Nel's New Day

July 3, 2019

Reverberations from Dem Debates, G20 Summit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ocasio-Cortez’s response:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 

July 1, 2019

DDT: Week 127 – Hobnobbing with Autocrats

A mainstream journalist claimed that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) survived last week’s G20 without offending anyone, but the report skipped his offensive behavior such as his attack on the 1951 mutual defense treaty with Japan when the U.S. forced a new constitution on Japan and blocked any military there except for self-defense. Before DDT got to Osaka, he complained that Japan would not help the U.S. if it were attacked but instead “watch it on a Sony television.” DDT complained about India’s raising tariffs caused by his increased U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel. DDT repeated his attack on Germany for not paying enough for NATO and again lied about the U.S. share of NATO financial burden and other countries in being arrears. In a conversation with Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, DDT said, “We take care of our allies.” At the end of the summit, he bragged about his preference for the world’s dictators.

DDT’s few allies—authoritarian thugs—in almost 200 countries: 

Vladimir Putin: After a journalist asked DDT if he had talked to Putin, sitting next to him, about interfering in U.S. elections, DDT smiled at Putin, humorously wagged his finger at him, and said twice, “Don’t meddle in the election.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laughed at the exchange. Investigator Robert Mueller has confirmed the opinion from the U.S. intelligence community that Russia meddled in 2016, but DDT takes Putin’s word that he didn’t. On the anniversary of the Capital Gazette shooting that killed five people, DDT also praised Putin for getting rid of the “fake news.” Over 200 journalists have been murdered in Russia, and another dozens have disappeared.

Mohammed Bin Salman: DDT piled praise on Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, the murderer of U.S. journalist and resident Jamal Khashoggi.

Jair Bolsonaro: A member of the Brazilian president’s armed forces was arrested in Spain for carrying 86 pounds of cocaine as the advance team stopped in Seville on their way to the G20 summit in Japan. One of the president’s promises was anti-drug trafficking by gangs; he bragged about his military’s professionalism.

Kim Jong-Un: Love-sick DDT asked North Korea’s president to meet him at the border while DDT is in South Korea “just to shake his hand.” Although DDT claimed the idea was spur of the moment, the White House said they delayed its announcement for a week because of security reasons. DDT managed his photo op and media attention by stepping across the border into North Korea. In discussing talks about Kim’s denuclearization, DDT said he didn’t care how long it would take, giving the murderous dictator time to create the weapons.

Rodrigo Duterte: DDT continues to admire the Philippine’s murderous leader.

Benjamin Netanyahu: DDT is working with Israel’s prime minister to destroy Palestine. DDT’s next project is getting the PM re-elected in September so that the country doesn’t indict Netanyahu. 

Before heading out to Japan, DDT placed more sanctions on Iran. DDT claimed that he would make sure than Iran didn’t have nuclear weapons, yet he backed out of President Obama’s agreement with Iran because it only concentrated on keeping Iran from having nuclear weapons. Russia has promised to look out for Iran’s interests while Europe attempts to keep the peace on DDT’s worsening situation. DDT deployed F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar in order to build up Gulf forces. Last month, the U.S. sent nuclear-capable B-52 Stratofortress bombers along with an aircraft carrier task force. 

About a war with Iran, DDT said, “It wouldn’t last very long…. You’re not going to need an exit strategy. I don’t need exit strategies.” He echoed ultrahawk Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) who claimed that a war with Iran would take “Two strikes: the first strike and a last strike.” All the saber rattling repeats the claims of the George W. Bush administration. In 2002 and 2003, Ken Adelman, assistant to Donald Rumsfeld in the 1970s, wrote two op-eds for the Washington Post, “Cakewalk in Iraq” and “Cakewalk, Revisited.” The “cakewalk” is now 16 years old. The GOP Senate failed to pass an amendment that would have stopped DDT from a tweet to start a war with Iran.  

Former president Jimmy Carter called DDT an illegitimate president and spoke about DDT’s disastrous immigration policy:

“[DDT] lost the election and was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf….

“Every day we send a disgraceful signal around the world, that this is what the president of the United States government stands for. And that is torture and kidnapping of little children, separation from their parents and deprivation of those who are incarcerated.”

DDT has followed his own advice for accusations of sexual assault against E. Jean Carroll: “deny, deny, deny.” He first said he’d never met Carroll although a photograph proved him wrong; he continued by saying that she’s “totally lying” about his sexual attack; and he used the third “deny” to say that “she’s not my type.” The pattern is the same for all other reports of sexual assaults and indicates that he would assault women if they were his “type.” Rupert Murdoch has pulled all stories about Carroll from the New York Post.

The stock market may go up this coming week: DDT has claimed he’s ironing out the China trade war by talking with President Xi Jinping.

GOP members of Congress are thinking about balancing the budget by taking money away from domestic departments such as labor and education to pay for the massive cuts benefiting the wealthy and big businesses. Yet DDT plans an even higher national debt by going around Congress to give bigger tax cuts to the wealthy. He thinks he can sign an executive order indexing capital gains rates to inflation with 86 percent of the tax breaks going to the top one percent. Corporate stock with dividends held for 10 years would presently be taxed at 24.3 percent, but DDT’s plan would drop the tax to 21.4 percent. The change would give the wealthy $102 billion over the decade. Even Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin disapproves. George W. Bush had considered the same idea but decided it was illegal. DDT’s adviser Larry Kudlow, who predicted that there would be no recession a decade ago, called it useful for “economic growth”—the same justification as the failed 2017 tax cuts.

DDT finally admitted that he opposes any solution for the climate crisis because it threatens corporate profits. At the G20 summit he tried to enlist support against solving the climate crisis from his authoritarian friends in Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Australia, and Turkey.

No one knows for sure the profits that DDT would see from his latest tax scam, but a recent court order may make some of his financial records public. A federal ruling permits congressional Democrats to continue their emoluments case against DDT, giving them financial records from the Trump Organization. The DOJ plans an emergency plea to an appeals court, but this long-shot legal tactic is rarely granted in ordinary litigation.

In a day-long closed-door interview with House Intelligence Committee staff, Giorgi Rtskhiladze, a Georgian native and U.S. citizen who works for the Trump Organization, talked about his personal and financial losses because of his work with DDT and DDT’ associates, including the failed Trump Tower Moscow development in 2015. According to Rtskhiladze, DDT mixed business with politics in his projects, and his partners lost millions. The businessman’s name was mentioned in Robert Mueller’s report.

Twitter plans to label tweets from national political figures such as political candidates and government officials with over 100,000 followers, including DDT, that should be taken down for breaking the company’s rules. Before reading the tweets, users need to click on a screen that states:

“The Twitter Rules about abusive behavior apply to this Tweet. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain available.”

Tweets will also be de-prioritized to circulate to fewer people. Twitter bans threats, glorifications of violence, bullying, targeted harassment, and the incitement of others to harass. Other bans include “hateful conduct,” which can involve threats or harassment on the basis of race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, and other factors. Banned tweets do not need to be direct incitements to violence but could lead to real-world harm. Reddit has also decided to “quarantine” the biggest forum for DDT supporters to stop being a hub for conspiracy theories and violent threats.

DDT is excluding the general population for his July 4 military party in public areas of Washington, D.C. by sealing off the area from the Lincoln Memorial steps halfway down the Reflecting Pool, reserving it only for his family, friends, and “ticketed” VIP friends (aka wealthy donors). Votes for Vets is selling USS John S. McCain t-shirts and urging people to wear them in Washington on July 4 to honor military service and sacrifice.

