Nel's New Day

October 16, 2019

Donald of the Thousand Days

Fifty years ago, the popular film Anne of the Thousand Years told the story of Anne Boleyn’s three years of tenure before England’s King Henry VIII had her beheaded so that he could marry another woman. Although she ruled for slightly more than 1,000 days, the title may reflect on the downward spiral of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) during his first thousand days. A few memorable moments from those days.

Last March, DDT wanted to shoot migrants—including asylum seekers—so that they wouldn’t cross the southern border. Told that this was illegal, he wanted to shoot them in the legs to slow them down as Israelis do to Palestinians. His Department of Homeland Security told him that shooting migrants was illegal, starting his purge of over a dozen top officials from the DHS. DDT didn’t quit: he decided that he wanted to electrify his border wall, fortify it with spikes to pierce human flesh, and build a moat (which he spelled “moot”) stocked with snakes and alligators. He even asked aides for a cost estimate of his plans. Peter Singer has created one, available here. Costs: $2.5 billion in set-up costs for snakes and alligators, $1.8 billion for annual operating costs; and several billion dollars for building the moat. DDT’s incessant, punitive and sometimes illegal attack on immigrants is chronicled in Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear.

One of the most humorous episodes of DDT’s 1,000 days is his desire to buy Greenland. He even cancelled his state visit to Denmark because Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said she wouldn’t sell Greenland to him. The Danish newspaper Politiken published a satiric piece in which Kim Kielsen, Premier of Greenland, suggested his government might buy the U.S. back. The author parodied an interview with Kielsen saying Greenland has a prior claim on the U.S. because Leifr “The Lucky” Eiríksson was the first European to settle America. Kielsen said no price had been established, but Greenland would take into consideration the vast U.S. debt and lower the price if DDT were included in the deal. (Technically, Eiríksson, although spending part of his childhood in Greenland and some of his adulthood working for the Norwegian court, was born in Iceland.)

Although DDT tweeted that he didn’t plan to build one of his towers in Greenland, his son Jr. took the photo seriously, cheering that this building could be finished within ten years. 

DDT did joke about trading Puerto Rico for Greenland, and Puerto Ricans are delighted with the possibility. A man tweeted about the improvement of education because “Denmark is the country with the best education in the world.” Nieto, a Puerto Rican podcaster, shared photos of his Danish “Starter Kit” with “Danish Delights” butter cookies, the TV show Vikings, and Danish beer. Others included a Danish-to-Spanish dictionary on their “Starter Kits.” Another tweet added a picture of a “Conversational Danish” reading book. Using the hashtags #DenmarkPR and #DinamarcaPR, Denmark in Spanish, Puerto Ricans claimed the Danish royal family with perks of being a Danish territory, “representation in the Europe [League] and possibly in the World Cup.”

People around the world now know that Greenland isn’t for sale, but tourism searches soared after DDT’s unrequited demand.

DDT already showed Denmark his antagonism when he sent them Carla Sand as the U.S. ambassador. The wealthy widow of a billionaire and climate denier who promotes QAnon conspiracy theories such as a fake video reportedly about blacks hitting a white woman DDT supporter bought her position for under $300,000. The cancellation of his visit less than two weeks before the event—a visit which DDT initiated—was a snub that cost both countries money and provided more reason for the European Union not to trust him to follow through with his promises. Denmark had already organized discussions about increasing investments in the United States. 

Some people speculated that DDT also cancelled his visit to avoid comparison with President Obama, who visit a few weeks after DDT’s aborted visit. DDT has always been jealous of the former president because of how well liked the former president is–and how much better he looks as shown by their visits to England. Or neo-Nazi aide Stephen Miller told DDT to avoid those “globalists” in his campaign term. 

In another baffling episode, delusional DDT told 9/11 First Responders that he had helped at Ground Zero:

“And I was down there also …. I spent a lot of time down there with you.”

