Nel's New Day

January 18, 2019

DDT: Week 104 – Oval Office Occupant a Cause of National Security Crisis

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 9:52 PM
Tags: , , , , , , ,

In two years, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has built a sewer of corruption, filled with wealthy men who acquired their riches as DDT did by cheating people. Early strong supporters justified his putrid behavior with “Give him a chance” or “I’m still waiting.” Some still cling to the belief that DDT is the Second Coming while others try to get off DDT’s ship.

Columnist Michelle Goldberg summarized DDT ‘s first two years in the Oval Office:

“Trump has turned out to be the Norma Desmond of authoritarians, a senescent has-been whose delusions are propped up by obsequious retainers. From his fantasy world in the White House, he barks dictatorial and often illegal orders, floats conspiracy theories, tweets insults and lies unceasingly. But much of the time he’s not fully in charge. He has the instincts of a fascist but lacks both the discipline and the loyal lieutenants he’d need to create true autocracy.

“The shutdown throws our crisis into high relief. For the first two years, Trump destroyed American norms, standards and conventions. Now he’s cavalierly destroying American lives.”

Fodder for DDT’s downfall:

Last night, Buzzfield raised eyebrows when it reported that DDT told his fixer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations for the Trump Tower Moscow. During his campaign, DDT said he had no business deals with Russia but arranged to meet in Russia with Vladimir Putin to jump-start the project. Cohen was also ordered to give DDT and his children Ivanka and Don Jr. detailed updates. Don Jr. also lied to Congress about his participation in the possible Trump hotel in Moscow. Witnesses revealed that the three participants in the negotiation lied when they said they had little knowledge about it. Mueller’s office stated that “specific statements … are not accurate.” DDT claims vindication, and the media questions which parts Mueller declares not accurate. Buzzfield reporting has not been wrong yet.

This past week, DDT’s sort-of lawyer Rudy Giuliani defended his boss but claimed the possibility of collusion between Russia and DDT’s campaign.

DDT may be meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un in February, but the Pentagon worries that DDT’s national security adviser John Bolton might start a war with Iran after he asked them “to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran” because a Shia militia fired rockets on a vacant lot near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Former Defense Secretary James Mattis quashed the idea, but a long-time Boeing executive is now in charge of the Pentagon. Bolton’s request last year follows his long-term desire to “bomb Iran” while he wants to eradicate the United Nations.

After DDT raged about the news that the FBI investigated the possibility that he was a national security risk, officials reported that DDT concealed the records of his five largely secret meetings with Vladimir Putin, including confiscating interpreters’ notes and keeping them from discussing the meetings with other administration officials. DDT’s temper tantrum included at least six tweets early last Saturday morning from the White House with vicious baseless accusations against the New York Times, Hillary Clinton, James Comey, the FBI, and Robert Mueller. DDT did not deny the FBI report. Lack of records from the meetings violates federal laws.

Frequent threats from DDT to pull the U.S. out of NATO have expressed concerns about other countries not pulling their financial weight, but this action would be DDT’s gift to Putin. Michèle A. Flournoy, an under secretary of defense under President Obama, said that leaving NATO “would be one of the most damaging things that any president could do to U.S. interests” and “the wildest success that Vladimir Putin could dream of.” Retired Adm. James G. Stavridis, the former supreme allied commander of NATO, said an American withdrawal from the alliance would be “a geopolitical mistake of epic proportion.” After annexing Crimea in 2014, Putin focused on separating the United States from Europe to give him control over the NATO countries. DDT first stopped former Defense Secretary James Mattis from attending the next NATO meeting and then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) from directly talking with NATO officials.

Mueller has turned his investigation to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), former head of the Intelligence Committee and fierce DDT defender long been suspected of leaking information to DDT. Nunes met with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and dozens of foreign officials at DDT’s Washington hotel on January 18, 2017, just two days before DDT’s inauguration before Nunes’ committee investigation opposed anyone investigating DDT and blocked subpoenas. During a fundraiser last summer, Nunes said that Republicans had to keep their House majority to protect DDT from Mueller.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) released a January 2017 DHS plan from a whistleblower connecting separation of migrant children from their parents as a deterrent to crossing the U.S.-Mexico border when the number was at an all-time low. Thousands more migrant children were separated from their parents than reported, and DHS had no plans for reunification. DHS recommended denying migrant children their legal right to asylum hearings, target parents for increased prosecutions, and require extensive background checks for sponsoring an unaccompanied migrant child to create a backlog of children forced into abusive facilities. Merkley requested an FBI perjury investigation into DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s congressional testimony that the department had no policy of separating children.

In the House, 136 GOP members voted against DDT in opposition to his removing sanctions from Putin’s friend Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch who paid millions of dollars to get DDT elected. Because 42 Republicans in the Senate had already voted to permit the lifting of sanctions, the House vote was symbolic, but 11 GOP Senators also voted against giving Putin this gift and allowing him to put more money into U.S. election interference. Senate Majority Leader supported DDT in giving the money back to Russia although he had called Deripaska a “thug.”

DDT’s trade war with China has problems: China’s 2018 trade surplus with the U.S. grew 17 percent in 2018, at $351.76 billion the largest U.S. deficit since 2006. The difference is actually larger because China doesn’t count goods that come to the U.S. from other countries.

Two years ago, DDT made his first speech after his inauguration. These are some of his failed promises since then:

Fixing poverty: No statistical drop in the U.S. official poverty rate from 2016 to 2017.

Gun violence: Historic highs of gun violence—almost 40,000 gun deaths in 2017.

“New roads and high roads”: The failed plan in the GOP Congress was to stick states and cities with 80 percent of infrastructure costs—much higher than past years.

“Bring back our jobs … borders … wealth”: More coal mines closed in DDT’s first two years than President Obama’s first term; drop in soybean exports by 98 percent in 2018.

“No room for prejudice”: Growth of far-right extremism and far-right violence greatly increased in past two years after DDT’s expressions of bigotry.

“Education system flushed with cash”: Drastic cuts to Educational Department’s funding in DDT’s budget and public education deprioritized in favor of for-profit schools.

“All Americans never be ignored again”: Shutdown latest proof of DDT’s failure to keep this promise.

Before his inauguration, DDT made 663 promises, including 36 of them on the first day in office. He kept two of those—a hiring freeze on federal employees and a moratorium on new agency regulations—while breaking or ignoring the other 34, some of which might actually have helped people. In his first 100 days, he broke 80 promises he made before he was sworn in.

Two years ago, an Atlantic editorial stated:

“He is a demagogue, a xenophobe, a sexist, a know-nothing, and a liar…. [He] expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself…. [He] is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read.”

In two years, DDT has alienated all the countries in Europe, Africa, North America, and Central America and many countries in Asia and the Middle East. His threats have put the United States close to nuclear war with North Korea and Iran. His multitude of executive orders are destroying the planet, causing bad health, and eliminating democracy in the United States. The Atlantic believes that its editorial two years ago was “guilty of understatement.” Those still waiting for DDT’s “better angels” to appear should read DDT’s 50 destructive events since his inauguration.

Since the shutdown, DDT’s approval rating has dropped and his disapproval rating surged with a seven-percent increase between the two. Much of the difference comes from the loss of his base—suburban men and white evangelicals. The poll’s director said that he sees a crack in DDT’s support for the first time.

Former Trump Organization executive vice president Barbara Res said about DDT, “I see him going into a corner, I see him scratching back like a cornered animal. I think he’s afraid.”

September 1, 2018

DDT: Week 84 – A Few of His Problems

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More DDT disasters later.

August 11, 2018

DDT: Week 81 – On Vacation While Others Work

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 9:35 PM
Tags: , , , ,

Congress is scattered across the nation on vacation, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is watching TV, playing golf, and having dinner with other wealthy people at his resort at Bedminster (NJ). Robert Mueller continues his investigation, and witnesses testify to damning information about Paul Manafort. For example, he offered the position of Army secretary to Federal Savings Bank CEO, Stephen Calk, in trying to get a personal loan from the bank. Long-time friend and colleague Rick Gates reported Manafort shifting money through his offshore accounts.

DDT has bragged about how much more money black people make in wages since he was inaugurated, but he didn’t celebrate Black Women’s Equal Pay Day on August 7, the day representing how long into 2018 a black woman must work to be paid the same wages white males were paid just last year. Black women workers get 66 cents for the dollar that white men make after controlling for education, years of experience, and geographic location.