Last month, Jon Stewart gave an impassioned speech before the House Judiciary Committee to beg that the Victims Compensation Fund for 9/11 first responders be made permanent. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), known for blocking almost all House bills in his chamber, asked why Stewart was so “bent out of shape,” that he would get around to the issue. One of the responders who appeared with Stewart, 53-year-old Luis Alvarez, died on June 29, 2019, and the Senate has taken no action. After the former Marine and 20-year NYPD detective saved people on 9/11, Alvarez (right) suffered from colon cancer before his liver shut down. After his death, Alvarez may accomplish something he could not do while alive, but Republican legislator push bills that only help the wealthy or themselves.

June 29, 2019

Supreme Court Moves to Eliminate Democracy

The debates took up much of the media air last week, but the Supreme Court decisions are what will permanently change democracy in the United States. The two biggest one came out Thursday, the last day of the session so that the conservatives could quickly get out of town. Chief Justice John Roberts now has a one-two-three punch against voting with his three major decisions to suppress the vote. In the first, Citizens United, Roberts gave donors the right to give unlimited amounts of “dark money” to political candidates. His elimination of the almost 50-year-old Voters Rights Act made sure that states could keep minorities and the poor from voting in the states that were usually inclined to discriminate against these populations.

This Thursday, Roberts guaranteed that politicians can select their own voters instead of the constitutional position that voters should pick their candidates, and courts can’t stop gerrymandering even if it promises partisanship. Roberts’ swing vote in Rucho v. Common Cause blocking federal courts from preventing the most aggressive partisan gerrymandered districts that computers can create. In a circular pattern, Republicans pick districts so that the districts will pick Republicans.

The conservative majority used the excuse that some acts can violate he Constitution but are beyond the judiciary to determine any violations. Roberts’ reasoning that courts cannot require states to draw legislative maps somewhat proportional adversely twisted the definition of “proportional representation” for voting, meaning legislative representation should track electoral results. He allows states where Democrats win 54 percent of the vote to give Republicans 65 percent of the legislative seats, and he skipped the part of the U.S. Constitution that prohibits states from denying anyone “equal protection of the laws.” The First Amendment also prohibits viewpoint discrimination—aka gerrymandering. For elections, Roberts views the amendment narrowly while he uses it for unlimited expenditures to influence elections.

The swing vote in Department of Commerce v. New York, Roberts voted against the conservative four justices. The racist policy by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to rig the census by requiring all people in the U.S. to answer a question of their citizenship provided more voter suppression by shrinking districts with Latinx, designed to allocate congressional seats in a way that “would clearly be a disadvantage to the Democrats” and “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.” The U.S. census is ordered for all “people” in the nation, not citizens or legal residents.

Experts testified that the citizenship question “could seriously jeopardize the accuracy of the census,” because “people who are undocumented immigrants may either avoid the census altogether or deliberately misreport themselves as legal residents.” Meanwhile, legal residents “may misunderstand or mistrust the census and fail or refuse to respond.” The Census Bureau “calculated in January 2018 that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census was likely to lead to a 5.1% differential decrease in self-response rates among noncitizen households.” The purpose of the census covers a lot of territory from determining the number of legislators, both state and federal, and the amount of federal funding for different areas.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lied about the question’s inception and reason and falsely claimed that it was necessary to help the DOJ enforce the remaining portion of the Voters Rights Act. Evidence, however, “showed that the Secretary was determined to reinstate a citizenship question from the time he entered office; instructed his staff to make it happen; waited while Commerce officials explored whether another agency would request census-based citizenship data; subsequently contacted the Attorney General himself to ask if DOJ would make the request; and adopted the Voting Rights Act rationale late in the process.” This evidence suggests that “the Secretary had made up his mind to reinstate a citizenship question ‘well before’ receiving DOJ’s request, and did so for reasons unknown but unrelated to the VRA.”

Although Roberts voted that the question had to go back to state courts for another look, he denied that it should be removed because Ross didn’t follow a federal law requiring a three-year notice to Congress about “the subjects proposed to be included, and the types of information to be compiled.” The ruling did not state that the decision was “substantively invalid” but that “agencies must pursue their goals reasonably,” and “reasoned decisionmaking under the Administrative Procedure Act calls for an explanation for agency action.” Remanded back to the New York district court, the Supreme Court decision overturned a ruling that the question is “arbitrary and capricious” under the Administrative Procedures Act and upheld the constitutionality of a citizenship question under the Enumeration Clause of the Constitution. The ruling determined the question legal if the Commerce Department can come up with a good enough reason.

DDT is so furious about the citizenship question decision that he wants to (unconstitutionally) delay the census until he gets his way. Supposedly, census forms printing must be started next week to complete them in time, but Commerce Department could wait until October 31 to start printing the questionnaire if it can get “extraordinary resources” allocated by Congress.

In a filing last Monday, Maryland District Court Judge George Hazel stated the evidence “potentially connects the dots between a discriminatory purpose—diluting Hispanics’ political power—and Secretary Ross’s decision” to add a citizenship question with the argument that DDT violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause. Although the Supreme Court decision may stop the Maryland lawsuit, it can reappear if Ross returns with new reasons.

DDT’s court continues its pattern: conservative decisions are sweeping ones that change laws; liberal ones are narrow with little relief except in one specific situation.

In the census decision, Justice Clarence Thomas, on the court thanks to Joe Biden’s refusal to listen to women’s statements about Thomas’ sexual harassment, called Judge Jesse Furman a conspiracy theorist for challenging Ross’ lies. Earlier, Thomas had raged about sending a case back to Mississippi for a sixth time in Flowers v. Mississippi because, according to Thomas, prosecutors can strike minorities from a jury on the basis of their race. Neil Gorsuch joined Thomas in his position. Last February, Thomas announced he wants to overturn New York Times v. Sullivan, the landmark 1964 ruling sharply restricting public figures, including government officials, to sue for defamation and get rid of Gideon v. Wainwright, requiring states to provide public defenders for indigent defendants. Gorsuch agrees with that position too. To Thomas, abortion rights equals eugenics.

After another Supreme Court ruling last week, police no longer need a warrant to draw blood from an unconscious person suspected of drinking while driving. Gone is the requirement of a person for an invasive procedure that overturns the 2013 Supreme Court ruling a violation of the Constitution for a nonconsensual blood draw without a warrant in a DUI case.

The 40-foot Christian cross will remain on a traffic median near Washington, D.C. according to six Christian and one Jewish Supreme Court justices. Catholic Justice Samuel Alito wrote that Christian crosses have “secular meaning.” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, dissenting with Justice Sonia Sotomayor, read her disagreement from the bench. [I’m guessing that the Supreme Court would not consider a “secular” Jewish star of David or Islam crescent to replace the “secular” cross.]

The Supreme Court refused to hear a lower court ruling against Alabama’s 2015 abortion law banning “dilation and evacuation,” a common procedure during the second trimester. The high court’s inaction left the law struck down, but it won’t avoid abortion cases forever. Earlier this year, it left in place the requirement for disposing of aborted fetal remains through burial or cremation because of the “sanctity of life.” Nothing about miscarriages. The high court also refused to hear a case from two Kansas men convicted of violating federal law regulating silencers.

In Gamble v. United States, the Supreme Court on Monday also reaffirmed a 170-year-old exception to the Constitution’s double-jeopardy clause, leaving an opportunity for states to prosecute DDT and his campaign officials for issues already prosecuted federally.

In one sane move, Roberts was the swing vote in Kisor v. Wilkie to not overturn a 75-year series of SCOTUS decisions permitting agencies’ reasonable interpretations of their own regulations.

The Supreme Court has started its docket for the upcoming year with a case determining what happens to 700,000 DREAMERS living in the United States because of DACA. Three appeals courts and a district judge have ruled that DDT had no rationale for his attempt to close a program that protects from deportation young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Other cases include one from Bridget Kelly and Vill Baroni, convicted of participating in gridlock near the George Washington Bridge and a Montana ruling invalidating a state program offering tax credits for funding scholarships at private schools, including religious schools.

