Nel's New Day

March 16, 2020

Congress, Russia, Saudi, Corruption

Last Friday night, the House passed a covid-19 bill by a large bipartisan majority. Unfortunately, it needed a “technical fix,” which requires a unanimous vote if the House isn’t called back into session. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) delayed the vote because he didn’t want a “rushed process,” according to Bloomberg reporter Laura Litvan. He also said that he didn’t know if it can be solved soon. The fix addressed virus-related sick leave for small firms. Gohmert finally withdrew his opposition after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin gave DDT’s stamp of approval. Because of virus concerns, the House has postponed a return to Washington for an indefinite time.

The Senate recessed for the weekend and is stalling before considering the emergency bill until after it considers the surveillance bill that the House passed last week. (That one’s a doozy: it includes the provision that AG Bill Barr must approve in writing any investigation of an elected official and/or a candidate.) Even after the Senate addresses the covid-19 bill, there will be vitriolic discussions. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) told Fox & Friends that the bill may not pass the Senate because senators don’t want sick leave for people home with the virus. He wants tax rebates which could take far more time to be reimbursed than paid sick leave.

The Senate couldn’t meet over the weekend because Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had to go home with Justice Brett Kavanaugh to celebrate the new 37-year-old federal judge, considered the most unqualified judge that McConnell has ever pushed through confirmation. It’s called campaigning for the fall election.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) [right] also complained about the paid sick leave because it might hurt businesses although the bill covers the cost with a tax credit. Without sick leave, most of these people with covid-19 will go to work and spread the disease. Johnson said it might be better for the Senate to “pass nothing at all.”

Last week, Johnson pulled a vote on a subpoena from the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that he hoped would find damaging information about Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, in Ukraine. A bipartisan group persuaded him about the Ukrainian’s unreliability as a source for the committee’s investigation. The vote, however, is only postponed. Johnson said he will issue a subpoena to a lobbying firm for the Ukrainian energy company paying Hunter Biden as a board member. Committee staff members have worked on investigations helping DDT in his reelection campaign. U.S. intelligence agencies maintain that Andrii Telizhenko, Johnson’s source, has spread disinformation about Ukraine’s involvement in the 2016 election to minimize actual Russian interference. Telizhenko, a friend of Rudy Giuliani, has appeared on the ultra-conservative One America News Network.

While DDT struggles with rapidly increasing numbers of covid-19 cases and deaths in the U.S., Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman continues his path to keep power in his country. He detained four senior princes, possible heirs to the throne, in Riyadh, including MBS’s uncle Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz and cousin Mohammed bin Nayef. They were charged with treason which carries the death penalty. MBS had replaced Nayef as crown prince in 2017 and has run the kingdom since then. Prince Ahmed returned to Saudi from Britain after assurances that he would be safe. MBS consolidated his power in 2017 by arresting hundreds of princes, government ministers, and business people and detaining them in Riyadh.

Saudi is struggling with dropping oil prices and MBS’ decision to block pilgrims from Mecca because of the virus outbreak. Aramco’s profits dropped 21 percent last year to $88.2 billion, and it is lowering capital spending for 2020. The world has also not forgotten MBS’ murder of U.S. resident and journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. MBS is now repeating his 2017 actions by arresting hundreds more government officials, including military and security officers, for bribery and exploiting public office. The purge also added 16 more princes, two members of the council which decides the throne’s succession, and two judges.

In late February, MSP Patrick Harvie of the Scottish Parliament asked his colleagues to investigate DDT’s deals in which he acquired his Scotland properties, including the two multi-million dollar golf courses. Harvie said that DDT or people he’s tied with could be connected to serious crime and is seeking an “unexplained wealth order” from a Scottish court. The order is for “suspected foreign officials who have potentially laundered stolen money through the UK.” If the subject “cannot show a legitimate source for their riches,” the government can seize properties.

History will remember that Utah’s Mitt Romney was the only GOP senator who voted to impeach DDT. Payoffs for other GOP senators who claimed they voted against impeachment because DDT had “learned his lesson”:

  • Lamar Alexander (TN) – $9 million for high-speed broadband infrastructure projects;
  • Susan Collins (ME) – $9.5 million for affordable housing units;
  • Cory Gardner (CO) – $20 million for airport upgrades;
  • Lisa Murkowski (AK) – $20 million Port Infrastructure Development Program grant for Phase One costs at the Port of Alaska.

Collins, up for a difficult reelection this year, voted to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh despite his anti-abortion stand and for the tax cut benefiting the wealthy and big business even if she said she didn’t like it. She’s at the bottom of the Senate popularity contest and may lower her rating with the latest find. In 2009, she refused to include pandemic flu funding in an economic stimulus bill during the Great Recession. Democrats warned that the $870 million from the $787 billion would keep them from fighting an infectious disease outbreak, but she promised to withdraw her vote for the bill if that money was included. She said the funds “do not boost our economy” and persuaded two other Republicans to follow her example.

Eric Prince, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ brother and heir to $1 billion, advises DDT and almost persuaded him to let Prince set up a private military service for the U.S.. Congress accused Prince of lying under oath and referred criminal charges to the DOJ, a useless action since Bill Barr became AG. In the past, Prince moved to the UAE to keep from federal prosecution and claims that he is untouchable. Now the FBI is investigating Prince for trying to modify two U.S. crop-dusting planes into attack aircraft, a violation of arms trafficking regulations. He used the planes as part of the private services he suggested selling or using in Africa and Azerbaijan. The FBI investigation includes his lying to Congress and an armed aviation proposal to the UAE along with heightened scrutiny of Barr.

Prince has recruited U.S. and British spies to work with the right-wing group Project Veritas, known for doctored videos in false stings, to infiltrate at least one Democratic congressional campaign for Abigail Spanberger and organizations “considered hostile” to DDT. Ex MI6 officer Richard Seddon ran a 2017 operation to copy files and record conversations in an office of the teachers’ union AFT. In late 2015 or early 2016, Prince arranged for James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas to receive training in intelligence and elicitation techniques from a retired military intelligence operative named Euripides Rubio Jr. Rubio soon quit, saying that the Veritas group couldn’t learn.

DDT’s defense against Russian interference to elect him is to repeat that he’s tough on Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin. Here are some of DDT’s favors for Russia:

  • DDT appointed his own loyalists to head up the intelligence agencies who ordered employees not to release information and who say that there’s no evidence of Russian interference.
  • DDT sent anti-tank missiles to Ukraine under conditions that make them useless against Russia.
  • DDT spread a disinformation campaign that Ukraine was responsible for the election interference, not Russia.
  • DDT protected Russia by withholding aid to Ukraine until publicity made him uncomfortable.
  • DDT still refuses to invite Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House to help Zelensky negotiate with Putin.
  • DDT’s sanctions on Iran helps Russia by boosting the price of oil.
  • DDT strengthened Russia’s longtime ally, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and ended support for moderate Syrian rebels which Russia wants.
  • DDT removed U.S. forces out of northern Syria, abandoned the Kurdish U.S. allies, and allowed Russians to move into abandoned U.S. bases.
  • DDT helped Russia in Libya by giving Khalifa Hifter information for overthrowing a UN-backed government in Tripoli.
  • Sanctions on Russia were done over DDT’ objections, and DDT persuaded the GOP Senate to lift them on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
  • DDT weakened NATO through incessant criticism and portrayal of the members as deadbeats.
  • DDT always believes Putin and never criticizes him.
  • DDT’s biggest help for Russia is his spreading chaos in the U.S. and its government through polarization of the U.S. people and denigrating U.S. intelligence officers and diplomats.

As the commentator on a popular Russian TV show said:

“I look at Trump and think: ‘May God grant him good health — and another term.’ This is a great situation for Russia.”

And the Republican Party blindly backs DDT and pro-Russia policies against U.S. benefits.

March 1, 2020

DDT Goes to India, Woos Taliban

Last week before Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) came home to the worst decline in the stock market since 2008 and the possibility of an epidemic in the U.S., he spent two happy days with another authoritarian. Jealous of the 50,000 audience for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Houston, DDT was promised a much bigger crowd during his stay on a trip to India. At a rally, 100,000 attendees cheered DDT before over one-third of them walked out of the cricket stadium during his speech. Another third left during Modi’s speech. In Ahmedabad, a city of six million, Modi failed to come up with the 10 million along the motorcade path, but he did provide costumed musicians, dancers, and a marching band on camels. [Visual Trump India]

During press conferences, DDT avoided Modi’s international condemnation for revoking the statehood of Muslims and establishing a religious test for new migrants to make India a Hindu nation and drive out the 200 million Muslims. DDT was supposed to talk “about our shared tradition of democracy and religious freedom” but instead skipped the subject. While police used tear gas and smoke grenades to disperse crowds in New Delhi, DDT spoke of India as a place where different faiths “worship side by side in harmony.” He ignored both the violence and the anti-Islam law. 

DDT may have hoped that his visit to the state of Gujarat would help him get donations and votes from influential Indian-Americans, It’s also the place where Modi tacitly supported the killing of over 1,000 people in 2002 in sectarian violence, almost 80 percent of them Muslims killed by Hindu mobs. George W. Bush banned Modi from visiting the U.S. because of his actions until he became prime minister in 2014. Like today’s sectarian violence, police didn’t intervene and sometimes joined in that attacks. Last week, over 30 people were killed in protests. George W. Bush banned Modi from visiting the U.S. because of his actions until he became prime minister in 2014. Both DDT and Modi achieved political power through inciting hatred of Muslims. The Delhi riots bear a strong resemblance to the ethnic pogrom in Gujarat almost two decades ago.

