Nel's New Day

May 23, 2021

Republican Bizarre Bits

Last month, CNN commentator told a conservative youth group that “there was nothing” in America when European landed on its shores.” He called the land “a blank slate” and added, “Yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly, that—there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.” Waiting for the backlash to dissipate, CNN gave up after 25 days and fired Santorum, a strong supporter for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and long espoused his widespread bigotry.  

“I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly, that — there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.”

Santorum is miffed at the firing: he said he was hired to deliver a “different” perspective.

Another ousting came in the Louisiana state legislature. State Rep. Ray Garofalo insisted on teaching students “the good, the bad, the ugly” of slavery and was removed from chair of the House Education Committee after three weeks of protesting. In rebuttal, he accused GOP House Speaker Clay Schxnayder of “sacrificing me to the Black Caucus, who seem to be controlling the Louisiana House of Representatives this term” and throwing him “under the bus.” He could have resigned but instead played the martyr by declaring he “did not step down voluntarily as chairman.” The bill in question forbids teachers to teach information that allegedly “promotes divisive concepts,” such as critical race theory which examines how race and racism influence different aspects of life.

Garofalo’s racist comments match those in Texas where a bill stated the voter restriction law will “preserve the purity of the ballot box.” Democratic Rep. Rafael Anchía explained Republican Rep. Briscoe Cain, the bill’s sponsor and author, that the same provision was drafted specifically to disenfranchise black people, black voters, following the Civil War.” It “gave rise to all-white primaries” and was “used during the Jim Crow era to prevent black people from voting.” Anchía continued to educate Cain, who said he found the information “troubling” before he removed the term from the bill but not the substance. Cain added he’s grateful that “white primaries” no longer exist before Republicans passed the punitive anti-voting bill.

Texas has another bill to block the Alamo in Antonio from stating major figures in the Texas Revolution were slave traders. Idaho already has a law to block funding from schools teaching about the effects of slavery and racism, and Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Tennessee are following them with similar bills. (Every morning, the Texas students are required to “pledge allegiance” to “Texas, one state under God.”)

Texas law requires media witnessing to executions, but none saw the killing of Quintin Jones this month because state officials said they forgot to notify the reporters waiting across the street from the penitentiary. A spokesman apologized. Earlier in the day, Gov. Greg Abbott had said “our creator endowed us with the right to life” when he signed one of the nation’s most restrictive anti-abortion laws. Abbott was in office during over 50 executions. The parole board granted clemency to a white man with a similar case but denied one to Jones, possibly because of his race

A Connecticut lawmaker claimed Asian Americans have never faced racism during a meeting on housing segregation.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) has the highest number of missed votes—16.2 percent—among freshmen members of Congress and is sixth highest among all 535 congressional members. He has two reasons for missing all those votes: fulfilling his “service as a husband” after his marriage during his three-day honeymoon and disregarding votes for “Democrat garbage.” He told the conservative Real America’s Voice News his husbandly “service” is “more important than my service in Congress.” The young DDT supporter gained his seat with blatant lies, for example about the car wreck, his fault, which incapacitated him and the reason he was rejected by the Naval Academy. He won despite former college classmates urging his rejection on a number of issues including his “academic failures” and alleged sexual misconduct with at least three women. His lies extended to outrageous falsehoods about the 2020 election.

Sen. Ted “Kremlin” Cruz (R-TX) is not happy about his new nickname replacing “Cancun Cruz,” from sneaking off to warm climes during Texas’ “big freeze” power outage. An expert on Russia refused Cruz’s lie he didn’t share Russian election propaganda because Cruz hates communists. Expert and author on the Soviet and Russian era Tom Nichols disagrees with Cruz’s claim that Vladimir Putin has “always” been a “communist.” MSNBC’s Brian Williams used “Kremlin Cruz” in a piece about Cruz’s assertion regarding the U.S. military being “emasculated” when compared to the mighty Russian military. Cruz also accused “Dem politicians & the woke media … trying to turn” service members “into pansies.” He has since changed to declaring U.S. troops to be “the finest fighting force on the face of the Planet.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA), having lots of time after being stripped of all committee assignments, wants attention, and she’s getting lots of it. Other than defending the obscene Arizona “audit” of ballots in a rally there, she compared being forced to wear masks on the House floor because fewer than half the Republicans may not be vaccinated to Jewish people being gassed during the Holocaust in Germany. Greene called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “mentally ill.” Even GOP congressional members are openly incensed by her statements, including Reps. Liz Cheney (WY), Adam Kinzinger (IL), and Peter Meijer (MI).

Only people of color can be terrorists, according to Greene’s definition. She called Black Lives Matter “the strongest terrorist threat in our county” and described the elections of two Muslims to Congress as part of “an Islamic invasion of our government.” Yet she expressed concern for white people attacking the U.S. Capitol on January 6 for their “being abused” in jail, with some “being held for 23 hours a day in solitary confinement.”

Other attention may be less desirable, especially legal trouble. Greene solicited donations to a super PAC accepting unlimited donations in a video specifically for that purpose, but candidates and elected officials cannot request contributions more than $5,000. In another legal problem, Greene is accused of having two active homestead exemptions with her husband. Georgia law allows only one of these huge tax breaks for a primary residence.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) dumped Cheney and protected Greene to please DDT. Now he’s hiding from the public to avoid answer questions. The Wyoming GOP is determined to vote out Rep. Liz Cheney in a primary because she says that the 2020 election was not “stolen” from DDT. Her primary opponent: At 18, Anthony Bouchard impregnated a 14-year-old girl. He bragged about marrying her when they were 15 and 19, but they divorced when she was 18. His ex-wife killed herself when she was 20. Bouchard said it’s “like the Romeo and Juliet story.”

In more ignorance from QAnon congressional members, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) called DDT the “peace president” because “things were so quiet” between Israel and Hamas from 2016 to 2020. A botched Israeli covert operation in the southern Gaza Strip killed seven Hamas militants and one Israeli soldier, leading to fighting for two days and nights before a ceasefire. Violence continued for two more weeks. Another conflict in May 2019 killed two Palestinians in Israel’s airstrikes; Egypt mediated a ceasefire after three days. The prolife representative cast one of two votes blocking patients from access to potentially life-saving bone marrow transplants because it was too expensive.

Former Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff Joe Arpaio is gone after a conviction and DDT’s ensuing pardon, but he’s still costing taxpayers over $200 million by next year. Costs are for legal bills and complying with court-ordered demands of the sheriff’s office because of the county’s officers profiling Latinos in traffic stops. Arpaio’s conviction was for disobeying a court order to stop the profiling. He says he doesn’t regret his actions and claims he saved money when he reduced education and healthcare costs.

Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos must testify in a class action lawsuit regarding her policy ignoring student debt loan forgiveness for borrowers defrauded by for-profit colleges, according to a court ruling. About 160,000 borrowers are participating in the lawsuit resulting in an “exceptional circumstances” warrant. DeVos will face questions about the department’s failure to keep records of loan forgiveness claims and lies about the rationale for vast numbers of rejections for forgiveness.

Michigan Rep. Matt Maddock and his wife, the state’s GOP co-chair Meshawn Maddock, have been noted for their lies about voter fraud and comparison of covid-19 to the flu. Because of media fact-checkers, Maddock’s new bill, the Fact Checker Registration Act, would require fact-checkers to register with the state and provide $1 million fidelity bonds. Anyone breaking the proposed law would be fined $1,000 each day. According to Maddock’s bill, anyone could sue a fact-checker over “any wrongful conduct that is a violation of the laws of this state.” The Maddocks were also part of the efforts to impeach Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and challenge Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. After Maddock spoke to the group rallying to attack the U.S. Capitol, the couple joined a Facebook considering civil war after the insurrection.

This is the tip of the iceberg–more later!

October 4, 2020

More Judicial News to Infuriate DDT

As the media tells about how Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) destroys the United States, a lot of the news slips through the cracks.

A major issue is how courts keep overturning the rules from DDT and his appointees who want to benefit business above the people of the nation. During President Obama’s administration, Republicans had very few executive orders and rule changes to reject. In under four years since DDT’s inauguration, hundreds of lawsuits have fought back DDT’s proclamations. One ongoing report shows DDT’s successes, 22; DDT’s failures, 116. These are a few recent ones:

A federal judge ruled DOJ inappropriately redacted parts of Robert Mueller’s reports and required release of those sections by November 2, on the eve of Election Day.

A California judge has again ruled that census counting must continue through October 31, 2020 after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross defied her with an announcement the counting would end on October 5—tomorrow. During the most recent hearing, the judge asked for records regarding the October 5 “target date” but was told the only paper trail was a tweet. The judge asked:

 “Are you saying that is enough reason to establish decision-making? A one sentence tweet?”   

The Census Bureau had originally selected October 31 as the deadline after problems with the pandemic and finally acceded to that date last Friday. Two of three judges on a 9th Circuit Court panel confirmed the lower court in extending the 2020 census, and DDT’s judge dissented. Census Bureau career officials, the Commerce Department inspector general’s office, and the bureau’s Census Scientific Advisory Committee oppose a shorter timeline for counting the census.

Following a ruling in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU, the Trump administration will no longer block immigrant teens from accessing reproductive health care, including abortion. Another judge ruled this week against enacting a steep increase in the costs associated with citizenship and immigration application fees.

A federal judge in California temporarily blocked an increase in costs for citizenship and other immigration applications. Citizenship was scheduled to increase 81 percent yesterday, $1,160. Naturalization would go from $725 to $1,170, and asylum applications would cost $50 without fee waivers for low-income applicants. Applying for a deportation suspension or expulsion cancellation would skyrocket from $285 to $1,810.

