Nel's New Day

June 16, 2021

Biden Returns, World Changes Continue

President Joe Biden has returned from eight days in Europe—misnamed “vacation” by my conservative newspaper from Eugene (OR)—and ruffled few feathers. Compared to the ongoing disaster from any time Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) left the U.S., the trip appeared productive and short on viral media attention. Six of the G7 countries refused to hold a summit in 2019 because of DDT’s egregious behavior. The Republican National Committee (RNC), however, decided to create controversy.

Biden’s culminating activity of his three-country diplomatic tour was a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva. RNC Communications Director Danielle Alvarez accused Biden of giving Putin a “win,” just by the act of meeting with him, and damned Biden’s “foreign policy failures” that have “strengthened Russia at the expense of our country.” Republicans obviously forgot their support of their man in the White House owned by Putin while GOP legislatures refused to block Russian interference in the presidential elections when DDT was a candidate.

In Helsinki, DDT stood next to Putin, saying he believed the Russian president’s statement that he didn’t interfere and didn’t “see any reason why” Russia would have interfered in 2016, contradicting U.S. intelligence agencies.

Republicans are walking a very fine line, trying to look tough on Russia while kissing the ring of the man who supported Russia in everything it does.

A few of Biden’s accomplishments:

  • Reassurance that the U.S. will be a part of the democratic part of the world by being a more reliable diplomatic presence;
  • Meeting with NATO allies to promise a “rock solid and unshakable” military alliance;
  • A pledge of 500 million doses of COVID vaccine to the world to speed up vaccinations;
  • A joint communiqué from the G7 endorsing a global minimum tax for equity and financing infrastructure projects in the developing world to counter China’s influence;
  • Response to “China’s nonmarket conomic practices and the need to speak out against human rights abuses”;
  • The need for “supply chain resilience and technology standards so that democracies are aligned and supporting each other”;
  • An overhaul of international tax laws to ban large multinational companies from locating tax havens;
  • An investigation of COVID origins in china;
  • Alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, its overseas lending and investing push spread across Africa, Latin America, and into Europe;
  • Freeze on the huge 17-year-old trade dispute between Boeing and Airbus to focus on new competition, possibly from China.

Biden participated in the G7 Summit experiencing success in the world’s respect. When DDT left the White House, he asked Biden not to lose the mythical respect he thought he had gained for the United States. At the end of DDT’s four years, 83 percent of 16 countries lacked confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing about world affairs whereas 17 percent did. Just a few months into his first term, Biden flipped that lack of confidence in the U.S.: 75 percent of these respondents have confidence in the president, and 22 percent don’t. DDT’s finish had a 63-percent unfavorable view of the U.S. with a 34 percent favorable perspective. The view under Biden is just the opposite—62 percent favorable and 36 percent not.  

A recent example of renewed favorability came after Biden’s conversation with the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “It’s a breath of fresh air,” Johnson said about his discussion with Biden regarding what they can accomplish together.

A few nuances keep the U.S. from more positive views, such as using the U.S. as a model of democracy. That, however, is the fault of the GOP and not the president. Republicans are fond of complaining about how Democratic presidents lose “the trust and confidence of our friends,” as Jeb Bush insisted about the Barack administration. Yet President Obama largely repaired the Bush/Cheney damage, and Biden is doing the same thing for the DDT devastation.

While Biden was away from the U.S., Israel’s parliament rejected Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister, but he’s playing the same game that people feared DDT would: he won’t leave the prime minister’s residence. Instead he’s staying there and entertaining foreign dignitaries. Netanyahu stayed at the official residence for six weeks after he was last voted out of office in 1999.

In the United States, Fox’s Tucker Carlson spread another baseless conspiracy theory about the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, that the attack was organized by FBI agents who were present at the riot. Thus far, over 500 of the 800 people in the Capitol have been charged, but Carlson focused on the others who he called FBI operatives. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) are promoting the lies.

Last Friday, AG Merrick Garland called the expansion of voting rights “to all eligible citizens” a “central pillar” to democracy in the U.S. He promised the DOJ would protect this democracy and doubled the Civil Rights Division’s voting rights enforcement staff with an additional members within 30 days. In addition, he promised to scrutinize “post-election audits to ensure they abide by federal statutory requirements to protect election records and avoid the intimidation of voters.” Garland asked for Congressional help from Congress to pass two bills waiting for Senate action: the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. 

Garland also laid out his strategy to combat domestic terrorism, tying it to the violence of the January 6 insurrection. Citing a number of domestic violence in recent history, he addressed threats by White supremacists and right-wing militia to be stopped by shared information on all government levels, prevention of domestic terrorism recruitment and violent mobilization, blocking domestic terrorism activity, and confronting long-term contributors to domestic terrorism. The task will tackle racism, gun violence, and mass murders with attention to mental health and education promoting tolerance and respect.

At the request of the House Intelligence Committee Democrats, the DOJ’s inspector general is investigating DOJ’s past probes into DDT’s political enemies, including subpoenas collecting metadata from lawmakers, staff, and some family members. DDT even subpoenaed information about his own White House Counsel Don McGahn. Microsoft also received a subpoena in 2017 for a congressional staffer’s personal email account, also with a gag order. DDT’s former AGs Jeff Session and Bill Barr say they know nothing about the investigation. Democratic lawmakers want Barr and Sessions to testify under oath about the investigations. Republicans are determined to block any subpoenas for them. Barr may have lied during his confirmation hearings when he said he knew nothing about whether DDT had pressed the DOJ to open any investigations.

The Pulitzer Board gave Darnella Frazier, who was 17 when she recorded the police officer killing Floyd, a special citation for the video which went viral and led to protests around the world. It was likely an important factor in the policeman’s conviction. The board honored Frazier for “highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quest for truth and justice.”

An Alaska indigenous corporation owning 44,000 acres of land near Bristol Bay voted to sell conservation easements to an environmental nonprofit, destroying plans to build a gold and copper mine eliminating the world’s most prolific sockeye salmon fishery. The mining industry has fought for 40 years to buy the easements, but the easements can protect the area from developments, including the mining operation’s plan for an 82-mile road and contamination from the proposed Pebble Mine.

Biden is moving to “repeal or replace” DDT’s rule permitting roads and other developments in over half Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, protected at the end of Bill Clinton’s second term. George W. Bush held timber sales in the national forest before a judge reinstated Clinton’s rule.

Reagan National University in Sioux Falls (SD) lost its accreditation—and federal funds—given by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who resuscitated a questionable accrediting agency. The school has no students, no faculty, and no classrooms. The agency, which accredited other for-profit schools closing after stealing billions of dollars from students, is also gone.

Former Oregon legislator Mike Nearman made history when he was the first legislative member expelled from the House in its 162 years. He was the only person to vote for him to remain; 22 other Republicans voted against him. During a special session on December 21, Nearman had opened a door in the state capitol allowing violent armed protesters to enter after telling them to text him. He faces criminal misconduct charges. 

Update: A veteran who had his speech censored when the Hudson (OH) American Legion chapter leaders cut off his microphone will give that speech at the Legion’s Buckeye Boys State, teaching male youth about government. In a speech commemorating Memorial Day, Retired Army Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter gave the days history about freed Black slaves beginning the tradition when they honored fallen Union soldiers during the Civil War by burying them, decorating their graves, and holding a parade for them. The Legion chapter is temporarily suspended with a meeting to discuss its future schedule later this month.

June 13, 2021

The Polarization of Religion

Until the last half century, Christian religions in the U.S. believed in the separation of church and state: they ran their religions and let government run the country. Until the 1970s, evangelical Christians focused on piety, but secular political activists began working with the rising generation of evangelical leaders such as James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, and Billy Graham. Their desire for power led them to support a twice-married man whose children were alienated instead of an evangelical progressive president for their next leader. Since then, conservatives calling themselves the “Moral Majority” have lost the meaning of “moral” and shrinking enough that the “majority” is disappearing.

These are some recent examples of how conservatives care nothing about morality if they can control the government. Their disregard for the following the ethics of Christianity, however, may be losing membership for conservative Christianity.

