Nel's New Day

March 16, 2019

DDT: Week 112 – U.S. Become a ‘Banana Republic’

Once again, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has given the people of the United States a bad week. He began with a cruel budget for most of the people in the U.S. while he waited days to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8, the same model responsible for killing 157 people on an Ethiopian airline and another 189 people in Indonesia’s Java Sea. Then he promised violence if Democrats continue investigations into his financial and political affairs and moved on to be called the “symbol of renewed white supremacy and common purpose” by the terrorist who killed 49 people and wounded dozens of others in two New Zealand mosques. Despite the defection of 12 GOP senators who voted against his national emergency wall building order, DDT vetoed the bill.

Under DDT, the U.S. has a new policy on human rights. In the introduction to “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018,” State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo wrote:

“The policy of this administration is to engage with other governments, regardless of their record, if doing so will further U.S. interests.”

This official document clarifies any doubt about whether DDT bases his policies on making money. The report ignores women’s rights and refers to the Palestinian land of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights as “Israeli-controlled” instead of Israeli-occupied.  As a continuation of his opposition to human rights, Pompeo and DDT are revoking or denying visas for all International Criminal Court (ICC) personnel who try to investigate or prosecute U.S. officials or key allies, including Israelis, for potential war crimes tied to U.S. war in Afghanistan.

DDT waited 11 hours to make a brief statement about the Islamophobic killings in New Zealand after eleven hours and failed to mention Muslims, but he had time to send a supportive email about anti-Muslim, racist Breitbart.com. He referred to “sacred places” and said that the U.S. will be there for New Zealand “one hundred percent” before he launched into terrorizing U.S. people about the “invasion” at the southern border of the United States, using the same inflammatory word as the New Zealand killer when he referred to non-European peoples. DDT then announced a March 28 MAGA rally which will undoubtedly spew more hate.

The New Zealand killer was able to stream his horrific acts live on Facebook for 17 minutes until he was finally shut down, and Sky New Zealand was forced to pull Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp from its channel until Sky News Australia stopped broadcasting these scenes. Facebook has more problems after its massive failure last week and streaming of mass shootings as federal prosecutors began a criminal investigation into its proposed deals on top of 150 others, many with huge companies. Deals allowed Microsoft Bing to map friends of all Facebook users without their consent and permitted Amazon to get names and contact information through their friends. The FTC, SEC, and DOJ securities fraud unit are also scrutinizing Facebook owner, Mark Zuckerberg. In addition, two top Facebook executives, the companies #3 and the head of WhatsApp, left because they disagreed with Zuckerberg about a single private platform with FB, Instagram, WhatsApp, and FB Messenger. Other long-time high-level employees started leaving.

DDT’s supporters disagree that he is the “symbol … of white supremacy,” but his statement that white nationalism isn’t a growing problem negates any idea that he might be concerned about reality. Again, he and his officials such as Kellyanne Conway attribute the Islamophobic murders to just “one crazed person,” and DDT said white supremacist actions comes from “a small group of people.” Data supported by the FBI shows that white supremacists and other far-right extremists have killed far more people in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001, than any other category of domestic extremist. White nationalist hate groups grew 50 percent between 2017 and 2018.

Major DDT-era white supremacist terrorist attacks and plots include a white nationalist U.S. Coast Guard officer’s plot to murder hundreds of prominent Democrats, the series of mail bombs from a white supremacist to key Democrats, the slaughter of 11 people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, an older black couple randomly killed in a Kentucky supermarket, and the murder of Heather Heyer at the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville (VA). The New Zealand killer’s 74-page “The Great Manifesto” follows the white supremacy protesters in Charlottesville. The weaker the gun laws, the more mass shootings; therefore the New Zealand killer had to go from his home in Australia to commit this carnage. New Zealand has promised to pass gun safety laws; the U.S. cries “horrible” after some mass shootings and moves on with no action.

DDT’s stall in grounding the 787 Max 8 and 9 jets caused controversy, partly because of the close relationship between the federal government and Boeing. FAA’s acting director Daniel Elwell, who postponed the grounding, worked for Boeing’s trade association, and acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is a former executive for that company. Boeing gave $1 million to DDT’s inaugural committee. Political pressure from Boeing include a lobbying call to DDT the day before the crash. Dozens of other countries took action far sooner than the U.S. George Conway, husband of DDT official Kellyanne Conway, said that DDT’s inaction was a further indication of the U.S. becoming a “banana republic.”

Ethiopian officials have such little trust in the U.S. that they sent the black box to France to get more information about the crash. Boeing failed to sufficiently train pilots on the computer system of the new model by convincing the FAA that the planes were similar to older models. U.S. airlines reported that they still don’t have training flight simulators for this specific model although airlines in other countries have them available.

DDT’s 35-day government shutdown may have played a part in killing the 157 people on the Ethiopian plane. After the October disaster on the same model, Boeing began a software fix for the plane, but the shutdown delayed agreement on how extensive the technical and engineering software enhancement of sensors should be. Thousands of aviation inspectors were furloughed for almost four weeks. FAA has said that the update delay was not a problem because its experts and Boeing saw no imminent safety threat. Rachel Maddow reported on other difficulties with this plane model and others that did not result in crashes but had the same problem with automated systems pulling the nose down when the plane should be ascending after takeoff.

Last Sunday’s news shows universally ignored DDT’s scandal about his friend Li “Cindy” Yang, former owner of a massage parlor involved in a sex trafficking ring, who has sold DDT access to Chinese business executive and Chinese government officials. Yang has connections with two groups directly tied to the Chinese Communist Party. Mainstream TV failed to report on the issue although their nightly newscasts in 1998 and 199 devoted 2,528 minutes to Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky as well as more coverage of his other scandals.

In a court filing, New York’s AG Letitia James asked a judge to order DDT’s Trump Foundation to pay $2.8 million in restitution and a $5.6 million penalty for his making the so-called charity into part of his campaign. DDT has already shut down and distributed its $1.7 million to nonprofits. He would be lucky not to be indicted for these illegal activities. When DDT tells supporters on his campaign trail, “I really need you to vote for me,” his plea has more than one meaning.

Other Bits:

In addition to 12 Republican senators joining Democrats in a resolution to overturn DDT’s wall-building emergency executive order, six GOP senators voted in favor of a War Powers resolution to eliminate U.S. military support for the assault on Yemen in a coalition led by Saudi Arabia. More about that in a few days.

In another ongoing war issue, DDT is pulling U.S. diplomats from Venezuela, indicating an escalation on his attacks against the country. The New York Times has exposed U.S. government lies about the country’s president responsibility for burning trucks carrying supplies for humanitarian aid. Any official U.S. reports about the fires disappeared with the revelation that anti-Maduro protesters threw a molotov cocktail that hit one of the trucks.

Paul Manafort got off easy with the first sentencing and moderately with the second—total 7.5 years—but New York has charged him with 16 state felony charges. DDT can’t pardon state convictions.

A New York court is permitting a civil defamation suit against DDT by Summer Zervos, citing a 1997 Supreme Court ruling against Bill Clinton. Right now, the president is not above the law.

Since DDT’s inauguration, fines over $5,000 from the federal consumer agencies have dropped 37 percent. Mick Mulvaney’s Consumer Financial Protection Agency was the worst in not prosecuting crimes. “Tough on crime” doesn’t apply to consumer protection.

In a 23-minute video, Rachel Maddow reports on how DHS tracks the menses of unaccompanied minor immigrant girls under their control to keep them from having abortions. DHS, however, can’t provide numbers about separations, numbers of children in detention, illnesses, or deaths.

After a strong February, President Donald Trump’s job approval rating has dipped four percentage points, to 39%, matching his rating from December at the start of the 35-day partial government shutdown.

March 9, 2019

DDT: Week 111 – A Plague of Lost Court Cases, Investigations, Inhumanity

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has had another hard week: Jane Mayer’s article about the “Fox White House,” burgeoning investigations including a look into his giving his children high-level security clearances, and the revelation that North Korea is developing nuclear weapons after DDT took Kim Jong-Un “at his word.” The courts are also dealing DDT a few blows.

Another judge has ruled against DDT’s citizenship question on the 2020 census, ruling that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross acted in “bad faith,” broke several laws, violated the constitutional representative democracy by deliberately undercounting specific populations, and lied under oath to Congress, according to uncovered emails. The Supreme Court will hear arguments about the questions in late April before the census materials go to the printer in June.

