Nel's New Day

January 16, 2021

Far-Right Groups Identified, Need Social Media Platforms

As I looked at the news feeds today, I realized that the media seems calmer during the past few days since Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) lost access to social media platforms. According to an analysis, the proliferation of lies and spreading responses has greatly fallen on these sites. Wildly misleading content about the 2020 election dropped by three-fourths on social media following the bans on DDT after the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Inflammatory hashtags about the attack such as #FightforTrump and #HoldtheLine have fallen over 95 percent. Research indicates high-profile influencers using the disinformation system pushed millions of people to spread the lie about election fraud. Just a few accounts have been the source for these lies: only 20 conservative, pro-DDT Twitter accounts were the original source of 20 percent of retweets lying about voting during the election.

Social media platforms banning DDT and others lying and inciting violence:

Twitter: The platform started putting labels on DDT’s false and violent posts over two months ago but didn’t limit his 88 million followers from viewing or sharing them. It also cut over 70,000 QAnon accounts after January 6. After DDT violated a 12-hour trial lockout after the Capitol attack, Twitter permanently banned his account on January 8 and suspended @POTUS and @TeamTrump for DDT’s attempts to avoid his ban. DDT’s former adviser, Steve Bannon, also lost his Twitter account for declaring Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray should be beheaded. Other DDT associates have also been banned.

Facebook and its photo-sharing service, Instagram: On January 6, the platforms suspended Trump for 24 hours after he expressed love for the mob attacking the Capitol. The next day, CEO Mark Zuckerberg banned DDT from them through the inauguration and indefinitely after that time.

YouTube: DDT’s channel was suspended for at least a week last week, and the platform indefinitely disabled comments from his channel. It also announced it would issue strikes to any channel posting videos with false claims violating the platform’s policies. Permanent removal comes from three strikes within three months.

Parler: Amazon Web Services removed Parler after users glorified the Capitol attack. The social media platform had already been removed from Google and Apple app stores. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/01/09/amazon-parler-suspension/   QAnon believers and other conspiracy theorists moved to Parler after Twitter banned them because the platform allows anything, including sex trafficking and porno messages. A hacker downloaded all the public messages from the week of January 6 allowing law enforcement to find many of the mob members and instigators at the Capitol attack.

Snapchat: DDT’s account was permanently disabled on January 15.

Bumble, Tinder, and Match: The accounts of Capitol rioters have been banned, and DDT’s account has an “indefinite suspension.

Reddit: r/The Donald and other pro-DDT pages advocating violent threats and misinformation have been banned. Also gone is subreddit r/DonaldTrump, a hub for “Stop the Steal” conspiracy theorists encouraging armed users to go to the U.S. Capitol.

Twitch: The Amazon-owned video service disabled DDT’s channel indefinitely.

https://www.axios.com/platforms-social-media-ban-restrict-trump-d9e44f3c-8366-4ba9-a8a1-7f3114f920f1.html

TikTok: The platform is removing content violations and redirecting hashtags.

Discord: The Donald is now banned.

Pinterest: Hashtags connected to pro-DDT topics have been limited since the November election.

Stripe: The online handler of payments and transactions will no longer process for DDT’s campaign.

Okta: The manager of user authentication services has terminated Parler’s access to a free trial.

Twilio: The enterprise communications company won’t accept Parler.

LiquidWeb: This cloud and web-hosting company kicked off Oath Keepers, the far-right, self-identified “militia” group of current and former military, police and first responders. The group had told its followers to swarm Washington in “armed, in large groups.”

GoFundMe: Travel fundraising for political events with “risk of violence” has been banned.

Shopify: The Canadian e-commerce platform for online stores banned DDT’s campaign merchandise shop and personal brand.

The solution for seditionists now is Telegram, a Dubai-based chat app, and other services such as MeWe collecting those driven off Parler. Telegram moved from a ranking of 110th to the fifth most-downloaded app in the United States by January 12. When Signal went from 750 to first, its network went down. MeWe rose from below 1,000 to 12; WhatsApp and Messenger have stayed in the top 40 and top 20. An example of a Telegram message after DDT’s video condemning the violence at the Capitol:

“Trump betrayed the patriots by accepting defeat. The only way to save America is war. Full-blown Holy war.”

Far-right groups/symbols:  

Proud Boys: Known for violence and instigating street fights with counterdemonstrators. Garb: black and gold but may change to all black, imitating antifa, and bright orange hats. Founded in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes who separated himself from the organization. Well-known in the Northwest, but DDT raised an awareness of them when DDT told them to “stand by” in his first debate with Joe Biden. 

Hand gesture “OK”: Means “white power” from the W and P formed by the hand. 

Gesture from the Three Percenters, a right-wing anti-government militia group: Outstretched middle, ring, and pinkie fingers to represent the Roman numeral for three, similar to the “OK.” Name comes from myth that only three percent of the population fought against the British.

QAnon: Symbol of Q, representing online conspiracy theory about DDT leading a crusade against a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who encompass a majority of the nation’s elites, including politicians, celebrities, and executives. Their anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ beliefs joined by anti-mask and anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, following cryptic messages and instructions from the anonymous person Q.

Oath Keepers: One of the largest self-described militia groups in the United States which recruits law enforcement and active or former military members. Large presence at such high-profile events as the Nevada Bundy ranch uprising and Ferguson (MO) protests.  Founded in 2009. Yellow logo comes from the U.S. Army Ranger tab.

The letters “AF” (America First) surrounded by a circle: Name of podcast hosted by far-right activist Nick Fuentes appearing at Charlottesville (VA) “United the Right” and taunting protesters of George Floyd’s killing. Racist and anti-Semitic followers called “Groypers,” using the smirking Pepe the Frog imagery sometimes depicted in the uniform like that of Hitler’s military security force.

Kekistan flag: A green and black symbol spelling “kek.” Supposedly a parallel between Pepe the Frog and an ancient deity appearing as a man with a frog head mimicking the German Nazi war flag.

A hanging noose/Day of the Rope: Based on the fictional insurrection, “Day of the Rope,” from white supremacist William Luther Pierce’s 1978 novel, The Turner Diaries, in which white supremacists lynch politicians, journalists, and White people in interracial relationships who they call “race traitors.”  Posts on January 6 referencing hangman knots and hanging “traitors” betraying DDT such as Supreme Court justices and lawmakers. Rioters put up a noose outside the Capitol.

Valknot: The “knot of slain,” three interlinked triangles from Nordic culture and heritage, connected to the afterlife and white supremacy Odinism.

VDARE: Red, white, and blue lion imagery connected to the website associated with Virginia Dare, supposedly the first White child born in the New World.

Confederate flag: Most well-known symbol of white supremacy representing Southern heritage and slavery.

The FBI is investigating donations of over $500,000-valued bitcoin from a French account to 22 far-right organizations and people including VDARE, Daily Stormer, and Nick Fuentes. The transfer was made on December 8, four weeks before the failed January 6 coup. Far-right groups have a tradition of dealing with cryptocurrency and crowdfunding, especially since the deadly Charlottesville (VA) rally in August 2017.

Sunday before the inauguration, hate groups have promised to return to D.C. to commit violence. On Saturday, law enforcement arrested a Virginia man at a checkpoint near the Capitol. He had an “unauthorized” inauguration pass, an unregistered loaded gun, and almost 550 rounds of ammunition. He claimed he was working as a security guard and forgot he was carrying the gun. He also denied having any ammunition. His Ford F-150 pickup displayed stickers such as “Assault Life” and “If they come for your guns Give ‘Em your bullets first.” He was booked for carrying a weapon without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm, and possession of unregistered ammunition.

With little federal support, all 50 state capitols in the nation are preparing for armed attacks on January 20 because of violent threats from seditionists.

Two days ago, acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, the colossal failure in protecting the Capitol on January 6, said he “couldn’t wait” to get out of the job. Yet he’s still sabotaging the government, now ordering the head of NSA Gen. Paul Nakasone to install Michael Ellis as top lawyer at the National Security Agency by 6:00 pm on January 16. Ellis was head counsel to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), master leaker of congressional secrets to DDT; if appointed, Ellis would be a civil servant, not a political appointee, making him harder for a new administration to fire. Nakasone didn’t meet the deadline, and the ball is back in Miller’s court.

Under 80 more hours!

January 12, 2021

Six Days since Mob Attacks Capitol

As thugs stormed the Capitol on January 6, Rep. Lauren Boebert, newly-elected conspiracy theorist from Colorado, tweeted details about the attack in violation of orders to not make any social posts. Her live tweets included the removal of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) from the chamber, alerting attackers to her location. Before the mob broke into the Capitol, Beobert announced she was the “voice” of those fighting the police, and her former campaign manager praised the Proud Boys, a neo-fascist hate groups attacking the Capitol. Originally Boebert claimed conservatives weren’t in the mob. The conservative National Review called her tweet, “Today is 1776,” “reckless and incendiary.”