Modi, hurt by a steep economic downturn, can’t fulfill campaign promises on job creation. DDT imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from India that raised penalties on agricultural goods and restrictions on U.S. medical devices. DDT retaliated by removing India from a decades-old preferential trade program.

Michael Fuchs wrote:

“The leaders of the world’s two biggest democracies are pursuing dangerous, nationalist visions at odds with their countries’ founding values.”

Both DDT and Modi achieved political power through inciting hatred of Muslims. The Delhi riots bear a strong resemblance to the ethnic pogrom in Gujarat almost two decades ago.

Yasmeen Serhan echoed Fuchs’ statement about democracies moving to autocracies

“As the leaders of the world’s two largest democracies, their shared disregard for norms, disdain for dissent (from the media and elsewhere), and dedication to strengthening their own executive power at the expense of state institutions designed to curb it have made them emblematic of the democratic deterioration that has been taking place in recent years.

“A mainstay of autocratic rule is the consolidation of executive power…. Trump’s bid to extend his presidential authority in the U.S. has steadily increased over time, from his attempts to defy Congress and the Constitution over his hardline immigration policies to his impeachment-spurring efforts to withhold congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine. In both cases, Trump’s rationale was largely the same: to invoke presidential privilege or, in autocratic speak, to declare himself constitutionally above the law. White House withholding press briefings and attacking news outlets and journalists perceived as critical.

“But perhaps the most common trait among burgeoning autocrats in recent years is the growing appeal to populist and nationalist sentiment. This has been most pronounced in India through Modi’s efforts to transform the country from a secular democracy into a theocratic, nationalist one that dominates its minorities. In the U.S., Trump has made his nativist rhetoric about immigration a hallmark of his administration.”

In praising Modi, DDT may have thought he was criticizing China, but he described his own approach to ruling the U.S.:

“There is all the difference in the world between a country that seeks to claim power through coercion, intimidation and aggression, and a country that seeks to grow by setting its people free, and unleashing them to chase their dreams, and that is India.”

Protests have come from the Indian 2019 Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which grants amnesty to non-Muslim immigrants from three nearby Muslim-majority countries—Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh—who came to India before 2015 in an expansion of the 1951 National Register of Citizens. Assam, which borders Bangladesh, has been registering “Indian” citizens since the 1951 census but now works to expel Muslims as “foreigners.” To stay in the country, Muslims, unlike those of any other religion, must provide proof that their families migrated to India before 1971, the year that Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan and created a refugee crisis. Generations of Indian Muslims born and raised in India must produce their grandparents’ legal documents, which in many cases no longer exist, or leave.

Under DDT, the U.S. stripped Latinx of citizenship even if they were born in the U.S. and have birth certificates. Officials demand documents such as baptismal records and ask questions such as “Do you remember when you were born?” Some had passports revoked, put in deportation proceedings, and barred from returning to the U.S. if they visited Mexico. The project began on the southern border but moved north to central states. DDT’s Muslim bans also draw parallels to Modi’s driving Muslims out of India.

AG Bill Barr created a new office to denaturalize citizens who committed any crimes. The new section replaces the one investigating cases about revoking citizenship for those convicted of terrorism, war crimes, human rights violations, and sex offenses. Under President Obama, the office focused on people who falsified applications and committed major crimes. Since 2008, 228 denaturalization cases have been filed, 40 percent of them since 2017. In three years, case referrals have increased 600 percent. Under DDT, the process may be used against people who make misstatements on the application.

Human rights lawyer Arjun Sethi called DDT and Modi the “worst kind of fascists.”

“Both Modi and Trump have criminalized minority communities, championed fake news and persecuted dissent, promoted supremacist ideologies, and played on the racism and anxiety of dominant communities.”

DDT’s visit to India also brought up his business ventures, the most in any country except the U.S. His India ventures include four luxury residential projects and an office tower branded with the Trump name under licensing deals. Since DDT’s last visit to India in 2014, one of DDT’s business has been accused of massive fraud, and the other faces a funding crunch. Both of them have close ties to Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. 

The week concluded by the U.S. and the Taliban signing an agreement that would begin the complete withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign troops from Afghanistan over 14 months after over 18 years, the longest war on foreign soil. The text is here. Estimates of that war cost for the U.S. is almost $8 trillion by 2050. Secretary of State Pompeo said that the Afghans need to determine the future of their country, but no Afghans were at the table for the negotiation. It was entirely one-sided by the Taliban with the U.S. running the show.

According to the agreement, the Taliban will break off ties to terror groups, but nothing was said about human rights—oppression of females and harsh punishments exacted against anyone for petty offenses. The Taliban agreed that Afghan soil will not be used by terrorists to attack the United States or its allies, but it does not have control over areas outside Afghan hands. Several factions, including ISIS, control areas and could grow stronger without U.S. troops. Former national security adviser John Bolton wrote:

“Legitimizing Taliban sends the wrong signal to ISIS and al-Qaeda terrorists, and to America’s enemies generally.”

The deal stipulates that the badly-split Afghan government must organize a negotiating team to begin talks with the Taliban by March 10. On the same day, before any talks, thousands of Taliban prisoners held by Afghans must be released in exchange for 1,000 Taliban-held members of the Afghan security forces. Twenty-two GOP lawmakers have issued a warning letter to Pompeo and DOD Secretary Mark Esper that the Taliban has “a history of extracting concessions in exchange for false assurances.” 

Under DDT, the U.S. signed an agreement with an officially listed terrorist group, the Haqqani Network, which has a campaign of suicide bombings. The Network’s leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is the Taliban’s deputy leader and military commander. A day before the signing ceremony, the Taliban’s multimedia chief described it as a historic landmark for proclaiming “the defeat of the arrogance of the White House in the face of the white turban.” Pompeo indicated that he doesn’t trust the Taliban to live up to the agreement; DDT said he wants to meet with them.

We have ten days to see any success. 

January 29, 2020

Israeli, DDT ‘Peace Plan’ Lose-Lose

In an attempt to avoid bad publicity from his impeachment trial, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has announced his “deal of the century” between Israel and Palestine that he claims will create peace between the long-time adversaries. The “deal,” supposedly written by DDT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner but covered with Israeli fingerprints, has these provisions:

Israel would annex 30 percent of the Palestinian West Bank occupied by Israel with illegal Jewish-only settlements since 1967, Arab East Jerusalem, and the Jordan Valley.

Palestinians would have limited autonomy in primarily urban enclaves surrounded by Israel acquisitions.

Israel would control Palestinian borders, immigration, security, airspace, and aquifers.

Jerusalem would be Israel’s “undivided” capital with a possible Palestinian capital to the northeast of Jerusalem.

Palestine would be compensated with desert land near Gaza that would be linked with the West Bank by high speed rail.

Palestine might receive a sort of statehood with no army and Israel control in some areas.

Hamas, which governs Gaza, would be dismantled before Palestinian independence.

Israeli citizenship may be stripped from tens of thousands of Arab Israelis who live in 10 border towns.

Palestinian refugees would have no “right of return” to homes lost to Israel in previous conflicts.

Resembling South Africa during its apartheid when it created “reserves” for blacks, the “deal” had no Palestinian input and violates UN resolutions forbidding nations from using military force to expand their territories. The Fourth Geneva Convention also bans occupying powers from moving civilian populations onto these territories taken by military force, and the UN has applied the Geneva ruling onto Israeli-occupied territories. The International Court of Justice does the same in a 2004 decision.

DDT’s plan also requires that Palestinians “dismiss all pending actions” in the International Criminal Court, meaning that the Israeli government cannot be held to account for anything. Jared Kushner’s solution for Palestinians who disagree is to “take a cold shower” so that they don’t “screw up” like with “every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.” The plan states that Palestinians must take “no action, and shall dismiss all pending actions, against the State of Israel, the United States, and any of their citizens before the International Criminal Court” and other tribunals.

Over a century ago, Palestinians were not consulted when Britain adopted the 1917 Balfour Declaration that gave geographical Palestine to the Jewish people for their “homeland.” DDT is following that pattern in drawing other nations’ borders and dictating political lives of people in foreign countries. He follows his pattern of subordinating “browns” to “whites,” as Israelis are largely regarding to people in the United States.

Ben Silverstein wrote:

“About 5 million stateless Palestinians live under Israeli military occupation (the Palestinian West Bank) or under Israeli military siege (the Gaza Strip). Some 400,000 stateless Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are from families that were expelled from the British Mandate of Palestine by militant Zionist militias. Another 400,000 stateless Palestinians in Syria are from families expelled from the British Mandate of Palestine by Zionist militias. About 40,000 stateless Palestinians in Jordan are from families . . . That is, About 6 million stateless Palestinians are being kept without basic human rights by Israel’s refusal to allow them to return to their homes and by Israel’s refusal to allow the Palestinians to establish a genuine state to which the refugees could return.”

War crimes in the plan:

A flood of 400,000 of Israeli citizens who have stolen Palestinian land on the West Bank attack Palestinian villages and sabotage Palestinian orchards and other agriculture in opposition to the Fourth Geneva Accord of 1949 to present war crimes like those by Nazi Germans.

The annexation of 30 percent of the West Bank is an act of aggression by Israel that is taking the land by calling these lands “annexed.”

