Nel's New Day

September 23, 2019

Chaos from Israel, Iran

Last week, I was biting my fingernails until I heard the results of Tuesday’s Israeli election to see if the corrupt far-right, ultra-Orthodox prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu would lose his power over the country. If he does, that’s the third country moving from far-right positions.

Italy was the first to go in the past few months when it ousted far-right Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini with a coalition between the pro-European Democratic Party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. Salvini failed to take over for Giuseppe Conte, the independent prime minister who resigned. The interior ministry will be run by migration specialist Luciana Lamorgese who wants to solve the humanitarian crisis caused for the former government. The new coalition is fragile, but it’s a start.

The UK parliament turned against new far-right prime minister, Boris Johnson, who failed to get enough votes for his position to walk out on the European Union with no deal in place. A Supreme Court decision this week will help determine UK’s direction about Brexit. The background is here. 

Almost a week after Israel’s election, a leader still hasn’t been finalized, and Netanyahu failed to coalesce rival rightwing parties the second election within six months. Instead of voting for a person, Israel votes for parties that then select a prime minister. As of yesterday, Netanyahu was behind a coalition supporting Benny Gantz because most of the Arab Palestinians, one-fifth of Israel’s citizens and 13 votes in parliament, picked Gantz as the lesser of two evils. President Reuven Rivlin will select the new prime minister.

Rivlin attempted to unify the government by calling Gantz and Netanyahu to a meeting lasting almost two hours. The two opponents will meet again tomorrow. For Arabs, supporting Ganz has been difficult because he led Israeli forces to devastate large parts of the Palestinian enclave and kill 2,000 people, mostly civilians. Three Arab parliamentarians called him a “war criminal” and backed out of his support, but for the remainder Netanyahu is a worse choice. Rivlin’s choice at forming a government has 28 days plus a 14-day extension to get coalition agreements. Failure means another 28 days before the parliament members recommend a third potential candidate with a majority vote who has 14 days to form a government.

Arabs have good reason to reject Netanyahu. Last summer, he declared that they were to officially be second-class citizens when he said, “According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people—and only it.” In his reelection campaign, Netanyahu promised to illegally annex parts of the West Bank belonging to Jordan before he presents a “peace plan.”. He also posted a huge gold “Trump Heights” sign in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights that belongs to Syria. On his official FB chatbot, suspended as a “violation of hate,” Netanyahu posted that Arab politicians “want to annihilate us all.”

Netanyahu is desperate for a win; otherwise he faces prosecution in three criminal cases involving fraud, bribery and breach of trust. He conspired to curb the circulation of a daily newspaper owned by supporter Sheldon Adelson for better coverage in Yediot Ahronot, a rival paper critical of Netanyahu. In another accusation, Netanyahu, fixed the regulation of huge telecom Bezeq to get favors from Walla, a news website owned by Bezeq’s then-majority shareholder, Shaul Elovitch, who also faces charges. Elovitch told Walla to go easy on Netanyahu and his wife Sara to get a merger that raised antitrust concerns. These are details of Netanyahu’s involvement in these issues.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has provided the script for Netanyahu’s rhetoric. Corruption charges are a “witch hunt” in the “leftist media,” and Netanyahu calls himself “the most maligned person in the history of Israeli media.” On a billboard of critical journalists’ images, he posted, “They will not decide. You decide.” He has interviews only on one far-right outlet, and communicates through social media. He called for a boycott of a network and accused those involved in the network of “a terror attack against democracy.”

After Netanyahu appeared to lose the election, Israel’s stock markets rose in celebration. Netanyahu canceled his meeting with DDT and his speech at the UN this week, not appearing at its main debate for only the second time in ten years. DDT is also distancing himself from his former BFF saying, “Our relationship is with the state of Israel.”

Israel is privy to U.S. classified information through cellphone surveillance devices placed by the country’s agents near White House “sensitive locations” to spy on DDT, his top aides, and his closest associates. DDT, who called for a congressional investigation into President Obama’s non-existent surveillance of him, didn’t indicate any distress about Israel’s real surveillance.

Another country is causing ulcers as the world waits to see what will happen with Iran. Since drones from an unspecified location by an unspecified group hit Saudi Arabian oil fields on September 13, the U.S. has consistently said that Iran is responsible for the attack claimed by the Yemeni Houthis. Countries such as Japan disagree, and even Saudi Arabia has not identified the location where the attacking drones was launched. DDT claims he waits for direction from the Saudi, following orders from the country that tortured and dismembered a U.S. journalist instead of the constitutional requirement that Congress is in control of declaring war. DDT says that the U.S. doesn’t need Saudi oil but wants to “help our allies,” a turnaround from five years ago when he said that the Saudis “should fight their own wars.”

Whether DDT will talk to Iran or bomb them depends on the hour, but he increased sanctions twice since the attack, including on Iran’s central bank.  His attitude reflects how much money he can get from them for his personal business.

A basis for DDT’s decision about attacks on Iran is most likely the price of crude oil. When he made war noises, the price per barrel went up almost 40 percent, only to come back down when he calmed down. Global markets set oil prices, and an invasion in the Middle East could double prices as it did when the U.S. dived into the Iraq-Kuwait conflict. In 1973, prices quadrupled after OPEC declared an oil embargo because of U.S. support for Israel in the Yom Kippur War. DDT’s 2020 campaign could be damaged by increases in oil prices, a war that no one wants, and the fear of a recession, already on the horizon. Six of the last eight recessions came after a spike in oil prices, including the most recent one in 2007.  High oil prices cause inflation and hurt economic growth, directly affect prices for goods made with oil and indirectly affecting costs from transportation and heating for consumers. Other goods are sold because people have a finite amount of money.

Whether DDT will talk to Iran or bomb them depends on the hour, but he increased sanctions twice since the attack, including on Iran’s central bank. His attitude reflects how much money he can get from them for his personal business. He claims that the U.S. needs the Saudis to bring them job, and every time he talks about the opportunities he adds thousands to his mythical number. What he really wants, however, is money in his own pocket from the Saudis pouring cash into DDT’s U.S. hotels and Scottish resort. His big problem is that hawks and hardliners want war, and he’s already bombed Yemen to please Saudi Arabia, contributing to a horrific humanitarian crisis with 3.3 million of Yemenis displaced and another 14 million desperately needing food, medicine, etc.

DDT may find little foreign support for a war against Iran. The United Arab Emirates has already backed off the Saudis’ war in Yemen, the Egyptian president faces new protests against his faltering economy and repression, and Israel has no leader. Even the Saudis are lukewarm about a fight with the Iranians. DDT has proved himself to be an on-again-off-again follower of the last person he talks to, well demonstrated when he called off a strike against Iran last June just ten minutes—according to him—before the final order without talking to his advisers.

Iran wants new talks on the nuclear agreement, and DDT refuses to negotiate. Talks also can’t resume while the U.S. has crippling sanctions on Iran, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wants to block DDT from sending more U.S. troops into the Gulf. DDT has isolated the U.S., and other countries such as China are moving in to take advantage of Iranian resources. Tomorrow, he plans to give a speech at the UN to get support against Iran, and leaders of three EU countries—France, Germany, and UK—now say that Iran was responsible for the attack. Yet DDT’s disregard for global involvement does not bode well in an organization where people are more interested in diplomacy and denuclearization instead of buffoonery.

April 28, 2019

The Religions of the Right

The religious right loves guns, wants to own women’s bodies, and listens to rantings of hatred and violence from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). These leading stories are since their holy time of the Easter weekend on April 19-21:

Yesterday, a young white man killed a woman and injured another three people at a synagogue in Poway, near San Diego, because he hates Jews. The tragedy occurred on the last day of Passover and six months to the day since another gunman killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. At his rally in Green Bay (WI), DDT made a short statement against anti-Semitism and hate “which must be defeated.” Then he launched into his familiar diatribes. The FBI people who investigated him are “scum,” according to DDT. He welcomed “lock her up!” chants about Hillary Clinton—who hasn’t committed any crimes—and then lied about Democrats wanting to execute babies. He denounced the media who covered the event as “sick people.” The day before he again defended protesters at United the Right, the Charlottesville (VA) protest organized and advertised as a racist and which supremacist event. [Photo: the self-described “young, vibrant man” at his rally.]

Two days before the Poway shooting, hundreds of people admired the guns filling a football-field-size venue at the NRA convention, and DDT bragged about pulling out of the international agreement, the Arms Trade Treaty, that regulates arms sales to keep weapons from human rights abusers. Technically, the U.S. has never been in the agreement because the conservative Senate has refused to ratify it since 2013. At least 101 countries have formally agreed to the treaty, and the U.S. joins Iran, North Korea, and Syria in the 29 countries refusing to sign thus far.

Other messages sent to the NRA cult members include “the first to uphold ‘Judeo-Christian values’”; VP Mike Pence’s opposition to the Green New Deal; Sen. Ted Cruz’s (D-TX) ridicule of the Democratic primary; and DDT’s mocking presidential candidate Joe Biden. The biggest cheers came from DDT’s “building the wall” and his lies that 400 miles supposedly built “by the end of next year.”

It was on his way to speak for the fifth consecutive year at the NRA convention that DDT spoke about his being “a young, vibrant man.” The convention was as woebegone as DDT looks in this photo. A schism in the NRA led to Oliver North leaving as president after only one year and Wayne LaPierre staying on as CEO. North didn’t show up at the convention in Indianapolis, leaving LaPierre the floor to accuse North of “extortion” for threatening to release “damaging” information about him.

