Nel's New Day

July 3, 2019

Reverberations from Dem Debates, G20 Summit

Last week, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) made news overseas while 20 Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential election debated on two different nights. While people have questioned why the debates are almost 18 months before the final election and why so many people debated, the polls show how the four hours of debate may have changed the playing field. Former VP Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) went into the events as clear leaders. Biden came out still ahead but about 12 points down in some polls, and Sanders placed fourth in the latest Quinnipiac poll. Pundits declared Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) clear winners for the two nights.

In a Quinnipiac poll, Harris moved from 7 percent last month to 20 percent, almost tying with Biden who plummeted eight points to 22 percent. An earlier poll from CNN/SSRS showed Harris again in second place with 17 percent, and a Suffolk University/USA Today poll put Warren in third at 13 percent, four points ahead of Sanders. Even worse news for Biden and Sanders came from a Focus on Rural America poll in Iowa putting Warren and Harris at the top with 20 and 18 percent while Biden had 17 percent and Sanders with 12 percent in fourth place.

In last week’s debates, the six women were clearly prepared; they waited for their turn while the men continually interrupted them. On the first night, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said, “I am the only candidate here who has passed a law protecting a woman’s reproductive rights in health insurance and the only candidate who passed a public option.” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) corrected him, “I want to say there are three women up here who fought pretty hard for a woman’s right to choose.”

The biggest loser among the candidates was Biden when he tried to defend his anti-busing position while he was in Congress. After Harris talked about her accomplishments possibly coming from her being in the first class bussed to her school, Biden tried to gloss over his anti-busing votes by defending states’ rights—not a Democratic position—and explaining that she was able to go to another school because local and state governments passed bussing ordinances and laws. The man who justifies his touching women because he wants to comfort them ignored Harris’ pain from her childhood experiences. Biden flat-out lied when he said he didn’t oppose busing in the 1970s and that the Department of Education had ordered it. The Department of Education didn’t exist until 1979; in a 1975 interview, Biden said: 

“I oppose busing. It’s an asinine concept, the utility of which has never been proven to me. I’ve gotten to the point where I think our only recourse to eliminate busing may be a constitutional amendment…. You take people who aren’t racist, people who are good citizens, who believe in equal education and opportunity, and you stunt their children’s intellectual growth by busing them to an inferior school … and you’re going to fill them with hatred.”

At the end of his justification, Biden said, “Anyway, my time is up. I’m sorry.” The comment may refer to his campaign. The day after the debate, he addressed his anti-busing position in a speech at Jesse Jackson’s annual Rainbow PUSH Coalition conference, complaining that “30 seconds to 60 seconds on a campaign debate exchange can’t do justice to a lifetime commitment to civil rights.”

Biden was also hurt by his boasting about working with racist members of Congress, losing him campaign donors. Billionaire Tom McInerney has “pulled back” his support for Biden because of his working with segregationist senators, long supporting the Hyde Amendment, and his weak performing at the first debate. Other wealthy Silicon Valley potential donors ignore Biden because of his age. Earlier in June, DDT-supporting New York supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis turned down Biden’s request for financial help.

The debate featured a serious group of people having a real debate over things that matter. DDT was bored. Asked about the court-order busing solution for segregation, a confused DDT said, “There aren’t that many ways you’re going to get people to schools.”

For several pundits, the biggest loser in the second debate was questioner Chuck Todd who tried to make a name for himself by baiting the participants. None of the candidates took his bait, but he still talked more than six of them, despite being present for only half the debate time. If only he would take the same tack with Republicans on Meet the Press.

The other person who sucked the oxygen out of another important event was Ivanka Trump, who tried to insert herself into every part of the G20 summit. CNN stated that she acted like an “unofficial Secretary of State,” and national security lawyer Carrie Cordero, in a WaPo op-ed, wrote that Trump “broke new ground” even by the low standards of DDT’s administration. Among obvious offenses were her attempts to replace real, qualified diplomats in meetings, her participation in the visit with Kim Jong-Un, her appearance at  Osan Air Base on a visit to troops with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and  the painfully embarrassing effort to interrupt a conversation with UK Prime Minister Theresa May. 

The last episode went viral with a video clip released by the French showing Trump trying to take part in the conversation with May, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and International Monetary Fund Chair Christine Lagarde. May said, “As soon as you start talking about the economic aspect of it though, a lot of people start listening who wouldn’t otherwise listen.” Trump, with her minimal knowledge about women’s empowerment, responded, “And the same with the defense side I think, in terms of the whole ecosystem, it’s been very male dominated.” Lagarde’s expression shows that Trump has made no sense.

The internet exploded with #UnwantedIvanka and tsunamis of parodies photoshopping Trump into classic images from ancient Egypt to the World War II conference in Yalta and the landing with Allied forces on D-Day. She’s even on the moon landing. Tim O’Brien collected many of the tweets. When DDT called her onto the stage and promised that “she’s going to steal the show,” he didn’t know how she would do it.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that “being someone’s daughter actually isn’t a career qualification” and U.S. diplomacy should be left to diplomats instead of handbag designers, and Piers Morgan tried to take on the member of Congress. He answered:

“Could be worse… Ivanka could have been a bar-tender 18 months ago.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s response:

 “Actually, that would make government better – not worse. Imagine if more people in power spent years of their lives actually working for a living. We’d probably have healthcare and living wages by now.”

When Trump wasn’t interrupting people, she gave a talk on “women’s empowerment.” The last time she spoke to the G20, at Berlin in 2017, she was “put on the spot about her father’s attitudes toward women, booed and hissed at by the crowd, and grilled by the moderator about what, exactly, her role is in President Donald Trump’s administration.”  She stated that “we must continue to prioritize women’s economic empowerment and place it at the very heart of the G20 agenda.” Since then, Trump’s father has put a gag rule on the United States as well as the rest of the world that denies women reproductive health care and kills them. He stripped women of protections in the workplace and appointed judges who will carry out his anti-women policies.

Trump noted the male domination of the defense industry while her father denied a UN request for the FBI to investigate Saudi Arabia’s torture and dismemberment of a U.S. journalist and resident because it would jeopardize U.S. weapons sales to the Saudis. The same week that Trump extolled women’s empowerment in the rest of the world, E. Jean Carroll presented a credible claim about DDT’s sexual assault; she is the 24th woman to openly accuse him of sexual misconduct.

DDT’s long history of sexism, reducing women to body parts and following his belief of treating them “like sh*t,” establishing a pattern of behavior for other men. His change in definitions of domestic violence and sexual assault to only physical harm rolled women’s rights back to the mid-20th century and empowers domestic abusers. After 25 years to decreasing, domestic violence murders are on the rise, now four women a day instead of three. Ivanka Trump may enjoy the attention she gets on the stage walking about “women’s empowerment” but her father is destroying it in the United States.

Missing from the G20 Summit was National Security Adviser John Bolton, fond of regime changes, who was instead sent to Mongolia. Really! Instead, Fox network’s Tucker Carlson accompanied DDT to North Korea along with DDT’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband Jared Kushner.

Ivanka called her walk into North Korea “surreal.” This photograph—not photoshopped—shows the surreal (bizarre and freakish) nature of her takeover at the G20 Summit. Is DDT grooming Ivanka for the president of the United States? 

June 6, 2019

DDT’s Five-Day Invasion on Foreign Soil

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and his entourage—including the whole family whether they’re in government or not—have left Britain, probably with many signs of relief from his hosts. It was preceded by an odd occurrence, even odd for DDT, when he wandered into a Virginia megachurch from the golf course. After praying for DDT, Pastor David Platt wrote a quasi-apology for his actions to church members who were “hurt” by Platt’s decision. He stated that he was not endorsing DDT, his policies, or his party. DDT stood on the stage during the prayer and then walked off without any comment. The day before the service, Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son, had called for Sunday to be a “Special Day of Prayer for the President.” The White House issued a statement that DDT had gone to pray for the Virginia Beach shooting victims, but no mention was made of them, and the pastor was asked to pray for DDT. A Christian and former DDT supporter called the appearance a “staged photo-op.”[DDT in full golf regalia including cleats.] 

But back to DDT’s invasion of Britain. A few highlights:

Before Air Force One landed, DDT called London Mayor Sadiq Khan a “stone cold loser.” (The term “loser” could refer to DDT’s 21 percent popularity with Britons.)

Prince Harry didn’t seem very chummy with DDT, perhaps because DDT called his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, “nasty”—and then denied what was obviously on video.

A huge disappointment for DDT in London was the lack of Fox network; the Brits watch CNN. His tweets called for a boycott:

”I believe that if people stoped [sic] using or subscribing to @ATT, they would be forced to make big changes at @CNN, which is dying in the ratings anyway. It is so unfair with such bad, Fake News! Why wouldn’t they act. When the World watches @CNN, it gets a false picture of USA. Sad!”

Historian Jon Meacham described DDT’s “behavior more commonly associated with authoritarian regimes, not democratic ones.”