If DDT had talked about wages for black women, he probably would have lied, just as he did when he bragged that the U.S. is overflowing with “prosperity” despite “exaggerated” claims of widespread poverty. After a U.N. report that 18 million people live in “extreme poverty” in the United States, made worse by DDT’s tax cuts for the wealthy, DDT ignored his own economic analysts in exchange for a report from the far-right Heritage Foundation. One DDT economic adviser recommended that DDT say nothing about poverty because the steady economic growth, “inherited” from President Obama, “will end prob[ably] in 1-2 years.”

People in Missouri understood the importance of fair wages when they struck down a “right-to-work” law earlier passed by the legislature. The 2-1 margin of success for workers came from both urban and rural counties.

Agreeing with Supreme Court justice nominee that the president is above the law and the constitution, AG Jeff Sessions plans to ignore a court ruling to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and completely repeal and rescind DACA on his own prerogative. Sessions called the repeal one of the “lawful directives of Congress”—although that legislative body has passed no law regarding DACA. The judge had said that the government has no justification to stop DACA.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) irritated both congressional GOP members and DDT during his visit to Russia. Once against Vladimir Putin’s takeover of Ukraine and Crimea, Paul is now a full-blown Russia supporter. During his recent trip, he took a letter to Putin, but opinions differ on its contents. Paul explained that the letter highlighted how the U.S. wants to work with Russia on “countering terrorism, enhancing legislative dialogue and resuming cultural exchanges.” White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said that DDT provided only “a letter of introduction” because Paul had requested it. Before Paul came home, he invited Russian lawmakers to visit the U.S. Capitol, but GOP congressional leaders squashed the idea. Spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said:

“Neither Congress nor the leader have invited any delegation from Russia to the Capitol. Senator Paul is the only one that I know who is discussing it.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) followed that up with “That’s not something we’ve discussed.” Both McConnell and Ryan earlier said that Putin would not be welcome at the Capitol if DDT invited him to Washington.

Russia and DDT are also upset about the State Department’s new sanctions on Russia after the Kremlin’s poisoning of a former Russian intelligence officer and his daughter living in England. U.S. company are prevented from exporting items such as gas turbine engines, electronics, and integrated circuits without legitimate purposes, similar to President Obama’s ban on any exports to Russia that might have military purposes. DDT objected, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited a 1991 law that mandated the sanctions. Russia has 90 days to agree to stop all use of chemical weapons and permit inspections before Pompeo exerts further measures such as withdrawal of U.S. bank loans and support for international loans, landing rights for Russian airlines, and diplomatic relations. DDT already stalled for over a month regarding congressional deadlines for other sanctions.

Sanctions against Russia will decrease U.S. exports, adding to the stress caused by DDT’s tariffs. Grifter and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross claimed that “all this hysteria is a lot to do about nothing,” yet BMW told Ross that the tariffs could endanger 45,000 jobs in South Carolina. A ship with $20 million worth of soybeans has circled the waters off the coast of China since July 6 after it failed to beat the new tariff deadline by mere hours, placed in response to DDT’s tariffs. The ship’s $12,500 daily cost comes to over $450,000 by now, and the contents make up a small part of the $12.7 billion in soybeans sent from the U.S. to China last year. In Washington, 6,000 tons of copper are stuck at the port of Vancouver as the ship scheduled to pick it up left after China announced a 25-percent duty on the product. Estimates indicate almost one million jobs in the state could be at risk because of suppliers, port income, and wages.

The North Korea deal becomes more like fish that smells after three days. DDT never had any agreement with denuclearization, and Kim Jung-Un now insists that he will take no action until the U.S. ends the Korean War. Pompeo promises progress but won’t say what, and National Security Adviser John Bolton indicated no steps had been taken. The estimate of North Korean nuclear weapons is growing.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) was secretly taped at a fundraiser for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) giving his plan for impeaching DOJ Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein immediately after the 2018 general election. Most Republicans said that they weren’t going to impeach Rosenstein, but Nunes tells this story to woo donors and voters. DDT may not like some of Nunes’ comments on the tapes such as “sometimes we cringe on the president’s tweets.” Nunes also called releasing stolen emails, like WikiLeaks did with DNC emails, “criminal.” Rodgers won the Washington election to pick the top two candidates by only one percent, warning a serious challenge in the general election.

DDT’s lawyers are running a TV campaign in opposition to Mueller’s investigation by smearing it, claiming that DDT will be forced to lie if he goes into court, and declaring questions that are off limits—such as why he fired James Comey (check with DDT’s interview with Lester Holt) and whether he obstructed justice (check DDT’s tweets). Rudy Giuliani’s craziness continues with his invented DOJ “60-day rule” preventing Mueller from DDT’s investigation in the two months preceding the election and announcing that Mueller must finish by September. DDT is not a candidate in November 2018, and the “60-day-rule” failed to apply to Hillary Clinton when Comey announced an investigation ten days before her election. “Fair and unbalanced” Sean Hannity, as he calls himself on “fair and unbalanced Fox,” turned his three-hour radio show over to DDT’s lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow on Friday.

Tomorrow represents the first anniversary of Unite the Right in Charlottesville (VA) with a march near the White House. This image represents what white supremacists are celebrating in front of the White House and what DDT refused to condemn.

DDT’s diversions of the week:

  • His calls to “suspend” protesting athletes without pay although he is not their employer.
  • Removal legal-resident status from those who use Medicaid and other social safety nets. (Fortunately for his in-laws, they just became U.S. citizens so they’re safe—unless he finds some dirt on them.)
  • A new space force, possibly to conduct space warfare. (Stephen Colbert asked if DDT plans to build a wall to keep “illegal aliens” from coming into the United States.)

The dozen Trumpiest members of Congress: Chris Collins (NY),  indicted for insider trading;  David Perdue (GA), cousin to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue; Orrin Hatch (UT), retiring; Tom Cotton (AR), hawk aiming for Oval Office; Rand Paul (KY), sycophant flip-flopper; Mitch McConnell (KY) majority leader owned by DDT; Matt Gaetz (FL) deep state conspiracist/Alex Jones supporter; Devin Nunes (CA), DDT’s leaker from the House Intelligence Committee; Ron DeSantis (FL), Fox defender; Kevin McCarthy (CA), DDT’s “my Kevin” who sorts candy to give DDT only “reds and pinks”; Mark Meadows (NC), conservative Freedom Caucus leader trying to impeach deputy AG Rod Rosenstein; and Paul Ryan (WI), determined to “normalize” DDT.

Inflation rose 2.9 percent in the last year while wages gained only 2.7 percent. U.S. “real wage” fell to $10.76 an hour last month, 2 cents down from a year ago. To many of us, 2 cents is very little, but over a year, it amounts to $41.60—important to people who make under $23,000 a year. Gas prices increased 23 percent this year, and housing, health care and automobile insurance have all gone up. Now we wait for price increases from DDT’s tariffs. 

Donald Trump Jr. manufactured this visual lie when he Photoshopped “50” over DDT’s actual 40 percent approval rating. In his desperation, he failed to cover up the 40 percent. By now, Jr. removed his “fake news” from Instagram, but the internet never forgets!

May 11, 2018

DDT: Weeks 67-68 – Iran, North Korea Plus Religion, Giuliani

Catching up on the last two weeks of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) roller-coaster events:

Will the United States go to war to support Israel? That question may be front and center now that DDT has withdrawn from the Iran agreement for that nation’s denuclearization. Israel fired on targets in Syria that were believed to be Iranian soon after DDT’s withdrawal. Claims that Iran fired 20 rockets at the Golan Heights the most extensive Israeli bombing on Syria since the countries signed a disengagement agreement after the October war of 1973. Israel has illegally occupied Golan Heights since the Six-Day War in 1967. DDT’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, are scheduled to arrive in Israel soon for the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on May 14. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has assured Israel that the U.S. will stand at its side in a fight.

DDT’s officials are circulating a report from Securities Studies Group, an organization with ties to DDT’s national security adviser John Bolton, that provides strategy for a regime change in Iran is being circulated among DDT’s officials. The plan is to stir unrest and help the Iran public to drive a wedge between the people and the nation’s rulers. The plan sounds identical to Russia’s approach to control the 2018 presidential election.

