Nel's New Day

August 4, 2020

DDT, GOP Threaten U.S. People

The news keeps coming, fast and furious. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) says he’s suing Nevada for its legislation to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters in the state just like five other states do. DDT finished an angry tweet, “See you in Court!” At DDT’s direction, the RNC protested the new law. The RNC chair said Republicans came out in full force to oppose the state’s new voting system. Eighteen people showed up. Remember when Republicans claimed a belief in states’ rights? [Visual – Protests states rights]

Social distancing takes on new meaning for senatorial candidates as Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) threw Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) under the bus with the new stimulus bill and McConnell told GOP candidates they can “distance” themselves from DDT. DDT’s mismanagement in the economy, the loss of relief money, the ending of evictions’ moratoria, “unjust civil” courts, and his insistence that schools reopen despite the vast majority of people opposing it are a few of the problems candidates will face when they go home for over a month in August.

A sacred part of the stimulus bill to McConnell is preventing employees from suing for problems from COVID-19, but DDT said he’s willing to drop the “liability shield” as part of the next bill. Calling this part of the bill a “red line,” McConnell said that he won’t bring up a bill that doesn’t include this “protection” for employers, hospitals, and schools. Democrats maintain that the provision would allow employers the ability to endanger workers with no repercussion. McConnell is also fighting against DDT’s wish for an extension of unemployment benefits which expired last week.

DDT created more troubles today when he whined at the press conference (aka campaign rally) that Democrats want funding for “Democratic-led cities and states.” “We don’t think that’s fair,” he said. Democrats have not limited funding for just Democrats. GOP senators rejected last week’s stimulus bill so Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and DDT’s chief of staff Mark Meadows are leading the talks. Congress is scheduled to leave Washington DC this Friday until September. Stephen Moore told DDT to stop collecting payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, another prime DDT desire, by declaring a “national economic emergency.” Moore didn’t explain how less revenue for the U.S. would solve an economic crisis.

Forty-five percent of GOP senators—including McConnell—are running for reelection this year, and DDT’s rosy response about the rapidly growing number of infections and deaths, especially in red states throughout the South and Midwest, have put them in a box. Unfortunately for these candidates, DDT stays popular with his GOP base. These GOP senators are in danger of losing: Susan Collins (ME), Steve Daines (MT), Joni Ernst (IA), Cory Gardner (CO), Martha McSally (AZ), Dan Sullivan (AK), and Thom Tillis (NC). Many people also hope that McConnell might not get reelected. Democrats need only four more senators for a majority, and only Doug Jones (D-GA) is at risk of not being reelected.

At DDT’s White House campaign rally today, he said that the USPS can’t handle mail-in ballots. This is after he guaranteed his new appointments would slow down mail delivery. All he has accomplished thus far is make Republicans afraid to mail in their ballots. In a swing state, only 15 percent of Republicans requested absentee ballots. At least 77 percent of U.S. voters can use the mail to vote, but DDT is convincing his base that this system is “rigged” and “fraudulent.”

A few weeks ago, Republicans in Michigan burned absentee ballot applications to protest voting by mail. “Operation Incinerator” took place in the streets of Grand Rapids (MI). They also complained about the cost of mailing applications ($4.5 million from the federal government) without mentioning the $100+ million the federal government paid for a worthless letter from DDT, giving himself credit for the $1,200 checks provide by taxpayers.  

The smell from DDT’s appointment, Anthony Tata, for undersecretary of defense for policy was so bad that even GOP senators couldn’t hold their noses long enough to confirm him. So DDT gave him an acting appointment. He’s DDT’s kind of guy with his Islamophobic comments, references to President Obama as a “terrorist leader” and Muslim, descriptions of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) as “violent extremists,” and the addition of “#liberalplanation” hashtag to his tween about CNN’s Don Lemon. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, known to groups such as veterans as “Yesper,” originally appointed Tata to another job that allowed him to be moved into the current one.

Days after DDT announced a ban on TikTok social media sharing app, he said that it could do business if it were purchased by a U.S. company such as Microsoft by September 15. The “favor” for the purchaser is their putting a “substantial” amount of money into the U.S. Treasury, blackmail—or maybe bribery—for them to obtain the rights. DDT referred the payment as “key money,” illegal in many states and situations.

Brazil news reported U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Todd Chapman wants a favor—Brazilian officials helping DDT’s reelection by lowering ethanol tariffs. News reported out Chapman’s letter explained, “Iowa is the largest ethanol producer in the United States…and could be a key player in Trump’s election. Hence the importance … for the Bolsonaro government to do the U.S. a favor.” According to he publication Estadão, government officials refused. If true, Chapman’s actions would violate the Hatch Act preventing federal employees from partisan political activities. Chapman’s term “favor” mirrors DDT’s request to Ukraine. The State Department tried to hide the illegality by claiming that the requests for a general policy of getting Brazil to lower tariffs, not related to a political campaign. Remember when GOP senators voted against impeaching DDT because he had “learned his lesson”?

Fox host Chris Wallace asked DDT’s campaign adviser Jason Miller if foreign governments gave DDT information about Joe Biden. Miller avoided answering by saying it was a “silly question” and moving onto false accusations about the Hillary Clinton campaign receiving foreign assistance. Miller also refused three times to respond whether DDT’s campaign would reject election assistance from a foreign government. DDT has already said in another interview that he wants foreign government help in defeating Biden.

Last week, Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) asked Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) at a House Intelligence Committee meeting if he had received anti-Biden information from a Kremlin-linked Ukrainian source. Nunes wouldn’t answer. ABC reporter asked Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) if he relied on pro-Russia Ukrainian information. Johnson cited “information from a variety of sources.” GOP senators consistently oppose legislation requiring campaigns to report foreign elections to the FBI.

For almost four years, DDT promised a healthcare plan program. On July 19, he told Fox anchor, “We’re signing a health-care plan within two weeks, a full and complete health-care plan.” That deadline expired yesterday with no replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Only DDT sycophant Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) seems to know anything about a plan, and he was vague. In June, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said a new healthcare plan would be developed only if the Supreme Court overturned the ACA this coming year. 

DDT’s Census Bureau is cutting door-knocking for 2020 a month early on September 30 after his plan to not count undocumented immigrants went sour. The result will be a serious undercount: only 60 percent of households have responded to the census and no one knows how long people can report online. The census is vital to establish shares of congressional seats; Electoral College votes; and funding for Medicare, Medicaid and other public services. Cutting down on the time will satisfy DDT’s desire for overrepresentation of white, non-Latinx population.

The GOP convention has moved back to Charlotte (NC) although DDT had said he would never be nominated there. An oddity, however, is  the press possibly denied attendance. Even Republican delegates wonder what the RNC is hiding. With fewer than three weeks to go, the RNC has not released details about convention programming.

The Friday night news dump, designed to minimize embarrassing information, put out the extensive conflicts of interest for DDT’s advisers Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. Last year, their companies holding residential and commercial properties earned $36.2 million to $157 million, at least up $7 million from the minimum of $29 million in 2018.

People in the United States may perceive the media as biased, but 84 percent in a recent Gallup poll agreed news media is “critical” or “very important” to democracy. Yet 92 percent ensure people provide accurate and fair news reports, 91 percent ensure people are informed about public affairs, and 85 percent hold leaders accountable for their actions.

The godly Jerry Falwell, DDT supporter and head of Liberty University, published this photo of himself and and a woman while on vacation. DDT’s former fixer Michael Cohen supposedly helped the Falwells deal with a leak of sexually revealing photos, and photographs of Falwell at a nightclub have been published. These are activities banned for his ultra-Christian university students and staff. 

 

August 3: In the world, 18,447,759 people have been infected by coronavirus, and 697,245 have died of the disease. The number of deaths will surpass 700,000 by tomorrow. The U.S. has 4,862,210 cases, due to hit over 5 million in less than three days, and 158,930 deaths, on the way to surpass 160,000 in a day.

May 15, 2020

Just a Few COVID-19 Disasters from DDT

How is Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) coping with COVID-19? An editorial in the respected British medical journal, the Lancet, lambasted DDT for his “inconsistent and incoherent national response.” Several administrations, according to the editorial, used “conservative politics” to erode CDC’s “ability to mount effective, evidence-based public health responses,” and DDT “further chipped away at the CDC’s capacity to combat infectious diseases.” The editorial listed DDT’s disastrous mistakes for the past few months, “especially on testing in the early stages of the pandemic.” It further stated that “only a steadfast reliance on basic public health principles, like test, trace, and isolate, will see the emergency brought to an end, and this requires an effective national public health agency.”

Other “conservative politics” exacerbating the health crisis:

Two months after DDT appeared to take COVID-19 seriously in mid-March, he has announced a “Operation Warp Speed” program to develop a vaccine right after the 2020 election. At his roll-out event, however, he said there may be no need for a vaccine because the virus might “go away.” The last “speed vaccine” was in 1976 for a new strain of swine flu. Concerned about costs and liability, manufacturers persuaded Congress to pass a law waiving liability. By October, reports of deaths and cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome appeared. The program was shut down after 94 reports of paralysis.  

DDT complained about the media not reporting that the U.S. has more cases than other countries because “when you test, you find something wrong with people.” He wants the media to report that “if we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases.” He is making the “case” that people have COVID-19 only because they are tested. The media is definitely reporting his statement. As for DDT’s accusation that the U.S. does the most testing, the U.S. ranks 39th in the world in testing people for COVID-19. Testing is not the reason that the U.S. has one-third the number of confirmed cases in the world with under five percent of the population. DDT also said that frontline nurses and doctors “running into death” is “a beautiful thing to see.”