Buckingham Palace is undergoing renovations so DDT had to stay with the U.S. Ambassador Woody Johnson at Winfield House. (The lavish Belgian Suite at the palace, where Barack and Michelle Obama stayed, wasn’t affected by the renovations.

Prince Charles’ lifelong passion is environmentalism, making on wonder about his conversation with DDT who calls climate change a “hoax.”

DDT commented that Boris Johnson would be an “excellent” replacement for outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, but Johnson had no time to meet with DDT.

At Westminster Abbey’s Poets’ Corner, revered final resting place and/or memorials for England’s literary legends, DDT looked at a white marble slab and asked what it was made from. He lost interest in the stones after five minutes and left.

“We are your largest partner. You’re our largest partner. A Lot of people don’t know that. A lot of people don’t know that,” DDT told May about trade. “A lot of people don’t know that” because China is the U.S.’ largest trading partner and Germany is the UK’s largest trading partner.

DDT promised that NHS would be on the table in U.S.-UK trade talks but changed his mind when he found out that NHS stands for National Health Services. Many in the UK oppose U.S. health firms coming into the UK with cost-cutting health services and sales of lower standard food such as chlorine-washed chicken. DDT called Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a “negative force.”

Although DDT met with Nigel Farage, Fox guest and radical right leader of Brexit, he refused to meet with Corbyn before he accused Corbyn of not meeting with him.

Despite a crowd of 75,000 protesters against DDT in just London on a rainy Tuesday, DDT cried “fake news” about protests because he didn’t see any. He called the crowds “those that gathered in support of the USA and me.” He missed most protesters because he opted for a helicopter to travel the three miles from the palace to Winfield House. The streets where he traveled were mostly deserted.

DDT said that Britain should not pay the Brexit $50 billion bill and walk away from the agreement. (He hopes to get more trade from Britain if their ties to EU fail.)

Why did DDT dodge the draft during the Vietnam War? In an interview with Piers Morgan, he “was never a fan of that war” and because it was a country “nobody heard of” and so far away. He continued by saying that he’s making up for the draft-dodge because he’s making sure that the military has lots of money now. (DDT’s pre-nup agreement with Wife #2 maintained that child support would end before daughter Tiffany turned 21 if she enlisted in the military or the Peace Corps.)  

Asked about why people need AR-15s, he said, “Entertainment.” He followed that up by calling the man who killed 58 people and wounded 489 others in the Las Vegas mass shooting as a “smart guy” and “incredible.” 

In another part of the interview, DDT said that transgender people are banned from the military because they “take massive amounts of drugs” (not true) and falsely claimed that people in the military cannot take prescription drugs. When Morgan pointed out that the U.S. military spends more on Viagra for servicemen than transgender medical bills, DDT said, “Well, it is what it is” and repeated his lies.

Staunch Republican Kathleen Parker summed up DDT’s visit in her column, “Money Can’t Buy You Class.”

“What would one expect when New York’s most famous hillbilly drags his entire entourage to sup at the sumptuous table of the queen of England as though word had leaked of an all-you-can-eat buffet and free booze over at Lizzie’s Eatery? …

“As a descendant of generations of royals, [Elizabeth II] epitomizes the definition of proper behavior, rarely displaying emotion or affection, always stoic in the face of adversity. A far cry is she from the effluvious Donald and his bloviating histrionics. But there she was playing sober hostess to a reality-show president and his carnivalesque courtiers….

“The whole affair felt tawdry and cheap, joyless and stilted beyond the usual norms of pomp and circumstance….

“Money can’t buy you class, but it can sure buy loyalty. Trump’s court at the palace was essentially his family and the few remaining White House staffers still willing to tell the president that, indeed, his exposed derriere is absolutely rocking raiment of finest silk and gold.”

DDT’s three days with the Brits in a fast three minutes, thanks to The Guardian.

Departure from Britain inflicted pain on Ireland as DDT met with its taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, at the Shannon airport because Varadkar refused to act as a shill by meeting DDT at his golf course. DDT displayed great insensitivity about Irish politics when he proposed that Ireland build a Brexit wall with Northern Ireland, just as DDT wants on the U.S. southern border. The Republic of Ireland remains part of the EU no matter what happens with Brexit. Varadkar told the media that he had explained the border’s history and Troubles in his private meeting with DDT. Irish president, Michael D Higgins, also called DDT policy on the climate emergency “regressive and pernicious.”

DDT and his family can hide out at the golf resort before traveling to France for D-Day commemorations—and another round of embarrassments for the people of the United States. Fox’s Laura Ingraham made up for the missing DDT as she and contributor Raymond Arroyo laughed hysterically about Democrats using children as “pathetic political props.” In the seven-minute segment, they sat in front of the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, a place where over 9,300 soldiers are used and usually reserved for solemn ceremonies. DDT matched Ingraham’s tone-deaf response to the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy (France) during an interview with Ingraham at the cemetery when he called Robert Mueller a “fool” and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “disaster” immediately before the ceremony honoring military veterans and commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France. Mueller is a decorated Marine veteran of the Vietnam War which DDT avoided with “bone spurs.”

Also in Normandy, Pelosi refused to respond to questions. She told CNN’s Jim Acosta that “I don’t talk about the president while I’m out of the country.” she told CNN’s Jim Acosta. “That’s my principle.”

Our former European allies will long remember DDT’s five days of indecency on their soil. 

January 30, 2019

The U.S. National Crisis – DDT

The United States has a national emergency—and it’s Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Yesterday, the government released its annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment,” and three intelligence leaders— National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel, and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray—testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. These are some conclusions from the 42-page report and the expert testimony:

The U.S. has no “security crisis” at the U.S.-Mexico border which DDT has described as a national emergency, but the nation has much more to fear.

U.S. trade policies and “unilateralism,” straining alliances, have prompted former foreign partners to find other relationships. The growing cyberthreat from Russia and China, now “more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950s,” threatens U.S. infrastructure with their capability of destroying the U.S. electric grid with malware and cutting off natural gas pipelines. Foreign enemies want to weaken the U.S. to control the country. Russia’s latest “disinformation” campaign to distort information from Robert Mueller’s investigation works to protect DDT who will support Vladimir Putin at all costs. Russia and China’s goal is to gain military and technological superiority over the United States. Russia also intends to interfere with politics (aka elections) with “information warfare” largely on social media.

North Korea is “unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities,” which the country’s leaders consider “critical to the regime’s survival.” Its government “is committed to developing a long-range nuclear-armed missile that would pose a direct threat to the United States.”

ISIS, a still-formidable organization, will continue “to stoke violence” in Syria. With eight branches and over a dozen networks, it has thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria and attracts thousands of supporters from around the world. ISIS is also capable of attacking the United States.

Iran is not trying to build a nuclear weapon and is in compliance with the international agreement that DDT rejected before he reinstated U.S. sanctions on the country.

Climate change remains a national security threat, according to Coats. Two weeks ago, the Defense Department reported that climate change is a global security threat.

The officials punted when asked why staffers such as DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner received security clearances that would block personnel in other administrations from access to classified information. In all other ways, they declared that DDT’s world view is wrong.

DDT spent today ranting against his intelligence leaders. He described them as “extremely passive and naïve” about Iran and exclaimed about the three who testified, “They are wrong!” Although the DDT didn’t watch the testimony, he responded to clips shown on television and delivered opinions based on nothing. “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” he indignantly tweeted.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wrote Coats asking him, Wray, and Haspel to perform an intervention with DDT. Schumer called DDT’s criticism “extraordinarily inappropriate and undermines public confidence in the U.S. government’s efforts to protect our national security and preserve U.S. power and influence abroad” before he said that Coats “cannot allow the President’s ill-advised and unwarranted comments today to stand.” Schumer continued:

“I believe it is incumbent on you, Director Wray and Director Haspel to insist on an immediate meeting with the President to educate him about the facts and raw intelligence underlying the Intelligence Community assessments, and to impress upon him how critically important it is for him to join and the leadership of our Intelligence Community in speaking with a unified and accurate voice about national security threats.”

DDT has joined Russia and China in trying to weaken the United States. The fear of nuclear weapons from a half-century ago has returned as DDT plans a withdrawal from Ronald Reagan’s Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty on February 2 and an irrational man is in charge of pushing the button on nuclear war. DDT gets his information and advice from Vladimir Putin, including a secret meeting in Buenos Aires at the G20 summit where the only other person from the U.S. present was DDT’s wife, Melania. Earlier DDT had said that he wouldn’t meet with Putin because Russia had not returned captured Ukrainian ships and sailors. Two months after Russia’s seizure of three ships and 24 sailors in international waters, DDT has said nothing about Putin’s unwillingness to release them.

