Nel's New Day

July 28, 2018

DDT: Week 79 – Attacks Fail to Divert Attention

Tweets from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) got crazier this week in his attacks on Iran, FISA judges, U.S. citizens, China, the Russia “hoax,” foreign trade, the Washington Post, DOJ, FBI, the media, and other targets. DDT’s raging statements, sometimes in all caps, repeat Fox network and try to distract people from the negative news such as former campaign manager Paul Manafort heading to trial, Russian spy Mariia Butina in jail without bail, DDT’s fixer Michael Cohen dribbling out information, and continuing negative information about DDT’s relationship with Vladimir Putin.

Declared “weak” in his interactions with Putin, DDT tried to prove his strength—by threatening to attack Iran.

DDT set up a black list of six former top officials, threatening to revoke their security clearances—even ones who don’t have them—because they criticized his foreign policy. expressed alarm about Russian interference in U.S. elections. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused at least six of them for profiting off their public service (ironic because of the millions of dollars that DDT is making from his current position) and making “baseless accusations” against DDT. Sen. Paul Rand (R-KY) takes credit for DDT’s threat. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) chuckled about DDT’s threat and said that he was “just trolling people.” DDT has said no more about the clearances after the original threat: the negative backlash to DDT’s threat may have caused him to back down.

Another backlash may have led DDT to play nice (sort of) with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in a short-term arrangement. EU would buy more soybeans and LNG from the U.S. while DDT puts existing tariff plans on hold—except for cars, aluminum, and steel. DDT bragged to farmers about how he “opened up Europe,” but the U.S. sold $1.6 billion in soybeans last year to Europeans. Buying more LNG will take years because new facilities will have to be built.  DDT has called this plan a “deal,” but it is only a truce—not a peace treaty—vaguely suggesting future talks that return to the President Obama’s proposal that DDT earlier rejected.

In an attempt to buy off farmers hurt by his tariffs, DDT promised them $12 billion in socialist welfare, but conservatives are not satisfied. Over 2.5 billion pounds of red meat and poultry languish in warehouses because of no buyers, U.S. producers are scaling back, and pork producers face massive financial losses with some of them possibly going out of business. Farmers say they want stability, not compensation. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) called the idea “a Soviet-type of economy here,” and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) described it as a “gold-plated crutch.”

Chinese tariffs helped cause the GDP’s rise to 4.1 percent for this year’s second quarter as farmers desperately exported soybeans in May before the foreign tariff took effect. Increases for that month were 50 percent to 90 percent over last year, a factor that temporarily dropped the trade deficit by $50 billion. Another temporary jolt to the economy was congressional approval of increased federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars over two years that increases the deficit. DDT gave credit for the higher GDP to the GOP tax cuts for the wealthy and big business, but businesses are putting tax windfalls into stock buybacks and dividends with no long-term benefit. Lack of increases in wages and investments are growing the income inequality.

More damage to DDT comes from Cohen’s turning on him. In the first of at least 100 Cohen tapes to be released, DDT agreed to pay $150,000 to quiet the story about his year-long affair with Karen McDougal during his early marriage with Melania. The voices on the tape may provide more witnesses for Robert Mueller’s investigation, and the tape proves that DDT lied to his voters about his affair and buying her off. It also suggests that DDT had affairs with several women, not just one, and Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, has information about some of these women. DDT’s lies connected to the tape—and the bonus of the video in which a bald eagle frightens DDT.

Following the tape’s release, Cohen’s claimed that he witnessed Donald Trump Jr. tell his father about the June 9, 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and others at Trump Tower before it took place. Both Jr. and DDT have long denied that DDT knew about the meeting for over a year after it happened, but Cohen stated that DDT gave an approval for the meeting. In the meeting were four Russians, Jr., Jared Kushner, and DDT’s campaign director Paul Manafort. Two days before the meeting, DDT had widely announced plans for a “major speech” about Hillary Clinton’s scandals but never delivered.

The Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg, has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury, hinting that DDT’s business was involved in the Karen McDougal payoff to keep her story out of the National Enquirer. No one may know more about DDT’s financial affairs that Weisselberg. He worked for both DDT and DDT’s father, both for the business and DDT’s foundation that is being sued for violating state and federal laws, set up DDT’s trust, done DDT’s personal tax returns for many years, and reportedly organized the payment to Stormy Daniels.

