Nel's New Day

August 3, 2018

DDT: Week 80 – Lies, Disagreements, Attacks

As Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) becomes more unhinged, his administration disagrees with him:

  • DDT promotes a government shutdown this coming fall if he doesn’t get his border wall. Both congressional leaders, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), say there will be no shutdown.
  • DDT says he’ll talk to Iranian leaders any time with no conditions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out the conditions for any talks with Iran.
  • DDT says he’s doing fine with Kim Jong-Un, but Pompeo says North Korea is far from denuclearization and still violates UN Security Council resolutions. GOP congressional members doubt that DDT made a good deal with North Korea. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) pointed out that “these guys cheated on every single agreement,” and the nation is building at one or two intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) from his classified materials. Satellite images show North Korean construction of missiles.
  • DDT upped his trade war on China, increasing tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of goods because China wouldn’t do what he wanted. In order to impose tariffs, DDT must prove that they concern national security, according to a 1962 law because the U.S. Constitution put Congress in charges of tariffs. Some of the products in the tariff are dog food and furniture. A bipartisan group of senators led by Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced legislation to restrict presidential power to impose tariffs.
  • White House officials announced that Russian meddling in U.S. elections is serious and ongoing, DDT said it’s all a “witch hunt” and “hoax,” and GOP congressional members are trying to ignore the whole issue by refusing to provide funding to stop it. House members are gone for five weeks, and McConnell is fixated on approving Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court justice.

While Paul Manafort’s trial for money laundering and fraud finished its fourth day this week, Roger Stone’s longtime former aide Andrew Miller will be required to testify before Robert Mueller’s grand jury after losing his appeal and produce subpoenaed documents. DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani gives DDT illogical arguing points to add to his ranting about witch hunts. He contends that obstruction of justice must be secret because no one would obstruct justice out in the open and that collusion is not a crime because the law doesn’t use that word. “Conspiracy to defraud the United States” and “Contributions and donations by foreign nationals” are crimes. This week, Giuliani obsessed between the words “should” and “must,” that DDT didn’t order AG Jeff Sessions to end Mueller’s investigation because DDT’s tweet said “should.”

DDT started waging war on the Koch brothers, maintaining “I never sought their support because I don’t need their money….” At the same time, he considers making them wealthier with his unilateral plan to cut $100 billion in taxes mostly for the rich by allowing people to figure their capital gains by adjusting the original price to inflation. The Koch brothers won’t support anyone who supports DDT. Two reasons: either they don’t like the possibility of a recession from DDT’s tariffs or they think that Democrats will win in the fall and are hedging their bets. Or both. In the last tax cut, no one got DDT’s promised $4,000 raise in wages, and his tariffs are destroying the economy for farmers.

During the last couple of week, DDT accelerated his war on the media, perhaps because of his new hire and confidante Bill Shine. Last week, Shine banned CNN Kaitlan Collins from a press conference because she asked questions—a reporter’s job—and then said that he had only “disinvited” her.

Fox network president, Jay Wallace, stated:

“We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press.”

DDT’s attacked the New York Times after he misrepresented a July 20 conversation its publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, after the White House told the publisher not to tell anyone about the meeting. Sulzberger set the record straight about the conversation in this article, and DDT became furious.

This week, CNN’s Jim Costa appeared to be threatened at one of DDT’s rallies where he added a few “fakes” to his statement about “fake media.” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended DDT’s treatment of the media, although she claimed it wasn’t violent, and lied about their reporting regarding Osama bin Laden. DDT also retweeted his “like” for a video showing Acosta’s mistreatment.

DDT hates CNN so much that he was furious at Melania Trump turning the television on Air Force One to the network. He ordered two additional televisions on the airplane with a streaming device that will permit himself and the first lady to watch TV in their separate hotel rooms when they travel. DDT’s television must be automatically turned to Fox; the first lady watches “any channel she wants,” according to her spokesperson.

Requests using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reveal past cracks in DDT’s administration. Last fall then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke that DDT’s cancelation of Temporary Protected Status for 300,000 Central American immigrants would “likely drive increased illegal migration to the United States and the growth of MS-13 and similar gangs.

Other newly released emails from FOIA expose Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ lies when she said that DDT had told the Pentagon about his red line for Syria last summer. He failed to communicate with the Pentagon before it issued a statement about a possible Syrian chemical attack.

A FOIA filing followed by a lawsuit disclosed that DDT lied to the public in an official speech to Congress in February 2017 when he claimed that the DOJ provided data that “the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.” The DOJ has no corroborating data.

DDT’s rallies are rapidly adding his daily average of lies, now up to 7.6. The increase of 978 in the past two months brought the total for his 558 days to 4,229 as of July 31, 2018. Immigration and trade top the subjects of lies, followed by taxes and NATO spending.

Despite media complaints, the White House failed for nine days to correct its “official record” of the Helsinki press conference to include the part in which Putin answered “yes” to questions about whether he directed officials to support DDT in his campaign. At least, the media nagged the White House into the correction; the Russian version left that part out.

