Nel's New Day

July 17, 2019

GOP Stays Quiet about Racism or Sees It as a Strategy

Today is the fifth day that the racism of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has been on full display and consumed media coverage. Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of a man walking on the moon; today is the day that DDT promoted rally chants of “send her back” after five days of racist remarks that began with calling on four women of color congressional members—all residents of the United States and three born in the United States—to go back to their country. Once again, DDT looks for shiny objects to divert people from his illegal activities and push his supporters to more vile reactions toward his campaign philosophy of supremacy of white people.

If the media weren’t focused on DDT’s opposition to people of color in the nation, they might be pointing out that tomorrow is the bail hearing for child molester and trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, close associate of DDT in the past and let off by DDT’s former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta. (Video of DDT and Epstein at DDT’s party with 28 NFL cheerleaders.)

Tomorrow is also the day that a judge has required federal prosecutors to release information about a probe into DDT’s business role in hush money payments to women who claimed affairs with DDT. No one other than DDT’s former fixer Michael Cohen is being charged, and DDT’s current fixer, AG Bill Barr, has tried to hide the materials discovered in the probe about other people involved in the payoff. Cohen had implicated DDT in the payoff to help him with his presidential campaign. The investigation closed down soon after Barr took the position leading what should be an independent judicial agency. 

In another buried news article, DDT’s deficit for the past year will go over $1 trillion because of tax cuts after he promised to eliminate the debt. 

DDT’s started his war last Saturday when he tweeted that four women of color in the U.S. House should “go back [to] totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Those would be New York, Detroit, and Cincinanti—places he described as having “governments [that] are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all).” In his attacks, DDT has also re-united what some people believe to be a fractured Democratic party instead of diverting people from his own “crime infested” corruption.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (R-MN), whose family fled civil war-torn Somalia when she was a child and became a citizen when she was a teenager, recently introduced an amendment passed in the House requiring that the U.S. military provide Congress the cost and the supposed national security benefits of all foreign bases and operations. Like other members of Congress, she has pointed out the control of Israel over the United States that DDT has promoted.

Republicans stayed silent about DDT’s tweets for a day, but Fox & Friends’ hosts praised his comments, laughed, and called DDT “comedian in chief.” Facing media criticism about his racist comments, DDT doubled down to repeat that the women from the United States should go back to their own country. Asked by Fox’s John Roberts about his common cause from white nationalist groups for his message, DDT said he had no concern “because many people agree with me.” The statement, made during an event to highlight U.S. manufacturing, followed DDT’s tweets calling on the Democratic women of color in Congress to apologize for their “foul language & racist hatred.” DDT also accused Pelosi of making “a very racist statement” after she said he wanted to “make America white again.” After DDT started his racist war, GOP approval went up five points while his approval rating stayed at 41 percent because independent support dropped from 40 to 30 percent. 

Forced by publicity to comment on DDT, Republicans had a variety of responses—negating what was in the tweets and saying that DDT’s statement were “clearly not racist.” VP Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, said that DDT couldn’t be racist because he appointed a Chinese American woman—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) wife—as transportation secretary, a woman whose ethically-challenged connections have personally benefitted DDT. New acting Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli couldn’t explain why DDT’s tweets were not racist, but Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), changing his position that DDT engaged in “race-baiting” and was “xenophobic” now that he is running for re-election, went full-bore on Fox & Friends:

“We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists. They hate Israel. They hate our own country. They’re calling the guards along our border—Border Patrol agents—concentration camp guards. They accuse people who support Israel of doing it for the Benjamins. They’re anti-Semitic. They’re anti-America.”

Most of the strongest statements from Republicans about DDT were that the tweets were “inappropriate” and “really uncalled for.” GOP senators up for re-election in 2020 went to their corners by Tuesday: 

  • McConnell declared that DDT is not a racist but “political rhetoric has gotten … overheated.”
  • Martha McSally (AZ) had no comment.
  • Cory Gardner (CO) didn’t go farther than disagreeing with DDT’s language.
  • Joni Ernst (IA) agreed that DDT’s comments were racist. (Iowa is turning blue.)
  • Susan Collins (ME), in trouble after her votes after her votes for Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the tax reform bill in a state turning blue, said the tweets were “way over the line” and should be deleted.
  • Thomas Tillis (NC) doesn’t know anything about DDT/s tweets but look at the economy.
  • David Perdue (GA) said Monday it was “outrageous” to describe Trump’s language as racist, arguing “of course they’re not racist.”

Questioned about what country DDT meant when he told the congressional women of color to return, White House aide Kellyanne Conway asked Jewish reporter Andrew Feinberg what his ethnicity is. Feinberg said that it wasn’t relevant, but she declared it is and lied that DDT said “originally” before she launched into “America” first.” Underlying questions about “ethnicity” are insinuations that people are from another country, possibly loyal to a foreign government and usually inferior people.  Before asking about Feinberg’s ethnicity, Conway called the four women of color who DDT attacked, “the dark underbelly” of the United States. She added that the DDT team isn’t racist, they’re just “sick and tired” of “dark” Americans.

In the House, 187 Republicans voted to support racism while all Democrats, four Republicans (including the sole black GOP House member), and one newly-announced independent supported a censure resolution to condemn DDT’s racist tweets and statements against four representatives. Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) failed to have House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) description of DDT’s statements as racist removed from the House record. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) earlier called the four women “anti-American.” Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), who filed the censure resolution, compared DDT to the racist slave-holding President Andrew Jackson who “led to the Trail of Tears against Native American Indians.” Jackson was also censured for withholding documents about his defunding the Bank of the United States.

Racism is the belief in one race’s superiority over another that results in discrimination against someone of a different race or ethnicity. People who think that DDT is not a racist should read about his history. And all the racism he’s exhibited since his inauguration. Nicholas Kristoff describes how every bone in DDT’s body is racist.

According to an interview with the Daily Mail, DDT takes pride in his racism and told the reporter that he isn’t “unhappy” about the events that led to the censure resolution. He repeatedly says that what the four women have done is so horrible he can’t even tell people about their actions. His behavior in this event may be mild, compared to what will happen before the 2020 election. To keep people from thinking that DDT suffers from a lack of filter on his language, a symptom of dementia, his supporters and campaign strategists have stopped defending DDT as not racist and now argue that it’s a clever move to connect all Democrats to the four women’s progressive politics. Not all GOP consultants agree.

DDT may need to direct media attention toward his racist comments because his highly touted immigrant deportations last Sunday came to nothing. The media almost ignored DDT’s announced mass deportations last Sunday that showed few removals, perhaps because the fear and terror from his announcement resulted in an extensive “Know Your Rights” educational campaign. An internet search shows almost no articles about the deportations since Sunday when they were supposed to go into effect. On Monday, he lied when he said that ICE was focusing on violent criminals. Many people who voted for him now know that he lied about targeting ony dangerous people.

People vote not for what they want but for who they are. DDT supporters don’t care if they lose their health care, pay more taxes to support the rich, and lose clean air and food. They support a racist no matter what—that’s who they are.

July 14, 2019

Hatred: Conservative Religion in U.S.

Today, highly religious VP Mike Pence undoubtedly prayed to his god in a fundamentalist church after ignoring the plight of immigrants. Frustrated by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) assertions that the detention centers are “concentration camps,” Pence visited them himself. A video shows he wrinkled his nose at the stench, made no eye contact with the men, and turned his back on them to leave after a minute. He didn’t take his wife with him and have dinner in the center, as he had promised. After his visit, Pence praised “the care that our Customs and Border Protection personnel are providing.” He tried to whitewash the situation by saying “I was not surprised” and that something should be done about overcrowding.