Another federal judge expanded his ruling to reunite over 2,700 migrant children with their parents to all parents separated at the border on or after July 1, 2017, far earlier than the previous order going back to June 26, 2018. Judge Dana Sabraw was responding to the DHS report that unknown thousands of children may have been separated since summer of 2017. He will consider the next steps on March 28, 2019 and wrote, “The hallmark of a civilized society is measured by how it treats its people and those within its borders.”

In more lack of concern for human life, DDT revoked the mandate that the U.S. report the number of civilians killed in drone strikes outside war zones. Since he was inaugurated, a recorded 2,243 drone strikes, far more than the total 1,878 during President Obama’s eight years, have killed civilians. With almost no congressional oversight or media attention, DDT is also waging a secret war in Somalia, killing at least 252 people in two dozen airstrikes thus far this year. The Pentagon has deployed 500 U.S. troops, including special ops, in the country.

Demonstrating disregard toward Palestine, DDT closed the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem serving as a de facto embassy for Palestinians and sending them to the U.S. Embassy to Israel where Ambassador David Friedman, fierce critic of Palestinian leadership, further recognizes Israeli control over Palestinian land in Jerusalem and the West Bank. DDT has also cut hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to Palestinians which includes help for hospitals and peace-building programs as well as funding for the UN agency providing aid to Palestinian refugees. Last fall, he shut the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington. DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, in charge of peace negotiations between Israeli and Palestine, said that the U.S. will reveal the deal, rejected by the Palestinian Authority, after April’s Israeli elections.

DDT promised Alabama “A Plus treatment” after 23 people died in a tornado.  About California, where 86 people died in just one town’s fire, DDT tweeted:

“Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!”

Embarrassing even the State Department and the Department of Defense, DDT may demand that Germany, Japan, and possibly all other allies hosting U.S. troops pay the full price of U.S. soldiers deployed in their countries—plus another 50 percent or more. U.S. keeps bases in these countries for our benefit—for example, emergency care in Germany for U.S. soldiers wounded in Iraq and other hot spots. Although Germany sometimes opposes involvement in the Middle East, one German base provides a necessary staging post for U.S. military actions in Iraq and Libya. German bases also provide headquarters for the U.S. Africa Command, and marines crisis response forces in Spain and Italy protect U.S. interests and diplomatic compounds in Africa. If DDT removes the bases, the U.S. will lose the benefits while paying more of money to support the troops.

DDT’s appointees are becoming increasingly disturbed about DDT’s orders to them coming from his “gut.” Last December, DDT said he was pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, and his Defense Secretary, James Mattis, quit. Two months later, he said he would leave 2,000 there—and then 4,000. Now he’s “100 percent” behind keeping troops in Syria. Even national security adviser is disturbed about the North Korea buildup fiasco, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo finds himself consistently forced to lie for DDT. As Michael Cohen said in his testimony to the House Oversight Committee, “The more people that follow Mr. Trump as I did blindly are going to suffer the same consequences that I’m suffering.”

In his testimony, Cohen said that DDT’s run for president was “to make his brand great, not to make our country great.” DDT proved Cohen right when he tweeted an advertisement for his Scottish golf course, incidentally violating two clauses of the U.S. Constitution. He may also be in deeper hot water if anyone investigates the financing for the golf course like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) plans.

Tens of thousands of dollars poured into DDT’s inauguration fund from shell companies hiding foreign contributors, at least one of them ineligible for political donations because of U.S. election law. The daughter for a contributor received a White House internship, and a Washington lobbyist has already admitted that he funneled $50,000 to the inauguration from a Ukrainian oligarch. Another $25,000 was traced to an Israeli businessman. Things are so bad for DDT that Forbes thinks his Trump Organization could be charged as a “RICO enterprise.” And Michael Cohen is suing DDT for almost $2 million in unpaid back legal fees from 2018.

Since Democrats said that they would not have a debate on Fox, DDT said he would block other networks from hosting debates. DDT’s Mar-a-Lago buddies call him “king,” perhaps making him think he has the ability to tell the media what to do.

After giving trillions of dollars to the wealthy and big business, DDT plans to become the king of fiscal responsibility. On the first of March, the U.S. national debt hit $22 trillion, requiring another vote to raise the debt ceiling following months of using “extraordinary measures” to pay the country’s bills. March 11 is the deadline for the White House to release DDT’s broad budget priorities. The man who bragged “I’ve made a fortune by using debt” will make deep spending cuts in the safety net which won’t pass the House and increase military spending. DDT may cause another shutdown.

Corporation tax rates were cut 40 percent for 2018 while over 11 million taxpayers lost $323 billion in tax deductions. Republicans who passed the tax cuts, who said that the added revenue would make up for any deficits, are calling the $1 trillion addition to the U.S. debt a “threat to national security.” Five GOP senators and 50 GOP representatives are co-sponsoring legislation for a resolution stating “that deficits are unsustainable, irresponsible, and dangerous” and that Congress is committed to “addressing the fiscal crisis faced by the United States.”

The U.S. budget gap climbed to $310.3 billion from October to January, up from $175.7 the same time during previous year, while tax revenues were lower after the tax “reform”—corporate payments down 23 percent and income taxes down three percent. Individuals still paid the same amount as last year, however, because prices of good increased at least $25 billion from the tariff costs. Between the tariff and IRS withholding, individuals paid $839, and business paid $73 billion. The surplus in January dropped from $49.2 billion in January 2018 to $8.7 billion in January 2019.

DDT has found a flaw in his tax scam cut that offends his wealthy friends: because it restricts deductions of state and local taxes—including property tax—to $10,000 and the mortgage interest deduction to $750,000, people are leaving New York City and causing a decline in home prices. The reeling real estate market may cause a recession there. Republicans refuse to change that provision. Some of these frustrated tax payers may have formerly been doors to Republicans.

When DDT expressed belief in the innocence of New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, charged with soliciting prostitutes at a Florida spa, he forgot to mention that he watched the Superbowl at Mar-a-Lago with the spa chain’s founder, Li “Cindy” Yang, whose family still owns the spas. A visitor to the White House, Yang is quite a GOP supporter having posed for photos with Rep. Matt Gaetz, Gov. Ron DeSantis, GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. DDT signed a photo with Yang. [visual Yang] Other photos show Yang with Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) and Fox contributor Dan Bongino, who had a meltdown about its release.

The big media buzz this week was the light sentence that Paul Manafort received from the first judge. DDT worked hard to spin the ruling into his favor, claiming that the judge said, “No collusion!” The judge, however, declared that Manafort wasn’t on trial for or convicted of “anything to do with Russian colluding in the presidential election.” The second sentence with a maximum of ten years will be delivered this coming week.

December 14, 2018

DDT: Week 99 – Advent Surprises

In Advent’s 22 to 28 days leading up to Christmas, one custom is the calendar which has pockets or drawers, each concealing a gift that delight children. This Advent is bringing political surprises for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), but the “gifts” won’t delight him.

Thinking that he could control the Democrats in the coming year, DDT met with Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA) last Tuesday. Pelosi and Schumer expected a closed meeting, but DDT invited the press so that they could hear him say that he would be “proud” to shut down the federal government if he didn’t get money for his “wall.” Later in a closed-door meeting, Pelosi told the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee that the wall is “like a manhood thing for him.” DDT said that the money for his new wall would come from his new NAFTA, which means he plans to use non-existent money gained from his new trade agreement for a $25 billion wall.

Some events from the past week that should terrify DDT:

Russian agent  Maria Butina is pleading guilty and giving testimony about her conspiracy to infiltrate the NRA to help Russia. Although Vladimir claims that he and his spies know nothing about her, Natasha Bertrand of The Atlantic tweeted:

“Is that why the Russian gov has conducted 6 consular visits to Butina, passed 4 diplomatic notes to State about her case, and had Lavrov personally speak to Pompeo twice about her prosecution? (The official Kremlin Twitter account changed its avatar to a picture of her, too.)”

In possible illegal “coordination” (maybe collusion?), DDT’s presidential campaign and the NRA used the same people and parent company in strategically making ad buys. The law permits the NRA to spend as much money for advertising, but any expenditures sharing information with a campaign is limited to $5,000 as in-kind donations. The NRA spent $30 million.

DDT’s former fixer Michael Cohen received a sentence of three years for failure to report his multimillion-dollar payoff for orchestrating secret hush payments to women who claim affairs with DDT and an additional concurrent two months sentence and $50,000 fine for lying to Congress about his dealings with a Trump Tower in Moscow. DDT has thus far failed in his attempts to distance himself from his former fixer, the man who DDT called “my attorney. The slightest chink in the GOP indifference to DDT’s criminal activity came from Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) when he expressed “concern” about the possibility that DDT might have implicated himself in a crime, if, according to Cassidy, “this so-called hush money is a crime.”

