Nel's New Day

September 15, 2019

Immigration in the U.S.: The Center of Cruelty

Public opinion—aka outrage—about deporting approximately 1,000 seriously ill migrants, primarily children, by denying them any deferred status drew attention before Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) moved Hurricane Dorian to Alabama. Families who must renew their medical deferred status every two years were notified in August that they would be automatically forced to leave the country within 33 days. After a backlash, DDT said he would reconsider the new policy that sends all these migrants to their certain death because they would lack health care, but he hasn’t provided a resolution.

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, failed to appear for an emergency House hearing about the travesty, and Daniel Renaud, the associate director for field operations, said that he just follows orders. USCIS, formerly responsible for processing the deferral requests, handed all non-military requests over to ICE. ICE said it knew nothing about the change, and recipients of the deportation letters were not notified. Now ICE won’t address deferral requests until the subjects have an order of removal. The most recent information comes from American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Those people aren’t the only ones who DDT is killing. Last Thursday, ICE rushed the deportation to Cuba of Yoel Alonso Leal, an asylum-seeker with several serious medical conditions including a lung tumor. Over 100 physicians argued that he stay in the U.S. and warned that he might not even survive the flight. No matter—ICE refused to release him to his U.S. citizen wife and family for more tests and treatment. Leal said that Cuban authorities detained and assaulted him in 2016 and 2018 before he sought asylum. 

DDT already killed a man born in Greece 41 years ago, who legally came to the U.S. at less than a year of age, by deporting him to Iraq where he died without insulin for his diabetes. Jimmy Aldaoud never learned Arabic and was part of Detroit’s Chaldean Catholic community, targeted in Iraq by extremists. He was sent to Iraq because Greece doesn’t recognize birthright citizenship. Other Chaldeans, a conservative group, are also targeted for deportation, one of them for a years-old marijuana conviction that was dropped from his criminal record.

ICE also plans to kill detain immigrants by not vaccinating children for the flu. Despite the claim that detainees are held for only 72 hours, they can remain in detention for over a month. At least three people in government “care” have already died of the flu.

DDT also wants to terminate a program protecting undocumented family members of active-duty troops from deportation. Currently the program allows military family members illegally entering the U.S.—for example, overstaying a visa—who cannot adjust their immigration status to temporarily stay in the U.S. The program avoids distractions coming from worries about a spouse being deported and allows the spouse to apply for a green card. Already ICE doesn’t follow its own policies by deporting former service members and breaking the tradition of giving a path to citizenships for those who serve in the military—almost 130,000 since 2001. Last year, the Pentagon discharged immigrants with special skills recruited under George W. Bush’s program.

A lawsuit against Cuccinelli purports that all his directives are “invalid” because he “lacks the authority to serve as acting director.” Cuccinelli is also unqualified to serve in this position because he describes immigrants as rats although his job is to facilitate legal immigration. His new policies include fast-tracking initial screenings of asylum-seekers from 48 hours to a “full calendar day,” blocking them from preparing for interviews of seeing legal help. Cuccinelli is serving as “acting director” because GOP senators have doubted his appointment.

In another cruel form of current government bureaucracy, 37 asylum seekers accused of illegal entry were all processed at one time and expected to answer questions in unison. Public defendants had under two hours to talk with 41 defendants in one case. Unlike other courts under the judicial branch, immigration courts are under the control of DOJ AG Bill Barr. [Right: “Justice” under the reign of Barr and DDT.]

New tent courts recently established at the southern border will hear thousands of cases for asylum-seekers in closed hearings with no court observers unlike open immigration court proceedings. Attorneys are not allowed to participate although most asylum-seekers can’t get legal representation. Over 42,000 asylum-seekers are forced to wait in Mexico where they have been assaulted, kidnapped, and extorted. Others have let Mexico bus them to the middle of the country or the border of Guatemala. The hearings in the tent court facilities are via video teleconference, a serious problem from faulty equipment with poor video and sound quality that prevent due process. 

Last week, people believing in justice breathed a sigh of relief when a federal judge ruled that DDT cannot require asylum seekers to ask another country for shelter before seeking refuge in the U.S. According to DDT’s coerced agreement with Guatemala, people coming from Central America into Mexico must try and fail to obtain asylum in Guatemala before moving on to go through the same process in Mexico before seeking asylum in the U.S. Mexico had refused DDT’s negotiations, but he still forces the “third-country” asylum rule on that country. A 9th Circuit Court ruling against DDT’s new restriction had been only for the ten states in its jurisdiction, but Jon S. Tigar made that ruling consistent for the entire country to prevent “uneven enforcement.”

The relief ended when DDT’s U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay to that judge’s ruling until the courts settled the cases, a process taking and leaving the Supreme Court as the final decider—or “fixer” for DDT. The lower courts determined that DDT’s policy conflicts with existing immigration statutes, violates the requirements of administrative rulemaking, and completely blocks all asylum for people on the southern border unless they come from Mexico. The decision was not explained.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginzberg submitted a dissent stating that lower court decisions should be respected and a stay overturning a lower court is “extraordinary.” The Supreme Court should not be used for the government to ignore lower court litigation. DDT’s administration has made an “extraordinary” number of requests—20—to bypass normal procedures or lower court actions. In addition to procedural anomalies, the dissent pointed out that the goal of DDT’s asylum policy is acting in bad faith. Facts do not support their arguments and illustrated that the policy puts untold numbers of people in serious danger—which DDT and his co-authors know. The decision overturns a longstanding offer of safe refuge to the persecuted with no input before DDT loses on the case’s merits. The lower court determined that DDT’s new policy broke government rules, violated the law, and lacks justification by being arbitrary and capricious.

One group of immigrants that DDT wants to protect are Venezuelans. He thinks that it might help him win the state of Florida in the 2020 election.

Perhaps the worst part of immigration court is control by the DOJ instead of the judicial branch. DDT’s fixer AG, Bill Barr, promoted the six judges with higher rates of denying immigrants’ asylum to the immigration appeals court that can overturn lower court decisions. Two of them came from courts drawing complaints of unfair proceedings from attorneys and advocates, and a third denies asylum to domestic violence victims. The six comprise over one-fourth of the appellate board, and four are on the DDT-created Board of Immigration Appeals. Barr established a regulation giving himself the ability to make any appellate decision binding. DOJ sent an email to all immigration court employees with a link to an article from the white nationalist website VDare that “directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs.”

The DOJ also filed a petition to decertify the union of immigration judges with the claim that they are “management officials.” The Federal Labor Relations Authority refused this tactic over 20 years ago, but the new FLRA members mostly belong to DDT. Last year, the union fought the new DOJ quota system of completing 700 cases a year and “efficiency” procedures that could damage due process in court. DDT has appointed at least 43 percent of the 440 immigration judges; changing them to “management” would allow him to fire them at his whim.

While DDT torments and kills migrants, the asylum law is now at the center of his immigration battle. The law says: “Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States, whether or not at a designated port of arrival … may apply for asylum.”

Not satisfied with detaining only immigrants, DDT wants to incarcerate the homeless in a federal facility, starting his roundup in California to rile up his base for the 2020 election.

At his speech in Baltimore, DDT used a favorite term, “goddamn,” which the evangelical community hates. Texas megachurch leader and DDT supporter Rev. Robert Jeffress said, “I can take just about everything else, except [taking the Lord’s name in vain.” For evangelicals, cruelty, corruption, killing, abuse, lying, racism all okay, but “goddamn” crosses the line.

July 5, 2019

July 4, 2019 – The End of Democracy?   

“We are all one people,” Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said to a crowd of invited Republicans permitted onto part of Washington, DC’s National Mall blocked from non-ticketed people with a chain link fence, belying the “one people.” Although he skipped over most of the partisan rhetoric typical of his campaign rallies, his speech focused almost entirely on his military. The man who avoided military service with five deferments and claims of bone spurs and whose children have never served called on all young people to join up for military service as he stood by the anachronistic behemoth tanks hauled to the Lincoln Memorial as backdrop for his jingoistic shindig. DDT’s fascination for tanks matches his other fascist leadership—suppressing the vote, turning the courts into a third GOP branch of government, concentration camps on the southern border, refusal to obey the law, and a goal of dismantling free media. 

