Nel's New Day

November 11, 2019

DDT’s Record about Veterans Belies Speech about Them

In a normal world, the United States would be honoring the veterans on the day set aside to commemorate their service, and the commander-in-chief would join in the appreciation for their service. We no longer have a “normal world”: Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is sitting in the Oval Office.

DDT abused veterans even during his campaign. In January 2016, DDT boycotted a debate other GOP presidential candidates over a feud with Fox’s Megyn Kelly and held his own rally at the same time, ostensibly to raise money for veterans. According to DDT, it was wildly successful, and he claimed he got $6 million. He promised the money to 20 different groups, but a little less than half the money was donated to veterans’ charities, much of it directly from donors to the groups instead of funneled through DDT. The other $3 million apparently stayed with DDT. 

Almost four years later, a few days before Veterans Day, a judge in New York ordered DDT to pay $2 million for misuse of his “charitable” foundation after DDT admitted that his fundraiser for veterans was designed “to further Mr. Trump’s political campaign,” according to Judge Saliann Scarpulla. DDT, however, issued a statement that he was not sorry or wrong after tweeting in June 2018, “I won’t settle this case!” DDT also confessed that he used the charity’s donated money to settle $100,000 in legal claims over an 80-foot flagpole at Mar-a-Lago, $158,000 to resolve a lawsuit over a contest at his golf course, $5,000 for ads promoting his hotels, and more money buying sports memorabilia and his portrait for his personal use. Eight organizations receiving DDT’s fine and the disbanded charity’s funds include Citymeals on Wheels, the United Negro College Fund, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The veterans are still missing their $3 million.

Any other president of the United States would have been pilloried for this fraud, especially targeting veterans. For DDT and his supporters, it’s just another day.

DDT is also trying to undermine the Uniform Code of Military Justice that details non-judicial punishment, Article 15. After Navy Chief Edward Gallagher was charged on ten criminal counts with fellow Navy SEALS as witnesses, DDT took up his cause, claiming that he should be exonerated. In the end, one witness changed his story after not being charged for a crime, and Gallagher lost his trial on one minor charge. For that, he was reduced in grade to E-1. Chief of Naval Operations has now reduced his grade but not his pay grade by keeping him a petty officer first class. In other cases which also either convicted or charged soldiers for violating the military’s rules of engagement and war crimes, DDT plans to “take action” for two convicted war criminals. He has been asked to disapprove findings in one case and dismiss the charges in the other. Any action from DDT will undermine the chain of command and the military justice system. Law-abiding veterans will be insulted if DDT dismisses charges, restores rank, and pardons war criminals.

During his campaign, DDT continued to denigrate honored veterans. He slammed then Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), repeatedly saying, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Gold Star family Khizr and Ghazala Khan were frequent objects of DDT’s attacks after Khizr Khan spoke at the Democratic convention. Their son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, was killed in 2004 while he served in Iraq.

Two years ago, he called Myeshia, wife of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson with condolences after Johnson was killed in an ambush in Niger following his being missing for 48 hours. Myeshia said that DDT didn’t even know her husband’s name.

Last year on Veterans Day, DDT traveled to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. He was a no-show at a key ceremony because he didn’t want to go in the rain. He has visited the troops overseas only once in almost three years, finding it not “overly necessary,” according to his statement. After Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified to the House about DDT’s July 25 phone call to the Ukrainian president, DDT tried to smear Vindman and called him a “Never Trumper.”  

DDT promised to improve the VA, but he made decisions that hurt the agency. One of them was his vaunted whistleblower protection office that deliberately put whistleblowers at risk. The agency’s inspector general reported that the office not only outed whistleblowers but also kept poorly performing senior officials and didn’t investigate issues in an accurate or unbiased manner. DDT’s political appointments have scorned career employees, according to the report, and acted in ways that demonstrated a lack of respect for people they considered “career” whistleblowers.

In 2017, DDT put three of his Mar-a-Lago buddies as shadow rulers for the VA who threatened health care of veterans: a Palm Beach doctor who provides “concierge” medical care for the wealthy, the chair of Marvel Entertainment, and a lawyer. None of the three has ever served in the U.S. military or the government, and they operated in private with no transparency, accountability, or oversight. Taxpayers provided for the cost of officials’ travel to visit with the triumvirate at Mar-a-Lago. One of the beliefs of the “Mar-a-Lago crowd” was privatization of health care, known to be dangerous for veterans’ wellbeing. They were responsible for the appointment of David Shulkin as VA director and then told him what to do.

Once Shulkin was fired in 2018, DDT wanted to appoint Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the military doctor who gave him the glowing report including the possibility that DDT could live to be 200 years old.  for another 200 years. Any appointment disappeared after allegations that Jackson provided an excessive amount of an opioid to a White House staff member, wrote himself prescriptions for the same medication, distributed the sleep aid Ambien to White House and media members on overseas trips followed by prescriptions for wakefulness, got drunk and “wrecked a government vehicle” after a Secret Service going away party, and demonstrated workplace misconduct. After investigations into his behavior, including an issue with VP Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, and her doctor, Jackson faded away. Now Jackson is back, thinking about a run for the U.S. House after DDT-supporter Texan Mac Thornberry declared it quits for the 2020 election.

Another DDT attack on veterans is to end the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program (FWVP) that helps reunited Filipino veterans and their families while they wait for federal decisions about their visas. These elderly veterans from World War II need support from family members. Over 250,000 Filipino soldiers enlisted in the U.S. army, but fewer were permitted to move to the U.S. and become citizens. Despite their service and sacrifice in World War II, they lack full benefits afforded to military veterans and their families in the states. Japan occupied Manila after they attacked the Philippines on December 7, 1941. The U.S. and Filipino resistance lasted for months, and the Bataan Death March of 60,000-100,000 U.S. and Filipino prisoners of war, leading to death of thousands, was decried as a war crime. During Japan’s occupation of Japan for the entire war, the Philippines suffered almost 60,000 casualties.

Thus far this year, the U.S. House passed 56 bills for veterans, 25 of them bipartisan, after 32 hearings. These include VA mental health funding and suicide prevention, inequitable taxes on military families, and “expanded benefits for Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange,” according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has not allowed any of these bills to move through the Senate.

Today, DDT went back to the state he rejected in favor of Florida and gave his first speech in New York City. He had wanted to be Grand Marshall for the Veterans Day parade there for almost 25 years, but that honor goes only to people who served in the military. This Veterans Day is the third one in which he did not follow the presidential tradition of going to Arlington Cemetery.

According to news reports, DDT put on his pretend-president hat and sounded presentable. He listed specific American military victories, recounted stories of individual veterans, and told Gold Star families that he will “stand by your side forever.” The event included a moment of silence and a wreath-laying ceremony honoring fallen soldiers.

DDT’s speech was not uneventful. Like sporting events that he attended, he was greeted with chants of “lock him up” and “impeach and remove.” Signs in the buildings surrounding him in Madison Square including “Convict” and “Impeach” in a Murdoch building. Several dozen people holding banners reading “Traitor, criminal, lock him up!”, “Sexist in chief” and “Impeach Trump” gathered close to Madison Square Park in downtown Manhattan ahead of his speech.

Now that DDT has had the attention he craves, he can continue to send soldiers into places around the world to protect other authoritarians and create more disabled veterans.

March 6, 2017

DDT Issues Second Travel Ban

Filed under: Immigration,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:44 PM
Tags: , ,

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has shown that he cares about only three things: making money, revenge, and being admired, but there’s actually a fourth—looking better than his predecessor. From the lies about the size of his inauguration crowds to his level of accomplishments since then, DDT has tried to convince people that everything about him bigger and better than President Obama. DDT’s failures sent him into a rage last weekend that ended up with libelous tweets about the former president being a “bad (or sick) guy.”

At this time of his first term, President Obama had proposed, negotiated, renegotiated, and signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that brought the nation back from the brink of a deep economic depression. That was after he signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act during his first two weeks. DDT has signed a few bills overturning earlier regulations that make the country worse and given money to corporations and wealthy people. And the Muslim ban that wreaked havoc before it was overturned by the courts required a replacement.

  • A 90-day ban on the issuance of new visas for citizens of six majority-Muslim nations: Iraq was the only one of the original seven countries that has been exempted because it agreed to improve the quality of travel documentation and share more information about Iraqis coming to the United States.
  • Exceptions not in previous versions: legal permanent residents of the United States, dual nationals who use a passport from another country, and people who have been granted asylum or refugee status. The exception for religious minority groups has been removed.
  • Suspension of refugee program for 120 days.
  • Details of categories of people able to apply for waivers: those previously admitted to the United States for “a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity,” those with “significant business or professional obligations” and those seeking to visit or live with family.
  • Acceptance of fewer than 50,000 refugees a year, down from the former number of 110,000. Only 15,000 people can enter for the remainder of fiscal 2017 because 35,000 refugees have already been settled in the U.S. Another 67,000 refugees have been approved by DHS out of 65 million displaced people in the world.
  • March 16 start.

Unlike DDT’s signings in his early days, this one was not public, and names of those at the signing were not released. He waited to sign he order until his staff explained it to him.

State Department, Homeland Security and Justice Department officials said that the ban would improve public safety because Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Yemen were either state sponsors of terrorism or safe havens for terrorist groups. The “justification” for the order was that 300 people who entered the country were the subject of counterterrorism investigations, but they refused to name the countries of origination or any additional evidence.

A DHS report questions the need for the ban because citizenship is an “unreliable” threat indicator and people from the banned countries have rarely been implicated in U.S.-based terrorism.

The ban will definitely go back to court, and a serious problem for DDT is that the 9th Circuit Court ruled that intent can be considered in determining the possibility of a First Amendment violation. DDT aide Stephen Miller has already said that there is no difference between this ban and the first one that was overturned. Other proof of intent comes from DDT’s campaigning promises which he has continually confirmed he will keep—his promise of a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” That statement was followed by DDT advisor Rudy Giuliani saying on Fox that DDT had asked him about the best method of doing a Muslim ban “legally.”

“OK. I’ll tell you the whole history of it. So when [Trump] first announced it he said, “Muslim ban.” He called me up and said, ‘Put a commission together, show me the right way to do it legally.’ … And what we did was we focused on, instead of religion, danger. The areas of the world that create danger for us. Which is a factual basis. Not a religious basis. Perfectly legal, perfectly sensible, and that’s what the ban is based on.”

The DDT claim that his ban will make the U.S. safer has doubters. Navy SEAL Ryan Owens was killed in a failed raid in Yemen the day after DDT issued his first Muslim ban, singling out seven countries including Yemen. Owens’ father speculated about whether friendly forces were alienated by the order and decided to release information to jeopardize the mission. Al Qaeda fighters were tipped off before the raid. The question is whether missions will continue to be compromised because of DDT’s antagonism toward countries where the U.S. counts on “friendlies” for support.

Danger doesn’t seem to be an issue for DDT: he has promised a new ban for a month. After his speech last week on Tuesday, plans were delayed to retain its “positive reception.” That warm and fuzzy feeling for Trumpers lasted less than 24 hours before the revelation about AG Jeff Sessions’ communication with Russia exploded and totally dissipated with DDT’s tweets accusing, with no evidence, that his predecessor had bugged the Trump Tower.

An argument in support of the ban is that the 120-day timeline won’t slow down the refugee program. Once again the supporters are wrong. Each vetting step has a specific timeline from three to 15 months, and a delay that causes these clearances to expire sends refugees back to the beginning of the process and subject them to death sentences, especially those coming to the U.S. for medical treatment. Organizations who resettle families in the United States will also be subject to longer backlogs because they have to stop their work. Closing down these organizations will halt their ability to serve refugees already in the country. One resettlement agency, World Relief, recently laid off over 140 staff and closed five of its offices.

A classic case of the craziness surrounding DDT’s Muslim ban: Gold Star father Khizr Khan, whose son Army Captain Humayun Kyan was killed in service in Iraq, was forced to cancel a speaking engagement in Canada about tolerance, unity, anbecause his travel “privileges” are being “reviewed” by the federal government. A citizen of the U.S. for 30 years, Khan has exhibited DDT’s requirement of “loving America.” He was not told why he could not travel to Canada, but he did speak at the Democratic convention last summer and criticize DDT.

The United States is likely to be in far more danger from his response to North Korea that launched four missiles this morning after testing a solid-fuel rocket supposedly part of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States. North Korea said that the goal of the new missiles is to attack U.S. bases in Japan. Despite DDT’s admiration for Kim Jung-un, the U.S. is considering taking direct action against North Korea, a horrifying consideration.

North Korea’s regime also may have assassinated the leader’s half brother with a banned nerve agent classified as a weapon of mass destruction. DDT has not tweeted about any concern.

Conservative commentator Peter Wehner defined the real danger for the United States:

“We have as president a man who is erratic, vindictive, volatile, obsessive, a chronic liar, and prone to believe in conspiracy theories. And you can count on the fact that there will be more to come, since when people like Donald Trump gain power they become less, not more, restrained.”

The best quote of today about immigration: Ben Carson, new Secretary of HUD, told agency employees in his introductory speech that slaves are “immigrants” who “worked even harder for less.”

August 2, 2016

Trump Had a Bad Day – Is He Insane?

Attention–that’s what Donald Trump needs more than anything else. The more others take the media from Trump, the harder he works to get it back. Right now Trump is trying to be more outrageous after Hillary Clinton’s post-convention bounce put her at a two-thirds chance of winning, up from the under 50 percent before the conventions . Clinton’s smallest lead in any fully post-DNC national survey is now 5 percentage points, and Nate Silver reports that her national leads go from eight percent (CNN) to 15 points (RABA Research). Overall, polls average between five and eight points for Clinton. Her upward trajectory may have contributed to Trump’s meltdown during the past 24 hours.

Trump has now threatened to ban New York Times reporters from his appearances as he has done to over a dozen other news outlets. He also predicted that the paper will not be “in business more than two to three years.”

“No matter how good I do on something, they’ll never write good. I mean, they don’t write good. … They don’t know how to write good. And I guess if they did, they’re certainly not doing it.”

Trump also called CNN the “Clinton News Network” and claimed he won’t do any interviews with the network until it treats him fairly.  Everyone should want an answer to the question that CNN’s Brian Stelter asked:

“Why is he talking about us, and not policy?”

Trump’s attacks on Khizr Khan continue when Trump insinuated that Khan, father of a soldier who died saving his men in the Iraq War, is a terrorist sympathizer because he was really “bothered” by Trump’s promise to stop radical Islamic terrorists from entering the country. Trump’s co-chair for veterans’ issues, New Hampshire Rep. Al Baldasaro, added that Khan is an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood and tweeted an article claiming that Humayun Khan was a double agent “working for the US and Al-Qaeda… killed before his Islamist mission was accomplished.” The comment has been deleted from the right-wing fringe anti-Islam conspiracy website, but Khan stands by his claim about the father. At the GOP convention, Baldasaro had called for Hillary Clinton to be executed by a firing squad. The Trump campaign said that they “do not agree” with Baldasaro but is “incredibly grateful for his support.”

Trump’s spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, blamed President Obama and Hillary Clinton for Captain Khan’s death when she told Wolf Blitzer that the soldier died because the president and secretary of state changed the rules of engagement in Iraq. When Captain Kahn died on June 8, 2004, a year after George W. Bush started the war, Barack Obama was a state senator in Illinois and Hillary Clinton was New York’s senator.

Trump’s putdown of Captain Humayun Khan’s family was followed by a media discussion of Trump’s five student deferments and a medical exemption because of bone spurs during the Vietnam War draft. Following that was Trump’s receiving a Purple Heart medal from a veteran who got it for being wounded while serving in the military. To an audience in Ashburn(VA), Trump announced, “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.”

When Trump was in the lead, he was satisfied with the election process, but after his drop in the polls, he’s declaring that the election is rigged. His vicious surrogate Roger Stone has promised a “bloodbath” if Trump doesn’t win the election—the same promise that white supremacists made if Trump didn’t become the GOP candidate.

The solution to sexual harassment, according to the Word of Trump, is getting a new job. Fox network Kirsten asked Trump about an employer treating his daughter Ivanka in the same way that Roger Ailes treated his women employees. Trump responded that she should “find another career or find another company.” This statement follows his defense of his longtime friend Ailes and his questioning the motives of the 25 people who brought up the sexual harassment at Fox before Ailes was forced out last week. Republican consultant Katie Packer asked why a woman should have to walk away because of being sexually harassed.

Trump’s son Eric tried to defend his father’s position by explaining:

“Ivanka is a strong, powerful woman. She wouldn’t allow herself to be, you know, subjected to it.”

Gretchen Carlson, former Fox television host who filed the first sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes tweeted, “Sad in 2016 we’re still victim blaming women. Trust me I’m strong.”

In Ashburn, Trump shouted at two parents with crying babies and demanded that they be removed from the audience. He also said that he hoped for an economic collapse to come before he’s elected to protect himself.

“The numbers are getting worse and worse all the time. If they get real bad, I hope it happens fast, so I don’t have to — they’ll all blame me.”

Trump has a history of hoping for economic collapses.  Ten years ago, he said he was hoping for a crash because “then people like me would go in and buy.”  Two years after he said that, the housing market collapsed, causing millions of people to lose their homes in the United States and plunging the nation’s economy into a deep recession with millions of people unemployed.

Later today, Trump announced that he supported House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) challenger and attacked other incumbent nominees, including Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and John McCain (R-AZ).

The first U.S. GOP member of Congress has defected. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), elected during the 2010 Tea Party sweep, said he will vote for Hillary Clinton because Trump is “unfit to serve our party and cannot lead this country.” He said he made the decision after watching Trump’s treatment of the Khan family. Hanna added, “I think Trump is a national embarrassment. Is he really the guy you want to have the nuclear codes?” The congressman has the luxury of making this decision because he’s not running for re-election. Other GOP politicians, such as House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), have spoken out against Trump’s statements but still have not withdrawn their support.

Just this one day, and Donald Trump kicked babies out of his rally, got an “easy” Purple Heart, opposed elections for individual GOP leaders, hoped for an immediate economic collapse, victimized women who were sexually harassed, threatened journalists, cried about rigged elections, and again attacked the family of a heroic soldier who died in the Iraq War.

And there was more. He praised his golf course for its “tremendous acreage” and Vladimir Putin, claimed that the Islamic State “stole our passport machine,” threw out silent audience members who wore T-shirts with “Black Lives Matter,” and described Hillary Clinton as a “thief,” a “crook,” and the “Devil.”

It’s all in a day’s work for the demagogue.

During a press conference with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, President Obama asked the Republican party:

“If you are repeatedly having to say what Trump says is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?”

That’s after the president called Trump “unfit” and “woefully unprepared.” A growing number of people in the nation agree with the president.

Both conservative and liberal columnists are increasingly asking if Donald Trump is insane.

Eugene Robinson: “At this point, it would be irresponsible to ignore the fact that Trump’s grasp on reality appears to be tenuous at best.”

Senior fellow at the Brookings Institute Robert Kagan: “One wonders if Republican leaders have begun to realize that they may have hitched their fate and the fate of their party to a man with a disordered personality.”

Vox founder Ezra Klein: “Have we stopped to appreciate how crazy Donald Trump has gotten recently?”

Conservative Weekly Standard writer Steven Hayes: “Yes, Donald Trump is crazy. And, yes, the Republican party owns his insanity.”

Conservative columnist David Brooks: “I almost don’t blame Trump. He is a morally untethered, spiritually vacuous man who appears haunted by multiple personality disorders. It is the ‘sane’ and ‘reasonable’ Republicans who deserve the shame.”

Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio disagrees. He claims that Trump “sees the world as a constant struggle for victory and lacks a moral compass.” That might be worse than insanity.

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