If the thought of DDT allowing China and Russia to destroy natural gas and electric sources in the United States, allow ISIS terrorists to overrun the country, and blow up the world with nuclear weapons, consider Venezuela. This week, DDT seized assets from state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA)—a primary source of income and foreign currency for the country—by placing sanctions on them in a de facto embargo with exemptions only for Chevron and two large oil services providers Halliburton and Schlumberger. He gave control of the remaining assets to his appointed Venezuelan president, Juan Guaidó. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin claimed that corruption was the reason for the U.S. action, but he isn’t bothered by Russia’s corruptions and sham elections. The United States will block Venezuela’s access to credit and stop debt restructuring until Guaidó replaces legally elected President Nicolás Madura. National security adviser John Bolton again threatened military action (aka invasion) toward Venezuela.

With the biggest oil reserves in the world, Venezuela has become president of OPEC for the upcoming year with the ability to threaten the U.S. dollar with a push for oil payments in non-dollar currencies or in cryptocurrencies. The country also has the second largest gold reserves alone with diamonds and other minerals such as coltan used for electronic devices. DDT’s doctrine, as expressed about Iraq in 2016:

“To the victor belong the spoils. You have to go in and take the oil.”

DDT started looking into taking over Venezuela the day after his inauguration because of these oil reserves, and an invasion also fits his doctrine. He has told the CIA and the Pentagon that he sees no problem in civilian casualties and celebrated the dropping of “the mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan. With plummeting ratings and problems in the United States, DDT is searching for help politically, not caring that his embargo and invasion would greatly increase the suffering of Venezuelans. To DDT, people are just commodities but of less value than oil.

Reasons against DDT’s Venezuelan coup:

Venezuela has a legitimate voting process, far better than in other countries such as the United States and Russia. International observers concluded that “the elections were very transparent and complied with international parameters and national legislation.”

Outside interference caused the dire economic situation in Venezuela from an economic war by the U.S., declining oil prices, and the government’s economic sabotage. Large inflow from foreign currency for oil raised the value of the country’s currency which made its other products less price competitive and resulting in more imports. U.S. sanctions in the past six months cost Venezuela $6 billion.

Much of the violence in the country has been caused by the opposition to the elected president Maduro from violence, murders, and destruction of public and private buildings and vehicles. The National Assembly, declared in contempt by the country’s Supreme Court in 2017 because of electoral fraud, granted amnesty for the opposition’s crimes since 1999—felonies, terrorism, and undermining the economy—and described the crimes by the opposition.

To compound problems, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and DDT appointed an extremist as a “special envoy” to Venezuela. Pompeo extolled Elliott Abrams’ “passion for the rights and liberties of all peoples,” but Abrams defended Guatemalan dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt in the 1980s as he oversaw a campaign of mass murder and torture of indigenous people in Guatemala. Ríos Montt was later convicted of genocide. Abrams was also convicted for lying about his involvement in the Iran-Contra affair and escaped prison only when George H.W. Bush pardoned him to save his own skin.

DDT’s sidekick in ousting a duly elected president, Brazil’s far-right Jair Bolsonaro, has his own problems. Like the corrupt DDT, Bolsonaro campaigned on eradicating corruption and crime, but his son, recently elected senator Flávio Bolsonaro, reportedly employed both the mother and wife of Adriano Magalhães da Nóbrega, leader of a Rio de Janeiro death squad called the Escritório do Crime (The Crime Bureau). Nóbrega is supposedly on the run, and law enforcement suspect the Crime Bureau of assassinating Rio councilor Marielle Franco. Fabrício Queiroz, a longstanding friend of Brazil’s president pictured socializing with Jair Bolsonaro in a photo where both men appear topless, allegedly recommended the two women to Flávio Bolsonaro, who is also facing other damaging accusations about his financial dealings. Like DDT, the Brazilian president could face blackmail.

Now DDT faces his State of the Union speech this coming Tuesday. Prepare yourself for defensive statements presenting his fictional views of the world—and his fantasy stories about women with duct tape covering their mouths, smugglers with “unbelievable vehicles,” and Muslim prayer rugs in the desert along the southern U.S. border—straight from the fictional movie Sicario: Day of the Soldado.

January 26, 2019

Venezuela: Is DDT Planning for 2020?

Following a long history of supporting Latin American coups by right-wing military leaders who destroy democratic process and law, the United States has involved itself in the recent Venezuelan presidency. VP Mike Pence declared that Venezuelan Nicolás Maduro, elected on May 20, 2018, is a “dictator with no legitimate claim to power [who] never won the presidency in a free and fair election.” The night before his announcement, Pence called Juan Guaidó to pledge U.S. support for him “if he seized the reins of government from [elected President] Nicolas Maduro by invoking a clause in the South American country’s constitution” after the attempted coup had been planned for several weeks. Over 70 academics and experts signed an open letter demanding that the U.S. “cease encouraging violence by pushing for violent, extralegal regime change.” Behind the push to oust Maduro are national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) along with the right-wing governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Colombia. DDT got more support from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

DDT says that “all options are on the table,” including “strong” ones, insinuating military action. Eighteen months ago, DDT wanted to “just simply invade” Venezuela, a suggestion that “stunned” then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Explanations about how DDT’s suggestion could lose support from Latin American governments to keep Venezuela from a dictatorship failed to persuade DDT, who pointed out successful invasions of Panama and Grenada. He brought his idea of his military overthrow with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in August 2017 and a month later with other Latin American leaders. Now he has supporters for a coup from people like his new Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

As the U.S. has done in other countries, it declares disliked government illegitimate and dictatorial and tries to empower opposition groups it determines favorable. Thomas Carothers, director of the Carnegie Endowment Democracy and Rule of Law program, is the foremost academic on Washington’s democracy promotion efforts. In his research he concludes:

“Where democracy appears to fit in well with U.S. security and economic interest, the United States promotes democracy. Where democracy clashes with other significant interests, it is downplayed or even ignored.”

In 2009, the U.S. supported a military coup in Honduras deposing the elected president to keep access to the U.S. military base in the country and support U.S. business interests in Honduras. When the pro-business government winning the elections privatized Honduran natural resources, the U.S. recognized the election as “generally free and fair.” In 2013, the U.S.-supported Honduran president lifted the constitutional ban on re-election and then won after he stopped publishing the vote count. The U.S. accepted the election despite protests from 20 Latin American countries in the OAS and 28 in the European Union. Honduran authorities used violence to silence the protesting Hondurans, the U.S. gave Honduras millions in foreign aid, and DDT is facing thousands of Honduran asylum seekers at the U.S. border.

In Venezuela, U.S. officials called Maduro’s government convening of a National Constituent Assembly a “sham” and “another step toward dictatorship.” The Assembly is an elected body able to amend the Venezuelan constitution outside the legislature—much as conservatives have called for in the United States. Then the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela won 18 out of 23 races, as the Democratic United Roundtable had predicted, and the U.S. “condemned the lack of free and fair elections” and vowed harsh reprisals “as long as the Maduro regime conducts itself as an authoritarian dictatorship.” Only one governor’s race was in question, and the rest of them were accepted by most opposition parties.

The U.S. charged that the Constituent Assembly dissolved the opposition-controlled congressional branch, but the legislative branch still exists. It cannot perform its function unless it answers charges of wrongdoing from the Supreme Court when the opposition parties disobeyed a direct order. The opposition party was trying to get a supermajority used to unseat Maduro.

According to UN representative Alfred de Zayas, the U.S. is attempting an illegal coup much like the forerunner to the 2003 Iraq invasion. His concern is the U.S intention for creating a regime change in Venezuela, to “topple the government” that could result in a civil war. He described the media campaign in the U.S. that promotes the usual solution of violence to an economic crisis and humanitarian crisis of hunger and suffering. De Zayas reported seeing victims of brutality by Maduro’s opposition, depicted in the media as peaceful.

The U.S. has tried other coups in Venezuela, but the country is much worse off after the drop in oil prices and the recent election of right-wing governments in South America. Yet there is no legal justification for this coup: Guaidó’s party boycotted the election, and no one voted for him.

The U.S. will probably impose heavy sanctions on the country’s oil to increase hunger and suffering, especially with DDT’s newly appointed special envoy to Venezuela. Neocon hawk Elliott Abrams, part of Reagan’s Iran-Contra affair, will oversee policy toward Venezuela despite Abrams’ rejection as deputy secretary of State for criticizing DDT. As deputy national security adviser for George W. Bush, Abrams supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq and a failed military coup attempt in Venezuela in 2002. In 1991, Abrams pled guilty to withholding information from Congress about his secret efforts to aid the rebels but was pardoned by DDT’s AG appointment, Bill Barr. He also strongly disagreed with DDT’s claim that he wasn’t seeking regime change in North Korea.

DDT’s approach toward opposing Venezuela is unlike the other proclamations that he has made. He made no tweets about his position about Venezuela, and his claims to “make America first” never extolls democracy or human rights, and his closest allies are dictators—i.e., Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-Un, Roderigo Duterte, Saudi Arabia’s royalty, and Brazil. In order to send the U.S. military into Venezuela without congressional approval, however, requires that it be on a humanitarian basis.