People of Praise, the small offshoot of the Catholic Church, is under investigation for sexual misconduct. DDT’s Justice Amy Coney Barrett is a member. In December, a woman reported to the police about her high school physics teacher at the religion’s school sexually assaulting her in 2001 when she was 17. She reported the assault to the school dean five years later. The teacher remained for another five years, despite the dean believing the girl and telling another school official, until the teacher was hired to lead a Phoenix (AZ) charter school, Great Hearts Academies, that didn’t ask for his employment record. He returned to the Minneapolis area in another four year and became headmaster of another Christian school. Last month, the school, Chesterton Academy of the Twin Cities, announced the teacher was taking an indefinite leave of absence because of the sexual assault allegation. Other former members of the religion have reported assault and physical abuse. After Barrett was nominated for the Supreme Court, they formed a private Facebook group. With a membership of 1,700, the People of Praise can’t afford to lose any members.

The Southern Baptist Church, with the largest denomination among Protestants, is suffering the same polarization as political groups—arguments about racism, requirements for political loyalty, etc. As in the government, conservatives fear the groups has gone too far to the left from the Bible’s strict authority as well as concern with racism and gender issues. They want to take over complete power at the upcoming week’s meeting of 16,000 Southern Baptist pastors and leaders in Nashville (TN). They expressed other concerns such as suitability of women giving sermons, treatment of sexual abuse, and the dangers of “critical race theory” allowing history and other information about racism.

The fight using leaked letters and whistle-blower recorders has continued for weeks. Relative moderates such as Russell Moore and (no relation) Beth Moore (no relation to Russell) have left, and conservatives rejoiced at their absences. The conservative campaign of “take the ship” is using T-shirts with the slogan and car flags with a pirate image. Southern Baptists are back to their “roots,” splitting from the Northern members in 1845 because of the SBC’s support for slavery. In the 1990s, the church tried diversification, and the current president, J.D. Greear, encouraged the church’s membership to assert “Black lives matter” in the past year. Ordaining women as staff pastors may have driven conservatives over the edge.

Conservatives urge their leadership to attend next week’s meeting and elect a conservative president. His election may drive off more members because conservatives can try to block any mention of CRT and ignore sexual abuse within the church. Two years ago, the Southern Baptists promised to address sexual abuse within its congregations, but nothing has changed. The conservatives’ choice for president has been accused of blocking attempts to root out abusers and stop “bullying and intimidation” toward sexual abuse survivors.

In a closed meeting, one of the conservatives said that their need to “preserve their base” overrides working against sexual abuse. The church’s “base” has shrunk for 13 straight years, down to 14.5 million in two years by 287,000 members, partly caused by conservatives worshipping the cult of DDT.  

This month, Pope Francis expanded rules in the Catholic Church against sexual abuse to criminalize sexual abuse of adults by priests and laypeople with power in the church. The Catholic Church has had difficulty adjudicating child abuse, but the sexual abuse against adults can be even harder. In the past, Church law considered sexual relationships between priests and consenting adults sinful but not criminal. Priests were rarely removed from their position.

Although the pope’s new rule appears to be positive, at least a dozen priests accused of abuse have been sent back to their parishes or to new positions within the Church, some of them after the Vatican overturned recommendations from local dioceses. Chicago priest Michael Pfleuger was reinstated after multiple accusations of sexual abuse. One of his accusers called it “a cover-up because of his popularity” and described Pfleuger’s abuse. Investigating boards claimed they found no evidence although they didn’t talk to the priests’ victims.

Texas has a new church, the “Rod of Iron Ministries,” for those who want to worship guns, preferably AR-15s. It plans to provide sanctuary for “patriots” from the war they believe will come from the “deep state.” The leader of the “Sanctuary Church,” is Hyung Jin “Sean” Moon, son of Sun Myung who founded the Unification Church. Their followers were nicknamed the “Moonies.” The younger Moon said the new church’s name comes from the Book of Revelation stating Jesus used a “rod of iron” to protect himself and others, which Moon took to mean the AR-15. Co-founder of the church is Moon’s brother, Kook-jin “Justin” Moon, the CEO of nearby gun manufacturing company Kahr Arms.

Former Moonies are horrified with the new church, saying “these people are just getting crazier and crazier… I don’t know what’s going to happen next.”  [Visual – Moon]  Follower Nicholas Skulstad was arrested last month for allegedly ramming his car repeatedly into a New York Department of Transport vehicle in Westchester, New York, smashing its window, and attacking officers at the scene. He screamed, “I’m Jesus Christ! You are going to die today! Are you ready to die?” His car contained a “List-to-Kill” of current and former public officials and other figures. Earlier he told people the COVID vaccine was the “mark of the beast” and talked about the coming “purge” to eradicate everyone who “commits evil, like pedophiles.”

Echoing Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been voted out of power, in his case after a 12-year rule. The event took two years and four elections, but the center joined the left in Parliament for a 60 to 59 vote. Unlike the U.S., violence has not yet erupted, but members of the ultra-Orthodox parties loudly heckled the new administration. Netanyahu promised to overturn the election, like DDT, and his loss of the office leaves him open to legal problems after being indicted for bribery and corruption.

While in office, DDT tried to restructure the Middle East under the control of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Netanyahu. The triad would overrule a 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel that would force Jordan out of overseer of Jerusalem’s Christian and Muslim holy sites. Kushner deliberately ignored history to overlook religion of the past by creating an economic alliance. The plan has currently failed: DDT and Netanyahu are both gone, MBS is out of favor with the white House, and Jordan has regained power, visiting the White House this summer.  

Christian-nationalists believe that God’s will should control the U.S. and anyone not Christian in the “right” way or won’t conform to their agenda is illegitimate. Thus overthrowing an election is justifiable. Less than a year ago, 68 percent of white evangelicals believed that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were divinely inspired; the figure increased to 74 percent within six months. Another 68 percent believe that the January 6 insurrection was caused by Black Lives Matter and Antifa. According to a recent study, 27 percent of white evangelicals, more than any other religious group, believe QAnon beliefs are “mostly true.” And 67 percent of evangelicals think DDT’s loss was “not at all fair.”

Polling on QAnon believers from the Public Religion Research Institute and the Interfaith Youth Core:

By party: 23 percent of Republicans, 12 percent of independents, and 7 percent of Democrats support QAnon conspiracy theories.

Overall: 14 percent of Americans believe in QAnon, 46 percent reject it outright, and 40 percent are doubters but don’t rule it all out.

Specific questions increased the percentage to 15 or 20 percent:  A group of Satan-worshipping pedophile and child sex traffickers control the U.S. media, government, and financial worlds;  if a storm will soon sweep away the elites and restore the rightful leaders (20 percent); and true American patriots may have to resort to violence” to save America.

“Things have gotten so off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country,” according to 28 percent of Republicans.   

Cicadas return every 17 years, flying around and sometimes landing on people. When one landed on President Joe Biden’s neck as he was leaving for the G7 summit, QAnon went crazier. The cicada was a secret sign about big things to happen.

Child (nymph) + underground + 17 = pedophiles operating an underground sex-trafficking ring because Q is the 17th letter of the alphabet.

It’s Sunday, and here is religion in the United States.  

May 21, 2021

U.S. Involvement in Israel/Palestine Combat

After 11 days of Hamas-fired rockets and Israeli shelling destroying much of Palestinian infrastructure and killing 232 Palestinians, an Egypt-brokered ceasefire stopped—at least briefly—firing on both sides. Israel’s security cabinet unanimously approved the ceasefire, and Hamas agreed “as long as the occupation is committed.” Twelve Israelis died from the rocketing in the 11 days, including two children; Israel killed at least 65 Palestinian children. 

Hamas said that Israel had granted concessions on several points, but Israel said it only agreed to stop military operations. Israel Defenses said that the 200 hours of bombardment had succeeded in degrading the Hamas’ capability in Gaza. Devastated electricity and water systems are producing a humanitarian crisis, and Israel blocked trucks carrying medical supplies and relief workers into Gaza to help injured Palestinians. (Israel blames Hamas attacks for blocking the trucks.) Shelling also damaged the health and sewage systems, closed schools for 600,000 students, and displaced almost 100,000 people from their homes. 

After defending Israel’s attacks, President Joe Biden told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that he “expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a cease-fire.” The demand was a huge change from the previous administration giving Netanyahu anything he wanted. With a weak leadership in Israel’s parliament, Netanyahu is caught between needing the U.S. as an ally and the appearance of strength for his right-wing base. U.S. gives over $3 billion a year to Israel and is poised to sell Israel with $735 million of precision-guided weapons. Congress could block this sale, and members of Congress are pointing out that the U.S. knows its sale of billions of dollars of weapons to Israel will be used to displace and kill Palestinians.

Immediately after Biden asked Netanyahu for a “vital de-escalation,” Israel fired on a “variety of targets” in Lebanon. This past week Palestinian workers in Israel and occupied territories went on strike. Violence erupted in cities while stores were shuttered. Palestinians represent 20 percent of the Israeli population in a system of apartheid denying the same rights to Palestinians as to Jews.

Before the 11-day combat, unemployment in Gaza was about 50 percent, and everything going in and out of Gaza, including electricity and fuel, was controlled by Israeli and Egyptian governments. Israel also controls Gaza’s airspace, maritime access, and cellular data as well as restricts Palestinian access to farmland beside Gaza’s perimeter.

Journalists are targets for Israelis: an airstrike killed Palestinian Yusef Abu Hussein in his home and Reema Saad, four months pregnant, with her four-year-old son. Last weekend on the Jewish Sabbath, the military deliberately destroyed the building housing the Associated Press Gaza bureau and other news agencies. Israeli airstrikes damaged or destroyed the offices of at least 18 media outlets. For almost a week, Israel refused to process applications for journalists to cover the conflict, leaving them unsure of when news agencies not already on the ground of when they could be permitted entry. If the AP had not been in Gaza when its building was blown up, it could not get into the area. The AP can continue reporting, but its president described the effect of Israel’s destroying the building where the news agency had a bureau for 15 years:

“The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.”

Israel’s autocratic behavior mimics the attitude of media-freedom abuse from the previous U.S. administration, and Biden’s administration must now address a principle of free expression and the anti-media sentiment developed during the past four years.

The combat was triggered by Israel’s refusal to permit Palestinians into Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque and its eviction of Palestinian families from their area in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Israeli law allows Jews to reclaim property they or families owned in Jerusalem before the division of the city into quarters before 1948 if they can prove their ownership, yet 750,000 displaced Palestinians cannot claim rights to property in Jerusalem or other parts of Israel, even if they prove ownership. Thus non-Jewish families are being evicted. Most countries do not recognize Israel’s sovereignty in East Jerusalem and claim that evictions violate international law.

Israeli security forces confronted Palestinian civilians on the most important night of their religious celebration of Ramadan, Laylat-al-Qadr, causing clashes at the Noble Sanctuary, the Temple Mount sacred to both Jews and Muslims. Surrounding countries—Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates—all made official statements of concern or condemnation. Yet the Arab countries all want continued diplomatic, commercial, and security cooperation with Israel.

U.S. presidents generally avoid the issue of Israeli settlements. President George H.W. Bush tried to stop loan guarantees to Israel if the country didn’t stop building settlements, and President Barack Obama pushed Netanyahu into a hiatus of settlement building. Yet, neither Bush nor Obama took action to bring Israel’s growing annexation, violating international law, to any end.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) assigned his son-in-law Jared Kushner to make peace between Israel and Palestine. Six months before DDT left the White House, he announced peace in the Middle East with the Abraham Accords agreement between Israel and four Arab countries—but no input from Palestine. The announcement of the deal in August 2020 promised the end of Israel’s annexation of Palestine’s West Bank, but the arrangement was only a business transaction to give Netanyahu everything he wanted.

The United Arab Emirates would invest in Israeli hi-tech firms, manufacturing, healthcare, and agriculture while cooperating on military production. Bahrain and Sudan also benefit, and the agreement causes problems in violating international law and diplomacy by recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara in opposition by the people of that territory. The arrangement also complicates U.S. relationships with Algeria, which supports Western Sahara’s right to self-determination, and North Africa. Palestine, however, is left to the mercy of Israel’s systematic ethnic cleansing while Israel expels Palestinians from their homes and ignores the needs of the other countries in the agreement. Close connections between Kushner and his family with Jewish investments guaranteed favoritism for Israel.

U.S. citizens are large donors to the non-profit Central Fund of Israel funneling money to the Israel Land Fund, which purchases land in Palestinian neighborhoods throughout occupied East Jerusalem to sell to Jewish settlers. These donors receive tax deductions to promote apartheid in the West Bank, giving over $220 million from 2009 to 2013 to Israeli settler organizations. The movement of Jewish settlers into Palestinian land is part of the plan to create Jewish dominance over Palestinians and destroy any hope of a Palestinian state with a capital in part of Jerusalem.

While in the White House, DDT favored not only Netanyahu but also all efforts to destroy Palestine. He removed any financial aid from Palestinians while declaring Jerusalem, belonging to different countries, the “capital” of Israel by moving the U.S. embassy there. He supported Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and provide aid to Israel. Over a year ago, DDT exhibited how much he was willing to give Netanyahu with his “deal of the century” between Israel and Palestine: Israel wins and Palestine loses in a deal with no Palestinian input.

A February decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) could cause problems for Israel with a ruling that ICC has jurisdiction over war crimes in Palestinian territories committed by Israel and Hamas. Netanyahu rejects the jurisdiction, but Palestinian officials welcome the news. Israel could face charges for the Gaza Strip blockade, settlement policies in which Jews occupy Palestinian land, and the number of Israel attacks against the Palestinians.

For the first time in a conflict between Palestine and Israel, the Democratic party is not acting in concert to support Israel. An authority in the continuing battle between Palestine and Israel, Sahar Aziz, explains that the change comes from the growing understanding in the U.S. of systemic racist oppression from the Black Lives Matter movement, particularly among the younger generation. Like Blacks, Native Americans, and Muslims, Palestinians have been demonized and dehumanized with impunity.

Between 2001 and 2011, over 50 percent of people in the U.S. had sympathies toward Israel compared with under 20 percent for Palestinians. The percentage began to equalize at 25 percent among Democrats in 2018 although Republican voters’ sympathy for Israel stayed at 79 percent. DDT’s xenophobic rhetoric along with the increasing videoed murders of unarmed Black men by police officers pushed a progressive, anti-racist movement among Democrats. By last March, 53 percent of Democrat wished the U.S. government to pressure Israel into compromising about Palestine.

On May 13, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), the first Palestinian elected to Congress, said, “We must with no hesitation demand that our country recognize the unconditional support of Israel has enabled the erasure of Palestinian life.” Twenty-one House members now co-sponsor the bill “Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation.” It would create more oversight and restrictions on Israel’s use of U.S. foreign aid. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) succinctly explained the bill’s objective:

“Not one dollar more of US military aid can be used to demolish Palestinian homes, annex Palestinian lands, and torture or kill Palestinian children.”

Traditionally, such statements are associated with anti-Semitism, but an anti-racist movement is developing an understanding of Palestinian oppression in at least one U.S. political party.

April 15, 2021

Biden’s Foreign Policy, Domestic Terrorism

While Republicans complain about President Joe Biden’s inaction and lack of lying bombast exhibited by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), Biden is quietly strengthening U.S. foreign policy.

Today Biden sanctioned 40 Russian groups and individuals for the Russian major cyber espionage operation, operations to elect DDT in the past two presidential elections, the massive Russian buildup on the Ukrainian border, and Russia’s ongoing occupation and “severe human rights abuses” in Crimea. He blocked U.S. financial institutions from purchasing bonds from Russia’s Central Bank, National Wealth Fund, and Ministry of Finance after June 14 and from lending money to these institutions. Biden also expelled ten people from Washington’s Russian diplomatic mission and considers sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt. He now proposes a summit where the U.S. and Russia can discuss these problems.

Republicans yell and whine about election fraud, but reports show DDT’s 2016 campaign manager in frequent, covert contact with a Chinese intelligence officer, once his business associate. Paul Manafort passed internal polling data to the operative who asked him to support a proposal to allow Chinese success in the South China Sea territorial disputes. Biden sanctioned the operative Konstantin Kilimnik, identified as a “Russian and Ukrainian political consultant and known Russian Intelligence Services agent implementing influence operations on their behalf.” Manafort promoted the lie, still pushed by GOP congressional members, that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election on DDT’s behalf. The FBI has a reward of $250,000 for Kilimnik’s arrest. DDT pardoned Manafort and freed him from prison. 

Kilimnik’s information from Manafort went through a secret pipeline, perhaps used throughout DDT’s four-year term, directly to Russian intelligence to defeat Hillary Clinton. A Senate Intelligence Committee report, endorsed by Republicans, marked him a “grave counterintelligence threat.” Secretary of State Antony echoed the Senate report by repeating the U.S. intelligence report that Russia “presents one of the most serious intelligence threats to the United States.”

This week, Biden also gave September 11, 2021, as the deadline for removing the last 2,500 U.S. military members from Afghanistan. He selected the 20th anniversary of the foreign terrorist attack on U.S. soil killing 3,000 people which led George W. Bush to start the “military mission” in the Middle East costing U.S. taxpayers almost $7 trillion. Biden said he will not pass the war to a fifth president and is following DDT’s agreement with the Taliban to withdraw troops.

Today Secretary of State Antony Blinken followed Biden’s announcement with a surprise visit to Afghan leaders in Kabul and repeated the U.S. commitment to helping their government. He emphasized counter-terrorism cooperation and “protecting the rights of women and girls,” according to a department announcement.

Biden has also sent an unofficial delegation to Taiwan as “an important signal about the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and its democracy,” according to an official. Last week, the USS John S. McCain went through the Taiwan Strait, and the carrier Theodore Roosevelt went to the South China Sea for “routine operations.” China typically protests the U.S. being in those international waters, especially with its support for Taiwan.

Biden plans to meet Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, hoping for a joint statement supporting Taiwan and discussing China’s treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang and influence over Hong Kong. Japan and the U.S. have not had a joint statement about Taiwan for over 50 years. The meeting prefaces one in May with Biden and South Korea’s President Moon Jae about managing China’s rising power and that of North Korea with the help of the Quad—Australia, India, Japan, and North Korea.

A U.S. negotiating team in Vienna led by Robert Malley is working with Iran representatives to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement. Initially, they are working on the over 700 sanctions imposed by DDT to permanently destroy the deal. In efforts to scuttle any deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed pleasure when opposing Israelis reportedly bombed an Iranian nuclear facility. If Biden succeeds in redeeming the agreement, he plans to “expand and strengthen” the pact by covering Iran’s militant activities and missile program to obtain support from congressional opposition. Iran may hold off until after their elections in June.

Today, Inspector General Michael Bolton testified before the House Administration Committee about the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and argued for a campus security overhaul. He said a deputy assistant chief of police told officers not to use any weapons including stingballs and 40mm launchers, weapons that could have helped them protect the Capitol. Thus far, one task force and over one-half dozen congressional committees have started investigations into why law enforcement failed to prevent the insurrection when hundreds of DDT’s supporters invaded and vandalized the Capitol building to stop the certification of Biden as the legal president.

Bolton, who may have the most complete examination of problems permitting the Capitol Police to be overrun by “deficiencies,” will continue the probe for several more months. He has already provided Congress with two interim reports about the lack of security clearances, personnel, equipment, and training to respond to these attacks. Calling for a “cultural change,” Bolton said law enforcement at the Capitol must move from the “traditional posture of a police department” to “a protection agency” focusing on preventing events like the January 6 riot. Preparation of a supplemental spending package for reforms of campus security will also use an evaluation from retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré requested by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA), in addition to Bolton’s recommendation to invest funding in training. That activity would include gathering, analyzing, and assessing intelligence for responses to future threats.

Following TheDonald.win before the Capitol attack would have made the high danger of violence on January 6 obvious. Participants covered ways to bring guns into D.C., quantity of ammunition, legal weapons such as stun guns and small knives, methods of attacking police officers with flagpoles and other objects, the best type of zip ties to use on congressional members certifying Biden’s election, and discussions of building the most effective gallows for use on disloyal congressional members according to the attackers. “Camarokirk” preferred a guillotine because it’s “more scary.” A dissenter brought up the problem of how “to get that big blade into town,” and the gallows the insurrectionists actually built, intended for VP Mike Pence, cost only $200. Many of the violent ideas on the website came to fruition on January 6 with right-wing domestic terrorists disrupting the presidential vote certification.

DDT encouraged the violence as shown by this tweet on December 19: 

 “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

Website users traded maps, travel information, money, hotel recommendations, and organizations of cross-country caravans. Also available on the website were diagrams of the tunnel systems below the Capitol complex and ways of creating a “wall of death” by pushing the mob forward, forcing police to give up their positions.

A recent report shows that DDT, who told his conservative terrorist Proud Boys to “stand by” in his first presidential debate with Biden, is completely wrong in his obsession about the “left-wing problem” of domestic terrorism. Asked at the debate about white supremacists and fringe militia groups, he saw them as political allies and then pushed the far-left menace as being the danger. According to information from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the new highs of domestic terrorism events are chiefly driven by white-supremacist, anti-Muslim, and anti-government extremists on the far right. The surge is the worst since the 1990s. The WaPo reported:

“Since 2015, right-wing extremists have been involved in 267 plots or attacks and 91 fatalities, the data shows. At the same time, attacks and plots ascribed to far-left views accounted for 66 incidents leading to 19 deaths…. More than a quarter of right-wing incidents and just under half of the deaths in those incidents were caused by people who showed support for white supremacy or claimed to belong to groups espousing that ideology, the analysis shows.”

The most common targets in these far-right events are mosques, synagogues, Black churches, abortion clinics, and government buildings, which have been “threatened, burned, bombed and hit with gunfire over the past six years.”

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) announced his panel would do a “significant dive” into domestic anti-government extremists, including radicalized groups’ possible connections to foreign allies. Earlier, Biden officials announced an overhaul of the government treatment of domestic terrorism with a “comprehensive threat assessment” by intelligence agencies. Former DHS officials from both parties agreed DDT’s failure to focus on “the rise of domestic threats” was among the agency’s problems. According to the NBC News report, these officials agreed:

“[I]t was the four years of inadequately monitoring and communicating the rising threat of right-wing domestic extremists that ultimately led to DHS’ failure to prevent [the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol].”

The New York Times reported that DDT’s administration “diverted” federal law enforcement and domestic security agencies, pressuring officials to “uncover a left-wing extremist criminal conspiracy that never materialized,” even as “the threat from the far right was building ominously.” It added that the FBI, “in particular, had increasingly expressed concern about the threat from white supremacists, long the top domestic terrorism threat, and well-organized far-right extremist groups that had allied themselves with the president.” DDT did not find these issues at all concerning. 

Time to “Build Back Better.”

January 29, 2020

Israeli, DDT ‘Peace Plan’ Lose-Lose

In an attempt to avoid bad publicity from his impeachment trial, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has announced his “deal of the century” between Israel and Palestine that he claims will create peace between the long-time adversaries. The “deal,” supposedly written by DDT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner but covered with Israeli fingerprints, has these provisions:

Israel would annex 30 percent of the Palestinian West Bank occupied by Israel with illegal Jewish-only settlements since 1967, Arab East Jerusalem, and the Jordan Valley.

Palestinians would have limited autonomy in primarily urban enclaves surrounded by Israel acquisitions.

Israel would control Palestinian borders, immigration, security, airspace, and aquifers.

Jerusalem would be Israel’s “undivided” capital with a possible Palestinian capital to the northeast of Jerusalem.

Palestine would be compensated with desert land near Gaza that would be linked with the West Bank by high speed rail.

Palestine might receive a sort of statehood with no army and Israel control in some areas.

Hamas, which governs Gaza, would be dismantled before Palestinian independence.

Israeli citizenship may be stripped from tens of thousands of Arab Israelis who live in 10 border towns.

Palestinian refugees would have no “right of return” to homes lost to Israel in previous conflicts.

Resembling South Africa during its apartheid when it created “reserves” for blacks, the “deal” had no Palestinian input and violates UN resolutions forbidding nations from using military force to expand their territories. The Fourth Geneva Convention also bans occupying powers from moving civilian populations onto these territories taken by military force, and the UN has applied the Geneva ruling onto Israeli-occupied territories. The International Court of Justice does the same in a 2004 decision.

DDT’s plan also requires that Palestinians “dismiss all pending actions” in the International Criminal Court, meaning that the Israeli government cannot be held to account for anything. Jared Kushner’s solution for Palestinians who disagree is to “take a cold shower” so that they don’t “screw up” like with “every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.” The plan states that Palestinians must take “no action, and shall dismiss all pending actions, against the State of Israel, the United States, and any of their citizens before the International Criminal Court” and other tribunals.

Over a century ago, Palestinians were not consulted when Britain adopted the 1917 Balfour Declaration that gave geographical Palestine to the Jewish people for their “homeland.” DDT is following that pattern in drawing other nations’ borders and dictating political lives of people in foreign countries. He follows his pattern of subordinating “browns” to “whites,” as Israelis are largely regarding to people in the United States.

