Nel's New Day

November 10, 2019

Open Impeachment Inquiry Hearings: Follow the Money

Despite frantic tweets from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and vehement denials from GOP lawmakers, the impeachment inquiry proceedings move forward this week with televised hearings. The focus will be on “three interrelated lines of inquiry“:

Did DDT ask a foreign leader for investigations to help his personal political interests, including an investigation into DDT’s political rival and possible opponent in the 2020 election?

Did DDT use the Office of the President to pressure Ukraine for his own personal political interests, including leveraging a White House meeting with Ukraine’s president or withholding U.S. military aid?

Did DDT and his administration try to hide information from Congress and the U.S. people about DDT’s actions and behavior, thus seeking to obstruct, suppress, or cover up information?

In closed-door hearings, GOP representatives tried to avoid these inquiries, for example asking about Marie Yovanovitch’s national heritage. (Her father fled the Soviet Union and then the Nazis; her mother grew up “stateless” in Germany. They moved to the United States when Marie was three.) Other questions tried to whitewash evidence from the Mueller investigation, and one member asked Yovanovitch whether her staff “monitored” the social media account of an alt-right conspiracy theorist who accused a pizzeria as being the site of a fictional Democratic pedophile ring. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), former chair of the Intelligence Committee who leaked information to the White House, questioned the origins of the FBI Russia investigation and pushed accusations of bias in the DOJ.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) gave GOP Intelligence Committee members inquiry parameters for witnesses, but Republicans want to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter by calling them as witnesses. Other GOP witness requests were for Hunter Biden’s business partner Devon Archer; the unnamed whistleblower who DDT and GOP lawmakers are determined to out; the researcher Nellie Ohr of Fusion GPS which commissioned a dossier about Russia and Trump; and Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian American who worked with the Democratic National Committee. Schiff said that Democrats would evaluate the GOP requests for witnesses but added:

“[The inquiry] will not serve … as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations into the Bidens or 2016 that the President pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit, or to facilitate the President’s effort to threaten, intimidate, and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm.”

DDT announced that he will release a “transcript” of an April call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, perhaps hoping that it will wipe out the damaging July 25 extortion call. The public and Congress still have no access to the complete transcript of the July 25 call.

Republicans focused their defense of DDT’s extortion by claiming that former VP Joe Biden secured Hunter Biden’s position on a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, during Joe Biden’s time in the executive branch. Hunter worked for Burisma from 2014 to 2019, sometimes earning as much as $50,000 a month, but extensive investigations found no relationship between Hunter’s job and Joe’s influence. Other attacks on Joe Biden without evidence come from far-right conspiracy theorists evolving from attempts by DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to get a corruption inquiry dropped for an associate of Russian organized crime.

Giuliani’s and DDT’s corruption with Ukraine have business purposes indicated by their connection with Lev Parnas, arrested for campaign finance violation and planning to testify before the House. Businessmen used their connections with Giuliani and DDT, hoping to install new board members on Ukraine’s state gas company, Naftogaz, and get lucrative contracts. Part of the scheme, recently resigned Energy Secretary Rick Perry, had proposed a donor as a board member but refused to testify before the House. Sources claim Perry asked DDT to make his July 25 call to Zelensky and represented the U.S. at Zelensky’s inauguration while DDT was still extorting the new Ukrainian president. Federal prosecutors are investigating Giuliani.

A loud voice pushing the lie that Joe Biden’s position benefited Hunter came from Donald Trump Jr. On Sean Hannity’s Fox show to tout his new book, Triggered, DDT’s namesake said:

“I wish my name was Hunter Biden. I could go abroad, make millions off of my father’s presidency. I’d be a really rich guy.”  

Supposedly in charge of the Trump Organization, Trump Jr. has repeatedly leveraged political connections for business deals—selling condos in India for a Trump-branded property and fighting to save a Trump property by asking the president of Panama to intervene for him. Taxpayers paid for his travel. China gave a large number of trademarks to Ivanka Trump, who receives about $4 million each year from the DDT-promoted hotel chain, and her husband, Jared Kushner, has sold over $100 million worth of Trump Organization property since DDT’s election.

DDT’s son, Eric Trump, said, “When my father became commander in chief of this country, we got out of all international business, right?” Unbelievably wrong as this article shows. Eric also whined about Hunter’s advantages that are actually those of Eric:

“Money grows on trees, there are no rules, and the press will always cover for you ….”

Trumps’ views on nepotism:

“I like nepotism. I think, you know, a lot of people say, ‘Oh, nepotism.’ Usually these are people without children. But I like nepotism.”–DDT

Nepotism is “kind of a factor of life” and a “beautiful thing.”—Eric Trump

As for DDT’s newly-discovered concern for corruption, he, along with Ivanka, participated in a hotel development deal in Azerbaijan, which ranks 152nd out of 180 on Transparency International’s index of the world’s most corrupt countries. The Trumps partnered with the son of the country’s then-transportation minister, Ziya Mammadov, described in a U.S. diplomatic cable as “notoriously corrupt, even for Azerbaijan.” The Mammadov family has been connected to a corrupt scheme involving operatives from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. In Brazil, Trump partnered with Paulo Figueiredo, later arrested for his part in diverting pension funds into real estate developments, including the one with DDT. Just a bit of DDT’s corruption.

In a GOP strategy for impeachment inquiry hearings, House Minority Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) transferred Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) to the Intelligence Committee because of Jordan’s aggressive questioning. Jordan faces possible lawsuits about at least eight ex-OSU wrestlers asserting that he ignored sexual abuse reports while Jordan was an assistant coach at Ohio State University from 1987 to 1995. A male student said Jordan shrugged when he told Jordan about sexual abuse by school doctor Richard Strauss. A recent witness said that Jordan “snickered” when he told Jordan about the abuse. Jordan replied, “I have nothing to do with this” before walking away. Originally, Jordan said he knew nothing about the abuse and then shifted to claim that “conversations in a locker room” aren’t the same. The head coach who Jordan worked for apparently knew about the claims. Defending Jordan, DDT and GOP lawmakers followed their pattern of supporting sexual abusers and their enablers unless they are registered Democrats.  

Strauss was accused of sexually abusing almost 300 men during a 17-year period. Ohio State knows of 1,429 cases of fondling and 47 cases of rape by Strauss, who killed himself in 2005. The most recent lawsuit is the 13th against the school, and an attorney said that this information “barely scratches the surface.”

Republicans are caught in a bind of bribery and blackmail. DDT will campaign against anyone who doesn’t support his every action, and he has promised to give money to senators who don’t appear to be 100-percent behind him. Those who face a tight election and sign a resolution condemning the inquiry as “unprecedented and undemocratic” may receive campaign funds; those who have offended him get nothing.

GOP senators benefiting from DDT’s largesse are Cory Gardner (CO), Joni Ernst (IA), David Perdue (GA) and Thom Tillis (NC). DDT also plans to appear at a reception for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s PAC. Receiving no money, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) not only didn’t sign the resolution but also called for a retraction of his tweet comparing impeachment and “lynching” and said that DDT made a “big mistake” asking China to investigate the Bidens. Martha McSally (AZ) was also overlooked in DDT’s gifts because she won’t use WinRed, the DDT-endorsed online fundraising site.

For the 2020 election, 22 Republican senatorial seats are up for election, and the GOP senators on the ballot are behind in fundraising. In the first ten months of the 116th Congress, Jonny Isakson (GA), Mike Enzi (WY), Pat Roberts (KS), and Lamar Alexander (TN) announced that they won’t run for re-election in 2020. About DDT’s donations to some of the GOP senators, Richard Painter, George W. Bush’s top ethics lawyer, tweeted:

“Any other American who offered cash to the jury before a trial would go to prison for felony bribery. But he can get away with it? Criminal.”

DDT and GOP lawmakers sent out a hue and cry for public hearings—until they were announced. Now Republicans use the same decibel level to decry the public hearings that start this week. Follow the money.

October 5, 2019

DDT: Week 141 – Impeachment, Level 1

News about a presidential impeachment inquiry has escalated for 11 days, starting with the extortion of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to get “dirt” on Joe Biden and his son Hunter in exchange for DDT’s releasing the $391 million congressional appropriation to Ukraine for its protection from Russian aggression. Outrage built after the DOJ and the Director of National Intelligence violated the law by refusing to release a whistleblower complaint about DDT’s “agreement” to Congress and expanded after public information about the proof in a July 25 telephone call between DDT and Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Against the advice of his advisers, DDT released the call’s “rough transcript,” which DDT falsely described as an “exact word-for-word transcript” but was labeled as “not a verbatim transcription.” Sen. Angus King (I-ME) pointed out that the released document was only ten minutes long whereas the call lasted 30 minutes. The document also contained punctuation indicating deleted information, particularly in the DDT’s questions about the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike and his assumption that Hillary Clinton’s “missing emails,” created by conspiracy theories, are hidden in Ukraine. Under the control of John Bolton, the actual telephone call transcript, along with many others, is buried in deepest classification computer server.