One answer for DDT’s focus on Venezuela may come from his low ratings and desire to be re-elected. Just as Bush’s Iraq made him temporarily successful, so could military action in Venezuela, or so DDT might think. He would also believe that an attack against a weakened country surrounded by right-wing countries would be easier than an attack in the Middle East or Asia.

Every action DDT has taken since he was inaugurated—all of them in opposition to President Obama’s policies—has taken the United States farther from world leadership. DDT may see his control in Venezuela as a method of moving back into control.

Venezuela is oil-rich—and easier to take over than Middle Eastern countries.

DDT has used Venezuela as the poster child for the failure of socialism to batter the Democrats despite the fact that “socialism” and “democratic socialism” are highly different. He also objects to Venezuela’s alliance with Cuba, most likely the reason that he followed Rubio’s direction to depose Maduro.

Another reason for deposing an elected president might be his fear of losing his election in 2020. He might believe that success in Venezuela could set the example for using his sycophantic Senate to depose an elected president in favor of him.

Whatever the reason, Venezuela has many parallels with the United States. The man in the Oval Office may have been illegitimately elected, he is trying to erase freedom of the press and ignores the rest of the U.S. Constitution, and his administration suffers from massive corruption and the officials’ attempts to become even wealthier. Income inequality in the U.S. geometrically increases every day. DDT constantly lies to terrorize people into following him. Millions of people are marching against DDT’s policies, and he puts only cronies into the administration. Congress is no longer independent from the executive branch as the GOP Senate takes its directions from DDT, for example its refusal to reopen the government until DDT gave them permission. The U.S. does not suffer as much from the hunger and economic problems as Venezuela does, but DDT’s policies are creating economic problems—especially with the rapidly ballooning deficit caused by moving money to the wealthy. DDT and GOP policies will also increase hunger, poverty, and lack of healthcare.

Opposing Maduro could create problems for DDT because of the support for Maduro from most countries, including Russia, China, and Turkey. If DDT caves in to Putin after setting up Venezuela for civil war, Guaidó could lose, and DDT is not known for keeping his promises. Thus far, the only dedication that DDT exhibits is to “wall,” and even that project has evolved during the past three years depending on its lack of popularity. Without DDT’s interference, Venezuela might find its own way from Maduro, but DDT will probably not give the country a chance to work out their own problems if his interference benefits DDT.

November 11, 2018

DDT ‘Low Energy’ on 100th Anniversary of World War I

World War I ended at 11:11 am on November 11, 2018—100 years ago today. Thirty-two countries fought in the four-year war that killed nine million combatants and seven million civilians, followed by genocides and the 1918 influenza epidemic, which caused between 50 and 100 million deaths worldwide. One-fifth of the world’s population of under two billion people were infected by the 1918 flu.

In commemoration of the solemn event, French President Emmanuel Macron called over 60 countries together for a three-day Paris Peace Forum, and many world leaders attending commemorative events in France. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went to Canada’s National Memorial in France at Vimy Ridge on Saturday, and Macron went with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) to Compiègne, 80 miles northeast of Paris, where the peace agreement was signed on November 11, 1918. “We owe it to our soldiers,” said Macron about their journey.

Around 1,000 members of the public, including French and German schoolchildren, were invited to the ceremony. Sixteen-year-old Mickaël Arlin, 16, who was visiting World War I commemorative sites, said:

“It has helped us understand what is at stake today and helped us go further than just words.”

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), who flew to Paris for the weekend, cancelled his visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, next to the site of the Battle of Belleau Wood where American Marines stopped a German offensive in 1918. The remains of 2,289 war dead are buried at the Aines-Marne cemetery is home to the remains of 2,289 war dead. DDT, 72, stayed in Paris and watched television, sending Chief of Staff John Kelly, 68, in his place. Winston Churchill’s grandson, Nicholas Soames, tweeted:

 “They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen #hesnotfittorepresenthisgreatcountry.”

David Frum, George W. Bush’s speech-writer and political commentator, tweeted:

“It’s incredible that a president would travel to France for this significant anniversary—and then remain in his hotel room watching TV rather than pay in person his respects to the Americans who gave their lives in France for the victory gained 100 years ago tomorrow.”

A concern from some is that DDT lacked the strength to make the trip to the cemetery. After the adrenalin-pumping events of rallies for almost two months, DDT reportedly seemed distracted and disengaged, according to the WaPo, especially after his losses in the midterm elections and his problems with journalists. During his meeting with Macron, DDT seemed subdued, almost “sullen.” Kelly Magsamen, who served as a high-ranking Pentagon official on Asia affairs, used DDT’s term in a tweet with the description, “It’s real low energy.” That was DDT’s pejorative term for his opponents, and he ridiculed President Obama by calling him feckless and weak on the world stage.

REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Pool – RC17A17FAAE0

The only time DDT looked delighted was seeing Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Arc de Triomphe. DDT had not seen Putin since the Helsinki summit in July. WaPo columnist Brian Klass wrote:

“Putin murders journalists & opponents, recently used a nerve agent to assassinate a dissident on British soil, annexed Crimea, facilitates war crimes, and attacked American democracy. This is how Trump reacted when he saw him.”

David Schneider advised his Twitter followers:

“Find someone who looks at you the way Trump looks at Putin.”

The photo (left) showed part of the warm greeting between the two that included nods, shoulder taps, and thumbs-up. DDT denied that he planned to talk with Putin in Paris, but Putin told Russian news agencies that he did talk with DDT.

DDT skipped the meetings to explore ways for world peace. Instead he flew home today, sending angry tweets about taking federal aid from California because of the current disastrous fires and claiming that counting the ballots in Florida is a “STEAL.”

DDT had become angry with Macron for his statement that Europe must be able to “defend itself alone—and without relying on the United States—in a more sovereign manner.” Macron tried to calm DDT’s anger but claims of “good friends” were not supported by body language. Europe has become increasingly upset with DDT after he has pulled out of accords such as the Paris climate agreement, the Iran nuclear deal, and the Russia nuclear agreement.

Weeks ago, DDT declared himself a “nationalist” in campaigning for Republicans; in Macron’s speech today to over 80 world leaders, he said:

“Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying, ‘Our interests first, who cares about the others,’ we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what gives it grace and what is essential: its moral values.”

DDT has returned from his non-productive 44-hour 3,800-mile trip and faces the same problems he left—viral opposition to his replacement for AG Jeff Sessions, Democratic House members discussion what they will investigate in his administration, spending bills that cannot pass without Democratic approval, the hush money case about women, immigration problems, constitutional concerns of birthright citizenship, and the killing of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi complete with recordings of Saudi Arabians’ murdering him while he wants the Saudis to keep giving his business money. No wonder he’s low energy.

July 16, 2018

Helsinki: A Day That Will Live in Infamy

“Trump traveled to Finland, defended an American adversary, took cheap shots at Americans, and rejected the judgment of American intelligence professionals.”

That was a summary of today’s brief meeting between Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the man who may have given the presidency to DDT. 

[Five of DDT’s team from Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, on the left to DDT’s Chief of Staff John Kelly second from right all look as upset as many people watching the press conference.]

Three days before DDT journeys to Helsinki to present the United States as a gift to Vladimir Putin, 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted with hacking the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign before release the stolen emails to “interfere in the 2016” election. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he briefed DDT on the indictments earlier this week. Yet DDT continued to present the Russian scandal as a “witch hunt” and said that the Putin meeting would be “easier” than his participation in the NATO summit and visits in the UK. He also said that the DNC was to blame for the hacking because it didn’t have enough protection.

Hacking 76 emails occurred the same day—July 27, 2016—that DDT asked Russia to help his candidacy by finding the “missing emails. Russians also “hacked the website of a state board of elections and stole information related to approximately 500,000 voters, including names, addresses, partial social security numbers, dates of birth, and driver’s license numbers,” according to the indictment, as well as hacking “into the computers of a U.S. vendor supplying software that verified voter registration information for the 2016 U.S. elections.”

The Putin/DDT meeting followed DDT’s claim that the European Union is a “major global foe” to the U.S. About Putin, DDT had said:

“He’s a competitor. He’s been very nice to me the times I’ve met him. I’ve been nice to him. He’s a competitor. Somebody was saying, is he an enemy? He’s not my enemy. Is he a friend? No, I don’t know him well enough. But the couple of times I’ve gotten to meet him, we get along very well.”

DDT also referred to U.S. journalists as “the enemy of the people” while the reporters were on foreign soil. In commenting that both his parents were born in E.U. countries, DDT skipped over the fact that his grandfather was deported from Bavaria with his family because of DDT’s grandfather’s draft dodging. Nor did DDT tell the public that he told Theresa May to “sue the E.U. — not go into negotiations.”

An “ex-Republican” wrote:

“If Putin could have his wishes he’d wish for a  dysfunctional US – EU alliance, a breakup of NATO, a US trade war with Canada, Mexico, Europe and China, unenforced Russia sanctions, a widening US gap between rich and poor, more US investments in oil and coal, increased US debt and refusal to acknowledge Russian election hacking.”

