Nel's New Day

March 1, 2020

DDT Goes to India, Woos Taliban

Last week before Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) came home to the worst decline in the stock market since 2008 and the possibility of an epidemic in the U.S., he spent two happy days with another authoritarian. Jealous of the 50,000 audience for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Houston, DDT was promised a much bigger crowd during his stay on a trip to India. At a rally, 100,000 attendees cheered DDT before over one-third of them walked out of the cricket stadium during his speech. Another third left during Modi’s speech. In Ahmedabad, a city of six million, Modi failed to come up with the 10 million along the motorcade path, but he did provide costumed musicians, dancers, and a marching band on camels. [Visual Trump India]

During press conferences, DDT avoided Modi’s international condemnation for revoking the statehood of Muslims and establishing a religious test for new migrants to make India a Hindu nation and drive out the 200 million Muslims. DDT was supposed to talk “about our shared tradition of democracy and religious freedom” but instead skipped the subject. While police used tear gas and smoke grenades to disperse crowds in New Delhi, DDT spoke of India as a place where different faiths “worship side by side in harmony.” He ignored both the violence and the anti-Islam law. 

DDT may have hoped that his visit to the state of Gujarat would help him get donations and votes from influential Indian-Americans, It’s also the place where Modi tacitly supported the killing of over 1,000 people in 2002 in sectarian violence, almost 80 percent of them Muslims killed by Hindu mobs. George W. Bush banned Modi from visiting the U.S. because of his actions until he became prime minister in 2014. Like today’s sectarian violence, police didn’t intervene and sometimes joined in that attacks. Last week, over 30 people were killed in protests. George W. Bush banned Modi from visiting the U.S. because of his actions until he became prime minister in 2014. Both DDT and Modi achieved political power through inciting hatred of Muslims. The Delhi riots bear a strong resemblance to the ethnic pogrom in Gujarat almost two decades ago.

Modi, hurt by a steep economic downturn, can’t fulfill campaign promises on job creation. DDT imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from India that raised penalties on agricultural goods and restrictions on U.S. medical devices. DDT retaliated by removing India from a decades-old preferential trade program.

Michael Fuchs wrote:

“The leaders of the world’s two biggest democracies are pursuing dangerous, nationalist visions at odds with their countries’ founding values.”

Both DDT and Modi achieved political power through inciting hatred of Muslims. The Delhi riots bear a strong resemblance to the ethnic pogrom in Gujarat almost two decades ago.

Yasmeen Serhan echoed Fuchs’ statement about democracies moving to autocracies

“As the leaders of the world’s two largest democracies, their shared disregard for norms, disdain for dissent (from the media and elsewhere), and dedication to strengthening their own executive power at the expense of state institutions designed to curb it have made them emblematic of the democratic deterioration that has been taking place in recent years.

“A mainstay of autocratic rule is the consolidation of executive power…. Trump’s bid to extend his presidential authority in the U.S. has steadily increased over time, from his attempts to defy Congress and the Constitution over his hardline immigration policies to his impeachment-spurring efforts to withhold congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine. In both cases, Trump’s rationale was largely the same: to invoke presidential privilege or, in autocratic speak, to declare himself constitutionally above the law. White House withholding press briefings and attacking news outlets and journalists perceived as critical.

“But perhaps the most common trait among burgeoning autocrats in recent years is the growing appeal to populist and nationalist sentiment. This has been most pronounced in India through Modi’s efforts to transform the country from a secular democracy into a theocratic, nationalist one that dominates its minorities. In the U.S., Trump has made his nativist rhetoric about immigration a hallmark of his administration.”

In praising Modi, DDT may have thought he was criticizing China, but he described his own approach to ruling the U.S.:

“There is all the difference in the world between a country that seeks to claim power through coercion, intimidation and aggression, and a country that seeks to grow by setting its people free, and unleashing them to chase their dreams, and that is India.”

Protests have come from the Indian 2019 Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which grants amnesty to non-Muslim immigrants from three nearby Muslim-majority countries—Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh—who came to India before 2015 in an expansion of the 1951 National Register of Citizens. Assam, which borders Bangladesh, has been registering “Indian” citizens since the 1951 census but now works to expel Muslims as “foreigners.” To stay in the country, Muslims, unlike those of any other religion, must provide proof that their families migrated to India before 1971, the year that Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan and created a refugee crisis. Generations of Indian Muslims born and raised in India must produce their grandparents’ legal documents, which in many cases no longer exist, or leave.

Under DDT, the U.S. stripped Latinx of citizenship even if they were born in the U.S. and have birth certificates. Officials demand documents such as baptismal records and ask questions such as “Do you remember when you were born?” Some had passports revoked, put in deportation proceedings, and barred from returning to the U.S. if they visited Mexico. The project began on the southern border but moved north to central states. DDT’s Muslim bans also draw parallels to Modi’s driving Muslims out of India.

AG Bill Barr created a new office to denaturalize citizens who committed any crimes. The new section replaces the one investigating cases about revoking citizenship for those convicted of terrorism, war crimes, human rights violations, and sex offenses. Under President Obama, the office focused on people who falsified applications and committed major crimes. Since 2008, 228 denaturalization cases have been filed, 40 percent of them since 2017. In three years, case referrals have increased 600 percent. Under DDT, the process may be used against people who make misstatements on the application.

Human rights lawyer Arjun Sethi called DDT and Modi the “worst kind of fascists.”

“Both Modi and Trump have criminalized minority communities, championed fake news and persecuted dissent, promoted supremacist ideologies, and played on the racism and anxiety of dominant communities.”

DDT’s visit to India also brought up his business ventures, the most in any country except the U.S. His India ventures include four luxury residential projects and an office tower branded with the Trump name under licensing deals. Since DDT’s last visit to India in 2014, one of DDT’s business has been accused of massive fraud, and the other faces a funding crunch. Both of them have close ties to Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. 

The week concluded by the U.S. and the Taliban signing an agreement that would begin the complete withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign troops from Afghanistan over 14 months after over 18 years, the longest war on foreign soil. The text is here. Estimates of that war cost for the U.S. is almost $8 trillion by 2050. Secretary of State Pompeo said that the Afghans need to determine the future of their country, but no Afghans were at the table for the negotiation. It was entirely one-sided by the Taliban with the U.S. running the show.