After almost a day of silence, DDT insisted that the hush-money payoffs were “not campaign finance” despite the admission of the National Enquirer’s owner AMI that it paid off one of the women “in concert with” DDT’s campaign to “suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.” DDT also claimed that, although Cohen pled guilty to these violations of campaign-finance law, they “are not a crime.”

After DDT’s election, he appointed Kushner to replace Cohen as his contact with David Pecker, National Enquirer publisher and chief executive of AMI. Kushner and Pecker talked frequently after DDT’s inauguration on a variety of subjects from relationships with Saudis to dirt on Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough. Pecker’s pro-DDT coverage drastically diminished after the raids on Cohen’s office, leading to Pecker becoming an unindicted co-conspirator. AMI’s admission that its pre-election hush-money scheme was specifically connected to DDT’s campaign.

DDT claimed that he would pick only the “best people.” One of them was Michael Flynn, DDT’s former national security adviser who is now waiting his sentence for lying to the FBI. Flynn’s defense is that nobody told him the consequences of lying to the FBI. Special investigator Robert Mueller responded to this feeble excuse: Flynn lied multiple times before, during, and after the FBI interview—sticking to his lies even when given a chance to tell the truth—and he was told about the interview topic.

The Mueller team wrote:

“A sitting National Security Advisor, former head of an intelligence agency, retired Lieutenant General, and 33-year veteran of the armed forces knows he should not lie to federal agents. He does not need to be warned it is a crime to lie to federal agents to know the importance of telling them the truth. The defendant undoubtedly was aware, in light of his ‘many years’ working with the FBI, that lying to the FBI carries serious consequences.”

Soon after DDT’s inauguration, DDT’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort urged him to vigorously attack the FBI. Communications regarding Manafort’s lying showed that DDT’s undermining the FBI would damage its investigation into the Russian election collusion, as shown in some communications that are the subject of Manafort’s lying. Manafort specifically identified former FBI Director James Comey for damage to the FBI credibility and advised a senior administration official to attack DOJ, the FBI, and Obama officials for seeking FISA warrants to eavesdrop on himself and Carter Page, again to delay the investigation. A hearing on allegations about Manafort’s lying is on January 25.

Beyond investigations into DDT’s campaign, transition team operations, business, and foundation operations, prosecutors are delving into expenditures of his inaugural committee and his super PAC. Foreigners—primarily from Middle Eastern nations—likely contributed donations to both these funds in exchange for influence on U.S. policy, a violation of U.S. law The probe into inaugural donations involves federal prosecutors in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Despite the claim that donors to the inaugural committee were “fully vetted and disclosed” to the FEC, the audit has not been made public, and a GOP lobbyist pleaded guilty to arranging for foreigners to pay $50,000 for inaugural tickets through a U.S. purchaser.

Ivanka Trump has been found to funnel huge sums from the inaugural donations into the Trump Organization while she was executive vice president. Internal emails and receipts show that she negotiated hotel prices for venue rentals. Overcharging for event spaces violates tax law, and the IRS can issue steep fines if a person with “substantial influence” over a nonprofit group overcharges for their outside business. Rick Gates, then deputy to the inaugural chair who is guilty of lying to the FBI and conspiracy against the U.S., asked vendors to take payments directly from vendors and sign confidentiality agreements about their payments. With a third of the staff, a quarter of the events, and revenue of twice as much as George W. Bush’s second inauguration, the records for DDT’s inauguration show at least $40 million missing from the funds.

Mueller’s investigation continues with revelations about work by DDT’s officials in the Middle East to influence politics in the United States.

While Republicans were reluctant to criticize DDT’s legal problems, a bipartisan vote in the Senate of 59-41 called for an end to military assistance to Saudi Arabia in connection with its war in Yemen that has killed 50,000 people and starved another 12 million. The Congress can order DDT to remove U.S. military members from “hostilities abroad” without the existence of a declaration of war or authorization of the use of force. Last month, the Senate passed a resolution by 58 to 41 removing the U.S. military’s refueling of Saudi coalition aircraft. House Speaker quashed a similar measure by putting an amendment in the farm bill that just passed, but the House changes party majority at the end of the year. The Senate is also considering a bill suspending weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and imposing sanctions on officials blocking humanitarian access in Yemen or who were involved in the torture and dismemberment of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The “rule of law” has moved 180 degrees in the past two decades. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, the GOP investigated Whitewater, a land deal in which the Clintons lost $45,000 several years before Clinton went to the White House. He was impeached for a lie about Monica Lewinsky. In the 1990s, Republicans believed that the rule of law had no exceptions, that a serving president is subject to a civil lawsuit, required to answer a subpoena and testify before a grand jury. One telephone call from the White House to the Treasury Department was classified as obstruction of justice. The current occupant of the Oval Office can threaten and dismiss law enforcement officials for investigating him, intimidate prosecutors, repeatedly defame legal opponents, offer pardons for witnesses against him, lie about multimillion-dollar deals with a country that has leverage against him, and offer a bribe to the president of said country with a $50 million penthouse. Republicans respond by promising more investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

No one knows if a sitting president can be indicted, but a memo from Ken Starr, hidden in the National Archives for almost 20 years, says “yes.” According to Starr, “in this country, no one, even President Clinton, is above the law.” Maybe Republican presidents are exempt, however, since the Supreme Court became an arm of the executive branch.

December 7, 2018

DDT: Week 98 – Furious Tweets Show Fear

Events during the past week, especially Robert Mueller’s investigation freight train increasing speed, have so terrified Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) that he released his longest, and most virulent, hate tweets this week—and that’s a record.

Michael Cohen, DDT’s former fixer, has revealed information about a Russian contact who would provide government connections to DDT’s business and political interests as early as 2015. He also said that DDT told him to reach out to Russia.

Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for DDT, has been discovered to lie about his contacts with Russian intelligence. Manafort sold his Florida mansion, purchased for $1.3 million and then renovated, to his wife for $10.

Vanity Fair reported that Donald Trump Jr. has gone into hiding in Canada, afraid that he would be indicted for lying to Congress and his behavior as a Trump Organization executive. Cohen has provided New York’s AG office information about the business finances. A hunting trip will help Jr. avoid the media.

Two House committees spent one of the last five days of GOP control before Democrats take over in January grilling former FBI Director James Comey in a closed session. The event appears to be a nothing-burger, with the focus on Hillary Clinton’s emails.

DDT followed yesterday’s White House reception for Hanakkah with his furious tweet calling the media “THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” a minute before a bomb threat was called into CNN NYC at the Times Warner Center and six weeks after pipe bombs were mailed to CNN and Democratic leaders.

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, DDT’s appointment formerly under consideration for AG, has been in the news when an in-depth reporting described how Acosta, then Miami’s top federal prosecutor, blocked a FBI probe for child molestation allegations again financier Jeffrey Epstein. Ten years ago, Acosta gave federal immunity to Epstein, involved with at least 40 underage girls and trafficking girls from overseas, and unnamed people involved with him. Instead, Epstein served 13 months in a private wing of the Palm Beach County jail with his own private secretary while he was on release 12 hours a day. Epstein again managed to weasel out of a trial this past week in which his victims were being allowed to testify.

DDT still supports Saudi Arabia despite their torturing and dismembering U.S. resident and WaPo journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but GOP Senate members separated themselves from DDT in his support of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam after CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed the Senate leaders. Referring to DDT’s claim that he doesn’t see a “smoking gun” linking MBS to Khashoggi’s murder, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, “There’s not a smoking gun, there’s a smoking saw.” Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said about MBS, “He murdered him. …No question in my mind.”

Like DDT’s other grandiose claims, his promise of solving U.S. tariff problems with China after a meeting with President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit isn’t bearing fruit. Chinese media announced that DDT’s assertions such as “an incredible deal” for U.S. farmers were bogus, and White House officials in the meeting with Xi didn’t hear anything about DDT’s claims. DDT said that Xi agreed to approve a deal between San Diego chip maker Qualcomm and the Dutch firm NXP, but Qualcomm has no intention to buy NXP. China skeptic Robert Lighthizer will lead the negotiations; his position is to punish China into change with harsher tariffs.

DDT said he canceled his meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit. They still met, but Russia’s state media called DDT “clumsy,” “morose,” and “defensive” who “brought dissonance to the #G20Summit.”

