Nel's New Day

May 12, 2019

Evangelical Christians, Radical Zionists Demonstrate Sociopathic Behavior

For almost a century, evangelical Christians believed that their religion should not be involved in politics. But their growing connection with the corporations fighting Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal came to a head when they found Ronald Reagan as a puppet for their takeover of the United States. The mission of fundamentalist Christians is the same as ISIS—to take rights from anyone who disagrees with them, if necessary by violence. The evangelical coalition with white supremacists means attacks on immigrants, sometimes any people of color. Evangelical speaker, author, and university professor, Tony Campolo, talked about how conservative Christianity was redefined in the mid-70s with “pro-life,” only for fetuses, and opposition to LGBTQ marriage. When “theology fell to the background,” evangelical Christianity moved to hatred and abuse, emblematic of sociopathy.

According to Tim Rymel, Psychology Today listed 16 characteristics of sociopathic behaviors: “untruthfulness and insincerity, superficial charm and good intelligence, lack of remorse or shame, poor judgment and failure to learn by experience, pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love, unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations, specific loss of insight, and general poverty in major affective reactions (in other words, appropriate emotional responses).”

Church leaders and followers display these sociopathic characteristics. Franklin Graham, evangelist Billy Graham’s son, stated that immigration was “not a Bible issue” in a callous attitude toward immigrants. Lev. 19:33-34 and Mark 12:30-31 show that caring for asylum seekers is indeed a “Bible issue.” Graham treats tragic casualties in war-torn countries where immigrants try to flee with the same heartless approach.

After the terrorist attack on a Florida gay nightclub killed over 50 people, Pastor Roger Jimenez of Sacramento’s Verity Baptist Church said:

“The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is—I’m kind of upset that he didn’t finish the job!”

Kim Higginbotham, a minister’s wife and teacher with a master’s degree in special education, wrote a blog titled “Giving Your Child to the Devil”:

“Being a disciple of Jesus demands our relationship to him be greater than our relationship to our own family, even our own children.”

She quoted Matthew 10:37:

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

Her blog was a justification for rejecting her gay son; she posted these comment on his wedding day.

On this spring’s National Day of Prayer, the personal pastor of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), Paula White-Cain, called him a biblical prophet and declared she cast off White House demons on the same day that DDT released regulations allowing healthcare workers to deny anyone care because of personal opinions.

DDT is choosing high-level officials to put the United States under evangelical Christian control. Former AG Jeff Sessions seemed like a major danger to the nation’s First Amendment, but his proposals were minor compared to those of the new AG, Bill Barr, who believes that his duty is to enforce god’s laws. According to Barr, there is no place in the nation for the abomination of secularism. He wrote that the government must impose “a transcendent moral order with objective standards of right and wrong that flows from God’s eternal law,” an eternal law best dictated by the Vatican and taught in public schools at taxpayer’s expense. Those moral edicts do, however, permit DDT’s criminality and corruption.

As the epitome of religious fanaticism, Barr blames all problems—divorce, crime, sexually-transmitted diseases, etc.—on “the federal government’s non-stop attacks on traditional religious values.” Barr demands taxpayer-funded religious instruction in Catholicism throughout public schools and calls for legislation to promote Vatican edicts to “restrain sexual immorality,” meaning bans on homosexuality, extramarital sex, and “artificial” birth control. Equality for LGBTQ people is determental to Barr:

“[Equality] dissolves any form of moral consensus in society. There can be no consensus based on moral views in the country, only enforced neutrality.”

“Enforced neutrality” is defined by Barr as the guarantee of equal rights for all people in the United States by the U.S. Constitution. And he runs the Department of “Justice” so that he can control everyone.

In his new mandate, Pope Francis similarly ignores the needs of his people. His recent church law requires clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups to be reported to church authorities, some of whom are the abusers, but not to the police. It’s a system that’s failed for centuries. Only a few bishops and religious superiors, accountable only to the pope, have been sanctioned or removed for sex abuse or cover-up. Theodore McCarrick, an example of how the pope’s new law can be corrupted, rose to the top of Catholic hierarchy while the Vatican received credible allegations of sexual misconduct with adults against him. He was defrocked only after the discovery that he also sexually abused minors.

The young man who shot and killed one person and wounded two others in the Poway (CA) synagogue was an evangelical who wanted to glorify God. He was a member of Escondido Orthodox Presbyterian Church created to counter the mainstream Presbyterian denomination, and his father was an elder in the church. The young man’s manifesto delivered “a frighteningly clear articulation of Christian theology,” according to a pastor in another evangelical denomination sharing beliefs with the Escondido church who said that the shooter was following much of what he was told in his church.

Sociopathic behavior among religious people isn’t limited to evangelical Christians. Like many Christians, Zionism, the radical political arm of the Jewish religion, has gone overboard in victimization if they don’t get everything they want. All Palestinian support is anti-Semitic, according to Zionists who have pushed people into sending death threats to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) after DDT gave Palestinian and Syrian land to Israel and U.S. Jews swore their first allegiance to Israel instead of the U.S. Even Democrats damned Omar for talking about the “Benjamins” that support Israeli interests in U.S. lawmaking, but hardliner Israeli supporter do exactly that when they declare taking over other countries’ lands is their biblical right. Republicans’ attempt at a resolution against hate speech was restricted only to anti-Semitism.

A high level of sociopathic behavior exhibited  in the 2016 election only increased since then. Once upon a time, James Dobson said that “character does matter” when he referred to Bill Clinton. Regarding his strong support for DDT, Dobson said, “I’m not under any illusions that he is an outstanding moral example. It’s a cliché but true: We are electing a commander-in-chief, not a theologian-in-chief.”

One megachurch evangelical pastor, Dave Gass, decided to leave his church and dump his Christian faith because “the supernatural interactions between the deity of the Bible and mankind sounded like ancient mythology.” He added that his Christian belief didn’t help or save his marriage, “a sham and a constant source of pain for me.” In another tweet, he wrote that “church people are just sh*tty to each other.” He concluded:

“This massive cognitive dissonance—my beliefs not matching with reality—created a separation between my head and my heart. I was gas lighting myself to stay in the faith. Eventually I could not maintain the facade anymore, I started to have mental and emotional breaks. My internal stress started to show in physical symptoms. Being a pastor—a professional Christian—was killing me.”

Gass observed that people who strive to be in the evangelical leadership are the problem because they treat their church and religion as their “small kingdom for personal control and ego.” According to Gass, people who have nothing to do with Christianity have a better understanding on being good Christians.

May 4, 2019

DDT: Week 119 – Master Liar at Work

After publicly telling 5,000 lies in his first 601 days, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) doubled this total to 10,111 in just 226 more days, upping his average of 8 lies a day to almost 23 days in little more than the past seven months. Some days he did better—for example, the 45 lies in a telephone interview with Sean Hannity on April 25 and 24 lies in one speech to the NRA. His best record may have been the 61 false claims in a campaign rally on April 27. DDT’s tweets help his average too: 171 false or misleading claims in three days between April 25 and 27. April was his best month thus far! Twenty-percent of lies are about immigration, thanks to the 160 times he falsely claimed that his border wall is being built. The WaPo “Bottomless Pinnochios” have reached 21 with claims earning Three or Four Pinocchios repeated at least 20 times. More of his lies.

DDT shared lies with Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in their hour-long talk. Despite the Mueller report facts, DDT, who had no visual contact with Putin, proudly pointed out that Putin “smiled” about the “no collusion” between Russia and DDT. He said they would denuclearize North Korea despite North Korea’s continued testing of weapons. DDT also failed to talk to Putin about his interference in the 2016 election, but DDT is satisfied that Putin won’t be a problem in 2020—because Putin said he wouldn’t.

They may have talked for the first time since Russia opposed DDT’s attempted coup to depose Venezuela’s democratically elected president, Nicholas Maduro. DDT said that Putin told him that “he is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela, other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela.” That statement contradicts DDT’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said that Russia had actually “invaded” Venezuela. Pompeo added that “the Russians have people working over there in the hundreds” and that the Russians persuaded Maduro to stay in Venezuela instead of going to Havana.

Like Putin, DDT, who cares nothing about human rights in other parts of the world including the United States, also lies about human rights as the reason to replace Maduro with U.S. puppet Juan Guaidó. To make his desired regime change, DDT greatly increased sanctions against Venezuela in addition to earlier ones punishing the nation. He also covertly sent weapons to support Guaidó last February. Eric Prince, founder of the Blackwater mercenaries and brother of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, wants to provide 5,000 mercenaries to Guaidó.

Members of CODEPINK and Popular Resistance are living in the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C. to protect it from a possible invasion and coup by U.S.-backed opposition forces. Expelling people from the embassy would violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations that “the premises of the mission shall be inviolable.” U.S. agents cannot enter the embassy without the Maduro government’s permission, and the U.S. has a duty to protect the embassy against, intrusion, damage, and disturbance of the peace. The embassy is “immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.”

Until he talked with Putin, DDT was in complete accord with national security adviser John Bolton to overthrow the existing leadership not only in Venezuela but also in Cuba and Nicaragua. Threats with “a full and complete” embargo” toward Cuba if it fails to “immediately” stop supporting the Maduro government were preceded by DDT’s blocking Nicaragua’s bank loans. U.S. GOP presidents historically intervene in these three countries—Eisenhower in 1960 and Reagan who tried but failed to overthrow Daniel Ortega’s socialist government in Nicaragua. George W. Bush followed with a failed coup against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Bolton wants to eradicate “communism and socialism in this hemisphere,” and DDT sees the half-million voters born in the three countries to be pivotal in Florida for the 2020 election. U.S. corporations want Venezuela’s oil, the biggest reserve in the world.