Despite a largely nonpartisan speech, the ticketed event could still violate ethics rules because taxpayers are required to pay for a party that they cannot attend. The Department of the Interior stated that the event was “hosted by the President of the United States.”  https://www.thedailybeast.com/this-july-4th-has-everything-tanks-trumpand-scandal   Tickets were given to DDT’s election campaign to distribute and to donors. The Trump Hotel was also sold out for July 3-4 by big donors with a three-night mandated stay starting at $1,151 per night.. CEO’s of companies donating $750,000 of pyrotechnics, Phantom Fireworks and Fireworks by Grucci, for personal shoutouts from DDT and are pushing for him to lift tariffs on their imports from China. DDT gave those products a temporary reprieve last week.

Last minute preparations meant that White House officials had to beg people to take tickets, and many people receiving them gave them away to others. Service chiefs for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps were out of town. Many military families openly violated the rule that members of armed forces not participate in partisan political activity by wearing MAGA hats and chanting “Four more years.”

No one has approximated the number of people in the crowd; Fox described it as “thousands.” The live webcam of the National Mall and the Washington Monument disappeared for DDT’s event. 

If DDT had one disappointment for his July 4 party, it might be that he couldn’t have a parade with tanks like other despots by Benito Mussolini (Italy) and Adolf Hitler (Germany) while continuing to come from Kim Jong-Un (North Korea), Vladimir Putin (Russia), and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Iran). Although 243 years ago America tried to create a country independent a tyrant, Republicans are allowing DDT to reverse the process by destroying a celebration of freedom and independence on the Fourth of July. Instead DDT spent untold millions to ship in military equipment, mandate flyovers, and fence off a large portion of public land in Washington for ticketed Republicans, many of them donors. He still owes Washington, D.C. for his 2017 inauguration.

In selling the event, DDT falsely conflates his message with patriotism: 

  • Coming together for the common good—not fencing off people he thinks don’t support him.
  • Paying for the burdens of running the country—including the military—instead of avoiding his responsibilities.
  • Protecting democracy instead of buying off politicians and suppressing the vote.  
  • Promoting love—not hate—for the government to demonstrate that government is a way of collectively solving problems.
  • Stopping divisiveness by not fueling racist, ethnic, sexist, and homophobic divisions.

Christians who look at weather and occurrences might have noticed that their god cried, ranted, and (a scatological expression) on DDT and his crowd during the speech. Skies were dark for DDT’s flyover, and the Marine band performed in the rain. DDT postponed his speech because of the rain but still faced it behind the bulletproof glass while he spoke.

Part of DDT’s speech became surreal, using a term by Ivanka Trump:

“In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified Army out of the Revolutionary Forces encamped around Boston and New York, and named after the great George Washington, commander in chief. The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown.

“Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHendry [sic], under the rocket’s red glare it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant.”

Corrections for DDT: the “Army” wasn’t named after George Washington; no airports existed in the U.S. until 1909; the winter was not “of” but “at” Valley Forge; Fort McHenry wasn’t built until 1800; the fort is 183 miles from Yorktown; and Fort McHenry’s ramparts were the site of a battle in the War of 1812 when lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner” were written.

DDT’s mistakes started a humorous Twitter storm, his mistakes were far more than ridiculous gaffes. He failed at reading from a teleprompter from a prepared speech, and he is the man who makes decisions for the nation—sometimes unconstitutionally—and controls U.S. entry into a nuclear war. Later he claimed that the teleprompter failed, but his display of ignorance is still abysmal. Everyone in the United States should be terrified.

Today, DDT headed to his New Jersey resort for three days of golf but still lives up to his cruelty toward immigrants. Now that DDT has new leadership in DHS and his July 4 party is over, he renewed raids to pick up undocumented migrants throughout the country, breaking up more families. ICE claims a “public safety” rationale for immigration arrests but actually creates target lists for specific numbers. Leaked documents for a September 2017 operation, Operation Mega, show a target of 8,400 noncitizens with information for five other ICE operations, meaning that logistical plans are repeated. Despite ICE denials, documents reveal that ICE raids are intended “to terrorize communities and instill fear,” according to Silky Shah, executive director of Detention Watch Network. “We’ve confirmed in government documents that ICE operations are politically motivated. Immigration raids are meant to terrorize communities and instill fear.“ The sweeps pick up non-targets, as many as 60 percent of those originally selected for the lists. DDT’s DHS also sent out notices to undocumented immigrations, fining each one of them almost $500,000 for “failing to depart the U.S.”

While DDT touted military force on the east end of the National Mall, others on the west end carried in their picnic hampers, waiting to hear singer-songwriter Carole King and the National Symphony Orchestra. Protesters burned a U.S. flag in front of the White House. Although they had a permit, the white supremacist Proud Boys, in town for a freedom of speech march on Saturday attacked them, some of them arrested.

For those who question why anyone should bother with criticisms for DDT’s July 4 party, Eric Vuillard, author of The Order of the Day about World War II, has an answer: “Great catastrophes often creep up on us in tiny steps.” Michael Winship explains:

“Because every bit of graft…, every small indignity inflicted, each gesture and symbol of disdain, are reflective of a greater, potentially fatal insult to democracy and a degradation of the greater good that was idealized by the men who signed the Declaration.”

Vuillard warned, “We never fall into the same abyss. But we always fall the same way, in a mixture of ridicule and dread.” And that’s the 2019 “Salute to DDT” on July 4th.

November 2, 2018

DDT: Week 93 – Midterm Election Tensions Leading to War

“Are you both prepared for federal prison?” A reporter asked Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, two men who tried to smear special investigator Robert Mueller (left) with a fake sexual assault accusation, in a press conference. Details of that story swirl around the internet between rabid racist remarks from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) about a shrinking migrant caravan thousands of miles away from the southern U.S. border.

Wohl, a 20-year-old DDT supporter, began the fake story on Gateway Pundit with his claim that the victim would be at his press conference. She failed to appear, and Wohl had no evidence. Earlier, women had reported to the media that they had been offered tens of thousands of dollars to lie about a non-existent assault. Investigation into Wohl and his lie revealed that his alleged intelligence firm was composed of himself, fake LinkedIn profiles, and his mother’s telephone number. The alleged assault supposedly occurred in New York City on the same day that Mueller served on jury during in Washington, D.C.

In 2017, the Arizona Corporation Commission filed a cease-and-desist order against Wohl for violating securities law misrepresenting how much money would be at risk in an investment and his company’s size in 2015 and 2016. He has failed to make the $1,371.61 monthly payments for his fine. Bloomberg reported that DDT praised Wohl’s support for him. [The hand on DDT’s shoulder in the photo belongs to another man not in the photo’s frame.]

Burkman, a registered Washington lobbyist and conspiracy theorist who raised money for Rick Gates, was identified by a woman offered money to lie about Mueller as the man behind the scam. Gates pled guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI. Conservatives are so terrified of possible discoveries from special investigator Robert Mueller about the Russian scandal that they are resorting to fraudulent smear campaigns as shown by this 11-minute segment from The Rachel Maddow ShowHuffPo also trailed the sordid events surrounding Wohl’s and Burkman’s fraud.

Gateway Pundit, the far-right fake news website founded and run by a gay man, Jim Hoft, has backed off on the accusations about Mueller that he published, stating that they were taking down the “information” and looking into the allegations against Wohl. An Esquire article asked what Mueller has on Burkman, known for trying to bring down Bill Clinton, if he’s willing to hire Wohl for such a risky attempt to bring down Mueller.

