Nel's New Day

July 2, 2020

Could Russia Be DDT’s Waterloo?

When the world learned that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) ignored information about Russians putting bounties on the heads of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, he hoped the firestorm would disappear in a few days. Instead, it has been on the media as much as the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. for the past five days and seems to be getting worse. Each one of those days has brought out more information.

Tonight, the New York Times reported about Rahmatullah Azizi, the chief go-between who took money from the Russians to give it to Taliban-connected fighters. About six months ago, security agencies arrested dozens of his relatives and associates, but Azizi had sneaked back to Russia, leaving about a half million dollars in one of his homes in Kabul. The dead body of a U.S. military member is worth $100,000.

Azizi’s role has been confirmed in a dozen interviews with U.S. and Afghan officials, neighbors and friends, and business associates of the other middlemen. He began as a drug smuggler in his 20s, moving his product into Iran. When he returned to Afghanistan, U.S.-led coalition forces gave him contracts to build roads in Kunduz before he moved on to a connection with Russia. One of his friends said he went from “not even having a blanket” to having security escorts and owning several expensive houses and cars. Other evidence against Azizi came from large financial transfers from Russia’s GRU to Taliban-connected militants.

For years, both U.S. and Afghan officials have believed that Russia was undermining the U.S. in Afghanistan and aiding the Taliban through covert operations. Only recently, however, did the U.S. confirm that the Russians were paying bounties on members of U.S. military out of its overseas assassination arm of the Russian military intelligence, Unit 29155 called GRU that helped DDT get elected.  A couple of their activities since DDT moved into the White House are the hacking of Democratic Party email accounts in 2016 and the nerve agent attack in Salisbury (England) in 2018.

Intelligence reports that the Russia has tired of prolonged U.S. presence and switched allegiance to the Taliban but tried to look as if it supported the U.S. until Afghanistan picked its power source. U.S. discovery of the bounty money in 2019 was at the same time as negotiations with the Taliban to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Today’s reporting also reveals that the bounty information was in the written February 27, 2020, President’s Daily Brief (PDB), much to the frustration of White House officials who insisted that DDT was never told. The officials shifted to insistence that the information was uncertain, but intelligence agencies don’t put anything into daily briefings until it has been thoroughly vetted. DDT has changed his own story almost daily in the past five days, perhaps settling on never having heard of it while going back to his favorite word, “hoax.”  

The day before DDT ignored the PDB about Russia paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops, he had a press briefing to assure the people of the United States that COVID-19 would disappear within the week. [Four months and four days later, the U.S. has 2,779,953 confirmed cases and 130,798 deaths from the disease. The number of new cases hit a high of 51,097 yesterday.] VP Mike Pence, assigned at the virus press briefing to solve the problem, spent February 27, 2020 at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and met with Trumper media, including Sean Hannity and Eric Bollins (Sinclair TV host).

DDT’s schedule for February 27, 2020, lists a 45-minute meeting with lead actors of a low-budget conservative play about what he calls the Deep State. Phelim McAleer, the playwright of FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers slamming fired FBI agent Peter Strzok and fired FBI lawyer Lisa Page who had discussed DDT’s campaign in 2016, said that the meeting last three times as long as scheduled. “He loves it, he loves the play,” McAleer said about the play’s concept. A video of the play was presented to CPAC the next day.

The other responsibility on DDT’s schedule for February 27, 2020, was meeting with his vlogger fans Diamond & Silk (left) along with about 20 other Black supporter including Candace Owens, Isaiah Washington, and Alveda King. They all gave him lavish praise and huddled around him for a prayer. He bragged about his criminal reform which benefits white-collar criminals and called the 25 confirmed COVID-19 cases a “miracle” from the U.S. “incredible achievement” in defeating the disease. He wanted credit for his handling and said, “If we were doing a bad job, we should also be criticized. But we have done an incredible job.” [FYI: He’s doing a bad job and keeps lying about his accomplishments or ignores the pandemic.]

Otherwise, he was rattled by the plummeting of the stock market from the COVID-19 crisis and the slow movement of the peace agreement with the Taliban. An intelligence briefing was scheduled for 2:30 pm, his preferred time so he can tweet in the morning, and a reception for African American History Month was at the White House that evening. He added a few people to his new coronavirus task force throughout the day and muddied up the leadership. Two days after DDT’s PDB included info on Russia’s paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed an agreement with the Taliban to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan.  

Six months ago, former Republican Max Boot wrote a piece explaining how DDT acts as a Russian asset:

  • His long financial history with Russia.
  • Russian interference to help elect DDT president.
  • DDT’s encouragement for Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails on July 27, 2016.
  • His attempt to cover up the 101 contacts between his campaign and Russia-connected operatives.
  • The number of DDT’s campaigners—Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and Michael Flynn—close to Russia.
  • Manafort’s admission he offered his Russian-connected business partner with polling data, useful for Russians using social media to interfere in the presidential campaign on DDT’s part.
  • Roger Stone’s advance knowledge about Russians hacking Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails.
  • DDT’s firing FBI Director James Comey to stop the investigation of the “Russia thing” and bragged about it to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister in the Oval Office while revealing top-secret information to them.
  • DDT’s firing AG Jeff Sessions because he did end the special counsel investigation after Comey was fired.
  • DDT’s constant refusal to acknowledge Russia interfered in the U.S. election or mobilize an effort to stop future interference because he accepts Vladimir Putin’s denial in doing it.
  • DDT’s attacks on and undermining of the DOJ, the FBI, the European, and NATO to support Russia.
  • His support of populist, pro-Russian leaders in Europe; i.e., Viktor Orban (Hungary) and Marine Le Pen (France).
  • DDT’s praise and worship of Putin, “a strong leader,” while denigrating almost everyone else from celebrities to leaders of allied nations.
  • DDT’s hiding his conversation with Putin, even taking notes from his interpreter and telling her not to tell anyone about the meeting.
  • DDT’s defense of Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan.
  • His repetition of pro-Russian talking points.
  • His pulling U.S. troops out of Syria, presenting the country to Russia and Putin’s ally Iran.
  • DDT’s refusal to respond to the Russian attack on Ukrainian ships in international waters to encourage greater Russian aggression.
  • DDT’s sowing chaos in the U.S. government with a partial government shutdown and multiple “acting” appointments in key posts to meet the Russian goal of undermining the United States.

Former national security adviser Susan Rice added to the ways DDT supports Russia and Vladimir Putin.

Russia has escalated its aggression toward the U.S. in the past few weeks—new cyberattacks on U.S. employees working from home, Russian jets testing U.S. air defenses off the Alaska coast, etc. Yet DDT’s administration has no strategy for deterring Russia behavior. Pompeo is still claiming Crimea will never be Russian territory although Russia annexed that part of Ukraine six years ago. In his new book, however, John Bolton wrote DDT “repeatedly objected to criticizing Russia and pressed us not to be so critical of Russia publicly.” DDT’s only strategy with Russia is to be “friends.”

For once, Republican lawmakers have not come out en masse to support DDT’s denial. Maybe some of them found a sale on spines. But Republicans still refuse to support a bill requiring presidential campaigns to report offers of foreign election help. One excuse—not reason—might be the ignorance of Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee: GOP members refuse to attend.

Military veterans have been loyal to DDT for almost four years despite his selling them out, over and over. Allowing Russians to pay the Taliban to kill U.S. troops may be a bridge too far for them. The fractures started with DDT’s threats to militarize states in the midst of protests become wide fissures after the public learned that DDT’s administration has ignored widespread assassinations of their comrades in active duty under the leadership of their commander in chief. The loss of their votes in November will hurt him as much as his loss of white suburban women.

June 30, 2020

Bittersweet News from SCOTUS, Bad for DDT

Before the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the sometimes “moderate” justice kept women’s rights on life support. His resignation left Chief Justice John Roberts in that position, one he fulfilled today in the 5-4 decision that struck down a Louisiana law created to strike down all except one clinic in the state that performs abortions. The gist of the law was the state mandate requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, almost identical to a case about Texas law SCOTUS overturned just four years ago. In that decision, a 5-4 court determined the unconstitutional law served no benefits to patients but significantly burdened their access to abortion.

