Nel's New Day

January 4, 2020

Bad Year’s End for DDT

Why did Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) attack Iran when Iraqis perpetrated the killing of the U.S. mercenary and the attacks against the U.S. embassy in Iraq? DDT was told he looked weak after he called off an airstrike following the unproved report that Iran had downed a U.S. surveillance drone. According to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), DDT killed Qassem Soleimani to look stronger than President Obama after lack of military action following the 2012 deaths of four people at the Benghazi diplomatic outpost. 

Nothing changed before DDT decided to kill Soleimani; the DOD had to make up excuses after the decision—just as they did with by freezing military aid to Ukraine. DDT’s major reason may be wooing evangelicals after Christianity Today called him “immoral.” All his actions this year will be based on his drive to be re-elected. As always, however, the main reason can be to distract from other negative news about him, such as these somewhat unreported bits from last week.

A whistleblower with access to documents from Deutsche Bank and Russia’s state-owned VTB bank claims that Russia underwrote DDT’s $2 billion loans from Deutsche Bank as well as being the proposed lender on DDT’s desired but uncompleted Trump Tower Moscow. The reason behind DDT’s huge loans from Deutsche Bank has been a mystery, especially because they occurred soon after his bankruptcy and high losses from several New Jersey casinos and his gigantic fine for money laundering in the resulting bankruptcies.

The documents supposedly came from a Deutsche Bank official who killed himself, one of two suicides connected to Deutsche Bank. In investigating Putin’s control over DDT, Congress should be able to obtain information. Judges at the district level and two ensuing appeals all ruled that Congress should receive the records, but the Supreme Court will hear arguments in March about whether Deutsche must comply with the congressional subpoena. SCOTUS usually doesn’t hear cases with no conflict at the lower level and ones between the two branches of government. 

DDT also had a chummy talk with Vladimir Putin last weekend when they talked about “mutual interests.” Russians have taken over the third U.S. base in northern Syria since DDT abandoned the area.

Making impeachment worse for DDT, a judge ordered the release of almost 300 pages of emails about DDT’s freezing the military aid to Ukraine.  “Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold,” Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), told Elaine McCusker, the acting Pentagon comptroller in an Aug. 30 email, only available in redacted form until now. A news source has seen unredacted copies from June through October that show how defense and budget officials frantically tried to cover for DDT’s illegal hold. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s senior adviser, Robert Blair, started the process on June 19 when he called acting head of OMB Russell Vought and told him, “We need to hold it up.” DDT rewarded Blair for not testifying about his part in the extortion of Ukraine by promoting him to a new position where Blair, with no experience, plays a prominent role in 5G work. After three months of blocking the funding release, After his order to freeze the funds, Duffey amazed McCusker by falsely blaming the Pentagon for not releasing the money. 

In late August, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo, and then national security adviser John Bolton failed to persuade DDT to release the aid. OMB’s lawyers worked on an argument permitting DDT to override the congressional law—that he had signed—to send the funding to Ukraine. Mark Sandy, who controlled the release of the money from the Office of Management and Budget, maintained that freezing the funds would violate the Impoundment Control Act protecting Congressional spending power, but Duffey told Sandy to say that the freeze was temporary. Orders to block the Pentagon spending were sent every few days for weeks.  

These revelations are even more awkward as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) leads some Republicans in a coverup by refusing to call any witnesses for the impeachment trial including Bolton, Mulvaney, Duffey, and Blair. 

Weeks ago, DDT wanted a big show for his impeachment trial in the Senate; now he suggests that it be called off before it starts. His tweet supported a plan from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) to move for a complete dismissal of the trial. This idea, showing the weakness of DDT’s position, follows his attempt to pick a lawyer for the trial. DDT was said to choose either personal lawyer Jay Sekulow or over White House counsel Alan Dershowitz Pat Cipollone because the former have more “television experience.” Dershowitz is fighting an Epstein-related rape allegation, which might make him DDT’s pick. DDT’s personal lawyer, also fighting an indictment, has volunteered for the job. Other TV hucksters who DDT wanted are the loudest screamers from the House, meaning Doug Collins (GA) and Jim Jordan (OH). Devin Nunes (CA) probably lacks the necessary volume and has been quieter after his connection with indicted Lev Parnas in the Ukrainian scheme has been made public. DDT doesn’t get to pick the House members at his trial. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is infuriating DDT with her delay, and his fury may land on Cipollone because he wants a fast quiet trial.

Parnas, an associate of DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, may provide more information for the impeachment after a U.S. district judge ruled he can share information with the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI had seized.

More trouble for both DDT and Giuliani comes from the public knowledge about Giuliani’s part in trying to depose Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in another part of Giuliani’s being assigned a leading part in foreign diplomacy with no official position. His communication with Maduro in late 2018 opposed the government’s policy to take up a harder line against the Venezuelan government and connected him with a client in the region, a wealthy energy executive investigated for money-laundering. Parnas is also connected to Giuliani’s deal-making.