What actually happened in Helsinki? Putin showed up late—just as DDT did for his dinner with UK PM Theresa May and tea with Queen Elizabeth II. Before the meeting, DDT blamed the U.S. for any problems with Russia. Putin said he didn’t have anything to do with the U.S. elections, and Trump agreed with him.  Asked if he wanted DDT to win the election, Putin said, “Yes, I did.” Putin also indicated that he told his people to help DDT win.

At the press conference, DDT sided with Russia over the U.S. law enforcement, saying that didn’t see “any reason” why Russia would interfere in the 2016 election. He also leaped into a question to Putin about Russian election meddling by rambling about Hillary Clinton’s email server and his electoral college votes:

 “My people came to me…they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server, but I have confidence in both parties…what happened to the server?”

Going into the one-on-one meeting, the participants differed in their hopes of achievement:

Putin: lift sanctions by the U.S. and its (former?) allies, pull back NATO forces near Russia’s borders, accept Syrian army deployment on the Israeli border, reinstate business as usual with Moscow, get the U.S. to acknowledge Russia’s influence over its former Soviet neighbors, and recognize Russia as a global player.

DDT: “start a discussion.”

A prime goal for the U.S. could be to address Russian meddling in U.S. elections, which continues, as well as Russian explorations in vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure and attempts to infiltrate energy, water, nuclear, and manufacturing sectors. Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, said that cyberattacks on the United States put the nation into as much danger as it was before 9/11. Yet DDT not only failed to criticize Russia for this meddling but also embrace the idea that Russia and U.S. work together in an investigation into these breaches—giving Russia more information to help them further meddle. [Coats issued a statement late today correcting DDT by stating that Russia definitely interfered with the U.S. election and continues its “efforts to undermine our democracy.”]

In the Helsinki meeting, DDT has continued his slogan of “Russia First.” He has abandoned U.S. international influence by leaving the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Iran nuclear deal, Paris Climate Agreement, and UN Human Rights Council while threatening to leave the World Trade Organization and NATO.  He has further weakened U.S. global power and expanded that of Russia by cutting the State Department budget and foreign aid. His bullying has increased Russia in Central America where Russia is providing aid, reopening military bases, and building a satellite-tracking station to spy on the U.S. His rejection of Cuba allows Cubans to turn back to Russia. And he has alienated all U.S. allies with trade tariffs and insults.

Before and during the Helsinki meeting, DDT showed nothing but weakness. His words showed helplessness in trying to get Putin to stop meddling—if, indeed, DDT might not believes Putin’s denials. DDT said, “What can I do” if Putin denies meddling. “I don’t see any reason why” Russia would interfere in the election, DDT also said. Russians made DDT wealthy; he cannot cross them.

DDT is winning Republicans over to Russia. Forty percent of them now see Russia as “an ally or friendly” to the U.S., almost twice as many as four years ago. Those Republicans include seven senators and one representative who traveled to Russia on the Fourth of July to agree with officials that Russian election meddling—if any—wasn’t any problem. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Homeland Security Committee chair, summarized their attitude by saying that Russian interference in U.S. elections is “not the greatest threat to our democracy,” and “we’ve blown it way out of proportion.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), copying DDT in calling the Mueller investigation a “witch hunt” and blaming Russian aggression on NATO, has also decided to go to Russia in search for “common ground.”

The conservative media disagrees with these legislators. DDT’s go-to people on Fox were dismayed with his “performance.”

  • Guest Mark Weinberg on Varney’s program: “Putin won. Trump missed the opportunity.”
  • Ashley Webster: “He outmaneuvered our president. I was very surprised. I thought Trump was going to
  • Neil Cavuto: “[The performance was] “disgusting.”
  • John Roberts: “There is a growing consensus across the land tonight … that the president threw the United States under the bus.”
  • Brian Kilmeade about DDT’s tweet about U.S. horrible relationship with Russia: “That’s by far the most ridiculous tweet of late.”
  • Brit Hume: “Trump is unable to see past himself.”

Ultra-right Drudge Report’s lead headline, “Putin Dominates in Hel,” was accompanied by DDT’s awkwardness.

Jay Nordlinger wrote for the conservative National Review:

“Putin’s Russia is a dictatorship that kills critics, violates borders, interferes in democratic elections, etc. — and that’s why relations between it and the United States, a great liberal democracy, are bad. Also, the Mueller team has just indicted twelve GRU agents. Does our president think that’s the fruit of a ‘Rigged Witch Hunt’?”

Other responses from conservatives:

  • Meghan McCain, John McCain’s daughter: “I’m horrified!”
  • Abby Huntsman, a conservative commentator and daughter of US ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman: “No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus”.
  • Newt Gingrich: DDT’s statements on intelligence agencies are “the most serious mistake of his presidency.”

And GOP members of Congress:

  • Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE): “This is bizarre and flat-out wrong.”
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): ” I’d check the soccer ball [that Putin gave Trump] for listening devices and never allow it in the White House.”
  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin.”
  • Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC): “Vladimir Putin is not our friend and never has been.”
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI): “There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world.
  • Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX): “I’ve seen Russian intelligence manipulate many people over my professional career and I never would have thought that the US President would become one of the ones getting played by old KGB hands.”
  • Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), daughter of former VP Dick Cheney: “I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s defense of Putin against the intelligence agencies of the U.S. & his suggestion of moral equivalence between the U.S. and Russia.”

U.S. handoffs to North Korea with nothing in return set up the scene for DDT’s meeting with Putin. Just the meeting, like DDT’s meeting with Kim Jong-Un, makes Putin the winner in what DDT erroneously calls a “summit.” Having a diplomatic meeting and not giving away U.S. activities for nothing may not be a problem; DDT’s meeting with Putin displayed neither of these. DDT’s creation of chaos by attacking Europe and starting a trade war with closest allies of the U.S. has already made Putin the victor. Now that DDT has trashed the U.S. with his pandering to Kim Jong-Un of North Korea and Vladimir Putin of Russia, he plans to talk to the Taliban. What can go wrong?

June 12, 2018

A Tale of Two Summits

Filed under: Foreign policy — trp2011 @ 10:06 PM
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It was the best of summits. It was the worst of summits. At least in the behavior exhibited by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Just four days ago, DDT went to meet with five European leaders and the Japanese prime minister at the G-7 summit. He was determined to insult them and succeeded. He arrived late on Friday, refused to wear casual clothing, disrupted speeches at the breakfast on Saturday by arriving half way through them, and left five hours early for his meeting in Singapore so that he could arrive over 30 hours early.

The leaders tolerated DDT’s threats that they would suffer severe penalties if they didn’t reduce their trade deficits. He told each country what it “owed” the U.S. on trade and defense. DDT spent one meeting rambling about Germany cheating the U.S. with its car sales and then moved to his grandfather being German and DDT loved Europe. At a long press conference, he said that the U.S., which owes $6.29 trillion to other nations is no longer “the piggy bank that everybody is robbing.” His only vaguely positive comment to the leaders was that earlier U.S. leaders were to blame for the trade imbalance.

Once DDT escaped the meeting, he used Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a scapegoat when he turned on the G-7 and changed his mind about signing the joint communique. He refused to sign an agreement that agreed on the need for “free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade” and the importance of fighting protectionism and called “Trudeau “dishonest” and “weak.” For the first time in 45 years, the group failed to have a unanonymous agreement on a statement of broad goals and principles.

DDT’s White House staff went out on Sunday shows to brutally attack Trudeau. The day after economic adviser Larry Kudlow had to deliver DDT’s message that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “stabbed us in the back,” Kudlow was hospitalized with a heart attack. DDT wanted media attention for his rants to prove his strength to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, but much of the response from the world was negative.

This photo, posted on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s team as “a spontaneous meeting between two working sessions,” shows an expression that he has never used on Vladimir Putin. European Parliament member Guy Verhofstadt imagined Merkel was saying, “Just tell us what Vladimir has on you. Maybe we can help.” In embarrassment, DDT lied and said that he released the photo. Trudeau also gave DDT a photo of his grandfather’s “hotel” in Canada, a gold rush brothel “known for good food, booze and ready women.” DDT’s grandfather moved to Canada after he was expelled froBavaria for avoiding the draft.

DDT’s demand that Russia be put back with the group for the earlier G-8 was largely ignored. He claimed, “We didn’t do votes or anything, but it has been discussed.” DDT blamed President Obama for Russia annexing Crimea but said nothing about Russia meddling in U.S. elections or an investigation regarding Russia. According to French news, the six leaders agreed without DDT that Russia wasn’t welcome without the nation’s making changes and that Europeans were united in defending trade rules and the Paris climate change agreement. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that Europe must defend its interests and strengthen alliances with countries such as Japan and Canada.