Israel’s military escalation came after DDT decided to please some of his constituents—including Vladimir Putin and Israel—by withdrawing from the Iranian deal. Russia’s economy desperately needs the rubles from the increase in oil prices if Iranian resources aren’t available. At the same time, Russia is concerned about Israel’s attacks on Iran, but DDT may side with Israel, again separating him from Putin. Perhaps DDT figures that a world war would allow him to declare military law, like in Turkey, so that he can remain dictator forever. Bernard Avishai discusses Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s motivations and the dangers of his country in pushing a war in the Middle East.

DDT announced his withdrawal several days before the deadline at the same time the media jumped on the millions of dollars in “pay to play” paid to his personal lawyer Michael Cohen for access to DDT. Since payments made to DDT’s personal lawyer were first announced, the amount has vastly grown, for example AT&T’s $600,000 to Cohen for access to DDT instead of $200,000. CEO Randall Stephenson called Cohen’s hiring “a big mistake,” and top lobbyist for the company, Bob Quinn, has retired. Quinn was a leader in opposing net neutrality. AT&T also paid Cohen to get approval for its $85 billion merger with Time Warner. Drugmaker Novartis agreed that its $1.2 million contract with Cohen was “a mistake.” Reports as of now show that Cohen was paid $2.95 million through Essential Consultants, the shell company Cohen set up to funnel hush money to Stormy Daniels and perhaps others. The involved companies learned about Essential Consultants because Cohen reached out to them.

In his work to guarantee never-ending war for the U.S., former VP Dick Cheney, who mythologized weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, went on Fox Business directing DDT to believe the falsehood that Iran has these weapons. He also encouraged the continuation of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (aka torture).

DDT is also hoping that people will ignore all the Russia and Cohen scandals because three U.S. prisoners have been released from North Korea. He also hopes that his talks with North Korea will result in his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, even encouraging his rally crows to chant, “No-bel, No-bel. When the prisoners arrived at 3:00 am, he said, “I think you probably broke the all time in history television rating for three o’clock in the morning.” DDT also thanked North Korean president Kim Jong-Un “ who really was excellent to these three incredible people.” They had been imprisoned for at least a year, and one of them had been sentenced to ten years’ hard labor in one of the world’s most brutal prisons. DDT plans to meet with Kim Jong-Un in Singapore on June 12.

While people become excited about the release of prisoners in North Korea, they forget the four U.S. citizens still held in Iran for longer than the newly released NK ones. DDT’s withdrawal spells disaster for these people, one of them 81 years old. Another two U.S. men are still illegally imprisoned in Turkey. 

Although DDT’s new lawyer Rudy Giuliani appeared on Sean Hannity only nine days ago, so much has happened that it could have been last year. Giuliani, DDT’s lawyer for one day, said that DDT had paid Cohen $35,000 a week to clean up hush money to Stormy Daniels about her affair with DDT as well as “things that might come up.” DDT first agreed that he paid off Daniels and then tried to deny that he did, going so far as to say that Giuliani “will get his fact straight.” Giuliani lacks the skill to stay quiet, a serious problem in court. (Transcript for the program.)  Giuliani went on another talk show to say that he knew the payment didn’t look good immediately before the election but changed his story to say that the settlement was made solely “to protect the President’s family.” He also might be waiving attorney-client privilege by saying that he had conferred with DDT before he talked about DDT paying Cohen. About the payoff, Giuliani said:

“I don’t think the president realized he paid him back for that specific thing until we made him aware of the paperwork.”

Despite being released from his law firm and claiming “sole concentration” as DDT’s lawyer, Giuliani appeared in a Florida court today to represent a woman accused of purchasing car insurance ten minutes after her car crash. He isn’t licensed to practice law in Florida but said the woman was her personal assistant.

DDT’s staff tried to prep him in advance of any interview with Robert Mueller, but he could answer only two questions in four hours. The argument might be that an interview could cut into time for his important work in the Oval Office, but evidence indicates that he “works” less than two hours a day. DDT is still falsely accusing that the investigators are Democrats as he continues his rant against the investigation. DDT is back to saying that he wants an interview with Mueller, but most people no longer believe him.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) issued DOJ with a subpoena after he was refused extensive information about a longtime intelligence source for the CIA and FBI with the concern that the source could be jeopardized if Nunes discovers the person’s identity. Common knowledge indicates that Nunes wants the information to take to the White House. DOJ officials offered a classified briefing about his demand, but Nunes threatened a contempt charge against AG Jeff Sessions. He also has not bothered to read earlier classified information that he demanded. Nunes is under investigation for three potential campaign law violations.

Giuliani’s bombshell about DDT’s paying off Stormy Daniels intersected with DDT’s appearance for the day of prayer, causing CNBC to tweet, “Trump leads National Prayer Day event after saying he repaid lawyer for hush money to porn star.” DDT signed the “White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative” that permits religious organizations to use taxpayer money to discriminate on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, allow religious organizations to be “experts” for public policy, remove requirements that religious groups refer anyone objecting to their teachings to other programs, and use his new “faith-based office” to guarantee no blocking of “liberty of conscience” of believers. (Sounds like Sharia law for evangelicals.) The major groups wanting to deny services to LGBTQ people are Mormons and white evangelicals, 20 percent of the population. Among that 20 percent, 47 percent think that it’s wrong to refuse business based on religious convictions.

States such as Kansas and Oklahoma are already passing laws permitting adoption agencies to prevent same-gender couples from adopting children. A lesbian couple in Mississippi was denied an adoption by the state the day before they were scheduled to take their daughter home despite a court ruling that the Mississippi’s ban on same-gender adoptions was struck down by a federal judge in 2016. In another case, the state Supreme Court ruled that a lesbian couple could divorce; a dissenting justice, Jess Dickinson, is now head of the agency denying the couple their legally adopted child. Bryan Fischer, former spokesman for the American Family Association (AFA), announced on his show that only Christians have First Amendment rights and protections.

Anti-LGBTQ preacher Kevin Swanson will hold the Bible Family Conference in Washington, D.C. on August 10-11. He wants to execute all LGBTQ people and all Girls Scout leaders because they support LGBTQ and women’s rights. He also wants Boy Scouts, now called Scouts BSA because it recruits girls as well as boys, to have a “sodomy merit badge” because openly gay scouts can join the organization. The name of Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) has disappeared as keynote speaker.

The six worst states for LGBTQ support are Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, West Virginia, Louisiana, and North Carolina.

More later!

March 15, 2018

Russian Interference in U.S. to Expand Chaos

No matter how bad the Russia collusion and hacking have gotten, the Republicans have seemed rather blasé about this involvement, even supporting Russia over the people in the United States. Will these Republicans change their position if they lose their electric power? Russian hackers have been attacking the U.S. infrastructure, including electricity, water, and transportation as well as nuclear and manufacturing sectors, and the federal government is getting worried. Last summer, the news that Russia had gotten into over a dozen power plants in seven states didn’t get much attention in the first year of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in the Oval Office. Now Russians have moved into dozens of states with their attacks on the infrastructure. Eric Chien, a security technology director at the digital security firm Symantec, said:

“We now have evidence they’re sitting on the machines, connected to industrial control infrastructure, that allow them to effectively turn the power off or affect sabotage…. They have the ability to shut the power off.”

Today’s public alert from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI warned that these hackers have been targeting U.S. infrastructure for the past two years. They started by staging malware and spear phishing at small commercial networks before obtaining remote access in energy sector networks which allowed them to collect information connected with Industrial Control Systems. At least three simultaneous Russian cyber hacking attacks are going into infrastructure controls, stealing documents and using a “troll farm” called the Internet Research Agency to spread misinformation on social media for chaos and discord, and focusing on disrupting the infrastructure of U.S. and European countries.

Last summer, Congress passed a law mandating that DDT place sanctions on Russia, but he  ignored the law.  A letter from 140 House Democrats asked DDT to impose these sanctions on Russia, an action that the Treasury Department took after the chemical attack on a Russian double agent in Britain followed by the death of a Russian exile. Even these sanctions are weak, because they are only on the entities and people indicted by Robert Mueller. The State Department also released a condemnation of Russia’s “campaign of coercion and violence” in the Russian annexation of Crimea four years ago this week, but no sanctions.

