Nel's New Day

July 6, 2020

Not All Bad in Week 180

Each year, the Supreme Court is usually finished by the end of June, having dropped all its bombs from the cases it hears. This year, however, the Supreme Court is waiting until July for the first time in 24 years. These are the five biggest ones still not released by July 5:

Subpoenas for Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) financial records: The House wants bank and accountant records to achieve its responsibility of oversight, and New York wants access to DDT’s personal and corporate tax documents. The decision determines whether DDT’s tax returns will see the light of day while he’s in the Oval Office. By denying the subpoenas, the high court will give presidents blanket immunity from criminal process.

Contraception Mandate in Affordable Care Act: The ACA requires most insurance plans and employer to cover preventative care, including contraception, without cost sharing. President Obama allowed religious nonprofits to claim an exemption, but DDT extended that exemption to all companies voicing religious or moral objections. The question is how far to allow Christians to control the U.S.

“Faithless electors” voting for their preference in the Electoral College: The question is whether electors representing their states should be required to select a president based on the states’ votes.

Religious exemptions from discrimination suits centering on parochial schools: Are Catholic schools immune from discrimination suits if they violate the First Amendment safeguards because of religious beliefs. One of the teachers was fired because she had breast cancer. Schools are declaring every employee—teachers, janitors, etc.—“ministers” so schools can claim “ministerial exception” in firing them.

Native sovereignty in Oklahoma: The case concerns whether the state can prosecute a crime by an enrolled member of another tribe on land that could still be classified as a reservation because the government never took action to take it away. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation maintains the reservation was never dissolved and Congress never transferred authority over its land, which includes Tulsa. If the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Native Americans, other tribes could file lawsuits.

In other parts of the U.S., we the people are emerging victorious over fascist actions.

Two energy companies have dropped their six-year bid to build the 600-mile natural gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline tunneling under the Appalachian Trail because of uncertain investing after constant opposition. The company, Dominion, will sell other natural gas pipelines and storage assets to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy for $10 billion. Last week, Dominion completed the biggest wind farm project in the country, located 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The pipeline had been stopped in courts for its hasty and slipshod federal permitting process.

With the signature of Gov. Tate Reeves, Mississippi has completed the removal of the Confederate emblem from its state flag, the last one to feature the Confederate battle flag. A commission will develop a new flag with the phrase “In God, We Trust.”

Thanks to state voters, Oklahoma became the 37th state to approve Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Coverage begins July 1, 2021. The act should drive down the state’s 14-percent uninsured rate, and the federal government covers 90 percent of the cost of newly-covered adults.

DDT lost a restraining order against his niece’s new book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. Simon & Schuster may continuing and distributing Mary Trump’s explosive insider account. Although a state Supreme Court judge imposed an order against the book, but the New York appellate division lifted it, permitting the book’s release on July 28.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, appointed by DDT, struck down DDT’s 2019 policy blocking thousand of Central American asylum seekers who didn’t first request protections in a nation between their home and the U.S. Like the ruling against DDT’s anti-DACA policy, the anti-asylum policy unlawfully bypassed the Administrative Procedure Act, requiring people to be informed and opportunity to respond. DDT ordered the policy to go immediately into effect.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has openly come out against its chair, former private equity lawyer Jay Clayton, because of his decision to give private equity billionaires the opportunity to take advantage of people with 401(k) retirement accounts. Last week, DDT issued a letter permitting the savings of 100 million workers and retirees to be put at risk in high-risk, high-fee firms. SEC’s purpose is to police the financial industry, and it issued a damning report documenting privity equity crimes. One of the Supreme Court’s rulings last week had restricted SEC’s power to punish thee firms. The law may require restitution for criminal actions but not financial punishment. DDT now wants his good friend Clayton to become U.S. Attorney in Manhattan after firing Geoffrey Berman. Confirmation gives Clayton the ability to control prosecutors, the last line of defense, against private equity crimes. In 2014, a top SEC official reported legal violations or control weaknesses in over half the examined private equity firm, including fee gouging.

In a good news, bad news story, Lt. Col. Alex Vindman, who testified in DDT’s impeachment process, is currently being blocked from a promotion to colonel. That’s the bad news. The good news? Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) is blocking all 1,123 military promotions to the rank of colonel or above until Defense Secretary Mark Esper guarantees in writing Vindman will not be punished for his testimony.

Dealing with DDT is becoming harder and harder for Senate Republicans. DDT has threatened to veto defense appropriations bill with an amendment to remove Confederate names from military bases. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), up for reelection, is particularly worried about a veto for the bill and said he hopes DDT doesn’t carry through with his threat. Removing the amendment before sending the bill on requires 60 votes—53 Republicans and seven Democrats. The popularity of the Black Lives Matter movement and the struggle for social justice could endanger congressional Republicans up for reelection—197 seats in the House and 21 in the Senate. Three of these senators up for reelection—Joni Ernst (IA), Martha McSally (AZ), and Mike Rounds (SD)—on the Armed Services Committee support the name changes. Ernst and McSally are in vulnerable positions.

Twitch and Reddit have joined Facebook and Twitter in removing DDT’s hateful rhetoric on social media. Among 2,000 subreddits, Reddit banned a longtime forum used by his supporters, The_Donald, for frequent rule-breaking, and video streaming platform Twitch temporarily suspended DDT’s channel for the same reason. Facebook also announced changes to ban hateful content and removed hundreds of boogaloo violent accounts. The decision came after several boogaloos were charged with crimes during the protesters. Facebook has already taken down accounts and pages from white supremacists Proud Boys, American Guard, and Northwest Front.

