Nel's New Day

September 27, 2019

DDT: Week 140 – The Unraveling in One Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Shep Smith, Wallace said:

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

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

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

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

September 13, 2019

DDT: Week 138 – Speeches, Lesss Publicized Info

Last night, audiences in Baltimore and Houston heard some odd statements. In Houston, the “meh” Democratic debate among ten candidates had a few peculiar moments for Joe Biden—even for him. He called Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) “the president,” referred to himself as “the vice president as the United States,” and retorted “this is America” to Sanders’ statement that the United States pays twice as much in health care as Canada does. Millionaire business owner non-politician candidate (does that sound familiar?) Andrew Yang used a possibly illegal gameshow technique to give away $12,000 to each of ten people from his campaign funds. In the debate’s aftermath, award-winning “pro-life hero” and Texas representative Briscoe Cain, who says he “supports the value of life,” tweeted “my AR is ready for you” after candidate Beto O’Rourke said that he would ban all assault weapons.

At the same time as the third Democratic candidate debate, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) gave a meandering speech at the House Republicans’ retreat. The geriatric man in the Oval Office referred to his vice president as “Mike Pounds” and explained that the water is so clean because 25 years ago “there was nobody here” in America to explain why the water was so clean at that time. He also blamed his rejected new energy efficient light bulbs for making him “look orange.” A photographer said that lighting, which doesn’t make DDT’s teeth turn orange, has nothing to do with his orangey-red skin, that the color comes from the heavy coat of bronzer that he puts on himself. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) worshipful statements about DDT tried to cover DDT’s racist slurs against Baltimore—and that was after DDT called McCarthy a “cow.” [visual – McCarthy]

About Hillary Clinton, DDT said that she “didn’t like stairs, didn’t like airplanes, didn’t like a lot”—and would rest for weeks between stops. In four years as Secretary of State, Clinton spent 401 days—over 25 percent of her tenure—to travel 956,733 miles to visit 112 countries. DDT spent the same percentage of time visiting his personal golf clubs, not counting the weekends and vacations when he didn’t play golf—including the weekend that he skipped a visit to Poland to play golf. He couldn’t even go a few miles in the rain to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I in France. 

Republicans say they oppose bailouts, but DDT promises them a bailout of $30 billion after he cost them billions from his trade war with China cost them billions. Democrats threaten to not fund part of that huge sum as part of the appropriations bill necessary to keep the government from shutting down at the end of the month. DDT originally said that farmers are okay with the sacrifice, but farmers have been increasingly upset—especially when they lose their farms—as the 2020 election nears—and especially because the wealthiest farmers receive the bulk of the money.

White House officials have said that the bailout may not be legal because of its huge scope. Almost 40 years ago, President Jimmy Carter banned U.S. sales of wheat to Russia; the country produced and exported wheat in competition with the U.S. for its prior markets. Farmers believe that they are still paying for the Russian wheat embargo, and Brazil is now taking over the soybean market.   

The NRA is unhappy that retail stores are dropping sales of guns and ammunitions, and NASCAR refused advertising with K-Var Corp., a large distributor of firearms, ammunition and firearm accessories.  Yet Walmart, despite an announcement that it wouldn’t allow open carry in its stores, isn’t living up to its promise.

And NRA has its own insider telling DDT about avoiding gun legislation. Michael B. Williams, formerly the top law for the American Suppressor Association that represents the silencer industry and law clerk for NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, has become deputy assistant to DDT. Scrapping the idea for background checks, that has an 89-percent approval, DDT is considering more mental health facilities and hospitals along with capital punishment for mass shooters.

DDT’s friend Bob Wright has written proposals to stop mass shootings. The former NBC chair’s “advisers” proposed monitoring “phones and smart watches” to see who will become violent. It’s an interesting answer for people so paranoid that they won’t register guns.

At a White House ceremony this week, DDT handed out an awards for “heroes” of recent mass shootings without vetting the recipients. One of them, Chris Grant, wasn’t there because he was detained by the Secret Service with an arrest warrant. El Paso police said that a video showed that Grant misrepresented his actions that were only “self-preservation.”

When Republicans in four states—Arizona, Kansas, Nevada, and South Carolina—eliminated presidential primaries, one of them cut out the newest candidate from its own state, South Carolina’s former governor Mark Sanford. Republicans in those four states have kept at least three presidential candidates from running. The GOP says it’s just saving money; others say that they’re rigging the election and protecting DDT. Republicans know that they need to stop Democrats from voting to win; now they show that they need to block voting to elect DDT as their candidate.

The RNC is accusing DDT’s campaign of further rigging by concealing DDT’s unpopularity in specific states and congressional districts. Information like this would allow GOP candidates to publicly distance themselves from DDT. Former RNC chairman Michael Steele said, “The RNC is not an independent actor; the RNC is now a part of the Trump campaign.”

In another campaign technique, Fox and other far-right media are warning that people won’t be safe if Democrats are elected in 2020. On The View, Meghan McCain predicted “a lot of violence” if laws take “people’s guns away from them.” She added, “I’m not going to live without guns.”

According to a former agent of the Israel intelligence agency Mossad, Russia picked DDT as most advantageous to its goals and then “deployed a system [of bots] for the length of the elections.” This statement follows two Senate-commission reports that Russia used every social media tool to support DDT for the election. This article was published almost nine month ago, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has ignored it, blocking any legislature to correct these cyberattacks.

Investigated for his business affairs, DDT says that he plans to release information about his financial affairs—but not when.

Information coming out about VP Mike Pence’s stay with his family at DDT’s resort show that the cost for just limousines was $600,000 to go back and forth across Ireland. Taxpayers have paid DDT for Pence to visit DDT’s properties at least 20 times, and political groups connected to Pence have hosted six events at DDT’s properties.  

Three years ago, DDT called Gregory Cheadle “my African American” at a campaign rally. Cheadle now says the GOP pursues a “pro-white” agenda and uses black people like him as “political pawns.” He is running as an independent for a U.S. representative from California.

DDT is presenting a false picture of the southern border by using Mexican information instead of data provided by the U.S. government. The media adopted DDT’s chart about the drastically declining number of migrants in the U.S. needing processing came from Mexico; the true story is a much higher number of migrant crossings. DDT’s chart has no citation about its source.

DDT gave up on his attempt to blackmail Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden this year by releasing the $250 million that Congress had approved to oppose pro-Russian separatists backed by Moscow. The money was released only hours before a debate on a defense bill amendment stopping DDT from similar actions in the future.  

The racial wealth gap will cost the U.S. economy up to $1 trillion by 2028. A faster growth of white wealth over black wealth could increase that sum to $1.5 trillion, six percent of GDP. Failure to build wealth in black families comes from not only family income but also family wealth, family savings, and community context (a community’s collective public and private assets).

DDT violated federal laws in not getting congressional authorization when moving entrance fees to keep national parks open during the most recent 35-day shutdown, according to the legal opinion from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office.

DDT’s trade war has lost 300,000 jobs for people in the U.S. with another lost 500,000 jobs in the next 16 months. If the recession doesn’t exist before the 2020 election, DDT’s re-election will cause it.

Sixty percent of people expect a recession within the coming year, and 60 percent say that DDT doesn’t deserve to be re-elected. 

Mourn for the environment and the nation’s public lands as DDT begins building his wall across the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona. Seventy-four percent of people say that climate change is a crisis or a major problem, and two-thirds say that DDT is not doing enough to solve the problem. DDT’s central re-election message is “You have no choice.” He’s right: another DDT term would completely destroy the U.S.—and the world. People have no choice.

September 7, 2019

More Investigations by and for DDT

Investigations into the abuses of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) using government funds for his own private piggy back does not end with the Pentagon supporting his Scottish Turnberry resort. VP Mike Pence added to DDT’s coffers during Pence’s European trip. While VP Mike Pence attended meetings in Dublin (Ireland), he stayed at DDT’s golf course, Doonbeg, requiring four extra flights in Air Force 2, four extra motorcade trips, and security. Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, said that the government “negotiated room rates” for DDT’s resort. DDT “suggested” (code for ordered) the stay at the golf course including Pence’s wife, sister, and mother. Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short said “suggested” and then denied he said it until the next day when he reversed the reversal, the same day that DDT said he did not “suggest” anything. Although Pence claims to be “personally paying all family expenses,” taxpayers covered expenses for staff, security, and transports for them.