A serious problem for Republicans this week comes from the House Intelligence Committee GOP announcement that it closed down its investigation into the Russian scandal before finishing its job. The committee issued a brief summary with a 150-page report supposedly to follow, explaining the GOP position that intelligence agencies were wrong in its evidence of how Russia supported DDT in the presidential election. DDT saw the GOP whitewash as a vindication.

Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), forced from leadership of the committee after he briefed White House officials on committee information, has always protected DDT, even leaking information, and announced last June that they wouldn’t find any collusion. GOP members limited topics under discussion and witnesses’ questions while following White House restrictions and refusing to investigate phone and bank records corroborating witness claims. Nunes consistently undermined Robert Mueller’s investigation with false information. The person ostensibly in charge of the House Intelligence Committee investigation claimed ignorance of George Nadar, a key witness about secret meetings in the Seychelles.

The report was so biased that hard-right GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who led the Benghazi/private email server email against Hillary Clinton said that the GOP evidence was “motivated in whole or in part by a desire to harm [Clinton’s] candidacy or undermine her Presidency had she prevailed.” Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Monday that “there is evidence” showing the Russians attempted to help President Trump during the 2016 presidential election, contradicting a draft report from the panel. Rooney also warned that the government needs to act to prevent foreign interference in the upcoming midterm elections.

The GOP spin from other committee members, however, is that the intelligence community is wrong about Russian interference just as they were about Iraq weapons—ignoring the fact that the intelligence community denied “specific information” about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction before George W. Bush invaded Iraq. Then, as now with the GOP members of the “no Russian interference” group, the politicians were wrong in their perspective about the documents given them.

Deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah made an awkward statement by saying that DDT would have been aware of any such collusion if it did occur. In Shah’s words, proof of collusion would also be proof of DDT’s knowledge about it. Luckily for him, it appears to be an opinion.

Democrats on the committee had not seen the report when it was released and were not told about the conclusion before it was made public. Following the release of the GOP summary, the minority members of the House intelligence Committee released a 21-page “Status of the Russia Investigation.” The majority of the document is composed of four appendices, beginning in Appendix A with the outstanding lines of inquiry which have been partially or not at all addressed:

  • Hacking and dissemination of campaign emails by Russia to determine the specific of this cyber operation.
  • DDT’s campaign knowledge of the email hacks.
  • Elections security—or lack thereof.
  • Russian social media campaign.
  • Financial leverage in DDT’s business deals, perhaps for Russian money laundering and DDT’s actively negotiating a business deal in Moscow with a sanctioned Russian bank during the election, despite his assertion that he had no business dealings with Russia.
  • Money-laundering and foreign payments, already somewhat revealed by Robert Mueller’s special investigation which includes charges against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.
  • Post-election effects and obstruction of justice, including intervention from and lies by Michael Flynn in U.S. affairs with Russia, DDT attempts to block James Comey to investigate Flynn, and DDT’s writing a memo to cover the June 2016 meeting in which his son Donald Trump Jr. and two other senior campaign advisers intended to get damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Appendix B lists over 30 key witnesses which had not been interviewed with brief descriptions of their potential involvement which needs further inquiry. Appendix C gives over 20 entities, including Deutsche Bank, which should be sent “indispensable” documents that directly connect to Russian election interference.  Fifteen other people and entities that should appear and/or present documents are in Appendix D. This list includes DDT, Jared Kushner, Hope Hicks, Erik Prince, and the White House. A key line in the most recent report from this committee:

The Minority has a good faith reason to believe that the White House does in fact possess such documentation memorializing President Trump’s conversations with Director Comey.  Subsequent press reporting revealed the existence of a memorandum reportedly composed by President Trump and Stephen Miller that referenced President Trump’s communications with Director Comey.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May says that it is “highly likely” former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned in Salisbury, England by Russia. DDT refuses to mention the word “Russia” in connection with the poisoning although Secretary of State Secretary Rex Tillerson said that the attack “clearly came from Russia.”

Today, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster used strong language to decry Russia’s actions and blamed the Kremlin for “the abhorrent nerve agent attack” in England. It may be his last speech because rumors from the White House indicate he is to be fired by the end of the month, despite the press secretary’s denial. DDT has told Chief of Staff John Kelly that McMaster is too rigid and his briefings are too long.

Earlier, Nunes tried to protect DDT with a GOP committee memo about the Russian investigation that DDT erroneously used to proclaim exoneration for himself. It was followed by a heavily redacted response from the Democrats showing the GOP’s “distortions and misrepresentations.” Complaints that Christopher Steele’s dossier on DDT were responsible for a warrant to surveil DDT’s associate and suspected foreign agent Carter Page where shown to be totally bogus.

Meanwhile Robert Mueller is continuing his investigation, this week with subpoenas to the Trump Organization for documents, some related to Russia, in its first approach to DDT’s business affairs. Despite DDT’s denial that it has no holdings in Russia, witnesses have been asked about DDT’s business plans to build in Moscow. DDT has talked to Emmet Flood, the lawyer who represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment, about hiring him. Lawyers have advised DDT not to talk with Mueller, but he may be considering an interview if Mueller restricts the scope of questioning and concludes the DDT-involved part of the investigation within 60 days of the interview. Good luck!

Meanwhile Conor Lamb defeated Vladimir Putin in a U.S. House race last Tuesday in the far southwest Pennsylvania district with an almost 96 percent white population and so badly gerrymandered that no Democrat ran against the Republican in the past two elections. DDT won that district by 20 points in the presidential election. The former representative resigned after the publicity that the anti-abortion Republican encouraged his lover to have an abortion. This news was followed by multiple stories of his inappropriate action from his staff. Murphy is a developmental psychologist with a wife and adult daughter.

March 9, 2018

DDT: Week Fifty-nine – Rampant Corruption

The media went crazy over the ballistic behavior of former campaign adviser Sam Nunberg after Robert Mueller subpoenaed his testimony and documents about major players in the Russia scandal.  Nunberg first declared that he would refuse to comply with the subpoena, especially because Roger Stone is so special to him, before he made the round of news shows and backed down after continually asking if he could be put in jail with his refusal. Tuesday ended with a delicious segment on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show. Nunberg showed up before the grand jury on Friday and testified. Grim-faced, he refused to comment afterward. While complaining on TV, he said that DDT knew about the June 2016 meeting between the Russian lawyer and his son and son-in-law a week before it occurred.

George Nadar, adviser to the United States Arab Emirates (UAE), also testified before a grand jury and is cooperating with Mueller. Nadar represented UAE’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at a meeting in Seychelles meeting in January 2017 with a Russian investor, a friend of Vladimir Putin. ant Erik Prince, DDT’s adviser who founded Blackwater and Betsy DeVos’ brother. Prince had wanted to set up a private military army for DDT in Afghanistan. Mueller is collecting evidence that the Seychelles meeting was to create a back-channel communication system between DDT and Vladimir Putin and foreign money for DDT’s campaign as well as Nadar’s meetings with Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon. Nadar’s testimony contradicted Erik Prince’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee about his encounter with the Russian oligarch in the Seychelles.

After the story about George Nadar broke, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) said, “I don’t have any clue who George Nader is.” Conaway is helping lead the House Intelligence Committee in the DDT-Russia scandal. In addition to his involvement with Russia, Nadar, DDT’s friend, was arrested for child pornography in 1985, including his having received a package with a film of young boys engaged in sexual acts and photos of nude boys. Reasons for the dismissal of the case are not clear.

Paul Manafort pled not guilty to all the charges against him in Virginia, but he is now wearing a second ankle tracking device, the other for Washington, because the two jurisdictions have different systems. The Virginia trial begins in July 10, followed by a September date in Washington.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is leading an inquiry into the $509 million loans Kushner obtained after meeting with the lenders in the White House.

DDT may have obstructed justice or tampered with witnesses by asking at least two of them—White House counsel Don McGahn and former chief of staff Reince Priebus—about their interviews with Mueller.

After head of the National Security Agency, Mike Rogers, testified that the president had not directed him to prevent Russia’s targeting U.S. elections, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to cover for DDT’s inaction, but thus far the State Department has spent $0 of the $120 million allocated to fight foreign cyberattacks on elections. Not one of the 23 analysts working in the Global Engagement Center speaks Russian, and the department has a hiring freeze. DDT is still delaying any sanctions ordered by law and denied that Russian meddling had anything to do with “our votes” in 2016. He promises a “very, very deep study” and “strong suggestions” before the 2018 midterms.