A Reuters photographer shot a photograph of French President Emmanuel Macron’s thumbprint on DDT’s hand after a handshake.

DDT directed much of his anger toward Canada’s 270 percent tariff on dairy, egg, and poultry products. Canada’s regulation on dairy production in the nation keeps prices high enough for farmers. U.S.  over-production brings the prices down and drives farmers into debt and bankruptcy so DDT wants to dump the surplus in Canada which would drive down their prices. Yet the U.S. controls prices on such items as tobacco and sugar.

To break the dairy tariff from Canada, DDT put tariffs on aluminum and steel, hurting U.S. consumers. Tariffs have two purposes: restrict imports and make money for the government. In his “Make America First” speeches, DDT has told other countries that they protect themselves. When Trudeau follows DDT’s advice, he is subjected to vicious insults from DDT’s “diplomats.” DDT’s tax cuts for huget companies and the rich created so much economic damage to the U.S. budget that he is desperate to cover these losses.

A photo-op of the G-7 v. G-1 leaders shows the tension. To DDT, loyalty toward him is all. To the rest of the world, loyalty from allies has meant nothing. DDT’s ghost writer for The Art of the Deal, Tony Schwartz, states that DDT’s behavior toward allies will only grow worse, based on his past experiences with the man in charge of U.S. foreign affairs.

Before DDT went to the meeting with Kim Jong-Un, he explained when he knew he could trust Kim. “Within the first minute, I’ll know. Just my touch, my feel—that’s what I do,” DDT’s response to a question about when he will recognize whether Kim can be trusted. The Trump and Kim Celebrity Show took off in the U.S. during prime time on Monday, planned like everything else for its spectacle. The spectacle didn’t disappoint: DDT looked and sounded like a middle school students with his first crush on another boy. [The photo by Kevin Lim looks like time out at camp.] Kim, the person who DDT “honored,” has run a ruthless regime by executing at least 300 officials and family members in three purges, brutally imprisoning people accused of “disloyalty,” miring North Korea in economic ruin and poverty, and consistently threatening the U.S. and the world with nuclear disaster. Justin Trudeau, who deserves a “special place in hell” according to DDT’s minion, politely leads a nation that has always supported U.S. national security.

DDT and Kim have strong similarities: both have nuclear weapons and alternate between flattery and hateful comments for the other. Both are thin-skinned alpha males with the philosophy that “I alone can fix it.” Both are pathological liars with explosive tempers who are determined to appear dominant, especially with a focus on the military. Intelligence agencies’ profile of Kim sounds much like that of DDT—”Gluttonous, prone to fits of anger and swaggering around his classmates … an in-attendant student [who] demanded slavish loyalty.” Also “prone to violence,” “didn’t do well in school,” “distracted a lot,” and makes vague and grand declarations. Kim and DDT have three major differences: age, ethnicity, and smarts. DDT may understand Kim better than he does Trudeau because he is so much like Kim. As DDT said after their meeting, he and Kim will have a “terrific relationship.”

Abby Huntsman recognized the similarities when she called the summit a “meeting between two dictators”—“this is history”—but then apologized for what pundits are calling a “gaffe.” One tweet called her statement “probably the most honest thing ever said in the program’s history.”

What did DDT get from the U.S./North Korea agreement? Kim will talk to DDT, shutter a missile engine testing site that is probably of no use, and return of the remains of U.S. service members lost in North Korea over 60 years ago. DDT said he discussed “real estate and beachside hotel opportunities,” and his approval ratings will probably go up.

What did North Korea get? North Korea declared the meeting a win for them, stating that DDT will lift sanctions against North Korea as well as stopping war exercises. Kim may keep his nuclear arms and ballistic missiles while DDT damages U.S. relations with South Korea by stopping war exercises and pulling 32,000 military members from the country without consulting his own military leaders or telling South Korea officials. DDT shows no concern about the huge violations of human right in North Korea and said, “Kim loves his people.” Kim can continue develop of these weapons. Most important for Kim, he is now recognized in the world as an equal of the president of the United States. This fact-checker points out the fallacies of DDT’s statements after the summit and North Korea’s betrayals after deals in 1994 and 2005.

Two necessary pieces of this denuclearization process was timelines and veritication DDT’s definition: timetable – “period of time”; verify: “ develop a certain trust.” Asked if he doesn’t get what North Korea promised, DDT said, “I’ll find some kind of excuse.”

The empty language in the document, affirming the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration signed by North Korea and South Korea in April, lacked goals and process. It was intended to play for time. Now DDT needs to do nothing before the 2018 midterm elections and very little before 2020. He has already said that denuclearization with North Korea takes a long time, but there are no discussions of inspections to show that weapons not be produced as in the Iran deal. DDT complained about the bad Iran deal, but President Obama didn’t shake Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s hand, calling it a great honor and then saying they had a “terrific relationship” with no results except giving away leverage and getting nothing in return.

At one time, the United States felt like a democracy that moved toward granting human rights. Voter suppression, Russian meddling, white nationalism influence, and exchange of friendship with democratic allies to autocratic regimes has moved the United States toward an oligarchy where the president uses the nation as his personal financial piggy bank. It is a new look at U.S. foreign policy.

 

May 25, 2018

DDT: Week 70 – New U.S. Foreign Policy

China wins. The Asian country has made no commitments about reducing the trade deficits, but Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is saving jobs in China by lifting sanctions on the Chinese-owned company ZTE. The U.S. government had banned the company from buying U.S. components for seven years because the phones a security risk, used to track service members. ZTE officials as well as for foreign espionage and cyber attacks. Even with a 23-3 vote to keep DDT from lifting these sanctions, the Senate Banking Committee  failed to stop DDT.

During the last week, the U.S. foreign policy on China shifted daily—sometimes hourly. On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the trade war was “on hold” because the U.S. had postponed tariffs on China. Hours later, U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer told China that DDT might impose tariffs. DDT’s chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow earlier said that China offered to shrink the trade deficit by $200 billion but followed up on Sunday by saying that the figure was a “rough ballpark estimate” and that the two countries never expected to reach an agreement.

DDT goes to the side that can most benefit him personally, in this case a $500 million loan from China for his personal business. Andrew Ross Sorkin described DDT’s negotiating style:

“Start with a headline-grabbing demand, beat chest loudly, then accept whatever is actually practical and call it a win.”

DDT seems to have forgotten a rule in his ghost-written book The Art of the Deal:

“You can’t con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.”

Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law, is back in business—literally—after he got his permanence high security clearance. Foreign officials, including those from China and UAE, can return to planning ways to manipulate him as he can enrich his family business by classified intelligence and access to DDT.

North Korea wins. In his desire to get a Nobel Peace Prize, DDT claimed that the summit meeting with Kim Jong-Un might be back on after he pulled out of the agreement yesterday. In a letter refusing the meeting, DDT had used the excuse of Kim’s “tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement” as his excuse. Technically, the hostility came from John Bolton’s and VP Mike Pence’s statements about employing the “Libya model” for North Korea, an action that led to the death and dismemberment for Libya’s leader. DDT gave no warning to South Korea about his withdrawal which weakened South Korea after its buy-in to the summit. The U.S. State Department may not even have been aware of DDT’s letter to Kim that canceled the meeting.

North Korea already dismantled a nuclear test site, most likely because it had become unusable. History repeats itself as North Korea destroyed another site to get rid of George W. Bush’s sanctions, only to later back out of its agreement. DDT tried to look reasonable by not flying planes over North Korea in his military games, but Kim looked much better after he released U.S. prisoners, stopped nuclear and missile testing, and blew up his nuclear testing site. By announcing that the he was backing out of the talks and then backing down from his action a few hours earlier, DDT looks impulsive and rash. He has ignored briefings about North Korea and advice to move more slowly into diplomatic meetings, thus increasing the world’s negative perspective about the U.S. being a failure under his leadership. DDT made Kim into a world leader and proved himself again a quitter while Kim ended up with the moral high ground.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

North Korea also benefits from better trade relationships with China, which may take over talks with North Korea after DDT abandoned its leverage. Japan had been left out of the discussions, thus dropping the talks will leave that country less vulnerable. The coalition of Asian companies further isolates the United States. DDT’s letter made threats by implying that U.S. nuclear powers are more “massive and powerful,” a continuation of DDT’s earlier “my button is bigger than your button” comments to Kim. He also said that the U.S. military is “ready if necessary” to take action against North Korea if it engages in a “foolish or reckless act” and that South Korea and Japan are willing to shoulder the costs. The two Asian countries haven’t responded to DDT’s statements—South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he was “very perplexed and sorry.”

The Washington Post write in an editorial: “Never has such chaos attended the public behavior of a U.S. president on a matter of such gravity.” A history of the failing summit talks with North Korea.

DDT may meet with Kim so that he doesn’t waste this commemorative coin that’s already being sold for $85. Seth Meyers has a segment on this and other coins.

