Nel's New Day

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.

May 10, 2020

DDT: Week 172 – GOP Protection

The debate over whether Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) will pardon traitor Michael Flynn is most likely over: DDT’s AG Bill Barr is dropping the case against him. 

In late 2017, Flynn, DDT’s first national security adviser who lasted 24 days, twice pled guilty to lying to the FBI, but now U.S. Attorney for D.C. Timothy Shea claims that Flynn’s lies were not “material” to any investigation. Barr put his close friend Shea into that position after moving Jessie Liu out of the department. The AG had also hired an outside prosecutor to review Flynn’s case files, hired another outside prosecutor to investigate he Russia investigators in addition to scrutiny provided by his independent inspector general, and gave the defense FBI internal deliberations about questioning Flynn. The argument must yet be accepted by U.S. District Court Emmet Sullivan who told Flynn in an earlier hearing, “You sold your country out.” Flynn’s lead prosecutor, Brandon Van Grack, withdrew from the case.

Flynn became famous in 2014 when he was forced out as head of Defense Intelligence Agency because of complaints about his management and erratic behavior. In November 2016, Flynn secretly lobbied for Turkey while advising DDT and later lied to the FBI by claiming in a Foreign Agents Registration Act filing that he didn’t know he was lobbying for Turkey. Then Flynn was caught secretly conferring about U.S. sanctions on Russia with its ambassador Sergey Kislyak while Barack Obama was still president. In January 2017, he denied these conversations but later admitted he lied about his efforts to influence foreign diplomats about a December 2016 UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction. Flynn became the first DDT aide to flip on his boss. When Flynn hired a Fox pundit for attorney in June 2019, he agreed to speak at a QAnon conference until Mother Jones publicized his involvement with the conspiracy group.

Criminal law experts said that Barr’s decision to drop the case against Flynn, his most recent effort to destroy Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, was unique. Barr’s pattern of protecting DDT and his friends began immediately after his appointment. Earlier this year, Barr forced prosecutors to lower a sentence recommendation for DDT’s adviser Roger Stone. The prosecutors withdrew from the case. Barr also requested more comfortable prison accommodations for convicted Paul Manafort, DDT’s former campaign chair, and dropped charges without justification against two Russian shell companies close to trial for financing schemes to interfere in the 2016 election using social media.

David Ignatius wrote, “If Michael Flynn did nothing wrong, why didn’t he tell the truth?” Flynn tried to hide—and then lied about—his discussion about President Obama’s sanctions on Russia with its government before DDT moved into the Oval Office. If he thought there was no wrongdoing, he would have been open about his actions. Added onto that question is another one: why did DDT work so hard to protect Russia?

In an interview, Barr claimed that “history is written by the winners” when asked how historians would view his dropping charges against Flynn. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) was dismayed that “the rule of law,” supposedly upheld by Barr, wasn’t “predicated on the outcome of elections NOT mattering.” Other responses to Barr’s statements were “there is no good or bad except what the strongest want. The definition of autocracy.” And from poli-sci professor Robert Kelly in South Korea: “The U.S. equivalent of the justice minister is embracing might-makes-right historiography.” Barr responds with what the Daily Beast calls “a sly smile.” 

From here on out, all white-collar crimes committed by conservatives are exonerated; DDT’s loyalists, like DDT himself, are above the law.

DDT’s appointed FBI director Christopher Wray may be the patsy for the Flynn scandal: DDT blames him for “skirting” the debate about the Russia investigation. Now DDT also pushes responsibility for Wray’s appointment to former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.

Known for frequently firing people, DDT said he learned a good lesson from studying Richard Nixon:

Don’t fire people… I should’ve in one way, but I’m glad I didn’t, because look at the way it turned out. They’re all a bunch of crooks and they got caught.” 

Chief Justice Roberts is also protecting DDT. Despite a request from the D.C. Circuit Court, the Supreme Court will not direct a federal court to conduct an ethics inquiry into the suspicious retirement of a judge. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been pressuring judges to step down so that he can confirm far-right, ultra-incompetent, extremely-young judges for lifetime appointments. For the resignation of Thomas Griffith, he found 37-year-old Justin Walker. Chief Justice of the D.C. Circuit Court asked Roberts to direct another court to conduct the inquiry, but Roberts claimed no “probable cause.” McConnell refuses to answer questions about conversations with Griffith.

The Supreme Court also permitted DDT to temporarily shield redacted grand jury materials in Robert Mueller’s Russia probe from the U.S. House despite a judge’s order to the contrary. Last week, SCOTUS also cleared the convictions of the two New Jersey officials who blocked the George Washington Bridge to create havoc for a Democratic mayor who didn’t endorse Chris Christie for the state’s governor in 2013. The two officials were following Christie’s orders.

In another victory for DDT, the Senate Republicans failed to override a veto to block DDT’s declaring war on Iran. For the second time in two years, Senate Republicans accepted DDT’s right to start a war although the Constitution gives that power only to Congress. In the last year, the U.S. has sent 14,000 additional service members to the Persian Gulf religion, including 3,500 to Saudi Arabia. Also sent were “early-warning aircraft, maritime patrol planes, Patriot air and missile defense batteries, B-52 bombers, a carrier strike group, armed Reaper drones, and other engineering and support personnel,” according to NYT reporter Catie Edmondson.

For the second time, the U.S. blocked a UN ceasefire resolution amid the global pandemic. With no evidence, DDT used the excuse that the World Health Organization withheld information from world governments about COVID-19. He also withheld the funding for WHO, indicating that he would give the $400 million to Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham’s anti-LGBTQ religious group.

Ninety-two percent of a Barrons poll report that they want to bail out the post office. Meanwhile, DDT has appointed a donor buddy to head up the USPS. Louis DeJoy, a North Carolina businessman, in charge of fundraising for the RNC in Charlotte, will serve as the new postmaster general with three Republicans and one Democrat on the five-member commission. The Democratic vice chairman, David Williams, resigned last week because of the Treasury Department’s meddling in a supposedly apolitical agency.

DDT, terrified of losing his attempt at re-election this fall, can’t call off the election. Part of his bag of tricks to win is destroying the USPS and stop any vote by mail. During his April 18 press briefing (aka campaign rally), he said, “Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country because they are cheaters.” That was a month after he voted by mail in the Florida primary, possibly illegally. And before he declared that California’s votes won’t be eligible in the general election if California Gov. Gavin Newsom carries through with vote by mail.

The retirement for 5.9 million federal employees and military members may be in trouble. DDT is trying to seize control of the board for the $557 billion retirement program to prevent the independent agency from investing in an index fund including Chinese companies. Doing this could wall off investments available in other 401(k)-type plans, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin warned DDT against his plan that could hurt financial markets and threaten DDT’s China deal. Peter Navarro, DDT’s trusted trade adviser who Jared Kushner found on amazon.com, wants to take action against China.

DDT promised that Mar-a-Lago would never be both a club and a single-family residence, but then he moved there from New York. He’s insisting on building a dock, and attorneys for his new neighbors found documents making it illegal for him to use the club as his official domicile and register to vote from there as long as it’s a club. Mar-a-Lago is taxed as a private club, and DDT promised local officials that he would not live there. He would only maintain “private quarters” with a “use” agreement. DDT’s also trying to get out of the agreement that no one will permanently live on the premises unless the club fails and that half the club members be Palm Beach residents or business owners. Even now he’s violating the agreement that no one live there more than longer than seven days at a time over three times a year. Florida may be looking into whether DDT voted illegally from the club in the state primary.

While people are dying for the same of DDT’s economy, he tweeted this ad, including a photo of lush links: 

Game on! We are thrilled to announce the reopening of  @trumpgolfla beginning  Saturday May 9th! We look forward to welcoming you back 🏌🏽‍♂️Book your tee time now!