The judge’s reason for barring the enforcement is Wolf’s possibly illegal appointment for acting head of DHS, according to both a judge and the Government Accountability Office. The appointment of DHS Kevin McAleenan was invalid under the agency’s order of succession, making him lack the authority to amend the order for Wolf’s installation. The lawsuit caused DDT to appoint Wolf for his position which now needs confirmation. Last month, a coalition of 20 state AGs challenged the new restrictive rules for asylum seekers in court. Previously the GAO found Ken Cuccinelli, Wolf’s deputy, was also illegally appointed in an invalid order of succession.

The  A federal judge in Los Angeles overruled limits on visas, (inspired by immigrant-hating Stephen Miller) for hundreds of thousands of foreign workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of companies can return to bringing workers from abroad on visas such as the H-1B for highly skilled employees, guest-worker visas for seasonal employees such as those who DDT hires, and cultural exchange visas for people such as au pairs. Earlier, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. turned the issue over to an appeals court. Plaintiffs include the Chamber of Commerce and several industry giants.

A federal judge in Washington state ruled DDT’s and Barr’s national commission on policing violates federal law by including only 18 law enforcement members and excluding civil rights activists, defense attorneys, or mental health professionals. In addition, the judge blocked Barr from publishing a final report because the commission failed to file a charter, post public meeting notices, and have open meetings. The Federal Advisory Committee Act requires a balanced membership to prevent its recommendations from being “inappropriately influenced by the appointing authority.” Only five the 112 members of working groups were from outside law enforcement, and speakers lacked diversity until after the lawsuit was filed. Last month, a prosecutor resigned from a working group because the commission “was intent on providing cover for a predetermined agenda that ignores the lessons of the past.” DOJ claimed the commission was following the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and could ignore FACA. The W. Bush-appointed judge ruled against that argument.

There was a time when courts claimed they could not make decisions about voting in the months before elections. For example, the Supreme Court will not hear a case from Arizona’s law about “harvesting” ballots, the practice of people returning absentee ballots for other people, until after the election. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/supreme-court-review-arizona-ballot-harvesting-law-73386162 

On the other hand, the lower courts are filled with cases about voting rules to suppress the 2020 vote:

Two federal judges ruled in favor of voting by mail to protect against COVID-19, one upholding a universal postal voting plan in Montana and the other blocking restrictions on absentee ballots in Alabama. Montana’s Gov. Steve Bullock can allow the state’s counties to mail ballots to every voter in an effort to reduce COVID-19 spread at polls. Alabama is banned from absentee ballot requirements putting them at risk such as notarized signatures.

In North Carolina, a judge struck down changes on witness requirements for absentee ballots because the state election board had not kept to court orders. A witness must certify a voter completed an absentee ballot, but the board told election officials they could overlook that requirement if the witness information is missing from the ballot envelope. Voters can just sign an affidavit they had mailed the ballot after the ballot was returned. Last month, the judge had ordered the state to keep all absentee ballots until officials had a statewide process to give voters notice of any errors “such as a signature mismatch or deficient witness contact information.” He also stopped the state from enforcing state law banning nursing home staff from helping voters to fill out ballots and/or mail them. In 2018, the state faced a massive ballet theft scam by a GOP operative.

In one loss for the people, two DDT appointees on a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court overturned a lower federal judge ruling to permit Georgia absentee ballots to be accepted three days after Election Day if postmarked on November 3. The ruling requires ballots must be received by 7:00 pm on November 3. An appeal can only go to the supreme Court.

GOP and DDT’s lawsuits to suppress the vote through restrictions use the lie of corruption, an argument rejected by newly retired top GOP election lawyer Ben Ginsberg. In an op-ed, he writes about the lack of widespread fraud:

“Legions of Republican lawyers have searched in vain over four decades for fraudulent double voting. At long last, they have a blatant example of a major politician urging his supporters to illegally vote twice. The only hitch is that the candidate is President Trump…

“Elections are not rigged.”  

Although DDT has tried to destroy the image of the USPS by making mail delivery unbearably slow, people continue to support the agency that receives no tax money. A majority of Democrats (82 percent) and unaffiliated voters (69 percent) believe the postal service should be operated as a public service, and almost half Republicans (49 percent) agree. In the survey, 72 percent said the USPS was doing an “excellent” or “good” job, a belief almost unchanged from 2014 and 2017 Gallup polls. Two-thirds think election ballots will be delivered in a timely manner.   

In other hopeful news, The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is investigating Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for violating the Hatch Act after her department distributed a Fox network clip of DeVos criticizing Joe Biden. Federal employees are forbidden from political activities on the job.

After NYT piece on DDT’s taxes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) argued that conflicts of interest could invalidate all DDT’s judicial nominations. The sum total of $750 paid in taxes for an entire year for two different years with none for the previous decade has hurt DDT’s campaign. In comparison, DACA recipients—who DDT hates—pay $8.7 billion.

A new court filing from the Manhattan DA suggests a state court investigation into DDT and his businesses for tax and insurance fraud as well as other financial crimes. DDT argued presidents have blanket immunity from criminal investigation, but the Supreme Court ruled against that premise. Because the case is in state court, AG Bill Barr can’t protect him, and no president can pardon him.

Fox network and DDT’s BFF Sean Hannity is being deposed about his promotion of conspiracy theories concerning rumors about the “murder” of DNC staffer Seth Rich. Also deposed are Fox’s business host Lou Dobbs and network staffers about the debunked reporting that Rich’s death came from his leaking Democratic emails to WikiLeaks instead of the Russians. Rich’s parents filed an emotional distress and tortious interference lawsuit against Fox, its reporter Malia Zimmerman, and former guest Ed Butowsky.

As usual, Congress has passed a continuing resolution for the budget instead of a real budget. This one expires on December 11. Signed by DDT, the bill includes both welfare for farmers and $8 billion in food assistance.

July 18, 2020

DDT: Week 182 – COVID-19 a New Low, More

Monday, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) again bragged the U.S. has “one of the lowest mortality rates anywhere.” Or maybe “the lowest mortality.” He lied about it at least 17 times during the past three months. Excluding countries with fewer than 1,000 COVID-19 cases, the U.S. has the seventh highest mortality rate in the world—and three of those have no deaths today whereas the U.S. has over 25,000 before the day is over.

To keep DDT happy, White House officials twisted statistics, as noted in this article, to justify DDT’s lies, and they’ll continue to cook the books because DDT took charge on the COVID-19 data. He ordered hospitals to bypass CDC and send all COVID-19 information directly to a central database in Washington. The man who has told over 20,000 lies since his inauguration is now in charge of patient information accuracy and wants governors to send National Guard members to hospitals for data collection about patients, medical supplies, and capacity.

The DHS Secretary Alex Azar, responsible for disseminating the information, came from Eli Lilly, where he cheated diabetics by gouging their insulin costs. Azar’s ability to lie matches that of DDT as he needs to hide the fastest growing number of cases and deaths in the regions where DDT hopes to find votes. By lying, DDT will set into motion a circular effect of deaths: tell people things are better so that they contract the disease so more of them die so that DDT can tell them that fewer people are dying so …. In The Great Influenza about the 1918 influenza pandemic, John M. Barry wrote, “When you mix science and politics, you get politics.”

Fears about DDT’s order were warranted: the day after his order, the data disappeared from the CDC website. A loud clamor led to its return the next day, but no one knows if it is accurate.

Taxpayers are paying $10.2 million to TeleTracking, a private firm, for a six-month contract although CDC has its own 15-year-old data-tracking process, the National Healthcare Safety Network. The collected information goes to a new federal program, HHS Protect, with a system developed by Palantir Technologies. Co-founded by DDT-supporter Peter Thiel, Palantir gets most of its money from government contracts, including the system separating families for ICE but no putting them back together. The huge data-mining corporation, while staying fairly opaque, has been important in destroying privacy in the U.S.

The CDC has been criticized for the necessity of manual entry, but TeleTracking has a similar process.  https://www.statnews.com/2020/07/16/hospital-data-reporting-covid-19/   Medical personnel will need to learn an entirely new system in the midst of a surging pandemic while hospitals overflow.

In another disaster, repairing the flawed U.S. COVID-19 testing will cost $75 billion, according to a bipartisan Rockefeller foundation committee of industry experts, investors, scientists, and former federal health officials.  The U.S. testing has increased to about 4.5 million a week, but results require up to a month, especially in Arizona. And testing is vital because contagion is the highest with asymptomatic cases. In addition, the nation needs to do up to 30 million antigen tests a week for less than $10 per test.

DDT’s re-election campaign is the only reason that he needs to falsify data. The economy isn’t quite enough for a win; DDT needs to make the country appear completely normal, and one of the ways is to send children back to schools even if they sicken and/or die. He is so terrified of CDC guidance about reopening the schools that he has banned CDC officials from testifying before the House.

Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, “The science should not stand in the way of [completely opening schools this fall].” DDT, however, will not commit to sending his 14-year-old son, Barron, to school this fall. But he is so desperate to send everyone else’s children to school that he said he would take away decisions from parents if they decide to not send their children to school. Children’s infections are rising, comprising 6.4 percent of all infections even without information on one million cases: ten percent in California, one-third of tested Florida children infected, 11 percent on those under 20 in Arizona and Washington, and 4.5 percent of those under 11 and 11 percent of those ages 11 to 20.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos supports DDT’s reopening the schools 100 percent. After an Arizona schoolteacher died of COVID-19—despite following best practices of avoiding the virus—Secretary Education Betsy DeVos said she should have used “good hygiene.” DeVos refuses to answer any of these parents’ questions. Without schools following CDC guidelines, 71 percent of parents—53 percent of Republicans—see the openings as very or moderately risky. Internal documents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned the full reopening of K-12 schools and higher education would be the “highest risk” for the spread of coronavirus. DDT called CDC “liars.”