Pence claimed that he wanted to stay close to his ancestral home, but the visit there was rather bleak. Only one couple finally showed up, a huge difference from the crowds in Ireland for President Obama. 

 

Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deer tried—and failed—to cover up for Pence’s homophobia:

 

“For all of you who still think our @VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the @SecondLady’s schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland.”

Pence also faced LGBTQ support for LGBTQ people at his next stop, Iceland, where he was greeted with row of rainbow flags from the technology company Advania across from his meeting with President Gudni Johannesson in the capital, Reykjavik. Johannesson and Iceland’s first lady, Eliza Reid, wore rainbow bracelets during the meeting.

Two House committees are investigating Pence’s stay at DDT’s golf resort and DDT’s suggestion that the 2020 G7 summit meet at his Doral resort in Miami. Representatives requested documents from DDT, Pence, and other officials about violations of the Emoluments Clause. The State Department enriched DDT by allowing seven foreign governments to rent luxury condos in New York’s Trump Tower in 2017 with no congressional consent from lawmakers as required by the constitution.

Pro-pollution DDT is is bad for businesses that cross him. The DOJ is accusing four automobile companies of antitrust violations because they plan to conform with California’s fuel efficiency standards. The EPA and Transportation Department also notified California that the deal “appears to be inconsistent with federal law.”

CEOs understand that DDT is causing them serious problems. In an August survey of CEOs, 62 percent said the trade war with its flipflops on tariffs is “highly detrimental” to outlook and strategy, and 72 percent believe that cutting interest rates won’t sustain the economic cycle. The 3.9 percent rate of investment DDT has fallen from President Obama’s 5.7 percent after the nation’s economy started to recover in 2010.

History shows that no one wins in a trade war. When President George W. Bush raised steel tariffs in 2002, the GDP declined by $30.4 million, and about 200,000 jobs disappeared, 13,000 in raw steel-making. The cost to taxpayers was $400,000 for every steel-industry job saved. The World Trade Organization also ruled that the Bush tariffs were illegal

With DDT, the U.S. trade deficit for the first half of 2019 is bigger than in the last two years.

Farmers may suffer more than businesses. Bob Kuylen, the vice president of the 50,000-member North Dakota Farmers Union, said that farmers “lost pretty much all of our markets since Trump took over” leaving farmers “land-rich and cash-poor.” He added that bonuses for his high-protein wheat crops have dropped 95 percent.

In more DDT corruption, the private company of DDT’s campaign manager Brad Parscale has received almost $1 million from a PAC supporting DDT and Pence. Law prohibits PACS from coordinating with candidates’ campaigns.

DDT may have defrauded the IRS by not paying taxes on a tax-avoidance $50-million dollar loan that he owes to one of his own companies. He says it’s a wash; IRS law states that a firm owed money and has no outstand debt is worth at least as much as it is owed.

To give DDT $3.6 billion for his wall, the Pentagon “deferred” 127 projects in 23 states, 19 countries, and three U.S. territories, including $400 million for military installations in Puerto Rico. Another $770 million of the money disappeared from projects in allied European nations to help deter a possible attack from Russia, and another one is for cybersecurity. The Pentagon plans to get Congress to replace the $3.6 billion for a wall that Congress voted down. Either the projects weren’t important in the first place, of the military thought they could blackmail Congress. 

Congressional members are losing status with their constituents because of the lost revenue after Pentagon projects were deferred. North Carolina is unhappy after losing $80 million dollars, and its GOP senator Thom Tillis voted to remove FEMA funds for detention centers. The biggest loser, Tillis is up for re-election next year. He’s also in trouble after DDT lied about signing an emergency declaration “at the request of Senator Thom Tillis.” Federal law allows only governors to make these requests, but DDT couldn’t bear to give a Democrat credit for anything.  

GOP Sen. Martha McSally, also up for re-election after being appointed last year, downplayed Arizona’s loss by saying the state loses only $30,000. Later she had to explain that the loss is $30 million. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) simply blamed the Democrats.

Seventy percent of residents in the 200-household living community for older adults, River Bend Resort and Golf Club in Brownsville (TX), found that DDT’s wall puts them on Mexico’s side of DDT’s 30-foot-tall barrier.

DDT wants to raise mortgage costs and the deficit by ending government control of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae that handle half the nation’s mortgages. Part of the strategy in stopping an even worse recession from the unraveling housing market in 2008 was to have government control of those companies. People are already struggling to find affordable homes, and the U.S. will lose revenue from the companies’ profits while Wall Street gets richer. After paying less than $200 billion to rescue Freddie and Fannie, the government received $300 billion in dividends from them. Neither company has capital to be sustainable for several years, and taxpayers would be forced to bail them out again in “exigent circumstances,” according to the 53-page proposal. Shares in the companies drastically fell last week.

DDT brought out his 85th mandate to destroy the planet by rolling back George W. Bush’s energy-efficient requirements for LED bulbs. Continued use of incandescent bulbs cost people more money. Eliminating inefficient bulbs nationwide would save electricity equivalent to the output from at least 25 large power plants, equivalent to powering all homes in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Since 2010, energy consumption in U.S. homes dropped by 6 percent.

Only three incumbent presidents—Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush—faced primary challengers, and all three lost the general elections for a second term. With GOP politicians planning to run against DDT, Republicans have a solution: cancel 2020 presidential primaries and caucuses, already almost done in four states. One of the states is South Carolina, where Mark Sanford is considering an intent to run against DDT. DDT is right about the rigging of the election—at least for the GOP.

More NRA scandals: Former NRA president Marion Hammer obtained loans of over $250,000 at an interest rate down to two percent from the NRA’s Florida affiliate where she is the only employee. This affiliate reported a $28,389 shortfall when it gave Hammer a $200,000 loan. Most of Unified Sportsmen of Florida gets almost all its budget from the NRA. The IRS can impose tax penalties if the organization benefits a private shareholder or person.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who incited people to defend themselves from immigrants before the El Paso shooting, cannot understand how the killer at Midland-Odessa last week could obtain a gun without a background check. The shooter bought the gun in a private sale which, under state law, has no background checks.

“The economy is great,” says DDT, but new jobs slowed in August to 130,000, 34,000 of them government jobs included 25,000 short-term positions for the 2020 U.S. census. Reductions of June and July jobs numbers by 20,000 brought the 2019 monthly average down to 143,000, 25 percent below the 192,000 in 2018. President Obama’s monthly job growth averages were 251,000 per month in 2014, 227,000 in 2015 and 193,000 in 2016. The stock market went up but only because of DDT’s promise of trade talks with China in October. U.S. business investment and growth in trade-sensitive sectors slumped after fewer foreign sales, rising costs of imported goods, and the uncertain global outlook. People’s views of the economy are partisan, but they’re all going down—and independents are much closer to those of Democrats than Republicans. And the election is less than 14 months away.

September 4, 2019

NRA Rapidly Disintegrates

Filed under: Guns,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 11:02 PM
Tags: , , , ,

Last year has been hard on the organization that controls Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and GOP legislators since the National Rifle Association imploded at its annual conference only five months ago. That was when NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre blocked the re-election of NRA’s President Oliver North. When North became president a year earlier, LaPierre called him “hands down, the absolute best choice to lead our NRA Board”; a year later LaPierre accused North of trying to extort him.

Since that time, multiple scandals about NRA have dribbled out, causing many of its members to become disillusioned. In May, leaked documents showed employees unhappy about low wages, underfunded pensions, and a culture of fear while LaPierre made $1.4 million in 2017, making him the eighth-highest compensated nonprofit leader in the nation. The pension plan was frozen in 2018, meaning that employees cannot accrue new benefits while working for the organization. LaPierre got a one-time $3,767,345 supplemental retirement payment in 2015.

Less than two months after North’s ouster, LaPierre got rid of chief lobbyist Chris Cox, part of NRA leadership for 24 years, by accusing him of conspiring with North against him. Cox was also executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, the explicitly political arm of the gun lobby, since 2002 and made over $1.1 million in 2017. A lawsuit against Cox might force North to pay his own legal fees with the claim that he acted in bad faith.

Another blow was NRA’s closure of its online media arm, NRATV. NRA board members had increasingly become disenchanted with live production for the video channel with little response: January had only 49,000 unique visitors. The content also moved far from gun rights into right-wing talking points such as criticism of immigration and the FBI. Bad publicity came from Dana Loesch’s program putting KKK hoods on talking trains from Thomas & Friends because the popular children’s program added a train from Africa. 

