Nel's New Day

April 18, 2021

Sunday: Religious Numbers Drop, Court Gives Christianity Preference

On Sunday, fewer people than ever are going to a church, synagogue, mosque, or other religious gathering. Pew Research reports that the share of religiously unaffiliated people in the U.S. has been growing across all demographic groups. The “nones”—those who self-identify as atheists, agnostics, or religion as “nothing in particular”—have become 23 percent of the population, almost 50 percent up from 2007 when 16 percent of people were “nones.” At the same time, the number of “Christians” have dropped from 78 percent to 71 percent.

More Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996) self-identify as “nones,” and the median age of unaffiliated adults is currently 36, down from 38 in 2007 and younger than the 46 years of media age of adults in the U.S. More in the older generations, however, are also becoming unaffiliated: 17 percent of Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are now unaffiliated, compared to 14 percent in 2007.

Of people raised as Christian or another faith, 18 percent now have no religious affiliation, compared to the roughly half of the 9 percent of U.S. adults raised without any affiliation now who identify with a religion, mostly Christianity. More men than women are “nones,” but education, race and ethnicity, and income make no difference. Nearly two-thirds of the seven percent of atheists and agnostics are men who are more educated and more White than the general population.

Two years ago, then-VP Mike Pence announced the nation’s religiosity “has remained remarkably consistent.” Yet a Gallup poll reinforced the Pew Research in its finding that only 47 percent belonged to a congregation in 2020, down from 70 percent in 2000. The percentage of people who think religion is important dropped to 48 percent with the number of people regularly attending worship services even lower.

While the general population becomes less religious, the Supreme Court, because of appointments by Deposed Dictator Trump (DDT) and confirmations by GOP senators, gives preference to Christians. Late Friday night, April 9, 2021, in a “shadow docket,” justices made a 5-4 decision in a case not on the docket and had no oral argument. The Tansom v. Newsom ruling determined that religious groups can gather in homes although other groups are still banned from this practice.

With no signature, the ruling changed the constitutional view of “religious liberty that now permits religious exemptions to situations not discriminating against religion. The court’s new rule, “most favored nation” permits any secular exemption to a law permitting a claim for a religious exemption. The decision stated required permission to gather for Bible study just as they would to get haircuts, food, or pedicures. Any time a government grants any exemption to a law for any reason, it has to grant the same exemption to religion—which in the U.S. typically means Christianity.

These conservative justices have gone far beyond the belief of Justice Antonin Scalia, formerly the most conservative judge of the modern era, when he said this type of ruling should be done “sparingly, and only in the most critical and exigent circumstances,” where “the legal rights at issue are indisputably clear.” The new ruling doesn’t fit these criteria because the high court gave a different meaning to the scope and applicability of the free exercise clause. With no explanation for the court’s decision, five justices are trying to bind lower courts to their personal opinion. The current Supreme Court has used its emergency injunctions seven times, all of them in COVID-19 cases. Before last November, the court had not done so for five years.

DDT used emergency relief from the high court 41 times, winning 28 of those appeals. In contrast, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama together went to the court for this relief only eight times in 16 years. Almost all DDT’s cases requested “stays” pending appeals against a lower court ruling, but the current support for a Christian group froze a government policy losing in the lower courts pending appeal. Scalia pointed out that an injunction “grants judicial intervention that has been withheld by lower courts,” unlike a stay, a short-term delay of a proceeding.

This injunction overrides the lower courts instead of the justices’ position from the past of “a court of review, not first view” as an “appellate tribunal.” The action reverses the function of the Supreme Court and exceeds the justices’ statutory authority to issue such relief—for the seventh time since October. As Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her dissent, the majority relied only on “separate opinions and unreasoned orders” to make a new constitutional rule. Conservative justices “using procedural tools meant to help them control their docket to make significant substantive changes in the law, in defiance not only of their own standards for such relief, but of fundamental principles of judicial decision making,” wrote legal expert Stephen I. Vladeck.

Since the new term began last October, the court has used shadow dockets at least 20 times to make secret rulings with no arguments and no identification of how each justice ruled. The new justices, in control of making law over legislatures and lower courts, remove transparency from the process of law.

The recent ruling agrees with an earlier decision that religion should allow people to infect others with COVID-19 by opening church services in California while other public activities are closed. Last December, SCOTUS also put religion over public health by siding with religious groups in Colorado and New Jersey. At that time, the U.S. had almost 400,000 deaths from COVID-19 and 16.5 million infections.

Over five years ago, Jerry Falwell Jr, then president of Liberty University, endorsed DDT for president which gave him the evangelical vote in 2016. The past few years have not been good for Falwell. After a series of failed to gain traction, the photo of him and his wife’s pregnant assistant in an inappropriate pose on a boat was the tipping point. He lost his leadership position at the university but claimed a resurrection comeback on Good Friday with his belief the “community still embraces him.” Denied a contracted $10.5 million severance package, Falwell, worth over $100 million, told the media the dispute was resolved.

Good Friday passed, and Liberty is now suing Falwell for over $40 million in damages, alleging breach of contract and fiduciary duty. The lawsuit states Falwell withheld “scandalous and potentially damaging information from Liberty’s board of trustees, while negotiating a generous new contract for himself in 2019 under false pretenses,” according to journalist Ruth Graham. Some of the scandal included an on-going three-some among himself, his wife, and a former pool boy. (More details about Falwell’s scandals.) 

Employees have been ordered to not communicate with either Falwell or his wife Becki Falwell other than any concerns about their daughter, a student. The university also wants Falwell to return its electronic equipment with confidential information. Their oldest son, Trey Falwell was also forced from his vice-presidency at Liberty, while Jerry Falwell Jr’s brother Jonathan Falwell has taken a bigger role at the school.

Also gone from Liberty University is the name for its political “think tank,” Falkirk Center, named after Falwell and DDT’s former pet, Charlie Kirk. Over 400 Liberty students and recent graduates signed a petition to close down the group because the Center “is trying to undo Liberty’s mission.” They rejected the idea they are “people who were educated to become champions for Trump and Western Civilization in the ‘cultural battlefield.’” They also object to the “fellows” using the Center as a “gateway for … people who claim Christ’s name because it is convenient for their personal or political gain.” The Falkirk Center sank $50,000 into political ads for DDT and other GOP candidates before the election.

The Center did not renew Charlie Kirk as a fellow, and he plans to start his own group called Turning Point Faith. Falkirk is now Standing for Freedom Center but kept its political philosophy and some of its questionable “fellows,” such as conservative commentator Eric Metaxas who punched an unarmed anti-DDT protester in the back of his head last year and continues to spread conspiracy theories about voter fraud.  

Liberty’s direction is shown by two new fellows, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, both wannabe presidential candidates—Huckabee in the past and Pompeo in 2024. Pompeo, claiming he wants “religious freedom, created many federal groups promoting evangelical Christianity around the world including one educating officials that the Bible mandates them to support back right-wing social, economic, environmental, and criminal justice policies. When in Congress, Pompeo worked with anti-Muslim activists to promote Christian nationalism. Pope Francis denied an audience with Pompeo because of his use of “religious freedom” for political gain.

Pompeo’s background as Secretary of State illustrates his lack of ethics. The Inspector General reported Pompeo violated government federal ethics rules in using the agency’s resources by asking its employees to carry out personal tasks over 100 times, as did Pompeo’s wife, Susan. Pompeo said they were just things friends did for friends—like working all weekend “to envelope, address, and mail personal Christmas cards for the Pompeos” with no compensation.

Just a few reasons that the number of religiously unaffiliated grows every year.

 

February 19, 2021

Biden: Mundane Can Be a Relief

Tomorrow celebrates the one-month anniversary of President Joe Biden in the Oval Office, and the contrast to the four years of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) in the White House is overwhelming. Before DDT, much news would have been mundane, reflecting ordinary governance—like now. News about DDT, however, usually reported his alienation of foreign allies, rejection of help for anyone except the wealthy and big business, and complete chaos as he rapidly changed his positions—sometimes before the end of a sentence.

Participating in the G7 summit, Biden pledged full commitment to NATO after DDT cursed it for four years. “Democracy doesn’t happen by accident,” he said. In a major address to the Munich Security Conference, he warned that “democratic progress is under assault” in many parts of the world, including the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. also officially rejoined the Paris climate accord and supports a global effort to equitably distribute COVID-19 vaccines, donating $4 billion over two years for the effort. After cancelation of the G7 summit, scheduled for the United States in 2020, the UK plans the 2021 summit in June at a Cornwall seaside resort. 

Biden also offered to join European nations in diplomacy with Iran and backed away from DDT’s attempt to restore UN’s sanctions on the country. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reported the U.S. plans to join them for the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran. EU’s deputy secretary general asked the other original signers—Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China—to bring back the agreement, possibly with the U.S. as observer or guest instead of participant to work with Iran. The U.S. hopes to expand the agreement to control Iran’s growing missile ability as well as the country’s support of terrorist groups and the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

After DDT violated the agreement, Iran compiled and enriched nuclear fuel over the 2015 limits. Biden started negotiations by withdrawing DDT’s demand of UN international sanctions against Iran. Other nations had dismissed insistence from former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for invoking the “snap back sanctions” because DDT had dropped out of the agreement. Biden is also lifting travel restrictions on Iranian officials allowing them to attend UN meetings in the U.S.

Biden plans to “recalibrate” the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia, communicating with King Salman instead of his son Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS). Next week, the U.S. will release the report of MBS’s torture and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and journalist, over two years ago. Biden also cancelled the arms sale to Saudi and criticized Saudi human rights abuses. DDT discounted his intelligence conclusions; protected MBS, a friend of DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner; and ignored a law passed by Congress in 2019 to submit an unclassified report about the Saudi involvement in the murder. DDT’s intelligence director John Ratcliffe’s excuse for violating the law was “a marginal ‘public interest’” in the declassification.  

