Nel's New Day

July 14, 2018

DDT: Week 77 – Attacks on Europe

Immigration was the subject of yesterday’s blog post, but a new, egregious government action has been revealed since then. The government is keeping children from parents until they undergo a DNA test—and some parents have been told that they must pay for the procedure. People who come to the U.S. with little more than the clothes on their back may be denied their children without paying up to $800. HHS has hired a private contractor to administer tests but refuses to name the company, possibly a legal violation. Three women who reported the demand are children’s parents, and the fourth is the sister of a three-year-old boy. Federal officials say that adults may not have paperwork to prove their relationship with children because ICE or border agents took the documentation. HHS process: the U.S. removes documents, the government then demands the documents that were taken, and parents are ordered to take a DNA test because they don’t have the documents. Even if the parents eventually get their children returned, they are subjected to this delaying tactic.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has spent the bulk of the week embarrassing people in the United States with his bully behavior toward allies and sycophancy toward Russia. His schedule for the past five days:

NATO Summit (Wednesday/Thursday):

Before DDT left to meet with the 28 members of NATO, formerly U.S. allies, on Monday, he said about his week:

“I have NATO, I have the UK, which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who would think?”

Concerned about DDT’s alienation of U.S. allies, the Senate approved a motion of support for NATO while DDT traveled to NATO. Only two senators—Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) dissented. The next day, Senate, lacking the courage to pass a bill to stop DDT, voted 88-11 to politely request that DDT get their approval before imposing tariffs on other nations in the name of national security. The 11 Republicans who want to turn their legislative responsibilities guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution over to DDT are John Barrasso (WY), Shelly Capito (WV), Mike Crapo (ID), Mike Enzi (WY), Lindsey Graham (SC), Dean Heller (NV), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), Jim Inhofe (OK), David Perdue (GA), James Risch (ID), and Tim Scott (SC). Barrasso, Hyde-Smith, and Heller are running for re-election; DDT is known for his vengeful nature. DDT’s threat to add $200 billion to tariffs on imports from China resulted in a 200-plus drop in the Dow Jones.

DDT’s continued performance at NATO leaders as a spoiled, out-of-control child:

  • He first demanded that every member country pay 2 percent of the GDP immediately instead of on the time line.
  • He then lied about how much the U.S. pays and demanded 4 percent of GDP. (According to the Pentagon, the U.S. pays 3.3 percent, not 4.2 percent.)
  • He called some of the media fake.
  • He accused Germany of being under the control of Russia about German’s private business increasing its natural gas purchases to eight percent of the nation’s energy consumption. (DDT constantly panders to the Russian leader, even after proof that Russia meddled in the U.S. election.)
  • Chief of Staff John Kelly demonstrated great concern during DDT’s attack on Germany, but the White House explained that he was distraught because he expected a full breakfast instead of pastries and cheese. (No, I’m not joking!)

Fact Check about DDT’s NATO performance:

  • Countries do not owe the U.S. or NATO for any debts because NATO countries spend their funding on their own defense. Any “owed” money would be to their own military.
  • Under pressure from DDT, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg politely gave DDT’s tough talk credit for increased NATO defense spending, but that increase began under President Obama as shown by this chart.

  • NATO member defense spending is not “going down … very substantially.” In 2014, NATO members agreed to stop cutting their military budgets, and European spending rose from about $254 billion in 2014 with President Obama to $275 billion in 2017—an 8 percent rise in three years.
  • The U.S. pays $5 billion, 22 percent of NATO’s common fund, not the 70 to 90 percent that DDT claims.
  • Germany is not “captive” to Russia in natural gas imports. In 2017, Germany received more than one-third of its energy for electricity from coal and nearly 12 percent from nuclear plants. One-third came from renewable energy. Only 13 percent came from natural gas, with Russia as the major supplier.
  • NATO allies have not committed to increased spending, contrary to DDT’s claim, according to other NATO members.

DDT creates a crisis and then lies about having solving it.

Great Britain (Friday):

Shortly before meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on her home turf, DDT gave a press conference to Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid bragging how he told May “how she should negotiate” Brexit but that “she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me.” He insinuated that he prefers Boris Johnson, who just quit May’s cabinet, as a “great prime minister.” DDT followed his criticism by threatening to “end a major relationship” between the two countries and withdraw U.S. trade with the UK. The tabloid published DDT’s statements during the stately gala dinner at Blenheim Palace, Winston Churchill’s birthplace, that was hosted by May where DDT’s late arrival left May and her husband standing alone in front of the palace. The Daily Mirror wrote, “The ego has landed.”

Other DDT statements:

  • Accused EU leaders of destroying its culture and identity by allowing in millions of migrants.
  • Tore into London Mayor Sadiq Khan for not standing up to terrorists.
  • Blamed Khan for spiralling crime in the capital.
  • Denied once branding Theresa May a “bossy schoolteacher.”
  • Maintained he would keep ties with Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin despite the Salisbury Novichok poisonings.
  • Spoke of his sadness at feeling unwelcome in the capital by anti-Trump protesters.
  • Claimed millions of Brits backed his policies.
  • Complained about not hearing the name “England” any more although England has been subsumed into the United Kingdom.
  • Bragged about polling better than Abraham Lincoln—although there were no polls 150 years ago.

Later DDT claimed that he “didn’t criticize the [British] prime minister,” that the “fake news” was to blame and that a recording of the interview would prove that the Sun published falsehoods. Unfortunately for DDT, the Sun taped the interview and released the audio with all the statements that DDT denied. In his later interview, he also reiterated his racist remarks about immigrants to Great Britain, accusing them of stripping Europe of culture.

In criticizing immigration, DDT didn’t use the word “illegal.” His earlier comments about how immigrants “infest” a nation are reminiscent of neo-Nazi white supremacist terms such as “invaders” who attack white culture. Less than 100 years ago, Nazi propaganda described Jews as a biological threat with terms such as “alien” and “parasitic” who were responsible for Germany’s “degeneration.” More than representing the U.S. on his trip in his anti-immigration position, DDT claimed to “represent a lot of people in Europe,” taking the position of EU’s white supremacist movement.

DDT struggled with protocol when he was 12 minutes late to having tea with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle and then briefly walked in front of the Queen when they were inspecting the Guard of Honor. At least he didn’t grab her hand the way he does with Theresa May.

 

Flying Trump Baby, a 20-feet inflated satiric blimp of DDT, wasn’t the only visual protest by the 250,000 people in London. Others visuals included walls and cages. [Workers tend to The Baby Trump Balloon while the U.S. President is visiting Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort in Scotland. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]

A British tabloid shows that DDT’s ego knows no end: on its cover, The Daily Mirror summarized DDT’s assault on Great Britain:

“You insult our country, attack our [National Health Service], embarrass our Queen, undermine our ‘special relationship,’ humiliate our [prime minister]…and then smugly pose in Winston Churchill’s armchair. How dare you ….”

The late leader’s grandson Nicholas Soames called Trump a “daft twerp” last year for connecting the United Kingdom’s rise in crime to “radical Islamic terror.”

Trump Baby traveled north to greet DDT in Edinburgh before DDT moved to promote one of his two Scottish golf courses and play golf while he was booed. People on the beach shouted, “No Trump, no K.K.K., no racist U.S.A.”

Russian state TV is delighted with DDT’s work to create chaos within the free world. Tatyana Parkhalina, president of the Association for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, said:

“Neither the USSR nor Russia, who tried many times to drive the wedge between transatlantic allies, but the main player, Washington, and President Trump himself is doing everything to break down the foundations of transatlantic alliance and unity.”