Microsoft thwarted the hackers who broke into the DNC server during Clinton’s campaign when they targeted Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) last August at the same time that DDT told Missouri audiences to “vote her out of office.” Two other unnamed Democratic candidates were also the hackers’ targets. With no evidence, DDT claimed that Russia is working to elect Democrats in the upcoming election, but he is doing nothing to stop any hacking.

DDT and Republicans may not have any concern about Russians electing more Republicans, but they should be concerned about Russians hacking into the U.S. utility grid. According to the Wall Street Journal, Russian hackers broke into the networks of key U.S. power companies throughout last year, possibly causing blackouts. Companies may not be aware of the program because the hackers used employee identities to enter the networks.

Two Senate committees are investigating the meeting between DDT and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified before the Foreign Relations panel, and the Banking Committee will consider legislation to strengthen existing sanctions. Pompeo refused to tell senators about the content of DDT and Putin’s private discussion, perhaps he didn’t know anything. Under questioning, he admitted that North Korea is still producing fissile material for nuclear bombs despite DDT’s guarantee that Kim Jung-Un had stopped. Pompeo’s most reassuring comment was “Fear not.”

Kim Jong-Un refuses to proceed with North Korea’s denuclearization until DDT gives him a permanent peace treaty, an agreement requiring two-thirds acceptance by Congress. Last week, DDT changed his message about North Korea about complete safety for the U.S. to “no rush” and “no time limit” on the denuclearization negotiations. The U.S. has received the remains of only 55 bodies from North Korea despite DDT’s earlier claim that the number was 200. The remains are in Hawaii for identification. About 5,300 U.S. soldiers are missing from the war between North and South Korea in the early 1950s.

The WaPo reported about the aftermath of DDT’s meeting with Kim:

“Diplomats say the North Koreans have canceled follow-up meetings, demanded more money and failed to maintain basic communications, even as the once-isolated regime’s engagements with China and South Korea flourish. Meanwhile, a missile-engine testing facility that Trump said would be destroyed remains intact, and U.S. intelligence officials say Pyongyang is working to conceal key aspects of its nuclear program.”

The interesting term in this reporting is “more money” because no information about payment to North Korea was released.

In another walk-back, DDT said that Putin isn’t invited to the White House until next year, according to John Bolton, because DDT is waiting for the “witch hunt” to be over. Putin had never officially accepted an invitation to Washington, but when he said that DDT is welcome in Russia, DDT jumped at the chance. DDT and Putin may get together at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires in late November.

As DDT gets excited about seeing his BFF Putin, a majority of people in the U.S. are displeased about DDT’s pandering to Russia, according to this week’s Quinnipiac and NPR/Marist polls:

  • 68 percent are “very/somewhat concerned” about DDT’s relationship with Russia.
  • 54 percent say that DDT was not acting in the best interest of the U.S. in Helsinki.
  • 63 percent trust U.S. intelligence to tell them the truth over 25 percent for DDT.
  • 51 percent believe Russia has “compromising information” on DDT.
  • 64 percent say DDT is “not tough enough” on Russia.
  • 58 percent of independents “strongly/somewhat” disapprove of DDT in an NBC/WSJ poll.
  • 73% think the Helsinki summit was a success for Russia.
  • 56% agreed in a Navigator survey that DDT’s foreign policy doesn’t put “America first.”

Much more in the next part about DDT’s busy week.

April 28, 2017

DDT: Week Fourteen, More Failures

The quarterly GDP report just came out, and the average 0.7 percent increase is bad news for news for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) who bragged that his leadership would move the gross domestic product skyhigh. Instead the GDP for his first quarter is the worst in three years. Why do people vote for Republicans? In a statement of how DDT is struggling, he said, “I thought it would be easier.” This is DDT’s classic statement as he reflects on his first 100 days. “I loved my previous life. I had so many things going.” Many other people wish he were back in his previous life too after his string of failures.

Alienation of South Korea: After picking a fight with North Korea, DDT attacked South Korea by threatening to terminate the U.S. trade agreement with South Korea because the five-year-old accord was “a horrible deal” that has left America “destroyed.” To make things worse, he told South Korea that they should pay the $1 billion for the U.S. missile-defense system, Terminal High-Altitude Air Defense (Thaad), to be installed in South Korea as protection against a North Korean attack.

