Nel's New Day

April 15, 2021

Biden’s Foreign Policy, Domestic Terrorism

While Republicans complain about President Joe Biden’s inaction and lack of lying bombast exhibited by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), Biden is quietly strengthening U.S. foreign policy.

Today Biden sanctioned 40 Russian groups and individuals for the Russian major cyber espionage operation, operations to elect DDT in the past two presidential elections, the massive Russian buildup on the Ukrainian border, and Russia’s ongoing occupation and “severe human rights abuses” in Crimea. He blocked U.S. financial institutions from purchasing bonds from Russia’s Central Bank, National Wealth Fund, and Ministry of Finance after June 14 and from lending money to these institutions. Biden also expelled ten people from Washington’s Russian diplomatic mission and considers sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt. He now proposes a summit where the U.S. and Russia can discuss these problems.

Republicans yell and whine about election fraud, but reports show DDT’s 2016 campaign manager in frequent, covert contact with a Chinese intelligence officer, once his business associate. Paul Manafort passed internal polling data to the operative who asked him to support a proposal to allow Chinese success in the South China Sea territorial disputes. Biden sanctioned the operative Konstantin Kilimnik, identified as a “Russian and Ukrainian political consultant and known Russian Intelligence Services agent implementing influence operations on their behalf.” Manafort promoted the lie, still pushed by GOP congressional members, that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election on DDT’s behalf. The FBI has a reward of $250,000 for Kilimnik’s arrest. DDT pardoned Manafort and freed him from prison. 

Kilimnik’s information from Manafort went through a secret pipeline, perhaps used throughout DDT’s four-year term, directly to Russian intelligence to defeat Hillary Clinton. A Senate Intelligence Committee report, endorsed by Republicans, marked him a “grave counterintelligence threat.” Secretary of State Antony echoed the Senate report by repeating the U.S. intelligence report that Russia “presents one of the most serious intelligence threats to the United States.”

This week, Biden also gave September 11, 2021, as the deadline for removing the last 2,500 U.S. military members from Afghanistan. He selected the 20th anniversary of the foreign terrorist attack on U.S. soil killing 3,000 people which led George W. Bush to start the “military mission” in the Middle East costing U.S. taxpayers almost $7 trillion. Biden said he will not pass the war to a fifth president and is following DDT’s agreement with the Taliban to withdraw troops.

Today Secretary of State Antony Blinken followed Biden’s announcement with a surprise visit to Afghan leaders in Kabul and repeated the U.S. commitment to helping their government. He emphasized counter-terrorism cooperation and “protecting the rights of women and girls,” according to a department announcement.

Biden has also sent an unofficial delegation to Taiwan as “an important signal about the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and its democracy,” according to an official. Last week, the USS John S. McCain went through the Taiwan Strait, and the carrier Theodore Roosevelt went to the South China Sea for “routine operations.” China typically protests the U.S. being in those international waters, especially with its support for Taiwan.

Biden plans to meet Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, hoping for a joint statement supporting Taiwan and discussing China’s treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang and influence over Hong Kong. Japan and the U.S. have not had a joint statement about Taiwan for over 50 years. The meeting prefaces one in May with Biden and South Korea’s President Moon Jae about managing China’s rising power and that of North Korea with the help of the Quad—Australia, India, Japan, and North Korea.

A U.S. negotiating team in Vienna led by Robert Malley is working with Iran representatives to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement. Initially, they are working on the over 700 sanctions imposed by DDT to permanently destroy the deal. In efforts to scuttle any deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed pleasure when opposing Israelis reportedly bombed an Iranian nuclear facility. If Biden succeeds in redeeming the agreement, he plans to “expand and strengthen” the pact by covering Iran’s militant activities and missile program to obtain support from congressional opposition. Iran may hold off until after their elections in June.

Today, Inspector General Michael Bolton testified before the House Administration Committee about the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and argued for a campus security overhaul. He said a deputy assistant chief of police told officers not to use any weapons including stingballs and 40mm launchers, weapons that could have helped them protect the Capitol. Thus far, one task force and over one-half dozen congressional committees have started investigations into why law enforcement failed to prevent the insurrection when hundreds of DDT’s supporters invaded and vandalized the Capitol building to stop the certification of Biden as the legal president.

Bolton, who may have the most complete examination of problems permitting the Capitol Police to be overrun by “deficiencies,” will continue the probe for several more months. He has already provided Congress with two interim reports about the lack of security clearances, personnel, equipment, and training to respond to these attacks. Calling for a “cultural change,” Bolton said law enforcement at the Capitol must move from the “traditional posture of a police department” to “a protection agency” focusing on preventing events like the January 6 riot. Preparation of a supplemental spending package for reforms of campus security will also use an evaluation from retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré requested by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA), in addition to Bolton’s recommendation to invest funding in training. That activity would include gathering, analyzing, and assessing intelligence for responses to future threats.

Following TheDonald.win before the Capitol attack would have made the high danger of violence on January 6 obvious. Participants covered ways to bring guns into D.C., quantity of ammunition, legal weapons such as stun guns and small knives, methods of attacking police officers with flagpoles and other objects, the best type of zip ties to use on congressional members certifying Biden’s election, and discussions of building the most effective gallows for use on disloyal congressional members according to the attackers. “Camarokirk” preferred a guillotine because it’s “more scary.” A dissenter brought up the problem of how “to get that big blade into town,” and the gallows the insurrectionists actually built, intended for VP Mike Pence, cost only $200. Many of the violent ideas on the website came to fruition on January 6 with right-wing domestic terrorists disrupting the presidential vote certification.

DDT encouraged the violence as shown by this tweet on December 19: 

 “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

Website users traded maps, travel information, money, hotel recommendations, and organizations of cross-country caravans. Also available on the website were diagrams of the tunnel systems below the Capitol complex and ways of creating a “wall of death” by pushing the mob forward, forcing police to give up their positions.

A recent report shows that DDT, who told his conservative terrorist Proud Boys to “stand by” in his first presidential debate with Biden, is completely wrong in his obsession about the “left-wing problem” of domestic terrorism. Asked at the debate about white supremacists and fringe militia groups, he saw them as political allies and then pushed the far-left menace as being the danger. According to information from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the new highs of domestic terrorism events are chiefly driven by white-supremacist, anti-Muslim, and anti-government extremists on the far right. The surge is the worst since the 1990s. The WaPo reported:

“Since 2015, right-wing extremists have been involved in 267 plots or attacks and 91 fatalities, the data shows. At the same time, attacks and plots ascribed to far-left views accounted for 66 incidents leading to 19 deaths…. More than a quarter of right-wing incidents and just under half of the deaths in those incidents were caused by people who showed support for white supremacy or claimed to belong to groups espousing that ideology, the analysis shows.”

The most common targets in these far-right events are mosques, synagogues, Black churches, abortion clinics, and government buildings, which have been “threatened, burned, bombed and hit with gunfire over the past six years.”

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) announced his panel would do a “significant dive” into domestic anti-government extremists, including radicalized groups’ possible connections to foreign allies. Earlier, Biden officials announced an overhaul of the government treatment of domestic terrorism with a “comprehensive threat assessment” by intelligence agencies. Former DHS officials from both parties agreed DDT’s failure to focus on “the rise of domestic threats” was among the agency’s problems. According to the NBC News report, these officials agreed:

“[I]t was the four years of inadequately monitoring and communicating the rising threat of right-wing domestic extremists that ultimately led to DHS’ failure to prevent [the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol].”

The New York Times reported that DDT’s administration “diverted” federal law enforcement and domestic security agencies, pressuring officials to “uncover a left-wing extremist criminal conspiracy that never materialized,” even as “the threat from the far right was building ominously.” It added that the FBI, “in particular, had increasingly expressed concern about the threat from white supremacists, long the top domestic terrorism threat, and well-organized far-right extremist groups that had allied themselves with the president.” DDT did not find these issues at all concerning. 

Time to “Build Back Better.”

February 27, 2021

Biden, Democratic Congress Moving Rapidly Forward

The year 2021 marks the 20th year of the U.S. preemptive war in the Middle East, starting with George W. Bush’s attack on Afghanistan. President Joe Biden delivered the latest bombings, seven against two Iran-backed militias smuggling weapons in Syria. The airstrikes hit buildings on a border crossing with Iraq. Iranian state television reported 17 fatalities, but Biden had no exact number. Biden said he intended to “send a message” about the militias’ aggressive actions in Iraq against the U.S. including last week’s rocket attack. Experts have differed on the appropriateness of Biden’s actions, but Biden hopes to keep the path open for renewing an anti-nuclear agreement in Iran.

Years after U.S. intelligence prepared a report on the 2018 torturing and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and journalist, in the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey, the new Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines has declassified and released the document. According to the report, available here:

“Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi… The Crown Prince has absolute control of the Kingdom’s security and intelligence organizations, making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the Crown Prince’s authorization.”

Although Congress mandated the information be made public, former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) had covered up for MBS because of his friendship with Saudi Arabia and took no action about the vicious assault.

On the day before the report’s release, Biden called the 85-year-old Saudi king, instead of his son MBS, the crown prince and heir apparent, who has been giving orders. Biden may have had trouble reaching the king: sources say, “MBS has controlled his father’s switchboard.” The conversation skipped the report, but Biden “affirmed the importance the United States places on universal human rights and the rule of law” and discussed working on “mutual issues of concern.” Biden has eliminated U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

The U.S. does not plan to charge MBS of any crimes, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the “Khashoggi Ban,” restricting visas for people acting on behalf of foreign governments directly engaged in “serious, extraterritorial counter-dissident activities, including those that suppress, harass, surveil, threaten, or harm journalists, activists, or other persons perceived to be dissidents for their work.” The ban can also cover family members and will be applied immediately to 76 Saudis “believed to have been engaged in threatening dissidents overseas, including but not limited to the Khashoggi killing.” The Treasury Department also sanctioned a former Saudi intelligence official, Ahmed Hassan Mohammed al Asiri, and the crown prince’s personal protective detail, the Rapid Intervention Force (aka the “Tiger Squad”). Blinken echoed Biden’s earlier statement that the U.S. wishes to “recalibrate” the relationship with Saudi Arabia “to be more in line with our interests and our values.”