In his response to the legally-mandated climate change report produced by over 300 scientists from 13 agencies and released the Friday after Thanksgiving, DDT said, “I don’t believe it.

DDT, who calls himself “Tariff Man,” appears increasingly confused. In a recent interview, he twice mixed tariffs (the fine on imported goods) with interest rates, once after he was corrected by a journalist. He also claimed that China would be paying for the tariff although consumers will be paying these costs through increased prices. His false statement that “the steel industry has been rebuilt in a period of a year” because of tariffs is a misconception because the industry is not “building plants all over the country.” In more confusion, DDT said that U.S. arms expenditures are $716; that’s the entire military budget with $10 billion for arms.

This past week, the Dow Jones stock market dropped 800 points in one day; the week’s loss was 1,150 which takes the Dow back to a year ago. Of the worst 20 daily drops in the past 20 years, three were during President Obama’s eight years in office; ten have been in 2018—five of them in the last month during the worst quarter in seven years.

Candidate DDT promised to drop, perhaps even eliminate, the nation’s trade deficit. For the month of October, the U.S. trade deficit hit $55.5 billion, a ten-year high and a $1 billion increase from September. The first ten months of 2018 almost matched the entire year of 2016—President Obama’s last year. October’s trade deficit in goods went to $76.9, the highest ever and far more than the $66.5 billion in the month before DDT was inaugurated.

The 155,000 jobs added in November shows a slowing trend for DDT and represents only three-fourths of he expected number. The 4.2 million jobs added during his first 22 months is .54 million jobs less—a 13 percent drop—than the preceding 22 months.

Warned about the future disaster from escalating federal debt, DDT said, “I won’t be here.” DDT’s spokesman, Hogan Gridley, blames Congress, because they are the ones who pass the president’s budget. The GOP congressional members largely follow DDT’s directives out of fear for his turning on them.

Supposedly traumatized by George H.W. Bush’s funeral, Congress put off a budget measure to pass a short-term continuing resolution until December 21—an odd date because they are scheduled to leave for home on December 14. A big question for the measure to keep the country from closing down is whether Democrats will give DDT $5 billion to wall off Mexico. He even upped the ante for the amount that U.S. taxpayers must pay for the wall’s construction, which he promised that Mexico will provide, to $25 billion.

Two million federal workers received a memo ordering them not to discuss any possibility of DDT impeachment and telling them that they cannot use the word “resist.” The Office of Special Counsel used the Hatch Act against political activity as justification for the order, a law that at least six DDT’s officials have violated by using their official Twitter accounts to spread campaign messages without disciplinary actions.

DDT’s bone spurs must be acting up again. He was unable to walk 250 yards, about the length of two football fields, instead requiring a stretch limo in an eight-car motorcade to go from the White House to Blair House where George W. Bush was staying.

When DDT signed the new NAFTA, the media reported that the trade agreement protected LGBTQ workers. Not true. Only federal workers are protected from discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity, as per federal law. The language has been amended with a footnote that “no additional action is required on the part of the United States, including amendments to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” An executive order from President Clinton added these protections to federal workers, but DDT undermined President Obama’s executive order by adding “religious freedom” to allow discrimination.

VP Mike Pence commemorated World AIDS Day without mentioning LGBTQ people—for the second year in a row.

According to “Apostle of Joy” Georgian Banov, DDT ordered a Christian “prophet,” disguised as a janitor, to put olive oil on every White House door to ward off demons. Another pastor, Paul Begley, claimed that Melania Trump would not move to the White House until the “demonic taint” of the Obama administration was exorcised. Evangelical leaders have also followed the “laying on of hands” to anoint DDT.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told CBS News’ Bob Schieffer about his relationship with DDT on the job, conflicts from DDT’s insistence that Tillerson violate the law. Yet DDT was unwilling to get Congress to change the law, according to Tillerson. Tillerson added:

“It was challenging for me, coming from the disciplined, highly process-oriented Exxon Mobil Corporation, to go to work for a man who is pretty undisciplined, doesn’t like to read, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of a lot of things, but rather just kind of says, ‘Look, this is what I believe, and you can try to convince me otherwise, but most of the time you’re not going to do that.'”

Not one to let things go, DDT called Tillerson “dumb as a rock” and “lazy as hell.” DDT’s praise for current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Heather Nauert as his appointment for United Nations Ambassador, temperamental Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and others show DDT’s reliance on sycophants from far-right congressional members, the Fox network, and the Federalist Society.

More about the new sycophants later.

December 1, 2018

DDT: Week 97 – Revelations Increase Call for Revenge

Of this week’s bombshells for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), the biggest may be his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s admission that he lied about when DDT stopped trying to make financial deals in Russia. In 2016, while DDT was campaigning and saying he had nothing to do with Russia, he was negotiating a deal for a Trump Tower Moscow, including illegally working with a sanctioned bank because of money laundering and planning to give Vladimir Putin a $50 million penthouse to sweeten the deal. Cohen’s testimony also puts DDT’s family in legal danger because of their discussions about the deal. Last year, Donald Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was only “peripherally aware” of the Moscow deal in 2016 and may have also lied to the House Intelligence Committee about the same issue. Cohen may also corroborate the key parts about DDT’s ties to Russia in the Steele dossier. New Yorker reporter Adam Davidson tweeted that “*any* significant real estate development in Moscow is, almost by definition, part of a money laundering scheme.”

DDT claimed that he could do business while campaigning for president, but he concealed his activities while repeatedly lying about them.  He tried to cover his activities by saying that he never cared about building in Russia, but he’s been working on the project for 30 years. DDT accused Cohen of lying but added “even if he was right.”

Another crisis for DDT was Russia’s firing on three Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait and seizing 24 sailors. Putin blamed Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko of creating the naval “provocation.” In response, Poroshenko, who accused Putin of trying to take the Sea of Azov, has called for martial law across Ukraine’s border regions for a month. Put has already taken Crimea and eastern Ukraine; now Ukraine claims that Russia is sealing off the Sea of Azov by blockading ports Mariupol and Berdyansk and preventing ships from going under the Crimean Bridge through the Kerch Strait. The EU called on Russia to release the ships and crews and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty; Poland wants new sanctions on Russia. Although DDT seemed to blame Ukraine and Russia equally for Russia’s attack, he finally canceled his meeting with Putin at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires (Argentina) this weekend. Both U.S. and world media, included in Russia, blamed the cancellation, on new revelations about DDT’s lying about his business affairs.

Putin, largely a pariah at the summit because of his attack on the Ukrainian ships, didn’t look happy to see DDT at the summit. Yet he greeted Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam (MBS) with a high five and big smiles. Even after intelligence shows that MBS was responsible for torturing and dismembering U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, DDT still denies that MBS had any involvement in the murder at the Saudi embassy in Turkey. DDT’s faithful sidekick John Bolton, national security adviser, refused to listen to the torture and dismemberment tape of Jamal Khashoggi because it wasn’t in English.

The real pariah at the summit, however, was DDT. U.S. former allies avoided him, and DDT was afraid to connect with his authoritarian friends. David Ignatius has provided a detailed background of MBS’ paranoid and violent move toward power that he compares to Saddam Hussein.

When DDT signed his new NAFTA with Mexico and Canada at the G20 summit, he claimed that the slightly revised and renamed trade agreement is monumental, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pointed out that DDT’s tariffs hurt Canada and mentioned the loss of jobs at a Canadian General Motors factory. The agreement must still pass the Congress with a Democratic House and conservatives in both chambers who opposed the anti-discrimination provision against LGBTQ people.

Although DDT was supposed to talk at the summit with Xi Jinping, China’s president, about solving DDT’s trade Chinese trade war, DDT left early after the death of former President George H.W. Bush on Friday, claiming that he and Xi had declared a truce on the tariff problem. The stock market has been going up and down, based on how buyers perceive the tariff situation. China has found ways to avoid the new U.S. tariffs:

  • Avoid 25 percent tariffs on Maine lobster by getting them from Nova Scotia.
  • Buy more oil from Russia and Saudi Arabia.
  • Get soybeans from Brazil and Argentina.
  • Replace U.S.-made high-tech imports with those from Asia.

DDT blamed the struggles of the stock market and the GM layoffs on the Federal Reserve, especially his own appointee Chair Jerome Powell, yet Wednesday’s headlines stated that DDT might be making a deal with China about the tariffs, and the Dow skyrocketed more than 600 points. DDT is still trying to take credit for the stock market, claiming that it is up 13 points more than the 25 percent rise since he was inaugurated. Even so, the rise is less than that during President Obama’s first two years in office—33 percent.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was behind DDT’s selection of Powell, and DDT has another reason to dislike his hand-picked Treasury secretary. If Democrats request DDT’s tax returns, Mnuchin indicated that he will follow the law. Meanwhile DDT listens to Larry Kudlow for economic advice—the man who swore that there would be no recession just three months before Bear Stearns and the dominos began to fall. Faced with the disaster, he said, “Recessions are therapeutic.” The “therapy” of recessions may occur before the end of DDT’s first term.

