Nel's New Day

June 16, 2018

DDT: Week 73 – More Lies to Add to His Thousands

“I didn’t do anything wrong!” Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) repeated this sentence in a whiny voice during his impromptu press conference on the White House lawn this morning as he lied about a wide variety of issues. A few corrections to the record:

  • The OIG report did not exonerate in the Russian investigation. It was about the way that the FBI and DOJ handled the Clinton email investigation.
  • The same report did not show any bias against DDT because the report indicated that there was no bias.
  • There is no indication of “no collusion,” “no obstruction.”
  • Former FBI Director James Comey did not commit some “very criminal acts,” according to the OIG report.
  • Paul Manafort did have something “to do with [DDT’s] campaign.” With the campaign for five months, Manafort ran it for three months, including his highly visual presence at the GOP convention.
  • President Obama was not responsible for the Russian annexation of Crimea, and “going across the red line in the sand” concerned Syria, not Ukraine.
  • DDT did not always hate the war exercises. He got the idea for the gift to North Korea of ending these exercises from Vladimir Putin.
  • Tearing children from their parents at the Mexico border is not the Democrats’ law. It is not a law—in fact it’s against the law as “deterrence—and it’s a policy created and ordered by DDT and AG Jeff Sessions. And he does not want “laws to be beautiful and humane.”
  • The Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are not “liberating” communities from the scourge of MS-13; ICE is deporting law-abiding immigrants.
  • Despite DDT’s declaration that Michael Cohen is not his lawyer, it’s not clear when that happened.

If DDT didn’t lie about something, he said, “Let’s not talk about it” as he did when asked whether he dictated the statement on Donald Trump Jr.

DDT’s classic statement to the reporters:

“Hey, Kim Jong-Un is the head of a country, and I mean he is the strong head. Don’t let anybody think different. He speaks, and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

Pressed about the meaning of the statement, DDT tried to cover by calling it “sarcasm.” DDT continually describes the mass murderer as “very talented,” “great negotiator,” “very funny guy”–the pandering never stops.

[The Time cover for June 18, 2018, by Tim O’Brien, meant to address DDT’s political attacks on Robert Mueller.]

DDT’s justification for giving away the farm to North Korea without getting anything in return is that he is guaranteeing “complete denuclearization.” A fact-check of his claims at the June 12 news conference and interview with George Stephanopoulos indicates he has added more lies to the thousands he has told since his inauguration. The complete analysis is here.

  • Far more vague than past agreements, this one is not “comprehensive” with no definitions of “denuclearization.”
  • DDT dropped training war exercises without consulting the Pentagon or South Korea. He complained they were “expensive,” but South Korea pays 50 percent of the non-personnel costs of U.S. troop presence on the peninsula.
  • President Clinton didn’t give North Korea billions of dollars in the agreement of 1994; the money went to companies in South Korea, Japan, and the EU. The 1994 agreement contained North Korea’s use of uranium until George W. Bush broke the agreement and North Korea started building nuclear weapons.
  • Iran’s involvement in its regional politics hasn’t improved since DDT dropped the Iran agreement. President Obama never gave Iran money in the agreement; $1.8 billion was the U.S. debt for U.S. military equipment never delivered in 1980 when Iran released four U.S. detainees. Another $150 billion was released from Iranian frozen assets in banks throughout the world. After Iran pays its debts, it will have about $32 billion of their own money left.
  • The U.S. has a trade surplus—not deficit—with Canada.
  • U.S. funding for NATO, based on gross national income, is under $500 million a year out of the nation’s $700 billion military budget. Indirect funding is what the U.S. spends on its own military or missions not including
  • NATO.

Desperate to find some win out of his losses to North Korea, DDT claimed that “thousands of parents” begged him during his campaign to bring back the remains of their beloved sons from the Korean War. The youngest parent would be over 100 years old.

Bored when he arrived in Singapore, DDT demanded that the summit be moved up one day. He was convinced that the idea was bad only when someone told him that he would get better prime time coverage the next day. (Why is it that most DDT news sound as if it belongs in satire columns?) DDT also prefers North Korea state-run news to the Fox network. Wonder how long Fox will stay friends?

