Nel's New Day

January 5, 2018

DDT: Week Fifty – ‘Fire and Fury’

When I started the week, I thought that the possibility of nuclear war might be the lead. When North Korean leader Kim Jong Un offered talks to South Korea about sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang next month, he wished “for peaceful resolution with our southern border.” Yet he warned the U.S. that his country’s nuclear ambitions were complete with the launch button “always on the desk in my office.” Always obsessed with size, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) tweeted that his button is “bigger and more powerful.” Technically, DDT’s desk button only orders Diet Coke. DDT’s threat occurred two days after Kim’s statement but immediately after a Fox segment about it. Other tweets are immediately after Fox segments.

The big story of the week, however, came from Michael Wolff’s new book, Fire and Fury: Inside Trump’s White House. Excerpts from Steve Bannon, DDT’s former campaign CEO, White House strategist, and BFF, led to DDT declaring war on BannonDDT said: “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.” In the book, Bannon predicted that Mueller will “crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV” over the president’s son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016 and called Jr.’s meeting “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” In an earlier Vanity Fair interview, Bannon had called Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, “the railhead of all bad decisions.”

When Bannon left the White House, DDT said that he “would be a tough and smart new voice at” his website, Breitbart News. Maybe even better than before. Fake News needs the competition!” Now DDT’s ironically said that Bannon is “only in it for himself.”

DDT’s lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to Bannon, stating that he violated a non-disclosure agreement about the campaign and White House and that litigation is “eminent.” Nothing in the letter indicates that Bannon was lying. Fire and Fury’s publisher, Henry Holt, moved its release ahead to today, four days earlier, and it’s already sold out most places. DDT’s lawyers also sent Wolff’s publisher, Henry Holt, a demand for stopping publication and issuing “an apology to @realDonaldTrump for defamatory statements made thus far.”

Excerpts from DDT’s associates and friends depict him as a fool, a “moron,” and deranged—something that DDT cannot abide. Although DDT claims that he authorized no access to Wolff into the White House, people saw him as a frequent presence. DDT will have an impossible time refuting it because the negative descriptions are so widely spread—from his near illiteracy to his baldness. People will question the veracity of Wolff’s book, but it’s drawn tremendous attention that doesn’t seem to be dissipating. The one guarantee is that both Fire and Fury’s author and publisher will make millions on its sales.

In the breakup between Bannon and DDT, the father-daughter billionaire pair who bought the presidency for DDT is keeping him and abandoning Bannon. Rebekah Mercer declared that she will not fund his future ventures, which could include Breitbart and Bannon’s running for government.

Proof that the DDT team was involved with Russian meddling in the presidential election, the other focus of the week, continues to grow. Eighteen months ago, a drunk George Papadopoulos told Australia’s top diplomat in Britain that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton after he said that Moscow had thousands of stolen emails to embarrass Clinton. Australian officials notified the FBI about Papadopoulos’ revelations, leading the FBI to start its investigation in July 2016. DDT defenders are proved wrong about their claim that the infamous Christopher Steele dossier initiated the FBI exploration. DDT’s campaign knew about Russia’s stealing the documents before he became the candidate, and the GOP campaign lied about it to cover for Russian collusion. After this information was publicized, DDT held an impromptu and often incoherent interview with the New York Times in which he falsely claimed about “collusion between Russia and the Democrats.”

Last spring, DDT told his White House counsel Don McGahn to stop AG Jeff Sessions from recusing himself in Russia collusion issues. When McGahn failed in this mission, the president blew up in front of several White House officials and demanded that the attorney general should protect him. DDT asked, “Where’s my Roy Cohn?” referring to his former lawyer and fixer who had supported former Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) during his 1950s witch hunts of Communists. The AG represents the people of the United States, not the president.

Documented information about DDT’s possible obstruction of justice through blocking the investigation comes from handwritten notes that Reince Priebus took while he was DDT’s chief of staff, for example DDT’s discussion about asking Comey to tell people that DDT was not under investigation. Mueller now has these notes as well as information about how White House lawyer Uttam Dhillon misled DDT to make him think he couldn’t fire Comey in a misguided attempt to protect DDT. Dhillon was right about the danger because Comey’s firing led to the appointment of a special counsel.

Mueller’s information also corroborates Comey’s memos about DDT asking him to fire former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

During their December vacation, conservative GOP legislators and pundits obsessively tried to discredit Mueller, the FBI, and the DOJ, going so far as to demand that the federal agencies be “purged.” Moderate Republicans have expressed concern about these radical viewpoints. The more the information about Russia, the quieter these Republicans have become.

One attempt to block the Russian investigation comes from GOP chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley (IA), and member Lindsey Graham (SC), who are asking the DOJ to investigate whether British intelligence officer Christopher Steele lied to the FBI. Steele is the first person marked by Republicans for wrongdoing after a year of investigation. Grassley had said that he would make the dossier testimony public if he received permission from the company that provided it. They okayed the release, but Grassley didn’t follow through. The DOJ is also investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails and the Clinton Foundation.

Despite opposition from the DOJ and the FBI, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) will allow House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) to obtain information about the investigation into the Christopher Steele dossier documenting ties between Russia and DDT. Rod Rosenstein and Christopher Wray had objected to this release because Nunes can then turn over detailed and sensitive information—communications with confidential sources, interviews, lists of meeting—to DDT as Nunes has done in the past.

Paul Manafort, indicted by Robert Mueller for fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering, is suing Mueller and the DOJ, claiming that his business dealings with Russia have nothing to do with that investigation. Mueller’s letter of appointment guarantees him the right to “prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of [whether Trump campaign officials colluded with those Russian efforts at interference].” Manafort is facing 12 counts that include money laundering, making false statements, and failing to register as a foreign government agent. He may be trying to curry favor with DDT who could face many of the same charges along with son Donald Trump, Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

A curious leak from the Mueller investigation is that the grand jury, supposedly secret, looks like “a Black Lives Matter rally in Berkeley,” according to the New York Post. An anonymous tipster reported that 11 of the 20 are black “and two were wearing ‘peace T-shirts.’” People who study DDT’s speech patterns have said that the leaks sounds much like him because of the term “central casting” in its description, one which DDT frequently uses.

January 2 was a 16-tweet day for DDT, starting at 4:09 am with a defense of the Iranian protesters who he won’t allow into the United States:

“The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their “pockets.” The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!”

Within the hour he sent a vicious tweet, including the assertion that the DOJ is part of the “deep state”:

“Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others”

The term “deep state” originated in Turkey expressing the fringe conspiracy theory that bureaucrats will manipulate or control government policy. Leading supporters of this belief are Breitbart, Steven Bannon, and Alex Jones. DDT participated, for example when he accused President Obama of “tapping” his apartment in Trump Tower. For the first time, however, DDT used the term in a tweet.

Another DDT tweet the same day took credit for the safety of commercial flight in 2017, which was no safer than the two previous years, and praised the tax bill for the bonuses that AT&T is giving their workers. AT&T has already laid off hundreds of worker after the tax bill passed and plans to dump thousands more. Comcast, which also promised bonuses, also fired hundreds of their workers.

Perhaps the most bizarre tweet of January 2:

“I will be announcing THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR on Monday at 5:00 o’clock.”

As DDT followers know, he doesn’t always go through with his promises (threats?), but Monday is only three days away. In the meantime, tomorrow’s post will list the destructive actions of DDT and his administration in the past few weeks.

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December 22, 2017

DDT: Week Forty-eight – A Tax Bill for the Wealthy, Another Spending Bill Continuation

Thanks to help from Democrats, the government won’t shut down for at least four weeks, and the new tax bill, signed today by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). won’t cut $125 billion in programs such as Medicare. The DOJ also can’t use federal funds to interfere with these medical programs. Missing from the bill was any reference to DACA Dreamers, young immigrants who are being deported at 122 each day because of congressional refusal to address DDT’s executive order, and the $81 billion disaster bill, lost in the shuffle. The military got a few billion, but long-term problems weren’t addressed. The stopgap spending bill, expiring on January 19, 2018, also renews CHIP, insurance for nine million children in poverty.

This week, DDT also released the 55-page security strategy, written from a hawkish “America First” rhetoric. DDT lumps Russia and China together, diminishing the chance to cooperate with China when North Korea is a grave threat. No mention, however, was made of Russia meddling in the U.S. election. Climate change was identified as an economic problem, not a security threat. Calling for incessant competition, DDT risks all agreements with foreign countries.

DDT is rapidly moving forward with his “Make America Alone” program in his altercation with the United Nations. At the request of Arab and Muslim countries, the 193 members of the UN General Assembly met in a rare emergency session for a vote on a resolution condemning the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Before the vote, DDT threatened to pull foreign aid from any nation voting for the resolution, and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley reiterated the threatening speech immediately before the vote. Eight countries voted to support the U.S. while 128 voted against DDT. Earlier all 14 nations in the UN Security Council—including Russia, China, France, UK, and Japan—voted against DDT.

Russia:

FBI senior officials warned both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign that Russians may try to spy on or infiltrate their operations and urged them to contact authorities if anything suspicious took place. Therefore, DDT was lying when he said he knew nothing about it.

Investigator Robert Mueller also knows that White House Counsel Don McGahn knew national security advisor Michael Flynn broke the law as early as January and warned DDT about Flynn’s possible violations of lying to federal investigators and the Logan Act that prevents private citizens from negotiating with foreign government.

Ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and others have expressed serious concerns that GOP committee members are racing to finish their Russia investigation by the end of the year and, therefore, intentionally are over-scheduling interviews, ignoring leads, and skipping important details.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, declared in a speech on the Senate floor, “In the United States of America, no one is above the law, not even the president.” He called the attacks on Robert Mueller irresponsible partisanship and warned that firing Mueller could amount to a constitutional crisis. “Interfering with his investigation by issuing pardons of essential witnesses, is unacceptable, and would have immediate and significant consequences,” Warner stated.

Negative media about Mueller thrived on texts from a former team member, Peter Strzok, that criticized DDT. The DOJ, however, has not explained why only 350 of 10,000 text messages were leaked—or what was in the other 9,650 texts.

To further discredit Mueller, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), banned from leading an investigation into DDT’s collusion with Russia, has secretly formed a coalition of House Republicans to build a case with classified information that senior members of the DOJ and FBI mishandled the contents of a dossier describing ties between DDT and Russia. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has called for FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe to be fired. During the past few weeks, the GOP panicky attacks about the investigation grow as  revelations about discoveries of collusion emerge.

AG Jeff Sessions has ordered prosecutors to investigate his totally debunked accusation that Hillary Clinton obtained a large donation to the Clinton Foundation in exchange for selling 20 percent of U.S. He swore under oath that he could recuse himself from any issues regarding Russia, Hillary Clinton, and the Clinton Foundation. Lying under oath is a felony, subject to up to five years in prison, and Sessions voted in 1999 to remove a president from office for allegedly violating that law.

Appointments:

Matthew Peterson, the Trump judicial nominee who couldn’t answer basic legal questions during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, has withdrawn his nomination.

All DDT’s unconfirmed nominees cannot be held over after this year without a unanimous consent on each from the Senate. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) has notified the White House that he will not approve Kathleen Hartnett White’s nomination to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) into 2018.  DDT could retain the woman called “apologist for polluters” as senior advisor because the confirmation does not require confirmation.

K.T. McFarland, former deputy national security advisor, may not be confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to Singapore after she told senators that she didn’t know anything about Michael Flynn’s contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition. Court documents show that she is lying.

In a 10-13 vote, the Senate Banking Committee rejected Scott Garrett, DDT’s nominee to lead the Export-Import Bank. The former New Jersey representative had pushed to disband the Ex-Im Bank which lends money to foreign buyers to promote U.S. exports.

Sexual Misconduct:

Alex Kozinski, a Reagan appointed judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, resigned after the initiation of a judicial investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct by 15 women.

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is putting the team up for sale after the NFL began an investigation of his sexually suggestive comments and inappropriate touching as well as racial slurs.

Florida state Sen. Jack Latvaia resigned from his candidacy for governor after reports of sexual harassment and demeaning, vulgar comments to female staffers.  He could also face charges for criminal bribery, unlawful compensation, or even extortion for trading legislative support for sex with a lobbyist.

Singer-songwriter Joy Villa has accused Corey Lewandowski, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, of sexual misconduct.

DDT is wooing Jewish voters and practicing his pardoning by commuting the sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, convicted in 2009 for money laundering and finance fraud regarding his massive kosher slaughterhouse, Agriprocessors, in Postville (IA). In a 2008 raid, immigration officials arrested 389 illegal immigrants working there.

Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló ordered a recount of deaths caused by Hurricane Maria. The official count is 64, but 1,065 more people died than usual during September and October than in earlier years. One third of the island still lacks power, 93 days after the disaster. After the financially punitive action taken by Congress toward the island, Rosselló said he will encourage the 5.3 million Puerto Ricans living across the mainland to vote out House Republicans in 14 different states.

As with all disasters, DDT politicized this week’s tragic train wreck south of Seattle when the first train on the newly furbished track to save ten minutes from another route blew through a 30-mph zoned curve at 80 mph and crashed down on the freeway below. DDT wrote that it “shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!”

DDT’s arguments have several problems:

  • DDT wants the military budget expanded by more than ten percent.
  • DDT’s budget slashes federal aid to U.S. rail systems.
  • The route got $181 million from the 2010 budget stimulus.
  • The engineer failed to brake when the train was going almost three times the speed limit.
  • An infrastructure plan doesn’t exist.
  • DDT’s tax plan already puts the nation into $1.5 trillion more debt.
  • DDT’s only infrastructure plan is to make states and localities responsible and blame them if they don’t have the money for improvement.
  • The train lacked technology to slow or stop trains going too fast. Congress had mandated the Positive Train Control in 2008 with a deadline by 2015 but had postponed the requirement until 2018 because railroad companies complained about the requirement and refused to sufficiently fund the technology that could save lives.

A second federal judge has struck down DDT’s executive order allowing employers to deny birth control coverage in insurance, and a circuit court has supported three lower courts in mandating military recruitment of transgender people.

The first trial against protesters against DDT’s inauguration was a giant victory for the U.S. people: all six defendants were found not guilty of all charges while almost 200 others are still waiting prosecution. All had been circled by the police and arrested en masse. DOJ had admitted it had no evidence of the six defendants destroying property but accused them as part of a rioting conspiracy. The trial may have been protection for the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department that violated city regulations on handling demonstrations.

In a June poll, 90 percent of respondents who said they trust Fox over other news networks viewed Trump favorably, but approval fell to 74 percent in October and decreased to 58 percent in December. Fox viewers who strongly approved of Trump’s job performance dropped from 55 percent in March to 32 percent in October.

DDT finally got his first major win in 334 days and personally came out at least $15 million ahead. Now the Republicans are looking for ways to get votes in 2018.

[Update: DDT’s first 334–not 303–days.]

December 9, 2017

DDT: Week Forty-six – Make America Worse

The good news: Congress Republicans passed a funding bill to avoid a government shutdown yesterday. The bad news: it’s only for two weeks. Every day, 122 DACA recipients lose their protections. The total thus far since Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) issues his decree is over 11,000 of the 800,000 young people. CHIP, health care for children, also expired over two months ago.

Other questions of the week:

  • Will DDT fire his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson?
  • Can the two chambers of Congress combine their tax bill in time to give most people a lump of coal for the holidays?
  • Where will the courts go after the Supreme Court okayed DDT’s travel ban?
  • How many people will die or be injured because DDT tore up 70 years of U.S. policy and gave Jerusalem to Israel?
  • Who is the next to leave Congress because of sexual assault/harassment after the departures of Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), and Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)?  (Clue: Reps. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX) are on the chopping block, and as many as 40 congressional members–ten percent of the males–could be affected.)
  • And will the GOP elect pedophile Roy Moore for its senator from Alabama?

At the inauguration ceremony of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), Michael Flynn texted a former associate, promising that U.S. sanctions against Russia would be “ripped up” and plans to build nuclear interests in the Middle East with Russian interests was “good to go.” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who has a witness to these statements, asked Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chair of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to subpoena the White House for Flynn-related documents. Gowdy, who led a crusade against Hillary Clinton regarding Benghazi and the continuing focus on her emails as well as targeting former FBI director James Comey, responded, “Congress doesn’t investigate a crime.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller has asked a federal judge to deny Paul Manafort’s request to release him from house arrest because of an op-ed that Manafort edited for an associate “assessed to have ties” with Russian intelligence. That act was in violation of a court order.

Republicans are trying to destroy Mueller with the most recent attacks fueled by disparaging texts about DDT from Peter Strzok, who has been removed as top FBI agent on the investigation team. New FBI director Christopher Wray repeatedly defended the FBI when Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee bombarded him with questions about anti-DDT sentiment. Hillary Clinton’s name came up at 76 times, and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) complained about no special counsel “addressing the Clinton administration.” On Fox, Gregg Jarrett accused the FBI of being “like the old KGB … a shadow government.”

Donald Trump Jr. talked to the House Intelligence Committee for eight hours behind closed doors with no released transcripts. He cited attorney-client privilege to refuse answering questions about his conversation with his father about the meeting between Jr. and others, including a Russian lawyer, on June 9, 2016. Neither DDT nor his son is a lawyer, but Jr. said one was in the room. Mueller also questioned Hope Hicks, DDT’s current Communications Director; the FBI had earlier warned her that Russian officials had tried to contact her during the presidential transition.

The Senate tax bill suffers a $300 billion glitch that may take more money from the less than wealthy. Hurried writers forgot to lower the alternative minimum tax (AMT) after putting it back into the legislation. Protests are accelerating as the two chambers try to reconcile their positions.

The decision allowing financial advisers to act in their own best interests for another 18 months will take $10.9 billion from their clients saving for retirement in the next three decades. Permanent implementation of the rule would be more devastating.

U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte ordered 23 DDT businesses including Mar-a-Lago to keep their records for a lawsuit against DDT regarding his violation of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution. In District of Columbia v. Trump, attorneys in Washington and Maryland claim that his business empire is profiting from foreign and domestic governments.

Project Veritas may lose its license to collect donations in New York because it failed to disclose the criminal record of founder James O’Keefe from a 2010 conviction.  DDT is one of the donors to the group that uses editing and lies in order to produce fraudulent videos, the most recent one by a woman who lied about Roy Moore impregnating her and getting an abortion for her. The group’s paperwork also failed to disclose that Utah and Mississippi had already removed its rights to raise money in their states. The DOJ is now using O’Keefe’s fake videos about Planned Parenthood to launch an investigation into the organization.