Depriving Israeli citizens of Palestinian heritage is denaturalization into statelessness by giving them “citizenship” in an unrecognized “state” (aka a “reserve”) where they have no rights over their property.

The disarmed Palestinians will have no right of self-defense in opposition to Chapter 7, Article 51, of the UN that requires “the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”

Palestinians in Israeli-mandated enclaves will have no right to self-determination and be dependent on Israel’s goodwill for every part of their lives, including politics and building development.

With a third election looming and three criminal indictments, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised DDT’s “deal.” With no ratification of the “plan,” he announced that he will ask his cabinet for approval of the annexation this Sunday. He may lose a few votes, however, because the “peace plan” brought criticism from both the left and right wings in Israel. Although Palestinians lose 30 percent of their land, leaders of Israeli settler groups stated that they cannot support a plan that allows Palestinians 70 percent of the area. The settlers called the creation of a Palestinian state “an existential threat to the State of Israel.”

Emily Meyer, co-founder of the Jewish group If Not Now issued this statement:

“This is a political ploy by both leaders to distract from their abuse of power, designed to help Netanyahu win the election in less than six weeks. The plan itself is a plan for permanent Israeli military occupation and control, not a plan for peace. It is simply a continuation of Trump’s strategy since entering office: to disenfranchise Palestinians and deny their rights, their agency, and even their identity.”

Activist groups such as the Islamic Action Front called for a “mass protest” at the U.S. Embassy in Amman. Jordan, home to a large Palestinian population, stated its commitment to a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders and rejects any Israeli unilateral move such as immediate annexation. Both Egypt and the EU cautioned Israelis and Palestinians to carefully study the plan. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to promise Saudi commitment to Palestinian rights.  Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that DDT’s plan “will not serve peace and resolution” in the region and that it will “ignore the rights of the Palestinians and legitimize Israel’s occupation.”

Other Arab countries were disturbed that none of their representatives could see the final version of the plan before its unveiling. They will be even more upset if Netanyahu carries through with a plan for annexation this weekend before both parties support.

The UN supports pre-1967 borders. Most of the international community view the West Bank as the future Palestinian independent state and east Jerusalem as its capital while DDT sides only with Israel by moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, closing Palestinian diplomatic offices in Washington, and cutting funding to Palestinian aid programs.  

Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s competition for prime minister, said he will propose the plan for approval next week in the Knesset (Israeli parliament). Abbas dismissed the plan as “nonsense” and vowed to resist it through “peaceful, popular means.” Abbas added:

“We say 1,000 no’s to the Deal of the Century. We will not kneel and we will not surrender.”

Israeli settlers in the West Bank may be worse off with the proposed annexation. According to Ghaith al-Omari, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad were present at a meeting that Abbas convened, and both groups will push for violence in the West Bank, creating destabilization from terror and giving Hamas more power. Al-Omari surmises that DDT’s plan strengthens hardliners and weakens diplomats.

The plan that DDT hoped would bail him out of his impeachment problems is now seen as a “lose-lose” situation.

December 22, 2019

Week 152 – World, Domestic Affairs

World and domestic affairs beyond impeachment affect the United States through decisions that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) makes.

DDT stayed silent during violent protests from India’s attempt to eliminate secularization. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a conservative re-elected in May, the parliament permits citizenship for undocumented migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who moved to India before 2014 and belong to one of six religious minorities, excluding Islam. Modi claims that the law protects persecuted religious groups, much like DDT said about his executive order protecting only Jewish people. India is now trying to control protests by shutting down phone and internet access in parts of the country.

Shortly before DDT was elected, Russian interference helped an anti-immigrant movement in Britain pass Brexit, a separation from the European Union. After agonizing over the process for over three years, the Brits elected Boris Johnson as prime minister to finish the process, much to the possible detriment of almost everyone in the country. Like DDT, Johnson is connected to corruption and sexual misconduct. The UK will leave the EU by the last day of 2020 no matter how disastrous, and the UK may have to pay the EU up to £39 billion. Northern Ireland stayed with the EU and will have a customs and regulatory border with Great Britain; Scotland voted to stay with the EU and may separate from the UK.

DDT, close friends with the autocratic Turkish president Recip Tayyip Erdogan, rejected the congressional votes to recognize that the Ottoman’s killing of Armenians in 1915-16 to support Germany in World War I was genocide. In retribution for the congressional resolution, Erdogan threatens to shut down Incirlik air base where the U.S. stores nuclear warheads. DDT called resolution criticizing the killing of 1.5 million Armenians “worthless” and the “biggest insult” to Turkish people. Erdogan also tried to prevent sanctions against Turkey after its military offensive in Syria by threatening to close the Kurecik radar base. Following DDT’s wishes, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tried to block the resolution. On December 12, the Senate unanimously passed the resolution after the House did so with only one no vote. Because resolutions do not have the weight of law, they do not require a president’s signature. 

Israel is headed for its third election in less than a year after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to put together a winning coalition but plans to stay prime minister. The national election to determine the Israeli prime minister is next March, but on December 26, 100,000 Likud party members, Netanyahu’s party, vote for their leaders. Gideon Sa’ar is challenging Netanyahu to represent Likud; the winner is in line to become prime minister.Christians in the Gaza Strip are banned from visiting holy cities such as Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Nazareth for Christmas. Last year, almost 700 Gazan Christians received permits to travel the holy cities.

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor is investigating Israeli war crimes allegedly committed in the Palestinian territories. Netanyahu claims that the ICC has jurisdiction only for sovereign states and denies any Palestinian state. He plans to illegally take over the Jordan Valley, composing one-fourth of the West Bank. In the ICC, Palestine is suing the U.S. for DDT’s moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Two courts, one in the EU and the other in Canada, have also decided that Israel “an occupying power” and “not … a sovereign entity” in determining labeling of products from Jewish settlements in the West Bank.   

The end of the year means tax preparation. Last year the 2017 tax cuts hurt a large percentage of people in the U.S., but large corporations are making out like bandits from their 40-percent tax rate cut. Approximately 400 of the largest corporations in the U.S. paid an average federal tax rate of about 11 percent on their profits last year, roughly half the official rate set by the tax law and half the rate that they averaged between 2008 and 2015. In 2018, corporations averaged 11.3 percent in taxes, the lowest level in over 30 years, while the deficit hit $984 billion, unusual in a supposedly strong economy. There is no evidence of the GOP claim of lower taxes’ cut causing economic growth and boosting business investment. The unemployment rate has stayed low in some areas, but higher wages are largely caused by blue states increasing the minimum wage rate.

In the Fortune 500, 91 corporations earning $101 billion paid no federal taxes last year. Amazon paid no taxes on $10.8 billion in profits and got a $129 million rebate. Firing 800 people, Activision Blizzard made $447 million and received a tax rebate of $243 million, giving them a -54.4 percent.

Overturning the Affordable Care Act would give the wealthy and pharmaceutical companies a huge tax break. The top 1,400 highest-earning taxpayers would receive $3.8 billion, and pharmaceutical companies would pay $2.8 billion less in taxes. People on Medicare would pay more for prescription drugs, and U.S. drug costs are already the highest in the developed world. Twenty million people would lose health insurance, and the poverty rate would increase. Causing a crack in the ACA, a state judge overturned the individual mandate in the ACA despite a Supreme Court ruling that accepted it.

DDT plans to reduce aid to the 39.7 million people in the United States living in poverty by allowing sports stadiums and arenas to use opportunities designed to meet the needs of middle- and low-income people. The 1977 Community Reinvestment Act requires financial institutions to meet the credit needs of all communities where they do business so that they can’t refuse to serve people based on income level and demographics rather than credit worthiness. Under DDT’s plan, investors can delay taxes or reduce tax payments on their capital gains while building stadiums that displace people of color. 

Eating pork may be dangerous under DDT’s new rules, according to Food Safety and Inspection Service inspectors Jill Mauer and Anthony Vallone, who filed whistleblower disclosure forms. A pilot program for over 92 percent of U.S. pork plants will provide fewer inspectors who must stand at a distance while untrained plants’ employees check carcasses and still try to maintain line speeds. Defects can include feces, sex organs, toenails, bladders, and unwanted hair—think Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. Beef processing may suffer from the same MO.  

The U.S. Forest Service is permitting Canada’s Midas Gold to write the environmental report necessary to obtain approval for mining in Idaho after a “collaborative” meeting that included Midas. In that way, Midas can avoid habitat restoration work to protect the surrounding area.

In a software failure, Boeing’s Starliner, intended to fly NASA astronauts to space, didn’t get to the right orbit. A few days earlier, Boeing announced it was stopping the production of the 737 Max that killed 346 people in two crashes and demonstrated multiple other problems. The planes have been grounded since March 11, pending approval for planes being built. Almost 400 737 Max jets at the Renton (WA) facility are costing the company about $4.4 billion every three months for production, storage, and maintenance. Although Boeing may not have any work stoppage, hundreds of other U.S. manufacturers in its supply chain may be forced to lay off workers. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that Boeing’s problems had taken 0.4 percent off the GDP for the year.

For years, the FAA allowed Boeing to perform its own inspections. High level Boeing officials knew about the planes’ problems and lied to the FAA. Earlier this month, the FAA fined Boeing $3.9 million for “knowingly submitted aircraft” to the agency for safety certification even after learning that crucial wing components “could not be used due to a failed strength test.”