After his conversation with Putin and Guaidó’s failure to accomplish his coup this week, DDT’s enthusiasm for overturning Maduro seems to have dampened. Gone is DDT’s strong support for Bolton and Pompeo’s military action in Venezuela, and back is DDT’s typical waffle position of “all options are on the table.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who wants touch military action, will have to reverse his position—again.

DDT selects his officials for their abilities to lie, and AG Bill Barr is a prime example. This past week’s attention focused on Barr’s lying under oath in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Mueller investigation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) accused Barr of committing a crime by lying to Congress. Barr’s connection with the secretive conservative extremist Catholic group Opus Dei, developed in Franco’s Spain during the 1930s, provides support for his “ends justify the means” approach, recently demonstrated by his comfort with lying during testimony. Like Barr, the organization prizes wealth and power at the expense of those more disadvantaged while it uses politics to further its personal advancement and destroy justice and democracy.

Barr was forced to admit that Mueller’s investigation discovered DDT’s implication in a felony with the case referred to the Southern District of New York. The case concerned crimes of hush payments that violated campaign finance laws.

The day after the redacted Mueller report was released to the public, White House lawyer Emmet Flood wrote AG Bill Barr criticizing Mueller for explicitly stating that his investigation did not “exonerate” President Trump on allegations of obstruction of justice and accusing Mueller’s report of making “political” statements. Flood’s full letter is here.

Lies from DDT’s associates also created problems in Mueller’s investigation as he noted in the report. Campaign manager Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn faced criminal charges for their lies, and others, such as Donald Trump, Jr., couldn’t be questioned. Other witnesses, like Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and Sergei Millian, left the country. DDT himself displayed an abysmally poor memory in the few answers he gave to Mueller.

In lying about how President Obama was at fault for the Russian involvement in the 2016 election, DDT again brought to light House Speaker Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) refusal to work with the president in this issue. McConnell had already taken drastic steps to block Merrick Garland from being considered for the Supreme Court for several months, and he promised scorched earth if President Obama went public with the knowledge that Russia was working to elect DDT.

Republicans may deny the possibility of climate change, but the EPA has published a report telling people how to plan for climate change’s catastrophes. Despite the EPA ban of using these terms of “climate change” or “a changing climate,” the report used them 29 times. Communities should assume “the worst-case scenario” as they adapt to the “debris-related impacts of climate change,” according to the report. Concerns are chemical and industrial release along with gas emissions.

Because of the firefighters’ support of Joe Biden’s candidacy, DDT sent 58 attack tweets or retweets in an hour early Wednesday morning.  He lied about everything that he had done for the firefighters.

Once again, this week was Infrastructure Week. Supposedly DDT agreed with Democratic congressional leaders Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Dick Schumer (D-NY) that $2 billion was a good number for the nation to rebuild its crumbling bridge, roads, and other parts of the infrastructure. DDT first called the public-private partnerships of last year recommended by economic adviser Gary Cohen as “so stupid.” GOP opposition, however, will likely scuttle the deal: acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has already told people that the idea is too expensive and doomed for failure. McConnell also opposes the deal, and Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) asked how “we are going to pay for this.”

Raising gas taxes by 35 cents would raise only one-fourth of the needed amount, and tax increases would be necessary for the remainder. Republicans want to keep giving taxes from the poor and middle-class to the wealthy so that won’t work. DDT will probably follow the same as pattern as he did with immigration—agree with Democrats and then call off the entire deal.

When DDT is lying, his comment and speeches devolve into derangement, like his enactment of the Paris massacre during his talk at the NRA convention. Or his graphic lying description of how Democrats “execute babies” at his Wisconsin speech.

DDT looks good with the dropping unemployment rate. The bad news is for blacks, the college-educated, and involuntary part-time workers. Increase came in temp help, and local government jobs almost tripled. Wage increases match the inflation rate. The raw numbers are good, the reality not so much. Like the stock market going up because tax cuts for corporations permit them to buy more stocks.

Farmers’ personal income fell by the most in three years during the first quarter of 2019 from the ongoing trade war. Other factors included low commodity prices and the climate change disasters such as the Midwest spring floods. Earnings dropped by $11.8 billion in the quarter, just shy of the $12 billion that DDT promised to pay them out of taxpayers’ pockets. DDT’s 2020 budget cuts reduce federal subsidies for crop insurance and small growers from 62 percent of premiums to 48 percent with limits on growers making less than $500,000 annually. In January, he told farmers that his trade deals “are going to get you so much business, you’re not even going to believe it.”

Coming soon: “Make America Worse.”

[Note: Those who wish to read more about the news above and/or factcheck the material may wish to use the links.]

 

May 1, 2019

U.S. AG Barr Defends Cover-up of DDT

Special investigator Robert Mueller joins people disturbed about AG Bill Barr’s misrepresentation of Mueller’s final report. A timeline of the report from its release to Barr’s testimony today before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his protection of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT).

March 22: Robert Mueller delivered his 448-page report to the DOJ.

March 24: Bill Barr released his personal four-page interpretation of Mueller’s report that attempted to exonerate DDT of all blame by announcing that Mueller found no collusion between the DDT campaign and Russia and that Mueller had absolved DDT of obstruction of justice.

March 25: Mueller sent first letter to Barr, expressing “concern” about Barr’s misrepresentation of his findings with an introduction and executive summary to Barr that day.

March 27: Mueller sent a second letter to Barr and the DOJ leadership about Barr’s summary:

“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions. There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

Muller requested the release of the report’s introduction and executive summaries. DOJ officials said that they believed Mueller agreed with them about the process of releasing the report until they saw the letter. The complete letter is here.

March 28: Mueller told Barr on the phone that Barr’s summary was misleading about the report and said that Barr did not reveal how DDT’s campaign interacted inappropriately with Russians. Examples: Campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates regularly provided polling to a Russian national believed by Gates to be a “spy”; Mueller outlined 10 “episodes” in which DDT may have obstructed justice. In addition, Barr didn’t mention that DDT’s mostly unsuccessful “to incluence the investigation” were “largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”

March 29: Barr wrote Congress claiming that his March 24 communication was intended as Mueller’s principal conclusions, not a summary. He volunteered to testify before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees on May 1 and 2.

April 10: Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee under oath. Asked if Mueller supported “your conclusion,” Barr answered:

I don’t know whether Bob Mueller supported my conclusion.”

The questioner, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), called Barr “the chief propagandist” for DDT and that Barr lied to the people after learning about Mueller’s prior communication with Barr.

April 18: Barr gave a press release before he made public a heavily redacted Mueller report and repeated “no collusion” as his boss DDT has. Asked if it was improper for him to spin the unreleased report, Barr walked off the stage.

April 30: The Washington Post released information about Mueller’s criticism to Barr about the Barr’s misrepresentation and publicity prior to Barr’s congressional testimony.  Both Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and House Judiciary Committee chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) demanded Mueller’s letter to Barr. Nadler also asked that Mueller testify before his committee, but the DOJ, where Mueller is employed, can’t find a time when Mueller would be available. Barr threatened to not appear at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on May 2 because he might be questioned by staff counsel instead of House members. Members of Congress called for Barr’s resignation.

May 1: Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee:

  • Barr testified he had not reviewed the underlying evidence in Mueller’s report although he wrote in his first summary that the evidence failed to establish that DDT committed obstruction of justice.
  • Barr said he doesn’t know anything about the internal polling data that Manafort and Gates regularly sent to Russian national Kilimnik to share with others in Ukraine and with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. The Mueller report described over 200 connections between DDT’s campaign and a foreign adversary.
  • Barr sat in silence for six seconds when asked if campaigns should contact the FBI if foreign governments offer them damaging information on their political opponents. When prompted, he specified a narrow yes, “if a foreign intelligence service.” Barr did suggest it would be possible for an employee of a foreign adversary to work for a U.S. campaign if that person were not paid.
  • Asked about lies from DDT and other people in Mueller’s report, Barr said that he’s “not in the business of determining when lies are told to the American people.” [Internet response was not positive.]
  • Barr falsely claimed that he “didn’t exonerate” DDT and that he wasn’t hiding Mueller’s information. [Sen. Richard Blumenthal used a color-coded chart for 14 claims connected with DDT’s obstruction of justice, showing that Mueller found substantial evidence regarding this obstruction of “crime, intent, interference with an ongoing investigation, and the obstructive act.”]
  • Barr called Mueller’s letter to him “snitty” and refused to share notes from their telephone call. Also, Barr accused Mueller of not writing the letter to him although Mueller signed the letter.
  • Barr told Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) that he will “work with you to enhance the security of our election.” Asked if he would help get the Secure Elections Act passed, he said he would “take a look” at it. [Klobuchar had far more questions.]
  • Barr said that DDT “fully cooperated” with the investigation although the Mueller report shows differently.
  • Barr asserted that Mueller didn’t intend his report for Congress although Mueller stated that intent in his report.
  • Barr admitted under oath that a case for obstruction of justice can be pursued without an underlying crime if people concerned about crimes “take an inherently malignant act, such as destroying documents.” The statement was to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), DDT’s cheerleader, who was sure that his original question would keep DDT from being accused of obstruction. [Asked earlier this week about DDT’s obstruction of justice, Graham said, “I don’t care.”]
  • Barr said that DDT was “falsely accused” of coordinating with Russia.
  • Barr declared that he is in charge of summaries, redactions, and times of releases because a special investigator works.
  • The worst: Barr said that the president had the right to fire any independent special counsel if he disagreed with the investigation.
  • Barr refused to testify at the House Judiciary Committee hearing tomorrow. Members may subpoena him, landing the situation in court If Barr continues his refusal. Barr could be sued for civil contempt, leaving the decision to a judge. This solution was used in 2007 when George W. Bush’s counsel Harriet Miers refused to testify about her removal of several U.S. attorneys; a court ruled that Miers had to comply with the subpoena, and the case was appealed. The case was dropped when the 110th Congress was over. An unlikely option not used for 100 years is to hold Barr in contempt, meaning the House’s security force could arrest and detain him. In 1973, Sen. Sam Ervin (D-NC) threatened to jail people who failed to appear for the Watergate hearings after then President Nixon tried to prevent key aides from testifying.  Permitting Barr his own way sets a precedent for the DOJ’s total control of Congress—a separate branch of government.