DDT bragged about how he could get North Korea to denuclearize, but his strategy not only failed but also overturned 30 year of U.S. strategy to contain NK’s nuclear program. Nineteen month after DDT ignored lower-level diplomatic talks, negotiations are gone, and Kim Jong-Un is chortling about his “new strategic weapon,” possibly a long-range ballistic missile. Kim denies DDT’s claim that they will soon meet although DDT keeps talking about his “very good relationship” with NK’s leader. President Obama warned DDT that NK would be his most serious foreign policy challenge—before DDT’s massive blunders in the Middle East—but DDT raised NK to a major global stature. Lawmakers and analysts see the U.S. in a worse position with UK than two years ago: Kim develops his nuclear weapons while DDT stopped joint military exercises with South Korea and weakened international sanctions. Like everyone else dealing with DDT, Kim saw DDT as a patsy and played on his weaknesses.

DDT’s tariffs are failing despite all his bragging. He lies about tariffs’ generating government revenue and boosting U.S. manufacturers. Instead, manufacturing has shrunk for the fifth straight month, dropping to the lowest level in over a decade during the recession. At 47.2, December’s index is slightly above 46.3 in June 2009 and far below the expected 49. A federal study reports that “the 2018 tariffs are associated with relative reductions in manufacturing employment and relative increases in producer prices.” The economy also grew more slowly in 2019 than in 2018, and both years are below growth in 2015 when DDT declared his candidacy with complaints about the terrible economy. The year 2019 may also be the worst for job growth in the past decade. If DDT had not messed with the economy, it would have been in better shape.

Homelessness is increasing since DDT’s inauguration after shrinking while Barack Obama was president.  Last week, HUD reported a 2.7 percent increase, the third consecutive year the number spiked.

Polls supporting the impeachment of DDT indicate that people may be less entrenched in their views. Over half of those surveyed think that DDT should be removed from office, up from 42 percent immediately after the House voted for impeachment. Other results:

57 percent: DDT has committed an impeachable offense.

57 percent: The Senate should hear from new witnesses to learn about DDT’s conduct.

86 percent: Senators should be impartial jurors.

In an Economist/YouGov poll that was published this week, only 38 percent of respondents want DDT to run for president this year, and 51 percent wish he weren’t running. Only 33 percent have a positive view of the GOP, and only 40 percent said they would vote for DDT or for Republicans.

And the world opposes DDT’s assassination of Soleimani while people increasingly think it wasn’t a good idea.

September 22, 2018

DDT: Week 87 – A Very Bad Time

Paul Manafort flipped, Michael Cohen is testifying to investigator Robert Mueller, and Supreme Court justice nominee is in trouble after a sexual misconduct accusation. These events led to the longest hiatus of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) angry tweets since his inauguration. Friday, however, he went on the attack against Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Kavanaugh with an ugly tweet insinuating that the attack was not “as bad as she says,” otherwise her “loving parents” would have “notified the Law Enforcement Authorities [sic].” Even gullible Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was appalled at his message.

The past week has been hard on DDT in other ways. On Monday, he declared that he would release classified information that could damage the national security of the U.S. and alienate allies. He didn’t review the documents, but his action would be a conflict-of-interest because they related to investigations of close associates personally affect him. Faced with opposition from saner heads—including his own officials in FBI and DOJ—DDT doubled down after he “watched commentators that I respect begging the president of the United States to release them …. the great Lou Dobbs, the great Sean Hannity, the wonderful, great Jeanine Pirro.” Other people who had also not seen the classified materials. DDT also invented people, including anonymous Democrats, who supported the release of the materials and claimed that the investigation into the Russian scandal has been “discredited.”

Early Friday, DDT, impatient with the normal declassification system, ordered that documents be released “on an expedited basis.” He said if they were not immediately released that “I can always declassify if it proves necessary.”  Later that day, DDT backed down on his four-day-old order, saying that the DOJ and foreign allies have called on him to not release the documents. Once again, he claimed he wanted “transparency,” something not available in the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justice.

DDT is also caught between his old BFF Vladimir Putin and his new BFF Kim Jong-Un. Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, accused Russia of “cheating” on international sanctions against North Korea by illegally helping the country acquire oil and coal. Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia denied Haley’s charges. State Department Secretary had earlier accused Russia of undermining North Korea sanctions.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in visited Kim in North Korea last week and developed a closeness that may disturb DDT’s relationship with Kim. Kim and Moon announced inter-Korean agreements from easing military tensions to more family reunions, and Kim said he would visit South Korea, the first North Korean leader to do so. Their growing positive relationship may not help the U.S. though, because Kim declared that the U.S. must cake “corresponding measures” before North Korea would dismantle its nuclear facilities. China would support South Korea, especially after DDT’s recent bullying tactics with tariffs, creating a greater rift with the U.S. DDT should support Moon to preserve peace, but he rarely does the appropriate thing, especially if DDT gets jealous.

