Nel's New Day

July 6, 2018

GOP Values: Separate Children from Parents, Charge People Higher Prices with Tariffs

Last week, Alexander Azar, HHS Secretary, told a Senate committee last week that the process is simple:

“I could at the stroke of—at keystrokes, I sat on the ORR Portal with just keystrokes and within seconds could find any child in our care for any parent available.”

The day after Azar explained the simplicity of reunification, a federal judge ordered ICE to stop most family separations and reunify the already separated ones. The parents were to have contact by phone by July 6, today, and all children five years old and younger, assumed to be about 100, were to be returned to parents by July 10. The other minor children were to be returned by July 26. The process of reunification seems to be more difficult than Azar claimed. Records linking children have disappeared with some of them destroyed, and the two federal agencies in charge of the separated children and parents haven’t shared records. The HHS solution is to find volunteers to search through 12,000 case records to confirm identities, locations, and connections. When children were separated from their parents, many of them were sent thousands of miles away, and the mothers and fathers were also separated from each other. Many children are also too young and/or frightened to speak.

Four days before the deadline to reunify 100 children under six with their parents, the government asked for an extension because they cannot find parents for half the parents by the deadline. The DOJ hasn’t found parental identification for 19 of the 102 children. Another 38 parents can’t be found—half them somewhere in the U.S. and the other half deported. DOJ wants DNA identification as proof of biological child/parent relationship and vetting that the parents will be fit parents, but the judge sees no necessity if parents arrived at the border with their children.

The judge did offer to delay the deadline for the youngest children if the government provides a list of all children and their parents’ status by Monday morning. He also asked for a status conference over the weekend. The DOJ lawyer, representing the failed agencies, cannot attend a conference. Why? She has “dog-sitting” responsibilities in Colorado that keep her from appearing at a meeting about the status of 100 infants and toddlers involuntarily separated from their parents at the Mexico border. This action represents the status of the U.S. GOP; dog-sitting supersedes reunification of families after children have been torn from their parents.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) failed to buy one of the available sites for his Trump Hotel so Atlanta attorney Loren Collins bought it. TrumpHotels.org shows life at DDT’s “home” for migrant children kidnapped from their parents during the past few months. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) inspired the concept with his tweet, “The real Trump hotel,” accompanied by the photo of a detention facility in McAllen (TX) used as the website header. Collins said he would give DDT the site “in exchange for 10 years of his tax returns and the termination of 25 NDAs of my choosing.” TrumpHotels.org also links to articles showing articles such as DDT’s ridicule of a disabled reporter, his attacks on Mexico, and his unhappiness about parenting.

Collins is a conservative who ran as a Republican candidate for the George state House. Yet his writing shows his dissatisfaction with DDT’s policies, demonstrated in his book about critical thinking and conspiracies, Bullspotting: Finding Facts in the Age of Misinformation. Collins wrote:

“Even if you take all of his ill-defined political beliefs out of the picture, he’s still an ignorant, intemperate, foolish, gullible, intellectually incurious, pathologically dishonest conspiracy theorist who is utterly unqualified for the job of running a country. And every day since he’s taken office, he’s demonstrated how ill-suited he is for a job that demands diplomacy and considered thought.

“Which is why he not only managed to unnecessarily create this current border fiasco, but he cannot even appear that he has any real empathy for the people involved or has given any serious thought to how to remedy it. Instead, as always, he blames others and passes the buck, while he spends time holding rallies and insulting Jimmy Fallon on Twitter.”

DDT proves Collins’ description with his accelerating trade war through the world. The U.S. placed the first duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods today, China accused the U.S. of violating World Trade Organization rules, and DDT claimed that he will put tariffs on all products from China. Soybeans, corn, pork, seafood, and poultry are a few of the U.S. goods that China will target with tariffs. In return, DDT threatened to put tariffs on every Chinese import. Meanwhile, China is holding up shipments from the United States.

Defense Secretary James Mattis wrote that the Pentagon was concerned “about negative impact on our key allies” from the tariffs. Another concern is higher costs for weapons and infrastructure. Other countries could also stop defense purchases from the U.S.

DDT wants legislation to ditch World Trade Organization rules and maybe even WTO itself that would give DDT more control on U.S. trade policy by renegotiating with countries and applying tariffs. The plan follows DDT’s wish to withdraw from WTO. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/team-trump-drafts-radical-economic-bill-unfortunately-crude-name?cid=eml_mra_20180702  DDT’s proposed legislation is the Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act (FART).

One person who won’t suffer from DDT’s trade war is DDT himself. Chinese government-backed firms will continue work on two large developments in Dubai and Indonesia that include DDT’s name. He will be paid to operate his second golf course in Dubai and for the use of his name. DDT’s partner in Indonesia is building a DDT-branded golf course, hotels, and villas, a separate contract from DDT’s planned project in Indonesia. One of China’s top state-owned banks pays $2 million annually for the 20th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan. Ivanka Trump will continue to get blouses, shoes, and handbags from Chinese assembly line workers.

In another attempt to make more money, DDT has called for further lowering the corporate tax rate another percent to 20 percent. Other than businesses becoming wealthier, no one has been helped by the six-month old tax cut. The Dow Jones is lower than it was then, wages are at the same pace, and a few people got small one-time bonuses. The majority of people have a negative view of the tax cuts.The greater the tax cuts, the more Republicans can moan about the deficit and use it to remove the safety net along with Social Security and Medicare.

Other major events of the week deserving longer examination are the resignation of Scott Pruitt and the continuing investigation of the Russian scandal. In an attempt to bury its news, the Senate Intelligence Committee released its report on Russia’s election interference late the day before the Fourth of July. The bipartisan effort concluded that the U.S. intelligence agencies were correct in their findings that Russia tried to help DDT win the presidential election and intended to “denigrate” and “harm” Hillary Clinton as well as “undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process” while helping Trump. The committee also supported the intelligence agencies findings that Russia’s tactics included cyberattacks and intelligence collection “against the U.S. primary campaigns, think tanks, and lobbying groups they viewed as likely to shape future U.S. policies.” There was “no politically motivated pressure to reach any conclusions,” according to the report. The Committee will be releasing a final report to contain information about the possibility of collusion between the campaign and Russia.

At the same time, seven GOP senators and a representative spent the Fourth of July in Russia wooing its officials.

In June, DDT proved himself inept at negotiating with North Korea. Kim Jung-Un got everything he wanted while continuing to build up his nation’s nuclear arsenal. DDT got nothing but still says that he thinks that Kim will keep his deal with DDT. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo feeds DDT’s ego by saying that Kim “made a personal commitment” and promising that North Korea will “denuclearize as quickly as we can achieve that.”

Now DDT is headed to a meeting with Putin in 11 days where he plans to give away more for nothing. National security adviser John Bolton said that DDT may recognize Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. He also echoed DDT by saying that “Putin said…there was no meddling in 2016 by the Russian state,” something that a Senate Intelligence Committee disputes.

Before the Putin meeting, DDT will attend a NATO summit on July 11-12. He has already sent dunning letters to all the members indicating what they owe with an indication of “pay up or else.” His present for Putin the next week will be an attempt to destabilize Ukraine. DDT has already worked to unseat German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Friday the 13th will celebrate DDT’s meetings with UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth II. Protests force him to see them at their homes outside London, Chequers and Windsor Castle. Two million people signed a petition asking May to cancel the “working visit,” a much less prestigious invitation than a formal state visit.

Protesters are planning to be in a number of places, including outside Chequers. DDT may not be directly exposed to the protesters, including the flying of the huge blimp, Trump Baby, but the world will be well aware of their presence. Demonstrations are also planned in Glasgow and Edinburgh when DDT travels to Scotland where he owns two golf courses. Only Vladimir Put supports DDT by now.

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June 23, 2018

DDT: Week 74 – War instead of Nobel Prize

The one thing that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) wanted more than to destroy everything that President Obama had accomplished was to get the Nobel Peace Prize because President Obama did. That chance may be gone after he decided to tear children from their parents. Following global outrage, Thorbjorn Jagland, secretary general of the Council of Europe, declared that DDT is “no longer the moral leader of his country or the world.” (I’m not sure when he was.)  The influential Jagland is one of five members on the committee selecting the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. DDT’s withdrawal from the UN Civil Rights Council was also not helpful to”peace.”

That might be why DDT released a warning about North Korea that could lead up to declaring war on NK. On his return from fawning all over Kim Jong-Un, DDT tweeted that “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” Yesterday he signed a declaration continuing a state of emergency with North Korea:

“The existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula and the actions and policies of the Government of North Korea continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. Therefore… I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to North Korea declared in Executive Order 13466.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis said that he knows nothing about any North Korean actions to dismantle its nuclear weapons, doesn’t expect to hear anything, and has no information about any future meetings. Yet the Pentagon has stopped planning the August military training exercises. Meanwhile, Kim Jong-Un met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to tell him that they are friends.

DDT’s threats of tariffs moving a world trade “skirmish” toward “war” includes an addition of tariffs on more solar products in the 25-percent category after adding ten percent to another $200 billion worth of goods. China called his threats “blackmail” and counter threatened tariffs on most imports, including smartphones, computers, toys, television, and household goods. Soybean futures for July delivery dropped over 7 percent to $8.415 a bushel, the lowest level since March 2009. A ten-percent tariff by China could make another 18 percent decrease; a 40-percent tariff could cause a fall of 40 percent. Over half of the U.S. soybeans are sold to China, the world’s largest consumer of the product.

