Nel's New Day

August 4, 2021

DDT’s Mounting Troubles

 

Problems keep invading the world of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT). His personal social network GETTR, launched a month ago, faces an inundation of terrorist propaganda by Islamic State supporters, including videos of beheadings, promotion of violence against the West, and memes of the execution of DDT wearing an orange suit like Guantanamo Bay prisoners. DDT had intended his new social media to be his alternative to Twitter like his earlier little-read blog, “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” now removed from the internet after ridicule. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter work with the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism for removal of extremist material, but GETTR hasn’t signed up with the organization.

After the release of notes chronicling DDT’s private calls begging the DOJ to declare the 2020 corrupt between December 27, 2020, and January 6, 2021, he failed in one respect. He never denied that he pushed the acting AG Jeffrey Rosen and deputy AG Richard Donogue to lie. DDT’s statement after his falsehoods and unconstitutional behavior were made public:

“The documents were meant to uphold the integrity and honesty of elections and the sanctity of our vote. The American People want, and demand, that the President of the United States, its chief law enforcement officer in the country, stand with them to fight for Election Integrity and to investigate attempts to undermine our nation.”

DDT continued with lies about how the election was “incredibly corrupt” and later claimed he would have evidence “coming out in the very near future.” He also still pretends to be president. Former White House chief of staff told Newsmax he was meeting with DDT and “Cabinet members” and refers to DDT as “the president” at his Bedminster (NJ) golf club where he is “fully engaged.”

In the DOJ, Jeffrey Clark was amenable to DDT’s pressure about illegally regaining votes. On December 28, 2020, Clark, acting head of the DOJ civil division, drafted a letter to Georgia officials, telling them the DOJ was investigating “irregularities in the presidential election and asked for a special session of state legislators “pertaining to the appointment of presidential electors.” He explained that an appointment of their own slate of electors who backed DDT for president could be accepted as legitimate although Georgia’s popular vote favored Joe Biden. Fortunately, DOJ’s acting AG Jeffrey Rosen and acting deputy AG Richard Donoghue rejected Clark’s draft.

Earlier, the media reported about a plan to oust Rosen as AG so that the DOJ could force Georgia to overturn the presidential election results because Rosen would not comply with DDT’s demands. The plan was scuttled because the DOJ senior leadership team threatened to resign if DDT effected the plan. This was not the first time that Rosen pressured Rosen. In mid-December, DDT told Rosen he wanted the DOJ to file legal briefs overturning the presidential election to help DDT’s allies and then pressed Rosen and Donoghue to maintain the election was corrupt.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained how the current administration now treats the DOJ as an independent agency according to the law. The question was about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo allegedly sexually harassing a number of women, including those working for him. President Joe Biden already said Cuomo should resign if these allegations are proved, but Fox’s Peter Doocy wanted to know more. He asked, “Does the administration want the Justice Department to initiate a civil rights investigation into these harassment allegations revealed today?”

Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded, “We do something new here that feels foreign from the last four years and allow the Justice Department to act independently on investigations.”

The DOJ refused to defend Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) in a lawsuit accusing him of contributing to violence at the January 6 insurrection, but Brooks came up with justification. He told the judge he should have immunity because he was “cooperating” with the “White House.” Brooks added that his inspiring the attack on the Capitol was “to protect and promote the direct and indirect jobs tied to federal activities in Alabama’s 5th Congressional District.” Part of his speech was telling “American patriots [to] start taking down names and kicking ass.”

Two Colorado lawyers lost their $160 billion lawsuit against Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and must pay expenses for all 18 individuals and companies they sued. They used DDT’s fact-free tweet that Dominion Voting Systems had “deleted 2.7 million Trump votes nationwide” to support their claim the election was stolen from 160 million U.S. voters. A federal judge found the case “frivolous,” “not warranted by existing law,” and filed “in bad faith.”

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), well-known for lying and leaking classified congressional information, is suing MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow for her March 18 story about his receiving a package from Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach. She reported Derkach was sanctioned by the U.S. for trying to influence the 2020 presidential election and the Treasury Department called him “an active Russian agent.” Nunes is accusing her of obstruction and treason in his tenth lawsuit since 2019. 

DDT’s business affairs are also not going well after he lost the 2020 election. Allen Weisselberg, longtime Trump Organization CFO, was removed from corporate filings after the 15-count indictment against him, and his name was removed from DDT’s Scottish Aberdeen golf club. As of July 20, he and Donald Trump Jr are persons “with significant control” over the parent company of DDT’s Turnberry resort, the biggest revenue generator of DDT’s properties during his term in the White House.  DDT’s Scottish businesses, however, are some of biggest money losers. Scotland’s supreme civil court heard arguments about investigating discrepancies in DDT’s financial reporting and the two golf club purchases regarding an “unexplained wealth” order regarding money laundering and other criminal financial activities related to “dirty money” from international criminals.

In Arizona, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge has ordered the release of all documents tied to a private company’s audit activities to a watchdog group, including records about who is financing the process. The judge declared these are all public records because Senate President Karen Fann claimed the audit is a legislative function by the Senate according to the state constitution. Judge Michael Kemp also rejected arguments by the Senate that it is immune to being sued over the records. Senate President Karen Fann said she couldn’t produce the ones that private contractor Cyber Ninjas has, but the judge wrote:

“Defenders claim that they have not even seen the documents of Cyber Ninjas Inc. and its subvendors does nothing to advance their position. Willful blindness does not relieve Senate defendants from their duties and obligations under the public records law.’’

Things got worse for the GOP and Ninjas on Wednesday when the House Oversight Committee requested all released materials. “Partisan audits funded by dark money groups undermine Americans’ confidence in elections,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) stated.

As the Arizona “fraudit” drones on, Republicans are losing their faith in the process.  Both Dominion Voting Systems and Maricopa County supervisors refused to comply with the subpoena from Fann and Judiciary Committee Chair Warren Peterson for more information: documents, passwords, security information, changes of voter registration records, signed ballot envelopes or images, documents related to any breaches of the election system, information about changes in voting records, county routers and IP addresses, and computer logs from two months before and three months after the election.  The county said it had already provided everything but routers which could not be released because of security reasons. 

As the GOP-majority board of supervisors noted, the lawmakers’ request “was not authorized by a vote of the Senate” and argued “it is an abuse of process or designed merely to harass.” Their letter, signed by Chair Jack Sellers, is a classic:

“If you haven’t figured out the election in Maricopa County was free, fair and accurate yet, I’m sure you never will. The reason you haven’t finished your ‘audit’ is because you hired people who have no experience and little understanding of how professional elections are run.”

“The Board has real work to do and little time to entertain this adventure in never-never land. Please finish whatever it is that you are doing and release whatever it is you are going to release… There was no fraud, there wasn’t an injection of ballots from Asia nor was there a satellite that beamed votes into our election equipment. It’s time for all elected officials to tell the truth and stop encouraging conspiracies.

“Release your report and be prepared to defend any accusations of misdeeds in court. It’s time to move on.”

The Senate could hold Maricopa County in contempt for refusing the subpoena, but Fann may not have the necessary 16 Senate votes for a contempt citation. Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, chairwoman of the Senate Elections Committee, said a contempt finding “is not an option” because the Senate likely won’t be in session before January 2022. GOP Sen. Paul Boyer praised the supervisors’ response in the letter below, stating, “I couldn’t agree more with Jack Sellers.”

In a touch of irony, Arizona GOP lawmakers are demanding an audit of the votes in Kelli Ward’s narrow January 23 reelection for state GOP chair. She has refused. 

DDT has counted on Arizona’s overturning its popular vote for Biden as a lead-in to overturning the 2020 election. It appears he won’t be successful.

March 3, 2021

Biden: DDT’s FollowersThreatening Lawmakers

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) was exonerated by 43 Republicans in his second impeachment trial soon after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, despite DDT’s incitement of violence for his followers to breach the U.S. Capitol on January 6, kill and wound many people, and block the election of the next U.S. president by terrorizing congressional lawmakers. Yet DDT’s worshippers, usually QAnon conspiracy believers of DDT’s lies about voter fraud, are again stopping congressional work, this time on March 4, by again threatening to attack. House members had to change their voting schedule, staying late on March 3 to vote on a police reform bill instead of on March 4. This time QAnon believers ignore the 20th Amendment changing Inauguration Day to January 4, ratified in 1933. Convinced DDT will be inaugurated and return to the White House on March, MAGA people plan violence against elected federal lawmakers.