DDT keeps threatening social media for its “liberal” bent, but a report by Data & Society shows that YouTube lends itself to far-right views because it has a monetary interest in keeping these influencers on the site. Data from 62 political influencers on 81 different channels, the “Alternative Influence Network,” push reactionary right-wing ideas to promote their “authenticity” and build an audience. The lack of any rebuttal makes them able to successful communicate their message. For example, YouTube allowed the conspiracy theory that student survivors from the school shooting in Parkland (FL) were “crisis actors.” Although YouTube has made some attempts to curb misinformation suffers from its need for advertising revenue.

Despite DDT’s attempts to downplay the disasters of the flooding in the southeastern made him look like a buffoon. He did say that the storm was “one of the wettest we’ve ever seen, from the standpoint of water,” but his first question in North Carolina was “How is Lake Norman doing?” Told it was fine, he said, “I love that area. I can’t tell you why, but I love that area.” Probably because his Trump National Golf Club is in that area.

Wearing gloves, DDT handed out a few box lunches with hot dogs, chips, and fruit to people who had been waiting for over an hour. Pointing to a boat that had crashed into a victim’s property, DDT said, “At least you got a nice boat out of the deal.” In South Carolina, DDT said, “I think the most exciting part is the rebuild.” In the same manner as when he threw paper towels at victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and greeted Houstonians attacked by Hurricane Harvey, he told the people “have a good time” when he left. In a case of supreme irony, DDT retweeted a message from FEMA: “During disasters, it’s critical to avoid spreading false information.” DDT told 5,000+ lies during his first 601 days.

DDT’s position that nuclear and coal-fired power is the best answer to providing energy to homes and businesses, especially during crises. He had planned to use a law from the Truman era to force grid operators to buy electricity from nuclear and coal plants. Shortly before Tropical Storm Florence’s landfall, Duke Energy shut down two nuclear reactors. Floodwaters had not reached the nuclear plants, but they were shut down until roads were accessible for the possibility of evacuation.

Coal ash from the L.V. Sutton Power Station (left), eight miles northwest of Wilmington (NC), has overflowed into Cape Fear River spreading hazardous heavy metals harmful to human health on its way to the ocean. Floodwaters breached a dam at Sutton Lake in several places; the lake overtopped, and water flowed into other part of the plant. The rising river is expected to crest today after the state experienced a record for most rain recorded during any tropical storm or hurricane by almost one foot. Florence has killed at least 43 people and will cost as much as $50 billion, perhaps more because of DDT’s tariffs.

Always the businessman, DDT told Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell that Spain should built a wall across the Sahara Desert to restrict immigrants coming into the country. A wall across 3,000 miles of hostile desert would cut through five North African countries and do nothing to protect Spain’s 4,000 miles of coastline. According to Borrell, Spain has had about 20,000 immigrants thus far into a nation with a population of over 40 million. DDT is also fuming because the recent spending bill that the House passed does not include his own wall against Mexico.

DDT continues to show ignorance about his powers. About the former FBI director, “I should have fired Comey the day I won the primaries.” Then he added, “I should have fired him right after the convention”

The Washington-based transparency group Property of the People has published resumes of 2,700 political appointees in DDT’s administration and listed their woeful inadequacies. One was a former Chicago-area utility worker and bouncer, another a sales representative for a motorized scooter company in South Florida. One woman’s accomplishment was that she “recognized that Donald J. Trump would be the next president of the U.S.” Details indicate that the vast number of DDT’s choices worked for directly for businesses or as lobbyists before they assumed positions that are supposed to protect people from these businesses. The resumes are available here.

DDT promised to do away with the deficit, but it’s $895 billion for the first 11 months of fiscal year 2018—a 32.8 percent increase over those months of 2017 with not one peep out of most Republicans. Projections are $1 trillion for this fiscal year—and that’s without DDT’s space patrol, wall, infrastructure, help for Tropical Storm Florence, and the $200 billion a year loss from the GOP’s tax bill. DDT’s deficit is double that of the annual average of President Obama’s last three years. DDT is following the same system that drove his businesses in bankruptcy—debt, debt, and more debt.

DDT is no longer bragging about his high approval with black people in the U.S.: it is now three percent.

May 8, 2018

DDT Drops Iran Denuclearization, Cohen Sells White House Access

Filed under: Foreign policy — trp2011 @ 9:54 PM
Tags: , , , ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Waldman summarized DDT’s withdrawal:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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