Nel's New Day

October 17, 2022

Week’s News – October 9-16, 2022

Breaking news since yesterday’s post on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: 

  • Russia hit a key energy facility near Kyiv, seriously damaging it and seizing the property. 
  • President Vladimir Putin said that of his 29 targets for this weekend, seven weren’t damaged but would be taken out gradually.
  • Police and military officers are grabbing men off Moscow streets, even those disabled, as well as in apartment building lobbies, and throughout places of business including cafes and restaurants. Not fitting Putin’s announced criteria Putin, they will be forced into the Russian army.
  • Iran publicly denies contributing weapons to Russia but has secretly agreed to send more weapons shipments, including more “kamikaze” drones and surface-to-surface missiles, for Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Iran has one of the largest and most diverse arsenals of short- and medium-range missiles in the Middle East although they tend to have reliability problems. Among other attacks today, Russia used these drones on Kyiv.
  • A religious argument may have been why two men from Tajikistan killed 11 other volunteers at a Russian military training. Tajikistan, home to the killers, is Islam; Russian is largely Christian.

After Florida areas were hard hit by Hurricane Ian, Gov. Ron DeSantis eased his own voting restrictions such as extending time for voter registration and early voting days, adding drop boxes for ballots, and allowing voters to submit mail-in ballots from addresses not in voting records—but only in Republican areas. He gave no help to regions with a majority of Democratic voters and claimed he’s using advice from supervisors of elections and written requests from the GOP counties.

Bexar County (TX) Sheriff Javier Salazar certified that the 49 migrants who Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard with Florida money provided by the federal government are victims of a crime. As such, they can get a special visa allowing them to stay in the U.S. otherwise not available to them.

According to a federal judge, DDT-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy harmed mail delivery with his changes in 2020 and placed orders to stop him from doing it again. A lawsuit charged DeJoy with higher rates of mail not being delivered on time impacting states’ abilities to stop the spread of COVID and a reliable alternative to in-person voting. DeJoy’s demands removed postal boxes, cut back on the number of mail sorting machines, and hindered the extra postal trips that would have cost overtime as DDT objected to mail-in ballots. These changes were made without consulting the overseeing regulator agency.

The ruling came out the day before backlash to Deloy’s hiking postcard and stamp prices as part of his proposed 10-year plan to change mail operations. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has not approved the price increases. People ask why the postal service is the only government agency that needs to make a profit, DeJoy’s voiced reason for slashing jobs, closing postal facilities, and raising prices.

Elon Musk thought he could escape problems by offering to go through with his $44 billion purchase of Twitter, but federal authorities are investigating his conduct in the takeover. Attorneys for Musk revealed a “privilege log” of withheld documents, and an October 6 court filing requests an order to share the materials. The FTC is monitoring whether Musk failed to comply with the antitrust reporting requirement related to investor’s intentions of a passive or active shareholder. A trial will be scheduled in November if the deal doesn’t meet the October 28 deadline.

Tesla’s stock prices have badly suffered from Musk’s erratic behavior since he decided to control Twitter. Its latest price drop brought the current value to $204.99 last Friday, almost exactly half the value almost a year ago on November 4–$409.97–$640 billion vanished. Columnist Wolf Richter reports that Tesla shares are “still ridiculously overvalued… Tesla is not a car company, it’s a religion.”

In Alex Jones’ latest civil trial, a Connecticut jury ordered him to pay almost $1 billion in compensatory and punitive damages to 15 plaintiffs, relatives of eight victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting victims. A request had been only $550 million. The judge already ruled that Jones was guilty of defamation, infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy. Jurors will determine how much money he owed each of the plaintiffs.

After the verdict, Jones cheered and begged for donations on his program. He told his audience, “They want to scare us away from questioning Uvalde or Parkland. We’re not going away. We’re not going to stop.”

Major U.S. health insurance companies have made up to $25 billion in profits by fraudulently billing the federal government for nonexistent healthcare changes through the 64 million people using a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, almost half the people eligible for Medicare. Companies—including UnitedHealth, Humana, CVS Health, Kaiser Permanente, and Cigna—falsely report patient ailments, and most of them have been accused of fraud in court. Of the top ten companies, only Centene has not been accused of any fraud. Three companies were accused of paying doctors or nurses more for recording additional diagnoses.

Journalist Natalie Shure explained the scam:

“Privatized Medicare plans cherry-pick healthier enrollees, fudge medical records to make them look as sick as possible, coax doctors into tacking on extra sham diagnoses to bill for, and pay themselves a profit on top of it.”

Shure added that the companies also refuse to provide additional treatment for these allegedly sick patients subscribing to MA. Almost 80 percent of U.S. House members, many of them taking donations from insurance companies, signed onto a letter “to protect the [MA] program from policies that would undermine” its stability. Critics have stated that the MA program is designed to completely privatize Medicare, allowing private insurance companies to extend the fraud for additional billions of dollars. The MA program costs more money per patient than those enrolled in Medicare.

GOP governors tried to look virtuous for their conservative constituents by not pardoning people for simple possession of cannabis, but they made big bucks after the private prison industry ponied up big campaign donations. Major recipients are Greg Abbott (TX), Bill Lee (TN), and Asa Hutchinson (AR). Private prison corporations even report that their profits need harsh drug laws. Florida Republicans also get a large share of private prison industry donations. Thus far, however, Reps. Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Nancy Mace (R-SC) praised Biden for his pardoning people federal convicted of simple Cannabis possession.

Conservatives are so delighted about the revelation that the president of moderate Brookings Institution secretly lobbied for Qatar’s government that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) wants to join Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in proposing a bill requiring think tanks to disclose donors paying for lobbying. The measure likely won’t pass become right-wing think tanks would block it because they would suffer more than others. Center-left groups such as Brookings already share much of its donation sources, but the Heritage Foundation, for example, claims under two percent of its income is from corporations. The Cato Institute is far more libertarian than Heritage, and the Claremont Institute has a strong MAGA bent.

The proposed law would not have affected John Allen at Brookings because his lobbying for Qatar was finished before he took over Brookings and would be covered by the Foreign Agent Registration Act. Grassley said, “Congress, the executive branch, and the American people deserve to know who’s influencing research and public policy in our country.” He may have to change his mind if conservatives attack the bill. At the age of 89, Grassley is only three points ahead of his opponent, the tightest election he has faced since he started running for office in 1958, 64 years ago.

About 200 same-gender Chinese couples have been married in Utah, thanks to a legal loophole from a combination of two state laws. The state doesn’t have residency or citizenship requirements for marriage licenses, and Utah County permits international marriages online. China does not recognize the marriages, but the couples have an essence of a legal union.

Ben Sasse wants to move from the Senate to heading up the University of Florida because he doesn’t like conflict. Students and faculty, however, are already protesting his arrival because of his LGBTQ discrimination and urging the school’s board of trustees to reject him. He tried to claim that marriage equality is the “law of the land,” reminiscent of the lies that Supreme Court justices used to get confirmed. Sasse’s employment will be formally considered on November 1.  

How crazy are DDT’s supporters? Denis Molla burned down his own camper two years ago so that he could blame the antifa. Now the 30-year-old Minnesota man is sorry because he faces up to four years in prison. He pled guilty to wire fraud after trying to cheat an insurance agency and GoFundMe donors of over $300,000. His lawyer said Molla is “a wonderful husband and father.” (Right: Image of Molla’s handiwork; check for Molla’s anti-left graffiti on his garage door.)  

After Kingsview Asset Management CIO Scott Martin claimed on the Fox Business Neil Cavuto show that he spent $28 for a Taco Bell lunch, his host was stunned—and so were the humorous Twitter responses. Kingsview might want to reconsider keeping Martin as the “chief information officer.”

October 15, 2022

Russian Invasion of Ukraine – Day 235

In breaking news about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, two volunteer soldiers from a former Soviet Union republic opened fire on other Russian troops at a military training ground for volunteers in the country’s Belgorod region. Eleven people died, and another 15 were wounded. The two shooters were killed.

Since the explosion on Kerch Bridge from Russia to Crimea, Kremlin accelerated its attacks across all Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin blames Ukraine for the explosion, perhaps caused by Russian intelligence. Suspects—five Russian citizens, two Ukrainians, and an Armenian national—were arrested by Russia. They loaded 22 tons of explosives into a truck and drove from Odesa to Russia through several other countries. Russian authorities partially reopened the roadway part of the bridge hours for only light traffic as well as the railway part of the bridge where oil tankers caught fire.

Strikes on the capital of Kyiv, eastern Lviv, northwestern Kharkiv, southern Odesa, and over a dozen other Ukrainian cities killed at least 19 people, injured another hundreds, and temporarily cut off power and water for millions. Ukrainian air defense system intercepted over half the rockets. Targets included a children’s playground, causing a huge crater;  a glass bridge, a tourist spot crossing the Dnipro River; museums; and the Philharmonic building were hit. The new leader for Russian forces in Ukraine, Sergei Surovikin, is known as “General Armageddon,” among other epithets, for his brutality and possibly war crimes first years ago in Syria. He has been suggested as a replacement for Putin in case of a coup.

Russian blames Ukraine for shelling an area within Russian territory at the border, but Ukraine blames stray Russian fire. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted that “something went wrong” with a Russian missile launched toward Kharkiv.

A Ukraine prosecutor is investigating Russian air strikes as “a classic act of terror” to “provoke a humanitarian catastrophe” and “intimidation tactics toward civilians.” Russia is also threatening to “not renew” its grain and fertilizer export deal unless its demands are met.  

Pushed by war hawk hardlines, Putin’s heavy use of air strikes indicates a failing ground strategy. Troops retreating on three separate fronts lack supplies, worse since heavy vehicles cannot crossing the Kerch Bridge for another nine months. Fear as Putin’s military strategy for the last century is caving to from poor fuel supplies, terrified conscripts, and lack of effective tactics. Russian conscripts must buy their own body armor, especially the modern 6B45 vest which is part of the Ratnik armor personal equipment program costing about $640 after prices soared.

Putin said he had found 222,000 reservist recruits, instead of the 300,000 he wanted, and announced the end of mobilization with the beginning of fall conscriptions. Moscow government officials are leaving in droves after the death of a colleague in Ukraine after Putin’s mobilization. Despite having no combat experience, Aleksey Martynov was conscripted on September 23, sent to the front within a few days, and killed on October 10. In “a mass exodus,” employees left—”IT people, advertisers, marketers, PR people, and ordinary civil servants.” Since the mobilization decree, multiple conscripted Russians mysteriously died before reaching the battlefield and others soon after being deployed in Ukraine. The deaths cause outrage on social media.

Germany has given Ukraine over 16 Biber bridge-layer tanks and ten pontoon bridge machines. Also promised are more Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzers and MARS II multiple rocket launchers.

To avoid conscription, Russian men are buying false HIV and hepatitis diagnoses added to the Ministry of Health’s database. HIV costs $620; hepatitis runs for $820. The groups selling these certificates also offer transportation to border countries, job opportunities, and housing as well as offering forged government documents and currency exchanges—all payable in Bitcoin. Unfortunately, buyers cannot confirm if the offered services are genuine.

Instead of weakening Ukraine, Russia strikes confirmed world opinion against Russia, weakened the calls for peace talks, and strengthened declarations to supply more advanced weapons systems and air defenses to the invaded country, speeding up their deliveries. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution with 99 votes; it had only one abstention and no one opposed.

Eight countries, including Ukraine, joined the European Council’s decision on the eighth package of sanctions against Russia. These include oil price caps, new bans on imports and exports, and sanctions against people, legal entities and companies warring against Ukraine.

Strikes temporarily cut power went out in Ukraine, but the stations were built during the Soviet regime and designed to withstand a nuclear attack from the U.S. Now they protect against Russian attacks.

While Putin tries to reduce Ukraine to rubble, he wants help from Belarus and deployed troops near the Belarus-Ukraine border. Yet “elected” leader Aleksandr Lukashenko says he doesn’t want to get into war, and his opposition activists volunteer to fight for Ukraine where they have training with modern weapons and combat which could liberate Belarus. Lukashenk has few combat-ready troops and only Soviet-era hand-me-down equipment.

A Russian submarine off the Brittany (France) coast is being monitored by French, British, and Spanish warships. Two NGOs are also suing France’s TotalEnergies for “complicity in war crimes”; the company allegedly helped fuel Russian planes that bombed Ukraine. Russians control TotalEnergies.

Putin has said he doesn’t need to unleash more massive strikes across Ukraine. Analysts believe Russia could be running out of long-range precision weapons, forcing the military to resort to less-accurate missiles. The 84 missiles used in one day’s attack cost between $400 million and $700 million. Putin said he was willing to hold talks. Russia has been using more “kamikaze” drones, purchased from Iran, as a cheaper and more dispensable alternative, although Iran denies it provides any weapons to Russia. If the military had short pulses of long-range missile fire, they would probably have used them, not concerned about civilian casualties.

To make Russian positions on the west side of the Dnipro River unsustainable, Ukrainian troops have attacked bridges, ferries, and pontoons in recent weeks. In the south, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called for the demilitarization of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after Ukrainian engineers twice restored back-up power following last week’s Russian shelling.

Ukraine claims it recaptured over155 miles in the annexed southern Kherson region in less than a week. Russians told civilians to evacuate, indicating Putin thinks he’s losing the region. Last month, Ukraine recaptured over 600 settlements from Russia, including 75 settlements in Kherson along with 502 settlements in the Kharkiv area, 43 settlements in the Donetsk region, and seven in the Luhansk region.

After the invasion, Ukraine lost cellular phone and internet networks, and Elon Musk’s spacecraft engineering firm donated about 20,000 Starlink satellite units to Ukraine. Musk had said that the Pentagon must start paying, but a a new tweet states he changed his mind and will continue the funding. Paying $80 million thus far, Space X estimated the U.S. would have to pay over $120 million for the rest of the year and about $400 million for the next year. The terminals are vital in keeping Ukraine’s military online.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller reported that hundreds of kilometers of the damaged Nord Stream gas pipelines might need replacement. With a series of bullet points, they have filled with water. The process could last require at least a year.  

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called on Hungary and Turkey, the only holdouts of NATO’s 30 member countries, to ratify Finland and Sweden’s memberships. Slovakia was the latest NATO ally to sign ratification documents on Sept. 27.

The UN overwhelmingly condemned Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of the four Ukrainian regions and demanded that the Kremlin reverse course. In a vote, 143 states, three-fourths of the 193-member general assembly, supported the resolution. Belarus, Nicaragua, North Korea, and Syria joined Russia to vote against the resolution, and 35 countries abstained including some of Putin’s quasi-supporters China, India, Pakistan, and South Africa. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said:  

“Today it is Russia invading Ukraine. But tomorrow it could be another nation whose territory is violated. It could be you. You could be next. What would you expect from this chamber?”

The resolution demands that Russia “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.” It also supports “the de-escalation of the current situation and a peaceful resolution of the conflict through political dialogue, negotiation, mediation and other peaceful means” that respect Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and internationally recognized borders.

International Monetary Fund member countries issued a near-unanimous call for Russia to end its war in Ukraine calling the conflict the single biggest factor fueling inflation and slowing the global economy. Only Russia blocked consensus.

In retaliation for U.S. assistance to Ukraine, Russian hackers crashed 14 U.S. airport websites in a coordinated cyberattack. All exhibited “denial to service” to those who wanted to access them. In this attack, air traffic control, internal airline communications and coordination, and transportation security were not targeted. The pro-Russian hacker group “Killnet” took credit.

Russian propaganda films are warning people attempting to seek refuge in the U.S. about the dangers of LGBTQ people, Blacks, and vegetarians.

In ridiculing Russia’s sham vote to annex Ukrainian regions, Poland held a mock referendum to annex Russia’s embassy in Warsaw. Eight days ago, 97.9 percent of an online vote approved the Czech Republic referendum to annex the Russian city of Kaliningrad, changing its name to Královec. Originally the German city of Königsberg, Kaliningrad, not physically connected to Russia, was given to the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. It is Russia’s only ice-free port on the Baltic Sea.

September 6, 2022

Russian Invasion of Ukraine – Day 195, More DDT

[Update for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago: A good day would be one without news for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT); once again this is not a good day. Like the judge who put DDT above the law in permitting him a special master to delay an investigation regarding his theft of government documents, the public now knows that at least one of these documents described an unidentified foreign government’s nuclear military defenses. The material is so secret that even senior officials in President Joe Biden’s administration are not authorized to see them, so closely guarded that a “designated control officer” is assigned to monitor the documents in its location. Only the president and a few Cabinet or near-Cabinet level officials could authorize other government officials to view them. Over two weeks ago, DDT had lied when the seized documents were harmless and he had nothing related to nuclear secrets. A question now is whether Republicans continue to cover for DDT, such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) who said the investigation concerned only a mere records issue, “a fight over storage of documents.”

Judge Aileen Cannon’s opinion explained she ordered temporary halt to an investigation because of DDT’s status as a former president. In 2016, DDT promised his administration would “enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information” because “no one is above the law.” He even strengthened the law while he was in hte White House. Yet DDT refused to voluntarily give up the nuclear document voluntarily after classified documents were subpoenaed; it was found only when the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, largely deserted for the past months for the summer. The judge may also have violated the code preventing conflict of interest when she ruled in favor of the man who appointed her to her position. Ian Millheiser has a thorough explanation of how bogus the judge’s ruling is.]

And now returning to a country fighting to preserve democracy. The news from Ukraine regarding Russia’s invasion of the country has focused on two major subjects for the past week: the disaster of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the hope that Ukrainians are taking back land and populated areas.

At Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, a fire shut down the last working reactor hours before the UN atomic inspectors was scheduled to brief the Security Council on conditions there. With Russia’s military base nearby, its troops continue catastrophic shelling that they blame on the Ukrainians. Of the six reactors operating before Russians seized the plant after the invasion, only two were operating until last Saturday when shelling disconnected one of them. In the fire eliminating the last one, a backup power line was damaged but could be restored. Russia occupies the plant, but Ukraine is responsible for operating the facility, the largest in Europe.

Since Ukraine has been disconnected from the power plant grid, over 600,000 people are without electricity in the country, more than 80 percent in the eastern area of Donbas and the remainder in Mykolaiv to the south and Kharkiv to the northeast. About 235,000 people remain without natural gas supplies. Energoatom, the country’s nuclear agency, is working to restore the connection to the Ukrainian grid. The problem doesn’t seem to be a crisis because a power unit is working to cool the remainder of the nuclear reactors. 

A team of 14 from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited the power plant last week, and two members of the team will stay permanently at the plant for purposes of monitoring it. The shelling near the plant presents “a constant threat to nuclear safety and security,” according to IAEA. Despite the discovery of Russian troops and equipment at the plant, including military vehicles in turbine halls, Moscow denies it used the plant as a shield. The IAEA said, “Ukrainian staff operating the plant under Russian military occupation are under constant high stress and pressure, especially with the limited staff available.” Damaged areas of the plant are a building housing nuclear fuel, a facility storing radioactive waste, and a building housing an alarm system. The plant has also been frequently cut off from offsite power supplies critical to safe operation.