DDT’s reputation with his base has been damaged by General Motors’ announcement that it is slashing 14,700 jobs—many in Michigan and Ohio—by eliminating 15 percent of its workforce in North America and closing four factories in the U.S. Offering buyouts to 50,000 salaried North American workers, GM stated that DDT’s steel tariffs cost them $1 billion. Traditional passenger cars went from 50 percent of GM U.S. vehicle sales in 2012 to 31 percent this year while SUV and pickup truck sales increased by 31 percent. The company also gained a massive tax break from the GOP cuts and failed to invest in U.S. jobs, choosing instead to build the Blazer in Mexico. DDT took the closures personally and threatened GM, saying that the company “better damn well open a new plant [in Ohio] very quickly.” He continued, “I love Ohio. I told them, ‘you’re playing around with the wrong person.’ ” He lied that he would eliminate tax credits for purchasing GM electric cars—only Congress can do that—and false accused GM of not paying back the bailout money the company received after the Bush recession.

Over a month ago, Ford announced 24,000 layoffs of its 202,000 worldwide workers and stated that DDT’s tariffs had lost the company $1 billion. It was producing 32.8 vehicles per employee compared to GM’s 52.7 vehicles per employee. The company also plans to switch to SUVs, CUVs, and pickups, leaving the only the Mustang in its passenger-car line-up. Even that car may disappear with China’s tariffs on U.S.-made vehicles.

More Russian connections for DDT:

Late night chats between DDT and friend Roger Stone may have covered WikiLeaks’ dropping bombshells from hacks into Clinton’s campaign, but Stone denies it “unless [Robert] Mueller has tape recordings of the phone calls.” Conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi gave WaPo an August 2, 2016 email in which Corsi told Stone that WikiLeaks was planning a major release of “very damaging” material, the day before a private Stone-DDT talk. Mueller may have evidence that Stone told Corsi to get him the WikiLeaks information and then funnel it to DDT’s campaign.

DDT’s chief defense lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has admitted that he received briefings from Paul Manafort’s attorneys while Manafort was supposedly cooperating with Mueller in conversations not covered by attorney-client privilege. A joint defense agreement exists only between people with common legal interests which Manafort lacked when he claimed he was cooperating with Mueller. Now DDT is suggesting that he may pardon Manafort, possibly as a reward for Manafort passing along confidential information. Manafort shouldn’t count on a pardon, however: he has already pled guilty to state crimes in California, New Jersey, and Virginia. DDT can pardon only federal crimes.

Despite at least 15 blanket denials from those involved, DDT’s campaign team had at least 92 contacts with Russia-linked operatives, and at least 26 high-level campaign officials and DDT advisors knew about these contacts, including three successive people who ran Trump’s campaign.

As more information is released about the Russian scandal, DDT’s tweets become more manic. Last Wednesday, he retweeted images of special counsel Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, President Obama, former AG Eric Holder, and former President Bill Clinton—all behind bars—and calling for the Democrats and law enforcement and intelligence officials to be imprisoned and claiming that they should have trials for treason. DDT fan Cesar Sayoc targeted many of these people with pipe bombs. He also falsely accused Mueller of “viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts” in exchange for “relief.” The desperate DDT is calling for more violence.

September 15, 2018

DDT: Week 86 – The Times Get Worse

The biggest problems for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) this week may be his former campaign manager agreeing to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s investigation in exchange for a guilty plea. After holding off for over ten months with multiple indictments and a trial in which he was convicted of eight charges, Paul Manafort has promised to tell about “his participation in and knowledge of all criminal activities.” In exchange, he may receive a shorter prison sentence and keep some property for his family. Manafort makes the fifth DDT campaign member to plead guilty to criminal charges. DDT may need to revise his position on Manafort being a “brave man” because he didn’t break but thus far he’s made no mention of Manafort’s guilty plea.

In more bad news for DDT, Michael Cohen will also tell Mueller what he knows—and he knows a lot!

Another “flipper” and former advisor to DDT, George Papadopoulos, got 14 days in jail for lying to the FBI about interactions with Russian operatives, denied that he told an Australian diplomat about Russia having “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, and then told George Stephanopoulos that campaign members knew and supported his attempts to set up a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Among those enthusiastic about the meeting, according to Papadopoulos, are now-AG Jeff Sessions and DDT himself. Sessions had told Congress under oath that he shut down the idea.

DDT is trying to save face about his failure with North Korea by talking about his new warm relationship with its leader, Kim Jong-Un, and claiming that North Korea will denuclearize by the end of the year (just after the general election). White House officials aren’t buying it, especially after North Korea accelerated its secret missile building. According to Bruce Klinger, regional expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation, the “consensus between State and Defense and the [National Security Council] … is that North Korea is not serious about denuclearizing.” Kim is working to separate DDT from his advisers, accusing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as trying to “thwart” DDT’s wishes. DDT’s announcement of a second summit with Kim came as a surprise to the State Department.

The national media fixated on southeastern U.S. as Hurricane Florence, which was downgraded to a Category 1, still creates havoc and at least 11 deaths as its winds, rain, storm surges, and flooding devastated large portions of several states. A bit of comic relief came from the video of a weather reporter stressing how rough the wind was as pedestrian strolled behind him.

Federal officials have talked about what a wonderful job FEMA director Brock Long is doing at the same time that he may be fired, supposedly for misuse of government vehicles. FEMA’s #2 position has been vacant during DDT’s terms; his original nominee withdrew because he falsified work and travel records. FEMA’s #3 has no experience for the job—but this has never stopped DDT’s officials from taking the jobs. Long was confirmed in June 2017 and in charge during the entire Puerto Rico fiasco.

DDT’s officials have been in frequent communication with rebel Venezuelan military officers to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro. Military leaders said that the U.S. had a “military option” for their country. DDT has some of the same issues that Maduro is accused of—voter suppression, attempts to create domestic military control, rejection of poverty hardships, opposition to freedom of the press, acceptance of illegally-obtained money, and authoritarian leadership.

John Bolton, national security advisor, and DDT are threatening to sanction judges for the International Criminal Court if they investigate U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan. Bolton calls the ICC an “illegitimate court” and threatens anyone who cooperates with the ICC. He also announced that the State Department will close the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Washington office because Palestinians want an ICC investigation of Israel. The court was created after the Allied ad hoc tribunals to prosecute Nazi and Japanese war crimes during World War II. The U.S. joined in 2000, but George W. Bush dropped out in 2002 after his preemptive attacks against Afghanistan. Other countries leaving the 107-country ICC are Sudan, Israel, and Russia.

Burundi is grateful for U.S. protection in accusations of Burundian murder, rape, and torture. Its ambassador, Vestine Nahimana, praised the U.S. for objecting to the ICC prosecuting any war crimes and other crimes against humanity. Pierre Nkurunziza, Burundian president and despot, announced a referendum to keep his position until 2034, and his third unconstitutional “election” in 2015 led to the killing of 1,200 Buurndians while 400,000 fled the country. African countries may be a “sh**hole” to DDT, but he supports their position about not being prosecuted for crimes.

Matching the “fair and balanced” news from the Fox network, DDT’s Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, 14 federal agencies and the DEA, to submit “data demonstrating the most significant negative trends” about marijuana and the “threats” it poses to the country. He has also threatened more cannabis enforcement despite his support of bipartisan legislation to permit state cannabis legalization. The committee does not seek data showing that cannabis consumption serves public benefit or reduces drug abuse. Eight states have legalized adult recreational use for cannabis, and 63 percent of people support federal legalization.

The GOP is preening because of 2.9 percent increase in wages last year, despite the fact that it exactly matches the 2.9 percent increase in inflation. To compensate for the flat wages, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) inflated the numbers by claiming that benefits increase wages greatly although he has no evidence for his figures.

DDT will be required to answer questions under oath in the defamation lawsuit from Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, about his response to her sexual assault allegations. False statements could lead to perjury charges. DDT is refusing to turn over documents for discovery requests, and DDT’s attorney Marc Kasowitz claims that DDT is protected from civil litigation in state courts although the Manhattan Supreme Court Justice ruled that a “sitting president is not immune from being sued in federal court for unofficial acts.” DDT had claimed that he did not sexually assault Zervos, that “all of these liars will be sued after the election is over.” He hasn’t sued any of them.

