Nel's New Day

January 25, 2020

DDT: Week 157 – Outside the Impeachment Bubble

Historic anniversaries this week:

January 21: Inauguration of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in 2016.

January 22: Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade permitting women to have abortions up the third month and in danger of being overturned.

January 23: Supreme Court decision in Citizens United that gave candidates $2.9 billion of dark money from Super PACs to influence elections with unlimited funds

This week DDT also announced he plans to cut Medicare and Social Security if he is re-elected because of his “great economy”:

“We have tremendous growth, we’re going to have tremendous growth. Next year, it will be towards the end of the year, the growth is going to be incredible….”

On the same day, the Dow dropped over 150 points. Economic growth is far below DDT’s projections for his tax cuts benefiting the wealthy and big business—not yet 3 percent–and the deficit spiked to $1 trillion. For next year, the Chicago Federal Reserve projects 1.9 percent economic growth, but DDT hopes to cut taxes again for more personal benefit. 

White House officials prompted DDT to cover up his statement that alienates his older voters, and DDT came out with the falsehood that Democrats will “destroy your Social Security” and that he will “save it!” Democrats created the program and spent almost a century protecting it. DDT already proposed tens of billions of dollars in Social Security cuts, and Republicans believe that “saving” Social Security can be done by “cutting” Social Security.

In his speech at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland), DDT called climate scientists “foolish fortune tellers,” “alarmists,” who want “absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives.” After basing his two campaigns for president on fear, he said, “Fear and doubt is not a good thought process.” Then he repeated his lie that the U.S., which has seen worsening air quality, has “the cleanest air in the world.” DDT spoke an hour after 17-year-old Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, at a conference concerned with climate change. He dodged an onstage question-and-answer session after the speech.

The conference focus was on climate change.

Although red states in the South won’t acknowledge the existence of climate change, they will receive billions of dollars for “natural” disasters made far worse by the human-caused changes in climate. These states need a reason to get the money so they use terms such as “changing coastal conditions” and the “destabilizing effects and unpredictability” of being hit by multiple storms in a short time. A $16 billion fund will be distributed to prepare for future natural disasters in states most affected by disasters from 2015 to 2017—GOP-oriented states along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Of the eight states fitting the criterion, only California didn’t vote for DDT. Half the money was assigned to Puerto Rico, but DDT withheld the funding because of “corruption.”

In support for DDT’s climate denial, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that activist Greta Thunberg should go to college to learn about economics after she called for investors to take their money out of fossil fuel stocks. Mnuchin, known as the “foreclosure king,” made his money from unethical mortgage practices. Climate economist Gernot Wagner, who has gone to “college”—Harvard and Stanford—presented a letter from Larry Fink, chief executive of Blackrock, the world’s largest asset management firm. Fink announced his company’s divestment of companies centered on fossil fuels and contribute to climate change. Wagner said that this decision came from the “scenario of having fossil fuels go the way of tobacco that makes fossil fuel execs the most nervous.” Divestment is economics, not politics.  

In his continued assault on the environment and people’s health, DDT has overturned or begun overturning 95 environmental regulations and is especially fixated on building pipelines. The oldest environmental law, created during Richard Nixon’s first year in the presidency as a response to the Santa Barbara Oil Spill, has been called the Magna Carta of environmental law. NEPA helps guarantee that the government considers development affects on climate and the affected local community by covering infrastructure such as highways and fossil fuel exploration. DDT’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposes horrific changes to NEPA after working for 2 years with those it considers is stakeholders, industry groups like electrical utilities, the American Petroleum Institute, and the American Gas Association. New rules eliminate considering climate change in environmental impact reports, allow companies to conduct their own reviews, and limit public input. The rule changes, like all others, has a time for public comment, and like all other DDT rule changes, all public comments will be ignored if they disagree with DDT’s plans to help big business.

In another environmental change, DDT plans to pollute 60 percent of waterways in the United States by removing protections for streams, wetlands, and groundwater. Winners are real estate developers (including golf courses), fossil fuel producers, and farmers; losers are the rest of the people in the nation. His changes affect not only smaller bodies of water but also the Chesapeake Bay, Mississippi River, and the Puget Sound. Not only is protection set up by President Obama in 2015 rescinded but also protections from the 1972 Clean Water Act are also eliminated. The chemical discharged into all these bodies of water will then move into larger and larger bodies of water. Wetlands can no longer perform their jobs of filtering surface water, protecting against floods, and providing wildlife habitat.

Even DDT-appointed scientists disagree. The EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board determined that DDT’s rule ignores science with “no scientific justification” for the devastating impact on the health of all water systems—and people.

DDT’s earlier deregulations have been on everything from chemicals in drinking and shower water to sprays on food and into the air. One Indiana town already experienced an outbreak of childhood cancers from chemicals. His rule changes also block the production of food. In 2018, the EPA allowed “emergency” approvals to spray the insecticide sulfoxaflor, highly toxic to bees, on over 16 million acres of crops that attract bees, vital to pollinating one-third of the food supply as well as other plants that animals need. The last decade has shown a drastic loss in the bee population.