DDT has been very quiet about the Wohl-Burkman fiasco, but he’s talked a great deal about the “invasion” coming across Mexico from Central America. He plans to send 15,000 active military members to the U.S. southern border—the same number as deployed to Afghanistan—but no one knows what they will do, short of declaring war on Mexico. According to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, the military cannot enforce U.S. domestic laws, including immigration law, unless Congress authorizes this action—and Congress is on vacation. On the other hand, anyone on U.S. soil can ask for asylum. Immigrants coming across a port of entry break no law; others commit only a federal misdemeanor but can still pursue an asylum claim.

In the past 20 days, the caravan of refugees has traveled about 620 miles; the walking trip to Tijuana, over 2,000 more miles, would require over two months. Before DDT deployed the troops, he was told that “only a small percentage” of migrants could reach the U.S. Even if it keeps 3,000 asylum-seekers, DDT will be assigning at least three military members to each traveler. As more red meat for his followers, DDT declared rocks equivalent to AR-15s, saying that the military should fire back if anyone throws stones at them.

Foreign countries are using DDT’s violence-laced rhetoric to shoot people on the immigrant caravan as a justification for its murders to suppress free speech, for example the Nigerian Army’s killing 45 peaceful protesters. DDT has also exonerated Israel for its killing of dozens of protesters and wounding over 1,000 others, even if they were running away or praying. And he fails to criticize Saudi Arabia for their murder of a WaPo reporter, Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident.

Khashoggi was strangled almost immediately after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, and his body was then dismembered and destroyed, according to the first official explanation from Turkey. Department of State Secretary Mike Pompeo said something vague about sanctions but added:

“[DDT] has made very clear not only do we have important commercial relationships, but important strategic relationships, national security relationships with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and we intend to make sure that those relationships remain intact.”

DDT panders to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his desire for an Israel-Saudi Arabia coalition to defeat Iran and destroy Palestinians. Also on the table is Jared Kushner’s to create a Palestinian-Israeli “peace” through threats against Palestine.

Reports that Kushner gave the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) classified information from DDT’s daily briefings have been rampant for over six months. A source said that MBS bragged he had Kushner “in his pocket.” Before Kushner lost his top-security clearance, he was particularly interested in Middle East information and may have given MBS a hit list of enemies. DDT’s sole goal in the Middle East is to destroy Iran, and he will support murderers to accomplish his desired end.

DDT has a new fascist friend leader with the election of Jair Bolsonaro as president of Brazil. Called the “Trump of Latin America,” Bolsonaro ran on the same fears as DDT—crime, bad economy, etc. Hats might as well read “Make Brazil Great Again.” Retired generals will also play a large part in designing his policies as will evangelical Christians. He also pledged freedom for the people, probably correct for a small percentage of his constituency. Bolsonaro’s proposals, similar to those of DDT, include chemical castration for rapists, police impunity to kill more criminals, greater gun ownership, reduction of environmental controls, hydroelectric dams on the Amazon River, deforestation and mining on indigenous reserves, emphasis on the “traditional family,” education about Bolsonaro’s perception of economic successes and institutions during the past dictatorship, and a permissive attitude toward attacks on LGBTQ people. Bolsonaro describes refugees as “the scum of the earth” and says he would be “incapable of loving a homosexual son,” is “in favor of a dictatorship,” and “in favor of torture.”

In his promise to remove left-wing “criminals” from Brazil, Bolsonaro praised its dictatorship from 1964-1985 and allowed his followers to physically attack reporters and threaten to rape them. Ana Campagnola, a member for the state legislature in Santa Catarina, is campaigning to allow students to denounce “indoctrinator teachers” who criticize Bolsonaro’s victory. She sent her 70,000 Facebook followers a WhatsApp number for students to report “party-political or ideological expressions that humiliate or offend your freedom of faith and conscience.”

In other DDT-esque statements, Bolsonaro promised to pay down debt, trim the deficit, and reduce government. DDT’s identical promises failed: The U.S. showed DDT’s same promises to be false: the deficit for the current year will be about double that of President Obama’s last year because of tax cuts for big business and the wealthy, the deficit will soar over $2 trillion within a decade, and DDT’s government is riddled with corruption.

After 11 people were slaughtered a week ago in a Pennsylvania synagogue, faith leaders and the Pittsburgh mayor urged DDT to not disrupt the funerals, but daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner enabled him in his decision to go where he was not welcome. Following the visit, DDT again made himself the victim by complaining about the media and minimized the protest of 4,000 people as “small.”

DDT, the U.S. quitter-in-chief who dumped many of President Obama’s achievements from fits of pique, turned to attacking Ronald Reagan’s 1987 legendary end to the Cold War by pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia. DDT doesn’t mind Russia interfering with U.S. elections—because Putin favors Republicans—but he follow’s National Security advisor John Bolton’s war-mongering. Even sometimes crazy and supposedly libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) opposes both the plan and Bolton. Russia denies actions that violate the agreement: DDT won’t believe that claim although he accepts Putin’s assertion that Russia doesn’t meddle with voting in U.S. In Russia this week, Bolton told the media that he thought Russia did not have “any real effect” on the vote in the presidential election.

During a visit from National Security advisor John Bolton in Russia, Vladimir Putin not only ridiculed the U.S. national seal but also said that said that U.S. global dominance is ending as DDT accelerates the problem with a string of mistakes “typical of an empire.” The usual hawkish Bolton blandly smiled at Putin during his visit and organized a visit between Putin and DDT in Paris on November 11, the U.S. holiday to honor veterans.

After announcing his plan to withdraw from the treaty, DDT said he plans to build up the massive nuclear arsenal in the United States, an action leading to another arms war.Both China and India are jockeying to take over U.S. world power. A war could make DDT think that he can suspend elections in 2020.

 

 

July 14, 2018

HHS Makes Excuses for Failure to Reunite Migrant Families

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) failed its deadline to reunite all 102 children under the age of five with their parents. Officials supposedly succeeded in only 38 cases by the deadline although that number cannot be confirmed. The government now maintains that half of the separated children under five years of age should not be reunited with their parents.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar claimed that the children are not being reunited because the adults are not their parents, but immigration lawyer Barbara Hines reported that many parents who have birth certificates and other documents proving parentage are denied their children. A dozen children were not united because their parents were voluntarily deported, but the parents have said that they were told they would get their children back if they signed papers to leave the country. One father said he didn’t understand the paperwork he signed to leave his child in the United States. Reports indicate that HHS is not searching for deported parents.

The next deadline is July 26—two weeks from now—when the remainder of the approximately 3,000 youth, many of them as young as five years old, must be returned to their parents. Judge Dana Sabraw repeated that her deadlines are firm—“not aspirational goals.” She has asked the ACLU to “submit a proposal for possible punishment.” Officials are facing an almost impossible task: they admitted that they didn’t set up any systems to reunify parents with children.

Azar said that the U.S. is acting “generously” toward these children torn from their parents with only a few returned after a court order. He said:

“It is one of the great acts of American generosity and charity, what we are doing for these unaccompanied kids who are smuggled into our country or come across illegally.”

He explained that “we could put children back with individuals who are murderers, kidnappers, rapists or are not their parents” and added that he “could release all of the kids by 10:55 p.m., but I don’t think you want that.” Azar ignored the fact that the government doesn’t know how to find many of the parents.

Politico is painting Azar as the victim in the fiasco by saying that the man who lacks records for parents of 3,000 separated children was “pilloried on cable TV” while “he’s working through a thicket of court orders and red tape.” Author Dan Diamond criticizes the debacle for taking Azar’s time “from other priorities, such as lowering drug costs and helping solve the opioid epidemic.” An HHS official said about Azar, “He didn’t want the job.” Diamond described Azar as “a proven problem-solver … at drug giant Eli Lilly.” At this time, Azar is escaping much criticism from the mercurial DDT because publicity has focused on DDT’s vendetta against Europe, but failure to return the rest of the children within the next few days will bring the subject back to the media forefront.