Ben Silverstein wrote:

“About 5 million stateless Palestinians live under Israeli military occupation (the Palestinian West Bank) or under Israeli military siege (the Gaza Strip). Some 400,000 stateless Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are from families that were expelled from the British Mandate of Palestine by militant Zionist militias. Another 400,000 stateless Palestinians in Syria are from families expelled from the British Mandate of Palestine by Zionist militias. About 40,000 stateless Palestinians in Jordan are from families . . . That is, About 6 million stateless Palestinians are being kept without basic human rights by Israel’s refusal to allow them to return to their homes and by Israel’s refusal to allow the Palestinians to establish a genuine state to which the refugees could return.”

War crimes in the plan:

A flood of 400,000 of Israeli citizens who have stolen Palestinian land on the West Bank attack Palestinian villages and sabotage Palestinian orchards and other agriculture in opposition to the Fourth Geneva Accord of 1949 to present war crimes like those by Nazi Germans.

The annexation of 30 percent of the West Bank is an act of aggression by Israel that is taking the land by calling these lands “annexed.”

Depriving Israeli citizens of Palestinian heritage is denaturalization into statelessness by giving them “citizenship” in an unrecognized “state” (aka a “reserve”) where they have no rights over their property.

The disarmed Palestinians will have no right of self-defense in opposition to Chapter 7, Article 51, of the UN that requires “the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”

Palestinians in Israeli-mandated enclaves will have no right to self-determination and be dependent on Israel’s goodwill for every part of their lives, including politics and building development.

With a third election looming and three criminal indictments, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised DDT’s “deal.” With no ratification of the “plan,” he announced that he will ask his cabinet for approval of the annexation this Sunday. He may lose a few votes, however, because the “peace plan” brought criticism from both the left and right wings in Israel. Although Palestinians lose 30 percent of their land, leaders of Israeli settler groups stated that they cannot support a plan that allows Palestinians 70 percent of the area. The settlers called the creation of a Palestinian state “an existential threat to the State of Israel.”

Emily Meyer, co-founder of the Jewish group If Not Now issued this statement:

“This is a political ploy by both leaders to distract from their abuse of power, designed to help Netanyahu win the election in less than six weeks. The plan itself is a plan for permanent Israeli military occupation and control, not a plan for peace. It is simply a continuation of Trump’s strategy since entering office: to disenfranchise Palestinians and deny their rights, their agency, and even their identity.”

Activist groups such as the Islamic Action Front called for a “mass protest” at the U.S. Embassy in Amman. Jordan, home to a large Palestinian population, stated its commitment to a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders and rejects any Israeli unilateral move such as immediate annexation. Both Egypt and the EU cautioned Israelis and Palestinians to carefully study the plan. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to promise Saudi commitment to Palestinian rights.  Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that DDT’s plan “will not serve peace and resolution” in the region and that it will “ignore the rights of the Palestinians and legitimize Israel’s occupation.”

Other Arab countries were disturbed that none of their representatives could see the final version of the plan before its unveiling. They will be even more upset if Netanyahu carries through with a plan for annexation this weekend before both parties support.

The UN supports pre-1967 borders. Most of the international community view the West Bank as the future Palestinian independent state and east Jerusalem as its capital while DDT sides only with Israel by moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, closing Palestinian diplomatic offices in Washington, and cutting funding to Palestinian aid programs.  

Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s competition for prime minister, said he will propose the plan for approval next week in the Knesset (Israeli parliament). Abbas dismissed the plan as “nonsense” and vowed to resist it through “peaceful, popular means.” Abbas added:

“We say 1,000 no’s to the Deal of the Century. We will not kneel and we will not surrender.”

Israeli settlers in the West Bank may be worse off with the proposed annexation. According to Ghaith al-Omari, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad were present at a meeting that Abbas convened, and both groups will push for violence in the West Bank, creating destabilization from terror and giving Hamas more power. Al-Omari surmises that DDT’s plan strengthens hardliners and weakens diplomats.

The plan that DDT hoped would bail him out of his impeachment problems is now seen as a “lose-lose” situation.

January 3, 2020

DDT: Week 154 – WWIII?

“Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate. He’s weak and he’s ineffective, so the only way he figures that he’s going to get reelected, and as sure as you’re sitting there, is to start a war with Iran.”

That’s what Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said about President Obama in 2011. Immediately before the 2012 election heralding President Obama’s second term, DDT tweeted, “Don’t let Obama play the Iran card in order to start a war in order to get elected — be careful Republicans!” Now DDT may avoid publicity about his extortion of Ukraine and a false investigation of his political opponent with his assassination of Qassem Soleimani that can “start a war with Iran.” The strike against Soleiman is far worse than earlier assassinations because it attacked a state leader, unlike the other U.S. killings of leaders in the Middle East. The U.S. made no attempt to arrest Soleimani in Iraq before he was killed.

The murder of Solemani, leader of the elite Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and second most powerful leader in the country, in a preemptive strike on the Baghdad International Airport had no congressional authorization. Repercussions are not certain, but the killing makes a U.S. presence in the Middle East far more dangerous, and U.S. people may be targeted around the world. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted:

“The question is this – as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?”

To block DDT from illegally starting a war with Iran, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) plan legislation to “prohibit any funding for offensive military force in or against Iran without prior congressional authorization.” An earlier measure to amend the National Defense Authorization Act for a similar purpose passed the House in July but was dropped in December. Instead of waging a new war, Khanna said, the United States needs to “get out priorities right” about its “crumbling infrastructure,” desperate housing needs, and “the existential crisis of climate change.” Sanders tweeted that “it’s the working-class kids who will … fight and die in a disastrous new Middle East conflict – not the children of billionaires.” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has introduced privileged legislation—meaning Republicans cannot block the bill from the Senate floor—banning any hostilities with Iran not explicitly authorized by a congressional declaration of war or a specific authorization for the use of military force.

Echoing George W. Bush’s statements about his preemptive attack on Iraq, DDT said earlier this week that a war with Iran “would go very quickly.” Dan Spinelli disagrees and gives details. The same “quickly” comment was made about World War I, which instigators claimed would last a couple of weeks. World War I killed over 20 million people, and W.’s war in Iraq has lasted almost 14 years. And just like W.’s mythical “weapons of mass destruction,” vague descriptions of Iran’s “developing plans” and future attacks are intended to foment fears. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has already replaced Soleimani with Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, Soleimani’s deputy commander. Khamenei also warned of a “harsh retaliation” for Soleimani’s killers. Ghaani said that “any military action against Iran will be regretted.”

The U.S. also reportedly killed Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in yesterday’s strike. In retaliation against the killing of one U.S. military contractor, the U.S. killed 25 Iraqis who were able to breach the most secure U.S. embassy in the world. Iraq’s deputy parliament speaker it is time to put an end to “US recklessness and arrogance”; an emergency parliament session for Saturday will discuss the U.S. airstrike in Baghdad killing the Iranian and Iraqi leaders. The session will work on taking “decisive decisions that put an end to US presence inside Iraq.” About 5,000 U.S. members, supposedly to protect and train Iraqis, are stationed in Iraq. The country’s prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi stated, “The assassination of an Iraqi military commander in an official post is an aggression against the country of Iraq, its state, its government and its people” and “could spark a devastating war.”

Like killing the head of the CIA, the assassination of Soleimani is ”an explicit act of war,” as an Al Jarzeera journalist wrote.

VP Mike Pence, one heartbeat from being U.S. president, is already spreading disinformation—or ignorance—when he falsely connected Iran to the 9/11 attackers and couldn’t even remember the number of those attackers when he said that 10 of the 12 attackers on 9/11 were linked to Iran. Of the 19 (not 12) 9/11 attackers, 15 were from Saudi Arabia, 2 from the UAE, and 1 each from Egypt and Lebanon.  

Before the assassination, thousands of supporters of Iraqi’s Kataib Hezbollah militia attacked the 104-acre U.S. embassy in Iraq. Media almost universally used the term “Iran-supported” without mentioning that the attackers are Iraqi. The event came after U.S. airstrikes in Iran killed 24 people, largely civilians, because an Iraqi militia rocket strike killed U.S. military contractor (aka mercenary). Protesters backed off the attack after the group claimed it received guarantees from Iraqi Prime Minister Mahdi to work toward passing a law calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country. The militia gained influence after it worked with the U.S. to drive ISIS out of Iraq. DDT has lost all leverage in controlling Iran after he dropped out of the anti-nuclear agreement and returned to imposing sanctions on Iran.

