Nel's New Day

October 27, 2018

DDT: Week 92 – Continued Incitement to Violence

Republicans, including VP Mike Pence and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, express “thoughts and prayers” after a white 46-year-old man killed at least 11 people and wounded another six at a synagogue in Pennsylvania. The killer was heard to shout “all Jews must die” during his slaughter and earlier posted on Gab, a social media source for alt-right activists and white nationalists, that the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), liked to bring “invaders in that kill our people.” He also wrote, “There is no #MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation.”

Dictator Donald Trump’s first statements (DDT) after the shootings criticized the synagogue for not having security guards and said that all churches and synagogues should have this armed “protection.” Later, the self-avowed “nationalist,” made a comment about being surprised that such an anti-Semitic act would happen in “this day and age,” perhaps after his staff recommended the statement. In 2017, DDT’s first year in office, anti-Semitic events increased almost 60 percent over the previous year, in the largest single-year increase on record and the second-highest number reported since these events were first tracked in 1979.

Having called for “unity” in the United States after bombs were sent to at least a dozen high-profile Democrats in the United States, DDT said after the Pennsylvania shooting that “something has to be done.” Yet he refuses to accept any responsibility for the pervasive conservative anger resulting in violence and blames the “fake news” despite his frequent targeting CNN and people who were sent explosives. DDT false attacked the first victim of the bombs, George Soros, by saying that he paid people on the caravan going from the Honduras to the United States. After the capture of the person suspected of sending the bombs, a white male U.S. citizen living in Florida, DDT whipped the crowd into changing “CNN Sucks!” at a rally, the same image on the suspect’s van.

DDT also accused Democrats of sending the bombs to make Republicans look bad and was annoyed that this domestic terrorism detracted from his Medicare drug price announcement, a campaign “promise” that he has been making for several years. DDT also told a black audience that Democrats had betrayed them and encouraged them to chant “Fake News!” and “Lock him up!” about Soros. Before the Pennsylvania shooting, DDT told reporters that he doesn’t plan to tone down his rhetoric, saying, “I could really tone it up.” He described the suspect accused of sending the pipe bombs as “a person that preferred me over others.” The person who “preferred” DDT lived with his mother because he had lost his home in a “dodgy” (aka illegal) foreclosure by the bank owned by Steve Mnuchin, DDT’s Treasury Secretary.

Only ten days ago, a Montana audience cheered DDT when he talked about GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte who had physically assaulted a Guardian reporter the night before Gianforte’s election: “Any guy that can do a body slam — he’s my guy.” (The physically attacked reporter is considering suing Gianforte after the representative started lying to the newspaper about what happened.) Since people called on DDT to stop the hateful rhetoric, he has said such things at his rallies as “I’m gonna be nice tonight” before he reverts to his showman behavior to reassure his base that he isn’t changing.

Tony Schwartz, DDT’s ghostwriter (and probably real author) of his 1987 autobiography, said that DDT has a “fascination of violence”; his two obsessions are football and boxing. Schwartz added, “He loved black people to commit violence against other black people—while he watched.” DDT just didn’t want to be in the middle of the violence. Rage is the reason behind this obsession, according to Schwartz:

“He’s in the business of being aggrieved, and he’s using that in these 10, 12 days leading up to the midterms in trying to bring it out in all the people that are possibly going to vote on the Republican side in this next phase.”

The mailed bombs and today’s killings in Pennsylvania are two more examples of how DDT is pushing unstable people toward increasing levels of violence. Neuroscientist Bobby Azarian pointed out that DDT and his far-right propaganda media targets “mentally vulnerable people with their heated and divisive rhetoric, as well as their outlandish conspiracy theories. These theories describe nefarious plots by the ‘deep state,’ a cabal of Left-wing politicians and powerful co-conspirators that is trying to undermine President Trump, while running child sex trafficking rings on the side.” Perpetrators who follow DDT’s direction don’t need to be “delusional”; they only need to be “suggestible.” A trigger pushes them over the edge, and DDT refuses to take any responsibility while fueling more hatred and copycat attacks from his supporters. People criticizing DDT put their lives at risk.