Instead of following advice from medical experts, DDT is “pushing for revisions that could lead to far fewer deaths being counted than originally reported, according to five administration officials working on the government’s response to the pandemic.” With the help of Dr. Deborah Birx, DDT wants the CDC death and case counts to exclude people who likely had COVID-19 but no test confirmation and people with COVID-19 but had other health issues when they died. She fed DDT the idea that CDC inflated the number of deaths as much as 25 percent whereas medical experts believe that the U.S. may have an undercount of up to 100 percent on deaths from the virus. The Abbott coronavirus rapid test, praised by DDT and used in the White House, missed one-third of positive tests in a comparison with the diagnostic company Cepheid.

Hiding information about the virus is DDT’s pattern. Earlier this year, he didn’t want to prepare for the health crisis because the stock market might go down. DDT listened to advice from his son-in-law Jared Kushner instead of scientific experts.

Florida was the first state to blatantly announce it would reduce the number of deaths from COVID-19 by attributing them to something else. Now Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is hiding the number of confirmed cases in the state by no longer publicly sharing announced that state health officials would no longer publicly share the number of workers at the state’s meat packing plants who had tested positive for the coronavirus. The Washington Post stated, “Of the 30 counties in the United States with the highest per capita prevalence of the coronavirus last week, 10 are home to major meatpacking plants. Of those 30 counties, four are in Nebraska.”

Going mask-less at a mask-making plant, DDT repeated his complaint, “cupboards were bare.” He shows a high degree of incompetence for not filling he cupboards after he was inaugurated over three years ago.

DDT has also demanded the cautious CDC guidance on safely reopening states be changed to less definitive statements. Also missing is the statement that reopening would cause resurgences of COVID-19 and customization is vital. The White House plan lacks a comprehensive approach, and CDC guidance was released after some states reopened. 

House Speaker Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had to back down from his lie that President Obama didn’t leave a plan for a pandemic—and he did it on Fox. Yet, he didn’t address whether DDT failed to follow the 69-page document, complete with charts, graphs, plans, and decision making rubrics. (You can see it here.) The cover and tables of contents. Press Secretary “I-won’t-lie-to-the-media” Kayleigh McEnany called President Obama’s 69 pages “a thin packet of paper.”

A leaked unreleased White House coronavirus task force report showing spikes of cases across the county contradicts DDT’s claim that cases “are coming down very rapidly all throughout the country.” Cases are rising in nine states, and lack of testing in 28 other states show undercounting of cases. On May 7, the top ten cities saw cases increasing by 72 percent over seven days—for example, 650 percent in St. Louis and Central City (KY). Counties with over 100 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents has grown from 59 at the end of March to over 700 in mid-April. At that time, the majority of residents of counties that becoming high-coronavirus areas are in the South, Midwest and West. Under half reside in urban cores; more than half live in suburban, outer-suburban, small-metro and rural areas. Nearly half of those counties’ voters picked DDT in 2016. This map of COVID-19 flashpoints by county shows the large incidence of increases in the South.   

Satirist Andy Borowitz wrote, “Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan, is ‘arrogantly forcing the residents of her state to remain alive,’ Attorney General William Barr charged on Friday.” After armed protesters demanding the state open up shut down the Michigan capital in a third event, the number of COVID-19 cases jumped over 1,000 on that day along with 73 more deaths. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is gradually opening up the state, but the protesters demanded it be done immediately and completely. About the protest, Whitmer said:

“When people are showing up with guns, when people are showing up with things like Confederate flags, it tells you this really isn’t about the lockdown or about a perception of a stay-home order. It’s really an organized political statement.”

As Whitmer pointed out, the fringe protesters, 14 percent of the public, and Republicans such as the Wisconsin state Supreme Court can hurt the economy and extend the time for staying at home because it will cause spiking numbers of cases. DDT says they are “responsible” people. Three weeks ago, flyers announced an anti-shutdown rally on Staten Island telling people to “bring your children,” “no mask” was needed, and come “if you’re sick.” Only the police showed up.  

Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker pointed out that nationwide protests for opening up the states is fading because big money behind them is disappearing. She wrote “the Koch network … decided to run with scientists instead of the gun-toting provocateurs trampling the spring-green grass around state capitols.” Spiking cases from ignorantly reopening state will hurt their businesses.

Like the Tea Party movement of a decade ago, the protesters are controlled by wealthy far-right organizations who want to create chaos. The Convention of State—backed by politicians such as Ken Cuccinelli (acting director of immigrations services), Ben Carson (HUD secretary), Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ adviser Greg McNeilly—is behind the protests.

Truckers have been protesting for over two weeks because of the lack of stimulus aid, inadequate PPE, and low shipping rates. Today, they drove by DDT’s press briefing at the White House to express their frustration, but DDT said they were showing him “a sign of love.” Yesterday, they drowned out DDT’s interview with Fox’s Maria Bartiromo as truck horns drowned out their conversation. Shipping rates are lower 54 percent for April 2020 from April 2019, and truckers got no help from the $2.3 trillion disaster bill. About 20 percent of truckers are independent, and many others work for small companies desperate for help.  

DDT is also fighting to take food stamps from people during the pandemic by appealing a court ruling protecting hundreds of thousands of people’s access to food stamps during this time of crisis. Children, elderly, and disabled are the majority of food stamp recipients.

From Rasmussen, the country’s more conservative mainstream polling service, 23 percent of Republicans don’t want DDT as the GOP nominee. As DDT pushed the country to open up, his approval rating fell from 49 percent in February to 45 percent in April. Approval rating among voters over the age of 65 fell 20 points between March and the end of April, perhaps he said that they should die to save his economy. Only 23 percent of people trust what he says about COVID-19—maybe a reaction of his recommendation to swallow bleach for a cure.

Almost all governors have an excellent approval rate for their handling the health crisis with three states the exception. In those states, people thought governors lifted restrictions too quickly: Florida (48 percent), Texas (59 percent), and Georgia (65 percent.) The only governor rating below DDT, Georgia’s Brian Kemp was one of the last to close the state and one of the first to reopen it.

With a rough average of 2,000 additional deaths each day, the U.S. has 1,484,285 confirmed cases (until Birx changes the way CDC computes them) and 88,507 deaths as of May 15.

March 18, 2020

Barr Fixit Guy for Authoritarian DDT

When Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) named Bill Barr the U.S. Attorney General, he found a kindred spirit in authoritarianism. Barr hid information in the Mueller report, appointed someone to investigate the FBI for investigating DDT’s campaign, intervened in Roger J. Stone Jr’s sentencing to lower it, and picked an outside prosecutor to view the case against Michael Flynn. Barr also created a back door for DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani to deliver him “dirt” on Joe Biden and tried to bury the whistleblower complaint that initiated the impeachment inquiry. DDT was disappointed in former AG Jeff Sessions because, although a lying racist, the AG had a small core of ethical behavior. Sessions’ recusing himself from all things Russian crushed DDT, but he kept Sessions until he found the perfect fixit, his own Ray Cohn, for the former Department of Justice. The situations below are only the tip of the iceberg: with Barr as AG, justice is gone.  

Gabe Ortiz wrote the DOJ “doles out mercy and second chances to the undeserving, the rich, and the powerful, but none for the most vulnerable and for whom a decision quite literally means life or death.” In early March, Barr changed the definition of torture for asylum seekers using it as a basis for staying in the U.S. Because immigration courts are under the rule of DOJ, Barr can override decisions by the Board of Immigration Appeals. He has used that right so many times immigration lawyers and judges call it abuse and a check on his judges if decisions don’t match DDT’s immigration agenda of destroying due process. Barr’s decision makes the definition of torture so narrow that every applicant is guaranteed failure. New immigration judges are hired to follow DDT’s anti-immigrant position. Their training is to follow DDT’s enforcement. Dana Leigh Marks, president emeritus of the National Association of Immigration Judges, said, “What’s happening now is that all the norms are breaking. All the wheels are coming off the car.” Barr could decide to use his personal definition of “justice” on far more people than immigrants.

Part of Barr’s job is to protect DDT, and he’s done it by dropping federal charges against two Russian shell companies as defendants in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian troll farm case. Two of the original 16 defendants accused of interfering with the 2016 presidential election are no longer involved in the trial. The case exposes a big part of Russian influence operation in the U.S., using social media to spread disinformation and exploit social divisions. Barr’s excuse to drop charges was that the companies were using the case to access information from prosecutors about the government’s sources and investigation methods.

DDT declared a commitment to “safeguarding the American consumer” days before a study shows that DOJ prosecutions of white-collar criminals fell to an all time low in January. The 359 white-collar criminals prosecuted in January represented a drop of 25 percent from five years ago. At this rate, the number of prosecutions will be half those during the Obama administration. The study was reported in early March when DDT promised to prosecute “bad actors seeking to harm and exploit honest and hardworking people through deception and other nefarious tactics.” Last month, DDT pardoned high-profile white-collar criminals such as “junk bond king” Michael Milken and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Last September, a court filing revealed that Barr is still covering up for the Saudi government part in the 9/11 terror attacks that killed almost 3,000 people. He said that the “state secrets” privilege allows him to block the release of an FBI report about the relationships between some of the 19 hijackers and Saudi government officials. Fifteen of the hijackers were Saudi citizens. Eight days after the attack, at least 13 relatives of Osama bin Laden, one of them a #1 on Washington’s “most wanted” list and linked to a terrorist organization, left the U.S. on a chartered flight with bodyguards and associates.  Saudi, the world’s biggest purchaser of U.S. weapons, is central to the wars for regime change in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

Like many people, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, first nominated by Ronald Reagan, ruled that Barr’s handling of Robert Mueller’s report indicates that the DOJ cannot be trusted to redact the document. In early March, Walton determined that his court will review the redactions to guarantee that the blacked-out portions don’t improperly hide information from the public. He criticized the Barr’s letter supposedly summarizing Mueller’s conclusions before Barr made portions of the report available to Congress. Walton suggested that Barr’s intent was to create a one-sided view of the report that differed from the report itself.

