Nel's New Day

December 22, 2018

DDT: Week 100 – Not Very ‘Positive’

Day One of GOP/Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) government shutdown: Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) who fought to close down the government said that workers without paychecks is “actually part of what you do when you sign up for any public service position.” Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) said, “Who’s living that they’re not going to make it to the next paycheck?” He’s talking about 78 percent of fulltime workers.

The House Judiciary Committee, under the leadership of Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), demanded that the FBI vet over 3,400 pages of transcripts of investigation into the DOJ, including former FBI director James Comey, within two days, but the FBI said that the shutdown kept it from meeting that deadline. Materials cannot be released without an evaluation for classified, sensitive, or personally revealing information. Goodlatte, retiring this year, is single-handedly holding up a bill, unanimously passed in the Senate, to hopefully lower the incredibly high rate of violence against Native American women. He complained that states with high percentages of this population would receive grants for this purpose.

Failing to get an agreement on the CR today, the Senate adjourned and took their paychecks home for Christmas, leaving 800,000 government workers, over half of them still working, without pay.

Yesterday, DDT told reporters:

“We have had a very busy two or three days. It’s been very positive.”

Some of these “positive” events:

DDT’s pullout from Syria worsened—if possible—after Brett McGurk, U.S. envoy to the global coalition fighting ISIS, Brett McGurk, quit because he disagrees with DDT’s decision and statement about ISIS being defeated.

DDT’s shutdown of the government after conservative media goading and the chaos that he’s causing by pulling troops out of the Middle East with no plan made even stalwart Republican legislators at least raise eyebrows, especially after his Defense Secretary resigned in protest.

A senior Justice Department ethics official concluded that acting DOJ AG Matt Whitaker should recuse himself from overseeing Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian scandal, but Whitaker refuses to ask for an official ethics decision. The DOJ has notified Congress of Whitaker’s refusal.

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified that she has no idea how many immigrants have died in custody under her watch. In a hearing about the death of a 7-year-old girl while in DHS custody, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said, “There have been at least 12 deaths under your watch,” Jayapal said. Nielsen also lied again that “we do not have a policy of separating families at the border,” and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) told Nielsen that his committee plans to do its job of “meaningful oversight,” beginning in January. Note that Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) tried to save Nielsen by comparing the situation to Robert Mueller separating Paul Manafort from “his two beautiful children”—who happen to be 30 years old.

Nielsen said later that asylum seekers will be kept in Mexico instead of allowed to enter the U.S. This decision may not hold up in court after two judgments the past week. The D.C. appeals court struck down DDT and DOJ policies that refused asylum to victims of domestic and gang violence, and Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal justices to block DDT’s attempts to turn asylum seekers from the border. The ruling supported the decision of U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar, who DDT called an “Obama judge,” that DDT’s new rules were illegal.

Latest nominee for DOJ AG William Barr sent an unsolicited 20-page memo to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and Assistant AG Steven Engel last summer giving arguments against Robert Mueller’s right to investigate DDT for potential obstruction of justice and refuting the government’s ability to even question DDT. Barr also sent the memo to DDT before he was appointed.

In a tweet announcing the signing of the farm bill, DDT provided the clip of himself singing the Green Acres theme song at the 2005 Emmys, a performance not to be missed. When the final bill failed to punish some food stamps recipients who did not have jobs, DDT planned an executive order to eliminate legal waivers that would take food from almost 800,000 people, a decision that may be determined illegal.

Instead of going free for giving up information after lying to the FBI, former national security adviser Michael Flynn has another 90 days to tell more secrets after an irritated judge accused him of selling out his country for pushing Turkish interests in the U.S. during DDT’s campaign and blaming the FBI for his lies because they didn’t tell him it was a crime. Flynn’s business partner Bijan Kian has been charged as an illegal agent of Turkey and conspiracy in his efforts to get a Turkish cleric extradited from the U.S., an 80-year-old man who would certainly killed if he were sent to Turkey after living in the U.S. for almost 20 years. DDT said that he would “take a look” at the man’s extradition, obviously not concerned about killings after his indifference to the torture and dismemberment of longtime U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi royalty.