Retired New York City Fire Department Deputy Chief Richard Alles stated he never heard of a group of rescuers hired by DDT to assist, as DDT claimed, and that additional help from private responders had not been necessary. Ground Zero was on lockdown by 9/15/01, and a government-issued ID badge was required to access the site. DDT’s claim that he “helped” clear rubble adds to the other lies about his involvement in assistance after the tragedy. One gas station owner went a step farther in promising free gas on any day that DDT “doesn’t say something stupid.” 

DDT told the AMVETS, a volunteer-led veterans service organization, that his aides talked him out of giving himself a Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for acts of military valor. A reminder: during the Vietnam War, DDT avoided the military with five deferments, four for college and one for bone spurs in his heel. He made this comment shortly after he named himself “the Chosen One” in his administration’s trade conflict with China and looked up at the sky to make his point clear. In Australia, he told his audience he gave himself bogus awards all the time, but he wasn’t lying because he received them from himself.

Medals are important to DDT also ordered the Navy Achievement Medals awarded to four prosecutors in the Eddie Gallagher case be rescinded. The Navy SEAL platoon turned Gallagher in for stabbing a captured and wounded teenage fighter repeatedly in the neck and then threatened to kill those who reported him. Yet DDT sold a Medal of “Freedom” to Miriam Adelson for campaign donations. She and her husband, Sheldon, gave $500,000 to a legal fund for DDT’s aides involved in the Russian scandal investigation. This “freedom” donation topped the $30 million DDT received from the Adelsons in late 2016 and the $100 million to GOP candidates and PACs for the 2018 election. They also donated $5 million to DDT’s inaugural committee. In return for their largesse, DDT moved the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. Created by John F. Kennedy, the Medal of Freedom is awarded for “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Sheldon Adelson received $670 million in the first quarter of 2018 because of DDT’s tax cuts for the wealthy and big business, and DDT lobbied Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to allow construction of a casino owned by one of Adelson’s companies. DDT displayed other forms of gratitude for donations. For prolific GOP donor Robert Murray, DDT pressured the Tennessee Valley Authority to save an old, unprofitable coal plant that buys its coal from Murray Energy. EPA Secretary Andrew Wheeler is an ex-lobbyist for Murray. DDT stopped negotiating lower drug prices after Pfizer gave $1 million to DDT’s inaugural fund.

DDT topped off his 1000 days by posting this photograph of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) shut down his insane comments about Syria by saying that “all roads with you lead to Putin.” He thought he could embarrass Pelosi with the caption of “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!” Pelosi now uses the photo of DDT’s personal meltdown on her Twitter account, and the image shows his bewilderment and the ducked heads around the room.  

For the past 1000 days, DDT has run the United States like a Banana Republic for his personal gain:

  • He relentlessly demonizes the press, putting journalists’ lives at risks by calling for violence against them.
  • He undermines a federal criminal investigation and claims that he is above the law, even above any scrutiny.
  • He interferes with election results and voting rights, for example trying to throw out Arizona’s election results when Democrat Kyrsten Sinema received more votes than GOP Martha McSally. 
  • He pardons crimes for ideological reasons, for example when he pardoned Arizona’s former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio in an “endorsement of racism” and “deep disdain for the judiciary,” according to Chiraag Bains, senior fellow at Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program.
  • He shamelessly monetizes the position of president by not divesting from real estate holdings and hiring his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner who also keep running their businesses.

In DDT’s first 1000 days, he spent 310 days at his resorts and 239 days playing golf at his courses. He daily lies, with a total of at least  13,435, and makes “stupid” comments, something that this gas station owner noted.

 

August 17, 2019

U.S. Trouble around the World

Anyone questioning whether Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is an autocrat, should consider his directive to Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocking Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from visiting Israel because they support the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement to sanction Israelis over human rights abuses of Palestinians and Israeli’s occupation of the West Bank. DDT tweeted that the two women “hate all Jewish people”—a lie—and added that “it would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit!”

