case that may influence anti-gerrymandering lawsuits in other states. Thirteen state Constitutions require elections to be “free and equal,” five more require them to be “free and open,” and eleven others require them to be “free,” offering significant opportunities for other state Constitutional challenges to partisan.” North Carolina legislature is required to redistrict much of the state Senate and House maps with the requirements that they have fairly equal populations, be contiguous and compact, and stick to county groupings. In addition, districts must consider existing municipal boundaries and not consider race. The ruling also mandates compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act.  

Unfortunately, the court told the GOP General Assembly to draw new maps which were still biased for Republicans. Soon after, the Wake County Superior Court ordered the start of candidate filing. Because dates for the primary elections could not be changed, the current gerrymandered districts be used for the 2020 elections.

Losing a question about citizenship on the Census, DDT has persuaded DHS to share government data so that the Census Bureau can get this information for everyone in the U.S. His goal is to redraw districts based on the number of eligible voters instead of residents, as required by the Constitution. This method would also benefit Republicans and non-Hispanic white people. DHS is releasing information that cannot be obtained with the person’s consent or a waiver from the DHS secretary. Latinx community groups are suing the administration because of DDT’s new plan. Another reason for lawsuits is that the process may not produce accurate data.

DDT is still on the campaign trail, and his speeches keep getting longer with more lies. At over two hours, the December 18 speech had 120 fact-free declarations, 67 percent of the total statements. In his most recent speech, DDT focused on lies about Iran and Ohio’s economy. He’s still calling for the audience to chant “lock her up” about Hillary Clinton, apparently not understanding that she is not a 2020 presidential candidate.

DDT is refusing to comply with a court order to release 40 pages of emails between Robert Blair, top aide to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and a member of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, about the freeze on Ukraine’s congressionally mandated military aid package. The 300 pages of emails already released show the growing tension between the Pentagon and the White House in late August and early September.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is calling for changes to the Senate impeachment rules, a pattern that the Republicans have used for all their wins when they are in the majority. Chances of changes are unlikely because 67 votes are necessary for revising rules amenable to Republicans. By now DDT wants to cancel the impeachment trial. His tweets today show that he’s increasingly obsessed with impeachment, moving closer to panic.

Disappointment at the low December job increase of 145,000 caused the stock markets to drop. The average monthly jobs gains for 2019 were 176,000, a drop from 223,000 in 2018. Average hourly earnings rose by a mere 0.1 percent in December to make the annual increase 2.9 percent. This increase is approximately equivalent to inflation, and much of it comes from minimum wage increases in a few states. Economists say wages are not growing as fast as they should be, especially for those who aren’t seeing a boost from state and local minimum wage increases.

More jobs were created in the last 34 months of the Obama Administration (7.7 million or 227,000/month on average) than the first 34 months of the Trump Administration (6.1 million or 178,000/month on average through November 2019. This total is the smallest since 2011.

January 11, 2020

DDT: Week 155 – Disasters in Iran, Regulations

Another weekend, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) continues his growing series of demented tweets. He’s attacked the FBI for investigating Russian interference in the 2020 election, accused Democrats of defending Qassem Soleimani who he assassinated, claimed that his approval is over 60 percent instead of about the low 40s, and sent a message in Farsi that praises Iranian protesters for trying to overturn the government. DDT claimed, “I’ve stood with you since the beginning,” despite his refusal to allow Iranian immigrants in the U.S. and held Iranian-born U.S. citizens for hours at the Canadian border when they tried to return home after attending a concert in Vancouver. He claims that his killing Soleimani makes people more safe, but a USA Today/Ipsos poll disagree with him by 2-1. A majority in the poll, 52 percent, called DDT’s behavior with Iran “reckless.”   

Since he killed Soleimani, DDT has scrambled to find an excuse for the murder. Initially, DDT told associates that he killed Soleimani to get support from senators in his impeachment trial. By now, DDT has invented “imminent” threats, first an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and then another three unnamed U.S. embassies. These assertions are at odds with intelligence information (agents who DDT calls “dirty cops”) and was not reported in the classified briefings to Congress. Secretary of State supports DDT’s claims, beginning with not knowing location or time of attacks to agreeing with DDT without evidence. Always ready to lie for DDT, VP Mike Pence asserted that DDT has proof of the threats but can’t tell anyone else.

Iran has now admitted to accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet and killing 176 people because of excessive caution after DDT killed Soleimani. DDT’s explanation for the plane crash was that “it was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood.” Despite Pompeo’s claims that people are safer after Soleimani was killed, airlines are changing or withdrawing flights, and Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte is removing all Filipinos from Iraq and Iran.  

Soleimani’s death has not driven the U.S. into war with Iran—yet—but it has dire impacts:

More possible U.S. war deaths in the Middle East: Today the Taliban planted a bomb in southern Afghanistan that killed two U.S. soldiers and injured two others.

More volatility and instability in a warring and explosive area: The Taliban may find links with Iran rather than peace with the U.S., serious conflicts in Yemen may worsen, and Pakistan may be involved in creating violence.  

An increase in ISIS violence and leadership: Soleimani opposed ISIS; his absence may create new divisions.

Iran’s withdrawal from nuclear restrictions: Iran had lived up to its agreement to not enrich uranium until DDT pulled out of the agreement and threatened sanctions and force.

Iraqi rejection of the U.S.: Iraq’s Parliament voted to expel the U.S. military, and young Iraqis may have more power in turning against democracy.

Strengthening hard-line conservative Iranian factions: Reformist president and foreign minister will lose the ability for diplomacy and all trust because their opposition believes that the U.S. wants to destroy Iran.

Loss of U.S. allies: DDT has ignored communication about his violent strategies and dropped out of any cooperation with them, including his past denigration of NATO that is now withdrawing its forces.

Violation of violate international, domestic and Iraqi law: DDT’s illegal actions creates a pattern of more lawlessness in crimes of aggression violating the UN Charter and his threats to attack cultural targets. He also violated the U.S. Constitution by ignoring its requirements for congressional approval for military actions.  

Increase in the U.S. military-industrial complex: Weapon makers have gained great control and power over U.S. policy, especially since George W. Bush’s preemptive attack on Iraq, and their wealth has purchased conservative lawmakers who remove resources for health care, education, and public services.

Destruction of world economy: Asia is dependent on Iraqi oil exports, and an attack already shut down half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production, causing more disruption.

In a 224-to-194 vote, the House approved a bill to keep DDT from taking more military action against Iran through congressional authority as mandated by the constitution. Eight Democrats voted no; three Republicans voted yes, including Florida’s Matt Gaetz who vociferously defended DDT in the past. The bill goes to the Senate where it needs four Republicans to pass before DDT vetoes the bill. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said that even a veto could influence DDT’s actions, for example when he stopped refueling Saudi jets after Congress threatened to stop U.S. support for Saudi’s military campaign in Yemen. DDT’s former press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who may run for Arkansas’ governor, said:

“I can’t think of anything dumber than allowing Congress to take over our foreign policy. The last thing we want to do is push powers into Congress’ hands and take them away from the president.”