The NRA had spent $30.3 million for DDT’s presidential campaign, but the money may have been funneled from Russia. Now the NRA has serious financial problems plus the New York AG, Letitia James, is investigating the NRA’s tax-exempt status. Some of the organization’s related businesses have also received subpoenas. James said that the NRA claims to be “a charitable organization” when he’s really “a terrorist organization.” The NRA is chartered in New York. NRA sued its ad firm, Ackerman McQueen, claiming that it won’t turn over financial records. Ackerman was paid $40 million in just 2017. LaPierre accused North of siding with Ackerman to the alarm of some board members. Ackerman is behind NRATV, the online streaming network that annoyed some board members from straying from Second Amendment issues. The network had addressed race wars and depicted trains in the children’s show Thomas & Friends in KKK hoods.

One difficulty came from the NRA Foundation, a charity, transferring over $100 million to the NRA and lending the NRA $5 million in 2017. Unlike donations to NRA, the ones to the Foundation are tax-deductible, which makes the transfer legally questionable. The NRA also paid $18 million since 2010 to the company that produces Under Wild Skies, a hunting show on NRATV. The NRA’s advancement director had a stake in the production company for most of that time, another possible nonprofit violation. These problems could lead to the NRA’s nonprofit status being revoked. In addition, the Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo questioned the NRA for insurance it offers to gun owners.

NRA members also think that leaders of the embattled gun rights group have lost their way and sense of mission. Members also complained about the NRA’s close ties to DDT. One member said to “stick to guns” and “keep your mouth shut about the wall.” Another one cancelled her membership because of the financial scandals. People might want to send IRA their “thoughts and prayers.”

Last Tuesday, the Saudis beheaded 37 citizens, most of them minority Shiites, in a sectarian-driven mass execution. One of them was well-known Shia religious leader, Sheikh Mohammed al-Attiyah. Thus far this year, the Saudis have killed 100 people.  At least six of the 37 killed were minors despite international law that prohibits death sentences for minors. Saudi Arabia has a pattern of executing minors.

Radical Rabbi Shloo Aviner told Jews that burning churches is acceptable if it’s in retribution for Christian actions. He claims that the Notre-Dame Cathedral fire is justified because of “the mass-burning of Talmud volumes by French Catholic priests” in 1242. “Christians must be punished,” Aviner said. The burning of the Talmud almost 800 years was triggered by Nicholas Donin, a Jewish man who converted to Christianity. Aviner doesn’t recommend burning of churches generally—“for the time being”—but in Israel “the issue is more complicated.” The targeting of homes, vehicles, and Palestinian individuals in Israel is a daily occurrence, and the website Mondoweiss notes:

“Several churches have been burnt in Israel in the last few years, and the police have been spectacularly useless in capturing the arsonists. In several cases, the arson was accompanied by slogans familiar from ‘price tag’ attacks in the West Bank (mostly along the lines of Jewish vengeance).”

Franklin Graham, son of famous evangelist Billy Graham, has said that God should kill gay people, and he’s applying that ethic to presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. Asked about the heckling that Buttigieg has received for being gay, Franklin responded with Leviticus 20:13:

“The Bible makes it very clear that homosexuality is a sin. ‘If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.’ (Leviticus 20:13). That’s what God says and that settles it for me. I stand with the Word of God. I care enough about people to tell them the truth and to warn them about the judgment to come for all sin.”

The verse finishes, “They shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.’”

The D.C. Circuit Court agreed with the House rules that prayers for the chamber must be “religious.” A self-described atheist is forbidden to offer a secular prayer in the House of Representatives. The judge made the decision, not against the person delivering the prayer, but against its content. The House had defended its position that the rules require “a religious invocation” from the time of former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI).

On the flip side, the IRS has determined that the Satanic Temple is a church. The group will have the same benefits as other religion organizations such as tax exemption and protection from discrimination. Its founder, Lucien Greaves, said, “I am following a code of ethics, having fellowship with brethren. Why can’t I be a religion?” Once called a cult, Christianity has entered mainstream religion. Benjamin Zeller, religion professor, described a letter that Pliny the Younger wrote in the second century to Emperor Trajan about Christianity at that time:

“This Roman governor is complaining about the Christians and using all this anti-cult language. He says that they have these secret gatherings, they’re stealing children from families, they’re engaged in weird sexual practices, and they’re disrupting the social order. Just replace ‘early Christians’ with whatever your current cult fear is.”

In the 19th century, Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons, was regarded as a con man. The church became a political movement after their establishment in Utah, and the 20th century saw them as a business. Now they’re mainstream. Protestants think that religions must have beliefs and a deity, both of which need to be taken seriously.

Maybe DDT followers and the NRA can declare themselves religions.

Careful! Jesus Christ has risen. And he’s watching.

April 13, 2019

DDT: Week 116 – Problems Pile Up

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has told former Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, now acting DHS director, that he would pardon McAleenan for violating the law if he blocks migrants and asylum seekers from coming across the southern border. DDT fired Claire Grady from DHS because she was legally in the line of succession to take over DHS after DHS fired Kirstjen Nielsen. Neo-Nazi Stephen Miller is now in control of the U.S. immigration policy; the Senate has not confirmed officials for seven top DHS officials.

Although White House officials oppose “placing” undocumented immigrants in so-called sanctuary regions, DDT and Miller are determined to retaliate against Democrats. The term is used for places that follow federal law but don’t pursue migrants who have not committed crimes. Matthew Albence, ICE’s new acting deputy director, opposed DDT’s idea last November because transportation would take money and other resources from enforcement. In February, legal experts rejected the idea, and conservatives say that DDT’s idea gives migrants a free ride to their destinations and creates difficulty in deporting them later. Jessica Vaughan, head of the anti-immigration group Center for Immigration Studies, said that the “immigration policy amateurs in senior positions at the White House … should stay in their lane—which is not immigration.”

AG Bill Barr also reinstated an “efficient” judicial process to get rid of migrants. Instead of giving people fair hearings, DOJ will permit cursory opinions without explanation and set precedents with a small minority of appeals judges. For six temporary judicial seats, Barr—and DDT—can pick judges from immigration appellate judges who have the highest deportation rates. Immigration judges lack independence because they are within the executive branch. DDT has a personal lawyer in Barr as Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-WI) had Roy Cohn to destroy thousands of people in the 1950s. With no evidence, the supposed AG dropped the erroneous word “spying” into his testimony to throw red meat to DDT’s base. Over 25 years ago, Barr had no legal basis for sweeping up millions of U.S. residents’ phone calls in the early 1990s for George H.W. Bush.

According to the conservative Wall Street Journal, federal prosecutors in New York have “more evidence than previously known in its criminal investigation” into DDT’s directing Michael Cohen to make illegal payoffs for DDT’s extra-marital affairs. An interview with Hope Hicks, DDT’s former close aide, led to implicating DDT in federal crimes, and Keith Schiller, DDT’s former bodyguard, has calls to David Pecker, CEO of the National Enquirer’s publisher which admitted paying $150,000 on DDT’s behalf to hide his relationship with a former Playboy model. Investigators also have a recorded phone conversation between Cohen and the two women’s lawyer. Information came “weeks before” Cohen testified about the hush-money payoffs in court. Cohen has said that he has 14 million damaging files about DDT that he has not yet released and wants to postpone the May 6 reporting date for going to prison. This evidence may include “possible federal campaign finance violations by the Republican National Committee, including possibly illegal conduiting of illegal substantial donations to the RNC by foreign nationals, including from China.”

AMI is selling the National Enquirer along with tabloids Globe and National Examiner. The decision came after negotiations with Jeff Bezos’ legal team because of the Enquirer’s attempted shakedown in revenge for news about Saudi Arabia published in the Washington Post, especially the murder of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). The blackmail story threatening to publish revealing photos of Bezos and his mistress if the negative articles about Saudis didn’t stop is connected to DDT through AMI CEO David Pecker, close friend of DDT. The Enquirer fingered the brother of Bezos’ mistress as the photos’ source, but Saudis hacked into Bezos’ phone.

Congress wants answers about six secret authorizations from DDT’s Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, to give Saudi Arabia nuclear technology and services with no limits to block their developing weapons. In reference to MBS’s overseeing the torturing and dismemberment of Khashoggi, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) said:

“If you cannot trust a regime with a bone saw, you should not trust them with nuclear weapons.”

These authorizations require congressional approval. A bipartisan bill requires the executive branch to regularly disclose information about allowing permission for nuclear energy cooperation with foreign countries.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin thinks that he doesn’t have to obey a 1924 anti-corruption law requiring him to turn over DDT’s tax returns. Section 6103 of the Tax Code states that Treasury officials “shall,” meaning no choice, turn over the tax returns “upon written request” of the chair of either congressional tax committee or the federal employee who runs Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. No request has ever been refused. In another potentially illegal act, Mnuchin told Congress that his legal team has consulted with the White House to block DDT’s release of tax returns to House members, in what may be obstruction of justice.

