Nel's New Day

August 19, 2017

DDT: Week Thirty – Further Losses

People cheered at the departure of white supremacist Steve Bannon from the White House, but the problems of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) aren’t over. Last Tuesday’s press conference his support of neo-Nazis and denigration of those who want racial equality started a firestorm that lasted the rest of the week. As he blasted the people he called the “alt-left,” Chief of Staff John Kelly, “Trump’s Last Hope” according to a Time cover, stood helplessly by. His words started a domino effect resulting in his isolation.

By now DDT has alienated business leaders, world leaders, Republican leaders, religious minorities, racial minorities, military leaders, Fox network, the intelligence community, and his own staff. All he seems to have left are Sebastian Gorka, Stephan Miller, Saudi Arabia, racist Christian evangelicals, and white supremacists, including their media and David Duke. He doesn’t even have Steven Bannon any more

Only 24 out of 292 GOP members of Congress criticized DDT by name, but most of the others still aren’t happy about the disturbance of their agenda. DDT switched tweet attacks from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to “publicity seeking Lindsey Graham” and “Flake Jeff Flake.” Both had criticized DDT’s espousing an equivalent between white supremacists and their opposition.

DDT’s advisory councils have fallen apart. As CEO members of both the Manufacturing Advisory Council and the Strategy and Policy Forum dropped like flies, he disbanded them. He eliminated the Infrastructure Council, created by an executive order, before it was even finalized. The next one to go was the President’s Commission on Arts and the Humanities, created by Ronald Reagan in 1982, as all the members resigned, stating:

“Your words and actions push us all further away from the freedoms we are guaranteed. Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values. Your values are not American values.”

The first letters in each paragraph of the letter spelled RESIST. Following these disasters, DDT announced that he would not be attending the Kennedy Center Honors on December 3.

DDT also lost Carl Icahn as an advisor for regulatory matters after Icahn financially benefitted from his advice. One reason for his departure may be an expose on Icahn’s conflicts of interest and questionable legal actions in the New Yorker.  

At least 16 charity organizations, including the American Cancer Society, have pulled their events from DDT’s resort Mar-a-Lago, and more are leaving every day.

House Democrats introduced a congressional censure resolution because of DDT’s support of the white supremacists. The conservative USA Today published an editorial in favor of the resolution and called for “formal condemnation.” Conservative columnist for the Washington Post Jennifer Rubin stated that “any Republican not willing to sign on [to the censure resolution] should be voted out. Period. It’s the only litmus test that matters.” The only president formally censured in Congress was Andrew Jackson in 1834.

DDT is considering privatizing the war in Afghanistan, with Eric Prince, the brother of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, in charge. Prince, who had owned the violent Blackwater security services, wants his workers to be controlled by an appointed “viceroy” who would make all the decisions including spending and contracting.  He’s recommending billionaire Stephen Feinberg for the job. Feinberg was a member of the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in college.

After creating chaos in the insurance market with his sabotage of the Affordable Care Act, DDT has reluctantly agreed to make the August subsidy payments to insurance companies. GOP legislators had urged DDT to make these payments because they know they will get blamed for ACA problems. The Congressional Budget Office announced this week that stopping these payments would increase the federal deficit. Ending them would immediately increase insurance premiums and cause other government subsidies to rise. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the health committee, said that congressional members should quickly pass legislations to continue next year’s payments. These payments keep deductibles and co-payments far lower. Without them, premiums would increase by 20 to 25 percent in the next two years. Conservatives have preached doom and gloom about the ACA, but only two U.S. counties don’t have an exchange insurer for 2018. Cutting off the subsidies would cause insurance companies to abandon the exchanges, leaving customers without coverage.

  • A Kaiser poll discovered the following about public opinion surrounding the ACA:
  • About 80 percent want DDT to stop undermining the ACA and take action to make it function.
  • Only 30 percent want the GOP to continue the “repeal and replace.”
  • Sixty percent say that DDT and the GOP are to blame for any upcoming health problems.
  • A solid majority, 52 percent, like the ACA, with only a majority of Republicans against it. That’s a nine-point increase since DDT was elected.

While you were watching Charlottesville:

Opioids: DDT’s press conference on August 8 announced no need to declare an emergency. Then he received bad press about his failure to address the problem and declared an emergency. But he failed to give official notice to Congress which means that there will be movement on the crisis.