The back-and-forth approaches toward China and North Korea are DDT’s attempt to divert people from James Clapper’s interviews and new book, Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence, and Clapper’s statement that Russia won the election for DDT, that he is an illegitimate president. Clapper’s interview with Rachel Maddow. Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, also used the word “distorted” in describing DDT’s accusation that the FBI and DOJ infiltrated or surveilled his campaign. That was the subject of a meeting at the White House, first scheduled with only GOP congressional members. Protests led to a second meeting on the same day that included the “Gang of 8, the bipartisan leadership of both the Senate and House. One of the “eight” was missing; House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) didn’t want to miss a fundraiser to be briefed on a confidential intelligence source in the Russian investigation. DDT’s lawyer Emmet Flood managed to attend the meeting about a government’s case against his client—an unethical and possibly illegal action.

DDT’s hope for diverting more attention was “Spygate,” but the FBI was investigating Russian involvement in DDT’s campaign, not DDT and the members of his campaign. Yet DDT ordered federal agencies to give sensitive information about a person in the investigation to lawmakers who, he was sure, would then give him all the information—all for purely political reasons and in violation of the law After the meeting, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said that the briefing had no evidence of “Spygate.” Republicans said nothing except Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) twice defended false statements and accused Schiff of leaking classified information.  DDT’s other conspiracy theories to falsely and deliberately divert people from facts:

  • Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. (He didn’t.)
  • There were improper unmaskings. (There weren’t.)
  • The FISA warrants related to Carter Page were improper. (They weren’t).
  • It was Democrats who actually colluded with Russia. (They didn’t.)
  • Conspiring FBI officials may be guilty of “treason.” (They aren’t.)
  • “Uranium One” is a real scandal. (It isn’t.)
  • Senate Intelligence Vice Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) had improper communications with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch. (He didn’t.)
  • Every member of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is a rabid Democratic partisan. (Mueller is a Republican.)
  • Law enforcement officials ”infiltrated” the Trump campaign, “implanting” a “spy” in the Republican operation. (They didn’t.)

The irony about DDT’s complaints about the FBI investigation into the campaign is that the FBI protected DDT. They concealed the campaign’s connections with Russia until after the election at the same time that they released information about Hillary Clinton with no reason that then led to her losing the election.

Other news from the current administration is so bizarre that most of it appears like satire—except for the disasters of the swamp/sewer facts. The latest piece had to be checked, and it’s true. A sinkhole on the North Lawn of the White House outside the press briefing room is growing every day with another sinkhole nearby. These phenomena develop from loosened soil and can swallow cars, streets, and even homes. Exactly one year ago, a bigger pit opened in front of Mar-a-Lago.

According to religious lore, the Bible states in Numbers:

“But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.”

The Book of Revelation has a more vivid description:

“When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.”

In that case, the sinkhole might be followed by locusts and scorpions. The most entertaining tweets about DDT’s sinkhole.

Jess Phoenix, a volcanologist, geologist and candidate for a California congressional seat in California, said, “Blame the swamp.” Really.

 

May 8, 2018

DDT Drops Iran Denuclearization, Cohen Sells White House Access

Filed under: Foreign policy — trp2011 @ 9:54 PM
Tags: , , , ,

The U.S. has withdrawn from the six-country deal to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons is dead, according to Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). He has no reason to take this action. Although DDT has claimed that the deal with Iran was “horrible,” Iran has reduced its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent to only 300 pounds, far less than needed for even one bomb. Iran also removed about 13,000 of its centrifuges, leaving just over 5,000 of its oldest-model machines in place. It ceased all enrichment at its underground facility at Fordow, one of the nuclear sites which are continually monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which repeatedly states that Iran is complying with the agreement’s restriction.

Last week, the White House released a statement that falsely declared Iran “has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program.” A backlash led to the change of one letter—“has” to “had”—that totally revised the false report. The White House excuse was a “typo,” but journalist Brian Beutler pointed out that the “original statement uses the word ‘has’ twice, strongly suggesting an intent to mislead the global public into believing Iran had covertly reactivated its nuclear weapons program in direct defiance of the agreement.”

The White House admitted in its correction that Iran no longer “has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program,” but DDT ignored all the evidence showing Iran is following its part of the bargain and made up lies about Iran not pursuing its nuclear program. This comment adds to the 3,000+ lies that he has told since he was inaugurated. DDT also ignored the 63 percent people in the U.S. who want the U.S. to stay in the Iran denuclearization agreement.

Last week, Netanyahu threw fuel on the conflagration by releasing Iranian documents showing that Iranians worked a decade ago to design a nuclear warhead. In more work to rationalize his decision to inflame Iran, DDT hired Black Cube, an Israeli-based private intelligence agency, to falsely smear U.S. negotiators of the agreement, including Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl. The foreign spies also targeted Rhodes’ and Kahl’s spouses.

In his move toward regime change in Iran, DDT alienated major European and Asian countries but continued to forge a relationship with Saudi Arabia. His supporters include new lawyer Rudy Giuliani and new national security adviser, John Bolton; both are pushing toward the steps leading to more U.S. conflict in the Middle East. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also pushed DDT to leave the Iran agreement although Netanyahu’s military and intelligence advisers assert that their country is safer with blocking nuclear bombs in Iran.

Lies led to the U.S. 2003 invasion of Iraq with serious fiscal and cultural repercussions fifteen years later, and comparisons are being made between those falsehoods and DDT’s current ones about Iran. John Bolton wants to bomb Iran—just as the George W. Bush era started an ongoing preemptive war against Iraq that has spread across the Middle East. Leaders of France, Germany, and the UK pointed out that a UN Security Council resolution supporting the Iran agreement “remains the binding international legal framework for the resolution of the dispute about the Iranian nuclear program.” Thus the U.S. has been the first country to violate the agreement.

Paul Waldman summarized DDT’s withdrawal:

“This decision is deeply uninformed, utterly illogical, inimical to the interests of the United States, taken for the pettiest of personal reasons and done with absolutely no plan for what to do next. In other words, it’s pure Trump.”

After his announcement, DDT signed an executive memorandum for the 180-day withdrawal process to impose all sanctions on Iran relaxed under the agreement. On the 90-day mark of August 6, these sanctions will be reinstated:

  • Iran buying or acquiring U.S. dollars
  • Iran trading gold and other precious metals
  • Iran’s sale, supply or trade of metals such as aluminum and steel, as well as graphite, coal and certain software for “integrating industrial processes”
  • “Significant” sales or purchases of Iranian rials, or the maintenance of significant funds or accounts outside the country using Iranian rials
  • Issuing Iranian debt
  • Auto sanctions

The U.S. will also halt Iran’s ability to export its carpets and foods into the U.S. and end certain licensing-related transactions.

  • Further sanctions imposed after 180 days on November 4:
  • Iran’s ports, as well as the country’s shipping and shipping sectors
  • Buying petroleum and petrochemical products with a number of Iranian oil companies
  • Foreign financial institutions transacting with the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian financial institutions
  • Certain financial messaging services to Iran’s central bank and other Iranian financial institutions
  • Provision of underwriting services, insurance, or reinsurance
  • Iran’s energy sector

On Nov. 5, the U.S. will prevent U.S.-owned foreign entities from being allowed to engage in certain transactions with Iran and reimpose certain Iranian individuals.

DDT’s speech about the evil in Iran overlooks the way that the U.S. has violated its own denuclearization agreements. While DDT is demanding that North Korea comply with the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the U.S. violates the NPT, and Israel refuses to sign the treaty because it maintains a massive hidden nuclear arsenal obtained through deceit. The U.S. also consistently attempts to change regimes in violation of international law and the UN charter, most recently in Iraq and Libya which had complied with U.S. demands to close their nuclear programs.

What happens now that DDT has refused to recertify the deal? Uri Friedman presented three possibilities over six months ago:

Congress Ends the Iran Deal: Congress has 60 days to introduce legislation that imposes nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, including those against the banking system and oil exports. Doing so would breach the Iran deal, possibly unraveling the agreement depending on whether other countries in the agreement join or resist the sanctions. Sanctions would most likely cause Iran to no longer comply with the deal and return to their nuclear program. At that point, the U.S. could either bomb Iran or do nothing. Bolton would certainly not accept doing nothing. The withdrawal from an agreement with Iran negatively impacts any denuclearization agreement with North Korea, disturbed about DDT’s decision because they may not be able to trust the United States’ agreements. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani plans to negotiate with the deal’s three European countries, Russia, and China—once more leaving the United States out in the cold. If negotiations don’t work, Iran is ready to start unlimited uranium enrichment in a few weeks, and the U.S. could be fighting both Iran and North Korea.

Congress Seeks to Improve the Iran Deal: Congress could decide not to reimpose sanctions on Iran at this time. Last October, Republicans—including Sens. Rand Paul (KY), Susan Collins (ME), and Bob Corker (TN)—are in a quandary about quitting the deal, but none of them is particularly reliable in sticking to their positions.