With Election Day only 10 days away, self-identified “nationalist” DDT upped the ante this past week with his press releases and comments to reporters by declaring “Congressional Democrats Want to Take Money from Hardworking Americans to Fund Failed Socialist Policies” and other fake claims about Democrats:

  • Make Venezuela is the “model.”
  • Destroy the economy.
  • Support Karl Marx.
  • Give undocumented immigrants free cars.
  • Turn America “into a giant sanctuary for criminal aliens and the MS-13 killers.”
  • “Impose socialism” on America.
  • “Take away your health care.” [The first item on the GOP Senate agenda after midterms is to repeal healthcare.]
  • Destroy Americas borders.
  • Turn the nation over to “deadly drugs and ruthless gangs.”
  • Destroy the military.
  • “Launch an assault” on the sovereignty of our country and the safety of citizens.

DDT also described non-existent “riots” at his campaign rallies and falsely accuses “mobs” of “rioting” against “sanctuary cities.” The real “mobs” that DDT doesn’t mention include those by the violent “Proud Boys,” supported by Republicans, who are beating up protesters and verbally assaulting Democrats such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) who was in southern Florida for a campaign event.

DDT plans to deploy 800 military members to the border to illegally stop anyone from seeking asylum in the United States. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen promised they won’t shoot the members of the caravan—at least not right away. The border patrol may shoot them first. The National Patrol Council, the union representing BP agents, is featured in a new video, “Killing Free Speech,” including white nationalists and anti-Muslim extremists that the union has endorsed. Shown to agents throughout the country, the video describes Democrats as “dark and evil” and correlates gang rapes, Islam, and immigration. Also featured in the documentary are members of the Proud Boys, a white supremacist, misogynist, anti-Muslim hate group. It also attacks the mainstream media that “will stop at nothing to … demonize those who risk their lives protecting America’s borders.” The video’s director created the same message in “Killing Europe” and plans “Killing Canada.”

The union represents 90 percent of the almost 20,000 BP agents in the field. Within 100 miles of any U.S. border, agents can enter private property, set up highway checkpoints, and profile people for stopping, questioning, and detaining them. That  “constitution-free zone” contains 65.3 percent of the U.S. population.

Over 500 employees of the border patrol agency have been charged with drug trafficking, accepting bribes, and other crimes during 2016 and 2017, according to a report from Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Human Resource Management and its Office of Professional Responsibility. Some of the most heinous of these crimes in 2018 include the ten-year agent accused of killing four women and assaulting a fifth, two of them U.S. citizens, in two weeks and the BP agent who shot and killed a 19-year-old woman illegally crossing the border near Laredo.

VP Mike Pence, self-identified fundamentalist Christian, continues to follow the liar-in-chief to be vice-liar-in-chief. With no evidence, he cites the apprehension of “more than 10 terrorists or suspected terrorists” at the U.S. southern border and claims that “people of Middle Eastern descent” (aka Muslims) could be on the caravan still 1,000 miles from the United States. DHS says that most people stopped from entering the country try to come on airplanes, and being on a watch list isn’t the same as being a terrorism suspect. Pence’s religion is to win votes for GOP candidates through fear-mongering from lying.

In a display of how little concern DDT has for the slaughtered people at the Pennsylvania synagogue, he proceeded with a campaign rally today, using the excuse that his friend, Dick Grasso, opened the New York Stock Exchange the day after the 9/11 attacks. But he didn’t: the exchange was closed for three trading days after the disaster. When he asked his audience if he could “tone it down a bit,” they yelled in disapproval. He continued to stir up the crowd to yell “Lock her up” about Hillary Clinton and then denigrated the conservatives who don’t support him, calling them “very stupid” and “losers.” A member of the crowd called out “Pocahontas” when he referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and he false said she had “no Indian blood.” He added, “I can’t call her Pocahontas anymore, but I think I will anyway. Do you mind?” The crowd continued to cheer every one of DDT’s personal attacks. DDT continues to incite violence.

Part II: Jamal Khashoggi update.

 

 

April 24, 2013

No Outrage for Texas Explosion

If you were anywhere near a television set or newspaper last week, you would know that two young men set off a bomb at the Boston marathon and that they had been captured, one dead and the other in the hospital. The news about the three deaths caused by the bombs and the injured people dominated the media.

But fewer people knew about the 15 deaths and 200+ injuries in a little-known Texas town after an explosion at a fertilizer plant a week ago today. Yet the media largely ignored the explosion after the first day.

West Fertilizer’s function is to store, distribute, and blend fertilizer for farmers. The state has as many as 1,150 of these plants, all so small that they have few regulations.  Owned by Donald Adair, the plant had no sprinklers and no water deluge systems. There were no fire walls. With no fire suppression systems, there was no way to stop the fire after it started. It is also the reason that so many first responders died in the explosion.

The plant did have 270 tons of ammonium nitrate, the chemical used to build the Oklahoma City bomb in 1995 that killed 168 people, and 54,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, considered flammable and potentially toxic. EPA’s Risk Management Program (RMP) requires companies to submit plans describing their handling and storage of certain hazardous chemicals. Ammonium nitrate is not among the chemicals that must be reported. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality gave the plant a permit for handling anhydrous ammonia without checking to see if the company added the necessary safety equipment.

Last summer the plant was fined $5,250 for improperly labeling storage tanks and transferring chemicals without a security plan. Adair said that the plant had corrected the problems. The year before that, it was cited for not having an up-to-date risk management plan. The submitted plan said that the plant didn’t have any flammable substances. A citation in 2006 was issued after the complaint of a strong ammonia smell, the same claim as the night of the explosion.

The year 1985 was the last visit from the Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA) inspection. It found one serious and two additional violations; the company was fined $30. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is so understaffed that a plant like West Fertilizer might expect a state inspection every 129 years. OSHA has 2,000 inspectors to cover the 7,000,000 workplaces in the United States. Yet the House 2011 budget, supported by Texas GOP representatives, would have reduced OSHA by $99 million.

Even seven years ago, Texas’ environmental agency knew that the plant was handling 2,400 tons a year of the explosive ammonium nitrate, deadly when heated to extreme temperatures or exposed to shock. Nobody seems responsible, however, for ensuring the safety of the people at and around the plant. The state environmental agency just makes sure that the blast doesn’t spread pollution; the federal pipeline agency governs only transportation, not storage; and the state chemist’s office, which came ten days before the explosion, has no legal authority in the arena of fire or explosive safety.

There are no uniform federal rules for ammonium storage. Fire safety experts have best practices for protection, but the company did not follow any simple safeguards such as storing the ammonium nitrate far away from other buildings and fire sources as well as installing a water system to cool the fertilizer before it could explode. Texas has learned nothing from the 1947 ammonium nitrate explosion at Texas City that killed at least 581 people.

West beforeEven without any inspections, common sense zoning might have stopped some of the carnage. Two of the three schools in the town were across the street from the plant. On the other side of the plant was a child’s playground and, behind that, a retirement home. The explosion could have very easily happened during school hours. Two months ago, a controlled brush burn near the plant evacuated the middle school. Recently West Fertilizer burned wooden pallets near the stockpiled explosive material on the site. [Photo: West (TX) before explosion)

West-texas-map

More photos are available here.

West afterThe explosion caused severe fire damage to the middle school and leveled an apartment building next to the plant as was a nursing home nearby. And of course, there were the 50 to 60 homes destroyed in this town of less than 3,000. The cost is estimated at over $100 million. [Photo: West (TX) after explosion]

All the federal representatives for the West (TX) area—Rep. Bill Flores, John Cornyn, and Ted Cruz—want federal aid for their suffering constituents. All three of them, Republicans, may have forgotten that they all voted against sending any aid to those suffering from Superstorm Sandy unless it was matched by federal cuts.

There is one regulation that Donald Adair and West Fertilizer ignored. Any fertilizer plants and depots holding 400 pounds or more of ammonium nitrate are required to inform the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, this one little plant in western Texas stored 270 tons of it last year, 1,350 times more than 400 pounds that should have been reported to DHS.

The Texas agency is not required to share this information with the DHS, and the company ignored the reporting requirement. Ammonium nitrate is a substance highly useful in making bombs, yet no one in Congress has evidenced any concern about what happened in West, Texas, and what this means for the safety of the country. At this time, companies are responsible to self-report the quantities of volatile chemicals that they have. Without doing this, facilities cannot be monitored in order to prevent sabotage and keep chemicals from falling into criminal hands.

Eighteen years ago, Timothy McVeigh and others put 2 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer mixed with racing fuel into a truck and blew it up in front of a federal building in Oklahoma City. Eighteen years later, they could still buy the same substance.

The media and Congress continue to rage at the 19-year-old young man and his connection to Muslims while exhibiting no outrage about the death and destruction in Texas and no concern about easily available chemicals for making bombs. At the same time, conservative lawmakers threaten the country’s security by shrinking budgets, opposing regulations, and fighting agency connections.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with one count of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction in the U.S. His “weapon” was a couple of pressure cookers, some gunpowder, and a batch of fireworks. Yet the media ignores a man who concealed the fact from the federal government that his company stores a massive amount of chemicals that killed at least 15 people, injured at least another 200, and caused more than $100 million of property damage.

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