Section 7214(a) requires that DDT, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, IRS director Charles Rettig, and Mnuchin be removed from office if they fail to comply with the request to submit DDT’s tax returns by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-MA). If convicted of this refusal, they “shall be fined not more than $10,000, or imprisoned not more than 5 years of both.” Removal from office can block service on corporate board and require disclosures to lenders. DDT may be busy pardoning himself as well as others. The primary question is how long Mnuchin can stall.

In his pompous appearance before the House Financial Committee this week, Mnuchin complained that the House had not brought NAFTA 2.0 to the floor. There’s a good reason: DDT hasn’t sent the Canada/Mexico/U.S. trade agreement to Congress. He also threatens steep new tariffs of cars imported from Mexico, an act exempted by the agreement. When asked how he could do something the agreement prevents, DDT said, “We haven’t finished our agreement yet.” Yet VP Mike Pence is on the road touting the agreement.

Opposed by top Pentagon leadership, DDT designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corp—which he called Islamic RGC—as a terrorist organization. His unprecedented—and unpresidented—action puts the U.S. at risk of war, and Iran answered by labeling the U.S. military forces also a terrorist organization. The U.S. may no longer be able to successfully negotiate with Iran if U.S. ships just stray into Iran’s waters, as they did in 2016. DDT’s statement read that “if you are doing business with the IRGC, you will be bankrolling terrorism.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that the goal was to force Iran to behave like a “normal” country, perhaps using the “new normal” in the U.S. as an example.

DDT is one of those people who has done “business with the IRGC” in his financial dealings with wealthy oligarch Ziya Mammadov to build a never-opened Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku in Azerbaijan’s capital city. The Mammadov family has strong ties to money laundering with DDT’s so-called “terrorist group,” the IRGC, and some workers were paid in cash—hundreds of thousands of dollars. Between January 2014 and July 15, DDT earned $2.5 million from the project and another $323,000 later, according to his financial disclosure report. A lawyer involved with the project said that the Trump Organization “approved the smallest details. DDT’s business admitted knowledge of developers’ ties to Iranian Revolutionary Guard in 2015 and may have also violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Maryanne Trump Barry, DDT’s older sister, retired as a federal appellate judge to dodge an investigation into her fraudulent tax schemes with DDT and other siblings to greatly increase their wealth. Barry, who will continue to collect a salary of about $200,000 was co-owner of a family-created shell company, All Country, to siphon cash from their father’s empire by marking up purchases already bought by employees in order to avoid gift and estate taxes. By the time of DDT’s father’s death, his children had acquired almost all the father’s estate. Barry also benefited from gross undervaluation of her father’s properties when she and the siblings took ownership. Her share was $182.5 million.

Despite the refusal of Secretary of State Betsy DeVos to protect campus victims of sexual harassment,  the 4th Circuit Court ruled that colleges and universities must take action against targeted violent, sexist cyber abuse including threats of rape and murder. The University of Mary Washington did nothing to stop these actions, and the court ruled court ruled that Title IX and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause require schools’ addressing cyber harassment and do not permit First Amendment protection for threats to kill or injure others. The decision sets a precedent for legal liability in all universities and colleges.

DDT says he know “nothing” about WikiLeaks after Julian Assauge was arrested, but he’s been praising WikiLeaks for over 30 months. In October 2016, DDT said, “This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove” and repeated the sentiment many times.

Once again, DDT bragged about a poll that showed his high level of disapproval, this one from Fox’s Lou Dobbs Tonight. Fox Business reporter Blake Burman had to correct that the 55-percent rate DDT shouted out was actually for the unfavorable impression of him.

February 20, 2019

First Amendment Contorted by Love for Saudi Arabia, Clarence Thomas

Remember Jeff Bezos? For a week, the media focused on his “junk,” his battle with the National Enquirer, and his search for the person who ripped off his photos and documents such as texts and emails. Turns out that the guilty person is Bezos’ girlfriend’s gay brother. Then Bezos generated more media buzz when he pulled the Amazon headquarters from New York City, much to the disgust of some and delight of others.

The Bezos scandal highlighted the tie between the Enquirer and the Saudi government through Bezos’ letter to AMI, the owner of the tabloid. In its mandate that Bezos state he had “no knowledge” that the Enquirer’s coverage of his affair was “politically motivated or influenced by political forces,” people guessed that the issue was Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). David Pecker, AMI’s owner and DDT’s close associate, had an immunity deal with the DOJ for their criminal suppression of stories about DDT during his campaign, paying people for stories and then not printing them. Karen McDougal’s alleged affair with DDT was one of these articles that were killed before the election.

But Pecker may wanted the Washington Post, owned by Bezos, to stop printing negative news about Saudi Arabia. Pecker used his ties with DDT to cultivate Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) for business opportunities, including borrowing money to buy major publications such as Sports Illustrated, Time Magazine, Fortune, and Money.  magazine. AMI’s 97-page glossy propaganda about Saudi Arabia and featuring MBS on the cover sold at Walmarts across the nation as part of Pecker’s pandering.

Jamal Khashoggi, U.S. resident and journalist, worked for the WaPo, and his writings were highly critical of MBS. Before the Saudis tortured and dismembered Khashoggi, MBS had said that he would use a “bullet” on Khashoggi if he got the chance, according to WaPo reporting. On the same day the Wall Street Journal wrote that MBS was actively enlisting U.S. media outlets to remake his image in the West and met with Vice Media co-founder Shane Smith on a yacht to discuss “an international media empire to combat the kingdom’s rivals and remake its image in the West.”

“For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve,” Bezos wrote. Former longtime Enquirer editor Jerry George said that Pecker was using Bezo’ damaging photos and documents as bargaining chips. As the story unraveled, Pecker failed because Bezos refused to give into blackmail. George cited AMI’s pro-Saudi propaganda as “suspicious” because the company was “cash poor” and “suddenly” got an “influx of cash.” He suggested that “there’s another shoe to drop,” referring to Robert Mueller’s investigation into “the Saudis’ role in all of this.” A restriction of AMI’s immunity included the company staying out of politics, and WaPo revealed that the company may not have lived up to its promises.

Last year, AMI contacted the DOJ to see if the company should register as a foreign agent but said that it didn’t get any Saudi funding for their Saudi propaganda. The DOJ said probably not, but AMI wrote that a Saudi adviser submitted content for its publication and then made changes to the final version after receiving an early draft. AMI’s extortion of Bezos has brought its relation to the Saudis has brought the issue back into visibility.

DDT, who denied his own intelligence showing that MBS was responsible for Khashoggi, now faces an investigation by House Democrats about DDT’s illegal push to sell nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia over objections by national security officials and attorneys, a plan that may have directly benefited his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Despite warnings of “potential conflicts of interest, national security risks and legal hurdles” in 2017, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and other DDT employees push for the sales. DDT plans to bypass Congress with an illegal technology transfer that can spread nuclear weapons throughout the Middle East.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pled guilty of lying to the FBI, was an early advocate for these sales after DDT’s inauguration and recommended that Barrack, who raised $107 million for DDT’s corrupt inaugural committee, be a special representative to carry out his nuclear plan. Appearing to be from DDT, a memo told federal agencies to do Barrack’s bidding.

The House reports Flynn’s working with retired military officers to circumvent U.S. law. After he resigned, the National Security Council continued with its plan in opposition to advice from its own ethics counsel. The next adviser, H.R. McMaster, said that the illegal work must stop, but McMaster left almost two months ago. Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation has examined the possibility of Middle Eastern monarchies financially influencing DDT’s political activities, starting with his presidential campaign. Congress has not look at claims about the nuclear sales until this year because of GOP control.

In more First Amendment issues, the Covington Catholic High School (KY) teenager who appeared to harass Nathan Phillips, a Native American elder and veteran, is suing WaPo for $250 million. The defamation lawsuit alleges that the newspaper “engaged in a modern-day form of McCarthyism” and “wrongfully targeted and bullied” the “innocent child” Nick Sandmann. According to his lawyers, Sandmann is suffering from “the pain and destruction its attacks would cause to his life.”

The lawsuit reads like a political polemic:

“[The Post wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump (“the President”) by impugning individuals perceived to be supporters of the President…. [The Post’s coverage was] in furtherance of its political agenda … carried out by using its vast financial resources to enter the bully pulpit by publishing a series of false and defamatory print and online articles which effectively provided a worldwide megaphone to Phillips and other anti-Trump individuals and entities to smear a young boy who was in its view an acceptable casualty in their war against the President.”

Earlier this month, the Sandmann lawyers sent letters warning litigation to over 50 media organizations, celebrities, and politicians. As the wealthiest man in the world, WaPo owner Jeff Bezos has the most money and is considered DDT’s biggest media enemy, and the $250 million is the same amount that Bezos paid for the Post in 2013. Nick’s parents, Ted and Julie Sandmanns, say they want to “teach the Post a lesson it will never forget.” They argue that Nick is not a public figure, lowering the bar for winning their lawsuit.

While Nick was described as a “child,” the lawsuit calls Nathan Phillips “a phony war hero” who “targeted and bullied” Sandmann. Phillips said that Sandmann and his peers from Covington surrounded him after he tried to stop possible violence between them and a few Hebrew Israelites. About Sandmann’s comment on the Today show, Phillips used the terms “insincerity, lack of responsibility”—“coached and written up for him.” About the encounter, Phillips said that he was trying to get out of an ugly situation. “That guy in the hat [Sandmann] stood in my way, and we were at an impasse.” Phillips added, “Then I went to go pray about it …. I forgive him.”