Congress Does Nothing: The agreement can die from inaction—a death “by a thousand cuts.” Because Congress can’t agree on anything, this scenario is most likely.

DDT’s withdrawal from the Iran deal puts the rest of the world in control. Iran can build nuclear weapons if the other four five countries cannot persuade the nation to do otherwise. No nation will trust the United States in any of DDT’s promises, and all nations will understand that DDT is incapable of planning. DDT’s actions may even isolate Israel with the Israelis being blamed for outbreaks of hostilities. And DDT owns responsibility for any issues that come from his withdrawal.

Oil prices rose today after DDT’s announcement with the possibility of future spikes, and lack of Iranian oil can lead to inflation and slower economic growth in the U.S. Gas prices typically rise in the summer, and DDT’s withdrawal can make the problem even worse for consumers. As they pay more for gas, they are able to pay less for other purchases. Gas costs re made even worse from all the gas-guzzling cars consumers purchased after the gas prices dropped by over one-third in the past six years.

DDT managed to avoid some of the media attention from the actions of his personal attorney Michael Cohen, who may have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by both corporate clients and the Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg through the New York investment firm Columbus Nova. The Russian oligarch may also have provided the payoff in hush money for Stormy Daniels, according to her lawyer Michael Avenatti in documents supported by the media. The drug company Novartis and Korea Aerospace Industries, both with U.S. business relationships, also paid Cohen. Soon after the last Novartis payment, DDT met with the company’s incoming CEO; Korea Aerospace, which had no comment, is in competition for a multibillion-dollar joint contract to product U.S. Air Force jet trainers.

These episodes of The Apprentice in the White House may lead to more legal charges and World War III.

 

April 10, 2018

Syria’s Past, Scary Possibilities

Filed under: Foreign policy — trp2011 @ 11:10 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Fifteen years ago, George W. Bush followed the advice of his war hawks VP Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to attack Iraq on false pretenses. (I’m sure that the oil in the country had nothing to do with the preemptive war.) Since then, the thoughtless action of the Bush II administration has cost the U.S. people trillions of dollars and the Middle East hundreds of thousands of deaths and tens of millions of refugees. The United States will always suffer from the tragedies of veterans who managed to survive the physical and mental injuries that will always affect them and their descendants.

Syria is again the focus of attention in the Middle East after a disastrous chemical attack against Syrian civilians last Saturday and the possibility that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) would attack Syria in a diversion from his personal problems. Saturday’s attack killed at least 80 people, and an attack on a Syrian air base killed another 14. Syria first blamed the U.S. for the air base attack but then accused Israel. After the chemical attack, the rebels surrendered Douma. Yet any action looks like a lose-lose situation. “Syria is the most complex, complicated issue I have ever had to deal with,” then-CIA Director John Brennan said in 2016.

The current problem in Syria began during the Arab Spring of 2011 when protesters tries to take Middle Eastern countries from dictators. In Syria, Assad used the military to slaughter the protesters. When they fought back, Assad had his war against the Free Syrian Army, a militia formed to protect protesters.

The U.S. was concerned because of Iran’s alliance with Syria to move weapons and other resources to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. The Shiite theocracy of Iran sent Hezbollah to fight for Assad in a threat to Sunni Arab states on the Persian Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia, that then sent arms to the Syrian rebels. Qatar alone gave $3 billion to the rebels in 2013, and Saudi Arabia sent a shipment of 500 TOW anti-tank missiles to the rebel in 2015. Thus the Syrian civil war became a fight between two Middle Eastern factions.

At the same time, Russia supported Assad and the Syrian military in a continuation of its half-century policy; Russia sells weapons, air defense systems, and MI-25 attack helicopters to Assad, partly to protect its naval base at Tartus on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. In 2011, Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution to condemn Assad’s attacks on protesters. Yesterday in the UN, Russia refused to cooperate with Western countries to investigate Syrian chemical attacks. Russian special forces are embedded with Syrian troops, their warplanes and helicopters conduct air attacks on the rebels, and their artillery bombards Assad’s enemies.

Seeing the civil war as a source of recruits and a safe haven, al-Qaeda started sending forces into Syria since 2011. Qatar paid Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda leader, to destroy Assad.

President Obama refused to take out Assad despite advice from military and intelligence leaders such as David Petraeus who wanted to provide advanced weapons to the rebels. Even the killing of up to 1,423 people, mostly civilians, in Assad’s attack with sarin gas in 2013 didn’t push President Obama farther than a plan for airstrikes that Congress rejected. Russia made a deal with Assad to give up his chemical weapons in exchange for international inspections and no U.S. attacks. President Obama took the deal, and some people blamed him for Russia’s escalation in 2015. At the end of 2016, the civil war had killed at least 470,000 Syrian killed.

While actors in the Middle East used Syria in a tug of war, ISIS swept over northern Iraq in June 2014 and controlled land the size of Great Britain in Syria and Iraq. President Obama used airstrikes to support forces fighting ISIS. Busy fighting Assad, rebels could not fight ISIS; Assad had a ceasefire with ISIS so he fought the rebel as a larger threat to him. The U.S. picked Kurdish fighters in northern Syria near Turkey as their allies. The Kurds wanted their own state instead of overturning Assad and were intent on protecting their city Kobane from ISIS. The U.S. intended to cut ISIS’s supply lines between Syria and Iraq while backing Kurdish forces in their fight. The mission was a success by breaking the siege of Kobane and moving to take over ISIS’s capital, Raqqa. Yet Turkey, threatened by armed Kurdish fighters, threatened to increase military action against the Kurds who were fighting ISIS, and DDT stopped arming them.

Yet the U.S. would not support the rebels in fighting Assad. The U.S. agreement to not conflict with Russian flight to bomb Syrian civilians in 2015 led to atrocities such as chemical attacks. DDT campaigned with his past belief that the U.S. should support Assad and not attack Syria, but a chemical attack in spring 2017 killing over 80 people caused him to reverse his position because Assad had used chemical weapons. He ordered an attack on the airfield in Syria where the chemical attack was launched, possibly based on false information and after warning senior officials from foreign governments before the attack so that they could leave. Most chemical attacks in Syria are largely ignored by both DDT and the media, and DDT has don’t nothing about most of them. The map shows 11 attacks since DDT’s inauguration. [Thanks to Zack Beauchamp for the history of Syria’s civil war and involvement of other countries.]

After the chemical attack last Saturday, DDT’s air strike threats could be far more dangerous for the U.S. than his strike a year ago. Russia is already jamming U.S. drones over Syria and threatening disaster, possibly for a U.S. plane or ship, if DDT dares retaliate for the chemical attack. After protecting Putin for over a year, DDT is already in trouble for the sanctions against wealthy Russians that took billions of dollars from the Russian stock market this week. Now Russia claims that Assad did not use chemicals and blames the U.S. for a fake chemical attack in Syria as a pretext to strike Assad.

DDT cried crocodile tears at the deaths of children in chemical attacks but refuses to take Syrian refugees. In 2016, the Syrian atrocities led President Obama to increase the U.S. refugee resettlement cap from 70,000 to 110,000. DDT has capped the number at 45,000, and the U.S. has resettled 10,876 refugees this year, 44 of them Syrian. At this time last year, 5,935 Syrian had been resettled in the United States.

Ken Isaacs, DDT’s nominee to head the UN international migration assistance efforts believes that permitting Syrian refugees into the U.S. President Donald Trump’s new pick to lead the United Nation’s international migration assistance efforts is “foolish and delusional” because they are Muslims. He is the vice president of evangelist Rev. Franklin Graham’s Christian relief organization, Samaritan’s Purse. Isaacs also tweeted, “Austria and Switzerland should consider building a wall in the Alps to keep refugees out.”

This is Syria today:

  • Over half of Syria’s 20 million, pre-war population has been displaced.
  • 5.5 million Syrians have fled abroad with 95% of them in these five countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt.
  • 400,000 civilians are trapped in opposition-held suburbs of Syria’s capital Damascus where Assad is relentlessly bombing.
  • Of Syria’s estimated 10 million children, 8.6 million are in dire need of assistance. Nearly 6 million children are displaced or living as refugees, and about 2.5 million are out of school.
  • About one-third of Syria’s housing and half of its educational and medical facilities have been destroyed, causing catastrophic public health crises.

The biggest question now is what DDT will do about Syria. Before the FBI used a search warrant to take records, a computer, and a phone from the office, home, and hotel room of Michael Cohen, DDT’s lawyer, DDT promised to be “very tough” because “everybody’s going to pay a price.” By the time that he met with his military people, however, he was raging about seizing the documents as “a disgraceful situation” and “an attack on our country.” His venom turned to the FBI and top DOJ officials in raids where agents “broke into” Cohen’s office. After cancelling a trip to the Summit of the Americas in Lima (Peru), DDT will be alone for the entire weekend to watch Fox, sent furious tweets, and possibly starting a war. He’s at a “high level of freak out,” according to one source, and another one said, “I am worried about his response.”

As should everyone in the United States.

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