Nel's New Day

September 23, 2019

Chaos from Israel, Iran

Last week, I was biting my fingernails until I heard the results of Tuesday’s Israeli election to see if the corrupt far-right, ultra-Orthodox prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu would lose his power over the country. If he does, that’s the third country moving from far-right positions.

Italy was the first to go in the past few months when it ousted far-right Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini with a coalition between the pro-European Democratic Party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. Salvini failed to take over for Giuseppe Conte, the independent prime minister who resigned. The interior ministry will be run by migration specialist Luciana Lamorgese who wants to solve the humanitarian crisis caused for the former government. The new coalition is fragile, but it’s a start.

The UK parliament turned against new far-right prime minister, Boris Johnson, who failed to get enough votes for his position to walk out on the European Union with no deal in place. A Supreme Court decision this week will help determine UK’s direction about Brexit. The background is here. 

Almost a week after Israel’s election, a leader still hasn’t been finalized, and Netanyahu failed to coalesce rival rightwing parties the second election within six months. Instead of voting for a person, Israel votes for parties that then select a prime minister. As of yesterday, Netanyahu was behind a coalition supporting Benny Gantz because most of the Arab Palestinians, one-fifth of Israel’s citizens and 13 votes in parliament, picked Gantz as the lesser of two evils. President Reuven Rivlin will select the new prime minister.

Rivlin attempted to unify the government by calling Gantz and Netanyahu to a meeting lasting almost two hours. The two opponents will meet again tomorrow. For Arabs, supporting Ganz has been difficult because he led Israeli forces to devastate large parts of the Palestinian enclave and kill 2,000 people, mostly civilians. Three Arab parliamentarians called him a “war criminal” and backed out of his support, but for the remainder Netanyahu is a worse choice. Rivlin’s choice at forming a government has 28 days plus a 14-day extension to get coalition agreements. Failure means another 28 days before the parliament members recommend a third potential candidate with a majority vote who has 14 days to form a government.

Arabs have good reason to reject Netanyahu. Last summer, he declared that they were to officially be second-class citizens when he said, “According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people—and only it.” In his reelection campaign, Netanyahu promised to illegally annex parts of the West Bank belonging to Jordan before he presents a “peace plan.”. He also posted a huge gold “Trump Heights” sign in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights that belongs to Syria. On his official FB chatbot, suspended as a “violation of hate,” Netanyahu posted that Arab politicians “want to annihilate us all.”

Netanyahu is desperate for a win; otherwise he faces prosecution in three criminal cases involving fraud, bribery and breach of trust. He conspired to curb the circulation of a daily newspaper owned by supporter Sheldon Adelson for better coverage in Yediot Ahronot, a rival paper critical of Netanyahu. In another accusation, Netanyahu, fixed the regulation of huge telecom Bezeq to get favors from Walla, a news website owned by Bezeq’s then-majority shareholder, Shaul Elovitch, who also faces charges. Elovitch told Walla to go easy on Netanyahu and his wife Sara to get a merger that raised antitrust concerns. These are details of Netanyahu’s involvement in these issues.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has provided the script for Netanyahu’s rhetoric. Corruption charges are a “witch hunt” in the “leftist media,” and Netanyahu calls himself “the most maligned person in the history of Israeli media.” On a billboard of critical journalists’ images, he posted, “They will not decide. You decide.” He has interviews only on one far-right outlet, and communicates through social media. He called for a boycott of a network and accused those involved in the network of “a terror attack against democracy.”

After Netanyahu appeared to lose the election, Israel’s stock markets rose in celebration. Netanyahu canceled his meeting with DDT and his speech at the UN this week, not appearing at its main debate for only the second time in ten years. DDT is also distancing himself from his former BFF saying, “Our relationship is with the state of Israel.”

Israel is privy to U.S. classified information through cellphone surveillance devices placed by the country’s agents near White House “sensitive locations” to spy on DDT, his top aides, and his closest associates. DDT, who called for a congressional investigation into President Obama’s non-existent surveillance of him, didn’t indicate any distress about Israel’s real surveillance.

Another country is causing ulcers as the world waits to see what will happen with Iran. Since drones from an unspecified location by an unspecified group hit Saudi Arabian oil fields on September 13, the U.S. has consistently said that Iran is responsible for the attack claimed by the Yemeni Houthis. Countries such as Japan disagree, and even Saudi Arabia has not identified the location where the attacking drones was launched. DDT claims he waits for direction from the Saudi, following orders from the country that tortured and dismembered a U.S. journalist instead of the constitutional requirement that Congress is in control of declaring war. DDT says that the U.S. doesn’t need Saudi oil but wants to “help our allies,” a turnaround from five years ago when he said that the Saudis “should fight their own wars.”

Whether DDT will talk to Iran or bomb them depends on the hour, but he increased sanctions twice since the attack, including on Iran’s central bank.  His attitude reflects how much money he can get from them for his personal business.

A basis for DDT’s decision about attacks on Iran is most likely the price of crude oil. When he made war noises, the price per barrel went up almost 40 percent, only to come back down when he calmed down. Global markets set oil prices, and an invasion in the Middle East could double prices as it did when the U.S. dived into the Iraq-Kuwait conflict. In 1973, prices quadrupled after OPEC declared an oil embargo because of U.S. support for Israel in the Yom Kippur War. DDT’s 2020 campaign could be damaged by increases in oil prices, a war that no one wants, and the fear of a recession, already on the horizon. Six of the last eight recessions came after a spike in oil prices, including the most recent one in 2007.  High oil prices cause inflation and hurt economic growth, directly affect prices for goods made with oil and indirectly affecting costs from transportation and heating for consumers. Other goods are sold because people have a finite amount of money.

Whether DDT will talk to Iran or bomb them depends on the hour, but he increased sanctions twice since the attack, including on Iran’s central bank. His attitude reflects how much money he can get from them for his personal business. He claims that the U.S. needs the Saudis to bring them job, and every time he talks about the opportunities he adds thousands to his mythical number. What he really wants, however, is money in his own pocket from the Saudis pouring cash into DDT’s U.S. hotels and Scottish resort. His big problem is that hawks and hardliners want war, and he’s already bombed Yemen to please Saudi Arabia, contributing to a horrific humanitarian crisis with 3.3 million of Yemenis displaced and another 14 million desperately needing food, medicine, etc.

DDT may find little foreign support for a war against Iran. The United Arab Emirates has already backed off the Saudis’ war in Yemen, the Egyptian president faces new protests against his faltering economy and repression, and Israel has no leader. Even the Saudis are lukewarm about a fight with the Iranians. DDT has proved himself to be an on-again-off-again follower of the last person he talks to, well demonstrated when he called off a strike against Iran last June just ten minutes—according to him—before the final order without talking to his advisers.

Iran wants new talks on the nuclear agreement, and DDT refuses to negotiate. Talks also can’t resume while the U.S. has crippling sanctions on Iran, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wants to block DDT from sending more U.S. troops into the Gulf. DDT has isolated the U.S., and other countries such as China are moving in to take advantage of Iranian resources. Tomorrow, he plans to give a speech at the UN to get support against Iran, and leaders of three EU countries—France, Germany, and UK—now say that Iran was responsible for the attack. Yet DDT’s disregard for global involvement does not bode well in an organization where people are more interested in diplomacy and denuclearization instead of buffoonery.

September 8, 2019

Treating Foreign Affairs like a Game Show Fails

Foreign policy for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is like his orchestration of his game show, but he is miserably failing in coping with the problems of the world—many of which he has caused. Some of the past month’s failures: 

Afghanistan:

Just days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. “delivered” on its mission to oust al-Qaeda from Afghanistan and deter terrorist attacks, DDT said he canceled a secret summit at Camp David with Taliban leadership and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani after the Taliban claimed last week’s attack that killed a U.S. soldier. The soldier was one of ten people, including a Romanian service member, killed in a suicide attack. He was the fourth killed in Afghanistan in two weeks and the 16th thus far this year. The day after the top negotiator’s announcement that he had reached a deal “in principle,” a Taliban suicide bomber strapped a bomb to a tractor and drove it into an international compound in Kabul, killing 16 people and injured 100. Two weeks ago, a bomb killed 63 people, many of them women and children, at a wedding in the Afghan capital. A car bomb killing 45 and injuring 145 a few months ago was attributed to the Taliban as well as a bomb and gun attack on a political party’s office that left 20 dead and over 50 injured. Afghanis express concern if “peace” does not include a ceasefire and if the Taliban reneges on its agreement after the U.S. pulls its troops.