Facebook is most likely reacting to an advertising boycott quietly starting but reaching huge proportions. After only three days, 800 worldwide companies from Coca-Cola to Unilever pulled millions of dollars in advertising from Facebook. The visibility of the boycott also links Facebook with racism and hate with the hashtag #StopHateForProfit campaign. Facebook stock dropped 8.32 percent last Friday. Boycotters are still negotiating, with civil rights groups planning to meet with Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg. There may not be much success: Zuckerberg believes in free expression, no matter the lies and violence. Social media depends on engagement; Facebook’s business model uses controversy and outrage to get readers and thus ads. Yesterday, Zuckerman said he will make no policy changes.

Not all of DDT’s officials follow the party line. FDA Commissioner refused to comment on DDT’s claim that 99 percent of COVID-19 cases are “harmless” and  would not predict a timeline for vaccine availability after DDT asserted a vaccine or therapeutic would be ready “long before the end of the year.”

DDT is showing his fear and desperation by recommending people wear masks—despite his promotion of maskless activities. Last month, he told the Wall Street Journal people wore masks only to demonstrate their disapproval of him; last week, he told Fox, “I’m all for masks.” He added:

“Actually, I had a mask on. I sort of liked the way I looked, OK? I thought it was OK. It was a dark, black mask, and I thought it looked OK. Looked like the Lone Ranger.”  

A recent study shows a national mask mandate would save the economy from a five-percent GDP hit. But not if people wear them like the Lone Ranger.

July 5: The number of COVID-19 infections is due to top three million tomorrow. Today’s numbers: 2,982,928 – infections; 132,569 – deaths.

 

June 22, 2020

Week 178 – Glimmers of Hope for the Future

The media has been consumed today with how Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), who wanted to be the comeback kid, failed in Tulsa yesterday. Fire marshals estimated his crowd at 6,200 after DDT bragged that he has requests for over 1 million tickets. Reporters wrote about how teenage TikTok users and Korean pop music fans (aka K-pop stans) quietly spread the news to Snapchat and Instagram users to order tickets from false accounts and telephone numbers as a prank.  

DDT was furious with the small turnout and the publicizing of six campaign workers infected with COVID-19. The result was a low-energy event, especially when he returned home shown by this video of his return to Washington. People question if he will be explaining by the end of the week he was only inspecting the inside of BOK Center.

Missing from his 123-minute speech: references to tragic deaths of Black people, anything about Juneteenth and the end of slavery, the number of people who have died from COVID-19, the unemployed tens of millions, and any sense of compassion or empathy for suffering people. Important stuff that DDT shared in his speech with lots of lies: 15-minute detail of how well he can walk, a demonstration of how he can drink with one hand instead of two hands (causing the crowd to go wild with cheering), horrible, radical “rioters” in the streets, and his order to “my people”:

“When you do more testing to that extent, you are going to find more people, you will find more cases. I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’”  

This week, DDT heads to Arizona, speaking at a megachurch with a capacity of 3,000. When Students for Trump rented the Dream City Church auditorium in northern Phoenix, the church didn’t know the purpose was DDT’s campaign rally. It stated online, “facility rental does not constitute endorsement of the opinions of its renters.” Phoenix now has a mask ordinance. DDT also plans to look at his border wall at Yuma, among the hardest hit locations in the state which has become a hot spot for COVID-19. 

After refusing to reveal any information about which businesses received the $600 billion from the CARES $2.3 trillion act, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin caved into the protests and announced he will announce general information. Loans of under $150,000, about 25 percent of the total, will be lumped together into categories of industry, business type, and demographics with no names. The remainder will be groped by amount: $150,000-$350,000, $350,000-$1 million, $1 million to $2 million, $2 million to $5 million, and $5 million to $10 million. Demographics are vital because the agency gave no guidance to lenders about prioritizing rural, minority, and women business borrowers who may not have received loans guaranteed by legislation.

 In California, a district judge stopped enforcement of the Education Department’s rules preventing undocumented students at the state community colleges from getting a portion of the state’s $580 million from CARES funds for pandemic relief. The law does not restrict types of students eligible for aid.

A U.S. district judge in New York blocked ICE from making civil arrests at courthouses. A federal judge in Massachusetts make the same ruling last year; the appeal is pending.

The U.S. Soccer Federation repealed the league’s three-year-old ban on kneeling during the national anthem, and the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association apologized to its “players—especially our Black players—staff, fans, and all who support eradicating racism.”

After DC Circuit Court judge Lawrence Silberman called renaming U.S. bases honoring Confederate officers “mad,” a Black law clerk responded in this brilliant way, when he wrote about his slave ancestors.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) cannot order the 11 Confederate statues removed from the capitol, but she can take down four portraits of previous House Speakers who served in the Confederacy. One of them, Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter (left) who was expelled from the U.S. Senate for supporting the Confederacy, became the Confederate Secretary of State. The last House Speaker portrait to be removed was that of former Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL). In 2015, then Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) took it off the wall after Hastert pled guilty to breaking banking laws when he obtained hush money concealing molestation of young boys while he was a wrestling coach.

An investigation from a panel created by the National Academy of Public Administration panel found that NOAA violated its scientific integrity policy in “Sharpiegate,” NOAA’s backing of DDT’s falsifying Hurricane Dorian’s path last September. After DDT mistakenly identified the Hurricane going into Alabama, NOAA contradicted its own meteorologists, and DDT changed Dorian’s path on a map with his Sharpie pen. According to the report, NOAA’s acting administrator Neil Jacobs and former NOAA deputy chief of staff and communications director Julie Kay Roberts twice violated agency codes through their involvement in the Sept. 6 statement. Jacobs is still claiming that DDT was correct in his ignorance that Alabama “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” Jacob’s problems continue: The Commerce Department’s inspector general, responsible for NOAA, and the House Science Committee both plan to release reports. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatened to fire NOAA’s top employees if they didn’t endorse DDT’s fake claims. 