In a 5-4 decision exempting a public access television channel from constitutional requirements, Brett Kavanaugh wrote:

“It is sometimes said that the bigger the government, the smaller the individual.”

Although Kavanaugh didn’t cite his source, the false statement was tracked to the Ayn Randian Atlas Society, refuting Roberts’ common claim that the Supreme Court is not political. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) clearly stated that blockades of Supreme Court nominees are only for Democratic presidents. He smirked while he told an audience that he would “fill it” if a vacancy on the high court appears next year. No longer should “the American people have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice.”

June 23, 2019

DDT: Week 126 – Other Than Iran

In an authoritarian move, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) ordered the DOJ to investigate the CIA because it looked into the 2016 Russian election interference. In democracies, investigations come from evidence of serious wrongdoing; in authoritarian regimes, powerful politicians investigate situations that displease them—like chants of “lock her up” for Hillary Clinton with no evidence of criminal behavior. Republicans, especially DDT, have good reason to block investigations into Russian interference: the Russians elected them. The GOP has no interest in protecting the U.S. from undermining Western democracies. DDT uses law—and sometimes lawbreaking—to protect his and his supporters’ law violations while using the law as a weapon to defeat opponents. DDT emulates his mentor Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by attacking people like James Comey, John Kerry and Joe Biden while keeping protecting people like Kellyanne Conway who break the law. Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, also admired by DDT, begins corruption investigations to discredit opponents immediately before elections.  DDT now has an AG fixer with few scruples, Bill Barr, to carry through his authoritarian policies.

DDT issued a rule for HRAs, a health reimbursement account (HRA) for employers to reimburse employees’ medical expenses not company insurance covered, causing people to change their doctors. Republicans used that problem of the Affordable Care Act to defeat Democrats in 2016. DDT has not only weakened the ACA but also forced people to change their doctors.

In a U.S.-led meeting in Bahrain, quietly announced on a weekend with only a White House website posting, Jared Kushner will present his proposal for spending $50 billion, provided by Gulf states and private investors, to supposedly economically help Palestinians. Over half goes to the West Bank and Gaza, largely illegally taken over by Israel, with the remainder to Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that a Palestinian state should be discussed before the economic issues. Israel and Palestine were not invited, but Israel plans to send a delegation. Saudi Arabia will attend with lukewarm responses, greater uncertainty, and no confirmation from the others. The Arab League announced that “whatever is rejected by the Palestinian or the Arab side is unacceptable.” Its solution is a Palestinian state based on June 4, 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital.”  Almost a year ago, DDT stopped foreign aid to Palestine. After DDT illegally gave the Syrian Golan Heights to Israel, Israel’s temporary prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu put DDT’s name on the place. 

Since DDT’s debacle about attacking Iran, his supporters are pushing for him to fire Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his advice to move toward war and put DDT into a corner.

According to the New York Times, the U.S. is “stepping up digital incursions [hacking?] into Russia’s electric power grid.” DDT may not have been briefed about the “implants,” software code that can be used for surveillance or attack inside the Russian grid, because officials can’t trust him to keep his mouth shut. After DDT learned about the information from the article, he called it “a virtual act of Treason” and “ALSO, NOT TRUE!” because the media is “THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE.” [Caps in DDT’s tweets.] Both treason and false?

DDT told agencies to get rid of at least one-third of its advisory committees, eliminating people in the top of their fields who provide important technical advice. Boards qualifying for these cuts include considerations of EPA’s regulation of cancer-linked chemicals PFAS and bans on studies that don’t make underlying data public. In another anti-science attempt, DDT tried to move USDA researchers to Kansas City which would causing them to resign. They’re fighting back.

Elected only a few months ago, DDT’s South American lookalike, Jair Bolsonaro, is facing mass disruption in Brazil from trade union strikes a week ago, hours before a showcase football tournament. The strike against Bolsonaro’s pension reform plans has negatively affected 63 cities’ transportation with demonstrations in another 20. At least 45 million people belong to the trade unions in a country of over 200 million. Bolsonaro’s popularity has plummeted since the election, and his family and associates have been accused of the corruption that he promised to clean up. 

As David Axe wrote, “America Is Stuck With a $400 Billion Stealth Fighter That Can’t Fight.” Lockheed Martin leveraged the Pentagon into billions of dollars of unnecessary costs for taxpayers in attempts to build the F-35 fighter plane, long surrounded with scandal. The Pentagon may reclassify dangerous deficiencies as acceptable to get the F-35 into the air. Another fiscal disaster for taxpayers is the Navy’s Littoral Combat ship. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) proved that asking questions helps when defense contractor TransDigm refunded $16.1 million in price-gouging overcharges after Khanna asked for an investigation.

India has joined DDT’s trade war by raising tariffs on U.S. imports such as apples, almonds, lentils, and some chemical compounds in response to U.S. increased tariffs on India’s aluminum and steel. Over 600 retailers, including Walmart and Costco, wrote DDT about the damage of his tariffs onthe economy with a request to remove these taxes on U.S. consumers. DDT can assign tariffs only with the excuse of national security, making his taxes on washing machines, vacuum cleaners, toys, televisions, and other household needs a mystery. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says that additional costs for people will be minimal; a study shows a family of four will pay an additional $2,000 for DDT’s 25-percent tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese goods. These taxes hit DDT’s voter base, the most economically vulnerable in the nation.

China is the biggest producers of bibles, and DDT is raising their tariff by 25 percent. Evangelicals are not happy.

The poor are benefitting from DDT’s trade wars driving farmers into bankruptcy. DDT’s bailout package spending $1.2 billion for agricultural products in farmers’ storehouses after plummeting market prices increases donations of fruit, vegetables, dairy, and meat to U.S. food banks. His second bailout will add additional millions of pounds of food to banks.

DDT’s new EPA pollution plan—to allow coal plants to pollute at will—will kill 1,400 people a year. Despite DDT’s lies about improving air quality, 2018 had 15 percent more days with dirty air than the average between 2013 and 2016. State AGs are joining environmental groups to sue the EPA about its decision to pollute the United States with the new coal plan.

Until two years ago, EPA Secretary Andrew Wheeler, replacement for the scandal-ridden Scott Pruitt, was lobbyist for Murray Energy, one of the nation’s biggest coal companies. He still is. DDT said at his campaign rally last Tuesday:

“We stared down the unholy alliance of lobbyists and donors and special interests, who made a living bleeding our country dry. That’s what we’ve done.”

DDT stared Wheeler and others down and hired them: new acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper was a Raytheon lobbyist until 2017 and replaced Boeing executive Pat Shanahan; Interior Secretary David Bernhardt lobbied for the energy industry; HHS Secretary Alex Azar oversaw lobbying for giant pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and worked with former drug industry lobbyist Joe Grogan who shaped DDT’s drug-pricing plan and went on to the Domestic Policy Council; and the rest of the Cabinet is filled with former executives and others highly connected to companies which they supposedly oversee.  

Two weeks away from July 4, Washington, D.C. can’t plan for DDT’s great event in town because he hasn’t told them what’s happening. He does plan a 10-block-long military parade.

The Supreme Court has a week to announce whether DDT’s bogus citizenship can be added to the 2020 census, but attorneys filed information to the Maryland U.S. District Court that a GOP strategist, now deceased, pushed the idea through private email with the chief of staff to the director of the U.S. Census Bureau. The documents provide evidence refuting defendants’ assertion that no link between the Secretary and the strategist “can be shown.” The recently revealed information shows that the government intended to discriminate against immigrants, Latinos and Asian Americans.

A Ukrainian-Russian developer complained he was bilked out of $200,000 for buying what he thought were VIP tickets to DDT’s inauguration and filed a lawsuit. Foreign nationals, such as Pavel Fuks who discussed a Moscow real estate deal with DDT, cannot legally buy tickets from committees hosting events connected to U.S. presidential inaugurations although U.S. donors can invite foreigners to attend.