After the team reported to the UN, its Secretary-General Antonio Guterres laid out specific steps for both sides to demilitarize the area and refrain “from military activity in and around the plant.” They should also agree “on a demilitarized perimeter,” including “a commitment by Russian forces to withdraw all military personnel and equipment from that perimeter, and a commitment by Ukrainian forces not to move into it.” Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia claimed his country’s forces were defending the plant.  

Artyom Bardin, the Russian-installed commandant of the Zaporizhzhia region, was critically injured from his car exploding in Berdiansk, an Azov Sea port of about 100,000 people in southern Ukraine. Eleven days earlier, the city’s deputy chief of traffic police died from a bomb blast, and another Russian-back official in the Kherson region, former Ukrainian lawmaker Alexei Kovalev, was shot dead.

The biggest Western economies, the G7 countries, agreed to cap Russian oil prices and ban services allowing transportation of its crude oil and petroleum products above the cap, including insurance cover or finance for oil shipments. Russia’s energy giant Gazprom closed down gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, claiming an oil leak. It put the blame on sanctions keeping machinery for repairs. Russia had already stopped the supply of gas to Germany which sent European gas prices skyrocketing.

In another disaster for the second largest Russian oil company, LUKOIL, its chair Ravil Maganov died after he supposedly fell from a sixth-story balcony or window after going to an elite clinic for a heart condition. No video exists because cameras were turned off for repairs. Since the Russian invasion, six businesspeople with ties to the nation’s energy industry have mysteriously died, but none of them is classified as a murder. Russia considers the deaths suicides.  LUKOIL had criticized the invasion and publicly called for a ceasefire one week after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared his “special military operation.”

Ukraine has expressed optimism about its counteroffensive in the south, and the Luhansk regional governor stated early signs of “good news” in the “de-occupation of our region” on Monday after two villages were retaken. The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S.-based think tank, reported that “Ukrainian forces are advancing along several axes” to the west of the Kherson region, and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said, “Ukrainian flags are returning to the places where they should be by right.” Russia has “paused” a referendum in Kherson that would force Ukrainians to become Russians after Ukrainians destroyed the storage warehouse for the referendum ballots, including all printed materials.

Ukraine is keeping its strategy quiet while trying to take back the first important city taken by Russia in late February; it is part of Putin’s “land bridge” to Crimea. For the first time in the invasion, reporters have been barred from front-line access. Russia claims Ukraine is failing, but its forces are thin in some of those areas with “severe manpower shortages,” according to a recent U.S. intelligence finding.

Ukraine did claim shooting down five Russian cruise missiles on September 6, most of them in the south. Witnesses reported fighting around Balakliia, an eastern town of 27,000 people between Kharkiv and Russian-held Izyum where Putin’s forces rely on a major railway hub for supplies., Ukraine military earlier said it repelled Russian offensives, pushing the armies back in a number of eastern Ukrainian settlements. The Ukrainian artillery also destroyed an important Russian ammunition depot with S-300 missiles used to fire on the city of Kharkiv. In addition, Ukrainian officials reported unsuccessful Russian advances in southwestern Ukraine where Ukrainians destroyed Russian command centers, pontoon bridges, and eight ammunition depots.

Over six months into the invasion, UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Russia “has yet to achieve any of its strategic objectives.” Their forces have missed several deadlines and are advancing only 0.6 miles a week in the area where they have the most success. He added that Russia “continues to lose significant equipment and personnel,” losses that will have a lasting impact on its future combat effectiveness. Wallace estimates over 80,000 soldiers dead, injured, or deserted because of morale and discipline issues from combat fatigue, high casualties, and problems with not being paid. He explained:

“The Russian military has consistently failed to provide basic entitlements to troops deployed in Ukraine, including providing appropriate uniforms, arms, and rations, as well as pay. This has almost certainly contributed to the continued fragile morale of much of the force.”

In late August, U.S. and Western officials said that Ukraine has become more evenly matched with Russian forces because of advanced Western weaponry and the Ukrainian’s advantage of morale, unit cohesion, tactical acumen, and a superior ability to improvise on the fly.

A week ago, Russia picked up scores of Iranian combat drones to use against Ukraine, but they suffered several failures. Russian drones are made with Western electronics which Russia can’t obtain for repair. Although Russia has between 1,500 and 2,000 surveillance drones, it has almost no attack drones while Ukraine has Turkish-made combat UAVs when it has used to attack Russian, armor, trucks, and artillery since the beginning of the invasion. Russian new drones have not been tested against Ukraine’s sophisticated electronic jamming and antiaircraft systems.

According to U.S. intelligence reports, Russia is buying millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea, indicating that Russia has “severe supply shortages in Ukraine.”

August 11, 2022

Wars on Two Fronts – DDT, Ukraine

On Thursday, AG Merrick Garland announced that the DOJ filed a court request to unseal the search warrant and property receipt for the Mar-a-Lago residence of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) because of massive DDT-engendered lies and violent threats by his allies. One man, who may have participated in the January 6 insurrection, was shot and killed after he tried to storm the Cincinnati FBI office. On Monday, a post on DDT’s Truth Social with the name Ricky Shiffer, the man killed, sent a “call to arms” message:

“People, this is it. Leave work tomorrow as soon as the gun shop/Army-Navy store/pawn shop opens, get whatever you need to be ready for combat. We must not tolerate this one. They have been conditioning us to accept tyranny and think we can’t do anything for 2 years. This time we must respond with force.”

Garland explained the reason for unsealing the search warrant was “the intense public interest” and called out the “unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors.”

“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated patriotic public servants. Every day, they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves. I am honored to work alongside them.”

The government has until 3 p.m. EST (1900 GMT) on August 11 to notify the court whether DDT’s attorneys object to unsealing the warrant. The same judge appointed by DDT who signed the search warrant will hear the case.  

A few hours after Garland’s speech, breaking news revealed that the classified documents illegally stored at Mar-a-Lago concerned nuclear weapons. Mar-a-Lago has extremely lax security, and the documents would be classified at the highest levels, restricted to a small number of government officials because details about them allows adversaries to counter the systems.

Former senior intelligence officials said that DDT’s administration routinely mishandled highly classified intelligence about sensitive topics. Often it went to people who didn’t need to see it or weren’t authorized to read it. Among this information was signals intelligence, intercepted electronic communications such as emails and phone calls of foreign leaders. They needed to be closely guarded because they reveal how the U.S. penetrates foreign governments. This type of information was included in the 15 boxes removed from Mar-a-Lago last January.

Months later, the DOJ subpoenaed DDT for more documents and were given other materials. Officials suspected DDT’s team was not truthful and withheld additional documents. The current search warrant would describe what was being sought at Mar-a-Lago as well as their related crimes. Republicans who reveled in the search because of political benefits now worry about new damaging discoveries.  

In 2019, whistleblowers expressed concern that DDT wanted to provide U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia as his former national security adviser Michael Flynn had suggested. 

While DDT plays his games trying to return to the White House, the Russian war against Ukraine grinds on for almost six months since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. Earlier this week, a Ukrainian attack on a Russian air base in coastal Crimea took out a dozen or more Russian planes used for missile strikes against Ukrainian-controlled territory. The losses would be the largest in a single day for the Russian air force, further reducing its ability to launch missile strikes against Ukraine. The Russian losses would also curtail its long-term ability to control southern Ukraine, especially the nearby province of Kherson, where Ukraine attempts a counteroffensive to retake its territory. Crimea is a Russian transit point for troops, equipment, and ammunition to supply the Kherson area.

Before the loss, Russia assumed it would be unimpeded in its operation instead of being forced to guard another part of Ukraine. At least three explosions at the base also demonstrated to Russia that it’s not invincible. Special forces fighters caused the destruction because HIMARS couldn’t cross the 150 miles from Ukrainian-controlled area to the air base. Russia only admitted damage to civilian structures and denied any destroyed planes, but satellite images showed the extent of the damage.

Russia continues to endanger the world with more shelling of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant which Ukraine lost in early March. An administrative office near the welding area has been hit and several radiation sensors damaged. Russia turned the facility and the surrounding area in southeastern Ukraine along the Dnieper River into a military base and launches attacks from there.

Russia launched an Iranian satellite from southern Kazakhstan after Putin and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pledged to work together against the West. Tehran claims Russia will not use the satellite, named Omar Khayyam after the 11th century Persian poet and philosopher, for intelligence in Ukraine. U.S. officials are concerned that Russia will use the satellite to monitor military in Israel and other parts of the Middle East.  

Assistant director for the Atlantic Council, Doug Klain, wrote that the attack on the Russian air base could be the turning point in the war. Russia has taken great pride in illegally taking Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, an act leading them to believe the Ukrainian invasion would finish within three days. Instead of grinding down a disheartened enemy, Russia faces an enemy achieving daring counteroffensives showing Ukraine able to precisely strike hundreds of miles behind Russian lines. Thanks to the West, Ukraine has up-to-date weapons; Russia is running out of equipment, even stripping commercial jetliners of parts after blocked from components from abroad. The EU has banned Russian coal imports, annually impacting about 8 billion euros worth of Russian exports.

In the Guardian, Nimo Omer writes that the war in Ukraine is entering a new decisive phase. Russia wants to hold out until winter, when Europe will be in an energy crisis and more likely to push for a negotiated agreement. The invaders may also be trying to connect the nuclear facility to the grid in Crimea, for the first time that one country steals a nuclear reactor from another country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin initially wanted to overturn the Ukrainian government and replace it with one of his own. Kyiv didn’t fall so he tried to take the eastern region of Donbas. The artillery onslaught led to Russia occupying the Luhansk province, and Russia wants Kherson as a transport hub with a key river crossing as a barrier from attacks. Russia has more ammunition than Ukraine, but the U.S.-supplied HIMARS partly equalized the battles with its precision-guided artillery aimed at Russian logistics centers, weapons depots, and command points. They also sever some supply lines, decreasing Russian shelling.

Hundreds of Russian soldiers refuse to fight and try to leave the military. Unable to replenish the 80,000 soldiers killed and untold numbers wounded, Russia is recruiting prisoners for replacements. St. Petersburg penal colony prisoners were offered amnesty in return for fighting in Ukraine. Of 11 volunteers, eight died in Ukraine. Russia’s major new ground force, the 3rd Army Corps of “volunteer battalions,” seeks men up to age 50 and requires only a middle-school education. Deployment to Ukraine promises “lucrative cash bonuses,” but complaints in the media indicate Russia isn’t paying off. The Soviet Union used the same tactic during World War II. Supposedly Russia’s shadowy private military force, the Wagner Group, is doing this recruiting.

Kurt Volker, expert in Ukrainian affairs, said that Putin has put himself into a “weak position” because of the widely-condemned war in Ukraine, that he can partner only with vulnerable countries needing financial assistance. These countries will also worry about global sanctions against them like Russia has. Belarus, for example, may suffer from the same sanctions as Russia because it allows Russian troops on and Russian air strikes from its territory while receiving $1.5 billion in return. Even before Russia’s invasion, the U.S., UK, Canada, and Europe sanctioned Belarus in late 2021 for alleged repression of its residents and human rights violations of migrants.

In another Russian difficulty, Finland and Sweden are on their way to becoming NATO’s 31st and 32nd member states following the acceptance of North Macedonia in March 2020. Bosnia, Herzegovina, Georgia, and Ukraine are also interested in joining NATO. All senators except Josh Hawley (R-MO) agreed to the expansion of NATO, and President Joe Biden signed the NATO accession protocols for Finland and Sweden. Putin called the expansion of NATO an imperialistic threat, but it would not have happened if he hadn’t “shattered peace and security in Europe,” as Biden said when he signed the protocols.

Even conservative senators such as Ted Cruz (TX) and Marco Rubio (FL) criticized Hawley for his objection; both of them emphasized NATO’s importance in protection against China. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) pointed out that Hawley had voted to permit Montenegro and North Macedonia into NATO.

Hawley has been mocked since the July 12 House January 6 investigative committee showed him running away from the insurrectionists who he incited. The irony comes from his image of masculinity that he described in his new book. Jonathan Capeheart described Hawley’s message: “if you’re a man, you believe in these things”: patriarchy, opposition to female’s body choice, opposition to marriage equality, aversion to labor organizing. Hawley’s sense of exclusion, and intolerance leading him to vote against other countries joining NATO. To Hawley, masculinity is the prejudice manifested by conservatives in the U.S. who cling to a vision of White America, identical to the beliefs of DDT’s followers.

November 30, 2021

Biden’s Successes, December Tribulations

In 2016, the mainstream media managed to get Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) into the White House, and it now seems to be pushing GOP candidate wins for the next two election cycles. Most of the news focuses on inflation, COVID, and the problems with Build Back Better, President Joe Biden’s proposed jobs/infrastructure bill. Missing is any focus on Biden’s successes such as the following.

Biden has signed bipartisan legislation examining disparities in VA disability ratings and benefits, provide military personnel jobs at federal facilities, promote tuition equality for military family survivors, and give a wide range of programs and benefits to mothers. Before Biden, DDT denigrated veterans, attempted to privatize the VA, and removed DDT benefits. He frequently lied he was responsible for Veterans’ Choice which President Obama signed in 2014. 

According to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Amazon must permit their Alabama workers a second chance to form a union because the company illegally interfered  has directed that Amazon workers in Alabama get a second chance at forming a union after finding that the company illegally interfered with an earlier union election. Amazon spent millions for anti-union consultants and police to intimidate workers the union supporters and installed a mailbox at the warehouse for workers to mail their ballots. The company likely surveilled the mailbox. Amazon is already lobbying against the union with its statement that workers have a choice but unions are not “the best answer for our employees.”

After a five-month break, world powers began talks to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The reward for the Iranians is liberation from hundreds of western economic sanctions if they stop building their nuclear program, started after DDT took the U.S. out of the agreement in 2018. Talks are among Iran, Russia, China, the UK, France, Germany, and the EU, but Iran doesn’t allow the U.S. delegation to be directly involved. Iran has new demands including financial compensation from the U.S. for previous sanctions and a guarantee that the U.S. will not again leave the new agreement. Time is of he essence: Iran may be only four to six weeks away from its amassing enough fissile material for a nuclear weapons.

The agreement was easier to effect the first time in 2015 because Iran now has a much more conservative government than now. Without an agreement, Iranians promise to “further escalate its nuclear program.” Iran is already enriching uranium to 60 percent purity, beyond the levels permitted by the earlier agreement, and now taking steps to increase the process to 90 percent. The deal was working until DDT pulled out despite advice from all top members of his national security team. At that point, Iran became much more dangerous, and the situation continues to be more serious with DDT’s failed policy.

Although Biden isn’t yet stopped drilling on public lands and waters, he recommends increased charges for oil and gas companies. The Interior Department report also wants no leasing in areas conflicting with wildlife or conservation and prioritizing leasing areas with resource potential.

Biden is proposing a 20-year ban on oil and gas drilling in New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon and its ten-mile radius, a sacred tribal site. The Bureau of Land Management will set aside the land for two years to conduct an environmental analysis and gather public comment. Existing leases and drilling rights will not be affected. The government also will prioritize improving public safety for Native Americans who have sought assistance for 2,700 unsolved killings and 1,500 missing persons cases in their jurisdictions.

Biden has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate potential illegalities in high gas costs. He wrote that “the price of unfinished gasoline is down more than 5 percent while gas prices at the pump are up 3 percent in [the past month]. This unexplained large gap between the price of unfinished gasoline and the average price at the pump is well above the pre-pandemic average.” U.S. oil and gas companies have amassed significant profits with two of the biggest ones nearly doubling their net income since 2019, according to Biden. “They have announced plans to engage in billions of dollars of stock buybacks and dividends this year or next.” Biden has no control over gas prices, but he has released 50 million barrels of oil from reserves.  

Five other countries—China, India, Japan, South Korea, and the UK—are taking similar actions. Both Democratic and GOP presidents have taken oil from reserves about 20 times since they were created in 1975. In an attempt to make himself look good, DDT lied about how the “reserves are meant to be used for serious emergencies, like war, and nothing else.” He also lied about the Reserves being empty when he took over—they weren’t—and that how he “filled them up three years ago, right to the top”—he didn’t because they are far less full when he left. DDT also claimed he had bought the oil, but the government gets the oil in royalties for drilling leases. Thanks to unfettered capitalism, the oil industry is making enormous profits.

Most coastlines along continental U.S. may have offshore windfarms from lease auctions for up to seven new areas. Federal approval for the first U.S. commercial-scale offshore wind farm in May. The first leases will be on the East Coast because the Pacific waters are deeper close to shore than on the East Coast, causing difficulty in attaching turbines to the seafloor. Turbines in the Gulf of Mexico must have to cope with hurricanes and soft soils.

For months, GOP senators have blocked Biden’s diplomatic appointments, and top Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) wants his colleagues to stop stalling the 60 pending foreign-policy nominations on the Senate floor. The most constant obstructionists, Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), have accepted only four U.S. ambassador nominations, either former senators or their widows. The rest are being held up because Biden lifted sanctions on the Russia-backed company behind its gas pipeline to Germany, Nord Stream 2. 

Obsessed with the one-month increase of inflation in the U.S. to a 6.2 percent annual rate, the media ignored its rise around the world. In 46 countries, 39 are higher than the 2019 third quarter with 16 of them over 2 percent higher. The U.S. has the eighth-highest annual inflation rate among these countries. The pattern is largely the same: inflation stayed flat during the worst of the pandemic and rose when countries worked their way back to something like normal.

The economy, however, has good markers in consumer spending data and job creation. In October, retail sales rose 1.7 percent, and new jobs reported large increases in August and September revisions. For June through September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported underestimated job growth by 626,000 jobs, the largest underestimate of any other comparable period back to 1979. Job revisions don’t get the same media attention as initial monthly figures, thus fewer people are aware of these successes. The job growth reports have been vastly underreported since Biden was inaugurated. The inaccurate, pro-DDT numbers come from DDT-appointed William Beach, the head of Bureau of Labor Statistics who had previously worked for the Heritage Foundation and a Charles Koch research center. Beach is also responible for the Consumer Price Index, recently claiming massive price increases. 

Last week, Reuters reported the 71,000 drop of weekly jobless claims to 199,000, a 52-year low, and a reduction of 60,000 to continuing claims. With 531,000 new jobs in October, unemployment dropped to 4.6 percent, not seen since November 1969. The third-quarter GDP growth was revised up to 2.1 percent with the possibility of 8.6 percent for the last quarter. The goods trade deficit also sharply narrowed last months with surging exports.

GOP congressional stalling has led to a December time crunch. If both chambers don’t agree on funding the government by December 3, the government closes down. In September, Congress passed a continuing resolution with the December deadline; it could pass another CR until February or March to finalize the 2022 appropriations bill. In this omnibus bill, the House has passed ten of 12 smaller spending measures, but the Senate has been successful for only three of them.

The debt ceiling must be raised by December 15 so that the government can pay its bills. The U.S. has never defaulted on its debt, which would be catastrophic, but many unprecedented events have ocurred in the past five years. No matter how destructive to the U.S., Republicans don’t want to vote for raising the debt ceiling despite the way they and DDT increased it by $7.9 trillion during DDT’s time in the White House.

In addition, Democrats in the Senate want to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion reconciliation bill, Build Back Better, which requires dealing with Democratic senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Krysten Sinema (AZ). And there’s more—the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual must-pass bill. The NDAA has passed Congress every year for six decades despite the need one year to override DDT’s veto. One glitch is Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) attempt to connect it to the U.S. Innovation and Competition ACT (USICA) for $250 billion to oppose China’s technological and defense gains. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) also wants to remove military sex crimes prosecution from the chain of command and include women in the draft. The NDAA has 1,000 amendments, including repealing the 1991 Gulf War and 2002 Iraq War authorizations.

December 1 opens more opposition from the Republicans to anything helping the country.

November 9, 2021

Bits of Hope, Accountability

COVID keeps killing, the Building Back Better jobs/infrastructure bill hasn’t yet passed despite promises, and President Joe Biden keeps getting bashed. At the same time, the first infrastructure bill passed Congress, courts without appointments by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) keep making constitutional ruling, and President Joe Biden makes progress. Some recent news:

The most recent ruling against DDT rejected his request to conceal White House records during his time in the Oval Office. DDT’s claim of “executive privilege” didn’t work, and the documents must be turned over to the House January 6 Committee by November 12, 2021. The decision was handed down in under 24 hours; DDT plans to appeal.

Fox celebrity Judge Jeanine Pirro may have destroyed DDT’s claim of executive privilege to keep his inner circle from testifying to the subpoenas from the House committee. The day after subpoenas were sent to DDT’s allies working in the Willard Hotel “command center,” the war room orchestrating the election takeover for DDT, media pointed out a report that Pirro had supported the participants in the request for DDT to pay for the hotel bill. Her comments led to DDT’s campaign paying Bernard Kerik’s personal business for the rooms and other expenses in connection with the insurrection planning, destroying validity for the executive privilege excuse. Attorney Richard Ben-Veniste explained that “the use of campaign funds ‘further undermines a wildly broad assertion of executive privilege.… Executive privilege is typically limited to the protection of communications involving a president’s official duties—not to those relating to personal or political campaign matters.'”

Sworn testimony from DDT’s lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who tried many of the cases attempting to support the myth of a “stolen” election, stated they had not done much to verify the fake claims that they purported in court. Giuliani said it wasn’t his job to look up “evidence,” and Powell said the truth was not one of her objectives.

Republicans, including those who voted against Biden’s first infrastructure bill, are hoping to give GOP lawmakers credit for the money flowing into their states. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), retiring next year, credited DDT for the achievement despite his failure to pass anything in his weekly Infrastructure Week. DDT is having none of it: he worked to destroy it so that Biden couldn’t get a “big and beautiful win” to benefit Democrats. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), one of 13 House members voting for the bill, said DDT “laid the groundwork for this infrastructure.” She overlooked DDT’s abandoning his infrastructure bill to spite Democrats.

Republicans voting against the infrastructure bill may have difficulty taking credit for it. Newspapers in GOP-controlled states throughout the nation have touted the funding their states will receive, at the same time announcing in large print that their representatives and senators in Congress voted against it. The source could be a PR push, perhaps from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) office, to point out who supported funding for their states. With the excitement for infrastructure repair and expansion, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) may want to think twice about his possible plan to strip all committee assignments from the 13 House representatives who voted in favor of the bill. 

McCarthy will be in an even more awkward place if he does nothing about Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) after he arranged to put together and tweeted an anime film in which Gosar’s character kills a character with the face of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and physically attacks another character with the face of President Biden. The question is whether MCarthy will punish GOP members for their votes but condone Gosar for his violence, thus promoting more from both House members and conservatives throughout the United States.

Positive statistics from the past few weeks:

The economy created 531,000 new jobs for October, and 235,000 more jobs were created in August and September than previously reported with a total of 5.6 new jobs since Biden was inaugurated. DDT created no new jobs in his four years.  

The unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent, down from 6.3 percent in January when Biden was inaugurated and two year ahead of anticipated.

The vast majority of deaths from COVID are in unvaccinated people, meaning the vaccines are successful.

The deficit for fiscal 2021 shrank by $360 billion, and it’s $897 billion less than predicted in February. This drop follows the pattern that Republicans raise the deficit while Democrats pare it down. (Red = GOP; blue = Democrats)

Biden will ease U.S. tariffs on European steel and aluminum, and Europe will drop a large number of tariffs on some U.S. products—motorcycles, boats, peanut butter, whiskey, etc. The 25-percent tariff on whiskey dropped U.S. exports to Europe by 37 percent, and it was due to double in December. The distilled spirits industry supports 1.7 million people in the U.S., and Harley Davidson has another 5,600 manufacturing workers at Harley Davidson.

The U.S. will have some of the nation’s strongest regulations against methane emissions from oil and gas drilling in history, according to Biden’s announcement at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. The new EPA rules will cover 75 percent of the country’s methane emissions. Although methane accounts for a smaller percentage of gas emissions than carbon dioxide, its molecular structure drives significant short-term warming because it more readily absorbs thermal radiation. That gives methane 86 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide in a 20-year period. Sixty percent of methane emissions comes from human activities with agriculture two-thirds and fossil fuel production and use most of the remainder.  

The U.S. will again participate in nuclear talks between world leaders and Iran, according to Biden. With the leaders of Germany, France, and Britain, he warned that Tehran was accelerating “provocative nuclear steps.” Iran stopped complying with the 2015 agreement after DDT withdrew the U.S. and reimposed sanctions.

A month ago, Biden canceled 44 miles of border wall contracts, this time in the Laredo and Rio Grande Valley areas. Funding will be redirected to innovative border security technology. People in the Rio Grande Valley have been fighting to keep their property. Biden has already returned some property.  

The NRA is being sued for $35 million because of allegedly using shell companies illegally running ad buys for seven GOP Senate candidates. The lawsuit comes from Campaign Legal Action Center, a watchdog gun safety advocacy group founded by former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), shot and badly wounded while campaigning several years ago. Political candidates include congressional members Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), former Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT), and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC).

A federal jury in Tacoma (WA) ruled the GEO Group owning and running a large detention center owes 10,000 former detainees $17.3 million in back pay for such tasks as cooking meals and cleaning. Workers were paid only $1 a day, a violation of the state’s minimum wage law. The class action suit was consolidated with another one by the state accusing GEO of unjustly enriching itself by violating state labor law. GEO made $18.6 million in profits from the detention center in 2018 and had previously acknowledged it could have paid more to the detainees. The company must also pay Washington state almost $6 million “in unjust enrichment gained.”

In a unanimous decision, a racist, sexist Alabama judge has been removed from the bench for hundreds of comments demeaning both employees and citizens. Talledega County Probate Judge Randy Links took office in 2019 with no legal background although he is responsible for adoptions, estates, wills, guardianships, conservatorships, and involuntary commitments. Jinks, who believes the election was stolen from DDT, also oversees elections.

DOJ AG Merrick Garland announced he was restoring the Office for Access to Justice, working to reform the use of fines and fees by state and local courts, protect the right to counsel for juvenile and indigent defendants, and increase access to civil legal aid for those who could not afford lawyers. In 2018, then-AG Jeff Sessions shut down the office.

The DOJ, State Department, and Treasury Department have collaborated to indict two men, a Russian and a Ukrainian, for cyberattacks on U.S. companies and announced sanctions against them.

Zillow’s project of flipping houses may be dropped after the company lost $1.4 billion in two years, selling only two-thirds of the houses it buys. The current $3.8 billion inventory has vastly grown since only $491 less than a million a year ago. When Zillow started the scheme in 2019, it lost $109,000 a flip. Because Zillow overbid for the houses, it inflated prices for individual purchasers. The company’s shares are down 62 percent from the February 2021 high.

 Pennsylvania has another case of voter fraud to prosecute: Gov. Tom Wolf admitted his wife dropped off his ballot for him.

April 15, 2021

Biden’s Foreign Policy, Domestic Terrorism

While Republicans complain about President Joe Biden’s inaction and lack of lying bombast exhibited by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), Biden is quietly strengthening U.S. foreign policy.

Today Biden sanctioned 40 Russian groups and individuals for the Russian major cyber espionage operation, operations to elect DDT in the past two presidential elections, the massive Russian buildup on the Ukrainian border, and Russia’s ongoing occupation and “severe human rights abuses” in Crimea. He blocked U.S. financial institutions from purchasing bonds from Russia’s Central Bank, National Wealth Fund, and Ministry of Finance after June 14 and from lending money to these institutions. Biden also expelled ten people from Washington’s Russian diplomatic mission and considers sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt. He now proposes a summit where the U.S. and Russia can discuss these problems.

Republicans yell and whine about election fraud, but reports show DDT’s 2016 campaign manager in frequent, covert contact with a Chinese intelligence officer, once his business associate. Paul Manafort passed internal polling data to the operative who asked him to support a proposal to allow Chinese success in the South China Sea territorial disputes. Biden sanctioned the operative Konstantin Kilimnik, identified as a “Russian and Ukrainian political consultant and known Russian Intelligence Services agent implementing influence operations on their behalf.” Manafort promoted the lie, still pushed by GOP congressional members, that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election on DDT’s behalf. The FBI has a reward of $250,000 for Kilimnik’s arrest. DDT pardoned Manafort and freed him from prison. 

Kilimnik’s information from Manafort went through a secret pipeline, perhaps used throughout DDT’s four-year term, directly to Russian intelligence to defeat Hillary Clinton. A Senate Intelligence Committee report, endorsed by Republicans, marked him a “grave counterintelligence threat.” Secretary of State Antony echoed the Senate report by repeating the U.S. intelligence report that Russia “presents one of the most serious intelligence threats to the United States.”

This week, Biden also gave September 11, 2021, as the deadline for removing the last 2,500 U.S. military members from Afghanistan. He selected the 20th anniversary of the foreign terrorist attack on U.S. soil killing 3,000 people which led George W. Bush to start the “military mission” in the Middle East costing U.S. taxpayers almost $7 trillion. Biden said he will not pass the war to a fifth president and is following DDT’s agreement with the Taliban to withdraw troops.

Today Secretary of State Antony Blinken followed Biden’s announcement with a surprise visit to Afghan leaders in Kabul and repeated the U.S. commitment to helping their government. He emphasized counter-terrorism cooperation and “protecting the rights of women and girls,” according to a department announcement.

Biden has also sent an unofficial delegation to Taiwan as “an important signal about the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and its democracy,” according to an official. Last week, the USS John S. McCain went through the Taiwan Strait, and the carrier Theodore Roosevelt went to the South China Sea for “routine operations.” China typically protests the U.S. being in those international waters, especially with its support for Taiwan.

Biden plans to meet Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, hoping for a joint statement supporting Taiwan and discussing China’s treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang and influence over Hong Kong. Japan and the U.S. have not had a joint statement about Taiwan for over 50 years. The meeting prefaces one in May with Biden and South Korea’s President Moon Jae about managing China’s rising power and that of North Korea with the help of the Quad—Australia, India, Japan, and North Korea.

A U.S. negotiating team in Vienna led by Robert Malley is working with Iran representatives to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement. Initially, they are working on the over 700 sanctions imposed by DDT to permanently destroy the deal. In efforts to scuttle any deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed pleasure when opposing Israelis reportedly bombed an Iranian nuclear facility. If Biden succeeds in redeeming the agreement, he plans to “expand and strengthen” the pact by covering Iran’s militant activities and missile program to obtain support from congressional opposition. Iran may hold off until after their elections in June.

Today, Inspector General Michael Bolton testified before the House Administration Committee about the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and argued for a campus security overhaul. He said a deputy assistant chief of police told officers not to use any weapons including stingballs and 40mm launchers, weapons that could have helped them protect the Capitol. Thus far, one task force and over one-half dozen congressional committees have started investigations into why law enforcement failed to prevent the insurrection when hundreds of DDT’s supporters invaded and vandalized the Capitol building to stop the certification of Biden as the legal president.

Bolton, who may have the most complete examination of problems permitting the Capitol Police to be overrun by “deficiencies,” will continue the probe for several more months. He has already provided Congress with two interim reports about the lack of security clearances, personnel, equipment, and training to respond to these attacks. Calling for a “cultural change,” Bolton said law enforcement at the Capitol must move from the “traditional posture of a police department” to “a protection agency” focusing on preventing events like the January 6 riot. Preparation of a supplemental spending package for reforms of campus security will also use an evaluation from retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré requested by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA), in addition to Bolton’s recommendation to invest funding in training. That activity would include gathering, analyzing, and assessing intelligence for responses to future threats.

Following TheDonald.win before the Capitol attack would have made the high danger of violence on January 6 obvious. Participants covered ways to bring guns into D.C., quantity of ammunition, legal weapons such as stun guns and small knives, methods of attacking police officers with flagpoles and other objects, the best type of zip ties to use on congressional members certifying Biden’s election, and discussions of building the most effective gallows for use on disloyal congressional members according to the attackers. “Camarokirk” preferred a guillotine because it’s “more scary.” A dissenter brought up the problem of how “to get that big blade into town,” and the gallows the insurrectionists actually built, intended for VP Mike Pence, cost only $200. Many of the violent ideas on the website came to fruition on January 6 with right-wing domestic terrorists disrupting the presidential vote certification.

DDT encouraged the violence as shown by this tweet on December 19: 

 “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

Website users traded maps, travel information, money, hotel recommendations, and organizations of cross-country caravans. Also available on the website were diagrams of the tunnel systems below the Capitol complex and ways of creating a “wall of death” by pushing the mob forward, forcing police to give up their positions.

A recent report shows that DDT, who told his conservative terrorist Proud Boys to “stand by” in his first presidential debate with Biden, is completely wrong in his obsession about the “left-wing problem” of domestic terrorism. Asked at the debate about white supremacists and fringe militia groups, he saw them as political allies and then pushed the far-left menace as being the danger. According to information from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the new highs of domestic terrorism events are chiefly driven by white-supremacist, anti-Muslim, and anti-government extremists on the far right. The surge is the worst since the 1990s. The WaPo reported:

“Since 2015, right-wing extremists have been involved in 267 plots or attacks and 91 fatalities, the data shows. At the same time, attacks and plots ascribed to far-left views accounted for 66 incidents leading to 19 deaths…. More than a quarter of right-wing incidents and just under half of the deaths in those incidents were caused by people who showed support for white supremacy or claimed to belong to groups espousing that ideology, the analysis shows.”

The most common targets in these far-right events are mosques, synagogues, Black churches, abortion clinics, and government buildings, which have been “threatened, burned, bombed and hit with gunfire over the past six years.”

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) announced his panel would do a “significant dive” into domestic anti-government extremists, including radicalized groups’ possible connections to foreign allies. Earlier, Biden officials announced an overhaul of the government treatment of domestic terrorism with a “comprehensive threat assessment” by intelligence agencies. Former DHS officials from both parties agreed DDT’s failure to focus on “the rise of domestic threats” was among the agency’s problems. According to the NBC News report, these officials agreed:

“[I]t was the four years of inadequately monitoring and communicating the rising threat of right-wing domestic extremists that ultimately led to DHS’ failure to prevent [the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol].”

The New York Times reported that DDT’s administration “diverted” federal law enforcement and domestic security agencies, pressuring officials to “uncover a left-wing extremist criminal conspiracy that never materialized,” even as “the threat from the far right was building ominously.” It added that the FBI, “in particular, had increasingly expressed concern about the threat from white supremacists, long the top domestic terrorism threat, and well-organized far-right extremist groups that had allied themselves with the president.” DDT did not find these issues at all concerning. 

Time to “Build Back Better.”

December 24, 2020

DDT, GOP Leave Coal in Stockings

Today is the day before Christmas, and all the GOP members of Congress should be “nestled all snug in their beds; While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.” After all, all except one senator happily voted not to impeach/convict Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). The House Republicans unanimously voted against impeachment on December 18, 2019, and all 53 GOP senators exonerated him of abuse of power on February 2, 2020. Sen. Mitt Romney (UT) was the only Republican senator to vote in favor of convicting DDT for obstruction of Congress. Justifying their votes for not convicting DDT of these crimes, GOP senators proudly said he had “learned his lesson.”

Two days after the Senate vote, DDT fired witnesses Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who had testified in the impeachment inquiry, along with Vindman’s twin brother Yevgeny, who had nothing to do with the impeachment. That retaliation began the downward spiral of DDT’s vicious behavior. By now, some of those supporters may have learned their lesson—that DDT will make life hell for anyone opposes him and anyone connected to his opposition.

Republicans are finally losing their temper openly after they faithfully followed White House orders on the stimulus/spending bill, and he—again—betrayed them. Never matter that 126 House members faithfully followed DDT down the rabbit hole by joining a seditious lawsuit in the Supreme Court to overturn a legal election for president, furthering polarizing a badly-divided, formerly democratic country. Angry messages from congressional members inundating White House aides claim, correctly, that DDT abandoned them after the White House told them it supported the bill and asked for their votes. DDT has repeatedly told they can’t trust him: one of his favorite statements, “You knew I was a snake when you took me in.”

House Democrats now support DDT, and the bill, by unanimously voting in favor of increasing the stimulus checks to $2,000, but House Republicans procedurally stymied the vote. One can imagine DDT grimly chortling on his Florida golf course about his latest chaos. Democrats support people while the GOP wants money and power. Republicans gave DDT everything he could have wanted to get their conservative judicial activists, including support for overturning the election in his favor and protection in concealing his finances. In return, they found coal in their stockings. Santa didn’t like Republicans this year, and DDT blocked them from “Merry Christmas!” Apparently, enabling and sycophantism didn’t pay off in 2020.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) was so disgusted with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) rejected the amendment that she banged the gavel, saying “Merry Christmas!” in a less than positive way. The House is adjourned until Monday afternoon for a floor vote on DDT’s request for $2,000 checks. Dingell’s statement after the adjournment:

“It is Christmas Eve, but it is not a silent night. All is not calm. For too many, nothing is bright. And for too many, they are not sleeping peacefully. I gave a town hall last night that had people crying, people terrified of what is going to happen… I’ve been talking to people who are scared they’re going to be kicked out from their homes during the Christmas holiday, and still might be if we don’t sign this bill.”

McCarthy tried to make Pelosi the scapegoat by attacking her in a letter for trying to “use the American people as leverage to make coronavirus relief contingent on government funding.” He also framed himself as protector of people in the U.S.:

“The top priority must be our families, communities, and small businesses as we get through this pandemic and restore our country.”

Yet he refuses DDT’s call for more direct payment which Pelosi supports and accused Democrats of “selective hearing” for not cutting the $2 billion in foreign aid DDT opposes. McCarthy plans a bill to cut that funding while not providing anything for people in the U.S. It’s “austerity” time for Republicans with President-elect Joe Biden in the White House.  

On CNN Sunday, Romney mourned the loss of the Republican party, how the GOP he knew even eight years ago when he ran for president is gone:

“I represent a very small slice of the Republican Party today. We were a party concerned about balancing the budget. We believed in trade with other nations. We were happy to play a leadership role on the world stage, because we felt that made us safer and more prosperous. And we believed that character was essential in the leaders that we chose. We have strayed from that. I don’t see us returning to that for a long time.”

Romney plans to stay a Republican, saying he wants to work within the party instead of from outside. Member of the anti-DDT Lincoln Project Kurt Bardella, however, explained why he changed his registration from GOP to Democrat:

“I appreciate where Romney is coming from, but there comes a point where an institution is so thoroughly broken it must be rebuilt someplace else. The party’s true platform has become a toxic combination of authoritarianism and white nationalism. Rebuilding the party will require dismantling it. And helping in that cause doesn’t mean becoming an Independent or agitating for a third party…

“At the start of the Trump presidency, anti-Trumpers who identified as Republicans stayed with the team hoping that their policy positions would still form the basis of a Republican agenda. That experiment is over.

“If you were a Republican because you believed in fiscal restraint, under Trump the debt and deficit have exploded. If you were a Republican because you believed the GOP was stronger on national and homeland security, just look at what Trump said this week in cynically downplaying Russia’s cyberattack against our country. If you are a Republican because you believe in law and order, examine the records of the corrupt people Trump just gave pardons and commutations to. If you are a Republican because you are pro-life, there are 324,000 Americans dead from COVID-19 to call into question the GOP’s commitment to the sanctity of life.”

By Christmas Eve, the number of people dying from the virus in the U.S. is 327,000, and an additional 100,000 people died in the U.S. during the first nine months of 2020. The leadership of the “pro-life” party made the U.S. the deadliest year in history, topping three million deaths. The over 400,00 mortality increase over 2019 is a percentage leap not seen since the 1918 flu epidemic and World War I deaths. The number of deaths fell in 2019 with reductions in heart disease and cancer fatalities, and life expectancy crept higher for the second straight year. In 2020, the increase in deaths will force life expectancy up to three full years lower.

DDT may have spent the day on the golf course, but he took time out to tweet threats of military conflict against Iran. Last weekend, a weekend rocket attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad injured one Iraqi but no Americans. DDT wrote:

“Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over.”

Iran denied perpetrating the attack and warned DDT against “dangerous adventurism.” DDT is running out of ways to overturn a legal presidential election—court cases, appeals for state legislatures taking over electoral votes, declaration of martial law for a new election, even “requests” for VP Mike Pence to overturn the election at the congressional joint session on January 6. DDT doesn’t understand Pence merely presides over the proceedings and doesn’t make the final decision. DDT’s next ploy may be to start a war using the warped belief people will be forced to leave him in the White House in the midst of a war.

Foreign policy analysts have cautioned for weeks about DDT attacking Iran to sabotage any diplomacy and return to the nuclear deal in the Biden administration. Last month, DDT checked on ways to bomb Iran’s primary nuclear energy site, and earlier this month, the U.S. flew two B-52 bombers over the Persian Gulf to threaten Iran.

Some new House GOP representatives, including QAnn members Laurie Boebert (CO) and Marjorie Greene (GA), want to bring their guns onto the House floor. Greene wants every place in the nation to be “gun free zones,” including visitors’ galleries in congressional chambers.

The media is suspicious about the photoshopping of DDT and Melania Trump’s last Christmas portrait. His expression is identical to the one of a series taken last year with the Prince of Wales, and a photo expert compared the image to a paper cutout. Is it possible the two can’t even get close enough for a joint photo op? No doubt, Melania finds the next 27 days waiting to leave the White House as difficult as people in the U.S. do. 

October 9, 2020

DDT’s Erratic Behavior Increases

In a finish to Wednesday’s vice-presidential debate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted people should think hard about who they pick in the election. Responses to his tweet are biting, including the one from Republicans for Biden. or this one from Lesley Abravanel accompanying the photo to the right:

“Seems like we’re all pretty much decided that we’ll go for the guy who didn’t kill 213,000 Americans and the economy.”

Following are more reasons to not vote for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and the man with the fly on his head:

With Election Day only 25 days from now, DDT said that VP Mike Pence’s best answer in the debate was to reject a peaceful transition of power unless DDT wins.

“I don’t think I’m contagious at all,” said DDT who claimed he told doctors how to treat him in the hospital. Tomorrow he plans a campaign rally for thousands on the White House lawn and another one in Florida on Monday. No requirements for masks or social distancing. He claims he isn’t holding a political event at the “people’s house,” but his rhetoric will undoubtedly be highly partisan. Thus far, DDT has appeared to the public only in edited videos wearing heavy makeup and struggling for breath. 

DDT is still running against Hillary Clinton. In late October 2016, FBI Director James Comey insinuated Clinton’s emails were incriminating, just ten days before Election Day. They weren’t. Criticized by DDT, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he is releasing Clinton’s emails, just a few days before Election Day after a State Department investigation determined no “persuasive evidence” of widespread mishandling of classified information by Clinton or her aides. After DDT’s complaints about Pompeo, the Secretary said, “We’ve got the emails, we’re getting them out.” He didn’t say which ones. DDT had earlier said, “Forget about the fact they were classified.”

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates led by a Republican refused to clear DDT for in-person participation in the October 15 debate, and DDT objected to the change of the town hall-style debate to a virtual event for health and safety protections. Therefore the event is canceled. Joe Biden will hold his own town hall event on ABC.  Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) in-person debate with opponent, Jamie Harrison, was also canceled because Graham refuses to be tested. Questions have been raised about the reason for Graham’s refusal, especially after he attended “The Rose Garden Massacre,” resulting in at least 12 infections.

Questions have also been aroused by unreliable statements from Sean Conley, DDT’s doctor recommended by DDT’s former unreliable doctor Ronny Jackson, and DDT’s behavior. The Monday before DDT announced his diagnosis, presenters at his press conference stayed far away from DDT and used a separate podium. The next day, DDT didn’t take a coronavirus test before the debate, and his erratic, aggressive behavior was consistent with being on steroids. Wednesday, DDT’s fatigue was noticeable. A doctor announced the antibody treatment began on Thursday—before DDT supposedly tested positive for the first time and far too early unless he had tested positive at the beginning of the week. The White House refuses to answer questions about when DDT last tested negative for COVID-19.

DDT has abortions to thank for the antibody treatment he is touting as his personal miracle cure for COVID-19. The development of two drugs for DDT used cells from an aborted fetus, a process DDT aggressively blocks. A researcher said the use of fetal cells “has led to immense medical breakthroughs, including the development of vaccines for polio, measles, and rubella,” and critical understanding of other diseases. DDT called Regeneron’s antibody cocktail and Gilead’s antiviral Remdesivir “miracles coming down from God.” Regeneron developed the treatment from a long-lived line of cells taken from the kidneys of a fetus electively aborted in the Netherlands around 1972. Remdesivir used the same cell lines. Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson use fetal cell lines to develop and test vaccines. In 2019, DDT’s administration banned almost all federal funding for new scientific research using cells or tissue obtained from aborted fetuses. According to GOP guidelines, the use of fetal tissue is wrong unless it is old or provides healthcare for Republicans.

After DDT’s mystery trip to Walter Reed hospital last fall for what he called the first part of his annual physical—the one never completed—he required his doctors to sign a non-disclosure agreement in addition to HIPPA protections. The two who refused are no longer allowed to treat him.

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, surely knows far more about DDT’s health than the people of the United States if he listens to private conversations between DDT and his doctors, family, friends, and other advisers. DDT is well known for calling people from unsecured phones and other careless security protocol.

The DOJ will not be releasing damaging information from John Durham’s investigating the investigation into Russia before November 3, frustrating DDT. New Director of Intelligence John Ratcliffe, another of his lapdogs, released almost 1,000 classified pages to the DOJ to Durham’s investigation. Early this week, Ratcliffe released heavily redacted notes written by former CIA Director John Brennan appearing as if he briefed President Obama in 2016 on intelligence from Russian sources. Senior intelligence officials objected out of concern it supports Russia’s unsubstantiated disinformation.

DDT is still running against Hillary Clinton. In late October 2016, FBI Director James Comey insinuated Clinton’s emails were incriminating, just ten days before Election Day after he earlier said that there was no evidence of mishandling them. They weren’t. Criticized by DDT, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he is releasing Clinton’s emails, just a few days before Election Day after the State Department said there was no “widespread. Pence also attacked Clinton in the debate, saying that she had colluded with Russia during her presidential campaign.  

DDT alienated former European allies and created horrific humanitarian consequences by placing financial sanctions on 18 Iranian banks although his former sanctions have not stopped problems with the country caused by his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. European nations also fear their banks and other companies will face penalties for conducting business with Iran. DDT’s withdrawal to please Israel and GOP hawks such as Sens. Ted Cruz (TX) and Tom Cotton (AR) only causes more alienation from the world’s democracies. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin claimed the U.S. allows humanitarian transactions, but the system for this has already failed.

In a monologue on Rush Limbaugh’s program, DDT ranted what was described as a “genocidal screed” against Iran with threats to “do things … that have never been done before.” With groundwork from Pompeo and other hawks, DDT may attack Iran immediately before the election.

With no discussion with the Pentagon—not even an advance notice—DDT tweeted he would pull all U.S. troops from Afghanistan before Christmas. The move violates a separate deal that troops would leave by next May if the Taliban reduced violence and severed relationships with al-Qaeda militants. DDT’s latest declaration pleased the Taliban and worried Afghan leaders. The Taliban has kept its connections with Al-Qaeda.

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency wants the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to erase its paper trail and destroy internal documents, including CBP misconduct. Records must be kept because of the way that DHS has violated the rights of immigrants.

Down almost 30 points with seniors, DDT decided to bribe them with $200 “Trump cards” to pay for drugs after he scuttled an agreement of lower drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry. The $7.9 billion campaign cost, including $51 million to create and distribute the cards, comes out of taxpayer-funded Medicare, supposedly in fiscal jeopardy. DDT plans an additional $19 million cost this month for letters to hype the plan to seniors because cards may not arrive before November 3. DDT plans to end Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes if he is reelected, eliminated the ability of Medicare to pay for senior health care.

Another DDT election ploy is his attempt to reinstate the negotiations for a stimulus bill after wiping it out just three days ago. Tuesday, he said the bill cost too much; today he tweets, “Go Big!”  

After a judge ruled William Pendley is illegally serving as acting Bureau of Land Management (BLM) director, possibly invalidating his anti-environmental policies issues during his 430 days, DDT changed his title to the bureau’s Deputy Director for Programs and Policy.  

DDT again lost the Nobel Peace Prize, this year to the UN World Food Programme to combat hunger, created in 1961 at the request of U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower. In 2018, DDT cut all U.S. WFP funding for the West Bank and Gaza, as well as all other humanitarian aid for Palestinians.

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM), a faith healing school connected to DDT, has had a COVID-19 outbreak of at least 137 cases in the past month. At DDT’s request, the ministry’s leadership anointed “every door in the White House” with olive oil to ward off demons after DDT disguised Bill Johnson, the school’s owner, as a janitor. The radical religious right also circulated photos of DDT during his anointing and “laying on of hands” ritual. The school has 1,600 paying “students.”

My question for today: Why didn’t VP Mike Pence go to Indiana to vote as planned? Yesterday, he gave his speech in Arizona and then headed back to DC. His staff said “no positive tests,” but his performance at Wednesday’s debate shows his willingness to lie.

May 31, 2020

DDT: Week 175 – How Much Worse Can the News Be?

During a week marked by a pandemic, unemployment, and riots throughout the United States—all issues that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) seems totally unable to handle, the other news keeps rolling.  

The riots roll across the U.S. as DDT and AG Bill Barr blame far-left groups of protesting and looting without any evidence. Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said that white supremacist organizations may be looting and destroying local businesses. He said that protesters are being traced, and the Minnesota governor said that 80 percent of arrested people are from out of state. DDT is worsening the violence by threatening anyone coming “close to breaching the [White House] fence” with “the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.” Geraldo Rivera, once a DDT supporter, said to Fox about DDT threats against protesters in Minneapolis, “All he does is diminish himself.”

DDT postponed his dream G-7 summit until September after Angela Merkel said she wouldn’t come to the White House for the meeting in June because of the pandemic. He was able to get only two confirmations for the meeting of world leaders—Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The other three from Canada, France, and Italy either declined or were doubtful. Perhaps looking for friendly faces, DDT said he was also going to invite Russia, South Korea, Australia, and India. Russia has been disinvited from the smaller group, then G-8, after Russians invaded Crimea. DDT insists on re-inviting him whereas the other members oppose the idea. The other six of G-7 may not even attend the summit if DDT makes the decision without them. DDT has already invited the additional four countries and wants the meeting before the election. The G-20 is already scheduled for November 21-22 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia—after the election. 

With the Senate on vacation and the GOP leaders trying to persuade older judges to retire to be replaced by younger, more conservative ones, nothing about a fifth coronavirus bill has happened for almost a week. After Republicans gave trillions to their friends in big business, they are dragging their heels about giving individuals, true small businesses, and state/local governments any part of the pie. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wants to wait for a while before taking any action, but senators up for re-election such as Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Susan Collins (R-ME) worry about their states’ response. A major GOP argument is that states don’t deserve any money. Three different times, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) has blocked a bill giving states more flexibility. McConnell also refuses any infrastructure funding, something that Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) want. The red line for McConnell is keeping employees from any liability for mismanaging safety from COVID-19.

While almost one-third of workers in the U.S. lost their jobs and 20 percent of families don’t have enough food to feed their children in April, corporations put away $1 trillion in institutional money market funds, parking money they don’t immediately need. Commercial bank deposits grew from 4.6 percent to 15.8 percent since mid-March. Billionaires personally gained over $500 billion. The amount of cash in the U.S. grew at an annual 42 percent between February 3 to May 4, almost twice the highest rate ever—22.5 percent in 2011—and almost seven percent the average 6.3 percent annual growth in basic money supply since 1976. More cash would have “trickled” to the top without rejection from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Democrats. Companies used their massive tax cuts to buy back stock, and DDT wants to further cut their taxes. In the most recent coronavirus act, people with annual incomes of more than $1 million got 80 percent of the tax saving.

DDT is in trouble with foreign countries. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned the U.S. to stay out of his shipment of oil headed for Venezuela that he’s trading for gold. Rouhani posted a statement on his website the U.S. had created “unacceptable conditions” in different parts of the world, but that Iran would “by no means” be the one to initiate conflict. He added, “We hope the Americans will not make a mistake.” A fourth tanker has reached Venezuela, and a fifth one is on its way. Yet a desperate DDT is threatening anyone—foreign governments, seaports, shipping companies, and insurers—with stiff sanctions if they help the flotilla.   

Earlier this month, DDT vetoed a bill requiring him to get authorization before using military force against Iran, and he’s shown no letup in sanctions killing Iranians. Yet the country is no more repressive than Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle East countries, and keeping an antinuclear treaty with frequent inspections would be safer than turning the country loose. Wealthy U.S. conservatives, however, fund United against a Nuclear Iran (UANI) to help Israel, Saudi Arabia, and UAE spread violence, chaos, and extremism in the Middle East. Despite its supposed goal of searching for extremism and terrorism, UANI chose not to report on the Saudis and UAE. A Saudi Embassy official had provided invaluable assistance to two 9/11 hijackers. Saudi Arabia gave shelter to the Wahhabi Muslims behind Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Muslim terrorists and funded Al-Qaeda forces destroying Syria since 2011. The UAE supplied massive amounts of weapons to Libyan rebels.

DDT told Congress he plans to sell another $478 million of precision-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia, even if lawmakers don’t approve. He will also approve licenses for Raytheon to manufacture more high-tech bomb parts inside the kingdom. DDT had defended the weapons sales as vital for U.S. jobs. Members of both political parties were also furious when DDT bypassed Congress for an $8 billion arm sales to the Saudis and other Middle East countries.

As part of his campaign strategy, DDT wants to take all U.S. soldiers out of Afghanistan before November. Unfortunately for him, the Taliban agreement from last February set a timetable of more than one year for U.S. troop withdrawal. If U.S. military leave before then, the Taliban can see the action as disregarding the agreement. The Taliban will take over Afghanistan again, and the U.S. will get the blame.

Yesterday, DDT arrived 45 minutes late for an announced press conference, spoke for nine minutes attacking China, and refused to answer questions about the man killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. About China, he complained about their actions in Hong Kong, said he would revoke Hong Kong’s special trade status to punish China, and promised to immediately end the U.S. relationship with the World Health Organization. He blamed WHO and President Obama for China’s actions.

China has good reason to ridicule DDT, with large cities on fire every night and his giving authoritarian orders to private businesses such as Twitter. Using executive orders to control private businesses such as social media is practicing socialism.  

DDT had another imaginary conversation, this time with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who supposedly said that he’s not happy with India’s conflict with China. Modi has not talked to DDT since April 4, and Indian officials were “taken by surprise” by DDT’s comment about Modi being not “in a good mood.” Last summer, DDT lied about Modi wanting him to help solve the conflict in Kashmir.

North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is being supported in a multibillion-dollar money laundering scheme by 28 North Korean and five Chinese citizens with 250 shell companies, more proof that DDT can’t stop Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear weapons program with his faulty diplomacy. Kim has said since last year that it would continue testing this year, and DDT said that he didn’t want to meet with Kim until after the November election.

In any other time, DDT’s veto of a bipartisan resolution days after Memorial Day would be considered a conflict of interest; after almost four years since he was inaugurated, it’s just “normal.” Congress recommended overturning a policy creating more problems for students defrauded by colleges to have their education loans canceled. Veterans are one group preyed upon by corrupt schools to take their GI Bill education benefits, thanks to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ regulatory action. The Education Department has received over 300,000 claims for debt relief and for-profits chain college such as Corinthian, ITT Technical Institute, Argosy University, and the Art Institutes closed. Part of DDT’s business has been the now-defunct Trump University, described in the conservative National Review as a “massive scam.” DDT paid $25 million to settle three lawsuits for fraud.

In a cowardly action, DDT is breaking with decades of precedent by not publishing a mid-year economic forecast. The projections come from the director of OMB, chair of DDT’s economic advisers, and the treasury secretary. As comic writer Gerry Conway tweeted:

“Trump figures if he doesn’t tell people they’re out of work, they won’t know they’re out of work.”

Alabama Media Group columnist Kyle Whitmire said:

“It’s like refusing to release a weather forecast that says a hurricane will make landfall tomorrow. Eventually, the truth will tell itself.”

With DDT in the Oval Office, the United States—and the world—are in a mess because officials are afraid of telling him bad news. No one can effectively plan for disasters without getting fired.

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