On March 4, the National Guard won’t be subjected to the same restraints to protect U.S. lawmakers as on January 6, when DDT was still in the White House. On March 3, National Guard commanding general Maj. Gen. William Walker testified in a Senate hearing that he was blocked on January 6 for over three hours from getting permission to stop the violent insurrection at the Capitol although he received immediate approval against Black Lives Matter protests last summer.

In the Senate hearing, Walker described how he put National Guard troops immediately on a bus after he received “a frantic call from then-chief of U.S. Capitol Police, Steven Sund,” with the report “that the security perimeter of the Capitol had been breached by hostile rioters.” He also alerted the city so he could quickly move the buses through traffic. Yet, Walker had to wait for “3 hours and 19 minutes” before he received permission to send the Guard. Miller supposedly gave approval for the Guard to support Capitol Police at 4:32 pm—almost three hours after the frantic calls, but no one told Walker for over 30 minutes. Walker said, “Seconds mattered, minutes mattered.”

Miller stalled his approval by demanding a complete explanation of how the troops would be used at the Capitol and what their assignments would be. While he stopped Walker from helping the Capitol Police, insurrectionists broke through window and doors, killed and wounded people, and vandalized the Capitol, inside and out. The officials in charge said they didn’t like the “optics” of the Guard protecting lawmakers. One of those objecting was Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn, brother of Michael Flynn, who DDT pardoned after Flynn twice pled guilty to lying to the FBI about the investigation into Russian interference of the 2016 presidential election. Michael Flynn also wanted to declare martial law in overturning Biden’s election and promotes QAnon.

The intent to stop Walker from taking any emergency action on his own was evident. On January 5, Walker received an “unusual” letter preventing him from deploying any Quick Reaction Force service members without explicit approval from then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.

Acting chief of the Capitol Police, Yogananda Pittman, also warned Congress that militia groups present at the January 6 riot “want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible” when President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress for the first time. Because of this, Pittman said Capitol Police must “maintain its enhanced and robust security posture,” including fencing and National Guard presence. The date for that address by Biden hasn’t yet been decided. MAGA supporters force taxpayers to fund the National Guard in Washington, D.C. for lawmakers’ protections and for the fence around the Capitol, protecting lawmakers, which MAGA members want removed.

The House of Representatives Acting Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett sent a letter to lawmakers warning of Capitol Police’s “new and concerning information and intelligence indicating additional interest in the Capitol” by a militia group on March 4 through March 6.

In a Senate hearing, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified that domestic “militia violent extremists” were responsible for the attack on the U.S. Capitol and are one of the biggest concerns for the agency. He specified those who “self-identify with the Proud Boys or Oath Keepers” in “white supremacy.” Several GOP senators, including Ron Johnson (WI) and Marsha Blackburn (TN), focused on the anti-fascists opposing white supremacists. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) still claimed anarchists were in the Capitol on January 6 despite Wray’s disagreeing with his position although Wray denied any “antifa” stormed the Capitol.

Wray also reported the number of domestic terrorist cases has doubled to 2,000 since last September because domestic terrorism “has been metastasizing around the country for a long time now.” Democrats criticized the failure of the FBI to highlight the terrorists’ threat of “war” at the Capitol, but Wray said the report was emailed to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force including D.C. and Capitol Police; posted on a law enforcement web portal; and mentioned in a command center briefing in D.C. He didn’t explain why the D.C. police chief was not phoned or why the information was not highlighted.

For months, people have complained about the ignorance of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) for his insistence at putting Russian disinformation into the congressional record, conspiracies used as propaganda to falsely discredit Democrats. Now he clearly has trouble reading. Johnson plans to force reading of the entire 600-page $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill aloud to the Senate, requiring up to ten hours. He may not realize that 76 percent of voters—including 60 percent of Republicans—support the package. Or may not care that a portion of the money is designated for distributing hundreds of millions of coronavirus vaccine doses this spring and summer. The question is how constituents feel about Johnson running for re-election in 2022.

Governors in both Mississippi and Texas have announced the reopening of their states claiming their residents will do the right thing about keeping everyone protected from COVID-19. In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott, perhaps diverting media from his disastrous power grid during the “big freeze,” said people are protected by vaccinations. By now, seven percent of Texans have managed to get at least one shot. In Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves wants to keep media attention from the tens of thousands of people in Jackson who can’t get running or clean water. Over half the states in the U.S. have lower rates of infections and deaths than Texas, and Mississippi is the fifth in the nation in death rates—45 states more successful. Biden has described the decisions to lift requirements for wearing masks and maintaining social distancing as “Neanderthal thinking.” This could be an insult to the Neanderthals because of their adaptability to different ecologies, development of highly functional tools, and survival of injuries and illnesses with the help from others.  

False stories from left-leaning and centrist news publications get fewer Facebook clicks, but lies from far-right publications get more clicks—almost twice as many. Researchers at the cybersecurity for Democracy project at New York University reported the rewards for far-right publications posting faulty information.

Protests can succeed. A study in Scientific America reveals police killings dropped 20 percent between 2014 and 2019 in cities with Black Lives Matter protests. Travis Campbell, University of Massachusetts Amherst and the study’s author, concluded:

“BLM protests also increase the probability of a police agency having body-cameras, expand community policing, and reduce the number of future property crime-related arrests, which may partially explain the lethal force reduction.”

More benefits from protests here.

Fox network continues to hire ultra-conservatives to keep its audience, but thus far the strategy has been a failure. In both January and February, MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show was the #1 most-watched show, and her network was the #1 most-watched cable news network during the day in February. Sean Hannity’s viewership is down 31 percent, and Fox & Friends dropped 40 percent. Maddow thanked her audience, saying she was “grateful and humbled.” She said, “We will keep doing our best to be worthy of your time and your trust for you tuning in.” For the past year, CNN was up 76 percent, MSNBC increased 37 percent, and Fox News was down 32 percent.

In an attempt to boost ratings, Fox rehired DDT’s former press secretary Kayleigh McEnamy who started her brief tenure in the White House by lying about never lying to the media. Some of McEnamy’s colleagues are not pleased, according to Daily Beast reporters Diana Falzone and Justin Baragona:

“The addition of a known and frequent liar to the Fox News roster set off some alarms within a newsroom that has been ‘purged’ in recent months in favor of right-wing opinion programming and content geared towards keeping a diehard MAGA audience satisfied.”

Earlier this year, Fox fired Political Editor Chris Stirewalt because he called Arizona for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. Biden won Arizona, but Fox hates facts. The network joined the alternate reality and prefers people who incite insurrection. Its journalists “don’t give a damn about facts and real news.” One Fox News staffer said McEnany was rehired because “the viewers are morons.”

Even in retirement, DDT is contributing to offshoring: his golden statue presented at CPAC by an artist living in Mexico was “made in China.”

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.

November 21, 2020

DDT: Week 200 – Can’t Avoid COVID-19

This past week, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) attacked Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for asking Sullivan to wear a mask while speaking. The Senate was debating the confirmation of another completely unprepared judicial candidate. On Twitter, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called Brown a “complete ass.” Last month, two GOP senators tested positive for COVID-19, Tom Tillis (NC) and Mike Lee (UT), and this week, two more came down with the coronavirus—Chuck Grassley (IA) last Tuesday and Rick Scott (FL) yesterday. Scott spend last week traveling around Georgia while campaigning for GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. (Grassley displays the GOP mask-wearing technique.)

Grassley’s announced illness came the day after Iowa’s GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds mandated mask wearing. She had ridiculed masks for months and consistently claimed she “trusts” its residents to do the right thing. Iowa now has the third highest number of cases per capita, just behind both Dakotas. Thirteen state governors refuse to issue mask mandates.

Grassley’s missed votes last Tuesday were his first since 1993 when floods in his state kept him from Washington. One vote regarded Judy Shelton. Previously, the GOP Senate considered her inappropriate for the Federal Reserve, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is pushing through all breathing nominees in case he doesn’t have a Senate majority next year.

McConnell voted “no” in order to bring Shelton’s vote back to the floor, but the Senate is running out of time. It doesn’t return from recess until November 30, giving them only 15 days in session until the end of 2020. Without a budget passed, the government shuts down on December 11. On November 30, Arizona certifies its votes, immediately flipping the GOP seat of Martha McSally to Democratic Mark Kelly. The question is how far McConnell will go to protect DDT who has only 60 days left in office.

