Nel's New Day

February 10, 2020

Week 159: Beyond Impeachment

The impeachment trial, the outrageous speeches of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), and Democratic candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire have consumed most of the media. Yet DDT keeps wreaking havoc in other ways. 

The “peace plan” that Jared Kushner orchestrated for Israel without any Palestinian input is not going smoothly. In a spike of violence, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian teenager in the contested West Bank that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to illegally annex, the fifth killing in the West Bank and Jerusalem since DDT tried to give Palestinian territory to Israel. Two Palestinians were killed during a protest against the Israeli’s demolition of a Palestinian house. Israeli police prevented Palestinians from worshipping at the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the Jerusalem location which Jews call the Temple Mount.

A week ago, at the Arab League headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas announced to its members that Palestine would immediately cut ties with the U.S. Palestine Authority’s security forces have long joined Israel to police the occupied West Bank under Palestinian control. The PA also has intelligence cooperation agreements with the CIA which it is stopping at this time. [Right: Abbas shows the Arab League how Palestine has lost land in the last century.]

The Arab League foreign ministers said the U.S.-Israel plan would not lead to a comprehensive and just peace and the League will not support its implementation. It does not meet Palestinians’ minimum aspirations. The foreign ministers affirmed that peace requires a future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital and based on borders before Israel captured land in the 1967 Middle East War.

David Friedman, U.S. ambassador to Israel, said that Israel cannot annex the West Bank without U.S. permission. He didn’t mention Palestinian’s rights to keep their land. Most of the world sees Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank as illegal. Netanyahu has temporarily backed down, possibly endangering his chances for reelection on March 2.

DDT’s assassination of Iranian leader Qasem Soleimani won’t go away: Iraqi officials are now saying that ISIS is responsible for the rocket attack that DDT used to justify the murder. Soleimani was fighting ISIS.

A former Air Force drone operator called the U.S. military “worse than Nazis” in the atrocities that they inflict in the Middle East. From a small room near Las Vegas, he remotely fired missiles over 7,000 miles way. He said his breaking point was killing a child in Afghanistan that his superiors said was a “dog.” He quit the military and spoke against the drone program after directly killing 13 people while his squadron fired on 1,626 targets that included women and children. In his training, he was told to “kill people and break things.” Superiors kept him in line with punitive measures and mockery. He wants people to understand how the drone program dehumanizes the operators.

DDT has a plan for “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again” in an executive order requiring Greek and Roman architectural style for all federal buildings costing over $50 million in Washington and throughout the U.S.  His goal is supposedly to “inspire … respect for our system of self-government.” Smithsonian-funded museums will escape the order. The “inspiration” comes from the “National Civic Art Society” that argues contemporary design in buildings is “dehumanizing.” All designs will be subject to White House approval.

For Architect of the Capitol, DDT nominated J. Brett Blanton, an engineer in airport operations and construction management who is not a licensed or practicing architect and was confirmed in mid-January by a voice vote on the day that the impeachment trial began. Blanton also served as a transportation engineer for the military. His first project will be overseeing the renewal project for the 111-year-old Beaux-Arts office building Cannon House Office Building (left), designed by architects for the New York Public Library and other early 19th-century buildings. Only one senator, Rules Committee Chair Roy Blunt (R-MO), appeared at Blanton’s hearing.

After DDT praised Super Bowl victors, the Kansas City Chiefs, for represented the “Great State of Kansas,” Fox & Friends hosts defended the geographically challenged man in the Oval Office despite the Chiefs’ location in Kansas City, Missouri. It’s not his first gaffe

  • At a UN luncheon with African leaders, he praised the health care in the non-existent country of Nambia.
  • He told his foreign policy advisers that Nepal and Bhutan are parts of India, instead of separate countries. [He also called them Nipple and Button.]
  • He also doesn’t know that Ireland isn’t part of the United Kingdom.
  • When talking to Indian Prime Minister Narenra Modi, he said, “[I]t’s not as though you have China right on your border.” [The India-China border is 2521 miles.]
  • He announced that he is building a border wall in Colorado, 1,193 miles from the Mexico border.
  • He thinks that Belgium is a “beautiful city” instead of a country.
  • Paris is still in Germany instead of France, according to DDT.
  • In talking to people from the Baltic states, he thought he was talking to the Balkans. This explains the difference.
  • When DDT bombed Syria, he thought he was bombing Iraq.
  • Recently at Davos, he thought he was talking with a Syrian Kurd when he was having a conversation with the president of Iraqi Kurdistan.
  • He announced that his call from South Korea was from North Korea.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may keep a map without names for the countries to educate DDT. Pompeo used it after he lost his temper with NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly, walked out of his interview, and swore at her in private before he demanded she identify Ukraine on his unmarked map. She had no trouble complying because of her education, but Pompeo tried to make it appear as if she didn’t. DDT was delighted with Pompeo’s lying, rudeness, and swearing by calling it “impressive.” He added, “I think you did a good job on [the reporter].”

In retaliation against Kelly, Pompeo removed NPR reporter Michele Kelemen from his trip to Europe and said in an interview in Kazakhstan that revoking her press credentials for the trip sends “a perfect message about press freedoms” to the world. He added that the State Department only grants press credentials when it believes reporters are “telling the truth and being honest.” [Pompeo’s altercation was with Kelly, not Kelemen.] Despite his behavior, Pompeo said that journalists are allowed to ask him anything they want. Kelly’s brilliant response to the Pompeo debacle in a NYT op-ed explains the substance of the interview that got lost after Pompeo’s temper tantrum and how his personal attack on her is “not the point.”

On his tour, Pompeo ironically praised Kazakhstan for taking in refugees fleeing persecution and said:

“The protection of basic human rights defines the soul of a nation.” 

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross likes the novel coronavirus sweeping China that has killed over 1,000 people And affected another 40,000+. He said:  

“I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America.”

DDT told states and local officials that they could block refugees, Texas took him up on it, people got riled at the governor, and a judge told states they couldn’t block refugees. A Maryland U.S. District judge called DDT’s policy “unlawful” and “does not appear to serve the overall public interest. [It] flies in the face of clear Congressional intent.” Although 42 states and over 100 local governments agreed to acceptance refugees, seven states were thus far noncommittal. DDT already lowered the annual national refugee cap to 18,000, down from 110,000 in 2016.

DHS has put non-violent protesters who committed acts of civil disobedience on its “extremist” list of white supremacists and mass killers.

DDT’s Labor Department, run by the son of former Justice Antonin Scalia, has changed rules so that workers will have a harder time suing for wage theft and other violations.

DDT’s tariffs will hurt everyone in the nation. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reduces the average family’s real income by $1,277 in 2020 by reducing the GDP level and raising consumer prices. The projection is over double that of last year’s $580 report.

On the campaign trail, DDT said, “If we don’t win, your farms are going to hell.” DDT had told farmer that they might have some “pain” from his trade wars, but he didn’t warn them about the eight-year high of farm bankruptcy rates that spiked 20 percent in 2019. Earlier in a campaign speech in Warren (MI), DDT declared that F-35 jets are literally invisible.