VP Mike Pence echoed the DDT party line by telling a Louisiana audience to send their children back to school, as did CDC Director Robert Redfield—both of them ignoring CDC guidelines. Pence said, “We don’t want CDC guidance to be a reason why people don’t reopen their schools.”

Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh also supports the need for people to “adapt” to the virus with the example of the 1847 Donner Party, pioneers who turned to cannibalism while unable to get out of the snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Note to Limbaugh: the horror of the story led Congress to support Army guides on the California/Oregon route for safety.

Two states with huge virus surges don’t have state-side mask-wearing directives—Arizona and Florida. Florida’s emergency operations center, a clearinghouse for disaster-related information and a command center of sorts for the pandemic response, shut down because of the number of positive COVID-19 cases. Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, has banned any cities or countries from requiring the wearing of masks. He is suing Atlanta for its mask requirement. The mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, has tested positive for the virus. Thus far, 28 states have mask mandates.

This last week could also be described as DDT’s war on infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has refused to lie about COVID-19. The White House went so far as to list ways in which Fauci was wrong in his statements during the six months that scientists attempted to understand the rapidly developing virus. DDT publicly claimed that he has a “very good relationship” with Fauci but privately approved a hit piece by Peter Navarro, the trade advisor DDT calls “my Peter,” a collection of such lies that the conservative USA Today apologized for publishing it because it “did not meet [the publication’s] fact-checking standards.”       

Fauci said his habit of telling the truth is the reason he’s not on television. DDT tried to muzzle him.

Other disasters for the U.S.:

DDT’s new U.S. postmaster general, GOP-donor of over $2 million Louis DeJoy, has made changes to slow down mail delivery. For example, “if the plants run late, they will keep the mail for the next day,” a deterrent for time-sensitive vote-by-mail ballots which DDT opposes. An early coronavirus relief bill authorized $10 billion for USPS emergency operations, but Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin blocks the funding. The Senate hasn’t taken up a House measure for another $25 billion emergency USPS aid package.   

A DDT judge was the swing vote on a 2-1 decision from the DC Circuit Court to allow cheap, useless health insurance with no coverage for pre-existing conditions or basic benefits such as prescriptions. DDT touted the plans as “much less expensive health care at a much lower price.” People who make too much money for subsidies from the Affordable Care Act can buy these plans for up to six months.

ICE is inviting civilians to a six-week “Citizens Academy,” one day each week, on training in “defensive tactics, firearms familiarization, and target arrests.” According to an ICE Chicago Field Office director, “the goal is to build bridges with the community” [aka vigilante militias]. ICE did not alert any lawmakers before the rollout of its program to encourage profile community members.

In his campaign speech at the White House, DDT claimed that the Confederate flag is “free speech” but has said the “Black Lives Matter” mural in New York City is a “symbol of hate” and would “denigrate” the surrounding area which includes the Trump Tower. He also minimized the deaths of Blacks from police brutality by saying police kill more white people. Police killings per million: Blacks – 31, Latinx – 23, White – 13, and other – 4.  In the past five and a half years, police have killed 1,301 Blacks and 2,495 white people, but the U.S. population is 76 percent white.

A Texas federal judge ruled for an in-person state GOP convention in Houston despite a spike in coronavirus cases.

In the next COVID-19 recovery bill, DDT opposes testing, contact tracing, the CDC, and addressing the pandemic. He also insists on benefiting the wealthy with tax cuts for capital gains and weaken Social Security and Medicare by eliminating payroll taxes until after the election.  

DDT’s personnel office is subjecting health officials and other political appointees to “loyalty” interviews in a search for people insufficiently loyal to DDT.  

After the Supreme Court overturned a lower court, the DOJ killed its third federal inmate in a week after a 17-year hiatus.The mother of a victim of the first executed man, who lay strapped to a gurney for four house, said his killing dirtied her daughter’s name. The second executed man, 68, suffered from schizophrenia and dementia. AG Bill Barr has been secretly stockpiling drugs for his killings.

HHS Inspector General reported Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief Seema Verma violated federal contracting rules, wasting taxpayer dollars in sending millions of taxpayer dollars to GOP-aligned communications consultants. 

U.S. COVID-19 cases on July 18: 3,833,271 cases; 142,877 deaths.

June 28, 2020

Law Sometimes on Side of People

For the first time since the agency was created almost two decades ago, DHS has classified white supremacy a domestic terrorist threat because of recent mass shootings. The far-right may protest the decision, but white supremacists committed 39 of 50 extremist-related attacks last year. 

Mississippi lawmakers are moving toward removing the Confederate flag from the state flag, and for the first time Gov. Tate Reeves said he would sign such a bill if it reaches his desk. No other state has the Confederate symbol on its flag.

Judges not siding with Dictator Donald Trump (DDT):

For the second time, a court ruled DDT’s transfer of $2.5 billion into border wall funding illegal. Two of the three-judge 9th Circuit Court panel determined the transfer of military funds an illegal overreach of executive authority because “the U.S. Constitution exclusively grants the power of the purse to Congress.” The lone dissenter on the panel is a DDT appointee. Mexico has paid nothing for the wall, despite DDT’s promises, and DDT has weaseled $15 billion out of U.S. funds for his pet project. When the Supreme Court lifted a lower-court injunction against the transfer, it didn’t rule on its legality. DDT got the money by declaring a national emergency but said there wasn’t any emergency; he did it for convenience. 

A federal judge in Los Angeles ordered migrant children held over 20 days released from the country’s three family detention centers by July 17 because of COVID-19. Some of the 124 children in the facilities as of June 8 tested positive for COVID-19. One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs said the children are living in “horrific conditions.”

A federal judge overruled Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos preventing students with loans from getting their stimulus money. The law paused federal payments, reset the interest rate to 0 percent, and stopped debt collection until October 1, 2020. DeVos ignored the law and kept the stimulus checks from borrowers having overdue debt. When the law stopped her in May, she demanded students receiving emergency assistance through community colleges be eligible for financial aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. Her plan was to eliminate aid for “undocumented, international and DACA recipient students in addition to those with poor grades and previously defaulted student loans.” The assistance helps students with rent, child care, technology, and groceries. The judge ruled withholding these emergency funds would cause irreparable harm and injury during a global pandemic.

DDT wants police to have unlimited immunity from lawsuits, but the 4th Circuit Court vacated a lower court ruling granting five officers qualified immunity for the 2013 murder of Wayne Jones, a homeless black man with schizophrenia. Four officers shot him 22 times in two seconds, mostly in the back and buttocks, while he lay limp and unmoving after Tasing and a chokehold. Jones couldn’t understand their questions and had a small fix-blade knife. The court ruled a jury should be allowed to determine if the 22 shots killing Jones were the use of excessive force.

DDT sues people so often that it rarely hits the news. Among the thousands of lawsuits, or at least threats, are against media outlets, TV stations, authors, politicians, his sexual assault victims, other countries, states, local governments, social media, campaign manager Brad Parscale, whistleblowers, the FBI, even a 92-year-old widow in Scotland—a long list. Last week, he threatened to block his niece from publishing her book, due out a month from today, because she settled an estate dispute with a nondisclosure agreement.

A clinical psychologist, Trump may be well qualified to write Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man., described as “a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse.” DDT left the dirty work of suing to his brother Robert, who has thus far failed. A Queens County (NY) judge said his court lacked jurisdiction in the case where Robert submitted a restraining order request and suggested he take the case to another court. The judge also cited “several improprieties” in Robert’s filing, making it “fatally defective”: it is based on the official disposition of patriarch Fred Trump Sr.’s estate, wrapped up in 2001 and thus for legal purposes “nonexistent.” Robert’s lawyer said he picked Queens County because the family estate was settled there in 2011. He plans to file with the New York Supreme Court. Mary’s book is due to come out a month from today.

More lawsuits to watch:

Judge Emmet Sullivan isn’t rolling over for AG Bill Barr. When two of three judges on a DC Circuit Court panel told the district court judge to dismiss charges against Michael Flynn, Sullivan didn’t follow the order and may ask the entire circuit court to hear the case. Twice, Flynn pled guilty to lying twice to the FBI under oath about his secret conversations with the Russian ambassador during the last few months of President Obama’s second term with the promise DDT would go easy on Russia after his inauguration. In exchange for his testimony and providing information, Flynn also got out of acting as unregistered agent for Recep Erdoğan in a plot to kidnap a U.S. citizen for the Turkish president. When Barr became DDT’s personal lawyer, Flynn saw a way out and reversed his guilty plea.

In a Flynn casualty, the DOJ fired FBI’s top lawyer, Dana Boente, at the end of May. DDT heard Fox network Lou Dobbs accuse Boente of collaborating with FBI Director Christopher Wray to block release of evidence to clear Flynn.  

DDT put Michael Pack in charge of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, responsible for the Voice of America, to turn the independent broadcaster into his own propaganda machine. Immediately after the Senate confirmed Pack, he fired the top executives and advisory boards. A lawsuit filed on behalf of the Open Technology Fund argues Pack lacked the authority to fire staff or board or board members. The suit also claims Pack violates the federal broadcasting law protecting government-funded news outlets from political interference.