The Sandmanns may find support in their war on freedom of the press from Supreme Court Clarence Thomas. He hopes to attack the media through his proposal to reconsider the 1964 case New York Times v. Sullivan which determined that public figures must have greater proof to claim libel. Thomas’ “roadmap” to  helping DDT’s change in libel laws permitting him to sue news organizations came after Thomas and his far-right activist wife Ginni Thomas had dinner with DDT and his wife Melania Trump. Trump’s pledge to change libel laws so he can sue news organizations for their reporting.

Last Tuesday, Thomas expressed concern about the high court’s refusal to hear an appeal from Katherine McKee, who claimed Bill Cosby’s lawyer leaked a letter that distorted her background and damaged her reputation after she claimed that Cosby raped her. Lower courts cited the Times v. Sullivan precedent in dismissing her case with the justification that disclosing her accusation required her to meet a higher libel standard of malice that applies to public figures. The decision to not take the case was unanimous, but Thomas wrote a sole opinion that the 1964 case was wrongly decided.

Since 1964, public officials can sue for libel only if the person responsible for the statement knows that the statement is false or if the person recklessly disregarded its falsehood. Subsequent Supreme Court cases have added all public figures to public officials to protect journalists and media organizations from intimidation by wealthy and/or powerful public figures wishing to exploit minor errors in reporting. That Supreme Court decision protect the media reporting on Thomas sexual harassment by Anita Hill. Thomas, who claims to be an originalist, following only the word of the U.S. Constitution and not its meaning, said, “We should carefully examine the original meaning [of the First Amendment.]” An early interpretation of this right, as shown by the first Sedition Act in 1798, was that the government could punish any published story, and the Sedition Act still exists. If the Supreme Court supports Thomas, the First Amendment could disappear.

February 8, 2019

DDT: Week 107 – Temper Tantrums, Threats

A wild week—Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) delivered his usual lies in the State of the Union speech and the House committees began its investigative hearings. Tweets from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) have the stench of fear, with a recent example of a tirade about how investigations of his scandals not being “allowed” finished by how “Dems and their committees are … even stealing people who work at White House.” An unnamed staffer guided a CNN reporter to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the Intelligence Committee, for an explanation. Schiff has hired former National Security Council members, who DDT had dumped, to work in the investigation into DDT’s finances and foreign connections. In an inverse act, Kashyap Patel, former staffer for former House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), to join the National Security Council.

Acting AG Matt Whitaker joined Republicans in responding with the same fear as DDT. Whitaker rudely responded to Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee hearing today, even telling the chair that his time for questioning was up. Whitaker said, “I’m here voluntarily,” but he might not be so fortunate at his next hearing. He refused to answer questions while disrespecting House Democrats. GOP committee members repeated conspiracy theories including the lie about the FBI tipping off CNN for the Roger Stone arrest. After he pounded the table and yelled at chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) tried to shut down Eric Swalwell (D-CA) when he questioned Whitaker about taking donations from foreign groups. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) attacked Whitaker for the redactions in a memo from Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein to Robert Mueller about the investigation. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) asked Whitaker to get DOJ employees to be loyal to DDT, despite the oath that they take to be loyal to the U.S. Constitution. Vox has a good rundown of the event.

Because the Senate still has a GOP majority, Richard Burr (R-NC), chair of its Intelligence Committee, is dragging his heels in any investigation of Russia collusion, but DDT still had to lie when he said that the committee had finished its investigation and had found “NO COLLUSION.”

The shutdown came about—and may return—because Congress has not provided a budget that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) will sign. At the same time, however, DDT has failed to comply with the law. It is his legal obligation to send a budget to Congress by the first Monday in February—February 4, 2019–which he has not done.

Yesterday was National Black HIV Awareness Day, and Tuesday DDT announced that he will end the HIV epidemic by 2030. Here’s the male white crowd who plan to carry out the plan.

The Supreme Court released both conservative and not-quite-so-conservative opinions. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal wing in striking down Louisiana’s restrictive anti-abortion law—at least for now—but moved to the conservative side in refusing a Muslim any religious support during his execution in Alabama. The Supreme Court had already found the Louisiana law unconstitutional when the same one was passed in Texas, but DDT has added two conservative justices since 2016 when Roberts had dissented from overturning the Texas law. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), up for reelection next year, is taking criticism when she supported Brett Kavanaugh for the high court because she believed his promise that he would not overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade, legalizing some abortions.

AMI, owner of the National Enquirer which helped elect DDT with its suppression of news, may have lost its immunity from Robert Mueller. If the publishing company cooperates and avoids committing crimes, it won’t face prosecution for paying off a woman who had an affair with DDT. Upset about news published in the WaPo, AMI tried to extort Jeff Bezos, the newspaper owner, by threatening to publish more embarrassing material about his sexual affair.

Instead of being coerced, Bezos published the extortion message and his response in which he defined the extortion terms:

“In the AMI letters I’m making public, you will see the precise details of their extortionate proposal: They will publish the personal photos unless Gavin de Becker and I make the specific false public statement to the press that we ‘have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.’”

Bezos’ documents can be read in entirety here. The National Enquirer’s final paragraph in the blackmail note reads:

“If [Jeff Bezos] agrees to cease and desist such defamatory behavior [meaning reporting in the Washington Post], we are willing to engage in constructive conversations regarding the texts and photos which we have in our possession. Dylan Howard stands ready to discuss the matter at your convenience.”

Bezos indicated that the reason for National Enquirer’s may be WaPo’s coverage of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve,” wrote the world’s richest person.

DDT has refused to submit a requested report from Congress regarding White House findings on whether Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is personally responsible for the torture and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. U.S. intelligence determined that the premeditated murder was almost certainly from orders by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but DDT said he would retain relationships with Saudi Arabia even if the rulers were responsible for the killing. Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, has claimed that the killing was a “rogue operation.” A bipartisan Senate group is considering asking the White House to lay sanctions against anyone considered “responsible.” A bill might include a refusal to sell Saudi Arabia certain military arms.

ICE may have hit a new low. Ordered last summer by the Supreme Court to give specific hearing dates, ICE agents issued “dummy” dates with threats that people would be deported if they didn’t attend. Immigrants crossed the country to comply with the orders only to find that the fake scheduled hearings didn’t exist. Chaos ensured as the photo to the left shows. Court administrators tried to help the immigrants by double-checking addresses and promising that they would soon receive hearing notices.

Because DDT has pulled out of a nuclear treaty with Russia, Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s military to develop new ground-launched hypersonic missiles with an intermediate range and to convert previously sea-based cruise missiles for ground launch.

U.S. Central Command (Centcom) Commander Gen. Joseph Votel, the top U.S. general in charge of military operations in the Middle East, testified that he was not consulted before DDT’s announcement of all 2,000 troop withdrawal from Syria. He also testified that taking pressure off ISIS will permit it to regroup and have “renewed vigor.”

The GOP and DDT’s tax cuts for the wealthy and big business may raise the deficit trillions of dollars, but many DDT’s supporters are discovering that it doesn’t help them. Here’s one of the angry responses:

“The @GOP tax bill cost my family THOUSANDS of dollars this year on our return due to changes, thereby hitting us with the LARGEST tax increase of our lives. We are middle-class homeowners, and you raised our taxes. Infuriating!”

IRS accounting deception to keep people unaware of how little tax cuts would help them—at least until after the midterm elections—may have added to their frustration. Instead of telling people that the tax “reform” wouldn’t give much relief to most people, the IRS changed withholding guidelines that would give more money back to workers in each paycheck by reducing the amount of taxes withheld throughout 2018. In the past, people tended to get refunds, but the new system means much smaller refunds or even the requirement to send more money to the IRS. Discovering that corporations are getting even more of a break than they were promised will undoubtedly result in more rage, especially if they find out that companies get a much larger tax break fi they move their profits overseas—about half as much tax responsibility.

Maybe some people have already learned their lesson: over three-fourths of registered voters want the wealthiest people in the U.S. to pay higher taxes. Even a Fox poll shows that 70 percent of people want increased taxes for those earning more than $10 million.

Other polls are also not favorable for DDT. He went into the Oval Office with a growing economy, but two years later, 56 percent of people in the U.S. believe that the economy is slowing down or worse. Seventeen percent think that the economy is in a recession or depression. Sixty-seven percent of Americans believe interest rates will go up in the next six months, including 20 percent who believe they will go up “a lot.” Likewise, a majority (61 percent) see inflation rising in the near future, including 17 percent who say it will increase a lot.

November 24, 2018

DDT: Week 96 – New ‘Normal’ for Thanksgiving

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 9:03 PM
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Between tweets and personal appearances, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) spent much of his “working” time early Thanksgiving week trying to deflect attention about real issues.

  • Issue: Investigating acting AG Matthew Whitaker; response, reference to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), new Intelligence Committee chairman, as “little Adam Schitt” while DDT’s wife continues her program against cyber bullying.
  • Issue: Concerns from retired Adm. Bill McRaven, the former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, about DDT’s attack on the free press; response, false claim that McRaven is a “Hillary Clinton fan” and didn’t capture Osama bin Ladin in a timely fashion.
  • Issue: The deadliest fire in California history; response, lies about “gross mismanagement of the forests” because they didn’t rake the forest as Finland does. (Fact: Finland has an early warning system, aerial surveillance system, and an extensive network of forest roads; the country also pays local aviation clubs to fly over the most threatened areas of forest so that fires will be found before they go out of control. California is also much warmer and drier than Finland and has vegetation much likelier to catch on fire. During his visit to Paradise, DDT also called the town “Pleasure”—twice.) Next DDT lie: fire mitigation raises 2019 budget by $500,000. Didn’t happen and none of his officials or members of Congress know anything about this.
  • Issue: climate change; response, “I want great climate.”
  • Issue: GOP midterm election losses; response, after claiming that the election was a referendum on him, “I didn’t run. I wasn’t running. My name wasn’t on the ballot.”
  • Issue: Not going to Arlington on Veterans Day; response, “I was extremely busy on calls for the country…. I should have and I did last year.” (DDT had nothing on his schedule, he sent a large number of tweets accusing Florida of rigging the election and Democrats for dropping the stock market, and he was in Asia on Veterans Day 2017.)

Maybe Saudi’s Crown Prince did torture and dismember a U.S. journalist in its Turkish embassy, DDT said, but he’s not going to do anything about the murder. Saudi Arabia is a “great spectacular ally,” according to DDT, meaning that they give DDT lots of money for his personal use and nothing will change in the U.S.-Saudi relationship. DDT also lied about Saudi Arabia investing $450 billion dollars in the U.S. economy, about Saudi’s war in Yemen in response to Iranian intervention, about hundreds of thousands of jobs, and about right-wing smear that the murdered Jamal Khashoggi was a “member of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Facts: Only $14.5 billion in military purchases have been confirmed, and the number of jobs is under 17,500 for a full $110 billion in sales possible. Khashoggi was not part of the Muslim brotherhood. The end of the statement was DDT’s support for a foreign murdering dictator over his own nation’s intelligence that concluded Mohammed bin Salam ordered Khashoggi’s dismemberment and assassination. “It’s a shame, but it is what it is,” DDT said on his way to Mar-a-Lago today.

DDT’s message: He’ll overlook murder if somebody pays him.

DDT continued last Sunday with his long list of lies in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox: his White House runs “like a well-oiled machine”; he “did well in France”; he didn’t know the deputy national security advisor who Melania Trump fired but “she was with me for a long time”; he didn’t know that his new acting AG Matthew Whitaker had any “views on the Mueller investigation” but Whitaker was right in “no collusion”; he won’t meet Robert Mueller as promised and he won’t give written answers about obstruction of justice as promised; he’s not responsible for Democrats elected to the House but did cause Republican elections to the Senate; and he has an “A+” for his presidential ranking.

DDT also said he refuses to hear the Jamal Khashoggi tape while he was tortured and dismembered because it’s a “suffering” tape.

Thanksgiving messages from DDT:

Criticism of a court ruling: “Justice Roberts can say what he wants, but the 9th Circuit is a complete & total disaster.” (Followed by his holiday greetings to the armed forces: “We get a lot of bad court decisions from the Ninth Circuit.”)

Khashoggi’s murder: “It’s a mean & nasty world out there, the Middle East in particular.” (Followed in person by “Maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a vicious place.”)

Four minutes later: “HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!”

DDT’s fury with the 9th Circuit Court came from Judge Jon S.Tigar, not a member of the 9th Circuit Court, who temporarily blocked DDT’s plan to keep asylum seekers out of the United States. Tigar wrote, “Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden.” DDT accused Tigar of being an “Obama” judge although he’s kept silent about his own appointments who ruled twice against him in the last week.

DDT’s failure in this attempt follows others when court injunctions blocked his executive orders for punishment of “sanctuary cities,” denial of DACA protections to Dreamers, and “zero tolerance” separating migrant parents and their children. Other DDT losses include the Keystone XL Pipeline, press access to the White House, and the Emoluments Clause.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (D-IA), 85, may be developing memory loss. In response to Chief Justice John Roberts’ rebuke of DDT for denouncing the 9th Circuit Court, Grassley said that he doesn’t remember Roberts’ criticizing President Obama for his statement that the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United would open the floodgates of wealthy and foreign interests through donations. Roberts praised the “independent judiciary, but President Obama was right in his statements. Roberts did express “concern” for the former’s president’s comments. DDT snapped back at Roberts to claim that there are “Obama” judges; he’s ignoring the recent “Trump justice” who stated a partisan position under oath in a hearing.

DDT displayed more anger at the courts on Friday when a justice from the New York Supreme Court denied his request to dismiss the lawsuit against himself and the Trump Foundation alleging that the so-called charitable foundation violated both state and federal laws for “more than a decade.” The suit claims illegal actions such as improper political activity, “self-dealing transactions,” and refusal to “implement even elementary corporate formalities required by law.”  Justice Saliann Scarpulla rejected the arguments that “a sitting president may not be sued” and that the state court lacks jurisdiction over the president in this case. Her decision means that the case can proceed and may help other cases against DDT in New York and other states, including a defamation case from Summer Zervos.

DDT proved that he controls the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA). The featured speaker for its annual dinner on 4/27/19 is Ron Chernow, biographer of founding fathers Alexander Hamilton and George Washington. Gone are the comedians: DDT didn’t like them. The question is whether anyone else can crack jokes. Another question is how the press will continue to cave. Having gotten rid of the featured comedian at the dinner, DDT said that he might go to the dinner this year, but someone should tell him that the planned speaker called him a “demagogue.”

DDT made $4.2 million for his private businesses from GOP campaign events.

Next week, business as usual. DDT offered to keep the government from shutting down if Congress gives him a wall. Then he went golfing.

DDT kept the Senate in the recent midterm elections, but a conservative publication predicts a substantially slowing economy in the next two years. Goldman Sachs projected the GDP down to 1.8 percent and 1.6 percent in the third and fourth quarters of 2019.

After avoiding service members for 96 weeks, DDT might want to pay them a little visit. His support has fallen in the past two years over two points to under 44 percent while those disapproving of him have gone from 37 percent to over 43 percent. Female service members have a 28 percent approval rating of DDT while males have 47 percent.

This past week, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a safety alert about dangerous E. coli bacteria in romaine lettuce, calling on grocery stores to remove all the produce and restaurants to discard it. Earlier this year, five people died in 210 cases in 36 states.

Thanksgiving is a time to say what you are thankful for, and I always say, “My friends.” Most commanders in chief praise service members in harm’s way; DDT said, “I made a tremendous difference in our country.” In a Coast Guard station, he posed for pictures and told officials that he would give them $100 if they could break par at his golf course. It’s the new normal.

November 2, 2018

DDT: Week 93 – Midterm Election Tensions Leading to War

“Are you both prepared for federal prison?” A reporter asked Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, two men who tried to smear special investigator Robert Mueller (left) with a fake sexual assault accusation, in a press conference. Details of that story swirl around the internet between rabid racist remarks from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) about a shrinking migrant caravan thousands of miles away from the southern U.S. border.

Wohl, a 20-year-old DDT supporter, began the fake story on Gateway Pundit with his claim that the victim would be at his press conference. She failed to appear, and Wohl had no evidence. Earlier, women had reported to the media that they had been offered tens of thousands of dollars to lie about a non-existent assault. Investigation into Wohl and his lie revealed that his alleged intelligence firm was composed of himself, fake LinkedIn profiles, and his mother’s telephone number. The alleged assault supposedly occurred in New York City on the same day that Mueller served on jury during in Washington, D.C.

In 2017, the Arizona Corporation Commission filed a cease-and-desist order against Wohl for violating securities law misrepresenting how much money would be at risk in an investment and his company’s size in 2015 and 2016. He has failed to make the $1,371.61 monthly payments for his fine. Bloomberg reported that DDT praised Wohl’s support for him. [The hand on DDT’s shoulder in the photo belongs to another man not in the photo’s frame.]

Burkman, a registered Washington lobbyist and conspiracy theorist who raised money for Rick Gates, was identified by a woman offered money to lie about Mueller as the man behind the scam. Gates pled guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI. Conservatives are so terrified of possible discoveries from special investigator Robert Mueller about the Russian scandal that they are resorting to fraudulent smear campaigns as shown by this 11-minute segment from The Rachel Maddow ShowHuffPo also trailed the sordid events surrounding Wohl’s and Burkman’s fraud.

Gateway Pundit, the far-right fake news website founded and run by a gay man, Jim Hoft, has backed off on the accusations about Mueller that he published, stating that they were taking down the “information” and looking into the allegations against Wohl. An Esquire article asked what Mueller has on Burkman, known for trying to bring down Bill Clinton, if he’s willing to hire Wohl for such a risky attempt to bring down Mueller.

DDT has been very quiet about the Wohl-Burkman fiasco, but he’s talked a great deal about the “invasion” coming across Mexico from Central America. He plans to send 15,000 active military members to the U.S. southern border—the same number as deployed to Afghanistan—but no one knows what they will do, short of declaring war on Mexico. According to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, the military cannot enforce U.S. domestic laws, including immigration law, unless Congress authorizes this action—and Congress is on vacation. On the other hand, anyone on U.S. soil can ask for asylum. Immigrants coming across a port of entry break no law; others commit only a federal misdemeanor but can still pursue an asylum claim.

In the past 20 days, the caravan of refugees has traveled about 620 miles; the walking trip to Tijuana, over 2,000 more miles, would require over two months. Before DDT deployed the troops, he was told that “only a small percentage” of migrants could reach the U.S. Even if it keeps 3,000 asylum-seekers, DDT will be assigning at least three military members to each traveler. As more red meat for his followers, DDT declared rocks equivalent to AR-15s, saying that the military should fire back if anyone throws stones at them.

Foreign countries are using DDT’s violence-laced rhetoric to shoot people on the immigrant caravan as a justification for its murders to suppress free speech, for example the Nigerian Army’s killing 45 peaceful protesters. DDT has also exonerated Israel for its killing of dozens of protesters and wounding over 1,000 others, even if they were running away or praying. And he fails to criticize Saudi Arabia for their murder of a WaPo reporter, Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident.

Khashoggi was strangled almost immediately after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, and his body was then dismembered and destroyed, according to the first official explanation from Turkey. Department of State Secretary Mike Pompeo said something vague about sanctions but added:

“[DDT] has made very clear not only do we have important commercial relationships, but important strategic relationships, national security relationships with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and we intend to make sure that those relationships remain intact.”

DDT panders to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his desire for an Israel-Saudi Arabia coalition to defeat Iran and destroy Palestinians. Also on the table is Jared Kushner’s to create a Palestinian-Israeli “peace” through threats against Palestine.

Reports that Kushner gave the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) classified information from DDT’s daily briefings have been rampant for over six months. A source said that MBS bragged he had Kushner “in his pocket.” Before Kushner lost his top-security clearance, he was particularly interested in Middle East information and may have given MBS a hit list of enemies. DDT’s sole goal in the Middle East is to destroy Iran, and he will support murderers to accomplish his desired end.

DDT has a new fascist friend leader with the election of Jair Bolsonaro as president of Brazil. Called the “Trump of Latin America,” Bolsonaro ran on the same fears as DDT—crime, bad economy, etc. Hats might as well read “Make Brazil Great Again.” Retired generals will also play a large part in designing his policies as will evangelical Christians. He also pledged freedom for the people, probably correct for a small percentage of his constituency. Bolsonaro’s proposals, similar to those of DDT, include chemical castration for rapists, police impunity to kill more criminals, greater gun ownership, reduction of environmental controls, hydroelectric dams on the Amazon River, deforestation and mining on indigenous reserves, emphasis on the “traditional family,” education about Bolsonaro’s perception of economic successes and institutions during the past dictatorship, and a permissive attitude toward attacks on LGBTQ people. Bolsonaro describes refugees as “the scum of the earth” and says he would be “incapable of loving a homosexual son,” is “in favor of a dictatorship,” and “in favor of torture.”

In his promise to remove left-wing “criminals” from Brazil, Bolsonaro praised its dictatorship from 1964-1985 and allowed his followers to physically attack reporters and threaten to rape them. Ana Campagnola, a member for the state legislature in Santa Catarina, is campaigning to allow students to denounce “indoctrinator teachers” who criticize Bolsonaro’s victory. She sent her 70,000 Facebook followers a WhatsApp number for students to report “party-political or ideological expressions that humiliate or offend your freedom of faith and conscience.”

In other DDT-esque statements, Bolsonaro promised to pay down debt, trim the deficit, and reduce government. DDT’s identical promises failed: The U.S. showed DDT’s same promises to be false: the deficit for the current year will be about double that of President Obama’s last year because of tax cuts for big business and the wealthy, the deficit will soar over $2 trillion within a decade, and DDT’s government is riddled with corruption.

After 11 people were slaughtered a week ago in a Pennsylvania synagogue, faith leaders and the Pittsburgh mayor urged DDT to not disrupt the funerals, but daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner enabled him in his decision to go where he was not welcome. Following the visit, DDT again made himself the victim by complaining about the media and minimized the protest of 4,000 people as “small.”

DDT, the U.S. quitter-in-chief who dumped many of President Obama’s achievements from fits of pique, turned to attacking Ronald Reagan’s 1987 legendary end to the Cold War by pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia. DDT doesn’t mind Russia interfering with U.S. elections—because Putin favors Republicans—but he follow’s National Security advisor John Bolton’s war-mongering. Even sometimes crazy and supposedly libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) opposes both the plan and Bolton. Russia denies actions that violate the agreement: DDT won’t believe that claim although he accepts Putin’s assertion that Russia doesn’t meddle with voting in U.S. In Russia this week, Bolton told the media that he thought Russia did not have “any real effect” on the vote in the presidential election.

During a visit from National Security advisor John Bolton in Russia, Vladimir Putin not only ridiculed the U.S. national seal but also said that said that U.S. global dominance is ending as DDT accelerates the problem with a string of mistakes “typical of an empire.” The usual hawkish Bolton blandly smiled at Putin during his visit and organized a visit between Putin and DDT in Paris on November 11, the U.S. holiday to honor veterans.

After announcing his plan to withdraw from the treaty, DDT said he plans to build up the massive nuclear arsenal in the United States, an action leading to another arms war.Both China and India are jockeying to take over U.S. world power. A war could make DDT think that he can suspend elections in 2020.

 

 

October 29, 2018

DDT: Week 92, Part II – Jamal Khashoggi, GOP’s Promotion of Violence

The tragic events in the U.S. have taken front and center over the vicious murder of U.S. resident and WaPo reporter Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabians in their Turkish embassy, but the Saudis continue to contrive a number of explanations for the horrific event since October 2, 2018.

Robbie Gramer, Diplomacy/National Security Reporter, tweeted a “tongue-in-cheek” sequence of events listing Saudi’s “official” positions since Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi embassy in Turkey to get papers so that he could marry his fiancé:

  • He’s not dead; he left the consulate; we have evidence.
  • OK, he has disappeared.
  • OK, he may be dead.
  • OK, he’s dead but we didn’t do it.
  • OK, he’s dead, but it was a rogue group who worked for us.
  • OK he’s dead and we did it, but it was only because a 1 vs. 15 fight broke out.

That tweet is ten days old, and more has happened since then:

  • OK, so we thoroughly cleaned and painted the embassy, but we’re tidy.
  • OK, one of the killers dressed up like him and wandered the streets to confuse people.
  • OK, it was premeditated, but rogue officials did it.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) keeps trying to cover up what he called a “cover-up” while Jared Kushner orchestrates DDT’s responses to the innocent man’s torture, dismembering, and murder.

Other events since Gramer’s tweet:

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam (MBS) called his BFF Jared Kusher to ask, “Why the outrage?”
  • Turkish police found an abandoned Saudi consulate car in Istanbul.
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin uncanceled his attendance at an economic conference in Saudi so that he could hobnob with MBS.
  • Foreign investors sold off $4 billion from the already faltering Saudi stock market, causing it to drop five percent before it slightly rose today.

Both Canada and France plan to continue their arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and DDT continued to insist on the sales that must be approved by Congress. He has kept escalating the number of jobs for his yet non-existent arms deal—from 40,000 six months ago to over one million jobs now. DDT fabricated over one million jobs in an industry that currently has 355,000 jobs, 0.5 percent of the total U.S. labor force if the number includes every job connected to the sale or production of airplanes, tanks, bombs, and services for the entire U.S. military. The Saudis have signed commitments for only $14.5 billion in U.S. weapons, not $110 billion, since DDT was inaugurated, but no contracts have been signed. Congress may pass the sales, but the jobs won’t last: Saudi Arabia plans to start manufacturing its own arms. The U.S. won’t get Saudi money, but DDT and his businesses will.

In a piece called “It Takes a Village to Make a Hate Crime,” Dan Doubet wrote about the events leading up to the slaughter of innocent people at a place of worship last weekend. The suspect gave his reasons which were directly related to the GOP and right-wing hysterical conspiracy theories about invasion from poor people, mostly women and children, fleeing the violence of Honduras.

  • The GOP Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate, Scott Wagner, called George Soros a “Hungarian Jew” who has a “hatred for America” and a menacing conspirator in his opponent’s reelection bid.
  • Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) reiterated the Soros’ myth as a “fact” on Sunday’s Meet the Press, and host Chuck Todd not only failed to correct his lie but also compared it to the Democrat’s factual statements about the Koch brothers.
  • Meghan McCain, the daughter of former POW prisoner and Arizona senator, compared the bombs sent to a dozen U.S. leaders to Republicans being “heckled at restaurants.”
  • Kellyanne Conway, DDT’s counselor, blamed “antireligiosity” for the killing in the synagogue because late-night commedians are “making fun of people who expresses[sic] religion.” She compared this hate crime toward Jews to the hate crime toward blacks in a South Carolina, also calling it anti-faith. No one on Fox & Friends questioned her analysis of a hate crime toward a specific religious or ethnic group. (Her husband, George Conway, tweeted a quote from a WaPo op-ed by Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan’s daughter: “This president will never offer comfort, compassion or empathy to a grieving nation. It’s not in him. When questioned after a tragedy, he will always be glib and inappropriate. So I have a wild suggestion: Let’s stop asking him. His words are only salt in our wounds.”
  • Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that DDT is merely “showing contrast.”
  • DDT continues to blame the media and uses it as an excuse for not limiting his violent language:

“I’d have a much different tone frankly if the press was evenhanded. If the press was fair, I’d have a much different tone all the time. But I’m fighting the media, I’m fighting – the media is not being honest and I’m fighting that lack of honesty so I have to have that tone. Otherwise I’ll never get my points across, we’ll never get what we have to get across, and we are making America great again.”

Conservative Max Boot describes the “tone” that DDT continues to use that brings out violence in his followers:

“Trump calls Democrats ‘evil’ and ‘crazy.’ He accuses them of being ‘treasonous’ and ‘un-American.’ He claims they are in league with MS-13 gang members. He says they are trying to open our borders to criminals and to turn America into Venezuela—a bankrupt socialist dictatorship. He denounces the media as ‘the enemy of the people.’ He applauds a congressman who assaulted a reporter and calls for his political opponent to be locked up. He singles out minorities such as Waters for opprobrium, and he promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that hold George Soros responsible for everything from the Central American caravan to protests against Brett M. Kavanaugh.

“When Trump talks about ‘globalists’” the far right hears ‘Jews.’ When Trump says there were ‘fine people’ on both sides in Charlottesville, the far right hears official approval….

“And Trump continues his incendiary rhetoric even after the tragic consequences have become clear. On Friday, after a pro forma denunciation of political violence, Trump laughed as a group of black conservatives at the White House chanted ‘Fake News!’ He echoed their chants of ‘Lock him up!’ about Soros. Hours later, he presided over a rally in Charlotte, where supporters chanted ‘CNN sucks.’ Asked by reporters whether he would tone down his hateful rhetoric, he defiantly replied, ‘I could really tone it up.’ Asked if he bore any responsibility for what is happening, he answered, ‘There’s no blame. There’s no anything.’”

One GOP congressional members admits the GOP connection to white supremacy. Rep. Steve King (R-IA), known for his bigotry and enamored with Austria’s far-right party founded by a former Nazi SS officer, said:

“If they were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans.”

The former leader of this neo-Nazi party called “Freedom Party,” Heinz-Christian Strache, was forced to resign after the discovery that he led a fraternity using a songbook joking about murdering Jewish people. King, who also endorsed a Toronto mayoral candidate who promoted a book calling for the “elimination” of Jewish people, is expected to win his upcoming election for the ninth time although his conservative newspaper has endorsed his opponent for the first time. The Sioux City Journal wrote that King “holds up this district to ridicule.”

The uncle of DDT’s anti-immigrant strategist Stephen Miller, retired neuropsychologist Dr. David Glosser, again repudiated his nephew’s practices:  “It is absolutely unacceptable to utilize hatred, bigotry to advance your political ends. This is a shallow, shabby expression of ambition. It’s poisonous to the country, destructive to society, and a complete repudiation of your own background and your own past.”

Miller grew up in a Jewish family. His mother’s family escaped the anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia during the 1900s when they immigrated to the United States.

Over 35,000 people from Pittsburgh signed an open letter to DDT asking him to not come to the city until he denounced white nationalism and stops targeting minorities. Yet DDT insisted on going to the city tomorrow as the funerals of the 11 slaughtered people begin. Pittsburgh’s mayor asked DDT to come later because of sensitivity issues and the lack of security resources for both him and the people attending the funerals, but DDT ignored all these requests. He plans to go where and when he’s not welcome.

DDT continued to attack three recipients of the pipe bombs in his rallies since the explosives were sent. When asked about toning down his rhetoric, he said, “Rallies are meant to be fun” and that “You have to go on with your lives.”

Even Fox network is tired of his attacking a caravan far away that may never get to the border. In response to adding 5,200 military members on the Mexico border by the end of the week with more in the future in addition to the 2,000 National Guard members, Shep Smith accused DDT of exploiting the people fleeing violence for political gain in the election eight days away.

“Tomorrow the migrants, according to Fox News reporting, are more than two months away, if any of them actually come here. But tomorrow is one week before the midterm election, which is what all of this is about. There is no invasion. No one’s coming to get you. There’s nothing at all to worry about.”

DDT displays his insensitivity, his promotion of killing by covering for Saudi Arabia, and his inciting violence, for example today tweeting that the media is “the true Enemy of the People” and attacking opponents. He won’t stop.

October 20, 2018

GOP, DDT Try to Pull Cons

As midterm election fever ramps up, the Republicans become more desperate with the thought of losing. Because over half the population supports the Affordable Care Act, GOP candidates and their leader Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) have decided to pretend that they support coverage of pre-existing conditions on all health insurance.

Last Thursday, DDT tweeted:

“All Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, and if they don’t, they will after I speak to them. I am in total support. Also, Democrats will destroy your Medicare, and I will keep it healthy and well!”

These GOP candidates claiming to supported coverage of pre-existing conditions voted against the Affordable Care Act, and some of them are involved in legal challenges to the law. With his executive order to change the ACA, DDT already permitted insurance companies to not allow pre-existing conditions. In addition, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that the GOP plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act after the midterms and reduce Medicare to cover ballooning deficits from deep tax cuts for the wealthy and big business. The underlying GOP goal is to strip almost everyone in the United States of any safety net while taking all power and giving the nation’s resources to the wealthiest and big business.

In another serious problem for DDT, the horrific scandal of a reporter’s murder in Turkey won’t disappear. Saudi Arabia commonly kills dissidents, but the murder of Jamal Khashoggi is unique: he was a U.S. resident who was tortured, dismembered, and murdered in an embassy on foreign soil. DDT is also supporting Saudi Arabia in its fantasy explanation of the murder, appearing to act as a PR person for the Saudi royalty. Vali R. Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, said:

“This is a drastic break from American practice. It signals a very different foreign policy that does not hold governments accountable for things that are outside normal legal or ethical parameters. In effect, the U.S. is setting a new standard for itself.”

Vladimir Putin is well aware of the new standard for the U.S. that represents a double standard—punish Russia for its killing of a Russian but reward Saudi Arabia for its killing of a U.S. resident. DDT has been very clear, however, that he won’t hold foreign countries accountable for human rights, and now that lack of concern impacts a murdered U.S. resident with three U.S. citizen children. Not addressing Khashoggi’s murder removes the U.S. from the high ground when China tells the West to stop its false regard for human rights.

In addition to taking Saudi’s assurance that Khashoggi’s death came from a “fist-fight,” DDT is accepting Putin’s guarantee that Russia didn’t interfere in U.S. elections and Kim Jong-Un’s pledge that North Korea will denuclearize. Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said that the U.S. policy of “trust but verify” has been changed to “trust but look away.”

Conservative commentator Max Book wrote about DDT:

“This is the president who said it’s “great” that Xi is declaring himself ruler for life, praised Duterte for the ‘unbelievable job’ he was doing ‘on the drug problem,’ congratulated Recep Tayyip Erdogan for winning a rigged referendum that spelled the death of Turkish democracy, and declared his ‘love’ for Kim Jong Un of North Korea. When confronted by Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes about Kim’s catalogue of crime — ‘repression, gulags, starvation’ — Trump was dismissive. ‘I get along with him really well,’ Trump said. ‘I have a good energy with him.’ He was equally blasé when Stahl asked him about reports that Putin is involved in ‘assassinations’ and ‘poisonings.’ He probably is, Trump conceded — but ‘it’s not in our country,’ so who cares? Britain can deal with Russian hit teams on its own.”

Boot concluded:

“This is a good time to be a dictator — and a dangerous time to be a dissident. Trump has given every despot on the planet a license to kill without worrying about the American reaction.”

Saudi Arabia has been paying for positive PR in the U.S. since 15 of 19 plane hijackers in the attack on the U.S. were Saudi nationals, but the amount of money poured into its effort escalated in 2017 to $27.3 million in lobbying alone after DDT’s inauguration to $27.3 million in lobbying alone. More money was given to universities, think tanks, and over 100 people registered as Saudi foreign agents in the U.S. who contacted media outlets over 500 times. The Saudis also had 45 contracts with FARA-registered firms. Agents contacted officials at the State Department almost 100 times in 2017 and over 200 congressional members with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) the most contacted. These congressional members received $390,496 for campaigns. In 2018, Saudi lobbyists fought to defeat a House bill that would end U.S. support for the Saudi war in Yemen, asking them to ignore the 10,000 civilians who were killed in Yemen.

DDT has been very upfront about how he is selling himself and the U.S. to gain money from the Saudis. And he has the blessing of fundamentalist Christians. Televangelist Pat Robertson wants people to “cool” it about the torture, dismemberment, and killing of Jamal Khashoggi because he’s just “one journalist.” What would Jesus do, according to Robertson? Profit from that probably nonexistant $100 billion of arms sales to Saudi Arabia so that they can kill thousands more civilians.

One reason that people voted for DDT was their belief that he is a great businessman. The New York Time researched proved that claim to be a myth, but he’s still bragging about his wonderful economy. Despite his cheerleading, cracks are appearing—the lowest housing sales in three years, retail sales down for the past two years, a volatile stock market, an increase in trade market deficits—some of the same signs that led to the deep recession of 2008, especially the falling housing prices that were the first evidence. George W. Bush failed to see the warning signs in 2006, just as DDT’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow thinks that the U.S. is booming. A few months before everyone became well aware of the 2008 recession, Kudlow said, “There is no recession coming.” Four months later, he wrote “The Therapeutic Power of Recessions.”