In a delusionary state, “journalist” Geraldo Rivera wants the new vaccine named “Trump” because, he believes, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is definitely the prime architect of this operation Warp Speed.” Rivera said people can say “Yeah, I got my Trump, I’m fine.” DDT’s only “architecture” was to claim researchers would develop a vaccine before Election Day. Pfizer stated the company didn’t take money from the U.S. government and wasn’t part of Warp Speed. Now “The Trump” is smearing Pfizer because they didn’t announce the vaccine until he lost the election.

Moderna, with what may be a successful vaccine, received government funds and seems to have a more viable product with easier storage and more transparent testing data. DDT donated no personal funds to either company, but country singer Dolly Parton gave $1 million to Moderna for its research. How about “Yeah, I got my Dolly, I’m fine.”  

Another woman, this one a real journalist, may save lives too. On her MSNBC show, Rachel Maddow (right) has presented information about the dangers of COVID-19 and the importance of following CDC guidance like only small gatherings, mask-wearing, and social distancing. After she quarantined for contact with a coronavirus survivor, she started doing her show from her home office. On her first night back, she announced that the survivor was her partner of 21 years, Susan Mikula. In her explanation, Maddow said:

“My relationship with Susan is the only thing, at the end of the day, that I would kill or die for without hesitation. And Susan has been sick with COVID these past couple of weeks. At one point, we really thought that there was a possibility that it might kill her, and that’s why I’ve been away. [Susan’s] not only been positive over this time, she’s gotten sicker and sicker while I tried to care for her while still staying physically apart from her.”

She urged people to be careful, if not for themselves then for the people they love:

“What you need to know is that whoever is the most important person in your life, whoever you most love and most care for and most cherish in the world, that’s the person who you may lose.”

Twitter filled with messages from people writing they changed their holiday plans because of Maddow’s plea. This represents many of the tweets:

  “Your plea for us to think about the people whom we love brought me to my senses.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, constantly denigrated by DDT, will receive an International Emmy Founders Award for his “leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic” and “his masterful use of TV to inform and calm people around the world,” according to the International Emmys. In the early weeks of the coronavirus, while DDT ignored the virus and then blocked help for states needing it, Cuomo gave daily press conferences with information of statistics, successes, and failures.

Litigation against Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reveals how the agency detained more Iranian-Americans at the Canadian border than previously known before deliberately try to cover up its illegal and discriminatory behavior. Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan and other officers lied in a public statement about how Iranian-Americans were not refused permission to return home in the U.S. In fact, U.S. officials were ordered to single out and detail people of Iranian descent after the U.S. killed a top Iranian military official in early January of this year. Of the over 250 people sent to secondary inspection, over 80 were U.S. citizens and detained at least three to four hours—up to nine hours.

After DDT separated over 5,400 children from their parents and guardians, his racist advisor Stephen Miller pushed DOJ to refuse a 2019 settlement connecting reunified families with mental health care. The pro bono public interest firm Public Counsel reached an agreement for the government paying $8 million (fewer than three of DDT’s trips to Mar-a-Lago) for traumatized migrant families. DDT’s six-month delay left children exhibiting “fear, feelings of abandonment, and post-traumatic stress” and parents suffering “elevated levels of mental distress.” The courts’ refusal to ignore the need for mental counseling led to the government paying $14 million (an extra two Mar-a-Lago trips). Many families couldn’t receive care because DDT had deported them during negotiations.

Two independent inquiries, one criminal and one civil, into DDT’s businesses have embroiled his daughter Ivanka. DDT dropped his taxes by deducting $26 million to unidentified consultants, some of the money to Ivanka Trump at her personal consulting business while she was identified as an executive of the Trump Organization. In a meltdown, Ivanka railed against “NYC democrats … 100% motivated by politics, publicity and rage.” DDT cannot pardon himself or his family or anyone else for state convictions.

Militias throughout the states are recruiting to “take back the country,” by armed violence if they choose, with those in Michigan the most visible after threatening to kidnap and kill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. According to the FBI, the group also planned to publicly execute other public officials, including Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Other plans were capturing lawmakers from the Michigan state capitol and televise their executions. Another plan was to lock them inside the capitol and burn it down. Enter neuroradiologist Scott Atlas, DDT’s coronavirus whisperer. To slow the virus spread, Whitmer put in new restrictions for three weeks. Atlas responded:

 “The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp.”

Complaints led him to tweet:

“Hey. I NEVER was talking at all about violence… NEVER would I endorse or incite violence. NEVER!!”

Whitmer said she won’t be bullied, but every message like this from DDT or Atlas results in “a surge of vicious attacks sent [Whitmer’s] way. Good of Atlas to say something like “I didn’t mean for you to burn the house down, but gasoline can help.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to a winery on land taken from Palestinian residents marks the first time a top American diplomat visited an illegal Israeli settlement. It also hypes Pompeo’s standing with evangelicals and other supporters of the illegal settlements. The Florida Falic family, a major investor in the winery, donated at least $5.6 million to settler groups in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem over the past decade as well as at least $1.7 million since 2000 to pro-Israel politicians in the U.S., including DDT. Over 680,000 Israelis have illegally settled on Palestinian land.

Jewish peace activists protested the visit and Pompeo’s declaration that the peaceful Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian human rights is “anti-Semitic.” Pompeo’s statements at his visit were two weeks after the Israelis bulldozed a Bedouin village in the Jordan Valley in a storm, an act called a war crime by the UN. Of the scores of homeless Palestinians, over 40 were children.

If DDT opens his 2024 presidential campaign on the day of Biden’s inauguration, he’ll need to build up his campaign team. Everyone is getting fired except those in legal. He may not need less staff at the White House: he’s not doing anything except ranting and tweeting. This morning he called into the G20 Summit but didn’t deliver any message and no one participated in the pandemic conference. He did need help playing golf later at his Virginia course. He’s scheduled to make a virtual appearance to the summit again tomorrow morning before he plays golf. Since the election, he’s had 12 days with no public events, with the few listed being brief.

COVID-19 has made many appearances yesterday in the U.S.—172,839 cases and 1,460 deaths. Several states are also not reporting their statistics.

October 17, 2020

Town Halls: Same Time, Different Locations

Why did Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) schedule his own town hall on a separate network at exactly the same time as his opponent Joe Biden? It started when DDT refused to do attend the scheduled town hall if it were  virtual. Biden asked to be separated from DDT for the second co-debate because DDT was likely contagious for the first one. He has refused to say whether he had a COVID-19 test on the day of the first debate although both campaigns agreed both candidates would be tested before the event.

DDT also said NBC came to him to do the event, but the media gives the impression DDT has asked for the exposure because he can no longer afford enough advertising. NBC should be lambasted for scheduling the town hall at the same time as Bidens whoever asked for it. The network barely saved its reputation with moderator Savannah Guthrie’s sharp questions showed DDT to be the black hole of truth. His lies, many of them from Fox and the Russians, were typically accompanied by justifications such as “people say” and “I read it someplace” and “That’s what I’ve heard.” His tacit promotion of “herd immunity,” pushing people to contract COVID-19, was demonstrated in supporting the QAnon conspiracy theory about wearing masks causing the virus. Even DDT’s friend, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, told people to wear masks he likely contracted coronavirus from DDT and spent seven days seriously ill in the hospital. 

In his first debate with Biden, DDT wouldn’t disavow his support for white supremacy; in the town hall he’s moved on to endorse the outrageously fake conspiracies of QAnon, the group believing the liberal leadership is involved in a satanic pedophilia ring. DDT’s excuse? “They are very much against pedophilia.” Guthrie pointed out DDT retweeted a QAnon conspiracy theory about Biden’s role in having the SEAL Team 6 killed because they didn’t kill Osama Bin Laden. The former Navy Seal killing bin Laden wrote the QAnon tweet, retweeted by DDT, is a lie. This exchange at the town hall:

Guthrie: “Now, why would you send a lie like that to your followers?”

DDT: “I know nothing about that.”

Guthrie: “You retweeted it!”

DDT: “That was an opinion of somebody… People can decide for themselves.”

Guthrie: “You’re the president! You’re not, like, someone’s crazy uncle who can retweet whatever.” [The “crazy uncle” meme has gone viral.)

