Nel's New Day

May 19, 2018

DDT: Week 69 – Killings, ‘Pay to Play’

Killings on two sides of the world marked the past week. One was the 16th school shooting in the United States in the first four and a half months of the year that killed ten people, eight of them students, and wounded another 14 in the small town of Santa Fe (TX) with a population under 13,000. The 17-year-old shooter admitted that he deliberately aimed at people he wanted to kill; the first girl he killed had turned down his persistent advances over four months. The shooter used guns that belonged to his father. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott claimed that there were no “red flags,” but the teenager’s Facebook page and computer journals identify his plans.

Guns don’t kill people; doors do. This claim by Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick follows the latest NRA excuse for the growing number of mass shootings. He recommends just one entrance for all 1,400 people in a school like the one in Santa Fe (TX). Former government ethics director Walter Shaub examined the state requirements for doors and tweeted that “Texas has stricter regulations for doors than it does for guns.”

Last week’s Palestinian bloodbath from the Israelis came at the same time that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) proudly opened his embassy in Jerusalem on the 70th anniversary of Nakba (Catastrophe) when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled by the 1948 creation of Israel. That country’s military claimed that they attacked members of Hamas; Palestinians said that the “terrible massacre” was against unarmed demonstrators. DDT called the time “a great day for Israel” that will create peace between Palestine and Israel, something he has always said would be “easy.” He invited fundamentalist Christian pastors to open the embassy are anti-Semitic. Robert Jeffress has preached that everyone except Christians are going to hell and that Jews will be saved at the second coming of Christ because they will accept Him. DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who once led a group illegally funding West Bank settlements, was supposed to create this “easy” peace but blamed the Palestinians for their deaths.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayip Erdogan, led the diplomatic protests from several Arab and Middle East countries against DDT’s action, calling the U.S. “part of the problem, not the solution.” The UK prime minister, Theresa May, was more restrained in her criticism, but Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, called the embassy move from Tel-Aviv a violation of International law and UN Security Council resolutions.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, left an emergency Security Council meeting discussing the killings in Gaza when the Palestinian envoy began to speak. Earlier she had praised the “restraint” by Israel when they killed at least 62 people and wounded another 3,100 Palestinian protesters on the day when the embassy opened on land recognized by many world leaders as the capital of a future Palestinian state. A vote of 29-2 with 14 abstentions by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate Israel’s massacre as war crimes followed a speech by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN human rights chief, condemning the “horrific” attacks on peaceful demonstrators and calling for “the occupation” to end. About the Palestinians, Zeid said:

“All of the 1.9 million people who live in Gaza have been penned in behind fences and have suffered progressively more restrictions and greater poverty. After 11 years of blockade by Israel they have little hope of employment, and their infrastructure is crumbling, with an electricity crisis, inadequate health services and a decaying sewage system that constitutes a threat to health.”

DDT claimed Jerusalem the capital of Israel in opposition to State of Palestine claims that the embassy is on its capital. A 1949 international treaty recognizes half the city, including the embassy area, under Jordanian control. DDT’s decision to move the embassy led to a UN revolution, approved 128-9, requesting him to withdraw his declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Those nine members supporting DDT are the U.S., Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Togo. Another 35 nations abstained, and 21 countries were not present for the vote. DDT said that he made the decision for “peace” in the region.

In his attempts for a Nobel Peace Prize, DDT has decided to “Make China Great Again,” tweeting that “Too many jobs in China lost.” His new-found concern for jobs in China happened at the same time that the Chinese government loaned DDT $500 million for his billion-dollar resort project in Indonesia.

Just 72 hours after the loan deal was made, DDT ordered a bailout for the Chinese-government-owned cellphone maker ZTE. The U.S. military and intelligence community has declared the phones a security risk, and they are banned on military bases out of concern they can track service members. Last year, the company was fined $1.2 billion for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea. The U.S. government had banned the company from buying U.S. components for seven years because ZTE officials lied about their actions. Stocks may go up for U.S. optical component companies because they can resume exporting their product to China. U.S. intelligence officials believe that China may use ZTE products for foreign espionage and cyber attacks.

DDT’s Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah described the deal with China as “give and take,” and it’s the farmers in the U.S. that are forced into the “give” while China can “take.” After Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) threatened tariffs on soybeans, China almost tripled its purchases from Russia and canceled U.S. shipments. DDT had promised to protect farmers.

While national security adviser John Bolton is threatening sanctions on European allies if they dare deal with Iran, China has a new freight train connection that saves 20 days in carrying supplies to the capital of Iran over cargo ships and allows greater trade relations between the two countries. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that they would “maintain normal economic ties and trade.” China can also again create separate funds and banks from the U.S. market that the United States cannot punish. Chinese entities can also act as intermediaries for European countries to keep trading with Iran with no fear of violating U.S. sanctions, for example oil sales from Iran through China or Russia. Iran sells more to China than any other country with a 25 percent increase in exports last year. Chinese exports to Iran increased over 20 percent. Iranian exports to the EU increased by 375 percent from 2015 to 2016.

