Nel's New Day

September 16, 2018

Sexual Abuse: Religion Wants Silence

Pope Francis wants silence about the Catholic Church’s leaders sexually abusing members, but more information about the epidemic is pouring into the media. New York has issued subpoenas against the state’s eight dioceses, and New Jersey created a task force to investigate allegations of clergy sexually abusing minors and any attempts of the church to hide the abuse. In charge of the New York investigation, the state’s AG Barbara Dale Underwood also encouraged the state legislature to pass the Child Victims Act that would permit civil suits until victims are 50 years old and seek criminal charges against abusers until age 28. Pennsylvania prosecutors who recently concluded that 300 priests in the state had sexually abused over 1,000 children during the past 70 years. New York, New Mexico, Illinois, Nebraska, and Missouri have already started investigations or inquiries.

In West Virginia, Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, whose diocese covers the entire state, resigned after allegations of sexually harassing adults. Bransfield is a close associate of former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick who left his position after allegedly molesting an altar boy and coercing seminary students to sleep in his bed. McCarrick was elevated to cardinal despite warnings over many years.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington since 2006, told his parishioners that he is leaving because of poor judgment when he was bishop of Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania investigators named Wuerl over 200 times in its report about the systemic abuse of more than 1,000 children by over 300 priests when bishops and other church officials concealed crimes and protected predatory priests. Wuerl allowed an accused abuser to stay in his ministry and banned victims from speaking during a settlement agreement.

The bishop of Buffalo, Richard J. Malone, has thus far ignored calls for his resignation after an investigation from a local radio station revealed he kept priests in ministry who might be threats to children. When Malone pretended transparency and released the names of priests accused of abuse, he omitted dozens of names.

Four U.S. cardinals went to meet with Pope Francis to discuss the problems of Catholic leaders’ sexual assault. One, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, has been accused of knowing about a priest’s sexual abuse and allowed him to remain in his ministry. DiNardo had appointed the priest, arrested last week on charges of indecency with children, to a leadership role as episcopal vicar for Hispanics after he met with accusers at two separate times.

Knowledge about sex abuse by Catholic Church leaders has erupted around the world with revelations of abuse and cover-ups in Australia, Ireland, Belgium, France, Chile and other countries. A leaked report from Germany included information about 1,670 church workers—over four percent of the clergy—were involved in the abuse of 3,677 children over seven decades. Researchers said that many more cases probably existed because they were not allowed access to confidential records.

A Dutch newspaper found that 20 of 39 Dutch cardinals, bishops, and their auxiliaries are accused of covering up the sexual assault of children between 1945 and 2010, four of them accused of sexually abusing children. The report stated that the church destroyed files of accused clergy.

As states ponder dealing with Catholics abusing children, the evangelicals have decided that AG Jeff Sessions’ virulent anti-LGBTQ policies and “religious liberty” discrimination aren’t enough for their approval. Fundamentalist Christians are throwing him under the ever-growing bus because he recused himself from investigation into the Russian scandal after meeting with Russians during the campaign of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Jerry Falwell Jr., is calling on DDT to fire Sessions because Sessions “really is not on the president’s team, never was.” Never mind that Sessions was the first senator to endorse DDT when he looked like a loser, agreeing with DDT’s hardline immigration policies. To Falwell and other evangelicals, the only real leader is the serial liar who attacks women.

At the “state dinner” with evangelicals, DDT told them that Democrats will “overturn everything that we’ve done … quickly and violently” if they get elected and called the election “a referendum on your religion.” To evangelicals, VP Mike Pence, the real believer, is invisible because they want power, not religion.

Evangelicals are also calling for parents to shun their LGBTQ children. “Ex-lesbian” Assemblies of God pastor Janet Boynes published an article on Charisma News, a Christian website, urging parents to refuse to meet their children’s partners and cut the children out of their life. Her solution:

“As pastors, people look to us to take the lead on showing love and hospitality, embracing those who do not know Christ…. You are willing to throw God under the bus because this is your child or loved one. What does that say to God about where your heart is?”

Last November, Ralph Shortey, an anti-LGBTQ former state senator in Oklahoma who served as DDT’s state GOP chair, was charged with felony child prostitution, child sex trafficking, and possession of child pornography. The 35-year-old father of four girls resigned from the state legislature last March after he was found in a hotel room with a 17-year-old male. Both were naked. Shortey cited his Christian beliefs as the reason that he voted against a transgender “bathroom bill” and for other anti-LGBTQ bills including a measure allowing business owners to discriminate against LGBTQ people. He pled guilty to child sex trafficking and appeared in court last week, seeking leniency. In his 14 Craigslist ads, he sought a “boy,” offered sex with his wife, and requested group sex with strangers. On the message app Kik, some with usernames referencing child pornography, Shortey wanted interaction with children, listing his background as work as church bus driver and activities with the state YMCA Youth and Government programs and the state American Legion leadership week Boys State.

In Ohio, Wesley Goodman, a GOP first-term representative and proponent of “natural behavior,” resigned the week before Shortey’s fall after Goodman engaged in sexual activity with a male visitor in his legislative office. During his campaign years earlier, a father had gone to Tony Perkins, head of the conservative Family Research Council, to complain after Goodman sexually fondled his son. Perkins promised action but did nothing, and Goodman won his next election because evangelicals protected the sexual predator.

Another anti-LGBTQ “Christian” minister has resigned because of sexual misconduct and “undesired physical displays of affection.” Father Eric Dudley, married and father of three, left the Tallahassee St. Peter’s Anglican Church after complaints followed by an inquiry by senior priests. Dudley had left St. John’s Episcopal Church after ten years because of the Episcopalians’ pro-LGBTQ position and founded a church associated with the Anglican Church of Uganda. He called marriage equality a “well-oiled political scheme involving the media and Hollywood” that caused people to accept bisexuality, polyamory, and identification as “any gender.”

The Mormons also failed to refer cases of sex abuse allegations after investigating missionaries and a stake president. The leaked document read, “The missionary department is reluctant to send this elder home where he may face prosecution for a felony.” When a missionary accused of sexually abusing a child in a foreign country was sent back to the U.S., the Mormon leadership “determined no action would be taken.”

These sexual predators are only a few of the people who take the moral high ground in their war to make the United States a theocracy while abusing others.

Dylan Charles writes:

“Of the world’s two major religions, one is engaged in a generations long campaign of torture and murder of non-believers, and the other is always mired in sex scandals involving child rape, pedophilia, molestation and high level cover ups.”

These authoritarian religions control behavior from fear, forcing people to follow the leaders without doubt, without evidence. These rigid patterns eliminate the opportunity for open minds and education because dogmatic religious leaders don’t permit questioning. The superiority of conservative religious leaders—usually males—is rapidly taking over the United States. The leadership in the federal government, consumed by making more money, will do anything to get their own way—cheat, lie, abuse, cover up wrong doings. The result is a class society of haves and have nots in which people constantly experience more and more abuse—physical, sexual, and emotional.

September 1, 2018

DDT: Week 84 – A Few of His Problems

As the Republicans work to support Russia, they are joining Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in his attack on FBI agent Bruce Ohr. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) traveled to London to dig up dirt on both Ohr and Christopher Steel, the British former agent who wrote a dossier on DDT, but officials at MI6, MI5, and GCHQ wouldn’t talk with him. Nunes finally managed a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May’s deputy national security advisor, Madeline Alessandri. Ohr has been instrumental in fighting Russian organized crime for almost three decades, perhaps the reason that DDT wants to get rid of him because Ohr raised concerns about oligarch Oleg Deripaska named in contacts between DDT’s associates and Russia.

DDT might have been better off leaving Ohr alone. When Congress required Ohr to testify, he said that he learned from Christopher Steele that “Russian intelligence believed it had Donald Trump ‘over a barrel.’” DDT continues to claim that the Steele dossier was responsible for the FBI investigation into his Russian problem, but memos from both the GOP and Dems prove that the FBI had started the investigation earlier about Russian contacts of former DDT campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos before they had the Steele dossier. Ohr was not the original source of information. Ohr testified that DDT campaign aide Carter Page had met with more senior Russians official that Page admitted. DOJ officials Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein had moved him from director of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force, according to Ohr, because it concerned White House meetings and interactions.

The Republicans who wanted to surveil everyone in the United States are now criticizing Ohr because of his surveillance tactics.

Democratic members of the House are asking committee chairs to review how GOP representatives got correspondence between Ohr and Steele and why they failed to go through appropriate channels to introduce the emails, notes, and text messages into the official record before reading them out loud in the hearing. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said that this information appears to have been cherrypicked by Devin Nunes (R-CA), excluding the complete correspondence. Nadler and Cummings also want “an immediate bipartisan meeting” with the DOJ to review “whether any ongoing investigations or human sources may have been compromised.”