In domestic issues, Biden will appoint Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to direct the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. As a senior CMS official for President Obama, she helped implement the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion and insurance-market reforms. Expanding insurance coverage is a goal of Biden’s administration. Brooks-LaSure also wants to improve health coverage and address high rates of maternal mortality, much worse than in other industrialized nations.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) promised Congress will approve the $1.9 trillion relief bill by March 14. The House plans to pass the bill next week and send it to the Senate perhaps Friday or Saturday, allowing that chamber to work through issues before returning it for final passage. Current $300 weekly emergency federal employment benefits expire on March 14, and the current bill would increase benefits to $400 until fall.

Also in the bill are $1,400 stimulus checks for those eligible to add to the $600 approved in December; $350 billion for city and states governments with massive revenue shortfalls; $160 billion for vaccines, increased testing and other health care assistance; approximately $130 billion to help schools reopen; food assistance and rent help; and an increased child tax credit. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) told GOP  House members to vote “no” and called it “Pelosi’s Payoff to Progressives Act,” referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). He accused the bill of keeping schools closed, bailing out blue states, and paying people not to work.

Although a split between the two parties in voting for the bill may seem to lack the “unity” Biden wants, the country is unified in supporting the relief. Earlier this month, 78 percent of people supported the stimulus checks, including 64 percent of Republicans. The entire bill has overall 68 percent support, and only 47 percent of Republicans oppose the bill. 

Republicans are suffering low polls compared to Biden’s 62 percent approval rating:

  • 19 percent: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
  • 27 percent: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
  • 26 percent: Congressional Republicans job performance
  • 23 percent: Approval of Republican Party direction 

Biden promised help for mayors in at least 17 large Texas cities and other county officials suffering loss of power because of the state grid’s failure and lack of potable water for almost half the state’s population. Republicans failed to get FEMA generators to hospitals so Biden is working with local governments to move them.

On Wednesday, Bill Magness, president of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), said rolling blackouts started on Monday because the state’s entire power grid providing power to 90 percent of the state “seconds and minutes” from crashing. Without that action, Texas could have suffered uncontrolled blackouts for an “indeterminately long” crisis, possibly for months. Gov. Greg Abbott, who appointed members of the three-member ERCOT board, has called for their resignations. 

Biden has been replacing DDT’s incompetent, conservatively biased loyalists, and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has two of them at the top of his list—Andrew Saul and David Black, Social Security Administration commissioner and deputy commissioner. Brown said they “cut the benefits that hardworking Americans have earned, attacked the Social Security Administration’s employees, denied beneficiaries due process, and needlessly increased disability reviews during the Covid-19 pandemic.” Current law protects them from firing except for “neglect of duty or malfeasance in office.”

To block unnecessary deportations, Biden signed orders and directives to reduce the excuses ICE agents use for deporting people and mandates greater oversight of ICE agents. The order is good for 90 days while the agency develops long-term guidelines, but ICE agents rebelled by attempting to release three men convicted of sex offenses against children, against Biden’s orders, until they were stopped. These orders lead into Biden’s immigration reform bill. 

President Ronald Reagan was responsible for the last big immigration reform bill in 1986 when Republicans believed in passing on “America’s triumph … into the next century and beyond.” Senate passed a bill in 2013 by 68 to 32 when, as Jennifer Rubin wrote, GOP Sens. Marco Rubio (FL) and Lindsey Graham (SC) “still sounded like Reagan.” Since then, Graham’s best friend Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) died, and Rubio decided he wanted to be president. And the House killed the Senate bill.

The paths to citizenship including not only Dreamers who arrived in the U.S. as children but also farmworkers and refugees fleeing danger in their home countries provide immediate eligibility for green cards and applications for citizenship after three years. Others will need to wait eight years. all need to have arrived in the U.S. before January 1, 2021. The bill also increases available diversity visas and assigns more funding to immigration courts and technology. Other provisions include “increased border technology to interdict drug traffickers and smugglers, higher penalties for employers who exploit undocumented laborers in the United States, and increased funding for immigration courts.”

The current administration rejected an anti-immigrant agreement signed by illegally appointed Ken Cuccinelli, acting DHS Deputy Secretary, on the day before Biden’s inauguration. The document gave the ICE union veto power over any changes and policies by the new administration. Biden had 30 days to “approve or disapprove” the directive; he denied it Tuesday, hours before the deadline. A whistleblower exposed the document as part of a complaint into Cuccinelli’s corrupt actions.

Biden told Congress the Equality Act has his full support. Adding sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation to protected classes in the Civil Rights Act, the bill provides complete anti-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ+ community in areas like housing, credit, employment, public spaces and services, and federal programs. LGBTQ+ people have no federal civil rights protections and can be denied the rights of heterosexual people in 29 states. The new bill is the fourth one with these protections since the first one was introduced in 1974. Last June, the Supreme Court ruled Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in the workplace also covers sexual orientation and gender identity, but the ruling does not list other areas such as housing, healthcare, and education. The decision also lacks the power of a bill passed by Congress and signed into law by the president.

One of DDT’s actions in his last year was to remove conservation of water by passing new regulations against low-flow toilets and increasing water flow in many other household appliances and fixtures. Biden plans reviews of these regulations and other DDT’s energy-wasting rules such as using LED lighting, saving not only resources but also money in utility bills.

February 9, 2021

Impeachment Trial Day One, More DDT Losses

On the first day of the second impeachment trial of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), lawyers used DDT’s favorite defense—victimization. David Schoen vigorously complained the Democrats had impeached DDT only because they hated him. The rest of their argument covered up his incitement of violence and accused Democrats of playing the videos of DDT’s speech followed by the mob at the Capitol only for “blood sport”—a “sport” that DDT loved watching on January 6.

DDT’s lawyers argued he was “horrified” about what was happening and “immediately” moved to stop the attack. Yet a senior official, one of DDT’s former aides talking about DDT’s enjoyment at watching the mob’s attack said DDT was “loving watching the Capitol mob.” Both Republicans and Democrats begged DDT to ask his supporters to stop, but DDT remained silent while watching the tragedy on television. He waited hours to tell the rioters, who he called “special,” to halt and didn’t call for any military help, leaving the responsibility to then VP Mike Pence, whose life was threatened in the coup attempt.

The team of DDT’s two failed attorneys, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, gained a third—Michael van der Veen. None of them is a constitutional lawyer, and van der Veen, a personal-injury attorney, sued DDT last year for “repeated claims” about mail voting being fraudulent “despite having no evidence in support of these claims.” Van der Veen sued DDT and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for decreasing “sufficient access to vote by mail” through operation “delay.” Castor works for a firm founded by van der Veen, well known in Philadelphia for his huckster advertising on a local radio station regarding personal injury representation.

In arguing the constitutionality of an impeachment trial for DDT, Schoen invalidated the second penalty of disqualified the convicted person from future office, “always and only imposed on former officials,” according to Michael Gerson. Schoen believes the word “and” between the two penalties makes them “inextricably entwined” although “and” is a grammatical structure, not a mandate for two elements becoming one.

The vote from 44 GOP senators agreeing with DDT that impeachment is “unconstitutional” matched the consistent failure of Republicans to follow the U.S. Constitution in their effort to protect DDT—and themselves. For example, these GOP members of Congress have ignored the Emoluments Clause in order for DDT to illegally make money from foreign governments. The “yes” votes from 46 Democrats, 6 Republicans, and 2 unaffiliated senators demonstrates the unity which Biden seeks, and a secret vote could let some of the 44 naysayers change their vote. One-third of them are up for re-election in fewer than two years, and DDT has sworn revenge on non-loyalists. Four leading GOP senators—Richard Burr (NC), Rob Portman (OH), Richard Shelby (AL), and Pat Toomey (PA)—have already said they won’t be running; of the remaining 16, only one, Lisa Murkowski (AK), voted that the impeachment is constitutional. (Left: map for 2022 senatorial elections: Blue – Democratic incumbent; Orange – Republican incumbent; Red – Republican retiring; Gray – No election)

Even DDT recognized how bad his attorneys performed on the first day, especially after Bruce Castor traded places with David Schoen to take the opening. Castor explained he went first because “the House managers’ presentation was well done” and he wanted to drop the emotional temperature. His patronizing approach failed as evidenced by criticism from such GOP senators as Texans John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. When Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) was asked in what way DDT’s lawyers did such a bad job, he answered, “Did you watch them?” Even Alan Dershowitz, a former member of DDT’s legal team, told Newsmax he couldn’t figure out what Castor was doing in his opening presentation.

Part of DDT’s fury about his lawyers may have come from Castor’s statement that DDT is no longer a president and that DDT could be criminally charged if he weren’t convicted in an impeachment. In his opening, Castor said:

“After he’s out of office, you go and arrest him. So there is no opportunity where the President Of The United States can run wild in January at the end of his term and go away scot-free. The department of justice does know what to do with such people.”

The quality of DDT’s lawyers, however, may make no difference. It is assumed the fix in in, that over one-third of the senators, all Republicans, will vote against conviction no matter the evidence or pathetic ability of DDT’s lawyers. On Fox, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) claimed DDT deserves a “mulligan” because “everyone makes mistakes.” Like a person elected as president trying to overthrow the government and sending people how to commit violence and kill people in giving him what he wants.