In late 2017, DDT said:

“The horror of life in North Korea is so complete that citizens pay bribes to government officials to have themselves exported abroad as slaves. They would rather be slaves than live in North Korea. … Citizens spy on fellow citizens, their homes are subject to search at any time, and their every action is subject to surveillance. In place of a vibrant society, the people of North Korea are bombarded by state propaganda practically every waking hour of the day. North Korea is a country ruled as a cult. At the center of this military cult is a deranged belief in the leader’s destiny to rule as parent protector over a conquered Korean Peninsula and an enslaved Korean people.”

Now DDT claims that “[Kim’s] country does love him. His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor.” He loves North Korea so much that he saluted one of its military officers. DDT was briefed to not salute military officers from other countries. Conservatives complained about a negative reaction from Democrats to DDT talking to North Korean leadership after Republicans bitterly decried the possibility of President Obama even speaking to Kim Jong-Il. Democrats, however, objected only to DDT’s obsequious behavior before the leader of one of the world’s most oppressive regimes. DDT also called President Obama an “amateur” when he bent at the waist to shake the hand of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah before DDT bowed to the Saudi’s King Salmon leader. DDT doesn’t even reach the status of “amateur” in his behavior to Kim Jong-Un.

In a 2014 report, the UN described “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations,” the country as a ruthless police state where as many as 120,000 people are kept in political gulags under horrific conditions; other prisons, effectively labor camps, hold people for ordinary crimes. Telephone calls are monitored, and citizens are punished for watching or listening to foreign broadcasts.” It also wrote about North Korea’s absolute monopoly on information and control of social life”—what DDT said he wants in the United States by eliminating any freedom of expression, opinion, and association.

The aftermath of the G-7 summit also continues to reverberate: DDT’s trade advisor Peter Navarro took back his words about a “special place in hell” reserved for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) criticized Navarro. He said that the term he used “lost the power of that message,” Navarro’s version of an apology.

Gone is any cordiality between Canada and the United States. The Canadian Parliament unanimously voted to condemn DDT’s attacks after DDT’s and his minions’ highly insulting statements following the G-7 summit. Their motion condemned the attacks on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and rejected “disparaging ad hominem statements by U.S. officials which do a disservice to bilateral relations.” About the motion, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, “It’s very nice to represent a united country.”

China is also not happy after DDT imposed a 25-percent tariff on $50 billion of Chinese exports. Claiming that the U.S. “launched a trade war,” China has dropped promises to buy more U.S. goods. Tariffs on washing machines, the first item that DDT caused domestic suffering, have raised prices 17 percent on laundry equipment in three months.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said that his party is in a “cult-like situation” with their support of DDT, citing the GOP refusal to disagree with DDT on his tariffs. “It’s not a good place for us to be,” he added with the luxury of someone not running for re-election. Corker agrees with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, once a strong DDT supporter, who claimed on his Morning Joe Show that “primary voters in the Republican Party have devolved into a Trumpist cult.” Don Trump Jr. agrees with Corker: “If it’s a cult, it’s because they like what my father is doing.”

DDT holds an overwhelming popularity with Republicans, but only 40 percent of the people in the U.S. fit into that category. Otherwise, he has dropped considerably since his inauguration. During the past 18 months, his net approval has decreased in all 50 states from six to 31 points.

September 2, 2016

Donald Trump’s Speech: ‘Make America White Again’

A trip to Mexico to meeting with president Enrique Peña Nieto followed by a bombastic anti-immigrant speech in Arizona sent Donald Trump’s mood soaring and conservative Hispanics fleeing. Trump’s advisors told him he had to take a hard line in order to keep his early followers, and Trump was also furious when Peña Nieto contradicted the candidate’s line by saying that Mexico wasn’t going to pay for the wall. Hours after meeting with Trump, Peña Nieto Mexico’s president defended himself against criticism by saying that Trump’s “policy stances could represent a huge threat to Mexico.”

Although fact-checking Trump’s statements is a fool’s errand, I can’t resist:

Illegal immigration is about 11.4 million—not 30 million as Trump declares—based on U.S. census, and Politifact has ruled his statement as Pants on Fire. Trump falsely conflates statistics on rates of taxes, crime, terrorism, unemployment, etc. More people left than came in between 2009 and 2014, a net loss of 140,000 immigrants

Bernie Sanders—not President Obama or Hillary Clinton—said that climate change is the biggest threat to U.S. security. The president has said that fighting terrorism and keeping U.S. safe—and defeating ISIL—is the top priority.