Nineteen attorneys general are suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for overturning a rule protecting students from predatory higher education institutions and denying federal funding if their students graduated with disproportionately heavy debt loads and weakened career prospects. California is also suing DeVos for failing to implement the department’s forgiveness program for student loans. Loans were supposed to be forgiven after a decade of on-time payments while the borrower is in a public service for a decade. Between May 2018 and May 2019, however, 99 percent of the applications were rejected.

DDT may be pleased with his filing to do away with the Affordable Care Act, but voters put Democrats into the House at the thought of losing health care. He insists people will keep their preexisting conditions, but the 82-page brief and legal team say the opposite. DOJ’s argument is that Republicans who voted for the tax cuts also voted to destroy the entire ACA. The issue will be huge in the rest of the 2020 campaign because it won’t be settled before November. Almost one-half million people signed up for healthcare plans after losing their jobs through the virus.

Traumatized by the “Black Lives Matter” painted on the renamed street of the same name in front of the White House, DDT went on another rant at the same phrase painted in front of the New York Trump Tower. In a tweet, DDT lied about protesters calling for the killing of police officers, using a 2015 protest shown on Tucker Carlson’s Fox program for his claim. Twitter responded by calling DDT a “snowflake.” Volunteers painted the same slogan on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. 

The following news gets the label “good” for the hope it gives. Mark Zuckerberg promises Facebook will remove posts inciting violence or suppressing voting, even by political leaders and DDT, and label posts violating hate speech or other policies. Zuckerberg’s statement came after major companies pulled ads from Facebook to protest his inadequate action against “hateful lies and dangerous propaganda” in a “#StopHateforProfit” advertising boycott already costing him over $7 billion. The announcement was made on Twitter. A few of the participating companies

Banks are getting close to minimum capital levels because of COVID-19, and the Federal Reserve plans new restrictions for the third quarter to suspend their share buybacks and cap dividend payment at the current level. In addition, banks will be required to resubmit payout plans again this year, possibly every quarter. According to the Fed formula, Wells Fargo has the biggest risk of a dividend cut.

When “small companies” were threatened with investigation, at least 63 public corporations returned $510 million to the federal PPP program intended for struggling companies, probably about 20 percent of public companies borrowing from the program. The remaining 80 percent of public companies have kept over $900 million. The Treasury Department claims any borrower receiving less than $2 million meets “the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith.” Some companies earlier refusing to return money have reversed their position.

DDT speeded up testing a tiny bit by keeping open five of the 13 federal testing sites scheduled for cancelation. All five are in Texas.

Polling for DDT is so bad Fox raised the question of whether he will drop out of the presidential race before the election. Charles Gasparino tweeted an insider “described Trumps current psyche as ‘fragile.’

Today, June 28: New COVID-19 cases of 40,540 bringing the total to 2,637,077; 128,437 deaths—or far more.

March 6, 2020

DDT: Week 163 – Corrupt Purge, ‘Loyalty’

In a Friday afternoon news dump, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) fired Mick Mulvaney as both acting chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mulvaney is off to Northern Ireland to be special envoy, a vacant position since 2017. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), super-conservative founder of the Freedom Caucus, becomes DDT’s fourth chief of staff. DDT’s relationship with Mulvaney has been increasingly cool, turning to icy after Mulvaney told a British audience that the U.S. needed immigrants to improve its economy.

Since the GOP thought DDT had learned his lesson in the impeachment trial, he’s increased his purging and loyalty fixations. Earlier this week, he pulled Elaine McCusker’s nomination for Pentagon comptroller because she emailed concerns about budget officials delaying the congressionally-appropriated funding to Ukraine.

In an angry tweet, DDT explained his reason for firing Jeff Sessions as AG after Sessions’ attempt for U.S. senator from Alabama led to a runoff at the end of March:

“This is what happens to someone who loyally gets appointed Attorney General of the United States & then doesn’t have the wisdom or courage to stare down & end the phony Russia Witch Hunt. Recuses himself on FIRST DAY in office, and the Mueller Scam begins!”

Michael Ellis is DDT’s choice for senior director of intelligence on the National Security Council (NSC) for giving Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) bogus information about President Obama’s wiretaps on DDT during his 2016 campaign. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), later said the claim was “all created by Devin Nunes.” Ellis’ cohort in the scam, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, was appointed to national security adviser for United States AG.

DDT’s loyalty test on the application for political requirement asks an explanation of what part of Trump’s campaign message “most appealed” to them and why. In addition, applicants are asked if they have “ever appeared in the media to comment on ‘Candidate Trump, President Trump or other personnel or policies of the Trump administration.’ ” The new questionnaire requires a description of the applicants “political evolution” and a list of “thinkers, authors, books, or political leaders” who have “influenced you and led you to your current beliefs.” It asks, “What political commentator, thinker or politician best reflects your views?” and to list any political campaigns they have “ever worked on or volunteered for” and why. DDT’s name appears five times on the questionnaire.

A federal judge ruled that Ken Cuccinelli’s appointment as acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services violated the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. If higher courts support the decision, policies made under him are void, including the one permitting asylum-seekers much less time to consult with legal counsel before their initial “credible fear” interview. DDT tried to bypass the law in appointing the right-wing immigration hard-liner by appointing Cuccinelli to a lower office and then elevating him over the “first assistant” in the agency. Cuccinelli failed the requirement of working for the agency in a senior position for at least 90 of 365 days before the vacancy.

Increasingly frustrated by the covid-19 crisis, DDT said that he wants to leave the cruise ship, where at least 21 people have tested positive for the virus, off the California coast so that his numbers of infected people and those dying of the virus will look better. He also called Washington state governor Jay Inslee a “snake” for criticizing DDT’s response to the outbreak. Inslee said DDT should stick to science and tell the truth. DDT also said that the virus could benefit the economy because people would stay in the U.S. instead of traveling out of the country.

While Republicans and DDT denigrate “Democratic socialism,” he gave farmers $28 billion—most of them wealthy—because of his trade war, and the GOP wants to give them more. Now DDT proposes deferring taxes for big businesses hurt by covid-19: cruise, airline, hotel, and other travel industries accounting for 2.9 percent of the economy in 2018. Airlines alone could lose up to $113 billion. In the U.S., DDT could benefit from his hotels in D.C., Chicago, and Las Vegas; the Mar-a-Lago Club; a vineyard in Northern Virginia; and 11 golf courses.

In 2016, DDT ran on not cutting Medicare and Social Security; in 2020, he’s running on cutting these programs. The GOP also has a bill called Lower Costs, More Cures Act. Instead of lowering prices, it allows seniors to pay in monthly installments and tells people what procedures and drugs cost with no reduction in prices. Republicans ignored the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, already passed in the House, that lowers drug and other health prices for everyone.

Mark Zuckerberg has named Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller a factchecker for Facebook; one of the articles banned as “false information” was “Trump rallies his base to treat coronavirus as a ‘hoax.’” The lie is the spin that DDT only referred to Dems’ politicization of covid-19 as a “hoax.” DDT said, “This is their new hoax” and used the speech to minimize covid-19’s threat. The Searle Freedom Trust, funder of organizations of right-wing causes such as climate disinformation, funds FB’s factchecker. After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) slammed Facebook, it removed DDT’s campaign ads that asked users to fill out an “Official 2020 Congressional District Census.” The confusing fake ad was intended to reduce census participation.

In its first 2020 weapons test, North Korea has launched two unidentified projectiles from its east coast toward the Sea of Japan.

House Republicans who saw the classified agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lied about its contents. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) tweeted that the documents “do not include in them the things that @SecPompeo said they would.” She commented that the secret documents do not have a verification with the Taliban and contains no renunciation of al-Qaeda.

Four days after the “peace” agreement, the U.S. military attacked the Taliban in a drone strike because of continued Taliban attacks on Afghans. Three days earlier, the Afghan government said it would not release the 5,000 Taliban prisoners as DDT’s agreement promised. The violence between Taliban and the Afghans started two days later, killing five Afghan policemen. Immediately before the airstrike, DDT talked to a Taliban leader who promised DDT he also wanted no violence. DDT said his relationship with the leader as “very good.”

DDT’s claims the rights to his own opinions—no matter how vicious and false—but he’s suing to deny newspapers the right to have opinions about him. He has sued two different newspaper within the last week. The first lawsuit, against the New York Times, objected to an op-ed about DDT possibly colluding with Russia in 2016. His second lawsuit, one against the Washington Post, complained about two opinion pieces from last June warning DDT could encourage election meddling in 2020. Lawyers asserted that the Post knew the material was false and published it to intentionally hurt DDT’s campaign.

At a rally in North Carolina, DDT suggested that Joe Biden is mentally unfit for the presidency and said, “They’re going to put him into a home, and other people are going to be running the country.” At the same rally, he called for the impeachment of Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg because they endorsed Joe Biden. Calling it a quid pro quo, he said, “They made a deal. Impeach them. They should be impeached.” Just a couple of his lesser lying insults.

DDT and the Republicans, positive that DDT could win against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), are now afraid enough of Joe Biden that a Senate committee has reinstated a search into Hunter Biden. After his father, Joe Biden, beat Sanders for most of the 15 Democratic primaries on Super Tuesday, all their competition dropped out except for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who has earned one delegate out of almost 1,500.

DDT told Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) that he doesn’t want the surveillance extension, due for reupping by March 15, but AG Bill Barr disagrees, wanting the roving wire taps, lone wolf actors, and call data collection. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also wants the extension to pass; he could be caught between Barr and DDT. Paul, on the other hand, was the only Republican to vote against Barr’s confirmation.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos got a bipartisan protest when she cut funding for rural schools. Her revision for district reporting of students living in poverty caused major cuts for over 800 of the “poorest” and “most geographically isolated” schools. For 20 years, the department has used the percentage of students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch; now they must use data from the census for meeting the requirement of 20 percent of students living below the poverty line. The department said that if Congress wants the former guideline, then it needs to pass a law. Southern schools would be hit hardest with eligible schools in Oklahoma dropped by one-half. In Maine, 100 of 149 schools qualifying for the program would lose funding.