Finished being a tool for right-wing union busters, Mark Janus, the central figure in a Supreme Court case, quit his job days after the decision was announced in late June that all workers receive union support whether or not they pay fees. Janus falsely claimed that his fees to the union, that protected his rights, would go to political activism. The ruling overturned the 1977 SCOTUS decision Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. 

The White House will no longer keep any record of DDT’s phone calls to foreign leaders.

The next time you hear that 80 or 90 percent of the Republicans support something—like DDT—remember that Republicans comprise only 24 percent of the nation, down almost 10 percent in a year. Ninety percent of the Republicans means under 22 percent of the nation. “Three-fourths” of Republicans means only 18 percent of the people in the U.S. Of the 42 percent independents in the U.S., only 36 percent approve of DDT, down seven points from June. The independents also prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress by over 20 points, 48 to 26 percent. This article gives a number of charts showing the increase of disapproval for DDT and the GOP by the large voting block of independents. The GOP may like the idea of $1 trillion deficit this year with only 21 percent disapproving, but 56 percent of people disapprove the handling of budget deficit—81 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of independents.

The one piece of good news for DDT is the job market. Although July’s job increase was only 157,000, which was 37,000 under predictions, the Labor Department upgraded job additions for May and June to make the three-month average at 224,000. Wage growth, however, is still at 2.7 percent, and most of the jobs added are in low-wage sectors.

Good news for others is that the National Rifle Association has been unable to renew its media liability insurance which could force the group to close its TV network, NRATV, and a number of print publications. Lack of insurance would also mean that it “cannot maintain its physical premises” or “convene off-site meetings and events.” The NRA blames New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo for pressuring insurers. The state levied over $8 million in fines against the insurance companies supporting the NRA’s “Carry Guard” self-defense program in New York State by insuring participants for legal fees and liabilities caused by self-defense shootings. The NRA ended 2016 with a $43 million debt and an additional 40 million in pension liabilities because people are no longer afraid of federal gun control, and the NRA counted on “Carry Guard” to bail them out of their fiscal problems.

Best DDT quote of last week: “Just remember: what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

Best quote of this week: In a GOP senators’ press conference whining about Democrats wanting to see paperwork on Brett Kavanaugh, Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said, “Frankly, we didn’t treat their candidates for these positions the way [Democrats are] treating ours.” In one way, he’s right: Democrats are willing to talk with DDT’s nominee for Supreme Court justice; Republicans wouldn’t even speak to President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, let alone consider him for a hearing.

February 23, 2018

Another Friday, More Russian Indictments

After years of denying any Russian influence in his election, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is blaming President Obama for not stopping it and claiming that he never denied any Russian meddling—despite hours of video that show he’s lying. Last weekend, DDT tweeted:

“If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!”

DDT has no criticism for Russia and no call for action against them, but he lambasted his own intelligence agencies, security advisor H.R. McMaster, Hillary Clinton, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Democratic Party, the Iran deal—pretty much everybody except Russia. In two days at Mar-a-Lago, just 40 miles away from the site of the tragic shooting in Parkland, he tweeted only once about the killing of 17 people at a school 40 miles away from him, accusing the FBI of missing the call about the Florida shooter because it spent too much time on the Russian collusion. Twelve tweets were about the Russian news.

At the Munich Security Conference, U.S. officials told everyone ignore DDT, causing confusion among European officials. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel asked, “Is it deeds? Is it words? Is it tweets?” Another diplomat suggested that foreign policy positions from people such as McMaster who serve in the name of protecting the nation are following those of Germany’s elite during Hitler’s rise and expressed concern about nuclear war because of DDT’s attacks on North Korea.

U.S. pundits, including George W. Bush’s conservative speech writer David Frum, called DDT’s lack of responsibility for the Russian interference a dereliction of duty, also the title of national security adviser H.R. McMaster’s book describing the military leaders’ failure to object to presidents who continued the Vietnam War. McMaster stated that evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election is “now really incontrovertible,” and DDT is taking no action about the ongoing cyber attack on the United States. The president takes an oath to protect the country; DDT is failing his constitutional mandate.

All states are at risk from electronic interference in voting systems as shown by this highly detailed state-by-state report on the status of election security in the United States. Ratings were from B to F: no state received an A, and 17 states were assigned a D or F. A complete explanation for each state’s grade is useful for contacting state elected representatives about specific concerns. Fixing these problems would cost the government $1.2 billion, the same price as one military plane.

Revelations and indictments during the past week bring DDT closer to the Russian involvement.

  • Alex van der Zwaan, an attorney whose firm was accused of cooperating with former DDT campaign manager Paul Manafort in whitewashing the human rights abuses by former Ukrainian president Viktor F. Yanukovych, has pled guilty to lying to Mueller about his communications with Gates about their work for the Ukrainian government.
  • New charges against Rick Gates, Manafort’s former business partner and campaign worker, has led to Gates pleading guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI. He worked for DDT almost a year, beginning before DDT’s nomination as the GOP candidate and continuing as deputy chairman of DDT’s inaugural committee.
  • Part of Gates’ lies include his hiding the involvement of Russian-friendly Rep. Dana Rohrabacker (R-CA) with Manafort in lobbying on behalf of Russia-backed former president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.  In 2016, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had said in a meeting that he thought was secret, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” Viewing Rohrabacker as a valuable source, Russian intelligence had assigned him a code name.
  • This week also brought additional indictments against Paul Manafort—twice—along with Mueller’s request to increase his $10 million bail. Manafort is still claiming innocence despite all the evidence.