Fox is calling for the arrest of a president. Lou Dobbs wants Barack Obama arrested for saying that people should “think before you speak. Think before you tweet.”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the reason that DDT is taking almost two million acres from the public in the Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments is that “public lands are for public use and not for special interests.” Possibly Zinke’s “public use” comes from the fact that over three-fourths of the property that DDT took from public land sits on fossil fuel reserves. Five Utah tribes—Navajo, Ute Mountain Ute, Ute Indian, Hopi, and the Pueblo of Zini—plan to sue DDT to save approximately 100,000 cultural and ancestral sites, some dating back to 1300 AD. Navajo Nation Council Delegate Davis Filfred said:

“More than 150 years ago, the federal government removed our ancestors from Bears Ears at gunpoint and sent them on the Long Walk. But we came back.”

Zinke hopes to shrink more national monuments, including Oregon’s Cascades-Siskiyou so that he can cut down its trees.

Last week, DDT destroyed a ceremony with the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II; this week he described the bombing of Pearl Harbor as a “pretty wild scene” during a ceremony.

DDT refused to take on-the-record questions on Air Force One during one his newsiest days. Ken Walsh, journalist covering six presidents, said, “The briefing has become a battleground, not a place for public education or enlightenment or even the discussion of basic information.”

The RNC gave $170,000 to Roy Moore for his campaign because DDT told them to give him money. Sexual assault isn’t Moore’s only problem; he also said to a black man that the last time the United States was great was when the nation had slavery. In the meantime, lawyers are working to preserve electronic images of all paper ballots cast in the December 12 election and ensure the electronic scanners will capture the digital ballot images. Different states have struggled with out-of-date computers and mysteriously destroyed records, most recently in Georgia. Elections have already shown through hand-counting that many votes are not detected by the optical-scan device.

In another move toward “Make America Alone Again,” DDT withdrew from UN attempts to develop compassionate global refugee policies. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said that the U.S. will make decisions alone. The nomination for Haley’s fill-in if she is not available, white supremacist Patrick Murray, has passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Secretary of State Betsy DeVos’ brother, Blackwater founder Erik Prince, is proposing a private spy group to fight “deep state” political enemies in federal intelligence agencies and allow DDT to send spies for covert operations into “denied areas” such as North Korea and Iran. Prince also wants a global rendition force to capture terrorist suspects around the world and set up propaganda campaigns in the Middle East and Europe. The plan copies the old British East Indian Company private army that colonized the British empire in India. The group would be “off the books” with no government oversight: funding would come from picking off Afghanistan’s rich deposits of minerals such as lithium, uranium, and “rare earth elements.” Another actor in the plan is Oliver North, who set up the same type of network 30 years ago to wage war against the leftist government of Nicaragua after Congress refused funding for military intervention in Central America’s civil wars.

DDT’s lawyers have a new defense tactic: the president is above the law. The current DOJ said 18 years ago that no one—even the president—is above the law when the president was a Democrat.

Forget about price shopping for airline flights; DDT withdrew a proposed rule for transparency in baggage fees.

The 28 of 30 Jewish House members who are Democrats weren’t invited to DDT’s partisan Hanukah party, five days before the beginning of the celebration. The tiny menorah brought into the room only for the ceremony and lighted by DDT’s grandchildren was in the midst of four huge Christmas trees. Afterwards, the party moved to DDT’s International Hotel for the “Hanukkah Nightcap” party funded by Sheldon Adelson’s Republican Jewish Coalition.

Less than one year after his inauguration, DDT is welcome only at rallies with vetted audiences of Trumpettes. Early this week, neither DDT nor his wife attended Kennedy Center Honors, the first time the president was not in attendance or represented since its inception in 1978.  Today DDT did not attend the public opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson because of protests, including by NAACP and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) who had been injured and jailed during the 1960s civil rights protests. DeNeen L. Brown and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. describe the tragedies depicted in the museum.

After DDT may have admitted obstructing of justice in his tweet about Michael Flynn, White House staff is considering making rules for how messages are posted on social media.

The latest Pew Research puts the approval rating for DDT at 32 percent with 63 percent disapproving. At the same time for his first term, President Obama’s approval rating was 49 percent. DDT’s loss of evangelical voters may be painful; the approval rating among that group has fallen 17 points down to 72 percent.  Further drops for DDT: Adults 50 and older – from 47 percent to 38 percent; whites – 49 percent to 41 percent.

November 26, 2017

DDT: Week Forty-four – His Struggles

Conservative media is working to get rid of special investigator Robert Mueller by trying to tie him to the Uranium deal. Mueller, however, just keeps plugging along with his investigation into Russia and people surrounding Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Some of Mueller’s progress:

Lawyers for Michael Flynn will no longer share information with DDT’s legal team, indicating that Flynn might be sharing with Mueller. Flynn may soon flip on DDT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. To rumors that Kushner is considering a return to his home in New York City, says he’s staying. (Others who said they were staying didn’t last long.)

For the first time since Mueller started, the investigation, he has told the DOJ to turn over a broad array of documents, especially emails related to DDT’s firing former FBI director James Comey and AG Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the Russia matter.

DDT has fired U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana Boente who also served as the acting assistant attorney general for the DOJ National Security Division. Boente witnessed DDT applying pressure on former FBI director James Comey about the Russian investigation before he was also fired, according to Comey, and may testify against DDT in an obstruction case. In addition, Boente was in a position to refuse to fire Mueller if DDT hadn’t fired him.

Kushner had told investigators that he knew of no contacts between DDT’s campaign and WikiLeaks, but new evidence indicates that Donald Trump Jr. told Kushner about his exchange of messages with WikiLeaks.

DDT’s tweets may force the government to reveal more information about the privately compiled dossier about DDT’s ties to Russia if a judge decides in the investigators’ favor. A Freedom of Information request has used DDT’s tweets demanding that information about the dossier be made public.

A fascinating overview of Mueller’s progress.

More bad news for DDT:

Leandra English, acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is suing DDT and budget director Mike Mulvaney because of DDT’s naming Mulvaney as CFPB acting director in opposition to the Dodd-Frank Act.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has called DDT a moron, and now five sources said that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told Oracle CEO Safra Catz that DDT is an idiot and dope. McMaster also said that DDT has the intelligence of a “kindergartner.” Plus DDT’s economic advisor Gary Cohn faked a bad phone connection to get off the phone from DDT.

An unsubstantiated attack on Hillary Clinton’s charitable foundation led to the way that DDT used his own charitable money for a personal slush fund with proof from the foundation’s own official documents. DDT lied about what he had done, and now he wants to shut down the foundation that had assets of almost $1 million after his election. Shutting down the charity, however, won’t happen until New York stops its investigation that may keep going. The latest revelation in a tax filing is that one of DDT’s golf courses reimbursed over $158,000 to the foundation that it borrowed to settle a lawsuit against the club.

DDT claimed a successful Asia trip because Japan would buy U.S. “jet fighters,” but the Pentagon has not notified Congress of any possible sale, required before negotiations begin. Japan has also denied DDT’s claims. DDT had made the same lie about Finland and falsely bragged about lowering the prices of the new Air Force One and the F-35 fighter jets.

Two DDT campaign promises were to double coal jobs and do away with regulations. In the past ten months, coal jobs have gone up three percent to 51,900. The disappearance of safety regulations has doubled the number of fatal accidents for workers new to a mine thus far this year—fourteen instead of seven in a 100-percent increase. More bad news for DDT is that building and running new renewable energy is cheaper than running existing coal and nuclear plans in many places. Cost for utility scale solar and wind power dropped six percent in North America last year while coal stayed flat and nuclear power cost soared.

The Information Quality Act, an obscure 2000 law passed as a rider to an appropriations bill, requires agencies to disseminate only objective and high-quality information. The public can challenge information that doesn’t fit these criteria. The original purpose was to restrict regulations through blocking scientific information, but the its use calls attention to false information and forces the government to defend its releases, weakening agencies from using that information in political debates, court cases, etc. The Democracy Forward Foundation is arguing that two claims by the Treasury Department are inaccurate one that the proposed tax cuts would save the average taxpayer between $4000 and $9000 and the other that 70 percent of the corporate tax burden falls on workers. The Foundation backs up their claims that both of these statements are false in their 10-page letter. The next steps can be the arguments that humans do not contribute to or accelerate climate change.

Approximately a dozen U.S. State Department officials are formally accusing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of violating a federal law, the 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act, intended to stop foreign militaries from enlisting child soldiers. In June, Tillerson excluded Iraq, Myanmar, and Afghanistan from the U.S. list of offenders in the use of child soldiers although the department knew that children were being conscripted in those countries. His decision was against unanimous recommendations of regional bureaus in the Middle East and Asia, U.S. envoys on Afghanistan and Pakistan, his department’s human rights office, and its in-house lawyers.

Once again, Kellyanne Conway broke a federal law, this time coming out against the Democratic candidate for Alabama senator in an official interview. Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, filed a formal complaint based on the Hatch Act, blocking federal employees from “affecting the result of an election.”

DDT’s tweets this week:

  • About lack of credit for freeing LiAngelo Ball from a Chinese jail: “IT WAS ME.” And lots more about the gratitude that DDT demands for doing his job. The day before Thanksgiving on the 54th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, DDT demanded that LaVar Ball bow down and be thankful that he didn’t leave LaVar’s son in a Chinese jail. DDT’s free tweets provided $13 million dollars in advertising for Big Baller Brand.
  •  About a dead border patrol agent possibly from an accident: “we must build the Wall.” (Very different reaction from exoneration for a man who “accidentally” killed a neighbor after sunset when hunting is illegal because he thought she was a deer. No problem.)
  • About DDT’s claim regarding Time “Person of the Year” award: “Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named “Man (Person) of the Year” like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot.” Time says it didn’t happen. DDT’s statement unleashed a flood of parodies.
  • About his hatred for CNN: “@FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN.” Norm Eisen, ethics chief for the Obama White House, noted that DDT’s tweets against CNN could be used against DOJ’s lawsuit blocking the AT&T and Warner merger if AT&T doesn’t sell CNN, which Rupert Murdoch wants to buy.