QAnon also falsely accused President Obama of giving Iran $152 billion to cover up the fake death of bin Laden. That sum frequently appears in radical right writing because part of the Iran agreement was to permit Iran to regain the money already belonging to them. The U.S. Treasury Department reported the amount was actually about $50 billion. The U.S. was also forced by a court to give Iran $1.7 billion after Iran paid the U.S. for military equipment that was never delivered. 

Furious about being asked about QAnon, DDT wanted to know why she wasn’t asking Biden about why he doesn’t “condemn antifa.” She responded, “Because you’re here,” and he muttered, “So cute.” Two days before the town hall, DDT begged suburban women, “Will you please like me?” His poor treatment of Guthrie won’t get him women’s votes.

DDT, who still refuses to release any financial records including his tax returns, claimed the $421 million he owes is “a peanut” compared to his vast wealth. Others more in the know disagree. Forbes estimates his total debt at over $1 billion to several lending sources. (Details here.) When he tried his old lie of not being able to release his returns because he was under audit, Guthrie said he was wrong, making him angrier. As in the first debate, he constantly tried to talk over Guthrie with more lies such as his claim he has a plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act but couldn’t describe what it is.

About the virus surging in most states and the packed hospitals, DDT repeated that the U.S. “was rounding the corner” and “we’re a winner.” Instead, the over 373,000 cases added in the past week—almost 46,000 more than the previous week—is growth not seen since July. The number of cases in the U.S. for the past 24 hours rose to over 70,000. Loudly and defensively, DDT presented a combative stance as he used falsehoods to fight Guthrie; i.e., using nonexistent voter fraud with lies of thousands of ballots thrown into garbage cans as his excuse for not accepting the election results. 

In her MSNBC show following DDT’s town hall, Rachel Maddow topped the hour with an interview with Caroline Giuliani, the daughter of DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, about Caroline’s editorial for Vanity Fair. Caroline urged people to “end Donald Trump’s reign of terror” and vote for Biden and Kamala Harris. She called her father “the president’s personal bulldog” and part of DDT’s collection of corrupt “yes-men.”

U.S. intelligence told DDT that Russia used Giuliani’s interaction with its intelligence to feed Russian propaganda lies about Joe Biden. The U.S. intelligence agencies told DDT that Giuliani was the target of this influence operation through Giuliani’s interaction with Russian intelligence. National security adviser Robert O’Brien tried to protect DDT from “saying something stupid” by warning him that Giuliani’s information from Ukraine would be contaminated by Russia. DDT ignored O’Brien, and Giuliani continued to abet Russia in their propaganda interference in the U.S. election.

This week, Giuliani spread information supposedly from Hunter Biden’s laptop, and the New York Post printed the material although it hasn’t been authenticated. In an op-ed for Hot Air, conservative Ed Morrissey called the publication of Hunter Biden’s private crossing the line and “very creepy,” possibly not even about Hunter Biden. The possibly fake details of how Giuliani obtained the laptop contents are here. Until DDT’s impeachment acquittal, he denied he sent Giuliani to Ukraine for damaging information about Biden. He reversed those lies in a podcast interview with Geraldo Rivera by telling him he told Giuliani to go to Ukraine.

Several reporters commented on the “two planets” of the two town halls, but the best may have come from Bloomberg’s Ryan Teague Beckwith:

“I just switched over from the Trump to Biden town halls and it’s like switching from Ancient Aliens to PBS NewsHour.”

Rachel Maddow spent 20 minutes discussing DDT’s dangerous lies as well as his promotion of conspiracy theories. A fact-check from the New York Times shows the overwhelming difference between DDT’s lies and Biden’s solid statements.

DDT’s town hall was supposed to have an audience of undecided voters, but the “nodding woman” immediately behind DDT is an avowed supporter of DDT who told him after the event, “We have your back! You see, you see, you are the best.”

One advantage of separate town halls, however, is Biden being able to talk with incessant interruptions from DDT seen in the first debate. Because of the difference, Biden was able to answer questions about policy, something DDT never does and tries to block Biden from doing by yelling over him.

The media was convinced before the town halls that DDT’s audience would be much larger than that for Biden. DDT lost to Biden 14.1 million on just one station to 13.1 million on three stations—NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC. NBC received only 10.6 million.

DDT’s polls are so consistently bad that at least seven senators in tight races aren’t using his name in their advertising. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) is more secure in a solidly red state so he decided to appear principled. He set up a telephone town hall with constituents with a rigged question in order to say DDT has “flirted with white supremacists,” mocks Christian evangelicals in private, and “kisses dictators’ butts.” Sasse also criticized DDT’s handling of COVID-19 and accused him of using the White House for personal business benefits. Ben Mathis-Lilley pointed out Sasse’s comments deliberately distanced himself from DDT. About Sasse, Mathis-Lilley wrote, “He got what he wanted, and now he wants to save his reputation and his party’s.” In the past, Sasse has made noises about running for president, and he marches in lockstep with other unethical GOP senators to destroy the country by putting unqualified, radical right judges in the courts.  

DDT marched on with campaigning on Friday, speaking in both Florida and Georgia. Among his other lies was an excuse for not bringing in donations: he said he “could be the world’s greatest fundraiser” but doesn’t want to work or do things for the donations. His new numbers show he’s the first incumbent in modern times to be at a financial disadvantage.

Biden and DDT have their third and final debate on October 22—if DDT shows up.

May 24, 2020

Week 174 – Some Good News, Voting Squabbles

A federal judge overturned a new Florida law requiring felons to pay court fines and fees before they can register to vote, as permitted by an initiative passed in 2018 by 65 percent of the voters. The constitutional amendment expanded voting rights for those who completed “all terms of their sentence including probation and parole.” Judge Robert L. Hinkle compared the state law to a tax, unconstitutionally illegal.

In addition to using security agents as servants, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had them pack household goods and move his mother-in-law into a retirement home. Pompeo also ordered state Department officials to fabricate a justification for the emergency authorization to force an $8 billion arms deal without congressional approval and then hide it. To keep from firing Pompeo, DDT is trying to persuade him to run for Kansas senator. June 1 is the deadline for filing for candidacy.

Rachel Maddow is off the hook, at least temporarily, for a $10 million defamation lawsuit by One America News Network (OANN) after she said a writer for the right-leaning channel publishes the same material for Russia’s state propaganda network. On July 22, 2019, Maddow cited a Daily Beast article on her show, saying it reported OANN “has a full-time on-air reporter who covers U.S. politics, who is also simultaneously on the payroll of the Kremlin.” Maddow added, “The most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda.” OANN plans to appeal the lawsuit’s dismissal.

Two Democratic FCC commissioners claim a $48 million fine with no admission of guilt for Sinclair is insufficient punishment for the conservative network’s violations of regulations and asked for harsher punishments and greater scrutiny into whether Sinclair should be allowed to own any television stations.  Sinclair lied for an FCC review in its attempt to buy Tribune Media, causing the merger to collapse; didn’t report its providing accounting services to TV stations it didn’t own to the FCC; and aired sponsored programming 1,723 times without telling viewers the content was paid by a hospital group and not news.

The EPA admitted ignoring serious problems with rolling back the regulation to reduce automobile pollution through mileage standards. The agency had not seen about two-thirds of the 1,000-page document that Transportation Department staffers gave the White House as justification for the changes, and the top EPA official said that the Transportation had not addressed over 250 comments from EPA experts. Documents about objections from EPA staff may create legal problems for the rule mandating an improvement of average fuel efficiency because of the rules that the EPA broke. In the margins of the new regulation, agency staff wrote:

“The action revising the [greenhouse gas] standards will result in increased climate impacts and air pollution emissions compared to the existing standards.”

Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-DE) wrote that the EPA failed to enter document into the public record, changed the rule after it was signed, and didn’t follow it obligation to write part of the mileage rule:

“The result is a policy that fails to protect public health, fails to save money, fails to result in safer vehicles and will, ultimately and undoubtedly, fail in court.”

Even without protection from DDT’s EPA, scientists say that the worldwide drop in carbon emissions from coronavirus shutdowns could be the largest in recorded history. The 17-percent decrease from the same month last year is the same as emission levels in 2006, according to an analysis of the 69 countries responsible for 97 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. Forty-three percent of the decrease came from reduced surface transportation.

DDT is launching the latest phase of his pre-election smear campaign against Democrats, and faithful loyalist Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), chair of Senate Homeland Security Committee, wants to help him. He declassified an email former White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice wrote herself as a reminder immediately before DDT’s inauguration about a discussion with President Obama and his team concerning Michael Flynn. Rice’s email states:

“[President Obama] stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.”

