Nel's New Day

October 24, 2020

DDT: Week 196 – His World Falling Apart

Most of last week’s news concentrated on the presidential debate and the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court justice. But—unfortunately for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT)—there was much more.

Approximately 50 percent of DDT-supporters also follow QAnon as shown by their “yes” answer to whether “top Democrats are involved in elite child sex trafficking rings.” Only 16 percent of DDT-supporters familiar with would agree that the conspiracy theories have no basis in fact. QAnon’s fake “save the children” message has become so lethal that legitimate groups working to stop human trafficking can no longer use the term. Donors to Marjorie Taylor Greene, disbeliever of a plane hitting the Pentagon on 9/11 and a House GOP candidate from Georgia, include Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who refused to report sexual assault of athletes when he was assistant wrestling coach, and DDT’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, who has consistently blocked the COVID-19 relief funds.

In 2016, Newsweek reported how one of DDT’s companies violated strict U.S. trade bans with Communist Cuba by secretly conducting business in the country. His illegal $68,000+ expenditure in 1998 was funneled through a U.S. consulting firm that told DDT to make it appear as if it were a charitable effort. Seven months after Trump Hotels made the payment, DDT sought the nomination of the Reform Party and traveled to Miami where he promised a group of Cuban-Americans he would maintain the embargo and never spend money, either from himself or his business, in Cuba until Fidel Castro was removed from power. Castro served until 2008. DDT is still wooing Florida’s Cuban-American votes. [visual trump castro]

New York City, Seattle, and Portland (OR) have filed a complaint against DDT’s illegal removal of grants based on his designation of those cities as “anarchist jurisdictions.” The Federal Transit Administration is using the designation to deny these cities COVID-19 public transportation research grants. For months, DDT has threatened to remove federal funding from cities with ongoing protests. DDT has long threatened this punishment but skips over places in Minnesota and Wisconsin, swing states in the election. He may also remove funding for housing, health, and emergency relief.

With like-minded governments (aka authoritarian), the U.S. signed a declaration to ban abortion in “women’s rights” and health. The “Geneva Consensus Declaration,” led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has 32 other “core supporters” such as Brazil, Egypt, Hungry, Saudi Arabia, and Uganda. The signatories include the 20 worst countries to be a woman according to Georgetown University’s Women, Peace and Security Index. None of the top countries on the index, except for 19th ranking U.S., signed the declaration.

DDT signed an executive order for a separate category of public employees not covered by civil service protections to keep only those he considers “loyal.” Agency heads can hire these people without using the merit-based system created in 1883 and fire them at will. The order, similar to the one created two years ago for administrative law judges, changes hiring qualifications from ability to political party. Hundreds of thousands in the federal workforce may become purely political appointees instead of the current 4,000 who can be changed with each administration.

DOJ AG Bill Barr is using taxpayer money to fight DDT’s lawsuits, beginning with E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit, because DDT’s broke campaign can’t afford to pay for the legal actions. Lawyers know DDT will stiff them for payments if he isn’t reelected so they’re working on cheap settlements. For example, they’re asking $52,000 from Omarosa Manigault Newman for writing an unauthorized book about the White House, down from $1 million. According to a Washington attorney, DDT faces massive legal bills, starting with workers he wouldn’t pay before he was elected. More details here. 

As Joe Biden mentioned in this week’s debate, DDT operated an office in China during his first presidential campaign, partnered with a major Chinese government-controlled company, and maintains a bank account not on DDT’s mandated public financial disclosures. From 2013 to 2015, DDT paid China $188,561 in taxes while he paid nothing to the U.S. DDT also made money from the Chinese through property leases and sales, and his income in 2017 spiked with an increase of $17.5 million, more than the combined funds for the previous five years. He withdrew $15.1 million from the account. DDT made millions of dollars in capital gains from sales of real estate to foreign entities since he started his campaign in 2016. Ivanka Trump received multiple patents after DDT’s election and her appointment to a White House position. Biden’s taxes, released to the public, show neither income nor business dealings in China.

DDT bragged about committing felony bribery in his Arizona campaign rally:

“I call the head of Exxon. I don’t know. I’ll use a company. Hi, how, how are you doing, how’s energy coming? When are doing the exploration? Oh, you need a couple of permits, huh? Ok, But I call the head of Exxon, I say, ‘you know, I’d love you to send me $25m for the campaign’” Absolutely, sir, why didn’t you ask? Would you like some more?”

In the same speech, DDT accused Biden of being a criminal and accused reporters of crimes for not spreading DDT’s lies about Russia. DDT and his family are under criminal investigation in New York City for alleged loan and bank fraud.

DDT called Dr. Anthony Fauci a “disaster” and said people are tired of him and “all these idiots.” Fauci’s polling is higher than those for DDT: in a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute regarding U.S. trust in COVID-19 sources of information, Fauci came in second at 49 percent with DDT last at 14 percent. DDT says he’s tired of the virus, but his failure to handle it has not only sickened and killed millions of people but also driven an additional eight million people into poverty, totaling 55 million.   

Fauci confirmed on 60 Minutes that the White House frequently blocked him from interviews with the media. White House communications director Alyssa Farah lied about Fauci’s restrictions and the refusal to allow other coronavirus task force members in Fauci’s place. Earlier, Fauci demanded the removal of DDT’s advertising which took Fauci’s words out of context by making it appear Fauci praised DDT’s response to the pandemic. The mild-mannered Fauci said, “I got really ticked off.” Fauci also said DDT hasn’t attended the task force meetings for “several months.”

DDT now supports the concept of “herd immunity,” people intentionally contracting the deadly COVID-19, and he made Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist, his new “expert.” From this came the Great Barrington Declaration, promoting the sickening and dying of people from COVID-19 until the virus disappeared. Experts estimate over one-half million people would die with this approach. DDT wants to open up businesses and schools, but Fauci calls the theory “utter nonsense.” Others call it unethical. The declaration from the American Institute for Economic Research has supposedly been signed by thousands of doctors, but the names on the petition bring its validity into question; i.e, Dr. I.P. Freely, Dr. Person Fakename, and Dr. Johnny Bananas. Another supposed signatory, Harold Shipman, a doctor arrested over two decades ago for killing 250 of his patients, died in 2004. No credentials were necessary for signing.

According to interviews with 41 people with inside information, Atlas opposes testing and openly fights with other doctors on the coronavirus task force. Colleagues find him manipulative, uninformed, and dishonest, and he challenges Dr. Deborah Birx’s analysis. Marc Lipsitch, director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said:

“It seems to me this is policy-based evidence-making rather than evidence-based policymaking. In other words, if your goal is to do nothing, then you create a situation in which it looks okay to do nothing [and] you find some experts to make it complicated.”

DDT is using taxpayer money to campaign throughout the country because he and the RNC have only $251.4 million remaining, DDT’s share being $63 million. Joe Biden has $177 million, and the DNC has another $260 million. 

Parents for half the 1,000+ children separated (kidnapped) at the border two years ago are still missing. The program deported about two-thirds of those parents while keeping the children. DDT tried to cover up what he did by saying that parents bringing their children for asylum to the U.S. were human traffickers.

With “encouragement” from Karl Rove, DDT is pushing agencies to grant a no-bid contract to lease the Department of Defense’s mid-band spectrum, the 5G market, to Rivada Networks. DDT, Rove, and other prominent Republicans invested in the company which could receive up to $25 billion.

DDT made a treaty with Taliban in Afghanistan and promised to pull out all U.S. troops; now the Taliban violence is skyrocketing. The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan may become a genocidal global war. Turkey, DDT’s friend, is funneling Islamist mercenaries from Syria to fight for Azerbaijan in a sectarian, jihadist fight opposed by Russia and Iran. Failing to act diplomatically, DDT permits the conflict to escalate.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may think DDT’s leaving the White House next year. In response to DDT’s begging Netanyahu to criticize Biden, the PM answered, “Mr. President, one thing I can tell you is we appreciate the help for peace from anyone in America.” This video shows DDT’s face falling.

Despite the DDT-supporter wishes about his accomplishments, a 13-part set of editorials from the New York Times paints the accurate picture.

As of Aug. 27, 2020, the anniversary of his accepting the nomination for presidential candidate, DDT made 22,247 false claims in 1,316 days. By now, the total is likely 25,000, with a possible 30,000 by the election. DDT’s most repeated claims at 407 times that the U.S. economy today is the best in history. Even before COVID-19, the economy—better under Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Bill Clinton—was beginning to fail with a manufacturing recession and the trade war disaster. DDT’s stock market is sixth in increased percentage during the past century among the 14 presidents lasting at least 45 months. Information available in this database and the book, Donald Trump and His Assault on Truth: The President’s Falsehoods, Misleading Claims and Flat-Out Lies.

In the last day, almost 80,000 cases of COVID-19 edges the U.S. total to almost 9 million, and deaths are over 230,000. 

June 20, 2020

DDT: Week 178 – Tulsa Rally, Other Controversies

Despite major events of the past week—protests, police brutality, another executive order, two big Supreme Court rulings, COVID-19 killing thousands of people while Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) ignores the virus, and DDT’s determination to infect thousands more at his Tulsa rally—the U.S. government is hiding more corruption.

 The biggest controversy—other than DDT’s Tulsa rally today—came from AG Bill Barr’s late Friday night firing Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and DDT’s replacement appointment of Jay Clayton, SEC chair, who has no prosecutorial experience but was a lawyer for Deutsche Bank. Since DDT’s interim appointment of Berman, he investigated DDT’s hush money payments for two women after affairs with them, leading to a guilty plea from DDT’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and into DDT’s finances. Berman also had cases against DDT lawyer Rudy Giuliani as well as against Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, indicted for funneling Russian money to GOP candidates. A replacement for Berman is unlikely if the GOP refuses to tackle a contentious process in an election year. An excellent insight into DDT’s maneuvers. 

Berman said he wasn’t quitting, Barr said DDT had fired Berman, and DDT told reporters that the ouster was “all up to the attorney general” and he hadn’t become involved in the matter. After Barr appointed Berman’s deputy AG as replacement, Berman quit. The House Judiciary Committee begins an investigation into Berman’s firing this coming week with two DOJ whistleblowers testifying about Barr’s politicizing the DOJ.

DDT’s loans for almost $500 million—or more—come due within four years. He’s also losing enough revenue from the pandemic he can’t even pay rent on his Florida golf course.

  • Deutsche bank, 2012: $125 million for the Doral golf resort, due in 2023.
  • Deutsche bank, 2014: $170 million for Trump Tower, due in 2024.
  • Deutsche bank, 2014: $25 to $50 million for Chicago hotel/complex, due in 2024.
  • Ladder Capital (lender of last resort): $100 million for Trump Tower, due in 2022.
  • Ladder Capital: $13 million for Trump Plaza.

Whistleblowers at the House hearing, Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, a DOJ prosecutor quitting the Roger Stone case after Barr’s political appointees requested a lenient sentence for him, and John W. Elias, an antitrust official, are using a federal law prohibiting reprisals against civil servants giving information to Congress. Barr has refused to testify. A third scheduled witness, Donald Ayer, served as deputy AG when Barr led the department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 1989 and 1990.

According to newly unredacted parts of the Mueller report, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and Michael Cohen told investigators Roger Stone promised the campaign damaging revelations by WikiLeaks. DDT knew in advance WikiLeaks would be releasing these embarrassing documents for Hillary Clinton but denied his knowledge in written testimony for Mueller’s team. Barr misrepresented this information and hid it until a court order forced him to remove the redactation.

The audience for DDT’s big rally comeback in Tulsa filled under two-thirds of the venue holding 19,000. He blamed the shortage of people on peaceful protesters outside. DDT again appealed to his white supremacist base by extolling the virtues of the Confederate heritage, a treasonous act that almost split the United States. DDT canceled a speech for an overflow crowd because almost no one came. Six campaign staffers for the rally tested positive for COVID-19 which is rapidly spiking in the state, especially Tulsa.

DDT gave one of the biggest pandemic-related contracts, $618 million, to an almost unknown biodefense company, Emergent BioSolutions, for a yet undeveloped vaccine. With the consolidation of contracts for the company comes “vulnerabilities in the supply chair,” according to WaPo, and inflated costs after DDT’s focus on biodefense instead of pandemics. Before becoming DDT’s assistant HHS secretary for preparedness and response, retired Air Force colonel Robert Kadlec advised Emergent and then started a biodefense consulting company with Emergent’s founder. As aide to Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Kadlec helped draft legislation that created his current position. Over 20 years ago, Emergent, then called BioPort, received a contract for an anthrax vaccine and inflated the price before members of the military receiving the vaccine reported bad reaction. Another company received the contract for a vaccine until Emergent bought the rights to the different vaccine and kept increasing the prices over the cost of its production.

Since COVID-19 hit the U.S., healthcare industry CEOs paid themselves $2.4 billion, 27 million people lost their healthcare coverage, and people have been charged from $400,000 to $1.1 million for treatment as well as $2,000 for testing. The nation is headed into a new recession. During the last one, the Federal Reserve committed $16 trillion to $29 trillion to large financial institutions, passed a bailout of $4 trillion to large corporations, and spent $10 trillion of the Iraq War, military budget, and Bush/DDT tax cuts. Remember these numbers when Republicans try to eliminate healthcare and Social Security.

DDT ordered meat plants to stay open, threatening a catastrophic domestic food shortage if infected workers didn’t stand close throughout the day. In April, the industry sold 129,000 tons of domestic pork to China, a record amount.

The EPA ignored a court order to permit perchlorate, used in fertilizers and explosives like solid rocket propellants, munitions, fireworks, matches, and airbag initiators, in clear water. The poisonous chemical severely reduces IQs in infants and causes disorders such as hypothyroidism.

With no announcement, DDT gave permission for sponsors of retirement plans such as 401(k)s to invest the money into funds managed by predatory private equity firms. The high-risk result can mean huge returns—and huge losses—while firms skim fees off the funds. Private equity millionaires and billionaires are the winners, up to $425 billion from just five percent of these funds available to private equity.

Litigious-happy DDT threatened his niece with a lawsuit if she publishes her “harrowing and salacious” book about him, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, on July 28. He claims that Mary Trump has an NDA that prevented her from repeating anything she knows about him after a 2001 settlement for the estate of her father, Fred Trump.

CIA displayed “woefully lax” security and the worst data loss in its history after one of its officers stole CIA hacking tools. The October 2017 report about publication of these hacking tools by WikiLeaks, submitted as evidence in the trial of Joshua Schulte, was unnoticed until Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) got the public version from DOJ and gave it to the WaPo. According to the report, there was no secrecy among users for sensitive information such as passwords, thumb drives and other removable media, and historical data. Without auditing, the theft wasn’t discovered for a year when WikiLeaks announced it in March 2017. The loss would never have been noticed without a publication. Wyden wants Congress to review the law exempting intelligence agencies from federal cybersecurity requirements.

Iowa Republicans will keep voters from getting absentee ballots by requiring the voter ID pin number on requests, something few voters know. The same bill includes a voter ID requirement for people casting their ballots at county government offices in early voting. Republicans slipped the mandates into a budget bill just before legislature’s adjournment after GOP members promised to remove restrictions from the bill.

Amidst the domestic trauma and the spiking of COVID-19 in the U.S., fights are breaking out throughout the world. A clash on the China-India border high in the Himalayas led to three dead Indian soldiers, the first such killings since 1975. DDT’s BFF Kim Jong-Un blew up the liaison office it opened with South Korea in 2018, functioning like an embassy, and threatened to send troops into the demilitarized zone. The explosion occurred just a few days after the two-year anniversary of his meeting with DDT in Singapore when DDT promised that Kim is “de-nuking the whole place.” Kim has now announced his bolstering the military to counter the U.S.

Make America Great Again Polls:

Rasmussen, DDT’s friendliest and most conservative polling: Joe Biden – 48 percent; DDT – 36 percent

NORC (University of Chicago): 14 percent of very happy people, down from 31 percent with people the unhappiest they have been in 50 years—before the death of George Floyd and the protests. Only 42 percent of people think their children will have a better standard of living, down from 57 percent in 2018 and the lowest ever.

Axios-Ipsos: 81 percent of people worry about a second wave of COVID-19; 64 percent think a return to pre-coronavirus life presents a risk, up from 57 percent a week ago; 40 percent worry about getting sick, up from 32 percent last week; 54 percent fear economic collapse, up from 48 percent last week.

AP-NORC: 63 percent believe the U.S. is heading in the wrong direction; DDT’s approval rating is at 39 percent.

While DDT ignores COVID-19, the number of infections is skyrocketing—33,388 today, June 20, raising the total to 2,330,578; at least 121,980 have died of the virus. At this rate, over 1 percent of the U.S. population will have the virus within three weeks.

May 31, 2020

DDT: Week 175 – How Much Worse Can the News Be?

During a week marked by a pandemic, unemployment, and riots throughout the United States—all issues that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) seems totally unable to handle, the other news keeps rolling.  

The riots roll across the U.S. as DDT and AG Bill Barr blame far-left groups of protesting and looting without any evidence. Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said that white supremacist organizations may be looting and destroying local businesses. He said that protesters are being traced, and the Minnesota governor said that 80 percent of arrested people are from out of state. DDT is worsening the violence by threatening anyone coming “close to breaching the [White House] fence” with “the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.” Geraldo Rivera, once a DDT supporter, said to Fox about DDT threats against protesters in Minneapolis, “All he does is diminish himself.”

DDT postponed his dream G-7 summit until September after Angela Merkel said she wouldn’t come to the White House for the meeting in June because of the pandemic. He was able to get only two confirmations for the meeting of world leaders—Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The other three from Canada, France, and Italy either declined or were doubtful. Perhaps looking for friendly faces, DDT said he was also going to invite Russia, South Korea, Australia, and India. Russia has been disinvited from the smaller group, then G-8, after Russians invaded Crimea. DDT insists on re-inviting him whereas the other members oppose the idea. The other six of G-7 may not even attend the summit if DDT makes the decision without them. DDT has already invited the additional four countries and wants the meeting before the election. The G-20 is already scheduled for November 21-22 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia—after the election. 

With the Senate on vacation and the GOP leaders trying to persuade older judges to retire to be replaced by younger, more conservative ones, nothing about a fifth coronavirus bill has happened for almost a week. After Republicans gave trillions to their friends in big business, they are dragging their heels about giving individuals, true small businesses, and state/local governments any part of the pie. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wants to wait for a while before taking any action, but senators up for re-election such as Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Susan Collins (R-ME) worry about their states’ response. A major GOP argument is that states don’t deserve any money. Three different times, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) has blocked a bill giving states more flexibility. McConnell also refuses any infrastructure funding, something that Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) want. The red line for McConnell is keeping employees from any liability for mismanaging safety from COVID-19.

While almost one-third of workers in the U.S. lost their jobs and 20 percent of families don’t have enough food to feed their children in April, corporations put away $1 trillion in institutional money market funds, parking money they don’t immediately need. Commercial bank deposits grew from 4.6 percent to 15.8 percent since mid-March. Billionaires personally gained over $500 billion. The amount of cash in the U.S. grew at an annual 42 percent between February 3 to May 4, almost twice the highest rate ever—22.5 percent in 2011—and almost seven percent the average 6.3 percent annual growth in basic money supply since 1976. More cash would have “trickled” to the top without rejection from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Democrats. Companies used their massive tax cuts to buy back stock, and DDT wants to further cut their taxes. In the most recent coronavirus act, people with annual incomes of more than $1 million got 80 percent of the tax saving.

DDT is in trouble with foreign countries. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned the U.S. to stay out of his shipment of oil headed for Venezuela that he’s trading for gold. Rouhani posted a statement on his website the U.S. had created “unacceptable conditions” in different parts of the world, but that Iran would “by no means” be the one to initiate conflict. He added, “We hope the Americans will not make a mistake.” A fourth tanker has reached Venezuela, and a fifth one is on its way. Yet a desperate DDT is threatening anyone—foreign governments, seaports, shipping companies, and insurers—with stiff sanctions if they help the flotilla.   

Earlier this month, DDT vetoed a bill requiring him to get authorization before using military force against Iran, and he’s shown no letup in sanctions killing Iranians. Yet the country is no more repressive than Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle East countries, and keeping an antinuclear treaty with frequent inspections would be safer than turning the country loose. Wealthy U.S. conservatives, however, fund United against a Nuclear Iran (UANI) to help Israel, Saudi Arabia, and UAE spread violence, chaos, and extremism in the Middle East. Despite its supposed goal of searching for extremism and terrorism, UANI chose not to report on the Saudis and UAE. A Saudi Embassy official had provided invaluable assistance to two 9/11 hijackers. Saudi Arabia gave shelter to the Wahhabi Muslims behind Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Muslim terrorists and funded Al-Qaeda forces destroying Syria since 2011. The UAE supplied massive amounts of weapons to Libyan rebels.

DDT told Congress he plans to sell another $478 million of precision-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia, even if lawmakers don’t approve. He will also approve licenses for Raytheon to manufacture more high-tech bomb parts inside the kingdom. DDT had defended the weapons sales as vital for U.S. jobs. Members of both political parties were also furious when DDT bypassed Congress for an $8 billion arm sales to the Saudis and other Middle East countries.

As part of his campaign strategy, DDT wants to take all U.S. soldiers out of Afghanistan before November. Unfortunately for him, the Taliban agreement from last February set a timetable of more than one year for U.S. troop withdrawal. If U.S. military leave before then, the Taliban can see the action as disregarding the agreement. The Taliban will take over Afghanistan again, and the U.S. will get the blame.

Yesterday, DDT arrived 45 minutes late for an announced press conference, spoke for nine minutes attacking China, and refused to answer questions about the man killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. About China, he complained about their actions in Hong Kong, said he would revoke Hong Kong’s special trade status to punish China, and promised to immediately end the U.S. relationship with the World Health Organization. He blamed WHO and President Obama for China’s actions.

China has good reason to ridicule DDT, with large cities on fire every night and his giving authoritarian orders to private businesses such as Twitter. Using executive orders to control private businesses such as social media is practicing socialism.  

DDT had another imaginary conversation, this time with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who supposedly said that he’s not happy with India’s conflict with China. Modi has not talked to DDT since April 4, and Indian officials were “taken by surprise” by DDT’s comment about Modi being not “in a good mood.” Last summer, DDT lied about Modi wanting him to help solve the conflict in Kashmir.

North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is being supported in a multibillion-dollar money laundering scheme by 28 North Korean and five Chinese citizens with 250 shell companies, more proof that DDT can’t stop Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear weapons program with his faulty diplomacy. Kim has said since last year that it would continue testing this year, and DDT said that he didn’t want to meet with Kim until after the November election.

In any other time, DDT’s veto of a bipartisan resolution days after Memorial Day would be considered a conflict of interest; after almost four years since he was inaugurated, it’s just “normal.” Congress recommended overturning a policy creating more problems for students defrauded by colleges to have their education loans canceled. Veterans are one group preyed upon by corrupt schools to take their GI Bill education benefits, thanks to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ regulatory action. The Education Department has received over 300,000 claims for debt relief and for-profits chain college such as Corinthian, ITT Technical Institute, Argosy University, and the Art Institutes closed. Part of DDT’s business has been the now-defunct Trump University, described in the conservative National Review as a “massive scam.” DDT paid $25 million to settle three lawsuits for fraud.

In a cowardly action, DDT is breaking with decades of precedent by not publishing a mid-year economic forecast. The projections come from the director of OMB, chair of DDT’s economic advisers, and the treasury secretary. As comic writer Gerry Conway tweeted:

“Trump figures if he doesn’t tell people they’re out of work, they won’t know they’re out of work.”

Alabama Media Group columnist Kyle Whitmire said:

“It’s like refusing to release a weather forecast that says a hurricane will make landfall tomorrow. Eventually, the truth will tell itself.”

With DDT in the Oval Office, the United States—and the world—are in a mess because officials are afraid of telling him bad news. No one can effectively plan for disasters without getting fired.

April 26, 2020

‘You Couldn’t Make This Up’ Snippets

While the media attempts to caution the world that a deadly idea from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to drink bleach as a cure for COVID-19—and Dr. Deborah Birx puts her spin to protect DDT—other stupidities come out of the federal government and the nation that DDT has created.

DDT doesn’t have enough money for pandemic needs, even testing, but he can provide exorbitant amounts for his wall with no bids. On April 25, Fisher, DDT’s beloved company under investigation by the Defense Department inspector general, got a contract for $7.63 million for 800 linear feet of the slatted design of DDT’s choice—about $73,301 per foot. bid. Earlier this month, the Army gave a big GOP donor $569 million to build 17 miles of his wall–$33 million per mile and far above the $20 billion per mile average thus far. The original contract was only 25 percent of that amount, $141.8 million. The company already got over $1 billion is less than a year for 37 miles–$27 million per mile.  

Last year, DDT wanted to buy Greenland; now he’s opening a consulate there, supposedly to block growing Russian and Chinese interests in the Arctic. Maybe an end-run to still purchase the Danish territory?

DDT plans to keep people from getting disaster money.  Last Monday, the IRS gave recipients of Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits not filing a 2018 or 2019 tax return 48 hours to file for $500 COVID-19 “stimulus” payments for dependent children. Anyone who doesn’t meet that deadline has to wait until next year for payment.

About half the tweets about the virus are from bots feeding gullible people over 100 fake conspiracies like 5G towers cause COVID-19, the U.S. developed the virus as a bioweapon, and U.S. politicians issued “mandatory” lockdowns. Three-fourths of them concern false and often deadly cures such as drinking Corona beer and bleach. DDT re-tweeted a video from his golfing buddy John Daly that alcohol cures COVID-19.

Ignoring the danger of illness or death for his audience, a Louisiana pastor bused in people for Sunday services because they were too poor to have online services to watch his ministrations. Now he wants their $1,200 disaster relief checks, supposedly for non-profit and faith-based ministries so that they don’t have to apply for the paycheck protection program.

A week ago when networks showed a two-hour fundraiser for the World Health Organization, Ivanka Trump tweeted a suggestion for what to do instead of watching the variety show:

“Looking for a Saturday night activity? Try making shadow puppets from Henry Bursill’s recently unearthed 1860’s book of engraving…”

Ivanka received a variety of “interesting” responses, needless to say some of them rather graphic. In one of the more printable responses, Jodie Moss picked up on the “puppet” theme. 

NCAA whined about the vast sums that it lost from the cancelation of March Madness and paid out only $225 million to conferences and schools this year instead of the usual $600 million after insurance paid NCAA only $270 million. Its “financial problems” came in 2015 from university presidents on the board of governors who spent over 80 percent of its $500 million that had been set aside for a contingency such as the pandemic.

The Dow Jones went down less than 500 points last week, but crude oil hit a negative zone for the first time in history. After a new low, the futures trading price went to a minus $37.63

DDT and other conservatives hate the UN, which includes the World Health Organization, but Secretary of State is begging the UN to renew the international arms embargo expiring on October 18, 2020. Without a renewal, supply, sale, and transfer of military weapons, vehicles, and aircraft will no longer require UN approval, leaving countries such as Russia and China free to sell these items to anyone. But according to DDT, the U.S. doesn’t need the UN.

The object of DDT’s war as a “wartime president” is the First Amendment. DDT, who has released thousands of lying ads, is suing small media outlets across the United States because of a composite ad of his statements. The goal is to bankrupt them although the media are precluded by the Supreme Court interpretation of the First Amendment. Like other public officials, he cannot recover damages unless he proves the statements are made with “actual malice”—that they are made with the knowledge that they are false or with “reckless disregard” of whether they are true or false. Like DDT’s ads are.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper, responsible for the safety of over 2 million people in the military, learned something about COVID-19 a week ago: normal, healthy appearing people who show no symptoms of the disease can still infect others. That information was made public in the U.S. at least three months ago.

One of DDT’s arguments against Joe Biden is that electing him president means that “China will own the United States.” China already owns part of DDT himself. A refinanced loan in 2012 for DDT’s 43-story Manhattan skyscraper, the Avenue of the Americas near Trump Tower, put DDT in hock to the state-owned Bank of China for $211 million. The loan is due in 2022.  

DDT is back to buddying up with Vladimir Putin as the two of them block a UN global ceasefire to help the pandemic. DDT wants to keep the right to attack other countries, including Iran. More than 50 governments back the UN initiative. DDT has finally dropped his demand that the resolution call COVID-19 the “Wuhan Virus” after telephone calls with China’s president Xi Jinping.

College students who haven’t graduated have an excellent possibility of filling DDT’s influential positions. Recent hires still working on their degrees will do outreach and build relationships with agencies and outside organizations, director of operations for the personnel office, White House liaison with the Department of Commerce, and assistant to the deputy director of the personnel office. The 29-year-old personnel picker must like people who are younger than he is.

Michael Caputo, new HHS spokesman and associate of Roger Stone, is no spring chicken, but he couldn’t hide his ignorant, bigoted tweets with racist and derogatory comments about Chinese people, claims that Democrats wanted COVID-19 to kill millions of people, and accusations that the media intentionally created panic to hurt DDT. Appointed this month, he erased over 1,300 tweeted insults, profanity, and conspiracy theories, but they are still available at Internet Archive’s “The Wayback Machine.” A few of them are here.

Bad enough that evangelicals have James Bakker selling fake treatments for COVID-19 and DDT touts a drug that can kill people. Now Rep. Louie Gohmert, elected by Texas Republicans, promotes a nonexistent “mist” that kills the virus. He said:

“It is being used in Germany as a mist. Health care workers go through a misting tent going into the hospital and it kills the coronavirus completely dead not only right then, but any time in the next 14 days that the virus touches anything that’s been sprayed it is killed.”

Dr. Jörn Wegner, the head of the German Hospital Association, said nothing about Gohmert’s claim is true. Thomas Ruttkowski, the spokesman for the German Society of Hospital Hygiene, laughed at Gohmert, who claimed that an Arizona plant is manufacturing the powder that should be mixed with water to make the mist. Gohmert also likes DDT’s lethal magical drug for a cure. The U.S. representative is known for wacko claims such as the caribou enjoying the warmth of the Alaska oil pipeline for their “dates.” Even Alaska’s conservative Rep. Don Young chortled when he heard Gohmert’s defense of the pipeline.

Mark Meadows, now DDT’s chief of staff and the fourth in less than one presidential term, may have bitten off more than he can chew, with his job to cater to DDT’s moods. Known for being emotional, he has cried in two different meetings with White House staff, and he is trying to reorganize the staff. Meadows angered Stephanie Grisham’s supporters when he replaced her and may cause more problems if he carries through with plans to put speech-writing, composed of only bigoted Stephan Miller, under the communications department. Jared Kushner upset Meadows by providing names of corporate executives as advisers of re-opening the country who hadn’t been asked and some who didn’t agree to be part of the project. People may be making bets on how long Meadows stays. In the meantime, his departure from the House for his new job leaves his North Carolina district without anyone to vote for the people’s interests until the general election.

Today is the second day in a row that DDT had no press briefing (aka campaign rally), and the United States had over 27,000 more confirmed cases, even without much testing, and another 1,250 deaths. Totals are 987,322 cases and 55,415 deaths. Total number of tests in the U.S. is 5,470,555—16.5 tests per 1,000 people.

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.

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