According to the agreement, the Taliban will break off ties to terror groups, but nothing was said about human rights—oppression of females and harsh punishments exacted against anyone for petty offenses. The Taliban agreed that Afghan soil will not be used by terrorists to attack the United States or its allies, but it does not have control over areas outside Afghan hands. Several factions, including ISIS, control areas and could grow stronger without U.S. troops. Former national security adviser John Bolton wrote:

“Legitimizing Taliban sends the wrong signal to ISIS and al-Qaeda terrorists, and to America’s enemies generally.”

The deal stipulates that the badly-split Afghan government must organize a negotiating team to begin talks with the Taliban by March 10. On the same day, before any talks, thousands of Taliban prisoners held by Afghans must be released in exchange for 1,000 Taliban-held members of the Afghan security forces. Twenty-two GOP lawmakers have issued a warning letter to Pompeo and DOD Secretary Mark Esper that the Taliban has “a history of extracting concessions in exchange for false assurances.” 

Under DDT, the U.S. signed an agreement with an officially listed terrorist group, the Haqqani Network, which has a campaign of suicide bombings. The Network’s leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is the Taliban’s deputy leader and military commander. A day before the signing ceremony, the Taliban’s multimedia chief described it as a historic landmark for proclaiming “the defeat of the arrogance of the White House in the face of the white turban.” Pompeo indicated that he doesn’t trust the Taliban to live up to the agreement; DDT said he wants to meet with them.

We have ten days to see any success. 

November 29, 2019

The Completion of Thanksgiving

For several weeks, the media has obsessed about Thanksgiving dinner—specifically how to get along with people gathering around the groaning board. Culture since the election of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has made this an all-consuming issue.

With his typical cruelty, DDT’s son Donald Trump Jr has this recommendation: “trigger a liberal” at Thankgiving dinner with the goal of encouraging fights among families at the family gathering. He tweeted, “Trigger a liberal thanksgiving” and offered an autographed copy of his book for winners who send him photos or videos of “something/someone triggered maybe with my book.” Jr is listed as author of Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us:

“This is the book that the leftist elites don’t want you to read — Donald Trump, Jr., exposes all the tricks that the left uses to smear conservatives and push them out of the public square, from…”

Triggered became a best seller after the RNC and the Trump Organizations spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase copies of the book that promotes lies through conspiracy theories and encourages Jr’s social media followers to engage in bad behavior. Conservatives, however, may be more “triggered” by a discussion of the facts and their lack of defense for their beloved leader.

On Thanksgiving Day, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) unexpectedly visited troops in Afghanistan after pardoning three war criminals who were blamed of their crimes by their Navy Seal colleagues. Once again DDT created chaos by announcing peace talks with the Taliban, after dumping the idea just two months ago after a period of negotiations, and demanding a cease-fire that negotiators had already rejected and that the U.S. has no leverage to enact. DDT claimed that the Taliban wants a ceasefire, but he also claimed that Turkey wouldn’t kill the Kurds. The Taliban negotiating team was surprised at DDT’s statements. A member said, “Our positions remain the same.” With DDT removing troops from Afghanistan, the U.S. has even less leverage than earlier.

Since he was inaugurated almost three years ago, DDT had previously made no trips to Afghanistan and only one to a war zone, a secretive trip to Iraq almost a year ago. That time, plane spotters saw Air Force One crossing Britain; this time, he took a military plane with only five people, including Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). DDT ate with Barrasso and a commander based at Bagram.

DDT demonstrated his obsession with impeachment during the traditional ceremony of pardoning a turkey. The two fowl, Bread and Butter, will not reside on a table but instead safely live out their natural lives because of the selection. DDT’s statement:

“Thankfully, Bread and Butter have been specially raised by the Jacksons to remain calm under any condition, which will be very important because they’ve already received subpoenas to appear in Adam Schiff’s basement on Thursday. It seems the Democrats are accusing me of being too soft on turkey, but Bread and Butter — I should note that, unlike previous witnesses, you and I have actually met.”

DDT added that the news media would find the pardon “very popular” because “turkeys are closely related to vultures.”

Although both turkeys were saved, only Butter received a “pardon.” One joke was that Butter received the pardon because Bread got more votes.

Although the DDT base may have found humor in the comments about impeachment, satirist Andy Borowitz gave another perspective about the pardon in his humor column, “Trump Refuses to Pardon White House Turkey After Accusing It of Working for Soros”:

“In a startling break with Thanksgiving tradition, Donald J. Trump refused to pardon the White House turkey after claiming that it was working as a secret operative of the billionaire George Soros.

“A group of fourth graders from Bethesda, Maryland, who had gathered on the White House lawn for the annual turkey-pardoning ceremony appeared unprepared for the anti-Soros outburst that Trump unleashed on the Thanksgiving bird.

“’That turkey was sent by Soros to spy on me,’ Trump said, angrily turning on the fowl. ‘A lot of people are saying this.’

“While the oblivious turkey pecked desultorily at the ground, an increasingly enraged Trump spewed a stream of conspiracy theories linking the feathered animal to global élites, election fraud in Florida, and Jim Acosta.

“Trump attempted to lead the fourth-grade class in a chant of ‘Lock It Up,’ apparently directed at the Thanksgiving delicacy, but the students slowly backed away from him in silence.

“Tracy Klugian, one of the children who witnessed Trump’s meltdown, said that he found it ‘sad.’

“’I get that he’s upset about Mueller and the midterms, but he shouldn’t take it out on a turkey,’ he said.”

Background on the turkey pardon: residents of the White House typically ate the donated turkeys until 1989 with the exception of Abraham Lincoln giving the turkey in 1863 to his son Tad and President Kennedy’s refusal to eat the turkey in 1961. Richard Nixon freed the turkey but gave no pardon. George H.W. Bush began the official presidential turkey pardon tradition. The pardon got attention in 2007 when the turkey found back during the ceremony of H.W.’s son, W.

As my vegetarian friend said, maybe next year’s turkey could be named “Tofu.”

And now the conservative Christians can launch into their mythical persecution and their fantasy of the “war on Christmas.” If you get together with conservatives at the winter holiday dinner, here are some talking points. Just change the title.