Nunes is only one of many prominent Republicans to use the conspiracy-laden Big League Politics website using Q-Anon false theories for fundraising, some of the candidates violating campaign finance law. The website is being used to harass innocent small business by accusing them of operating child-sex trafficking rings, like the “Pizzagate” conspiracy against Hillary Clinton and a Washington, D.C. restaurant. Recent vicious targets include the Portland (OR) beloved Voodoo Doughnut. Respondents have posted maps of the chain’s locations with Portland’s plumbing locations, local schools, public transit, and airports to suggest ways that children are smuggled in and out of the stores. One member wrote, “Small submarines arent (sic) out of the realm of possibility.” The police say that they cannot do anything about the persecution, some of it generated by a former Breitbart News reporter.

Natasha Bertrand has tied together the threads of DDT’s targeted FBI and DOJ officials in his relentless attacks on people he depicts as dishonest “Democrats.” He depicts Ohr, Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe, and others who have had extensive experience in investigating money laundering and organized crime, especially connected to Russia. DDT’s big fear is that Robert Mueller’s team is expert in finding fraud, racketeering, money laundering, and other financial crimes. The article is well-worth a read, especially to see DDT’s connections to the crimes.

As Russia dogs DDT’s heels, he faces the week-long honoring of his nemesis, former Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). After his death at the age of 81, McCain got his final wishes—DDT did not attend his funeral and two former presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, gave eulogies. DDT tried to minimize McCain’s death with the petty act of lowering the flag for only a day, but public backlash forced him to raise it again. He noticeably ignored his aides who wanted him to send out a statement about McCain being a hero while he continued his vendetta against the man who spent over five years in a Vietnam prison camp while he dodged the draft with four deferments and a bout of bone spurs. On the campaign trail, DDT called McCain a loser because he was imprisoned during the Vietnam War. “I like people that weren’t captured,” DDT said. He started his criticism of McCain in 1999 as this video shows.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders may be collateral damage from McCain’s death. DDT supposedly joked that she was “having a nervous breakdown” because of the way she looked at him when he refused to answer whether McCain would have been a better president than President Obama. “I don’t want to comment on it,” DDT said. “I have a very strong opinion.” He left town for a campaign rally in Indiana before McCain’s body arrived in Washington, D.C. for a memorial service and then went to his Virginia resort to play golf during McCain’s funeral in Washington, D.C. today.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) may be breaking up with DDT, McCain’s replacement after McCain’s illness became terminal, because Graham criticized DDT’s handling of his former friend’s death. Graham said:

“It bothers me greatly when the president says things about John McCain. It pisses me off to no end, and I let the president know it, And the way he handled the passing of John is just — it was disturbing.”

Graham did invite DDT’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka and Jared, to the funeral.

McCain’s death hasn’t slowed down Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia and DDT. Paul Manafort’s next trial, postponed for a week until September 24, follows rumors of a possible plea deal for the second set of charges before he was convicted last week, but the two sides couldn’t work out a deal. Mueller has also received more time to decide whether to retry Manafort on the ten charges from the last trial after one person created a hung jury on these charges.

W. Samuel Patten, a Washington consultant who advised a Ukrainian political party and worked with a co-defendant of Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty to failing to register as a foreign lobbyist while working on behalf of a Ukrainian political party. Patten’s partner, Konstantin Kilimnik, Patten’s partner and former Manafort employee, has been indicted for witness tampering in Manafort’s case and links to Russian intelligence. Patten also worked at the Oregon office of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Group, to target voters in the 2014 general election. As part of his plea, Patten admitted that he steered an illegal foreign donation to DDT’s inauguration from a Ukrainian businessman.

DDT’s latest comment about Sessions, who he has tried to separate from his Senate allies with incessant complaints, is that he won’t fire him until after the general election, perhaps to avoid the appearance of obstruction of justice. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said, “My sense is the fix is in,” but  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) still isn’t convinced, maybe worrying about his ability to get another AG confirmed. Donors are also complaining about Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, saying, “They haven’t represented … us well.”

DDT’s shiniest new distraction from his problems comes from his promise of a new trade deal with Mexico to replace NAFTA. The kickoff was a bit awkward when technology failed him in his conference call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto by and at his signoff when he told the president that “a hug from you would be very nice.” DDT is rushing the deal because progressive president-elect of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, takes over December 1. The clock is ticking, but the two-nation agreement may not be able to replace a three-nation trade pact, and Congress must agree.

Canada has been more reluctant, especially after DDT disparaged Canada and threatened the country with 25 percent tariffs on cars and auto parts exported from the U.S. The U.S. may be the loser because Canada is the #1 destination for U.S. products shipped abroad and the trade with Canada supports over 8 million U.S. jobs, many of them in the new “red” states. Canada also is unique because the U.S. doesn’t have a trade deficit with Canada. If the initial deal doesn’t include Canada, the U.S. will have trouble including the country later.

Most of the suggested pieces of DDT’s deal come from either NAFTA or the Trans Pacific Pipeline, but the name is new so that DDT can claim it as his own. He’ll just have to hope that people don’t see the drastic increases in prices from the deal and his tariffs if he wants to use it for getting people to vote for Republicans.

More DDT disasters later.

August 24, 2018

DDT: Week 83 – Treading Water

Last Tuesday was a day of eights—Michael Cohen, the fixer for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), pleaded guilty to eight counts, and Paul Manafort, DDT’s former campaign manager, was found guilty of eight counts. Covers from two major U.S. publications show DDT’s troubles, but the next few weeks may get worse.

Cohen’s “unnamed candidate” is obviously DDT regarding payments to Stormy Daniels “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office” and Karen McDougal “under direction of the same candidate.” The fixer said that “I participated in this conduct for the principal purpose” of influencing an election. He claimed that DDT told him to pay two women in violation of campaign finance laws to keep them from going public about DDT’s affairs with them. Cohen’s investigation has been referred to New York’s Southern District; Lanny Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, tweeted:

“Today [Cohen] stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election.  If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?”

The Trump Organization may also be in trouble after authorizing $420,000 in these payments with false invoices from Cohen concealing the purpose of the payments. An executive ordered the fees to Cohen to be described as legal expenses using the words “retainer for the month of January and February 2017.” The Manhattan D.A. is also looking into criminal charges for the Trump Organization because of Cohen’s payments and possible tax evasion by Cohen. He was also paid $50,000 for “tech services” six months after he was talking to Russians in Prague, but this may have nothing to do with any hacking. Falsifying business records becomes a felony if done to commit or conceal another crime. DDT can pardon people convicted of federal charges but not those who lose in non-federal courts. The New York State AG’s office is opening a criminal investigation into possibilities that Cohen violated state law tax.

Cohen’s plea reveals that David Pecker, head of the National Enquirer parent company American Media and DDT’s close friend, “offered to help deal with negative stories about [DDT’s] relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the [2016] campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided.” Stories were locked in a safe. The prosecution granted Pecker immunity for testifying. The First Amendment protecting journalism probably won’t be a successful argument against the Enquirer because it failed to operate in a “legitimate press function” by promoting DDT and destroying his opponents, especially Hillary Clinton, frequently with false stories. Federal prosecutors believed the publication “acted more as a political supporter than as a news organization.”

Also granted immunity is Allen Weisselberg, Trump Organization CFO who helped reimburse the $420,000 for Michael Cohen. Weisselberg began working for DDT’s father in the 1970s and continued on with DDT, also serving as treasurer of the Donald J. Trump Foundation which is also in court for fraud. He also handled all DDT’s personal finances.

On the same day as Cohen’s pleading, a jury found Paul Manafort guilty of eight charges; one holdout juror stopped guilty rulings on the other ten despite the paper trail that the other jurors showed her. He was found guilty of five tax fraud charges, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts, and two counts of bank fraud. Manafort’s next trial in a Washington, D.C. federal court includes more criminal charges such as failure to register his foreign lobbying and money laundering conspiracy related to the same Ukrainian political work central to the concluded case. At 69, he faces up to 80 years in prison.

After DDT denied that he considered a pardon for Manafort, Rudy Giuliani said that he talked about such a pardon with DDT after the ones for Scooter Libby and Dinesh D’Souza. Mueller is investigating these pardons as a possible obstruction of justice; pardoning Manafort could add to that evidence.

Sentencing for former national security advisor Michael Flynn has been pushed forward from August 24 to September 17.

GOP legislators are mum on the Manafort/Cohen revelations, but highly conservative Bret Stephens tweeted that DDT is guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”  DDT ranted against Cohen and then claimed that his crime was no more than Barack Obama’s campaign violations—routine paperwork without intent for wrongdoing that included incorrect dates, not quickly returning donations exceeding campaign limits, and missing filing deadlines during his campaign’s final weeks. Cohen’s crimes carry a maximum prison time of 65 years.

DDT wants to make “flipping” for testimony illegal, perhaps because of the people who have flipped on him—Cohen, Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, Dylan Howard, Omarosa Manigault Newman, George Papadoulous, Pecker, and Weisselberg.

A U.S. judge dismissed a libel case from three Russian oligarchs against Christopher Steele, author of the infamous Steele dossier about the Russian scandal, about their claim that Steele and his firm had defamed them. A Steele memo reported that the oligarchs, Alfa Group businessmen, gave Vladimir Putin “informal advice” on foreign policy, especially about the U.S., and concerns the issue of Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election. One of the oligarchs, German Khan, is the father-in-law of Alex van der Zwaan, the first person sentenced to prison in Robert Mueller’s Russian investigation.