The Treasury Department also replaced sanctions on Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler for corruption in Africa after DDT rolled them with no explanation or announcement during his last few days in the White House. Gertler is a close friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Biden also plans sanctions and other punishments for Russia for the SolarWinds cyber-espionage campaign, interfering in elections, and the Kremlin’s use of a banned chemical weapon against anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny before jailing him.

On Thursday, three Republicans supported the Democratic representatives in a 224-206 vote to expand federal protections for LGBTQ people by prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The Equality Act amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1968 Fair Housing Act to include specific protections for LGBTQ people. The Republicans voting for the bill are John Katko (NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), and Tom Reed (NY); the other Republican support discrimination in the name of religious freedom. The legislation passed the House almost two years ago, but then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ignored it. McConnell has become the minority leader, and the Democrats will likely address the House bill.

Early Saturday morning, the House passed Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan by 219-212 with opposition from all Republicans and two Democrats, Kurt Schrader (OR) and Jared Golden (ME).  Although the Senate parliamentarian refuses to allow the hourly $15 minimum wage in the reconciliation bill permitting a 50-50 vote in the chamber without a filibuster, the House included it in their bill.

As usual with a Democratic president, Republicans are arguing for austerity after driving up the national debt with massive tax cuts for the wealthy and big business. Another false argument is that only a small portion of the $1.9 trillion goes to combating the virus, “actually used to put shots in people’s arms,” according to Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO). He ignores the funding for stimulus checks, school openings, unemployment payments, assistance for small businesses, and other types of expenditures the GOP legislators willingly passed while DDT was in the White House.

Biden insisted on changes in the bill’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans after they went to big businesses in the first bill instead of the mandated small business. He wants to guarantee loans to businesses with under 20 employees and restricts applications from these businesses for 14 days so that lenders can prioritize those businesses. Other changes open up loans to people with non-fraud felony convictions and to non-citizen business owners. In the last round, a large number of loans were flagged for potential fraud. A new mandate tackling “waste, fraud, and abuse across all federal programs” requires approval of PPP loans “contingent on passing [Small Business Association] fraud checks, Treasury’s Do Not Pay database, and public records.”

A proposed bill for a special commission probing the January 6 attack on the Capitol, such as the one which investigated the 9/11 attacks, is struggling because of GOP opposition. Objections started when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wanted a majority of Democrats on the commission. If Republicans approached the situation with a lack of bias, the equality might have worked. Yet Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) believes not only that DDT had nothing to do with the insurrection but also that it was a friendly group of people who were coming into the Capitol until the Capitol Police provoked them. Earlier, he had falsely asserted the seditionists were all on the left side, that all of them were not DDT’s supporters. Some GOP legislators, such as Steve Scalise (LA), second in House minority command, still maintain Biden is in the White House illegally and should be removed.

In addition, almost 150 GOP legislators of the 261 Republicans in Congress voted to overturn the legal votes from the electoral college after the far-right attack on the Capitol to stop the vote—almost 40 percent of the number of Republicans in Congress. All those Republicans have a conflict of interest to be on a commission to investigate the insurrection and would likely sabotage its investigation and reporting.

On the Senate side, Republican Mitch McConnell insists the commission also investigate all Black Lives Matter protests. If not that, then it should concentrate only on Capitol security failures, avoiding any white supremacy terrorism issues. The approaches would be like telling the 9/11 Commission to focus only on planes hitting the World Trade towers without reviewing radical Islamist terrorism or focus on all international violence. The mandate of the 9/11 Commission was to examine “the facts and circumstances relating to the 9/11 terrorist attack . . . including those relating to intelligence agencies; law enforcement agencies; diplomacy; immigration, nonimmigrant visas, and border control; the flow of assets to terrorist organizations; commercial aviation; the role of congressional oversight and resource allocation; and other areas determined relevant by the Commission for its inquiry.”

After DDT’s administration ignored reunification of families who they separated at the southern border, Biden appointed a task force to find the parents of 611 children. In less than a month, 105 children have been returned to their families, and the group is working to reunify the others.

Biden revoked the following presidential orders and memoranda signed by DDT:

  • Cutting funding from cities DDT declared as “anarchist” havens.
  • Mandating all new federal buildings be designed in classical aesthetic.
  • Limiting the ability of federal agency employees to make regulatory decisions.
  • Calling for agency heads to review welfare programs and strengthen work requirements for some recipients.

After a month in the White House, Biden has an overall job approval rating of 56 percent with 54 percent for his handling the economy and 56 percent for foreign affairs. His best rating is 67 percent approval in handling the coronavirus. That rating might go up with the FDA approval of a third vaccine, the one-shot vaccination from Johnson & Johnson. In DDT’s last six weeks, people received 12 million vaccinations. Biden promised 100 million in the first 100 days: in his first five weeks, people have gotten 58 million, 1.6 million a day and rising.

On February 26, 2021, the number of daily U.S. infections is down (80,625), but the daily number of deaths is averaging above 2,000—the most recent number 2,216. Total U.S. infections – 29,136,912; deaths – 523,082.      

January 20, 2021

Biden’s Day One: Clearing the Swamp

On January 20, 2021, Dictator Donald Trump, now the Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), left the White House, and President Joe Biden moved in. An eternity ago, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) came to his inauguration in a time of growing prosperity to give a speech about “American carnage” where he promised to “drain the swamp.” During the next four years, DDT:

  • Filled positions with a swinging door of loyalists and family members.
  • Incited violence and hatred from racism, beginning with a ban against Muslim and “brown” immigrants coming into the U.S. and continuing with his praise of white supremacists at the Charlottesville (VA) rally.
  • Drove the U.S. people against legitimate media by calling it “fake” and called the Russian investigation finding Russian interference in the 2016 election a “hoax.”
  • Destroyed the expanding economy but gave a false sense of security by artificially propping up the stock markets.
  • Made the national debt skyrocket by catering to the wealthy and big business, especially with his drastic tax cuts primarily for those two demographics, to over $10 billion before costs of his mismanaged COVID-19 crisis—which he also called a “hoax.” 
  • Became the first president in modern times creating no new jobs for the entire term.
  • Exacerbated the crises in the U.S. by alienating world allies and finished with denying a legal election for president.
  • Faced two impeachments, one for blackmailing a foreign leader and the other for inciting violence leading to domestic terrorists taking over the Capitol, the first time it was breached since the War of 1812.
  • Splintered the GOP.
  • Almost changed the U.S. democracy into an evangelical Christian theocracy.
  • Ignored the pandemic before sabotaging any solutions for the number of cases and deaths in the U.S.
  • Granted almost 200 pardons, many for bribery and corruption (aka “swamp”), finishing with one for Steve Bannon, arrested for defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors to “We Build the Wall” out of millions of dollars. The last, less than an hour before Biden’s inauguration, was for Albert Pirro, GOP donor and ex-husband of Fox network’s Jeanine Pirro, convicted almost 20 years ago on 34 counts of conspiracy and tax evasion for over $1 million in illegal tax write-offs for his business.
  • Led the worsT “transition” in modern history finished by refusing the courtesy of Biden’s flight Washington on a military plane.

DDT left Washington on January 20, 2021, a loser even with Republicans and white supremacists. Former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said DDT “fed lies” to his supporters to incite violence, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) praised Harris to cover up his vote to overturn the election. White supremacist Proud Boys, told by DDT at his first debate with Joe Biden to “stand by,” dumped their former hero. Calling DDT a “shill” and extraordinarily weak,” they told supporters to avoid rallies and protests for DDT and the GOP, stating DDT “will go down as a total failure.” Part of their anger came from the lack of pardons any of the insurgents received for the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

QAnon conspiracy theorists expected DDT would announce The Storm via the Emergency Broadcasting System to round up and arrest Democrats before being declared president. Ron Watkins, former 8kun administrator for QAnon, wrote:

“We gave it our all. Now we need to keep our chins up and go back to our lives as best we are able.”

Conspiracy-debunker Travis View said people making money from the conspiracy theory have difficulty persuading followers to stay with them after this drastically wrong prediction. One said, “If nothing happens I will no longer believe in anything,” and another one dejectedly stated at the beginning of Biden’s inauguration, “We all just got played.” White supremacist groups are absorbing disenchanted QAnon members, targeting Parler users, now back on line after Russia hosts the social medium platform Parler on the same website as Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist political organization. Death threats from conservatives have driven the family of Parler’s CEO into hiding.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The inauguration of Biden as president and Kamala Harris as vice-president, well documented throughout the day, preceded their work after the ceremonies.  At the White House, Biden signed a tall stack of orders left on his desk in the Oval Office. The 15 executive actions and two directives:

  • Halting the building of DDT’s “wall.”
  • Ending the ban on travel from some Muslim-majority countries.
  • Declaring his intent to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization
  • Revoking the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. 
  • Requiring masks and social distancing on federal property and by federal employees.
  • Extending the eviction freeze to help people struggling from the pandemic economy.
  • Continuing a pause on student loan payments until September 30. 
  • Counting non-citizens in U.S. Census again.
  • Restoring the White House’s National Security Council directorate for global health security and defense, eliminated by DDT. The same order creates a COVID-19 response coordinator position with Jeff Zients.
  • Instructing federal agencies to prioritize racial equality and review policies reinforcing systemic racism.
  • Extending protections an additional year for Liberians in the U.S.
  • Releasing the $27.4 billion in funding for 73 world programs as part of December’s spending bill that DDT had frozen.
  • Ordering federal employees to take an ethics pledge committing them to upholding the independence of the Justice Department.
  • Issuing an ethics rule much stricter than the one DDT recently issued, allowing reversing DDT’s recent order telling executive branch employees they can lobby anywhere anytime after they leave the administration.
  • Revoking the newly-released report of DDT’s “1776 Commission” promoting systemic racism through DDT’s definition of “patriotic education.”
  • Fortifying DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
  • Repealing DDT’s ICE arrest priorities making immigration enforcement stricter.
  • Freezing DDT’s last-minute administration regulatory actions.