Azar is now allowing his agency’s Office of Refugee Resettlement to funnel funding into the reunification project from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which is intended to provide “a comprehensive system of care that includes primary medical care and essential support services for people living with HIV who are uninsured or underinsured.” He also took more from social services, medical assistance, and English language instructions for refugee resettlement. ORR, which had a $1.3 billion for the entire year is asking for an additional $1.3 billion for the last three months of 2018. The average stay of migrant minors in federal custody is now 55 days, with longer stays anticipated as ORR shifts away from its mission for short-term care to keeping children for much longer times.

Separating migrant children from their parents is great business for DDT’s donors who make $1 billion annually. Grants for shelters, foster care and other child welfare services for detained unaccompanied and separated children rose from $74.5 million in 2007 to $958 million in 2017. Over 11,800 children from a few months old to 17 years are kept in almost 90 facilities in 17 states. HHS requested bids in May of over $500 million for beds, foster and therapeutic care, and “secure care” (aka guards). which means employing guards. More contracts are expected to come up for bids in October.

The latest attack on immigrants is in the military that is discharging legal immigrants with no justification. For example, Panshu Zhao finished a graduate degree and is working on a doctorate in geography at Texas A&M. He joined the military under a special program promising a faster path to citizenship. After waiting for years to be cleared for duty and accepted, he like many others, has been declared ineligible to serve. While the Army has a shortage of recruits and farmers need workers, DDT is throwing out some of the best, keeping workers for himself. He’s getting another 78 immigrant workers for Mar-a-Lago. At three DDT properties in New York, only one of 144 jobs went to a U.S. worker; the remainder went to foreign guest workers.

Infants and toddlers must appear in immigration court to defend themselves. A one-year-old boy in federal custody whose father has already been returned to Honduras appeared in an Arizona court without parents. He drank from a bottle and “cried hysterically” before he left the courtroom before a judge overrode federal officials to send the baby back to his father. Officials argued that they shouldn’t be required to reunite children with deported parents. Judge John Richardson said he was “embarrassed to ask” the baby if he understood the proceedings, a DOJ requirement. Another boy held up five fingers when he was asked his age. These children cannot even see over the defense tables, and their feet don’t touch the floor.

Children have had to appear in courts located in California, Arizona, Texas, and Washington, D.C. The government is not required to provide legal representation to undocumented children and adults. A National Review column accused Michael Moore of lying about the situation when he said that these toddlers “cannot” have a lawyer. They “can” have a lawyer or adult; they are even permitted to ask for someone from a list of legal services organizations. Just imagine a three-year-old being given this list and then calling one of them.

In 2016, senior Department of Justice immigration Judge Jack Weil insisted in a federal court deposition that he can teach three- and four-year-olds to be knowledgeable about immigration law and represent themselves in court. He said,

“You can do a fair hearing. It’s going to take you a lot of time.”

[Employees throughout the nation are complaining that they cannot find trained workers. Weil might be able to teach three- and four-year-olds to fill these slots.]

Unable to reunite many of the kidnapped migrant children with their parents, DDT’s administration is threatening to resume the separation if parents in detention don’t waive their children’s right to release. A judge told DDT he couldn’t indefinitely detain children with parents awaiting deportation proceedings, because of the 1997 Flores legal settlement permitting children to be detained for no longer than 20 days. ICE doesn’t want to release families so they may continue to blackmail parents with the threat of separating them from their children if they don’t waive the child’s right for release. Separated children would then be classified as apprehended without their parents and put in HHS custody.

Paula White, chair of DDT’s Evangelical Advisory Board, has been excoriating the “law-breaking” immigrants while defending Jesus, who she says never broke the law. She said:

“Yes, he did live in Egypt for three-and-a-half years, but it was not illegal. If he had broken the law, then he would have been sinful and he would not have been our Messiah.”

Jesus was crucified because he broke the law by claiming to be the son of God, resting on the Sabbath, and driving money changers out of the Temple with “a whip of cords,” among other actions. White called the separated children’s experiences in the camps as “life-changing”:

“Not just three square meals, psychiatric care, clinician, medical care, chapel, events, schooling, language, and love.”

Newspaper articles refute White’s rosy view of the happy life in these camps. Reports show neglect and sexual and physical abuse in facilities for separated and unaccompanied children that are run by private companies with deficiencies and citations in the hundreds. Southwest Key, which took in almost $1 billion in three years, had 246 violations that include lack of medical attention and “inappropriate contact” between children and staff. In early 2017, when DDT was inaugurated, Southwest Keys facilities had laid off workers and closed some shelters because they were under capacity. Now their 16 Texas shelters receive variances to hold up to 150 percent of their licensed capacity. Juan Sanchez, the company’s CEO and president, makes at least $1.5 million which puts him one of the top five highest-paid nonprofit CEOs in the U.S., despite the company’s 246 violations in three years.

In some places, children have died after the staff restrained them. Only one of the facilities was closed after the deaths which were ruled homicides. Children are also controlled through psychotropic drugs. In a faith-based nonprofit home, a court-ordered guardian reported that “caregivers sometimes have sex with each other while on duty.” Some foster homes have unsupervised firearms lying around. Some cited facilities merely change their names to get more grants. The grim stories continue in “shelters” where federal officials continue to send children after they know about the citations.

The DHS Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has changed its mission: gone are the words “providing accurate and useful information to our customers, granting immigration and citizenship benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of citizenship.”

Such are the new “family values” of the Grand Oil Party.

March 24, 2018

DDT: Week Sixty-one – Tweeting, Hiding from Protests

Late Friday evening has become the time for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to drop bombs, usually in order to steer the media away from news that he doesn’t like. DDT’s news last night before the massive March for Our Lives gatherings today was to once again ban transgender military members in the military. His ban of several months ago has been overturned in court, but DDT executed an order supporting the new memo from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that disqualifies U.S. troops who have had gender confirmation surgery because “military service requires sacrifice.” Transgender troops without surgery can stay if they have been medically stable for 36 consecutive months before joining the military or if they were diagnosed with gender dysphoria after President Obama’s end of the ban in 2016. Four lawsuits are already opposing DDT’s earlier ruling.

Facebook’s providing Cambridge Analytica with data consumed much of the news during the past week. Clips of C.A.’s officials were caught on a hidden camera explaining their blackmail to put conservative candidates into office. Last Sunday, CBS reported that DDT’s campaign never used any data from Cambridge Analytica, but suspended C.A. CEO president Alexander Nix disagreed, saying that C.A. put DDT the winner in the presidential election. Brad Parscale, DDT’s current campaign director, worked with C.A. to turn women and black voters against Hillary Clinton with fake stories.

Worse news from C.A.: key players have a new company, Emerdata, with C.A. primary funder Robert Mercer’s daughters, C.A.’s suspended CEO Alexander Nix as director, C.A.’s chief data officer Alexander Tayler, and Julian Wheatland, chairman of Cambridge Analytica parent firm SCL Group. Connected to Emerdata is Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater and now chairing the private security firm operating mostly in Africa. Prince is the brother of Secretary of State Betsy DeVos. George Nadar, who organized a meeting in the Seychelles between Erik Prince and a high-level Russian banker to set up a secret DDT-Russia back channel, has been granted immunity and is now singing to Mueller. Before he became FBI Director, discovered that Prince had probably broken the law by trying to sell secretly modified paramilitary attack aircraft to Azerbaijan’s military.

DDT’s keeps tweeting continual denial that “there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), minority leader of the House Intelligence Committee, responded:

“Mr. President, the Committee reached no such conclusion — only Republicans. In fact, we did find evidence of collusion, despite GOP members being more interested in protecting you than learning the truth. When accusing others of lying, best not to misrepresent facts yourself.”

DDT’s increasingly frantic tweets about Mueller indicates that he is closing in on the truth about DDT’s corruption, fraud, and Russian collusion. The messages from DDT, stuck in the White House for last weekend, hit a new high for him, and desperate aides took him to a golf course after the Sunday morning tweet storm. DDT came back with more vituperative tweets by Wednesday.