People who claim that the Russian investigation has accomplished nothing in the past year should check the statistics: one person convicted, six people pleading guilty, 26 people charged, and 23 people interviewed (seven in White House, seven in government, three from Russia, and six others). DDT claims that it’s a “witch hunt”: his “witches” thus far convicted include his national security advisor, his personal lawyer, his campaign manager, his deputy campaign manager, and his foreign policy aide. Legal leaders of ethics groups wrote:

“The trial evidence included Mr. Manafort’s close ties to pro-Russia forces and his desperate financial straits as he ‘volunteered’ his time for the next president. The trial revealed how willing Mr. Manafort was to corruptly leverage his position of influence over Mr. Trump during the campaign for his own personal benefit. He offered briefings to a pro-Russia Ukrainian oligarch and dangled a position in the Trump administration in front of a banker who provided him a loan for which he would not otherwise have qualified….

“This is no “witch hunt.” It instead is one of the most successful special counsel investigations in history.”

The White House counsel, Don McGahn, testified to Mueller’s investigation for 30 hours, and neither DDT nor his lawyers know what McGahn said. In a rant against a New York Times story, DDT tweeted that he gave permission to McGahn to testify and “I have nothing to hide.” Yet DDT has not testified for the investigation or released his tax returns.

DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani (right) melted down on Meet the Press when he repeatedly told Chuck Todd that “truth isn’t truth,” a statement that went viral. DDT and his lawyers declare that McGahn said nothing that could create problems for DDT, but speculators wonder if McGahn is protecting himself. McGahn has clearly stated that he protects the presidency, not the person in that position, although DDT looks on him as his personal lawyer. Last fall, a reporter overheard DDT layers John Dodd and Ty Cobb criticizing McGahn, information that led him to think that he would be blamed for DDT’s wrongdoing.

Giuliani may be safety ensconced on a DDT golf course in Scotland and garbed in DDT advertising, but he’s spreading the word than any move to impeach DDT would cause a revolution in the U.S. That was after DDT announced on Fox that impeachment would cause the stock market to crash and “everybody would be very poor.”

Early last week, DDT compared the investigation to McCarthyism. Roy Cohn, the lawyer who helped Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-WI) accuse people of treason without evidence, worked for DDT for 12 years. With Cohn as his mentor, DDT learned how to be a demagogue, to rule by threats and fear.

For almost a year, DDT didn’t mention Robert Mueller’s name, but a few months ago, he began his offensive comments against Mueller and his team, calling them all Democrats although Mueller is a conservative Republican. As he described Mueller “disgraced and discredited” and his team “thugs,” approval of the investigation dropped, but the latest Fox poll shows that DDT’s strategy no longer works. Approval of Mueller’s investigation is 59 percent from the conservative network, up from 48 percent in July—almost a 25 percent increase. Forty percent think that the investigation will find DDT’s criminal or impeachable offenses, up 5 points.

Leading Republicans have a solution for the Russian scandal, convictions, plea deals, indictments, etc.—shut down the investigation and get rid of AG Jeff Sessions. Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) suddenly found time for hearings if DDT appoints a new AG, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) decided that Sessions might not be “qualified for the job [of AG]” after vigorously defending him for that position and ignored Sessions’ lying under oath in the hearings. One year ago, Graham told DDT that “there will be holy hell to pay” if he fires AG Jeff Sessions and dared DDT to “accept the consequences” if he made such a move. Now, after DDT’s most recent criticisms of Sessions, Graham recommends firing Sessions who has said that the DOJ “will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.” Maybe Graham’s turn-around comes from all the games of golf he plays with DDT.

August 19, 2018

DOJ Protects Discrimination, Sexual Assault by Christians

Hypocritical evangelist Franklin Graham brought his religion that supports sexual assault and serial lying to Oregon in an attack on Gov. Kate Brown in an address to 12,000 people in Canby (OR). Because Brown practices yoga, an exercise used for health and relaxation, Graham accused her of not being a Christian and called on the crowd to pray for her to “come to know your son Jesus Christ as her lord and savior.” Graham’s speech, “Sodom and Gomorrah,” claimed that “secularism and communism are one and the same.”

[According to Christian thought, the sins of Sodom are gang rape, violence, inhospitality, pride, arrogance, inhospitality, and failure to help the poor and needy—not exercise. Note Matthew 6:1 – “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”]

Following Graham’s determination to make the United States a mandated Christian nation, AG Jeff Sessions has created a “Religious Liberty Task Force” to enforce his mandate that federal agencies take the broadest possible interpretation of Christian “liberty,” which he calls “religious liberty.” Sessions’ action prevents the IRS from removing the tax-exempt status of churches that actively promote political candidates, prohibited by law. Grants from any agency for sex education and reproductive care will require an abstinence-only approach, workers can be denied insurance for contraception, and employers can hire only Christians.

As the number of Christians in the United States shrinks, their rights increase through their Supreme Court wins in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014) and Trinity Lutheran v. Comer (2017), the latter forcing taxpayers to give funds to Christian churches. Last May, Sessions created a new office to watch for “any failures of the executive branch to comply with religious liberty protections under law.” In July, he tried to use the bible, Romans 13, as justification for his cruelty in separating immigrant children from their families. Sessions personal religious group, the United Methodist Church, formally censured him, including his misrepresentation of the Christian faith.

Sessions’ speech announcing his new task force emphasized the need to eradicate secularism, calling it a “dangerous movement.” He claimed that “courts have held that morality cannot be a basis for law” and people can label religious groups as a “hate group,” possibly referring to the Southern Poverty Law Center designation of the Christian Family Research Council that constantly lies about and attacks LGBTQ people and Muslims while it supports white nationalists. Sessions also reassured the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) that he believes that they are not a hate group for their hate attacks against LGBTQ people and claimed that the DOJ does not “partner with any groups that discriminate.”

Rev. Dr. Barber said:

“The rationale that is used to say businesses ought to be able to deny an LGBT person, is the same rationale that segregationists used.”

In his announcement speech for his task force, at the DOJ “Religious Liberty Summit,” Sessions said, among other falsehoods,“We’ve seen nuns ordered to buy contraceptives.” Nuns had been required to sign a form refusing to include contraceptives in insurance for employees. Other accusations concerned a confirmation question to HUD Secretary Ben Carson about supporting LGBTQ rights and questions to judicial nominee Wendy Vitter about her anti-reproductive rights activism. Sessions also referred to “the ordeal faced so bravely by Jack Phillips,” whose case refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay couple was decided by the Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission this past June. (Phillips may be back; he has now refused to serve a transgender woman.)

Another speaker at the announcement, Catholic Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, led the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to promote discrimination against LGBTQ workers and same-gender couples who want to legally marry. Kurtz advocated for state-funded adoption agencies’ permission to reject prospective LGBTQ parents.

Sessions and Kurtz want to put everyone in the United States under control of Christian religion including the Catholic Church that protected over 300 leaders sexually abusing over 1,000 victims during the past 70 years— just in one state. If a secular institution were in charge, the sexual abusers “would have been arrested under the RICO federal laws [and] considered organized crime,” according to Pennsylvania State Rep. Mark Rozzi. Instead, the Catholic Conference spent millions of dollars to block any legislation to protect future victims and still continues to fight laws to prevent further victimization. Sessions’ actions in his leadership of the DOJ helps protect the sexual abusers in any church.

How the Church and law officials protected sexual abusers, according to the grand jury:

  • Those with information about sexual abusers were told, “Never say ‘rape’; say ‘inappropriate contact’ or ‘boundary issues.'”
  • Fellow clergy members who investigated were ordered  to “ask inadequate questions and then make credibility determinations” about their colleagues, with whom they lived and worked.
  • Clergy members were sent to church-run psychiatric treatment facilities “for an appearance of integrity.”
  • A priest’s removal was explained as his being “sick” or having “nervous exhaustion.”
  • Priests who raped children were still provided with housing and living expenses.
  • If communities learned about the priests’ abuses, the clergy stayed in the priesthood but were moved new to locations where no one knew about their crimes.
  • Child sex abuse was not treated as a crime.
  • Law enforcement who learned about the abuses “simply deferred to church officials.”

Stories about protected crimes committed by Catholic priests that came out from the grand jury are horrifying:  

  • “A priest raped a girl, got her pregnant, and arranged an abortion. The bishop expressed his feelings in a letter—[to the priest]: ‘This is a very difficult time in your life, and I realize how upset you are. I too share your grief.’” The priest remained in his position.
  • The bishop in the Diocese of Erie heard a priest confess to anal and oral rape “of at least 15 boys, as young as seven years old” before he called the priest “a person of candor and sincerity,” and congratulated him on “the progress he has made” in handling his “addiction.”
  • In the Diocese of Harrisburg, a priest abusing five sisters in one family “collected samples of the girls’ urine, pubic hair, and menstrual blood,” but the diocese “remained unwilling” to confront the priest after finding his “collection.
  • The Diocese of Pittsburgh dismissed a priest’s abuse because he said he was “literally seduced” by a 15-year-old boy despite his admitting to “sado-masochistic” activities with several boys; the diocese said that the sado-masochism was only “mild” and at least the priest was not “psychotic.”
  • A boy was forced to stand naked, posing like Christ on the cross, while priests took pictures and added them to a collection of child pornography that they produced and distributed on the church campus.