A sexual harassment allegation against NRA senior official Josh Powell from an employee was settled in 2017 with the nonprofit’s funds, the same year that LaPierre promoted Powell to executive director of general operations. The next year, NRA’s ad agency, Ackerman McQueen, barred Powell from any further contact with its employees after a sexual harassment dispute with a woman who worked for the ad agency. Ackerman said that Powell received “the full support of Mr. LaPierre and the board of directors.” LaPierre said that the claim was part of a larger “extortion demand” and made Powell a “senior strategist” on the NRA’s legal team. NRA accountants found payments by Powell to his father, and his wife was hired by one of NRA’s top fundraising vendors. Board members had asked that Powell be dismissed.

Two prominent board members resigned from the NRA board in mid-August: country music singer Craig Morgan and NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, the latter after he had urged careful review of spending under LaPierre. Childress wanted an independent ethics counsel to review $24 million paid in 13 months to an outside law firm. Since May, seven of the 76-member board have left, some of them after they were stripped of committee assignments. Board objections came from cuts in funding for firearm safety and education to increase spending on legal fees, travel, and entertainment. Eighteen board members also benefited from NRA finances, incurring possible conflict of interest charges.

The departures started in the midst of news about LaPierre’s efforts to get NRA to pay for a $6 million mansion in a gated Dallas-area golf club after the Parkland shooting. The “good guy with a gun” said he need a more secure place to live. In addition, LaPierre and his wife asked for a membership at the exclusive club and two vehicles. The NRA started the purchase transaction by paying $70,000 to an entity set up by Ackerman at LaPierre’s request. The deal fell through, and the ad agency stopped funneling LaPierre’s personal expenses through its multimillion-dollar annual contract.

Before Ackerman stopped paying LaPierre’s bills, NRA paid $542,000 for private jet trips for LaPierre, including a trip to the Bahamas with his wife after the Sandy Hook shooting; $300,000 for Italian designer suits; and $13,800 rent for a summer intern’s apartment. LaPierre’s wife, Susan, also benefited from the NRA, spending tens of thousands of dollars flying hair and makeup artists around the country, including housing the stylists in luxury hotels. Again, LaPierre blamed Ackerman.

Prior to North’s departure, the NRA suffered from publicity about its expenditure of $31 million for DDT’s campaign, part of the over $50 million for the 2016 elections. The media reported possibly illegal connections, perhaps money laundering between NRA and Russian officials for the election. Gun safety groups outspent the NRA for the 2018 elections for the first time ever, and gun safety candidates won, partly from the movement led by Parkland High School students after the horrific high school shooting in Florida. Since 2010, the NRA took over $200 million in cash from its non-profit NRA Foundation to survive, and NRA was short $31.8 million at the end of 2017.

Making matters worse, New York declared that the NRA’s “Carry Guard” insurance program providing policies for self-defense shootings violated state insurance rules. Critics called it “murder insurance” because of is coverage for a potentially criminal act. Litigation continues while the state’s AG investigates NRA’s tax status and Congress investigates campaign finance law violations involving Russia.

Government records show that DDT’s 2020 campaign funneled money to a shell company connected to ad buyers in an illegal coordination scheme with the NRA through 2018 and up to May 2019. The buys were routed through a secret limited-liability company appeared in FCC records.

In July, D.C.’s attorney general issued subpoenas to the NRA for its financial records, payments to vendors, and payments to officers and directors.

Ackerman continues to sue NRA after it demanded the ad agency remove any NRA references from the ad agency’s website. The National Rifle Association has sued, again, its former ad maker and “NRATV” creator, Ackerman. The feud started in April when NRA sued Ackerman for not handing over financial records and then for leaking documents. Ackerman then sued NRA for the first time, and the back and forth became more vicious as LaPierre accused Ackerman of extortion.

The NRA’s biggest loss may be its donors disgusted with the organization’s problems. David Dell’Aquila gave $100,000 to NRA and pledged most of his own estate but said that $134 million in pledges may disappear. One donor, an anonymous “senior firearms industry executive,” might decide that LaPierre is bad for the interests of the firearms industry. Under LaPierre, the NRA focuses on guns as self-defense for angry and paranoid people who might not approve of LaPierre’s scandals. Difficulty in attracting followers might translate in difficulty in finding Republican voters.

The gun culture may be changing, especially after the growing number of deaths in highly-publicized mass shootings this summer. The loss of 22 percent in membership fees between 2016 and 2017 means an even greater drop in membership because of two membership raises in one year. Contributions to the NRA were $98 million in 20017, down from almost $125 million the year before. Almost one-fifth of last year’s contributions, $19 million, came from one anonymous donor. At the end of 2018, the NRA reported losing $55 million in revenue.

Gun sales are also dropping: U.S. firearms sales fell 6.1 percent in 2018 marking the second straight year of declines. Because NRA gets a cut of these sales, their revenue also goes down. More stores are eliminating gun sales, the most recent Walmart, that is ending sales of handguns and short-barrel rifle ammunition that can be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons while asking customers to not openly carry firearms in its stores. A statement referred to concern about “multiple incidents” of individuals wanting to “test our response” to the El Paso shooting by bringing weapons into stores. For example, 20-year-old Dmitriy Andreychenko who faces up to four years in prison and a $10,000 for legally bringing over 100 rounds of ammunition to a Walmart in Springfield (MO) as part of a “social experiment.” Walmart stopped selling assault-style rifles in 2015, raised the age to buy guns from 18 to 21 in 2018, and called for strengthened background checks. Krogers has also asked customers to not openly carry in their stores.

Despite an increasing number of mass shootings and more gun violence from white supremacists, GOP members of Congress who receive hundreds of thousands from the NRA reject any gun safety legislation plus millions more dark money given to PACs. These are the top-20 list of congressional members recently getting the most money recently from the gun lobby based on the 2017-2018 election cycle. Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) who lost her election and then was appointed until 2020 came in second at $227,928.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution declaring the NRA a “domestic terrorist organization” and urging the city to examine its financial relationships with companies that do business with the group. The statement noted mass shootings, including the murders of three people, all younger than 26, at Gilroy’s (CA) food festival. “The National Rifle Association musters its considerable wealth and organizational strength to promote gun ownership and incite gun owners to acts of violence,” the resolution read.

After the August killings in El Paso, DDT made a few noises about background checks but quit after several long discussions with LaPierre. Later killings in Midland-Odessa made no difference with him. In a complete rejection of democracy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that he would bring any bill to the floor that DDT didn’t want. Only elections may make a difference.

May 25, 2019

DDT: More Week 122

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 7:32 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Always a bit more news about Dictator Donald Trump (DDT):

DDT dodged a congressional review to make 22 deals, selling $7 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, etc. by declaring an emergency to protect the countries from Iran. Saudis will be able to use the bombs, missile systems, semiautomatic rifles, drones, and support for manufacturing and production of F-18 combat jets to kill Yemeni civilians. The planes are provided to other countries such as Israel, India, and South Korea. DDT is greatly helping arms companies’ friends to make massive profits in exchange for massive killings throughout the world.

DDT is also profiting his Fox network by boosting its hosts. Media Matters reports that these on-air personalities made at least $500,000 in speaking fees by moonlighting in appearances not only at GOP groups and conservative organizations but also at events with DDT’s officials and on DDT’s properties. Top payments have gone to Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Greg Gutfeld, Jeanine Pirro, Pete Hegseth, and Laura Ingraham.

DDT is sending 1,500 additional military service members and a dozen fighter jets to the Middle East to provoke Iran into war on top of thousands sent earlier this month. The Pentagon claims intelligence about Iran’s escalating plans for attacks, but no other country supports the U.S. in this claim—sort of like 16 years ago with Iraq. There is no proof for the Pentagon’s claims. Acting DOD Secretary Patrick Shanahan has written members of Congress to tell them he will be concealing information from them, resulting in bipartisan protest.

DDT starting his trip to Japan by contradicting his host when he said he isn’t disturbed by North Korea missile tests.  North Korea also said it will not negotiate with the U.S. because of U.S. demands for disarmament.

DDT is pushing the Army Corps of Engineers to select a specific construction firm, Fisher Industries, to receive billions of dollars for building his wall. Fisher’s CEO is a GOP donor and frequent Fox network guest. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders described DDT as “one of the country’s most successful builders.” Fisher has already started building a border fence on private land with private funds within feet of an 1855 international boundary monument. DDT has called for “French doors” on the wall instead of a hydraulic sliding gate and demands that the wall be painted black. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction limiting additional border fencing in specific areas and blocking the $1 billion transfer from Pentagon funds for the wall.

DDT’s decision to stop the DACA program has been blocked by the majority of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that called DDT’s actions “not adequately explained” and “arbitrary and capricious.” An activist DDT appointee disagreed with the majority opinion.  The U.S. Supreme Court also permitted a Massachusetts law that bars for-profit corporations from making campaign donations. Neil Gorsuch joined the progressive wing of the Supreme Court to hold that the Apsáalooke Nation, also known as the Crow Tribe, can keep its treaty-guaranteed right to hunt on unoccupied lands outside its reservation. The case bodes well for tribes keeping their rights. A lower court had maintained that tribes lose their rights after statehood on treaty land.

DDT’s new immigration plan has succeeded with GOP lawmakers like a lead balloon. One of the provisions switches visas to a “merit-based” program that would have eliminated DDT’s wife and in-laws from coming into the United States.

DDT’s military budget for 2020 is actually about $1.25 trillion instead of the $700 billion he claims. The uncapped Overseas Contingency Operations account (aka “war”) has skyrocketed to $174 billion that shows DDT plans for military attacks around the globe. Together the nuclear weapons and Veterans Affairs, not part of the official budget, total about $240 billion. The rest of the $1.25 trillion comes from $156 billion in interest payments on the national debt from the military. The GOP Senate Armed Forces Committee gave DDT’s military budget an extral $16 billion, almost the same amount as the $19.1 billion for disaster relief that Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) is holding hostage because it doesn’t cut out other expenditures.

DDT’s Pentagon wants to give the Taliban $30 million for peace negotiations.

DDT has given farmers another $16 billion without anyone objecting about needing matching reductions for other costs. The amount sounds huge, but the average payout to farmers was $7,236—a fraction of what they lost to tariffs. In Iowa, corn farmers got 1 cent per bushel with a decline of 58 cents in corn prices. Soybeans are $2.50 less per bushel, about $150 loss per acre and $60,000 for farms planting 400 acres. Big farms that get much larger checks are using payouts to pick up land from smaller farms at bargain rates. Sharecroppers can’t complain because they will lose their land. At the same time, taxpayers pay twice, giving money to farmers and paying for the tariffs.

DDT may have helped Professional Bank CEO and president Abel Iglesias be appointed to the board of directors of the Miami branch of the Atlanta Federal Reserve after his bank loaned DDT up to $25 million for the purchase of a mansion owned by DDT’s sister. She recently retired as a federal judge to avoid an investigation into tax fraud.

DDT has said he has a literal “hit list.” Told that treason carries a death penalty, he listed these people to be convicted:

“You look at Comey. If you look at McCabe. If you look at people … probably people higher than that. If you look at Strzok. If you look at his lover, Lisa Page, his wonderful lover.”

DDT finished up his statement with “Bob Mueller and his group of 18 killers.”

DDT’s activist Supreme Court has temporarily blocked fixing gerrymandering districts in Michigan and Ohio until it makes a final ruling in June about the constitutionality of Republicans’ drawing districts to favor themselves.

DDT is carrying through his proposal to deny healthcare rights based on gender identity by mandating that sex is determined by genitalia. The new plan allows healthcare professionals and insurers to deny healthcare including gender reassignment needs although three of four courts determined that the Affordable Care Act covers gender identity. DHHS declares that “sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth” and uses sex on a birth certificate as “definitive proof.”

Anti-LGBTQ rights Roger Severino is behind the idea of “genitalia at birth.” Head of Human Rights at DHHS, he wants discrimination in all government agencies against non-traditional gender identity. People questioning the government’s definition of their sex could be forced to submit to genetic testing, causing problems for identification. Men with Klinefelter syndrome possess an extra X chromosome (XXY), two or three extra Xs (XXXY, XXXXY), or an extra Y chromosome (XYY). Women with Turner syndrome have only one X chromosome, and women (XX) with congenital adrenal hyperplasia may have masculinized genitals. Men genetically XY who have complete androgen insensitivity syndrome fail to develop masculine sexual characteristics. Children with Guevedoces appear to be female until their penis and testicles descend when they are about 12 years old. Other people may have XX chromosomes in some cells and XY in others. Intersex people don’t fit typical biological definitions of male or female. Scientists now believe that almost everyone has genetically distinct cells of a sex that fails to match the rest of their body. Sex is a spectrum and lacks a rigid binary system.

A coalition of 23 states is suing DDT’s DHHS for removing healthcare from patients under the guise of “moral” beliefs and terminating hundreds of billions of dollars in federal health care funding from their states or cities. The discrimination is scheduled to go into effect in July.

The NRA is in a world of financial hurt. On top of investigations by New York State and problems with CEO Wayne LaPierre spending $200,000 of members’ money to buy clothing, the PR firm Ackerman McQueen is counter-suing for $100 million for allegedly trying to sever business ties to benefit the expensive NRA legal firm. The NRA started the kerfuffle by suing Ackerman for $40 million, charging that the firm of “fomenting” an attempted coup and leaking confidential documents. LaPierre won the battle in driving out former president Oliver North, but he may lose the money argument and drive the NRA into bankruptcy. An earlier article shows how excessive spending has drained the NRA’s coffers.

Paul Krugman has a perspective of how DDT saved the Democrats when he rejected the infrastructure meeting and how DDT’s actions will put the United States into a world of financial hurt—possibly even a recession.

The man who ridiculed President Obama for golfing and promised he would never golf has spent over $100 million dollars for his personal golf trips with some of this money pouring into his own pockets. This coming month he plans another seven-figure trip to another country where he can play on his own course. During his campaign, DDT promised that he would not play golf at all. The $100 million is over three times the expenditure of Robert Mueller’s investigation, a net neutral cost because Mueller collected about $30 million from guilty subjects. His golf expenditures would fund the Special Olympics program for six years, the program that DDT refused to budget until public backlash.

Almost everyone who reads DDT’s tweets knows that he cannot spell, but his notes for the “impromptu” press conference after his tantrum led him out of the infrastructure meeting is more proof. He also misspells an opponent’s name in tweeting “Joe Bidan.” DDT’s notes about a “hoax” missed “37 total indicted … 26 Russians indicted … 4 people sent to prison … 7 guilty pleas” from the Mueller investigation. Plus the gains from the guilty plea made the investigation cost nothing.

[Note: Those who wish to read more about the news above and/or factcheck the material may wish to use the links.]

April 28, 2019

The Religions of the Right

The religious right loves guns, wants to own women’s bodies, and listens to rantings of hatred and violence from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). These leading stories are since their holy time of the Easter weekend on April 19-21:

Yesterday, a young white man killed a woman and injured another three people at a synagogue in Poway, near San Diego, because he hates Jews. The tragedy occurred on the last day of Passover and six months to the day since another gunman killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. At his rally in Green Bay (WI), DDT made a short statement against anti-Semitism and hate “which must be defeated.” Then he launched into his familiar diatribes. The FBI people who investigated him are “scum,” according to DDT. He welcomed “lock her up!” chants about Hillary Clinton—who hasn’t committed any crimes—and then lied about Democrats wanting to execute babies. He denounced the media who covered the event as “sick people.” The day before he again defended protesters at United the Right, the Charlottesville (VA) protest organized and advertised as a racist and which supremacist event. [Photo: the self-described “young, vibrant man” at his rally.]

Two days before the Poway shooting, hundreds of people admired the guns filling a football-field-size venue at the NRA convention, and DDT bragged about pulling out of the international agreement, the Arms Trade Treaty, that regulates arms sales to keep weapons from human rights abusers. Technically, the U.S. has never been in the agreement because the conservative Senate has refused to ratify it since 2013. At least 101 countries have formally agreed to the treaty, and the U.S. joins Iran, North Korea, and Syria in the 29 countries refusing to sign thus far.

Other messages sent to the NRA cult members include “the first to uphold ‘Judeo-Christian values’”; VP Mike Pence’s opposition to the Green New Deal; Sen. Ted Cruz’s (D-TX) ridicule of the Democratic primary; and DDT’s mocking presidential candidate Joe Biden. The biggest cheers came from DDT’s “building the wall” and his lies that 400 miles supposedly built “by the end of next year.”