Reporters stayed for 90 seconds and reported that the foul-smelling McAllen (TX) border facility had almost 400 immigrant men in sweltering cages without mats or pillows on the concrete floor. The heat index in McAllen on Friday was 110 degrees, and some of the men said they had been there for over 40 days. Agents claimed they could brush their teeth once a day and have water when they wanted, but the inhabitants refuted these claims. They said they couldn’t have water without permission to go outside the cage and were not provided showers. Men said that they were hungry.

The DHS Inspector General report reported adults and children with no access to showers, adults fed only bologna sandwiches, and immigrants held in standing room-only cells, some standing on toilets for breathing space. One for-profit company is billing the U.S. $775 for each child for one day of detention in Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) “tent cities.” These are the facilities where understaffing requires children to care for toddlers and some infants don’t even have diapers. That $775 doesn’t provide mattresses, clean clothes, bed linens, sufficient food, soap, etc. DOJ lawyer Sarah Fabian tried to argue that migrant children don’t need amenities such as soap and toothbrushes. 

Pence chuckled in an interview with Jake Tapper about detained migrant children lacking toothbrushes and soap and about the “stench.” “It’s all part of the appropriations process,” Pence said. 

Fox’s Shep Smith called Clint’s facility “horrendous” and said that conditions would violate the Geneva Convention of the incarcerated were prisoners of war. A doctor permitted into a McAllen (TX) facility after five infants were taken from there to neonatal intensive care from flu compared conditions to torture. One toddler was “completely unresponsive,” and her eyes rolled to the back of her head. The doctor said that minors were subjected to “extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water, or adequate food.” The diseases easily spreads from denial of access to washing hands and cleaning baby bottles.

Dismayed by the lack of hygiene products for children, six people paid $340 for diapers, wipes, soaps, and toys that they took to a detention facility in Clint (TX). They were ignored at the facility, and others have been told that no donations of such necessities as toothbrushes, soap, towels, etc. are accepted.

Pence gave sufficient warning that he would be visiting detention centers, but other government officials are prevented from inspection. Five Democratic candidates for president including two U.S. Senators were denied entry into the Homestead (FL) facility that holds 3,000 children. Two other candidates, also senators, were earlier refused entry.

When migrant children in an Arizona facility reported bad food and water, the CBP agents removed mats from their cells and forced them to sleep on concrete. Agents also offensively treated the children and sometimes sexual assaulted them. These are not problems from overcrowding; they were denied phone calls, showers, warm blankets while sleeping outside, and enough food. Dinner wasn’t served until after 9:00 in the evening. Lack of funding is no reason for the abusive behavior of agents toward the detainees and the retribution they suffer if they tell the truth about their treatment.

A report from the House Oversight Committee shows that at least 18 migrant infants and toddlers under the age of two were separated from their parents at the border “including nine infants under the age of one” for between 20 days and six months. Some children were detained in Border Patrol facilities longer than the allowed 72 hours, sometimes moved to multiple facilities to give the appearance of staying within the law. Media reports caused 300 children to be removed from a Texas facility where children were left filthy and neglected. Yet agents returned 100 of them within a few days, saying that the Clint facility was a “consolidated” holding facility. In early June, DDT canceled English classes, recreational programs, and legal aid for unaccompanied minors in detention centers. Licensing laws may not allow him to carry out that plan, but Florida has not licensed the Homestead facility.

Tropical Storm Barry officially begins this year’s hurricane season, and children in Homestead are in tents, metal trailers, and a former U.S. Job Corps building—all in the second-most vulnerable hurricane zone in Florida. HHS claims that its plans are secret, but history shows a serious lack of planning from that agency about undocumented immigrants.

DDT plans to eliminate interpreters for undocumented migrants, using only videos to videos in multiple languages to explain rights and the proceedings. After that, no one will be available to answer questions in their language. Immigrants speak diverse indigenous languages and frequently don’t speak Spanish. Many of them don’t have attorneys and lack representation.

CPB agents and private companies with detention centers are creating a serious and permanent public health crisis replete with pulmonary diseases, fungal infections, skin infections, and a large number of illnesses such as mumps, measles, and chicken pox. Conservatives claims that the people came with these diseases; even if that were true, DDT’s policies are greatly excerbating the problem because of no attention and care.  If people in prolonged detention escape these diseases, they still suffer from mental health conditions from panic attacks to psychosis. Young people can have irreversible neurological impact both physical and emotional, and the problems can be genetic for future generations. Those not arrested and deported live in constant terror and fear that parents or spouses will be taken from them, affecting the health of blood pressure, metabolism, psychological well-being, etc. The number of abusers using deportation threats against their victims has increased by 100 percent in the past two years while rape reports by Latinas has decreased by 50 percent.

As of early June, 24 people died in ICE custody during DDT’s term. At least four others died soon after release, and more migrants, including five children, died in the custody of other federal agencies. Since that report, at least one migrant, a Honduran man, died after being in ICE custody for almost a month.

Officials have known for over three years about the sexist secret Facebook page by 9,500 current and former border agents with abusive content and done nothing about it. Since information about the social media went public, the members dropped to 4,000. They also tried to scrub the content, but a website has captured and archived much of the content. The head of the Border Patrol for almost a year, Carla Provost, condemned the racist, vulgar, and sexist posts as inappropriate, but she is one of several Border Patrol supervisors who participates in the Facebook. At least one more Facebook page for CBP employees posting vulgar and sexually explicit posts has been uncovered, this one also demeaning Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and blacks and Asian-Americans.

ICE has increased detention to 54,000—far above the 40,520 limit and ignoring congressional instructions at the end of the government shutdown in February. With no permission for more detention money, ICE has also opened three new for-profit immigration centers in Louisiana and Mississippi correction facilities within the past few weeks. ICE plans to put 15,000 asylum seekers in Louisiana by the end of summer although the state lacks judges to hear the cases. Congress has given ICE no additional detention money so no one knows how the bills will be paid, especially because existing facilities cannot afford soap and toothbrushes. ICE is also not telling lawyers where their clients are and not listing them on the detainee locator software. When the facilities were prisons operated by the same companies as the detention centers, they were understaffed, and inmates received poor treatment.

Bank of America reported that it will no longer have connections to companies that provide prisoner and detention services, including Homestead. Meanwhile, DDT is using his citizenship question and today’s raids in ten cities to distract people from his sexual assaults, fraudulent financial dealings, and close relationships and appointments with corrupt people.

Not satisfied with the number of people in detention centers, DDT plans to increase the overcrowding in detention facilities by breaking up families of those with Temporary Protected Status and deporting youth with DACA status. Haitian families arriving at the border are already not permitted to work in the U.S.; instead men and teenage boys are arrested and put into detention, leaving the women and children without any family support. HUD is threatening to evict 100,000 members of mixed-status families if any of them are undocumented. DDT plans to destroy millions of people in his goal to “make America white.”

On Sunday, July 14, 2019, that’s religion in “America.”

July 13, 2019

DDT: Week 129 – His Disillusionment, Losses

Last week, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned after his sweet plea agreement for child molester Jeffrey Epstein blew up, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) lost his citizenship question on the 2020 census. He also failed to convince people that he is the “environment president” and invited crazy far-right personalities to his social media summit where he talked about saving “free speech” for only the right wing. Big news for millions of people was the U.S. win in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, its fourth in the history of eight tournaments played every four years. The celebration included a parade in New York City along with keys to the city and a speech from Megan Rapinoe, captain of the winning Reign FC. “We have to be better, we have to love more and hate less. Listen more and talk less. It is our responsibility to make this world a better place,” Rapinoe told the crowd.