Israeli’s foreign aid from the U.S. is dependent on congressional approval; Omar is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee with oversight over U.S. foreign aid. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said that if Israel doesn’t want U.S. congressional members in the country, they could return the annual $3 billion that Congress allots them for military aid. Even prominent Republicans opposed Israel’s ban on two congressional members taking part in a congressional delegation to the country, a first for the U.S. The day after the ban, Israel said Tlaib could visit her 90-year-old grandmother for the first time in 12 years if Tlaib promised to say nothing about laws punishing public contractors who boycotted Israel for its treatment of Palestinians. When Tlaib refused to go if she were muzzled, DDT accused her of “grandstanding.” Israel’s mandate, like U.S. Republicans who support Tlaib’s suppression, proves Israel as a repressive regime without free speech.

DDT renewed his attacks on Iran by issuing a warrant for the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker detained in Gibraltar, hours after a Gibraltar court ordered the ship released after the British navy intercepted it. The U.S. wants the ship, 2.1 million barrels of oil, and $999,500. The warrant is dated November 16, 2019—not August 19, and Iran is fighting it.   

U.S. officials remain silent about an explosion off the northern coast of Russia on August 8 that spread radioactivity for miles and killed seven people, including scientists. Apparently a test for a cruise missile propelled by nuclear power, the explosion occurred just five days after DDT officially dropped out of a treaty with Russia controlling nuclear weapons. Analysts think that the missile is a prototype of one spreading radioactivity that cannot be stopped because it has an unpredictable path at low altitudes.

Spreading misinformation, Russian officials first denied the radiation leak before confirming it. Three naked injured men wrapped in translucent plastic bags were taken to a regional hospital, but no one notified the hospital staff that the patients were radioactive. Two of the three patients died on the way to the airport on their way to Moscow. Five hospital staff workers, including senior doctors, were required to sign non-disclosure agreements. The staff’s questions were not answered, but the offer to fly them to Moscow for tests was rescinded when one was found with a radioactive isotype, a byproduct of the nuclear fission of uranium-235, in his muscle tissue. Tests were moved to the regional hospital.

Russia also stated that it flew nuclear-capable TU-160 bombers to a far eastern Russian region opposite Alaska to show the country’s long-range ability to launch nuclear weapons into the U.S.

DDT is siding with North Korea’s opposition to U.S./South Korea military exercises against his own military advice after Kim Jong Un wrote him a “really beautiful letter.” Kim wrote that he wants to save the U.S. money by stopping the exercises. North Korea has tested four different new weapons since July, with the most recent yesterday, and threatened continued testing if DDT doesn’t stop the long-planned exercises and lift sanctions. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/17/north-koreas-kim-jong-un-expresses-great-satisfaction-after-test-of-new-weapon   Kim expressed “great satisfaction” about the tests’ “mysterious and amazing success rates” and vowed to build up “invincible military capabilities no one dare provoke.”

At a fundraiser, DDT said Kim “only smiles when he sees me” and “if I hadn’t been elected president, we would be in a big, fat, juicy war with North Korea.” In the same speech, DDT used a fake Japanese accent when he told about a conversation with Shinzo Abe about Abe’s kamikaze pilot father when he asked if kamikaze pilots were drunk or on drugs. Abe said they loved their country; DDT said, “Imagine they get in a plane with a half a tank of gas and fly into steel ships just for the love of their country!” About South Korea, DDT talked about getting rents from tenants:

“It was easier to get a billion dollars from South Korea than to get $114.13 from a rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn, and believe me, those 13 cents were very important.”

DDT mocked the accent of South Korean leader Moon Jae-In, ridiculing him for “caving in” to negotiations and praised his son Don Jr. as a gun expert—seemingly over the FBI, CIA, military generals, U.S. army soldiers, reservists, national guardsmen, and Secret Service.