In a New Yorker story, Jane Mayer wrote that Russia blocked DDT from appointing Mitt Romney as Secretary of State, according to researcher Christopher Steele.

DDT keeps pushing the media to investigate the Russia collusion in the time of President Obama, and they have—with all roads ending at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refusing to release any information about Russian election meddling before DDT was elected. McConnell says that he’s “perfectly comfortable” with that decision to conceal the Russian election manipulation from the public.

Nastya Rybka (real name Anastasiz Vashukevich), an escort in Thailand, claims to have 16 hours of audio proof connecting the Russian campaign to DDT that she will release if the U.S. gets her out of prison.

Title X, the only federal grant program dedicated to comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services, will now favor programs with a focus on abstinence-only sex education and “natural” family planning methods. The over 4 million people who use this program for health department and other nonprofit community health centers, in place for almost a half century, may have more difficulty obtaining birth control or getting access to cancer and STD screenings with the new guidelines. Title X funded clinics helped people prevent 822,300 unintended pregnancies, averting 387,200 unplanned births and 277,800 abortions in just 2015.

Jeff Sessions is suing California to overturn state immigrations laws, including the program that inspects federal immigration detention centers for its rampant mistreatment and abuse by private companies. DOJ is also threatening any other states that pursue similar laws. State and local officials have complained about DDT’s ICE activities because they undermine local economies and make communities more dangerous.

DDT has decided to remove new tee markers with the presidential seal from his golf courses.  [Markers at Eagle Sign, New Albany (IN) and Louisville (KY)]  Manufacture or use of the seal, its likeness, “or any facsimile thereof” for other than government business is punishable by up to six months in prison. Earlier, DDT used the “family crest” that he took without permission from the family owning Mar-a-Lago.

After DDT said he talked to North Korea on the phone when he actually spoke to South Korean Moon Jae-in, he announced a meeting with North Korea in late May without any State Department or other diplomatic input, probably to draw attention from Russia or Stormy Daniels. Hours before DDT announced the talks, State Department Secretary Rex Tillerson said that talks would not be “realistic” or prudent yet. DDT put Kim Jong-un in control by elevating a rogue state to an equal to the United States—without any rewards for the U.S. The day after DDT’s announcement, the press secretary said that conditions need to be met before the meeting. Look for far more media about the meeting that may never happen.

Jared Kushner also ignored diplomats, including the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, when he met with the Mexican president.

At the Gridiron Dinner, a gathering of 65 journalists with a self-deprecating roast-like speech by the current president, DDT made all his jokes at the expense of his family, colleagues, and enemies. Before the speech, he said, “My staff was concerned that I couldn’t do self-deprecating humor.” He can’t.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA accused Stephen Colbert of being a “danger” to the nation after a segment in which Colbert showed a memo stating “Devin Nunes is a [redacted]” with the question about what the redacted word is. After trying to shut down the probe into the DDT-Russian collusion, Nunes added that Colbert, like others on the left, “attack people who are trying to get to the truth.” Colbert answered Nunes complaint by showing another segment in which he was unable to meet with the representative.

DDT’s tariffs on steel and aluminum will cost the nation at least 146,000 jobs. The steel manufacturing industry employs 140,000 people; manufacturing with steel provides 6.3 million jobs. The Constitution gives Congress the power to stop DDT, but the unhappy Republicans won’t cross him.

Virginia Heffernan described Ivanka Trump’s growing problems with her connections with former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who lied to the FBI; developer Felix Sater, guilty of a $40-million stock fraud scheme with the Russian mobsters; and Tamir Sapir, tied to racketeering with the Gambino crime family before he died. Ivanka brought Flynn to DDT, toured Russia with Sater, and collaborated with Sapir. Heffernan also described Ivanka’s involvement in shady real-estate projects.

When DDT hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, Netanyahu said, “This will be remembered.” As the Mueller investigation gets closer to possible Russian collusion with DDT, Israeli police has recommended that Netanyahu be indicted on bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three corruption cases, the most recent one this week. Mueller is getting closer to DDT’s corruption. “This will be remembered.”

Fond of dictators in other countries, DDT wants to emulate China after President XI Jinping wants to do away with any term limits in the Constitution. DDT praised Xi’s efforts to become “president for life” and said, “Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”

Afraid of firing people, DDT lets others discharge them or belittles them in the hopes that they will quit. Now that DDT is ready to dispense with John Kelly as Chief of Staff, he has sent Anthony Scaramucci on the talk show circuit to smear Kelly. At least that’s what the media from left to right is reporting, although Scaramucci says the story from White House insiders isn’t true.

This last week, DDT tweeted that he was asking China for ways that they could reduce their trade deficit with the United States by $1 billion. DDT’s administration figure is actually $100 billion; he was off by $99 billion. And why would China want to do this?

More on the week with appointments, resignations, and lawsuits later.

March 3, 2018

DDT: Week 58 – Russia, Guns

[Note: Survivors of the Parkland (FL) school shooting cannot get a permit for their March for Our Lives on March 24 because a student group “at a local educational institution” wants to film a talent show on the Mall on that date. That permit states, “Games will be the main activity for filming,” and equipment listed “two tables, two bikes, and jump ropes.” March for Our Lives organizers planned their rally away from federal land and in D.C., on Pennsylvania Avenue between Third and 12th streets NW.]

The increasing fury from the tweets of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), such as his primal scream “WITCH HUNT,” has been worsened by revelations about White House policy possibly being directed by Jared Kushner’s need for money. The debt on his Fifth Avenue property, $1.4 billion, comes due next year. Investigations show possible connections between financing for Kushner’s family business and Kushner’s discussions with Qatar, Turkey, Russia, China, and the United Arab Emirates:

  • The punishing blockade against Qatar occurred after a Qatar billionaire decided not to invest in Kushner’s business.
  • Apollo Global Management loaned Kushner $184 million, triple the average size of a typical loan, after an Apollo founder Joshua Harris, advising DDT about infrastructure, met with Kushner about a White House job for Harris.
  • Israel’s Menora Mivtachim loaned $30 million to Kushner for additional equity in 10 Maryland apartment complexes just before DDT’s trip with Jared and Ivanka last May. Since then, DDT declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel and the move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
  • Citigroup loaned Kushner $325 million after Kushner met with a chief executive, Michael Corbat.

Kushner has now lost his high-level security clearance to a status below the White House chief calligrapher, which includes his losing access to DDT’s daily brief.

Robert Mueller’s investigation:

  • DDT’s attacks on AG Jeff Sessions for his handling of Sessions’ assignment of his inspector general to examine GOP accusations of FISA surveillance procedures as well as whether DDT tried to get rid of AG Jeff Sessions last summer to get control of the Russia investigation.
  • Whether DDT knew about Russia stealing DNC emails before the public was aware of the action and whether DDT knew when WikiLeaks was going to release the hacked emails. In July 2016, DDT asked Russia to find emails deleted by Hillary Clinton.
  • Whether DDT’s associate Roger Stone knew about the email information before it was public.  Stone lied about not having direct communication with WikiLeaks during DDT’s campaign. Democrats asked the House Intelligence Committee to subpoena WikiLeaks messages with Stone, but Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) and the other GOP members have refused.

Nunes did release the Democratic refutation of the GOP House Intelligence Committee memo and explanation of the warrant to surveil Carter Page. A government watchdog group filed a second ethics complaint against Nunes’ leaking private information from Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) to the Fox network about the Russian interference to the media. After some of Hope Hicks’ testimony was leaked, the two top members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, including GOP Richard Burr (NC), told House Speaker Paul Ryan about “concerns” regarding the operations of the House committee and accusations of the GOP illegal leaking.

The scariest Russian information this week came from Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency. He reported to the Senate Armed Services Committee that he cannot try to stop the Kremlin meddling—and perhaps control—of U.S. elections without presidential authorization—which DDT won’t give. Members of the NSC understand that DDT would perceive any discussion of the Russian problem as a personal affront. Rogers, due to retire in April, said, “President Putin has clearly come to the conclusion that there’s little price to pay and that therefore ‘I can continue this activity.’”

Vladimir Putin continues to make fools of conservatives, who he calls “useful fools.” In his latest address, Putin announced Russia has an “invincible” missile moving at hypersonic speed with an “unlimited” range that renders defense “completely useless.” He said that “any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies to be a nuclear attack on our country.” DDT had no response to Putin and saved his energy for tweeting against Alex [sic] Baldwin after his performance on Saturday Night Live.