When “Poppy” Bush, George W.’s father, named Barr attorney general in the early 1990s, NYT writer William Safire, a staunch Republican, used the nickname “Coverup-General” because of Barr’s concealing evidence about George H.W. Bush’s involvement in “Iraqgate” and “Iran-Contra.” Christmas 1992 headlines told of Barr’s Christmas gift to Bush and Ronald Reagan—hiding their crimes in the Iran-Contra scandal. Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh, named six years earlier to investigate Reagan’s Iran-Contra activities, found the documents of Caspar Weinberger, Reagan’s former defense secretary, who had been in on the deal, and Bush’s diary that would corroborate Walsh’s findings. Elliott Abrams was already convicted of withholding evidence from Congress and might have more information. Abrams was silent, hoping for a pardon.

In April 2001—almost ten years later—Barr said in an interview for oral presidential histories:

“There were some people arguing just for [a pardon for] Weinberger, and I said, ‘No, in for a penny, in for a pound.’ I went over and told the President I thought he should not only pardon Caspar Weinberger, but while he was at it, he should pardon about five others.”

Bush followed Barr’s advice, destroying years of investigation. Walsh had already gotten one conviction and three guilty pleas with two other people lined up for prosecution. Bush was in Walsh’s sights. The pardons closed down the investigation and protected himself as well as the others involved in the crimes. After the pardons, Walsh stated that the diary and notes for Weinberger’s public trial were “evidence of a conspiracy among the highest ranking Reagan Administration officials to lie to Congress and the American public.” Officials includes Reagan, Bush, and Barr. Coverup-General Barr is the go-to guy, and Republican senators confirmed him. Only Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) voted against his party, but Barr got three Democratic senators: Doug Jones (AL), Joe Manchin (WV), and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ).

Even Fox contributor Andrew Napolitano, who DDT once considered for a personal lawyer, claims that Mueller’s report shows DDT’s pattern of obstruction that was “unlawful, defenseless and condemnable.” He made his opinion well-known through both an op-ed and a video.

A must-read about Barr is a NYT op-ed from former FBI director James Comey who tells Barr that “[DDT] has eaten your soul.”

And a must-watch about Barr comes from Rachel Maddow’s interview with Hillary Clinton immediately before Minute 17. Clinton’s best one-liner about DDT’s inviting foreign countries to support her 2016 election:

“China, if you’re listening, why don’t you get Trump’s tax returns? I’m sure the media would richly reward you.”

According to Barr, this approach would not be illegal because it’s done out in the open.

[Note: Those who wish to read more about the news above and/or factcheck the material may wish to use the links.]

 

April 20, 2019

DDT: Week 117 – Brief Euphoria Leads to Fury

AG Bill Barr’s release of the Mueller Report—at least pieces of it—consumed the news last week with Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) going from euphoria when he thought he was exonerated to fear and anger after the public and Congress saw a partial report. Despite Barr’s desperate lies and omissions to convince people that DDT was off the hook, questions about his conflicts of interest also damage his spin on DDT’s “innocence.” In the past, Barr worked for a law firm representing Russia’s Alfa Bank and for a company with long-time business connections with Russia. He also received dividends from Vector Group with deep financial ties to Russia that brought DDT to Moscow to discuss investments there. Deutsche Bank, the only one recently willing to lend money to DDT and implicated in money-laundering schemes, holds up to $250,000 of Barr’s assets. These facts were largely overlooked in the Senate confirmation hearings, but the House is guaranteed to dig deeper into Barr’s Russian relationships—likely finding a web of people involved in both the scandal and attempts to bury it in addition to Barr’s past history of lying.

Noted journalist Jane Mayer also wrote an article of how Eric Prince, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ brother and Blackwater founder, funded an attempt to determine “the authenticity of [Clinton’s] emails” that DDT requested from Russia. Michael Flynn told Mueller that DDT repeatedly asked to get the emails, and Flynn asked many people who might be able to get them, including Peter Smith who helped finance investigations into Bill Clinton’s sexual relationships in Arkansas. Smith wrote emails explaining that his work on Clinton’s emails was “in coordination with” DDT’s campaign, and Prince helped fund the operation. Smith’s death in May 2017 was ruled a suicide. Barr stated that disseminating stolen information was not a crime unless the person initially stole the information. Another “Trump Defense” that adds to nothing criminal for people who are angry and  fail.

While lying about the Mueller report, Barr issued a ruling that asylum seekers won’t be eligible for bond even they face credible fear in their countries of origin. Instead they’ll be held indefinitely, sometimes years, while immigration courts determine their fate. The ruling means taxpayers pay hundreds of millions of dollars to private companies that house people who could find productive work and pay taxes. Last year’s charge was at least $730 million. Barr justified his authority by stating that he can do this because federal circuit courts have this right—although the DOJ has nothing to do with the judicial system. compared his authority to that of a federal court:

One of Barr’s goals may be to get rid of DDT’s former undocumented housekeeper at DDT’s golf resort in Bedminster (NJ), Victorina Morales, who blew the whistle on DDT’s employees’ penchant for hiring undocumented migrants and then blackmailing them with their status. Morales brought her son to Guatemala after they witnessed a group of men slashing her father-in-law with a machete in an attempt to extort him for money. The AG can refer any cases he wishes to her purview as a political tool to control the immigration system. In greater politicization, Barr is considering an expansion of his power to refer cases to himself that are being considered in addition to those determined by immigration judges.

An DHS advisory group wants Congress to pass “emergency legislation” to detain more children at the southern border. The goal is to block asylum seekers.

DDT, who tried to strongarm the Japanese president into nominating him for the Nobel Peace Prize, vetoed the non-binding resolution to leave the war in Yemen causing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Bombing is leaving 14 million Yemenis at risk of famine. One year ago, DDT claimed peace with North Korea. This week, its president, Kim Jong-Un, announced a test-firing of “tactical guided weapon,” showing the world that his nation is moving forward with weapons development. His media also said that North Korean officials won’t accept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s participation in nuclear talks, requesting someone “more careful and mature in communicating.” Pompeo declared that he’s staying on, that its “my team,” illustrating that North Korea might be right. And once again, a Republican in the Oval Office has failed after triumphantly crying “Mission accomplished.”

Although DDT ignored the three black churches burned down in Louisiana in the past few weeks, he had enough time to give advice to firefighters battling the inferno at Paris’ Cathedral of Notre-Dame—use “flying water tankers.” His suggestion was ignored to preserve the structural integrity of the 850-year-old building. DDT’s pattern of ignoring the plight of non-white people in the U.S. continues his failure to follow through to get clean drinking water in Flint (MI), taken by Republicans in 2014, and provide disaster relief to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria over 18 months ago. Cages for migrant children at the southern border were built with fund designated for Head Start, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, and the National Cancer Institute.

A directive from the New York State Office of Court Administration prevents ICE from arresting people inside courthouses without judicial warrants or orders. With 178 of these arrests in New York state courthouses last year, over 100 times as many as the 11 in 2016, immigrants are increasingly fearful of going to courts. ICE uses administrative warrants, signed by ICE agents instead of judges, to pick up immigrants.

The SEC is requiring ExxonMobil to permit a shareholder vote on a resolution that would require the corporation disclose its political spending, including “dark money” to advocacy and trade organizations. Another vote mandated by the SEC is on a shareholder-proposed resolution to create a committee that reviews and oversees Exxon’s climate change strategy. The votes will be taken at the May 29 annual meeting.

Soon after his inauguration, DDT proudly ordered a new Office within the VA Department to protect whistleblowers from reprisal. The VA is now investigating the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection for assisting in retaliation against whistleblowers. For example, an engineer who reported contracting violations to supervisors and OAWP was stripped of responsibilities and assigned to an office without heat or air conditioning. Others described OAWP’s inactivity and betrayal.

A president cannot put tariffs on items unless the purpose is for national security, but DDT has threatened to put these fees on French wine and cheese after putting high tariffs on soybeans. Now DDT is trying to figure out whether uranium is connected to U.S. security. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) thinks that Congress needs to take back its constitutional power to be in control of tariffs. Maybe the farmers who lost big time on soybeans have some influence on their senator.

In his first campaign, DDT ran on the economy, saying that he would bring back the $2 trillion that wealthy people and corporations have stashed overseas and raise the GDP growth to four percent or over. He’s failed to bring back the money but added his $1.5 trillion tax cut to give money to the rich beneficiaries. At the same time, he’s driving away the immigrants who support his economy and work force.

DDT also runs his trade war in an attempt to help the economy. Exports did slightly climb 1.1% to a four-month high of $209.7 billion, inflated by a 60 percent surge in commercial aircraft to $5.8 billion, but a repeat performance is unlikely after the Boeing 757 MAX planes were grounded. Last year, the trade deficit was the highest in ten years and the second highest in history. Slower growth in imports doesn’t spell victory if people worried about the economy are cutting back on spending. Last year’s trade deficit was over $72 billion more than President Obama’s highest trade deficit in 2013 but $120 billion lower than George H. Bush’s highest deficit in 2006.

DDT sometimes “jokes” to send up trial balloons about the success of his statements. This time, he said he could be in the White House for another ten or 14 years because Chinese President Xi Jinping for doing away with term limits.

The White House was finally a happy place—before the pieces of the Mueller Report were released.  DDT’s aides were sure that he would be re-elected to keep from being indicted, and the statute of limitations would run out before DDT’s second term. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said that immigrations controversies are “really smart” controversies, and DDT planned to get a special investigator for Clinton’s emails and other manufactured scandals. Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law, is running the White House, the RNC, and DDT’s campaign. Whatever DDT doesn’t tell Kushner to do, he offers to his daughter and Kushner’s wife Ivanka, known as “Baby” in meetings. Because DDT considers her qualified to do anything, he suggested she could be UN ambassador and then director of the World Bank. “She’s very good with numbers,” he said.

The smart ones around DDT, however, figured that the euphoria would vanish when the report came out—and it did. By yesterday, his rants were even more profane than usually, calling the Mueller report “bullshit” and retweeting a message from sports fantasy Scott Atkins about the DNC “circle jerk.” Maybe he learned something—like his approval rating going down three points in one day after the Mueller report release. The 37 percent approval is his lowest this year and down six points from when Barr released his lying letter about the report less than a month ago.

April 19, 2019

Barr Obstructs Justice

Back in 1978, a Democratic-controlled Congress passed the Ethics in Government Act allowing attorneys general to “request that a specially appointed three-judge panel appoint an outside individual to investigate and prosecute alleged violations of criminal law.” Fast-forward 22 years and a GOP-controlled Congress let the law lapse. The DOJ, however, knew that the administrations would continue to have scandals that needed an independent investigator to objectively gather and analyze evidence and testimony, and present conclusions to the public. Before George W. Bush took office, DOJ officials created guidelines for “specific investigations or prosecutions that may be deemed to present a conflict of interest if pursued under the normal procedures of the agency.” After Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) appointed Jeff Sessions as his new AG, deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, in charge of the DOJ investigation because of Sessions’ conflicts of interest with Russian contacts, appointed Robert Mueller under the 2000 DOJ special counsel guidelines.

To avoid giving special investigators too much power with little oversight, the AG—or in this case deputy AG Rod Rosenstein—could manage investigations. Guidelines required Mueller to “receive, review, and, where appropriate, forward to the Attorney General or an agency head … disclosures of violations of any law, rule, or regulation, or gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.” Rosenstein also required Mueller to give the person in charge a confidential final report about why the investigator prosecuted some people but not others. That requirement came from Ken Starr’s “grandiose vision of the truth-reporting role,” as legal experts Jack Goldsmith and Maddie McMahon wrote in a Lawfare blog essay. Rosenstein worked for Starr during the Whitewater investigation.

Mueller indicted 34 people and obtained guilty pleas, trial successes, and sentencing in 22 months. A few weeks after Bill Barr, the man who wrote a memo explaining his viewpoints that the president is above the law, was confirmed as AG. Weeks later, Mueller’s investigation was shut down. Barr took Mueller’s 448-page report, changed the opinion to exonerate DDT, heavily redacted the report, refused to give the unredacted document to Congress, and went back to exonerating DDT through omissions, misrepresentations, and lies:

  • Barr justified DDT’s obstruction of justice by saying that he was “frustrated and angered.”
  • Barr said nothing about DDT’s expectation of benefiting from hacked material.
  • Barr claimed that he should made the decision on obstruction of justice although the report had a conclusion:  “[I]f we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.”
  • Barr too responsibility for decision-making from Congress despite Mueller’s order “that Congress can validly regulate the President’s exercise of official duties to prohibit actions motivated by a corrupt intent to obstruct justice.” Barr refuses to give Congress the unredacted report.
  • Barr claimed no “obstructive conduct” because DDT’s staff wouldn’t follow his orders to obstruct justice. In DDT and Barr’s world, failure after attempting a crime means no crime. Mueller states that DDT tried many times and with many aides to impair, limit, and shut down Mueller’s investigation and wrote that DDT’s attempts “were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the President sought to use his official power outside of usual channels.”
  • Barr repeatedly used the term “no collusion”—one of DDT’s favorite terms—although Mueller clarified that collusion is not a legal term. The report has over 100 pages of connections that describe “collusion.” Mueller’s summary states that DDT’s “Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.”
  • Barr claimed that DDT fully cooperated with the investigation. Yet DDT repeatedly refused requests to be interviewed for the investigation and showed an abysmal lack of recall in 19 of 22 responses to written questions.
  • Barr insisted that Mueller “found no evidence” of DDT’s campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, but Mueller identified “numerous” Trump campaign-Russia contacts. It outlines how Trump was elected with Russia’s help.

Eleven instances of DDT’s obstruction of justice could be prosecuted as crimes, according to Mueller:

  • DDT’s efforts to fire Mueller.
  • DDT’s order to former FBI director James Comey to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn.
  • DDT’s firing of Comey.
  • DDT’s efforts to hijack oversight of the Mueller investigation.
  • DDT’s order to White House counsel, Donald McGahn, to deny that Trump had tried to fire Mueller.
  • DDT’s conduct with associates who pled guilty to crimes, including Flynn, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen.
  • DDT’s “repeated efforts to get McGahn to create a record denying that the President had directed him to remove the special counsel.” are held up for special scrutiny.
  • DDT’s publicly telling witnesses not to cooperate.
  • DDT’s telling Michael Cohen to not contradict him in congressional testimony about Trump Tower Moscow.
  • DDT’s trying to hide emails exposing Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russians for “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
  • DDT’s advanced knowledge about the planned dumps of Democratic emails hacked by Russia and given to WikiLeaks.
  • Dozens of accounts of suspect contacts between Russian operatives and Trump campaign figures.

The report states: “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.However, we are unable to reach that judgment.

Barr’s exoneration of DDT might become the “Trump defense” for people charged with crimes: he isn’t guilty because he was angry and failed.

Other revelations in the unredacted portions of Mueller’s report:

Witnesses and investigated individuals often used message aps to automatically delete emails and texts after they are read or within a short time. Other documents were hard to find because witnesses and subjects lived out of the United States. The erasure of messages may have violated federal law. Mueller wrote that his office “cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light on (or cast in a new light) the events described in the report.”

DDT forced former AG Jeff Sessions to give him a letter of resignation and then kept it in his suit jacket’s inner pocket, pulling it out during meetings with aides. Reince Priebus said he worried that DDT was using the letter to influence DOJ investigations.

DDT told 33-year-old Stephen Miller, who has no legal training, to make the legal determination on whether he could fire Comey without cause. The White House lawyer, Don McGahn, “in an effort to slow down the decision-making process,” insisted top DOJ leaders be consulted.

After receiving the Mueller report, DOJ gave its information to the White House to help DDT’s legal team prepare a rebuttal and public relations strategy.

Many passages about DDT’s discussions between DDT’s campaign and WikiLeaks in releasing emails to damage Clinton have been blocked out, but enough remains to indicate a connection between DDT’s campaign and Russia. Mueller confirmed that the Russians tried to hack the Illinois Board of Elections website in 2016, penetrated computer systems in at least one Florida county government, and planted malware in systems at a manufacturer of election equipment. In 2016, Russian agents also hacked into the DCCC computers and disseminated the stolen information reporters and other individuals for six states.

The Rantt Rundown, “Day 819 of Trump’s “Presidency,” gives a detailed analysis of the Mueller report, “Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election.” It also points out that the report is damning for Barr’s reputation because of the contradictions, especially because of his conclusion that his memo arguing a sitting president cannot be indicted had no influence on Mueller’s decision-making. Mueller said Barr’s position was a factor. The full report and analysis are here. The U.S. attorney general is the chief law enforcement body for the people of the United States, not an extension of Trump’s personal legal team.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), chair of Select Committee on Intelligence, gave the White House information about the Russia investigation after he had a private briefing with then-FBI Director James Comey. Soon afterward, DDT panicked. Although perhaps not as nefarious as DDT’s lapdog Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), once chair of the Intelligence committee, Burr has said he’s inclined to ignore the Russia scandal, downplayed it, and then said that he saw nothing wrong in DDT’s privately demanding personal loyalty from Comey.

House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) issued a subpoena for Robert Mueller’s full report. Barr has stated that the DOJ will not allow him to release the unredacted portion to the public—or even Congress. History proves him wrong.

Mueller’s wrote:

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

Jon Swaine wrote in The Guardian: 

“No past president has so frequently denied reality, nor seemed so unfamiliar with the very concept of shame. Neither, perhaps, has any past president enjoyed the support of such a compliant Senate, which is Republican-held, and willing to excuse his every scandal in the service of their agenda.

Mueller’s work lives on in Roger Stone’s trial, planned House hearings, and continued investigation of DDT’s business and inaugural committee by Manhattan federal prosecutors. DDT know that he’s in trouble: he now rants about the “Crazy Mueller Report” during his religious commemoration of Good Friday when he played a round of golf.