DDT went back to hugging the flag again at CPAC.

February 22, 2020

DDT: Week 161 – The Chaos Continues

This last week Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) retaliation went beyond firing Director of Intelligence Joe Maguire. In his reign of revenge, DDT fired Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood, who began his federal career under George W. Bush. Rood made the mistake of questioning DDT’s freeze on military aid for Ukraine and warned Defense Secretary Mark Esper that withholding the aid would “undermine our defense priorities with a key partner in the strategic competition with Russia.” Another Rood sin, in DDT’s eyes, was telling Congress that Ukraine was initiating significant reforms to get the funding which undermined one of DDT’s arguments for keeping the congressionally-appropriated money from Ukraine. Rood is the ninth recent DDT-instigated departure from the DOD.

Victoria Coates, deputy national security adviser, was moved to the Energy Department because Peter Navarro, DDT’s trade adviser, thinks—with no evidence—that she is the anonymous author of the book A Warning and of the op-ed criticizing DDT in September 2018. A week ago, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, who hired Coates as his deputy to manage Middle East and North Africa issues, said she would not be moved from the job; a few days ago he confirmed her move. Navarro was given his job with the administration after DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner saw his name while browsing Amazon and seeing the title of his book, Death by China. Many of DDT’s misguided beliefs about trade can directly be traced to Navarro.

DDT is even threatening to get Neil Cavuto fired from the Fox network after the host allowed A.B. Stoddard to say, when she was making the point that Mike Bloomberg’s bad debate performance didn’t damage him:

“Donald Trump had many disastrous debate performances. Many answers were so cringeworthy that you couldn’t believe that he was still standing on the stage, and he’s President.”

DDT spent 15 minutes of his Colorado campaign rally ranting about Cavuto, ending in incoherence about his enemies:

“They want to take you out. They want to change the results. They got caught spying—let’s say it like it is, right?—they got caught spying on our election, fake news. Hey, fake news: take your cameras for a change, and show them the room, and show them behind you.”

DDT told Defense Secretary Mark Esper that he could abolish collective bargaining rights for the Defense Department’s 750,000 civilian workers, a move unions decried as part of the administration’s far-reaching assault on organized labor. “national security” and that, if necessary, collective bargaining rights at the department should be scrapped in the interest of “protecting the American people.” The workers have been guaranteed by law since 1962.

Floridians passed an initiative allowing voting rights to up to 1.4 million people who served sentences for all but the most serious crimes, but the state legislature spent over a year trying to stop them by requiring them to pay all court-related fines and fees in order to register. Florida funds its court system with heavy fines. Disenfranchised blacks are five times the rate of any other state. A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court has upheld a ruling opposing the Republicans’ poll tax for voting for the 17 plaintiffs. The decision opens the door for the remainder of affected people to vote, but a review by the entire court may change the decision because DDT has flipped the court to majority Republican. DDT’s Supreme Court could also overturn the ruling.

A judge has thrown out a lawsuit by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), that leaker/liar to DDT, most recently who got Director of Intelligence Joe Maguire fired for allowing a briefing to the House Intelligence Committee. Last year, Nunes filed a racketeering lawsuit against Fusion private investigation started by a GOP company to discredit DDT during his campaign. The judge not only refused the $9.9 million in damages but also indicated that he would sanction Nunes and his attorney if he pushed the lawsuit. Nunes claimed that he was a victim of “active, coordinated and ongoing corruption, fraud and obstruction of justice” in his efforts to investigate the firm’s role proving stoking DDT’s ties to Russia during his 2016 campaign. He is known for his litigious obsession.

In his budget, DDT has ghosted women to the point of making them invisible. Gone are programs for women in healthcare, family planning, and paid leave while making tax cuts for the wealthy and big business permanent. Almost 40 million women get their health coverage from childbirth and family planning to chronic disease and disability care from Medicaid, which is being erased.

Over half of all women—68 million—have preexisting conditions. These include six million pregnancies each year, considered by insurance companies as a “preexisting condition.” Women also have chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes at higher rates as well as cervical cancer. The budget also eliminates family planning funding for Planned Parenthood and an evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention program. DDT’s paid leave plan ignores 75 percent of workers needing paid leave for their own health issues, care for ill or injured family members, and a military family member’s deployment. Also missing are solutions for sick days for shorter-term illnesses such as flu or care for a sick child.

While reducing domestic spending, DDT increased nuclear weapons spending by 20 percent in both the Defense Department ($28.9 billion) and the National Nuclear Security Administration ($19.8 billion) to a total of $46 billion.

Some people said that the impeachment trial was a waste of time, but DDT’s legal team provided arguments for Democrats suing to obtain DDT’s tax returns. When they asked a judge to lift a stay on the lawsuit, they used statements from Jay Sekulow and Alan Dershowitz who refuted the position “that the House is constitutionally barred from obtaining judicial enforcement of its subpoenas.”

During the impeachment inquiry and trial, DDT’s GOP supporters consistently cited the media as support for their lies about investigations into Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Without using the name of John Solomon, Republicans sourced the misrepresentations using conflicts of interest for opinion pieces in the sometimes-credible conservative publication The Hill. After an investigation into Solomon’s work, The Hill has released an evaluation—too little, too late—of problems in Solomon’s supposedly journalistic work and the changes that they are making as attempts to return “to report the news in a nonpartisan and fair way.” The problem is that this action was not taken before GOP Senators unleashed DDT in a virulent purge of quality career employees throughout the government through an acquittal of his unconstitutional behavior. 

Solomon’s columns guided DDT into demanding investigations of the Bidens, and DDT’s son, Donald Trump Jr, and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani promoted Solomon’s writings through Twitter. Fox’s Sean Hannity also promoted Solomon and his disinformation. Paul Farhi reported:

The Hill said Solomon amplified an inaccurate and one-sided narrative about the Bidens and Ukraine that was fed to him by Giuliani, ‘facilitated’ by businessman Lev Parnas, who was working with Giuliani at the time, and reinforced by Solomon’s own attorneys, who also represented clients embroiled in U.S.-Ukraine politics.”

According to the evaluation of 14 Solomon columns and related videos, The Hill didn’t retract or apologize the articles. Solomon still contributes to Fox.

A U.S. jury awarded a Missouri peach farmer over $265 million for years of crop losses because of drifting dicamba weed killer, produced by Monsanto. The farm, which lost 30,000 trees, didn’t use the herbicide, but Monsanto sold GMO soybeans and cotton seeds to their neighbors without EPA approval. This was the first dicamba legal challenge to go to trial, but it will be followed by many others affected by a destructive and untested product. German chemicals company Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018 and plans an appeal while fighting a multitude of lawsuits alleging that the weed killer Roundup causes cancer, 140 cases related to dicamba, safety risks from its Essure birth control device, and suits regarding PCB-contaminated waterways.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is in trouble after she ignored her staff and kept open a for-profit “accredited” college with neither faculty nor students. Originally tied to the University of Northern Virginia, Reagan National University moved to Sioux Falls (SD) having “among the laxest rules for colleges in the country,” according to a report.

DDT’s BLM is empowering far-right ideological “constitutionalist” theories negating federal government power by allowing local sheriffs to ignore BLM regulations. The current acting director, William Perry Pendley, believes that the federal government has no right to own federal lands. The “constitutional” approach originated with the Posse Comitatus, a racist and anti-Semitic organizations of the 1970s and 1980s and later developed from a Mormon ideologue and the 1990s Militia of Montana and Montana Freemen.

Fans protested because Fox sports didn’t show DDT’s campaign speech last Sunday although it was on Fox “news.” Maybe the sports channel didn’t want to embarrass DDT by showing him following the words on his speech like a beginning reader. Once again DDT broke the law by using taxpayer resources for campaigning during his lap today at Daytona in the presidential limousine. And once again Republicans won’t care.

October 28, 2019

DDT: Corruption, Character

News events about Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) keep rolling. Today, NYT broke news about how Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, twice reported worries about DDT’s pressuring Ukraine, especially asking “a foreign government [to] investigate a U.S. citizen.” He heard DDT’s July 25 telephone call to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky offering quid pro quo. A decorated Iraq war veteran with a Purple Heart, Vindman will be the first White House official to testify with first-hand knowledge about the call. (Vindman’s opening statement.)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the House will take its first formal vote on Thursday to “affirm” the impeachment investigation. The resolution will also cover procedures for public hearings and interview transcripts.

Military and intelligence officials cringed about DDT’s colorful description of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s capture, a combination of fabricated, tactically sensitive, and classified information that he presented to the world. Again, DDT presents himself only as an entertainer delivering an exciting narrative about covert life-and-death events. One official said:

“We agonized over what we would put in his briefings because who knows if and when he’s going to say something about it. He has no filter. But also if he knows something, and he thinks it’s going to be good to say or make him appear smarter or stronger, he’ll just blurt it out.”

Details such as the U.S. possessing documents about future ISIS plans damages military ability to use that information, and DDT’s report about capturing ISIS fighters complicates interrogation. He also revealed technology used in discovering the location and the raid itself as well as tactical details about the robot, helicopter flight patterns, methods of entering the compound, and even military dog training. DDT’s behavior belies his faux concern about fear that Democrats would leak information if they knew about the operation.