In DDT’s formal kick-off to his 2020 campaign, the current liar-in-chief of the U.S. promised to end cancer and HIV if elected for a second term. DDT’s speech opener, Donald Trump Jr., ridiculed former VP Joe Biden for saying that he wants to cure cancer.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin claimed that the new Harriet Tubman $20 bill wouldn’t be released until 2028 because of production problems. But the currency, scheduled to be released next year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, was almost done before DDT blocked it. The 19th-century formerly enslaved abolitionist leader would replace Andrew Jackson, and DDT likes the slaveholder “Indian killer.” During his 2016 campaign, DDT called the use of Tubman as “pure political correctness.” 

Corporate tax revenue dropped 31 percent in 2018, twice what the GOP thought would happen. Treasury officials promised a spike in 2019, but the decline has increased by another nine percent because companies moved deductible expenses into 2017 for more impact. Republicans promised more bonuses with decreasing the taxes for big business by 40 percent, but last year’s wages dropped.

After DDT’s own polls didn’t look good for DDT, he lied about the data, told people to “mislead” the public about the results, and fired his pollsters.  

June 22, 2019

DDT: Week 126, Threat Balloons Backfire, More Lies

This blog refers to the man inaugurated in 2016 and limited by the U.S. Constitution to two four-year terms as “dictator.” A video from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) shows his interest in being “president for life”—up until the year 10,000.

In his interview with Chuck Todd about the proposed preemptive strike on Iran, to be shown on Sunday, DDT claimed no planes in the air and no final approval. Planes were most likely in the air, however, because the operation required them to go from distant bases hours away from Iran. Unless there was an operation. DDT did declare that his on Iran would be “obliteration like you’ve never seen before.” People in the U.S. could be the ones obliterated. Even Fox network figured out that he is lying: Shep Smith and Chris Wallace both questioned DDT’s statements

Increasingly disenchanted with Fox, DDT also accusing them of “fake news” because of Fox polls showing Biden leading over DDT in several battleground states and disputing the Fox report that DDT spend 30 hours with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos—which he did. Fox’s Sean Hannity, who reportedly has nightly telephone pillow talk with DDT, is not as popular with DDT as shown by DDT’s comment that Hannity is motivated more by ratings than by patriotism. DDT also mocks Hannity’s fawning behind closed doors as dull and unchallenging. DDT may no longer need Hannity Since Paul Manafort is in prison for 7.5 years, DDT may not need Hannity who apparently illegally passed information between Manafort and DDT while Manafort waited in jail for his trial. A judge unsealed hundreds of emails between Hannity and Manafort, some of the time when Manafort was under a gag order not to communicate with anyone except lawyers.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told DDT not to go through with his misbegotten war plans when DDT briefed her, joined in the White House by other congressional leaders Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY). About the 3:00 pm meeting, Pelosi said, “Democratic leaders emphasized that hostilities must not be initiated without the approval of Congress.” DDT supposedly called off the strike at 7:00 pm, about two hours before the scheduled finale. Perhaps DDT obeyed Russia’s president Vladimir Putin who said that a U.S. attack on Iran would be a “catastrophe.” Bully and television performer, DDT loves drama and sends up threat balloons to find a reaction; hopefully the backlash was too much for him.

In another failed threat balloon, DDT defended his plan to deport “millions” tomorrow before tweeting that he was delaying the deportation “for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans” can agree on an (unidentified) resolution for “Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border.” There won’t be a resolution because Republicans don’t want one. Pelosi tweeted, “Families belong together.” DDT disagrees although he lies about his position and blames the non-existent “sanctuary cities.” Houston police chief Art Acevedo in Houston, nowhere near giving sanctuary, tweeted his approval of blocking deportations:

“Rhetoric that causes fear & panic & pushes folks further into the dark places all at risk.”

Even acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who supervises ICE, knows that separating children from their parents is becoming political suicide. That’s the reason that GOP senators are crying “humanitarian” on a bill designed to get more money to separate families and cage children. The bill escaped a committee, but questions have been raised since publicity about the neglect and abuse of children on the southern border. Democrats need to be careful; DDT considers a wall “humanitarian aid.” DDT is good for human smuggling across the southern border. Every time he mentions his wall, more migrants head toward the United States. While DDT pushes billions for a southern border wall because of the illegal drug trade, $1.2 billion worth of cocaine was shipped into a Philadelphia port out of Chile, Panama, and the Bahamas—one of the biggest drug seizures in U.S. history. Although this shipment was discovered, Joaquín Guzman (“El Chapo”) has talked extensively about smuggling drugs through ports of entry.

The Senate is running short on time. Within 40 “working” days, the U.S. is ripe for a shutdown because of no bills for raising the debt ceiling and passing appropriations bills. GOP congressional leaders have a bipartisan deadlock with DDT on budgeting because acting chief of staff and budget director Mick Mulvaney’s agenda disagrees with DDT’s desires. The actions of Mulvaney, formerly a South Carolina GOP representative, are particularly galling to Republicans. During a White House meeting last Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested a one-year stopgap measure that keeps funding at its current levels with a one-year debt limit suspension, unpopular with Democrats. Schumer pointed out that McConnell blocked moving 2020 spending bills under “regular order” to please DDT. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said:

“Mulvaney does not want a deal, and I think that’s the biggest point.”

The group didn’t discuss offsets to pay for the GOP tax cuts for the wealthy and big business, a serious problem because Republicans will want to take money for the bottom 80 percent.

In an interview with Time, DDT lied when he said he never separated children from their parents. He falsely claimed, several times, that President Obama separated families and he (DDT) “ended separation.” A court ruled against DDT’s family separation, but he continued the practice after the court’s decision. DDT repeated his lies to José Díaz-Balart, anchor of “Noticias Telemundo,” in his first interview on a Spanish-language network. The rare occasions when President Obama separated children was for threats to children or adults detained for criminal convictions or felonies such as carrying drugs. In April 2018, the DOJ under former AG Jeff Sessions ordered every illegal entry case to be prosecuted, separating children from parents even if parents only committed a misdemeanor by crossing the border. Children were put in cages and sometimes didn’t recognize their parents after lengthy separations. 

In the Time interview reporters, DDT threatened a journalist with prison after he tried to take a picture of a letter that DDT claimed was “written by Kim Jong Un. It was delivered to me yesterday. By hand.” DDT went off the record for a few minutes, and a reporter later brought up the issue about DDT trying to “limit Mueller’s Russia probe to only future election meddling” and dictating a letter to Corey Lewandowski, “telling him to tell” former attorney general Jeff Sessions “to limit the investigation.” DDT told the journalist that “you can go to prison instead, because, if you use, if you use the photograph you took of the letter that I gave you—” Asked if he was threatening prison for the journalist, DDT went off on a rant, including how Time should make him “man of the year.” They did, just three years ago.

Some of DDT aides think they are above the law, just as DDT does. Kellyanne Conway indicated that the Hatch Act, that prevents all federal employees except DDT and the vice president from campaigning for candidate, doesn’t apply to her. DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is also being investigated about his possible violation of the law preventing federal employees from political activities after the media reported that he is working with DDT’s campaign officials to work on fundraising strategies. Kushner is supposedly “the campaign’s key liaison in the West Wing” and has “multiple daily conversations” with campaign manager, Brad Parscale. In 2016, Kushner’s companies were also flagged for suspicious activity in Deutsche Bank money-laundering reviews. Ivanka Trump’s tweet with DDT’s campaign slogan “Make America Great” and her claim that “the best is yet to come” on her government Twitter account may also violate  the Hatch Act:

“Four years ago today, I introduced my father @realDonaldTrump when he launched a Campaign that would forever change America. Because of his courage, Americans are safer and more prosperous…and the best is yet to come!”