Biden also called for a review of all regulations and executive actions damaging to the environment or public health and plans dozens of more orders and directives redirecting the country without going through the Senate. In his spare time, Biden swore in dozens of appointees and staffers, telling them to treat each other with respect or he will fire them “on the spot.”

Another swearing-in ceremony made the Senate a Democratic majority with the vote of the vice-president to break a tie. VP Kamala Harris swore in Democrats Jon Ossoff (GA), Alex Padilla (CA), and Raphael Warnock (GA) as the new senators. [Above right: Harris looks very different from all the former VPs.]  

DDT’s National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Peter Robb refused to step down from his position so Biden fired him. Pro-management Robb attempted to reorganize the NLR’s regional offices and make new guidelines for agency investigations. He had great control over cases considered by the board against companies accused of violating the National Labor Relations Act amid conflicts of interest regarding DDT’s board members and their former clients.

Biden also fired Michael Pack, the corrupt head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media who removed its independence, and Kathleen Kraninger, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who persecuted consumers. Gen. Paul Nakasone, director of the National Security Agency, also put Michael Ellis, the NSA top lawyer, on administrative leave after DDT pressured the Pentagon acting-acting DOD Secretary Chris Miller to put him into the job three days before the inauguration.

After the inauguration, China sanctioned former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and 27 other high-ranking DDT officials including former trade adviser Peter Navarro, chief China-hater in the White House; former national security advisers Robert O’Brien and John Bolton with former deputy Matt Pottinger; and pardoned Steve Bannon.

On his last day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, descended from Italian immigrants, said multiculturalism “is not who America is.” He tweeted it “points to one direction—authoritarianism.” Under Pompeo, the foreign service has 8 percent Black and Hispanic diplomats and 7 percent Asian. Hoping to run for president in 2024, Pompeo may have been again attacking the New York Times 1619 Project describing the consequences of slavery and contributions of Black people in the U.S. On Monday’s 35th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, DDT released a commission report from his “1776 Commission” blaming school curriculum for BLM protest violence, stating “the left-wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools.” [Notice Biden revoked the commission and its report.]

Lagging far behind its work in confirming DDT’s appointments four years ago, the Senate approved Biden’s first Cabinet member, Avril Haines, for intelligence director by 84-10. The vote was taken before the new Democratic senators were sworn in, and the ten opposing Haines represent “the Trump Line,” several of them planning to be presidential candidates in 2024. Republicans objecting both initially and later: Marsha Blackburn (TN), Mike Braun, (IN), Ted Cruz (TX), Joni Ernst (IA), Bill Hagerty (TN), Josh Hawley (MO), Mike Lee (UT), Roger Marshall (KS), Rand Paul (KY), and James Risch (ID).

As for the threatened violence from far-right extremists, even throughout the nation’s state capitols, actions could be described as “low energy.” No one reported violence by 4:00 pm on January 20, 2021, and some of the “crowds had fewer than five people, only one at New York’s state capitol. Arizona did get about a dozen. Photos of the different states are available here. With the heavy National Guard force and hundreds of arrests after the attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol, neo-Nazis and terrorists used the social medium Telegram to tell everyone to stay home. They wrote to use alternative sources for future battles.

His final desperate move inviting mass emails for his departure from Andrews Air Force asking everyone to bring five people brought out under 500 people.

From around the world, leaders of democracies praised Biden’s presidency. Their expressions of relief parallel those from many tens of millions of people in the U.S. Biden’s first day was a return to reality when the president works—for the people—and, in Biden’s words, “democracy has prevailed.” As for the rest of the term, Biden’s job, as for many other Democratic presidents, is to clean up the Republicans’ messes. And Biden keeps it up tomorrow with more items on his agenda than DDT has for weeks on end. 

To follow political adventures, I recommend three daily credible political reports—Rantt, Wtf, and Heather Cox Richardson’s blog—in addition to more standard sources. If you find yourself missing DDT, Rantt has an excellent overview of the past four years. Richardson’s analysis of the inauguration.

 

December 25, 2020

End of 2020: Light from the Dark

On Christmas Day, we should have good news. Here are pieces from the past few weeks.

President-elect Joe Biden has slowed down in making appointments the past week but found a highly qualified replacement for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Connecticut’s commission of public schools Miguel Cardona moved from assistant superintendent in a district of 9,000 students to this appointment in fewer than two years. Born to Puerto Rican parents living in public housing, he first taught fourth-graders before he became the state’s youngest principal at age 28. In 2012, he was named the state’s principal of the year. Billionaire DeVos was educated in private schools, never taught, and focused on giving all her budget to private, preferably religious, schools. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, called him a “very, very solid” candidate.

Cardona’s background includes working to provide technology while pushing to reopen schools during the pandemic. His concern on equity issues led Connecticut to become the first state to require high school courses in Black and Latino studies under his tenure. Biden wants to triple the $15 billion Title I funds supporting high-poverty schools and double the number of psychologists, counselors, nurses, and social workers in schools, provide new money for school infrastructure, and increase federal spending for special education. He also proposed forgiving college debt and making community college free.

California’s governor Gavin Newsom has selected his secretary of state Alex Padilla to replace VP-elect Kamala Harris, making him the state’s first Latino senator from California. The son of Mexican immigrants, Padilla went to MIT, the LA City Council, and the state senate, before his current job. He and Sen.-elect Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) will join four other Latinos in the Senate. With Harris gone, the chamber has no Black woman, but in 26 days the U.S. will have a Black and Indian woman.

The Georgia runoff for two incumbent GOP senators heated up on the day after the general election in early November—court cases to suppress the vote and massive lies from the conservatives. A federal judge agreed on a settlement between civil rights groups and the postal service for measures to guarantee absentee ballots arrive in time for the January 5 election deadline. Georgia postal facilities are required to regularly sweep for undelivered ballots until the election and use expedited delivery services for mail-in ballots, and the plaintiffs agreed to not ask the Washington, D.C. circuit court for any other orders in their cases until after the elections. First class postal service during the past month has suffered serious delays because of Postmaster Louis DeJoy’s attempts, supported by DDT’s DOJ, to dismantle the promptness of delivery services.

A Fulton County judge rejection of a lawsuit permits voters to continuing using drop boxes 24 hours a day until polls close in Georgia on January 6. The county, generally voting Democratic, has a population of over one million. The State Election Board approved the disputed rule earlier this year. Republicans also lost their cases to stop the use of drop boxes, block early processing of mail ballots, and institute stricter signature verification procedures. Plaintiffs were barred from filing new lawsuits, but they can still appeal. Another trauma for Republicans comes from the 76,000 new registrations, 57 percent of them under the age of 35.

Another lawsuit, also rejected by a federal judge, would have removed the ballots of new Georgia residents from the senator runoff in a misreading of the federal Voting Rights Act. That was followed by a demand to the removal of Dominion software and equipment from use in the Georgia election. Conspiracy theorists also claim people are racing to Georgia to vote Democratic.

Over 1.4 million people in Georgia, 132,000 more than in the recent general election, have submitted applications for absentee ballots, down only 4 percent from the number of mail ballot applications at this point in the run-up to the general election. The deadline for requests is January 1. On the first day of early voting, the 168,000 voters had a 27-percent greater turnout than for the first day of the presidential election. Since early voting began on December 14, 2020, 1.3 million people have voted in person, and another 721,000 absentee ballots have also been received. About 5 million people in Georgia voted in November.

DDT has attacked the U.S. people with over 60 lawsuits to disenfranchise their votes, but litigation is now directed at him, for example one accusing him and the GOP of conspiring to violate Black voters’ rights. The case goes beyond a cease and desist; it asks DDT and the RNC to obtain court approval before demanding accounts or other “post-election activities.” A federal judge order barring the RNC from “ballot security” activities was lifted only three years ago after in effect for 36 years. Claims of intimidation, threats, and voter disenfranchisement came from voter roll purges and payment to police officers for patrolling sites in primarily Black and Latino areas. The new lawsuit, under the auspices of the Voting Rights Act and the Ku Klux Klan Act, charges the defendants of purposefully focusing voter challenges on cities with large Black populations.

Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, companies making election voting equipment, also threaten defamation charges against DDT’s attorney Sidney Powell and conservative media outlets, demanding retractions of false claims in rigging the election. Fox, Newsmax, and OAN already played the video refuting the fraud. DDT’s campaign told staffers to preserve documents in preparation for a lawsuit. Dominion’s lawyer, Tom Clare, won a $1 million verdict in a defamation lawsuit after Rolling Stone alleged gang rape on the University of Virginia campus. The case was finally settled out of court.

Eric Coomer, director of product strategy and security for Dominion Voting Systems, in hiding after receiving death threats, is suing not only the lawyers but also the conservative networks and pundits along with evangelical radio host Eric Metaxas for “relentless defamation and ongoing threats.” Another defendant, Joseph Oltmann, founded a nonprofit and media business to uncover Antifa activists and also impugned Coomer. He has been branded a traitor to the U.S. a terrorist, and a criminal of the highest order.

Michigan AG Dana Nessel announced her office will file bar complaints against Powell, DDT’s campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and other lawyers who attacked state and local election officials as well as attempted to disenfranchise voters and overturn the election. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) also plans to file complaints against Giuliani and the other lawyers representing DDT and the GOP.