National security adviser John Bolton has been missing from talks with Afghanistan, North Korea, and Iran. The head negotiator had even refused to give Bolton a draft of the agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban, and Bolton wasn’t originally invited to a high-level meeting at DDT’s New Jersey golf resort because he might leak the details.

Yemen:

The U.S., France, and Britain may be complicit in war crimes for providing the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in its war on Yemen with logistical support and weapons, according to a UN report released days after the coalition killed over 100 people in airstrikes on a Yemeni detention center. The coalition “is guilty of bombing hospitals, homes, a school bus, and other civilian targets during its years-long assault on Yemen” which may constitute war crimes. Last spring, DDT vetoed a stand-alone War Powers resolution to end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led assault on Yemen. Their report documents air strikes on civilian infrastructure, indiscriminate shelling, snipers, landmines, arbitrary killings and detention, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, starvation, and impeding of access to humanitarian aid in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The four-year conflict killed at least 7,290 civilians and left 24 million people—80 percent of the population—in need of humanitarian assistance or protection including ten million who rely on food aid to survive.

Iran:

When DDT backed out of an anti-nuclear agreement in May 2018, he was convinced that he would emerge victorious. He failed. This week, Iran promised to reinstate R&D on its nuclear program and may begin to enrich uranium faster. Before that, Tehran defied the U.S. trying to launch a space rocket in response to heavy U.S. financial penalties and pushes for countries to stop doing business with Iran. An angry DDT added to the crippling sanctions against Iran. A year before the agreement, the CIA predicted that if the U.S. backed out of the deal, radical elements would be empowered.

DDT even failed to take an Iranian tanker with 2.1 million barrels of oil and a $1 million penalty after a Gibraltar court refused DDT’s request. The ship, renamed the Adrian Darya-1, proceeded through the Mediterranean where it’s nearing Syria because U.S. sanctions do not apply in the EU. In an unprecedented scam, Brian Hook, Pompeo’s special envoy on Iran, even tried to bribe the ship’s captain with millions of dollars to take the ship into a port where the U.S. could seize it. Hook offered “good news” to the Indian captain, writing, “With this money you can have any life you wish and be well-off in old age.” Later Hook wrote, “If you choose not to take this easy path, life will be much harder for you.” Iran is now injecting uranium gas into advanced centrifuges.

Israel:

Peace in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine hit another glitch when the envoy for brokering the deal, DDT’s former real estate lawyer and Trump Organization employee Jason Greenblatt, resigned. He was replaced by 29-year-old Avi Berkowitz, Jared Kushner’s longtime aide, who graduated from law school in 2016 with no experience in foreign policy or international diplomacy. A sample of headlines: “Trump’s New Mideast Point Man Is Jared Kushner’s Former Coffee Boy Avi Berkowitz” (Vanity Fair) and “Trump Somehow Replaces Unqualified Mideast Envoy with Even Less Qualified One” (New York magazine). During the past two months, Israel expanded its air attacks on Iran and militia from Syria to Iraq, including a drone attack on a Shiite militia convoy in Iraq killing nine, an air raid in Syria killing two Lebanese Hezbollah operatives, and an attack on a weapons depot north of Baghdad.

North Korea:

DDT Keeps bragging about the non-existent progress in North Korea, but Kim Jong-Un refuses to meet and built up the “range and maneuverability” of North Korea’s weapons. DDT downplays North Korea’s ballistic missile tests violating UN Security Council resolutions as something that “many nations” do.

Hong Kong:

After DDT hid from Hong Kong’s summer of protesting, leader Carrie Lam announced she would formally withdraw the bill allowing extradition to mainland China. China wanted the extradition law to get political dissidents back to the mainland. Protesters demand political reforms, an independent inquiry into police brutality, the retraction of the government’s label of some protesters as “rioters,” and amnesty for the arrested protesters.

China:

U.S. consumer prices skyrocketed, thanks to DDT’s tariffs. The stock market went up after he announced talks in October, but he’s lied about talks before.

Venezuela:

DDT’s attempts to unseat legally-elected President Nicholas Maduro, a stringent blockade, received signatures from at least eight million Venezuelans—one fourth of the nation’s population—protesting the U.S. blockade to the UN. They also march with the “No More Trump” campaign to denounce DDT’s sanctions on Venezuela. Socialism-hating DDT is coordinating secret meetings with Venezuela’s socialist party boss, Diosdado Cabello, against Maduro. Last year, DDT sanctioned Cabello for organizing drug shipments and running a major corruption network embezzling state funds that were invested in Florida real estate. He may have intended to kill Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). This year he’s a U.S. colleague. Problems with DDT’s Venezuelan strategy:

  • Latin America may reject his willingness to use military force; even Brazil’s autocratic president sided with Maduro in May.
  • The ousting of Maduro hasn’t succeeded yet, forcing foreign ministries to normalize ties with Maduro’s government with the perception that DDT had no plans and did it for personal political reasons.
  • U.S. actions makes Juan Guaidó look like a U.S. puppet.
  • Sanctions have made the U.S. a scapegoat, and many of Maduro’s protesters have left Venezuela.

Brazil:

Top donors giving millions to DDT and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) are significantly responsible for the Amazon rainforest destruction. The two Brazilian firms took control of land, deforested it, and helped build a controversial highway to their new terminal in the one-time jungle to cultivate and export grain and soybeans. Since DDT put U.S. farmers out of the soybean business with Chinese tariffs, Brazil has taken over the market.

Ukraine:

In efforts to ingratiate himself with Putin and “persuade” Ukrainian officials to investigate possible corruption by presidential candidate Joe Biden, DDT follows chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s wish by continuing to block $250 million in military assistance to them. The Pentagon congressional members want DDT to lift his hold on the money, that goes back into the general fund (wall) if not spent in three weeks. Russian television appreciates DDT’s subservience to Putin

Georgia:

DDT blamed Russia’s annexation of Crimea on President Obama instead of Vladimir Putin, but on DDT’s watch, Putin is backing a takeover of Georgia’s South Ossetia and recognizes Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. Russia won’t allow the EUMM (European Union Monitoring Mission) monitors to enter South Ossetia and Abkhazia in violation of the Six Point Ceasefire Agreement. As part of its occupation, Russians are building border fences. Georgia and the West declare Russia’s move as an “illegal occupation” of 20 percent of Georgia’s sovereign territory.

Ten countries warn their residents that the U.S. is a dangerous place to travel: Venezuela, Uruguay, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, France, Bahamas, and China. Warnings go from extreme cautions to postponing travel to the U.S., with most cautions advising people that they do not go to crowded places which tend to be tourist destinations. The human rights organization Amnesty International, present in over 150 countries, echoed this warning.  

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.

 

August 4, 2019

DDT: Week 132 – Killings, Cruelty

This morning I facetiously remarked to my partner that I need to check for today’s mass shooting. Yet there is was—nine people killed and 27 wounded in Dayton (OH) in the 250th mass shooting uring the first 216 days of 2019. The shooter, another young white male, did this much damage in 30 seconds before the police stopped him. One of the fatalities is the shooter’s sister.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) wrote that yesterday’s El Paso shooting was an act of “cowardice” and, like the standard GOP line, said that mass shootings must be stopped. Friday, however, he repeated that he could kill ten million people in Afghanistan where 20,000 foreign troops, mainly from the U.S., are stationed. Deaths in Afghanistan have drastically increased with most of the civilian casualties coming from international military forces including the U.S.—83 percent of the 519 civilian casualties. Aerial operations resulted in a 39th percent increase in casualties.

Republicans say that DDT has no responsibility for increased white supremacy despite his rampant racism during the past several years.  The man who spews hateful racist comments toward members of Congress, media personalities, and the general population of color more vigorously than ever now claims that “hate has no place in our country.” DDT’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, made the Sunday news show circuit to claim that only individuals are responsible for the mass shootings because DDT’s comments have no influence on people. Like other Republicans, Mulvaney refused to use the term “domestic terrorism.” Most other Republican leaders went into hiding from Sunday television.  

Public figures and media around the world don’t agree that DDT has no culpability for the rapid increase in gun violence.