Last week when DDT kicked off his 2020 campaign in Orlando, a place surrounded by swamp, the city’s newspaper Orlando Sentinel, traditionally endorsing Republicans, made its 2020 endorsement: not DDT.

“After 2½ years we’ve seen enough. Enough of the chaos, the division, the schoolyard insults, the self-aggrandizement, the corruption, and especially the lies. So many lies—from white lies to whoppers—told out of ignorance, laziness, recklessness, expediency or opportunity. The nation must endure another 1½ years of Trump. But it needn’t suffer another four beyond that. We can do better. We have to do better.”

The conservative Wall Street Journal editorial wasn’t much more supportive, asking why DDT should be re-elected if he didn’t do anything in his first term. About DDT’s Orlando speech:

“The most striking fact of his speech was how backward looking it was. Every incumbent needs to remind voters of his record, Mr. Trump more than most because the media are so hostile. [The people who aren’t core supporters] want to know why they should take a risk on Mr. Trump and his volatile character for another term.

“On immigration, however, the President missed a chance to strike a deal trading more border security (including his wall) for legalizing Dreamers. On trade, Mr. Trump has disrupted global rules but has put nothing new and stable in their place. Asking voters to believe he’ll do better on these issues in a second term isn’t likely to turn many swing voters his way.”

DDT’s staunch supporter, The Washington Examiner, retracted a story repeating DDT’s lies that a New York Times “fed information” to the FBI about Jared Kushner. The complete story is here.

DDT’s lies and chaos have lost him some right-wing media.

June 21, 2019

The ‘Friday Shock’ News

Filed under: Uncategorized,War — trp2011 @ 9:16 PM
Tags: , , , ,

In the past, news on Friday was called the “Friday dump,” with the hope that people will ignore it. More and more, it has become the “Friday shock,” certainly today with another accusation about sexual assault and the nearness of a nuclear war.

Writer E. Jean Carroll has become the 16th woman to accuse Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) of sexual assault, and her account of his attack over two decades ago is highly credible and graphic. In her current article in the New York Magazine, “My List of Hideous Men,” Carroll describes six incidents of attacks by men, an excerpt from her newest book, What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal. At the time of DDT’s “alleged” assault, he was married to Marla Maples  and already accused of assault by Ivana Trump during his first marriage. Carroll told two friends about DDT’s attack but didn’t come forward until now because of humiliation.  With dark humor, she wrote:

“Receiving death threats, being driven from my home, being dismissed, being dragged through the mud, and joining the 15 women who’ve come forward with credible stories about how the man grabbed, badgered, belittled, mauled, molested, and assaulted them, only to see the man turn it around, deny, threaten, and attack them, never sounded like much fun.”

DDT claimed, “I’ve never met this person in my life.” A photograph show DDT (left) with Carroll at a party. Business Insider brings the total of sexual assault/harassment accusations against DDT to 24. Descriptions of these events match the behavior DDT bragged about in an Access Hollywood tape, including the statement, “I moved on her like a bitch.”

“Cocked and loaded” (the name of a porn film) is the term DDT used against Iran unless they would hold talks about a new nuclear accord. DDT told the Pentagon to launch a military strike and then called it off ten minutes before the deadline although Iran is opposed to talks. DDT’s attack was supposedly in response to Iran’s downing a U.S. surveillance drone, possibly over Iranian air space.  The U.S. claims the drone was shot down in international space, but evidence is questionable. No one knows why the strike was called off or whether DDT will resume his attacks. The Pentagon warned against the strike, but non-military personnel Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, national security adviser John Bolton, and CIA Director Gina Haspel are pushing for military responses that lead to a war. And the Defense Department has no leader.

Having DDT backed down from causing an immediate war, DDT bragged and lied in his tweets:

“President Obama made a desperate and terrible deal with Iran – Gave them 150 Billion Dollars plus I.8 Billion Dollars in CASH! Iran was in big trouble and he bailed them out. Gave them a free path to Nuclear Weapons, and SOON. Instead of saying thank you, Iran yelled Death to America.

“I terminated deal, which was not even ratified by Congress, and imposed strong sanctions. They are a much weakened nation today than at the beginning of my Presidency, when they were causing major problems throughout the Middle East. Now they are Bust!

“On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General.

“10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!”

Moving to the truth:

  • President Obama didn’t “give” Iran any money; he simply released their own money.
  • President Obama didn’t give a “free path to Nuclear Weapons”; the agreement kept Iran from developing these weapons.
  • Hardliner Iranians are still shouting “death to Americans,” perhaps louder since DDT’s sanctions.
  • Iran is a strengthened nation today as far as war is concerned.
  • The “unmanned drone” may have been flying over Iran airspace.
  • If Iran is not “causing major problems,” why did DDT decide to attack the country?
  • Why would U.S. officials suggest a mission to kill 150 people for a destroyed drone?
  • Why didn’t he know about the mission’s consequences until ten minutes before it was a done deal?

Greg Sargent’s short version of the Iran debacle:

“Iran was abiding by the deal, and was being constrained from developing nuclear weapons. But Trump pulled out—then reimposed sanctions to choke the Iranian economy, and has since dictated terms for sanctions relief that appear deliberately unrealistic, cornering Iran into a choice between escalating on its side or submitting entirely to those terms….

“In the run-up to [the withdrawal], Trump falsely claimed Iran was on the verge of total collapse before Obama negotiated it, and overinflated what Iran financially got from it, to falsely portray it as a giveaway to Iran. Trump also insisted the deal was premised on believing Iran could be trusted not to develop nukes (in fact, it had strict verification mechanisms) and that the deal would inevitably fail to constrain Iran.

“That latter claim proved completely false for a time, as Iran continued to abide by it. Now Iran is suggesting it will restart its programs, but this is coming after the United States pulled out of the deal that was successfully constraining it, compounding the folly of Trump’s decision.”

Because President Obama negotiated the Iran deal, DDT couldn’t stand the possibility of its success. DDT loves the brutal dictator Kim Jong-Un and refuses to face North Korea’s building nuclear weapons because President Obama didn’t agree with him. U.S. intelligence reported that North Korea is building nuclear weapons. DDT said, “I hope not.” He also talked about his “very strong relationship” with the “very smart” President Kim Jong-Un who “understands” and “respects” DDT.

The United States is one of the few countries blaming Iran for the attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Earlier this week a journalist asked DDT why people should “trust your administration to tell the truth about what’s going on in Iran. If we go to war, why should we believe you if you say why?” DDT didn’t even object to being called a liar. His answer the day before he decided to attack Iran:

“Well, we have Iran. We’ve been talking to various people on lots of different sides. And we’ll see what happens with Iran. We’re very well set. We’re very well configured. We have a lot of things going on with Iran. I spoke with President Xi, this morning, of China. We’ll be meeting at the G20. And I think that is working out pretty much as I anticipated it would. China very much wants to discuss the future, and so do we. So the relationship with President Xi is a very good one. We had a long talk this morning.”

DDT supporters may vote for him in 2020, but many of them will do so with reluctance. Four years ago, they delighted in his “telling it like it is,” but enthusiasm among Republicans and GOP-leaning voters is wearing thin. This poll was taken before the latest accusation of sexual assault and being ten minutes from nuclear war:

  • 53 percent sometimes feel “embarrassed” by DDT’s comments.
  • 59 percent are sometimes “concerned” by DDT’s comments.
  • 41 percent sometimes feel “exhausted” by DDT’s comments.
  • 47 percent said DDT’s statements confuse them.
  • 37 percent sometimes feel “angry” because of DDT’s comment.
  • 32 percent feel “insulted” by things DDT says.
  • Only 22 percent feel “frightened” by DDT’s comments—but we’re not at war yet.