DDT has come out in support of GOP (Grand Old Pervert) Roy Moore in his candidacy for the senator from Alabama. “You have to listen to [Moore]” when he denies the allegations, DDT said. Although Republicans have loudly denounced Democrats for sexual harassment and sexual assault, 63 percent of the GOP don’t want DDT punished for his admitted sexual transgressions. DDT’s support of Moore in the December 12 election has increased his separation from the mainstream GOP. In a further attempt to separate himself from sexual assault claims, DDT is now denying that his was the voice in the Access Hollywood tapes from a year ago about grabbing women’s genitals. At that time, he confessed to it and apologized. Now he seems to be identifying with Roy Moore by stating that they both suffer from false accusations. Moore has been accused of sexual assault and/or harassment by nine women, DDT by 16, and both of them of raping teenage girls under the age of consent.

Approval ratings for DDT still register in the 30s, between 12 and 37 percent below all the presidents going back to Harry Truman.

October 30, 2017

Russia, Puerto Rico, Budget

Luckily for the Republicans, Dictator Donald Trump is leaving the country Friday. His Asia trip removes him from tweeting about what he will give away in the tax reform legislation. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that it’s an advantage that DDT is a half world away and then tried to explain his comment away by saying that he was joking. At home, however, the problems continue.

The first charges from Robert Mueller’s investigations led today’s media. Twelve counts against DDT’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort include conspiracy against the United States, tax evasion, and money laundering related to his work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine. His longtime deputy, Rick Gates, is also charged. DDT responded with anger to charges against Manafort but said nothing about a greater danger to him, his campaign advisor George Papadopoulos’s confession to colluding with Russia and agreeing to provide more information about the situation. Roger Stone’s tweets were so far over the top that Twitter suspended his account. A detailed timeline of the DDT/Russia affair.

DDT is now lying about having any connection with Cambridge Analytica, a shady British data firm providing data for his campaign, that asked WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange for help in “finding” Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. The desired distraction is the Uranium One deal during Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State by accusing her of allowing Russia to buy a Canadian company. The agreement, which was not controlled by Clinton, does not allow removal of U.S. uranium from either Canada or U.S. without U.S. permission. False allegations about bribery connections come from Breitbart author Peter Schweizer in Clinton Cash.

Another attempted distraction is an attempt to blame a dossier about DDT’s lewd and illegal behavior on Hillary Clinton for a dossier on him. Facts about the 35-page research document prepared by former British spy Christopher Steele:

  • The conservative Washington Free Beacon funded the project before DDT became the GOP candidate when Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, through Democratic lawyer Marc Elias of the law firm Perkins Coie, took over. (Mother Jones reported this information a year ago, but DDT pretends it’s new.)
  • Former FBI director briefed DDT about the contents of the dossier after his election.
  • Unverified ones are under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
  • U.S. intelligence agencies stated that the dossier was not their source and confirmed additional information, including Russian interference in U.S. elections through email hacking and disinformation campaigns.

GOP Republicans want to save money by stopping Mueller’s investigation despite their expensive three-year investigation into Clinton’s Benghazi and emails, bringing the cost of “getting” Clinton over $100 million. Earlier, Kenneth Starr’s investigation into “Whitewater” cost $70 million, and Bill Clinton’s impeachment cost about $60 million. Only the DOJ can block these funds for Mueller’s investigation, however, unless Congress passes a separate law.

Fox and Friends concentrated on where the lettuce should go in a cheeseburger, and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders talked about reporters going out for beers and having to pay taxes.

DDT bragged about his “success” in Puerto Rico, calling it a “10,” but 39 days after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, 77 percent of Puerto Rico is still without electricity. Without energy to power wastewater disposal and clean water delivery systems, their pumps won’t work, and sewage builds up while residents can’t get clean drinking water. People suffer from dehydration and become infected from low-quality water sources. Without electricity, people can’t know where to get supplies.

No one knows how to use the gigantic government hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, and only 33 of its 250 beds were being used a week ago. Many of those who know about the facility can’t get to the port because of impassable roads or fuel. A donation from Tesla has provided a solar power system for a children’s hospital in San Juan, but doctors in other facilities have only the light from cellphones to perform surgery.

DDT prided himself on the low death rate in Puerto Rico, but over 900 bodies have been scheduled for cremation on the island since Hurricane Maria hit. Officials will not know whether they are directly connected to the disaster. These deaths were marked as being from “natural causes,” but many of them died from failing dialysis and oxygen machines after the island had no electricity. Bodies must be sent to the Institute of Forensic Sciences in San Juan for an autopsy to be included in the official death count.

The scandal of Whitefish Energy rebuilding the island’s power grid continues after Gov. Ricardo Rossello finally pulled the plug on a $300 million contract awarded by the island’s power. The board ignored mutual aid from larger experienced power companies which provided workers from U.S. public utility companies after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma this year and instead chose the two-person, two-year-old non-utility Whitefish Energy, located in the small Montana hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. He claims that he had nothing to do with the choice, but his son had worked for the company.

Whitefish’s previous experience was to replace 4.8 miles of transmission line in Arizona for $1.3 million; Puerto Rico has 2,400 miles of critically important transmission lines and tens of thousands of miles of distribution lines across the island. The company relies on subcontractors; they have paid $462 per hour for a supervisor and $319 for a lineman. Each person is daily paid $332.41 for accommodations and $79.82 for food.

According to the contract, Puerto Rico was not allowed to “audit or review the cost and profit elements,” and the government was prohibited from making “any claim against Contractor related to delayed completion of work.” The “contractor will not be subject to compliance with any performance specification during the duration of this reconstruction work.” Although the Whitefish contract states that FEMA approved the deal, the disaster agency said it was not involved in the selection of the company and has “significant concerns” about the decision. The fishy agreement may have been worse than the fraud during the clean-up after Hurricane Katrina in 2006.

Financing for Whitefish comes from the Texas-based private-equity firm HBC Investments, founded by Joe Colonnetta. He and his wife, Kimberly, donated over $80,000 to DDT and RNC campaigns and have associations with Ben Carson, DDT’s secretary of housing and urban development, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, according to photos on her Facebook page.

Last week, Congress passed a disastrous budget with a House vote of 216-212 (20 GOP representatives voting no) and a Senate vote of 51-49 (Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky only GOP saying no) for the next decade:

  • A $1.5 trillion deficit to finance tax cuts with almost 80 percent of them going to the top 1 percent.
  • Cuts to all non-Medicare health programs of $1.3 trillion, almost 30 percent.
  • Cuts of $473 billion to Medicare.
  • Cuts of $653 (13 percent) to mandatory programs in the “income security” spending category including food stamps; Supplemental Security Income (SSI, an anti-poverty program that gives cash to seniors and disabled people); the earned income tax credit (EITC) for people too poor to pay taxes; and unemployment insurance; both military and civilian federal employee pensions.
  • “Mystery” cuts of $800 billion from “non-defense discretionary spending”—funding for the FBI, the National Institutes of Health and other biomedical research, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State Department and Environmental Protection Agency and Treasury Department, etc. More specific cuts include slashing medical research and gutting State and the EPA especially.
  • GOP’s plan to eliminate deductions for state and local taxes adversely affecting one-third of households. (Without that change the deficit would be $2.4 trillion. A proposed tax credit for property taxes would increase the deficit by $700 billion.)
  • Cuts of 93 percent for federal programs that aid survivors of sexual and domestic violence from $460 million to $30 million, the equivalent of a few weekends for DDT at Mar-a-Lago.

Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz said that House Republicans were “asked to vote for a budget that nobody believes in so that we have the chance to vote for a tax bill that nobody’s read.”

Republicans are willing to fund tax cuts for the wealthy with a deficit but demand an offset to pay for healthcare for nine million children in poverty. CHIP ended on October 1, but Republicans won’t renew it until Democrats agree to cut the Affordable Care public health fund, reduce the grace period for enrollees who fail to make the premium payments, repeal the law’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, and make cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. The same people are working to cut off abortions at six weeks because they “love children.”

DDT is demanding the tax cuts (for wealthy) bill on his desk by Thanksgiving—about a dozen work days for the House—but keeps killing ideas on making money for the wealthy. This week he promised to allow people to continue deducting $18,000 for their 401(k) retirement accounts instead of $2,400 but withdrew the statement after the House included the change in the bill. The government will get the taxes no matter what, but the GOP wants it this year, costing $2 trillion in the next decade. The bill will supposedly be released in two days.

Republicans further voted against DDT’s base by forbidding class action consumer lawsuits against banks or credit card companies. VP Mike Pence broke the tie in the Senate. More advantage for the wealthy!

September 23, 2017

DDT: Week Thirty-five – Health Care, Russia Loom

The UN experience is over for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) although he’s still exchanging childish insults with North Korea. In addition to the cliffhanger question of a world war, Now the U.S. is waiting for a vote in the Senate about health care repeal and replace with less money to most of the states. Sen. John McCain has come out against the bill, but GOP Senate leaders want to buy Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) vote. The bill gives Alaska and Montana—just those two states—continued advantages of the Affordable Care Act: premium tax credits from Affordable Care Act repealed for other states, delayed Medicaid per capita caps delayed, and “an increased federal Medicaid matching rate. Less than three months ago, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), co-author of this bill, ranted against buying off people to get votes for a health care bill.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) explained the push to get the bill passed in the next week before the filibuster takes over:

“I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered. But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign.”