“[A] review of the redacted version of the Mueller Report by the Court results in the Court’s concurrence with Special Counsel Mueller’s assessment that Attorney General Barr distorted the findings in the Mueller Report.”

Walton declared two major representations of the report by Barr. He said Mueller did not establish DDT’s involvement in the 2016 Russian election interference although Mueller found several “links” between the campaign and Russia which he said were not a criminal conspiracy. And second, Barr omitted Mueller’s determination not to make a prosecutorial decision about whether DDT obstructed justice but listed extensive analysis and evidence about DDT’s commission of the crime of obstruction. Mueller had said that Congress or a prosecutor could perhaps try for his conduct.

Walton wrote that because of discrepancies between Barr’s public representation and Mueller’s findings, Barr may have “made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary.”

Walton also wrote:

“The Court cannot reconcile certain public representations made by Attorney General Barr with the findings in the Mueller Report. These circumstances generally, and Attorney General Barr’s lack of candor specifically, call into question Attorney General Barr’s credibility. These circumstances generally, and Attorney General Barr’s lack of candor specifically, call into question Attorney General Barr’s credibility.”

Last October, Walton told U.S. prosecutors to either charge former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe or drop their long-running investigation into whether he lied to investigators about a media disclosure. Walton said that such a long wait undermined the DOJ’s credibility with impression that the DOJ was hounding one of DDT’s enemies. In a February hearing, Walton stated that DDT’s repeated attacks on McCabe raised concerns about the investigation’s motives:

“I just think it’s a banana republic when we go down that road and we have those type of statements being made that are conceivably, even if not, influencing the ultimate decision. I think there are a lot of people on the outside who perceive that there is undue inappropriate pressure being brought to bear….

“I think as a government and as a society we’re going to pay a price at some point for this.”

McCabe wasn’t charged.

In an Atlantic article, journalist/attorney Peter M. Shane claimed that DDT is trying to put federal administrative adjudicators under his personal control. These thousands of federal employees don’t direct courtrooms but preside over trial-like disputes. Shane wrote:

“[They] preside over trial-like disputes, hear evidence and testimony, and make decisions that can deeply shape people’s lives, such as the granting of asylum and veterans benefits. These executive branch employees are administrative adjudicators.”

If DDT succeeds in dictating their rules governing how disputes with agencies are resolved, all of them must follow DDT’s whims, removing the descriptor “independent” from these agencies.

Barr is finally the subject of an ethics complaint to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) because of his allegedly prejudicial “inflammatory and disparaging” comments about the DOJ’s active probe into the FBI investigation of Russian interference into the 2016 election. An earlier ethics complaint cites a pattern of bias by Barr to protect DDT at expense of carrying out DOJ mission to “ensure fair and impartial administration of justice.” Barr’s “failure to recuse resulted in” DOJ “mishandling” the whistleblower was the subject of another complaint last week.

DDT has support from another fixit guy—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). After ignoring the 400+ House bills to rapidly push through judges and other confirmations, McConnell is personally asking older judges to retire so that he can put in highly conservative and young unqualified judges, just like the others. He said they would have to retire by early fall, a couple of months before the election, to be replaced. This from the man who blocked President Obama’s nomination for a Supreme Court justice for almost ten months.

March 17, 2020

DDT Changes Spin on Covid-19, Sort Of

Over three years ago on January 13, 2017, before Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) was inaugurated, his proposed Cabinet officials and other aides received a three-hour briefing about responding to a global epidemic. Detailed briefing books contained scenarios much like the world has experienced during the last few months, complete with warnings about shortages of ventilators, anti-viral drugs, and other medical essentials. Information stressed the “paramount” importance of a coordinated, unified national response. Materials included available legal authorities to pursue a response, and capabilities and responsibilities of different agencies, and detailed explanations of numerous laws and regulations that might affect their work, such as the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

New officials were dismissive of the briefing, and the books were later found in the trash. In talking about covid-19, DDT has made comments such as “you can never really think” that a pandemic like the coronavirus “is going to happen” despite the briefing. This video tracks DDT as he incessantly minimizes any problems from the virus in the U.S. Documents given DDT and his officials show a specific plan for dealing with a pandemic, a plan that DDT ignored.  

As of tonight, the U.S. has 6,456 confirmed cases, 1,793 from just today, and 109 deaths—21 percent of them occurring today. Confirmed cases are in all 50 states and D.C. In the world, 7,965 have died from covid-19 in 198,229 confirmed cases. China has had neither new cases nor deaths today, but some European countries are hard hit. 

Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law, has been the source of advice for DDT as he ignored his infectious disease and immunology experts. Kushner repeatedly told DDT the media exaggerated the severity of the virus outbreak. Knowing nothing about covid-19, Kushner still advises DDT’s direction on the virus strategy. (In the past, Kushner claimed to be an authority on the Palestine-Israel conflict because he read 25 books.) DDT’s disastrous speech last Wednesday in which he banned travel from most of the EU was created by Kushner and DDT’s white nationalist Stephen Miller so he would look as if he had a strategy.

DDT has been so convincing to his supporters that they encourage risky behavior to both themselves and others. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) urged people to go to restaurants and bars, despite warnings from leading expert Dr. Anthony Fauci to stay away from other people. After DDT echoed Fauci on Monday, tell people to “avoid discretionary travel and avoid eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and public food courts,” Nunes lied and said he meant “take-out.”

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) bragged about going to a crowded restaurant and took a selfie with his family (right). “It’s packed tonight!” he tweeted.

In a Kendall (FL) megachurch, the pro-DDT pastor told his congregation to keep coming back to church because God’s house wouldn’t be contagious. He said, “If we die, we die for Christ.” In Tampa (FL), another pro-DDT pastor told people to shake hands with each other.

Former New York City police commissioner Bernard B. Kerik, pardoned by DDT last month, tweeted, “This hysteria is being created to destabilize the country and destroy [DDT].”  Other right-wing personalities falsely blame liberal billionaire George Soros for causing the virus.

Frequent Fox guest Mark Steyn, guest host on Rush Limbaugh’s show, falsely blamed San Francisco’s “shelter-in-place” guidelines keeping people at home on “compromised immune systems” in the “big gay town.” He added, “They don’t want all the gays dropping dead on the San Francisco mayor’s watch.” The guidelines cover seven million people with about 5 percent identifying as LGBTQ.

Even the private Facebook page for DDT-supporting first responders hasn’t changed its false message of covid-19 being a “hoax.” The leader said that DDT had to say that the virus is serious to fix the stock markets.

For better PR, DDT has decided to treat the virus more seriously, and Fox is struggling to keep up his 180-degree turn after their major hosts had downplayed its threat, calling it a conspiracy to undermine DDT.  Sean Hannity called it a “massive paradigm shift,” “a bold new precedent,” “America’s leadership.” Laura Ingraham moved from decrying the “panic pushers” to talking about “this dangerous health crisis.” Less favored host Trish Regan was simply taken off the air.

Since his speech almost a week ago, DDT has taken a covid-19 test, tried to stop talking about the importance of the stock market over people’s lives, called the virus a pandemic, and agreed with the House bill to give people food, testing, and paid sick leave. He now rates his response to the virus as ten out of ten although he told governors to get their own respirators and supplies, refused to let the Army Corps of Engineers build facilities for hospitals, and said that people shouldn’t try to get testing.

The government lost months in getting resources from the private sector, states, and academic institutions to test people which stopped efforts in tracking and controlling the virus while it could still be contained. In the beginning officials were afraid to tell DDT anything unpleasant, and when he learned about the virus, DDT was afraid bad news would adversely affect his reelection campaign. Now Republicans have jumped on the bandwagon to give money away for votes. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is an example of that approach. First, he didn’t want paid sick leave; now he says that the Democratic House bill doesn’t go far enough to help people. If the virus had to arrive, people are lucky it’s in an election year when candidates like Cotton needs votes.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has ignored over 400 House bills to push through young unqualified ultra-conservative judges, is now excited about the current covid-19 bill and another one, perhaps costing $1 trillion. At a press conference today, he said that the Senate won’t leave until the next bill passes and talked about 53 people putting the bill together. Evidently Democrats are included. McConnell also said that he needs to “get permission to vote” on the bill which might mean that DDT has to give him permission. If so, the former third branch of government, Congress, has been subsumed under the executive branch, like the judiciary.  How DDT wants to disperse the funds: airlines, $50 billion; workers $100 billion; corporations $850 billion.

DDT has an advantage from the epidemic. The Supreme Court has suspended oral arguments for the first time since the Spanish flu in 1918, and the case on March 31 concerned the subpoenas from House committees to get DDT’s financial and tax records. There may be no decision by the end of June, meaning that the issue will not be settled until after the November election. Across the nation, federal and state courts are postponing in-person court proceedings.

Even elections are questionable. Louisiana, Georgia, and Ohio have rescheduled them, assuming that the virus will be gone by later spring. In Ohio, the governor declared a health emergency to call off today’s voting after a court denied his request, a dangerous precedent for DDT. Arizona, Florida, and Illinois plowed forward and all put Biden in first place. In the United States, only three states—Colorado, Oregon, and Washington— are smart enough to vote by mail, and 17 states demand a good reason for getting an absentee ballot. Only one of those states permits covid-19 as a reason for a mail-in ballot. Republicans fight against mail-in elections because it provides a paper trail and lets everyone vote without standing in long lines, two ways that the GOP manages to win elections. 

A frequent DDT message is that Democrats are politicizing the virus. Yet ten days ago, he complained about Democrats to Mar-a-Lago guests: 

“They’re trying to scare everybody, from meetings, cancel the meetings, close the schools—you know, destroy the country. And that’s ok, as long as we can win the election.”

Asked when he was going to make the virus apolitical, he said that he would respond to any criticism, already telling two governors to move faster when they pointed out the delayed response to the health crisis. VP Mike Pence has secret meetings with conservative “influencers” about spinning DDT’s efforts regarding the health crisis and providing PR for DDT’s reelection campaign.

Xenophobic DDT insists on referring to covid-19 as “the Chinese virus.” Called out for the term, he attached the Chinese for their theory that the U.S. military started the virus. A U.S. theory, however, accuses the Chinese to developing covid-19 as a bioweapon.

The most amazing DDT story of the week is his attempt to persuade a German company to relocate to the U.S. for its covid-19 vaccine research efforts and share the information only with the U.S. DDT said he would do anything to get the vaccine and offered the company money. DDT would likely buy a lot of shares in the company, but it turned him down.

People have less and less faith in federal response to and DDT’s statements about covid-19. Only 46 percent believe the federal government is doing enough to stop the virus’ spread, down from 61 percent last month. And only 37 percent have any trust in DDT, compared to 60 percent who have not much or no trust in what he says.  

December 18, 2019

Day 1063: Impeachment

Eleven years ago, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “impressive,” defended Bill Clinton, and expressed surprise that Pelosi didn’t aim for George W. Bush’s impeachment after he misled people about Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction. This week he ridiculed Pelosi’s teeth and sent her a six-page letter filled with lies and vile accusations of “declaring open war on American democracy.” That accusation and others were identical to his own actions: abuse of power, violation of the Constitution, and violations of oaths of office. The six pages were a synthesis of his tweets and speeches for the past few months—lies about Pelosi’s statements, attacks on Joe Biden, whining about no due process, calling the impeachment a “coup,” and extolling his excellent economy which may be headed downhill.  

Today, on the 1063rd day of DDT’s first term and one day short of the 21st anniversary of Bill Clinton’s impeachment, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach DDT for abusing his power and obstructing congressional investigations. The vote labeled him a threat to national security and recommended his removal from office. Article I, Abuse of Power, was adopted 230-197, with one member voting present and three not voting. Article II, Obstruction of Congress, was adopted 229-198, with one member voting present and three not voting. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a Democratic presidential candidate, was the only representative to vote “present.” According to the U.S. Constitution, the Senate is now required to have a trial, in which a two-thirds vote would remove DDT from office.

The Senate cannot begin its process until it receives the articles of impeachment. When that will be is not known because the House has not made that determination. McConnell said that he will speak on the Senate floor tomorrow at 9:30 am (EST).

The Judiciary Committee began the week with a report describing DDT’s “multiple federal crimes” including bribery and wire fraud for attempting to leverage military aid to Ukraine and a White House meeting with its president. In exchange, DDT demanded a Ukrainian investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden and another one into DDT’s unfounded conspiracy theory that Ukraine conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

The House Rules Committee then met on the resolution to impeach DDT to determine the parameters–six hours floor time evenly divided between the two parties and led by the House Judiciary Committee leaders followed by another hour of debate before a vote on the two articles of impeachment.

Both the debates in the Rules Committee and on the floor were consumed by GOP common complaints of “shame,” “sham,” “flawed,” etc. Republicans presented no defence of DDT or his actions, instead angrily smearing Democrats with lies. With no evidence for DDT’s innocence, Republicans use these and many more defenses:

  • You can’t impeach a president when the economy is good. (Not that it is!)
  • Impeachment will tear the country apart. (Not that the country is together.)
  • Impeachment is just like foreign election “interference.
  • People elected DDT president so he must stay. (No matter how much he violates the Constitution and his oath of office.)
  • An election is coming soon. (But the U.S. is in international danger.)
  • An impeachment should be nonpartisan. (Yet the GOP impeached Clinton on a partisan basis.)
  • DDT is too incompetent to shake down Ukraine.
  • DDT is only investigating “corruption.” (He said he wanted the Bidens investigated after Joe Biden appeared to be a viable political candidate, and DDT has never investigated any other “corruption.”)

A real investigation into corruption would be into his fake university, fraudulent charity, shady business affairs, prejudiced renting practices, undocumented immigrants’ employment, money laundering through real estate sales, lawsuits with no justification, violation of campaign financing, fraudulent tax evasion, concealment of legal documents, constant lying (including working with mobsters), etc. Many of those, however, are already in court. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spent the week refusing to call “fact witnesses” from the White House, a category they were so desperate to use in the inquiry. He repeated that, as the jury foreman, he was working closely with the defendant, DDT, to guarantee that he won’t be convicted. Along with other senators, he proclaimed that he would violate his legal oath to “do impartial justice” in order to exonerate DDT in the impeachment trial.

The big question now is how Republicans will vote in the (probably abbreviated) trial. Although the assumption that they will all protect DDT, nothing is ever sure. In addition, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has been personally involved in the Ukrainian scandal which should legally force him to recuse himself from any legal trial.

The Constitution requires the Supreme Court Chief Justice to “preside” over an impeachment trial. McConnell, who announced that DDT will be exonerated, might want to check with John Roberts about whether he wants his legacy to be that he would “preside” over a sham trial. McConnell, a juror for the trial, declared, “I’m not impartial about this at all.” He made that statement although the Constitution requires that he swear under oath that to “do impartial justice.”

McConnell thinks that all Republicans support his blind loyalty to DDT despite his crimes. GOP State Sen. John McCollister’s tweet disagrees:

“There are Republicans ALL OVER the country who want you impeached. We don’t fall for some cult of personality. We’ve read the constitution. #RepublicansForImpeachment.” 

DDT may now know how bad the impeachment poll numbers are for him after Brian Kilmeade talked about them on Fox & Friends:

“The Fox poll came out — and I was stunned by this. This says 50 percent of the country want the president impeached. I was stunned to see that that’s the number, because I thought that things were trending away.”

The 50 percent was for people who wanted to see DDT removed from office after impeachment; another four percent wanted him impeached but not removed. In case DDT missed the information on his favorite TV show, Joe Biden tweeted it to him.

DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani is still searching for “dirt” on the Bidens, one of the actions listed in the article describing DDT’s abuse of power. Giuliani said to The New Yorker:

“I believed that I needed [U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie] Yovanovitch out of the way. She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody.”

On Monday night, Giuliani told Laura Ingraham, “I forced her out because she’s corrupt.” Since then, he told CNN that DDT is “very supportive” of his continued efforts to dig up dirt on Democrats in Ukraine. “We’re on the same page,” Giuliani said about DDT.

Giuliani had to get rid of Yovanovitch because she told Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev to resist natural gas projects like the corruption before Ukraine cleaned house of corrupt officials. U.S. businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman worked with Giuliani and then-prosecutor general Yuri Lutsenko to negotiate licensing rights for oil and gas blocks, import LNG from the U.S., and build a gas pipeline from Poland. Yovanovitch, Kobolyev, and the Naftogaz supervisory board blocked the sole-source contract that Parnas and Fruman wanted for supplying LNG to Ukraine. Giuliani’s clients Parnas and Fruman not only lobbied not only DDT but also then-Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) in May 2018 by promising him campaign donations from illegal foreign money. Sessions lost his 2018 election and is denying any connection with foreign campaign funds. Now Parnas and Fruman have been indicted, Giuliani is being investigated, DDT has been impeached, and Sessions’ name is throughout the scandal.

A judge let Parnas walk out of court today and back to home detention despite the discovery that Parnas’ concealed $1 million transferred into his account from a Russian bank account belonging to Dmytro Firtash and another $200,000 of “payment” for work. Firtash is fighting extradition to the U.S. in a bribery case. Prosecutors had argued that Parnas is a flight risk. When he was picked up, he had a one-way plane ticket to Vienna, but the judge said that Parnas probably forgot about the $1 million. Earlier, Parnas pled for a lower bond bail of $200,000, saying that he and his wife had only $450,000 in assets. He has been charged with violating campaign finance laws and additional charges from helping Giuliani find damaging information on Joe and Hunter Biden.

DDT now plans to be even more secretive about his dealings with foreign leaders—fewer people listening and fewer people having access to transcripts of the calls. One official called the change “The Vindman Rule.”

Although conservatives blame Democrats’ “hatred” of DDT for the impeachment, DDT held an even more virulent hate-fest in Michigan tonight, complete with “lock her up” chants about Hillary Clinton and Pelosi, references to the “electric chair” when falsely talking about Hunter Biden, and hitting a new low by saying that Michigan’s former representative John Dingell, a World War II veteran, is in hell because her widow, elected to her husband’s seat, voted for impeachment. DDT won Michigan in 2016 by about 10,000 votes.