Excited about Vladimir Putin’s being “re-elected” for another six years, DDT called the dictator to congratulate him, ignoring warnings from his national security advisers. Briefing materials stated “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” and condemn the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) tweeted:

“An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election.”

DDT took pride in being on good terms with the Russian president and not bringing up anything negative such as the Kremlin’s murders and meddling in the U.S. elections. Republicans such as retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) treated DDT’s turning his belly up to Russia as the new normal. Videos showed ballot-stuffing at polling stations; earlier, viable candidates were either arrested on sham charges or killed. The story escalated when DDT became furious about his actions becoming public, and he is again determined to discover who did the leaking, calling it criminal.

Although the White House staff does not work for him personally, DDT has required them to sign “non-disclosure” agreements with threats if they reveal anything about him. Earlier DDT failed to force reporters to sign NDAs when they traveled with VP Mike Pence. As rumors run rampant, some people think that Chief of Staff John Kelly is behind the leaking because of past inappropriate statements to the press. DDT took pride in being on good terms with the Russian president and not bringing up anything negative such as the Kremlin’s murders and meddling in the U.S. elections.

More revelations about Russia’ interference in the U.S. elections:

The hacker that stole Democratic National Committee emails, Guccifer 2.0, was “an officer of Russia’s military intelligence directorate (GRU),” connecting the hack to the Kremlin.

Andrew McCabe, fired by the DOJ with the blessing of AG Jeff Sessions, had authorized a criminal investigation into Sessions last year because he “lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives.” Sessions said under oath that he had no contacts with any Russian officials during the campaign until he began to remember that he talked to the Russian ambassador twice. After Mueller was appointed as special investigator, McCabe’s investigation moved on to him. Other Sessions’ “lack of candor” comes from his claim under oath to the House Judiciary Committee that he “pushed back against a suggestion to meet with Russians during DDT’s campaign. Three people have told investigator Robert Mueller that Sessions never objected to arranging a meeting with Russia. Emails show that DDT’s campaign urged George Papadopoulos to reach out for a “partnership with Russia.” Although Sessions recused himself from all things Russian, he fired McCabe to defend DDT from Mueller’s Russian investigation. Former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has written a thought-provoking description of Sessions’ “lack of candor.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has called for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about McCabe’s firing. Even Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said that McCabe should have been allowed to finish his last 26 hours.

As GOP congressional leadership shy away from protecting the investigation into the Russian scandal, the conservative WashPo chides their refusal to declare Robert Mueller off-limits from DDT’s firing machine:

“The president treats government as purely a tribal battle between one side and the other and expects public servants to put loyalty to him before loyalty to country or the rule of law. Republican congressional leaders should not remain complicit in this debasement.”

Columnist Eugene Robinson wrote:

“If Trump does try to fire Mueller, [Ryan] and [McConnell] should get much of the blame. They have given Trump no reason to believe they will ever stand up to him.”

This past week, DDT hosted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), who gained his new position in a coup that involved torture and imprisonment of his family members. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster expressed concerns about the relation of Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law, with MBS who bragged about having Kushner “in his pocket.” MBS may also have used classified information from DDT’s daily briefings to determine who MBS imprisoned. Tillerson and McMaster are gone; Kushner remains in the White House, and the Senate failed to stop the U.S. part in a bloody, three-year war in Yemen. Despite a bipartisan effort, 45 GOP and 10 Democratic senators voted to continue its support for Saudi Arabia’s bombing missions.

With Jared Kushner head of his family business, it filed at least 80 false applications for construction permits in a three-year period ending in 2016 lying about the rent-regulated tenants in its buildings to make it easier to push them out and sell a building with higher rents.

The Dow Jones index dropped 1,460 points this past week after the Feds raised the prime rate a quarter of a percent, Facebook suffered from public knowledge that it provided information to Cambridge Analytica, and DDT escalated the trade war by placing tariffs on $60 billion of Chinese goods and limiting China’s freedom to invest in U.S. tech. China threatened tariffs on $3 billion in U.S. goods, most of them agricultural, hitting the states that voted for DDT. The 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act may be a harbinger of our future. Yet DDT caved on most of his steel and aluminum tariffs, exempting countries for two-thirds of steel and over half of aluminum imports.

Capping the week was March for Our Lives, a movement by young people protesting unlimited gun ownership with the message “Enough Is Enough.” Millions of people, almost one million just in Washington, D.C., marched around the world with 800 different protests in the United States alone. DDT escaped to Mar-a-Lago before the event this morning, detouring around any protesters on his way back from the golf course. Most legislators went home yesterday immediately after a $1.3 trillion spending bill passed Congress. [Above: the view from the Washington, D.C. stage.]

Two GOP congressional members gave lukewarm praise for the young people although Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) misrepresented their mission. Others idly commented about sports, farmers, and praise for the spending bill and tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Democrats were seen attending the marches. For the first time in almost two decades, more people have a negative view of the NRA than positive, according to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. It found that 37 percent see the NRA in a positive light with 44 percent viewing it negatively. The greatest drop came from white married women.

September 17, 2017

When Evangelicals Take Over the Government

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) got to the White House with 80 percent of the Christian evangelical vote, and he’s repaid them with multiple appointments from their following. One of these is former Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) who moved into the position of CIA director. He started by using his Christian faith to defeat any other religion. In an early speech, he said that Islamist terrorists will “continue to press against us until we make sure that we pray and stand and fight and make sure that we know that Jesus Christ is our savior is truly the only solution for our world.” God and Christianity continued to be frequent references in his trip report while overseas.

Establishing chaplain services for CIA members was Pompeo’s next move. He consulted with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a guarantee that chaplains will focus only on Christianity. The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled FRC an anti-gay hate group. CIA employees have registered complaints about Pompeo’s religious pressure with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). Its director, Michael Weinstein, said:

“In the intelligence community, we see supervisors wanting to hold Bible studies during duty hours [and] inviting lower-ranking individuals to their homes for Bible studies.”

Weinstein said that agency employees are afraid to be public about their concerns because of retribution of accusations of leaking. Officials’ signing off with “have a blessed day” is “straight out of The Handmaid’s Tale, Weinstein said.

Pompeo raised further concerns with his refusal to honor the CIA’s diversity mandate. He is openly anti-LGBT, even talking about this position on college campuses, and he has become openly angry about questions directed toward  the agency’s commitment to diversity. Pompeo defended DDT’s “many sides” statements about Charlottesville (VA) protesters by claiming that DDT’s condemnation of bigotry was “frankly pretty unambiguous.”

Recently Pompeo blackmailed Harvard Kennedy School into rescinding its invitation to Chelsea Manning as visiting fellow. The position is not an honorific, but Pompeo could not tolerate the transgender woman being included in the ten selected for this fall. Pompeo canceled his appearance at a Harvard forum in a letter that included:

“I believe it is shameful for Harvard to place its stamp of approval upon her treasonous actions.”

Two people offering their wisdom as visiting fellows to Harvard are former Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who constantly lied for DDT, and former DDT campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who physically attacked protesters at DDT’s rallies. These are two of the people offering their wisdom to Harvard students this fall.

Cabinet members are also determined to turn the United States into a theocracy. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is determined to destroy public education and move all students into private religious schools at taxpayers’ expense. A few months before he became attorney general, Jeff Sessions said that the constitution allows states to “establish a religion.” Other Cabinet members such as Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry have joined DeVos and VP Mike Pence in sponsoring weekly bible study classes at the White House. Pastor and leader Ralph Drollinger is part of conservative Capitol Ministries, with the goal to “evangelize elected officials and lead them toward maturity in Christ,” and has set up biblical ministries in state capitols across the country as well as in the House of Representatives. A climate-change denier and ferociously anti-LGBT, Drollinger believes that mothers who work while leaving children at home are sinful and Catholicism is the “world’s largest false religion.”