An attorney opposing one of DDT’s election fraud cases has also filed for sanctions against DDT’s lawyers.

Federal judges can sanction lawyers filing cases “for any improper purpose, such as to harass” or who press “frivolous” claims. They repeatedly called out Powell for failing to follow court rules and rejected her efforts to overturn Biden’s win. Attorneys’ ethics rules include similar language prohibiting lawyers from abusing the legal system and bringing frivolous claims.

Maricopa County (AZ) supervisors refuse to comply with subpoenas from the state Senate Judiciary Committee for over 2 million ballots cast in the November election.

A Delaware Superior Court judge threatened to revoke Lin Wood’s legal representation of DDT’s former adviser Carter Page because Wood’s Georgia suit had “no basis in fact or law” and his Wisconsin suit had “multiple deficiencies.” Page is suing Yahoo! News and Huffpost for defamation.  

Among DDT’s chaos in the past week, Robert E. Lee’s statue has been removed from the nation’s capitol. Virginia chose the traitor as one of its two designated monuments in the federal Statuary Hall over a century ago. He led the failed Confederate army during the Civil War and lost his plantation, now Arlington Cemetery. According to Virginia’s commission, a statue of Barbara Johns may replace Lee. In 1951, Johns, 16 years old at the time, led a two-week walkout protesting substandard educational conditions at her segregated all-Black high school. The following litigation became part of Brown v. Board of Education in which the Supreme Court outlawed school segregation. Virginia’s General Assembly needs to approve the commission’s decision. Mississippi has yet to remove the statue of Jefferson Davis, treasonous Confederate president, and Georgia still has treasonous Confederate vice-president Alexander Stephens. At least six other treasonous Confederates are also honored in Statutory Hall.

A split Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled police must have probable cause for a crime to conduct warrantless searches in the state. Of the 2,000 searches a month, 80 percent have been on Black drivers, but police found contraband only 12 percent of the time.  

A Fairfax County (VA) judge ruled the portraits of White judges must be removed for a Black defendant’s proceedings because he cannot get a fair trial from the implied bias.  

The conservative Gallup poll finds that DDT’s approval rating has dropped seven points since the election to 39 percent. Congress gets 15 percent approval. By contrast, Biden’s approval rating at 65 percent is 27 points higher than DDT’s rating at his inauguration in 2016. He never reached higher than 49 percent approval during his four years and averaged 39 percent over the four years.  

October 31, 2020

DDT: Week 197 – Violence, Fraud

Armed domestic terrorists carrying flags in support of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) ambushed and attacked a Joe Biden caravan of cars and a bus traveling from San Antonio to Austin on I-35 for a campaign event yesterday. The DDT vehicles surrounded the Biden group, and observers took video of DDT cars attacking ones in the Biden group. A watching police officer refused to help the people being attacked, saying it wasn’t his “jurisdiction” although 911 calls brought other law enforcement to help. The almost 100 vehicles in the attack came from a “Trump Train group,” supporting DDT throughout Texas. People in them yelled profanities and obscenities while blockading the Biden entourage, slowing the group to 20 mph on the interstate highway. On the Biden bus was Texas Congressional candidate and former state senator Wendy Davis. DDT’s tweeted response about the travesty was “I LOVE TEXAS!” with an image of the attack. DDT’s supporters have made threatening actions across the United States to intimidate Biden supporters, but this event escalated the violence.

Other desperate Republican attempts to rig the election in their favor are using the USPS, now led by DDT’s appointee Louis DeJoy, to delay or eliminate mail delivery. Key swing states have the worst mail delivery in the U.S. This past week, on-time rates for ballots in 17 postal districts representing 10 battleground states and 151 electoral votes was 5.9 percentage points lower than the national average; over ten percent ballots are arriving later than the postal service’s maximum three-day delivery time for first class mail. Thanks to Republicans and GOP courts, 28 states refuse to count ballots received after Election Day even if they are postmarked by that time. The Black-predominant Detroit area delivered only 72.8 percent of ballots on time last week, compared to 84.3 percent delivery in the Greater Michigan district. In most of Kentucky, about 20 percent of ballots were delivered outside the three-day promise. Last Wednesday, three-day delivery occurred in Philadelphia for 58 percent of the time; Detroit dropped to 52 percent

The national average is 95 percent, two percent below the former 97-percent on-time delivery. Over 52 million people have voted by mail instead of in person, and over 37 million mail ballots are outstanding. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in the U.S. District Court in D.C. ordered the USPS to provide a written explanation for each district delivering less than 80 percent of ballots on time each day or less than 90 percent of ballots on time for two days in the same week. Wisconsin and Minnesota ballots are not accepted after November 3. Courts have ordered ballots legally arriving within the allotted time after Election Day in Minnesota, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania set aside, setting the scene for courts to exclude these votes from the total. Compounding problems in Minnesota is its ballot tracking system going offline for maintenance today. A video at the Miami-Dade Post Office showed piles of undelivered mail, including ballots both completed and blank, more than a week overdue.

As part of its war on democratic voting, Republicans are suing to invalidate legally cast votes; i.e., over 100,000 votes in Harris County (TX) cast at drive-through voting centers. In Nevada, the GOP lawsuit demands detailed information about workers counting ballots, including their names, party affiliations, and work schedules as well as copies of every signature on mail ballots returned to elections officials and used to authenticate ballots. The hearing is Monday.

DDT’s failures of the past week make him appear more of a failure. His campaign events spread the virus in almost every area he goes and sent people to the hospital with hypothermia (Omaha) and heat stroke (Tampa). In Tampa, at least 17 people needed medical attention, and a dozen of them were taken to the hospital. DDT rescheduled a North Carolina to Monday because of high winds. Again today, he left members of his audience in the dark and cold while waiting two hours for buses at Butler (PA) after sitting outside for four to five hours. At another performance he ridiculed faithful follower Laura Ingraham (Fox network) for wearing a mask. 

Reports released this week covered DDT going easy on a Turkish bank allegedly breaking U.S. sanctions law when the bank funneled money to Iran and helped fund the country’s nuclear weapons program. Turkey provides millions of dollars to DDT for his businesses there. Bolton had said DDT would favor foreign leaders over government regulations to get personal returns from them. To protect DDT, AG Bill Barr had fired U.S. attorney Geoffrey Berman, keeping him from pursuing the case against Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.  

U.S. taxpayers have also given DDT at least $2.5 million for excessive charges at DDT properties in addition to another $5.6 million paid by DDT’s campaign and fundraising committee.

Four years ago, James Comey sank Hillary Clinton’s election chances with a last minute accusation about her emails. This October, Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani tried the same schtick by trying to smear Joe Biden with infamous laptops supposedly containing salacious and damning material from Biden’s son, Hunter. On his Fox show, Tucker Carlson tried to help the scheme by saying UPS “lost” the damning laptop documents when a producer mailed them to Carlson’s home. UPS supposedly found the package, but Carlson complained about a missing flash card. Then he admitted he had copied the documents before he said they were missing. Asked about their contents, he first said he had not yet reviewed them and then said he didn’t want to be “piling on” Hunter Biden. Carlson’s story fell apart after the announcement that a fake “intelligence firm,” Typhoon Investigations, had disseminated the fake 64-page document about China. It was written by a self-identified Swiss security analyst, a fabricated identity with a profile photo created by artificial intelligence.The contents, highly promoted by the New York Post, were available on the internet a month before its article.

Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating Giuliani about potential violation of lobbying laws in dealing with Ukraine and payments from Florida businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, indicted last year for illegally funneling money to Republican political candidates. Bannon was arrested for conspiring to defraud people in the “build the wall” scheme and working with Chinese national to violate securities laws by bilking investors in a private offering. DDT has indicated he will be pardoning Bannon.

Republicans are trying to spin last quarter’s GDP figures into a positive for DDT, but that attempt appears to have fizzled. The 33-percent increase might look good, but economist Jay Shambaugh explained some “basic math”:

“If you own a stock priced at $100 and it drops 30 percent, it is now worth $70. If it gains back 30 percent, it is then worth $91 (the gain is just $21 because 30 percent of 70 is 21).”

Another economist, Dean Baker, explained “the economy would have to grow at a 53.3 percent annual rate in the third quarter to make up the ground lost in the first and second quarters.” Growth this next quarter will be minimal if not minus: the second quarter benefited from stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, and perks for businesses. With a recalcitrant GOP Senate, chances of another stimulus bill after the election are slim to none because they would do it only to help their election prospects. Projections for the 2020 GDP is a minus 3 percent to 4 percent. DDT brags about his 11 million new jobs during the last quarter, but these are only half the 22+ million lost in the previous quarter. DDT has gained absolutely zero new jobs since he was elected.

COVID-19 is a major reason people are giving for their Biden’s votes. Yesterday, the U.S. broke the 100,000 number for new cases, almost 3,000 more than India with its population over twice that of the U.S. Deaths still average almost 1,000 a day, a figure Donald Trump Jr calls “almost nothing.” Hospitalizations have also skyrocketed although accurate numbers are difficult to find since DDT’s administration twisted the data collection system by giving it to a private contractor owned by DDT’s friend. The figures are no longer publicly available for all states.

In DDT’s rabid campaigning, he claims doctors inflate the number of deaths for financial gain. Calling DDT’s lies “malicious” and “completely misguided,” the AMA released a statement about how “physicians, nurses, and frontline health care workers have risked their health, their safety and their lives to treat their patients and defeat a deadly virus. They did it because duty called and because of the sacred oath they took.” AMA President Susan R. Bailey continued by asking people to use “public health steps” based on knowledge instead of following “the dangerous wave of misinformation.”

Data for this interactive map is here. 

 

DDT has also emphasized the “positivity rate” as the gold standard, and Dean Baker’s data shows GOP-governed states have the highest COVID-19 test rates, more than states governed by Democrats. Mississippi has a 100-percent positive rate, the number of positives for the tests.  