It was on his way to speak for the fifth consecutive year at the NRA convention that DDT spoke about his being “a young, vibrant man.” The convention was as woebegone as DDT looks in this photo. A schism in the NRA led to Oliver North leaving as president after only one year and Wayne LaPierre staying on as CEO. North didn’t show up at the convention in Indianapolis, leaving LaPierre the floor to accuse North of “extortion” for threatening to release “damaging” information about him.

The NRA had spent $30.3 million for DDT’s presidential campaign, but the money may have been funneled from Russia. Now the NRA has serious financial problems plus the New York AG, Letitia James, is investigating the NRA’s tax-exempt status. Some of the organization’s related businesses have also received subpoenas. James said that the NRA claims to be “a charitable organization” when he’s really “a terrorist organization.” The NRA is chartered in New York. NRA sued its ad firm, Ackerman McQueen, claiming that it won’t turn over financial records. Ackerman was paid $40 million in just 2017. LaPierre accused North of siding with Ackerman to the alarm of some board members. Ackerman is behind NRATV, the online streaming network that annoyed some board members from straying from Second Amendment issues. The network had addressed race wars and depicted trains in the children’s show Thomas & Friends in KKK hoods.

One difficulty came from the NRA Foundation, a charity, transferring over $100 million to the NRA and lending the NRA $5 million in 2017. Unlike donations to NRA, the ones to the Foundation are tax-deductible, which makes the transfer legally questionable. The NRA also paid $18 million since 2010 to the company that produces Under Wild Skies, a hunting show on NRATV. The NRA’s advancement director had a stake in the production company for most of that time, another possible nonprofit violation. These problems could lead to the NRA’s nonprofit status being revoked. In addition, the Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo questioned the NRA for insurance it offers to gun owners.

NRA members also think that leaders of the embattled gun rights group have lost their way and sense of mission. Members also complained about the NRA’s close ties to DDT. One member said to “stick to guns” and “keep your mouth shut about the wall.” Another one cancelled her membership because of the financial scandals. People might want to send IRA their “thoughts and prayers.”

Last Tuesday, the Saudis beheaded 37 citizens, most of them minority Shiites, in a sectarian-driven mass execution. One of them was well-known Shia religious leader, Sheikh Mohammed al-Attiyah. Thus far this year, the Saudis have killed 100 people.  At least six of the 37 killed were minors despite international law that prohibits death sentences for minors. Saudi Arabia has a pattern of executing minors.

Radical Rabbi Shloo Aviner told Jews that burning churches is acceptable if it’s in retribution for Christian actions. He claims that the Notre-Dame Cathedral fire is justified because of “the mass-burning of Talmud volumes by French Catholic priests” in 1242. “Christians must be punished,” Aviner said. The burning of the Talmud almost 800 years was triggered by Nicholas Donin, a Jewish man who converted to Christianity. Aviner doesn’t recommend burning of churches generally—“for the time being”—but in Israel “the issue is more complicated.” The targeting of homes, vehicles, and Palestinian individuals in Israel is a daily occurrence, and the website Mondoweiss notes:

“Several churches have been burnt in Israel in the last few years, and the police have been spectacularly useless in capturing the arsonists. In several cases, the arson was accompanied by slogans familiar from ‘price tag’ attacks in the West Bank (mostly along the lines of Jewish vengeance).”

Franklin Graham, son of famous evangelist Billy Graham, has said that God should kill gay people, and he’s applying that ethic to presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. Asked about the heckling that Buttigieg has received for being gay, Franklin responded with Leviticus 20:13:

“The Bible makes it very clear that homosexuality is a sin. ‘If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.’ (Leviticus 20:13). That’s what God says and that settles it for me. I stand with the Word of God. I care enough about people to tell them the truth and to warn them about the judgment to come for all sin.”

The verse finishes, “They shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.’”

The D.C. Circuit Court agreed with the House rules that prayers for the chamber must be “religious.” A self-described atheist is forbidden to offer a secular prayer in the House of Representatives. The judge made the decision, not against the person delivering the prayer, but against its content. The House had defended its position that the rules require “a religious invocation” from the time of former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI).

On the flip side, the IRS has determined that the Satanic Temple is a church. The group will have the same benefits as other religion organizations such as tax exemption and protection from discrimination. Its founder, Lucien Greaves, said, “I am following a code of ethics, having fellowship with brethren. Why can’t I be a religion?” Once called a cult, Christianity has entered mainstream religion. Benjamin Zeller, religion professor, described a letter that Pliny the Younger wrote in the second century to Emperor Trajan about Christianity at that time:

“This Roman governor is complaining about the Christians and using all this anti-cult language. He says that they have these secret gatherings, they’re stealing children from families, they’re engaged in weird sexual practices, and they’re disrupting the social order. Just replace ‘early Christians’ with whatever your current cult fear is.”

In the 19th century, Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons, was regarded as a con man. The church became a political movement after their establishment in Utah, and the 20th century saw them as a business. Now they’re mainstream. Protestants think that religions must have beliefs and a deity, both of which need to be taken seriously.

Maybe DDT followers and the NRA can declare themselves religions.

Careful! Jesus Christ has risen. And he’s watching.

August 3, 2018

DDT: Week 80 – Lies, Disagreements, Attacks

As Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) becomes more unhinged, his administration disagrees with him:

  • DDT promotes a government shutdown this coming fall if he doesn’t get his border wall. Both congressional leaders, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), say there will be no shutdown.
  • DDT says he’ll talk to Iranian leaders any time with no conditions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out the conditions for any talks with Iran.
  • DDT says he’s doing fine with Kim Jong-Un, but Pompeo says North Korea is far from denuclearization and still violates UN Security Council resolutions. GOP congressional members doubt that DDT made a good deal with North Korea. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) pointed out that “these guys cheated on every single agreement,” and the nation is building at one or two intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) from his classified materials. Satellite images show North Korean construction of missiles.
  • DDT upped his trade war on China, increasing tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of goods because China wouldn’t do what he wanted. In order to impose tariffs, DDT must prove that they concern national security, according to a 1962 law because the U.S. Constitution put Congress in charges of tariffs. Some of the products in the tariff are dog food and furniture. A bipartisan group of senators led by Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced legislation to restrict presidential power to impose tariffs.
  • White House officials announced that Russian meddling in U.S. elections is serious and ongoing, DDT said it’s all a “witch hunt” and “hoax,” and GOP congressional members are trying to ignore the whole issue by refusing to provide funding to stop it. House members are gone for five weeks, and McConnell is fixated on approving Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court justice.

While Paul Manafort’s trial for money laundering and fraud finished its fourth day this week, Roger Stone’s longtime former aide Andrew Miller will be required to testify before Robert Mueller’s grand jury after losing his appeal and produce subpoenaed documents. DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani gives DDT illogical arguing points to add to his ranting about witch hunts. He contends that obstruction of justice must be secret because no one would obstruct justice out in the open and that collusion is not a crime because the law doesn’t use that word. “Conspiracy to defraud the United States” and “Contributions and donations by foreign nationals” are crimes. This week, Giuliani obsessed between the words “should” and “must,” that DDT didn’t order AG Jeff Sessions to end Mueller’s investigation because DDT’s tweet said “should.”

DDT started waging war on the Koch brothers, maintaining “I never sought their support because I don’t need their money….” At the same time, he considers making them wealthier with his unilateral plan to cut $100 billion in taxes mostly for the rich by allowing people to figure their capital gains by adjusting the original price to inflation. The Koch brothers won’t support anyone who supports DDT. Two reasons: either they don’t like the possibility of a recession from DDT’s tariffs or they think that Democrats will win in the fall and are hedging their bets. Or both. In the last tax cut, no one got DDT’s promised $4,000 raise in wages, and his tariffs are destroying the economy for farmers.

During the last couple of week, DDT accelerated his war on the media, perhaps because of his new hire and confidante Bill Shine. Last week, Shine banned CNN Kaitlan Collins from a press conference because she asked questions—a reporter’s job—and then said that he had only “disinvited” her.

Fox network president, Jay Wallace, stated:

“We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press.”

DDT’s attacked the New York Times after he misrepresented a July 20 conversation its publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, after the White House told the publisher not to tell anyone about the meeting. Sulzberger set the record straight about the conversation in this article, and DDT became furious.