DDT is bragging that he will shrink the trade deficit with China because it may buy an additional $200 billion in U.S. goods, up from purchases last year of $130 billion. Some sales may be to ZTE. Economists think the plan won’t succeed, however, because the U.S. may just buy more goods from China. At the same time, DDT is not trying to keep China from taking U.S. intellectual property.

DDT’s foreign policy is also bailing out his son-in-law from his financial problems. The U.S. position on the tiny country of Qatar seems to parallel whether the wealthy oil nation will lend money to bail out Jared Kushner’s disastrous deal with a 41-story building at 666 Fifth Avenue Manhattan. Over a year ago, DDT supported Qatar when Kushner thought it would lend his family business money. As soon as Qatar withdrew the offer, DDT supported the eight-country blockade of Qatar despite the 10,000 service members at the base on Qatar. Now, Qatar is considering a loan of hundreds of millions to dollars to the Kushner family to pay off the original loan and renovate the building at the same time that DDT met with Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani. Jared Kushner resigned as his company’s chief executive but kept most of his business with it.

Qatar may have a good reason for thinking that DDT will take bribes. Businessman Jeff Kwatinetz turned down an offer from Ahmed al-Ramaihi, head of the Qatar sovereign wealth fund, to exchange a meeting with DDT and his officials for an investment. Kwatinetz said, “Al-Rumaihi laughed and then stated to me that I shouldn’t be naive, that so many Washington politicians take our money, and stated ‘do you think Flynn turned down our money?’” The pattern for these bribes may have started immediately after the 2016 election.

DDT is already conceding to North Korea by agreeing not to fly two nuclear-capable B-52 bombers over the Korean Peninsula because North Korea’s president, Kim Jong-Un, canceled talks with South Korea. National security adviser John Bolton may be blocking the U.S./North Korea summit by repeated claims that the U.S. will use the “Libya model” in its settlement with North Korea and getting DDT to back out of the Iranian deal. Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi ended up dismembered, and DDT’s position on Iran proves that no agreement would be lasting.

The GOP isn’t even worried about a war with North Korea. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that “all the damage … would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security.” The beginning of this war 65 years ago killed 3.5 million people (36,516 of them from the U.S.) and 2.5 million civilians while costing almost $700 billion plus hundreds of billions of dollars more to put military on the border because North and South Korea for 65 years. The U.S. has spent more to cover other Pacific Rim nations. That was before North Korea had nuclear weapons which might reach the U.S.

As a real estate developer, DDT was always willing to walk away from negotiations, the way he promised to negotiate with Kim Jong-Un. His craving for the Nobel Prize may cause him to give up anything to North Korea. His attitude mirrors what he accuses President Obama of doing in Iran.

And then there’s Russia and much more.

 

December 17, 2017

Jerusalem Decision Continues to Rankle

Jerusalem continues to stay in the news as leaders of 57 Islam nations have declared East Jerusalem the Palestinian capital. Turkey, chair of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, hosted the summit meeting in Istanbul. The nations also condemned actions of Dictator Donald Trump to change the status of Jerusalem as a “unilateral” and “dangerous declaration” as well as an announcement that the U.S. was withdrawing as a sponsor of peace for the region.

In another objection to DDT’s declaration on December 6, 2017 that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, Ali Salam, mayor of the Israeli town of Nazareth, said that Christmas celebrations were canceled.  He has withdrawn the statement, but the objection still exists. Nazareth, home to Jesus during his youth, is now a town of 76,000, about 80 percent Arab. “Christ”mas celebrations in Nazareth seem to focus on Santa Claus.

Determined to create more problems in the Middle East, DDT may follow his officials in their view that the Western Wall will also be declared a part of Israel. The contradictory position is that borders of the city must be determined through Palestine-Israel negotiations but refuse to accept any position in which Israel doesn’t control the Wall. The sacred location is outside Israel’s pre-1967 borders and is next to Islam’s most revered sites.

VP Mike Pence is headed for the Wall on his trip this week. He will be accompanied by a rabbi, similar to DDT’s trip last May. Pence will also meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will no longer meet with Pence after DDT tried to give Jerusalem to Israel.

Until DDT, the United States has not recognized Israel sovereignty over the Old City, territory occupied in 1967 and home to valued Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious sites. Israel controls the Western Wall, a retaining wall from the biblical Jewish Temple, and holds state ceremonies there. Nearby is the hilltop Noble Sanctuary, the third holiest Islam site, and the Temple Mount, considered the holiest site in Judaism.

Thousands around the world continue to protest DDT’s announcement, and DDT is the object of satire.

The UN Security Council plans to vote tomorrow on a resolution requesting the withdrawal of DDT’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. The draft U.N. text expresses “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.” It “affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.” The resolution also asks countries to not establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem and “demands that all states comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem, and not to recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions.”

A UN Security Council resolution adopted in December 2016 “underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.” The resolution passed with 14 votes in favor and an abstention from the U.S.

The current resolution will fail because it cannot pass with a veto from the United States, but a majority vote will further isolate the U.S.

Jerusalem was granted special status in 1947, placed under international sovereignty and control, because of its religious importance to all three Abrahamic religions. Zionist forces took over the western half of the city in 1948, and Israel captured the eastern half in 1967. In 1980, Israel declared that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel” in the “Jerusalem Law.” The UN declared that law “null and void” through the passage of Resolution 478; international law maintains that an occupying power cannot have sovereignty in the territory it occupies.

Israel gives citizenship only to Jews in East Jerusalem. The 420,000 Palestinians lack any citizenship, even of Jordan or Palestine. They are treated as foreign immigrants and required to fulfil requirements to maintain their residency status, including proof that they have lived there continuously for a specific period of time. For proof, they must submit many documents including title deeds, rent contracts, and salary information. Citizenship from another country revokes their status to residency. All Jews in the world, however, may live in Israel and obtain Israeli citizenship.

The UN also considers Israel’s settlement in East Jerusalem to be illegal, directly contravening the fourth Geneva Convention preventing an occupying country from transferring its population to occupied territory. Reasons include a temporary occupation that cannot use military rule to establish a long-term presence, protection of occupied civilians from theft of resources, demographic changes in the territory. Despite international law, Israel has built over a dozen housing complexes, or settlements, in East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhoods, and 200,000 Israeli citizens live there under army and police protection, infringing on Palestinian rights.

Israel already forces Palestinians to suffer from apartheid while DDT makes the situation worse as The New York Times describes:

“The president [has] made a typically grandiose and poorly thought-through political gesture to domestic supporters — in this case, those who staunchly back Israel’s hard-line Likud government.”

December 10, 2017

Jerusalem: DDT Further Isolates U.S.

Evangelical approval for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) fell 17 points last week, and DDT wants to bump it up again—recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In the 19th century, Bible teacher John Nelson Darby created the theory that the Jews had to control Jerusalem before Jesus could return to earth in a second coming to save his loyal followers by the seven-year suffering and turmoil called the Armageddon when Satan is defeated and Christ controls the world. Hal Lindsey popularized the belief during the 1970s in The Late Great Planet Earth. At DDT’s rally in northern Florida, conservative state Sen. Doug Broxson said that DDT may bring the biblical end times. The crowd cheered.

DDT has already shown success in starting a conflict with his Jerusalem executive order as protests have spread across the Middle East. The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem barred all personnel and their families from traveling in the West Bank and Jerusalem’s old city immediately after DDT’s proclamation. Both the Palestinians and the Israelis claim Jerusalem as their capital, and part of the city is also occupied by Christians. The last quarter is occupied by Armenians. Although Jordan claims the east half of Jerusalem and Palestine calls Jerusalem its capital, the city has a distinct status as not belonging to any country, according to the international community.

Only the U.S. and the Czech Republic recognize Jerusalem as Israeli’s capital, and the United States would have the only embassy in that city. The senior Christian leader in Jerusalem, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III, sent a letter with a dozen other church leaders in the Holy Land warning of “irreparable harm.” DDT’s move “will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division”, they wrote.

DDT’s violation of international law in his executive order follows the U.S. pattern of allowing the illegal expansion of Jews-only colonial settlements in occupied Arab Jerusalem and across the West Bank. But this act is creating even more problems in the area. DDT has removed any leverage in the negotiations for peace between Palestine and Israel and confirmed that the U.S. is a completely biased party to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Twenty-five former Israeli Ambassadors, academics, and other dignitaries publicly denounced the move. The pope of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church canceled his meeting with VP Mike Pence when he travels to Cairo this week, saying that DDT did not take into account the “feelings of millions of Arab people.” Only the visit to Israel may be pleasant to Pence; the ones to Germany and Egypt are guaranteed to be chilly. For the first time, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, committed to a two-state solution, is refusing to meet with a senior U.S. leader. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi predicted “possible dangerous repercussions,” and Turkey warned the decision represented a “red line” for Muslims. The Middle East is already volatile, and Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said the U.S. was “plunging the region and the world into a fire with no end in sight.” He hinted Turkey might cut diplomatic ties with Israel if the embassy is moved.

History has already shown how a supposedly small act can be incendiary. The second intifada in late 2000 began when Ariel Sharon declared the Temple Mount complex, site of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque, the holiest place in the world to Jews and the third holiest site in Islam, reserved for Israel. The result was a two-year bloody war of suicide bombers and military attacks that killed both Israelis and Palestinians. In the Palestinian-Israel conflict, symbols matter.

Instead of consulting with impacted countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt, DDT said, “This is what we are going to do.” The Arab League of 21 countries said:

“The decision has no legal effect… it deepens tension, ignites anger and threatens to plunge the region into more violence and chaos.”

Jordan said that DDT’s announcement has “no validity under international law.”During a meeting of the Arab League, Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil called on members to consider economic sanctions on the U.S. to stop it moving its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He said:

“Pre-emptive measures (must be) taken… beginning with diplomatic measures, then political, then economic and financial sanctions.”

Countries such as Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and China have condemned DDT’s action as a threat to peace.

DDT also ignored Defense Secretary Jim Mattis who recommended a different course. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson argued against DDT’s order and took the brunt of anger in Europe during a tour to convince State Department officials that they are better off without any employees and, in some cases, without ambassadors. Federica Mogherini, the foreign policy chief of the European Union, stood beside Tillerson while telling reporters that the U.S. was wrong to back away from the Iran nuclear deal and that the move of the U.S. embassy would undermine peace. Countries such as Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and China have condemned DDT’s action as a threat to peace. Other foreign ministers showed their disapproval of DDT’s action in an indication of decreased respect for the U.S. Relationships with Europe could worsen if DDT appoints Mike Pompeo to lead the State Department.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Only VP Mike Pence seemed pleased as he watched like a proud father as DDT held up the order like a toddler who had accomplished a fine BM.

The United States stands largely alone after DDT made his proclamation. The UN passed six resolutions affirming Palestinian rights and condemning Israeli violations of international law. One resolution stated that “any actions by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem were illegal and therefore null and void.” Six countries, including the United States and Israel, voted against the resolution; 151 voted in favor of the resolution. In an emergency meeting, 14 of the 15 nations on the UN Security Council condemned DDT for his declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel because of its threat to peace. The 15th member of the Council is the United States. Council members are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Bolivia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay.  Bolivian Ambassador Sacha Llorenti said:

“While there are two parties in this conflict, they are not on a level playing field. One is an occupying power, the other is an occupied people. One party builds illegal settlements… One party puts a siege on Gaza… One party takes over the water resources and farmlands of the other …. One of the parties engages in forced displacement.”

DDT’s decision to placate the evangelicals also benefits his Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is working to further an anti-Iran coalition in the Middle East developed around Saudi Arabia and Israel. A few days before DDT signed the order, DDT pressured the PLO office in Washington with eviction if they didn’t agree the Israeli human-rights-violating settlements. Kushner has supported illegal West Bank Israeli settlements for years, helping to funnel tens of thousands of dollars to Jewish institutions in the settlements encroaching on Palestinian land through his family’s foundation. In late 2016, Kushner ordered Michael Flynn to persuade Russia to delay the UN Security Council vote criticizing these illegal settlements although Russia didn’t follow Flynn’s request. Kushner’s family also has lucrative real estate deals with Israeli financial institutions, one of them shared ownership and profits on a New Jersey apartment building. Another Kushner relationship is with two Israeli banks investigated for helping wealthy clients evade U.S. taxes.

Only 23 percent of evangelicals believe in a two-state solution for Palestinians and Israelis whereas a majority of U.S. Jews support a Palestinian state. Only 17 percent of U.S. Jews think that moving onto Palestinian land helps Israel’s security. Almost two-thirds of evangelicals think that a candidate’s stance on Israel matters “a lot” whereas only nine percent of U.S. Jews agree with that statement. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley claims that moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and declaring the city to be Israel’s capital is “the will of the American people.” Yet 59 percent of people in the U.S. prefer that the U.S. select neither side of the Palestine-Israel conflict, and 63 percent oppose moving the embassy.

As with all his other actions, DDT shows no thought. He merely threw gasoline on the embers of a fire, perhaps hoping for an easier war than in North Korea so that he can look like an important leader in the world. Instead he has further isolated the United States from any part in global decisions, all of which negatively affects the United States’ status in the world.

December 2, 2017

DDT: Week Forty-five – Closer to Collusion

The man who led the cry against Hillary Clinton to “lock her up” at the GOP convention is now a convicted felon, and his statement “if I had done one-tenth of what she did” falls flat. The admission of former national security adviser Michael Flynn may have been the biggest bombshell to hit Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) this week when Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI on January 24, 2017, two days after he was sworn in, about his communications with Russia. He may testify that DDT “directed him to make contact with the Russians.” Two top transition officials, one of them DDT’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, told Flynn to contact Russia to influence the vote. Flynn’s lies include his claim that he didn’t ask Russia on December 22, 2016 to “delay a vote on or defeat” a U.N. Security Council resolution. A week later and the day after President Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S., Flynn promised Russian officials that DDT would reverse the Obama sanctions against Russia for its election meddling. The next day, DDT tweeted, “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!” Flynn also forwarded a client’s memo to his National Security Council staff and told them to “fashion it into a policy for President Trump’s approval” to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East.

Flynn’s flip caused chaos for the White House as Mueller digs deeper into DDT’s inner circle. DDT canceled a scheduled press event and said that Flynn had previously worked for President Obama, that Flynn was DDT’s advisor for only a month. In fact, President Obama had fired Flynn and warned DDT against hiring him, the only advice about a  person that he gave DDT. Flynn was closely involved with DDT before the national RNC, and DDT seriously considered him for the vice president slot.

DDT’s tweet that Flynn had lied to the FBI may also mean that DDT knew about the collusion. If so, his request to former FBI director James Comey to “let this go” also is evidence of an obstruction of the investigation—and justice. Revealing emails from K.T. McFarland, a transition advisor to DDT, may cause him more problems.

DDT knew last summer he was in trouble with his possible collusion with Russia when he asked GOP senators to either end or convince their colleagues to end the investigation. Joyce Vance, a former U.S. Attorney, said this pressuring was “potentially obstruction of justice.” The White House admitted the influence but claimed it was not “undue.”

Conservative Christians may be in the middle of Russian collusion: that Rick Clay, fundamentalist activist from West Virginia, was a go-between a “backdoor overture and dinner invite” to DDT from the Russians. Jared Kushner turned it down, but Clay still made the attempt. The offer was shortly before Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin who might provide damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

During testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, AG Jeff Sessions refused to answer the question about whether DDT had told him to block the Russian investigation although he didn’t invoke executive privilege—which he can’t do because only the president can do this. Sessions typically doesn’t admit wrongdoing until it has been made public.

Donald Trump Jr. will meet with the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on December 6. The question now is when VP Mike Pence is asked to submit documents and testimony about his knowledge of the Russian collusion.

Earlier this week, DDT failed to even honor the Navajo code talkers whose work saved the United States from Germany during World War II. Instead DDT delivered a partisan slur against Native Americans and Elizabeth Warren, “We have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”  Navajos protected the U.S. despite being prevented from voting until 1965 after they were killed, denigrated, and pushed onto reservations for over centuries. DDT’s photo-op was in front of the portrait of Andrew Jackson, who removed Native Americans from their lands.

DDT’s lap dog Mike Pompeo, CIA Director, may replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Chief-of-staff John Kelly has been orchestrating this as well as replacing Pompeo with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) who wants extensive surveillance and waterboarding. Cotton orchestrated a letter signed by most GOP senators and sent to Iranian leaders, warning them against the nuclear agreement with President Obama. Retired Major Gen. Paul D. Eaton described the letter, signed by most GOP senators, as “mutinous.”

The government will shut down this coming week without a budget, but DDT wants a shutdown because he thinks it will help him politically.

DDT may declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Internationally, the city is not recognized as belonging to Israel and has holy places for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Allowing Israel to control the city, which is not part of Israel, would create serious problems throughout the Middle East as well as all Islamic-majority countries.

Earlier this year, Congress used the death of Kate Steinle in 2015 to make punishment more severe for convicted and deported criminals who re-entered the U.S., based on the assumption that Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an undocumented immigrant, had deliberately killed Kate Steinle in 2015. A jury has found Zarate not guilty of murder, but DDT is using the trial to lambast sanctuary cities.

James Schultz, a lawyer tackling ethics and financial disclosures issues in the White House, has given up and is heading back to Philadelphia.

The Koch brothers are buying one-fourth of Time magazine through their company, Meredith.

With the departure of Richard Cordray from the watchdog consumer bureau protecting U.S. consumers, DDT appointed Mike Mulvaney as interim director despite a law putting the deputy director—in this case Leandra English—in the position. Mulvaney hates the bureau and has called it a “sad, sick joke.” Nevertheless, U.S. District Timothy Kelly, a DDT appointee, ruled in favor of Mulvaney for the position. English will continue a court case against the appointment of Mulvaney, who told Fox that his “authority really should frighten people.”

Soon after DDT’s inauguration, he tried to drive out legitimate journalists from the press corps and embed questionable far-right representatives. One of these, Lucian Wintrich from hoax-ridden Gateway Pundit, was arrested after grabbing a woman during his speech, “It’s OK to Be White,” at the University of Connecticut.

The trial against the inauguration protesters continues with the DOJ using video footage from discredited James O’Keefe who just tried a fake sting on the Washington Post regarding coverage of Roy Moore after many other fraudulent videos.

The egregious tax bill has passed the Senate after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused to give senators any time to read the bill before the vote. (Far more about the bill later!)

DDT’s tweets:

About the killing of over 300 Muslims in an Egyptian mosque: “Need the Wall” that will keep Muslims from coming in from Mexico.

About DDT’s retweets from a British neo-fascist  of videos lying about Islam, British lawmaker David Lammy wrote, “The President of the United States is promoting a fascist, racist, extremist hate group whose leaders have been arrested and convicted. He is no ally or friend of ours.”

About criticism from Prime Minister Theresa May, DDT fired back an angry tweet which targeted Theresa May Scrivener, a British “mum” who has only six Twitter followers.

About Joe Scarborough: DDT asked if MSNBC would terminate “low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the ‘unsolved mystery’ that took place in Florida years ago?  Investigate!” The unsubstantiated accusation concerned the death of Scarborough’s intern who collapsed of an un-diagnosed heart condition and hit her head on the side of a desk, causing a fatal blood clot. DDT also demanded an investigation into Andy Lack, NBC news chair, for “fake news.”

About negotiating with top Democrats Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Chuck Schumer (NY) to keep the government open and working, DDT tweeted: “I don’t see a deal!” They cancelled the meeting.

When you think that the world can’t get crazier, listen to Alex Jones on Info Wars. He claims that liberal lesbians are abusive to women and want to eat their victims’ brains. DDT has appeared on Jones’ show and told him, “Your reputation’s amazing. I will not let you down.” They reportedly communicate regularly. Their joint conspiracy theories are chronicled here.

Corey Lewandowski’s new book co-authored with David Bossie, Let Trump Be Trump, will immediately hit the best-seller list with its description of DDT on the campaign trail. Although Lewandowski may not have intended his portrait to be a slam, his descriptions of DDT’s violently unreasonable temper are sure to support recent allegations of an unstable mind. The tales of infighting, including Lewandowski’s dislike for his replacement Paul Manafort, will provide conversation for months.

June 10, 2015

Israel’s Need for Control

West BankA month before ex-law enforcement officer was caught on video assaulting a teenage girl in McKinney (TX) for swimming while black, Israeli security forces were ordering non-Jews from a swimming pool in a West Bank town so that Jewish-Israeli settlers from nearby illegal settlements would have a Muslim-free swim. The Birkat al-Karmil natural pool and park is in the Hebron Hills, a section of the Occupied West Bank (Area A) where Israel agreed to relinquish military and civil control to the Palestinian Authority. The Palestine’s Yatta Municipality renovated the site, creating a park and restoring an ancient natural pool at its center. Yatta maintains the resort for everyone’s enjoyment, and settlers have come to swim with local Palestinians.

On April 7, hundreds of settlers arrived at the pool at about 2:00 pm accompanied by dozens of soldiers, Border Police, and representatives of the Civil Administration (CA). The security forces used guns for force Palestinians out of the pool and go to the edge of the park. Settlers swam and used the rest of the park for over two hours before the Israelis and their security force left the area.

When the mayor of Yatta protested, he was told that the visit had been coordinated with the Palestinian DCO. Representatives denied any coordination and submitted an official complaint to the Israeli DCO. An IDF spokesperson wrote, “It should be noted that there were no unusual occurrences during their visit. Palestinians were present at this event.”

According to international consensus, including the United Nations, the almost 130 West Bank settlements with 350,150 Israelis in the West Bank officially recognized by the Israeli government in 2012 are illegal under international law. Even a large number of the Israeli public oppose these Israeli settlements in the West Bank and support the 2005 settlement relocation. Settlements, however, continue to expand with new ones established. Last September Israel took almost 1,000 acres of private Palestinian land near Bethlehem, supposedly in retribution for the kidnapping and murder of three Israel teenagers but in reality to calm right-wing Israelis after the country’s ceasefire terms with Hamas. It was later revealed that Hamas had nothing do with the teenagers’ deaths. This latest land grab is only a small part of the 250,000 acres that Israelis have taken from Palestinians in only the West Bank since 1979.

Last summer, Israel used the excuse of tunnels from Gaza into Israel as the reason for attacking the vulnerable Gazans last summer, but Israel wants Gaza’s natural gas reserves. In seven weeks, over 2,100 Gazans, at least 69 percent of them civilians, were killed, and another 11,000 were wounded. An additional 500,000 people became refugees. On the Israel side, 66 soldiers, five civilians, and one Thai civilian were killed; 469 IDF soldiers and 261 Israeli civilians were wounded.

Earlier this spring, Denis McDonough, White House Chief of Staff, said about Israeli’s continued occupation of the Palestinian territory:

“Israel cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely. An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end.”

McDonough repeated White House support for a “sovereign and sustainable” Palestinian state based on the 1967 border lines and warned Israel that any further land grabs of Palestinian territory “would be both wrong and illegal” and challenged by the United States.

After Israel hid behind its “Iron Dome,” partially funded by the United States, and decimated Gaza, the United States denounced the bombing of three schools as “totally unacceptable and totally indefensible.” The United States replenished the grenades and mortar rounds used for this destruction; about $1 billion of U.S. munitions is stored inside Israel and made available to Israel when the country asks for them. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, getting $3.1 billion every year–one-fourth of Israel’s military budget.

Last month, the U.S. State Department approved almost $1.9 billion in new weapons for Israel, including 14,500 kits to upgrade “dumb” bombs into precision-guided munitions, over 12,000 unguided bombs, and 50 Super Penetrator “bunker buster” bombs, designed to hit targets underground. The approval came a few weeks after the Israeli rights group Breaking the Silence collected reports of possible violations of international law during Israel’s 2014 “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza. U.S. law prohibits providing military assistance to countries that engage in human rights violations, including Israeli attacks on hospitals and health workers. Testimonies also alleged that tanks fired randomly with no regard for civilians and Israeli soldiers looting homes and wantonly destroying their property such as running tanks over cars.

Also being sold to Israel are over 3,000 hellfire missiles, which the U.S. briefly withheld from Israel following last summer’s attack on Gaza. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency stated that “the United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability.” The U.S. also plans to provide Israel with 50 F-35 stealth fighters, missile defense systems, and other unknown military materials to Israel to quell Israel’s opposition to the U.S. agreement with Iran. The deal came a month after the House Armed Services Committee approved $474 million for Israel’s anti-missile systems, like Iron Dome. These sales require congressional approval.

This summer represents the 11th anniversary of Israel’s illegal Separation Wall. Instead of following the 1967 Green Line as ordered by the International Court of Justice, the wall protects illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and turns Palestine property into non-contiguous bits and pieces while adding at least half the West Bank with crucial resources such as the Jordan River and Western Aquifer to Israel. Israel has built the world’s largest open air prison.

The military routinely closes Palestinian roads, orders Palestinians to evacuate their homes so they can conduct military exercises, demolishes whole towns and villages to claim land for new settlements, fails to prosecute Israelis for routinely murdering Palestinians, and brutalizes the Palestinian population who live in terror of nightly raids in which men, women and even children are hauled away for interminable jail sentences and torture without any criminal charges against them.

Israel’s new deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, told the international community this spring that the bible proves that all the land allocated to the Palestinians belongs to the Jewish people. She is currently the country’s top full-time diplomat. In her inaugural speech to Israeli diplomats, Hotovely said Israel has tried too hard to appease the world and must stand up for itself.

This past Monday, U.S. Supreme Court recognized that the U.S. Constitution gives the president total power to identify foreign governments after a U.S. couple sued for the right to list “Jerusalem, Israel” as their son’s birthplace on his U.S. passport. Although Israel claims that all of Jerusalem belongs to that country, the international community believes that West Jerusalem, including the Old City, belongs to the Palestinians.

In 2002, Congress passed an act allowing U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem the option of listing their birthplaces as “Jerusalem, Israel” on passports and birth certificates. George W. Bush signed the law, but the State Department never enforced it. U.S. officials maintain that any sovereignty in that city is determined through diplomatic negotiations. In rejecting the petition for Menachem Zivotofsky’s parents, the Court affirmed that, according to the U.S. Constitution, the president “has sole authority to determine what countries to conduct relations with, which competing government is legitimate, and which territorial claims to accede to.”

The Zivotofskys used a death certificate from 2002 for Myron Friedman stating his place of death was “Jerusalem, Israel.” Three months after they submitted the document, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv sent Friedman’s daughter, Wendy Serlin, a letter correcting an administrative error regarding Friedman’s place of death and new original copies of Friedman’s death certificate leaving the space for “country” blank.

After the Supreme Court argued the case, Zivotofsky v Kerry, last fall, Nina Totenburg wrote:

“Ever since the founding of Israel, the U.S. has taken the position that no country has sovereignty over Jerusalem until its status is negotiated in a Middle East peace deal. Israel’s supporters in Congress, however, have tried to force a different policy, seeking to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and mandating that the U.S. Department of State allow U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their place of birth. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, however, have refused to comply with the passport mandate, contending it infringes on the president’s foreign policy powers.”

In a 6-3 decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that Congress has no constitutional role in recognizing other countries or parts of countries. The constitution gives the president that prerogative. Therefore the 2002 law ordering documents include “Israel” with “Jerusalem” is nullified as unconstitutional.

Writing his dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts showed that he has no respect for the constitution when he wrote:

“The Court takes the perilous step—for the first time in our history—of allowing the President to defy an Act of Congress in the field of foreign affairs.”

On Monday, the RAND Corporation released a study asserting that if Israelis and Palestinians were to forge a two-state solution and end their decades-old conflict, their economies would enjoy a combined windfall of $173 billion over 10 years. What a waste.

July 31, 2012

Romney’s Gaffes Embarrass Republicans

“Kiss my ass!” This statement polished off what might have been the most disastrous tour for a U.S. presidential wannabe. Mitt Romney’s week through the U.K., Israel, and Poland began with one of his campaign persons, still not clearly identified, stating the President Obama doesn’t belong to the Anglo-Saxon culture. Rick Gorka finished the catastrophe with the above expletive as well as the directive “Shove it” to the press after they pressed for information. Gorka later apologized.

Romney personally made a large number of gaffes, starting out with criticizing the organization of the Olympics during an interview with Brian Williams. This insensitivity brought derisive comments from both Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the latter when he spoke to a crowd of thousands. One UK journalist said that Romney had brought the Brits together in support of the Olympics. Romney later backed down on his criticism of the current Olympics.

Then Romney called the Ed Milliband, head of the Labour Party, “Mr. Leader” indicating that he had possibly forgotten the man’s name. After Romney met the head of M16, the international arm of the British secret service, he talked about their get-together. The M16, much like the CIA, is highly secret; the chief’s scheduling is almost never revealed. Romney even referred to the “back side” of 10 Downing Street which is a term in England for the lower rear part of the human torso.

During a speech in Israel, Romney praised the country’s health care system, a government-controlled universal health care plan. Wanting to pander to the Israelis, he went back to the culture discussion, stating that the Jewish people were more economically successful than the Palestinians because of their “culture” and because the Jews have “the hand of providence.” Evidently Romney thinks that God likes the Jews more than the Palestinians. Still not taking the foot out of his mouth, he explained that Mexico lacks the same superior culture and hand of providence that the United States does.

Romney first said he didn’t say anything about Palestinian culture and later tried to defend himself by saying that his remarks were taken out of context. (Apparently, it’s okay when he takes the president’s statements out of context, but that no one should do this to him.) You can check out the “context” for yourself.

In Israel, Romney’s campaign also organized a $50,000 a plate fundraiser—on a Jewish day of fasting to mourn the Jewish tragedies. Romney’s campaign said they were aware that they had scheduled a fundraiser with food in Israel on a day of fasting, but they thought that people wouldn’t be so upset. They later dropped the price to $10,000

Today in Poland, Romney praised Poland’s economy when he said, “A march toward economic liberty and smaller government has meant a march toward higher living standards, a strong military that defends liberty at home and abroad, and an important and growing role on the international stage.” This follows his criticism of Europe as a “social welfare state.” Hint to Mr. Romney: Poland is in Europe.

In addition, ABC Fact Check pointed out that the Polish government gives women $300 for each baby they have, doubling that sum for poor families; fully funds state university educations; and guarantees health care to all its 38 million citizens. Some of its economic growth comes from subsidies flowing from the European Union since Poland joined the bloc in 2004. Total government expenditure as a percentage of GDP was about 44 percent in Poland last year compared to 41 percent in the United States. And they don’t pay over half their taxes for defense. Unemployment in Poland is 12.4 percent, and wages are low, and GDP per capita last year in Poland was $20,600 compared to $49,000 in the U.S.

Romney even alienated the Polish people before he set food on their ground. Poland’s storied Solidarnosc (Solidarity) trade union, founded by former president Lech Walesa and others in 1980, issued a press release saying it is “in no way involved” in the Romney meeting with Walesa and had no “initiative” to invite the American candidate to Poland. The union has expressed dismay at Romney’s anti-union stances in the U.S.

The staunchest of U.S. conservatives are also appalled at the results of Romney’s tour which was designed to show that he is accomplished in foreign policy. Karl Rove said, “You have to shake your head.” Charles Krauthammer went much farther on a Fox panel discussion, claiming that Romney’s statements were “unbelievable, it’s beyond human understanding, it’s incomprehensible. I’m out of adjectives.”

Beyond stupidity, Romney has made dangerous statements on his tour. Romney declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel and stated that he would move the U.S. embassy there. At this time, the UN has declared Jerusalem an international city, and this issue is extremely sensitive. Even the Chinese are upset about Romney’s statement. The Xinhua News Agency, the government news resource, wrote, “Romney’s remarks totally neglect historical facts and are actually irresponsible if he just meant to appeal to voters at home.”

Russia is our country’s “number one adversary,” he said on CNN last night. AT least he did say “Russia.” Two of his advisers have recently referred to the country as the “Soviet Union.”

In last Sunday’s speech to the Israelis, Romney said that he would stand with their country against any Iranian threat, pointing out a hawkish approach that could lead to World War III. “We have a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran’s leaders the means to follow through on their malevolent intensions. We must not delude ourselves into thinking that containment is an option.” Dan Senior, Romney’s senior foreign policy aide, suggested that Romney would support a unilateral military strike by Israel. Senior later said that he didn’t really mean a military strike.

As Rove shakes his head and Krauthammer runs out of adjectives, others wonder why Romney is making so many mistakes. One simplistic theory from people who see Romney as intelligent is that he is trying to show that he’s one of the people. Others connect it to his anxiety and lack of experience in interacting with people who don’t share his wealthy background and Mormon faith. The result is contempt for people not in his personal world which slips out when he isn’t careful. The British aren’t running the Olympics correctly, or young people without money for college should borrow from their parents rather than the government. His failure in communication then leads to hostility that leads to bullying.

These gaffes, however, may not cause him as much trouble as what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today. After saying that Romney couldn’t make it through a Senate confirmation process as a mere Cabinet nominee because he wouldn’t release information about his personal finances, Reid said that a Bain Capital investor told him that Romney didn’t pay taxes for ten years.

Romney himself has said that he should be elected as president if he paid taxes he didn’t owe. But now there is speculation about whether he isn’t paying taxes that he does owe. Everyone in the country should question a man who pays less than 14 percent taxes in the one year in which he released his tax returns and then wants to be elected because his economic plan will lower his own personal taxes.

About Romney’s dismal performance in England, Krauthammer said that all he had to do was keep his mouth shut. Henry Porter, writing for the UK Guardian, agreed, in charming British language: “All that is required of any foreign personage is to speed along the line of greeters, murmuring: ‘Jolly good show–carry on.’”

Porter continued with this gem about Romney: “He displayed the sure touch of a Tourettes sufferer.”

In guessing at the reason behind Romney’s vast mistakes:

“It is that Romney has stripped himself of reason, personality, and sense in order to become the next president of the United States and that that is ultimately why he will fail to persuade the undecided voters to endorse him. Devilishly cunning new legislation in 19 key U.S. states, designed to place obstacles between voters and the ballot boxes most likely to affect those who vote Democrat, may eventually swing it for the Republicans. But in a straight fight with Obama on the candidates’ weight, experience, and merit of their convictions, he comes a distant second. This is as much about authenticity as politics.

“Romney is generally smooth in interview yet he leaves you counting your change. The general debate on how the rich got richer in the last 15 years may prove embarrassing for him. Bain’s chief mode of operation was to create efficiencies by outsourcing jobs to cheaper labor markets. That is not a great record if the main thrust of your campaign is to concentrate on the administration’s failure to create jobs on American soil.

“Romney has got nothing to say. He hollowed himself out to gain the nomination and is now too drained of character to win the presidency.”

And there you have it: the Republican presidential nominee of 2012.

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