  • A spread in the Berlin-based newspaper Taz about the El Paso shootingwith the headline, “The White Danger,” linked the anti-immigrant manifesto to the shooter’s actions.
  • Another German daily, Der Tagesspiegel, published a column by journalist Fabian Löhe arguing that Trump’s “daily racism” has “prepared the intellectual ground” for such violence.
  • Martha Bárcena, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, condemned racism toward “Hispanic communities” in the United States and called for “respectful and compassionate dialogue between our countries and communities.” She tweeted, “Xenophobic and racist discourse breeds hate crimes.”
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that at least three Mexican nationals were among the dead in the El Paso rampage.
  • Dolia Estévez, a prominent Mexican correspondent and commentator wrote about the need for “a non racist, non xenophobic, non divisive, non hateful President. That’s where it all starts.”
  • From the BBC News, “evidence indicates that the El Paso shooting was a calculated political act drawn from the white nationalist rhetoric that has become increasingly prominent in modern US politics.”

If mass shootings in the U.S. aren’t enough for DDT, he has withdrawn from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia with no evidence for his accusations that Russia had violated INF. Now free of any restrictions on nuclear power, DDT he plans to test a new non-nuclear mobile-launched cruise missile developed specifically to challenge Moscow in Europe. The world will become like a Wild West with DDT leading the threats of a nuclear arms race. DDT may have one problem: no NATO appears to “host new US intermediate range missiles.” Even Poland agrees that any deployment in Europe must be approved by all NATO members. 

In other foreign affairs:

After almost two weeks of denial, the U.S. admitted that it violated Venezuelan airspace with surveillance in violation of international treaties. Bolivia showed another U.S. violation of Venezuelan airspace a week later, making a total of 78 thus far in 2019, according to Communication, Tourism and Culture Minister Jorge Rodriguez. 

North Korea fired more short-range ballistic missiles twice in the past week, but DDT doesn’t mind because they’re just “standard” weapons” and it was under control. DDT minimized the testing three times in the past week by calling President Kim Jong-Un a friend with a “great and beautiful vision for his country” who can only achieve his goal if DDT is president.

In escalating tensions with Iran, DDT imposed sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, accusing him of acting like a “propaganda minister” instead of a diplomat. Nuclear sanctions on Iran have been waived for another 90 days so that Russia, China, and Europe can participate in Iran’s civil nuclear program, an agreement in the Iran deal that DDT dropped last year. Sanctions against Javad Zarif include blocking financial dealings with and travel to the U.S., already banned for Iranian officials.   https://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/57979-iranians-complain-trumps-sanctions-are-blocking-access-to-vital-medicine  DDT’s sanctions are killing children who can no longer afford medication and medical equipment necessary to treat diseases such as cancer and MS. The U.S. claims that medicines and humanitarian goods are exempt from sanctions, but banks and companies are afraid to do business with Iran because U.S. restrictions on trade may punish them. Banking sanctions block transactions, prevent donations from abroad, and cause money transfers to fail.

DDT’s immigration policies, another way to torment people:

In an attack on Central American asylum seekers, AG Bill Barr has a new rule that being an immediate member of a persecuted family is insufficient grounds for asylum protection. The administration’s position is “that families are not recognized within societies as distinct groups,” according to Anna Gallagher, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, in conflict with a Fourth Circuit decision.

Courts have blocked DDT’s rules to reject migrants illegally crossing the border and to require asylum seekers to pursue safe haven in a third country they travel through on the way to the U.S. Another judge has ordered DDT to accept asylum claims from all eligible migrants at the border.

DDT’s administration has taken almost 1,000 migrant children from their parents at the southern border in the year since a judge ordered the practice stopped. In one case, a Border Patrol agent took a man’s daughter with the claim that he had not changed her diaper. Another loss came from a malicious destruction of property valued at $5. Twenty percent of the separations were for children under five years old, compared to last year’s four percent. Accusations about criminal activities of parents lack details, and many are decades old.

Keeping people of color out of the U.S. is DDT’s goal, but the man behind the procedures, neo-Nazi Stephen Miller, likes to inflict cruelty. After separating children from parents, Miller wants to give power of determining initial asylum claims from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum officers to untrained CBP agents who will act as both police and judge, a fear tactic that ensures the failure of asylum-seekers. These agents are the ones who mock children who cry when they are separated from their parents and grope girls during pat-downs. They can restrict people from toilets and water. It’s the delight in cruelty.

Three-year-old Sofi was separated from her grandmother seeking asylum at a port of entry for 47 days until a court order demanded reunification. During a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Ted Lieu (D-CA) asked Chief of Law Enforcement if the three-year-old posed a criminal or national security threat. Hastings kept repeating that he didn’t know “the background in this case.” He also said that family separation was intended to be permanent, in contrast to the claim of his boss, Kevin McAleenan, that “they were always intended to be reunited.” Hastings also said that children were separated from HIV-positive parents because “it’s a communicable disease.” McAleenan said the opposite during a hearing in the previous week, and HIV was removed from a list of communicable diseases that bar entry in 2010. The day after the hearing, Hastings changed his position about HIV—but he’s still the person in charge of kidnapping children on the border.

DDT has signed an agreement with Guatemalan Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart declaring Guatemala a “safe third country” and requires asylum seekers from Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua to first apply for protection in Guatemala, meaning that travelers from those three countries could be deported to Guatemala if they hadn’t applied in that country. Guatemala signed the agreement to avoid “drastic sanctions” because DDT threatened tariffs, taxes on money immigrants send home, and bans on travel out of the country. Violence in Guatemala make that country as dangerous as the others, and the country tends to grant asylum to few people. The agreement is not final until the Guatemala’s congress approves it. Asylum seekers can avoid Guatemala with more dangerous water routes. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the agreement “illegal” because the law requires “a safe country for refugees and asylum seekers”; Guatemala is not safe. Guatemala’s presidential election in August 11, and both candidates to replace the term-limited current president oppose the deal.

DDT’s government is sending immigration to shelters run by a group home recently shut down by North Carolina because of its “danger to the health, safety and welfare of the clients [requiring] emergency action.” Prohibited from housing children for four years, the place, New Horizon, still received a $4 million grant to house migrant children. Other grant recipients also have histories of abuse and children dying in their care.

July 27, 2019

DDT: Week 131 – Racism Fuels Campaign, Covers Global Disasters

Filed under: Donald Trump,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 9:14 PM
Tags: , , , ,

Expanding his racist comments from female congressional members to males, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) attacked Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), chair of the Oversight Committee that has subpoenaed White House officials and DDT’s family for emails, accusing him of being a “brutal bully” and his mostly black district as being a “disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess.” DDT’s tweet included the accusation that “no human being would want to live” in Cummings’ district. Cummings had criticized DHS Director Kevin McAleenan for his treatment of children in southern border detention centers. DDT continued his hostile, racist tweets throughout the day while he played golf at his own resort at Potomac Falls (VA).

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), 2020 presidential candidate, said that DDT is worse than a racist because he uses race as a weapon. Like Democratic segregationist Alabama governor and presidential candidate George Wallace, DDT uses “racist tropes and racial language for political gains … to divide our national against itself,” Booker said, comparing DDT to the “Know Nothing Party, which was trying to stop Irish and German immigrants” and McCarthyism.

DDT-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the majority of the 100 domestic terrorism arrests thus far this year came from “white supremacist violence,” an increase from last year during DDT’s promotion of racism. Wray also said in his testimony that Russia is determined to interfere in the 2020 election. Canada is adding white supremacists and neo-Nazis to its list of terrorist organizations, but DDT refuses to do the same. The U.S. pursues only foreign people of color on theirs. Both DDT and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refuse to take any action against Russia.

A systematic series of racist comments may not benefit DDT’s campaign: he “crossed the line” with his racist remarks, according to 63 percent of people—in a Fox poll. DDT slammed his former favorite network again after another Fox poll showed Joe Biden ahead of DDT for the presidential race.

Although DDT’s approval ratings went up in 11 Southern states after his racist comments, Charlotte (NC), the city hosting the Republican National Convention next year, passed a resolution, 9-2, condemning DDT’s “racist and xenophobic comments.” The infamous rally audience chanting “send her back” in Greenville (NC) is only 220 miles from Charlotte, the site of the white supremacist rally in 2017 that caused DDT to defend the supremacists. The RNC was accepted with a narrow 6-5 vote. Charlotte probably can’t afford to back out of hosting the GOP, but officials are receiving a number of angry communications about staying with the Republicans.