State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo not only fired Bill Taylor, acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, but also told him to get out of the country early because he didn’t want to be photographed with the highly respected career diplomat. Pompeo urged Taylor to take the job, and Taylor then testified to the House Intelligence Committee about DDT’s attempts to extort Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. Taylor believes his obligation is to the country, not DDT, and Pompeo wants to be the senator from Kansas.

Another of DDT’s circle of associates is now heading for prison, but Rick Gates, associate of DDT’s campaign manager Paul Manafort, gets only 45 days after evading taxes and concealing millions of dollars representing pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine after Gates’ cooperation. Manafort, DDT’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and DDT’s first national security adviser are in the slammer. George Papadopoulos, DDT’s former campaign adviser on foreign policy, and Alex van der Zwaan, a lawyer who worked with Manafort and Gates, have finished their prison sentences. Roger Stone, longtime DDT adviser and confidant, awaits sentencing. DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani faces a criminal investigation. Others connected to DDT include Richard Pinedo, who has a prison sentence for fraudulently trying to hurt Clinton’s campaign; Sam Patten and Maria Butina, who were charged with being unregistered foreign agents; and those on this long list of indicted Russian individuals and entities. 

New Jersey’s Rep. Jeff Van Drew switched from Republican to Democrat and swore “undying support” to DDT—until someone asked him about it. He said he didn’t say “undying.” Republicans don’t want him.

October 19, 2019

How DDT ‘Deals’ with World Leaders

[Note: To readers who notice when postings disappear on Nels New Day for a while, I will be gone for several days. Looking forward to a recap of this week’s events next weekend—like the bedbugs at Doral are safe because Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) didn’t like all the criticism of holding the 2020 G7 summit at his personal resort. There goes his millions of dollars.] 

The following piece by Shay Khatiri  posted on Charlie Sykes’ The Bulwark analyzes the reason behind DDT’s relationships.

“On Wednesday, the White House published a letter, dated October 9th, that President Trump sent to his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. First, he issued a warning to Erdogan that he would ‘destroy the Turkish economy’ if Erdogan went ahead with his genocidal plan. Then, he gave Erdogan a carrot, that if he makes peace with the Syrian Democratic Forces’ leader General Mazlum Abadi, ‘history will look upon [Erdogan] favorably.’ That didn’t deter Erdogan. Instead, the letter ended up in the trash. It’s obvious to virtually all observers of foreign policy that this type of intimidation would not work, but not to the President.

“Surveying Donald Trump’s brand of personal diplomacy, one wonders whether the President of the United States is committing the fatal sin of mirror imaging.

“Mirror imaging is a cognitive trap that strategists fall into when they mistakenly assume that an adversary will behave the same way they themselves would. It is common—something strategists are wary of and teach inexperienced analysts to avoid. For example, the key mistake made by the United States that led to Pearl Harbor was mirror imaging. The attack surprised American strategists because they would not have made the same decisions had they been in Japan’s position.

“This is a trap that Donald Trump is falling into.

“Based upon his past actions, Donald Trump has made clear there are a few things that incentivize him: personal recognition and financial gain, chief among them. The notoriety and historical significance of being the first president to walk in the Korean demilitarized zone or being the guy who signs a deal with the Taliban to end the Afghanistan War on an anniversary of 9/11 are cases that attest to his desire for grandiosity at the expense of rational strategy. The consequences of his decisions that will come to fruition after he leaves the office are no matter to him.

“It is troubling to imagine then, that he thinks that all leaders function the same way.

“Trump’s most frequently (read: only) used foreign policy tool has been America’s economic power. Whether dealing with the Europeans or the Chinese, whether punishing the Iranians or the Turks, Trump’s only resort has been sanctions and tariffs. Issuing a threat to Turkey to deter it from massacring the Syrian Kurds, Trump vowed to destroy Turkey’s economy if Erdogan went ahead with his plan. Similarly, he has responded to Iran’s growing aggressions since the spring only with sanctions.

“He also tries personal appeasement. Trump infamously praises dictators regularly, even as he is slamming them with economic pressure. He also praises allied country leaders like Macron, Merkel, and May, again, as he is slamming their economies with tariffs and criticisms on military expenditure.

“Donald Trump was a New York real estate developer and TV celebrity. His previous life was almost entirely comprised of materialistic individuals driven by greed and ego. The characters he found himself surrounded by responded to straight-forward personal incentives. World leaders don’t. There are other and often greater factors heads of state take into consideration when they make decisions.

“But Trump thinks that they operate the same way he does, or at least are motivated by a similar type of selfishness. This is why he wrongly assumed that the threat of economic sanctions would deter Erdogan from massacring Syrian Kurds. The same logic applies to his thinking that sanctions would deter Iran in the Persian Gulf, something that hasn’t happened. Similarly, he tried to broker deals with China and North Korea with the stick of economic pressure and carrot of personal appeasement.

“In the case of Turkey, Erdogan has other concerns. He doesn’t want a Kurdish separatist group on his southern border. Fertility rates for Turks and Kurds in Turkey suggest that Turkey’s population could be majority Kurdish within a generation or two, which is unacceptable to Erdogan’s ethno-nationalist vision. These are factors that have never and would never cross Trump’s mind. This is the result of mirror imaging.

“Miscalculations by leaders pose “tremendous” threats to international security. Khrushchev’s miscalculation led to the Cuban missile crisis and almost brought on a nuclear war. Japan’s miscalculation and mirror imaging cost it to absorb two nuclear bombs.

Since the end of World War II, Americans have benefited from reasonably responsible leaders, the quality of our governmental institutions, and our power in most forms. These factors have minimized the costs, number, and magnitude of miscalculations like mirror imaging. As the power gap with our adversaries is narrowing, partially due to their rise and partially due to our self-inflicted wounds, we also must grapple with the fact that we have a leader religiously committed to miscalculations and weakening our institutions.”

Erdogan was highly offended by the language and message in DDT’s letter because he values himself as a strongman. DDT’s condescending language such as “don’t be fool” and DDT has “worked hard to solve some of your problems” shows Erodogan that DDT considers himself superior to the Turkish president. Erdogan sends people to prison for milder language and reacts negatively to criticism from other countries.

At first, Erdogan pretended he didn’t get the letter, and Faik Oztrak of the Republican People’s Party called the letter a “rag.” Former prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu tweeted: “The Turkish nation has been insulted. [Erdogan’s planned] U.S. visit must be canceled unless an immediate apology is forthcoming.” Then a government official reported Erdogan’s rejection by saying the letter “was thrown into the trash.”

Fifty-five years ago, Lyndon Johnson wrote Turkish Prime Minister Ismet Inonu about the damage that a Turkish-Greek war would cause to NATO and warned of the Soviet involvement. Johnson threatened that he would not agree to the use of U.S. military equipment if that happened. Turkey didn’t take up arms against Cyprus, but the country restored relationships with the Soviet Union. Anti-Americanism peaked four years later in 1968 with the Vietnam War and western “imperialism.” Erdogan has scheduled talks with Vladimir Putin next week. 

DDT sent this letter during a time of shrinking U.S. popularity among Turks: 81 percent of them pick the U.S. as the greatest threat to Turkey, up from 44 percent three years ago. Last Thursday night, DDT bragged to a rally audience about his wonderful agreement, one that gave up everything for what he called a “ceasefire,” but Turkish forces began bombing Kurds almost immediately after VP Mike Pence, who brokered the non-deal, left Istanbul.

In a bizarre spin, DDT repeated Erdogan’s lies that there was only “minor sniper and mortar fire that was quickly eliminated,” something that the Kurds “want … to happen.” He added that the Kurds should be grateful for this “ultimate solution.”

A series of DDT’s tweets included this one:

“The U.S. has secured the Oil, & the ISIS Fighters are double secured by Kurds & Turkey.”

No and no.

DDT desperately needs praise, and his actions have produced great acclaim from Russia

“Putin won the lottery! Russia’s unexpected triumph in the Middle East. Those who were convinced of Trump’s uselessness for Russia ought to think again… Trump’s mistake in Syria is the unexpected ‘lottery win’ that further strengthened Moscow’s position in the Middle East and undermined America’s prestige as a rational political player and a reliable partner.”—Mikhail Rostovsky in the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets.

“All of this benefits the Russian Federation. You know, I’ve been watching Trump’s behavior lately and get seditious thoughts: maybe he really is a Russian agent? He is laboring so hard to strengthen the international image of Russia in general—and Putin in particular…In this situation, Americans—to their chagrin and our enjoyment—are the only losers in this situation.”—Maksim Yusin, editor of international politics at the leading Russian business daily Kommersant

“This is such a pleasure. Russian soldiers have taken an American base under our complete control, without a fight! Trump ran away!”—Olga Skabeeva, host of Russia’s state television program 60 Minutes

“It’s been a long time since America has been humiliated this way. For us, this is of great interest, because this is a key region where energy prices are being determined. That is a shining cherry on top.” —Mikhail Sinelnikov-Orishak, political analyst

 “They ran away in shame! I can’t recall such a scenario since Vietnam. For us, this is of great interest, because this is a key region where energy prices are being determined. That is a shining cherry on top.”

It’s the “art of the deal” from someone who believes that everyone thinks exactly like him.

October 10, 2019

Corruption Begins at Home

With his current obsession in investigating corruption, which he claimed after the extortion call to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) needs to look closer to home.