After the win, a member of Fox network watched the broadcast with a crowd in a Lyon (France) sports bar who broke into chants of “F**k Trump.” Although DDT didn’t directly refer to the news piece, he spent the next day lambasting Fox—loading the network with Democrats such Donna Brazille, calling them worse than CNN (until now his most hated network), and “using Fake unsourced @NYTimes.” Earlier he had invited the U.S. women’s national soccer team to the White House but now says he hasn’t “really thought about” an invitation. Fox checked DDT’s environmental lies in real time, and Shep Smith interrupted DDT’s speech to discuss the over 80 environmental rules and regulations that DDT repealed and/or rolled back. Other DDT complaints about Fox: the network “forgot the people who got them there,” and “Fox is moving more and more to the losing (wrong) side in covering the Dems.” Fox helped get DDT elected by repeating false conspiracy theories, some of them from Russia, such as the lie about Hillary Clinton’s assassins killing DNC staffer Seth Rich.

The alt-right is also becoming disillusioned with DDT. After his July 4 event, white supremacists used their online forums such as 4chan and 8chan to describe betrayal about his lack of sweeping immigration enforcement. Steve Bannon, who described his website Breitbart as “the platform for the alt-right,” is gone, and the “United the Right” rally in Charlottesville (VA) sent a white supremacist to prison for murder. Even former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke rejects DDT, referring to him as “President Donald Kushner,” and now supports Tulsi Gabbard for president.

Chubb has become the first major U.S. insurance company to no longer support coal companies by refusing to underwrite building new coal-fired power plants and not investing in companies that generate more than 30 percent of their revenues from coal mining or production. The company will also phase out existing coverage for mining and utility companies that exceed the 30 percent threshold. The climate crisis is hurting Insurance companies: global losses for extreme weather and natural disasters in 2017 and 2018 ran $219 billion.

A court has ruled that DDT cannot block Twitter followers who criticize or mock him because he conducts government business through tweets. DDT’s lawyers failed to convince the judge that his account, which makes official pronouncements, is purely personal. The unanimous ruling from a 2nd Circuit Appeals Court three-judge panel, two of them appointed by George W. Bush, confirmed a lower-court ruling.

DDT has more subpoenas to block: the House has issued over 36 subpoenas to the Trump Organization and other DDT businesses connected to its lawsuit about DDT’s violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution by profiting from foreign governments. Another dozen include DDT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and the former AG Jeff Sessions. One topic for questioning will be the hush money DDT paid women about their affairs with him.

Despite DDT’s promise to lower the cost of drugs, they keep increasing: the FDA has approved Novartis’ Zolgensma, a gene therapy drug for a form of hereditary spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), at an annual cost of $425,000. The drug is targeted for children under two years old suffering from the disease causing death or permanent breathing support. At least the cost is less than Biogren’s Spinraza, costing $750,000 the first year and then an annual $375,000. Drug companies are also charging large amounts by taking over natural substances, for example a CBD drug for childhood epilepsy $32,500 a year and an L-glutamine drug (costing $10 a bottle) for $40,000 a year. Companies can petition the removal of supplements from the market, forcing people to buy their expensive replacements. DDT withdrew his proposal to lower drug prices by stopping drugmaker rebates to insurance middlemen. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has created a new Commission on Unalienable Rights that may roll back rights for LGBTQ people and women throughout the world. The State Department already has an office for human rights, but Pompeo’s commission was created separate from that office and without its input. The commission’s chair, Mary Ann Glendon, has received awards for her anti-abortion activism, she falsely wrote that the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit was an “abortifacient” mandate, and she thinks that marriage equality discriminates against religious freedom.  

Thanks to the “all-about-me July 4 from DDDT (Deadbeat Dictator Donald Trump), Washington, DC’s security fund is broke after paying $1.7 million for the event—six times what Fourth of July events usually cost the city. DDDT, who still owes $7.3 million in security costs for his inauguration almost 30 months ago, has a reputation for telling his contractors and employers to go whistle for what he owes them. DC faces the same problem. 

Previously not charged for his illegal lobbying with Turkey, former national security adviser Michael Flynn has been listed as a co-conspirator with his former business partner Bijan Kian at Kian’s trial because the court has no faith in Flynn’s honesty. Kian is charged with Turkish national Kamil Ekim Alptekin as acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Turkey in connection with the now-defunct Flynn Intel Group’s lobbying campaign to extradite Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen from Pennsylvania. The trial begins on July 15, two days before Mueller is scheduled to testify to a House committee.

The tariff problem with China may disappear after DDT was granted preliminary approval for 38 Trump-branded Chinese businesses—hotels, spas, escort and concierge services, massage parlors, personal security services, and insurance. He suspended tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods and gave permission for Huawei to sell its products to the U.S. although he thinks that the Chinese telecom company conspired to provide forbidden financial services to Iran. Congress has not approved the unconstitutional profit-making for DDT, but judges have already exonerated him for violating the emoluments clause.  

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is trying to persuade Congress to raise the debt ceiling before the August recess, eight working days from now. He claims that the U.S. is running out of money sooner than he expected—maybe because of little revenue from the wealthy and big business?—and could default on its bills before congressional members return in September. The U.S. has not been able to borrow money since March when congressional borrowing limits went back into effect.

DDT has a new definition for free speech: “not when you see something good and then you purposefully write bad.” As Jon Chait wrote:

“[DDT’s] entire goal is to promote supportive views and suppress hostile ones. And the willingness of virtually the entire conservative movement to support or tolerate his cynical conscription of free speech to intimidate the media reveals how little it, too, cares about freedom.”

In most of the nation, the redder the zip code the more distressed the people. This map shows the level of distress for these factors: education, housing vacancy, unemployment levels, poverty rate, median income, the change in number of jobs, and business establishments. Only 20 percent of people live in the 97 percent of geographic rural areas, and almost half those people live in the South.

Negative publicity may have forced DDT to cancel the strip-club sponsored golf tournament scheduled at his Doral Miami resort, complete with DDT’s family crest on the advertising. Plans included nudity and an auction for “caddy girls.” Plummeting revenues at the Doral, 69 percent in the past two years, have caused the Trump Organization to seek county tax relief. Mar-a-Lago revenues dropped ten percent after his open support of white supremacists at Charlottesville (VA), and the Trump Tower in New York is “one of the least desirable luxury properties in Manhattan.”

Confidence in U.S. institutions is rapidly shrinking: religion is down to a little above one-third. Fewer than one fourth have faith in the criminal justice system, and confidence in Congress has dropped to 11 percent.

Democratic presidential candidates: Sen. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) is the first to leave the 2020 race, but billionaire Tom Steyer dived in, believing he could save the country with his money.

July 12, 2019

Acosta Gone, Barr Protects DDT

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta failed to survive the scandal surrounding the Acosta’s extremely light sentence for Jeffrey Epstein when he was a U.S. AG in Florida over a decade ago. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) announced Acosta’s “resignation” today, effective in a week. For DDT, it’s a win-win: he looks tough, and he can put in an acting secretary who will be far harder against labor than Acosta has been. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney wanted Acosta gone to get rid of more regulations.