More bad news for DDT came from the government report that the three-percent GDP growth in 2018 was false. The 1.1 percent growth in the first quarter of 2019 is the slowest movement since President Obama’s second term. Bloomberg reports slower business investment and exports growth because of instability caused by DDT’s tariffs and a steep drop in exports. DDT had promised increases between three and four percent because of tax cuts for the wealthy and big business. Despite their tax cuts, corporations profits fell $18.6 billion in the last quarter of 2018.  

North Korea is still firing short-range ballistic missiles although DDT had consistently declared about his BFF Kim Jong-Un, “[T]here’s no missile testing, there’s no nothing.” In June, John Bolton, DDT’s national security adviser, determined that there’s “no doubt” the North Korean missile launches violated U.N. Security Council resolutions. Pat Shanahan, DDT’s then-acting Defense secretary, agreed. DDT is back in his alternate reality trying to convince people during his campaign that his foreign policy has been successful. And DDT lies about North Korea sending back the remains of fallen service members from war.

After DDT permitted the formerly blacklisted Chinese company Huawei Technologies Co. to sell to the United States, it was discovered that Huawei, the world’s largest telecom equipment manufacturer, secretly helped North Korea to build and maintain the country’s commercial wireless network in possible violation to U.S. sanctions. DDT had blacklisted the company in May but lifted the listing after China gave him right to brand 38 businesses with his name. 

The UK has refused DDT’s request for a multi-national effort to protect non-Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf. Yet the U.S. is not supportive of the UK: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the responsibility “falls to the United Kingdom to take care of their ships.” DDT is left with only autocratic nations for “allies.” His “America First” makes all former U.S. allies afraid of getting involved with the United States in a military conflict. Former British Foreign Secretary Jeffrey Hunt said that his country “will not be part of the U.S. maximum pressure policy on Iran because we remain committed to preserving the Iran nuclear agreement.” New Defense Secretary Mark Esper has figured out that it’s “America Alone” after France and Germany failed to provide military strength in the Gulf.

DDT supports China about the violent mobs beating up Hong Kong protesters opposing a proposal to more easily extradite people to mainland China as a way to target Chinese political opponents. At the recent G20 meeting, DDT promised Chinese President Xi Jinping that he would say nothing about Beijing’s attacks on Hong Kong’s already limited freedoms, and Pompeo stopped a speech by the outgoing U.S. consul general for Hong Kong offering support for protesters on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Ignoring images of the violence, DDT called the protests “relatively nonviolent.” In the United States, DDT damns socialism, but for Hong Kong he supports Communism.

Among his hand-picked journalists, DDT also prefers Communists. Kristian Brunovich Rouz, a reporter for the San Diego-based, DDT-endorsed One America News Network, also works for Russia’s official propaganda outlet, Sputnik, that participated in Russia’s 2016 election interference. Rouz’s reports include fabrications of Hillary Clinton secretly bankrolling antifa, George Soros’ collaboration with Nazis when he was 14 and secretly funding migrant caravans, and other hoaxes. OAN Network, a home for viewers too conservative for the Fox network, is dedicated to conspiracy theories and fake news, especially support of Russia’s global agenda.

DDT started with the claim that Mexico will pay for his wall. He moved on to explain that Mexico will pay for it some day. The next lie was that he was already building the wall, but he has been forced to admit that every inch of “new wall” is to repair the old ones. DDT’s handpicked Supreme Court now ruled 5-4 that he could use $2.5 billion in military funds for his wall, not on the merits but because the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to bring the case. Congress already passed a law that taxpayers will not pay for the wall, their constitutional right.

Another huge DDT whopper this week came from his claim in the Oval Office to Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked DDT to “be a mediator or arbitrator” in the 70+ year dispute between the two countries regarding the Kashmir region. India’s foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar denied DDT’s assertion after members of the Indian parliament demanded Modi to respond. The issue can be resolved only in direct talks with Islamabad, according to India. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, apologized to Jaishankar for DDT’s statement.

In his meeting with Khan, DDT also roiled Afghanistan by saying he could win the war there in a week but he didn’t want to kill ten million people.

“If I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth. It would be gone. It would be over in—literally, in 10 days.”

Afghanistan has demanded an explanation of DDT’s statement. DDT said that Pakistan would help the U.S. to “extricate ourselves” from the war in Afghanistan, and former President Hamid Karzai said DDT had insulted all Afghans. Karzai added that DDT’s comments confirmed suspicions that the U.S. made “secret deals” with Pakistan to undermine Afghanistan’s sovereignty. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, national security adviser for Karzai, said that DDT’s words were “a terrible, racist political message.” The U.S. State Department is not saying anything about DDT’s comments.

DDT vetoed three bills blocking arms sales to Saudi Arabia after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo failed to bypass congressional review in declaring a national security emergency. The Saudis are embroiled in controversy after its conflict in Yemen causing the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis and its murder of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The U.S. sells more weapons to Saudi Arabia than any other country and provides logistical support in Yemen that is starving ten million people. Only a two-thirds majority in both congressional chambers can override DDT’s vetoes. The House may be able to find the votes to block the veto, but the Senate would need a dozen Republicans. Senate Republicans are also at odds with DDT, who wants to protect Turkey after it bought a Russian antimissile system by waived mandatory sanctions.

And that’s DDT’s destruction of foreign policy for the week; domestic issue come next.

June 22, 2019

DDT: Week 126, Threat Balloons Backfire, More Lies

This blog refers to the man inaugurated in 2016 and limited by the U.S. Constitution to two four-year terms as “dictator.” A video from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) shows his interest in being “president for life”—up until the year 10,000.

In his interview with Chuck Todd about the proposed preemptive strike on Iran, to be shown on Sunday, DDT claimed no planes in the air and no final approval. Planes were most likely in the air, however, because the operation required them to go from distant bases hours away from Iran. Unless there was an operation. DDT did declare that his on Iran would be “obliteration like you’ve never seen before.” People in the U.S. could be the ones obliterated. Even Fox network figured out that he is lying: Shep Smith and Chris Wallace both questioned DDT’s statements

Increasingly disenchanted with Fox, DDT also accusing them of “fake news” because of Fox polls showing Biden leading over DDT in several battleground states and disputing the Fox report that DDT spend 30 hours with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos—which he did. Fox’s Sean Hannity, who reportedly has nightly telephone pillow talk with DDT, is not as popular with DDT as shown by DDT’s comment that Hannity is motivated more by ratings than by patriotism. DDT also mocks Hannity’s fawning behind closed doors as dull and unchallenging. DDT may no longer need Hannity Since Paul Manafort is in prison for 7.5 years, DDT may not need Hannity who apparently illegally passed information between Manafort and DDT while Manafort waited in jail for his trial. A judge unsealed hundreds of emails between Hannity and Manafort, some of the time when Manafort was under a gag order not to communicate with anyone except lawyers.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told DDT not to go through with his misbegotten war plans when DDT briefed her, joined in the White House by other congressional leaders Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY). About the 3:00 pm meeting, Pelosi said, “Democratic leaders emphasized that hostilities must not be initiated without the approval of Congress.” DDT supposedly called off the strike at 7:00 pm, about two hours before the scheduled finale. Perhaps DDT obeyed Russia’s president Vladimir Putin who said that a U.S. attack on Iran would be a “catastrophe.” Bully and television performer, DDT loves drama and sends up threat balloons to find a reaction; hopefully the backlash was too much for him.

In another failed threat balloon, DDT defended his plan to deport “millions” tomorrow before tweeting that he was delaying the deportation “for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans” can agree on an (unidentified) resolution for “Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border.” There won’t be a resolution because Republicans don’t want one. Pelosi tweeted, “Families belong together.” DDT disagrees although he lies about his position and blames the non-existent “sanctuary cities.” Houston police chief Art Acevedo in Houston, nowhere near giving sanctuary, tweeted his approval of blocking deportations:

“Rhetoric that causes fear & panic & pushes folks further into the dark places all at risk.”

Even acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who supervises ICE, knows that separating children from their parents is becoming political suicide. That’s the reason that GOP senators are crying “humanitarian” on a bill designed to get more money to separate families and cage children. The bill escaped a committee, but questions have been raised since publicity about the neglect and abuse of children on the southern border. Democrats need to be careful; DDT considers a wall “humanitarian aid.” DDT is good for human smuggling across the southern border. Every time he mentions his wall, more migrants head toward the United States. While DDT pushes billions for a southern border wall because of the illegal drug trade, $1.2 billion worth of cocaine was shipped into a Philadelphia port out of Chile, Panama, and the Bahamas—one of the biggest drug seizures in U.S. history. Although this shipment was discovered, Joaquín Guzman (“El Chapo”) has talked extensively about smuggling drugs through ports of entry.