December 13, 2019

Impeachment Heads to House Floor

The House Judiciary Committee approved the two articles of impeachment in a partisan vote of 23-17, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) unleashed more fury, and the vote goes to the full House next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who will swear “under God” that he will be impartial in the impeachment trial, said that there is “no chance” his chamber will vote to remove Trump from office. He’s undoubtedly right because this action would require 67 votes in a Senate with 52 Republicans, but deciding the outcome before the process shows an illegal public rigging of the system.

In his position as jury foreman, McConnell said, “I’m going to take my cues from the president’s lawyers.” At the same time, McConnell bragged and laughed about blocking confirmation of judges for two years until DDT was elected. The White House director of legislative affairs, Eric Ueland, said that he and the White House counsel, theoretically working for the people of the U.S., “are having a lot of good conversations with Senate Republicans.” The White House has been meeting frequently with the GOP senators, who will also be complicit in not following their sworn oaths when they become a jury for the proceedings. This approach to the trial may mean acquittal for DDT but not exoneration.

House Republicans stalled yesterday for over 15 hours of shouting and lying on television during the Judiciary Committee hearing after agreeing with Democrats to hold the hearing to five hours. GOP committee members cared nothing for the U.S. Constitution. For example, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) justified opposition to impeachment by saying that  Republican lawmakers were “sent here to obstruct this Congress.”

At the hearing’s 12th hour, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) called on GOP representatives to quit, saying, “I have not heard a new point or an original thought from either side in the last three hours.”  He described the hearing as an “institutional embarrassment.” At almost midnight last night, Committee chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) gaveled the session in adjournment and infuriated ranking member Doug Colling (R-GA) by announcing the vote on the next day. Stunned by not immediately voting, Collins bellowed about how wanted to leave Washington, but Nadler said that he wanted the vote during the light of day.

DDT showed his disregard for protecting the constitution by entertaining Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov while the impeachment articles were published. Although DDT claimed he told Lavrov not to interfere in U.S. elections and resolve Russia’s conflict with Ukraine, Lavrov said they didn’t talk about any interference. Lavrov did deny any Russian interference in the 2016 election when he talked with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. DDT tweeted a photograph of him and Lavrov in the Oval Office.  

Today, DDT met with his private lawyer Rudy Giuliani in the White House in their plotting to “prove” the false conspiracies about Ukraine instead of Russia interfered in the 2016 election and the Bidens’ corruption. Fresh from his trip to Ukraine, Giuliani supposedly said that he found “more than you can imagine,” a meaningless statement like the ones DDT made when he claimed to have proof that President Obama was not born in the United States. DDT continues to use a foreign government to get “dirt” on a political opponent while he may be impeached for the same reason. He also asked Giuliani to tell lawmakers and AG Bill Barr when he found in Ukraine. Leaving DDT in the White House also allows him to continue his illegal approach to smear his political opponents for the 2020 election.

After DDT froze aid to Ukraine, and the OMB scrambled to find a justification. Then they said that it was legal to freeze aid on a “temporary” basis—eight times in August and September to look legal. Now a new memo claims the aid was frozen to study whether the spending complied with U.S. policy. Congress passed the aid, and DDT signed it. No one made a “study” until DDT withheld the aid for his personal benefit. The memo cited times that Congress had withheld aid, but not the executive branch. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tried to defend DDT by saying that the money was released to Ukraine which takes away any problems, but at least $20 million legally owed Ukraine is still sitting in the United States. The biggest irony of Thursday’s “debate” was the desire of GOP House swamp creatures calling for draining the swamp. Where will GOP members of Congress go without a swamp?

DDT claims not to be watching the impeachment hearings, but his 123 tweets yesterday say differently. That number tops his former record of 105 last Sunday.

U.S. prosecutors may investigate corruption in Ukraine by focusing on associates of DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani and their relationship to Ukrainian state-owned Naftogaz natural gas company that may have violated a law prohibiting paying bribes to foreign officials. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman offered to make a senior official at Naftogaz the CEO to get business for their own liquified natural gas operation. The two men used ties to Giuliani to try to get U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired because she might oppose their plans. The scheme fits a foreign bribery charge that doesn’t require consummation to be a violation. Parnas and Fruman have already been indicted for funneling foreign money into U.S. elections and hiding the source of other donations. Prosecutors are pursuing Giuliani’s involvement, and Ukrainians complained about his trying to change the Naftogaz board while seeking investigations of the Bidens.   

In the midst of impeachment publicity, DDT seems to be trying to put on his best face for his being in the midst of a maelstrom. He claims that he “wouldn’t mind the long process” and that yesterday’s approval of the articles of impeachment has politically benefited him. Before the Senate trial, however, the House must finish its business.

Tomorrow, the House holds a brief pro-forma session; on Sunday, the House Judiciary Committee releases its report to the Rules Committee. Jim McGovern (D-MA), chair of the House Rules Committee, said that the panel would meet Tuesday to debate the rules for the floor debate such as the length of the debate and the number of amendments. The process might be shorter than other committee debates because it has only 13 members, nine Democrats and four Republicans. A hot topic could be no Judiciary Committee hearing with GOP-chosen witnesses. Listeners can expect more repetition of the word “unfair.” Although the House rules require such a hearing, it could be held after the Judiciary Committee votes.

Another decision from the Rules Committee is whether to vote on GOP amendments to the articles of impeachment. Democrats could block them, but Republicans presented five amendments in the Judiciary Committee, including attempts to remove the articles. DDT and House Republicans are still protesting the allegation that DDT withheld a White House meeting and $391 million in military aid until Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky announced investigations into Joe Biden and his son Hunter along with admission of a false debunked allegation Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election. Republicans say that DDT met with Zelensky and released the aid without the announcement; Democrats say DDT released the aid only because his threats became public. About $20 million has also not been released yet.

The second article, obstruction of justice, is based on DDT’s direction for aides and agencies to not comply with congressional subpoenas. Republicans claim that the articles detailed no specific crimes and still maintain, falsely, that impeachment cannot exist without crimes.

Democrats comprise 233 members in the House to the 197 Republicans and independent Justin Amash, who demanded impeachment when he shifted from his earlier GOP registration. Four seats are vacant—two Democratic and two Republican. Several “blue dog” Republicans who earlier said they preferred censure and might not vote for impeachment are moving toward votes for impeachment. If the House approves impeachment, it will pick lawmakers, called managers, to present the case against DDT for the Senate trial.  

The House is expected to impeach DDT on Wednesday, December 18, just one day shy of the 21st anniversary of Bill Clinton’s impeachment. U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts would preside over the trial, and DDT’s legal team could respond to the House managers. Unless the Senate votes on the articles of impeachment immediately after the opening arguments, according to McConnell’s suggestion. He would avoid the trial if the law did not require him to at least vote—after all the senators swear “under God” that they will render “impartial justice.”

Former Florida AG Pam Bondi, who received a questionable donation from DDT’s now-defunct charitable foundation in exchange for quashing an investigation into DDT’s university, is senior legal adviser for DDT’s Senate trial defense. To get this job, she had to quit her job for Ballard Partners, a lobbying firm connected to both DDT and part of the investigation into Giuliani’s associates including Lev Parnas. The company paid Parnas, who referred a client, the Turkish government, to Ballard Partners which is cooperating with New York prosecutors. Bondi, Parnas, DDT, conspiracy theories about Ukraine, extorted investigations into the Bidens, frozen military aid to Ukraine, impeachment, the Senate trial—they’re all tied together, even the Turkish government.

The winner of the DDT’s polarization of U.S. politics? Russia.

September 27, 2019

DDT: Week 140 – The Unraveling in One Day

Horrifying news about Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) pours out so fast that a day is like a week. Impeachment was the big news until late this afternoon when the Washington Post  reported DDT told two senior Russian officials in 2017 that he didn’t care about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election because the United States interfered in other countries election. DDT did it in the Oval Office at the same time he revealed highly critical information about ISIS obtained from Israel, information even withheld from allies. During the same meeting he gloated about firing former FBI Director James Comey to relieve personal problems for him and told the Russians he could have “a great relationship with you guys” except for “the press.” Records about this meeting may be hidden in the same location as DDT’s July 25 telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a computer reserve for covert operations. After the whistleblower complaint, John Eisenbert, White House deputy counsel for national security affairs and a national security legal adviser, directed the Zelensky transcript be put into the highest secret classified system although there was no reason that any of these documents be treated in this way.

White House officials tried to limit DDT’s conversations with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian leader Vladimir Putin and secreted the ones that were made. A transcript of DDT’s call to MBS in the aftermath of Saudi Arabia’s torture and dismemberment of U.S. journalist Jamal Khashoggi was never circulated although it had no sensitive national security secrets. Information about these calls may be with the Zelensky transcript. 

Today, three House committees—Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight—subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about contacts with Ukraine. The three chairs Eliot Engel (D-NY), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) told Pompeo refusal to comply with the subpoena would be obstruction forming an article of impeachment. They also deposed State Department officials in the next two weeks: former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch (October 2), U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker (October 3), Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent (October 7), Counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl (October 8), and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland (October 10). Yesterday, DDT missed a deadline to provide information and documents about contacts with Ukraininan officlals. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) said that the investigation “will be centered” in the Intelligence Committee under Schiff.