DDT, the man who promised to “drain the swamp,” has the most Cabinet secretaries lost to corruption and other ethics concerns during the first term of any presidency, showing his nepotism, self-dealing, lax oversight, and choice of lobbyists who oppose the policies of their agencies. Ronald Reagan had some struggles: his EPA director Anne Gorsuch, a Supreme Court justice’s mother, was found in contempt of Congress for refusal to release records about Superfund money misuse, and his interior secretary James Watt mocked diversity in a U.S. chamber of Commerce speech and lied about his influence-peddling as a lobbyist. Acosta makes the fifth “resigned” Cabinet secretary from ethics issues, joining Tom Price (HHS), Scott Pruitt (EPA), David Shulkin (VA), and Ryan Zinke (Interior). DDT’s replacements for the four are all former lobbyists or corporate executives for the industries they now oversee. Other appointments have been withdrawn because of more ethics problems: Andy Puzder (Labor) for labor violations and spousal abuse; and Ronny Jackson (VA) for misconduct and mismanagement. Another remaining three Cabinet members—Ben Carson (HUD), Elaine Chao (Transportation), and David Bernhardt (Interior)—face ethical problems.  

Acosta’s replacement, deputy secretary Patrick Pizzella who was former lobbyist for overseas sweatshops, will add to DDT’s stable of ethically-challenged lobbyists in his Cabinet. In the late 1990s, he worked with Jack Abranoff, whose 21 convictions led to reforms in lobbying laws, for a Russian front group, the government of the Marshall Islands, and a trade association opposing a minimum wage in a U.S. commonwealth. 

The DOJ is still protecting DDT in the case of his friend, hedge fund billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, again arrested for sex trafficking after DDT’s Labor Secretary Alex Costa, then U.S. AG in Florida, let Epstein off in 2008. Or maybe DDT is protecting himself; in 2016, the BBC released a documentary accusing DDT of “predatory” behavior toward teenage girls, some underage, by model Barbara Pilling. In an earlier court filing, Epstein said, “I want to set up my modeling agency the same way Trump set up his modeling agency.” More support for Epstein has come from DDT’s DOJ. The involvement of AG Bill Barr to exonerate Epstein could indicate wrongdoing by DDT. More background on Epstein.

Barr’s recusal from the Epstein case didn’t last long. Originally recusing himself from the New York sex trafficking case because of his work at the law firm Kirkland and Ellis lawyer representing Epstein, Barr changed his mind and will only recuse himself from an investigation of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s involvement in Epstein’s Florida plea deal. At least for now. He has said nothing about his family connection with Epstein. In 1973, Barr’s father hired Epstein, then 20 and without any college degree, to teach calculus and physics teacher at the prestigious Dalton School. Epstein went on to amass a fortune under the mentorship of a student’s father, Bear Stearns’ chairman Alan “Ace” Greenberg, and Barr’s father, Donald Barr, resigned a year later under pressure from the school’s board of trustees after Headmaster Barr morphed a “humanistic, progressive” school into one with “discipline and authoritarian rule.” The headmaster was irritated by the board’s hiring an outside committee to evaluate the school and its operation.

Epstein is surrounded by many of the rich and famous: Prince Andrew; Woody Allen; Mort Zuckerman, owner and publisher of the U.S. News and World Report who partnered with Epstein to develop the gossip publication Radar; Leslie Wexner, the chairman of Limited Brands which owns lingerie store Victoria’s Secret; Ken Starr, who led the impeachment of Bill Clinton and played a “significant part” in Epstein’s plea deal; and Larry Summers, former Harvard president and secretary of the treasury. Woody Allen’s play Manhattan, released a few years after Epstein left Dalton, is about an affair between a 17-year-old Dalton school student and an older man.

Questioning people wonder if DDT told Barr to unrecuse himself as he did with AG Jeff Sessions about the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton issues. Another reason for Barr to withdraw his recusal is DDT’s interest in using Bill Clinton’s ties to Epstein for campaign fodder, something that Barr can more easily do if he doesn’t recuse himself. DDT may have other involvements in the case against Epstein.

In Acosta’s secret arrangement with Epstein, victims were not notified about plea agreement, and an email from Jay Lefkowitz, Epstein, thanked Acosta for not telling them. In February 2019, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra ruled that the government’s agreement violated federal law, specifically the “Crime Victims’ Rights Act,” which could nullify the 2008 settlement. The judge also asked that Acosta apologize; he has not publicly commented on the case, even during his resignation comments.  

As Labor Secretary, Acosta drastically cut funding from his agency to fight sexual exploitation of children from $68 million to $18.5 million. He also tried to cover his support for Epstein by asking women to come forward, and 14 women have accused Epstein of sexual assault and sex trafficking since he was arrested on July 6. Federal prosecutors revealed that he paid $350,000 to two people days after a published investigation in a Miami newspaper last November to buy off possible witnesses, one of them a co-conspirator in the deal that Epstein made. Defense lawyers are trying to get Epstein released on bail with the claim that he has been law-abiding for 14 years.

Earlier when  Epstein pled not guilty, his defense lawyer Reid Weingarten asked for bail because there was no rape: “no violence, no coercion, no intimidation, no deception.” Answering the judge about the girls being under 18, Weingarten said that would make it “statutory rape” before he claimed he was having a “senior moment,” that lack of penetration would not constitute rape at all. He also complained that it was only “prostitution,” not “sex trafficking,” although girls were transported from Florida to New York. Epstein is staying in jail without bail until July 15.

Acosta’s slap on Epstein’s wrist may be used against Epstein in his upcoming prosecution. Juries usually cannot hear about a defendant’s prior convictions, but one exception to this rule is criminal cases involving “child molestation.” As part of his Florida agreement, Epstein pled guilty to a state charge of solicitation of minors to engage in prostitution. Prosecutors may be able to use the legal trove of documentary evidence found in his Manhattan apartment—notes, call records between Epstein and his accomplices with victims, and “an extraordinary volume of photographs of nude and partially nude young women or girls.”

The New Yorker Magazine reported that Epstein’s “business” might be a blackmail scheme implicating many of his friends. A billionaire hedge-fund manager said that he knew no one who had investigated in Epstein’s so-called hedge funds.

In another effort to protect DDT, Barr plans to investigate the FBI’s investigation of Russian collusion in the 2016 election. Barr presented this political question, throwing it out like red meat to DDT supporters:

“How did the bogus narrative begin that Trump was essentially in cahoots with Russia to interfere with the U.S. election?”

The FBI had credible evidence that led to suspicions and questions—no “bogus” and no “narrative.” From the Washington Post:

“This is a guy who sounds like he developed strong feelings long ago—before, even he has admitted, he was privy to all the information—that the collusion investigation was unfounded and launched for suspicious purposes. And his commentary to this day is consistently uncharitable to the law enforcement personnel who serve beneath him. We didn’t need another reason to question Bill Barr and the integrity of his work, but he’s given us one anyway.”

Afraid of special investigator Robert Mueller testifying before the House, Barr is smearing the process and encouraging special investigator Mueller to back out of his appearance on July 17. Barr has failed: Mueller postponed his appearance before the House committee for a week in order to allow more time for questioning.

DOJ investigators interviewed Christopher Steele, the former British spy who prepared the dossier that DDT’s supporters falsely claimed instigated the Robert Mueller probe, for 16 hours last month and found his testimony credible and surprising. Steele’s hiring by Fusion GPS developed out of a attempt, initially contracted by conservative political website The Washington Free Beacon, to obtain opposition research on DDT and other Republican presidential candidates to benefit candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). According to DOJ investigators—who were looking for dirt on Dems—Steele provided new and important information that fails to support Barr’s desire to smear the FBI.