Rice – 1; Johnson – 0. And Flynn – 0. 

Rice called on DDT to release the transcripts of phone calls between Flynn and the Russian ambassador during the transition while Barack Obama was president. Flynn pled guilty—twice—to his private conversations with a foreign country with the goal of undermining his own country’s foreign policy. No release is impending.

Watching judicial decisions regarding Texas absentee voting is like watching a ping-pong game. The state’s AG, Ken Paxton, has fought to keep from expanding the extremely narrow parameters for absentee voters, even if people are in danger of being infected and dying from COVID-19. With no evidence, his excuse is “fraud.” The latest ruling from a Texas federal judge permits absentee ballots for voters afraid of catching the virus, applying the law to all registered voters who “lack immunity from Covid-19 and fear infection at polling places.” This ruling supersedes the decision from the state Supreme Court stopping five counties from issuing mail-in ballots. The next Texas election is July 14, and July 2 is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot. Paxton filed an appeal.

COVID-19 caused almost 30 states to change rules or practices for this year’s primaries or the general election, affecting roughly 86.6 million registered voters and more than 40 million people who now have the temporary right to cast an absentee ballot. Over a dozen states postponed primaries because of the virus, and 11 states requiring an excuse to vote by mail may use the virus for a reason. Another 12 states and the District of Columbia are proactively sending absentee ballot applications or request forms to voters specifically because of the coronavirus. Roughly 34.7 million people will receive the forms. Maryland, Montana, Nevada, and New Jersey sending absentee ballots for the primaries to approximately 11.3 million voters joined five other states that already mailed ballots to voters. In the 34 states that already do not require an excuse to vote absentee or by mail, the number of requests have shot up by ten times over 2016. Before the onset of the virus, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and Utah already conduct elections by mail. Only Kentucky made voting more onerous by requiring government-issued photo IDs. ID-issuing offices are closed in the state.

With no evidence, DDT told reporters that mail-in ballots lead to “forgeries” and “thousands and thousands of fake ballots.” He added a diatribe about people printing “fraudulent ballots” and said “a lot of things can happen.” “To really vote, and without fraud, you have to go and you have to vote at the polling place,”  said DDT, the man who voted by mail from an address that Florida says he can’t have as a legal residential address. Previously, he said that Republicans need to block mail-in ballots to keep electing Republicans. DDT’s family also votes by mail.

DDT is so desperate to keep blue states from voting by mail that he threatened to block funding to Michigan and Nevada because he was under the impression that the states were mailing ballots. In fact, the states mailed applications for absentee ballots. GOP-led states such as Nebraska, West Virginia and Georgia made similar plans to offer applications for absentee ballots, but DDT has no comments about these red states. Interference with elections is unconstitutional.

Colorado, the third state after Washington and Oregon to legislate complete vote by mail, found the practice popular and relatively free of fraud—only 0.0027 percent out of 2.5 million ballots. In 2018, the state had the second highest turnout rate in the country after a 9.4 percent increase among registered voters. In April, 79 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of Republicans supported mail-in ballots for 2020. Yet the RNC and DDT’s re-election campaign are paying $20 million to fight voting changes in battleground states. Many Colorado Republicans advocate mail voting, and supporters say it’s safe because of paper ballots, signature verifications, a risk-limiting audit, and voter list checks make it safe. Research shows that neither party benefited from the mail-in system.

Vote by mail is also safer health wise. Wisconsin’s in-person primaries on April 7, mandated by the state Supreme Court and the GOP legislators, led to a “large” spread of coronavirus, according to a study.  

DDT may think that he can postpone the November election, mandated by the U.S. Constitution. About postponement, DDT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said, “I’m not sure I can commit one way or the other, but right now that’s the plan.” Backlash forced Kushner to backtrack to the media: 

“I have not been involved in, nor am I aware of any discussions about trying to change the date of the Presidential election.”   [photo – Kushner]

A  federal judge allowed a federal lawsuit against DDT, his three oldest children, and his company of collaboration with a fraudulent marketing scheme to prey on investors. The case involves an exchange of “secret” payments for use of DDT’s former reality TV show The Celebrity Apprentice and other promotional events to boost ACN Opportunity, a telecommunications marketing company linked to a nonprofit that used Trump’s brand to appeal to teens. According to the lawsuit, the Trumps profited off the poor and vulnerable by “systematically defrauding economically marginalized people.”

May 24: COVID-19 deaths are 99,300—just 700 short of 100,000.

March 22, 2020

Take Press Briefings off the Air

Bored while you “shelter-in-place”? Start a blog. That’s what Margaret and Helen did 13 years ago, and they’re still going strong.

The Elephant in the Room is Donald J Trump: Stop asking him the questions. He doesn’t know the answers! #COVID19

“Margaret, I get it. I really do. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Everyone is scared and things are a bit crazy. Of course, the President should address the American people. Of course, he should. But just not this one. It’s not helping. It really isn’t.

“There is nothing decent about this man. He has cheated on all three of his wives. His career is filled with lawsuits, bankruptcies, claims of racism, tax evasion, discrimination, even rape. Nothing. Nothing about this man is honorable much less tolerable. His only claim to fame is taking joy in firing people on national television.

“How he became President I’ll never understand, but he did. And since becoming President over three years ago, he’s proven time and time again that he is pretty horrible at his job. In fact, if I were his boss, I’d fire him. I mean when he fabricated stories about the size of his inauguration, I would have just rolled my eyes and wondered if I had hired the wrong person. When he threw paper towels at hurricane victims, I probably would have at least sat him down. Told him he was out of line. Maybe written him up and given him a warning. But when he suggested that Nazi’s running over a woman with a car should be given some slack because they might be very fine people… well then… then, I would have fired his ass.

“But I’m not his boss… well technically I guess I am, but you know… Representative government and all. So, he’s still there and now there’s this pandemic and for some reason he insists on crawling out of his drug induced coma each day at 11:30 to address the American people. And even though he is surrounded by a bunch of experts, the media keeps asking him the questions. The fact that he constantly makes shit up doesn’t seem to stop them. They keep asking questions and he’s keeps making shit up.

“I’ve got a suggestion. How about we stop asking the elephant in the room questions and instead direct them to the experts standing behind him? What do they say, fool me once? Well he’s fooled them about 15,000 times and they just keep asking. Stop asking the asshat questions! Ask the experts. After all, millions of lives depend on the answers being correct.

“And let’s be clear. When I say expert, I don’t mean Mike Pence. His version of social distancing is to quarantine in Trump’s ass. And somehow from inside Trump’s ass he still manages to pat Trump on the back while simultaneously giving him a standing ovation. No. Mike Pence is the expert in one thing and one thing only – brown nosing. I’m talking Dr. Anthony Fauci or Dr. Deborah Birx or even that Chad guy. Who is Chad again?

“We need answers. We need them desperately. Millions of lives are depending on those answers. I am begging the White House Press Corps to stop asking Trump the fucking questions.

“We need answers. Not lies. Really. I mean it.”

Rachel Maddow goes farther than Margaret by asking that the media broadcast only truthful comments from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). (It would be very brief.)  Even in past crises, Maddow provided a fact-based perspective on the news, but she expressed this opinion about the lethal covid-19 crisis:

“Even when [DDT is] talking about what he has done or what he will do, he’s consistently lying and giving you happy talk that is stuff that the federal government isn’t actually doing. And it’s making people around the country count on the fact the federal government is doing that stuff when they’re not. If it were up to me and it’s not, I would stop putting those briefings on live TV. Not out of spite but because it’s misinformation. If the president does end up saying anything true, you can run it as tape. But if he keeps lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, all of us should stop broadcasting it. Honestly, it’s going to cost lives. Honestly, it’s going to cost lives.”

DDT can no longer use rallies to attract followers so he uses the daily press briefings for this purpose. When he’s not spouting generalities with no statistics or other specifics, he’s lying and ranting against anyone who opposes him. The people he calls to speak also avoid any clear information such as number of people testing, amount of supplies, and any assistance for states.

In the WaPo, Margaret Sullivan echoed Maddow’s message.

“More and more each day, President Trump is using his daily briefings as a substitute for the campaign rallies that have been forced into extinction by the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“These White House sessions—ostensibly meant to give the public critical and truthful information about this frightening crisis—are in fact working against that end.