Another danger to DDT could be Russian journalist Lyudmila Savchuk who went undercover into the Russian “Troll Factory,” the group masquerading as U.S. residents to produce and send pro-DDT propaganda. Savchuk and her Internet World team of 15 anti-trolling experts saw how the Factory hired “bot drivers” to create slanted or completely fictitious posts for automated networks that could go viral in social media.

In a discussion about whether DDT is a traitor, James Risen has listed “four important tracks” in the Russia story:

  • Whether there is reliable evidence that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election was to help DDT win.
  • Whether DDT or his associates was involved with Russia to assist in his electoral success.
  • Whether these people tried to obstruct justice by blocking a federal investigation of collusion.
  • Whether Russians are helping DDT obstruct justice in continued efforts to discredit Robert Mueller.

Risen also points out that the U.S. media helped the Russian interference by not reporting on how the emails about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party were revealed and distributed. He wrote that the media ignored this part of the story “because it was so easy for journalists to write about Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.”

Now the world knows what Russia was doing, despite two years of DDT’s claims that it was a hoax and calling Hillary Clinton a “puppet” of Russia. Twice, DDT said that he took Vladimir Putin’s word that he wasn’t meddling in the presidential election over his own intelligence agencies. Now the conservative media is blaming President Obama because it started in 2014, but DDT was considering a presidential run before then with his 2012 trademark application for “Make America Great Again” and his praise for Putin in 2013 while DDT was in Moscow. In 2014, he referred to his run for president. DDT claims vindication because the indictments show no collusion with Russia, but the indictments are not the end of the investigation.

Thomas Friedman wrote:

“President Trump is either totally compromised by the Russians or is a towering fool, or both, but either way he has shown himself unwilling or unable to defend America against a Russian campaign to divide and undermine our democracy.”

DDT’s latest diversion from blame is attacking Jeff Session [sic] for not prosecuting President Obama because of Russian interference in the election. The former president had closed two Russian diplomatic facilities after he learned of the meddling, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked him for making the information public and threatened to retaliate against President Obama if he released any information.

Nicholas Kristof laid out a dozen pieces of the DDT puzzle:

  1. Russia interfered in the U.S. election.
  2. DDT has longstanding business interests in Russia.
  3. DDT has consistently displayed a soft spot for Putin. [Kristof puts this point very mildly!]
  4. DDT picked people with ties to Russia during his campaign, and his aides tweaked the GOP platform to please Russia.
  5. DDT aides secretly met with Russians.
  6. A DDT ally secretly communicated with a Russian mouthpiece.
  7. WikiLeaks, presumably representing Russian interests, engaged in secret correspondence with Donald Trump Jr.
  8. Jared Kushner met a Putin ally and asked about using Russian equipment for secret communications with the Kremlin.
  9. DDT aides consistently and falsely denied contacts.
  10. Russian bots are still joining DDT supporters in tweeting hashtags like #MAGA and #FullOfSchiff.
  11. This is not normal!

Meanwhile 57 percent of people in a recent poll disapprove of DDT’s response to the threat of Russian interference in the 2018 elections and agree that he isn’t fit to serve as president. Over three-fourths believe that the Russians tried to influence the 2016 elections, and 68 percent worry that they may do it again.

A little noticed DDT connection with Russia is his support of so-called “anchor babies.” While he opposes immigrants from the other side of the Mexican border, he promotes those from Russia. Pregnant Russian women frequently book his Miami properties to give birth while they are in the U.S., giving babies dual citizenship with Russia and the right to vote in just 18 years. Miami properties called Little Russia are bundling housing and medical services for a few months, and many companies advertise DDT’s lodgings for these “birth tourists.” The Sunny Medical Center “openly advertises citizenship as one of the primary benefits their clients receive.”

Paul Manafort put VP Mike Pence into the White House, according to GOP strategist John Weaver. Manafort has said that he connected DDT with Pence by manufacturing a story about a mechanical problem for DDT’s plane that forced the team to say over night in Indianapolis because Manafort believed that Pence “had value to Trump as a potential VP nominee.” DDT dumped New Jersey governor Chris Christie for vice-president after he talked with Pence and conferred with his son-in-law, the anyone-but-Christie Jared Kushner. Pence ran the transition team and filled the swamp with people like ousted Michael Flynn for national security adviser. After Flynn’s illegal activities were uncovered, Pence played the “I know nothing” game although Rep. Elijah Cummings (R-MD) revealed that Pence knew about Flynn’s relationship with Turkey and Russia when Pence put Flynn into his “security” position. If DDT goes, the nation is left with a worse alternative—Mike Pence.

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