Almost $6 trillion will be spent on George W. Bush’s wars in Iraq and the Middle East based on imaginary weapons of mass destruction. That money could have really made “America great.” Spending more money on DDT’s unnecessary preemptive war will create more disasters in the United States.

For 18 years, presidents have been given the right that they can declare war wherever and whenever they want because Congress gave them permission after the 9/11 attack. Presidents have caused over three dozen military engagements in 14 countries. This week, House Democrats, worried that DDT would declare war on Iran, started to take back their constitutional right: their almost $1 trillion appropriations bill funding the military, health programs, and the Energy Department repealed the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will surely quash the provision removing DDT’s rights to declare war, but it’s a start.

June 20, 2019

DDT’s People Need Vetting

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders should have been left to tell the lies of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) instead of going back to Alabama: she does a better job. Patrick Shanahan’s nomination to serve as Donald Trump’s new Defense secretary collapsed yesterday after revelations surrounding incidents of domestic violence within Shanahan’s family. A journalist asked:

“Does that make you concerned then about the White House vetting process if you had just heard about it yesterday?”

DDT answered:

“No, we have a very good vetting process. And you take a look at our Cabinet and our Secretaries — it’s very good. But we have a great vetting process.”

DDT is a disaster at vetting anyone. Last month, DDT’s nominees for the Federal Reserve, Stephen Moore and Herman Cain, had to withdraw their names. They are on the top of a long list of non-vetted nominees. Appointments are going to get only worse because fewer and fewer people are willing to be involved in DDT’s administration.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, formerly a Boeing executive, resigned after an FBI investigation further delayed his confirmation hearings. He took over after James Mattis resigned in December before DDT fired him. Shanahan’s ex-wife has made accusations of abuse and was arrested as part of a domestic dispute. DDT tweeted the spending “more time with his family” for Shanahan departure. Some Republicans kept Shanahan’s problems from Democrats because they didn’t want the situation to become another Kavanaugh debacle. Democrats discovered the domestic abuse surrounding Shanahan after the information was published in the newspaper.

Secretary of the Army Mark Esper, DDT’s replacement for Shanahan and another lobbyist, will be more to DDT’s satisfaction. Unlike Shanahan, Esper doesn’t worry about the deployment of thousands of military member to the southern border eroding readiness for combat, and he’s close to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who currently seems to be announcing military strategy regarding Iran, and David Urban, DDT’s close friend and adviser to the Pennsylvania presidential campaign in 2016. Esper was also the top lobbyist for Raytheon, now a U.S. defense contractor embedded in Saudi Arabia.

DDT has lost support from the vastly wealthy and powerful Mercer family who helped him get elected in 2016 with $15.5 million and data mining by Cambridge Analytica. DDT’s inauguration fund also got $1 million from the Mercers. Some of the Mercers’ disillusionment came from DDT’s exile of Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer’s elimination as co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies, “really spooked” by the FBI’s investigation of Cambridge Analytica. The Mercers originally preferred Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) as the presidential candidate but supported DDT in preference to Hillary Clinton. Robert Mercer also feels that he lost his privacy because of his support for DDT.

Matthew Kacsmaryk slipped through as a lifetime judge with 52 votes because GOP senators will confirm almost any judicial nominee. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who believed Brett Kavanaugh’s statement of support for Roe v. Wade, either learned her lesson or worries about re-election next year; she was the only GOP senator to vote him. Kacsmaryk:

  • Opposes employment, housing, and health care protections for LGBTQ people
  • Opposes including LGBTQ people in the Violence against Women Act.
  • Wrote that being transgender is “a delusion.”
  • Defended county clerk Kim Davis for refusing to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples in opposition to the law.
  • Opposes employer contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act.
  • Played a lead role in opposing a Washington state law requiring pharmacist to give birth control to women with prescriptions.
  • Criticized the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade giving women the right to abortions.
  • Labeled the Equality Act a “public affirmation of the lie that the human person is an autonomous blob of Silly Putty, unconstrained by nature or biology, and that marriage, sexuality, gender identity, and even the unborn child must yield to the erotic desires of liberated adults.’”

Tony Perkins, a leader of the infamous hate group Family Research Council, has been named to chair the U.S. Commission on International Freedom. It’s purpose is to review violations of religious freedom and make policy recommendations to the president, Secretary of State, and Congress.

Kelly Craft, formerly U.S. ambassador to Canada and now nominee for the UN ambassador, had the reputation for rarely being in Canada. Her absence for over 300 days between October 23, 2017, and June 19, 2019 means that, like Congress, she was missing for about half the time. A spokesperson said she had permission to be away but declined to give details. Craft reportedly left her job to a deputy while attending to personal business and domestic U.S. politics. Her husband’s private jet, used by Craft, made round trips between Canada and the U.S. about once a week, such as travel to the Kentucky Derby and a media interview for an event for her coal billionaire husband. Both Craft and her husband are supporters of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who lobbied for her appointment. Her answers at the confirmation hearing showed an ignorance of UN workings.

Katharine Gorka, political appointee as press secretary at Customs and Border Protection, remains in the government although her husband, Sebastian, known for white supremacist connections, has gone. Both are openly anti-Muslim, and Gorka worked to stop a DHS grant for Life after Hate, a group trying to stop white supremacist groups. DHS has refused to release documents about her through the Freedom of Information Act.

Jerome Powell, chair of the independent agency Fed Reserve, would likely be on the chopping block if DDT could figure out a way to get rid of him. Although the stock markets are currently going up, their volatility partly comes from DDT’s trade wars. Yet DDT blames the refusal to drop interest rates as the only reason. Last February, he checked with lawyers to see if he could demote Powell and said two weeks ago that the board is “not my people.” Three of the five are DDT’s nominees, and DDT appointed Powell as chair. The seven-member board is still missing two people, and all four of DDT’s nominees have failed confirmation—difficult to do with the current GOP senate. Powell said he’s not going anywhere.

VP Mike Pence isn’t any better than DDT at vetting people. Pence’s former national security advisor, Andrea L. Thompson, now undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs, had close relationships with confessed Russian agent Maria Butina and her boyfriend, veteran GOP activist Paul Erickson. Butina’s job was to infiltrate the NRA and GOP to help Russia. In June 2017, Butina attended Thompson’s wedding where Erickson officiated. A year later, Thompson’s connection to Butina wasn’t mentioned at her confirmation hearings despite Mueller’s investigation, including Erikson’s allegedly trying to establish “secret backchannels to the Kremlin.” Thompson’s job is negotiating with Russia on arms control treaties, but she never discussed her Butina ties. After 18 months in prison, Butina will be deported to her home in Russia.  

Hope Hicks, DDT’s former communications director, may have testified for almost eight hours before the House Judiciary Committee, but six White House, DOJ, and private lawyers blocked the questions 155 times in the closed hearing. Their excuse was the non-existent “absolute immunity,” applying to “anything about her knowledge of anything during the period of time in which she was employed in the White House.” She didn’t answer even simple answers such as the location of her office in the White House and the existence of any conversation with DDT during lunch time.

Hicks could answer questions before and after she was in the White House and had a few revelations. Under repeated questioning, she said DDT was wrong in possibly accepting political dirt from a foreign power on an opponent, and she agree that the Russian government hacked the DNC and Clinton campaign during the 2016 presidential election campaign. Hicks also found it “odd” that DDT asked Corey Lewandowski, a former campaign manager but not an employee, to tell former AG Jeff Sessions to reverse his recusal in overseeing the Russian investigation. She knew about the hush money that DDT paid to two women that DDT denied.  Hicks’ testimony also shows that DDT and his team knew about possible tapes of DDT with “Russian hookers, participating in lewd activities” (pp. 196-197) soon after the release of Access Hollywood tapes in late October 2016, long before former FBI Director James Comey briefed him on it in January 2017. At that time, DDT appeared shocked about the tapes.