DDT invented his message to the Russians and performance of the “crying and screaming” from al-Baghdadi: the visuals of the raid had no audio. Some people surmised that the visual for DDT and others in the Situation Room was set up later to imitate the photo from that room during the capture of Osama bin Laden.

Back to last week’s corruption and fraud:

One arguing point by Republicans—although invalid—is that they are devoted to the U.S. Constitution. DDT finally openly repudiated the document that provide the supreme law of the United States with his term “phony Emoluments Clause.” The reference was made in high dudgeon after he backed out of having the G7 Summit at his personal resort, but a number of lawsuits already challenge his right to take money from foreign governments without congressional permission. He also argues that the constitutional impeachment process is unconstitutional and gave himself the right to spend federal funds wherever he wishes in violation of the constitution.

DDT also referred to the phony constitution when discussing his Washington, D.C. hotel. Thinking that he could escape multiple lawsuits about his constitutional violation, DDT considers selling the hotel, hoping for $500 million on a $200 million investment. Because DDT leases the building where the hotel is located, he would be selling only the rights to operate the hotel. The hotel’s building is owned by the government, making DDT both tenant and landlord, prohibited by the lease but still in operation. His lease costs $3 million a year plus a percentage of the profits, but DDT has not paid much over the base cost, indicating that the place is not profitable. He continues to run his own business, despite his assertion that he wouldn’t have any oversight; thus the sale would result in more conflicts of interest with a sale to people trying to curry favor. A House committee has subpoenaed DDT for documents to investigate his lease.

DDT may understand that his name is losing money. He has taken his name off two Central Park ice skating rinks. At one time, the arenas posted red signs with “Trump” around the rink and at the skate rental desk, signs now covered with a white tarp or with “Trump” in small print at the bottom. His name has even been removed from uniforms. Four concessions run by the Trump Organization—the two rinks, the Trump Golf Links in the Bronx, and the Michael Friedsam Memorial Carousel in Central Park—have either lost revenue or stayed flat since DDT was elected. The two rinks dropped by 5 percent. DDT’s name has been taken off six residential buildings in Manhattan and three hotels, all properties that had leased the Trump name.

New Jersey may revoke the liquor license for one of DDT’s golf clubs because of a 2015 case in which a man caused a fatal wreck after he was overserved alcohol at the club in Colts Neck. The man pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide after killing his father. DDT has 30 days to challenge the revocation. The club also violated state law by selling alcoholic drinks other than beer on carts throughout the golf course. According to state law, anyone with one liquor license revoked must give up all other licenses for two years. DDT has two other New Jersey golf clubs, one of them in Bedminster that he calls his summer White House. Alcohol sales provide golf courses its income.

DDT attacked Obama for not donating his presidential salary, but DDT has spent nearly 300 years of presidential salary on taxpayer-funded trips to play golf at his private clubs, including last weekend.

In DDT’s snitty micro-managing, he cancelled White House subscriptions to the Washington Post  and the New York Times. He also plans to order all his agencies to do the same. Almost a year ago, DDT tried to revoke or suspend the press passes of journalists with his objection as “fake news.” Judges have opposed this action twice thus far, but the DOJ is appealing the latest decision to allow the reporter to cover the White House. An argument against any suspension is “viewpoint discrimination” which DDT obviously has according to a tweet about “two nasty lightweight reporters” whose “reporting is so DISGUSTING & FAKE.” DDT’s bubble didn’t allow him to foresee the booing he faced at Game 5 of the World Series game after he was introduced. He was not happy.

DDT’s use of “fake news” may be short-lived. A Calgary (Alberta) communications agency joined the Florida Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists to trademark the term and served DDT with a cease-and-desist to stop him from using the term.

A federal judge held DDT’s billionaire Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in contempt of court because she failed to stop collecting loan payments from former Corinthian Colleges students, a defunct for-profit college company that defrauded tens of thousands of borrowers. Judge Sallie Kim fined the Education Department $100,000, money used to compensate the 16,000 people damaged by the Education Department. She warned “additional sanctions” if the Educational Department continues to violate the injunction.

One of DeVos’ top officials, A. Wayne Johnson, has quit in an effort to become Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s appointment to a U.S. Senate seat. Johnson has 500 competitors for the job. He came to the Education Department from his private student loan firm to manage $1.5 trillion in student loans, equal to Russia’s annual GDP and more than seven times Portugal’s GDP. As a going-away gift, Johnson wants to forgive up to $50,000 of student debt for each borrower at a cost of $925 billion. He says it could be financed by a one-percent tax on revenue generated by all employers including non-profit organizations. 

Student loan payments provided over 100 employees of student loan company Sallie Mae a five-day, expenses paid trip to Maui as the company celebrated record profits. The company made $5 billion from 374,000 borrowers. Sallie Mae provides private loans which charge much higher interest.

Peter Navarro, DDT’s trade representative, refused to answer six times when asked whether DDT is pressuring China to investigate Joe Biden as part of the trade talks. Sounds like a yes.

The DOJ tried to conceal the whistleblower complaint about the Ukraine phone call by not reporting the information to the FEC.

DDT has acquired only 16 percent of the land he needs in Texas for his wall because people don’t want to give up their land. Yet he may cause another shutdown in December if Congress doesn’t give him money for his monument.

Twice last week, GOP senators blocked election security bills. DDT already said that he would veto any bill requiring federal election campaigns to report “illicit offers” of campaign assistance from foreign governments and their agents.

DDT loves proclamations and last week was no different. For “National Character Counts Week,” he signed a statement encouraging future leaders to “lead lives of virtue and integrity” with a strong “moral compass.” He wants them to “demonstrate good character through our thoughts, discourse, and deeds” with deeds in our homes, schools, workplaces, and houses of worship. Let us set an example for others of the timeless values of respect, compassion, justice, tolerance, fairness, and integrity.” The signing of this proclamation that satirists like Andy Borowitz would write—but it’s for real.

Oddity of the week: DDT has released an attack ad against Hillary Clinton for the 2020 campaign.

June 2, 2019

Catching Up on the Last Few Weeks

Looking through my files, I see information about events that has fallen through the cracks. Here’s a bit of “catch up” with links for readers who want to read more about the subject. 

Tariffs/Taxes:

Solar energy, responsible in 2016 for 43 percent of employment in electric power and twice as much as the fossil fuel industry, has lost almost 20,000 jobs since DDT’s inauguration, much of the loss from tariffs.

Increasing tariffs to 25 percent on some Chinese goods could annually tax a family of four $767 and destroy over 934,000 jobs. Tariffs on all Chinese imports, as DDT threatens, would annually tax families $2,294. The combined $72 billion for all DDT’s tariffs constitute one of the biggest tax increases since 1993, and that amount doesn’t include his new tax on all goods from Mexico. People, not companies or countries, pay for tariffs making them a tax increase, the equivalent of a ten-percent increase in Social Security tax for an average family. DDT plans to annually cost every family $100 annually and add to health problems and death rates with enhanced pollution by erasing efficiency standards for light bulbs and causing LED bulbs to be much more expensive. Since President Obama’s action, LED bulbs, which last ten years, dropped 90 percent in price to about $1.

According to DDT’s Commerce Department, the $891 billion merchandise trade deficit last year is the largest in U.S. history, and the trade deficit with China hit a record high of $419 billion after DDT’s tariffs. The 19-percent jump from November and December 2018 to $59.8 billion made the highest monthly trade deficit in 10 years.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), ready to declare war on Iran, told farmers that they’re making far less sacrifices by losing their farms from tariffs than soldiers “in Arlington” make. DDT calls farmers losing everything from his tariffs as “patriot farmers.” Did they know that they were signing up for the war by growing food? Meanwhile, GOP senators up for re-election in agricultural states are getting nervous.

DDT’s tariffs are closing down a South Carolina plant that assembles televisions using Chinese parts with a loss of 126 jobs.

Climate/Pollution:

Earth’s concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) has reached 415 parts per million ( ppm). The first 280 ppm took 5,000 years until the Industrial Revolution; the last 5 ppm took two years. Ninety percent of all global fuel emissions have been released in the past 85 years. Excess carbon dioxide is causing men’s testicles to shrink from shortage of sperm. (Chemicals are also shrinking penises.)

The U.S. is one of two nations out of 189 to control movement of its waste across national borders, leaving the U.S. no place to send contaminated and plastic waste without other countries’ consent. 

Of the world’s 425,000 electric buses, China has 421,000. The U.S. has 300.

DDT may be able to escape any climate change penalties on the federal level, but New York is levying millions of dollars against his business because of pollution from DDT’s buildings. Without making improvements, DDT will pay annual fines of $2.1 million from 2030.

Not only has DDT failed to create more coal jobs, but he’s also losing the ones that existed when he was inaugurated. One-thousand jobs are at risk as the third-largest coal company declared bankruptcy because of a weak market, and over 50 coal plants closed under DDT’s leadership. A court ruling voided union contracts for another coal company, and lack of federal funding jeopardizes pensions of $600 a month for almost 100,000 workers. Transition to other jobs is highly problematic because coal workers aren’t well enough to work after leaving the mines.

Data:

DDT’s attempts to control the census by asking about citizenship isn’t the only way that he plans to skew information: poverty and pollution in the U.S. will be less severe once he changes all the numbers. After the EPA reported that DDT’s new energy policy to replace President Obama’s Clean Power Plan kills an additional 1,400 people, DDT ordered the number to be fixed.

DDT will allow oil and gas industry to drill places not within the safe drilling margin through the draft of guidelines that weren’t included for public comment last year.