Immigrants commit violent crime at a lower rate than those born in the United States. The Obama Administration already prioritizes the deportation of undocumented criminals. Refugees already undergo the most rigorous (extreme?) vetting process of any category of immigrants entering the United States.

Trump has praised the president in the past for an unprecedented number of deported immigrants—totally different from an “open” border.

President Obama also increased Border Patrol staffing to an all-time high of 21,444 agents in 2011, and his administration has ended the practice of “voluntary returns,” or turning back Mexicans without any consequences used by earlier presidents, including Republicans. Many of the releases have been ordered by the courts, for example when a federal judge ruled that detention of children and their mothers violated a 1997 Court settlement.

Undocumented workers in the U.S. live under the risk of removal and don’t receive most government benefits. They aren’t treated better than veterans who have all government rights.

No politician has recommended amnesty for undocumented immigrants; the Senate bill of 2013, including former GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), included many requirements on a 13-year path to citizenship including paying penalties. It also requested tens of millions of dollars to double the number of border patrol agents and greatly increase border security. According to the CBO, the bill would boost economic output and increase the GDP.

Trump’s promise to “complete the biometric entry-exit visa tracking system” doesn’t take into consideration its huge technical and financial problems. Of the 45 million people admitted annually—Trump’s wife possibly one of them—only one percent overstay their visas.

In the past, Trump campaigned by calling NAFTA a “disaster”; now he wants to “update” and “improve” the trade agreement.

The National Border Patrol Council did endorse Trump, but many of the members disagreed with the union leaders’ decision.  But it hasn’t been without controversy. The L.A. Times noted that “the rank-and-file seem as polarized about Trump as the rest of the nation, with some going so far as to challenge their union leaders’ decision.”

President Obama’s 2012 temporary deportation reprieve to children brought illegally to the U.S. made 600,000 young people eligible for work permits. His expansion to more immigrants is on hold after a 4-4 decision in the Supreme Court.

And the other generic lies: No, Mr. Trump, Hillary Clinton has not “evaded justice.” She DOES “have the strength or stamina” to lead the country.”The military is not “depleted.” Trump’s new campaign hires—Robert Mercer’s people—and his super PACs negate his claim that “nobody owns Trump.” Plus the wild claims such as getting the Middle Eastern countries paying to resettle refugees in their area because settling 100,000 refugees in the U.S. cost as many trillions of dollars a the national debt. 

Trump Watch: Quote of the week comes from a question by guest host Joy Reid on last night’s All In with Chris Hayes: “My culture is a very dominant culture. And it’s imposing and its causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner!”—Marco Gutierrez, Mexican-born Trump surrogate. The humor about “taco trucks on every corner.” The commentary from Washington Post is perhaps the best.

jacksonThe most bizarre event of the week, a very hard choice, is a leaked eight-page script of Trump’s attempt to win over blacks. Ridiculed by not going into black communities, Trump said he was attending a Detroit church and sitting in the congregation. Then he was going to make a video closed to the public and the press. The New York Times got the information about this “infomercial” with Bishop Wayne T. Jackson (right) of Great Faith Ministries International with not only the 12 questions to be asked but also the exactly-worded responses that Trump is supposed to use to woo a population that has now increased to a two-percent or less support. Campaign aides would also be editing the video. After the embarrassment of the NYT article, Trump said he would be speaking to the congregation, but then Jackson he wouldn’t be speaking. Plans may again change again.

Only one of this year’s four presidential candidates has a foundation that was fined for breaking the law, as Trump would say “pay for play.” The IRS fined Donald Trump $2,500 for donating $25,000 to the re-election campaign of Florida AG Pam Bondi from the Trump Foundation while her office was considering a case against Trump University. After the donation, Bondi dropped the case. The “charitable” Trump Foundation violated tax laws by giving a political contribution to Bondi’s campaign that they concealed by falsely listing in the 2013 tax filings as donated to a Kansas charity with a name similar to Bondi’s political group.

The moderators of four presidential debates have been announced—Lester Holt (September 26), Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz (October 9), and Chris Wallace (October 19). Four years ago, The Guardian described Radditz as calm, articulate and relentless after she moderated the vice-presidential debate. That may have been the reason that conservatives were so critical of her. One of her strengths is asking for specifics–something that Trump will hate. The vice-presidential debate on October 4 will be moderated by Elaine Quijano.

Trump’s campaign has a new hire, Deputy Campaign Manager David Bossie—confidant of manager Kellyanne Conway, CEO Stephen Bannon, and heavy funder Robert Mercer and family. In a move closer—if possible—to the conservative community, Bossie is king of Clinton conspiracy theories, with a sole goal of tearing down Hillary Clinton. His vicious attacks began over 25 years go in an attempt to keep Bill Clinton from being a presidential candidate.

By 1998, then House Speaker Newt Gingrich forced Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), chair of the chamber’s inquiry into Bill Clinton’s 1996 campaign finance practices, to oust Bossie, then an aide, because of Bossie’s unethical actions. He created the organization Citizens United Not Timid (note the acronym) that led the Supreme Court to create almost unlimited donations for campaigns through super PACs. Trump, who claims to hate these PACs, has now hired the person to make them possible. As Hrafnkell Haraldsson wrote, “New Trump Hire Proves Hillary Clinton’s Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Is Real.” This piece by Rachel Maddow is an excellent overview of Bossie.

Bossie and Bannon, along with polite Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, are members of the ultra-conservative Council for National Policy (CNP). It is so secretive that people are told not to admit their membership, name the group, or tell anyone when or where the group meets. People pay thousands of dollars to join the CNP only by invitation. As of 2014, Conway was on the executive committee, and Bannon was a general member. Other members include white supremacist leaders, birthers, and conspiracy “new” operation leaders.

New hires for Trump’s campaign may want to worry about getting paid. In the past, Trump has not paid many of his employees, and recent campaign workers, including campaign manager Paul Manafort, have not been paid months after they left. Trump’s super PAC does a better job of paying people: the firm that new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, owns was paid over $700,000 last year.

Friction is also building between the Trump and the RNC although chair Reince Priebus denies it. The discussion on this Sunday’s talk show may be lively. And beware the taco truck epidemic.

December 11, 2011

Republican Presidential Wannabes Debate–Again

Those of you who have better things to do on Saturday nights may not know that the current crop of Republican presidential candidates had an umpteenth debate last night. For once it was fairly civilized mostly because Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulus kept tight leashes on the six candidates who appeared. Herman Cain has disappeared, and Jon Huntsman didn’t make the necessary numbers on the polls.

Even with Newt Gingrich’s determination to say nothing evil of—or to—Republican opponents, there were contentious discussions. Most of the time, however, he appeared rather statesmanlike. Rick Perry did a much better job than in the past, but he had a very low threshold. Michele Bachmann acquitted herself very well, and Rick Santorum was pretty much the same as always. Mitt Romney lost his composure once when he refuted Perry’s claim that his book touted a federal health care plan and bet Perry$10,000 that he was right.

The most interesting part of a debate, for me, is how many times the responses are wrong. The mistakes below fall in three general categories: misrepresentation (Romney), general philosophy (Paul), covering the past (Gingrich), and exaggerations (Bachmann and Perry). Santorum doesn’t have falsehoods in the fact checkers, perhaps because he didn’t get to talk much!

“We’ll lose 1.6 million jobs over five years under the affordable healthcare act.” [Bachmann] Wrong: An analysis by Americans for Tax Reform and the Beacon Hill Institute found that the act will destroy far fewer jobs, more to the tune of 120,000 to 700,000, and a report from the Urban Institute predicted the act “will not have noticeable effect on net levels of employment,” because while some provisions of the act will negatively impact employment, those cuts will be offset by increases in the demand for health services. [Bachmann upped her number from 800,000 million in an earlier debate.]

The payroll tax cut is either wrong, a gimmick, or a band-aid. [Romney, Gingrich, and Paul said to extend the payroll tax cut; Bachmann, Santorum, and Perry said they would let it expire.] Indeterminate: Economists quizzed by ABC News were pretty much split: some say that money needs to be saved whereas others say that every bit helps in this fragile economy.

Perry said that Romney removed a line in his book about the healthcare being good for the nation; Romney said it was never there. Perry is most likely wrong. The first version of Romney’s No Apology, released before the federal health care plan passed into law, includes this sentence: “We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country.” The line is not in the later paperback version.” The sentence appears to be referencing the goal of affordable health insurance, not a federal mandate. Romney also clearly writes that he believes every state should have the opportunity to create its own model for health care reform.

Palestinians are an “invented” people. [Gingrich] Half-true, half-false: Scholars assert that a Palestinian national identity began to solidify in the 1890s when Arabs in the region now known as Palestine revolted against theOttoman Empire. While the revolt was eventually crushed, the clans that banned together later reemerged as a relatively unified Palestinian people. Although Gingrich may be technically correct, he ignores a history of Palestinian Arab nationalism and a population of Arabs who left Palestine when it became Israel and who call themselves the Palestinian people. The statement ignores the political reality that the U.S. and Israel have been working with Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza toward a negotiated settlement that could establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Gingrich is also wrong when he said the term “Palestine” didn’t appear until 1977; the League of Nations agreement referenced the term 45 times.

“I fought against ObamaCare at every step of the way.” [Gingrich in response to Bachmann’s claim that he supported mandated health insurance.] Wrong: On NBC’s Meet the Press  in 1993, Gingrich said, “I am for … individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance.” Last May on the same program, Gingrich said, “I’ve said consistently we ought to have some requirement that you either have health insurance or you post a bond…or in some way you indicate you’re going to be held accountable.” He also made a similar statement in his 2008 book Real Change. The idea of an individual mandate originated with the conservative Heritage Foundation.

“Let’s not forget, only one president has ever cut Medicare for seniors in this country and it’s Barack Obama.” [Romney] Wrong: Joe Antos, health economist with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said, “We’ve had a series of cuts, year after year, decade after decade.” He cited one in 1983, when the sainted Ronald Reagan was president.

“This president [Obama] decided he was going to try and negotiate for Israel by saying, lets go back to the ’67 borders.” [Romney] Wrong: Obama actually said, “We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

“Over the last 11 years, we’ve [Texas] created over a million jobs in that state while America lost over 2 million jobs.” [Perry] Wrong: During that time, the country has lost 897,000 jobs, fewer than half the number that Perry used. And a Republican from Texas was president for most of that time. (Perry is getting better; earlier in debates he used the number 2.5 million.)

“I have never–I opposed cap and trade.” [Gingrich’s response to Bachmann’s claim that he supported cap and trade.] Wrong: In 2007 Gingrich said he would “strongly support” cap-and-trade if combined with “a tax-incentive program for investing in the solutions.” In House testimony in 2009 he also said that he might support a cap-and-trade system covering “the 2,000 most polluting places” if packaged with incentives for nuclear power and “green coal,” among other things.

“We have dumped the debt on the American people through TARP funding as well as the Federal Reserve. So the debt is dumped onto people. And what did we do? We bailed out the people that were benefiting during the formation of the bubble. So as long as we do that, we’re not going to have economic growth.” [Paul] Wrong: Nearly all the money in the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program proposed by President George W. Bush and passed by Congress in 2008 to help rescue banks and other imperiled financial institutions has been paid back—with interest. Most economists credit the program with keeping the financial system from freezing up and helping to prevent the worst recession in 30 years from becoming another Great Depression. The Federal Reserve does not operate on taxpayer money and does not receive any operating funds from the Treasury. In fact, it makes money every year from its banking operations, and turns over profits to the Treasury.

“One, make sure that our employer tax rates are competitive with other nations. They’re not now. We’re the highest in the world.” [Romney] Wrong: Japan’s corporate tax rate is the highest in the world. The U.S. top rate of 35 percent would be second, except that few companies pay the full rate because of a variety of loopholes and tax breaks not available in many other countries. In fact, some corporations pay no tax and yet receive subsidies.

“It starts very simply, taxes–lower taxes, less regulation, an American energy plan and actually be positive about people who create jobs. The opposite of the Obama plan, which is higher taxes, more regulation, no American energy and attack people who create jobs with class warfare.” [Gingrich] Wrong: Overall, as a share of the nation’s economy, federal tax revenues are the lowest they’ve been since 1950, and for the third straight year, U.S. families will pay less in federal taxes than they did under Bush.

Each debate, candidates seem to produce more grist for the fact-checker mill. If the candidates read the corrections on their statements, they may have to come up with revisions by this Thursday’s debate. Or maybe not. Fox is the sponsor so candidates will have an easier time.

I am amused at the large number of websites that criticize the practice of fact-checking. Evidently, veracity is a low priority for conservatives. Will they use the same value set for President Obama during the coming year in his debates with the Republican nominee? We’ll see in the four presidential debates scheduled during October 2012.

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