“Rather, they have become a daily stage for Trump to play his greatest hits to captive audience members. They come in search of life-or-death information, but here’s what they get from him instead:

“● Self-aggrandizement. When asked how he would grade his response to the crisis, the president said, “I’d rate it a 10.” Absurd on its face, of course, but effective enough as blatant propaganda

“● Media-bashing. When NBC News’s Peter Alexander lobbed him a softball question in Friday’s briefing — “What do you say to Americans who are scared?” — Trump went on a bizarre attack. “I say, you’re a terrible reporter,” the president said, launching into one of his trademark “fake news” rants bashing Alexander’s employer….

“● Exaggeration and outright lies. Trump has claimed that there are plenty of tests available (there aren’t); that Google is “very quickly” rolling out a nationwide website to help manage coronavirus treatment (the tech giant was blindsided by the premature claim); that the drug chloroquine, approved to treat malaria, is a promising cure for the virus and “we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately.” (It hasn’t been approved for this use, and there is no evidence to demonstrate its effectiveness in fighting the virus.)

“Trump is doing harm and spreading misinformation while working for his own partisan political benefit—a naked attempt to portray himself as a wartime president bravely leading the nation through a tumultuous time, the FDR of the 21st century.

“The press—if it defines its purpose as getting truthful, useful, non-harmful information to the public, as opposed to merely juicing its own ratings and profits — must recognize what is happening and adjust accordingly. (And that, granted, is a very big “if.”)

“Business as usual simply doesn’t cut it. Minor accommodations, like fact-checking the president’s statements afterward, don’t go nearly far enough to counter the serious damage this man is doing to the public’s well-being.

“Radical change is necessary: The cable networks and other news organizations that are taking the president’s briefings as live feeds should stop doing so….

“’Rather than covering Trump live, [Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University] recommended, among other things, that the media should ‘attend carefully to what he says’ and subject it to verification before blasting it out to the public.

“It’s important to remember how much Trump’s tune has changed on the coronavirus, from blithely dismissive to self-importantly serious….

“This is what he was saying about the virus in public as recently as Feb. 27: ‘It’s going to disappear. One day—it’s like a miracle—it will disappear.’

“We know, without any doubt, that Trump was ignoring intelligence reports that warned about the likelihood of a pandemic at the same time he was cooing these baseless reassurances. But now he’s claiming that he knew the problem was a pandemic long before others did, and that he took every step possible….

“But Trump has proved, time after time, that he doesn’t care about truth, that he puts his financial and political self-interest above that of the public, and that he has no understanding of the role of the press in a democracy. And now lives are on the line.

“The news media, at this dangerous and unprecedented moment in world history, must put the highest priority on getting truthful information to the public. “Taking Trump’s press conferences as a live feed works against that core purpose.”

[Contrast Helen’s latest “elephant” with her post from ten years ago, “The Elephant in the Room Is a Kangaroo.”]

Today: United States (all 50 states and DC) confirmed covid-19 cases – 32,783 with 8,576 today; deaths – 416 with 114 today.

Country: 336,075 confirmed covid-19 cases; 14,613 deaths; the most deaths in China, Italy, and the U.S. 

 

 

January 17, 2020

DDT: Week 156 – ‘Trump Knew … What Was Going On’

Another busy, frustrating week for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), that Kerry Eleveld called a “five-alarm fire” for the White House.

  1. The Government Accountability Office reported that DDT’s administration broke the law freezing congressionally-allocated funding for Ukraine.
  2. Rachel Maddow’s interview with Lev Parnas, associate of DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, revealed the unethical and possibly illegal machinations of DDT, his administrations, and his shadow associates in Ukraine.
  3. Ukraine started a criminal investigation into DDT’s allies.
  4. Seven House “managers” took two articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial.
  5. GOP senators who vociferously claimed to exonerate DDT swore under oath to “do impartial justice.” Many of the 22 GOP senators up for re-election this year, including appointed Martha McSally from Arizona, search for exists from their dilemma such as lying, avoid facts, and smearing the media.

1. On the same morning that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swore in all the senators for DDT’s impeachment trial—senators who may have lied under oath when they swore they would “do impartial justice,”—the non-partisan federal GAO ruled that DDT violated the law in withholding aid designated for Ukraine. The Impoundment Control Act mandates that the Executive Branch cannot make funding changes without asking Congress to reconsider its allocations. Congressional members weren’t even notified of DDT’s decision.

The OMB claimed the freeze was “to determine the best use of such funds” and “necessary to ensure that the funds were not spent ‘in a manner that could conflict with the president’s foreign policy.'” The GAO called that reasoning “impermissible” because the president cannot “substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law.” The OMB’s claim of the hold being a “programmatic delay” has “no basis in law,” according to the GAO decision.

2. MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow show devoted almost two hours to Maddow’s interview with Parnas as he explained how DDT, Giuliani, and AG Bill Barr directed the extortion of Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelensky to force him into an announcement of an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter for DDT’s political benefit. Parnas has enough texts, documents, and notes to make many of his statements ring true, especially when members of the State Department, such as Gordon Sonderland, made the same testimony. Parnas said:

“President Trump knew exactly what was going on. He was aware of all of my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani [DDT’s personal secretary] or the president.”

Like DDT’s comments about other people who give damaging information about him, he kept declaring that he doesn’t know Parnas—nine times in two minutes. Multiple photographs of Parnas and DDT together have long been on the internet, and a video of them has also surfaced. Parnas’ phone records also have contacts with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who played a key part in defending DDT on the House Intelligence Committee during the impeachment inquiry. A month ago, Nunes couldn’t “recall” Parnas’ name but regained his memory this week although he claimed they were “talking about random things.” [Newly-released documents show extensive contact between Parnas and a Nunes aide to obtain damaging material from Ukrainian prosecutors about Joe Biden.] Despite photographs to the contrary, DDT’s White House aide Kellyanne Conway suffers from the same amnesia as does House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Parnas also gave information about VP Mike Pence’s involvement in the Ukrainian scheme, for example, when Pence went to Poland on DDT’s behalf to meet with Zelensky.

Knowing about Parnas’ actions, Barr refused to release Parnas’ documents for three months to the House for its impeachment inquiry. Parnas told Maddow that the DOJ would make corruption charges against Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash disappear if he would provide damaging information against Joe Biden and that Barr knew about the potential deal. Firtash gave Parnas $1 million, and Parnas retained Giuliani’s firm while working for Giuliani to give attorney-client confidentiality to DDT because Giuliani represented both him and Parnas. Barr ultimately did not intervene in Firtash’s case but met with his lawyers Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova. The DOJ refused to answer questions from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) about why Firtash has not been extradited.

Parnas told Maddow that he is being open about the events to protect himself from Barr. He said:

“[Officials in the Justice Department are] trying to scare me into not talking. My wife is scared. My kids are nervous.”

After claiming that she was putting together a “small” group of senators to vote for witnesses in the impeachment trial, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) accused the House of doing “an incomplete job” by not addressing evidence from Parnas until after the impeachment articles were released. Information that Barr was suppressing. Since her vote for the tax cuts for the wealthy and Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, Collins, up for re-election this year, has gone from the most popular GOP senator at 82 percent to the least popular at 42 percent, even below that of the generally-hated Mitch McConnell. Collins walks a very fine line between pleasing DDT to get money from him for her campaign and getting votes from dissatisfied constituents.

3. According to texts from Robert Hyde on Parnas’ phone, the DDT donor was tracking former U.S. ambassador Marie Yovanovitch last March.  A few of his statements:

“They know she’s a political puppet. They will let me know when she’s on the move… They are willing to help if you/we would like a price.”

“Guess you can do anything in Ukraine with money… what I was told.”

These statements fit with DDT’s comments to Zelensky in the July 25 telephone call about Yovanovitch:

“Well, she’s going to go through some things.”

Robert Hyde is a member of conspiracy-theory ridden QAnon, designated by the FBI as a possible domestic terrorism threat.

Yovanovitch’s anti-corruption work threatened pro-Russians working with Parnas, Giuliani, and others. The U.S. ambassador escaped Ukraine last spring after she was notified by a superior during an important ceremony to “get on the next plane to the U.S.” She immediately left the country. After this information became public, Pompeo cancelled a classified congressional briefing about embassy security, a mandatory monthly event.

Ukraine’s national police has asked the FBI for assistance in its new investigation regarding these illegal activities.  According to Ukrainian authorities, an ambassador possibly being “under illegal surveillance and her electronic gadgets … interfered [with] by the private persons at the request of the US citizen” can be a violation of both Ukrainian laws and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which protects diplomats on foreign soil.