China’s retaliatory tariffs could cost Iowa farmers $624 million, and Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said that DDT’s trade policies are causing “market price declines” in “corn, wheat, beef, and pork.” Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said his state is “hit harder than any other state by the Canadian retaliatory tariffs,” and Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA) warned that Kraft-Heinz may move its ketchup production to Canada. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) worries about Coca-Cola’s increase in aluminum can costs, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) stated that his state’s steel fabricator has lost its contracts. DDT said that these people will deal with the “pain” because “they understand that they’re doing this for the country.” Many of the people with “pain” voted for DDT because he said he was a competent.

DDT tweeted that he would impose a 20-percent tariff on cars from Europe in response to its tariffs on goods worth $3.2 billion and the existing 10-percent tariff on European car imports from the U.S. Cars from Europe already have a 2.5-percent tariff coming into the U.S., and 25 percent on light-truck and van imports. According to the U.S. Constitution, Congress controls tariffs so DDT must use only the tactic of “national security” to declare them. His recent threats are ignoring that legal issue. People will pay far more from DDT’s tariffs and rising oil prices will cost consumers than the pittance that most of them receive from his tax cuts. DDT declares tariffs, exempts some countries, and then re-imposes them and others, all according to whim. Nomi Prins wrote, “If trust were a coveted commodity [in] the present White House, it would now be trading at zero.”

https://www.theverge.com/2018/6/18/17477170/zte-ban-senate-vote-reinstate   The Senate voted 85-10 to reinstate a ban on ZTE that prevents the Chinese telecom company from buying U.S. components and using U.S. software, citing ZTE as a national security risk, after DDT lifted the ban to “save jobs in China.” The new ban is an amendment to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act, a must-pass piece of legislation that has passed the House, requiring reconciliation between the two chambers.

The executive order indefinitely imprisoning immigrant families wasn’t the only one that DDT signed this past week. He also repealed protections for oceans and Great Lakes to give priority to “ocean industry … particularly oil and natural gas drilling.” This order follows other destructive ones such as permitting coal mines to dump waste into streams and rivers, removing funding to protect the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay, and boosting fossil fuels with taxpayer money.

The Senate voted 48-50 against DDT’s demand to “claw back” about $15 billion in spending that Congress approved earlier this year. GOP Sens. Richard Burr (NC) and Susan Collins (ME) joined 48 Democrats/Independents to sink the bill. White House Budget Chief Mick Mulvaney expressed disappointment that they couldn’t “recapture unnecessary funds” such as ones allotted for federal highway funding and $7 billion in health insurance for children in poverty.

To avoid the problem of violating the emolument clause of the U.S. Constitution, DDT promised that his company will donate all profits from foreign governments to the government. Now he won’t bother figuring out profits because it’s is too much trouble. Legally, DDT must submit a request to Congress to avoid his responsibilities, but I’m not holding my breath until he carries through. DDT’s lawyers are using the same argument against his not carrying through with his promise—he’s above the law.

DDT wants to merge the departments of Education and Labor into one agency to reduce education to vocational training. The plan also shrinks the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), responsible for vetting employees, retirement claims, benefits, and federal workforce policy, an agency that doesn’t seem to be doing any vetting. Other plans to combine assistance for the poor from several different agencies such as housing, food, and energy appear to provide less support for those in poverty.

At the same time, DDT wants to create a sixth military branch by adding the Space Force. None of these ideas can happen without congressional approval. [VP Mike Pence looks on as DDT signs the Space Policy Directive; Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation and wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), watches from the background.)

Doing away with the Department of Education might not be a problem because Secretary Betsy DeVos does more damage than good. Her push to change all schools in the United States to private charters with no oversight through the voucher program is designed to make all “public” schools religious, and she dropped 1,200 probes into public school policies of physical abuse, primarily against black students, as discipline for ditching classes, tardiness, dress code violations, and other similar misbehavior. These complaints as well as those of sexual violence in schools and colleges have been closed with no corrective action. The increased leniency of the department’s Office for Civil Rights regards less investigation into discrimination complaints about students with limited English, education needs for disabled students, and racial harassment. DeVos maintains that her agency has consistent legal standards but gave different regions the latitude to drop cases. The NAACP is suing the education department, accusing it of unlawfully dismissing complaints without a full investigation.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and seven members of her family were asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington (VA) after her support in separating migrant children and parents. When she reported what had happened on her official Twitter, Walter Schaub, former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, pointed out that her use of her “official account for this is a clear violation of 5 CFR 2635.702(a).” The owner explains her reasoning for refusing service to Sanders and describes the occurrence.

Huckabee Sanders was more civil than her religious father, Mike Huckabee, who tweeted a photograph of MS-13 gang members with the message that they are part of Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) campaign committee.

The number of DDT’s lies is growing. In the first four days of the last week, he tweeted false information seven times about immigration and six times on the IG report about the FBI handling Hillary Clinton’s email server. The baker’s dozen doesn’t include his falsehoods on other issues in tweets and public remarks that reinforce his alternate reality about the G-7 summit, the North Korea situation, crime in Germany, and Democrats in general. Repeated lies become believable when people want these lies to be their personal truth. They even ignore the lies about Mexico paying the wall and his inability to stop separation of children and parents that his Wednesday executive order may have halted. Steve Bannon says that DDT doesn’t lie although an interviewer pointed out that DDT admitted he lied about the Trump Tower meeting. In response, Bannon said that he did not know whether Trump’s comments qualified as a lie.

DDT’s fear of the Russian investigation is accelerating. He tweeted “witch hunt” 72 times in the past year—20 uses in May after the FBI raided Michael Cohen’s offices and home with another 22 in the first three weeks of June. This morning, DDT tweeted that poll numbers have “plummeted” about the “witch hunt,” but Fox polls show that the percentage has increased ten percent to 44 percent who believe that DDT’s campaign colluded with the Russians from a year ago. Sixty percent think he should agree to be interviewed by Mueller. And that’s Fox!

June 16, 2018

DDT: Week 73 – More Lies to Add to His Thousands

“I didn’t do anything wrong!” Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) repeated this sentence in a whiny voice during his impromptu press conference on the White House lawn this morning as he lied about a wide variety of issues. A few corrections to the record:

  • The OIG report did not exonerate in the Russian investigation. It was about the way that the FBI and DOJ handled the Clinton email investigation.
  • The same report did not show any bias against DDT because the report indicated that there was no bias.
  • There is no indication of “no collusion,” “no obstruction.”
  • Former FBI Director James Comey did not commit some “very criminal acts,” according to the OIG report.
  • Paul Manafort did have something “to do with [DDT’s] campaign.” With the campaign for five months, Manafort ran it for three months, including his highly visual presence at the GOP convention.
  • President Obama was not responsible for the Russian annexation of Crimea, and “going across the red line in the sand” concerned Syria, not Ukraine.
  • DDT did not always hate the war exercises. He got the idea for the gift to North Korea of ending these exercises from Vladimir Putin.
  • Tearing children from their parents at the Mexico border is not the Democrats’ law. It is not a law—in fact it’s against the law as “deterrence—and it’s a policy created and ordered by DDT and AG Jeff Sessions. And he does not want “laws to be beautiful and humane.”
  • The Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are not “liberating” communities from the scourge of MS-13; ICE is deporting law-abiding immigrants.
  • Despite DDT’s declaration that Michael Cohen is not his lawyer, it’s not clear when that happened.

If DDT didn’t lie about something, he said, “Let’s not talk about it” as he did when asked whether he dictated the statement on Donald Trump Jr.

DDT’s classic statement to the reporters:

“Hey, Kim Jong-Un is the head of a country, and I mean he is the strong head. Don’t let anybody think different. He speaks, and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

Pressed about the meaning of the statement, DDT tried to cover by calling it “sarcasm.” DDT continually describes the mass murderer as “very talented,” “great negotiator,” “very funny guy”–the pandering never stops.

[The Time cover for June 18, 2018, by Tim O’Brien, meant to address DDT’s political attacks on Robert Mueller.]

DDT’s justification for giving away the farm to North Korea without getting anything in return is that he is guaranteeing “complete denuclearization.” A fact-check of his claims at the June 12 news conference and interview with George Stephanopoulos indicates he has added more lies to the thousands he has told since his inauguration. The complete analysis is here.

  • Far more vague than past agreements, this one is not “comprehensive” with no definitions of “denuclearization.”
  • DDT dropped training war exercises without consulting the Pentagon or South Korea. He complained they were “expensive,” but South Korea pays 50 percent of the non-personnel costs of U.S. troop presence on the peninsula.
  • President Clinton didn’t give North Korea billions of dollars in the agreement of 1994; the money went to companies in South Korea, Japan, and the EU. The 1994 agreement contained North Korea’s use of uranium until George W. Bush broke the agreement and North Korea started building nuclear weapons.
  • Iran’s involvement in its regional politics hasn’t improved since DDT dropped the Iran agreement. President Obama never gave Iran money in the agreement; $1.8 billion was the U.S. debt for U.S. military equipment never delivered in 1980 when Iran released four U.S. detainees. Another $150 billion was released from Iranian frozen assets in banks throughout the world. After Iran pays its debts, it will have about $32 billion of their own money left.
  • The U.S. has a trade surplus—not deficit—with Canada.
  • U.S. funding for NATO, based on gross national income, is under $500 million a year out of the nation’s $700 billion military budget. Indirect funding is what the U.S. spends on its own military or missions not including
  • NATO.