DDT has a serious problem with his animosity toward Iran. He has incessantly threatened to sever the U.S. deal with Iran to keep it from developing nuclear weapons in order to please his base. At the same time, Russia, who DDT doesn’t dare offend, is building a closeness with Iran, becoming that country’s most important ally.

DDT is scapegoating former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe by accusing him of leaking information in October 2016 about conflict within the FBI and DOJ regarding Hillary Clinton’s family foundation and then intentionally misleading investigators about what he had done. The DOJ is also investigating former FBI director James Comey, his statement about closing the cases against Clinton’s email server without charges, and his decision to announce resumption of his work in this area only ten days before the presidential election. Last May, DDT asked McCabe in a meeting who McCabe voted for in that election and attacked him in tweets about his wife taking donations from a Democrat’s PAC for her political campaign. McCabe’s retirement is scheduled for March 18.

In trouble for paying legal fees defending DDT and Donald Trump Jr. in the Russian collusion, the RNC switched the monthly $37,541.67 to rent part of Manhattan’s Trump Tower. DDT’s election campaign also paid over $470,000 in rent for space at Trump Tower during 2017. Other RNC expenditures include $427,000+ expenditures at DDT’s properties such as Trump International Hotel (Washington, D.C.), Mar-a-Lago (Palm Beach), and Trump National Doral (Miami). DDT’s former bodyguard Keith Schiller collected $75,000 for “security services” immediately after Chief of Staff John Kelly fired Schiller in September, and the RNC said that he is being paid to consult on its 2020 convention site selection. VP Mike Pence’s son, John Pence, also gets over $7,000 a month for “consulting,” and DDT political ally Brad Parscale, DDT’s former campaign digital director and newly-named 2020 campaign director, got over $882,000 from the RNC in January.

Parscale sold his digital company last year for $10 million to CloudCommerce that it has not made a profit for almost ten years and spent over $19 million in investor money since it was started almost 20 years ago. At this time, CloudCommerce has $107,000. In 2006, a top executive was caught in an FBI bribery sting and pled guilty to securities fraud. Andrew Van Noy, Cloudcommerce’s chief executive, has earned less than $9,000 in each of the past three years and has faced six-figure debts from unpaid credit cards and repossessed cars while facing two real-estate fraud lawsuits. Parscale, a member of the board, hired Eric Trump’s wife, Lara, for an undisclosed amount.

DDT hasn’t said anything about the stock market since its volatility in early February, but his announcement of tariffs—25 percent on steels and 10 percent on aluminum—caused the markets to plummet again this week. A president can legally impose tariffs with proof that imports threaten U.S. national security. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross doesn’t believe in the significant “trickle-down” possibility of price hikes with taxes on imports. All DDT’s advisers and the GOP legislators opposed the move except the Commerce Department. Just days before the announcement, DDT’s former adviser Carl Icahn sold $31.3 million of stock in Manitowoc, a manufacturer relying on steel. It is the first time that Icahn trade these stocks in two years. DDT’s answer to global concerns both foreign and domestic is that “trade wars are good and easy to win.”

Traumatized by the tariffs, the GOP is also suffering from DDT’s statement:

“I like taking the guns. Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

The only gun position DDT has consistently kept this week is to arm the teachers, despite objections from diverse groups. Evidence supporting the insanity of arming teachers come from increasing news such as the “Teacher of the Year” in Georgia who fired a gun in his classroom this week, the six-year-old who found his teacher’s gun that had been left on the back of a toilet and the third-grader who reached into an armed guard holster and fired his gun.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto won’t be coming to visit DDT— Peña Nieto’s second cancellation since DDT’s inauguration because DDT won’t admit that Mexico won’t be building the wall. Mexican officials said that DDT “lost his temper” during the 50-minute telephone call; U.S. officials called him frustrated and exasperated. DHS Director Kirstjen Nielsen has canceled her visit to Mexico. Jared Kushner was in charge of U.S.-Mexico relationships.

More to come about appointments, resignations, lawsuits, etc. during Week 58.

February 5, 2018

Dueling Memos Accompanied by Dropping Stock Markets

Remember when Congress passed the last stall to the spending bill on January 22, 2018? That was the one they passed because they couldn’t meet the December 21, 2017 deadline when they couldn’t meet the October 1, 2017 deadline. No problem! They claimed they could get a spending bill in three weeks. Everyone knew they couldn’t. The House passed an unconstitutional anti-abortion bill that lost in the Senate, and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) deliver the dud memo that DDT thought would save him from an investigation. It did garner Nunes’ opponent, Democrat Andrew Janz, $300,000 for his campaign in 72 hours. And Congressional members also wandered off to West Virginia for most of a working week while hitting a garbage truck on the way.

The next deadline is this Thursday, and nothing has been done to move forward on it. Republicans promised to deal with the immigration issue but only holds the DACA Dreamers hostage. The next spending bill delay piles the bill on top of a DACA immigration deadline on March 5 and the debt ceiling, a month closer to early March because the Treasury is giving handouts to the wealthy and big corporations.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is already taking extraordinary actions to pay the nation’s bills by suspending payments into federal employee retiree, health and disability funds. This time of the year is harder on the treasury because of income tax returns. Last year’s budget deficit was $666 billion, the largest since the recession recovery in 2013.

DDT claimed that he fired former FBI director James Comey because the agency was in “turmoil, but it was the firing that created chaos within the FBI. Both Comey’s and Andrew McCabe’s firings from DDT’s politicization have been responsible for the demoralized environment that has grown only worse from the smear memo from Nunes’ memo. about the surveillance warrant request for Carter Page. Even some Republicans are withdrawing from Nunes and his memo, rejecting the idea that the memo exonerates DDT.

If not outright “misrepresenting” facts, the memo omits information about the research and documents including the background going back at least three years before Page’s involvement with DDT. In August 2013, Page bragged about being an “informal advisor” to the Kremlin. In the memo, Nunes claimed that the FBI didn’t know anything about Page’s Russian connections until Christopher Steele’s dossier of summer 2016 that was paid for by Democrats after conservatives stopped paying for the investigation into DDT.

Discovering that people were not buying his take on the FISA warrant for Page, Nunes switched his focus to George Papadopoulos, asking why there was no warrant for him. Then Nunes left out information about Papadopoulos when he said he didn’t deserve a warrant, claiming that he only got drunk in London and criticized Hillary Clinton instead of the report that he told a diplomat about getting hacked emails with “dirt” on Clinton. He even claimed that DDT had never met Papadopoulos (center left), but a small meeting with the two of them in 2016 is documented in a photo from a campaign meeting.

In an effort to take attention away from his nothing-burger memo, Nunes told Sean Hannity that the real Russian collaborator is the Hillary Clinton that weaponized the FBI against DDT. Nunes claimed that the memo shows a “clear link” between Russia and the Clinton campaign, although the memo only mentions that the Clinton campaign paid for part of Steele’s dossier. Missing from the memo—and Nunes’ talking points—is that a conservative group initially commissioned the investigation on DDT because he was obviously the GOP presidential campaign.

Ellen Nakashima explained in the WaPo that another Nunes point in the memo was also wrong: the application for surveilling Page came from a political source, according to the request. Asked about this discrepancy on Fox & Friends, Nunes said the information was not good enough because it was in small print in a footnote:

“A footnote saying something may be political is a far cry from letting the American people know that the Democrats and the Hillary campaign paid for dirt that the FBI then used to get a warrant on an American citizen to spy on another campaign.”

Failing to successfully communicate his lie about the memo vindicating him, DDT grew more desperate last Monday morning with a smear tweet about the Democratic senator from California with fake stories about his leaking information, “Little Adam Schiff …. Must be stopped!” During his tweets last weekend, DDT clearly indicated he approved the memo in order to block the investigation into Russian meddling with the presidential election.

The popularity of #release the memo came from “bots,” computational propaganda capable of sending massive numbers of social media messages which led to bots claiming they weren’t bots. The “fake” news from bots is changing behavior as shown in this detailed explanation of how a bot “personalizes” with “fake” photos and disseminates fake information about progressive causes.