Republicans have always claim that they revere the U.S. Constitution and lambast Democrats for ignoring the document from the Founding Fathers. Sanders is completely ignorant of Article I, Section 8, Clause 1:

“The Congress shall have power…[t]o declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.”

In addition, the War Powers Act of 1973 limits the president from sustained military operations without telling Congress within 48 hours.

Another DDT focus is doing away with regulations, a disaster as proved by FAA’s abdication of inspections to airplane manufacturing. The Boeing debacle continues with the knowledge of communications among the company’s employees about the 737 MAX demonstrating lax federal oversight of airplane manufacturers. According to a Politico article, emails showed “Boeing employees bragging about duping airlines, criticizing the MAX’s design as done by “clowns,” and raising concerns about cost-cutting and schedule pressures.” Wide publicity about the Boeing disaster began with 346 deaths in two different crashes of 737 MAX planes, which was rushed into manufacture in competition with Airbus. Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) tried to blame the crashes on inadequate training in other countries, but evidence from emails may “put a little bit of a shadow on that.” Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) is still sticking to his blame on pilot error.

Emails also showed that employees ridiculed their regulator, joked about safety, and “was prioritizing production speed over quality and safety,” according to a former senior factory manager. Last month, Edward Pierson told Congress of “chaos” at the factory where the MAX was built. The FAA permitted the MAX to keep flying despite its finding that, with no changes, the plane would average one fatal crash every two or three years.

Employees described how Boeing hid problems from the FAA during the certification of simulators and training for pilots. Emails showed ridicule for FAA officials when employees described a complicated Boeing presentation for the agency that “was like dogs watching TV.” Employers wanted limited training for airline crews to save money for Boeing, for example offering a $1 million per plane discount to Southwest with a short computer-based training on personal computers or with notebooks for pilots who had flown he 737 NG instead of simulator training. Even after two crashes, Boeing told the FAA that simulator training was unnecessary and didn’t mention this training in the manuals. Boeing didn’t reverse this position until ten months after the 737 MAX’s grounding and a congressional investigation.

Boeing’s indifference to the plane’s structural problems has now cost 2,800 jobs in Kansas at the aircraft parts maker Spirit AeroSystems.

Despite the Boeing disaster, DDT calls regulations a “nightmare.” He proposed removal of environmental reviews for building pipelines, bridges, and roads, a change that will pollute the nation and accelerate the climate crisis. [Think of the recent fires in Australia that killed over 1 billion animals and at least 27 people, destroyed or damaged over 2,000 homes, cost about $5 billion thus far, and reduced Australian 2019-20 GDP by between $2.1 billion and $4.3 billion.] Changes would eliminate a requirement for agencies to consider the “cumulative impacts” of project that has included the study of planet-warming consequences from greenhouse gas. DDT has rolled back 58 separate rollbacks of environmental protection and considering another 37, including removal of clean air and water rules, loosening regulation for oil an gas extraction, and eradication of wildlife protections. 

About his murdering Soleimani, DDT said he was looking for long-term protection, but his environmental policy ignores everything except greater profits for big businesses. Even now, however, worsening particulate pollution from DDT’s regulatory changes shares the blame for 9,700 more people in the U.S. dying from air pollution in 2018 than 2016.

January 4, 2020

Bad Year’s End for DDT

Why did Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) attack Iran when Iraqis perpetrated the killing of the U.S. mercenary and the attacks against the U.S. embassy in Iraq? DDT was told he looked weak after he called off an airstrike following the unproved report that Iran had downed a U.S. surveillance drone. According to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), DDT killed Qassem Soleimani to look stronger than President Obama after lack of military action following the 2012 deaths of four people at the Benghazi diplomatic outpost. 

Nothing changed before DDT decided to kill Soleimani; the DOD had to make up excuses after the decision—just as they did with by freezing military aid to Ukraine. DDT’s major reason may be wooing evangelicals after Christianity Today called him “immoral.” All his actions this year will be based on his drive to be re-elected. As always, however, the main reason can be to distract from other negative news about him, such as these somewhat unreported bits from last week.

A whistleblower with access to documents from Deutsche Bank and Russia’s state-owned VTB bank claims that Russia underwrote DDT’s $2 billion loans from Deutsche Bank as well as being the proposed lender on DDT’s desired but uncompleted Trump Tower Moscow. The reason behind DDT’s huge loans from Deutsche Bank has been a mystery, especially because they occurred soon after his bankruptcy and high losses from several New Jersey casinos and his gigantic fine for money laundering in the resulting bankruptcies.

The documents supposedly came from a Deutsche Bank official who killed himself, one of two suicides connected to Deutsche Bank. In investigating Putin’s control over DDT, Congress should be able to obtain information. Judges at the district level and two ensuing appeals all ruled that Congress should receive the records, but the Supreme Court will hear arguments in March about whether Deutsche must comply with the congressional subpoena. SCOTUS usually doesn’t hear cases with no conflict at the lower level and ones between the two branches of government. 

DDT also had a chummy talk with Vladimir Putin last weekend when they talked about “mutual interests.” Russians have taken over the third U.S. base in northern Syria since DDT abandoned the area.

Making impeachment worse for DDT, a judge ordered the release of almost 300 pages of emails about DDT’s freezing the military aid to Ukraine.  “Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold,” Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), told Elaine McCusker, the acting Pentagon comptroller in an Aug. 30 email, only available in redacted form until now. A news source has seen unredacted copies from June through October that show how defense and budget officials frantically tried to cover for DDT’s illegal hold. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s senior adviser, Robert Blair, started the process on June 19 when he called acting head of OMB Russell Vought and told him, “We need to hold it up.” DDT rewarded Blair for not testifying about his part in the extortion of Ukraine by promoting him to a new position where Blair, with no experience, plays a prominent role in 5G work. After three months of blocking the funding release, After his order to freeze the funds, Duffey amazed McCusker by falsely blaming the Pentagon for not releasing the money. 

In late August, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo, and then national security adviser John Bolton failed to persuade DDT to release the aid. OMB’s lawyers worked on an argument permitting DDT to override the congressional law—that he had signed—to send the funding to Ukraine. Mark Sandy, who controlled the release of the money from the Office of Management and Budget, maintained that freezing the funds would violate the Impoundment Control Act protecting Congressional spending power, but Duffey told Sandy to say that the freeze was temporary. Orders to block the Pentagon spending were sent every few days for weeks.  

These revelations are even more awkward as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) leads some Republicans in a coverup by refusing to call any witnesses for the impeachment trial including Bolton, Mulvaney, Duffey, and Blair. 