September 8, 2019

Treating Foreign Affairs like a Game Show Fails

Foreign policy for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is like his orchestration of his game show, but he is miserably failing in coping with the problems of the world—many of which he has caused. Some of the past month’s failures: 

Afghanistan:

Just days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. “delivered” on its mission to oust al-Qaeda from Afghanistan and deter terrorist attacks, DDT said he canceled a secret summit at Camp David with Taliban leadership and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani after the Taliban claimed last week’s attack that killed a U.S. soldier. The soldier was one of ten people, including a Romanian service member, killed in a suicide attack. He was the fourth killed in Afghanistan in two weeks and the 16th thus far this year. The day after the top negotiator’s announcement that he had reached a deal “in principle,” a Taliban suicide bomber strapped a bomb to a tractor and drove it into an international compound in Kabul, killing 16 people and injured 100. Two weeks ago, a bomb killed 63 people, many of them women and children, at a wedding in the Afghan capital. A car bomb killing 45 and injuring 145 a few months ago was attributed to the Taliban as well as a bomb and gun attack on a political party’s office that left 20 dead and over 50 injured. Afghanis express concern if “peace” does not include a ceasefire and if the Taliban reneges on its agreement after the U.S. pulls its troops.

National security adviser John Bolton has been missing from talks with Afghanistan, North Korea, and Iran. The head negotiator had even refused to give Bolton a draft of the agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban, and Bolton wasn’t originally invited to a high-level meeting at DDT’s New Jersey golf resort because he might leak the details.

Yemen:

The U.S., France, and Britain may be complicit in war crimes for providing the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in its war on Yemen with logistical support and weapons, according to a UN report released days after the coalition killed over 100 people in airstrikes on a Yemeni detention center. The coalition “is guilty of bombing hospitals, homes, a school bus, and other civilian targets during its years-long assault on Yemen” which may constitute war crimes. Last spring, DDT vetoed a stand-alone War Powers resolution to end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led assault on Yemen. Their report documents air strikes on civilian infrastructure, indiscriminate shelling, snipers, landmines, arbitrary killings and detention, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, starvation, and impeding of access to humanitarian aid in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The four-year conflict killed at least 7,290 civilians and left 24 million people—80 percent of the population—in need of humanitarian assistance or protection including ten million who rely on food aid to survive.

Iran:

When DDT backed out of an anti-nuclear agreement in May 2018, he was convinced that he would emerge victorious. He failed. This week, Iran promised to reinstate R&D on its nuclear program and may begin to enrich uranium faster. Before that, Tehran defied the U.S. trying to launch a space rocket in response to heavy U.S. financial penalties and pushes for countries to stop doing business with Iran. An angry DDT added to the crippling sanctions against Iran. A year before the agreement, the CIA predicted that if the U.S. backed out of the deal, radical elements would be empowered.

DDT even failed to take an Iranian tanker with 2.1 million barrels of oil and a $1 million penalty after a Gibraltar court refused DDT’s request. The ship, renamed the Adrian Darya-1, proceeded through the Mediterranean where it’s nearing Syria because U.S. sanctions do not apply in the EU. In an unprecedented scam, Brian Hook, Pompeo’s special envoy on Iran, even tried to bribe the ship’s captain with millions of dollars to take the ship into a port where the U.S. could seize it. Hook offered “good news” to the Indian captain, writing, “With this money you can have any life you wish and be well-off in old age.” Later Hook wrote, “If you choose not to take this easy path, life will be much harder for you.” Iran is now injecting uranium gas into advanced centrifuges.

Israel:

Peace in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine hit another glitch when the envoy for brokering the deal, DDT’s former real estate lawyer and Trump Organization employee Jason Greenblatt, resigned. He was replaced by 29-year-old Avi Berkowitz, Jared Kushner’s longtime aide, who graduated from law school in 2016 with no experience in foreign policy or international diplomacy. A sample of headlines: “Trump’s New Mideast Point Man Is Jared Kushner’s Former Coffee Boy Avi Berkowitz” (Vanity Fair) and “Trump Somehow Replaces Unqualified Mideast Envoy with Even Less Qualified One” (New York magazine). During the past two months, Israel expanded its air attacks on Iran and militia from Syria to Iraq, including a drone attack on a Shiite militia convoy in Iraq killing nine, an air raid in Syria killing two Lebanese Hezbollah operatives, and an attack on a weapons depot north of Baghdad.

North Korea:

DDT Keeps bragging about the non-existent progress in North Korea, but Kim Jong-Un refuses to meet and built up the “range and maneuverability” of North Korea’s weapons. DDT downplays North Korea’s ballistic missile tests violating UN Security Council resolutions as something that “many nations” do.

Hong Kong:

After DDT hid from Hong Kong’s summer of protesting, leader Carrie Lam announced she would formally withdraw the bill allowing extradition to mainland China. China wanted the extradition law to get political dissidents back to the mainland. Protesters demand political reforms, an independent inquiry into police brutality, the retraction of the government’s label of some protesters as “rioters,” and amnesty for the arrested protesters.

China:

U.S. consumer prices skyrocketed, thanks to DDT’s tariffs. The stock market went up after he announced talks in October, but he’s lied about talks before.

Venezuela:

DDT’s attempts to unseat legally-elected President Nicholas Maduro, a stringent blockade, received signatures from at least eight million Venezuelans—one fourth of the nation’s population—protesting the U.S. blockade to the UN. They also march with the “No More Trump” campaign to denounce DDT’s sanctions on Venezuela. Socialism-hating DDT is coordinating secret meetings with Venezuela’s socialist party boss, Diosdado Cabello, against Maduro. Last year, DDT sanctioned Cabello for organizing drug shipments and running a major corruption network embezzling state funds that were invested in Florida real estate. He may have intended to kill Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). This year he’s a U.S. colleague. Problems with DDT’s Venezuelan strategy:

  • Latin America may reject his willingness to use military force; even Brazil’s autocratic president sided with Maduro in May.
  • The ousting of Maduro hasn’t succeeded yet, forcing foreign ministries to normalize ties with Maduro’s government with the perception that DDT had no plans and did it for personal political reasons.
  • U.S. actions makes Juan Guaidó look like a U.S. puppet.
  • Sanctions have made the U.S. a scapegoat, and many of Maduro’s protesters have left Venezuela.

Brazil:

Top donors giving millions to DDT and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) are significantly responsible for the Amazon rainforest destruction. The two Brazilian firms took control of land, deforested it, and helped build a controversial highway to their new terminal in the one-time jungle to cultivate and export grain and soybeans. Since DDT put U.S. farmers out of the soybean business with Chinese tariffs, Brazil has taken over the market.