Also at Davos, DDT tried to cover up his statement that “no Americans were harmed” when Iran retaliated to DDT’s assassination of Iranian leader Qassem Soleimani by firing over a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi air bases where U.S. forces were housed. To avoid combat, DDT said that he wouldn’t counter-attack Iran because “we suffered no casualties, all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.” Yet 11 U.S. service members were sent to hospitals for treatment for concussions because of the strike, and more troops were transported out of Iraq for medical treatment and evaluations in Germany. The Pentagon said that more military members may need to be transported from Iraq in the next few days. Caught in his lies, DDT said that he “heard they had headaches and a couple of other things … not very serious.” To DDT, brain damage is far less severe than missing limbs. Thus far, 34 U.S. service members have been diagnosed with concussions and traumatic brain injuries after the airstrikes; 17 are back on active duty, according to the Pentagon.

In a speech to his donors at Mar-a-Lago, DDT admitted Soleimani presented no “imminent” threat to the U.S. and killed him because he said “bad things” about the U.S. DDT had planned to kill Soleimani months earlier because Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former national security adviser John Bolton wanted a push-back against Iran. Once the murder was a fait accompli, White House, State Department, and Pentagon officials struggled to justify what DDT had ordered while other officials and the president daily changed the rationale to hide DDT’s sole concern about the killing’s impact on his election. Based on all the available intelligence, DDT’s “presentation” to private citizens, one he has not made to lawmakers, deserted his “rationale” for killing Soleimani of “imminent” threats on four U.S. embassies to just his being a “bad person.  

Officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are so afraid of DDT that they asked Senate and House Intelligence committees to stop public hearings on the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment. DDT has prevented these hearings since he moved into the Oval Office.

DDT also threatened Iraq that it could lose access to its central bank account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York if U.S. troops were expelled from U.S.-occupied Iraq. That account is used for oil revenue and payment for government salaries and contracts. He also threatened to end waivers allowing Iraq to purchase Iranian gas for generators supplying much of Iraq’s power.

At Davos, DDT said that “we have to protect Thomas Edison—we have to protect all of these people that came up with originally the light bulb, and the wheel.” The message was that these inventors are still alive and that someone from the U.S. invented the wheel.

April 9, 2019

DDT’s People: Part II, Proximity Instead of Professionalism

Where does Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) find the people who he extols, hires, berates, and then fires? A family wedding planner received an important HUD position. DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner found economic adviser Peter Navarro while browsing Amazon and seeing the title of his book, Death by China. For the Federal Reserve, DDT is nominating Stephen Moore, a GOP pundit who co-wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that complained about the Federal Reserve keeping the economy from glorious heights. The lies in the piece caught the attention of DDT’s national adviser Larry Kudlow, who subscribes to the same falsehoods. He told DDT about Moore, and DDT tweeted that he would nominate Moore, “a very respected Economist,” to fill a vacant position “on the Fed Board.”

Moore is neither an economist nor respected. Kevin Drum of Mother Jones wrote that “this is about like nominating Dr. Phil to run the CDC.” Moore admits that he knows very little about monetary policy, a focus of the Federal Reserve.

“I’m kind of new to this game, frankly, so I’m going to be on a steep learning curve myself about how the Fed operates, how the Federal Reserve makes its decisions. It’s hard for me to say even what my role will be there, assuming I get confirmed.”

About the appropriate size of the Fed’s balance sheet, Moore said,“To be honest, I’m going to have to study up on this one.” During the 2008 recession, Moore regarded Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged as his economic guide, but he didn’t even get the pretentious novel’s plot right. He used an event in which the government co-opted an invention to banks pressured to accept bailouts when the U.S. economy was ready to crash. Moore’s recommendation was to watch the world burn.

Moore’s owes $75,000 in unpaid federal taxes, interest, and penalties. When he was found in contempt of court for refusing to pay his wife tens of thousands of dollars in delinquent divorce, alimony, and child support payments, four police officers, two realtors, and a locksmith came to his house to sell his residence, per a court order. He had claimed he “paid off his wife,” but the total was just a fraction of what he owed after the seven people came to the house. Past-due payments came to $333,000. After Moore paid his ex-wife about two-thirds of his debt to her, the court called off the sale of the house.

Chief economist for the right-wing Heritage Foundation, Moore received his M.A. from George Mason University, the third most conservative college in the U.S. He is on the editorial board of the Murdoch’s conservative Wall Street Journal and founding president of the union-breaking Club for Growth, partly funded by the Koch brothers. They also donated $12 million to “Freedom Works,” where Moore is listed as “senior economic contributor.” He does no economic research but is always ready to make right-wing comments in economic policy debates. A respected conservative economist, Greg Makiw, said Moore “does not have the intellectual gravitas for this important job,” and even Fox’s Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller finds Moore unethical.