Happy Mother’s Day.

Although some states falsify the rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths to keep them lower, the number of cases is still 1,367,638 and deaths, 80,787 as of May 10.

 

 

April 4, 2020

DDT: Week 167 – Diversions, Hiding Actions, & the $2.2 Trillion Giveaway

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 10:16 PM
Tags: , , , ,

For the past week, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has either tried to create diversions to conceal his leadership or used COVID-19 to hide what he’s doing to the U.S. for his personal wishes. 

Diversions:

Announcing the deployment of Navy ships to Venezuela to fight drug trafficking in one of the largest military operations since the U.S. invaded Panama in 1989 to unseat Gen. Manuel Noriega. The action follows DDT’s attempt at a coup in Venezuela by indicting its president, Nicholas Maduro, and his top officials and military. DDT and State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo plan to create a five-member council without Maduro or Juan Guaidó to govern the country.

Tweeting a threat last Wednesday to attack Iran after he increased his sanctions regime on the country that are killing people there and his former threats and violence against Iran failed. DDT’s tweet stated “upon information and belief,” language sometimes used for allegations with no evidence.

Failing in his five-week-old Taliban “agreement.”

Withdrawing the third U.S. coalition force from northern Iraq two days after the Pentagon ordered military commanders to plan for an escalation of U.S. combat in Iraq.

Knowing that North Korea fired its fourth launch of short-range ballistic missiles in March.

Inviting oil CEOs to the White House for a discussion about how to give them more money from the stimulus law after oil prices crashed. He also is bragging that he will help Saudi Arabia and Russia to end their price war. Today, he said he may put tariffs on oil imports.

Suggesting at one of his daily campaign rallies that everyone in the U.S. wear fake masks, such as scarves, whenever they go out of the house. The idea comes from the CDC which has been unable to provide testing for people with COVID-19 symptoms and is still missing the results of half the 1.3 million tests it claims to have completed. At his declaration of the recommendation, DDT said he wouldn’t be wearing one.

Denying any “massive recession” after ten million people lost their jobs. DDT called the economic crisis “artificial because we turned it off.”

Actions DDT prefers to hide:

Firing Michael Atkinson from his position as intelligence community inspector general and putting him on administrative leave because Atkinson legally informed Congress about the whistleblower complaint regarding Ukraine. National security analyst Clint Watts compared DDT to far-right Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who secured dictatorial powers this week through an emergency law passed by Parliament. The Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) deputy director Donald K. Sherman said that people need to ask “what investigations or audits did Atkinson start in the last few months,” citing possible intelligence failures about COVID-19.

Firing Brett Crozier, captain of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, for trying to save the lives of the Navy members on his COVID-19 infested ship. His letter, requesting for “compliant quarantine rooms” on shore in Guam for his entire crew “as soon as possible,” appeared in the media. Crozier wrote the letter after a full week begging help to save the lives of his men and the number of infected men jumped from three to 100, a number that acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly could be hundreds when the testing of the crew is completed. Modley originally stated there would be no “retaliation” because that it was “what we want our commanding officers to be able to do.” The next day he said that Crozier had shown “poor judgment” and moved him out of the command.

Personal videos show huge numbers of the 4,865-member crew cheering him as he walks down the gangplank and off the ship. One caption: “The whole ship came out to say goodbye to Captain Crozier.” Roosevelt’s great-grandson called Crozier a “hero.” DDT said Crozier should have just asked him to get the men off the ship. Crozier did. [Sleeping quarters on an aircraft carriers.]

Appointing his personal partisan White House lawyer Brian D. Miller to serve as the inspector general to prevent fraud and abuse in the DDT’s gifts of $2.2 trillion. Miller was in charge of documents to protect DDT during the impeachment process. DDT’s Senate GOP minions are also continuing a probe into Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son. The burning U.S. has lots of fiddlers.

Accepting a National Labor Relations Board rule that eliminates “blocking charge policy,” which permits the delay of union election results if the employer is accused of unlawful coercion or other unfair labor practices. The rule also allows only 30 percent of a company’s employees to file for a union decertification in as few as 45 days after an employer voluntarily recognizes the union, giving a minority of workers to override the majority. The NLRB’s rule is at the same time that “essential” workers are protesting unsanitary workplaces and no protective gear. DDT’s new rule last month was allowing employees to cancel union dues any time after a year of membership instead of within the legal annual 15-day window. The Board’s goal is supposed to ensure workers rights.  

Refusing to allow an independent inspector general to report to Congress without “presidential supervision” and “will not provide documentation for audits into $500 billion in corporate bailout funds.” He claims that the constitution permits to do anything he wants through the “Take Care, or Faithfully Execute” clause in Article II, Section 3 that mandates a president “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” The clause demands the president obey the law and cannot dispense with the law’s execution.

Asking Deutsche Bank for a delay in paying Trump Organization loans because of COVID-19 and requesting a suspension of rent payments on land for the Trump International Golf Club although DDT’s businesses are legally blocked from tapping into the $2.2 trillion “stimulus” bill.

Taking the Mashpee Wampanoag reservation from the tribe of 2,600 citizens that has been in Massachusetts and Rhode Island for over 12,000 years. The tribe was re-acknowledged and federally recognized in 2007 with 320 acres of land declared as the reservation in 2015.

Stimulus law problems:

Opposing the new law, the Labor Department is exempting many small businesses—defined by those with fewer than 500 employees and large businesses with franchises—with new policies. New guidelines permitting employers

  • To mandate certification of need for leave.
  • To have work for the employee for them to get paid leave.
  • To restrict when employees can get leave.
  • To define “heath care provider,” who doesn’t get leave during crisis, as anyone working for a company that employs health care providers.
  • To exclude “shelter-in-place mandates for paid leave.
  • To deny paid leave if the company closes the worksite by government directive that includes quarantine or isolation orders.

Restricting the number of people who get the magic one-time $1,200 check within the next five months, the IRS illegally refused to send money to over 15 million people who don’t file tax returns because of extremely low income, including “low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans, and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return [and don’t] owe tax.” After a public hue and cry, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin persuaded the IRS to follow the new law

Only dependents under the age of 17 will get the check; most high school seniors and college students—even adults classified as dependents—won’t get any money

If one person in a family, even an infant, doesn’t have a valid Social Security number, no one in the family will receive a payment. The only exception is for married couples if at least one of them is a member of the military and at least one spouse has a Social Security number. People who are overdue on child support could see their cash payments reduced or eliminated. 

Airlines may fire workers because taking a payroll “loan” allows the government “to take ownership stakes … in exchange for” funds used for this purpose. The government could have a 40-percent stake in companies that take the “loan.” Mnuchin was behind the 11th-hour change in terms that could lead to loss of jobs for flight crews and airport workers.

More stuff in the law:

  • Up to $170 billion for real estate investors who use real estate losses to minimize taxes on profits from investments such as the stock market
  • Elimination of tax changes that businesses conceded in the 2017 tax cut.
  • Permission to for-profit colleges to keep loan money for students who leave because of COVID-19.
  • Help for manufacturers of “innovative” sunscreen technology.
  • A six-month extension of funding for abstinence-only education that doesn’t keep girls from getting pregnant.
  • An expansion of health savings accounts services to benefit mostly wealthier people.

Amidst an hour-long monolog to Fox & Friends, DDT said about the Democratic push in the stimulus bill to make voting easier in a health crisis:

“They had levels of voting, that if you ever agreed to it you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

That’s the GOP position: Republicans would lose if eligible people were permitted to vote. That’s why they oppose mail-in voting, even during a pandemic, although three states already have the practice. The stimulus law has no funding for the post office which could shutter in less than three months with a negative net worth of $65 billion and an additional $140 billion in unfunded liabilities. The USPS is in dire circumstances because Congress requires savings for retirements for the next 75 years and won’t allow its fees to increase. Closing the post office before the fall election could be a GOP plan to eliminate voting.

COVID-19 statistics on April 4, 2020:

USA – 311,635 confirmed cases and 8,454 deaths (1,632,955 tests); world – 1,202,609 confirmed cases and 64,732 deaths in 205 countries and territories.     

March 29, 2020

The Ugliness of COVID-19

So much news pours in about the novel coronavirus that I’m providing only short summaries of news articles with sources for more detailed information. Considering the approach of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to the health crisis, deciding between “the bad” and “the ugly” is difficult. One ugly today is that DDT’s has his 13th White House briefing today after a hiatus yesterday when he spoke on the hospital ship USS Comfort. Tomorrow is supposedly the end of his “15 days of quarantine”–and maybe his daily campaign rallies.

The Good:

The FDA approved emergency use of a new coronavirus test that delivers positive results in 5 minutes and negative results in 13 minutes. It should be ready next week. About the size of a toaster, the portable unit can supposedly be set up anywhere from a physician’s office to an urgent care clinic.

A council representing more than 800,000 doctors wrote DDT to reverse his demand that businesses reopen on Easter because it jeopardizes health and puts hospitals into worse chaos in the fight against coronavirus.

Twitter temporarily suspended the account of Rudy Giuliani after DDT’s personal lawyer tweeted misinformation about coronavirus.

The Bad:

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. expert on infectious disease, told the nation to be prepared because COVID-19 may come back in “cycles.” He warned that COVID-19 could infect millions of people in the U.S. with over 100,000 deaths. Doctors say the disease is much worse the second time around.

Where did the spring-breakers in Florida go after the beaches closed? This map shows their locations—and areas of new COVID-19 infections. 

The G-7 won’t sign a joint statement because DDT insists on referring to COVID-19 as the “Wuhan virus” in official documents

Weeks after downplaying the virus and saying he was still “shaking hands with everyone,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested positive for the virus.

Almost 300 people died and over 1,000 sickened from swallowing methanol in Iran as one of the fake remedies spread through social media in the country. 

The Kennedy Center received $25 million from the stimulus bill, but the Center’s president, Deborah Rutter, told 96 musicians that their last paycheck would be this week. They will no longer have healthcare after the end of May if the center is still closed, and performances are suspended until May 10. The organization also has an endowment of almost $100 million, which could operate the Center for ten months in the worst scenario. Rutter said she was suspending her $1.2 million salary until after the crisis.

Media sources such as Newsweek are using outdated statistics for COVID-19 cases and deaths. This source is up to date for world statistics.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis banned a reporter from his briefings because she asked for social distancing at the gatherings.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) changed the stimulus bill so that big restaurant and hotel chains will get over half the money originally designated for truly small restaurants.  

Deborah Birx, a supposed expert on DDT’s coronavirus task force, praised his abilities:

“He’s so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data. I think his ability to analyze and integrate data that comes out of his long history in business has really been a real benefit…. He understands the importance of the granularity.”

She also downplayed the importance of ventilators. After his annoyance with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the real expert, DDT largely replaced him with Birx.    

The Ugly:

DDT has been calling evangelical leaders and telling them to forget coronavirus and pray for his reelection instead.

DDT is blackmailing governors who badly need supplies to fight the virus. He wants “them to be appreciative.” If not, he insults them and refuses supplies to them. Medical supply vendors told Michigan Gov. Gretchen Witmer that they were told not to send her supplies after she had contracts with them. Asked it this is true, DDT said that Witmer “is a new governor who has not been pleasant. We don’t like to see the complaints.” He continued:

“Pence] calls all the governors…. I say Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington, you’re wasting your time with him. Don’t call the woman in Michigan. If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call.”

At today’s press briefing, DDT told reporters that he didn’t tell Pence not to call some of the governors and accused hospitals of lying about how many masks they need for the pandemic. When NPR’s reporter Yamiche Alcindor asked DDT about telling Sean Hannity on the air that hospitals didn’t need the equipment that they needed, DDT told her to “be nice” and not be “threatening.” Pressed for an answer, DDT had a White House staffer take Alcindor’s microphone. [Left: Life-saving mask.]

In his tweets today, DDT bragged several times about his high TV ratings for the briefings.

DDT’s “America First” is gone. After blaming President Obama for the shortage of hospital supplies and equipment, DDT shortchanged U.S. medical facilities by sending 17.8 tons of badly needed medical assistance for people with COVID-19 to China in early February. The evidence of this “generous” action comes from a State Department press release.

Furious because CNN and MSNBC cut away for the last part of DDT’s ramblings at last Monday’s press briefing before going back to the Q&A session with reporters, DDT threw a tantrum. During that briefing, DDT again recommended the use of chloroquine that killed at least one person sickened four others. 

A study of 30 patients in China shows that hydroxychloroquine is no more effective than conventional care: 13 of 15 patients given the drug tested negative after a week while 14 of 15 patients without the drug tested negative. Standard treatment included bed rest, oxygen inhalation, anti-viral drugs such as lopinavir and ritonavir, and antibiotics when necessary. Of the patients given hydroxychloroquine, one progressed to severe disease and four developed diarrhea and possible liver damage compared to three with conventional treatment.

Conservative billionaire and co-founder of Home Depot Bernard Marcus is pushing hydroxchoroquine as a cure for the virus. A shortage of the drug nationwide has been caused by hoarding doctors. The FDA stated that fatal heart problems are the drug’s possible side effect. Marcus’ group has lobbied for deferral of taxes for both 2019 and 2020.

DHS added gun dealers, ranges, and manufacturers to its list of essential businesses after a gun group wrote DHS.

The mystery of missing ventilators has been solved. Jared Kushner has been in charge for over two weeks and kept canceling orders because ventilators are expensive. Hospitals are putting up to four people on a ventilator suitable for only one person. Kushner, who told DDT that the coronavirus isn’t serious, is in charge of the pandemic in the U.S. DDT failed to use the Defense Production Act to provide necessary supplies to healthcare workers because businesses objected. He keeps saying that states are lying about not having enough supplies. He even said that he’s already invoked the law, and FEMA director had to correct him.

Approving $4.5 trillion to bail out corporations, DDT fought paying $1 billion for 80,000 ventilators. At last Friday’s brief briefing, Jonathan Karl asked DDT about the availability of ventilators. DDT responded, “Don’t be a cutie pie!” and changed the subject, bragging about what a good job he’s doing with the health crisis.

The Catholic-based Peace Health St. Joseph Medical Center fired emergency physician Dr. Ming Lee because he said the hospital was too sluggish in fighting coronavirus. The hospital objected to Lin, who trained in New York and worked there during the 9/11 crisis, obtaining needed supplies for patients. As of Friday, Washington state had 3,723 reported cases of COVID-19 and 175 deaths. The first case in Lin’s county on March 10 grew to 92 cases and four deaths. 

DDT’s communications with billionaires were behind his hope to “have the country opened up” and “get people back to work” by Easter during a worsening pandemic. At today’s press conference, DDT said the peak, and explained that was the highest point of COVID-19 in the U.S., would be two weeks from today. That’s Easter. When Hong Kong tried DDT’s system of opening the country, the second wave of COVID-19 almost doubled the confirmed cases in a week, many of them from overseas.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said she would have called off the deadly Mardi Gras celebrations a month ago if the federal government had announced the dangers of coronavirus.

Hobby Lobby, the company that helped the Supreme Court turn back women’s reproductive care a century, will keep stores open because God told the owner’s wife three words: “Guide, Guard and Groom.” (God will “groom” people to be better.) She said that everyone should pray.

The Ugliest:

This analysis shows how DDT ignored the danger of COVID-19 from the first recognized death in late December until March 16, making the progress of the disease far more rapid in the U.S. And another one.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg in coronavirus news.

On March 29, the limited testing in the U.S. revealed 142,178 cases, an additional 16,799 from the day before, and 2,484 deaths. The world has 722,196 confirmed cases and 33,976 deaths.

March 14, 2020

DDT: Week 164 – Beyond Covid-19

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has spent the week avoiding assistance for people and helping his friends. At Friday’s press conference, he raised crude prices by five percent by declaring that he would buy over $2.6 billion of oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that saves huge U.S. oil companies from the Saudi-Russia oil war. Yet he opposed paid sick leave in order to lose over $807 billion in revenue for Social Security and Medicare—and almost half of that revenue from businesses that employ more than 10 workers. That’s more than President Obama’s $700 billion stimulus to save the U.S. in 2009, and the government got much of that back, sometimes with interest.  

The wealthiest people will benefit if DDT succeeds in suspending payroll taxes until “after the November election.” The top 5 percent of workers making over $140,000 a year will save close to $3 billion a month if only the 1.45 percent charge for Medicare. The top 211 workers who average $95.7 million a year will each reap an additional $115,700 per month—almost $1 million for the time that this 1.45 percent is suspended, according to what DDT wants. Households in the bottom 20 percent will get about two percent of the benefit.

DDT is also back to attacking militia in Iraq after 30 rockets fired on a base killed one British service member and two U.S. service members. The Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley blamed “Shia militia groups”; DDT told DOD Secretary Mark Esper to do anything he wanted; and Esper fired back the next day. The U.S. came close to war after it killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani over two months, but DDT backed down a full war. The Iraqi military said the U.S. airstrikes killed three Iraqi soldiers, two police officers, and a civilian as well as damaging an airport. Plans to staff missile-defense batteries will require hundreds of new troops in Iraq. The day after DDT’s airstrikes, the House passed a resolution to bar DDT from starting a war with Iran without congressional approval. DDT threatens to veto the measure.

The Pentagon may be backing down on giving a $10 billion contract on a cloud computing contract to Microsoft instead of Amazon. A judge said that Jeff Bezos’ lawsuit is “likely to succeed” perhaps because DDT had told the Pentagon not to give the contract to Bezos. The Pentagon disagreed but said it wanted 120 days to look over the technical aspects.

Almost 80 attacks, including those by the U.S., occurred in Afghanistan during the first 9 days of DDT’s “peace deal” with the Taliban. But DDT is moving hundreds of troops out of the country, reducing the number from 13,000 to 8,600—the same number as when he was inaugurated. The U.S. has information that the Taliban doesn’t intend to live up to its part in the agreement. Last week, DDT said the Taliban could “possibly” overrun the Afghan government and seize power after the troop withdrawal. State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo said the deal wouldn’t go forward if the Taliban doesn’t live up to their agreement, but DDT is calling the shots.

Known for his corruption and grift, DDT has been accused of what the New York Times called the “largest tax fraud case in the history of New York City government.” Five former city employees and a former Trump organization employee testified a connection between DDT’s business to a real estate housing scam. Six people reported the bribing of tax assessors to lower DDT’s property taxes.

Almost a month ago, U.S. intelligence officials warned members of Congress that Russia is interfering in U.S. elections to help DDT. Immediately, DDT replaced high-level intelligence officials with his partisan loyalists who delivered a different message. DDT’s new intelligence leaders told lawmakers that Russia isn’t supporting any candidates in contradiction to past knowledge. New acting intelligence director Rick Grenell, head of 17 agencies, didn’t show up for the briefing because he thought he wasn’t prepared :to address sensitive subjects that tend to upset the president.” Before the briefing, Kashyap Patel, now an employee in Grenell’s office and formerly Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) aide who was moved into the White House, gave intelligence officials limits on information to congressional member about foreign influence operations in “an inappropriate politicization.” Patel wrote a memo accusing law enforcement officials of abusing their power to help Republicans in their attempt to discredit the Russia investigation.

Grenell has imposed a hiring freeze and ordered a review of his personnel and mission. Intelligence officials view his actions as a preliminary to ousting intelligence officers who politically disagree with DDT. The question is why Grenell would create a large-scale reorganization when DDT has already nominated Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) for permanent director.

South Korea reported that North Korea launched multiple weapons twice in less than a week on March 2 and 8 with Kim Jong-un inspecting a large military exercise the second time. The firing was directed northeast from the east coast with projectiles falling into the water between North Korea and Japan. Some flew as far as 124 miles. Another military exercise was on February 28.

The Senate is in charge of an investigation into whether Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao abused her position to help her husband Mitch McConnell’s Senate campaign by sending millions of federal dollars to Kentucky—and McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, controls the decision of who does the investigation. DDT replaced the retiring Transportation Inspector General with an acting IG.

DOJ must release secret grand jury evidence to congressional Democrats according to a district judge and two judges on a three-judge panel from an appeals court. The ruling can be appealed the full court and/or the Supreme Court. Judge Judith Rogers, appointed by Bill Clinton, wrote that grand jury records are court records, not DOJ records, which have been released to Congress during impeachment investigations five times. A George W. Bush appointee agreed, and DDT’s appointee dissented. The DOJ is reviewing the decision and thought that earlier decisions were wrong.

U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman wrote an article for the Harvard Law Review explaining how the Roberts [Supreme] Court is destroying democracy:

“The Roberts Court has contributed to ensuring that the political system in the United States pays little attention to ordinary Americans and responds only to the wishes of a relatively small number of powerful corporations and individuals.”

In “The Roberts Court’s Assault on Democracy,” Adelman uses examples such as gutting the Voting Rights Act, upholding strict ID laws to make voting more difficult, approved purging thousands from voting rolls, and abdicated its responsibility to end partisan gerrymandering. He continued by writing that the Roberts Court enforces enormous income inequality by giving economic and political power to corporations and wealthy people.  

Chief Justice John Roberts proved Adelman’s point when he agreed with the conservative members to overturn lower court rulings regarding enforcing DDT’s executive order to keep immigrant asylum-seekers in Mexico to be robbed, raped, and killed while waiting months for hearings. The same court permitted DDT’s “wealth test” to deny residency or admission to the U.S. for immigrants.

A volunteer for a pro-DDT organization has been charged with 10 felony counts for submitting false voter registration information, and the Florida county sheriff believes that other workers may also be committing the same crime on the 119 forms. Problems were wrong registrations, changes in party affiliations without the voters’ knowledge, forged signatures, or fake personal information.

A new algorithm from the Census Bureau will badly skew populations of minority communities and rural areas while claiming to protect privacy. Mistakes up to 25 percent for population and 100 percent for specific groups can badly distort districting and funding. “Differential privacy” means that population, voting age population, race, and ethnicity are reported as enumerated only at the state level. For example, the number of girls 15 to 19 in Emporia (VA) were decreased from factual 185 to 30, raising the teen pregnancy rate from ten percent to 66 percent. It found 716 people on the Hawaiian island of Molokai when the 2010 population was 90. Native American reservations with fewer than 5,000 residents saw a decline of 34 percent with the new system. Growing Alaskan villages appeared to shrink. While some cities lost population, one had a 253 percent increase.

A blind man failed his citizenship test because he couldn’t read a sentence in English. He and his doctor had asked for a Braille version, but immigrations officials gave him a large print version instead because they didn’t have any Braille.

DDT’s weekly frivolous libel lawsuit against the media is directed at CNN after ones against the New York Times and the Washington Post. This one references an opinion piece about DDT’s claim that he’s would accept opposition research from foreign governments. Larry Noble’s conclusion to his piece:

“The Trump campaign assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia’s help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table.”

DDT’s argument is that “the “Defamatory Article has forced” his campaign for pay for “corrective advertisements.” DDT’s campaign waited nine months to push for a retraction and apology before the lawsuit.  

DDT is so furious with DDT-supporter and former AG Jeff Sessions that DDT endorsed Sessions’ opponent for the Alabama Senate primary, a former Auburn University football coach.

Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein, 67, received 23 years in prison for his sexual assaults. He compared the #MeToo movement to McCarthyism.

DDT didn’t know people died of the flu. His grandfather died of the flu epidemic in 1918.

Gallup shows that people like the Affordable Care Act more than they like DDT with a 52 percent approval of the ACA. DDT’s approval rating is barely above 42 percent. 

March 7, 2020

Covid-19: How U.S. Failed

On December 1, 2019, the first known patient contracted the coronavirus. Below is a timeline of how the outbreak has unfolded so far after WHO learns on December 31, 2019, about a mysterious pneumonia sickening dozens in Wuhan, China. 

  • Jan. 7: Chinese scientists identifies a new virus that, like SARS and the common cold.
  • Jan. 11: China reports first novel coronavirus death.
  • Jan. 20: Chinese officials report that the virus, originally from animals to people, can be transmitted through human-to-human contact.
  • Jan. 21: U.S. has its first confirmed case.
  • Jan. 23: China imposes a strict lockdown in Wuhan.
  • Jan. 24: CDC publicly shares test details.
  • Jan. 30: WHO declares a global health emergency. U.S. declares a public health emergency; CDC receives “emergency use authorization” to make and distribute the test, keeping hospital labs from keeping in-house tests. Screening is highly rationed.
  • Feb. 2: Philippines reports the first official death from COVID-19 outside of China.
  • Feb. 5: The cruise ship Diamond Princess cruise ship, with 3,600 passengers is quarantined off the coast of Yokohama (Japan).
  • Feb. 6-7: CDC test kits are shipped to the public health labs, tests which mostly faulty. Continued restrictions are to people who had close contact with a confirmed case or recently traveled to China. Few infections are reported because of these restrictions.
  • Feb. 7: The doctor who first notified other doctors on a chatline, Dr. Li Wenliang, 34, dies.
  • Feb. 11: The novel coronavirus is renamed COVID-19.
  • Feb. 13: HHS Secretary Alex Azar testifies to Congress that a limited five-city pilot would begin to add coronavirus to the usual flu surveillance system, but the plan is delayed because of test shortage and lack of CDC coordination with the cities.
  • Feb. 16: Dozens of people on the Diamond Princess test positive for coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases would grow to over 700.
  • Feb. 18: CDC tells hospitals they should not do their own testing without an FDA “emergency use authorization.”
  • Feb. 20: Infected people from the Diamond Princess are flown home on the same plane as people who do not test positive after Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) and the State Department overrode CDC’s decision to keep them separate. Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) pushed the return of the people on the ship.
  • Feb. 25: Public health labs desperately requests special FDA permission to develop their own tests. FDA allows only a partial CDC test, and labs begin to receive new test kits with two of the three original components. CDC has tested only 426 people, compared to South Korea with tests for 35,000, and only a dozen state and local labs can run tests.
  • Feb. 26: California confirms its first case in the U.S. of a person with local transmission (no travel history to an outbreak area or contact with an infected person). An Oregon person who had been ill for a week tests positive hours after the state received its tests. These cases are quickly followed by more Washington and the first ones in New York. A Washington state teenager who had ordinary flu symptoms is positive through surveillance testing possible only on that day.
  • Feb. 28: U.S. confirms its first death from covid-19. Later, two deaths at a Washington nursing home on Feb. 26 are recorded as the first covid-19 deaths in the U.S.
  • Feb. 29: The FDA announces a new policy for hospital laboratories to more easily develop their tests.
  • Mar. 2: CDC stops reporting the number of covid-19 tests completed. Mohammad Mirmohammadi, 71, an adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, dies.
  • Mar. 3: CDC lifts restrictions for virus testing.
  • Mar. 5: A California nurse caring for infected people is still waiting for permission to be tested.
  • Mar. 6: Public health labs has received only 75,000 tests from CDC. A commercial test manufacturer has shipped another 700,000 tests to academic, health-care, and commercial laboratories.
  • Mar. 7: A second Iranian lawmaker, 55-year-old Faemeh Rahbar, dies. An attendee at the CPAC has tested positive for covid-19. Speakers at the conservative conference look like a who’s who of DDT’s officials and lawmakers. 
  • May 8: Dr. Anthony Fauci advised elders and people with compromised health to avoid crowds and not fly commercially, overriding DDT’s order to not communicate this message. 

A timeline of covid-19 around the world.

As of today, 19 people have died from covid-19 in the U.S., and the minimal number of testing from CDC and public health labs, 5,861, has diagnosed at least 376 cases in 29 states. Covid-19 has spread to over 80 countries. Almost 300 million children are out of school in 13 countries, and another 9 countries, including the U.S., have local school closures.

Yesterday, Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council and a member of DDT’s Coronavirus Taskforce, moderated his earlier comment assertion that covid-19 is “contained” by saying that it’s “relatively contained.”

Fox’s lies

  • Covid-19 is China’s bioweapon, a falsehood spread by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AL).
  • The virus outbreak is a plot by former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, a falsehood spread by QAnon.
  • Covid-19 is only the common cold and weaponized against DDT, a falsehood spread by Rush Limbaugh, recipient of DDT’s Medal of Freedom, who couldn’t distinguish among viruses.
  • The homeless are at fault for the spread of covid-19, a falsehood widely spread by the right-wing.
  • The death rate is far below 1 percent instead of the 3.4 percent announced by WHO, a falsehood spread by DDT.
  • Positive thinking will beat the virus, a falsehood spread by Fox News host Jesse Watters.

At DDT’s campaign rally in North Carolina, a woman said she doesn’t believe the covid-19 is real or that it was the cause for deaths in Washington. “I don’t trust anything that Democrats do or say,” the woman said, accepting DDT’s statement that the virus is a liberal-based hoax. Another woman isn’t worried about the coronavirus because she thinks she is divinely protected.

Yesterday, DDT canceled a trip to CDC because he heard a staffer might have a positive case there but decided to go after bad publicity. No one knew whether the staffer was infected because CDC couldn’t complete a test in a timely fashion. DDT tells everyone that covid-19 is “nothing.” Wearing his campaign hat,, he had these lies to pass along:

“Anybody that needs a test gets a test. Anybody that needs a test. They are all set, they have them out there. As of right now, and yesterday, anybody who needs a test, and that’s the important thing, and the tests are all perfect, like the letter. The transcription was perfect. Right? Not as perfect as that, but pretty good.”

The transcription was for his July 25 call to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky that got him impeached. No, the tests were not perfect, and CDC doesn’t have tests for “anybody.” DDT also said he gets his information on the virus from Fox instead of his own administration, talked about his Fox town hall that he heard “broke all ratings,” and again smeared the Washington state governor.

China developed its own test, and the German-published version of the test was adopted by WHO. Conservative Scott Gottlieb, DDT’s pick as FDA commissioner for almost two years said:

“The key in a crisis like this is to take an all-of-the-above approach, whether we’re dealing with diagnostics or therapeutics.”

One casualty of the covid-19 epidemic may be HHS Secretary Alex Azar. He was told not to attend a task force press briefing—although he’s on the task force—and won’t be going to Washington state with VP Mike Pence. Four of Azar’s deputies were allowed at the press briefing, and Medicare chief Seema Verna was added to the all male task force after complaints about no diversity. Azar’s allies have described him as poorly served by such officials as CDC Director Robert Redford.

When DDT asked the director of the CDC if he had anything “important” to say, Robert Redfield praised DDT for his “decisive leadership and helping us put public health first. Redfield also covered for DDT in a news briefing by blaming himself after DDT was confused about the number of infected people, the gender of the person who died, etc.

Redfield has long-term ties with conservative Christian groups, one of them claiming that AIDS is “God’s judgment” against gays to punish a national weakened by single-parent households and a loss of “family values.” As Army major at Walter Reed, he managed HIV in the military by ensuring that anyone with the disease was discharged under Article 15. A doctor at Johns Hopkins said about Redfield’s HIV vaccine clinical trial that “either he was egregiously sloppy with data or it was fabricated. It … raised questions about his trustworthiness.”  In opposition to scientific approaches, his book denounces distribution of sterile needles to drug users and condoms to sexually active adults while pushing abstinence to stop AIDS. In the early 1990s, he backed a bill to quarantine people with HIV.

DDT’s sanctions on Iran are killing people by slowing down imports of covid-19 test kits. The U.S. Treasury finally lifted some sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran to allow humanitarian trade stopped last September. Sanctions are supposed to exclude items such as food, medicine, and medical devices, but that has not been the case because of the U.S. process in sanctioning. Exemptions may not allow goods such as mask respirators and decontamination systems to be sent to Iran. The spread in Iran is much greater than reported, and State Secretary Mike Pompeo said that Iran must tell the truth about its epidemic. Good advice for DDT too.

January 11, 2020

DDT: Week 155 – Disasters in Iran, Regulations

Another weekend, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) continues his growing series of demented tweets. He’s attacked the FBI for investigating Russian interference in the 2020 election, accused Democrats of defending Qassem Soleimani who he assassinated, claimed that his approval is over 60 percent instead of about the low 40s, and sent a message in Farsi that praises Iranian protesters for trying to overturn the government. DDT claimed, “I’ve stood with you since the beginning,” despite his refusal to allow Iranian immigrants in the U.S. and held Iranian-born U.S. citizens for hours at the Canadian border when they tried to return home after attending a concert in Vancouver. He claims that his killing Soleimani makes people more safe, but a USA Today/Ipsos poll disagree with him by 2-1. A majority in the poll, 52 percent, called DDT’s behavior with Iran “reckless.”   

Since he killed Soleimani, DDT has scrambled to find an excuse for the murder. Initially, DDT told associates that he killed Soleimani to get support from senators in his impeachment trial. By now, DDT has invented “imminent” threats, first an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and then another three unnamed U.S. embassies. These assertions are at odds with intelligence information (agents who DDT calls “dirty cops”) and was not reported in the classified briefings to Congress. Secretary of State supports DDT’s claims, beginning with not knowing location or time of attacks to agreeing with DDT without evidence. Always ready to lie for DDT, VP Mike Pence asserted that DDT has proof of the threats but can’t tell anyone else.

Iran has now admitted to accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet and killing 176 people because of excessive caution after DDT killed Soleimani. DDT’s explanation for the plane crash was that “it was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood.” Despite Pompeo’s claims that people are safer after Soleimani was killed, airlines are changing or withdrawing flights, and Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte is removing all Filipinos from Iraq and Iran.  

Soleimani’s death has not driven the U.S. into war with Iran—yet—but it has dire impacts:

More possible U.S. war deaths in the Middle East: Today the Taliban planted a bomb in southern Afghanistan that killed two U.S. soldiers and injured two others.

More volatility and instability in a warring and explosive area: The Taliban may find links with Iran rather than peace with the U.S., serious conflicts in Yemen may worsen, and Pakistan may be involved in creating violence.  

An increase in ISIS violence and leadership: Soleimani opposed ISIS; his absence may create new divisions.

Iran’s withdrawal from nuclear restrictions: Iran had lived up to its agreement to not enrich uranium until DDT pulled out of the agreement and threatened sanctions and force.

Iraqi rejection of the U.S.: Iraq’s Parliament voted to expel the U.S. military, and young Iraqis may have more power in turning against democracy.

Strengthening hard-line conservative Iranian factions: Reformist president and foreign minister will lose the ability for diplomacy and all trust because their opposition believes that the U.S. wants to destroy Iran.

Loss of U.S. allies: DDT has ignored communication about his violent strategies and dropped out of any cooperation with them, including his past denigration of NATO that is now withdrawing its forces.

Violation of violate international, domestic and Iraqi law: DDT’s illegal actions creates a pattern of more lawlessness in crimes of aggression violating the UN Charter and his threats to attack cultural targets. He also violated the U.S. Constitution by ignoring its requirements for congressional approval for military actions.  

Increase in the U.S. military-industrial complex: Weapon makers have gained great control and power over U.S. policy, especially since George W. Bush’s preemptive attack on Iraq, and their wealth has purchased conservative lawmakers who remove resources for health care, education, and public services.

Destruction of world economy: Asia is dependent on Iraqi oil exports, and an attack already shut down half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production, causing more disruption.

In a 224-to-194 vote, the House approved a bill to keep DDT from taking more military action against Iran through congressional authority as mandated by the constitution. Eight Democrats voted no; three Republicans voted yes, including Florida’s Matt Gaetz who vociferously defended DDT in the past. The bill goes to the Senate where it needs four Republicans to pass before DDT vetoes the bill. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said that even a veto could influence DDT’s actions, for example when he stopped refueling Saudi jets after Congress threatened to stop U.S. support for Saudi’s military campaign in Yemen. DDT’s former press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who may run for Arkansas’ governor, said:

“I can’t think of anything dumber than allowing Congress to take over our foreign policy. The last thing we want to do is push powers into Congress’ hands and take them away from the president.”

Republicans have always claim that they revere the U.S. Constitution and lambast Democrats for ignoring the document from the Founding Fathers. Sanders is completely ignorant of Article I, Section 8, Clause 1:

“The Congress shall have power…[t]o declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.”

In addition, the War Powers Act of 1973 limits the president from sustained military operations without telling Congress within 48 hours.

Another DDT focus is doing away with regulations, a disaster as proved by FAA’s abdication of inspections to airplane manufacturing. The Boeing debacle continues with the knowledge of communications among the company’s employees about the 737 MAX demonstrating lax federal oversight of airplane manufacturers. According to a Politico article, emails showed “Boeing employees bragging about duping airlines, criticizing the MAX’s design as done by “clowns,” and raising concerns about cost-cutting and schedule pressures.” Wide publicity about the Boeing disaster began with 346 deaths in two different crashes of 737 MAX planes, which was rushed into manufacture in competition with Airbus. Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) tried to blame the crashes on inadequate training in other countries, but evidence from emails may “put a little bit of a shadow on that.” Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) is still sticking to his blame on pilot error.

Emails also showed that employees ridiculed their regulator, joked about safety, and “was prioritizing production speed over quality and safety,” according to a former senior factory manager. Last month, Edward Pierson told Congress of “chaos” at the factory where the MAX was built. The FAA permitted the MAX to keep flying despite its finding that, with no changes, the plane would average one fatal crash every two or three years.

Employees described how Boeing hid problems from the FAA during the certification of simulators and training for pilots. Emails showed ridicule for FAA officials when employees described a complicated Boeing presentation for the agency that “was like dogs watching TV.” Employers wanted limited training for airline crews to save money for Boeing, for example offering a $1 million per plane discount to Southwest with a short computer-based training on personal computers or with notebooks for pilots who had flown he 737 NG instead of simulator training. Even after two crashes, Boeing told the FAA that simulator training was unnecessary and didn’t mention this training in the manuals. Boeing didn’t reverse this position until ten months after the 737 MAX’s grounding and a congressional investigation.

Boeing’s indifference to the plane’s structural problems has now cost 2,800 jobs in Kansas at the aircraft parts maker Spirit AeroSystems.

Despite the Boeing disaster, DDT calls regulations a “nightmare.” He proposed removal of environmental reviews for building pipelines, bridges, and roads, a change that will pollute the nation and accelerate the climate crisis. [Think of the recent fires in Australia that killed over 1 billion animals and at least 27 people, destroyed or damaged over 2,000 homes, cost about $5 billion thus far, and reduced Australian 2019-20 GDP by between $2.1 billion and $4.3 billion.] Changes would eliminate a requirement for agencies to consider the “cumulative impacts” of project that has included the study of planet-warming consequences from greenhouse gas. DDT has rolled back 58 separate rollbacks of environmental protection and considering another 37, including removal of clean air and water rules, loosening regulation for oil an gas extraction, and eradication of wildlife protections. 

About his murdering Soleimani, DDT said he was looking for long-term protection, but his environmental policy ignores everything except greater profits for big businesses. Even now, however, worsening particulate pollution from DDT’s regulatory changes shares the blame for 9,700 more people in the U.S. dying from air pollution in 2018 than 2016.

January 8, 2020

Iran – The Bully Backs Down

Within the last few days, Iraqi strikes killed one U.S. military contractor, the U.S. killed 24 Iraqis and injured another 50, the Iraqis fired in protest at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) assassinated the Iranian leader Qassem Soleimani at the Baghdad airport. DDT warned Iran not to retaliate before Iranians launched over a dozen ballistic missiles at two U.S. air bases housing U.S. military members in Iraq, an act that Iran called “hard revenge” for Soleimani’s death. Iran stated that they would not fire again if DDT didn’t retaliate. Most countries, including Israel, won’t support DDT, and DDT caved—after people held their breath to see if he would move toward World War III. Last night, DDT tweeted, “All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq.” 

Today DDT gave a brief speech filled with lies, mispronunciations, snuffling, repetitions, incompetent spins, blame for President Obama. DDT equated backing down with proof that Iran’s “campaign of terror, murder, mayhem will not be tolerated any longer.” He miserably failed to make Iran less aggressive with “maximum pressure” by withdrawing from a successful deal controlling Iran’s nuclear program and issuing failing sanctions.

Iran threatened strikes against Dubai and Haifa, but DDT claimed that Iran was “standing down.”

DDT said he would “never let” Iran acquire a nuclear weapon with no strategy or leverage to block Iran’s nuclearization, just as he failed in North Korea.

DDT said the U.S. was “ready to embrace peace” and then promised to intensify the massive sanctions on Iran.

DDT took credit for “destroying 100% of ISIS” although ISIS hasn’t been destroyed.

DDT claimed, “We are now the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world,” a status achieved under President Obama in 2012. which is true, though it’s a status the United States reached in 2012.

DDT wants to involve NATO in the Middle East after putting down the organization’s value; NATO is pulling its military after Soleimani’s killing.

DDT’s lied that President Obama’s administration paid for the Iranian missiles and that the Iran agreement “expires shortly.” The referenced funding was either money owed Iran through a court decision or their own money. 

DDT falsely said, “Iran’s hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013.” The deal was signed in 2015, and hostilities with Iran increased after DDT voided the agreement despite Iran’s complying with the terms.

DDT claimed Iran is “the leading sponsor of terrorism,” but in 2011, he said Saudi Arabia was “the world’s biggest funder of terrorism. Saudi Arabia funnels our petrodollars, our very own money, to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people.” In the 9/11 attack, 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, and the 9/11 Commission found that al-Qaeda raised money for terrorism in Saudi Arabia.

The Pentagon spent less than $500,000 million on military equipment since DDT was inaugurated, less than 25 percent of DDT’s claim.

DDT bragged about how “our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal, and fast.”

Andrea Mitchell, a political correspondent for over 50 years, called DDT’s national security team the “worst” that she’s ever seen—“least experienced, the least effective, and the smallest” in recent memory. The “team” doesn’t even have a Senate-confirmed director of National Intelligence or a deputy director of National Intelligence. DHS lacks a Senate-confirmed Homeland Security secretary and deputy secretary, and there is no Senate-confirmed undersecretary for arms control and international security affairs or assistant secretary for arms control, verification, and compliance. The Pentagon has seen the resignation of six top officials in less than six weeks.

On the conservative website The Bulwark, Shay Khatiri wrote:

“President Trump didn’t hire the “A Team,” or even the “B Team,” of experienced Republican former national security officials. He skipped past them because most of them had, during the 2016 campaign, signed public letters and statements denouncing him. So the Trump administration began with the C Team. And as time passed and the members of the C Team resigned or were fired, the administration moved on to D and E.

  • DDT: a reality-show personality who never had a government position before election, knows nothing about international affairs, doesn’t listen to intelligence briefings, and is ignorant about current events..
  • VP Mike Pence: former state governor and U.S. representative.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: former Army captain, U.S. representative, and warhawk.
  • Robert O’Brien (national security advisor): held low-level positions in George W. Bush’s administration.
  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper: lobbyist who rose to this position from six levels down.
  • Secretary of Army Ryan McCarthy: crisis-management experience, former Army Ranger, and Afghanistan war veteran.
  • Secretary of Air Force Barbara Barrett: former non-Foreign Service Officer ambassador with no experience in national security crisis management.
  • Secretary of Navy: none.

Senate Democrats reported that the administration’s briefing on Soleimani’s killing failed to show an “imminent threat” to U.S. troops and diplomats. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) commented on “the lack of information” and described the administration’s “strike of choice” as “one that likely would’ve required congressional authorization beforehand.” The 75-minute briefing left senators with “multiple questions unanswered,” and only 15 of 97 senators in attendance could ask questions. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said:

“We did not see a plan, a satisfying plan for the future. As the questions began to get tough, they walked out.”

Utah’s GOP senator Mike Lee was even more harsh in his response to the briefing, calling it “probably the worst briefing I’ve seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I’ve served in the United States Senate.” He described the message as telling lawmakers to be “good little boys and girls and run along and not debate this in public” and “insane.” The briefing, according to Lee, persuaded him to support Sen. Tim Kaine’s (D-VA) war powers resolution that reinforces resuming the constitutionally congressional power over the president for determining military actions. Fox network stopped Lee from talking about the briefing.

Congress abdicated its responsibilities after the 9/11 attacks with the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF), which permitted the president to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against any countries whom he determined “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the 9/11 attacks or harbored involved persons or groups. During the past 18+ years, U.S. officials have used AUMF to justify actions 37 times in 14 countries. VP Mike Pence supports DDT in using the AUMF for attacks on Iran with his falsehood about Soleimani’s connection to 9/11.

Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Iranian attacks were meant to kill U.S. military members, but facts refute his statement. The U.S. knew about the attacks hours in advance, and base personnel went to the bunkers. The highly accurate missiles avoided killing and great destruction by hitting lesser targets. 

Saudi Arabia supports DDT because he sells them weapons and doesn’t make them responsible for the torture and dismemberment of U.S. journalist and citizen, Jamal Khashoggi. On Monday, DDT tried to hide his meeting with Saudi Vice Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman, the younger brother of the murdering crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Vice Minister publicized the meeting, however, tweeting that it was to discuss cooperation for “regional challenges” (aka Iran).

During his campaign, DDT warned that voting for Hillary Clinton would mean going to war. In 2016, about 66 million people voted for Clinton, and the U.S. may go to war.

Even without airstrikes, Iran can retaliate against the U.S. Iraq is on the verge of eliminating U.S. military presence in the country, one of Soleimani’s goals. Iran controls the Persian Gulf oil shipping lanes, supplies weapons to Yemen’s Houthis, and supports Bashar Assad’s war on his Syrian people. Most dangerous for the United States is the possibility of cyberattacks. Revenge is a dish best served cold, according to a centuries-old proverb, and Iran may be preparing and cooling its vengeance for the future.   

Some Republicans, like Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), think that they can’t win without lying when he tweeted a faked photo of President Obama with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The photo was debunked over four years ago after it was used to promote incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson (WI) in his opposition to the Iran nuclear agreement. Rouhani was photoshopped over former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (left) in this 2011 photo, and the color of the flag was changed. President Obama never met Rouhani. 

In the global community, 64 percent believe that DDT cannot be trusted to do the “right thing” in world affairs. European allies such as Spain, France, and Germany are as low as 25 percent in confidence, and the percentage drops to 8 percent in Mexico.

January 4, 2020

Bad Year’s End for DDT

Why did Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) attack Iran when Iraqis perpetrated the killing of the U.S. mercenary and the attacks against the U.S. embassy in Iraq? DDT was told he looked weak after he called off an airstrike following the unproved report that Iran had downed a U.S. surveillance drone. According to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), DDT killed Qassem Soleimani to look stronger than President Obama after lack of military action following the 2012 deaths of four people at the Benghazi diplomatic outpost. 

Nothing changed before DDT decided to kill Soleimani; the DOD had to make up excuses after the decision—just as they did with by freezing military aid to Ukraine. DDT’s major reason may be wooing evangelicals after Christianity Today called him “immoral.” All his actions this year will be based on his drive to be re-elected. As always, however, the main reason can be to distract from other negative news about him, such as these somewhat unreported bits from last week.

A whistleblower with access to documents from Deutsche Bank and Russia’s state-owned VTB bank claims that Russia underwrote DDT’s $2 billion loans from Deutsche Bank as well as being the proposed lender on DDT’s desired but uncompleted Trump Tower Moscow. The reason behind DDT’s huge loans from Deutsche Bank has been a mystery, especially because they occurred soon after his bankruptcy and high losses from several New Jersey casinos and his gigantic fine for money laundering in the resulting bankruptcies.

The documents supposedly came from a Deutsche Bank official who killed himself, one of two suicides connected to Deutsche Bank. In investigating Putin’s control over DDT, Congress should be able to obtain information. Judges at the district level and two ensuing appeals all ruled that Congress should receive the records, but the Supreme Court will hear arguments in March about whether Deutsche must comply with the congressional subpoena. SCOTUS usually doesn’t hear cases with no conflict at the lower level and ones between the two branches of government. 

DDT also had a chummy talk with Vladimir Putin last weekend when they talked about “mutual interests.” Russians have taken over the third U.S. base in northern Syria since DDT abandoned the area.

Making impeachment worse for DDT, a judge ordered the release of almost 300 pages of emails about DDT’s freezing the military aid to Ukraine.  “Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold,” Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), told Elaine McCusker, the acting Pentagon comptroller in an Aug. 30 email, only available in redacted form until now. A news source has seen unredacted copies from June through October that show how defense and budget officials frantically tried to cover for DDT’s illegal hold. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s senior adviser, Robert Blair, started the process on June 19 when he called acting head of OMB Russell Vought and told him, “We need to hold it up.” DDT rewarded Blair for not testifying about his part in the extortion of Ukraine by promoting him to a new position where Blair, with no experience, plays a prominent role in 5G work. After three months of blocking the funding release, After his order to freeze the funds, Duffey amazed McCusker by falsely blaming the Pentagon for not releasing the money. 

In late August, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo, and then national security adviser John Bolton failed to persuade DDT to release the aid. OMB’s lawyers worked on an argument permitting DDT to override the congressional law—that he had signed—to send the funding to Ukraine. Mark Sandy, who controlled the release of the money from the Office of Management and Budget, maintained that freezing the funds would violate the Impoundment Control Act protecting Congressional spending power, but Duffey told Sandy to say that the freeze was temporary. Orders to block the Pentagon spending were sent every few days for weeks.  

These revelations are even more awkward as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) leads some Republicans in a coverup by refusing to call any witnesses for the impeachment trial including Bolton, Mulvaney, Duffey, and Blair. 

Weeks ago, DDT wanted a big show for his impeachment trial in the Senate; now he suggests that it be called off before it starts. His tweet supported a plan from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) to move for a complete dismissal of the trial. This idea, showing the weakness of DDT’s position, follows his attempt to pick a lawyer for the trial. DDT was said to choose either personal lawyer Jay Sekulow or over White House counsel Alan Dershowitz Pat Cipollone because the former have more “television experience.” Dershowitz is fighting an Epstein-related rape allegation, which might make him DDT’s pick. DDT’s personal lawyer, also fighting an indictment, has volunteered for the job. Other TV hucksters who DDT wanted are the loudest screamers from the House, meaning Doug Collins (GA) and Jim Jordan (OH). Devin Nunes (CA) probably lacks the necessary volume and has been quieter after his connection with indicted Lev Parnas in the Ukrainian scheme has been made public. DDT doesn’t get to pick the House members at his trial. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is infuriating DDT with her delay, and his fury may land on Cipollone because he wants a fast quiet trial.

Parnas, an associate of DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, may provide more information for the impeachment after a U.S. district judge ruled he can share information with the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI had seized.

More trouble for both DDT and Giuliani comes from the public knowledge about Giuliani’s part in trying to depose Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in another part of Giuliani’s being assigned a leading part in foreign diplomacy with no official position. His communication with Maduro in late 2018 opposed the government’s policy to take up a harder line against the Venezuelan government and connected him with a client in the region, a wealthy energy executive investigated for money-laundering. Parnas is also connected to Giuliani’s deal-making.

DDT bragged about how he could get North Korea to denuclearize, but his strategy not only failed but also overturned 30 year of U.S. strategy to contain NK’s nuclear program. Nineteen month after DDT ignored lower-level diplomatic talks, negotiations are gone, and Kim Jong-Un is chortling about his “new strategic weapon,” possibly a long-range ballistic missile. Kim denies DDT’s claim that they will soon meet although DDT keeps talking about his “very good relationship” with NK’s leader. President Obama warned DDT that NK would be his most serious foreign policy challenge—before DDT’s massive blunders in the Middle East—but DDT raised NK to a major global stature. Lawmakers and analysts see the U.S. in a worse position with UK than two years ago: Kim develops his nuclear weapons while DDT stopped joint military exercises with South Korea and weakened international sanctions. Like everyone else dealing with DDT, Kim saw DDT as a patsy and played on his weaknesses.

DDT’s tariffs are failing despite all his bragging. He lies about tariffs’ generating government revenue and boosting U.S. manufacturers. Instead, manufacturing has shrunk for the fifth straight month, dropping to the lowest level in over a decade during the recession. At 47.2, December’s index is slightly above 46.3 in June 2009 and far below the expected 49. A federal study reports that “the 2018 tariffs are associated with relative reductions in manufacturing employment and relative increases in producer prices.” The economy also grew more slowly in 2019 than in 2018, and both years are below growth in 2015 when DDT declared his candidacy with complaints about the terrible economy. The year 2019 may also be the worst for job growth in the past decade. If DDT had not messed with the economy, it would have been in better shape.

Homelessness is increasing since DDT’s inauguration after shrinking while Barack Obama was president.  Last week, HUD reported a 2.7 percent increase, the third consecutive year the number spiked.

Polls supporting the impeachment of DDT indicate that people may be less entrenched in their views. Over half of those surveyed think that DDT should be removed from office, up from 42 percent immediately after the House voted for impeachment. Other results:

57 percent: DDT has committed an impeachable offense.

57 percent: The Senate should hear from new witnesses to learn about DDT’s conduct.

86 percent: Senators should be impartial jurors.

In an Economist/YouGov poll that was published this week, only 38 percent of respondents want DDT to run for president this year, and 51 percent wish he weren’t running. Only 33 percent have a positive view of the GOP, and only 40 percent said they would vote for DDT or for Republicans.

And the world opposes DDT’s assassination of Soleimani while people increasingly think it wasn’t a good idea.

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