Volker, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, resigned his special envoy post after revelations that he connected DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani with Zelensky’s right-hand man, Andriy Yermack, to investigate Joe Biden. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave Volker his job as a volunteer while he remained the head of the John McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University.

Giuliani canceled a paid appearance at a Kremlin-backed conference in Armenia next week after the media reported on his speech. Putin and other top Russian officials are expected to attend the two-day conference sponsored by Russia and Putin’s trade alliance, the Moscow-based Eurasian Economic Union.

The National Rifle Association acted as a “foreign asset” for Russia before the 2016 presidential election, according to a report from the Senate Finance Committee after an 18-month investigation. The NRA “provided the Russian nationals direct access to the Republican Party leaders at events including its Annual Winter Board Meetings and NRA Annual Meetings, and facilitated additional access to conservative organizations like the Council for National Policy, National Prayer Breakfast,” and other events. The report also described how NRA facilitated the infiltration of Russian agent Maria Butina and former Russian government official Alexander Torshin into domestic organizations and built relationships with Russian government officials including travel to Russia. NRA may have violated numerous tax laws and illegally promised access to U.S. officials in exchange for Russian business.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who bitterly fought laws to stop Russian hacking into voting systems, received $3.5 million for his Senate Leadership Fund from Len Blavatnik, business partner of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Blavatnik donated another $3.8 million to campaigns for GOP leaders and PACs.

A federal judge blocked the indefinite detention of migrant families, declaring it inconsistent with the 1997 Flores court settlement governing migrant children in U.S. custody.

The first House Republican is supporting an impeachment inquiry. Nevada’s Mark Amodei said that he wants the House to “put it through the process and see what happens.” That brings the total to 238—all others Democrats except for former Republican Justin Amash from Wisconsin who changed affiliation to independent this year. Five days ago, only 135 House members supported an impeachment inquiry. Only nine House Democrats are still opposed after Hawaii’s Tulsi Gabbard, presidential candidate, caved.

Impeachment has consumed the media this week, the polls in favor are rising. Today’s Hill-HarrisX survey showed that support for proceedings have gone up 12 points in three months to 47 percent. The increasement is across both parties and within independents. A PBS-Marist poll puts impeachment support even higher at 49 percent, compared to 46 percent opposition.  

Even Russia is laughing at DDT about his extorting Ukraine to get him elected by investigating Joe Biden.

The Ukraine whistleblower scandal may have to compete with another one: according to a court filing, an IRS employee accused DDT of trying to interfere with the mandatory presidential audit system. House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) wrote Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin about credible allegations of “evidence of possible conduct”—potential “inappropriate efforts to influence” the program.

A disaster for DDT is his losing control of the press with its continuing outpouring of damaging information toward him. His new press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, snarks mostly in writing, and no press conference has been held in the White House for over 200 days. He’s even losing the highly polarized Fox network where hosts attack others for demanding the truth on their shows. Fighting back against Shep Smith, Tucker Carlson tried to protect Joe diGenova, who DDT once considered hiring for his lawyer, after deGenova denied the federal election law cited above. Gabriel Sherman writes:

“A Trump identity crisis at Fox as Hannity frets, Lachlan Murdoch prepares for a post-Trump future, Paul Ryan whispers in Rupert’s ear, and Shep Smith and Tucker Carlson trade blows.”

For years, Fox controlled the message for the far-right audience, but Roger Ailes is gone and Rupert Murdoch is replaced by his son Lachlan. Months ago, DDT began bashing Fox, largely for its polls showing him under water, and Sean Hannity said that the whistle-blower’s allegations are “really bad.” Hannity supported CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, brother of New York’s Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo, after DDT called Chris “nuts” and showed a “total loss of control” in a heated argument at a bar. For four years, Fox avoided reporting on DDT’s negative side, but impeachment has created a “management bedlam” that “no one knows how to cover,” according to a Fox staffer. Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace threatened to take Smith off the air if he attacks Carlson again. Former House speaker Paul Ryan, now on the Fox board, advised Lachlan Murdock to break with DDT, but others say that Fox must be loyal to DDT’s supporters.

Fox’s Chris Wallace said that the “spinning” from DDT’s defenders is “deeply misleading.” He didn’t directly name his Fox colleagues but laid out the case that the whistleblower complaint has been credible, disagreeing with the attempts of his host, Sandra Smith, to use DDT’s talking points. Stopping Smith’s reference to DDT’s quote that the whistleblower’s informants were “close to spies,” Wallace said:

“That is very, deeply troubling. These are people inside an administration that are saying that something was going on that they were very, deeply troubled by. To call them spies and to suggest that perhaps we should deal with them the way we’ve dealt with other people, with treason, which is in effect to execute them, really seems to be to strike at the very heart of what whistleblowers are all about.”

To Shep Smith, Wallace said:

“I always think reverse the situation. Whistleblowers who claim that Hillary Clinton had acted improperly during Benghazi. How would we have felt if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama had accused them of treason? I think you have to consider it that way.”

Juan Williams joined the fray when he took umbrage with co-hosts on The Five who repeated DDT’s talking points.

DDT has already started a break with Fox by promoting farther-right OANN where people can find shows by such past politicians as Sarah Palin and gushing about its coverage. OANN is known for promoting conspiracy theories, and one of its “journalists” also writes for Russia’s Sputnik. Media Matters reports that “the network has a history of race-baiting and presenting anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-abortion reporting.”

The news won’t stop: some lawmakers plan to meet during the next two weeks despite a scheduled congressional recess.

July 28, 2019

DDT: Week 131 – Disastrous Domestic Events

A second day of false and racist tweets from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) about what he calls the “Cumming [sic] district” came from a slanted video by a guest on Fox & Friends who sought out the most struggling, severely impoverished Baltimore neighborhoods. The heavily gerrymandered district has urban, suburban and rural areas ranging from well-off to poor, but the video focused on only one aspect. DDT’s racist rants followed Cummings’ criticism of southern border detention centers, subpoenas for emails and texts of White House aides including Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, and Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony where Cummings asked people to pay attention to activities of DDT and his associates.

Kushner owns thousands of rental units in Baltimore County providing substandard housing to lower-income tenants and cited for hundreds of code violations. His company made repairs only after threats of fines for mice infestations, mold problems, and maggots. DDT wants Cummings to thank him for low unemployment figures for blacks, but most of the drop in unemployment rates for blacks came during President Obama’s terms (16.8 percent to 7.8 percent) and from Democratic policies.

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defended DDT’s racist comments, saying he would have been fired as representative if his district had Cummings’ problems. Compared to Cummings’ district, Mulvaney’s former district, South Carolina’s 5th district, has a lower median household income and a similar poverty rate, 14.9 percent versus 16.6 percent. The Baltimore Sun’s editorial ran with the headline, “Better to have a few rats than to be one.”

Afraid that Congress will see his tax returns, DDT is suing the House Ways and Means Committee, the New York state attorney general, and a New York state tax official to hide state tax returns—although the House has not tried to get the returns. His lawsuit follows a complaint from the House committee to get DDT’s federal tax returns.

A judge also ruled that   a lawsuit against DDT’s alleged deceptive and unfair business practices may proceed. Roberta Kaplan, who successfully argued the Supreme Court marriage equality decision in U.S. v. Windsor, represents the plaintiffs who claim that DDT and three of his children scammed them.

A federal jury convicted Michael Flynn’s former business partner Bijan Rafiekian because of the work that the two men did for Turkish interests during the last months of DDT’s presidential campaign in 2016—acting as an unregistered foreign agent and lying to the DOJ. Flynn was DDT’s national security adviser for 24 days; his sentencing is pending.

Four automakers—Ford, Honda, VW, and BMW—from three continents have a deal with California to sell the state more fuel-efficient cars after DDT rolled back tougher standards.

Election systems in all 50 states were Russian targets, according to the heavily-redacted Senate Intelligence Committee report. Subsequent volumes will report on Russia’s use of social media for influencing the vote. The committee recommended a paper trail for voter machines and backups for registration systems, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has refused to take any action. A new hashtag #Moscow Mitch came from Joe Scarborough who asked, “How can Moscow Mitch keep denying that Vladimir Putin continues to try to subvert American democracy?” Lobbyists for the two largest electronic voting machine vendors that provide 80 percent of the voting machines in the U.S. donated to McConnell’s campaigns. Fourteen states used electronic voting systems with no paper trail in 2018.

DDT thought he was home free after a judge ruled in favor of his new rule requiring asylum seekers to ask for protection in another country before crossing the southern border, but soon after that ruling, another judge blocked DDT’s rule. The second judge stated that the “new Rule is likely invalid because it is inconsistent with the existing asylum laws.”

In the UN, DDT blocked condemnation of Israel’s demolishing Palestinian homes on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Israel claimed that the 10 apartment buildings were a threat to Israeli armed forces, a barrier outlawed by the UN in 2004. Israelis performed the demolishment operation in the night and displaced Palestine refugees, some of them for a second time. https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/07/1042981

This is “who we are” as a country as DDT brings out the worst in people:

Three million more poor people may go hungry, thanks to Minnesota millionaire Rob Undersander who said he managed to get food stamps. Over 250,000 children won’t receive free school meals, no one with $2,000 in savings can receive food stamps, and people are discouraged from working longer, getting a job with better pay, and saving for education or emergencies. The change, claimed to save $2.5 billion, will require expenditures of extra paperwork, staff hours, and other costs.

DOJ’s AG Bill Barr plans to kill people by lifting the 16-year hiatus on federal capital punishment with five executions in December and January. Conviction for one of them has been described as “unreliable.” Twenty-one states abandoned capital punishment, and several others have frozen them.

Pedro Arriago-Santoya is the seventh person to die in ICE custody in the past nine months. At least 25 people have died in ICE custody since DDT was inaugurated, and another 12 have died in federal immigration custody that includes Border Patrol station and youth migrant detention centers.

ICE posted a job from a for-profit company for “lead physician” of a “facility” who will be “philosophically committed to the objectives of the facility” and “based on the company goals, objectives and philosophy.” That company, GEO, “permitted armed men to forcibly remove the fathers [from their children] from their rooms at the Karnes Detention Center by using bulletproof vests, shields, knee pads, boots, helmets, tear gas equipment and guns” and told them “that they would never see their sons again.” That “general practitioner” can make $400,000 a year without board certification.

Francisco Erwin Galicia, the 18-year-old U.S.-born citizen captured in Texas 75 miles from the Mexican border, was imprisoned in a detention center for 23 days. He lost 26 pounds and considered self-deporting just to escape horrific conditions. Locked up with 60 other men in an area so crowded that some of them slept in the toilet area, he was given only a few “HandiWipes” for cleaning—no showers, no clean clothes, no other hygiene. He had his papers, but, according to their own documents, border agents lied about his telling them that he was a U.S. citizen. Galicia was denied a telephone call to his mother for help and released only after Dallas Morning News reporting.

Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley West School District in Pennsylvania sent 1,000 threatening letters to parents, telling them their children could go into foster care if the lunch debt of over $10 wasn’t paid. Rep. Omar Ilhan (D-MN) has co-introduced a bill to stop multiple incidences of lunch debt shaming. Oregon gives free lunches to students up to three times above the poverty level.

Carrizo Springs, the “model” detention center for unaccompanied migrant minors used to show how well migrant children are treated, is closing. Opened last month, the facility has a five-year, $8.8 million lease; BCFS Health and Human Services received a $308 million contract through January 2020 to house up to 1,344 children at a cost of $750 to $800 per child per day. Children will be sent from the non-profit facility to for-profit centers like the already-crowded one in Homestead (FL) where inmates have been abused. 

After McConnell was forced by public decency to allow a vote for the House bill passing by 402-2 that provides health care for 9/11 First Responders, it passed that chamber by 97-2. Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart was instrumental in the bill’s House passage and watched McConnell take the bill to the Senate floor. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), one of the no votes, was furious because of no offset costs for the annual $1 billion expenditure. Paul supported the tax cuts for the wealthy and big business that cost taxpayers $1 trillion ever year.

Like deadbeat DDT, VP Mike Pence isn’t paying his bills, this one $24,000 for security at a fundraiser bringing him $700,000. The event was at the Caribou Club in Colorado owned by a gay couple.

The 40-percent tax cuts for big business failed; private-sector investments dropped for the first time in several years in opposition to GOP promises of increased business investment. Tax cuts aren’t paying for themselves, they aren’t boosting economic growth, and they don’t increase private-sector hiring. Businesses bought back their stocks and gave markets a false short term boost before they sheltered their benefits overseas.

The Equifax settlement promising $125 for each person whose personal data was stolen may be $.21 if all 147 million people apply, and the money won’t hide Social Security numbers. Yet people who do nothing automatically waive any right to take legal action against Equifax. People can check here to see if their data was stolen; the deadline is 1/22/2020. People who settle also waive any right to take legal action. Those who want to keep the option of taking legal action must mail a written “request for exclusion,” postmarked by Nov. 19, 2019, to the settlement administrator. Updates available here.

June 11, 2019

How to Create More Problems with Immigration

When Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) purged the Department of Homeland Security, many people blamed his aide, neo-Nazi Stephen Miller, for the firings. Even GOP senators were upset about Miller’s ascension in DDT Land: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) called Miller the “guy behind the curtain.” Miller was behind DDT’s executive order banning Muslims from the United States and the family separation policy at the southern border. He crafted DDT’s anti-immigrant speeches, and his ideas mesh well with DDT’s bigotry toward people of color in an excuse of “law and order.”

During Miller’s high school at Santa Monica High School and college days at Duke University, he spread his philosophy of “Americanism,” especially in his push for English-speaking first. In a column for the college newspaper, he argued that multiculturalism threatens U.S. identity. In Washington, D.C., he worked for congressional members, such as then-Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) before he became senior policy adviser for DDT’s presidential campaign. Richard Painter, a White House ethics lawyer during President George W. Bush’s administration, called Miller “the most notorious racist in the Trump White House.”

According to former DHS officials, Miller got rid of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen by leaking information about asylum seekers at the southern border to the Washington Examiner and then giving copies of the newspaper reports to DDT. Nielsen was joined in April DHS departures by Randolph Alles, director of the Secret Service, and the White House withdrawal of Ron Vitiello’s nomination for head of ICE. On June 1, Miller dumped Lee Cissna, Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) former staffer as head of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Pushing out Cissna irritates Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) because he, along with other establishment senators, hates DDT’s replacement, Ken Cuccinelli. Cissna is a knowledgeable immigration hawk; Cuccinelli has only loyalty to DDT. Under Cissna, his department created systems to delay approvals and increase denials for immigrants, participating in DDT’s attempt to get rid of DACA and sunset Temporary Protected Status designations for several countries. Cissna was in charge of cracking down on asylum-seekers that returned thousands of them to Mexico where they remain in danger.

DDT needs Republican senators, including McConnell, to get Cuccinelli confirmed, but the former Virginia AG has no experience in immigration law and regulation. He also leads the Senate Conservatives Fund with the goal of defeating incumbent Republicans in primaries. Two years ago, Cuccinelli signed a letter calling for McConnell to step down.

Cuccinelli does have experience in persecuting immigrants by restricting them access to public services, employment, and citizenship. In 2010, he supported the Arizona law permitting police to investigate the immigration status of any person stopped by law enforcement and issued a legal opinion expanding a policy to include any suspected undocumented immigrant in Virginia. In the state senate, Cuccinelli proposed a law allowing employers to fire employees who didn’t speak English in the workplace and deny them unemployment compensation. Another of his bills would permit businesses to sue competitors for economic damages if they believed the employers hired undocumented immigrants plus $500 “for each such illegal alien employed by the defendant.” In 2008, he encouraged Congress to call a constitutional convention for the purpose of amending the 14th Amendment of the constitution by excluding citizenship for children born to undocumented immigrants.

After trying to hide his anti-immigrant past during his lost run for governor, he appeared on conservative media advocating the militarization of the border and prevention of all immigrants from Central America. He also wrote an op-ed for the Washington Examiner to support the deployment of troops to the southern border.  

As AG, Cuccinelli crusaded against the Affordable Care Act and fought to keep Virginia’s sodomy law, struck down by the Supreme Court a decade earlier. Equating being gay with pedophilia, he started the website VAChildPredators and listed the names of everyoneone convicted of sodomy. Despite his claim to protect children, the anti-sodomy law was only for consensual oral or anal sex between adults—no matter what gender. The Supreme Court struck down his attempts.

In other attacks on LGBTQ people, he fought to keep same-gender couples from adopting and tried to eliminate nondiscrimination protections in colleges and universities. If he heads immigration and citizenship, he can continue to block children born overseas to same-gender parents from becoming citizens. His appointment will be the destruction of same-gender families and death sentences for LGBTQ asylum seekers.

Cucinelli also opposes all abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, and the mother’s health. To Cuccinelli, any information about sexuality—even in higher education—is symptomatic of the “moral depravity that has crept across this commonwealth and this country.” The Catholic Church creates a “culture of dependency on government, not God,” according to Cuccinelli, because they want to care for the poor, immigrants, and uninsured. He ridiculed a Catholic diocese newspaper for putting these issues in its voter guides.

A vehement climate change denier, Cuccinelli frequently tells audiences to exhale carbon dioxide together to “annoy the EPA.” He investigated former University of Virginia climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann for fraud because Mann sought government funding for climate change research. Much of Cuccinelli’s funding came from fossil fuel companies that he inappropriately helped in coalbed methane extraction rights, according to a state judge and Virginia’s inspector general. He followed the “birther” conspiracy about President Obama’s birth place falsely being in Kenya and then asserted that the president was re-elected through voter fraud. At the site of the Virginia Tech mass shooting where 32 people were killed, he bragged about his NRA “A” rating.

In addition to Cuccinelli being a truly awful nominee, his appointment may be illegal. The 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act requires that nominees to lead agencies must have had another federal government position in the executive branch, G-15 or above, for at least 90 days before the vacancy or in another Senate-confirmed role. DDT slipped Cuccinelli into a newly invented “principal deputy director” position to carry out his nefarious activities for at least two years as “acting” and not requiring confirmation.