In an article for the conservative Bulwark, Sarah Longwell, active in the Lincoln Project and co-founder of Republicans for the Rule of Law, wrote:

“There is something deeply, cosmically unfair about a group of elites force-feeding voters a lie about a stolen election, bilking them out of their money, demanding with the most overheated rhetoric that they ‘fight’ to save the country—and then avoiding all responsibility while those people are hauled off to jail for doing what they’d been asked to do. Look: the people in mobs are supposed to be held accountable for their actions. That’s the law. But there’s also a whole section of the law which realizes that the creation and instigation of a mob is, itself, a criminal action. And people who do that are supposed to be held to account too.”

Outside the impeachment, DDT keeps losing:

A U.S. District Court judge temporarily halted a massive ConocoPhillips oil project on Alaska’s North Slope in the western part of Arctic Alaska. Based on a lawsuit that DDT’s administration failed to consider environmental impacts, the order stops gravel-related work until February 20, giving time for the 9th Circuit Court to look at the case. The judge’s order permits continued work on ice roads which melt in summer. Biden’s review of DDT’s oil policies includes this project.

A man who took over $38 million in no-bid federal contracts to provide N95 masks for the VA and FEMA; he pled guilty to fraud, theft, and lying after delivering no masks. To get the contract, he said he lied about having the masks when he no plan to find or buy them. The federal government supported price gouging and profiteering by hiring contractors with no experience in finding PPE. The contractor, an Air Force veteran, benefited from the program giving forgivable loans when he provided false tax forms claiming 37 employees instead of his actual nine. He has since repaid most of the $805,000 he received while pleading guilty to taking $261,000 from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program for his personal extravagant spending. He also collected almost $74,000 from VA benefits by lying about being a disabled Marine corporal.

A judge has ordered Herring, the owner of far-right One America Network, to pay Rachel Maddow, host of an MSNBC show, $258,000 for its failed defamation lawsuit against her. Maddow reported an OAN journalist also contributed to Russia-owned news outlet Sputnik and accused OAN of being “paid Russian propaganda.” Herring demanded $10 million in damages from Maddow and plans to appeal while it faces a lawsuit from Dominion voting machines for a two-hour conspiracy video by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell about his baseless claim the 2020 presidential election was rigged.

The federal government could have blocked the Russian hacking of both its agencies and businesses with a free cybersecurity system, in-toto, developed with $2.2 million taxpayer funding. The system was first adopted in 2018 by Datadog, a competitor of SolarWinds which allowed the hacking into its software. Datadog’s customers include Nasdaq, Whole Foods, and Samsung. The hacked SolarWinds has 320,000 customers in 199 countries, including 499 of the Fortune 500 companies, and its Orion products, responsible for the cyberattack, bring the company 45 percent of its over $1 billion revenue.  “We make IT look easy” is SolarWinds slogan.

A big promise from DDT was to eliminate U.S. trade deficit. Last year’s trade deficit was the biggest and worst ever—worsening by six percent at $916 billion. Exports dropped by 13.2 percent to $1.43 trillion, the worst since George W. Bush’s recession in 2010. Goods imports fell by 6.6 percent to $2.35 trillion. Half the decline came from the 38 percent plunge–$120 billion to $80 billion—in petroleum products, the lowest since 2002. More bad news is here. 

The DOJ has dropped a lawsuit against Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend of Melania Trump, for releasing taped conservations between the two women when Trump children’s separation and holiday decorations at the White House. Conservative David Frum called the case “an abusive deployment of state power for personal revenge,” and  Attorney Bradley Moss called Trump “a petulant and tiny person unworthy of the role she held.” Moss also tweeted it was a “stupid lawsuit that was dead on arrival and flew in the face of decades of first amendment precedent.”

According to a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll, 56 percent of people think DDT should be convicted; they also say by a 17 percent margin that the GOP has more radical extremists than Democrats. In a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, 58 percent believe DDT should either “probably” or “definitely” be barred from running for public office in the future. One-third of Republicans want DDT to testify in his impeachment trial.

January 16, 2021

DDT: Weeks 207 & 208 – ‘The Big Lies’

Only the legacy of insurrection and sedition left by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) rises above his cruelty and inhumanity. He started his white supremacist campaign on June 16, 2015 when he declared people from Mexico are “rapists” who are “bringing drugs, and he finished it as a cult leader of a white supremacist terror cell attacking the U.S. Capitol.

The DOJ inspector general’s report about DDT’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy for immigrants proves DDT’s incessant cruelty. Interviews and email reviews define DDT’s involvement in the policy of separating separate children from their families with no hope of reunification. Too little too late, former Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein expressed regret, “I wish we all had done better.”

The report’s findings match the 21-month House Judiciary Committee’s investigation accusing DDT’s administration of “reckless incompetence and intentional cruelty.” Last November, 666 children, 20 percent under the age of five, were still not reunited with their families. Children reunified suffered trauma described by doctors as “torture” and “state-sanctioned child abuse” after U.S. officials had told the children they would never see their families again. Only public outrage over such revelations as a breastfeeding baby torn from the mother and a man’s suicide after separation from his wife and child forced the government to slightly modify its policy. The government continued its human rights violation with the removal of reproductive organs from immigrant women in concentration facilities until recently.  

In another cruel act, DDT and his HHS Secretary Alex Azar lied about releasing the “reserve” vaccines to increase the number of people receiving vaccinations.  DDT had claimed he was saving the doses for booster shots, but Azar finally admitted the government started sending out the reserves in December with the final shipment last week. Three years after DDT was inaugurated, he falsely accused President Obama of leaving “a bare cupboard” with no PPP supplies. Yet the “bare cupboard” with no vaccine is exactly what DDT leaves Joe Biden’s administration. Millions of people—teachers, healthcare workers, elders, etc.—expected to receive the vaccinations as soon as this month. Instead, everyone will watch DDT fly away on Air Force One the morning of January 20 for the last time and wonder when they will be vaccinated.

Biden’s transition team has been blocked from access to information or personnel about the production and distribution of the vaccine. Team members were also not briefed on new policies such as offering the vaccine to anyone with high-risk medical conditions, guaranteed to fail because of DDT’s vaccine shortage. Another policy to be put into effect after Biden became president was designed to penalize slower-moving states. Biden has promised to not punish any states. The new administration is developing a real plan for vaccinating the nation while dropping DDT’s name “Operation Warp Speed” for the vaccine.

Azar submitted his resignation letter dated January 12. He blamed DDT’s “actions and rhetoric” for tarnishing the administration’s legacy and touted his own accomplishments, including the COVID-19 vaccine. He omitted his lies to the people exacerbating its disaster with over 400,000 deaths, instead claiming that he saved millions of lives. He also didn’t mention his most recent lie to the states about having reserves for vaccinations or address the 20 million vaccinations he promised by the end of December. The total of doses delivered is currently 10.6 million.

January 15 would have been the 92nd birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr, and DDT is using this anniversary by executing people. The execution on King’s birthday, DDT’s 13th since last summer when AG Bill Barr thought killing people is a good idea, is the third in three days. The first woman to be executed in the U.S. since 1953 was killed January 13; she was seriously mentally ill. Another man, intellectually disabled, was killed January 14. Courts had objected to their executions. The DOJ complained that the U.S. would suffer more harm from the inconvenience of rescheduling private contractors than prisoners would be harmed by their deaths.

The most recent man executed was convicted in Maryland which outlawed the death penalty. Because the Federal Death Penalty Act bans executions for people from states banning the killing of prisoners, DOJ moved the case to Indiana, which does permit executions. Lawyers objected, and the legality of DOJ’s move to Indiana has a hearing on January 27—12 days after DOJ killed him. DOJ also lied about his killing three women: his co-defendant, who actually did the killing, is in prison for life without parole.

Michael Pack, CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, wants to continue propagandizing government-funded broadcasts from Voice of America (VOA) and other networks such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty during the Biden administration. He serves as chair of the networks’ boards and packed them with conservative activists and DDT loyalists. The boards have agreed to binding contractual agreements which supposedly cannot be removed for another two years except “for cause.”

Because of internal objections and objections, the new presidents, appointed by Pack this month, have not yet signed the contracts. The European network reaches over 40 million people in 27 languages across 23 countries, including Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and Ukraine; Radio Free Asia audiences are in China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and North Korea. Some VOA journalists signed a letter demanding Pack and his deputy resign for their use of VOA in a “propaganda event” for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the “sudden and unexplained” reassignments of the chief news editor and White House correspondent. Pompeo told the journalists at the event “to cease critical coverage of the United States.” A VOA journalist who tried to ask Pompeo questions after his speech was taken off the White House beat, and the new chief news editor told her she doesn’t “know how to behave!”

As a lame duck, DDT suffers continued financial losses:

Three banks—Signature, Professional, and Deutsche—stopped doing business with DDT. Signature, where DDT has a $5.3 million loan, closed his personal accounts; Professional in Florida had loaned DDT’s company $11.2 million to buy his sister’s home near Mar-a-Lago; and Deutsche, which holds $400 million in loans for DDT, will no longer lend to him.

Real estate giant Cushman & Wakefield will not work with DDT, including office leasing at Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street as well as retail leasing in Chicago. DDT has lost the real estate broker to sell his hotel in D.C.

Four Trump-branded hotels closed, and his company’s plans for new hotel chains disappeared. Biden is now DDT’s new “landlord” at the D.C. hotel because the government holds the lease.

Decorated chef David Burke left DDT’s D.C. hotel’s BLT Prime restaurant.

DDT’s worldwide 19 golf courses won’t be holding international events—the 2022 PGA at Bedminister (NJ) and the British Open at Turnberry (Scotland). His tax returns show a $315.6 million loss over two decades. Turnberry, Trump International Scotland, and Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Ireland together lost $63.6 million, and Trump National Doral (Miami, FL) lost $162.3 up to 2018.

Shopiify will not host TrumpStore.com.

New York City is considering canceling all contracts with DDT’s company, including operating the Central Park skating rink.

DDT is facing state-level investigations into his financial practices in New York, probably blocking his former business of money laundering and tax fraud. The unconstitutional emoluments will be gone.

And Lehigh University, Robert Gordon University, and Wagner College rescinded and revoked honorary degrees given DDT. He keeps only two honorary degrees from Liberty University.

At least, DDT doesn’t need to look for a new job; his staffers aren’t as lucky. With their negative branding, they are having difficulty. One PR recruiter who took only six of over a dozen staffers as clients couldn’t get interviews for any of them. One recruiter talked about the applicants “narcissistic attitudes, thinking any company” would want to hire them. For the first few couple of months after the election, staffers couldn’t even openly look for a job, afraid that the personnel director would carry through with his threat to fire them.

PR firm Burson Cohn and Wolfe (BCW), with executives from both Clinton and W. Bush administrations, stated it has “no current plans to hire from this administration.” In an op-ed, Forbes wrote it will assume any company or firm hiring current or former press secretaries is always telling lies. Former DDT officials such as Mick Mulvaney and John Bolton want jobs as a television commentator or an academic, but Fox has only so much room and the lying goes for academia. One media executive said:

“We’re not taking people who have no credibility. Very few of them have real value beyond Fox News, [One America News], and Newsmax.”

Recent polls:

  • 76 percent: Voters rating DDT’s conduct since the election as fair or poor, up eight points from November and now 62 percent “poor.”
  • 84 percent: support for another stimulus package, including 56 percent from Republicans.
  • 56 percent: support for Congress to disqualify DDT from future offices.
  • 66 percent: belief DDT acted irresponsibly since election.
  • 71 percent: DDT’s responsibility for the Capitol attack from “a great deal” to “good amount.”
  • 54 percent: in favor of charging DDT for crime of inciting a riot.
  • 69 percent: viewing white supremacists as a serious problem.

Last week, DDT fired Byung Pak, his appointed Georgia U.S. Attorney, after DDT insisted Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “find” another 11,780 votes to swing the state for DDT. Furious because Pak wouldn’t help him change the votes, DDT replaced him with Bobby Christine who brought assistants involved in monitoring election fraud. Christine dismissed two DDT election fraud cases on his first day.

Four more days until the inauguration.  

October 7, 2020

DDT on Drugs

 (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

About tonight’s vice-presidential debate between Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and VP Mike Pence, conservative Bill Kristol declared Harris the winner with a fly coming in second. It stayed on Pence’s head for a full two minutes. [Video] More about the debate tomorrow.

Since receiving experimental drug treatment for his COVID-19, Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) communication has produced questions about his mental stability. In a video on Wednesday, he said he was cured by a miracle drug, the vaccine would be available before the election, promised people free experimental treatments, and claims to have directed his own treatment. (That one might have been correct.) DDT also declared his infection of COVID-19 as a “blessing from God.”

Even more common are his hundreds of tweets since his diagnosis that he later changes—or doesn’t. One subject dealt with his attempt to minimize the effects of a disease presently killing almost 220,000 people in the U.S. and infecting another 8 million. The man who returned to his “home” with a medical clinic and 24-hour doctors’ monitoring after oxygen, an airlift to a major hospital, heavy-duty experimental drugs, and a three-day stay in a four-room suite says that COVID-19 is less lethal than flu.

DDT also claimed the flu kills over 100,000 people every year, a wildly exaggerated number. The “flu” hasn’t killed this many people since 1918, another time when people also failed to take precautions. The 2020 coronavirus is far more unpredictable, mutating into even more deadly forms. In the past seven months of virus “management,” the U.S. has almost quadruple the number of flu deaths in the worst flu season and multiplied by almost ten times the lightest season. And U.S. deaths from COVID-19 haven’t stopped: they’ve grown from 195,239 on September 8 to 216,784 a month later.

About the stimulus bill, DDT tweeted:

Last Saturday: “OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you!” He did refuse, in his words, “to bailout poorly run, high crime, Democrat States, money that is in no way related to COVID-19.”

Tuesday morning: “I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business. I have asked… Mitch McConnell not to delay, but to instead focus full time on approving my outstanding nominee to the United States Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett. Our Economy is doing very well. The Stock Market is at record levels, JOBS and unemployment… …also coming back in record numbers. We are leading the World in Economic Recovery, and THE BEST IS YET TO COME!” [A Twitter response: “the very definition of quid pro quo.”]

House Democrats already passed a “major stimulus bill,” actually two of them, and Republicans soundly rejected them. DDT has no guarantee that a stimulus bill can pass the Senate without a majority of Democrats and may not be signed except for a Democratic president. Three-fourths of registered voters—even 55 percent of Republicans—want the stimulus bill before ramming through Barrett’s confirmation. 

Hours later DDT negated the above statement by responding “True!” to Federal Reserve Jerome Powell’s statement about a low risk of “overdoing it” when he called for congressional help.

Tuesday afternoon: DDT offered to sign “a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200).” He also wanted $25 billion “for Airline Payroll Support” from “unused funds from the Cares Act.” After DDT’s first announcement, the DOW dropped several hundred points, and Federal Reserve Jerome Powell said easing up on added relief could “lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses.”

Wednesday: The stock market went up with the hope of giving money to the airline industry.

Before DDT’s first tweet on Tuesday, both parties had agreed to bring negotiators back to the table. In talking with Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) pointed out that people think “steroids have an impact on your thinking.” Donald Jr, sometimes viewed as a cocaine user, tried to bring down Pelosi, accusing her with no evidence for “substance issues.” He also wanted an intervention for DDT in the hospital because his father was acting “crazy.”  

Afraid of not being reelected, GOP House members are also concerned about DDT’s tweets about the stimulus bill.

Another irrational demand followed by a reversal benefitted the FDA. Desperate to get a vaccine put out before Election Day, DDT has refused new standards for emergency authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for over two weeks because the pharmaceutical industry was unhappy with the stricter requirements. DDT didn’t want the higher level of safety and effectiveness because authorization wouldn’t happen until after the voting was over, but the FDA wants decisions only on scientific benchmarks. DDT said Pfizer promised him the vaccine could be ready within weeks and disagreed his health officials’ projections about a vaccine not being available until the end of the year. Referring to Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and others with whom he had conversations, “They can go faster than that by a lot.” (Pfizer claimed it never talked with DDT.) Long concerned about political interference in the vaccine authorization process, FDA Commissioner Steven Hahn and other FDA officials tried to reassure people by setting and releasing higher standards to show science, not politics, was driving the process. DDT accused them of “a political move” in overriding the FDA’s career scientists in the process. FDA guidelines would require vaccine tracking for two months before the final dose, and Election Day is fewer than four weeks.

In a surprise move later Tuesday, the FDA released its more stringent guidelines for emergency authorization without White House permission. They include the disputed two months of following participants after the final injection and submission of vaccines only after at least five severe cases of COVID-19 occur in volunteers with the placebo. Tired of waiting for DDT’s approval, FDA put the information into a briefing package for its vaccine advisory committee meeting on October 22. DDT decided to approve the guidelines.

Tuesday, DDT had plenty of time to make manic tweets to become part of current government documents. Some of the 47 tweets in fewer than two hours:

  • “the most corrupt election in American history.”
  • tells Pelosi to wear her mask in “the ‘beauty’ parlor.
  • reference to people in the U.S. as “scum.”
  • and “Con Artist.”
  • claimed “all Russian Hoax Scandal information was declassified by me long ago.” [Despite all the redactions in the Mueller report.]  
  • FDA guidelines for vaccine–”Just another political hit job!”
  • “Chris Wallace was a total JOKE. Protected Joe all night long. He’s no Mike!!!” [About the moderator who said, “You don’t have to answer this question, Mr. President.”]
  • “I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!” [Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) tweeted to the Justice Department “Per the President’s orders, can you please provide the [House Judiciary] Committee the full unredacted Mueller Report immediately? Thank you.”]
  • Crazy Nancy Pelosi and the Radical Left Democrats …”
  • “How does Biden lead in Pennsylvania Polls when he is against Fracking (JOBS!), 2nd Amendment and Religion? Fake Polls.”
  • About Joe Biden’s town hall with Lester Holt: “What a disgrace to our Country that FREE public airwaves can be used that way.”
  • “The Fake News Media …”
  • “[Bloomberg’s] Florida ads are lies. I am much better for SENIORS than Sleepy! [Except Biden does have COVID-19.]
  • “Biden and Democrats just clarified the fact that they are fully in favor of (very) LATE TERM ABORTION, right up until the time of birth, and beyond.” [Beyond birth? And they aren’t.]
  • One tweet was blocked because DDT broke New York Post policies by sharing the email for one of its columnists.

Wednesday morning between 9:30 and 11:30 am, DDT continued, tweeting and retweeting more than 50 times, repeating the same fixations on grievances. In addition, he called for California to vote for him and retweeted a smear comparing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to Nazis.

A recent national CNN poll, immediately before tonight’s debate found Biden leading DDT 57 percent to 41 percent. Other results among people in the U.S.:

48 percent approve DDT’s handling of the economy. (48 percent disapprove.)

38 percent approve how DDT handles election security. (55 percent disapprove.)

39 percent have favorable opinion of DDT. (55 have unfavorable opinion of Trump.)

52 percent have favorable opinion of Biden. (42 percent have unfavorable opinion.)

38 percent have favorable opinion of Mike Pence. (49 percent have unfavorable, and six percent have “never heard of” Mike Pence.)

47 percent have favorable opinion of Kamala Harris. (36 percent have unfavorable opinion of Harris, and nine percent have “never heard of” Kamala Harris. That was before tonight’s debate.)

58 percent who watched the first presidential debate thought Biden won it, 27 percent thought DDT did, and 13 percent said that “neither of them did well.”

Biden is better than DDT on the economy (50-48), coronavirus (59-38), health care (59-39), racial equality (62-36), Supreme Court nominations (57-41), and crime and safety (55-43).

Biden cares more about them than DDT (58-38), is better suited to unite the country than DDT (61-33), has a better plan to solve the nation’s problems than DDT (55-39), will keep them safer than DDT (55-43), and is more trustworthy than DDT (58-33).

The White House and DDT’s campaign are trying to spin DDT’s weakness and stupidity in contracting coronavirus into a noble effort. From the campaign:

“[DDT] has experience—now—fighting the coronavirus as an individual. Those firsthand experiences, Joe Biden, he doesn’t have those.”

DDT also has experience with heavy drugs and doesn’t seem to be coping well.

April 25, 2020

DDT: Week 170 – Press Briefing Disappears, Wisconsin Voters Sicken, USPS Attacked

The biggest news of the week may be that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) called off his press briefing (campaign rally) today after his huge debacle of two days ago when he recommended that people inject their bodies with bleach as a COVID-19 treatment. Even the ultra-conservative Breitbart website admitted its lie that DDT hadn’t made this statement. The correction was rather limp: Breitbart stated that the commentary should have been “Opinion” rather than “Fact Checking” because “nobody in their right mind would think that Trump was literally suggesting that people should inject disinfectant into their bodies.” Breitbart is right about that statement in describing the “right mind” of those who still follow DDT.

Today was the first time that DDT held no rally since Easter, 13 days ago. Since March, DDT has droned inane comments on television each afternoon, in “briefings” up to three hours long, praising himself and his administration before ending with insulting and attacking reporters who ask for information. Yesterday’s event was 22 minutes long with no questions for the press. The announcement calling off the event came three hours and 11 minutes after it was scheduled. Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany (sometimes called “Not Ivanka” because of their resemblance) said that canceling a briefing is DDT’s decision, but she believes “the president is at his best when he’s speaking directly to the American people.” Evidently he’s really worse than his briefings. https://www.theguardian.com/us-Shortly after the cancelation, DDT’s angrily tweeted about his rallies, “Not worth the time & effort.” Previously, DDT’s advisers told him to stop appearing at briefings except for special announcements, but he said he was continuing because of good television ratings.

In past briefings, DDT either pressured doctors to lie at briefings to say that he was right about recommendations for drugs, stopping shelter-in-place programs, and predictions of re-occurrences of the virus or flat-out contradicted what medical experts said. For example, he badgered Dr. Deborah Birx to say that the virus “might not come back at all.” Earlier, he had pushed Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC director, to repudiate the “possibility that the assault of the virus on the U.S. next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through.” Redfield, however, said that he had been “accurately quoted in The Washington Post.” Dr. Anthony Fauci contradicted DDT, telling reporters that he is “convinced” that “there will be coronavirus in the fall.”

While DDT is killing people through stupidity and inaction, conservative judges on the Wisconsin and U.S. supreme courts may also be responsible for infecting people with COVID-19. On April 7, they agreed with GOP lawmakers to force an in-person vote at the Wisconsin primary, yet hid from the virus as people were disenfranchised if they didn’t go to the polls. Milwaukee has identified at least 40 positive coronavirus cases linked to in-person voting. The city closed down 175 of its 180 polling locations for the day, and 19,000 people vote in person, giving an average of 3,800 people at each of the open five locations in lines that stretched around the block. The Milwaukee Common Council voted unanimously last Tuesday to create a program under which all of the city’s approximately 300,000 registered voters would receive an application for an absentee ballot in the mail. The “SafeVote” program also provides voters with a postage-paid return envelope so they can participate in the fall election.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision changing Wisconsin’s voting rules the day before the election was even anonymous, but the four dissenters came out publicly to object to the ruling. Unsigned rulings are usually for uncontroversial, unanimous rulings; previously the high court had contended that anonymity weakens accountability for decisions and shield contentious rulings written by unwritten justices. A legal scholar wrote that past per curiam cases have been “so easily resolvable, so lacking in complexity or disagreement among the justices, that it requires only a brief forthright opinion that any member of the Court could draft.” Still unknown is who wrote the majority opinion in the Wisconsin case although Brett Kavanaugh first received the case. The same lack of courage from the high court may be used in the future for the opinions regarding abortions, gun stores, and religious services connected to stay-at-home and business closure orders.

DDT and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin are compounding the voting issue even more with their blackmailing the United States Post Office (USPS). Disaster bill #3 last month authorized a $10 billion loan to USPS, but Mnuchin rejected the bailout to gain control of the agency to the Treasury Department. Mnuchin wants to select the postmaster general (now the responsibility of a five-member board) and review other hiring decisions at senior levels, lower USPS employee wages and benefits, remove their ability to negotiate through their union, and raise package rates. DDT threatened to withhold all COVID-19 relief funding unless package shipping prices are raised four-fold—maybe five times.

USPS financial problems come from a 2006 congressional mandate requires the agencies to fund retirees’ health benefits through 2056—36 years from now. Retirement benefits must be prepaid for 75 years.

No other federal agency is required to turn a profit. Even so, the USPS had gradually paid down $15 billion of debt to $12 billion until the pandemic, when it went up $2.4 billion to $14.4 billion. Airlines get at least $25 billion, and large businesses, under the guise of small businesses, are receiving billions of dollars more.

Despite the quarantine, USPS has continued to deliver the mail, and 1,219 workers of 630,00 employees tested positive for COVID-19, with 44 of them dying.

The USPS has promised to deliver absentee and mail-in ballots “even if no postage has been affixed or it the postage is insufficient.”

The USPS delivers a letter for $.55, much less than the $25 or $30 cost from UPS or FedEx.

The USPS is overwhelmingly viewed favorably with majorities believing it does a good or excellent job.

The only piece of USPS increasing in mail volume, the package business, is also the only USPS profitability in recent years; its $22.8 billion in 2019 was one-third of the agency’s revenue. Higher rates would put costs above those charged by UPS and FedEx, perhaps causing the USPS to lose all that business. 

Higher prices on packages would hurt people most in rural areas because they count on USPS for essential package deliveries such as medicines. They would also pay the most without the USPS, more than people in urban areas.

DDT’s biggest beef with the USPS is the fact that his arch enemy, owner of the Washington Post Jeff Bezos, also owns Amazon and has a shipping contract with the USPS. DDT frequently calls the WaPo “fake news” after it reported unfavorable information during his campaign and presidency. Using donations as a consideration, USPS employees prefer DDT as president—at least until they get fired. Amazon will survive with DDT’s ideas, but the U.S. Post Office may not.

More big news came this week from some states’ rolling back the shelter-in-place, frequently without valid statistics. Meat plants, especially in states such as South Dakota and Iowa lacking any shelter-in-place orders, are the newest and worst hot zones for the virus. Employees in other states hide problems with infections. Employees at the Wisconsin Smithfield meat plant, facing an outbreak, say managers hid the growing number of infections and pressured workers to avoid quarantine measures.

Some governors may face a lose-lose debacle with “opening” their states, especially by doing it without the input and against the wishes of their own medical and emergency management staff. Georgia’s GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, eager to please DDT, is reopening gyms, tattoo parlors, hair salons, and bowling alleys reopen but got thrown under DDT’s bus a couple of days later when DDT, pressed by his pandemic task force, criticized him for the opening. Two days before DDT said he “strongly” disagreed with the move, he had called Kemp a “capable man who knows what he’s doing.”

DDT skipped disapproval of opening gyms after a call from billionaire owner Stephen Ross of Equinox Sports Clubs, a big DDT donor and massive fundraiser. Gyms—places with people close together, sweating, coughing and sneezing, breathing heavily, snorting droplets on everyone else, and touching everything, all of them indoors. DDT made his recommendation on opening gyms the day after a telephone call with 16 business leaders including Ross and Bahram Akradi, chief executive of health club chain Life Time.

A few poll results from the past week: 

  • 80 percent: strict shelter-in-place measures are worth it in order to protect people and limit the spread of coronavirus.
  • 51 percent: “the worst is yet to come” when it comes to the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
  • 23 percent: the number with a high level of trust in DDT’s information about COVID-19.
  • 60 percent: DDT isn’t listening to health experts enough.

On April 25, the U.S. has 960,896 confirmed COVID-19 cases, almost one-third in the world, and 54,265 deaths, over one-fourth of those in the world, as well as countless others who weren’t tested, another 15-percent increase in deaths during the past three days. World wide, confirmed cases are almost three million and over 200,000 deaths.

March 28, 2020

DDT: Week 166 – Beyond Coronavirus

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/paulmcleod/coronavirus-aid-package-house-pass Congress has passed the $2.2 trillion bill, despite last-minute attempts from Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) to block it, driving the U.S. into far more debt. Both chambers have left D.C.: the Senate won’t be back until after April 20, and the House return has not been announced.  

A few quirks in the bill:

Employers (but not employees) can defer paying their share of Social Security tax on wages for a couple of years, but employees have to pay it now.

It gives $16 billion to buy ventilators and other medical equipment so DDT told car companies to make ventilators although he doesn’t see any reasons for more.

Food stamps aren’t expanded in the bill.

