Nel's New Day

August 7, 2017

DDT’s 200 Days of Disaster

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 9:01 PM
Tags: , , , ,

Two-hundred days ago, Republicans talked about how they would pass bills on infrastructure, tax reform, and healthcare repeal. They didn’t. The man who lives in a dump (his words for the White House) when he can’t escape to some place nicer is now spending his 200th day in office at his Bedminster (NY) resort. Much has been written about his first 200 days while he has focused on seven topics: President Obama, Hillary Clinton, fake news, Russia, loyalty, his election win, and his crowd size.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) may spend most of his tweets on these topics because he has no major accomplishments. The news has concentrated on DDT’s staff departures, leaks, religious and racial bigotry, gaffes, personal attacks on people, blame for Republicans, and the possible GOP presidential candidates in 2020. He crows about the 1.07 million jobs created during his first six months. Yet this number is the weakest in five years during the same period of time: 2016 – 1.24 million jobs; 2015 – 1.37 million jobs; 2014 – 1.51 million jobs; and 2013 – 1.17 million jobs.

Exactly what has DDT accomplished with his GOP Congress? He got himself a Supreme Court justice farther right than anyone else on the court after Republican senators refused to talk to a nominee from President Obama for almost a year. He overturned 15 of President Obama’s regulations, some of them to keep people healthy, among the 44 bills he signed into law. Five others were bureaucratic tweaks, and 14 were ceremonial or routine. One encouraged people to fly flags on Veterans’ Day. The first law he signed allowed him to have James Mattis as defense secretary, and one of the last ones diminished his ability to change sanctions on Russia.

Among his 42 executive orders, several have ended up in court with some overturned. DDT claims the rising DOW charts as a victory, but, like the other economic improvements, the increase has an eight-year trajectory upward from President Obama’s two terms. At the same time, the GDP, based on the first two quarters, looks mediocre for the year.

DDT supporters have talked about how horrible the press is toward their beloved, but the media only reports the news. The Newsweek article this week by Alexander Nazaryan, accompanied by a cover that DDT will probably not post at his resorts, is an example of news that will offend DDT supporters. Nazaryan begins with DDT’s tweets about President Obama six years ago this week when he criticized the president for playing golf and going on vacation. DDT had already insisted that President Obama was born a Muslim outside the United States. Since that time the economy vastly improved, and tens of millions of people became insured, but he said that the U.S. is going “down the drain.”

Inaugurated 200 days ago, DDT has made personal profits by going to his own properties at least 64 days of his first 200, has played golf at least 40 times during the same time, is in the midst of a 17-day vacation that he tries to excuse as “working” while he make more profits for his place in Bedminster (NJ). He has been little involved in congressional work, concentrating on insults to Republicans through tweets and a few meetings with them. With only one solo press conference in 200 days, DDT has gone west of the Mississippi only once—a campaign rally in Iowa. He has gone to neither Iraq nor Afghanistan. DDT has had time to tweet at least 1,182 times: “accusations of Obama ‘tapping’ Trump Tower, juvenile taunts hurled at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, warmed-over insinuations about the Clintons cribbed from Fox News, complaints about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, complaints about ‘the Republicans’ and endless laments about ‘fake news,’ many of them followed by assertions that are comically untrue.”

After DDT’s election, people hoped for the promised $1 trillion infrastructure plan but got only the failed Muslim ban and Trumpcare that moved into the white supremacist “merit-based” immigration cutback that even DDT couldn’t pass. He promised to “drain the swamp” but instead stocked it with officials focused on destroying whatever agency they are in. DDT’s sole goal is to eradicate whatever President Obama built, except for the economy which DDT then takes credit for.

Scowls, monotone voice—these show a person who wants only to get out the job. DDT’s only happy times are the cheers that he gets from his campaign rallies. His mistakes and secrecy have led to bloodhound Robert Mueller looking into every piece of his and his family’s life, including their financial affairs which may make corruption transparent. He watches about five hours of television a day, and the “president’s” schedule from the White House shows that Mike Pence is working far harder than DDT. “I thought it would be easier,” DDT said about his current job. “I loved my previous life.”

As DDT brags about “absolutely tremendous economic progress,” he’s riding on his predecessor’s coattails, a president who brought the country out of a recession with 7.8 percent unemployment rate. He brags about reducing the number of undocumented immigrants, but President Obama dropped the number to a 44-percent low. DDT’s success has been in keeping tourists from coming to the United States and bringing their money.

Everything that DDT does is for his personal benefit. Nazaryan wrote, “Trump has made it clear that he sees the White House as little more than a branch office of his marketing business, the Trump Organization.” He chooses to learn nothing about government, history, and culture, and he has been a failure at “the art of making deals.” Instead of diplomacy, he threatens people and loses. He insists that people praise him and seeks admiration everywhere, even from the White House Interns (right). So desperate for worship, he praises himself—the best speeches, the biggest crowds, the most bills signed, etc.

Mark Shields said on PBS Hour:

“Everybody, I can honestly say, with rare exception, who has been associated with this administration and this president has been diminished by it. Their reputation has been tarnished. They’re smaller people as a result of it.”

DDT incessantly lies while he tries to hide everything about the government and his personal affairs, including his massive conflicts of interests. His incompetence leads to havoc which results in incessant whining. He takes credit for anything positive and blames everyone else for problems and failures. Michael Winship wrote that DDT’s maneuvers resemble those of “a crime boss when cornered by his own lies.”

People waiting to see a change in DDT and “give him a chance” are seeing more bizarre behavior. By now they realize that he wanted the “repeal and replace” of the Affordable Care Act for the sole purpose of getting a win at the cost of millions of lives. He will use anyone as a scapegoat from Republican senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska to thousands of transgender military members. The impulsive bully continues to worsen. Hiring John Kelly for the Chief of Staff gave gullible watchers hope, but this morning’s tweets show that DDT needs a 24-hour keeper who stops him from watching television and pressing the keys on his cellphone. No one will do that, and DDT won’t allow them.

DDT’s “deals” are bad for the United States. His secretary of state is either hiding or begging North Korea not to fire missiles, his attorney general is “beleaguered,” and the secretary of energy tries to convince people that greater quantity encourages more buying. In DDT’s meeting with Vladimir Putin, Russia gets what it wants in Syria, and Congress has to take over to increase sanctions. Saudi Arabia persuaded the U.S. to support its blockade of Qatar, a U.S. ally where 11,000 U.S. military members are on a military based used to attack ISIS. Every country in the world knows that DDT’s succumbs to personal flattery.

The polls for DDT are the lowest for any president during the past 70 years at this time, and three-fourths of people can’t believe all or most of what he says. Only 33 percent approve of DDT, down seven points since June. The right-wing Rasmussen poll puts him at 38 percent approval.

Sixty-three million people in the United States gave the rest of us this disaster.

September 19, 2016

Media Focuses on Clinton’s Non-Stories, Largely Ignores GOP Zombie Issues

Benghazi and Hillary Clinton’s emails are two issues that Republicans refuse to let die, despite tens of investigations into each one that fail to prove anything that the Democratic presidential candidate has done wrong. Today, the Clinton Foundation zombie problems returned when a headline referencing a quote from Bill Clinton read “‘Natural’ For Foundation Donors to Seek Favors.” As usual, the media, determined to make something out of nothing, took this headline out of context from Bill Clinton’s response in an NPR interview:

“It was natural for people who’ve been our political allies and personal friends to call and ask for things. And I trusted the State Department wouldn’t do anything they shouldn’t do.”

Leaked emails show that people aren’t getting the favors that they request, and all the aggressive searching by Hillary haters has found absolutely no “pay for play” from the Clinton Foundation that has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

While dwelling on Clinton non-stories, Sunday talk shows ignored the real story about the “pay for play” Trump Foundation already fined for illegal campaign donations to Florida’s AG Pam Bondi in exchange for her dropping an investigation into the fraudulent Trump University. A less biased media would have covered the New York investigation into Trump illegally using the Trump Foundation charity funds to purchase at least one oil painting and one football helmet. Trump has not donated one cent to his “foundation” since 2008 while he gets credit for donating funds that other people gave to his foundation. Instead of reporting on Trump’s “pay for play” violations, the media concentrated on Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis and Trump’s infomercial on Dr. Oz’s show.

The same media largely ignored Kurt Eichenwald’s detailed cover story in Newsweek which reported that Trump’s business interests “will constantly jeopardize the security of the United States” if Trump wins the presidency and does not sever all connections to the Trump Organization. As Eichenwald wrote, the Trump Organization has been “largely ignored” by media despite its “serious conflicts of interest and ethical quagmires” in nearly all foreign policy decisions during a Trump presidency. Eichenwald provides information about the Trump Organization’s “deep ties to global financiers, foreign politicians, and even criminals” and “a web of contractual entanglements that could not be just canceled” which could conflict with presidential major national security decisions and negotiations.

GOP members zombies:

Donald Trump desperately wanted to drop the birther issue after claiming for many years that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States. His giant mistake, however was blaming Clinton for initiating the theory. A strategist had suggested that the 2008 Clinton campaign could use the idea that Barack Obama was “not American,” but Clinton immediately quashed it. There’s no fire where Trump is blowing smoke. Yet campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus repeatedly accused Clinton of starting the birther theory on Sunday talk shows.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie went one better. He told CNN’s Jake Tapper that Trump hadn’t said anything about the issue “for a long time.” Fortunately, Tapper, a journalist who believes in telling the truth, reminded Christie that Trump continued birthering for five years after the president released the long-form birth certificate to the public in 2011. A lively exchange of “true” and “not true” ensured followed by Christie saying, “It wasn’t like he was talking about it on a regular basis.” In fact-checking Christie’s claim, the Washington Post wrote:

“This is such bogus spin that we have to wonder how Christie manages to say it with a straight face…. [C]learly Christie is either lying or he is so misinformed that he has no business appearing on television.”

Christie should shift to protecting himself. His involvement in the closure of the George Washington Bridge that created havoc and physical danger to people has returned. While his allies and employees have pled guilty or gone to court in this issue, Christie has stuck to his position that “I had no knowledge or involvement in the planning or execution of this act.” In today’s trial for two of those accused of closing the bridge, both both prosecutors and lawyers for the defendants agree that Christie “knew his close associates were involved in a plan to shut down lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge as it was happening and that the closings were intended to punish a local mayor for declining to support him.”

In 2013, at the time of the event, Christie ridiculed the controversy because his office would never be so petty and partisan. After evidence proved that it was a petty and partisan vendetta, Christie claimed ignorance. The micromanaging governor swore that he had no idea that his top aides used his name to abuse their power. Today Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna has told jurors that David Wildstein and Bill Baroni “bragged” to the governor directly about the scheme to close lanes onto the George Washington Bridge in order to deliberately cripple Fort Lee. The trial is against former top Christie aides Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly, but Christie may suffer the fallout, perhaps to the point of being impeached. It already lost him being a potential GOP vice-presidential candidate, and last May, Christie’s approval rating had fallen to 29 percent.

Dick Cheney, another zombie, has come to life in the body of GOP vice-presidential candidate, Mike Pence who said that his role model is the vice-president who put the United States into the preemptive war with Iraq costing the country millions of jobs and trillions of dollars. Cheney’s career as VP was a time of incompetence, lies, opaque ruling, scandal, missing emails, and deadly bad judgment. When he left office, Cheney’s approval rating was 13 percent, about half Richard Nixon’s support at the height of Watergate. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell called Cheney an “idiot.” If Trump were elected and followed his plans, Pence, who sees himself a Cheney clone, “would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy” while Trump would focus on “making America great again.”

The zombie of Ralph Nadar, which may have led to George W. Bush’s appointment as president in 2000, may have returned in the name of Gary Johnson. A rumor circulated last week that Bill Weld might drop out of the race as Libertarian vice-presidential candidate because he didn’t want to be another Nadar. “No chance,” says Gary Johnson, top of the Libertarian ticket. Polling at 9 percent, Johnson is far away from the 15-percent threshold for participating in a presidential candidate debate, an advantage for him because he doesn’t interview well and might lose votes in a debate. Asked on public radio whether he was worried about votes for him leading to Trump as a president, he responded that he didn’t care and that it wouldn’t be his problem.

A pattern in GOP campaigning is to have one message in English and a different one in Spanish. For example, during his successful Nevada senatorial run in 2012, Dean Heller put his hardline immigration policy into English with a softer approach in Spanish. Another shift came from the GOP response to the State of the Union address last year when the Spanish version supported immigration reform—opposite to the message in English. This last spring, Kansas printed the wrong voter registration deadline, six days after the deadline, in the Spanish version and omitted the use of a passport for identification.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) brought this zombie to life in his struggling re-election. In Spanish, McCain brags about seeking comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship for children brought illegally to the United States; the English skips over these policies and draws an image of McCain as hardcore immigration control. After this “translation” was questioned, a campaign spokesperson said that the website versions were “never intended to be identical.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocking the budget bill has aroused the zombie of shutting down the government. Congress has only 11 more days—two “working weeks” before a the government closes down, but McConnell “delayed” a procedural vote until 2:15 pm tomorrow. At least the bill may allow Puerto Rico’s Planned Parenthood clinic to access federal grants to fight the Zika virus, a provision that had held up the bill for several months. In his arrogant manner, McConnell said that “Senate Republicans stand ready to move forward” and wants Democrats to “complete negotiations,” something that they have been willing to do for some time.

Asked about the agreement, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said, “Close is relative.” The Dems also want funding for the Flint (MI) water crisis to be in the mix, something the GOP turns down.

Ideally two weeks is enough time, but the bill must be sent to the House, returned, and then reconciled while ultra-conservatives in that chamber demand itty-bitty budget bills instead of an omnibus which go into next year instead of being a stopgap that returns—in zombie fashion—on December 9 this year.

Just a few zombies from people who ignore history.

February 3, 2012

Siegel Represents the 1 Percent

Newt Gingrich has a number of loyal supporters, including the ostentatious David Siegel. People may not recognize his name, but they will recall his 90,000-square-foot unfinished house in Florida that he’s still trying to sell for $75 million. When I wrote about him a few months ago, a computer search lacked anything current about him. Siegel, however, has reappeared in the limelight, this time with a lawsuit.

When filmmaker Lauren Greenfield obtained Siegel’s permission to make a documentary about the opulent home patterned after Versailles, home of French kings,  the year was 2007, and Siegel thought he could afford to build his palace. By 2008 the recession stopped the building but not the film, The Queen of Versailles, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last month. Siegel’s suffering company, Westgate, has a time-share resort in Park City (UT) where Sundance films are shown.

Sundance’s promotion described the collapse of Siegel’s time-share empire and the foreclosure on his mansion. Siegel took umbrage to this and the description of his “rags-to-riches-to-rags story,” claiming that this publicity is hurting his company’s business. Sundance changed the description but kept the offending phrase. Meanwhile the original description is still wandering the Internet. Not satisfied, Siegel tried to keep Sundance from showing the film.

His next approach was to file a lawsuit that alleges, “As a result of the defamatory statements, Siegel and Westgate have been injured in their good name, credit and reputation, have been shunned by customers and the business community, specifically the Park City area, with whom they previously had business relations and have suffered a loss of customers and diminished profits.” The solution, according to the lawsuit, is a sum in excess of $75,000 in damages from Sundance, Greenfield, and her husband-filmmaker, Frank Evers, as well as court costs.

“It’s just one more effort to ridicule and humiliate the 1 percent,” said the 76-year-old business owner. “They made it look like my company is in ruins, that I live in a pigsty, that my wife is a gold-digging blonde bimbo, that she’s overendowed, that she’s a shopaholic.” Then he backtracked a bit. “Some of that might be true but it’s not the way they presented it. She’s a shopaholic, but what woman isn’t.”

Siegel is also hostile about the filmmakers’ omission of his political and charitable activities. He takes pride in having had the Rev. Jerry Falwell in his home and describes himself as a “political kingmaker” who was “personally responsible for getting George W. Bush elected president.”

The Newsweek column (2/6/12) about Siegel and his lawsuit is available on the net complete with a photo of the house, but this source is missing the statistics, such as 23 bathrooms, and the lovely photo of David and Jacqueline Siegel. Those images are well-worth seeking out the original.

David Siegel has made himself an icon of the income inequality, the “class warfare” which Republicans contend is tearing the country apart. He wishes to build a 90,000-square-foot house while 1.5 million people are homeless and another 15.8 million are paying over 50 percent of their income toward house, making them eligible for tenant-based housing subsidies. Only one in nine, however, receive this benefit. In 2010, 17.2 million households in the United States, approximately 1 out of 7 in this country, were “food insecure” (a polite term for hungry), the highest number ever recorded in theUnited States. That was a year ago; the number increased in the last 12 months.

Food stamp use rose 70 percent over the past four years with the trend expected to continue. With the overwhelming layoffs and house foreclosures in late 2008 and early 2009, the number of people needing money for groceries went from 27 million people to 46 million, the number receiving food stamps six months ago. This assistance gives people about $2 per meal. Meanwhile the cost of living increased 3.6 percent while wages stayed stagnant—if people had wages.

The Gallup organization released information last October that American workers are now three times more likely than Chinese workers to be unable to feed their families. In the United States, 19 percent of Americans worried about being able to feed themselves or their families, compared to only 6 percent of Chinese. In this country almost one in four children go to bed hungry every night.

With his desire to build the biggest house in the nation and his lawsuit from feeling insulted, David Siegel is a symbol of the wealthy conservatives who believe that the people without homes, the ones who can’t feed their kids, just aren’t working hard enough. He supports Newt Gingrich for president, the man who said, “I repudiate, and I call on the President to repudiate, the concept of the 99 and the 1. It is un-American, it is divisive, it is historically false…You are not going to get job creation when you engage in class warfare because you have to attack the very people you hope will create jobs.”

Fact: The U.S. is number 1 in the world in terms of income inequality.

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