The House Intelligence Committee has unanimously voted to release the Democratic memo that refutes much of what Nunes wrote. Once again, the ball is in DDT’s court. He has five days to decide whether to release or block it—probably while spweeting (sputter-tweeting?) more about Schiff “leaking” information. The committee can vote to override DDT if he blocks the release, and it can be read into the House record.

DDT has called Nunes a “Great American Hero.” The committee chair said he is keeping secret his “Phase Two” of the GOP investigation to focus on the State Department’s role in the early states of Russian investigation. Almost a year ago, Nunes recused himself from any investigations related to Russia because of an ethics charge that he was giving information to the White House. Charges were dropped last December, but his behavior may call on more ethics charges. Republicans report that as many as five more memos may appear, sure to provide more cover for DDT and avoid the nasty problems of the spending bill and the debt ceiling.

While the media buzz was primarily about Nunes’ memo, DDT set another record: today’s Dow Jones fall of 1,179 was the biggest ever, not even close to the 777 points lost on September 29, 2008. On the same day, the S&P lost its entire January gain, and the Nasdaq was down for the seventh of the last nine days. The Dow loss is on top of over a 1,000+ drop last week; the value equals a loss of over $1 trillion in the first five days of February. Although some people blame the upcoming increase in interest rates by the Federal Reserve, others say the reason is the rising bond market as the U.S. Treasury is borrowing more money. It has to pay for all those tax cuts to the wealthy and big corporations.

Last year, investors ignored the possibilities of a trade war with China, a nuclear war with North Korea, and other fear that might have been discouraging to the stock market. The removal of regulations, especially for Wall Street, encouraged them to buy, buy, buy—driving the Dow Jones index up 10,000 points in the ninth year of its boom. Now the cheap money from global central banks may disappear with rising interest rates.

GOP said that the tax cut would cause big corporations to invest in businesses and hire more workers. Instead, corporations are sheltering more and more of their money or buying back ownership in their companies, an action that briefly drove up stocks. Rising wages and interest rates are a sign of inflation which the Fed will try to ward off by raising the interest rates again. Janet Yellen, who kept rates low, is no longer the Federal Reserve chair, and investors don’t know what the new chair, Jerome H. Powell, will do.

Energy corporations lack high earnings, resulting in the biggest drops in stock value, and health stocks were badly hurt by three large companies creating their own health care company for their employees. Tech stocks went down, and the new Apple I 8 and X phone suffered a downturn in sales. Oil prices went down. There’s not a crash, but the market may be “correcting,” a euphemism for going down.

Kellyanne Conway celebrated her one-year anniversary after inventing the term “alternative facts” by doubling down on the appropriateness of the GOP fictional perspective. In a radio interview, she decried the practice of fact-checking by saying that “Americans are their own fact-checkers” and they “have their own facts.” She added that “the stock market is something [Americans] know about because they’re part of the investor class,” forgetting that fewer than half of those “Americans” have any involvement in the stock market and pretending that the stock market equals the economy. (Maybe her next statement could be “ignorance is knowledge”?) All these people who Conway referenced will now know that the stock market dropped eight percent in as many days.

 

February 2, 2018

Memo Day Arrives

Filed under: Russia — trp2011 @ 10:40 PM
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Memo is out! For weeks, Fox’s Sean Hannity has been calling on Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to release a document that would destroy the Robert Mueller investigation into the Russia’s collusion to win the presidential election for DDT. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who got his spin for the memo from the White House, pushed the release of misleading, inaccurate information to protect DDT with the vote of his GOP members of the Intelligence Committee, who also unanimously denied the Democrats to release any information. After the memo was approved, Nunes changed the memo because he gave it to DDT, and the White House could then make more changes, also not approved by the committee, before permitting its release.

Both DDT’s FBI director, Christopher Wray, and National Intelligence director, Dan Coats, warned DDT that the memo’s information was inaccurate and compromised classified information. DDT didn’t even read the document before he agreed to its release.

The memo accuses the FBI and DOJ of abusing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act when he it obtained a warrant to surveil an adviser for DDT’s campaign because the reason was misleading. The FBI and DOJ first applied for a warrant on October 21, 2016 to surveil Carter Page. A renewal was required every 90 days. Three signers of a warrant—James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Sally Yates—have been fired; two, Dana Boente and Rod Rosenstein, remain in the government. Rod Rosenstein may be fired because he might not be willing to fire Robert Mueller.

Nunes claimed that Christopher Steele, paid to prepare a dossier on DDT, told a senior DOJ official that he wanted to be sure that DDT didn’t get elected with no evidence of any bias against Page, the subject of the warrant. The memo also claims that no warrant would have been obtained without the Steele dossier, but there is no evidence about this except private testimony that others claim has been “mischaracterized.” The FBI had considered Page might be a target of Russian intelligence long before he became involved with DDT after Page met a Russian spy in 2013.

The document’s conclusion concentrates on the text messages between two FBI employees that, according to the memo, illustrated “a clear bias against Trump and in favor of [Hillary] Clinton, whom Strzok had also investigated.” Yet other Peter Strzok text messages are equally critical of Clinton, and he co-drafted the letter about publicizing the text messages related to Clinton 11 days before the election, an action that may have elected DDT. With no evidence, Nunes’ memo blames the employees for leaking information to the media.

The released document had only one surprise, that George Papadopoulos was responsible for initiating the FBI investigation after he bragged to an Australian diplomat over drinks in London that the Russians have dirt on Hillary Clinton before the hack on the DNC emails became public. Concerned about the Russian involvement, the diplomat warned the FBI. Papadopoulos is testifying to Robert Mueller.

In the past, Nunes demonstrated strong support for greater surveillance, voting for the expansion of the National Security Agency’s warrantless program and helping block others who wanted to restrict the agency from spying on U.S. citizens. He also rejected a suggestion to release the FBI/DOJ request for the warrant, redacted for classified information and privacy, to show what information was used in the court affidavit.

From his ranch in Arizona, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) issued a statement about Nunes’ release of the memo:

“In 2016, the Russian government engaged in an elaborate plot to interfere in an American election and undermine our democracy. Russia employed the same tactics it has used to influence elections around the world, from France and Germany to Ukraine, Montenegro and beyond. The latest attacks against the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests ― no party’s, no President’s, only Putin’s. The American people deserve to know all the facts surrounding Russia’s ongoing efforts to subvert our democracy, which is why Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation must proceed unimpeded. Our nation’s elected officials, including the president, must stop looking at this investigation through the lens of politics and manufacturing political sideshows. If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.”

Nunes apparently jobbed out the writing of his memo. His aides wrote the document, and he didn’t even see the warrant. Only one Democrat and one Republican, plus staff, are permitted to see these warrants. Nunes assigned the task to Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). Therefore, Nunes cannot know whether his own document is accurate. The day after Nunes announced the release of the memo, Gowdy abruptly announced that he would not be running for re-election. Swept in with the 2010 Tea Party epidemic, Gowdy became famous with his incessant grilling of Hillary Clinton over four deaths at a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi (Libya) in 2012.  One of the almost dozen “interviews” lasted about eleven hours and revealed no new information. By 2016, Gowdy admitted that Clinton was not responsible. Gowdy’s other persecution of Clinton was her private email server although he himself used private email instead of a government server. He said he wants to return to the justice system, and the 4th Circuit Court has a vacancy. may have his eye on an appointment for the 4th Circuit Court. Over 40 House GOP members of the 115th Congress are already not running in this year’s election.

Nunes has used his power to cover for DDT by refusing to investigate Russian interference. He is controlling the Republicans in the House: even House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) won’t disagree with his unethical actions and claims “malfeasance” in the FBI. Nunes also announced his release of the memo when DDT said that he would not follow a law by Congress requiring new sanctions on Russia when DDT’s CIA director, Mike Pompeo, has “every expectation that they will continue” trying to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections.

The GOP promised that Nunes’ memo would be “worse than Watergate.” Watchers of Sean Hannity and Fox will have an entirely different perspective of the memo than the rest of the world. And DDT will be delighted because he gets all his advice from Fox. He told friends that the release of the memo would allow him to argue FBI prejudice against him. Most people, however, as saying, “That’s it?” The memo.

Russia This Week:

DDT backed off on his guarantee because lawyers are afraid that he’ll lie to them. Seventy-one percent of people in the U.S. agree that he should agree to an interview with Mueller, and 82 percent of them want it under oath—93 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of Republicans.