Flynn’s Failure: When Michael Flynn, National Security Adviser for 24 days, started the chant of “Lock her up” about candidate Clinton last summer, he said that he’d be in prison if he did one-tenth of the things that she had done. Maybe he will be incarcerated. The investigation into Flynn has already shown that he likely took money from Russia without notification to the U.S. after the Pentagon warned him against doing it and that his work for Turkey has a Russian connection. Meanwhile, DDT is trying to cover for Flynn’s illegal activities by refusing to release any information about him. Now the Pentagon has joined the investigation into Flynn, and DDT’s AG Jess Sessions has recused himself from the whole problem. Maybe if FBI James Comey had been more worried about real treason and not Hillary Clinton’s emails?

The Wall: Press Secretary Sean Spicer is trying to cover for DDT’s backing off from his main promise by saying that it was a priority and not a demand, but DDT tweeted that the drug problem will never be solved without a wall. Yet 56 percent responses to a poll agree that DDT hasn’t accomplished much, and 47 percent of the blame goes to DDT. The GOP gets 25 percent blame and Democrats only seven percent. At the same time, the majority of people—a number that is growing—oppose building the wall, and an increasing number want money put into infrastructure instead. Texans oppose the wall as much as Mexico on the possibility of making Mexico so instable that it becomes another Venezuela as well as flooding and sewage in the Rio Grande River.

Tax Increases: DDT may have hoped that his shiny new tax plan would distract from his other problems, but it’s going downhill fast. Presenter and Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin knows that it gives cuts to the wealthy but can’t guarantee that “no one in the middle class is gonna pay more.” At least DDT will get a big cut with his own plan. A 65-year study by the Congressional Research Office found no correlation between cutting taxes and economic growth.

Latest Executive Order Overturned: Judge William Orrick, of the federal Northern District for California, has blocked DDT’s threat to cut off funds to sanctuary cities if they refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities. A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked an executive order by Donald Trump which threatened to cut off funds to sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities. The injunction retains the right to identify sanctuary cities and withhold certain grants but cannot alter the way federal funds are spent because that power lies within the congressional, not the presidential, branch of government. The Justice Department said that the order applies only to the failure in sharing citizenship information as required by law and three federal grants that require compliance as a pre-condition. Orrick said that this defense is worthless because law already permits it, leaving no purpose for the executive order. He also said that DDT’s rhetoric and surrogate statements, including those from the AG, contradicted the interpretation that the Justice Department tried to place on it. Orrick said:

“The President has called it ‘a weapon’ to use against jurisdictions that disagree with his preferred policies of immigration enforcement, and his press secretary has reiterated that the President intends to ensure that ‘counties and other institutions that remain sanctuary cites don’t get federal government funding in compliance with the executive order.'”

Press Secretary Sean Spicer had said that the administration stood behind its threats to eliminate law enforcement funding to those cities. The federal government is now trying to decide on a definition of “sanctuary” jurisdictions.

Massive Donor Errors for Inauguration: Inauguration Donor Fraud?: Follow the rubles. A crowdsourced data project at HuffPost found massive mistakes in DDT’s final campaign report with the was filled with mistakes—missing addresses, vacant lots used for addresses, anonymous or fake names, etc.—showing that even basic checks on accuracy were made.

Failure of Conservative Press Control: Unhappy with the sometimes factual reporting in the mainstream press, DDT has been wooing the far-right outlets and frequently failing. After they didn’t support his healthcare plan, he called them to the White House last Monday to tell them—gently, for him—to shape up. It wasn’t a success: they’re still complaining about the lack of attention that DDT has given them despite his favoritism. They’re also upset that they were told to leave their phones outside the room and not to report on what was said until 30 minutes into the meeting. The result was bad press from conservatives about DDT’s communications team. 

Empty Rooms: Cite Priebus: The Senate has confirmed 26 of DDT’s picks for his Cabinet and other top posts, but he’s nominated only 37 people for 530 other vacant senior-level jobs requiring Senate confirmation.