Thus far, DDT has clearly shown no support for Hong Kong protesters trying to protect themselves from China’s Communists. He explained that China’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen showed that China’s behavior “shows you the power for strength.” DDT’s avoidance of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement has isolated him from Congress, the State Department, European allies, and his hawkish White House advisers. Instead, DDT supports President Xi Jinping.Even Russia-supporter Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tweeted that a violent crackdown on the Hong Kong protesters “would be completely unacceptable.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), usually DDT’s lapdog, tweeted that “30 years after Tiananmen Square all Americans stand with the peaceful protesters in Hong Kong.’’ Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson, co-founder of the Brexit movement, argued that China must respect Hong Kong’s autonomy. In his avoidance of supporting human rights, DDT said nothing about the Moscow mass protests challenging President Vladimir Putin and supports repressive governments of autocracies such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, and Poland.

The election in Guatemala, DDT’s new pawn, is over, and 58 percent of the electorate didn’t show up—the biggest absentee rate in 20 years. Their choice between a right-wing candidate and an extremist right-wing candidate came after the top two contenders were banned from participation. The extremist candidate won. DDT may lose an agreement with Guatemala to block Central Americans from seeking asylum in the United States. The agreement, which needs to be ratified by the Guatemalan congress, would require the country to extend asylum to migrants coming through the country and make some asylum-seekers who pass through Guatemala ineligible for protection in the U.S. President-elect Alejandro Giammattei wants to change the highly unpopular deal, especially after a U.S. judge suspended a separate safe third country accord. The current president signed the agreement after DDT blackmailed him with threats of tariffs and charges on remittances sent to Guatemalans.

Declaring Guatemala a “safe country” has raised deep concerns. In 2016, its murder rate was five times that of the U.S., and people who live in Guatemala fear the high level of crime. Guatemala also has the world’s third-highest rate of femicide, the sixth-highest rate of chronic malnutrition, and an infant mortality rate four times higher than in the United States. DDT and Morales signed the agreement amid a time of violence in Guatemala on the day after two Indigenous community leaders were killed, one of them hacked to death with a machete outside his home and the other hit by a mining company vehicle. The president-elect promises to prohibit marriage equality, criminalize “sodomy” and all education on questions of sexual diversity, and ban abortions under all circumstances.

The coup by U.S. trained and equipped Guatemalan soldiers in 1954 led to 36 years of military rule, still U.S. supported, with genocide razing 600 villages and killing 200,000 people, 83 percent of them ethnic Mayan. Currently, two percent of the Guatemalan population controls 70 percent of arable land. The United Nations-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), expected to shut down next month, has worked with Guatemalan prosecutors to destroy systemic corruption. Asylum-seekers in Guatemala already face threats of murder and physical attacks.

DDT’s sanctions against Venezuela may not have the impact he wants because Panama is still permitting ships through the Canal.

Danish authorities ridiculed DDT’s idea of buying Greenland and its 50,000 citizens. Unfortunately, there is a precedent: in 1917, Denmark sold what is now the Virgin Islands to the U.S. for $25 million. In response to DDT’s suggestion, the huge headline on the cover of New York’s Daily News read: “Fjord to Trump: Drop Dead.” Gerald Ford said a similar headline protesting his lack of assistance for New York City, “Ford to City: Drop Dead,” cost him the 1976 election. The newspaper also echoed a headline after DDT dumped the Paris climate agreement with “Trump to World: Drop Dead.”

Update on DDT’s speech at the Pennsylvania Shell construction site on August 13: Workers were paid overtime to attend the speech and ordered “no yelling, shouting, protesting or anything viewed as resistance.” Those who skipped the speech forfeited all pay for the day and lost all overtime for the week. The new operation may harm the area’s air quality and increase carbon emissions and plastic pollution.

DDT finished his vacation at his Bedminster (NJ) resort during a week of telling lies and facing stalled approval ratings, increased polarization, escalating trade wars in Europe and Asia, war-like tension with North Korea and Iran, an unstable stock market, and a contentious aftermath of two mass shootings last weekend.

 

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