4. The seven managers from the House to prosecute DDT in the impeachment trial in the Senate delivered two articles of impeachment. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi selected these prosecutors with an emphasis on litigators, comfortable in the courtroom. Six are lawyers; the seventh, Val Deming, served as the first female chief of the Orlando (FL) Police Department. Leaders are Committee Intelligence Chair Adam B. Schiff (D-CA) and Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). Pelosi also achieved diversity in her selection: three of the seven (Deming, Garcia, and California’s Zoe Lofgren) are women; Demings and Hakeem Jeffries (NY) are black; and Sylvia Garcia (TX) is Latina. Jason Crow (CO) and Garcia not only provide geographic diversity but also represent the freshmen House class.  

5. The GOP senators have presented two defenses for DDT: what he did wasn’t illegal and so what–known as the “what about it” response. 

DDT first wanted a big show for the trial but now wants the trial dismissed. GOP senators rejected the idea. McConnell first claimed he had enough votes to keep any witnesses or documents from the trial, but a few GOP senators consider joining Democrats to vote for a real trial with witnesses instead of a sham. McConnell plans keep the trial from media reporting and block the trial from being filmed although the House hearings were available for public viewing. He also wants to block media access to senators as they come and go from the chamber and deny access to reporters to and in the elevators.

The “imminent” trial is unhinging DDT. He kept a student audience waiting for an hour to hear about prayer so that he could watch senators sign their oath. After reporters’ questions, he whined and exaggerated his trade deals and furiously talked about the impeaching being a “hoax,” over and over again. Then he shouted in a tweet, “I JUST GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL!” Following that, he begged retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to vote against witnesses in the trial. His meeting with aides also focused on impeachment. During his ceremony for national champion LSU football team, DDT devolved into swearing about an attempt to impeach him. (He’s already impeached.) Why is he so afraid if he’s done nothing wrong?

The Senate convenes for opening arguments in DDT’s impeachment trial at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.

January 24, 2019

Shutdown Bills Fail; House Investigates Kushner

Day 34 of government shutdown: Both of today’s Senate bills designed to reopen the government failed when neither one met the 60 votes necessary. In a 51-47 vote, Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Tom Cotton (R-AL) voted against their party in opposing the measure proposed by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to get his $5.7 billion for 200 miles of wall, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-VA) supported DDT’s bill with the wall. The second bill from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to open the government with a continuing resolution until February 8 had one more supporting vote, 52-44, with GOP Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Murkowski (AK), Cory Gardner (CO), Lamar Alexander (TN), Johnny Isakson (GA) and Mitt Romney (UT) joining Democrats.

Billionaire Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that he doesn’t understand why federal employees without paychecks don’t get loans instead of using food banks. He claimed that financial institutions just give them loans against “the 30 days of pay that people will be out.” Ross added that even if these 800,000 people never got their pay, they’re “about a third of a percent on our GDP. So it’s not like it’s a gigantic number overall.”

DDT, another billionaire, had a peculiar reaction to Ross. He thought that Ross was accurate in his assertion that federal employees, either furloughed or working without pay, don’t need to get emergency help from homeless shelters and food pantries because—drum roll!—grocery stores will give these paycheck-less people food without paying for it. He said:

“Local people know who they are. Where they go for groceries and everything else. If you have mortgages, mortgagees, the folks collecting the interest and all of those things, they work along. That’s what happens in times like these. They know the people. They’ve been dealing with them for years, and they work along.”

Two months ago, DDT was telling people that they needed IDs to buy a box of cereal.

Republicans are getting so desperate that they are yelling at VP Mike Pence. In a private meeting two days ago, several senators harangued Pence, who said that the White House was working on a strategy to reopen the government and that they should not vote for the Democrat-offered bill that got six GOP votes today.  Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said they gave Pence an “earful” because “we’re all hearing from our constituents who are working for no pay.” Other members criticizing Pence included GOP Sens. Mitch McConnell (KY), Lisa Murkowski (AK), John Boozman (AR), Johnny Isakson (GA), and Jerry Moran (KS). Two of them voted for the Democratic-supported bill.

Fly at your own risk during the shutdown is the message from representatives of air traffic controllers, pilots, and flight attendants. Making things worse, they report that the FAA “has frozen hiring and shuttered its training academy, so there is no plan in effect to fill the FAA’s critical staffing need.” Certification requires two to four years, and the U.S. has the fewest number of air traffic controllers in 30 years.

According to CEOs, DDT is hurting business with the shutdown and low immigration with lack of investment in research and development, education, and entrepreneurship. The National Science Foundation has not issued any grants for over a month, and government researchers in agencies such as NOAA, the EPA, and the U.S. Geological Survey don’t get paychecks. Hundreds of postdoctoral fellows don’t get their stipends. Loss of immigration is destroying U.S. innovation.

In a “what if” piece, Rachel Maddow suggests a “Worst Case Scenario” in which Russia’s Vladimir Putin is behind the government shutdown. At one time, this idea would be too far-fetched, but Robert Mueller’s investigation has found hundreds of links with DDT’s campaign; ties with Russia and national security adviser John Bolton, Maria Butina, the NRA; threats against Michael Cohen’s family to keep him from testifying; and Oleg Deripaska’s Belarusian escort, who claimed to have information about DDT, was returned to Russia and may be in early states of poisoning. Putin wanted interference in the presidential election to cause chaos within the United States.

Now federal agency employees who were called back to work without pay—TSA agents, meat inspectors, prison guards, IRS workers, etc.—are starting to walk off their jobs, adding to the impact of jobs not being done by furloughed employees. Imagine if people can no longer trust safety in flying, food, and water and from crime while not receiving their tax refunds in addition to millions losing income from the missing paychecks for 800,000 federal employees. DDT is behind the shutdown and shows little urgency in reopening the government. He is also the focus of the biggest criminal and counter-intelligence investigation of any sitting U.S. president.

DailyKos has ideas for what a U.S. leader following Putin’s strategy could do to weaken the United States:

  • Relax sanctions on Putin and his oligarchs to give them more money.
  • Antagonize U.S. allies.
  • Polarize the U.S. with ugly divisive rhetoric.
  • Attack U.S. institutions, especially the judiciary, and replace the leadership with his cronies.
  • Pull the U.S. out of multinational trade and security alliances.
  • Excessively praise Putin.
  • Implement irrational economic trade sanctions to weaken U.S. economy.
  • Use excessive measures to conceal communications with Putin.
  • Consistently repeat Putin’s propaganda talking points.
  • Shut down the U.S. government for a ridiculous rationale and continue to cripple the U.S. with huge political, security, social, and financial damage.

Two years ago, this scenario would have seemed impossible. Now some might like to think it’s improbable, but every DDT action makes the proposition appear more likely.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), new chair of the Judiciary Committee, has an answer for the crisis facing many people in the U.S. during the shutdown: investigate Hillary Clinton’s email server, specifically the FBI’s handling of the situation and the FISA warrant application targeting DDT’s campaign adviser Carter Page. The FBI investigated Page after the possibility that he conspired with Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election. Graham believes that the FBI was “in the tank” for her campaign and accused them of a double standard in the agency’s handling of the two presidential campaigns. In actuality, he’s right: the FBI helped swing the election to DDT by publicizing non-existent problems with Clinton and hiding real investigations into DDT.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) laughed at Graham’s plans and compared them to the ”thrilling days of yesteryear.” Durham said:

“This is going to be like the History Channel, it turns out. Instead of taking a look at the current issues, Lindsey Graham wants to go back and answer important questions about the Bermuda Triangle and Hillary Clinton.”

Durbin added that Graham may want to investigate Jimmy Carter next. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a judiciary committee member, joked that Graham might want to “investigate Benghazi some more.”

The House Oversight Committee plans an investigation into “grave breaches of national security at the highest levels of the Trump Administration” with the focus on White House handling of classified information, including DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Over 130 political appointees in DDT’s office lack permanent security clearances as of 2017, include Kushner and DDT’s daughter Ivanka.

The House committee has even more grist for its mill since the revelation that Kushner’s application for a top secret clearance was rejected by two career White House security specialists because of FBI concerns about possible foreign influence on him. Overruling this decision from an investigation, the specialists’ supervisor, Carl Kline, approved the clearance. In unprecedented behavior, Kline, a DDT appointee, repeated this overruling 30 times despite unfavorable information on each of the applicants. Sources indicated that “the Trump White House attracted many people with untraditional backgrounds who had complicated financial and personal histories, some of which raised red flags.”