Ukraine:

In efforts to ingratiate himself with Putin and “persuade” Ukrainian officials to investigate possible corruption by presidential candidate Joe Biden, DDT follows chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s wish by continuing to block $250 million in military assistance to them. The Pentagon congressional members want DDT to lift his hold on the money, that goes back into the general fund (wall) if not spent in three weeks. Russian television appreciates DDT’s subservience to Putin

Georgia:

DDT blamed Russia’s annexation of Crimea on President Obama instead of Vladimir Putin, but on DDT’s watch, Putin is backing a takeover of Georgia’s South Ossetia and recognizes Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. Russia won’t allow the EUMM (European Union Monitoring Mission) monitors to enter South Ossetia and Abkhazia in violation of the Six Point Ceasefire Agreement. As part of its occupation, Russians are building border fences. Georgia and the West declare Russia’s move as an “illegal occupation” of 20 percent of Georgia’s sovereign territory.

Ten countries warn their residents that the U.S. is a dangerous place to travel: Venezuela, Uruguay, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, France, Bahamas, and China. Warnings go from extreme cautions to postponing travel to the U.S., with most cautions advising people that they do not go to crowded places which tend to be tourist destinations. The human rights organization Amnesty International, present in over 150 countries, echoed this warning.  

August 23, 2017

Our Dark Week

Filed under: Discrimination — trp2011 @ 10:34 PM
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This week was one of darkness. On Monday, people rejoiced across the country with the morning eclipse as millions of people looked up through their special lenses so that they would not permanently damage their eyes by looking at the sun. Thousands of others most likely may suffer from some physical damage because they ignored the instructions to not stare at the sun without these glasses. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) was one who ignored these directions—six times.

If you still have your funky glasses, you can recycle them with Astronomers without Borders. They are collecting these glasses to sent to children in Asia and South America in 2019. Mail them to the organization’s corporate sponsor: Explore Scientific, 621 Madison Street, Springdale, AR 72762

The joy from the eclipse was short-lived. That evening DDT gave his first prime-time speech to announce what he calls his “strategy” for the war in Afghanistan. After calling the war a waste for several years, he decided that war is good and President Obama’s attempt to wind it down is bad. DDT spent 27 minutes with the message that the U.S. will be at war forever but he can’t say anything specific. He’s turning over all the decisions to the military—those generals he earlier said are dumber than he is. Goading both Pakistan, which DDT says is not civilized, and India, who he says should give aid to Pakistan, DDT claimed both of them are the biggest terrorist threats in the world although neither country is on the travel ban. DDT refuses to appoint any diplomats and plans to vastly increase finances for killing people in the world and spending more money on “the nuclear.”

DDT clearly plans to loot Afghanistan of its wealth in minerals. Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the U.S., said:

“President Trump is keenly interested in Afghanistan’s economic potential. Our estimated $1 trillion in copper, iron ore, rare earth elements, aluminum, gold, silver, zinc, mercury and lithium.”

The reason behind the speech’s timing is unknown although he could be trying to rescue is badly sagging approval ratings. The verbiage and approach were similar to that of George W. Bush when he declared his preemptive war. DDT had no new ideas except perhaps his goal to negotiate with the Taliban. Founder of privatized military Blackwater and sister of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Erik Prince, called DDT’s “strategy” an “Obama-lite policy.” Many people agree with Prince, but he may be suffering from sour grapes because he wanted to operate a privatized military in Afghanistan. Breitbart, run by the deposed White House strategist and white supremacist Steve Bannon, demonstrated hostility toward DDT’s speech by describing the proposed surge as giving in to national security adviser H.R. McMaster and the other national security officials. The Telegraph agreed:

“If Donald Trump sounded presidential on Afghanistan it is because he is repeating his predecessors’ mistakes.”

No mention was made of Russia, who may be providing physical support for the Taliban. With his speech on Tuesday, however, DDT now owns the wars in the Middle East, no matter what their results.

The Afghan War:

  • 104,000: people killed in armed conflict since 2001, including over 31,000 civilians.
  • 26,512: civilians killed after troop surge in 2009 (48,931 injured).
  • 8,400: U.S. military members in Afghanistan.
  • 2,394: U.S. military casualties, including the 44 killed after the official “end” in 2014.
  • 22,100: Pakistani civilians killed, including 2,000-3,800 from U.S. drone strikes since 2015 and 40,000 wounded.
  • 1.4 million: Pakistani refugees from violence.
  • $1 trillion: direct costs to war in Afghanistan including medical services for wounded veterans.
  • $1 trillion: federal costs for treating wounded veterans from military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan by 2053.
  • $4.8 trillion: total price tag for U.S. operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria since 2001.
  • $453 billion: interest as of 2014 on debt to pay for wars with another $7.9 trillion added to the national debt by 2053.
  • $110 billion: humanitarian relief and reconstruction in Afghanistan.
  • 58 percent of $13.3 billion: USAID funds on reconstruction to only ten contractors despite complaints about delays and cost overruns as well as lies about improvements including students in U.S.-funded schools at 70 percent lower than these claims.
  • 54 percent: defense share of U.S. discretionary budget with DDT’s request to increase it to 63 percent in 2017 and 68 percent in 2018.

The Fox network expressed great admiration for this speech contributed by DDT’s generals and read somewhat competently from the teleprompter. That was Monday. Last night DDT gave another campaign rally in Phoenix (AZ) to throw red meat to his ever-shrinking base. Any positive remarks from the media press—about half of them—could be summarized with the common statement that “Trump was Trump.”

DDT outdid himself in lying as he relitigated the media response to his racist remarks after the protests at Charlottesville (VA). His 30-minute tirade against the media completely distorted his statements as he read only portions of his reaction. Gone were comments about the protesters against racism, who he called the “alt-left,” being “very violent” and placing “blame on both sides.” DDT had frequently repeated the accusation of their being “very violent.” Also missing for last night’s speech were his descriptions of some white supremacist marchers as “very fine people.”