Legislation:

DDT and the GOP hate net neutrality, which keeps prices lower for internet use, but love the idea of 5G wireless phones to speed up all those tweets. The result may be a 30-percent inaccuracy of weather forecasts because of interference, taking predictions back four decades. That means fewer days to prepare for hurricanes and incorrect tracking of storms’ paths to land. NOAA reported that the proposed 5G system would lose 77 percent data from its satellite’s passive microwave sounders. The FCC continues to auction off wireless spectrum, already making almost $2 billion.

Without legislation, Congressional Republicans will cause these catastrophes: lack of disaster aid; budget caps starting on September 30; not raising the debt ceiling resulting in calamitous financial crisis by the end of summer; government shutdown without passage of 12 appropriation bills by October 1; continued disintegration of infrastructure; no funds for Violence against Women Act which expired three months ago; no defense authorization or flood insurance which depends on the disaster bill; and lack of surveillance from sunsets on gathering metadata on domestic text messages and “roving” wiretaps—which might not be too bad.

DDT doesn’t think his ideas to use public-private relationships for infrastructure improvement “will work.

When the House passed the Equality Act, 173 Republicans voted in favor of discriminating against LGBTQ people. Only 21 states and the District of Columbia explicitly prohibit discrimination in employment and house, and one of those states permits public accommodation discrimination. One Republican legislator compared LGBTQ people to Nazis.

IRS:

Every year, the IRS loses hundreds of auditing agents, so they pursue the poor rather than the wealthy. In 2018, millionaires were 80 percent less likely to be audited than in 2011, but the 43 percent of people receiving the earned income tax credit are audited at a higher rate than anyone except the richest. Highest audit rates are in poor, rural, mostly black, and Southern counties.

 Over 1.3 million college students on scholarships are taxed at higher rates than billionaires, including DDT, thanks to the new GOP “tax cut” law. High tax rates have also hit tribal funds paid to Native American youth for education or living expenses. Republicans have not only fixed the problem but seemed to have deliberately created it.

Education Department:

Republicans plan to renew investigations into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server for her emails although she recorded all of them. The GOP will undoubtedly ignore Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s use of personal email accounts for government businesses and her failure to properly save the messages. The practice is common for Republicans, and DDT fails to preserve public records.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported that the Education Department is blocking efforts to police the student loan industry and costing borrowers thousands of dollars for those who owe over $1 trillion in these loans by refusing to share information.

As DDT wants to increase the charter school budget, the Network for Public Education reported how charter schools have scammed the federal government for over $1 billion in nonexistent or short-lived schools. With no adverse consequences, one in three schools that have received $4 billion closed, never opened, or hadn’t yet opened. Other charter schools fall short of the charter program’s promise of “high-quality” schools for disadvantaged students.

Ignorance/Bigotry:

Fifty-six percent of people reject the idea of teaching “Arabic numerals”—like 56.

DDT:

DDT likened himself to Hungary’s far-right authoritarian leader Prime Minister Viktor Orbán because of his being “respected all over Europe” and doing a “tremendous job.” 

At this time, 138 nominees are awaiting confirmation in the Senate, and another 132 positions have no nominees. The reason comes from overwhelming turnover in the past two years.

Condo sales in Trump Tower have plummeted, some of them as much as 20 percent, compared to 0.23 percent of Manhattan homes. Occupancy rates dropped even with lower than average rents; net income is 26 percent below banks’s expectations in 2012. DDT still made $434 million last year, especially from the D.C. hotel.

DDT said that he will not use any campaign dirt on his opponents from foreign companies—if he gets the opponents he wants.

DDT’s trial balloon of getting another two years with no election because he was treated “unfairly” has failed: 77 percent of the people don’t agree. Only seven percent of respondents think that he should ignore the 2020 election if he loses, and 90 percent believe that the “peaceful handover of power after elections” and “both parties respecting the results of elections” were essential for the “healthy functioning of American democracy.” Large majorities agree that DDT “does not respect the customs or traditions of the Presidency” and “the laws of the United States.”

April 15, 2019

Tax Day: ‘Cuts,’ Returns

Today is the deadline for paying 2018 taxes, and the amount of taxes that people pay has consumed conversation for over a year, ever since DDT and other Republicans gave the wealthy and big business a huge tax break that cost the United States $1.5 trillion. When Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) delivered his rally speeches, he promised that people would get an additional $4,000, but over 80 percent of taxpayers didn’t get this generous bonus. Instead 10,260,263 paid more taxes last year after DDT’s 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, and raises for most people were under $1,000. The law eliminated personal and dependent exemptions, caps on state and local deductions, employee business expenses deductions, etc. The cap of $10,000 on state and local tax deductions was onerous for many people, especially those who have lived in their home for a long time or have high state income tax, although DDT claimed that only the wealthy were hurt.

Researchers found that “half the tax cuts went to the richest five percent, with about a quarter going to the richest one percent. Those among the top five percent got bigger tax cuts not just in dollar terms but even when measured as a share of their total income.” Households making between $500,000 and $1 million had their after-tax income rise by an average of 5.2 percent. Households making less than $50,000 experience only a 0.6 percent increase. In even greater income inequality, W-2 wages fell 2.0 percent in 2018. Bonuses fell $0.22 for 2018, and the average bonus for 2018 was just $0.01 higher than in 2017. Most bonuses came from recruiting because of low unemployment instead of production from company tax cuts.

Big benefits went to Fortune 500 companies: at least 60 profitable corporations will pay nothing—some of them getting back extra money from the government. That number is double from previous years. Instead of paying $16.4 billion in taxes on their $79 billion of pretax income, the companies got rebates of $4.3 billion—a GOP gift of over $20 billion used to buy up stock and sock away in hidden offshore accounts. A few corporations with this advantage: Amazon, Chevron. Deere, Delta Air Lines, General Motors, Halliburton, Honeywell International, Molson Coors, and Prudential Financial. Another 51 companies with zero or minus taxes.

Jamie Dimon, J.P. Morgan’s CEO, bragged to shareholders that tax cuts for the bank add “$3.7 billion to net income.” But the increase “will be erased” so that shareholders won’t expect to get higher profits. The justification for the company’s spending $55 billion in stock buybacks? You have to buy back your own stock at “tangible book value.” And then at “two times tangible book value.” So buy back stock at any price, according to Dimonomics.

DDT surely gained millions—perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars—from DDT’s tax cuts for the wealth as did people he chose for his officials. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testified in support of $6.7 billion in education cuts at a congressional hearing, but she saved at least $10 million in taxes for 2018. Amway, her family’s company structured as an S-corporation, dropped its taxes from 39.6 percent to 29.6 percent in what Republicans called a small business cut. The education cut comes from the tax cuts’ failure to continue revenue for the government; instead revenue is plummeting. DeVos’ $10 million in taxes would have supported work-study funding for 5,600 students, Nevada’s entire share of the 21st Century Community Learning Center after school program, or funding for Full Service Community Schools academic and social services at schools in 20 communities—programs that DeVos wants to eliminate because of no revenue. DDT wants to make his tax cuts for the wealthy permanent with a conservative addition to the deficit of $1 trillion over a decade.

In their effort to convince people that they are paying lower taxes, Republicans have decided to make the withholding form so complicated that they can just say that people aren’t being ripped off. Past forms asked for the number of allowances based on exemptions. The new form requires annual dollar amounts for nonwage income, such as interest and dividends; itemized and other deductions; income tax credits expected for the tax year; and total annual taxable wages for all lower-paying jobs in the household for people with multiple jobs. The new form references 12 IRS publications for its completion and looks like the 1040 for final taxes instead of a simple W-4. The former year’s 1099, pay stubs, or 1040 returns are necessary for making the withholding calculations.

People are required to tell the “primary” employee about all their other income as well as that of their family and will probably need training to fill it out. Productivity will shrink and privacy goes out the window. And states may also require a new withholding form instead of the current W-4. Remember when Republicans said that people could fill out their tax return information on a postcard? It’s not happening.

Polling indicates that only 17 percent of people think that they got any tax cut even if they did. This perception comes from most taxpayers getting only a small cut. Only one-third of people approve of the legislation that DDT saw as his signature legislative achievement. Economic growth, a talking point around tax cuts, is slightly worse than in 2015, and job growth has slowed. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said about the tax cut when it was passed:

“If we can’t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work.”

The 77-year-old man is up for re-election next year. He may have the chance for “another line of work.”

Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)’s tax reform proposal, “Real Corporate Profits Tax,” might force a modicum of honesty on huge corporations. She recommends that companies reporting more than $100 million in worldwide profits pay seven percent on every dollar above the first $100 million claimed in profits to their investors. After CEO’s like Dimon brag about their tremendous profits, companies currently convince the IRS that they make no profits and thus pay no taxes. J.P. Morgan made over $131 billion in 2018 but paid less than $10 million in taxes. Warren maintains that raising the corporate tax rate does no good because the tax code is “so littered” with loopholes. She estimates that charging 1,200 companies subject to this tax would give “smaller” businesses “a fighting chance.” Companies paying no taxes would pay some taxes—Amazon would pay $698 million in taxes and Occidental Petroleum, $280 million. Last year, Amazon got a tax refund of $129 million plus paying no taxes.

For people who complain about costs of Social Security and healthcare, consider another destination for tax money. Of every dollar in taxes, 24 cents go to the military. Of those 24 cents, only 5 cents go to our troops while 12 cents go to corporate military contractors. The average taxpayer gave $1,704 to Pentagon contractors last year but only $683 for military pay, housing, and other benefits except $833 to military health care. The average U.S. taxpayer gave $225 to Lockheed’s executives and shareholders. Its CEO Marillyn Hewson got over $20 million for 2017, but the top pay for a four-star general or admiral is $189,600. The lowest-rank enlisted soldiers make just $20,172. Boeing got $100 from the average taxpayer, the same amount as all of education received.

