Nel's New Day

October 11, 2019

DDT: Week 142 – For Those Tired of Impeachment News

A public radio program complained today about endless talk about impeachment, which of course comes from the media. Here’s some non-impeachment news about Dictator Donald Trump (DDT).

DDT lost three cases today:

Last week, DDT signed an executive order for a health care mandate—but only for immigrants. He ordered all immigrants who couldn’t pay for their health insurance or didn’t have the insurance to be blocked from entering the U.S. This week, a federal judge followed the Supreme Court ruling against a mandate by temporarily blocking DDT’s “public charge” linking immigrants legal status to use of public benefits. According to DDT’s rule, any immigrant who receiving at least one designated public benefit such as Medicaid, food stamps, welfare, or public housing for over 12 months within three years will denied a green card. The judge ruled that DDT likely exceeded its authority and failed to justify the action. He wrote, “The rule is simply a new agency policy of exclusion in search of a justification.” All U.S. citizens are left to getting their health care through GoFundMe sites, forgoing medications, and sometimes just die.

In Texas, a federal judge ruled DDT’s proclamation of a national emergency on the southern border is illegal and blocked his diversion of funding for a border wall. The judge gave El Paso standing to sue DDT and his Cabinet because their acts and rhetoric caused the county to suffer “reputational and economic injuries.”

A third federal decision in a third state ruled that DDT’s accounting firm must turn over his financial records requested by the House Oversight and Reform Committee. The one dissenting person on the three-person appeals court said that the House should impeach DDT to get the records, demonstrating approval of the impeachment process in contradiction to DDT’s legal team. The dissenting judge was appointed by DDT.

The cases follow an earlier decision this week declaring that DDT doesn’t not have total immunity and that he’s not above the law.

Three important people resigned today:

DDT’s Fox polls regarding impeachment looked very bad for him, AG Bill Barr talked to owner Rupert Murdoch, and chief news anchor Shep Smith left his job within 36 hours after 23 years with Fox. Hmm.  

After being acting DHS Secretary for fewer than six months, Kevin McAleenan left in the same way that his predecessor, Kirstjen Nielsen, did in April. DDT used the “more time with his family” excuse, but DDT, worried about McAleenan’s “loyalty,” has been unhappy him and not appointed him for a permanent position. A replacement might be Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, who has a contentious relationship with the Senate, making confirmation difficult.

Michael McKinley, senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is also gone because of consistently deteriorating moral in the agency from Pompeo’s refusal to support his personnel. McKinley has had a wide range of diplomatic posts in South America, Asia, and the Middle East. Talking about professional blocked from “doing the right thing,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said, “[People] are not going to put up with this anymore and can’t look the other way.”

After DDT pulled out 50 service members protecting Kurds from Turkey, claiming to stop the U.S. from “senseless wars,” he sent 1,800 military members to protect Saudi Arabia, supposedly to deter Iranian aggression. Another 14,000 U.S. service members have been sent to the Middle East since the spring, including over 6,000 part of a naval strike group led by the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. Defense Secretary Mark said he may send more troops. He said that U.S. troops were removed from Syria to keep them from a dispute between Turkey and the Kurds.

In another stupid military decision, DDT considers withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty: participating countries must notify other nations 72 hours before an observational flight and give the “host country” one day to respond. Russia and the U.S. joined 32 countries for this treaty promoting transparency.

After a 30-month investigation, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan report about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and its ongoing efforts to control the current one. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has consistently fought to allow this continuing interference. For DDT’s second presidential campaign, Mark Zuckerberg is allowing lies on Facebook—this time with DDT-paid attack ads against Joe Biden—aimed at electing DDT. The campaign is also paying millions of dollars for anti-impeachment ads, again with falsehoods.

DDT and new Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia want wait-people to keep their $2.13 minimum wage, compared to $7.25 for other people, while doing duties that keep them from getting enough tips to make up the difference between the two wage levels.

Conservative abstinence-only policies and DDT’s defunding of free test clinics combined to raise cases of STDs—syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia—to a record high last year. With the 71-percent increase in syphilis cases since 2014 came a 22-percent raise from 2017 in newborn deaths related to congenital syphilis.

An eight-year-old girl climbed a replica of DDT’s wall that he called “virtually impenetrable” in less than a minute using only a belay designed to catch a falling climber. An adult went over the wall in 40 seconds. The video is here

DDT has given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, to former AG Ed Meese, who makes current AG Bill Barr look honest. Meese barely survived confirmation because of accusations of poor ethical standards and failure to enforce civil rights laws. Before his seven years in Ronald Reagan’s administration, he was known for arranging jobs for those who did him financial favors and receiving special treatment from government agencies in his business affairs. He participated in the Iran-Contra scandal when the U.S. sold weapons to Iran as a way to finance Nicaraguan Contra rebels. In his investigation Meese failed to notify Congress about his investigation, failed to protect National Security Council documents, and failed to take notes during his interviews. No charges were filed after an investigation into his possible involvement of a coverup.

Other investigations concerned filing a false tax return, bribing the Israel Labor Party to not destroy a $1 billion pipeline from Jordan to Iraq, and having stock in a telephone company while reviewing telecommunications policy when AG. Meese was also involved in a scam about the allocation of U.S. military contracts to a New York company called Wedtech. As AG in 1985, he opposed the 1966 Miranda ruling that allowed a suspect’s right to remain silent and have an attorney during police questioning. The medal was awarded on the same day that DDT violated the law by blocking all House-issued subpoenas for himself and everyone else.  

The mass school shooting last year in Parkland (FL) caused CEO Edward Stack of Dick’s Sporting Goods to stop selling firearms to anyone under 21 and banned the sale of military-style rifles because the Dick’s had sold the killer a shotgun. Now Dick’s is destroying $5 million worth of assault weapons, turning them into scrap metal. The father of Stack, a staunch Second Amendment supporter, started Dick’s as a fish-and-tackle shop in 1948.

Last year, after the Republicans passed a massive tax cut for the wealthy and big businesses, the nation’s richest 400 billionaire families paid a lower tax rate than the working class, according to The Triumph of Injustice  by economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. The ultrarich paid 23 percent, over one full percent less than the 24.2 percent paid by the bottom half of U.S. households. The study compares the totality of taxes paid—not only federal taxes but also corporate taxes, and those paid at the state and local levels, and “indirect taxes” such as licenses for motor vehicles and businesses. The top 400 families have more wealth than the bottom 60 percent of households, while the top 0.1 percent own as much as the bottom 80 percent.

As if the national debt didn’t take a big enough hit from the 2017 tax cuts for the wealthiest, DDT wants to remove regulations that allow corporations to pay less tax by sending profits overseas. The scam is to inflate foreign profit, frequently taxed below the current 21 percent U.S. tax.  Former Goldman Sachs banker and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin calls the repeal of regulations “business-friendly.” At the same time, DDT wants to cut food stamps to save money.

The 2017 tax law capping federal deductions for state and local property and income taxes at $10,000 a year and elimination of some mortgage interest deductions have dropped house prices by about four percent. That means house owners have less equity in their homes, and 80 percent of the people in the U.S. are paying higher taxes to give to the rich.

May 6, 2019

Back to the Swinging Doors of DDT’s Administration

People keep moving in an out of the administration:

Stephen Moore is the latest person to be fired before hired. Once a recommendation by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) alongside Herman Cain for the Federal Reserve Board, he lasted longer than Cain. DDT said that he had pulled his name, but two hours earlier Moore had claimed that DDT was “full speed ahead” and that Moore is “all in.” The same thing happened to Cain who was positive that he was the nominee until DDT’s tweet told a different story. For the past month, Moore complained about a “sleaze” campaign that cited his writings from years ago. Yet the day before DDT dumped him, he talked about higher wages for women than for the “breadwinner” causing the “family instability.” Moore has much more going against him currently than his lack of experience, ignorance, racism, and misogyny. His leadership of the Koch-backed ALEC proved his austerity and anti-labor positions promoting income inequality, stagnant incomes, and suppressed wages.Ten years ago, Moore said, “I’m not even a big believer in democracy.”

Like Nixon, DDT is trying to politicize the Federal Reserve Board to lower interest rates and get re-elected. Nixon got his wish in a booming economy, but his scheme led to double-digit inflation.

Oil lobbyist David Bernhardt lasted four days without being investigated after he was confirmed as Interior Department Secretary from Senate Republicans. This coming week, both his investigator and the agency’s top lawyer face Senate confirmation hearings for their posts. The lawyer, who formerly advised the Koch brothers, advised both Bernhardt and his predecessor, Ryan Zinke, regarding legal and ethical issues as well as serving as chief public records officer. This connection erases any separation between politics and Freedom of Information in an agency that works hard to hide their actions. The lawyer said his “job is to protect the Secretary.”

Bernhardt is being investigating for involvement in policies affecting former clients. The Department admitted that Bernhardt’s staff deliberately failed to record his controversial meetings with representatives of fossil fuel, timber and water interests on his public calendar by citing “internal protocol.” They also confirmed he used a personal itinerary overwritten by his scheduling staff after denying that it happened for several months. Many entries were simply described as “internal” or “external.” An agency officer told Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), chair of the Oversight Committee, that Bernhardt’s calendar was “deleted at the end of the day.” These practices also violate federal record laws. Later a Department spokeswoman said these practices didn’t exist.

The investigation in the Interior Department includes a total of six of DDT’s appointees who may have conflicts of interest by engaging with former employers or clients about the business of the Department. These include Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Doug Domenech, White House liaison Lori Mashburn, three top staffers at the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, and the department’s former energy policy adviser. The Assistant Secretary kept interacting with his former employer, a conservative think tank, after he joined the Interior Department to discuss pending lawsuits that were settled in his former employer’s interests. Another investigation concerned a former lobbyist for the NRA who participated in issues about his former clients after he joined the Department. He also got recreational shooting opened up in the Sonoran Desert National Monument.

Mark Morgan is DDT’s pick for the head of ICE. He supports DDT’s wall on the southern border and denied that children were held in “cages.” Earlier this year, DDT has named Ronald Vitiello for the position but dropped him, saying that “we’re going in a tougher direction.” Matthew Albence, currently acting ICE director, had said that immigration detention is like “summer camp.” A former senior official said, “Matt never met an undocumented immigrant that he wouldn’t deport.”

Morgan is a good match for Kevin McAleenan, new acting DHS secretary, who promoted family separation to “protect families and children,” even separating legal asylum seekers at legal ports of entry. Last December, McAleenan broke the law by failing to notify Congress with 24 hours of the deaths of two children. Then he forced migrant families to sleep underneath an El Paso bridge in dangerous, unhealthy conditions. McAleenan was in charge of firing tear gas at asylum-seekers. His agents were also well known for ethnic profiling, illegal searches, seizure of religious items, and sometimes, murder and rape.

Julie Kirchner, former leader for the anti-immigration group Federation for American Immigration Reform, is DDT’s consideration to head U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services if DDT fires Francis Cissna in Stephen Miller’s purge of the federal government. Founded by a white supremacist, FAIR has been labeled a hate group. Currently Kirchner investigates individuals’ complaints against maladministration, especially that of public authorities for USCIS. If confirmed for the head of the agency, she would control the adjudication of applications for asylum, green cards, citizenship, and renewals for protective programs like DACA and TPS.

Patrick Shanahan remains acting as Secretary of Defense as more and more bad news comes from and about his former employer and friend, Boeing. The latest is Boeing’s admission that warning lights were “optional” on the 737 Max commercial jetliners that killed hundreds of people in the last few months. Earlier Boeing tried to blame pilots for their lack of performance. Now the company claims that the lights had no impact on the planes’ safety. Only 20 percent of ordered planes had this upgrade to activate the warning sensor. Neither pilots nor the FAA safety inspectors and supervisors were told about the lack of this safety feature. DDT has suggested that Boeing can solve all its problems with the 737 Max 8 jets by renaming them.

Less than two weeks ago, an internal investigation cleared Shanahan of conflicts of interest although Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson expressed three concerns: his decision to accept the problematic KC-46 tanker, his meeting with Space X CEO Elon Musk, and possible inappropriate sharing of classified information from Boeing programs. Shanahan also incessantly praised the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Internal documents about the Dreamliner production as well as interviews with employees show the same kind of shoddy work on the 737 Max. A quality manager who pointed out problems was moved to other parts of the South Carolina plant where Boeing moved manufacturing despite a lack of comparable work force to that in the Seattle area. As a “right-to-work” state, South Carolina employees can be paid less than in Washington, and the state gave Boeing $1 billion. Fortunately, the Dreamliner has not had a crash yet although it was grounded for a time because of overheating batteries.

Last week, a Boeing 737 slid off a Florida runway into the St. Johns River.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is one of the subjects named by Sears in a lawsuit against its former CEO Edward Lampert, claiming that Mnuchin was part of the board members who helped Lampert and his hedge fund strip Sears of over $2 billion. Lampert and Mnuchin were roommates at Yale University and worked together at Goldman Sachs.

Jared Kushner has done his daddy-in-law proud with his extremely rare public appearance at the Times 100 Summit. He downplayed the Russian election interference from the Mueller report as “a couple of Facebook ads.” Kushner missed the part about the “expansive and expensive” Russian attack, as described by Steve Benen, including “public events, advertising, rallies, p.r. stunts, outreach to domestic allies, and an aggressive social-media component [that] reached as many as 126 million people.”

John Kelly, once DHS Secretary before becoming DDT’s chief of staff, has found a way to make money off his attitudes about immigrants and still avoid DDT. Kelly is now a board member of Caliburn International, the company owning the biggest detention centers for unaccompanied migrant youth. Caliburn received $222 million from taxpayers for a year, but their centers’ capacity has increased from 1,250 beds to 3,200 beds in just one detention center.

Scott Walker, loser as presidential candidate and Wisconsin’s most recent gubernatorial race, found a new job: he’s honorary chair of The Center for State-led National Debt Solutions—aka pusher for a constitutional balanced budget amendment. Ostensibly a Republican, Walker seems to be on the opposite side of congressional Republicans who are driving the national debt sky high. In every date, including Wisconsin, the infrastructure is collapsing while wealthy individuals and corporations received massive tax cuts.

Before he left Wisconsin, Walker put the state’s taxpayers on the hook for $4.1 billion to employ 13,000 people at Foxconn’s manufacturing plant. The deal was announced with DDT; a photo may show the only work DDT has done. Foxconn backed out of the manufacturing plant, and the number of employees dropped to 1,000 workers—about $4 million for each job. Manufacturing the product in China will “be more profitable” for Foxconn, according to one of its officials. Last year, the company hired 178 people, 82 fewer than needed for its first $10 million tax cut. On the campaign trail a week ago, DDT asked Wisconsin’s governor, Tony Evers, to be more “optimistic and hopeful” about Foxconn. Without re-negotiation, which Foxconn hasn’t supported, Wisconsin taxpayers are totally screwed.

Thanks to Walker and his Republicans, almost 15 percent of Wisconsin’s dairy farms aren’t milking or have disappeared. Despite oversupply, Walker tried to beat California in milk production and dropped milk prices by over 25 percent. Other losses included less immigrant farm labor and DDT’s trade war.

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

 

 

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