A conservative Texas judge ruled that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, bad news for DDT and Republicans because 53 percent of people have a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act. People voted Democrats into the House to keep their health care. Approval in a November KFF Health Tracking Poll:

  • 82 percent – Young adults stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26
  • 82 percent – Health insurance exchanges for small businesses and people to shop for insurance and compare prices and benefits
  • 81 percent – Financial insurance premium help to low- and moderate-income Americans who don’t get insurance through their jobs
  • 81 percent – Gradually closure of the Medicare prescription drug “doughnut hole” so people will no longer be required to pay the full cost of their medications
  • 79 percent – No out-of-pocket costs for many preventive services
  • 77 percent – State expansion of existing Medicaid programs to cover more low-income, uninsured adults (now in three-fourths of the states)
  • 65 percent – No denial of coverage because of a person’s medical history

Republicans were in the majority in all of the above.

DDT’s sort-of lawyer Rudy Giuliani contradicted his boss by saying DDT knew that fixer Michael Cohen was negotiating with Russia for a Trump Tower in Moscow long after DDT said it had stopped ten months before his election, perhaps after June 2016, the date that Cohen gave. A letter of intent from DDT to move forward with his negotiations four months into his campaign has also emerged. Giuliani claimed that DDT knew nothing about it, but  DDT signed a letter of intent four months into his campaign for the project.

Documentation proves that DDT also broke his pledge to have no new business deals while he is in the Oval Office by acting as partner in the development of a proposed beachside resort in the Dominican Republic. Taxpayers provide the high costs of business trips for travel and security by DDT’s children in a business that opens up opportunities for more money laundering on the part of the Trump Organization.

DDT’s charitable foundation, called “a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests” by the New York AG, has been closed with any assets distributed under court supervision. The AG office is now pursuing a lawsuit to prevent DDT and his three oldest children from membership on boards of any other New York charities and force the payment of $2.8 million in restitution and penalties.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who made her first appearance since November to declare that the FBI “ambushed” Flynn, also attacked Comey on her official government Twitter account, an ethics issue. After his second six-hour House hearing, Comey, a Republican until 2016, exhorted Republicans:

“At some point someone has to stand up and face the fear of Fox News, fear of their base, fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away into retirement but stand up and speak the truth.”

Instead of the spending spree called the “Santa rally,” the Dow Jones’ seven-percent fall had its worst week since 2008—the year of George W. Bush’s recession—and dropped to the same number as 15 months ago. The Standard & Poor, down 11.4 percent thus far this month, is headed toward its worst December since 1931. DDT is blaming the Federal Reserve, but long time Republicans are blaming DDT. Crude oil plunged 11 percent during the past week for its worst weekly performance in three months.

DDT tweeted that he was negotiating with Democratic leaders about the shutdown for a bipartisan deal and announced a “large group” for a White House lunch but invited only GOP lawmakers and officials, primarily immigration hardliners. Conservatives keep repeating the wall as DDT’s promise but avoid the other promise that Mexico would fund the project.

This NBC/Wall Street Journal poll was taken before DDT’s “positive” busyness this past week:

  • 71 percent: DDT regularly makes “misleading” statements.
  • 62 percent: DDT has not been honest and truthful about Russia.
  • 60 percent: Lawmakers should make compromises to reach consensus on legislation.
  • 54 percent: Disapprove of the job that DDT is doing; negative feelings about DDT.
  • 50 percent: Mueller’s investigation has provided more doubts about DDT’s presidency.
  • 33 percent: The country is headed in the right direction.

Who should take the lead in country’s policies? Trump – 19 percent; GOP – 21 percent; Democrats – 48 percent.