DDT’s threats:

  • Close down government if Congress doesn’t approve his wall. [Mexico must be off the hook for the cost because DDT wants taxpayers to pony up the tens of billions of dollars.]
  • Terminate NAFTA.
  • Pardon law-breaking former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the future. [DDT said he wouldn’t pardon “Sheriff Joe” at his speech because he didn’t want to cause any problems. “I’ll make a prediction. He’s going to be just fine.” Wink, wink. Left: Arpaio campaigning for DDT.]

 

 

More DDT lying assertions:

  • CNN quit the rally. [Their cameras stayed on for the entire show.]
  • CNN is at an all-time low. [CNN is at a five-year high.]
  • CNN shouldn’t have fired “poor Jeffrey Lord” who tweeted “Sieg Heil!” at a prominent liberal activist.
  • Only Fox and Sean Hannity are honest media.
  • DDT drained the swamp. [No mention of the large number of billionaires benefiting from DDT’s administration, especially the Goldman Sachs coterie.]
  • Racism was worse with Barack Obama as president. [Perhaps DDT sees a stronger white supremacy since his inauguration?]
  • Kim Jong-Un “respected” his words of fire and fury. [North Korea has threatened “merciless retaliation” this week.]
  • DDT has a new coal mine that cleans coal.
  • About the journalists: “[DDT]went to a better school than them. I live in a bigger, more beautiful apartment than [the journalists] do.”
  • DDT’s claimed that very few people were outside overlooked several thousands of people. Police pepper spray and tear gas dispersed the crowd.
  • The image showing huge crowds in the streets for DDT was actually one of the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers parade.
  • And more.

DDT vigorously criticized both Arizona senators and came close to endorsing Kelli Ward over Sen. Jeff Flake in 2018 while bragging that he wouldn’t mention them by name. Ward ran against McCain last year. She sees chemtrails behind jets as a government plot to poison people, Arizona’s GOP senator John McCain as responsible for ISIS,  the UN having an agenda to move rural people to cities, Common Core standards turning children into slaves, foreign powers sending troops to subdue U.S. citizens, “polio-like illnesses” from undocumented people shipped throughout the nation, mysterious helicopters spotted in Arizona, and martial law. [Maybe she knows DDT’s plans on the last one.] She also described her time on the Cliven Bundy ranch in 2014 to visit with the Oathkeepers as a “family friendly” event.

Another strange piece of DDT’s speech came from the careful placement of a black man behind DDT waving the sign “BLACKS FOR TRUMP 2020.” Maurice Symonette believes that “ISIS and Hillary race war plot to kill all black & white women of America.” He has a fixation with the evil Cherokees, beginning with a demand that they pay taxes and continuing that they are the “real KKK masters.” You can read his rants on his website.  Another of his favorite websites. Symonette was praised by Glenn Beck, opened a Rick Santorum rally, and accused Barack Obama of trying to assassinate him.

DDT’s speech brought out open discussions on many media outlets pondering DDT’s mental instability. Even past friend and GOP Joe Scarborough (The Morning Show) joined in the criticism:

“This was a hateful, derisive speech. It was a frightening speech. He sounded like an autocrat trying to dehumanize his allies.”

Don Lemon began his memorable reaction by calling the speech “a total eclipse of the facts.”

Former intelligence chief James Clapper, who has worked for every president until DDT since John F. Kennedy, questioned DDT’s fitness for office, especially with his access to the nuclear codes.

DDT did not address the five injured and ten missing or dead sailors lost in the latest collision between a Navy ship and a merchant ship at any of his speeches. His first response when he was told about the tragedy was “that’s too bad.”

Today has stayed dark. DDT preached love and unity for all, including the military, both on Monday in his “strategy” speech and this afternoon at an American Legion convention audience in Reno (NV) when he signed a bill streamlining the appeal process on disability for veterans. He also sent a memo to the Pentagon to give Secretary of Defense James Mattis six months to enforce the transgender ban cited in DDT’s tweets, an act that leaders of the military branches oppose. Mattis will be in charge of deciding whether transgender service members are to be thrown out of the military. “This is NOT how you keep America safe,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), minority leader, tweeted. The ban reverses a one-year policy allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military. Five transgender service members, including veterans of recent wars, are suing DDT for violation of their rights to due-process and equal protection under the law.

The question now is whether transgender veterans will have any benefits. And whether immigrants who served honorably in the military will continue to be deported.

April 14, 2017

DDT: Week Twelve, More Failures Plus War-Mongering

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) went by himself to Mar-a-Lago this weekend—no senior staffers to monitor him and his tweets. You can keep track of his trips there—seven out of weekends thus far—and expenditures to taxpayers. He left after referring to the U.S. armed forces as “my” military and glowing about the “most beautiful” cake in his restaurant there while talking about bombing Syrians to Chinese President Xi Jinping. Hopefully, Xi didn’t get sick while he was at Mar-a-Lago because health inspectors has found undercooked meat and dangerous fish at the resort, one time before the state visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Among two broken coolers, 13 violations, three of them high priority, were found in the kitchen were a record for a resort that charges $200,000 in initiation fees.

Distraction of the Week: DDT’s polls rose only four percent with the Syrian bombing so he dropped the “mother of all bombs” on Afghanistan, the first time that the nation’s largest non-nuclear bomb was used. The nickname supposedly comes from an acronym for the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, but considering that the most destructive device outside of nuclear bombs was developed by men, built by men, and dropped by men, it might more appropriately be called “father of all bombs.” The replacement cost is $16 million; the number of ISIS fighters killed is 36. Each death costs almost one-half million dollars in replacement charges for the bomb. Asked about whether he approved the strike, DDT refused to answer.

At the same time, DDT’s bullying tweets about North Korea are causing increasing tension with a country that could easily release nuclear bombs on the United States. Han Song Ryol, North Korea’s vice foreign minister, said, “Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words. We will go to war if they choose,” he added. Without DDT keepers for a long weekend at Mar-a-Lago, the U.S. could be at war with North Korea by Monday.

Steep Learning Curve: About the healthcare plan, DDT said, “Who knew it was so complicated?” After talking with Chinese President Xi Jinping for ten minutes, he said that “it’s not so easy” for Beijing to quickly take care of North Korea. DDT told Xi that he “should let North Korean leader Kim Jong Un know the U.S. doesn’t just have aircraft carriers, but also nuclear submarines.” As if the entire world doesn’t know?! Then he protested that “you cannot allow a country like that to have … nuclear weapons.” First, North Korea already has these weapons, and second, DDT said during his campaign that all countries should have nuclear weapons and just fight with them. have nuclear weapons.