A three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court upheld the dismissal of a defamation lawsuit against former British spy Christopher Steele, center of the publicity surrounding the Mueller report. Russian investment giants, owners of the country’s Alfa Group, claimed Steele’s reports had defamed them.

The FDA withdrew the emergency use authorization for DDT’s COVID-19 drugs of choice, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, because of health problems they may cause.

The King County Labor Council, the largest labor group in the Seattle area, expelled the city’s police union because it fails to address racism. The vote was two days after the city council unanimously voted to ban police use of tear gas, pepper spray, etc. after law enforcement used them on primarily peaceful demonstrators. Among other police attacks on protesters, an officer deliberately pepper-sprayed a seven-year-old and then arrested Evan Hreha, who videoed the episode, with no evidence of any wrongdoing by Hreha.   

White supremacists, DDT’s base, have infiltrated protests to cause a race war. Steven Ray Baca, 31, opened fire against protesters trying to pull down a statue of Spanish conquistador and tyrant Juan de Oñate outside a museum in Albuquerque (NM), leaving a person in critical condition. Heavily armed people in military-style garb calling themselves a “civil guard” circled Baca for protection. Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Carrillo, an avid far-right extremist “boogaloo boy,” killed a sheriff’s deputy in Santa Cruz County and an Oakland courthouse guard. A peaceful protest of 200 in small Bethel (OH) was overtaken by over 700 heavily-armed menacing people circling them like snipers. And more. DDT ignores the violence from the far-right while ranting against the far-left.

Facebook finally started deactivating DDT’s lying, hate-filled campaign ads, beginning with one using a Nazi symbol for political prisoners on protesters he falsely calls the Antifa and “far-left groups.” Along with the red inverted triangle, ads labeled peaceful protesters “Dangerous MOBS.” The campaign presented 88 ads, a significant number representing “Heil Hitler” in white supremacist code.

Earlier, FB took down ads with misleading references to U.S. Census and more recently one from DDT with copyrighted materials. The company proclaims, however, that it has a “light touch,” defending Holocaust deniers, claiming he did not believe “they were intentionally getting it wrong.”

Twitter marked a DDT campaign ad “manipulated media” to deceive viewers before the ad was removed because of copyright infringement. DDT’s campaign used an video from last year that went viral showing a white toddler chasing his best friend, a black toddler, to hug him and ran a fake CNN chryon, “TERRIFIED TODLER (sic) RUNS FROM RACIST BABY.” The ad used its fake chryon to accuse CNN of faking poll numbers. Facebook also removed the ad for copyright infringement. 

CNN’s Jim Acosta asked press secretary Kayleigh McEnany about DDT’s fake ad:

“So you’re saying it’s okay to exploit two toddlers hugging one another on a sidewalk to make some sort of political point? You — I mean, as you know, the President has described members of the press as ‘fake news’ during the course of this administration. When you share fake videos like that, doesn’t that make you fake news?”

McEnany tried to call DDT’s ad a satire “that was quite funny,” but Costa called her out, “What’s funny about these two toddlers … hugging one another?” The argument continued, and McEnany came out second in the exchange.

On its advertising platform, Google banned ZeroHedge, a far-right website trafficking in conspiracy theories after policy violations from comments about Black Lives Matter protests. The server also took the same action against The Federalist after a three-day warning. Google said that both websites violated its policy against monetizing content that “promotes hatred, intolerance, violence or discrimination based on race.” Having created a culture of monopolies, conservatives are complaining about how they behave.

June 11, 2020

You can’t make this stuff up!

Threatened with losing the November election, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has become more and more unhinged, and conservatives are taking advantage of his fascist approach.

On June 19, DDT holds his first “come-back” campaign rally in Tulsa (OK). That date, known as Juneteenth or Freedom Day, commemorates the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston (TX) after Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, brought news the Civil War had ended. The rally is in the same city one of the nation’s deadliest race massacres. On May 31 to June 1, 1921, up to 300 residents were killed and another 800 injured when white supremacists attacked, looted, and burned an affluent black community. Current Tulsa Police Major Travis Yates said the U.S. doesn’t have systemic racism because “we’re shooting African Americans about 24% less than we ought to be based on the crimes being committed.”

DDT ignores COVID-19, opens churches, pushes states to pretend all is normal, tries to drop the GOP convention in a state exhibiting caution, and returns to rallies. Yet anyone attending his rallies must sign a liability agreement that they won’t sue him if they contact the virus. Republicans who go to his rallies must exempt DDT from responsibility for becoming diseased and “assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.” Cases of the virus have recently spiked in Oklahoma.

Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine at George Washington University, tweeted:

“I think it’s insane to hold a political rally during a pandemic. It’s also equally crazy to attend such an event, particularly when the candidate requires you to sign a disclaimer holding him harmless if you get COVID-19. He wants you there but doesn’t care so much what happens.”

Republicans think the rallies are just fine. One Republican said, “If he’s telling the world it’s OK to get back to your life, at some point he has to get back to his life.” The person probably meant getting back to telling lies to crowds, playing golf, and spending weekends at his resorts. In that way, he can avoid the issue of 116,000 dying at a current rate of about 1,000 a day, 21 million people on unemployment, tens of thousands of people daily protesting in the street, and an erratic stock market.   

For another tone-deaf event, DDT plans to accept the presidential candidate nomination in Jacksonville (FL) on August 27, the 60th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday, when a white mob attacked black demonstrators staging peaceful sit-ins to desegregate the city’s lunch counters.  The mob of 200 white people organized by the KKK and joined by police officers chased and beat blacks with ax handles and baseball bats forced to seek sanctuary in a church. A participant in the sit-in 60 years ago had obtained a permit for the commemoration before the RNC officials moved some convention festivities to Jacksonville with a 30-percent black population. Cases of the virus are now spiking in Florida.