DDT meets—alone—with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday. Maybe he wants to talk about a Trump Tower in Moscow.

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July 7, 2018

DDT: Week 76 – Acceleration of Lies

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 11:41 PM
Tags: , , , ,

The 100 lies from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) this past week, partly because his appearance with a fawning Maria Bartiromo on Fox who made no corrections, almost match his 103 false claims of the previous week. Prior to this time, DDT hadn’t exceeded 60 falsehoods per week, according to the Toronto Star. In 2018, he has averaged 5.1 lies per day.

Some of DDT’s lies with Bartiromo

  • “The European Union is possibly as bad as China.”
  • “I guarantee you everybody that ever bought a Harley-Davidson voted for Trump…. They call them bikers for Trump. There’s hundreds,” DDT referring to himself in third person like royalty. [Harley sold under 150,000 motorcycles last year in the U.S., fewer than half the motorcycles sold. https://thinkprogress.org/c72c932d08c3/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tp-letters  In Iowa, 650 jobs may be lost if the Minnesota-based motorcycle company Polaris Industries moves overseas.]
  • Kim Jong-Un is denuclearizing North Korea [although NK is building up its nuclear weapons.]
  • “There’s no collusion with me. There’s no Russia with me. There’s no nothing.” [But there’s proof he’s wrong.]
  • “They found nothing. Nobody has found anything.” [Thus far, the special investigation has guilty pleas from three former members of DDT’s campaign and filed two indictments against his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and DDT’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen is ready to flip on him. Cohen said, “I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone’s defense strategy.”]
  • “I think [the markets] trust me, and the farmers trust me.” [The markets are down to the level before the tax cuts, and farmers are begging their congressional representatives for help from the tariff.]
  • The DNC “threw them [the FBI] out of the office” [although it didn’t.]
  • Hillary Clinton disposed of subpoenaed emails [although she didn’t.]
  • DDT said his enemies “better take it easy” indicating his personal retribution if they don’t because they are “dangerous for the country.”
  • DDT said that his tax cuts were “something really special.” [There goes the middle class.]

Other lies:

He talked to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who said that he would increase oil production because gas prices are “to [sic] high.” The phone call did exist, but Saudi Arabia said that the kingdom wouldn’t boost production as DDT said it promised. Gas prices hit a four-year high in June, and DDT’s foreign policies has an influence on the costs. At least the middle class gets a few dollars in tax cuts that will entirely go for gas.

He tweeted he “won lawsuit” about collusion with Russia. The fact is that a case against Roger Stone won’t move forward on technical grounds; the judge wrote that the “ruling is not based on a finding that there is no collusion.” DDT also lied about the DNC bringing that particular lawsuit, but the DNC does have a lawsuit in a Manhattan federal court accusing Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner stating that DDT’s campaign was a “willing and active” partner of Russia in its “brazen attack on American democracy.”

Corrections to more DDT lies during his rally in Montana against the campaign of Democratic Sen. Jon Tester:

  • Military spending is not at record levels.
  • DDT was not the first Republican to win Wisconsin since Dwight Eisenhower. [Wisconsin voted for GOP presidential candidates in 1960, 1968, 1972, 1980, and 1984.]
  • DDT’s tax cuts are not the largest ever.
  • Health plans aren’t enrolling yet because it’s not the time for people to sign up.
  • DDT isn’t good at getting legislation passed.
  • Vladimir Putin really was a long-serving KGB agent and then directed its successor, the FSB.

DDT’s Montana lies and insults reflect the GOP election strategy—more sexism, racism, and hate—sometimes all wrapped together as when he insulted Sen. Elizabeth Warren about her ancestry:

“We’ll take that little kit and say, we have to do it gently because we are in the Me Too generation, and we will very gently take that kit, slowly toss it.”

DDT:

  • Attacked Rep. Maxine Waters with his usual statement that “she is a low IQ individual.”
  • Referred to the separation of children and families at the Mexico border only by sneering at Therese Okoumou, who climbed the base of the Statue of Liberty in protest, by saying that he would have made “that clown” jump.
  • Demanded that NFL players be fired if they don’t stand for the national anthem because staying the locker room was “actually worse” than kneeling.
  • Ridiculed George H.W. Bush’s “thousand points of light” campaign theme promoting volunteerism by saying that he didn’t know what it meant.

DDT was positive only about three world leaders—Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jong-Un–and the lack of Montana’s environmental destruction thus far from Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Plundering Agency.

“Not seeing pollution is a wonderful thing. Those are beautiful skies.”

DDT is still describing the investigation into the Russian scandals as a “witch hunt” while Robert Mueller pursues his work.  During a fundraiser at his house on Martha’s Vineyard, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said: “If you think you’ve seen wild stuff so far, buckle up. It’s going to be a wild couple of months.” Mueller has found that several “billionaires with deep ties to Russia attended exclusive, invitation-only receptions [reserved for top donors and close political allies] during Donald Trump’s inauguration festivities.” At least one of them, Victor Vekselberg, has been sanctioned by the U.S. government. Mueller is also investigating Paul Manafort’s debt of $10 million to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska during the presidential election. The U.S. has also sanctioned Deripaska. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes said:

“Nothing to see here, just the indicted campaign manager of the president (who worked for free) owing a Russian oligarch $10 million dollars while Russia was sabotaging the election.”

Another newly discovered $26 million loan from Deripaska to Manafort brings the total to about $60 million in the past decade. Emails also show Manafort’s attempts to curry favor with Deripaska.

Mueller is also looking at the cellphone and computer communications of Blackwater founder Erik Prince, the brother of Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Prince tried to develop a secret channel between DDT and Vladimir Putin.

DDT also swears that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), co-founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus and leader of the 2013 government shutdown, knows nothing about the sexual molestations of his team members when he was assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State. At least five men have said that Jordan knew about their molestation by former team doctor Dr. Richard Strauss, who killed himself in 2005 and may have molested as many as 2,000 athletes in at least 15 different varsity sports. Former Ohio State wrestler Mike DiSabato said, “I considered Jim Jordan a friend. But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.” DiSabato continued, “[Jordan] took showers with us. He saw Dr. Strauss and others perform these acts in front of us.” One former wrestling coach called the men’s facility used by the team “cesspool of deviancy.” At least six ex-wrestlers said they were regularly harassed by sexually aggressive male students or workers at Ohio State as they masturbated while watching the wrestlers shower or sit in the sauna as well as participating in sexual acts where the athletes trained. Dunyasha Yetts, a 1993 wrestler, said he told Jordan about Strauss’ behavior and asked him to come to the doctor to protect him from fondling.

When one of the molested wrestlers emailed Jordan, the representative complained that he was being “bullied” and threatened to call the Capitol police. Jordan said that he didn’t want to respond to the former wrestler because he didn’t want to “encourage the behavior.” He also claimed to know nothing about the victimization, but investigators said that they had contacted Jordan and received no response.

DDT called the accusers liars and said that he stands behind Jordan “100 percent.” In the past, DDT defended his top staffer Rob Porter who abused his ex-wives and believed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore over a number of accusers suffering from Moore’s sexual conduct when they were teenagers. About Jordan he said, “No question in my mind” despite his lack of information.