Brett Kavanagh, who promised Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) he is pro-Roe v. Wade to get Kennedy’s position, showed he is no Kennedy: he and Justice Neil Gorsuch joined ideologues Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas against women’ reproductive rights. Roberts voted against the majority four years in his desire to keep the Texas law, and he wrote his own opinion to prove he’s still a conservative—just wanted to preserve stare decisis, deference to precedent, and not overturn a former SCOTUS ruling. Because Roberts is the swing vote for this case, opposition to abortions will be the key to future cases, permitting restriction just short of their illegality. He sets a high hurdle to keeping right: benefit is irrelevant, and decision is based on a substantial obstacle.   

Slate’s court reporter Mark Joseph Stern questions the extent of the victory of constitutional rights for pro-choice. In his analysis of the high court’s opinion, Stern maintains Roberts “marks a retreat” from the earlier case declaring the Texas law unconstitutional. Under the new ruling, a woman could be forced to wait a week for an abortion and visit the clinic hundreds of miles away three times to see anti-abortion documentaries—no medical benefit to the patient while imposing burdens. Yet the court could determine this requirement doesn’t meet the level of “a substantial obstacle.” Next year, Roberts could find a way to overturn Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) which prevents laws banning abortion before viability. As Stern wrote, “A chill wind still blows.”

Roberts is not wedded to precedence. He voted with the majority in Citizens United (2010) to overturn long-held principles of campaign finance and in Janus (2018) used the same rationale of free speech to overturn a unanimous 1977 decision allowing public sector labor unions to collect fees against the wishes of employees.

A chill wind also blows for Collins, whose vote is a major reason Kavanaugh is casting far-right votes on SCOTUS. He already voted to deport Dreamers and allow employers to fire LGBTQ people on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Collins said she believed Kavanaugh when he promised not to overturn Roe v. Wade and guaranteed he would respect precedence, “essential to maintaining public confidence. And she’s up for reelection in under five months.

While people cheered for today’s pro-choice rights decision, most of them ignored a disastrous decision in Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, allowing a president to fire the director of the supposedly independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without cause. Again Roberts was the swing vote, this time a conservative 5-4 vote putting other independent agencies at risk. The opinion didn’t go as far as to declaring the entire agency unconstitutional which the plaintiff under CFPB investigation had requested. The law creating the agency specified the presidentially-nominated director, who must be Senate-confirmed, could be fired only “for cause,” specifying “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.” Other agencies with the “for cause” firing limitation include the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission. They may suffer the same fate in loss of independence.

The current CFPB director, financial sector defender Kathleen Kraninger, will likely stay for the next few months because agency investigations have drastically slowed down since the occupation of the Oval Office by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). She may disappear with a Democratic president, however, a loss for Wall Street’s corruption. Between its inception in 2010 and 2016, the CFPB returned $12 billion to defrauded consumers. 

In the dissent by four justices, Elena Kagan wrote the five conservatives failed to respect the high court’s role in allowing the other two government branches, Congress and executive, the decision in structuring the executive branch. She also pointed out the vote removes “independence from political pressure.” Another part of the dissent told originalist justices the constitution has nothing about separation of powers and the president’s removal authority.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who originally envisioned the agency, was more positive, cheering about a conservative SCOTUS recognizing the constitutionality of the agency “and the law that created it.”

In addition to issuing decisions today, the Supreme Court turned down two cases. One, a challenge to AG Bill Barr’s return to the federal death penalty, opens up the possibility of executions next month for the first time since 2003. It also refused to hear a case about waivers of federal laws for border wall construction that kills wildlife and destroys the environment. Lower courts have ruled the waivers don’t violate the separation of powers.

Other big news today pointed out possible cracks in DDT’s Teflon. The discovery that intelligence told DDT about Russians paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops has taken the U.S. by storm. The New York Times initially reported the information on Friday, and within three days, DDT’s stories keep changing. A few facts:

Intelligence knew as far back as January—when DDT was negotiating a peace agreement with the Taliban—and briefed DDT.

The bounty has been linked to deaths of U.S. military members.

In March, DDT learned about the intelligence reports but failed to respond.

In the past few months, DDT has had several friendly phone calls with Vladimir Putin, including five hidden ones in early April after the briefing.

DDT called Putin and Russia friends of the U.S., sent humanitarian aid to Russia, and pushed the other six members of the G7 summit to taken Russia back.

On Saturday, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany claimed DDT knows nothing. Little did McEnany know, her defense of DDT depicted him as ignorant, uncaring, negligent, lazy, and incompetent. And a liar like DDT. Part of her faulty defense was for his tweeting a video advocating “white power” staying up for three hours while DDT was unavailable on the golf course. (The White House claims DDT couldn’t hear the cries for “white power.”)

This timeline shows Russian support for the Taliban, U.S. clashes with Russian mercenaries, “destabilizing [Russian] activity in Afghanistan, three U.S. Marines killed by Taliban, and discovery of $500,000 in a Taliban outpost confirming U.S. intelligence suspicions about Russia paying bounties.

Since the reporting, DDT has said, in this order: (1) he never got any briefings; (2) he hadn’t been briefed because it was bogus; and (3) he was briefed but the intelligence wasn’t credible. According to respected political columnist David Ignatius, Pentagon officials were “pounding on the door” to get DDT to do something about the Russians’ damage.

People are left to decide which of the three is right: (1) DDT knew about the Russian’s paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops and did nothing; (2) intelligence couldn’t tell DDT because they were afraid of him or what he would tell people; or (3) DDT didn’t bother to read vital national security information. Each of the three decisions shows a completely incompetent leader of the free world. In an effort to save his skin, DDT provided Republicans a briefing about the situation today but made Democrats wait until tomorrow. The briefing should have been for both parties at the same time, but DDT wants the GOP to have a one-day advance to prepare a defense for him.

Seven years ago, DDT tweeted: 

Ignorance is inexcusable; it’s the surest way to fail. No acceptable reason exists for not being well informed.”

Yesterday he tweeted:

“Nobody briefed or told me … about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians…. Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us…..”

Because DDT cares only about the election, he’s terrified about voters’ reactions. This TV ad reflects the reaction from VoteVets.

DDT’s problems with COVID-19 aren’t over either. Its new mutations make contagion easier and correlates with far greater cases in younger people. World infections topped 10 million over the weekend (today 10,412,433) with deaths over a half million (508,228). New infections in the U.S. are still soaring—44,734 for June 29—with the total up to 2,681,811 and 128,783 deaths. Federal officials such as HHS Secretary Alex Azar went on Sunday news shows to talk about the virus’s catastrophe while saying it isn’t their problem to fix. And DDT ignores the disease.

March 16, 2020

Congress, Russia, Saudi, Corruption

Last Friday night, the House passed a covid-19 bill by a large bipartisan majority. Unfortunately, it needed a “technical fix,” which requires a unanimous vote if the House isn’t called back into session. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) delayed the vote because he didn’t want a “rushed process,” according to Bloomberg reporter Laura Litvan. He also said that he didn’t know if it can be solved soon. The fix addressed virus-related sick leave for small firms. Gohmert finally withdrew his opposition after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin gave DDT’s stamp of approval. Because of virus concerns, the House has postponed a return to Washington for an indefinite time.

The Senate recessed for the weekend and is stalling before considering the emergency bill until after it considers the surveillance bill that the House passed last week. (That one’s a doozy: it includes the provision that AG Bill Barr must approve in writing any investigation of an elected official and/or a candidate.) Even after the Senate addresses the covid-19 bill, there will be vitriolic discussions. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) told Fox & Friends that the bill may not pass the Senate because senators don’t want sick leave for people home with the virus. He wants tax rebates which could take far more time to be reimbursed than paid sick leave.

The Senate couldn’t meet over the weekend because Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had to go home with Justice Brett Kavanaugh to celebrate the new 37-year-old federal judge, considered the most unqualified judge that McConnell has ever pushed through confirmation. It’s called campaigning for the fall election.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) [right] also complained about the paid sick leave because it might hurt businesses although the bill covers the cost with a tax credit. Without sick leave, most of these people with covid-19 will go to work and spread the disease. Johnson said it might be better for the Senate to “pass nothing at all.”

Last week, Johnson pulled a vote on a subpoena from the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that he hoped would find damaging information about Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, in Ukraine. A bipartisan group persuaded him about the Ukrainian’s unreliability as a source for the committee’s investigation. The vote, however, is only postponed. Johnson said he will issue a subpoena to a lobbying firm for the Ukrainian energy company paying Hunter Biden as a board member. Committee staff members have worked on investigations helping DDT in his reelection campaign. U.S. intelligence agencies maintain that Andrii Telizhenko, Johnson’s source, has spread disinformation about Ukraine’s involvement in the 2016 election to minimize actual Russian interference. Telizhenko, a friend of Rudy Giuliani, has appeared on the ultra-conservative One America News Network.