Another lie from the SOTU: Wooing black voters, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) gave a “scholarship” to fourth-grader Janiyah Davis to let her escape from a “failed government school.” She already attends one of Philadelphia’s most sought-after schools, Math, Science and Technology Community Charter School III, a public school.  Last year, she moved from a Christian school with tuition. Janiyah and her mother were invited to the SOTU after the principal in he former school was asked for names for youth who might want scholarships. No one checked to see where Janiyah attended school, explained why they were invited, or warned them that they would be in the spotlight. After the SOTU, Janiyah’s mother said:

“I don’t view MaST as a school you want to get out of at all. I view it as a great opportunity.”

DDT was angry with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf for vetoing tax credits for students in private religious schools.

January 29, 2020

Israeli, DDT ‘Peace Plan’ Lose-Lose

In an attempt to avoid bad publicity from his impeachment trial, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has announced his “deal of the century” between Israel and Palestine that he claims will create peace between the long-time adversaries. The “deal,” supposedly written by DDT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner but covered with Israeli fingerprints, has these provisions:

Israel would annex 30 percent of the Palestinian West Bank occupied by Israel with illegal Jewish-only settlements since 1967, Arab East Jerusalem, and the Jordan Valley.

Palestinians would have limited autonomy in primarily urban enclaves surrounded by Israel acquisitions.

Israel would control Palestinian borders, immigration, security, airspace, and aquifers.

Jerusalem would be Israel’s “undivided” capital with a possible Palestinian capital to the northeast of Jerusalem.

Palestine would be compensated with desert land near Gaza that would be linked with the West Bank by high speed rail.

Palestine might receive a sort of statehood with no army and Israel control in some areas.

Hamas, which governs Gaza, would be dismantled before Palestinian independence.

Israeli citizenship may be stripped from tens of thousands of Arab Israelis who live in 10 border towns.

Palestinian refugees would have no “right of return” to homes lost to Israel in previous conflicts.

Resembling South Africa during its apartheid when it created “reserves” for blacks, the “deal” had no Palestinian input and violates UN resolutions forbidding nations from using military force to expand their territories. The Fourth Geneva Convention also bans occupying powers from moving civilian populations onto these territories taken by military force, and the UN has applied the Geneva ruling onto Israeli-occupied territories. The International Court of Justice does the same in a 2004 decision.

DDT’s plan also requires that Palestinians “dismiss all pending actions” in the International Criminal Court, meaning that the Israeli government cannot be held to account for anything. Jared Kushner’s solution for Palestinians who disagree is to “take a cold shower” so that they don’t “screw up” like with “every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.” The plan states that Palestinians must take “no action, and shall dismiss all pending actions, against the State of Israel, the United States, and any of their citizens before the International Criminal Court” and other tribunals.

Over a century ago, Palestinians were not consulted when Britain adopted the 1917 Balfour Declaration that gave geographical Palestine to the Jewish people for their “homeland.” DDT is following that pattern in drawing other nations’ borders and dictating political lives of people in foreign countries. He follows his pattern of subordinating “browns” to “whites,” as Israelis are largely regarding to people in the United States.

Ben Silverstein wrote:

“About 5 million stateless Palestinians live under Israeli military occupation (the Palestinian West Bank) or under Israeli military siege (the Gaza Strip). Some 400,000 stateless Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are from families that were expelled from the British Mandate of Palestine by militant Zionist militias. Another 400,000 stateless Palestinians in Syria are from families expelled from the British Mandate of Palestine by Zionist militias. About 40,000 stateless Palestinians in Jordan are from families . . . That is, About 6 million stateless Palestinians are being kept without basic human rights by Israel’s refusal to allow them to return to their homes and by Israel’s refusal to allow the Palestinians to establish a genuine state to which the refugees could return.”

War crimes in the plan:

A flood of 400,000 of Israeli citizens who have stolen Palestinian land on the West Bank attack Palestinian villages and sabotage Palestinian orchards and other agriculture in opposition to the Fourth Geneva Accord of 1949 to present war crimes like those by Nazi Germans.

The annexation of 30 percent of the West Bank is an act of aggression by Israel that is taking the land by calling these lands “annexed.”

Depriving Israeli citizens of Palestinian heritage is denaturalization into statelessness by giving them “citizenship” in an unrecognized “state” (aka a “reserve”) where they have no rights over their property.

The disarmed Palestinians will have no right of self-defense in opposition to Chapter 7, Article 51, of the UN that requires “the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”

Palestinians in Israeli-mandated enclaves will have no right to self-determination and be dependent on Israel’s goodwill for every part of their lives, including politics and building development.

With a third election looming and three criminal indictments, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised DDT’s “deal.” With no ratification of the “plan,” he announced that he will ask his cabinet for approval of the annexation this Sunday. He may lose a few votes, however, because the “peace plan” brought criticism from both the left and right wings in Israel. Although Palestinians lose 30 percent of their land, leaders of Israeli settler groups stated that they cannot support a plan that allows Palestinians 70 percent of the area. The settlers called the creation of a Palestinian state “an existential threat to the State of Israel.”

Emily Meyer, co-founder of the Jewish group If Not Now issued this statement:

“This is a political ploy by both leaders to distract from their abuse of power, designed to help Netanyahu win the election in less than six weeks. The plan itself is a plan for permanent Israeli military occupation and control, not a plan for peace. It is simply a continuation of Trump’s strategy since entering office: to disenfranchise Palestinians and deny their rights, their agency, and even their identity.”

Activist groups such as the Islamic Action Front called for a “mass protest” at the U.S. Embassy in Amman. Jordan, home to a large Palestinian population, stated its commitment to a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders and rejects any Israeli unilateral move such as immediate annexation. Both Egypt and the EU cautioned Israelis and Palestinians to carefully study the plan. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to promise Saudi commitment to Palestinian rights.  Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that DDT’s plan “will not serve peace and resolution” in the region and that it will “ignore the rights of the Palestinians and legitimize Israel’s occupation.”

Other Arab countries were disturbed that none of their representatives could see the final version of the plan before its unveiling. They will be even more upset if Netanyahu carries through with a plan for annexation this weekend before both parties support.

The UN supports pre-1967 borders. Most of the international community view the West Bank as the future Palestinian independent state and east Jerusalem as its capital while DDT sides only with Israel by moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, closing Palestinian diplomatic offices in Washington, and cutting funding to Palestinian aid programs.  

Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s competition for prime minister, said he will propose the plan for approval next week in the Knesset (Israeli parliament). Abbas dismissed the plan as “nonsense” and vowed to resist it through “peaceful, popular means.” Abbas added:

“We say 1,000 no’s to the Deal of the Century. We will not kneel and we will not surrender.”

Israeli settlers in the West Bank may be worse off with the proposed annexation. According to Ghaith al-Omari, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad were present at a meeting that Abbas convened, and both groups will push for violence in the West Bank, creating destabilization from terror and giving Hamas more power. Al-Omari surmises that DDT’s plan strengthens hardliners and weakens diplomats.

The plan that DDT hoped would bail him out of his impeachment problems is now seen as a “lose-lose” situation.

January 3, 2020

DDT: Week 154 – WWIII?

“Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate. He’s weak and he’s ineffective, so the only way he figures that he’s going to get reelected, and as sure as you’re sitting there, is to start a war with Iran.”

That’s what Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said about President Obama in 2011. Immediately before the 2012 election heralding President Obama’s second term, DDT tweeted, “Don’t let Obama play the Iran card in order to start a war in order to get elected — be careful Republicans!” Now DDT may avoid publicity about his extortion of Ukraine and a false investigation of his political opponent with his assassination of Qassem Soleimani that can “start a war with Iran.” The strike against Soleiman is far worse than earlier assassinations because it attacked a state leader, unlike the other U.S. killings of leaders in the Middle East. The U.S. made no attempt to arrest Soleimani in Iraq before he was killed.

The murder of Solemani, leader of the elite Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and second most powerful leader in the country, in a preemptive strike on the Baghdad International Airport had no congressional authorization. Repercussions are not certain, but the killing makes a U.S. presence in the Middle East far more dangerous, and U.S. people may be targeted around the world. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted:

“The question is this – as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?”

To block DDT from illegally starting a war with Iran, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) plan legislation to “prohibit any funding for offensive military force in or against Iran without prior congressional authorization.” An earlier measure to amend the National Defense Authorization Act for a similar purpose passed the House in July but was dropped in December. Instead of waging a new war, Khanna said, the United States needs to “get out priorities right” about its “crumbling infrastructure,” desperate housing needs, and “the existential crisis of climate change.” Sanders tweeted that “it’s the working-class kids who will … fight and die in a disastrous new Middle East conflict – not the children of billionaires.” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has introduced privileged legislation—meaning Republicans cannot block the bill from the Senate floor—banning any hostilities with Iran not explicitly authorized by a congressional declaration of war or a specific authorization for the use of military force.

Echoing George W. Bush’s statements about his preemptive attack on Iraq, DDT said earlier this week that a war with Iran “would go very quickly.” Dan Spinelli disagrees and gives details. The same “quickly” comment was made about World War I, which instigators claimed would last a couple of weeks. World War I killed over 20 million people, and W.’s war in Iraq has lasted almost 14 years. And just like W.’s mythical “weapons of mass destruction,” vague descriptions of Iran’s “developing plans” and future attacks are intended to foment fears. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has already replaced Soleimani with Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, Soleimani’s deputy commander. Khamenei also warned of a “harsh retaliation” for Soleimani’s killers. Ghaani said that “any military action against Iran will be regretted.”

The U.S. also reportedly killed Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in yesterday’s strike. In retaliation against the killing of one U.S. military contractor, the U.S. killed 25 Iraqis who were able to breach the most secure U.S. embassy in the world. Iraq’s deputy parliament speaker it is time to put an end to “US recklessness and arrogance”; an emergency parliament session for Saturday will discuss the U.S. airstrike in Baghdad killing the Iranian and Iraqi leaders. The session will work on taking “decisive decisions that put an end to US presence inside Iraq.” About 5,000 U.S. members, supposedly to protect and train Iraqis, are stationed in Iraq. The country’s prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi stated, “The assassination of an Iraqi military commander in an official post is an aggression against the country of Iraq, its state, its government and its people” and “could spark a devastating war.”

Like killing the head of the CIA, the assassination of Soleimani is ”an explicit act of war,” as an Al Jarzeera journalist wrote.

VP Mike Pence, one heartbeat from being U.S. president, is already spreading disinformation—or ignorance—when he falsely connected Iran to the 9/11 attackers and couldn’t even remember the number of those attackers when he said that 10 of the 12 attackers on 9/11 were linked to Iran. Of the 19 (not 12) 9/11 attackers, 15 were from Saudi Arabia, 2 from the UAE, and 1 each from Egypt and Lebanon.  

Before the assassination, thousands of supporters of Iraqi’s Kataib Hezbollah militia attacked the 104-acre U.S. embassy in Iraq. Media almost universally used the term “Iran-supported” without mentioning that the attackers are Iraqi. The event came after U.S. airstrikes in Iran killed 24 people, largely civilians, because an Iraqi militia rocket strike killed U.S. military contractor (aka mercenary). Protesters backed off the attack after the group claimed it received guarantees from Iraqi Prime Minister Mahdi to work toward passing a law calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country. The militia gained influence after it worked with the U.S. to drive ISIS out of Iraq. DDT has lost all leverage in controlling Iran after he dropped out of the anti-nuclear agreement and returned to imposing sanctions on Iran.

The U.S. won’t have allied support for a war with Iran: only Israel stands behind the U.S. in its unilateral war. Germany warned against further “dangerous escalation,” and the UK stated that more conflict is “in none of our interests.” DDT failed to inform European partners, and the UK said, “The purpose of having allies is that we can surprise our enemies and not each other.” The Conservative chair of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee expressed concern about the “pattern” of the U.S. not sharing with the UK. France criticized the U.S. for “playing their game in an unpredictable manner” and said that the assassination has made the world “more dangerous.” Last week, Vladimir Putin said he will no longer cooperate with sanctions against Iran and said about Soleimani’s death, “We express our sincere condolences to the Iranian people.” China stated it “has always opposed the use of force in international relations,” urged the U.S. “to remain calm and exercise restraint to avoid further escalating tensions,” and called for respect for Iraq’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

While keeping allies and Congress in the dark about his plans, DDT gave Israel advance warning about killing Soleimani. In addition to other preparedness for the attack’s backlash, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came back early from his visit to Greece. Netanyahu is running for reelection in March, despite his three criminal indictments, in the third election for the country’s prime minister. He is asking Israel’s parliament for immunity.

DDT also referred to his plans to people staying at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Five days before killing Soleimani, he wandered his private resort, dropping hints that he was working on a “big” response to the Iranian regime that they would be hearing or reading about very “soon.” These comments went much farther than his New Year’s Eve tweet about the “big price” Iran would pay for damaging the U.S. embassy in Iraq. Two sources said that he talked about his contact with national-security and military advisers about an imminent aggressive action. One of them said that DDT kept repeating, “You’ll see.”

This afternoon, DDT claimed that his escalating tensions with Iran were to “stop a war” and told the attacked Iranians to immediately end “aggressions in the region.” Then he initiated another airstrike that killed five Iraqis in a convoy for a medical unit of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces near Baghdad. 

State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. action created no danger for Americans in the region, but his agency asked U.S. citizens to immediately leave Iraq and suspended all consular operations. On Sunday, Pompeo tried to play down any problems in either Iraq or North Korea, but the Pentagon had blocked any government travel to Iraq or Syria, including by U.S. lawmakers and their staffers, because of regional instability. Pompeo is removing 28 percent of diplomatic staffing in Iraq by the end of May 2020, removing 114 positions in the Baghdad embassy alone, in a retraction on diplomacy and oversight.

Senior government officials continue the spin that killing Soleimani was intended to “advance the cause of peace.” The rest of the world has the opposite vision. On Twitter “WWIII” is the top trending term worldwide. People curious about DDT’s timing may consider that he bragged about the killing in his big speech to evangelicals today. And that Iran is hacking into DDT’s re-election campaign in opposition for his possible second term.  

December 22, 2019

Week 152 – World, Domestic Affairs

World and domestic affairs beyond impeachment affect the United States through decisions that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) makes.

DDT stayed silent during violent protests from India’s attempt to eliminate secularization. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a conservative re-elected in May, the parliament permits citizenship for undocumented migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who moved to India before 2014 and belong to one of six religious minorities, excluding Islam. Modi claims that the law protects persecuted religious groups, much like DDT said about his executive order protecting only Jewish people. India is now trying to control protests by shutting down phone and internet access in parts of the country.

Shortly before DDT was elected, Russian interference helped an anti-immigrant movement in Britain pass Brexit, a separation from the European Union. After agonizing over the process for over three years, the Brits elected Boris Johnson as prime minister to finish the process, much to the possible detriment of almost everyone in the country. Like DDT, Johnson is connected to corruption and sexual misconduct. The UK will leave the EU by the last day of 2020 no matter how disastrous, and the UK may have to pay the EU up to £39 billion. Northern Ireland stayed with the EU and will have a customs and regulatory border with Great Britain; Scotland voted to stay with the EU and may separate from the UK.

DDT, close friends with the autocratic Turkish president Recip Tayyip Erdogan, rejected the congressional votes to recognize that the Ottoman’s killing of Armenians in 1915-16 to support Germany in World War I was genocide. In retribution for the congressional resolution, Erdogan threatens to shut down Incirlik air base where the U.S. stores nuclear warheads. DDT called resolution criticizing the killing of 1.5 million Armenians “worthless” and the “biggest insult” to Turkish people. Erdogan also tried to prevent sanctions against Turkey after its military offensive in Syria by threatening to close the Kurecik radar base. Following DDT’s wishes, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tried to block the resolution. On December 12, the Senate unanimously passed the resolution after the House did so with only one no vote. Because resolutions do not have the weight of law, they do not require a president’s signature. 

Israel is headed for its third election in less than a year after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to put together a winning coalition but plans to stay prime minister. The national election to determine the Israeli prime minister is next March, but on December 26, 100,000 Likud party members, Netanyahu’s party, vote for their leaders. Gideon Sa’ar is challenging Netanyahu to represent Likud; the winner is in line to become prime minister.Christians in the Gaza Strip are banned from visiting holy cities such as Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Nazareth for Christmas. Last year, almost 700 Gazan Christians received permits to travel the holy cities.

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor is investigating Israeli war crimes allegedly committed in the Palestinian territories. Netanyahu claims that the ICC has jurisdiction only for sovereign states and denies any Palestinian state. He plans to illegally take over the Jordan Valley, composing one-fourth of the West Bank. In the ICC, Palestine is suing the U.S. for DDT’s moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Two courts, one in the EU and the other in Canada, have also decided that Israel “an occupying power” and “not … a sovereign entity” in determining labeling of products from Jewish settlements in the West Bank.   

The end of the year means tax preparation. Last year the 2017 tax cuts hurt a large percentage of people in the U.S., but large corporations are making out like bandits from their 40-percent tax rate cut. Approximately 400 of the largest corporations in the U.S. paid an average federal tax rate of about 11 percent on their profits last year, roughly half the official rate set by the tax law and half the rate that they averaged between 2008 and 2015. In 2018, corporations averaged 11.3 percent in taxes, the lowest level in over 30 years, while the deficit hit $984 billion, unusual in a supposedly strong economy. There is no evidence of the GOP claim of lower taxes’ cut causing economic growth and boosting business investment. The unemployment rate has stayed low in some areas, but higher wages are largely caused by blue states increasing the minimum wage rate.

In the Fortune 500, 91 corporations earning $101 billion paid no federal taxes last year. Amazon paid no taxes on $10.8 billion in profits and got a $129 million rebate. Firing 800 people, Activision Blizzard made $447 million and received a tax rebate of $243 million, giving them a -54.4 percent.

Overturning the Affordable Care Act would give the wealthy and pharmaceutical companies a huge tax break. The top 1,400 highest-earning taxpayers would receive $3.8 billion, and pharmaceutical companies would pay $2.8 billion less in taxes. People on Medicare would pay more for prescription drugs, and U.S. drug costs are already the highest in the developed world. Twenty million people would lose health insurance, and the poverty rate would increase. Causing a crack in the ACA, a state judge overturned the individual mandate in the ACA despite a Supreme Court ruling that accepted it.

DDT plans to reduce aid to the 39.7 million people in the United States living in poverty by allowing sports stadiums and arenas to use opportunities designed to meet the needs of middle- and low-income people. The 1977 Community Reinvestment Act requires financial institutions to meet the credit needs of all communities where they do business so that they can’t refuse to serve people based on income level and demographics rather than credit worthiness. Under DDT’s plan, investors can delay taxes or reduce tax payments on their capital gains while building stadiums that displace people of color. 

Eating pork may be dangerous under DDT’s new rules, according to Food Safety and Inspection Service inspectors Jill Mauer and Anthony Vallone, who filed whistleblower disclosure forms. A pilot program for over 92 percent of U.S. pork plants will provide fewer inspectors who must stand at a distance while untrained plants’ employees check carcasses and still try to maintain line speeds. Defects can include feces, sex organs, toenails, bladders, and unwanted hair—think Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. Beef processing may suffer from the same MO.  

The U.S. Forest Service is permitting Canada’s Midas Gold to write the environmental report necessary to obtain approval for mining in Idaho after a “collaborative” meeting that included Midas. In that way, Midas can avoid habitat restoration work to protect the surrounding area.

In a software failure, Boeing’s Starliner, intended to fly NASA astronauts to space, didn’t get to the right orbit. A few days earlier, Boeing announced it was stopping the production of the 737 Max that killed 346 people in two crashes and demonstrated multiple other problems. The planes have been grounded since March 11, pending approval for planes being built. Almost 400 737 Max jets at the Renton (WA) facility are costing the company about $4.4 billion every three months for production, storage, and maintenance. Although Boeing may not have any work stoppage, hundreds of other U.S. manufacturers in its supply chain may be forced to lay off workers. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that Boeing’s problems had taken 0.4 percent off the GDP for the year.

For years, the FAA allowed Boeing to perform its own inspections. High level Boeing officials knew about the planes’ problems and lied to the FAA. Earlier this month, the FAA fined Boeing $3.9 million for “knowingly submitted aircraft” to the agency for safety certification even after learning that crucial wing components “could not be used due to a failed strength test.”

State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo not only fired Bill Taylor, acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, but also told him to get out of the country early because he didn’t want to be photographed with the highly respected career diplomat. Pompeo urged Taylor to take the job, and Taylor then testified to the House Intelligence Committee about DDT’s attempts to extort Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. Taylor believes his obligation is to the country, not DDT, and Pompeo wants to be the senator from Kansas.

Another of DDT’s circle of associates is now heading for prison, but Rick Gates, associate of DDT’s campaign manager Paul Manafort, gets only 45 days after evading taxes and concealing millions of dollars representing pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine after Gates’ cooperation. Manafort, DDT’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and DDT’s first national security adviser are in the slammer. George Papadopoulos, DDT’s former campaign adviser on foreign policy, and Alex van der Zwaan, a lawyer who worked with Manafort and Gates, have finished their prison sentences. Roger Stone, longtime DDT adviser and confidant, awaits sentencing. DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani faces a criminal investigation. Others connected to DDT include Richard Pinedo, who has a prison sentence for fraudulently trying to hurt Clinton’s campaign; Sam Patten and Maria Butina, who were charged with being unregistered foreign agents; and those on this long list of indicted Russian individuals and entities. 

New Jersey’s Rep. Jeff Van Drew switched from Republican to Democrat and swore “undying support” to DDT—until someone asked him about it. He said he didn’t say “undying.” Republicans don’t want him.

December 15, 2019

‘Anti-Semitism’ Ban Doesn’t Protect Jewish People

At a White House Hanukkah reception, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) signed an executive order explicitly naming Jews as a protected class under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and cracking down on anti-Semitism by denying federal funds to any group exhibiting his definition of anti-Semitism. Title VI lists non-discrimination only for race, color, and national origin which means that Jewish people are protected as “national origin” and not religion.

The order punishes any First Amendment free speech criticism of Israel, blocks the BDS movement—Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions—which attempts to “end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians” by boycotting Israel for its illegal activities in the West Bank and Gaza, and eliminates any support for Palestinians. Curriculum that did not completely support Israel would also be banned under this order.

A hue and cry declaimed that DDT didn’t declare Judaism a “nationality,” that he just put it under “race” and “nationality.” That explanation seems to have the same meaning as “nationality”—it even uses the same word. The order raises questions such as whether Ivanka Trump, a Jewish convert, now has a new “race” or “nationality.” Most of the Jews in the U.S. describe their identity as cultural or religious—or perhaps heritage—while they are Americans. Being separate from Americans can deny them the nation’s rights. If the government determines a definition of nationality for Jewishness, this different category leaves them open to more discrimination.  

Several Jewish organizations raised objections to DDT’s order. Alissa Wise, an activist rabbi with Jewish Voice for Peace, said:

“Trump has never cared about stopping antisemitism — this executive order is about silencing Palestinians and the people who speak up with them.”

Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, said:

“We feel it is misguided and harmful for the White House to unilaterally declare a broad range of nonviolent campus criticism of Israel to be anti-Semitic, especially at a time when the prime driver of anti-Semitism in this country is the xenophobic, white nationalist far-right.”

In its petition to reject DDT’s executive order, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights states:

“Though touted as a means of protecting Jews and of supporting Israel, this planned Executive Order only threatens First Amendment rights, which include the right to criticize the actions of any country on earth, while confirming a centuries-old antisemitic trope — that the primary loyalty of Jews is not to the state in which they live. This supposition has resulted in horrific discrimination against Jews in countless countries. Take a stand against it today.”

Emily Mayer, political director of IfNotNow, wrote:

 “Trump’s executive order is not about keeping Jews safe. After a week in which he spewed classic anti-Semitic tropes about Jews and money, this is just more anti-Semitism. The order’s move to define Judaism as a ‘nationality’ promotes the classically bigoted idea that American Jews are not American. This order is a dangerous move to silence the free speech of human rights advocates and, in particular, Palestinian and Muslim college students.”

Last weekend, DDT used anti-Jewish negative stereotypes of the wealthy Jew in real estate when he said to the Israeli American Council:

“A lot of you are in the real estate business… You’re brutal killers, not nice people at all, but you have to vote for me. You have no choice. You’re not going to vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that. You’re not gonna vote for the wealth tax.”

DDT continues his pattern of protecting anti-Semitic white supremacists, as he did after their racist protests in Charlotte (VA). Despite the nationalist protesters’ cries of “Jews will not replace us,” DDT continues to insist that they were “fine people on both sides.” 

The executive order is reminiscent of the 1870 Crémieux Decree that the French government enacted in Algeria with the white supremacist goal of giving Algerian Jews the rights and protection of French citizenship while leaving Muslim and Amazigh Algerians second-class citizens. Jewish Algerians lost their privileges when Nazis took over Europe and set up the Vichy regime in France.

By creating citizenship for Algerian Jews, the French government deflected Algerians’ anger of the violence of colonization onto this minority group. Separating the two oppressed groups, Jews and Muslims, meant that they could not successfully opposed the French colonial power. The rise of anti-Semitism drove Jews out of Algeria to France and the anti-colonial movement. By 1940, Muslims fought colonization in Algeria, and Jews faced genocide in France.

France suffers from both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, the direction that the United States is taking. White supremacist governments, including the United States, isolate religious and ethnic groups to pit them against each other to block solidarity. DDT separates Jews and Muslims to make them more ineffective in the fight against white supremacy. He strengthens his division of minority groups by ordering that Palestinian liberation work and fighting anti-Semitism are in opposition.

George W. Bush and President Obama used Title VI to oppose discrimination against people of different religions, not specifically Jewish, and did not declare them a nationality. Instead, discrimination against Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, etc. was covered by Title VI if the discrimination is based on “the group’s actual or perceived ancestry or ethnic characteristics” or “actual or perceived citizenship or residency in a country whose residents share a dominant religion or a distinct religious identity.”

DDT uses a pattern of stating that Jewish people in the United States aren’t really “Americans.” Speaking to Jewish groups, he calls Israel “your country” and Benjamin Netanyahu “your prime minister.” He uses perspectives about Israel, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, and himself to define the Jewish community as “loyal” or “disloyal.” Prominent Jewish people, for example, Alexander Vindman who testified during the impeachment inquiry, suffer from questions about their patriotism and their loyalty to “America.” DDT’s executive order expands on the difference, insinuating that “Jewish” is separated from “America” and putting that idea into law. This follows DDT’s position that “Mexican Americans” aren’t really Americans.

The new executive order lumps together all anti-Israel conduct without considering whether it is anti-Jewish. The First Amendment protects anti-Semitic speech—at least until DDT was inaugurated. Although it may be repugnant, the term “I hate Jews” is as protected as “I hate carnivores.” The order bans free speech by requiring all government agencies consider the nonbinding International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism in enforcing anti-discrimination law. The criteria, developed for data-collection, are so vague and imprecise that a Palestinian rights group on campus could lose funding for a school.

To ban all criticism against Israel is to stop criticism of a country.  Israel is a political entity, and DDT’s order bans any criticism of an entire country and its government. Criticism of illegal West Bank settlements is a political discussion, not “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious or racial group,” a definition of anti-Semitism. Debates about Israeli policy is not necessarily anti-Jewish.

DDT’s goal with his executive order is to stop any criticism of Israel by calling it “anti-Semitic.” Israel is a political entity, and his order bans any criticism of a country and government. Criticism of illegal West Bank settlements is a political discussion, not “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious or racial group,” the definition of anti-Semitism. Debates about Israeli policy are not anti-Semitism.

Technically, DDT’s executive order against “anti-Semitism” should oppose discrimination against a wide range of communities. Although claims have been made that “anti-Semitism” is exclusively for Jewish people, the term Semite covers people in West Asia, North and East Africa, and Malta—all racially connected by the Semitic language. Therefore, bans against anti-Semitism should stop discrimination against Muslims, Palestinians, etc. DDT’s “anti-Semitism” order is actually anti-Zionism. Both left and right Zionists want the state of Israel, but DDT’s ideology, the rightwing Zionists, combine religion and politics while opposing peace with Palestinians in order to take over all their land. The Zionists want privileges for Jews over Arabs, Palestinians, and Christians.

As a person, DDT is pro-Zionist, trying to protect the state of Israel to keep the evangelical Christians happy, but he demonstrates anti-Jewish behavior which encourages his prejudiced base to behave violently toward Jewish people in their desire to rid the U.S. of Jewish people. Anti-Jewish episodes in the U.S. increased 60 percent in the first year after DDT’s inauguration and continued into a record number of attacks, for example the killing of four people at a Jersey City kosher supermarket this past week.  

Anti-Muslim evangelical Christian leader Robert Jeffress spoke at the Hanukkah event where DDT signed his order. Jeffress maintains that “you can’t be saved being a Jew” and called Mormonism “a heresy from the pit of hell.” According to anti-Jewish Jeffress, Hell is “filled with good religious people who have rejected the truth of Christ.” DDT supports Jeffress because “I like people that talk well about me.”

DDT is not a friend of the Jewish people in the United States.

October 9, 2019

DDT Kills Kurds, Fights Impeachment

This morning, Turkey invaded northeast Syria and attacked U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters who opposed ISIS, thanks to Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Turkish bombings put thousands of civilian lives at risk, and Kurds may have to release 10,000 imprisoned ISIS militants after DDT withdrew troops from the area. Russians are also mobilizing for invasion of the Kurdish area so that they can allow Iran to put its forces on Israel’s northern border. ISIS has already started bombing Kurdish military positions. DDT said that he wants to stop “endless, senseless wars,” but he just created another one. Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Saudi Arabia will pile on with Turkey, Russia, and the Kurds as DDT’s move gives Iran a chance to attack Israel and lose the evangelical vote for DDT.  

Instead of sending the 50 service members home, DDT moved them to another Middle East region. The U.S. launched the most airstrikes in Afghanistan during one month in about a decade, increased airstrikes in Libya, and continued its war in Somalia. 

Top officials in the Pentagon and the State Department recommended not removing the U.S. forces because the Kurds are the most reliable partners in fighting ISIS in that location. Last year, DDT’s threat to remove the forces caused his Defense Secretary James Mattis to resign. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), a former Marine who served in Iraq, called DDT’s current decision to abandon the Kurds “one of the most destabilizing moves we can do in the Middle East.”

A member of the National Security Council with firsthand knowledge of telephone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that DDT gave in to another authoritarian’s ranting. Furious with DDT’s snub at the UN last month, Erdoğan got his permission to invade Syria and visit DDT at the White House in November. DDT got nothing except “a state of increased danger [in national security] for decades to come,” according to the national security official. DDT consulted neither EU allies nor congressional members before his decision.

After the call, DDT said that he would sanction Turkey if it attacked the Kurds but made no claims about this to Erdoğan. Instead he tweeted:

“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).”

This tweet was not the only strange one: he said Russia will be unhappy about his withdrawal of troops. They won’t. About the Kurds, DDT tweeted that they “fought with us” but “were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.” About the Turkish attacks on Kurds, DDT mildly said it was a “bad idea.” Later he tweeted, “[The Kurds] didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy…” 

DDT made millions of dollars in profits from his Trump Towers in Istanbul, owned by Turkish conglomerate Dogan Holding, but four months ago, leaders of a major party in Turkey called for the government to seize the complex. The value of DDT’s name in Turkey has fallen in the past two years.  

The message across the world is that the U.S. will not meet their commitments and will not support its allies. In his regard for former allies, DDT wrote wasn’t worried about the escape of ISIS fighters because they’ll go to Europe. John Sipher, 28-year veteran in the CIA clandestine service including station chief in hot spots near Europe and Asia, said:

“Well, at least the Trump Administration is consistent. We are about screwing our allies, partners and friends. Don’t trust America, even if you shed blood on their behalf. If you want favors, build a Trump tower.”

Columnist Paul Krugman asked if DDT abandoned the Kurds because of (a) personal business interests in Turkey; (b) support of Erdoğan, another vicious autocrat; or (c) directions from his boss Vladimir Putin.

Even DDT’s GOP sycophants criticized DDT’s abandoning the Kurds to certain death. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called DDT’s actions “a disaster in the making.” He added, “ISIS is not defeated. This is the biggest lie being told by this administration.” Brian Kilmeade, co-host of Fox & Friends, echoed Graham’s term “disaster.” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), in trouble for her strong support of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, stuck her neck out to declare DDT’s actions “a terribly unwise decision,” and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called it a “grave mistake.” Even House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has supported DDT through thin and thin, told the government to “keep its word” with its foreign allies.

Senators now demand a hearing about DDT’s decision to withdraw troops in Syria, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated that leaving the Kurds to Turkish slaughter might be wrong. He called on DDT to reconsider the plan and said that a Senate supermajority disagreed with DDT and withdrawal “would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime.”

With one impulsive moment, DDT abandoned an ally, emboldened Iran, revived ISIS, offended Israel, and infuriated Republicans. While being blasé about DDT’s extortion attempts in Ukraine and China to get dirt on Joe Biden, GOP lawmakers are horrified by DDT’s refusal to protect the nation’s Kurdish allies. Israel, also shocked by DDT’s move, understand that he is not to be trusted.

Facing the danger of impeachment and the Kurdish disaster leading to war in the Middle East, DDT went on a demented rant today at the White House against California’ auto-emission guidelines and the shift from incandescent to LED light bulbs and their disposal—all lies:

“Of course, who cares about looks? But you do look better with incandescent, but they weren’t allowed, and you have the privilege of buying now a much more expensive bulb, under the passed rules, much more expensive bulb that doesn’t have a good looking light, but maybe very importantly when the bulb is out, and not good, it’s literally considered a hazardous waste site because of all the gasses. If it breaks, you’re supposed to bring it to a certain location, and I say who does that? Nobody. Nobody.”

The impeachment inquiry keeps plugs along with a 58 percent approval—over twice the 25 percent that DDT claims. His latest attempt to quash the process is an eight-page emotional letter filled with falsehoods from White House counsel Pat Cipollone to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and three committee chairs. In short, Cipollone states that DDT is banning everyone and everything from Congress, in opposition to his claim of transparency and no wrong-doing with the excuse that following the U.S. Constitution is unconstitutional. DDT’s demands for the rights to see all the evidence and question all the witnesses shows his ignorance of the law. The constitution does not require a vote by the House to open an inquiry. Like a grand jury, the House looks at the evidence in secret and votes to decide on impeachment which, if approved, moves on to the Senate for an open trial.  

Cipollone accused Democrats that they are using impeachment to overturn the 2016 election and kill DDT’s chances for reelection in 2020. The absolutist position in the letter demonstrates DDT’s belief that Article II of the constitution gives him unlimited powers, like a king. DDT defender and former U.S. attorney Joe diGenova supported DDT’s delusions by accusing Democrats of “regicide,” killing a king. Last summer, DDT said, “Article II allows me to do whatever I want.” Section Four of Article II gives Congress the power to remove a president for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Because impeachment is a constitutional remedy, it cannot be “unconstitutional.”

DDT’s defense plan for impeachment is to stall, obfuscate, attack, and repeat. The letter combines all four of these strategies. Former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who slammed President Obama for not turning over materials about the tragic deaths of four U.S. employees at Benghazi, is part of the team to prevent Congress from obtaining evidence. The Fox network has dropped Gowdy as a contributor.  At this time, DDT’s actions constitute obstruction of justice if not crimes. DDT keeps bragging about how he can’t be impeached because he’s “doing a great job” as president. Even if that were true—which it isn’t—he lost a great deal of cred by allowing Turkey to slaughter Kurds. China has refused to follow DDT’s directive to investigate the Bidens, and Republicans have no logical way to defend DDT. A second whistleblower negates criticism of the first one. And 24 percent of Republicans want an alternative to DDT. That percentage could grow.

A bad sign for DDT is a federal judge’s refusal to keep DDT’s tax returns hidden. The judge said that he could not grant such a “categorical and limitless assertion of presidential immunity.” DDT plans to challenge the order to release his tax returns to Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance.

In a Fox poll 55 percent think that DDT does what’s best for himself and doesn’t put the country first. This week, The New Yorker follows that belief in its illustration of DDT and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani throwing away the country.

September 25, 2019

DDT Joins Netanyahu, Johnson under Fire

Dictator Donald Trump calls himself a dealmaker, but his offers look like a “mob shakedown,” to use the words of Sen. Chuck Schumer (R-NY). In his hatred for President Obama, he tore up U.S. deals with foreign governments on climate, denuclearization, trade, etc. DDT’s lackluster speech before the UN repeated in almost monotone his position of “America First,” rejecting any cooperation with slowing down the climate crisis or negotiating with any democratic countries throughout the world. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez lamented that the U.S. had put into question the positive “international agreement reached with the Iranian regime … for the peace and security of the world” and that DDT had declared his former EU allies as national security threats to put tariffs on their exports. DDT has succeeded in standing alone: Sánchez echoed German and French leaders to move away from the U.S. superpower, intensified by “the new position of this U.S. administration.”  

While DDT pushes his isolationist position, he wants the world to join him against Iran to stop countries from circumventing his harsh sanctions. By endorsing “patriotism over globalism,” he rejects any international law supporting the ideals of democracy and human rights, claiming that nationalism and sovereign rights are the best practice. While DDT presented himself as the leader of “religious freedom,” he rejects any religion except fundamentalist Christianity. He described only Iran and China as his enemies, but human rights are much worse in his personal allies of Saudi Arabia, Russia, North Korea, and Egypt. Even the State Department admits that Saudia Arabia has no freedom of religion, but DDT wants the Saudi money. Because the focus of the UN summit was Climate Action, he spent only 14 minutes sullenly viewing the proceedings (above)

Today, however, was largely focused on DDT’s telephone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the whistleblower complaint about the possibility that DDT violated a number of laws. DDT told Zelensky that the U.S. had been “very, very good” to Ukraine before he asked Zelensky to work with AG Bill Barr and lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to “look into” Joe Biden, DDT’s political opponent. Following Zelensky’s comment about buying Javelins from the U.S., DDT asked Zelensky “to do us a favor though.” After Zelensky expressed willingness to make an investigation, DDT offered to invite him to the White House, something that he had refused to do since Zelensky’s election in May.  

DDT’s also asked Zelensky to look into the cybersecurity company CrowdStrike that investigated Russia’s cyberattacks on the DNC with DDT’s assumption that someone in the Ukraine has a non-existent “missing” server from the DNC that can exonerate Russia’s involvement. DDT also claimed that Hillary Clinton’s emails might be located in Ukraine.

Pretending that the call is about stopping corruption in Ukraine before DDT releases funding appropriated by Congress for Ukraine to fight Russian aggression, DDT ignored a letter sent to four congressional committees in May of this year. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood “certified that the Government of Ukraine has taken substantial actions to make defense institutional reforms for the purposes of decreasing corruption [and] increasing accountability.” Instead, DDT’s reference to “corruption” is only domestic, focused at a campaign opponent.

Today’s events after DDT released his version of the Zelensky telephone call:

  • Following yesterday’s unanimous Senate vote for DDT to release the whistleblower complaint, 421 House members voted in favor of the resolution. Two Republicans—Louis  Gohmert (TX) and Thomas Massie (KY)—voted present.
  • DDT released the complaint to both House and Senate Intelligence Committees. It includes not only concerns about DDT’s covert extortion on the telephone call but also the way that the White House mishandled records of the communications. According to the whistleblower, other witnesses exist.
  • Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) failed to pass a resolution denouncing an impeachment inquiry by a vote of 231 Democrats and one Independent opposed against the 193 GOP members in favor.
  • Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, called on Barr to recuse himself from DOJ involvement in the Ukraine scandal because DDT “dragged the Attorney General into this mess.”
  • The White House accidentally emailed talking points to defend DDT to Democratic members of Congress and their staff their talking points to defend DDT. Once the mistake was discovered, the White House asked Democrats to return the email.
  • DDT concluded his day with another rambling, largely monotone speech that repeated his “witch hunt” claim from the Mueller investigation.
  • At the end of DDT’s press conference with Zelensky, he said that Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), elected by the membership until January 2021, is no longer the Speaker of the House and claimed that she isn’t “interested in guns and gun protection and gun safety.” The House has passed three major gun safety bills that GOP Majority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) refuses to allow on the Senate floor.
  • Zelensky didn’t know that his side of the conversation would be made public.
  • DDT called Zelensky last April to work with Giuliani on investigations.
  • The whistleblower complaint has been declassified and available for the public, probably tomorrow.
  • Tomorrow, Congressional members will see the complete report from the Inspector General with corroborating information.

Sources reported that Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, in the job for fewer than six weeks, threatened to quit if DDT forces him to stonewall Congress during tomorrow’s testimony regarding a whistleblower complaint about DDT. Maguire got the job after DDT refused to allow DNI’s deputy director, Sue Gordon, into the senior position. As a Michigan congressman, Maguire leaked sensitive information like a sieve. [Note: both Maguire and DDT denied that Maguire offered to resign.] Maguire is scheduled to appear before both House and Senate Intelligence Committees tomorrow.

With beauty in the eye of the beholder, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) followed DDT’s talking points and scoffed at the accusation that the released transcript of DDT’s conversation with Zelensky was extortion and called it a “nothing burger.” On the other hand, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) called the memo “very troubling.” Instead of being a verbatim transcript of the 30-minute telephone call from a recording, the selective five-page summary that DDT released supposedly comes from notes and memories of officials in the Situation Room, and a cautionary note explains that a number of factors “can affect the accuracy of the record.” Readers can look at the summary and make their own decisions about the content.

David Nakamura wrote that DDT went from “America First” to a “me first”:

“At a gathering of world leaders in New York this week, President Trump decamped to one of his own properties, complained that the Nobel Peace Prize is rigged against him, feuded with a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist—and, on Wednesday, defended himself against the disclosure that he had asked a foreign leader to investigate a political rival…

“Trump repeatedly trashed Biden, suggesting it was the former vice president who had inappropriately pressured Ukrainian officials to help his son’s business dealings—despite evidence to the contrary.

“Meeting with Zelensky on Wednesday, Trump also faulted former president Barack Obama for allowing Russian-backed forces to invade and occupy the Crimea region of Ukraine. A day earlier, in his 37-minute address to world leaders in the United Nations’ distinctive green-marbled chambers, Trump made no mention of Russia’s malign behavior, including Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“’What we’re seeing in the [Ukraine] transcript is that he is clearly putting his own interests over the interests of the United States,’ said John Bellinger III, who served as a lawyer on the National Security Council under President George W. Bush. ‘There are so many things he could have talked about, such as Russian interference in Ukraine, but all Trump wants to talk about is investigating a political rival.’

“As [Zelensky] pressed him to visit the country, Trump reflected on his time as the owner of the Miss Universe pageant. ‘We had a winner from Ukraine,’ Trump said, ‘and we got to know the country very well in a lot of different ways.’”

The House needs to investigate DDT’s behavior because Barr refuses to do so from the DOJ.

In other parts of the world:

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 28 days to form a governing coalition of 61 parliament members. Netanyahu has only 55 at this time, and the question is whether he can pick up six from the other 65 who may be dug in against him. Without a position as prime minister, Netanyahu can be prosecuted for bribery, fraud, and corruption.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in New York City when the UK Supreme Court unanimously ruled that his suspension of Parliament until October 14 was illegal because his action frustrated its ability to “carry out its constitutional functions.” Parliament is back and furious because Johnson won’t follow the law to find a deal before the UK leaves the European Union. Johnson’s opposition immediately called on him to quit, but he promised that the UK will not be a part of the EU after Halloween. The court’s ruling shows that the executive does not have unfettered power. Last week, the EU rejected three proposals for alternative arrangements to Brexit, and it will consider a fourth this week.

Three world leaders: Israel’s Netanyahu is terrified, UK’s Johnson is bullying, and U.S.’s DDT is deflated.

September 23, 2019

Chaos from Israel, Iran

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 17, 2019

U.S. Trouble around the World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

June 9, 2019

Some World Elections Pointing to Nationalism

In talking about the rise of fascism across the world during the early 20th century, Noam Chomsky cited an article that he wrote soon after the fall of Barcelona in February 1939, ending the Spanish Republic. The year before, Nazi Germany annexed Austria and then gained Czechoslovakia at the Munich Conference. Revolution against fascist control had lost since 1936. At that time, many in the United States, including parts of the government, supported the Nazi rise before deciding that its spread might be unstoppable. The State Department and Council on Foreign Relations decided that the world be divided into Nazis controlling most of Eurasia and the U.S. controlling the Western Hemisphere, the former British Empire, and the Far East. At least until Russia drove back Nazis in 1942, the world was on the brink of being totally fascist.

The 21st century sees the spread of ultranationalists, early represented by Steve Bannon who has moved on to push his movement in Europe. The U.S. under the guidance of State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo, national security adviser John Bolton, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is helping Israel, now led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, solidify the reactionary nationalist movement. Threats of right-wing ultranationalists in Latin America are led by Brazil’s election of Jair Bolsonaro.

With the U.S. media largely focused on DDT, watching the rest of the world has been difficult. Yet after the re-election of far-right Netanyahu, other huge countries have moved to right-wing anti-immigration control. After Narendra Modi’s re-election for another five years, citizenship in India will be redefined with the publication of an updated National Registry of Citizens, a 1951 census to search for migrants from the neighboring, Muslim-majority East Pakistan and now Bangladesh. Conducted only in the northeastern state of Assam, the census requires proof that people were residents of India before 3/24/71, the day before Bangladesh declared its independence, to be considered citizens. Without documentation of lineage, people are declared illegal. Yet obtaining these documents is difficult because of poor record-keeping, illiteracy, or insufficient funds for the $750 to file a legal claim. Four million people believing themselves to be Indian are missing from the Registry. Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) makes the Registry a priority and will deport all illegal immigrants.

Modi’s first five years was notable for lynchings and other violence, and 1,000 Muslims were killed in anti-Islam riots under his leadership. In his victory speech, he announced that his 2019 election marked the official death of secularism in India. He claims to support the poor, but nine people in India have the combined assets of 500 million Indian residents. Like DDT, Modi is not only highly conservative but also has deep business interests and demonstrates hostility to journalistic media while embracing social media.

India’s re-election was disturbing but not the surprise about conservatives keeping control in Australia. Preventing climate change cost liberals votes from those dependent on mining and forestry. The liberal Labor Party also proposed income tax increase on households making more than $180,000 Australian ($124,000 in the U.S.) and hikes in capital gains tax while eliminating writing off investment property losses. Like the United States, Christian conservatives exploited liberal positions on secularism, anti-abortion, and homosexuality. https://www.devex.com/news/australia-s-election-and-its-impact-on-the-pacific-views-from-the-us-94970  It’s expected that the new leader, Scott Morrison, will likely take a hard line against China, affecting its relationship with Australia. Because of Morrison’s hard-line approach toward immigration, some asylum seekers are attempting suicide.

Although he was elected Israeli prime minister in April, Benjamin Netanyahu has been unable to form a governing right-wing coalition in the parliament, and his conservative Likud party succeeded in passing a bill that dissolves parliament and calls for a new election on September 17. A prime minister-designate has never before been able to get selected by the parliament. Netanyahu stays in power until the election while facing accusations of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust charges for taking gifts and giving favors for better press coverage. He wants a coalition of right-wing, ultranationalist and religious parties to change laws to override the Supreme Court and protect him from prosecution.  A demonstration of approximately 80,000 people protested his changing the law to grant himself immunity.

Elections for European Union representatives from 28 countries resulted in a more ambiguous conclusion than either India or Australia. Both conservatives and liberals are claiming some victory. One obvious outcome is that the center, losing over 80 seats, moved to either the left or the right. Liberal Democrats are up 40, Greens 20, and Nationalists 30. Marine Le Pen, who tried to take over France, is working with nationalist parties with Italy’s Matteo Salvini to get a majority from Germany, Austria, Denmark, and Finland. Far-right reps from Poland and Sweden are avoiding Salvini because of his support for Vladimir Putin; free-marketers from Germany and Denmark disagree with Le Pen’s opposition to “uncontrolled globalization.” Country by country results.

Instead of taking over Europe, hard right parties won where they already had support and kept their minority positions in other countries. Their numbers are still too small to be spoilers or kingmakers. France helped achieve the coalition of pro-EU, pro-market liberals—the parliament’s third-largest force. Social democrats and allies still thrive in Spain and Portugal where they lead the country’s governments. DDT and Brexit may have created enough fear to keep nationalists from taking over with the biggest turnout for the vote since 1994.

Some EU election results are positive. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his ministers before he could call an election to strengthen his party, after the scandal in which a minister offered election favors to a Russian investor. The center right Austrian People’s party won over one-third of the EU representatives; Social Democrats got 23.6 percent, and the neo-Nazi Freedom Party took 18.1 percent.

The Green Party placed second in Germany with almost 21 percent of the vote and gained in Finland, France, and Ireland, possibly because of the youth activists trying to slow climate change. The 71 seats in the EU Parliament are up almost 40 percent from the 52 Green seats five years ago.

The Scottish National party, with its position of staying in the EU, wiped out the progressive Labour Party and has three seats, half Scotland’s representatives.   

UK followed the polarization pattern in the EU elections: Conservatives moved to the Brexit party looking for a no-deal separation from the EU while Labour voters picked the Liberal Democrats. Most of the Brexit gains were in rural areas but made some progress in a few cities where Tories left for the Lib Dems. Brexit gained 28 seats with 15 more for the Lib Dems. Labour lost seven, Greens won seven (a gain of four), and Tories had only three seats.

Prime Minister Theresa May is due to leave her position on June 7 with her replacement determined in late July. With the EU elections finished, the British parliament will return to the torment of a Brexit approach.

With many other countries, except for Israel, settled in for at least a short while, the campaign for the 2020 presidential election continues with DDT ramping up his dishonest and vicious approach. His ruthless comments make the lying ads about John Kerry and Michael Dukakis look like a walk in the park. DDT came back from Japan where he tweeted negative agreements about former vice-president Joe Biden with dictator Kim Jong-Un of North Korea, and the first Democratic debate is in four weeks on June 26. For a sample of what’s ahead, check out Corey Lewandowski’s threatening strategy on the Fox network. As former GOP presidential candidate Evan McMullin, tweeted:

“This is truly a dangerous abuse of power. [AG Bill] Barr will selectively release sensitive information, as he did with Mueller’s report, to shape a favorable narrative for Trump and impede the intelligence community’s ability to collect intel on foreign threats that assist the president.”

DDT’s personal television network, Fox, will control the message for its watchers, and congressional Republicans are terrified of DDT. There will be no accountability for DDT. He has already accused a large number of people of “treason” for investigating a presidential campaign, a charge punishable by death. With DDT, anything goes.

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