North Korea: Kim Jong-Un backed off after China dropped sanctions on the nation, and DDT seemed to take credit.

NAFTA renegotiations: DDT wants more than tweaking, Mexican farmers and workers demand the trade agreement scrapped, and Canada will challenge the rules in favor of its lumber and other trade issues. What can go wrong?

Stock Market: Even a bounce of 60 points after Bannon’s firing didn’t save the DOW from going down over 280 points on Thursday and Friday. DDT probably won’t announce that.

Terrorism in Spain: DDT, the self-identified “fact-seeker, cannot respond to the tragedy of a van driver killing and injuring people in Barcelona, Spain, so he reverted to his lie from the past about General Pershing conquering terrorist Muslims. Late night host Stephen Colbert described DDT’s speech.

Vladimir Putin: In a poll of 37 countries, people in almost half of them declared that they trusted the Russian president more to do the right thing for the world than DDT—and Putin only got 26 percent. Countries with more faith in Putin include Japan, South Korea, Venezuela, Mexico, Germany, France, Greece, and Turkey.

Increased danger for people: Last week, DDT rolled back a regulation requiring truck drivers and train engineers be screened for sleep apnea, blamed for deadly rail and highway crashes. Metro-North in the New York City suburbs had discovered that 11.6 percent of its engineers suffer from this fatigue-inducing disorder.

No flood protections: This week he rescinded flood protections for federally funded buildings and infrastructure, revoking President Obama’s executive order that required new public infrastructure projects such as subsidized housing, hospitals, and fire departments be built a few feet above the “100-year floodplain.” DDT sees no problem with seas rising and is determined to erase President Obama’s entire legacy. The man inaugurated last January said that regulations slow down the approval process and wants to spend $200 billion on projects that can be damaged beyond repair in a few years. Federal flood insurance claims cost an annual average of $1.9 billion.

If President Obama wanted it …:  DDT has taken down a bike sharing station at the White House for its employees. Bike share participants save an average of $631 a year.

Cover coverage: DDT keeps making the covers on major publications.

Lawsuits against DDT:

Five active duty transgender service members are suing DDT for his tweets banning them from the military, having relied on earlier guidance permitting them to be openly transgender in their jobs. The lawsuit asks the courts to immediately block new guidelines that would fire them. The suit states that DDT’s tweets have “already resulted in immediate, concrete injury to Plaintiffs by unsettling and destabilizing plaintiffs’ reasonable expectation of continued service.” Secretary of Defense James Mattis had asked for an extension to an earlier year-long student of implementing the change to ensure that it is smooth.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a class action lawsuit for “unsubstantiated claims of gang affiliation” in immigrant deportations of minors. Accusations include the detention and transport of children to detention facilities without notification of parents or lawyers.

Neo-Nazi rally plans: Boston Common, August 19; Laguna Beach, August 20; Phoenix, August 22; San Francisco, August 26; Berkeley, August 27; various cities including Boston, Phoenix, Houston, Upland, Kansas City, and San Francisco, September 9. Participants are so-called America First, Act for America, and Trump Campaign.  On August 19, advocates of racial justice organized groups at over 30 cities, and the “free speech” rally in Boston brought out far fewer white supremacists than the almost 40,000 counter-protesters.

DDT’s tweet about the counter-protesters who supported equality:

“Looks like many anti-police agitators in Boston. Police are looking tough and smart! Thank you.”

Almost 1,000 people rallied in Portland (OR) on August 18 against hate. The best sign: pick a torch.

April 18, 2015

U.S.-Supported Ukraine Run by Neo-Nazis, Oligarchs

Filed under: Foreign policy — trp2011 @ 9:52 PM
Tags: , , ,

Announcements of presidential candidates, hawks demanding the U.S. declare war on Iran, and the bills giving “religious” discrimination rights to the ultra-conservative have pushed Ukraine off the media. Yet the United States continues to support the neo-Nazi leadership in a country taken over, like the United States, by oligarchs. Yesterday, however, hundreds of U.S. paratroopers landed in Ukraine to train its forces in a fight against “pro-Russian rebels.” Brigade planning officer Captain Ashish Patel said, “This training will help them defend their borders and their sovereignty.” The 173rd Airborne Brigade already trained with Ukrainian forces last September.