Grassley means that the Koch brothers and friends will pull the plug on donations without legislation. At a June retreat, one donor declared that his “Dallas piggy bank” was closed until the GOP manages to “get Obamacare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed.”

Congress wants DDT to continue his warmongering throughout the world. Sixty-one senators defeated a measure that would have limited DDT’s ability to wage war anywhere he wants. Congress has abdicated its responsibility to determine times and places of warring on other countries. An amendment from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to the defense bill would have repealed a post-9/11 military authorization allowing DDT to determine times and places of warring on other countries. Paul said:

“What we have today is basically unlimited war anywhere, anytime, anyplace upon the globe. Even if my colleagues say, ‘war, war, that’s the answer everywhere, all the time,’ by golly, come down and put your name on it.”

DDT plans to extend drone strikes and commando raids in any countries where Islamic militants are active without high-level vetting. Such action could lead to attacks in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Russia has threatened retaliation against the U.S. if their troops continue to come under fire. The recent shelling of Syrian government positions by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has also put Russian troops under fire.

Other Russia problems:

Difference of opinion between DDT and his administration:

“The Russia hoax continues, now it’s ads on Facebook.” – DDT

“It is clear, and this administration and the entire government has been clear that Russia meddled in the campaigns and the election. That is inappropriate. Absolutely inappropriate. No one takes issue with that whatsoever.” – State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert

Media reported that federal investigators allegedly secretly wiretapped former DDT campaign manager Paul Manafort before and after the 2016 election and plan to indict him. He was first surveilled for employment by a pro-Russia Ukrainian political party and then watched for his collusion between DDT’s campaign and Russian officials to get DDT elected. Two weeks before DDT became the GOP nominee, Manafort offered to brief a Russian billionaire with close ties to Russia. In July, Mueller executed a “no-knock” search warrant on Manafort’s home to stop him from destroying documents connected with violation of tax laws, money-laundering, and foreign lobbying. Mueller has also asked for documents in 13 areas of interest from the White House and Air Force One, including DDT’s firing former FBI director James Comey and DDT’s son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer.

Information about Michael Flynn’s secret meetings and lobbying for the U.S. to spread nuclear power across the unstable Middle East, possibly with Russia’s help, have been expanded with the knowledge that he was joined by Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, who still has security clearance. Michael Flynn’s legal fees are supposedly about $1 million, and he’s asking for donations. DDT and Don Jr. don’t have problems with their legal bills: they’re using money from DDT’s 2020 reelection campaign and the RNC. This the first case of a sitting president using campaign funds for criminal matters.

Facebook’s advertising against Clinton paid by Russia continues with Mueller’s investigating DDT’s campaign digital operation and its overseer, his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Billionaire Robert Mercer’s data firm, Cambridge Analytica, made Facebook’s fake news into Propaganda Center for DDT.

Michael Cohen, former DDT lawyer, will be required to testify in an open hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee instead of a closed meeting with staff because he broke his agreement not to release a public statement before the meeting.

Nicaragua has decided to sign the Paris climate agreement leaving the United States alone with Syria in opposition.

Back on the home front:

White House staffers are flocking to headhunters, seeking positions in the private sector. The turnover date seems to be January, one year less than usual for new presidential administrations. White supremacist Sebastian Gorka, fired from the White House, already got a new gig as “chief strategist” with the “MAGA Coalition,” that supports political candidates who will “compete against globalist corporatists interests.” His first gig was with Sarah Palin—yes, the former VP candidate—at a rally for far right evangelist Roy Moore at the September 26 runoff for Alabama GOP senate candidate. A sample of Moore’s rhetoric about Native Americans and Asians from the state Supreme Court Justice who refused to follow the law on marriage equality:

“Now we have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting. What’s going to unite us? What’s going to bring us back together? A President? A Congress? No. It’s going to be God.”

Opposing Moore is appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL), the preference of DDT and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). DDT lukewarm comments at Strange’s rally won’t inspire confidence. “I don’t know him. I met him once.” And “that is the tallest human being I’ve ever seen.” DDT said that he might be making a mistake in backing Strange and would rather be home watching television. It was—“strange.”

The 10th Circuit Court ruled that BLM violated federal law by failing to consider climate impact of four coal leases on federal land in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. Three of the leases are actively being mined, and two of them produce about 20 percent of the coal used to generate electricity. A month ago, a federal judge made the same ruling in blocking the expansion of an underground Montana coal mine.

California is suing DDT in opposition to his “wall” because it is unconstitutional and breaches environment laws.

DDT is using a report that censored data in a refugee policy in attempt to show that refugees from war-torn countries “are not a net benefit to the U.S. economy.” His HHS report shows that refugees brought in “$63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost.”

A teamsters union representing 120,000 New York workers has declared itself a “sanctuary union” after ICE deported long time member Eber Garcia Vasquez. His asylum case was turned down in 2013, but he annually checked in with immigration authorities and had applied for a green card. Vasquez’s wife and three children are U.S. citizens.

DDT’s old travel ban expires tomorrow, and he needs new plans. One may be to extend the existing six countries that he thinks have not protected against terrorists and criminals coming to the U.S. The current ban goes to the Supreme Court on October 10 for argument. After over eight months since his inauguration and declaration of bans, DDT hasn’t been able to put together a vetting system.

The Trump Organization, still owned by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), has decided to clean up DDT’s bio for posterity. Gone are all references to his birther fight—his attempts to prove that President Obama was not born in the United States—and all his bankruptcies and other failed deals. It also removes any mention to Macy’s dropping DDT’s product line because of his racist remarks about Mexican immigrants and reference to Istanbul’s Trump Towers. DDT doesn’t own that property or most buildings labeled “Trump” outside the United States, but the Turkish owners bought his name for between $1 million and $5 million. A year ago, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted the towers to be renamed because of DDT’s Islamophobic comments.

As part of DDT’s order for anti-leak training at all executive agencies, the EPA required its employees to undergo the hour-long training. Part of the instruction is that they cannot release any information even if unclassified. Training materials were leaked to the press. The EPA has received press about its cozy relationship with the fossil fuel industry, its purging federal scientists, and its removal of information about climate change from the EPA website. Other information includes the EPA’s rolling back regulations.

Could this be considered a death threat? Ann Coulter suggested “death squads” for removing the president who didn’t live up to her anti-immigration expectations.

September 13, 2017

DDT: Week Thirty-three – Natural Disasters Mixed with GOP Disappointment

Disaster—that is the word for 33rd week that Dictator Donald Trump spent as the White House resident. Houston suffered from Hurricane Harvey as Hurricane Irma, considered five times worse than Hurricane Andrew 25 years ago, ploughed through islands south of Florida and moved across the mainline to devastate large parts of southern states. Hackers into Equifax, one of the principal credit score providers in the nation, collected records, including Social Security numbers and birthdates allowing identity theft, from 143 million people. They also got credit card numbers from over 200,000 people and dispute documents with personal information for another 182,000 customers.

Between Harvey and Irma came the 8.1 earthquake on the southern coast of Mexico, the worst in 100 years, that killed at least 95 people. The death rate was much lower than the estimated 2,000 to 40,000 deaths with the 8.0 earthquake in Mexico because of better building codes and less populated areas for the earthquake’s site. A similar earthquake possible for southwestern California could kill thousands of people and be worsened if the proposed 2018 budget cuts funds for a seismic warning system as proposed. DDT ignored both the earthquake and the loss of at least three people after Hurricane Katia hit Mexico. Three weeks ago, DDT also refused to send any fire-fighting aid to Oregon although its 500,000 burning acres comprise one-third of the fires in the nation.

Congressional GOP members were devastated when (DDT) turned on them and made “Chuck and Nancy”—Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) (left) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), his new friends. DDT’s old friends “Paul” Ryan (R-WI), House Speaker, and “Mitch” McConnell (R-KY), Senate Majority Leader, got left in the dust at a meeting where DDT gave Democrats three-month extensions on the budget and the debt ceiling as well as the $15 billion disaster aid with no cuts in other areas. An hour earlier, Ryan had called the three-month debt-ceiling extension “ridiculous,” “disgraceful,” and “unworkable, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also disliked the deal. The GOP will face another fight for the budget and debt ceiling before the December 8, 2017 deadline.

Pundits’ theories on why DDT agreed to the deal: he got bored, he thought conservatives wanted it, he thought it would clear the way for progress as in tax “cuts,” or he’s just hostile toward congressional GOP leadership. DDT’s support of North Dakota’s Democratic senators up for re-election this year at his rally last week supports the last idea. A question is how much longer the GOP will protect DDT.

DDT’s deal with Schumer and Pelosi moved so fast that he signed the bill into law within three days. Seventeen GOP senators and 90 GOP representative Republicans voted against it, including four House members from storm-ravaged Texas. Another 17 GOP representatives refused to vote. With GOP support, however, hurricane aid passed 88 days faster than it did for Superstorm Sandy.

Billionaire Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney were booed when they advocated for the bill; Mulvaney had led opposition to raising the debt ceiling when he was in the House. The booing continued after he wouldn’t promise Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) that DDT would not commit to reducing the debt ceiling in the December negotiations. Mnuchin left early after he said that people should support the bill for him personally and not for the policy. Ryan forgot he hated the bill and supported the legislation.

DDT rescinded DACA (the executive order allowing people illegally brought into the country involuntarily as children to get job permits) but made AG Jeff Sessions make the announcement. Sessions claimed that his job is to “enforce the law” and then defended DDT’s pardon of Arizona’s past sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty of criminal contempt after he willfully violating a federal judge’s order to stop racial profiling. Unable to cope with his unpopularity after his anti-DACA ruling, DDT blamed Congress and said that he was just waiting for them to fix his own firing of 800,000 people so that they will take the hit from conservative voters.