Only two of Jordan’s GOP colleagues, Reps. Mark Meadows (R-OH) and Matt Goetz (R-FL), are following DDT’s “100 percent” support of Jordan. Otherwise, Republican members of Congress, even the almost three dozen members of Jordan’s conservative Freedom Caucus, are saying little about the situation except to use platitudes such as “integrity.” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) says that he supports an investigation of the accusations. Jordan had considered a run for Ryan’s position.

DDT thinks he has support for his tariffs, but 56 percent of voters said that his decisions were bad for jobs with 73 percent worried about rising prices. Those figures are worse in election battleground states, and a solid majority of Republicans are concerned about increased costs of products. Those figures are over a week old before DDT said that he was going to apply tariffs to all imports from China. A recession is being predicted.

Leading up to NATO this week and the G20 summit in fall, polls show the difference in confidence regarding U.S. leadership between President Obama and DDT:

  • -75% Germany
  • -71% South Korea
  • -70% France
  • -68% Spain
  • -61% Canada
  • -57% UK
  • -55% Australia
  • -54% Japan
  • +42% Russia

These figures are six months old. Since then, DDT Trump has ratcheted up his hostility toward NATO, NAFTA, the European Union, the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and G-7 while trying to control the world with ill-reasoned tariffs. Next January’s polls will reflect DDT’s lack of leadership with North Korea, the Middle East, climate, etc., etc. Now if only voters will agree with the free world at the polls in November.

June 16, 2018

Court, Staff Problems for DDT

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) turned 72 this past week, trying to get out of lawsuits and scandals through a series of lies. Yet the information about his corrupt associates continues. More documents from DDT’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen have been uncovered, including 731 pages of messages that he sent on such apps as WhatsApp and Signal that allow the content of the texts to remain encrypted. While getting data from a second phone, the FBI took 315 megabytes of data from one of his Blackberry phones. In addition, investigators reconstructed 16 pages of Cohen’s shredded documents. Yesterday was the deadline for Cohen to review hundreds of thousands of documents seized in the April raid of his office and home, and his lawyers disappeared yesterday, making him more likely to cooperate with the Russian investigation. The reason for the loss may be a fee dispute; Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said that Cohen’s bills could be as much as $500,000 per week. DDT’s campaign fund paid about $228,000 by the end of April, but it may have stopped because experts considered this to be potentially illegal.

Cohen is expecting to be arrested, and DDT is separating himself from his former friend. An opening gambit is DDT’s comment that anyone will lie to stay out of prison, insinuating that Cohen will take that tack. Leaks about Cohen’s legal problems may come from him in a signal to DDT that he will need a pardon. The pardon, however, would take away from using Fifth Amendment if he is called on to testify against someone else—like DDT. Meanwhile, however, Cohen fails in his search for a buyer for his expensive Trump building apartment and lawyers.

Cohen also failed in court to get a gag order on Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti to prevent him from speaking publicly about the lawsuit. Although Cohen had proclaimed “irreparable injury” to get the order, the judge regarded his request to be frivolous, “a complete joke and baseless” because Cohen “can’t deal with the truth, the facts, and the law.”

After several pundits said that Paul Manafort, former DDT campaign manager, should take a toothbrush with him to court, a judge ordered him to jail for tampering with witnesses while out on bail and waiting for trial on charges of federal conspiracy and money laundering. DDT again tried to minimize any relationship with Manafort and refused to talk about pardoning him. Rick Gates, Manafort’s deputy, pled guilty to lying to Mueller’s investigators and agreed to cooperate with the investigation.

A judge did rule has that Robert Mueller’s office must reveal names of alleged foreign agents who worked with former DDT campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

DDT’s charitable foundation is in legal trouble for its “political coordination” with his presidential campaign, among other issues, but a major problem could be “a $150,000 donation that the Ukrainian billionaire, Victor Pinchuk, made in September 2015 to the Donald J. Trump Foundation in exchange for a 20-minute appearance” from DDT via video in Kiev. Two weeks after DDT’s election, his foundation stated in a tax form that it may have been illegally benefited by the donation.

George Conway, husband of DDT’s counselor Kellyanne Conway, has come out with strong support of Robert Mueller’s legal authority in the Russia investigation in his essay “The Terrible Arguments against the Constitutionality of the Mueller Investigation.” A graduate of Harvard and Yale and a Republican, George Conway is an attorney who served as a clerk in the 2nd Circuit Court.

The DOJ has found several meetings between the NRA and elite Russians during the presidential campaign in its investigation about whether lifetime NRA member Alexander Torshin illegally channeled money through the organization. Influential Russians hosted NRA representatives in Moscow while the Kremlin hacked Democrat emails and put viral fake news on U.S. social media accounts to smear Hillary Clinton. Donating or using foreign money in U.S. election campaigns is a crime. The NRA, DDT’s biggest financial supporter, spent over $30 million, perhaps as much as $70 million, on his candidacy and has attempted to hide its expenditures and donors.

Russia also influenced the Brexit vote for the UK to leave the EU, and at least two of the British actors in this collusion also provided support for DDT’s campaign. Emails show that British businessman Arron Banks, the largest donor in UK history during the campaign for UK’s departure from the EU who denied Russian involvement, had several meetings with Russians during Brexit. Banks also admitted that he gave phone numbers for these Russians to people on DDT’s transition team. The defense of “witch hunt” is now becoming popular with Brexit supporter Banks.

DDT’s staff are still causing him trouble. DDT bragged about how “everybody wants to work in the White House,” but so few people want to work for him that officials are begging for employee candidates at a conservative job fair.

Marc Short, White House director of legislative affairs, plans to leave this summer. His leadership of DDT’s legislative agenda has not always been successful, and DDT has frequently criticized him while he goes out on his own to make his own unsuccessful deals. An example this past week is DDT’s claim that he wouldn’t sign the more moderate immigration bill to go before the House this coming week before declaring that he would sign either one of the bills that was passed. Two other communications staffers left the White House this week—Steven Cheung, director of strategic response, and Cliff Simms, now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s senior adviser. At least 18 of DDT’s 31 assistants—including six replacements—left their posts.

Another imminent high profile departure may be Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Asked about the possibility, DDT said that “at a certain point everyone sort of leaves, you have to leave.” Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah may also resign by the end of the year.

Three DOJ lawyers refused to support AG Jeff Sessions’ decision to not support the Affordable Care Act, but senior career Justice Department official Joel McElvain flat-out resigned. GOP Congress failed to repeal the law so Sessions will try to kill the ACA by not defending the law of the United States.

At the beginning of June, Rudy Guiliani yelled at his son for making out with his wife at the theater. Now 32-year-old Andrew Giuliani lost access to the White House without an escort despite his $77,000 a year job in the Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs. Chief of staff John Kelly and others also won’t promote Andrew because he “subverts the chain of command” and has other workplace issues. Rudy Giuliani disappeared from media for over a week after his denigrating comments about Stormy Daniels appearance. Maybe because his current wife, Judith Nathan, went to the media about his affairs, one of them with married New Hampshire hospital administrator Maria Rosa Ryan.

Some jobs in the White House are vital, for example taping together documents that DDT regularly tears up in his ignorance of the law. Former records management analyst Solomon Lartey and Reginald Young Jr., each making over $60,000 a year, have been fired for no reasons from their positions to repair notes and memos that DDT tears up for preservation according to the Presidential Records Act. Other workers are still taping papers back together again.