Disappearance of Zombie Healthcare Bill—Again: Once again, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) couldn’t get the votes for the revised healthcare bill. The ultra-conservatives loved it because it takes insurance from more people, but the more centrist GOP members balked. One embarrassment for the GOP is that the failed bill exempted members of Congress and their staff: they can keep all their benefits. Once this fact came to light, GOP representatives talked about changing their minds about piece of the bill.

No Budget: The House passed a one-week extension on passing the budget to keep the government functioning for another seven days. The reason may be to prevent a shutdown on DDT’s 100th day tomorrow. The GOP House follows the pattern of teenagers who do no school work and then ask for an extension. And the action saves DDT the embarrassment of a government shutdown on his 100th day.

The United States has become so racist—including some law enforcement officials—that Sanya Gragg has published a book on the “talk” with black children: what they should do to stay ALIVE. Momma, Did You Hear The News?, a picture book for small children, gives this directions if they are confronted by the police, even if they’re just innocently walking down the street.

  • A – Always use your manners
  • L – Listen and comply
  • I – In control of your emotions
  • V – Visible hands always
  • E – Explain everything

Something else that white children don’t have to face.

Much more about DDT’s last week, but tomorrow is his 100th day—and lots more for another post.

Meanwhile, cheers for recently retired GOP Judge GOP Judge Doug McCullough, who resigned from the North Carolina Appeals Court a month before his date of mandatory retirement to allow the Democrat governor to replace him. McCullough is disgusted with the legislature’s blatant attempt to strip the new governor of any appointment abilities, going so far as to pass a bill to reduce the court from 15 to 12 so that newly elected Roy Cooper cannot fill any vacancies. An attempt to override Cooper’s veto leaves the governor with a small window of opportunity. Cooper’s new appointment, Judge John Arrowood, is the first openly gay member of the North Carolina court of appeals. McCullough is a man with ethics.

July 17, 2012

Republican Politicians Attack Obama

The Mitt Romney campaign is on the ropes and going crazy. The most recent issue is not just a gaffe; it’s a horrible mistake that won’t go away. No one who watches television can have missed the whole whooplaw about Romney’s refusal to release more than the past two years of income tax returns and his attempt to explain that he quit Bain Capital before the company sent jobs to China—except for those jobs in which they cut up aborted fetuses and burned them. I chuckle every time I hear Romney say, “I’ve put out as much as I’ve put out.”

George Will got it right when he said, “The cost of not releasing the returns are clear. Therefore, [Romney] must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.”  He did give a typical conservative answer about making sure that he could hide everything: “I do not know why, given that Mitt Romney knew the day that [John] McCain lost in 2008 that he was going to run for president again that he didn’t get all of this out and tidy up some of his offshore accounts and all the rest.” Will, by the way, is the staunch Republican pundit who stole Jimmy Carter’s questions before the 1980 debate and gave them to his opponent, Ronald Reagan.

The feeding frenzy isn’t going away, despite all the attempts by Romney’s supporters to divert the discussion. Speculation has run rampant through the media. Did he not pay taxes? Or did he make even more money from Bain than we realize?  Or did he have to pay fines? Or did he have even more offshore tax dodges than the ones in Bermuda, the Caymans, and the Swiss bank account? Or would the tax returns  show deductions from “controversial charities” that would turn off his potential voters?

The issue of Bain’s offshoring by sending jobs from its purchased companies to China has paled by comparison, but it’s equally as perplexing. Romney spent three weeks saying that there was nothing wrong with doing this until he calculated the problems from admitting it and told everyone who would listen that he wasn’t at Bain at the time that this happened. On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Ed Gillespie said that Romney decided to “retroactively retire” for the previous years in 2002, not explaining why Romney took money for working while retired. And even now, Romney doesn’t criticize offshoring; he just says that he didn’t do it.

The Olympics situation may add to Romney’s problems. When he was asked how he felt about the clothing for United States’ participants being made in China, he said, “No comment.” Possibly he wanted the entire question to go away because the clothing for the 2002 Winter Olympics torchbearers, the Olympics administered by Romney, were made in Burma, until last year a brutally military regime.

The Republican forces are gathering to protect Romney by attacking President Obama. After the president’s speech talking about how the United States has accomplished important things by working together to build an infrastructure, John Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire said Obama’s recent defense of public infrastructure shows he “doesn’t understand how America works.” Later Sununu said, “I wish this president would learn how to be an American.”