The U.S. won’t have allied support for a war with Iran: only Israel stands behind the U.S. in its unilateral war. Germany warned against further “dangerous escalation,” and the UK stated that more conflict is “in none of our interests.” DDT failed to inform European partners, and the UK said, “The purpose of having allies is that we can surprise our enemies and not each other.” The Conservative chair of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee expressed concern about the “pattern” of the U.S. not sharing with the UK. France criticized the U.S. for “playing their game in an unpredictable manner” and said that the assassination has made the world “more dangerous.” Last week, Vladimir Putin said he will no longer cooperate with sanctions against Iran and said about Soleimani’s death, “We express our sincere condolences to the Iranian people.” China stated it “has always opposed the use of force in international relations,” urged the U.S. “to remain calm and exercise restraint to avoid further escalating tensions,” and called for respect for Iraq’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

While keeping allies and Congress in the dark about his plans, DDT gave Israel advance warning about killing Soleimani. In addition to other preparedness for the attack’s backlash, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came back early from his visit to Greece. Netanyahu is running for reelection in March, despite his three criminal indictments, in the third election for the country’s prime minister. He is asking Israel’s parliament for immunity.

DDT also referred to his plans to people staying at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Five days before killing Soleimani, he wandered his private resort, dropping hints that he was working on a “big” response to the Iranian regime that they would be hearing or reading about very “soon.” These comments went much farther than his New Year’s Eve tweet about the “big price” Iran would pay for damaging the U.S. embassy in Iraq. Two sources said that he talked about his contact with national-security and military advisers about an imminent aggressive action. One of them said that DDT kept repeating, “You’ll see.”

This afternoon, DDT claimed that his escalating tensions with Iran were to “stop a war” and told the attacked Iranians to immediately end “aggressions in the region.” Then he initiated another airstrike that killed five Iraqis in a convoy for a medical unit of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces near Baghdad. 

State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. action created no danger for Americans in the region, but his agency asked U.S. citizens to immediately leave Iraq and suspended all consular operations. On Sunday, Pompeo tried to play down any problems in either Iraq or North Korea, but the Pentagon had blocked any government travel to Iraq or Syria, including by U.S. lawmakers and their staffers, because of regional instability. Pompeo is removing 28 percent of diplomatic staffing in Iraq by the end of May 2020, removing 114 positions in the Baghdad embassy alone, in a retraction on diplomacy and oversight.

Senior government officials continue the spin that killing Soleimani was intended to “advance the cause of peace.” The rest of the world has the opposite vision. On Twitter “WWIII” is the top trending term worldwide. People curious about DDT’s timing may consider that he bragged about the killing in his big speech to evangelicals today. And that Iran is hacking into DDT’s re-election campaign in opposition for his possible second term.  

December 22, 2019

Week 152 – World, Domestic Affairs

World and domestic affairs beyond impeachment affect the United States through decisions that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) makes.

DDT stayed silent during violent protests from India’s attempt to eliminate secularization. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a conservative re-elected in May, the parliament permits citizenship for undocumented migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who moved to India before 2014 and belong to one of six religious minorities, excluding Islam. Modi claims that the law protects persecuted religious groups, much like DDT said about his executive order protecting only Jewish people. India is now trying to control protests by shutting down phone and internet access in parts of the country.

Shortly before DDT was elected, Russian interference helped an anti-immigrant movement in Britain pass Brexit, a separation from the European Union. After agonizing over the process for over three years, the Brits elected Boris Johnson as prime minister to finish the process, much to the possible detriment of almost everyone in the country. Like DDT, Johnson is connected to corruption and sexual misconduct. The UK will leave the EU by the last day of 2020 no matter how disastrous, and the UK may have to pay the EU up to £39 billion. Northern Ireland stayed with the EU and will have a customs and regulatory border with Great Britain; Scotland voted to stay with the EU and may separate from the UK.

DDT, close friends with the autocratic Turkish president Recip Tayyip Erdogan, rejected the congressional votes to recognize that the Ottoman’s killing of Armenians in 1915-16 to support Germany in World War I was genocide. In retribution for the congressional resolution, Erdogan threatens to shut down Incirlik air base where the U.S. stores nuclear warheads. DDT called resolution criticizing the killing of 1.5 million Armenians “worthless” and the “biggest insult” to Turkish people. Erdogan also tried to prevent sanctions against Turkey after its military offensive in Syria by threatening to close the Kurecik radar base. Following DDT’s wishes, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tried to block the resolution. On December 12, the Senate unanimously passed the resolution after the House did so with only one no vote. Because resolutions do not have the weight of law, they do not require a president’s signature. 

Israel is headed for its third election in less than a year after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to put together a winning coalition but plans to stay prime minister. The national election to determine the Israeli prime minister is next March, but on December 26, 100,000 Likud party members, Netanyahu’s party, vote for their leaders. Gideon Sa’ar is challenging Netanyahu to represent Likud; the winner is in line to become prime minister.Christians in the Gaza Strip are banned from visiting holy cities such as Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Nazareth for Christmas. Last year, almost 700 Gazan Christians received permits to travel the holy cities.

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor is investigating Israeli war crimes allegedly committed in the Palestinian territories. Netanyahu claims that the ICC has jurisdiction only for sovereign states and denies any Palestinian state. He plans to illegally take over the Jordan Valley, composing one-fourth of the West Bank. In the ICC, Palestine is suing the U.S. for DDT’s moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Two courts, one in the EU and the other in Canada, have also decided that Israel “an occupying power” and “not … a sovereign entity” in determining labeling of products from Jewish settlements in the West Bank.   

The end of the year means tax preparation. Last year the 2017 tax cuts hurt a large percentage of people in the U.S., but large corporations are making out like bandits from their 40-percent tax rate cut. Approximately 400 of the largest corporations in the U.S. paid an average federal tax rate of about 11 percent on their profits last year, roughly half the official rate set by the tax law and half the rate that they averaged between 2008 and 2015. In 2018, corporations averaged 11.3 percent in taxes, the lowest level in over 30 years, while the deficit hit $984 billion, unusual in a supposedly strong economy. There is no evidence of the GOP claim of lower taxes’ cut causing economic growth and boosting business investment. The unemployment rate has stayed low in some areas, but higher wages are largely caused by blue states increasing the minimum wage rate.

In the Fortune 500, 91 corporations earning $101 billion paid no federal taxes last year. Amazon paid no taxes on $10.8 billion in profits and got a $129 million rebate. Firing 800 people, Activision Blizzard made $447 million and received a tax rebate of $243 million, giving them a -54.4 percent.

Overturning the Affordable Care Act would give the wealthy and pharmaceutical companies a huge tax break. The top 1,400 highest-earning taxpayers would receive $3.8 billion, and pharmaceutical companies would pay $2.8 billion less in taxes. People on Medicare would pay more for prescription drugs, and U.S. drug costs are already the highest in the developed world. Twenty million people would lose health insurance, and the poverty rate would increase. Causing a crack in the ACA, a state judge overturned the individual mandate in the ACA despite a Supreme Court ruling that accepted it.

DDT plans to reduce aid to the 39.7 million people in the United States living in poverty by allowing sports stadiums and arenas to use opportunities designed to meet the needs of middle- and low-income people. The 1977 Community Reinvestment Act requires financial institutions to meet the credit needs of all communities where they do business so that they can’t refuse to serve people based on income level and demographics rather than credit worthiness. Under DDT’s plan, investors can delay taxes or reduce tax payments on their capital gains while building stadiums that displace people of color. 

Eating pork may be dangerous under DDT’s new rules, according to Food Safety and Inspection Service inspectors Jill Mauer and Anthony Vallone, who filed whistleblower disclosure forms. A pilot program for over 92 percent of U.S. pork plants will provide fewer inspectors who must stand at a distance while untrained plants’ employees check carcasses and still try to maintain line speeds. Defects can include feces, sex organs, toenails, bladders, and unwanted hair—think Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. Beef processing may suffer from the same MO.  

The U.S. Forest Service is permitting Canada’s Midas Gold to write the environmental report necessary to obtain approval for mining in Idaho after a “collaborative” meeting that included Midas. In that way, Midas can avoid habitat restoration work to protect the surrounding area.