Republicans for the Rule of Law, a conservative group with the mission of “defending the institutions of our republic,” will attempt to run a TV ad on Fox network urging GOP lawmakers to hold DDT accountable for Mueller’s findings. The 34-second ad opens, “Twenty years ago, Republicans denounced a Democratic president for lying and obstructing justice.” It concludes, “Republicans stood for the rule of law then. We should stand for the rule of law now.” Longwell, added that the group wants Republicans to “act like a congressional body with equal powers and to provide a check on a president, who clearly from this report does not respect the rule of law.”

 

 

 

End Barr:

April 16, 2019

Bill Barr’s History May Show Future Position

On the day of the 1989 “Black Friday” market crash, almost exactly 30 years ago, a legal memo by then head of DOJ’s office of Legal Counsel Bill Barr was leaked to the media. Issued in “unusual secrecy,” the missive determined that the FBI could forcibly abduct people in other countries with no consent from those countries. A newspaper headline indicated that Barr could use his personal decision to abduct Panama’s leader, Gen. Manuel Noriega. When Congress requested the full legal opinion, Barr refused. He promised to provide them a statement that “summarizes the principal conclusions,” the same term he used for the Mueller report.

Barr’s action began 20 years earlier, in 1979, when the U.S. signed a treaty to turn over control of the Panama Canal zone to Panama. In 1989, the U.S. government wanted to get rid of Panama’s leader, Noriega. As DOJ’s head legal counsel, Barr was told to find a legal way to go into a sovereign country, dispose its leader, kidnap him, and bring him to the U.S. to stand trial. Barr followed orders and then tried to hide how he had accomplished the task by claiming that it was based on the entire DOJ legal opinion from the department’s study.

Because his “legal opinion” was so flimsy, Barr couldn’t release his opinion’s principal conclusions. Instead, he gave Congress 13 pages of written testimony with quotes from court cases, legal citations, and language excerpted from the full opinion. The memo, however, left out substantial and provocative conclusions from the full opinion with no justifiable reason for blocking the information from Congress.

Initially, Barr refused to discuss the opinion’s content that reversed a previous opinion from his office that had been released four years earlier. A reporter asked President George H.W. Bush, “The FBI can go into Panama now?” H.W. said he was “embarrassed” about his not knowing about Barr’s memo and promised to get back to the reporter. Secretary of State James Baker soon tried to cover for H.W. by a false claim:

“This is a very narrow legal opinion based on consideration only of domestic United States law. It did not take into account international law, nor did it weigh the President’s constitutional responsibility to carry out the foreign policy of the United States.”

An assistant AG told Rep. Don Edwards, chair of the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on civil and constitutional rights, that “current legal advice by the Office of Legal Counsel is confidential.” With her response, however, she reversed her statement by noting that the DOJ had released the 1980 opinion to the public in 1985. Later Barr himself testified to Congress that the DOJ has no prohibition on the release of his memo.

Barr’s response to the congressional request for his 1989 memo, was like his treatment of the Mueller report thus far. He first falsely avowed the history of Internal Justice Department rules as a basis for his refusal. Edwards pointed out the 1980 memo precedent so Barr shifted his position from his testimony and letter sent to Edwards, claiming that “it has been the long established policy of OLC that except in very exceptional circumstances, the opinions must remain confidential.” Historical examination shows that Barr was mistaken—or lied. When Barr referred to his misleading 13-page written testimony, Edwards told him that he had violated House rules by submitting the document only the morning of the hearing instead of the required advance of 48 hours.

The written testimony asserted that domestic law allows a president to authorize FBI actions in foreign countries that violate international law. Yale law school professor Harold Koh explained that, without the full opinion, Congress could not determine whether Barr’s assertion was based on fact, what parts of the earlier opinion were overturned, and whether his full opinion contained nuances, subtleties, or exceptions that Barr’s testimony didn’t include. Barr’s testimony did indeed skip parts of his opinion, that Ryan Goodman described, “would have earned the Justice Department scorn from the halls of Congress, legal experts, and the public.”

Congress received the 1989 Barr opinion 21 months later after waiting a year and a half to issue a subpoena. But that was after the U.S. had invaded Panama, captured Noriega, and brought him back to the U.S. for a trial.

Award-winning investigative journalist Michael Isikoff gave this analysis of Barr’s full opinion:

Omission 1: President’s authority to violate the UN Charter

Barr’s opinion stated that a president could violate the United Nations Charter because such actions are “fundamentally political questions.” Barr was wrong. He ignored a president’s constitutional duty to “take care” that U.S. laws, including ratified treaties, be faithfully executed. He also combined this political question issue—whether courts can review an action taken by the executive branch—and the question of whether this action is legal or authorized. Professor Jeanne Woods wrote: “Barr’s congressional testimony attempted to gloss over the broad legal and policy changes that his written opinion advocated.… A careful analysis of the published opinion, and the reasoning underlying it, however, reveals the depth of its deviation from accepted norms.”

Omission 2: Presumption that acts of Congress comply with international law

Woods wrote that Barr failed to correctly apply the so-called “Charming Betsy” method when interpreting statutes. In the 1804 decision, Murray v. The Schooner Charming Betsy, the Supreme Court ruled that “an act of Congress ought never to be construed to violate the law of nations if any other possible construction remains.” Even more, in a “reverse Charming Betsy” Barr asserted that “in the absence of an explicit restriction” concerning international law, the congressional statute must be interpreted as authorizing the executive branch to violate international law. He wrote that Congress has to grant the right to a president to break international law “because, as part of his law enforcement powers, the President has the inherent authority to override customary international law.” It’s a false analogy based on a false assertion.

Omission 3: International law on abductions in foreign countries

Barr’s testimony about his opinion didn’t even mention international law. He claimed that the full memo “is strictly a legal analysis of the FBI’s authority, as a matter of domestic law, to conduct extraterritorial arrests of individuals for violations of U.S. law.” His State Department legal adviser sidekick reinforced Barr’s testimony by claiming:

“Mr. Barr has summarized its conclusions for you. As Mr. Barr has indicated, that opinion addressed a narrow question-the domestic legal authority to make such arrests…. My role today is to address issues not discussed in the OLC opinion — the international law and foreign policy implications of a nonconsensual arrest in a foreign country.”

The full memo, however, included international law and the way that the UN Charter—a specific treaty—could apply. The 1980 memo, which Barr reversed, opposed abductions in other countries without their consent. It quoted a condemnation of Israel’s abduction of Adolf Eichmann in Argentina as an example of prohibition by Article 2(4) of the UN Charter. Barr said the opposite of the 1980 DOJ memo. Barr also used personal “logic” in the memo instead of legality:

“Because sovereignty over territory derives not from the possession of legal title, but from the reality of effective control, logic would suggest there would be no violation of international law in exercising law enforcement activity in foreign territory over which no state exercises effective control.”

These pieces are a few of those uncovered in Congress after it subpoenaed the full opinion. By that time, however, Barr had become deputy AG on his way to being peacefully confirmed for AG. He said that the constitution didn’t permit abortion, that Roe v. Wade was wrong decided, and then Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), now considering a run for president, praised his honesty. At about the same time, Biden helped put Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court for perpetuity. Not long after becoming AG, Barr helped H.W. pardon indicted and convicted officials from the Iran-Contra Affair to protect H.W. from being investigated about his own illegal conduct.

Almost 30 years later, Barr told Congress that he would “summarize the principal conclusions” of the Robert Mueller’s report for the public. He can obfuscate and hide information in Muller’s report. If that doesn’t work, Barr can help with more pardons to hide illegal actions by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). And as a bonus, Barr can authorize the FBI to arrest the head of any country DDT wishes—like Venezuela maybe? It’s a pattern for Barr.

The vote to confirm followed party lines except for one Republican, Sen. Rand Paul (KY), who voted against confirmation and three Democrats—Doug Jones (AL), Joe Manchin (WY), and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) voting for confirmation. Barr violated the Posse Comitatus Act that requires congressional approval for using military for law enforcement. Thanks to his confirmation, the nation may be subjected to his approach of doing whatever he wants and then claiming that what’s done is done. [In the above photo, Bill Barr may be demonstrating how much he will let the public see of Mueller’s report.]

With the release of the heavily-redacted Mueller report less than two days away, White House staffers are suffering a “breakdown-level anxiety” among cooperating staff who fear “the wrath” of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and his allies. Look for a whole new level of fury in DDT’s tweets.

 

April 13, 2019

DDT: Week 116 – Problems Pile Up

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has told former Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, now acting DHS director, that he would pardon McAleenan for violating the law if he blocks migrants and asylum seekers from coming across the southern border. DDT fired Claire Grady from DHS because she was legally in the line of succession to take over DHS after DHS fired Kirstjen Nielsen. Neo-Nazi Stephen Miller is now in control of the U.S. immigration policy; the Senate has not confirmed officials for seven top DHS officials.

Although White House officials oppose “placing” undocumented immigrants in so-called sanctuary regions, DDT and Miller are determined to retaliate against Democrats. The term is used for places that follow federal law but don’t pursue migrants who have not committed crimes. Matthew Albence, ICE’s new acting deputy director, opposed DDT’s idea last November because transportation would take money and other resources from enforcement. In February, legal experts rejected the idea, and conservatives say that DDT’s idea gives migrants a free ride to their destinations and creates difficulty in deporting them later. Jessica Vaughan, head of the anti-immigration group Center for Immigration Studies, said that the “immigration policy amateurs in senior positions at the White House … should stay in their lane—which is not immigration.”