And a shout out to DDT’s tax returns. Writing that concerns from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin “lack merit,” House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard E. Neal (D-MA) has given IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig a firm deadline of April 23 to turn over six years of DDT’s tax returns. Two days later, DDT’s personal lawyer wrote the Treasury Department to stop the tax returns from being handed over to House Democrats.

DDT’s tax preparer Mazars USA told House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) that it would turn over ten years of DDT’s tax returns if the company received a subpoena. In an attempt to hide the returns, DDT’s lawyers have threatened the firm with legal action if it follows the law. The letter accused Cummings of wanting the returns only for political reasons, basically accusing a member of Congress of being a liar.  calling it a politically motivated scheme to take down the president. Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Mark Meadows (R-NC), members of the Oversight Committee, also accused Democrats of requesting DDT tax returns “solely to embarrass President Trump.”

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders passed along the DDT party line of smears and threats about Democrats requesting DDT’s his tax returns when she claimed that Democrats aren’t “smart enough” to look through his returns and that they are on a “dangerous, dangerous road.” DDT was tried twice for civil tax fraud, criticized by judges in both cases, and faced his own tax lawyer testifying against him.

Protesters brought an inflatable figure to the steps of the IRS when they asked for DDT to release his tax returns. The group uses the figure because DDT is “too chicken” to release his tax returns. The first “chicken bearing a resemblance to DDT was 23 feet tall and complete with golden hair pompadour and preening gestures. It arrived at a Chinese mall less than a month before DDT’s inauguration in preparation for the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese lunar calendar.

Questions: If there is nothing wrong with DDT’s tax returns, why would he be embarrassed? If there is something wrong, why isn’t a look at them not warranted?

 

December 28, 2018

DDT: Week 101 – Watch China’s Growing Influence in Middle East

Day Seven of Government Shutdown: Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) may think that his shutdown isn’t successful because he’s now threatening to close the U.S. southern border and stop aid to several Latin American countries without his wall. Having canceled plans for any holiday vacation to Mar-a-Lago, DDT is sitting in Washington, D.C. with nothing to do except tweet. The U.S. has already announced a collaboration with Mexico, providing $10.6 billion to slow migration from South American countries.

  • The shutdown moves toward more debacles:
  • The possible cancellation of a global weather conference with over 4,000 attendees that wastes research and contracts.
  • Closure of all Smithsonian Museums and the National Zoo on January 2.
  • “Furlough” of EPA employees.
  • Lack of payments, farm loans, and disaster assistance for farmers.
  • Suspension of FTC investigations and litigation, including those against Facebook.

Fortunately for Mar-a-Lago, taxpayers are still paying for DDT’s holiday bash, even though he didn’t attend, starting with $54,020 for tents on December 19. Individuals paid DDT’s private business $1,000 per person.

Some startling news has received almost no attention in the Western media amidst the shutdown hubbub. DDT, self-proclaimed great negotiator, planned to scare Pakistan’s military into cooperation by suspending billions of dollars of security aid to Pakistan. Instead, China is buying Pakistan-built military jets, weaponry, and other hardware, a move that can deepen the two countries’ cooperation in space that China wants to militarize. It can also encourage other countries to buy military equipment from Pakistan instead of the U.S. Only Pakistan has access to China’s satellite navigation system allowing better guidance for missiles, ships, and aircraft. The countries also plan to link a port in coastal Gwadar across 2,000 miles to western China, allowing Chinese goods to have a much shorter and less expensive shipping route and avoid territorial waters of U.S. allies in Asia. China may also militarize Gwadar and other seaports being built in places such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Malaysia, giving China great geopolitical influence in both commerce and military action.

The first Chinese ship, the cargo ship Zhen Xing Sung, reached Gwadar’s port this week loaded with seafood. Its owner, the China Overseas Shipping Co (Cosco), has a 40-year lease of the port and will export to Central Asia and the Middle East.

DDT became so angry with former Defense Secretary James Mattis’ resignation letter—once the media explained to him what it meant—that he had his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney immediately fire Mattis instead of allowing for a transition period until late February. Mattis’ deputy, Patrick Shanahan, is the temporary replacement until the Senate has time to confirm him. Shanahan worked for the U.S.’s most profitable defense contractors Boeing for thirty years, quitting as senior vice president of supply chain and operations to join the Pentagon. Former Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) expressed concern when Shanahan was selected as Deputy Secretary of Defense and said, “I have to have confidence that the fox is not going to be put back into the henhouse.” Shanahan promised to recuse himself from any financial interests related to Boeing.

One reason for Shanahan’s selection as Defense Secretary may be his enthusiasm about DDT’s Space Patrol control outer space, an idea that has been soundly ridiculed. DDT may find Shanahan useful because he has neither military nor foreign policy experience. Shanahan finds the position useful because Boeing has been successful in winning competitive contracts since he joined the Pentagon. The Air Force wants F-35 stealth fighters from Lockheed, but the Pentagon is requesting F-15X fighters from Boeing, thanks to Shanahan’s involvement in funding.

DDT is facing not only investigations but also liens against his properties. A third lien, this one from AES Electrical, brings the total to over $5 million against his Washington hotel after the company assigned 45 workers to 12-hour shifts for almost 50 consecutive days to get it open when he wanted. The hotel opened on time, and DDT stopped paying AES. Plumbing firm Joseph J. Magnolia Inc. and Northern Virginia company A&D Construction also filed $2.98 million and $79,700. DDT claims that he’s worth $10 billion, but he has a long-time reputation of stiffing his workers at all levels.

Elected politicians are causing a “collapse in pay for the bottom 90 percent” of the labor market since 1979 by giving power to employers through weakening unions, damaging minimum wage, and prioritizing low inflation over full employment. The bottom 90 percent of wage earners lost $1.53 trillion in income–$10,800 for every U.S. household—in 2015 alone. As a result of these policies, productivity has rapidly slowed since the 1970s, growing half as fast between 1973 and 2017 as it did from 1948 to 1973.

As DDT rails against Jerome Powell, the man he picked as chair of the Federal Reserve, the media is reminding people that he fired the former chair, Janet Yellen, because she is “too short.” Janet L. Yellen was considered the most qualified Federal Reserve chair perhaps ever, but DDT he broke a long-standing bipartisan tradition of retaining the Fed chair if they wanted to stay and were good at the job. Yellen fit both these criteria.

DDT is helping drug companies make more money from opioids by recommending that people with prescription for opioids also get prescriptions for an antidote. The health care costs will run over $1 billion. The recommendation came from DDT-appointed Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir. A two-dose kit of Naloxone nasal spray costs about $125. An automatic injector runs $4,000 per kit.

EPA has approved the Monsanto’s pesticide dicamba, an airborne chemical that can kill crops for miles away. Corn and other grass crops can tolerate the weed killer, but it kills soybeans, tomatoes, and other broadleaf plants. In 2017 and 2018, dicamba damaged almost 5 million acres of soybeans in 24 states, primarily in Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Illinois, except for Monsanto’s genetically engineered soybeans. Dicamba drift has killed millions of dollars in pecan and peach trees plus destroying bees because they cannot survive on plants damaged from dicamba.

A new proposed EPA rule purports that a little pollution is good for people in order to erase regulations on toxic chemicals. Today, the EPA proposed a reversal of the clean-up of toxic mercury pollution from coal-fired plants. Mercury causes brain damage, learning disabilities, and other birth defects in children, and the pollutants enter the food chain.

After 17 people were shot and killed in a Parkland (FL) school last spring, DDT put Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in charge of an all-white committee to solve the gun problem. Her first solution was to use federal funds to buy guns for schools, but she moved back from that move because of the backlash. In her next step, she admitted to Congress that her commission on gun violence would not study the role of guns in school shootings. Ten months after the tragedy, DeVos will use the “school safety commission” to discriminate against blacks and other minority students, permitting schools to use race in punishing them because of her claim that are the cause for an increase in school violence. The racial difference is already dire: black girls are suspended six times more than white girls, and black boys are suspended three times more than white boys. The commission was created because of killing by a white teenager, and most mass shootings at schools are by white males.

Almost 40,000 people died in shootings across the United States in 2017 during DDT’s first year after his inauguration, the highest number in 20 years. The U.S. now has 12 deaths per 100,000 people from guns compared to 0.2 per 100,000 people in Japan, 0.3 in the UK and 0.9 in Germany.

Last week, a second Guatemalan child died on Christmas Eve in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and DHS Secretary clings to her story that parents are at fault. Yet on December 23 to 25, ICE officials dumped 600 hundred asylum seekers in the cold outside a Greyhound bus terminal in El Paso where they had no housing or food and local shelters were not warned. Many of them were ill. The only other time that this has occurred was the week before the 2018 midterm elections.

Gallup poll’s most admired man for 2018 is Barack Obama, and the winning women is Michelle Obama. Barack tops the list for the 11th year in a row, one place short of tying Dwight Eisenhower for the record. Michelle has broken Hillary Clinton’s 17 year run. DDT came in second to Barack, and Melania Trump is fourth after Oprah Winfrey and Clinton.

Katherine Walker, the TV producer who oversaw the first five seasons of The Apprentice, said that workers “struggled to make Trump seem coherent.” She added that he frequently commented on women’s bodies in a derogatory fashion. Walker believes—like many of us—that DDT would not have been elected president if not for that show. A piece in the New Yorker describes how Mark Burnett, former executive producer of the show, gave DDT the appearance of a tycoon. Voters bought the image, not the real person.

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