In a software failure, Boeing’s Starliner, intended to fly NASA astronauts to space, didn’t get to the right orbit. A few days earlier, Boeing announced it was stopping the production of the 737 Max that killed 346 people in two crashes and demonstrated multiple other problems. The planes have been grounded since March 11, pending approval for planes being built. Almost 400 737 Max jets at the Renton (WA) facility are costing the company about $4.4 billion every three months for production, storage, and maintenance. Although Boeing may not have any work stoppage, hundreds of other U.S. manufacturers in its supply chain may be forced to lay off workers. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that Boeing’s problems had taken 0.4 percent off the GDP for the year.

For years, the FAA allowed Boeing to perform its own inspections. High level Boeing officials knew about the planes’ problems and lied to the FAA. Earlier this month, the FAA fined Boeing $3.9 million for “knowingly submitted aircraft” to the agency for safety certification even after learning that crucial wing components “could not be used due to a failed strength test.”

State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo not only fired Bill Taylor, acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, but also told him to get out of the country early because he didn’t want to be photographed with the highly respected career diplomat. Pompeo urged Taylor to take the job, and Taylor then testified to the House Intelligence Committee about DDT’s attempts to extort Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. Taylor believes his obligation is to the country, not DDT, and Pompeo wants to be the senator from Kansas.

Another of DDT’s circle of associates is now heading for prison, but Rick Gates, associate of DDT’s campaign manager Paul Manafort, gets only 45 days after evading taxes and concealing millions of dollars representing pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine after Gates’ cooperation. Manafort, DDT’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and DDT’s first national security adviser are in the slammer. George Papadopoulos, DDT’s former campaign adviser on foreign policy, and Alex van der Zwaan, a lawyer who worked with Manafort and Gates, have finished their prison sentences. Roger Stone, longtime DDT adviser and confidant, awaits sentencing. DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani faces a criminal investigation. Others connected to DDT include Richard Pinedo, who has a prison sentence for fraudulently trying to hurt Clinton’s campaign; Sam Patten and Maria Butina, who were charged with being unregistered foreign agents; and those on this long list of indicted Russian individuals and entities. 

New Jersey’s Rep. Jeff Van Drew switched from Republican to Democrat and swore “undying support” to DDT—until someone asked him about it. He said he didn’t say “undying.” Republicans don’t want him.

September 25, 2019

DDT Joins Netanyahu, Johnson under Fire

Dictator Donald Trump calls himself a dealmaker, but his offers look like a “mob shakedown,” to use the words of Sen. Chuck Schumer (R-NY). In his hatred for President Obama, he tore up U.S. deals with foreign governments on climate, denuclearization, trade, etc. DDT’s lackluster speech before the UN repeated in almost monotone his position of “America First,” rejecting any cooperation with slowing down the climate crisis or negotiating with any democratic countries throughout the world. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez lamented that the U.S. had put into question the positive “international agreement reached with the Iranian regime … for the peace and security of the world” and that DDT had declared his former EU allies as national security threats to put tariffs on their exports. DDT has succeeded in standing alone: Sánchez echoed German and French leaders to move away from the U.S. superpower, intensified by “the new position of this U.S. administration.”  

While DDT pushes his isolationist position, he wants the world to join him against Iran to stop countries from circumventing his harsh sanctions. By endorsing “patriotism over globalism,” he rejects any international law supporting the ideals of democracy and human rights, claiming that nationalism and sovereign rights are the best practice. While DDT presented himself as the leader of “religious freedom,” he rejects any religion except fundamentalist Christianity. He described only Iran and China as his enemies, but human rights are much worse in his personal allies of Saudi Arabia, Russia, North Korea, and Egypt. Even the State Department admits that Saudia Arabia has no freedom of religion, but DDT wants the Saudi money. Because the focus of the UN summit was Climate Action, he spent only 14 minutes sullenly viewing the proceedings (above)

Today, however, was largely focused on DDT’s telephone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the whistleblower complaint about the possibility that DDT violated a number of laws. DDT told Zelensky that the U.S. had been “very, very good” to Ukraine before he asked Zelensky to work with AG Bill Barr and lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to “look into” Joe Biden, DDT’s political opponent. Following Zelensky’s comment about buying Javelins from the U.S., DDT asked Zelensky “to do us a favor though.” After Zelensky expressed willingness to make an investigation, DDT offered to invite him to the White House, something that he had refused to do since Zelensky’s election in May.  

DDT’s also asked Zelensky to look into the cybersecurity company CrowdStrike that investigated Russia’s cyberattacks on the DNC with DDT’s assumption that someone in the Ukraine has a non-existent “missing” server from the DNC that can exonerate Russia’s involvement. DDT also claimed that Hillary Clinton’s emails might be located in Ukraine.

Pretending that the call is about stopping corruption in Ukraine before DDT releases funding appropriated by Congress for Ukraine to fight Russian aggression, DDT ignored a letter sent to four congressional committees in May of this year. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood “certified that the Government of Ukraine has taken substantial actions to make defense institutional reforms for the purposes of decreasing corruption [and] increasing accountability.” Instead, DDT’s reference to “corruption” is only domestic, focused at a campaign opponent.

Today’s events after DDT released his version of the Zelensky telephone call:

  • Following yesterday’s unanimous Senate vote for DDT to release the whistleblower complaint, 421 House members voted in favor of the resolution. Two Republicans—Louis  Gohmert (TX) and Thomas Massie (KY)—voted present.
  • DDT released the complaint to both House and Senate Intelligence Committees. It includes not only concerns about DDT’s covert extortion on the telephone call but also the way that the White House mishandled records of the communications. According to the whistleblower, other witnesses exist.
  • Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) failed to pass a resolution denouncing an impeachment inquiry by a vote of 231 Democrats and one Independent opposed against the 193 GOP members in favor.
  • Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, called on Barr to recuse himself from DOJ involvement in the Ukraine scandal because DDT “dragged the Attorney General into this mess.”
  • The White House accidentally emailed talking points to defend DDT to Democratic members of Congress and their staff their talking points to defend DDT. Once the mistake was discovered, the White House asked Democrats to return the email.
  • DDT concluded his day with another rambling, largely monotone speech that repeated his “witch hunt” claim from the Mueller investigation.
  • At the end of DDT’s press conference with Zelensky, he said that Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), elected by the membership until January 2021, is no longer the Speaker of the House and claimed that she isn’t “interested in guns and gun protection and gun safety.” The House has passed three major gun safety bills that GOP Majority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) refuses to allow on the Senate floor.
  • Zelensky didn’t know that his side of the conversation would be made public.
  • DDT called Zelensky last April to work with Giuliani on investigations.
  • The whistleblower complaint has been declassified and available for the public, probably tomorrow.
  • Tomorrow, Congressional members will see the complete report from the Inspector General with corroborating information.

Sources reported that Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, in the job for fewer than six weeks, threatened to quit if DDT forces him to stonewall Congress during tomorrow’s testimony regarding a whistleblower complaint about DDT. Maguire got the job after DDT refused to allow DNI’s deputy director, Sue Gordon, into the senior position. As a Michigan congressman, Maguire leaked sensitive information like a sieve. [Note: both Maguire and DDT denied that Maguire offered to resign.] Maguire is scheduled to appear before both House and Senate Intelligence Committees tomorrow.

With beauty in the eye of the beholder, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) followed DDT’s talking points and scoffed at the accusation that the released transcript of DDT’s conversation with Zelensky was extortion and called it a “nothing burger.” On the other hand, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) called the memo “very troubling.” Instead of being a verbatim transcript of the 30-minute telephone call from a recording, the selective five-page summary that DDT released supposedly comes from notes and memories of officials in the Situation Room, and a cautionary note explains that a number of factors “can affect the accuracy of the record.” Readers can look at the summary and make their own decisions about the content.

David Nakamura wrote that DDT went from “America First” to a “me first”:

“At a gathering of world leaders in New York this week, President Trump decamped to one of his own properties, complained that the Nobel Peace Prize is rigged against him, feuded with a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist—and, on Wednesday, defended himself against the disclosure that he had asked a foreign leader to investigate a political rival…

“Trump repeatedly trashed Biden, suggesting it was the former vice president who had inappropriately pressured Ukrainian officials to help his son’s business dealings—despite evidence to the contrary.

“Meeting with Zelensky on Wednesday, Trump also faulted former president Barack Obama for allowing Russian-backed forces to invade and occupy the Crimea region of Ukraine. A day earlier, in his 37-minute address to world leaders in the United Nations’ distinctive green-marbled chambers, Trump made no mention of Russia’s malign behavior, including Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“’What we’re seeing in the [Ukraine] transcript is that he is clearly putting his own interests over the interests of the United States,’ said John Bellinger III, who served as a lawyer on the National Security Council under President George W. Bush. ‘There are so many things he could have talked about, such as Russian interference in Ukraine, but all Trump wants to talk about is investigating a political rival.’

