Nel's New Day

November 5, 2017

DDT’s Attempts to Cripple the Nation

More shoes are dropping off the centipede of Robert Mueller’s special investigation into Russian connections with Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and Russia. One is the formerly undisclosed business ties between Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Putin-connected oil company located in Bermuda. Ross is currently with DDT in Tokyo to work on trade deals. Also referenced in the new documents are Gary D. Cohn, the chief economic adviser, and  Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson. In addition, Mueller has sufficient evidence to charge Michael Flynn, former national security adviser, and his son Michael J. Flynn Jr.

The United States went into Korea in 1950 after North Korea invaded South Korea. Although an armistice was signed, there was no peace treaty, meaning that the war may be ongoing. The U.S. may return: top Pentagon official Rear Adm. Michael J. Dumont has stated that the only way to destroy North Korea’s nuclear weapons program would be through a ground invasion.

As dire as circumstances are after the summer’s hurricanes, advance knowledge saved lives despite the fact that many people ignored the information. They may start paying attention to how a warmer, wetter atmosphere threatens lives and property with more supercharged storms, intense droughts, massive wildfires, and widespread flooding. Yet DDT is cutting the budget to drastically cut back satellite programs and other forecasting tools along with forecasters. The 18 jobs lost at National Center for Atmospheric Research are some of the only scientists in the U.S. who can prepare a system for predicting disasters. The climate deniers leading to “weather deniers” are causing deaths and costing billions of dollars.

Rep. Al Green (D-LA) not only exposed the excessive ignorance of DDT’s pick for HUD director, Ben Carson, HUD director, but also explained objections to the inexcusably drastic cuts Carson supports for people in poverty:

“Mr. Carson, there seems to be a belief of among the ranks of those who have opportunities to help others, who have been blessed themselves. They seem to think that the rich need more, that the poor can do more with less, but the rich will have to have more to do more. Mr. Carson, if poor people could do more with less, there would be no poor people.”

Over 300,000 immigrants from Central America and Haiti legally living in the U.S. for almost two decades may be thrown out of the U.S. because Rex Tillerson claims that the reasons for allowing this arrangement are gone. They are here under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Congress to protect foreign nationals from being returned to their countries because of instability and precarious conditions caused by natural disasters or armed conflict.

DDT’s 12+ day trip to Asia has almost no backup help from the State Department because he sees no need to fill vacancies. In a recent interview he announced, “I’m the only one that matters.” He blamed the Democrats for obstructing his nominees immediately before he said, “We don’t need all of the people.” The nation is missing about three-fourths of personnel to fill 600 positions requiring Senate confirmation. Half the State Department positions are empty. The U.S. has no ambassadors to Australia, Austria, Ireland, South Africa, and Sweden in addition to Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, or Venezuela. Also empty are positions for combatting trafficking, war crimes, global women’s issues, and even the chief financial officer.

Saying “I’m the only one that matters” makes a leader sound like a dictator—or maybe just a despot.

A recent Time cover shows DDT as a wrecking ball with an article title, “How Trump’s cabinet is dismantling government as we know it.” DDT responded with the retort that describes his own appointments:

“The federal government is a broken, lobbyist-infested cesspool of corruption that abuses its power, cooks deals for crooked politicians, and despises hardworking Americans.”

Likely pick of Penny Young Nance, president and CEO of the Christian organization Concern Women for America, for ambassador-at-large for women’s issues reflects DDT’s negative feelings about women. She opposes abortion and LGBTQ rights and condemned the Disney animated movie Frozen for undermining masculinity. Concerned Women’s mission includes “protecting and supporting the Biblical design of marriage,” “protecting the sanctity of human life,” “ending sexual exploitation by fighting all forms of pornography, obscenity, prostitution, and sex trafficking,” and “defending religious liberty.” Nance opposes reauthorization of the Violence against Women Act, told Hollywood to feature more strong male leads, and joined the DOJ in their imprisonment of a teenage girl to keep her from getting an abortion. The position considered for Nance oversees the State Department program to end gender-based violence and empower women and girls in the world.

Eric Dreiband, awaiting confirmation for the top DOJ civil rights job, specializes in defending companies accused of discrimination. One spectacular case was from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that rescinded a job offer to a Muslim woman on the basis of her religion. Dreiband won with the argument that “Congress had failed to specifically mention that the commission would be subject to congressional rules, it was free from the civil rights laws that govern entities in the legislative branch.” That oversight has been corrected, and the case was later settled in favor of the woman by making the change retroactive.

Stephen Akard, an associate of Vice President Mike Pence, has been appointed to director general of the foreign service to keep it from political issues. The job typically goes to experts in diplomacy instead of someone with little diplomatic experience who instead served as an executive for an economic development company.

Some appointments, including the above, can be done away with, but DDT’s judicial appointments are forever. The Republican Senate is rapidly confirming and/or considering far-right judges after ignoring President Obama’s nominees:

  • Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the 7th Court of Appeals. With no judicial experience, she strongly opposes reproductive and LGBTQ rights.
  • Joan Larsen was confirmed to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. She was one of 21 people suggested by far-right Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation for the Supreme Court seat that Neil Gorsuch has. Larson once refused an appeal from a lesbian mother for parental visitation rights from an ex-spouse and objected to Lawrence v. Texas that stuck down sodomy laws and de-criminalized consensual same-sex relations.
  • Steve Grasz gave testimony to be on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. The American Bar Association unanimously rated him “not qualified” to serve as federal judges, only the third such rating since 1989, because of his bias to push his conservative social agenda. Board member of the anti-LGBTQ Nebraska Family Alliance, Grasz claimed that marriage equality is a “threat” to society, advocates conversion therapy, and opposes legal protections for LGBTQ people.
  • Mark Norris also provided testimony for a federal judgeship in Tennessee. His beliefs are similar to those of Grasz, and he voted for his state’s law permitting mental health providers to refuse service to LGBTQ clients. He advocates strict voter ID laws, opposes the removal of Confederate monuments, and supports bills that increase difficulty for workers to pursue compensation claims in Tennessee. His history includes discrimination against Muslims and people of color.

DDT is replacing Janet Yellen with Jerome Powell as Federal Reserve chair. Concerned about rising interest rates, the bond market flattened its yields between 2-year and 10-year yields, the same as in 2007 and a possible precursor to recession.

The sentence for former Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured and held prisoner for five years after he left his post in Afghanistan has traumatized DDT. Bergdahl was sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, fine of $10,000, and reduction of rank to private. DDT called him a “traitor” at least 45 times and called for his execution, saying that he should be “thrown out of an airplane without a parachute.” The judge considered DDT’s comments a mitigating factor in Bergdahl’s receiving a fair trial. DDT is now spreading the same inflammatory language by calling for the execution of the man who recently killed eight people in New York by deliberately driving a truck into a bicycle lane.

On November 1, DDT declared November National Native American Heritage Month; on November 3, DDT again referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as “Pocahontas.” DDT’s tweet was one of ten enraged statements after DDT’s Twitter account was shut down for 11 minutes by a departing company employee.

Two pieces from Week Forty:

Scott Pruitt, EPA director, may be getting ready for nuclear bombing: he has a new “guideline” stating that excessive exposure, up to ten times the current level, to radiation is safe. A result of this document could be weakening radiation safety levels, perhaps even unravelling them.

DDT continued alienating the UK by falsely claiming that “radical Islamic terror” was causing a crime wave in that nation. He ignored the reasons: increase in gun- and knife crime, a 29-percent rise in hate crimes, and the loss of 20,000 police officers from conservative fiscal cuts.

In a new poll, 65 percent, up from 56 percent at his 100-day mark, described DDT’s accomplishments between “little or nothing” to “not much.” The 65 percent is the same range as DDT’s inability “to serve effectively as president,” call him dishonest and untrustworthy, and think that he “doesn’t understand their problems.”

[Note: Much has been said from all sides of the Hillary Clinton about the hacked emails, most of it negative. They need to consider that those emails were changed in content before they were released.]

June 2, 2014

GOP’s Latest Issue: A Captive’s Release

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:22 PM
Tags: , , ,

Once again GOP members of Congress prove their belief that President Obama can do nothing right. After chewing him up on the problems of the Department of Veterans Affairs, they castigated him yesterday on the Sunday talk shows for his negotiating the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for sending five Taliban members from Guantanamo Bay prison to be imprisoned in Qatar.

  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): “Disturbing.” (ABC’s This Week)
  • Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI): “Dangerous.” (CNN’s State of the Union)
  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “We need more information about the conditions of where they’re going to be and how.” (CBS’s Face The Nation)
  • Reps. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK): “[The exchange] may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans. Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk.”

Taking U.S. captives is not a new idea for the Taliban. They try to do it every day. It’s also odd that the right-wing is opposed to trades because they don’t mind when their model, Israel, does it. Israelis swapped 1,000 prisoners to get one back, but the captures of Israelis haven’t increased.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said that the president acted within his constitutional authority as commander-in-chief. “We didn’t negotiate with terrorists,” Hagel said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “Sgt. Bergdahl is a prisoner of war, that’s a normal process in getting your prisoners back… We don’t let anyone out of Guantanamo, and I will not sign off on any detainee coming out of Guantanamo unless I am assured…that we can efficiently mitigate any risk to American security.”

On CNN, Rice said:

“Given the acute urgency of the health condition of Sgt. Bergdahl and given the president’s constitutional responsibilities, it was determined that it was necessary and appropriate not to adhere to the 30-day notification requirements because it would have potentially meant that the opportunity to get Sgt. Bergdahl would have been lost.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) summarized the GOP attacks on the president on Fox News Sunday:

“We save an American life on foreign soil, the president gets criticized. We lose American lives on foreign soil, the president gets criticized. Are you seeing a theme here? It’s politics.”

GOP congressional members can complain as much as they want, but they gave up their right to stop it in the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Prior to that time, Congress had to give permission for releasing prisoners from Guantanamo Bay prison. The new law requires that the Defense Secretary notify Congress when releasing prisoners. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel did, in fact, notify Congress of the U.S.’s exchange. He was smart to wait until the last minute to do this because GOP members of Congress have proved that they can’t keep their mouths shut about classified information.

Republicans claim that this country does not negotiate with terrorists. A bit of history negates any fact in that myth.

William Howard Taft negotiated with Filipinos before he was president. Theodore Roosevelt granted a general amnesty for Emilio Aguinaldo’s resistance fighters after the 1902 U.S. occupation. In South Vietnam, the U.S. negotiated with the Viet Cong who would be described as “terrorists.” The U.S. negotiated with them in 1973 for the release of captured U.S. soldiers. At that time the right-wing was angry about 1,300 U.S. soldiers who were never released. Forty years later, many of the Viet Cong “terrorists” are in government with cordial U.S. relations.

During the 1980s, GOP icon Ronald Reagan began his first term by negotiating the release of 52 U.S. hostages. After radical Shiites took U.S. hostages in Lebanon, Reagan took anti-aircraft munitions from Pentagon warehouses and shipped them to Tehran, sending the money that they received to right-wing death squads in Nicaragua. The State Department had listed Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini as a terrorist, and selling weapons to Iran was illegal. During Reagan’s regime, taxpayer moneys were secretly funneled to al-Quaeda because they fought the Soviet Union.

Following the bombing of Pan Am 103 in 1988, George H.W. Bush negotiated in secret to protect state secrets. The secrecy continued into the first term of George W. Bush when the U.S. and Britain negotiated with Libya over the Quaddafi regime’s nuclear weapons. Quaddafi gave up his weapons, and the U.S. wouldn’t demand a regime change.

Just months before 9/11/2001, Bush supported the Taliban by giving them $43 million despite Osama bin Laden’s terrorist operation that made two attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998. Although $43 million doesn’t go far in the United States, it was the main sponsor of the Taliban because that sum of money gave a huge advantage to the Taliban.

In 2007, Bush paid Sunni insurgent leaders in Iraq to stop bombing U.S. troops and join the fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq. The insurgents were well-known as terrorists by officials in 2005-2006. Throughout the Iraqi war, the U.S. secretly supported al-Qaeda operations in eastern Europe.

More about the U.S. history of negotiating with terrorists and rogue regimes is in Mitchell Reiss’ book, Negotiating with Evil, starting with the Founding Fathers’ making agreements with pirates. The author, who worked in the State Department under President George W. Bush and served as national security adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, wrote:

“[Negotiation with terrorists] may be new to certain individuals. Whether it’s new or not is not as important as whether it’s sound policy and promotes national security. That’s the ground where there’s a more legitimate debate.”

Another right-wing complaint is that the five Taliban officials now in Qatar are the worst of the worst. Yet the U.S. left big Afghan warlords of the 1990s to operate freely in their country. Gen. Rashid Dostam was a vice presidential candidate, and Abu Sayyaf serves in parliament. A current criteria of terrorism in the Middle East is whether the men are cooperating with the Karzai government.

People commonly refer to the Taliban as “terrorists,” but the group is not on the State Department’s official list of terrorist organizations. The men released to bring home Bergdahl have no history of plotting attacks against the United States.

Under GOP presidents, Republicans claim that negotiating with terrorists is a diplomatic solution to save U.S. lives. Under Democratic presidents, GOP regards the diplomatic solutions as negotiating with terrorists.

As Todd Robberson wrote in the Dallas News:

“Once you acknowledge (as we have) that you cannot win a war militarily, there are only two other ways to end it: surrender or negotiate with your enemy. The United States might be capable of winning the war in Afghanistan militarily, but the sacrifice and cost in civilian lives would be too unpalatable to contemplate. This was the conclusion reached by civilian and military leaders years ago.”

After he was captured in Afghanistan, Bergdahl was held for nearly five years by the Taliban after being captured in Afghanistan. He was the only remaining U.S. soldier captured during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. All the living captives have now come home.

The Republicans have a major problem. They abandoned opposition to the Affordable Care Act to create a special committee to investigate Benghazi. Attention for that was lost with the information about problems in the Department of Veterans Affairs, and focus changed to the exchange of Bowe Bergdahl for five Gitmo prisoners. Almost immediately the crisis moved to the new EPA standards. This week will likely produce another issue that they want to use against the president. By now GOP members look like dilettante butterflies.

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