The conflict has been going on for 18 months since street protests ousted President Viktor Yanukovych because he prevented treaties with the European Union. In the past year, over 4,800 people have been killed and 1.2 million displaced by the conflict. By July EU nations and the U.S. declared sanctions against Moscow, accusing Russians of supplying rebels with the missile that took down a Malaysian commercial airplane. A ceasefire in September was renewed in February although separatists have reclaimed 200 square miles of land in eight months. A bipartisan group of congressional members, led by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), insist on supplying Ukraine with antitank missiles, reconnaissance drones and other arms.

The U.S. allies in Europe—including Great Britain, Italy, and Germany—oppose this move, arguing that Russia will overcome Ukraine and take the weapons. Ukrainians may even hand the weapons over to Russia; espionage shows that Ukrainian forces cannot be trusted with these weapons. Sending the weapons will also increasingly deteriorate U.S. relationship with Russia, driving Putin to join China in an alliance against the United States.

War hawks ignore or deny the part that neo-Nazis played in the February 2014 coup and their subsequent military offensives against ethnic Russians. Fourteen months later, on the 70th anniversary of the conclusion to the Holocaust, the Ukrainian parliament extended official recognition to Ukrainian fascists who collaborated with the Nazis in killing Jews. Any politicians and journalists who criticize the U.S.-backed regime in Ukraine suffer from not only repression but also death.

During World War II, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army joined the Nazis in their mass-murder of Jews, Poles and other minority groups. The Simon Wiesenthal Center condemned both Ukraine’s recognition of the UIA and a second bill that equated Communist and Nazi crimes. Dr. Efraim Zuroff said:

“The decision to honor local Nazi collaborators and grant them special benefits turns Hitler’s henchmen into heroes despite their active and zealous participation in the mass murder of innocent Jews. These attempts to rewrite history, which are prevalent throughout post-Communist Eastern Europe, can never erase the crimes committed by Nazi collaborators in these countries.”

 

After the 2014 coup, neo-Nazi militias attacking ethnic Russian cities in eastern Ukraine wore swastikas and SS symbols, a fact largely ignored in the mainstream U.S. news media. Despite the resurgence of neo-Nazi rioters warring against ethnic Russians in the east, the mainstream U.S. media blames ethnic Russians for not submitting to the post-coup regime in Kiev. Hatred for Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin, is so prevalent in the United States that it can be easily used to justify aggression against Russia while actually protecting the Ukrainian neo-Nazi leadership.

 

The Jerusalem Post has written about concerns for the safety of Jews in Ukraine, especially after the discovery that the police chief for Kiev’s province has ties with a neo-Nazi organization. Right-wing

Dimitri Jarosch, official adviser to the army leadership, also organized many of the fighters behind the February 2014 putsch. U.S.-backed Maidan protests against Yanukovych in November 2014 came from neo-Nazi militias trained in western Ukraine and bused to Kiev. Commander of the Maidan forces, Andriy Parubiy, became national security chief and incorporated Maidan militia forces into the National Guard that sent to eastern Ukraine to fight ethnic Russians resisting the coup. The U.S. government and media consistently cheered the openly white supremacist, anti-Semite neo-Nazis who overcame Ukraine. Azov commander Andriy Biletsky, also head of an extremist Ukrainian group called the Social National Assembly, said, “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

 

Ukrainian officials in Kiev have acknowledged that they knew about the militias’ extremist positions but needed troops who were strongly motivated to fight. Over a year after the coup, mainstream U.S. news outlets claim that any mention of significant neo-Nazi presence in Ukraine is “Russian propaganda.”

Ten opposition figures have mysteriously died in the past few months: some are clearly murders while others are claimed to be suicides by the Ukrainian government. This past week Oleg Kalashnikov, a political leader of the opposition Party of Regions, was shot to death in his home. He had been campaigning for the Ukrainians to celebrate the World War II Allied victory, infuriating western Ukrainians who identify with Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. The next day Ukrainian journalist Oles Buzina was murdered after he protested government censorship on news outlets. Another dissident journalist, Serhiy Sukhobok, was supposedly killed in Kiev, but the Ukrainian government has withheld information about his murderers. If any reports about these deaths emerge in the U.S. media, the killed are called “pro-Russian,” and the U.S. media now avoid any mention of Ukrainian leaders as neo-Nazis.