That recession didn’t have the problem of tariffs. A trade war with the U.S. already prompted luxury-car makers BMW AG and Daimler AG to warn about lower profits while Chinese consumers staying away from showrooms forced Jaguar Land Rover to temporarily shut a factory. Sales to Chinese dealerships fell for a third month in September. Steve Man, senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong, said that this slump may be the biggest that auto manufacturers experienced in China, the world’s largest car market. GM, VW, and Honda are also decreasing in deliveries, and carmakers may have to close factories.

DDT promised to balance the budget in one year. He didn’t. The deficit blew up to $898 billion in the 11 months through August, exceeding the Congressional Budget Office’s forecast for the first full fiscal year after DDT was inaugurated. DDT’s deficit for the 11 months was one-third higher than the $674 billion for the same time during the previous year. While revenue gained one percent to about $3 trillion, spending rose by seven percent to almost $3.9 trillion. Thanks to the new COP tax cut law, revenue from corporations dropped $71 billion from a year before to $163 billion. The annual budget for President Obama’s last three years was $500 billion. Thanks to the GOP and DDT’s law and policies, the nation’s debt is growing out of control.

DDT’s family con jobs seem to have trickled down to son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has paid almost no income tax from 2009 to 2016 while quintupling his assets to almost $324 million. For example, in 2015, he made $1.7 million but declared $8.3 million in losses from his self-identified “significant depreciation” on real estate because the law allows scams with decline values on the books as properties appreciate. DDT, however, participated in illegal fraud to hide his and his family’s fortune from taxes.

DDT is so unpopular that the Trump name has been removed from a seventh building since DDT’s election, this one a condo tower at 200 Riverside Boulevard in Manhattan. Almost 70 percent of owners voted to take down the name after they were threatened with legal action 18 months ago when they made the decision. A judge ruled that the signage could go that’s what the residents wanted.

The Trump Ocean Club Panama also ripped DDT’s name off its sign after it evicted the Trump Organization. Ivanka Trump had lied about the number of units sold although the involvement of shell companies created difficulty in identifying why buyers had backed out. DDT’s family made millions on just this one project, an example of their system to lure investors into building projects and then walk away with the money when the projects collapse.

With his gullible base, DDT treats the United States like one of his scams, but most of us have no solution when he takes the money and leaves us bankrupt. And Congress will let DDT carry out his plans unless the electorate stops the GOP from controlling Congress. During the past half centuries, all the recessions have occurred while the president was a Republican with a supportive Congress.

October 19, 2018

DDT: Week 91 – Violence against Reporters Acceptable

After passing a tax cut for big business and the wealthiest, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) decided that the ballooning deficit is “disturbing.” The GOP solution is to reduce “entitlement programs”—the ones that taxpayers funded and the Republican legislators siphoned off to pay for the military and huge tax cuts for the wealthiest. Voters might want to consider this plan when they vote.

DDT has threatened to protect the Mexican border with military and overturn his shiny new trade agreement with the country if they don’t stop a caravan of Honduran immigrants crossing Mexico. He also plans to cut off foreign aid to Honduras, saving the United States a grand $127 million, equivalent to about a year of DDT’s weekend getaways. The differences of opinion in the White House led to a fight between Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser John Bolton when Bolton dared to criticize DHS director Kirstjen Nielsen’s inability to keep immigrants from crossing the border.

Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and WaPo reporter, wrote about the importance of freedom of the press, the Saudis murdered him, and DDT is protecting Saudi Crown Prince MBS. After denying his death for weeks, Saudi Arabia claimed that he got in a “fist-fight”—presumably with the 15-person death squad sent with a bone saw into the Saudi embassy—and sadly died. DDT called the assumption “credible.” Photos show that members of the murder squad have close ties to Mohammed, including four of them who served as his guards during his visit to the U.S. last March–this 59-year-old man against 15 strong men possessing a bone saw. Here is the piece of trash that Saudi Arabia released. DDT lamented, “This one has caught the imagination of the world, unfortunately.” Everytime he is asked about Khashoggi’s death, DDT says that he doesn’t want to lose $100 billion of arms sales. Now one of the murder squad of 15 has mysteriously died in a car crash.

DDT has restricted access to any information about the murder of Khashoggi by refusing to share any of this information with the Senate. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) described the situation “disappointing.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was derisive about the Saudi story, but most Republicans are covering for DDT by smearing Khashoggi’s reputation using conspiracy theories spread by the radical right-wing press that falsely accuse him of being sympathetic to Islamic terrorism. The GOP support for Saudi Arabia has even erased their memory that 15 of the 19 hijackers attacking the U.S. on 9/11 were Saudis. Saudi Arabia went so far as to claim that 9/11 was an Israeli plot.

Only after Saudi Arabia delivered $100 million to DDT as support for stabilization in northeastern Syria, did DDT agree that Khashoggi was probably dead. The State Department denied any relationship between the money and Mike Pompeo’s discussions with the Saudis about Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia has followed a pattern for paying off countries to support its foreign policies, and it may pay off Turkey for a joint investigation into the murder. Saudi Arabia is looking more and more like ISIS

In his rally this past week, DDT entertained his audience by praising Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) for his physical assault on a Guardian reporter. For the first time, DDT openly cheered a violent act against a journalist in the United States when he expressed his approval of Gianforte because he “body-slammed a reporter.” Gianforte pled guilty to the charge of assault and was sentenced to four days in jail which was changed to 40 hours of community service and a mandated anger-management course. The Guardian US editor, John Mulholland, said:

“The president of the United States tonight applauded the assault on an American journalist who works for the Guardian. To celebrate an attack on a journalist who was simply doing his job is an attack on the first amendment by someone who has taken an oath to defend it.

“In the aftermath of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, it runs the risk of inviting other assaults on journalists both here and across the world where they often face far greater threats. We hope decent people will denounce these comments and that the president will see fit to apologize for them.”

A bizarre continuing story this week focused on the Interior Department where the IG, in the midst of four separate investigations into its secretary, Ryan Zinke, seemed to be fired. HUD Director Ben Carson emailed information about her replacement with Suzanne Israel Tufts, one of his own employees who is a DDT political appointee with no experience in government work. After a report was released showing that Zinke violated his department’s policy on travel, White House officials said they knew nothing about these personnel transactions. Interior Department spokeswoman said that Carson’s email “had 100 percent false information” and the long-term IG is staying.

Zinke permitted his wife to travel in government vehicles while she was assisting in a campaign for a political candidate, tried to make her a “volunteer” to justify his actions, told the department’s top lawyer to lie to the public about the situation, and ordered his security detail to drive an associate to the airport. His decision to take an unarmed security detail on his overseas vacation cost taxpayers $25,000. Other investigations include Zinke’s involvement in a Montana land deal and two Connecticut tribes’ application to open a new casino. Interior Department officials also objected to the new political appointee as the Interior’s IG.

The story didn’t end there, though.  HUD said that the information was just a “mistake” and that Tufts had a job interview for IG elsewhere in the government. She didn’t show up for the appointment and then resigned her HUD position. Although she hadn’t come to her HUD job for the past two months, she had been regularly paid. All of this drama and revelation in less than a week.

More drama came from the First Lady’s self-pity party when she called herself “the most bullied person” in the world during an interview. In 2009 Minnesota GOP Senate candidate Karin Housley compared then-First Lady Michelle Obama to the chimpanzee from 1951’s movie Bedtime for Bonzo. And Michelle Obama did not parade in a cheap “I really don’t care” jacket like Melania Trump did. The GOP has a decade-long record of describing the Obama family as simians. (BTW, Trump also said that her jacket was a putdown on the press.)

Senate Democrats have again learned that they cannot trust their GOP counterparts. They agreed to quick confirmation of 15 more DDT judicial nominees so that they could recess for campaigning. Republicans stayed in Washington to hold hearings on more nominees and claimed that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) had agreed to these hearings. She didn’t. The handful of Republicans attending Wednesday’s hearing moved them forward.

Last Sunday, DDT’s 60 Minutes interview addressed the people he does and does not trust. Here’s a summary:

Asked about climate change, DDT again dragged out his Uncle John and their conversations to prove that he knew best. John Trump, who died in 1985, worked in electronics and X-ray machines. DDT said that he didn’t talk about his uncle about climate change, but he has “a natural instinct for science.”

Farmers—DDT’s base—have a better instinct about climate change, and they are concerned. They may not need to worry about tariffs stopping them from shipping soybeans; almost a foot of rain has turned their crops into a bog. Their fertilizer is running off into the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico to create a dead zone the size of New Jersey that destroys the shrimping industry. Soil is annually disappearing at two to three tons an acre but regenerates at only a half-ton each year. Less soil means less protein in a kernel or pod, and corn becomes higher in starch. Corn yield can also drop by one half within 50 years. Des Moines Water Works faces $100 million in improvement costs because of toxic agricultural chemicals. Minnesota crops are either washed out or weedy. Kansas now requires 100 acres of prairie grass for a calf instead of 40 acres. The huge Ogallala Aquifer, vital to cattle feedlots, is down 150 feet at Dodge City in a little over a half century and may be gone in 20 years. Corn can’t be grown in western Kansas because of the heat.

More people in North Carolina are accepting the fact of climate change after two overwhelming hurricanes in rapid succession. While DDT hosted an insane rant from Kanye West in the Oval Office, needy people are without food, water, and electricity. FEMA director Brock Long told them to be patient, and Florida’s governor Rick Scott, running for U.S. Senate, said that “everyone just needs to help each other.”

Once again, the Republicans have failed, and midterm elections are 18 days away.

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