Whither Syria: Last week, DDT bombed Syria after warning Russia to get out of the way and probably letting Russia warn Syria. This week, he bombed Syria again, killing 18 members of the ISIS-opposition team. He claims that “we’re not going into Syria,” but the U.S. already has at least 1,000 members of the military stationed in the country. DDT’s Syrian policy during the past two weeks could cause whiplash:

  • March 30, 2017 – Bashar Assad can stay in power; the U.S. won’t take part in another Middle Eastern conflict against a leader backed by Russia.
  • April 5-6, 2017 –  Assad must leave power because of his alleged chemical attack that killed about 80 people; DDT bombed the Shayrat airbase in Syria.
  • April 6-10, 2017: The issue is not Assad but chemical weapons use.
  • April 9, 2017: Attack Isis first and let Assad stay or go depending on the Russian position; (Tillerson) the priority is the defeat of ISIS, and overthrowing Assad would be disastrous.
  • April 9, 2017: The country should have multiple priorities beyond defeating ISIS.
  • April 10, 2017: The U.S. will respond to barrel bombs by bombing Syria.
  • April 10, 2017: No, the U.S. will not respond to barrel bombs.

Erasing the Holocaust: In an effort to justify DDT’s Syrian bombings, Press Secretary Sean Spicer called Bashar Assad worse than Adolf Hitler because the Nazi leader did not “sink to the level of using chemical weapons.” Questioned about his statement, Spicer apologized and said that the Hitler used gas in the “Holocaust centers.” Yet he maintained that Assad’s acts were worse because Hitler didn’t use “airplanes to drop chemical weapons on innocent people.” On the first day of Passover, commemorating the Jewish flight from Egypt in 1313 BCE, Spicer didn’t mention the six million Jews killed during the Nazi regime, but he personally called Jewish donor Sheldon Adelson to apologize—but no one else.

More Spicer Statements:  Earlier in the week, Spicer had to take back his statement that DDT’s bombing took out 20 percent of Syria’s entire air force by explaining it was 20 percent of one wing—about 12 planes out of several hundred. He said he didn’t want to draw attention away from DDT’s attempts to “destabilize” the Middle East. No, that’s not a typo. More of Spicer’s gaffes here. At a townhall meeting, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) said that Spicer “needs to go.”

Ally Russia: Spicer also referred to Russia as one of our allies. At a G7 meeting in Italy with six other industrialized nations, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “Why should U.S. taxpayers be interested in Ukraine?” Abandoning Ukraine would give Tillerson a lot of money from Russian oil. Asked what Tillerson meant by his question, State Department spokesman R.C. Hammond said, “Rhetorical device.”

Another Firing: The National Security Council is still suffering from shifting members. Michael Flynn was fired, Steve Bannon was demoted, and now GOP pundit K.T. McFarland got the axe. Known for bragging in a meeting about “wearing shoes from Ivanka Trump’s brand,” she early on in her brief tenure told seasoned staff members that they needed to “make America great again.” Her disappearance follows several other potential major DDT-chosen players in the administration during just a few months. Evidently she was offered a job as ambassador to Singapore.

No More Data to Shame “Sanctuary Cities”: After only three weeks of publishing a weekly report about cities that supposedly refused to cooperate with ICE, DDT has stopped this effort because of massive mistakes. Another reason may be that the reports show the incompetency of ICE as they confused different counties in statistics and blamed some areas for events in others.

Texas Voters Win: Veasy v. Abbott has been wandering the courts for years, but the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has concluded that the Texas voter ID law’s intent is discriminatory against minorities. If the court order is upheld on appeal, the entire law would be thrown out, and Texas would be brought back under federal supervision. The question now is whether five SCOTUS justices will agree if the high court takes the case.

Iran Deal Successful: One of DDT’s virulent criticisms during the campaign was President Obama’s agreement with Iran to control its nuclear weapons. Iran is following the agreement—probably to the disappointment of DDT who would like to see failure for all the former president’s actions.

Lawsuit of the Week: Watchdog groups plan to sue DDT because he has stopped releasing logs of visitors to the White House, including lobbyists. The problem became obvious last week when Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) reviewed intelligence reports on the White House grounds before he briefed DDT about what DDT’s staff told him. In the past, exceptions to the visitor logs have been private visits to the family. The defendant is the Department of Homeland Security, overseeing the Secret Service, which is subject to freedom of information requests. Information is also being sought from DDT properties where he holds meetings such as Mar-a-Lago.

Climate Lawsuits against DDT: Seventeen states are suing the federal administration regarding DDT’s orders to promote climate change, including the implementation of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan that sets standards for power plants. The group also notified Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, that they will sue to if the government stalls on standards requiring specific electrical items meet low-carbon emission goals. In addition, it has petitioned New York federal courts to force DDT to implement efficiency standards for other goods, citing no justifiable reason for delaying these regulations for another six months.

Resistance: Lest DDT think that the protesting against him and his policies have been quelled, three protest marches are scheduled for the second half of April, one of them tomorrow:

  • April 15: Tax March, demanding that DDT release his tax returns.
  • April 22: March for Science, building a “broad, nonpartisan, and diverse coalition of organizations and individuals who stand up for science. We are advocating for evidence-based policymaking, science education, research funding, and inclusive and accessible science.”
  • April 29: People’s Climate March, defending the environment and mitigating the harmful effects of climate change.

More failures and bit more of Trumpia tomorrow.

May 15, 2015

House Gives DOD $612 with No Audit

When sequestration spending caps were passed in 2011 to avoid the debt ceiling crisis, over 200 congressional Republicans voted in favor of the law. Since then, the GOP has not changed the law, but today the House defied it by passing a $612 billion defense bill with all except eight Republicans  in favor of the budget. Ceilings on everything else–infrastructure, safety net, etc.–are just fine, according to these Republicans, but the war industry needs more money.

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) moaned about Democrats ignoring all “the sacrifices [the troops] make,” calling the Dems opposition “indefensible.”  The word “indefensible” is appropriate for the GOP’s refusal to protect military personnel and their families from predatory lending. After Defense Department officials created new safeguards last fall to implement new protections in this area, House GOP members tried to add a provision to the defense bill that would delay the new rules for at least a year. When that failed, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) introduced legislation to again block the DOD from putting its rules into effect. Payday loan companies gave almost $70,000 to Stivers’ campaign.