Last weekend, conservatives held a pro-DDT rally that they called the “Mother of all Rallies.” Speakers included DDT’s close friend Roger Stone, defender of his association with the hate group “The Proud Boys,” and Joe Arpaio, convicted Arizona senator candidate. Cohosts of Revenge of the Cis Mike “Mersh” Schiele and Royce Lopez asked one woman if she would ally with white supremacists to get Donald Trump re-elected. She agreed, also saying “1488,” white supremacist code referencing David Lane’s racist 14 words mantra, and “Heil Hitler!” “Mother” may be lonely: the rally brought a few hundred people at most, and Russian media reported the gathering at “dozens.”

DDT has canceled his November trip to Ireland. He gave no reasons but probably wanted to avoid the planned protests in Ireland.

Scott Wagner, GOP candidate for Pennsylvania governor, might want to fire its social media team after the firm’s political consultant, Ray Zaborney, sent this visual to senior campaign members—and a reporter by accident. The attack on both Colin Kaepernick, Caitlyn Jenner, and all transgender people is not something that someone can “forget.” “Believe in something. Even if it means cutting your dick off.” That’s GOP politics.

DDT topped 5,000 lies in 601 days after his inauguration, helped by the 125 lies that he told in Sioux Falls (SD) last week in 120 minutes—a single-day high. That total beat the 74 les at his Montana rally the day before, giving DDT an average of 8.3 lies a day and 32 lies a day in the nine days leading up to September 13, far more than his average of 4.9 lies a day for the first 100 days. In addition to his claims of the Russian “witch hunt,” DDT has been obsessively lying about the federal government’s failure in Puerto Rico during the past year which he insists is a success. Thus an average of 72 percent of DDT’s “factual claims” at his two speeches in Montana, those in July and on September 6, are false, misleading or unsupported by evidence avoiding double-counting, trivialities, and opinions. WaPo has a breakdown of all 88 claims on September 6.

Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off tomorrow, and DDT may lose more support among that group, already down to 22 percent approval, after his many lies about Puerto Rico. The release of Bob Woodward’s book Fear also led to many DDT lies.

Imagine a rocket going off into space with “Budweiser” in huge letters on the side. Or “Coors” on the space suit. It could happen if administrator Jim Bridenstine gets his way. He told NASA to look into selling naming rights to both rockets and spacecraft and use astronauts to advertise commercial products such as cereals. DDT also wants to privatize the International Space Station. It’s one small step for man, one giant leap for beer.

Seventy-two percent of people want DDT to testify for Mueller’s investigation.

August 24, 2018

DDT: Week 83 – Treading Water

Last Tuesday was a day of eights—Michael Cohen, the fixer for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), pleaded guilty to eight counts, and Paul Manafort, DDT’s former campaign manager, was found guilty of eight counts. Covers from two major U.S. publications show DDT’s troubles, but the next few weeks may get worse.

Cohen’s “unnamed candidate” is obviously DDT regarding payments to Stormy Daniels “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office” and Karen McDougal “under direction of the same candidate.” The fixer said that “I participated in this conduct for the principal purpose” of influencing an election. He claimed that DDT told him to pay two women in violation of campaign finance laws to keep them from going public about DDT’s affairs with them. Cohen’s investigation has been referred to New York’s Southern District; Lanny Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, tweeted:

“Today [Cohen] stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election.  If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?”

The Trump Organization may also be in trouble after authorizing $420,000 in these payments with false invoices from Cohen concealing the purpose of the payments. An executive ordered the fees to Cohen to be described as legal expenses using the words “retainer for the month of January and February 2017.” The Manhattan D.A. is also looking into criminal charges for the Trump Organization because of Cohen’s payments and possible tax evasion by Cohen. He was also paid $50,000 for “tech services” six months after he was talking to Russians in Prague, but this may have nothing to do with any hacking. Falsifying business records becomes a felony if done to commit or conceal another crime. DDT can pardon people convicted of federal charges but not those who lose in non-federal courts. The New York State AG’s office is opening a criminal investigation into possibilities that Cohen violated state law tax.

Cohen’s plea reveals that David Pecker, head of the National Enquirer parent company American Media and DDT’s close friend, “offered to help deal with negative stories about [DDT’s] relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the [2016] campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided.” Stories were locked in a safe. The prosecution granted Pecker immunity for testifying. The First Amendment protecting journalism probably won’t be a successful argument against the Enquirer because it failed to operate in a “legitimate press function” by promoting DDT and destroying his opponents, especially Hillary Clinton, frequently with false stories. Federal prosecutors believed the publication “acted more as a political supporter than as a news organization.”

Also granted immunity is Allen Weisselberg, Trump Organization CFO who helped reimburse the $420,000 for Michael Cohen. Weisselberg began working for DDT’s father in the 1970s and continued on with DDT, also serving as treasurer of the Donald J. Trump Foundation which is also in court for fraud. He also handled all DDT’s personal finances.

On the same day as Cohen’s pleading, a jury found Paul Manafort guilty of eight charges; one holdout juror stopped guilty rulings on the other ten despite the paper trail that the other jurors showed her. He was found guilty of five tax fraud charges, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts, and two counts of bank fraud. Manafort’s next trial in a Washington, D.C. federal court includes more criminal charges such as failure to register his foreign lobbying and money laundering conspiracy related to the same Ukrainian political work central to the concluded case. At 69, he faces up to 80 years in prison.

After DDT denied that he considered a pardon for Manafort, Rudy Giuliani said that he talked about such a pardon with DDT after the ones for Scooter Libby and Dinesh D’Souza. Mueller is investigating these pardons as a possible obstruction of justice; pardoning Manafort could add to that evidence.

Sentencing for former national security advisor Michael Flynn has been pushed forward from August 24 to September 17.

GOP legislators are mum on the Manafort/Cohen revelations, but highly conservative Bret Stephens tweeted that DDT is guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”  DDT ranted against Cohen and then claimed that his crime was no more than Barack Obama’s campaign violations—routine paperwork without intent for wrongdoing that included incorrect dates, not quickly returning donations exceeding campaign limits, and missing filing deadlines during his campaign’s final weeks. Cohen’s crimes carry a maximum prison time of 65 years.

DDT wants to make “flipping” for testimony illegal, perhaps because of the people who have flipped on him—Cohen, Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, Dylan Howard, Omarosa Manigault Newman, George Papadoulous, Pecker, and Weisselberg.

A U.S. judge dismissed a libel case from three Russian oligarchs against Christopher Steele, author of the infamous Steele dossier about the Russian scandal, about their claim that Steele and his firm had defamed them. A Steele memo reported that the oligarchs, Alfa Group businessmen, gave Vladimir Putin “informal advice” on foreign policy, especially about the U.S., and concerns the issue of Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election. One of the oligarchs, German Khan, is the father-in-law of Alex van der Zwaan, the first person sentenced to prison in Robert Mueller’s Russian investigation.

People who claim that the Russian investigation has accomplished nothing in the past year should check the statistics: one person convicted, six people pleading guilty, 26 people charged, and 23 people interviewed (seven in White House, seven in government, three from Russia, and six others). DDT claims that it’s a “witch hunt”: his “witches” thus far convicted include his national security advisor, his personal lawyer, his campaign manager, his deputy campaign manager, and his foreign policy aide. Legal leaders of ethics groups wrote:

“The trial evidence included Mr. Manafort’s close ties to pro-Russia forces and his desperate financial straits as he ‘volunteered’ his time for the next president. The trial revealed how willing Mr. Manafort was to corruptly leverage his position of influence over Mr. Trump during the campaign for his own personal benefit. He offered briefings to a pro-Russia Ukrainian oligarch and dangled a position in the Trump administration in front of a banker who provided him a loan for which he would not otherwise have qualified….

“This is no “witch hunt.” It instead is one of the most successful special counsel investigations in history.”

The White House counsel, Don McGahn, testified to Mueller’s investigation for 30 hours, and neither DDT nor his lawyers know what McGahn said. In a rant against a New York Times story, DDT tweeted that he gave permission to McGahn to testify and “I have nothing to hide.” Yet DDT has not testified for the investigation or released his tax returns.

DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani (right) melted down on Meet the Press when he repeatedly told Chuck Todd that “truth isn’t truth,” a statement that went viral. DDT and his lawyers declare that McGahn said nothing that could create problems for DDT, but speculators wonder if McGahn is protecting himself. McGahn has clearly stated that he protects the presidency, not the person in that position, although DDT looks on him as his personal lawyer. Last fall, a reporter overheard DDT layers John Dodd and Ty Cobb criticizing McGahn, information that led him to think that he would be blamed for DDT’s wrongdoing.

Giuliani may be safety ensconced on a DDT golf course in Scotland and garbed in DDT advertising, but he’s spreading the word than any move to impeach DDT would cause a revolution in the U.S. That was after DDT announced on Fox that impeachment would cause the stock market to crash and “everybody would be very poor.”

Early last week, DDT compared the investigation to McCarthyism. Roy Cohn, the lawyer who helped Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-WI) accuse people of treason without evidence, worked for DDT for 12 years. With Cohn as his mentor, DDT learned how to be a demagogue, to rule by threats and fear.

For almost a year, DDT didn’t mention Robert Mueller’s name, but a few months ago, he began his offensive comments against Mueller and his team, calling them all Democrats although Mueller is a conservative Republican. As he described Mueller “disgraced and discredited” and his team “thugs,” approval of the investigation dropped, but the latest Fox poll shows that DDT’s strategy no longer works. Approval of Mueller’s investigation is 59 percent from the conservative network, up from 48 percent in July—almost a 25 percent increase. Forty percent think that the investigation will find DDT’s criminal or impeachable offenses, up 5 points.

Leading Republicans have a solution for the Russian scandal, convictions, plea deals, indictments, etc.—shut down the investigation and get rid of AG Jeff Sessions. Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) suddenly found time for hearings if DDT appoints a new AG, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) decided that Sessions might not be “qualified for the job [of AG]” after vigorously defending him for that position and ignored Sessions’ lying under oath in the hearings. One year ago, Graham told DDT that “there will be holy hell to pay” if he fires AG Jeff Sessions and dared DDT to “accept the consequences” if he made such a move. Now, after DDT’s most recent criticisms of Sessions, Graham recommends firing Sessions who has said that the DOJ “will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.” Maybe Graham’s turn-around comes from all the games of golf he plays with DDT.

August 18, 2018

DDT: Week 82 – ‘Full of Sound & Fury’

The feeling of being besieged has driven Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to lash out in all directions with increasingly virulent tweets, statements, and orders. Seething with the report that his beloved military parade would cost $90 million, he accused the Washington, D.C. of inflating the cost before canceling the project. Instead he plans to attend one in Paris. The Pentagon had already postponed the parade until next year because it would have to pay half the price of the parade, scheduled for this November. Instead of putting money into more healthcare for veterans, DDT promised to “buy some more jet fighters.” Lockheed has the F-35s on sale for $91.1 million, giving DDT about $900,000 left over after he gets one “jet fighter.”

As social media tries to control the false information that it spreads, DDT, perhaps worried that lack of false information will affect the fall election, tweeted:

“Let everybody participate, good & bad, and we will all just have to figure it out!”

DDT opposes the decision to suspend Alex Jones’ program for his hate speech. Jones, a good friend of DDT, is known for his conspiracy theories, including the false accusation that no one died at Sandy Hook Elementary School because the dead children were actors.

A huge frustration for DDT during the past week came from the media focus on Omarosa Manigault Newman after the release of her new book, Unhinged,  and the beginning of her releasing damning tapes made during her time with DDT. Furious with Omarosa, DDT called on AG Jeff Sessions to arrest her although he didn’t cite any broken laws. That demand came after DDT’s campaign sued Omarosa, asserting that her new book broke her 2016 confidentiality agreement. He forced people who worked for his campaign or in his White House to sign the NDAs to not “demean or disparage publicly” DDT, his company, or any member of his family. Omarosa has been been accused of a lack of ethics for taping her conversations, especially the one when Chief of Staff took her into the situation Room to fire her, but no one questions that her information is inaccurate.

DDT’s daughter-in-law, Eric’s wife Lara, tried to persuade Omarosa to work for the campaign for a monthly salary of $15,000 if she stopped publication of her book and said only positive things about her time with DDT. The “offer,” which Omarosa taped, raises the question of whether campaign donations can be used to quiet people if it appears to be attached to a job. The DDT campaign has a pattern of this hush money, including employees such as former White House aide John McEntee and Keith Schiller, who got $15,000 a month. Even Fox & Friends thinks that Omarosa has come out on top of the battle. Host Brian Kilmeade claimed that Omarosa “outsmarted” DDT, but he hasn’t said anything about the betrayal of the Fox network. DDT did produce an outrage on the media when he called Omarosa a “dog” and “a crazed, crying lowlife.”

DDT’s biggest war this week came from weaponizing the removal of security clearances. Following threats to strip these clearances from others, even those who don’t have them such as James Comey and Andrew McCabe, DDT took the clearance from former CIA director John Brennan, revealing the information through Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ briefing. She read DDT’s announcement that the reason was Brennan’s “risk posed by his erratic conduct and behavior,” but DDT changed his story by saying that he attacked Brennan because of the “witch hunt” about the Russian scandal. DDT had no justification for revoking the security clearance other than retaliation and the feeling of power that it gave him.

The order from DDT was signed on July 26, 2018, meaning that DDT waited almost three weeks until he used it for a diversion. In this case it was a combination of Omarosa’s book and the Paul Manafort trial that went to the jury this past week. Now he’s “eager” to strip more clearances, according to White House officials, beginning with current Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Although DDT cannot easily fire people, his removal of security clearances makes people unable to complete the job’s responsibilities. In essence, people who criticize him can lose their jobs.

The conservative press supports DDT’s actions—as it does his other actions—in this case because Brennan has openly criticized DDT’s actions, but current and past officials support him. Retired Navy admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden called DDT’s stripping security clearances “McCarthy-era tactics.” He wrote that he would “consider it an honor” if DDT would also revoke his clearance. Sixty former CIA station chiefs, analysts and operations officers as well as a former director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center wrote “that the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.” That follows the declaration from 11 former directors and deputy directors of the CIA and one director of national intelligence who called DDT’s action “a political tool.”

DDT also came out in anger against the over 300 newspaper organizations that wrote editorials in opposition to his frequent “mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current US administration are the ‘enemy of the people,’” as the Boston Globe wrote. It continued, “[In his first year,] he used the word “fake”—as in “fake news,” “fake stories,” “fake media” or “fake polls”—more than 400 times.” Since then, DDT has accelerated his use of these terms. This week, he tweeted about “collusion,” that the media is “pushing a political agenda.” One tweet read, “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY.”

Outraged at newspapers fighting back against DDT’s constant abuse of the media, conservatives, including former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, accused the newspapers of a double standard because they criticize Sinclair media for carrying the same message on all its stations. Sinclair forces all its stations to carry identical pro-DDT messages whereas the participating editorials expressing support for free press acted voluntarily.

Also this week, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution sponsored by Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “condemning attacks on the free press.”

The defense in the trial for Paul Manafort, facing 18 charges of tax and bank fraud, rested this week without any witnesses, and the jury began deliberations on Thursday. Angry about the trial, DDT claimed that Manafort “happens to be a very good person” although he repeatedly tried to distance himself from his former campaign manager who worked for him for six months. Two years ago, the news broke about Manafort lobbying to move U.S. opinion toward Russians on behalf of Ukraine’s rulers, and DDT said he had “a crook running my campaign.” At that time, he ordered him fired, in an allegation by Corey Lewandowski. Judge T.S. Ellis III is being guarded by deputy U.S. marshals because he faces death threats. He said, “A thirsty press is essential to a free country.”

In DDT’s war on regulations to give more money to big business, he funded corporations through taking money from people with student loans, failing to protect people from dangerous chemicals, stripping people’s wages by reducing overtime pay rights, putting teenagers into dangerous jobs with long hours, and charging people more money with weakened banking regulations. The primary beneficiaries of these lax regulations are the wealthiest one percent who own 40 percent of the stock market; the top ten percent owns 80 percent. DDT’s latest money-making scheme for the wealthy would permit new uses for the carcinogenic asbestos, such as the out-of-date roofing felt. Russia, the world’s largest asbestos producer is delighted. Russian asbestos producer, Uralasbest, tweeted:

“Donald is on our side! … He supported the head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, who stated that his agency would no longer deal with negative effects potentially derived from products containing asbestos. Donald Trump supported a specialist and called asbestos ‘100% safe after application.’”