Mark Corallo, DDT’s legal team spokesman who resigned last summer from concern that he might be exposed to obstruction, agreed to meet with Robert Mueller. His testimony involves Hope Hicks, communications director, who loves DDT “like a father,” who said in front of DDT with no lawyer present that the emails written by Donald Trump Jr. leading up to the Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer “will never get out.” Corallo notified the legal team about the conversation and took notes as well as sharing his concerns with Steve Bannon. DDT had insisted that the statement maintain that Jr.’s meeting was about Russian adoptions. Jr. insisted on the addition of the word “primarily” about the meeting subject.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein asked DDT for help before his testimony at the House Judiciary Committee to keep Rep. Devin Nunes from getting “sensitive documents.” In this December visit, DDT asked about the direction of the investigation and whether Rosenstein was “on my team,” similar to questions he posed to James Comey before he fired him and then Andrew McCabe who is also gone. DDT also proposed questions to the committee for Rod Rosenstein, including whether Rosenstein picked Mueller as investigator because Mueller wasn’t chosen for FBI director.

No Sanctions against Russia:

  • July 2017: Congress imposed new sanctions on Russia for election meddling with a deadline. Senate passed the bill by 98-2. DDT signed the bill with a note of protest and an angry tweet. He then missed all the deadlines.
  • October 2017: DDT disbanded the sanctions office.
  • January 29, 2018: Deadline for sanctions. Otherwise, DDT will flout Congress and violate the law. DDT announced he won’t be following the law.  At the same time, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats met with two top Russian spy chiefs. Reuters found out by reading Russian media.

Andrew McCabe was “removed” from the FBI.

This week DDT gave his State of the Union speech, Nunes released his memo, Nunes’ opponent for the House raised $100,000 in one day, and the Dow Jones dropped over 1,000 points.

March 24, 2017

DDT: Week Nine – Big Failure

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 7:46 PM
Tags: , , , , , , ,

When Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) signed S. 442 with $19.5 billion, the NASA Transition Authorization Act, I thought, “Finally! He did something positive!” Ha! Nope. With a $200 million increase (one percent), the bill is the first time the mission does not include earth science, including climate research, diverging from six GOP administrations and five Democratic ones. DDT’s budget from last week cuts out several NASA initiatives, including the Office of Education, and terminates the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE), Orbital Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3), Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), and CLARREO Pathfinder missions. Through monitoring and predicting weather, climates, and ecosystems, these four satellites help save lives and prepare the nation for long-term changes.

DDT did have a sort-of win this week when Anthony Trenga, a George W. Bush-appointed judge, ruled in favor of DDT’s Muslim ban, but the injunctions against it hold because the 4th Circuit Court will not hear DDT’s appeal until May. http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/3/17/1644630/-Nine-states-and-D-C-intervene-in-lawsuit-challenging-Obama-s-enhanced-fuel-efficiency-standards  DDT faces more litigation from his announcement of changes in fuel economy standards. In defense of the existing standards, nine states and the District of Columbia are suing the administration to preserve the requirement for auto manufacturers to achieve 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, saving both the environment and costs to car owners.

All things considered, DDT had a horrible week.

The biggest failure for both DDT and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was Trumpcare’s failure, after Ryan postponed the bill on Thursday and completely pulled the bill today because it was short on votes. Ryan thought he could push it through in three weeks, passing it almost exactly one year after the Affordable Care Act passed Congress. DDT thought he could get the votes by threatening House Republicans with losing the 2018 election if they didn’t vote for it. He had already lied about convincing people to vote for the bill, and his threat picked up ten more “no” votes from representatives who wanted to completely destroy the Affordable Care Act.

Ryan decided that he could win over the scorched-earth naysayers by taking away ten Essential Health Benefits mandated for insurance coverage: outpatient care, ER visits, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and addiction treatment, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services, lab services, preventive care, and pediatric services. Far beyond “health care light,” the bill ended up being “health care no.” That change lost less far-right voters, and it failed even after DDT sent white supremacist Steve Bannon and congenital liar Kellyanne Conway to Capitol Hill on a mission of gathering votes and passing along DDT’s threat that he would drop support for health reform if they didn’t vote on Friday.

Another huge failure for DDT came Monday when FBI Director James Comey announced that President Obama didn’t wiretap DDT’s phones in Trump Tower, as DDT claimed, but that intelligence is continuing its investigation into the possible collusion between his campaign and Russia. DDT’s source for his false contention that Britain helped the former president in wiretapping, frequent Fox guest Andrew Napolitano, has disappeared, at least temporarily, from the network, and DDT looked like a fool during his press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel when he talked about it. Fox eventually said that the network “cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary.”

In an attempt to spare DDT more embarrassment, the Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), past member of DDT’s transition team and chair of the committee investigating DDT and Russia, has called off hearings to block testimonies from former DNI director James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Nunes also backed down from his assertion that U.S. intelligence was “monitoring” DDT and his aides.

On Wednesday, the third day of hearings for DDT’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, the normally split Supreme Court overturned one of Gorsuch’s decisions in which he ruled that schools were not required to provide education for disabled students.

And DDT had other failures.

DDT, who said he would pick the “very best people,” selected Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. During his recent Asian trip, Tillerson told the only reporter on board that he didn’t want the job but took it because “my wife told me I’m supposed to do this.” Not everyone agrees. Tillerson has dodged the press, refused to answer question, failed to defend his department from a one-third budget cut, threatened to attack North Korea without further diplomacy, bailed on some responsibilities in Asia because of “fatigue,” and then planned to visit Russia instead of attending a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels. About rejecting the press, Tillerson said, “I’m not a big media press access person. I personally don’t need it.” He also failed to hold a press conference for the release of the annual human rights report. It was the first time in the report’s 40-year history that this has happened. His inaction has also led to several vacant leadership positions in the State Department. And that was just the last week.

To Tillerson, diplomacy doesn’t work so the nation is vastly increasing its military budget. According to Tillerson’s version of diplomacy while ExxonMobil CEO,  he kept quiet and let governments manage their own domestic politics. This narrow definition of “diplomacy” strikes bargains on the basis of private interests. Missing are interviews, press conferences, social media, and speeches to simultaneously address and shape public and legislative opinion simultaneously in multiple countries. Without credibility from Tillerson and DDT, past allies won’t be supporting the U.S. in its hawkish moves.

DDT’s honeymoon with Wall Street may be over, gone from starry eyes to bloodshot realism. Tuesday was the biggest Dow Jones drop of seven consecutive days of decreases. On the same day, the nine biggest Wall Street firms lost $81.6 billion in value, and the wider banking industry fell about 4 percent—again the worst single day for banks since the Brexit vote in June. Last week, the Dow dropped 1.5 percent, the largest since last September. An uncertain future for Ryan’s health care plan has made Wall Street wonder if tax reform will follow the same pattern. Without the giant tax cuts for the wealthy, vast sums of money won’t be funneled back to the rich (aka investors). Tax cuts are bad for the economy but good for the bloated financial markets. With today’s 60-point drop in the Dow, Goldman Sachs stock was the worst of the 21 losing blue chips, down 1.5 percent.

DDT’s interview with the conservative Time came out with this striking cover (right). Some of his unbalanced (insane?) comments:

Evidence for President Obama’s wiretapping conspiracy: “I have articles saying it happened.”

Credibility in him: “The country believes me. Hey. I went to Kentucky two nights ago, we had 25,000 people in a massive basketball arena. There wasn’t a seat, they had to send away people.”

Belief in conspiracy theory that linked Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) father Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald: “That was in a newspaper [that] had a picture of Ted Cruz, his father, and Lee Harvey Oswald, having breakfast.”

Insistence on forming a committee to find the three million “illegal” voters costing him the popular vote victory against Hillary Clinton: “If you take a look at the votes, when I say that, I mean mostly they register wrong, in other words, for the votes, they register incorrectly, and/or illegally.”

A Gallup poll released Monday morning showed that DDT continues to break records across all age groups with his historic unpopularity. The Huffington Post reports that his job approval has fallen to an abysmal 37 percent, “lower than any other president at this point in his first term since Gallup started tracking the numbers 72 years ago in 1945.”  Among millennials, DDT’s approval rating is 22 percent.

 

How empty is the man inaugurated last January 20? The White House posted this “official” photo of the Oval Office in the White House 1600 Daily.

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