Another distortion of President Obama’s speech came from his statement that “U.S. policymakers are lazy in creating jobs.” True, but the Republicans are now running television ads that claim the president said, “Americans are lazy.”

Sununu may have gotten more talking points from Rush Limbaugh. “He [Obama] has no idea how the American system functions,” Sununu said on Fox News. “And we shouldn’t be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent … another set of years in Indonesia.”

Limbaugh said Romney should “get down and dirty with Obama” and say:

“Look, pal, when I was out creating jobs, investing in businesses, and growing this economy, you were at Columbia smoking weed and snorting coke. You write about it in your book. You talk about how you got into Columbia and the Harvard Law Review, and you didn’t have to do anything. That’s what was great about it to you! You loved getting into Columbia ’cause all you had to do was go to class, get your grades, and smoke a little weed! Well, I was out building the country when you were doing that.”

I can’t understand what influenced Sununu to accuse President Obama of outsourcing “a major portion of the U.S. space program to the Russians.” FactCheck declared this statement false and explained that George W. Bush set NASA on a path eight years ago to retire the Space Shuttle and rely on the Russians for space travel. It was under President Obama’s charge that the Space Shuttle program ended, but it was George W. Bush who retired the shuttle because the White House refused to give NASA the authority and funds to replace it.

Bush directed NASA to retire the shuttle in 2010 to coincide with the scheduled completion of the space station as part of his plan for NASA that also called for the agency “to conduct the first manned mission no later than 2014,” with the goal of reaching the moon in 2020 and using it as a base for future trips to Mars.

In a 2007 speech at Georgetown University, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said the U.S. may have “no alternative other than to use Soyuz [Russian space craft] for crew transport and rescue.” Bush signed a bill on Sept. 30, 2008, so that Russians would provide transportation to the space station. U.S. astronauts also went to the space station aboard the Soyuz in 2003 after the Columbia disaster caused a suspension of the shuttle program for two years and Edward Lu used Russian transportation. If this is outsourcing, Sununu should have kept quiet because it’s the Republican president who offshored the NASA program.

Even sometimes-reasonable Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, has joined the irrational chorus. Because Republican governors in Utah and Nevada asked the Obama administration for flexibility in the welfare reform law that required adults to either work or participate in a work training program, the president granted flexibility to satisfy their needs. On a voluntary basis, states can now “experiment with ways to improve the number of people making the jump from government assistance to jobs.” On Fox and Friends, Huckabee said:

“It’s basically just a transfer of money from the taxpayer to the government, from the government to people who become beneficiaries of the government, because that way the government can own these people. It is a trap, and it is like the roach motel. Once you get in, but you never get out.”

It’s not the first time that conservatives have compared people needing the safety net to animals. Gabriela Saucedo Mercer, the GOP candidate for Arizona’s District 3, put the following on her website before she hastily removed it.

“The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is actually proud of the fact it is distributing the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever. Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us to ‘Please Do Not Feed The Animals.’ Their stated reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves. This ends today’s lesson.”

Arizona is one of the top two states with food insecure (aka hungry) children; in Arizona 29 percent of the children go to bed hungry each night.

Another Republican disaster today is the release of the first book from the George W. Bush Institute, The 4 Percent Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs.  James K. Glassman, executive director of the Bush Institute, said the book states the country can achieve a 4 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by extending the Bush-era tax cuts, broadening the tax base by getting rid of special exemptions and loopholes, taxing consumption rather than income, and lowering corporate taxes. With GDP being the market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a given period, it is often considered an indicator of a country’s standard of living.

During the reign of George W. Bush, who wrote the forward for The 4 Percent Solution, the GDP averaged just over 2.3 percent using the ideas promoted in the Bush Institute’s book. Because of the over 30% increase in imports during that time, business investment actually declined relative to GDP despite all the Bush tax breaks. Residential investment, which was almost 35% higher in 2005 than it was in 2000, plummeted to less than 83% of its 2000 level by 2008.

Republicans repeatedly say that President Obama’s policies are ruining the nation. He hasn’t had a chance to put his policies into effect. It’s the conservative Republicans’ policies that keep the GDP from growing as Republicans refuse to provide revenue and send jobs out of the country.

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