Nel's New Day

March 3, 2017

DDT Week Six: The ‘Trump Slump’

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 11:00 PM
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The joint speech to Congress last Tuesday was supposed to be Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) victory lap. It lasted for less than 24 hours before the country switched to focus on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ connection with Russia during his campaigning for DDT. The man inaugurated for president only 31 days ago was so desperate that he tried to connect Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) with Vladimir Putin by showing a photo of the pair from 2003 that has been promoted on conspiracy websites such as Gateway Pundit and Infoward.

Muslim Ban

The Muslim ban rolled out a month ago had to be carried out instantly, according to DDT, so that no more “bad dudes” could get into the United States. Once it was overturned, there was supposed to be first an appeal and then a new ban for the same reason. Nothing happened for weeks, and DDT announced that there wouldn’t be one for a few days after his speech to allow his speech to bask in the glory from DDT’s performance, to permit the speech “to breathe.” The desperate need to keep the nation safe had dissipated.

By now, DDT has a problem with any immigrant ban after a report from the Department of Homeland Security revealed that banning immigrants may be worthless:

“We assess that most foreign-born, US-based violent extremists likely radicalized several years after their entry to the United States, limiting the ability of screening and vetting officials to prevent their entry because of national security concerns.”

Combined with DHS findings that “country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity,” there is no evidence to prove the necessity of greater vetting for immigrants than has been used in the past. DDT’s aide Stephan Miller indicated that the ban may be to protect U.S. workers from foreign competitors.

The Russian Connection

Like Richard Nixon, DDT has promised a leadership of “law and order.” And also like Nixon, DDT is displaying an administration of corruption and criminality within his own circle. He began by maintaining his conflicts of interest, nominating corrupt people for his cabinet, and then losing his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, who lied about meeting with the Russians. This week’s poster “child” for breaking the law is newly confirmed Jeff Sessions, who lied to Congress about not having met with the Russians while he was a part of DDT’s campaign. As the new U.S. attorney general, Sessions has been excited about his power–exonerating police for any criminal action and cracking down on marijuana users, among others. His career has become greatly tarnished with the discovery that he committed perjury while testifying in his confirmation hearings on January 10.

DDT has always claimed that he knows about no one who talked to Russia during his campaign, but six of his aides have also admitted to talking with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak last year. Three of his national security advisers also talked to the ambassador at the RNC in July. Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law and also a senior adviser, also met with the Russian ambassador last December at the same time as Michael Flynn.

In an attempt to exonerate himself, Sessions told reporters than he met the Russian ambassador in his senatorial capacity, but one of the meetings was at the RNC conference when Sessions used campaign funds for his travel. He also said that he had forgotten about meeting with the ambassador. Until yesterday, he had flatly refused to recuse himself from any investigation into DDT’s campaign team involvement with the Russians, but now he’s backed down from that assertion—most likely to keep from being forced to resign from his brand new position. If he ends up losing that job, it’s unlikely that he can go back to the Senate because he’s already been replaced.

Another blow against DDT this week, temporarily hidden by the much worse news for him, was the confirmation that he was responsible for softening language toward Russia in the GOP platform. J.D. Gordon, DDT’s national security policy rep at the RNC, earlier said that DDT wasn’t involved in the change that called for the U.S. to provide “appropriate assistance,” rather than lethal weapons, to Ukraine to push back against Russian intervention. Gordon talked to the Russian ambassador too.

Cabinet Members Perjury

Sessions wasn’t the only confirmed Cabinet member who lied under oath during confirmation hearings.

  • EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, Education Secretary stated in testimony that he had never used a private email account to conduct business while he was Oklahoma’s attorney general.
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said that she has not been involved in her family’s foundation, which has given millions of dollars to group that oppose LGBT rights. She denied that she sat on the board, but her tax filings list her as vice-president of the board for 17 years. DeVos claimed it was a “clerical” error.
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin denied in his written testimony that his former bank had used “robo-signing,” but it was a frequent practice , and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price insisted that his discount for a biotech stock was “available to every single individual that was an investor at the time.” Fewer than 20 investors in the nation were offered the same discount.

EmailGate

For years, GOP members of Congress have been obsessed with two Hillary Clinton issues, Benghazi and emails. During DDT’s Tuesday speech, he lauded himself for a failed raid in Yemen that killed a Navy SEAL. Later this week, VP Mike Pence was found to have used a public server, AOL.com, for sensitive government messages. Pence said that his email server use was entirely different from that of Hillary Clinton He is correct in at least one way: AOL was hacked; Clinton’s server was not. Clinton openly provided emails when asked, but Pence has fought the release of his emails through judicial means. DDT’s new head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, also communicated with his staff on private email when he was Oklahoma attorney general and then lied about doing that while under oath by telling Congress that he always used a state email account for government business. Conservatives have yet to demand that Pence and Pruitt be locked up.

GOPcare

The GOP health care plan still seems to be missing. After the promise to release it last Wednesday, the day after DDT’s speech, it stays in the basement of an office building next to the Capitol where only House Republicans are allowed to see it. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tried to make copies, but he wasn’t permitted into the room where the plan is being kept.

Immigration Policy

Despite the part of DDT’s speech that his immigration policy going after only the “bad ones,” he has decided that women and children are the “bad ones.” The Department of Homeland Security is considering the separation of mothers from their children at the border to keep them from migrating to the U.S. Toward that end, the current 3,000 prison beds for undocumented women and children will be expanded to 20,000.

The policy would detain parents while complying with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals order that immigrant children must be released from detention as soon as possible. The excuse for this action is protection because “the journey north is a dangerous one.” No consideration has been given to the fact that living in the countries these people flee may be more dangerous.

Vacation for DDT

In the meantime, DDT is taking another $3 million trip to Mar-a-Lago to recover from the week’s stress. He has gone every weekend since the week after his inauguration, and taxpayers have picked up the tab for four of the trips. Taxpayers are also paying for a Marine One helipad being built at Mar-a-Lago. At least DDT is not finding his new job too much work for him.

Disappearing Visitors to U.S.

Travel guru Arthur Frommer calls it the “Trump Slump.” While DDT makes money illegally for his businesses and lives off the taxpayers, international travel to the U.S. is suffering because of his immigration policies with a projected fewer 300,000 visitors coming to New York this year as compared to 2016. It would be the first drop since the 2008 recession. Philadelphia lost 3,000 attendees to an international meeting that will go instead to Canada or Mexico. Another company reports that books are down 6.5 percent thus far this year compared to last. With international travel a key to tourism, the industry generates $2.1 trillion in economic output and supports 15.1 million jobs. An op-ed piece in the Toronto Star newspaper encouraged Canadians to “boycott vacations to the U.S.” until Trump is no longer president.

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.

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