While Oklahoma AG, EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt fought to keep a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the state capitol that the state Supreme Court ordered removed in 2015. Tom Price, Health and Human Services director, is an anti-reproductive-choice zealot.

DDT wants transgender people out of the military. Are non-Christians next? U.S. Air Force chaplain Sonny Hernandez claims that Christians in the U.S. Armed Forces “serve Satan” and are “grossly in error” if they support service members’ right to practice other faiths. He “ministers” to thousands of military members at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio by telling them they rely on Christ, not the Constitution:

“Christian service members who openly profess and support the rights of Muslims, Buddhists, and all other anti-Christian worldviews to practice their religions—because the language in the Constitution permits—are grossly in error, and deceived.”

Hernandez ignores the oath that all members of the U.S. military, including military chaplains, take when they sign up for the Armed Services:

“I , _____ , do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.’’

Hernandez is not alone. Noncommissioned officers at one Air Force base reported that their superiors told them Trump would make it USAF policy that in order for “disbelieving Jews” to be allowed into the USAF or be deemed fit for promotions, they would have to show via objectively established behavior that they were at least honestly “considering the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” The wife of a combat-decorated Muslim U.S. Naval officer was surrounded with her children in the commissary before being spat on and accused of not being a “true American and being a spy and a terrorist.” Army Major General Julie Bentz, spoke at the 56th Annual Kansas Prayer Breakfast and stated:

“But my greatest privilege is standing in front of my king and my God, carrying every member of my organization to his throne and asking for his protection, his mercy, his love on each of them and their families and whatever are their concerns and burdens of the day.

Complaints, doubled since DDT’s election, are going to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) because targets fear retaliation by going through their chain of command. Approximately 84 percent of military chaplains, and about one-third of these are fundamentalists who believe they don’t need to conform to the U.S. Constitution, Department of Defense directives, or law. DDT is increasingly seen as a savior for them, especially with his selections of evangelicals for vice-president and at least nine Cabinet members. De-frocked, ex-felon Jim Bakker, back to televangelizing, said that criticism of DDT is “satanic,” that critics are channeling the spirit of the Antichrist.

On the campaign trail, DDT promised to do away with “political correctness”—his term for the U.S. Constitution—and put Christianity back into the military.

The House also supports DDT’s Christian agenda. Hidden within the $1.2 trillion spending bill passed in mid-September by a 211-198 vote is a provision partially blocking the tax code prohibiting places of worship from endorsing political candidates. It stops funding IRS attempts to penalize churches violating tax law in these endorsements by mandating that any funds enforcing this law requires agents to notify two congressional committees, wait 90 days, and then get IRS commissioner permission. At this time, the existing law is rarely enforced but much discussed in churches. The provision doesn’t apply to nonprofits that are not faith based. If the Senate agrees, the law would transform tax-exempt churches into Super PACs.

Seventy-one percent of people, including majorities among white evangelicals, are opposed to church’s endorsing candidates, and some faith-based groups have strongly lobbied against the idea. A letter from 4,000 faith leaders against the endorsement of candidates read in part:

“Changing the law would threaten the integrity and independence of houses of worship. We must not allow our sacred spaces to be transformed into spaces used to endorse or oppose political candidates.”

The Senate went the opposite direction from the House when the Appropriations Committee moved to reinstate funding for the UN  Population Fund and overturn the global gag rule, known as the Mexico City Policy, a longstanding GOP policy forbidding U.S. support for international health organizations that offer or discuss abortion services. Those denied resources including family planning funding, nutrition, child health, and disease control. Two GOP female senators voted for the bans removal and Democratic Joe Manchin (WV) wanted to keep the ban.

Christianity is the U.S. majority religion and have the greatest privileges, but white evangelical Christians suffer from a massive persecution complex. They think that they face more discrimination than blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, atheists, or Jews, a belief reinforced by their bible. The book they use for worship tells them that they will be hated, flogged, persecuted, excluded, insulted, rejected, and imprisoned. They will suffer from others’ jealousy, conspiracies, hardship, famine, danger, and deception. People striving to be superior have learned that the way to the top is claiming to be a victim—something that is a constant from the minority of Christian conservatives who increasingly take rights from others in the nation. The more than non-evangelicals fight for equality, the more than these Christians oppress anyone not in their tribe.

August 23, 2017

Our Dark Week

Filed under: Discrimination — trp2011 @ 10:34 PM
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This week was one of darkness. On Monday, people rejoiced across the country with the morning eclipse as millions of people looked up through their special lenses so that they would not permanently damage their eyes by looking at the sun. Thousands of others most likely may suffer from some physical damage because they ignored the instructions to not stare at the sun without these glasses. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) was one who ignored these directions—six times.

If you still have your funky glasses, you can recycle them with Astronomers without Borders. They are collecting these glasses to sent to children in Asia and South America in 2019. Mail them to the organization’s corporate sponsor: Explore Scientific, 621 Madison Street, Springdale, AR 72762

The joy from the eclipse was short-lived. That evening DDT gave his first prime-time speech to announce what he calls his “strategy” for the war in Afghanistan. After calling the war a waste for several years, he decided that war is good and President Obama’s attempt to wind it down is bad. DDT spent 27 minutes with the message that the U.S. will be at war forever but he can’t say anything specific. He’s turning over all the decisions to the military—those generals he earlier said are dumber than he is. Goading both Pakistan, which DDT says is not civilized, and India, who he says should give aid to Pakistan, DDT claimed both of them are the biggest terrorist threats in the world although neither country is on the travel ban. DDT refuses to appoint any diplomats and plans to vastly increase finances for killing people in the world and spending more money on “the nuclear.”

DDT clearly plans to loot Afghanistan of its wealth in minerals. Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the U.S., said:

“President Trump is keenly interested in Afghanistan’s economic potential. Our estimated $1 trillion in copper, iron ore, rare earth elements, aluminum, gold, silver, zinc, mercury and lithium.”

The reason behind the speech’s timing is unknown although he could be trying to rescue is badly sagging approval ratings. The verbiage and approach were similar to that of George W. Bush when he declared his preemptive war. DDT had no new ideas except perhaps his goal to negotiate with the Taliban. Founder of privatized military Blackwater and sister of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Erik Prince, called DDT’s “strategy” an “Obama-lite policy.” Many people agree with Prince, but he may be suffering from sour grapes because he wanted to operate a privatized military in Afghanistan. Breitbart, run by the deposed White House strategist and white supremacist Steve Bannon, demonstrated hostility toward DDT’s speech by describing the proposed surge as giving in to national security adviser H.R. McMaster and the other national security officials. The Telegraph agreed:

“If Donald Trump sounded presidential on Afghanistan it is because he is repeating his predecessors’ mistakes.”

No mention was made of Russia, who may be providing physical support for the Taliban. With his speech on Tuesday, however, DDT now owns the wars in the Middle East, no matter what their results.

The Afghan War:

  • 104,000: people killed in armed conflict since 2001, including over 31,000 civilians.
  • 26,512: civilians killed after troop surge in 2009 (48,931 injured).
  • 8,400: U.S. military members in Afghanistan.
  • 2,394: U.S. military casualties, including the 44 killed after the official “end” in 2014.
  • 22,100: Pakistani civilians killed, including 2,000-3,800 from U.S. drone strikes since 2015 and 40,000 wounded.
  • 1.4 million: Pakistani refugees from violence.
  • $1 trillion: direct costs to war in Afghanistan including medical services for wounded veterans.
  • $1 trillion: federal costs for treating wounded veterans from military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan by 2053.
  • $4.8 trillion: total price tag for U.S. operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria since 2001.
  • $453 billion: interest as of 2014 on debt to pay for wars with another $7.9 trillion added to the national debt by 2053.
  • $110 billion: humanitarian relief and reconstruction in Afghanistan.
  • 58 percent of $13.3 billion: USAID funds on reconstruction to only ten contractors despite complaints about delays and cost overruns as well as lies about improvements including students in U.S.-funded schools at 70 percent lower than these claims.
  • 54 percent: defense share of U.S. discretionary budget with DDT’s request to increase it to 63 percent in 2017 and 68 percent in 2018.