This week, CNN’s Jim Costa appeared to be threatened at one of DDT’s rallies where he added a few “fakes” to his statement about “fake media.” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended DDT’s treatment of the media, although she claimed it wasn’t violent, and lied about their reporting regarding Osama bin Laden. DDT also retweeted his “like” for a video showing Acosta’s mistreatment.

DDT hates CNN so much that he was furious at Melania Trump turning the television on Air Force One to the network. He ordered two additional televisions on the airplane with a streaming device that will permit himself and the first lady to watch TV in their separate hotel rooms when they travel. DDT’s television must be automatically turned to Fox; the first lady watches “any channel she wants,” according to her spokesperson.

Requests using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reveal past cracks in DDT’s administration. Last fall then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke that DDT’s cancelation of Temporary Protected Status for 300,000 Central American immigrants would “likely drive increased illegal migration to the United States and the growth of MS-13 and similar gangs.

Other newly released emails from FOIA expose Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ lies when she said that DDT had told the Pentagon about his red line for Syria last summer. He failed to communicate with the Pentagon before it issued a statement about a possible Syrian chemical attack.

A FOIA filing followed by a lawsuit disclosed that DDT lied to the public in an official speech to Congress in February 2017 when he claimed that the DOJ provided data that “the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.” The DOJ has no corroborating data.

DDT’s rallies are rapidly adding his daily average of lies, now up to 7.6. The increase of 978 in the past two months brought the total for his 558 days to 4,229 as of July 31, 2018. Immigration and trade top the subjects of lies, followed by taxes and NATO spending.

Despite media complaints, the White House failed for nine days to correct its “official record” of the Helsinki press conference to include the part in which Putin answered “yes” to questions about whether he directed officials to support DDT in his campaign. At least, the media nagged the White House into the correction; the Russian version left that part out.

Finished being a tool for right-wing union busters, Mark Janus, the central figure in a Supreme Court case, quit his job days after the decision was announced in late June that all workers receive union support whether or not they pay fees. Janus falsely claimed that his fees to the union, that protected his rights, would go to political activism. The ruling overturned the 1977 SCOTUS decision Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. 

The White House will no longer keep any record of DDT’s phone calls to foreign leaders.

The next time you hear that 80 or 90 percent of the Republicans support something—like DDT—remember that Republicans comprise only 24 percent of the nation, down almost 10 percent in a year. Ninety percent of the Republicans means under 22 percent of the nation. “Three-fourths” of Republicans means only 18 percent of the people in the U.S. Of the 42 percent independents in the U.S., only 36 percent approve of DDT, down seven points from June. The independents also prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress by over 20 points, 48 to 26 percent. This article gives a number of charts showing the increase of disapproval for DDT and the GOP by the large voting block of independents. The GOP may like the idea of $1 trillion deficit this year with only 21 percent disapproving, but 56 percent of people disapprove the handling of budget deficit—81 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of independents.

The one piece of good news for DDT is the job market. Although July’s job increase was only 157,000, which was 37,000 under predictions, the Labor Department upgraded job additions for May and June to make the three-month average at 224,000. Wage growth, however, is still at 2.7 percent, and most of the jobs added are in low-wage sectors.

Good news for others is that the National Rifle Association has been unable to renew its media liability insurance which could force the group to close its TV network, NRATV, and a number of print publications. Lack of insurance would also mean that it “cannot maintain its physical premises” or “convene off-site meetings and events.” The NRA blames New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo for pressuring insurers. The state levied over $8 million in fines against the insurance companies supporting the NRA’s “Carry Guard” self-defense program in New York State by insuring participants for legal fees and liabilities caused by self-defense shootings. The NRA ended 2016 with a $43 million debt and an additional 40 million in pension liabilities because people are no longer afraid of federal gun control, and the NRA counted on “Carry Guard” to bail them out of their fiscal problems.

Best DDT quote of last week: “Just remember: what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

Best quote of this week: In a GOP senators’ press conference whining about Democrats wanting to see paperwork on Brett Kavanaugh, Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said, “Frankly, we didn’t treat their candidates for these positions the way [Democrats are] treating ours.” In one way, he’s right: Democrats are willing to talk with DDT’s nominee for Supreme Court justice; Republicans wouldn’t even speak to President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, let alone consider him for a hearing.

June 27, 2018

Democracy in the United States – Gone?

With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s resignation from the Supreme Court and the GOP stolen seat for Neil Gorsuch, no one will have to wonder about decisions from the Supreme Court: they will always favor Christian and business conservatism. Gone are any careful deliberations about the constitutionality of the cases. The five conservative justices will legislate from the bench according to their united radically right-wing ideology. An appointment from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) can ban legalized abortions and contraception, reverse LGBTQ rights, promote discrimination against minorities and women, and increase capital punishment and solitary confinement.

Despite Kennedy’s conservative leanings and his decision to appoint George W. Bush as president in 2000, Kennedy was the swing vote to legalize marriage equality and preserve—to some extent—Roe v. Wade.  On the other hand, he overturned DC’s handgun ban, allowed unlimited finance restrictions, and set in place the destruction of equal voting right. Recently he supported discrimination against Muslims and Christian opposition to abortions and birth control. The week of his resignation after 30 years in the U.S. Supreme Court, Kennedy contributed to the taint of the “Robert Court.”

Despite Republicans ranting against legislating from the bench, the conservative justices made conservative law today in deciding against public-sector unions. The decision of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees permits workers to take union protection for free despite the fact that the small fees they paid has no political influence. The takers, including Mark Janus, won. Even conservative Antonin Scalia, who died before he could hear the case, wrote in 1991 that public sector unions could compel agency fees. Forcing unions to help nonmembers who do not pay them, “mandated by government decree,” would be constitutionally problematic. [Left: Janus was the name for a two-faced god of transition.]

For 41 years, public sector unions could levy fair-share fees to pay for workers interests.  The only intention of the five conservative justices is to break the union in their goal to protect large businesses and hurt working people. The loser in this case is the future for women and young people in the nation because union workers have greater wages—up to 20 percent more. The winner is the group of foundations funded by rightwing billionaires such as the Koch Brothers and the DeVos family who want to make money from privatizing the public sector. Their actions cost people more because privatization always costs taxpayers more money. Therefore people have lower wages while paying more money for everything.

The restrictions in Janus follows the courts’ history of blocking worker freedom. Nineteenth-century courts ruled that workers’ collective action infringed on employers’ freedom of commerce guaranteed by antitrust laws. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Lochner v. New York (1905) decided that labor protections such as maximum-hour laws violated workers’ freedom of contract. The Depression of the 1930s encouraged courts to give labor protections, but the GOP soon gained success in destroying these rights, actions that greatly expanded since their success in electing Ronald Reagan.

Although the Janus ruling may feel like doom, Shaun Richman, a veteran union organizer, warned that the ruling might require public employers to allow multiple unions competing for workers instead of negotiating with just one. If unions go to great lengths to show that they are the best worker advocates, the results could be more union militancy and power.

“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,”  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said two years ago when President Obama nominated a Supreme Court justice eleven months before the next president would be inaugurated. His position was that no nominee should be considered in an election year, and he refused a hearing for the nominee. For over a year, the Supreme Court was sometimes tied because of only eight justices voting on rulings. The next Congress is only six months away, but McConnell has abandoned his former belief. “We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall,” he said on the Senate floor with no idea of who that nominee will be.

Much has been said about the standard of whether a nominee will overturn Roe v. Wade, but McConnell’s standard is an approval by the NRA. In an interview with Fox, he said that he “can’t imagine that a Republican majority in the United States Senate would want to confirm, in a lame duck session, a nominee opposed by the National Rifle Association [and] the National Federation of Independent Businesses.” McConnell also told a crowd at a campaign rally:

“One of my proudest moments was when I looked at Barack Obama in the eye and I said, ‘Mr. President, you will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy.’”

The United States, which claims to be a democracy, now has a bogus president, a bogus Supreme Court justice, and a senate leader who decides which nominees can be confirmed.

Two days ago, the Supreme Court sent a gerrymandering case from North Carolina back to a trial court for further examination. Emboldened by other recent Supreme Court non-decisions on gerrymandering, North Carolina Republicans are asking SCOTUS to use the 2017 map plan that would inordinately favor the GOP.