Today, two men who worked with DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested as they tried to board a plane to Vienna at Dulles airport near Washington, DC on charges of conspiring to skirt federal laws that prohibit foreign nationals from contributing to US campaigns. They allegedly laundered foreign money with corporate identities and “straw donors” in “secret agreements” to hide the plan from candidates and federal regulators. Parnas and Fruman had one-way tickets, and Giuliani had planned to fly there last night. He refused to comment other than he didn’t plan to meet with them there. DDT said, “I don’t know those gentlemen.” Parnas had posted photos of his dinner with DDT at the White House on May 1, 2018 that have since been pulled. [From left: Vice President Mike Pence, Igor Fruman, Lev Parnas, President Donald Trump, and Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani – Miami Herald]

Two other defendants, Andrey Kukushkin and Parnas’ longtime partner David Correia, a longtime business partner of Parnas, were also indicted on the same charges while allegedly working with Parnas and Fruman. Kukushkin was arrested last night in San Francisco. Bill Sweeney, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, said that “this investigation is about corrupt behavior, deliberate lawbreaking.” Paul Manafort’s lawyers are representing Parnas and Fruman.

House Democrats had subpoenaed Parnas and Fruman for documents and testimony after they refused to voluntarily appear before House committees.  Both men are immigrants, Parnas from Ukraine and Fruman from Belarus. Parnas also worked with Guiliani to push falsehoods that Ukraine tried to interfere in the 2016 election on the part of Hillary Clinton.

Parnas’ involvement in the Ukraine scandal seems to go back to the beginning with his job as Giuliani’s fixer, the man who connected Giuliani to Ukrainian prosecutors willing to do bogus investigations on Joe and Hunter Biden. Former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), who lost his district in 2018, is also involved with Parnas. Sessions received money from Parnas for his campaign and wrote Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to ask that Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch be recalled to Washington, DC because she wouldn’t pressure Ukrainians for the investigations. Parnas also donated to campaigns for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), and Florida GOP governor Ron Desantis. Sessions had been considering a run for a district 100 miles away from his old one.

Parnas’ company is called Fraud Guarantee.

Another Ukrainian player is Rick Perry, who urged Ukraine to fire the board of state-owned gas company Naftagaz and replace them with big U.S. donors to GOP campaigns. Parnas and Fruman, in partnership with oil magnate Harry Sargeant III, wanted to import natural gas to Ukraine. Sargeant told a senior executive at the gas company that he “regularly meets with Trump at Mar-a-Lago and that the gas-sales plan had the president’s full support.” The executive “perceived it to be a shakedown.” Parnas said that Yovanovitch would be removed, and Giuliani told reporters, “I did play a role in that.” Perry, who plans to resign soon, has been subpoenaed about his involvement in the Ukrainian scandal.

DDT said that if Zelensky wanted to meet with him, they should circumvent official diplomatic channels and go strictly through Giuliani, who created a more direct role than earlier known. Monday, Fiona Hill, DDT’s former Senior Director for European and Russian affairs, plans to testify that Giuliani and EU ambassador Gordon Sondland circumvented the NSC and normal White House process to run a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine. DDT had appointed Sonderland to perform ambassador responsibilities in Ukraine although the nation is not in the European Union and then blocked him from testifying before the House. He tried to do the same for Parnas and Fruman and lied about their working for the White House before he denied knowing them.

Other Corruption Tidbits:

DDT’s former national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said it was “absolutely not” appropriate for Mr. Trump to seek help from foreign powers for an election.

The eight-page letter written to House Democrats in an attempt to stop impeachment includes more quid pro quo in DDT’s “art of the deal.” Pat Cipollene wrote that if House Democrats “return to the regular order of oversight requests, we stand ready to engage in that process,” and ends by asking House Democrats to “abandon the current invalid efforts to pursue an impeachment inquiry and join the President in focusing on the many important goals that matter to the American people.” Earlier, DDT threatened Congress to shut down legislation, forgetting that if he refuses to either sign or veto a bill, it goes into law.

DDT is finally taking an interest in congressional affairs, calling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) three times a day in an attempt to lock down GOP loyalty in case of impeachment.  

At least four national security officials raised concerns about DDT’s call with Zelensky that pressured Ukraine in exchange for DDT’s “favors.” Their worries began with Yovanovitch’s recall from Ukraine and continued with Giuliani’s promotion of Ukrainian conspiracies and DDT’s statements in White House meetings that he wanted damaging information on Biden. People who listened to the July 25 telephone call between DDT and Zelensky said that “alarm bells were kind of ringing.”

Former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), released from Fox network for his plans to join DDT’s legal impeachment team, won’t be part of the group until January—if ever. DDT said that lobby rules prevent Gowdy from joining until next year. NYT Maggie Haberman questions the reason. She tweeted:

 “Someone in West Wing badly wanted a win internally and put out Gowdy before it was a done deal. So it was quickly done yesterday and then had to be undone.”

DDT assigned his politically appointed official Michael Duffey the authority to withhold $391 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine because career staff questioned the legality of delaying funds.

In an interview with Bob Schieffer, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson talked about how DDT tried to break the law. In one of the times, DDT pushed Tillerson to persuade DOJ to drop a criminal case against an Iranian-Turkish gold trader, Giuliani’s client for money laundering. Tillerson refused to interfere in the ongoing investigation of Reza Zarrab and reported his objections to then-chief of Staff John Kelly. When asked if he talked to DDT about Zarrab, Giuliani said “So what [if I did].” Asked if he had talked to Tillerson, Giuliani said, “You have no right to know that.”

Zarrab was arrested in 2016 for evading U.S. sanctions against Iran. Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who DDT fired, wrote that Zarrab had “facilitated millions of dollars-worth of transactions on behalf of Iran . . . through a global network of companies located in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.” Bharara added that Zarrab was “engaged in a massive bribery scheme . . . paying cabinet-level [Turkish] governmental officials and high-level bank officers tens of millions of Euro and U.S. dollars” to facilitate his transactions. DDT’s interest in Zarrab ties into his facilitation of the Turkish invasion of the Kurds: the attempt at Zarrab’s release was another way that DDT could do a favor for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Republican lawmakers make themselves complicit by their silence, denial, of arguments that DDT’s behavior is wrong but not impeachable. The laws that DDT have broken could put anyone else in prison. For a start:

18 U.S. Code § 872, “Extortion by officers or employees of the United States”: “Whoever, being an officer, or employee of the United States or any department or agency thereof, or representing himself to be or assuming to act as such, under color or pretense of office or employment commits or attempts an act of extortion, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

2 U.S. Code § 192, “Refusal of witness to testify or produce papers”:  punishable by a year in prison.

In a bizarre twist to Turkey news, two Russian pranksters pretending to be Turkey’s minister of defense Hulusi Akar called Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Graham said that DDT would try to be helpful “within the limits of his power” to Erdogan on the case. Now criticizing DDT for abandoning “our Kurdish allies,” Graham also told the pranksters that Turkey’s “Kurdish problem is a big problem.” He continued by saying that Turkey needs to be “protected from this threat in Syria” and that both he and DDT are “sympathetic” to the problem. It is a big different from Graham’s criticism of DDT’s pulling the troops as “shortsighted and irresponsible.”

It’s a deep swamp, with many more stories to be uncovered. Republicans need to start their investigations at home.

October 9, 2019

DDT Kills Kurds, Fights Impeachment

This morning, Turkey invaded northeast Syria and attacked U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters who opposed ISIS, thanks to Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Turkish bombings put thousands of civilian lives at risk, and Kurds may have to release 10,000 imprisoned ISIS militants after DDT withdrew troops from the area. Russians are also mobilizing for invasion of the Kurdish area so that they can allow Iran to put its forces on Israel’s northern border. ISIS has already started bombing Kurdish military positions. DDT said that he wants to stop “endless, senseless wars,” but he just created another one. Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Saudi Arabia will pile on with Turkey, Russia, and the Kurds as DDT’s move gives Iran a chance to attack Israel and lose the evangelical vote for DDT.  

Instead of sending the 50 service members home, DDT moved them to another Middle East region. The U.S. launched the most airstrikes in Afghanistan during one month in about a decade, increased airstrikes in Libya, and continued its war in Somalia. 

Top officials in the Pentagon and the State Department recommended not removing the U.S. forces because the Kurds are the most reliable partners in fighting ISIS in that location. Last year, DDT’s threat to remove the forces caused his Defense Secretary James Mattis to resign. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), a former Marine who served in Iraq, called DDT’s current decision to abandon the Kurds “one of the most destabilizing moves we can do in the Middle East.”

A member of the National Security Council with firsthand knowledge of telephone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that DDT gave in to another authoritarian’s ranting. Furious with DDT’s snub at the UN last month, Erdoğan got his permission to invade Syria and visit DDT at the White House in November. DDT got nothing except “a state of increased danger [in national security] for decades to come,” according to the national security official. DDT consulted neither EU allies nor congressional members before his decision.

After the call, DDT said that he would sanction Turkey if it attacked the Kurds but made no claims about this to Erdoğan. Instead he tweeted:

“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).”

This tweet was not the only strange one: he said Russia will be unhappy about his withdrawal of troops. They won’t. About the Kurds, DDT tweeted that they “fought with us” but “were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.” About the Turkish attacks on Kurds, DDT mildly said it was a “bad idea.” Later he tweeted, “[The Kurds] didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy…” 

DDT made millions of dollars in profits from his Trump Towers in Istanbul, owned by Turkish conglomerate Dogan Holding, but four months ago, leaders of a major party in Turkey called for the government to seize the complex. The value of DDT’s name in Turkey has fallen in the past two years.  