The Fox network expressed great admiration for this speech contributed by DDT’s generals and read somewhat competently from the teleprompter. That was Monday. Last night DDT gave another campaign rally in Phoenix (AZ) to throw red meat to his ever-shrinking base. Any positive remarks from the media press—about half of them—could be summarized with the common statement that “Trump was Trump.”

DDT outdid himself in lying as he relitigated the media response to his racist remarks after the protests at Charlottesville (VA). His 30-minute tirade against the media completely distorted his statements as he read only portions of his reaction. Gone were comments about the protesters against racism, who he called the “alt-left,” being “very violent” and placing “blame on both sides.” DDT had frequently repeated the accusation of their being “very violent.” Also missing for last night’s speech were his descriptions of some white supremacist marchers as “very fine people.”

DDT’s threats:

  • Close down government if Congress doesn’t approve his wall. [Mexico must be off the hook for the cost because DDT wants taxpayers to pony up the tens of billions of dollars.]
  • Terminate NAFTA.
  • Pardon law-breaking former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the future. [DDT said he wouldn’t pardon “Sheriff Joe” at his speech because he didn’t want to cause any problems. “I’ll make a prediction. He’s going to be just fine.” Wink, wink. Left: Arpaio campaigning for DDT.]

 

 

More DDT lying assertions:

  • CNN quit the rally. [Their cameras stayed on for the entire show.]
  • CNN is at an all-time low. [CNN is at a five-year high.]
  • CNN shouldn’t have fired “poor Jeffrey Lord” who tweeted “Sieg Heil!” at a prominent liberal activist.
  • Only Fox and Sean Hannity are honest media.
  • DDT drained the swamp. [No mention of the large number of billionaires benefiting from DDT’s administration, especially the Goldman Sachs coterie.]
  • Racism was worse with Barack Obama as president. [Perhaps DDT sees a stronger white supremacy since his inauguration?]
  • Kim Jong-Un “respected” his words of fire and fury. [North Korea has threatened “merciless retaliation” this week.]
  • DDT has a new coal mine that cleans coal.
  • About the journalists: “[DDT]went to a better school than them. I live in a bigger, more beautiful apartment than [the journalists] do.”
  • DDT’s claimed that very few people were outside overlooked several thousands of people. Police pepper spray and tear gas dispersed the crowd.
  • The image showing huge crowds in the streets for DDT was actually one of the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers parade.
  • And more.

DDT vigorously criticized both Arizona senators and came close to endorsing Kelli Ward over Sen. Jeff Flake in 2018 while bragging that he wouldn’t mention them by name. Ward ran against McCain last year. She sees chemtrails behind jets as a government plot to poison people, Arizona’s GOP senator John McCain as responsible for ISIS,  the UN having an agenda to move rural people to cities, Common Core standards turning children into slaves, foreign powers sending troops to subdue U.S. citizens, “polio-like illnesses” from undocumented people shipped throughout the nation, mysterious helicopters spotted in Arizona, and martial law. [Maybe she knows DDT’s plans on the last one.] She also described her time on the Cliven Bundy ranch in 2014 to visit with the Oathkeepers as a “family friendly” event.

Another strange piece of DDT’s speech came from the careful placement of a black man behind DDT waving the sign “BLACKS FOR TRUMP 2020.” Maurice Symonette believes that “ISIS and Hillary race war plot to kill all black & white women of America.” He has a fixation with the evil Cherokees, beginning with a demand that they pay taxes and continuing that they are the “real KKK masters.” You can read his rants on his website.  Another of his favorite websites. Symonette was praised by Glenn Beck, opened a Rick Santorum rally, and accused Barack Obama of trying to assassinate him.

DDT’s speech brought out open discussions on many media outlets pondering DDT’s mental instability. Even past friend and GOP Joe Scarborough (The Morning Show) joined in the criticism:

“This was a hateful, derisive speech. It was a frightening speech. He sounded like an autocrat trying to dehumanize his allies.”

Don Lemon began his memorable reaction by calling the speech “a total eclipse of the facts.”

Former intelligence chief James Clapper, who has worked for every president until DDT since John F. Kennedy, questioned DDT’s fitness for office, especially with his access to the nuclear codes.

DDT did not address the five injured and ten missing or dead sailors lost in the latest collision between a Navy ship and a merchant ship at any of his speeches. His first response when he was told about the tragedy was “that’s too bad.”

Today has stayed dark. DDT preached love and unity for all, including the military, both on Monday in his “strategy” speech and this afternoon at an American Legion convention audience in Reno (NV) when he signed a bill streamlining the appeal process on disability for veterans. He also sent a memo to the Pentagon to give Secretary of Defense James Mattis six months to enforce the transgender ban cited in DDT’s tweets, an act that leaders of the military branches oppose. Mattis will be in charge of deciding whether transgender service members are to be thrown out of the military. “This is NOT how you keep America safe,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), minority leader, tweeted. The ban reverses a one-year policy allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military. Five transgender service members, including veterans of recent wars, are suing DDT for violation of their rights to due-process and equal protection under the law.

The question now is whether transgender veterans will have any benefits. And whether immigrants who served honorably in the military will continue to be deported.

March 29, 2014

Rape in the Military

Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) fought for almost a year to move major crimes outside the military chain of command for judicial review but failed to get the necessary 60 votes in early March. That 60 votes, of course, is the new majority of 100 Senate members because almost everything is filibustered except for nominees. After the failure of the Military Justice Improvement Act, Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) bill, which maintains status quo with extra protections for victims, unanimously passed. Male senators fought to keep military commanders in control with the claim that they’ll lose their power if an independent court rules on sexual assaults. As Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said on the senate floor, “I trust these commanders. I trust them.” Gillibrand countered by saying:

“It’s not whether anyone in this chamber trusts the chain of command, the people who do not trust the chain of command are the victims. … The reason why the female victim does not come forward is because she does not trust the chain of command.”

Lack of trust is understandable because the top Army prosecutor for sexual assault cases was suspended after being accused of sexually assaulting a female lawyer who worked for it. The alleged act was at a legal conference about sexual assault. The current poster commander for sexual assault in the military is Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair. Shortly after Gillibrand’s bill failed, he was permitted to plead guilty to adultery, soliciting explicit pictures from female officers, disobeying a commander, possessing pornography in a combat zone and misusing his government credit card. His sentence included a reprimand with salary and restitution penalties of about $25,000 and a reduction in rank to lieutenant colonel. He will not serve any jail time, and he kept his pension and benefits. One reason that he got off almost scot-free was potential unfair advantage for command influence. The judge in the court-martial questioned whether the prosecution rejected an earlier plea-bargaining attempt because commanders felt politically pressured to prosecute Sinclair to the fullest extent. “Allowing the accused to characterize this relationship as a consensual affair would only strengthen the arguments of those individuals that believe the prosecution of sexual assault should be taken away from the Army,” the accuser’s counsel had written. Senior officers loved Sinclair, but those who served below him didn’t have much respect for the brigadier. After his departure from their command, soldiers put on a skit in which one of them asked the person portrayed as Sinclair if he wanted oral sex. Charges against him included a captain being forced to perform oral sex on Sinclair. She also claimed that he threatened her and her family if she revealed their three-year affair after she said she was looking forward to meeting his wife. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) said, “This is another sordid example of how truly broken the military justice system is.” At a House Armed Services Committee hearing, she said to Secretary of the Army John McHugh, “This is a sexual predator. For a sexual predator to gain this rank and [be] given a slap on the wrist suggests that the system doesn’t work.” Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA) said the case demonstrated a “toxic military culture.” McHugh said he is still reviewing the case and has the option to demote the general and sharply reduce his retirement pay. Observers say that commanders keep prosecutors from bringing cases to court or force prosecutors to take unwinnable cases to court. The control is entirely with the commanders. Former President Jimmy Carter, who served in the Navy, supports the removal of authority from commanders in the cases of sexual assault. He said, “I was a submarine officer. I was qualified to command submarines. And it’s almost impossible for commanding officers to bring to justice a rapist, because it reflects adversely on his capability as a military commander if sexual abuse is taking place in his company or his battalion.” There are other reasons for moving the decisions out of the commanders’ control. They may not punish service members because they like them, and they may not want to be distracted from their mission. A colonel was asked why he failed to take action after a guardswoman reported that she had been raped by a guardsman in Iraq. He said, “I didn’t have time for that high school drama.” The guardsman got a letter of reprimand; the guardswoman received a medical discharge for PTSD. Another soldier court-martialed for sexually harassing a female soldier was convicted with no punishment. After the trial, he hugged the victim, saying “no hard feelings.” General Brigadier Bryan T. Roberts wasn’t as fortunate as Sinclair. The commander of the Fort Jackson (SC) training camp which trains approximately 60% of incoming female recruits was fired for adultery after he beat his mistress hard enough to send her to the hospital for three times. Air_Force_Sexual_Battery_Charge.JPEG-02e1aAir Force Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski was luckier. The Air Force’s head of sexual assault prevention was drunk and charged with grabbing a woman’s breasts and buttocks in a parking lot. The 23-year-old American University graduate testified that he came up behind her while she was on the phone, gave her a “squeeze,” and “asked me if I liked it.” She punched him. The server testified that “he was just a drunken mess.” Using the excuse that he might have grazed the woman by accident, Krusinski got off. Rape victims are reluctant to report these crimes for good reason. Almost two years ago, attorneys questioned a 21-year-old female midshipman at the Naval Academy for over 20 hours after she accused three other students of sexual assault at an off-campus party. She had seen social media posts leading her to believe that she was raped while she was drunk. All three defendants admitted sexual contact with her on that night. Defense attorneys tried to silence her with the following questions and statements:

  • How do you perform oral sex?
  • Tell us about your sex life?
  • You had sex with him before, right?
  • You were flirting.
  • Did you “feel like a ho” the next morning? [Yes, this was one of the questions.]
  • You must be hiding something.
  • Drunk sex is not sexual assault.

The case proceeded, with only one of the three going through a court-martial last week. He was exonerated; the victim wasn’t. A sexual assault “prevention and response” brochure issued by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) advises victims to consider submitting to their attack. “It may be advisable to submit than to resist,” the guide said in a section labeled, “If you are attacked,” saying victims should make that decisions based on the circumstances behind their attack while being “especially careful” if their attacker has a weapon. There are no directions in the brochure telling service members not to commit sexual assault. Great Britain, Canada, Australia and Israel are among the many nations that have moved disposition of sexual assault crimes out of the military to be determined independently by trained prosecutors. In Germany, all offenses against military order, such as being disrespectful, are handled administratively, Crimes, even crimes by military members, are prosecuted by civilian officials. That would level the prosecution field, but the United States thinks that its military is too special and sexual assault victims are expendable.

July 27, 2012

Romney’s Vision for America

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

Mitt Romney has been definite about only one thing on the campaign trail—that he would never, under any circumstances, release more than two years of his tax returns. Most of his other positions have been vague because, as he has frequently said, people might use these ideas against him during the campaign. He’ll just wait until he’s elected to let the people in the country find out who they get screwed over.

He has let a few fiscal snippets slip, however. One recent one comes from his spending plan. Swirling in the ether is the myth that “federal compensation exceeds private sector levels by as much as 30 to 40 percent when benefits are taken into account.” Romney pledges to “align federal employee compensation with the private sector,” and it cites studies showing that “federal compensation exceeds private sector levels by as much as 30 to 40 percent when benefits are taken into account. This must be corrected.” That means that everyone working for the government, including the military and veterans, will take a 30 to 40 percent hit from Romney’s magic plan. Border patrol, firefighters, food inspectors, researchers—everybody takes a 30 to 40 percent hit in their bank account. The military, however, will be hurt the hardest because 63 percent of federal works are employed by the Department of Defense.

Romney aides and supporters are trying to wade their way out of this mess, as usual disagreeing with Romney. They claim that they don’t actually mean a 30 to 40 percent pay cut; they’ll just take away health coverage, retirement, etc. Somehow those people running Romney’s campaign do not equate taking away these benefits with a reduction in pay.

As always, Romney believes in cutting taxes for the wealthy, maybe because he belongs to that class. He wants to take money from people in the bottom  90+ percent of the population and give it to the top two percent. While he cuts the salaries of people in the bottom 98 percent of the nation, here are some of the bonuses that he wants to retain for the wealthy, including himself:

The “Carried Interest” Handout to Hedge Fund and Private Equity Managers. Cost: $15 BILLION (Fiscal Years 2012-2012) – Carried Interest is a share in a fund; wealthy investors can declare these as capital gains instead of wages at a much lower tax rate.

Offshore Tax Havens. Cost: $100 BILLION Annually – Only wealthy privileged people can afford this tax dodge.

Taxing Capital Gains at a Lower Rate Than Ordinary Income. Cost: $256 BILLION (Fiscal Years 2012-2016) – For the wealthy, capital gains from investments are taxed at 15 percent instead of 35 percent. The wealthiest 0.1 percent of people in the United States make half of all capital gains. Cutting capital gains tax would have zero benefit for the 73.9 percent of the middle class who have no capital gains.

Mortgage Interest Deduction on Second Homes and Yachts. Cost: $10 BILLION (Fiscal Years 2012-21) – The mortgage interest tax deduction is meant to encourage home ownership, not enable the wealthiest Americans like Romney to lower their tax burden because they can buy several multi-million-dollar homes.

Failing to Limit “Upside-Down” Itemized Deductions That Favor the Wealthiest Americans. Cost: $114 BILLION (Fiscal Years 2012-2016) – Tax deductions are meant to provide financial incentives for people in such activities as buying a home or saving for retirement. When only the wealthy can afford these activities, it’s called “upside-down” deductions.

Romney’s obsession with secrecy will also cost the country a bit of money. Before the end of his governor’s term in Massachusetts, Romney spent spending $205,000 for a three-year lease on new computers for the governor’s office and broke an earlier unexpired lease that cost the state half as much, according to official documents and state officials. He also spent state money replacing computers, buying up hard drives, and deleting emails in an attempt to hide records. Included in the purge were also 150 boxes of paper records. Romney feels that he has a lot to hide.

Although Senate Republicans  let a measure supporting reinstatement of pre-Bush taxes for the top 2 percent (those who net over $250,000) go to a vote this week, they knew the House would never agree. Part of the measure protected the rest of the population from having tax hikes that would average $2,200. The Senate vote to keep tax cuts for everyone except the wealthy passed 51-48. Democrat Sens. Mark Pryor (AR) and Jim Webb (VA) voted against the measure as did Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT). The Republicans pushing the total over 50 were Sens. Scott Brown (MA) and Susan Collins (ME) voted with Democrats.  The Republicans will be more careful to invoke the ever-present filibuster next time.

The upcoming fight over taxes may be worse than the one over raising the debt ceiling a year ago. Last August’s debacle when Republicans wanted to default on the nation’s financial obligations ended up costing the taxpayers $1.3 billion, according to the report by the Government Accountability Office. The New York Times reported that this is just the beginning; that loss of $1.3 billion could increase. The Corporation of Public Broadcasting, the Smithsonian, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the federal budget allocated to the Post Office—all enrichments to our lives that conservatives want to destroy–could easily be funded by this money that they lost.

These are just the fiscally selfish pieces of Romney’s approach toward controlling the people of the United States; he has many more plans in the social realm to ensure that women have no control over their own bodies and health as well as to guarantee that there will be no marriage equality. Romney wants to remove regulations so that people will no longer receive an education or have clean food, air, and water. Then there’s the rapidly disappearing freedom of religion. The list goes on and on!

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