DDT may further protect himself by getting rid of Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, one of the few ethical official left in the administration, “sooner rather than later.” Although DDT can’t get rid of the office, he wants to “downsize” it. A possible replacement is Fred Fleitz, former chief of staff to John Bolton. A rabid Islamophobe, Fleitz is president and CEO for the far-right, anti-Muslim “think tank,” the conspiratorial Center for Security Policy. Fleitz believes that mosques are responsible for over 80 percent of U.S. violence and subversion.

July 11, 2019

DDT’s Failures—Citizenship Question, Environment

“We are not backing down,” Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) announced in the Rose Garden yesterday when he backed down from putting a citizenship question into the 2020 census. This morning, he declared that he would sign an executive order to include the question, despite the Supreme Court and three lower courts ruling against it. This afternoon, he issued an executive order requiring federal departments to provide records about resident noncitizens to the Commerce Department, an action easily done without one of his “executive orders.” Although the monthly American Community Survey, which asks the citizen question, is sent to about one percent of the population each year, but this data cannot be used for legislative and congressional redistricting.

Earlier this week, the DOJ tried to trade out its legal team to argue the case, a first for the DOJ. The judge rejected a new team, calling the request “patently deficient” because the government had provided “no reasons, let alone ’satisfactory reasons,’ for the substitution of counsel.” He required the government to show that replacing the team won’t add further delay to the suit and mandated each of the 11 lawyers now on the case to submit a signed and sworn affidavit giving “satisfactory reasons” for the request. The plaintiffs also have a pending motion to sanction the government for false testimony for the motivation behind the question. New York Attorney General Letitia James said:

“Despite the president attempting to fire his lawyers, this is not an episode of The Apprentice.”

AG Bill Barr, DDT’s fixer, gave an impressive speech declaring victory for DDT after they both backed down. Barr said that they would win if they kept fighting but that they had too little time.  DDT’s “victory” means taking the option that he rejected over a year ago. Earlier this week, Barr had said that he had a way to put the question on the census forms but wouldn’t tell anyone. Before the House leaves for its August recess, members plan to vote to hold both AG William P. Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas tied to the citizenship question.

DDT’s kerfuffle about the citizenship question eclipsed today’s social media summit with conservative online commentators to complain about what they perceive as censorship from big tech companies. DDT tweeted that topics will be “the tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression practiced by certain companies.” Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were not invited. DDT’s goal was to distract the media and his supporters from his and his Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein child sex-trafficking scandal. At his meeting in the East Room, DDT attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) rather than Joe Biden, indicating that he sees Warren as a greater opponent than Biden.

A few special guests DDT invited to his “troll party”:

James O’Keefe, who doctors videos to embarrass progressives including faking negative accounts of ACORN, Planned Parenthood, and Medicaid, got caught trying to pull a sting on Washington Post’s reporting about child molester Roy Moore during his last run for U.S. Senate.

Carpe Donktum publishes doctored videos to support DDT that sometimes cause him to be blocked from Twitter.  

Ali Alexander (aka Akbar) tried to start a racist birther-like campaign by tweeting that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is not an “American Black,” a post quote-tweeted by Donald Trump, Jr. Alexander’s earlier Twitter ban this year came after he lied to followers about buying bitcoin, ammo, and guns because of a non-existent impending civil war.

Jim Hoft created the blog Gateway Pundit with such falsehoods as Hillary Clinton having a serious gum disease, E. Jean Carroll getting her DDT rape allegation for Law & Order, and Parkland shooting survivors being “crisis actors.”

Tim Pool claims to support progressive causes and policies but promotes right-wing rumors.

Benny Johnson, once a BuzzFeed writer, moved up the conspiracy chain to Daily Caller to complete DDT obsession after a series of plagiarism accusations.

Minds, an “anti-Facebook” and “Crypto social network,” rewards contributors in bitcoins, giving haven to violent neo-Nazi groups such as Atomwaffen, which has been linked to several murders in the U.S., and Feuerkrieg Division, which has made death threats against tech CEOs and politicians. Those two groups were banned, but other white supremacist accounts remain.

Bill Mitchell, a promoter of the bizarre conspiracy movement QAnon, tells his radio show listener that “Q is trying to do is motivate and encourage the base” by opposing media coverage critical of Trump.  

Michael Morrison was recently suspended from Twitter for closely copying Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter account in what he called a parody.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), under ethics charges for threatening witness Michael Cohen, praised Infowars, castigated the “deep state,” and introduced a resolution to force investigator Robert Mueller to resign.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) blocked a bill requiring political campaigns to report offers of foreign assistance to the FBI. DDT has already said he would welcome negative information about opponents in the 2020 election. Accepting help from a foreign entity or power is already illegal, but the bill would mandate reporting any offers. Blackburn said that mandatory reporting would pose an “overbroad” burden. At a recent conference, Israeli government minister Gilad Erdan bragged that Israel was responsible for laws in 27 U.S. states that blocked free speech supporting the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign targeting Israel. Russia isn’t the only country controlling U.S. elections.

Plus a few more GOP members of Congress and Cabinet members. Despite DDT’s refusal to include the major tech companies, he must have faith in them. His campaign spent over $5 million on Facebook ads just this year.

DDT declared himself an environmental president this week came after polls showed him week in this area with millennials and suburban women. He repeated his bizarre statement that forest fires can be blocked by cleaning “dirty floors.” Yet he allowed timber companies to cut more trees, usually the big, more fire-resistant trees while leaving combustible piles of low-value tinder that exacerbate forest fires and bragged about “being good stewards of our public land,” reducing carbon emissions, and promoting the “cleanest air” and “crystal clean” water. In truth, DDT opened up public lands to drilling, signed off on the biggest rollback of federal land protection, and lifted a moratorium on new coal mining leases on public lands. The EPA is rolling back clean-water regulation of pollution in streams and wetlands, and DDT proposed opening up the U.S. coastline to offshore oil and gas drilling. Carbon emissions have declined in the U.S. but only half that of a dozen other country. DDT falsely cited the high cost of the Dems’ Green New Deal, not yet determined, and omitted the 3.1 percent increase in 2018 when taking credit for the decline in carbn emissions since 2000. DDT left out the part that he pushes coal plants that increase carbon dioxide emissions. Joining DDT for his speech were two Cabinet secretaries, former lobbyists for the coal and oil industries who oversee energy and environment issues.

Shortly before the speech, Washington, DC floods [left] from rain shut down part of a nearby subway station and created pools of water in the White House basement. New Orleans [right] faces an unprecedented problem, possibly worse than the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, with the Mississippi River at record flooding, 16 feet instead of the usual six to eight feet in midsummer. Tropical Storm Barry, the season’s first tropical system, could cause a storm surge of two to three feet at the river mouth for a crest of 20 feet, not seen since February 1950 and 2.3 feet short of the April 1922 record. Evacuations of almost 200 offshore oil facilities has cut off more than half the region’s oil output. An EPA report had warned of effects from the climate crisis, but DDT buried the information.