A current member of Congress, Boebert has access to highly classified information with no security clearance, a problem if she, along with other conspiracy theorists such as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), decide to indiscriminately reveal what they learn. Until recently, congressional members were considered trustworthy with “allegiance to the U.S. Government and Constitution of the United States at a bare minimum,” as Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) describes the requirement. The maximum penalty for revealing classified information, which requires a two-thirds vote by the House, is expulsion. Concern for clearance, even disqualifying factors, include attempts to overturn a free and fair election, fostering lies to foment insurrection, and stoking a crowd to use force. People who exhibit bad judgment should not be dealing with classified information, according to Steven Aftergood, an expert on government secrecy. Although legal, supporting a vote to overturn an election assists the lie about widespread election fraud, and lawmakers making false congressional and frequently religious messages about combatting fellow lawmakers, who they call corrupt, incite violence.

After congressional members reinforced beliefs in election fraud, they justify their anti-democratic behavior by using vague claims about “voting integrity” or being a “voice” for their constituents’ concerns. Almost all senior GOP members on the Armed Services Committee overseeing national security programs voted to overturn the election, and four Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted for the election’s overturn. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), also on the Armed Services Committee, called on DDT’s crowd at the rally preceding the attempted coup to “fight” against a “godless, amoral, dictatorial, socialist” enemy, meaning his colleagues and the duly elected U.S. president and vice-president. He said:

“Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass. Our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes and sometimes their lives to give us, their descendants, an America that is the greatest nation in world history. So I have a question for you. Are you willing to do the same?”

The Voice of America, the government broadcaster designated as an independent agency, has become DDT’s tool with his appointment of loyalist Michael Pack. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expanded the current use of VOA as a propaganda machine by ordering it to broadcast that the U.S. is “the greatest nation in the history of the world and the greatest nation that civilization has ever known.” His message was broadcast throughout the world on 47 foreign language channels, video streams, its website, and social media after a mandatory virus superspreader event for VOA employees.

Pack fired career managers, put in more loyalists, and dictated news coverage by overriding journalists, in opposition to the organization’s guidelines. Amanda Bennett, who resigned as VOA director soon after Pack’s takeover, said the VOA charter isn’t “intended to promote American exceptionalism.” She added, “It was intended to demonstrate the American value of a free press . . . to model one of our best freedoms, see what happens, and how good it is when you have it.” No journalists, including those from VOA, were permitted to ask questions after Pompeo’s speech. He claimed “wokeness, political correctness … points in one direction—authoritarianism.” According to Pompeo, “it’s time that we simply put woke-ism to sleep.” The slang term “wokeness” means attention to important issues, but the far-right has twisted the meaning to criticize people opposing ignorance. With no evidence, Pompeo also announced that Al-Qaeda has its home base in Iran.

On January 1, Pompeo initiated daily tweets claiming the U.S. is “much safer” now than four years ago because of DDT’s foreign policy. He cancelled this week’s trip to Europe because top officials, including Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, would not meet with him. Pompeo’s schedule had no meetings before the cancellation, and allies were “embarrassed” by Pompeo after the January 6 siege on the Capitol. Asselborn called DDT a “criminal” and a “political pyromaniac.” Pompeo also lost a private dinner with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at his private residence before meeting Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes. The EU opposes the U.S. “America First” policy, and Pompeo gave speeches advising countries to tear up the European Union. The rejection does not bode well for Pompeo’s anticipated presidential candidacy in 2024.

In the wake of impending violence this coming weekend leading up to the inauguration on January 20, military leaders issued a condemnation of the Capitol invasion last week. They reminded service members they were to defend the Constitution and reject extremism, sedition, and insurrection. The statement is highly unusual because the military avoid any political stances. The U.S. Army is working with Secret Service to find National Guard members, responsible for the security during the inauguration, who might have far-right extremist views. Additional training is also provided to service members about reporting inappropriate messages to the chain of command.

This reporting shows DDT’s delight in live TV he created with the help of other Republicans on January 6. The photo shows what a broken democracy could be.

The FBI first said it didn’t know anything about the planned siege on the Capitol and then claimed it didn’t report dangers about violence on January 6 because of concerns about “free speech.” Although willing to issue Special Event Bulletins about ISIS or Al-Qaeda terrorists threats, the FBI doesn’t want to exchange information about domestic terrorism. The agency will also put foreign terrorists under surveillance but not domestic terrorists. The FBI had numerous warnings about the possibility of violence, including from police departments, but claimed at first it had no intelligence. Later the bureau changed its positions to say it had some information about possible violence.

The day before the violence at the Capitol, however, an FBI office in Virginia warned about extremists going to Washington to commit violence and “war.” The internal document told of people sharing a map of the facility’s tunnels and rally points for conspirators in a number of states before traveling to Washington. It reported online calls for violence:

“Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.”

Pantifa is a derogatory term for antifa. The Norfolk FBI shared the information within 45 minutes, including the Washington field office. It was not immediately clear how many law enforcement agencies outside the FBI were told, but the information was briefed to FBI officials at the bureau’s Washington field office the day before the attack, this official said.

Since January 6, law enforcement officials have discussed whether the danger was minimized because most of the involved people were White supporters of DDT. Law enforcement took the position that pro-DDT protesters are not likely to commit violence, overlooking the imminent grave risk. The Pentagon is still calling the mob attack on the Capital a “First Amendment Protest.”

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ), a 75-year-old cancer survivor, tested positive for COVID-19 after sheltering on January 6 with lawmakers refusing to wear masks. Attending physician to Congress and the Supreme Court had warned about exposure to someone with the virus. A video shows GOP congressional members refusing masks and sitting close together during the lockdown in barricaded rooms. Despite her fear of the rioters, Rep. Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) said she had left a secure location because of dangers in contacting the virus from her maskless GOP colleagues. She was right. At least two other Democrats, Reps. Brad Schneider (IL) and Pramila Jayapal (WA), contacted COVID-19 after Republicans’ refusal to wear masks and maintain social distancing because of political reasons. Rep. Susan Wild said half the hundreds of lawmakers in a lockdown refused to wear masks even if they were offered them. In rejecting a mask, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) explicitly refused to take a mask, saying, “I’m not trying to get political here.”

DDT’s speech openly incited violence, according to 63 percent of the people in the U.S. A majority of voters also think GOP lawmakers especially Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), share responsibility to the mob attack on January 6. Over half the people think DDT should be impeached because of his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and inciting riots. The attack on the Capitol dropped DDT’s approval rating to 33 percent. Sixty percent believe DDT is undermining democracy. Thus far, DDT’s low approval rating is higher than only those for Harry Truman and Richard Nixon at the end of their presidencies since F.D. Roosevelt.

Just one week before the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for U.S. president and vice-president, the day’s death rate from COVID-19 was 4,281–10,379 short of 400,000. New infections on January 12, 2021 were 223,628, three days from a total of 24 million.

 

January 11, 2021

Backlash to Attempted Insurgency at Capitol

Since last week, the battleship of disaster may be reversing its direction as Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) looks more and more like a sinking ship. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who led the charge to overturn the election on January 6 even after the attempted coup, said, “The president’s language and rhetoric crossed the line, and it was reckless.” Of course, he would benefit in a run for the 2024 presidency if others voted to disqualify DDT. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who also wants to be in the 2024 running, excused rioters because they were “lied to by politicians.” Nothing Rubio said before the travesty tried to counter what he now calls lies, nor did he object to DDT’s incitement to violence on Twitter. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) claimed he had nothing to do with his campaign using the lies about Democrats “stealing the election” for fundraising but didn’t correct the team’s report that he “stands with President Trump.”

The federal government has failed to tell the public about the attempted coup. Washington, D.C.’s mayor Muriel Bowser gave a press conference on January 6, but the federal government stays dark—no official briefings from Capitol Police, DHS, the FBI, White House, etc. Although Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) initially asked if they were Iranians, perpetrators were DDT’s followers, not foreigners, called to violence by the man in the Oval Office after Republicans spent years pushing party members into believing Democrats should be removed from all power by any means.

In a video, Arnold Schwarzenegger, California’s former GOP governor, compared the event to Germany’s Kristallnacht, the night of broken windows and glass initiating the Nazis’ “Final Solution” to “exterminate” Jewish people.  He said:

“The mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol, they shattered the ideas we took for granted. They did not just break down the doors of the building that housed American democracy. They trampled the very principles on which our country was founded.” 

According to the 14th Amendment, anyone who “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States “or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” cannot serve in Congress. Last week, the biggest newspaper in Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) home state called for his expulsion; this week two large Texas newspapers, including one from his hometown, called for dropping Cruz from the Senate. Both editorials in the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle want either his expulsion or resignation because of the part he played in fueling the insurrection at the Capitol with his lies about voter fraud.

Even in the siege’s lockdown, no one talked to Hawley, and Chad Sweet, Cruz’s friend and chair of his 2016 presidential campaign, said Cruz had abetted an “assault on our democracy.” Sen. Pat Toomey (PA) called both of them “complicit in the big lie.” About 7,000 law students and lawyers called for both Hawley and Cruz to be disbarred, especially after Hawley’s gesture of support to the crowd attempt to overturn the election.