For over a week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hid the fact that he was on the July 25 call until that information leaked. That fact makes him a witness in the impeachment process. Pompeo then tried to obstruct justice by saying five subpoenaed State Department officials could not testify before House committees. They have not complied with his order.

Kurt Volker, who recently resigned as an envoy to Ukraine, has already testified. He told House members that he warned Ukraine to stay out of DDT’s and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s politics because it would be interfering in the U.S election and Giuliani that Ukrainian political figures were giving him untrustworthy information about the Bidens. Giuliani ignored him and supported Ukrainian corruption. He admitted that he tried to pass off his Ukraine conspiracy theories as real by putting put fake White House logos that he gave to the State Department. Giuliani got his lies about the Bidens from an affidavit provided to Dimtry Firtash, former business partner of Paul Manafort imprisoned for financial fraud, who fled Ukraine to Austria after pro-Russian President Victor Yanukovych was overthrown in 2014. Other people involved in Giuliani’s conspiracy theory are frequent Sean Hannity husband-and-wife guests Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing who now work for Firtash’s legal team. After recent Ukraine top prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko said the Bidens had not violated the law, Guiliani turned on Lutsenko, no longer calling him an “honest guy.” The House has subpoenaed Giuliani’s documents to determine if he acted as DDT’s agent to advance DDT’s “personal political interests” by abusing his power. 

Volker released damning State Department text messages showing DDT’s efforts to “exchange” summit meetings for Ukraine’s promise to investigate the Bidens both before and after the July 25 telephone call. The language clearly gives the quid pro quo: “Assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate/ ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for a visit to Washington.” In a text, Bill Taylor, senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, showed the connection between releasing the $391 million in military aid and Ukraine’s investigating the Bidens: “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” A detailed look at the texts. The thread of messages was broken when Sondland concealed it through telephone calls instead of texts. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who lied about ignorance about sexual assaults while he was an assistant wrestling coach, was scorched for his lies about the text messages.

DDT assigned Gordon Sondland, US Ambassador to the EU, to run his Ukrainian extortion plan after the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, refused to take that role and DDT recalled her to Washington. DDT said that Yovanovitch is “going to go through some things” and she’s “bad news.” Yavanovitch testifies before the House committee on Tuesday. Former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) asked Pompeo to fire Yavanovitch for expressing “disdain” for the current administration. Sessions is now trying to become a House candidate for a district 100 miles from his former one.

Volker and Sondland drafted a statement for Zelensky soon after DDT’s July 25 telephone call that committed Ukraine to pursuing DDT’s requested investigations against his political rivals. Despite the incriminating texts, Sondland, a hotel developer and major DDT donor, claimed that no “quid pro quo” existed, but Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said Sondland had told him the release of U.S. aid to Ukraine was tied to Ukraine’s investigations of the Bidens. Weeks before the Ukraininan scandal erupted, DDT told Johnson that the conservative senator could not tell Zelensky that the U.S. foreign aid was on its way. Sondland testifies on Tuesday. DDT got renewed probes into the Bidens in exchange for $391 million although former investigations revealed no wrong on the Bidens’ part.

Questioned about Ukraine, DDT called on China to investigate the Bidens, saying he might ask President Xi Jinping to do this. DDT had already done this in a June 18 telephone call to Xi when he also offered to keep quiet about the Hong Kong protests for democracy in exchange for trade talks. The White House didn’t deny this conversation. About China, DDT said, “If they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous power.”

The national intelligence inspector general, Michael Atkinson, testified Friday about his process for he substantiating the whistle-blower’s account. Another person who met with Atkinson about joining the whistleblower in expressing concerns about DDT’s dealings with Ukraine has first-hand information about the events.

Part of DDT’s Ukrainian shakedown in May was to send Energy Secretary Rick Perry to Zelensky’s inauguration instead of VP Mike Pence. Perry pushed Ukraine for changes at its state-run oil and gas company including two U.S. citizens on its board, making him a part of the impeachment inquiry. He may resign as Secretary as soon as next month. Perry, who met with Zelensky at least two other times, said he will cooperate with the House in its empeachment inquiry. The DOD has also agreed to cooperate.

The House has subpoenaed acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to testify, and the whistleblower agreed to testify. DDT’s threats against the person—going so far as murder—have made the negotiations difficult.

In a memorable segment on The Late Night Show, Stephen Colbert talked about Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt’s confusion about the impeachment story:

“I think this is too much in the weeds. First they are going after the president with impeachment, then they are going after Rudy Giuliani. Now it’s Bill Barr. And Americans are saying what? How are they all connected? Connect the dots for us? What are you talking about? It’s so much information.”

Colbert clarified the issue with a chalkboard on which he drew an arrow from “Trump” to “Ukraine” and said, “Trump asked for dirt on Biden from the Ukraine.” Earhardt’s ignorance may come from her getting news from the Fox network.

Most congressional Republicans can’t find any way to defend DDT except to attack the Bidens and the process. An accusation of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) seeing the whistleblower complaint before it was submitted—even helping write it—bore little fruit because it was a lie. Schiff’s staff members followed protocol by advising that the whistleblower see a lawyer. Another lie designed to distract is that the rules for whistleblower complaints changed after this filing; the intelligence IG said that was false. DDT also called for violence from white supremacist militias by declaring that impeachment—a congressional inquiry—is a coup—a violent overthrow of a government. He also threatened civil war if he is impeached.  

Republicans are operating from a position of blustering ignorance. On 60 Minutes, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) demonstrated ignorance about the contents of the July 25 telephone call summary. [Left: McCarthy.] Republicans complained that the whistleblower is not credible although they don’t know the identity of the person and the complaint is true. Not knowing the identity means that they cannot slime the whistleblower. DNI Joe Maguire said under oach that the whistleblower is not a “partisan hack.”

DDT and Republicans started out by saying that he had no communication with Zelensky. Evidence for the communication led to the claim thatit wasn’t illegal. DDT now claims the constitutional duty to personally fight global corruption—like a comic book hero—for the first time in almost three years. Asked by a reporter whether he had asked any foreign leaders to investigate anyone who isn’t a political rival, Mr. Trump said he’d have to check on that.

AG Bill Barr’s name is largely missing from the current scandal news because he’s trying to look “nonpartisan.” Instead he’s traveling the world, talking to foreign leaders, in an attempt to get “dirt” on the Mueller investigation and legitimize DDT’s 2016 election. Barr’s appointment to investigate the origins of the Russia probe, John Durham, has not interviewed any FBI or DOJ employees directly involved in the opening of the Russia investigation in 2016. The Ukrainian complaint was filed, however, after the DOJ refused to address the whistleblower’s earlier concern. The CIA counsel asking for an investigation, Countney Simmons Elwood, is a strong Republican. Barr also consistently protects DDT in lawsuits about DDT’s private finances, and his name will reappear.  

Last Sunday, a CBS/You-Gov poll showed that 55 percent of people support the impeachment inquiry. In an ABC News/Ipsos poll, 64 percent think that DDT tried to pressure Ukraine for dirt on Biden, and 64 percent see this action as a serious problem.

DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and subpoenaed Mulvaney are evidently the lead in defending DDT. Kushner was one of DDT’s White House officials who met with Zelensky—possibly making him part of the impeachment inquiry. Zelensky is on Kushner’s left at this dinner seven weeks before the telephone call. Also in attendance were Rick Perry and U.S. State Department Counselor, Ulrich Brechbuhl, who heard the July 25 telephone call. 

September 28, 2019

Ukraine the Icing on the Corruption

Filed under: Foreign policy,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 11:47 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

The focus of the impeachment comes from the intent of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to find “dirt” on Joe Biden and accuse him of threatening a prosecutor in Ukraine. Here’s the background.   

Viktor Shokin was prosecutor general of Ukraine from February 2015 to March 2016. A large consensus of Western nations pushed for his ouster because they believed he was in the center of the country’s corruption. The United States was part of the consensus to remove Shokin, and VP Biden was one of the leaders in that effort. Therefore, he threatened to withhold U.S. loan guarantees from Ukraine while Shokin continued to use his position for corruption. At the same time, Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, also threatened to withdraw financial support for Ukraine unless it solved its corruption problem. In February 2016, Shokin’s deputy prosecutor, Vitaly Kaska, resigned because of cronyism and corruption in the office. Because the coalition decided that Shokin must leave office, the Ukrainian voted to remove him from office a month later.

Shokin investigated a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings, while he was in office. Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, was on Burisma’s board and paid $50,000 a month. The investigation was quickly closed, however, by the time that VP Biden threatened to withhold financial aid, possibly because the “investigation” was an extortion attempt of the company’s owner, Myola Zlochevsky. Biden didn’t block anyone from investigating Burisma. Shokin’s successor, Yuiy Lutsenko, also investigated Burisma before closing the case ten months later but “did not prosecute any serious criminal during his 3 years in office,” according to Ukraine expert Anders Åslund. After waiting two years, Lutsenko reopened the case after Biden’s decision to run for president and DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani inviting him to New York and meeting with him in January. In April, Lutsenko admitted any implications of Biden and other U.S. Democrats were false and withdrew his claim that he had been told not to investigate a list of possible suspects. DDT lied about it and continued his false allegations. Lutsenko is now gone after new Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky asked for his removal. Wanting the Biden issue back into the news, DDT has sent associates such as Rudy Guiliani to Ukraine to push for an investigation and called Zelensky in late July, asking for the investigation to be reopened as a “favor” in the same conversation about the U.S. offers to help Ukraine against Russian aggression.

The story about DDT’s shakedown of Zelensky for renewed investigation despite lack of corruption contains two conspiracies: the work of DDT, Giuliani, AG Bill Barr, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to denigrate Biden and the coverup on the complaint of how they were carrying out the first conspiracy. The impeachment inquiry is now focused on DDT’s treachery against the United States by using Ukraine for his own person benefit. But his global pattern of defending a corrupt foreign official and using a foreign government to fight his domestic political opponents for personal gain while circumventing or removing U.S. security officials in his way are part of a pattern throughout the world.

Russia: DDT defended collaboration with Russia and get their campaign help to win the 2016 election. In July 2016, he asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails and said he had “no pause” in “asking a foreign government—Russia, China, anybody—to interfere, to hack … anybody in this country.” In 2017, DDT said he saw no difference between getting help from the U.S. and help from Russia. DDT frequently says that the U.S. is no better than Russia and defended Vladimir Putin’s killing dissidents by saying that the U.S. isn’t “so innocent.” He praised Putin for being “a leader, you know, unlike what we have in this country,” in a reference to President Obama. In one press conference last month, DDT declared that Putin had “outsmarted” Obama, protected Putin from intelligence reports that he interfered in the 2016 U.S. election, and denounced the intelligence agencies, calling their agents liars and hacks. DDT blamed President Obama for Putin’s annexing Crimea and tried to get Russia reinstated into the former G8.

North Korea: DDT declares that Kim Jong-Un is not testing nuclear weapons and, when proved wrong, says that he doesn’t care. Kim is still testing missiles. Imitating Kim, DDT ridicules U.S. officials and policians like Kim does, for example, repeatedly applauding Kim for calling Joe Biden a “fool of low IQ.” In June, DDT ridiculed President Obama by falsely saying that he was “begging for meetings [with meetings] constantly.” After North Korea denounced national security adviser John Bolton as a “human defect” and asked that Bolton vanish, DDT fired Bolton and defended North Korea.

Saudi Arabia: DDT continues the U.S. pattern of protecting the Saudis and expanded it by protecting crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, from U.S. intelligence that shows MBS directed the torture and dismemberment of a U.S. resident, journalist Jamal Khashoggi. After the CIA concluded that MBS was behind the killing, DDT lied when he claimed that the CIA “didn’t make a determination.” He also refused a congressional directive to issue a legally mandated report on Khashoggi’s death and refused to have the FBI look into the case, saying that “nobody so far has pointed directly a finger” at MBS. When about the CIA implication of MBS, DDT said,  MBS, DDT replied, “I just don’t want to talk about intelligence.” DDT also plans to deploy at least 200 personnel as well as missile defense and radar equipment to Saudi Arabia with more planned, despite no commitment from other nations to protect the kingdom.

China: In DDT’s trade war, he consistently blames, the U.S. and not China while punishing people in the United States with fines from tariffs. He also finds China’s Communist government superior to U.S. democracy. In talking about funding the wall, he said, “I find China, frankly, in many ways, to be far more honorable than Cryin’ Chuck and Nancy [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)]. I really do. I think that China is actually much easier to deal with than the opposition party.” While the war weakens U.S. economy, China plans to invest in Iran’s fossil fuels to the benefit of both countries but a bad deal for the U.S. Trade between China and U.S. is shrinking on both sides with raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s imports. Another increase by U.S. comes on October 15.

Israel: DDT blocked two Democratic congresswomen from going to Israel by urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials to refuse them and telling him that allowing the women into Israel would look weak. Israel had originally thought that denying entry to members of Congress is offensive. He also puts Israel before the United States, especially when he said, “Any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat [were] being very disloyal to Israel.” In a speech to Jewish-Americans, he called Netanyahu “your prime minister.”

Turkey: DDT consistently excuses Turkish aggression against the United States and his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a Turkish foreign agent who had blocked the arming of U.S. allies, anti-ISIS Kurds. DDT sympathized with the authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after he assaulted protesters in Washington and tried to illegally expel Turkish dissident Fethullah Gülen who Erdogan would kill. Defense Secretary James Mattis protested the abandonment of the Kurds, and DDT fired him.

Iran: DDT broke a successful anti-nuclear deal with no good reason, put heavy sanctions on Iran, and then cried wolf when the Iranians began to retaliate. He sent a U.S. drone just 20 miles outside Iranian airspace, photographed installations within the country, and tried to take over one of their ships in Gibralter. When he lacked support from other countries, some of them U.S. allies, he threatened to sanction them also. And he picks national security advisers who want war with Iran.

Afghanistan: The U.S. continues to kill civilians, recently 30 Afghanistan civilians resting after harvesting pine nuts. The drone strike also wounded another 40 farmers and laborers. Of the 150 people at the harvest, some are still missing. Almost 4,000 civilians were killed or wounded in the first half of 2019, a huge increase in casualties inflicted by government and US-led foreign forces. Afghanistan now has a record opium harvest, producing 90 percent of the world’s supply, which worsened since the U.S.-led invasion. Marine occupation cut back on production, but lack of foreign aid drove people back to farming poppies.

Venezuela: DDT is still trying to effect a coup in the South American country, this time by tripling aid, taking money from Honduras and Guatemala and giving it directly to DDT’s puppet Juan Guaidó. The aid is badly needed after the heavy sanctions that DDT placed on the country to oust democratically-elected President Nicholas Maduro. 

DDT’s foreign policy comes from his perception that he’s an enemy to former presidents. He demeans domestic critics by talking about U.S. inferiority, and he constantly attacks U.S. intelligence officials. His tweeted smears of people loyal to the United States are accelerating and becoming more vicious. All of DDT’s corruption has one reason–personal gain.

September 20, 2019

DDT: Week 139 – Self-Serving, ‘Quid pro Quo’

The whistleblower debacle about a troubling “promise” from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has exploded—at least in the mainstream media. During a July telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, DDT told him eight times to work with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to investigate Joe Biden for corruption. Tightlipped Director of National Intelligence Joseph MacGuire is keeping his mouth shut about why he doesn’t follow the law to give the complaint to Congress, but DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has no problem talking about the situation. Last night, he told Chris Cuomo on CNN that he asked Ukraine to look into Joe Biden and that he didn’t ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden—in back to back answers. Last May, Giuliani said about his pressuring Ukraine to help DDT get reelected that it wasn’t “illegal” although “somebody could say it’s improper.” This follows the Russian scandal about a foreign government’s interference in a U.S. election. Now Giuliani—and perhaps DDT—are asking for intervention from another foreign government. The exchange and Giuliani’s meltdown are here.

Giuliani is as much of a con as DDT; he’s just not as good at doing it, which says he’s really bad in what he does. Here’s a timeline between May 2, 2019, when Giuliani and DDT pushed the scandal against Biden, and September 13, 2019, when DDT gave up on the blackmail and released the Congress-approved $250 million to Ukraine. The trail of breadcrumbs leads from the whistleblower to Ukraine.

Trying to hide his activities, DDT stopped the bipartisan practice of publishing “readouts,” official descriptions of his telephone calls with world leaders in June. People in the U.S. learn about his calls only through the foreign press, for example this week’s calls to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Without a U.S. readout, foreign leaders shape the narratives, and DDT demonstrates his level of paranoia.

Giuliani’s admission makes him a co-conspirator in the situation, possibly a federal crime. The day after DDT’s call with Zelensky about investigating Joe Biden’s son, U.S. Special Representative Kurt Volker met with Ukrainian leaders. Soon after, Giuliani was sent to Spain to meet with one of Zelensky’s closest associates, Andriy Yermack. As DDT delayed appropriated military aid for Ukraine, Giuliani explained the quid pro quo—literally “something for something”—when he told Yermack,  “Your country owes it to us and to your country to find out what really happened.” Giuliani was referring to Ukraine’s investigation into corruption about Joe and Hunter Biden’s involvement with a gas company and Joe Biden’s advocacy for firing a Ukrainian prosecutor overseeing an anti-corruption probe of the company’s owner. The next prosecutor general said he found no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden. Giuliani said his goal is to make sure Biden doesn’t become president without answering for the problems in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin wants Ukraine for Russia. What would stop DDT from promising Putin he’ll give Ukraine to Russia if he gets elected in 2020?  https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/giuliani-raises-alleged-corruption-joe-biden-and-son-whistleblower  Giuliani’s latest scam to please Fox is declaring that Biden took $1.5 billion out of China. 

DDT’s diversion for the Ukraine blackmail scandal is sending an unspecified number of troops to protect oil in Saudi Arabia despite no evidence that Iran was behind the attacks. He’s also punishing Iran by putting sanctions on its central bank.

NRA, Republicans, and DDT are avoiding any gun safety legislation, but Colt announced that it will no longer manufacture rifles, including the AR-15, for civilian use.

Brett Kavanaugh stays in the news as NYT reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, authors of a book investigating his scandals, said that Kavanaugh agreed to talk to them if they publicly lied for him. His offer was to provide background information in exchange for a claim in the book that he declined to be interviewed. Authors of The Education of Brett Kavanaugh refused his offer and therefore did not speak with him about the book. Kavanaugh isn’t commenting on the matter.

In late December, most voters polled by the research firm Perry Undem believed Kavanaugh had lied about his teenage years. Forty-nine percent had a largely unfavorable impression of him, as compared with the 29 percent who had a favorable one. Thirty-five percent said the Senate did the right thing in confirming him; a close 41 percent disagreed. A poll from Perry Undem found that 57 percent of voters said Kavanaugh lied under oath and that, except among “self-identified Republicans and white men (both minorities of the electorate),” most voters believed Christine Blasey Ford over Kavanaugh. Every time I look at Kavanaugh’s photos, I think about his pushing his penis in a young woman’s face—that the NYT called “harmless fun.” 

On tonight’s Bill Maher show, both Maher and Andrew Sullivan defended Kavanaugh with the claim that his behavior came from teenage bad choices. They skipped over the fact that he lied under oath in all his confirmation hearings and now asks writers to lie in a book about him. The GOP talking point is blame the victim. It’s a man’s world even when women are doing the attacking.

One might wonder if DDT is trying to kill Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) by retweeting a lie that she celebrated the anniversary of 9/11. The video he copied came from a Congressional Black Caucus event on 9/13. Twitter didn’t take down the tweet because it was from the man in the Oval Office. When DDT copied the originator, Terrence Williams, he called him “a very highly respected conservative pundit” with “half a million followers” on Twitter. DDT has made Omar the target by millions of racist white supremacist followers who believe everything DDT says.

DDT has been ordered back to court, this time by a New York state Supreme Court justice who wants a videotaped deposition for a civil suit about a 2015 occurrence between protesters and DDT’s security guards. Plaintiffs claim that DDT’s guards assaulted them on the sidewalk outside the Trump Tower when they demonstrated against DDT’s calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals.”

Although DDT pretends he’s concerned about homeless people, but he admitted that his reason for “rounding up” homeless people in California cities and dropping them into government facilities is that foreign investors may not want to rent or buy real estate if they see homeless people. Last July, DDT told Tucker Carlson that homelessness started only two years ago but he had cleaned up the problem in Washington, D.C. The city has a slightly larger homeless population than San Francisco.  DDT is looking out for the 30 percent of the former Bank of America tower in San Francisco and properties in Los Angeles that he owns. He is so concerned about pollution going into the ocean from the homeless people that he plans to have the EPA cite San Francisco for environmental violations. DDT made this announcement shortly after he blocked California from restricting pollution from automobile exhaust and sued four car manufacturers for voluntarily cooperating with the state’s clean air rules. 

Republicans claim states’ rights as part of their policies, but DDT is removing California’s right to set tailpipe pollution rules stricter than federal regulations. To do so, he will revoke a legal waiver granted to the state by the 1970 Clean Air Act, an act that affects 13 other states comprising one-third of the auto market. DDT wants the change now to defend his legal right to undo emissions regulations in the Supreme Court before the 2020 election. Twenty-three states have joined California in its 60th lawsuit to stop DDT’s administration from blocking states’ authority to set higher emission standards than the U.S. for cars and trucks.

The Feds cut the interest rate another 0.25 percent to 1.75 percent—bad news for retirees and savers—and the stock market went down. Ten of the 17 Fed leaders look to keeping or raising the rates for the rest of 2019. Bad news for DDT as business executives and lawmakers blame him for the trade uncertainty. DDT inherited a stable economy, but his irrational actions required the NY Fed to borrow $128 billion in Treasuries and other securities at between five and 10 percent interest over a two-day period so that banks could maintain their reserve requirements, its first rescue since the 2008 recession. The feds may start printing new money before the end of the year to make up for the gap.

According to a Fox survey, 52 percent of the country feel exhausted with DDT’s administration, and he caused only 37 percent to feel energized about politics. The percentage of people nervous about the economy has increased from 43 percent to 48 percent in the past six months, and a plurality of 43 percent believe that DDT’s policies hurt the economy. More poll results here.

September 19, 2019

The Self-Appointed King Tries to Hide

Loose Lips Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) had to be reminded that he was spreading classified information when he used his signature Sharpie to proud signed the wall replacement—that he called the “new” wall—at the southern border and said:

“One thing we haven’t mentioned is technology. They’re wired so that we will know if somebody’s trying to break through….   You won’t be able to touch it. You can fry an egg on that wall.”

Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, acting head of the Army Corps, couldn’t even stop him with his recommendation, “Sir, there could be some merit in not discussing that” before DDT described the steel wall’s beams as heat conductors.

Breaking just hours later was news about an intelligence community whistleblower who described a “promise” that DDT made a foreign leader that “raises new questions about the president’s handling of sensitive information.” A high authority, presumably DDT, has ordered the information kept even from congressional members who have legal access to the report. The term “new” means that the concern came after one last summer when DDT released a detailed photo of a failed Iranian launch that was possibly classified, his earlier release of highly classified information to Russian guests about a highly sensitive and valuable matter with Israel, and the discussion of North Korea ballistic missile tests in front of Mar-a-Lago guests and staff. He also refuses to give up his unsecured cellphone. Conservatives point out that presidents can declassify any information, but DDT is the first person in the Oval Office who lacks any filter on his mouth after complaining throughout his campaign about Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails.

DDT’s response to the news about the whistleblower was “No problem!”—that people are always listening to his conversations with a foreign leader. He also stated that he was far too smart to “say something inappropriate” in that situation and he “would only do what is right.” The news isn’t “fake,” as he claimed: the whistleblower filed a complaint, the IG’s office examined the complaint, and he considered it credible and urgent enough that he contacted the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which illegally worked with the DOJ to circumvent legal process on congressional disclosure.

After the acting DNI and IG appeared before the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) reported that the complaint came from “more than one” event although the IG refused to give any other information about the complaint. The impression from the hearing is that the DOJ (aka AG Bill Barr) and DDT are trying to cover up the situation. The acting DNI will testify in open session on September 26, and both men will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week. From appearances, the DOJ (aka AG Bill Barr) and DDT are trying to cover up the situation.    

According to a source, the “promise” was made on a phone call. Reporters found conversations with three foreign leaders in the two months before the complaint filing:  Chinese President Xi Jinping (June 18), French President Emmanuel Macron (July 1), and Russian President Vladimir Putin (July 31). The call with Putin wasn’t recorded, but Russia announced it. Key events during that time of the event and coverup: Dan Coates, Director of National Intelligence, resigned (July 28); U.S. pulled out of INF treaty with Russia (August 2); John Huntsman, the Russian Ambassador, resigned (August 6); and Joseph Maguire named acting DNI (August 8). Maguire was the person who went to the DOJ and told to withhold the information.

Today the media also reported communication 18 days before the complaint was filed in August 12 between DDT and new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The readout of the call noted a focus on Ukraine’s ability to “complete investigations into corruption cases that have hampered Ukraine-US cooperation.” House Democrats were already investigating the call to check on the possibility that DDT and his attorney Rudy Giuliani were manipulating Ukraine to help DDT’s reelection campaign. Records related to efforts to blackmail the Ukrainian government into helping DDT’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort, in prison for illegal lobbying and financial fraud, and finding dirt on Democratic presidential candidate through his son’s activity in Ukraine while Hunter Biden was on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma. DDT had also blocked financial aid for Ukraine that Congress had appropriated.

Giuliani has already pressured Zelensky to extend an investigation into Hunter Biden although previous inquiries had discovered no wrongdoing and advised DDT about how to deal with Zelensky. Last week, DDT released the $250 million to Ukraine after a bipartisan push.

In a letter written this week, Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson disagreed with the basis of DDT’s suppression of the whistleblower’s complaint that the situation is out of the DNI’s jurisdiction because it doesn’t concern anyone in the intelligence community and that its release would violate DDT’s “privilege.” Atkinson wrote that the DNI and the DOJ are wrong, that the “disclosure not only falls within the DNI’s jurisdiction, but relates to one of the most significant and important of the DNI’s responsibilities to the American people.” He continued that denial of permission to disclose the “general subject matter” of the complaint to Congress affects “the execution of two of my most important duties and responsibilities as the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community”—his responsibility toward the whistleblower and his duties to the congressional oversight committees.

While DDT declares himself above the law in not permitting congressional members to see a whistleblower complaint, his lawyers are making the same “above the law” claim in a lawsuit against New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance. New York had subpoenaed eight years of his state tax returns per a new state law, and lawyers declared that DDT cannot be criminally investigated while he is in office. With no legal backing, they argued that sitting presidents are immune from all criminal inquiries while in the White House. It’s their enormous responsibility and unique role that removes them from any legal action, especially from local prosecutors. Any “originalist” judge or justice who believes in following the words of the Constitution would laugh in the lawyers’ faces; those words aren’t in the Constitution.

The lawyers themselves probably are aware of their arguments’ ridiculousness, but they’re working hard to delay the release of DDT’s financial records. The request for DDT’s personal and corporate tax returns came from a search into the part that he and his family played in making hush payments to two women during his presidential campaign.

DDT has filed other lawsuits to keep his tax returns private since he promised to make public after his election. These include attempts by congressional Democrats, New York lawmakers, and California in a law requiring presidential primary candidates to release tax returns before being on the ballot. A judge ruled against California today, winning legal arguments were on narrower grounds.

During the Nixon and Clinton administrations, the DOJ barred federal prosecutors from charging a sitting president with a federal crime while in office, claiming that impeachment is the process for wrongdoing. The orders, however, do not deal with state prosecutors. During his time in the Oval Office, DDT has been investigated in federal criminal inquiries by special investigator Robert Mueller. As of May 13, 2019, federal, state, and congressional authorities had at least 29 investigations into DDT’s businesses, campaign, inauguration, and presidency. In May, Mueller said that the DOJ “explicitly permits” the investigation of presidents, but they cannot be charged with federal crimes. DDT’s lawyers claim that investigations against a sitting president are also unconstitutional and called the Manhattan DA “a county prosecutor.”

According to New York law, filing a false business record can be a felony if that the filing was made to commit or conceal another crime, such as tax violations or bank fraud. If Vance obtains DDT’s tax returns, they remain secret unless they are used as evidence in a criminal case.

Thus far, judges have not quashed any subpoenas for his tax returns, and today he obtained only a one-week delay.  The winners of the 2016 election are the lawyers. Being in court doesn’t seem “burdensome” for DDT because he spends a lot of time suing other people.

In another attempt to hide information from Congress, the White House refuses to reveal potentially disqualifying material in Darrell Issa’s FBI file for his director of U.S. Trade and Development Agency confirmation before the Senate. Issa has escaped convictions after his run-ins with the law. Only GOP and Democrat leaders of the Foreign Relations Committee were allowed to see the file, and Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) initially decided to schedule hearings without the agreement of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). Over Menendez’ objections, the confirmation for Marshall Billingslea for the State Department’s human rights activities leader continued despite document gaps in his file while he worked on detainee torture policies for George W. Bush. Risch had asked the White House for Issa’s FBI file but receive no response.

DDT’s game is to succeed in his corruption through declaring himself king and hiding everything.

April 26, 2019

DDT: Week 118 – Dementia from Stress?

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 10:18 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Many people think the wandering speeches and tweets from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) are used to provide diversion for the many lawsuits and investigations in all facets of his life. Yet his mental problems seem to be growing. His demented paranoia was on full display when Sean Hannity allowed him to host the Fox show last night—raving about the “coup” of the Mueller report to “overthrow the United States government,” the corrupt “top people” at the FBI, and the ways that Hillary Clinton “destroyed the lives” of people on DDT’s campaign. He proved himself an authoritarian, a dictator, operating outside the law, the Constitution, and the government. “I could have fired everybody. I could have fired Mueller. I could have fired anybody that I wanted to fire,” DDT said. He may even believe that about elected members of Congress.

Wednesday he gave a 40-minute speech at the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit that meandered into praise about dogs as one of two acceptable pets, Melania Trump’s dress on the day he announced his campaign, the “rigged system,” and his traditional diatribe about immigration.

This last week, Mexico described the actions it was taking in its commitment to immigration control of the border; the next day DDT said, despite no communication with the Mexican government, he was closing the southern border if they don’t do more. He also threatened to send “ARMED soldiers” to the border—despite his already sending soldiers there. The Pentagon resolved the situation in which Mexican soldiers stopped ICE agents and U.S. soldiers south of the border fence—that the Mexicans thought they were on Mexico land—but DDT won’t accept the decision. Attacks on Mexican soldiers would violate the Posse Comitatus law and be an act of war which only Congress can declare. DDT also told reporters that only he is in charge of immigration after asked if the neo-Nazi White House aide Stephen Miller would be the new DHS director.

For over two years, DDT has been desperate for a state visit to Britain despite disapproval from over 70 percent of the country’s population. This week he got his wish for an invite in June—the day before he retweeted the same type of message that lost him an earlier visit accusing “United Kingdom Intelligence of helping Obama Administration Spy on the 2016 Trump Presidential Campaign.” The conspiracy theory came from DDT watching an interview with Larry Johnson on One America News Network, more extremely right-wing than the Fox network. DDT’s tweet caused George Conway, husband of White House official Kellyanne Conway, to use his hashtag #DerangedDonald” in response to DDT’s conspiracy theory.

DDT insisted that people always obey his orders at the White House Easter Roll, the same time that he explained to small children that he got more funding for the military, the economy is good, and DACA is bad. Yet people are fully aware that he was rescued from stronger cases of obstruction of justice because his officials refused his commands to kill Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, attack the Mueller probe, and other times his officials ignored DDT.

In a “secret” meeting with Twitter CEO, DDT protested the loss of Twitter buddies after the company shut down over 5,000 accounts connected to bots denouncing Robert Mueller’s investigation and lauding Saudi Arabia. Targeted to the U.S. audience, the fake accounts focused on hashtags such as #RussiaGate used by Sean Hannity and other far-right DDT supporters. DDT wants more followers because he has less than 60 percent of President Obama’s 100 million. Before the meeting, DDT tweeted an accusation that Twitter was playing “political games” with his follower count and called for congressional intervention against the company. DDT is fortunate that Twitter doesn’t ban white supremacist content the way it does most ISIS propaganda. Twitter cannot control this content because some of it comes from GOP politicians.

On Easter morning, DDT tweeted about the people killed in the Sri Lanka bombings and referred to the terrorist attacks “that have killed at least 138 million people.” That number is almost ten times the entire population of Sri Lanka and far more than the 207 people killed in the disaster.

In just 90 minutes last Tuesday, he tweeted at least eight angry insults at Nobel-prize winning Paul Krugman, New York Times, Democrats, CNN, Joe Scarborough, tariffs on Harley-Davidson, and Twitter itself. The night before, he retweeted 24 items from 15 people in 30 minutes.

DDT ordered his officials to boycott the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, scheduled for April 27. He is the first president to command officials to not attend the dinner and the first person to not attend since his inauguration except for Ronald Reagan who missed the event in 1981 while he recovered from an assassination attempt. DDT will be rallying his troops in Green Bay (WI) during the dinner. After DDT was upset about Michelle Wolff’s comedy last year, the press organization decided to use biographer Ron Chernow for a blander featured speaker in an effort to pander to DDT.

 (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP/Getty Images)

DDT has a lot to upset him:

Deutsche Bank is sending its financial records about loans made to DDT and his business to New York state’s attorney general. That probe started after DDT’s former fixer Michael Cohen testified that DDT inflated his assets and gave copies of financial states provided to Deutsche Bank.

DDT’s best friends Kim Jong-Un and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin are meeting in Russia without DDT at a time when the North Korean president has cooled off on DDT. (They look happy together.) Another accusation against DDT comes from a $2 million bill that the U.S. received for the healthcare of Otto Warmbier, the captive who died soon after his release, who was unconscious for 15 of the 17 months of his imprisonment. Warmbier’s father said that the charge might be a ransom.

The House Judiciary and Oversight committees is investigating DDT’s purge of the DHS to determine if DDT’s neo-Nazi aide Stephen Miller orchestrated it. Former Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen offended Miller and DDT by pointing out legal barriers to the continuing family separation plan. House Democrats are asked acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan to give them communications about the officials’ departures and with Miller. DDT has already told Miller not to testify before a House hearing.

The news about the White House blocking former DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen from organizing cabinet secretaries for a strategy combating election interference in 2020 hit the headlines this week. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told her not to talk about the situation around DDT because it makes him feel bad although he denied doing so later. John Bolton’s reorganization of the National Security Council dropped the position of U.S. cyber-security czar.

Recently de-classified documents show that 32 years ago Australia turned down DDT’s bid to build a casino there because of his connections to “organized crime,” according to recently de-classified papers. The bid was also rejected for being “not financially viable.”

A federal court invalidated unconstitutionally partisan districts in Michigan and gave the legislature until August 1 to redraw the maps that must be used in the 2020 election.

A federal judge, who said that “lies went on for months,” told Flint (MI) residents they can sue the EPA for waiting too long to do something about the city’s water crisis.

A federal judge ruled DDT’s Interior Department acted illegally in trying to life a coal mining moratorium on public lands. Former Secretary Ryan Zinke failed to provide adequate environmental effects of mining in 2017. Within the coming months, the judge will issue another legal decision about reinstating the mining ban. The judge’s decision followed other rulings giving the EPA 90 days to decide whether to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to brain damage and overturning DDT’s executive order to life oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic coast.

DDT continues to babble about “no collusion” and “no obstruction,” but Congress doesn’t need crimes and demeanors to impeach him. He pretends he is innocent because Robert Mueller did not indict him, but the report states that he was not indicted only because of current DOJ guidelines for not indicting presidents.

DDT bragged about his 3.2 percent growth in GDP for the first quarter of 2019, he ignored February’s addition to the national debt of $234 million, the largest one-month deficit in history.

Joe Biden’s candidacy announcement featuring the neo-Nazi protest at Charlottesville (VA) in 2017 caused DDT to again defend white supremacists by claiming that they were just Civil War enthusiasts who “felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general.” Lee was indicted for treason after he led a war against the United States. DDT did defend the white supremacists although he denied doing so. Biden didn’t get a lot of points from Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer who was killed by a neo-Nazi at the protest; he didn’t bother to tell Bro that he was using her daughter in his launch video. Bro said, “I don’t think we’ve seen him in town. It was just sort of a feeling of, ‘Well, here we go again.’”

[Note: Those who wish to read more about the news above and/or factcheck the material may wish to use the links.]

April 25, 2019

Biden: The Nation Deserves Better

Filed under: Presidential candidates — trp2011 @ 9:30 PM
Tags:

Two more white men—one young, one old—joined the tribe of Democratic presidential candidates this week to make the total 20 for 2020. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), an anti-Nancy Pelosi candidate like his colleague Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), came into the wannabes just before former VP Joe Biden, involved in politics for almost 50 years, declared that he is the one to unify a divided nation.

Of the pack, Biden is the closest to being a Republican, not only because he “likes” them—even helping on get elected last fall—but also because of his GOP positions. Three weeks before the 2018 midterm elections, Biden got $200,000 for a speech in Michigan given in the name of GOP House candidate Fred Upton and called him “one of the finest guys I’ve ever worked with.” The vulnerable GOP candidate won. In the 115th Congress, Upton’s votes matched the positions of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) 94.7 percent of the time. This year, Upton opposed net neutrality and supported the U.S. involvement with Saudi Arabia in the Yemen War.

Biden’s first planned fundraiser is with David Cohen, executive VP and main lobbyist for Comcast, who opposes net neutrality and broadband privacy protections. According to Biden, some of his major donors are “major Republican folks.”

In his love for Republicans, Biden called VP Mike Pence a “decent guy.” Criticized about his praise for the man who wants to take rights away from LGBTQ people, Biden did agree that “there is nothing decent about being anti-LGBTQ rights, and that includes the Vice President.” Yet Biden ignored Pence’s opposition to women’s rights and work to make the United States a Christian theocracy.  Cynthia Nixon wrote:

“The fact that Pence does vile, hateful things while well-coiffed and calm doesn’t make him decent; it makes him insidious and dangerous. Respecting each other’s rights and humanity is what makes us civilized — not keeping a civil tone while doing the opposite.

“It’s easy to say nice things about Pence when you’re not personally threatened by his agenda. If Biden were being directly attacked in the same way that our community is, I think he would see Pence from a very different vantage point.

“When politicians of a certain age reminisce about the “civility” that used to define Washington, it’s telling that the old guard conveniently forgets that this decorum has never been extended to all.”

During Biden’s two terms as vice-president, he benefited from GOP decorum as President Obama was given racist disrespect, going so far as incessantly refuting his citizenship. Minorities and women still suffer from Biden’s decision to be collegial with his GOP colleagues and Clarence Thomas in the 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Thomas while attacking witness Anita Hill. Thanks to Biden, then chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thomas kept his dignity and achieved the prize while Anita Hill’s humanity was stripped and no other women were allowed to testify about Thomas’ sexual misconduct. Biden’s determination to silence women and avoid the truth has saddled the nation with one of the worst Supreme Court justices for decades until Biden’s GOP friends confirmed two DDT appointees.

Considering a run for president, Biden said a few months ago about the Thomas hearings, “I wish I could have done something.” He could have; he just didn’t. A few weeks ago, Biden called Anita Hill to express “his regret for what she endured.” Not really an apology and certainly not contrition for his part in the fiasco. Biden promoted Thomas to replace Thurgood Marshall, one of the finest justices in modern history, and Thomas is still sitting on the court driving human rights into the ground after 30 years while building up his personal fortune and helping his wife in her far-right activism.

Biden consistently voted against women’s reproductive rights from his anti-abortion vote with Republicans in 1981 to banning federal funding for international nonprofit groups providing abortion counseling or referrals in 2005. He cited his Catholicism as a reason in his vote for Sen. Rick Santorum’s (R-PA) 2003 abortion ban with no exception for the woman’s health.

Another Biden “woman problem” is the controversy about his uninvited touching and kissing women. Seven women have spoken out against him. The defense of just being a nice man trying to comfort women doesn’t work for those who feel that his behavior intrudes on their personal space. [Right: Biden on the 2012 campaign trail in Seaman, Ohio – AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster] People who claim that women should be strong enough to object fail to understand that Biden wields power over female politicians and other women afraid of losing their positions. When several women finally complained, Biden said that he understood his behavior might have made some women uncomfortable. Yet he proved that he doesn’t “get it” after joking about touching people during a speech. After the speech, he claimed that he had never been “disrespectful intentionally” to people and also said:

“I’m not sorry for any of my intentions. I’m not sorry for anything I have ever done.”

Biden’s harsh anti-drug legislation in the 1980s was followed by “tough-on-crime” criminal justice policies. The result was mass incarceration focused on blacks. His staffers stated that made flimsy excuses for weekly hearings about drugs and crime combined with ensuring police at every public meeting.  He did apologize for his legislation but never took leadership in overturning racist crime laws during the eight years when he was vice-president. Biden also apologized for his support the poorly named “Defense of Marriage Act” in 1996 after LGBTQ people had lost their rights for 16 years.

In 1986, Biden voted in favor of the Firearm Owners Protection Act in 1986, which the NRA has called “the law that saved gun rights.” Creating a legacy for the gun rights movement, the law overturned six Supreme Court rulings and other regulations by permitting dealers to sell rifles, shotguns, and ammunition through the mail and limited inspections of firearms dealers who were then allowed to sell weapons at gun shows.

Biden put young people in deeper debt by blocking student debt forgiveness. In 1978, he wrote a bill to keep students from seeking bankruptcy protections for a specific time after graduation although it would affect fewer than one percent of educational loans. Throughout time, he kept making the law more onerous, adding vocational schools to higher education and then lengthening the time for no bankruptcies. Despite a recommendation in 1997 from the National Bankruptcy and Review Commission that student loans be treated like all other private consumer debt, Biden stayed on the side of the loan industry to limit bankruptcy. In 2001, Biden pushed legislation stripping bankruptcy protections from all student loans including those from private industry, and George W. Bush’s Congress got the bill through in 2005.

To defend his punitive legislation, Biden called borrowers irresponsible or criminal, much like Ronald Reagan’s accusation of “welfare queens.” Biden voted against protecting mothers who failed to receive child support or alimony, voted against setting a limit of 30 percent on loan interest, and voted against special protections for bankruptcy among former military, victims of identity theft, and those with unmanageable medical debt. Elizabeth Warren’s book, The Two-Income Trap, criticizes Biden’s role in stripping out consumer protections for families and single mothers.

Delaware, Biden’s home state, is comparable to the Cayman Islands in providing tax havens for Fortune 500 companies, and one of its sheltered corporations, lending firm MBNA, was Biden’s top donor from 1989 to 2010. In 1996, Biden made a tidy profit by selling his home to MBNA executive John Cochran and continued to pride himself on his “business-friendly” legislative and deregulatory efforts during the decade. Biden’s relationship with MBNA made money for his son Hunter, who kept getting paid as a “consultant” while Biden supported legislation that benefited the credit card despite opposition by consumer groups. Biden likes the wealthy. Last year, he said, “I don’t think five hundred billionaires are the reason we’re in trouble.” He has no solutions for income inequality.

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 that led to the 2008 recession, and Biden was part of the crew that gave this law to Wall Street. Through the overturn of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall legislation separating investment banking from commercial banking, institutions could legally gamble with people’s money. By late 2016 Biden admitted it was the “worst vote” he had cast, but again failed to address the consequences during his time as vice-president.

Another Biden “success” was the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. As chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, his hearings were sham—experts opposing the invasion were shut up while all the war hawks took the spotlight. In summer 2002, Biden declared that the U.S. was going to war and then sold the invasion to colleagues and the public. Biden’s support for Nouri al-Maliki as Iraq’s prime minister exacerbated the disaster of the invasion. During his time in power, $500 billion disappeared from the government, the country’s security forces deteriorated, and ISIS developed greater power.

As a senator from Delaware, Biden led the fight in the 1970s against integrating schools through “busing” by playing down racism and demanding a limited government role in integration. He said about slavery:

“I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago.”

Siding with conservatives on the issue, Biden received praise, such as Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) welcoming him “to the ranks of the enlightened.” Biden called the integration plans “just quota systems.” Biden refuses to be interviewed about the issue, but his spokesman said that Biden still thinks he was right. Sen. Edward Brooke (R-MA), the chamber’s only black, called one of Biden’s amendments “the greatest symbolic defeat for civil rights since 1964.” Later, Biden extolled the virtues for and common cause with his friend Sen. Strom Thurmond (D-) in his 2003 eulogy for the virulent racist.

After considering a run for president at least six times beginning in 1980, this campaign makes Biden’s third presidential candidacy. In 1988, Biden, then 45 years old, dropped out after a plagiarism controversy. Twenty years later, his departure came after winning only one percent in the Iowa caucuses—fifth place. If elected in 2020, Biden would be 78 years old on his inauguration day. That eliminates a second term unless voters want an 86-year-old president.

Biden is part of the past: presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was five years old when Biden first ran for president. His announcement, a video, mentioned nothing about today’s problems such as jobs, health care, or education. His opening shows only a campaign against DDT without any goals that elected Democrats in 2018.

“I’ve got the most progressive record of anyone running,” Biden said in March. Young people, women, and minorities—all important Democratic constituencies—might differ with his statement. Democrats deserve a candidate who will do more than run against DDT. Unity is one thing; sellout is entirely different.

October 24, 2015

Dem Pool Shrinks by Half; Bush in Trouble

The presidential candidate pool of 2016 is more shallow now after the loss of a few men running from both parties. The one causing the most excitement was a man who never declared his candidacy but kept people dangling from hints that he might. I always felt that Vice-president Joe Biden wasn’t going to be a candidate. By the time he got initiated, he would be 74 years old—definitely a one-term president and a lame duck from the get-go. Pushed by supporters and waiting for Hillary Clinton to be a disaster on the Democratic side, he kept making presidential statements, such as lambasting Clinton for declaring the GOP as her enemy.

Biden came away from the Democratic debate preaching bipartisanship with the party of Donald Trump and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), late of the 11-hour hearing debacle from the Benghazi select committee. President Obama went into his first term advocating a bipartisan approach with GOP members who were not as extremist as now (hard to believe!) and lost three years. GOP congressional members promised to vote for bills if the president watered them down. He did, and they didn’t. That’s why the country is stuck with the mish-mash of the Affordable Health Care Act giving money to private insurance companies instead of a successful single-payer plan. After three years in office, President Obama finally understood that the GOP is not to be trusted. Clinton understands the vicious motivation of the GOP before the final months of her campaign, and the conservative party made their position very clear by threatening to impeach Clinton on the first day of her presidency.

With many faithful followers, Biden looked like a good possibility to take over the Dem race. His poll numbers were also up, but looking like a success is easier if a person isn’t actually competing. He has a good background in some areas such as authorizing the Violence against Women Act, but Biden comes with baggage. there’s also some baggage to Joe Biden. His banking ties a representative of Delaware, the state with loose laws surrounding corporations, may have put him too close to credit-card companies before the past few years. In 1988, he dropped out of the presidential candidacy after accusations of plagiarism in a speech.

The hearings for Clarence Thomas, possibly the worst Supreme Court justice ever, may also come back to haunt Biden. He chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee when Anita Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment and failed to call on three other witnesses who would have given the same testimony as Hill. Although Biden has evidence regret about the hearing, he has not apologized for subjecting Hill, a black woman, to public humiliation. Those hearings are over 24 years in the past, but a new movie coming out will definitely revive memories of those dark days.

Before the Thomas hearings, Biden voted against legal abortion in 1982 by supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade. During the next two decades, he received mixed marks from NARAL Pro-Choice America with a 36 percent rating in 2003, 0 being total disagreement. Biden did defend women’s rights to abortions during his 2008 presidential run but always claimed that he is opposed to abortion and always supported the Hyde Amendment, claiming that people opposed to abortion shouldn’t have to pay for them. Biden accepts his Catholic faith’s position that “life begins at conception.” He also voted in favor of the Iraq War, believing that people opposed to war should still have to pay for it.

The most recent candidate to drop out of the Democratic race is Rhode Island’s Lincoln Chafee. This step was a given after his failure to defend a vote at the first Democratic debate, but it became pretty definite when someone overheard him talking about it in the frozen foods section of a Dave’s Marketplace on Thursday night. Chafee made his official withdrawal during a speech to the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington the next morning.

Jim Webb’s change in status from Democratic candidate to a possible third runner in the final election reduces the Democratic field by one half to three people. Less known than any other candidate unless perhaps GOP Jim Gilmore, who hasn’t qualified for any debates, Webb’s record shows a short attention span—Secretary of the Navy for Ronald Reagan for only one year and senator for only one term, both by his choice. Those watching the Democratic debate may remember him for whining about not having enough time to talk and bragging about killing a North Vietnamese soldier. He also complained about his party leaving him—probably because he’s a Southern Democrat, another term for Republican. He defends the Confederate flag and the Confederacy, opposes gun-safety legislation, and rejects the Black Lives Matter movement. A descendant of Confederate officers, he has voiced sympathy for state sovereignty leading to the Civil War and suggested that the states were justified in trying to secede.

Webb is the only Democratic candidate to appear on the Fox network where he criticized Democratic policies in an interview with Bret Baier. Webb said that the Dems is their failure to champion the working people, using people with no health care for an example. In fact, it is the GOP that tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act fifty-plus times. Twelve years ago, he wrote an op-ed that supported Swiftboating Republicans who attacked John Kerry for opposing the Vietnam War by saying that Kerry didn’t deserve his Purple Star. Webb has said that women are biologically unsuited to fight in wars and poison male cadets with their presence.

The question now is who will be the next candidate to drop out on the GOP side. At this time donors are showing disillusionment with everyone except the top runners, and Jeb Bush is not in that top three. An average of 194 recent polls puts Bush at 7.3 percent, not far above Carly Fiorina at 4.7 percent. A recent poll puts Donald Trump ahead of Bush by 59 percent to 41 percent. Only two U.S. representatives—no senators or governors—have endorsed Bush within the past two months.

Worst of all, he raised only $13.5 million during the past three months, instead of the hoped-for $25 million, and spent $11.5 million of it. He has less cash on hand than Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Ben Carson, forcing Bush to reduce expenditures. Bush cut staff salaries by 40 percent, reduced staff members in Miami by one-half, and uses cheaper hotels. Money problems drove Scott Walker out of the race; Bush’s SuperPAC raised $103 million in the first six months, but the lack of money coming into the campaign does not bode well.

While Bush goes down, Marco Rubio goes up, perhaps because he has more to talk about than a brother who caused the United States great disaster while president. Rubio has similar positions to Bush, but he’s younger and more charismatic, especially since the “joy” that Bush touted in his campaign has disappeared. Bush can brag about more experience, but the GOP, who put Trump and Carson at the top of the list, seems to consider experience a liability instead of an advantage. Walker claimed to drop out of the race for “the good” of the party; the question is whether Bush will do the same.

The next few days may indicate a direction for Bush, the candidate, as Bushes descend on Houston en masse—Papa Bush, little brother George, and sons, Jeb Jr. and George P. The events include a Monday breakfast, a Tuesday evening reception, and a program later for younger donors at beer distribution company Silver Eagle.

The next GOP debate is October 28, 2015—just four days from now.

January 12, 2013

A Letter about Gun Control to Rep. Kurt Schrader

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:29 PM
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schraderThis past week Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) cited the two usual myths of providing safety for people in the United States through gun control: (1) there are already unenforced laws on the books that would take care of the problems; and (2) “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” I take particular offense at his ill-conceived statements because he is the representative from my Congressional district and purports to be a Democrat.

Here is my response to Rep. Schrader:

After Vice-President Joe Biden met with a number of groups from pro-control victims and public health officials to the NRA, he released these seven points for reform that will be presented to President Obama next Tuesday. It is to be noted that none of these are existing laws and therefore cannot be enforced.

  • Close the so-called gun show loophole. Congress passed a law in 1986 that allows people to buy firearms at any of the thousands of gun shows without licensing, background checks, waiting periods, and reporting sales to authorities. Today, 40 percent of gun sales annually across the county occur at gun shows, and by some estimates 80 percent of weapons used in crimes are bought at gun shows.
  • Require universal background checks for gun buyers.
  • Improve background check database. The second and third points are connected. Although Congress has passed various laws to bar felons, the mentally ill, and drug addicts from owning guns and instituted a federal system of background checks and a five-day waiting period, three-quarters of the states refuse to share information about felons and the mentally ill with federal authorities. In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that states did not have to comply with the reporting requirement. Even after a 2007 law creating federally administered grants for states to send information to the Justice Department, only a dozen states account for most of the data six years later. Nineteen states have each submitted less than 100 mental health records to the FBI database, and another 19 states have policies allowing someone who has been found to be mentally ill in court to get a gun.
  • Limit high-capacity bullet magazines.  In 1934, when Congress passed the first federal gun-control law, they severely taxed machine guns because gangsters used these for the worst mass killings at that time. Modern semi-automatic weapons fed by high-capacity bullet clips are as deadly as machine guns.
  • Allow federal research on gun violence.
  • Remove gag orders on federal agencies that collect gun data. Like the background check hurdles, these two proposals are intertwined. Starting in 1996, the NRA lobbied Republicans in Congress to restrict key federal agencies’ ability to conduct research on gun-related violence. Not car accidents, just gun-related violence. In 2003 Congress barred the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from sharing data in its records that traced gun sales. The result is no information on what kind of weapons are used to kill most people, how many weapons are trafficked, does gang warfare use firearms, are guns used in crimes legally purchased—none of that information is available because of the 2003 law.
  • Target purveyors of violence as a cultural norm. For decades the NRA has been encouraging people to fight government with armed insurrection, an attitude particularly notable since the most recent shooting. Two years ago Sharron Angle, Nevada’s candidate for U.S. Senate, used the Second Amendment as a talking point for retribution if people didn’t like government’s actions. Media accounts showed that former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ shooter in Arizona was obsessed by this Constitutional “by-any-means-necessary” fantasy. Trained Marine veteran Joshua Boston claimed that he would not obey a law to register his guns because he might have to fight “against a government that had overstepped its boundaries.”

One more excellent idea, again that the NRA opposes, is the requirement for “smart guns” that can be shot only by their owners. One alternative is a fingerprint key on the trigger, and another is a magnetic ring. The trigger has a magnetic block that doesn’t allow it to be pulled back unless the shooter is wearing the matching ring for the gun. That system usually has an override function as well; once the ring is ready to fire (wearing the right ring) you can disable the ring function, allowing anyone to fire.

The New Jersey Institute of Technology is also working on a Dynamic Grip Recognition technology, which would track the owner’s hand size, strength and grip style. This system has a 90% recognition rate or higher. New Jersey already has a law that future handguns be “smart guns,” but all the states need to require this for effectiveness.

Although laws are currently being enforced, they are weak, and SCOTUS has said that states are not required to comply with federal mandates. Federal law and the laws of most states allow anyone who can pass a Brady Act record check to walk into a gun store and leave with as many guns as they can pay for. The guns are not registered, and purchasers don’t need a license. Because the Brady Act covers only federally licensed firearms dealers, purchasers who are not licensed dealers can legally resell or transfer ownership without doing a record check and without reporting or registering the change of ownership.

Some states limit aspects of this essentially open market. A Pennsylvania law channels resales through licensed dealers, but provisions inserted at the NRA’s behest make the law nearly impossible to enforce. Because owners don’t have to register guns or report transfers of ownership or thefts, law enforcement cannot identify who owns a particular gun. Federally licensed firearms dealers must report large-quantity sales to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (AFT), but authorities can do nothing unless they monitor the purchasers and catch them doing something illegal, which requires an inordinate expenditure of time and resources.

People actually oppose NRA’s positions of no licensing, no registering, no background checks. An example is Wisconsin where almost two-thirds of the voters oppose the legislators in their determination to pass a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons in public places. Even gun owners want gun control: 82 percent support requiring a criminal background check of anyone purchasing a gun.

Rep. Schrader, I realize that the NRA gave a higher contribution to your campaign than to the one GOP representative in the state, but I ask you to look at Vice President Biden’s points and seriously consider them. In response to your comments, (1) laws have to exist for them to be enforced; and (2) if people have to have guns in order to kill other people. Those who voted for you want to feel safe, and that doesn’t mean keeping an armed guard on every school, business, mall, street, mall, etc. It means legal management of weapons.

Please support your constituents instead of the conservative GOP who wants to continue the Russian roulette of our lives. If you can’t, then I would suggest that you change your affiliation to Republican, because that is what your policies currently reflect.

September 10, 2012

Congress Returns–Briefly

The conventions are history, and Congress returns from its five-week vacation to go back into session today, at least for a few days. With almost 500 federal lawmakers up for re-election in 56 days, they’ll be gone in October to campaign, but they may disappear for part of September too.

Well-known for their procrastination and lack of commitment, Republicans need to get cracking on their six-month stopgap spending bill to keep the government functioning. House plans are to start today with a vote by Thursday. They can waste more time by discussing this again in another six months.

Federal farm programs are also due to expire on September 30, 2012, unless Congress does something about renewing them. The spending bill could include this extension, but food stamps are part of farm bill which might cause another stalemate. The Senate passed a five-year agriculture program last June, but as usual the House Republicans are dragging their collective feet especially with the disagreement about how much to cut from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Republicans may also let the farm bill expire so that they can blame the Democrats—as they do for everything—hoping to get more votes from farm states like Iowa.

Everyone might be better off if Congress does nothing about the farm bill. With no formal extension, food stamp and other nutrition programs continue, and most farmers will not be affected because the current farm bill covers 2012 crops no matter when they are harvested.

At the end of the week, the House Republicans will waste more time with a promised vote on the “No More Solyndras Act” bill which eliminates loan guarantees for solar and wind energy companies. The Senate probably won’t vote on it, but the House Republicans can look as if they’re doing something.

Meanwhile, the Senate may vote tomorrow about whether to debate a bill from Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) to get jobs for veterans. It includes a veterans jobs corps to employ veterans as firefighters and police officers and in fields of conservation, recreation, and resource management projects on public lands. Republicans will push for an open amendment process for this bill to add everything including tax cuts. If they don’t get to do this, they may sulk and filibuster.

Some economists have warned of a recession without any Congressional action on a combination of the expiration of all Bush tax cuts and the impending across-the-board spending cuts. Again the two parties have opposing views. Republicans say they want everyone to have tax cuts, and Democrats want to renew them only for households netting less than $250,000 a year.

Another potential amendment could be replacing automatic defense spending cuts, known as sequestration, set to begin in 2013. Both parties agreed to these cuts last summer during the debacle of the debt ceiling crisis if a committee could not come to agreement regarding how to fix the deficit. Mitt Romney said yesterday that the Republicans were wrong to vote for this and blamed it all on the president. Romney’s VP pick, Paul Ryan, was one of those “wrong” voters although he’s tried to lie his way out of the situation. In an interview, Ryan said that he voted for the bill that did the cutting, but he did not vote for the cuts.

While disturbed about the defense cuts, military leaders, unlike Republicans, understand that the budget needs revenues as well as cuts. “I hope we can find a way to address the sequestration threat of Jan. 1,” Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said in Charlotte, N.C., where Democrats held their convention last week.  “It has to be done on a bipartisan basis … [and] it has to include revenues as well as spending cuts.”

Other pressing business for the lame-duck session include averting a 30-percent cut in physicians’ Medicare fees, passing the annual Pentagon policy bill, improving cyber security for the nation’s critical infrastructure, a Russia free-trade bill, and legislation to reform the Postal Service which may have to default on a $5.5 billion payment into its pension fund to cover people retiring 75 years from now.

Congress this year has managed to pass just 61 bills, the fewest number in more than 60 years. Last year, they passed 90 bills, down from 258 during the previous year. The average worker in the country has a median household income of about $50,000 compared to lawmakers’ salaries of $174,000 or more. At the same time, the average worker has 13 days of paid vacation; lawmakers have more than four months of recesses this year.

I’m waiting for the next anti-women bill from the Republicans. They’ve tried one each week during the 112th Congress.

Asides: On Meet the Press yesterday, Ann Romney said, “Mitt and I do recognize that we have not had a financial struggle in our lives. But I want people to believe in their hearts that we know what it is like to struggle.” This is a very different struggle from her description of it just two weeks ago in her speech at the GOP convention.

According to a study by Harvard economics professor David Cutler, the increased costs for seniors in the changes of Medicare would move as much as $16 to $26 billion to profits for insurance companies. Romney tried to discredit the study by saying that Cutler was once an advisor for President Obama.

The Associated Press FactCheck failed when it evaluated Joe Biden’s statement that 4.5 private-sector jobs have been created during the past 29 months. They agreed that this information was true but gave it a half-true because it omitted the time before that and didn’t include the 500,000+ jobs lost in the public sector. If fact checkers can’t based their opinions on facts, they should quit. Also small-government advocates complaining about unemployment should realize that they are getting what they ask for. Smaller government means less employment; the loss of public sector jobs during the current president is equivalent to the jobs that George W. Bush added during his eight years.

Ideally voting should be based on information, which makes the level of ignorance throughout the country truly frightening. A prime example of this comes a question in a recent Ohio poll about whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney deserves more credit for killing Osama bin Laden. (Some people may remember that Romney sneered at President Obama for his decision to find bin Laden, indicating that it was a waste of time.) Only 63 percent of possible voters gave the credit to the president; 6 percent thought Romney did it, and 31 percent didn’t know. The women were 2 percent more knowledgeable than men, and 86 percent of African-Americans knew it was the president compared to only 60 percent of Anglo-Americans. Only 38 percent of likely voters gave the president credit for killing Osama bin Laden, and the North Carolina percentage was lower at 29 percent. Frightening!

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