Slate wrote:

“Stephen Moore is a living embodiment of the sucking intellectual void at the core of conservative economics, an inept pundit who has spent his career evangelizing the supply-side dogma that tax cuts pay for themselves while shilling for Republican officeholders, all from well-paid perches at think tanks and in the media.”

Moore follows the failed theory of the GOP economic platform that big tax cuts for billionaires and corporations will cause prices to fall. He wants to use a Fed position to “free” the economy from “oppressive taxation” although the Board has nothing to do with taxation. Moore was heavily involved in destroying Kansas’ economy when he told former Gov. Sam Brownback to make his draconian tax cuts. The extreme austerity for government programs decimated their educational systems and other needs, and people raised taxes as soon as Brownback escaped into DDT’s government as a world ambassador for “religious freedom.”

Moore doesn’t reserve his public opinions to economics.

  • He defended Alabama’s U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of molesting a teenage girl by claiming that his opponent, now-Sen. Doug Jones, was as bad because he supports abortion rights.
  • He tried to slut-shame Stormy Daniels, paid off by DDT to keep their affair secret, in an interview on Don Lemon’s show.
  • He argued that scientists lie about their concern regarding climate change to get “really, really, really rich.”

The question is what the Senate will do with Moore. Eight years ago, GOP senators blocked President Obama’s Fed nomination Peter Diamond, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, for over a year and then killed it. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), still in the Senate at the age of 84, joined others to question Diamond’s qualifications.

Reeling from Moore’s nomination, people were even more shocked to hear that DDT is considering the former presidential candidate, pizza man Herman Cain, for another Fed position. On paper, Cain’s credentials may look slightly better than those of Moore: he served on an advisory board to the Kansas City branch of the central bank for a few years in the 1990s. Fortunately for the bank, he had no decision-making power.

People who watched the 2012 presidential campaign may remember Cain when he argued that people “need a leader, not a reader” and said he didn’t care who “the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan” is. He also touted his 9-9-9 tax plan based on false information. Cain quoted Pokemon in his departure from the campaign and then turned his mailing list into peddling suspected scams after he quit. During DDT’s campaign, Cain was a supporter, calling DDT a “shucky-ducky kind of candidate.” And it got worse from there. In 2015, Cain told Glenn Beck that Muslims should not be able to serve in government until they took a loyalty oath.

Cain dropped out of his 2012 campaign after allegations of sexual harassment. He denied them by saying that thousands of women he worked with would not make that claim. Cain’s lawyer, however, said that any women considering such accusations should “think twice.” Slate legal editor Dahlia Lithwick pointed out how this statement only exacerbates the threat of patriarchal power—something that DDT is still wielding.

Cain has a pattern of selecting people who may participate in sexual misconduct like DDT has. Sharon Bialek said that Cain told her she had to put up with his running his hand up her skirt if she wanted a job. Karen Kraushaar said that Cain groped her in the 1990s. Cain denied these allegations last week by stating that he would “be able to explain [the allegations] this time, where they wouldn’t let me explain it the last time. They were too busy believing the accusers.”

Others:

  1. GOP Senators confirmed Brett Kavanaugh for a Supreme Court position after three accusations of sexual misconduct.
  2. Andrew Puzder dropped out as a nominee for Secretary of Labor only after a publicized video showed his ex-wife in an Oprah Winfrey show called “High Class Battered Women.”
  3. DDT replaced Puzder with Alex Acosta, a billionaire pedophile enabler.
  4. Bill Shine acted as “fixer” for Fox executives accused of sexual misconduct.
  5. Barry Myers, nominee to lead NOAA, was chief executive for a family company that paid $290,000 after being found guilty of subjecting women to sexual harassment.
  6. Steve Munoz, accused of sexually assaulting five men at The Citadel military college, is still listed as assistant chief of protocol of visits for the State Department.

None of these men, including DDT, exhibited any remorse about their actions.

A CNBC survey of Wall Street shows that a majority of them doesn’t want either Moore or Cain on the Federal Reserve board. Results opposed both Moore by 60 percent and Cain  (53 percent). Kathy Bostjancic, chief U.S. Financial Market Economist at Oxford Economics, wrote that the men’s confirmations “would be very disruptive at a time when monetary policy is at an important crossroads.” Fund managers, economists and strategists participated in the polling. They also predicted the confirmation of Moore by 51 percent and Cain by 49 percent. Forty-seven percent of respondents think that nominations combined with DDT’s directing the Fed are “reducing the central bank’s independence” with implications for markets and the economy. Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, said, “Stacking the Fed with partisan hacks would alter how the market views the Fed’s decisions.”

DDT wants to people on the Federal Reserve Board who will cut interest rates for personal financial and political benefit. His recommended idea, quantitative easing by buying Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities used to get out a recession, would give the economy a sugar high long enough, DDT hopes, to get him elected. These nominations for a supposedly independent agency bodes poorly for the vast majority of people in the nation and around the world.

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