Weeks ago, DDT wanted a big show for his impeachment trial in the Senate; now he suggests that it be called off before it starts. His tweet supported a plan from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) to move for a complete dismissal of the trial. This idea, showing the weakness of DDT’s position, follows his attempt to pick a lawyer for the trial. DDT was said to choose either personal lawyer Jay Sekulow or over White House counsel Alan Dershowitz Pat Cipollone because the former have more “television experience.” Dershowitz is fighting an Epstein-related rape allegation, which might make him DDT’s pick. DDT’s personal lawyer, also fighting an indictment, has volunteered for the job. Other TV hucksters who DDT wanted are the loudest screamers from the House, meaning Doug Collins (GA) and Jim Jordan (OH). Devin Nunes (CA) probably lacks the necessary volume and has been quieter after his connection with indicted Lev Parnas in the Ukrainian scheme has been made public. DDT doesn’t get to pick the House members at his trial. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is infuriating DDT with her delay, and his fury may land on Cipollone because he wants a fast quiet trial.

Parnas, an associate of DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, may provide more information for the impeachment after a U.S. district judge ruled he can share information with the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI had seized.

More trouble for both DDT and Giuliani comes from the public knowledge about Giuliani’s part in trying to depose Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in another part of Giuliani’s being assigned a leading part in foreign diplomacy with no official position. His communication with Maduro in late 2018 opposed the government’s policy to take up a harder line against the Venezuelan government and connected him with a client in the region, a wealthy energy executive investigated for money-laundering. Parnas is also connected to Giuliani’s deal-making.

DDT bragged about how he could get North Korea to denuclearize, but his strategy not only failed but also overturned 30 year of U.S. strategy to contain NK’s nuclear program. Nineteen month after DDT ignored lower-level diplomatic talks, negotiations are gone, and Kim Jong-Un is chortling about his “new strategic weapon,” possibly a long-range ballistic missile. Kim denies DDT’s claim that they will soon meet although DDT keeps talking about his “very good relationship” with NK’s leader. President Obama warned DDT that NK would be his most serious foreign policy challenge—before DDT’s massive blunders in the Middle East—but DDT raised NK to a major global stature. Lawmakers and analysts see the U.S. in a worse position with UK than two years ago: Kim develops his nuclear weapons while DDT stopped joint military exercises with South Korea and weakened international sanctions. Like everyone else dealing with DDT, Kim saw DDT as a patsy and played on his weaknesses.

DDT’s tariffs are failing despite all his bragging. He lies about tariffs’ generating government revenue and boosting U.S. manufacturers. Instead, manufacturing has shrunk for the fifth straight month, dropping to the lowest level in over a decade during the recession. At 47.2, December’s index is slightly above 46.3 in June 2009 and far below the expected 49. A federal study reports that “the 2018 tariffs are associated with relative reductions in manufacturing employment and relative increases in producer prices.” The economy also grew more slowly in 2019 than in 2018, and both years are below growth in 2015 when DDT declared his candidacy with complaints about the terrible economy. The year 2019 may also be the worst for job growth in the past decade. If DDT had not messed with the economy, it would have been in better shape.

Homelessness is increasing since DDT’s inauguration after shrinking while Barack Obama was president.  Last week, HUD reported a 2.7 percent increase, the third consecutive year the number spiked.

Polls supporting the impeachment of DDT indicate that people may be less entrenched in their views. Over half of those surveyed think that DDT should be removed from office, up from 42 percent immediately after the House voted for impeachment. Other results:

57 percent: DDT has committed an impeachable offense.

57 percent: The Senate should hear from new witnesses to learn about DDT’s conduct.

86 percent: Senators should be impartial jurors.

In an Economist/YouGov poll that was published this week, only 38 percent of respondents want DDT to run for president this year, and 51 percent wish he weren’t running. Only 33 percent have a positive view of the GOP, and only 40 percent said they would vote for DDT or for Republicans.

And the world opposes DDT’s assassination of Soleimani while people increasingly think it wasn’t a good idea.

January 3, 2020

DDT: Week 154 – WWIII?

“Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate. He’s weak and he’s ineffective, so the only way he figures that he’s going to get reelected, and as sure as you’re sitting there, is to start a war with Iran.”

That’s what Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said about President Obama in 2011. Immediately before the 2012 election heralding President Obama’s second term, DDT tweeted, “Don’t let Obama play the Iran card in order to start a war in order to get elected — be careful Republicans!” Now DDT may avoid publicity about his extortion of Ukraine and a false investigation of his political opponent with his assassination of Qassem Soleimani that can “start a war with Iran.” The strike against Soleiman is far worse than earlier assassinations because it attacked a state leader, unlike the other U.S. killings of leaders in the Middle East. The U.S. made no attempt to arrest Soleimani in Iraq before he was killed.

The murder of Solemani, leader of the elite Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and second most powerful leader in the country, in a preemptive strike on the Baghdad International Airport had no congressional authorization. Repercussions are not certain, but the killing makes a U.S. presence in the Middle East far more dangerous, and U.S. people may be targeted around the world. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted:

“The question is this – as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?”

To block DDT from illegally starting a war with Iran, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) plan legislation to “prohibit any funding for offensive military force in or against Iran without prior congressional authorization.” An earlier measure to amend the National Defense Authorization Act for a similar purpose passed the House in July but was dropped in December. Instead of waging a new war, Khanna said, the United States needs to “get out priorities right” about its “crumbling infrastructure,” desperate housing needs, and “the existential crisis of climate change.” Sanders tweeted that “it’s the working-class kids who will … fight and die in a disastrous new Middle East conflict – not the children of billionaires.” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has introduced privileged legislation—meaning Republicans cannot block the bill from the Senate floor—banning any hostilities with Iran not explicitly authorized by a congressional declaration of war or a specific authorization for the use of military force.

Echoing George W. Bush’s statements about his preemptive attack on Iraq, DDT said earlier this week that a war with Iran “would go very quickly.” Dan Spinelli disagrees and gives details. The same “quickly” comment was made about World War I, which instigators claimed would last a couple of weeks. World War I killed over 20 million people, and W.’s war in Iraq has lasted almost 14 years. And just like W.’s mythical “weapons of mass destruction,” vague descriptions of Iran’s “developing plans” and future attacks are intended to foment fears. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has already replaced Soleimani with Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, Soleimani’s deputy commander. Khamenei also warned of a “harsh retaliation” for Soleimani’s killers. Ghaani said that “any military action against Iran will be regretted.”

The U.S. also reportedly killed Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in yesterday’s strike. In retaliation against the killing of one U.S. military contractor, the U.S. killed 25 Iraqis who were able to breach the most secure U.S. embassy in the world. Iraq’s deputy parliament speaker it is time to put an end to “US recklessness and arrogance”; an emergency parliament session for Saturday will discuss the U.S. airstrike in Baghdad killing the Iranian and Iraqi leaders. The session will work on taking “decisive decisions that put an end to US presence inside Iraq.” About 5,000 U.S. members, supposedly to protect and train Iraqis, are stationed in Iraq. The country’s prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi stated, “The assassination of an Iraqi military commander in an official post is an aggression against the country of Iraq, its state, its government and its people” and “could spark a devastating war.”

Like killing the head of the CIA, the assassination of Soleimani is ”an explicit act of war,” as an Al Jarzeera journalist wrote.