The Senate is running short on time. Within 40 “working” days, the U.S. is ripe for a shutdown because of no bills for raising the debt ceiling and passing appropriations bills. GOP congressional leaders have a bipartisan deadlock with DDT on budgeting because acting chief of staff and budget director Mick Mulvaney’s agenda disagrees with DDT’s desires. The actions of Mulvaney, formerly a South Carolina GOP representative, are particularly galling to Republicans. During a White House meeting last Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested a one-year stopgap measure that keeps funding at its current levels with a one-year debt limit suspension, unpopular with Democrats. Schumer pointed out that McConnell blocked moving 2020 spending bills under “regular order” to please DDT. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said:

“Mulvaney does not want a deal, and I think that’s the biggest point.”

The group didn’t discuss offsets to pay for the GOP tax cuts for the wealthy and big business, a serious problem because Republicans will want to take money for the bottom 80 percent.

In an interview with Time, DDT lied when he said he never separated children from their parents. He falsely claimed, several times, that President Obama separated families and he (DDT) “ended separation.” A court ruled against DDT’s family separation, but he continued the practice after the court’s decision. DDT repeated his lies to José Díaz-Balart, anchor of “Noticias Telemundo,” in his first interview on a Spanish-language network. The rare occasions when President Obama separated children was for threats to children or adults detained for criminal convictions or felonies such as carrying drugs. In April 2018, the DOJ under former AG Jeff Sessions ordered every illegal entry case to be prosecuted, separating children from parents even if parents only committed a misdemeanor by crossing the border. Children were put in cages and sometimes didn’t recognize their parents after lengthy separations. 

In the Time interview reporters, DDT threatened a journalist with prison after he tried to take a picture of a letter that DDT claimed was “written by Kim Jong Un. It was delivered to me yesterday. By hand.” DDT went off the record for a few minutes, and a reporter later brought up the issue about DDT trying to “limit Mueller’s Russia probe to only future election meddling” and dictating a letter to Corey Lewandowski, “telling him to tell” former attorney general Jeff Sessions “to limit the investigation.” DDT told the journalist that “you can go to prison instead, because, if you use, if you use the photograph you took of the letter that I gave you—” Asked if he was threatening prison for the journalist, DDT went off on a rant, including how Time should make him “man of the year.” They did, just three years ago.

Some of DDT aides think they are above the law, just as DDT does. Kellyanne Conway indicated that the Hatch Act, that prevents all federal employees except DDT and the vice president from campaigning for candidate, doesn’t apply to her. DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is also being investigated about his possible violation of the law preventing federal employees from political activities after the media reported that he is working with DDT’s campaign officials to work on fundraising strategies. Kushner is supposedly “the campaign’s key liaison in the West Wing” and has “multiple daily conversations” with campaign manager, Brad Parscale. In 2016, Kushner’s companies were also flagged for suspicious activity in Deutsche Bank money-laundering reviews. Ivanka Trump’s tweet with DDT’s campaign slogan “Make America Great” and her claim that “the best is yet to come” on her government Twitter account may also violate  the Hatch Act:

“Four years ago today, I introduced my father @realDonaldTrump when he launched a Campaign that would forever change America. Because of his courage, Americans are safer and more prosperous…and the best is yet to come!”

Last week when DDT kicked off his 2020 campaign in Orlando, a place surrounded by swamp, the city’s newspaper Orlando Sentinel, traditionally endorsing Republicans, made its 2020 endorsement: not DDT.

“After 2½ years we’ve seen enough. Enough of the chaos, the division, the schoolyard insults, the self-aggrandizement, the corruption, and especially the lies. So many lies—from white lies to whoppers—told out of ignorance, laziness, recklessness, expediency or opportunity. The nation must endure another 1½ years of Trump. But it needn’t suffer another four beyond that. We can do better. We have to do better.”

The conservative Wall Street Journal editorial wasn’t much more supportive, asking why DDT should be re-elected if he didn’t do anything in his first term. About DDT’s Orlando speech:

“The most striking fact of his speech was how backward looking it was. Every incumbent needs to remind voters of his record, Mr. Trump more than most because the media are so hostile. [The people who aren’t core supporters] want to know why they should take a risk on Mr. Trump and his volatile character for another term.

“On immigration, however, the President missed a chance to strike a deal trading more border security (including his wall) for legalizing Dreamers. On trade, Mr. Trump has disrupted global rules but has put nothing new and stable in their place. Asking voters to believe he’ll do better on these issues in a second term isn’t likely to turn many swing voters his way.”

DDT’s staunch supporter, The Washington Examiner, retracted a story repeating DDT’s lies that a New York Times “fed information” to the FBI about Jared Kushner. The complete story is here.

DDT’s lies and chaos have lost him some right-wing media.

June 21, 2019

The ‘Friday Shock’ News

Filed under: Uncategorized,War — trp2011 @ 9:16 PM
Tags: , , , ,

In the past, news on Friday was called the “Friday dump,” with the hope that people will ignore it. More and more, it has become the “Friday shock,” certainly today with another accusation about sexual assault and the nearness of a nuclear war.

Writer E. Jean Carroll has become the 16th woman to accuse Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) of sexual assault, and her account of his attack over two decades ago is highly credible and graphic. In her current article in the New York Magazine, “My List of Hideous Men,” Carroll describes six incidents of attacks by men, an excerpt from her newest book, What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal. At the time of DDT’s “alleged” assault, he was married to Marla Maples  and already accused of assault by Ivana Trump during his first marriage. Carroll told two friends about DDT’s attack but didn’t come forward until now because of humiliation.  With dark humor, she wrote:

“Receiving death threats, being driven from my home, being dismissed, being dragged through the mud, and joining the 15 women who’ve come forward with credible stories about how the man grabbed, badgered, belittled, mauled, molested, and assaulted them, only to see the man turn it around, deny, threaten, and attack them, never sounded like much fun.”

DDT claimed, “I’ve never met this person in my life.” A photograph show DDT (left) with Carroll at a party. Business Insider brings the total of sexual assault/harassment accusations against DDT to 24. Descriptions of these events match the behavior DDT bragged about in an Access Hollywood tape, including the statement, “I moved on her like a bitch.”

“Cocked and loaded” (the name of a porn film) is the term DDT used against Iran unless they would hold talks about a new nuclear accord. DDT told the Pentagon to launch a military strike and then called it off ten minutes before the deadline although Iran is opposed to talks. DDT’s attack was supposedly in response to Iran’s downing a U.S. surveillance drone, possibly over Iranian air space.  The U.S. claims the drone was shot down in international space, but evidence is questionable. No one knows why the strike was called off or whether DDT will resume his attacks. The Pentagon warned against the strike, but non-military personnel Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, national security adviser John Bolton, and CIA Director Gina Haspel are pushing for military responses that lead to a war. And the Defense Department has no leader.

Having DDT backed down from causing an immediate war, DDT bragged and lied in his tweets:

“President Obama made a desperate and terrible deal with Iran – Gave them 150 Billion Dollars plus I.8 Billion Dollars in CASH! Iran was in big trouble and he bailed them out. Gave them a free path to Nuclear Weapons, and SOON. Instead of saying thank you, Iran yelled Death to America.

“I terminated deal, which was not even ratified by Congress, and imposed strong sanctions. They are a much weakened nation today than at the beginning of my Presidency, when they were causing major problems throughout the Middle East. Now they are Bust!

“On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General.

“10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!”

Moving to the truth:

  • President Obama didn’t “give” Iran any money; he simply released their own money.
  • President Obama didn’t give a “free path to Nuclear Weapons”; the agreement kept Iran from developing these weapons.
  • Hardliner Iranians are still shouting “death to Americans,” perhaps louder since DDT’s sanctions.
  • Iran is a strengthened nation today as far as war is concerned.
  • The “unmanned drone” may have been flying over Iran airspace.
  • If Iran is not “causing major problems,” why did DDT decide to attack the country?
  • Why would U.S. officials suggest a mission to kill 150 people for a destroyed drone?
  • Why didn’t he know about the mission’s consequences until ten minutes before it was a done deal?

Greg Sargent’s short version of the Iran debacle:

“Iran was abiding by the deal, and was being constrained from developing nuclear weapons. But Trump pulled out—then reimposed sanctions to choke the Iranian economy, and has since dictated terms for sanctions relief that appear deliberately unrealistic, cornering Iran into a choice between escalating on its side or submitting entirely to those terms….

“In the run-up to [the withdrawal], Trump falsely claimed Iran was on the verge of total collapse before Obama negotiated it, and overinflated what Iran financially got from it, to falsely portray it as a giveaway to Iran. Trump also insisted the deal was premised on believing Iran could be trusted not to develop nukes (in fact, it had strict verification mechanisms) and that the deal would inevitably fail to constrain Iran.

“That latter claim proved completely false for a time, as Iran continued to abide by it. Now Iran is suggesting it will restart its programs, but this is coming after the United States pulled out of the deal that was successfully constraining it, compounding the folly of Trump’s decision.”

Because President Obama negotiated the Iran deal, DDT couldn’t stand the possibility of its success. DDT loves the brutal dictator Kim Jong-Un and refuses to face North Korea’s building nuclear weapons because President Obama didn’t agree with him. U.S. intelligence reported that North Korea is building nuclear weapons. DDT said, “I hope not.” He also talked about his “very strong relationship” with the “very smart” President Kim Jong-Un who “understands” and “respects” DDT.

The United States is one of the few countries blaming Iran for the attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Earlier this week a journalist asked DDT why people should “trust your administration to tell the truth about what’s going on in Iran. If we go to war, why should we believe you if you say why?” DDT didn’t even object to being called a liar. His answer the day before he decided to attack Iran:

“Well, we have Iran. We’ve been talking to various people on lots of different sides. And we’ll see what happens with Iran. We’re very well set. We’re very well configured. We have a lot of things going on with Iran. I spoke with President Xi, this morning, of China. We’ll be meeting at the G20. And I think that is working out pretty much as I anticipated it would. China very much wants to discuss the future, and so do we. So the relationship with President Xi is a very good one. We had a long talk this morning.”

DDT supporters may vote for him in 2020, but many of them will do so with reluctance. Four years ago, they delighted in his “telling it like it is,” but enthusiasm among Republicans and GOP-leaning voters is wearing thin. This poll was taken before the latest accusation of sexual assault and being ten minutes from nuclear war:

  • 53 percent sometimes feel “embarrassed” by DDT’s comments.
  • 59 percent are sometimes “concerned” by DDT’s comments.
  • 41 percent sometimes feel “exhausted” by DDT’s comments.
  • 47 percent said DDT’s statements confuse them.
  • 37 percent sometimes feel “angry” because of DDT’s comment.
  • 32 percent feel “insulted” by things DDT says.
  • Only 22 percent feel “frightened” by DDT’s comments—but we’re not at war yet.

Almost $6 trillion will be spent on George W. Bush’s wars in Iraq and the Middle East based on imaginary weapons of mass destruction. That money could have really made “America great.” Spending more money on DDT’s unnecessary preemptive war will create more disasters in the United States.

For 18 years, presidents have been given the right that they can declare war wherever and whenever they want because Congress gave them permission after the 9/11 attack. Presidents have caused over three dozen military engagements in 14 countries. This week, House Democrats, worried that DDT would declare war on Iran, started to take back their constitutional right: their almost $1 trillion appropriations bill funding the military, health programs, and the Energy Department repealed the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will surely quash the provision removing DDT’s rights to declare war, but it’s a start.

June 14, 2019

DDT: Week 125, Part II – Follow-up, Foreign Disasters

Two days after Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said “I’d take it” when asked about foreign clandestine information, he backtracked by saying that he would still look at incriminating information about an election opponent but he would “absolutely” report such an encounter.

In clips from George Stephanopoulos’ interview, DDT accused White Counsel Don McGahn, who DDT told not to comply with a House subpoena, of lying in his testimony with the Mueller investigation “because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer.”

Always antagonistic toward Iran, DDT followed State Secretary Mike Pompeo in declaring Iran as the perpetrator of attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The Japanese owner of one tanker disagreed, saying that it was hit with a “flying object,” possibly an artillery shell instead of a mine. In the past, Pompeo has lied about Iran and Yemen. Pompeo said that the attack would require sophisticated technology that only Iran could provide. He omitted Saudi Arabia and Israel from the criterion. Both are in the region, they have the ability, and they both hate Iran. Iran has no benefit from attacking ships from either Japan or Norway, but DDT does when he uses his attacks against Iran in his campaign rallies.

Over 16 years ago, Colin Powell cited “irrefutable evidence” that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction,” given him by the government. He ignored repeated warnings about the “evidence.” After the discovery that the government was lying, the U.S. was at war—a war that has cost several trillions of dollars and gone on for over 16 years. As George W. Bush said, “Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me, you can’t get fooled again.” Yes, you can.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) may have a reason to single-handedly block a law requiring a candidate to contact the FBI about foreign interference in a campaign. She has close ties to a U.S.-sanctioned Russian politician whose former lawyer, G. Kline Preston IV, represented Blackburn when she was facing allegations of possible campaign finance violations and worked closely with Alexander Torshin, the prominent Russian politician with close ties to Putin who is now under intense scrutiny for allegations he illegally channeled Russian funds through the National Rifle Association in an effort to influence the 2016 election. Blackburn received more NRA money since 2002 than another other Tennessee congressional member. The NRCC also refuses to sign a bipartisan pledge not to National Republican Congressional Committee to make a bipartisan pledge not to use stolen or hacked information in House elections, Blackburn’s political home from 2003 to 2018.

With the GOP refusal to protect the United States from foreign election interference comes their own interference in foreign elections.  may be their willingness to interfere in foreign elections. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Jewish leaders that he would “push” back against Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during Britain’s leadership succession. As in the United States, some calls of anti-Semitism come from a conflict between Palestinian support and Zionist politics. DDT has already come out in support of Boris Johnson for prime minister, legal under the Hatch Act, and Brexit party leader Nigel Farage campaigned for DDT before his election. In Britain, 71 percent of the people disapprove of DDT, meaning DDT’s support may not help the conservatives. 

Despite Kellyanne Conway’s violation of the Hatch Act, DDT said he will not fire her. He told Fox & Friends, “I think she’s a terrific person.” He called her violation of the law, upheld by the Supreme Court in both 1947 and 1973, “free speech.”

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, under scrutiny for her conflicts of interest, claims that she sold stocks in Ingersoll Rand and Vulcan, the latter a highway supply company, and updated her financial disclosures. Dalia Lithwick has an excellent article on GOP nepotism

Despite DDT preening about controlling Mexico with his tariff threat has become a nothing-burger.

In March, Mexico had already pledged to deploy National Guard members in secret talks with former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Mexican Secretary of the Interior Olga Sanchez.

 Last December, Nielsen told the House Judiciary Committee about the Migrant Protection Protocols, an expansion of a program to allow asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their legal cases proceed.

Negotiators failed to get Mexico to accept a “safe third country” treaty to give the United States the legal ability to reject asylum seekers if they had not sought refuge in Mexico first.

Therefore, all three of DDT’s claims are lies: no new curbs on immigrants; no agreement for Mexico “to immediately begin buying large quantities of agricultural product” from American farmers”; and no secret successions. DDT’s negotiating style: cause a crisis, negotiate and get nothing, and declare he’s a success in averting the crisis. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said DDT was turning farmers into “poker chips at one of his bankrupt casinos.”

The tariff crisis is not over: the agreement, which needs to be approved by Mexico’s legislature, gives Mexico 45 days to reduce the number of migrants headed for the U.S. DDT bragged about his “secret agreement” during a Q&A session that he waved around but said he wouldn’t be revealing what was in it. He didn’t need to “reveal” the paper: WaPo photographer Jabin Botsford grabbed a picture of the document, and the sun shining through the paper made most of the text visible. The number of migrants will most likely decrease because fewer immigrants come to the border during the summer. DDT will be declaring success—until cool weather returns. DDT has never worried about the misery he causes for people, but his plans to keep migrants in Mexico will result in more separation of families, restrictions on due process, and increased danger for vulnerable people such as pregnant women, children, and the LGBTQ population.  

North Korea’s president Kim Jung-Un is still successfully flattering DDT with another “beautiful letter” making DDT “think the relationship is very well.” DDT addressed Kim’s murder of his half brother Kim Jong Nam because he may have been “a Central Intelligence Agency source who met on several occasions with agency operatives.” In support of the murder, DDT said that “I would tell [Kim] that would not happen under my auspices, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t let that happen under my auspices,” DDT said in his desire to protect the brutal dictator. He then gushed about the warmth of correspondence from the brutal dictator, his justification for the U.S. not gathering intelligence about the nuclear developments that provide danger to the country that he vowed to protect. DDT declared that Kim “kept his word” about no nuclear testing despite his declaration just three weeks ago that he was his being “not happy” about North Korea’s ballistic missile tests.

DDT thinks he has leverage over China with his fluctuating tariffs, but China has rare earths—and China sharply reduced overseas shipments in 2019. These elements are vital not only in personal technology devices but also for all advanced U.S. military weapons. Because of lower labor costs and fewer environmental regulations, China mines 70 percent of rare earth, making the U.S. dependent on China’s good will for its fighting power. High-end rare earth products are made only in Japan and China, and Japan relies on the raw product from China. With cutoffs to rare earths, China could adversely impact every part of U.S. economy from jet engines to oil refineries. Private firms struggle in the business because Chinese-subsidized firms can sell at or below cost. Last Sunday, 60 Minutes on CBS gave an excellent primer on rare earths. 

The oak tree that France’s president Emmanuel Macron gave DDT to represent “ties that bind us” has died. Macron promised to send another sapling. Poor thing!

Although many people question whether DDT will lose the 2020 presidential election in 17 months, the polls don’t look good for him, especially in battleground states that he won by a few thousand votes in 2016. Even DDT’s personal polling shows him far down, and a Quinnipiac poll has him behind six leading Democratic contenders—including two blacks, two women, and a gay man—in hypothetical general election match-ups. At least 48 percent won’t vote for a candidate over 70; DDT is now 72. DDT now claims that the polls he doesn’t like are “fake.” He expressed gratitude that “we can fight back on Social Media,” which is notoriously “fake.”

DDT didn’t respond to the Quinnipiac poll showing that 69 percent of people think that a sitting president should be subject to criminal charges. That includes 52 percent of Republicans. DDT committed crimes before he took office, according to 57 percent, but a 45-45 split think that he did so after he was inaugurated. Fifty-five percent think that the Mueller investigation did not clear DDT of wrongdoing.

DDT is up to 10,796 lies since he was inaugurated—12 each day.

 

June 13, 2019

DDT: Week 125, Part I – Total Disregard for the Law

A major piece of news that may go unnoticed this week is that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is quitting at the end of the month and going home to Arkansas, according to a tweet from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). The public goes months without seeing her as DDT prefers to babble in his yard in lieu of press secretary briefings. Yesterday’s “babble” created a great deal of media when he claimed he’s fine with a little collusion between himself and a foreign government about his campaign opponents. Asked what he would do if a foreign government offered him clandestine information, he said:

“There’s nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called, from a country—Norway—we have information on your opponent. Oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”

DDT continued:

“It’s not an interference, they have information. When somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research, ‘oh let’s call the FBI.’ The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressman, they all do it, they always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research…. I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI.”

In congressional testimony, Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers, “the FBI would want to know about” any foreign election meddling. DDT said, “The FBI director is wrong.”

Bloomberg’s Jonathan Bernstein wrote:

“He’s the country’s commander in chief and top diplomat, and as such responsible for making clear to all foreign nations and other groups that messing with the internal affairs of the United States will have serious consequences. Instead, he’s basically inviting everyone in.”

DDT sycophant Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and a few other Republicans expressed dismay about DDT’s assessment that he didn’t need to notify the FBI.  Most congressional Republicans, however, pointed fingers at Democrats with false accusations and avoiding any mention of their president.

Despite some GOP senators claiming that candidates should report offers of foreign assistance to the FBI, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) led the charge to block any bill making this requirement. Knowingly accepting help from a foreign entity or power for electoral campaigns is already illegal, but a proposed bill would mandate the reporting of offering foreign assistance. Once again, Republicans cover for DDT’s illegal positions. The Republicans will not support this bill.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) responded:

“When the president talks like this, it’s no wonder [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell] is blocking bipartisan efforts to secure our elections from foreign interference.”

McConnell’s blockade includes funding for state and governments to tighten security, a national strategy against cyberattacks, and the requirement that federal funds be spent only on federally certified “election infrastructure vendors.” In other proposals, internet companies such as Facebook must disclose political advertising purchasers, and federal incentives would be provided for states to adopt paper ballots. McConnell has now blocked over 100 pieces of legislation sent him from the House, including providing election security for 2020. Two days ago, he announced an election security briefing, but nothing has been heard about it since then. McConnell wouldn’t say whether the Senate will take up any legislation in connection to election security, and GOP Senate leaders knew nothing about a briefing. He blamed the media for ignoring stories about the lack of interference in the 2018 election and said that DDT “did a much, much better job” regarding the absence of problems. (That may be the briefing.)

Existing law legalizes interference from foreign government in some cases: foreign-owned companies incorporated in the U.S. can make unlimited donations to U.S. candidates, and foreigners, including those masquerading as news outlets, can legally pay for adds to attack or promote candidates on Facebook, Google, or YouTube. Because of the conservative Supreme Court, campaign finance is completely opaque and contains many loopholes and back doors for donors.

Beyond interference comes just plain sloppy, careless election security such as North Carolina has demonstrated. Just before the 2018 election, a cybersecurity analyst found a file of unencrypted administrative passwords in a cloud storage directory available to anyone on the internet to access. Recent revelations about Republicans using gerrymandering to preserve white GOP control has also led to a case in North Carolina that accuses the current legislature of being illegitimate. Files from the now deceased Thomas Hofeller, gerrymandering expert, show that the state’s Republicans lied to a federal court with their claim that they didn’t use racial data for new electoral maps and that they lacked time to draw new maps for a special election. Common Cause of North Carolina accuses the state’s legislative maps of violating the state’s constitution.

The day after the interview, DDT tried to cover up his remarks by falsely equating getting dirt on campaign opponents to diplomatic discussions with allies and then accused Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) of inappropriate contacts with Russian nationals. Last year, Warner attempt to contact the British author of material originally commissioned by the conservative Free Beacon, and Russian pranksters contacted Schiff in 2017 about having salacious photos of DDT. Schiff had immediately told law enforcement about the contact, and GOP Sen. John McCain (AZ) had already turned over the dossier to the FBI. 

DDT’s aide Kellyanne Conway said she doesn’t care about violating the law, but DDT’s Office of Special Counsel, headed by former employee of a right—leaning watchdog group and DDT’s appointee Henry Kerner, reported that she should be removed from her job because she egregiously and repeatedly violated the Hatch Act. DDT is upset. Deputy White House Press Secretary Steven Groves’s statement declared that the office has “unclear and unevenly applied rules which have a chilling effect on free speech for all federal employees.” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone demanded that the office withdraw its report. Kerner disagreed:

“In interview after interview, she uses her official capacity to disparage announced candidates, which is not allowed. What kind of example does that send to the federal workforce? If you’re high enough up in the White House, you break the law, but if you’re a postal carrier or a regular federal worker, you lose your job?”

Conway was reprimanded for telling Fox watchers to buy from Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, but most of her Hatch Act violations advocate for and against specific electoral candidates. Only the president and vice-president may openly campaign for political candidates.

John Dean, Richard Nixon’s former White House counsel, testified this week about comparisons between the Mueller Report and Watergate investigations. The testimony got little press because of a fatal helicopter crash in New York, but Robert Reich listed Dean’s report of six similarities between DDT and Nixon:

1) Tried to shut down the investigations completely.

2) Fired key investigators in an attempt to stop the investigation.

3) Tried to cover up their efforts to stop the investigation.

4) Sought to control investigators by ordering aides to interfere in their work.

5) Dangled presidential pardons to influence key witnesses.

6) Limited the release of key evidence to Congress and the public.

Despite his promise to disinvest himself from his businesses, DDT still makes money around the world with over $130 million in foreign assets and positions, assets, trademarks and other business interests in more than 30 countries. Information about this may be minimal because he provides only an annual disclosure form for last year with wide ranges for transactions, income, and property values. After a promise that he would pursue “no new deals” after his inauguration, DDT garnered new income by opening new properties since 2017. He also promised to donate all profits from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury, but there is no indication that he has done so. The Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution prevents government members from receiving gifts and other benefits from foreign states or leaders without congressional approval—which DDT doesn’t have. This source gives detailed descriptions of business affairs in 25 countries, an interactive map, and amounts that foreign influence spending from ten countries. DDT owes a lot of world leaders a lot of favors.  