DDT did manage to give a speech today at a Dallas megachurch today. Among his comments were that police departments have no problem other than a few “bad apples” and “we’re dominating the streets with compassion.” The event was to discuss race and policing, but those not invited included the Dallas Police Chief, Dallas County Sheriff, and District Attorney. They are all black. The day before DDT went to Dallas, Texas had its biggest one-day occurrence of new COVID-19: at 2,504, the number was over 25 percent higher than the second highest on May 31.

The GOP presidential campaign is off and running as DDT’s message paints a dark picture of the nation—chaos, looters, rioters, antifa, immediate danger for white people.  DDT’s tweets want “LAW & ORDER.” (Savvy people might want to ask what happened after DDT was inaugurated in 2016 with the promise crime would completely stop on that day.) DDT’s playbook follows the last GOP president to be impeached. According to historian Rick Perlstein, Richard Nixon’s “most famous campaign commercial was a montage of riot scenes over a jittery, shrieking electronic soundtrack, the camera lingering on the naked white torso of a mannequin. Then came Nixon’s voice: ‘So I pledge to you, we will have order in the United States.’” In 2020, the far right is already spreading the lies that buses filled with thugs are heading for small towns throughout the United States.

DDT has threatened to “take back” Seattle after protesters camped out around a downtown police station. While he pictures the horrible images of the “ugly Anarchists,” they are holding potlucks, displaying Black Lives Matter paintings, and screening movies. Mayor Jenny Durkan said:

“Lawfully gathering and expressing First Amendment rights, demanding we do better as a society, and providing true equity for communities of color is not terrorism. It is patriotism.”

DDT blames protesters for the violence instead of the police, but Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) reported 13 Chicago police officers, including three supervisors, breaking into his campaign office and then making popcorn, drinking coffee, and sleeping on the couch while nearby businesses were being looted. They were there about four to five hours. Four years ago, police pulled Rush over in a traffic stop but claimed it wasn’t racial profiling.

In the Jewish Journal, Ariel Sobel asked, “Why Does The US Government Consider Antifa Terrorists, But Not The KKK?” Her article refers to DDT’s Twitter declaration, “The United States of America will be designating Antifa as a Terrorist Organization.” Antifa means “anti-Fascism,” and it’s a philosophy, a movement, not an organized group with a leader. It has no bank accounts or assets or infrastructure. Sobel asks why DDT wants to call people against Fascism “terrorists” while not objecting to the domestic terrorist organizations such the Ku Klux Klan “which for decades has used bloodshed, intimidation and crime to terrorize Americans.” White supremacist groups call for assaulting racial and religious minorities, and part of the definition for a terrorist group is attacks with many fatalities—like the mass shootings by white supremacists who have killed over 100 in the past two years. Those who try to identify with antifa attempt to stop the mass violence and have killed no one. DDT has already erased white nationalist violence from the mission of the Countering Violent Extremism program by renaming it to “Radical Islamic Extremism.” The First Amendment protects domestic terrorists who are prosecuted for their crimes under laws other than terrorism.

DDT’s sycophants are trying to make left-wing political activism illegal with a resolution naming “Antifa” as a “domestic terrorist organization” which would block any dissent against racist groups and connect antifa members to organized crime. An antifa activist tweeted the proposed bill “is the road to fascism, and Ted Cruz [GOP senator from Texas] is paving the way.” Cruz’s bill follows other GOP ones to silence dissenters against other issues such as pipelines and the neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville (VA). A member of antifa said, “All leftist activists are by default involved in antifascism.” A person is either for fascism—like DDT—or against that control over people.

Although he may mean the Secret Service, DDT is praising the “S.S.” for their handling of the antifa. SS refers to the notorious Nazi paramilitary organization, the Schutzstaffel, part of the Holocaust.

DDT also tweeted Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) lies about Democrats’ staying silent regarding “defunding the police.” The party’s leadership, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) and presidential candidate Joe Biden, already opposed the defunding. Those supporting the concept want to use specialists for some responsibilities such as working with people with mental issues instead of paying untrained law enforcement.

Taxpayers pay for the Trump family to take 1,000 more trips every year than the Obama family did. Trips frequently promote or support the family business. Last summer Donald Trump Jr’s Secret Service agents, costing $76,859.36, protected him while he killed an Argali sheep, a rare breed of giant sheep noted for their huge horns, with a rifle with a laser sight on a nighttime shoot. He didn’t get a permit until several days after the killing, and he may not have a permit to take his “trophy” home. DDT’s adult children are entitled, but not obligated, to use Secret Service protection. Other trips are a mystery.

Talking about how the D.C. National Guard teargassed peaceful protesters for his photo-op in front of a church, DDT said the troops “could hardly believe how easy it is.” Yup. Teargassing your friends and neighbors is a simple act. DDT also praised the National Guard in his Dallas speech, saying they displaced protesters “like a knife through butter.”

Bigot of the week: Ohio state GOP Sen. Steve Huffman, also a practicing emergency room doctor, suggested“colored people” (his words) suffer more from COVID-19 because they “do not wash their hands as well as other groups.” A reason for higher incidence of blacks with COVID-19 is poor health care. After his comments, Huffman was fired as an ER doctor but stays in the legislature. This statement comes after DDT’s hand-picked officials, including HUD Ben Carson and one of those “colored people,” denied any systemic racism in the U.S. Poor health care is a reason for higher incidence of COVID-19 among blacks.

March 3, 2020

DDT’s Economy before Covid-19

As the new coronavirus, covid-19, continues its creep across the world, the economy—which had many cracks before the health crisis—may take a bit hit.