DDT’s White House pastor preaches that environmentalism is radical and foolish, because God put natural resources on earth for people to use up. EPA director Andrew Wheeler took credit for falling air pollution from 1970 to cover up the 3.1 percent increase in carbon emissions in 2018. DDT called himself “a believer in solar energy,” but he put huge tariffs on solar panels in 2018, eliminating thousands of solar installation jobs, and made deep cuts in solar funding. Although claiming credit for fighting Florida’s toxic algae problem, he failed to allocate sufficient funds to restore the Everglades and reduce polluted water discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

The one subject DDT left out of his speech on the environment? Climate change—or as it’s now called, climate crisis. He might want to reconsider this omission. He’s unpopular on a number of key issues such as health care, gun violence, foreign policy, immigration, and abortion, but his bottom rating—29 percent approval—is for his handling of climate change. In only one issue, the economy, is he over 50 percent approval—at 51 percent.

July 6, 2019

DDT: Week 128 – Attacks on Immigrants, Science

After last week’s July 4 private party on public Washington land, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has headed for three days of golf at his New Jersey resort and letting his lawyers in the DOJ figure out how to get a citizenship question on the 2020 census. The DOJ and Commerce Secretary obeyed the Supreme Court ruling against the question until DDT tweeted the reverse and sent them back to court. A Friday deadline for lawyers to report to a judge led them to say that they were continuing to fight the Supreme Court decision despite an earlier claim that July 1 was the deadline to start printing census forms.

The DOJ asked for “abeyance” until it found a “new final agency action” and said it will let the court know when they find a “new rationale.” The judge didn’t agree: putting the word “new” in quotation marks, he said that discovery would immediately begin because the lawyers had earlier argued that time was of the essence. Both discovery and the loss of time are blows to the DOJ because they were hoping, as in the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of DDT’s travel ban, that a “new” final decision would consider only the final version and overlook DDT’s earlier statements. Since the government lost its case in the Supreme Court, new evidence shows that Republicans deliberately planned the question to keep Latinx from voting. The ACLU has filed a petition with New York to stop DDT from delaying the census form printing or adding the question to the forms. 

To get the citizenship question on the Census, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lied under oath that the DOJ needed citizenship data for the Voting Rights Act, and the government swore in court filings to the same false claim. New discovery will likely use DDT’s new excuse for the citizenship question that highlights the DOJ’s and Wilbur Ross’ lies:

“Number one, you need it for Congress—you need it for Congress for districting. You need it for appropriations—where are the funds going? How many people are there? Are they citizens? Are they not citizens? You need it for many reasons.

“Well you need it for many reasons. No. 1, you need it for Congress, you need it for Congress, for districting, you need it for appropriations, where are the funds going. How many people are there? Are they citizens, are they not citizens?”

The U.S. Constitution requires a decennial census to create districts based on the number of people, not the number of citizens, and allocates funds on human beings. The government has followed this constitutional requirement for 243 years.

Law professor Rick Hazen summarized the DOJ argument for the court:

“Forget if we had discriminatory racial intent before in adding a question, DOJ argues, because any new decision would be fresh and pure. And because of this purity, there’s no need to look whether the government had discriminatory intent to start with. Presto! Nothing to see here court, please move on.”

The Maryland court ruling on the issue won’t forget, especially with new discovery. Plaintiffs require written objections from the government in 20 days with a maximum of five depositions from DOJ and Commerce Department officials. Witness testimony should be on Sept. 3 & 4. A unanimous ruling from the Supreme Court, almost as rare as unicorns, should have warned the government that it may have difficulty with overturning the decision, even with new excuses. And the DOJ urgency for a resolution has disappeared.

Not satisfied with cruelty to immigrants, DDT plans a way to get rid of 80 percent of scientists in a little-known USDA agency that protects the U.S. farm industry. They study a huge diversity of influences from impacts of temperature changes on crop yields to GMOs. DDT is sending almost all of them to Kansas City on July 15 with no reason and at a cost of $182 million. Those who don’t want to be transferred will be fired on September 30. Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue claims that the savings is $20 million a year—five DDT weekend vacations.

The 76 scientists remaining in D.C. won’t work on projects “unpalatable” to DDT; i.e., dealing with the climate crisis. Even in Kansas City, two of the Economic Research’s six “core” systems, research models for projects, will have no staff members. One evaluates effects of weather patterns and economics on agriculture systems such as land and water resources, and the other, already with only three staff members, projects crop yields, price fluctuations, and crop management. Other scientist attrition reduces the ability to establish guidelines for entitlement programs’ benefits and the efficacy of USDA’s conservation programs on water quality. Almost eradicated is honeybee research because the current government doesn’t understand that food disappears without pollination. Research on deadly pesticides will also be gone. With this elimination of staff, policy makers will no longer have economic analysis for decision-making. DDT doesn’t like any bad news, and that’s the responsibility of the ERS, like when it told George H.W. Bush that the biofuel program was a waste of time.

Eighteen months ago, the ERS told DDT that his tax reform would primarily benefit only wealthy farmers; now he sent them to Kansas City. A good piece on the issue from Rachel Maddow.

DDT wows his supporters by making claims that please them. When he later backs off, right-wing media never reveals his flipflops. A recent change is his rule allowing medical workers to refuse participation in abortions or other treatments such as sterilization, assisted suicide, and care for LGBTQ people based on any moral basis. The mandate was scheduled to start on July 22, but DHS put off a final ruling until November 22 after a California lawsuit.

Kim Darroch, UK ambassador to the U.S., described DDT’s Iran policy as “incoherent” and the White House as “dysfunctional, clumsy, inept.” Leaked memos warned that DDT’s presidency can “crash and burn.” Describing DDT as “insecure” and “incompetent,” Durroch reported that the “vicious infighting and chaos” inside the White House is “mostly true.”

DDT promised he would bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, but the State Department is considering a waiver for China to import oil from Iran. Meanwhile DDT said he doesn’t want war with Iran, but he is frantically searching for excuses to attack the country.

The UN stated that the airstrike killing 53 people and injuring over 130 others in Libya constitutes a war crime; the U.S. is sorry about the deaths but claims that the strikes are collateral business as usual.  

After DDT claims he settled the Chinese tariffs—which he hasn’t—he’s threatening tariffs on European goods because of subsidies on aircraft manufacturing that he claims damages Boeing and the U.S. economy. Airbus received subsidies after Boeing received $19 billion from the U.S. government. The WTO ruled that Boeing is still getting illegal tax subsidies in Washington state. While Boeing fails to solve its massive 737 MAX problem, Airbus made a massive deal with China.

A new study reveals that Russian propaganda on social media helped DDT get elected in 2016. He won the election by 75,000 votes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania through a vast disinformation campaign. DDT has not commented.  

Anyone who doubts that the Fox network is acting as a government propaganda agent as in other autocratic countries needs to watch this similarity between its reporting and that of the state media in North Korea.

In an interview with Fox’s Tucker Carlson, DDT expressed shock at homelessness and declared it “a phenomena that began two years ago.” DDT said,  “We never had this in our lives before in this country.” The biggest problem is “liberal” cities, according to DDT who said that he has eliminated homelessness in Washington, D.C. so that foreign visitors won’t have to “be looking at that.”

DDT’s fury toward New York indicates that he may be in trouble after the state started investigating his financial affairs.

Underwater in most polls, DDT faces 51 percent disapproval in his handling of the economy. Despite an attempt to raise his popularity by going to North Korea, DDT’s approval dropped two points last month to 41 percent. Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research puts him at 38 percent approval. Back home after basking in the warmth of the world’s autocrats and dictators, DDT falsely denied that he lost all three debates with Hillary Clinton and claiming that he’s ahead in the polls because “you can add 10 [points] to whatever poll I have, okay?” 

