Nel's New Day

July 1, 2019

DDT: Week 127 – Hobnobbing with Autocrats

A mainstream journalist claimed that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) survived last week’s G20 without offending anyone, but the report skipped his offensive behavior such as his attack on the 1951 mutual defense treaty with Japan when the U.S. forced a new constitution on Japan and blocked any military there except for self-defense. Before DDT got to Osaka, he complained that Japan would not help the U.S. if it were attacked but instead “watch it on a Sony television.” DDT complained about India’s raising tariffs caused by his increased U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel. DDT repeated his attack on Germany for not paying enough for NATO and again lied about the U.S. share of NATO financial burden and other countries in being arrears. In a conversation with Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, DDT said, “We take care of our allies.” At the end of the summit, he bragged about his preference for the world’s dictators.

DDT’s few allies—authoritarian thugs—in almost 200 countries: 

Vladimir Putin: After a journalist asked DDT if he had talked to Putin, sitting next to him, about interfering in U.S. elections, DDT smiled at Putin, humorously wagged his finger at him, and said twice, “Don’t meddle in the election.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laughed at the exchange. Investigator Robert Mueller has confirmed the opinion from the U.S. intelligence community that Russia meddled in 2016, but DDT takes Putin’s word that he didn’t. On the anniversary of the Capital Gazette shooting that killed five people, DDT also praised Putin for getting rid of the “fake news.” Over 200 journalists have been murdered in Russia, and another dozens have disappeared.

Mohammed Bin Salman: DDT piled praise on Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, the murderer of U.S. journalist and resident Jamal Khashoggi.

Jair Bolsonaro: A member of the Brazilian president’s armed forces was arrested in Spain for carrying 86 pounds of cocaine as the advance team stopped in Seville on their way to the G20 summit in Japan. One of the president’s promises was anti-drug trafficking by gangs; he bragged about his military’s professionalism.

Kim Jong-Un: Love-sick DDT asked North Korea’s president to meet him at the border while DDT is in South Korea “just to shake his hand.” Although DDT claimed the idea was spur of the moment, the White House said they delayed its announcement for a week because of security reasons. DDT managed his photo op and media attention by stepping across the border into North Korea. In discussing talks about Kim’s denuclearization, DDT said he didn’t care how long it would take, giving the murderous dictator time to create the weapons.

Rodrigo Duterte: DDT continues to admire the Philippine’s murderous leader.

Benjamin Netanyahu: DDT is working with Israel’s prime minister to destroy Palestine. DDT’s next project is getting the PM re-elected in September so that the country doesn’t indict Netanyahu. 

Before heading out to Japan, DDT placed more sanctions on Iran. DDT claimed that he would make sure than Iran didn’t have nuclear weapons, yet he backed out of President Obama’s agreement with Iran because it only concentrated on keeping Iran from having nuclear weapons. Russia has promised to look out for Iran’s interests while Europe attempts to keep the peace on DDT’s worsening situation. DDT deployed F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar in order to build up Gulf forces. Last month, the U.S. sent nuclear-capable B-52 Stratofortress bombers along with an aircraft carrier task force. 

About a war with Iran, DDT said, “It wouldn’t last very long…. You’re not going to need an exit strategy. I don’t need exit strategies.” He echoed ultrahawk Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) who claimed that a war with Iran would take “Two strikes: the first strike and a last strike.” All the saber rattling repeats the claims of the George W. Bush administration. In 2002 and 2003, Ken Adelman, assistant to Donald Rumsfeld in the 1970s, wrote two op-eds for the Washington Post, “Cakewalk in Iraq” and “Cakewalk, Revisited.” The “cakewalk” is now 16 years old. The GOP Senate failed to pass an amendment that would have stopped DDT from a tweet to start a war with Iran.  

Former president Jimmy Carter called DDT an illegitimate president and spoke about DDT’s disastrous immigration policy:

“[DDT] lost the election and was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf….

“Every day we send a disgraceful signal around the world, that this is what the president of the United States government stands for. And that is torture and kidnapping of little children, separation from their parents and deprivation of those who are incarcerated.”

DDT has followed his own advice for accusations of sexual assault against E. Jean Carroll: “deny, deny, deny.” He first said he’d never met Carroll although a photograph proved him wrong; he continued by saying that she’s “totally lying” about his sexual attack; and he used the third “deny” to say that “she’s not my type.” The pattern is the same for all other reports of sexual assaults and indicates that he would assault women if they were his “type.” Rupert Murdoch has pulled all stories about Carroll from the New York Post.

The stock market may go up this coming week: DDT has claimed he’s ironing out the China trade war by talking with President Xi Jinping.

GOP members of Congress are thinking about balancing the budget by taking money away from domestic departments such as labor and education to pay for the massive cuts benefiting the wealthy and big businesses. Yet DDT plans an even higher national debt by going around Congress to give bigger tax cuts to the wealthy. He thinks he can sign an executive order indexing capital gains rates to inflation with 86 percent of the tax breaks going to the top one percent. Corporate stock with dividends held for 10 years would presently be taxed at 24.3 percent, but DDT’s plan would drop the tax to 21.4 percent. The change would give the wealthy $102 billion over the decade. Even Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin disapproves. George W. Bush had considered the same idea but decided it was illegal. DDT’s adviser Larry Kudlow, who predicted that there would be no recession a decade ago, called it useful for “economic growth”—the same justification as the failed 2017 tax cuts.

DDT finally admitted that he opposes any solution for the climate crisis because it threatens corporate profits. At the G20 summit he tried to enlist support against solving the climate crisis from his authoritarian friends in Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Australia, and Turkey.

No one knows for sure the profits that DDT would see from his latest tax scam, but a recent court order may make some of his financial records public. A federal ruling permits congressional Democrats to continue their emoluments case against DDT, giving them financial records from the Trump Organization. The DOJ plans an emergency plea to an appeals court, but this long-shot legal tactic is rarely granted in ordinary litigation.

In a day-long closed-door interview with House Intelligence Committee staff, Giorgi Rtskhiladze, a Georgian native and U.S. citizen who works for the Trump Organization, talked about his personal and financial losses because of his work with DDT and DDT’ associates, including the failed Trump Tower Moscow development in 2015. According to Rtskhiladze, DDT mixed business with politics in his projects, and his partners lost millions. The businessman’s name was mentioned in Robert Mueller’s report.

Twitter plans to label tweets from national political figures such as political candidates and government officials with over 100,000 followers, including DDT, that should be taken down for breaking the company’s rules. Before reading the tweets, users need to click on a screen that states:

“The Twitter Rules about abusive behavior apply to this Tweet. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain available.”

Tweets will also be de-prioritized to circulate to fewer people. Twitter bans threats, glorifications of violence, bullying, targeted harassment, and the incitement of others to harass. Other bans include “hateful conduct,” which can involve threats or harassment on the basis of race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, and other factors. Banned tweets do not need to be direct incitements to violence but could lead to real-world harm. Reddit has also decided to “quarantine” the biggest forum for DDT supporters to stop being a hub for conspiracy theories and violent threats.

DDT is excluding the general population for his July 4 military party in public areas of Washington, D.C. by sealing off the area from the Lincoln Memorial steps halfway down the Reflecting Pool, reserving it only for his family, friends, and “ticketed” VIP friends (aka wealthy donors). Votes for Vets is selling USS John S. McCain t-shirts and urging people to wear them in Washington on July 4 to honor military service and sacrifice.

Last month, Jon Stewart gave an impassioned speech before the House Judiciary Committee to beg that the Victims Compensation Fund for 9/11 first responders be made permanent. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), known for blocking almost all House bills in his chamber, asked why Stewart was so “bent out of shape,” that he would get around to the issue. One of the responders who appeared with Stewart, 53-year-old Luis Alvarez, died on June 29, 2019, and the Senate has taken no action. After the former Marine and 20-year NYPD detective saved people on 9/11, Alvarez (right) suffered from colon cancer before his liver shut down. After his death, Alvarez may accomplish something he could not do while alive, but Republican legislator push bills that only help the wealthy or themselves.

July 16, 2015

Congress to Decide between Iranian War, Peace

Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) has declared that his first priority is to represent Jesus. He could start by supporting the Iran deal to bring peace and persuade his Christian GOP colleagues to do the same. But that’s not going to happen. The instant that a deal was announced, Republican presidential candidates led the charge against peace in a deal among six countries that would curb Iran’s nuclear program and significantly limit the country’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon for over ten years. (Details here.)

walker

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (above), who declared his presidential candidacy on the day that the deal was announced, said, “President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran will be remembered as one of America’s worst diplomatic failures.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) doesn’t expect Congress to approve the deal. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called the agreement appeasement. Rick Santorum called the deal a “catastrophic capitulation.”

Kerry and Zarif, photo Thomas Imo

The deal took 19 days and four missed deadlines before Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, appeared at Secretary of State John Kerry’s working quarters at midnight Monday. Kerry flew 400,000 miles to prevent the tenth country from getting the bomb in the first successful dealings with Iran since its 1979 revolution. In addition to containing the country’s ability to produce a bomb for at least a decade, it provides for permanent, broader U.N. inspections to monitor Iran’s declared and suspected nuclear facilities, even after the deal expires. The combination of restrictions and time frames from ten to twenty-five years gives the international community more insight into Iran’s program and capabilities.

War hawks in the U.S. will complain that Iran can still enrich uranium, yet it’s at a minimum level, with the number of centrifuges cut by two-thirds. Some Congressional members, accompanied by Israel and the Gulf sheikhdoms, insist on zero facilities instead of one. The Iran deal will not diffuse deep sectarian and political rivalries in the Middle East with Sunni concern about Iran become a player instead of a pariah, but that was not the goal. Under the deal, Iran can reclaim between $100 billion to $150 billion of its oil revenues from foreign banks. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, denounced the deal before the details were released.

Yet U.S. involvement in the Middle East is already overwhelming—air wars in Iraq, Syria, and Libya as well as selling arms to Saudi Arabia to wage its war in Yemen. The deal creates no renewal of U.S. diplomatic relations with Iran. Lifting sanctions on Iran will open international markets to Iran’s population that has more than doubled since 1979, but U.S. businesses will be limited in trading with Iran because of sanctions tied to human-rights practices and support for terrorism. If Iran breaks the deal, the U.S. still has a military option.

Congress has 60 days to review the deal with Iran. It can vote for a resolution of disapproval that President Obama has promised to veto. An override of his veto requires two-thirds vote in each chamber. GOP legislators have reasons to vote against the deal, oil prices being one of them. Prices in the United States began to fall in June as the deal came closer to fruition, shrinking to $54 a barrel this past week, and more oil availability from the Middle East forcing down the oil market may bring the price of gas down to below $2 a gallon by the end of the year. The International Energy Agency estimates that Iran could add 800,000 barrels a day to the global market within months of the lifting of sanctions, but immediate relief could come from the 30 million barrels of Iranian crude in storage and ready for sale. A general rule is the two-thirds of the cost of gas comes from the crude oil cost and the remaining one-third comes from taxes, refining, distribution, and marketing. Republicans like to claim, however, that the president is completely responsible for higher costs of gas. They won’t want to see the price go down in the Obama administration.

Any deal from the president is described as a “bad deal” to Republicans. Presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that the deal is “a possible death sentence for Israel,” but he hasn’t read it. He added that reading it didn’t’ matter because visits to the Mideast made him know that he didn’t like the details. The GOP belief that any international interaction is a “bad deal” goes back to the opposition to the Hot Line Agreement, in which Moscow and Washington could communicate directly during emergencies such as the Cuban missile crisis. The right opposed then-President Nixon going to China and called it “appeasement,” just as they are describing the deal with Iran.

The biggest influence on conservative members of Congress is Netanyahu. Some congressional leaders put Israel’s prime minister above the President of the United States in their loyalties. Last year, presidential candidate Graham told Netanyahu that Congress would “follow his lead” in reinforcing sanctions on Iran despite President Obama’s refusal to do so. Last March, Netanyahu spoke to both chambers of Congress after House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) invited him without notifying the president, a breach of protocol. His speech was intended to persuade congressional members and the people of the United States against Iranian negotiations. At this time, President Obama is offering additional military aid to Israel beyond billions of dollars to help build Israel’s Iron Dome and provide ammunition that killed the people in Gaza last summer. Netanyahu may be willing to sell out his principles for more billions of dollars from the United States.

Soon after Netanyahu’s speech, 47 U.S. senators, led by Tom Cotton (R-AR) sent a letter to Iran, explaining that they might as well not make the deal because any future president could negate it. The letter also claimed—erroneously—that there could be no agreement unless Congress passed it by a two-thirds vote. To this next breach of protocol—and possibly a treasonous act—Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif wrote that Cotton’s letter was a “propaganda ploy” meant to undermine Obama. Yesterday the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Wednesday told Congress to reject the nuclear deal with Iran.

The Republicans have a history of sabotaging U.S. welfare to elect their candidates. When President Jimmy Carter thought he had a deal with the new Iranian president to release 52 hostages in 1979, the Reagan campaign went behind Carter’s back arranging with the Iranian radical faction to keep the hostages in captivity until after the Reagan v. Carter presidential election in 1980. Iranian extremists released the hostages on January 20, 1981, the moment that Reagan was inaugurated, and pointed out that Reagan must keep his agreement to ship weapons to the radical forces. The result was deaths of thousands of people throughout the world, especially in Central America where Reagan took money from the Iranians to destabilize Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. Those areas have still not gained stability after Reagan’s actions. Carter’s loss in the election led to the appointment of Justice Antonin Scalia and the elevation of William Rehnquist to Chief Justice. One reason for the GOP to keep Iran closed to the U.S. is to cover Reagan’s actions.

Although Netanyahu has expressed strong opposition to the Iran deal, not everyone in Israel supports his position. Israel is also a dangerous country with undeclared chemical warfare capabilities and between 75 and 400 nuclear weapons. It is also one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the others being India, Pakistan, and North Korea. Because Israel never signed the NPT, the country does not have to submit to inspections. Israel’s attack on Gaza last summer and its takeover of the Palestinian West Bank shows that the country will use any means to defeat other countries, whether warranted or not.

The GOP refuses to admit that, like almost every problem in the U.S. during the 21st century, Iran’s expansion of its nuclear program can be traced back to the Bush/Cheney administration. With 164 centrifuges in 2003, Iran wanted to negotiate with the U.S. to remove the sanctions blocking the growth of the country’s middle class. Cheney said, “We don’t talk to evil,” and Iran built 5,000 centrifuges in the next two years. The country had 8,000 by the time that Bush/Cheney left. Now Cheney is lobbying to add another war to the ones they started during their administration instead of letting this generation try to achieve peace through diplomacy.

Polls, even one from the conservative Fox network, consistently show approval of the deal, but Republicans spreading lies that may reverse the surveys. Yet conservatives ignore their constituents and oppose the deal because they are convinced that the U.S. should rule the world and dictate the behavior of all countries. That’s what led us into the wars with Afghanistan and Iraq that almost wiped out the U.S. economy.

A comparison between Iran and the United States:

iran v. u.s. nuclear weapons

The only purpose of the Iran deal is to reduce the possibility of Iran getting a nuclear weapon. In opposing the Iran deal, Congress has three alternatives: kill the deal and do nothing else, leaving few restraints on the growth of Iran’s nuclear program; declare war and ignite a catastrophic regional conflict; and increase sanctions, which looks like the first option. Without a deal, Iran has a much better chance of building bombs. Increased sanctions are useless because U.S. business dealings with Iran are already limited and the rest of the world will leave the U.S. standing alone.

As conservatives continue to posture without reading the deal, Congress is in charge of deciding whether the United States will go to war with Iran. And the media focus on Iran will cause Scott Walker, the 15th presidential candidate, to stay in the shadows—at least for a while.

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