“As [Zelensky] pressed him to visit the country, Trump reflected on his time as the owner of the Miss Universe pageant. ‘We had a winner from Ukraine,’ Trump said, ‘and we got to know the country very well in a lot of different ways.’”

The House needs to investigate DDT’s behavior because Barr refuses to do so from the DOJ.

In other parts of the world:

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 28 days to form a governing coalition of 61 parliament members. Netanyahu has only 55 at this time, and the question is whether he can pick up six from the other 65 who may be dug in against him. Without a position as prime minister, Netanyahu can be prosecuted for bribery, fraud, and corruption.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in New York City when the UK Supreme Court unanimously ruled that his suspension of Parliament until October 14 was illegal because his action frustrated its ability to “carry out its constitutional functions.” Parliament is back and furious because Johnson won’t follow the law to find a deal before the UK leaves the European Union. Johnson’s opposition immediately called on him to quit, but he promised that the UK will not be a part of the EU after Halloween. The court’s ruling shows that the executive does not have unfettered power. Last week, the EU rejected three proposals for alternative arrangements to Brexit, and it will consider a fourth this week.

Three world leaders: Israel’s Netanyahu is terrified, UK’s Johnson is bullying, and U.S.’s DDT is deflated.

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.

June 9, 2019

Some World Elections Pointing to Nationalism

In talking about the rise of fascism across the world during the early 20th century, Noam Chomsky cited an article that he wrote soon after the fall of Barcelona in February 1939, ending the Spanish Republic. The year before, Nazi Germany annexed Austria and then gained Czechoslovakia at the Munich Conference. Revolution against fascist control had lost since 1936. At that time, many in the United States, including parts of the government, supported the Nazi rise before deciding that its spread might be unstoppable. The State Department and Council on Foreign Relations decided that the world be divided into Nazis controlling most of Eurasia and the U.S. controlling the Western Hemisphere, the former British Empire, and the Far East. At least until Russia drove back Nazis in 1942, the world was on the brink of being totally fascist.

The 21st century sees the spread of ultranationalists, early represented by Steve Bannon who has moved on to push his movement in Europe. The U.S. under the guidance of State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo, national security adviser John Bolton, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is helping Israel, now led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, solidify the reactionary nationalist movement. Threats of right-wing ultranationalists in Latin America are led by Brazil’s election of Jair Bolsonaro.

With the U.S. media largely focused on DDT, watching the rest of the world has been difficult. Yet after the re-election of far-right Netanyahu, other huge countries have moved to right-wing anti-immigration control. After Narendra Modi’s re-election for another five years, citizenship in India will be redefined with the publication of an updated National Registry of Citizens, a 1951 census to search for migrants from the neighboring, Muslim-majority East Pakistan and now Bangladesh. Conducted only in the northeastern state of Assam, the census requires proof that people were residents of India before 3/24/71, the day before Bangladesh declared its independence, to be considered citizens. Without documentation of lineage, people are declared illegal. Yet obtaining these documents is difficult because of poor record-keeping, illiteracy, or insufficient funds for the $750 to file a legal claim. Four million people believing themselves to be Indian are missing from the Registry. Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) makes the Registry a priority and will deport all illegal immigrants.

Modi’s first five years was notable for lynchings and other violence, and 1,000 Muslims were killed in anti-Islam riots under his leadership. In his victory speech, he announced that his 2019 election marked the official death of secularism in India. He claims to support the poor, but nine people in India have the combined assets of 500 million Indian residents. Like DDT, Modi is not only highly conservative but also has deep business interests and demonstrates hostility to journalistic media while embracing social media.

India’s re-election was disturbing but not the surprise about conservatives keeping control in Australia. Preventing climate change cost liberals votes from those dependent on mining and forestry. The liberal Labor Party also proposed income tax increase on households making more than $180,000 Australian ($124,000 in the U.S.) and hikes in capital gains tax while eliminating writing off investment property losses. Like the United States, Christian conservatives exploited liberal positions on secularism, anti-abortion, and homosexuality. https://www.devex.com/news/australia-s-election-and-its-impact-on-the-pacific-views-from-the-us-94970  It’s expected that the new leader, Scott Morrison, will likely take a hard line against China, affecting its relationship with Australia. Because of Morrison’s hard-line approach toward immigration, some asylum seekers are attempting suicide.

Although he was elected Israeli prime minister in April, Benjamin Netanyahu has been unable to form a governing right-wing coalition in the parliament, and his conservative Likud party succeeded in passing a bill that dissolves parliament and calls for a new election on September 17. A prime minister-designate has never before been able to get selected by the parliament. Netanyahu stays in power until the election while facing accusations of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust charges for taking gifts and giving favors for better press coverage. He wants a coalition of right-wing, ultranationalist and religious parties to change laws to override the Supreme Court and protect him from prosecution.  A demonstration of approximately 80,000 people protested his changing the law to grant himself immunity.

Elections for European Union representatives from 28 countries resulted in a more ambiguous conclusion than either India or Australia. Both conservatives and liberals are claiming some victory. One obvious outcome is that the center, losing over 80 seats, moved to either the left or the right. Liberal Democrats are up 40, Greens 20, and Nationalists 30. Marine Le Pen, who tried to take over France, is working with nationalist parties with Italy’s Matteo Salvini to get a majority from Germany, Austria, Denmark, and Finland. Far-right reps from Poland and Sweden are avoiding Salvini because of his support for Vladimir Putin; free-marketers from Germany and Denmark disagree with Le Pen’s opposition to “uncontrolled globalization.” Country by country results.

Instead of taking over Europe, hard right parties won where they already had support and kept their minority positions in other countries. Their numbers are still too small to be spoilers or kingmakers. France helped achieve the coalition of pro-EU, pro-market liberals—the parliament’s third-largest force. Social democrats and allies still thrive in Spain and Portugal where they lead the country’s governments. DDT and Brexit may have created enough fear to keep nationalists from taking over with the biggest turnout for the vote since 1994.

Some EU election results are positive. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his ministers before he could call an election to strengthen his party, after the scandal in which a minister offered election favors to a Russian investor. The center right Austrian People’s party won over one-third of the EU representatives; Social Democrats got 23.6 percent, and the neo-Nazi Freedom Party took 18.1 percent.

The Green Party placed second in Germany with almost 21 percent of the vote and gained in Finland, France, and Ireland, possibly because of the youth activists trying to slow climate change. The 71 seats in the EU Parliament are up almost 40 percent from the 52 Green seats five years ago.

The Scottish National party, with its position of staying in the EU, wiped out the progressive Labour Party and has three seats, half Scotland’s representatives.   

UK followed the polarization pattern in the EU elections: Conservatives moved to the Brexit party looking for a no-deal separation from the EU while Labour voters picked the Liberal Democrats. Most of the Brexit gains were in rural areas but made some progress in a few cities where Tories left for the Lib Dems. Brexit gained 28 seats with 15 more for the Lib Dems. Labour lost seven, Greens won seven (a gain of four), and Tories had only three seats.

Prime Minister Theresa May is due to leave her position on June 7 with her replacement determined in late July. With the EU elections finished, the British parliament will return to the torment of a Brexit approach.

With many other countries, except for Israel, settled in for at least a short while, the campaign for the 2020 presidential election continues with DDT ramping up his dishonest and vicious approach. His ruthless comments make the lying ads about John Kerry and Michael Dukakis look like a walk in the park. DDT came back from Japan where he tweeted negative agreements about former vice-president Joe Biden with dictator Kim Jong-Un of North Korea, and the first Democratic debate is in four weeks on June 26. For a sample of what’s ahead, check out Corey Lewandowski’s threatening strategy on the Fox network. As former GOP presidential candidate Evan McMullin, tweeted:

“This is truly a dangerous abuse of power. [AG Bill] Barr will selectively release sensitive information, as he did with Mueller’s report, to shape a favorable narrative for Trump and impede the intelligence community’s ability to collect intel on foreign threats that assist the president.”

DDT’s personal television network, Fox, will control the message for its watchers, and congressional Republicans are terrified of DDT. There will be no accountability for DDT. He has already accused a large number of people of “treason” for investigating a presidential campaign, a charge punishable by death. With DDT, anything goes.

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