The good news? June added 224,000 jobs. The bad news? May’s job number was revised down to 72,000, and the average monthly job addition for the second quarter of 2018 is 171,000—unless June’s numbers go down too. State and local government jobs outside education comprised 32,500 of June’s jobs—almost 15 percent. And wage growth is slowing. Amidst claims that this is the best economy, 40 percent of people in the U.S. struggle to pay their bills. The bottom half has less wealth today than 40 years ago, and their “wealth” equals that of three people in the United States.

July 5, 2019

July 4, 2019 – The End of Democracy?   

“We are all one people,” Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said to a crowd of invited Republicans permitted onto part of Washington, DC’s National Mall blocked from non-ticketed people with a chain link fence, belying the “one people.” Although he skipped over most of the partisan rhetoric typical of his campaign rallies, his speech focused almost entirely on his military. The man who avoided military service with five deferments and claims of bone spurs and whose children have never served called on all young people to join up for military service as he stood by the anachronistic behemoth tanks hauled to the Lincoln Memorial as backdrop for his jingoistic shindig. DDT’s fascination for tanks matches his other fascist leadership—suppressing the vote, turning the courts into a third GOP branch of government, concentration camps on the southern border, refusal to obey the law, and a goal of dismantling free media. 

Despite a largely nonpartisan speech, the ticketed event could still violate ethics rules because taxpayers are required to pay for a party that they cannot attend. The Department of the Interior stated that the event was “hosted by the President of the United States.”  https://www.thedailybeast.com/this-july-4th-has-everything-tanks-trumpand-scandal   Tickets were given to DDT’s election campaign to distribute and to donors. The Trump Hotel was also sold out for July 3-4 by big donors with a three-night mandated stay starting at $1,151 per night.. CEO’s of companies donating $750,000 of pyrotechnics, Phantom Fireworks and Fireworks by Grucci, for personal shoutouts from DDT and are pushing for him to lift tariffs on their imports from China. DDT gave those products a temporary reprieve last week.

Last minute preparations meant that White House officials had to beg people to take tickets, and many people receiving them gave them away to others. Service chiefs for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps were out of town. Many military families openly violated the rule that members of armed forces not participate in partisan political activity by wearing MAGA hats and chanting “Four more years.”

No one has approximated the number of people in the crowd; Fox described it as “thousands.” The live webcam of the National Mall and the Washington Monument disappeared for DDT’s event. 

If DDT had one disappointment for his July 4 party, it might be that he couldn’t have a parade with tanks like other despots by Benito Mussolini (Italy) and Adolf Hitler (Germany) while continuing to come from Kim Jong-Un (North Korea), Vladimir Putin (Russia), and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Iran). Although 243 years ago America tried to create a country independent a tyrant, Republicans are allowing DDT to reverse the process by destroying a celebration of freedom and independence on the Fourth of July. Instead DDT spent untold millions to ship in military equipment, mandate flyovers, and fence off a large portion of public land in Washington for ticketed Republicans, many of them donors. He still owes Washington, D.C. for his 2017 inauguration.

In selling the event, DDT falsely conflates his message with patriotism: 

  • Coming together for the common good—not fencing off people he thinks don’t support him.
  • Paying for the burdens of running the country—including the military—instead of avoiding his responsibilities.
  • Protecting democracy instead of buying off politicians and suppressing the vote.  
  • Promoting love—not hate—for the government to demonstrate that government is a way of collectively solving problems.
  • Stopping divisiveness by not fueling racist, ethnic, sexist, and homophobic divisions.

Christians who look at weather and occurrences might have noticed that their god cried, ranted, and (a scatological expression) on DDT and his crowd during the speech. Skies were dark for DDT’s flyover, and the Marine band performed in the rain. DDT postponed his speech because of the rain but still faced it behind the bulletproof glass while he spoke.

Part of DDT’s speech became surreal, using a term by Ivanka Trump:

“In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified Army out of the Revolutionary Forces encamped around Boston and New York, and named after the great George Washington, commander in chief. The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown.

“Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHendry [sic], under the rocket’s red glare it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant.”

Corrections for DDT: the “Army” wasn’t named after George Washington; no airports existed in the U.S. until 1909; the winter was not “of” but “at” Valley Forge; Fort McHenry wasn’t built until 1800; the fort is 183 miles from Yorktown; and Fort McHenry’s ramparts were the site of a battle in the War of 1812 when lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner” were written.

DDT’s mistakes started a humorous Twitter storm, his mistakes were far more than ridiculous gaffes. He failed at reading from a teleprompter from a prepared speech, and he is the man who makes decisions for the nation—sometimes unconstitutionally—and controls U.S. entry into a nuclear war. Later he claimed that the teleprompter failed, but his display of ignorance is still abysmal. Everyone in the United States should be terrified.

Today, DDT headed to his New Jersey resort for three days of golf but still lives up to his cruelty toward immigrants. Now that DDT has new leadership in DHS and his July 4 party is over, he renewed raids to pick up undocumented migrants throughout the country, breaking up more families. ICE claims a “public safety” rationale for immigration arrests but actually creates target lists for specific numbers. Leaked documents for a September 2017 operation, Operation Mega, show a target of 8,400 noncitizens with information for five other ICE operations, meaning that logistical plans are repeated. Despite ICE denials, documents reveal that ICE raids are intended “to terrorize communities and instill fear,” according to Silky Shah, executive director of Detention Watch Network. “We’ve confirmed in government documents that ICE operations are politically motivated. Immigration raids are meant to terrorize communities and instill fear.“ The sweeps pick up non-targets, as many as 60 percent of those originally selected for the lists. DDT’s DHS also sent out notices to undocumented immigrations, fining each one of them almost $500,000 for “failing to depart the U.S.”

While DDT touted military force on the east end of the National Mall, others on the west end carried in their picnic hampers, waiting to hear singer-songwriter Carole King and the National Symphony Orchestra. Protesters burned a U.S. flag in front of the White House. Although they had a permit, the white supremacist Proud Boys, in town for a freedom of speech march on Saturday attacked them, some of them arrested.

For those who question why anyone should bother with criticisms for DDT’s July 4 party, Eric Vuillard, author of The Order of the Day about World War II, has an answer: “Great catastrophes often creep up on us in tiny steps.” Michael Winship explains:

“Because every bit of graft…, every small indignity inflicted, each gesture and symbol of disdain, are reflective of a greater, potentially fatal insult to democracy and a degradation of the greater good that was idealized by the men who signed the Declaration.”

Vuillard warned, “We never fall into the same abyss. But we always fall the same way, in a mixture of ridicule and dread.” And that’s the 2019 “Salute to DDT” on July 4th.

July 4, 2019

Will the Judicial Branch Protect Democracy?

July 4—the date that people in the United States celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress. For the past 243 years, some people have tried to protect the nation from the erosion of democracy, a far more difficult task in the past two years as Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) destroyed U.S. relationships with all countries except those run by autocrats and dictators. Setting himself up as the supreme ruler with no checks, DDT is enabled by congressional Republicans. Although the third branch of government, the judicial branch, has tried to protect democracy, DDT is loading lifetime judgeships with mostly young white men who follow his authoritarianism.

DDT’s latest move outside the law came from his determination to put a question about citizenship on the 2020 census. A week ago, the Supreme Court decision gave DDT two options: print the census without the question or go back to court to with a better reason and fewer lies to include the question. Over the weekend, DDT’s administration looked for ways to stall—with DDT even suggesting that the constitutionally mandated census might be delayed.