 

The other rulers of Ukraine are oligarchs, the wealthy businessmen who made their money from privatization during the 1990s. One of them has gone too far even for President Petro Poroshenko, who had appointed him governor. Khor Kolomoisky, who financed volunteer battalions to supplement the country’s army, deployed his personal militia, many of them neo-Nazis, to block regulations on his business interests. The other oligarchs remain, owning and controlling the media and the banks while putting their people into the parliament through a closed party-list voting system. As in the United States, Ukraine’s government is controlled by the wealthy. U.S. media smoothed over the oligarchic control of Ukraine by writing that these men were “too rich to bribe.”

Like the far-right policies in the United States, slash old-age pensions and remove worker protections. They also hiked the price of heating fuel in exchange for a $17.5 billion bailout of the country’s collapsing financial structure.

 

U.S. control of Ukraine is also seen in its Finance Minister, Natalie Jaresko, former chief executive officer of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), created by Congress from taxpayer money in the 1990s to help jumpstart an investment economy in Ukraine. Although her salary was only $150,000, her IRS reporting in 2004 was approximately $450,000. To attain her new position, Jaresko gained Ukrainian citizenship literally overnight; now she is responsible for dispensing $17.5 billion from the International Monetary Fund and billions more from U.S. and European government. Later compensation was removed from public disclosure.

 

Considering Jaresko’s history, there is a question about whether the money she manages will go to the poor Ukrainians or its other oligarchs. Meanwhile the United States is sending paratroopers to the Ukraine to train neo-Nazis who already commit “ISIS-style” war crimes, according to Amnesty International. Ukrainian neo-Nazis want a war with Russia, and the United States plans to give it to them.

March 12, 2014

Ukraine – Follow the Money

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:30 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

The media flavor of the month is Ukraine. Everyone has an opinion about what we should do with the country, but most people don’t know anything about the country and its issues. GOP members vary taking military action to free Ukraine weeks ago, as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and only 8 percent of CPAC attendees want, to a position that would “secure and guarantee American safety at home and abroad.” Sen. Paul Rand (R-KY) is a strict isolationist, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) wants a fight against “totalitarianism,” and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) wobbles somewhere in between. The only thing that the GOP members agree on is that President Obama is wrong, no matter what he does.

Those vilifying President Obama for not taking action need to look back prior to Election Day 2008 about anyone criticizing the president’s approach toward foreign conflict when this was described as “traitor” and “fifth columnist.” They were accused of “treason,”  and characterizing the president as weak or inept was to encourage enemies to act aggressively against the United States.  Ed Koch wrote:

“Democrats and some Republicans in Congress are seeking to humble, embarrass and, if they can, destroy the President and the prestige of his position as the Commander-in-Chief who is responsible for the safety of our military forces and the nation’s defenses. By doing so, they are adding to the dangers that face our nation.”

Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved legislation to help Ukraine and sanction Russia. If the entire Senate doesn’t pass the bill tomorrow, it must wait until after the senators return from another recess and after Crimea votes on whether to leave Ukraine for Russia. The bill, supposedly paid for by cuts in Army and Air Force procurement, would pay $315 million to Russia and Russia’s gas company and lend Ukraine an additional $1 billion that the House has already approved.  

The basis of most conservatives’ attitudes in the United States is that Russia is a bad country and whatever it does is bad unless it’s persecuting LGBT people. There is, however, another perspective about Ukraine. In describing Ukraine’s revolution, Robert Parry wrote about the “neo-Nazis running four ministries running four ministries including the Ministry of Defense.” Although Parry is no fan of Russia, he wrote that, unlike Ukraine, it at least has “a functioning economy.”

In Ukraine, ten “oligarchs” (in the United States we call them billionaires) are buying up media outlets and politicians while almost everyone else in the country faces austerity through great reductions in pensions and already inadequate social services. Continuing political issues there will surely encourage the “rise of right-wing extremists who espouse not only the goal of expelling ethnic Russians from Ukraine but Jews and other peoples considered not pure Ukrainian.” None of this information appears in U.S. media, but a BBC Newsnight entitled “Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine” gives more information.