VP Mike Pence, one heartbeat from being U.S. president, is already spreading disinformation—or ignorance—when he falsely connected Iran to the 9/11 attackers and couldn’t even remember the number of those attackers when he said that 10 of the 12 attackers on 9/11 were linked to Iran. Of the 19 (not 12) 9/11 attackers, 15 were from Saudi Arabia, 2 from the UAE, and 1 each from Egypt and Lebanon.  

Before the assassination, thousands of supporters of Iraqi’s Kataib Hezbollah militia attacked the 104-acre U.S. embassy in Iraq. Media almost universally used the term “Iran-supported” without mentioning that the attackers are Iraqi. The event came after U.S. airstrikes in Iran killed 24 people, largely civilians, because an Iraqi militia rocket strike killed U.S. military contractor (aka mercenary). Protesters backed off the attack after the group claimed it received guarantees from Iraqi Prime Minister Mahdi to work toward passing a law calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country. The militia gained influence after it worked with the U.S. to drive ISIS out of Iraq. DDT has lost all leverage in controlling Iran after he dropped out of the anti-nuclear agreement and returned to imposing sanctions on Iran.

The U.S. won’t have allied support for a war with Iran: only Israel stands behind the U.S. in its unilateral war. Germany warned against further “dangerous escalation,” and the UK stated that more conflict is “in none of our interests.” DDT failed to inform European partners, and the UK said, “The purpose of having allies is that we can surprise our enemies and not each other.” The Conservative chair of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee expressed concern about the “pattern” of the U.S. not sharing with the UK. France criticized the U.S. for “playing their game in an unpredictable manner” and said that the assassination has made the world “more dangerous.” Last week, Vladimir Putin said he will no longer cooperate with sanctions against Iran and said about Soleimani’s death, “We express our sincere condolences to the Iranian people.” China stated it “has always opposed the use of force in international relations,” urged the U.S. “to remain calm and exercise restraint to avoid further escalating tensions,” and called for respect for Iraq’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

While keeping allies and Congress in the dark about his plans, DDT gave Israel advance warning about killing Soleimani. In addition to other preparedness for the attack’s backlash, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came back early from his visit to Greece. Netanyahu is running for reelection in March, despite his three criminal indictments, in the third election for the country’s prime minister. He is asking Israel’s parliament for immunity.

DDT also referred to his plans to people staying at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Five days before killing Soleimani, he wandered his private resort, dropping hints that he was working on a “big” response to the Iranian regime that they would be hearing or reading about very “soon.” These comments went much farther than his New Year’s Eve tweet about the “big price” Iran would pay for damaging the U.S. embassy in Iraq. Two sources said that he talked about his contact with national-security and military advisers about an imminent aggressive action. One of them said that DDT kept repeating, “You’ll see.”

This afternoon, DDT claimed that his escalating tensions with Iran were to “stop a war” and told the attacked Iranians to immediately end “aggressions in the region.” Then he initiated another airstrike that killed five Iraqis in a convoy for a medical unit of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces near Baghdad. 

State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. action created no danger for Americans in the region, but his agency asked U.S. citizens to immediately leave Iraq and suspended all consular operations. On Sunday, Pompeo tried to play down any problems in either Iraq or North Korea, but the Pentagon had blocked any government travel to Iraq or Syria, including by U.S. lawmakers and their staffers, because of regional instability. Pompeo is removing 28 percent of diplomatic staffing in Iraq by the end of May 2020, removing 114 positions in the Baghdad embassy alone, in a retraction on diplomacy and oversight.

Senior government officials continue the spin that killing Soleimani was intended to “advance the cause of peace.” The rest of the world has the opposite vision. On Twitter “WWIII” is the top trending term worldwide. People curious about DDT’s timing may consider that he bragged about the killing in his big speech to evangelicals today. And that Iran is hacking into DDT’s re-election campaign in opposition for his possible second term.  

December 26, 2019

DDT: Week 153 – Not a ‘Merry’ Christmas

[Note: My weekly roundup of Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) happenings is a day earlier, and I may not be posting on Nels New Day for the next week. See you in 2020!)

DDT stayed quiet about Saudi Arabia’s exoneration of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the torture and dismemberment of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Bin Salman, the man behind the killing according to the CIA, got off scot free while five people were sentenced to death and three others to prison. The two men who directed the torture and dismemberment, former deputy chief of intelligence Ahmed al-Assiri and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s top aid Saud al-Qahtani, were exonerated. DDT claimed that he protected MBS so he could sell them weapons, but he also personally makes millions from the Saudi’s use of his hotels and their real estate purchases. 

North Korea threatens a “Christmas gift” of nuclear testing, and DDT’s former national security adviser claims that DDT’s administration will soon need to admit failure in stopping NK’s nuclear ambitions because the U.S. is not “exerting maximum pressure on North Korea.” The U.S. has only a “rhetorical policy” with no actions to stop NK having nuclear weapons that can hit the U.S. or its allies. North Korea is “operating at full tempo” in building nuclear warheads according to experts, but DDT says things are just fine between him and Kim Jong-Un. A new structure was seen on a recent satellite image of the location where NK makes equipment for launching long-range missiles, and Bolton called NK an “imminent” threat.

After far-right evangelical Christian leaders’ attacks on the op-ed in Christianity Today advocating impeachment, author Mark Galli reported a boost in readership and support that outweighs criticism. In a second CT op-ed, editor Timothy Dalrymple wrote that evangelicals can be proud of DDT’s anti-abortion and religious liberty stands but evangelicals are “also associated with President Trump’s rampant immorality, greed, and corruption; his divisiveness and race-baiting; his cruelty and hostility to immigrants and refugees; and more.” The Christian Post, published by DDT-supporting Richard Land, then attacked CT, causing Napp Nazworth, a CP editor since 2011, to quit. He said, “They’ve chosen to represent a narrow (and shrinking) slice of Christianity. That might be a good business decision, short term at least. But it’s bad for Democracy, and bad for the Gospel.” DDT is punishing anyone—including evangelicals—who don’t support him.

On the other end of retaliation comes massive rewards, as for Robert Blair, who refused to testify for the impeachment inquiry despite his witnessing DDT’s withholding military aid to Ukraine. Blair will support the 5G development efforts despite no background in telecommunications. With a law and diplomacy degree, he has overseen spending, most recently in the Defense Department, before he became senior advisor in national security issues for acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

Johnnie Moore, a DDT appointee, participated on a UN panel to decriminalize homosexuality in 70 countries other than the U.S. but concentrated only on eliminating sodomy. Known for his anti-LGBTQ messages, Moore opposes marriage equality and supports DDT’s transgender military ban. 

Amidst Boeing’s disasters, CEO Dennis A. Muilenburg has been fired—immediately. Boeing’s shares dropped 22 percent since the grounding of the 737 Max planes in March, a $52 billion market value loss. Those in the know think that the new CEO David L. Calhoun, hired to reassure people, won’t make many changes.