Financial markets: Last week, U.S. stocks’ drop of at least 10 percent had not been seen since 2008 in the great recession at the end of George W. Bush’s second term. Damage is being done to retirement accounts, especially if interest rates are again cut, and consumer confidence. Stocks went up this week but only because governments and banks promised to take care of the problem.

Retail: Reduction in discretionary spending influences an area providing for over two-thirds of U.S. economic growth. A covid-19 outbreak in the U.S. would also drive people to online outlets, threatening jobs in a sector showing no employment growth in 2019.

Travel and hospitality: Cancelation of conferences and meetings have already led to a drastic decline in global travel and tourism, hurting airlines, lodging, casinos, restaurants, concert/sports venues, and other businesses with close contact.

Technology: Factory shutdowns in China and neighboring countries already restricted supply of technology products and parts, necessary for huge companies such as Apple and Microsoft. Almost 80 percent of small and medium-sized industrial plants in China are still closed.

Automobiles: Lack of parts from China hurts the U.S. industry already suffering from DDT’s tariffs.

For the one argument to vote for him, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) bragged about creating the “best economy” people have ever known—low unemployment rate, lies about new jobs, and the high stock market. Even before the onslaught of covid-19, DDT’s economy was going downhill. He pushed through the tax cuts with promises for a GDP up to six percent but averaged $1 trillion deficit per year, twice President Obama’s last year. He hasn’t even hit three percent GDP growth for a year: 2.3 percent last year, 2.9 percent in 2018, and 2.4 percent his first year. President Obama hit over 4 percent in four different quarters. Goldman Sachs now estimates GDP for the first quarter of 2020 at 1.2 percent. Ed Hyman, Evercore ISI Chairman and widely followed economist on Wall Street, predicts 0.0 percent GDP for both second and third quarters of 2020. 

An update from early November showing DDT’s growing economy problems:

  • Private-sector investment had negative growth for most of 2019 as big business stores profits offshore and buys stocks in their companies.
  • Job growth of almost 2.1 million in 2019 was below that of 2018 and among the worst since 2011 when the country was crawling out of a big recession. DDT’s best year of 2018, with 2.31 million new jobs, was still under jobs gains during any of Obama’s last three years.
  • About 1 in 7 U.S. men between 25 and 54 (over 14 percent) aren’t employed, higher than the year before the economic disaster in 2007. Many of them don’t appear in unemployment statistics because they gave up looking for work. Most do not have college degrees and live in a handful of rural, low-income regions across the country.
  • Median household income rose only $1,400 during DDT’s first two years, compared to the $4,810 increase during President Obama’s last two years.
  • Wage growth dropped in states that didn’t have minimum-wage increases, and median wage for “blue collar” workers has gone down 12.3 percent since 1979. The $7.25 minimum wage, established 11 years ago, just shrank to $6.05 after adjusted for inflation.  U.S. households are poorer than before the 2007 financial crisis.
  • The median wage of a full-time male worker is still more than three percent below what it was 40 years ago. DDT’s change in the overtime rule means that eight million workers will receive lower wages, $1.4 billion less than under the 2016 rule.
  • The typical US male worker needs one additional week every year to support a family of four compared to the 30 weeks in 1985 that gave him the money. Now a man needs $54,441 for expenditures compared to the $13,227 required in 1985. Women are worse off, requiring 45 weeks in 1985 compared to 66 weeks in 2018.
  • Median household income in Democratic districts is $61,000, compared with $53,000 for Republicans.
  • Conservative policies are responsible for millennials’ huge college debt, stagnant wages, unaffordable health care, climate change problems, and massive federal deficits.
  • Nine of the last ten recessions began under Republicans: 1953, 1958, 1960, 1969, 1973, 1981, 1990, 2001, and 2007. The only Democratic one was in 1980, resulting from the oil crisis in the late 1970s.
  • In the employment figures that DDT praises, 57 million workers, one-third of all employed people, have gig economy jobs without any benefits such as health insurance. People in those jobs, as well as other ones that don’t provide sick leave, are likely to spread covid-19 by working while sick and having contact with a large number of people.  
  • In two years, the uninsured rate increased from 10.9 percent to 13.7 percent, and life expectancy dropped in the first two years after DDT was inaugurated—in 2017 the highest rate of midlife mortality since World War II.
  • Almost 60 percent of people in the U.S. cannot cover an emergency expense of $1,000 such as a car repair
  • In a Monmouth University poll, only 12 percent of people in the U.S. said their families had “benefited a great deal” from recent economic growth, and only 18 percent said that middle-class families had benefited a lot from Trump’s economic policies. 

DDT wants people to overlook his soliciting foreign interference to get elected, incessantly lying, obstructing justice, and destroying the lives of people through his domestic and foreign policies. His demand for votes based on a continuation of Obama’s economy ignores the indicators of a coming recession.

  • The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index dropped to 47.2, its lowest level since June 2009. Unemployment has increased in Ohio and Pennsylvania for the past six months, and Michigan and Wisconsin manufacturing unemployment has eroded.
  • Manufacturing cut 12,000 jobs in December; mining shed 8,000; and transportation and warehousing dumped 10,000. US Steel shuttered its Detroit plant and laid off 1,545 workers. Two hundred workers lost their jobs earlier last year.
  • Shipment volume dropped 9.4 percent in January 2020 compared to an already weak January the previous year. The decrease was for the 14th month and the steepest since October 2009. In December, the Celadon Group, with 3,000 drivers and 2,700 tractors, became the largest truckload carrier to file for bankruptcy, and barge operator American Commercial Lines, with 3,500 barges mostly the Mississippi River, declared bankruptcy in January. Two of the largest US railroads, CSX and Union Pacific, dropped revenues and reported massive layoffs from weak transportation.
  • Car sales have declined since 2016 to below their level in 2000, and new-vehicle registration in California, the biggest U.S. market, dropped 5.5 percent in 2019. New-vehicle sales have dropped to
  • Five percent of auto loans are delinquent.
  • Credit card delinquencies increased in 2019 to 8.36 percent. Subprime credit-card delinquency rates are at an all-time high.
  • One in nine borrowers of student debt, now over $1.5 trillion, were reported 90+ days delinquent or in default in 2019. This figure might be understated because half of student loans aren’t in the repayment cycle because they are in deferment, grace periods, or forbearance. Delinquency rates are projected to be about twice as high when those loans enter the repayment cycle.
  • The size of the stock market relative to the size of the economy is at its highest level ever, showing that it’s overvalued. Because of stock over-evaluation, asset managers expect a recession this year or in 2021.
  • Capital spending by S&P 500 companies grew less than 1 percent in the third quarter and would have fallen without Apple and Amazon because uncertain business environment causes companies to cut back on spending.

GOP Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley encouraged DDT and his economists, including Peter Navarro, to read about parallels to the booming 1920s in Dan Henninger’s Wall Street Journal op-ed by Dan Henninger. The economic growth, when Congress cut taxes three times in a time of huge income inequality, was followed by the financial crash and almost a decade of deep fiscal depression. Herbert Hoover, elected in 1928, loved tariffs that damaged an already declining economy and signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff law in 1930, a policy that severely restricted trade and strained the economy by raising import taxes.

After a cash shortage in financial institutions last September, the Federal Reserve flooded the market with overnight “repos,” repurchase operations by purchasing $60 billion a month in short-term Treasury bills. Banks buy them overnight and sell them back the next day at a higher price to meet federal requirements for minimum reserves. 

The economy would have shown greater signs of tanking without the Federal Reserve acting as if the U.S. were in a recession instead of a sound economy. The agency practiced quantitative easing, buying assets such as bonds. The last time the government did this to get out of the great recession, the Fed stopped the practice as soon as the economy recovered. Now, the Fed is purchasing bonds at a $60 billion per month–$720 billion a year or about three-fourths of a trillion dollars—more debt for future generations. This system moves more wealth to the top, away from most people.

The Fed has also cut interest rates several times since DDT was inaugurated, most recently the 0.5 percent this morning which dropped the rate to below 1.25 percent—the largest cut since 2008. The purpose is to encourage people to spend, an unlikely behavior during a health crisis.

A recent Pew research poll found that “[s]even-in-10 U.S. adults say the economic system in their country unfairly favors powerful interests.” William D. Cohan wrote that covid-19 gave investors the reason for grabbing their profits in a shaky economy and DDT an excuse to blame the stock market on something other than his economic policies that “widened the gulf between the rich and poor” to the biggest divide since the Gilded Age of 150 years ago.   

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. 

February 29, 2020

Covid-19 Not a ‘Hoax’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 22, 2020

DDT: Week 161 – The Chaos Continues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 21, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 12, 2020

Budget Shows DDT’s Cruel Priorities

Last year, household debt topped $14 trillion.

The day before Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) Trump tweeted “BEST USA ECONOMY IN HISTORY!” he slashed a scheduled pay raise for federal workers from 2.5 percent to 1 percent because, according to DDT, he’s “keeping the nation on a fiscally sustainable course.” The White House said that a president can “implement alternative plans for pay adjustments” in “a national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare.” This assertion came from the man who signed $1.5 trillion cuts for the rich and big business. The increase in cost of living for 2019 was 2.3 percent, the highest since 2011, which means that federal workers’ wages dropped 1.3 percent.

In January, the federal deficit climbed to $389, 25 percent more than the same period last year. The Treasury Department estimates a deficit of more than $1 trillion, even higher than the almost $1 trillion for each of the first two years after DDT was inaugurated. Revenue is down because of loss from individual corporate tax cuts of 40 percent.

Against this backdrop, DDT released his new budget with the redundant name “The Budget for America’s Future.” On the campaign trail, DDT said he would eliminate the federal debt, or at least halve it, during his presidency. Instead, his new budget adds $3.4 trillion by 2024 on top of the $3 trillion he already added—and that’s likely a very conservative guesstimate—with an “optimistic” projection of ballooning debt until 2035.

When he pushed the tax cuts, DDT promised to grow the economy by at least four percent and maybe 5 percent or 6 percent. Last year, the GDP grew at 2.3 percent, and he projects 2.8 percent for 2020, going up to 3 percent a year after that. He’s still saying that his tax plan will create business investment and economic growth. The Congressional Budget Office’s far more realistic estimate is GDP growth of 2.2 percent this year, 1.9 percent in 2021, and average 1.7 percent through 2030.

Saturday morning, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) tweeted that he “will not be touching your Social Security and Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget.” The next day, DDT’s newly released budget showed “steep reductions in social-safety-net programs” of $2 trillion, including $1.6 trillion cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, according to the conservative Wall Street Journal. Among the $920 billion cut for Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act are $135 billion for prescription drugs and $292 billion in safety-net cuts such as work requirements and food stamps. [Last year, drug prices increased by 5 percent] DDT’s budget cuts Medicare by $451 billion. Gone are $1.7 billion for low-income children’s school meals, $200 billion by requiring Social Security numbers for the child tax credit and earned income tax credit, and $170 billion for student loan programs. Social Security was cut by $70 billion eligibility for disability benefits, adding to a total of $4.4 trillion cuts for programs benefiting families and working people.

With Mick Mulvaney still making the $203,500 for salary from his past position as director of the Office of Management and Budget but now action chief of staff, acting OMB director Russell Vought, making only $179,000 to do Mulvaney’s dirty work, was left to justify DDT’s budget. According to Vought, the administration isn’t making these cuts at all: it will “remove” parts of the Medicare and then “moderate their growth” with reforms. He declined to give a total figure of all cuts (aka moderations of growth) to Medicare and Social Security.