Federal lenders must stop all payments for student loans through September 30 and cannot charge interest or nonpayment fees. Credit scores and loan forgiveness won’t be affected; also suspended are wage garnishment and tax refund reduction for people who defaulted on federal student loans. The bill has no affect on private student loans which comprise about 12 percent of all education loans in 2018-2019. 

Despite Democrats attempt to keep Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) from making a profit on the bill, he can find loopholes. He can use real estate losses to minimize taxes on profits from items such as investments in the stock market which had been limited by the 2017 tax-cut package. DDT has always kept his taxes secret.

DDT also said he would ignore the law’s provision requiring independent oversight of his desired $500 billion “slush fund.” That way he can give money to his favorite and biggest donors. He also wants his signature on the stimulus checks. After all, election is only 239 days away.

Cruise ships aren’t getting bailout although information changes day by day. DDT insisted that we “can’t let the cruise lines go out of business,” but not one major cruise line lies the U.S. flag because it avoids laws, regulations, and taxes. No environmental laws about ship “discharges,” no U.S. labor laws, minimized criminal and civil liability, and reduced taxes. And they aren’t an “essential” industry.

Surrounded by his wealthy white male loyalists, DDT signed the bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the person who managed to get it through the House, received no credit from DDT and was not invited for the signing. He has not spoken to her for five months. [Republicans below from left to right: Economic adviser Larry Kudlow, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), DDT, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA), and VP Mike Pence.]

Over 90 percent of people in the U.S. believe a recession is coming, with seven percent disagreeing.

DDT and Barr are attacking corruption and fraud—in Venezuela. Sweeping indictments against the country’s President Nicolás Maduro with a $15 million bounty on his head are DDT’s latest attempt at a coup in Venezuela. Charges were filed in New York and Florida, probably because of those states’ investigating the DOJ. The indictments cannot arrest Maduro in Venezuela because of a well-equipped military and strong Russian support for him. To make National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president, indictments include the head of Venezuela’s legislature, defense minister, and Supreme Court chief justice. DDT’s oil embargo has made Russia a winner because of Moscow’s deals to produce, transport and sell Venezuelan oil to markets other than the U.S.

Information about DDT keep crawling out from underneath the rocks, including his late-2018 protection of Walmart’s criminality regarding opioid-dispensing after a four-year investigation. Investigators found that Walmart pharmacists in Texas, Maine, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Kansas, and Washington filled prescriptions not for legitimate medical purposes when company competitors had not. Walmart also failed to comply with an FDA deal to tell them about sending the federal agency any alerts about illegitimate practices. Prosecutors who tried to make a criminal case have left the DOJ, and new ones have no interest in forcing Walmart to meet the law. Details here.

During the health crisis, DDT continues his purge of “nonloyalists,” this time Heather Swift, deputy assistant secretary of public affairs in DHS, who has been moved to the National Endowment for the Arts. Heather Swift, the deputy assistant secretary of public affairs at DHS, was moved to a senior post at the National Endowment for the Arts. Earlier, Swift was press secretary for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke before he left in disgrace.

A victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota came from a federal ruling that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving federal permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline. The USACE moved forward with building the pipeline across the Missouri River without considering the environmental impact study from the tribe in 2017. The Obama administration had denied building permits in 2016.

A federal judge ruled that DDT must go to court over allegations of violating the First Amendment by revoking press badges and security clearances. The decision came one day after the D.C. Circuit Court considered DDT’s removal of the press badge for Playboy’s White House correspondent Brian Karem.

Before the $2.2 trillion congressional bill, the Federal Reserve tried to salvage DDT’s stock market by purchasing unlimited amounts of U.S. Treasury’s and mortgage-backed securities. In the last recession, the Fed put almost $4 trillion into the financial system over several years; the current action could exceed that amount in a few weeks. Economists described the Fed’s response as “throwing the kitchen sink” at markets. DDT is delighted, but the markets aren’t. All afterhours trading in the U.S. is down, and only Japan and Hong Kong markets are up in the world.

The U.S. has cut $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan, and ISIS is taking responsibility for killing 25 people in a Sikh religious complex in Kabul.

DDT made hundreds of calls to evangelical Christians across the nation and promised:

“It’s a big day, Nov. 3; that’s going to be one of the biggest dates in the history of religion….”

Losing national monuments can also destroy jobs—700 of them when DDT stripped Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah of their federal designations. Businesses do better after monuments become official, especially in areas of hotel and lodging (16 percent job increase) and construction (17 percent increase). Health services, finance, insurance, and real estate also benefit. Mining and forestry don’t lose jobs by keeping the monuments.

During the health crisis, ICE is stopping most deportations except for people who have committed crimes or pose a threat to public safety. HUD is suspending foreclosures and evictions until the end of April.

The majority of people aren’t swallowing DDT’s lies about the health crisis:

  • 73 percent, including 75 percent of Republicans, said that it was not true that “anyone who wants to get tested [for the virus] can get tested.” Just 17 percent said it was true.
  • 20 percent of the public, and just 25 percent of Republicans, said that they believed a vaccine will be available soon. Forty-two percent said that was false and 38 percent said they did not know.
  • 51 percent, including a plurality or Republicans (46 percent), said it was false that the virus would go away on its own in warm weather, while just 13 percent said that was true.
  • 61 percent said they believed covid-19 was more deadly than the flu; 22 percent said it was about the same; and 11 percent said they believed it was less deadly.

Confusion about whether the FDA approved anti-malaria drugs, which killed at least one person and put others into the hospital who took it without medical advice, still existed: 45 percent agreed the state was false, 22 percent said it was true, and 33 percent didn’t know. 

Within a month from the first confirmed death from covid-19 in the U.S., the total reached 1,000 before doubling in just two days. And that’s without testing most of the people who might have covid-19 and not reporting many of the confirmed cases and deaths. Today, the world’s death rate is 2,227 from 123,750 confirmed cases; the world’s death rate is 30,879 in 663,740 confirmed cases.

December 24, 2019

Holidays Don’t Stop Impeachment Talk

‘Tis the season for Republicans to rail about impeachment. Comments from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) are becoming more vicious, and GOP lawmakers are downright grumpy. 

The day before Richard Nixon’s resignation, Rep. Earl Landgrebe (IN) gave Republicans their line for supporting Dictator Donald Trump (DDT):

Don’t confuse me with the facts. I’ve got a closed mind. I will not vote for impeachment. I’m going to stick with my president even if he and I have to be taken out of this building and shot.”

Republicans will ignore a newly released email revealed in a lawsuit showing that 91 minutes after DDT got off the phone with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on July 25, the Defense Department was ordered to withhold military aid to a country being invaded at the time by Russia. In the order, Office of Management and Budget’s Michael Duffey asked the Pentagon to keep quiet about the order due to its “sensitive nature.” That directive breaks the law although Duffey lied about the hold being “programmatic”—consistent with congressional intent. It wasn’t, and Duffey refuses to testify about his actions. The email also doesn’t justify withholding congressionally-appropriated funds or hiding the information.

Other witnesses DDT ordered to not testify:

DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani: DDT ordered Giuliani to create the plan, find dirt on the Bidens, and participate in the quid pro quo.

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney: He said DDT withheld the aid to Ukraine as leverage for DDT.

Former national security adviser John Bolton: He “was personally involved in many of the events, meetings, and conversations about which you have already received testimony, as well as many relevant meetings and conversations that have not yet been discussed in the testimonies thus far,” according to his lawyer.

Acting Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Russell Vought: He oversees the agency signing off on releasing aid.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry: He talked about his work with Giuliani to set up a meeting between DDT and Zelensky.

Vice President Pence: He was continually involved in DDT’s dealings with Ukraine but continually denied any knowledge about pushing for investigations. He’s also concealing a telephone conversation that his aide Jennifer Williams referenced as useful. https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/06/adam-schiff-pence-jennifer-williams-impeachment-077532

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: He’s in the middle of everything that happened and was involved in the dismissal of Marie Yovanovitch from her post as ambassador to Ukraine.

Neil Abercrombie, former Democratic governor of Hawaii, asked Tulsi Gabbard to immediately resign her congressional seat because she wasn’t representing the people of Hawaii. She voted “present” on the impeachment of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and missed over 85 percent of the votes in the past two months. She said that DDT is guilty but didn’t like the “partisan endeavor” of the process.  Gabbard is still a Democratic presidential candidate, but she isn’t running for the House in the next election.

More impeachment charges against DDT may be imminent. Next week, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will review two separation-of-powers lawsuits, former White House lawyer Don McGahn’s refusal to respond to a subpoena and a request for access to secret grand jury material from Mueller’s investigation. A judge already ruled that McGahn must comply with the subpoena.

DDT’s House impeachment used two limited actions: his extorting a foreign country to gain its support for his re-election in 2020 and his blocking justice by refusing legal subpoenas. Mehdi Hasan has more suggestions in “The A to Z of Things Trump Could and Should Have Been Impeached For”:

Amazon: In his hatred for the company’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, DDT personally repeated his demands to the Postmaster General to double shipping rates for Amazon to make Amazon pay billions of additional costs. 

Bigotry: To DDT, African countries are “shitholes,” Mexicans “rapists,” and neo-Nazis “very fine people.” Andrew Johnson was impeached for racism and white supremacy.

CNN: DDT tried to block a merger between AT&T and Time Warner to punish CNN, owned by Time Warner, because he didn’t like CNN’s coverage of him. He told aides that he’s mentioned the lawsuit “fifty times” and “I want that deal blocked.”

Deaths: Six migrant children between two and 16 died in DDT’s custody in the past year; no migrant children died in the previous ten years. ICE’s bad medical care resulted in two preventable surgeries and four deaths.

Emoluments: Trying to use his faltering Doral resort for the G7 summit, making almost weekly trips to his own properties, profiting from domestic and foreign leaders’ stays at his hotels—all this and more illustrate DDT’s violation of the U.S. Constitution in what he calls “this phony emoluments clause.”

Fraud: Since he was elected, DDT settled three lawsuits against his Trump University and was forced to pay $2 million for misusing Trump Foundation charitable funds for his personal gain after the organization was “shut down for its misconduct.”

General Services Administration: DDT blocked the sale of the FBI’s Washington, D.C. headquarters to keep competition away from the Trump Hotel.

Hush Money: DDT’s illegal payments during his campaign to two women claiming to have affairs with him violates campaign finance laws.

Incitement of Violence: DDT consistently encourages his supporters to attack political opponents, and domestic terrorists cite his name, inflammatory rhetoric, or both when arrested.

Jared: DDT gave son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a security clearance after intelligence officials refused to grant him one because he could be compromised by his business ties to foreign governments.

Kids in Cages: DDT separated over 5,400 children and babies from their migrant parents at the southern border and locked them up in a policy that has been described as torture.

Lies: DDT has told over 15,000 falsehoods since he was inaugurated, and the pace of his lying is accelerating. The first article of impeachment against Nixon was “making or causing to be made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States.”

Media Attacks: DDT asks the FBI to jail reporters who publish leaks, threatens to revoke the broadcast licenses of media organizations critical of him (aka printing the news), and demonizes journalists as “scum,” “slime,” “sick people,” “fake news,” and “the enemy of the people.”

Negligence: Almost 3,000 Puerto Ricans died after 2017 Hurricane Maria because of DDT’s negligence and incompetence, and he still illegally withholds desperately needed disaster relief appropriated by Congress. White House officials reported that DDT said “he did not want a single dollar going to Puerto Rico… Instead, he wanted more of the money to go to Texas and Florida.”

Obstruction of Justice: Robert Mueller reported ten instances of DDT’s possible obstruction of justice in the investigation of Russian interfering with the 2016 election, and over 1,000 former federal prosecutors stated that DDT’s conducted would have resulted “in multiple felony charges” if he were a private citizen. 

Perjury: Under oath, DDT told the Mueller inquiry that he didn’t remember talking with Roger Stone about WikiLeaks or Stone talking about WikiLeaks with people in his campaign. Former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, however, said Stone told him DDT knew about these disclosures in 2016.

QAnon: DDT retweeted the group’s conspiracy theories, invited them to speak at his rallies, and hosted them at the White House—supporting QAnon’s desire to “carry out criminal or violent acts.”

Rape: In addition to his sexual assault and harassment, reported by dozens of women, DDT was accused of raping writer E. Jean Carroll in the dressing room of a luxury department store.

Syria: DDT’s airstrikes against Syria had no vote from Congress.

Tax Evasion: Much of the at least $413 million in today’s dollars that DDT received from his father’s real estate empire came from tax dodges in the 1990s. Loan papers from New York properties later show more tax evasion.

Ultra Vires: DDT admitted he lied about a “national emergency” to fund his border wall through circumventing Congress. (Ultra vires is Latin for “beyond the powers.”)

Vladimir Putin: Among other favors for Russia, DDT welcomed Russian help to get elected and handed over classified intelligence to Russians in the Oval Office.

Witness Intimidation: Like a mob boss, DDT threatened his former lawyer Michel Cohen and attacked former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch while she testified to the House Intelligence Committee.

XI: DDT asked for help from Chinese president Xi Jinping to investigate Joe Biden in DDT’s re-election efforts.

Yemen: Opposing Congress, DDT helped Saudi Arabia drop bombs and vetoed a bipartisan bill calling for an end to U.S. military involvement in the Saudi air war as a “flagrant defiance of the 1973 War Powers Act that checks a president’s ability to engage in armed conflict without express consent of Congress.”

Zelensky: DDT tried to bribe Ukraine’s president.

Another DDT-follower listed 100 impeachable offenses as of last April.

Poll results:

  • 71 percent want DDT’s top aides to testify in a Senate impeachment trial.
  • 55 percent say that DDT was fairly treated in the House committee impeachment inquiry hearings.
  • 52 percent approve of DDT’s impeachment and want him removed from office.

Meanwhile, the trial is in limbo while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) argue about process, causing DDT to continually rage.  

November 26, 2019

Impeachment Worsens for DDT Despite False Defenses

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) pardoned his turkey and left town for Mar-a-Lago, but the impeachment inquiry goes on. The House Judiciary Committee holds its first hearing about the impeachment inquiry on December 4, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and his lawyer have been invited to attend and question witnesses. They have until December 1 to respond.

Last week, DDT said he seriously considered answering written questions about the inquiry, and he has complained about what he perceived as House leaving him out of the process. His excuse for blocking all current and past aids and officials from subpoenaed testimony and documents is to protect future presidents. Using documents from the White House’s office of Management and Budget, the House Budget Committee prepared a timeline showing that the military aid was withheld while DDT pressured Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. Details about the committee’s report is here.

Mark Sandy, the only OMB official to testify in the impeachment inquiry, said that two OMB officials resigned over concerns about DDT’s freezing the aid to Ukraine. One who worked in the legal division disagreed with OMB’s decision because of the Impoundment Control Act limiting the executive branch from changing congressional spending decisions. Sandy said he also expressed concerns about OMB following the law so DDT’s political appointee signed the documents holding up the money for Ukraine.

In other testimony, Sandy said that acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney emailed him on July 12, telling him that DDT ordered a freeze on Ukraine’s military aid. EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland also testified that DDT told him and other administration officials to keep pressure on Ukraine. In addition to holding the money so that it would not be released before the end of the fiscal year, DDT also refused to give Congress a formal rescission notice which would provide the reason for withholding congressionally approved funds.

DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani has also gotten into more trouble. When he met with Zelensky’s top aid in August during a trip to Madrid with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Giuliani stayed with Venezuelan energy executive Alejandro Betancourt López in a luxurious estate, purchased through money laundering and bribery. A month later, Giuliani helped represent López in a meeting with the head of DOJ’s criminal division and other federal attorneys, arguing that he should not face criminal charges for his $1.2 billion money-laundering case in Florida. According to the complaint, López and other top officials of the state-owned oil company conspired with business leaders and bankers to steal from the Venezuelan company and launder the money through Florida real estate.

Giuliani has other problems. In late 2018, Judith Nathan’s court filings in her divorce from Giuliani stated that he paid Maria Rosa Ryan, his also married mistress, $286,536 over six months. In that time, he also spent $447,938 on activities “for his own enjoyment” and $165,165 on travel.

A judge has ruled that Don McGahn, former White House top lawyer, must testify to Congress about his time with DDT. In a scorching decision, U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said that McGahn cannot hide behind DDT’s false claim of “absolute immunity.” House Democrats will move closer to new testimony concerning Robert Mueller’s evidence about obstruction of justice if the appeals don’t block them. Jackson wrote that DDT is not a king and doesn’t have unchecked powers. According the ruling, no one is above the law.

Jackson’s opinion can help the impeachment inquiry investigation because it removes DDT’s claim of absolute immunity. Former national security adviser John Bolton and his deputy Charles Kupperman have suggested that they will obey subpoenas if a court so orders. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney also said he would go to court to see if he had to testify. Other officials may decide to disobey DDT’s orders to ignore subpoenas with this court ruling. Executive privilege may still allow witnesses who refuse to answer questions.

In recent protection for DDT, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wants an investigation into Joe Biden and son Hunter. He tweeted:

“If a Republican was in the same position, they’d certainly be investigated!”

Several people, including Sen. Sean Maloney (D-NY), is taking Graham up on his offer. Maloney responded that he was delighted “to talk about how the kids of powerful people benefit from their parents’ officeholding,” including “Donald Trump Jr., Eric, Jared and Ivanka.” Others chimed in with names such as Andrew Giuliani, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Bush offspring, and Bill Barr’s daughter and son-in-law.

Anti-impeachment advocates are pleased by a recent CNN poll showing that only half the country thinks that DDT should be not only impeached by the House but also removed from office by the Senate. In 1998, the highest polling to remove Bill Clinton from being president was 29 percent, and the House GOP majority voted to impeach that year. Twenty percent more of the population think that DDT should be removed. The percentage of people wanting Richard Nixon removed didn’t climb to 57 percent until the Supreme Court ordered him to give up his audio tapes. 

Only recently have a few documents about DDT’s actions toward Ukraine begun to dribble out. Republicans, many of them terrified to cross DDT, repeat Russian propaganda even when some Fox news hosts correct them. They continue to stand by their false defenses for DDT’s criminal actions of bribery and extortion. 

1. Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president was appropriate.—Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH)

2. There was no quid pro quo.—Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) although all the testimony to the House disagreed

3. The July 25 call was inappropriate but not impeachable.—Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) who also said that DDT commits these kinds of actions all the time 

4. Trump was expressing his opinion on the July 25 call.—Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)

5. Even if there was a quid pro quo, it wasn’t a “corrupt” quid pro quo.—Sen. John Neeley Kennedy (R-LA) who also echoes Russian propaganda arguing points.