Congress is willing to use millions of lives as extortion. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) wants to trade legal permanent dreamers’ residence for cutting immigration levels in half. Others want to trade the dreamers’ rights for DDT’s wall. Over 400 executives, many of them from the biggest companies such as AT&T and Microsoft, have signed a petition to protect the “dreamers.”  These CEOs know that purchases from Dreamers create more jobs and more profits for these companies that are the strongest base for GOP donations. Even members of DDT’s evangelical advisory board, who supported his racism, think that DDT’s DACA decision is wrong. Sixty-four percent of people in the U.S. back this program, including 41 percent of Republicans. And workers are needed to rebuild after massive losses from the nation’s disasters. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia are suing DDT for his DACA decision. An earlier lawsuit supporting DACA has a court hearing tomorrow. DDT has one fewer DACA recipient to throw out of the country: Alonso Guillen, 31, died rescuing people from Hurricane Harvey.

Special investigator Robert Mueller’s juggernaut about Russian involvement keeps moving forward as six current and former DDT aides, including Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus, may be interviewed. DDT tortured Spicer as much as, or more than, Saturday Night Live, as the press secretary was constantly forced to lie—beginning with the size of the inauguration crowd on DDT’s first day. The firing of former FBI director James Comey was a huge fiasco as Spicer passed along the party line of a DOJ recommendation for the act just before DDT told Lester Holt that he had long planned to fire Comey with “Russia” on his mind. DDT also tormented Priebus up to the time that he resigned. Both can use the Fifth Amendment not to testify, but there are always memos. Even the White House lawyer needs a lawyer.

DDT’s statement that he will give $1 million to relief aid for Hurricane Harvey as brought back the question of the donations to his inauguration fund that he said would be given to charities. The committee raised $107 million with no caps on individual contributions and selling “exclusive access” for over $1 million, but low attendance kept costs down. Charities were supposed to know who gets the money in April, but now Tom Barrack, head of the committee said that he will release details in November. Maybe the $1 million of DDT’s “personal money” will come from that source—or maybe it will go for Donald Trump, Jr.’s legal fees like DDT’s campaign funds. [$1 million sounds generous, but if DDT is worth $9 billion, it’s like a person with $1 million in net assets giving $90. Millionaires comprise less than ten percent of people in the U.S.]

Donald Jr. needs the legal assistance he’s getting from DDT’s campaign funds. This past week, he was interviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee about his meeting over a year ago with Russians to “get dirt” on Hillary Clinton before the presidential election. He said that he was just checking into her “fitness” for the office. This was after a number of various excuses earlier.

Another DDT problem is the NAFTA negotiations. DDT has said that Canada and Mexico are being “difficult”; Canada is demanding that the U.S. eliminate anti-union “right-to-work” laws and pressuring both Mexico and the U.S. “to offer a year of paid family leave, as Canada does.” In the U.S., 29 states have passed laws eliminating rights of unions, and congressional Republicans have sponsored bills to make “right to work” in all states that will suppress wages, employment, and economic growth. DDT has already cut pay increases for federal employees, overturned overtime pay and worker safety rules, and put union-busters on the National Labor Relations Board which is supposed to protect workers. Trade agreements typically favor corporations over workers; Canada is trying to change that dynamic.

Pushed to the bottom of immediate concerns from the media is North Korea’s claim that it has a hydrogen bomb that can be loaded onto an intercontinental ballistic missile. Experts think that the bomb is actually a “boosted” atomic bomb with less power than a hydrogen bomb, but the U.S. is still goading North Korea with its summer “games.” The U.S. has joined Japan and South Korea in large-scale military drills with over 3,500 troops to simulate an invasion of North Korea and destroy the current regime. Last week’s North Korean missile tests were in response to South Korea’s three week-long military drills with over 75,000 combat troops accompanied by hundreds of tanks, armored vehicles, landing craft, heavy artillery, a full naval flotilla and flyovers by squadrons of state of the art fighters and strategic bombers.

DDT expects help from South Korea to protect the U.S. from North Korea after he lied about sending military resources to help them, ignored history by saying that they were part of China, told them that they had to pay for the U.S. missile-defense system, threatened to eliminate the trade agreement with South Korea, and failed to nominate an ambassador to South Korea.  After alienating Europe, DDT is also going to them for help. DDT’s following through on his threat to stop trade with countries doing business with North Korea would be “an economic tsunami beyond description,” according to NPR’s Ron Elving, and former George W. Bush staffer Taylor Griffin called the economic impact “apocalyptic.” The value of trade between China and the U.S. alone is $663 billion—and DDT’s purchases are part of that amount.

Chief of Staff John Kelly seems to be quieting DDT for the past weeks, but he got his cellphone back tonight when he railed against “Crooked Clinton” about her new book. We’ll wait to see if it’s the recurring trend.

 

August 31, 2017

DDT Doesn’t Always Win

While Hurricane Harvey continues to destroy a large part of Texas and surrounding areas, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) moves toward his personal disaster. Despite adamant claims that he had no business dealings with Russia during his campaign, he signed a “letter of intent” on October 28, 2015 to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and ask for money from a Russian bank—four months after he declared his candidacy.  Then-Trump Organization Chief Counsel Michael Cohen said that he told DDT three times about the Moscow proposal.

Other Russian issues:

  • Special counsel Robert Mueller has joined N.Y. AG Eric Schneiderman. Three reasons: DDT cannot pardon state crimes; Schneiderman can continue the investigation if DDT fires Mueller; and DDT can’t take information from Schneiderman.
  • Felix Sater, Russian-born real estate broker involved in Trump businesses, wrote emails in 2015 to set up a deal for a Moscow Trump Tower and promised that he can get Putin to “get Donald elected.”
  • Cohen wrote Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, for help.
  • Rinat Akhmetshin, Russian lobbyist and “former” spy, appeared before special investigator Robert Mueller’s grand jury on August 11. He had attended the meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. and others, including Paul Manafort and DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner,to get “dirt” on Hillary Clinton before the presidential election. Jr. may be testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee this coming week. (DDT called its chair, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), to tell him how much he loves ethanol, important to Grassley’s constituency.)
  • Mueller has sent Paul Manafort more subpoenas.
  • DDT’s deputy chief of staff, Rick Dearborn, tried to arrange a meeting in June 2016 between DDT’s campaign and Putin. Dearborn was also working for then Sen. Jeff Sessions while he received $28,000 from DDT’s campaign.
  • DDT campaign adviser George Papadopoulos also emailed campaign officials in March 2016 about arranging meetings with Russians.
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) will vote in favor of the releasing the Senate Judiciary Committee testimony of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson on the DDT dossier about Russian connections. With his support, the Democrats may be successful in this action.
  • Officials at the CIA Counterintelligence Mission Center are carefully watching CIA director, Mike Pompeo, out of concern that he may protect DDT at the cost of the Russian—and DDT—investigation.

DDT’s pardon for “Sheriff Joe”:

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) may have gotten a spinal implant—or is just fed up with DDT attacking him—when he disagreed with the presidential pardon for former Multnomah County (AZ) Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Ryan’s speaker, Doug Andres, said that “the speaker does not agree with the decision.”

When DDT pardoned “Sheriff Joe,” he probably didn’t know that an acceptance of the pardon is an admission of guilt of the crime, according to the 1915 Supreme Court ruling in Burdick v. United States. Arpaio cannot be tried for that crime again, but the pardon may leave him open to hundreds of civil suits. He had intended to appeal the court’s decision.

Blocking a federal judge’s ruling that enforced the Constitution for a person who swore to defend the Constitution shows DDT’s open contempt for the U.S. Constitution. Over 150 people, mostly current and former judges and lawyers, protested outside the Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. Courthouse in Phoenix (AZ) in well above 100 degrees against the pardon.The judge, Susan Bolton, has ordered DOJ to file a memo and scheduled a hearing for October 4 when the pardoning team may argue why Arpaio deserves to be pardoned. The prosecution can argue publicly about his extensive crimes, including his concentration camp (Arpaio’s words), inmate torture, refusal to investigate sex crimes against Latina children, and women shackled while giving birth. Another issue is the 160 people who died in his jails with no reason for abusive guards and missing oversight.

DDT retweeted a lie from Fox’s Katie Pavlich that President Obama had pardoned Chelsea Manning, who “gave U.S. enemies state secrets,” according to Pavlich. In fact, President Obama commuted Manning’s sentence after she had served seven years. Journalist Pavlich complained that the media was “squabbling” about the difference between “pardon” and “commute.”

Differences with staff and world leaders:

  • The President of the United States typically speaks for the nation, but Secretary of State said that DDT “speaks for himself” about “the American people’s values or the commitment … to advancing those values and defending those values.” Tillerson was responding to a question about the United Nations’ criticism regarding DDT’s response to Charlottesville (VA) and the White House’s “failure at the highest political level to unequivocally reject and condemn the racist violent events and demonstrations.”
  • Last week, chief economic advisor Gary Cohn said that the White House “can and must do better” to condemn racist groups and should “do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities.”
  • Defense Secretary James Mattis told troops that they needed “to hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other and showing it.” After that he announced that transgender troops in the military can serve pending the results of a study “which will contain the steps that will promote military readiness, lethality, and unit cohesion, with due regard for budgetary constraints and consistent with applicable law.” LGBT groups Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN have joined the ACLU, Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and GLAD to sue the government because of DDT’s rejection of transgender service members. DDT will have to prove that transgender people in the military affects “our readiness, ability to fight, and lethality.”
  • Payment for “the wall” is still a bone of contention. In January, DDT knew that Mexico wouldn’t pay for the wall when he begged Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to not tell anybody because it would make him look bad. Recently, DDT tweeted that Mexico would pay, and its foreign ministry answered, “Our country will not pay, under any circumstances, for a wall.” DDT is also whining that Mexico, along with Canada, is being “very difficult” about NAFTA after DDT called Mexico “one of the highest crime nations in the world.”
  • During his press conference with Finland’s Sauli Niinisto this week, DDT talked about the “purchasing large amounts of our great F-18 aircraft from Boeing [and] lots of other military equipment.” Niiniso denied the purchase.

Good news from Arizona:

Seven years after a racist state school superintendent closed down a popular Tucson Mexican-American Studies program that kept students in school, U.S. District Judge A. Wallace Tashima ruled that the ban was enacted with discriminatory intent. Created in 1998, the Tucson program focused on Mexican-American history, literature, and art. Participating students outdid the other students in grades and standardized test results. The part of a law banning classes for students of a specific ethnic group was struck down. Tasimo had harsh words about former state education leaders Tom Horne and John Huppenthal who helped pass the law in 2010.:

“Additional evidence shows that defendants were pursuing these discriminatory ends in order to make political gains. Horne and Huppenthal repeatedly pointed to their efforts against the MAS program in their respective 2011 political campaigns, including in speeches and radio advertisements. The issue was a political boon to the candidates.”

More good news:

  • Opposing DDT, the Republican National Committee passed a resolution “condemning the violence and racist beliefs” of “abhorrent white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017, that led to loss of life and numerous injuries.” The resolution also cited the founding of the GOP “in the struggle against slavery and a rejection of the racial beliefs underlying the institution of slavery.”
  • The DOJ withdrew its warrant for 1.3 million visitor records to a site protesting DDT’s inauguration. District of Columbia Superior Court Chief Judge Robert E. Morin approved a new warrant with more limits with the requirement that the data not be disseminated outside the DOJ and will supervise the government.
  • A federal court unanimously struck down Texas’ unconstitutional voter ID law because it discriminated against Latinos and blacks and violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The state must redraw its districting maps before the 2018 election, and the federal government may start overseeing the state’s voting procedures. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has put a hold on the court ruling until September 5.
  • Judge Orlando L. Garcia of United States District Court for the Western District of Texas temporarily blocked Texas’ ban on so-called sanctuary cities supposed to go into effect tomorrow. The law allows police to question the immigration status of anyone and threaten fines, jail, and removal from office for officials. The state’s largest cities—including Houston—are suing to strike down the law.
  • The DOJ support for a lawsuit against DDT’s religious liberty executive order claims that the order doesn’t allow churches and other religious groups to take political action that other charities cannot.
  • DDT rejected requests from coal magnate Robert Murray and billionaire Carl Icahn despite their huge donations to his campaign. Murray wanted to use emergency powers to keep coal-fired power plants open, and Icahn wanted a change to an EPA ethanol rule to profit his oil refining company. Icahn resigned from DDT’s administration. Murray is suing John Oliver for his reporting on the coal mine owner. (Catch this clip before Murray succeeds with his gag order!) Will Jim Justice, coal billionaire and West Virginia governor turned Republican from Democrat recently, get his $4.5 billion annually to pay utilities $15 per ton for Appalachian coal burned?
  • The American Legion adopted a resolution Thursday urging the federal government to allow Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to discuss and recommend medical marijuana in states where it’s legal.
  • Illinois has become the tenth state—20 percent of the nation—to adopt automatic voter registration in just two years since Oregon became the first state with this registration procedure.

The stock market is still climbing, but board members and executives at the top six U.S. banks are now consistently selling their own banks’ shares.

Another cover to post at DDT’s golf courses from Germany’s Der Spiegel.

[The article, “Das wahre Gesicht des Donald Trump”: “The true face of Donald Trump.”]

July 22, 2017

DDT: Week Twenty-Six – ‘Made outside America’

Biggest news of week along with the current failure of Trumpcare and the dissing of AG Jeff Sessions is Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) claim that he can pardon himself as well as his family and associates. The jury is out on that one, but even a DDT success in that arena doesn’t get him out of trouble. By accepting a pardon, DDT—or anyone else he pardons—admits guilt and then has to face state charges. The use of pardons for one’s own crimes can also be considered an abuse of power or obstruction of justice. Similarly, firing special investigator Robert Mueller doesn’t necessarily get DDT out of trouble because state prosecutors can hire Mueller and his team. All this can be done without impeachment or congressional investigation by Republicans. Mueller and his lawyers could also be called as witnesses in the civil litigation about emoluments and the hacking conspiracy.

During his campaign, DDT warned that the nation would face a constitutional crisis with a Hillary Clinton presidency because she would face multiple criminal investigations? That Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders would “sit back and they would laugh and they would smile” during a years-long investigation.

“She would be under protracted criminal investigation and probably a criminal trial, I would say. So we’d have a criminal trial of a sitting president…. Our country will continue to suffer.”

Litigation is spreading over into DDT’s cabinet. Last week the U.S. Treasury fined ExxonMobil $1 million for signing agreements with Russian-owned Rosneft while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was Exxon’s CEO. Exxon filed a legal complaint naming Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin as lead defendant.

One other strategy from DDT is impugning Mueller’s character. Even his own team of lawyers reportedly opposes it, and Mark Corallo quit the team after only one day. His departure briefly preceded Press Secretary/Communications Director Sean Spicer as collateral damage from DDT’s administration. Also gone is DDT’s long-time lawyer Marc Kasowitz. That makes at least 19 “resignations” during DDT’s first six months.

On his first day, Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci appeared at the first on-camera White House press conference in nine days to declare his and everyone else’s love for DDT and announce Spicer’s leaving. Scaramucci said that he hoped Spicer “goes on to make a tremendous amount of money.” Just two years ago, Scaramucci called DDT a “hack politician” and member of the “Queen County bullies association” but now plans to erase all his negative tweets about DDT. The new press secretary is Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has been holding most of the recent press conferences. White supremacist Steve Bannon almost quit when DDT hired the Goldman Sachs alumnus, nicknamed “The Mooch.”

Four days before DDT’s inauguration, Scaramucci met with Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian $10 billion state-run investment fund, which the U.S. sanctioned in 2015. When Scaramucci criticized the sanctions, DDT said that he might ease them. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said during his confirmation hearing that he would ask for an investigation into Scaramucci who also sold his hedge funds investment firm, SkyBridge Capital, to China for $11.5 billion. Scaramucci’s only experience in “political communication” was a few appearances on television. SNL aficionados may miss Spicer, but Scaramucci is sure to make an appearance.

DDT understands that he lacks the power that he thought a president holds, but he’s still exceeding that power. This week he interviewed Jessie Liu before he nominated her to a U.S. attorney seat. His action breaks precedence of separating this position from political influence. If confirmed, Liu would have power in Washington, D.C. where DDT is being sued for his hotel/restaurant’s conflict of interest.

A few DDT losses this week:

DDT’s administration is using taxpayer money intended to encourage enrollment in the Affordable Care Act for a PR campaign to kill the law with video testimonials and social media to damage public opinion of a law works quite well. Tom Price led HHS in producing over 130 videos from almost 30 interviews that occurred at the department’s internal studio. Contractors may have charged $550 an hour for their work from DDT’s request of $574 million for “consumer information and outreach.” Funds also paid for people to travel to Washington, D.C. for this purpose. HHS is also leading the anti-ACA messaging and replaced information on its website about applying for coverage with critical information about ACA encouraging people to use private brokers.

A group suing DDT has gained access to DDT’s Mar-A-Lago visitor logs; they will be publicly released in early September. The suit regarding White House visitor logs is ongoing.

In California, U.S. District Judge William Orrick III denied DDT’s request to strip funding from cities providing haven to undocumented immigrants. Orrick ruled that spending power is vested in Congress, not the president.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is requesting DDT campaign documents about Russian contacts and requested “all communications to, from, or copied to the Trump campaign relating to” a list of 41 individuals that includes presidential candidate Jill Stein.

After spending almost an entire hour telling national security advisers the he didn’t want to preserve the nuclear agreement with Iran, DDT declared that Iran is complying with its agreement. The GOP needs its failure to support their opposition, but DDT has twice confirmed Iranian compliance.

Business is shrinking at DDT’s branded properties, especially in L.A. and the Bronx.

Identification of the eighth person at a collusion meeting with DDT’s son-in-law and oldest son reveals Irakly Kaveladze who may be part of a $1.4 billion money-laundering scheme of Russian and Eastern European money through U.S. banks. The major figure in the meeting, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, denied any connection to the Kremlin, but she represented the Russian spy agency FSB which followed the KGB.  Russian president, Vladimir Putin, worked for the KGB until 1999.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker will block U.S. arms sales to six Middle East nations until they settle the blockade against Qatar. DDT sided against Qatar, but U.S. intelligence found that the conflict started after the United Arab Emirates planted false information on Qatari government news and social media sites.

DDT’s approval rating of 38.8 percent for his second quarter is below all other presidents in over a half century, in some case far below.

DDT’s week theme, “Made in America,” creates media attention to DDT’s “Made outside America” approaches:

Much of DDT-branded products are manufactured offshore—clothing in Mexico and China as well as steel and aluminum in China.  But he’s already coming under fire for the move, given that Trump-branded products are often manufactured overseas.

Ivanka Trump’s fashion lines are produced by low-wage workers in places such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, and China. The company said that it won’t be selling clothing and shoes made in the U.S.