The New York State Bar Association is investigating whether to revoke DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s membership after his violent language before his followers stormed the Capitol. According to the association, the blame “lies first and foremost” with DDT, but he “did not act alone.” At the rally with DDT, Giuliani advocated for “trial by combat.” The group’s bylaws prevent any member “who advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States, or of any state, territory or possession thereof, or of any political subdivision therein, by force or other illegal means.” Elimination from membership leaves Giuliani able to practice law in his home state of New York unless the grievance committee of the Appellate Division of the state’s court system takes action.

Emily Rainey, head of Army PsyOps at Fort Bragg who led 100 conservatives to Washington, D.C. on January 6 to protest election fraud, had resigned last September but a resignation can take up to six months. She had twice torn down caution tape at a North Carolina playground closed by COVID-19 restrictions. In the military, her responsibility was to use information and misinformation to favorably shape the emotions, decision-making, and actions of foreign adversaries.

The search to identify seditionists at the Capitol on January 6 discovered off-duty members of at least five police departments and fire departments throughout the U.S., including in New York City and Florida, who used their badges to enter the Capitol for the attempted insurgency. Some came from as far away as Seattle.

At least 12 Capitol police officers, perhaps as many as 17 at this time, are suspended or being investigated for their cooperation with the insurgents—taking selfies with them, wearing a MAGA hat, showing them around the building, letting them into the building, etc. Capitol Police officers were reportedly sent home early on January 6 just before the mob onslaught and not recalled to help stop the attack.

Chad Wolf, illegally performing as acting DHS Secretary, has resigned, blaming “ongoing litigation.” His announcement makes the third Cabinet member to leave after the attempted coup. Two days ago, Secretary Chad Wolf called for DDT to condemn the violence at the Capitol, describing the actions of DDT supporters “tragic and sickening.” DDT immediately withdrew Wolf’s nomination to lead the Homeland Security Department. Wolf said he would stay until Biden’s inauguration for an “orderly transition.”

At least 150 large firms—Blue Cross, Marriott, Morgan Stanley, Dow, AT&T, BP, ConocoPhillips, etc.—will not be donating to campaigns for any congressional members voting to overturn the U.S. election.  Others such as Microsoft, Citibank, and Facebook took the easy way out by blocking political donations to members of all parties. Hallmark Cards even asked Hawley and another dissident, Sen. Roger Marshall, (R-KS) to return their contributions. Stripe also stopped processing DDT’s online campaign donations, refusing business with “high risk” businesses including those that “engages in, encourages, promotes or celebrates unlawful violence or physical harm to persons or property.”

The CEO of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) resigned because his group made robocalls telling people to come to the Capitol on January 6. Dark money behind RAGA helped organize the attack on the Capitol. Its so-called nonprofit Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF) was listed as “participating in the March to Save America” along with Stop the Steal, Turning Point Action, Tea Party Patriots, and others. Donors to RAGA include the Koch industries, Walmart, Home Depot, Chevron, the NRA, Monsanto, Exxon, and Fox.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said there are no procedures to bring impeachment to his chamber until after Joe Biden’s inauguration when the Senate reconvenes. In 2004, however, the Senate gave the majority and minority leaders the power to bring back the Senate in a time of emergency if the two leaders agree. Soon-to-be Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is willing so McConnell will be making the decision.

Created by the Mercers who donated big to DDT’s first campaign, Parler, the major communication source of seditionists, may have disappeared, but someone downloaded about 90 percent of its contents—messages videos, users’ location data, even deleted material—passed along during the Capitol siege.  How the hackers succeeded.

According to Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, DDT is like Jefferson Davis, the secessionist president of the Confederacy, because DDT “has taken his movement and himself out of the equation of the legitimate governance of the United States of America.” Bernstein added DDT “seceded himself and his movement from who we are as a country. That’s what the meaning of that attack is.” He said DDT’s followers are “in another country … apart from the rest of the United States.”

After five days, at least one conservative media site removed an op-ed denying the sacking of the Capitol. An op-ed on RedState website originally accused the attempted insurrection as exaggeration and distortion with the headline “Enough! There Was No Riot, Insurrection or ‘Storming!'” Retired infantry officer Mike Ford called the insurgents “concerned Americans.” RedState only commented the retracted op-ed had some material that was “incorrect or inappropriate.”

Atlanta-based Cumulus Media and its syndicate Westwood One is blocking conspiracy theories about election fraud on AM talk radio. Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino are among many far-right radio hosts affected by the ban, but Rush Limbaugh is still safe on Premiere networks.

Bill Belichick, New England Patriots coach, has refused the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. With the past week, DDT has given the award to three golfers and two dissident congressional members.

My favorite hero story of January 6: While Capitol Police officers opened the gates to let the insurrectionists enter, one Black officer, Eugene Goodman, used himself as bait to lure the white rioters away from the Senate chamber after they chased him up the stairs. Without him, congressional members could have been killed or at least badly wounded. [visual – Eugene Goodman]

DDT is less upset about his impending second impeachment than PGA’s termination of the agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey. According to the statement, it would be “detrimental” to its “brand.” Expect DDT to sue them. And maybe rage about it tomorrow during his visit to southern Texas tomorrow. Nine more days until the inauguration!

January 10, 2021

GOP Clings to Violence, Lies

For months, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) blocked transition efforts for duly elected President-elect Joe Biden and fomented violence by spreading lies about election rigging in his frantic attempt to retain his seat in the Oval Office. Conservative media and the GOP lawmakers both terrified of him and wanting his approval enabled his illegal activities and evil methods. His threats and fear-mongering came to a head on January 6 in his last-ditch attempt to overturn a U.S. presidential election.

Last Wednesday, white thugs, primarily male, stormed the Capitol primarily male, breaking in windows and forcing doors open. Of five deaths thus far, two of them members of the Capitol Police, the most recent, apparently from suicide, occurred on Saturday. The other four deaths: a Capitol police officer struck with a fire extinguisher by a DDT supporter inside the Capitol; a woman crushed by DDT’s supporters while they tried to take over the Capitol; a 14-year Air Force veteran from San Diego shot by a Capitol police officer while trying to force her way into the area where congressional members were sheltered; a computer programmer suffering a stroke after organizing a bus of DDT’s supporters; and a man dying of a heart attack.

Terrified members of Congress and their staff barricaded themselves inside Capitol rooms with furniture while the mob searched for them, threatened violence against them, and stole their government equipment. Before the joint congressional session on January 6, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who has resigned, assured lawmakers of their safety from the huge crowds. The officers lost control, and desperate lawmakers called to beg for help from the secretary of the Army, the acting AG, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, nearby states’ governors, the D.C. mayor, etc. The mob was following DDT’s directions after he called on his “patriots” to wreak violence and overturn the election on January 6.

No arrangement was made for the National Guard to back up the Capitol police, and DDT rejected the idea even after the mob was in the Capitol. Only DDT’s new acting defense secretary, Chris Miller, could mobilize the guard to help lawmakers, and he stalled. Maryland’s Gov. Larry Hogan, who kept asking for permission to send his state National Guard, was refused for hours. After Sund got around to asking for Guard assistance, none came for hours. Meanwhile, the mob cornered Capitol Police officers and beat them.

The life-threatening crisis for congressional members is now over, but they may still not be safe. Hiding in large groups for several hours on January 6, they may have been exposed to COVID-19 when several GOP legislators refused to take any precautions. Republicans such as Reps. Andy Biggs (AZ), Michael Cloud (TX), Markwayne Mullin (OK), and Scott Perry (PA) refused to wear masks although Democratic Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE) offered them to the men. Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-KS) tested positive that evening, but his spokesman said he wasn’t in that particular lockdown location. Rep. Charles J. “Chuck” Fleischmann (R-TN) also tested positive after having “contact with another infected Member of Congress, with whom I share a residence in D.C.”

No support from the Pentagon, the acceptance by some GOP leaders for DDT’s incitement to violence, and the possible involvement from insiders to help the mob members is disgusting enough, but DDT’s loyalists at the Pentagon have gone to excess in their protection of DDT. In a slanted timeline, the Pentagon refers to the open sacking of the Capitol and threats to kill congressional members as “First Amendment Protests.” That’s what they called men in tactical gear wandering the House and Senate in search of hostages with others spreading feces on the walls and all attempted a violent takeover of the U.S. government through overturning a legal federal election. [Above left: mob members tear down the U.S. flag to replace it with a DDT flag.] Even in the coverup, however, the Pentagon had to show how long it delayed in trying to save the lives of members of the U.S. Congress on January 6.

Rep. Jim Jordan, well known for his concealing how a University of Ohio athletic doctor sexually abused a large number of Jordan’s wrestlers and other athletes, wants to conceal DDT’s crimes. He maintains impeachment is “not healthy for the nation.” To Jordan—and many other Republicans—sweeping all the crimes under the rug will help “unite” the nation. Their position is that Democrats can unify the United States by accepting anything Republicans want.

On January 8, even self-identified Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR) opposed impeachment and called it a “lynching” of DDT with the GOP excuse of unifying the nation. After Schrader’s statement, one of Oregon’s most important Democratic political consultants dropped him as a client. Mark Wiener, head of Winning Mark, wrote:

“Comparing the impeachment of a treasonous President who encouraged white supremacists to violently storm the Capitol to a ‘lynching’ is shameful and indefensible.”

Schrader continually offends his Democratic constituency (to clarify, he “represents” the district where I live), but he may know he’s gone too far in supporting Republicans. On Saturday, he tweeted:

“This President is a clear and present danger to our country. While I have pushed other remedies for his criminal conduct, impeachment is the tool before us and warranted for his seditious acts. I will be voting yes on impeachment when brought to the House floor.”

To answer Republicans who say that the way to unify the country is to leave DDT unpunished:   

  • 57 percent want DDT immediately removed from office.
  • 70 percent of those who voted for DDT in November oppose the sacking of the Capitol.
  • 70 percent disapprove of his actions leading up to the mob taking over the Capitol. (Only 12 percent approve.)
  • 79 percent describe the mob as “criminals” or “fools.” (Only five percent call them “patriots.”)

A few Republicans have started to oppose DDT’s incitement to violence and the mob storming the capital, but the GOP party clings to their dear leader. Four years ago, DDT installed Ronna McDaniel as his personal chair of the GOP, and Friday, at a luxury Florida resort, she was unchallenged for her unanimous reelection. Eric and Donald Trump Jr’s friend Tommy Hicks Jr kept his co-chair position. All who attended praised DDT and supported the lies about antifa causing the devastation at the Capitol. Resolutions attack the news media and continue the conspiracy about voter fraud. With no mention of DDT inciting violence, the GOP claimed to be the party of law and order. The group preened about adding more minorities to its voting rolls and electing more women to the U.S. House while refusing to find any flaws in the party. DDT’s brief speech by phone and video received loud cheers. Yet VP Mike Pence was absent, and behind the scenes, a California committeewoman said, “Our name is mud.”

Despite the GOP determination to blame the antifa for the Capitol carnage, the FBI reported the followers had no involvement. AP research also disproves the lies of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), other conspiracy theorists, and conservative media. Well-known members of hate groups were identified at the siege, and the FBI is finding more by locating those who are selling stolen government property on the internet.

Several European security officials think DDT had support from U.S. federal agencies in letting the mob into the Capitol. A NATO source summarized the situation:

“The defeated president gives a speech to a group of supporters where he tells them he was robbed of the election, denounces his own administration’s members and party as traitors, and tells his supporters to storm the building where the voting is being held. The supporters, many dressed in military attire and waving revolutionary-style flags, then storm the building where the federal law-enforcement agencies controlled by the current president do not establish a security cordon, and the protesters quickly overwhelm the last line of police. The president then makes a public statement to the supporters attacking the Capitol that he loves them but doesn’t really tell them to stop.

“Today I am briefing my government that we believe with a reasonable level of certainty that Donald Trump attempted a coup that failed when the system did not buckle.”

A French police official questioned why the Capitol Police didn’t coordinate, as it routinely does before big demonstrations, with the federal Secret Service, and Park Police, and local Washington, D.C. law enforcement, sometimes with the National Guard on standby as they did at peaceful Black Live Matter protests. Another question was why the Capitol Police let the mob on the Capitol steps and arrested only 12 people. Police also ignored the crowd charging from DDT’s speech at the Ellipse to the Capitol after he told them to fight, a time when law enforcement could initiate control.

Another source talked about how the chaos helps China, Russia, Turkey and other “mini-dictators”:

“Thank God it didn’t work, because I can’t imagine how hard it would be to sanction the US financial system [diplomatic, military, and trade blockages usually reserved for dictatorships.] The broader damage around the world will be extensive in terms of reputation, and that’s why Putin doesn’t mind at all that Trump lost.”

DDT now says he regrets his promise of a smooth transition and backs down on condemning the violence. Instead, he claims he won’t concede. The mob at the Capitol was “about maintaining white power in America,” and DDT continues to support the goal.

January 7, 2021

Fallout from DDT’s Attempted January 6 Coup in the U.S. Capitol

At 3:45 a.m. on January 7, VP Mike Pence announced Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next president and vice-president of the U.S. with 306 Electoral College votes after white supremacist supporters of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) breached the U.S. Capitol and took over the building. DDT received 232 votes. Almost 150 GOP congressional dissidents created havoc by voting to overturn the legal elections in Arizona and Pennsylvania. These are the names of every congressional members voting in favor of overturning a legal presidential election. Only the attempted insurrection stopped their plans from also attacking legal votes in Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin. Five people died, one of them a U.S. Capitol Police officer, and 52 people were arrested in the melee. 

While DDT raged in the White House, aides considered resigning, and senior officials discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him before he can do more damage. According to the constitution, removal requires approval by the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet or the vice-president and a congressional body if they determine he “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) called for invoking the 25th Amendment to ensure “we have a sane captain of the ship” because DDT has become “unmoored not just from his duty or even his oath, but from reality itself.” Former AG Bill Barr, once DDT’s strongest supporter, called DDT’s conduct “a betrayal of his office and supporters” and stated that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.”

After Pence made the announcement about the votes, DDT made this statement:

“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again.”

The sort-of concession may come with the help of his small group of other seditionist advisers: chief of staff Mark Meadows, deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, personnel director Johnny McEntee, and policy adviser Stephen Miller. Later DDT added, “A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20.” He didn’t mention Biden or say he lost, but West Wing staffers have received orders to pack up and move out.  

Democratic leaders House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Senate Minority Leader (soon to be Majority Leader) Chuck Schumer (NY) called for DDT’s immediate removal from office because of his inciting sedition. Pence refused to talk to them. Although praising the action of “many of our Capitol Police,” Pelosi also called for the Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to step down for his failure yesterday; he plans to leave in another nine days—four days before Biden’s inauguration. Sund had turned down National Guard assistance when the mob laid siege to the Capitol. Both House and Senate sergeants at arms resigned.

Almost 100 Democratic congressional members called for DDT’s removal with either impeaching him or invoking the 25th Amendment. The administration officials discussing DDT’s removal didn’t know if “acting” Cabinet members could participate in a vote about it.

Pelosi also asked for a full review of security failures at the executive branch level and the Pentagon’s delay in mobilizing the National Guard. DDT’s press secretary announced DDT had called in the National Guard, but DDT rejected the idea so Pence made the request. House Majority Leader Steny Hogan (D-MD) called Maryland’s Gov. Larry Hogan for help with the National Guard, but their deployment was delayed almost two hours because Hogan couldn’t get permission from Defense Secretary Chris Miller, a new DDT appointee. Hogan and two other GOP governors, Charlie Baker (MA) and Phil Scott (VT), called for DDT’s removal.

Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin for Washington, D.C. said DDT may be one of the “actors” investigated to decide if they broke the law after DDT told his followers to “fight like hell” before the insurgence.

DDT’s appointees are considering departing if not actually doing so. Two Cabinet members are gone: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, wife of current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. They cited DDT’s behavior, but they may want to avoid voting on removing DDT from office.

DDT’s appointments who left: Tyler Goodspeed, acting chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, who left the White House Council of Economic Advisers with no members, and U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mick Mulvaney, formerly DDT’s chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, who also destroyed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when he was acting director.  

Other departures:

  • Melania Trump’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, formerly White House press secretary.
  • Anna Cristina Niceta, the White House social secretary.
  • Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Matthews.
  • Matt Pottinger, deputy national security adviser.
  • Ryan Tully, senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council.
  • John Costello, deputy assistant secretary of commerce.

National security adviser Robert C. O’Brien and deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell are considering resignations.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), a lead in overturning the presidential election within Congress along with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), has been severely reproached by the Kansas City Star, his home state’s largest newspaper. According to its headline, Hawley “has blood on his hands in Capitol coup attempt,” and the editorial describes him as self-interested and dishonest, interested only in furthering his own political career. “Trump did not manage this madness on his own,” editors wrote.

After what Simon and Schuster calls a “deadly insurrection,” the publisher withdrew its offer for a planned book from Hawley. Former Missouri Sen. John Danforth said mentoring Hawley “was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life” and blamed Hawley for sparking the insurrection.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is demanding resignations by Cruz and Hawley for trying to overturn the elections. If they don’t, she asks Senate to expel them. Ocasio-Cortez has been joined by Reps. Cori Bush (D-MO), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to expel House members voting to overturn the election.

After the attempted insurgency and one hour before Congress reconvened to certify electoral votes,  DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani sent a voicemail to newly-installed Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), urging him to “try to just slow it down” by objecting to electoral votes from “numerous states,” perhaps as many as ten, letting DDT’s team have more time to overturn Biden’s legal presidential win. The transcript of the call, reading like a conspiracy plan, was publicized because he mistakenly dialed another person with the message. Earlier in the day, Giuliani called for “trial by combat” at DDT’s rally outside the White House.

U.S. rivals such as China reveled in the attempted coup while allies expressed horror, some of them blaming DDT, and called for upholding democracy in the United States—similar to what the U.S. has done to other countries in the past. Russia ridiculed the U.S. for January 6’s events, and Iran pointed out how weak the U.S. is. 

Far-right media as well as social media are lying about the attempted coup by blaming it on the “antifa” or paid participants. Others blame the visuals of far-right people at the insurrection on evidence-free photoshopping and claiming a tattoo from the video game show Dishonored is the logo of the Communist party. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and QAnon congressional members spread conspiracy theories, and Fox network’s Laura Ingraham told fake news from Washington Times to millions of her followers. XRVision, the facial-recognition company cited in the conservative publication, calls the Washington Times’ reporting “outright false, misleading, and defamatory” and demands a retraction.

Unlike antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters, almost no thugs assaulting the U.S. Capitol wore masks, making identification much easier. The FBI already has over 4,000 tips online with more coming in by phone. Analysis from digital media is being forwarded to agents working the case. Among those who sacked the Capitol is a newly sworn-in West Virginia legislator who live-streamed the entire event. Later he claimed to be “an independent member of the media to film history” and didn’t participate in any “destruction.”

The Capitol’s invaders have been planning the event for weeks, indicated by their ease in navigating the buildings. Some wonder if they had inside help. The FBI, Secret Service, Homeland Security, Pentagon, National Guard, and Joint Task Force knew about the strong possibility of violence after DDT kept telling white supremacists to come of Washington, D.C. on January 6 for a “wild” time. The protection agencies ignored the problems and failed to coordinate, permitting thugs to break into the U.S. Capitol. Because of DDT’s sedition, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has permanently banned DDT from Facebook and Instagram.

This weekend, one of two weekends before he leaves the White House, DDT is going into hiding at Camp David, 70 miles from the White House. The chief of domestic terrorists may spend his time working on his list of pardons, including one for himself.

The situation in Washington is obviously fluid and rapidly changing. Meanwhile, January 7 saw another 4,134 new COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. along with 274,190 new infections. Hospitalizations are up at least ten percent to over 132,000 people.

January 6: Domestic Terrorists’ Attempted Coup – ‘ A Day in Infamy’

Filed under: War — trp2011 @ 12:22 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

Today was the most horrific day for the United States since 9/11/01 when 3,000 people were killed by foreign terrorists. Thus far, only one person was directly killed in a domestic insurgency by white supremacists, and three other people died in the vicinity. Yet thousands of domestic terrorists attacked the U.S. Capitol, climbing walls, smashing windows, and crawling into the building to violently destroy the workings of Congress as it proceeded to complete the 2020 election under the guidance of the U.S. Constitution.

Worse than this insurrection that attempts to keep the current occupant of the Oval Office in the White House, he and 153 GOP members of Congress—a majority of Republicans elected to Congress—abetted the violent attack on the nation’s capitol for the first time in 206 years by the British during the War of 1812. Thugs paraded throughout the U.S. Capitol and waved the Confederate flag instead of the flag of the United States. Congressional members who couldn’t be safely removed from the building hid under desks and behind barricaded doors, terrified for their lives.

Many hours of unbelievable scenes from Washington, D.C. show a police force failing to stop white supremacists take over the chambers of Congress and the offices of congressional members, including that of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). One elected representative in the U.S. House reported she had called her husband last night last night to tell him where to find her will if she didn’t survive today.

Last summer, Washington police came out in full riot gear against Black Lives Matter, and federal agents physically attacked protesters in Portland (OR) for attempting to set fires outside a federal courthouse. On the steps of the Capitol over two years ago, police arrested 300 people peacefully protesting the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, one of them soon to be Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). 

Today, police in Washington opened the gates to let in the insurgents and made few arrests of people who blocked congressional procedures by physically threatening congressional members and driving them out of the Capitol. Inside the building, police took selfies with terrorists; outside, the police passively looked at the people who had committed criminal acts at the Capitol. 

The insurrection could not have come as a surprise. Between January 1 and January 4, QAnon supporters made at least 1,250 posts calling for violence on January 6, which they called “Independence Day,” claiming “politicians…raping and killing children…won’t be able to walk down the street.” Dictator Donald Trump has repeatedly supported QAnon tweets. Instead of blocking the insurrection, he told the insurgents that they should go home but he “loved them” and found them “very special.” He still sits in the White House after his rhetoric caused the insurgency although social media has blocked the video inciting violence.

Dictator Donald Trump’s Twitter account has been blocked for 12 hours because of “severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy” with the threat of permanent suspension for more violations. Twitter adviser Danielle Citron, a law professor at the University of Virginia, tweeted, “He has deliberately incited violence, causing mayhem with his lies and threats.” Dictator Donald Trump, who also bragged about being for “law and order,” had tweeted:

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long.”

At the inauguration almost exactly four years ago, Dictator Donald Trump excoriated the “American carnage.” His term is ending with the “carnage” he predicted—the legacy for the man labeled the worst president in U.S. history.

As the constitution mandates, the two chambers of Congress returned hours later to debate the GOP to overturn the legal election for Joe Biden on what may have become the worst day in U.S. democracy during more than a century. The challenge to Arizona votes was voted down in the Senate with only six votes because seven of the original 13 had dropped out. Those six Republicans are Ted Cruz (TX), Josh Hawley (MO), Cindy Hyde Smith (MS), John Kennedy (LA.), Roger Marshall (KS), and newly-elected Tommy Tuberville (AL). In the House, 121 Republicans voted to overturn the election; 303 representatives turned down the challenge.

Using the disaster for fundraising, Hawley, thrusting his fist in the air, continued to lead the election overturn attempt which forces more long hours for debate in the Senate and House. After midnight in the early hours of January 7, he supported the challenge to Pennsylvania, skipping over the intended Georgia, Michigan, and Nevada; he could also object to votes from Wisconsin. With little discussion, the Senate voted, losing Kennedy and picking up Cynthia Lummis (WY) and Rick Scott (FL) to overturn the election in Pennsylvania. The House took much longer with much posturing from the overturners and a final vote of at least 138-282. All overturners are Republicans.

When Congress completes its task and confirms the Electoral College vote, they go home, returning on January 19. The “dear leader” remains to further destroy the United States within his next 14 days before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20. And insurgents may return, as they threaten, with “muskets.”

During the insurrection against the U.S. government on January 6, the daily number of COVID-19 deaths hit a new high of 4,100.

 

January 8, 2020

Iran – The Bully Backs Down

Within the last few days, Iraqi strikes killed one U.S. military contractor, the U.S. killed 24 Iraqis and injured another 50, the Iraqis fired in protest at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) assassinated the Iranian leader Qassem Soleimani at the Baghdad airport. DDT warned Iran not to retaliate before Iranians launched over a dozen ballistic missiles at two U.S. air bases housing U.S. military members in Iraq, an act that Iran called “hard revenge” for Soleimani’s death. Iran stated that they would not fire again if DDT didn’t retaliate. Most countries, including Israel, won’t support DDT, and DDT caved—after people held their breath to see if he would move toward World War III. Last night, DDT tweeted, “All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq.” 

Today DDT gave a brief speech filled with lies, mispronunciations, snuffling, repetitions, incompetent spins, blame for President Obama. DDT equated backing down with proof that Iran’s “campaign of terror, murder, mayhem will not be tolerated any longer.” He miserably failed to make Iran less aggressive with “maximum pressure” by withdrawing from a successful deal controlling Iran’s nuclear program and issuing failing sanctions.

Iran threatened strikes against Dubai and Haifa, but DDT claimed that Iran was “standing down.”

DDT said he would “never let” Iran acquire a nuclear weapon with no strategy or leverage to block Iran’s nuclearization, just as he failed in North Korea.

DDT said the U.S. was “ready to embrace peace” and then promised to intensify the massive sanctions on Iran.

DDT took credit for “destroying 100% of ISIS” although ISIS hasn’t been destroyed.

DDT claimed, “We are now the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world,” a status achieved under President Obama in 2012. which is true, though it’s a status the United States reached in 2012.

DDT wants to involve NATO in the Middle East after putting down the organization’s value; NATO is pulling its military after Soleimani’s killing.

DDT’s lied that President Obama’s administration paid for the Iranian missiles and that the Iran agreement “expires shortly.” The referenced funding was either money owed Iran through a court decision or their own money. 

DDT falsely said, “Iran’s hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013.” The deal was signed in 2015, and hostilities with Iran increased after DDT voided the agreement despite Iran’s complying with the terms.

DDT claimed Iran is “the leading sponsor of terrorism,” but in 2011, he said Saudi Arabia was “the world’s biggest funder of terrorism. Saudi Arabia funnels our petrodollars, our very own money, to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people.” In the 9/11 attack, 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, and the 9/11 Commission found that al-Qaeda raised money for terrorism in Saudi Arabia.

The Pentagon spent less than $500,000 million on military equipment since DDT was inaugurated, less than 25 percent of DDT’s claim.

DDT bragged about how “our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal, and fast.”

Andrea Mitchell, a political correspondent for over 50 years, called DDT’s national security team the “worst” that she’s ever seen—“least experienced, the least effective, and the smallest” in recent memory. The “team” doesn’t even have a Senate-confirmed director of National Intelligence or a deputy director of National Intelligence. DHS lacks a Senate-confirmed Homeland Security secretary and deputy secretary, and there is no Senate-confirmed undersecretary for arms control and international security affairs or assistant secretary for arms control, verification, and compliance. The Pentagon has seen the resignation of six top officials in less than six weeks.

On the conservative website The Bulwark, Shay Khatiri wrote:

“President Trump didn’t hire the “A Team,” or even the “B Team,” of experienced Republican former national security officials. He skipped past them because most of them had, during the 2016 campaign, signed public letters and statements denouncing him. So the Trump administration began with the C Team. And as time passed and the members of the C Team resigned or were fired, the administration moved on to D and E.

  • DDT: a reality-show personality who never had a government position before election, knows nothing about international affairs, doesn’t listen to intelligence briefings, and is ignorant about current events..
  • VP Mike Pence: former state governor and U.S. representative.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: former Army captain, U.S. representative, and warhawk.
  • Robert O’Brien (national security advisor): held low-level positions in George W. Bush’s administration.
  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper: lobbyist who rose to this position from six levels down.
  • Secretary of Army Ryan McCarthy: crisis-management experience, former Army Ranger, and Afghanistan war veteran.
  • Secretary of Air Force Barbara Barrett: former non-Foreign Service Officer ambassador with no experience in national security crisis management.
  • Secretary of Navy: none.

Senate Democrats reported that the administration’s briefing on Soleimani’s killing failed to show an “imminent threat” to U.S. troops and diplomats. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) commented on “the lack of information” and described the administration’s “strike of choice” as “one that likely would’ve required congressional authorization beforehand.” The 75-minute briefing left senators with “multiple questions unanswered,” and only 15 of 97 senators in attendance could ask questions. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said:

“We did not see a plan, a satisfying plan for the future. As the questions began to get tough, they walked out.”

Utah’s GOP senator Mike Lee was even more harsh in his response to the briefing, calling it “probably the worst briefing I’ve seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I’ve served in the United States Senate.” He described the message as telling lawmakers to be “good little boys and girls and run along and not debate this in public” and “insane.” The briefing, according to Lee, persuaded him to support Sen. Tim Kaine’s (D-VA) war powers resolution that reinforces resuming the constitutionally congressional power over the president for determining military actions. Fox network stopped Lee from talking about the briefing.

Congress abdicated its responsibilities after the 9/11 attacks with the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF), which permitted the president to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against any countries whom he determined “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the 9/11 attacks or harbored involved persons or groups. During the past 18+ years, U.S. officials have used AUMF to justify actions 37 times in 14 countries. VP Mike Pence supports DDT in using the AUMF for attacks on Iran with his falsehood about Soleimani’s connection to 9/11.

Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Iranian attacks were meant to kill U.S. military members, but facts refute his statement. The U.S. knew about the attacks hours in advance, and base personnel went to the bunkers. The highly accurate missiles avoided killing and great destruction by hitting lesser targets. 

Saudi Arabia supports DDT because he sells them weapons and doesn’t make them responsible for the torture and dismemberment of U.S. journalist and citizen, Jamal Khashoggi. On Monday, DDT tried to hide his meeting with Saudi Vice Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman, the younger brother of the murdering crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Vice Minister publicized the meeting, however, tweeting that it was to discuss cooperation for “regional challenges” (aka Iran).

During his campaign, DDT warned that voting for Hillary Clinton would mean going to war. In 2016, about 66 million people voted for Clinton, and the U.S. may go to war.

Even without airstrikes, Iran can retaliate against the U.S. Iraq is on the verge of eliminating U.S. military presence in the country, one of Soleimani’s goals. Iran controls the Persian Gulf oil shipping lanes, supplies weapons to Yemen’s Houthis, and supports Bashar Assad’s war on his Syrian people. Most dangerous for the United States is the possibility of cyberattacks. Revenge is a dish best served cold, according to a centuries-old proverb, and Iran may be preparing and cooling its vengeance for the future.   

Some Republicans, like Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), think that they can’t win without lying when he tweeted a faked photo of President Obama with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The photo was debunked over four years ago after it was used to promote incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson (WI) in his opposition to the Iran nuclear agreement. Rouhani was photoshopped over former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (left) in this 2011 photo, and the color of the flag was changed. President Obama never met Rouhani. 

In the global community, 64 percent believe that DDT cannot be trusted to do the “right thing” in world affairs. European allies such as Spain, France, and Germany are as low as 25 percent in confidence, and the percentage drops to 8 percent in Mexico.

January 6, 2020

The U.S. Stands Alone

A bully always expects an adversary to back down—the philosophy of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in his mistaken belief that running a government is the same as running a business. He ordered the assassination Iran’s military leader, Qassem Soliemani, on Iraqi soil to show that he is the boss, but events prove him wrong.

Two days after Soliemani’s murder, the Iraqi Parliament voted by 170-0 to rid itself of U.S. troops by 170-0, primarily Shiites, with many of the 328 Parliament members, mostly ethnic Kurdish and Sunni Muslim minorities, absent. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spent Sunday on the “news” shows explaining that Iraq certainly didn’t want the U.S. to pull its troops.

Since its expulsion vote, the Iraqi Parliament determined that U.S. troops cannot leave their bases or fly in Iraqi airspace while plans are being made for their departure, according to Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf, the military spokesman for Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. The U.S. sent a letter to Iraq giving information about moving troops out of Iraq, but Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Mark Milley explained that sending it was an accident because it was a draft, poorly worded and “that’s not what’s happening.” DDT said that he wanted the letter “cleaned up.” Someone in the Iraqi military provided Information about the contents of the letter. DDT also threatens sanctions on Iraq if it expels U.S. troops and demands reimbursement for costs for keeping a military presence in the country, especially the “extraordinarily expensive air base [that] cost billions of dollars to build.”

During his appearances on TV, Pompeo kept assuring people that there was no danger but asked about retaliation for Soleimani’s assassination, Pompeo flippantly responded, “It may be that there’s a little noise here in the interim.”  The Pentagon has sent six B-52 bombers to the Indian Ocean for use against Iran. DHS has also warned businesses to take precautions about possible cyberattacks. Computer experts also cautioned about Iran targeting such infrastructure as energy grids and financial institutions.  

Pompeo, supposedly in charge of diplomacy instead of violence, persuaded DDT to kill Soliemani against the advice of the Pentagon after a ten-year fixation to attack Iran. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Pompeo’s classmate at the U.S. Military Academy, and VP Mike Pence reinforced Pompeo’s recommendation. Esper ignored the traditional decision-making process when he failed to discuss plans with senior Pentagon leaders and the Joint Chiefs of Staff about the killing. Pompeo had expected European allies to cheer his decision but discovered that they are giving him the cold shoulder.

DDT usually gets rid of people who don’t make him look good, but Pompeo thinks that he can stay, deciding that he won’t run for U.S. Senator from Kansas. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had wanted Pompeo to be a candidate because he was considered a shoo-in. Kansas, known in the past as solid red, elected a Democratic woman governor in the last election because her predecessor ruined the state with his draconian tax cuts.

Brand new at his job, Esper has lost more experienced support when his chief of staff Eric Chewning, a former Army intelligence officer, quit. Esper had already not told senior Pentagon leaders and the Joint Chiefs of Staff about the killing, ignoring the usual decision-making process. Chewning departure followed those of six other senior Pentagon officials in December.  Chewning’s replacement is Jen Stewart, minority staff director for the House Armed Services Committee. 

On March 16, 2003, Bush’s VP Dick Cheney said, “From the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.” For almost 14 years since George W. Bush set into motion the killing of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his male relatives, Iraqi life has worsened, and ISIS built a powerful organization that threatens the world. The U.S. put Shiites into power, and they developed a coalition with Iran. Bush’s VP Dick Cheney’s prediction that Iraqis would rejoice over the regime change and Bush’s early claim of “Mission Accomplished” have both proved to be wrong.

On January 3, 2020, Pompeo said, “I know that the Iraqi people will ultimately demand that the Iranians get out.” That and his claim that Iraqis would be “dancing in the street” after Soleimani’s death was as false as W.’s and Cheney’s statements. Instead Iraqis turned out in tens of thousands to mourn the Iranian’s killing.

In the past few months, the Iraqi government and militias, supported either by Iran or the U.S., have killed hundreds of unarmed protesters and injured thousands of them, mostly led by young men who came to age after Bush’s 2003 preemptive war who want to end foreign interventions. The U.S. escalated the military conflict by blaming Iran, and Iran blamed the U.S. as Iraqi militias attacked U.S. bases in Iraq 11 times within the last week of 2019. One U.S. military contractor was killed, and U.S. bombs killed 24 Iraqis and injuring another 50. After the Iraqi militia protested at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad (Iraq), the U.S. killed eight people at the Baghdad airport including Soleimani and the leader of the Iraqi militia.

Even Iraqis who oppose Soleimani are opposed to U.S. occupation in their country because they see DDT, like Soleimani, a villain because they don’t want foreigners to control their country—either the U.S. or Iran. That belief led to their vote “to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason.”

U.S. interference in Iran goes back over a half century. In 1953, the U.S. ousted democratically elected Mohammad Mosaddegh because the oil industry was taken from Western petroleum companies. When the U.S. attacked Afghanistan after 9/11, it obtained intelligence from Soleimani about fighting the Taliban, but the U.S. lost this source when W. Bush, through his VP’s direction, listed Iran as one of his “Axis of Evil.” Soleimani, however, continued to be a major influence in Iraq in opposition to the U.S. DDT continued to eliminate any diplomacy with Iran when he imposed sanctions on the country and dropped out of the six-country Iran agreement.

After Soleimani’s murder, Iran ended its commitments to limit nuclear fuel production but promised to return if U.S. economic sanctions are removed. Soliemani’s killing stopped the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Esper and Pompeo have claimed that DDT won’t attack Iranian cultural sites, but DDT repeated his threats to commit this barbaric war crime which would be a declaration of war. Targeting cultural sites violates the Hague Convention on Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, ratified by the Senate in 2008. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted, “Targeting civilians and cultural sites is what terrorists do.”

The threats of destroying their cultural sites have united Iranians with the rally cry, “Attend the funeral for our cultural heritage.” Iranian information minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi tweeted:

“Like Isis, Like Hitler, Like Genghis! They all hate cultures. Trump is a terrorist in a suit.”

European allies are trying to provide for the safety of their troops in the Middle East, and the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, invited Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Brussels for talks. Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, said he would seek direct talks with Iran to discuss the safety of its troops in Iraq and continue the fight against ISIS. DDT has blocked Zarif from addressing the UN Security Council on January 9 by refusing him a visa to enter the U.S. in violation of a 1947 agreement with the UN that the U.S. allow foreign officials into the country for UN affairs.

Russia condemned DDT’s killing Soliemani, calling it “fraught with grave consequences for regional peace and stability.” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed his condolences over Soleimani’s death in a conversation with Zarif, and they agreed that DDT’s actions “grossly violate the norms of international law.” Putin has been working with Soleiman on Syria including Soleimani’s invitation to Moscow for an Iranian-Russian coalition. The Russian Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, connected the attack’s timing to DDT’s re-election campaign, something that millions of people in the U.S. also believe.

Immediately after Soliemani’s assassination, Israel was the only country to support DDT’s actions. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has drawn any support since then, saying, “We’re not involved.” After losing two elections in less than a year, Netanyahu wants to win the March 2 election to keep his position and protect himself from criminal prosecution after his indictment.

Over the weekend, al-Shabaab, US African Command killed a U.S. service member and two private contractors for the DOJ at a Kenyan Defense Force used by U.S. Special Operations forces. Al-Shabab is affiliated with al-Qaeda, but DDT has said nothing about bombing Kenya which has no natural resources that he would want.

October 17, 2019

DDT: Kurds Need to be ‘Cleaned Out’

Eleven days after Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) blew up the Middle East by pulling 50 U.S. service members helping Kurds in northern Syria, he declares victory by allowing Turkey to take over northern Syria and drive the Kurds, U.S. allies, from their land (green area). In the “agreement,” the U.S. will help Turkey fight “terrorists” (the term that Turkey uses for all Kurds) and protect the “safe zone” (the Kurdish land).

Because of DDT’s telephone call with Turkey, hundreds of ISIS supporters, including many leaders, have escaped from camps where the Kurds were keeping them, and U.S. troops were attacked by Turkey, supposedly a NATO ally of the U.S.

The end result for the United States is that ISIS now has a place to rebuild its forces, the world knows that the U.S. is unreliable, and DDT supported another autocrat. The U.S. even bombed its own base in an attempt to avoid embarrassment about its disorganized pullout. Europeans also further separate themselves from the United States. 

Tonight, DDT stayed indifferent to the plight of a former U.S. ally by saying that the area earlier occupied by Kurds has been “cleaned out,” a term for genocide. About the conflict that he generated, DDT said, “Sometimes you have to let them fight. It’s like two kids in a lot, you got to let them fight and then you pull them apart.” In this case, the “fight” displaced over 100,000 Kurds, causing them to lose their homes and killing many of them, while permitting Turkey to annex part of Syria. 

Turkey got everything it wanted, and DDT gave Vladimir Putin another favor. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said Trump’s decision to abandon Kurdish allies in Syria “will stand as a bloodstain in the annals of American history.” Brett McGurk, former civilian head of the administration’s U.S.-led counter-IS campaign, wrote that the deal was a gift to the Turks “with no ability to meaningfully influence facts on the ground” and “non-implementable.”

VP Mike Pence and State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo brokered the deal that gave away Syrian land to Turkey. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was far more clear about the strategy, saying that the only reason for the 120-hour hiatus was to allow Kurds to flee their homes. The U.S. has no way to monitor the agreement, and ISIS will have the land to build their forces.

Every day since DDT’s call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a disaster as he moved between surprise and disaster. His October 6 proclamation showed that he knew Turkey would attack the Kurds. Twelve hours later he threatened Turkey and then said that any conflict was not his problem. Three days later he wrote Erogan a letter that looks like a joke from beginning: 

“Let’s work out a good deal! You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people ….”

To his conclusion: “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!” 

After nine days, he doubled tariffs on steel, increasing the percentage to the same as last May which had caused imports to sharply fall by 76 percent. He also lied about putting tariffs on the $100 billion in trade: reality is closer to $24 billion. DDT imposed sanctions on Turkey’s defense and energy ministries, as well as some high-profile Turkish officials. With these ineffectual measures, a bipartisan congressional coalition considered targeting Erdogan’s U.S. assets and suspending U.S. military support. For months, senators worked on bipartisan sanctions required by law to punish Turkey’s purchase of an advanced Russian antimissile system.

ISIS has reason to thank DDT: U.S. air surveillance turned from them to U.S. troops in an attempt to protect them from attacks by Turkey. Earlier this week, DDT tweeted:

“After defeating 100% of the ISIS Caliphate, I largely moved our troops out of Syria. Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land. I said to my Generals, why should we be fighting for Syria….”

As usual, DDT lied. The caliphate is not defeated, and DDT didn’t single-handedly win any victories.

Iran also benefits from DDT’s laissez faire toward the crisis. Monday, he tweeted indifference about the conflict because we are 7,000 miles away!” Russia moved into the vacuum that DDT left in northern Syria into a military outpost that the U.S. abandoned, and Vladimir Putman may be replacing DDT in Saudi Arabia, as indicated by Putin’s meeting with King Salman. China, alienated by DDT’s trade war, has reached out to Russia, and India is being folded into their partnership. Russia and China have joined in military exercises for joint power, and they work together in energy and aerospace. India’s external affairs minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, has said for two years that his country needs a relationship of “stability,” which doesn’t represent the United States. Together China, Russia, and India comprise over 36 percent of the world’s population; the United States has under 5 percent.

DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has also taken a part in Turkey in Erdogan’s desired attempted extradition of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, hoping to send Gulen back to his death in Turkey. Living in exile for the past 20 years in Pennsylvania, Gulen is blamed for plotting the 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan but denied any involvement in the plot. White House aides worried that Giuliani is working on behalf of the Turkish government. DDT frequently questioned officials about why Gulen shouldn’t be turned over to “my friend” Erdogan although officials explained that the extradition was illegal and would politically damage DDT. Giuliani’s aggressive work at Gulen’s extradition began after Michael Flynn, in prison for lying about his paid work for Turkey, lobbied DDT for the same purpose. Giuliani was also behind the attempt to stop prosecution of a Turkish Iranian man for money laundering which could violate lobbying laws.  

Advisers had told DDT that not doing anything about the Kurdish issue is costly, the lack of U.S. presence in the region strengthens Iran, and he will be politically damaged by the deteriorating situation. Another problem with Turkey is that the U.S. has stored as many as 50 nuclear weapons in the country at Incirlik, public knowledge because DDT frequently discloses sensitive information. On Wednesday, he appeared to confirm information about the weapons’ location which the U.S. attempts to hide. DDT claimed the weapons were safe because “we have a great air base there—a very powerful air base.” According to Vipin Narang, a nuclear proliferation expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Incirlik is Turkey’s air base.”

DDT has caused deaths in the United States with his endorsement of violence. Now he tacitly grants Turkey the right to kill Kurds. In the humanitarian disaster of the Turkish invasion, at least 100,000 Kurds have been displaced. Last weekend, Turkish-backed military executed Kurds, including a women human-rights activist. In 2018, when DDT was resistant to U.S. troops in Syria, the Pentagon and State Department persuaded Kurds not to plan for a U.S. departure. Without this betrayal, Kurds could have eased out of the relationship and moved on to a partnership with Syria and Russia. Instead, they were forced into a crisis.

Once again, DDT demonstrated his indifference to human life when he said yesterday that the Kurds would be fine because they “know how to fight.” He added, “There’s a lot of sand they can play with.” In a meeting with congressional leaders, he called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) a “third-grade politician” and referred to former Defense Secretary James Mattis the “world’s most overrated general” after the House bipartisan resolution criticizing DDT’s pulling troops out of northern Syria. The vote was 354 to 60 with three Republicans and independent Rep. Justin Amash (MI) voting present. Although the GOP leadership were among the 129 Republican supporting the resolution, opposition came from the leaders of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, the co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus Tom Reed (R-NY), and VP Mike Pence’s brother Greg Pence (R-IN).  

In his delusion, DDT claimed that he himself “captured” the Islamic State after accusing Mattis not being “tough enough.” He falsely declared that U.S. soldiers “are totally safe” although they were “bracketed” by artillery fire by Turkey, supposedly a NATO ally, and may need to be airlifted away from Turkish attacks. DDT pulled out military forces with no contingency plan, no idea of how to rescue the troops under attack.

DDT briefly broke up his beautiful friendship sometime sycophant Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who said that DDT “will have American blood on his hands if he abandons Kurds because ISIS will come back, and if any American is killed anywhere because a resurgent ISIS, it will fall on the Trump administration like it did Obama.” Like other tiffs between DDT and Graham, the senator will likely back off: he thinks he needs DDT to get reelected next year. 

The goal of Republicans now is to convince their base, including the evangelicals, that killing the Kurds is a good idea.

 

September 23, 2019

Chaos from Israel, Iran

Last week, I was biting my fingernails until I heard the results of Tuesday’s Israeli election to see if the corrupt far-right, ultra-Orthodox prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu would lose his power over the country. If he does, that’s the third country moving from far-right positions.

Italy was the first to go in the past few months when it ousted far-right Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini with a coalition between the pro-European Democratic Party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. Salvini failed to take over for Giuseppe Conte, the independent prime minister who resigned. The interior ministry will be run by migration specialist Luciana Lamorgese who wants to solve the humanitarian crisis caused for the former government. The new coalition is fragile, but it’s a start.

The UK parliament turned against new far-right prime minister, Boris Johnson, who failed to get enough votes for his position to walk out on the European Union with no deal in place. A Supreme Court decision this week will help determine UK’s direction about Brexit. The background is here. 

Almost a week after Israel’s election, a leader still hasn’t been finalized, and Netanyahu failed to coalesce rival rightwing parties the second election within six months. Instead of voting for a person, Israel votes for parties that then select a prime minister. As of yesterday, Netanyahu was behind a coalition supporting Benny Gantz because most of the Arab Palestinians, one-fifth of Israel’s citizens and 13 votes in parliament, picked Gantz as the lesser of two evils. President Reuven Rivlin will select the new prime minister.

Rivlin attempted to unify the government by calling Gantz and Netanyahu to a meeting lasting almost two hours. The two opponents will meet again tomorrow. For Arabs, supporting Ganz has been difficult because he led Israeli forces to devastate large parts of the Palestinian enclave and kill 2,000 people, mostly civilians. Three Arab parliamentarians called him a “war criminal” and backed out of his support, but for the remainder Netanyahu is a worse choice. Rivlin’s choice at forming a government has 28 days plus a 14-day extension to get coalition agreements. Failure means another 28 days before the parliament members recommend a third potential candidate with a majority vote who has 14 days to form a government.

Arabs have good reason to reject Netanyahu. Last summer, he declared that they were to officially be second-class citizens when he said, “According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people—and only it.” In his reelection campaign, Netanyahu promised to illegally annex parts of the West Bank belonging to Jordan before he presents a “peace plan.”. He also posted a huge gold “Trump Heights” sign in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights that belongs to Syria. On his official FB chatbot, suspended as a “violation of hate,” Netanyahu posted that Arab politicians “want to annihilate us all.”

Netanyahu is desperate for a win; otherwise he faces prosecution in three criminal cases involving fraud, bribery and breach of trust. He conspired to curb the circulation of a daily newspaper owned by supporter Sheldon Adelson for better coverage in Yediot Ahronot, a rival paper critical of Netanyahu. In another accusation, Netanyahu, fixed the regulation of huge telecom Bezeq to get favors from Walla, a news website owned by Bezeq’s then-majority shareholder, Shaul Elovitch, who also faces charges. Elovitch told Walla to go easy on Netanyahu and his wife Sara to get a merger that raised antitrust concerns. These are details of Netanyahu’s involvement in these issues.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has provided the script for Netanyahu’s rhetoric. Corruption charges are a “witch hunt” in the “leftist media,” and Netanyahu calls himself “the most maligned person in the history of Israeli media.” On a billboard of critical journalists’ images, he posted, “They will not decide. You decide.” He has interviews only on one far-right outlet, and communicates through social media. He called for a boycott of a network and accused those involved in the network of “a terror attack against democracy.”

After Netanyahu appeared to lose the election, Israel’s stock markets rose in celebration. Netanyahu canceled his meeting with DDT and his speech at the UN this week, not appearing at its main debate for only the second time in ten years. DDT is also distancing himself from his former BFF saying, “Our relationship is with the state of Israel.”

Israel is privy to U.S. classified information through cellphone surveillance devices placed by the country’s agents near White House “sensitive locations” to spy on DDT, his top aides, and his closest associates. DDT, who called for a congressional investigation into President Obama’s non-existent surveillance of him, didn’t indicate any distress about Israel’s real surveillance.

Another country is causing ulcers as the world waits to see what will happen with Iran. Since drones from an unspecified location by an unspecified group hit Saudi Arabian oil fields on September 13, the U.S. has consistently said that Iran is responsible for the attack claimed by the Yemeni Houthis. Countries such as Japan disagree, and even Saudi Arabia has not identified the location where the attacking drones was launched. DDT claims he waits for direction from the Saudi, following orders from the country that tortured and dismembered a U.S. journalist instead of the constitutional requirement that Congress is in control of declaring war. DDT says that the U.S. doesn’t need Saudi oil but wants to “help our allies,” a turnaround from five years ago when he said that the Saudis “should fight their own wars.”

Whether DDT will talk to Iran or bomb them depends on the hour, but he increased sanctions twice since the attack, including on Iran’s central bank.  His attitude reflects how much money he can get from them for his personal business.

A basis for DDT’s decision about attacks on Iran is most likely the price of crude oil. When he made war noises, the price per barrel went up almost 40 percent, only to come back down when he calmed down. Global markets set oil prices, and an invasion in the Middle East could double prices as it did when the U.S. dived into the Iraq-Kuwait conflict. In 1973, prices quadrupled after OPEC declared an oil embargo because of U.S. support for Israel in the Yom Kippur War. DDT’s 2020 campaign could be damaged by increases in oil prices, a war that no one wants, and the fear of a recession, already on the horizon. Six of the last eight recessions came after a spike in oil prices, including the most recent one in 2007.  High oil prices cause inflation and hurt economic growth, directly affect prices for goods made with oil and indirectly affecting costs from transportation and heating for consumers. Other goods are sold because people have a finite amount of money.

Whether DDT will talk to Iran or bomb them depends on the hour, but he increased sanctions twice since the attack, including on Iran’s central bank. His attitude reflects how much money he can get from them for his personal business. He claims that the U.S. needs the Saudis to bring them job, and every time he talks about the opportunities he adds thousands to his mythical number. What he really wants, however, is money in his own pocket from the Saudis pouring cash into DDT’s U.S. hotels and Scottish resort. His big problem is that hawks and hardliners want war, and he’s already bombed Yemen to please Saudi Arabia, contributing to a horrific humanitarian crisis with 3.3 million of Yemenis displaced and another 14 million desperately needing food, medicine, etc.

DDT may find little foreign support for a war against Iran. The United Arab Emirates has already backed off the Saudis’ war in Yemen, the Egyptian president faces new protests against his faltering economy and repression, and Israel has no leader. Even the Saudis are lukewarm about a fight with the Iranians. DDT has proved himself to be an on-again-off-again follower of the last person he talks to, well demonstrated when he called off a strike against Iran last June just ten minutes—according to him—before the final order without talking to his advisers.

Iran wants new talks on the nuclear agreement, and DDT refuses to negotiate. Talks also can’t resume while the U.S. has crippling sanctions on Iran, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wants to block DDT from sending more U.S. troops into the Gulf. DDT has isolated the U.S., and other countries such as China are moving in to take advantage of Iranian resources. Tomorrow, he plans to give a speech at the UN to get support against Iran, and leaders of three EU countries—France, Germany, and UK—now say that Iran was responsible for the attack. Yet DDT’s disregard for global involvement does not bode well in an organization where people are more interested in diplomacy and denuclearization instead of buffoonery.

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