The message across the world is that the U.S. will not meet their commitments and will not support its allies. In his regard for former allies, DDT wrote wasn’t worried about the escape of ISIS fighters because they’ll go to Europe. John Sipher, 28-year veteran in the CIA clandestine service including station chief in hot spots near Europe and Asia, said:

“Well, at least the Trump Administration is consistent. We are about screwing our allies, partners and friends. Don’t trust America, even if you shed blood on their behalf. If you want favors, build a Trump tower.”

Columnist Paul Krugman asked if DDT abandoned the Kurds because of (a) personal business interests in Turkey; (b) support of Erdoğan, another vicious autocrat; or (c) directions from his boss Vladimir Putin.

Even DDT’s GOP sycophants criticized DDT’s abandoning the Kurds to certain death. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called DDT’s actions “a disaster in the making.” He added, “ISIS is not defeated. This is the biggest lie being told by this administration.” Brian Kilmeade, co-host of Fox & Friends, echoed Graham’s term “disaster.” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), in trouble for her strong support of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, stuck her neck out to declare DDT’s actions “a terribly unwise decision,” and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called it a “grave mistake.” Even House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has supported DDT through thin and thin, told the government to “keep its word” with its foreign allies.

Senators now demand a hearing about DDT’s decision to withdraw troops in Syria, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated that leaving the Kurds to Turkish slaughter might be wrong. He called on DDT to reconsider the plan and said that a Senate supermajority disagreed with DDT and withdrawal “would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime.”

With one impulsive moment, DDT abandoned an ally, emboldened Iran, revived ISIS, offended Israel, and infuriated Republicans. While being blasé about DDT’s extortion attempts in Ukraine and China to get dirt on Joe Biden, GOP lawmakers are horrified by DDT’s refusal to protect the nation’s Kurdish allies. Israel, also shocked by DDT’s move, understand that he is not to be trusted.

Facing the danger of impeachment and the Kurdish disaster leading to war in the Middle East, DDT went on a demented rant today at the White House against California’ auto-emission guidelines and the shift from incandescent to LED light bulbs and their disposal—all lies:

“Of course, who cares about looks? But you do look better with incandescent, but they weren’t allowed, and you have the privilege of buying now a much more expensive bulb, under the passed rules, much more expensive bulb that doesn’t have a good looking light, but maybe very importantly when the bulb is out, and not good, it’s literally considered a hazardous waste site because of all the gasses. If it breaks, you’re supposed to bring it to a certain location, and I say who does that? Nobody. Nobody.”

The impeachment inquiry keeps plugs along with a 58 percent approval—over twice the 25 percent that DDT claims. His latest attempt to quash the process is an eight-page emotional letter filled with falsehoods from White House counsel Pat Cipollone to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and three committee chairs. In short, Cipollone states that DDT is banning everyone and everything from Congress, in opposition to his claim of transparency and no wrong-doing with the excuse that following the U.S. Constitution is unconstitutional. DDT’s demands for the rights to see all the evidence and question all the witnesses shows his ignorance of the law. The constitution does not require a vote by the House to open an inquiry. Like a grand jury, the House looks at the evidence in secret and votes to decide on impeachment which, if approved, moves on to the Senate for an open trial.  

Cipollone accused Democrats that they are using impeachment to overturn the 2016 election and kill DDT’s chances for reelection in 2020. The absolutist position in the letter demonstrates DDT’s belief that Article II of the constitution gives him unlimited powers, like a king. DDT defender and former U.S. attorney Joe diGenova supported DDT’s delusions by accusing Democrats of “regicide,” killing a king. Last summer, DDT said, “Article II allows me to do whatever I want.” Section Four of Article II gives Congress the power to remove a president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Because impeachment is a constitutional remedy, it cannot be “unconstitutional.”

DDT’s defense plan for impeachment is to stall, obfuscate, attack, and repeat. The letter combines all four of these strategies. Former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who slammed President Obama for not turning over materials about the tragic deaths of four U.S. employees at Benghazi, is part of the team to prevent Congress from obtaining evidence. The Fox network has dropped Gowdy as a contributor.  At this time, DDT’s actions constitute obstruction of justice if not crimes. DDT keeps bragging about how he can’t be impeached because he’s “doing a great job” as president. Even if that were true—which it isn’t—he lost a great deal of cred by allowing Turkey to slaughter Kurds. China has refused to follow DDT’s directive to investigate the Bidens, and Republicans have no logical way to defend DDT. A second whistleblower negates criticism of the first one. And 24 percent of Republicans want an alternative to DDT. That percentage could grow.

A bad sign for DDT is a federal judge’s refusal to keep DDT’s tax returns hidden. The judge said that he could not grant such a “categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity.” DDT plans to challenge the order to release his tax returns to Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance.

In a Fox poll 55 percent think that DDT does what’s best for himself and doesn’t put the country first. This week, The New Yorker follows that belief in its illustration of DDT and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani throwing away the country.

September 28, 2019

Ukraine the Icing on the Corruption

Filed under: Foreign policy,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 11:47 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

The focus of the impeachment comes from the intent of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to find “dirt” on Joe Biden and accuse him of threatening a prosecutor in Ukraine. Here’s the background.   

Viktor Shokin was prosecutor general of Ukraine from February 2015 to March 2016. A large consensus of Western nations pushed for his ouster because they believed he was in the center of the country’s corruption. The United States was part of the consensus to remove Shokin, and VP Biden was one of the leaders in that effort. Therefore, he threatened to withhold U.S. loan guarantees from Ukraine while Shokin continued to use his position for corruption. At the same time, Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, also threatened to withdraw financial support for Ukraine unless it solved its corruption problem. In February 2016, Shokin’s deputy prosecutor, Vitaly Kaska, resigned because of cronyism and corruption in the office. Because the coalition decided that Shokin must leave office, the Ukrainian voted to remove him from office a month later.

Shokin investigated a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings, while he was in office. Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, was on Burisma’s board and paid $50,000 a month. The investigation was quickly closed, however, by the time that VP Biden threatened to withhold financial aid, possibly because the “investigation” was an extortion attempt of the company’s owner, Myola Zlochevsky. Biden didn’t block anyone from investigating Burisma. Shokin’s successor, Yuiy Lutsenko, also investigated Burisma before closing the case ten months later but “did not prosecute any serious criminal during his 3 years in office,” according to Ukraine expert Anders Åslund. After waiting two years, Lutsenko reopened the case after Biden’s decision to run for president and DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani inviting him to New York and meeting with him in January. In April, Lutsenko admitted any implications of Biden and other U.S. Democrats were false and withdrew his claim that he had been told not to investigate a list of possible suspects. DDT lied about it and continued his false allegations. Lutsenko is now gone after new Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky asked for his removal. Wanting the Biden issue back into the news, DDT has sent associates such as Rudy Guiliani to Ukraine to push for an investigation and called Zelensky in late July, asking for the investigation to be reopened as a “favor” in the same conversation about the U.S. offers to help Ukraine against Russian aggression.

The story about DDT’s shakedown of Zelensky for renewed investigation despite lack of corruption contains two conspiracies: the work of DDT, Giuliani, AG Bill Barr, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to denigrate Biden and the coverup on the complaint of how they were carrying out the first conspiracy. The impeachment inquiry is now focused on DDT’s treachery against the United States by using Ukraine for his own person benefit. But his global pattern of defending a corrupt foreign official and using a foreign government to fight his domestic political opponents for personal gain while circumventing or removing U.S. security officials in his way are part of a pattern throughout the world.

Russia: DDT defended collaboration with Russia and get their campaign help to win the 2016 election. In July 2016, he asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails and said he had “no pause” in “asking a foreign government—Russia, China, anybody—to interfere, to hack … anybody in this country.” In 2017, DDT said he saw no difference between getting help from the U.S. and help from Russia. DDT frequently says that the U.S. is no better than Russia and defended Vladimir Putin’s killing dissidents by saying that the U.S. isn’t “so innocent.” He praised Putin for being “a leader, you know, unlike what we have in this country,” in a reference to President Obama. In one press conference last month, DDT declared that Putin had “outsmarted” Obama, protected Putin from intelligence reports that he interfered in the 2016 U.S. election, and denounced the intelligence agencies, calling their agents liars and hacks. DDT blamed President Obama for Putin’s annexing Crimea and tried to get Russia reinstated into the former G8.

North Korea: DDT declares that Kim Jong-Un is not testing nuclear weapons and, when proved wrong, says that he doesn’t care. Kim is still testing missiles. Imitating Kim, DDT ridicules U.S. officials and policians like Kim does, for example, repeatedly applauding Kim for calling Joe Biden a “fool of low IQ.” In June, DDT ridiculed President Obama by falsely saying that he was “begging for meetings [with meetings] constantly.” After North Korea denounced national security adviser John Bolton as a “human defect” and asked that Bolton vanish, DDT fired Bolton and defended North Korea.

Saudi Arabia: DDT continues the U.S. pattern of protecting the Saudis and expanded it by protecting crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, from U.S. intelligence that shows MBS directed the torture and dismemberment of a U.S. resident, journalist Jamal Khashoggi. After the CIA concluded that MBS was behind the killing, DDT lied when he claimed that the CIA “didn’t make a determination.” He also refused a congressional directive to issue a legally mandated report on Khashoggi’s death and refused to have the FBI look into the case, saying that “nobody so far has pointed directly a finger” at MBS. When about the CIA implication of MBS, DDT said,  MBS, DDT replied, “I just don’t want to talk about intelligence.” DDT also plans to deploy at least 200 personnel as well as missile defense and radar equipment to Saudi Arabia with more planned, despite no commitment from other nations to protect the kingdom.