DDT has expanded the H-2B visa program for temporary workers from 66,000 to 81,000. Some of these workers will be at DDT’s Florida properties. DDT said that the U.S. suffers from a shortage of workers.

Jared Kushner is still selling visas and green cards for $500,000 to foreigners who invest in his properties.

DDT is slashing funds for a government program that helps U.S. companies stay ahead of foreign rivals. He is also cutting a number of other programs to improve jobs, including ones in manufacturing, in the U.S.

One year ago, DDT said, “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf.” –Donald J. Trump, August, 2016  Zeke Miller, White House correspondent for Time, reports that Trump will be at his Bedminster, NJ golf course from August 3rd to the 20th.  Told senators to stay in town until they gave him a health bill, but he’s headed on vacation for his 200th day—and a lot of others. Trump has already spent $47,378,438 on his wasteful sixteen golfing trips. He’s spent a total of eleven days at Bedminster and twenty-five at Mar-a-Lago. Of his first 200 days, he’s spent 20 at Bedminster (NJ) and 25 at Mar-a-Lago. More DDT/golf stories here. That’s over 22 percent of his first 200 days in the White House. There would be more if he hadn’t spent three weekends or traveling from Europe. DDT complained how much time President Obama spent on the links—once in his first 14 weeks in office. DDT has golfed three times more than the combined golfing of his past three predecessors. Last weekend he bragged in seven separate tweets about seeing the Women’s Open while he spent the time at his Bedminster (NJ) resort.

Losing DDT, however, might exalt VP Mike Pence into the top U.S. position. One example of Pence’s narrow world view is his co-sponsorship of Ralph Drollinger for bible study. Pence and at least six cabinet members have joined congressional members to learn from Drollinger. Beyond his bigotry toward LGBTQ people, Catholics, and females, Drollinger states that God hears prayers only from “Christians”—no Jews, Hindus, Muslims, etc. need apply.  He also claims that the bible does not support “influential” separation, that the church should win politicians’ souls or replace them with people who are “strong in Christ Public Servants.” The nation should have “God-fearing righteous judges,” not ones who support abortion or “make up rights for the unrighteous.”

During his campaign, DDT asked blacks what they had to lose by voting for him. For the second year in a row, he has refused to speak at the NAACP conference, the first sitting president who denied the invitation in over 30 years.

May 18, 2017

DDT: Ten Days in May

Sally Yates’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 8 about Russian interference in the election should have been the high point of last week. Many people were riveted to the screen as the former acting AG calmly parried the hostile questions from GOP members who asked why she didn’t do everything that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) requested. But between new events and revelations, this day was only the first of ten explosive days for the United States and its attempts to retain democracy. [Time magazine has detailed articles about the Russian connection.]

May 8, 2017 – Senate Hearing: Yates explained that she notified the White House about Michael Flynn’s lies regarding his Russian communications because they left him open to blackmail. She did that a full 18 days before he was fired—ostensibly for lying to VP Mike Pence. Yet when she told DDT’s top lawyer, Don McGahn, about Flynn, he asked her why it mattered if one White House official lies to another. Throughout the hearing, Republicans cared only about how the media discovered Flynn’s discussions with the Russian ambassador. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked Yates if she had leaked that information because DDT had told senators to ask her that. She said no. Then they suggested that President Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, had provided the leak, but there is no evidence that this happened. Although the hearing was about Michael Flynn, Republicans persistently asked Yates about her not defending DDT’s travel ban, the reason he gave for firing her. Yates held her ground when Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) criticized her judgment and reminded him that she had promised him in her confirmation hearings that she would act independently of the president, then Barack Obama.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also testified, at one point stating that he knew nothing about any collusion between DDT and the Russians during his campaign. DDT tried to use his statement to say that Clapper testified that there was no collusion, but Clapper said that was not true. Sen. John Cassidy (R-LA) awkwardly demanded to know if Clapper had ever leaked unclassified information.

May 9, 2017 – Comey Firing: All the buzz about the Senate hearing disappeared the following day when DDT fired FBI Director James Comey. Over the weekend, DDT had become increasingly angry about Comey’s congressional appearance discussing the FBI’s investigation into DDT’s campaign ties with Russia, and he gathered a small group, including VP Mike Pence and McGahn, to prepare talking points. Comey discovered he was fired while glancing at a television screen in Los Angeles. Initially, DDT said that he fired Comey for the way he had treated Hillary Clinton and done it on the advice of DOJ AG Jeff Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, but throughout the week that story unraveled. By Thursday he told journalist Lester Holt that he decided to do it on his own because of that “Russian thing.” In his firing letter to Comey, DDT claimed that the FBI director had told him that DDT wasn’t under investigation, another piece that was a lie as was the false statement about Rosenstein making the recommendation to fire Comey.

Comey’s firing covered up news about the subpoenas issued by a federal grand jury in Alexandria (VA) to Flynn’s associates. More widely spread through the media was Press Secretary Sean Spicer shouting “turn the lights off” to journalists as he stood amid the White House bushes.

May 10, 2017 – The Russians in the White House: A meeting between DDT and  with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov [left] and Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak was chronicled only by a photographer from a Russian state-owned news agency. U.S. journalists were banned. DDT said that he met with them because Putin had asked him and he didn’t know how to say no. He also said that he didn’t know the photographer was from the Russian agency. It was five days later that the media discovered DDT gave highly classified information about ISIS threats in Iraq and Syria to the Russians that had obtained from another country. The reason may have been pure bragging. He prefaced it by saying, “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day.”

May 11, 2017 – Changes in DDT’s stories: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testified that, unlike DDT’s claims, Comey had “broad support within the FBI and still does to this day.” DDT had claimed that a reason for firing Comey was the lack of trust among FBI agents. On the same day as DDT’s interview with Lester Holt, the New York Times reported on DDT asking for a personal loyalty pledge from Comey at a dinner on January 27 that the FBI director refused to give. The Senate Intelligence Committee also subpoenaed documents from Flynn because he wouldn’t give them voluntarily.

May 12, 2017 – Threats and financial issues: DDT sent a (slightly) veiled threat about Comey and “tapes,” unleashing a media storm regarding the possibility that DDT has taped conversations. Again Spicer cannot answer any of these questions. A letter from DDT’s outside lawyers states that “with a few exceptions” totaling about $100 million, Trump’s tax returns from 2005 “do not reflect” any “income from Russian sources,” “debt owed by you or [The Trump Organization] to Russian lenders,” “equity investments by Russian persons or entities,” or “equity or debt investments by you or [The Trump Organization] in Russian entities.” This is after DDT’s statement that he has no financial connections to Russia. The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which specializes in combating money-laundering, will share financial records with the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Trump’s ties to Russia.

May 13, 2017 – Humor: DDT gives the graduation address at conservative evangelical Liberty University, and Saturday Night Live skewers DDT.

May 14, 2017 – Mother’s Day: DDT plays golf four states away from his wife, Melania, and son Barron.

May 15, 2017 – The Russian connection: The news about DDT giving away classified information hits the media, and denials flow. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and the White House denied the entire story along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell. But on the day of the conversation,Thomas P. Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, called directors of the CIA and the NSA and requested that DDT’s comments to be deleted from internal memos. That night his communications people—Sean Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Saunders, and Michale Dubke—were in such a loud screaming fit in the Cabinet that staffers turned up the television sets to keep journalists from hearing. Sen. James Risch (R-ID) epitomized much of the GOP supportive spin:

“The minute the President speaks about it to someone, he has the ability to declassify anything at any time without any process.”

May 16, 2017 – Changing stories, lies revealed: McMaster repeated that he was in the room with DDT and the Russians and reversed his story: yes, DDT did reveal the information, but it was “wholly appropriate.” In addition, DDT hadn’t been briefed and “wasn’t even aware where this information came from.” He had to admit it because DDT tweeted that he certainly did give Russia this information—and that he has every right to do this. McMaster said that the big problem was the leakers. Israel, the country that had provided the information to the U.S., didn’t concur. Worried since January that DDT would pass on their classified information, Israel feared that information leaked to Russia would move on to Iran. As always when DDT causes chaos for the nation, Russia is triumphant about the disaster.

Information emerges that Comey had left a paper trail of his conversations with DDT, including when DDT asked him to stop the investigation into Flynn. DDT also asked Comey to put journalists in prison for publishing classified information.

May 17, 2017 – New sheriff in town: Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein named former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference with the election. His action elicited another flurry of furious DDT tweets including more impugning of the Clintons. Sources are now saying that Flynn himself told DDT’s transition team, headed by Mike Pence, that Flynn was under investigation before DDT appointed him to be National Security Adviser.

May 18, 2017 – Today: At this time, Flynn has failed to comply with a subpoena from the Senate Intelligence Committee for documents connected to its investigation regarding Russia’s interference in the presidential election. He may be following the request he got on April 25 from DDT to “stay strong.” Like DDT, Flynn is crying “unfair” about the investigation despite a new revelation that he and other DDT campaign advisers were in contact with Russian officials at least 18 times during the last seven months of the campaign. In another scandal, Flynn told Susan Rice, then National Security Adviser, in mid-January to call off plans to use Kurdish forces to retake Raqqa from ISIS. Flynn may have been acting without any involvement from the DDT transition team but pleased Turkey, his undisclosed client at the time. DDT approved the Raqqa plan later after Flynn was fired. Some congressional members have used the term “treason” to describe Flynn’s making a military decision for the U.S.  while acting in behalf of a foreign nation that was paying him.

Tomorrow, DDT heads off to the Middle East for a nine-day trip. What can go wrong?!

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