DDT just scored $5 million above the assessment of a Beverly Hills mansion to Indonesian billionaire and vice presidential candidate Hary Tanoesoedibjo at a tidy 93 percent profit over the purchase price in 2007.

With no evidence, State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo blames Iran for attacks on two tankers, one owned by Japan and the other by Norway. He also has no proof that Iran perpetrated other recent attacks. These incidents occur while DDT tries to keep control over declaring war from Congress. Before Pompeo’s claim, war hawk Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) used the tanker episodes as justification to sell U.S. arms to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval. DDT has announced that now is not the time for any diplomacy with Iran.

Iran just hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and relationships between the two countries have been friendly for decades. With unproved assertions by the U.S. federal leadership, it’s 2003 all over.

 

May 27, 2019

DDT Commemorates Memorial Day by Pardoning War Criminals, Moving toward War

Today is Memorial Day, the day set aside to honor lost veterans. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is out of the country—this year in Japan where he told Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that he is not “disturbed” about all of North Korea’s missile testing, an hour away from Japan and near tens of thousands of active military members. He also plans to “honor” veterans who sacrificed their lives to protect democracy and the integrity of U.S. values by pardoning men in the military convicted of war crimes while they were in service because of witnesses or confessions:

  • Former U.S. Army Lieutenant Michael Behenna, already pardoned by DDT, was convicted of stripping naked, torturing, and then executing an unarmed Iraqi man in 2008 after military authorities could not connect the man to a roadside bombing.
  • Navy Seal Edward Gallagher, scheduled for court-martial in June for multiple counts of murder, obstruction of justice, and bringing “discredit upon the armed forces,” allegedly used his sniper rifle to kill an unarmed elderly Iraqi man and school-aged girl who posed to no threat to anyone. Gallagher also stabbed to death a teenage Islamic prisoner and then proudly posing for photographs with the corpse.
  • Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn, an Army Green Beret, is accused of killing an unarmed Afghan in 2010.
  • Three Marine snipers have been charged with urinating on the corpses of dead Taliban fighters.
  • Private for-profit Blackwater security firm employees, not all military veterans, were convicted of unlawfully killing 14 Iraqi citizens and injuring another 18 on 9/16/07 in the Nisour Square massacre, described as “among the most abominable abuses committed by Americans during the Iraqi war.” Nicholas Slatten, one of the convicted, called Iraqis “animals” and “less than human”; he said their lives were worth “nothing.” With no legal justification, he killed a 19-year-old man driving his mother to a local hospital where she was a doctor and then prompted other Blackwater members to kill 14 more unarmed Iraqis and injure another dozen.

DDT’s actions endanger military members currently in the world’s hostile areas and sends a message that immorality is to be admired. The man who faked bone spurs to escape the military during the Vietnam War dishonors the vast majority of service members who value and fight to preserve the rule of law by pardoning the men who committed these despicable and undisciplined acts. To grant pardons to military and contractor personnel accused or convicted of war crimes may be a violation of the laws of war, if not a war crime. It certainly is not a way to honor dead veterans on Memorial Day.

In another way to create more dead military members, DDT is threatening a war with Iran. Ten days ago, a reporter asked him, “Are we going to war with Iran?” DDT answered, “Hope not.” Not exactly definitive, especially after regime-changers State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton falsely accuse Iran of war-like actions. Since then, DDT has tweeted about unprovoked attacks against Iran, withdrawn nonessential U.S. personnel in nearby Iraq, and deployed forces to the Gulf. Employees of energy giant ExxonMobil are evacuating employees from its oil field in the southern Iraqi province of Basra. The State Department issued a “Do Not Travel” advisory for Iraq and warned of a “high risk for violence and kidnapping.” Everything happening with Iran smacks of George W. Bush’s lead-up to his preemptive attack on Iraq.

DDT says that he’s open to Iranian officials coming to him for talks, but he hasn’t reached out to any of them. Some people claim that he doesn’t want “to be pushed into a war,” but his supporters can push him into anything. And the slightest mistake can end up in full-blown war. One week ago, DDT tweeted the “official end of Iran” if leaders in Tehran dare threaten the U.S. The impetus was likely Fox network’s report on a rocket attack in the neighborhood of the U.S. huge embassy in Baghdad. Iraq blamed Iranian Shiites and the false information about a heightened threat that officials claim was misinterpreted. Saudi Arabia also blamed Iran for drone strikes at two oil pumping stations.

Twenty-two Republican representatives voted to let DDT declare war on Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, or any other country instead of taking back to constitutional right to wage war for Congress. George W. Bush started his preemptive wars against Iraq and Afghanistan after Congress passed the AUMF immediately after 9/11 attacks by 19 people, 15 of them Saudi Arabians. Presidents have used the law for 37 conflicts in 18 countries since then. Thirty Democrats voted to sunset the authorization for a president to start a war. That amendment passed the House last year, but then House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) removed it. The Pentagon had plans to send an additional 10,000 service members to the Middle East before the number was recently dropped to 1,500.

Some Republicans call a war “easy”—shades of Iraq 16 years ago—and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) declared that the win would come from just “Two strikes: the first strike and a last strike.” Military strategists disagree. A war with Iran could be even worse than the one with Iraq that started over 16 years ago. Iran has key access to major bodies of water like the Persian Gulf and trade routes like the Strait of Hormuz, connecting regional oil producers with the world. Far larger and in the midst of where the U.S. has several “conflicts,” Iran may have an arsenal of ballistic missiles, “midget” submarines, and an army of over 500,000 along with better strategic military moves. When W. attacked Iraq in 2003, its aging fleet of armored vehicles was short on parts and totally outmatched by American tanks, and all the planes were pre-1980s. That “easy” war killed 4,400 U.S. soldiers, injured over 31,000, and murdered from 150,000 to over 650,000 civilians with a tremendous rise in international terrorism.

A U.S. preemptive war would spread throughout the Middle East and involve the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon to carry out indirect attacks throughout the region. A war could destroy the world economy, including that in the United States. The U.S. also has no support from Europe and Australia as it initially did for the Iraq war.

Eight years ago, DDT predicted almost a dozen times that a U.S. president would start a war with Iran in a “desperate” attempt to win reelection. At that time, President Obama was running for re-election, but DDT’s accusation shows that he already had this idea in his mind. In his second term, President Obama helped orchestrate the historic deal with Iran that blocked it from nuclear weapons, a deal that DDT threw away. By doing so, DDT showed that the United States cannot be trusted to abide by international agreements.

DDT campaigned against Middle East wars, but he kept troops in Iraq. A major reason for DDT’s saber rattling against Iran and Venezuela comes from the multiple investigations into his possible corrupt finances: every time the House submits a subpoena, he makes belligerent statements about these or other countries. Republicans desperately support his irrational behavior for fear that he will sabotage their re-elections. Their latest support for DDT is trying to destroy federal intelligence agencies by crying treason—defined in the U.S. Constitution as levying war against one’s country or giving enemies aid and comfort.

Like pardoning war criminals, DDT would violate U.S. and international law with a preemptive war against a country that provides no threat to the U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), a Marine veteran who received the same classified briefings as Cotton, said that intelligence doesn’t show any threats to the U.S., unlike what Cotton claims. The U.S. also fabricated a story about burning oil tankers outside the UAE.

Iran is following the its agreement with the four other countries, and even U.S. military and intelligence officials claim that DDT is making the aggressive moves, not Iran. Almost a year ago, the Pentagon was making plans to wage a high-intensity air war in coordination with Israel and Saudi Arabia against Iranian strategic targets, illegal actions under the UN Charter and War Powers Resolution which the U.S. ratified in 1945. Only in the case of an armed attack, can the U.S. claim self-defense, according to the UN agreement. According to the congressional AUMF, a president can declare war only in connection with attacks on 9/11/01 or an Iraqi threat. Iran has no ties to al-Qaeda and no connection to any Iraqi threats. No “national emergency” has occurred.

Today is Memorial Day, and DDT commemorated it by siding with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un in mocking Joe Biden, a former U.S. senator and vice-president. DDT has created so much damage in the Middle East, that Iraq is offering to mediate a crisis between the United States and Iran. Although DDT says he has no interest in regime change in Iran and will let Japan mediate between the U.S. and Iran, he tells so many lies and reverses his positions so many times that no one knows what he’ll say in the next hour.

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