Vought couldn’t answer the question about DDT’s introduction of the new budget that stated the government “abused its authority to go after business.” He said:

“Who? Who? Who’s saying that? Don’t have it in front of me.”

The White House put most of Vought’s briefing “off-camera.”

Asked about the $2 trillion in proposed cuts to “entitlement programs,” Vought answered that they weren’t cuts. He said, “We believe these are good-government reforms.” He also commented that “the coronavirus is not going to have a ripple effect.”

Under oath while testifying before the House Budget Committee, Vought refused to answer the question about whether President Obama’s administration had created any jobs.

Once again DDT panders to his base with his budget. His only increases are 12 percent to NASA for a trip to Mars (which DDT unfortunately won’t be taking), an increase in military spending to $740.5 billion, and 13.3 percent increase to the VA mostly for veterans’ health care, some of it for the after affects of DDT-caused head injuries from rocket attacks. And of course, the wall would get another $2 billion.

Other cuts:

  • 9 percent cut from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • 8 percent cut from the Education Department.
  • 21 percent cut from foreign aid.
  • 21 percent cut for the State Department and related international programs which includes the elimination of the Overseas Contingency Operations account.
  • 26.5 percent cut from the EPA.
  • 22 percent cut from the Army Corps of Engineers.
  • 37 percent cut from the Commerce Department.
  • 15 percent cut from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • 11 percent cut from the Labor Department.
  • 8 percent cut from the Energy Department.

The White House projects the economy will grow by an average of 3 percent a year if all of its proposals are adopted. The administration said real, or inflation-adjusted, gross domestic product would grow by 3.1 percent in 2021, up from its estimate of 2.8 percent this year. The administration forecast is considerably higher than the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that GDP will grow by 2.2 percent this year, 1.9 percent in 2021 and average 1.7 percent through 2030. White House forecast is based in part on the expectation the 2017 tax cuts, which would be extended in the budget plan, will spur business investment and economic growth.

DDT’s budget proposal nullifies a two-year deal negotiated with Congress last summer that raised both defense and domestic spending.

Two years ago, James Hohmann wrote a piece for Washington Post about DDT’s budget. Everything he said then holds true in 2020:

“[DDT] campaigned like a populist, but the budget he proposed Monday underscores the degree to which he’s governing as a plutocrat….

“’This is a messaging document,’ budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters at the White House.”

These are the messages:

DDT campaigned on never cutting Medicaid, Medicare, or Social Security, but his budget proposes these cuts with block grants.

DDT campaigned on bringing back manufacturing jobs, but he’s slashing budgets for training and support of job loss. Last year, the auto industry alone lost 50,000 jobs.

DDT campaigned on a balanced budget and created almost $3 trillion in deficits in his first three years.

DDT keeps campaigning on strong GDP growth while it becomes weaker.

DDT campaigning on helping the low-income workers but passed tax cuts for the rich and big business that helps only the “haves.” His budget promotes human suffering.  

DDT wants to kill the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, programs to prevent pollution, and eliminate any program that might stall climate change.

DDT campaigns on less government while increasing the part that he loves—military build-up. [In 2013, when former Defense Secretary was a Marine general leading Central Command, he told Congress, “If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition.” Now DDT buys more ammunition.]

DDT continues his plan of privatization to destroy public lands through mining, grazing, etc. and increase private school vouchers for Christian schools while slashing the Education Department budget.

About his budget, DDT said:

“We’re doing a lot of things that are good, including waste and fraud. Tremendous waste and tremendous fraud.”

Yes, he’s right. He’s doing “a lot of … waste and fraud. Tremendous waste and tremendous fraud.”

An overview of DDT’s budget. 

February 10, 2020

Week 159: Beyond Impeachment

The impeachment trial, the outrageous speeches of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), and Democratic candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire have consumed most of the media. Yet DDT keeps wreaking havoc in other ways. 

The “peace plan” that Jared Kushner orchestrated for Israel without any Palestinian input is not going smoothly. In a spike of violence, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian teenager in the contested West Bank that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to illegally annex, the fifth killing in the West Bank and Jerusalem since DDT tried to give Palestinian territory to Israel. Two Palestinians were killed during a protest against the Israeli’s demolition of a Palestinian house. Israeli police prevented Palestinians from worshipping at the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the Jerusalem location which Jews call the Temple Mount.

A week ago, at the Arab League headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas announced to its members that Palestine would immediately cut ties with the U.S. Palestine Authority’s security forces have long joined Israel to police the occupied West Bank under Palestinian control. The PA also has intelligence cooperation agreements with the CIA which it is stopping at this time. [Right: Abbas shows the Arab League how Palestine has lost land in the last century.]

The Arab League foreign ministers said the U.S.-Israel plan would not lead to a comprehensive and just peace and the League will not support its implementation. It does not meet Palestinians’ minimum aspirations. The foreign ministers affirmed that peace requires a future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital and based on borders before Israel captured land in the 1967 Middle East War.

David Friedman, U.S. ambassador to Israel, said that Israel cannot annex the West Bank without U.S. permission. He didn’t mention Palestinian’s rights to keep their land. Most of the world sees Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank as illegal. Netanyahu has temporarily backed down, possibly endangering his chances for reelection on March 2.

DDT’s assassination of Iranian leader Qasem Soleimani won’t go away: Iraqi officials are now saying that ISIS is responsible for the rocket attack that DDT used to justify the murder. Soleimani was fighting ISIS.