To circumvent federal laws preventing the government from collecting some types of information, ICE uses social media and for-profit data brokers to track at least one immigrant before arresting him. The person’s only crime was to reenter the U.S. to be with his family. Reuters has a $20 million contract with ICE for use of its CLEAR database. Over 55 percent of all prosecuted federal crimes in fiscal 2018 were immigrant-related, an 87 percent increase during DDT’s first full year, with the vast majority being misdemeanor illegal entry.

Property owners in southern Texas don’t want to give up their land for the wall, but DOJ lawyers are filing lawsuits to take the land. Last week, they tried to seize the land before a scheduled court hearing in February. The Fifth Amendment requires “just compensation,” but the government can deposit any amount it deems fair with the court and then immediately take the land. Two judges recently ordered a private pro-DDT group to stop building its own wall so workers went on vacation for a few weeks. On another property in a federal wildlife refuge, workers decided that the land was too saturated to support metal bollards on top of concrete panels.

DDT’s retaliation against anyone disagreeing with him is to be feared, according to former Rep. Dave Trott (R-MI), who did not run for re-election after expressing concern about DDT’s erratic behavior in a closed-door meeting with GOP colleagues. Other former and current GOP lawmakers and party strategists have anonymously agreed that elected officials can either retire or not criticize DDT. Out of office, Trott said:

“Trump is emotionally, intellectually and psychologically unfit for office, and I’m sure a lot of Republicans feel the same way. But if they say that, the social media barrage will be overwhelming.”

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) tweeted “Merry Christmas” yesterday before he launched into his increasingly vitriolic messages targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom for California’s homeless problem, the FISA court, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). His Christmas message called for “deeper understanding and respect.”

George W. Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that requires 25 percent greater efficiency for household light bulbs. DDT blames President Obama for banning incandescent bulbs and continued his rants against problems with toilets, water for washing hands, and dishwashers. His latest problem is alternative energy when he said, “I never understood wind.” Then he claims that windmills create “tremendous fumes.” The person elected by 63 million people for the U.S. president can’t get his toilets to flush and doesn’t understand wind.

Why do people support DDT? In the Journal of Social and Political Psychology, UC Santa Cruz professor Thomas Pettigrew identifies five major phenomena of his supporters:

Authoritarian Personality Syndrome: The advocacy or enforcement of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom demonstrates a lack of concern for the opinions or needs of others. This syndrome can be displayed by aggression toward “outsiders,” resistance to new experiences, and a rigid view of a hierarchical society. Because it can be triggered by fear, leaders can use this emotion to gain allegiance. DDT is especially appealing to people with this syndrome.

Social Dominance Orientation (SDO): Related to the authoritarian personality syndrome, SDO highlights societal hierarchy of groups. DDT stresses the whites as having a higher status over immigrants and minorities. People scoring high in these first two characteristics tended to vote for DDT.

Prejudice: Going back to Richard Nixon’s “southern strategy,” the GOP appeals to bigotry with code words signaling prejudice toward minorities audible to racists. DDT is more direct by calling Muslims “dangerous” and Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “murderers.”

Intergroup Contact: Contact with other groups than one’s own can reduce prejudice; DDT’s white supporters have significantly less contact with minorities. A 2016 study showed “racial and ethnic isolation of Whites at the zip-code level is one of the strongest predictors of Trump support.”

Relative Deprivation: Discontent comes from feeling deprived of what people believe they deserve, compared to others who they perceive as equal or inferior but who (unfairly) achieved more. DDT supported people’s feeling of entitlement by talking about U.S. jobs lost to Mexico and China while ignoring the large number of jobs lost to automation. https://qz.com/1144201/under-trump-us-jobs-are-moving-overseas-even-faster-than-before/   Ironically, DDT has sent more jobs overseas, including an additional 150 percent of federal contractors, than President Obama. The term “relative is used because the perception is skewed rather than “absolute.” For example, median annual income of DDT’s supporters is $72,000, smashing the myth of their being rebellious “working class.”

DDT promised a great economy for the United States, but the blue states bucking his policies see a faster growing economy than red states. Obsession to fracking caused 165,000 jobs, and coal mining has 53,000, an extra 2,000 during DDT’s office. Recent economic growth has occurred in urban areas, especially in the service industry. Blue states have increased the minimum wage, providing the national growth in wages which is small because the red states have largely left the wages static and suffering from inflation. The most heavily pro-Clinton areas saw mean household income increases of over $15,000 compared to the less than $10,000 rise in the most heavily pro-DDT areas. DDT promised jobs and wages; his tariffs brought exactly the opposite.

December 21, 2019

DDT: Week 152 – Dems Busy beyond Impeachment with GOP Obstruction

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) used tweets on Friday to attack the conservative evangelical publication Christianity Today founded by Billy Graham because it advocated his impeachment. Adding to his 15,000+ lies in less than three years, he called the publication “a far left magazine, or very ‘progressive,’ … which has been doing poorly and … knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript of a routine phone call….” He also tweeted, “I won’t be reading ET [sic] again!” Graham’s son Franklin Graham criticized CT’s position but said he had not read the editorial about impeaching DDT. Mark Galli, editor-in-chief of the piece, retired on January 3 after 30 years involved with the magazine. 

DDT continued to threatened $250 million funding for Ukraine by blocking a $1.4 trillion spending package funding the federal government through the end of September 2020 if it contained the provision that he must release funds for the U.S. ally within 45 days. Democrats gave in to his demands to keep the U.S. from a shutdown by withdrawing the deadline for the funding release. The bill also lost a mandate that letters authorizing the release of congressional funding must be made public. In the $738 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), DDT got his “space force,” and government employees got 12 weeks paid parental leave

The bills also raised the federal minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 and a 3.1% pay increase for the troops and civilian federal employees. DDT got $1.375 billion for his wall, partly repair and less than the $8 billion he wanted. Defense spending increased by $22 billion. Elimination of three taxes to pay for the Affordable Care Act adds $373 billion to the deficit over the next decade. Forty-seven Republicans, once the party of fiscal prudence, voted for the budget that leads to more deficits. The GOP tax 2017 tax law already reduced U.S. tax revenue which fell 2.5 percent of tax-to-GDP in 2018, the most of any country in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. 

Republicans managed to keep violent white supremacists in the military by blocking an amendment while non-violent transgender recruits are banned.

DDT’s signatures on the bills avoids a government shutdown days before the first anniversary of the last one, a rancorous event that lasted 35 days and cost the U.S. economy $11 billion.

With a vote of 385 to 41, the House passed another major bill this week, the trade deal with Mexico and Canada called NAFTA Lite. The bill looks very different from DDT’s original draft; even the AFL-CIO approves. Gone are the pharmaceutical protections for drug companies, and appearing are higher labor standards in Mexico, faster dispute resolution, higher environmental standards, and stronger enforcement of the deal. Mexico almost backed out with the requirement of five people from the U.S. to supervise its labor arrangements. While not perfect, the new trade agreement is considered better than the original NAFTA, passed 23 years ago.