Ignore COVID: DDT’s final campaign message.

October 9, 2020

DDT’s Erratic Behavior Increases

In a finish to Wednesday’s vice-presidential debate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted people should think hard about who they pick in the election. Responses to his tweet are biting, including the one from Republicans for Biden. or this one from Lesley Abravanel accompanying the photo to the right:

“Seems like we’re all pretty much decided that we’ll go for the guy who didn’t kill 213,000 Americans and the economy.”

Following are more reasons to not vote for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and the man with the fly on his head:

With Election Day only 25 days from now, DDT said that VP Mike Pence’s best answer in the debate was to reject a peaceful transition of power unless DDT wins.

“I don’t think I’m contagious at all,” said DDT who claimed he told doctors how to treat him in the hospital. Tomorrow he plans a campaign rally for thousands on the White House lawn and another one in Florida on Monday. No requirements for masks or social distancing. He claims he isn’t holding a political event at the “people’s house,” but his rhetoric will undoubtedly be highly partisan. Thus far, DDT has appeared to the public only in edited videos wearing heavy makeup and struggling for breath. 

DDT is still running against Hillary Clinton. In late October 2016, FBI Director James Comey insinuated Clinton’s emails were incriminating, just ten days before Election Day. They weren’t. Criticized by DDT, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he is releasing Clinton’s emails, just a few days before Election Day after a State Department investigation determined no “persuasive evidence” of widespread mishandling of classified information by Clinton or her aides. After DDT’s complaints about Pompeo, the Secretary said, “We’ve got the emails, we’re getting them out.” He didn’t say which ones. DDT had earlier said, “Forget about the fact they were classified.”

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates led by a Republican refused to clear DDT for in-person participation in the October 15 debate, and DDT objected to the change of the town hall-style debate to a virtual event for health and safety protections. Therefore the event is canceled. Joe Biden will hold his own town hall event on ABC.  Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) in-person debate with opponent, Jamie Harrison, was also canceled because Graham refuses to be tested. Questions have been raised about the reason for Graham’s refusal, especially after he attended “The Rose Garden Massacre,” resulting in at least 12 infections.

Questions have also been aroused by unreliable statements from Sean Conley, DDT’s doctor recommended by DDT’s former unreliable doctor Ronny Jackson, and DDT’s behavior. The Monday before DDT announced his diagnosis, presenters at his press conference stayed far away from DDT and used a separate podium. The next day, DDT didn’t take a coronavirus test before the debate, and his erratic, aggressive behavior was consistent with being on steroids. Wednesday, DDT’s fatigue was noticeable. A doctor announced the antibody treatment began on Thursday—before DDT supposedly tested positive for the first time and far too early unless he had tested positive at the beginning of the week. The White House refuses to answer questions about when DDT last tested negative for COVID-19.

DDT has abortions to thank for the antibody treatment he is touting as his personal miracle cure for COVID-19. The development of two drugs for DDT used cells from an aborted fetus, a process DDT aggressively blocks. A researcher said the use of fetal cells “has led to immense medical breakthroughs, including the development of vaccines for polio, measles, and rubella,” and critical understanding of other diseases. DDT called Regeneron’s antibody cocktail and Gilead’s antiviral Remdesivir “miracles coming down from God.” Regeneron developed the treatment from a long-lived line of cells taken from the kidneys of a fetus electively aborted in the Netherlands around 1972. Remdesivir used the same cell lines. Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson use fetal cell lines to develop and test vaccines. In 2019, DDT’s administration banned almost all federal funding for new scientific research using cells or tissue obtained from aborted fetuses. According to GOP guidelines, the use of fetal tissue is wrong unless it is old or provides healthcare for Republicans.

After DDT’s mystery trip to Walter Reed hospital last fall for what he called the first part of his annual physical—the one never completed—he required his doctors to sign a non-disclosure agreement in addition to HIPPA protections. The two who refused are no longer allowed to treat him.

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, surely knows far more about DDT’s health than the people of the United States if he listens to private conversations between DDT and his doctors, family, friends, and other advisers. DDT is well known for calling people from unsecured phones and other careless security protocol.

The DOJ will not be releasing damaging information from John Durham’s investigating the investigation into Russia before November 3, frustrating DDT. New Director of Intelligence John Ratcliffe, another of his lapdogs, released almost 1,000 classified pages to the DOJ to Durham’s investigation. Early this week, Ratcliffe released heavily redacted notes written by former CIA Director John Brennan appearing as if he briefed President Obama in 2016 on intelligence from Russian sources. Senior intelligence officials objected out of concern it supports Russia’s unsubstantiated disinformation.

DDT is still running against Hillary Clinton. In late October 2016, FBI Director James Comey insinuated Clinton’s emails were incriminating, just ten days before Election Day after he earlier said that there was no evidence of mishandling them. They weren’t. Criticized by DDT, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he is releasing Clinton’s emails, just a few days before Election Day after the State Department said there was no “widespread. Pence also attacked Clinton in the debate, saying that she had colluded with Russia during her presidential campaign.  

DDT alienated former European allies and created horrific humanitarian consequences by placing financial sanctions on 18 Iranian banks although his former sanctions have not stopped problems with the country caused by his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. European nations also fear their banks and other companies will face penalties for conducting business with Iran. DDT’s withdrawal to please Israel and GOP hawks such as Sens. Ted Cruz (TX) and Tom Cotton (AR) only causes more alienation from the world’s democracies. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin claimed the U.S. allows humanitarian transactions, but the system for this has already failed.

In a monologue on Rush Limbaugh’s program, DDT ranted what was described as a “genocidal screed” against Iran with threats to “do things … that have never been done before.” With groundwork from Pompeo and other hawks, DDT may attack Iran immediately before the election.

With no discussion with the Pentagon—not even an advance notice—DDT tweeted he would pull all U.S. troops from Afghanistan before Christmas. The move violates a separate deal that troops would leave by next May if the Taliban reduced violence and severed relationships with al-Qaeda militants. DDT’s latest declaration pleased the Taliban and worried Afghan leaders. The Taliban has kept its connections with Al-Qaeda.

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency wants the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to erase its paper trail and destroy internal documents, including CBP misconduct. Records must be kept because of the way that DHS has violated the rights of immigrants.

Down almost 30 points with seniors, DDT decided to bribe them with $200 “Trump cards” to pay for drugs after he scuttled an agreement of lower drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry. The $7.9 billion campaign cost, including $51 million to create and distribute the cards, comes out of taxpayer-funded Medicare, supposedly in fiscal jeopardy. DDT plans an additional $19 million cost this month for letters to hype the plan to seniors because cards may not arrive before November 3. DDT plans to end Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes if he is reelected, eliminated the ability of Medicare to pay for senior health care.

Another DDT election ploy is his attempt to reinstate the negotiations for a stimulus bill after wiping it out just three days ago. Tuesday, he said the bill cost too much; today he tweets, “Go Big!”  

After a judge ruled William Pendley is illegally serving as acting Bureau of Land Management (BLM) director, possibly invalidating his anti-environmental policies issues during his 430 days, DDT changed his title to the bureau’s Deputy Director for Programs and Policy.  

DDT again lost the Nobel Peace Prize, this year to the UN World Food Programme to combat hunger, created in 1961 at the request of U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower. In 2018, DDT cut all U.S. WFP funding for the West Bank and Gaza, as well as all other humanitarian aid for Palestinians.

Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM), a faith healing school connected to DDT, has had a COVID-19 outbreak of at least 137 cases in the past month. At DDT’s request, the ministry’s leadership anointed “every door in the White House” with olive oil to ward off demons after DDT disguised Bill Johnson, the school’s owner, as a janitor. The radical religious right also circulated photos of DDT during his anointing and “laying on of hands” ritual. The school has 1,600 paying “students.”

My question for today: Why didn’t VP Mike Pence go to Indiana to vote as planned? Yesterday, he gave his speech in Arizona and then headed back to DC. His staff said “no positive tests,” but his performance at Wednesday’s debate shows his willingness to lie.

August 25, 2020

Darkness of GOP Convention, DDT Dictatorship

The GOP presidential campaign began this morning. Last week, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) had complained the Democratic convention was the “darkest” and “gloomiest” one in history, and he promised to outdo that convention. He succeeded. From his acceptance speech this morning when he raged about mail-in voting to Tim Scott’s about Democrats’ racism, all optimism was abandoned on Day One of the GOP convention. Donald Trump Jr’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, outdid all the other speakers however, especially in volume, when she yelled the message of the evening, “[Democrats] want to destroy this country and everything that we have fought for and hold dear. They want to steal your liberty, your freedom.” (She also lied about being “a first generation American.) “For some unknown reason, the party wanting to erase a free media thinks Democrats want to erase freedom of speech and thought. Cuban American immigrant Maximo Alvarez accused Joe Biden of being like Castro because Biden claims to be a Roman Catholic. (He really is.)

Because DDT has manifested so many racial qualities, speakers both defended DDT and accused all Democrats of being racists and deliberately harming Blacks. Over half of the country thinks DDT is a racist, including 14 percent of Republicans. Also struggling with COVID-19, DDT talked with a few healthcare workers. Videos also showed Democrats downplaying the virus’ severity (back during a time when they were trying to get equipment and supplies from DDT) while he took his one “decisive action”—banning some travel from China.

Although DDT ridiculed the taped speeches at the Democratic convention, all except one speech, that from Guilfoyle, were taped in the same huge hall with flags in the background, giving a stale feeling to the performance. The beginning message was a desire for the “America comeback”—after DDT have been in the leadership role for almost three years and seven months.

New York Times tried to fact check.

A few lies I jotted down:

Charlie Kirk talked about Democrats catering to “faceless corporations.” (That’s the Republicans’ job.)

A teacher praised DDT’s love for the children. (But just the white ones.)

According to a women in Montana, God gave her money from the government for her business. (I thought it was Congress and the taxpayers.)

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) criticized Democrats for their support for “celebrities.” (The Apprentice produced tonight’s event.

Calling herself a “real housewife,” Ronna McDaniel, RNC chair, described DDT as having “deep love for family” and “comforts Americans in times of pain and sadness.” (When?)

Other consistent lies were the “greatest economy the world has ever seen” and efficiency in getting ventilators and supplies to states. (Nope.)

The classic performance came from the Mark and Patricia McCloskey (upper right), St. Louis personal injury lawyers who pulled guns on a group of protesters many of them black who walked on the sidewalk and street in front of the McCloskeys on the way to the mayor’s house to demonstrate. Their sweet earnestness was supposed to represent the suburbs being menaced by the “black hoards” although they live in the middle of the city. (Check out their record in suing people and being bad neighbors to the Jewish synagogue next door.) 

DDT spent last week proving his “dictator” title.

In the midst of 12,000 lightning strikes, California is trying to cope with the worst fires in history. During his speech in Pennsylvania, DDT sounded like a mob boss when he threatened to withhold money from California. ‘

“I said you gotta clean your floors. You gotta clean your forests. Maybe we’re just going to have to make them pay for it, because they don’t listen to us.”

In California, each resident sends $348 more money than the state receives—a total of $13.7 billion. California taxpayers provides about 15 percent of total revenues for the U.S. In addition, the Border Patrol is terrorizing immigrants: agents pretend to be firefighters and then arrest people believed to be undocumented. Ten of the arrested men in California were certified firefighters from Oregon. [Other horrifying photos of a California fire.] 

On the last night of the Democratic convention, DDT called Sean Hannity to make another false tirade about voter fraud. Despite no evidence of any individual voting fraud at the polls, he said he would send law enforcement to pools—sheriffs, law enforcement, U.S. attorneys, “everybody, and attorney generals [sic].” At the same time, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms delivered a tribute to the late civil rights icon John Lewis.

“There are those who are disgracefully using this pandemic to spread misinformation and interfere with voting, forcing many in 2020 to still risk their lives to exercise their sacred right to vote, a right that has already been paid for with the blood, sweat, tears, and lives of so many. So let’s stand up for our children, our children’s children, and for this great democracy that our ancestors worked to build, and let’s vote.”

It wasn’t the first time DDT had made that claim. In Altoona (PA) during his last campaign, he said he’d call in law enforcement, sheriffs, and police chiefs although hadn’t been elected. In a 1981 roadblock, the GOP was barred from dispatching poll watchers for over 30 years after a lawsuit because the RNC used “poll watchers”—off-duty sheriffs and police officers with “National Ballot Security Task Force” armbands—to stand round in polling places of minority precincts and intimidate non-White voters. The ban on that activity expired in early 2018.

DDT pulled the U.S. out of the Iran agreement to not built nuclear weapons, but he still wants control. The sanctions against Iran’s buying and selling conventional weapons expires in October, but DDT wants to reimpose these sanctions in a “snapback.” In a meeting with the UN ambassador from Indonesia, head of the Security Council this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. will veto any move for prohibitions to be lifted.  Russia, France, Germany, and Britain pointed out that the U.S. has no voice in the matter because it dropped out of the deal. DDT, who attacked the UN and unilaterally sanctioned Iran, now try to invoke the agreement he rejected to keep the constraints on Iran. John Bolton, former national security adviser, said, “We’re in the nuclear deal for purposes we want but not for those we don’t.” He added the U.S. veto in the Security Council can be undermined. Lead diplomat of the U.S. sneered at Russia and China, claiming is opposition is “disinformation tactics” before he tore down relationships with Europe by claiming “they chose to side with the ayatollahs.” DDT maintains he has a voice in the deal because the U.S. was a “participant state” in the original agreement. All the countries met their parts of the agreement until DDT announced his intention of dropping out.

DDT’s administration is hiring a private security company secretly keeping migrant children as young as one-year-old at major hotel chains. Instead of stopping additional migration, the policy of closing the border has caused the border crossings to surge because some legal consequences for repeat attempts have been eliminated. Using transportation workers not licensed to provide child care, the process allows abuse of children who have no access to parents or lawyers. No one can guarantee children are provided phones, healthy food, and medical/mental healthcare. Detention is at a Quality Suites (San Diego), Hampton Inns (Phoenix, McAllen and El Paso, TX), Comfort Suits (Miami), Best Western (Los Angeles), and Econo Lodge (Seattle). ICE guards have also been found systematically sexually assaulting immigrants in an El Paso detention facility with about 50,000 immigrants annually at a taxpayer expense of $2.7 billion.

In a “prebuttal” to Barack Obama speaking at the Democratic Convention, VP Mike Pence compared the number of manufacturing jobs he created to those DDT created. He picked the day that DDT called for a boycott on Goodyear because a local Kansas station ran a story about Goodyear diversity training slideshow recommended workers not wear political attire—including MAGA clothing Goodyear stated it did not create, distribute, or use the production. Yet DDT tweeted:

“Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES – They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS. Get better tires for far less! (This is what the Radical Left Democrats do. Two can play the same game, and we have to start playing it now!)”

DDT desperately wants to win Ohio, the home of Goodyear in Akron.

Joe Biden is running this ad in Ohio and North Carolina where Goodyear has a plant near Fayetteville:

“A company with a 122-year history in Akron, Ohio; thousands of American workers, and competitors all over the world; and a sitting president, who’s spinning out of control, would risk American jobs to try to save his own.”

The Lincoln Project, Republicans opposing the reelection of DDT, has this ad. The day after DDT called for the boycott, he said he recognized Goodyear workers could lose their jobs but they could “get another good jobs [sic]”.

A quotation from DDT: “Women—treat ‘em like shit.” DDT has never denied saying this.

August 17, 2019

U.S. Trouble around the World

Anyone questioning whether Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) is an autocrat, should consider his directive to Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocking Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from visiting Israel because they support the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement to sanction Israelis over human rights abuses of Palestinians and Israeli’s occupation of the West Bank. DDT tweeted that the two women “hate all Jewish people”—a lie—and added that “it would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit!”

Israeli’s foreign aid from the U.S. is dependent on congressional approval; Omar is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee with oversight over U.S. foreign aid. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said that if Israel doesn’t want U.S. congressional members in the country, they could return the annual $3 billion that Congress allots them for military aid. Even prominent Republicans opposed Israel’s ban on two congressional members taking part in a congressional delegation to the country, a first for the U.S. The day after the ban, Israel said Tlaib could visit her 90-year-old grandmother for the first time in 12 years if Tlaib promised to say nothing about laws punishing public contractors who boycotted Israel for its treatment of Palestinians. When Tlaib refused to go if she were muzzled, DDT accused her of “grandstanding.” Israel’s mandate, like U.S. Republicans who support Tlaib’s suppression, proves Israel as a repressive regime without free speech.

DDT renewed his attacks on Iran by issuing a warrant for the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker detained in Gibraltar, hours after a Gibraltar court ordered the ship released after the British navy intercepted it. The U.S. wants the ship, 2.1 million barrels of oil, and $999,500. The warrant is dated November 16, 2019—not August 19, and Iran is fighting it.   

U.S. officials remain silent about an explosion off the northern coast of Russia on August 8 that spread radioactivity for miles and killed seven people, including scientists. Apparently a test for a cruise missile propelled by nuclear power, the explosion occurred just five days after DDT officially dropped out of a treaty with Russia controlling nuclear weapons. Analysts think that the missile is a prototype of one spreading radioactivity that cannot be stopped because it has an unpredictable path at low altitudes.

Spreading misinformation, Russian officials first denied the radiation leak before confirming it. Three naked injured men wrapped in translucent plastic bags were taken to a regional hospital, but no one notified the hospital staff that the patients were radioactive. Two of the three patients died on the way to the airport on their way to Moscow. Five hospital staff workers, including senior doctors, were required to sign non-disclosure agreements. The staff’s questions were not answered, but the offer to fly them to Moscow for tests was rescinded when one was found with a radioactive isotype, a byproduct of the nuclear fission of uranium-235, in his muscle tissue. Tests were moved to the regional hospital.

Russia also stated that it flew nuclear-capable TU-160 bombers to a far eastern Russian region opposite Alaska to show the country’s long-range ability to launch nuclear weapons into the U.S.

DDT is siding with North Korea’s opposition to U.S./South Korea military exercises against his own military advice after Kim Jong Un wrote him a “really beautiful letter.” Kim wrote that he wants to save the U.S. money by stopping the exercises. North Korea has tested four different new weapons since July, with the most recent yesterday, and threatened continued testing if DDT doesn’t stop the long-planned exercises and lift sanctions. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/17/north-koreas-kim-jong-un-expresses-great-satisfaction-after-test-of-new-weapon   Kim expressed “great satisfaction” about the tests’ “mysterious and amazing success rates” and vowed to build up “invincible military capabilities no one dare provoke.”

At a fundraiser, DDT said Kim “only smiles when he sees me” and “if I hadn’t been elected president, we would be in a big, fat, juicy war with North Korea.” In the same speech, DDT used a fake Japanese accent when he told about a conversation with Shinzo Abe about Abe’s kamikaze pilot father when he asked if kamikaze pilots were drunk or on drugs. Abe said they loved their country; DDT said, “Imagine they get in a plane with a half a tank of gas and fly into steel ships just for the love of their country!” About South Korea, DDT talked about getting rents from tenants:

“It was easier to get a billion dollars from South Korea than to get $114.13 from a rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn, and believe me, those 13 cents were very important.”

DDT mocked the accent of South Korean leader Moon Jae-In, ridiculing him for “caving in” to negotiations and praised his son Don Jr. as a gun expert—seemingly over the FBI, CIA, military generals, U.S. army soldiers, reservists, national guardsmen, and Secret Service.

Thus far, DDT has clearly shown no support for Hong Kong protesters trying to protect themselves from China’s Communists. He explained that China’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen showed that China’s behavior “shows you the power for strength.” DDT’s avoidance of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement has isolated him from Congress, the State Department, European allies, and his hawkish White House advisers. Instead, DDT supports President Xi Jinping.Even Russia-supporter Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tweeted that a violent crackdown on the Hong Kong protesters “would be completely unacceptable.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), usually DDT’s lapdog, tweeted that “30 years after Tiananmen Square all Americans stand with the peaceful protesters in Hong Kong.’’ Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson, co-founder of the Brexit movement, argued that China must respect Hong Kong’s autonomy. In his avoidance of supporting human rights, DDT said nothing about the Moscow mass protests challenging President Vladimir Putin and supports repressive governments of autocracies such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, and Poland.

The election in Guatemala, DDT’s new pawn, is over, and 58 percent of the electorate didn’t show up—the biggest absentee rate in 20 years. Their choice between a right-wing candidate and an extremist right-wing candidate came after the top two contenders were banned from participation. The extremist candidate won. DDT may lose an agreement with Guatemala to block Central Americans from seeking asylum in the United States. The agreement, which needs to be ratified by the Guatemalan congress, would require the country to extend asylum to migrants coming through the country and make some asylum-seekers who pass through Guatemala ineligible for protection in the U.S. President-elect Alejandro Giammattei wants to change the highly unpopular deal, especially after a U.S. judge suspended a separate safe third country accord. The current president signed the agreement after DDT blackmailed him with threats of tariffs and charges on remittances sent to Guatemalans.

Declaring Guatemala a “safe country” has raised deep concerns. In 2016, its murder rate was five times that of the U.S., and people who live in Guatemala fear the high level of crime. Guatemala also has the world’s third-highest rate of femicide, the sixth-highest rate of chronic malnutrition, and an infant mortality rate four times higher than in the United States. DDT and Morales signed the agreement amid a time of violence in Guatemala on the day after two Indigenous community leaders were killed, one of them hacked to death with a machete outside his home and the other hit by a mining company vehicle. The president-elect promises to prohibit marriage equality, criminalize “sodomy” and all education on questions of sexual diversity, and ban abortions under all circumstances.

The coup by U.S. trained and equipped Guatemalan soldiers in 1954 led to 36 years of military rule, still U.S. supported, with genocide razing 600 villages and killing 200,000 people, 83 percent of them ethnic Mayan. Currently, two percent of the Guatemalan population controls 70 percent of arable land. The United Nations-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), expected to shut down next month, has worked with Guatemalan prosecutors to destroy systemic corruption. Asylum-seekers in Guatemala already face threats of murder and physical attacks.

DDT’s sanctions against Venezuela may not have the impact he wants because Panama is still permitting ships through the Canal.

Danish authorities ridiculed DDT’s idea of buying Greenland and its 50,000 citizens. Unfortunately, there is a precedent: in 1917, Denmark sold what is now the Virgin Islands to the U.S. for $25 million. In response to DDT’s suggestion, the huge headline on the cover of New York’s Daily News read: “Fjord to Trump: Drop Dead.” Gerald Ford said a similar headline protesting his lack of assistance for New York City, “Ford to City: Drop Dead,” cost him the 1976 election. The newspaper also echoed a headline after DDT dumped the Paris climate agreement with “Trump to World: Drop Dead.”

Update on DDT’s speech at the Pennsylvania Shell construction site on August 13: Workers were paid overtime to attend the speech and ordered “no yelling, shouting, protesting or anything viewed as resistance.” Those who skipped the speech forfeited all pay for the day and lost all overtime for the week. The new operation may harm the area’s air quality and increase carbon emissions and plastic pollution.

DDT finished his vacation at his Bedminster (NJ) resort during a week of telling lies and facing stalled approval ratings, increased polarization, escalating trade wars in Europe and Asia, war-like tension with North Korea and Iran, an unstable stock market, and a contentious aftermath of two mass shootings last weekend.

 

February 1, 2019

DDT: Week 106 – Mass Shootings, Corruption

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 9:25 PM
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The shutdown is on hiatus, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) gets to escape the White House this weekend for a retreat to Mar-a-Lago. DDT spent his week causing making Venezuelans people to suffer while gifting Vladimir Putin by lifting sanctions and encouraging him to make as many nuclear weapons as he wants by removing a treaty. Little noticed by the media, however, is the ongoing slaughter of people in the United States by young white men. Three 21-year-olds each murdered at least three people in three different mass shootings last week:

  • Five women killed in a Sebring (FL) SunTrust bank.
  • Three people shot in a Pennsylvania bar, two of them killed, and an elderly man shot dead in a home where the suspect crashed his car and killed himself.
  • A young woman killed with her brother and father before the murderer shot and killed his parents in their nearby Louisiana home.

Media focus on mass shootings now seems to come only from a location such as a school or religious institution and/or massive numbers of dead. Largely ignored in the first month of 2019 were 32 mass shootings—the shooting of at least four or more people. As the media writes about how ISIS radicalized its recruits, it skips over how young white men in the United States are radicalized and committing more and more mass shootings.

Back, however, to the actions of the nation’s tweeter-in-chief who promotes violence in the United States. Before DDT left for his weekend getaway, he gave an 85-minute interview to the New York Times, which he claims to hate, in which he said that he would proceed with “wall” without congressional negotiations because they were a “waste of time.” About House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), DDT said, “I’ve actually always gotten along with her, but now I don’t think I will any more.” He also denied that he worked on his Moscow skyscraper through his election, saying that former fixer Michael Cohen was lying. According to DDT, outgoing deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein, told his lawyers that DDT was not a target of special investigator Robert Mueller.

In a reversal from his temper tantrums how his intelligence leaders had contradicted him, DDT claimed that they told him that the media misinterpreted the testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee. “They said, ‘Sir, our testimony was totally mischaracterized,’” DDT said. “I’m happy with Dan Coats.”

In his intent to take over Venezuela, DDT looks to help from Brazil where 13 Brazilian investors, involved with DDT in a Rio de Janeiro hotel project until 2016, have been arrested and charged with diverting pension money into the scheme. DDT bailed just after his election and just before a criminal investigation into the funding process.

Three of DDT’s children—Ivanka, Eric, and Don, Jr.—are being sued for their endorsement of a fraudulent scam promoted on DDT’s reality show, The Apprentice. The Trumps received millions of dollars in secret payments from 2005 to at least 2015 from ACN persuading people to sell a “doomed” desktop video phone service. The video phone, which connected calls among only ACN customers, lost to Skype and smart phones.

Three House committee chairs have asked for documents surrounding Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s lifting sanctions from Russian companies, giving Vladimir Putin’s oligarchs millions of dollars to spend on election interference. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has also asked about Mnuchin’s possible conflicts of interest with his ties to the oligarchs because he refused to recuse himself from the sanctions discussions.

When Mnuchin took his current government position, he sold his shares in RatPac-Dune Entertainment for $25 million to Len Blavatnik and Oleg Deripaska. Blavatnik co-owns Sual Partners with another sanctioned oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, and Sual “is a major shareholder” of Rusal, one of Deripaska’s companies that benefited from Mnuchin’s lifting the sanctions. Blavatnik, who donated $1 million to DDT’s inaugural fund, formerly served on Rusal’s board. SUAL will own 22.5 percent of Rusal after the restructuring, and the rise in Rusal’s stock price with the lifting of the sanctions increased the value of SUAL Partners’ holding in the company by about $800 million. When questioned earlier about lifting the sanctions, Mnuchin testified in a House committee hearing that legislators should just “trust” DDT.

Part of the agreement to lift the Russian sanctions was for the Rusal to change its board of directors. Now one of DDT’s presidential transition team, Christopher Burnham, sits on Rusal’s board. Burnham is a former official at Deutsche Bank, the financial institution involved in money-laundering scandals with strong ties with DDT’s funding for his projects. The sanctions were quietly lifted last Sunday as Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced her presidential candidacy to a crowd of over 20,000 in Oakland.

Russian oligarchs support U.S. Christian fundamentalists in their fight to make the United States a theocracy. As the keynote speaker for the 2014 National Organization for Marriage gala, Ben Carson mixed with such notables as Alexey Komov, fascist-supporter, anti-Semite, and key employee of sanctioned Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev. In his speech, Carson said that Marxists were “using LGBT rights to destroy American unity and impose the ‘New World Order.’” The process of “Making America Christian” includes partnering with U.S. homeschool organizations and working closely with Christian movie reviewers. Malofeev funded eastern Ukrainian pro-Russian “separatists” who are believed to shoot down Malaysian Air Flight MH17 and kill all 283 passengers and 15 crew members.

Campaign groups connected to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY), instrumental in making sure the sanctions were lifted, received $7 million to elect Republicans, starting with $3.5 million to a PAC connected to McConnell. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also received hefty donations.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), chair of the Armed Services Committee, received $1,000 in “unused campaign funds” from former Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) on the day that a McKeon associate met with an Inhofe staff on behalf of the Saudi Arabians. The Saudis paid McKeon $450,000 three days after they killed U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The House has also directed the Pentagon to complete a report on climate change that ommitted requested details such as specific cost estimates to protect or replace the ten most vulnerable bases from each of the military services. The Pentagon report already released expressed security concerns about climate change although it listed no Marine Corps installations. Four months before the release of the report, Hurricane Florence cost Camp Lejeune, the biggest Marine base on the East Coast, over $3 billion in damages. Also omitted was Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida where Hurricane Michael destroyed 95 percent of the buildings. Patrick Shanahan, former Boeing executive, became acting DOD Secretary after Jim Mattis left.

DDT is sending thousands more troops to the border with Mexico because of the “caravans” coming from the south, and he agrees with the majority of people that a physical barrier will not stop the migrants. Told that the border for much of Texas is the middle of the Rio Grande River, DDT agreed that people just had to “touch the land.” He was wrong when he said that criminals “are released into our country.”

A caravan of millions is actually crossing the Mexico border for health care—but it’s going south. In just Yuma (AZ), 6,000 people cross into Los Algodones every day for healthcare, especially dental care. In the U.S., 74 million people, one-fourth the population, have no dental insurance, and most people with that insurance are not covered beyond regular checkups and filings that have a cap of $1,500. Getting dental work in Mexico saves people between 67 percent and 80 percent. One reason for less cost is lack of student debt: dentists pay the government for tuition with one year of free service. [Below: U.S. cars heading into Tijuana.]

More people are going to need healthcare with DDT’s plans to weaken regulations for beryllium exposure, causing lung cancer and symptoms such as difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, joint pain, cough, and fever. The disease also leads to disability and death.

DDT may be watching too many Star Trek reruns on television. He offered NASA unlimited funding if they can put the U.S. flag on Mars by 2020. An astronaut surprised DDT by reminding him that DDT had already set the timeline for the 2030s. Unhappy with that revelation, DDT suggested that NASA drop all other priorities and focus on a trip to Mars, which is 200 times farther than the moon. Even private efforts for a Mars journey were set back last week after a storm flipped the test vehicle SpaceX in progress at Boca Chica (TX). In his new book Team of Vipers, Cliff Sims described a conversation in the White House when DDT was pushing for a trip to Mars in the coming year.

The Senate passed nonbinding bipartisan legislation objecting to DDT’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Syria. Women in Afghanistan fear control by the Taliban who may subject females to forced marriages, domestic violence, inability to leave their homes without a male relative, and mandatory full-length burqas that cover their faces.

To keep DDT happy, his campaign team used Republicans to poll 10 GOP-leaning House districts that Democrats took in 2018 and supposedly found that a plurality of voters endorsed DDT’s wall. The purpose is to convince DDT that he has a good chance of being re-elected. Unfortunately for DDT’s peace of mind, 56 percent of people say they would “definitely not vote for him.” Majorities of independents (59 percent), women (64 percent), and suburbanites (56 percent) said they won’t support DDT for a second term. It is early to determine his chances, but another shutdown won’t be good for his reputation.

March 15, 2018

Russian Interference in U.S. to Expand Chaos

No matter how bad the Russia collusion and hacking have gotten, the Republicans have seemed rather blasé about this involvement, even supporting Russia over the people in the United States. Will these Republicans change their position if they lose their electric power? Russian hackers have been attacking the U.S. infrastructure, including electricity, water, and transportation as well as nuclear and manufacturing sectors, and the federal government is getting worried. Last summer, the news that Russia had gotten into over a dozen power plants in seven states didn’t get much attention in the first year of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in the Oval Office. Now Russians have moved into dozens of states with their attacks on the infrastructure. Eric Chien, a security technology director at the digital security firm Symantec, said:

“We now have evidence they’re sitting on the machines, connected to industrial control infrastructure, that allow them to effectively turn the power off or affect sabotage…. They have the ability to shut the power off.”

Today’s public alert from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI warned that these hackers have been targeting U.S. infrastructure for the past two years. They started by staging malware and spear phishing at small commercial networks before obtaining remote access in energy sector networks which allowed them to collect information connected with Industrial Control Systems. At least three simultaneous Russian cyber hacking attacks are going into infrastructure controls, stealing documents and using a “troll farm” called the Internet Research Agency to spread misinformation on social media for chaos and discord, and focusing on disrupting the infrastructure of U.S. and European countries.

Last summer, Congress passed a law mandating that DDT place sanctions on Russia, but he  ignored the law.  A letter from 140 House Democrats asked DDT to impose these sanctions on Russia, an action that the Treasury Department took after the chemical attack on a Russian double agent in Britain followed by the death of a Russian exile. Even these sanctions are weak, because they are only on the entities and people indicted by Robert Mueller. The State Department also released a condemnation of Russia’s “campaign of coercion and violence” in the Russian annexation of Crimea four years ago this week, but no sanctions.

A serious problem for Republicans this week comes from the House Intelligence Committee GOP announcement that it closed down its investigation into the Russian scandal before finishing its job. The committee issued a brief summary with a 150-page report supposedly to follow, explaining the GOP position that intelligence agencies were wrong in its evidence of how Russia supported DDT in the presidential election. DDT saw the GOP whitewash as a vindication.

Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), forced from leadership of the committee after he briefed White House officials on committee information, has always protected DDT, even leaking information, and announced last June that they wouldn’t find any collusion. GOP members limited topics under discussion and witnesses’ questions while following White House restrictions and refusing to investigate phone and bank records corroborating witness claims. Nunes consistently undermined Robert Mueller’s investigation with false information. The person ostensibly in charge of the House Intelligence Committee investigation claimed ignorance of George Nadar, a key witness about secret meetings in the Seychelles.

The report was so biased that hard-right GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who led the Benghazi/private email server email against Hillary Clinton said that the GOP evidence was “motivated in whole or in part by a desire to harm [Clinton’s] candidacy or undermine her Presidency had she prevailed.” Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Monday that “there is evidence” showing the Russians attempted to help President Trump during the 2016 presidential election, contradicting a draft report from the panel. Rooney also warned that the government needs to act to prevent foreign interference in the upcoming midterm elections.

The GOP spin from other committee members, however, is that the intelligence community is wrong about Russian interference just as they were about Iraq weapons—ignoring the fact that the intelligence community denied “specific information” about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction before George W. Bush invaded Iraq. Then, as now with the GOP members of the “no Russian interference” group, the politicians were wrong in their perspective about the documents given them.

Deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah made an awkward statement by saying that DDT would have been aware of any such collusion if it did occur. In Shah’s words, proof of collusion would also be proof of DDT’s knowledge about it. Luckily for him, it appears to be an opinion.

Democrats on the committee had not seen the report when it was released and were not told about the conclusion before it was made public. Following the release of the GOP summary, the minority members of the House intelligence Committee released a 21-page “Status of the Russia Investigation.” The majority of the document is composed of four appendices, beginning in Appendix A with the outstanding lines of inquiry which have been partially or not at all addressed:

  • Hacking and dissemination of campaign emails by Russia to determine the specific of this cyber operation.
  • DDT’s campaign knowledge of the email hacks.
  • Elections security—or lack thereof.
  • Russian social media campaign.
  • Financial leverage in DDT’s business deals, perhaps for Russian money laundering and DDT’s actively negotiating a business deal in Moscow with a sanctioned Russian bank during the election, despite his assertion that he had no business dealings with Russia.
  • Money-laundering and foreign payments, already somewhat revealed by Robert Mueller’s special investigation which includes charges against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.
  • Post-election effects and obstruction of justice, including intervention from and lies by Michael Flynn in U.S. affairs with Russia, DDT attempts to block James Comey to investigate Flynn, and DDT’s writing a memo to cover the June 2016 meeting in which his son Donald Trump Jr. and two other senior campaign advisers intended to get damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Appendix B lists over 30 key witnesses which had not been interviewed with brief descriptions of their potential involvement which needs further inquiry. Appendix C gives over 20 entities, including Deutsche Bank, which should be sent “indispensable” documents that directly connect to Russian election interference.  Fifteen other people and entities that should appear and/or present documents are in Appendix D. This list includes DDT, Jared Kushner, Hope Hicks, Erik Prince, and the White House. A key line in the most recent report from this committee:

The Minority has a good faith reason to believe that the White House does in fact possess such documentation memorializing President Trump’s conversations with Director Comey.  Subsequent press reporting revealed the existence of a memorandum reportedly composed by President Trump and Stephen Miller that referenced President Trump’s communications with Director Comey.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May says that it is “highly likely” former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned in Salisbury, England by Russia. DDT refuses to mention the word “Russia” in connection with the poisoning although Secretary of State Secretary Rex Tillerson said that the attack “clearly came from Russia.”

Today, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster used strong language to decry Russia’s actions and blamed the Kremlin for “the abhorrent nerve agent attack” in England. It may be his last speech because rumors from the White House indicate he is to be fired by the end of the month, despite the press secretary’s denial. DDT has told Chief of Staff John Kelly that McMaster is too rigid and his briefings are too long.

Earlier, Nunes tried to protect DDT with a GOP committee memo about the Russian investigation that DDT erroneously used to proclaim exoneration for himself. It was followed by a heavily redacted response from the Democrats showing the GOP’s “distortions and misrepresentations.” Complaints that Christopher Steele’s dossier on DDT were responsible for a warrant to surveil DDT’s associate and suspected foreign agent Carter Page where shown to be totally bogus.

Meanwhile Robert Mueller is continuing his investigation, this week with subpoenas to the Trump Organization for documents, some related to Russia, in its first approach to DDT’s business affairs. Despite DDT’s denial that it has no holdings in Russia, witnesses have been asked about DDT’s business plans to build in Moscow. DDT has talked to Emmet Flood, the lawyer who represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment, about hiring him. Lawyers have advised DDT not to talk with Mueller, but he may be considering an interview if Mueller restricts the scope of questioning and concludes the DDT-involved part of the investigation within 60 days of the interview. Good luck!

Meanwhile Conor Lamb defeated Vladimir Putin in a U.S. House race last Tuesday in the far southwest Pennsylvania district with an almost 96 percent white population and so badly gerrymandered that no Democrat ran against the Republican in the past two elections. DDT won that district by 20 points in the presidential election. The former representative resigned after the publicity that the anti-abortion Republican encouraged his lover to have an abortion. This news was followed by multiple stories of his inappropriate action from his staff. Murphy is a developmental psychologist with a wife and adult daughter.

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