A former Air Force drone operator called the U.S. military “worse than Nazis” in the atrocities that they inflict in the Middle East. From a small room near Las Vegas, he remotely fired missiles over 7,000 miles way. He said his breaking point was killing a child in Afghanistan that his superiors said was a “dog.” He quit the military and spoke against the drone program after directly killing 13 people while his squadron fired on 1,626 targets that included women and children. In his training, he was told to “kill people and break things.” Superiors kept him in line with punitive measures and mockery. He wants people to understand how the drone program dehumanizes the operators.

DDT has a plan for “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again” in an executive order requiring Greek and Roman architectural style for all federal buildings costing over $50 million in Washington and throughout the U.S.  His goal is supposedly to “inspire … respect for our system of self-government.” Smithsonian-funded museums will escape the order. The “inspiration” comes from the “National Civic Art Society” that argues contemporary design in buildings is “dehumanizing.” All designs will be subject to White House approval.

For Architect of the Capitol, DDT nominated J. Brett Blanton, an engineer in airport operations and construction management who is not a licensed or practicing architect and was confirmed in mid-January by a voice vote on the day that the impeachment trial began. Blanton also served as a transportation engineer for the military. His first project will be overseeing the renewal project for the 111-year-old Beaux-Arts office building Cannon House Office Building (left), designed by architects for the New York Public Library and other early 19th-century buildings. Only one senator, Rules Committee Chair Roy Blunt (R-MO), appeared at Blanton’s hearing.

After DDT praised Super Bowl victors, the Kansas City Chiefs, for represented the “Great State of Kansas,” Fox & Friends hosts defended the geographically challenged man in the Oval Office despite the Chiefs’ location in Kansas City, Missouri. It’s not his first gaffe

  • At a UN luncheon with African leaders, he praised the health care in the non-existent country of Nambia.
  • He told his foreign policy advisers that Nepal and Bhutan are parts of India, instead of separate countries. [He also called them Nipple and Button.]
  • He also doesn’t know that Ireland isn’t part of the United Kingdom.
  • When talking to Indian Prime Minister Narenra Modi, he said, “[I]t’s not as though you have China right on your border.” [The India-China border is 2521 miles.]
  • He announced that he is building a border wall in Colorado, 1,193 miles from the Mexico border.
  • He thinks that Belgium is a “beautiful city” instead of a country.
  • Paris is still in Germany instead of France, according to DDT.
  • In talking to people from the Baltic states, he thought he was talking to the Balkans. This explains the difference.
  • When DDT bombed Syria, he thought he was bombing Iraq.
  • Recently at Davos, he thought he was talking with a Syrian Kurd when he was having a conversation with the president of Iraqi Kurdistan.
  • He announced that his call from South Korea was from North Korea.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may keep a map without names for the countries to educate DDT. Pompeo used it after he lost his temper with NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly, walked out of his interview, and swore at her in private before he demanded she identify Ukraine on his unmarked map. She had no trouble complying because of her education, but Pompeo tried to make it appear as if she didn’t. DDT was delighted with Pompeo’s lying, rudeness, and swearing by calling it “impressive.” He added, “I think you did a good job on [the reporter].”

In retaliation against Kelly, Pompeo removed NPR reporter Michele Kelemen from his trip to Europe and said in an interview in Kazakhstan that revoking her press credentials for the trip sends “a perfect message about press freedoms” to the world. He added that the State Department only grants press credentials when it believes reporters are “telling the truth and being honest.” [Pompeo’s altercation was with Kelly, not Kelemen.] Despite his behavior, Pompeo said that journalists are allowed to ask him anything they want. Kelly’s brilliant response to the Pompeo debacle in a NYT op-ed explains the substance of the interview that got lost after Pompeo’s temper tantrum and how his personal attack on her is “not the point.”

On his tour, Pompeo ironically praised Kazakhstan for taking in refugees fleeing persecution and said:

“The protection of basic human rights defines the soul of a nation.” 

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross likes the novel coronavirus sweeping China that has killed over 1,000 people And affected another 40,000+. He said:  

“I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America.”

DDT told states and local officials that they could block refugees, Texas took him up on it, people got riled at the governor, and a judge told states they couldn’t block refugees. A Maryland U.S. District judge called DDT’s policy “unlawful” and “does not appear to serve the overall public interest. [It] flies in the face of clear Congressional intent.” Although 42 states and over 100 local governments agreed to acceptance refugees, seven states were thus far noncommittal. DDT already lowered the annual national refugee cap to 18,000, down from 110,000 in 2016.

DHS has put non-violent protesters who committed acts of civil disobedience on its “extremist” list of white supremacists and mass killers.

DDT’s Labor Department, run by the son of former Justice Antonin Scalia, has changed rules so that workers will have a harder time suing for wage theft and other violations.

DDT’s tariffs will hurt everyone in the nation. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reduces the average family’s real income by $1,277 in 2020 by reducing the GDP level and raising consumer prices. The projection is over double that of last year’s $580 report.

On the campaign trail, DDT said, “If we don’t win, your farms are going to hell.” DDT had told farmer that they might have some “pain” from his trade wars, but he didn’t warn them about the eight-year high of farm bankruptcy rates that spiked 20 percent in 2019. Earlier in a campaign speech in Warren (MI), DDT declared that F-35 jets are literally invisible.

Another lie from the SOTU: Wooing black voters, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) gave a “scholarship” to fourth-grader Janiyah Davis to let her escape from a “failed government school.” She already attends one of Philadelphia’s most sought-after schools, Math, Science and Technology Community Charter School III, a public school.  Last year, she moved from a Christian school with tuition. Janiyah and her mother were invited to the SOTU after the principal in he former school was asked for names for youth who might want scholarships. No one checked to see where Janiyah attended school, explained why they were invited, or warned them that they would be in the spotlight. After the SOTU, Janiyah’s mother said:

“I don’t view MaST as a school you want to get out of at all. I view it as a great opportunity.”

DDT was angry with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf for vetoing tax credits for students in private religious schools.

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