DDT is fortunate that the media is not concentrating on some of the worst news for the United States because of DDT’s horrific policy separating children and families, his Russian scandals, and the recent disasters of the Supreme Court. During the time of President Obama, conservatives railed against the growing national debt after the president saved the U.S. economy that tanked from George W. Bush’s decreased taxes, $5 trillion wars, and the corruption of subprime mortgages. The last budget from President Obama, the one for 2017, increased the national debt by only $672 billion, a lot of money but much less than the projected deficit from DDT’s first budget in 2018. DDT’s first deficit is $1.233 trillion—almost twice that from President Obama—and his next year is about the same. DDT blamed President Obama for doubling the national debt after he took over Bush’s excesses, but now DDT is doubling President Obama’s debt.

Continuing deficits from tax cuts for the rich and big companies will come with increased dependence on foreign investors that weakens the world power of the U.S. Usually drastic debt increases result because of war and poor economy; the U.S. has neither at this time. After President Obama made progress in decreasing the deficit, however, Republicans’s huge tax cuts moved the nation to higher debt levels and erased its ability to respond to emergencies. Instead of addressing the problem, the GOP wants to make permanent the temporary taxes for individuals after 2026 to create even greater debt. Also contributing to greater debt and decline in the economy is DDT’s trade war with China, Mexico, Canada and Europe.

The GOP solution for the debt in the coming year will be to shred the safety net and established programs that people have paid into for decades. DDT ran on a campaign of preserving Medicare and Social Security, but the 2019 budget proposed by the GOP House now have drastically cuts many programs, including Medicare and Social Security, in order to pay for its tax cuts. Presenting these priorities that hurt the GOP voting block of older U.S. citizens is a brave move less than five months before Republicans try to keep the House majority in the midterm general elections. Republicans knew that the tax cuts could drive up the deficit, but they are now crying that the biggest domestic problem are debts and deficits. The GOP budget, called “A Brighter American Future,” goes back to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) desire of privatizing Medicare which supposedly reduces Medicare by $537 billion over the next decade. Considering that privatization always costs more than government programs, that’s a big slice out of health care for its recipients.

A new law that permits additional Medicare benefits for people with multiple chronic illnesses is a move toward privatization. These benefits may include home improvements such as wheelchair ramps, transportation to doctor’s offices, home delivery of hot meals, and other social and medical services. The catch is that only people with MedAdvantage programs, contracted with private companies, will have this “advantage.” Those who subscribe to traditional Medicare won’t have them available because Congress waived the requirement that all plans offer the same benefits for those with chronic illnesses.

Ryan is blaming God for taking benefits for people:

“Catholic social teaching … cautions us against allowing the state too great a reach into civil society. This is about saving souls, not dollars.”

Ryan’s college education was provided by his survivor’s benefits from the “state” after his father died. At the same time Ryan began “dreaming” about destroying Medicaid when he was “drinking out of kegs.” He plans to spend his last six months taking more money from people like him and ordered his team to provide reconciliation instructions to fast-track the budget without Democratic votes in the Senate—probably in the lame-duck session after the elections.

This June, the Supreme Court ended with a bang.

May 30, 2018

Democracy on Memorial Day

Filed under: Politics — trp2011 @ 10:41 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Today is the real Memorial Day and the final blog post in a series of vanishing democracy in the United States. News from the last few weeks:

When the cost of healthcare premiums skyrocket next year, people need to thank Republicans and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Vice President Kris Haltmeyer said that the rise will come from the GOP failure to shore up the market after a bill collapsed during Republican arguments about abortion restrictions. In last week’s briefing, Haltmeyer said, “With the repeal of the individual mandate and the failure of Congress to enact stabilization legislation, we are expecting premiums to go up substantially.”  He put the average increases in the “low teens” with costs in some areas of up to 70 or 80 percent.

The NRA found the “good guy with the gun” vital to their propaganda, but the organization blocked all guns at their convention earlier this month. People in the United States were safer for a few days while almost 90,000 gun fanatics gathered in one place without their weapons. The group made Oliver North its new leader. He can be remembered as an important figure in illegally selling weapons to Iranians for the release of U.S. prisoners before using the money to illegally finance a war in Central America. His convictions of multiple felonies were later overturned on appeal. It’s the new conservative world. In a recent appearance on Fox, he claimed that all Iranians are liars.

North joins the “convict caucus,” politicians who came out of prison to take important positions or run for office. (Technically, he was only convicted but never behind bars.) Other members are two candidates for U.S. Senate and one for the House in GOP primaries. Don Blankenship, imprisoned for violating workplace safety in the deaths of 29 coal miners, already lost his run for the senator from Kentucky but plans to run as an independent for the Constitution Party, despite the “sore loser” law preventing his candidacy. The other two primaries are August 28 when former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio runs in Arizona for the Senate, and June 26 when Michael Grimm runs for a representative from New York.

Grimm claimed to be a close friend of DDT, but DDT endorsed his opponent. One reason for the endorsement was Dan Donovan’s vote for the tax cut, but Donovan really voted against the bill. Grimm is running on his record of admittedly hiring undocumented workers, hiding $900,000 from tax authorities, and making false statements under oath. After Grimm’s aide filed fraudulent candidate petitions in Donovan’s name, he may be headed back to the hoosegow.

The former Boy Scouts decided to recruit girls in an effort to increase its members, but the Mormon church pulled all its members world-wide, instantly reducing the 2.3 million membership by 20 percent. All boys who were part of the 30,500 congregations automatically became part of the Boy Scouts.

DDT’s swamp deepens. Busy with foreign affairs, he has not made many appointments lately, but this one is a doozy. Ronald W. Mortensen, a strong anti-immigration activist, is DDT’s pick to lead the State Department agency overseeing refugee and immigration issues. Normally GOP Senators would automatically confirm him, but his writings have attacked senators, including Marco Rubio (FL) and John McCain (AZ). Mortensen has worked for the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, and said that DACA gives amnesty to “criminal illegal aliens.” As assistant secretary of State for the bureau of population, refugees and migration, Mortensen’s mission would be to “provide protection, ease suffering, and resolve the plight of persecuted and uprooted people around the world,” according to its mission statement.

After assigning immigration judges quotas for their employment, AG Jeff Sessions ordered all immigration judges to not temporarily remove cases from their dockets without issuing decisions. Judge Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, said that this practice will create problems, and Trina Realmutto, attorney with American Immigration Council, called the decision “bad law, bad policy.”

As if DDT’s appointments aren’t bad enough, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is adding to the sewer by appointing Family Research Council president Tony Perkins to the Commission on International Religious Freedom. The Southern Poverty Law Center designated FRC as a hate group. The commission’s job is to review violations of religious freedom and make policy recommendations to Congress, Secretary of State, and president. Perkins is best known for his virulent hatred of LGBTQ people.

Gordon Hartogensis, Mitch McConnell’s brother-in-law, is DDT’s pick for the Department of Labor’s pension agency, responsible for paying back dissolved pensions after companies cannot meet their obligations. McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, is already the Transportation Secretary. Hartogensis has no public service experience or understanding of his job’s responsibilities of protecting pensions for 1.5 million people with a deficit of $76 billion.

Andrew Smith, a former lawyer for payday lenders, has been confirmed as the director of the FTC’s consumer protection unit that acts as watchdog over private companies.

Richard Grenell, the new ambassador to Germany, lived up to concerns that he will offend Germans. An hour after his arrival, he issued the order that “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.” DDT had said that he wanted all countries to join him in sanctions against Iran, but Germany, along with four other countries, don’t plan to back out of the denuclearization agreement. Just as many people predicted, Germans found Grenell to be offensive. He matches the inappropriate selection of Pete Hoekstra, ambassador to the Netherlands, who lied about having said that the country has “no-go” areas where Muslims set cars and politicians on fire. Hoekstra then denied claiming “fake news” after he discovered the video footage of his statements. Since Grenell’s statement, he’s been fairly low-key although he told Fox that he didn’t want to be a “typical diplomat,” that he would “dig” into policy.

A few commencement speeches this year focused on the loss of democracy in the United States. Michael Bloomberg talked at Rice University of the threat from “our own willingness to tolerate dishonesty in service of party and in pursuit of power.” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) spoke to graduates of the Harvard Law School “about our democratic norms and how hard-won and vulnerable they are” with the lessons to be learned about today’s administration. At the University of Maryland, Al Gore encouraged his audience “to reclaim the integrity of American democracy.” Economist Alice Rivlin agreed, telling people at Indiana University, “Only you can fix American democracy.”

No address got as much attention as the one that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivered to graduates at Virginia Military Institute about the end of American democracy if Americans don’t take action. His warnings didn’t mention DDT by name, but the intent was obvious:

“If our leaders seek to conceal the truth or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.

