Nel's New Day

September 29, 2018

DDT: Week 88 – His Very, Very Bad Time

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) had another really bad week. It started with members of the UN General Assembly openly laughing at his opening statements on Monday and ended with the failure of his Supreme Court nominee to get the confirmation after a crying, hysterical, weak, bullying Brett Kavanaugh performed badly at the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. In addition, a federal judge ruled that 200 congressional Democrats can sue for violating the U.S. Constitution because of illegally doing business with foreign governments while he is in office. Attorneys general of Washington, D.C. and Maryland had a similar lawsuit also accusing him of violating the constitution’s emoluments clause. And Robert Mueller continues the investigation of the Russian scandal.

(Photo By Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)

Thursday, the ten-hour hearing with accuser Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh was a dismaying visual of what Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) called a representation of “we the ruling party” instead of “we the people.” DDT spoke the truth when he said that Kavanaugh’s performance, full of white man’s rage, was “incredible”—because the word means “unbelievable … unconvincing … implausible … highly unlikely.” He also said that it was “something we haven’t seen before,” another accurate statement because the hearing was a low point in U.S. history. Despite smears against Democrats by Republicans and temper tantrums, most notably by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a plea from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) led to a one-week hiatus before the floor vote despite the fury of some GOP senators while the FBI investigates the evidence against Kavanaugh. [GOP Sens. Orrin Hatch (UT) and Chuck Grassley (IA) flank Kavanaugh.] Alexandra Petri has an excellent column on the Kavanaugh situation.

UN representatives laughed at DDT when he bragged about already having accomplished more than nearly every other U.S. president.  During his campaign, DDT called President Obama “a laughing stock to the entire World.” The rest of his speech, focusing on U.S. sovereignty, sounded like a subdued version of his campaign rallies, something not well received by that audience. He said that the U.S. will not “tell you how to live and work and worship” so long as “you respect our sovereignty in return” but attacked several countries.

DDT praised India for reducing poverty, Israel for “vibrant democracy,” North Korea for “courage,” Poland for “standing up” for freedom, and Saudi Arabia for its “bold reforms.” He celebrated Saudi Arabia’s U.S.-supported war on Yemen where over 60,000 people have died in only two years, many of them civilians dying in war crimes. Attacks focused on China for unfair trade practices, Germany for its pipeline deal with Russia, and Venezuela for socialism. He also called on the world to isolate Iran, hours after Europe, Russia, and China agreed to a payment deal to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran. DDT also endorsed a strict dependence on fossil fuels.

Some of DDT’s vitriol—and lies—were saved for the International Criminal Court, a concern to DDT because of the investigation into U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and Israeli crimes in Gaza. National security advisor John Bolton has been outspoken in his criticisms of the ICC, perhaps because he could be tried for duping the U.S. into the 2003 preemptive war on Iraq that has brought disaster to both countries for the past 15 years. French President Emmanuel Macron said that his country will not enter into any trade deals with countries that have not signed onto the Paris climate agreement. Since every nation signed, the United States is unique in asserting that it is pulling out of the agreement, something that it cannot formally do until November 4, 2020.

WaPo listed 14 of DDT’s lies in his speech, including his inflation of success in legislative acts, economy improvement, jobs creation, tax cuts, building a wall (which he hasn’t), military expenditure. He falsified the trade deficit, North Korea’s secret nuclear production, Iran’s military spending, U.S. foreign aid, China joining the WTO, and rising oil prices that came from DDT’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear accord and new sanctions, not OPEC and OPEC nations. Dana Milbank wrote that between his lies and his outrageous claims, DDT “spoke as though he had accepted a dare to see how much of the world he could offend in the span of a 35-minute address.” DDT “dissed” “90 percent of the world’s population.”

During the U.N. Security Council meeting, DDT first claimed that China “has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election” before he bragged a few hours later about the great respect he receives from Chinese officials:

“Mr. Pillsbury, the leading authority on China, was saying that China has total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump’s very, very large brain.”

Conservative author Michael Pillsbury frequently appears on Fox network. DDT added that the Chinese “are doing studies on Donald Trump.”  China’s state-run media characterizes DDT as a clownish buffoon with many reasons to ridicule him. DDT made no mention of Russia’s interference in the election.

DDT failed to meet his self-imposed deadline to persuade Canada to join his new trade deal with Mexico. Both GOP lawmakers, including Sen. John Cornyn (TX), and businesses are critical of his failure. The deadline was set to allow current Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, to sign it on his final day in office, November 30, for fear that the new president will not sign the deal. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shows no interest in accepting DDT’s terms with Mexico, including the increased percentage of vehicles qualifying for duty-free treatment to 75 percent from 62.5 percent and require that much of the vehicle being made by workers with a wage of at least $16 an hour. After the signing, the International Trade Commission has 105 days to evaluate its likely consequences. Congress must approve the new trade deal, and Republicans are very skeptical of a two-country arrangement.

“Trump Effect”:  A 2017 study of middle schools in Virginia found that both teasing and bullying was significantly higher in schools located where a majority of people voted for DDT. No differences were noted in 2013 and 2015. Details here.

The Brett Kavanaugh stories covered the media stories about DOJ Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein possibly being fired because of a NYT story that he had suggested taping DDT, contradicted by people at the meeting who said he was being sarcastic. House Republicans wanted to talk to Rosenstein this coming week, but the House, worried about mid-term elections in early November, is in recess until November 13. Before they left, they kept the government open—without money for DDT’s wall—but failed to agree on the farm bill. Permanently authorized and funded programs such as food stamps aren’t affected but 39 other programs had now lapsed.

DDT’s new plan to reduce the number of legal immigrants is to kill them through starvation and lack of health care. A proposed rule will consider public benefits like food stamps, Medicaid, and Section 8 housing vouchers as “heavily weighted negative factors” in green card applications. The government will give people the choice to die or be deported. Despite claims of a good economy, wages stay low, with one-third of the work force—40 million people—earning less than $12 per hour with no benefits. The rule doesn’t require congressional approval and can go into effect after a 60-day public review period.

Hurricane Florence damaged over 51,000 homes, 11,000 of them by sea level rise. Seas have risen by at least six inches since 1970. The projected 15-inch sea rise by 2050 will double the impact with the same storm surge. At the same time, climate change is making all storms much stronger and wetter. Projected costs by Florence for the National Flood Insurance Program can be as much as $1.2 billion to make a total of $2.8 to $5 billion insurance losses. Seventy percent of the homes hit by Florence were not insured. FEMA flood maps are out of date, encouraging people to re-build or repair in vulnerable places.

Two weeks after Florence hit, thousands of residents still could not get power from coal-fired utilities while solar installations were running the day after the storm.

South Carolina native Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show, is raising money for organizations working with hurricane victims, specifically the Foundation for the Carolinas, The One SC Fun, the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund, and World Central Kitchen with a new children’s book featuring DDT’s comments about the disaster, including his comment to a survivor about the boat shipwrecked on his property:

“At least you got a nice boat out of the deal.”

Whose Boat Is This Boat? Comments That Don’t Help in the Aftermath of a Hurricane by Donald Trump (accidentally), featuring an image of the boat on the cover, comes out November 6.  [visual]

DDT’s administration reported that the world will be seven degrees hotter in the next 80 years and parts of Manhattan and Miami would be underwater. DDT is not concerned about climate change: the EPA is dissolving its Office of the Science Advisor who works to ensure that the highest quality science is integrated into the agency’s policies and decisions.

The government lost another 1,488 immigrant children in addition to the 1,475 migrant children separated from families and subsequently lost. DHS said that the government is no longer responsible after they place the children with sponsors. According to recently released memos, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen also lied to Congress and the public when she said that the government had no policy of separating families at the border.

DDT started his five-city campaign rally tour in West Virginia where the poverty level increased 12 percent to almost 20 percent. There, he told the crowd that Kim Jong-Un wrote him “beautiful letters” and “we fell in love.”

September 1, 2018

DDT: Week 84 – A Few of His Problems

As the Republicans work to support Russia, they are joining Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in his attack on FBI agent Bruce Ohr. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) traveled to London to dig up dirt on both Ohr and Christopher Steel, the British former agent who wrote a dossier on DDT, but officials at MI6, MI5, and GCHQ wouldn’t talk with him. Nunes finally managed a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May’s deputy national security advisor, Madeline Alessandri. Ohr has been instrumental in fighting Russian organized crime for almost three decades, perhaps the reason that DDT wants to get rid of him because Ohr raised concerns about oligarch Oleg Deripaska named in contacts between DDT’s associates and Russia.

DDT might have been better off leaving Ohr alone. When Congress required Ohr to testify, he said that he learned from Christopher Steele that “Russian intelligence believed it had Donald Trump ‘over a barrel.’” DDT continues to claim that the Steele dossier was responsible for the FBI investigation into his Russian problem, but memos from both the GOP and Dems prove that the FBI had started the investigation earlier about Russian contacts of former DDT campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos before they had the Steele dossier. Ohr was not the original source of information. Ohr testified that DDT campaign aide Carter Page had met with more senior Russians official that Page admitted. DOJ officials Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein had moved him from director of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force, according to Ohr, because it concerned White House meetings and interactions.

The Republicans who wanted to surveil everyone in the United States are now criticizing Ohr because of his surveillance tactics.

Democratic members of the House are asking committee chairs to review how GOP representatives got correspondence between Ohr and Steele and why they failed to go through appropriate channels to introduce the emails, notes, and text messages into the official record before reading them out loud in the hearing. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said that this information appears to have been cherrypicked by Devin Nunes (R-CA), excluding the complete correspondence. Nadler and Cummings also want “an immediate bipartisan meeting” with the DOJ to review “whether any ongoing investigations or human sources may have been compromised.”

Nunes is only one of many prominent Republicans to use the conspiracy-laden Big League Politics website using Q-Anon false theories for fundraising, some of the candidates violating campaign finance law. The website is being used to harass innocent small business by accusing them of operating child-sex trafficking rings, like the “Pizzagate” conspiracy against Hillary Clinton and a Washington, D.C. restaurant. Recent vicious targets include the Portland (OR) beloved Voodoo Doughnut. Respondents have posted maps of the chain’s locations with Portland’s plumbing locations, local schools, public transit, and airports to suggest ways that children are smuggled in and out of the stores. One member wrote, “Small submarines arent (sic) out of the realm of possibility.” The police say that they cannot do anything about the persecution, some of it generated by a former Breitbart News reporter.

Natasha Bertrand has tied together the threads of DDT’s targeted FBI and DOJ officials in his relentless attacks on people he depicts as dishonest “Democrats.” He depicts Ohr, Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe, and others who have had extensive experience in investigating money laundering and organized crime, especially connected to Russia. DDT’s big fear is that Robert Mueller’s team is expert in finding fraud, racketeering, money laundering, and other financial crimes. The article is well-worth a read, especially to see DDT’s connections to the crimes.

As Russia dogs DDT’s heels, he faces the week-long honoring of his nemesis, former Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). After his death at the age of 81, McCain got his final wishes—DDT did not attend his funeral and two former presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, gave eulogies. DDT tried to minimize McCain’s death with the petty act of lowering the flag for only a day, but public backlash forced him to raise it again. He noticeably ignored his aides who wanted him to send out a statement about McCain being a hero while he continued his vendetta against the man who spent over five years in a Vietnam prison camp while he dodged the draft with four deferments and a bout of bone spurs. On the campaign trail, DDT called McCain a loser because he was imprisoned during the Vietnam War. “I like people that weren’t captured,” DDT said. He started his criticism of McCain in 1999 as this video shows.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders may be collateral damage from McCain’s death. DDT supposedly joked that she was “having a nervous breakdown” because of the way she looked at him when he refused to answer whether McCain would have been a better president than President Obama. “I don’t want to comment on it,” DDT said. “I have a very strong opinion.” He left town for a campaign rally in Indiana before McCain’s body arrived in Washington, D.C. for a memorial service and then went to his Virginia resort to play golf during McCain’s funeral in Washington, D.C. today.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) may be breaking up with DDT, McCain’s replacement after McCain’s illness became terminal, because Graham criticized DDT’s handling of his former friend’s death. Graham said:

“It bothers me greatly when the president says things about John McCain. It pisses me off to no end, and I let the president know it, And the way he handled the passing of John is just — it was disturbing.”

Graham did invite DDT’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka and Jared, to the funeral.

McCain’s death hasn’t slowed down Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia and DDT. Paul Manafort’s next trial, postponed for a week until September 24, follows rumors of a possible plea deal for the second set of charges before he was convicted last week, but the two sides couldn’t work out a deal. Mueller has also received more time to decide whether to retry Manafort on the ten charges from the last trial after one person created a hung jury on these charges.

W. Samuel Patten, a Washington consultant who advised a Ukrainian political party and worked with a co-defendant of Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty to failing to register as a foreign lobbyist while working on behalf of a Ukrainian political party. Patten’s partner, Konstantin Kilimnik, Patten’s partner and former Manafort employee, has been indicted for witness tampering in Manafort’s case and links to Russian intelligence. Patten also worked at the Oregon office of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Group, to target voters in the 2014 general election. As part of his plea, Patten admitted that he steered an illegal foreign donation to DDT’s inauguration from a Ukrainian businessman.

DDT’s latest comment about Sessions, who he has tried to separate from his Senate allies with incessant complaints, is that he won’t fire him until after the general election, perhaps to avoid the appearance of obstruction of justice. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said, “My sense is the fix is in,” but  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) still isn’t convinced, maybe worrying about his ability to get another AG confirmed. Donors are also complaining about Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, saying, “They haven’t represented … us well.”

DDT’s shiniest new distraction from his problems comes from his promise of a new trade deal with Mexico to replace NAFTA. The kickoff was a bit awkward when technology failed him in his conference call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto by and at his signoff when he told the president that “a hug from you would be very nice.” DDT is rushing the deal because progressive president-elect of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, takes over December 1. The clock is ticking, but the two-nation agreement may not be able to replace a three-nation trade pact, and Congress must agree.

Canada has been more reluctant, especially after DDT disparaged Canada and threatened the country with 25 percent tariffs on cars and auto parts exported from the U.S. The U.S. may be the loser because Canada is the #1 destination for U.S. products shipped abroad and the trade with Canada supports over 8 million U.S. jobs, many of them in the new “red” states. Canada also is unique because the U.S. doesn’t have a trade deficit with Canada. If the initial deal doesn’t include Canada, the U.S. will have trouble including the country later.

Most of the suggested pieces of DDT’s deal come from either NAFTA or the Trans Pacific Pipeline, but the name is new so that DDT can claim it as his own. He’ll just have to hope that people don’t see the drastic increases in prices from the deal and his tariffs if he wants to use it for getting people to vote for Republicans.

More DDT disasters later.

June 16, 2018

DDT: Week 73 – More Lies to Add to His Thousands

“I didn’t do anything wrong!” Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) repeated this sentence in a whiny voice during his impromptu press conference on the White House lawn this morning as he lied about a wide variety of issues. A few corrections to the record:

  • The OIG report did not exonerate in the Russian investigation. It was about the way that the FBI and DOJ handled the Clinton email investigation.
  • The same report did not show any bias against DDT because the report indicated that there was no bias.
  • There is no indication of “no collusion,” “no obstruction.”
  • Former FBI Director James Comey did not commit some “very criminal acts,” according to the OIG report.
  • Paul Manafort did have something “to do with [DDT’s] campaign.” With the campaign for five months, Manafort ran it for three months, including his highly visual presence at the GOP convention.
  • President Obama was not responsible for the Russian annexation of Crimea, and “going across the red line in the sand” concerned Syria, not Ukraine.
  • DDT did not always hate the war exercises. He got the idea for the gift to North Korea of ending these exercises from Vladimir Putin.
  • Tearing children from their parents at the Mexico border is not the Democrats’ law. It is not a law—in fact it’s against the law as “deterrence—and it’s a policy created and ordered by DDT and AG Jeff Sessions. And he does not want “laws to be beautiful and humane.”
  • The Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are not “liberating” communities from the scourge of MS-13; ICE is deporting law-abiding immigrants.
  • Despite DDT’s declaration that Michael Cohen is not his lawyer, it’s not clear when that happened.

If DDT didn’t lie about something, he said, “Let’s not talk about it” as he did when asked whether he dictated the statement on Donald Trump Jr.

DDT’s classic statement to the reporters:

“Hey, Kim Jong-Un is the head of a country, and I mean he is the strong head. Don’t let anybody think different. He speaks, and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

Pressed about the meaning of the statement, DDT tried to cover by calling it “sarcasm.” DDT continually describes the mass murderer as “very talented,” “great negotiator,” “very funny guy”–the pandering never stops.

[The Time cover for June 18, 2018, by Tim O’Brien, meant to address DDT’s political attacks on Robert Mueller.]

DDT’s justification for giving away the farm to North Korea without getting anything in return is that he is guaranteeing “complete denuclearization.” A fact-check of his claims at the June 12 news conference and interview with George Stephanopoulos indicates he has added more lies to the thousands he has told since his inauguration. The complete analysis is here.

  • Far more vague than past agreements, this one is not “comprehensive” with no definitions of “denuclearization.”
  • DDT dropped training war exercises without consulting the Pentagon or South Korea. He complained they were “expensive,” but South Korea pays 50 percent of the non-personnel costs of U.S. troop presence on the peninsula.
  • President Clinton didn’t give North Korea billions of dollars in the agreement of 1994; the money went to companies in South Korea, Japan, and the EU. The 1994 agreement contained North Korea’s use of uranium until George W. Bush broke the agreement and North Korea started building nuclear weapons.
  • Iran’s involvement in its regional politics hasn’t improved since DDT dropped the Iran agreement. President Obama never gave Iran money in the agreement; $1.8 billion was the U.S. debt for U.S. military equipment never delivered in 1980 when Iran released four U.S. detainees. Another $150 billion was released from Iranian frozen assets in banks throughout the world. After Iran pays its debts, it will have about $32 billion of their own money left.
  • The U.S. has a trade surplus—not deficit—with Canada.
  • U.S. funding for NATO, based on gross national income, is under $500 million a year out of the nation’s $700 billion military budget. Indirect funding is what the U.S. spends on its own military or missions not including
  • NATO.

Desperate to find some win out of his losses to North Korea, DDT claimed that “thousands of parents” begged him during his campaign to bring back the remains of their beloved sons from the Korean War. The youngest parent would be over 100 years old.

Bored when he arrived in Singapore, DDT demanded that the summit be moved up one day. He was convinced that the idea was bad only when someone told him that he would get better prime time coverage the next day. (Why is it that most DDT news sound as if it belongs in satire columns?) DDT also prefers North Korea state-run news to the Fox network. Wonder how long Fox will stay friends?

In late 2017, DDT said:

“The horror of life in North Korea is so complete that citizens pay bribes to government officials to have themselves exported abroad as slaves. They would rather be slaves than live in North Korea. … Citizens spy on fellow citizens, their homes are subject to search at any time, and their every action is subject to surveillance. In place of a vibrant society, the people of North Korea are bombarded by state propaganda practically every waking hour of the day. North Korea is a country ruled as a cult. At the center of this military cult is a deranged belief in the leader’s destiny to rule as parent protector over a conquered Korean Peninsula and an enslaved Korean people.”

Now DDT claims that “[Kim’s] country does love him. His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor.” He loves North Korea so much that he saluted one of its military officers. DDT was briefed to not salute military officers from other countries. Conservatives complained about a negative reaction from Democrats to DDT talking to North Korean leadership after Republicans bitterly decried the possibility of President Obama even speaking to Kim Jong-Il. Democrats, however, objected only to DDT’s obsequious behavior before the leader of one of the world’s most oppressive regimes. DDT also called President Obama an “amateur” when he bent at the waist to shake the hand of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah before DDT bowed to the Saudi’s King Salmon leader. DDT doesn’t even reach the status of “amateur” in his behavior to Kim Jong-Un.

In a 2014 report, the UN described “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations,” the country as a ruthless police state where as many as 120,000 people are kept in political gulags under horrific conditions; other prisons, effectively labor camps, hold people for ordinary crimes. Telephone calls are monitored, and citizens are punished for watching or listening to foreign broadcasts.” It also wrote about North Korea’s absolute monopoly on information and control of social life”—what DDT said he wants in the United States by eliminating any freedom of expression, opinion, and association.

The aftermath of the G-7 summit also continues to reverberate: DDT’s trade advisor Peter Navarro took back his words about a “special place in hell” reserved for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) criticized Navarro. He said that the term he used “lost the power of that message,” Navarro’s version of an apology.

Gone is any cordiality between Canada and the United States. The Canadian Parliament unanimously voted to condemn DDT’s attacks after DDT’s and his minions’ highly insulting statements following the G-7 summit. Their motion condemned the attacks on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and rejected “disparaging ad hominem statements by U.S. officials which do a disservice to bilateral relations.” About the motion, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, “It’s very nice to represent a united country.”

China is also not happy after DDT imposed a 25-percent tariff on $50 billion of Chinese exports. Claiming that the U.S. “launched a trade war,” China has dropped promises to buy more U.S. goods. Tariffs on washing machines, the first item that DDT caused domestic suffering, have raised prices 17 percent on laundry equipment in three months.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said that his party is in a “cult-like situation” with their support of DDT, citing the GOP refusal to disagree with DDT on his tariffs. “It’s not a good place for us to be,” he added with the luxury of someone not running for re-election. Corker agrees with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, once a strong DDT supporter, who claimed on his Morning Joe Show that “primary voters in the Republican Party have devolved into a Trumpist cult.” Don Trump Jr. agrees with Corker: “If it’s a cult, it’s because they like what my father is doing.”

DDT holds an overwhelming popularity with Republicans, but only 40 percent of the people in the U.S. fit into that category. Otherwise, he has dropped considerably since his inauguration. During the past 18 months, his net approval has decreased in all 50 states from six to 31 points.

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