Another important government job responsibility is to keep track of DDT’s loyalists—and a black list of those who seem less than loyal. Mari Stull, former food lobbyist and wine blogger and currently senior adviser at the State Department, maintains a list of government officials and employees of international organizations and agencies, examining social media for political disagreement and past support of any of President Obama’s policies. Included are people who work for such agencies as the World Health Organization and the United Nations. People on the black list are kept out of meetings, and her actions are causing three assistant secretaries of state—Molly Phee, Erin Barclay, and Nerissa Cook—to quit or change agencies.

DDT may manage one nomination this coming week, Kathy Kraninger as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Interim director Mick Mulvaney has already eliminated the “protection” part of the agency, so Kraninger’s lack of experience in finance, banking, and consumer issues is irrelevant. She will, however, follow Mulvaney’s leadership of no government and regulations while promoting business interests.

Little climate news hits the mainstream media these days, but WashPo has reported that the melting Antarctica’s ice sheet is annually dumping 200 billion tons of ice into the ocean which raises sea levels one-half millimeter a year, tripling in the last decade. There goes Miami—and a lot more East Coast homes.

April 10, 2018

Syria’s Past, Scary Possibilities

Filed under: Foreign policy — trp2011 @ 11:10 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Fifteen years ago, George W. Bush followed the advice of his war hawks VP Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to attack Iraq on false pretenses. (I’m sure that the oil in the country had nothing to do with the preemptive war.) Since then, the thoughtless action of the Bush II administration has cost the U.S. people trillions of dollars and the Middle East hundreds of thousands of deaths and tens of millions of refugees. The United States will always suffer from the tragedies of veterans who managed to survive the physical and mental injuries that will always affect them and their descendants.

Syria is again the focus of attention in the Middle East after a disastrous chemical attack against Syrian civilians last Saturday and the possibility that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) would attack Syria in a diversion from his personal problems. Saturday’s attack killed at least 80 people, and an attack on a Syrian air base killed another 14. Syria first blamed the U.S. for the air base attack but then accused Israel. After the chemical attack, the rebels surrendered Douma. Yet any action looks like a lose-lose situation. “Syria is the most complex, complicated issue I have ever had to deal with,” then-CIA Director John Brennan said in 2016.

The current problem in Syria began during the Arab Spring of 2011 when protesters tries to take Middle Eastern countries from dictators. In Syria, Assad used the military to slaughter the protesters. When they fought back, Assad had his war against the Free Syrian Army, a militia formed to protect protesters.

The U.S. was concerned because of Iran’s alliance with Syria to move weapons and other resources to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. The Shiite theocracy of Iran sent Hezbollah to fight for Assad in a threat to Sunni Arab states on the Persian Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia, that then sent arms to the Syrian rebels. Qatar alone gave $3 billion to the rebels in 2013, and Saudi Arabia sent a shipment of 500 TOW anti-tank missiles to the rebel in 2015. Thus the Syrian civil war became a fight between two Middle Eastern factions.

At the same time, Russia supported Assad and the Syrian military in a continuation of its half-century policy; Russia sells weapons, air defense systems, and MI-25 attack helicopters to Assad, partly to protect its naval base at Tartus on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. In 2011, Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution to condemn Assad’s attacks on protesters. Yesterday in the UN, Russia refused to cooperate with Western countries to investigate Syrian chemical attacks. Russian special forces are embedded with Syrian troops, their warplanes and helicopters conduct air attacks on the rebels, and their artillery bombards Assad’s enemies.

Seeing the civil war as a source of recruits and a safe haven, al-Qaeda started sending forces into Syria since 2011. Qatar paid Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda leader, to destroy Assad.

President Obama refused to take out Assad despite advice from military and intelligence leaders such as David Petraeus who wanted to provide advanced weapons to the rebels. Even the killing of up to 1,423 people, mostly civilians, in Assad’s attack with sarin gas in 2013 didn’t push President Obama farther than a plan for airstrikes that Congress rejected. Russia made a deal with Assad to give up his chemical weapons in exchange for international inspections and no U.S. attacks. President Obama took the deal, and some people blamed him for Russia’s escalation in 2015. At the end of 2016, the civil war had killed at least 470,000 Syrian killed.

While actors in the Middle East used Syria in a tug of war, ISIS swept over northern Iraq in June 2014 and controlled land the size of Great Britain in Syria and Iraq. President Obama used airstrikes to support forces fighting ISIS. Busy fighting Assad, rebels could not fight ISIS; Assad had a ceasefire with ISIS so he fought the rebel as a larger threat to him. The U.S. picked Kurdish fighters in northern Syria near Turkey as their allies. The Kurds wanted their own state instead of overturning Assad and were intent on protecting their city Kobane from ISIS. The U.S. intended to cut ISIS’s supply lines between Syria and Iraq while backing Kurdish forces in their fight. The mission was a success by breaking the siege of Kobane and moving to take over ISIS’s capital, Raqqa. Yet Turkey, threatened by armed Kurdish fighters, threatened to increase military action against the Kurds who were fighting ISIS, and DDT stopped arming them.

Yet the U.S. would not support the rebels in fighting Assad. The U.S. agreement to not conflict with Russian flight to bomb Syrian civilians in 2015 led to atrocities such as chemical attacks. DDT campaigned with his past belief that the U.S. should support Assad and not attack Syria, but a chemical attack in spring 2017 killing over 80 people caused him to reverse his position because Assad had used chemical weapons. He ordered an attack on the airfield in Syria where the chemical attack was launched, possibly based on false information and after warning senior officials from foreign governments before the attack so that they could leave. Most chemical attacks in Syria are largely ignored by both DDT and the media, and DDT has don’t nothing about most of them. The map shows 11 attacks since DDT’s inauguration. [Thanks to Zack Beauchamp for the history of Syria’s civil war and involvement of other countries.]

After the chemical attack last Saturday, DDT’s air strike threats could be far more dangerous for the U.S. than his strike a year ago. Russia is already jamming U.S. drones over Syria and threatening disaster, possibly for a U.S. plane or ship, if DDT dares retaliate for the chemical attack. After protecting Putin for over a year, DDT is already in trouble for the sanctions against wealthy Russians that took billions of dollars from the Russian stock market this week. Now Russia claims that Assad did not use chemicals and blames the U.S. for a fake chemical attack in Syria as a pretext to strike Assad.

DDT cried crocodile tears at the deaths of children in chemical attacks but refuses to take Syrian refugees. In 2016, the Syrian atrocities led President Obama to increase the U.S. refugee resettlement cap from 70,000 to 110,000. DDT has capped the number at 45,000, and the U.S. has resettled 10,876 refugees this year, 44 of them Syrian. At this time last year, 5,935 Syrian had been resettled in the United States.

Ken Isaacs, DDT’s nominee to head the UN international migration assistance efforts believes that permitting Syrian refugees into the U.S. President Donald Trump’s new pick to lead the United Nation’s international migration assistance efforts is “foolish and delusional” because they are Muslims. He is the vice president of evangelist Rev. Franklin Graham’s Christian relief organization, Samaritan’s Purse. Isaacs also tweeted, “Austria and Switzerland should consider building a wall in the Alps to keep refugees out.”

This is Syria today:

  • Over half of Syria’s 20 million, pre-war population has been displaced.
  • 5.5 million Syrians have fled abroad with 95% of them in these five countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt.
  • 400,000 civilians are trapped in opposition-held suburbs of Syria’s capital Damascus where Assad is relentlessly bombing.
  • Of Syria’s estimated 10 million children, 8.6 million are in dire need of assistance. Nearly 6 million children are displaced or living as refugees, and about 2.5 million are out of school.
  • About one-third of Syria’s housing and half of its educational and medical facilities have been destroyed, causing catastrophic public health crises.