Four days later, the DOJ said it would not return to court, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (bottom left) announced that the census forms were sent to the printers without the question. Yet DDT tweeted that the question would be on the 2020 census, catching the attention of a judge. Yesterday, the judge convened a telephone conference with government and Maryland immigrant-rights groups lawyers to address DDT’s declaration that the government was “absolutely moving forward” with its citizenship question plan for the 2020 census, defying a Supreme Court ruling and contradicting the DOJ and Commerce Department statements. Josh Gardner, DOJ’s civil division lawyer, said he knew nothing about DDT’s position until he read the tweet. Assistant AG Jody Hunt told the judge that DOJ lawyers “have been instructed to examine whether there is a path forward, consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision” to include the question. The DOJ also warned the New York court ruling opposing the question that it might again appeal the case to the now-recessed Supreme Court. 

Lawyers from the rights groups requested a court order requiring the government to agree that “there will be no further effort to inquire about citizenship status as part of the 2020 census.” They also asked the judge to compel the administration to “publicly counter any such misinformation that comes from government officials.”

The judge said that he might not be able to “enjoin the President of the United States from tweeting things” but ordered the DOJ to explain by tomorrow at 2:00 pm EST whether the government would still try to add the question to the 2020 census forms. DOJ lawyers asked if they could have until Monday. The judge said, “No.” Lawyers for the rights groups reminded the judge that DOJ lawyers previously insisted the printing process for census forms begin by last Monday. The Census Bureau already botched a contracting process when the Government Publishing Office awarded its single largest printing contract to a bankrupt company. 

On Independence Day, DDT’s latest ploy is to overturn the Supreme Court decision by ordering the citizenship question through an executive order.

Judges across the country are opposing DDT’s positions. A federal judge in Seattle blocked AG Bill Barr’s order [Barr: right of Ross] to keep thousands of migrants indefinitely detained while waiting for asylum case decisions. Denying migrants a bail hearing is unconstitutional, according to the judge; a bond hearing must be granted within seven days or migrants will be released. DHS has raised fees for asylum seekers, slowed the processing and forced over 13,000 migrants to wait in Mexico for movement on their legal cases. Barr’s order is one reason for the seriously overcrowded facilities.

DDT claims that living conditions in his detention camps are “better than where they came from,” but a report from his own DHS Inspector General tells of horrific conditions with filth and overcrowding at the migrant detention centers. People lie in cages on bare cement floors with nothing to do, and men are held for weeks in a room with standing room only—88 of them in a room designed for 40. Children have no access to showers, clothing changes, laundry facilities, and hot meals. 

A federal judge ordered lawyers representing detained migrants and US Customs and Border Protection to rapidly resolve allowing health experts to examine children and inspect detention facilities inside a Florida migrant facility. The order covers all CBP’s El Paso and Rio Grande Valley sectors. Children lack access to soap, clean water, toilets, toothbrushes, medical care, and adequate nutrition and sleep. With infants and pregnant women, they “are dirty, cold, hungry and sleep-deprived,” according to the court filing. Children are required to care for infants and toddlers, some of whom show signs of illness. John Kelly, former DHS director and DDT’s chief of staff, is on the board of the company owning the Florida facility.

A federal judge expanded a previous ruling to block DDT from taking billions of dollars in military funds for his southern border wall in New Mexico, California, Arizona and Texas. DDT claimed “national emergency”; the judge said that there was no new evidence for changing an earlier decision. He also stated that the wall would cause “irreparable harm” because it “will harm [the plaintiffs’] ability to recreate in and otherwise enjoy public land along the border.” A 2-1 vote in a 9th Circuit Court panel denied DDT’s request to halt the order blocking military funds for a border wall.

The 9th Circuit Court sent a decision against DDT’s transgender ban in the military back to federal judge, Marsha Pechman, ruling that she should have given the military’s judgment more deference. The Supreme Court lifted lower court injunctions blocking the ban from going into effect although it didn’t address the ban’s legality. Pechman was one of four federal judges ruling against the ban on the basis of the constitution’s equal protection guarantee. DDT’s used inaccurate figures in a claim of “tremendous medical costs”; no one in the military has cited DDT’s claim of “disruption” regarding transgender military members.

The 9th Circuit Court also vacated a unanimous three-judge panel decision allowing DDT’s gag rule on facilities serving low-income women seeking abortions. DDT’s orders prevented clinics receiving federal funds from making abortion referrals and sharing space with abortion providers. Injunctions against DDT’s declaration will continue in Oregon, Washington, and California as the issue works its way throughout the courts.

The 9th Circuit Court denied an appeal from three University of Oregon basketball players who were expelled from the school for rape allegations. They had originally sued in 2015 on the basis of gender discrimination; a federal court threw out their lawsuit.

The 4th Circuit Court ruled 2-1 that the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act applying severe criminal penalties for violent acts motivated by race, religion, and other protected classifications applies to workplace assaults. A defendant lost his claim that the law didn’t apply to his punching a gay co-worker in the face.

A Montana district court blocked Canadian mining company Lucky Minerals Inc. from exploring for gold just north of Yellowstone National Park.

Scott Warren, an Arizona activist on trial for saving the lives of migrants in the desert, was acquitted by a hung jury. Federal prosecutors plan to seek a retrial for Warren, hoping to put him in prison for several years for giving food, water, clean clothes, and beds to migrants in the desert. 

A last-minute change in testimony exonerated Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher in the 2017 murder of a 15-year-old captive in Iraq. Given immunity, medic Corey Scott changed his previous statements and claimed he killed the boy after several Navy Seals testified they saw Gallagher stab the boy to death. Gallagher had texted a photo of himself posing with the body and the message, “Good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife.” DDT had previously arranged for Gallagher’s release from confinement and suggested he would pardon him.

The West Virginia Supreme Court ruled that going on someone else’s land without their permission is trespassing. Two people sued a giant corporation for building roads and drilling a well without permission to get gas from adjacent lands.

For almost a decade, Republicans worked to destroy the Affordable Care Act. Some are now getting nervous about their re-elections of they succeed in the goal. With two conservative judges on a panel who might strike down the ACA, the GOP state AGS asked the 5th Circuit Court to delay oral arguments, but the court gave them one business day until July 9. The court will begin by deciding whether states and the House of Representatives have standing to defend the ACA.

House Democrats, led by the Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard E. Neal (D-MA), are suing the IRS and Treasury Department to gain access to DDT’s tax returns. Both Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig consistently refused to obey the 1924 law requiring them to release DDT’s tax returns. One reason given for obtaining the tax returns is DDT’s incessant complaining about how unfair the audit process is. House members need to see his returns to evaluate his complaints.

This year, the Supreme Court couldn’t decide Carpenter v. Murphy; it is “restored to the calendar for reargument.” The question is whether Oklahoma can prosecute major crimes committed by Native Americans on reservation land for the Five Civilized Tribes, covering the eastern half of the state including Tulsa. Deciding for the defendant, Patrick Murphy, would threaten the validity of past convictions—something that didn’t bother conservative justices in other decisions this year—or replace past law regarding the dissolution of Native American reservations. States have something to look forward to next year because Oklahoma may not be alone in backlash to the decision.

July 3, 2019

Reverberations from Dem Debates, G20 Summit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ocasio-Cortez’s response:

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 2, 2019

Federal Appointment Replacements Worse for Democracy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to the United States of America under DDT. 

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