The funniest news of the week: Funds raised by an online campaign We the People Will Fund the Wall—up to $14 million for 241,601 donors for 2/3 of a mile—will end up in the general fund for “general use” or “budget needs,” according to law. These funds are controlled by congressional appropriations. With this law, funds may be returned because GoFundMe prohibits “not using funds for their stated purpose.” Brian Kolfage, creator of the funding project has a background of sites with conspiracy theories. Another GoFundMe site has been introduced called “Ladders to Get over Trump’s Wall.”

If necessary, the money will be donated to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a Texas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees.

December 7, 2018

DDT: Week 98 – Furious Tweets Show Fear

Events during the past week, especially Robert Mueller’s investigation freight train increasing speed, have so terrified Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) that he released his longest, and most virulent, hate tweets this week—and that’s a record.

Michael Cohen, DDT’s former fixer, has revealed information about a Russian contact who would provide government connections to DDT’s business and political interests as early as 2015. He also said that DDT told him to reach out to Russia.

Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for DDT, has been discovered to lie about his contacts with Russian intelligence. Manafort sold his Florida mansion, purchased for $1.3 million and then renovated, to his wife for $10.

Vanity Fair reported that Donald Trump Jr. has gone into hiding in Canada, afraid that he would be indicted for lying to Congress and his behavior as a Trump Organization executive. Cohen has provided New York’s AG office information about the business finances. A hunting trip will help Jr. avoid the media.

Two House committees spent one of the last five days of GOP control before Democrats take over in January grilling former FBI Director James Comey in a closed session. The event appears to be a nothing-burger, with the focus on Hillary Clinton’s emails.

DDT followed yesterday’s White House reception for Hanakkah with his furious tweet calling the media “THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” a minute before a bomb threat was called into CNN NYC at the Times Warner Center and six weeks after pipe bombs were mailed to CNN and Democratic leaders.

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, DDT’s appointment formerly under consideration for AG, has been in the news when an in-depth reporting described how Acosta, then Miami’s top federal prosecutor, blocked a FBI probe for child molestation allegations again financier Jeffrey Epstein. Ten years ago, Acosta gave federal immunity to Epstein, involved with at least 40 underage girls and trafficking girls from overseas, and unnamed people involved with him. Instead, Epstein served 13 months in a private wing of the Palm Beach County jail with his own private secretary while he was on release 12 hours a day. Epstein again managed to weasel out of a trial this past week in which his victims were being allowed to testify.

DDT still supports Saudi Arabia despite their torturing and dismembering U.S. resident and WaPo journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but GOP Senate members separated themselves from DDT in his support of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam after CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed the Senate leaders. Referring to DDT’s claim that he doesn’t see a “smoking gun” linking MBS to Khashoggi’s murder, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, “There’s not a smoking gun, there’s a smoking saw.” Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said about MBS, “He murdered him. …No question in my mind.”

Like DDT’s other grandiose claims, his promise of solving U.S. tariff problems with China after a meeting with President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit isn’t bearing fruit. Chinese media announced that DDT’s assertions such as “an incredible deal” for U.S. farmers were bogus, and White House officials in the meeting with Xi didn’t hear anything about DDT’s claims. DDT said that Xi agreed to approve a deal between San Diego chip maker Qualcomm and the Dutch firm NXP, but Qualcomm has no intention to buy NXP. China skeptic Robert Lighthizer will lead the negotiations; his position is to punish China into change with harsher tariffs.

DDT said he canceled his meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit. They still met, but Russia’s state media called DDT “clumsy,” “morose,” and “defensive” who “brought dissonance to the #G20Summit.”

In his response to the legally-mandated climate change report produced by over 300 scientists from 13 agencies and released the Friday after Thanksgiving, DDT said, “I don’t believe it.

DDT, who calls himself “Tariff Man,” appears increasingly confused. In a recent interview, he twice mixed tariffs (the fine on imported goods) with interest rates, once after he was corrected by a journalist. He also claimed that China would be paying for the tariff although consumers will be paying these costs through increased prices. His false statement that “the steel industry has been rebuilt in a period of a year” because of tariffs is a misconception because the industry is not “building plants all over the country.” In more confusion, DDT said that U.S. arms expenditures are $716; that’s the entire military budget with $10 billion for arms.