“When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth—even on what may seem the most trivial of matters—we go wobbly on America.

“If we do not as Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society and among our leaders in both public and private sector—and regrettably at times even the nonprofit sector—then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years.

“But a warning to you as you leave this place—a place where the person sitting on either side of you shares that understanding. You will now enter a world where, sadly, that is not always the case. And your commitment to this high standard of ethical behavior and integrity will be tested.”

According to Tillerson, truth is the “central tenet of a free society.”

Tillerson was complicit in an administration that displayed the opposite of the ideas he presented after he participated in a huge cover-up of climate change when he was CEO of a huge company in the fuel industry. We can only hope that he benefits from 20/20 hindsight and can help others understand how destructive the current administration and their followers are to the values of the U.S. people say they prize. And we hope that the youth of the United States will want to bring back a form of democracy to the nation and attend to the U.S. Constitution.

May 26, 2018

DDT’s Problems with Russia

Filed under: Russia — trp2011 @ 11:45 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Monday is the day that people are to celebrate Memorial Day—instead of the actual day of commemoration on May 30—so that people can have a three-day weekend and forget the day’s meaning. The tradition of honoring those who died in the service of the country goes back to Civil War days, and the purpose of the day now is to remember those who died to preserve freedom—and presumably—the U.S. Constitution in the United States. Toward that end, the blog posts for the next few days will catch up on events that threaten to take rights from the people of the U.S. and those in which people are fighting back.

Despite raising issues with China and North Korea, Russian news still fills the media. Except for a breakdown from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) regarding James Clapper’s interviews about Russia throwing the election to him, DDT has been quiet. For example, he made no comment about the investigation from a five-country coalition team concluding that the Russian military fired the missile hitting the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014 and killed all 298 people on the plane.

DDT also failed to comment about the news that intermediaries for Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko paid $400,000 to DDT’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen Michael Cohen in exchange for a meeting between Poroshenko and DDT last year. Cohen has more problems with his former business partner, Evgeny “Gene” Freidman (aka the “Taxi King”), reaching a plea deal for his false tax returns. The Soviet immigrant managed taxis owned and controlled by Cohen when he failed to remit the 50-cent-per-ride tax to the state. Freidman is a position to know Cohen’s wrong-doings. And then there’s the discovery that Cohen met Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg in Trump Tower less than two weeks before Trump took office. Head of the Russian investment firm Renova Group, Vekselberg co-founded Columbus Nova that paid over $1 million to Cohen’s Essential Consultants with $400,000 going to Cohen to arrange a meeting with DDT. The meeting was one of two before the third meeting between Vekselberg and Cohen on Inauguration Day.

News in May also came from House Republicans, especially Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), trying to cover up DDT’s Russian involvement in direct contrast to results from the Senate Intelligence Committee. The results of that investigation agreed with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to help then-candidate Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. The chair of the Senate committee, Richard Burr (R-NC), released the conclusion that “there is no doubt that Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections.

John Bolton, new national security adviser, isn’t concerned: he eliminated the cybersecurity coordinator position on the National Security Council.

One person who claimed that she didn’t know if Russia wanted to help DDT win the presidential election is Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, looking like a “dumb blonde” (right) during congressional briefings about election security. DDT’s angry words toward Nielsen have continued for months, including one time in front of the entire cabinet, and Chief of Staff John Kelly is no longer defending her as DDT blames Nielsen for higher numbers of people cross the Mexico border. Nielsen hasn’t been silent about DDT, complaining that he fails to understand the nuances of immigration law While DDT accuses her of being a George W. Bush Republican, not a compliment. DDT wants instant results for

Special investigator Robert Mueller has started zeroing in on Roger Stone, former campaign staffer and longtime friend of DDT, who talked about his prior knowledge regarding WikiLeaks hacking into Hillary Clinton’s emails. Subpoenas have been issued to Stone’s social media director and Twitter specialist Jason Sullivan and John Kakanis, Stone’s driver, accountant and operative. Jeffrey Yohai, Paul Manafort’s former son-in-law, has also cut a deal with Mueller regarding the criminal probes, including those surrounding DDT’s one-time campaign chair. Former DDT campaign adviser Sam Nunberg predicted that Stone will be indicted for “some stupid financial thing.” Mueller’s investigation has brought 19 indictments and five guilty pleas.

DDT’s major ploy to stop Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling with the presidential election was to demand that the DOJ investigate the FBI and DOJ that may have “infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes.”  Pundits were split between whether Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had caved in to DDT by asking the DOJ inspector general to review the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for any political motivations during the campaign or whether he was stalling. By searching for “anyone” who might have infiltrated or surveilled “participants in a presidential campaign,” Rosenstein may also investigate infiltration into Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

DDT is incensed because FBI agents sent an informant to talk to two DDT campaign advisers after the evidence that they had connections with Russians during the campaign. The FBI also got a secret warrant in October 2016 to monitor former DDT campaign aide Carter. The FBI had good cause to investigate DDT’s campaign for communication with Russians. Rachel Maddow pointed out some people connected to Russian intelligence: Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and others who were aware. Some of these people have already pled guilty to these communications after lying to the FBI. Other ties with Russia come from DDT’s family members, friends, and business associates. These connections are over a year old; a newer article lists more. At least 15 blanket denials of contact have proved false, and Mueller’s indictments reveal at least 75 contacts between DDT’s team and Russia-linked operatives amid consistent denials.

The purpose of the FBI is to look for crimes, and it discovered that DDT’s campaign was connected to Russian meddling in the election, causing the FBI to investigate the situation. DDT’s accusation that the FBI wanted an “October surprise” to defeat him in the election was bogus because the agency didn’t release any of their information before he was elected. Hillary Clinton, however, did suffer from FBI’s “investigation.” DDT’s attacks are on organizations that protected him immediately before the election while exposing false, damaging information about DDT’s opposition, Hillary Clinton.

In protecting DDT, the RNC has paid almost $500,000 in legal fees to former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks and others in the ongoing Russia investigations.

Donald Trump, Jr. is also  in hot water after the release of the  2,500 page transcript from the Senate Judiciary Committee about the June 9, 2016 meeting at the Trump Tower intended to obtain information from the Russians that would cost Hillary Clinton the presidential election. The documents provide testimony from five people who attended the meeting: Donald Trump, Jr.; Rob Goldstone; Irakly (Ike) Kaveladze, an employee of the Agalarovs; Rinat Akhmetshin, the consultant; and Anatoli Samochornov, the interpreter for Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya.  Also released were notes from a meeting that Manafort took on the phone, and Veselnitskaya’s written answers to its questions. Jr. keeps saying that he didn’t tell his father about the meeting, but evidence indicates that he might be lying.

The discovery that Jr. had another secret meeting at Trump Tower eight weeks later on August 3, 2016 with an Israeli social media manipulation specialist, an emissary for two Arab princes, and a private security contractor for the Middle East. Erik Prince, former head of Blackwater and brother to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, arranged the session on August 3, 2016. Emissary George Nadar told Jr. that the princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were enthusiastic to help DDT win the election, and Israeli Joel Zamel said his company could give an edge to DDT’s political campaign. Nadar went on to frequently meet with Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn, who was promoting a secret plan to destabilize Iran with private contractors. After the election, Nadar paid Zamel money, as much as $2 million, at least partly for Zamel’s participation in social media campaigning. U.S. law forbids the involvement of foreign governments or people in U.S. elections. Zamel’s companies also have links to Russian oligarchs and president Vladimir Putin.

If that isn’t enough trouble for Jr., the FBI have recordings from the Spanish police between Jr. and Alexander Torshin, an official at Russia’s Central Bank with close ties to the NRA, and Alexander Romanov, a Russian who was convicted of money laundering. Those conversations are connected to Torshin’s meeting with Jr. at the NRA convention in May 2016. Spanish prosecutor José Grinda said, “Mr. Trump’s son should be concerned.” Torshin was one of 17 Russians sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department, and documents show that donors may have used the NRA to help DDT and his campaign.

Yet DDT and far-right Republicans keep claiming that the investigation is a “witch hunt.” DDT’s tweets today continue to rant about Russia with the same tired lies that he always uses. His demands that the DOJ and FBI must turn over everything to him about the investigation into him along with his claim that he is control of those agencies is an erosion into democracy and fails every person who died to protect the United States.

 

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