China: In DDT’s trade war, he consistently blames, the U.S. and not China while punishing people in the United States with fines from tariffs. He also finds China’s Communist government superior to U.S. democracy. In talking about funding the wall, he said, “I find China, frankly, in many ways, to be far more honorable than Cryin’ Chuck and Nancy [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)]. I really do. I think that China is actually much easier to deal with than the opposition party.” While the war weakens U.S. economy, China plans to invest in Iran’s fossil fuels to the benefit of both countries but a bad deal for the U.S. Trade between China and U.S. is shrinking on both sides with raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s imports. Another increase by U.S. comes on October 15.

Israel: DDT blocked two Democratic congresswomen from going to Israel by urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials to refuse them and telling him that allowing the women into Israel would look weak. Israel had originally thought that denying entry to members of Congress is offensive. He also puts Israel before the United States, especially when he said, “Any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat [were] being very disloyal to Israel.” In a speech to Jewish-Americans, he called Netanyahu “your prime minister.”

Turkey: DDT consistently excuses Turkish aggression against the United States and his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a Turkish foreign agent who had blocked the arming of U.S. allies, anti-ISIS Kurds. DDT sympathized with the authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after he assaulted protesters in Washington and tried to illegally expel Turkish dissident Fethullah Gülen who Erdogan would kill. Defense Secretary James Mattis protested the abandonment of the Kurds, and DDT fired him.

Iran: DDT broke a successful anti-nuclear deal with no good reason, put heavy sanctions on Iran, and then cried wolf when the Iranians began to retaliate. He sent a U.S. drone just 20 miles outside Iranian airspace, photographed installations within the country, and tried to take over one of their ships in Gibralter. When he lacked support from other countries, some of them U.S. allies, he threatened to sanction them also. And he picks national security advisers who want war with Iran.

Afghanistan: The U.S. continues to kill civilians, recently 30 Afghanistan civilians resting after harvesting pine nuts. The drone strike also wounded another 40 farmers and laborers. Of the 150 people at the harvest, some are still missing. Almost 4,000 civilians were killed or wounded in the first half of 2019, a huge increase in casualties inflicted by government and US-led foreign forces. Afghanistan now has a record opium harvest, producing 90 percent of the world’s supply, which worsened since the U.S.-led invasion. Marine occupation cut back on production, but lack of foreign aid drove people back to farming poppies.

Venezuela: DDT is still trying to effect a coup in the South American country, this time by tripling aid, taking money from Honduras and Guatemala and giving it directly to DDT’s puppet Juan Guaidó. The aid is badly needed after the heavy sanctions that DDT placed on the country to oust democratically-elected President Nicholas Maduro. 

DDT’s foreign policy comes from his perception that he’s an enemy to former presidents. He demeans domestic critics by talking about U.S. inferiority, and he constantly attacks U.S. intelligence officials. His tweeted smears of people loyal to the United States are accelerating and becoming more vicious. All of DDT’s corruption has one reason–personal gain.

September 24, 2019

Ukraine: DDT’s Road to Impeachment

A new Nixon era has been introduced: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that six committees will begin a formal impeachment inquiry of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in response to allegations that he tried to enlist a foreign power for his own political gain. The impeachment committee process against Nixon, lasting almost eight months, was completed over 25 years ago at the end of July with recommendations for articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress. Nixon resigned less than two weeks later.

Pelosi directed the chairs of the committees investigating DDT to send their best cases for DDT’s impeachable offenses to the Judiciary Committee to lay the groundwork for articles of impeachment. That committee’s investigation already focused on Robert Mueller’s findings and DDT’s personal profits from state and foreign governments’ spending. An inquiry is the first step to a vote to charge DDT with high crimes and misdemeanors. Before Pelosi’s announcement, 149 House Democrats and one Independent, formerly a Republican, called for DDT’s impeachment; the number has increased since then.

Pelosi said:

“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections…

“The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution. The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”

The impeachment impetus came from allegations that DDT violated the law in his refusal to release a whistleblower’s complaint about DDT’s “promises” to a foreign country and his pressure on Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden for corruption while withholding almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine to fight Russian aggression.

The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee entered the fray by inviting the whistleblower to a closed session by Friday and interviewing the intelligence inspector general who wanted to release the complaint to Congress as required by law. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) unexpectedly permitted a vote on Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) consent resolution to release the complaint to the Intelligence Committee that unanimously passed.

VP Mike Pence’s complicity in DDT’s apparent extortion and bribery plot comes from the transcript of his press conference in Poland when Pence said that he had talked to Zelensky about DDT’s “financial support in great detail.” Pence added that DDT “had me make clear, we have great concerns about issues of corruption.” Over three weeks ago, Pence spread the same story that DDT and Rudy Giuliani are trying to promote.

DDT’s shifts about Ukraine keep dribbling out: 

  • DDT said he didn’t talk to Zelensky about Joe Biden.
  • DDT said he talked to Zelensky about corruption but not Biden.
  • DDT said he “might” have talked about Biden in the “beautiful conversation with Zelensky”
  • DDT said that he talked about the $250 million military aid in the conversation but didn’t connect it to Biden.
  • DDT forgot to mention that he gave Ukraine an extra $140 million after talking with Zelensky about investigating Biden; that information came from Zelensky’s announcement. 
  • DDT said, “Who wouldn’t speak to your son? Of course, you spoke to your son.” [Evidently DDT talked to his son about the June 2016 meeting with Russia to get dirt on political opponent Hillary Clinton.] 
  • DDT said he connected the money designated for Ukraine to the talk about corruption: “Why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?”
  • DDT said he didn’t pressure Zelensky to investigate in exchange for the money, but that if “a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did, if a Republican ever said what Joe Biden said, they’d be getting the electric chair right now.” [Actually, an investigation exonerated Biden of any wrongdoing, but DDT isn’t as lucky. DDT typically projects his behavior and crimes onto others. DDT’s only concern with “corruption” in Ukraine has been about Joe Biden.]
  • DDT told budget officials to block military aid for Ukraine three days before his telephone conversation with Zelensky and ordered officials to tell lawmakers that the delays were an “interagency process” with no additional information.
  • DDT said he didn’t tell anyone to withhold the funding to help Ukraine fight Russian aggression. (He did.)
  • DDT said he did withhold the funding but because NATO countries didn’t give Ukraine money. (They already are.)
  • DDT said he might give the telephone call transcript to a “respected source” so “everyone will say” his conversation with Zelensky was perfectly fine, much like Nixon’s offer to give his audio recording to a hard-of-hearing conservative senator for a summary.
  • DDT said that he will release the full transcript to the public tomorrow.

A timeline of the events in this debacle.

After Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) met with Zelensky in early September, he reported that Ukraine’s president“directly” expressed concerns that “the aid that was being cut off to Ukraine by the president was a consequence” of his unwillingness to launch an investigation into the Bidens. Murphy said that any demand from a U.S. president provides “an implicit threat” with “consequences.”

In mid-August, lawmakers discovered that acting chief of staff and budget director Mick Mulvaney took control of the Ukrainian aid from the Defense and State departments in a possibly illegal action that blocked money authorized by Congress. At the same time, the whistleblower filed a complaint about DDT and Ukraine to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is covering for DDT, avoiding answers about the telephone call with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press and with Jake Tapper about the difference between business dealings for Biden’s son and DDT’s family. Mnuchin said that following federal law in releasing the whistleblower complaint to Congress would “set a terrible precedent” with the current administration.

DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who claimed he was looking for “dirt on Biden,” claimed that the State Department sent him to talk to Zelensky’s right-hand man, Andriy Yermack. In doing so, he might avoid prosecution under the Logan Act which criminalizes a private citizen’s attempt to intervene without authorization in disputes or controversies between the U.S. and foreign governments. His statements leave him open to prosecution for bribery and extortion conspiracy because he has no immunity. The Hobbs Act defines extortion as “obtaining property from another, with his consent, under color of official right,” according to Barbara McQuade. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act criminalizes the act of a U.S. citizen to corruptly offer “anything of value” to a foreign official to retain business or influence an official decision. Giuliani clearly acts on the part of DDT to persuade Ukraine to “investigate” a political opponent, illegal under federal law that blocks a person from soliciting, accept, or receiving a “contribution or donation of money or other thing of value” from a foreign national in connection to a U.S. election and prohibits a foreign national from the same act. Damaging information fits the definition of a “thing of value.”

Giuliani’s stories change as swiftly as those from DDT:

  • Last week, Giuliani said, “I did what I did on my own, and then I told [Trump] about it afterwards. Because I’m his lawyer.”
  • Over the weekend, Giuliani told the Washington Post, about DDT, “I don’t do anything that involves my client without speaking with my client.”
  • Monday, Giuliani told Sean Hannity, about his meeting with Yermack, “I wasn’t operating on my own. I was operating at the request of the State Department.”

Giuliani is left hanging out to dry. DDT asked Zelensky eight times to talk to Giuliani, and the State Department said that that it didn’t ask him for help:

“Mr. Giuliani is a private citizen and acts in a personal capacity as a lawyer for President Trump. He does not speak on behalf of the U.S. Government.”

On Sunday, however, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he approved of Giuliani “inserting himself in foreign affairs” and pressing Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden, possibly encouraging Giuliani to break the law.

Because the law does not designate what to do if the DNI violates the law by not releasing the complaint, experts think that the IG, who wants to provide Congress with the complaint, is in charge of delivering the complaint. Jesselyn Radack, a national security lawyer, said that “the DNI cannot countermand the inspector general’s determination.” The DNI, however, consulted the DOJ, another violation of the law, whose opinions are “considered to be binding.” Employees of the executive branch can’t be prosecuted for not doing what the White House demands, but they can be fired, according to a former DOJ official.

Repubicans argue that they don’t know the facts but that DDT’s actions with Ukraine aren’t wrong because the people who want to know the facts are speculating. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) claimed that DDT didn’t talk to Zelensky about Joe Biden—after DDT said that he talked to Zelensky about Biden. The media has the same confusion about how to defend DDT after he admits to extortion by saying “So what if I did?” Republicans and DDT have spread around the blame—Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Ukraine, the whistleblower, the media—or just saying that DDT did nothing wrong by trying to blackmail Ukraine. It’s all part of the coverup pattern for DDT’s sole concerns, his reelection in 2020.

Failing to stop Pelosi’s impeachment plan by offering to release the transcript of the Zelensky telephone call, DDT called the Speaker to “work something out” with “this whistleblower complaint.” She said, “Tell our people to obey the law.” He should have listened to aides who told him not to call Zelensky.

September 8, 2019

Treating Foreign Affairs like a Game Show Fails

Foreign policy for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is like his orchestration of his game show, but he is miserably failing in coping with the problems of the world—many of which he has caused. Some of the past month’s failures: 

Afghanistan:

Just days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. “delivered” on its mission to oust al-Qaeda from Afghanistan and deter terrorist attacks, DDT said he canceled a secret summit at Camp David with Taliban leadership and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani after the Taliban claimed last week’s attack that killed a U.S. soldier. The soldier was one of ten people, including a Romanian service member, killed in a suicide attack. He was the fourth killed in Afghanistan in two weeks and the 16th thus far this year. The day after the top negotiator’s announcement that he had reached a deal “in principle,” a Taliban suicide bomber strapped a bomb to a tractor and drove it into an international compound in Kabul, killing 16 people and injured 100. Two weeks ago, a bomb killed 63 people, many of them women and children, at a wedding in the Afghan capital. A car bomb killing 45 and injuring 145 a few months ago was attributed to the Taliban as well as a bomb and gun attack on a political party’s office that left 20 dead and over 50 injured. Afghanis express concern if “peace” does not include a ceasefire and if the Taliban reneges on its agreement after the U.S. pulls its troops.

National security adviser John Bolton has been missing from talks with Afghanistan, North Korea, and Iran. The head negotiator had even refused to give Bolton a draft of the agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban, and Bolton wasn’t originally invited to a high-level meeting at DDT’s New Jersey golf resort because he might leak the details.

Yemen:

The U.S., France, and Britain may be complicit in war crimes for providing the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in its war on Yemen with logistical support and weapons, according to a UN report released days after the coalition killed over 100 people in airstrikes on a Yemeni detention center. The coalition “is guilty of bombing hospitals, homes, a school bus, and other civilian targets during its years-long assault on Yemen” which may constitute war crimes. Last spring, DDT vetoed a stand-alone War Powers resolution to end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led assault on Yemen. Their report documents air strikes on civilian infrastructure, indiscriminate shelling, snipers, landmines, arbitrary killings and detention, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, starvation, and impeding of access to humanitarian aid in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The four-year conflict killed at least 7,290 civilians and left 24 million people—80 percent of the population—in need of humanitarian assistance or protection including ten million who rely on food aid to survive.

Iran:

When DDT backed out of an anti-nuclear agreement in May 2018, he was convinced that he would emerge victorious. He failed. This week, Iran promised to reinstate R&D on its nuclear program and may begin to enrich uranium faster. Before that, Tehran defied the U.S. trying to launch a space rocket in response to heavy U.S. financial penalties and pushes for countries to stop doing business with Iran. An angry DDT added to the crippling sanctions against Iran. A year before the agreement, the CIA predicted that if the U.S. backed out of the deal, radical elements would be empowered.

DDT even failed to take an Iranian tanker with 2.1 million barrels of oil and a $1 million penalty after a Gibraltar court refused DDT’s request. The ship, renamed the Adrian Darya-1, proceeded through the Mediterranean where it’s nearing Syria because U.S. sanctions do not apply in the EU. In an unprecedented scam, Brian Hook, Pompeo’s special envoy on Iran, even tried to bribe the ship’s captain with millions of dollars to take the ship into a port where the U.S. could seize it. Hook offered “good news” to the Indian captain, writing, “With this money you can have any life you wish and be well-off in old age.” Later Hook wrote, “If you choose not to take this easy path, life will be much harder for you.” Iran is now injecting uranium gas into advanced centrifuges.

Israel:

Peace in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine hit another glitch when the envoy for brokering the deal, DDT’s former real estate lawyer and Trump Organization employee Jason Greenblatt, resigned. He was replaced by 29-year-old Avi Berkowitz, Jared Kushner’s longtime aide, who graduated from law school in 2016 with no experience in foreign policy or international diplomacy. A sample of headlines: “Trump’s New Mideast Point Man Is Jared Kushner’s Former Coffee Boy Avi Berkowitz” (Vanity Fair) and “Trump Somehow Replaces Unqualified Mideast Envoy with Even Less Qualified One” (New York magazine). During the past two months, Israel expanded its air attacks on Iran and militia from Syria to Iraq, including a drone attack on a Shiite militia convoy in Iraq killing nine, an air raid in Syria killing two Lebanese Hezbollah operatives, and an attack on a weapons depot north of Baghdad.

North Korea:

DDT Keeps bragging about the non-existent progress in North Korea, but Kim Jong-Un refuses to meet and built up the “range and maneuverability” of North Korea’s weapons. DDT downplays North Korea’s ballistic missile tests violating UN Security Council resolutions as something that “many nations” do.

Hong Kong:

After DDT hid from Hong Kong’s summer of protesting, leader Carrie Lam announced she would formally withdraw the bill allowing extradition to mainland China. China wanted the extradition law to get political dissidents back to the mainland. Protesters demand political reforms, an independent inquiry into police brutality, the retraction of the government’s label of some protesters as “rioters,” and amnesty for the arrested protesters.

China:

U.S. consumer prices skyrocketed, thanks to DDT’s tariffs. The stock market went up after he announced talks in October, but he’s lied about talks before.

Venezuela:

DDT’s attempts to unseat legally-elected President Nicholas Maduro, a stringent blockade, received signatures from at least eight million Venezuelans—one fourth of the nation’s population—protesting the U.S. blockade to the UN. They also march with the “No More Trump” campaign to denounce DDT’s sanctions on Venezuela. Socialism-hating DDT is coordinating secret meetings with Venezuela’s socialist party boss, Diosdado Cabello, against Maduro. Last year, DDT sanctioned Cabello for organizing drug shipments and running a major corruption network embezzling state funds that were invested in Florida real estate. He may have intended to kill Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). This year he’s a U.S. colleague. Problems with DDT’s Venezuelan strategy:

  • Latin America may reject his willingness to use military force; even Brazil’s autocratic president sided with Maduro in May.
  • The ousting of Maduro hasn’t succeeded yet, forcing foreign ministries to normalize ties with Maduro’s government with the perception that DDT had no plans and did it for personal political reasons.
  • U.S. actions makes Juan Guaidó look like a U.S. puppet.
  • Sanctions have made the U.S. a scapegoat, and many of Maduro’s protesters have left Venezuela.

Brazil:

Top donors giving millions to DDT and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) are significantly responsible for the Amazon rainforest destruction. The two Brazilian firms took control of land, deforested it, and helped build a controversial highway to their new terminal in the one-time jungle to cultivate and export grain and soybeans. Since DDT put U.S. farmers out of the soybean business with Chinese tariffs, Brazil has taken over the market.

Ukraine:

In efforts to ingratiate himself with Putin and “persuade” Ukrainian officials to investigate possible corruption by presidential candidate Joe Biden, DDT follows chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s wish by continuing to block $250 million in military assistance to them. The Pentagon congressional members want DDT to lift his hold on the money, that goes back into the general fund (wall) if not spent in three weeks. Russian television appreciates DDT’s subservience to Putin

Georgia:

DDT blamed Russia’s annexation of Crimea on President Obama instead of Vladimir Putin, but on DDT’s watch, Putin is backing a takeover of Georgia’s South Ossetia and recognizes Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. Russia won’t allow the EUMM (European Union Monitoring Mission) monitors to enter South Ossetia and Abkhazia in violation of the Six Point Ceasefire Agreement. As part of its occupation, Russians are building border fences. Georgia and the West declare Russia’s move as an “illegal occupation” of 20 percent of Georgia’s sovereign territory.

Ten countries warn their residents that the U.S. is a dangerous place to travel: Venezuela, Uruguay, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, France, Bahamas, and China. Warnings go from extreme cautions to postponing travel to the U.S., with most cautions advising people that they do not go to crowded places which tend to be tourist destinations. The human rights organization Amnesty International, present in over 150 countries, echoed this warning.  

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