Desperate to find some win out of his losses to North Korea, DDT claimed that “thousands of parents” begged him during his campaign to bring back the remains of their beloved sons from the Korean War. The youngest parent would be over 100 years old.

Bored when he arrived in Singapore, DDT demanded that the summit be moved up one day. He was convinced that the idea was bad only when someone told him that he would get better prime time coverage the next day. (Why is it that most DDT news sound as if it belongs in satire columns?) DDT also prefers North Korea state-run news to the Fox network. Wonder how long Fox will stay friends?

In late 2017, DDT said:

“The horror of life in North Korea is so complete that citizens pay bribes to government officials to have themselves exported abroad as slaves. They would rather be slaves than live in North Korea. … Citizens spy on fellow citizens, their homes are subject to search at any time, and their every action is subject to surveillance. In place of a vibrant society, the people of North Korea are bombarded by state propaganda practically every waking hour of the day. North Korea is a country ruled as a cult. At the center of this military cult is a deranged belief in the leader’s destiny to rule as parent protector over a conquered Korean Peninsula and an enslaved Korean people.”

Now DDT claims that “[Kim’s] country does love him. His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor.” He loves North Korea so much that he saluted one of its military officers. DDT was briefed to not salute military officers from other countries. Conservatives complained about a negative reaction from Democrats to DDT talking to North Korean leadership after Republicans bitterly decried the possibility of President Obama even speaking to Kim Jong-Il. Democrats, however, objected only to DDT’s obsequious behavior before the leader of one of the world’s most oppressive regimes. DDT also called President Obama an “amateur” when he bent at the waist to shake the hand of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah before DDT bowed to the Saudi’s King Salmon leader. DDT doesn’t even reach the status of “amateur” in his behavior to Kim Jong-Un.

In a 2014 report, the UN described “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations,” the country as a ruthless police state where as many as 120,000 people are kept in political gulags under horrific conditions; other prisons, effectively labor camps, hold people for ordinary crimes. Telephone calls are monitored, and citizens are punished for watching or listening to foreign broadcasts.” It also wrote about North Korea’s absolute monopoly on information and control of social life”—what DDT said he wants in the United States by eliminating any freedom of expression, opinion, and association.

The aftermath of the G-7 summit also continues to reverberate: DDT’s trade advisor Peter Navarro took back his words about a “special place in hell” reserved for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) criticized Navarro. He said that the term he used “lost the power of that message,” Navarro’s version of an apology.

Gone is any cordiality between Canada and the United States. The Canadian Parliament unanimously voted to condemn DDT’s attacks after DDT’s and his minions’ highly insulting statements following the G-7 summit. Their motion condemned the attacks on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and rejected “disparaging ad hominem statements by U.S. officials which do a disservice to bilateral relations.” About the motion, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, “It’s very nice to represent a united country.”

China is also not happy after DDT imposed a 25-percent tariff on $50 billion of Chinese exports. Claiming that the U.S. “launched a trade war,” China has dropped promises to buy more U.S. goods. Tariffs on washing machines, the first item that DDT caused domestic suffering, have raised prices 17 percent on laundry equipment in three months.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said that his party is in a “cult-like situation” with their support of DDT, citing the GOP refusal to disagree with DDT on his tariffs. “It’s not a good place for us to be,” he added with the luxury of someone not running for re-election. Corker agrees with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, once a strong DDT supporter, who claimed on his Morning Joe Show that “primary voters in the Republican Party have devolved into a Trumpist cult.” Don Trump Jr. agrees with Corker: “If it’s a cult, it’s because they like what my father is doing.”

DDT holds an overwhelming popularity with Republicans, but only 40 percent of the people in the U.S. fit into that category. Otherwise, he has dropped considerably since his inauguration. During the past 18 months, his net approval has decreased in all 50 states from six to 31 points.

June 2, 2018

DDT: Week 71 – Growing Dictatorship

The President of the United States is above the law, according to John Dowd, a lawyer for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), who said over six months ago:

“[The]President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case.”

Today the New York Times published a confidential 20-page memo dated January 29, 2018, from Dowd to investigator Robert Mueller declaring DDT as a dictator in blocking the Russian probe.

DDT’s threats on tariffs is in accord with his “above the law” position. Although Congress is in charge of trade policy, DDT can declare tariffs in the name of national security. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called tariffs on steel and aluminum “insulting and unacceptable” in connection with a national security threat, especially because DDT lied about the trade deficit with Canada. Canada has the deficit, not the U.S., and DDT admitted that he had no idea who had the deficit.

After DDT threatened tariffs on $50 billion from China, they returned with declaring tariffs on $50 billion from the U.S. which dropped the Dow Jones 400 points. It went back up only after the FEC promised a lack of oversight on U.S. banks. Europe plans tariffs on Kentucky’s bourbon and Wisconsin’s Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and Mexico plans trade penalties on pork. China’s tariffs may focus on soybeans, and other U.S. crops may have to be destroyed because other countries cannot afford the price. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) complained about foreign tariffs, “Canada and Mexico, Europe—these are our allies.” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has a better understanding that DDT started the war, saying that DDT’s tariffs will “destroy manufacturing jobs, especially auto jobs, which are one-third of all Tennessee manufacturing jobs.”

Canada filed two complaints with the World Trade Organization after DDT will no longer exempt the country from his tariffs, and EU plans to follow suit. The G7 conference the end of this week—or G6 plus 1 as France describes those attending—will be awkward if the U.S. has to explain why it’s destroy relationships with former allies. The trade war means higher costs for goods and lost jobs.

Stephen Moore, economist at the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation, called tariffs “corporate welfare” because they force consumers to pay more to keep favored companies in business. DDT is also erasing competition, a sacred cow of conservative capitalism, by forcing power-grid operators to buy from ailing coal and nuclear plants instead of from cheaper source to protect DDT’s friends and donors such as Murray chief executive Robert Murray and FirstEnergy chief executive Charles E. Jones Sr. Some congressional GOP members are considering a restriction on DDT’s tampering with the economy.

In the Russian investigation, prosecutors are reassembling the shredded papers of DDT’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen and looking into possible audio tapes of his conversations with clients. A website begging for money to support Paul Manafort’s defense team may be a scam. And more information about DDT trying to get rid of his AG Jeff Sessions—or at the very least get him to “un-recuse”—has emerged. DDT’s desperation about Sessions’ not protecting him adds to the appearance of guilt. DDT angrily tweeted about the $16.7 million cost of Robert Mueller’s first year investigating Russian meddling—about one-fourth the cost of DDT’s golf games for the same time period.

DDT’s latest ploy to conceal testimony against him is pardoning people, most recently right-wing conspiracy theorist Dinesh D’Souza for campaign finance fraud with no request from or any attempt to follow the traditional channels of presidential pardoning. Pardoned the same week as Roseanne Barr’s “vile, anti-Semitic” rhetoric, D’Souza has been much more vile. DDT pardoned D’Souza the day after he met with Kim Kardashian West, who asked him to pardon Alice Marie Johnson, 63, serving a life sentence for her participation in cocaine transportation. Johnson has already served 21 years but gets no pardon.

After former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich wrote an anti-federal prosecutor op-ed, DDT may pardon him for trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat. DDT said that politicians don’t deserve prison for being “stupid,” meaning that people should be exonerated for corruption. Blagojevich was fired on DDT’s television show, but he may win DDT’s new game show, “Get Out of Jail Free.” Michelle Goldberg calls it, “Celebrity Impunity.” By demonstrating his power to pardon anyone he wishes, DDT is sending a message to Michel Cohen that he would protect him. This use of pardoning was cited as a possible article of impeachment against President Richard Nixon.

DDT ally Roger Stone, also under investigation, stated that DDT’s pardon “has to be a signal to Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort and even Robert S. Mueller III: Indict people for crimes that don’t pertain to Russian collusion and this is what could happen.” Stone may be thinking he would also be protected.

North Korea talks may be back on as DDT bumbles around, first claiming that he got a “very nice” letter from Kim Jong-Un and then saying eight minutes later that he hadn’t read it. According to scholar Rachel Maddow, North Korea’s envoy is General Kim Yong Chol, “the top-ranked spy in the North Korean government … for a very long time. He headed military intelligence for the past seven years, and he built the world’s most elite hacking and cyber-espionage service from scratch—in a country where no one even has the internet.” Kim was linked to the 2010 death of 46 sailors in an attack on a South Korean naval ship and the 2014 cyberattack on Sony Pictures as well as other crimes. Maddow questioned whether Kim left surveillance devices when he spent two hours with DDT in the Oval office.

Tropical storm Alberto arrived a week before the official opening of hurricane season, but Puerto Rico remains in dire straits from last September’s Hurricane Maria. In one whitewash of the horror, officials declared the number of deaths at 64, but a new Harvard study in the New England Journal of Medicine gives 4,645 as the real death toll. That’s more people than the 1,833 who died in the 2005 Hurricane Katrina. And more than the number of deaths—2,977—on the day of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Post-hurricane mortality rate of 14.3 deaths per 1,000 people is a 62 percent than the same time period in 2016. The greatest causes of deaths were disrupted medical services, including access to medication and medical facilities. The 4,645 deaths are a conservative number; the death toll may be over 5,740.

A decade ago, the government had to bail out banks in a recession because of lax restrictions, and the Republicans are moving toward the same disaster. The week after DDT signed a bill into law that removed much oversight from banks, the FEC started the process for banks to take the same risks as hedge funds that indulge in speculative activities, aka “proprietary trading.” The GOP Congress already penalizes consumers with new laws allowing minority borrowers to be charged more than whites and removing federal rules easing consumer lawsuits against banks.

Back on the campaign trail, DDT is continuing his three-year-old lie that Mexico will pay for a wall separating the country from the United States. After DDT’s speech in Nashville (TN), Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto tweeted:

“President @realDonald­Trump: NO. Mexico will NEVER pay for a wall. Not now, not ever. Sincerely, Mexico.”

As DDT left to talk with family members of the Santa Fe (X) school shooting victims, he said, “We’re going to have a little fun today.” One mother, an Army veteran, compared her discussion with DDT to “talking to a toddler.”

John Boehner, former Speaker of the House: “There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere.”

As of yesterday, the WaPo has recorded 3,251 false or misleading claims in 497 days. That’s over 6.5 a day, up from 4.9 claims in his first 100 days. May’s average was eight, helped by 35 just at the Nashville rally on May 29. At least 122 claims were repeated at least three times. One-third of his claims deal with economic issues, trade deals, or jobs, partly when he takes credit for jobs or decisions made before he was inaugurated. For example, DDT’s job growth is actually slower than President Obama’s last five years. The 379 claims about immigration include 19 times that he has said that his wall is being built although Congress denied its funding. Seventy-five times he falsely claimed that he passed the biggest tax cut, and a large chunk of his claims are 265 statements about the Russia probe. The database of these claims.

My favorite recent lie, this one in Nashville about infrastructure:

“We will breathe new hope into our communities and we will do it all with these big, beautiful hands,” Trump continued, raising both presidential paws and stretching out the fingers. “Look at these hands.”

The mystery of the week–and maybe longer is the whereabouts of Melania Trump. She hasn’t been seen for 23 days, despite DDT’s appearances on Memorial Day and this weekend’s trip to Camp David. The only evidence from a White House that leaks like a sieve is a DDT-sounding anti-media tweet supposedly from her that claims she is fine.

May 25, 2018

DDT: Week 70 – New U.S. Foreign Policy

China wins. The Asian country has made no commitments about reducing the trade deficits, but Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is saving jobs in China by lifting sanctions on the Chinese-owned company ZTE. The U.S. government had banned the company from buying U.S. components for seven years because the phones a security risk, used to track service members. ZTE officials as well as for foreign espionage and cyber attacks. Even with a 23-3 vote to keep DDT from lifting these sanctions, the Senate Banking Committee  failed to stop DDT.

During the last week, the U.S. foreign policy on China shifted daily—sometimes hourly. On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the trade war was “on hold” because the U.S. had postponed tariffs on China. Hours later, U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer told China that DDT might impose tariffs. DDT’s chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow earlier said that China offered to shrink the trade deficit by $200 billion but followed up on Sunday by saying that the figure was a “rough ballpark estimate” and that the two countries never expected to reach an agreement.

DDT goes to the side that can most benefit him personally, in this case a $500 million loan from China for his personal business. Andrew Ross Sorkin described DDT’s negotiating style:

“Start with a headline-grabbing demand, beat chest loudly, then accept whatever is actually practical and call it a win.”

DDT seems to have forgotten a rule in his ghost-written book The Art of the Deal:

“You can’t con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.”

Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law, is back in business—literally—after he got his permanence high security clearance. Foreign officials, including those from China and UAE, can return to planning ways to manipulate him as he can enrich his family business by classified intelligence and access to DDT.

North Korea wins. In his desire to get a Nobel Peace Prize, DDT claimed that the summit meeting with Kim Jong-Un might be back on after he pulled out of the agreement yesterday. In a letter refusing the meeting, DDT had used the excuse of Kim’s “tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement” as his excuse. Technically, the hostility came from John Bolton’s and VP Mike Pence’s statements about employing the “Libya model” for North Korea, an action that led to the death and dismemberment for Libya’s leader. DDT gave no warning to South Korea about his withdrawal which weakened South Korea after its buy-in to the summit. The U.S. State Department may not even have been aware of DDT’s letter to Kim that canceled the meeting.

North Korea already dismantled a nuclear test site, most likely because it had become unusable. History repeats itself as North Korea destroyed another site to get rid of George W. Bush’s sanctions, only to later back out of its agreement. DDT tried to look reasonable by not flying planes over North Korea in his military games, but Kim looked much better after he released U.S. prisoners, stopped nuclear and missile testing, and blew up his nuclear testing site. By announcing that the he was backing out of the talks and then backing down from his action a few hours earlier, DDT looks impulsive and rash. He has ignored briefings about North Korea and advice to move more slowly into diplomatic meetings, thus increasing the world’s negative perspective about the U.S. being a failure under his leadership. DDT made Kim into a world leader and proved himself again a quitter while Kim ended up with the moral high ground.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

North Korea also benefits from better trade relationships with China, which may take over talks with North Korea after DDT abandoned its leverage. Japan had been left out of the discussions, thus dropping the talks will leave that country less vulnerable. The coalition of Asian companies further isolates the United States. DDT’s letter made threats by implying that U.S. nuclear powers are more “massive and powerful,” a continuation of DDT’s earlier “my button is bigger than your button” comments to Kim. He also said that the U.S. military is “ready if necessary” to take action against North Korea if it engages in a “foolish or reckless act” and that South Korea and Japan are willing to shoulder the costs. The two Asian countries haven’t responded to DDT’s statements—South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he was “very perplexed and sorry.”

The Washington Post write in an editorial: “Never has such chaos attended the public behavior of a U.S. president on a matter of such gravity.” A history of the failing summit talks with North Korea.

DDT may meet with Kim so that he doesn’t waste this commemorative coin that’s already being sold for $85. Seth Meyers has a segment on this and other coins.

The back-and-forth approaches toward China and North Korea are DDT’s attempt to divert people from James Clapper’s interviews and new book, Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence, and Clapper’s statement that Russia won the election for DDT, that he is an illegitimate president. Clapper’s interview with Rachel Maddow. Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, also used the word “distorted” in describing DDT’s accusation that the FBI and DOJ infiltrated or surveilled his campaign. That was the subject of a meeting at the White House, first scheduled with only GOP congressional members. Protests led to a second meeting on the same day that included the “Gang of 8, the bipartisan leadership of both the Senate and House. One of the “eight” was missing; House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) didn’t want to miss a fundraiser to be briefed on a confidential intelligence source in the Russian investigation. DDT’s lawyer Emmet Flood managed to attend the meeting about a government’s case against his client—an unethical and possibly illegal action.

DDT’s hope for diverting more attention was “Spygate,” but the FBI was investigating Russian involvement in DDT’s campaign, not DDT and the members of his campaign. Yet DDT ordered federal agencies to give sensitive information about a person in the investigation to lawmakers who, he was sure, would then give him all the information—all for purely political reasons and in violation of the law After the meeting, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said that the briefing had no evidence of “Spygate.” Republicans said nothing except Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) twice defended false statements and accused Schiff of leaking classified information.  DDT’s other conspiracy theories to falsely and deliberately divert people from facts:

  • Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. (He didn’t.)
  • There were improper unmaskings. (There weren’t.)
  • The FISA warrants related to Carter Page were improper. (They weren’t).
  • It was Democrats who actually colluded with Russia. (They didn’t.)
  • Conspiring FBI officials may be guilty of “treason.” (They aren’t.)
  • “Uranium One” is a real scandal. (It isn’t.)
  • Senate Intelligence Vice Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) had improper communications with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch. (He didn’t.)
  • Every member of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is a rabid Democratic partisan. (Mueller is a Republican.)
  • Law enforcement officials ”infiltrated” the Trump campaign, “implanting” a “spy” in the Republican operation. (They didn’t.)

The irony about DDT’s complaints about the FBI investigation into the campaign is that the FBI protected DDT. They concealed the campaign’s connections with Russia until after the election at the same time that they released information about Hillary Clinton with no reason that then led to her losing the election.

Other news from the current administration is so bizarre that most of it appears like satire—except for the disasters of the swamp/sewer facts. The latest piece had to be checked, and it’s true. A sinkhole on the North Laws of the White House outside the press briefing room is growing every day with another sinkhole nearby. These phenomena develop from loosened soil and can swallow cars, streets, and even homes. Exactly one year ago, a bigger pit opened in front of Mar-a-Lago.

According to religious lore, the Bible states in Numbers:

“But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.”

The Book of Revelation has a more vivid description:

“When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.”

In that case, the sinkhole might be followed by locusts and scorpions. The most entertaining tweets about DDT’s sinkhole.

Jess Phoenix, a volcanologist, geologist and candidate for a California congressional seat in California, said, “Blame the swamp.” Really.

 

May 19, 2018

DDT: Week 69 – Killings, ‘Pay to Play’

Killings on two sides of the world marked the past week. One was the 16th school shooting in the United States in the first four and a half months of the year that killed ten people, eight of them students, and wounded another 14 in the small town of Santa Fe (TX) with a population under 13,000. The 17-year-old shooter admitted that he deliberately aimed at people he wanted to kill; the first girl he killed had turned down his persistent advances over four months. The shooter used guns that belonged to his father. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott claimed that there were no “red flags,” but the teenager’s Facebook page and computer journals identify his plans.

Guns don’t kill people; doors do. This claim by Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick follows the latest NRA excuse for the growing number of mass shootings. He recommends just one entrance for all 1,400 people in a school like the one in Santa Fe (TX). Former government ethics director Walter Shaub examined the state requirements for doors and tweeted that “Texas has stricter regulations for doors than it does for guns.”

Last week’s Palestinian bloodbath from the Israelis came at the same time that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) proudly opened his embassy in Jerusalem on the 70th anniversary of Nakba (Catastrophe) when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled by the 1948 creation of Israel. That country’s military claimed that they attacked members of Hamas; Palestinians said that the “terrible massacre” was against unarmed demonstrators. DDT called the time “a great day for Israel” that will create peace between Palestine and Israel, something he has always said would be “easy.” He invited fundamentalist Christian pastors to open the embassy are anti-Semitic. Robert Jeffress has preached that everyone except Christians are going to hell and that Jews will be saved at the second coming of Christ because they will accept Him. DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who once led a group illegally funding West Bank settlements, was supposed to create this “easy” peace but blamed the Palestinians for their deaths.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayip Erdogan, led the diplomatic protests from several Arab and Middle East countries against DDT’s action, calling the U.S. “part of the problem, not the solution.” The UK prime minister, Theresa May, was more restrained in her criticism, but Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, called the embassy move from Tel-Aviv a violation of International law and UN Security Council resolutions.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, left an emergency Security Council meeting discussing the killings in Gaza when the Palestinian envoy began to speak. Earlier she had praised the “restraint” by Israel when they killed at least 62 people and wounded another 3,100 Palestinian protesters on the day when the embassy opened on land recognized by many world leaders as the capital of a future Palestinian state. A vote of 29-2 with 14 abstentions by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate Israel’s massacre as war crimes followed a speech by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN human rights chief, condemning the “horrific” attacks on peaceful demonstrators and calling for “the occupation” to end. About the Palestinians, Zeid said:

“All of the 1.9 million people who live in Gaza have been penned in behind fences and have suffered progressively more restrictions and greater poverty. After 11 years of blockade by Israel they have little hope of employment, and their infrastructure is crumbling, with an electricity crisis, inadequate health services and a decaying sewage system that constitutes a threat to health.”

DDT claimed Jerusalem the capital of Israel in opposition to State of Palestine claims that the embassy is on its capital. A 1949 international treaty recognizes half the city, including the embassy area, under Jordanian control. DDT’s decision to move the embassy led to a UN revolution, approved 128-9, requesting him to withdraw his declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Those nine members supporting DDT are the U.S., Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Togo. Another 35 nations abstained, and 21 countries were not present for the vote. DDT said that he made the decision for “peace” in the region.

In his attempts for a Nobel Peace Prize, DDT has decided to “Make China Great Again,” tweeting that “Too many jobs in China lost.” His new-found concern for jobs in China happened at the same time that the Chinese government loaned DDT $500 million for his billion-dollar resort project in Indonesia.

Just 72 hours after the loan deal was made, DDT ordered a bailout for the Chinese-government-owned cellphone maker ZTE. The U.S. military and intelligence community has declared the phones a security risk, and they are banned on military bases out of concern they can track service members. Last year, the company was fined $1.2 billion for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea. The U.S. government had banned the company from buying U.S. components for seven years because ZTE officials lied about their actions. Stocks may go up for U.S. optical component companies because they can resume exporting their product to China. U.S. intelligence officials believe that China may use ZTE products for foreign espionage and cyber attacks.

DDT’s Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah described the deal with China as “give and take,” and it’s the farmers in the U.S. that are forced into the “give” while China can “take.” After Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) threatened tariffs on soybeans, China almost tripled its purchases from Russia and canceled U.S. shipments. DDT had promised to protect farmers.

While national security adviser John Bolton is threatening sanctions on European allies if they dare deal with Iran, China has a new freight train connection that saves 20 days in carrying supplies to the capital of Iran over cargo ships and allows greater trade relations between the two countries. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that they would “maintain normal economic ties and trade.” China can also again create separate funds and banks from the U.S. market that the United States cannot punish. Chinese entities can also act as intermediaries for European countries to keep trading with Iran with no fear of violating U.S. sanctions, for example oil sales from Iran through China or Russia. Iran sells more to China than any other country with a 25 percent increase in exports last year. Chinese exports to Iran increased over 20 percent. Iranian exports to the EU increased by 375 percent from 2015 to 2016.

DDT is bragging that he will shrink the trade deficit with China because it may buy an additional $200 billion in U.S. goods, up from purchases last year of $130 billion. Some sales may be to ZTE. Economists think the plan won’t succeed, however, because the U.S. may just buy more goods from China. At the same time, DDT is not trying to keep China from taking U.S. intellectual property.

DDT’s foreign policy is also bailing out his son-in-law from his financial problems. The U.S. position on the tiny country of Qatar seems to parallel whether the wealthy oil nation will lend money to bail out Jared Kushner’s disastrous deal with a 41-story building at 666 Fifth Avenue Manhattan. Over a year ago, DDT supported Qatar when Kushner thought it would lend his family business money. As soon as Qatar withdrew the offer, DDT supported the eight-country blockade of Qatar despite the 10,000 service members at the base on Qatar. Now, Qatar is considering a loan of hundreds of millions to dollars to the Kushner family to pay off the original loan and renovate the building at the same time that DDT met with Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani. Jared Kushner resigned as his company’s chief executive but kept most of his business with it.

Qatar may have a good reason for thinking that DDT will take bribes. Businessman Jeff Kwatinetz turned down an offer from Ahmed al-Ramaihi, head of the Qatar sovereign wealth fund, to exchange a meeting with DDT and his officials for an investment. Kwatinetz said, “Al-Rumaihi laughed and then stated to me that I shouldn’t be naive, that so many Washington politicians take our money, and stated ‘do you think Flynn turned down our money?’” The pattern for these bribes may have started immediately after the 2016 election.

DDT is already conceding to North Korea by agreeing not to fly two nuclear-capable B-52 bombers over the Korean Peninsula because North Korea’s president, Kim Jong-Un, canceled talks with South Korea. National security adviser John Bolton may be blocking the U.S./North Korea summit by repeated claims that the U.S. will use the “Libya model” in its settlement with North Korea and getting DDT to back out of the Iranian deal. Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi ended up dismembered, and DDT’s position on Iran proves that no agreement would be lasting.

The GOP isn’t even worried about a war with North Korea. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that “all the damage … would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security.” The beginning of this war 65 years ago killed 3.5 million people (36,516 of them from the U.S.) and 2.5 million civilians while costing almost $700 billion plus hundreds of billions of dollars more to put military on the border because North and South Korea for 65 years. The U.S. has spent more to cover other Pacific Rim nations. That was before North Korea had nuclear weapons which might reach the U.S.

As a real estate developer, DDT was always willing to walk away from negotiations, the way he promised to negotiate with Kim Jong-Un. His craving for the Nobel Prize may cause him to give up anything to North Korea. His attitude mirrors what he accuses President Obama of doing in Iran.

And then there’s Russia and much more.

 

May 11, 2018

DDT: Weeks 67-68 – Iran, North Korea Plus Religion, Giuliani

Catching up on the last two weeks of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) roller-coaster events:

Will the United States go to war to support Israel? That question may be front and center now that DDT has withdrawn from the Iran agreement for that nation’s denuclearization. Israel fired on targets in Syria that were believed to be Iranian soon after DDT’s withdrawal. Claims that Iran fired 20 rockets at the Golan Heights the most extensive Israeli bombing on Syria since the countries signed a disengagement agreement after the October war of 1973. Israel has illegally occupied Golan Heights since the Six-Day War in 1967. DDT’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, are scheduled to arrive in Israel soon for the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on May 14. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has assured Israel that the U.S. will stand at its side in a fight.

DDT’s officials are circulating a report from Securities Studies Group, an organization with ties to DDT’s national security adviser John Bolton, that provides strategy for a regime change in Iran is being circulated among DDT’s officials. The plan is to stir unrest and help the Iran public to drive a wedge between the people and the nation’s rulers. The plan sounds identical to Russia’s approach to control the 2018 presidential election.

Israel’s military escalation came after DDT decided to please some of his constituents—including Vladimir Putin and Israel—by withdrawing from the Iranian deal. Russia’s economy desperately needs the rubles from the increase in oil prices if Iranian resources aren’t available. At the same time, Russia is concerned about Israel’s attacks on Iran, but DDT may side with Israel, again separating him from Putin. Perhaps DDT figures that a world war would allow him to declare military law, like in Turkey, so that he can remain dictator forever. Bernard Avishai discusses Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s motivations and the dangers of his country in pushing a war in the Middle East.

DDT announced his withdrawal several days before the deadline at the same time the media jumped on the millions of dollars in “pay to play” paid to his personal lawyer Michael Cohen for access to DDT. Since payments made to DDT’s personal lawyer were first announced, the amount has vastly grown, for example AT&T’s $600,000 to Cohen for access to DDT instead of $200,000. CEO Randall Stephenson called Cohen’s hiring “a big mistake,” and top lobbyist for the company, Bob Quinn, has retired. Quinn was a leader in opposing net neutrality. AT&T also paid Cohen to get approval for its $85 billion merger with Time Warner. Drugmaker Novartis agreed that its $1.2 million contract with Cohen was “a mistake.” Reports as of now show that Cohen was paid $2.95 million through Essential Consultants, the shell company Cohen set up to funnel hush money to Stormy Daniels and perhaps others. The involved companies learned about Essential Consultants because Cohen reached out to them.

In his work to guarantee never-ending war for the U.S., former VP Dick Cheney, who mythologized weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, went on Fox Business directing DDT to believe the falsehood that Iran has these weapons. He also encouraged the continuation of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (aka torture).

DDT is also hoping that people will ignore all the Russia and Cohen scandals because three U.S. prisoners have been released from North Korea. He also hopes that his talks with North Korea will result in his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, even encouraging his rally crows to chant, “No-bel, No-bel. When the prisoners arrived at 3:00 am, he said, “I think you probably broke the all time in history television rating for three o’clock in the morning.” DDT also thanked North Korean president Kim Jong-Un “ who really was excellent to these three incredible people.” They had been imprisoned for at least a year, and one of them had been sentenced to ten years’ hard labor in one of the world’s most brutal prisons. DDT plans to meet with Kim Jong-Un in Singapore on June 12.

While people become excited about the release of prisoners in North Korea, they forget the four U.S. citizens still held in Iran for longer than the newly released NK ones. DDT’s withdrawal spells disaster for these people, one of them 81 years old. Another two U.S. men are still illegally imprisoned in Turkey. 

Although DDT’s new lawyer Rudy Giuliani appeared on Sean Hannity only nine days ago, so much has happened that it could have been last year. Giuliani, DDT’s lawyer for one day, said that DDT had paid Cohen $35,000 a week to clean up hush money to Stormy Daniels about her affair with DDT as well as “things that might come up.” DDT first agreed that he paid off Daniels and then tried to deny that he did, going so far as to say that Giuliani “will get his fact straight.” Giuliani lacks the skill to stay quiet, a serious problem in court. (Transcript for the program.)  Giuliani went on another talk show to say that he knew the payment didn’t look good immediately before the election but changed his story to say that the settlement was made solely “to protect the President’s family.” He also might be waiving attorney-client privilege by saying that he had conferred with DDT before he talked about DDT paying Cohen. About the payoff, Giuliani said:

“I don’t think the president realized he paid him back for that specific thing until we made him aware of the paperwork.”

Despite being released from his law firm and claiming “sole concentration” as DDT’s lawyer, Giuliani appeared in a Florida court today to represent a woman accused of purchasing car insurance ten minutes after her car crash. He isn’t licensed to practice law in Florida but said the woman was her personal assistant.

DDT’s staff tried to prep him in advance of any interview with Robert Mueller, but he could answer only two questions in four hours. The argument might be that an interview could cut into time for his important work in the Oval Office, but evidence indicates that he “works” less than two hours a day. DDT is still falsely accusing that the investigators are Democrats as he continues his rant against the investigation. DDT is back to saying that he wants an interview with Mueller, but most people no longer believe him.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) issued DOJ with a subpoena after he was refused extensive information about a longtime intelligence source for the CIA and FBI with the concern that the source could be jeopardized if Nunes discovers the person’s identity. Common knowledge indicates that Nunes wants the information to take to the White House. DOJ officials offered a classified briefing about his demand, but Nunes threatened a contempt charge against AG Jeff Sessions. He also has not bothered to read earlier classified information that he demanded. Nunes is under investigation for three potential campaign law violations.

Giuliani’s bombshell about DDT’s paying off Stormy Daniels intersected with DDT’s appearance for the day of prayer, causing CNBC to tweet, “Trump leads National Prayer Day event after saying he repaid lawyer for hush money to porn star.” DDT signed the “White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative” that permits religious organizations to use taxpayer money to discriminate on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, allow religious organizations to be “experts” for public policy, remove requirements that religious groups refer anyone objecting to their teachings to other programs, and use his new “faith-based office” to guarantee no blocking of “liberty of conscience” of believers. (Sounds like Sharia law for evangelicals.) The major groups wanting to deny services to LGBTQ people are Mormons and white evangelicals, 20 percent of the population. Among that 20 percent, 47 percent think that it’s wrong to refuse business based on religious convictions.

States such as Kansas and Oklahoma are already passing laws permitting adoption agencies to prevent same-gender couples from adopting children. A lesbian couple in Mississippi was denied an adoption by the state the day before they were scheduled to take their daughter home despite a court ruling that the Mississippi’s ban on same-gender adoptions was struck down by a federal judge in 2016. In another case, the state Supreme Court ruled that a lesbian couple could divorce; a dissenting justice, Jess Dickinson, is now head of the agency denying the couple their legally adopted child. Bryan Fischer, former spokesman for the American Family Association (AFA), announced on his show that only Christians have First Amendment rights and protections.

Anti-LGBTQ preacher Kevin Swanson will hold the Bible Family Conference in Washington, D.C. on August 10-11. He wants to execute all LGBTQ people and all Girls Scout leaders because they support LGBTQ and women’s rights. He also wants Boy Scouts, now called Scouts BSA because it recruits girls as well as boys, to have a “sodomy merit badge” because openly gay scouts can join the organization. The name of Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) has disappeared as keynote speaker.

The six worst states for LGBTQ support are Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, West Virginia, Louisiana, and North Carolina.

More later!

May 8, 2018

DDT Drops Iran Denuclearization, Cohen Sells White House Access

Filed under: Foreign policy — trp2011 @ 9:54 PM
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The U.S. has withdrawn from the six-country deal to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons is dead, according to Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). He has no reason to take this action. Although DDT has claimed that the deal with Iran was “horrible,” Iran has reduced its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent to only 300 pounds, far less than needed for even one bomb. Iran also removed about 13,000 of its centrifuges, leaving just over 5,000 of its oldest-model machines in place. It ceased all enrichment at its underground facility at Fordow, one of the nuclear sites which are continually monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which repeatedly states that Iran is complying with the agreement’s restriction.

Last week, the White House released a statement that falsely declared Iran “has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program.” A backlash led to the change of one letter—“has” to “had”—that totally revised the false report. The White House excuse was a “typo,” but journalist Brian Beutler pointed out that the “original statement uses the word ‘has’ twice, strongly suggesting an intent to mislead the global public into believing Iran had covertly reactivated its nuclear weapons program in direct defiance of the agreement.”

The White House admitted in its correction that Iran no longer “has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program,” but DDT ignored all the evidence showing Iran is following its part of the bargain and made up lies about Iran not pursuing its nuclear program. This comment adds to the 3,000+ lies that he has told since he was inaugurated. DDT also ignored the 63 percent people in the U.S. who want the U.S. to stay in the Iran denuclearization agreement.

Last week, Netanyahu threw fuel on the conflagration by releasing Iranian documents showing that Iranians worked a decade ago to design a nuclear warhead. In more work to rationalize his decision to inflame Iran, DDT hired Black Cube, an Israeli-based private intelligence agency, to falsely smear U.S. negotiators of the agreement, including Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl. The foreign spies also targeted Rhodes’ and Kahl’s spouses.

In his move toward regime change in Iran, DDT alienated major European and Asian countries but continued to forge a relationship with Saudi Arabia. His supporters include new lawyer Rudy Giuliani and new national security adviser, John Bolton; both are pushing toward the steps leading to more U.S. conflict in the Middle East. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also pushed DDT to leave the Iran agreement although Netanyahu’s military and intelligence advisers assert that their country is safer with blocking nuclear bombs in Iran.

Lies led to the U.S. 2003 invasion of Iraq with serious fiscal and cultural repercussions fifteen years later, and comparisons are being made between those falsehoods and DDT’s current ones about Iran. John Bolton wants to bomb Iran—just as the George W. Bush era started an ongoing preemptive war against Iraq that has spread across the Middle East. Leaders of France, Germany, and the UK pointed out that a UN Security Council resolution supporting the Iran agreement “remains the binding international legal framework for the resolution of the dispute about the Iranian nuclear program.” Thus the U.S. has been the first country to violate the agreement.

Paul Waldman summarized DDT’s withdrawal:

“This decision is deeply uninformed, utterly illogical, inimical to the interests of the United States, taken for the pettiest of personal reasons and done with absolutely no plan for what to do next. In other words, it’s pure Trump.”

After his announcement, DDT signed an executive memorandum for the 180-day withdrawal process to impose all sanctions on Iran relaxed under the agreement. On the 90-day mark of August 6, these sanctions will be reinstated:

  • Iran buying or acquiring U.S. dollars
  • Iran trading gold and other precious metals
  • Iran’s sale, supply or trade of metals such as aluminum and steel, as well as graphite, coal and certain software for “integrating industrial processes”
  • “Significant” sales or purchases of Iranian rials, or the maintenance of significant funds or accounts outside the country using Iranian rials
  • Issuing Iranian debt
  • Auto sanctions

The U.S. will also halt Iran’s ability to export its carpets and foods into the U.S. and end certain licensing-related transactions.

  • Further sanctions imposed after 180 days on November 4:
  • Iran’s ports, as well as the country’s shipping and shipping sectors
  • Buying petroleum and petrochemical products with a number of Iranian oil companies
  • Foreign financial institutions transacting with the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian financial institutions
  • Certain financial messaging services to Iran’s central bank and other Iranian financial institutions
  • Provision of underwriting services, insurance, or reinsurance
  • Iran’s energy sector

On Nov. 5, the U.S. will prevent U.S.-owned foreign entities from being allowed to engage in certain transactions with Iran and reimpose certain Iranian individuals.

DDT’s speech about the evil in Iran overlooks the way that the U.S. has violated its own denuclearization agreements. While DDT is demanding that North Korea comply with the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the U.S. violates the NPT, and Israel refuses to sign the treaty because it maintains a massive hidden nuclear arsenal obtained through deceit. The U.S. also consistently attempts to change regimes in violation of international law and the UN charter, most recently in Iraq and Libya which had complied with U.S. demands to close their nuclear programs.

What happens now that DDT has refused to recertify the deal? Uri Friedman presented three possibilities over six months ago:

Congress Ends the Iran Deal: Congress has 60 days to introduce legislation that imposes nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, including those against the banking system and oil exports. Doing so would breach the Iran deal, possibly unraveling the agreement depending on whether other countries in the agreement join or resist the sanctions. Sanctions would most likely cause Iran to no longer comply with the deal and return to their nuclear program. At that point, the U.S. could either bomb Iran or do nothing. Bolton would certainly not accept doing nothing. The withdrawal from an agreement with Iran negatively impacts any denuclearization agreement with North Korea, disturbed about DDT’s decision because they may not be able to trust the United States’ agreements. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani plans to negotiate with the deal’s three European countries, Russia, and China—once more leaving the United States out in the cold. If negotiations don’t work, Iran is ready to start unlimited uranium enrichment in a few weeks, and the U.S. could be fighting both Iran and North Korea.

Congress Seeks to Improve the Iran Deal: Congress could decide not to reimpose sanctions on Iran at this time. Last October, Republicans—including Sens. Rand Paul (KY), Susan Collins (ME), and Bob Corker (TN)—are in a quandary about quitting the deal, but none of them is particularly reliable in sticking to their positions.

Congress Does Nothing: The agreement can die from inaction—a death “by a thousand cuts.” Because Congress can’t agree on anything, this scenario is most likely.

DDT’s withdrawal from the Iran deal puts the rest of the world in control. Iran can build nuclear weapons if the other four five countries cannot persuade the nation to do otherwise. No nation will trust the United States in any of DDT’s promises, and all nations will understand that DDT is incapable of planning. DDT’s actions may even isolate Israel with the Israelis being blamed for outbreaks of hostilities. And DDT owns responsibility for any issues that come from his withdrawal.

Oil prices rose today after DDT’s announcement with the possibility of future spikes, and lack of Iranian oil can lead to inflation and slower economic growth in the U.S. Gas prices typically rise in the summer, and DDT’s withdrawal can make the problem even worse for consumers. As they pay more for gas, they are able to pay less for other purchases. Gas costs re made even worse from all the gas-guzzling cars consumers purchased after the gas prices dropped by over one-third in the past six years.

DDT managed to avoid some of the media attention from the actions of his personal attorney Michael Cohen, who may have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by both corporate clients and the Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg through the New York investment firm Columbus Nova. The Russian oligarch may also have provided the payoff in hush money for Stormy Daniels, according to her lawyer Michael Avenatti in documents supported by the media. The drug company Novartis and Korea Aerospace Industries, both with U.S. business relationships, also paid Cohen. Soon after the last Novartis payment, DDT met with the company’s incoming CEO; Korea Aerospace, which had no comment, is in competition for a multibillion-dollar joint contract to product U.S. Air Force jet trainers.

These episodes of The Apprentice in the White House may lead to more legal charges and World War III.

 

April 27, 2018

DDT: Week Sixty-six – Worsening Quicksand

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 9:27 PM
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A U.S.-supported Saudi-led coalition airstrike killed at least 20 people at a wedding—most of them women and children—in northern Yemen this week. One of the dead is the bride. The groom was one of 45 wounded taken to a local hospital. Ambulances could not get to the bombing site because jets kept flying overhead. The airstrike was the third in the past few days, including a family of five killed in their home and at least 20 civilian commuters killed in a bus in western Yemen. The UN has accused the coalition of war crimes as their airstrikes his weddings, busy markets, hospitals, and schools. DDT’s distress at killing children in Syria stops when he helps the murders.

A strike against low-income people in the U.S. comes from HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s suggestion that rents be tripled for people receiving housing subsidies and that these people be required to work. Deductions in determining a tenant’s rent would also eliminate medical and child-care costs. At least the change would require congressional approval. When people asked where they would go, Carson responded, “This is a perfect example of what happens when the swamp gets ahold of people.” Nowhere in the country can a person working a full-time minimum wage job afford a two-bedroom apartment, and over half the people in the nation spend over 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities.

EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt’s science cred keeps shrinking. He told forest industry leaders in Georgia that burning biomass such as trees—in EPA policy—is carbon neutral when “used for energy production at stationary sources.” The next day he announced a new EPA rule preventing EPA policymakers from using scientific studies unless all the raw data is made public before posing with Marc Morano in a photo op for his new climate-denying book. This week, Pruitt also gave testimony before two congressional hearings, mostly about his ethics—or lack therof. Pruitt admitted that he knew about the huge salary increases to two staffers after lying about not knowing about it last month. Getting rid of him, however, might not do any good for the environment: his replacement would likely be his deputy climate-denier coal-lobbyist Andrew Wheeler.

DDT and Emmanuel Macron, president of France, shared many touchy-feely times during Macron’s visit this week, despite the refusal of DDT’s wife, Melania, to kiss him or even hold his hand. The “closeness” didn’t stop Macron from warning about the politics of “fear and anger” in his speech to a joint session of Congress. Macron said that the fear policy divides people and “only freezes and weakens us.” The speech also opposed DDT’s tariffs that “will destroy jobs, increase prices and the middle class will have to pay for it.” Macron’s “intimacy” may have come from his desire to persuade DDT not to dump the Iran nuclear treaty, an action that would cause Iran to start developing nuclear weapons. The deadline for DDT’s decision is May 12. DDT’s first state dinner was unique—no Democrats, no media, and only four GOP lawmakers.

North Korea generated news this week after Kim Jong-Un met with South Korea’s Moon Jae-in to talk about ending the Korean War, which has had a 65-year hiatus with an armistice. Kim’s goals are to keep his nuclear arsenal while stopping sanctions against his country and gain global significance. Leaders of North and South Korea signed peace documents in both 2000 and 2007, but neither one endured. In 2012, North Korea called its test missile, banned by the agreement, a “satellite” launch. Kim demands that the U.S. end an alliance with South Korea, where 30,000 U.S. military members are posted, and is highly unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons. Three U.S. citizens imprisoned in North Korea have not received any mention in discussions to talks, and DDT has yet to show any of the negotiation skills that he bragged about during his campaign. New Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has yet to demonstrate any diplomatic ability or attitudes.

DDT’s telephone call into Fox & Friends yesterday was called “another gift from heaven” by Stormy Daniels’ lawyer. Among other issues, DDT admitted that Cohen was representing him in the Daniels’ situation, something that he has previously denied and admitted that he had stayed in Moscow at least overnight, something else he had denied. Filled with craziness, DDT’s monologue included his claim that he was too busy to get his wife, Melania, a birthday gift so he went on Fox & Friends as a present for her. Here’s the interview. If DDT wasn’t so destructive to the nation, I might even feel sorry for him after hearing his pathetic monologue.

Fox thought they had a coup with the call from DDT, but hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt looked genuinely appalled by the end of his rambling, almost incoherent statements. Kilmeade even had to convince him to hang up by telling DDT that he had work to do. Charlie Pierce asked, “Has a president ever been cut off of an interview before?” Anderson Cooper said that DDT sounded like “a crazy person on a park bench with an onion tied to his belt, just mumbling incoherently.”  Heather Digby Parton has a summary of DDT’s rant if you can’t bear to listen to 31 minutes of his “manic and disjointed” commentary.

Federal prosecutors went into court immediately after the Fox program, and an hour later, a federal judge ruled that the documents seized from Cohen should be turned over to an independent “special master,” a reviewer to evaluate them for violation of attorney-client confidentiality rules before prosecutors or Cohen’s lawyers can see them. Federal prosecutors argued that DDT’s comments about Cohen enhance their claim that Cohen’s documents won’t be protected by attorney-client privilege and made the same argument about Sean Hannity who separated himself from Cohen.

A federal judge also rejected Paul Manafort’s lawsuit against Robert Mueller’s power in the Russian investigation.

Even Republicans know how dangerous DDT is. Five Republicans joined the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of a bill to protect Robert Mueller from being fired without good cause.

In other parts of the country:

Black humor in the new DDT normal: Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), facing felony counts from blackmailing a former mistress and misusing his veterans’ charity for his political interests, is keynote speaker at a St. Louis area police chiefs’ association prayer breakfast. Like DDT, Greitens blames the media.

In last week’s special election, a Republican won in a heavily GOP district by only five points where DDT had come in 21 points ahead less than two years ago. Republicans poured almost $1 million into the campaign, but the Republican might have been helped because Maricopa County failed to send out 140,000 ID cards for voters. Adrian Fontes, the county recorder who oversees elections in Maricopa County, called the issue a “little hiccup in printing.”

Teacher strikes are moving across the country’s red states with Arizona and Colorado the most recent entries. The first winner in increasing wages, West Virginia, brought out Gov. Matt Bevin’s hostile remark that the strike was causing sexual attacks against children left alone at home. Most of the states lack taxes to pay a decent wage at the low end because of drastically cut taxes and refusals to tax the fossil fuel industry. Paul Krugman has provided an overview of the funding crisis that pushed teachers into poverty.

DDT’s new minimal coverage in short-term health plans doesn’t include maternity care from two large private insurance companies in 45 states and Washington, D.C. Another 43 percent fail to cover mental health services; 62 percent don’t cover substance use disorder treatment; and 71 percent don’t cover outpatient prescription drugs. Republicans are right about these plans being cheaper: they lack even basic coverage in some areas.

DDT may not vet nominees, but he has a questionnaire for candidates before he will support them in the primaries. Loyalty evidently means ending foreign aid to Pakistan, supporting his Muslim ban and tariffs, repeal the healthcare individual mandate, and, of course, building DDT’s wall. Questions are here. Not all candidates are getting the questions although they are also sent to influential Republicans such as state-level committee members.

A white man kills four people of color in a Tennessee waffle house, and a black man saves lives of many people by single-handedly disarming the white man without a gun. DDT says nothing. As they say in golf, par for the course.

A study on DDT’s voters showed that their support for him came from a fear of losing their dominance in the United States, not threats to economic well-being. According to the researcher, DDT supporters see that society should come from hierarchy with themselves at the top.

Reporters without Borders has dropped the United States to 45th among 180 nations for press freedom, down two from U.S. ranking last year. DDT’s mentor, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, caused that nation to drop to 133rd. North Korea with a leader who DDT called “very honorable” is in last place.

April 23, 2018

DDT: Week Sixty-six – Legal Problems Add Those with Lawyer Cohen

The Cohen Crisis continues in the White House as Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) claims that his former personal lawyer won’t “flip” on him, meaning that DDT knows he’s not innocent. At the same time, Republican congressional members not only have concerns about Michael Cohen cooperating with investigator Robert Mueller but also plan to get rid of Mueller.

DDT has also become increasingly rabid about James Comey, especially because his memos, given to the House Judiciary Committee, were immediately leaked following the release of Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty, earlier this week. Both the memos and the book were equally uncomplimentary about DDT. Instead of wiping out Comey’s credibility, as House members hoped, the memos seem to support Comey’s plausibility. DDT denied that he fired Comey because of the investigation into DDT’s ties with Russia, but his video with Lester Holt shows him saying that he considered “this Russia thing” in his decision to boot the FBI head. He also told two Russian diplomats in the Oval Office that firing “nut job” Comey took “great pressure” off of him.

Sanctions on Russia were another concern throughout the past week. Nikki Haley, UN ambassador and apologist for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), announced two days after DDT’s and John Bolton’s airstrikes on Syria that the U.S. is increasing economic sanctions against Russia. DDT overturned her statement the next day, and her declaration were described as a misstatement and privately as “an error that needs to be mopped up.” New DDT economic adviser Larry Kudlow called Haley’s comments due to “momentary confusion.” “With all due respect, I don’t get confused,” Haley said, and Kudlow apologized, saying that he was wrong. Within a week, DDT eased earlier sanctions on oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who has a connection with the 2016 election. Comey said in his interview with George Stephanopoulos that Russia may have something on DDT to blackmail him.

The memory of DDT’s airstrikes on Syria has faded, and no proof yet exists that gas was responsible for deaths or that Syria was responsible. Initially, popular conservative pundits such as Fox’s Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham criticized DDT’s airstrikes while Michael Savage and Ann Coulter condemned DDT’s actions. Mike Cernovich tweeted that the chemical attacks in Syria were staged and wrote, “At least I won’t feel bad when he gets impeached.”

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, moving toward nomination for Secretary of State in a reluctant Senate, went to North Korea on Easter Sunday (also April Fools Day) to begin talks with Kim Jong-Un, and DDT is already trying to figure out how to make the non-talks with North Korea’s leader successful if DDT decides to bail on them. Hawk and new national security adviser John Bolton told DDT to feel free to leave the meeting at any time if he doesn’t get what he wants but that the meeting could be considered a success even if doesn’t last for an hour. DDT assured Bolton that he could sway Kim when he sees him in person.

DDT bragged about North Korea’s “denuclearization,” but Kim Jong-Un plans to keep his nuclear arsenal. DDT’s aides privately believe that Kim’s closing one nuclear facility is not a pledge to move toward nuclear disarmament. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who met with DDT last week, tried to tell him that past U.S. talks with North Korea have failed and questioned why Japan was the only U.S. ally that was not exempted from tariffs on aluminum.

A prime reason for Kim’s negotiation is to end the Korean War, suspended for the past 65 years but not formally ended. The U.S. could have a problem with the 28,000 military members stationed on the Korean peninsula.

The search warrants for DDT’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen may be a bigger problem for DDT than Robert Mueller investigation. Last Monday, Cohen tried to freeze the inspection of his materials and had to reveal that Sean Hannity was one of his clients along with protecting DDT and Elliott Broidy from sex scandals. Hannity vigorously denied any professional involvement with Cohen which may have lost him any attorney-client confidentiality. A judge has not yet ruled about the confidentiality of Cohen’s materials regarding DDT but doesn’t seem inclined to keep Cohen’s papers from litigation.

Since warrants were served on his property, Cohen has withdrawn two libel suits against BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS, that produced the infamous Christopher Steele dossier about ties between DDT and Russia. Cohen can now avoid questioning from Fusion or turning over evidence related to the case.

Problems of Cohen, aka “The Fixer”:

  • Ties to Russian kleptocrats.
  • Close working relationship with convicted felon Felix Sater, Russian-financed real estate developer and former Trump Organization employee.
  • Shift from low-rate personal injury lawyer to mogul as he purchased a dozen luxury units in DDT properties.
  • 2016 meeting with Putin associates in Prague.
  • Partnership with a Ukrainian immigrant to purchase the biggest collection of expensive NYC taxi medallions.

Over 20 percent of donations to DDT’s 2020 campaign–$3.9 million—have gone for legal bills with almost $1 million during the current year. At least $66,000 of legal fees for DDT’s longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller have been paid by DDT’s campaign donations, perhaps illegally. Schiller was questioned about events as far back as 2013, long before the campaign. The campaign has also paid almost $288,000 for Donald Trump Jr.’s legal concerns.

The conservative Wall Street Journal wrote that Cohen stopped a Us Weekly story in 2013 about Donald Trump Jr.’s affair with Celebrity Apprentice contestant Aubrey O’Day between 2011 and 2012. The same article tracked Cohen’s payments to Stormy Daniels to kill her story about an affair with DDT and to a pregnant Playboy Playmate to conceal information about her affair with Elliott Broidy.

DDT’s long-time denial about his interaction with prostitutes in Russia (aka “pee tapes”) was that he’s a germophobe. His latest reason is that it couldn’t have happened because he didn’t stay overnight in Moscow during that time period in 2013. In the past, social media posts indicated that he was in the city for several days, his faithful bodyguard Keith Schiller related a different story to congressional investigators, and recent revelation of flight records shows that DDT was in Moscow from Friday, 11/8/13, through early Sunday morning (11/10/13).

The Russian scandal will get a great deal more media air time since DDT hired limelight-loving Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor, for his legal team. One reason for hiring Giuliani may be that he can get information out of the FBI. Before Comey was fired, he had begun an investigation about Giuliani’s possibly knowing about the email leaks during Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for president before they were announced. Giuliani’s law firm advised Cambridge Analytics, under fire for using private data and providing foreign labor for GOP campaigns, and tried to resolve the case of Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold dealer accused of violating U.S. law by helping Iran avoid economic sanctions. In 1988 Giuliani stopped FBI Agent Tony Lombardi from continuing the investigation into DDT’s money laundering just a few weeks before DDT raised $2 million for Giuliani’s mayoral campaign. Wayne Barrett, formerly of The Village Voice, also wrote about Giuliani’s key part in using New York City taxpayer money to support DDT’s buildings.

The team also has taken on former federal prosecutors Jane Serene Raskin and Marty Raskin, a couple who manage a Florida-based law firm that specializes in responding to search warrants, who are willing to risk their reputation by working for DDT. None of DDT’s lawyers has much experience as defense attorneys.

DDT decided not to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership after he thought he would after he said he wouldn’t.

DDT is attacking two populations in the U.S. in its plans to allow health care officials and insurers to discriminate against transgender people and include indigenous people in a Medicaid work requirement. The latter comes from DDT’s position that Native Americans are “the tribes are a race rather than separate governments” which overlooks the history of treaties between the U.S. government and administrations from George Washington to Barack Obama.

A side effect of DDT’s tariffs is an increased cost in false teeth (aka Implants, crowns and bridges); 45 percent of these are imported from China and Mexico. About 30 percent of U.S. medical devices including hips and heart valves are imported. DDT’s economy is becoming composed of trickle down costs for most of the U.S. population.

The popularity of the tax cuts for large corporations and the wealthiest in the nation got a brief bump earlier this year but no more: only 27 percent respondents now call them a good idea. Thirty-six percent of people call them a bad idea in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, and 53 percent predict a negative result to the new law. Political strategists consider the tax cuts a political loser, and the GOP has no other accomplishment during its first 15 months.

Appointments/lawsuits later this week!

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