While DDT struggles with rapidly increasing numbers of covid-19 cases and deaths in the U.S., Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman continues his path to keep power in his country. He detained four senior princes, possible heirs to the throne, in Riyadh, including MBS’s uncle Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz and cousin Mohammed bin Nayef. They were charged with treason which carries the death penalty. MBS had replaced Nayef as crown prince in 2017 and has run the kingdom since then. Prince Ahmed returned to Saudi from Britain after assurances that he would be safe. MBS consolidated his power in 2017 by arresting hundreds of princes, government ministers, and business people and detaining them in Riyadh.

Saudi is struggling with dropping oil prices and MBS’ decision to block pilgrims from Mecca because of the virus outbreak. Aramco’s profits dropped 21 percent last year to $88.2 billion, and it is lowering capital spending for 2020. The world has also not forgotten MBS’ murder of U.S. resident and journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. MBS is now repeating his 2017 actions by arresting hundreds more government officials, including military and security officers, for bribery and exploiting public office. The purge also added 16 more princes, two members of the council which decides the throne’s succession, and two judges.

In late February, MSP Patrick Harvie of the Scottish Parliament asked his colleagues to investigate DDT’s deals in which he acquired his Scotland properties, including the two multi-million dollar golf courses. Harvie said that DDT or people he’s tied with could be connected to serious crime and is seeking an “unexplained wealth order” from a Scottish court. The order is for “suspected foreign officials who have potentially laundered stolen money through the UK.” If the subject “cannot show a legitimate source for their riches,” the government can seize properties.

History will remember that Utah’s Mitt Romney was the only GOP senator who voted to impeach DDT. Payoffs for other GOP senators who claimed they voted against impeachment because DDT had “learned his lesson”:

  • Lamar Alexander (TN) – $9 million for high-speed broadband infrastructure projects;
  • Susan Collins (ME) – $9.5 million for affordable housing units;
  • Cory Gardner (CO) – $20 million for airport upgrades;
  • Lisa Murkowski (AK) – $20 million Port Infrastructure Development Program grant for Phase One costs at the Port of Alaska.

Collins, up for a difficult reelection this year, voted to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh despite his anti-abortion stand and for the tax cut benefiting the wealthy and big business even if she said she didn’t like it. She’s at the bottom of the Senate popularity contest and may lower her rating with the latest find. In 2009, she refused to include pandemic flu funding in an economic stimulus bill during the Great Recession. Democrats warned that the $870 million from the $787 billion would keep them from fighting an infectious disease outbreak, but she promised to withdraw her vote for the bill if that money was included. She said the funds “do not boost our economy” and persuaded two other Republicans to follow her example.

Eric Prince, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ brother and heir to $1 billion, advises DDT and almost persuaded him to let Prince set up a private military service for the U.S.. Congress accused Prince of lying under oath and referred criminal charges to the DOJ, a useless action since Bill Barr became AG. In the past, Prince moved to the UAE to keep from federal prosecution and claims that he is untouchable. Now the FBI is investigating Prince for trying to modify two U.S. crop-dusting planes into attack aircraft, a violation of arms trafficking regulations. He used the planes as part of the private services he suggested selling or using in Africa and Azerbaijan. The FBI investigation includes his lying to Congress and an armed aviation proposal to the UAE along with heightened scrutiny of Barr.

Prince has recruited U.S. and British spies to work with the right-wing group Project Veritas, known for doctored videos in false stings, to infiltrate at least one Democratic congressional campaign for Abigail Spanberger and organizations “considered hostile” to DDT. Ex MI6 officer Richard Seddon ran a 2017 operation to copy files and record conversations in an office of the teachers’ union AFT. In late 2015 or early 2016, Prince arranged for James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas to receive training in intelligence and elicitation techniques from a retired military intelligence operative named Euripides Rubio Jr. Rubio soon quit, saying that the Veritas group couldn’t learn.

DDT’s defense against Russian interference to elect him is to repeat that he’s tough on Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin. Here are some of DDT’s favors for Russia:

  • DDT appointed his own loyalists to head up the intelligence agencies who ordered employees not to release information and who say that there’s no evidence of Russian interference.
  • DDT sent anti-tank missiles to Ukraine under conditions that make them useless against Russia.
  • DDT spread a disinformation campaign that Ukraine was responsible for the election interference, not Russia.
  • DDT protected Russia by withholding aid to Ukraine until publicity made him uncomfortable.
  • DDT still refuses to invite Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House to help Zelensky negotiate with Putin.
  • DDT’s sanctions on Iran helps Russia by boosting the price of oil.
  • DDT strengthened Russia’s longtime ally, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and ended support for moderate Syrian rebels which Russia wants.
  • DDT removed U.S. forces out of northern Syria, abandoned the Kurdish U.S. allies, and allowed Russians to move into abandoned U.S. bases.
  • DDT helped Russia in Libya by giving Khalifa Hifter information for overthrowing a UN-backed government in Tripoli.
  • Sanctions on Russia were done over DDT’ objections, and DDT persuaded the GOP Senate to lift them on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
  • DDT weakened NATO through incessant criticism and portrayal of the members as deadbeats.
  • DDT always believes Putin and never criticizes him.
  • DDT’s biggest help for Russia is his spreading chaos in the U.S. and its government through polarization of the U.S. people and denigrating U.S. intelligence officers and diplomats.

As the commentator on a popular Russian TV show said:

“I look at Trump and think: ‘May God grant him good health — and another term.’ This is a great situation for Russia.”

And the Republican Party blindly backs DDT and pro-Russia policies against U.S. benefits.

March 14, 2020

DDT: Week 164 – Beyond Covid-19

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has spent the week avoiding assistance for people and helping his friends. At Friday’s press conference, he raised crude prices by five percent by declaring that he would buy over $2.6 billion of oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that saves huge U.S. oil companies from the Saudi-Russia oil war. Yet he opposed paid sick leave in order to lose over $807 billion in revenue for Social Security and Medicare—and almost half of that revenue from businesses that employ more than 10 workers. That’s more than President Obama’s $700 billion stimulus to save the U.S. in 2009, and the government got much of that back, sometimes with interest.  

The wealthiest people will benefit if DDT succeeds in suspending payroll taxes until “after the November election.” The top 5 percent of workers making over $140,000 a year will save close to $3 billion a month if only the 1.45 percent charge for Medicare. The top 211 workers who average $95.7 million a year will each reap an additional $115,700 per month—almost $1 million for the time that this 1.45 percent is suspended, according to what DDT wants. Households in the bottom 20 percent will get about two percent of the benefit.

DDT is also back to attacking militia in Iraq after 30 rockets fired on a base killed one British service member and two U.S. service members. The Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley blamed “Shia militia groups”; DDT told DOD Secretary Mark Esper to do anything he wanted; and Esper fired back the next day. The U.S. came close to war after it killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani over two months, but DDT backed down a full war. The Iraqi military said the U.S. airstrikes killed three Iraqi soldiers, two police officers, and a civilian as well as damaging an airport. Plans to staff missile-defense batteries will require hundreds of new troops in Iraq. The day after DDT’s airstrikes, the House passed a resolution to bar DDT from starting a war with Iran without congressional approval. DDT threatens to veto the measure.

The Pentagon may be backing down on giving a $10 billion contract on a cloud computing contract to Microsoft instead of Amazon. A judge said that Jeff Bezos’ lawsuit is “likely to succeed” perhaps because DDT had told the Pentagon not to give the contract to Bezos. The Pentagon disagreed but said it wanted 120 days to look over the technical aspects.

Almost 80 attacks, including those by the U.S., occurred in Afghanistan during the first 9 days of DDT’s “peace deal” with the Taliban. But DDT is moving hundreds of troops out of the country, reducing the number from 13,000 to 8,600—the same number as when he was inaugurated. The U.S. has information that the Taliban doesn’t intend to live up to its part in the agreement. Last week, DDT said the Taliban could “possibly” overrun the Afghan government and seize power after the troop withdrawal. State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo said the deal wouldn’t go forward if the Taliban doesn’t live up to their agreement, but DDT is calling the shots.

Known for his corruption and grift, DDT has been accused of what the New York Times called the “largest tax fraud case in the history of New York City government.” Five former city employees and a former Trump organization employee testified a connection between DDT’s business to a real estate housing scam. Six people reported the bribing of tax assessors to lower DDT’s property taxes.

Almost a month ago, U.S. intelligence officials warned members of Congress that Russia is interfering in U.S. elections to help DDT. Immediately, DDT replaced high-level intelligence officials with his partisan loyalists who delivered a different message. DDT’s new intelligence leaders told lawmakers that Russia isn’t supporting any candidates in contradiction to past knowledge. New acting intelligence director Rick Grenell, head of 17 agencies, didn’t show up for the briefing because he thought he wasn’t prepared :to address sensitive subjects that tend to upset the president.” Before the briefing, Kashyap Patel, now an employee in Grenell’s office and formerly Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) aide who was moved into the White House, gave intelligence officials limits on information to congressional member about foreign influence operations in “an inappropriate politicization.” Patel wrote a memo accusing law enforcement officials of abusing their power to help Republicans in their attempt to discredit the Russia investigation.

Grenell has imposed a hiring freeze and ordered a review of his personnel and mission. Intelligence officials view his actions as a preliminary to ousting intelligence officers who politically disagree with DDT. The question is why Grenell would create a large-scale reorganization when DDT has already nominated Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) for permanent director.

South Korea reported that North Korea launched multiple weapons twice in less than a week on March 2 and 8 with Kim Jong-un inspecting a large military exercise the second time. The firing was directed northeast from the east coast with projectiles falling into the water between North Korea and Japan. Some flew as far as 124 miles. Another military exercise was on February 28.

The Senate is in charge of an investigation into whether Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao abused her position to help her husband Mitch McConnell’s Senate campaign by sending millions of federal dollars to Kentucky—and McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, controls the decision of who does the investigation. DDT replaced the retiring Transportation Inspector General with an acting IG.

DOJ must release secret grand jury evidence to congressional Democrats according to a district judge and two judges on a three-judge panel from an appeals court. The ruling can be appealed the full court and/or the Supreme Court. Judge Judith Rogers, appointed by Bill Clinton, wrote that grand jury records are court records, not DOJ records, which have been released to Congress during impeachment investigations five times. A George W. Bush appointee agreed, and DDT’s appointee dissented. The DOJ is reviewing the decision and thought that earlier decisions were wrong.

U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman wrote an article for the Harvard Law Review explaining how the Roberts [Supreme] Court is destroying democracy:

“The Roberts Court has contributed to ensuring that the political system in the United States pays little attention to ordinary Americans and responds only to the wishes of a relatively small number of powerful corporations and individuals.”

In “The Roberts Court’s Assault on Democracy,” Adelman uses examples such as gutting the Voting Rights Act, upholding strict ID laws to make voting more difficult, approved purging thousands from voting rolls, and abdicated its responsibility to end partisan gerrymandering. He continued by writing that the Roberts Court enforces enormous income inequality by giving economic and political power to corporations and wealthy people.  

Chief Justice John Roberts proved Adelman’s point when he agreed with the conservative members to overturn lower court rulings regarding enforcing DDT’s executive order to keep immigrant asylum-seekers in Mexico to be robbed, raped, and killed while waiting months for hearings. The same court permitted DDT’s “wealth test” to deny residency or admission to the U.S. for immigrants.

A volunteer for a pro-DDT organization has been charged with 10 felony counts for submitting false voter registration information, and the Florida county sheriff believes that other workers may also be committing the same crime on the 119 forms. Problems were wrong registrations, changes in party affiliations without the voters’ knowledge, forged signatures, or fake personal information.

A new algorithm from the Census Bureau will badly skew populations of minority communities and rural areas while claiming to protect privacy. Mistakes up to 25 percent for population and 100 percent for specific groups can badly distort districting and funding. “Differential privacy” means that population, voting age population, race, and ethnicity are reported as enumerated only at the state level. For example, the number of girls 15 to 19 in Emporia (VA) were decreased from factual 185 to 30, raising the teen pregnancy rate from ten percent to 66 percent. It found 716 people on the Hawaiian island of Molokai when the 2010 population was 90. Native American reservations with fewer than 5,000 residents saw a decline of 34 percent with the new system. Growing Alaskan villages appeared to shrink. While some cities lost population, one had a 253 percent increase.

A blind man failed his citizenship test because he couldn’t read a sentence in English. He and his doctor had asked for a Braille version, but immigrations officials gave him a large print version instead because they didn’t have any Braille.

DDT’s weekly frivolous libel lawsuit against the media is directed at CNN after ones against the New York Times and the Washington Post. This one references an opinion piece about DDT’s claim that he’s would accept opposition research from foreign governments. Larry Noble’s conclusion to his piece:

“The Trump campaign assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia’s help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table.”

DDT’s argument is that “the “Defamatory Article has forced” his campaign for pay for “corrective advertisements.” DDT’s campaign waited nine months to push for a retraction and apology before the lawsuit.  

DDT is so furious with DDT-supporter and former AG Jeff Sessions that DDT endorsed Sessions’ opponent for the Alabama Senate primary, a former Auburn University football coach.

Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein, 67, received 23 years in prison for his sexual assaults. He compared the #MeToo movement to McCarthyism.

DDT didn’t know people died of the flu. His grandfather died of the flu epidemic in 1918.

Gallup shows that people like the Affordable Care Act more than they like DDT with a 52 percent approval of the ACA. DDT’s approval rating is barely above 42 percent. 

March 9, 2020

Markets—Stocks, Bonds, Oil—in Crisis

Reminiscent of the 2008 crisis, a full-flown trading panic sent the New York Stock Exchange shooting downwards as the Dow Jones dropped over 2,000 (7.8 percent) to the same level as 30 months ago, and the Standard & Poor and Nasdaq each lost over 7 percent. The radical drops during the first few minutes after the bell rang to open stock trading caused a 15-minute trading hiatus for all trading. The automatic trigger mechanism was created during the 1987 recession, and it’s only the second time since then that the stoppage has gone into effective, the last time in 2008 during the Great Recession. It’s the first time since 2008, during The Great Recession, that the trigger mechanism was utilized.  [Floor trader Peter Tuchman watches the stock numbers drop during the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange on March 9, 2020. Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images.) 

The losses were predictable. Global markets began shrinking over the weekend, setting up the scene for the losses in the U.S. London’s FTSE returned to three years ago by falling 8 percent, Japan’s Nikkei index went down over 5 percent, and Australia’s stocks lost over 7 percent.

Bonds also hit an historic low as investors sold stocks to because of covid-19 and the oil war. All yields fell below 1 percent for the first time ever: the 10-year Treasury bond is 0.62 percent, and the 30-year yield dropped almost 2 percent to crawl back up to 1.08 percent. 

 

 

 

 

 

The covid-19 pandemic has roiled the global markets, but the slumps were also caused by Saudi Arabia’s initiating an oil war with Russia which caused prices to collapse 30 percent to the level of the 1991 Gulf War. Despite a glut of oil on the market, the Saudis won’t scale back production after Russia flooded the market. Finishing down 24 percent, Brent was $34.44 per barrel and West Texas International crude at $31.13 per barrel. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) blew aside the destructive impact from uncertainty and fear by praising oil prices to save money at the gas pump. Lower oil prices also slash inflation that may match the 2008 financial crisis.

Last Friday, Russia refused an agreement with OPEC on cuts in oil supplies to bolster prices. Price drops hurt Venezuela and Iran, already suffering from U.S. sanctions. Highly indebted U.S. oil companies will have added pressure, and more of them may go out of business with ensuing decline in production. Oil producing states such as Texas have laid off workers. Canada will be hard hit, and developing companies such as Nigeria, Angola, and Brazil will face economic slowdowns. Shares of the Saudi national oil company, Saudi Aramco, dropped by 9 percent. If the Saudis increase output to make up for lower prices, prices in the world will continue to collapse, already about one-third this year.

Last week,  J.P. Morgan told clients that markets indicate a 90 percent chance of a recession, meaning six continuous months of economic contraction. Hits to the economy come from almost empty airplanes and hiring freezes. Middle-class people will stay at home to eat instead of patronizing restaurants and buy cheaper products.

DDT keeps talking about how strong “the economy” is, but people’s economic life and livelihood are not “the economy.” DDT’s policies on taxes, tariffs, education, healthcare, the environment, etc. have badly hurt most people’s finances. The 34 percent addition to the deficit negates the idea that the economy is booming, as are the frequent drops in the prime rate. Since his inauguration, DDT has run the government as if the U.S. was already in a recession. Education enriches the economy, but it’s cut in DDT’s budget as are service. Taxpayers have already paid $28 billion to bail out farmers because of DDT’s tariffs, and DDT wants to take the Affordable Care Act away from most people in a case before the Supreme Court. Climate change takes more money from taxpayers, but DDT and his administration ignore its problems of floods, wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes. The economy hurts most people.

Years before the 2008 financial crisis, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) warned about a vulnerable economy with trends of “shady subprime lending, rising household debt, a mortgage market where lenders didn’t bear the risk of their loans.” [Note: I sensed disaster coming too, but I’m not an expert.] Warren wrote another post less than a year ago about an eminent disaster:

“I see a manufacturing sector in recession. I see a precarious economy that is built on debt—both household debt and corporate debt—and that is vulnerable to shocks. And I see a number of serious shocks on the horizon that could cause our economy’s shaky foundation to crumble. Seventy-one million American adults—more than 30% of the adults in the country—already have debts in collection.”

She added that consumers were getting squeezed by “a generation of stagnant wages” and the rising costs of basic goods and services. The solution for U.S. households is to take on debt at historic levels with student loans, credit card debt, auto loans. Warren also wrote about corporate debt:

“Leveraged lending—lending to companies that are already seriously in debt—has jumped by 40 percent since Trump took office.”

This leveraged debt helped consumer debt to tank the economy in 2008. Like subprime mortgages, new corporate loans are “poorly-underwritten loans with minimal protections that are then packaged and sold to investors.”

The recession for U.S. manufacturing sector, tied to DDT’s trade wars, began in the beginning of 2019. Warren wrote, “For the first time ever, the average hourly wage for manufacturing workers has dropped below the national average.” Her solution was reducing household debt by canceling some debt and raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour; creating regulations to decrease heavily leveraged corporate lending; and investing trillions of dollars into new environmental research, production, and exports to strengthen manufacturing.

Instead, DDT kept wages low, blocked regulations, stopped investing in the country, and cut taxes for the wealthy and big business.

DDT is fond of comparisons to him with biblical figures such as Cyrus, David, Abraham, Moses, the apostles, Jesus, and even Queen Esther. Running out of Judeo-Christian figures, DDT quote-tweeted an image of himself as Nero and wrote, “Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me!” Former ethics director Walter Schaub replied:

“It means Rome is burning and you’re fiddling around a golf course, Nero.”

When he was young, the emperor Nero had lavish palaces, threw wasteful parties, slept around, and went on the stage. In 64 A.D., he announced his plan to destroy Rome and build it back up in his preferred architectural style. The Senate refused, and Rome began to burn for nine days. According to legend, the extravagant emperor Nero “fiddled while Rome burned,” but violins didn’t come into existence until many centuries later. Nero’s first biographer claimed he sang while Rome burned. Other biographers asserted that witnesses saw Nero set the fire or hired thugs to do it. Nero committed suicide four years later after fleeing Rome and discovering that he was condemned to death as a public enemy. The people celebrated his death. [Left: A float depicting DDT as Nero in the traditional Carnival parade in Mainz, Germany, on Feb. 24. Michael Probst/AP]

The United States is burning, and DDT plays golf and blames the Democrats.

February 16, 2020

DDT: Week 160 – More Corruption

DDT wants more money to kill people with military funding, less money to help people in the United States. Pieces of his budget cuts:

DDT’s tariffs dropped farm prices, and his budget slashes crop insurance, used to support corn and soybean farmers for low prices, by 31 percent. Another 10-percent cut would remove incentives for farmers to keep soil in place and reduce water pollution. Last year, farmers faced “soil-destroying mega-storms, export-killing trade wars, low crop prices, and spiking bankruptcies,” reported Tom Philpott. DDT’s $28 billion handout to farmers ended this month, and the coronavirus decimated trade, despite DDT’s bragging about his “deal” with China. Crop prices for corn and soybeans are “treading water right now,” according to University of Iowa agricultural economist Chad Hart. “The trade deals took us one step forward and coronavirus takes us one step back.” Hart said. National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson said:

“As both a presidential candidate and now as president, Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed his appreciation for and dedication to American farmers. Yet year after year, his budget has failed to address the very real economic challenges facing rural communities.”

DDT’s budget continues his efforts to eliminate the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS and all federal funding for libraries. In addition to $23 million in the 2021 budget to close the IMLS, DDT asked for $33.4 million to do away with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and budgeted for the closure of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. [Other programs that DDT wants to eliminate.] Congress opposed these closures in the past: the FY2020 budget increased $10 million for the IMLS budget which included $6.2 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), funding equivalent to two of DDT’s weekend trips to Mar-a-Lago. ALA president Wanda Brown said:

“Eliminating federal funding for libraries is to forego opportunities to serve veterans, upskill underemployed Americans, start and grow small businesses, teach our kids to read, and give greater access to people with print disabilities in our communities.”

DDT’s rally audiences chant “lock her up” about Hillary Clinton and the tragedy at Benghazi, but DDT’s budget cuts the $5 million to honor J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador killed by terrorists at that Libyan diplomatic outpost. Despite 11 GOP hearings exonerating Clinton of any blame for the deaths of four people at Benghazi, State Department secretary Mike Pompeo accuses her of putting “political expediency” ahead of people “on the ground.” Now Pompeo and DDT are being investigated for their treatment of U.S. diplomats. The Stevens Initiative was created to memorialize his dedication to cultivating international exchanges; DDT is trying to eliminate the funding for the third time.

DDT’s budget cuts $4.5 billion, 25 percent, from the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), the military fund offsetting Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. Last year’s reduction was $6 billion and the previous year, $6.5 billion. DDT opposes U.S. programs that provide training, resources, and funding for European foreign governments and takes money from the fund for his wall. The EDI funds are part of the budget category Overseas Contingency Operations, a slush fund for the Pentagon.

DDT’s budget, a political statement, gives his priorities. In these cases, he wants to get rid of the arts, education, and food production while protecting Russia.

In a letter to all 74 federal inspectors’ general, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Minority Leader, is requesting an immediate investigation about the “shameful” and “illegal” White House retaliation against whistleblowers who raise concerns about the misconduct and abuses of power by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). In so doing, Schumer warned of a “dangerous, growing pattern of retaliation against those who report wrongdoing only to find themselves targeted by the president and subject to his wrath and vindictiveness.” He said the attacks included the “attempts to publicly identify the anonymous whistleblower who used the proper legal channels to initially report the president’s attempts to compromise our national security for his personal benefit.”

The impeachment trial may be over, but the Senate Intelligence Committee has shown interest in talking to the whistleblower who set everything in motion. Committee chair Richard Burr (R-NC) is considering a subpoena for the person to testify. Vicechair Mark Warner (D-VA) hasn’t agreed with Burr but said that the person’s anonymity and safety “is a top priority.” Although not a committee member, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has pushed for the whistleblower to testify and called on Burr to investigate the “episode.” Roy Blunt (R-MO), not up for reelection, agrees with Graham; Susan Collins (R-ME), worried about her lack of popularity in her reelection year, is cautious without a “compelling case.”  

With no permit and wearing white face masks, 100 white supremacists marched in Washington, D.C. and shouted “Reclaim America!” Police protected these members of Patriot Front, a group promoting “American Fascism,” while they broke the city law. The organization wants to “reclaim our nation’s capital from Jews, Marxists, and anti-white enemies in government who want to see white Americans erased. We seek to build a fascist homeland in the ashes of a failing democracy.”

Paramilitary groups are trying to join the mainstream by declaring themselves a “non-profit” groups as Washington state’s chapter of Three Percent, part of the “Patriot Movement,” has done. Their racist ideology, however, hasn’t changed.

As white domestic terrorist groups gain power, the FBI created the ability to attack peaceful protesters. Under Director Christopher Wray, the FBI put pro-choice “violence” in the same only one episode of pro-choice-inspired terrorism, a threat in an online comments section. Of 850 current domestic terrorism cases, 50 percent concerned anti-government extremism and 40 percent concerned racist terrorism. The remaining 85 cases concern animal rights, ecological degradation, abortion, and miscellaneous cases.

Wray may want to help the Supreme Court rule against abortion rights. This year’s Louisiana case is almost identical to the Texas law struck down three years ago that demanded doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a state-approved hospital within 30 miles of the clinic. SCOTUS determined that the Texas law provided “few, if any health benefits for women” while being “a substantial obstacle to women” in exercising a constitutional right. Two justices added to the court since then lean anti-abortion. The current case attacks Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) which blocks regulations constituting an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to choose. Without this stipulation, states can make any unreasonable demands regarding women’s rights and abilities to have abortions. The FBI can then block any response from pro-choice activists by accusing them of violent extremism, especially with the help of activist AG Bill Barr.

After DDT said no one was harmed in the dozen rocket attacks by Iraqi militia, the Pentagon announced that 109 service members have traumatic brain injuries. DDT calls them “headaches.”

DDT is running for reelection on criminal reform but praises China for executing drug dealers. He full-throatedly campaigns for the Second Amendment with no restrictions on gun ownership but pushes against freedom of the press in the First Amendment. The only part of the constitution that DDT supports is the Second Amendment.

Most of the publicity about DDT’s retaliation concerned the Vindman brothers marched out of the White House, but DDT’s paranoid policy caused another 50 career professionals to be sent from the White House to their home agencies. Early DDT employees, who resigned or were fired, are now returning.

  • Hope Hicks, the former communications director who DDT looks upon as a daughter, is now his counselor.
  • Johnny McEntee, who lost his security clearance from gambling debts, will oversee the Presidential Personnel Office.
  • Stephen Miller ally Chad Mizelle, another DDT anti-immigrant loyalist, will be the unqualified appointee for DHS general counsel.   
  • Mandy Gunasekara, who pushed DDT to drop the Paris climate agreement, has returned as the EPA chief of staff.  
  • Former DDT chief of staff Reince Priebus and former press secretary Sean Spicer are now members of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. Spicer quit after DDT hired Anthony Scaramucci for communications director; Priebus was fired after six months. Scaramucci had called Priebus a “leaker” and “a f*cking paranoid schizophrenic—a paranoiac.”

In a state of confusion during his speech in New Hampshire, DDT said, “The redemption money is paying for the wall.” He may mean “remittances” that undocumented workers send to their families out of the country, but the plan to collect this money was never enacted. The military funding for base housing, schooling, medical facilities and other improvements are paying for the wall.

More geography gaffes: While speaking in New Hampshire, DDT confused Concord, NH with Concord, MA, giving New Hampshire credit for the Massachusetts involvement in the American Revolution.

A majority of people, 55 percent, believe that DDT was not exonerated by his impeachment acquittal. More than that, 59 percent, think that the trial was conducted unfairly.  

January 4, 2020

Bad Year’s End for DDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

57 percent: DDT has committed an impeachable offense.

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

86 percent: Senators should be impartial jurors.

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

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

December 21, 2019

DDT: Week 152 – Dems Busy beyond Impeachment with GOP Obstruction

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) used tweets on Friday to attack the conservative evangelical publication Christianity Today founded by Billy Graham because it advocated his impeachment. Adding to his 15,000+ lies in less than three years, he called the publication “a far left magazine, or very ‘progressive,’ … which has been doing poorly and … knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript of a routine phone call….” He also tweeted, “I won’t be reading ET [sic] again!” Graham’s son Franklin Graham criticized CT’s position but said he had not read the editorial about impeaching DDT. Mark Galli, editor-in-chief of the piece, retired on January 3 after 30 years involved with the magazine. 

DDT continued to threatened $250 million funding for Ukraine by blocking a $1.4 trillion spending package funding the federal government through the end of September 2020 if it contained the provision that he must release funds for the U.S. ally within 45 days. Democrats gave in to his demands to keep the U.S. from a shutdown by withdrawing the deadline for the funding release. The bill also lost a mandate that letters authorizing the release of congressional funding must be made public. In the $738 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), DDT got his “space force,” and government employees got 12 weeks paid parental leave

The bills also raised the federal minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 and a 3.1% pay increase for the troops and civilian federal employees. DDT got $1.375 billion for his wall, partly repair and less than the $8 billion he wanted. Defense spending increased by $22 billion. Elimination of three taxes to pay for the Affordable Care Act adds $373 billion to the deficit over the next decade. Forty-seven Republicans, once the party of fiscal prudence, voted for the budget that leads to more deficits. The GOP tax 2017 tax law already reduced U.S. tax revenue which fell 2.5 percent of tax-to-GDP in 2018, the most of any country in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. 

Republicans managed to keep violent white supremacists in the military by blocking an amendment while non-violent transgender recruits are banned.

DDT’s signatures on the bills avoids a government shutdown days before the first anniversary of the last one, a rancorous event that lasted 35 days and cost the U.S. economy $11 billion.

With a vote of 385 to 41, the House passed another major bill this week, the trade deal with Mexico and Canada called NAFTA Lite. The bill looks very different from DDT’s original draft; even the AFL-CIO approves. Gone are the pharmaceutical protections for drug companies, and appearing are higher labor standards in Mexico, faster dispute resolution, higher environmental standards, and stronger enforcement of the deal. Mexico almost backed out with the requirement of five people from the U.S. to supervise its labor arrangements. While not perfect, the new trade agreement is considered better than the original NAFTA, passed 23 years ago.

These major accomplishments negate DDT’s and Republicans’ assertion that the impeachment inquiry kept the House from addressing any other issues. DDT called the opposing party “the Do-Nothing Democrats,” but “do-nothing” better fits Republicans. The House’s hard work is visualized in this photo of 275 House bills DOA (Dead on Arrival) in the Senate because (Do-Nothing) Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refuses to acknowledge them. 

Facebook removed over 600 accounts connected to the pro-DDT conspiracy website The Epoch Times for using artificial-intelligence identities to push fake stories about topics including impeachment and elections. The network, “The BL,” was operated by Vietnamese users pretending to be Americans and using fake photos created by algorithms to fake real identities. In pushing the pro-DDT conspiracy theories, The Epoch Media group spent $9.5 million on ads to spread content on the pages and groups that FB suspended. DDT’s official FB page posts their stories. A U.S.-based media company, The Epoch Media group, has now joined foreign governments to use foreign people posing as U.S. people to push pro-DDT content to its 55 million followers. Publisher of the U.S. editions of The Epoch Times, Stephen Gregory, claimed that it has no connection to BL because it’s part of Epoch Times Vietnam and that their former employees creating and working for BL doesn’t show any connection with its 89 pages, 156 groups, and 72 Instagram accounts.  The largest buyer of pro-Trump ads on Facebook until August, The Epoch Times was banned from buying FB ads after the company consistently violated FB’s political advertising rules.

One of the many lies in DDT’s Wednesday Michigan rally went viral, and Republicans, including DDT’s sycophant Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), demanded that DDT apologize. In response to Rep. Debbie Dingell’s (D-MI) vote for impeachment, DDT said that her husband, a World War II veteran and former member of Congress, had gone to Hell. DDT also falsely claimed that Rep. Dingell had called him after her husband’s service to praise DDT when he called her. Pelosi said that DDT “misunderstands … that cruelty is not wit.”

The Dingell attack is part of DDT’s five ruling hallmarks:

Governing as perpetual warfare: us against them to inflame base and create deep divisions.

Governing by exhaustion: a war losing participants from boredom.

Governing by grievance and hyperbole: victimhood and martyrdom from declaring the BIGGEST or BEST or WORST as shown by the comparison of his impeachment to the Salem witch trials and the crucifixion of Jesus.

Governing by defiance: no matter the evidence, DDT also claiming that he’s never wrong.

Governing with “alternative facts”: over 15,000 lies in less than three years along with stories with no identification of people or changing names of characters. (Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) supports this position by telling Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), “We’ve beat the facts back all the time.”)

In exhaustion, the fifth top official at the Pentagon resigned within the past week from these positions: international cooperation in weapons systems, Asia policy, personnel and readiness, advanced research, and intelligence. Acting chief-of-staff Mick Mulvaney is expected to depart following the impeachment trial after being ignored in personnel, policy, and impeachment decisions. Rumor suggests his replacement is founder of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who said he won’t run for re-election and may work for DDT, something that he’s done for the past three years.

More exhaustion at DDT’s Michigan rally appeared when his “four more years” chant died in fewer than ten seconds. At the rally, DDT also claimed, “The steel is back”: Two days later, US Steel laid off 1,545 workers in closing its Great Lakes Works mill near Detroit.  In October, 376 Louisiana steel workers lost their jobs when Bayou Steel shut down its mill in LaPlace.

Senate Republicans keeps allowing Russia to interfere in U.S. elections while DDT’s administration fights to protect Russia from sanctions, but Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who usually walks in lockstep with DDT, introduced legislation to punish Russian people and companies for its interference in the 2016 election and its targeting of Ukraine, Syria, and dissidents for attacks. Sanctions were partly because of Russia’s capture of Ukrainian sailors and ships. DDT’s State Department sent a 22-page letter to Graham in opposition to his bill. It passed out of the Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday with opposition from five of the 12 Republicans. McConnell can block the bill from going to the Senate floor.

After DDT met with Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, in the Oval Office during the impeachment inquiry, Vladimir Putin-approved state TV confirmed that DDT is a Russian agent in a segment called “Puppet Master and ‘Agent’—How to Understand Lavrov’s Meeting with Trump.” And DDT isn’t the “puppet master” as this photo, requested by DDT, shows in Lavrov standing as the power behind the throne. 

Russia does expect DDT to “face a very unhappy period” after he leaves the White House. A joke was whether Russians should “get another apartment in Rostov ready.” Former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych settled in Rostov-on-Don when he fled to Russia in 2014. Valery Korovin, director of the Center for Geopolitical Expertise, said, “There are no disagreements or contradictions between Trump and Russia.” Putin-supporter and law professor Mikhail Antonov said, “Putin has expressed undisguised delight with the crusade led by Trump and Giuliani to whitewash Moscow’s interference in the U.S. elections” and pin the blame on Ukraine.

Former White House officials say that DDT passes Russia propaganda such as the false theory about Ukrainian hacking supporting Clinton because Putin told him to do it.

A federal judge allowed the lawsuit against DDT and his administration alleging violation of federal records law after DDT confiscated and destroyed his meeting notes with Putin. No detailed records of DDT’s and Putin’s communication in their multiple meetings exist.

The White House is catching crazy from DDT’s conspiracy theories: reporter Brian Karem said it’s claiming that Hillary deliberately lost the election by getting help from Russian hacking so that DDT could be impeached. Although the logic sounds wacko, that is the culture of DDT’s administration. DDT also claimed that Democrats started trying to impeach him before he declared candidacy.

After DDT pardoned military war criminals, his approval rating with service members dropped—42 percent approval. Half of them gave DDT an unfavorable rating.

December 13, 2019

Impeachment Heads to House Floor

The House Judiciary Committee approved the two articles of impeachment in a partisan vote of 23-17, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) unleashed more fury, and the vote goes to the full House next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who will swear “under God” that he will be impartial in the impeachment trial, said that there is “no chance” his chamber will vote to remove Trump from office. He’s undoubtedly right because this action would require 67 votes in a Senate with 52 Republicans, but deciding the outcome before the process shows an illegal public rigging of the system.

In his position as jury foreman, McConnell said, “I’m going to take my cues from the president’s lawyers.” At the same time, McConnell bragged and laughed about blocking confirmation of judges for two years until DDT was elected. The White House director of legislative affairs, Eric Ueland, said that he and the White House counsel, theoretically working for the people of the U.S., “are having a lot of good conversations with Senate Republicans.” The White House has been meeting frequently with the GOP senators, who will also be complicit in not following their sworn oaths when they become a jury for the proceedings. This approach to the trial may mean acquittal for DDT but not exoneration.

House Republicans stalled yesterday for over 15 hours of shouting and lying on television during the Judiciary Committee hearing after agreeing with Democrats to hold the hearing to five hours. GOP committee members cared nothing for the U.S. Constitution. For example, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) justified opposition to impeachment by saying that  Republican lawmakers were “sent here to obstruct this Congress.”

At the hearing’s 12th hour, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) called on GOP representatives to quit, saying, “I have not heard a new point or an original thought from either side in the last three hours.”  He described the hearing as an “institutional embarrassment.” At almost midnight last night, Committee chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) gaveled the session in adjournment and infuriated ranking member Doug Colling (R-GA) by announcing the vote on the next day. Stunned by not immediately voting, Collins bellowed about how wanted to leave Washington, but Nadler said that he wanted the vote during the light of day.

DDT showed his disregard for protecting the constitution by entertaining Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov while the impeachment articles were published. Although DDT claimed he told Lavrov not to interfere in U.S. elections and resolve Russia’s conflict with Ukraine, Lavrov said they didn’t talk about any interference. Lavrov did deny any Russian interference in the 2016 election when he talked with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. DDT tweeted a photograph of him and Lavrov in the Oval Office.  

Today, DDT met with his private lawyer Rudy Giuliani in the White House in their plotting to “prove” the false conspiracies about Ukraine instead of Russia interfered in the 2016 election and the Bidens’ corruption. Fresh from his trip to Ukraine, Giuliani supposedly said that he found “more than you can imagine,” a meaningless statement like the ones DDT made when he claimed to have proof that President Obama was not born in the United States. DDT continues to use a foreign government to get “dirt” on a political opponent while he may be impeached for the same reason. He also asked Giuliani to tell lawmakers and AG Bill Barr when he found in Ukraine. Leaving DDT in the White House also allows him to continue his illegal approach to smear his political opponents for the 2020 election.

After DDT froze aid to Ukraine, and the OMB scrambled to find a justification. Then they said that it was legal to freeze aid on a “temporary” basis—eight times in August and September to look legal. Now a new memo claims the aid was frozen to study whether the spending complied with U.S. policy. Congress passed the aid, and DDT signed it. No one made a “study” until DDT withheld the aid for his personal benefit. The memo cited times that Congress had withheld aid, but not the executive branch. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tried to defend DDT by saying that the money was released to Ukraine which takes away any problems, but at least $20 million legally owed Ukraine is still sitting in the United States. The biggest irony of Thursday’s “debate” was the desire of GOP House swamp creatures calling for draining the swamp. Where will GOP members of Congress go without a swamp?

DDT claims not to be watching the impeachment hearings, but his 123 tweets yesterday say differently. That number tops his former record of 105 last Sunday.

U.S. prosecutors may investigate corruption in Ukraine by focusing on associates of DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani and their relationship to Ukrainian state-owned Naftogaz natural gas company that may have violated a law prohibiting paying bribes to foreign officials. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman offered to make a senior official at Naftogaz the CEO to get business for their own liquified natural gas operation. The two men used ties to Giuliani to try to get U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired because she might oppose their plans. The scheme fits a foreign bribery charge that doesn’t require consummation to be a violation. Parnas and Fruman have already been indicted for funneling foreign money into U.S. elections and hiding the source of other donations. Prosecutors are pursuing Giuliani’s involvement, and Ukrainians complained about his trying to change the Naftogaz board while seeking investigations of the Bidens.   

In the midst of impeachment publicity, DDT seems to be trying to put on his best face for his being in the midst of a maelstrom. He claims that he “wouldn’t mind the long process” and that yesterday’s approval of the articles of impeachment has politically benefited him. Before the Senate trial, however, the House must finish its business.

Tomorrow, the House holds a brief pro-forma session; on Sunday, the House Judiciary Committee releases its report to the Rules Committee. Jim McGovern (D-MA), chair of the House Rules Committee, said that the panel would meet Tuesday to debate the rules for the floor debate such as the length of the debate and the number of amendments. The process might be shorter than other committee debates because it has only 13 members, nine Democrats and four Republicans. A hot topic could be no Judiciary Committee hearing with GOP-chosen witnesses. Listeners can expect more repetition of the word “unfair.” Although the House rules require such a hearing, it could be held after the Judiciary Committee votes.

Another decision from the Rules Committee is whether to vote on GOP amendments to the articles of impeachment. Democrats could block them, but Republicans presented five amendments in the Judiciary Committee, including attempts to remove the articles. DDT and House Republicans are still protesting the allegation that DDT withheld a White House meeting and $391 million in military aid until Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky announced investigations into Joe Biden and his son Hunter along with admission of a false debunked allegation Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election. Republicans say that DDT met with Zelensky and released the aid without the announcement; Democrats say DDT released the aid only because his threats became public. About $20 million has also not been released yet.

The second article, obstruction of justice, is based on DDT’s direction for aides and agencies to not comply with congressional subpoenas. Republicans claim that the articles detailed no specific crimes and still maintain, falsely, that impeachment cannot exist without crimes.

Democrats comprise 233 members in the House to the 197 Republicans and independent Justin Amash, who demanded impeachment when he shifted from his earlier GOP registration. Four seats are vacant—two Democratic and two Republican. Several “blue dog” Republicans who earlier said they preferred censure and might not vote for impeachment are moving toward votes for impeachment. If the House approves impeachment, it will pick lawmakers, called managers, to present the case against DDT for the Senate trial.  