The biggest question now is what DDT will do about Syria. Before the FBI used a search warrant to take records, a computer, and a phone from the office, home, and hotel room of Michael Cohen, DDT’s lawyer, DDT promised to be “very tough” because “everybody’s going to pay a price.” By the time that he met with his military people, however, he was raging about seizing the documents as “a disgraceful situation” and “an attack on our country.” His venom turned to the FBI and top DOJ officials in raids where agents “broke into” Cohen’s office. After cancelling a trip to the Summit of the Americas in Lima (Peru), DDT will be alone for the entire weekend to watch Fox, sent furious tweets, and possibly starting a war. He’s at a “high level of freak out,” according to one source, and another one said, “I am worried about his response.”

As should everyone in the United States.

March 24, 2018

DDT: Week Sixty-one – Tweeting, Hiding from Protests

Late Friday evening has become the time for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to drop bombs, usually in order to steer the media away from news that he doesn’t like. DDT’s news last night before the massive March for Our Lives gatherings today was to once again ban transgender military members in the military. His ban of several months ago has been overturned in court, but DDT executed an order supporting the new memo from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that disqualifies U.S. troops who have had gender confirmation surgery because “military service requires sacrifice.” Transgender troops without surgery can stay if they have been medically stable for 36 consecutive months before joining the military or if they were diagnosed with gender dysphoria after President Obama’s end of the ban in 2016. Four lawsuits are already opposing DDT’s earlier ruling.

Facebook’s providing Cambridge Analytica with data consumed much of the news during the past week. Clips of C.A.’s officials were caught on a hidden camera explaining their blackmail to put conservative candidates into office. Last Sunday, CBS reported that DDT’s campaign never used any data from Cambridge Analytica, but suspended C.A. CEO president Alexander Nix disagreed, saying that C.A. put DDT the winner in the presidential election. Brad Parscale, DDT’s current campaign director, worked with C.A. to turn women and black voters against Hillary Clinton with fake stories.

Worse news from C.A.: key players have a new company, Emerdata, with C.A. primary funder Robert Mercer’s daughters, C.A.’s suspended CEO Alexander Nix as director, C.A.’s chief data officer Alexander Tayler, and Julian Wheatland, chairman of Cambridge Analytica parent firm SCL Group. Connected to Emerdata is Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater and now chairing the private security firm operating mostly in Africa. Prince is the brother of Secretary of State Betsy DeVos. George Nadar, who organized a meeting in the Seychelles between Erik Prince and a high-level Russian banker to set up a secret DDT-Russia back channel, has been granted immunity and is now singing to Mueller. Before he became FBI Director, discovered that Prince had probably broken the law by trying to sell secretly modified paramilitary attack aircraft to Azerbaijan’s military.

DDT’s keeps tweeting continual denial that “there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), minority leader of the House Intelligence Committee, responded:

“Mr. President, the Committee reached no such conclusion — only Republicans. In fact, we did find evidence of collusion, despite GOP members being more interested in protecting you than learning the truth. When accusing others of lying, best not to misrepresent facts yourself.”

DDT’s increasingly frantic tweets about Mueller indicates that he is closing in on the truth about DDT’s corruption, fraud, and Russian collusion. The messages from DDT, stuck in the White House for last weekend, hit a new high for him, and desperate aides took him to a golf course after the Sunday morning tweet storm. DDT came back with more vituperative tweets by Wednesday.

Excited about Vladimir Putin’s being “re-elected” for another six years, DDT called the dictator to congratulate him, ignoring warnings from his national security advisers. Briefing materials stated “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” and condemn the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) tweeted:

“An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election.”

DDT took pride in being on good terms with the Russian president and not bringing up anything negative such as the Kremlin’s murders and meddling in the U.S. elections. Republicans such as retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) treated DDT’s turning his belly up to Russia as the new normal. Videos showed ballot-stuffing at polling stations; earlier, viable candidates were either arrested on sham charges or killed. The story escalated when DDT became furious about his actions becoming public, and he is again determined to discover who did the leaking, calling it criminal.

Although the White House staff does not work for him personally, DDT has required them to sign “non-disclosure” agreements with threats if they reveal anything about him. Earlier DDT failed to force reporters to sign NDAs when they traveled with VP Mike Pence. As rumors run rampant, some people think that Chief of Staff John Kelly is behind the leaking because of past inappropriate statements to the press. DDT took pride in being on good terms with the Russian president and not bringing up anything negative such as the Kremlin’s murders and meddling in the U.S. elections.

More revelations about Russia’ interference in the U.S. elections:

The hacker that stole Democratic National Committee emails, Guccifer 2.0, was “an officer of Russia’s military intelligence directorate (GRU),” connecting the hack to the Kremlin.

Andrew McCabe, fired by the DOJ with the blessing of AG Jeff Sessions, had authorized a criminal investigation into Sessions last year because he “lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives.” Sessions said under oath that he had no contacts with any Russian officials during the campaign until he began to remember that he talked to the Russian ambassador twice. After Mueller was appointed as special investigator, McCabe’s investigation moved on to him. Other Sessions’ “lack of candor” comes from his claim under oath to the House Judiciary Committee that he “pushed back against a suggestion to meet with Russians during DDT’s campaign. Three people have told investigator Robert Mueller that Sessions never objected to arranging a meeting with Russia. Emails show that DDT’s campaign urged George Papadopoulos to reach out for a “partnership with Russia.” Although Sessions recused himself from all things Russian, he fired McCabe to defend DDT from Mueller’s Russian investigation. Former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has written a thought-provoking description of Sessions’ “lack of candor.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has called for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about McCabe’s firing. Even Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said that McCabe should have been allowed to finish his last 26 hours.

As GOP congressional leadership shy away from protecting the investigation into the Russian scandal, the conservative WashPo chides their refusal to declare Robert Mueller off-limits from DDT’s firing machine:

“The president treats government as purely a tribal battle between one side and the other and expects public servants to put loyalty to him before loyalty to country or the rule of law. Republican congressional leaders should not remain complicit in this debasement.”

Columnist Eugene Robinson wrote:

“If Trump does try to fire Mueller, [Ryan] and [McConnell] should get much of the blame. They have given Trump no reason to believe they will ever stand up to him.”

This past week, DDT hosted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), who gained his new position in a coup that involved torture and imprisonment of his family members. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster expressed concerns about the relation of Jared Kushner, DDT’s son-in-law, with MBS who bragged about having Kushner “in his pocket.” MBS may also have used classified information from DDT’s daily briefings to determine who MBS imprisoned. Tillerson and McMaster are gone; Kushner remains in the White House, and the Senate failed to stop the U.S. part in a bloody, three-year war in Yemen. Despite a bipartisan effort, 45 GOP and 10 Democratic senators voted to continue its support for Saudi Arabia’s bombing missions.

With Jared Kushner head of his family business, it filed at least 80 false applications for construction permits in a three-year period ending in 2016 lying about the rent-regulated tenants in its buildings to make it easier to push them out and sell a building with higher rents.