The Russian company stamped their product a seal that included DDT’s image and the words “Approved by Donald Trump.” DDT wrote in 1997 that anti-asbestos efforts were “led by the mob” and tweeted in 2012 that the World Trade Center wouldn’t have burned down in the 9/11 attacks if the “incredibly powerful fire retardant asbestos” had not been replaced with “junk that doesn’t (cont).”

DDT failed to effective contribute to the touching tributes to Aretha Franklin after her death this week. In a statement during a Cabinet meeting, DDT introduced his comments by saying that Franklin had “worked for me.” She performed a few times at a DDT casino, but he made her sound like his servant. Others provided a loving respectful homage to Franklin and her achievements. Fox network tried to honor Aretha Franklin, but the station used a photo of Patti LaBelle.

DDT’s latest Gallup poll is 39 percent approval—the same as his average since he was inaugurated. Among Republicans, his approval is 82 percent, down seven points from last week.

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.

July 21, 2018

DDT: Week 78 – Walking Back

The meeting at Helsinki with Vladimir Putin was supposed to be a high spot of the first 18 months for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) after he was inaugurated. Instead it was his worst week thus far: he spent four days walking back his statements before escaping to his Bedminster (NJ) resort. After denying his rejection of intelligence information about Putin’s election meddling which may have made the presidential election illegitimate, DDT invited Putin to Washington in the fall, but the GOP head of the Senate said that Putin would not be welcome in Congress. DDT’s actions are increasingly called treasonous.[visual new York cover]

Doug Heye, former communications director for the RNC, said:

“Helsinki was such a disaster that we have lost sight of the disasters that came before that in Brussels and London. Then, from a PR perspective, obviously the back and forth they’ve had this week has also been a disaster—and not how crisis communications is handled, to put it mildly.”

Even Rupert Murdoch’s the Wall Street Journal slammed DDT about Helsinki, questioning his loyalty to the country in a “Trump First Doctrine.” The editorial suggested that the GOP join Democrats to check DDT’s diplomatic powers. “Political isolation concerning a foreign adversary is a weak and dangerous place to be,” according to the editorial.

Republicans worked hard to use Peter Strzok as a tool to get rid of the Mueller investigation, grilling him 21 hours in two days—the second day televised. They pushed the falsehood that he was trying to keep DDT from being elected, something he could have done if he had announced before the election that DDT’s campaign was being investigated for Russian collusion—which he didn’t.

Shortly before DDT left for his weekly vacation, he faced reports about a secretly recorded tape between him and former lawyer Michael Cohen two months before the election about a hush payoff for his affair with Playboy centerfold Karen McDougal.  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/20/us/politics/michael-cohen-trump-tape.html  Earlier DDT denied his almost year-long affair with McDougal that began soon after Melanie Trump gave birth to their son Barron. DDT’s lawyers permitted the tape’s release, and Rudy Giuliani said that it shows no wrongdoing.

Giuliani remains DDT’s legal mouthpiece on television, but he keeps working for foreign clients, including Brazil, Colombia, and a Iranian dissident group listed by the State Department as a terrorist group. Giuliani has not registered with the DOJ, claiming that he doesn’t directly lobby the U.S. government and doesn’t charge DDT for his “services.” An authority said that Giuliani’s speeches to the group require his registration. Since Giuliani became DDT’s lawyer in April, and has given opinions on Iran, North Korea, and other issues outside his position while divulging details about discussions with both DDT and Robert Mueller’s office.

Russia still dominates other disasters for DDT. Documents from the DOJ about a secret FISA warrant to surveil DDT’s foreign policy adviser Carter Page show that he is “an agent of a foreign power” recruited by Russia to “undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law.” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) had accused the FBI and DOJ of using a dossier by a private British citizen for its surveillance, but information debunked that claim. The 412 pages, obtained by Gizmodo with a Freedom of Information Act request filed 15 months ago, are heavily redacted but damaging to Page, who plans to refute the application’s claims on CNN’s State of the Union tomorrow.

Paul Manafort is still in jail after violating his bail agreement for contacting witnesses. An appeal by his lawyers to delay the trial scheduled for July 25 in Virginia caused his move to a new prison from his old VIP one that provided him two computers, the second one used to read and write emails that his legal team takes from jail to transmit the emails permitting him to continue witness intimidation. Manafort also had a private, self-contained living unit with personal bathroom and shower facilities, a personal telephone, and a workroom available to him between early in the morning until late in the evening. His laptop had an extension cord so that he can use it in his cell after 10:00 pm. The lawyers tried to withdraw their concerns because of “safety” in the new jail, but the judge turned them down. Judge T.S. Ellis, a Reagan appointee, said that the Alexandria facility has experience with inmates such as “foreign and domestic terrorists, spies and traitors.”

Manafort pleaded not guilty to Robert Mueller’s charges that he dramatically understated his income on federal tax returns from 2010 through 2014 and allegations of bank fraud totaling more than $20 million tied to loans he applied for in connection with various homes he owns. The prosecution plans to present over 500 pieces of evidence regarding his wealth. Manafort’s trial in Washington, D.C. for money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent for his work in Ukraine is scheduled for September. So who’s paying for Manafort’s lgal team?

DDT’s obsession with “fake news” may come from his obsession in watching the Fox network. The Fox News morning show Fox & Friends claimed in a tweet that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation “still hasn’t tied anyone from the campaign to the probe.” Several people from the campaign, including campaign chairman Paul Manafort, have been “tied” to the investigation. Direct guilty pleas came from George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn, who briefly became DDT’s national security adviser. The Fox tweet has been removed.

DDT’s most recent pardons are for two Oregon ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond, convicted for setting fire to federal land when they were trying to cover up illegally poaching seven deer. Firefighters had to be airlifted out of the area to save their lives. The Hammonds had a 28-year history of permit violations and unauthorized fires on 45,000 acres. According to witnesses, Steven Hammond “handed out ‘Strike Anywhere’ matches because they were going to ‘light up the whole country on fire.’” The pardon goes far beyond pandering to white supremacists, however; it leads to privatizing public land for mining and drilling so that private companies can plunder resources without paying royalties. During his first year, DDT concealed the identities of the benefitting firms with these giveaways by obscure online methods. Not even the fabled Grand Canyon is safe.

GOP House members supported DDT in removing sanctions from the Chinese company ZTE guilty of violating sanctions by selling U.S. goods to Iran in violation of sanctions, and senators agreed. DDT was concerned about a possible closure of the company with his tweet, “Too many jobs in China lost.”

Unions received another blow from DDT’s administration after the Supreme Court said that they had to provide services to employees for free. DDT eliminated a regulation requiring employers to report information about the union-busting consultants that companies hire. Although federal law mandates companies to report hires of “persuaders” who talk to workers about not unionizing, they no longer have this mandate if their lawyers and consultants don’t directly talk to employees.

DDT has also shut down guideline.gov, the National Guideline Clearinghouse, which has provided an online database of best health care practices from medical groups and researchers. Doctors used this source to relevant guidelines from what was considered the world’s most comprehensive and reliable repositories. Republicans claimed that the Clearinghouse was too expensive, but its cost was roughly equivalent to HHS Secretary Tom Price’s expenditures on travel during his 240 days.

DDT continues to decimate the Affordable Care Act. Earlier in July, he stopped annual payments to even out costs for insurers when clients need expensive medical services. This permanent risk adjustment was part of the law. With the threat of higher premiums and failure of small insurance companies, DDT may have to reverse his position. He will, however, continue his recent policy of 90 percent cuts in advertising to encourage participation and 40 percent cuts for “navigator” programs that help consumers sign up. Rupert Murdoch’s USA Today opposes DDT’s determination to kill the ACA that has “until now … been a success.”  The editorial concludes:

“Republicans should be held accountable for their handiwork — even if they do it in a bureaucratic dark alley instead of openly in the halls of Congress.”

DDT is even opposed to providing accurate information about breastfeeding. At the World Health Assembly in late May, the U.S. supported infant formula manufacturers and threatened trade wars and cessation of military aid targeting Ecuador if it didn’t drop the resolution to provide scientific information about breastfeeding. Ecuador caved in, followed by at least a dozen African nations, most of them poor, that feared retaliation. The U.S., however, did not threaten Russia when it introduced the breastfeeding measure, and the resolution passed. It cites scientific evidence that infants are healthiest with breastfeeding and tries to block infant formula manufacturers from lying to consumers. A 2016 study found that breast-feeding could prevent 800,000 child deaths a year and save $300 billion because of reduced health care costs and improved economic outcomes for breastfed infants.

The European Union and Japan on Tuesday signed a major trade deal eliminating most tariffs. The United States has lost more of its influence.

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