6. Even if there was a quid pro quo, this happens in foreign policy.—Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who ignored that the “quid pro quo” was for DDT’s personal benefit and not for that of the United States

7. Trump was unaware of the quid pro quo.—Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) although the testimony showed he is wrong

8. Trump is incapable of a quid pro quo.—Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC), a position that he got from the Wall Street Journal editorial board

9. Trump’s public call for Ukraine and China to investigate the Bidens was not serious.—Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) although DDT didn’t say he was “joking”

10. Interpreting Trump’s actions amounts to “differences of opinion.”—House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

11. The whistleblower complaint was based on hearsay.—Graham, despite all the first-hand testimony

12. The whistleblower complaint was inaccurate.—House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), despite testimony from people who heard the July 25 call

13. The whistleblower has a political bias.–Scalise

14. The whistleblower is part of the “deep state.”—Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) although the intelligence IG declared it credible.

15. The impeachment inquiry is a secret and unfair process.—Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) about the process passed by Republicans in 2015

16. Trump has no due-process rights.—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) although impeachment does not guarantee these rights and DDT hasn’t been charged with anything

17. Ukraine said there was no pressure.—Rep Jim Jordan (R-OH) about a country afraid of not receiving vital aid

18. Ukraine did not agree to any investigations.—Jordan ignoring the facts

19. Ukraine did not know the security aid was held up.—Jordan, disproved by testimony and documents

20. Ukraine ultimately got the security aid.—Scalise refuting the fact that attempted actions are impeachable

21. Impeachment is a coup d’etat.—McCarthy about constitutional procedures

22. Democrats wanted to impeach Trump as soon as he was inaugurated.—Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-OH) lying about the fact that a majority of House Democrats didn’t support impeachment until after the July 25 call

23. Sondland never directly heard Trump mention Ukrainian security aid.—Turner, despite Sondland’s testimony that there was a quid pro quo

24. It’s the media’s fault.—Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), ignoring DDT’s actions

25. It’s Obama’s fault.—Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) although President Obama gave Ukraine hundreds of millions of dollars in military support 

26. DDT told Giuliani to run a shadow policy team because he’s “ a great crime fighter” and a “friend.”—DDT  

DDT said he fired Marie Yovanovitch as ambassador to Ukraine because she “wouldn’t hang my picture in the [U.S.] embassy [in Ukraine].” Her legal team explained, “The Embassy in Kyiv hung the official photographs of the president, vice president, and secretary of state as soon as they arrived from Washington, D.C.” A report in 2017 stated that pictures of DDT and Pence weren’t being displayed because the Government Publishing Office did get images from the White House. The White House said that DDT and Pence hadn’t decided when to sit for the portraits.

The two major “fake” defenses: the impeachment isn’t fair, and DDT isn’t impeachable.

August 24, 2019

DDT: Week 135 – Gone Crazy

August used to be a slow time for federal politics. Congress went back to their constituents, and the president went on vacation. Little happened. Not with Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Jennifer Rubin summarized the past seven days in her Washington Post column:

“In the last week or so, we’ve witnessed President Trump deny there is a threat of recession; blame the Federal Reserve chairman for raising interest rates too high (!); deny, then admit, and then finally reject consideration of cuts to either payroll taxes or a capital-gains taxes. We’ve seen him seriously consider ‘buying’ Greenland, then cancel a trip to Denmark, and then finally insult Denmark’s female prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, whom Trump characterized as ‘nasty’ (his all-purpose insult to women who won’t do his bidding), and claimed that when she says his idea about purchasing Greenland was ‘absurd,’ she is offending the United States. He’s called Jews disloyal on consecutive days and proclaimed himself the ‘chosen one’ (or should it be ‘Chosen One’?), though he still insists the trade deficit means China has ‘sucked’ hundreds of billions of dollars out of our economy. He insists that kicking Russia out of the Group of 8 for its invasion of Ukraine was an overreaction by President Barack Obama (I guess that is what he means) and should be reversed.”

Dana Milbank pointed out that “along the way, he used shooting victims for self-promotion, said he wanted a medal for military valor, and more.” 

DDT also said he might sign an executive order to overturn part of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment guaranteeing U.S. birthright citizenship. For over 150 years, the constitution has declared:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The Supreme Court confirmed the constitutionality birthright in 1898. Despite DDT’s lies, over 30 countries have birthright citizenship.  More details here.

DDT may intend these insane actions as a distraction from publicity about his lies regarding his 2018 filings about the profit and value of his Scotland golf courses by $165 million. He claimed an income of $23.8 million, $31.1 million more than the loss of $6.3 million filed in Edinburgh. Instead of the over $50 million profit filed in the U.S., the balance sheets filed in the UK show debt exceeding assets by $64.8 million. DDT’s U.S. disclosure statement omitted $199.5 million in loans he made to those resorts, $54.9 million from himself personally to Trump International, Scotland in Aberdeenshire and $144.6 million from his trust to Trump Turnberry in Ayrshire. False or incomplete information on the U.S. form violates the Ethics in Government Act punishable by up to a year in jail. Alan Garten, Trump Organization Chief Legal Officer Alan Garten, responded that the two forms are filed under different accounting and legal standards. DDT has consistently filed forms with false and missing information.

After those disasters, DDT flew to France for what French President Emmanuel Macron, leader of the G7 Summit, calls the G6+1 Summit because of DDT’s refusal last year to sign the group’s joint resolution—the first time the group lacked consensus since it was formed in 1975. Macron doesn’t expect a unanimous joint resolution this year, citing “a very deep crisis of democracy” and calling it a “pointless” exercise. Joining DDT and Macron at Biarritz (France) are leaders of Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Much to DDT’s dismay, Russia was removed from the former G8 after he militarily annexed Crimea and continues to support anti-Kiev rebels fighting the Ukrainian government. DDT’s sole goal at the summit is to reinstate Russia despite Russia’s interference in the U.S. elections, past and present. DDT blames President Obama for Russia’s loss of membership “because he got outsmarted.” 

DDT bragged that the EU will give him anything he wants if he threatens to tariff European cars. Earlier this year, DDT made a deal to send U.S. beef to Europe duty-free in an effort to make up for the tariffs for his trade war with China.

According to Macron, a chief issue at the summit will be Brazil’s 85 percent increase in fires, half of them in the Amazon, which he called an “international crisis.” Water vapor from the Amazon rainforest help circulate water and weather patterns around the world, and it provides 20 percent of oxygen in the world. Loss of the rainforest causes acceleration in higher temperatures in the world and huge erradication of species found only there. Many of the 74,155 illegal fires in the rainforest—one new one each minute—are likely caused by cattle-farmers trying to clear more land. An avid deforester, Brazil’s far right president Jair Bolsonaro, called “the Trump of South America,” nicknamed himself “Captain Chainsaw.” Furious about the interference in his fires, he reluctantly said he would send in the military to fight fires for a month after Macron threatened to cancel a major trade deal between European and South American countries. 

While DDT tries to keep his voting base, polls ranking him overall between 36 percent and 43 percent all show an average two-percent reduction in his approval. that his approval is dropping. According to a recent AP poll, he is also underwater in approval about his handling these specific issues:

  • Economy (before his problems the past few days) – 46 percent
  • Immigration – 38 percent
  • Health care – 37 percent
  • Foreign policy – 36 percent
  • Gun policy – 36 percent

Other polls show that fewer racially intolerant people want to vote in the 2020 election that voters who don’t believe that whites are superior to blacks. In the midst of DDT’s racist rants, people in the U.S. are less likely to have feelings of racial anxiety and more likely to empathize with blacks, even among the demographics of white citizens and whites without college degrees. Whites are also 19 percent more supportive of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrations and four percent less supportive of increased deportations than in 2015. Only 29 percent of whites agreed that “America must protect and preserve its White European heritage,” down seven points from August 2017 and nine points down from August 2018. Fewer whites and white Republicans think “white people are currently under attack in this country.”

While DDT causes more problems with his trade war, almost two-thirds of people want free trade now. The 27 percent of people who oppose free trade is down ten points since DDT started his trade war with China in 2017. Only eight percent of voters think DDT kept all his promises. Half of them, including 60 percent of independents think the reason is that he’s “distracted by other unimportant priorities like petty disagreements and Twitter.”

State polls give a darker picture than overall one. His approval rates are below disapproval in at least ten states where he got 189 electoral votes in 2016, several of the difference over ten points. In 2016, DDT took his winning 46 electoral votes in the three states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin where he won by only 77,744 popular votes for all three states. 

DDT’s two main points for his campaign are immigration and the economy. His immigration policies are becoming increasing unpopular, and the economy is headed for serious problem unless he stops his trade war—an unlikely solution for him. He also returns from France to face calls for gun safety legislation. Enthusiastic about fighting mass shootings after two of them in one weekend, he has dropped the idea after several long talks with NRA’s CEO Wayne LaPierre. Over 70 percent of people support laws that would allow the removal of guns if the owners were considered by courts or law enforcement of being in danger of harming themselves or others.

A poll of suburban white women, a demographic that DDT wants back, reveals the following:

  • 72 percent: Gun laws should be stricter. said they think gun laws should be stricter, compared to four
  • 90 percent: Gun sales at gun shows and other private sales should require universal background checks; all gun owners should file with a national firearms registry.  
  • 88 percent: A 48-hour waiting period should be mandated between a firearm purchase and taking possession.  
  • 84 percent: Law enforcement should be permitted to temporarily retain firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves.
  • 76 percent: Purchase and use of semi-automatic assault-style weapons like the AK-47 and the AR-15 should be banned.
  • And 72 percent: Sale and possession of high-capacity or extended ammunition magazines, which allow guns to shoot more than 10 bullets before needing to be reloaded, should be banned.

The 2020 campaign may pick up in the next few months: four Republicans—radio host Joe Walsh, former Arizona senator Jeff Flake, former South Carolina governor and representative Mark Sanford (think Appalachian Trail), and former Ohio governor John Kasich—consider joining former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld in opposition to DDT’s candidacy for the 2020 presidency.

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