These major accomplishments negate DDT’s and Republicans’ assertion that the impeachment inquiry kept the House from addressing any other issues. DDT called the opposing party “the Do-Nothing Democrats,” but “do-nothing” better fits Republicans. The House’s hard work is visualized in this photo of 275 House bills DOA (Dead on Arrival) in the Senate because (Do-Nothing) Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refuses to acknowledge them. 

Facebook removed over 600 accounts connected to the pro-DDT conspiracy website The Epoch Times for using artificial-intelligence identities to push fake stories about topics including impeachment and elections. The network, “The BL,” was operated by Vietnamese users pretending to be Americans and using fake photos created by algorithms to fake real identities. In pushing the pro-DDT conspiracy theories, The Epoch Media group spent $9.5 million on ads to spread content on the pages and groups that FB suspended. DDT’s official FB page posts their stories. A U.S.-based media company, The Epoch Media group, has now joined foreign governments to use foreign people posing as U.S. people to push pro-DDT content to its 55 million followers. Publisher of the U.S. editions of The Epoch Times, Stephen Gregory, claimed that it has no connection to BL because it’s part of Epoch Times Vietnam and that their former employees creating and working for BL doesn’t show any connection with its 89 pages, 156 groups, and 72 Instagram accounts.  The largest buyer of pro-Trump ads on Facebook until August, The Epoch Times was banned from buying FB ads after the company consistently violated FB’s political advertising rules.

One of the many lies in DDT’s Wednesday Michigan rally went viral, and Republicans, including DDT’s sycophant Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), demanded that DDT apologize. In response to Rep. Debbie Dingell’s (D-MI) vote for impeachment, DDT said that her husband, a World War II veteran and former member of Congress, had gone to Hell. DDT also falsely claimed that Rep. Dingell had called him after her husband’s service to praise DDT when he called her. Pelosi said that DDT “misunderstands … that cruelty is not wit.”

The Dingell attack is part of DDT’s five ruling hallmarks:

Governing as perpetual warfare: us against them to inflame base and create deep divisions.

Governing by exhaustion: a war losing participants from boredom.

Governing by grievance and hyperbole: victimhood and martyrdom from declaring the BIGGEST or BEST or WORST as shown by the comparison of his impeachment to the Salem witch trials and the crucifixion of Jesus.

Governing by defiance: no matter the evidence, DDT also claiming that he’s never wrong.

Governing with “alternative facts”: over 15,000 lies in less than three years along with stories with no identification of people or changing names of characters. (Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) supports this position by telling Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), “We’ve beat the facts back all the time.”)

In exhaustion, the fifth top official at the Pentagon resigned within the past week from these positions: international cooperation in weapons systems, Asia policy, personnel and readiness, advanced research, and intelligence. Acting chief-of-staff Mick Mulvaney is expected to depart following the impeachment trial after being ignored in personnel, policy, and impeachment decisions. Rumor suggests his replacement is founder of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who said he won’t run for re-election and may work for DDT, something that he’s done for the past three years.

More exhaustion at DDT’s Michigan rally appeared when his “four more years” chant died in fewer than ten seconds. At the rally, DDT also claimed, “The steel is back”: Two days later, US Steel laid off 1,545 workers in closing its Great Lakes Works mill near Detroit.  In October, 376 Louisiana steel workers lost their jobs when Bayou Steel shut down its mill in LaPlace.

Senate Republicans keeps allowing Russia to interfere in U.S. elections while DDT’s administration fights to protect Russia from sanctions, but Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who usually walks in lockstep with DDT, introduced legislation to punish Russian people and companies for its interference in the 2016 election and its targeting of Ukraine, Syria, and dissidents for attacks. Sanctions were partly because of Russia’s capture of Ukrainian sailors and ships. DDT’s State Department sent a 22-page letter to Graham in opposition to his bill. It passed out of the Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday with opposition from five of the 12 Republicans. McConnell can block the bill from going to the Senate floor.

After DDT met with Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, in the Oval Office during the impeachment inquiry, Vladimir Putin-approved state TV confirmed that DDT is a Russian agent in a segment called “Puppet Master and ‘Agent’—How to Understand Lavrov’s Meeting with Trump.” And DDT isn’t the “puppet master” as this photo, requested by DDT, shows in Lavrov standing as the power behind the throne. 

Russia does expect DDT to “face a very unhappy period” after he leaves the White House. A joke was whether Russians should “get another apartment in Rostov ready.” Former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych settled in Rostov-on-Don when he fled to Russia in 2014. Valery Korovin, director of the Center for Geopolitical Expertise, said, “There are no disagreements or contradictions between Trump and Russia.” Putin-supporter and law professor Mikhail Antonov said, “Putin has expressed undisguised delight with the crusade led by Trump and Giuliani to whitewash Moscow’s interference in the U.S. elections” and pin the blame on Ukraine.

Former White House officials say that DDT passes Russia propaganda such as the false theory about Ukrainian hacking supporting Clinton because Putin told him to do it.

A federal judge allowed the lawsuit against DDT and his administration alleging violation of federal records law after DDT confiscated and destroyed his meeting notes with Putin. No detailed records of DDT’s and Putin’s communication in their multiple meetings exist.

The White House is catching crazy from DDT’s conspiracy theories: reporter Brian Karem said it’s claiming that Hillary deliberately lost the election by getting help from Russian hacking so that DDT could be impeached. Although the logic sounds wacko, that is the culture of DDT’s administration. DDT also claimed that Democrats started trying to impeach him before he declared candidacy.

After DDT pardoned military war criminals, his approval rating with service members dropped—42 percent approval. Half of them gave DDT an unfavorable rating.

December 14, 2019

DDT: Week 151 – More Bullying Buffoonery

Last week, the media focused on the impeachment inquiry and the release of a DOJ report about the creation of the FBI investigation into the connection between Russia and the 2016 presidential campaign of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Both DDT and his fixer AG Bill Barr contradicted, without evidence, the conclusion of the report from DOJ’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz that the FBI investigation did not show bias in starting the probe. Attorneys from the conservative Checks & Balances blasted Barr’s rejection of his own IG’s report, and another conservative attorney, referring to DDT as Barr’s “client,” said:

“The attorney general has returned to his playbook of distortion and obfuscation in a transparent effort to undermine the IG’s meticulous, fact-based conclusions.”

Barr blamed President Obama and the FBI, with no evidence, for trying to destroy U.S. democracy by spying on DDT’s associates. Ignoring the “lock her up” chants about Hillary Clinton, Barr said that people who want to send political rivals “to jail” are “poisoning the system.” He also ignored the anti-Hillary Clinton bias among FBI agents who sent anti-Clinton text messages and wanted to investigate DDT’s conspiracy theories about the Clinton Foundation. In 2018, Horowitz reported that former FBI Director James Comey reopened the probe into Clinton’s emails ten days before the election because he thought FBI agents might leak information. Anti-Clinton agents were not punished. Horowitz’s investigation of FBI leaks to DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani is ongoing.

Regarding his misrepresentations of the facts, Barr blamed the “irresponsible” media’s fault for “fanning” what he called “a bogus narrative.” He sees his job to ensure “that [the law enforcement and intelligence apparatus] doesn’t play an improper role in our political life.” In his crusade outside his job’s purview, Barr focuses on public perception and press reporting instead of legality. Barr is running a media campaign about the FBI that “if you go ahead and investigate foreign interference in our election, William Barr may come after you,” according to former DOJ spokesman Matthew Miller on Joy Reid’s MSNBC AM Joy

When Horowitz testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) falsely claimed that the FBI had stopped Russia’s attacks against Hillary Clinton before the 2016 election just by telling the campaign about Russia’s actions. Horowitz testified that neither Barr nor John Durham, the U.S. AG for Connecticut who Barr assigned to run a parallel investigation with Horowitz, “changed our findings” about no bias on the part of the FBI despite the 17 errors or omissions. The FBI did not put spies in DDT’s campaign, according to Horowitz’s testimony. When the IG declared that Russians interfered in the 2016 campaign, even Graham agreed.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) asked that Barr be investigated for his following the bidding of the president. Horowitz said that he takes the issue seriously, but he’s legally prevented from looking at the misconduct of DOJ lawyers, including the attorney general. “The law has to change, senator,” Horowitz said.”

DDT also attacked his own appointee, FBI Director Christopher Wray, for saying that DDT’s criticism betrayed his “own bias.” Lying about the IG report, DDT claimed that it “totally exonerates” him of allegations of collusion with Russia or obstruction of justice. He called the FBI “scum” and threatened to “get involved” with the DOJ, a constitutional danger for the independent agency. During this week’s Pennsylvania rally, DDT also told his security to be rougher on a protester and slurring more than usual through his rants, according to a Vox reporter.  

In March, the Supreme Court will hear DDT’s appeal about hiding his tax returns and other financial affairs from the House and a New York prosecutor. The ruling is due by June. No lower court has ruled that DDT has the right to hide these documents from investigations.

The Supreme Court may be kept busy hearing all DDT’s appeals. A federal judge has ruled against DDT’s request to delay a lawsuit against AG Bill Barr and Commerce Wilbur Ross who defied congressional subpoenas in their handling of the failed citizenship question for the 2020 census.

Two other federal judges, one in El Paso and the other in Northern California, stopped DDT’s paying for his wall with $3.6 billion in military funds. The decision is based on a GOP-generated law blocking President Obama. The president cannot “eliminate or reduce funding for any program, project, or activity as proposed in the President’s budget request” unless approved by Congress. Later, GOP congressional members added “increase” to “eliminate or reduce.”

At the urging of House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the Pentagon is looking into a $400 million contract for a segment of the southern border wall with a DDT-pushed company that doesn’t meet necessary standards. DDT had picked the company after seeing the owner, a GOP donor, on Fox network.

Glenn Fine, the Pentagon’s inspector general, opened a review three months ago to examine whether U.S. military deployment to the southern border is legal after 30 congressional members requested an investigation. The deployment may violate a law preventing active duty military troops from law enforcement duties inside the U.S. Since DDT started sending service members to the border in 2018, the number has sometimes exceeded 5,000.

DDT has again announced that he and China have a “phase one” trade deal. China called it a “win-win,” but no text has been released. DDT lowered tariffs—mostly on toys, cellphones and laptops—and China said it will buy the farm-products that they had already intended. The deal will also enhance intellectual property protections at China’s own pace and permit U.S. banks and credit card companies full access to China which China had wanted. No “phase two” was addressed. DDT will claim a win, but China isn’t altering its economy as DDT promised, won’t send jobs back to the U.S., and hasn’t committed to scale back subsidies that give China an advantage over the U.S.

The general announcement caused the markets to rapidly increase; the details given out on the next day ended up with an almost flat gain. Winners are farmers, bankers, and Apple. China won because President Xi Jinping stood his ground and DDT caved in. This week reflected the fifth time this year that DDT delayed or canceled tariffs, encouraging China to further drag out negotiations for more wins. DDT has a long way to go to match President Obama on agricultural exports to China. 

Last week, DDT announced tariffs on steel and aluminum from Brazil and Argentina; this week the administration announced that it hadn’t decided about these tariffs yet. Just another one of those orders that didn’t exist.

Customs and Border Protection officials not only refuse to vaccinate migrants in U.S facilities but also arrested doctors who tried to provide free vaccinations.

Amazon is accusing the Pentagon of obeying DDT’s orders by selecting Microsoft for a $10-billion cloud computing contract that has been called a crucial national security priority. Oracle and IBM are also challenging the contract. Amazon pointed out several reasons that Microsoft’s program is inferior to theirs. Defense Secretary Mark Esper waited two months to recuse himself from the procurement process because his son works for an initial bidder.  DDT’s ongoing feud with Amazon’s owner, Jeff Bezos, began with reporting by the Washington Post, also owned by Bezos. 

DDT supporters should be grateful that federal agencies ignored his some of his demands. Peter Bergen, in his new book Trump and his Generals: The Cost of Chaos, wrote that DDT wanted to move the 9.8 million people in Seoul because it was too close to the North Korean border. He insisted, “They have to move!” And he wasn’t joking. That was when he told his national security team that threats from Kim Jong-Un would be “met with fire and fury.” Months later, he demanded “an evacuation of American civilians from South Korea.” Warned that this action would signal war, DDT ordered, “Go do it!” The Pentagon ignored his orders to move Seoul and evacuate all Americans from South Korea, DDT forgot about it, and the United States hasn’t gone to war with North Korea—yet.

In the midst of 123 furious tweets in one day during the impeachment inquiry hearings, DDT found time to demand that 16-year-old Greta Thunberg “work on her Anger Management problem” after she was awarded Time’s “Person of the Year”:

“So ridiculous. Greta must work on her anger management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”

Thunberg used DDT’s words for her Twitter bio. Time wrote that it chose Thunberg because she created “a global attitudinal shift” and “offered a moral clarion call.”

Even more vile, DDT’s fundraising campaign photoshopped DDT’s head on Thunberg’s body money with the caption, “When it comes to keeping his promises, there’s only one Person Of The Year.”

New jobs increased 266,000 in November with manufacturing comprising 54,000 of them, but 48,000 of those came at the end of GM’s strikes. Despite some wage increases in blue states raising minimum wages, rising costs of living in 2019 outpaced workers’ economic growth. Forty-four percent of U.S. workers earn low wages.

December 6, 2019

DDT: Week 150 – U.S.-Caused Volatility Here, In the World

AG Bill Barr, fixer for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), is struggling to fix DDT’s problems. First, Barr’s own inspector general, DOJ IG Michael Horowitz, disagrees with Barr’s coverup for the FBI investigation into Russian election interference, and Barr can’t change the report. Barr claims that U.S. intelligence agents were “spies,” but Horowitz’s probe shows no political animus in their investigation. Barr’s handpicked investigator, Connecticut’s U.S. Attorney John Durham, can’t find any evidence to back up conspiracy theories that the initiation of  the intelligence probe into Russian election tampering was just a set-up.