The Dow Jones index dropped 1,460 points this past week after the Feds raised the prime rate a quarter of a percent, Facebook suffered from public knowledge that it provided information to Cambridge Analytica, and DDT escalated the trade war by placing tariffs on $60 billion of Chinese goods and limiting China’s freedom to invest in U.S. tech. China threatened tariffs on $3 billion in U.S. goods, most of them agricultural, hitting the states that voted for DDT. The 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act may be a harbinger of our future. Yet DDT caved on most of his steel and aluminum tariffs, exempting countries for two-thirds of steel and over half of aluminum imports.

Capping the week was March for Our Lives, a movement by young people protesting unlimited gun ownership with the message “Enough Is Enough.” Millions of people, almost one million just in Washington, D.C., marched around the world with 800 different protests in the United States alone. DDT escaped to Mar-a-Lago before the event this morning, detouring around any protesters on his way back from the golf course. Most legislators went home yesterday immediately after a $1.3 trillion spending bill passed Congress. [Above: the view from the Washington, D.C. stage.]

Two GOP congressional members gave lukewarm praise for the young people although Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) misrepresented their mission. Others idly commented about sports, farmers, and praise for the spending bill and tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Democrats were seen attending the marches. For the first time in almost two decades, more people have a negative view of the NRA than positive, according to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. It found that 37 percent see the NRA in a positive light with 44 percent viewing it negatively. The greatest drop came from white married women.

March 3, 2018

DDT: Week 58 – Russia, Guns

[Note: Survivors of the Parkland (FL) school shooting cannot get a permit for their March for Our Lives on March 24 because a student group “at a local educational institution” wants to film a talent show on the Mall on that date. That permit states, “Games will be the main activity for filming,” and equipment listed “two tables, two bikes, and jump ropes.” March for Our Lives organizers planned their rally away from federal land and in D.C., on Pennsylvania Avenue between Third and 12th streets NW.]

The increasing fury from the tweets of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), such as his primal scream “WITCH HUNT,” has been worsened by revelations about White House policy possibly being directed by Jared Kushner’s need for money. The debt on his Fifth Avenue property, $1.4 billion, comes due next year. Investigations show possible connections between financing for Kushner’s family business and Kushner’s discussions with Qatar, Turkey, Russia, China, and the United Arab Emirates:

  • The punishing blockade against Qatar occurred after a Qatar billionaire decided not to invest in Kushner’s business.
  • Apollo Global Management loaned Kushner $184 million, triple the average size of a typical loan, after an Apollo founder Joshua Harris, advising DDT about infrastructure, met with Kushner about a White House job for Harris.
  • Israel’s Menora Mivtachim loaned $30 million to Kushner for additional equity in 10 Maryland apartment complexes just before DDT’s trip with Jared and Ivanka last May. Since then, DDT declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel and the move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
  • Citigroup loaned Kushner $325 million after Kushner met with a chief executive, Michael Corbat.

Kushner has now lost his high-level security clearance to a status below the White House chief calligrapher, which includes his losing access to DDT’s daily brief.

Robert Mueller’s investigation:

  • DDT’s attacks on AG Jeff Sessions for his handling of Sessions’ assignment of his inspector general to examine GOP accusations of FISA surveillance procedures as well as whether DDT tried to get rid of AG Jeff Sessions last summer to get control of the Russia investigation.
  • Whether DDT knew about Russia stealing DNC emails before the public was aware of the action and whether DDT knew when WikiLeaks was going to release the hacked emails. In July 2016, DDT asked Russia to find emails deleted by Hillary Clinton.
  • Whether DDT’s associate Roger Stone knew about the email information before it was public.  Stone lied about not having direct communication with WikiLeaks during DDT’s campaign. Democrats asked the House Intelligence Committee to subpoena WikiLeaks messages with Stone, but Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) and the other GOP members have refused.

Nunes did release the Democratic refutation of the GOP House Intelligence Committee memo and explanation of the warrant to surveil Carter Page. A government watchdog group filed a second ethics complaint against Nunes’ leaking private information from Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) to the Fox network about the Russian interference to the media. After some of Hope Hicks’ testimony was leaked, the two top members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, including GOP Richard Burr (NC), told House Speaker Paul Ryan about “concerns” regarding the operations of the House committee and accusations of the GOP illegal leaking.

The scariest Russian information this week came from Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency. He reported to the Senate Armed Services Committee that he cannot try to stop the Kremlin meddling—and perhaps control—of U.S. elections without presidential authorization—which DDT won’t give. Members of the NSC understand that DDT would perceive any discussion of the Russian problem as a personal affront. Rogers, due to retire in April, said, “President Putin has clearly come to the conclusion that there’s little price to pay and that therefore ‘I can continue this activity.’”

Vladimir Putin continues to make fools of conservatives, who he calls “useful fools.” In his latest address, Putin announced Russia has an “invincible” missile moving at hypersonic speed with an “unlimited” range that renders defense “completely useless.” He said that “any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies to be a nuclear attack on our country.” DDT had no response to Putin and saved his energy for tweeting against Alex [sic] Baldwin after his performance on Saturday Night Live.

DDT has a serious problem with his animosity toward Iran. He has incessantly threatened to sever the U.S. deal with Iran to keep it from developing nuclear weapons in order to please his base. At the same time, Russia, who DDT doesn’t dare offend, is building a closeness with Iran, becoming that country’s most important ally.

DDT is scapegoating former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe by accusing him of leaking information in October 2016 about conflict within the FBI and DOJ regarding Hillary Clinton’s family foundation and then intentionally misleading investigators about what he had done. The DOJ is also investigating former FBI director James Comey, his statement about closing the cases against Clinton’s email server without charges, and his decision to announce resumption of his work in this area only ten days before the presidential election. Last May, DDT asked McCabe in a meeting who McCabe voted for in that election and attacked him in tweets about his wife taking donations from a Democrat’s PAC for her political campaign. McCabe’s retirement is scheduled for March 18.

In trouble for paying legal fees defending DDT and Donald Trump Jr. in the Russian collusion, the RNC switched the monthly $37,541.67 to rent part of Manhattan’s Trump Tower. DDT’s election campaign also paid over $470,000 in rent for space at Trump Tower during 2017. Other RNC expenditures include $427,000+ expenditures at DDT’s properties such as Trump International Hotel (Washington, D.C.), Mar-a-Lago (Palm Beach), and Trump National Doral (Miami). DDT’s former bodyguard Keith Schiller collected $75,000 for “security services” immediately after Chief of Staff John Kelly fired Schiller in September, and the RNC said that he is being paid to consult on its 2020 convention site selection. VP Mike Pence’s son, John Pence, also gets over $7,000 a month for “consulting,” and DDT political ally Brad Parscale, DDT’s former campaign digital director and newly-named 2020 campaign director, got over $882,000 from the RNC in January.

Parscale sold his digital company last year for $10 million to CloudCommerce that it has not made a profit for almost ten years and spent over $19 million in investor money since it was started almost 20 years ago. At this time, CloudCommerce has $107,000. In 2006, a top executive was caught in an FBI bribery sting and pled guilty to securities fraud. Andrew Van Noy, Cloudcommerce’s chief executive, has earned less than $9,000 in each of the past three years and has faced six-figure debts from unpaid credit cards and repossessed cars while facing two real-estate fraud lawsuits. Parscale, a member of the board, hired Eric Trump’s wife, Lara, for an undisclosed amount.

DDT hasn’t said anything about the stock market since its volatility in early February, but his announcement of tariffs—25 percent on steels and 10 percent on aluminum—caused the markets to plummet again this week. A president can legally impose tariffs with proof that imports threaten U.S. national security. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross doesn’t believe in the significant “trickle-down” possibility of price hikes with taxes on imports. All DDT’s advisers and the GOP legislators opposed the move except the Commerce Department. Just days before the announcement, DDT’s former adviser Carl Icahn sold $31.3 million of stock in Manitowoc, a manufacturer relying on steel. It is the first time that Icahn trade these stocks in two years. DDT’s answer to global concerns both foreign and domestic is that “trade wars are good and easy to win.”

Traumatized by the tariffs, the GOP is also suffering from DDT’s statement:

“I like taking the guns. Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

The only gun position DDT has consistently kept this week is to arm the teachers, despite objections from diverse groups. Evidence supporting the insanity of arming teachers come from increasing news such as the “Teacher of the Year” in Georgia who fired a gun in his classroom this week, the six-year-old who found his teacher’s gun that had been left on the back of a toilet and the third-grader who reached into an armed guard holster and fired his gun.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto won’t be coming to visit DDT— Peña Nieto’s second cancellation since DDT’s inauguration because DDT won’t admit that Mexico won’t be building the wall. Mexican officials said that DDT “lost his temper” during the 50-minute telephone call; U.S. officials called him frustrated and exasperated. DHS Director Kirstjen Nielsen has canceled her visit to Mexico. Jared Kushner was in charge of U.S.-Mexico relationships.

More to come about appointments, resignations, lawsuits, etc. during Week 58.

February 16, 2018

White House Misery from Russia, Sexual Misconduct

Most people in the U.S. pay Social Security taxes for the entire year, but February 16 is the date when the last millionaire can stop because of the ceiling of $128,500. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) finished his Social Security payments in less than the first hour on January 1.

The biggest news today, however, was Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian collusion in the presidential election. A grand jury has indicted 13 Russian nationals for tampering with the U.S. political process through the Internet Research Agency (IRA), aka Glasvet, and the Concord Management and Consulting and Concord Catering. Concord hid their payments to the IRA by calling them software support. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the defendants had “allegedly conducted what they called ‘information warfare’ against the United States, with the stated goal of spreading distrust of candidates and political system in general.” He continued:

“They engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.”

Chats from Julian Assange, who released edited emails through Wikileaks to denigrate Hillary Clinton and the Democrats also show his work to elect DDT and Republicans. The State Department and the Treasury Department had already missed the January 29 deadline to place sanctions on Russia.

These indictments are just one part of the investigation. Rick Gates, Paul Manafort’s junior business partner and DDT’s campaign staffer, is “finalizing” a plea deal after his earlier indictment. Former White House staffer Steve Bannon also testified to Mueller for over 20 hours before he refused to answer questions from the House Intelligence Committee that may charge him with contempt.

The Democratic memo from the Intelligence Committee has been turned down by DDT who already released the Republican version in its entirety. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that DDT would be fair in determining the release of the memo, but he maintained that the Dem’s memo had classified information.

According to U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta, the GOP memo had already declassified information about the investigation. He made that pronouncement because the DOJ is fighting the release of when the FBI received the dossier after Buzzfeed asked for this information in fighting a defamation lawsuit. Mehta rejected the DOJ argument that they couldn’t reveal the date by saying that DDT “has now declassified an entire national security investigation.” The argument for not releasing the Democratic memo is gone. Thanks to Rep. Devin (R-CA) Nunes’ GOP memo, Buzzfeed has most of the classified information that it needed.  The FBI had already objected to releasing the GOP memo because it was misleading, but DDT didn’t even bother to read the GOP memo before he promised its release.

Another problem for DDT is the ruling from a federal appeals court to unseal 20-year-old records about his mobster, mafia, and Russian connections with Felix Sater who developed the Trump SoHo Hotel-Condominium and a tower in Fort Lauderdale, both resulting in fraud lawsuit. DDT was involved in a “pump-and-dump penny” stock scam that artificially inflates the price of owned stock through false and misleading positive comments to sell cheaply-acquired stock at a much higher price. DDT used The Apprentice to promote his So-Ho project and collected a large cash amount before its failure led to foreclosure; even then DDT earned an annual $3 million for managing it until its sale last year. Almost criminally charged, Ivanka and Erica Trump escaped with a large political donation to Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance. Sater told worked for DDT through back channels to get a Ukraine “peace plan” in exchange for dropping Russian sanctions after he promised DDT’ lawyer Michael Cohen that he would work with Putin to “get Donald Trump elected.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has asked the Treasury Department for documentation about DDT’s sale in 2008 of an uninhabitable Palm Beach mansion to Russian Oligarch Dmitry Rybolevley for much more than it was worth. DDT’s purchase price was $41.35 million, and he sold it for $95 million for a property evaluated at $30 million. Although DDT claimed that he never met Rybolevley, their paths crossed, including during DDT’s campaign in 2016.

The biggest DDT news in the last two weeks before Mueller’s indictments was the Rob Porter case. It began as a basic domestic abuse situation before it blew up into a situation marked by falsehoods by White House staff, led by Sanders and Chief of Staff John Kelly.

After Porter’s alleged beating and verbal abuse of two ex-wives became public, he resigned—although he stayed in the White House for an indeterminate time. As staff secretary, he held one of the highest positions there, serving as liaison between DDT and all government agencies, handling all the communications that go to DDT, and acting as “gatekeeper to the Oval Office, determining which articles and policy proposals reached the president’s hands and screening the briefing materials that his visitors shared with him,” according to WaPo. 

For several days after the revelation, Kelly supported Porter and tried to save his job. Even when Kelly gave up the attempt, he—and DDT—refused to acknowledge that Porter might have committed the acts attributed to him. Communications director Hope Hicks, who wrote the supportive statements about Porter, is also dating him, despite warnings from an ex-girlfriend of Porter. Staffer Kellyanne Conway said that Hicks was safe with Porter because she is strong and smart, insinuating that only weak and dumb women are victims of domestic abuse.

The White House standard line that no one had told them about any problems with Porter unraveled after FBI director, Christopher Wray, testified at a Senate hearing that the agency had reported about Porter’s behavior last March, in July, and again in November when the White House kept insisting that the FBI do more extensive investigations. WH counsel Don McGahn had said that Porter should resign in November, but nothing came of his suggestion. Several days after Porter’s resignation, DDT wished him a successful career and refused to answer a question during his event with sheriffs if he had any message for victims of abuse. Since then, DDT declared that he was opposed to domestic violence but didn’t say anything against Porter.

Within the first week after the Porter news broke, Sanders switched the blame to the FBI after admitting that the White House knew about the situation and then moved the focus to the White House Office of Personnel Security. Kelly’s support of Porter has led to the possibility that Kelly might be leaving the White House, but news about the problem has largely disappeared since the tragic school shooting in Florida and the indictment of Russians for their part in last year’s election.

GOP legislators are trying hard to cover for DDT. For example, Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) said that “blackmail and domestic situations [aren’t] crimes of character…. They aren’t dishonesty.” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who won’t run for re-election this year, came out to join the full-throated praise of wife-abuser and man who sees everything sensitive document despite no security clearance, Rob Porter, this week. Porter had earlier worked for Hatch, who wants him to “work his way through and do what’s right.”

Throughout his campaign, DDT has lambasted Hillary Clinton with accusations that she mishandled classified information and should go to prison. Yet more than 130 political appointees working in the Executive Office of the President lacked permanent security clearances a few months ago, including his top legal counsel, Press Secretary Sanders, daughter, and son-in-law. At least 34 of them started at the White House on the day that DDT did. Omarosa Manigault-Newman, who has recently left WH employment, never had clearance, and George Banks, special assistant for economic policy, resigned because he couldn’t get clearance. More are listed here.

DDT’s lawyer Michael Cohen may have sent Stormy Daniels away with $130,000, but Karen McDougal has a report about her nine-month affair with DDT in 2006, beginning three months after DDT’s son Barron was born. She sold her account to the owner of the National Enquirer for $150,000, but it protected DDT by quashing the story.

DDT’s approval ratings may be crawling up around 40 percent, but women who are watching his approval of sexual misconduct have dropped his ratings among females to 29 percent. Among that group, the strongest supporters are still white women without college degrees, but their approval for DDT is falling seriously in the Rustbelt. Over 22 percent of white women without college degrees report that DDT’s actions have hurt them and their families, and 47 percent report the nation’s economy as not good or poor. Sixty-five percent believe he is not the “very stable genius” that he claims to be, and 79 percent see sexual harassment of women in the workplace as a problem.

For the first time in the nation, not one state viewed improvement in 2017, and 21 states saw their well-being scores decline, six states more than the previous record in the Great Recession of 2009.

February 14, 2018

Shooting, Russian Involvement: Demand Action

Filed under: Guns — trp2011 @ 10:20 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Today at least 17 people were killed in a school shooting, taking the public attention from other events. Vice President Mike Pence is especially lucky because most people may not notice that he again blatantly lied in an interview of Axios. He said:

“Irrespective of efforts that were made in 2016 by foreign powers, it is the universal conclusion of our intelligence communities that none of those efforts had any impact on the outcome of the 2016 election.”

Pence lied.

Six U.S. intelligence leaders, including Pompeo, Coats, and Wray, testified that Russia had interfered in the last general election, that they plan to do so in the current election, and that DDT has not given any direction to stop the Russian meddling. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week that the meddling has already started but that there is nothing that the United States can do to prevent any Russian involvement.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said:

“We have seen Russian activity and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycle.”

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said:

“There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.”

The intelligence community concluded that Russia “aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.” Collectively, they made this statement:

“We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.”

The intelligence community made no ruling on the Russian affect on the outcome of the election last year when Donald Trump became the president of the United States. Yet Pence said that “it is the universal conclusion of our intelligence communities that none of those efforts had any impact on the outcome of the 2016 election.”

Donald Trump’s appointed FBI director, Christopher Wray, thinks that Russia believes its maneuvers succeeded in electing Trump as the president.

The Russians hacked and revised emails that resulted in negative press about Hillary Clinton. It distributed massive communications on social media that lied about Clinton and other progressive candidates. The FBI spread doubt about Clinton just days before the election while it failed to release the information about the Russian involvement in Donald Trump’s campaign, knowledge that they had for months before the election. And Donald Trump got over 60 million votes after he lied to the public about protecting the working people.

The same hackers also got into the email accounts of defense contract workers, and nobody is talking about that. Donald Trump refuses to sanction Russia for its interference.

Today witnessed the 18th school shooting in only 31 days of school in 2018, most of the shootings largely unnoticed by the media. Because of the gun industry and the NRA, conservatives take no action. (Although I wonder if they decide to allow all students over the age of five to take guns to school.) Yet GOP legislators give away trillions of dollars to the wealthy and the huge corporations. They plan to spend tens of billions of dollars on a wall to keep out immigrants and hundreds of billions of dollars to start and continue wars throughout the entire world.

The killer’s choice of weapon, at least one AR-15 style rifle and a large number of magazines, was the usual one for the deadliest mass shootings, including the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas massacre and the November 5, 2017 Texas church shooting. The assault-style rifle was developed for military use, but people use the Second Amendment to force its availability for the general population. Florida has no waiting period for anyone, including those on the terrorist watch list, who wish to buy guns, and the U.S. House has passed a bill making concealed-carry permits in one state valid in any other state.

Within hours after the shooting, officials associated the shooting with mental illness and calling them “evil.” Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County said that nothing can be done about shooters if they are determined to kill people. Others are using the standard statement that shooters are “evil.” Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s response was that she would guarantee no “price gouging” for funerals and make sure that the families didn’t have to pay for the funerals of the dead students. Florida Gov. Rick Scott gave his “thoughts and prayers” to the victims.

People who want to think of the United States as exceptional should know that the U.S. has 270 million guns with 90 mass shooters from 1966 to 2012. No other country has more than 46 million guns or 18 mass shooters. In 2009, the gun homicide rate in the U.S. was far higher than other developed countries at 33 per million people. The rate was 5 per million in Canada and 0.7 million in Britain, corresponding with differences in gun ownership. In 2013, Japan had 13 deaths related to guns; U.S. gun-related deaths included 21,175 suicides, 11,208 homicides, and 505 deaths caused by an accidental discharge. The chances per capita of a U.S. resident dying from a gun is 300 times more likely than a Japanese person dying in the same manner, and U.S. gun ownership is 150 times as high as that of Japan. Only three countries—Guatemala, Mexico, and the U.S.—have the assumption that people have an inherent right to own guns.

Gun ownership is the reason for these gun deaths:

  • The U.S. does not reflect a greater problem with mental health issues than any other wealthy country. Only four percent of U.S. gun deaths might be attributed to mental health problems. Other countries with high suicide rates have low rates of mass shootings.
  • People in the U.S. are no more likely to play video games than in any other developed country.
  • European countries show little association between immigration and other diversity with the rates of gun murders or mass shootings.
  • The U.S. is no more prone to crime than other developed countries—just more lethal.
  • Gun control legislation reduces gun murders, according to an analysis of 130 studies from 10 countries.

Britain’s 1987 mass shooting and Australia’s 1996 shooting turned the tide of unregulated gun ownership. The U.S. doesn’t care. British journalist Dan Hodges wrote:

“In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”

These are the 1,607 mass shootings in the U.S. since Sandy Hook.

Broward County Public Schools Supt. Robert Runcie said, “This has been a day we’ve seen the worst of humanity.” He may be right, but the worst is coming from people on the internet accusing the shooter of being a DACA recipient and an ISIS supporter with no evidence. The worst of humanity comes from people who refuse to take any action to stop mass shootings. The shooter will be dehumanized as insane, and the dead will be classified as heroes. And the Republicans will block any sane action. Only a shooting by an immigrant or in the name of a non-Christian religion would bring any action.

In their sanctimonious method of controlling gun safety laws, conservatives always accuse people who want to stop shootings as attempting to “politicize” a tragedy. The only way to stop the growing mass shootings and lack of safety at schools is to stop electing Republicans because they are controlled by the NRA and the gun industry. They have no interest in protecting people; they only want to get elected and grow richer and more powerful. Their demands to not politicize tragedies are to guarantee that gun laws grow more lax.

Happy Valentine’s Day, thanks to your GOP legislators, owned by the gun industry, who think that words like “prayers and condolences” are sufficient action. And Vice-President Pence, your intelligence community didn’t say that Russia had no impact on last year’s election that turned the United States away from democracy and toward authoritarianism.

January 5, 2018

DDT: Week Fifty – ‘Fire and Fury’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps the most bizarre tweet of January 2:

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

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

December 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

Russia:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Appointments:

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

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

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

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

Sexual Misconduct:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DDT’s arguments have several problems:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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