Kushner, who had to redo and correct his application clearance 40 times, received questions about foreign contacts, travel, and meetings as well as his family’s business. After Kline gave Kushner secret and top secret clearances, Kushner went to the CIA seeking a higher that allows him to access “sensitive compartmented information” that includes transcripts of intercepted foreign communications and CIA source reporting. Kline even stopped credit checks on security clearance applicants.

The CIA reviewed Kushner’s materials and questioned even the “top secret” clearance giving Kushner access to material that would cause “exceptionally grave damage” to national security if disclosed to adversaries. Officials are questioning whether the White House overruled the CIA refusal for the SCI clearance. A year ago, WaPo reported that officials in at least four countries—United Arab Emirates, China, Israel, and Mexico—talked about how they could manipulate Kushner though his lack of policy experience, financial difficulties, and business arrangements.

The House needs to work fast!

September 4, 2018

Kavanaugh, Woodward, Plus More News

Democrats may not win the fight to keep Brett Kavanaugh out of the Supreme Court, but they’re putting up a good show. Only two nominees—Robert Bork and Harriet Miers—had lower poll ratings, and neither one was confirmed. Only 38 percent of people want Kavanaugh on the high court, and 39 percent think he should not be confirmed. Women in particular dislike him in their 46 percent opposition. One reason might be that he tried to imprison a 17-year-old immigrant pregnant from a rape although the Supreme Court has ruled that she had the right to one. Rachel Maddow has a 21-minute segment about Kavanaugh’s behavior on the bench that doesn’t match his assurance to gullible Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) that Roe v. Wade is “settled law.” In her opening statement at the hearing, Sen. Diane Feinstein explained how Kavanaugh has already ruled against Roe v. Wade. [visual]

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Kavanaugh started today, less than 15 hours after the White House finally released 42,000 pages of documents about him. In a fit of speed-reading, Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) claimed that he and his staff had reviewed all these documents in less than three hours. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) still withholds 93 percent of the records from the time when Kavanaugh was White House counsel and staff secretary for George W. Bush by invoking presidential privilege although Bush cleared the records for release. Some of these may have had to do with Kavanaugh’s support for torture. The White House alerted reporters to the Democrats’ comments, perhaps to show their obstruction. But instead the message may have been that an unindicted co-conspirator has nominated a justice for the nation’s highest court, one who he hopes will exonerate him by ruling that the president is above the law and refuses to release the nominee’s records.

Kavanaugh may also face questions about his possible lying under oath in an earlier confirmation hearing.

In a bad photo op for Kavanaugh, he refused to shake hands with the father of Jamie Guttenberg who was murdered at the Parkland (FL) high school earlier this year. Feinstein had introduced Fred Guttenberg (left) in the committee chambers so Kavanaugh knew who he was. Kavanaugh stared at him for a short time before he turned and walked away. When Kavanaugh returned, he bragged about coaching his daughter’s basketball team. Footage of the interaction with Guttenberg shows that the White House lied to cover up for Kavanaugh’s rude behavior.

Just when people thought that DDT had stopped fighting with AG Jeff Sessions, DDT spent the last day of his Labor Day weekend lambasting Sessions for the indictments of Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Chris Collins (R-NY) for misusing campaign funds/fraud and insider trading/securities fraud. DDT’s objection is that he wants the DOJ to hold off on prosecuting the charged congressional members so that they can win their districts. He is a loser in this argument; almost two-thirds of people oppose firing Sessions and back investigator Robert Mueller.

“So I have another bad book coming out. Big deal,” said DDT in a conversation with Bob Woodward about his new book, Fear: Trump in the White House, about DDT’s time in the White House. DDT spent most of the talk either claiming that he would have liked to talk to Woodward for the book, saying that no one had ever told him, and explaining what a wonderful job he was doing. Woodward told at least six people with access to DDT that he wanted to talk to DDT, but DDT claims that no one except maybe Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had mentioned it to him. Kellyanne Conway admitted on the conversation that Woodward had talked with her about an interview with DDT.

Woodward writes that DDT’s closest aides, including Gary Cohn and Rob Porter, hid papers from his desk to keep him from signing them because they viewed DDT as a danger to national security. Woodward reported that Chief of staff John Kelly described Trump as an “idiot” and “unhinged,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said DDT has the understanding of “a fifth or sixth grader,” and former personal lawyer John Dowd called DDT “a fucking liar,” telling DDT he would end up in an “orange jump suit” if he testified to special counsel Robert Mueller. Dowd resigned the day after DDT told him that he would be a “real good witness.” DDT called AG Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded” and a “dumb Southerner”; DDT told Rudy Giuliani what he’s “like a little baby that needed to be changed.” Explaining his strategy in Afghanistan, DDT told his generals, “You should be killing guys.” Fortunately, Mattis didn’t kill Bashar al-Assad in April 2017 as DDT requested. The book portrays DDT as lonely and increasingly paranoid, obsessed with the media’s perception of him and with his base.

Fox analyst Howard Kurtz debunked Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ defense by pointing out that sources for Woodward’s book are current as well as past employees.

U.S.-backed Saudi Arabia forces are deliberately bombing dozens of Yemeni civilians—some of them at least 40 children riding on a school bus in Yemen when they were taking a rare field trip. On the day of the attack, the head of the coalition stated that the bus was a “legitimate military target.” Later the report indicated that the attack was “unjustified” but only because the suspect was not on the bus, not that they had killed children. The U.S. sold the bomb to Saudi Arabians after DDT lifted the ban on these sales. DDT has said nothing about the tragedies in Yemen.

Desperate for new headquarters, the FBI lost their chance to move out of downtown Washington, D.C. across DDT’s hotel to the suburbs. DDT likely scuttled the deal to keep another hotel from moving into the area. Federal employees were ordered to not discuss any of his comments. To keep the FBI headquarters in place, officials greatly underestimated the cost of not moving the facility.

The white man who murdered two people at a video game tournament in Jacksonville (FL) and then turned the gun on himself to commit suicide has been described as having a mental illness. His easy access to guns was not responsible for the tragedy according to the state AG Pam Bondi; she blames the gathering of people to play video games, for example the football video game Madden. Intent on wiping out any taint of domestic terrorism by white men in the United States, Politico joined the myth by exonerating Timothy McVeigh of any terrorism. In 1995, the 27-year-old white man bombed a government building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring over 680 others. Sam Anderson maintains that McVeigh was no terrorist—he was just depressed because his favorite football team, the Buffalo Bills, had started losing. Given his sad life, Anderson claims, “it is easy to imagine how this young man might have been lured into making a bad decision.” The article was abstracted from Anderson’s book Boom Town. Is it possible that the United States could reduce the murder and domestic terrorism rate by banning video games and football?

Pope Francis has a solution for the allegations that he covered up sex abuse by church leaders and lied about knowing nothing regarding his meeting with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples. He called for silence.

When he ran for president, DDT’s name was on 19 brands; now it’s on just one—furniture sold by a Turkish company selling Trump furniture.

DDT has reached 60 percent—in his disapproval rating. His approval rating is 36 percent, and 53 percent think that his interference with Mueller’s investigation is obstruction of justice. At 63 percent, an additional ten percent support the investigation. Mueller’s case against Manafort received 67 percent believing it was justified, and two-thirds oppose DDT’s pardoning Manafort. Sessions also gets 64 percent support from being fired, and 61 percent believe that DDT committed a crime if he told Cohen to make hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.

DDT makes up his own approval ratings. In a call to a radio talk show, he said that he adds “another 7 or eight points’ to the existing approval rating, and at a rally in North Dakota, he recommended adding 12 to any of his polls.

DDT has greatly helped ratings for MSNBC and Rachel Maddow in particular. In August, MSNBC was the second-most-watched network across all of basic cable, and The Rachel Maddow Show was number one for total viewers on cable TV for the last week of August and top the 25-54 demographic throughout August, beating Sean Hannity. While MSNBC’s ratings rose over that in 2017, both CNN and Fox went down. All the MSNBC shows—Chris Hayes, Laurence O’Donnell, Brian Williams, Ari Melber, Hallie Jackson, Nicolle Wallace, Katy Tur, and Ali Velshi—had substantial gains and record-breaking numbers. Kudos to genuine news instead of screaming people and fake propaganda.

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