As horrific as these revelations are, sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has been known for decades—perhaps even centuries. And Catholics are not alone: the evangelical Christian churches, those now running the United States, also conceal their sexual abuse, largely with impunity. High-profile leaders such as Paige Patterson and Bill Hybels fell from their pedestals, but a decentralized church structure ignores sexual abuse. Boz Tchividjian, Billy Graham’s grandson said, “Sexual abuse is the most underreported thing—both in and outside the church—that exists.” A former Florida assistant state attorney, he saw dozens of sexual assault victims unprotected by church leadership and church constituents who abused members of their flock.

Tchividjian said that sexual abuse in evangelical churches is worse than that in the Catholic Church, adding that the Christian mission field is a “magnet” for sexual abusers. Columnist Dan Savage found over 100 instances of youth pastors who, between 2008 and 2016, were accused of, arrested for, or convicted of sexually abusing minors in a religious setting. The tip of the iceberg, these cases are just those publicized. Wade Mullen, director of the M.Div. program at Capital Seminary & Graduate School, found 192 cases in 2016 and 2017 of leaders in an influential church or evangelical institution charged with sex crimes involving a minor, including rape, molestation, battery and child pornography —and these didn’t include those committed by other than leaders or against adults and those who weren’t charged.

Of 166 people at Bob Jones University who reported being victims of sexual abuse, the school discouraged half of them from going to the police, and one BJU official told a victim who reporting sexual abuse by his grandfather that he “tore your family apart” and “you love yourself more than you love God.”

Those who claim that sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is in the past refuse to see how religious leaders block any laws against sexual abuse in Christian churches, both Catholic and Protestant. While Sessions promotes discrimination by Christians against all others, he fails to protect victims of sexual assault,many in the name of Christianity. Evangelicals who rant against consenting same-gender relationships and same-gender couples trying to adopt unwanted children should clean their own house before attacking others–but they won’t. It’s all a matter of power over others.

July 9, 2018

New SCOTUS Justice Nominee, Continuing Lawsuits

The suspense is over, and the work begins. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has nominated Brett Kavanaugh, anti-abortion activist, as his choice for a Supreme Court Justice, perhaps because the sitting judge on the D.C. Circuit Court believes that a sitting president should not be indicted. I will write more about him later. In the meantime, U.S. courts keep chewing away at federal injustices:

The U.S. Supreme Court, soon to be reconfigured to the right, delivered a final statement for 2018 on gerrymandering when it kept the redrawn legislative districts by returning the case to a North Carolina court that tried to reduce racial gerrymandering. Democrats are the majority voting bloc in the state, but the GOP controls ten of the 13 seats in the House of Representatives and a veto-proof majority in the General Assembly. The Supreme Court could still hear the case again if an appeal from Republicans returns the issue to the higher court. Legislators are also trying to move the court to the right by increasing the number of judges. But they can’t finish this process by the fall election—I hope!

Today DDT lost another round in the separation of children and families when a judge refused long-term detention of migrant families except in cases when parents are detained on criminal charges. Judge Molly M. Gee said the administration’s attempt to change the 1997 Flores agreement requiring the release of children within 20 days was “a cynical attempt” to shift immigration policymaking to the courts in the wake of “over 20 years of congressional inaction and ill-considered executive action that have led to the current stalemate.” In another federal case, 54 migrants under the age of six, scattered from California to New York, will be secretly returned to their parents tomorrow, half the number who were removed from their parents. Tomorrow is the court’s deadline for all the youngest migrants to be returned to their parents. The court has mandated that the remainder of children over five years old, perhaps 2,900, must be reunited by July 27.

The DOJ dropped charges against the last 38 protesters of the 200 arrested at the inauguration of DDT. Prosecutors managed to get one guilty plea to a felony and another 20 to misdemeanors in 18 months after turning the lives of hundreds of people upside down.

A federal judge has ruled against a Tennessee law that suspends or revokes driver’s licenses of people too poor to pay court costs or traffic fines because the law violates constitutional due process and equal protection clauses. The ruling does not affect other states, but it sets a precedent for other similar rulings. Over four million drivers have lost their licenses for failure to pay these charges in only five states—Texas, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee.

A judge in the Southern District of New York ruled that the lawsuit opposing the citizenship question in the 2020 census can go forward amid “strong” evidence DDT acted in bad faith. Also granted was the request for discovery that will bring to light the background for this decision. Judge Barbara Underwood wrote:

“By demanding the citizenship status of each resident, the Trump administration is breaking with decades of policy and potentially causing a major undercount that would threaten billions in federal funds and New York’s fair representation in Congress and the Electoral College.”

ICE cannot systematically detain migrants fleeing persecution from their home countries, according to a judge in the Federal District Court of D.C. who pointed out that the U.S. government requires these applicants to be freed when appropriate. Under DDT, parole rates have gone from over 90 percent to “nearly zero.” Judge James Boasberg has ordered individualized reviews for all asylum seekers before denying parole in a case affecting over 1,000 asylum seekers denied parole in Detroit, El Paso, Los Angeles, Newark, and Philadelphia. ICE has held one of the plaintiffs for over 18 months after he fled Haiti and passed his credible fear interview and then a judge granted him asylum in April 2017.

A ballot initiative already passing review for the fall ballot by the Michigan Court of Appeals will go to the state’s Supreme Court. A Republican and business-backed group are challenging the initiative to create an independent commission to draw legislative districts with advice of consultants and public hearings. Gerrymandering in Michigan, as in a majority of other states, has caused Republicans to take over state legislatures despite a majority of Democrat voters in some states.

A federal judge blocked Kentucky’s Medicaid work requirements because they did not consider whether these would violate the provision of health care to the most vulnerable people. The disagreement comes from whether the requirement furthers the program’s goals. Up to 95,000 people could lose Medicaid coverage within five years with these requirements. Kentucky was the first state to create these work requirements, and three other states—Indiana, Arkansas, and New Hampshire—had received federal approval. Seven other states have submitted proposals.

Gov. Matt Bevin retaliated against people on Medicaid by cutting Medicaid dental and vision benefits to almost 500,000 people, some of them children. In Kentucky, Medicaid covers about 1.4 million people, almost half of them children. Federal funding provides for 80 percent of the $11 billion dollars for the program. Bevins’ order may violate the judge’s ruling about Medicaid.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been named as a possible witness in the federal corruption trial of an Alabama coal executive and two politically connected attorneys in Alabama. The case is about an alleged conspiracy to bribe a state legislator to limit the EPA’s cleaning up a Superfund site. The legislator, Oliver Robinson, has already pled guilty to taking bribes from Drummond Coal that were facilitated by the two attorneys at a major Birmingham law firm. Other witnesses include several state legislators as well as Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), recently returned from a PR trip to Russia, and Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL). As a senator, Sessions tried to intervene with the EPA to stop the cleanup at the Superfund site after conferring with the Drummond lawyers; the law firm and coal company were Sessions second- and third-largest contributors to his senate campaign, a great deal after Sessions intervened. The DOJ has been overseeing the case while Sessions is AG.

After a number of losses in court, including being sent to take remedial law classes, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will no longer represent himself in court during his appeal for contempt in court and a ruling of unconstitutional for requiring people to show proof of citizenship in voter registration. Kobach’s office will be lead counsel. Furious because he lost a straw vote to gubernatorial competitor Gov. Jeff Colyer, Kobach accused his opponent of voter fraud by paying 106 people to vote.

A federal judge issued an injunction against a 2015 Arkansas law that bans abortion pills. Earlier the U.S. Supreme Court had refused to hear a case against the law. After Planned Parenthood presented new evidence, the judge indicated that it may prevail in the case. A federal judge also blocked Indiana’s new requirement that medical providers report patient information to the state after treating women for complications from abortions.

Last week, people celebrated the separation of the United States from the reign of George III. In another eight years, the U.S.—if it still exists—will celebrate the 250th anniversary of this document. Until then, consider the similarity between the actions of George III and DDT:

  • DDT ignores laws and court decisions he doesn’t like—anti-nepotism, Russia sanctions, emoluments clause, the Affordable Care Act—the list goes on.
  • DDT blocks laws in the Congress, such as ones about immigration, if he disapproves.
  • DDT wants to be a dictator like China’s Xi Jinping, while a majority of Republicans want to postpone the next presidential election.
  • DDT demonizes immigrants with extreme punishment. Consider the Declaration’s complaint about George III: “he has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither….”
  • DDT tries to prevent a legal investigation into ties between Russia and his campaign through attempts to weaken U.S. confidence in the FBI, the intelligence services, and the justice system as a whole.
  • DDT “has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”
  • DDT has ordered “Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures” by sending National Guard troops to the border with Mexico.
  • DDT is stopping “Trade with all parts of the world” and “imposing Taxes on us without our Consent” with tariffs and alienation of allies.
  • DDT “has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people” through expanding offshore drilling, risking wildlife and oceans, and destroying economies of states bordering oceans.
  • George III also suffered from a mental illness.

DDT has just nominated a Supreme Court justice while he is being investigated not only for his involvement in Russian election meddling but also for illegal payoffs to women with whom he had affairs, defamation, and his illegal activities with his personal charitable foundation. He might also be charged, both civilly and criminally, with perjury by signing at least four annual federal tax returns swearing that the organization wasn’t used for political and/or business purposes although evidence shows that he lied. Yet DDT thinks he’s above the law, and his new Supreme Court justice may agree with him.

June 17, 2018

Father’s Day ‘Celebration,’ Separating Children from Parents

An undocumented Honduran women was handcuffed after she protested against federal agents tearing her baby away while she was breastfeeding. That baby was one of 2,000 children removed from people crossing the border since AG Jeff Sessions declared his “zero tolerance” policy, even if immigrants legally entered asking for asylum. Conservatives continually claim that families should be expected to be separated because they are “breaking the law.” Crossing  the border for the first time is a misdemeanor—as are traffic violations, disturbing the peace, petty thefts, and other legal violations that do not lead to prison.

Today is Father’s Day, celebrating fatherhood and the influence of fathers in society. AG Jeff Sessions, a father of three and self-identified Christian, uses a biblical verse to defend his policy of tearing all children from their parents at the border, even if families seek asylum. He quotes Romans 13, “that God has ordained the government for his purposes.” John Fea, professor of American history at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, said:

“There are two dominant places in American history when Romans 13 is invoked. One is during the American Revolution [when] it was invoked by loyalists, those who opposed the American Revolution. [The other] is in the 1840s and 1850s, when Romans 13 is invoked by defenders of the South or defenders of slavery to ward off abolitionists who believed that slavery is wrong.”

Sessions appealed to “church friends” to support him. They aren’t. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, said:

“Overwhelmingly, Scripture causes families to be kept together. Overwhelmingly Scripture causes us to defend families. As Evangelicals, we have a doctrine to be a pro-family-values people, you know. The Bible calls us to be pro-family, and I personally find it deeply lamentable that we are separating children from their parents at the border or anywhere.”

The Vatican tweeted a quote from Deuteronomy 10:18-19:

“The Bible teaches that God ‘loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.’”

The leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops strongly condemned DDT’s immigration policies as immoral. One bishop suggested that Catholics who help carry out the Justice Department’s policies should be denied Communions because they violate their faith.

Even white evangelicals, who defended Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) for his other transgressions including pride in grabbing p**sy, are appalled at his immigration policy. Far-right Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, called the policy “disgraceful” and said that he doesn’t “support that one bit.” (He did try to exonerate DDT by blaming politicians during the past three decades “that have allowed this to escalate.” The conservative evangelical Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution maintaining “the priority of family unity,” securing the border “and providing a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants living in the country.” The resolution also stated “that any form of nativism, mistreatment, or exploitation is inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

VP Mike Pence, who spoke at the Southern Baptist Convention, was not universally welcomed because of his support for separating families. North Carolina Pastor J.D. Greear called for an “identity is in the gospel” in the first controversy since conservative evangelicals’ objections to Richard Nixon.

Over two dozen of the largest religious groups in the U.S. ask DDT to eliminate its policy separating all children from parents at the border.

Facts about the current separation of children and parents:

  • Border Patrol agents lie to families about reasons for and length of separation. Parents are told that children are taken briefly for questioning or baths. Then women are told that they will “never see their children again.”
  • First-time border crossers probably won’t do prison time and are released after a few weeks in jail awaiting trial. At the trial, parents are told that pleading guilty gives them the best chance of seeing their children.
  • Children separated from their parents are classified “unaccompanied alien children,” a designation for those under 18 years old with no adult relative arriving with them. This classification puts them in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement and kept for days or weeks while ORR looks for a relative in the U.S. or releases them to labor traffickers. The DOJ does not attempt to reunite families and has no system to bring families together.
  • With 11,000 children being held, ORR facilities were 95 percent full by June 7. The government is adding tent cities in 100+ degrees for more unaccompanied children.
  • DOJ claims that the zero-tolerance, child-removal policy is working, but it has no evidence to support the statement.

MVM, one of the private contractors making tens of millions off the illegal housing of children separated from their parents has a record of abusing minorities and possessing unauthorized weapons and explosives. Another contractor, General Dynamics, makes billions of dollars off taxpayers despite its $280.3 million in penalties for 23 misconduct cases since 1995.

Federal courts have ruled that using family separation for “deterrence” is illegal, but the DOJ ignores these rulings. The ACLU sued to force the government to reunited families after parents have been sentenced. The judge refused to throw out the government’s request to not hear the case, stating that allegations, if true, are unconstitutional by violating family integrity, part of the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of “liberty” without due process of law.

According to medical research, the separation of children from their parents causes “toxic stress” that disrupts brain development and results in developmental delays in motor function and speech, worse in younger children. The separated children are more likely to have life-long health problems, depression, and multiple behavioral changes. The fear of families in the U.S. being separated leads to refusal to get health care or help for legal issues. Friends of children in immigrant families are beginning to suffer from similar syndromes. About 4,600 mental-health professionals and 90 organizations have asked DDT to halt the separation policy.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren explained the reason for a Senate bill called Keep Families Together:

“Kids locked up like animals in cages made of fencing and wire. Others huddled together on cold metal benches and cement floor. Meanwhile, their parents are held in detention centers hundreds of miles away in a different state – with little to no way of communicating.”

Sessions went beyond tearing children from their parents when he overturned a DOJ Board of Immigration Appeals decision accepting victims of gangs and domestic abuse for asylum who fear persecution in their homelands. The Board is the highest authority, but the AG can assign himself cases and set precedents that end up in federal appeals courts. He says his goal is to reduce the backlog of 700,000 court cases. More families will be shredded because he refuses to help women and children victims of domestic violence.

DDT, father of five children by three different women, claims to “hate” the policy that he and his attorney general generated. Aware of the policy’s unpopularity, he now tries to blame Democrats (false) for a law (false). The separation, however, has been part of his plan since he was inaugurated. White House senior policy advisor and white supremacy supporter Stephen Miller convinced DDT that the policy would be successful in its “deterrence.” Chief of staff John Kelly, mentor to DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, is a full-throated supporter of separating children from their parents. With a few exceptions, the GOP has joined DDT in holding the children hostage to get tens of billions of dollars to build DDT’s “wall” and to drastically reduce the number of legal immigrants to the United States. (More lies here.)  House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) tweeted how happy he is to be a father with a video wishing everyone a “happy” Father’s Day. Over 90 percent of the responses addressed the GOP separation of children and families.

DDT spent Father’s Day playing golf on one of his courses. He tweeted nothing about celebrating Father’s Day or his children.

Stephen Colbert made an impassioned plea on The Late Show, asking viewers to call their congressional representatives for Father’s Day and ask them to stop the deliberate cruelty of Sessions and DDT. He said:

“I sincerely believe that it doesn’t matter who you voted for—if we let this happen in our name, we are a feckless country.”

Protest marches are spreading across the nation against the separation of children from parents. In Suffolk County (NY), DDT’s poster children for the brutality of gang murders to justify crackdowns, people are wearing yellow bracelets to support migrant families. In red Augusta County (VA) a rally drew protesters and supporting honks from drivers going by. Los Angeles demonstrators blocked traffic.

On Father’s Day, ICE planned to deport Nelson Omar Rosales Santos, in end stage renal failure and waiting for a kidney transplant, but a petition gave him a six-months stay. With a family friend donor, medical insurance, and a surgeon, Santos has three U.S. citizen children and a U.S. citizen wife who successfully petitioned for him to stay in the U.S. He has lived in Stamford (CT) for 30 years. A new petition asks that he be guaranteed a least one-year recuperation in the U.S. after surgery so that it will be permitted.

March 24, 2018

DDT: Week Sixty-one – Tweeting, Hiding from Protests

Late Friday evening has become the time for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to drop bombs, usually in order to steer the media away from news that he doesn’t like. DDT’s news last night before the massive March for Our Lives gatherings today was to once again ban transgender military members in the military. His ban of several months ago has been overturned in court, but DDT executed an order supporting the new memo from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that disqualifies U.S. troops who have had gender confirmation surgery because “military service requires sacrifice.” Transgender troops without surgery can stay if they have been medically stable for 36 consecutive months before joining the military or if they were diagnosed with gender dysphoria after President Obama’s end of the ban in 2016. Four lawsuits are already opposing DDT’s earlier ruling.

Facebook’s providing Cambridge Analytica with data consumed much of the news during the past week. Clips of C.A.’s officials were caught on a hidden camera explaining their blackmail to put conservative candidates into office. Last Sunday, CBS reported that DDT’s campaign never used any data from Cambridge Analytica, but suspended C.A. CEO president Alexander Nix disagreed, saying that C.A. put DDT the winner in the presidential election. Brad Parscale, DDT’s current campaign director, worked with C.A. to turn women and black voters against Hillary Clinton with fake stories.

Worse news from C.A.: key players have a new company, Emerdata, with C.A. primary funder Robert Mercer’s daughters, C.A.’s suspended CEO Alexander Nix as director, C.A.’s chief data officer Alexander Tayler, and Julian Wheatland, chairman of Cambridge Analytica parent firm SCL Group. Connected to Emerdata is Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater and now chairing the private security firm operating mostly in Africa. Prince is the brother of Secretary of State Betsy DeVos. George Nadar, who organized a meeting in the Seychelles between Erik Prince and a high-level Russian banker to set up a secret DDT-Russia back channel, has been granted immunity and is now singing to Mueller. Before he became FBI Director, discovered that Prince had probably broken the law by trying to sell secretly modified paramilitary attack aircraft to Azerbaijan’s military.

DDT’s keeps tweeting continual denial that “there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), minority leader of the House Intelligence Committee, responded:

“Mr. President, the Committee reached no such conclusion — only Republicans. In fact, we did find evidence of collusion, despite GOP members being more interested in protecting you than learning the truth. When accusing others of lying, best not to misrepresent facts yourself.”

DDT’s increasingly frantic tweets about Mueller indicates that he is closing in on the truth about DDT’s corruption, fraud, and Russian collusion. The messages from DDT, stuck in the White House for last weekend, hit a new high for him, and desperate aides took him to a golf course after the Sunday morning tweet storm. DDT came back with more vituperative tweets by Wednesday.

Excited about Vladimir Putin’s being “re-elected” for another six years, DDT called the dictator to congratulate him, ignoring warnings from his national security advisers. Briefing materials stated “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” and condemn the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) tweeted:

“An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election.”

DDT took pride in being on good terms with the Russian president and not bringing up anything negative such as the Kremlin’s murders and meddling in the U.S. elections. Republicans such as retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) treated DDT’s turning his belly up to Russia as the new normal. Videos showed ballot-stuffing at polling stations; earlier, viable candidates were either arrested on sham charges or killed. The story escalated when DDT became furious about his actions becoming public, and he is again determined to discover who did the leaking, calling it criminal.

Although the White House staff does not work for him personally, DDT has required them to sign “non-disclosure” agreements with threats if they reveal anything about him. Earlier DDT failed to force reporters to sign NDAs when they traveled with VP Mike Pence. As rumors run rampant, some people think that Chief of Staff John Kelly is behind the leaking because of past inappropriate statements to the press. DDT took pride in being on good terms with the Russian president and not bringing up anything negative such as the Kremlin’s murders and meddling in the U.S. elections.

More revelations about Russia’ interference in the U.S. elections:

The hacker that stole Democratic National Committee emails, Guccifer 2.0, was “an officer of Russia’s military intelligence directorate (GRU),” connecting the hack to the Kremlin.

Andrew McCabe, fired by the DOJ with the blessing of AG Jeff Sessions, had authorized a criminal investigation into Sessions last year because he “lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives.” Sessions said under oath that he had no contacts with any Russian officials during the campaign until he began to remember that he talked to the Russian ambassador twice. After Mueller was appointed as special investigator, McCabe’s investigation moved on to him. Other Sessions’ “lack of candor” comes from his claim under oath to the House Judiciary Committee that he “pushed back against a suggestion to meet with Russians during DDT’s campaign. Three people have told investigator Robert Mueller that Sessions never objected to arranging a meeting with Russia. Emails show that DDT’s campaign urged George Papadopoulos to reach out for a “partnership with Russia.” Although Sessions recused himself from all things Russian, he fired McCabe to defend DDT from Mueller’s Russian investigation. Former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has written a thought-provoking description of Sessions’ “lack of candor.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has called for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about McCabe’s firing. Even Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said that McCabe should have been allowed to finish his last 26 hours.

As GOP congressional leadership shy away from protecting the investigation into the Russian scandal, the conservative WashPo chides their refusal to declare Robert Mueller off-limits from DDT’s firing machine:

“The president treats government as purely a tribal battle between one side and the other and expects public servants to put loyalty to him before loyalty to country or the rule of law. Republican congressional leaders should not remain complicit in this debasement.”

Columnist Eugene Robinson wrote:

“If Trump does try to fire Mueller, [Ryan] and [McConnell] should get much of the blame. They have given Trump no reason to believe they will ever stand up to him.”

This past week, DDT hosted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), who gained his new position in a coup that involved torture and imprisonment of his family members. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster expressed concerns about the relation of Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law, with MBS who bragged about having Kushner “in his pocket.” MBS may also have used classified information from DDT’s daily briefings to determine who MBS imprisoned. Tillerson and McMaster are gone; Kushner remains in the White House, and the Senate failed to stop the U.S. part in a bloody, three-year war in Yemen. Despite a bipartisan effort, 45 GOP and 10 Democratic senators voted to continue its support for Saudi Arabia’s bombing missions.

With Jared Kushner head of his family business, it filed at least 80 false applications for construction permits in a three-year period ending in 2016 lying about the rent-regulated tenants in its buildings to make it easier to push them out and sell a building with higher rents.

The Dow Jones index dropped 1,460 points this past week after the Feds raised the prime rate a quarter of a percent, Facebook suffered from public knowledge that it provided information to Cambridge Analytica, and DDT escalated the trade war by placing tariffs on $60 billion of Chinese goods and limiting China’s freedom to invest in U.S. tech. China threatened tariffs on $3 billion in U.S. goods, most of them agricultural, hitting the states that voted for DDT. The 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act may be a harbinger of our future. Yet DDT caved on most of his steel and aluminum tariffs, exempting countries for two-thirds of steel and over half of aluminum imports.

Capping the week was March for Our Lives, a movement by young people protesting unlimited gun ownership with the message “Enough Is Enough.” Millions of people, almost one million just in Washington, D.C., marched around the world with 800 different protests in the United States alone. DDT escaped to Mar-a-Lago before the event this morning, detouring around any protesters on his way back from the golf course. Most legislators went home yesterday immediately after a $1.3 trillion spending bill passed Congress. [Above: the view from the Washington, D.C. stage.]

Two GOP congressional members gave lukewarm praise for the young people although Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) misrepresented their mission. Others idly commented about sports, farmers, and praise for the spending bill and tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Democrats were seen attending the marches. For the first time in almost two decades, more people have a negative view of the NRA than positive, according to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. It found that 37 percent see the NRA in a positive light with 44 percent viewing it negatively. The greatest drop came from white married women.

March 3, 2018

DDT: Week 58 – Russia, Guns

[Note: Survivors of the Parkland (FL) school shooting cannot get a permit for their March for Our Lives on March 24 because a student group “at a local educational institution” wants to film a talent show on the Mall on that date. That permit states, “Games will be the main activity for filming,” and equipment listed “two tables, two bikes, and jump ropes.” March for Our Lives organizers planned their rally away from federal land and in D.C., on Pennsylvania Avenue between Third and 12th streets NW.]

The increasing fury from the tweets of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), such as his primal scream “WITCH HUNT,” has been worsened by revelations about White House policy possibly being directed by Jared Kushner’s need for money. The debt on his Fifth Avenue property, $1.4 billion, comes due next year. Investigations show possible connections between financing for Kushner’s family business and Kushner’s discussions with Qatar, Turkey, Russia, China, and the United Arab Emirates:

  • The punishing blockade against Qatar occurred after a Qatar billionaire decided not to invest in Kushner’s business.
  • Apollo Global Management loaned Kushner $184 million, triple the average size of a typical loan, after an Apollo founder Joshua Harris, advising DDT about infrastructure, met with Kushner about a White House job for Harris.
  • Israel’s Menora Mivtachim loaned $30 million to Kushner for additional equity in 10 Maryland apartment complexes just before DDT’s trip with Jared and Ivanka last May. Since then, DDT declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel and the move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
  • Citigroup loaned Kushner $325 million after Kushner met with a chief executive, Michael Corbat.

Kushner has now lost his high-level security clearance to a status below the White House chief calligrapher, which includes his losing access to DDT’s daily brief.

Robert Mueller’s investigation:

  • DDT’s attacks on AG Jeff Sessions for his handling of Sessions’ assignment of his inspector general to examine GOP accusations of FISA surveillance procedures as well as whether DDT tried to get rid of AG Jeff Sessions last summer to get control of the Russia investigation.
  • Whether DDT knew about Russia stealing DNC emails before the public was aware of the action and whether DDT knew when WikiLeaks was going to release the hacked emails. In July 2016, DDT asked Russia to find emails deleted by Hillary Clinton.
  • Whether DDT’s associate Roger Stone knew about the email information before it was public.  Stone lied about not having direct communication with WikiLeaks during DDT’s campaign. Democrats asked the House Intelligence Committee to subpoena WikiLeaks messages with Stone, but Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) and the other GOP members have refused.

Nunes did release the Democratic refutation of the GOP House Intelligence Committee memo and explanation of the warrant to surveil Carter Page. A government watchdog group filed a second ethics complaint against Nunes’ leaking private information from Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) to the Fox network about the Russian interference to the media. After some of Hope Hicks’ testimony was leaked, the two top members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, including GOP Richard Burr (NC), told House Speaker Paul Ryan about “concerns” regarding the operations of the House committee and accusations of the GOP illegal leaking.

The scariest Russian information this week came from Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency. He reported to the Senate Armed Services Committee that he cannot try to stop the Kremlin meddling—and perhaps control—of U.S. elections without presidential authorization—which DDT won’t give. Members of the NSC understand that DDT would perceive any discussion of the Russian problem as a personal affront. Rogers, due to retire in April, said, “President Putin has clearly come to the conclusion that there’s little price to pay and that therefore ‘I can continue this activity.’”

Vladimir Putin continues to make fools of conservatives, who he calls “useful fools.” In his latest address, Putin announced Russia has an “invincible” missile moving at hypersonic speed with an “unlimited” range that renders defense “completely useless.” He said that “any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies to be a nuclear attack on our country.” DDT had no response to Putin and saved his energy for tweeting against Alex [sic] Baldwin after his performance on Saturday Night Live.

DDT has a serious problem with his animosity toward Iran. He has incessantly threatened to sever the U.S. deal with Iran to keep it from developing nuclear weapons in order to please his base. At the same time, Russia, who DDT doesn’t dare offend, is building a closeness with Iran, becoming that country’s most important ally.

DDT is scapegoating former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe by accusing him of leaking information in October 2016 about conflict within the FBI and DOJ regarding Hillary Clinton’s family foundation and then intentionally misleading investigators about what he had done. The DOJ is also investigating former FBI director James Comey, his statement about closing the cases against Clinton’s email server without charges, and his decision to announce resumption of his work in this area only ten days before the presidential election. Last May, DDT asked McCabe in a meeting who McCabe voted for in that election and attacked him in tweets about his wife taking donations from a Democrat’s PAC for her political campaign. McCabe’s retirement is scheduled for March 18.

In trouble for paying legal fees defending DDT and Donald Trump Jr. in the Russian collusion, the RNC switched the monthly $37,541.67 to rent part of Manhattan’s Trump Tower. DDT’s election campaign also paid over $470,000 in rent for space at Trump Tower during 2017. Other RNC expenditures include $427,000+ expenditures at DDT’s properties such as Trump International Hotel (Washington, D.C.), Mar-a-Lago (Palm Beach), and Trump National Doral (Miami). DDT’s former bodyguard Keith Schiller collected $75,000 for “security services” immediately after Chief of Staff John Kelly fired Schiller in September, and the RNC said that he is being paid to consult on its 2020 convention site selection. VP Mike Pence’s son, John Pence, also gets over $7,000 a month for “consulting,” and DDT political ally Brad Parscale, DDT’s former campaign digital director and newly-named 2020 campaign director, got over $882,000 from the RNC in January.

Parscale sold his digital company last year for $10 million to CloudCommerce that it has not made a profit for almost ten years and spent over $19 million in investor money since it was started almost 20 years ago. At this time, CloudCommerce has $107,000. In 2006, a top executive was caught in an FBI bribery sting and pled guilty to securities fraud. Andrew Van Noy, Cloudcommerce’s chief executive, has earned less than $9,000 in each of the past three years and has faced six-figure debts from unpaid credit cards and repossessed cars while facing two real-estate fraud lawsuits. Parscale, a member of the board, hired Eric Trump’s wife, Lara, for an undisclosed amount.

DDT hasn’t said anything about the stock market since its volatility in early February, but his announcement of tariffs—25 percent on steels and 10 percent on aluminum—caused the markets to plummet again this week. A president can legally impose tariffs with proof that imports threaten U.S. national security. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross doesn’t believe in the significant “trickle-down” possibility of price hikes with taxes on imports. All DDT’s advisers and the GOP legislators opposed the move except the Commerce Department. Just days before the announcement, DDT’s former adviser Carl Icahn sold $31.3 million of stock in Manitowoc, a manufacturer relying on steel. It is the first time that Icahn trade these stocks in two years. DDT’s answer to global concerns both foreign and domestic is that “trade wars are good and easy to win.”

Traumatized by the tariffs, the GOP is also suffering from DDT’s statement:

“I like taking the guns. Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

The only gun position DDT has consistently kept this week is to arm the teachers, despite objections from diverse groups. Evidence supporting the insanity of arming teachers come from increasing news such as the “Teacher of the Year” in Georgia who fired a gun in his classroom this week, the six-year-old who found his teacher’s gun that had been left on the back of a toilet and the third-grader who reached into an armed guard holster and fired his gun.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto won’t be coming to visit DDT— Peña Nieto’s second cancellation since DDT’s inauguration because DDT won’t admit that Mexico won’t be building the wall. Mexican officials said that DDT “lost his temper” during the 50-minute telephone call; U.S. officials called him frustrated and exasperated. DHS Director Kirstjen Nielsen has canceled her visit to Mexico. Jared Kushner was in charge of U.S.-Mexico relationships.

More to come about appointments, resignations, lawsuits, etc. during Week 58.

December 28, 2017

DDT Unsupervised Interview

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 8:53 PM
Tags: , , , ,

While the staff of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) left him unsupervised at his Mar-a-Lago golf course, where he spent the third day playing golf, DDT ran into New York Times journalist Michael Schmidt. The 30-minute on-record interview may make history—and provide fodder in court cases.

The interview began with DDT saying he would not have appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney general had he known that Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

“I thought it was a terrible thing he did. [Inaudible.] I thought it was certainly unnecessary, I thought it was a terrible thing….  I don’t want to get into loyalty, but I will tell you that, I will say this: Holder protected President Obama. Totally protected him.”

DDT’s position is that he made the media with his presence and that it will “tank” if he is no longer in the White House. For that reason, he stated, the media will see that he is re-elected in 2020. He added that the NYT will fail without him.

“They basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, ‘Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump.’ O.K.”

During the short interview, DDT insisted 16 times that the inquiry has found “no collusion.” He thinks the investigation should stop because “it makes the country look very bad.”  He accused the Chinese of secretly shipping oil to North Korea and made veiled threats against China.

Other DDT comments:

“I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.”

“I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A. I know the details of health care better than most, better than most.”

“Paul [Manafort] only worked for me for a few months. Paul worked for Ronald Reagan. His firm worked for John McCain, worked for Bob Dole, worked for many Republicans for far longer than he worked for me. And you’re talking about what Paul was many years ago before I ever heard of him. He worked for me for — what was it, three and a half months?”

“And by the way, I didn’t deal with Russia. I won because I was a better candidate by a lot. I won because I campaigned properly and she didn’t. She campaigned for the popular vote. I campaigned for the Electoral College. And you know, it is a totally different thing, Mike. You know the Electoral College, it’s like a track star. If you’re going to run the 100-yard dash, you work out differently than if you’re going to run the 1,000 meters or the mile…. So I went to Maine five times, I went to [inaudible], the genius of the Electoral College is that you go to places you might not go to.

And that’s exactly what [inaudible]. Otherwise, I would have gone to New York, California, Texas and Florida.”

“Now, in my opinion, they should come to me on infrastructure. They should come to me, which they have come to me, on DACA. We are working. … We’re trying to something about it. And they should definitely come to me on health care. Because we can do bipartisan health care. We can do bipartisan infrastructure. And we can do bipartisan DACA…. I want to do a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, at least. We want to fix our roads, our highways, our bridges, which are in bad shape. And you know some of them are actually, they’re x-ed out, they have, you know, possibilities of collapse under bad circumstances. And in 10 years they will collapse. So, I want a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. I think it can be bipartisan. I believe we can do health care in a bipartisan way, because now we’ve essentially gutted and ended Obamacare.”

“I know more about the big bills. … [Inaudible.] … Than any president that’s ever been in office. Whether it’s health care and taxes. Especially taxes. I’ll tell you something [inaudible]. … Put me on the defense, I was a great student and all this stuff. Oh, he doesn’t know the details, these are sick people. So, the taxes. … [Inaudible.] … The tax cut will be, the tax bill, prediction, will be far bigger than anyone imagines. Expensing will be perhaps the greatest of all provisions. Where you can do something, you can buy something. … Piece of equipment. … You can do lots of different things, and you can write it off and expense it in one year….”  I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A. I know the details of health care better than most, better than most.”

“Now here’s the good news. We’ve created associations, millions of people are joining associations. Millions. That were formerly in Obamacare or didn’t have insurance. Or didn’t have health care. Millions of people. That’s gonna be a big bill, you watch. It could be as high as 50 percent of the people. You watch. So that’s a big thing. And the individual mandate. So now you have associations, and people don’t even talk about the associations. That could be half the people are going to be joining up. … With private [inaudible]. So now you have associations and the individual mandate.”

“I’m always moving. I’m moving in both directions. We have to get rid of chainlike immigration, we have to get rid of the chain. The chain is the last guy that killed. … [Talking with guests.] … The last guy that killed the eight people. … [Inaudible.] … So badly wounded people. … “

“China. … China’s been. … I like very much President Xi. He treated me better than anybody’s ever been treated in the history of China. You know that. The presentations. … One of the great two days of anybody’s life and memory having to do with China. He’s a friend of mine, he likes me, I like him, we have a great chemistry together. He’s [inaudible] of the United States. …[Inaudible.] China’s hurting us very badly on trade, but I have been soft on China because the only thing more important to me than trade is war. O.K.?”

“And, by the way, it’s not a tweet. It’s social media, and it gets out in the world, and the reason I do well is that I can be treated unfairly and very dishonestly by CNN, and, you know, I have — what do have now, John, 158 million, including Facebook, including Twitter, including Instagram, including every form, I have a 158 million people. Reporting just this morning, they said 158 million. So if they a do a story that’s false, I can do something — otherwise, Andy, otherwise you just sort of walk around saying what can I do? What, am I going to have a press conference every time somebody, every time Michael writes something wrong?”

Joy Reid’s analysis:

  1. Trump speaks a lot like a child does. Lots of focus on who likes him, who loves him, who is his friend… his biographers all emphasize his deep desire to be loved & it comes through.
  2. Trump repeats whatever he is fixated on over and over again. I counted 15 “no collusion” repeats, sometimes two or three times in a single paragraph. And he keeps returning over and over again to the election and how he managed to win via the Electoral College. He’s fixated.
  3. Trump thinks being president means he can do whatever he wants. He has an autocrat’s impulse, and believes literally everyone in government, from the attorney general to every member of Congress, essentially works for him, owes him loyalty, and must “come to him” for mercy. He literally adopted a “Godfather” phraseology to all but say Democrats could have avoided blue state tax hikes via SALT if they had “come to him” to plead for his largesse. It’s a combination of the impulses of 1. and 3.
  4. Trump thinks he is still the star of a TV show, and that the media has the power to decide who wins elections, based on ratings. Seriously:
  5. Trump invents his own reality, and then states that everybody else believes his version of reality too. And since he is so transparent, it’s hard to argue that this is a strategy, rather than a form of self-delusion or just stubborn refusal to accept what is real.

Reading the entire transcript of the interview shows the rambling as DDT interrupted his comments to chat with people around him in the Grill Room and repeated himself. It’s a frightening episode in DDT’s record and one that the aides are going to be covering up for a long time. If the NYT releases the entire transcript, people may see more evidence of DDT’s ranting delusions, lack of focus, and repetitions.

DDT wants attention, and this interview will provide it. He may not like the kind of attention he gets.

July 29, 2017

DDT: Week Twenty-Seven – ‘A Jackass’

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) outdid himself this week in outrageous drama. Tuesday was the disastrous speech at the National Scout Jamboree, Wednesday witnessed the backlash against his anti-transgender military service members, Thursday was the failure of the third health bill up for a vote this week, and Friday presented the changing of the guard at the White House. Then he topped the week with a speech asking police to injure suspects. He received applause from law enforcement officers on Long Island (NY) by saying, “Please don’t be nice.” He added in reference to protecting suspects’ heads while putting them into a vehicle, “You can take the hand away, okay?” The International Association of Police Chiefs (IAPC) responded with detailed information its use-of-force policies and training as well as the need for officers to “ensure that any use of force is carefully applied and objectively reasonable.” The IAPC added that officers are trained to treat all individuals “with dignity and respect.” Police departments in the U.S. also rejected DDT’s message of physically hurting suspects.

DDT got his “general”: Reince Priebus is out as Chief of Staff, and John Kelly, formerly Homeland Security Secretary, is in. Once again, DDT proved that loyalty has no value. Major questions surfaced about what changes, if any, the White House would see with the shift. Until now, key people—white supremacist Steve Bannon, “Communications Director” Anthony Scaramucci, and family members Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump—have bypassed the chief of staff to directly communicate with DDT. The tweets have poured out of DDT’s cellphone with no monitoring. Kelly can stop these practices (highly unlikely), leave if he fails (two months maybe?), or put up with DDT’s behavior and become another laughingstock (totally improbable).

A major question is what to do with “The Mooch” Scaramucci who spread his vile emissions throughout the week. On his sixth day as sort-of Communications Director, he falsely accused then White House chief of staff of a felony for leaking a public document listing his worth of $85 million, claimed he had inappropriately spoken with the Justice Department, threatened to “kill all the leakers,” delivered scatological criticisms about White House staff on the record to a New Yorker writer, and generally followed the toxic culture surrounding DDT. The NYT reported how the DDT White House is “driven by ambition, fear, animosity and envy.”

Scaramucci hasn’t been technically hired; his company, Skybridge, is under regulatory review with the Treasury Department in a committee that includes Defense, State, Commerce, and Homeland Security Departments. Success would bring the Mooch $77 million. With the same passion for revenge as DDT, Scaramucci was determined to destroy Priebus after he kept the Mooch from being public liaison officer and gave him grief over selling his company at an inflated price to China, possibly for U.S. favors to China. Evidently there’s proof for Priebus’ claim.

Even highly conservative pundit Bill Kristol was furious about DDT’s terrible speech to the Boy Scouts:

“What a jackass you have to be to speak to the Boy Scouts and attack your predecessor as President of the United States.”

Today’s tweets from DDT support Kristol’s description. He blamed the Republicans for the failure of the health care last Thursday and told them that they will continue to fail with the filibuster requiring 60 votes. Yet the health care failed 51 to 49 with two women GOP senators, Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) voting no before Jon McCain (AZ) joined them. Following that series of tweets, he demanded that the senate make another try at passing Trumpcare and made threats:

“If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”

That was followed by his lambasting China for not helping the United States against North Korea. DDT also took total credit for winning the presidency. And he has another day without keepers.

Six days ago, DDT blamed the Republicans for their lack of support:

“It’s very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect their President.”

Senators are openly opposing DDT’s persecution of Jeff Sessions and the possibility that DDT would fire the attorney general to stop the investigation into his Russian collusion. Wednesday, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted:

“Everybody in D.C. Shld b warned that the agenda for the judiciary Comm is set for rest of 2017. Judges first subcabinet 2nd / AG no way.”

The next day Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, “If Jeff Sessions is fired, there will be holy hell to pay.” He added, “Any effort to go after Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency – unless Mueller did something wrong. Right now I have no reason to believe he’s compromised.”

One of DDT’s attacks on Sessions is totally without merit. He accused the AG of taking “a very weak position” in investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails. Yet Sessions had announced during his confirmation hearings that he was recusing himself of all issues about Clinton. DDT could have blocked Sessions’ hiring at that time.

Brian A. Benczkowski, a recent DDT nominee to lead DOJ’s criminal division, told the Senate that he represented Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s largest financial institutions with ties to Vladimir Putin. Computer experts investigated communications between the bank and a Trump Organization server. The bank claims a clean bill of health although these investigations were cursory. A possible connection with Russia could require anyone to recuse themselves from cases, a situation causing DDT to say that he should not have nominated AG Jeff Sessions.

The failure of Trumpcare on Thursday took place on the 52nd anniversary of the senate’s passing Medicaid and Medicaid. Fifty-two years ago, then-Rep. Arch Moore (R-WV) voted in favor of these popular programs. Yet his daughter, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), voted in favor of Trumpcare that would negatively impact almost one-third of her constituency. Like other Republicans, Capito believed promises that she would get money for her state, in her case to fight opioid abuse, and that the bill she voted in favor of would never become law. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) had said that he was “willing” to “talk” about taking the bill to conference with the House if it passed the senate.

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Bill Miller, a top official in that department after DDT fired Gregory Starr in January, has quit. The senate will need to confirm his replacement. Only two State Department officials have been confirmed, and another six are waiting for confirmation.  That leaves 41 other senior roles, including policy leads for different regions, unfilled and another 31 filled by people in acting roles. Two more will soon be empty. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson won’t be filling them until he reviews and reorganizes the agency. Rumors that Tillerson is quitting have been rife, but he denies them.

DDT mistakenly thanked Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, his guest at the White House on Wednesday, for fighting Hezbollah that has a power base in Hariri’s cabinet. DDT said:

“Hezbollah is a menace to the Lebanese state, the Lebanese people and the entire region. The group continues to increase its military arsenal which threatens to start yet another conflict with Israel. With the support of Iran, the organization is also fueling humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.”

Then DDT said he would be making a decision about U.S. sanctions by Wednesday, but Congress just started considering any sanctions regarding Lebanon a week ago.

At the time of his inauguration, DDT threatened to steal oil from Iraq. Now he is considering “relieving” Afghanistan of raw-earth minerals that could be worth $1 trillion.

Russia seemed to be on the back burner this week because of the distractions and the health care fiasco. Congress did pass a bill increasing sanctions on Russia and removing some power from DDT to change the sanctions. He spent several days deciding whether to sign it but finally said that he will accept it. With a senate vote of 98-2 and a House vote of 419-3, the bill seems to be veto proof.

Jared Kushner managed to avoid public testimony before a congressional committee by supposedly turning over documents, but New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza, who also published the story about Scaramucci’s vulgar rhetoric, has an article about Jared Kushner’s involvement with the Russian collusion. Records from DDT’s son-in-law also shows his app that disappears messages sent to him as does DDT’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen.  Kushner downloaded the app four days before his father-in-law was inaugurated. Destroying any communication with a president violates the Presidential Records Act.

In November 2013, DDT tweeted:

“Leadership: Whatever happens, you’re responsible. If it doesn’t happen, you’re responsible.”

This position is far different from what he exhibited in the past week–and in the past six months.

 

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