The oddest aftermath of Hicks’ testimony is Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) false claim that “old, pervy” Democrats asked her personal questions about her love life, a message that went viral on the fake conservative media. He wasn’t present, but he claimed to have “sources” that were “inside,” that people “would be ashamed if they knew what actually happened in that room.” With the transcript released, people can find out “what actually happened” if they read the document—which they most likely won’t. I read all 273 pages. It’s filled with factual questions about Hicks’ professional activities, 155 “objections,” and some whining from Republicans who still want to protect DDT. Once again, conservative media consumers will believe the “fake news.”

June 15, 2019

Week 125, Part III – Democrats Move Ahead amid Corruption

While the U.S. House passes bills that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ignores, it also pursues the facts that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) tries to hide. One success—if DDT’s fixer AG Bill Barr doesn’t pull out again—is obtaining evidence related to DDT’s obstruction of justice from Robert Mueller’s investigation in exchange for not suing Barr for contempt. Or Barr could be stalling. The House did take a vote permitting the Judiciary Committee to take witnesses to court who refuse to comply with subpoenas.

DDT tries to use executive privilege for refusing all information to the House, but Hope Hicks, former White House Communications Director and one of five subpoenaed DDT aides, will testify before the House Judiciary Committee. A transcript of the closed hearing will be released to the public. Hicks left the White House two days after she told Robert Mueller’s investigation that she testified that she told “white lies” for DDT.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee voted to hold Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for defying subpoenas related to their addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The House Intelligence Committee has now subpoenaed Michael Flynn and Rick Gates for documents and testimony about the Mueller report as part of connection with Russia and other foreign powers, including financial dealings and possibility of compromise.

Fox contributor Sidney Powell, conspiracy theorist regarding Mueller’s investigation, is Flynn’s new lawyer. Among her right-wing conspiracies on social media are Flynn as the victim of the “Obama Deep State” and the surveillance of the DDT campaign by the FBI “to protect Hillary Clinton.” She also retweeted a false post about a Mueller probe witness having a stroke because of prosecutors’ treatment. Her goals are the dismissal of Flynn’s case and a presidential pardon for him.

House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (D-CA) has floated the idea of a subpoena for FBI Director Christopher Wray regarding any active counterintelligence investigations connected to DDT and Russia. Schiff wants to know if the FBI’s investigation, opened in June 2016, has concluded or continues. Congressional leaders, required to be briefed about sensitive intelligence issues, have had no information about Russia and the DDT campaign since DDT fired former FBI Director James Comey in 2017. GOP-invited witness Andrew McCarthy, a former US attorney and Fox contributor, described the danger of DDT’s campaign officials meeting in the Trump Tower in June 2016 when a Russian lawyer offered dirt on Hillary Clinton.

DDT may go back to court after a judge ordered the release of more memos from former FBI director James Comey about his meetings with DDT. The ruling requires that names of countries and world leaders be unredacted in conversations about DDT’s concerns about former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his scheduling of calls from world leaders. CNN’s lawsuit is now two years old.

While DDT tries to suppress political and financial material by telling everyone to ignore House subpoenas, he also wants to erase factual testimony from federal agencies. Last week he attempted to block a State Department employee from testifying about national security risks caused by the climate crisis. The employee testified, but his statements were excluded from the House record because the government research doesn’t fit DDT’s personal views.

Sen. David Purdue (R-GA) may call for his chamber to give up part of their August recess. Staying in Washington, however, has no value if McConnell won’t bring bills to the floor.

DDT will declare nuclear waste safer because of its new classification. Rick Perry’s Department of Energy is reclassifying high-level radioactive material to a lower standard, probably to bury the material in Washington, South Carolina, and Idaho shallow pits. Cleanup will be faster as the process moves dangerous waste to a new location. The federal agency plans “to cut out state input.”

If DDT has his way, the Office of Personnel Management that oversees government recruiting, hiring, pay, health insurance and other benefits, and performance management will close. The agency also oversees benefits for retirees and protects employee rights in federal agencies. DDT needs a senate vote for his restructuring. Democrats are opposed, and Republicans are lukewarm doing away with the agency. Created in 1978, the OPM, if disbanded, would be the first elimination of a major agency since the World War II era.

Chicken farmers have joined truckers and other former DDT supporters to be frustrated by DDT’s financial destruction. Farmers who thought that President Obama wasn’t policing meat companies who cheated and defrauded them voted for DDT. Much to their dismay, DDT sided with big meat companies—one magnate giving his campaign $2 million—over small farmers by erasing regulations protecting the little guys and giving four companies the ability to fix prices and crush competition. Georgia’s Sonny Perdue, Agriculture Secretary, dissolved the office for policing meat companies, and preexisting rules are no longer enforced. Top recipients from the annual $4+ million for lobbying are Georgia’s Jack Kingston who led the agriculture appropriations committee until this year and Arkansas member Steve Womack. Fines for breaking rules are under ten percent from five years ago.

DDT also hurt the truckers with the GOP “tax cuts”: they may each pay thousands of dollars more to the federal government because the new law cut out expense exemptions for per diam costs—about $15,000—for the 3.5 million truckers on the road. GOP congressional leaders have minimized the millions of additional dollars that truckers must pay. Only owner-operators, a very small percentage in the profession, escape because their profits are taxed at a far lower personal rate than the former corporate income. DDT loves trucks but not their drivers. 

Even leading tax cut architect Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), who pushed through tax cuts for the wealthy and big business with the promise that they would pay for themselves, admits 18 months later that he was wrong. The obsession during President Obama’s first term to balance the budget has morphed into a deficit increase of almost 40 percent—during a healthy economy.    

DDT’s solution to problems with the economy is to threaten departure from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce after it criticized his tariffs and threats and accused them of defending businesses with organizations in China and Mexico. In an unplanned telephone interview with CNBC, he also lambasted the Federal Reserve Board for having raised interest rates and claimed that China let its currency to be weakened to mitigate the effects of U.S. tariffs.

Deadbeat DDT and Congress owe $7 million to Washington, D.C. for DDT’s inauguration ceremony as he gears up for an expensive campaign rally there on July 4. DDT also wants to hire a second fireworks company to provide a backdrop behind his speech at the Lincoln Memorial. DDT stiffed at least another ten cities for hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide public safety costs for his rallies going back three years. Another 60 cities have policies keeping them from billing politicians for police costs, and others chose not to bill him. A Spokane city council member asked, “Let’s be honest, when does Trump ever pay his bills?” DDT’s campaign had $40.8 million last March and doesn’t report any debts to municipal governments or police departments in FEC filings. Cities hosting DDT rallies also recorded an additional 2.3 assaults on the day of the rallies but didn’t have this problem with Hillary Clinton’s rallies. Counties hosting DDT campaign rallies saw a 226 percent increase in reported hate crimes, compared to those that don’t host his events.

Washington, D.C. residents have filed to have DDT’s liquor license in his Washington hotel revoked because applicants must be of “good character and generally fit for the responsibilities of licensure.”

DDT is known for making up conversations with anonymous people, but his quote that “without Donald Trump maybe there would be no NATO” was unfortunately attributed to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who knew nothing about the statement. DDT also thinks that the moon “is a part” of Mars. In still another fantasy, DDT claims that “there are those that say we have one of the finest Cabinets.”  

Mars may be out of the picture, but DDT still wants his “Space Force.” The House Armed Services Committee may add a bipartisan amendment to the 2020 fiscal authorization bill.

DDT is back from England, but this photograph of him commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, in Portsmouth, southern England, on June 5, 2019, says far more than a thousand words. 

The May deficit of $208 billion is 42 percent higher than the same month in 2018, making the cumulative deficit for the first eight months of fiscal 2019 at $739—just $40 billion short of the full 2018 deficit. The disaster came after the GOP/DDT tax act, projecting an additional $1.9 trillion over a decade. The year 2019 will reach over $1 trillion. Corporate income taxes are down $10 billion, and custom duties are up about $20 billion from massive tariffs paid by consumers.

In the past 30 years, one percent of people in the U.S. gained $21 trillion in wealth compared to a loss of $900 billion for the bottom 50 percent—the worst inequality since the 1920s. The top one percent has $30 trillion in assets, and the bottom have less than zero amount.

June 14, 2019

DDT: Week 125, Part II – Follow-up, Foreign Disasters

Two days after Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said “I’d take it” when asked about foreign clandestine information, he backtracked by saying that he would still look at incriminating information about an election opponent but he would “absolutely” report such an encounter.

In clips from George Stephanopoulos’ interview, DDT accused White Counsel Don McGahn, who DDT told not to comply with a House subpoena, of lying in his testimony with the Mueller investigation “because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer.”

Always antagonistic toward Iran, DDT followed State Secretary Mike Pompeo in declaring Iran as the perpetrator of attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The Japanese owner of one tanker disagreed, saying that it was hit with a “flying object,” possibly an artillery shell instead of a mine. In the past, Pompeo has lied about Iran and Yemen. Pompeo said that the attack would require sophisticated technology that only Iran could provide. He omitted Saudi Arabia and Israel from the criterion. Both are in the region, they have the ability, and they both hate Iran. Iran has no benefit from attacking ships from either Japan or Norway, but DDT does when he uses his attacks against Iran in his campaign rallies.

Over 16 years ago, Colin Powell cited “irrefutable evidence” that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction,” given him by the government. He ignored repeated warnings about the “evidence.” After the discovery that the government was lying, the U.S. was at war—a war that has cost several trillions of dollars and gone on for over 16 years. As George W. Bush said, “Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me, you can’t get fooled again.” Yes, you can.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) may have a reason to single-handedly block a law requiring a candidate to contact the FBI about foreign interference in a campaign. She has close ties to a U.S.-sanctioned Russian politician whose former lawyer, G. Kline Preston IV, represented Blackburn when she was facing allegations of possible campaign finance violations and worked closely with Alexander Torshin, the prominent Russian politician with close ties to Putin who is now under intense scrutiny for allegations he illegally channeled Russian funds through the National Rifle Association in an effort to influence the 2016 election. Blackburn received more NRA money since 2002 than another other Tennessee congressional member. The NRCC also refuses to sign a bipartisan pledge not to National Republican Congressional Committee to make a bipartisan pledge not to use stolen or hacked information in House elections, Blackburn’s political home from 2003 to 2018.

With the GOP refusal to protect the United States from foreign election interference comes their own interference in foreign elections.  may be their willingness to interfere in foreign elections. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Jewish leaders that he would “push” back against Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during Britain’s leadership succession. As in the United States, some calls of anti-Semitism come from a conflict between Palestinian support and Zionist politics. DDT has already come out in support of Boris Johnson for prime minister, legal under the Hatch Act, and Brexit party leader Nigel Farage campaigned for DDT before his election. In Britain, 71 percent of the people disapprove of DDT, meaning DDT’s support may not help the conservatives. 

Despite Kellyanne Conway’s violation of the Hatch Act, DDT said he will not fire her. He told Fox & Friends, “I think she’s a terrific person.” He called her violation of the law, upheld by the Supreme Court in both 1947 and 1973, “free speech.”

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, under scrutiny for her conflicts of interest, claims that she sold stocks in Ingersoll Rand and Vulcan, the latter a highway supply company, and updated her financial disclosures. Dalia Lithwick has an excellent article on GOP nepotism

Despite DDT preening about controlling Mexico with his tariff threat has become a nothing-burger.

In March, Mexico had already pledged to deploy National Guard members in secret talks with former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Mexican Secretary of the Interior Olga Sanchez.

 Last December, Nielsen told the House Judiciary Committee about the Migrant Protection Protocols, an expansion of a program to allow asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their legal cases proceed.

Negotiators failed to get Mexico to accept a “safe third country” treaty to give the United States the legal ability to reject asylum seekers if they had not sought refuge in Mexico first.

Therefore, all three of DDT’s claims are lies: no new curbs on immigrants; no agreement for Mexico “to immediately begin buying large quantities of agricultural product” from American farmers”; and no secret successions. DDT’s negotiating style: cause a crisis, negotiate and get nothing, and declare he’s a success in averting the crisis. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said DDT was turning farmers into “poker chips at one of his bankrupt casinos.”

The tariff crisis is not over: the agreement, which needs to be approved by Mexico’s legislature, gives Mexico 45 days to reduce the number of migrants headed for the U.S. DDT bragged about his “secret agreement” during a Q&A session that he waved around but said he wouldn’t be revealing what was in it. He didn’t need to “reveal” the paper: WaPo photographer Jabin Botsford grabbed a picture of the document, and the sun shining through the paper made most of the text visible. The number of migrants will most likely decrease because fewer immigrants come to the border during the summer. DDT will be declaring success—until cool weather returns. DDT has never worried about the misery he causes for people, but his plans to keep migrants in Mexico will result in more separation of families, restrictions on due process, and increased danger for vulnerable people such as pregnant women, children, and the LGBTQ population.  

North Korea’s president Kim Jung-Un is still successfully flattering DDT with another “beautiful letter” making DDT “think the relationship is very well.” DDT addressed Kim’s murder of his half brother Kim Jong Nam because he may have been “a Central Intelligence Agency source who met on several occasions with agency operatives.” In support of the murder, DDT said that “I would tell [Kim] that would not happen under my auspices, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t let that happen under my auspices,” DDT said in his desire to protect the brutal dictator. He then gushed about the warmth of correspondence from the brutal dictator, his justification for the U.S. not gathering intelligence about the nuclear developments that provide danger to the country that he vowed to protect. DDT declared that Kim “kept his word” about no nuclear testing despite his declaration just three weeks ago that he was his being “not happy” about North Korea’s ballistic missile tests.

DDT thinks he has leverage over China with his fluctuating tariffs, but China has rare earths—and China sharply reduced overseas shipments in 2019. These elements are vital not only in personal technology devices but also for all advanced U.S. military weapons. Because of lower labor costs and fewer environmental regulations, China mines 70 percent of rare earth, making the U.S. dependent on China’s good will for its fighting power. High-end rare earth products are made only in Japan and China, and Japan relies on the raw product from China. With cutoffs to rare earths, China could adversely impact every part of U.S. economy from jet engines to oil refineries. Private firms struggle in the business because Chinese-subsidized firms can sell at or below cost. Last Sunday, 60 Minutes on CBS gave an excellent primer on rare earths. 

The oak tree that France’s president Emmanuel Macron gave DDT to represent “ties that bind us” has died. Macron promised to send another sapling. Poor thing!

Although many people question whether DDT will lose the 2020 presidential election in 17 months, the polls don’t look good for him, especially in battleground states that he won by a few thousand votes in 2016. Even DDT’s personal polling shows him far down, and a Quinnipiac poll has him behind six leading Democratic contenders—including two blacks, two women, and a gay man—in hypothetical general election match-ups. At least 48 percent won’t vote for a candidate over 70; DDT is now 72. DDT now claims that the polls he doesn’t like are “fake.” He expressed gratitude that “we can fight back on Social Media,” which is notoriously “fake.”

DDT didn’t respond to the Quinnipiac poll showing that 69 percent of people think that a sitting president should be subject to criminal charges. That includes 52 percent of Republicans. DDT committed crimes before he took office, according to 57 percent, but a 45-45 split think that he did so after he was inaugurated. Fifty-five percent think that the Mueller investigation did not clear DDT of wrongdoing.

DDT is up to 10,796 lies since he was inaugurated—12 each day.

 

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