Nel's New Day

August 18, 2018

DDT: Week 82 – ‘Full of Sound & Fury’

The feeling of being besieged has driven Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to lash out in all directions with increasingly virulent tweets, statements, and orders. Seething with the report that his beloved military parade would cost $90 million, he accused the Washington, D.C. of inflating the cost before canceling the project. Instead he plans to attend one in Paris. The Pentagon had already postponed the parade until next year because it would have to pay half the price of the parade, scheduled for this November. Instead of putting money into more healthcare for veterans, DDT promised to “buy some more jet fighters.” Lockheed has the F-35s on sale for $91.1 million, giving DDT about $900,000 left over after he gets one “jet fighter.”

As social media tries to control the false information that it spreads, DDT, perhaps worried that lack of false information will affect the fall election, tweeted:

“Let everybody participate, good & bad, and we will all just have to figure it out!”

DDT opposes the decision to suspend Alex Jones’ program for his hate speech. Jones, a good friend of DDT, is known for his conspiracy theories, including the false accusation that no one died at Sandy Hook Elementary School because the dead children were actors.

A huge frustration for DDT during the past week came from the media focus on Omarosa Manigault Newman after the release of her new book, Unhinged,  and the beginning of her releasing damning tapes made during her time with DDT. Furious with Omarosa, DDT called on AG Jeff Sessions to arrest her although he didn’t cite any broken laws. That demand came after DDT’s campaign sued Omarosa, asserting that her new book broke her 2016 confidentiality agreement. He forced people who worked for his campaign or in his White House to sign the NDAs to not “demean or disparage publicly” DDT, his company, or any member of his family. Omarosa has been been accused of a lack of ethics for taping her conversations, especially the one when Chief of Staff took her into the situation Room to fire her, but no one questions that her information is inaccurate.

DDT’s daughter-in-law, Eric’s wife Lara, tried to persuade Omarosa to work for the campaign for a monthly salary of $15,000 if she stopped publication of her book and said only positive things about her time with DDT. The “offer,” which Omarosa taped, raises the question of whether campaign donations can be used to quiet people if it appears to be attached to a job. The DDT campaign has a pattern of this hush money, including employees such as former White House aide John McEntee and Keith Schiller, who got $15,000 a month. Even Fox & Friends thinks that Omarosa has come out on top of the battle. Host Brian Kilmeade claimed that Omarosa “outsmarted” DDT, but he hasn’t said anything about the betrayal of the Fox network. DDT did produce an outrage on the media when he called Omarosa a “dog” and “a crazed, crying lowlife.”

DDT’s biggest war this week came from weaponizing the removal of security clearances. Following threats to strip these clearances from others, even those who don’t have them such as James Comey and Andrew McCabe, DDT took the clearance from former CIA director John Brennan, revealing the information through Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ briefing. She read DDT’s announcement that the reason was Brennan’s “risk posed by his erratic conduct and behavior,” but DDT changed his story by saying that he attacked Brennan because of the “witch hunt” about the Russian scandal. DDT had no justification for revoking the security clearance other than retaliation and the feeling of power that it gave him.

The order from DDT was signed on July 26, 2018, meaning that DDT waited almost three weeks until he used it for a diversion. In this case it was a combination of Omarosa’s book and the Paul Manafort trial that went to the jury this past week. Now he’s “eager” to strip more clearances, according to White House officials, beginning with current Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Although DDT cannot easily fire people, his removal of security clearances makes people unable to complete the job’s responsibilities. In essence, people who criticize him can lose their jobs.

The conservative press supports DDT’s actions—as it does his other actions—in this case because Brennan has openly criticized DDT’s actions, but current and past officials support him. Retired Navy admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden called DDT’s stripping security clearances “McCarthy-era tactics.” He wrote that he would “consider it an honor” if DDT would also revoke his clearance. Sixty former CIA station chiefs, analysts and operations officers as well as a former director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center wrote “that the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.” That follows the declaration from 11 former directors and deputy directors of the CIA and one director of national intelligence who called DDT’s action “a political tool.”

DDT also came out in anger against the over 300 newspaper organizations that wrote editorials in opposition to his frequent “mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current US administration are the ‘enemy of the people,’” as the Boston Globe wrote. It continued, “[In his first year,] he used the word “fake”—as in “fake news,” “fake stories,” “fake media” or “fake polls”—more than 400 times.” Since then, DDT has accelerated his use of these terms. This week, he tweeted about “collusion,” that the media is “pushing a political agenda.” One tweet read, “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY.”

Outraged at newspapers fighting back against DDT’s constant abuse of the media, conservatives, including former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, accused the newspapers of a double standard because they criticize Sinclair media for carrying the same message on all its stations. Sinclair forces all its stations to carry identical pro-DDT messages whereas the participating editorials expressing support for free press acted voluntarily.

Also this week, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution sponsored by Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “condemning attacks on the free press.”

The defense in the trial for Paul Manafort, facing 18 charges of tax and bank fraud, rested this week without any witnesses, and the jury began deliberations on Thursday. Angry about the trial, DDT claimed that Manafort “happens to be a very good person” although he repeatedly tried to distance himself from his former campaign manager who worked for him for six months. Two years ago, the news broke about Manafort lobbying to move U.S. opinion toward Russians on behalf of Ukraine’s rulers, and DDT said he had “a crook running my campaign.” At that time, he ordered him fired, in an allegation by Corey Lewandowski. Judge T.S. Ellis III is being guarded by deputy U.S. marshals because he faces death threats. He said, “A thirsty press is essential to a free country.”

In DDT’s war on regulations to give more money to big business, he funded corporations through taking money from people with student loans, failing to protect people from dangerous chemicals, stripping people’s wages by reducing overtime pay rights, putting teenagers into dangerous jobs with long hours, and charging people more money with weakened banking regulations. The primary beneficiaries of these lax regulations are the wealthiest one percent who own 40 percent of the stock market; the top ten percent owns 80 percent. DDT’s latest money-making scheme for the wealthy would permit new uses for the carcinogenic asbestos, such as the out-of-date roofing felt. Russia, the world’s largest asbestos producer is delighted. Russian asbestos producer, Uralasbest, tweeted:

“Donald is on our side! … He supported the head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, who stated that his agency would no longer deal with negative effects potentially derived from products containing asbestos. Donald Trump supported a specialist and called asbestos ‘100% safe after application.’”

The Russian company stamped their product a seal that included DDT’s image and the words “Approved by Donald Trump.” DDT wrote in 1997 that anti-asbestos efforts were “led by the mob” and tweeted in 2012 that the World Trade Center wouldn’t have burned down in the 9/11 attacks if the “incredibly powerful fire retardant asbestos” had not been replaced with “junk that doesn’t (cont).”

DDT failed to effective contribute to the touching tributes to Aretha Franklin after her death this week. In a statement during a Cabinet meeting, DDT introduced his comments by saying that Franklin had “worked for me.” She performed a few times at a DDT casino, but he made her sound like his servant. Others provided a loving respectful homage to Franklin and her achievements. Fox network tried to honor Aretha Franklin, but the station used a photo of Patti LaBelle.

DDT’s latest Gallup poll is 39 percent approval—the same as his average since he was inaugurated. Among Republicans, his approval is 82 percent, down seven points from last week.

February 19, 2017

The Struggle to Regain Free Speech

The biggest shock I received from the news during the past few days did not come from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). It was the ruling from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down a Florida law restricting doctors’ First Amendment free speech rights when talking to patients about guns. In a 10-1 vote, the court overturned laws preventing doctors from asking patients questions about guns in their home, putting any “non-relevant” information about gun ownership in a medical record, and “unnecessarily harassing a patient about firearm ownership during an examination.” The law still prohibits discrimination against patients who don’t answer the doctors’ questions.

The ruling sends a message that government does not have the ability to prevent unpopular speech, a vital decision because government increasingly suppresses language. Although the court covers only two states other than Florida—Alabama and Georgia—it establishes a precedent for other courts and could affect the nation if the case moves to the Supreme Court to a supportive First Amendment ruling.

Throughout history governments have tried to control doctors’ free speech. Chinese doctors were sent to rural areas during the Cultural Revolution to convince patients to use contraception, and the Soviet government ordered physicians during the building of the Siberian railroad in the 1930s to deny medical leave requests and keep the order from patients. Nazi Germany taught doctors that their higher duty was to the “health of the Volk” over their individual patients while many of them performed horrifying surgical experiments on humans. Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s plan to increase the nation’s birth rate stopped doctors’ advising patients about birth control and providing information about prevention of the transmission of AIDS and HIV infections by the use of condoms.

Legislators in 38 of the United States order doctors and women’s clinics what to tell women requesting abortions, some of this information inaccurate and misleading. These doctors must tell women about a non-existent link between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer, suicide, or future infertility. In 28 states, informed consent forms and brochures in clinics must provide legislative-chosen information about alternatives to abortion, the risks associated with abortion, and fetal development stages.

Some states require non-scientific and non-medical language for doctors’ counseling, mandatory brochures, and informed consent forms such as referring to embryos as “unborn children,” insisting that life begins at conception, lying that a fetus feels pain at 20 weeks, and stating that abortion at any stage terminates the life of a separate, living being. Twenty-eight states require that women wait between 24 and 72 hours between their visits to doctors and the procedure in reflect on her decision—and an attempt to humiliate her.

Government uses religious values in their lies to prevent abortions. There is no link between abortion and breast cancer according to the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist. There is no “post-abortion syndrome,” according to the American Psychological Association (APA) or the American Psychiatric Association. The APA found that “there is no credible evidence that a single elective abortion of an unwanted pregnancy in and of itself causes mental health problems for adult women,” noting most studies that claim otherwise “suffered from serious methodological problems.” There is no link between abortion and infertility. And fetuses cannot feel pain until 24 weeks at the earliest.

This article gives a list of states with their laws as of August 2016. Since then, one more state is mandating that doctors lie to patients about the non-existent link between abortion and the occurrence of breast cancer.

The new president added fuel to the abortion controversy at the last presidential debate when he declared that doctors do abortions in the “ninth month” of pregnancy. In his false bombastic rhetoric, DDT said that “you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day.” This is called a Cesarean  or C-section, and it doesn’t kill the baby.

Religious–or pandering—lawmakers with the goal to prevent all abortions fail to recognize only 1.3 percent of abortions happen at or after 21 weeks and 91 percent of them happen before 13 weeks. The ones that occur late in the pregnancy almost always are required by dead or seriously deformed fetuses. With the religious fervor to keep all fetuses coming out of the uteruses at full term, the House voted last Thursday, 230-188, to overturn an Obama-era rule banning states from denying federal funds to Planned Parenthood and other health care providers that perform abortions. Thirteen states can return to their non-support for Planned Parenthood. A repeal of the Affordable Care Act would remove money from caring for the severely mentally and physically disabled children resulting from the lack of abortions.

Religion was the reason behind DDT’s removal of U.S. funding from any overseas organization that mentions abortion. The money doesn’t go toward abortions: the Mexico City Policy is simply a suppression of free speech. When George W Bush reimposed the global gag rule, he erased shipments of contraceptives to 16 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The elimination of these shipments cut off condoms for Lesotho Planned Parenthood, the only available place in a country where one in four women were infected with HIV. Like George W., DDT will create more unwanted pregnancies and more cases of HIV.

ddt-signs-mexico-act

The above photograph of DDT signing an act that affects millions of women shows that limiting women’s reproductive rights is largely a “guy thing.”

The worship of DDT is creating threats to democracy. In attempts to avoid protesters, over two-thirds of the congressional Republicans refuse to have town halls during the current recess. DDT’s tweet explains the lies that they are spreading:

“Professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters are proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

GOP legislatures in at least ten states are introducing bills to stop dissent permitted by the First Amendment, that gives the “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”:

  • Colorado: Greatly increase penalties for environmental protesters up to felonies resulting in prison and fines up to $100,000.
  • Indiana: Publish officials could immediately dispatch “all available law enforcement” to clear a traffic blockade involving at least 10 people “by any means necessary.” People have nicknamed the bill “block traffic and you die.”
  • Iowa: Creates penalty of five years in prison for traffic disruptions.
  • Michigan: Boost anti-picketing penalties, especially for union members who try to boycott a business’s profits.
  • Minnesota: Penalties for blocking traffic.
  • Missouri: Prohibit demonstrators from wearing masks or robes. (Does that count the Ku Klux Klan?)
  • North Carolina: Imprison people who intimidate ex-officials because a group followed former Gov. Pat McCrory (king of the “potty police” law) and chanting “Shame!” His discriminatory law cost the state millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs.
  • North Dakota: Criminalize road protests, restrict wearing apparel, and allow government to sue for enforcement costs. An additional proposal would exempt drivers from liability if they injure or kill a pedestrian obstructing traffic on a public road.
  • Virginia: Imprison people engaged in an “unlawful assembly” after “having been lawfully warned to disperse.”
  • Washington: Classify as “economic terrorism” any permit-less protest that causes harm to the flow of commerce.

DDT has his phone back and is angrily tweeting his “war on the press.” His latest salvo is declaring the media as the “enemy of the people.” Beginning with The New York Times, CNN and NBC News, he quickly added ABC and CBS. That’s a major U.S. newspaper and all three mainstream television channels. DDT is patterning his actions on ancient Rome and later Russia’s communist revolution a century ago which was followed by massive purges ordered by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

DDT rants included a quote from Thomas Jefferson about his hate for the press. The press quoted DDT but failed to show how DDT’s message was out of context.  The Founding Father also said,“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

We can only hope that the 11th Circuit Court took the first step toward reinstating free speech and free press in the United States as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“Indifference about the distinction between truth and lies is the precondition of fascism. When truth perishes so does freedom.”—Simon Shama, British historian

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