This past week, the Dow Jones stock market dropped 800 points in one day; the week’s loss was 1,150 which takes the Dow back to a year ago. Of the worst 20 daily drops in the past 20 years, three were during President Obama’s eight years in office; ten have been in 2018—five of them in the last month during the worst quarter in seven years.

Candidate DDT promised to drop, perhaps even eliminate, the nation’s trade deficit. For the month of October, the U.S. trade deficit hit $55.5 billion, a ten-year high and a $1 billion increase from September. The first ten months of 2018 almost matched the entire year of 2016—President Obama’s last year. October’s trade deficit in goods went to $76.9, the highest ever and far more than the $66.5 billion in the month before DDT was inaugurated.

The 155,000 jobs added in November shows a slowing trend for DDT and represents only three-fourths of he expected number. The 4.2 million jobs added during his first 22 months is .54 million jobs less—a 13 percent drop—than the preceding 22 months.

Warned about the future disaster from escalating federal debt, DDT said, “I won’t be here.” DDT’s spokesman, Hogan Gridley, blames Congress, because they are the ones who pass the president’s budget. The GOP congressional members largely follow DDT’s directives out of fear for his turning on them.

Supposedly traumatized by George H.W. Bush’s funeral, Congress put off a budget measure to pass a short-term continuing resolution until December 21—an odd date because they are scheduled to leave for home on December 14. A big question for the measure to keep the country from closing down is whether Democrats will give DDT $5 billion to wall off Mexico. He even upped the ante for the amount that U.S. taxpayers must pay for the wall’s construction, which he promised that Mexico will provide, to $25 billion.

Two million federal workers received a memo ordering them not to discuss any possibility of DDT impeachment and telling them that they cannot use the word “resist.” The Office of Special Counsel used the Hatch Act against political activity as justification for the order, a law that at least six DDT’s officials have violated by using their official Twitter accounts to spread campaign messages without disciplinary actions.

DDT’s bone spurs must be acting up again. He was unable to walk 250 yards, about the length of two football fields, instead requiring a stretch limo in an eight-car motorcade to go from the White House to Blair House where George W. Bush was staying.

When DDT signed the new NAFTA, the media reported that the trade agreement protected LGBTQ workers. Not true. Only federal workers are protected from discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity, as per federal law. The language has been amended with a footnote that “no additional action is required on the part of the United States, including amendments to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” An executive order from President Clinton added these protections to federal workers, but DDT undermined President Obama’s executive order by adding “religious freedom” to allow discrimination.

VP Mike Pence commemorated World AIDS Day without mentioning LGBTQ people—for the second year in a row.

According to “Apostle of Joy” Georgian Banov, DDT ordered a Christian “prophet,” disguised as a janitor, to put olive oil on every White House door to ward off demons. Another pastor, Paul Begley, claimed that Melania Trump would not move to the White House until the “demonic taint” of the Obama administration was exorcised. Evangelical leaders have also followed the “laying on of hands” to anoint DDT.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told CBS News’ Bob Schieffer about his relationship with DDT on the job, conflicts from DDT’s insistence that Tillerson violate the law. Yet DDT was unwilling to get Congress to change the law, according to Tillerson. Tillerson added:

“It was challenging for me, coming from the disciplined, highly process-oriented Exxon Mobil Corporation, to go to work for a man who is pretty undisciplined, doesn’t like to read, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of a lot of things, but rather just kind of says, ‘Look, this is what I believe, and you can try to convince me otherwise, but most of the time you’re not going to do that.'”

Not one to let things go, DDT called Tillerson “dumb as a rock” and “lazy as hell.” DDT’s praise for current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Heather Nauert as his appointment for United Nations Ambassador, temperamental Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and others show DDT’s reliance on sycophants from far-right congressional members, the Fox network, and the Federalist Society.

More about the new sycophants later.

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