On the first day of the 114th Congress, Republicans made a rules change to cut 20 percent in Social Security disability benefits, hurting disabled veterans. The proposed GOP change in food stamps will deny 60,000 veterans this life-saving benefit. This year’s GOP funding bill is $1 billion short on providing care and services to veterans.

Last year the GOP failed to support bills that would help veterans have job security, retraining, counseling, and scholarships. Another failed bill because of the GOP would increase VA funding for home structural improvements for those veterans more than 50 percent disabled—for example, those who need a wheelchair ramp in order to live at home.

One of the 135 amendments that passed was a provision by Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) to stop the re-listing of the lesser prairie chicken on the endangered species list until 2021, unless the Interior Department determines that a conservation plan is not working. It passed 229-190. Someone might want to ask him how the lesser prairie chicken is related to defense.

A proposed amendment to consider undocumented immigrants with work permits through the DREAMERS program to serve in the military was voted down. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said the rejection was a jobs issue because the military is downsizing.

Also voted down was an amendment “in the form of a limited and narrow authorization against ISIS” because “the defense bill was not the place to debate the war,” according  Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).  As he added, “If not here, where?” President Obama’s airstrikes against ISIL began nine months ago, and he sent a proposal about this authorization three months ago. The GOP has avoided any discussion of this issue in Congress that has cost $2.1 billion with 3,700 airstrikes and about 3,000 military personal sent to Iraq. While the House GOP members are suing the president for his other actions, they oppose reining in his war authority. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) claims that the GOP can’t find 218 votes for any action.

As the GOP pushes the defense funding increase through the House, the Republicans ignore the history of DOD waste. The $400 billion Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter can’t pass even the most basic requirements necessary for flying in combat. At this time, it’s $170 billion over budget, and the only thing soaring about it is the cost. Auditors question whether it can serve its purpose as the Pentagon continues to throw more money at it. The jet is vulnerable to engine fires because of its design and the “precision-guided Small Diameter Bomb II doesn’t even fit on the Marine’s version of the jet,” according to Military.com. Software necessary to operate the bomb won’t be operational for another seven years–2022.

Recently appointed Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, oversaw the development of the F-35 fighter jet, which will cost the United States an unprecedented $1.5 trillion. He also oversaw production of $50 billion worth of MRAP armored vehicles with thousands of them scrapped almost immediately at a loss of over $2 billion. The 27,000 MRAPs sent to Iraq and Afghanistan resulted in an over-supply and were then decommissioned to militarize U.S. police departments in places as small as Dundee (MI), population 3,900. To Carter, “nuclear weapons don’t actually cost that much.” This is the program that will cost up to $1 trillion in the next three decades.

Federal auditors found a loss of $43 billion in Afghanistan reconstruction. The Pentagon has no answer for the missing funds other than it may have gone to more direct war needs. John F. Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said, “It’s like you gave your credit card to your teenage daughter or son and then you just never looked at the bills.” Tracking the $100 billion allocated for relief and reconstruction has been almost impossible. “We don’t even have a list from (the Defense Department) of where they spent the money. We have no centralized list of where the taxpayer money went in Afghanistan,” Sopko said.

A never-used $600 million C-27 aircraft sits on runways in Kabul and Germany, and a massive $34 million command center in Helmand has never been used and will probably be leveled. The empty 64,000-square-foot command center with an expensive air-conditioning system can hold over 1,000 people. Its incinerators cost $11.5 million, but no one was hired to run the machines. The military burned its trash in an open-air pit.

The Pentagon spent $7.6 billion fighting a war on opium in Afghanistan where the poppy crop is bigger than ever. The U.S. Air Force bought half a billion dollars worth of transport planes and scrapped them for six cents a pound. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built thousands of buildings for the Afghan military where contractors used low-quality insulation that’s so flammable that international codes prohibit its use. When contractors promised to stop its use and replace the faulty insulation, Maj. Gen. Michael Eyre stopped them. He wrote in a 2014 memo:

 “The typical occupant populations for these facilities are young, fit Afghan soldiers and recruits who have the physical ability to make a hasty retreat during a developing situation.”

The DOD wastes billions of dollars in just spare parts. For example, Boeing overcharges up to 177,000 percent; Hamilton Sundstrand is more reasonable at only 900 percent. A redacted version of a July 2014 report showed that the Pentagon overpaid Bell Helicopter 395 percent-$9 million–just on 33 of 35 sole-source commercial parts.

GOP legislators and presidential candidates are being lobbied by arms dealers to raise the defense budget and go to war. Former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), ex-chair of the House Intelligence Committee, heads up the group called Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security to front for the military-industrial complex. Known for claiming that Edward Snowden was a Russian double agent, Rogers pushed for unlimited surveillance through the CISPA bill and support of NSA.

Rogers’ wife, Kristi Rogers, serves as President and CEO of Aegis LLC, a defense contractor with a $10 billion contract to provide security and intelligence-gathering services to the State Department. The board of his lobbying group is a virtual who’s who of the defense industry and a prominent partner of the New Hampshire GOP.  The situation is reminiscent of former Vice President Dick Cheney’s $34 million pay-off oilfield services provider Halliburton before he instigated the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The Pentagon doesn’t even want some of the things that Congress is pushing on them. For example, this $8.76 billion:

  • $4.7 billion: refueling the USS George Washington.
  • $1.46 billion:  15 EA-18G Growler electronic warfare planes.
  • $1 billion: starting on an additional San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship.
  • $479 million: four F-35 fighter jets raising the total to 38).
  • $341 million: modernizing 12 Apache helicopters and nine Black Hawk helicopters.
  • $200 million:  another Joint High Speed Vessel ship.
  • $155 million: 12 more MQ-9 Reaper drones.
  • $154 million: another P-8A Poseidon Navy surveillance aircraft.
  • $120 million: M1 Abrams tank upgrades.
  • $150 million: medium and heavy tactical vehicles.

In the past 46 years, food stamps have cost taxpayers $1.035 trillion. That’s less than three times the annual defense budget that the House passed today. Wisconsin is trying to keep people on food stamps from buying shredded cheese while the $43 billion lost in Afghanistan is negligible. At the same time that Congress adds to the defense budget, it cuts security for embassies.

The following chart shows how the U.S. defense budget compares to those in the countries nearest the U.S. in expenditures:

military 2015

The House plans to throw at least $612 billion at the Pentagon without knowing where the taxpayer monies go. In 1990, Congress passed a law requiring all government agencies to achieve audit-readiness. Only the Pentagon has not achieved this within the ensuing two and a half decades. Since the first audit was due in 1997, Congress has extended the deadline several times, most recently until 2017. Boehner and the other House members who voted for the bloated defense budget must instinctively know that the Pentagon needs $612 billion. If Amtrak can survive on an 18-percent reduction, so can the Department of Defense.

July 24, 2012

GOP Vision for America

Yesterday I had breakfast with a friend who used to be a Republican, and I realized how lucky Democrats are these days. Not everyone in the party is  enamored with everything that Obama does, and the Democrat lawmakers are sometimes irritating. But the old-guard Republicans are lost.

During our discussion she said, “I’ve lost my party! I don’t tell anybody that I’m a Republican any more. I say that I’m an independent.” So I thought about the Republican vision for the United States: miserly, selfish, controlling, and violent. Conservatives are changing the United States from the “can do” to the “won’t do” beliefs.

Violence, of course, comes from the conservatives’ attitude toward gun control. It’s not just that they want everybody to have one or two guns in the house to protect themselves and use for recreational hunting. Instead, they want everyone to have as much fire power as they can afford to buy without considering that a restriction in this–or even licensing guns–might result in fewer deaths. The recently deposed head of the Arizona state senate, Russell Pearce, accuses the people in the Aurora (CO) theater of being cowards for not taking down the young man with four weapons and unlimited rounds for them at his disposal.

As for the current war in Afghanistan, the one that costs us $88.5 a year and where the country wants us to leave, the House managed to debate our situation there—for one hour. That’s all the nation’s destiny is worth to these people.

The conservatives’ craving for control has been clearly shown through the conservatives’ drive to eradicate unions, primarily for teachers, and contraception availability. Both these destroy salaries for women because teaching has been one place in the past where women can come closer to achieving economic equality. Without a decent salary, without the fair pay act which would require that women are paid the same as men for the same work, and without the chance to avoid pregnancy, women are losing the ability to stay out of poverty, where the conservatives think that they don’t deserve help. They want to control women.

Another control from the Republicans is the rash of laws mandating restrictive photo IDs for voting. Initially conservatives said the purpose was to prevent voter fraud, but by now they are admitting, as all sane people knew, that there was no fraud. Pennsylvania Republican House Leader Mike Turzai said,  “[…] Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.” Conservatives simply tried to remove as many progressive voters from participating in the election as possible.

Michigan is now a prime battleground against Republican control of municipalities and school districts by dictators appointed by the governor. The process started over a year ago with Public Act 4, signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, that extended emergency manager laws. In Michigan, an emergency manager gives all orders in the town or school district and can break contracts and fire elected officials. The first city that Snyder took over, in the name of fiscal problems, was a tiny, largely black town because a wealthy developer wanted to build a golf course on a public park along the lake.

In protest to the Michigan law, a coalition called Stand Up for Democracy submitted 226,000 signatures for a referendum to overturn the law. They needed just under 162,000, and the Bureau of Elections found 203,238 valid signatures. Another organization challenged the petitions on the basis of wrong font size. The Republicans on the Board of Canvassers succeeded in declaring all petitions invalid. Last month the state Court of Appeals ruled that the signatures should be accepted, allowing a public vote in November. That decision has been appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court which will hear the case tomorrow. Part of the debate will be how the “point” and “type” should be measured, whether by size of the printer’s block or the actual printed character. This comes from the anti-regulation party.

In its supposed craving for austerity, conservative lawmakers have one response for any action that would help the country: we can’t afford it. And they use this excuse with no justification. Health care won’t bankrupt the country as demonstrated by all the other countries with universal health care, but we can be bankrupted with escalating costs and a sick workforce with lost work days and productivity. In fact, repealing the health care act will cost the country $109 billion that the taxpayers will save if we keep the law. The World Health Organization reports that the United States spends 16 percent of its GDP, the highest portion of any country, on health care but ranks 37th out of 191 countries in performance. By contrast the United Kingdom spends 6 percent of its GDP but rates 18th in performance, almost 20 places higher than the U.S.

Social Security isn’t bankrupting the country; it just needs some tweaking the way that President Reagan did 30 years ago. And green energy isn’t too expensive; it hasn’t bankrupted Denmark. Start-up costs for anything are more expensive as the country found out with technology such as television and computers. This area combines austerity with selfishness because those huge corporations that present everyone with high utility bills, charge high gas prices, and give everyone dirty air and water don’t want to lose their customers. Republicans keep talking about all the money that the government lost in solar companies going bankrupt. Facts show companies lost less than 4 percent of the total program funding for alternative energy. Because Chinese companies got massive government subsidies, they were able to flood the U.S. market with solar equipment. Yet this is the time to continue the program because the drop in prices because of Chinese solar panels greatly reduces installation costs.

In its austerity, conservatives balk at providing sufficient education for the nation’s young people. In 2003 the US ranked 15th of 29 in reading literacy, 21st of 30 in scientific literacy, 25th of 30 in mathematics, 24th of 29 in problem solving. Conservatives claim that the United States has bad teachers as conservative lawmakers continue to starve the schools and increase the number of students in classes. The United States conservatives also want to charge high interest rates on student loans for higher education while Europe and Russia have tuition-free colleges and universities free to reduce the shortage of workers in specific fields.

In their selfishness, conservatives frequently avoid addressing a need. The farm bill expires on September 30, but House Republican leaders don’t plan to do anything about it. The bill would save $35 billion during the next 10 years, but Republicans don’t want to touch it until after the November election—an attitude that they seem to have for any legislative activity. Nothing like this has happened for at least a half century. Doing this will put the farmers suffering from the worst drought since the middle of the last century with Medicare doctors whose pay will run out, fired workers who worry about jobless benefits, and possibly millions of families whose tax breaks may expire. The Senate has already approved its farm bill so that the House needs to stop whining about the Senate not taking any action.

If the conservatives want to save the country, they need to take a hard look at the defense budget. The United States not only spends more money than any other country but also spends more than the next 14 nations combined. This nation’s military budget accounts for 41% of the total military spending in the entire world. This is the conservatives’ “dream for America.” T

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