Cuccinelli’s competitor, Kris Kobach, is even crazier than Cuccinelli. A few weeks ago, Kobach was a media joke for the demands he made for being “immigration czar”: access to a government jet 24 hours a day; an office in the West Wing; a staff of seven; walk-in privileges with DDT; Assistant to the President rank with commensurate high pay; security detail; face of DDT’s immigration policy; guaranteed weekends off for family time; orders that secretaries of DHS, Defense, Justice Ag, Interior, and Commerce immediately follow his directives without question; and the promise that he would be appointed DHS Secretary by November. Kobach wrote anti-immigration laws, used faulty computer software to suppress the vote, and acted as adviser to the even crazier former Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

To suppress the U.S. vote, Kobach led DDT’s “election” commission, disbanded in 2018. The same year, Kobach lost his run for Kansas governor to a female Democrat—in Kansas! Now he’s considering a run for U.S. senator after Pat Roberts plans to not run again. Republicans are so unhappy about the possibility that National Republicans said they will “make sure he doesn’t make it past the primary.”

DDT seems to be bringing undocumented immigrants to the southern border in far greater numbers than President Obama. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) holds DDT responsible. In April, he said:

“I called up all the folks I’ve been working with on this, what’s going on. They said, well, there’s a couple of small reasons and one big reason. The small reasons are the elections in Guatemala and better bus travel from southern Mexico to northern Mexico. But the big reason? As Trump rants about the border, so many people are saying, ‘I’m in this terrible situation; if I’m going to go, I’d better go now.’ It’s all Trump-generated.”

Numbers at the southern border have increased since then. DDT advertises his wall and announces elimination of aid to Central America to improve the political and economic conditions. In 2014, U.S. aid to El Salvador drove down violent crime in the country, and migration dropped. Since then, climate warming and rainfall decrease eradicates corn crops in Honduras and loss of agriculture in Guatemala. DDT’s rejection of climate change and its problems will mean more “climate refugees.” He also may be causing worsening economic conditions in Central America forcing refugees as a rallying point for his 2020 election. Illegal immigration fell for eight years under a Democratic president before it steadily rose after the Republicans took over all three branches of government.

In DHS’ and privatization’s latest failure, photos of airport passengers and other personal data including license plate information collected by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol have been stolen in computer hacking. The surveillance facial-recognition program, sold by Amazon, has thus far been proved to be faulty, especially for women and people of color. The private firm Perceptics, most likely the target of the attack, is part of an initiative to verify identities of all travelers at the border. Just another evidence of encroaching authoritarianism in the United States.  

June 10, 2019

‘The Best [Corrupt] People’

When Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) got elected, he frequently claimed that he would “surround myself only with the best and most serious people.” These “best people” have proved to be a disaster, even to DDT, and his phenomenal turnover means that at least 50 top officials left him within the past 16+ months since his inauguration.

Some of their names might not be well-known, but their disastrous influence remains. For example, leaving this past week was Kevin Hassett, chair of DDT’s Council of Economic Advisers and advocate of DDT’s tax cuts. Hassett said that his departure has nothing to do with DDT’s disastrous tariff decisions, but he questions a successful forecast in GDP growth for 2019 and is “very much concerned” about the growing fiscal deficit. Other departed economic advisers include Paul Winfree who came from the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation, Jeremy Katz who also pushed the tax cut bill, Dina Powell who worked with Ivanka Trump on “empowerment of women,” Gary Cohn who was formerly president and COO of Goldman Sachs who wasn’t happy with DDT’s blaming “both sides” in the neo-Nazi protest in Charlottesville (VA) and left after dissatisfaction with DDT’s tariff policy, Everett Eissenstat who left to be GM’s senior vice president of global public policy, Clete Willems who dumped a job to negotiate with China to join a law firm public law and policy practice, and Linda McMahon who helped build World Wrestling Entertainment who did stay with DDT to chair one of his super PACs. And these are only some of the people in his economic world.

Staying, of course, is DDT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who seems to be charge of almost everything because he doesn’t have any other place to go. Almost totally silent for his first two years, he appeared two times in the past few weeks. One was testimony with hardliner neo-Nazi Stephen Miller in a closed Senate session about DDT’s new immigration plan. Kushner managed to avoid most questions and failed to provide solutions while frequently interrupted by Miller. Republicans publicly praised Kushner for the presentation of a merit-based system for the highest skilled people but privately said that he lacked clear answers. He said that immigrants would be required to pass a civics test to get access to the point system but then avowed that the central purpose is to unify immigrant families, including mothers and children. He couldn’t answer a question about what do to with undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. Because Kushner rejected the idea of DACA, GOP officials gave the immigration plan as much chance as Kushner’s peace plan in the Middle East—which is zero.

Kushner’s next performance, an interview with Axios, got a lot more media play: 

“Uh when there are things that they don’t do that we do not approve of, we we talk about that with them privately, but we feel like we’re in a position now where there’s a lot of interest that we have that are shared with them.”—about Kushner’s relationship with Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who tortured and dismembered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (After Kushner’s interview, DDT said he didn’t blame MBS for Khashoggi’s murder.)

“It’s a horrific thing that happened, and what we’ve done is we’ve called for full transparency.”—about whether the Saudis should return Khashoggi’s body for a proper burial.

“Look, I would not have come into government had there been anything salacious and nefarious that I was worried about.”—about the headline, “Background check chief has ‘never seen’ mistakes and omissions at level of Jared Kushner forms.”

“So, the answer is no, absolutely not. You can’t not be a racist for 69 years, then run for president and be a racist. And what I’ll say is that when a lot of the Democrats call the president a racist, I think they’re doing a disservice to people who suffer because of real racism in this country…. Like I said, I wasn’t involved in that.”—a statement that he made over and over about whether DDT is a racist, with the example that DDT continually claimed that President Obama was not born in the United States.

“Look, I think that the president did his campaign the way he did his campaign.”—about whether DDT’s campaign pledge to ban Muslims from the U.S. was “religiously bigoted.”

“It doesn’t make a difference.”—about the number of refugees permitted to settle in the U.S.

“I do think this is a terrible thing. Because you want people who have been successful in this country, who have taken advantage of the greatness of the opportunity that America provides, to go into government and to serve their country. When they get harassed and they have their companies looked at and their employees have to deal with this nonsense because people want to push a narrative, I think that’s a terrible thing.”—about whether Deutsche Bank should examine transactions moving cash from companies Kushner controls to Russians.

“[The meeting was] total waste of time, [and] we were not given anything that was salacious.”—about whether he should have called the FBI about Russian offering dirt on Hillary Clinton and whether he would call the FBI if it happened again.

“Look, I’m not here to be trusted.”—about why Palestinians don’t trust him in the peace negotiations.

Kushner owns part of real estate company Cadre that received $90 million in mysterious foreign funding since he became DDT’s senior adviser. The money was funneled from a Cayman Islands through Goldman Sachs. Kushner was refused a security clearance, but DDT demanded that he be given one.

Another Cabinet member is also being investigated for conflict of interest. Elaine Chao, Transportation Secretary and wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), has high-level political connections in China because of her family’s shipping company which helped both Chao and McConnell prosper. Part of Chao’s job is to promote U.S. maritime industry.

Chao’s father James S.C. Chao was once roommate with Jiang Zemin who became president of China. He founded Foremost Group, a New York-based shipping company in 1964 and received a big contract with the U.S. government to ship rice to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. In 1984, the Chao family acquired part of a Chinese-owned manufacturer of marine electronic equipment although they can’t remember the investment. With some of its ship-building financed by Chinese loans, Foremost ships over 70 percent of its freight, mostly iron ore, to China for steel manufacturing. DDT has temporarily lifted tariffs on imported steel. Chao’s Transportation Department has cut programs for U.S.-flagged ships and replacing ships to train U.S. mariners. Congress replaced the money, but Chao is still being questioned for her connections and status to boost Foremost’s reputation and visibility. In her confirmation hearings, she failed to mention her family’s deep ties to the Chinese maritime industry and her accolades China gives her, a violation of her questionnaire. Thirteen members of the Chao family donated over $1 million to McConnell’s campaigns and PACs. James Chao gave the couple at least $25 million.

McConnell himself also has problems with taking campaign money from Russians–$3.5 million from oligarch Oleg Deripaska. When DDT wanted to lift sanctions last year against mafia-esque Deripaska, Vladimir Putin’s friend, McConnell pushed the Senate into following DDT’s directions although the GOP House voted 362-53 to keep the sanctions in place. Lifting sanctions allowed Deripaska’s aluminum company Rusal and its parent company En+ back into the U.S. Within four months of McConnell’s favor to Deripaska, who also worked with DDT’s convicted former campaign manager Paul Manafort, Deripaska’s Russian aluminum company Rusal sent $200 million for a $1.7 billion aluminum plant in northeastern Kentucky. Part of the action came from Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), known for his ethical problems with prostitution. Vitter’s wife, one of DDT’s judicial nominees, was not been able to get confirmed for over 18 months—partly because she didn’t support Brown v. Topeka, the Supreme Court case that just celebrated its 55th anniversary for overturning public school segregation. Soon after Sen. Vitter told McConnell about brokering the deal to pour Deripaska’s money into Kentucky, wife Wendy Vitter was confirmed for her lifetime federal judicial term. And the payoffs are all out in the open, no need to hide any of the quid pro quo.

The husband/wife team work well together. Chao designated a special liaison, McConnell’s advance man Scott Inman in McConnell’s 2014 election, to help with grant applications and other priorities from the Transportation Department for McConnell’s state of Kentucky, providing him with at least $78 million for his projects as he runs for re-election in 2020. No other state has this advantage. Earmarks are supposedly no longer legal, but McConnell has found another way to funnel a large amount of money into his state as these details prove. As McConnell said, “All 100 senators may have one vote, but they’re not all equal. Kentucky benefits from having one of its own setting the agenda for the country.” And set it, he does.

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