Nel's New Day

January 20, 2020

Will Trade Deals Overcome Impeachment?

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has gloated about how good he is at making business deals; he even hired a writer for The Art of the Deal with his name as author. Last week, Congress signed a “replacement” for NAFTA, and DDT signed “phase one” in a trade deal with China. 

Former White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn said DDT’s tariffs “hurt the U.S.” and didn’t help trade deal negotiation. The steel and aluminum tariffs didn’t help the economy, said DDT’s former appointee, partly the reason he left his job. Cohn also said that tariffs didn’t help DDT pass either trade deal.

DDT maintained that China promised to make huge purchases of U.S. goods, including soybeans and pork, but the agreement has a loophole for China about “market conditions.” Skepticism about the deal caused soybean prices to fall, and tariffs on U.S. farm exports worth billions of dollars remain. U.S. farm goods sales to China in 2018 were $9.1 billion, a 50 percent drop from a year earlier and much lower than the peak of $26 billion in 2012. They have a long way to go.

The China deal failed to fulfill DDT’s campaign promise, to force China into changing its economic policies, the ones that DDT said disadvantaged workers and companies. Missing are any changes to China’s huge subsidies to Chinese companies which has greatly benefited the family of Elaine Choe, Transportation Secretary and wife to the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the agreement keeps some tariffs that cost U.S. consumers.

China also reinstated semiannual talks about reform and disputes that DDT had discontinued. Marc Busch, professor of international business diplomacy at Georgetown University, called the deal “more a cessation of hostilities, phase one, coupled with some barter” instead of a trade agreement. Other experts doubted whether DDT will achieve a “phase two.” Scott Kennedy, senior adviser and trustee chair of Chinese business and economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, called it a “very narrow deal. It’s far short of the administration’s original goals, and the US and the international community has paid a very large price for what is a relatively modest deal.” The next time around, DDT may not say that trade wars are good and easy to win as he swivels his focus to tariffs on France and Germany.

In the meantime, the “deal” that DDT made with China returns it to the status quo before he was inaugurated.

The number of DDT’s lies and misleading claims have spiked since he was inaugurated. Of the 16,241 falsehoods during his first three years, 1,999 (six a day) were in 2017, 5,689 (almost 16 a day) in 2018, and the remaining 8,155 (over 22 a day) were in 2019. Here’s a breakdown.

Many of these lies were in his speech to the Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention last Sunday in Austin (TX). DDT claimed that farmer income fell under President Obama when it topped out at the highest it’s ever been in 2013. Taking credit for the $30 billion increase in net farm income, he didn’t point out the $22.4 billion were government subsidies. Last year, farm subsidies hit their highest levels–$22.4 billion and one-fifth of farmer’s money—in over a decade during George W. Bush’s second term, bailouts going primarily to corporate farms. Farmer suicides increased under DDT, and equipment costs went up while farmers with smaller farm lost money.

DDT told farmers that he had also provided “unprecedented support” to the ethanol industry, but he had to change his policy after protests from Midwestern lawmakers and lobbying groups. The visa program also doesn’t allow for enough farmworkers. He falsely suggested that Canadian dairy tariffs were eliminated and that the deal with Japan to reduce tariffs on $7 billion of farm products was a “$40 billion deal.” 

DDT bragged at the conference that the GOP had never been stronger, a claim negated by shifts to Democrats since his inauguration. An awkward part of his speech came from his claim that he fought for farmers’ water rights and ability to control their own usage. DDT is presently suing to take land from ranchers and farmers to build his wall—some of the land owned since before Texas became a state.

DDT’s trade deal with Mexico and Canada keeps almost 90 percent of its predecessor, NAFTA, which DDT proclaimed “the worst trade deal ever made.” The other ten percent comes from the Trans-Pacific Partnership which DDT called a “disaster” and a “rape of our country.” The trade agreement raises auto prices and hurts the U.S. auto industry, according to a federal government analysis.

Both these deals increase trade barriers rather than removing them—and without providing great benefits. Instead of the GOP’s philosophy of anti-tax and pro-market, the Chinese deal does both. Tariffs (aka taxes) remain on $360 billion of Chinese goods, taxes that are paid by U.S. consumers, raise costs for U.S. companies to do business, and risk U.S. jobs. DDT’s tariffs tax products that U.S. manufacturers use to make their goods, and manufacturing has reacted by being in a recession for almost half a year. Despite farm subsidies that were double the amount of the 2009 auto bailout (which DDT constantly criticized), farmer bankruptcies went up 24 percent last year. And the auto industry paid back the loans they received.

Catherine Rampell described the effect of DDT’s trade wars after two years:

“They’ve fractured our international alliances, imposed tens of billions of dollars of new taxes on Americans, resulted in two expensive agricultural bailouts, multiplied farmer bankruptcies and landed the manufacturing sector in a recession.”

This week, DDT is spending another $3.4 million of taxpayer money to give a speech at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. To help spend the $1 million for lodging, some members of the White House entourage will be staying at the Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère, a historic luxury hotel near the city center. The Secret Service will pay more than $400,000 for agents to stay at the Bad Ragaz, a five-star resort featuring indoor and outdoor thermal spas. Costs on top of the $3.4 million are security expenses, salaries, and another $2.2 million for the Air Force round trip between the U.S. and Zurich and the Marine One helicopter between Zurich and Davos.

DDT landed at the resort today and then flies out after his speech (watch for more lies!) before the meeting does its business, working on the problem of climate change. His company includes Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer, Labor secretary Eugene Scalia, and Transportation secretary Elaine Chao along with daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner. Last year, DDT canceled his appearance at the last minute because of the government shutdown, but still cost taxpayers $3.2 million in unused hotel rooms and rental cars.

His keynote speech tomorrow is on the opening day of his impeachment trial in the Senate. Republicans have a new defense for DDT beyond denial and the “so-what” response: Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) came up with “things happen.” In one interview, he moved from DDT didn’t seek foreign election assistance to he did do that but it wasn’t important, and finished by calling DDT’s actions a “mistake” but who cares.

In “Is the Oath a Joke,” conservatives William Kristol and Jeffrey K. Tulis wrote about GOP senators who declared their votes in favor of DDT before they swore under oath to “do impartial justice”:

“Human beings will still be fallible, opinionated, even prejudiced. Indeed our Founders expected no less. But there is a big difference between lamentably falling short of the highest standard and actively scorning it. Might citizens press their Senators to summon up some buried residue of decency and a modicum of impartiality?”

The impeachment trial begins tomorrow at 1:00 EST, beginning with procedural questions. Senate Majority Leader McConnell issued draconian rules today that will likely be debated, for example 24 hours for each side over two days. The possibility of witnesses is still up in the air. Every dissension requires a vote with a simple majority for passing the proposals. The Senate has 47 Democrats and Independents. The vote on accepting witnesses comes after open argument from each side and 16 hours set aside for written questions from senators, according to McConnell. Schumer said that the rules “don’t even allow the simple, basic step of admitting the House record into evidence at the trial.”

The Senate controls the videoing of the trial which means limited views, and the setting will appear more like a courtroom than a legislative assembly. Reporters are permitted in seats above the central rostrum but cannot bring cameras, laptops, cell phones, or any other electronic devices. No cameras or media are allowed in closed session for Senate debate. TV correspondent are on the first floor of the Senate side. Outside the chamber, reporters are penned off behind a velvet rope. C-SPAN and the Fox network plan gavel-to-gavel coverage, and CNN will stream the proceedings online. PBS will cover the proceedings and return to it after the nightly NewsHour broadcast. Senators are not allowed to talk, tweet, or text. Questions must be written and handed to Roberts.

McConnell is desperately trying to get the trial over before DDT’s State of the Union speech on February 4. It is not unprecedented for a president to give that speech while tried for impeachment—Bill Clinton did it in 1999—but DDT lacks the self-control of Bill Clinton. DDT has already demonstrated an inordinate degree of fury and unreasonableness, far more than any other person occupying the Oval Office.

The next few days will not be peaceful ones in the Senate, and Chief Justice John Roberts may struggle with his judicial leadership.

December 14, 2019

DDT: Week 151 – More Bullying Buffoonery

Last week, the media focused on the impeachment inquiry and the release of a DOJ report about the creation of the FBI investigation into the connection between Russia and the 2016 presidential campaign of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Both DDT and his fixer AG Bill Barr contradicted, without evidence, the conclusion of the report from DOJ’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz that the FBI investigation did not show bias in starting the probe. Attorneys from the conservative Checks & Balances blasted Barr’s rejection of his own IG’s report, and another conservative attorney, referring to DDT as Barr’s “client,” said:

“The attorney general has returned to his playbook of distortion and obfuscation in a transparent effort to undermine the IG’s meticulous, fact-based conclusions.”

Barr blamed President Obama and the FBI, with no evidence, for trying to destroy U.S. democracy by spying on DDT’s associates. Ignoring the “lock her up” chants about Hillary Clinton, Barr said that people who want to send political rivals “to jail” are “poisoning the system.” He also ignored the anti-Hillary Clinton bias among FBI agents who sent anti-Clinton text messages and wanted to investigate DDT’s conspiracy theories about the Clinton Foundation. In 2018, Horowitz reported that former FBI Director James Comey reopened the probe into Clinton’s emails ten days before the election because he thought FBI agents might leak information. Anti-Clinton agents were not punished. Horowitz’s investigation of FBI leaks to DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani is ongoing.

Regarding his misrepresentations of the facts, Barr blamed the “irresponsible” media’s fault for “fanning” what he called “a bogus narrative.” He sees his job to ensure “that [the law enforcement and intelligence apparatus] doesn’t play an improper role in our political life.” In his crusade outside his job’s purview, Barr focuses on public perception and press reporting instead of legality. Barr is running a media campaign about the FBI that “if you go ahead and investigate foreign interference in our election, William Barr may come after you,” according to former DOJ spokesman Matthew Miller on Joy Reid’s MSNBC AM Joy

When Horowitz testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) falsely claimed that the FBI had stopped Russia’s attacks against Hillary Clinton before the 2016 election just by telling the campaign about Russia’s actions. Horowitz testified that neither Barr nor John Durham, the U.S. AG for Connecticut who Barr assigned to run a parallel investigation with Horowitz, “changed our findings” about no bias on the part of the FBI despite the 17 errors or omissions. The FBI did not put spies in DDT’s campaign, according to Horowitz’s testimony. When the IG declared that Russians interfered in the 2016 campaign, even Graham agreed.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) asked that Barr be investigated for his following the bidding of the president. Horowitz said that he takes the issue seriously, but he’s legally prevented from looking at the misconduct of DOJ lawyers, including the attorney general. “The law has to change, senator,” Horowitz said.”

DDT also attacked his own appointee, FBI Director Christopher Wray, for saying that DDT’s criticism betrayed his “own bias.” Lying about the IG report, DDT claimed that it “totally exonerates” him of allegations of collusion with Russia or obstruction of justice. He called the FBI “scum” and threatened to “get involved” with the DOJ, a constitutional danger for the independent agency. During this week’s Pennsylvania rally, DDT also told his security to be rougher on a protester and slurring more than usual through his rants, according to a Vox reporter.  

In March, the Supreme Court will hear DDT’s appeal about hiding his tax returns and other financial affairs from the House and a New York prosecutor. The ruling is due by June. No lower court has ruled that DDT has the right to hide these documents from investigations.

The Supreme Court may be kept busy hearing all DDT’s appeals. A federal judge has ruled against DDT’s request to delay a lawsuit against AG Bill Barr and Commerce Wilbur Ross who defied congressional subpoenas in their handling of the failed citizenship question for the 2020 census.

Two other federal judges, one in El Paso and the other in Northern California, stopped DDT’s paying for his wall with $3.6 billion in military funds. The decision is based on a GOP-generated law blocking President Obama. The president cannot “eliminate or reduce funding for any program, project, or activity as proposed in the President’s budget request” unless approved by Congress. Later, GOP congressional members added “increase” to “eliminate or reduce.”

At the urging of House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the Pentagon is looking into a $400 million contract for a segment of the southern border wall with a DDT-pushed company that doesn’t meet necessary standards. DDT had picked the company after seeing the owner, a GOP donor, on Fox network.

Glenn Fine, the Pentagon’s inspector general, opened a review three months ago to examine whether U.S. military deployment to the southern border is legal after 30 congressional members requested an investigation. The deployment may violate a law preventing active duty military troops from law enforcement duties inside the U.S. Since DDT started sending service members to the border in 2018, the number has sometimes exceeded 5,000.

DDT has again announced that he and China have a “phase one” trade deal. China called it a “win-win,” but no text has been released. DDT lowered tariffs—mostly on toys, cellphones and laptops—and China said it will buy the farm-products that they had already intended. The deal will also enhance intellectual property protections at China’s own pace and permit U.S. banks and credit card companies full access to China which China had wanted. No “phase two” was addressed. DDT will claim a win, but China isn’t altering its economy as DDT promised, won’t send jobs back to the U.S., and hasn’t committed to scale back subsidies that give China an advantage over the U.S.

The general announcement caused the markets to rapidly increase; the details given out on the next day ended up with an almost flat gain. Winners are farmers, bankers, and Apple. China won because President Xi Jinping stood his ground and DDT caved in. This week reflected the fifth time this year that DDT delayed or canceled tariffs, encouraging China to further drag out negotiations for more wins. DDT has a long way to go to match President Obama on agricultural exports to China. 

Last week, DDT announced tariffs on steel and aluminum from Brazil and Argentina; this week the administration announced that it hadn’t decided about these tariffs yet. Just another one of those orders that didn’t exist.

Customs and Border Protection officials not only refuse to vaccinate migrants in U.S facilities but also arrested doctors who tried to provide free vaccinations.

Amazon is accusing the Pentagon of obeying DDT’s orders by selecting Microsoft for a $10-billion cloud computing contract that has been called a crucial national security priority. Oracle and IBM are also challenging the contract. Amazon pointed out several reasons that Microsoft’s program is inferior to theirs. Defense Secretary Mark Esper waited two months to recuse himself from the procurement process because his son works for an initial bidder.  DDT’s ongoing feud with Amazon’s owner, Jeff Bezos, began with reporting by the Washington Post, also owned by Bezos. 

DDT supporters should be grateful that federal agencies ignored his some of his demands. Peter Bergen, in his new book Trump and his Generals: The Cost of Chaos, wrote that DDT wanted to move the 9.8 million people in Seoul because it was too close to the North Korean border. He insisted, “They have to move!” And he wasn’t joking. That was when he told his national security team that threats from Kim Jong-Un would be “met with fire and fury.” Months later, he demanded “an evacuation of American civilians from South Korea.” Warned that this action would signal war, DDT ordered, “Go do it!” The Pentagon ignored his orders to move Seoul and evacuate all Americans from South Korea, DDT forgot about it, and the United States hasn’t gone to war with North Korea—yet.

In the midst of 123 furious tweets in one day during the impeachment inquiry hearings, DDT found time to demand that 16-year-old Greta Thunberg “work on her Anger Management problem” after she was awarded Time’s “Person of the Year”:

“So ridiculous. Greta must work on her anger management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”

Thunberg used DDT’s words for her Twitter bio. Time wrote that it chose Thunberg because she created “a global attitudinal shift” and “offered a moral clarion call.”

Even more vile, DDT’s fundraising campaign photoshopped DDT’s head on Thunberg’s body money with the caption, “When it comes to keeping his promises, there’s only one Person Of The Year.”

New jobs increased 266,000 in November with manufacturing comprising 54,000 of them, but 48,000 of those came at the end of GM’s strikes. Despite some wage increases in blue states raising minimum wages, rising costs of living in 2019 outpaced workers’ economic growth. Forty-four percent of U.S. workers earn low wages.

December 6, 2019

DDT: Week 150 – U.S.-Caused Volatility Here, In the World

AG Bill Barr, fixer for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), is struggling to fix DDT’s problems. First, Barr’s own inspector general, DOJ IG Michael Horowitz, disagrees with Barr’s coverup for the FBI investigation into Russian election interference, and Barr can’t change the report. Barr claims that U.S. intelligence agents were “spies,” but Horowitz’s probe shows no political animus in their investigation. Barr’s handpicked investigator, Connecticut’s U.S. Attorney John Durham, can’t find any evidence to back up conspiracy theories that the initiation of  the intelligence probe into Russian election tampering was just a set-up.

Barr has avoided any probe into DDT’s “persuasion” of Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to re-examine Hunter Biden’s involvement in Ukraine, likely because he’s afraid that he will find bribery on the part of DDT. For that reason, the House Intelligence Committee did the investigation that should have been the DOJ’s job.

Barr also wants to use DDT’s quid pro quo style—blackmail—by threatening “communities” with loss of police enforcement if they don’t show “respect” to law enforcement. This speech in which he announced this philosophy followed ones that blamed U.S. problems on secularists and accused “the left” of “undermining the rule of law.” Barr has already attacked DAs pushing for police accountability and wants “zero tolerance for resisting police.” Journalist Adam Serwer tweeted that the AG seemed to say that “the attorney general of the united states believes police are not sworn officers of the law, civil servants bound by an oath, but a gang running a protection racket.”  

Seeing trouble ahead after the Ukraine debacle, DDT quietly released $105 million in military assistance for Lebanon after he froze the funds for month. The aid had congressional approval and overwhelming support from the Pentagon, State Department, and National Security Council. DDT failed to explain why he was withholding funding since September that would help counter Iran’s influence in Lebanon.  

A court has forced the release of a few more formerly-redacted snippets from Robert Mueller’s report with these revelations:

DDT’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said that DDT’s family lawyers told him not to tell FBI agents about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, leading to some of Cohen’s lies to Congress. Lawyers from the Joint Defense Agreement representing DDT’s family, Cohen, and Jared Kushner told him to omit his statement about contact with Russian officials.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein assumed that either he or then-AG Jeff Sessions would be responsible for firing former FBI director James Comey and called him into the office, only to discover that DDT had fired Comey via email. When the media reported that firing Comey was his idea, Rosenstein said he was “angry, ashamed, horrified, and embarrassed.” He also refused to participate in a press conference about the firing because the DOJ “cannot participate in putting out a false story.”

For those who slept through the last three years, Washington Post has published The Mueller Report Illustrated in a book and six-part digital series.  

The stock market went crazy against this week after DDT said he plans to put tariffs on steel and aluminum for Brazil and Argentina to expand his trade war and destroy agreements with the countries. He claims that reinstating tariffs will benefit U.S. farmers, but he had not imposed them in the first place. Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro, called the “Trump of South America,” thought he had a close relationship with DDT, but DDT turned on him after China began buying pork, soybeans, and other agricultural goods from Brazil because DDT attacked China with tariffs. DDT is also threatening other parts of the world with tariffs including Mexico, Europe, and Vietnam. The only way that DDT can place tariffs is through threatened national security, and several countries are suing the U.S. in the World Trade Organization. Recently, a federal court, the U.S. Court of International Trade, ruled that DDT couldn’t raise tariffs on steel exports from Turkey because the 180-day deadline for the decision had expired. DDT’s tariffs have upset U.S. manufacturers of cars, machinery, food packaging, and other products because of increased prices for metal.

DDT’s threatened France with up to 100 percent tariffs on about $2.4 billion in French products such as sparkling wine, cheeses, handbags, and makeup—all in the name of national security and all items that DDT doesn’t buy. The tariffs are in retaliation to French taxes on 30 companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon with at last $830 million in global revenue and digital sales of $26 million in France. France said that the average tax rate for digital companies in EU is 9.5 percent, compared with 23.2 percent for other companies.

Another reason for the craziness of the stock market came from DDT’s conflicting tweets about his trade war with China. The Dow dropped when he said that he’d wait to settle the tariff problem until after the 2020 election and then rose the next day after he said he changed his mind. In addition to ire about the tariff situation, China reacted negatively to the congressional resolution supporting Hong Kong’s democracy that passed with only one no vote in the 535- member Congress and reluctantly signed by DDT. China retaliated by suspending visits by U.S. military vessels to Hong Kong and sanctioning U.S. nongovernmental organizations accused of encouraging violence in Hong Kong. The passage of a proposed bill calling for tougher reaction to China’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority, China warned, could damage a trade deal to soften the trade war. The bill, passed in the House with only one no vote, condemns the human rights violations and calls for “an end to arbitrary detention, torture, and harassment of these communities inside and outside China.” With excellent prospects in the Senate, the proposed law could put sanctions on China for violations.  

Although Republicans claim that Democrats are doing nothing during the impeachment inquiry, the House passed a measuring backing a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by 226 to 188. Five Republicans voted in favor of the measure, and four Democrats opposed it. The legislature stated that the solution is vital to “both ensure the state of Israel’s survival as a Jewish and democratic state and fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own.” The House also voted, 228 to 187, to restore voting protection rights after the Supreme Court removed them in 2013. Only one Republican voted in favor of the bill, a vast difference from the 2006 vote of 390-33 to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already announced his opposition to voting rights.

DDT is considering doubling the number of the military in the Middle East by sending another 14,000 service members along with dozens of ships, according to the Wall Street Journal. Department of Defense Press Secretary Alyssa Farah said the report was “wrong” before Defense Secretary Mark Esper admitted that the deployment was under consideration.

While DDT rails against ISIS and terrorists, a Saudi Arabian Air Force pilot who was training in the U.S. killed three people at Pensacola Naval Air Station and wounded more before being killed himself. People also forget that 15 of the 19 terrorists in the 9/11 attack were Saudis, and George W. Bush slipped wealthy Saudis out of the U.S. during a freeze on air travel. DDT himself ignored the Saudi crown prince’s torturing and dismembering a U.S. journalist.

More grist for impeachment came from somewhere in Ukraine where DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani connected DDT’s bogus investigation into the Bidens to the July 25 telephone call between DDT and Zelensky. With no evidence, Giuliani tweeted that “no military aid [was] withheld,” although it was frozen for months until Zelensky caved, and that “the conversation about corruption in Ukraine was based on compelling evidence of criminal conduct by then VP Biden, in 2016.”  

Tomorrow is the deadline for open 2020 Medicare enrollment, and its new website may lead users to spend more money for prescriptions by hiding out-of-pocket costs. With the lowest premium at the top, the “helper” doesn’t include expenses such as copays that could cost thousands of dollars more. In one case, paying a premium of $25.80, almost twice the monthly cost of the cheapest premium, could save $5,800 a year. 

People who want to check out the costs should go to the initial search results and then look for the drop-down menu on the right of the screen. Select the feature allowing you to re-sort plans by “lowest drug + premium cost.”

That’s the tip of the news iceberg. More catch-up tomorrow!

 

August 17, 2019

U.S. Trouble around the World

Anyone questioning whether Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is an autocrat, should consider his directive to Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocking Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from visiting Israel because they support the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement to sanction Israelis over human rights abuses of Palestinians and Israeli’s occupation of the West Bank. DDT tweeted that the two women “hate all Jewish people”—a lie—and added that “it would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit!”

Israeli’s foreign aid from the U.S. is dependent on congressional approval; Omar is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee with oversight over U.S. foreign aid. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said that if Israel doesn’t want U.S. congressional members in the country, they could return the annual $3 billion that Congress allots them for military aid. Even prominent Republicans opposed Israel’s ban on two congressional members taking part in a congressional delegation to the country, a first for the U.S. The day after the ban, Israel said Tlaib could visit her 90-year-old grandmother for the first time in 12 years if Tlaib promised to say nothing about laws punishing public contractors who boycotted Israel for its treatment of Palestinians. When Tlaib refused to go if she were muzzled, DDT accused her of “grandstanding.” Israel’s mandate, like U.S. Republicans who support Tlaib’s suppression, proves Israel as a repressive regime without free speech.

DDT renewed his attacks on Iran by issuing a warrant for the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker detained in Gibraltar, hours after a Gibraltar court ordered the ship released after the British navy intercepted it. The U.S. wants the ship, 2.1 million barrels of oil, and $999,500. The warrant is dated November 16, 2019—not August 19, and Iran is fighting it.   

U.S. officials remain silent about an explosion off the northern coast of Russia on August 8 that spread radioactivity for miles and killed seven people, including scientists. Apparently a test for a cruise missile propelled by nuclear power, the explosion occurred just five days after DDT officially dropped out of a treaty with Russia controlling nuclear weapons. Analysts think that the missile is a prototype of one spreading radioactivity that cannot be stopped because it has an unpredictable path at low altitudes.

Spreading misinformation, Russian officials first denied the radiation leak before confirming it. Three naked injured men wrapped in translucent plastic bags were taken to a regional hospital, but no one notified the hospital staff that the patients were radioactive. Two of the three patients died on the way to the airport on their way to Moscow. Five hospital staff workers, including senior doctors, were required to sign non-disclosure agreements. The staff’s questions were not answered, but the offer to fly them to Moscow for tests was rescinded when one was found with a radioactive isotype, a byproduct of the nuclear fission of uranium-235, in his muscle tissue. Tests were moved to the regional hospital.

Russia also stated that it flew nuclear-capable TU-160 bombers to a far eastern Russian region opposite Alaska to show the country’s long-range ability to launch nuclear weapons into the U.S.

DDT is siding with North Korea’s opposition to U.S./South Korea military exercises against his own military advice after Kim Jong Un wrote him a “really beautiful letter.” Kim wrote that he wants to save the U.S. money by stopping the exercises. North Korea has tested four different new weapons since July, with the most recent yesterday, and threatened continued testing if DDT doesn’t stop the long-planned exercises and lift sanctions. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/17/north-koreas-kim-jong-un-expresses-great-satisfaction-after-test-of-new-weapon   Kim expressed “great satisfaction” about the tests’ “mysterious and amazing success rates” and vowed to build up “invincible military capabilities no one dare provoke.”

At a fundraiser, DDT said Kim “only smiles when he sees me” and “if I hadn’t been elected president, we would be in a big, fat, juicy war with North Korea.” In the same speech, DDT used a fake Japanese accent when he told about a conversation with Shinzo Abe about Abe’s kamikaze pilot father when he asked if kamikaze pilots were drunk or on drugs. Abe said they loved their country; DDT said, “Imagine they get in a plane with a half a tank of gas and fly into steel ships just for the love of their country!” About South Korea, DDT talked about getting rents from tenants:

“It was easier to get a billion dollars from South Korea than to get $114.13 from a rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn, and believe me, those 13 cents were very important.”

DDT mocked the accent of South Korean leader Moon Jae-In, ridiculing him for “caving in” to negotiations and praised his son Don Jr. as a gun expert—seemingly over the FBI, CIA, military generals, U.S. army soldiers, reservists, national guardsmen, and Secret Service.

Thus far, DDT has clearly shown no support for Hong Kong protesters trying to protect themselves from China’s Communists. He explained that China’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen showed that China’s behavior “shows you the power for strength.” DDT’s avoidance of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement has isolated him from Congress, the State Department, European allies, and his hawkish White House advisers. Instead, DDT supports President Xi Jinping.Even Russia-supporter Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tweeted that a violent crackdown on the Hong Kong protesters “would be completely unacceptable.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), usually DDT’s lapdog, tweeted that “30 years after Tiananmen Square all Americans stand with the peaceful protesters in Hong Kong.’’ Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson, co-founder of the Brexit movement, argued that China must respect Hong Kong’s autonomy. In his avoidance of supporting human rights, DDT said nothing about the Moscow mass protests challenging President Vladimir Putin and supports repressive governments of autocracies such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, and Poland.

The election in Guatemala, DDT’s new pawn, is over, and 58 percent of the electorate didn’t show up—the biggest absentee rate in 20 years. Their choice between a right-wing candidate and an extremist right-wing candidate came after the top two contenders were banned from participation. The extremist candidate won. DDT may lose an agreement with Guatemala to block Central Americans from seeking asylum in the United States. The agreement, which needs to be ratified by the Guatemalan congress, would require the country to extend asylum to migrants coming through the country and make some asylum-seekers who pass through Guatemala ineligible for protection in the U.S. President-elect Alejandro Giammattei wants to change the highly unpopular deal, especially after a U.S. judge suspended a separate safe third country accord. The current president signed the agreement after DDT blackmailed him with threats of tariffs and charges on remittances sent to Guatemalans.

Declaring Guatemala a “safe country” has raised deep concerns. In 2016, its murder rate was five times that of the U.S., and people who live in Guatemala fear the high level of crime. Guatemala also has the world’s third-highest rate of femicide, the sixth-highest rate of chronic malnutrition, and an infant mortality rate four times higher than in the United States. DDT and Morales signed the agreement amid a time of violence in Guatemala on the day after two Indigenous community leaders were killed, one of them hacked to death with a machete outside his home and the other hit by a mining company vehicle. The president-elect promises to prohibit marriage equality, criminalize “sodomy” and all education on questions of sexual diversity, and ban abortions under all circumstances.

The coup by U.S. trained and equipped Guatemalan soldiers in 1954 led to 36 years of military rule, still U.S. supported, with genocide razing 600 villages and killing 200,000 people, 83 percent of them ethnic Mayan. Currently, two percent of the Guatemalan population controls 70 percent of arable land. The United Nations-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), expected to shut down next month, has worked with Guatemalan prosecutors to destroy systemic corruption. Asylum-seekers in Guatemala already face threats of murder and physical attacks.

DDT’s sanctions against Venezuela may not have the impact he wants because Panama is still permitting ships through the Canal.

Danish authorities ridiculed DDT’s idea of buying Greenland and its 50,000 citizens. Unfortunately, there is a precedent: in 1917, Denmark sold what is now the Virgin Islands to the U.S. for $25 million. In response to DDT’s suggestion, the huge headline on the cover of New York’s Daily News read: “Fjord to Trump: Drop Dead.” Gerald Ford said a similar headline protesting his lack of assistance for New York City, “Ford to City: Drop Dead,” cost him the 1976 election. The newspaper also echoed a headline after DDT dumped the Paris climate agreement with “Trump to World: Drop Dead.”

Update on DDT’s speech at the Pennsylvania Shell construction site on August 13: Workers were paid overtime to attend the speech and ordered “no yelling, shouting, protesting or anything viewed as resistance.” Those who skipped the speech forfeited all pay for the day and lost all overtime for the week. The new operation may harm the area’s air quality and increase carbon emissions and plastic pollution.

DDT finished his vacation at his Bedminster (NJ) resort during a week of telling lies and facing stalled approval ratings, increased polarization, escalating trade wars in Europe and Asia, war-like tension with North Korea and Iran, an unstable stock market, and a contentious aftermath of two mass shootings last weekend.

 

August 16, 2019

DDT: Week 134 – New Rules Ruin More Lives

Only 14 percent of Republicans approved of President Obama’s executive orders. GOP approval of autocratic orders and rules escalated to 43 percent since DDT was inaugurated. He These rules are from the past week while he is on vacation at his resort in Bedminster (NJ).

The brand-new acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, is living up to the hopes of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). In defending new extreme financial restrictions on immigration, Cuccinelli said that only immigrants who can “stand on their own two feet” are welcome in the United States. In explaining the Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty, he said that the poem referred to European immigrants who came from “class-based societies,” not from poverty. DDT’s new rule will turn down many green card and visa applicants with low incomes of little education who may have used Medicaid, food stamps, or housing vouchers. In a CNN op-ed, Cuccinelli wrote that “self-sufficiency has been a core tenet of the American dream.”

Thirteen states filed a lawsuit against DDT’s rule to deny visas and permanent residency to poor migrants who don’t meet high enough income standards or receive any public assistance. Washington state AG Bob Ferguson said that the rule to take effect October 15 violates the Immigration and Nationality Act by redefining “public charge” in a way unconnected to its original meaning and congressional intent.

While families—including small children—swam in the Rio Grande River at Juarez, border patrol agents fired rubber bullets at them. Rubber bullets, although defined as “non-lethal,” can cause serious injury and harm, especially when randomly shot into a crowd. Israel’s 2000 study revealed that inaccuracy in aim can lead to “substantial mortality, morbidity, and disability,” in particular if people are hit in such vulnerable areas as the head or neck. Matthew Bowen, the border patrol agent who deliberately hit a Guatemalan migrant with his truck, almost running him over, and referred to immigrants as “subhuman” and “mindless murdering savages” was allowed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge. Supposedly he will resign from the Border Patrol.

In an early Christmas present to big business, DDT bulldozed the Endangered Species Act in completing rollbacks to 46-year-old law to pave the way for business development. Hundreds of species, including the wolverines and monarch butterflies, could be gone if DDT succeeds in his goal. Gone, too, will be much of the habitat for threatened wildlife. DDT may be declaring revenge on the bald eagle that was saved by the 46-year-old law. 

The Labor Department has announced a new rule for private contractors allowing the government to more easily fire LGBTQ people and unmarried women who become pregnant—all with the excuse of “religious belief”—because these categories of people are not protected classes. DDT also has asked the Supreme Court ? in a case that it will hear in October. Another rule proposed this week excludes permission for hospitals, health care providers, and insurance companies that receive federal funding to refuse service to LGBT people and people living with HIV. DDT has also asked the Supreme Court to legalize firing workers for being transgender in a case to be heard in October.

DDT also has a new rule allowing states the ability for force drug tests on people receiving unemployment benefits. Required blood tests in other areas such as food stamps have already proved a failure, and the ACLU pointed out that the Fourth Amendment blocks unreasonable government searches.

DDT’s executive orders are always poison, and this one could destroy free speech in the nation. He believes that any criticism of himself is too much progressive speech so he plans an order to give federal agencies the ability to select the acceptability of internet information. According to a draft, the rule asks the FCC for new regulations about how and when the law protects social media websites when they decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms. These new policies would be considered in investigations or lawsuits against companies. DDT has consistently complained that conservative content on social media has been suppressed, ignoring the reasons such as misinformation and calls for violence. His censorship rule would eliminate the rights of private companies and allow the party in power to control speech on the internet.

The DOJ has started to decertify the union representing 440 U.S. immigration judges by filing a petition with the Federal Labor Relations authority defining judges as “management.” Judges are not happy about DOJ’s move. Judge Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, stated:

“We are trial court judges who make decisions on the basis of case specific facts and the nation’s immigration laws. We do not set policies, and we don’t manage staff.” 

In ridiculing the concept of immigrations as management, Tabaddor said, “We don’t even have the authority to order pencils.”

The Department of Agriculture, possibly violating the law by moving its research agency far away from Washington, DC, now avoids the “latest available science” to help farmers by concealing its study on negative affects of climate change on nutritional value of rice. The results show damage of higher CO2 concentration on levels of protein, iron, and zinc levels. After the feds suppressed research from Lewis Ziska, the 25-year veteran of the department left for a job at Columbia University while morale at the EPA has drastically dropped.  

Massive numbers of bankruptcies and foreclosures from DDT’s policies and lack of concern for climate change has caused concern among farmers. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue had an answer for them at a Farmfest in Minnesota when he told a joke about what to call two farmers in a basement: “A whine cellar.” After he was booed, DDT tweeted the falsehood, “Farmers getting more than China would be spending.” DDT’s brief postponement of tariffs won’t help the farmers. Most of DDT’s welfare for farmers has gone to the wealthy, and net farm income dropped in the last five years from $123.4 billion to $63 billion. DDT promised to help them, but farm income is still shrinking. In the Nigerian language, the word MAGA, acronym for “make America great again,” is defined as a pawn in a scheme, a sucker or fraud victim. DDT has suckered in investors and millions of supporters. China refuses to play DDT’s games.

DDT’s trade war was partly to bring jobs back to the U.S., his promise during his campaign. In the first two years after DDT’s inauguration, companies announced the return of only 145,000 factory jobs, and only 30,000 are from his tariffs. Trade policies moved factories to low-cost Asian countries such as Vietnam. Reacting to a backlash toward the new draconian tariffs with China, DDT changed the deadline for “some” tariffs on Chinese imports—about 60 percent of those threatened— from September 1 to December 15. The investors followed his newest promise with their typical sheeple purchase: a day earlier, the Dow Jones dropped almost 400 points after Goldman Sachs told its clients that the trade war would continue until after the 2020 election. The day of the promise, the Dow regained almost all its losses but fell 800 points the next day. Once again, MAGA.

In July, Chinese imports of U.S. goods fell 19 percent from a year earlier while their exports to the U.S. declined 6.5 percent. China has delayed customs clearance for U.S. goods and licenses in finance and other fields. At the same time, other global areas have benefited from more Chinese exports to them after DDT’s tariffs. DDT lost his agreement with China by saying that he would keep the tariffs even if China returned to buying soybeans and other exports from the U.S. The U.S. trade deficit with China has fallen, but the U.S. overall trade deficit increased as U.S. exports remained flat and imports grew. Chief economist Mark M. Zandi for Moody’s Analytics warned that DDT’s trade war is doing economy damage, especially in manufacturing that is “pretty close to recession.”

Aides to DDT say he is “rattled.”  Anxious about the economy because he needs positive views for a re-election, DDT consulted business leaders and financial executives—and the news was not all good for him. The Dow Jones rose over 300 points today, but it is still down almost 300 points for the week after wild fluctuations of over 1000 points. It was a one-day reprieve: the next day the Dow dropped 800 points after the bond market announced the possibility of a recession. DDT is screaming for the Federal Reserve to save him, but is he taking advantage of selling short? At least, DDT may have learned to say the phrase “inverted yield curve.”

The US budget deficit also widened to $867 billion for the first 10 months of the fiscal year, an increase of 27% over this time last year. 

This week, DDT took credit for a major manufacturing complex in western Pennsylvania that was announced in 2012, the year that President Obama campaigned for his successful second term. DDT’s speech was filled with slurs about Democratic presidential candidates. 

DDT’s tax cuts have provided almost no benefit for economic growth, business investment, and worker pay. Half of surveyed corporate chief financial officers expect the economy to shrink by the second quarter of 2020, and two-thirds expect a recession by the end of 2020. Deficits have soared back to the levels of the crisis at the end of George W. Bush’s regime, and only five percent of growth from tax cuts have offset the losses. The interest cut last month was an attempt to counteract the slump in manufacturing and investment. The highly touted salary increase from the tax cuts averaged $28 per worker. That’s the picture of what DDT calls “the strongest economy in the world.”

August 9, 2019

DDT: Week 133 – All about Him

Although Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) tried to hide his “performance” during the trips to Dayton and El Paso this past week, leaks continue. On Air Force One, he shouted at aides because he claimed they didn’t defend him, and he ranted about how much larger his audience in El Paso was than the protest one with “crazy” (DDT’s word) Beto O’Rourke. DDT lied about the rally which he hasn’t paid for–$569,204.63—when O’Rourke was followed by thousands of people. And the rally when he falsely claimed that he needed the wall because El Paso’s crime rate is so high. In fact, the crime rate in the city is less than half of the national average, and the annual homicide rate has been less than the number killed by a young white supremacist from the Houston area last weekend. 

DDT insisted that an infant, whose parents were both killed by the El Paso murderer, be brought back to the hospital for a photo op. Note DDT’s happy thumbs up in the shot. The orphan’s fingers were broken when the mother tried to protect him from the shooter. 

Staffers agreed with the public that DDT’s Wednesday visits were not successful because he spend his time attacking local officials. Although DDT gave a positive front about his day, he was furious with the results behind the scenes.

DDT said later that the shooter was a coward because he surrendered and “just gave up.” Among those confused about his statement was the one who asked if DDT wanted to “encourage the next right-wing terrorist to increase the body count and not be taken alive.”

This  article describes AG Bill Barr’s blood-curdling ideology in his equating the concept of justice with vigilante revenge when he talks about the satisfaction people find in movies such as Death Wish and Dirty Harry. The plots revolve around a “hero” executing petty thieves in New York and another “hero” torturing a serial killer. Barr follows DDT’s statement that “we need quick justice and we need strong justice,” which is actually revenge. The figure representing justice is blindfolded to illustrate that the system should be based on facts and evidence but Barr follows DDT’s need to judge everything on feelings. Revenge comes from the belief that violence is the only response to feeling powerless. The criminal justice process, however, follows accurate identification of responsible individuals, fair adjudication, retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, and restoration. For that reason, justice protects people who are innocent until proved guilty, again requiring rules and limitations—several of them in the Bill of Rights. Barr’s open support of operating outside the law follows the actions of his boss.

Barr may be trying to keep DDT’s financial documents from Congress, but the banks—including Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America—are turning them over to House committees. Some of them, especially Deutsche Bank, are cooperating with the New York investigation of the Trump Organization.

DDT’s senior DOJ officials told senior prosecutors investigating problems with Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland to reduce settlements so that the government would get less money. Former AG Rod Rosenstein instructed that charges be changed from criminal to the less serious civil ones in cases that the banks misled buyers of residential mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis. Mortgage losses for RBS securities of $54 billion destroyed customers’ investments. The $2 billion settlement was far less than staff prosecutors had sought in what they considered strong cases. Dictates from DOJ officials in Washington toward U.S. attorney offices are rare.

The arbitrary removal of two research agencies, the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, may be illegal because DDT lacks congressional approval, according to the Agriculture Department’s inspector general. The department may not have the authority to appropriate funds for the move and have violated the Antideficienty Act prohibiting government employees in contracts of obligation of payments before an appropriation.

DDT is still trying to take over Venezuela; during the past two months, he diverted about $30 billion in Venezuelan assets with about $1 billion moved into the accounts of opposition leaders. The confiscation of money from banks at DDT’s request was coordinated by DDT’s choice for president, Juan Guaidó, if DDT’s coup had been successful. Guaidó was assisted by key aids Leopold Lopez and Roberto Marrero. In his goal to starve Venezuela, DDT put new sanctions on the country this week. He also has more plans to get the nation’s legally elected president, Nicolás Maduro, out of power, including an embargo or even a blockade of Venezuela’s coastline. National security adviser John Bolton has threatened retaliation to any country that does business with Maduro. DDT still favors big business: Chevron has a three-month exemption so that it can keep drilling for oil in Venezuela. Guaidó lacks support to seize power, and Maduro maintains support, using the U.S.’s imperialistic meddling as a frequent talking point. 

North Korea has increased leverage over negotiations with the U.S. because DDT refuses to acknowledge the four missile tests from North Korea in two week. As North Korea fires more test missiles, Japan and South Korea continue to feud despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s jovial attempt to mitigate the problems between Taro Kono, Japan’s foreign minister and Kang Kyung-wha, his South Korean counterpart (left). Conflicts developing from other a century ago about Japan’s colonial occupation of Korea and reparations for forced labor and sexual slavery came to a head with Japan’s threats to slow down vital exports for South Korea industries. U.S. needs both countries as protection against China and North Korea but doesn’t want to mend the rift. If tensions escalate and fire on each other, U.S. ships between the two countries could be in danger. 

DDT wants to find Iranian mines in the Persian Gulf to fuel his propaganda against the country, but sonar on the Navy ships is so inadequate that it identifies dishwashers, crab traps, and cars as potential bombs under the water. Companies making spare parts for the ship’s aging sonar equipment are gone, and the Navy moved its priorities to “cool” new equipment, according to one officer. Sailors are not always trained to use the old equipment.

The G7 summit later this month will be tense after DDT falsely accused French President Emmanuel Macron of inviting Iran’s president to the event. DDT also objects to Macron communicating with Iran.

DDT said he’s not ready to make a deal with China about his trade war, and the stock market went down again. He also announced that he’s cutting ties with telecom giant Huawei, the business he blacklisted in May and then reinstated in July. The Dow is down 250 points for the week.

July was the hottest month ever recorded since the record-keeping began over a century ago:

  • Officials in Switzerland and elsewhere painted stretches of rail tracks white, trying to keep them from buckling in the extreme heat.
  • Wildfires raged across millions of acres in the Arctic.
  • A massive ice melt in Greenland sent 197 billion tons of water pouring into the Atlantic Ocean and raised sea levels.
  • Alaska saw startling amounts of greenhouse gases.
  • Germany lowered autobahn speed limits to avoid high-speed motorways.

Rising temperatures are also killing U.S. soldiers, at least 17 during the last decade. Heat strokes or heat exhaustion among active-duty service members went from 1,766 in 2008 and 2,792 in 2018.

Puerto Rico has a new governor, the third in less than a week. The first one resigned, the second one was declared unconstitutional because he hadn’t been confirmed by the Senate, and the third, unpopular former Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez Garced, may stick. After Ricardo Rosselló was caught in a chat room with offensive messages about his opponents and Hurricane Maria victims , Rosselló  pushed Pedro Pierluisi into the next in line secretary of state as a replacement for Luis Rivera Marín who resigned for the same reasons as ? Only the Puerto Rican House approved Pierluisi before he was sworn in as governor last friend, the day that Rosselló’s resignation took effect. They thought that their action was legal because of a 2005-approved law of succession, but Puerto Ricans and the Senate protested. The Supreme Court sided with the Senate, ruling that the 2005 amendment was unconstitutional. Pierluisi’s law firm represents the financial board, headed by his brother-in-law, that oversees the island’s struggling finances. Now top officials from Vázquez’s party is considering a replacement for her. 

DDT’s promise to lower drug prices was popular with both parties, and he’s in full campaign mode working on success in this area. Now conservatives are accusing DDT of socialism in his support to decrease prices by importing drugs from Canada and ban Medicare from paying more than other countries for prescription drugs with an international pricing policy. DDT’s opposition to “global freeloading” has caused him to aim for capping U.S. payments for expensive drugs. Ads from the conservative Freedom Works complain about “socialist-style price controls” and “socialist European drug prices in America.” As usual, opposition from GOP establishment wants no legislation that Democrats would support.

August 6, 2019

Indicators Show Slowing Economy

Stock markets finished yesterday with the worst drop this year as Asian markets also badly slipped. As investors look for places to hide, gold prices jumped, and Japanese yen and Swiss franc advanced. They retreated to the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond with a 1.725 percent return while the volatility index temporarily leaped to 30 percent. During the last two weeks, the Dow Jones, down for five consecutive points, fell over six percent since its high on July 15. All 30 Dow stocks and all 11 market sectors went down yesterday, and tech-heavy Nasdaq plummeted 3.47 percent for the fifth worst session ever.

“The losers are anybody with big exposure to China,” said Ivan Feinseth, chief investment officer at Tigress Financial Partners. After Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said he would levy more tariffs on almost all Chinese goods, China responded by allowing the yuan to slump below to its lowest exchange rate in 11 years on Monday to level the playfield. Chinese rationale is that a weakened currency will offset DDT’s new ten-percent tariffs on all the other Chinese goods already at 25 percent by making the goods more affordable to the world and U.S. exports more expensive for the Chinese. DDT is blaming China and the Federal Reserve for what he calls “currency manipulation.” Last month, DDT tried to manipulate the currency: he asked his aides to find a way to weaken the U.S. dollar to boost the economy ahead of the 2020 election. He also asked about this issue when interviewing Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller for the Federal Reserve Board in another attempt to control the supposedly independent agency.

DDT blames economic problems on the Feds’ not cutting the interest rate, but the Dow Jones dropped almost 300 points after he announced new tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports—taxing everything that people in the U.S. buy from China. New tariffs bring additional annual purchasing costs for the average U.S. family to about $1,000. His tariff announcement polished off two days of trade talks between the two countries. https://time.com/5642373/china-countermeasures-trump-tariffs/  China promised “countermeasures” because DDT violated the agreement with President Xi Jinping, and the global stock markets turned red. DDT’s trade adviser Peter Navarro, who Jared Kushner found on Amazon.com, said, “We love tariffs. Tariffs are a wonderful thing.”

Farmers, frustrated by their severe losses after DDT’s trade war are turning against him. They’ve already received $16 billion, but DDT is promising them more welfare. His growing unpopularity, however, may come from the fact that over half of DDT’s welfare to farmers after the tariff debacle went to ten percent of recipients: 82 farming operations each received over $500,000 through last April from the $8.5 billion in payments. DeLine Farm Partnership of Charleston (MO) already got $2.8 million. The top one percent of farmers received an average of $188,000 compared to the average of under $5,000 for the bottom 80 percent. Anyone can receive payments if they make “management decisions” even if they don’t live or work on a farm, and thousands of them live in the nation’s biggest cities. A searchable database covered only direct payments to farmers and not other programs, including commodity purchases and export promotion assistance, that was part of the $12 billion payoff after DDT’s tariff program.

DDT had promised farmers that China would buy more U.S. farm products, but he has now admits that agreement never existed. There never was a record of Chinese purchases of U.S. soybeans, meaning far more losses on this year’s crop as well as the ones in reserve that survived last spring’s flood. Farmers face record foreclosures, and former DDT economic adviser said that DDT’s tariffs do more harm to the U.S. than China, who now buys its soybeans from Russia.

Following DDT’s 25 percent tariff on metal imports last year, US Steel idled two furnaces and lost $5.5—70 percent—of its market value. Last March, GM closed its Lordstown (OH) car plant after union workers gave up an annual $118 million to save the plant 18 months earlier. Negative ripples through Ohio’s economy included the closure of Falcon Transport.

Today, the Dow gained back about 20 percent of the 1,500 points it lost since last Tuesday, but it’s still lower than DDT’s initiation of his trade war in early 2018. Economic problems disprove DDT’s arrogant and ignorant claim 17 months ago that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” All DDT’s advisers except China-hating Peter Navarro opposed the tariffs, and China is determined to project strength by not backing down. Late last week, DDT the bully said “it would be fine with me … and save a lot of money” if China doesn’t trade with the U.S., but he’s failing.

DDT’s goal to postpone a possible recession until after the 2020 election may not succeed. As the Treasury notes dropped to 1.7 percent, Bloomberg published its concern under the headline, “Yield Curve Blares Loudest U.S. Recession Warning Since 2007.” The temporary drop of 32 basis points less than three-month bills led to the biggest yield-curve inversion since the introduction to the 2008 crisis. In good times, the bond’s yield of interest after full term is bigger in longer terms. An inversion means that a three-month yield can be higher than a ten-year yield. This situation is not a cause of a recession; it can be a predictor of nervous investors and devastation of the economy.

The Republicans constantly tout current economy as the best it’s ever been, but DDT insists on interest rate cuts, a practice reserved for economic emergencies, and got a .25 percent reduction in the interest rate—the first one in the real 2008 emergency. Near-zero interest rates are an emergency measure, but the Federal Reserve may cut rates because they’re afraid that they’ll be a target during the 2020 campaign if the economy starts to suffer—as many economists predict. Anti-Fed sentiment could then cause its elimination. Cutting rates is a safe position for the Feds. Even so, DDT sulked about how small the cut was last Wednesday, and the Dow Jones market dropped by 333 points on the same day. Fed Chair Jerome Powell did not promise “a long series of rate cuts, and DDT blames him for not stimulating the economy after DDT caused problems with his trade war. DDT wants an artificial boost in the economy for his campaign next year. After that he doesn’t care.

Last week, DDT said he was waiting for a trade deal until after the 2020 election, but a few days later he tweeted he would be tougher with China if they waited and that he might never agree to any deal. Economists agree that DDT’s trade war is dragging down growth; it stops business investing and drives up costs, removing any advantage from tax cuts.

DDT will keep getting his prime interest cuts to benefit his personal loans. Trade wars weaken the economy, the Feds will cut the interest to help the economy, DDT will step up the trade war, and it all goes in a circle. The steep and steady decline in U.S. share of international travel from the trade war is expected to last until at least 2022.

Congress has passed a two-year budget bill that raises the debt ceiling for at least two years, which DDT claims “gets us past the Election. Go for it Republicans, there is always plenty of time to CUT.” That comes from the man who has increased the national debt by $2 trillion—20 percent—in his first two years. During President Obama’s two terms, Republicans constantly complained about expenditures, but they returned to former VP Dick Cheney’s position during GOP control that “deficits don’t matter.” In the Senate vote of 67-28 for the bill, 23 Republicans and five Democrats voted “no.” The House vote for the DDT-supported bill was 284-149 with one independent, 16 Democrats, and 132 Republicans voting against it. Now members of Congress can leave town for several weeks, knowing that they are saddling their children and grandchildren with more debt. In the new law, the gap between revenue and expenditures remains about $1 trillion a year.

People shouldn’t give a sigh of relief that a shutdown isn’t eminent. Because Congress is gone until September, it will have only two weeks to pass 12 government funding bills or a continuing resolution (CR) to extend the time limit. The House has passed 10 of these bills, but GOP senators may oppose them. The first markup is due on September 12 for the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the12 bills may have thousands of pages for argument. And DDT’s wall may come back into play.

The 164,000 extra jobs in July looked good, but revised figures for May and June came out with 41,000 fewer jobs, lowering the total number of the year. Plus industries dropped the workweek from 34.4 to 34.3, back to September 2017 which made the number of new jobs almost zero. GDP also fell to 2.1 percent in the second 2019 quarter from 3.1 percent in the first. The prediction for the third quarter is 1.9 percent annualized rate–far below DDT’s rediction of 3 percent to four percent. 

Far-right Steve Bannon falsely claimed that the large number of people to be killed in the El Paso Walmart proved how great DDT’s economy is. Connecting a mass shooting to the economy is evil, and Bannon is wrong. People were shopping back-to-school items. After this, the threat of mass shootings may move them online for purchases.

 

 

January 30, 2019

The U.S. National Crisis – DDT

The United States has a national emergency—and it’s Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Yesterday, the government released its annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment,” and three intelligence leaders— National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel, and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray—testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. These are some conclusions from the 42-page report and the expert testimony:

The U.S. has no “security crisis” at the U.S.-Mexico border which DDT has described as a national emergency, but the nation has much more to fear.

U.S. trade policies and “unilateralism,” straining alliances, have prompted former foreign partners to find other relationships. The growing cyberthreat from Russia and China, now “more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950s,” threatens U.S. infrastructure with their capability of destroying the U.S. electric grid with malware and cutting off natural gas pipelines. Foreign enemies want to weaken the U.S. to control the country. Russia’s latest “disinformation” campaign to distort information from Robert Mueller’s investigation works to protect DDT who will support Vladimir Putin at all costs. Russia and China’s goal is to gain military and technological superiority over the United States. Russia also intends to interfere with politics (aka elections) with “information warfare” largely on social media.

North Korea is “unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities,” which the country’s leaders consider “critical to the regime’s survival.” Its government “is committed to developing a long-range nuclear-armed missile that would pose a direct threat to the United States.”

ISIS, a still-formidable organization, will continue “to stoke violence” in Syria. With eight branches and over a dozen networks, it has thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria and attracts thousands of supporters from around the world. ISIS is also capable of attacking the United States.

Iran is not trying to build a nuclear weapon and is in compliance with the international agreement that DDT rejected before he reinstated U.S. sanctions on the country.

Climate change remains a national security threat, according to Coats. Two weeks ago, the Defense Department reported that climate change is a global security threat.

The officials punted when asked why staffers such as DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner received security clearances that would block personnel in other administrations from access to classified information. In all other ways, they declared that DDT’s world view is wrong.

DDT spent today ranting against his intelligence leaders. He described them as “extremely passive and naïve” about Iran and exclaimed about the three who testified, “They are wrong!” Although the DDT didn’t watch the testimony, he responded to clips shown on television and delivered opinions based on nothing. “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” he indignantly tweeted.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wrote Coats asking him, Wray, and Haspel to perform an intervention with DDT. Schumer called DDT’s criticism “extraordinarily inappropriate and undermines public confidence in the U.S. government’s efforts to protect our national security and preserve U.S. power and influence abroad” before he said that Coats “cannot allow the President’s ill-advised and unwarranted comments today to stand.” Schumer continued:

“I believe it is incumbent on you, Director Wray and Director Haspel to insist on an immediate meeting with the President to educate him about the facts and raw intelligence underlying the Intelligence Community assessments, and to impress upon him how critically important it is for him to join and the leadership of our Intelligence Community in speaking with a unified and accurate voice about national security threats.”

DDT has joined Russia and China in trying to weaken the United States. The fear of nuclear weapons from a half-century ago has returned as DDT plans a withdrawal from Ronald Reagan’s Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty on February 2 and an irrational man is in charge of pushing the button on nuclear war. DDT gets his information and advice from Vladimir Putin, including a secret meeting in Buenos Aires at the G20 summit where the only other person from the U.S. present was DDT’s wife, Melania. Earlier DDT had said that he wouldn’t meet with Putin because Russia had not returned captured Ukrainian ships and sailors. Two months after Russia’s seizure of three ships and 24 sailors in international waters, DDT has said nothing about Putin’s unwillingness to release them.

If the thought of DDT allowing China and Russia to destroy natural gas and electric sources in the United States, allow ISIS terrorists to overrun the country, and blow up the world with nuclear weapons, consider Venezuela. This week, DDT seized assets from state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA)—a primary source of income and foreign currency for the country—by placing sanctions on them in a de facto embargo with exemptions only for Chevron and two large oil services providers Halliburton and Schlumberger. He gave control of the remaining assets to his appointed Venezuelan president, Juan Guaidó. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin claimed that corruption was the reason for the U.S. action, but he isn’t bothered by Russia’s corruptions and sham elections. The United States will block Venezuela’s access to credit and stop debt restructuring until Guaidó replaces legally elected President Nicolás Madura. National security adviser John Bolton again threatened military action (aka invasion) toward Venezuela.

With the biggest oil reserves in the world, Venezuela has become president of OPEC for the upcoming year with the ability to threaten the U.S. dollar with a push for oil payments in non-dollar currencies or in cryptocurrencies. The country also has the second largest gold reserves alone with diamonds and other minerals such as coltan used for electronic devices. DDT’s doctrine, as expressed about Iraq in 2016:

“To the victor belong the spoils. You have to go in and take the oil.”

DDT started looking into taking over Venezuela the day after his inauguration because of these oil reserves, and an invasion also fits his doctrine. He has told the CIA and the Pentagon that he sees no problem in civilian casualties and celebrated the dropping of “the mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan. With plummeting ratings and problems in the United States, DDT is searching for help politically, not caring that his embargo and invasion would greatly increase the suffering of Venezuelans. To DDT, people are just commodities but of less value than oil.

Reasons against DDT’s Venezuelan coup:

Venezuela has a legitimate voting process, far better than in other countries such as the United States and Russia. International observers concluded that “the elections were very transparent and complied with international parameters and national legislation.”

Outside interference caused the dire economic situation in Venezuela from an economic war by the U.S., declining oil prices, and the government’s economic sabotage. Large inflow from foreign currency for oil raised the value of the country’s currency which made its other products less price competitive and resulting in more imports. U.S. sanctions in the past six months cost Venezuela $6 billion.

Much of the violence in the country has been caused by the opposition to the elected president Maduro from violence, murders, and destruction of public and private buildings and vehicles. The National Assembly, declared in contempt by the country’s Supreme Court in 2017 because of electoral fraud, granted amnesty for the opposition’s crimes since 1999—felonies, terrorism, and undermining the economy—and described the crimes by the opposition.

To compound problems, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and DDT appointed an extremist as a “special envoy” to Venezuela. Pompeo extolled Elliott Abrams’ “passion for the rights and liberties of all peoples,” but Abrams defended Guatemalan dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt in the 1980s as he oversaw a campaign of mass murder and torture of indigenous people in Guatemala. Ríos Montt was later convicted of genocide. Abrams was also convicted for lying about his involvement in the Iran-Contra affair and escaped prison only when George H.W. Bush pardoned him to save his own skin.

DDT’s sidekick in ousting a duly elected president, Brazil’s far-right Jair Bolsonaro, has his own problems. Like the corrupt DDT, Bolsonaro campaigned on eradicating corruption and crime, but his son, recently elected senator Flávio Bolsonaro, reportedly employed both the mother and wife of Adriano Magalhães da Nóbrega, leader of a Rio de Janeiro death squad called the Escritório do Crime (The Crime Bureau). Nóbrega is supposedly on the run, and law enforcement suspect the Crime Bureau of assassinating Rio councilor Marielle Franco. Fabrício Queiroz, a longstanding friend of Brazil’s president pictured socializing with Jair Bolsonaro in a photo where both men appear topless, allegedly recommended the two women to Flávio Bolsonaro, who is also facing other damaging accusations about his financial dealings. Like DDT, the Brazilian president could face blackmail.

Now DDT faces his State of the Union speech this coming Tuesday. Prepare yourself for defensive statements presenting his fictional views of the world—and his fantasy stories about women with duct tape covering their mouths, smugglers with “unbelievable vehicles,” and Muslim prayer rugs in the desert along the southern U.S. border—straight from the fictional movie Sicario: Day of the Soldado.

December 28, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 1, 2018

DDT: Week 97 – Revelations Increase Call for Revenge

Of this week’s bombshells for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), the biggest may be his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s admission that he lied about when DDT stopped trying to make financial deals in Russia. In 2016, while DDT was campaigning and saying he had nothing to do with Russia, he was negotiating a deal for a Trump Tower Moscow, including illegally working with a sanctioned bank because of money laundering and planning to give Vladimir Putin a $50 million penthouse to sweeten the deal. Cohen’s testimony also puts DDT’s family in legal danger because of their discussions about the deal. Last year, Donald Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was only “peripherally aware” of the Moscow deal in 2016 and may have also lied to the House Intelligence Committee about the same issue. Cohen may also corroborate the key parts about DDT’s ties to Russia in the Steele dossier. New Yorker reporter Adam Davidson tweeted that “*any* significant real estate development in Moscow is, almost by definition, part of a money laundering scheme.”

DDT claimed that he could do business while campaigning for president, but he concealed his activities while repeatedly lying about them.  He tried to cover his activities by saying that he never cared about building in Russia, but he’s been working on the project for 30 years. DDT accused Cohen of lying but added “even if he was right.”

Another crisis for DDT was Russia’s firing on three Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait and seizing 24 sailors. Putin blamed Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko of creating the naval “provocation.” In response, Poroshenko, who accused Putin of trying to take the Sea of Azov, has called for martial law across Ukraine’s border regions for a month. Put has already taken Crimea and eastern Ukraine; now Ukraine claims that Russia is sealing off the Sea of Azov by blockading ports Mariupol and Berdyansk and preventing ships from going under the Crimean Bridge through the Kerch Strait. The EU called on Russia to release the ships and crews and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty; Poland wants new sanctions on Russia. Although DDT seemed to blame Ukraine and Russia equally for Russia’s attack, he finally canceled his meeting with Putin at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires (Argentina) this weekend. Both U.S. and world media, included in Russia, blamed the cancellation, on new revelations about DDT’s lying about his business affairs.

Putin, largely a pariah at the summit because of his attack on the Ukrainian ships, didn’t look happy to see DDT at the summit. Yet he greeted Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam (MBS) with a high five and big smiles. Even after intelligence shows that MBS was responsible for torturing and dismembering U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, DDT still denies that MBS had any involvement in the murder at the Saudi embassy in Turkey. DDT’s faithful sidekick John Bolton, national security adviser, refused to listen to the torture and dismemberment tape of Jamal Khashoggi because it wasn’t in English.

The real pariah at the summit, however, was DDT. U.S. former allies avoided him, and DDT was afraid to connect with his authoritarian friends. David Ignatius has provided a detailed background of MBS’ paranoid and violent move toward power that he compares to Saddam Hussein.

When DDT signed his new NAFTA with Mexico and Canada at the G20 summit, he claimed that the slightly revised and renamed trade agreement is monumental, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pointed out that DDT’s tariffs hurt Canada and mentioned the loss of jobs at a Canadian General Motors factory. The agreement must still pass the Congress with a Democratic House and conservatives in both chambers who opposed the anti-discrimination provision against LGBTQ people.

Although DDT was supposed to talk at the summit with Xi Jinping, China’s president, about solving DDT’s trade Chinese trade war, DDT left early after the death of former President George H.W. Bush on Friday, claiming that he and Xi had declared a truce on the tariff problem. The stock market has been going up and down, based on how buyers perceive the tariff situation. China has found ways to avoid the new U.S. tariffs:

  • Avoid 25 percent tariffs on Maine lobster by getting them from Nova Scotia.
  • Buy more oil from Russia and Saudi Arabia.
  • Get soybeans from Brazil and Argentina.
  • Replace U.S.-made high-tech imports with those from Asia.

DDT blamed the struggles of the stock market and the GM layoffs on the Federal Reserve, especially his own appointee Chair Jerome Powell, yet Wednesday’s headlines stated that DDT might be making a deal with China about the tariffs, and the Dow skyrocketed more than 600 points. DDT is still trying to take credit for the stock market, claiming that it is up 13 points more than the 25 percent rise since he was inaugurated. Even so, the rise is less than that during President Obama’s first two years in office—33 percent.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was behind DDT’s selection of Powell, and DDT has another reason to dislike his hand-picked Treasury secretary. If Democrats request DDT’s tax returns, Mnuchin indicated that he will follow the law. Meanwhile DDT listens to Larry Kudlow for economic advice—the man who swore that there would be no recession just three months before Bear Stearns and the dominos began to fall. Faced with the disaster, he said, “Recessions are therapeutic.” The “therapy” of recessions may occur before the end of DDT’s first term.

DDT’s reputation with his base has been damaged by General Motors’ announcement that it is slashing 14,700 jobs—many in Michigan and Ohio—by eliminating 15 percent of its workforce in North America and closing four factories in the U.S. Offering buyouts to 50,000 salaried North American workers, GM stated that DDT’s steel tariffs cost them $1 billion. Traditional passenger cars went from 50 percent of GM U.S. vehicle sales in 2012 to 31 percent this year while SUV and pickup truck sales increased by 31 percent. The company also gained a massive tax break from the GOP cuts and failed to invest in U.S. jobs, choosing instead to build the Blazer in Mexico. DDT took the closures personally and threatened GM, saying that the company “better damn well open a new plant [in Ohio] very quickly.” He continued, “I love Ohio. I told them, ‘you’re playing around with the wrong person.’ ” He lied that he would eliminate tax credits for purchasing GM electric cars—only Congress can do that—and false accused GM of not paying back the bailout money the company received after the Bush recession.

Over a month ago, Ford announced 24,000 layoffs of its 202,000 worldwide workers and stated that DDT’s tariffs had lost the company $1 billion. It was producing 32.8 vehicles per employee compared to GM’s 52.7 vehicles per employee. The company also plans to switch to SUVs, CUVs, and pickups, leaving the only the Mustang in its passenger-car line-up. Even that car may disappear with China’s tariffs on U.S.-made vehicles.

More Russian connections for DDT:

Late night chats between DDT and friend Roger Stone may have covered WikiLeaks’ dropping bombshells from hacks into Clinton’s campaign, but Stone denies it “unless [Robert] Mueller has tape recordings of the phone calls.” Conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi gave WaPo an August 2, 2016 email in which Corsi told Stone that WikiLeaks was planning a major release of “very damaging” material, the day before a private Stone-DDT talk. Mueller may have evidence that Stone told Corsi to get him the WikiLeaks information and then funnel it to DDT’s campaign.

DDT’s chief defense lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has admitted that he received briefings from Paul Manafort’s attorneys while Manafort was supposedly cooperating with Mueller in conversations not covered by attorney-client privilege. A joint defense agreement exists only between people with common legal interests which Manafort lacked when he claimed he was cooperating with Mueller. Now DDT is suggesting that he may pardon Manafort, possibly as a reward for Manafort passing along confidential information. Manafort shouldn’t count on a pardon, however: he has already pled guilty to state crimes in California, New Jersey, and Virginia. DDT can pardon only federal crimes.

Despite at least 15 blanket denials from those involved, DDT’s campaign team had at least 92 contacts with Russia-linked operatives, and at least 26 high-level campaign officials and DDT advisors knew about these contacts, including three successive people who ran Trump’s campaign.

As more information is released about the Russian scandal, DDT’s tweets become more manic. Last Wednesday, he retweeted images of special counsel Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, President Obama, former AG Eric Holder, and former President Bill Clinton—all behind bars—and calling for the Democrats and law enforcement and intelligence officials to be imprisoned and claiming that they should have trials for treason. DDT fan Cesar Sayoc targeted many of these people with pipe bombs. He also falsely accused Mueller of “viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts” in exchange for “relief.” The desperate DDT is calling for more violence.

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