AG Bill Barr also reinstated an “efficient” judicial process to get rid of migrants. Instead of giving people fair hearings, DOJ will permit cursory opinions without explanation and set precedents with a small minority of appeals judges. For six temporary judicial seats, Barr—and DDT—can pick judges from immigration appellate judges who have the highest deportation rates. Immigration judges lack independence because they are within the executive branch. DDT has a personal lawyer in Barr as Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-WI) had Roy Cohn to destroy thousands of people in the 1950s. With no evidence, the supposed AG dropped the erroneous word “spying” into his testimony to throw red meat to DDT’s base. Over 25 years ago, Barr had no legal basis for sweeping up millions of U.S. residents’ phone calls in the early 1990s for George H.W. Bush.

According to the conservative Wall Street Journal, federal prosecutors in New York have “more evidence than previously known in its criminal investigation” into DDT’s directing Michael Cohen to make illegal payoffs for DDT’s extra-marital affairs. An interview with Hope Hicks, DDT’s former close aide, led to implicating DDT in federal crimes, and Keith Schiller, DDT’s former bodyguard, has calls to David Pecker, CEO of the National Enquirer’s publisher which admitted paying $150,000 on DDT’s behalf to hide his relationship with a former Playboy model. Investigators also have a recorded phone conversation between Cohen and the two women’s lawyer. Information came “weeks before” Cohen testified about the hush-money payoffs in court. Cohen has said that he has 14 million damaging files about DDT that he has not yet released and wants to postpone the May 6 reporting date for going to prison. This evidence may include “possible federal campaign finance violations by the Republican National Committee, including possibly illegal conduiting of illegal substantial donations to the RNC by foreign nationals, including from China.”

AMI is selling the National Enquirer along with tabloids Globe and National Examiner. The decision came after negotiations with Jeff Bezos’ legal team because of the Enquirer’s attempted shakedown in revenge for news about Saudi Arabia published in the Washington Post, especially the murder of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). The blackmail story threatening to publish revealing photos of Bezos and his mistress if the negative articles about Saudis didn’t stop is connected to DDT through AMI CEO David Pecker, close friend of DDT. The Enquirer fingered the brother of Bezos’ mistress as the photos’ source, but Saudis hacked into Bezos’ phone.

Congress wants answers about six secret authorizations from DDT’s Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, to give Saudi Arabia nuclear technology and services with no limits to block their developing weapons. In reference to MBS’s overseeing the torturing and dismemberment of Khashoggi, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) said:

“If you cannot trust a regime with a bone saw, you should not trust them with nuclear weapons.”

These authorizations require congressional approval. A bipartisan bill requires the executive branch to regularly disclose information about allowing permission for nuclear energy cooperation with foreign countries.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin thinks that he doesn’t have to obey a 1924 anti-corruption law requiring him to turn over DDT’s tax returns. Section 6103 of the Tax Code states that Treasury officials “shall,” meaning no choice, turn over the tax returns “upon written request” of the chair of either congressional tax committee or the federal employee who runs Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. No request has ever been refused. In another potentially illegal act, Mnuchin told Congress that his legal team has consulted with the White House to block DDT’s release of tax returns to House members, in what may be obstruction of justice.

Section 7214(a) requires that DDT, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, IRS director Charles Rettig, and Mnuchin be removed from office if they fail to comply with the request to submit DDT’s tax returns by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-MA). If convicted of this refusal, they “shall be fined not more than $10,000, or imprisoned not more than 5 years of both.” Removal from office can block service on corporate board and require disclosures to lenders. DDT may be busy pardoning himself as well as others. The primary question is how long Mnuchin can stall.

In his pompous appearance before the House Financial Committee this week, Mnuchin complained that the House had not brought NAFTA 2.0 to the floor. There’s a good reason: DDT hasn’t sent the Canada/Mexico/U.S. trade agreement to Congress. He also threatens steep new tariffs of cars imported from Mexico, an act exempted by the agreement. When asked how he could do something the agreement prevents, DDT said, “We haven’t finished our agreement yet.” Yet VP Mike Pence is on the road touting the agreement.

Opposed by top Pentagon leadership, DDT designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corp—which he called Islamic RGC—as a terrorist organization. His unprecedented—and unpresidented—action puts the U.S. at risk of war, and Iran answered by labeling the U.S. military forces also a terrorist organization. The U.S. may no longer be able to successfully negotiate with Iran if U.S. ships just stray into Iran’s waters, as they did in 2016. DDT’s statement read that “if you are doing business with the IRGC, you will be bankrolling terrorism.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that the goal was to force Iran to behave like a “normal” country, perhaps using the “new normal” in the U.S. as an example.

DDT is one of those people who has done “business with the IRGC” in his financial dealings with wealthy oligarch Ziya Mammadov to build a never-opened Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku in Azerbaijan’s capital city. The Mammadov family has strong ties to money laundering with DDT’s so-called “terrorist group,” the IRGC, and some workers were paid in cash—hundreds of thousands of dollars. Between January 2014 and July 15, DDT earned $2.5 million from the project and another $323,000 later, according to his financial disclosure report. A lawyer involved with the project said that the Trump Organization “approved the smallest details. DDT’s business admitted knowledge of developers’ ties to Iranian Revolutionary Guard in 2015 and may have also violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Maryanne Trump Barry, DDT’s older sister, retired as a federal appellate judge to dodge an investigation into her fraudulent tax schemes with DDT and other siblings to greatly increase their wealth. Barry, who will continue to collect a salary of about $200,000 was co-owner of a family-created shell company, All Country, to siphon cash from their father’s empire by marking up purchases already bought by employees in order to avoid gift and estate taxes. By the time of DDT’s father’s death, his children had acquired almost all the father’s estate. Barry also benefited from gross undervaluation of her father’s properties when she and the siblings took ownership. Her share was $182.5 million.

Despite the refusal of Secretary of State Betsy DeVos to protect campus victims of sexual harassment,  the 4th Circuit Court ruled that colleges and universities must take action against targeted violent, sexist cyber abuse including threats of rape and murder. The University of Mary Washington did nothing to stop these actions, and the court ruled court ruled that Title IX and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause require schools’ addressing cyber harassment and do not permit First Amendment protection for threats to kill or injure others. The decision sets a precedent for legal liability in all universities and colleges.

DDT says he know “nothing” about WikiLeaks after Julian Assauge was arrested, but he’s been praising WikiLeaks for over 30 months. In October 2016, DDT said, “This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove” and repeated the sentiment many times.

Once again, DDT bragged about a poll that showed his high level of disapproval, this one from Fox’s Lou Dobbs Tonight. Fox Business reporter Blake Burman had to correct that the 55-percent rate DDT shouted out was actually for the unfavorable impression of him.

April 11, 2019

Barr, Others Face Congressional Hearings

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has done one smart thing for himself: with the help of corrupt GOP, he put Bill Barr into the DOJ leadership. Much has been written about Barr’s protection of DDT for the past two days in hearings about his “Barr Report,” a bastardized interpretation of Mueller’s investigation. But before that, Barr put DDT above the Constitution. Thanks to Barr, DDT’s financial benefits from foreign payments to his hotels, resorts, condos, and trademarks have been exempted from the emolument clause: foreign countries can pander to DDT as much as they want by paying inflated prices at his facilities. The justification is that DDT doesn’t get the money because of his “official capacity” because it’s related only to his private business.

Barr also supports DDT by lying for him. “I support the president’s policy, which is we’re not going to separate families,” Barr said two days before DDT fired his DHS secretary for refusing to separate families. About the Affordable Care Act, Barr said that DDT supports protections for people with pre-existing conditions while Barr goes to court to eliminate the ACA. Today, Barr continued his lying during testimony before House Appropriations Committee and its chair Nita Lowey (D-NY), ignoring how transparent his falsehoods are. He claimed that DDT had no warning about Russia targeting DDT’s first presidential campaign despite media coverage to the contrary. From NBC reporting on December 18, 2017:

“In the weeks after he became the Republican nominee on July 19, 2016, Donald Trump was warned that foreign adversaries, including Russia, would probably try to spy on and infiltrate his campaign, according to multiple government officials familiar with the matter. The warning came in the form of a high-level counterintelligence briefing by senior FBI officials, the officials said.”

Like a squid shooting ink, Barr tried to cover up for DDT and Republicans though his obfuscations and lies. He told committee members that he was “concerned” that the government during President Obama’s administration had “spied” on DDT’s campaign although he admitted he had no evidence. Going beyond protecting DDT with redactions, Barr plans an investigation into Russia’s “spying” against DDT’s first presidential campaign.

About his claim, conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote under the heading of “Trump Toady”:

“This is the language of a PR spinner, not the attorney general of the United States. As my colleague Aaron Blake points out, ‘spying’ is a loaded phrase and a political accusation.”

Congressional members were disturbed by Barr’s bizarre allegations:

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted that Barr’s words contradicted previous Department of Justice communications and asked for an immediate briefing to clarify the issue.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said he had been told nothing about any spying on DDT’s campaign and that “almost seems to be endorsing one of these theories that has been debunked time and time again.” Warner added that Barr’s comments are “disrespectful” to Department of Justice employees.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, argued “the top law enforcement officer of the country should not casually suggest that those under his purview engaged in ‘spying’ on a political campaign” and that Barr’s “partisan talking point … strikes another destructive blow to our democratic institutions.”

Barr couldn’t even answer questions on issues other than the Mueller investigation.

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) asked in the hearing about people losing health care coverage if Barr succeeds in helping to overturn the ACA because there is no replacement. Barr said, “If this is such a hokey position to have, what are you worried about?” Adding that healthcare is a policy issue, Barr added, “I’m a lawyer. I’m not in charge of health care.”

Barr didn’t know that the DOJ, his own department, found a 17-percent rise in hate crimes in 2017.

At least the redacted pages won’t be all black. Barr plans to color-code his redactions and add “explanatory notes” for each redaction. He plans to redact information in four categories: classified information, current investigations, and peripheral people not charged with a crime. Barr denies that DDT would fit into this category, but he also lies. “Executive privilege” might also be redacted. Barr won’t ask a federal court to allow Congress to see grand jury material. If Nadler wants to see it, he can ask the court, Barr said.

Some salient comments from Barr’s hearing yesterday:

Asked specifically whether the investigation was a witch hunt, Barr said, “it depends on where you sit.”

Asked if the White House has seen or been briefed on Mueller’s report, Barr said, “I’m not going to say anything more about it.” [Sounds like, “Yes, but I don’t want to admit it.” Richard Nixon’s AG John Mitchell went to prison for 19 months for conducting obstruction on Nixon’s behalf by briefing him on investigations.] Earlier he had said that he had not consulted

Barr plans to release his [heavily] redacted report “within a week” but won’t talk about it until then. Congress is on recess for the next two weeks.

Barr’s misrepresentation in his four-page summary of the Mueller report that clears DDT of obstruction of justice has disturbed members of the investigative team who found “alarming and significance” evidence of this obstruction. They also found that evidence of collusion was “compelling.” Barr said that Mueller did not review the Barr Report before he submitted it to Congress.

The “Spygate” that Barr intends to “investigate”started with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) when he maintained that the surveillance of Carter Page, which started over a year before DDT announced his first campaign, was politically motivated. Nunes had a lot to say but never read the intelligence surrounding the FISA issued for Page by four GOP-appointed judges. Investigation of the infamous Steele dossier, created through an investigation to find damaging information about DDT and other GOP candidates by conservative Paul Singer, also revealed that it did not trigger the FBI investigation into Russian influence over the U.S. election. Singer pulled his funding for the project after Sen. Marco Rubio pulled out of his presidential campaign.

Jubilant about Barr’s testimony, DDT repeatedly shouts, “They spied. They spied!” He also asserted, “I have not read the Mueller report. I won. No collusion, no obstruction. I won. Everybody knows I won.” A majority of people, 56 percent, think that DDT and his campaign have not been exonerated. The investigation is still in play. DDT commonly claims that “everybody knows ….” Here are 30 examples.

Barr wasn’t the only person testifying to Congress this week. Jeffrey Rosen faced fire at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for a position to replace Rod Rosenstein as deputy AG by refusing to firmly commit to making special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia probe public.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had a contentious appearance before the House Financial Services Committee when he tried to give weak excuses for the IRS breaking the law by failing to give Congress six years of DDT’s tax returns. Mnuchin said that DDT already won the 2016 election and had disclosed some information about personal finances. He also said that Kevin Brady hadn’t requested specific returns; President Obama voluntarily disclosed his tax returns every year. A GOP chair obtained tax returns in 2014 from conservative and liberal nonprofit groups claiming tax-exempt status.

When Mnuchin maintained that he had to leave for an “important meeting,” the back and forth erupted into Mnuchin petulantly telling Chair Maxine Waters with appropriate hand gestures, “Please dismiss everybody. I believe you’re supposed to take the gravel [sic] and bang it.” The exchange is well worth watching.

About releasing his tax returns, DDT’s excuse is “the people don’t care.” A majority of people, 51 percent, want Democrats to require DDT to release his returns. Even more, 64 percent, want DDT to voluntarily release his tax returns. IRS officials said that being under audit, DDT’s excuse, does not prevent people from releasing returns. DDT’s assertion, that there’s “no law whatsoever” for turning over his tax returns, also doesn’t hold water. A 1924 statute gives some congressional leaders access to anyone’s tax returns.  in this area, he’s overlooking one inconvenient statute. The only reason to hide DDT’s tax returns is if they contain incriminating information.

April 5, 2019

DDT: Week 115 – ‘Zombie’ News Stories

Highlighted with flip-flops from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), new revelations, and retribution, the past week has seen a number of stories that just won’t go away—executions, health care, the southern border, the Barr Report, and more.

Texas determined that people being legally executed will not be permitted to have the company of a spiritual adviser during their last moments after the Supreme Court ruled that Patrick Henry Murphy should be permitted the company of his spiritual adviser, a Buddhist. Murphy, however, can still have his spiritual adviser present because the supreme Court made this decision. The Texas death penalty killed half those executed last year.

Boeing finally admitted that the fault lies with the manufacturer in the problems with its 737 MAX 8 with a report that the Ethiopian Airlines crew followed Boeing recommendations but could still not save the jet from its March 10 crash that killed all 157 people on board. The plane’s uncontrollable dive, like that of Lion Air’s plane with another 189 deaths, was caused by a faulty angle-of-attack sensor. A defective sensor in the earlier crash was replaced, but the replacement may also have been defective. An internal review by engineers not connected to the MAX has pushed back Boeing’s fixes to the software by several weeks. The delay could mean months before the aircraft flies again, and sales have been indefinitely delayed.

The Air Force, also concerned about Boeing’s competency, again refused to accept the manufacturer’s KC-46 Pegasus tankers “because of foreign object debris we found in some closed compartments,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said. The tankers were due in 2017, but the Air Force didn’t get its first one until January 2019. The second decision to stop accepting the plans occurred on March 23. Boeing has paid the government over $3 billion for delays and cost overruns. Congress approved $2.4 billion for 25 jets this year, and the Air Force has requested another $2.3 billion for 12 KC-46 tankers in fiscal 2020.

Last week, DDT loved a judge’s ruling that the Affordable Care Act should be overturned and told his DOJ to support the decision in court. For a week, the panicked GOP tried to talk him out of the idea, terrified that more Democrats could win in Congress with the support of the ACA. After DDT was unable to convince people that he had a “beautiful” new healthcare plan, he gave up—until 2021 following the 2020 presidential election. No matter what Republicans say, surveys show that a majority of people like “Obamacare” when polled on its name and an even larger percentage like its benefits to them such no discrimination against them from pre-existing conditions and caps on payouts. [Visual – healthcare]

Congress and DDT battled throughout last week with each telling the other to write the bill and DDT going farther to tout a proposed bill that didn’t exist. In getting rid of healthcare insurance for tens of millions of people, DDT announced that the Republican Party “will soon be known as the party of health care.” DDT finally caved in when Senate Majority Leader told him that the chamber would not work on any replacement for ACA. A day later, less than a week after DDT  tweeted that placement legislation was “moving forward,” he tweeted that he had never intended to repeal ACA at this time:

“I was never planning a vote prior to the 2020 Election on the wonderful HealthCare package that some very talented people are now developing for me & the Republican Party.”

Polling shows why DDT would put off overturning the ACA.  Fifty-four percent of respondents said that they have a lot or some trust in Democratic lawmakers to protect or improve health care compared to 41 percent who prefer Republicans. A strong majority—59 percent—have little or no trust in DDT regarding health care.

The border was another place for DDT’s backtracking. Last week, he said he would close large parts of the southern border, before changing the terminology to “all” the border. Despite warnings that this action would cost $1.5 billion in trade each day—not to count the disappearance of avocados in three weeks—he stuck to his guns by claiming that security is far more important than the economy. The next day he said that Congress could solve the problem of asylum-seekers in 45 minutes. Get rid of all the judges, he suggested.

By yesterday, he decided he would wait a year to close the border so that Mexico could stop the flow of drugs, DDT’s claim for his reasons to stop asylum-seekers. There seems to be a theme of “wait” for DDT’s changes in “policy.” He explained his flip-flop by saying that Mexico had been doing a good job “the last three or four days.” First, he plans to “put the tariffs on the cars” before closing the border, but hours later he denied that he said the border would stay open for a year.

This afternoon, DDT took a few GOP House members on a short tour of border replacement barriers at Calexico that he calls a “new wall.” He talked about the California politicians complaining about forest fires but did praise the new “anti-climb” wall that “looks fantastic—very see-through.” Calexico, about 40,000 population, is considered a “suburb” of Mexicali, capital Mexico’s state of Baja California, that sends many of its 1.5 million population to the U.S. to shop and work. Instead of security needs, Calexico identifies its serious problems from a polluted river and air plus other health issues such as high obesity and diabetes rates. DDT had a good reason for picking Calexico to talk about the wall: it’s a short trip to his California golf club outside Los Angeles. That’s where DDT headed after a couple of hours at Calexico to look at the wall that President Obama initiated.

House Democrats have filed a lawsuit against DDT’s unconstitutionally taking money for his wall. The suit names Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and the departments they oversee. Democrats are using the same position as Republicans who argued that officials couldn’t use federal funds without appropriations. That case tried to eliminate the ACA by not paying insurers. In another lawsuit, the ACLU, the Sierra Club, and 20 states are suing DDT because he tried to use a national emergency to override the congressional refusal to allot him the funding that he demanded. The filing requested a preliminary injunction because of DDT’s “disregard of the will of Congress and violation of fundamental separation of powers principles.” They declare standing because DDT will remove fund from state projects to build his wall. DDT’s declaration resulted in at least five separate lawsuits; the DOJ claims that at least two of them “raise political questions that courts are not equipped to answer.”

The Barr Report is a story that won’t go away for a long time. For almost two years, Robert Mueller meticulously investigated people involved with DDT and their Russian connections before submitting his report to DDT’s lapdog DOJ AG Bill Barr along with summaries for the public. Stephen Colbert’s description of Barr’s four-page “summary” of Mueller’s work:

“That’s like tuning in to see the new season of ‘Game of Thrones,’ and it’s just Barr holding a sign that says, ‘Dragons did some stuff. The end.’”

After more than a week of listening to DDT and other conservatives crowing about the exoneration of DDT by the Mueller investigation, leaks reveal that members of Mueller’s team complained that they had discovered significant and alarming evidence about DDT’s obstruction while he has been in office that Barr excluded from his brief comments. Team members also indicated that information in Mueller’s report is far more damning than the four-page Barr Report reveals.

DDT’s meltdown since Barr released his first statement about the Mueller report hints at DDT’s slow discovery that life might not be as rosy as he hoped. At first, DDT cheered Barr’s report and supporting the release of the complete Mueller report. Then he said he would give Barr the decision whether to release it. A week ago, DDT said “I have nothing to hide.” Four days ago, he complained that “NOTHING WILL EVER SATISY” Democrats, indicating that he doesn’t want them to see the full report.  His earlier “Let the people see” has disappeared. To repeat millions of GOP responses to hiding the Mueller report, why hide the report if it doesn’t damage DDT.

The House Judiciary Committee voted to subpoena the unredacted Mueller report if Barr refuses to give it to them, and Chair Jerry Nadler requested all communication documents between Mueller’s office and the DOJ about the report. Meanwhile GOP senators have five times blocked a vote to release the Mueller report after a bill to do so passed the House by 420-0. Their reasons indicate they hope to protect DDT.

More disastrous news tomorrow about DDT’s tax returns, clearances for family and friends, GOP votes against him as well as fallouts from his decisions in Part II.

February 16, 2019

DDT: Week 108 – On Top of ‘Wall’

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 9:20 PM
Tags: , , ,

Throughout all the kerfuffle about passing the budget and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) declaring a national emergency to build his wall, the confirmation of Bill Barr for DOJ AG mostly slipped under the media radar. Although the vote was postponed a week, the GOP determination to scuttle the Russia investigation made the decision a given. Along with 51 Republicans, three Dems voted in favor of Barr: Doug Jones (AL), Joe Janchin (WV), and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ).

Barr has consistently refused to guarantee that he will release Mueller’s report to the public and/or Congress without redactions and that he will not recuse himself from the investigation’s oversight on recommendation from the DOJ ethics counsel. He wrote a memo opposing the investigation and stating that the president is above the law. After the confirmation, Matt Schlapp, whose wife works in the White House, cheerfully tweeted, “Mueller will be gone soon.” Barr has been clear that Rod Rosenstein, the deputy AG who appointed special investigator Robert Mueller “will be gone soon.” In 1992, Barr’s support of six pardons, including Reagan’s Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger for lying to Congress, helped George H.W. Bush escape his involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, thereby ending the investigation into U.S. support of terrorists in Nicaragua and sale of arms to Iran.

Those of us who thought that Barr’s taking over the DOJ gets rid of acting AG Matt Whitaker are destined to be disappointed: he’s now a senior counselor. Maybe he’ll help people with patents to make toilets for men with 14-inch penises as he did in the past. (Information about 5 minutes, 50 seconds into the video.)

DDT is still battling to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census. A federal district judge in Manhattan ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), that Ross’ decision was arbitrary and made in spite of evidence that the question would unconstitutionally depress census response rates. The judge considered only the 1,320 pages filed by the Commerce Department but noted that other evidence illustrates that Ross acted in bad faith. California and Maryland have other cases, independent from this one, and Ross is scheduled to testify before the House Oversight Committee on March 14. The Supreme Court has agreed to consider citizenship question case, which has not appeared on decennial census forms for 70 years.

The search for the “leaker” of DDT’s schedule showing wide swaths of “Executive Time” seems to have lost traction while another four days of schedules were leaked with DDT spending 50 percent of his time television watching, idle phone calling, etc. DDT said that he’s “generally working, not relaxing” during this time, that he works “more hours than any past president” because the country was “a mess” when he moved into the White House. Later he said that “no president ever worked harder than me.” DDT’s new toy for his “Executive Time,” a room-sized golf simulator costing $50,000, lets him play 18 virtual holes while staying inside, useful during the shutdown while he bragged about staying off golf courses for 69 days.

If you want to destroy an institution, appoint a person who hates it. That’s what DDT did when he picked David Malpass to lead the World Bank after Jim Yong Kim abruptly quit in January. Chief economist for Bear Stearns when it collapsed from the subprime crisis in 2007 and 2008, Malpass wrote a few months before the recession that “neither the economy nor job growth has been dependent on housing.” He criticizes the World Bank because it creates “mountains of debt without solving problems.” Fortunately, the World Bank members, not the U.S., select the head of the organization.

Another way to destroy an agency is to for no one to serve on it. When the head of the Merit Systems Protection Board, which holds hearings for federal employee appeals of firings, demotions, suspensions, and alleged misconduct, leaves this month, the Board will have no members. Although courts can adjudicate cases, the Board can’t decide appeals. Last year, Congress passed a special statute allowing one person to grant relief in whistleblowing cases, but even that person will be gone. One suggestion is for the staff to make decisions without a board.

For the director of NOAA, DDT has re-appointed Barry Myers, the nonscientist who owned the for-profit AccuWeather, after the Senate didn’t confirm him last year. AccuWeather just paid $290,000 to partly settle charges of sexual harassment and hostile work environment for women. NOAA oversees the National Weather Service, which compiles data used by AccuWeather that previously limited what the Weather Service could make public so that they could make more money for the company to provide that information. In 2005, Myers donated to then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) who introduced legislation to curtain government competition with private weather services. Myers also lobbied to privatize the National Weather Service.

DDT nominated lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to replace the corrupt Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA, and Wheeler Energy, run by Bob Murray, cancelled its contract with Wheeler’s former lobbying firm. Murray may think he no longer needs a lobbyist; DDT pressured a public energy to keep its Kentucky power plant, Paradise #3, open although it is considered too expensive to operate. The plant gets its coal from Murray, a generous donor to Republicans. The TVA board, with four of seven members appointed by DDT, voted to close Paradise #3 with a 6-1 vote. At the same time, Wheeler is not necessarily a shoe-in for EPA director. Five GOP senators questioned Wheeler’s willingness to bend to oil industry interests over the Renewable Fuel Standard and waivers for small refineries. Wheeler can afford to lose only three of those senators.

The Fox reality show White House has added Lea Gabrielle to head the Global Engagement Center which fights foreign efforts to meddle in U.S. elections while exposing and countering disinformation from Russia and other governments. With no experience in information warfare, she fits with DDT’s other appointments and is perfectly poised to protect Russia. She may be going it alone because DHS has gutted two teams that were preparing to block Russia from its planned onslaught on the 2020 elections.

FEMA director Brock Long has quit with a “more time with his family” excuse, but bitter feuds with DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen may have been the reason. Nielsen may be grateful to see him gone so that she rip off more millions from FEMA for her deportations. Long may also have been avoiding an investigation into his misuse of government vehicles he used to travel to his North Carolina home.

Heather Nauert, assigned by DDT to be the UN ambassador without having her name formally submitted for confirmation, also quit after two months because of a former nanny who was or wasn’t in the country legally but was paid in cash and didn’t pay her taxes until Nauert insisted. She described her past two months as “grueling.”

Republicans are furious with the Democrats’ attempt to make a president’s tax return public. Is it possible that the GOP knows that DDT broke the law?

GOP members are also attacking Democrats for reducing voter suppression, complaining about what they called “radical ideas” such as automatic voter registration, restoration of voting rights for ex-felons, and public financing of campaigns. Almost one-third of the states have automatic voter registration and some form of public financing of campaigns; only 20 percent of the states refuse voting rights for ex-felons. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also described the idea of making Election Day a paid holiday as a “power grab”—unlike building a wall with a fake national emergency.

After DDT’s trade war with China, Midwest farmers are declaring bankruptcy at record rates because of DDT’s trade war—almost double in 2018 as in 2008.

Wealth concentration has returned to the levels of a century ago: the 400 wealthiest people in the U.S. have assets equal to 150 million people in the bottom 60 percent. These same 400 people have tripled their wealth in the past 30 years while the share of wealth held by the bottom 60 percent dropped from 5.7 percent in 1987 to 2.1 percent in 2014.

Energy Transfer brought a $900 million racketeering and defamation lawsuit against Greenpeace and others who fought the company’s pipeline projects. A federal judge just threw out the case and wrote, “Posting articles written by people with similar beliefs does not create a RICO enterprise,” and “Donating to people whose cause you support does not create a RICO enterprise.” Last month, another judge dismissed another similar case against Greenpeace by Resolute Forests Products.

DDT’s selection of a doctor for his physical this year was somewhat more circumspect than last year’s effusive Ronny Jackson, but the new one may also be covering for DDT. This year’s doctor is a “little concerned” about DDT’s inability to remember words, but the results of an accurate cognitive test probably won’t appear until many of us are long gone.

Joseph Trump, Melania Trump’s specially invited guest who claims that classmates bullied him because of his name, took some “Executive Time” at DDT’s State of the (Dis)Union Speech.

Holiday retail sales were the worst in nine years—since the last recession.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 60% of Americans oppose major new construction of walls along the U.S.-Mexico border, and 81% support a path to citizenship for immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

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