President Viktor Yanukovych signed an agreement on February 21 to relinquish much of his power, hold early elections, and order police to withdraw. European nations co-signed the agreement and then did nothing while neo-Nazi militias overran government buildings, forcing officials to flee the country. The U.S. didn’t complain when they violated Ukraine’s constitution, but the U.S. perceives Crimea’s vote to secede as criminal.

Crimea wants to stay with Russia because most of the people are Russian and many speak Russian, but the U.S. opposes that action. Yet the U.S. supported the separation of 15 nations from the Soviet Union in 1991 and the separation of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. That same decade, U.S. facilitated the ethnic divisions of Yugoslavia and bombed Serbia to give Kosovo independence. The U.S. helped oil-rich South Sudan split from Sudan in 2011. Strategists may say that Crimea and Ukraine are far different from all these, but all secessions are unique.

The question that the U.S. doesn’t address is whether the regions of Crimea and eastern Ukraine should be able to vote on a separation. Part of Ukraine goes with Russia, giving Russians more security from the neo-Nazis’ ethnic cleansing. The rest of Ukraine can vote whether to join the European Union.

Russia is threatening to cut off natural gas to Ukraine as it has done before. The European Union also gets 20 percent of its fuel source from Russia through pipelines that cross Ukraine, and that country gets 70 to 80 percent of its natural gas from Russia. This situation makes the U.S. fat-cats gleefully rub their hands together as they consider the potential of Russia going up against Ukraine. It’s 2003 all over again when the U.S. went into Iraq to take over its oil fields.

Ukraine pipeline

Politicians are demanding that the U.S. sell its “surplus” natural gas to Europe and Ukraine as well as remove any controls on fracking in the U.S. Rand Paul wants to drill ” in every possible conceivable place” and send all the U.S. energy resources overseas. Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced a bill in the House requiring the Department of Energy to approve and expedite permits to ship U.S. natural gas to Ukraine and other countries, and Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced a similar measure in the Senate.

Expanding the exports of natural gas would largely benefit only the wealthy and the corporations because they are the ones who make a decision about where to send their product. Asia pays more than Europe, and there is no impetus to shift the direction of the shipping. The expansion of producing and exporting natural gas would only increase the rate at which resources in the U.S. are depleted and the destruction to the environment. Another problem is the lack of existing infrastructure to send natural gas to Europe. And the third is that the need for this product is seasonal, making the idea undesirable for corporations only interested in profit.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s accusation that Vladimir Putin is violating international law by sending Russian troops into Crimea flies in the face of reason. Ukraine’s president was democratically elected, and the neo-Nazis attacked the country. As for invasions, the United States is guilty of this multiple times, including Afghanistan and Iraq a little more than a decade ago. This invasion ended up killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and left their country a bitterly divided mess. Currently the Obama administration is blowing up people in other nations though the use of drones.

Since World War II, the list of countries where the United States have overthrown democratically-elected leaders includes Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, Allende in Chile in 1973, Aristide in Haiti twice, Chavez in Venezuela briefly in 2002, Zelaya in Honduras in 2009, Morsi in Egypt in 2013, and now Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2014. Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela is getting nervous in case the U.S. turns its effort for “democracy” on him. And now the right-wing in the U.S. wants this nation to toss out another democratically-elected leader. 

United States agents have indulged in murder and torture, and the government has a history of training and working with fascists, dictators, drug lords, and terrorists in places including Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, France, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Iraq, Korea, Laos, Libya, Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Panama, The Philippines, Syria, Uruguay, Yugoslavia, and Zaire. And that’s just since 1944. It’s hard for the United States to take the high ground with Russia when one considers the country’s history.

The United States employs a foreign policy, including with Ukraine, is follow-the-money. The Congress is buying into the philosophy. It is willingly sending money to a foreign country while refusing  to help desperate people within its own borders, and it providing big energy companies with everything they want. This investment will be paid back many-fold in the future with corporate campaign donations.

Civil Rights Advocacy

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

AGR Daily 60 Second News

Transformational News; What Works For Seven Future Generations Without Causing Harm?

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

GLBT News

Official news outlet for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of ALA

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Central Oregon Coast NOW

The Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW)

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: