Nel's New Day

May 25, 2019

DDT: More Week 122

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 7:32 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Always a bit more news about Dictator Donald Trump (DDT):

DDT dodged a congressional review to make 22 deals, selling $7 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, etc. by declaring an emergency to protect the countries from Iran. Saudis will be able to use the bombs, missile systems, semiautomatic rifles, drones, and support for manufacturing and production of F-18 combat jets to kill Yemeni civilians. The planes are provided to other countries such as Israel, India, and South Korea. DDT is greatly helping arms companies’ friends to make massive profits in exchange for massive killings throughout the world.

DDT is also profiting his Fox network by boosting its hosts. Media Matters reports that these on-air personalities made at least $500,000 in speaking fees by moonlighting in appearances not only at GOP groups and conservative organizations but also at events with DDT’s officials and on DDT’s properties. Top payments have gone to Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Greg Gutfeld, Jeanine Pirro, Pete Hegseth, and Laura Ingraham.

DDT is sending 1,500 additional military service members and a dozen fighter jets to the Middle East to provoke Iran into war on top of thousands sent earlier this month. The Pentagon claims intelligence about Iran’s escalating plans for attacks, but no other country supports the U.S. in this claim—sort of like 16 years ago with Iraq. There is no proof for the Pentagon’s claims. Acting DOD Secretary Patrick Shanahan has written members of Congress to tell them he will be concealing information from them, resulting in bipartisan protest.

DDT starting his trip to Japan by contradicting his host when he said he isn’t disturbed by North Korea missile tests.  North Korea also said it will not negotiate with the U.S. because of U.S. demands for disarmament.

DDT is pushing the Army Corps of Engineers to select a specific construction firm, Fisher Industries, to receive billions of dollars for building his wall. Fisher’s CEO is a GOP donor and frequent Fox network guest. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders described DDT as “one of the country’s most successful builders.” Fisher has already started building a border fence on private land with private funds within feet of an 1855 international boundary monument. DDT has called for “French doors” on the wall instead of a hydraulic sliding gate and demands that the wall be painted black. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction limiting additional border fencing in specific areas and blocking the $1 billion transfer from Pentagon funds for the wall.

DDT’s decision to stop the DACA program has been blocked by the majority of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that called DDT’s actions “not adequately explained” and “arbitrary and capricious.” An activist DDT appointee disagreed with the majority opinion.  The U.S. Supreme Court also permitted a Massachusetts law that bars for-profit corporations from making campaign donations. Neil Gorsuch joined the progressive wing of the Supreme Court to hold that the Apsáalooke Nation, also known as the Crow Tribe, can keep its treaty-guaranteed right to hunt on unoccupied lands outside its reservation. The case bodes well for tribes keeping their rights. A lower court had maintained that tribes lose their rights after statehood on treaty land.

DDT’s new immigration plan has succeeded with GOP lawmakers like a lead balloon. One of the provisions switches visas to a “merit-based” program that would have eliminated DDT’s wife and in-laws from coming into the United States.

DDT’s military budget for 2020 is actually about $1.25 trillion instead of the $700 billion he claims. The uncapped Overseas Contingency Operations account (aka “war”) has skyrocketed to $174 billion that shows DDT plans for military attacks around the globe. Together the nuclear weapons and Veterans Affairs, not part of the official budget, total about $240 billion. The rest of the $1.25 trillion comes from $156 billion in interest payments on the national debt from the military. The GOP Senate Armed Forces Committee gave DDT’s military budget an extral $16 billion, almost the same amount as the $19.1 billion for disaster relief that Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) is holding hostage because it doesn’t cut out other expenditures.

DDT’s Pentagon wants to give the Taliban $30 million for peace negotiations.

DDT has given farmers another $16 billion without anyone objecting about needing matching reductions for other costs. The amount sounds huge, but the average payout to farmers was $7,236—a fraction of what they lost to tariffs. In Iowa, corn farmers got 1 cent per bushel with a decline of 58 cents in corn prices. Soybeans are $2.50 less per bushel, about $150 loss per acre and $60,000 for farms planting 400 acres. Big farms that get much larger checks are using payouts to pick up land from smaller farms at bargain rates. Sharecroppers can’t complain because they will lose their land. At the same time, taxpayers pay twice, giving money to farmers and paying for the tariffs.

DDT may have helped Professional Bank CEO and president Abel Iglesias be appointed to the board of directors of the Miami branch of the Atlanta Federal Reserve after his bank loaned DDT up to $25 million for the purchase of a mansion owned by DDT’s sister. She recently retired as a federal judge to avoid an investigation into tax fraud.

DDT has said he has a literal “hit list.” Told that treason carries a death penalty, he listed these people to be convicted:

“You look at Comey. If you look at McCabe. If you look at people … probably people higher than that. If you look at Strzok. If you look at his lover, Lisa Page, his wonderful lover.”

DDT finished up his statement with “Bob Mueller and his group of 18 killers.”

DDT’s activist Supreme Court has temporarily blocked fixing gerrymandering districts in Michigan and Ohio until it makes a final ruling in June about the constitutionality of Republicans’ drawing districts to favor themselves.

DDT is carrying through his proposal to deny healthcare rights based on gender identity by mandating that sex is determined by genitalia. The new plan allows healthcare professionals and insurers to deny healthcare including gender reassignment needs although three of four courts determined that the Affordable Care Act covers gender identity. DHHS declares that “sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth” and uses sex on a birth certificate as “definitive proof.”

Anti-LGBTQ rights Roger Severino is behind the idea of “genitalia at birth.” Head of Human Rights at DHHS, he wants discrimination in all government agencies against non-traditional gender identity. People questioning the government’s definition of their sex could be forced to submit to genetic testing, causing problems for identification. Men with Klinefelter syndrome possess an extra X chromosome (XXY), two or three extra Xs (XXXY, XXXXY), or an extra Y chromosome (XYY). Women with Turner syndrome have only one X chromosome, and women (XX) with congenital adrenal hyperplasia may have masculinized genitals. Men genetically XY who have complete androgen insensitivity syndrome fail to develop masculine sexual characteristics. Children with Guevedoces appear to be female until their penis and testicles descend when they are about 12 years old. Other people may have XX chromosomes in some cells and XY in others. Intersex people don’t fit typical biological definitions of male or female. Scientists now believe that almost everyone has genetically distinct cells of a sex that fails to match the rest of their body. Sex is a spectrum and lacks a rigid binary system.

A coalition of 23 states is suing DDT’s DHHS for removing healthcare from patients under the guise of “moral” beliefs and terminating hundreds of billions of dollars in federal health care funding from their states or cities. The discrimination is scheduled to go into effect in July.

The NRA is in a world of financial hurt. On top of investigations by New York State and problems with CEO Wayne LaPierre spending $200,000 of members’ money to buy clothing, the PR firm Ackerman McQueen is counter-suing for $100 million for allegedly trying to sever business ties to benefit the expensive NRA legal firm. The NRA started the kerfuffle by suing Ackerman for $40 million, charging that the firm of “fomenting” an attempted coup and leaking confidential documents. LaPierre won the battle in driving out former president Oliver North, but he may lose the money argument and drive the NRA into bankruptcy. An earlier article shows how excessive spending has drained the NRA’s coffers.

Paul Krugman has a perspective of how DDT saved the Democrats when he rejected the infrastructure meeting and how DDT’s actions will put the United States into a world of financial hurt—possibly even a recession.

The man who ridiculed President Obama for golfing and promised he would never golf has spent over $100 million dollars for his personal golf trips with some of this money pouring into his own pockets. This coming month he plans another seven-figure trip to another country where he can play on his own course. During his campaign, DDT promised that he would not play golf at all. The $100 million is over three times the expenditure of Robert Mueller’s investigation, a net neutral cost because Mueller collected about $30 million from guilty subjects. His golf expenditures would fund the Special Olympics program for six years, the program that DDT refused to budget until public backlash.

Almost everyone who reads DDT’s tweets knows that he cannot spell, but his notes for the “impromptu” press conference after his tantrum led him out of the infrastructure meeting is more proof. He also misspells an opponent’s name in tweeting “Joe Bidan.” DDT’s notes about a “hoax” missed “37 total indicted … 26 Russians indicted … 4 people sent to prison … 7 guilty pleas” from the Mueller investigation. Plus the gains from the guilty plea made the investigation cost nothing.

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

August 20, 2015

Pentagon Loses Taxpayer Money, Wants More

More money for defense and less money for taxpayers—that’s what Republicans want. Hillary Clinton’s emails a horrible and deliberate defense disaster—that’s what Republicans want to prove. The Pentagon missing $8.5 trillion? No mention and probably no problem. This expenditure is more than China’s economic output last year. The Defense Department’s budget was $567 billion, but no one knows how much of that money is spent as intended. The Pentagon is the only federal agency that has failed to comply with a two-decade-old law requiring audits of all government departments.

An extensive investigation by Scot Paltrow reveals the way that the U.S. military failed to submit to an audit, flouted federal law, and concealed the loss of billions of dollars through waste and fraud. Employees for the U.S. Department of Defense were told to put input fake data, called “plugs,” to reconcile military books with those of the U.S. Treasury. Now the records are filled with missing, unidentified, and wrong numbers. The same thing happened at the operational level.

The Pentagon consistently ignores warnings about its accounting practices from oversight agencies. It fails “to keep track of its money—how much it has, how much it pays out, and how much is wasted or stolen,” according to Paltrow. “Widespread pay errors inflict financial hardship on soldiers and sap morale, [but] pay errors are only a small part of the sums that annually disappear into the vast bureaucracy that manages more than half of all annual government outlays approved by Congress.” Accounting errors lead to loss of soldiers’ wages from unfounded accusations that soldiers have been overpaid. Without their salary, soldiers are forced to get food from charity pantries.

The Pentagon continues to spend money of supplies it doesn’t need and stores other items that it doesn’t need because it doesn’t keep track of weapons, ammunition, etc. It has a backlog of more than $500 billion in unaudited contracts with outside vendors, but it doesn’t know how much of that money has been paid for real goods and services. The Navy can’t account for ships, submarines, and other physical assets even after the $1 billion it spent to upgrade record-keeping.

Most of the Pentagon’s incompatible accounting and business-management systems—maybe 2,200 or 5,000, depending on who’s counting—were built in the 1970s and use obsolete computer languages on old mainframes. Even if someone could search for data, much of it is corrupted and just plain wrong. The tens of billions of dollars used to upgrade technology failed, adding to the waste. In the meantime, military knowingly signs off on entries that it knows to be false. Corporate managers certifying false financial reports suffer criminal penalties; the Pentagon’s officials have none.

Every year, the Pentagon buys more of what it already has in excess, defined as a three-year supply. In 2008, for example, it had 15,000 parts in stock for the “vehicular control arm” of the Humvees, equal to a 14-year supply. From 2010 through 2012, it bought another 7,437 of them at considerably higher prices as demand dropped by almost half. Nobody knows if these have been stored in the right bins, which makes inventory impossible. Nothing has been done to track employee theft. The Pentagon ordered the Defense Department to have a labeling system, a directive that the DOD ignored.

Obsolete supplies aren’t monitored although the Army is trying to detonate some C4 plastic explosives made in 1979. Nothing has been done with runway flares from the 1940s and warheads for Sparrow missiles not fielded since the 1990s. Rocket-launch systems retired in the 1980s take up space. “Keeping all those useless bullets, explosives, missiles, rifles, rocket launchers and other munitions costs tens of millions of dollars a year,” Paltrow reported.

Despite all these issues, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that a cut of $52 billion in 2014 was “too deep, too steep, and too abrupt.” His claim that “this is an irresponsible way to govern” sounds like the way that the Pentagon manages its finances. Hagel had no idea how much money the Pentagon had. In one office (Columbus, Ohio), duplicate entries across multiple ledgers led to mistakes for the Air Force in 2009, totally $1.59 trillion which included $538 billion for plugs—roughly eight times what the Air Force was allotted for that year.

Efforts to fix the problem have consistently failed. Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England established the Business Transformation Agency in 2006 to upgrade business operations and prepare the department for auditing. By 2009, the department had spent over $10 billion a year, but it didn’t stop business as usual. Defense Secretary Gates shut down the project in 2011.

How much of the $3 trillion spent on contracts for goods and services during the past ten years has been wasted in overpayments or never spent is not known. Bills are easily padded because detailed invoices are not required. The tremendous backlog to audit fulfillment of contracts came to 24,722 contracts worth $573.3 billion by the end of 2011. The Army’s backlog was 450,000 contracts in 2012. The Navy and Air Force don’t know what their backlogs are. To take care of the problem, the value at which a contract is automatically audited rose from $15 million to $250 million.

GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is campaigning on making the U.S. Department of Education a “whole lot smaller.” As president, she would make the department “justify every single dollar every single year.” Nobody says that about the military. Fiorina also said that she doesn’t know what the Department of Education does. She could easily find the department’s reports and charts about its goals, the sources of its expenditures, and comparisons to previous year. It’s right here.

The Department of Education provides grants, including Pell grant funding; makes sure that states spend federal money as they should; keeps schools from gender discrimination per Title IX; and collects national education data. Without federal oversight, states won’t spend the Title I money as intended to effect education equality. The Department also checks on the for-profit college industry, i.e., fining Corinthian Colleges because it misrepresented job placement data.

Fiorina decried “complicated accreditation” for these for-profit colleges that she found to be “expensive.” These colleges, however, have higher student loan debt and poor completion rates because their accreditation rules are already too loose. HuffPo reported that accrediting boards frequently have executives from for-profit colleges, perhaps the reason that none of the five major companies had the accreditation revoked in the past ten years and fraudulent job placement data was ignored.

The budget for the Department of Education for this year is $68.8 billion, and the agency knows where its money goes because it’s the law. The Department of Defense’s budget is $567 billion—about 12 percent of the budget for the Department of Education—and the DOD has no idea where it goes because it flouts the law. Below is what $8.5 trillion dollars looks like in $100 bills. That’s what the Pentagon has been allotted during the past 20 years with no accountability.

trillions of dollars

Food stamp fraud may account for about $500 million (less than one cent per each dollar of the $82 billion), but the Pentagon has lost $8.5 trillion. That amount has cost each household approximately $70,000. In 2013, about 45.3 million people, including 14.7 million children, lived in poverty in the United States—14.5 percent of the population and the largest number in the 54 years that statistics have been kept. Almost one in five children live in poverty.

Lack of government support has driven tuition for higher education sky-high. The student debt is now at $1.2 trillion in the United States, and the costs will cripple the future for both young people and the economy. People will have to pay down this debt instead of buying houses and cars, shoring up the GDP.

Conservatives caused this inequality, but they are determined to deny help to any of these people. Yet they are willing to distribute over one-half trillion dollars every year to an agency that has no idea how the taxpayer money is spent. For conservatives, a steak or shellfish or shredded cheese is outrageously out-of-bounds for food stamp recipients, but 22,437 extra Humvee front ends are just fine. Billions of taxpayer dollars for failed business systems or excessive purchases of supplies or unfulfilled government contracts or unpaid soldiers or lack of audits that break the law are acceptable. Conservatives need to look at their priorities.

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