Barr has avoided any probe into DDT’s “persuasion” of Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to re-examine Hunter Biden’s involvement in Ukraine, likely because he’s afraid that he will find bribery on the part of DDT. For that reason, the House Intelligence Committee did the investigation that should have been the DOJ’s job.

Barr also wants to use DDT’s quid pro quo style—blackmail—by threatening “communities” with loss of police enforcement if they don’t show “respect” to law enforcement. This speech in which he announced this philosophy followed ones that blamed U.S. problems on secularists and accused “the left” of “undermining the rule of law.” Barr has already attacked DAs pushing for police accountability and wants “zero tolerance for resisting police.” Journalist Adam Serwer tweeted that the AG seemed to say that “the attorney general of the united states believes police are not sworn officers of the law, civil servants bound by an oath, but a gang running a protection racket.”  

Seeing trouble ahead after the Ukraine debacle, DDT quietly released $105 million in military assistance for Lebanon after he froze the funds for month. The aid had congressional approval and overwhelming support from the Pentagon, State Department, and National Security Council. DDT failed to explain why he was withholding funding since September that would help counter Iran’s influence in Lebanon.  

A court has forced the release of a few more formerly-redacted snippets from Robert Mueller’s report with these revelations:

DDT’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said that DDT’s family lawyers told him not to tell FBI agents about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, leading to some of Cohen’s lies to Congress. Lawyers from the Joint Defense Agreement representing DDT’s family, Cohen, and Jared Kushner told him to omit his statement about contact with Russian officials.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein assumed that either he or then-AG Jeff Sessions would be responsible for firing former FBI director James Comey and called him into the office, only to discover that DDT had fired Comey via email. When the media reported that firing Comey was his idea, Rosenstein said he was “angry, ashamed, horrified, and embarrassed.” He also refused to participate in a press conference about the firing because the DOJ “cannot participate in putting out a false story.”

For those who slept through the last three years, Washington Post has published The Mueller Report Illustrated in a book and six-part digital series.  

The stock market went crazy against this week after DDT said he plans to put tariffs on steel and aluminum for Brazil and Argentina to expand his trade war and destroy agreements with the countries. He claims that reinstating tariffs will benefit U.S. farmers, but he had not imposed them in the first place. Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro, called the “Trump of South America,” thought he had a close relationship with DDT, but DDT turned on him after China began buying pork, soybeans, and other agricultural goods from Brazil because DDT attacked China with tariffs. DDT is also threatening other parts of the world with tariffs including Mexico, Europe, and Vietnam. The only way that DDT can place tariffs is through threatened national security, and several countries are suing the U.S. in the World Trade Organization. Recently, a federal court, the U.S. Court of International Trade, ruled that DDT couldn’t raise tariffs on steel exports from Turkey because the 180-day deadline for the decision had expired. DDT’s tariffs have upset U.S. manufacturers of cars, machinery, food packaging, and other products because of increased prices for metal.

DDT’s threatened France with up to 100 percent tariffs on about $2.4 billion in French products such as sparkling wine, cheeses, handbags, and makeup—all in the name of national security and all items that DDT doesn’t buy. The tariffs are in retaliation to French taxes on 30 companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon with at last $830 million in global revenue and digital sales of $26 million in France. France said that the average tax rate for digital companies in EU is 9.5 percent, compared with 23.2 percent for other companies.

Another reason for the craziness of the stock market came from DDT’s conflicting tweets about his trade war with China. The Dow dropped when he said that he’d wait to settle the tariff problem until after the 2020 election and then rose the next day after he said he changed his mind. In addition to ire about the tariff situation, China reacted negatively to the congressional resolution supporting Hong Kong’s democracy that passed with only one no vote in the 535- member Congress and reluctantly signed by DDT. China retaliated by suspending visits by U.S. military vessels to Hong Kong and sanctioning U.S. nongovernmental organizations accused of encouraging violence in Hong Kong. The passage of a proposed bill calling for tougher reaction to China’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority, China warned, could damage a trade deal to soften the trade war. The bill, passed in the House with only one no vote, condemns the human rights violations and calls for “an end to arbitrary detention, torture, and harassment of these communities inside and outside China.” With excellent prospects in the Senate, the proposed law could put sanctions on China for violations.  

Although Republicans claim that Democrats are doing nothing during the impeachment inquiry, the House passed a measuring backing a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by 226 to 188. Five Republicans voted in favor of the measure, and four Democrats opposed it. The legislature stated that the solution is vital to “both ensure the state of Israel’s survival as a Jewish and democratic state and fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own.” The House also voted, 228 to 187, to restore voting protection rights after the Supreme Court removed them in 2013. Only one Republican voted in favor of the bill, a vast difference from the 2006 vote of 390-33 to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already announced his opposition to voting rights.

DDT is considering doubling the number of the military in the Middle East by sending another 14,000 service members along with dozens of ships, according to the Wall Street Journal. Department of Defense Press Secretary Alyssa Farah said the report was “wrong” before Defense Secretary Mark Esper admitted that the deployment was under consideration.

While DDT rails against ISIS and terrorists, a Saudi Arabian Air Force pilot who was training in the U.S. killed three people at Pensacola Naval Air Station and wounded more before being killed himself. People also forget that 15 of the 19 terrorists in the 9/11 attack were Saudis, and George W. Bush slipped wealthy Saudis out of the U.S. during a freeze on air travel. DDT himself ignored the Saudi crown prince’s torturing and dismembering a U.S. journalist.

More grist for impeachment came from somewhere in Ukraine where DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani connected DDT’s bogus investigation into the Bidens to the July 25 telephone call between DDT and Zelensky. With no evidence, Giuliani tweeted that “no military aid [was] withheld,” although it was frozen for months until Zelensky caved, and that “the conversation about corruption in Ukraine was based on compelling evidence of criminal conduct by then VP Biden, in 2016.”  

Tomorrow is the deadline for open 2020 Medicare enrollment, and its new website may lead users to spend more money for prescriptions by hiding out-of-pocket costs. With the lowest premium at the top, the “helper” doesn’t include expenses such as copays that could cost thousands of dollars more. In one case, paying a premium of $25.80, almost twice the monthly cost of the cheapest premium, could save $5,800 a year. 

People who want to check out the costs should go to the initial search results and then look for the drop-down menu on the right of the screen. Select the feature allowing you to re-sort plans by “lowest drug + premium cost.”

That’s the tip of the news iceberg. More catch-up tomorrow!

 

November 30, 2019

DDT: Week 149 – Trouble around the World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 24, 2019

More Week 148: Catching Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next Page »

the way of improvement leads home

reflections at the intersection of American history, religion, politics, and academic life

© blogfactory

Genuine news

Civil Rights Advocacy

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

AGR Daily News

Transformational News; What Works For Seven Future Generations Without Causing Harm?

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

Rainbow round table news

Official News Outlet for the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Central Oregon Coast NOW

The Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW)

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: