Nel's New Day

December 2, 2017

DDT: Week Forty-five – Closer to Collusion

The man who led the cry against Hillary Clinton to “lock her up” at the GOP convention is now a convicted felon, and his statement “if I had done one-tenth of what she did” falls flat. The admission of former national security adviser Michael Flynn may have been the biggest bombshell to hit Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) this week when Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI on January 24, 2017, two days after he was sworn in, about his communications with Russia. He may testify that DDT “directed him to make contact with the Russians.” Two top transition officials, one of them DDT’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, told Flynn to contact Russia to influence the vote. Flynn’s lies include his claim that he didn’t ask Russia on December 22, 2016 to “delay a vote on or defeat” a U.N. Security Council resolution. A week later and the day after President Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S., Flynn promised Russian officials that DDT would reverse the Obama sanctions against Russia for its election meddling. The next day, DDT tweeted, “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!” Flynn also forwarded a client’s memo to his National Security Council staff and told them to “fashion it into a policy for President Trump’s approval” to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East.

Flynn’s flip caused chaos for the White House as Mueller digs deeper into DDT’s inner circle. DDT canceled a scheduled press event and said that Flynn had previously worked for President Obama, that Flynn was DDT’s advisor for only a month. In fact, President Obama had fired Flynn and warned DDT against hiring him, the only advice about a  person that he gave DDT. Flynn was closely involved with DDT before the national RNC, and DDT seriously considered him for the vice president slot.

DDT’s tweet that Flynn had lied to the FBI may also mean that DDT knew about the collusion. If so, his request to former FBI director James Comey to “let this go” also is evidence of an obstruction of the investigation—and justice. Revealing emails from K.T. McFarland, a transition advisor to DDT, may cause him more problems.

DDT knew last summer he was in trouble with his possible collusion with Russia when he asked GOP senators to either end or convince their colleagues to end the investigation. Joyce Vance, a former U.S. Attorney, said this pressuring was “potentially obstruction of justice.” The White House admitted the influence but claimed it was not “undue.”

Conservative Christians may be in the middle of Russian collusion: that Rick Clay, fundamentalist activist from West Virginia, was a go-between a “backdoor overture and dinner invite” to DDT from the Russians. Jared Kushner turned it down, but Clay still made the attempt. The offer was shortly before Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin who might provide damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

During testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, AG Jeff Sessions refused to answer the question about whether DDT had told him to block the Russian investigation although he didn’t invoke executive privilege—which he can’t do because only the president can do this. Sessions typically doesn’t admit wrongdoing until it has been made public.

Donald Trump Jr. will meet with the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on December 6. The question now is when VP Mike Pence is asked to submit documents and testimony about his knowledge of the Russian collusion.

Earlier this week, DDT failed to even honor the Navajo code talkers whose work saved the United States from Germany during World War II. Instead DDT delivered a partisan slur against Native Americans and Elizabeth Warren, “We have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”  Navajos protected the U.S. despite being prevented from voting until 1965 after they were killed, denigrated, and pushed onto reservations for over centuries. DDT’s photo-op was in front of the portrait of Andrew Jackson, who removed Native Americans from their lands.

DDT’s lap dog Mike Pompeo, CIA Director, may replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Chief-of-staff John Kelly has been orchestrating this as well as replacing Pompeo with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) who wants extensive surveillance and waterboarding. Cotton orchestrated a letter signed by most GOP senators and sent to Iranian leaders, warning them against the nuclear agreement with President Obama. Retired Major Gen. Paul D. Eaton described the letter, signed by most GOP senators, as “mutinous.”

The government will shut down this coming week without a budget, but DDT wants a shutdown because he thinks it will help him politically.

DDT may declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Internationally, the city is not recognized as belonging to Israel and has holy places for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Allowing Israel to control the city, which is not part of Israel, would create serious problems throughout the Middle East as well as all Islamic-majority countries.

Earlier this year, Congress used the death of Kate Steinle in 2015 to make punishment more severe for convicted and deported criminals who re-entered the U.S., based on the assumption that Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an undocumented immigrant, had deliberately killed Kate Steinle in 2015. A jury has found Zarate not guilty of murder, but DDT is using the trial to lambast sanctuary cities.

James Schultz, a lawyer tackling ethics and financial disclosures issues in the White House, has given up and is heading back to Philadelphia.

The Koch brothers are buying one-fourth of Time magazine through their company, Meredith.

With the departure of Richard Cordray from the watchdog consumer bureau protecting U.S. consumers, DDT appointed Mike Mulvaney as interim director despite a law putting the deputy director—in this case Leandra English—in the position. Mulvaney hates the bureau and has called it a “sad, sick joke.” Nevertheless, U.S. District Timothy Kelly, a DDT appointee, ruled in favor of Mulvaney for the position. English will continue a court case against the appointment of Mulvaney, who told Fox that his “authority really should frighten people.”

Soon after DDT’s inauguration, he tried to drive out legitimate journalists from the press corps and embed questionable far-right representatives. One of these, Lucian Wintrich from hoax-ridden Gateway Pundit, was arrested after grabbing a woman during his speech, “It’s OK to Be White,” at the University of Connecticut.

The trial against the inauguration protesters continues with the DOJ using video footage from discredited James O’Keefe who just tried a fake sting on the Washington Post regarding coverage of Roy Moore after many other fraudulent videos.

The egregious tax bill has passed the Senate after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused to give senators any time to read the bill before the vote. (Far more about the bill later!)

DDT’s tweets:

About the killing of over 300 Muslims in an Egyptian mosque: “Need the Wall” that will keep Muslims from coming in from Mexico.

About DDT’s retweets from a British neo-fascist  of videos lying about Islam, British lawmaker David Lammy wrote, “The President of the United States is promoting a fascist, racist, extremist hate group whose leaders have been arrested and convicted. He is no ally or friend of ours.”

About criticism from Prime Minister Theresa May, DDT fired back an angry tweet which targeted Theresa May Scrivener, a British “mum” who has only six Twitter followers.

About Joe Scarborough: DDT asked if MSNBC would terminate “low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the ‘unsolved mystery’ that took place in Florida years ago?  Investigate!” The unsubstantiated accusation concerned the death of Scarborough’s intern who collapsed of an un-diagnosed heart condition and hit her head on the side of a desk, causing a fatal blood clot. DDT also demanded an investigation into Andy Lack, NBC news chair, for “fake news.”

About negotiating with top Democrats Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Chuck Schumer (NY) to keep the government open and working, DDT tweeted: “I don’t see a deal!” They cancelled the meeting.

When you think that the world can’t get crazier, listen to Alex Jones on Info Wars. He claims that liberal lesbians are abusive to women and want to eat their victims’ brains. DDT has appeared on Jones’ show and told him, “Your reputation’s amazing. I will not let you down.” They reportedly communicate regularly. Their joint conspiracy theories are chronicled here.

Corey Lewandowski’s new book co-authored with David Bossie, Let Trump Be Trump, will immediately hit the best-seller list with its description of DDT on the campaign trail. Although Lewandowski may not have intended his portrait to be a slam, his descriptions of DDT’s violently unreasonable temper are sure to support recent allegations of an unstable mind. The tales of infighting, including Lewandowski’s dislike for his replacement Paul Manafort, will provide conversation for months.

August 1, 2016

Where Is the GOP Decency?

Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-WI) thought he was on a roll 62 years ago after four years of destroying hundreds of thousands of lives through accusations of Communism. In 1954, however, he tackled the U.S. Army after it accused McCarthy and his staff of trying to get special treatment for Private G. David Schine, a close friend of Roy Cohen who McCarthy had made counsel for his investigative subcommittee. Broadcast on three television networks, the Army-McCarthy hearings gained a high profile : about 80 million people listened to at least part of the committee hearings. During these hearings, McCarthy attacked Fred Fisher, a young lawyer who the Army’s Special Counsel, Joseph Welch, had intended to include on his staff for the hearings.

Welch’s statement turned the tide against McCarthy. As the senator continued his harangue, Welsh said:

“Senator; you’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

Those words still reverberate today. Noted historian Doris Kearns Goodwin referred to this turning point while discussing Donald Trump’s attack on Khizr and Ghazala Khan after their speech about their heroic son, Captain Humayun Khan, who died protecting his men in Iraq. Journalist Dan Rather used the same point when writing about Trump’s attack.

In his speech at the Democratic convention, Khan accused Trump of never sacrificing anything for anyone, and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-FL) decided to defend his party’s candidate. After Khan’s speech, he tweeted:

“[Trump] has never sacrificed anything for anyone.” Never? Anything? Anyone? C’mon.”

Since then, Trump listed his personal sacrifices:

“I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I’ve had tremendous success. I think I’ve done a lot.”

He cheated his employees of their wages, drove small businesses into bankruptcies, and left people holding the bag for the costs of his “great structures.” He’s an entrepreneur who made his money at the expense of others. Trump also claimed that he raised millions of dollars for veterans and helped get the Vietnam War Memorial built and that he has raised millions of dollars for vets. His donations to vets came only after the press heavily publicized the fact that he had donated none of the money he raised for them to any veterans’ groups.

After avoiding the draft  through a medical exemption for bone spurs and multiple student deferments, he said that his “personal Vietnam” was the danger of getting sexually transmitted diseases. He added, “I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”

Trump also commented on the Khan’s appearance at the Democratic convention:

“If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”

Unfortunately for Trump, Captain Khan’s mother didn’t stay silent. Since that time she has talked about her great pain from the loss of her child and her strong feelings about Trump.

On Sunday, George Stephanopoulos asked Trump what he would say to Khan. Trump said:

“Well, I would say, we have had a lot of problems with radical Islamic terrorism, that’s what I’d say.”

That’s Trump’s excuse for having attacked the parents of a dead soldier hero. On the same day, panelist Alex Castellanos, advisor for Trump’s Super PAC, repeated the same party line on Meet the Press. 

“I think Trump has a legitimate point to make there that he should do something about that and that’s the argument in this election. The status quo, more of what’s going on now, you know, basically letting that happen unfiltered or doing something about it.”

What is someone so closely tied into Trump’s campaign doing on a “panel”? Didn’t Trump claim that he wouldn’t have any super PACs? And the United States carefully “filters” immigrants—much more so than they do gun buyers who continue to kill people throughout the nation.

Trump’s problems concerning the Khans accelerated today when his running partner, Mike Pence, was speaking at a Carson City (NV) casino. Catherine Byrne, a 52-year-old military mother whose son serves in the U.S. Air Force, asked the second question of Mike Pence in reference to the Khan family:

“Will there ever be a point in time when you’re able to look Trump in the eye and tell him enough is enough?”

The crowd booed her, the mother of a man serving in the U.S. military. Pence said that he honored Captain Khan as “an American hero” and honored his family yet he has never spent time around someone who is “more devoted” to military and to veterans than Trump. In true contemporary journalistic fashion, the CBS article described Trump’s attack on the Khan family as a “spat.”

Earlier, Pence blamed President Obama and Hillary Clinton for ISIS in connection with the Khan family and then reinforced Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States. He said that in this way “we will reduce the likelihood that other American families will face the enduring heartbreak of the Khan family.”

Corey Lewandowski, fired from the Trump campaign and hired by CNN, said that Captain Khan would be alive if Trump had been president in 2004 because Trump opposed the Iraq War. Trump, however, supported the war until recently. Like Hillary Clinton, Pence voted for the October 2002 Iraq Resolution that gave President George W. Bush the authorization to invade months later. Clinton has since apologized; Pence still believes that the U.S. was right in invading Iraq. Lewandowski’s contract with CNN as a political analyst prevents him from criticizing Trump.

People are still waiting for a scratch in Trump’s Teflon covering that allows all the abusive statements he makes to slip off him. Over a year ago, he started his campaign by declaiming that undocumented immigrants coming from Mexico are rapists, sent by the Mexican government to rid itself of criminals. He continued by calling Vietnam POW Sen. John McCain a loser because he got caught and Megyn Kelly unfair to him because or her hormonal issues. Next he demanded a ban on all Muslim immigration and delayed any disavowal of a KKK leader who has been inspired by Trump’s success to run for U.S. Senate. Trump called for women and people of Mexican and Muslim heritage to be judges on one his thousands of lawsuits because they would treat him unjustly.

Each time, he makes these outrageous statements, most GOP leaders merely shake their heads in dismay and continue to support him for president. None of his competitors, who all suffered from his ire and revenge, deny him support except Ted Cruz, who outraged GOP delegates by speaking his truth at the convention. One pundit predicted that all those people who booed Cruz in 2016 will claim that they cheered him in four years.

The number of conservatives and groups condemning Trump’s words against the Khans since the Democratic convention has grown geometrically, including Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Gold Star Families, and some governors and congressional members. Despite their expressed horror and dismay, however, almost none of them has rejected him for the GOP presidential candidacy. Khan called specifically on congressional leaders House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to repudiate Donald Trump. They have not. Ryan simply says that he already said that he did not approve of Trump’s position toward Muslims. Not even after Trump attacked the Khans again yesterday.

Greg Sargent wrote in the Washington Post:

“If individual Republicans don’t break off their support for Trump’s candidacy now—by, say, withdrawing their endorsements—they run the risk of having no choice but to do so after Trump sinks even further into wretchedness and depravity, to a point of true no return. (Presumably there is such a point.) At that juncture, their move will look unprincipled and desperate, leaving them stained—perhaps irrevocably—with their previous willingness to stick by him during much of his descent, and depriving their break with him of whatever moral force it might have had if done earlier.”

That, as Sargent wrote, is the Republicans’ “brutal trap.”

On All In with Chris Hayes, Michael Steele, MSNBC political analyst and former RNC chair, said that the way to solve the Trump’s problem was—in my paraphrasing—to train him not to give a knee-jerk reaction to everything that happens. Chris Hayes responded, “Good luck!” The question is not whether Trump will find some shred decency within himself because more and more people don’t expect this from him. The question is whether Pence, a born-again Christian, will find the decency to find Trump’s behavior unacceptable.

June 20, 2016

How Enduring Are GOP Delusions about Trump?

Why do people support Donald Trump for U.S. president? The answers are all over the place. Demographics show a majority are poor, lack a high school diploma, and hold racist beliefs. They disagree with being racists but use racial slurs and want to get rid of immigrants while keeping America white. Nate Silver, one of the best prognosticators for U.S. elections, tweeted, “Strongest correlate I’ve found for Trump support is Google searches for the n-word.” Others have noticed the same comparison.

Trump promised to pay lawyers to help one of his supporters who attacked a protester, and that promise may have led to other racist supporters. Jan Stachowiak has called for armed volunteers to help him intimidate and even kill black protesters at the GOP convention. He echoed Trump’s declaration that President is a terrorist sympathizer and now calls on “patriots … to defend this nation against a domestic terrorist organization supported by the terrorist in the White House.”

Hate speech and crimes have accelerated since the rise of Donald Trump. People are attacking Muslims and other minorities in his name, and immigrants and Muslims students are increasingly experiencing bullying by their classmates. Children of color are facing “an alarming level of fear and anxiety.” Out of 5,000 comments from a survey of 2,000 K-12 students, over 1,000 mentioned Donald Trump. Jewish journalists are being attacked for articles critical of Trump, and many are targeted with the (((echo))) symbol, used by white supremacists online to single out the names of Jewish people and coordinate attacks against them.

Republicans try to claim that they like Trump because he says what he thinks—although much of what he expresses on one day is reversed the next. Another reason they gave for their Trump votes is that he will get jobs. Below are some self-delusions from Trump supporters that don’t hold up to the light:

Trump will get everyone jobs. The massive reduction of taxes for the wealthy could financially ruin people in the nation. Higher interest rates could cause housing prices to tumble, by as much as $100,000, and undermine the economy, destroying over 3 million jobs. Trump has a pattern of cheating hundreds of employees, contractors, and bondholders when he refuses to pay his debts. If Trump runs the country like he runs his businesses, the nation is headed for bankruptcy.  But that’s a topic for an entire blog!

Trump will either change his impossible proposals or Congress will stop him. One of his ideas is a tax plan that would increase the debt by $10 trillion. The GOP hasn’t stood up to Trump thus far; there’s no indication that they’ll start if he gets elected. Congress cannot stop his foreign policy—for example, supporting Russia as he has indicated—because the president has control in this area. If the courts and Congress can stop every crazy Trump idea, then the GOP wouldn’t worry about Hillary Clinton’s getting elected.

Trump will be fine no matter how much he changes policies. The GOP has complained about Obama because, they whine, he is divisive, arrogant, delusional, and economically illiterate while he uses executive power for political ends. Trump is all these multiplied by at least 100.   

Trump will understand that he will need to be more “presidential.” After a brief fling with a teleprompter, Trump continues to pick fights with his own GOP and refuses to take any advice in campaigning. He claims that he will spend his time and resources trying to take California and New York along with other blue states for the general election. Instead of backing away from his racist remarks, he has denied media access to his press conferences to at least ten outlets, including the influential Washington Post.

Trump can get smart advisers. Trump takes no advice from anyone for his campaign, and there’s no indication that he will pay attention to advisers if he were president. Trump’s past and current advisers show that he selects the same kind of toxic person as he is. By now, he has alienated almost everyone on his short list for vice-president, and his philosophy of firing everyone who offends him—a simple thing for a thin-skinned person like Trump—means that anyone around him will be short term.

Republicans have no other choice. Thus far, the “Never Trump” keeps looking for a resurgence at the convention, especially if delegates demand that Trump release his tax returns. Mitt Romney could run, or Republicans could vote Libertarian. Supporting Trump is disastrous for GOP candidates like John McCain, past presidential candidate and Congressman for 34 years, who is struggling  in Arizona against his Democratic opponent. Marco Rubio (R-FL), considering another run for senate  after he talked about how much he hated being a senator and didn’t bother to attend to vote, may run again. If he wins, his forced support for Trump may stain him for life.

Republicans can disown Trump in the future. Conservative advisers claim that they need to not worry about this election and look to the future. The GOP looked to the future after their loss in 2012, deciding that the party’s survival needs support from women and minorities. Instead, they’ve gone over the cliff in the opposite direction.

Although Trump claims that he hasn’t “started yet,” he’s been running for president for over a full year, and he wrapped up the GOP nomination in early May. Today Trump fired longtime friend and campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, because he “needs a change.” Lewandowski has no experience with national campaigns and kept Trump away from anyone who does.

Trump’s polls are starting downhill. The Democratic primary in Michigan shows that polls are not infallible, but Trump loved them throughout his campaign because he looked good. By now, he’s behind Hillary Clinton by double digits in some polls although he calls that being “even” with her.

Trump’s problems go far deeper than dropping polls. He promised his voters that he would pay for his entire campaign himself so that nobody could control him, but he seems to be out of money. And donors aren’t flocking to him. The Koch brothers, known for giving to the sleaziest of conservative politicians, refuse to fund Trump. Charles Koch said he can’t give any money to the Trump campaign until there’s a major shift in tone and policy—and he doesn’t expect it to happen.

In the past, Trump lobbed another hand grenade every time he lost positive attention. Last week’s explosion was to accuse U.S. military members of stealing money in Iraq. In the past, Trump had claimed that he was a champion of soldiers and veterans, going so far as to say he was raising money for them that they never received. This accusation hurt Trump’s image. That may be the reason that he called for religious and ethnic profiling on Sunday’s Face the Nation, hoping that a bit of generic racism would help his standing. He’s also called for people to be put into prison if they don’t report on their neighbors.

Trump has already started telling people to snitch on each other in his rallies. http://www.dailywire.com/news/6656/trump-rallies-now-ejecting-fake-trump-supporters-hank-berrien  After he tried that approach, a woman smugly pointed to two people quietly sitting near her. Security took them out after she showed how one of them had held up three fingers and demonstrated. She said she didn’t know what it meant, but the gesture was like the Boy Scout salute.

RNC Chair Reince Priebus says that people don’t care what Trump says. If he’s wrong, there goes the election. If he’s right, the nation is worse than I like to think. Trump has had an amazing influence on the electorate, however.  Since January, Democratic voting registration increased 218 percent in just California. Registration is up 123 percent among Hispanics, an electorate that has an 87-percent infavorability toward Trump.

For almost a year, most of the media went along with Trump’s craziness, always assuming that people tired of it. After a study showed that Trump coverage in eight major outlets pushed him into the nomination, giving him $2 billion of free advertising, journalists are changing the “cute” reporting of the past to now illustrate the danger that is for the United States. Increasing fact-checking shows that Trump tells the truth 3 percent of the time. The tipping point might have been Trump’s racist remarks against an honorable judge, but it’s more likely that they got fed up with Trump’s criticism about the press, calling reporters, among other descriptors, “the worst human beings” he had ever met.

Hopefully more people in the media may more accurately cover Trump. The next questions are how long GOP politicians will put Trump ahead of the country and how long voters will continue to believe him.

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