The House is expected to impeach DDT on Wednesday, December 18, just one day shy of the 21st anniversary of Bill Clinton’s impeachment. U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts would preside over the trial, and DDT’s legal team could respond to the House managers. Unless the Senate votes on the articles of impeachment immediately after the opening arguments, according to McConnell’s suggestion. He would avoid the trial if the law did not require him to at least vote—after all the senators swear “under God” that they will render “impartial justice.”

Former Florida AG Pam Bondi, who received a questionable donation from DDT’s now-defunct charitable foundation in exchange for quashing an investigation into DDT’s university, is senior legal adviser for DDT’s Senate trial defense. To get this job, she had to quit her job for Ballard Partners, a lobbying firm connected to both DDT and part of the investigation into Giuliani’s associates including Lev Parnas. The company paid Parnas, who referred a client, the Turkish government, to Ballard Partners which is cooperating with New York prosecutors. Bondi, Parnas, DDT, conspiracy theories about Ukraine, extorted investigations into the Bidens, frozen military aid to Ukraine, impeachment, the Senate trial—they’re all tied together, even the Turkish government.

The winner of the DDT’s polarization of U.S. politics? Russia.

December 9, 2019

DDT’s Corruption: At Home, Abroad

Yesterday, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) excitedly tweeted about the upcoming release of a report about an investigation into the origins of an FBI investigation into members of DDT’s 2016 campaign. “I.G. report out tomorrow. That will be the big story!” DDT wrote.

Monday, after almost two years of investigating, DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz completed and released its 434-page report about the FBI’s opening investigations into George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and Carter Page had an “authorized purpose.” It was a bust for DDT when Horowitz concluded:

“We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions to open the four individual investigations.”

The report criticized aspects of the FBI’s handling of the investigation but did not conclude that the bureau’s applications to monitor Page should have been rejected. Horowitz found that a tip from the Australian government was sufficient “to predicate the opening of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.” Disappointed, Fox & Friends canceled an interview with former FBI director James Comey after the report’s release.

With no evidence, AG William P. Barr disagreed with a report key conclusion, stating the FBI started its investigation “on the thinnest of suspicions … insufficient to justify the steps taken.” Assigned by Barr to find supporting information for Barr’s opinion, U.S. attorney for Connecticut, John Durham, said he does “not agree with some of the report’s conclusions,” an unethical move because he has not finished his investigation. Four days ago, Durham said he found no evidence that U.S. intelligence agencies planted spies in DDT’s campaign. Durham and Barr visited foreign leaders to find support for their position that the FBI should not have opened its investigation into connections between DDT’s campaign and Russia.  

In another attempt to protect DDT, Barr’s DOJ argued on Monday that the emoluments clause doesn’t block DDT from accepting payments from foreign governments although the clause states that “no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” The lawyer claimed that Congress should have banned these emoluments—despite the U.S. Constitution. Judge David S. Tatel, one of three judges presiding over the hearing, told the DOJ lawyer that Congress doesn’t have information about DDT’s emoluments because DDT refuses to release his tax returns.

Monday, a Washington Post story about the 18+ year war with Afghanistan also rose to the top of the media that described research from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a federal agency with the goal of eliminating corruption and inefficiency in the U.S. war effort. Hundreds of confidential interviews and 2,000 pages of documents describe obfuscation about a war that cost $1 trillion and killed over 2,300 military members as well as tens of thousands of Afghan civilians. The article explains that U.S. officials altered statistics to “present the best picture possible” in the war, which began on October 7, 2001, through vague aims and inflated successes. Following administrations ignored the Afghan officials’ corruption and theft of U.S. aid. Sixty-two people interviewed were identified; the other 366 were treated as whistleblowers and informants.

Documents include previously classified memos dictated by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld between 2001 and 2006. Rumsfeld released some memos in 2011, and others of the remaining secret 59,000 pages came out in 2017 after a FOIA lawsuit. The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan began with retaliation against al-Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. and deteriorated into loss of direction about the identity of enemy groups that the U.S. never decided. U.S. troops couldn’t identify between friends and enemies.

From 2009 to 2012, lawmakers and military commanders thought that excessive money for civil works would improve security, money that aid workers compared to pouring gas on a dying campfire to keep the fire burning. One USAID executive said the 90 percent of expenditures was overkill. A contractor was told to give out $3 million daily in an area about the size of a U.S. county, leading to corruption. The war cost between $934 billion and $978 billion doesn’t include money required by agencies like the CIA and VA medical care. Afghan commanders pocketed money for tens of thousands of “ghost soldiers.” No one believed that Afghan army and police could protect themselves from the Taliban. Over 60,000 members of Afghan security forces have been killed.

The media also shows the failures of DDT the “Dealmaker” around the world:

Israel/Palestine: DDT said peace was easy before he said that no one could broker peace between the two countries if Jared Kushner couldn’t. Peace became even more impossible after DDT gave Palestinian land to Israel.  

North Korea: DDT threatening Kim Jong-Un and, after smearing the UN for years, called a UN meeting about the country’s weapons escalation. Kim stated NK conducted a “very important test” at a formerly dismantled rocket launch site, and a NK official called DDT “an erratic old man.” North Korea’s envoy to the UN vowed that “denuclearization” is off the table.

China: Next week, more tariffs on $160 billion worth of Chinese goods go into effect unless DDT changes his mind. Every few days, DDT claims a trade deal is “close,” pushing the stock market up, before he immediately reverses his position, and the stock market plummets. According to DDT, trade wars are “good, and easy to win.” China expressed frustration because it believes that the U.S. is infringing on its sovereign affairs and ordered all foreign computer equipment and software—such as HP, Dell and Microsoft—be removed from government offices and public institutions within three years.

Hong Kong: Protesters are still marching for democracy which puts DDT in the middle between the marchers and the Chinese. 

Middle East: DDT is covering for a Saudi gunman who killed three people while he was in training at a naval base in Pensacola (FL). Some of DDT’s base consider the attack terrorism and want to call off the training program that allowed the killer into the U.S. DDT sounded like a PR representative in his defense of Saudi Arabia after the shooting. Former Republican Max Boot wrote:   

“President Trump has long held a double standard when it comes to terrorist attacks: When the perpetrator is a white supremacist, he offers anodyne expressions of sympathy for the victims (often ‘thoughts and prayers’), while typically failing to label the attack an act of terrorism. When the perpetrator is a Muslim, however, he is vitriolic in his denunciations and his calls for a massive response, such as stopping all Muslims from entering the United States. After a car plowed into pedestrians in London on Aug. 14, 2018, for example, he tweeted: ‘Another terrorist attack in London… These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength!’

“It turns out that Trump actually has a triple standard, because he treats attacks by Saudis differently than those from other Muslim nations. On Friday, a Saudi air force officer studying at the Naval Air Station Pensacola shot dead three Americans and wounded eight others. Instead of expressing outrage or vowing vengeance, or even waiting for all the facts to come in, Trump sounded as if he were auditioning for the job of press secretary at the Saudi Embassy. He conveyed King Salman’s ‘sincere condolences’ and his (highly questionable) assurances ‘that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people.’ Trump then told reporters that the king ‘will take care of the families and loved ones of the victims.’”

“… This is, of course, only the latest example of Trump’s suspicious partiality to Saudi Arabia — the site of his first trip abroad as president. Trump has taken Saudi Arabia’s side as it has blockaded Qatar, the home of a large U.S. military base; caused a humanitarian tragedy with its bombing of Yemen; and even murdered and dismembered Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Congress was so outraged by Saudi atrocities — both against Yemen and Khashoggi — that it passed legislation to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Trump vetoed the bills. And even while abandoning the Kurds who fought with U.S. troops to defeat the Islamic State, Trump has sent thousands of U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia, a deployment that in the past has inflamed jihadist sentiment.

Boot continues by citing DDT’s love of money he claims to get from Saudi Arabia–$110 billion in weapons sales that was actually $14.5 billion. That’s for the U.S., but the Saudis “buy apartments from me,” according to DDT. “They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.” Revenue at the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan suffered “two years of decline” before increasing 13 percent in the first three months of 2018 from “a last-minute visit to New York by the Crown Prince [Mohammed bin Salman] of Saudi Arabia.” As Boot concludes, DDT’s “police is ‘Me First,’ not ‘America First.’”

And Republicans defend DDT’s extortion, bribery, and quid pro quo in Ukraine by swearing that he wants to wipe out corruption.

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